(New York, NY) November 2019: Conveying honesty and vulnerability, contemporary singer-songwriter Siobhán O’Brien is excited to announce her new album You Can’t Run Out of Love, out late January 2020. Recorded in Austin, Texas, at Cicada Moon Studios, O’Brien worked alongside John Bush (percussionist for Edie Brickell & New Bohemians) and Matt Hubbard (keyboardist for Edie Brickell & New Bohemians). Together they brought to life 10 original songs, each documenting important moments in her life since she left Ireland for the US in 2016.
Inspired by great American singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow, and Joan Baez, O’Brien creates heartfelt tracks inspired by changes throughout her life. She shows her raw and vulnerable side through her tracks such as “Love Is The Holy Grail,” “Mother,” and “She Hides My Plecs.”
Reflecting on her upcoming album, O’Brien says, “I feel this record is about transitioning, it’s about acceptance, it’s about adventure, it’s about risk-taking. It’s a reminder to me to stay the course. To not give up. The theme is ‘women’ as I co-wrote the title track ‘You Can’t Run Out Of Love” with Jude Johnstone which is about the modern-day stress and struggles that mothers have to endure and ‘I Stayed Too Long’ is a co-write with Linda McRae. The last track ‘Mother’ is an apology to my own mother. “She Hides My Plecs” is about my sister. I want this record to bring joy and healing.”
Now, Siobhán O’Brien is excited to share her third studio album, You Can’t Run Out Of Love, with the world on late January 2020. The record will be introduced through her new single and title track “You Can’t Run out Of Love” releasing in November.
Be sure to follow Siobhan O’Brien on social media for exclusives and music updates.
You Can’t Run Out Of Love
1. You Can’t Run Out Of Love
2. The King’s Fool
3. Love Is The Holy Grail
4. Give Me Back The Love
5. The Burger Song (2 – 2.15 am)
6. Hold Me In Your Arms (Maybe this too)
7. I Stayed Too Long
8. She Hides My Picks
As a fourth-generation Irish musician, music has always been an important part of Siobhan O’Brien’s life. At the age of 16, she threw aside the piano and fiddle, dedicating herself to the guitar. Her musical ambitions grew as she released her original music to the world. Her debut album Mumbo Jumbo Bla Bla, released in 1996, went on to garner praise and national airplay throughout Ireland. In 2008, Siobhan released her album I Grew Up To, which featured famed Irish musician Paddy Moloney of The Chieftans and led to a performance at the Boston Symphony Hall with them the same year.
In 2016, Siobhan O’Brien made the move to America, deciding that was where she wanted to lay down her musical roots. She hit the ground running, opening for artists such as Nick Lowe at the acclaimed Birchmere Music Hall and had been awarded a coveted spot in the Folk-DJ Showcase at North East Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) by Mary Cliff.
I know it’s early in the month to announce Decembers album of the month but as you can see we need to do some work on the promotion material.
LESLIE BIXLER aka MISS BIX aka LESLIE LETVEN has been writing, recording and performing since her early twenties. Her first international record “Make It Right” was released on Syndrome Records under her maiden name Leslie Letven and did very well in the smooth jazz category, reaching #12 on the charts, and still receiving radio play today. At that time, she was collaborating with her talented husband Bill Bixler of the Wild Blue Band and nightclub.
Moving back to LA, Leslie and Bill produced and self-released “Porcupine,” which she sold at gigs and on CD Baby. After the birth of her son, Leslie turned her attention to children’s music, spending several days a week doing music circles with preschool age children. It was there that she wrote and test-ran several children’s songs which attracted the attention of Dick Van Dyke and Chad Smith (drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), whose child was in her class. She produced two albums “Moon Food” with Dick Van Dyke and “Rhythm Train” with Van Dyke and Chad Smith. She toured with Dick and Chad promoting those albums and received notable press from many celebrities and publications and won a parent’s choice award.
Once her son grew up, Leslie’s yearning for a new musical start led her to Clarksdale Mississippi where she fell seriously in love with the blues, something she had always gravitated towards. Working with co producer collaborator Ralph Carter (former Musical Director with Eddie Money and co-writer of his hit tune ‘Shakin’’) Leslie began writing “We Don’t Own The Blues,” a group of blues-based songs that reflect a new and exciting musical direction: passionate, intense, and sultry.
A decision taken after much difficulty. So many great albums have been sent to us lately the choice was hard almost cruel.
Why did “NEVER GOING TO LOSE” get it’s nose in front and win the race?
Songs being “Radio Friendly” helped.
Sean is a great guy but then so are the other artists.
You listen to a track from “NEVER GOING TO LOSE” and you think “that’s good”, listen to them all and they all sound good.
Listen to “NEVER GOING TO LOSE” again the songs sound different, you check to see if you are playing correct song, yes you are. There is so much going on during a song that it’s a different song the second,third… play.
Sean makes magic, magic music, that’s how he won the race.
No self respecting guitarist would ever admit they can’t play the blues, the chords are pretty simple, all you have to do is play a 1, 4, 5 progression, when you get to the end, put a little ‘turnaround’ piece in there and hey, you’re playing the blues. You’re not, you’re not playing the blues. You never will. You’re not Rembrandt, you’ve got the same paint, it’s the same canvas, the brush is in your hand… yet you still can’t paint a simple flower that makes you stop and stare in wonder.
Blues music was never popular, let’s not kid ourselves. It’s music born of Mid-Western barns and cheap wooden bars in desperate need of repair. All we have left are fading black and white images and crackling records. It was music made by the poor, mostly lives of solitary wandering to find a gig, or if they were lucky, they got themselves a residency for bed, beer, food and some tips. Some did find a little fame, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Willie Johnson, Robert Johnson were among the few.
Of course, we have Seasick Steve, making blues mainstream, but let’s not kid ourselves that he isn’t a circus act, he’s popular, funny and engaging, there’s a lot to like about the guy and his music, but he plays in the big top. All this talk about a blues revival misses the point, it never went away, it’s always there in the background like a grandfather watching over all of popular music. There’s a lot of polished, shiny stuff out there, all its minor faults ironed out by people using technology that would shame a space program. At 3:28 on track 2 Joe, there’s a snare beat that’s 3 milliseconds out, so Joe fixes it, after all, they wouldn’t want to offend anyone. Sometimes it seems there is more debate about mixing a track than there is in politics these days.
There are some of us left who like to hear strings buzzing, slightly mistimed finger strokes – to us it’s like a favourite jacket, it certainly isn’t designed by some high flyer, it wasn’t expensive, a lot of people think it looks aged, wrinkled, uncool, but we love it and wearing it makes us feel good.
Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes is a blues player, at 72 years of age he’s got a lot of history behind him. What is it about musicians that they never retire? Whilst we yearn for the day we finally walk away from the day job and seek a little peace and escape from everything we worked at for 50 years, these guys never give up, there’s always songs to write, another album they want to record, it must be a glorious yet frustrating life to live. Holmes is no exception, the Blue Front cafe, which his sharecropper mother and father opened in 1948, is run now by him. He opens the club every day and most weekends he’ll be there playing his music, often accompanied by friends.
From the opening guitar run of ‘Hard Times’, all the feel, the imperfection, the century or so of history and culture is brought out into the bright sunshine. Holmes’ latest album ‘Cypress Grove’ doesn’t change anything, it’s not a revolution, but who needs one of those when we can sit in our chair and listen to front porch blues? The title track is just over two minutes long, but packs in echoes of struggle and the desire for release. Played with such feel and ease, there’s a lifetime distilled down to 128 seconds right here. Holmes then ups the tempo for ‘Catfish Blues’ and ‘Going Away Baby’. Shuffling beat backing electric guitar breaks that overflow with distorted punctuation.
The album was produced by The Black Keys Dan Auerbach in Nashville, and his love of the genre and admiration for the work of Holmes is something that is evident throughout. Auerbach has done great work with this.
Little Red Rooster, that blues standard, receives the full band treatment and it is as laid back as it gets. It’s indulgent, of course it is, and so it should be, played in waves of instruments that wash and ebb over hypnotic beat. ‘Gonna Get Old Someday’ returns to punchy guitar with all the beating blues and sorrowful vocals, it’s full of energy but sung with contradictory world weariness. It’s a great example to anyone of Holmes’ work.
‘Train Train’ predictably uses a shuffle pattern to echo the engine on tracks of steel, and there is nothing wrong with that, the link between trains and the blues is almost as old as the genre itself. The train is running down the track, will it bring his baby back? Who knows… all I know is that I enjoyed the ride through this album, and if you get the chance, buy a ticket for yourself.
Americana Folk artist Courtney Hale-Revia among the first to adopt technology
If CDs are going away what will you sell at your live shows?
Today’s Artists Read the Tea Leaves
CDs are going away and where does that leave merchandise sales at live performances? Performances are one of the few places where artists can continue to earn a nice living. Therefore on site music sales are important and making some profit would be nice too. Brian Baker, President, Sound Arts Recording Studio has a reputation for embracing technologies of the past and getting cozy with new technologies. He realized that the industry was making a major shift and his insatiable appetite for all things technology kept his eyes on new developments within the music delivery systems market. Courtney Hale-Revia is an upcoming forward thinking Americana Folk artist that knew going into the Sound Arts Recording Studio that she wanted to present her music in multi-format options such as vinyl for example. Her train of thought was and remains let audiences decide on what format they wish to take home. While Brian’s focus was on the technology Courtney’s was on audience appeal.
Shown: Three choices for show sales: Vinyl, Compact Disc, Credit Card USB
However, a third factor comes into play from a business point of view, profitability. With all of this in mind the two of them began to review options together. One option was this rather new device which is a credit card size delivery mechanism that was priced right and would not only hold audio files but Courtney’s video files and PDFs as well. This would mean that Courtney could add her new video onto the device along with her bio and audio files. You could actually have two different credit card size options if you wanted to – one with just the audio files on it and a second with both audio and video files on it. Therefore presenting two consumer price points. The bottom line is that a trusting partnership between the studio and the artist allows for crystal clear examinations of a non-stop evolving industry, the music industry. In this case it worked beautifully. If you are an independent artist and your CD sales have declined it’s probably not your music just that less and less people are using CD platforms these days. Auto manufacturers are not even putting CD players in new cars anymore unless you special order one. Because you need to protect one of the last bastions of profit, income from your live shows, you definitely need delivery options. Courtney Hale-Revia is an insightful songwriter and she is quite the entrepreneur. She comes by it honestly as her father has been a
A Unique Delivery Platform
Courtney Hale-Revia is both a forward thinking artist and venue owner. To the left you can see how she addressed the reverse side of her new credit card size delivery mechanism.
These storage devices can even be blister packed and include custom made messaging on the perimeter of the container including your logo.
life long folk songwriter and artist for as long as she can remember. As he has shared the beauty of creation and the enjoyment of sharing with his daughter over the years Courtney could not help but fall in love with the process herself. However, Courtney has taken her foray into music a step further. She opened a remote listening room back off the beaten path of interstate 10 just south of Beaumont Texas. Artists and music lovers alike love it. Her listening room embraces the intimate experience of being up close and personal. Sort of like when your Dad or Mom or one of your Uncles or Aunts might have performed at home so many years ago. There’s just something about these settings that sets the soul free.
Brian Baker of Sound Arts Recording Studio Houston Texas
There is fascination in vulnerability, we are beguiled by a stranger who chooses to share their emotions and history, their short story relationships that turned out to be sometimes painful yet deficient chapters in a novel none of us ever seem to finish. We can be beguiled by the stranger who can create beauty from what seems broken.
Alexa Rose takes a paintbrush from her soul and draws broad strokes across yours. Born in the Alleghany Highlands of West Virginia, there is craft and history here, an awareness of those that went before her, rooted in the traditions of folk and storytelling. Alexa holds these values close and sews together fine threads of quiet mastery and confident clarity, adding her own personality to create a unique style. Alexa holds onto the words as she sings them, not wanting to let them go, wringing all the lasting meaning from them, each one a precious piece of endeavour. Frazey Ford is one of the very few others who can do this so well and to such effect.
The subtlety of the musical arrangements throughout this album is something that you immediately notice, it’s not intrusive, it’s not the centre, not what the song is about, it’s a canvas upon which an artist adds the foreground. The opening song, “Borrow your heart”, shows the promise of what is to come, “Can I borrow your heart, I think I lost my own”, the line is so simple, but hides deeper currents of unresolved thoughts. The thing about Rose is that her lyrics throughout the album can seem contradictory, there is a conflict of thoughts which becomes fascinating. There are times when she writes with such feelings of weakness, confronted with the enormity of love that has taken so much of her but is ultimately fruitless, yet other times when realism and optimism is embraced.
The title track “Medicine for living” is at once haunting and torn, “Can I ask you a question, I know you don’t want to hear, but I’m the heirloom at the mercy of the auctioneer, There’s a crack in the finish, but it’s easy to miss, Are you going to love me when it ain’t like this”. It’s the throes of a relationship that is failing, with all its inevitability and feelings of powerlessness.
“That’s the way love is”. This ballad with its minimalist backing leaves Rose’s voice exposed in all its complexity and range and once again the lyrical quality leaves you in no doubt that this is an artist with depth. The song is a search into perpetual disappointment mixed with eternal optimism.
This is such a promising work, a debut album which deserves all the attention it will no doubt receive, we await more, and what a time we have in store watching Alexa Rose develop her music.
The debut album from Rick Faris, Breaking In Lonesome, releases to radio and for fan pre-order in advance of its Nov 15, 2019 commercial release. Containing a bulk of new bluegrass originals, and backed by a cast of talent, this long-awaited project showcases Rick’s depth of musicality and solid footprint in the genre.
“Rick Faris has consistently wowed me with his powerful vocals and virtuoso mandolin and guitar playing over the last few years with Special Consensus. He was playing mandolin when I first saw him and I immediately noticed he is a great singer live–suppose it shouldn’t have surprised anyone when he switched to guitar and was just as proficient and nimble. His range makes him a natural tenor, but his lead singing is convincing and expressive. And on top of all this, he’s an outstanding luthier, having built a number of great guitars–including those played on this record. In short, I thought of the guy as the vanguard of younger musicians who are carrying Bluegrass forward.
But now his solo record shows me that he’s put it all together. Turns out he’s also a thoughtful songwriter. He wrote or co-wrote 11 of the 12 songs on Breaking in Lonesome, and they run the gamut from Jimmie Rodgers-style jazzy ditties (“Mississippi Steamboat Blues”), straigh-ahead waltzes (“Wrong Done Right”) to contemporary Bluegrass (“If the Kansas River Can”), cool instrumentals (“Stoneman’s Raid”), blazing fast ‘grass (“Breaking in Lonesome”), a spooky traditional gospel song featuring Shawn Lane’s soulful tenor (“Matthew and Mark’s Wisdom”) and a contemporary Bluegrass gospel song (“Faith in Man”). The lone cover, Aaron Bibelhouser, Thomm Jutz and Milan Miller’s “How Long,” fits right in. Most of these finely crafted songs feature the rocking core band of Rick on guitar and lead vocals, Justin Moses on banjo and tenor vocal, Eddie Faris on bass and baritone vocal, Laura Orshaw on fiddle, and Harry Clark on mandolin. “Never is a Long Time” and the swingy “Honeybabe” feature Special C and make it easy to see why this version of the band has been so decorated.
Bluegrass music might be entering its 9th decade, but Breaking in Lonesome proves it’s more vital than ever, and this project is a perfect showcase for one of its truly bright lights“. -Tim Stafford (Blue Highway)
Fans can pre-order the album at Dark Shadow Recording, iTunes, and wherever fine music is sold on the internet. Streaming services will begin when the album officially releases on Nov 15, 2019.
About the label:
Dark Shadow Recording is a record label and full-service studio run by a musician for musicians in the Bluegrass, Americana and Folk genres. The small-but-mighty roster has been awarded multiple IBMA awards and is a testament to the DSR’s focus on quality over quantity in music and business. More at www.darkshadowrecording.com.
“In an era of widespread vocal sweetness, Libby Koch has that rare blend of powerful real-life honesty in her vocals that lends instant depth and credibility to her songs.” – Melissa Clarke, Americana Highways
“Her music makes you want to persevere on the off chance that the new morning might yield an unexpected creation. Such moments may be fleeting, but there are none as rewarding.” – No Depression
“Koch plays country the way it is meant to be played, with emotion, musicianship, and earthy, clever songwriting.” – That Music Mag
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of her first album, Redemption, Americana singer-songwriter Libby Koch is releasing a full band, track-for-track reimagining of the original solo acoustic recording. Redemption 10: Live at Blue Rock will be released by Berkalin Records on October 18, 2019.
The format of this record was an experiment for Koch. Recording her 2016 album Just Move On on Music Row in Nashville hooked Libby on the energy of making a record with a band playing the songs together, recording live in the studio. She wondered what it might be like to add a live studio audience to the equation – to let fans be part of the experience as well. Koch found the perfect location for this endeavor at Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Wimberley, Texas. Blue Rock is a state of the art studio and performance space in the Texas Hill Country that has the capability to film and broadcast live performances while providing an intimate experience for the audience and capturing pristine audio of the performance.
With the location set, Libby enlisted her friend Patterson Barrett (Buddy Miller, Jerry Jeff Walker, Nanci Griffith) to co-produce the project and assemble an all-star band of Austin musicians to record Redemption 10 in front of a live studio audience at Blue Rock. Tickets quickly sold out. Libby and the band played the album straight through once and then played a second take of a couple of songs, but in the end they decided that the flow and the feeling of the first takes were the ones that needed to be on the record. It was a magical evening.
While not a traditional live album, the atmosphere and the feedback from the crowd absolutely fed the band and shaped the experience that was caught on tape. Koch and her band sound relaxed and in an energized zone that only a live setting can provide, but at the same time they have the tight knit sound of an experienced studio band. In the end the experiment was a resounding success. The record shows a Libby Koch that her fans have loved for a decade now and presented these tracks in a fuller more realized way. If Redemption 10 is your introduction to Koch, you are in for major musical treat.
The band of Austin all-stars included lead guitarist Bill Browder (Denim, Steve Fromholz), drummer Eddie Cantu (Bruce Robison, Maren Morris), violinist Javier Chaparro (Austin Symphony, John Denver), and Glenn Schuetz (Jimmy LaFave). Libby played acoustic guitar, harmonica, and sang lead vocals, while Patterson Barrett rounded out the sound of the record by providing pedal steel, piano, organ, mandolin, and harmony vocals.
When asked about the inspiration behind the project Koch says:
“Ten years ago, when I recorded Redemption, I was a young attorney at a big law firm in Houston. At the time, I thought this was probably the only record I would ever make, and I certainly didn’t anticipate I would ever have a career in music. Once I self-released the album and started playing shows and selling copies of the CD in Houston, one thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was building a career in music! Ten years later, I’ve put out a few more records (Redemption 10 will be the sixth), and I’ve played hundreds of shows across the US and Europe. It’s been an incredible adventure, and I’m most thankful for all the great friendships I’ve made with musicians and music lovers across the globe. Revisiting my first album feels like a fun and fitting celebration of the music and memories I’ve made over the past decade.”
1. Houston: I wrote this song the day after I graduated from law school in Nashville. The movers had come and gone, and the house was empty. I was leaving for my new job and new life in Houston the following morning, but before I left, this song had to be written. At the time, I thought I was saying goodbye to a guy, but upon reflection I now see that I was closing one chapter and starting another.
2. Just the Way: This song is about the somewhat cyclical nature of “dating” (I don’t think the kids call it that anymore). It was written in a time when I was perpetually single and not particularly good at keeping it casual! This has been one of the most fun songs from Redemption to revamp and play live, both for the band and the folks on the dance floor.
3. Can’t Complain: Writing this song was an attempt to gain a little perspective after a breakup and remind myself that, at the end of the day, I was going to be okay. In true Texas style, I was raised to dust myself off and get back on the horse after you fall out of the saddle, and this song is part of that tradition.
4. Stay With Me: I wrote this song in law school. When I played it for my roommate, she said “oh my god, that’s the saddest song I’ve ever heard.” Little did she know, I was just getting started!
5. Redemption: One of the most interesting elements of this project has been revisiting the songs to see if they’ve changed, I’ve changed, or both! This is one of the songs that has grown in meaning and depth for me, as it was written for someone who I now know never really loved me back. Now I sing it for someone who really deserves these words.
6. How Long: This record definitely intertwines spiritual themes into love songs…How Long is a great example of that. I based this song on the text of Psalm 40, with lines of each verse and the chorus tracking the Psalm: “I waited patiently for the Lord, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of a slimy pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and gave me a firm place to stand”
7. Down: This is probably the song that changed the most from the original version. I always heard this song in my head as a honky tonk number, but Patterson said “what if we make it a rocker?” Once the band kicked into gear on this groove it was clear that it was meant to be. We had THE most fun with this song!
8. Don’t Give Up On Me: This is a spiritual song that I wrote in high school. I got my start playing guitar in my church’s youth group and the Young Life band, so a lot of my early songs were written from a spiritual angle. At such a young age it was easier for me to write those spiritual songs than it was to write something personal about someone else…I was so afraid people would figure out the songs were about them!
9. Ready Now: This is another song I wrote when I was young that started out as a spiritual song, but ended up being a love song. It’s also one of the songs that has changed for me in the past decade since I recorded the original version. Now I see this song as a readiness to dive in headfirst to life and love to see what happens (spoiler: good things usually happen when you do that).
10. I Still Miss Someone: I decided to close the album with one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs, I Still Miss Someone. The original Redemption version was just me, my harmonica, and my guitar…a really intimate version of the song. This live version ended up being a little more lively and faster than we anticipated, but I think we were all having such a great time and in a nice groove that it turned out the way it did. I love both versions and am so happy with how this entire project turned out.
Dust of Daylight premiered the first single, “Fly In A Bottle” last week. The record was produced by Jon Latham and is being released by Flour Sack Cape Records. Below is more info on Nick and the album, downloads and a private stream. A select number of hard copies will go in the mail soon, so if you’d like one please let me know. Nick is available for interviews upon request as well. Thank you all for everything you do.
“Nick Nace’s songs pair well with a good, long drive. Each one moves just at the right speed, poetically painting scenes of all those characters you meet out on the road — and all those thoughts you think alone behind the wheel. He’s not just a songwriter’s songwriter, he’s a troubadour’s troubadour.”
– Jaimee Harris (Songwriter)
“I love Nick’s writing style, reminds me of John Prine but with it’s own character also, check him out!”
– Mick Flannery (Songwriter)
Nick Nace’s path from Canada to New York City to Nashville has been one filled with music, but the acclaimed folk singer-songwriter admits his muse led him in a different direction throughout his younger days than it does presently. Even though he was raised on a steady diet of Queen, The Band, the Beatles and even Beck, it was the bite of the acting bug that led him to relocate from the Great White North to the Great White Way.
“I always loved music, but I was a drama kid,” he admits. Fresh out of high school in the late ’90s Nace moved to New York City to pursue acting, and it was then his musical urges began taking a greater hold of his spirit than ever before. He bought a cheap, blue guitar and found himself playing in student housing halls more frequently as the months passed. He was attending acting school, but that cheap guitar was guiding him towards the tunes.
“I loved acting school,” he remembers. “But I could feel this pull to the guitar and songs that I had never felt for drama. Then I heard Bob Dylan’s first record and my mind was blown. The rawness and energy floored me. I was hooked. then my friend played me some Velvet Underground and I couldn’t stop listening. It had soul, it had honesty. After that, I pretty much stopped acting.”
“Why would I be a conduit for someone else’s words when I could write my own,” Nace asked himself during that college-aged musical enlightening.
Soon after forming his first folk duo, A Brief View of the Hudson, with a friend from acting school, Nace found himself with prime weekly gigs, and eventually recording an EP and an LP with the duo. And for a while, that was enough. But the urge to grow as a songwriter and to tell new stories in new ways led him to discover that the Big Apple wasn’t where he needed to be in order to move ahead.
Nace has come a very long way since moving into an East Nashville basement apartment, sight unseen, in December of 2015. He discovered a community of talented, like minded writers and musicians and began working with them. He’s toured Ireland, Canada and throughout the United States, including prized slots at the Mississippi Songwriters Festival, Dripping Springs Songwriter Festival and even won the Gulf Coast Songwriter Shootout.
Wrestling With the Mystery, Nace’s latest full-length effort, is as open-hearted and sincere as it is addictively catchy and melodic, recalling the fine country-folk efforts of Hayes Carll, Justin Townes Earle, Slaid Cleaves and James McMurtry. Recorded with producer John Latham, who also provided guitar and vocals to the record, at Nashville’s Cafe Rooster, the album features stories that are intimately, even painfully, personal, touching and tragic.
The stunning Fly in a Bottle, looks into the sort of regrets we all have, though few of us ever admit to. It’s a great example of how Nace can turn something dark into something shining.
“At the time I wrote this my ex-wife was in a fairly bad and abusive relationship and it was very painful to watch her go through something that. It was very hard to understand. It made me think if perhaps I’d been a better partner she wouldn’t have ever put herself in that horrible situation in the first place.”
Inspired by a chance encounter one day after attending Easter church services in Mississippi, “Clarksdale Katie,” is the sort of out-of-nowhere tale that grabs the listener with a force that doesn’t let go until the track changes. Artists like Nace have a gift for taking each day’s interactions and chronicling them in ways most of us can’t fathom.
“I ended up meeting and sitting beside a nice young woman named Katie. After the service we were hanging out at a local watering hole and she was very worried about not hearing from this friend of hers. So, we drove over to the friends and knocked on the door but no one answered. Later in the day Katie disappears for some time. It turns out she had a bad feeling and went back to her friends place only to find her in bed half unconscious having swallowed a bottle of pills. Somehow, she gets inside, calls an ambulance and saves her friend’s life.”
When he sings, “I’ve given up on love, burned your wedding gown, given up on concrete, and riding underground” in album-opening “One More Song” he’s looking into the dissolution of not only a romantic, real-life relationship, but at his break-up with New York City, the place he thought he would live out his days living a different sort of dream.
To close out the record, Nace offers perhaps his most personal story. In a confessional, storyteller’s way that Guy Clark would be proud to hear, Nace sings about “Grandpa’s Old Guitar.”
“It’s the true story of my Grandpa’s old Gibson guitar he bought for $50 after getting back from WWII,”he says. “He loved to play guitar and sing old folk and country songs. He would play it at family picnics and gatherings, and towards the end of his life he offered to pass the guitar down to me. But the day I went by his place to get it he wasn’t home. Two weeks later he went into the hospital and never came out. My grandmother eventually gave it to me but I never got a chance to have that moment with my grandpa and I’ll always regret not making it back over there before he passed away.”
From Ontario to the Big Apple to Music City, Nick Nace has moved in order to experience, to grow. But through it all he’s continued to craft stunning song after stunning song based upon the people, conversations, trials and triumphs of the path that only he has traveled, and only he can share. Nick Nace : Wrestling With The Mystery
Release Date: October 25th
Americana : Folk www.NickNace.com Facebook
Katie Knipp is equipped with powerful vocals and plays a variety of instruments from boogie woogie piano to slide guitar, to honest harmonica laden stories in between. She has opened for Robert Cray, Joan Osborne, Jimmie Vaughan, Jon Cleary, The Doobie Brothers, Tim Reynolds, The James Hunter Six, and more. #10 on Blues Albums Billboard and 2019 SAMMIE award winner for best blues artist.
React with Emoji
Mary Gauthier - Rifles & Rosary Beads
Sep 08, 2019
Co-written with U.S. veterans and their families, the eleven deeply personal songs on this album reveal the untold stories, and powerful struggles that these veterans and their spouses deal with abroad and after returning home.
_"You’ll be hard-pressed to hear a more powerfully moving work than Rifles & Rosary Beads this year — or any other.”
Last year we saw the release of Jim Allchin’s Decisions album which garnered good critical review for it’s great songs and musicianship. Allchin returned to the studio this past Spring to once again collaborate with Tom Hambridge and his team. Hambridge has produced Grammy winners before and to make things even sweeter he and Allchin invited Mike Zito, Bobby Rush and The Memphis Horns to join them on this production.
The output of all that is 14 new songs, 3 penned by Allchin alone and the other 11 were collaborations between Allchin, Hambridge and a couple of other folks here and there. In addition to Allchin on vocals and guitar are Bob Britt, Kenny Greenberg and Rob McNelley on rhythm guitar, Hambridge on drums, Kevin McKendree on keys, Glenn Worf on bass, Mycle Wastman on backing vocals and the aforementioned guest musicians.
Peter Rowan has paid his dues, spending more than 50 years in and around bluegrass, sharing the stage with everyone from Bill Monroe and Jerry Garcia. Now, he’s paying tribute.
His new CD on Rebel Records is called Carter Stanley’s Eyes. But the title cut isn’t the only nod to the man many consider the best lead singer in bluegrass. Cut after cut, including two written by Carter, two written by his brother Ralph, and one by Monroe, the songs conjure up memories of the artist who left us far too soon, in 1966.
But the title cut, one of three songs on the CD written by Rowan, seals the deal. The Light in Carter Stanley’s Eyes recounts the day in 1965 when Monroe and Rowan — a member of the Blue Grass Boys who wasn’t yet old enough to vote — visited Carter near the end of his tragically shortened life.
The song includes a spoken part, in which Rowan recalls Monroe telling Stanley that he had been one of his favorite Blue Grass Boys, and his favorite lead singer. It also recounts Stanley asking Rowan if he was “going to stick with it,” which Rowan answered affirmatively. Given that more than half a century has passed between the question and this new project, Rowan clearly kept his end of the bargain.
The song, with it’s built-in oral history of an important moment in bluegrass history, will help make Carter Stanley relevant to new generations of pickers. And it should add momentum to the push to add Carter and Ralph to the Country Music Hall of Fame, an oversight that frankly should have been corrected long ago.
Buddy Guy stands as one of the last true traditional blues legends of his time; an era that predated the rock ‘n’ roll explosion of the mid-1960s. Few remain, and even fewer are still releasing albums that remind us as to why they have enjoyed such a lengthy and illustrious career. The Blues Is Alive And Well is very much one of those albums. As a follow-up to his 2015 release, Born To Play Guitar, and his eighteenth solo studio album, The Blues Is Alive And Well features collaborations with Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger, and is certainly one of the best blues records to be released this year.
Becky’s body of work is already vast and impressive, as a songwriter and as artist, and she has the awards and accolades to back it up. But, as Crepe Paper Heart demonstrates, she’s not about to rest on her laurels.
From the opening notes of Another Love Gone Wrong to the closing of Phoenix Arise, the 12 songs will take you on an emotional roller coaster of thrills, tears, longing and loss. The stories are compelling, as her songs tend to be. And the performances are top drawer. Again, that’s no surprise if you’ve followed her on stage and on record. With the collective strength of her band and an all-star lineup of guests, anything less would be shocking.
Heartbreak is never any fun, but it sure seems to be good fuel for the creative process. Nicki Bluhm first found an audience for her rich, smoky voice while making music with her husband Tim Bluhm, who produced her early albums and co-founded their band, the Gramblers. But in November 2015, the Bluhms revealed they were getting a divorce, and their creative partnership ended along with their marriage. Splitting up was clearly not a pleasant experience for Nicki, and she lays out all her hurt and disappointment on her 2018 album, To Rise You Gotta Fall. This is a breakup album if there ever were such a thing, but Bluhm doesn't sound like the experience has weakened her. There are bittersweet moments in "Staring at the Sun" and "Last to Know" where Bluhm reveals her emotional wounds, but more often she sounds clear-eyed in her postmortem of her relationship ("Something Really Mean") or defiant as she moves past the wreckage ("Can't Fool the Fool" and "Things I've Done"). Musically, To Rise You Gotta Fall is steeped in vintage R&B and soul with a dash of country for seasoning, and the bluesy angles of the music are a perfect match for Bluhm's ruminations on a love that used to be. The album was cut in Memphis at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording Studio, and producer Matt Ross-Spang has put together a band that can evoke the sounds of R&B past without sounding dated or falsely nostalgic. And To Rise You Gotta Fall features some of Bluhm's finest vocal work, filled with passion and nuance at the same time, and for all the powerful emotions in play here, she doesn't overplay, and the focus and restraint only make this music more intense. Hopefully Nicki Bluhm won't have to get dumped again for her to make an album this good, but at least she found a way to put her broken heart to good use, and To Rise You Gotta Fall ranks with her best music to date.
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Kinky Friedman - Circus of Life
Sep 08, 2019
Before he was a novelist, and before he ran for governor of the state of Texas, Kinky Friedman was known as a musician. Proof of that can be found in his first new album in close to four decades, Circus of Life, being released on his own Echo Hill label.
As the lead singer of Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys he was responsible for such country classics as “Asshole from El Paso” and “They Don’t Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore”. The band also hold the distinction of being one of the few who were filmed for the famed TV show Austin City Limits but whose segment was never aired. (It is available on DVD if you look hard enough).
While Kinky has mellowed somewhat since those halcyon days, only “Little Jewford” Shelby (piano) still rides with him, and his songs aren’t as in your face as they used to be, none of that impacts on the quality of the material you’ll find on this album. For while the twelve songs on the disc only add up to just over 35 minutes of music, their substance can’t be measured by how much time they take up.
A new album from John Prine is always reason to celebrate, but an album in which he wrote or co-wrote all the songs is an even bigger reason to rejoice. The Tree of Forgiveness is the first album since 2005’s Fair & Square where Prine has written the songs. He has issued albums since then, but like Bob Dylan, they have been albums of cover versions, but this album is Prine and, I would argue, Prine at his best.
Prine co-writes with old friends and longtime collaborators on this album. He even wrote a song with Phil Spector — he started writing the song, “God Only Knows”, decades ago. Pat McLaughlin, Roger Cook, and Keith Sykes have worked with Prine in the past. He has made some new friends too in Dan Auerbach, who co-wrote the brilliant “Caravan of Fools”, and Brandi Carlile, who duets with Prine on the beautiful “I Have Met My Love Today”.
When Nashville-based singer/songwriter/producer Tom Hambridge decided to pay tribute to the city of New Orleans with this CD, he had no trouble recruiting several of the biggest names in Big Easy music – including Ivan Neville, Sonny Landreth and the late Allen Toussaint — to help him. But that should come as no surprise to anyone who’s aware of the rich legacy he’s already created in the worlds of blues, country and rock.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., who graduated from Berklee College Of Music and spent three years on the road as the percussionist for guitar legend Roy Buchanan, Hambridge has earned Grammys as a producer of Buddy Guy’s Living Proof and Born To Play Guitar albums as well as more nominations for his collaboration with a who’s who of entertainers, including Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Van Morrison, Johnny Winter, Gregg Allman, Kid Rock, George Thorogood, Susan Tedeschi and many others.
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Mark Knopfler - Down the Road Wherever
Sep 08, 2019
Mark Knopfler’s ninth solo studio album ‘Down The Road Wherever’ features unhurriedly elegant new songs inspired by a wide range of subjects, including his early days in Deptford with Dire Straits, a stray football fan lost in a strange town, and the compulsion of a musician hitching home through the snow. Mark has a poet’s eye for telling details that infuse his songs with his unique psychogeography – ‘where the Delta meets the Tyne’ as he describes it – and his warm Geordie vocal tone and his deft, richly melodic guitar playing are as breathtaking and thrilling as ever.
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JP Harris - Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing
Sep 08, 2019
JP Harris doesn’t fancy himself a musician as much as a carpenter who writes country songs. With his forthcoming album, Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing (out October 5 on Free Dirt Records), Harris is back after a four-year hiatus to remind us what it's like to actually live the stories we hear so often in country music. Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Harris left home at 14 and traveled the country hopping freight trains, working the odd job, and living without electricity or running water for over a decade. For this record, his third full-length, he tapped a handful of his favorite players and called on the production prowess of Morgan Jahnig (Old Crow Medicine Show) to capture the stories of his stranger-than-fiction life. Dripping with pedal steel and telecaster twang, the record has the rugged edges of outlaw, the danceability of honky tonk, and classic country's beloved emotional candor. After more than a decade in the trenches, Harris is more in love with country music than ever. If he hasn't already, his latest effort will make you a believer.
Steve Forbert’s new album ‘Magic Tree,’ recorded in Meridian (his birthplace in Mississippi), Nashville, New York, New Jersey and Virginia, is a collection of his own songs and the music loses nothing in its quality of production despite the country wide recording venues. Throughout the album his folk roots shine clear, as does his song writing ability honed over his forty years in the music industry.
It might be naive to think you can detect authentic music without being familiar with the particular genre. Paul Thorn’s Don’t Let the Devil Ride, is an incredible gospel and gospel-influenced album that sounds like the real deal: From its production, which sounds like it was recorded inside an old hot wooden church stuffed full of sinning parishioners, to the songs, which make the listener feel like they’ve stumbled into perhaps the South’s most exciting church service. It’s all the more amazing given that Thorn isn’t a gospel artist.
The album kills because it’s intense without being noodle-y. Every song sounds like great musicians trying–somewhat unsuccessfully–to hide just how talented they are. As is often the case with gospel, much of this comes from the organ, which propels many of the songs here. The album kicks off with “Come On Let’s Go,” which is propelled by that organ, as mentioned earlier. An infectious hand-clap keeps the beat, with horns popping in and out of gospel-tinged background vocals. The song builds to a manic climax before collapsing into a swirl of organ. Truthfully, if Thorn had ended the album on that first song, everyone would have felt like they got their money’s worth.
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Sugarcane Jane - Southern State of Mind
Sep 08, 2019
Sugarcane Jane, the Alabama Gulf Coast-based husband and wife duo of Anthony Crawford and Savana Lee have recorded Southern State Of Mind with producer Buzz Cason. The recording starts off with a rousing "Cabin On The Hill", already a favorite with Sugarcane Jane fans. It is followed by "Campfire", the first single. The thought-provoking, fresh and exciting "Man Of Fewest Words" precedes the title track, "Southern State Of Mind", the tale of the joys of Southern living. "Destiny", a raw rocker, is foreshadowed by the inspirational "Rainbow". "Red Flags Warning", a true gem from the pen of Anthony Crawford is cut #7. Savana Lee is featured beautifully on "The One Before Me". "How Do You Know" and "We Can Dream" wrap up this eclectic collection of songs from the duo.
Brooklyn based but with a somewhat nomadic background, Ana Egge is one of those songwriters who seem to hover around the edge of the mainstream. She gets great reviews but she’s certainly not a household name even in the most dedicated of Americana infested households. Her album with The Stray Birds, ‘Bright Shadow’, did cause a bit of a buzz, perhaps down to that trio’s reputation but we can safely say here that ‘White Tiger’ is a much more multi faceted affair than the folky infused ‘Bright Shadow’, bursting as it is with imaginative arrangements adorned with horns and synths.
Tas Cru’s bio begins like this, “Raucous, rowdy, gentle, sweet, eccentric, quirky, and outright irreverent are all words that fittingly describe Tas Cru’s songs and testify to his reputation as a one of the most unique of bluesmen plying his trade today. ”
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Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Downey To Lubbock
Sep 08, 2019
DOWNEY TO LUBBOCK was born by immaculate inspiration from live shows Grammy winner Dave Alvin and Grammy nominee Jimmie Dale Gilmore performed together in 2017. Just the two of them were swapping songs and cutting up, each with a guitar and a heart full of soul, musicians who’ve been on the road their entire adult lives. The result is an album of blues, rock and folk inspired tunes that both of their fans will enjoy.
The album contains 12 songs - 10 covers and two originals - and is destined to be a classic Americana album from two Americana legends.
Joyann Parker brings a full range of talent to her performances as an accomplished singer, pianist, songwriter must-hear lead guitarist, currently endorsed by Heritage Guitars in Kalamazoo, MI. She has performed for thousands at major venues and festivals across the country.
For one so young (he was born in 1988), Travis Bowlin has already achieved a hell of a lot. Not only can he play the guitar, he can make them too! At first he made cigar box guitars for his own use but people seeing him use them, created a demand that he now meets through his separate business, Bowlin Box Instruments. Travis was born near Cincinnati and raised in a household full of many genres of music…so he soaked up blues, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel and country. He got his first guitar aged 15 and very soon started to perform around his home and surrounding states. To take his devotion a step further, he moved to Nashville and released his first album in 2014, called See You Again. His influences have a wide range as he cites Led Zeppelin, BB King, Robert Johnson, Prince, Steppenwolf, 3 Dog Night and Albert King amongst others.
He has now released his follow up album called, rather neatly, Secundus, as it means second but can also, apparently, be used to mean ‘lucky’. It contains 12 all original tracks and shows a development from that first outing with its more developed, blues-oriented feeling and manages to cover virtually every emotion a human being can experience. There are many more flavours to be discerned and I can hear jazz and soul in the mix and I even picked up a hint of progginess in a Yes kind of way.
In the past several years, Sideline has jumped from being a literal side project for some bluegrass A-listers to a fully-fledged band working its way to the top of the bluegrass world. With a few of those original “sidemen” on board, as well as the addition of several younger faces, Sideline has continued to up their game with the release of their new Mountain Home album, Front and Center.
Opening track Thunder Dan has captivated radio audiences with its catchy chorus and bluesy, mash-style grass. Penned by Josh Manning, it’s a take on the familiar “mountain man” story, featuring a title character with an itchy trigger finger and strong vocals from Troy Boone. The song hit number one last month and was back at the top spot on the Bluegrass Today chart this past week. Lysander Hayes is another rough character, keeping his mama up worrying and praying while he picks and drinks and runs around. Skip Cherryholmes pulls out the clawhammer banjo for this song, which along with Nathan Aldridge’s fiddle, makes for a nice old-time-with-drive vibe.
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