RARWRITER PUBLISHING GROUP PRESENTS

CREATIVE CULTURE JOURNAL

at www.RARWRITER.com      

--------------------"The best source on the web for what's real in arts and entertainment" ---------------------------

Volume 1-2016

MUSIC    BOOKS    FINE ARTS   FILM   THE WORLD

ARTIST NEWS    THIS EDITION   ABOUT   MUSIC   MUSIC REVIEWS  BOOKS  CINEMA   FASHION   FINE ARTS  FEATURES   SERIES  MEDIA  ESSAY  RESOURCES  WRITTEN ARTS POETRY  CONTACT  ARCHIVES  MUSIC LINKS

                                 

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Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publishing Group mailing list for updates on activities associated with the Creative Culture and Revolution Culture journals, and other RARWRITER Publishing Group interests.

 

ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.

RARADIO

(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock

 

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Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page

ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance" -AVAILABLE NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM AMAZON.COM. Use this link.

CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.

 

EXPLORE THE KINDLE BOOK LIBRARY

If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.


 

 

MUSIC  

Phantasmagoric

Grace & Tony

Out there in the wasteland that is popular music, there are tons of talented and untalented people dreaming of musical compositions that don't repeat the old familiar patterns, but rather are daring, fresh, and somehow still commercial. Husband-and-wife duo Grace & Tony no doubt fall into this category, but to their credit they seem to have the vision and the courage to do that elusive, different thing.

The duo is about to release their next album, Phantasmagoric (a favorite word of Edgar Allen Poe’s meaning “out of this world”), which is one of the more outrageously inspired works heard in a good long while. The pair seems to have a loopy attachment to theatricality, which they use to present some wonderfully musical ideas. Both sing well enough to clearly convey what is most certainly a vision for what they wanted this work to be, but not so well as to make it feel contrived. It is as if your talented community theater group decided to put on a gothic musical: it is accessible in a way that is hypnotic, intoxicating in its raw sensuality.

The Loretto, Tennessee-based pair recorded Phantasmagoric at Jimmy Nutt’s Nutthouse studio in Sheffield, Alabama (aka Muscle Shoals). Nutt, who co-produced the album with Tony, was recommended by Tony’s brother, John Paul White (of Civil Wars fame). “Jimmy really pushed our limits and got the most out of us,” says Tony; that included putting the whole band together in the studio to give the album its very-much-live feel.

Embracing literary influences from Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft to Stephen King, the duo blend history and fiction into songs that share equally vivid plot and musical twists. They call their current style “Southern gothic,” and it’s the next logical musical step for a duo known for mixing punk and bluegrass on past releases, most recently on the band’s 2013 album, November. Their friend Andy Baxter, of Penny and Sparrow, quipped, “It’s like if Tim Burton had a folk band.” 

Next up? A book, “Grace & Tony’s Phantasmagoric Stories,” which will feature tales from each song illustrated by U.K. tattoo artist Nick Devine. The duo plans to tour in support of the forthcoming album as well; most of the time these days they perform as a quartet (rounded out by Pete Teselsky on drums and percussion and Chris Wilson on cello). (See tour dates below; more dates to be added soon.)

FIRST GLANCE: CCJ staff listened to tracks from Phantasmagoric and found them to be excellent in every way, minus possibly commercial potential. Our first impression is that Phantasmagoric merits four stars **** out of four. There is real compositional talent demonstrated here, and an impressive ability to portray a cohesive artistic, conceptual vision.

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The Warden

Solo LP The Warden Due in October

Ward Richmond (aka "The Warden") has had so much success with his Dallas-based country band Boys Named Sue (voted "Best Country Band" in Dallas, Texas - 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010) that transitioning to become a solo artist was probably the logical thing to do. And so The Warden has a debut, self-titled solo album racked up and ready to go for October release.

While still an active member of Dallas' country outfit Boys Named Sue (voted "Best Country Band" in Dallas, Texas - 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010), he ended up writing a handful of songs on his own, inspired by the birth of his daughter, Betty Sue, and recorded them with just his acoustic guitar on his iPhone. Eventually, he handed his tunes over to his longtime friend, and musical cohort, Robert Jason Vandygriff (from notable Dallas bands The Von Ehrics and RJV & Hell County Revival), and Jason talked him in to making a solo record.

"These songs are all pretty personal so I didn't really want to create an opportunity for three other dudes to modify songs that I was already perfectly content with," he says of his decision to make a solo record. "Boys Named Sue is a very collaborative effort and these weren't the right tunes for that project." After about a week and a half of recording, at the legendary Echo Lab in Argyle, Texas (where Old 97's, Centromatic, Polyphonic Spree, and Slobberbone have worked), magic happened. "It turned out better than I expected," he says with joy. "Jason had the vision and executed above all expectations."

Self-described as "East Dallas honky tonk," the record mixes foot-stompin' honky tonk and authentic, Texas-style storytelling with a slight dash of Southern punk rock, resulting in a countrified memoir looking back over the past fifteen years of The Warden's life, presenting tales of lifelong friendships, falling in and out of love, and the wild-ass adventure that happened along the way.

FIRST GLANCE: CCJ staff listened to tracks from "The Warden", which Ward Richmond's people describe as Dallas Honky Tonk. For country tonk, "The Warden" seems to have a lot of Social Distortion in its veins. Our first impression is that The Warden will merit two stars ** out of four, but it is accessible and raw in a way that could appeal to young audiences.

Detroit's Undesirable People

"All We Want Is a Proper Burial"

Read about Undesirable People on the Detroit Links

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Compromised

Steve Forbert Soon to Release His 16th Studio Album

Singer-songwriter Steve Forbert is still around, and still working with producer John Simon, who helped Forbert produce his 1979 breakthrough record, Jackrabbit Slim. Forbert was a hip dude in that period, respected for his sharp and streetwise wordplay, and he had a sort of pluckish star quality. His big hit was "Romeo's Tune", which was radio friendly and carried a sound and style that became Forbert's signature. His sound wasn't quite cutting edge enough to pierce the Modern Rock era that dawned about the time he scored with his singer-songwriter thing, but he has thrived in his own way ever since. His new album, Compromised, Rock Ridge Music (with distribution through ADA), was recorded in Woodstock and Cape Cod, so the Mississippi-born Forbert is pretty East Coast these days.

Players on Forberts new album include bassist Joey Spampinato (NRBQ), drummer Lou Cataldo (The Freeze), pianist/trumpeter Kami Lyle, and keyboardist Robbie Kondor, the latter of whom played on Forbert’s classic 1978 debut, Alive on Arrival. “I recorded with the band that did the Arrival and Jackrabbit anniversary tours with me in 2013 and 2014,” Forbert says, “where we played those albums in their entireties. It just seemed natural to say, ‘Okay, we’re going to rehearse for this tour — but let’s record an album together, too.’ And it was great reconnecting with John Simon again after all this time.”

Highway 62

Peter Case Readies First LP in Five Years

While Steve Forbert, referenced above, was cultivating his fast-talker style, Peter Case was out in L.A. working with his band The Nerves, and creating songs such as "Hanging on the Telephone" line, which was a huge hit for Blondie. Case would go onto to a measure of fame with The Plimsouls, who had a hit with his “A Million Miles Away”, before becoming what some call the first of the Post-Punk troubadours. His debut solo album, produced by T-Bone Burnett, earned him his first Grammy nomination and spearheaded a songwriter movement, now dubbed "Americana". Twelve solo albums and two more Grammy nominations followed, including one for his 2007 album Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John. All along, Case had continued to tour consistently.

HWY 62, due out October 30, 2015 on Omnivore Recordings, collects tales from his journey, and brilliantly encompasses every facet of his diverse and critically acclaimed career. Guests joining Peter on the trip include Ben Harper, Jebin Bruni (PIL), Cindy Wasserman and David Carpenter (Dead Rock West), D.J. Bonebrake (X), Don Heffington (Lone Justice), and others. The album was co-produced by Case and Grammy® winner Sheldon Gomberg (Rickie Lee Jones, Mark Eitzel, Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite).

Via Tania Readies Spring Release LP

Tania Bowers, better known as Via Tania, has always been energized by the talent of other artists on her records. For her new album, Via Tania and the Tomorrow Music Orchestra, out on Narooma Records in spring 2015, Tania recorded in both Chicago and Sydney with a collection of orchestral musicians known as the Tomorrow Music Orchestra. The album mixes pop songs with chamber orchestra, allowing for many aural colors and soundscapes, exhilarating and unique. From the smoky slowburn of “I See You Tiger,” to the delicate pop mischief of “In the Air,” to the almost retro-Disney confection of “Where Would We Be,” the album is marked by a sophisticated yet vulnerable approach, led by the disarming and beautiful vocal stylizations of the lead singer.

Tania began her career in her native Australia. Tania originally
started performing in Sydney during the 1990s with her sister Kim Bowers in noise outfit named Spdfgh. After relocating to Chicago at the end of the 1990s, Tania set about piecing together an album as Via Tania, with producer Casey Rice and various Chicago musical luminaries. In 2003, Tania released her critically acclaimed full-length album Under A Different Sky. The album featured artists like Prefuse 73, Casey Rice, Tortoise, Howe Gelb and Tim Kinsella. Pitchfork gave the album a glowing review and decreed “Via Tania will be a major contender”.

When returning to Australia, Tania met Texan producer Craig Ross, who has worked with many artists including Emmylou Harris, Daniel Johnston, Patty Griffin and Spoon and followed Craig to Austin to work on her new album Moon Sweet Moon. While she was there she also performed at the SXSW Music Festival in 2007. Moon Sweet Moon was released through the New York/Paris based label The Hours in 2009. She is now signed to Narooma Records, a new label for offbeat, established female artists.

Haley Bonar

Dance Punk with Gramma's Boyfriend

According to her bio, South Dakota native Haley Bonar, who currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota, was born in Manitoba, Canada. If that gives one the impression that the talented Ms. Bonar has settlement issues, perhaps that also explains her wandering musical persona, which over the last decade has taken her from folk-pop to psychedelic punk. It took her through Portland, Oregon, too, on her way back "home", wherever that may be for this musical transient. Bonar has some of those qualities associated with Canadian predecessors Joni Mitchell and Neil Young - a kind of full-hearted embrace of acoustic honesty - but at the same time one hears a bit of Gwen Stefani lurking somewhere within her. Perhaps that should have foreshadowed her current incarnation as front person for the larky band Gramma's Boyfriend, a self-described "no-wave, new wave, punkish kind of thing that sounds like the Twin Peaks High School prom band". Bonar does go a bit extreme on the band's video "I Have this Feeling & Sugar Crash!" - probably not helpful to her brand, as weird is never enough - but much of what Gramma's Boyfriend does is quite appealing.

Bonar has been a significant figure on the Minnesota music scene, where she has been honored with Best American Roots recording, and Best American Roots artist Minnesota Music Awards for her 2006  Lure the Fox album. She followed up with Big Star, released in 2008, which produced soundtrack singles for Showtime's The United States of Tara and MTV's "Teen Moms". Bonar toured with Andrew Bird for much of the last five years, and she did a featured soundtrack tune ("Quiet Breathing") for the indie film Sweet Land, directed by Minnesotan Ali Selim.

Bonar released an album in 2010, Golder, and then took that left turn to front Gramma's Boyfriend. Her new band released their first LP, self titled, which includes tracks that range from dance-punk to the sort of dream pop associated with Blondie. It is a very good band, led by Bonar and featuring a cast of St. Paul stalwarts Jeremy Ylvisaker (Cloak Ox, Alpha Consumer, Andrew Bird), Mark Erickson, (Cloak Ox), Luke Anderson (Rogue Valley), and Jacob Hanson (Actual Wolf, Haley Bonar, All Tomorrow’s Petty). Visit the band's Website.

Andrew Bird

Chicago native Andrew Bird was raised as one of those violin-playing children mentored using the Suzuki method, which eventually led to his receiving a B.A. from Northwestern University in violin performance. He played with Chicagoans The Squirrel Nut Zippers for three years before going out on his own to form a string of highly eclectic bands featuring his talents as a multi-instrumentalist.

Caustic Cassanova

Wow, I would hire Caustic Cassanova on the strength of their album artwork. Is that a Resplendent Quetzal going down in flames, or doing aerial acrobats...in flames? And why is this poor bird in flames to begin with? What is going on there? The band is a loud, heavy rock trio from Washington, DC, who will remind some listeners of The Doors, mostly because of the way bassist/lead vocalist Francis Beringer approaches his singing. Beringer and drummer/vocalist Stefanie Zaenker met at The College of William & Mary in 2005. In 2008, CC released their first ever full-length studio album, a seventy-two minute tour-de-force entitled Imminent Eminence. Four years later, they unleashed 2012’s critically acclaimed Someday You Will Be Proven Correct, produced by J. Robbins.

Franciscans Present:

Katie Trotta

How is this for an outlet for your music? The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity have a website that features a "Song of the Month". The Sisters like discernment stories and seem particularly focused on young people in their 20s who are struggling to find solid ground on which to build their lives.

As it turns out, singer/songwriter Katie Trotta has a whole album of songs for those folks, which is titled Twenty Something. Trotta was 27 years old and looking back, when she wrote these songs. "If someone had told me when I was a teenager that at 27 years old, I would still be single, struggling with my career, and still wondering how everything was going to work out… I would have laughed in your face. At 27 you are supposed to have it down! You are supposed to be living the life you dreamt about! You are supposed to have a handle on things! I mean, just look at the 27 years old on Facebook! They know what they’re doing! Enter the question: Is it just me? Am I the only one who feels this lost?"

Wow, that is exactly the type of soul searching the Franciscan Sisters are all about, and so Trotta submitted a tune that the Sisters recognized as "a true 20 something song honest about feelings of loneliness and need for prayer". One suspects that is there answer to everything. That song, "20 Something", is streaming through the month of September from the Sisters' music page.

After eight years, three states, and four independent releases, Katie Trotta (photo above my Jordan Rowe) found a new home in Nashville, TN at the beginning of 2012. Hailing from Indianapolis, IN, Trotta graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, spent a few years in the 'live music capitol' of Austin, TX and eventually made her way to 'music city USA'... all the while honing her craft of piano-driven, heartfelt pop songs.

Trotta's first year in Nashville was marked by several new songs, countless writer’s rounds, and a new record titled ‘Twenty Something’. Teaming with producers, Eli Chastain and Jason Miller, ‘Twenty Something’ is Trotta’s fifth independent release and her first full length, fully produced album made possible by a Kickstarter campaign. Featuring songs about stumbling through relationships, growing up, and figuring out what you want out of life, ‘Twenty Something’ was written through the perspective of Trotta’s experiences going through her twenties but is relatable for anyone at any age. Sticking with the honest approach of writing, Trotta’s team wanted to take the same approach for recording. ‘Twenty Something’ was recorded to two inch tape with a strict “no auto-tune” rule and the desire to have an organic recording process. The talents of Nir Z (drums), Steve Mackey (bass), and Anthony LaMarchina (cello) of the Nashville Symphony joined Trotta to record at Bryan White’s Shmowland Studios in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Writes Trotta - "Your twenties are such a beautiful, chaotic, wonderful time in your life. If you don’t have it all figure out by the end of it… don’t worry. You are not alone."

Michal Menert To Release New Live Band EP

Is it just me, or does that photograph of Michael Menert's Pretty Fantastics band seem "Photoshopped" in that suspicious way that so-incriminated the patsy Lee Harvey Oswald?

Menert is a Colorado musician who is putting out his first LP, Michael Menert & the Pretty Fantastics, and not too long ago sat down with Colorado's version of Wayne and Garth, apparently smoked some pot, because this is Colorado, and began talking. What he is talking about is like a game of where's Waldo and it is sort of entertaining just try to follow along.

If any of that leaves you wondering, Who is Michael Menert?, he has a Wikipedia page with this information: "On December 7, 2006, twenty-four-year-old Michal Menert was robbed at gunpoint and severely injured by three Loveland, Colorado gang members during a drug deal. Menert fled the scene and was found by police on a sidewalk in downtown Loveland... Michal collaborated with friend Benjamin O'Neill on a never released project called The Years in 2007 and 2008 and worked with Paul Brandt on their collaboration Half Color in 2008. A few years later (c.a. 2009) on his way to his first show after his injury, Menert was pulled over for swerving and arrested for distributing narcotics to an undercover officer two years prior. Pleading guilty to a lesser charge, Menert was sentenced to three years of probation, six months in prison, and 200 hours of community service..."

Yikes! It would all seem like a dark and confusing put-on, accept that Michael Menert is a very good producer of hip-hop/electronica. Search him out on YouTube and watch for his upcoming release.- RAR

 

Anne McCue Swings on Blue Sky Thinkin'

Her sixth solo outing hits the sweet spot where Blues meets Jazz. Features collaborations with David Olney and Dave Alvin; Set for Release on February 10, 2015 via Flying Machine Records.

Blue Sky Thinkin’ is the album Anne McCue has been waiting her whole life to make, even though she didn’t realize it. She initially planned to make a bluesy, swampy album as the follow-up to 2010’s guitar-focused CD Broken Promise Land. However, after she wrote the jaunty, jazzy tune “Blue Sky Thinkin’,” it reawakened her love for swing era music. So, as she explains it, instead of doing another album with Neil Young or the early Rolling Stones as musical guideposts, McCue did one where Hoagy Carmichael, Billy Holliday, and George Gershwin served as her hallmarks.

McCue’s affection for this pre-rock music is evident in the disc’s gorgeously crafted songs; they sound so authentically vintage that you’ll be checking the credits to see what Tin Pan Alley tunesmith wrote them. “Things You Left Out in the Rain,” with its woozy horns punctuating McCue’s chanteuse-like purr, and “It Wasn’t Even Fun While It Lasted,” a lighthearted romp about heartbreak, suggest long lost gems that might have appeared in a ’30s musical. “Save a Life” evokes Peggy Lee’s smoky aura, while McCue professes that the acoustic blues “Cowgirl Blues” offers a nod to another of her favorite singers, Memphis Minnie.

Jim White vs. the Packway Handle Band

Southern-Gothic apostle reveals bluegrass side on his new Yep Roc Records release Take It Like A Man.

When Athens outfit the Packway Handle Band sought out Jim White to produce their new album, the quintet learned that White had a massive stash of bluegrass songs just waiting to be sprung on the world, and that they would make the perfect slingshot. “When I’d heard ’em play a couple of years earlier,” White says, “I muttered under my breath, ‘I wish I could have that much fun playing music.’ When they offered me the chance to produce, I thought, ‘How can I undermine this?’” The answer is Take It Like A Man, the new Yep Roc Records release by Jim White vs. the Packway Handle Band, due out January 27, 2015. Describing it as “a synthesis between their zany bluegrass sound and my long-suffering, implosive-depressive novelist view of the south,” White says it fulfills his “conniving goal to become a happy bluegrass man.”  The video below offers some insight into what these wild bluegrass rangers have in mind.

The Damnwells Sign with Rock Ridge Music

New album featuring original band line-up due out in April 2015

Indie rock band The Damnwells have inked a deal with Rock Ridge Music and will be releasing a new, self-titled album featuring the original four band members in April 2015. This is the first album since 2006 to include the original band lineup. (The original members of The Damnwells are Alex Dezen [lead vocals, guitar, piano], David Chernis [lead guitar], Ted Hudson [bass], and Steven Terry [drums/percussion].)

Follow Us Overboard

The Quick & Easy Boys Deliver an Excellent New LP

Portland, Oregon-based psychedelic rock/melodic-pop outfit The Quick & Easy Boys are gearing up to release their fourth full-length, Follow Us Overboard, which sounds like “The Beach Boys meets The BeeGees meets The Flaming Lips," according to the band.

The Quick & Easy Boys' Follow Us Overboard gets you shaking your hips and moving your feet, all courtesy of Los Lobos keyboardist/horn player and producer Steve Berlin.  Berlin recorded Follow Us Overboard at Modest Mouse mastermind Isaac Brock’s private studio, where Modest Mouse has been recording their next record for the past two years; The Quick & Easy Boys the first outside band to record there.

Comprised of vocalist/bassist Sean Badders, guitarist/vocalist Jimmy Russell, and newcomer Casey Anthony on drums, The Quick & Easy Boys set out to make a record that sounds like “The Beach Boys meets The BeeGees meets The Flaming Lips” and feel they nailed it on Follow Us Overboard’s fifteen songs.

“For this album we really went back to our roots and just said f**k it, lets just make the best album we can regardless of what the songs are or how it might be perceived,” he says. “I joke that its like the first album we did, only fifty times better due to increased musicianship, songwriting, and the help of Steve Berlin producing. Along with the songs we did with Steve, we have five or six songs I composed by myself on a multitrack program on my iPad that we ended up using on the album, kind of like in an interlude sense like on great hip-hop albums we grew up listening to in the 90s, minus the comedic skits.”

Christian Lopez Band Premieres "I Will See You Again" Video

Americana-rock group Christian Lopez Band is world premiering their video for “Will I See You Again” exclusively on CMT platforms. Starting on Tuesday, October 21st, fans can view the video on air on CMT Pure, as well as on CMT.com and via the CMT Artists mobile app. Having one foot planted in the folksy, fiery twang of modern-day Americana and the other inching toward the rootsy rock & roll of early Sun Records, the West Virginia-based band just released their debut EP, Pilot, on October 14th via Blaster Records. The EP was produced by Dave Cobb (the man behind critically-acclaimed Americana albums like Jason Isbell's Southeastern and Sturgill Simpson's Metamodern Sounds in Country Music)

 

Jack Hadley Releases His St. Louis Blues LP

Cool Coloradoan Taps the St. Louis Vibe

In some future life, I hope to be as cool as Colorado-based blues man Jack Hadley. Until that future time, I must be satisfied by some of what we do have in common, even in this life. He, for instance, is a great guitarist, and I have some guitars. He is a great singer, and I am able to make sounds come out of my throat. He is a San Francisco native, which is a town I lived in for years and can still hit with a rock from my current location. And he recorded his new album, The St. Louis Sessions, just a stone's throw from where I was born, just outside of East St. Louis, at Scott Air Base.   Jack wasn't playing the air base, but rather was playing at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups, and recording at Casa Del Torretta, where his performance was produced by Bob Lohr, recorded by Dave Torretta, and mastered by Matt Murman Mastering. The musicians were Jack Hadley/guitar, vocals, and The St. Louis Blues All-Stars: Bob Lohr/keyboards, Keith Robinson/drums, Terry Coleman/bass. All of the songs on the album were written by Jack Hadley except "That Dress" by Jack Hadley and Bob Lohr.

My point, with all those tenuous associations, is that as a music fan I relate to Jack Hadley in all kinds of positive ways. He represents a convergence of powerful energies, having to do with vocal and instrumental talent, a calm and soothing presence, personal charisma and style, great looks, and intellect. That last attribute is in evidence in all kinds of ways, including his contributions as a writer and leading figure in the Colorado Blues Society, which promotes the legacy of the Blues form with a bi-monthly publication. Jack writes many of those articles, interviewing blues musicians and providing the kinds of insights that only a touring pro of his caliber can. He spent years on the road with that very strange Blues dude Otis Taylor, so has a rich pool of experiences from which to draw inspiration.

Watch for Jack's new album on CD Baby and other outlets. Learn more about Jack Hadley at http://www.jackhadleymusic.net/index.html  - RAR

Jesse Winchester

Final Album of a Great Songwriter

Occasionally we get these final albums by highly respected songwriters (e.g., Johnny Cash, Warren Zevon) whose days are numbered, to everyone's knowledge, and so there is this sense that these final works represent a completion of whatever statement has been made by their careers. That's the thing about the great songwriters, who stay in our consciousness throughout all of the stages of their own personal lives, is that their bodies of work tend to add up to some set of basic musical messages. To me, Jesse Winchester was always writing meditations and beautiful observations on his experience of living, so any one of his albums could have been his last, and have been a beautiful tribute to his own soulful nature. A Reasonable Amount of Trouble does not come across as the work of a dying man - he was actually in remission from cancer when he recorded it - but it is the work of a wistful guy, whose heart was always somewhere back in his youth, in the 1950s, when guys sang acapella in doo-wop fashion and the world seemed filled with everyday wonder. Winchester's observations seemed to be those of a man in a dream. "Down around Biloxi, pretty girls are swimming in the sea..." "I don't even know where we are, they tell me we're circling a star..."

Performers of Jesse Winchester's generation have gone through an extraordinary re-emergence via YouTube videos. As the fortunes of working entertainers ebb and flow many of the favorites of our youth dropped off the radar screen until they began to catch up with new forms of media. The new videos many of these people have done are extraordinary before-and-after documents, and for me the rediscovery of Jesse Winchester as the artist he came to be in his mature form was inspiring. His voice and his extraordinary management of his emotions as a singer and musician became truly exceptional. He almost came across as an elevated spirit, in touch with something really deep and sustained. - RAR


 

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David Lane

David Lane has a new EP, Hello Georgia, which stands out for Lane's populist political themes, his crisp vocals, and the exceptional production qualities of the recording, which comes on the MuSick Recordings label. It would have been nice if Lane's press package mentioned the players on the EP, who do some stellar work. Lane worked with Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Member Roger Murrah, who produced the EP. As a Nashville-style recording project, it is top notch. The songs seem sincere, it possibly a little corny. Lane likes to do brief spoken parts, which may remind some of Harry Chapin's silliest moments. Great sounding record, though, easy to listen to. - RAR

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Wasted Wine vs. the Hypnosis Center

Wasted Wine’s sound has changed over the years and remains hard to classify. Much of their work shows the influence of frontman Robert Gowan’s classical background (especially his fondness for Bela Bartok and Kurt Weill) and co-founder Adam Murphy’s lifelong fascination with 1970s continental progressive rock obscurities (Ange, Alusa Fallax, Malicorne, Celeste), as well as a resolutely homemade, DIY approach to recording. Elements of doom metal, mid-century country music, psychedelia, hip-hop, and film music have made regular appearances.

Songs often feature Eastern European and Middle Eastern style melodies and harmonies, unpredictable arrangements, and cryptic lyrics delivered in theatrical style. Listeners have used terms like “gypsy” and “cabaret” to describe the sound, while some writers have invoked artists such as The Decemberists, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, or even Gogol Bordello.
Wasted Wine is a band based in Taylors, South Carolina. Originally established in 2006 as an acoustic “chamber folk” duo, the band has expanded over the years, picking up new members and performers. In the beginning, Robert Gowan and Adam Murphy wrote and performed hundreds of sparse, intricately arranged songs in coffee shops and small listening rooms in the Greenville, SC area. In sharp contrast to the guitar-slinging singer-songwriters that usually inhabited such spaces, the typical Wasted Wine show in this era found the two members lost on stage amidst a sea of nonstandard acoustic instruments–harmonium, bouzouki, bulbal tarang, nose flute, tuned wine glasses, glockenspiel, and percussion.

Eventually, spurred by a desire to move beyond the folk scene, Wasted Wine took the next step, inviting other members in to play and help realize the increasingly elaborate sound that Gowan and Murphy had been honing through years of multi-tracked home recording. Wasted Wine never abandoned its founders’ love for acoustic instruments, though, and began using the 3-piece rock band format as a new, harder-edged foundation for the duo’s instrument-hopping proclivities.
 

Sometime in the late 2000s, Gowan and Murphy found their first long-term sympathetic musical collaborators in guitarist Buck Dollars and bassist/vocalist Lou Buckingham. Originally another folk duo in the same vein as Gowan and Murphy but with backgrounds in punk and alternative rock scenes, the new members brought a new strength to the group’s sound. Dollars himself became a kind of mascot for the band, typically appearing in extravagant thrift-store garb with a signature hat displaying a dollar sign made from shredded money. After frustration with the conventional sensibilities of area drummers, the band found its first long-term percussionist in Judy Wong, a previous non-musician who under the bands’ direction proved a capable, creative compliment to the group’s peculiar sound.
 

Major changes occurred when Murphy moved to New York City in late 2009, prompting Gowan to take the lead as the band’s sole front man. Behind the scenes, though, the two founders continued to collaborate long-distance at the same prolific rate that characterized their early days, adding to an enormous backlog of songs and home recordings that continue to trickle out in the band’s repertoire and on albums and mixtapes (the group has a long history of releasing loosely-assembled, freely available compilations of non-album material, the most recent of which is The Earth Rejects Creation 3, released Halloween 2014). Murphy continued to perform occasionally with the band and joined Gowan, Dollars, Buckingham, and Wong for the sessions that eventually produced 2014’s Wasted Wine vs. the Hypnosis Center. Shortly after recording finished, Wong departed and was replaced by current drummer Tim DeLisle.
In its current incarnation, the band consists of front man/violinist/multi-instrumentalist Robert Gowan, guitarist Buck Dollars, bassist Lou Buckingham, and drummer Tim DeLisle, with occasional appearances by wayward vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Adam Murphy. Live, the band is often accompanied by Discordia Arts, who add theatrics, dance, fire, and more. Wasted Wine has performed extensively in and around the Greenville, SC tristate area (GA, NC, SC) and various venues up and down the east-coast. Self-recorded and prolific, the band present a deeply unique sound that resists categorization.

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Vinyl Turtles

60s pop enthusiasts, vinyl-philes and just plain old great music lovers of all ages will enjoy this new 45 boxed singles collection from iconic 60s band The Turtles. The band has released a box set of eight 7-inch vinyl singles celebrating their biggest hits from that decade. The Turtles 45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection was recently released via FloEdCo/Manifesto Records. The collection includes the #1 hit, “Happy Together,” and the band’s top 10 cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.” Also included are other various singles which should have been hits. The Turtles music exists somewhere between early 60s pop and the psychedelia of the latter part of the decade. This collection provides an opportunity for today’s vinyl enthusiast to relive the songs the way they first appeared; as 7- inch singles.

The band was often compared, back in the day, to acts such as The Beatles, The Byrds, and The Lovin’ Spoonful but upon listening to the Turtles body of work there is something unique and avant-garde about the songs. The Turtles formed in Los Angeles in 1965 and quickly scored a hit with their Dylan cover. This debut was the first in a series of top 40 charting singles in 1965 (“Let Me Be”) and 1966 (“You Baby”). But it isn’t just the hits that are worth a listen; some of their most interesting and innovative singles were not hits.

The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie tour annually. Visit their website for more information.

Jeff Austin

“This is it. This is the band. We’re here and we’re focused,” singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Jeff Austin says with glee. He’s referring to his handpicked ensemble, the Jeff Austin Band. The group features long-time collaborator Danny Barnes on banjo and guitar, guitarist Ross Martin, bass player Eric Thorin, and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars on percussion.

The Simple Truth, the group’s 2015 debut solo album and Austin’s first recording for Yep Roc records, is no simple affair. His legions of fans have long known of Austin’s eclectic musical influences. Here, instead of familiar jam band motifs, listeners will find hints of power pop, country ballads, bluegrass and rock. Assisting the band is an array of acclaimed guests including Todd Snider, Jenn Hartswick, Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee and Sarah Siskind.

Marcia Ball Releases Tattooed Lady

The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man is in stores and Marcia Ball is out touring in support. "Not that we haven’t been playing all over...all year long," writes Marcia in her newsletter. "We’ve had an exciting summer playing many of our favorite venues all over the country and we really appreciate seeing so many of you at our shows. Back in the spring we took a little time to concentrate on writing and recording the new CD. There are 11 originals on the new album and one cool Hank Ballard song, my excellent band and a couple of guests – Delbert McClinton, Terrence Simien, and Red Young on B-3. Our good friend Tom Hambridge who we originally met on Delbert’s Sandy Beaches Cruise produced.

Use this link to go to Amazon for Marcia Ball's new LP.

   

 

 

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