• NOW PLAYING

Donovan Woods – Both Ways

When Donovan Woods first began visiting Nashville from Toronto to write with some of the city’s pro songwriters, he was attempting to write songs for the radio – he liked what country artists were doing, but no one seemed interested in his compositions. Instead, he found that when he wrote the kind of songs he wanted to record himself, people began paying attention. That happened with “Portland, Maine,” a wrenching breakup song that Tim McGraw cut for his Sundown Heaven Town album.

“It was the first time I’d written something here where I thought, ‘I don’t care what happens to this – I am over the moon about this song and I’ll record it,'” he says, over a late breakfast during a recent visit to Nashville.

Other artists came calling – Charles Kelley recorded Woods’ “Leaving Nashville,” Billy Currington got “Sweet Love” and Charlie Worsham took on “The Beginning of Things.” So far none of them have been released to country radio, but they’re the kind of album cuts that leave a lasting impression with their mix of insightful storytelling and highly emotional undercurrents. Woods has specialized in that approach when making his own albums, which have earned him a spot in Nashville’s writers rooms, on Spotify playlists and at the Juno Awards, though his Nashville work hasn’t yielded any country radio smashes just yet.

“I think if I lived here I’d be doing a lot better,” he says. “But if I was doing better – if I had a Number One hit or something, I don’t know that you’d be able to get me in a sprinter van to drive across Canada. I don’t know if I’d do it if I had all of that money suddenly. I love music, but the drive to Victoria from Winnipeg – holy shit, you feel like you’re gonna die every kilometer.”

Woods addresses those long drives and the death-defying aspects of being a touring musician in “Truck Full of Money,” a standout track from his new album Both Ways, out Friday. A sweeping, orchestral rocker that feels massive compared to some of the hushed folk-rock that put Woods on the map, it makes a compelling case that he – like the album title suggests – can be both a top-notch songwriter and performer, even if those long stretches away from home are often a dance with mortality.

“Sometimes you’re in a hotel room and you did a show,” he says. “[You] couldn’t eat before the show because you’re too anxious and you just don’t want to be full onstage. By the time you’re done loading out, it’s like midnight so you eat a bunch of pizza at midnight and you go to a shitty hotel and lay there and you think, ‘Oh yeah, I could easily die in here.’

Both Ways captures Woods’ growing artistic ambition with bigger production and an expanded palette of sounds, suggesting those songs can exist comfortably alongside his more delicate acoustic numbers. With the latter, he finds crushing heartbreak in the mundane, as the couple in “Good Lover” solemnly moves out of the house they shared, or in “Burn That Bridge” – the video for which depicted two men falling in and out of love – where two friends forsake the world for each other before imploding. In another case, Woods sadly recalls a grade-school friend who developed a reputation for being tough and later died under mysterious circumstances in “Our Friend Bobby.”

“The more interesting thing to me was this growing up beside a person whose penchant for violence you benefited from when you were a kid, and then when you became older, [it was] ‘I don’t want anything to do with that,'” he says. “And he sort of languished. And those guys I grew up with who were so tough and popular in high school and elementary school, they’re kind of untethered now.”

 

Woods’ experimentation with a variety of new sounds leads him down some interesting roads, whether it’s the droning, swelling strings that underpin “Good Lover” or the melancholy synthesizer droplets on the workingman’s anthem “Easy Street.” As with the War on Drugs or Future Islands’ revival of hazy Eighties sounds, Woods’ deft touch and expert songwriting takes something that once sounded ultra-modern (then, later, cheesy) and turns it into aching melancholy.

“To me it’s indicative of ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ – that era of Springsteen, and now to me it sounds like blue-collar,” he says.

Both Ways concludes with “Next Year,” a meditation on mortality and the tendency to put off the important things until it’s too late. Woods recalls trying to channel the feeling of disappointing his son, who’d been carefully logging a list of things for them to do over the weekend when he had time.

“When Saturday came my son was like, we have to do that puzzle – he had checked off all the things I had put aside,” says Woods. “It was impossible to do all those things. I watched him realize I was full of shit and I felt so bad.”

It’s not hard to close one’s eyes and imagine a mainstream country performer claiming the song for his or her album. But Woods knows better than to try to aim for that outcome anymore – plus, it hardly matters when he does such a masterful job on his own, saving a little knife twist for the end that comes from a long tradition of tear-jerking country ballads.

“Third-verse death is the stock and trade of country music,” he says. “If you can find a way to kill somebody in the third verse, you better fuckin’ kill ’em. You might as well.”

Josh Rouse Releases  New Album Love in the Modern Age   via Yep Roc Records 

“A fresh sonic direction” – Albumism
 “This is a masterful storyteller celebrating the nostalgia of his youth
with his own feel.” – Forbes
“A compact collection of cool, airy but caring songs about relationships in different stages of development or deterioration.” – Associated Press
 
“…intoxicating in an un-bummed-out Beck’s Sea Change sort of way.” – Paste
Today, singer-songwriter Josh Rouse releases Love In The Modern Age via Yep Roc Records.
Similar to his work on his album 1972 where he captured the aesthetics of a specific moment in time, Josh’s new album Love in the Modern Age takes inspiration from the sound and production of early 1980’s releases by The Blue Nile, The Style Council and Prefab Sprout. Also serving as inspiration were Roxy Music’s Avalon, Leonard Cohen’s Various Positions and I’m Your Man. Non-ironic touches like sax, handclaps, reverbed guitar, backing vocals and keyboards give the moody but infectious songs a New Romantic flair. 
Buy Love in the Modern Age:
 
Brooklyn Vegan premiered the album track “Salton Sea,” along with an early demo of the song. Forbes premiered “Businessman,” calling the album “a sterling collection that is joyous, upbeat and, most importantly, feels completely authentic. …There is no retro gimmick to Love in the Modern Age. This is a masterful storyteller celebrating the nostalgia of his youth with his own feel.”
Josh Rouse has solidified his status as one of his generation’s most acclaimed songwriters in both the US and Europe, where he’s lived on and off since 2004. Spending the better part of a year touring behind his critically acclaimed eleventh album, The Embers of Time, Rouse was ready for a change. “Coming off such a heavy record, I wanted to try something different,” he explains. “I wanted to explore new sounds and write with a fresh backdrop.” Trading in his trusty acoustic guitar for a synthesizer, Love in the Modern Age still bears Rouse’s distinct fingerprints even as it pushes his limits and forges a bold new chapter more than twenty years into his celebrated career.
Josh Rouse will kick off his tour in Europe in April, followed by North America in May. Click HERE for a full list of European/North American dates.
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
 
May 9 – Washington, D.C. @Union Stage
May 10 – Woodstock, NY @The Colony Cafe
May 11 – Brooklyn, NY @The Bell House
May 12 – Cambridge, MA @Club Passim
May 13 – Philadelphia, PA @World Cafe Live
May 15 – Toronto, ON @Horseshoe Tavern
May 16 – Ferndale, MI @The Magic Bag
May 17 – Evanston, IL @SPACE
May 18 – Des Moines, IA  @Vaudeville Mews
May 19 – Minneapolis, MN @Dakota
May 20 – Milwaukee, WI @The Back Room @Colectivo
May 24 – Nashville, TN @3rd & Lindsley
May 25 – Atlanta, GA @Terminal West
May 30 – Seattle, WA @Triple Door
May 31 – Seattle, WA @Mississippi Studios
June 1 – San Francisco, CA @Chapel
June 2 – Santa Monica, CA @McCabe’s
June 3 – San Diego, CA @The Casbah

Meg Williams EP. Maybe Someday added to playlist, Someday is today.

Singer/songwriter Meg Williams balances her big guitar playing with a sweet and sultry vocal style and razor-sharp lyrics. The recent transplant to Music City from upstate New York, Williams has made the most of her first year in Nashville, playing showcase gigs as a solo as well as with her full band, and releasing a new EP, Maybe Someday. The original six tracks aren’t what you’d expect from an East Nashville studio. They are full-blown blues rock and soul tunes, no country twang here. Williams busts out with the deep-fried funk ‘Not My Problem,’ as the opening track delivering some real Girl Power soul. She then rips into the straight-ahead blues shuffle ‘Bad Lovin,’ peeling off Magic Sam guitar leads. Swamp rocker ‘Little Bit Of The Devil’ features greasy slide guitar from Dan Wecht on the cautionary tale of a dangerous women. The title track ‘Maybe Someday,’ is a lesson on optimism infused with sweet gospel swing, taking generous influence from Tedeschi Trucks Band. The album’s first single ‘Let Me Down,’ is built off a heavy riff, a deep NYC rock groove and tough girl grit. The set ends with the head bopping rocker ‘I Feel A Heartache Coming,’ highlighting Williams power pop songwriting skills and unlimited potential.

Rick J Bowen

BIOGRAPHY

Meg has been busy performing all around Nashville at respected Writer’s Nights and Songwriter Showcases, and numerous venues with both her band, Meg Williams Band, and as a solo/duo act – you can find her on a stage nearly every single night (sometimes 3x a night!) After living in Nashville for only over a year, she has already been the Featured Artist at several songwriter showcases, shared the stage with many established songwriters & artists, and competed in the 2016 Nashville Blues Challenge. She has additionally performed in Memphis during the International Blues Challenge week (2017 & 2018), performing at the highly respected B.B. King’s Blues Club Memphis (2018), toured southern California three times in the past year, performed twice at the Re-Axe booth at the Summer NAMM showcase in Nashville, recently played at Knoxville’s WDVX Blue Plate Special, and performed at Cheyenne Frontier Days and Loretta Lynn’s Ranch as a guitarist for another Nashville-based artist. Often compared to Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt, Meg’s guitar playing has captured the attention of listeners throughout all of Nashville and increasingly the US.

 

Chris Smither – Call Me Lucky

Songwriter. Guitarist. Bluesman. Interpreter. Performer. Over 50 years later, Chris Smither is truly an American original.

Call Me Lucky is his latest studio album of brand-new originals in six years, featuring his long-time producer and multi-instrumentalist David Goodrich, drummer Billy Conway (Morphine), Matt Lorenz (aka The Suitcase Junket), and engineer Keith Gary. The four musicians went in to the session to record ten songs. What they ended up with is a double-album offering commentary on the human condition in the way that only Chris Smither can. These songs pull deep from the soul and make for the kind of reflection that come when facing a higher power or natural disaster. From the opening track of “Blame’s On Me” to “Lower the Humble”, Smither raises his own bar when it comes to his songwriting.

Reviewers including the Associated Press, NPR, MOJO, and The New York Times agree that Smither remains a significant songwriter and an electrifying guitarist – an American original – as he draws deeply from folk and blues, modern poets and philosophers. And with Call Me Lucky Chris Smither keeps doing just that.

Chris Smither’s 18th album in his 50 plus year career finds him embracing his roots from Boston’s rich music scene through his collaboration with some of its finest players. That includes his longtime producer, David “Goody” Goodrich, Matt Lorenz (the amazing one man band, aka The Suitcase Junket) and Billy Conway (Morphine). For ‘Call Me Lucky,’ Smither has worked up a two disc collection which features one disc of mainly originals and a couple covers; and a second disc of reworked/rearranged songs from disc one, plus a “surprise” cover.

Not only has Chris been known to be a favorite go-to songwriter for people like Bonnie Raitt, The Dixie Chicks, Diana Krall, John Mayall and others, he’s also known far and wide for his astute song interpretations. Oftentimes, it’ll be halfway through the song before the familiarity of the tune will hit. This time around is no different with Smither’s covers becoming something completely of their own, especially his take on Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline.”

Recorded at Goody’s Blue Rock Studio just outside Austin in the Texas Hill Country, it’s clear the atmosphere was relaxed. Every player on the album wore different hats during the making of, with the drummer playing the guitar and the engineer jumping on keys. With ‘Call Me Lucky’ being his first new material in six years, it’s clear he used that time to rest and reflect for this project. The highlight of the album, “The Blame’s on Me,” find Chris’ delivery, from vocals to guitar, as if he were urgently conveying his message, but in the most laid back manner. It’s truly a special talent of his that continues to make an impression.

In total, Smither’s performance is energized and right at home, sounding like an inspired musician with still much left to do and say.

TME.FM Radio’s Top Songs Of 2017.

Below is the playlist of our 20 favorite songs of 2017.

Yes I know there are 42 but without declaring war among ourselves we could not make the list any smaller.

We had to use dirty tricks,back stabbing,bribery,coercion and  payment of favors but the 7 of us finally agreed.

We apologize to all the artists who have not got a song on the list , it does not mean they were not good enough we could not make a decision.

This list in no way reflects the TOP ALBUMS OF THE YEAR list which is being compiled in a much more democratic way. No bribes will be accepted from artists or PR companies I can assure you.

Now press play and listen to the best of the best of the best songs played on TME.FM Radio in 2017.

The true spirit of Americana – PDX songwriter Anna Tivel drops album today

Anna Tivel
Small Believer

Rave reviews from Huffington Post, Culture Collide…

The new album from Portland songwriter Anna Tivel is out today on Fluff & Gravy Records! She’s been getting some wonderful press from the new album, and we’ve just sent out hard copies to radio folks all across the US, Canada and Europe.

 

Culture Collide:
“This is the true spirit of Americana, and Tivel captures it with an intimacy and simplicity that speaks volumes.”

Huffington Post:
“Tivel’s lyrics combined with the wistful and longing notes paint a picture that is at the same time heartbreaking and hopeful. Her songwriting has been called viscerally moving and I have to..

MORE INFO:

For Portland, Oregon songwriter Anna Tivel, the open road is more than a way to bring her songs to new places, it’s also a near-endless source of stories. On her new album, Small Believer, Tivel taps into the stories she hears every night, after every show. “When you’re touring,” Tivel explains, “you’re naked onstage each time. You’re doing this vulnerable thing in front of strangers and it encourages people to open up themselves.” You’ll see it after one of Tivel’s shows, a young woman who steels up the courage to go up and speak to her. Something in a song has touched this person and her story comes tumbling out, tears streaming down her face. It’s powerful to watch, and a testament to the intimate connection between the songwriter and the audience. For Tivel, herself a naturally soft-spoken introvert, perhaps people see in her the struggle they see in themselves to be heard in such a noisy world.

The songs on Small Believer were written while Tivel was touring, but also in-between shifts at the odd waitressing job, or driving Meals on Wheels in her spare time. She has an extraordinarily keen eye for recasting the images she sees into song, so that a homeless man drawing comfort each day while sitting and watching a building go up, brick by brick, becomes the song “Riverside Hotel.” A chance conversation with a neighbor, also a waitress, who makes an empty promise becomes “Last Cigarette.” Each image or moment that burned itself into Tivel’s memories becomes a launching pad for a larger story that she spins into song. And each song of Tivel’s is full of blazing moments that go on to implant themselves into her audience, touching each person. It’s a turning cycle, a spinning wheel of time, movement, and stories that defines Tivel’s passage.

To make Small Believer, Anna Tivel drew on her close community of friends and collaborators in Portland, starting with Austin Nevins (Josh Ritter, Della Mae), who produced the album. Nevins shared a deep love for the kind of quiet stories Tivel loves to tell. Nevins brought together Portland collaborators to make the understated accompaniment that pervades the album: slow-driving fiddles, accordions, electric guitars moving beneath and supporting Tivel’s soft words. Released on Fluff & Gravy Records, label-head John Shepski has long championed Anna’s music along with other great, unheralded Northwest songwriters across genres.

Even in Americana as a genre today, people tend to forget that the best songwriters are great storytellers, and the best storytellers source their material from what they observe around themselves. The best songs don’t need to be complex or virtuosic, they just need to mean something to someone. That’s how they last.

Moshe Vilozny

Born in Portland Oregon and raised in Santa Cruz California, Moshé grew up  spending  summers in Israel and winters throughout Latin America,  Moshe incorporates his life experiences into his original songs to create music without borders, with musical influences from around the world.  

Moshe has been writing & performing original songs since age 13.  In 2004, Moshe released “Revolucion” with his world music group Universal Language.  An album featuring 12 of his original songs sung in English, Spanish & Hebrew.  The group toured throughout the west coast packing venues and headlining festivals including Earthdance,  Sierra Nevada & Reggae On The River where they were joined by Michael Franti (a video of which is on the UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE tab  of this site)  As players moved out of the area & country and Moshe settled down into family life, the group took a hiatus, with occasional reunion shows.

​​

2016 found Moshe returning full circle back to his roots as a singer songwriter with the release of “Lost & Found”.  One of the last projects  recorded at Gadgetbox Studios in Santa Cruz, the album features 13  original songs performed live in  studio.  The album features all acoustic instrumentation, &  some of Santa Cruz’s finest players.  The album was put onto heavy rotation on AAA Americana radio station KPIG where it is often requested. 

2017 finds Moshe writing more than ever as he draws on his life changes, including the birth of his daughter Isla on July 6th.  He has written the material for his 3rd album which will be his most intimate effort yet.  He is performing mainly as a solo artist showcasing songs from his previous two albums and his forthcoming album bringing  honest, heartfelt original live music to his audiences.

New album from California songwriter Kyle Alden

The new album from California songwriter Kyle Alden is a refreshing blend of American folk, Irish roots, and old poetry.
Kyle Alden:
Down in the West Volume 2

Images of the American West are spread throughout the compelling new folk and Americana album, Down in the West Volume 2, from California songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Alden. Rivers running on, old growth redwoods, falling-down barns, horse stables… But there are really two Wests in this album: the Pacific coast of America and the West of Ireland, the sources of many of Alden’s musical inspirations. Here he blends the two worlds effortlessly, pulling additional ideas from that other source of Irish-influenced Americana: Appalachia. These three cultural touchstones all share the same rugged, pioneer landscape, reflected clearly in Alden’s music. Here, rough-and-tumble County Kerry Irish polkas, original and traditional, rub shoulders with newly composed cowboy songs that speak of the loss of the American West. Throughout, Alden’s wry sense of humor and rich folk baritone carry the songs into interesting new territory, pushing the tradition away from a sense of somber history and into a place that speaks to our modern world with old words.


MORE INFO ON KYLE ALDEN’S NEW ALBUM
In making Down in the West Volume 2, Kyle Alden brought great musical friends together in the San Francisco Bay Area. American Irish fiddler Athena Tergis (Riverdance, Green Fields of America) joins in on the tunes, along with San Francisco acoustic music vets like folk singer Rory McNamara, pianist David Smadbeck, pedal steel player Robert Powell (Peter Gabriel, John Lee Hooker), bassists Scott Thunes (Frank Zappa, The Waterboys, The Mother Hips), and Paul Eastburn (Spark & Whisper). These players join Alden’s own instrumental and vocal work on the album, which features him playing mandolin, tenor banjo, guitar, and bass. The songs on the album are drawn from a wide variety of sources. Alden’s original songs, like the twang-heavy folk song “Better Than New,” the Irish dancehall delight “The Nancy Song,” or the evocative ballad “Fall Day Gone,” combine with songs from traditional sources, like the Appalachian and Irish classics “Sail Away Ladies” and “Sam Hall,” or rarer sources, like the beautiful song “George’s Street” from San Francisco Irish songwriter Vince Keehan. In a nod to Alden’s 2011 album, Songs from Yeats’ Bee-Loud Glade, which featured the poetry of W.B. Yeats’ set to song, here Alden resets a poem from British poet W.H. Auden in a rolling folk-rock setting.

Down in the West Volume 2 is a snapshot of the wide-roaming mind of Kyle Alden, both as a songwriter and as a tunesmith/instrumental musician. The album effortlessly blends American and Irish traditions in a setting so natural that the listener would be hard-pressed to find where one tradition ends and the other begins.

Liz Longley – Weightles

Weightless, the second Sugar Hill offering from singer/songwriter Liz Longley, offers a natural evolution in her sound. Produced by Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses, Avett Brothers), this date uses the meld of pop Americana that established her reputation and grafts on indie and rock & roll. Recorded at Fleetwood Shack in Nashville, Longley, Reynolds, and a small cast of players straddle a line between contemporary country’s hooky melodicism (sans production staples like fiddles, steel guitars, and banjos), 21st century indie rock, and the country-pop/rock that songwriters like Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, and Carlene Carter embraced in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Longley‘s trademark as a lyricist is in writing unflinching narratives, but these songs, whose topics include the attainment of freedom at any cost, loss, vulnerability, and the acceptance of change no matter how difficult, are particularly steely. Assembled they form a poetic — and kinetic — meditation on relationships and personal transformation. The pulsing new wave keys in “Swing” frame an intimate vocal before electric guitars and tom-toms thunder in from the margins. Longley‘s grainy falsetto declares: “Can’t settle me down/Or make me stand still/Can’t hold me back, nobody ever will….” The title track underscores that theme as her protagonist cuts free from a destructive relationship. A strummed acoustic guitar hovers about under her initially hesitant vocal, but in the chorus, punchy electric six-string guitars and crashing cymbals shore up the singer’s conviction; the tune gathers steam and becomes an anthem. “Say Anything You Want” balances a rough and tumble Neil Young & Crazy Horse-style attack with an infectious melodic hook, it’s among the best things here. Longley finally places “Rescue My Heart” — an aching ballad used in both ABC’s Switched at Birth and MTV’s Scream: The TV Series — on an album. The resigned and determined lyrics in “Never Really Mine” are complemented by a cinematic arrangement that blurs the lines between Americana, vintage rock, and indie pop. The slow rocking “Electricity,” adorned in reverb, drum loops, acoustic piano, and layered backing vocals in choral style, is glorious indie pop. “Oxygen” seamlessly melds dreamy pop atmospherics and indie rock into a dramatic close. Its lyric bets on love as the force of redemption. Longley‘s been heading toward Weightless for a while, yet fine as it is, it still sounds like she’s on the road to something bigger, wider. That’s a not a criticism: Musical evolution is part and parcel of what makes pop music compelling. To hear this songwriter’s growing confidence as she moves from strength to strength is a privilege.

Sera Cahoone releases new single, “Ladybug”

 

Featured today on NPR Music, Seattle Americana songwriter Sera Cahoone has released her new single, “Ladybug,” from her upcoming album, From Where I Started (to be released March 24, 2017). After years at the top of the indie charts with her past albums on Sub Pop Records, Cahoone has returned to her roots in the country, folk and Americana influences she grew up with.
“Ladybug” tells the tragic story of Cahoone’s cousin, who was murdered by her partner. It’s a song about the shock of loss, and the catharsis of working to move forward. It’s a powerful story that’s being shared now on NPR.

Tour Dates with Gregory Alan Isakov and Tift Merritt

Cahoone will be joining Gregory Alan Isakov on the road for a series of tour dates supporting both Isakov and Tift Merritt. Check them out:

Tour Dates
* – Supporting Tift Merritt
** – Supporting Gregory Alan Isakov

2/19 – Kansas City, MO / Knuckleheads *
2/22 – Baton Rouge, LA / Red Dragon Listening Room *
2/23 – Conroe, TX / Dosey Doe Music Cafe *
2/24 – Austin, TX / 3Ten @ ACL Live *
2/25 – Dallas, TX / Three Links *
2/27 – OKC, OK / Blue Door *
3/1 – St. Louis, MO / The Duck Room @ Blueberry Hill *
3/3 – Louisville, KY / Kentucky Country Day School *
3/4 – Nashville, TN / City Winery *
3/5 – Atlanta, GA / City Winery *
4/19 – Lawrence, KS / Liberty Hall **
4/20 – Tulsa, OK / The Shrine **
4/22 – Sante Fe, NM / Meow Wolf **
4/23 – Flagstaff, AZ / The Orpheum Theatre **
4/24 – Tucson, AZ / Rialto Theatre **
4/26 – Santa Barbara, CA / Lobero Theatre **
4/27 – Santa Cruz, CA / The Catalyst **
4/28 – Petaluma, CA / McNear’s Mystic Theatre **
4/29 – Sacramento, CA / Crest Theatre **
4/30 – Arcata, CA / Humboldt Brews **
5/1 – Eugene, OR / HiFi Music Hall **
5/3 – Vancouver, BC / The Imperial **
5/5 – Calgary, AB / Commonwealth Bar & Stage **
5/6 – Billings, MT / Pub Station Ballroom **
5/7 – Laramie, WY / Gryphon Theatre **