Jake Wells' music exemplifies the craze for soulful troubadours. The Kansas City-based Wells, who plays at the Riot Room on Thursday, has released just three songs, but his most popular, "Roll Like Thunder," has been streamed more than 500,000 times on Spotify since its release in 2016.
Like the most popular songs of young stars Vance Joy and James Bay, "Roll Like Thunder" emulates the sound of Bon Iver (whose 2008 album For Emma, Forever Ago launched a resurgence of interest in plaintive folk that shows no sign of abating) as well as earlier antecedents including the late Nick Drake. On the hushed contemporary folk song, you can hear Wells sighing "we've all made mistakes":
Jake Wells opens for Shells, a folk-pop project overseen by the Kansas City signer-songwriter Riley Brown, in a show starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 20 at The Riot Room, 4048 Broadway, Kansas City, Misouri, 64111.
KCUR contributor Bill Brownlee blogs about Kansas City's jazz scene at Plastic Sax.