Best Of

Best Folk Artist


The lush, evocative soundscapes on Skip a Sinking Stone feel suited for dusky evenings on the Great Plains, but Jordan Lee, who performs under the stage name Mutual Benefit, wrote the record in Bushwick while living at DIY venue/artist collective Silent Barn. While Lee is a wanderer at heart — he has roots in Austin, Boston, and seemingly everywhere in between — “Fire Escape” shouts out to the J/M/Z while “City Sirens,” his tribute to Eric Garner, criticizes Commissioner Bratton’s “broken windows” policing. Lee’s gentle nature shines through readily in his soft falsetto and in the lilting strings that made his 2013 LP, Love’s Crushing Diamond, a breakout success. With Stone, like the best of the Greenwich Village Beat poets, Lee elucidates the beautiful and painful moments that form life in these five boroughs. But when he urges “Let’s take the long way home/Let’s throw away our phones,” on “Lost Dreamers,” his approach feels thoroughly modern.