The start of this band dates back to September 1979 as a country blues acoustic trio. In 1981 the first electric line up with bass and drums commits the Mandolin’ Brothers to rock-blues classics. At the beginning of the 90's, after much musical experience and as many line up changes, the band adds an accordion and keyboards and reintroduces the mandolin (this time amplified) drawing the band closer to the roots-rock sound. The latter varies from the Mexican-border and the Louisiana-swamp-rock to the ballads of solo artists, without ever forgetting their blues roots.
During their 35 years of career they have played all around Europe, USA and worked with many artists, like Dave Alvin, Eric Bibb, Alvin Lee, Elliott Murphy and Nine Below Zero, to name but a few.
Their 5th album “Far Out” is out now through Ultra Sound Records.
To say Marc Black’s musical journey has included some unusual stops is a colossal understatement. Over the course of his career, Black has recorded and performed in a variety of formats from 60's pop to improvisational rock to ambient experimental performance art. But on his latest, "Pictures Of The Highway", Black returns to the simplicity of live performance.
“I have a Guild D-40 that I bought in 1969”, says Black. “It’s been with me the entire trip. It’s almost a dousing rod for songs at this point”. In planning the production of the 12 songs for the album, Black chose to build an album that could easily be replicated live, either solo or with a small band.
“I’m standing behind the song and letting it speak for itself”, says the Hudson Valley, NY, musician. “My co-producer, Jennifer Condos, wanted to do a real simple record. We recorded pretty much everything at her house in California. We wanted to hear everything and make it as comfortable and honest as we could”.
The album is already gaining attention for Black. “Ooh I Love My Coffee” has already made it to the top 10 of the Folk DJ charts, while the album is in the Top 20. In addition to Condos, Black enlisted friends Jay Bellerose (Alison Krauss/Robert Plant), Steve Gadd, Mark Goldenberg, Sloan Wainwright and more.
Black first appeared on the music scene with his high school band, The Blades Of Grass, which enjoyed a top 40 hit and toured with Van Morrison and The Doors. At 21, he embraced psychedelic folk rock while living at folk-rock legend Tim Hardin’s house in Woodstock. “Tim left town and I inherited his band”, laughs Black. “A compilation of the recordings we made can be found in the Smithsonian Collection on the ESP label”.
He has since recorded more than a dozen CD's, first for RCA, Jubilee, and ESP before embarking on an independent career. An award-winning artist, Black has worked with the likes of Rick Danko, John Sebastian, Taj Mahal, Maria Mulduar, Art Garfunkel and Richie Havens, among others.
In 2009 he was named “Folk Artist Of The Year” on ABC Radio’s Fame Games, and a “New Folk Finalist” at the 2009 Kerrville Folk Festival, as well as a winner at the New Jersey Folk Festival and in the Austin Songwriter’s competition.
His previous release, "Stroke Of Genius" - which was based on the poetry of his friend Dan Mountain, who suffered a stroke and remained in a coma for 21 days before waking up when Doctors pulled life support - led to an award-winning documentary, an endorsement by the National Stroke Association and a performance at the Sundance Film Festival (with Donovan). His 'YouTube' videos have been viewed as many as 35,000 times and he was invited by Levon Helm to perform at one of the ‘Rambles In Woodstock’. Meanwhile, he has recently been writing and recording with Eric Weissberg (“Dueling Banjos”) and John Sebastian.
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 30 years ago. Those folk beginnings we're followed by a ten year run as front man and writer for Toronto roots rockers The Bel-Vistas. The last decade and a half or so has been spent raising a family and pursuing music as a solo artist.
I work away in my home studio now and am involved in recording and producing for others. I'm happy to say my new album is out! The title is "Quiet Again" and is a completely self-produced effort. It marks a return to my urban folk roots and has been receiving high praise from critics and fans in the US and Europe. I'm looking forward to playing around town and beyond in support of it.
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 the ever-so-cool Nick Lowe.
My repertoire consists of original songs that span the length of my career as well as plenty of covers in the classic rock, pop, folk, blues, and country styles. For the most part I perform as a solo acoustic act and when all stars align I have a most wonderful band called "The Confessors" who make me look good." ~ Mark Ripp
Marsteller & Rhodes
Producers Paul Marsteller and Gabriel Rhodes invite you back into the parlor with “The Beautiful Old”, an entertaining collection of elegant yet earthy songs, ranging from 1823’s 'Home Sweet Home' to 1918’s 'Till We Meet Again'. “The Beautiful Old” keeps the piano, often played by The Band’s Garth Hudson, at the heart of each arrangement, illustrating the original spirit of the compositions brought back to life with such illustrious vocalists as Richard Thompson, Christine Collister, Dave Davies (The Kinks), Graham Parker, Kimmie Rhodes, Kim Richey, Heidi Talbot, Jimmy LaFave, Eric Bibb and more.
The stories behind the songs reflect changing times for music and popular culture: 'After The Ball' became the first song in history to sell a million copies of sheet music (and went on to sell 5 million!) and was the beginning of what became known as Tin Pan Alley; 'Come Josephine In My Flying Machine' is a fun take on the new invention of air-flight; 'The Dying Californian' is based on a farewell letter written at sea in the Gold Rush era; 'The Flying Trapeze' is a comic-tragic account of French acrobat Jules Leotard, who also designed the one-piece garment that bears his name.
These antique tales illuminate the past, but along with the other songs on “The Beautiful Old”, reflect timeless subjects of loss and regret, comforts of home, wistful loneliness, heartbreak and the joys of love as the sweetest song of all.
With his 3rd album, "Together", Swedish singer-songwriter Martin Lorentzson has taken his love for rootsy pop music one step further. Through working with other songwriters and soundscape producer Carl Granberg, the new album shows that Martin’s warm voice paired with strong melodies and detailed, dreamy arrangements is a winner.
Martin is a true do-it-yourself artist. All of his albums have been realized without a record label or today’s crowdfunding platforms. The hard work has paid off - He’s been playing live in national TV several times, and his songs have been placed in big brand commercials.
His new album indicates a more daring path in his career, a path that likely will attract new listeners and fans. Martin is, however, experienced enough to have balanced expectations.
“The more songs you write and the harder you work, the better songwriter you’ll become. That’s all that matters".
"Together" will be released March 25th, 2014, as a physical CD and on all digital platforms.
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
Melanie Dekker is a Canadian roots-folk-pop sensation hailing from Deep Cove, BC, who writes songs to connect people’s hearts by weaving between emotion and sensibilities. Her world class strumming and voice like chocolate (radio hit in Canada "I Said I", radio hit in Denmark "Boomerang"), tour over 100 concerts in Europe yearly and her new album “Distant Star” has already sold 10,000 copies since its November 15th, 2013 rlease in Canada. This acoustically driven album is a beautiful addition to her elaborate discography. One of her previous albums, "Revealed", was produced by David Kershenbaum (Tracy Chapman, Joan Baez, Joe Jackson). Like these artists, Dekker has a special tangible emotive flare - She will move you, and laugh with you, as her deliciously crafted and potent songs pull on your heart. “I want to move people, like they move me”.
Dekker has opened for Diana Krall and Faith Hill, and performed with Russell Peters, Chaka Khan and Bryan Adams, as well for president Bill Clinton. She’s made a string of popular youtube videos which include her music synched to her experiences at the Polar Bear Swim, the 2010 Olympics, her own Wisdom tooth removal, and her Christmas concerts in Afghanistan. Dekker was given a 'Medal Of Honour' by the Chief of Defence Staff for Canada for her song "Fall In/Wounded Soldier", which was an emotional surprise. There are other surprises. Dekker says, “I get lost in the endless wonder and emotions behind my songwriting. So much so that long after a song is crafted and recorded, and performed hundreds of times, I often still look surprisingly at it and think 'Huh? I wrote that?' Somewhere between starting with nothing and finishing a 4 minute song that fans are singing along to has an infinite sense of wonder to me. I’m enchanted by it and driven by it”.
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.
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”.
"Awash in a melodic swath of near-psychedelic ether, Michael Miller's 'I Made You Up' teeters between that delicate dream state of newborn refuge and Milky Way haze. Don't let the SoCal singer-songwriter thing fool you: Miller's unassuming yet gumptious approach places him squarely alongside the likes of troubadours Pete Droge/Steve Forbert but with flecks of Supertramp/Bowie-style transcendental grandeur."
"I Made You Up" is Michael Miller's second full-length album. Miller describes the recording process as 'effortless', thanks to the group of elite luminaries involved. "They’re mostly old friends who all know each other and also happen to be some of the most talented players in L.A. I feel remarkably fortunate to have had them on this project."
The cast includes drummer Brendan Buckley (Damien Rice, Shakira), bassist Dan Rothchild (Fiona Apple, Sheryl Crow, Beck), pedal steel guitarist Eric Heywood (Ray LaMontagne, The Pretenders, Son Volt), keyboardist Patrick Warren (Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Tom Waits, Sam Phillips), guitarist Lyle Workman (Jellyfish, Beck, Sting), B3/keyboardist Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters, The Wallflowers), lap steel guitarist Ben Peeler (The Wallflowers, Jim White), cellist and violinist Stevie Blacke (Beck, Madonna, Snoop Dogg), guitarist Adam Zimmon (Shakira), bassist Joe Ongie (multi-instrumentalist, producer whiz kid), and guitarist Mike Roe (The 77s).
"I Made You Up" was produced by Miller and Buckley, co-produced by Joe Ongie, recorded by Mike Terry (Foo Fighters, The Eagles) at Elliott Smith's old place New Monkey Studios in Van Nuys, California, and mixed by Ryan Freeland (Aimee Mann, Crowded House, Rodney Crowell, Son Volt, Joe Henry, Grant Lee Phillips).
Miller wrote his first songs at the tender age of 6. "My best friend and I would make up these silly theme songs about all the kids in the neighborhood. They were sometimes cruel but extremely hilarious - at least to the minds of 6-year-olds - and we would get the rest of the kids to sing along."
These days, Miller's secret muse for inspiration now comes from his ongoing habit to go exploring in other countries. "It became an annual tradition and sort of my drug of choice. Besides the sweet freedom and built-in surprise of a new, faraway world, I just love getting lost, literally, in strange lands, hanging with the locals, the natives, and seeing how they live. It's sort of like soul mining. I get to go dig for beauty and truth in other people's backyards and the discoveries and treasure-finds typically end up in my songs in some way."
When Miller is not out trotting the globe, you'll find him drawing "little doodles," as he calls them, for several different international greeting card lines. "I still have a line with Hallmark. At one point, they fired some of their best art directors and VPs, then axed my line, saying they were 'reassessing their taste guidelines' and thought my work was too irreverent or inappropriate," he says, laughing. "They then asked if I would be willing to draw for their writers and editors on another line. I agreed but insisted that I use my pseudonym, which was in fact, my 'porn star name'. You know that game? I still get a kick out of seeing my 'porn star' by-line in mainstream card racks."
Michael Miller's sophomore release, "I Made You Up", is available now.
Michael Ward with Dogs & Fishes
"After the completion of my last CD, I found myself in the grip of post partum diffusion. Aiming to lock myself into proscribed production, I rented a cabin from a friend overlooking Monterey Bay that I could not really afford, which was a workable, but statement making distance from my home of bed and business. The trouble it took to make use of it was designed to require results. Christened Penelope by its owner, it was a unique and unnervingly appropriate structure, which was both fittingly austere and functionally opulent. A monks cell with cable, in a postcard setting, a classically inspired backstory, and an implicit mandate for new work. 'Weekends On The Wine Dark Sea' is the product of this subterfuge.
Like any collection written and recorded in series, over time, while bending to the weight of prior commitment, these tunes reflect my attempt at processing these rich and intrusive times more or less as they happened. The jaw dropping inadequacies of our collective system of survival, matched weight with the confusion and complications of love as song worthy. Hope and affection wrestled with invective and self indictment, while bemused observation held their coats. The usual songwriter stuff.
The whole process went into unexplored territory a couple of years ago, when a fire at my house and the subsequent bell ringing bad choice of a contractor put me in the strange position, which I continue to enjoy, of living out of a backpack in a series of temporary shelters; from motels, to a luxurious penthouse in a marginal neighborhood, to the rustic charm of the construction zone that is my current home. Much of this adventure has been paid for by the good choice of an insurance company. Being a creature of routine, it was not an altogether bad thing to be rousted from a decades long living situation, as a less encumbered and well funded perspective ensued which seemed to shine some fresh light on things.
For all the writing and visualization, the actualization of all this has depended on the extended collaboration that is Dogs & Fishes. It is a great gift to work with these wonderful and richly talented players. I am deeply grateful for whatever it is that has kept these guys interested, the basic group having gone on for close to a decade. The addition of the inimitable Prairie Prince a few years ago has made us a truly dangerous outfit, capable of intricate and inventive arrangements, wild unexpected improvisation, and a bad ass groove nurtured by long time familiarity.
Most of the songs were recorded with the full band in the studio for basics, followed by weeks and months of overdubs and editing, then on to the mix, which were all done by old friend Mark Needham in his palatial lair in LA. There are a few interesting exceptions to this routine. One late summer we hauled a full Pro Tools rig and several cases of beer, to the cabin and spent the weekend jamming and recording. The result was 'The Pearl Gone By', thoughtfully edited from its original 25 minutes to the current 8. 'Engine Eddie' had been in our live repertoire for many years and had been recorded by a previous ensemble, Dog & Pony. We wanted to finally get it on a record, since it has been a consistent crowd pleaser, but a close listen made it obvious that the track was too cool to abandon, so we baked and transferred the 2 inch tape, redid the vocals and then remixed. A unique and modern experience.
This collection reflects my take on the alternately strange, grim, and wonderful life I've been living along with the rest of us, leavened by the serenity and perspective inspired by its site of composition. May you find it useful."
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.....
Raleigh, North Carolina-based poetic roots rock americana band Milagro Saints are on the road touring in support of their most recent releases "Chance & Circumstance" (Moon Caravan Records), which was recorded in Carrboro, NC, and Nashville, TN, and an EP of their roots-rock versions of Woody Guthrie tunes called "Mighty Road Songs".
The band originally formed in NYC around the songwriting, singing and acoustic guitar of Englishman SD Ineson but moved to North Carolina when they were signed to indy label MoodFood, which had released the debut album by Ryan Adams’ Whiskeytown, one of the originators of the alt country genre.
The Saints have released several albums since then and toured nationally at gigs and festivals including The Woody Guthrie Festival in Okemah, OK, they opened for 10,000 Maniacs at the Lowell, MA, Summer Music Series for the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s book 'On The Road', and appeared at Shakori Hills Festival, NC, on the same bill as Donna The Buffalo and Carolina Chocolate Drops.
The band instrumentation includes: hammond organ, melodica, harmonica, accordion (Lee Kirby), lap steel, dobro (Smitty), mandolin, electric guitar (Bert Morales), trombone, fiddle, percussion, and album producer (Jick wins-Low), drums (Rusty May) and bass (Steve Samosky). The selection of original songs vary from rocking out stompers, to acoustic ballads and funky jams.
Since appearing at the Glastonbury Festival in 2004, Millpond Moon have been touring extensively both in the UK, Europe and the US. During this period they have created they're own sound and style, and a new album, "Broke In Brooklyn", produced and arranged by Millpond Moon, is released.
Kjersti Misje graduated from Faculty of fine Arts at Agder University College in 1996 where she studied rythmic music and jazz vocal training. She strums her guitar in subtle chords and various tunings, while blending jazz-vocals with oldtime, country and bluegrass. She also proves to be an excellent folk-singer with a fine, even voice with lots of warmth.
Rune Hauge is known to be one of Norway's leading roots artists, guitarists and singer-songwriters. He's appeared on numerous recordings on guitar, vocals and dobro with some of Noway's leading artists. In 1992 and 1993 he was musical director and performer on two successful Norwegian TV-series called "Roots 92" and "Roots 93". Among the guests were Garth Hudson, Townes Van Zandt, Emmylou Harris, Rick Danko, Paul Brady, Richard Thompson, Tony Joe White and many more.
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.
Formed in 1996 in London by singer/multiinstrumentalist /producer Malcolm Cross. The band name is actually a reference to his childhood hero, West Coast jazz drummer Joe Morello.
The group were a mainstay of London's 'Acid Jazz' scene in the late 90's; outside of recording debut LP 'Jackpot' (1998, CDV Music) Mal worked as a sideman for various maverick UK acts including Spiritualized, Death in Vegas and M J Cole.
A lifelong dream was realised when a recording contract with UK band Minibar brought him to Los Angeles, California, forming the inspiration for his US debut 'Minimal' (2003, self released); a kaleidoscope of musical styles in tribute to his new home. The song 'Too Sweet' from that album was ultimately featured on the soundtrack to the Focus Features movie 'Something New'(2006, Lakeshore Records.)
His latest release 'Handheld'(2007, self released) is a nod to the music and influences of his mispent youth - early 80's synth pioneers Prince, Giorgio Moroder and Yellow Magic Orchestra. The current band lineup includes vocalist Em C, Zak Schaffer (guitar) and Pierre Martin (bass.)
"Hyperactive fun...brimming with irresistable melody and the true flavor of L.A..." (Rave!)
"A real damn good album that you need to discover right away..." (Melodic.net)
"An infectious romp through California's magnificent musical memoirs, still managing to sound wildly Right Now." (Pamela des Barres)
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
My Darling Clementine is singer-songwriter Michael Weston King and singing and life partner Lou Dalgleish. Together they have recorded an album of country duets with echoes of those great country duet albums of the 60's and 70's - George and Tammy, Porter and Dolly, etc.
Thirteen songs of heartbreak, love, betrayal and bitterness brought together on the album 'How Do You Plead?'.
Michael Weston King is widely acknowledged as one of Britain's finest singer songwriters, admired by the likes of Chris Hillman, Ron Sexsmith, Jackie Leven and the legendary Townes van Zandt (who recorded one of his songs), he draws his influence from a wide range of styles, from pop to folk, from country to soul, from gospel to blues. He is the former leader of U.K. alt country pioneers The Good Sons, with whom he made 4 critically acclaimed albums in a seven year career.
For the past eight years he has been a solo troubadour, touring all over the world, performing with the likes of Nick Cave, John Cale, Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, America, Chris Hillman, Nils Lofgren, Ron Sexsmith, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Forbert, Son Volt and many more, and releasing 6 studio albums and 3 live albums.
Together with his wife, the acclaimed singer Lou Dalgleish, and featuring the talents of Geraint Watkins, Martin Belmont, Bobby Irwin and other legendary British musicians, under the band name of My Darling Clementine, Michael Weston King has crafted album of pure country duets, all new songs, no covers.
The idea behind the record was to evoke the great duets of the likes of Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, or George Jones & Tammy Wynette.
Thirteen songs of love, separation, bitterness and acrimony.
Recorded at Gold Top studios in Chalk Farm, London, with Neil Brockbank co-producing. Neil has produced the last few Nick Lowe-albums, as well as work with Mary Coughlan, Alison Moyet, Tift Merritt, Geraint Watkins and many more.