C Daniel Boling
2014 winner of the Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk songwriter contest, C Daniel Boling shares experiences from a life well lived in places as far ranging as Okinawa, Japan, and Padre Island, Texas. This balladeer and songwriter with the friendly tenor brings his well crafted story songs to happy audiences coast to coast and in Europe in over one hundred shows a year, from house concerts and listening rooms to major festivals.
Born into a traveling Air Force family, he later worked as a National Park Ranger (yes, the gun toting kind) and as a criminal investigator for the US Bureau Of Land Management. He started touring at 50, an age when most guys are planning their retirement. He has released 7 albums since 1999, including ”These Houses” produced by Jono Manson and to be released in late 2016 on the Berkalin Records label.
Daniel’s songs tell interesting stories about a variety of characters, including himself. He plays the guitar and banjitar (a banjo and guitar hybrid) with a deft fingerpicking style that always enhances the stories, and a bit of harmonica into the bargain. His clear tenor draws positive comparisons to John Denver and Pete Seeger, and like Pete, Daniel is happiest when his audiences sing too.
There’s a lot of Steve Goodman in Daniel’s delivery and storytelling. You can also hear the influence of other classic folk singers and songs from the great American folk tradition. It’s no surprise that iconic Appalachian folk singer Jean Ritchie is his 2nd cousin. He’s had the pleasure to share the stage with Tom Chapin, Small Potatoes, Jack Williams, Tim Henderson, John Flynn and many more. He’s won numerous songwriting awards including Kerrville New Folk, Walnut Valley Festival, Santa Fe bluegrass and Old Time Festival, Albuquerque Folk Festival, and Woody Guthrie Folk.
The California Honeydrops
To those who have seen the California Honeydrops and heard Lech Wierzynski sing and play, it may come as a shock that the young frontman was born in Warsaw, Poland. The son of Polish political refugees raised in Chicago and Washington DC, Lech was exposed to wide range of musical influences. “When my dad was growing up in communist Poland in the 40’s and 50’s, old American music was illegal and therefore very cool”, he says. “He passed on the love of old stuff to me: everything from Louis Armstrong to Sam Cooke”.
Like his early influences, Lech has the unique ability to carry a tune casually, conversationally and powerfully as well. But the California Honeydrops are not just another throwback band. “My brother and I had to assimilate to modern American society”, Wierzynski explains, “so we loved all the popular stuff on the radio too, especially hip-hop and r'n'b. Knowing music was our way of proving we were American”.
After studying ethno-musicology at Oberlin College, Wierzynski arrived in Oakland, California, in 2004. There, he couldn’t help but to continue expanding his musical horizons. “At first”, he recalls, “I played mostly on the street, and then as I got more established I started playing a lot of blues and soul music in clubs and touring. There is a rich heritage of that music here in the Bay Area, and I was lucky enough to play with a lot of older musicians who taught me what it was all about”.
When Lech was ready to combine all his influences into one cohesive sound, he formed the California Honeydrops.
By the time the band put out its first tip jar, at an Oakland train station, Lech had already established himself in the Bay Area music scene. “I had gigs, I wasn’t starving”, he explains. “But I wanted to get back to how I started out, playing on the street with friends, having fun, and putting smiles on peoples faces”. With these goals in mind, the California Honeydrops were formed. “Things got going really fast”, remembers drummer and founding member Ben Malament. “People who had seen us on the street were offering us all kinds of gigs. Before we knew it we were a working band, playing clubs parties, and dances all over”. In just a few years time this group of street performers would be selling out venues across California and bringing its infectious sound to festivals across the US and Europe.
With a background in West African and New Orleans drumming, Ben Malament has provided a funky rhythmic backdrop to Wierzynski’s soulful vocals and soaring trumpet playing, since their subway busking days. The addition of saxophonist Johnny Bones brought to the band his influences from time working with Eddie Palmieri, Nell Carter, and Steve Lucky & The Rhumba Bums, to form the core of the group. Growing bigger and gathering steam, the Honeydrops have expanded from an acoustic street trio to a full band; Piano and keyboards, electric bass and additional percussion round out their sound. Beyond the band’s shared musical vision remains a greater purpose; To make people dance, sing, and enjoy themselves.
The Honeydrops’ music speaks not just to the heart and soul, but also to the body; people have no choice but to dance. Drawing heavily on southern soul and Bay Area r'n'b, with twist of New Orleans second-line street music, the Honeydrops defy genres. Their style may not have a name, but one thing is certain - The California Honeydrops don’t just play music. They throw parties.
Groove. Funk. Gospel-flavored blues with blackened creole spice. Soul singing. Chunky horns. John Scofield on guitar. That’s what!
From Pwop Studios in New London, CT, comes another great album produced by Carl Franklin, only this time it’s all his! Carl released ”Lifeboat To Nowhere” with the Franklin Brothers in 2011. He has appeared with Garth Hudson and Tommy Ramone on Chris Castle’s Americana Masterpiece, ” Last Bird Home”. As well, Carl produces numerous bands in the New London area where the scene is thriving.
”Been A While” has 6 Franklin originals, including ’Chain Reaction’, a Franklin Brothers collaboration with the great John Scofield, and 3 covers. Of note is the funked-up Beatles hit, ’Drive My Car’. It takes balls to attempt a Beatles cover and pull it off, but, well, it just rocks.
Every song has groove. The last song,’ Out Of Your Way’, is a true story ballad that may just bring tears to your eyes.
The Carnivaleros’ music has always been difficult to define, they combine moody eastern European motifs, western movie themes with strains of Zydeco rhythms, tex-mex polkas, waltzes and swing to create a stew of desert bayou music.
They live up to the name with this year's release of "Dreams Are Strange". Bandleader Gary Mackender has penned 6 instrumentals and 8 seductive tales of life, conjuring lyrical stories of American gothic characters of fiction, for his 5th full length album. His lyrics deal with the human condition as he sees it, some light, some dark.
The tales told on this latest project range from a story of a psychic practicing her trade in New Mexico, a lament of the consequences a soldier faces coming back home, a tribute to the 50’s first lady Mamie Eisenhower, and the opening track, ”Hesitation Bridge”, was inspired by Kazuo Ishiguro’s ”An Artist Of The Floating World”, the bridge symbolizing choices one must make every day in our journey.
Gary Mackender is looking forward to live performances with his tight band throughout 2016 and 2017. Their shows are always filled with high energy and the joy of playing music for a thirsty, music-loving audience.
Atlanta-born and Georgia-raised musician Caroline Aiken began her career in 1968, performing with a rock band called Fathertime in Long Island, NY. She honed her skills as a songwriter and solo artist during the late 70’s, moving from busking the streets of Seattle to opening for well known acts such as Doc Watson, Bonnie Raitt, David Bromberg, Muddy Waters, and later, Little Feat, Randy Newman, John Prine, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Derek Trucks and many more.
After years of touring throughout the US, South America and Europe, she moved back to Atlanta in the mid 80’s where her bluesy voice, masterful finger picking guitar style, and hypnotizing stage presence anchored the city’s acoustic and folk scene and influenced up and coming artists like the Indigo Girls and Shawn Mullins.
Caroline Aiken has released 9 albums to date, with the first one, 1988’s ”Line Of Vision”, featuring Bonnie Raitt on guitars and vocals on 2 tracks. Her 7th recording, ”Are We There Yet, Mama?”, released in 2005, garnered a first draft ballot nomination for a Grammy Award, and as an artist she received 2 New South CocaCola Awards Nominations, for Best Vocalist and Best Acoustic Guitarist. She has headlined Kerrville, 14 times since 1995, and in 2010 with The Indigo Girls, Falcon Ridge and High Sierra festivals, played Bumbershoot, Music Midtown, the GA Music Hall Of Fame mainstage (with the B52’s and Mother’s Finest) and Otis Redding Songwriting Camp. Caroline has also coheadlined The Mendocino Music Festival along with Ruthie Foster, and is a regular attendee at the annual Folk Alliance Conference, as a performer, presenter and educator. When she’s not touring or recording, Caroline also teaches her workshop 'Zen & The Art Of Performance' at music camps nationally and internationally.
A perpetual touring artist, Caroline continues to play shows regularly throughout the US, Europe, South America and the UK, including numerous charitable events for at risk children, animals, and environmental awareness. She’s been called an 'underground legend' (Santa Cruz Goodtimes), and 'the real deal' (Performing Songwriter Magazine), but perhaps the most accurate quote ever uttered was given by Artichoke Music in Portland, OR, 'Spending time with Caroline is as unforgettable as it is inspirational. She’s truly at the heart of America’s folk roots movement and has the skills along with life experience we all desire as entertainers'.
Carrington MacDuffie is not your typical Americana singer songwriter, she is an Award winning voice actor, a spoken word performer and a widely published poet. Her music embodies a passion for language and sound, shaped by her carefree spirit and the richness of her alto voice. While comparisons have been made to americana folk singer songwriters, such as Neko Case, Patty Griffin, and Lucinda Williams, and her live performances have been described as 'alt cabaret' and compared to Nina Hagen and Laurie Anderson, perhaps Middle Tennessee Music best grasped MacDuffie’s lighthearted warmth and infectious charm when they described her as a 'female Jimmy Buffet'.
Her latest release "Crush On You", is a collection of 5 original songs about the independent spirit of love crossed with longing, which MacDuffie herself refers to as 'electronic folk'. There is a playfulness and sensitivity to her work, and her tunes are both catchy and deep. MacDuffie has merged her americana folk singer songwriter sound with an 80's rock twist for an eclectic, retro sound. The tracks range from the powerful title track to the meditative “I Call You”, with its steadily rolling drums, to the sweet melody of the ballad “Precious Kisses”, the dynamic lullaby “Sweet Pea”, and is rounded out by an anthemic ode to the musician’s instrument, “My Little Guitar”. Her vocal clarity and expressive range, her creative use of lyrics, and her signature use of background vocals ensure her unique voice will be heard in not only the americana singer songwriter scene, but in other genres as well.
"Crush On You" was produced by Rob Halverson, who has produced and performed with an impressive roster of legendary performers. His own Halversonics Recording has played host to a bevy of award winning artists. Halverson plays synthesizers, bass, piano, vibes, percussion, and guitar on "Crush On You". In working with MacDuffie, Rob shares, "Carrington writes thoughtful, smart, fun and eccentric songs reflecting her views of the journeys we are all on. Her craft as a master-of-voice not only informs, but enhances what she is able to pull off while creating in the recording studio. It is a delight to hear her ideas come to life".
Rob was joined by renowned drummer and percussionist Dony Wynn, who is widely appreciated for his work with Robert Palmer, Dr John, Patti LaBelle, Brooks and Dunn and Robert Plant. “Dony is a great listener who listens very sensitively and appreciatively to every aspect of the songs, not just the rhythmic feel that was called for, but the overall intention, the lyrical content, and the melodic structure. He was tracking my emotional vibe very closely, while bringing choices I wouldn't have imagined made from a deep background in polyrhythms gained primarily when he was working with Robert Palmer”, MacDuffie mentions.
Roots based singer and fingerstyle guitarist Cary Morin announces an April 7th, 2017, release date for his 4th CD, ”Cradle To The Grave”. Recorded and engineered by Richard Werdes at Studio Underground in Ft Collins, CO, the new album completes a 3 album project of acoustic recordings by Cary Morin, who’s been acclaimed as ’one of the best acoustic pickers on the scene today’.
On ”Cradle To The Grave”, Cary Morin brings together the great musical traditions of America and beyond like no other artist. These recordings provide a timeline of his songwriting and guitar work spanning 2014 to 2017. The lyrics range from blues to folk, and sometimes shine a light on his native american heritage and small town life in America. At times, the collection conveys the simplicity of a single chord to complex fingerstyle guitar.
“The goal was to create a sort of triptych of my solo fingerstyle journey, one that demonstrates the evolution of my progression with songwriting, finger picking, and the use of open tunings”, says Morin. “Cradle To The Grave is a culmination of my musical efforts as a soloist thus far”.
Of the album’s 11 tracks, 8 are originals that showcase his skills as both a singer and guitar player. Also included are 3 unique covers of songs that cover a wide palette ranging from pop legend Prince, “Nothing Compares 2 U”, to noted bluesman Willie Brown, “Mississippi Blues”, and jam band super group Phish, “Back On The Train”.
“The title track is a bit telling”, relates Morin. “The lyrics refer to the realization that, through all of my travels and experiences, I have come to understand that life is fleeting. I think you can hear this theme in the song, ‘Lay Baby Lay’, also, though this tune is more directly related to the experience of touring and travel and the compromises therein. The last song, ‘Watch Over Me’, is a different take on the title track, as though both songs are bookends for the whole album. The theme of spirituality seems to weave its way into my work more often as the years pass. Perhaps its impending mortality. I hope we are put on this earth to help each other and should we find ourselves alone for some reason, there is still someone there with us, a higher power to help us complete our journey”.
With deft fingerstyle guitar and vocals that alternately convey melodic elation and gritty world weariness, Morin crafts an inimitable style often characterized as acoustic native americana, with qualities of blues, bluegrass, jazz, jam, reggae, and dance.
Being a crow tribal member, Morin brings special significance to the song, “Dawn’s Early Light”, written in support of the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “I'm not really a protest song sort of writer, but this song seemed important”, states Morin. “It’s written from my memories of growing up near the Missouri River and around my people in Montana. As a child, I became familiar with our traditional music and rural life. This song may be an oversimplification of the situation, but I have always felt that the honoring of a treaty, no matter when it was made, is not a complex idea. History has proved this not to be the case, but I hope this time it is. Honor the treaty, simple as that”.
While her family enjoyed their backyard volleyball court and her friends were engaged in all the typical high school activities, Casey Weston picked up a guitar and fell in love with writing music. From the start, she appreciated the immediate feedback, both good and bad, to her work as she began to perform before live audiences at bars, coffee shops, malls and parks in her home town of Naples, Florida. By 15, she had developed a local following and would soon open for national touring acts such as James Otto and Craig Morgan.
On April 7, 2009, Casey won first place in the regional Colgate Country Showdown in Arcadia, Florida. That led to her opening before thousands of fans for such young stars as Justin Moore as well as seasoned Grammy winners like John Anderson. The real turning point, however, came with her being named a contestant on NBC’s inaugural season of The Voice. Finishing number eight in the final competition earned her place in a national tour, allowed her to with serious musicians and exposed her to leading industry professionals.
Again, all of this occurred before she had even graduated from high school. Finally, with diploma in hand, she moved to Nashville and committed herself to her music full time. Since 2009, she has collaborated with a number of Nashville musicians and co-writers to produce two notable albums and three singles. All have drawn strong reviews from a wide range of critics around the world. Her 3rd album, "Young Heart" is scheduled for release in late March 2015 and promises to be the best of her work so far.
In addition to her writing and recording career, Casey has become a sought-after entertainer, headlining in over 70 shows a year at venues around the country. “I love the work of Gavin DeGraw, Ben Rector, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks”, she says, “but I still feel the inspiration of the music that came before me - The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger. My songs tell a story, like theirs do, and I hope touch the heart of people of all generations, not just mine”.
In 2015 Casey was selected by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) as one of 17 talented unsigned songwriters that will make up the ASCAP Guidance from Publishers for Songwriters (GPS) Project Class aimed to display unsigned writers for our publishing community. As she continues to open for a growing list of the nation’s top performers and as she hones her skills as a writer and entertainer, Casey Weston, not yet 23 years old, is building a strong, solid reputation.
The Chapin Sisters
Recorded in the dreamy hills of Echo Park, California,”Today’s Not Yesterday”, is the Chapin Sisters’ 1st album of original material in 5 years. Produced by the Chapin Sisters along with producer, engineer and bass player Dan Horne (Conor Oberst, Allah Las) and drummer Jesse Lee (Cass McCombs, Gang Gang Dance) the self-released ”Today’s Not Yesterday”, which was recorded at Jonathan Wilson’s Five Star studio, has a classic 70’s rock feel that at times recalls a ’Rumours-era’ Fleetwood Mac. The Chapin Sisters lush harmonies are backed here by Horne and Lee’s first-rate rhythm section and standout performances by Luke Paquin (Hot Hot Heat) and Omar Velasco (A Fine Frenzy, Conor Oberst) on guitars, and Lee Pardini (Jonathan Wilson) and Bobby Rodriquez (the Tyde) on keyboards.
These 12 new songs, written mostly in New York, are as much about the sisters' past, and the 8 years they spent living in Los Angeles, as they are about their present lives on the East Coast. They explore break-ups, leaving California, accepting change, reinventing oneself and returning home to the things that matter most.
Perhaps these themes are best heard on such tracks as ’The World Is All’, where Lily’s powerful lead vocals, accompanied by Pardini’s soulful piano and Rhodes performances, seem to be singing goodbye to a lover and exploring the idea of self-acceptance. Or ’Child’, where Abigail’s sultry lead vocals, accompanied by a bluesy guitar rift from Velasco, explore the idea of being ready for unconditional love. ’Getaway’, co-written with Lily’s husband Seth Thomas, is an escapist’s vacation with the one you love. Thanks to Pardini’s psychedelic Rhodes, Horne’s tambourine and Lee’s foot-tapping drums, it is as sunny as a summer’s drive along the Pacific Coast Highway.
’Angeleno’, a bittersweet country-infused postcard to LA, features a pedal-steel performance from Horne that would feel comfortable alongside anything Sneaky Pete Kleinow did with the Flying Burrito Bros. ’We Will Not Stop Singing’, a contemporary protest song, closes the album. First performed at the People’s Climate March, the song, with its sing-a-long verses, has since become a staple at the Chapins’ live shows and reflects their folk roots possibly more than anything they have recorded to date.
”Today’s Not Yesterday” delivers what we have come to expect from the Chapin Sisters, enchanting harmonies and lyrics that are infused with as much hope as they are longing. They might have moved back east and surrounded themselves with impassioned activists and thoughtful folk icons, but this album captures an infectious Southern California vibe that leaves us wanting more.
If ever a movie was made about the life of Chauncey Bowers, Christopher Lloyd would surely get the part. Somewhere between Lloyd’s signature roles as the eccentric Emmett 'Doc' Brown in "Back To The Future" and the flighty Reverend Jim Ignatowski from the hit TV series "Taxi", lies the role of Chauncey Bowers — a man who began his unpredictable career as an assistant “repo man,” then transitioned into being a Harvard-educated Ph D in cellular biology, and now defies laws of common sense as he dissects the music world. His questioning, wide-horizon worldview and barbed humor light up the newly released "Rumors Of Reason".
"Rumors Of Reason" is Chauncey’s first full-length album, though he has been impressing peers on Los Angeles’ songwriter circuit for years. Its 15 tracks showcase his penchant for taking listeners through the bizarre journeys of everyday life, with twists and turns as abrupt as the good Reverend Jim’s non sequiturs. Take, for example, “Something To Cry About”, and its murderous protagonist: “You hear something funny, but it’s all in your head/If those voices stop talking/Does that mean you’re dead?” Or the dead man’s hindsight in “Stupid and Bloody”: “When I was born, I was stupid and bloody/Crying from the shock of seeing the world”. Or the folk-rock groove of “God Bless Your Children”, that lulls listeners - with driving harmony from Lisa Turner - into a false sense of comfort as its aging protagonist vows: “I believe in the raging righteous/ And I believe there’s love in soldiers and whores”.
Lest that sound like a heavy load of death and darkness, check out the “remarkably agile” horn that stalks Chauncey’s alley-haunting character through “Stray Trombone”, and the tough-luck philosophy spiking “Last Thing I Remember” over producer Ed Tree’s bluesy slide guitar. He pivots often from the twisted to the tender, as with the melancholy “Anything Could Happen” and its graceful plea to “Try and be happy/Just try and sing”, dressed in Teresa James’ dusky harmony and Dale La Duke’s simple keyboard melody.
Chauncey crafts his own alternate universe in these 15 songs, complete with movie-ready characters, and plotlines, and a firmly grounded skepticism. He still holds fast to a few illusions, like his insistence that the “repo man” he worked for was legit — not just a guy stealing cars with a 16-year-old accomplice. The absolute reality of that fact we may never know, but with "Rumors Of Reason", we can at least come along for an exhilarating ride. Like that of a hot-wired, freshly repossessed car.
Christine Albert stands out in the Austin, TX, music scene as an artist, songwriter and philanthropist. She has released 6 solo albums including the bilingual 3 CD “Texafrance” series. With her husband Chris Gage (as Albert & Gage) she has released 6 albums including the acclaimed 2009 release “Dakota Lullaby”.
Ms Albert is currently serving as Chair Of The National Board Of Trustees Of The Recording Academy, the GRAMMY organization. She is the first independent artist and only the 2nd woman to reach this position. In addition, Christine is the founder and president of Swan Songs, a central Texas area non-profit organization that fulfills musical last wishes for the terminally ill and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this album support Swan Songs.
Produced by Chris and Christine in their own MoonHouse Studio, “Everything’s Beautiful Now” features Gage's instrumental gifts on piano, B3, acoustic and electric guitars, accordion, harmonies and more. The Austin sound is reinforced by Lloyd Maines on dobro, Kym Warner (The Greencards) on mandolin, Kim Deschamps on pedal steel, bassists Glenn Fukunaga and David Carroll, and drummer Paul Pearcy. Vocalist Kira Small's harmony is simply beauful.
The Jerry Jeff Walker-Christine Albert composion "Old New Mexico" tells the true story of Christine's leap of faith when she left Santa Fe for Austin and she is joined by Jerry Jeff and Eliza Gilkyson, a close friend and fellow New Mexico transplant. “Lean My Way” revives an old Shake Russell and Dana Cooper song with duet vocals by Christine’s son Troupe Gammage, lead singer of indie synth-pop band Speak.
This is not an album that a 20 year old would record, but is an authentic exploration of a rite of passage we all experience when we reach a certain age. "I needed to record these songs for my own healing. My hope is that others will also be comforted in some way".
After 3 albums with her own songs, the Swedish country music singer and songwriter Cina Samuelson is now releasing her new album "Roots & Memories". This album is a collection of songs from some of the artists that Cina listened to as a little girl and who inspired her to become a country music singer.
”One summer evening when I was 7 years old, my aunt introduced me to country music. At that time I couldn’t speak a word of English, but the music caught my heart, and since that evening I have been a huge fan of this wonderful music. This retro album is a collection of songs from some of the artists that inspired me to become a country music singer. And as they did in the good old days, me and 7 fantastic musicians recorded these songs live together, and it was two of the most wonderful days I’ve ever had in a recording studio. I truly hope that these songs will catch your heart as they once caught mine!" ~ Cina
”For those of us still alive and well enough to remember actually having lived through the Beatles dominated music world of the mid 1960’s, through the early 1970’s, you will recall that the double album was all the rage, having established itself as a major rock music statement in 1968. Flash forward nearly half a century later and what you have in your hands is ’Second Thoughts’, the long awaited 2017 double album by Sweden’s very own Citizen K. Known in his homeland as Kla...s Qvist, Citizen K has clearly spent a lot of time listening to that 1968 double album classic ’The White Album’ and, in the spirit of the Fab Four, the uncanny combination of Citizen K’s vocals, songwriting and guitar work is very much on display here, as are key contributions by album producer and engineer Tobias Walka, drummer Kim Gunneriusson and other fine musicians. ’Second Thoughts’ echoes the spirit of the 2009 album ’Meet Citizen K - Somewhere Up North’, but certainly, ’Second Thoughts’ drives the Citizen K sound even further. ’Second Thoughts’ contains 23 tracks of vital pop exuberance with 4 instrumental interludes that offers yet another fresh direction. Even casual pop listeners will find a gem or two, while more devoted and inquisitive music fans will totally devour ’Second Thoughts’ and its endless smorgasbord of big beat pop and memorable rock songs. In this way, Citizen K will challenge the world.” ~ Robert Silverstein, Music Web Express 3000. www.mwe3.com
Clarence Bucaro’s "Pendulum", the new album from the Brooklyn-based singer songwriter, is a vivid set of new compositions combining beautiful craftsmanship with heartfelt intimacy. The 10 song set of original material features a blend of emotionally honest lyrics delivered by Bucaro’s distinctive baritone with a rousing melodic sensibility performed live with a unique group of players.
Co-produced with noted vet Tom Schick (Wilco, Ryan Adams, etc) and showcasing Bucaro’s characteristically openhearted lyrics, the compelling new album features songs like the hypnotic “Pendulum”, the breezy “Girl In The Photograph” and the achingly beautiful ballad “Tragedy ”. The set also features a duet with velvet voiced alt country singer Allison Moorer on their co-written “Strangers”.
As a seasoned songwriter, Clarence’s storytelling has never been more thoughtful, and yet it retains a refreshing feeling of spontaneity. Whether from writing fiction or devouring and absorbing literature (Bucaro cites both as major inspirations to his songwriting, second only to life experience) the songs rich influences can be keenly felt. Bucaro, a Cleveland, Ohio, native, spent periods residing in New Orleans and Los Angeles before settling in Brooklyn, New York. With years of touring history under his belt and 9 studio albums, Bucaro has delivered his most diverse and mature album to date in "Pendulum", a collection that feels both timeless and fresh.
The Coal Porters
The Coal Porters started playing acoustic music around 2002 in London when ex-Long Ryder Sid Griffin decided to turn away from electric music. Since then, the band’s unique combination of folk, indie, bluegrass and celtic music has paved the way for a number of new acts in this new genre. In fact, the Coal Porters claim to be the world's first 'alt-bluegrass' act, given as they take old themes and melodies and soup them up for the 21st century and an expanded listening audience.
The band has demonstrated the power of fiddle, mandolin, banjo, acoustic guitar and doghouse bass when matched with sweet harmonies and strong melodies and taken this sound around the world. The Coal Porters have wowed audiences at numerous UK and European arts centers, done no less than 4 US tours and performed to tens of thousands at festivals such as Glastonbury, HebCelt, Stagecoach (USA), Larmer Tree, Didmarton, LaRoche (France), Cork Midsummer Fest (Eire), Wombwell, Down On The Farm (Norway) and Hultsfred (Sweden).
When Sid Griffin, one of the founders as a Long Ryder of both LA’s Paisley Underground scene and the Americana format we hear on radio today, is free from his duties as a broadcaster and a indie rock guru the Coal Porters grab their instruments and head to the studio or prepare for a tour. But who are the Coal Porters?
The Coal Porters are co-founder Neil Robert Herd from Scotland on guitar and vocals, Paul Fitzgerald on banjo and harmony vocals, Andrew Stafford on doghouse bass, and the classically trained Kerenza Peacock on fiddle and vocals. Herd is a songwriter of note, Paul Fitzgerald invented his own banjo technique copied by many in the UK, Andrew Stafford is music business litigation expert and fiddler Kerenza Peacock has recorded two hit classical CD's, recorded with Paul Weller, and is currently on tour in Adele’s band. This is an act with talent and a pedigree.
Their new album, "No. 6", is produced by John Wood, the legendary British folk rock mastermind who recorded the classic albums of Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Beth Orton and Squeeze. "No. 6" is a bit of a departure for the Coal Porters, as it pushes their musical boundaries further than ever before.
The album features Kerenza quadruple tracking herself into a string quartet, Andrew on a ukulele, Sid’s trusty autoharp, both Neil and Paul on dobro, an acoustic 12-string guitar, and very emotional (and lengthy) trumpet solo by Cuba’s noted 'son y mambo' music virtuoso Eikel Venegas. There has never been music like this before. And already, the album’s opening track, Sid’s “The Day The Last Ramone Died”, is being hailed as a classic (and a much viewed video on youtube).
"No. 6" is out September 2nd, 2016, in Europe, a week later in North America. In January it’s likely to appear on many Best Of The Year lists. So get it now…..
The Coffis Brothers & The Mountain Men
“The Coffis Brothers & The Mountain Men have developed a sound that has an easy rock vibe that's actually hip” ~ SF Chronicle
The Coffis Brothers & The Mountain Men are five young men from the Santa Cruz Mountains. They play a style of music that is rock and roll in the most classic sense. Melodic, rootsy and heartfelt, the songwriting duo of Jamie and Kellen show an obvious love for a bygone era of music and for groups like the Beatles, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Neil Young & Crazy Horse, as well as a sense of maturity and experience beyond their years.
Colin Gilmore is about to release his 3rd full-length album, “The Wild & Hollow”. Recorded and produced in Chicago and Austin by Tim Bennett and Rob Seidenberg respectively, Gilmore’s new release brings to life the inspiration the two cities gave him. Merging an ethereal folk rock sound with traditional roots, blues and country, “The Wild & Hollow” is a worthy follow-up to his previous album, the critically acclaimed “Goodnight Lane (4 stars in Mojo and Uncut!).
On this new release, Gilmore's collaboration with his band mates and producers created a truly memorable album which allows influences like Roy Orbison and Tom Petty to shine through.
Gilmore grew up in Lubbock TX, witnessing songwriters like Joe Ely, Terry Allen and his own father, Jimmie Dale Gilmore bring the stage to life. Touring and recording under his own name for the past several years, Gilmore has consistently incorporated the spirit of West Texas into his work. His live shows have earned him an enthusiastic fan base all over the world and his songs have garnered spins on radio stations across the US.
Dolly Parton once famously said, "There are only three female singers in the world; Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt and Connie Smith. The rest of us are only pretending". That's perhaps one reason new music from longtime Grand Ole Opry member Connie Smith can be celebrated as an "event." Of course, the other reason might just be that the last album Connie released came nearly 13 years ago - and its predecessor arrived in 1978.
'Long Line of Heartaches,' Connie's 54th album, is set for release on Sugar Hill Records on August 23. The collection promises to be business as usual for the country singer whose most memorable hits include 'Cincinnati, Ohio,' 'Just One Time' and the record-setting 'Once A Day.' That 1964 smash, written by Bill Anderson, spent eight weeks at No. 1, becoming the first debut hit by a female artist to ever top the chart. The new album, she declares, will continue in the traditional vein.
"I've had people ask me what this album was going to be like", says Connie, "since it's been a long time since they've heard me on record. But my musical tastes have remained the same. I wanted this to be traditional country, and it is. I have such a deep love for traditional country music. We can talk about the music slipping away, or we can do something about it. The only way I know to do something about it is to keep singing what I've always loved".
Recorded at Nashville's legendary RCA Studio B, where most of Connie's best-known hits were also cut, the upcoming album will include five new songs co-written by Connie and her husband Marty Stuart, who also produced the collection. The remainder of the songs on the album come from iconic songwriters such as Harlan Howard, Johnny Russell and Kostas. Of special note is 'A Heart Like You,' penned by Dallas Frazier, writer of such classics as the Oak Ridge Boys smash, 'Elvira'. 'A Heart Like You' is the 69th Dallas Frazier tune that Connie has recorded. It's also the first new tune from Frazier in 30 years.
In another first, Connie and her three daughters, Julie, Jeanne and Jodi, harmonize on the contemporary hymn, 'Take My Hand'.
'Long Line of Heartaches' is due in stores from Sugar Hill Records August 23rd, 2011.
Courtney Yasmineh isn't necessarily a rulebreaker, she just plays by her own rules. From skipping town out of Chicago as a teenager and holing up in a cabin in northern Minnesota, where she focused an obsession with Bob Dylan into the beginnings of her craft as a songwriter, guitarist and singer, to self-releasing 5 albums and an EP, and doing 9 tours of Europe and a half-dozen in the US (all self-booked, no less), she is simply unstoppable. With each album she's continued to expand her musical universe, stretching across the spectrum from indie pop to alt-country to full-tilt rock’n’roll, all the while writing better and better genuinely smart songs that are deeply personal yet touch on subjects and feelings everyone can relate to.
Her latest, the ”Red Letter Day Unplugged” EP, came about in the most organic and unexpected fashion. When Courtney was preparing for a set of East Coast radio station appearances and gigs at relatively intimate venues to promote ”Red Letter Day”, the 2015 CD that is her most electric, straight-up rock’n’roll album to date, it became apparent that bringing her regular backing band to the relatively tiny spaces most radio stations have for performances would be a logistical (and potentially sonic) nightmare. Ever enterprising and unafraid to wade into uncharted waters, Courtney and her drummer, longtime collaborator and musical director Rob Genadek began rehearsing all-new, stripped down acoustic arrangements of the songs on ”Red Letter Day” as a duo. Reaction to these new versions of the songs was immediate and overwhelmingly positive from all sides. DJs loved them, audiences loved them, and even her bandmates sitting on the sidelines back in Minneapolis couldn't help but acknowledge the way these gems had taken on a whole new polish and were shining brighter than ever. Seizing the moment, Courtney and Rob went back in the studio and recorded these new versions of five of the album's songs. The resulting EP is already being hailed as her 'breakthrough' release and has begun to receive national radio airplay.
The Cousin John Band
The Cousin John Band is John Mobley, Dave Obrien, Tim Howe and Joe Goltz. CJB music is a hot mixture of folk, country, blues and tight harmony. It tastes just right, there is no genre for this, so its perfect for the band's irreverent attitude, you could call it americana.....
In live shows, CJB often covers music from artists such as the Rolling Stones, Little Feat, Allman Brothers band, Delbert McClinton, Stevie Ray Vaughn and the Eagles. Original music ranges from country to blues rock, to ballads, and a touch of funk. The diverse mix of music, great sound, and fun atmosphere keep the crowds on their feet until the very last note.
CJB just released their 2nd studio album, "Broken Heart Tattoo". Fans had waited two years for this project to complete, and it turned out to be worth the wait! The release of the (finally) finished album was a huge success, as the new music had begun to blaze brightly upon the roots-music scene, garnering raves from notable press like That Music Magazine, Middle Tennessee Music Magazine and Musician Weekly.
CJB hopes to complete a series of live videos later in the year, so stay tuned!
Craig Bickhardt’s new CD "Brother To The Wind" contains some of the best work he has done in a long career dedicated to ennobling the art of song. One listen and you'll be reminded of the days when artists like James Taylor, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot were pioneering the singer-songwriter genre.
"Music used to change people,” Bickhardt notes. “Records used to be made for careful listeners who read the lyrics and talked about the songs, interpreted their meanings. That’s the kind of music I relate to.” Craig is following in the footsteps of his admired predecessors.
For this project, Bickhardt dug deep into his 800-tune catalog. The record contains songs that have already proven their strength, having been recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Tony Rice, Charlie Louvin and others.
But Craig is not merely a tunesmith capitalizing on his thoroughbred discography. These songs are highly artistic, and throughout his extraordinary career he has picked up many believers among the better artists of his generation. You can hear them “sitting in” on nearly every cut of the new CD; Janis Ian, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Terri Hendrix, Lloyd Maines, John Mock, Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, Maura O'Connell, Rusty Young, Jack Sundrud and a host of others.
"I wanted to include some of the artists and friends I've known and respected on this CD. You get to a point where you realize you don't have forever in this world. It's time to do the things I've put off, and one of those things is to sing and pick with these great people I've met and admired,” Craig says.
The Native Pennsylvanian’s big break came in 1982 when he was chosen to write and sing two songs for Robert Duvall's Academy Award winning film "Tender Mercies". In the wake of that film’s success, Craig made his move to Nashville where his songs found their way onto platinum and Grammy winning CDs by legends such as Ray Charles, B. B. King, Martina McBride, The Judds, and Dianne Schuur. Along with his friends and collaborators Thom Schuyler, Fred Knobloch and Don Schlitz, Craig was one of the original Writers In The Round at The Bluebird Café. He went on to have three hits as an artist when he joined Schuyler and Knobloch to make their SKB CD 'No Easy Horses' for MTM Records, which yielded Craig's chart topper "Givers And Takers".
In 2006 Bickhardt made the bold move to leave Nashville and return to the concert stage and to his roots in eastern Pennsylvania. Since his move he has shared the stage with Kathy Mattea, Judy Collins, Billy Joe Shaver, Livingston Taylor, and Janis Ian among others. His performance at the 2008 Philadelphia Folk Festival prompted the concert’s promoter Jesse Lundy to say, “Craig Bickhardt stands among the giants of songwriting. His main stage show at this year's Philly Folk Festival was absolutely outstanding.”
Craig Cassler is an independent singer songwriter musician who started his career in San Diego, CA, but now calls Boston, MA, home. His new album, "Back To You", is his 4th full-length album. This new release has strong acoustic influences of folk, country, and rock. Craig’s music has been compared to Jack Johnson, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, among others. All songs are radio friendly. Craig will be playing gigs at radio stations, bars, and clubs in the North East USA in support of his new album.
The new album “Dear Elvis” by Vanishing Castle artist Cris Cuddy marks a jubilant return to his rock'n'roll roots and this collection harkens back to his several recordings with trail-blazing roots rockers Max Mouse and the Gorillas, who answered that age old question “Can A Gorilla Sing The Blues” with a mighty howl which former Spin Magazine Editor Glenn O'Brien labelled “tortured-with-a-twist-honkey-soul-twang”.
Cuddy's previous 3 mellower acoustic CD's have seen his songs recorded by artists as diverse as americana and bluegrass artists Jim Hurst (ex-Claire Lynch sidekick) who ripped it up with his firey version of “Long And Lonesome Old Freight Train”, The Spinney Bros who chose the moving “Sally’s Waltz”, in addition to Prairie Oyster who aced “Tom Cat” and “Long and Lonesome”, and songwriting great and mentor Mickey Newbury who used Cris’s “What If Frankie Doesn’t Like It” (and yes, it's about "Old Blue Eyes") as a segue on his masterful “Long Road Home”. And there are more in the works...
“As Usual The Unusual” this CD veers from the summer dance fun of “Here Comes Summer” and the exuberant ode to a rockabilly queen “Starlene”, on through the bluesy “Tom Cat” featuring the great Gene Taylor on the keys, to the brooding sensuality of “I'm A Cadillac”, the rollicking “Rock'n'Roll History” with Gene and guitar whiz Albert Lee, the trance-like Stonesy 12 string beauty of “Magic Girl”, with a few more stops in between, including the deep bayou vibe of “Friday Night”, featuring Roly Platt's wailing harp, all leading up to the dreamy, heart-breaking ballad “Dear Elvis”.
This collection features a dazzling cast of musicians including East Nashville's George “Tonechap” Bradfute (Webb Wilder, Paul Burch), the non pareil piano of Gene Taylor (Fabulous Thunderbirds), multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin (touring with Jack White), Andrew Hardin, Roly Platt, Steve Briggs, Rusty McCarthy and many more.
As with his previous recordings Cuddy’s ace harmonica pal Roly Platt has used his graphic artist skills to produce another stunning cover from a striking image by videographer and musician Sherine Cisco, as well as blowing the top off “Friday Night”.
After a 20-year hiatus, Nashville-based string band, The Crows, are back together making music. The Crows are Sue Braswell, Jack Sundrud and Keith Miles, with assistance from a host of pickers from around the country. The band garnered a loyal following around Nashville and beyond in the late 80's and early 90's with their unique brand of tongue-in-cheek acoustic music.
The group has remastered and re-released their 1991 album, “One Flew Over The Cornfield”, and are working on a new album with a Christmas, 2011 release planned. The 1991 album was recorded live in Burns, Tennessee.
“We gathered up some of our good friends, hung a few microphones around the room and hit the Record button”, said Miles. “No overdubs, no sweetening. Just music straight out of the box. Then we apparently went on a 20-year vacation”.
Not that the performance break meant all musical endeavors were shelved. Sundrud, who was part of the country group Great Plains in the early 90's, continued to work on his own music career, releasing two solo albums, co-writing hit songs and performing as a member of Poco.
The three penned the song, “Iola”, which was recorded by Great Plains, as was “Homeland,” which was written by Sundrud and Miles. Country legend Kenny Rogers also recorded “Homeland” on his album, “There You Go Again”.
Miles released two solo albums, with Sundrud as producer and co-writer. His 2008 release, “Beyond The Headlights”, made several best-of Americana lists in Europe. Miles also contributed to a compilation album – “I Like It Better Here – Music From Home,” released by Hemifran in Sweden in 2010, and he and Sundrud offered another song for the anticipated 2011 release, “That Thing That’s a Whole Lot Bigger Than This – Hymns From Home”.
The Crows are currently booking shows to re-introduce their music to the world.
Crosby Stills Nash & Young
There's been tributes to The Byrds, The Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies. There's been several tributes to Neil Young. There's even been a tribute to Graham Nash's album "Songs For Beginners". But there has never been a tribute to the collective body of work of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Until now!
On October 16th, 2012, Sweden's Hemifrån and Italy's Route 61 Music releases "Music Is Love - A Singer-Songwriters' Tribute To The Music Of Crosby Stills Nash & Young.
The album features, not only several musicians from the inner circle of CSN&Y (Stephen Stills' former girlfriend Judy Collins and daughter Jennifer Stills, Anthony Crawford and Rick Rosas from Neil Young's Electric Band, Sonny Mone from Crazy Horse, David Crosby's guitarist Marcus Eaton and vocal favorites Venice), but also some cool names from the 70's (Karla Bonoff, Elliott Murphy, Willie Nile, Wendy Waldman), some interesting names from the 80's (Sid Griffin from Long Ryders, Ian McNabb from Icicle Works, Liam O'Maonlai from Hothouse Flowers, Steve Wynn from Dream Syndicate), as well as some new-up-and-coming names from the alt country scene in the U.S. (Clarence Bucaro, Neal Casal, Carrie Rodriguez).
The liner notes are penned by Dave Zimmer (author of two official books on CSN and CSNY), and CSN&Y's official photographer Henry Diltz offers some unpublished photos from his vast archives.
Curse Of Lono
Curse Of Lono announce the release of debut self titled EP on October 14th, 2016, plus they will be embarking on their first UK tour this autumn with Texan roots rockers Uncle Lucius.
Curse Of Lono was formed in London in 2015 by singer songwriter Felix Bechtolsheimer following the breakup of British roots pioneers Hey Negrita.
“We released 4 records with Hey Negrita, toured all over the world, played at more festivals than I can remember, and had a great time doing it, but there was a growing sense that it was time for something new. Then I bumped into my old friend Oli Bayston from the band Boxed In, who was producing albums for Domino and Nettwerk, as well as working on a solo album. He was involved in a completely different scene, obsessed with Krautrock and Radiohead, which really opened my eyes to new ways of writing and recording”.
The collection of songs that emerged formed a stunningly cinematic record that combines spaced out, harmony laden americana with driving, gothic indie rock.
In the summer of 2015 Curse Of Lono added ex-Hey Negrita drummer Neil Findlay, lead guitarist Joe Hazell, bassist Charis Anderson and keyboardist Dani Ruiz Hernandez to the lineup.
This October Curse Of Lono are releasing their debut EP, consisting of 4 songs that form the soundtrack for a short film of inter connected videos directed by Alex Walker and shot by Bart Sienkiewicz. The film, which stars Grant Masters and Marta Hermida, will be released alongside the EP.
“We wanted to do something visual to capture the mood of the record”, explains Felix. “Alex is a great filmmaker and an old friend. He’s been talking about the cinematic quality of the recordings for a while and how he wanted to use some of them as a soundtrack for a bigger visual experience. The EP seemed the perfect place to start”.
To expand on the visual theme, Curse Of Lono spent a day filming at their London studio with live music video producers Ont’ Sofa, recording 10 live performances which they are releasing monthly on YouTube as ‘The Doghouse Sessions’.
“The videos are very intimate. We wanted to invite people in to our world, to watch us play our songs in the room where we get together every week and where many of them were conceived, with no overdubs or studio trickery”.
Curse Of Lono’s 4 track debut EP will be released on 12” vinyl, download and streaming by Submarine Cat Records on October 14th, 2016. The full album will follow early next year.