Blues based Americana music with spiritual lyrics, soulful vocals and blazing guitar.
One of the pleasures of running a radio is the monthly package of cd’s from Blind Raccoon and last month was a treasure house.
Steve Antry has given the radio producers an album that is a delight to add to playlists, an eclectic mix that blends in so easily,ballads,blues rock,blues and gospel soul.
Devil Don’t Care the title track is there to please blues lovers.
Always With Me is a lovely americana type ballad.
How Far Down easily fits into any Southern rock playlist and is a showcase for Antrys voice.
Fishin’ is definitely not blues but a delightful folk song about father and son.
Prince Of Peace is a cover of a Leon Russell song and Steve puts his stamp on it very well.
Borrowed Angels country gospel? whatever its a cracker.
Devil Gone Fishin’ Blues with a gospel message.
Sending Me Angels slows the pace down but not the quality.
Get Up Delta blues and gives Shaun Murphy a great opportunity to show off with the backing vocals.
Jimmy Duncan’s Special Angel rounds off the album with Steves take on the famous rock song.
The musicians are terrific Greg Morrow on drums; Michael Rhodes on bass; Rob McNelley, Pat Buchanan, and Brent Mason on electric guitar; Dan Dugmore and Danny Rader on acoustic guitar; Dugmore also plays lap steel guitar; David Smith and Mike Rojas on piano, B3, and keys; Buchanan on harp; and Eric Darkken and Peter Carson on percussion.
OK the spiritual side of the album could put some listeners off but believe me it shouldn’t, if the Devil Don’t Care why should anyone else.
One of the surprises of the year so far,well done Mr. Antry, see you at #1 very soon.
Genre: Blues: Electric Blues
Release Date: 2017
“From the scorching guitar solo, as one is caught between the forces of good and evil, to the impeccable vocals of Steve Antry throughout this album; if one is not moved, then start searching for the answer why. The fond memories of a kid, to living in a far-from-perfect world, Antry reminds me of why God created man in the first place.” – Billy Austin Martin, Tulsa Blues Society.
Antry’s earliest jobs was working as a track laborer for the Frisco railroad in Tulsa. He was underage, but claimed to be 18 to get hired. This turned out to be his defining “Woody Guthrie moment”, as he describes it. While driving steel with much older gentlemen, with nicknames like ‘“Stokes” and “Bones” (who actually played the spoons), Antry became entranced by the music that was sung out in the country while repairing old railroad track. Everyone would sing along to the rhythm of the maul hitting a spike. That was Antry’s first unwitting exposure to the Blues, in its purest form. Now a singer songwriter, he remembers the circuitous path that got him to this moment. He grew up accomplished in sports, from wrestling and mixed martial arts to ice hockey, while getting his hands dirty doing just about anything manual. Then, as fate would have it, an unlikely mentor crossed his path. In high school, when work, wrestling and the outdoors were occupying most of his free time, a buddy said to him “the girls in the church choir are pretty cute, we should go.” While attending his first rehearsal his voice caught the attention of the church Music Director, who happened to also be the Dean of Music at the University of Tulsa and Director of the Tulsa Opera. The director took him under his wing and became his music mentor, giving Antry free vocal training every Saturday for years. “I received more inspiration and life lessons from him than any sports coach I ever had,” says Antry of his inspirational classical voice teacher from whom he learned music theory and correct projection and breath control, while developing his three-octave range. Antry was offered a music scholarship from Dr. Sowell, but fate led him to a degree in finance, and a career building businesses and supporting a family. But he always sang, purely for the love of it, at weddings, memorial services and in Gospel choirs, which always brought back those railroad track gang memories of Stokes and Bones and the crazy rhythm of the spoons. “The Southern Gospel choirs are where I learned that presentation is as important as content. There was a lot of movement while singing, which was half the fun,” says Antry of those years. He discovered the harmonica (and guitar) as an adult, but found he had a natural aptitude for the Blues Harp. He advanced his skills in short order by applying his vocal training to this new obsession; and now travels with a Seydel pouch of Hohner Special 20s everywhere he goes. He regrets never attempting to master the spoons like old Bones. Antry had the opportunity to fulfill his musical dreams and begin a second life with fire and gusto, when he partnered with Peter Carson in 2015 to produce his debut solo album, “Devil Don’t Care,” in Nashville, diving head long into the process of recording and writing his own music for the first time.
We’re excited to share the first taste from Nashville sing-songwriter Charlie Whitten’s new EP today! You can head over to Atwood Magazine to check out the wonderful track review they’ve done up.
— Charlie Whitten grew up during the last gasp of the 20th century, a time when grungy rock bands and teen idols ruled the airwaves. You can’t blame the guy for looking back a bit, for rustling through his Dad’s collection of vintage records and finding some better music to soundtrack his life. Years later, the Nashville-based songwriter is rolling those influences into his own sound, a mellow brand of folk-rock that tips its hat to Pink Floyd’s psychedelic swirl one minute and Simon and Garfunkel’s acoustic wistfulness the next.
Some would call him an old soul. Others would just say he’s got good taste.
“For me, the ‘60s and ‘70s were the golden age for songwriting,” he says. “That’s when songs seemed to be the real focus, and people reached outside the box. The chords and melodies used were unheard of.”
Dreaming, Whitten’s 2012 debut, channeled some of the trippier sounds that came out of those two decades, from Dark Side of the Moon to Big Star’s Sister Lovers. The album was lush. It was dreamy. Keyboards, horns, and percussion collided, creating a soft foundation for Whitten’s vocals and guitar leads. When it came time to write songs for 2014’s Hey Love, though, Whitten took the electric guitar out of the forefront and focused on a quieter, stripped-down sound. In other words: less David Gilmour, more Don McLean.
A concept album about searching for love, Hey Love begins and ends with different sections of the same song. Fashioned like bookends, the first half tells the story of a couple parting ways, each partner in search of something else. In the second, they reconcile, knowing that things might not be perfect… but at least they’re real. Whitten took a similar approach to the album itself, which was recorded during a series of live sessions with a four-piece band. Overdubs were eventually added, too, but Whitten put his foot down when it came to the use of a click track. He didn’t want that. He wanted the songs to sway, to sound natural, to sound like songs.
“Any Charlie Whitten album has to sound like a band album,” he explains, “and I didn’t want a band of session players. I wanted a group of friends, of creative thinkers who could play the songs with feeling. I think a music album should be very similar to a photo album: a series of ‘pictures’ with the people you know, things you’ve seen, and places you’ve been within a period of time.”
Maybe that’s why Hey Love sounds so comfortable, so familiar. The songs tackle big subjects, but they do so with small, laidback touches: a whistling solo here, a burst of organ there, and a whole lot of melody throughout.
‘The Long-Awaited Album’ due out 22nd September via Rounder/Decca Records
Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers will release “The Long-Awaited Album” on Rounder Records/Decca Records on 22nd September. “The Long-Awaited Album,” Martin’s newest collaboration with the Grammy-winning North Carolina-based band the Steep Canyon Rangers, is full of stories that mix humour and melancholy, whimsy and realism, rich characters and concrete details. And lots of banjos.
That instrument – so dexterously, even acrobatically picked and strummed – is just as crucial to relating these new tales as the lyrics themselves, each chord and riff revealing new depths to Martin’s narrators and to his musical talent. Produced by Peter Asher, the new album is a collection of 14 stunning new songs including the boisterous and humorous new track “Caroline,” the deeply romantic tune “All Night Long,” and the fantastical song “Santa Fe,” which showcases the lively dynamic between Martin and the Rangers.
Steve Martin’s musical career is an extension of the storytelling impulse that drove his work as a comedian, an actor, a screenwriter, a playwright, an essayist, and a novelist. The Grammy® Award winning musician found his love for the banjo at the age of 17 and originally used the instrument as part of his stand-up comedy routine. But in 2010, Martin released his first album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-Strong Banjo, and since then, Martin has played many prestigious stages including Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Stagecoach, Bonnaroo, New Orleans’ Jazzfest and The Newport Folk Festival, Royal Festival Hall in London, and the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Martin released his second full-length bluegrass album Rare Bird Alert in 2011. The album featured 13 Martin-penned tracks as well as special guest vocal appearances by Paul McCartney and The Dixie Chicks. Additionally, Martin co-wrote two of the CD’s songs with the Steep Canyon Rangers. That year, Martin also won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award.
Martin also collaborated with Edie Brickell on the critically acclaimed album Love Has Come For You, which combines Martin’s five-string banjo work with Brickell’s vivid vocals. Martin and Brickell took home the Grammy® Award for “Best American Roots Song” for the album’s title track. Martin and Brickell’s second collaboration “So Familiar” earned widespread critical acclaim and also inspired the Broadway musical Bright Star, which was nominated for five Tony Awards.
The Steep Canyon Rangers and Steve Martin will host their album release celebration on Saturday, set 30 2017 at The IBMA World of Bluegrass – in the state where it all began for them.
We’re thrilled to announce that Billy Strings’ new record is coming September 22nd and we have released the title track today! No Depression calls it “ferocious” and that is truly an apt descriptor. This record is the first material solely under Billy’s name and veers into some hardcore psychedelia without losing the virtuosic playing that Billy Strings is known for.
It’s at about five minutes and thirty seconds into the second track (“Meet Me At the Creek”) on the debut LP, Turmoil & Tinfoil, from Nashville bluegrass iconoclast Billy Strings that you start to see his intense vision for American roots music. It’s right after a jagged, spiraling solo from Billy’s mandolinist Drew Matulich, when Billy’s guitar starts aggressively stacking power chords and suddenly leaps into a screaming acoustic guitar solo that twists its way through a dark-Cthulhu bluegrass jam. This vision is echoed in the hallucinatory album art, and in “Spinning,” a spoken-word track that recounts a psychedelic-fueled dreamscape. Billy Strings plays hard and he lives hard, picking so fast and intensely that he’s known to break multiple strings per song, and basing the songs he writes on the hard lives he grew up around in the abandoned rural communities of America. At the same time, he’s one of the most beloved young bluegrass guitarists today within the bluegrass community, and his front porch in East Nashville is constantly filled up with Nashville’s best roots musicians just picking up a storm. That’s how he can balance blazingly-intense, mind-expanding musical explorations with straight-up traditional bluegrass: he doesn’t see them as being any different. They both have the same white-hot core: a realization that the best way to be taken seriously in music is to blow people’s minds.
The tricky part of making the new album, Turmoil & Tinfoil, was translating Billy Strings’ incendiary live show into the studio. Many bands have fallen flat capturing the energy of live performances, and very few bands play live with the kind of ferocity that Billy generates, whether performing with icons like Del McCoury, David Grisman, Sam Bush, Hot Rize, or tearing down the roof at any myriad of roots festivals across the US, all of which earned him massive word-of-mouth buzz leading into this new full-length album. Returning to his home state of Michigan, Billy enlisted acoustic roots wizard Glenn Brown (Greensky Bluegrass) as producer, and centered the music around his new band, featuring Matulich on mandolin with banjo prodigy Billy Failing and much-loved Nashville bassist Brad Tucker. Rich with special guests, Turmoil & Tinfoil shows off Billy’s East Nashville community of picking friends, among them Miss Tess, Molly Tuttle, John Mailander, Shad Cobb and Peter Madcat Ruth. Of special note is a virtuosic duet between Billy and bluegrass guitarist Bryan Sutton on “Salty Sheep” that shows the speed, precision, and creative craftsmanship of bluegrass when it’s done right. Rounding out the album, Billy’s father Terry Barber joins him on a newly-written bluegrass song, “These Memories of You.” As Billy says, “I grew up pickin’ and singing with my Dad and I remember falling in love with not just a specific song, but just the way that real mountain bluegrass harmony sounds. The high vocal part soars above the lead and there’s really nothing better than singing with someone and having that harmony lock into place.”
Billy Strings came to the tradition honestly, a fourth-generation musician who grew up playing this music with friends and understanding that bluegrass jamming was a means to build a community and to make connections. But at the same time, he’s come up in a modern world, in modern times, and doesn’t see the music as a relic. Instead, he’s infused it with the heavy metal and punk that he also grew up with, embellished the songs with deep references to psychedelic adventuring, and based everything he does on his undeniable virtuosity as one of the most fire-breathing guitarists in American roots music today.
Turmoil & Tinfoil Track List:
1. On The Line 2. Meet Me at the Creek 3. All of Tomorrow 4. While I’m Waiting Here 5. Living Like an Animal 6. Turmoil & Tinfoil 7. Salty Sheep 8. Spinning 9. Dealing Despair 10. Pyramid Country 11. Doin’ Things Right 12. These Memories of You 13. 107
Billy Strings & Whiskey Shivers – The “Whiskey Strings” Tour
Thursday September 14 – Durham, NC – WUNC Back Porch Friday, September 15th – Asheville, NC – Downtown After Five Sunday, September 17th – Richmond, VA – The Broadberry Tuesday, September 19th – Baltimore, MA – The 8×10 Wednesday, September 20th – Washington DC – Black Cat Thursday September 21st – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle Friday, September 22nd – Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade Saturday, September 23rd – Lenox, MA – Lenox Apple Squeeze Sunday, September 24th – Boston, MA – Great Scott Monday, September 25th – Burlington, VA – Higher Ground Showcase Lounge Wednesday, September 27th – Buffalo, MY – Buffalo Iron Works Thursday, September 28th – Columbus, OH – Woodlands Tavern Friday, September 29th – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar Saturday, September 30th – Gatlinburg, TN – Sugarlands Mountain Fest Sunday, October 1st – Charleston, SC – The Pour House Tuesday, October 10th – Detroit, MI – Otus Supply Wednesday, October 11th – Indianapolis, Indiana – The HiFi Thursday, October 12th – Milwaukee, WI – Back Room at colectivo Friday, October 13th – Chicago, IL – Shubas Friday, October 14th – Chicago, IL – Shubas Sunday, October 15th – St. Paul, MN – Turf Wednesday, October 25th – Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern Thursday, October 26th – Bend, OR – Volcanic Theatre Pub Friday, October 27th – Eugene, OR – WOW Hall Saturday, October 28th – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall Tuesday, October 31st – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill Wednesday, November 1st – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo Friday, November 3rd – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar Saturday, November 4th – Phoenix, AZ – Last Exit Live Saturday, November 5th – Albuquerque, NM – The Dirty Bourbon
There’s a duality to the music of Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons; the same duality that lies at the heart of the blues. It’s the dichotomy between the weight of history that hangs over black America and the lightness of these old folk songs, which are meant to uplift and charm, to trick away danger, to fool authority, to squeeze a person out of harm’s way, but also to assert a subtle sense of worth and dignity. These songs brought black Americans through the darkest years of our country’s history, and they have an unsettling amount of currency in today’s world, where saying that the blues is black music or even saying that the life of a black person matters are both controversial statements.
The music that renowned Seattle roots duo Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons are making on their new album, A Black & Tan Ball, is not just blues music. The better term is a new and important one: Black Americana. To make this music, they’ve recruited good friend and touring partner Phil Wiggins, an eclectic legend of American blues harmonica (who received an NEA National Heritage Fellowship this year). By pulling together the many threads of black American roots music, and demonstrating the underlying meanings behind the black experience in folk music, Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons are showing another side to Americana that can help expand the genre’s boundaries.
Courtney Marie Andrews has released a video for “Irene” off of her breakout record Honest Life today over on NPR. The song is an anthem for the timid, a beautiful hymn to bolster confidence and believe in your potential. Andrews sums it up perfectly saying “Irene is the little voice inside most of us, that says we aren’t good enough, or strong enough. It’s about shutting that voice off, while also accepting life’s inevitable struggles. It’s about coming to terms with you are, and believing in that person. Irene was written for a friend who was going through a confusing time, but like some songs do, over time it turned into a song about not only myself, but all of the women that I love. Irene is amazing, she just doesn’t know it yet.”
Mama Bird Recording Co. & Fat Possum Records are pleased to announce the release of an exclusive coke-bottle green vinyl of Honest Life to independent record stores. This version will include a bonus 7″ of unreleased recordings. The bundle is limited to 400 copies and can be purchased on September 15, 2017.
The crew over here at Hearth is really excited about everything happening over the coming months so wanted to get you a slew of the albums we’re working from now till October! If you’d like any more info, downloads or other materials, on any of these releases please do let me know!
Charlie Whitten‘s new EP, Playwright, is coming out August 25th. The whole thing is phenomenal, a quick 4-song EP showcasing a moment in time for the young songwriter. The writing on each of these tracks is wonderful and points to Whitten’s budding brilliance but the up-tempo, jaunty, pining of “Since She’s Gone”, with it’s entwining of heart-break, acceptance and humility is really impressive.
We’ve got an EP coming from Minneapolis-based HumbirdcomingAugust 25th, beautiful indie folk settings on this one that tap into the stark forests of the Midwest and the cold North
Billy Strings new psychedelic americana-meets-thrash-bluegrass album is wild (he’s an explosive guitarist!) with some really trippy stuff going on, it drops September 22nd
The radio wing of HearthPR will be working an amazing album September 8th from Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton. Both were founding members of the Be Good Tanyas (one of our most favorite bands) and this new album is a kind of return to roots for them. It’s also the first time they’ve collaborated together again in a good number of years. If you want a copy for press, we can refer you to their press publicist, otherwise our radio buddies will be getting hard copies shortly!
Lenore.‘s first single has been lauded by Uproxx who said it “features their entwining harmonies — which is the most arresting part of their sound — along with handclaps, a clever guitar lick, and low, slow bass line holding it all together. The track is deceptively simple, building into intricacies as it unfolds, and the legendary Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf and Crooked Fingers) takes over lead vocal duties.”
They’ve brought together an all-star cast from Eric Bachmann on the first single to Neko Case’s Paul Rigby and Dan Hunt and Death Cab For Cutie’s Dave Depper to fill out their witchy folk pop self-titled debut, due out September 15th.
Anna Tivel is a Portland-based songwriter who I watched three people breakdown sobbing at her show the other night. She’s one of those songwriters who collects these visceral stories and conveys them so astutely that you’d think she had lived more than a dozen lives, hers is out September 29th on Fluff & Gravy Records.
Silver Torches is the project of Erik Walters, who plays guitar with Perfume Genius and David Bazan, and is a Springsteen meets PNW indie folk/americana record that I cannot get enough of – Courtney Marie Andrews, Greg Leisz and Noah Gundersen feature on it, his is out October 6th.
Another release on Fluff & Gravy Records, Portland songwriter Jeffrey Martin has been one of the Northwest’s best-kept secrets for far too long. His new album was made while he was off the road and working as a creative writing teacher in a small rural Oregon town. The stories of his students fed into his creative outlet, and the songs on his new album are both beautiful and heart-rending. A glimpse into the broken hearts of America’s rural families. Jeffrey’s album drops October 13.
We’re so excited to be working with Dori Freeman again on her sophomore album! It’ll be produced by Teddy Thompson again and released October 20. It’s a mix of Dori’s originals, though tempered with a slightly more positive outlook, plus some tastefully arranged traditional pieces. Dori’s voice is shockingly great, but hearing her sing true Appalachian music for the first time is a revelation.
Another album in October (Oct 27) has been a long-time coming. It’s an unusual but very cool collaboration between old-school hip-hop head Mr. Lif and San Francisco-based Balkan brass band Brass Menazeri. If you’ve never heard hip-hop with brass before, you are in for a treat! It’s one of my favorite sounds (you’d be amazed at how well a tuba lays down the bass beats).
Speaking bluntly, Chip Taylor fires off “Fuck All the Perfect People”, the title track from his album release with The New Ukrainians. Character is the theme for the video with passersby joining in to deliver the world view of Chip Taylor and the New Ukrainans.
This gem was recorded in a South Austin garage with an old Peavey p.a. system, and originally relased on cassette! Proof that true creative ability cannot be constrained by a lack of materials. The essentials were in place—-great songs, great musicians, great ears (engineering, production)
The title cut, “Daddy’s Coal,” is timeless and startling in its profundity. Betty’s and Hal’s (Ketchum) vocals soar effortlessly and majestically above a lyrical but sparse acoustic bed (Betty’s guitar, John Hagen’s cello), in the same way the symbolic eagle of her song soars “upon the wind”. This song is as much a triumphant testimonial to a child’s love for parent as it is a memorial to innocence lost by an entire Viet Nam War generation. The memory of such loss is simply and tenderly expressed in both the title cut and the traditional, “A Drifter’s Prayer” — perfect portrait of a loss of faith. A soul with its tether cut.
The prophetic “Jericho” expounds on the lack of virtue displayed by TV evangelism, and the anthemic “Pilgrim” close the too-short collection, proving once again that one can indeed make much with little.
Note: the CD version contins a bonus gem: a raw living room recording of Betty and Gene’s living room performance of “Two Hearts Together, Three-Quarter Time.”
DADDY’s COAL ~ 1989
Produced and arranged by Betty Elders 1. Bed Of Roses/ Bed Of Thorns 3:31
2. Heartache 4:14
3. A Drifter’s Prayer 3:05
4. Daddy’s Coal 6:02
5. I Never Think Of You At All 2:37
6. Jericho 3:14
7. Welcome Home Heart 3:22
8. Silver Wheels (#2) 3:22
9. Two Hearts Together, Three-Quarter Time 3:26
10. The Pilgrim 3:26
Betty: acoustic guitars, keyboards, harmony vocals
Gene Elders: 5-string violin
Scott Neubert: acoustic and electric lead guitars, dobro
Rick McRae: acoustic guitar on “Silver Wheels” and “Welcome Home Heart”
Gene Williams: acoustic guitar, electric bass on ” A Drifter’s Prayer”
Keith Carper: double bass
Roland Denney: string bass
John Hagen: cello on “Daddy’s Coal”
Rene Garcia: trombone on “Welcome Home Heart”
Hal Michael Ketchum: harmony vocal on “Daddy’s Coal”
Tommy Daniel, Bow Brannon, and Doug Floyd: harmony vocals on “A Drifter’s Prayer”
Recorded at: MARS (Mid-Austin Recording Studio), AWOL Studio (Manor TX), and Songwriter Studio
Engineers: Charlie Hollis, Rick Ward, and Jess DeMaine
Mastered by Jerry Tubb at Terra Nova Digital Audio, Austin, TX
Cover concept and jacket photographs: Betty and her dad, Charlie Pruett, Jr.
She always knew she would be an artist. Her love of music, melody and words began longer ago than she can now remember. The relentless stirring of the mortal soul, “Rock of Ages, cleft for me…” left an indelible imprint on her music. That hymn, her first musical memory, would shape her future.
Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, of Scottish descent, Betty began playing piano at the age of Four, and by age six had already begun to compose melodies. She loved hymns. She loved the rhythm of poetry, especially the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Sandburg and Robert Frost. By age ten, she had written several of her own. One, “Snow,” would be honored by the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in 1961.
Betty studied ballet and taught herself to play guitar by listening to records. At fourteen she formed a folk trio with two girlfriends. Just Us, and they played at talent shows and cafes, displaying an eclectic musical repertoire and love of vocal harmonies. In the wake of the arrival of the Beatles and the sounds of the British invasion, Betty played drums for a year in an all-girl Beatles cover band. Soon more dynamic rhythms and melodies caught her ears, in the music of Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Jackie DeShannon, and James Brown.
Summers were spent at her aunt and uncle’s farm in Woodlawn, Virginia. There Betty added to her influences the lilting harmonies loved by her uncle; the memorable refrains of Ralph Staniey, The Clinch Mountain Boys and, of course, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. Once again. her love of yearning melodies and harmonic voices was rekindled.
Later, the folk artists of the sixties and seventies expressed yearning with a social and political conscience, leading Betty in another direction. One of Betty’s “favorite first songs I ever learned to fingerpick on guitar” was Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” It will still occasionally surface on her set list, when homage is being paid to those influences which artfully combine great poetry with great music.
From birth until she recorded her first album of original songs, After the Curtain, in 1981, Betty Elders’ music had been shaped by all she beheld. In its diversity one may clearly see her love of that music which speaks to the soul’s struggles, its yearnings, from the early influence of church hymns to popular music, to an education in the brilliant blues of Gershwin’s melancholy, the vast expansive scores of Aaron Copeland and Ferde Grofe, and the exquisite marriage of rhythm and melody in the orchestrations of Maurice Jarre. Betty still claims Jarre’s score for the movie. “Thee Comancheros.” to be among her favorite film scores of all time.
Betty settled in Austin, Texas, in 1984. Her self-produced release Daddy’s Coal was issued on her own Whistling Pig Music label in 1989, and earned her several year-end awards from Austin’s Music City Texas Insider: Best Independent Tape, Song of the Year (shared by two of Betty’s songs), Best Female Vocalist and Best Female Songwriter. The release of Peaceful Existence, issued in 1993 on Whistling Pig, resulted in another round of awards from the Insider’s poll and the Austin Chronicle’s Music Poll. It also attracted a degree of critical acclaim truly unusual for a release on an artist’s own label. Reviews in Detroit’s Metro Times, Detroit Free Press, Austin Chronicle, Performing Songwriter, Richmond Times Dispatch Dirty Linen, Folk Roots and many other publications range in tone from laudatory to reverential. Dave Goodrich of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette named Peaceful Existence one of the five best releases of the decade.
She’s been a featured artist in six standing-room-only showcases in the internationally renowned South-by-Southwest Music and Media Conference 1989-1994. Meanwhile, she co-authored “He Never Got Enough Love” on Lucinda Williams’ critically acclaimed 1992 release, Sweet Old World.
Highlights of the 1994 season include her performance on National Public Radio’s “Mountain Stage program Jan. 9; a successful tour of the Northeastern U.S. in July; the release of Daddy’s Coal on CD; and her enthusiastically received performance on the Main Stage at the 1994 Kerrville Folk Festival.
What Betty Elders Peers Are Saying
Betty’s songs and her sweet, haunting voice call forth the spirit of Appalachia combined with a keen vision and revealing honesty about what really matters. Betty is a favorite of mine and deserves to be heard!
It is and has been to me for some time a source of amazement that an artist of Betty’s caliber has not been recognized yet on a national level. Maybe this will be the album that slaps some heads.
Her music will touch your soul. From deep inside the genuine person she is, Betty Elders’ songs speak through the pain and happiness of all the moments. Just simply being–and carrying on. I hope she always does.
Cahoone readies for first full-band tour in 5 years!
We’re very excited to announce that Sera Cahoone is heading out on tour this September! This past year has seen her touring with the likes of Tift Merrit, Son Volt and Gregory Alan Isakov but now she’s ready to strike out on with her full band in tow to support From Where I Started.
We had some wonderful press for the album including the NPR First Listen Stephen Thompson wrote up here and CBC’s First Play here. This fantastic interview on Uproxx, a glowing No Depression review, this piece on LGTBQNation referencing the interview Cahoone had with Jewly Hight for NPR’s Songs We Love, Elle Magazine’s ’10 Best New Songs’ of March and a great American Songwriter piece. Beyond that Sera’s album received high praise from the Bluegrass Situation, Saving Country Music, Curve Magazine, KEXP, Paste, The Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Metropolitan, Seattle Weekly and a ton more.
The world of American roots music is no stranger to Seattle songwriter Sera Cahoone. Even though her last three albums were on Sub Pop Records and she spent years at the top of the indie charts, she’s always had a streak of Americana that ran through her music, a love of the humble folk song that bolstered her art. She’s returning now to these earliest influences with her new album, From Where I Started (to be released March 24, 2017). Growing up, Cahoone first found her voice in Colorado dive bars, backing up old blues musicians at age 12 on the drums. Her father, a Rocky Mountain dynamite salesman, took the family along to mining conferences and old honky-tonks in the state. The sounds she heard there—the twang of country crooners, cowboy boots on peanut shells—have stayed with her all the way to Seattle, where she lives now, and the seminal indie rock bands she’s been a part of in the city (Carissa’s Weird, Band of Horses).
To make From Where I Started, her first new album since 2012’s Dear Creek Canyon, Cahoone traveled south to Portland to work with producer John Askew (Neko Case, Laura Gibson, Alela Diane). Askew brought together key Portland musicians like Rob Berger (Iron and Wine, Lucinda Williams), Dave Depper (Death Cab For Cutie) and Annalisa Tornfelt (Black Prairie) with Cahoone’s Seattle bandmates – Jeff Fielder (Mark Lanegan, Amy Ray) and Jason Kardong (Son Volt, Jay Farrar). The band lays a deep bedrock beneath Cahoone’s songs, supporting her arcing vocals and innovative guitar and banjo playing. The album is driven by a strong rhythmic sensibility, owed to Cahoone’s background as a drummer for indie rock bands. “A lot of my songs start as a beat, I add guitar, then lyrics at the end,” she says. “When I write songs I usually sit at my drum kit playing both drums and guitar at the same time.”
From Where I Started plays on the rougher, darker edges of the traditional love song. Like any good country album, the songs here deal with love and loss, but Cahoone also knows how to surround loss with hope, to temper a sad song with a turn in the major key. The optimism of the love song “Up To Me,” buoyed by fingerpicked guitar and banjo, gives way to the weary resignation of “Taken Its Toll,” with its plaintive pedal steel and echoing vocal harmonies. “Ladybug,” is a poignant song that followed the tragic death of Cahoone’s cousin Tawnee.
From Where I Startedrepresents a refocusing for Sera Cahoone. It positions her as a songwriter beholden to the old country sounds she grew up with, a songwriter who’s always been able to deftly translate a personal perspective into a universal view. It’s an album about falling in and out of love, finding new hope, and learning that the best way to move forward is to remember whereyou began.