SLAID CLEAVES – ‘GHOST ON THE CAR RADIO’ OUT TODAY

Grew up in Maine. Lives in Texas. Writes songs. Makes records. Travels around. Tries to be good.

Slaid Cleaves lives with his wife of 21 years, Karen Cleaves, in the Hill Country outside Austin, Texas. While Karen books the shows, the flights, the hotels, and the rental cars; designs, orders and sells the CDs and T-shirts, pays the band, updates the web site, answers fan questions, does the taxes and makes dinner, Slaid writes his little songs (and fixes things around the house). They travel around the world together while Slaid plays for fans far and wide and gets all the glory. If it wasn’t for Karen, Slaid would be carrying all he owned in a shoe box, scrounging around for a happy hour gig.
 

 

 

SLAID CLEAVES – ‘GHOST ON THE CAR RADIO’ (OUT JUNE 23 on CANDY HOUSE MEDIA,
both on CD and on 140 grms vinyl)

Now twenty-five years into his storied career, Cleaves’ songwriting has never been more potent than on his new album ‘Ghost on the Car Radio,’ out June 23.
‘Ghost on the Car Radio’ is Cleaves’ first release since 2013’s ‘Still Fighting the War,” which was praised as “one of the year’s best albums” by American Songwriter and “carefully crafted…songs about the struggles of the heart in hard times” by the Wall Street Journal. The New York Daily News called his music “a treasure hidden in plain sight,” while the Austin Chronicle declared, “there are few contemporaries that compare. He’s become a master craftsman on the order of Guy Clark and John Prine.”

Described as “terse, clear and heartfelt” (NPR Fresh Air), Cleaves speaks to timeless truths in his songs. “I’m not an innovator. I’m more of a keeper of the flame,” he says.
“I think of songs as the whiskey of writing. Distilled down to the essence, powerful, concentrated, immediate. You can take it all in and really feel it in just seconds,” says Slaid Cleaves.

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Sammy Brue – I Am Nice

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“Stories are all around us, and I’m listening to people even when they think I’m not,” states Sammy Brue.  “If I get to the emotion of it, I can find the words.”  
 
Realism and storytelling are qualities that are prominent on I Am Nice, the 15-year-old Utah singer-songwriter’s New West debut.  The 12-song album—produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes and John Paul White of the Civil Wars—shows the young troubadour to be a timeless talent whose catchy compositions embody the sort of wisdom, empathy and insight that’s usually associated with more experienced songwriters. 
 
Sammy Brue likes to think of himself as a normal fifteen year old kid – he plays video games, hangs out with his friends and eats cereal in the afternoon. On “I Know,” the first single from his upcoming debut LP on New West, the John Paul White and Ben Tanner-produced I Am Nice, Brue balances a mature, brooding sense of folk with wistful, youthful lyricism: on one hand, he’s an artist gifted way beyond his years. On the other, he’s a teenager who misses the girl he left behind. 
“I wrote that song in my underwear at three in the morning,” Brue tells Rolling Stone Country. “It was about someone chasing after their dreams and leaving a person they loved behind to do it. Only to find out that the person they left was more important than the dream. It’s probably the most personal song I’ve written for this album.”
 
The Ogden, Utah-based Brue started writing music at ten years old, and was snatched by Justin Townes Earle for the cover of his 2014 album, Single Mothers, for his uncanny resemblance to the singer songwriter. His similarities to Earle weren’t just in the physical – he, too, plays his guitar with a heavy thumb that tends to conjure up a bygone era, with lyrics firmly footed in the present. By fourteen, Brue had already released two EPs under the tutelage of musicians like Earle, Joe Fletcher and Joshua Black Wilkins, who saw more than just the novelty of a young kid at the mic: they saw an artist. Young or not, Brue’s songs were emotionally stirring and stark, garnering him spots opening for Hayes Carll, Lydia Loveless, John Moreland, Lukas Nelson, Lucinda Williams, Asleep at the Wheel and Earle, and a deal with New West records.
 
“Sam is not only a friend, but a peer,” says Wilkins, also a photographer who shot Brue for the cover of Single Mothers. “I started playing music at fifteen, so to witness someone so focused and inspired, and talented, is a constant reminder that I can always improve my craft. Sammy Brue gets better every day, and does it with a focus and drive that almost no one can match.” “Watching Sammy grow as a writer and performer over the past few years has been the most inspiring thing I’ve seen happen during my music career,” echoes Fletcher. “He is so hungry for new influences and seeing him devour them and process them and make them his own is a constant reminder to me of what drew me to this life in the first place.”
 
For I Am Nice, Brue headed to Florence, Alabama to make the album with Tanner and White – he’s finishing high school online these days – and he embraced the opportunity to add a fuller band to his spare acoustic sound. At first, he was a little intimidated by White’s austere persona, but soon found the man behind the press to be much different than he imagined. “I was kind of nervous at first because when you see pictures on the Internet [of White] he looks super serious,” Brue says. “But then he was a really big goofball.” I Am Nice infuses a new complexity into Brue’s style: a little doo-wop on “Was I The Only One,” some Nirvana-inspired scruff on “Control Freak,” the echoing introspection of “Salty Times.”
 
“I don’t have a lot of experience playing with a band so I didn’t know what to expect other than I wanted the Muscle Shoals vibe,” says Brue. “Just hearing the recordings after each take was cool. When Ben Tanner put keys on it I kind of didn’t ever want to play solo again. I actually have a band back in Ogden now, too, because I really love playing with other musicians. I didn’t have a sound in my head before because I didn’t want to ruin what John and Ben were going to come up with. After hearing the final mastered versions I really loved it. I think people will know where it was recorded when they listen to it.”
 
Though Brue is clearly influenced by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan – his first EP was titled The Ghost of Woody Guthrie and evokes a young Dylan heading to New York and ambushing his idol at the hospital – his tastes range far beyond just folk.

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Rachel Baiman and Modern Mal release music videos

Baiman’s “Shame” and Modern Mal’s “Just a Satellite” get the video treatment, World Cafe releases Rev. Sekou live videos

We’ve got a couple fantastic music videos premiering today, from Baiman’s feminist title track “Shame” called “a potent message from an especially powerful messenger” by Paste Magazine to Modern Mal’s Psychedelic-Surf Rock rumination on self-esteem on “Just A Satellite”, with Rachel Brooke coming to the conclusion that “Some things can still be beautiful, even if they are a rusty man-made piece of space-debris” over on American Songwriter.While Rev. Sekou’s full World Cafe interview and session won’t be live until Friday, Vuhaus has a taste of the cuts he did of “Resist” and “Muddy and Rough” at the WXPN studios accompanied by Alvin Youngblood Hart and the North Mississippi Allstars!

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Charlie Whitten to release EP “Playwright” August 25th

We’re excited to be working with Charlie Whitten, whose new EP Playwright is coming out August 25thThe whole thing is phenomenal, a quick 4-song EP showcasing a moment in time for the young songwriter. The songwriting 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 duality of heart-break and acceptance is really impressive.
Whitten grew up in Charlotte, NC and was born in Charleston, WV. He’s released a few pieces under his own name but says he “enjoys being sideman just as much as a singer-songwriter.” Pretty obvious that he enjoys it when you can catch Charlie playing guitar for Jake McMullen and Becca Mancari, and while he just returned from touring for two months with Andrew Combs as his bass player. He’s also played and sang with Molly Parden, Erin Rae McKaskle, Caleb Groh, Chrome Pony, and his current side project, Stationwagon; a band of tall songwriters and friends featuring Mark Fredson, Pete Lindberg, Andrew Hunt, Brett Resnick. You can hear bits a pieces from his heroes Jim Croce, Don McLean and Harry Nilsson in his songs. There’s a bit of Rayland Baxter in his arrangements as well.

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Trapper Schoepp – Rangers & Valentines

As a professional musician and proud student of
the American songbook, Trapper Schoepp is acutely aware of clichés. That’s not
to say he shuns them completely, of course, just that when he uses them he does
so knowingly, and so he readily admits that his latest album, Rangers & Valentines, out April 1 on Xtra Mile Recordings, is founded on
a big one. “They always say that songwriters who come off their first few years
of touring are going to make their road album,” Schoepp says, “and yeah, this
is a road album.”

Not that the songs are all literally about Schoepp’s experiences. Recorded
after years on the road behind Run Engine
Run
, his 2012 album for the Los Angeles indie label SideOneDummy, Rangers & Valentines compiles
stories about men and women “who are on the road and on the move,” Schoepp
says. Along the way they endure chaos, war, natural disasters and other
travails.
….

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Freakwater – Scheherazade

Freakwater‘s messed-up but glorious harmonies have always been the key to their sound, and if they suggested the lost members of the Carter Family far gone on cheap booze on 1995’s Feels Like the Third Time,
they still sound essentially the same way 21 years down the line, which
only points to the bent timelessness of their body of work. 2016’s Scheherazade may be the first album in over a decade from Catherine Irwin and Janet Beveridge Bean,
but the dour yet perceptive storytelling of their lyrics and the wobbly
sincerity of their vocals suggest no more than a few months passed
between 2005’s Thinking of You and this set. From the grim abuse of “What the People Want” to the homey but troubling visions of “Ghost Song,” Freakwater
leave no doubt they’re still living in the same fallen world that’s
always been their home, and they evoke a difficult past and a similarly
blighted present while facing it all with the quirky grin of a confirmed
cynic. Freakwater themselves haven’t changed, but Scheherazade does find them working with a different supporting cast; while their previous albums were all cut in Chicago, Scheherazade was recorded in Freakwater‘s native Louisville, Kentucky, with a team of players that includes Warren Ellis from the Dirty Three, James Elkington from Tweedy and Eleventh Dream Day, and Evan Patterson of Young Widows on guitar, as well as Freakwater‘s longtime bassist David Wayne Gay.
The arrangements have more of a dreamlike lean than the more
Appalachian approach of their earlier work, but ultimately the music
serves the songs and vocal performances on Scheherazade, and does so beautifully. Scheherazade isn’t exactly the Feel Good Album of 2016, but being lost and forsaken with Freakwater is a more satisfying experience than feeling perky with most other acts, and Scheherazade is a brilliant reminder of what Catherine Irwin and Janet Beveridge Bean do so strikingly well.

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Tom Brosseau – North Dakota Impressions

Tom Brosseau’s unique tenor is instantly recognizable, and it imbues his
songs with a palpable feeling of loss, regret and nostalgia. His
phrasing, the emotional quiver in his voice and the bare-bones
production evoke the feeling of a late-night, working-class living room
with friends sharing their most intimate secrets.

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Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms – Innocent Road

“On their new album Innocent Road, Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms stake a
claim as two of the finest traditional musicians in America. Their
sound is a throwback to the heyday of rural American dance-hall music.”

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Pierce Edens’ Gritty Appalachian Roots

Pierce Edens’ new release, Stripped Down Gussied Up, is both haunting and fiery; a concoction of psychedelic-grunge-roots, with Eden’s raw, tortured country bray at the helm.

Pierce Edens
Stripped Down Gussied Up
June 2, 2017

Life is the intersection of empty and full, dark and light. This relationship, inherent in all things, is the underpinning of Pierce Edens’ new release, Stripped Down Gussied Up dropping June 2nd.  Over the last ten years, Edens has been drawing on his roots in Appalachian songwriting and blending them with the gritty rock and roll sounds that captivated him in his teenage years. Here again, Edens pulls together light and dark— Stripped Down Gussied Up is both haunting and fiery; a concoction of psychedelic-grunge, with Eden’s raw, tortured country bray at the helm.
 


 

His fifth fully independent album, Edens has taken his singular voice back home to Western North Carolina. Edens recorded Stripped Down Gussied Up in his childhood home, which he stripped and renovated into a studio a few years back. Even the environment, thus, is an incarnation of the album’s crux. Edens said, “Recording often feels paradoxical; like taking a song and distilling it down, then building it back up from the bare bones.  It’s like pulling your skin off your back and then putting a nice shirt on, maybe a coat too. This is me doing that. Stripping down, gussying up.”

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Pierce Edens’ Gritty Appalachian Roots

Pierce Edens’ new release, Stripped Down Gussied Up, is both haunting and fiery; a concoction of psychedelic-grunge-roots, with Eden’s raw, tortured country bray at the helm.

Pierce Edens
Stripped Down Gussied Up
June 2, 2017

Life is the intersection of empty and full, dark and light. This relationship, inherent in all things, is the underpinning of Pierce Edens’ new release, Stripped Down Gussied Up dropping June 2nd.  Over the last ten years, Edens has been drawing on his roots in Appalachian songwriting and blending them with the gritty rock and roll sounds that captivated him in his teenage years. Here again, Edens pulls together light and dark— Stripped Down Gussied Up is both haunting and fiery; a concoction of psychedelic-grunge, with Eden’s raw, tortured country bray at the helm.
 


 

His fifth fully independent album, Edens has taken his singular voice back home to Western North Carolina. Edens recorded Stripped Down Gussied Up in his childhood home, which he stripped and renovated into a studio a few years back. Even the environment, thus, is an incarnation of the album’s crux. Edens said, “Recording often feels paradoxical; like taking a song and distilling it down, then building it back up from the bare bones.  It’s like pulling your skin off your back and then putting a nice shirt on, maybe a coat too. This is me doing that. Stripping down, gussying up.”

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