Marcus Eaton’s career has been a study in dichotomy. His music is unique and original, yet wide in its appeal. His band is but a trio, but is as sonically powerful as any twice its size. His influences and famous fans include icons dating to the 60's (such as Rock'N'Roll Hall Of Fame-member David Crosby), and those who are among today’s most acclaimed artists (such as Tim Reynolds of Dave Matthews Band).
Eaton might be a small-town guy at the core, but his music knows no borders.
The singer/songwriter/guitarist from Boise, Idaho, recently released his 5th CD of original material, “As If You Had Wings”, an effort that has proven Eaton’s appetite for expansion. Powered by swirling bassist Ben Burleigh and powerhouse percussionist Kevin Rogers, the release is robust, a real rocker at times, yet shows the thoughtful songwriting that has been an Eaton trademark since he signed his first recording contract with a subsidiary of MCA Records in 2002.
As one reviewer noted, the latest CD is Eaton’s “most accessible yet aggressive rock music yet. He’s developed into a dazzling guitarist”. Announces another, “The intricacy of Eaton’s songs is gratifying and unfortunately lacking in most mainstream rock”. Eaton’s style is an excellent mixture of maturity and excitement”.
The band has been likened to such vaunted trios as Cream, Rush and Police, with Eaton’s clear and inviting voice and ever-dazzling guitar work pacing the band.
One of the more discriminate authorities in rock history agrees with the haughty praise heaped on Eaton.
“I truthfully think he’s one of the best young singer-songwriter guys in America, maybe in the world”, Crosby says. “He’s an enormously talented person. And it comes from a very, very good place. People who really listen to music, I think, will find him just a joy. He’s a really brilliant writer. Brilliant musically. Brilliant lyrically. And he just plays (guitar) like God on a good day!”
And this lavish praise is imparted after a mere two-year collaboration between Eaton and Crosby, who were introduced by a mutual friend two years ago and forged a bond through their passion for music.
Eaton has been a featured act for such wide-ranging artists as Bob Dylan, Train, Victor Wooten, Dave Matthews Band, Tim Reynolds, Derek Trucks Band, Martin Sexton, John Mayer, Jewel, Counting Crows, Jason Mraz and Sheryl Crow.
Eaton borrows from traditional rock, funk, reggae, flamenco, classical, jazz and folk, has toured extensively with Tim Reynolds. The Dave Matthews Band guitarist says, "Marcus weaves a tapestry rich in musical depth and soulful feeling. Sweet impassioned spot-on singing round out this total package of dynamite”.
Eaton has performed at venues vast and intimate. He has been featured on the 20,000-capacity Gorge Amphitheatre side stage during a show headlined by Dave Matthews Band. His CD release party at The Knitting Factory in Boise crammed the concert hall even beyond it’s official 999-seat capacity.
Born in Pocatello, Idaho, Eaton has been one of the most acclaimed artist in the intermountain west for more than a decade. With such luminaries as David Crosby among his confidants, he seems poised to take the step to stardom many have anticipated for him since he first picked up a guitar as a child.
“I think everything happens in a great way for me”, he says. “It happens when it’s supposed to happen”.
"Time For Football" is, of course, a football song, but most of all it is a song about dreams and companionship. We need each other in this world, as we need each other in a team. No matter if it's at the school yard or at the Wembley stadium, in family or in the neighbourhood. I need you. You need me. And that's the truth also when it comes to the challenges of the future for humanity.
The song is written by the Swedish singer-songwriter Markus Berjlund who performs it together with Caroline af Ugglas. Andreas Ahlenius is the producer-engineer and among the musicians you hear Marty Wilson-Piper.
During his life Markus has been listening a lot to musical giants like Dylan, Springsteen and Neil Young. In "Time For Football", you can also hear musical influences from British post-punk bands like New Order and The Smiths.
Caroline af Ugglas is well known in Sweden for her intense and emotive voice and her charismatic stage appearances. She has made 7 albums and also made many TV appearances in different contexts. Her album "Så Gör Jag Det Igen" (2009) reached the number one position of the Swedish album list.
Markus Berjlund has made 3 solo albums. In 2010 he had his first song added on the playlist of the dominating Swedish radio channel, Radio P4. His music has also been played in other Scandinavian countries. But he had never even thought of writing a song in English when one morning - when the Swedish version of this song was completed - the phrase “it takes a team to fullfil a dream” came into his head. One hour later he had completed the lyrics of "Time For Football" with words focusing what mankind has in common, all over the world. Football as a metaphor for important aspects of life itself. But it is also a tribute to some of the greatest practitioners ever of the sport; Puskas, Pelé, Maradona, Gascoigne, Beckenbauer and Cruyff.
Marty Wilson-Piper is to many music lovers most known as a guitarist in the legendary Australian group The Church. As in their major hit "The Unguarded Moment", Marty here brings sober guitars with a driving force.
Andreas Ahlenius has produced gold and platinum albums with Saybia (DK) and produced and/or mixed some of the most prominent Swedish artists like Miss Li and Di Leva.
What do you have when you combine songs that speak to the soul, talent that shines the spotlight on the darkest corners of your hopes and fears, music that inspires, comforts and makes you want to alternately laugh, cry or reflect – with a heart that touches all that hear her and an honesty that makes you want to be a better person? Maria Solheim.
Maria originally aspired to be a reporter, having started working as a freelance journalist in her native northern Norway at the tender age of 14. Luckily for us, she turned her abilities for stating the truth to songwriting – in English (the better to disguise her lyrics from her parents). Love isn’t an easy topic when you’re a teenager. By the time she was 18 she had caught the eye – and more importantly the ear – of the music industry, resulting in her debut album "Barefoot" being released when she was just 19. Featuring some of Norway’s best studio musicians, the album started to generate opportunities for Maria, leading to a support spot with Susanne Vega and the start of what would become a tradition of successful tours in Germany.
Maria’s 2nd album "Behind Closed Doors" ironically opened more of them, including a release and tour in Japan. The critics loved her, and why not? The album showed Maria’s continuing development as a songwriter and as the head of her own band. With the release of her 3rd album "Frail" (one that Maria has said is very close to her heart) in Scandinavia, Germany and Japan, she continued to build her considerable and ever-increasing fan base. She even garnered a royal 'command performance' at the baptism of Norway’s Princess Ingrid Alexandra, second in line to the Norwegian throne.
In spite of a grueling tour schedule that included Germany, UK, China, Thailand, Japan, the US, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Scandinavia, Maria found the time and energy to record "There Will Be Spring", replete with beautiful yet catchy songs that proved to be eminently synch-able. Maria has seen her music in demand for a wide variety of projects - Films, audio books, advertisements (including a worldwide deal for Ecco Shoes) – not to mention other displays of Maria’s talents as a published book author and exhibitions of her artwork. The album opened up a new audience for Maria when it was released in France.
Following this whirlwind of activity, Maria took some time to gather her thoughts, experiences and energy – and to have a family. But even then she continued creating; the single “Rom For Alle” – her first in Norwegian – was a duet with Hans Erik Husby Dyvik (AKA Hank von Helvete, former lead singer of the hugely successful Norwegian band Turbonegro) and went double platinum.
Maria has now marshaled her considerable abilities in the recording of her new album, "In The Deep", to be released by Membran in February.
Produced by Nick Terry (Turbonegro, Libertines, Klaxons, Roger Sanchez, former singer with The Stone Roses Ian Brown), Maria was also joined in the studio by Henry Olsen (former Primal Scream member who has also worked with Nico, Velvet Underground, John Cale and more), Emil Nikolaisen (formerly with Serena Maneesh) and other stellar musicians. The result is a wild record with songs that range from quiet, simple guitar-based tunes, through rock, all the way to pop. 'This album has been developing a long time', says Maria. 'There have been a lot of tears and laughter along the way, and I’m incredibly proud of the result. Now I've made an album I can dance to!'.
When it comes to Maria Solheim, the possibilities are truly limitless.
”I'm a singer songwriter in the americana genre. My start was in the coffee houses of Toronto, some 35 years ago. Those folk beginnings we're followed by a 10 year run as front man and writer for Canadian roots rockers The Bel-Vistas. The last couple of decades have been spent raising a family and pursuing music as a solo artist. I work away in my home studio now and am sometimes involved in recording and producing for others. My brand new release is called “Under The Circumstances”, and is a musical journey through the often unwieldy lives we lead. Influences are many, but the ones who set the bar high for me, then and now, include, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, John Hiatt, Van Morrison and Nick Lowe. If you’re a fan of thoughtful, melodic, roots based song writing I encourage you to have a listen. For the most part I perform as a solo acoustic act, and when all stars align I have a wonderful band called The Confessors who make me look good.” ~ Mark Ripp
American music icon Marty Stuart will release his 2nd album for Sugar Hill Records entitled "Nashville, Volume 1: Tear The Woodpile Down" on April 24th, 2012. The ten song collection, almost entirely written by Marty, features his touring band of musical missionaries The Fabulous Superlatives. Nashville staples Buck Trent, Kenny Lovelace, and Robbie Turner are joined by country music royalty Hank Williams III and Lorrie Carter Bennett (The Carter Family) on harmony vocals to fill out the cast.
Marty Stuart arrived in Nashville on Labor Day weekend, 1972. “I came to Nashville from the land of Jimmie Rodgers, looking for a place, a place to belong inside the world of country music. It was a country boy Hollywood, the air castle of the South, a dream factory”. 40 years, a decade worth of hits and a full round of hillbilly stardom later, Stuart has hillbilly rocked himself back to the bosom of traditional country music.
“When I reconnected with traditional country music I found myself, my calling”, says Stuart. “The kind that is timeless, beautiful, beyond trend, the empowering force, the reflection of a people and a culture. The kind of country music that the working man and scholars alike call home. The job seemed to be to champion it, love it, protect it, care for its people, attempt to write a new chapter for it and to make sure that everybody understands that it’s alive and well in the 21st century”.
Stuart has done that with his acclaimed collection of country music memorabilia and treasures which currently tours across the country, and with his Marty Stuart Show on RFD TV which provides a platform for some of Nashville’s classic artists to perform on a nationally syndicated program.
“When I first came to Nashville the most outlaw thing you could possibly do around here was to take country music and blow it up into rock & roll. Mission accomplished! Today, the most outlaw thing you can possibly do in Nashville, Tennessee is play country music”. With "Tear The Woodpile Down", the latest chapter in the Marty Stuart story, he’s doing just that
Mary Beth Cross
Mary Beth Cross is an award winning singer, songwriter and musician. Her music is a soulful, intimate acoustic mix of original and classic tunes. Her new EP, titled "Feels Like Home", incorporates traditional bluegrass instruments into her arrangements. Mary Beth's originals are inspired by the stories of her family, the forests and farms of her Wisconsin upbringing, and Colorado, where she makes her home. Her previous CD, "Beyond Good And Evil", received the 2014 ’CD Of The Year’ award by the Rural Roots Music Commission.
"Feels Like Home” is her 5th release. She has performed shows across the US and in Canada including Nashville, TN, New York, NY, Madison, WI, Le Mars, IA, St Louis, MO, house concerts, major and private showcases at the Folk Alliance International Conferences, the Boulder International Film Festival, and the 2014 IBMA Convention in Raleigh, NC. Mary Beth has held bluegrass and folk workshops for schools, libraries, history museums, and hospitals. She can be found playing listening rooms, event centers, house concerts, weddings and festivals in the Colorado Front Range and beyond.
”Feels Like Home” begins by welcoming you in from the rain to the warmth of the hearth with the Paul Simon classic "Kathy's Song". Before you know it, the rugs are rolled up and a dance floor is cleared. Mary Beth takes listeners to her grandparents’ dairy farm back in the 1940’s with "Threshing Time", a tune she co-wrote with her 85-year-old father. Airing fears, worry, and concern is still a part of family gatherings. The burdens are shared and then released with Gary White's "Long, Long Time". Mary Beth takes the Linda Ronstadt cover and places it in a bluegrass arrangement, giving it new breath. She then leads you slowly into the wee hours of the evening (to the bedroom) with "The Medley", and concludes with an original ditty welcoming the morning and the gift of a new day with "Cottonwood Creek".
Melanie Dekker is a Canadian roots-pop sensation home to Deep Cove, BC, Canada. Her world class strumming and voice like chocolate earned her a radio hit in Canada "I Said I", and a more recent radio hit in Denmark "Boomerang". Her Dutch background gives her that no-hold-back fun attitude, she's vulnerable, funny and powerful. Fans experience a sense of connection. Her songs weave between emotion and sensibilities, each at a different pace and in a different place. She tours over 100 concerts yearly and her latest studio release “Distant Star” has already sold 12,000 copies since November 2013. This 'longing' album is a beautiful addition to her elaborate discography, her previous album "Revealed' was produced by David Kershenbaum (Tracy Chapman, Willie Nelson, Joan Baez, Joe Jackson). Like these artists, Dekker has a special tangible emotive flare.
And now Dekker brings her fans what they've been asking for by releasing a spontaneous live album. On this "Lekker Eh" collection of songs, Melanie Dekker presents a live tasty bit of a special kind, intimate recordings of various concerts from her 2014 tour. It's an acoustic journey through worlds of feelings. Inimitably warm-hearted and tender and carried by Dekker's powerful gentle voice. Like a delicious filling of a cake she is accompanied by various world-class players at times, while her dynamic guitar playing and piano playing is the center that leads the vibe. A delicacy for your ears.
Dekker has opened for Diana Krall and Faith Hill and performed with Russell Peters and Bryan Adams, as well for president Bill Clinton. She’s made a string of popular videos which include her music synched to her plunge at the Vancouver's Polar Bear Swim, her shows at the 2010 Olympics, her own Wisdom tooth removal, her Christmas concerts in Afghanistan, and a romantic run-in with a mannequin. Dekker was given a Medal of Honour by the Chief of Defence Staff for Canada for her song ”Fall In Wounded Soldier”, and was awarded the title ’ambassador’ for the Kinder Hospiz in Germany for her donated sold-out concerts. Her concerts are a cool combination of fiery, colourful and sympathetic music and attitudes.
In the winter of 2011 The Men got what is usually referred to as a ”unique offer” in commercials. They were asked if they wanted to travel 9,911 miles across half the globe from Lund, Sweden to Melbourne, Australia to play in a music festival.
”We just shook our heads and realised that it was a completely stupid idea. Sure, we would be headlining the festival, but still — it was too long a journey and too short notice. And then we looked at each other again. Melbourne. When would we get a chance like that again? We had to say yes”.
The group’s singer and hyper-energetic maracas shaker Sven Köhler remembers the trip that made such strong impressions on him, bassist Ola Främby, guitarist Olof Wallberg and drummer Niklas Kilenstam, that it inspired the five first songs on The Men’s 4th album ”This Way”, "If Tomorrow Comes", "St Kilda Beach", "Looking For Swedish Men", "Mr BBQ" and "My New Black Sailing Shoes".
“Oh, no – not a concept album”, you might think. Have The Men followed 60’s icons The Who, The Kinks, The Small Faces and The Pretty Things down this risky path? Not really. The Australian theme songs merely work as a kick-off to what might be the best collection of songs in the hard-hitting rhythm and blues tinged power pop style that they’ve made their own.
Still there are differences that give ”This Way” a slightly different edge compared to its predecessors, ”The Men” (2002), ”Return” (2006) and ”Four Good Men And True” (2009). For starters, the band this time decided to record in producer Amir Aly’s Yla Studios in Malmö, while the two latest albums were done in producer Christoffer Lundquist’s famously retro equipped studio.
In Sweden, Aly is as famous for his modern pop productions, as Lundquist is for his ability to capture the late 60’s sound. On paper it sounds like two different production schools, but in reality the difference isn’t that big. “The main goal this time was to push the sound as far as we possibly could. Everyone was to play loud, and everyone was to be heard the most”, is Ola Främby’s summary.
As a fan of The Men’s forerunners The Sinners and The Girls, Amir Aly enthusiastically started his work to create an "updated old school sound for 2013”. Production-wise the task was solved with a clever microphone placement in the studio in order to give each instrument it’s own characteristic sound. The idea was to use fewer microphones but position them in a way that would give the group a more modern and aggressive sound. The result has made Niklas Kilenstam’s already explosive drumming get even more in your face than before. Then Ola Främby’s mighty Gretsch bass was plugged into a Fender 75 guitar amp, which created a fat and slightly distorted bass sound. And when Aly finally panned Olof Wallberg’s ringing guitar power chords and Främby’s pumping bass into opposite stereo channels everyone realised that they had achieved their goal. It sounded like The Men, only more so.
Words like ”retro”, ”mods” and ”60’s” have followed The Men since their formation in the early 00’s. But with ”This Way” it seems the band have escaped the anorak. So what’s the correct way of describing The Men’s music today? Ola Främby needs only three words. “Hard, but elegant”, he says. And when he describes the atmosphere in the song "Back To Square One" he comes even closer to what might be the essence of The Men’s music; “It sounds like England when it’s raining”.
But let’s get back to the album’s sunny start with its Melbourne-inspired songs. "Looking For Swedish Men" almost wrote itself when their Australian record label contact/concert promoter/fan Dave Stevens met them at the airport, holding up a sign with that message.
Dave is also the founder of the record store Pure Pop Records at St Kilda, the beach community that inspired another of the songs on “This Way”. Apart from the music festival gig the band also played in the record store, and hung around on the clubs and bars around St Kilda. With its relentless riff and honking sax, St Kilda Beach became the band’s tribute to the area’s laid-back and inviting atmosphere.
Even the lyrics have taken a step forward this time. Sven Köhler and Ola Främby write the group’s material together with The Men’s fifth member — manager, songwriter and creative spin doctor Joakim Kilenstam. ”It’s not just things we make up, it’s for real. We write about ourselves. To love and live your dreams, like keeping on playing rock ’n’ roll”, Sven says.
The songwriting trio Köhler/Främby/Kilenstam have slightly different roles in the creative process. Sven’s strength is the ability to easily find melodies and basic chord progressions. Ola not only churns out melodies in a near constant flow, he’s also the man with an ear for quirky arrangement ideas that help the songs stand out even more. Joakim is the non-musician with a head full of possible or impossible musical combinations, like: “How about playing it as if it were a soul number on ’Sweet FA’”.
One example that shows just how personal The Men’s songwriting can be these days is the duet "Don’t", where dad and daughter — Sven and Isabella Köhler Alvén, that is — meet in a generational clash, so funny and direct that it’s hard not to be moved.
Of the album’s 13 songs all but two are around the magic three-minute mark. With its six and a half minutes, "My New Black Sailing Shoes" is the big exception. “We had a bunch of unfinished songs that we started with, but never really got around to finishing. So we put them all together into one song instead”. Now wait, where have we heard this one before? Wasn’t that album called “Abbey Road”?
And sure, we could go on and discuss song after song on ”This Way”. But then we wouldn’t have time to talk about the amazingly detailed cover with its tin miniature figures by the collector and miniature creator Pelle Persson. Take a closer look at the minimal proportions of The Men figures on the CD booklet’s last page, and then consider this dialogue when Pelle was about to paint Ola Främby’s boating blazer with its classic broad stripes.
Pelle: ”Hey, that thin red line between the blue and grey fields — does that really have to be there too?”
Ola: ”Well, it depends on how precise you want to be”.
A deep sigh could be heard, but Ola’s boating blazer got a thin red line. The Men is that kind of band. And “This Way” is that kind of album.
Sven Lindström, Malmö, September 2013
Iconic country music legend, Country Hall of Famer and most recently a Kennedy Center Honoree, Merle Haggard, is releasing a new album, ‘Working In Tennessee’, on October 4th, 2011. This marks his 2nd disc for Vanguard Records and is a collection of self-penned Haggard riches, plus a couple of classics made famous by Johnny Cash, as well as a new version of Merle’s stalwart “Working Man Blues”, featuring Willie Nelson and his son Ben Haggard.
‘Working in Tennessee’ is another in a long line of stellar discs filled with Haggard’s honest and candid observations of the world in which we all live, as well as life on the road and at home with backing by his longtime band The Strangers, plus a number of veteran studio cohorts. Produced by Haggard and Lou Bradley at the Hag’s northern California Tally studio, the album is another worthy addition to his tremendous body of decades of radiant work. It’s a loaded mixture that reflects the consistently self-possessed artistry which long ago earned him the moniker “poet of the common man” and displays his masterly phrasing with alternately smooth tones and rough-hued vocals that deliver all the resonant interpretive impact he’s known for.
‘Working in Tennessee’ opens with the title track, an ideal Western swing workout, that underscores Haggard’s oft-confrontational relationship with Music City, to the stark vulnerability of “Sometimes I Dream”, co-written with his daughter Jenessa, to the autobiographical tale of “Down On The Houseboat”, co-written with his wife Theresa. Willie Nelson and his son Ben are featured on the kicking re-make of his anthemic “Working Man Blues” and Theresa joins Hag on a duet of the Johnny Cash-June Carter standard “Jackson”.
The album is a strikingly artistic example of the artist’s unflagging creativity which shows no signs of slowing down. According to Haggard, “I’m swinging back in full throttle right now. Music keeps me alive. It makes me breathe better. It’s funny, but I feel better when I come off a tour than when I start out”. What an amazing accomplishment for a man who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008 and had part of his lung removed. With no signs of the disease returning, Haggard continues to produce songs and perform live at the age of 74 with more energy and enthusiasm than many a younger man or woman.
Mia Rose Lynne
Often likened to artists such as Alison Krauss, Joni Mitchell and Patty Griffin, Mia Rose Lynne writes and sings from a place of sincerity and simplicity. Roots music has always been in Lynne's heart. A northern California native, she grew up singing harmonies in the family western swing band and fell asleep in the Winnebago on summer nights to the sounds of campsite jamming at bluegrass festivals.
Lynne went on to pursue a career in musical theatre, touring nationally and internationally. Along the way, she found herself in Nashville, where her love for roots music resurfaced and the songs began to write themselves. Since her recent move, Lynne has had the opportunity to perform professionally in both Nashville's songwriter and theatre scene. She won the 2014 American Songwriting Awards in the folk category, and was recently a finalist in both the Great American Song Contest and Hollywood Songwriting Contest.
”Open Space”, Lynne's debut album, 2014, was recorded and produced in Nashville by Brendan Harkin and features Stuart Duncan on fiddle and Rob Ickes on dobro. Songs range from folk ballads with haunting string arrangements to bluegrass and folk pop grooves. Her 2nd record ”Follow Me Moon”, to be released in 2016, features 11 tastefully stripped down acoustic originals and was produced by Austin Filingo and recorded by Grammy award winning engineer, Tim Roberts.
Paul Liberatore of the Marin Independent Journal describes ”Follow Me Moon” as, “original americana style songs that come at romantic relationships with honesty, wit and none of the tropes and cliches that lesser songwriters so often fall back on. Lynne brings life experience without sounding world weary, sincerity without self importance”.
Michael Brewer was born on April 14th, 1944, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The oldest of four children, he performed on the radio at age four. He was a singing drummer in a rock and roll band in highschool, along with fellow bandmate and guitarist Jesse Ed Davis. In 1960 he sold his drums and bought his first guitar. After graduating highschool in 1962, he traveled the folkcircuit performing in coffee houses from coast to coast, and began writing songs. He met Tom Shipley in 1964 at The Blind Owl coffee house in Kent, Ohio, but they wouldn't become a team for a few more years.
He teamed with first partner Tom Mastin in 1965, and settled in San Francisco, then Los Angeles. His first recording contract was with Columbia Records as Mastin & Brewer. They formed a band with drummer Billy Mundi (later to be an original member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention), and bassist Jim Fielder (later to be an original member of Blood, Sweat & Tears). Mastin & Brewer toured southern California opening for The Byrds, along with another newly formed band, Buffalo Springfield. Buffalo Springfield got together in a house next door to Michael, once owned by Lenny Bruce, and they got their name from a road work vehicle that was parked in front of Michael's house. Mastin & Brewer began headlining clubs in L.A., and began recording, but Mastin decided he couldn't take the pressure, and they separated. Sadly, years later Tom Mastin commited suicide.
Mastin & Brewer's man at Columbia Records was leaving to help create a new record company being formed by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss called A&M Records. He took Michael with him, and Michael became a staff song writer for A&M's publishing company Good Sam Music.
Tom Shipley moved into a house around the corner from Michael and they began writing songs together. Soon, Tom was a staff writer for A&M, as well. Their demos for the publishing company exhibited a sound and style of their own, and A&M suggested they record their songs themselves. Their first album “Brewer & Shipley/Down In L.A.” was released in 1968.
Unhappy with life on the coast, Michael and Tom moved back to the heartland, doing what they'd done before - Performing their songs for those who'd care to listen. They made Kansas City, Missouri their home, and with friends, formed a company named Good Karma Productions. Brewer & Shipley acquired a new recording contract with Buddha/Kama Sutra Records in New York City. They recorded four albums for that label “Weeds”, “Tarkio” (containing the now classic rock-anthem "One Toke Over The Line"), “Shake Off The Demon” and “Rural Space”. Eventually, they moved to Capitol Records and recorded two albums “ST-11261” and “Welcome To Riddle Bridge”.
In 1980 Michael and Tom amicably went their separate ways. Michael met Dan Fogelberg in a bar in the Rocky Mountains, and Dan invited him to sing on a song on his latest album. The album was “The Innocent Age” and the song was "The Reach". Dan produced Michael's first solo LP entitled “Beauty Lies”, on Full Moon/Warner Bros, and it was released in 1983.
In 1987 Brewer & Shipley regrouped for a special concert in Kansas City. They did a few more reunion shows, but writing new songs is what got them back together. While on tour in Alaska, they decided to form their own company "One Toke Productions". They have written songs for, and recorded two CD's for that company, “Shanghai” and “Heartland”, and after forty plus years together Brewer & Shipley are still performing.
In 2004 Michael released his 2nd solo effort, entitled “Retro Man”. In the last few years Michael has been more prolific than ever writing songs, and in early 2011 released his 3rd solo album entitled “It Is What It Is”.
”Red River Dreams” is the latest CD release of Michael Hearne, one of the originators of the ’Southwestern Americana’ sound that seems to float over his 2 homelands of the hill country of Texas and the mountains of northern New Mexico.
His instantly recognizable ’whiskey velvet voice’, as friend Eliza Gilkyson describes it, combined with his impeccable musical instincts, inspired songwriting and instrumental virtuosity form as complete a musical assemblage as you will find in any country, folk or americana artist today.
Hearne has one of the most devoted followings of any musician still practicing his craft, touring around Texas, NM, and the great American southwest, and “Red River Dreams” embodies many of the reasons why.
The title cut speaks of Hearne’s time spent in Red River, NM, in the 1970’s, which seemed to be ’Austin North’, serving as a getaway and mountain retreat for several of the artists involved in the early Austin scene, such as Michael Martin Murphy, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Bob Livingston. “Blue Enough” is a beautiful lament co-written with Jed Zimmerman, another fine songwriter in the folk americana vein, featuring Kelley Mickwee, a rising star in the current Austin music scene on harmonies.
“June 25, 2009” ponders the life and legacy of Michael Jackson. “The Highway Is a Friend of Mine”, co-written with Michael’s longtime friend and frequent musical partner Shake Russell, is a great picking song and classic traveling troubadour tune. “Back in the Day”, another Hearne-Russell co-write, is a journey through the influences and experiences of Hearne’s Texas upbringing.
Although we feel that some of the tracks are standouts for radio, we truly feel there isn’t a song to miss in this collection, including Michael’s selections of other writers’ songs, such as the John Ims tune “Magic”, Chuck Pyle’s gem “Endless Sky”, and his impeccable treatments of the classic Lightfoot and Parsons tunes.
Michael Hearne & Shake Russell
”Only As Strong As Your Dreams” is the long awaited 1st duo release of these 2 old friends and long time collaborators and co-writers. Shake Russell and Michael Hearne are now performing together regularly, both around their home state of Texas and beyond.
Hearne and Russell are truly a powerhouse duo, with two long lifetimes spent writing, singing and playing the songs of Texas and the great Southwest. Shake’s deep poetry, beautiful love songs and delightfully expressive vocal and guitar work are perfectly complemented by Michael’s blazing musicianship, ’whiskey velvet voice’, as friend Eliza Gilkyson described it, and his own rich and varied songwriting.
“Only As Strong As Your Dreams” has great range and gives the listener a delightful ride through a varied landscape, from Louisiana honky tonks (”Loser’s Gumbo”) to the fringes of the great beyond (”Irish Prayer”, ”The Angel’s Share”, a tribute to Chuck Pyle), from the trials and tribulations of life and the music business (”I Got News For You”, ”I Heart Texas”), to wisdom and inspiration on how to rise above and make it through, with your heart and soul intact (”Only As Strong As Your Dreams”, ”This Is What Happy Is”).
We are excited and honored to present this collection of songs from these consummate artists. Some of the tracks are perhaps most immediately obvious for radio, but we think you’ll agree that there is not a song here to be missed, and we hope you’ll consider them all.
Michael Lanning began performing in theatre at the age of 9. With an extensive background and training in music and theatre, Michael has been a featured performer in many theatre companies including San Bernardino Civic Light Opera and the legendary Summer Stock, Junior University. Michael has recorded and/or toured with such musical greats as Donovan, Fleetwood Mac, Rockpile, Larry Gatlin, Frank Wildhorn, Mike Post and George Harrison. Michael's band, Jiva, was the first American band signed to the Harrison label, Dark Horse Records, with George serving as their executive producer.
Michael's distinctive, yet versatile, style made him a top session vocalist for national television and radio commercials for over a decade. As an actor and a singer, his credits include Steven Bochco's "Coprock", ”Wayne's World”, "ER", "Thunder In Paradise" and "Baywatch".
A songwiter and a music publisher, Lanning's songs have been recorded by producer and guitar legend Dave Edmunds, The Stray Cats, French recording star Slyvie Vartan and many others. As a musician, Michael has mastered guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, drums and percussion, And, is a hunt and peck pianist. Sorry, mom…..
Michael starred in both the Tony nominated Broadway and national tour productions of composer Frank Wildhorn's "The Civil War". He played Dozer in the world premiere musical "Mask" at The Pasadena Playhouse, based on the motion picture, starring Cher. He was featured as ’The Preacher’ in the world premiere musical "Bonnie & Clyde" at The La Jolla Playhouse in the winter of 2009 and at The Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, Florida, in the winter of 2010, and on Broadway at The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in 2011. He was also a featured vocalist for 6 years with The Trans Siberian Orchestra and was introduced as "the most soulful white man on the planet".
One of the songs on Michael Tomlinson’s new album,”House Of Sky”, elicited a touching letter of response from former US President Jimmy Carter. He wrote to thank Michael for a song Michael had written about him and his years of humanitarian work around the world. The song is entitled “Seeds Of Love” and is one of the cornerstones of Michael’s newest release. The entire album is filled with deeply moving and uplifting songs that are impossible to categorize by genre. To many listeners they are just “Michael Tomlinson music". Writes the long time President of MTV and VH1, Van Toffler, who has followed Michael’s music for more than 20 years, “when it comes to beautiful, soul searching ballads, Michael has no peer”.
Michael’s new album was financed entirely by listeners who felt much that same way, supporters from all over North America and Europe. Last summer he launched a crowd funding campaign and invited people around the world to help him co-create “the most beautiful album of my life”. Tomlinson writes, “I felt that the only way my project could stand apart is if I could inspire people to want to be a part of something that made the world a better place”. His effort was extremely successful, raising almost $20,000 more than the songwriter had asked for. He spent the fall of 2015 in a Seattle recording studio, with several artists from around the world contributing tracks to his album, sending music files back and forth until the songs took form. This summer Michael Tomlinson releases ”House Of Sky”.
The album is a bookend to his very first album,“Run This Way Forever”, which Michael released in the late 1980’s. That album was played in a couple of dozen cities and sold over 100,000 copies on Michael’s own small label, Desert Rain. Michael then signed with a series of LA based labels, gaining one top ten hit with “Dawning On A New Day”, but decided in the mid 1990’s to leave the chaos of the traditional music industry when he learned what he called, “an obvious-to-everyone-but-me lesson, that the music business was never about music”. From that time on Michael has continued to write and record in Seattle and perform concerts around the US every year. He also hosts occasional retreats, called “A Gathering Of Friends”, and is completing a book to be released in 2017.
Michael Ward with Dogs & Fishes
”This political season has produced a phenomenon unique in my experience. While the shading of facts, as well as the outright falsehoods designed to promote one’s objectives have been a staple of electioneering for as long as the process has existed, the current surreal and widespread public acceptance of the openly, one might say proudly, mendacious rhetoric of Donald Trump is unprecedented in our country. His chronic devaluation of verifiable fact in favor of the broadcast of unsupportable but emotionally rewarding fantasy threatens to turn our attempts at collective decision making in an irretrievably dark direction. Differences are the inevitable consequence of democracy and language is the primary tool we have as citizens to sort them out. To so radically alter the terms of public debate with a willingness to trade the truth for crowd response, will make all subsequent debate more difficult, and in some cases impossible. Words matter. Tone matters. Respect is the price of common destiny and we are bound together in that conversation regardless of affiliation. This song, 'Mendacity', is my humble stab at naming this dangerous tactic.” ~ Michael Ward
Mietek, a critically acclaimed recording artist and long established superstar in Poland, has achieved notable milestones throughout his vocal career, including several Polish Fryderyks for Best Singer and a coveted slot representing his country at the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem.
His newest studio recording, "Signs", is also his first English language album, co-produced with American songwriter-producer Wendy Waldman. Recorded on two continents with a crew of brilliant Polish and American musicians and songwriters - and ranging in content from Arabic and Eastern influenced songs to American-style gospel tracks recorded with the legendary HB Barnum and Life Choir in Los Angeles - the album's bold vision casts Mietek as storyteller and guide to a musical world without borders. During the album's sessions, Barnum (who has arranged music for icons such as Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, Frank Sinatra and numerous others) noted to Mietek and Waldman that they are "building a new culture" with this powerful new project.
Hailing from the ancient city of Kalisz, one of the oldest in Europe, Mietek started singing in front of live audiences by the time he was six. In his teens, he began attracting attention as a very gifted singer. At the age of twenty one, he made his official debut at the Polish Song Festival, where he won the main prize. He continued participating in international festivals around the world, from Alma–Ata, Russia, Turkey and Israel to most of the European countries and the USA., taking first prize at most of them. Hitting the charts immediately after beginning his recording career in 1990, Mietek has released numerous hit records as an artist as well as a songwriter for other acts. There are countless youtube videos, songs, and excellent musical projects of all types on the internet today, reflecting his wide scope of musical talent and interest.
Together with Edyta Gorniak, Mietek recorded "Dumka Na Dwa Serca", the most popular Polish film soundtrack song of all time and a vocal tour-de-force for both artists. The track cemented Mietek's reputation as the finest male singer in Poland, an opinion which is widely held today. Polish audiences know and love Mietek - he sings with choirs, orchestras, for children, with other artists, for charity, on television, in concert - his distinctive and soulful voice can be heard on TV soundtracks, in video games, church programs, jazz festivals and of course, on pop radio.
As a Pole, he sits at the crossroads of many rich musical traditions, both eastern and western, all of which appear in his vocal style, the production values in his recordings, his superb songwriting, and the wide variety of artists with whom he has collaborated. His insatiable curiosity to explore new musical worlds has led him to work in many fields: world music, pop, gospel, jazz, classical, soul, funk, and Brazilian music. His influences come both from the west and the east - a passion for American pop and jazz combines with a love of Arabic and Asian music, all reflected in his vocal approach.
Acclaimed US singer-songwriters Greg Copeland and Janni Littlepage, English-Italian singstress Luisa Jordan-Killoran and Swedish pop-oracle Citizen K are just a few of the artists and musicians who helped Mikael Persson complete his sophomore solo album, "Marks & Bleeds".
An album that in many ways is about dreams and meetings, where dreams have given rise to song ideas, and various meetings with other artists and musicians have helped Michael achieve what he's been looking for in his musical life ever since its inception in Borås in the 70's.
Early in the process of the new album, Mikael was offered an unreleased song by acclaimed singer-songwriter Greg Copeland, "Roughhouse Boys", and as always is the case, Mikael puts his own unique stamp on an already amazing song.
Later on, brilliant singer Luisa Jordan-Killoran enters the picture, and the project find the dynamics in the vocal arrangements that were previously lacking. Just listen to the heartbreaking version of Vince Clarke's "Only You", and you'll understand why.
In the eleventh hour of work the experienced songwriter Janni Littlepage offers her services and the album feels at once like a finished, complete unit.
Along the way, old friends and acquaintances, like Klas Qvist (Citizen K), Thomas Pontén (Little Green) and Pelle Johanson, have helped out with both arrangements and production ideas.
The title of the new, forthcoming album is "Marks & Bleeds", but in another world and in another time, it could as easily have been "Dreams & Meetings". Please enter the wonderful world of Mikael Persson, and let yourself be swept away.....
On her new release “Baby, We All Know”, Miss Tess continues to explore her own personal crossroads of American roots music. This full length release features 11 finely crafted and well sung original songs. Heightened by Tess’ prowess on her Weymann archtop guitar, she is accompanied by her top notch band, The Talkbacks, featuring guitar ace and co-conspirator Thomas Bryan Eaton. The songs were further enlivened with piano, organ, pedal steel and fiddle in the studio.
Tess says “I consider this my best yet collection of original music. In writing these tunes I stepped out of myself and into many different characters, based on real life and my imagination, and pulled sounds and stories from my musical fantasyland. Baby, we all know their secrets and on goings, in a world of mischief and troubled fun”. These songs were penned at Tess’s yearly writing retreat in New Hampshire, and at her home in Nashville. Yet time and place don’t bear much relevance here, the subjects she speaks through live in the streets of New Orleans, in the backwoods hollers of Tennessee, on a train heading to Mexico, and under the sheets.
Tess got her musical start at home in Maryland, her childhood nights ending in music. Her parents would sing her to sleep with the gentle, tender sounds of American folk songs, occasionally interrupted by their 30’s swing band rehearsing in the basement. Tess studied pianomas a child, and continued on as a teenager to take up the guitar and singing, and eventually began her own studies in early jazz and blues. All grown up, Miss Tess & The Talkbacks regularly steal the show at venues with something a little rowdier and more eclectic. Infused with classic country and honky tonk, southern rhythm and blues, New Orleans jazz and swing, and sounds of swamp pop and early rock ‘n’ roll, she is an embodiment of everything that it still homegrown in America.
Miss Tess has been releasing albums and leading a band for over a decade, spanning her career over many different cities, including Baltimore, Boston, New York, and her new home base of Nashville, TN. Straddling her move from New York to Nashville, the new album was recorded in both cities. The recording cast includes her steady band mate and co-producer, Thomas Bryan Eaton, producer Dan Knobler (Rodney Crowell, Tift Merritt), Robin Macmillan, Jake Silver, Roy Williams, Stefan Zeniuk, Eric Frey, Dominic Billet, Kai Welch, John Pahmer, Aaron Shaffer Haiss, Oliver Craven, Maya De Vitry and Caitlin Canty.
A follow up to 2012’s “Sweet Talk” and 2013’s “The Love I Have For You”, both released on Signature Sounds Recordings, “Baby, We All Know” will be released independently. As she expands and grows more into her own sound, Tess is still hard to categorize. She says “Many times after the show, somebody will come up to compliment the band and ask me what kind of music we just played. After mumbling through a few different genres I usually just tell them it’s my music and hope they enjoyed the show”.
Enjoyable is just what “Baby, We All Know” is, propelled by the classic quality of Tess’s vocals, compelling and totally believable. The production throughout is the right balance of punch and rhythm, without getting in the way of the vocals or songwriting, giving this collection of songs a plentiful dose of old school swagger. Time after time, Miss Tess is able to utilize sounds and styles from a past era combined with modern sensibilities to present an authentic and engaging presence.
Mona & Maria
Mona & Maria is a new duo from Oslo, Norway. They're here with their debut album 'My Sun'. Mona & Maria’s music can be described as harmony-based pop with folk elements and great, and often grand, arrangements, but still with an acoustic feel. Their debut 'My Sun' consists of 10 self-penned songs. Mona & Maria tell us about the debut:
“Something was let loose after we started working on songs that did not fit the sound of the band we were in. We strongly felt the need to create something more personal, and we started making melodies to something obscure that had been lying dormant in both of us. After a band breakdown, came a new musical need that we found in each other. We both were terrified of singing alone, but together we sort of found a third person to make us feel secure. We began experimenting with harmonies. It became our way of being together. After several rounds and recordings of these songs, the record started to take shape, and we found our soundscape by working with dynamics. We wanted to have both the low-key and intimate, and the grandiose and dramatic, to have both darkness and light at once. We wanted to make unpretentious arrangements that enhanced the lyrics and the melodies, and not buried them. The result was 'My Sun'.”
Mona Andersen (27) and Maria Knudsen (28) have already written songs together for many years, and both were central parts of the band Bazooka Boppers, with which they released two albums. After the band’s break-up in 2010, Mona and Maria continued playing together, and it worked out so well that they decided to move forward as a duo. The album was recorded at Engfelt & Forsgren Studio with Christian Engfelt as producer, along with the girls themselves. Engfelt also plays the bass on a few of the songs.
Music Is Love
There's been tributes to The Byrds, The Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies. There's been several tributes to Neil Young. There's even been a tribute to Graham Nash's album "Songs For Beginners". But there has never been a tribute to the collective body of work of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Until now!
On October 16th, 2012, Sweden's Hemifrån and Italy's Route 61 Music releases "Music Is Love - A Singer-Songwriters' Tribute To The Music Of Crosby Stills Nash & Young.
The album features, not only several musicians from the inner circle of CSN&Y (Stephen Stills' former girlfriend Judy Collins and daughter Jennifer Stills, Anthony Crawford and Rick Rosas from Neil Young's Electric Band, Sonny Mone from Crazy Horse, David Crosby's guitarist Marcus Eaton and vocal favorites Venice), but also some cool names from the 70's (Karla Bonoff, Elliott Murphy, Willie Nile, Wendy Waldman), some interesting names from the 80's (Sid Griffin from Long Ryders, Ian McNabb from Icicle Works, Liam O'Maonlai from Hothouse Flowers, Steve Wynn from Dream Syndicate), as well as some new-up-and-coming names from the alt country scene in the U.S. (Clarence Bucaro, Neal Casal, Carrie Rodriguez).
The liner notes are penned by Dave Zimmer (author of two official books on CSN and CSNY), and CSN&Y's official photographer Henry Diltz offers some unpublished photos from his vast archives.
My Darling Clementine
With her best years seemingly behind her, a former Las Vegas showgirl works double shifts in a rundown Memphis bar. Alone and estranged from her daughter, Marcia lives life vicariously through her customers and the everyday tragedies of people falling in and out of love. These are moving tales of grief and heartbreak, lust, murder and domestic horror. Serving beer and burgers as these very different stories unfold, Marcia reflects on her single doomed shot at happiness. Then one day, she receives a phone call that changes everything…..
”The Other Half” is a unique collaboration between the leading lights of mystery fiction and country music. An original story by bestselling crime writer Mark Billingham, soundtracked by the powerful and poignant songs of internationally acclaimed americana duo My Darling Clementine.
Mark Billingham is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and popular crime writers. He has twice won the Theakston's Old Peculier Award for Best Crime Novel, and has also won a Sherlock Award for the Best Detective created by a British writer. Each of his novels featuring detective inspector Tom Thorne has been a Sunday Times bestseller, and ’Sleepyhead’ and ’Scaredy Cat’ were made into a hit television series on Sky 1 in 2010 starring David Morrissey as Thorne. His most recent novel,’Time Of Death’, and ’In The Dark’, published 2008, are being adapted into a series and will air on the BBC in autumn 2016. Mark lives in North London with his wife and two children.
My Darling Clementine are leading lights of the British americana and country music scene who have, to date, released 2 highly acclaimed albums, “How Do You Plead?” (2011) and “The Reconciliation” (2013). Comprising of husband-and-wife duo Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish, they have a growing legion of fans, including such famous figures as Graham Norton and Bob Harris. My Darling Clementine mine a rich seam of country classicism, in particular the countrypolitan sound of late 60’s Nashville.
My Girl The River
Created by Kris Wilkinson Hughes, My Girl The River was born out of a song. 'The Last Song' was the first song written for this americana, alt country, folk and roots project. Kris, hailing from Louisiana (and living in Jackson, MS and Nashville, TN) and English bassist Joe Hughes, have created a gorgeous collection of songs, showing a depth of range and storytelling that only some artists get to experience and some music lovers get to enjoy.
Along with some astonishingly gifted musicians (Jonathan Byrd, Will Kimbrough, Nick Pynn, Max Milligan, Kristin Wilkinson, Jacob Chano Lundby, John Garden and Tom Moth) they are very pleased to offer up their debut album 'This Ain't No Fairytale'. Described as 'stunning', it is mainly inspired by Kris' upbringing in the American deep south, bringing to life anecdotes, half-truths, white lies and fables. Ranging from alt country and folk to Americana and roots, it ticks every box. It was recorded in the front room of Kris and Joe's house in November 2015 and mixed by John Garden, produced by Kris, mastered by Mick Conley (Suzy Bogguss, Kathy Mattea, Marty Stuart), with art direction by James Marsh (Talk Talk).
Called ’a roots supergroup’ by The Boston Phoenix, The Mystix continue to headline major venues throughout New England, performing their unique interpretations of the music of rural America, as well as inspired original material.
Their 5 critically acclaimed CD’s have enjoyed substantial airplay across the country and around the world, consistently appearing on major americanaand roots charts in the US, UK and Europe.
Noted for their impeccable musicianship as well as their soulful, spirited and lighthearted performances, The Mystix’ legendary, veteran lineup never fails to deliver a thrilling show.
Jo Lily, guitar and lead vocals, Bobby Keyes, guitar, Matt Leavenworth, fiddle, Jesse Williams, bass and vocals, Marty Richards, drums and Annie Raines, harp and vocals.
My Quiet Companion
The Swedish Gothenburg based trio My Quiet Companion (Sofia Ekberg, Patrick Rydman and Henrik Cederblom) was formed in the autumn of 2012, out of pure joy, jamming together while producing Sofia’s EP "All The Small Details". Their eponymous full length debut album contains a selection of tracks previously released on that record, along with new material. The group performs their original songs in a style of americana, folk, pop and roots. My Quiet Companion have played live across Sweden, where they have opened for Aoife O’Donovan of Crooked Still fame and shared the stage with Adam Levy (songwriter and guitarist from Norah Jones’ Handsome Band). In 2015, the trio was invited to play the 2015 Arctic Sounds Festival, Sisimiut, Greenland, where they also held songwriting workshops. With 3 guitars, mandolin, dobro, stompboard and harmony singing they create a groovy intimate sound where you can lean back and listen to the tales of the song. Catchy Americana with a Scandinavian edge.
Mårten Lärka is a pop oriented singer, songwriter and troubadour, from the northern part of Sweden. He has mostly used Swedish lyrics, but now also sings in French.
The music of Mårten Lärka is minimalistic with the songs clearly defined in the centre. Rock’n’roll or lullabies. The lyrics are given with a mix of humor and seriousness, with the modern society in focus.
Mårten Lärka has attracted creative youngsters, curios children and cultured adults for more than a decade. He has been touring with his personal style all through Sweden, and parts of Germany.
2005 saw the release of the debut album, "Innan Natten Har Gjort Kväll". 2006 it was time for the xmas single, "Trasiga Pepparkakshjärtan". The 2nd full length album, "Livstidsvicket", followed in 2008. The EP series, "Trubadelica", started off 2011. The 4 track "Doneras Till Staten" was released in 2013 and a 3rd full length album, "Jadåså", in 2014. The 10” vinyl album "Alouette" will be released in April this year.
Mårten Lärka started his musical track in the 80´s. In the 90´s he belonged to the swedish indie scene with Opossum, who later on became The Trimatics. He has also been involved in a Swedish Grammy, for performing 2 classic children songs on "Älskade Ramsor, Sagor Och Sånger Från Barnkammarboken, Vol 4" in 2007. But that's another story...