Artists Just Added!
2017 Artists Just Added to the Lineup
Over the past 10 years, Seth Walker has become recognized as one of the most revered modern roots artists in the United States; a three dimensional talent comprised by a gift for combining melody and lyric alongside a rich, Gospel-drenched, Southern-inflected voice with a true blue knack for getting around on the guitar. His latest studio album, Gotta Get Back, produced by Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers, is yet another masterwork that further expands upon this reputation.
Growing up on a commune in rural North Carolina, the son of classically trained musicians, Seth Walker played cello long before discovering the six-string in his 20s. When his introduction to the blues came via his Uncle Landon Walker, who was both a musician and disc jockey, his fate was forever sealed. Instantaneously, Seth was looking to artists like T-Bone Walker, Snooks Eaglin, and B.B. King as a wellspring of endless inspiration. The rest is history. He's released seven albums between 1997 and 2015; breaking into the Top 20 of the Americana charts and receiving praise from NPR, American Songwriter, No Depression and Blues Revue, among others.
In addition to extensive recording and songwriting pursuits, Seth is consistently touring and performing at venues and festivals around the world. Along with headline shows, he's been invited to open for The Mavericks, The Wood Brothers, Raul Malo, Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster, among others.
Seth Walker is currently splitting his time between New Orleans and New York City after previously residing in Austin and Nashville. He’s used those experiences wisely, soaking up the sounds and absorbing the musical lineage of these varied places. With a bluesman’s respect for roots and tradition, coupled with an appreciation for—and successful melding of—contemporary songwriting, Seth sublimely incorporates a range of styles with warmth and grace. Perhaps Country Standard Time said it best: “If you subscribe to the Big Tent theory of Americana, then Seth Walker –with his blend of blues, gospel, pop, R&B, rock, and a dash country—just might be your poster boy.”
Old Salt Union
Old Salt Union
Old Salt Union
Old Salt Union is known for playing music by their own set of rules. While the men who make up this group are not complete rebels, they are certainly thinking about the future of music. They find influence in the bluegrass roots of The Del McCoury Band and Sam Bush, but also draw inspiration from Bill Evans, Danny Elfman, Punch Brothers, and many more talented musicians. What makes Old Salt Union so special is their ability to stretch the boundaries of traditional bluegrass music by incorporating in-depth musical arrangements, a catchy hook, and an uncanny pop sensibility. They truly are a new generation of bluegrass in the industry.
Established in May of 2012, Old Salt Union recorded their debut album “Western Skies” in October of the same year. While their album was independently released in March of 2013, it was clear by the overwhelmingly positive response that their fan base would grow rapidly in the following months. In January of 2014, Old Salt Union began exclusively touring the country, so that their reach would expand, exposing more fans to their type of complex, high energy, and well-executed sound.
With the release of their second studio album, "Bridge", in August of 2014, Old Salt Union tells a tale of transition. The two years that they have been together has shown that they are a force to be reckoned with in the world of music. They have established solid roots, winning the STL Riverfront Times "Best Bluegrass Band" in 2013 and "Best Country Band" in 2014, all while traveling the country. They have made appearances at the John Hartford Memorial Festival, Wakarusa, LouFest and Yonder Mountain String Band's Harvest Fest. Sharing the stage with the likes of The Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, Jeff Austin Band, Greensky Buegrass, Ricky Skaggs and more- and no ma'am, they ain't stopping yet!
“An old soul.”
Alex Guthrie may only be 23 years old, but when his honey-rich voice bathes you with his life-earned lyrics, you’ll say what everyone does … “he’s an old soul.” Like a fine whiskey that starts rough and raw, but in an oak barrel, mellows to smooth, complex flavors, his voice builds from his toes - pure feeling - then rumbles through his chest, tempered by heart and emotion. The tone is clear and strong, but with grit and guts as well.
2015 Georgia Americana Artist of the Year!! 2014 Atlanta Braves Band of the Year. Alex has opened for Epic Recording artist Collin Raye, Stoney Creek Recording artists Parmalee, and DOT Recording artist Drake White. Additionally, Alex has been invited to perform with Legendary Country Music Icon & Country Music Hall of Fame Member Bill Anderson, Marty Raybon (Columbia Recording artist & Lead Singer of Shenandoah), Ken Mellons (Epic Recording artist), Rick Scott (Grammy nominated songwriter & former drummer of the American Country Band 'Alabama') and award winning singer/songwriter Pierce Pettis. While touring nationally, some of the places that Alex has performed include the Bayou Benepalooza in Slidell, Louisiana with Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame member Ernie Vincent, the IMR music festival in Atlanta Georgia, Alexander City Jazz Festival in Alabama, Tennessee Valley Fair in Knoxville Tennessee, Jammin’ Java Listening Room in Vienna Virginia with The Parkington Sisters, CRE-A-TV studios near Baltimore Maryland, Margaritaville and '12th & Porter' in Nashville Tennessee.
Listening to his grab-you-by-the-shirt-and-pull-you-in-tight voice, you could almost fail to notice Alex’s chops on the guitar … almost. Whether it is the crying wail of slide guitar, speaking in call-and-response to Alex’s words or his fingers dancing across the neck in soul-filled solo, his guitar never fails to impress. With influences including Otis Redding, Van Morrison, Marc Broussard, and Ray LaMontagne, Alex’s genre goes by different names to different people. Folk-Rock, Blues, or Americana; the listener’s preference is likely to influence his or her categorization. What they all agree on, though, is that it’s great music … or as Alex sometimes says with a broad, sideways grin, Great Folk'n Music.
For music, tour dates, and more info, visit AlexGuthrieMusic.com
Gary Louris (Jayhawks)
Gary Louris (Jayhawks)
Gary Louris (Jayhawks)
Over the last three decades, singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Gary Louris has built a deeply compelling body of music whose artistry and integrity has won the loyalty of an international audience and the respect of both critics and his peers. Best known for his seminal work with The Jayhawks, Louris is one of the most acclaimed musicians to come out of Minnesota’s teaming rock scene.
With Louris, The Jayhawks 9 studio albums have entertained fans since 1985. In 2016 The Jayhawks released Paging Mr Proust, which many critics called their best album in years. Louris is also a founding member of Golden Smog, has released one solo album in 2008 and in 2015 released the debut album by Au Pair, his new side project with Django Haskins.
Over the years Louris has also found time to lend his writing, performing and production talents to albums by acts as diverse as the Black Crowes, the Dixie Chicks, Joe Henry, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, Roger McGuinn, Maria McKee, Nickel Creek, Tift Merritt, the Sadies, The Wallflowers and many others.
Carly Jo Jackson
Carly Jo Jackson
Carly Jo Jackson
Carly Jo Jackson is a south Florida-based indie/acoustic-pop artist with a vocal tone as infectious as her stage presence. She delivers energy, passion and pop magnetism in every performance including her 2014 appearance on NBC’s America’s Got Talent where she was praised by the celebrity judges for her charisma as well as her captivating voice. In 2015 she toured music festivals throughout the south as winner of the Belk Southern Musician Showcase and had her music featured in a national TV commercial. Her upbeat single “Oh Yeah” got hands clapping when it was featured before 60,000 fans at her 2016 performance at a San Francisco 49ers game.
Carly Jo's passion for music started early but grew wings when she received a guitar for her 16th birthday and began writing songs and performing in cafes in her hometown of Orlando. Writing with a maturity well beyond her years, she recorded her first EP at just 17. While in college she released her award-winning coming-of-age single “Wildflower”. Carly Jo continues to grow as a songwriter, having just completed her second EP “Color Show”, and to hone her magnetic stage presence as a full-time performing artist.
“Florida is home to many superstars, but one that shines the brightest is Orlando native... Carly Jo Jackson. Jackson’s passion for music and enthusiasm for life really shows through as she creates musical brilliancy with her acoustic guitar — which will win your heart in a second.” Scott Bryant, WordPress in “8 Women Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of…But Should!”
No Depression Magazine: "One of the most striking things about seeing Lenker perform is his relationship with his guitar. He doesn't just play it, he becomes it -- or maybe, it becomes a part of him.”
Korby Lenker was born and raised in Twin Falls Idaho a mile from where Evel Knievel tried to jump the canyon on a motorcycle in the seventies.
Most recently a 1st place winner at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter’s Competition (previous alum include Gregory Alan Isakov and Deb Talan of The Weepies), Korby is a dynamic, compelling performer.
And now he is is a published author. Korby’s book MEDIUM HERO is a collection of short stories based on his last decade touring the world and came out on Turner Publishing in December 2015 to enthusiastic reviews. Steve Wozniak said: "The stories in Medium Hero are just like his songs — clever and well-crafted, with a tendency to linger in your mind long after you’ve finished reading.”
Tim McNary’s sound features raw vocal stylings, thoughtful lyrics, and ethereal undertones. He started writing songs during the 2 years he spent volunteering and backpacking in South America after college.
During the past 5 years, Tim has performed hundreds of shows around the country sharing the stage with The Civil Wars and Griffin House, among many others.This December, he completed his first nationwide tour in support of his new album, Above The Trees. Tim has been compared to Ryan Adams, Ben Howard, and Damien Rice and has been featured in Paste Magazine, Daytrotter, and The Bluegrass Situation among others.
Kevn Kinney (Drivin N Cryin)
Kevn Kinney (Drivin N Cryin)
Kevn Kinney (Drivin N Cryin)
Highly-acclaimed singer-songwriter Kevn Kinney is most widely known as founder and frontman of Atlanta-based rock band Drivin-N-Cryin. An accomplished musician, poet and painter, Kinney has released multiple critically acclaimed solo and band recordings during his career having also collaborated with Warren Haynes, REM, The Who and John Popper, among others.
Kinney continues to tour with Drivin N Cryin and has simultaneously carved out a niche for himself as a solo artist. From the festival stage to the smallest house concert, fans are always excited at the opportunity to see him up close and personal in a stripped down acoustic setting. Kevn will release a new solo project in 2015.
This Nashville-based powerhouse duo consists of Pennsylvania bred, music theater geek Steevie Steeves and straight-from-Kentucky, former bassist for punk-rock band, The Pink Spiders, Jon Decious. The two talents unexpectedly crossed paths at Skip Ewing’s Horse and Writer Seminar in Wyoming where they immediately connected musically. Not long after they met, they realized they both lived behind the liquor store on 8th in the heart of Music City, yet they had to travel thousands of miles to find out they were meant to make music together.
When they began writing together, TOWNE’s sound started taking shape. The power and passion behind their harmonies and lyrics was incomparable to anything they had experienced as musicians. Although Steeves and Decious have traveled two different paths, the forks in their roads eventually had them heading in the same direction.
Both Steevie and Jon grew up in small towns where the radio was their only refuge. Music gave them the escape they were yearning for.
Steevie started writing songs at 10 years old and became highly involved in opera and musical theater. In her world, life was a musical and the classroom was her stage. She later switched gears to singing in classic rock cover bands, as well as performing R&B and Jazz shows on the Pittsburgh river boat, the Gateway Clipper, before moving to Nashville at 22.
Jon and his family made the move to the city from the houseboat capital of the world when he was 14. Soon after, Jon began writing songs and started immersing himself in music any way he could find. His talent was showcased when he traveled the world for nine years with the punk-rock group, The Pink Spiders (Geffen Records). Jon recently got a cut with What A Woman Wants To Hear on Anderson East’s debut album, Delilah, produced by Dave Cobb, and on Caitlyn Rose’s debut album, Own Side Now called Comin’ Up. The pair has finished the recording of their debut EP, Games We Play. This project came to life with the help of producer Evan Hutchings (Joey + Rory) who also doubles on the drums, Rob McNelly (Kacey Musgraves, Parmalee) who lends his guitar skills on the EP, and Chris Gelbuda, who produced Meghan Trainor's "Like I'm Gonna Lose You,” and co-wrote "All About Us" and "The Rest" with Steeves and Decious.
Their unique sound mixes homegrown sentiment with dive bar rock-n-roll. The organic blend of their soulful edge with Americana southern roots makes them extremely unique. The iconic 60’s influences of Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, and Carole King shine through their voices in every performance. Steevie and Jon’s musical fate finally caught up to them, and the result is both enchanting and wicked; in the words of Decious, “You can outgrow your boots, but you can’t outrun your boots, or at least that’s what I think they say.”
Levi Lowrey’s two-disc Roots and Branches is a majestic record. In the best of all possible worlds, it would be heard in an acoustically perfect concert hall by an audience that sits undistracted in the dark listening intently to its exquisitely sculpted lyrics, transcendent melodies and intricately woven instrumentation. But it’ll work just fine in your car stereo, too.
Lowrey is a former member of and opening act for the Zac Brown Band and co-writer of the ZBB hits, “Colder Weather” and “The Wind.”
The Roots of the album’s title refers to 11 songs made famous in the late 1920s and early ‘30s by Lowrey’s great-great grandfather, fiddler Gid Tanner and members his celebrated band, the Skillet Lickers. During that era, Tanner eclipsed or stood shoulder-to-shoulder in popularity with the now legendary Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. In reviving these classics, Lowrey—a commanding fiddler and guitarist in his own right—is backed by the current edition of the Skillet Lickers, a self-regenerating assemblage of virtuosi that includes Phil Tanner, Russ Tanner, Fleet Stanley, Larry Nash and Joel Aderhold.
The Branches disc spotlights Lowrey’s astounding skills as a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, bandleader and producer. Of the 10 songs here, the Dacula, Georgia native wrote or co-wrote eight, each a cinematically luminous glimpse of adult life. “I try to make my lyrics as relatable as possible,” he says. “Obviously, I’m one man going through my own set of failures and successes, my own story. But the core of these emotions are experienced by everyone. I’m not afraid of being human.”
That humanity is forged and tempered in what one song calls “the side effects of living.” And, thus, we hear in Lowrey’s lyrics meditations on fate, regrets, guilt (both personal and cosmic), self-effacement, world-weariness, immortality, restlessness and the magnetic lure of home. If that sounds like too heavy an agenda for mere music, fear not—Lowrey leads us through these emotional rough spots with a savior’s touch.
In Lowrey’s universe, music and a sense of community are inseparable. He recalls his grandparents taking him to jam sessions every Friday night at the “Chicken House” on Gid Tanner’s farm. It was just that—a converted chicken house—in which local musicians gathered for joy, relief and companionship.
“That was the beginning of music,” he says. “Before you had records being sold and the commercialization of music, it was primarily a get-together. That was the reason for it. It always belonged in a community. I feel we’ve lost sight of that. Now it’s about record sales and touring and concerts and things of that nature. I don’t get quite as much fulfillment from that as I do sitting around on the front porch playing with a bunch of guys.”
In the sixth grade, Lowrey began taking classical violin lessons and soon moved on to playing fiddle music, taking in and assimilating all the instrumental techniques and flourishes he saw on display at the Chicken House. Even so, he stayed in the school orchestra throughout high school. In his sophomore year, he joined a rock band, playing lead guitar, and performing at fairs and clubs in Atlanta, Athens and the surrounding areas.
“We never really did anything big, never really got anywhere with it,” he says. “We just enjoyed it. It was some of the best times I ever had playing music.”
His next move was to join Sonia Leigh’s band as a fiddler. “All the while I was writing my own stuff,” he recalls, “coming up with my own voice and kind of figuring out what I had to say. About two years after I went with Sonia, I started playing out on my own and doing my own thing a lot more. I eventually decided to make music my full time profession. I was working construction at the time as a framer. So I quit my job and played just as much as I possibly could. I think one year—between my gigs and hers—we did over 285 shows. It was the only way we could make any money. You just kind of went up there and busted your ass, maybe for $25 bucks, especially in Athens. In some joints you got paid your bar tab.”
After touring with Leigh for years, Lowrey found himself playing on the same bill with Zac Brown at the Dixie Tavern in Marietta, Georgia. “Zac’s star was rising and he ended up forming a record label,” Lowrey says. “Sonia and I both signed to it on the same day. About then, Sonia and I went our separate ways. With my obligations as a recording artist, I couldn’t play with her fulltime. I hit the road with Zac and toured with him for several years. And I wrote a bunch of good songs with him. When the label folded, I went completely independent and put out My Crazy Head in 2015. Roots and Branches is my second independent release.”
It was while touring with Brown that Lowrey realized it was time to choose what he wanted to achieve with his music. He and Brown were sitting on the bus before a show “either in Greenville, South Carolina or Greensboro, North Carolina” when Brown asked the crucial question. “Zac said, ‘Do you want to be me—to follow this path that I’m on [to stardom]—or do you want to be Darrell Scott?’ Darrell Scott’s my heroin that he found something to say and a voice to say it with and the determination to control what he will and won’t do. And I chose then and still choose to this day ‘to be’ Darrell Scott.”
But he loved the songwriting that came from his time with Brown. “We were writing all the time,” he says. “Zac used to write almost every night. Everybody who was on that tour wrote a bunch of songs. We had a joke that the ones who could stay up the longest were the ones who got the songwriting credit. We all contributed so much.”
Being the heir to a distinguished musical dynasty hasn’t been all that intimidating, Lowrey says. “First of all, the family is not as well known as you’d think it is or it should be. The only time I feel pressure is when I get around people who know more about Gid Tanner than I do.” That happened earlier this year when Lowrey was invited to perform at the International Country Music Conference in Nashville. Made up of scholars and country music enthusiasts to whom the name “Gid Tanner” is magical, the conference welcomed Lowrey like a celebrity, rushing out afterward to buy his albums and ask for autographs and pictures. It was a display of affection and respect Darrell Scott might have envied.
As it turns out, Lowrey’s musical role model isn’t Gid Tanner, but rather his son, Gordon. “He passed away before I was born,” Lowrey says, “but I used to sit down and listen to old tapes of him playing fiddle for hours on end and try to copy everything he did. So the way I play ‘Down Yonder’ or ‘Listen To The Mocking Bird’ or ‘The Old Spinning Wheel’ or ‘Out Of My Bandage’—that’s all from Gordon. For my two cents, there was no better fiddle player in that family.”
These days, Lowrey plays a lot of listening rooms and house concerts, venues where he can get to know his audiences by face and name and be invited back. “I’m never tried to be any kind of superstar who disappears right before or right after the show. I’m the guy who’s going to hang out with you all night long.”
Cartoon Jazz Band
Cartoon Jazz Band
Cartoon Jazz Band
Active throughout the southeast region, Cartoon's own brand of spontaneous music combines traditional jazz and blues, with soul and modern counter-rhythms. An interactive, entertaining experience, fueled by heavy regional influence from the faded parts of America that invented jazz itself. Fred Domulot, Tom Latenser, and Sean Dietrich couldn't disappoint the listener if they tried.
As heard on NPR’s All Things Considered, Nashville singer/songwriter Becky Warren’s debut solo album War Surplus relays the affecting, gritty and candid tale of the relationship between an Iraq-bound soldier named Scott and his girlfriend, June.. As the story unfolds, the two meet, fall in love, and struggle to hold it all together when he returns from his deployment a changed man living with the echoes of PTSD. From the record’s award-winning lead track “Call Me Sometime” straight through ‘til the last note, Warren’s potency as a songwriter is on full display, as she weaves a compelling musical narrative rooted in her own life experiences and the rich sounds of Americana and rock & roll.
Part of the reason War Surplus hits with such impact is the very personal, almost autobiographical nature of Warren’s material. Just like the June character she created, Warren married a soldier back in 2005. A week later, he was deployed to Iraq and eventually returned home with PTSD. After four tumultuous years of trying to work through the fall out, they eventually, amicably, split. So while Scott and June are characters, and their story is a fictional account, Warren has the advantage of knowing what it’s really like—of being able to draw from a deep well of personal experience, and it lends the record a powerful authenticity and empathy. A record concerned with real human stories, War Surplus is also refreshingly devoid of political posturing, and deeply respects the experiences of veterans and their friends and family. “The album deals with some heavy themes,” Warren says, “but it was also important to me that it be catchy and fun to listen to.”
Long before Warren struck out on her own as a solo artist, all the way back in 2003, she played in Boston alt-country outfit The Great Unknowns, who signed to Amy Ray’s Daemon Records, toured with the Indigo Girls, and were praised by everyone from Maxim to No Depression. The band released the first of its two albums, Presenting The Great Unknowns, in 2004. But it wasn’t long before Warren’s struggles with her husband’s PTSD led her to take an extended break from music.
Within a month of her divorce, though, she was writing again, and would eventually record a second Great Unknowns album, 2012’s Homefront. Though her old bandmates were now scattered across the country and unable to tour, Warren kept cranking out powerful songs, including “Call Me Sometime,” which won her the 2014 Merlefest Songwriting Competition and the 2015 Kerrville New Folk competition. It’s an impressive feat when you consider the past winners of these contests—career artists like Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett and Gillian Welch.
Warren has been touring widely in support of the release, including a full-band stint opening for the Indigo Girls. She hopes the record will resonate with a wide range of fans while raising awareness about veterans and PTSD.
To date, Ohio-native Pleuss has played at an array of prominent venues and festivals throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada, including but not limited to Indie Week Europe, 30A Songwriters Festival, and The Kent State Folk Festival. In recent years, she has shared the bill with songwriters such as Lisa Loeb, Bill Payne (Little Feat), and Griffin House. Pleuss' discography includes an E.P. and two full-length albums. Her 2013 release Out of Dreams was produced by Jim Wirt (Fiona Apple, Incubus, etc.) and can be found on iTunes. Her third full-length album From Birth, to Breath, to Bone was self-produced and is available on CD, vinyl, and digitally on her website, www.gretchenpleuss.com.
As with some of her proudly stated musical heroes, which include Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, and Ani DiFranco, Pleuss keeps the music above the standard, three-chord, coffee-house troubadour sound with some cool chord progressions (a la Mitchell) and grooves underneath layered vocal harmonies. Pleuss also trusts her lilting melodies enough to use her quiet, emotive alto to sell her lyrics - Malcolm X Abram, The Akron Beacon Journal
"The golden-throated troubadour, who originally hails from Birmingham, AL, will win you over by the first verse. We guarantee it." - American Songwriter Magazine
With a fresh perspective on the art of sound and the craft of melody, Hugh Mitchell is raising the stakes with his newest recordings. Due out in January 2017, Hugh has recorded his next EP with former Wilco and Uncle Tupelo drummer, Ken Coomer. This album is both orchestral and Southern. A style that captures the gritty, intimate, and soulful writing that Hugh is known for.
“My new songs are a ‘hello’ for this years conversation. 2017 is a new start for me. I'm doing things with live shows and recordings & sound that I've always wanted to do. Ken and I focused on capturing what it feels like to be in a room with me. That was a great starting point."
Hugh has toured nationally since 2006 as a side man for other artists in venues ranging from bars, to arenas, to stadiums. Hugh and fellow singer Charlie Mars have co-written the title track "Beach Town" for Charlie's upcoming 2017 release.
This year sees Hugh touring the Southeast from Florida to Texas.
- "Hugh Mitchell walked away from a successful career as a sideman and began writing and recording earthy, honest songs which serve to show off his stunning vocal abilities." -
No Depression (click link)
- “Hugh Mitchell has an unmistakable down-home flavor, but he isn’t the result of a country factory. Call it country, call it rock. Just listen.” - Birmingham Magazine
Find out more about Hugh and contact for booking at www.hughmitchellmusic.com
Nikki Lane’s stunning third album Highway Queen, out February 17th, 2017, sees the young Nashville singer emerge as one of country and rock’s most gifted songwriters. Co-produced by Lane and fellow singer-songwriter, Jonathan Tyler, this emotional tour-de-force was recorded at Matt Pence’s Echo Lab studio in Denton, Texas as well as at Club Roar with Collin Dupuis in Nashville, Tennessee. Blending potent lyrics, unbridled blues guitars and vintage Sixties country-pop swagger, Lane’s new music will resonate as easily with Lana Del Rey and Jenny Lewis fans as those of Neil Young and Tom Petty.
Highway Queen is a journey through heartbreak that takes exquisite turns. The record begins with a whiskey-soaked homage to Lane’s hometown (“700,000 Rednecks”) and ends on the profoundly raw “Forever Lasts Forever,” where Lane mourns a failed marriage – the “lighter shade of skin” left behind from her wedding ring. On “Forever” and the confessional “Muddy Waters,” Lane’s lyrics align her with perceptive songwriters like Nick Lowe and Cass McCombs. Elsewhere, “Companion” is pure Everly Brothers’ dreaminess (“I would spend a lifetime/ Playing catch you if I can”). She goes on a Vegas bender on the rollicking “Jackpot,” fights last-call blues (“Foolish Heart”) and tosses off brazen one-liners at a backroom piano (“Big Mouth”).
“Love is the most unavoidable thing in the world,” Lane says. “The person you pick could be half set-up to destroy your life with their own habits – I’ve certainly experienced that before and taken way too long to get out of that mistake.”
In 2014, Lane’s second album All or Nothin’ (New West) solidified her sandpaper voice beneath a ten-gallon hat as the new sound and look of outlaw country music. Produced by Dan Auerbach, the record’s bluesy Western guitars paired with Lane’s Dusty Springfield-esque voice earned glowing reviews from NPR, the Guardian and Rolling Stone. In three years since her Walk of Shame debut, Lane said she was living most of the year on the road.
Growing up, Lane used to watch her father pave asphalt during blistering South Carolina summers. She’d sit on the roller (“what helps smooth out the asphalt”) next to a guy named Rooster and divvy out Hardee’s lunch orders for the workers. “My father thought he was a country singer,” Lane laughs. “He partied hard at night, but by 6:30 AM he was out on the roads in 100-degree weather.” That’s the southern work ethic, she says. “We didn’t have a lot of money, but I was privileged with the knowledge of how to work hard, how to learn and to succeed when things aren’t set up for me.” Creativity was an unthinkable luxury, she adds. “When people told me I should try to get a record deal for songs I was writing, I was like, ‘that’s cute – I’ve got to be at work at 10 A.M.’”
“Becoming a songwriter is one of the most selfish things I’ve ever done,” Lane says plainly. She describes writing her first song at age 25 like it was a necessary act of self-preservation after a devastating breakup. Many of her early songs, she said on Shame and Nothin’, were about the fleetingness of relationships she believed were permanent, she says. Lane’s main line of work in those days was a fashion entrepreneur (she’s currently the owner of Nashville’s vintage clothing boutique High Class Hillbilly). It brought her to cities around the country, New York to Los Angeles to Nashville. And like a true wanderer, Lane’s sound crisscrosses musical genres with ease, while the lonesome romantic in her remains. Even a soft song like, “Send The Sun,” with its lilting downward strum, is flush with bittersweet emotion. “Darling, we’re staring at the same moon,” Lane sings lovingly. “I used to say that to my ex,” she says with cheerful stoicism, “to try to brighten the long nights, stay positive.”
Highway Queen is poised to be Lane’s mainstream breakthrough. “Am I excited to spend years of my life in a van, away from family and friends? No, but I’m excited to share my songs, so they’ll reach people and help them get through whatever they’re going through. To me, that’s worth it.”
“Lay You Down” is one of those unexpected moments for Lane. “That song was inspired by something Levon Helm’s wife posted on Facebook when he was sick with cancer,” Lane says. “I was just so moved by her telling the world how much love he felt from people writing to them, and moved that because of the Internet, I was able to see that love – even from a distance.” The song became surreal for Lane and her band when her longtime guitarist, Alex Munoz, was diagnosed with cancer while they were playing it. “It deepened my perspective and the importance of keeping everyone safe,” says Lane.
On the record cover, Lane looks out on wide, unowned Texan plains, leaning on the fearsome horns of a massive steer. Wearing a vintage Victorian dress, the stark photo invokes a time before highways existed. The symbolism isn’t lost on Lane. Highway Queen was a pioneering moment for her as an artist.
“I was always a smart girl, always had to yell to be heard,” she says, “But this was the first time in my career where I decided how things were going to go; I was willing to take the heat.” Lane included the bonus track “Champion” as a small testament to that empowerment. “It makes a point,” Lane says with a smile, “That I appreciate what you’re saying, but get the fuck out of my way.”
Nashville-based Jeremy Lister started connecting with music from early childhood while growing up in the middle of Mississippi. A son of a preacher, he began singing and learning harmonies in church at the age of two. Jeremy moved to Nashville in 2003, bringing his first EP, 'Shooting Star', with him. In 2005, he released his second EP, 'So Far', followed by the 'Just One Day' EP, released by Warner Bros. Records. In support of that album, he toured with Brett Dennen and Colbie Caillat, broadening his fan base and making him a staple of singer/songwriters to watch.
In May of 2010, Jeremy joined the Nashville-based a cappella group, Street Corner Symphony, for NBC's second season of The Sing-Off. As soon as The Sing-Off aired, Street Corner Symphony became a fan-favorite, eventually claiming the second place title in the competition. Immediately following their success on the show, The Sing-Off judge Ben Folds invited them out on the road to tour throughout the mid-west. Currently, Street Corner Symphony is headlining shows all across the globe.
Jeremy released his LP, The Bed You Made, in 2011. The song ‘Sinking Stone’ was recorded by Alison Krauss and Union Station on their Grammy-Award winning album ‘Paper Airplane’. The album also featured a duet by Lister and Krauss, ‘You and I’. His song ‘Set Us Free’ was chosen to be the theme song for MTV’s series, The World Of Jenks.
Currently Jeremy is touring and recording with several projects (Lister Brothers, American Hotel, Street Corner Symphony) and writing for his 5th solo album.
Alex Dezen (The Damnwells)
Alex Dezen (The Damnwells)
Alex Dezen (The Damnwells)
It’s official. The Damnwells are done. “It was an amazing run,” says Alex Dezen. “But it’s time to move on.” 16 years, 5 albums, and countless miles later, Dezen is finally stepping out on his own with his second solo album in two years. Truth be told, the tenuous formation which has carried the Damnwells moniker over the last decade and a half has always featured Dezen’s voice and songs front and center. Both 2007’s One Last Century 2010’s No One Listens to the Band Anymore employed a wide net of musicians and friends, often without founding members Steven Terry, Ted Hudson, and David Chernis. So, in many ways, II, the second solo album from Damnwells frontman, is just a continuation of what Dezen has been doing his entire career. Only it isn’t that at all.
From the fuzzed-out refrains of “When You Give Up” to the lush harmonies of “Everything’s Great (Everything’s Terrible)” to the acoustic folkie life lessons of “The Boys of Bummer,” II showcases the creative spark of an artist coming into his prime — a songwriter who has been able to deftly thread the needle between his past, present, and future. II, which is being released on February 3, 2017 on Poor Man Records, remains undaunted, pushing artistic boundaries like never before.
“In many ways,” says Dezen, “the job of an artist is to re-examine what came before. That informs what we do next.” Taken as a whole, II displays a penchant for blending both retro and modern sounds to forge something new, yet still creating something catchy enough to hook the listener on the very first spin. “My intention when I made this record was not to make an ’80s record,” Dezen clarifies. “But as soon as I got the guitar in my hands and started messing around with chords and getting further along into the production and the writing, it just went that way — and it felt very natural to me.”
Songs like “Holding On to You (Holding On to Me)” builds on the Lindsey Buckingham-esq sonic palette made famous on Fleetwood Mac’s magnum studio opus, 1979’s Tusk, and brings it into the modern age. “That music has been in my mind and in my ears as long as I can remember,” Dezen admits. “The late-’70s was an interesting time. Disco was dying, so there’s this weird combination of disco and rock & roll happening together, which produced some really cool stuff.” Dezen is pleased with the ways this album bridges the gap between then and now, and doesn’t shy away from the obvious comparisons. “I’m well aware of it,” says Dezen. “I welcome it. I wish I had been in that band! This song is the closest I’m going to get.”
Dezen, who wrote, performed, produced, and mixed this record almost entirely on his own, thoroughly enjoyed the time he spent in a band. “The beauty of being in a band,” Dezen explains, “is you’ve got all these different influences coming in. But when you’re making a record by yourself and you’re producing it by yourself, you can chase down any and every idea to its most perfect conclusion. You can really explore all the things and ideas you want.”
Dezen knows what lane he’s in as an artist — and he’s totally cool with it. “I’m not trying
to rewrite the history of music. I’m not Radiohead, and I’m not trying to do something
that has never been heard before,” he says. “I do very much like familiarity in my
music. It’s whatever originality you bring to it that ultimately makes your music special.”
One song Dezen expects will push a few hot buttons with listeners is “I Am a Racist,”
which also features backing vocals from one of the album’s key collaborators, Amber
Bollinger. “I think the most dangerous form of racism,” says Dezen, “is the racist who
doesn’t even realize what they are, that their racism is so systematically engrained, they
don’t see what a huge part of the problem they are.” For Dezen, change is something
that has to start from within. “Saying that the problem is me,” Dezen explains, “as opposed to pointing a finger and saying that it’s something else, is a lot more powerful. I
guess I’m asking for a ‘Man in the Mirror’ moment. We need to look deeply at the way
we engage with each other. We need to start there.”
Though the first song on the album, “When You Give Up,” highlights the darker side
hope, Dezen himself has an internal drive that just won’t quit. “The only thing I feel
pretty confident about being able to do is write a song,” Dezen says. “Whether or not
that song is any good, who knows. But this is what I’ve been doing for so long. I do
know it brings me a tremendous amount of joy.”
That joy is what keeps him going. “Just when I thought everything had fallen apart,
something positive would appear in my life, inviting me to continue to do what I do,”
Dezen says. “I guess I just do it because I really, genuinely love it. It challenges me. It
keeps me sharp. I think that’s why the arts are so important. The arts ultimately make
you active, smart, and more aware and more empathetic towards the people in the
world around you.”
The overall takeaway from II is an artist forging ahead with an uncompromising, singular
vision. “You’ll get that I’m saying, ‘Here I am as me, and I’m now moving into this
phase.’ And you know what? That’s not a bad place to be.” It sure isn’t. If anything, II is
the clear sonic signpost for where the ever-searching singer/songwriter is headed next.
Come along for the ride.
For more information, please contact:
Krista Mettler, Skye Media, krista.mettler@skyemediaonline.
Deemed "70's Country Rock Revivalists by Pandora Radio," WAGES is a band from Memphis, TN, fronted by siblings Houston and Cyrena Wages.
Fusing honky tonk edge with wide-open, anthemic melodies and a warmth reminiscent of the 70's Laurel Canyon scene (think Eagles meets Dwight Yoakam), WAGES brings a modern take on a nostalgic sound. Now based in Nashville, the two children of a small town judge elicit an unapologetic thumbprint.
Previously working under the name Friends of Lola, they were the sole country band among the Nashville Scene's "Best Local Band" ranking last year, and they landed a major motion picture placement in 2015's "A Walk in the Woods", starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. After writing and recording various demo projects in town, they are currently writing for their debut record.
WAGES hosts a monthly residency, "Country Club," at East Nashville's Basement East, showcasing emerging local artists. A "country club where you don't have to wear a tie and ordering a 40 is encouraged." Boasting a feel of "no membership fees", Country Club's aim is to nurture Nashville's unique community of artists by providing the laid-back, good-vibe atmosphere that gave Music City its second lease on being an entertainment hub.
Sarah Miles has garnered comparisons to a broad array of artists such as Kelsea Ballerini, Christina Perri, Maren Morris, and Colbie Caillat. She has gorgeously flowing dynamics as a singer, capable of euphoric skyward melodies and intimately fragile phrasing. Her songwriting is empowering, authentic, and stylistically touches upon country, pop and folk. It’s an infectious blend of accessible song-craft and bold emotional candor. “I like to write songs that are relatable to everyone,” Sarah says of the warm intimacy inherent in her songwriting.
Sarah’s song, Something About You, won numerous songwriting awards in Nashville, and was aired on NBC's, The Voice. She’s toured or opened for acclaimed singer-songwriters such as Rachel Platten, Sister Hazel, Teddy Geiger, Tony Lucca, Ingram Hill, Matt Duke, Tyler Hilton, and Pat McGee.
You can also hear Sarah's vocals on the new TBS television show, Angie Tribeca.
Ken Johnson’s songs have been recorded by many artists including Harry Connick Jr., Uncle Kracker, Tyler Farr, Chris Janson, Craig Morgan, Clare Bowen, Josh Thompson, The Farm, Joey and Rory, Ty Stone, Josh Grider, Lisa Lambe of Celtic Women Group, Walt Wilkins, Wayne Newton, and Paul Sanders with Vince Gill among others… Past hits include Josh Thompson’s “Beer On The Table” and Craig Morgan’s “Still A Little Chicken Left On That Bone”. More recently, his songs "Summer and 16" and “White Van” both went #1 for 2 weeks each with popular Texas artist Josh Grider. He has written multiple songs for television shows like "Nashville" and “Hart of Dixie". In 2012, Ken released “Dang Good Day” in association with Warner Chappell Music and Combustion Music. The album features collaborations with singer/songwriter’s like Randy Houser, Frankie Ballard, Josh Thompson, Brothers Osborne, Sarah Buxton and Eric Paslay to name a few. Ken has performed on TV's Good Morning America as well as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Look for new releases this Fall with Harry Connick Jr., and Chris Janson. Ken’s song “You Dream I’ll Drive” with Josh Grider is now approaching top 10 in the Texas regional market.
AJ Ghent Band
AJ Ghent Band
AJ Ghent Band
AJ Ghent is carrying the instrument, and the soul, of those who came before him –but in a most modern way. It’s true that the lap steel guitar has been the electrified ghost of Mississippi’s Delta Blues, and the inspiration for the fiery ‘sacred steel’ tradition of Florida’s Pentecostal worship services, for over a century, but when that lap steel is turned on its side and strapped on like a futuristic-looking guitar-shaped rocket ship, the instrument takes on a whole new dimension.
AJ Ghent Band has one album under their belt, but thousands of touring miles from the land, sea and the air. AJ’s debut release, Live At Terminal West (Blue Corn Music), is a CD/DVD package released April 2015, which included a 6-piece unit.
Since the album, bandleader, AJ Ghent has been focusing more on his roots. He now tours as a 4-piece with him on slide guitar and vocals, his wife MarLa Ghent on bass synth, keyboard, and vocals, his sister Tiffany Ghent on percussion and a drummer. AJ Ghent Band constructs an indie rock sound howling from the church to the blues. Their style can be defined as fresh, yet reminiscent on music of times past, electrifying, and rootsy, what they like to call NEO BLUES.
The energy and passion that resonates from the stage is sure to be felt in the crowd. The frequencies of the instruments combined promote an unforgettable experience that will carry you into a musical paradise. Lyrically, and stylistically, AJ Ghent Band works to stick the root of it all - from the depths of the dirt when songs of hardship were sung to help you overcome.
AJ Ghent Band has already caught the attention of A-list musicians currently on the scene. AJ has performed alongside Gov’t Mule and The Allman Brothers, opened for Robert Cray and laid down tracks for Zac Brown’s
2013 Grohl Sessions Vol. 1 as one of three guest artists alongside Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) and bassist Oteil Burbridge (Tedeschi Trucks Band, Allman Brothers Band).
*Toured and recorded with Zac Brown Band*
*2015 Atlanta Braves Band of the Year*
AJ Ghent Band has performed with and for The Atlanta Braves Gov’t Mule, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, Moe., Tab Benoit, Dumstaphunk, Allman Brothers, Lee Fields & the Expressions, Paul Thorn, Robert Randolph, North Mississippi Allstars, The Revivalists & more!
The Whiskey Gentry
The Whiskey Gentry
The Whiskey Gentry
Paste Magazine once said The Whiskey Gentry was a “toe-tapping, steamrolling kind of band, its fingers picking deep into fields of bluegrass…with a punk-inspired kick drum.” Although the band's sound dwells most generally under the country category, to stifle them with that label isn't fair. Lauren Staley's voice, as thoroughly Americana as any of her folk counterparts, rings as clear as a bell. There's some honky-tonk in their DNA, a wink at bluegrass, but there's also a hint of garage rock.
Formed in 2009 by husband and wife songwriting duo Lauren Staley and Jason Morrow, the Atlanta based band has spent the majority of the last seven years touring the US, averaging over 150 shows per year. They’ve also enjoyed two European tours. A festival circuit favorite, major appearances of theirs include Shaky Knees, Shaky Boots, Merlefest, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, FloydFest, Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Q, and The Simple Man Cruise. They’ve opened for many diverse acts such as Butch Walter, Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, Shooter Jennings, Kid Rock, Infamous Stringdusters, and Donna the Buffalo.
The Whiskey Gentry have independently released two full-length albums. The band’s 2011 debut, Please Make Welcome, garnered critical acclaim with “Cost of Loving You” selected as a finalist in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition held at MerleFest. The follow up, 2013’s Holly Grove, showcased the band’s edgier Americana sound; it peaked at #16 on the Americana Radio Chart.
Live from Georgia arrived in 2014, capturing the raw energy and powerful stage presence fans across the world have come to expect from performances. The band’s new release, entitled Dead Ringer, was recorded at Asheville's Echo Mountain Studio and will be released on April 7, 2017.
Hunter S. Thompson wrote that “the whiskey gentry” was “a pretentious mix of booze, failed dreams, and a terminal identity crisis.” While the band does enjoy a good pour, their dreams are becoming reality, their identity is distinct, and the future looks bright. They don't need gimmicks, tricks or a lot of takes. They don't need you to think they look or sound shiny. They just want to catch you tapping your toe.
Ed Roland & The Sweet Tea Project
Ed Roland & The Sweet Tea Project
Ed Roland & The Sweet Tea Project
Named after the drink that is a cultural trademark of the band’s home region, Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project began serendipitously two years ago when the veteran singer/songwriter, with a month off from his Collective Soul activities, began reconnecting with the rich club and coffeehouse scene in Atlanta. On random nights, he would invite some of these popular local musicians to his house to jam on tunes he had written that reached outside the stylistic jurisdiction of Collective Soul, including “Going to Birmingham,” one of the highlights from their debut album Devils ‘n Darlins that Roland penned on the ukulele.
“Everyone sat around my studio with different instruments from the banjo, and mandolin to the steel guitar and ukulele, and just had a lot of fun,” Roland says.
Roland enjoyed the loose homespun atmosphere, especially the unexpected energy of co-writing new songs with some of these musician friends. Among the most frequent visitors as the casual Sweet Tea jams took shape were bassist Brian Bisky and Christopher Alan Yates (who also plays banjo and trumpet). Yates’ participation was a reunion of sorts, as he and Roland had known each other since the early ‘80s, when they played in the popular local cover band Premiere. Though other locals make appearances on the album, the official recording and touring lineup of Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project includes guitarist Jesse Tripplet and drummer Mike Rizzi.
As word got around Atlanta about the exciting organic happenings at Roland’s house, the band was asked by a local radio station to open a gig for Band of Horses. Following that, they did three-week “Rooted in Georgia” residencies at Decatur, Ga.’s Eddie’s Attic, where everyone from the Indigo Girls to John Mayer and Shawn Mullins cut their teeth early on, and The Melting Point in Athens, Ga.
Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project then entered and won ESPN’s contest to re-imagine its NBA themed music, an initiative driven by fan voting. The band was featured on the SportsNation section of ESPN.com, and their version of the song aired during ESPN’s exclusive coverage of NBA All-Star weekend. Featuring an arrangement with banjo, dobro and trumpet, the track was a preview of the unique sound that Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project subsequently captured when they pared down a total of “30 tracks we were proud of” and set out to record their debut album. They also captured the evolving vibe of the album with their version of Bob Dylan’s “Shelter From The Storm,” which was released on the four-CD all-star compilation Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.
“We started going out, playing and had too much fun. We were very proud of the songs and these guys have been singing together for years developing their harmony chops,” says Roland. “Working with all these guys opened me up to a whole new world of sharing ideas, and the main focus will always be writing the best songs I can write or co-write with my band mates. When you expand your sonic vision to include less conventional instruments like banjo, uke, dobro and pedal steel guitar, anything can happen.”
Embodying his long held spiritual belief that in essence we are all Devils ‘n Darlins at different points in our lives, the raw locomotive title track rocker has a brooding Johnny Cash flavor inspired by Roland’s memory of the first concert his minister father ever took him to as a kid. He wrote the jangly and playful, vocal harmony driven traveling tune “Going To Birmingham” about his frequent road trips through Alabama, but grounds it in the concept (inspired by a friend’s brother who was dying of cancer there) that wherever we choose to live on this earth can be our heaven.
Long renowned as an autobiographical songwriter, Roland shows that he is aging gracefully and accepting his place as a Southern man on several of Devils ‘n Darlins’ most emotionally impactful tracks: the intense and fiery “Love Won’t Bring Us Down,” about the joy of returning home from even the worst touring experiences to spend time with his two children; the simmering electric gospel blues ballad “Lennon’s Lullaby” (co-written with Yates) about the way his wide eyed four year old son inspires Roland to see beyond what is in front of him; and the lighthearted easy strumming acoustic pop/rocker “Just As I Am,” which borrows a title from the Baptist hymnal Roland grew up with and finds him at a peaceful juncture of self acceptance (and embracing his roots as a Southerner) years after getting on the Collective Soul rollercoaster.
Another track, the steel pedal guitar pumped country rocker “Piles of Pearls,” is a long obscured gem Roland penned in the late 80s, which he often uses as a rehearsal warm up tune with Collective Soul.
While co-writing about half of Devils ‘n Darlins, Roland is excited about being surrounded by some powerful songwriting talent in the Sweet Tea Project. Among the highlights written by his bandmates are Yates’ whimsical, horn fired breakup rocker “Already Over” (featuring Yates on trumpet); and Bisky’s infectious, churchy gospel-folk sing-along “Forget About Your Life (For A While),” whose key philosophical hook line is “life can be hard as a Monday morning or easy as a Friday night.”
More than simply a magical, engaging one off project during a hiatus from Collective Soul, Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project are evolving into a powerhouse recording and touring unit. Fans can look forward to a second album from the band, slated for release in early 2016.
Me and Molly
Me and Molly
Me and Molly
Songwriting duo Me and Molly was formed in Nashville, TN in 2015 by Molly Stevens and Declan McGarry. Despite having spent a few years writing and playing together across the US and Canada as solo artists sharing a bill, it wasn’t until Grammy winning engineer Neal Cappellino (Alison Krauss) suggested they try performing as a duo that the idea crossed their minds. “We have a really unique sound together and a natural chemistry in our writing and performing,” says McGarry. “It just made sense. We had the songs, our voices blended great and we were good friends”.
Both thoughtful and charming, their songs are honest, thought-provoking ruminations on the universal yearning for self-knowledge. Drawing on their broad backgrounds and disparate influences, their unique take on Americana works so well because they each bring something different to the songwriting table.
McGarry hails from the prairie city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, yet it was music born in the heartland of America that first caught the young songwriter’s heart. “I remember listening to Nanci Griffith and John Denver on family road trips” recalls McGarry. His first public performance - at the age of three - was at a family member’s wedding where he sang “Country Roads”. In his teenage years he was drawn to rock and roll, until he re-discovered a love for country music and Americana, bringing him back to where it all began.
Stevens grew up in Macon, GA, singing in church and at many revivals led by her grandfather, a celebrated preacher around the Southeast. Growing up in Macon, home to the Allman Brothers and Ottis Redding, among others, Stevens never knew a time when southern rock or soul wasn’t floating through the air. “Singing was just always a huge part of my life,” says Stevens. “The other kids played games and sports after school and I went home to practice or sing at a church event.”
Stevens studied theatre in college and moved to New York City shortly thereafter with acting aspirations. It wasn’t long, however, until she realized music was her true passion. Armed with a vintage 1950s Gibson acoustic given to her by her grandfather shortly before he died, she moved to Nashville in 2009 intent on turning her passion into a career.
McGarry and Stevens’ command of the stage has been honed individually through years of hard work on the road. As solo artists Stevens and McGarry have had their fair share of success. McGarry was one of four artists nominated in 2012 for the CCMA New Artist Showcase. In 2013 and 2014 Stevens played CMA Fest in Nashville, and has performed with the Indigo Girls, opened for Wynona Judd, and more. Yet in the case of Me & Molly the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts; in their short time performing as a duo they’ve shared the stage with acts as diverse as the Dirty Guv’nahs, Angie Aparo, Griffin House, Billy Joe Shaver, Amy Ray, and Darlingside.
Me and Molly are currently working on their debut recording. Written in Stevens’ living room in East Nashville and recorded with producer Jeff Crawford (Mandolin Orange) in Chapel Hill, NC, the record features Phil Cook on dobro and banjo in addition to McGarry and Stevens.
Considering that Kelsey Waters began playing bars before she could even drive, it should come as no surprise that she’s such a compelling, self-assured performer. Delivering two-hour sets since she was fourteen, the cover-tune-slinging, precocious-punk-kid morphed along the way into the captivating singer-songwriter she is today.
Practiced and focused beyond her years, these days the Kelsey Waters who steps on stage is a nuanced blend of youthful swagger, honest, quirky humor and worldly gravitas. It’s a combination that keeps listeners slightly off balance and totally drawn into the striking creature singing her heart out before them. When she leans into the mic, guitar held sure in her fine-boned hands, she is magnetic, and audiences can’t help but to feel the pull.
Raised in the 30-A region of the Florida panhandle, Kelsey grew up in the music saturated orbit of a mother who loved to sing and a father who loved to listen. “My mom was in a band and gigging full time when she was pregnant with me. I grew up watching her sit in with local bands after that. ‘Angel from Montgomery’ was her go-to and is my all time favorite song — it reminds me to keep reaching, to keep trying. . . We used to ride back and forth from Tallahassee to the beach together and she’d have Patty Griffin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bonnie Raitt or Sheryl Crow in constant rotation. If that’s not an education in strong women, I don’t know what is. For me, first love equals the album ‘Tuesday Night Music Club’. Mom used to sing ‘Run Baby Run’ while she got dressed in the morning. Damn, she’s cool.”
Fast forward a bit: Kelsey moved to Nashville at twenty and quickly began making inroads on Music Row. She signed a publishing deal with Little Extra Music and was soon hard at work with some of her songwriting idols, including Lori McKenna (“Girl Crush”, “Humble & kind”) & Tia Sillers (“I Hope You Dance”, “There’s Your Trouble”, “Blue On Black”), building a growing catalog of songs that are both universal and reflective of her unique slant on life.
Currently working towards a first album, Waters is clear-eyed on how she envisions her artistry. “I want my music to be relevant, honest and come straight from the heart. My hope is to make a record full of songs that sound just as true as they do when they’re first recorded as a work-tape on my phone. That raw, crazy energy, when you know you’ve written something fine, when you think you’ve nailed it? That’s what I’m out to capture.”
Long Ride Home
the old country music of cheating, drinking, working, longing- pre-garth, pre-video, pre-urban-cowboy country music - the voice of working people- people of the land - it is their poetry...country music and king james - the country music cuts the deepest
my people came from kentucky- poor tobacco farmers of first half 20th century and harlan county coal miners decades ahead of that - descendants of scots & irish - they brought their music with them
from silver haired daddy to momma's hungry eyes i was baptized in country music - our first vacation (after my dad working in gary, indiana steel mills for 6 years) was to nashville, tn. & the grand ole opry we'd been listening to on radio - i got my first instrument at a pawn shop on broadway (1965) the following year, my mom dressed her kentucky best and marched into the 4 big labels in nashville (rca, capitol, columbia, decca) and got as far as the desk receptionist to leave a 45 of Wayne Scott & The 3 Ds (my brothers and i were the 3Ds) - i was 7 then - country music was the background music of my childhood
LONG RIDE HOME
this is a country recording- 16 songs that travel as far back as 30 years- 2 songs (The Country Boy and You're Everything I Wanted Love To Be) written at 16, with my dad, Wayne Scott, when he rented a cabin in big bear lake, california just for us to write (we each finished the others' song) - there is a duet with Guy Clark (Out In The Parking Lot) on a song Guy & i wrote together - there are guest vocals from Rodney Crowell (Hopkinsville), Tim Obrien & John Cowan (No Love In Arkansas & Too Close Too Comfort), and Patty Griffin (You'll Be With Me All The Way)
i recorded the album at home where we sat up around the grand piano where THE pianist of country music, Hargus "pig" Robbins, presided (pig started recording in nashville in 1957 - the 1st hit he played on: George Jones' 'White Lightnin') - on drums, my kayak/bicycling friend, Kenny Malone, a studio legend since 1975 (his 1st hit was Dobie Gray's 'Drift Away') - on upright bass: Dennis Crouch (we'd played together in Steve Earle's Bluegrass Dukes & Dennis has played on virtually all T Bone Burnett's recordings for the last 10 years & toured with Elvis Costello, Elton John, Robert Plant & Alisson Krauss) - we 4 were the tracking band - then i stayed with legends: Lloyd Green on pedal steel (Don Williams, Charlie Pride), on harmonicas: Charlie McCoy (everyone from Dylan to Cash) & Mickey Raphael (Willie) - then singers, Marcus Hummon, Jonell Mosser & Kathy Chiavola (from Dixie Chicks to Emmylou Harris) and mixed & mastered by Ray Kennedy (Lucinda Williams, Malcolm Holcomb)
it is country music how i remember it - with some of the players that made the very music that was both lifting & breaking my heart as a kid - what i find is the country music industry has changed, but country & working people have not changed so much- they still love country music when they hear it - i hope they get to hear this
a long ride home
For more information:
Sam Lewis plays soul music.
While it bears the sonic landmarks of roots music’s most fertile ground, the songwriting of Sam Lewis is born of a landscape that can only be felt, not seen. His music is native to the infinite expanse that is exposed when human attention is full, and focused inward - harvested solely by the nuanced rhythm of love. Sam’s songs are rooted in the energy that defines this harmonious frontier, the space that unifies the human experience in each of us. It’s the anchored spirit in this incubated territory of soul for which Sam Lewis works to celebrate and elevate with the tones of rock & roll, rhythm & blues and a country-folk muse.
Sam is not the first man to turn over this primal soil, but he is unquestionably here to be the one that keeps sowing the field. Lewis laments, “I flip on a radio or stare at my phone, and I hear some familiar sounds and I see some flashy things being made right now - and that’s cool. But it’s real hard to find something that’s being said beyond what’s superficial. And then go I and spin a record by Lee Dorsey and I feel the world lifted with four words and a funky groove, and then I’ll listen to Pops Staples preaching the most earnest spirit with some shake, swagger and sweat thrown on it - and man there it is, there’s the fresh air, there’sthe hope. These are the men that paved the path I want to walk on, the path I want to preserve. Everyone is welcome to walk it with me. I hope they do.”
After spending a nomadic youth from California to the Carolina Blue Ridge, Sam began calling Nashville, TN home in 2008. Since then he’s been joined on his journey by some of music’s most righteous and luminary figures. Most recently (and continuing into Summer 2016), he’s been a tourmate and stage collaborator of Grammy Award Winner, Chris Stapleton. It’s Stapleton who dubbed Lewis “a modern Townes Van Zandt”. Sam’s continued to also be called upon by lyrical forefathers such as John Prine and neighborhood contemporaries like Kacey Musgraves to trade verses and share their inspiration across generational lines.
Over the last four years, Sam Lewis has pressed the first two chapters in his career’s studio anthology with the release of his self-titled debut in 2012 and sophomore release Waiting On You in 2015. As both received critical acclaim, each session grew the legendary family for which Sam has adopted to curate and share his musical innervision with his listeners. Recorded between the storied studio walls of Zac Brown’sSouthern Ground Nashville, Waiting On You was produced by roots music cornerstone, Oliver Wood (The Wood Brothers, Tedeschi Trucks Band). Adjoined by their savant fluency in the soul music lexicon, Lewis and Wood called upon the instrumental palettes of masters including Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Neil Young), Darrell Scott (Robert Plant, Guy Clark), Will Kimbrough (Jimmy Buffett, Rodney Crowell), Gabe Dixon (Paul McCartney) and the McCrary Sisters, all placing their stamp on this enduring expression of uncompromised songwriting. Additionally, the relentless grooves of rhythm section JT Cure and Derek Mixon (Chris Stapleton), accented with the transfixing guitar perfection of Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart, Lucinda Williams) have been woven through the fabric of each of Lewis’ studio campaigns.
While continuing to connect dots from his experiences to the perceptions of those around him with lyrical acuity, the songs of Sam Lewis remain a perpetual trip. An expedition in the sound of the mind, the sound of heart and the sound nature in which they exist. Sounds that may not have a name, but when it’s all said and done - are one in the same.
Olivia Winter is an artist that continues to impress with every performance. Classically trained on violin at the tender age of four, her young mind was opened to the wonders of all music. Guitar became such an intricate part of her life in her early teens, she was impelled to write. Olivia's songwriting is created from everyday experiences and interactions from everyday people. Her writing has deep meanings that reflect challenges and changes in her life, as well as the lives of the people around her. Now twenty years young, she shares her talent by performing weekly at various locations along the 30a area, and aspires to rise to more avenues of writing and performing. Olivia looks forward to her audience growing along with her.
"Sexy, funky-as-hell, pop music" is what critics are saying about Gurufish (Ear Magazine). Electrifying audiences everywhere with their own provocative blend of pop, funk and soul, Atlanta's Gurufish is best known for their high-octane live show fueled by irresistible melodies wrapped around hypnotic, funky grooves. After a great start to 2015 with a sold out showcase at SXSW, Gurufish was just recently listed
by PASTE Magazine as one of the 25 Georgia Bands You Should Listen to Now, as well as honored with the distinction of being recognized by the GA Music Awards as the Georgia's Best R'nB/Funk Band. They've rounded out this year with a feature performance on the CW network's "The Originals".
Founded by singer/songwriter/producer Jimmy St. James who is accompanied by co-writer Matty Haze
on guitar, Juan Woodfork on bass, and Steve Dixon on drums, Gurufish performs live as an 8 piece band that includes a horn section and a glamorous ensemble of freaks! They are currently playing dates in support of their critically acclaimed release, "Mohair Supreme", while recording and preparing for a new release in the spring of 2016.
Gurufish has shared the bill with such prestigious acts as: Meaghan Trainor, The Brand New Heavies, Mother's Finest, Nikka Costa, Derek Trucks, The Flaming Lips, Galactic, Cypress Hill, Ghostland Observatory, P.M. Dawn,The Spin Doctors, The Isley Brothers, Foreigner, and the P-Funk Allstars.
Parker & Parker
Parker & Parker
Parker & Parker
PARKER & PARKER
“Her voice is the perfect instrument…yearning and satisfaction in the same breath." - the Oregonian
"A masterpiece … She and her husband Scott are both prolific writers" - Billboard Magazine
"This West Texas native conjures up inventive images and dispenses sage advice." - Entertainment Weekly
CARYL “MACK” PARKER is an award-winning, Americana singer/songwriter from Nashville. Native of Abilene, Texas, Caryl‘s music incubated in the independent music scene of Portland, Oregon before migrating to Nashville in the mid 1990’s. Her first record-deal was signed within two years, and thanks to three singles and relentless touring, her music was added on hundreds of radio stations, press interviews, and television networks worldwide (including top videos on CMT and GAC).
A true “singer’s singer,” Caryl has become a mainstay in the Nashville music scene, working as a session vocalist, songwriter and accompanist with such artists as Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, Amy Grant, James Otto, Kevin Welch, Jimmy Hall, Ashley Cleveland, Kim Hill, Jude Cole and Will Hoge. As a staff-writer for Warner/Chappell, Hamstein, and Scream Music, her songs were recorded by artists such as Patty Loveless and for television shows such as The West Wing. She also appears regularly at song festivals and Nashville’s most prestigious venues, including the Ryman and Bluebird Café.
Caryl’s latest album, Rancho Divine, is a compilation of ten previously unreleased recordings spanning the past decade. Featuring a who’s who of Nashville musicians and songwriters, Rancho Divine is an organic blend of spatial soundscapes and stories perfectly crafted as the backdrop for her crystalline voice.
SCOTT PARKER is an award-winning songwriter & producer. The well-traveled son of an International Diplomat and Military officer, Scott Parker was raised with a creative worldview that transcends borders. Following college in Texas, his wanderlust led to years as a touring musician, working over 300 dates per year. After marrying his lifelong music collaborator Caryl, the couple moved to Portland, Oregon where they chalked up songwriting awards, a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell, and a solid AAA fan-base throughout the Northwest.
A move to Nashville in the mid-1990s, landed them both major publishing deals and a recording deal for Caryl. While supporting her career and touring, Scott caught Nashville’s notice with his innate song-sense and proficiency in the studio. Some of the world’s best publishers, record labels, artist and songwriters sought his talent as a producer and writer. The Parker home studio also became a de facto clubhouse for many musicians – including Brad Paisley, Josh Turner, Daryl Worley and producer Frank Rogers - to record their early albums.
Now with multiple Top-10 hits and songwriting awards under his belt, Parker has produced or written songs recorded by Patty Loveless, Sister Hazel, Will Hoge, James Otto, Joanna Cotten, John David Webster, Kim Hill, Tim Rushlow, George Canyon, and many others. He’s served as staff-writer/producer for Sony Music, Hamstein Music, Warner/Chappell and Reunion, and produced albums for Atlantic, Mercury, Universal, Word, Warner Bros, EMI & Magnatone.
In 2005 he co-founded Hearts Bluff Music Publishing, where he guides the Creative and Acquisition development for the $20 million music publishing company. The current portfolio includes over 50 #1 songs, 4 Hall of Fame Songwriters, 10,000 titles and 25 different catalogs.
It’s your turn to experience a new musical voyage.
Inspired by a range of musical influences and a bond of brotherhood, Laslow was born with the idea that diversity, collaboration and personal experience can create a unique canvas of sound and spirit, passion and hope, and renewal of the senses.
Half-brothers Eli Battles and Drew Thurston grew up with different musical interests, influenced by their surroundings and geography.
Growing up six years apart, Eli and Drew never really set out to be in a band together, nor considered music as a career option. Life, however, had a different set of plans. Music worked as a connecting point between the two brothers, and as their ages became less and less a generational gap, the idea working in collaboration carried on over the years. It took many suggestions – from each other, and other family members – to fully discover what Laslow would become.
For Eli, his musical experiences started early, At the age of 14 he was given his first guitar, an acoustic. " It was just sitting there in the living room, one day, when i arrived home from school; no one was there, just me and this guitar....it spoke to me".From there, that was pretty much it.” Since then, Eli has been paying homage to some of his many influences - including Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Gabriel, Ryan Adams, U2, and Bob Marley - while promoting his own brand of storytelling, heavily influenced by his personal experiences and individual passions.
"I was lucky enough to have been introduced to blues, soul, R&B, folk, country and rock growing up. The beauty of music is that you can make it all your own. That sums up Laslow pretty well."
Self taught on every instrument, Drew’s passion for music also started early on guitar, but later discovered the bass, and further developed skills as a drummer while playing on the road and working in the studio in various groups over the last 20 years.
“Taking the things we both like, and mixing them together … it’s pretty cool what comes out.”. Drew also considers his influences diverse - including Jaco Pastorius, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead, Bjork, and Jeff Buckley.
In the summer of 2010, a convergence occurred, and resulted in their debut album, “A Quality of Light”.
“How would you describe our music?” Eli asks rhetorically. “Well, if I had to define what Drew and I call our sound, I’d say it’s ‘indie folk pop’. But then again, we’re influenced so much by what’s considered classic, modern or alternative rock - we were lucky enough to be introduced to all kinds of music - it’s hard to say. Besides, what’s in a name, anyway?”
“We both had so many musical influences growing up - some the same, many different. It’s hard to define what we do, as our inspiration comes from many, many places. But as we continue to grow as musicians and work together and apart, the result has been something unique, and continually exciting for both of us.”
Laslow asks the listener to decide. “A Quality of Light” presents a listening journey, a colorful palette of rhythms and harmony, with a genuine vibe that feels honest, spirited, and most of all, real. As you’ll hear throughout “A Quality of Light”, both Eli and Drew guide one another throughout, sharing the many experiences they’ve had individually and together.
Currently, Eli and Drew are working through finishing some demos that were started last year, while Drew’s other production ‘LuxJive’ has been undergoing more development.
The Good Graces
The Good Graces
The Good Graces
the Good Graces is an indie-folk/pop collective based in Atlanta, GA. Formed by singer-songwriter Kim Ware in 2006, tGG has performed up and down the east coast, in California, and at such festivals as NXNE in Toronto, Athens Pop Festival, International Pop Overthrow, and now 30A. Their most recent album, "Close to the Sun," explores a variety of styles and genres, from folk and alt. country to 90s-inspired indie pop. In 2015, the album caught the attention of the Indigo Girls, and the band was asked by the renowned duo to support some midwest and southeast shows during their summer tour. Kim's song "Under the Weather" also won the "Searchlight" indie song competition from "In Search of a Song," a national radio series that interviews world class artists about songwriting. Kim is currently wrapping up work on the 4th Good Graces full-length, to be released in summer/fall of 2017.
"Dude's a juke-joint professor emeritus"--Rolling Stone
In September 2015 Kevin Gordon releases Long Gone Time, the long-awaited follow-up to
2012’s critically acclaimed Gloryland. Produced by Joe V. McMahan, the new record further
explores an awkward post-Civil Rights Act American south, with narratives and meditations
based on Gordon’s own Louisiana upbringing. Recorded live, half of the tracks are recorded
with only acoustic instruments (featuring Lex Price and Bo Ramsey). The “electric” tracks,
again recorded live with minimal overdubs, feature Gordon with his stalwart band of 20 years:
McMahan, Ron Eoff, and Paul Griffith.
Over the course of twenty-five years of writing, recording and touring, Gordon has built an
impressively consistent catalog of songs, a critically-acclaimed stack of albums, and a
reputation for dynamic live performances. His 2012 release, Gloryland, received significant
critical praise and media attention: a front-page Arts section feature in The New York Times, an
appearance on NPR’s “Here and Now”, and great reviews in Rolling Stone, USA Today, and
others. Author Peter Guralnick said this about Gloryland:
"There's nothing else around today quite like Kevin Gordon’s music. I'm a huge Kevin Gordon
fan. Think of John Lee Hooker tied to the hard, imagistic poetry of William Carlos Williams, and
you get a little bit of an idea. . . you just have to listen. And listen again. For the pure emotional
pleasure of it. For the unmistakable, hard-driving passion of words and music, rocking together
From The New York Times: "'Gloryland' [is] an often harrowing tour of the back-roads South
with scenes of burning churches, a serio-comic brawl after a ZZ Top concert in Shreveport, La.,
and — most memorably — the time the Klan showed up when his seventh-grade marching
band performed about 90 miles from there in Colfax."
Gordon's songs have been recorded by Keith Richards, Irma Thomas, Levon Helm, Hard
Working Americans, and others. His duet with Lucinda Williams, “Down to the Well”, was
featured on the Oxford American Southern Music Sampler.
In October 2016 Kristin released her latest solo effort, a book/double CD combination entitled “Wyatt at the Coyote Palace”, published by Overlook/Omnibus, a 24-track haunting masterpiece recorded at her favorite studio in Portsmouth Rhode Island with Steve Rizzo at the helm. Stories and songs of love and loss combine Kristin’s humor with the pains and travails of a life spent constantly in motion.
After founding her influential art-punk band Throwing Muses in Providence, RI at the age of 14, Kristin Hersh has spent quality time confounding expectations and breaking rules, both hers and others.
From life as the reluctant front person for the Muses to the solo career she swore would never happen, through the founding of an ambitious and altruistic nonprofit to her recent foray into a surprisingly successful new career as an author, Kristin, a mother of four, didn’t see much of this coming.
Throwing Muses first gained traction in the early ‘80s playing on show rosters with similarly singular artists like the Pixies, Mission of Burma and Dinosaur Jr. They signed with the highly regarded British indie label 4AD Records, the label’s first American signing, and eventually moved on to Sire/Warner Bros. After six releases the band put out their crowning achievement, Limbo, in 1996 and promptly disbanded for 7 years. In 2003, the band reformed, recorded and released the CD, Uses. Then again in 2013, Throwing Muses returned again with their first studio album in 10 years – Purgatory/Paradise – published as a book and a CD. The art book is 64-pages of lyrics, essays, and photos and includes a 32-track CD that was entirely listener-supported thanks to Kristin’s Strange Angels.
Kristin’s solo and mostly-acoustic career spun off in 1994 with the release of Hips and Makers. The album was widely acclaimed and included “Your Ghost” - a duet with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe. Since then, Kristin has released a steady stream of solid and distinctly individual solo albums including Strange Angels, Sky Motel, The Grotto and Learn to Sing Like a Star. 2010’s Crooked, released as her first book/CD, is an entirely listener-funded recording, written and demoed in public and in full conversation with the audience meant to consume it.
In 2004, Kristin formed the power trio, 50FootWave, releasing a series of frighteningly intense mini-albums, all available for download free of charge and licensed for sharing via Creative Commons. Their latest 'Bath White' EP, however, was released on CD and vinyl earlier this year on HHBTM Records. “A series of loud explosions, of velvet like dreams all intermingled at the same time; Bath White takes no prisoners.” (Ian D. Hall/Liverpool Sound and Vision)
In 2007 Kristin co-founded the non-profit Coalition of Artists and Stake-Holders (CASH Music). Over the past few years, CASH has not only completely funded Kristin’s own output, but has also powered dozens of other artist and label projects and has grown into a widely-recognized powerhouse of technical tools that enable commerce, communication and sustainability for artists — all in the open source and free of charge.
Kristin began her book writing career several years ago, beginning with essays and tour diaries which she published on her own website, and as a guest blogger on Powells.com. Since then she has published “Paradoxical Undressing” in the UK, (released as the critically acclaimed “Rat Girl” in the USA) and a children’s book “Toby Snax”, and “Don’t Suck, Don’t Die”, a personal account of her long friendship with the late Vic Chesnutt.
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Born in Zagreb, Croatia, Radoslav Lorković was just three when he began putting on floor shows for his grandfather and friends, who cheered him on and showered the boy with coins. When he was six, the family moved to the U.S. — first to Minnesota and then to Iowa. And by his teens, classically trained in piano, he was heading toward a life in classical music when the blues sidetracked him and he began to turn his distinctive piano style into a career that has led him to the Canary Islands, Yup’ik villages, the Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall. His latest solo recording is "Homer: A Piano Odyssey", recorded live at the Center for the Arts of Homer.
FORGET THE WATOOSI, AND THE BUGALOO
FORGET THE SHAG AND THE SHAKE AND THE SHUFFLE TOO
FORGET ABOUT THE MONKEY AND THE MASHED POTATO
EVERYBODY’S DOING THAT FUNKY TOMATO
You don’t expect barrelhouse boogie woogie, straight up garage rock or power pop from the ratchety voice who gave you “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues,” the iconic East Nashville Skyline or the Great American Taxi-backed Time As We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker. Yet fresh from fronting the freewheeling social commentary of the jam-meets-Tom Petty Hard Working Americans – featuring Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools and Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s Neal Casal – Todd Snider’s Eastside Bulldog suggests there’s a new kinda rumble under the hood of the iconoclastic troubadour.
“I think if you work so hard to be taken seriously, you’ve missed the rock and roll,” Snider says with a wry smile, equal parts Shakespeare’s Puck and naughty teenager. “What’s wrong with uptempo and positive? This is Saturday night: crank it up when you’re ready to go out, drive too fast, get yer ya-yas out. Just let it go, and dive in — and get rockin’.”
Random notions sunk into the East Nashville soil when the cabin-fevered folkie would spend time at home. Knowing you can’t saturate the market, he’d call up friends like Elizabeth Cook and Kevin Gordon, and hit various bars under the moniker Elmo Buzz & the Bulldogs. The randy, rousing group – “kinda like the Rolling Thunder Review, with horns and girls” – quickly became a hipster’s favorite, mating Jerry Lee Lewis’ fraught rock with the Kingsmen’s swing’n soul.
Never intended as more than a local kick-out-the-carbons joyride, the Bulldog buzz infected more than East Nashville’s 5 Points neighborhood. A day of recording with Emmylou Harris’ steelman/original Mavericks’ producer Steve Fishell – for a master class he runs – captured the combustion and kinetics in a way that merged crazed music lovers, alcohol and freewheeling musicians.
But it wasn’t until manager Burt Stein encouraged Snider to take his Dogs to Cash Cabin to try and catch lightning in a studio one more time that the music from the “mythic” Elmo Buzz, the never-made-it bar-rocker whose schtick the Peace Queer creator “stole,” was crystalized, and was finally committed to tape. Eastside Bulldog is romp, a stomp and one hell of a party.
“This,” Snider enthuses, “is the afterparty after the party.”
From the Bo Diddley grindhouse bully smackdown “Enough Is Enough” to the freewheeling “Secret Agent Man”-style pep club rally “Eastside Bulldogs,” the bass heavy, horn squonking instrumental “Bocephus” that evokes the Champs’ “Tequila” with its own feverish cry of Hank Williams Jr’s nickname to the Fats Domino meets Little Richard rager “37206,” which proclaims “I got the tshirt – and the bumper sticker,” this is Snider unbridled.
“We’re kinda like the Kingsmen: they’re always blazing and they barely make it when the vocal kicks in. Like the end of the solo on ‘Louie, Louie,’ that’s my favorite musical moment ever… Because just when you think it’s all gonna fall apart, it comes together and explodes. It’s so good!”
One listen to the careening refrain of ”chicks and cars and partying hard,” with Jen Gunderman’s pumping piano and Snider’s slamming surf guitar on the music business skewering “Hey, Pretty Boy,” it’s obvious that spun-out fishtailing is where it’s at for the man whose writing’s been hailed by John Prine, Jimmy Buffett, Kris Kristofferson, Keith Sykes and Guy Clark. Snider sees no compromise or contradiction in these euphoria-pumping party songs.
“To me, it’s a deeper thing: If you don’t think ‘Whomp Bop A Lu Bop’ is genius, you’re missing it. As a person in folk, I think ‘Sha na NA na NA’ or a bunch of ‘shadoobies’ are the lyric that’s got it! ‘Tuttti Frutti’ is deeper than ‘Blowin’ In The Wind,’ even as the guy who wishes he’d written ‘Blowin’ In The Wind.’ It says more about everything, love, rage, sex – all of it.”
It doesn’t hurt that Snider’s current cavalcade of songs includes the barbed-wire surf guitar strewn trog-pop “Are You With Me,” the burlesque-y churn and shuffle of “Come On Up” in full carny barker exhortation or the farfisa power-pop pogo delight of “Ways & Means,” which invokes “Private Eyes” songwriter Warren Pash’s cash. Even the cacophony meets freefalling “Check It Out” suggests a meth-addled percussive-driven “Land of a 1000 Dances.”
“That’s the whole idea: it’s the opposite of what you expect from me. But I like songs that say, ‘Hey, baby, let’s rock and roll..,’ especially more than once. I like there’s lotsa spots to yell. I like that the whole record is over in less than half an hour – and it’s all fun!
“I hope my artsy fartsy friends can hear this and like it. For some people, if it’s not super-serious and talking about the things they think they should worry about, then it’s not art. But you know, the real art is stuff that makes you feel!
“You listen to this, and it’s not going to matter – as long as it’s tonight! And ALL night! As long as my baby’s with me, and we’re getting it, and…”
Snider almost runs out of breath. He’s fired up. He’s ready to party. And for the man who’s the post-modern troubadour state-of-the-world pulse taker, it’s simple. “This is genuinely my political statement to the world: if you ask me about the election or the state of the world, I’m like Our Party is – We Party Balls! Turn It Up, Man! We’re Doomed; Let’s Dance!
“Oh, and all those kick ass, wicked sweet leads? Those are my wicked sweet kick ass leads for the first time! I play about as good as a kid in high school – and that’s exactly what we’re looking for.”
So as the sax bleats and sweats, the tempo bunches and catches, kick off your shoes and drop your center of gravity. For Snider, it’s just thus. Get your “Funky Tomato” and go.
PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR,
DO NOT RESIST ARREST
NOW SHAKE YOUR DARE-EE-AIR
FROM EAST TO WEST
LIKE YOU KNOW EAST IS BEST
NOW PUT YOUR HANDS OUT WIDE
AND TRY TO TOUCH YOUR NOSE
‘CUZ IF YOU CAN’T DO THAT
YOU CAN’T DRIVE HOME
BUT NOW YOU GOT IT,
LOOK AT YOU GO
NOW YOU’RE DOING THAT FUNKY TOMATO