Achilles Wheel is a high energy rock 'n' roll, roots and world music band from Northern California, featuring award winning songwriting played on numerous stringed instruments and the rhythmic earthquake of two full drum sets. In the wake of their breakout performance at the 2012 Kate Wolf Music Festival, the band has been burning up stages all across California, including the Strawberry Music Festival, the legendary Sweetwater Music Hall and a repeat performance at the Kate Wolf Festival in 2013 that is still being talked about.
Their new CD ‘Stones To Sand’ is just being released and fully embodies the exciting musical growth Achilles Wheel is experiencing. Two sold out shows for the release party at the Crazy Horse Saloon in Nevada City on a balmy summer solstice weekend didn’t stop the large crowd of people who couldn’t get in from dancing in the street, since the doors and windows to the club were all open. This enthusiasm for Achilles Wheel ultimately earned them a spot at the 2014 California Worldfest through a ‘fan choice’ vote. And the Strawberry Music Festival also gave the band a call asking them to join the party this September when that festival will re-emerge in it’s temporary new home at the Grass Valley Fairgrounds.
The fiery epicenter of Achilles Wheel’s sound is Jonny Mojo on lead guitar and vocals, surrounded by Paul Kamm and Shelby Snow on rhythm, bass and vocals, and Gary Campus and Mark McCartney on drums and vocals. As original songs go, Achilles Wheel’s are some of the most accessible around and will stay with you long after the excitement of the show is over. These writers have been acknowledged by many of the biggest music festivals in the country including Kerrville, Telluride and Rocky Mtn Folk. Two of their songs, ‘Got A Tattoo’ and ‘Let the Dream Begin’ have been recognized in the ‘Race to TRI’ song contest, which many on the West Coast will recognize as a premier audio-video production studio run by Bob Weir.
So if you love to dance and celebrate life, come see an Achilles Wheel show and make a joyful noise. They’ll be waiting. Peace.....
Ad Vanderveen is a singer/songwriter and guitarist whose star has been rising over the European and American musical landscape throughout the past decade. Although born a Dutchman (Hilversum, 1956), half of his family are Canadian and that may be one of the reasons why his music is firmly rooted in a style nowadays known as Americana.
His early musical influences were 60s Rock & Roll bands and the classic singer/songwriters from the 70s. Vanderveen played guitar and wrote songs from age 14 and played in many R & R bands before founding his own band Personnel in the early 80s. After 2 LP's the band recorded "Personnel Only", their breakthrough CD, for Polydor Records. The follow-up album "Continuing Stories", recorded in Nashville and produced by Bill Halverson, featured guest appearances by Al Kooper, Flaco Jiminez, Al Perkins and Leland Sklar.
Ad decided to leave the band to focus on his work as a solo artist in the early 90s. Since then Vanderveen has produced an impressive body of work, consisting of 11 solo cd's and several side projects, like with his garage band "The O'Neils" and with Eliza Gilkyson and Iain Matthews in "More Than A Song".
Ad Vanderveen's music is often described as colorful and rich in dynamics, ranging from intimate acoustic to full on electric improvisation. His highly acclaimed records and excellent reputation as a live performer are spreading, both in the old world and the new.
"Still Now" available here.
Al Rose is a mesmerizing, challenging, insightful and ultimately delightful songsmith and performer with a unique command of wordplay, combined with considerable musical acumen that is captured on his 7th and latest disc, ”Spin Spin Dizzy”.
His albums have received a bevy of critical praise along with extensive airplay on AAA and Americana stations throughout the US and Europe. The Chicago based musician has played coast to coast from New York to Boston and from Vancouver down to Los Angeles, including The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, CA.
He has toured in Europe and Japan several times. He captivates audiences whether he’s solo live or accompanied by any number of his band, The Transcendos, in any configuration. This drives the songs each night, but the songs have always been what drives the creativity in what The Chicago Tribune has called ’one audaciously entertaining ride’.....
Albert & Gage
MoonHouse Records is proud to announce the release of "Albert & Gage – Dakota Lullaby (The Songs of Tom Peterson)". This is the sixth CD for the Austin, Texas duo since teaming up in 1997. Christine Albert and Chris Gage will be continuing their active performing schedule throughout the summer to support the release.
Although Albert and Gage are prolific songwriters, for this project they drew entirely from an extensive catalog of undiscovered gems written by Gage’s old friend from Sioux Falls, South Dakota – Tom Peterson. Virtually unknown outside of South Dakota (although he is somewhat of a legend among his peers in the Midwest), Peterson lived for awhile in Nashville but his songs never found the wider audience they deserve. On the liner notes Gage says “I’ve been singing Tom Peterson songs on stages around the world since 1975, but I had to hear 10,000 other songs before I realized just how great Tom’s are.” And Christine mentions that listening to old recordings of Tom’s music made her feel like she had “just struck gold in the Black Hills”. You can hear the affection and reverence that Albert and Gage have for the songs and for Mr. Peterson himself. Tom Peterson makes his home in Sioux Falls and works in production for a local television news program.
Gage’s multi-instrumental chops are well known through his work as a producer and a sideman (Roy Clark, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jerry Jeff Walker) and he guides a world class band through classic Americana style arrangements on Dakota Lullaby. He shines on guitars, piano, organ, and dobro and that distinctive Albert and Gage harmony is prominently featured throughout. The duo take turns singing lead and you can almost hear the prairie wind as they wrap their voices around the ballads, the blues, the country, swing and bluegrass that grace this album. The music is pure Americana and Albert and Gage deliver it with the integrity and care that these great songs deserve.
Austin’s studio A-list, Paul Pearcy, David Carroll and Glenn Fukunaga, make up the rhythm section and are joined here by other hot Austin players - Lloyd Maines on pedal steel, John Mills on saxophone and Michael Austin on clarinet. Chris and Christine took advantage of borderless digital technology and added Canadian Mike Stevens on harmonica and South Dakotans Kenny Putnam on fiddle and Boyd Bristow on harmony vocals.
All Day Sucker
Meet All Day Sucker, the band Hollywood grew up with. They are not famous but many of their fans are. Some of your favorite artists, celebrities and tastemakers have All Day Sucker on their iPods because, as BPM Magazine noted, “they are inextricably linked to all things Hollywood”. If you want to know the best a city has to offer, ask a local.
"Since high school we’ve always had a great following”, Jordan Summers (keyboards, songwriter) explains. “A lot of those same people found success and became famous. Our music was part of the soundtrack to their lives”. Morty Coyle (singer, songwriter) contends, "Hollywood is a hard place to be from because, for the most part, you’ve got nowhere to go. When you grow up here, you don’t have any preconceived notion of what it’s supposed to be like. It just is how it is".
A little time traveling might be in order to fully grasp how fully entrenched Coyle and Summers have been in the musical culture of Los Angeles. Trends came and went, but the classic pop band the two formed in high school, which evolved into The iMposters, had a timeless quality that made them a fixture on Sunset Strip for over a decade. You name it, they played it, or had a residency there - Roxy, Whisky A Go Go, Roxbury, Peanuts, Sunset Social Club, Opium Den and The Viper Room, where they did a two year Sunday night residency in the mid 90's.
It’s impossible to convey the six degrees of Kevin Bacon-ness and Zelig-esque history of All Day Sucker without gratuitous name dropping and a flow chart. They gave The Wallflowers their first gig at Gazzari’s. Smuggled in an underage Maroon 5 to open for them at the Viper Room and were bombarded by special guests like Adam Duritz, Stephen Stills, Jon Brion, Gibby Haynes, Tommy Stinson, Richard Butler, Benmont Tench among many others during their tenure at the club. They helped transform Canter’s Kibitz Room into a Tuesday night Mecca where Slash, Lenny Kravitz, Dave Navarro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Crowes, Rage Against The Machine, Tonic, Pointer Sisters, Rick James and countless others came to jam and still do.
"Jordan and I had been making albums and playing as All Day Sucker with different musicians for several years after The iMposters disbanded”, Morty explains. "Like Steely Dan, we were the main songwriters and constants of the band. Our old friend Jay Gore (Mindi Aibar, Hilary Duff, Lauryn Hill, Michael McDonald) had played guitar with us on and off through it all and for years we all knew we wanted to capture the sound of the rhythm section and amazing vocals of bassist Dan Rothchild (Heart, Beck, Fiona Apple, Shakira) and drummer David Goodstein (Daniel Powter, Jackson Browne, Ricky Martin). We had all been playing together for years both on Tuesdays at The Kibitz with The F.O.C.K.R.s collective and as Men Without Sex, our party cover band. Dan, David and Jay are beyond pedigreed musicians so I figured if I was the worst guy up there we'd be alright".
"Through no fault of our own we all have really grown into a band", Summers jokes. "There’s 5 guy’s DNA in this baby”. Rothchild is also the producer on All Day Sucker’s new album “Denim Days”. He produced Better Than Ezra’s 1995 platinum selling debut “Deluxe”. Inspired by real life events, "Denim Days" ibrimming with heady, street-smart yet refreshingly sweet, sophisticated melodic rock. What gives their instantly memorable hooks a soulful resonance are sharp musicianship and a grounded lyrical sense that illuminates mature, authentic feelings.
"What started out as a record about domestic bliss became whatever this is. The winds changed and so did the direction of some of the songs", Morty explains. But the witty and musically eclectic band mask their cynicism and despair in a sugar-coating of melodic pop and neo-classic rock.
Blessed with great songs, sharp chops, a cunning attitude and a mature sense of self, All Day Sucker is ready to venture into the seen-it-all music scene and emerge as a fresh, clever and unique musical presence. “Jordan and I have never been completely starry-eyed about this as there always has been a certain level of understanding of what we were doing”, Coyle says. “Now we realize that it’s as much a folly for a 30-year-old to sing about hating his parents, as it is for a 16-year-old to explain what’s it’s like to live in the real world. At a certain point in your creative life you have to speak with your own voice. All Day Sucker has enabled us to find our voice”.
Ever since he burst on the jazz scene in the latter part of the twentieth century, the Brooklyn-born, Harlem-based Allan Harris has reigned supreme as one of the most accomplished singers of his generation. Aptly described by the Miami Herald as an artist blessed with, “the warmth of Tony Bennett, the bite and rhythmic sense of Sinatra, and the sly elegance of Nat ‘King‘ Cole,” the aural evidence of Harris’ moving and magisterial artistry can be heard on his ten recordings as a leader (on which he also showcases his talents as a guitarist and composer), as well as his critically-acclaimed concerts around the world, and his numerous awards.
Harris’ wonderful new album “Black Bar Jukebox”, produced by award-winning producer Brian Bacchus (Norah Jones, Gregory Porter), is his most compelling and comprehensive recording to date. It features thirteen selections that include several popular standards and originals penned by Harris. His soulful, silken bari-tenor voice dances and trances throughout an eclectic spectrum of moods and grooves; from the moving, mid-tempo, 4/4 swing of “You Make Me Feel So Young”, “A Little Bit Scared” and the Count Basie-ish, “Jumping At The Woodside” vibe of ‘I Got The Blues”, to the Ahmad Jamal, “Poinciana”-pulsed “Miami”, the Latin-tinged “Catfish”, “Take Me To The Pilot”, which can be compared to Les McCann’s soulful grooves, and an ebullient cover of pop singer John Mayer’s “Daughters”, which features Harris’ spare and syncopated guitar strains.
“I’m a storyteller through the genre of jazz”, concludes Harris.
Allan Thomas' musical adventure began in Brooklyn, NY, when at age 12, he joined an a-capella doo-wop vocal group, performing at local events. In 1966, at age 18, he signed his first solo record deal with noted producer Huey P Meaux, who released Allan's first single on Scepter Records.
Becoming a songwriter at 19, Thomas soon played the Greenwich Village coffee house circuit, and in 1971 Sire Records released his first album of original songs 'A Picture', produced by Richard Gottehrer. Allan then toured the US, opening for acts such as Cannonball Adderley Quintet, Weather Report, Richie Havens, Taj Mahal, and elder blues men Bukka White and Arthur Cruddup.
In 1972 Thomas was invited to improvise vocals on the Cannonball Adderley Quintet song 'Behold', which appeared on the groups 'Soul Of The Bible' concept album. Allan also opened for the quintet at the Troubadour and Lighthouse clubs in southern California.
AT was a staff songwriter for ABC Music in the late seventies, and moved to Kauai in 1983. He released his second album 'The Island' on his own Black Bamboo Recordings label in 1989. The CD was produced and mixed by industry veteran Stephen Barncard of Grateful Dead and Crosby & Nash fame. The CD played on over 150 radio stations nationwide.
In 1997 Allan released his third album 'Coconut Culture', produced, recorded and mixed by music business heavy Mike Shipley (Alison Krauss, Maroon 5, Tom Petty) featuring a duet with Graham Nash on the song 'The Navigator'. On this album AT begins using several alternate guitar tunings that were gifts from David Crosby.
In 2005 Allan was assistant engineer on Donald Fagens' (Steely Dan) third solo CD 'Morph The Cat'. Thomas also played rhythm guitar and sang backing vocals for both Fagan and Todd Rundgren in a benefit concert in March of 2005.
2007 saw the release of Thomas' 4th album 'Making Up For Lost Time', again joined by Graham Nash on the song 'Ray Of Hope'. This record features Jimmy Johnson from the James Taylor band on bass, and the drummer from the group Chicago, Tris Imboden, on drums.
At present Allan Thomas has just released his newest CD 'Deep Water', featuring David Crosby and Graham Nash. The record also features members of the Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Van Morrison, James Taylor, CSN, and the Yellowjackets bands.
Allison Dietz sings in a voice both naive and experienced, like honeysuckle and heartache, or sunshine and sorrow. She's equal parts Loretta Lynn, Ford F-150, and Johnny Walker Red. No stranger to the stage, Allison has recently embarked on a journey from singer to artist, finally giving her songwriting skills priority. The result is 'Pretty Lies' and with it, she gracefully delivers songs filled with both anguish and redemption on a remarkable debut album.
Born and raised in Maryland, Allison’s musical roots began with the classic folk, rock, and rhythm’n’blues records her parents frequently played. An avid devotee of all genres of music, it was during her college years when americana, roots rock, blues and classic country began stirring her desire to write. Willie Dixon, Elmore James, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Dolly Parton, Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, and Patty Griffin all became personal songwriting heroes.
What inspired the songs on this album? “Most were at least in part inspired by things I have personally experienced, bad love, good love, lost love, and mercifully, real love. To balance the cheating, drinking, lying songs I seemed to be writing, I wrote 'Nobody Loves Me (Like You Do)' to honor joy and the real love in my life, and 'Let Me Keep you Warm' was written as a hopeful song for someone close going through some trying times. 'Parade' is a little different, as it was inspired by a large, formal funeral procession for a local fireman who passed away in the line of duty. I was driving a back country road when I saw it coming. I pulled over, got out and stood to pay my respects. It was one of the most moving and heart-rending things I have ever witnessed and, although a stranger, it affected me deeply. I can only imagine what his colleagues, friends and most especially his family were going through”.
Is there one song on the album that you feel has captured who you are as an artist? “I'm still discovering and experimenting with who I am, stylistically. However, if I had to choose one song that most captures my essence, it would be 'Can't Get Away'. It was one of the first songs I wrote for the album and it's a little sad and a little dark but a little redemptive and a little badass too. And I just love it”.
On 'Pretty Lies', Allison Dietz sings past the graveyard with a tone that makes it clear that she knows what it is to be nose-to-the-linoleum-heartbroke. But her delivery is without guile or artifice, purely innocent in all the best ways.
Allison Moorer is set to release her Ryko debut, 'Crows', on February 10, 2010. Produced by R.S. Field (Buddy Guy, John Mayall) at the House of David Studio in Nashville, TN, the 13-track album is a refined and lyrically honest collection of songs that is a marked stylistic departure from her previous work. 'Crows' is the anticipated follow up to her critically acclaimed 2008 album, 'Mockingbird', which was a celebration of songs composed by a stunning cast of female songwriters including Nina Simone, Patti Smith, Cat Power, her sister Shelby Lynne, and more. It also follows Moorer’s first Grammy Award Nomination for the song “Days Aren’t Long Enough,” a composition she co-wrote with her husband, Steve Earle, for his Grammy Award Winning 2007 album 'Washington Square Serenade'.
Speaking with Billboard Magazine regarding 'Crows', Moorer stated “I really just set myself free and just threw all the rules out the window.” Regarding the album’s title, Moorer offered “We have crows in the yard at our place up in Woodstock. I am a little obsessed with birds, and have been told that they are indeed our messengers from the other side. So I decided that instead of letting the crows make me uneasy, I would start to consider them as friendlies, and that they were actually bringing me a message of comfort.”
Ruby Marchand, head of A&R for Ryko, stated “Ryko is enormously proud to welcome Allison Moorer to our family of artists. Allison’s extraordinarily evocative songs and vocal style capture her unique signature in the singer/songwriter community. With the February 2010 release of 'Crows', Ryko celebrates the beginning of a worldwide relationship with Allison through an album of astonishing breadth and scope.”
Moorer’s 1998 song, “A Soft Place To Fall,” was included on the soundtrack to the feature film 'The Horse Whisperer', which led to an appearance in the film itself, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. The opportunity gained her worldwide attention and set the stage for her career. Since, Moorer has been featured on releases by Joan Baez, Kid Rock, Chieftains, and Los Straitjackets. She was seen in 2008 starring in 'Rebel Voices', a play based on Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove’s best-selling book Voices of a People’s History of the United States. The play combated hopelessness by igniting the forces responsible for arousing change and celebrating the indomitable human spirit. On December 13th, 2009, Moorer will be seen in 'The People Speak', a beautiful and moving film inspired by A People’s History of the United States, and Voices of A People’s History of the United States. The film, presented by The History Channel, also features Bob Dylan, Morgan Freeman, Bruce Springsteen, Danny Glover, Matt Damon, John Legend, Rosario Dawson, Josh Brolin, Benjamin Bratt and more.
Check out the brand new video of "The Broken Girl" right here.
Greenpeace Canada is set to release an exclusive two-disc, re-mastered live recording of "Amchitka - The 1970 Concert That Launched Greenpeace", featuring Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and the late Phil Ochs. The concert, a fundraiser to protest U.S. nuclear bomb tests near Amchitka, Alaska sees a first-time release on 10 November. The CD is available exclusively through Greenpeace and all proceeds will benefit the organization.
“We are pleased to offer this musical slice of history to Greenpeace supporters and music lovers around the world,” said Bruce Cox, Greenpeace Canada’s executive director. “This CD is a piece of musical magic. It contains never before heard songs, duets and chatter that capture the confidence and hope of the times. It carries a timeless message that change is possible.” The concert, which took place at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia on 16 October 1970, was organized by former trial lawyer and activist Irving Stowe. As co-director of the 'Don’t Make A Wave Committee', he raised enough money to send 11 peace activists by boat, christened The Greenpeace, to the Aleutian Island of Amchitka. The activists were unsuccessful in stopping the tests, but their voyage in 1971 marks the birth of the worldwide organization known today as Greenpeace.
“The Amchitka voyage would not have happened without the concert, and so we owe a debt of gratitude to Irving Stowe, and the talents of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Phil Ochs for generating the momentum that ultimately launched Greenpeace,” continued Cox. “The activists that traveled to Amchitka set the example that has guided and defined Greenpeace: non-violent direct action to protect our environment and motivate societal change.”
The upcoming release features concert performances by then-rising Canadian star Joni Mitchell and a 22-year old James Taylor. Protest singer, Phil Ochs kicks off the CD. Earlier that year Mitchell had been named Top Female Performer of 1970 by Melody Maker magazine and Taylor had released his major breakthrough album "Sweet Baby James".
Of the historic concert, Amchitka emcee and Canadian broadcaster, Terry David Mulligan says, “The crew of ‘The Greenpeace’ took hold of our hearts and minds and pulled all of us along. As always, music carried the day.”
Get the background to this amazing story, right here.
Amelia Curran is a seeker. Nearly a decade ago she left St John’s for Halifax, but still pines for Newfoundland every single day. With a number of East Coast Music Award nominations and an extensive discography, including: 'War Brides' (2006), 'Lullaby For Barflies' (2002), 'Trip Down Little Road' (2001) and 'Barricade' (2000), Curran knew it was finally time to make a record at home.
Over the past two years she recorded with Don Ellis in various caverns in St John’s, the city of legends, from the abandoned CBC building on Duckworth Street to an old farm house on the fringes of town. For Curran St John’s captures the essence of her inner huntress.
A songwriter by trade, but a writer at heart, Curran believes language is everything. She describes the craft of song-writing as an act of “expressing the inexpressible, a means of describing the indescribable”.
“Bye Bye Montreal” could pay homage to Leonard Cohen and the thriving arts scene of yesteryear, but that’s the beauty of Curran. She never explicitly says what her songs about. She just opens the door and allows room for various interpretations and relationships. “All Hands On A Grain Of Sand” speaks to Curran’s ability to elevate the lyrical into the poetical. Her desire to reconcile the past and move into the future is a constant struggle.
“Ah Me” manifests biblical myths into self-reflexive epiphanies, while “The Mistress” is part confession, part obsession. A narrative-driven internal contention of what it means to be the other woman. “Mad World, Outlive Me” mines for the truth and untouchable gems held deep within the soul. With splashes of folk and cabaret aesthetics, “The Company Store” wades through a lost way of life. “Julia” turns the page on a bleeding heart, while “Tiny Glass Houses” shatters expectations and rebuilds the broken places within us all. “The Dozens” is a toe-tapping rendition of harnessing one’s inner lover.
Retribution arrives in both “Love’s Lost Regard” and “Wrecking Ball”, but it’s the album’s closer, “Last Call” that leaves listeners thirsty for another round.
"Sheffield Streets" marks the triumphant return of one of America’s singular songwriting voices.
Over a decade of performing and recording, Amy Allison’s unforgettable voice has drawn endless comparisons to a host of singers from Loretta Lynn to Billie Holiday.
Still, it is her tuneful, eloquent songcraft that continues to draw the strongest accolades from critics, fellow artists and devoted fans. Her body of song transcends genres and eras, melding traditions of old and new country, brill building pop, folk blues, show tunes and jazz standards. Her songs of love, longing, heartache and melancholy are at once sophisticated, heartfelt and instantly memorable.
Amy is the daughter of Mose Allison, renowned jazz musician and songwriter, and grew up on Long Island, a suburb of New York City.
The 11 original tunes on "Sheffield Streets" are the culmination of a lifetime of songwriting, and are arguably her best yet. With heart-tugging balladry, humor, and a down-but-not-out fortitude in the face of adversity, her style is at once nostalgic and contemporary, poetic and plain.
Producer Don Heffington (Bob Dylan, Lone Justice, etc) wisely puts Amy’s voice front and center, keeping the arrangements earthy, memorable and tailored to each song.
From the girl-group harmonies and pop verities of lead-off single “Why Must it Be?” to the strangely smouldering yet wistful ballad “Anywhere You Are”, Heffington’s vivid production colours Allison’s material perfectly.
The one non-original is a wry duet with long-time fan Elvis Costello on a cover of her father Mose Allison’s 1969 classic “Monsters of The Id” featuring a gorgeous solo by Mose.
"She's got her own inner groove; nothing tentative about it. A force to be reckoned with.” - Don Was
Amy Raasch’s win in the 3rd Annual GINA/LAWIM Singer/Songwriter Contest for the Missing couldn’t come at a better time. She is just finishing up her debut album, which will feature her winning song, “Missing:” the story of a missing child told from the perspective of the child’s best friend. Likened to songwriting powerhouses Joni Mitchell, Ryan Adams, and Jane Siberry, her debut is an organic, intimate exploration of love versus independence.
"Her music is extremely inventive & narrative; it turns me on.”
- Michael Mollura, Music Connection
Every song is personal: it’s as if she crawls into the skin of the characters that speak through her songs. In fact, her first song was written in the voice of the character she played in feature film “the four corners of nowhere,” a Sundance pick soon to be released on DVD.
“Sophisticated, solid and comfortable like the seats of a Rolls Royce...Miss Raasch opens delicately for us the doors to her kingdom. One would have to be deaf -- and blind – to stay outside.” - Hector Zazou
Smoldering with breathy intensity one moment and exploding into full-voiced ecstasy the next, her dynamic live sound has lit up stages from Genghis Cohen, the Knitting Factory, Room 5, and Dragonfly to legendary NYC venues the Bitter End and CBGB’s. Following her acclaimed six-month residency at Tempest, she was named one of Music Connection’s "HOT 100 Unsigned Artists" for 2006.
"In a world full of derivative artists, she has a sound all her own."
- Paul Ill (Christina Aguilera, Linda Perry), Paul’s Pix, L.A.
Her distinctive guitar sound is based on open tunings of her own invention, and is complimented by an accomplished group of musicians. Drummer Dony Wynn (Robert Palmer) laid the foundation at Music Lane Studios (Sheryl Crow) in Austin, Texas. The production team included Austin-based producer Emile Millar (Kelly Dalton, Postfontaine, The Lapdancers), engineer Thom Flowers (Bad Astronaut, Sugarcult, Tim Cullen), and multi-instrumentalist Gar Robertson (Valentine’s Revenge, Sredni Vashtar). Patrick Warren (Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann) contributes lush, vintage keyboard sounds, with Milo DeCruz (Ryan Adams, Duncan Sheik) on bass and Stevie Blacke on strings.
Recently, she recorded a song for internationally acclaimed French producer Hector Zazou. Hear her multi-layered harmonies on “J’irai Pleurer Sous La Pluie” (“Cryin’ in the Rain”) on Zazou’s next record, “Looking in the Rear View Mirror.”
She is very proud to support GINA 411, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring together media agencies and artists to create an avenue of hope and awareness that can guide people whose family members become missing.
"I kind of spilled blood all over this project," Amy Speace says of her new album 'The Killer In Me', which marks a quantum creative leap from the artist's 2006 breakthrough effort 'Songs For Bright Street'. While that release won her widespread critical acclaim and a loyal international fan base, 'The Killer In Me' finds the New York-based singer/songwriter forging into deeper, darker lyrical and musical terrain, borne largely out of her self-imposed isolation during the final separation of her long marriage.
"This is the record that I needed to make," Speace states. "In many ways, it was the hardest thing I've ever done. And in some ways, it was the easiest. Writing the songs was emotionally difficult, deep and intense - it was kind of an exorcism. But in the end, the songs flowed pretty quickly. You write the things that you’re afraid to say out loud.”
'The Killer In Me's' 12 soul-baring new songs maintain the effortless melodic appeal of her prior work, while delivering complex emotional insights that give the album startling intimacy and resonance. "The Killer In Me" chronicles a strangled co-dependent relationship, while "Haven't Learned A Thing" offers absolution for the continuing struggle in the attempt to connect with another and never getting it completely right. “This Love” speaks to the hope and uncertainty that comes with the onset of a new relationship. The album covers more terrain than romantic relationships, closing with “Piece By Piece,” written as a prayer to her father, wishing him peace and love after the death of his brother.
Most of the album was written in the rural isolation of a rented cabin in the Catskills after her final separation from her husband. "It was just me, some books, my journals, my guitar and the songs, with no phone and no TV," she explains. "I spent a lot of time reading and hiking and chopping wood for the stove, and wrote the songs that form the emotional center of this album.”
"The situation," she continues, "forced me to sit with a lot of silence, fear and confusion and make a kind of peace with them by writing songs to keep from going crazy. That's when the album started making sense to me and became a whole different thing. Something shifted when I realized what was going on in the world outside mirrored what was going on inside of me, and I wanted to write songs that bridged that divide.”
Speace recorded 'The Killer In Me' with her longtime producer and lead guitarist James Mastro, of Bongos/Health and Happiness Show fame, and her longstanding live band the Tearjerks, comprised of guitarist Rich Feridun, bassist Matt Lindsey and drummer Jagoda. The sessions took place at alt-pop legend Mitch Easter's Fidelitorium studio in North Carolina, with Easter lending his talents as engineer. Also on board is English rock icon Ian Hunter, who adds his distinctive vocals to a pair of songs.
Born in Baltimore and raised in small-town Pennsylvania, Speace initially had her sights set on a career as a playwright/actor, graduating from Amherst College and toured with the prestigious National Shakespeare Company. After moving to New York, she had roles in various off-Broadway productions and independent films, ran her own theater company, and taught Shakespeare in the New York City school system. After teaching herself to play guitar, she began setting her poetry to music, and quickly found songwriting to be the most creatively fulfilling thing she'd ever done. She soon began performing as half of the female duo Edith O. Speace made her solo debut with the 2002 release 'Fable', recorded with $5000 donated by fans and released on her own Twangirl label. Giving up her hard-won acting career to become a full-time musician, she hopped into her car and hit the road, booking herself into every club, café and college that would have her. After catching a performance at the SXSW music-industry festival, Judy Collins' manager brought Speace to the attention of Collins, who signed her to her Wildflower label. Her debut for the label, 'Songs For Bright Street', received warm praise from critics, including those in Europe, which has enabled her to build a strong touring base there.
Reflecting on making 'The Killer In Me', Speace concludes, "I got into music with my eyes wide open, having already been doing something else. I knew that the kind of music I wanted to make might be outside the realm of what's on the radio, but I didn't care. I just wanted to make something that's real. I’m as proud of this album as I am anything I’ve ever done."
"The Killer In Me" available here.
From her current home base in a 200-year-old farmhouse in rural Vermont, Anaïs (“uh-NAY-iss”) Mitchell writes songs that are as intimate as conversations and as rich in detail as short stories. The daughter of “hippie back-to-the-landers” whose father was a novelist and English professor, she remembers her family’s home (another farmhouse in the same state) containing “a library full of novels, and lots of old folk and psychedelic rock albums. The books and the records all lived in the same room, which I am sure led to me thinking of songwriting as a kind of literature, a noble poetic enterprise”.
No surprise, then, that the reference points of her music may seem to come from all over the map while still interconnected: the country ballads of the Carter Family, the hard-edged cabaret of Brecht and Weill, the story-songs of Randy Newman, the vast narrative scope of Pink Floyd’s 'The Wall', and the intricately crafted tales of her namesake, bohemian feminist Anaïs Nin, to name a few. All of these influences come together in 'Hadestown', an epic “folk opera” retelling of the Orpheus myth. The saga of the poet who ventures into the underworld to rescue his dead wife — a tale now set in a post-apocalyptic world of poverty — began as a live performance created in collaboration with fellow Vermont artists director Ben Matchstick and arranger/orchestrator Michael Chorney. In their neck of the woods — TV-less by choice, far from big cities, in a land of radical politics and culture — making your own entertainment, and getting your friends and neighbors to help you flesh it out, is the only way to go. After fine-tuning the show, the trio gathered a cast of two dozen, commandeered a silver-spraypainted schoolbus, and hit the road (through several blizzards) for a couple of ragtag D.I.Y. tours of New England. The next logical step? 'Hadestown', the album, performed by a dream-team lineup including Ani DiFranco, Justin Vernon/Bon Iver, Greg Brown, and Mitchell herself, among others.
Mitchell may have grown up in the middle of nowhere, but she’s seen more of the world than you might expect. “I always traveled a lot as a kid”, she recalls today. “My mom had a little axiom about things it was OK to spend money on: ‘food, books, travel, and friends.’ (We later amended that to include records.) My parents wouldn’t buy me a cool jacket or a videogame or whatever, but they would ship me off to Europe or Japan. Later I ended up studying in Costa Rica, Austria, and Egypt. I always loved languages and the feeling of being out of context — which is maybe why I love traveling as a songwriter now… It feels natural”.
It also felt natural, after she had plenty of original songs under her belt, to start getting them out to the world, so in 2002 she took an early stab at recording a self-released album (now out of print), and two years later she made the disc she considers her true debut: 'Hymns For The Exiled', released on the Chicago-based indie Waterbug Records. That project brought producer/musician Chorney into the mix as a frequent collaborator.
A copy of 'Hymns' gradually made it to DiFranco, who offered to release her next album, 'The Brightness', in 2007, followed by a unique vinyl/CD collaboration with fellow singer/songwriter Rachel Ries, 'Country E.P.', in 2008, and now the 'Hadestown' recording. 'The Brightness' inspired a reviewer from the Boston Globe to praise Mitchell’s “vivid snapshots of sweetly ordinary moments,” while Acoustic Guitar called her “a songwriter of startling clarity and depth, equally skilled at turning a melody or lyrical phrase into what you didn’t know you needed until you heard it”, adding that she “weaves her stories into an effortlessly beautiful and cohesive tapestry with the skill of an artisan’s carpenter, showing no seams”.
Anaïs Mitchell is the rare musician who is equally comfortable wielding an acoustic guitar alone onstage, sharing a disc’s worth of alt-country duets, or scripting a vast operatic journey into the underworld. She’s a fearless explorer, and her world just keeps getting larger.
Andrew Strong was a huge hit playing the role of Deco in Alan Parker’s cult movie 'The Commitments', more than 16 million copies of the soundtrack album sold across the planet. Nominated for a Grammy in 1991, Andrew left the group shortly after the film release, appearing on stage with the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Deep Purple and Bryan Adams, among many others. A regular on the concert circuit (essentially in the US), he recorded for various majors between 1993 and 2006 (his 1993, 2001 and 2002 releases all went platinum).
Andrew is coming back even stronger today with this detonating live set, covering songs from The Commitments era, as well as several forgotten soul and blues-rock classics. Strong, and still at the top!
Angus Crowne has been performing since his early teens, and is an accomplished author, screenwriter, playwright, theatrical producer, and concert producer, who has worked with Queen , Boy George, Fatboy Slim, Spacehog, Paul Oakenfold, Chris Thompson and many more.
When asked in a recent interview how Angus Crowne & The Family Jewels materialized, he stated "As we start to get older, especially in our late 40's, society seems to want you to slow down and let the youth have their turn. I say bullshit, I still have a lot to say". About ukebilly punk, "It's a new genre, mine, my music is ultimately about honesty and truth, and if I get to piss a few people off along the way, then my work here is done"
About the self titled debut album, "It's about where I am in my life right now, it's about getting older, wiser, but at times feeling frustrated and bitter, the message in all the songs on the album aren't too difficult to figure out, some are tongue in cheek, some are hard, but all of the songs are me, and that has made working on them very special".
DIY pioneer and feminist icon Ani DiFranco continues to advocate for women as the November election looms. While on her current ’Vote Dammit’ tour, DiFranco has been performing her new song "Play God", which reflects her beliefs in reproductive freedom. “Play God”, from her forthcoming full-length release, is the first new Ani DiFranco music to be released since her ”Allergic To Water” album in 2014, and will be available at all digital retailers October 7th, 2016.
About the track, DiFranco claims, “’Play God’ is a song that recognizes reproductive freedom as a civil rights issue. As a society, it is time to acknowledge that unless a woman is in control of her own reproduction, she is not free, and it is the responsibility of our American government to protect and ensure the freedom of all American citizens. It is time we get serious about addressing and achieving this great unfinished business of civil rights in America. The true emancipation and equality of women is dependent on it”.
In light of the current political climate in the United States, Ani DiFranco is using her 2016 ’Vote Dammit’ tour, and her music, to encourage fans to vote on Election Day and have their voices be heard.
In a career that has spanned over 25 years, Ani DiFranco has released more than 20 studio albums, as well as live albums, EPs, and collaborations. Many of her songs have been woven with her views on the issues she’s passionate about. “Trickle Down” discusses the racism and gentrification, while “To The Teeth” speaks about the need for gun control, and “In or Out” questions society’s traditional sexuality labels.
Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel
Anna Fermin’s Trigger Gospel is an all original americana, roots and country band based in Chicago, Illinois. Together nearly 20 years, they boast 5 previous critically acclaimed and well received releases. They have toured throughout the US and Europe, sharing the stage with an impressive roster of musicians including Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Joe Ely, Robbie Fulks, David Crosby, Delbert McClinton, Neko Case and many more.
Named after and old western novel, Trigger Gospel’s 20 year history has seen a rotation of bandmates, mostly in the lead guitar position. But in recent years the americana group has returned to its original line up, formed in 1997, with Anna Fermin at the helm, Paul Bivans on drums, Michael Krayniak on bass, and Andon Davis on lead guitar. Alton Smith joined the group on keyboard and accordion a few years back, and has also worked with Fermin over the years on various projects away from Trigger Gospel.
Anna Fermin’s Trigger Gospel has come together, once again, with all the original members to record and release ”You Belong Here”, their first full length album in 8 years. In a recent write up in the Chicago Tribune, critic Greg Kot proclaims that Anna Fermin is ’a singer with a striking voice and a songwriter with a feel for the indelible image’.
”You Belong Here” features 9 songs penned by Trigger Gospel’s front-woman, Anna Fermin, and one song written by Texas songwriter Butch Hancock. The album was produced by Trigger Gospel, with assistance from multi instrumentalist John Rice, who has played on many recordings by notable folk and country artists, including John Prine and Jim Lauderdale. The record was engineered by Joe Dilillo at Solid Sound Studios in Hoffman Estates, IL, mixed by Mike Tholen, and mastered by Dave McNair. Prominent Chicago artist and writer Tony Fitzpatrick, who is a long time fan of the band, created and donated the cover art for the album.
Says Fermin, "It felt great to be back in the studio with Trigger Gospel after 8 years. We were all ready to make music together again. You can't really say we were picking up where we left off, because in our time apart we all continued to work on different projects and grow in ways we wouldn't have grown if we had only been working with each other. There's a real connection between us that's evident as soon we're all in the same room, and I think it really translates in the music we make together”.
”The seed that grew into this project was planted about five years ago when I heard a recording that took my breath away and asked, “Who is that fiddler?”. That fiddler was Gabe Witcher, A-list sideman (Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson) and a member of The Punch Brothers. I was haunted by his playing and his instinct for interpretation, and I began winnowing songs for this collection, songs to wrap his soaring, blistering, tender, compelling and exquisite sound around. David West (Cache Valley Drifters, Kate Wolf) added brilliant mandolin and dobro, and Peter Gallway co-produced the album and played a driving upright bass to complete the string band. I’m very happy to put this, my tenth solo recording, in your hands. Thank you for listening.” ~ Annie Gallup
Talent spotted by BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris, Annie Keating appeared live on the Bob Harris show in 2008 and again in 2011, and has gone on to perform at leading national and international festivals including Take Root (Netherlands), Glasgow Americana Festival (Scotland) and the NJ Folk Festival (Canada). She has played on the bill with John Hiatt, Dan Bern, Bon Iver and other great artists.
Her last album,”Make Believing”, released in 2015, was championed by The Telegraph (UK) as their first pick for Best Country Music Album of 2015. They raved, “Brooklyn-based singer songwriter Annie Keating is building the reputation her talent deserves”. Now, she and her bandmates (Steve Mayone, Jason Mercer, Chris Tarrow, Yuval Lion and Trina Hamlin) have just recorded the 7th album, “Trick Star”.
Keating’s voice is not flashy, bright, nor conventionally pretty. It has more of a mysterious, rough hewn beauty that comes out of the shadows. She offers an unfashioned, natural delivery of songs born from authentic reverie, her work springs from a desire to craft music directly from the emotions that lie beneath the songs. Keating doesn’t fear deep waters, she can’t help but swim in them.
Speaking about the new album, she says, “every time I complete an album, I’m convinced that I can’t write another song. It takes an undeniable spark, something to compel the first note”.
This album began in London at the Barbican Theatre with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. They were performing Black Mountain Songs , an outstanding show featuring young choristers through the works of brilliant composers. Hearing this performance and being moved to tears by her 13 year old, both singing and dancing upon the Barbican stage that night, the melody of the last album track “Phoenix” came bubbling up with the words, “find a way now to begin, the day is wide and open, it calls for something more”. She had found a way to begin.
Making this album challenged and changed for Annie Keating, it was about being raised up, torn down, and finding the way back home. The songs involve a kind of reckoning and duality. Believing in love while doubting its truths. Exploring the contradiction in the desire to be open, creativity demands it, while getting older, which can feel sometimes like doors closing. Being truly open to feel, change, inspire and be inspired is easy when you’re 18 or 25, not as simple as the years go by. But it’s still at the core of who we are at any age, the desire to feel alive. As we get older, can we still fall in love with a song, be brought to our knees by a passage in a novel or a line in a poem, or weep upon hearing that one right note? She wanted to capture the mix of all that in this album.
So off went the spark, Keating penned 18 songs in 8 months. 13 tracks ended up on this album. On songs like ”Bring The Sun” and ”Lucky”, Keating seeks to embrace life but escape the mundane, appreciating what she’s got, then mourning what’s been lost on beautifully contemplative ballads like ”Fool For You”, ”Orchard”, ”In The Valley” and ”Slow Waltz”. Through these songs, she compels the listener with musical depth, texture and a voice filled with shimmering urgency and lyrical power.
There is another, more raucous side to Annie Keating that balances this album out nicely. The title track, “Trick Star”, about her first bicycle, gets the toe tapping to the Stones-like guitar lick, drum groove, slide guitar and grinding organ. Keating learned to ride a Trick Star bike at the same time she got her first guitar. Both were escape agents from the constricting and conservative Boston suburbs in the 80’s, when being different was too dangerous to consider. Music became her language of truth, pain, joy, survival and eventually freedom.
The surprising rock anthem - “Time Come Help Me Forget”, delivers a truly infectious pop rock tune with a big chorus. These boldly crafted songs take Keating and her band to another level, the album offers a strong and diverse set. It’s not all soft and contemplative on ”Trick Star”. Just enough bitter and sweet to offer the listener a great ride.
Anthony Crawford, born May 5, 1957, in Birmingham, Alabama, was a "star" in the hospital nursery where he was tagged "Pistol Pete" by the nurses, and has been known by his parents as Pete ever since. His musical talent began to bud at age five when asking for a twelve string guitar. His little hands were too small to fit around the neck and the guitar was later replaced. He had a natural yearning to pursue music and will tell you that he was/is influenced by everything really.
"I always wanted to feel the coordination between both hands, always fascinated by artists who could finger pick. I never thought of music as an avenue to be famous...it was the act of doing it that intrigued me. It was never a self serving highway of success in my mind. And still to this day it is about the love of music instead of what it can do for me."
By the time Anthony was older, he and his brother cut grass and worked odd jobs in order to buy a Martin guitar. This really inspired him, and the Martin became his constant companion. Anthony began performing while in Mt. Brook High School, singing in such school productions as 'South Pacific'’ and 'Fiddler On The Roof'. He also performed in a couple of nightclubs around town which brought plenty of recognition and a steady following. After winning a contest in downtown Birmingham, he found himself on the stage of The Grand Ole Opry with Roy Acuff.
Nashville became home to Anthony, performing live at Opryland, touring with the Sonny James Band, and doing television shows with Ralph Emery and Hee Haw. He caught the eye of many in Nashville including Rounder Records and Little Dog Records. After traveling throughout the Southeast, playing various string instruments, his associations expanded to include tours with Neil Young & The Shocking Pinks, Neil Young & The International Harvesters, Neil Young & His Electric Band, Steve Winwood ('Roll With It'-tour), Dwight Yoakam, Pegi Young Band, Nicolette Larson and Blackhawk. He currently is on the road touring with Neil Young on what's been coined 'The Neverending Tour', otherwise known as 'The Continental Tour'. Playing improvisational blues riffs on Neil's 'Tonight's the Night and 'Speakin' Out', Neil has taken full advantage of what Anthony is capable of bringing to the table and he has not disappointed.
Known in the industry not only as a musical prodigy for the ability to play any instrument, Anthony has proved himself to be a gifted photographer as well, taking the album cover photo for Neil Young's 'Chrome Dreams II'. His inspiration came from seeing Neil's old rusted out cars at his home in Redwood City, CA while rehearsing for the Chrome Dreams Continental Tour. The collection can now be viewed at various museums throughout California.
With a seemingly unending array of gifts, videographer has now been added to Crawford’s list of professions, soon releasing a new documentary on CD/DVD titled, ‘On The Road With A Rock Star’ that captures day to day life with Neil Young and the gang as well as internal thoughts and views while on the road.
A prolific songwriter, Crawford has unbelievably written over four-hundred songs and had them recorded by artists such as Steve Winwood, Pegi Young, Kenny Rogers, Lee Greenwood, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Billy Burnette and Lorrie Morgan. It’s no wonder his talent has lead him to the forefront of musical greats. Having created several solo albums including his self-titled debut album and 'Radio Cafe', his latest, 'Five Is Red', is his proudest accomplishment to date. It is a true collaboration recorded with the band Everest (who records on Neil Young's Vapor Records), as well as Bo Koster from My Morning Jacket.
Anton Walgrave is a man who creates music. He sings and he plays, because this world needs singing and playing. Anton tells a story. A story that resulted in 8 albums so far, in a career that's over 16 years. No 2 albums the same, never the same process of making them. This brought Anton from the large record companies, to smaller labels, and to self released albums. ”Where Oceans Meet” is the newest result of this, and once again the proof of a restless willfulness.
Just as Walgrave is following his own path, he tries to get closer and closer to his audience. Literally so, the album was record live, in front of an audience. 2 recording sessions in 2 nights, in the breathtaking scenery of an 18th century chapel just outside of Brussels. Anton played the album in its entirety, with the help of a string quartet, guitars, vocals and electronics. With top class engineer Staf Verbeeck and in front of the cameras. More than ever connected to the people listening, because of the intimate music and the overwhelming setting.
The people present contributed to these nights in a more active way as well. They could choose to co-finance the recordings, for whatever amount they considered right. Others can just buy the album on the website, also for what they choose to pay. Same counts for the shows Anton plays. Touring together with his companion de route Jelle Van Den Bergh with just their folding bikes and trains, from living room to living room, every time being able to actually meet his audience. Not in the spotlights, but really between the people. DIY and peer-to-peer are the somewhat cold terms for this, but the reality is all the more warm. 'Sharing possibilities' is how Anton calls it, people share their living rooms, he shares his music, the audience shares the possibility for him to keep making that music. Because the concerts also work on the pay-what-you-want principle. Moreover, the whole financial background is available on the website, because Anton sees no reason not to be open about that. Small scale thinking, proximity, sustainability, affordability, trust, that's what it's all about to Walgrave. That is his path.
Just like the way of working, the album is about connection. About the love that ties every one of us together, even if many seem to have forgotten that. It's a connection that Anton tries to establish with his music and his concerts. Anton Walgrave has been on the road for more than 16 years. That's what he loves doing. And arriving, that's not what it's about.
Árstíðir is a vocal-based indie band from Reykjavík with a sound unique to the Icelandic music scene. All six members are distinguished players known from various bands in the Reykjavík soundscape. Over the three years since Árstíðir’s formation the band has released two records praised by trendsetting music critics, had two number-one hits on Icelandic radio, made several TV appearances in Iceland, Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic, and played sold out venues all over Europe.
Aside from their trademark vocal harmonies, it is Árstíðir’s instrumentation that set them apart, effusing a warm tide of resonant acoustic and baritone guitars, virtuosic piano, and melismatic strings. The result is an unusually wide sound spectrum, further emphasized by the impressive vocal range of all six members. Consequently, Árstíðir’s music is a rare composition of the clear-cut and the complex. Their songs are easy to fall in love with yet mixed with diverse influences such as progressive rock, indie, classical music, and Icelandic folk music.
Árstíðir was formed in Reykjavík in the summer of 2008 by Daníel Auðunsson, Gunnar Már Jakobsson and Ragnar Ólafsson. After four weeks Árstíðir got their first break supporting the Icelandic pop giant 200,000 Naglbítar on the main stage of Reykjavík Culture Night. During the fall of 2008, Árstíðir continued to support 200,000 Naglbítar at a series of concerts and was joined by its fourth member, renowned cellist and sought-after session player Hallgrímur Jónas Jensson. Árstíðir also recorded their first single 'Sunday Morning' and the song became a number-one hit on Icelandic National Radio. In December Árstíðir’s concert at the historic Fríkirkjan church in Reykjavík was recorded and released as an EP, 'Live At Fríkirkjan', on Árstíðir’s own label Nivalis. It was mixed by multi-instrumentalist and producer Ólafur Arnalds, a friend of Árstíðir who has continued to collaborate with the band on their most recent album.
In 2009 Árstíðir snowballed into a six-piece when two more distinguished musicians joined: piano prodigy Jón Elísson and virtuoso violinist Karl Aldinsteinn Pestka. Following the release of their eponymous debut album in June, Árstíðir embarked upon a lengthy tour of Iceland and played several festivals, while the single 'Með Hallandi Höfði' became another number-one radio hit. The fall brought more high-profile concerts, such as playing the main stage of Iceland Airwaves, which generated considerable international media attention.
During 2010 Árstíðir's debut album was officially released in Sweden by Adore Music/Border and acquired international distribution through Norwegian-based Phonofile/Artspages. In the summer and fall, Árstíðir toured Scandinavia and Russia and were met by sold-out venues, local fan clubs, and high praise by both audience and media.
Árstíðir has broadened their musical direction in 2011, commencing work on their second album 'Svefns Og Vöku Skil'. The album was recorded in June at the legendary Icelandic studio Hljóðriti with Ólafur Arnalds as producer. Since July, Árstíðir have toured in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria and Russia, representing Iceland’s largest foray into the Russian Federation to date.
Astrid Young (Neil Young) and Victor DeLorenzo (Violent Femmes) have produced an epiphonic installment to what may be best described as 'Psychedelic Acid Folk', from song to song, this insidiously catchy album straddles many genres, but taken from start to finish it's a destination, "One Night At Giant Rock" is a night of nights.
Astrid Young's discography as a backup singer and side person includes a roster of heavyweights across more than 30 albums, most illustriously the handful of Neil Young albums she lends her voice to ('Harvest Moon', 'Unplugged', 'Are You Passionate'). Her own work has spanned techno, metal, blues and string-quartet-accompanied-piano material. This record touches on all those things, and tells stories of karmic encounters, with a southwestern desert backdrop that lends both a mystical and extraterrestrial aura to the music.
This is the first album Astrid has released since 2003's "Matinee", and was a long time in the making due to Astrid's severe hearing loss which resulted in an inability to hear subtleties in her mixes anymore... enter Victor DeLorenzo (an original Violent Femme), who signed on to help produce and finish the record, but along the way became an enthusiastic member of the band. The result has been thrilling ears far and wide, while live shows have been pulling in new fans at every outing. Astrid's signature is an embattled 12-string acoustic guitar, which she plays rather un-delicately - a perfect foil to her voice, which can be at once sweet, sultry, snarly and searing (her live solo shows have been compared to 'Alice In Chains Unplugged'), and then sometimes she finds a 5-string fretless bass in her hands, all the better to deliver a good thump.
"Astrid Young's new record is quite the playground of new and fantastic musical invention that calms the soul, itches the mind and fires the imagination! This collection will help to answer the question of where music is headed in 2015 and beyond!"
So says DeLorenzo, who played on much of the album, as did Ray Farrugia (Junkhouse/Lee Harvey Osmond), Eric McFadden (P.Funk/Eric Burdon), Joe Gore (Tracy Chapman/PJ Harvey), Jane Wiedlin (the GoGo's), Dawn Richardson (4 Non-Blondes) and others.
Think early David Bowie, think a little Black Sabbath, maybe some Kate Bush, even Karen Carpenter (on an LSD trip). It's all in there, with a roller-coaster kind of flow that leaves you wanting what's next, as there is a musical surprize around every turn...
Americana music ensemble Auburn, featuring Liz Lenten, will be releasing their 5th album, “Love & Promises”, on June 17th, 2016. The new album was mainly written in the mountains of eastern Crete last year, in a flurry of outpouring. As always with Liz Lenten's prolific songwriting, themes cover the usual range of reflections of emotions and situations, from love, loss, uncertainty and yearning to lucid dreaming, frustrating teenagers, imaginary lovers, and the sorry sad state of the world. Remarkably it's pretty upbeat mostly, actually, honest!
Says Liz, “its been another crazy year for me, with huge personal life changes, which left me realizing that you really need to focus on the here and now and live for the moment, not in a 'I could die tomorrow' kind of way, just that there is no point on dwelling on the past, and planning too far ahead in the future, you need to just focus on and enjoy the present, and realize that nothing is for ever. That's the 'Love & Promises' message anyway. I'm not saying it's the same for everyone of course, but that's how it is for me, hopefully there are other people out there that this will resonate with.”
As with Auburn's previous releases, the band's new album was recorded once again in Nashville. Says Liz, “Nashville is one of the most wonderful cities on earth to me, buzzing with music and creativity. My fantastic producer, Thomm Jutz, who totally brings my ideas to life is there, so I would go wherever he was. And the musicians are amazing, all so incredibly talented and sensitive, and just lovely people to be around. I have done 3 albums there and will be going back next year, hopefully, to record a duo album with Chet O'Keefe. I just feel at home there”.
With last year's release of Auburn's critically acclaimed album, “Mixed Feelings”, 2015 proved to be a hugely exciting year for the band, who reformed in 2011 after almost a decade apart. The band embarked on a major UK tour again supporting the legendary Jefferson Starship and then later in the year with Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick, captivating audiences around the country with their unique blend of americana, blues and roots music.