Briston Maroney’s 2021 debut album Sunflower was a breath of fresh air for fans of folksy pop-rock. Songs like “It’s Still Cool If You Don’t” and “Bottle Rocket” were snapshots of youthful vulnerability set to a DIY-informed take on indie roots music, and especially appealed to a younger generation of fans eager for authentic portrayals of their lived experiences. The Knoxville-bred, Nashville-based singer-songwriter took a roundabout route to finding his left-of-center sound, with stops including a brief stint on Season 13 of American Idol and time spent playing guitar in a bluegrass band, Subtle Clutch, who frequently performed at Dollywood. On his sophomore effort, Maroney further hones his sonic vision to incorporate influences like Nick Drake and Elliott Smith and digs more deeply into his personal vault of stories. The resulting album feels grown up and fully realized. Maroney co-produced the LP with Daniel Tashian (Kacey Musgraves, Tenille Townes), recording in Nashville alongside collaborator/engineer Konrad Snyder. Remarkably, Maroney plays every single instrument on the record, lending the project a sense of cohesion worthy of its title, Ultrapure, a word Maroney coined to describe life’s most beautiful, and fleeting, moments. Highlights on the record include first single “Body,” a clear-eyed look at Maroney’s sometimes troubled upbringing, and “Sunburn Fades,” a melancholy track that takes stock of the pain and beauty that often come with experiencing personal growth.

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