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Phil Madeira – Providence

Most people who know Phil Madeira know him as one of the most seasoned players in Nashville. Since his arrival in 1983, Madeira has seen success in a plethora of different ways. He has quietly released five solo critically-acclaimed records and has shared the stage with Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Leon Russell, and Jack White. If you can think of it, Phil Madeira has probably lived it; but that’s what most people don’t know about Phil Madeira – his own story – and he’s finally ready to tell it.Released on April 6, Providence is a rare look at the man behind the music, a chance for listeners to get to know Madeira’s own stories, after having spent decades helping other songwriters and musicians tell theirs. Click here to read Madeira’s interview with Rolling Stone Country + watch the video for “Gothenburg,” a song that celebrates his family’s immigrant experience.

Comprised of 10 songs, Providence gives listeners a closer look at Madeira’s life and the inner conflict of being raised in New England, yet feeling an undeniable attraction to the music of the South, “It’s an album full of love songs to where I’m from and where I’ve come to.” Songs like “Rich Man’s Town” reflect on his childhood in Barrington, a suburb of Providence, Rhode Island. Others, like “Dearest Companion” with the words “We’re Dixon and Mason, lost in translation. If love ain’t frustration, I don’t know what is,” make the connection between where he was raised and Nashville, his home of over 30 years.

Independently produced, the album is a complete change from anything he’s ever done, “I don’t know what happened, but I fell in love with piano again.” The record straddles his iconic Americana style and jazz, more specifically, a sixties jazz piano style. Made at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios, the live album features “three quarters” of The Red Dirt Boys, with Chris Donahue on bass, Brian Owens on drums, and Madeira providing lead vocals and piano. Will Kimbrough (also a Red Dirt Boy) lends guitar work on one songs, and jazz icon John Scofield adds guitar to another. Touches of brass and reeds round out the sound, but it all hinges on the trio of Madeira, Donohue, and Owens.

If Madeira has proven anything to the world, it’s his ability to bring people together in whatever capacity he’s working in. Though he didn’t intend on the “feel good” record having one overarching theme, he says the most important message is evident in the last track, “Gothenburg”, the Swedish city from which his maternal grandparents immigrated to America from. “It’s a reminder that most of us are immigrants. Most of us picked out a city and trusted that the community was going to embrace us, which is what Nashville has been to me.” Just like Nashville embraced Phil Madeira, Providence embraces the ultimate universal truth – we all have our differences but are, inherently, the same.<

As an instrumentalist, playing electric guitar, lap steel, accordion, dobro, or a Hammond B-3 with icons like Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Sixpence Pence None the Richer, Mavis Staples, and Garth Brooks — to name a few. As a producer, producing tracks for Keb’ Mo’, Emmylou, The Civil Wars, Humming People, The Band Perry, and the 2012 release of Americana Paul McCartney covers, Let Us In: Americana. As a songwriter, with a cut list that includes Alison Krauss, Amy Grant, Toby Keith, and The Civil Wars’ 2014 Grammy-winning single, “From This Valley.”

About Phil Madeira:

The last of three children, Madeira was born in Rhode Island to a Baptist minister and a church pianist. He’s lived and breathed music since he can remember, but that didn’t always coincide with his religious family. By high school, he had joined the school band and eventually began to write songs and dabble in piano. From then on, Madeira continued on his own path. He left Rhode Island for Taylor University, a conservative, religious school in small town Indiana, to study art. He continued to write and play songs in his free time, but everything changed when he met popular Christian guitar player Phil Keaggy. “When I met Phil, he said, ‘I think you’re gonna be in my band someday,’ and sure enough, three years later, I was playing with this guy.” He joined Keaggy’s band in 1976, but after recording just one record, the band broke up. Five years later, he made the move to Nashville and was immediately embraced by the Christian world, but always knew that he belonged elsewhere. In the early nineties, Buddy Miller hired him for studio work, which eventually led to him joining Miller’s band and finding his place in Americana.

In 2008, Madeira joined Emmylou’s famed band “The Red Dirt Boys”, a group with alumnus like Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Al Perkins, and Buddy Miller himself. During the first campaign for Barack Obama, he became disheartened with the political climate and approached Emmylou with an idea. “I went to Emmylou and said, “You know? I want to do kind of a Gospel record. I want to do a record that says God loves everybody.” Shortly after, the two began working on what would become Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us. The critically-acclaimed album, released in 2012, featured an all-star track listing – beginning with The Civil Wars’ “From This Valley”. The album featured songs from the likes of Shawn Mullins, Buddy Miller, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mat Kearney, Amy Stroup, John Scofield, Emmylou, and Madeira himself. The same year, the Americana Association asked Madeira to perform Mercyland at the legendary Downtown Presbyterian Church, as part of the AmericanaFest. A second volume was released in January 2016, that included Americana staples Will Kimborough, The Wood Brothers, John Paul White, and The McCrary Sisters; as well as newcomers like The Lone Bellow and Humming People, among others.

TORS New Single + announcement of upcoming EP ‘Wilder Days’ + debut appearance at The Great Escape

The British Three-Piece release the New Single 23rd March

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Performing Live at:

Live at Leeds, Leeds, 5th May

The Great Escape, Brighton, 18th May

Bushstock Festival, Shepherd’s Bush, 23rd June

Glas-Denbury Festival, Devon, 6th July

110 Above Festival, Leicestershire, 4th August

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‘Tors have a wonderfully fresh, entirely natural, feel.’ – Clash

‘Tors’ music is of the soul, of the earth, we can hear it from the first note.’ – Earmilk

‘Tors feel really familiar when you really dig in, but it might just be because I can’t stop listening to them.’ – Ear To The Ground

Tors return with their highly engaging folk-based harmonies on the second single ‘We Say No’ off the upcoming EP ‘Wilder Days’, following their sold out UK tour with Tom Walker at the end of 2017. The title-single ‘Wilder Days’ gained attention from Alt Press, Earmilk and more.

Matt and Theo; two brothers that make up two thirds of Tors, started out their musical careers writing tracks featuring in critically acclaimed Channel 4 Drama – Skins. Alongside Tors, Matt writes music for multiple big-time Japanese and Korean pop bands, and has also written chart hits in Italy and Poland. In addition, he’s written a song that is currently being supported by Radio 1 – ‘Better’ by Declan J Donovan. Additionally, Tors have made a massive impact with the likes of BBC introducing, 6Music and Radio X and with streams amounting totally over 2million so far, they’re ready to make waves with the release of their new single ‘We Say No’, recorded naturally in their Dad’s old shed in Devon.

‘We Say No’ holds the bulk of the melancholic presence in Tors’ upcoming EP. The single’s tempo is much faster than its counterparts, and with use of offbeat guitar throughout, it exposes a sense of urgency that embraces aspects of songwriting similar to that of The Mystery Jets. However, the choruses bring back those same stylistic Indie-Folk Tors harmonies and excellent use of toms, creating thistle-thick texture from the 3-piece.

Tors are named after a collection of different rock formations in Devon, where Matt and Theo Weedon (frontmen of Tors) hail from. The brothers, who started the band together, are grandsons of the late Bert Weedon, a famous guitarist during the 50’s and 60’s, and writer of Play In A Day; a book which has been credited by Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, John Lennon (to name a few), for their guitar abilities.

Tors have a big year ahead of them, where they are scheduled to play The Great Escape, as well as a number of U.K festivals this summer; they are sure to turn heads and prick ears in 2018.

“’We Say No’ is about depression and overcoming what can feel like a tidal wave of anxiety; the idea that there is worth and light in the struggle itself. As a band we’ve been knocked back enough times that building ourselves back up turns into it’s own little art form, it’s like breathing, you have to get deflated to let the air in again.” – Tors

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.

Hannah Read – Way Out I’ll Wander

Thanks to FRUK.

Often folk singers will perform with a certain place in mind. No other genre is quite so aware of its geographical heritage. A regional accent, a political stance, a particular choice of instrument or a way of describing a landscape: all of these can signify, with varying degrees of subtlety, a sense of location or sometimes dislocation. But there are other, equally valid, subjects for artists to tackle, and one of these is what we might call the human condition, or more specifically the nuance of human interpersonal relationship. With quiet but noteworthy ambition, the latest album by Hannah Read, her second, attempts to reconcile both of these strands. While this may not be unique, Read’s methods are all her own, and the results are fascinating.

Read is Scottish, but lives and works in the United States. Way Out I’ll Wander was recorded in two separate winter sessions, a year apart, in New Hampshire and upstate New York. And as I have suggested, location is important. The rural, mountainous areas where Read worked provide a link, perhaps a subconscious link, to the landscapes of her homeland. This allows her to perform in a way that recalls the musical heritage of both of her homes, and that acknowledges the shared aspects of that heritage as well as its differences. And just as importantly, it allows her to approach lyrical subjects of her songs – people and relationships she has known, shared pasts – with enough distance to make for clear-eyed, objective portraits, painted with affection and skill.

With that in mind, the opening track, Moorland Bare, is something of an outlier in that its lyrics are not Read’s own but are taken from a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson was another Scot who spent some time in upstate New York, and for whom the idea of home was powerful and complex. Moreland Bare, then, makes a natural and excellent scene-setter, with its darkly romantic recollections of the Scottish heaths. But more than that, it is a stunningly performed piece that instantly showcases Read’s ability to command the terrain of a song. The gentle but bittersweet strum of acoustic guitar carries a voice that is remarkably clear but full of transatlantic ghosts: there are echoes of both her adopted homeland and her place of birth in every phrase. Amongst other things, it is an apposite reminder of the borderlessness of art.

 

It is followed by the first of the detailed character sketches which are to become a trademark of the album. Ringleader shows Read at her darkest and most ambiguous. Its message is potent but enigmatic, revolving around the idea that the worst human behaviour is entrenched through generations, feeds off weakness, and is incredibly difficult to change. As if to let the gravity of this song sink in, Read follows it up with a short instrumental interlude led by her unhurried, melancholy fiddle, and owing as much to modern chamber music, jazz or film scores as to folk. Indeed, an important feature of the whole record is a tactful use of a wide range of instruments: Read’s fiddle and guitar (along with the guitar work of Jefferson Hamer) is brilliantly underpinned by the upright bass of Jeff Picker. This makes up the album’s musical core, but there are various other flourishes throughout – woodwind, saxophone, lap steel, piano – which are knitted together wonderfully by co-producer and engineer Charlie Van Kirk.

I’ll Still Sing Your Praises is one of the most personal, most powerful and rawest songs here. To a minimal musical backdrop, Read sings with fondness, resignation and sadness of the end of a relationship set against the opposed territories of city and countryside. The song’s final line ‘You’re no longer the one that I call home’, is a microcosm of the album’s theme of belonging, and how the deeply human need to belong with another human is entwined with the more abstract idea of belonging in a certain place.

 

Alexander is another of the ‘character’ songs, though this one is much fonder. Here, a softly distorted electric guitar gives the song a welcome warmth, while the chorus – simply the name ‘Alexander’ sung like a charm – is open-ended and generous-hearted, a reminder that simply speaking a person’s name can be an act of kindness. She Took A Gamble rests on a cat’s cradle of intertwined guitars and an innovative vocal performance that, in terms of melody at least, recalls early Joni Mitchell. Lyrically, Read focuses on small but important details that anchor the song in a time and place – hermit crabs in the sucking tide, ropes clinging to stones – before zooming out to view the wider picture of interconnected lives and difficult decisions.

 

This juxtaposition of fine details and grander, more universal ideas is a technique that can yield heartbreaking results. The album’s title track is a case in point. After a graceful fiddle intro, Read sets the scene with needle-sharp descriptions of cold air and snow on fallen trees, before the sadness at the song’s heart hits her – and the listener – in a slow wintry sweep, and a heavy freight of grief is lightly but devastatingly revealed. And it works with the happier songs too. Boots describes the unknowable point in a relationship when things change, in this case for the better. But once again it is in the minutiae the song’s power builds: the clothes on the floor, light falling on a cheekbone. Before you realise it you are caught in the small, perfectly formed world of the song’s narrative.

 

Final track Campsea Ashe (presumably the name refers to the Suffolk village) is perhaps as close as Read gets to straight Americana – and maybe its position on the album is a nod to the direction (musical or geographical) in which she is moving. But there is more to it than that: here the lyrics deal as much with time as with place, hinting at yet another dimension to the already enviable talent on show in Read’s songwriting. Way Out I’ll Wander is a fine achievement: listening to each of its songs is like watching the snow settle in an exquisitely crafted snow globe, revealing an image of pristine clarity.

 

Hannah will tour the UK in April supporting Kris Drever, see dates below.

Hannah Read Tour Dates

APR 12 | Brewery Arts Center
KENDAL, UK

APR 13 | Leeds College of Music
LEEDS, UK

APR 14 | The Met
BURY, UK

APR 15 | Memorial Hall
SHEFFIELD, UK

APR 16 | Nettlebed Folk Club
HENLEY-ON-THAMES, UK

APR 17 | St David’s Hall
CARDIFF, UK

APR 19 | Colchester Arts Center
COLCHESTER, UK

APR 20 | Union Chapel
LONDON, UK

APR 21 | Wem Town Hall
SHREWSBURY, UK

APR 22 | The David Hall
SOUTH PETHERTON, UK

APR 23 | Guildhall Theater
DERBY, UK

APR 24 | Philharmonic Town Hall Music Room
LIVERPOOL, UK

APR 26 | Eastgate Theater
PEEBLES, UK

APR 27 | The Barn
BANCHORY, UK

APR 28 | Town Hall
MILNGAVIE, UK

MAY 5 | The Sage
GATESHEAD, UK

MAY 6 | Eden Court
INVERNESS, UK

MAY 8 | Aros Community Center
PORTREE, UK

http://www.hannahread.com/

Ed Romanoff – The Orphan King

Ed Romanoff is a chronicler of American experience whose voice recalls the gritty baritone of Leonard Cohen and the wit of Guy Clark. The New York singer-songwriter pens wise, big-hearted, occasionally whimsical, usually melancholic tunes about lonely souls and romantic dreamers.

Ed Romanoff’s second album ‘The Orphan King’ was produced by Simone Felice (The Lumineers, Bat For Lashes) and includes contributions from Rachael Yamagata, Kenneth Pattengale of the Milk Carton Kids, guitarist Cindy Cashdollar (Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind), The E Street Band’s Cindy Mizelle, and multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell, along with Larry’s wife and duo partner, Teresa Williams. Together, they forged rootsy and eccentric arrangements for Romanoff’s gritty, literate and personal songs that evoke a gothic car chase across some mythic American plain.

“A great sense of melody and lyrical style…. brilliant!- Larry Campbell

“Soul Piercing and revealing.”- Rachel Yamagata

Clara Rose – The Offering

A SINGER-songwriter whose roots lie in Counties Fermanagh and Monaghan has released her second studio album, called ‘The Offering’.

The new recording from Clara Rose is a collection of 10 songs that bring the listener on a journey through folk rock, blues, funk, soul and contemporary folk.

Although Clara Rose now lives in County Meath, she has plenty of local connections.

Her grandmother, Elizabeth Monahan (nee Gunne), was born on the shores of Lough Erne and spent many summers rowing across to Trannish Island with her father to tend their cattle there.

Clara’s musical influences have come from a varied background.

Her grandfather, Eamon Monahan, worked as a musician until his retirement.

He performed across Monaghan and Northern Ireland with his show band, ‘The Northern Airs’.

Clara’s mother, Elizabeth Monahan (nee Deery), is a fantastic singer and songwriter and toured with many bands.

Her father Alan Monahan is a gifted guitarist and vocalist.
‘The Monahan Family’ have toured as a family playing shows in Germany and more recently, a mini-tour of Northern Italy.

Clara has an All-Ireland Medal for Sean-Nos singing at the age of 12.

With Irish traditional music being her influence at this time she then began to explore other influences and through her teens was a member of some ‘all girl rock bands’… the kind who never played a gig but practised every weekend.

In Maynooth University, while studying music, she was a member of the Classical Choral Society, The Maynooth Gospel Choir and formed her first blues band, ‘Jungle Train’, who did play gigs!

She began writing and performing her own music in university.

Her style developed and she began to play solo gigs on the Dublin Music Scene (Whelans, ‘The Ruby Sessions of Doyles) and Monaghan (McKenna’s Brewery).

As she developed as a songwriter/performer, this lead to the creation and recording of her acclaimed debut album, ‘A Portfolio’ which she independently released in 2010.

The album saw her embark on a nationwide tour with her band as well as achieve national and local radio airplay, TV appearances and critical acclaim.

Clara Rose is a featured artist on the 2013 album release from Irish Blues Harmonica legend, Don Baker, ‘My Songs, My Friends’.

She features alongside Sinead O’Connor, Finbar Furey, Mick Pyro, Liam O’ Maonlai, Brian Kennedy and Paddy Casey, among others.

Clara and Don formed a collaboration and recorded an album together, ‘Baker Rose’ (2016) and went on a national theatre tour.

In 2017, Clara Rose became part of a stage show called, ‘Ladies in the Blues’.

There are four women backed by a top-class band who tell the story of the blues through the female voice.

2018 promises to be an exciting year for Clara Rose as she releases her new album, ‘The Offering’.

It was produced and recorded by Gavin Glass in Orphan Recordings.

It features stellar performances from The Clara Rose Band – Sean Beatty, Tony McManus and Michael Black – aided by the musical professor Gavin Glass and guest appearances from vocalists Elizabeth Monahan, Claire McLaughlin and Paula Higgins.

Odina breathes Nothing Makes Sense on her new single

The Barcelona-born folk singer/songwriter breathes pensive lyrics accompanied with warm guitar chords on her new single, combining feelings of melancholy and optimistic anticipation. The new single contrasts with her previous EP ‘Broken’ which’s songwriting was influenced by London’s greyness and conceived in the loneliness of her cupboard-sized bedroom.

Blanca (Odina) who hails from Tarragona; just outside Barcelona, gets her name from ‘Mount Odina’ in northern Spain where her grandparents are from. The name reflects the rawness of her music; it keeps her linked with her roots, this shines through in ‘Nothing Makes Sense’.

The New Single from the upcoming EP ‘Nothing Makes Sense’Released on 02/02/18 via AntiFragile Music

 

Odina is delicately raw… her minimalist musings express an emotional core” – The 405

“A bedroom pop artist” – Clash

“Simple and effective pop balladry” – The Line of Best Fit

“This song will make you feel all the feels” – Wonderland

 

Complete innocence echoes out the voice of the young Spanish artist. Influenced by Keaton Henson and Bon Iver amongst others, 2016 saw the release of Odina’s debut EP Broken, a project conceived in the intimate space of her small London bedroom that has managed to amass over a million streams on Spotify.

 

Her new single ‘Nothing Makes Sense’ taken from her upcoming EP of the same name, is one of auditory intimacy. Blanca (Odina) breathes ‘Nothing Makes Sense’, and it feels so intensely personal. It amalgamates feelings of melancholy and optimism, the latter brought on by the warmth of the reverberating clean guitar chords, which accompany her vocals.

Laura Marling-esque melancholic honesty shines through this single, until brass accompaniment during the bridge following Odina singing ‘nothing makes sense at all…’ offers listeners a thick texture of hope and acceptance that ‘nothing makes sense’.

Odina is a project that started not only at a point of emotional vulnerability; the breaking of a relationship, but also at a point of “exile” when moving to a different country; from sunny Barcelona to the rainy streets of London.

This song is about feeling confused, about overthinking life, death, and everything else. It tries to look at some questions to which there are no answers, while at the same time arriving at the realization that there will never be an answer to them, and coming to accept that.’ – Odina

L I S T E N

https://soundcloud.com/odinamusic/nothing-makes-sense-1

L I V E

14th Apr – L’Auditori de Barcelona, BARCELONA

15th Apr – Sala El Sol, MADRID

 

D I S C O V E R

http://www.odinamusic.com/

https://soundcloud.com/odinamusic

www.facebook.com/musicodina/

https://twitter.com/odinamusic

 

 

Hannah White – Elephant Eye

London based Hannah White has gathered a fine crew around her for her latest album, Elephant Eye. Producer Nigel Stonier (Thea Gilmore, Martha Wainwright, Joan Baez) plays several instruments, Chris J Hillman adds pedal steel while Jimmy Forres handles guitar duties and Paul Beavis (Andy Fairweather Low, Sandi Thom) is the percussionist driving them on.

Together they deliver a very polished album with songs ranging from delicate country tinged ballads, political songs and harder edged numbers. White sings well, her voice high and light, at times reminiscent of Dolly Parton, not least on the single taken from the album, In It For Love. There are some fine moments here. Get Your Easy On is a tremendous performance, the band in a country rock/pop vein, locking into a groove with the pedal steel wailing away while Exactly My Choice has a hint of Byrds like guitar chiming behind White’s plaintive vocals. Please Don’t Take My Daddy Away dips into Imelda May territory with its louche late night vamp. Molly’s Drum is an evocative number with a childlike simplicity about it, the lyrics perhaps hinting that we are peeking into an autistic sensibility and there’s an element of vulnerability (physical and emotional) in the tip toeing pace of The Bells Always Toll with Hillman’s playing here just excellent, enveloping the song in a warm swoon.

There are times however when the songs become somewhat formulaic. Elephant Eye is a strong performance but it strives just too hard to be a folk anthem of sorts. Your Country Is Not At War meanwhile is a political diatribe that rarely rises above sloganeering while Where Has All The Sharing Gone is a rare stumble from the band who play a folksy shuffle which just doesn’t shuffle enough with the song sounding like a tired Christmas celebration.

The Super Saturated Sugar Strings

The Super Saturated Sugar Strings Premiere
“All Their Many Miles” on Folk Radio UK

There’s warmth to the music of Alaska indie folk band The Super Saturated Sugar Strings. It’s the warmth of friendship, good cheer, and the kind of community needed to make it through the bitter isolation and hard winters in the 49th state. Based in Anchorage, the Sugar Strings are a beloved institution there, packing sweaty bodies together in small halls under neon light to dance into the night. On their new album, All Their Many Miles (release date: March 23, 2018) they’ve managed to translate not only the high energy stomp and swing of their live shows to the studio, but also to capture some of the magic that brings together Anchorage’s music community.

Happy to send out hard copies to our friends in radio and press, just let me know!

A windswept town on the edge of the Alaska ocean, Anchorage has a remarkably robust music scene, one characterized by unconditional support among bands and wildly passionate audiences. It’s a model for other scenes and an idea that’s catching, and The Super Saturated Sugar Strings aim to bring that kind of human connection to the rest of the states, as they begin touring nationally. On stage, you see this kind of egalitarian, open communication directly among the six band members as they freely swap instruments, sometimes more than once in the same song. They gather around the drum in the center of the stage, with band members jumping in and out of the seat, joining together in harmony, swaying back and forth as they blast out their horn lines. The music they create seems cinematic at times, drenched in strings and horns and bombastic ideas. This is Alaska, where nobody does anything small, so this roots band’s take on modern Americana is full of dense, intricate, virtuosic instrumental arrangements and shout-to-the-rafter vocals.

The Super Saturated Sugar Strings at
Folk Alliance 2018 this week

Thursday 2/15
12:30am Alaska Room (rm. 722)

Friday 2/16
3:00pm Camp Ned
1:30am Camp Ned

Saturday 2/17
2:30pm Alaska Room (rm. 722)
2:00am Even More Lilfest (rm. 703)

Muddy Gurdy – French Hurdy Gurdy meets the North Mississippi Hill Country Blues.

These punchy, wonderful recordings not only propagate the blues. They enrich its character, and most importantly, its significance.

This is one of the most interesting collaborations of blues we have heard in some time.  A trio of French musicians – Tia Goutteble (guitar, voice), Gilles Chabenat (Hurdy-Gurdy – a traditional French instrument), and Marc Glomeau (percussion) call themselves the Hypnotic Wheels Trio.  Their music draws its inspiration from traditional French music and North Mississippi Hill Country Blues.  In some respects, it’s like the efforts of groups like Tinariwen from Mali – marrying their native music with American blues.  In this case the Hurdy-Gurdy is used as a second guitar.  This is the first time that music from these two cultures have combined.  So, to make this, their second album, even more authentic, the trio travelled to Mississippi and collaborated with some of the major local artists.

Without recording studios or top shelf technology, field engineer Pierre Bianchi captured these sessions with an 8 microphone preamp and a computer. The recordings took place on front porches, back porches, and historic landmarks in Mississippi. With no gimmicks the sound is not only authentic but especially engaging as you can hear train whistles and highway traffic on occasion.

One year of work was necessary to sort out all of the details of traveling in the United States and getting familiar with the countryside of North Mississippi.  The results were:  four tunes with Cedric Burnside (vocal, acoustic guitar) at Sherman Cooper’s in Como, three with Sharde Thomas (fife, vocals) under the front porch of Moon Hollow Farm in Como, two with Cameron Kimbrough (guitar, vocals) at the same location, and two with Pat Thomas (guitar, vocals) at the Highway 61 Museum in Leland.  The trio themselves perform three tracks on their own at Dockery Farms in Cleveland (2) and at B.B. King’s Club Ebony in Indianola.

Burnside, Shade Thomas, Kimbrough, and Pat Thomas are all descendants of their prestigious elders (RL Burnside, Otha Turner, Junior Kimbrough, James Son Thomas).  None of the four approach the project with a “take charge” mentality.  Instead, they give humble, passionate performances, immersing themselves in the music. And, these musicians certainly passed on that North Mississippi Hill County feel to the trio.  Listen to Cedric Burnside leading “See My Jumper Hanging on the Line” or Sharde Thomas leading “Glory” and then catch the trio doing Mississippi Fred’s “Shake ‘Em On Down.”  No doubt, they got it.