Aaron Espe's album "Songs From a Small Town" (link to free download). He is an artist that was recommended to me by a friend a few years ago, though I never really looked into him then. Recently, I was perusing NoiseTrade (a site where all the music is available for free download) and saw the album there, remembered his name, and decided to give him a chance. Best choice I've made in a musical while.
The album starts off with "Small Town," a tune about the simplicity and small pleasures of living in a small town. His singing is story-telling. It's basic but heartfelt, just like a small town.
This next song "Change" is more mellow in tone. It is about not being able to accomplish quite what you want, how things sometimes just don't work out, and how that can sometimes defeat a person. It's an honest assessment of life, and Espe's voice and soft guitar chords give it credibility.
The pinnacle of the album is the second-to-last track "Faith and Doubt." Espe's Christian background comes out most clearly through this honestly emotive tune. The song rises and falls with strong guitar chords, but also with surges of emotions of wanting to believe and descents into soft hues of confession of doubt and unknowing.
Throughout the entirety of the album, where Mr. Espe rises above other folky singer-songwriters is in his honesty. He never shares too much, but he shares enough where one can identify and feel exactly what he is singing about. His gentle honesty has won me over. Maybe it will win you over too.