Hard-luck stories can have happy endings. Especially in Francine Honey’s world. “Some of these songs are about going through tough times and then getting to the other side,” the Ontario singer-songwriter says of her third recordTo Be Continued... “I know I’ve certainly been through my share of struggles. But it’s important to have hope and know you’re not alone. If you’re going through something, someone else has gone through it too. And you have to remember: You don’t know what’s around the corner. Your ‘to be continued…’ might be beyond what you ever imagined.”
To Be Continued…is an album that showcases Honey’s most striking and stirring compositions. “I’m so happy,” she says. “I’m really proud of this record and how it all came together.” Cut in Nashville with Grammy-nominated producerNeilson Hubbard(John Prine, Mary Gauthier, Jason Isbell) and first-call players like guitarists Will Kimbrough and Kris Donegan, pianist Dan Mitchell, bassist Dean Marold and legendary fiddler Eamon McLoughlin,To Be Continued…takes Honey’s mix of Americana, Country, Rock, Canadiana and Blues to the next level, capturing the sound she’s been chasing for years. “It’s hard to articulate what you hear in your head and get it to come to life through other musicians,” she says. But after getting Hubbard’s name from singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters, she knew she’d found her man. “I looked up the songs he produced and went, ‘That’s what I’ve been hearing!’
Although she’s made music since childhood — “I wrote my first song in 1976” — Honey never dreamed of making it a career. However, along the way, the down-to-earth artist has displayed extraordinary dedication to her craft. Francine’s debut self-produced albumAn Ordinary Womancame out in 2008 and was followed in 2014 byRe-Drawn, produced byLang Blissin Nashville. As a graduate of theBerklee College of MusicProfessional Singer-Songwriter Certificate Program, Francine regularly makes the nine-hour drive from Ontario, Canada, to song-writing workshops in Nashville, where she has been mentored by icons likeBeth Nielsen Chapman(who contributes backup vocals to Honey’sSnowflakes On My Eyelashes), Mike Reid (I Can’t Make You Love Me),Mary Gauthier(Mercy Now),Verlon Thompson(Boats to Build),Gretchen Peters(Independence Day) andJonatha Brooke(My Mother has 4 Noses). Francine is a member of the Songwriter’s Association of Canada (SAC), Nashville Songwriter’s Association International, Canadian Country Music Association and Americana Music Association. She co-ordinates the SAC’s Leamington/Windsor Regional Writer’s Group, mentoring other songwriters. She has showcased at theTexas Songwriters Symposiumfour years in a row, the WinterFolk Blues and Roots Festival in Toronto, the Kingsville Folk Music Festival and the Folk Music Ontario conference. Francine’s music and song-writing have not only taken her through Canada and the U.S but to the U.K., Switzerland and Italy.
Now,To Be Continuedtakes Francine’s listeners on a journey. Courageously drawing from her own life, Honey’s latest songs run the gamut of emotion.Snowflakes on My Eyelasheschannels the grief of loss;Can’t Break Through to Youexamines PTSD; and the movingMarilyndocuments a harrowing health scare. “That’s a very tough subject and a very personal song,” she confesses. “The room goes quiet when I play it. But I’ll see someone wipe a tear from their eye, and know that song has touched someone.” It’s not alone:Staywas a semi-finalist in the Canada Songwriting Contest andMamas Take Bad Dreams Awaymade the top five in the Canada South Songwriting Contest.
Equally laudable are cuts on the lighter side of the roster: The upbeat driving odeOpen Road, the sexy come-hither blues ofHoneyand the uplifting title cut that chronicles her romance with a friend who re-entered her life at just the right time. “I sure had to kiss my share of frogs,” she quips. “I thought I was just meant to be single and figured we would just be friends, and I was happy with that. Little did I know!” And aboutShacked-Up Sweetie, Francine’s latest single release and video, “I wrote this song for my sweetie and I. We talked about getting married and decided not to. It took me a while to work through my feelings about not getting married, but in the end, I realized that it’s really all about the commitment you make to each other, not the church ceremony. True love is just bigger than all of that.”
Francine’s music can be heard onCBCradio,Sirius XMand country stations across North America and she receives millions of views on her videos. She has appeared and been interviewed onCTV News,CFRU’s Folk Roots Radio and more.
Provided us with a copy of the new single from Kelly’s Lot.
We provide you all a chance to listen to this beautiful, sad song.
Kelly Z told us
“Alyssa is the first song released from our upcoming CD, ‘Can’t Take My Soul’. Alyssa was the daughter of DJ Mark Mushin. We met on facebook after he started playing my last release ‘Rescue’ He asked me for a station ID, personalized for his daughter. He told me stories about Alyssa, her spirit and her battle with Canavan Disease. A few months later she passed away and the song was inspired by all the stories Mark told me. By writing the song, Perry and I wanted to reach out to everyone who needs to be reminded that we must grab a hold of the joy we have today because we don’t now how long it will last.”
A note about Alyssa from her family -“Alyssa was born with Canavan Disease, a rare and fatal genetic brain disease. In her short 23 years, without ever speaking a word, Alyssa was able to shine her light on everyone around her. She had a smile that would melt your heart and her laughter would always sooth your soul. Her amazing journey started with me holding her for 4 hours when she was born, forming a bond that will live for all time. She then became a medical pioneer being one of the worlds first to receive gene therapy. She continued to share her pure spirit throughout her whole life making all who knew her the best they could be and taught us all the meaning of true love. Although her earthly experience is done, she still sends us signs from above and continues to inspire us all.”
Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson Kelly Z – Vocals Perry Robertson – Guitar Matt McFadden – Bass Mike Sauer – Drums Bobby Orgel – B3 Background vocals – Jenna Mushin, Andrew Mushin, and Jeri Goldenhar Mixed by Fred Paragano Mastered by Mike Milchner at Sonic Vision Mastering
It’s there in your heart not trapped in your mind And easier to feel than to search out and find And Alyssa she knew the way to get you through She was never behind but one step ahead of the blues
Some just don’t know what’s right there to see Looking for easy to set them free And Alyssa she knew these things don’t get you through She was never behind but one step ahead of the blues She was never behind but one step ahead of the blues
Don’t hold on to worry when the answer is there Don’t try to fix every why, when and where Take a deep breath and throw away your fears Cause it’ll all be gone before you know that you’re here
She was never behind but one step ahead of the blues
Don’t hold on to a worry when the answer is there Don’t try to fix every why, when and where Take a deep breath and throw away your fears Cause it’ll all be gone before you know that you’re here.
Stop chasing the questions when its all right there No one promised this life would be fair And Alyssa she knew the way to get us through She was never behind she was one step ahead of the blues She was never behind she was one step ahead of the blues She was never behind she was one step ahead of the blues
March 1, 2019 “This is the kind of slow, thought-out acoustic music that is increasingly hard to come by, with the songwriters putting an equal emphasis on the the craft of lyricism and nuanced yet complex and intricate guitar solos. – Glide Magazine
Though Kagey Parrish and Laura Wortman of The Honey Dewdrops have long ago traded the Appalachian mountain air for the Baltimore sea breeze, one thing is certain: the duo, who’s fifth independent release, Anyone Can See out on March 1st, 2019, has lost none of the creative energy so prevalent on their previous releases. Rather, the duo are growing rapidly as artists, enthusiastically exchanging perfection for the compelling ebbs that accompany an intimate, authentic kind of expression.
For their newest release, Parrish and Wortman recreated the flexible, spontaneous atmosphere of their live performances. “We focused in on that live energy by sitting close to each other in the studio so we could hear everything in a natural way,” says the duo. “There is no click track on this album and we found that the takes that had the magic, often had some variation of pitch and rhythm.”
While chasing the magic, Parrish and Wortman found that their sense of musical clarity also evolved over the course of the album’s creation. “The process made us look at how we define what is “right” and what is “wrong” in our performances,” says Parrish and Wortman. “What sounded good to us tended to go more in the direction of emotion, dynamics, and improvisation in the arc of a song.”
Though the creation of Anyone Can See contains elements of an artistic awakening in certain senses, Parrish and Wortman have also remained loyal to their roots, with the album evoking the duo’s characteristic heart-wrenching melodies and intricate chord progressions. Producer Nick Sjostrom kept them on a path throughout the process, guiding the duo towards a grounded result even while they were undergoing such rapid growth as artists. “Nick has a great sense of melody and timing and brought forth some interesting ideas for rhythm changes and variations in our song structures,” says the duo. “His input became the fitting pieces to this record puzzle.”Ultimately, Parrish and Wortman decided to keep their listeners at the forefront of their thoughts throughout the production of Anyone Can See. “We want listeners to feel like they are sitting in the room with us, close by,” said the duo. “We used condenser mics to capture the voices and instruments, and we set up a few extra mics at different locations in the studio to get a “room” sound and feel with natural reverb.”
The result is a record drenched in sonic roominess, each of the tracks stretching to fill the space, but with a warmth that allows the album to fit cozily into whichever personal living room, bedroom, bar, or studio it might find itself in. In this way, the intimacy oscillating throughout the record complements and overturns the melodic vastness: nobody will get lost in this expanse.
With rave reviews everywhere it was an easy choice this month.
Here is what Rick J Bowen wrote and we agree with every word.
“There is a long tradition of vocal duos in country and folk music, with groups like Sugarland and Shovels and Rope continuing to see success and popularity with the formula. Tiffany Pollack, an acclaimed New Orleans jazz singer, and Eric Johanson (performing courtesy of Whiskey Bayou Records), former lead guitarist for Cyril Neville, have teamed up to bring that winning tactic to the blues and roots world on their new album “Blues In My Blood.” Eleven tracks of original and select standards showcase the depth of each one’s talent with a new collaboration that is fresh and natural. The Louisiana natives, who each have been building a strong career, met when Pollack was reunited with her biological family at 25, and discovered they are cousins and third-generation members of a musical family with a rich history. After years of the cousins’ mothers pushing for them to work together, the duo project has come to fruition for a very personal family project in celebration of the blues.
The opening track ‘Blues In My Blood’ sets the stage for the passion play, recorded and produced in New Orleans by Grammy, Emmy, 4-time Telly and 2-time Global Music Award-winner Jack Miele at The Music Shed Studios. The roaring Southern Gothic blues tome recants Pollack’s life story and her journey to discover the true origin of her musical gifts and a desperate longing that that has haunted her soul from birth. The mournful tone of Johnny Sansone’s harmonica echoes the heartfelt vocal from Johanson on the lover’s lament ‘Memories To Forget.’ He then shows of his formidable slide guitar skills on the southern fried funk burner ‘Keep It Simple,’ sparing with Pollack’s scorching vocals. Life experience often makes for profound art as exemplified in the sorrowful tribute to a fallen soldier ‘Michael,’ delivered form the unique prospective of the undertaker, a role Pollack played while working in the mortuary business. Her vocals weave a spell on us that is only broken when the 504 Horns join the Jazz Funeral Procession in the New Orleans’ first-line tradition. The duo joins together on the chorus of the politically charged blues rocker ‘Diamonds On the Crown,’ followed by a lovely reading of a deep cut from The Rolling Stones’ album “Beggars Banquet,” the lilting country ballad ‘No Expectations.’
Pollack then bravely steps into the shoes of Nina Simone, paying tribute to the jazz legend by digging deep into the classic ‘Do I Move You?’ with sultry finesse. The introspective ‘Slave Of Tomorrow’ is a heady dish of southern jam rock and the gently swinging blues ‘Get Lost With Me’ has a classic Memphis style that features a searing solo from Johanson. Pollack soars on the cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River,’ staying true to the original, while adding just enough of her own fire to put her mark on the masterpiece. The album’s finale is a gospel-fueled reinvention of the freedom song ‘If I had A Hammer.’ The duo trade verses and slow the tempo to allow in-depth focus on each phrase and emphasize the importance and truth in the lyrics written by Pete Seeger in 1949 in support of the progressive movement.
This inspirational duo of Tiffany Pollack and Eric Johanson bring an indie, roots-based approach to the blues, both honoring and expanding the traditions they learned growing up in Louisiana. Their powerful songwriting is a gift that flows from the undeniable blues in their blood.”
Tiffany Ann Pollack was born and raised in the musical mecca of New Orleans, where she began singing as soon as she could talk. Although never receiving formal training, countless hours of her childhood and teens were spent at her parents’ old 70’s organ and later the out-of-tune piano they bought for her, writing songs by ear and singing very loudly. Her family’s annoyance never discouraged her from sharing the songs in her heart.
Tiffany had her first opportunity to perform professionally when neighbor Russell Batiste learned that she could sing and invited her to sing backup with his band Russell Batiste & Friends. After several years, Tiffany formed her own band called Beaucoup Crasseux with some of the members of Russell’s band. In addition, Pollack begin singing in many other bands including Ph Fred’s The Round Pegs and The Consortium of Genius. Beaucoup Crasseux ultimately fizzled, and Pollack entered mortuary school. In the ensuing years, she was married, had children and focused on her mortuary career. After the birth of her third child, Tiffany left the mortuary business to focus on music fulltime. She developed a strong passion for jazz and eventually formed her own jazz band, Tiffany Pollack and Co.
At age 25, Tiffany gained new appreciation of the music in her soul when she was reunited with her biological family. Adopted at birth, the pieces of her musical puzzle became clear. Her mother, Margaret, plays bass and sings in a jazz band. Tiffany’s half-brother makes electronic music. Margaret’s sister, Frances, sings in a jazz band (and is mother of blues artist Eric Johanson). Frances and Margaret’s brothers are also performers. Tiffany’s grandfather owned a piano store and played clarinet. Her grandmother was a cellist, pianist and opera singer.
Today, Tiffany performs regularly throughout New Orleans singing primarily jazz with The Dapper Dandies and her jazz band Tiffany Pollack & Co, as well as doing session vocals at The Music Shed Recording Studios in New Orleans.
New-Orleans based Eric Johanson was tearing up nightclub stages in Louisiana with his soulful blues guitar before he finished high school. He has toured across the US and internationally as lead guitarist for the legendary Cyril Neville, Grammy-winning Zydeco artist Terrance Simien, and performed onstage with Tab Benoit, JJ Grey & Mofro, Eric Lindell, Mike Zito, Anders Osborne, the Neville Brothers, and many more.
Recently signed to Whiskey Bayou Records, his debut album, “Burn It Down,” was produced and engineered by Tab Benoit. Following its release in October of 2017, Eric has been touring across the US supporting Benoit.
“The singer-songwriter has spent much of his life with music at its center, a steady marker amidst the turbulence. Born in Tarrytown and an active contributor to the Hudson River folk scene, the New York artist’s plaintive Americana stylings blossom throughout ‘Time Again’.” – PopMatters
“With a charming, wistful folk sound and a strong lyrical presence, Greg Jacquin and his band can expect an awful lot of critical acclaim when their new album.” – The 405
“Hudson Valley is quite an impressive return to the ‘arena’ for Greg Jacquin and his band’s anticipated full length, due in 2019, will undoubtedly prove to be one of the year’s most compelling indie releases.” – No Depression
Today, New York-based, indie folk, singer songwriter Greg Jacquin shares his new albumClocks Slow Down, out now on all DSPs. Earbuddy exclusively streamed the record in advance, stating “Recorded at Woody’s House in Croton, New York, the album is a sometimes somber meditation on pain, suffering, and self-discovery. Add a little politics and humor, and you have yourself an album.” Jacquin has announced East Coast tour dates in support of the album, and will be celebrating the release tonight with a performance at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1 at 6pm. See below for all his upcoming dates. Clocks Slow Down is out now on all streaming platforms.
Greg Jacquin and bandmates Paul Griffin (piano, keys, vocals), Rich Berta (guitar, vocals), Peter Wilson (drums) and Lalit Loomba (bass) recorded Clocks Slow Down, a beautiful collection of eleven original songs. The album is a sprawling statement of sadness and hopelessness, pain and suffering, rebuilding and self-discovery, with a dash of politics and humor, too. This time around, Jacquin enlisted another impressive crew of musicians for the album, including Andrew Bordeaux on violin and guitar, Jim Keyes and organ and electric piano and Sarah Browne on vocals. The album was recorded by Fred Gillen Jr. (Pete Seeger) at Woody’s House in Croton, NY, and mastered by Scott Hull (John Zorn, Snarky Puppy, Loudon Wainwright III, Uncle Tupelo, Edie Brickell, Ani DiFranco) at Masterdisk. The album art is by Ian Felice (The Felice Brothers).
All songs were written by Jacquin, eliciting collaboration with a variety of artists and bandmates. “Store Policy” and “Time Again” saw Lalit Loomba & Jacquin team up in their writing process, “Coffee” was written by Greg Jannacone and Jacquin, “Too Hungry For Dinner” and “Highways & Hotels” was written by Paul Griffin.
02.15 – Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY (LP Release Show)
02.22 – Six Degrees of Separation – Ossining, NY 03.18 – Hotel RL (Brooklyn) – Brooklyn, NY 03.19 – Hotel RL (Baltimore) – Baltimore, MD
03.24 – Pianos – New York, NY
04.02 – Pianos – New York, NY 04.18 – Hotel RL (Brooklyn) – Brooklyn, NY
04.25 – Forest & Main Brewing Company – Ambler, PA 04.26 – Seasons & Seasons – Washington, DC 04.27 – Garden Grove Brewing – Richmond, VA 04.28 – The Juggling Gypsy Cafe – Wilmington, NC 05.02 – The Cellar in Newnan – Newnan, GA
05.06 – El-Rocko Lounge – Savannah, GA 05.10 – Hotel RL (Baltimore) – Baltimore, MD 05.11- Hotel RL (Washington DC) – Washington, DC
05.14 – Pianos -New York, NY
CLOCKS SLOW DOWN LP – TRACKLISTING
01. All These Strangers
02. Store Policy
04. Too Hungry For Dinner
05. Time Again
06. What If I?
09. Jim Carrey
11. Highways & Hotels
New York-based, indie-folk, singer-songwriter Greg Jacquin has spent much of his life writing and playing music. From singing and playing guitar as a little kid through writing his songs with his best friend and cousin in the 80s up to the present moment, Jacquin has been contributing to the rich music scene in New York’s Hudson Valley. Drawing on his own life experiences, the natural world, and politics, Jacquin is still out there pouring his heart and soul into every song he releases. His EP Hudson River was released to rave reviews in February 2018. After playing the new songs all over New York and the Hudson Valley for the past year, Greg was eager to get back into the studio in the summer of 2018.
Yes folks after much deliberation we have decided on our Album of the Month and what a treat it is, Beatles Blues Blast , 17 of the Liverpudlians great tunes Bluezed up by Gaetano and the boys.
The Fab Four are unquestionably one of the most influential groups of modern times, with over 500 artists recording cover versions or full tribute albums of Beatles’ songs. The list of artists spans the gamut from Ella to Elvis, the Philharmonic to Phish, even The Muppets and Alvin & the Chipmunks have had a go at them. The Beatles themselves began as a cover band, recording songs by 50’s icons Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Carl Perkins and the influence of classic R&B and blues can be heard on all the group’s albums. Several notable R&B stars had hits with Beatles songs, such as Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles, but only a few authentic blues acts have ventured into the territory of the lads from Liverpool.
Cleveland Ohio is the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and birthplace of guitarist extraordinaire, Gaetano Letizia, leader of the Underworld Blues Rock Band, who was a teenager during the years of Beatlemania and the British invasion. The effect of those heady days has stayed in the forefront of his mind for decades and now, with a little help from his friends, Mike D’Elia on drums and bass man Lenny Gray, Gaetano presents “Beatles Blues Blast.” The third disc from the trio is a rowdy romp through 17 classics from the Beatles’ catalog, cleverly arranged and reframed as a funky blues jam session. Recorded live off the floor in a single day at Bad Racket Studio in downtown Cleveland, this lo-fi indie blues rock album takes this magical music back to its roughneck roots of dance clubs in a hard-working industrial town.
In classic Beatles’ fashion the album begins at the end with ‘Come Together,’ which was the opening song of their final studio album “Abbey Road,” where the trio forgo the dramatic intro and jump headlong into the groove setting up the formula for the project. D’Elia turns McCartney’s first drum track into a jungle beat of swamp rock fury on ‘Do It In The road,’ and then we all yell “More Cowbell!” during the four on the floor funk ‘Drive My Car.’ 1960 Motown hit ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ is injected with surf guitar as a tip of the hat to the American bands that also covered it. Harrison’s Rocker ‘Taxman’ is given a Texas Shuffle treatment, and his beloved ode to the six string, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps,’ shifts between a samba and power ballad. ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,’ retains the funky groove of the Joe Cocker version, and they keep the psychedelic blues rocker, ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy),’ true to its original metal prototype form. The Latin tinged ‘And I Love Her’ has a 70’s Santana vibe, and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love,’ is turned into a Chicago Blues. Letizia steps hard on the fuzz pedal for ‘You Can’t Do That,’ and plays ‘Yesterday,’ as a soft blues rhumba.
The boys pick up the rooftop party right where the Beatles left off for a rocking ‘Get Back,’ then bring out the full drama for ‘With A Little Help From My Friends.’ The novelty song with a great riff, ‘Birthday,’ is tossed in for laughs before a sweet country blues reading of ‘Blackbird’ that features marvelous finger picking lead guitar and articulate counter point on the bass. The aptly chosen closer ‘A Day In The Life,’ also the final track of the 1967 album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely-Hearts Club Band,” is bumped up with touches of Soul and Rockin’ Fire for an epic climax.
By tackling this iconic repertoire, Gaetano Letizia and The Underworld Blues Rock Band, have created a whimsical and yet sincere tribute with “Beatles Blues Blast,” that will find a respected place in the Pantheon of Beatlemania that remains strong some 50 years on.
Rick J Bowen
Gaetano Letizia – Guitarist, Song Writer, Vocalist
Gaetano, also known as Tom, was born in Cleveland in 1951. He began performing his own blues shows at the age of 16. One of his first stage appearances was with the James Gang, sitting in for Joe Walsh at his Alma Mater, Kent State in 1970. Since then, he’s performed all over the U.S. along with Europe and Asia. Early performances with June Core of Robert Jr. Lockwood’s band, gave Gaetano a strong blues foundation based on B.B. King, Albert King, Muddy Waters and all the great blues patriarchs.
Producer of ten blues and jazz guitar CDs, Gaetano has received stellar reviews in Downbeat, Guitar Player and many national/international publications and his music has been played on radio stations in every state as well as most foreign countries.
The Underworld Band is Gaetano’s blues trio formed in 2010 and now beginning to tour the U.S. with plans for European and Asian tours in the works. The band won the Cleveland Blues Society’s 2014 Memphis Challenge and did four great shows in Memphis. The Underworld Band plays creative blues shows that audiences love and will remember. The band has two excellent albums, “Voodoo Doll & Other Blues Lessons” (2014) and “Resurrection” (2016).
Described as “a guitarist’s guitarist” and a “virtuoso” by music critics, Gaetano’s music stays true to the roots of blues while advancing the standard blues forms to delight the listener. “A new take on the blues” describes Gaetano’s treatment of modern blues problems in our lives now that we’re far from sharecropping in Mississippi. With blazing electric solos, red hot slide playing and nylon string guitar, listeners will be treated to a fun style of blues rock combined with funk and R&B that grooves and makes you move. The guitar playing is top shelf and the performances are high energy, audience oriented fun.
Michael D’Elia – Drummer, Vocalist
Born in Canton, Ohio in 1953, Mike started playing drums professionally at the age of 8 and toured nationally with various groups in his teens. Mike is the “go to” drummer for almost all the Cleveland based groups not only because he is a dynamic vocalist, but because he is a great drummer whose powerful groove and solos drive audiences wild. Known affectionately as “Daddy Sweet Roll”, Mike is loved by his thousands of music fans and everyone who meets this great lifetime blues rock musician.
Lenny Gray – Bassist
A Cleveland native born in 1950, Lenny started playing drums at 10 years old and switched to bass to play in R&B bands in 1966. Nephew of Slide Hampton, Lenny’s family is loaded with professional musicians, family reunions are big jam sessions. Lenny’s style is based in blues and jazz, heavy on the groove side. A Victor Wooten student and disciple, Lenny pops with the best and swings with all the rest.
Toronto vocalist, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist Abigail Lapell is rewriting the narrative of her past in a new album that says farewell to transience, both emotional and physical. Recently engaged, and with her new album, Getaway, due out today via Coax Records / Outside, Lapell in her latest work offers parting words to a time in her life she’s leaving behind. A bold vocalist with the rare ability to stop you cold with her voice, Lapell’s powerful, uncompromising nature is mirrored in her determined new album.
A whirlpool of genres, Getaway is grounded by the resolute essence of Lapell’s crystal voice, which demands a peaceful concentration. Drowned in an ethereal beauty, waves of pop persuasions are overturned by avant-garde forays, while classic rock riffs and indie folk roots float to the breezy surface. Reminiscent of the introspective strength of Bridget St John, the vocal power of Natalie Merchant, and the trance-like lulls of Sybille Baier, Getaway combines a mid-century tone with a modern edge.
LP opener and first single “Gonna Be Leaving” echoes the certainty that sooner or later, every relationship will end. “This is one of my favorite tunes on the album, and one of the most fun to play live,” says Lapell. “The song started as a guitar part that I couldn’t get out of my head, this insistent line that keeps circling back on itself, doubled by the vocals in a sing-song rhyme all about the contradictions of couplehood: the push and pull of independence versus commitment, trying to make it work even against the odds, or trying to leave and not being able to.” Closing the album, “Shape of a Mountain,” written in the Alberta Rockies during a Banff Centre artist residency, sets majestic scenes of wanderlust over cinematic strings.
Though an active member of the thriving Toronto indie folk scene and a winner of a 2017 Canadian Folk Music Award, Lapell’s sound is distinct due in part to the influences she’s been surrounded by on her extensive travels. Throughout her career, Lapell has performed around the world, toured by bike, canoe, and train, shared a cheap Montréal apartment with tUnE-yArDs, and completed writing residencies across North America. The result is work that’s primarily rooted in indie folk, but that delicately weaves in sounds like Canadiana desert rock and even an accordion-driven shanty on “Runaway.”
Watch the video for “Down by the Water,” premiered at The Bluegrass Situation
Working once again with producer Chris Stringer at Toronto’s Union Sound studio, Lapell expanded her pool of collaborators, recruiting Christine Bougie (Bahamas) on lap steel, Dan Fortin (Bernice) on bass, and Jake Oelrichs (Run With The Kittens) on drums. Trumpeter and composer Rebecca Hennessy plays on “Sparrow for a Heart”—her trumpet swirling in a sublime duet with Lapell’s synth flute and electric guitar—and also arranged horn parts for band workout “Little Noise.” The album also features longtime collaborator Lisa Bozikovic on piano and vocals and fellow Canadian indie roots singer Dana Sipos on vocals. One of the record’s most striking moments is just acoustic guitar and two voices: Lapell and Sipos, captured live in a room together, harmonizing atop plucked strings on the transfixing “Down by the Water.”
Abigail Lapell is no stranger to constant traveling, but she’s now making peace with putting down roots, both with her life in Toronto and within love. The eleven prairie noir tracks on Getaway represent a dynamic closing to this reflective journey. Whether transient and exploring, or switching gears to build a home, one thing about Abigail Lapell remains fixed and clear: all of it will be on her terms.
After reading the reviews below I was delighted to receive “Jim Jam Dee” through the Blue Nowhere where band member Jason is a master of the IT world, well he can use email and dropbox. I’ve only listened to a couple of tracks and I’m well impressed but more important is what our highly paid reviewer thinks.
His review will be posted at the bottom of this post to give him time to do his stuff.
“Jim Dan Dee’s New Album is Bourbon Fueled Blues Perfection! … absolutely jam packed full of amazing rocking blues and loaded with tasty licks and killer hooks.”
— Scott Burns, The Rock Source Magazine October 19th, 2018
“Full of pounding staccato guitar riffs, grunting Morphine-like sax, piercing guitar solo and the raw throat of Jim Stefanuk….The slow blues Payday sounds just as intense as the up-tempo work of the band. This is partly due to the raw growl and the filthy wall of sound that is built up by the cutting guitar work and the massive grunting sax…Jim Dan Dee is a pretty strong Canadian band with a surprising American sound !!!”— Peter Marinus, BluesMagazine December 3rd, 2018
Time for some cut and paste
The name “Jim Dan Dee” comes from the expression “Everything is just Jim Dandy”, an old cliché often used with expletives inserted. Jim Dan Dee (affectionately known as ‘J.D.D.’ by their fans) is not only a Blues band, but also a character; an idea that embodies the spirit of the music and Jim Stefanuk’s frontman persona. On stage Jim’s intensity is like a man possessed, his soulful baritone voice juxtaposed against cutting vintage guitar tones. Tying the melodies together is the silky-smooth saxophone of Bobby Sewerynek, veteran horn player and former big-band sessionist. The backbeat is solidly held down by Brian McCarthy’s growling basslines and Shawn Royal’s unmistakably solid meter and slick groove. When you see Jim Dan Dee, you get it, and their electric energy on-stage will leave you craving more.
Upon the release of their first EP “Five Stiff Shots”, JDD’s talent and hard work paid off when they were selected to play WTFest. They shared the main stage with such famous Canadian Rock icons as Big Wreck, I Mother Earth and The Trews. This opportunity helped expose the group to a bigger fanbase and make some new friends in the industry. The band continued to push their music through extensive touring, gigging at all levels from the grungiest clubs to major festivals like TD JazzFest, NXNE and CMW. Jim Dan Dee became a live-music-machine, and before they knew it they had over one hundred shows under their belt.
Enter Canadian legend and icon Jeff Martin (The Tea Party). Jeff had taken notice of the band, especially their song “The Silence”, which he had some unique ideas for. Mr. Martin produced Jim Dan Dee’s first stand-alone single “The Silence”, which was recognized for its originality and legitimate Motown feel. The song and video were great, everybody loved it, but there was still one problem: The people wanted an album.
Two years later and with hundreds of shows under their belts, JDD had amassed a huge catalog of songs with well over sixty original pieces. Many were performed live to gauge crowd reaction, and by 2018 the votes were in and the songs were chosen. The new album contains a mix of fan-favourites and the songs closest to JDD’s road-worn hearts: Songs of struggle, loneliness, love and lust. Yet it is far from a typical Blues album. A heavy dose of Motown and just enough gritty Rock & Roll is there to keep the listener’s heart pumping.
Jim Dan Dee’s self-titled inaugural album is set to release in October of 2018. This collection of songs clearly portrays the evolution of JDD’s signature sound, a fluid blend of Blues, Rock and Motown. Destined to catch the ears of industry and fans alike, Jim Dan Dee is set to make an indelible mark on Blues in North America and beyond.
Pickathon returns to the woods outside Portland, Oregon from August 2-4, 2019, with an initial lineup to be released January 21. Pickathon has built a reputation over the last twenty years as the best festival experience, combing groundbreaking programming focused on discovery, sustainable ethics, and a lineup that pushes the boundaries of genre. This vision is clear in Pickathon’s initial lineup, which brings together key headliners like Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (Rateliff’s first time playing Pickathon and he’ll be bringing two different bands), Khruangbin, Mandolin Orange, Tyler Childers, Lucius, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Fruit Bats, and Mountain Man with a voraciously broad cast of other performers like well-loved Americana outsiders Caamp, Lambchop, and H.C. McEntire, doom metal band YOB, North African desert blues artist Mdou Moctar, new supergroup Bonny Light Horseman, Northwest indie royalty Damien Jurado, Laura Veirs, and Courtney Marie Andrews, returning favorite Julia Jacklin, psych soul outfit The Marías, Polaris prize winner Lido Pimienta, Congolese experimentalists Jupiter & Okwess, and word-of-mouth newer artists like Sudan Archives, Miya Folick, B Boys, The Beths, and Black Belt Eagle Scout, among many others.
Pickathon 2019 Lineup
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Bonny Light Horseman
Courtney Marie Andrews
Jupiter & Okwess
Black Belt Eagle Scout
Mike and The Moonpies
David Nance Group
The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
Garrett T Capps
&more (Chill Moody & Donn T)
David Bragger & Susan Platz
The initial lineup shows the kind of deep curation and wide-ranging musical interests that have made Pickathon a key tastemaker event in the American music scene. It’s a lineup based on discovery, not draw, a diverse lineup intended to represent the best contemporary snapshot of music across more than a dozen genres. With many artists requesting to return each year, Pickathon has become a kind of pilgrimage for artists looking to renew themselves at a well of creative inspiration. Walking onto the festival grounds at Pendarvis Farm in the small town of Happy Valley, OR, you can see what draws artists back year after year. Pickathon is a riot for the eyes, a festival that takes a holistic view to the music. Each stage is visually spectacular, from the woven branches that make a towering shell of the Woods stage to award-worthy architecture of the Treeline stage, using renewable resources in a different array each year. The Mt. Hood Stage, the mainstage of Pickathon, was ringed with living gardens in 2018, and the festival makes use of rustic, picturesque existing buildings like the late-night-raging Galaxy Barn, or the interview-focused Lucky Barn. Each artist’s sets are curated specifically to each stage and the timing of the festival meticulously planned, all to inspire the artists to new heights and historic performances. An army of over 600 videographers and audio specialists record Pickathon, pushing for a spread of nearly 200 videos that will be released between festivals. It’s a wildly ambitious project that involves so many people because each person has come to realize that Pickathon represents our best vision for how music and community come together.
“Our secret,” explains festival founder Zale Schoenborn. “is that we continue to double down on choices that only make sense when your primary focus is to make the best experience possible, even when it sometimes conflicts with maximizing profits. We made a conscious choice some years back to limit our attendance to favor the comfort of our attendees over finding new ways to maximize how many people we can jam into Pendarvis Farm. Entering our 21st year, Pickathonremains inspired to innovate new ways to create the best festival experience.”
“Pickathon, like a microcosm of the Northwest itself, somehow continually manages to walk the line between quiet and pleasant genteel and/or raggedy and unkempt and wild,” says Eric Johnson of Fruit Bats. “Even though the visual pallette and lineup and feelings seem to get honed down to an ever-sharpened point every year, it still always feels totally raw and spontaneous at the same time. I like the blurred lines between the artists and audience, the children running wild, and the fact that I’m always compelled to not miss any set. You’ll never see more musicians watching other musicians. I’ve always likened it to a dog park for bands. I love running around with the other pups at this thing. It creates a completely unique unfiltered atmosphere that anyone watching can feel, even if they can’t explain it.”
Laying back on the grass late at night, with hyperdrive spreads of neon light flashing overhead on the Starlight Stage, Pickathon soaks into your soul. It’s the kind of festival you come back to every year, a place to renew yourself.
Americana duo The Honey Dewdrops – Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish– have long felt the push-and-pull between their original roots in the Appalachian mountains and their current home in urban Baltimore. You’ll hear it in their harmony soaked songs and the mastery of their instruments’ acoustic tones, but also in their songwriting, which reflects the hard realities of today. With their fifth independent release, Anyone Can See out on March 1st, 2019, they have primed the creative energy so prevalent on their previous releases. Each song sparkles with focused intensity, and, with their new album, the duo show that they’re growing rapidly as artists, enthusiastically exchanging an impossible quest for perfection for the compelling ebbs and flows that accompany an intimate, authentic kind of expression.
With Anyone Can See, Parrish and Wortman wanted to recreate the flexible, spontaneous atmosphere of their live performances. “We focused in on that live energy by sitting close to each other in the studio so we could hear everything in a natural way,” says the duo. “By recording each song in its entirety and keeping edits minimal we found the takes that had the magic often had some variation of voice and rhythm, like the songs were unfolding themselves.” Chasing this magic, Parrish and Wortman also found their sense of musical clarity evolving over the course of the album’s creation. “The process made us look at how we define what is “right” in our performances,” says Parrish and Wortman. “What sounded good to us was the unexpected, the improvisational moments that enhanced the arc of a song.” It helped too that producer Nick Sjostrom guided the duo towards a grounded result, helping to manifest a succinct album while also encouraging a freeing creative atmosphere. Though the creation of Anyone Can See contains elements of an artistic awakening in certain senses, Parrish and Wortman have also remained loyal to their roots, with the album evoking the duo’s characteristically powerful melodies and intricate chord progressions.
Making the album in Baltimore, it was inevitable that the city would be reflected in the songs, and three of the album’s best tracks focus on different experiences in Baltimore today. “Rainy Windows” paints the scene for the many overcast and wet days the two have had there, and “Welcome to the Club,” is a somewhat ironic take on their changing neighborhood of Hampden. One of the most powerful songs on the album, “Going Rate,” is a sobering reflection on the protests and the curfew that surrounded the death of Freddie Gray in 2015 while in police custody. Not ones to shy away from difficult topics for songwriting, “For One More,” speaks to a more humanist view on immigration based on welcoming rather than excluding. “We’re all better together,” says Parrish. Rounding out the album, the duo return to their American folk and country roots with the melodic instrumental “Ecola” and a clever cover of Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man.”
Ultimately, The Honey Dewdrops decided to keep their listeners at the forefront of their thoughts throughout the production of Anyone Can See. “We want people to feel like they are sitting in the room with us, close by,” said the duo. The result is a record drenched in sonic roominess, each of the tracks stretching to fill the space, but with a warmth that allows the album to fit comfortably anywhere. In this way, the intimacy oscillating throughout the record complements and overturns the melodic vastness: nobody will get lost in this expanse.
Watch The Honey Dewdrops perform “More Than You Should Say”