KETR

Robin Hilton

This week we celebrate our nation's independence with drum fills (and one intro) from songs that say "America, we love you!" Some may be more blatantly patriotic than others, but all capture, in some way, the spirit of freedom that unites and binds us.

I grew up in a town of about 6,000 people in rural Kansas back in the '70s and '80s. I've never romanticized it much, though it was certainly a simpler time and, for better or worse, it's where I learned to make some sense of my life. The world you inhabit when you come of age in your teen years has a way of digging its claws in you. As the years pass, no matter how far you try to get away from it, it stays with you. The people, the places, the sounds and even the smells become a part of your DNA.

Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow has one of the most arresting voices of any young singer you're likely to hear this year: He's got the heartbreaking falsetto of a Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and the raspy soul of a Ray LaMontagne, in a way that sounds both fragile and grand.