Fully embodying the title concept of "Exile", the highly anticipated 2nd full length album from A.S. — Nick McRoberts’ eclectic pop-rock duo with Algerian born guitarist Idriss Halfaoui — the classically trained pianist and singer-songwriter moved to Paris from his native Australia over ten years ago to study conducting.
While working as a conductor of orchestras, operas and ballets, his classical cohorts tried to convince him that mere pop songwriting was beneath him. But as his career grew to include film and documentary scoring, pop’s pull on him kept growing and he wanted to challenge himself. “Not only is it fun and hard”, McRoberts says, “but I realized that if I write pop and perform it live, people will be voting with their feet”! Along with his deep training as a composer and arranger, he brings a wealth of ambition and sonic imagination to the expansive sound of A.S., which is influenced by classical music, film music and rock.
"Exile" is truly an international affair. Set for international release by Australian based indie label Inedible Records, the ten track set was recorded over the course of four months starting in the summer of 2011 at Redbox Studios and later mixed by multiple Grammy Award winning engineer Darrell Thorp (Radiohead, Switchfoot, Beck, Goo Goo Dolls) at Studio 101 in Los Angeles. While in many ways "Exile" is a fitting sequel to the band’s 2009 debut opus "Intimate Circles", the new recording was a more liberating experience for McRoberts and Halfaoui, featuring powerful rhythms, more reflective and melancholy lyrics by McRoberts and greater daring in the complex arrangements.
In following with the band’s trademark conceit, the acoustic tune “Exile” was the final song on "Intimate Circles" – which means their next album will be named “Reasonable Doubts,” after the acoustic piece that closes "Exile". That song plaintively expresses McRoberts’ frustration with talented artists whose doubts in their abilities and prospects leads them to abandon their sole purpose. Other key tracks on "Exile" include the sweeping falsetto laden manifesto “Do What You Want” (which A.S. has created a video for) and the dark chorded, symphonic “Probable Cause”, a haunting self questioning piece about whether or not someone is going mad. As always, McRoberts draws on chief influences Crowded House to craft his brilliantly ambiguous lyrics.
"Intimate Circles" was an across the board critical success for A.S., which has toured extensively in France and the U.K. and is setting its sights on an Australian and U.K. tour to celebrate "Exile" – and of course, is eager now to spread its sonic glory Stateside. The first album was praised as “without a doubt the debut album that many groups would have liked to record” (Zicazic) and Raje Magazine echoed, “…while Radiohead meditate and Coldplay rewrite their testament, A.S. moves beyond. They transcend genres, reconcile them...”
“Ironically”, McRoberts says, “it wasn’t until we listened to the finished album of "Intimate Circles" and heard what people felt about it that we realized we had some things backwards. The songs we thought were kind of weird and marginal – just us fooling around – seemed to work much better than the ones where we were trying to be ‘poppy’ and mainstream. A good example was ‘Maybe’, on which Idriss thought it would be cool to add flamenco guitar – which seemed odd at the time, but made it one of the album’s best cuts. So when it came to writing and recording "Exile", we had so much more freedom and at the same time more focus. I mean we did things like playing bottleneck on a banjo with the back of a toothbrush because we liked the sound - and long intros and strange arrangements. We weren't obsessed with radio edits and were able to do what we wanted. Working with Darrell was also a huge lift. It’s such a huge buzz to work with someone who really understands what you're going for - your musical universe”.
Halfaoui, who originally began collaborating with McRoberts when the latter realized his compositions for "Intimate Circles" featured difficult guitar parts he could not achieve on his own, adds, “For 'Exile', we decided to focus on what we actually do know: writing songs. This gave us a lot of freedom and thus were able to explore other ways to play music. To be honest, I thought we were going too far. I could not imagine the final result until I heard what Darrell did”.
Achilles Wheel is a high energy roots, world music and rock ‘n’ roll band from Northern California, featuring award winning songwriting played on numerous stringed instruments and more drums than you can shake a stick at.
In the wake of their breakout performance at the 2012 Kate Wolf Music Festival, the band has been burning up stages all across California and is poised to travel much further in the coming year. Their last minute inclusion in this year’s Spring Strawberry Music Festival was one of the highlights for that audience, as was their return to Kate Wolf where they played the main stage and also a wild and reckless late night set that is still being talked about.
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.
Their debut CD, ’XIII Hours’ was recorded at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City in, well, 13 hours, since the band believes so strongly in the chemistry of it’s live performances.
The band’s follow up to “XIII Hours” will be out this winter since the groups songwriters, Paul, Jonny and Shelby have been busy and inspired by this new project, and the bands live shows feature a lot of fresh new material. And 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.
Most recently Achilles Wheel was a finalist with their song ‘Got A Tattoo’ in the ‘Race To T.R.I.’ song contest, which many on the west coast of the U.S. 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. We’ll be waiting...
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 striking songwriter and musician with a unique and powerful vision that continues to jell and focus on his 6th and latest release, "Sad Go Lucky". His previous albums have received extensive airplay on AAA and Americana stations throughout Europe and the US along with a bevy of critical praise. The Chicago-based performer has played coast-to-coast from New York to Boston and from Vancouver down to Los Angeles. He's toured in Europe and, recently completed his second successful tour in Japan.
"With a mixture of irreverence and soul, this veteran singer-songwriter just gets better, funnier and more plaintively incisive with each release... mixes blues, country and rock influences with off-hand ease, while crafting indelible imagery" ~ Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune
Al's musical soul rose early. Studying flute from 4th grade until losing interest in high school, he picked up an old guitar collecting dust in the basement and became obsessed, not as a guitarist, but as a songwriter and singer. Soon came the college coffeehouse gigs and rock bands including a critical and personally satisfying stint as co-leader of Chicago based Buffalo Trout. With fevered pitch and hearty focus, Rose formed The Transcendos: his true point of embarkation. Flexibly powerful, from dada gospel to caffeinated pick; explosive rhythm to sparest hush; swampy improv groove to country shine, the band nails them to the wall.
The songs bloomed with Rose's stream of metaphor lyrics connecting our disjointed artifacts of life. A slice of life in a traffic jam. Raindrops on the basil baked on the setting sun with a slow low rise style. His word sculptures enlighten the random moment telescoping and microscoping a personal sky where the knives wait to cut and eyes adjust to the dark, open wide.
Rose has always approached the recording process by serving the song and, working with gifted co-producer, engineer, and Grammy winner Blaise Barton, Al has released six stunning discs: 'Information Overload' (1994), 'Naked In A Trailer' (1996), 'Pigeon's Throat' (2000), 'Gravity Of Crow' (2003), 'My First Posthumous Release' (2008), and now 'Sad Go Lucky' (2012). Each stands alone. In series they expose Al's evolving habit of craft. It's so easy to hear the time and care, the patience and skill, the garlic and wine that went into the work. Listen.
Al's wild ride spontaneous live shows, whether solo, full band, or configuration in between, coast and roll you inside out. You know the way a surprisingly loud crackly fire manages to give off a warm, steady glow? Yeah.
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.
Alex Di Reto
Drawing from influences of Bob Dylan, Kelly Joe Phelps, Tom Waits, Stephen Stills and JJ Cale, Alex Di Reto, is a folk blues troubadour, singer-songwriter and acoustic guitar player, delivering deep syncopated grooves, surrealistic, intimate, dusty voice lyrics, in a raw Americana music blend of blues, country and rock.
Alex Di Reto was born in Rome, Italy, in 1955. He grows up in Canada where he starts to play guitar. Back in Italy he meets Stefan Grossman who teaches him fingerpicking guitar. In the year 1983 he lives in Chicago and attends “The Old Time School Of Folk Music”. Since the year 2000 he’s the co-founder and collaborator of the Italian Acoustic Guitar Website (www.fingerpicking.net).
In 2002 he publishes “La Chitarra Slide”, an instructional video on bottleneck guitar. In 2006 he publishes “My Own Song”, an album with seven of his songs, recorded live in the studio. In 2011 he publishes "Night Colors", an acoustic CD with 12 new tunes, home-recorded live and in-studio mastered.
In 2013 he releases “Love’s No Serious Thing”, an 8 song country blues studio album enriched with violin, sax, fender rhodes, hammond organ, electric guitars, cello, bass, drums and backing vocals.
Alex performs solo or with his Tulsa Sound Band.
Ali Eskandarian’s transnational upbringing makes him a prescient voice for our era. The Iranian-American troubadour draws upon influences as discrete as American folk, rock and traditional Persian music to craft songs about love, travel, politics and loneliness. The results have earned him comparisons to greats like Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley.
Ali was born in Pensacola, FL, on September 11, 1978, to a father who was an officer in the Iranian Air Force. Growing up in Tehran, Iran during the Iranian Revolution, Ali found strength in music. “I was always around music,” he explains. “It’s hard to find an Iranian party without dancing and singing. The Islamic revolution has not been successful in trying to stop people from having a good time.” After the death of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989, the family was granted political asylum in Germany. After two years, they relocated to Dallas, Texas, where Ali experienced an arts-filled adolescence. After attending college in Plano, Ali moved to New York in 2003 to pursue his dream. He said, “I eventually realized how much music meant to me and that I could be a musician.”
Buzz has built around Ali’s live performances, which include shows at the Living Room, the Rockwood Music Hall and a summer residency at Washington, D.C.’s the Red and the Black. Ali’s highly anticipated debut album, "Nothing To Say", is slated for a late 2008 release on Wildflower Records. Produced by Rob Friedman, whose work was featured on Dan Zane’s Grammy-winning album "Catch That Train!", "Nothing To Say" exhibits diverse sources of musical inspiration. Standout track “Memphis” is motivated by the Americana of Willie Nelson, telling the story of a wanderer who is persistently drawn back to this mystical American city. Meanwhile, “Eastern Fancy” reveals the Persian influence of singers like Farhad and Dariush, with Ali’s powerfully austere voice front and center against an acoustic guitar background.
Ali’s intensely personal blend of East and West is an adventurous, politically compelling addition to the musical landscape of 2008/2009.
"Nothing To Say" available here.
"Alias is a funny specimen. Proud native of Silver Lake, California, and equally at ease singing an Elvis tune at Ronnie Mack’s, a Stones karaoke in Little Tokyo, or a Lithuanian folksong in Vilnus. He can write, and man, he’s got an ear.
Our paths first crossed in Berkeley. He was new in town, and one day I found him stuck to my Jewfro like one of Harlow’s monkeys. Fortunately for both of us, we found plenty to eat.
It goes without saying he’s clocked his time in mr Dylan’s world. And mr Young, mr Richards (yes, both!), mr Hurt, and… what can you say? He’s been doing this for several lifetimes, the list is too long. If you’ve got taste, well so does he — You’ll like his style. He’s a man who knows from too much of nothing, and what it means to find a lightbulb in a busted down 83 Econoline RV. And a few years ago he came closer to the burying ground than most of us care to get — 'close enough to smell the white horses', as my grandpa used to say. But he stayed true to his pedigree — I came in thinking to deliver the last rites, but he was already singing 'Halleluja, I’m ready'. And just a word of caution — He’s got a funny sense of humor; I wouldn’t spend all so much time with my back to him… he moves fast for a big man.
You can’t ask for a finer soundtrack to your day. Check him out. It’s good medicine — I oughta know."
~ Theodore Goode, MD
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 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!
A lifetime’s dedication to her art has made Annie Gallup an icon among people who take songwriting seriously. Unabashedly imaginative and sensual, her elaborate song-length works of fiction crackle with wordplay and pulse with insistent rhythm. Borrowing forms from ancient folk tales to modern poetry, Annie sings over her evolving guitar figures as if sharing secrets: “Conversations in a quiet room” is how Annie Gallup describes 'Little Five Points her 9th CD, which was recorded in creative partnership with songwriter-producer Peter Gallway. And in fact this project was conceived, written, recorded and realized all in the same small, quiet room in Santa Barbara, California, on a mesa overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where Annie is currently living.
The centerpiece of this recording is Annie’s remarkable songwriting, which seamlessly integrates incisive and humerous observation with provocative and complex ideas. Familiar Gallup-themes of obsession, tyrannies of passion and memory, and the dialog between waking and dream, all flow toward the final song in the collection, “All My Old Lovers”, with its glorious conclusion of letting go.
In 'Little Five Points' Annie’s inventiveness shines. As a writer, she is constantly exploring new territory, breaking the mold, recreating the form.
And 'Little Five Points' showcases her musicianship. In addition to voice and various guitars, she appears as her own sideman. Her haunting lapsteel is heard on many of the songs; she also plays a Weissenborn slide guitar, and ukulele. Peter Gallway, who also mixed the project, contributes subtle and beautiful Telecaster, bass and keyboards.
A complex, rewarding and beautiful recording from one of the most singular, accomplished and literary artists working in the medium today.
New-York based singer-songwriter Annie Keating's 5th album, "For Keeps" is indeed a keeper. Beautifully crafted songs combined with musical hooks and punches knock the listener in the chest, making this album an instant classic. With refreshing honesty, grit and timelessness, Keating and her band of musical magic makers achieve a sound that is both complex and simple, new and vintage. The first song gets its hooks in you and after 12 tracks you just want more.
This Brooklyn-based songwriter knows how to write and deliver beautiful songs with a magical earthly rich voice and arrangement that transfixes. She has picked up a great (and well served) reputation over the course of her 4 previous albums, but here on "For Keeps" Keating truly shines. No frills or posturing - her sultry voice cuts straight to the heart. On her 5th album release, she has arrived as an international songwriting tour de force.
Talent spotted by BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris, Keating appeared live on the Bob Harris show in 2008 and has gone on to perform at leading national and international festivals including Take Root (Holland), the Glasgow Americana Festival (Scotland), the NJ Folk Festival, NXNE in Canada, NEMO and MEANY music fests and the Mountain Stage New Song finals.
Keating has performed on the bill with the likes of John Haitt, Dan Bern, Natalia Zuckerman, Bon Iver, Hot Club of Cowtown, Anne Heaton, Boris McCutcheon, Shannon McNally and many others.
Annika Fehling's new album " Rust & Gold" is both a glance over the shoulder, as well as a starting point. A record that is both looking back and pointing forward at the same time.
Among the new material we find, among other things "Kristallen Den Fina" in a magical version with guitarist Peder af Ugglas. There is also a duet with German Americana hero Markus Rill ("I Know Better") and the beautiful, atmospheric "Blue".
"Better Learn How To Fly" and "Making It Back" are two real gems that were recorded and produced in Nashville by Will Kimbrough for 2010's "Fireflies". Songs that then did not fit the big picture, but is too good to gather dust in some archives.
Two songs that came with the "Fireflies" and who is worth being reminded of is "With Me" and "Lonely Love" (featuring Peter LeMarc).
This year, Annika Fehling's focus has been on the trio Glimra, but she has always kept her solo career going alongside. Recently she has toured extensively in Germany, the UK and Ireland. In November, a tour of Germany and Holland is waiting, with her colleague Markus Rill.
Annika Fehling is an artist who never stands still. She is in a constant artistic development. Songwriting and artistry is continuously refined, while she has experience from a long career to lean on. "Rust & Gold" is a welcome reminder of the treasures that we may have forgotten, but also a promise of a bright future.
Annika has established herself as a leading performing songwriter in the international community, celebrated in her ‘Best of’ compilation CD ‘Annika Fehling Good For You’, which has met with both critical and commercial success.
Latest album is 'Fireflies', and Annika is currently hard at work on a new EP to be released sometime after the summer.
"Glass People In The Woods" is Annis Brander's 2nd album after her well-received debut in 2009. The release date is set for September 27th, 2011. She is very excited about this project, as it is described as dark, fateful and personal.
Annis was born in Baljered, a tiny village about 10 miles from Gothenburg, Sweden. As a young girl Annis used to play the piano and violin, but in her early teenage years she lost interest – as it wasn't cool enough to carry around a violin case at school. Five years later, Annis moved up north to study to become a chef, but instead she got inspired by her new friends at the Rock Music High School. Borrowing her mothers old guitar and reading through a manual on basic guitar chords, she wrote her first song in a week. She was hooked!
One evening, whilst working as waitress at a hotel, Annis surprised everybody with her knowledge of music as she picked up a guitar that was standing alone in the corner of the room and began to play. Some of the guests suggested her to sing some country music because of "the sound in her voice" – and like Forrest Gump would say, she responded, "well... I can do that". Shortly after that, even though she never listened to country music before, she found herself booked at the largest country music festival in Scandinavia at the time. From having had a quite mediocre taste of music, she now discovered and started to appreciate some of the American artists like Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Patti Smith, Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Patsy Cline.
The following years, from the year 2000 and onwards, Annis makes her living by traveling around Sweden and Norway doing what she loves most, performing in front of a live audience. Going back to the fall of 2004, she met Bert Karlsson, the founder of Mariann Records, a well-known Swedish record company. That meeting resulted in the release of the single "One Suitcase" in May of 2005. It was frequently played on Swedish National Radio and it hit the number one spot on the "Pop I Topp"-chart for several weeks in a row. Later that year "One Suitcase" was one of the songs on the best-selling compilation CD "Absolute Women".
In 2006 Annis moved to Stockholm. She gathered up with some wonderful musicians and it was love at first sight. It was at this time that she first felt completely at home with the music she was performing. During the spring of 2007 the dream of making an album finally became a reality. Hearing some of Henrik Åström's productions (Miss Li, Oh Laura), she really liked his way of thinking. Titiyo and I’m Kingfisher (Thomas Denver Jonsson) was appearing as special guests on the album. Annis' debut "If It's A Dead Fish, It's A Dead Fish" was released January 21st, 2009.
For her new album Annis and her producer Henrik Åström decided to record live in the studio as much as they could. They both prefer the "live" sound rather than perfected studio recordings, so the entire band gathered and played together, creating the sound they were looking for.
"Glass People In The Woods" consists of ten songs, most of them written by Annis. The lyrics within her songs contain elements of friendship, vulnerability, death and, of course, love. Currently, the single "More Than Ice Cream" has high rotation on Swedish National Radio P4 and local stations around Sweden.
Anouschka is a Swedish-American songwriter with jazz, blues and rock influences. Her nomadic upbringing in Asia, Europe and America has given her a worldview and ease with cross over styles. 'Home of Rock', Germany, calls her "a master of versatility, disguising depth with deceptive simplicity". 'Rootstime' in Belgium calls her music "rich Americana with marvelous guitar arrangements". Sweden's 'Musiklivet' says she "can handle anything from a slow blues to up-tempo pop". She has been compared to Joan Osborne, Shaina Twain, Nora Jones and Rickie Lee Jones. Anouschka's self produced and self released albums are played on folk, rock and blues indie stations worldwide.
Anouschka has maintained a #1 chart position for Germany this year at peer-based Reverbnation with her pop-rock EP "So Why?". “So Why?” had top rotation in Holland and Belgium. Her previous album "My Kind Of Heartbreak" placed on the A.M.A. (Americana Charts) for 2 months and was #2 on Midnight Blues Radio, France. Anouschka has been editor's pick at California 101Radio and editor's choice at the largest indie music community - indiemusic.com, and she has had honorable mentions in both the 'Billboard Songwriting Contest' and 'John Lennon Songwriting Contest'.
For the first time, Anouschka now releases an album, "Hollywood Ending", without a band. It's her 4th self-released production. She plays guitar, piano, sings and lets her songs do the speaking. The track "Kiss Me Hello" has already been recognized by the The International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA) for excellence in acoustic music and is featured in the Swedish documentary "Rötter".
This year Anouschka founded the Anouschka Pearlman Trio. They began touring November 2012. In addition to music, Anouschka is active in wildlife projects and works as a reporter for NPR.
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.
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.
Arthur Lee Land
Veteran singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and “loop artist” Arthur Lee Land’s new full length recording "Cracked Open" — on indie label Perfect Groove Records, offers an exciting invitation for the musically adventurous to discover a boundless, transcendent world - a groundbreaking style driven by the integration of sophisticated musical, emotional and spiritual juxtapositions. The dynamic intricacies... male and female (his wife Carol penned all but one song’s lyrics, he writes the music); shadows and light; acoustic and electronic; traditional and futuristic; studio and live; concepts rooted in his years of musical experience vs. an embrace of never knowing what comes next.
From the first day of production, "Cracked Open" unfolded as a "whole album" in the truest sense of the word, taking on a life of it’s own. The tracks include “Cracked Open”, “After The Eclipse” and “Good Enough” (all three have been developed into music videos) as well as “Left Hand Creek” (where the seeds of several songs took place), “Drum & A Chair” (which begins with the chant of “HU”, an ancient word for God that miraculously cured his vocal cord polyp without surgery), “Into the Waters” and “Hawthorne Tree,” which taps into Celtic spiritual folklore. “Do You Ever Think Of Me”, the next music video produced by visual artist “Xiren”, is anticipated to be a powerful concept of song metaphors, stunning cinema graphics and costuming. The DVD for all 10 music videos is scheduled for a fall release.
Several monikers have emerged to capture his eclectic fusion of folk-rock, worldbeat, bluegrass and electronica: electro-americana, afrograss-folktronica, and altronicana. They’re entry points into the experience but cannot fully explain the unique dynamics at work when Arthur enters the studio or takes the stage. Currently based in the small town of Lyons, Colorado, Arthur tours as a multi-instrumental solo act in which he utilizes “live looping” (live recording) technology to create “on the fly,” a full band sound by layering guitars, six string banjo, mandolin, bass, African percussion, drum samples, beat boxing and other electronic sonic textures.
Several years after the release of his previous recording "Dragonfly" (produced by Grammy nominated singer-songwriter-producer Wendy Waldman), Arthur, wife-lyricist Carol Lee and his label felt he was at a pivotal point creatively and decided to embark on a studio project that expanded upon the sonics he had been creating live for years, allowing him to play “all” the instruments in the studio. “The recording process of 'Cracked Open' allowed me to integrate so many aspects of my life as an musician and loop artist”, says Arthur.
Working with co-producer-engineer Aaron Shier, the multi-talented performer blends elements from distinctive parts of his career: his longtime wheelhouse as a touring musician playing folk-rock, country and roots; a world beat-bluegrass hybrid, inspired by a tour of West Africa; and the influence of electronic music, via his pioneering art of live-looping techniques which have defined his solo live experience.
Arthur also founded an innovative way to incorporate his “Art of Live Looping” into an education assembly program called: 'Musical Life Skills'. He estimates that he reached over 50,000 students across the United States. Arthur uses musical cacophony and harmony as metaphors, offering students the opportunity to learn that listening helps to find their own melody and rhythm in life and the importance of creating harmony.
Arthur’s ongoing intuitive collaboration with his lyricist-wife Carol Lee is an integral part of the expansive artistic landscape of “Arthur Lee Land”. “The project is truly an integration of so many aspects of my life, with everything from my voice and body, to the new instruments and sounds, to the fusion of genres and styles. I’m grateful and honored now to be able to share 'Cracked Open' with the world – both the music and the adventure of making it”.
Atlanter is Jens Carelius’ and Arild Hammerø’s new band project. They play rock inspired by desert blues bands, by German krautrock and by old delta blues. All this is done with a Norwegian twist and point of view, and is perhaps best described as Norwegian viddeblues.
Besides Carelius and Hammerø, the viddeblues ensemble Atlanter consists of Jonas Barsten Johnsen and Morten Kvam. Their debut album "Vidde" consists of 9 powerful, groove-based songs, all written by the band.
Arild Hammerø from the band tells us about the music and the album; "Atlanter has an open-minded approach to playing music. The songs change from one concert to another, and we try to avoid a polished and rehearsed sound. I think everyone in the band enjoys this openness, that something new can happen on every song. We captured this feeling on the new album too, and what brings it all together is that it is mostly based on very distinct rhythms. Playing with Atlanter is like dancing around a fire, there is an intense energy there. Our goal is for the audience to feel this energy too, so they can join in on the dance."