Seth Walker, Are you Open? (Royal Potato Family)

Seth Walker’s music, although simple on the outside, can’t really be broken down into individual genres easily. It’s more about what style of music allows him to get close and intimate in the moment. He usually settles on some mixture of soul and folk (and, on occasion, reggae) but he seems to be choosing his influences chiefly by the amount of warmth they produce. He’s practically an ASMR trigger all by himself, yet he never seems to be seducing you, just inviting you in. The title of his new album is itself a reference to the heart (and not, say, GameStop).

Greg’s unshakeable optimism, strangely, often gets him classified as a blues artist—and songs like the funky “Inside” or the wistful closer “Magnolia,” bear this out. Yet it’s precisely the doors closing in his face that give him the blues cred, even as he remains committed to opening them for fake friends (“Inside”), faithless lovers (“No Bird”), fate (“Underdog”), strangers (“Hard Road”), or the cruelty of the entire world (“No More Will I”). Whichever genre he’s currently dabbling in here, the overarching theme is persistence in the face of all evidence. Or as he puts it on “Inside”: “I can’t turn this thing around.”