On the walls of any local used music shop there hangs a gallery of mysteries. Picked up and handed down across the decades, each instrument contains the imprints and stories of those who have played it before, most of which remain untold. For Kansas City-based songwriter Kelly Hunt the most intriguing of these stories is the origin of her anonymous calfskin tenor banjo. “I really wasn’t looking for it,” she says, “but I opened up the case and it said ‘This banjo was played by a man named Ira Tamm in his dog and pony show from 1920 to 1935.’ I strummed it and said ‘This is unlike anything I’ve ever heard.’ People often think of the banjo as being rather brash and tinny – loud and kind of grating – but this was so warm and mellow, with an almost harp-like quality to it, very soulful” – apt words for the Memphis native’s debut album, Even The Sparrow, coming out May 17 on Rare Bird Records.
The daughter of an opera singer and a saxophonist, Kelly Hunt was raised in Memphis, TN, and grew up performing other people’s works through piano lessons, singing in choirs, and performing theater. “It was a very creative, artistic household,” says Hunt. During her teenage years, influenced by musical inspirations as diverse as Norah Jones, Rachmaninov, and John Denver, she began writing her own songs on the piano as a creative outlet. After being introduced to the banjo in college while studying French and visual arts, Hunt began to develop her own improvised style of playing, combining old-time picking styles with the percussive origins of the instrument. “I’m self-taught, I just started letting the songs dictate what needed to be there,” she says. “I heard a rhythm in a song that I wanted to execute, so I figured out how to do it on the drum head while still being able to articulate certain notes in one motion.” After college, Hunt followed a rambling path that took her through careers in acting, graphic design, traditional French breadmaking, and medicine, all the while making music as a private endeavor. “I wanted get serious about a responsible career choice, but music kept bubbling up. I was writing a lot and playing a lot and started to not be satisfied just playing to my walls of my room.”
After moving to Kansas City and discovering her mysterious Depression-era tenor banjo, Hunt began recording Even The Sparrow in Kansas City alongside collaborator Stas’ Heaney and engineer Kelly Werts. “It took almost two years to record,” she says, “learning how to let the songs dictate the production.” Having finally come to light, the album displays Hunt’s penchant for masterful storytelling and intriguing arrangement, as researched and complex as they are memorable, punctuated by her articulate melodies and a well-enunciated and creative command of lyrical delivery infused with deft emotional communication. While reminiscent of modern traditionalists such as Gillian Welch–a number of her songs even borrow titles and phrasing from traditional American music (“Back to Dixie,” “Gloryland”)–Even The Sparrow reveals an ineffable quality that hovers beyond the constraints of genre, à la Anais Mitchell and Patty Griffin. In “The Men of Blue & Grey,” what begins as a Reconstruction-era ballad about the repurposing of glass photographic plates in a greenhouse roof soon becomes a meditation on the hope that growth and life may one day be able to emerge from the ruins of suffering and haunting of war. “Across The Great Divide” turns an otherwise traditional accounting of spurned love into a philosophical epic of the ethics of forgiveness and freedom, evoking the ideas of Søren Kierkegaard and Walt Whitman.
As for the original owner of Kelly Hunt’s mysterious tenor banjo, not much is known. “I’ve never been able to find anything about Ira Tamm,” she says. “I think he just had a humble little traveling show,” she says. What’s clear is that the itinerant performer laid down his banjo at the height of the Great Depression, almost eighty years before it would be picked up by Hunt. “That banjo has stories. I wish I knew them all,” she says, though the banjo’s most intriguing story may just be beginning with Even The Sparrow. “The marks of Ira’s hands are still in the calfskin head, so I can see where he played and left his mark,” she says. “Now my own hand marks are there too, in different places, like a kind of portrait.”
Nola Blue, Inc. is delighted to announce the establishment of a new blues festival to preserve, celebrate and support the rich musical legacy of Texas blues. The inaugural East Texas-based event will be held October 25-27, 2019 at Salmon Lake Park. Confirmed performers include Benny Turner, The Peterson Brothers, Steve Howell and Kathy & the Kilowatts. Additional lineup announcements forthcoming.
The festival’s location is significant because the area is considered the westernmost region of the Deep South, and has been fertile ground for some of the most influential blues artists of the twentieth century including Blind Lemon Jefferson, ‘The Father of Texas Blues,’; Lightnin’ Hopkins; T-Bone Walker; Freddie King and more.
Salmon Lake Park’s beautiful 100 acres provides an idyllic setting for the event, with a vintage bandstand nestled in a shaded area, a fresh water lake and plenty of buildings and other nostalgia from a bygone era of East Texas. Well-suited for group gatherings of families or close friends, there are more than 350 RV hookups, furnished cabin rentals and tent camping available for those who wish to spend the weekend onsite. Reservations can be made directly with the park by calling 936-687-2594. Festival tickets will be sold separately.
When her client, Benny Turner, was approached with the opportunity to produce a blues festival not far from where he was born, Nola Blue President Sallie Bengtson knew that it was the right thing to do, at just the right time. Turner embodies a living musical legacy, born on the porch of his Gilmer, TX family home where he and his older brother Freddie King listened to their mother and uncles playing the blues. Turner continues to play the blues to enthusiastic audiences everywhere, more than sixty years after beginning his music career, carrying on a tradition of which he is very proud. Bengtson says, “We look forward to celebrating with Benny on his 80th birthday (October 27, 2019) during this inaugural event.”
NO SPOTLIGHT, NO ALBUM, APRIL WILL HAVE AN ARTIST OF THE MONTH.
Having hit #10 on the Blues Albums Billboard Charts with her 5th album release titled “Take it With You,” Northern California Blues Americana Siren 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. Her various performance formats from raw solo act to full band captures audiences hearts from her first notes. She has opened for Robert Cray, Joan Osborne, The Doobie Brothers, Tim Reynolds, Jon Cleary, The James Hunter Six, among many others. Her sound has been compared to Larkin Poe, Bonnie Raitt, Joss Stone, Beth Hart, and what the late Taz Digregorio of the Charlie Daniels band once said, “Dylan in a Dress!”
Blues Americana artist Katie Knipp has been on a passionate musical journey her entire life. Always in choir, she was drawn to the piano at the age of 15. Since there was no piano at home, she began teaching herself on every lunch break during high school in the choir room. Beginning college, Katie believed it would be practical to major in medicine. Singing in a choir rendition of Mozart’s Requiem changed her future path. The haunting beauty of the music made tears roll down her face, and she knew that, in order to follow her heart, she would dedicate herself and her studies to music. Attending U.C. Santa Cruz, Katie enjoyed the calm, serene new environment.
Driven to continually grow, she taught herself guitar on the beaches of California’s coast. “The waves would drown out any mistakes I made, so that I wouldn’t be embarrassed by wrong notes,” says Katie. As she dug deeper into her music major, it became clear to Katie that she also wanted to write her own material. Witness to a gruesome on-campus suicide on her 21st birthday, she decide she needed a change of scenery; she transferred to Cal State Hayward, where she would earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Music with an emphasis in vocal performance. The dark experience of the suicide, however, would stay with her, and became one of many events that helped mold her writing into the gutsy, soul-on-a-platter type material. To date, Katie has released four studio albums, a DVD, and played hundreds of venues throughout California. Sacramento News and Review nominated her for Best Blues Artist in Sacramento in 2017.
Readers of The Northbay Bohemian voted her band “Number One Band in Marin County” for two consecutive years. Currently laying down roots in Sacramento, Katie has worldwide radio support, has opened for such acts as Robert Cray, The James Hunter Six, Jon Cleary, The Doobie Brothers, Tim Reynolds and Tommy Castro, and shared the stage as a back up singer for Barry Manilow. Her music can be found on iTunes, many other digital mediums, as well as retail cds on www.katieknipp.com. Katie unflinchingly maintains the goal of being a viable force in the music world. Her success is largely based upon her willingness to take risks, diversify her format and learn from collaboration with others. Katie performs in several formats, from solo to full band. Equipped with a powerful voice, Katie also plays piano, guitar, dobro and harmonica. Her hard work has shaped her into a mature artist, focusing on the organic, free elements that reach people the most. She is also busy raising her two toddler boys as well as teaching piano and voice lessons in Rocklin, California.
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.
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.
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.
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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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