Kansas City’s Bill Abernathy has released his new album, “Crossing Willow Creek”
Kansas City, MO folk/americana artist, Bill Abernathy has released his latest album, “Crossing Willow Creek.” MTS Management Group will handle promotions.
Sometimes life gives you a second chance. I walked away from music for a myriad of reasons. Now, I’ve been given a second chance to pursue music, and I am really enjoying the ride!””
— Bill Abernathy
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, USA, November 6, 2018– Everyone loves a good story about second-chances, and that’s exactly what Bill Abernathy’s story is all about. The Kansas City, Missouri resident began writing songs in his early teens. He played all through his school years, but then he stopped…Life took over.
Bill went about getting married, building a business career, and raising his children. After his kids graduated from school and started their careers, Bill picked up the guitar again and began trying to rekindle his love of music.
In 2017, Bill’s album “Find A Way” reached #5 on the Roots Music Report Traditional Folk Albums chart, spending more than a year on the chart. His single, “Goodbye Will Never Come Again” reached #1 on the Traditional Folk Songs chart.
Now, Bill Abernathy’s latest collection of songs, “Crossing Willow Creek” is available. The album is a mix of revamped songs from Bill’s previous release, “Changes,” a couple covers, and a brand new song. First single, “Cry Wolf” is hitting radio airwaves around the globe.
Award-winning publicity and promotions firm, MTS Management Group will handle press for the release.
“Sometimes life is good to you and gives you a second chance. In my youth I walked away from music for a myriad of personal reasons. Now, I’ve now been given a second chance to pursue this thing we love called music, and I am really enjoying the ride!”
The hard-working, hard-driving contemporary blues band, Peter V Blues Train, has been tearing up the airwaves and the touring routes since their formation in 2013. The veterans of the NY and NJ scene hit us once again with their remarkable second album of 2018 “Shaken But Not Deterred.” The nine original tracks and four fresh covers recorded by Joseph DeMaio at Shorefire Recording Studios, are a sophisticated blend of modern blues with jazz and funk overtones that prove the band means business. The quartet is led by guitar man and vocalist Peter Veteska, aka Peter V, a native of the projects in rough-and-tumble Bushwick, Brooklyn. He is backed by Alex D’Agnese on drums, Sean “Gravey” Graverson on bass and Aron Gornish on keys and joined by a few special friends, including Jeff Levine (B3) and Danny Walsh (sax), to bolster the sound and add fun and fire to an already potent mix.
Drummer Alex D’Agnese introduces the opening track, ‘Don’t Wanna Leave Memphis,’ with a classic shuffle groove that builds to a powerful triplet fill that brings in the band and boldly declares this band knows how to swing and rock steady. Peter V names a few of his heroes from the home of the blues and his love for Beale Street that grew deeper after representing the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation at the International Blues Challenge, while sax man Danny Walsh spars with Jeff Levine on the Hammond B3. The crew then rips out a bump and grind arrangement of Fats Domino’s ‘Blue Monday,’ updating the New Orleans standard with a muscular punchy beat and gritty guitar. Written by Peter V and Joanne Cesario, ‘By The River,’ previously released as the opening track on their 2017 album “On Track,” is revisited and refined here by colorful guitar from Bob DelRosso and a sweet remix from DeMaio that brings out the funky groove but still retains the blues underbelly. Peter V drew inspiration for his emotional delivery from soul singer Donny Hathaway for the oft recorded ‘For All We Know,’ added to the lexicon by kicking up the fire and playing the 1934 ballad like a south side dirty blues.
The slinky ‘In Demand,’ is a slow burning hunk of funk that has Peter V begging at the feet of his best girl. Blues standard ‘T Bone Shuffle’ is reinvented as a heavy Chicago shuffle featuring more hot lead guitar and organ solos. D’ Agnese’s heavy bass drum foot and a gritty riff creates a distinctly modern feel on the heady track ‘Alibi,’ before the band delivers some good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll for the barnstorming ‘Don’t Cheat On My Lady.’ Peter V lays out his bluesman manifesto declaring “This is who I am, not what I chose to be,” on ‘Rodeo. (No BS),’ and repeating “this is a blues show, not some rodeo,” passionately driving his point home. Gary Neuwirth adds hot blues harp and powerhouse vocalist from the Jersey shore, Vanessa Vause, trades verses with Peter V on the saucy duet ‘Getting Closer Now.’ Paul Levinsky sits in as the funky drummer for the hip-hop influenced east coast blues update ‘Been So Long.’ The title track, ‘Shaken But Not Deterred,’ is a jagged time-shifting blues rocker that has influences from Albert Collins and fellow New York shouter Popa Chubby. The live-in-the-studio acoustic duet of the blues chestnut ‘Worried Life Blues,’ tagged as a “bonus track,” closes out the set as a delicious encore.
This strong second release of 2018, “Shaken But Not Deterred,” will no doubt follow in the footsteps of their third album,“Running Out Of Time,” keeping The Peter V Blues Train high on the charts and is sure to receive glowing reviews while maintaining the bands presence in the vibrant original East Coast blues scene.
Rick J Bowen
Here’s what Peter V has to say:
“I was born in Manhattan in 1959 and grew up in Jamaica Queens. When I was twelve years old, I saw a black Les Paul in the window of a pawn shop. I got a press route delivering papers on a bike. Each week I would drop off a payment on layaway. After a few months of weekly payments, I was able to pick up the guitar that I had dreamed of. Listening to Derek and the Domino’s and the Allman Brothers I started teaching myself and learning to play my favorite artists. I performed at my first paying gig at the age of 15. For the remainder of my teenage years and adolescence, I played at numerous bars and clubs throughout New York and Long Island. At the age of 21 I was disenchanted with the music scene, and I decided to step away from it. The next twenty-five years, of my life, I only rarely picked up the guitar. My musical taste changed, as I discovered Jazz, and other genres of music. All this music had a very big influence on my musical growth. When the economy tanked in 2008, I reconnected with my lifelong passion of playing the guitar with a renewed vigor.”
“I really got into my “blues” roots. I also discovered many of the blues greats from the 50’s, as well as, new contemporary blues artists such as Robert Cray. I cut my teeth playing various local blues jams. I was the “new kid on the block” yet I was in my early 50’s. I was encouraged to sing, so that I could get up more often, to play at the local jam events. I took that advice and worked on my vocal skills. Today, I have flourished into a solid “blues” guitarist and vocalist, which helped to create the distinctive sound of the Peter V Blues Train. My musical focus is to create a unique sound of blues music which is more upbeat and influenced by jazz and funk. I write and perform original music, as well as, reinterpretations of lesser known blues classics.”
Catfood Records announces the release of “Every Soul’s A Star,” the label debut from acclaimed blues/soul singer and guitarist Dave Keller. Produced by Grammy award winner, Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Luther Allison), and recorded primarily at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX, “Every Soul’s A Star” showcases ten original songs, plus a scintillating cover of the Aretha Franklin classic, ‘Baby, I Love You.’ Keller’s soulful vocals are ably supported by The Rays, which include not only legendary Motown guitarist Johnny McGee, but also Bob Trenchard – bass; Dan Ferguson – Hammond B3, Wurlitzer, keyboards; Richy Puga – drums; Mike Middleton – trumpet; Nick Flood – tenor and baritone sax, plus the heavenly voices of Janelle Thompson and Shakara Weston – background vocals; and Christopher Serrano – percussion. Catfood label head Bob Trenchard calls Dave Keller, “The most-talented songwriter I’ve ever worked with, and it was he who suggested Jim Gaines to produce the new project.”
“This record, for me, is about honoring the star in each person,” Dave Keller says. “The songs are about both love and heartbreak, of course, but also speak about the beauty in each of us, as unique individuals and as people standing up together. This record feels like my strongest yet. I felt more at ease singing than I’ve ever felt in the studio. That comfort helped me sing more dynamically than I’ve ever sung before on record.”
“Every Soul’s A Star” is also the first time Keller had the chance to work with the Catfood Records’ house band, The Rays, comprised of all superb musicians with a boatload of experience backing up many of the label’s artists on record, including Blues Music Award-winner Johnny Rawls. “What really impressed me about The Rays was how much heart they put into this record,” Keller declares. “I love how everyone put so much of themselves into the record. I could tell that they really dug the songs, and really cared about doing them justice. I love how you can hear all their individual ideas on the record, and feel their personalities, their souls, and yet everything is in service to the songs.”
“It was a special treat working with Johnny McGhee, who has played guitar on countless great soul albums,” continues Keller. “He started out as a kid – only 12 years old – touring with The Five Stairsteps, and ended up in the band LTD. To each of my songs, Johnny brought the coolest, most perfect little soul licks. He has an amazing ability to find just the right licks and riffs that pull the song together into something perfect.”
Keller is equally effusive in his praise of producer Jim Gaines. “Jim Gaines is a magician. He really listened to my songs, really got into the meaning of the lyrics, and was able to help me and the band bring them alive with the most heart possible. He’s an expert at making songs really shine. I felt blessed to get to work with him.”
Keller also has a special place in his heart for Johnny Rawls, who introduced him to Catfood Records owner and bassist Bob Trenchard about five years ago at the Blues Music Awards. “Bob and I had a conversation then about making a record together, but it took ‘til now for the time to be just right,” Keller recalls. “As my friend the late Mighty Sam McClain used to say, ‘It may not happen when you want it, but it always happens right on time.’”
Recording in Texas was a new cultural experience for Keller, a native New Englander. “Working at Sonic Ranch was really fun. I’d never been to West Texas, so it was a real adventure for me. From the kindness of the ladies who made us breakfast and lunch every day, to the heat – 105 degrees the day I arrived — to the giant Tarantula Hawks (a kind of wasp) that hovered in the bushes outside the studio. All the little details inspired and energized me.”
Dave Keller is an award-winning, triple-threat: an outstanding singer, an intense guitarist and a talented songwriter. Fueled by his love of deep Southern soul and blues, his performances ring out with passion, integrity, and an ability to break down the barriers between performer and audience.
Ever since renowned guitarist Ronnie Earl chose Dave Keller to sing on his album “Living In The Light,” Keller’s star has been on the rise. In just a few short years, Keller has been nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best Soul/Blues Album, won the International Blues Challenge Best Self-Released CD Award, and been selected for Downbeat‘s Best Recordings of the Year.
A bit of a late bloomer, Keller grew up in Massachusetts, loving music, but not picking up guitar until age 16, and not singing in his first band until age 20. Blessed with mentors including deep soul singer Mighty Sam McClain, mystical soul guitarist Robert Ward, acoustic blues master Paul Rishell and soul/blues man Johnny Rawls, Keller made up for lost time.
Relocating to icy Vermont in 1993, Keller found fertile ground to grow his audience, and has become a household name there. Famous for his live-wire shows, Keller can often be found fifty feet out in the crowd, teasing fiery licks from his trusty Stratocaster and singing off-mike as the audience sings along.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Keller has been expanding his base beyond New England these past few years, performing at some of the biggest festivals in the East, including the North Atlantic Blues Festival, the PA Blues Fest, and the Discover Jazz Festival. He has also performed at the Blues Music Awards ceremony twice, accompanying Ronnie Earl, and Johnny Rawls (with whom Keller frequently tours)
Singing around the campfire. Music shared person to person around the country, like heirlooms or secret messages. This is Jonathan Byrd’s world. The characters in Jonathan Byrd’s songs crackle with life, each one seemingly drawn from a chance encounter on the road with a true American. And that may be the case, as Byrd is drawn to the nomadic working class of this country, the kind of spit-and-grit souls immortalized in the writing of John Steinbeck or the music of Woody Guthrie.
A songwriter’s songwriter, Byrd is fascinated by wordcraft, passionate about unheralded artists, but most of all driven to contribute to a national community of song lovers, a world that’s little seen outside the mainstream. “There’s this underground musical community that travels around the country,” Byrd says. “We see each other at festivals and conferences. It’s a rich, authentic life of music that I wish more people could discover, because I think they’re actually looking for it.” On his new album as Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys, Byrd’s goal was to bring a glimpse of this song-driven life to his audience.
There’s a bit of wry humor to Jonathan Byrd‘s songwriting, a subtle shade of Randy Newman, as in the song “Tractor Pull” that relates finding love at a redneck jamboree, or the bittersweet smile of “It Don’t Make Sense,” as the singer grapples with love and life lost. But the manifesto of the album is found in “Pickup Cowboy,” a song Byrd wrote for a South Dakota construction worker, his friend and fellow songwriter Matt Fockler. The Pickup Cowboy is a character who doesn’t need much money, fishin’ for breakfast and living on tupelo honey, the hard-worn spirit of the West shines through in the song’s subject. Byrd pays further homage to Fockler by including two of his songs, “Lakota Sioux” and “Do You Dream.”
When you live as much of your life on the road as Byrd does, you learn that home and family are fuel to the creative fire. So he returned home to Rubber Room Studios, a recording studio he helped build by hand, and brought his closest musical friends, the Pickup Cowboys – guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Waken and cellist Paul Ford – to make the album. But life had other plans. The last day of recording, Ford stayed home, complaining of feeling like he had the flu. He called at the end of the day with the news that the doctor had discovered a terminal brain tumor. Ford never went back to the recording studio and passed away the next year. The shock of losing such a close friend put the Pickup Cowboys on hold for a year, but ultimately, Byrd felt that the songs and recordings deserved to be heard. He and Waken took the recordings to Winnipeg to complete the album with Joanna Miller on drums, and Alexa Dirks and Andrina Turenne on backing vocals. Now Byrd is bringing the Pickup Cowboys on the road, traveling out to the many friends he’s made over years of crisscrossing the US with these new songs to share.
It may seem unusual for a songwriter to cover two songs from another songwriter on his album, but it’s part of Byrd’s ethos and the ethos of his community of song collectors. “This is a golden age of songwriting,” Byrd says. “Community songwriting. It’s person-to-person music. Songs get picked up and passed around and end up around the campfires. We wanted to bring some of that to the record. That kind of authenticity, and the real people and real stories in the songs.”
Josh Lief is singer-songwriter, guitar player based in Richmond, VA. Love In Disguise was recorded at Montrose Recording in Richmond, VA. Josh recorded Love In Disguise with the Josh Lief Band, that is playing gigs in Central Virginia and beyond. The Josh Lief Band includes Josh and the rhythm section of Debbie Flood on drums and Thomas Schoppe on bass. Both are veterans of several well known Richmond bands and Debbie has toured extensively as well as recorded with many artists. Debbie and Tommy are a great team and bring a solid yet exciting rhythm section to the upcoming album and live performances.
Josh’s album “Redemption” was released in April, 2017. The album, recorded at Montrose Recording in Richmond, VA, contains 8 original songs, and is a mixture of Americana, Country-Rock and Blues and is available on CDBaby.com, Apple Music, Spotify, and other download services as well as in RVA at Plan 9 records. The first single from the album, Five Forks Woods, got airplay on over 70 radio stations across the U.S. and is still in rotation on several stations.
Josh recorded his second album in 2 years – “Love In Disguise” – that will be released on November 2, 2018. The single Love In Disguise, including a live-action video was released 9/7/18. Also recorded at Montrose Recording in Richmond, VA, Josh recorded Love In Disguise with the Josh Lief Band. Ben “Wolfe” White of the Trongone Band joined the band on keyboards on several of the tracks on Love In Disguise., and Wolfe and Andrew Trongone sang backup on one song (Andrew contributed some licks on one song as well). The album contains 8 original tracks, and like Redemption, contains a wide range of music. Love In Disguise has a more blues/rock sound to it but still contains some elements of Americana/Folk.
The Josh Lief Band plays gigs throughout Virginia and beyond The band includes Josh and the rhythm section of Debbie Flood on drums -www.dflooddrums.com – and Tommy Dacat on bass. Both are veterans of several well known Richmond bands and Debbie has toured extensively as well as recorded with many artists. Debbie and Tommy are a great team and bring a solid yet exciting rhythm section to the upcoming album and live performances. In addition to band gigs, Josh plays solo acoustic shows on a regular basis.
Josh started playing guitar when he was 6 years old. His style is a mixture of the all the music he loved as a young musician. His influences started with his big three of Hendrix, Clapton, and Led Zeppelin. He also learned a lot of country style lead guitar from being a big Southern Rock fan as well as of the classic country of Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. He is also loves the music of Neil Young, the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead and they can be heard in his lead playing and writing. He can play a wide range of styles from rock to blues to country to folk and in his solo acoustic shows does just that.
Once more we have an album from Jim Allchin as our SPOTLIGHT ALBUM.
About the Album
Prime Blues features 14 new tracks performed by an all-star group of musicians including bassist Glenn Worf, rhythm guitarists Rob McNelley, Bob Britt and Kenny Greenburg, keyboardist Kevin McKendree, drummer Tom Hambridge, vocalist Mycle Wastman, The Memphis Horns and special guest vocalists Grammy-winner Bobby Rush, and Blues Award winner Mike Zito.
Produced by 2x Grammy-winner Tom Hambridge. Recorded, mixed, and mastered in Nashville. Released September 21, 2018.
Prime Blues Reviews
“Prime Blues is hands down a must have album. Jim Allchin is right when he says it’s flat out fun. Get yourself a copy and you’ll hear what both he and we mean.”
– American Blues Scene, JD Nash, October 2018
“Jim Allchin is the consummate blues guitarist and vocalist. His brand of the blues is strong, energetic and funky, with impressive horns that complement his voice and guitar riffs. Recommendation: If you love the blues, you must have this album in your collection. Get it today!”
– Bob Leggett, LA Music Critic, October 2018
“…a savory collection of 14 amazing new tracks that dig deeper into the Blues and prove the notion that indeed lightning can strike twice. “
– Rick Bowen, Blues Writer award 2013-2017
“A sensational album but hey that’s why we had to move young Allchin to the top of the class. Score yourself an “A” and get your copy of “Prime Blues” or you will have to stay after class.”
– Peter Merrett, PBS, October 2018
Releasing his debut at a time where there were a lot of people with extra coin taking a breather to chase the dream, you knew that Allchin was one to bet on. Four records in, this white boy with the blues has jacket copy on his latest full of names like Hambridge, Zito, McKendree, Rush, Memphis Horns and more. He delivers. Loaded with gusto and a half, he doesn’t stoop to manqué around when he can keep it his real—which is really good. White boy blues has entered the next level of the game.
“This new Oslo-based band will make you feel so very fine” – Noisey
“The soaring vocals of Feist with the erratic percussion of Dirty Projectors” – V Magazine
Ones To Watch at The Guardian
“Hajk has delivered one of the best debuts of the year” – The Line Of Best Fit
“Crisp, clear, and smooth… street-ready guitar-pop” – Stereogum
‘Drama’ – of the interpersonal kind – that’s what Hajk have turned their focus to in 2018. The band burst onto the scene with their self-titled debut album last year, garnering support around the world as well as making a name for themselves in their home country of Norway. Now, the highly anticipated follow-up ‘Drama’ has been announced for February 2019 – a record that both pulls at the heartstrings and urges you to dance away your sorrows. Lead single and first taste of what is to come arrives in the form of the bubblegum-flavoured new cut, ‘Dancing Like This’. It’s a lyrically melancholy and wide-eyed love song, with an addictive melody that looks to sugarcoat your tears.
Hajk’s 2017 debut received praise from the likes of Astrid S, Sigrid and Kimbra, as well as actress and model, Chloë Grace Moretz. International acclaim came in waves from Noisey, Stereogum, The Line of Best Fit, Drowned In Sound, V Magazine, The Independent, Indie Shuffle, and more, noting their idiosyncratic, yet supremely catchy pop tunes, while likening them to everything from Fleetwood Mac and Aztec Camera to Dirty Projectors and Little Dragon.
With their second album, ‘Drama’, a more self-assured band reveals themselves. Sharpened by more studio experience, they have once again produced the record themselves, taking extreme care over every second and minute detail of their work. Blending analogue and digital sounds, switching between programmed arrangements and live takes from the studio, drawing on three lead vocalists and an assortment of guest musicians, Hajk conjured up whatever was necessary to fulfill their creative vision.
The title ‘Drama’ relates to the drama of humanity and a somewhat naïve yearning for love in a world in which love can sometimes seem in scarce supply.
‘Drama’ is due for release on February 1st via Jansen Records. First single from it ‘Dancing Like This’, was released on September 28th, listen here.
Preben Sælid Andersen – Vocals
Sigrid Aase – Vocals
Johan Nord – Percussion
Knut Olav Buverud Sandvik – Bass
Einar Næss Haugeth – Keys
“Cinematic and lovely, the song and story share the connection between kindred spirits and the support of those that know and love them.” Parade Magazine
“The quintet, led by vocalist/guitarist Felix Bechtolsheimer, is back August 17 with sophomore album As I Fell, and the LP continues the band’s exploration of its patented Amerigothica sound—one that comfortably rides right alongside both Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Drive-By Truckers.” – Magnet Magazine
August 17, 2018- Acclaimed London five-piece Curse Of Lono new album, As I Fell, is out now, via Submarine Car Records. Today, the band has unveiled the video behind the story on the title track, “As I Fell.” CLICK HERE TO WATCHexclusively on Parade Magazine.
Felix, the lead singer says, “’As I Fell’ is the title track off our new album which comes out today. I wrote the song for our bass player, Charis, when her boyfriend, Tom Edwards, passed away unexpectedly last year. They had been together for over four years and were talking about getting married this year. Tom was on tour in the US with Adam Ant when he caught pneumonia, which quickly turned into sepsis. He died on the tour bus on January 25th last year. Tom, who was only 41 years old, was a huge part of our musical family. There were times when we saw more of him than our own families. He was an incredibly charismatic and caring human being as well as a wonderful guitarist who, as well as being Adam Ant’s long-time musical director and lead guitarist, worked with numerous other artists including Edwyn Collins, Roddy Frame, Andrea Corr and Fields Of The Nephilim. His passing has left a huge void and it was important to us to pay tribute to him on the day our album is released.
Recorded between Joshua Tree and London with producer Oli Bayston (AKA Boxed In), the track builds on the band’s deeply cinematic blend of harmony-laden Americana and driving, gothic alt-rock. It’s a sound that owes as much to old faithfuls like The Doors and The Velvet Underground as it does to more contemporary artists such as The War On Drugs and Wilco.
Formed in London in 2015, Curse Of Lono is Felix Bechtolsheimer (vocals and guitar), Joe Hazell (lead guitar and vocals), Dani Ruiz Hernandez (keys and vocals), Charis Anderson (bass and vocals) and Neil Findlay (drums). ‘As I Fell’ is the follow-up to ‘Severed’, one of the most critically acclaimed debuts of 2017, and builds on Curse Of Lono’s deeply cinematic blend of harmony-laden Americana and driving, gothic alt-rock. It’s a sound that owes as much to old faithfuls like The Doors and The Velvet Underground as it does to more contemporary artists such as The War On Drugs and Wilco. Although some of the songs on ‘As I Fell’ revisit familiar themes like murderous jealousy and the death of loved ones, much of the album covers new ground.
Curse Of Lono recently completed a UK headline tour, including a sold-out show at London’s Lexington, and a run of European support dates with both Steve Earle and Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. Catch them at a series of festival dates this summer.
CURSE OF LONO – LIVE
August 19 Beautiful Days Festival, Devon
August 26 Graze Festival, Hampshire
August 28 Stockholm, Bryggarsalen (with David Ramirez)
August 29 Oslo, Café Mono (with David Ramirez)
August 30 Malmo, Folk å Rock (with David Ramirez)
“Jessee takes his insightful songwriting chops and churns out his own taste of bold melancholy folk, making The Jane Room 217 one of the years must hear mood records.” – Glide Magazine
“We’re used to seeing Darren Jessee behind a drum kit, with Ben Folds Five, Sharon Van Etten, Hiss Golden Messenger, the War on Drugs and others. But his band Hotel Lights brought him out front, and with his upcoming first solo album The Jane, Room 217, Jessee moves into another musical adventure.” – Billboard Magazine
“A quiet record that has, and will continue to be described as “breathtaking,” The Jane, Room 217 is intimacy incarnate: Little separates listener from artist in these songs as Darren Jessee bares his soul, surrendering his emotions in an utterly beautiful display of musical vulnerability.” – Atwood Magazine
DARREN JESSEE SHARES NEW SINGLE / LIVE VIDEO
“ALL BUT A DREAM”
THE JANE, ROOM 217 OUT AUG 24 ON BAR/NONE RECORDS
For someone as soft-spoken as North Carolina-based songwriter Darren Jessee, it might come as a surprise to learn that he has a gold record (in storage somewhere), a platinum record (“I never called them to get it”), and was part of a recent Grammy win (“someone told me they would mail me a certificate if I wanted…”). For years, though, he’s managed that almost impossible feat of remaining both ubiquitous and out of the spotlight at once.
Since 2004, he’s released four records under the name Hotel Lights, all while working as a drummer for a series of wildly acclaimed acts. He played drums for Sharon Van Etten in support of her celebrated 2014 release Are We There, and since 2016, he’s been a member of the Durham-based band Hiss Golden Messenger, performing most recently on their 2017 Merge release Hallelujah Anyhow. In 2017 he contributed to The War on Drugs’ A Deeper Understanding, which won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. Before any of that, Jessee made his name as a member of the band Ben Folds Five, for which he co-wrote their biggest hit, “Brick.”
“I always felt like I needed to have a band,” Jessee says. “There’s something about being with a group of people that gives you confidence. But secretly I wanted to have the courage to be a solo troubadour.”
With his new record, The Jane, Room 217 – Jessee’s first as a solo artist – he’s finally seen that through. In late 2016, on the heels of Hotel Lights’ release Get Your Hand in My Hand and a world tour with Sharon Van Etten, Jessee started writing and recording the songs that would become The Jane, Room 217 on a six-track in his New York City apartment.
“I thought it was all just song demos at first,” he says, but after a returning from a tour with Hiss Golden Messenger, he heard the material with new ears. “When I got back around to these songs, I realized it was something I cared about more than just demos.”
Jessee drove the tracks as they were to Richmond, where Trey Pollard of the Spacebomb Records group added strings and Jessee’s longtime collaborator Alan Weatherhead mixed; and for the most part, that’s how Jessee left it.
“I love sparse records,” Jessee says. “I grew up with Willie Nelson playing in the house, I was always a big fan of Leonard Cohen, the early Tom Waits records – just a mixed bag of artful music.”
Dreamy and intimate, The Jane, Room 217 evokes late night drives, low lights, and longing, as on the album’s opener, “Anything You Need,” where so much space is left around the notes that by the time strings swell up under the melody after the chorus, it’s an almost overwhelming rush, like a quiet revelation.
Arrangements on the album are pared down to nothing more than acoustic guitar, a few spare keyboard hooks, piano, Pollard’s strings, and Jessee’s expressive vocals. At once reserved and lush, Jessee’s wistful melodies are shot through with lyrical sparks, as in “All but a Dream,” where he takes a series of impressionistic flashes – “chill though the window screen,” “cortados in Mexico City,” “red tail lights of taxis, running through a summer rain,” “swimming in the briny sea” – and builds them into an epiphany much greater than the sum of its parts.
Quietly devastating, The Jane, Room 217 is a personal exploration of heartbreak and romance – made all the more powerful by its clear-eyed restraint.
“Opener ‘Anything You Need’ is one of The Jane, Room 217‘s standouts, a quiet acoustic-guitar/piano number that’s bathed in breathtaking strings by song’s end.” – Magnet Magazine
The Jane, Room 217
August 24, 2018
01. Anything You Need
02. True Blue
03. Letting You Go
04. Dying Violins
06. Leaving Almost Ready
07. All But A Dream
08. Plastic Bag
09. Go On Baby Break Down
Self-titled debut album out Sept 28 via YW Records
“a beautiful offering that is pastoral of arrangement
and dexterous of lyric.” – CLASH
Young Waters’ twisted neo-folk is a tapestry of emotionally powerful vocals, stirring harmonies, lyrical strings and finely mastered acoustic guitar. Their exhilarating rhythms and intricate melodies, coupled with a repertoire that combines startling original material with unique arrangements of traditional folk songs, makes for a captivating stage presence. This young band is set to make a big impact in 2018.
Today, they announce news of their self-titled debut album and share the video for their new single “Swimming Pool”, premiered at CLASH, who call it “a beautiful offering that is pastoral of arrangement and dexterous of lyric.”
After winning Bath Folk Festival’s New Shoots competition, they earned themselves a recording session at Peter Gabriel’s legendary Real World Studios, where most of this stunning debut album was recorded. A host of festival appearances (including Glastonbury, Broadstairs, Cambridge, Wilderness, Boomtown and Smugglers) have cemented their reputation with fans. Catch them at one of the following tour dates.
Upcoming UK Tour Dates
22nd June – Serta International Folk Festival, Portugal
6th July – Rollright Fayre, Oxfordshire
27th July – Bimble Inn, Sussex 12th August – Boomtown, Winchester 17th August – Purbeck Folk Festival, Dorset 24th August – Shambala 20th September – Green Note – London – Album Release Show
Young Waters are:
Theo Passingham (vocals and guitar)
Kerry Ann Jangle (vocals and percussion)
Liam O’Connell (double bass and vocals)
Calum Smith (violin)
Rowen Elliot (viola)
Young Waters’ debut album Young Waters is released on September 28th via YW Records. Distributed, Published and Marketed by Monokrome Music.