There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.

Standout Track: No. 1, “This Time Around,” a mellow folk ballad from Sonnet Cottage’s sophomore album, Half Written Story, set to drop June 27. Driven by the buoyant croons of Northern Virginia sisters Rachel and Torey Russell, Sonnet Cottage’s carefree acoustics are fleshed out with help from pianist/producer Kent Heckaman. For its latest LP, the band beefed up its breezy sound with guitarist Buddy Speir, whose strums, Heckaman notes, inject a layer of depth into the band’s relaxed vibe. “[Buddy] brought a more edgy and sometimes dark flavor to many of the songs.”

Musical Motivation: While the initial concept and melody for “This Time Around” was conceived by Heckaman, the song didn’t come together until the entire band weighed in. “As with all of our music, we usually rewrite as we record, then meditate for a few weeks or even months, rewrite some more, and then add or subtract vocal layers and add final instrumentation,” Heckamen says. “Often, our final mixed versions sound much different than the original.”

If At First You Don’t Succeed: For a band that prefers an organic, low-key approach to crafting tracks, the recording process for “This Time Around” proved to be a bit more than anyone bargained for. “We recorded the guitar parts at Cue [recording studio], the strings in Nashville, and then rerecorded the vocals a number of times until we felt like it was going in the right direction,” Heckaman says. “Then Kent rearranged the instrumentation, so we had to record the vocal parts again… but it was all worth the extra effort.”

Sonnet Cottage plays Jammin Java on June 28. Stream “This Time Around” after the jump.