Posts Tagged Americana

music review: The Lone Bellow

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If asked about my musical tastes I gravitate mostly toward darker, goth female artists but have a soft spot for the flannel boys of Americana –bands like The Avett Brothers and Band of Horses. Sometimes I dig those rootsier beats. The Lone Bellow album Walk Into a Storm has me swaying and swooning in my Doc Martens. Note to self: find some flannel shirts at Goodwill. Maybe bring back my 90s wardrobe of flannel and jean shorts with tights. There are plenty of heartfelt and poignant songs on this album enveloping you in a big auditory hug. Things are tough. Despite challenges and adversities we’ll be okay if we stick together. And the power of music can lift our spirits and open our hearts. The opening track swiftly draws you in and digs deep. It’s moving, particularly with Kanene Pipkin joining Zachary Williams on the chorus. I particularly like these lyrics: “I’ve got no sickness/ Got no disease/ Except for the heart inside of me.”  The song “Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy” reminds me a bit of Chris Robinson Brotherhood both in twangy guitar and earthy vibes.  “May You May Well” is a hopeful meditative song. There’s an aching beauty to “Come Break My Heart Again” with Williams singing: “Come break my heart again/ So I can feel it /I think you need it/ I know you mean it…” A swaying and feverish beat anchors “Time’s Always Leaving.”

The Lone Bellow’s third studio album, Walk Into A Storm [Descendant Records/Sony Music Masterworks] was produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell) and recorded in Nashville, Tenn. It will be released September 15, 2017.

WALK INTO A STORM TRACK LISTING:

  1. Deeper In The Water
  2. Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy
  3. May You Be Well
  4. Come Break My Heart Again
  5. Feather
  6. Walk Into A Storm
  7. Time’s Always Leaving
  8. Can’t Be Happy For Long
  9. Between The Lines
  10. Long Way To Go

The Lone Bellow will kick off a tour in support of their new album on September 21 in New York.

TOUR DATES:

Sept 21 – Central Park Summerstage – New York, NY#

Sept 23 – Farm to Fork Festival- Sacramento, CA

Sept 29 – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC ^

Sept 30 – Riverfront Park Concert Series – Lynchburg, VA

Oct 01 – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH^

Oct 02 – Opera House – Toronto, ONT^

Oct 03 – El Club – Detroit, MI^

Oct 05 – Lincoln Theatre – Columbus, OH ^

Oct 06 – Dave Finkelman Auditorium – Middletown, OH ^

Oct 07 – Headliners Music Hall – Louisville, KY^

Oct 08 – Deluxe at Old National Center – Indianapolis, IN

Oct 10 – Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL^

Oct 11- Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL^

Oct 13 – Majestic Theatre – Madison, WI ^

Oct 14 – The Englert Theatre – Iowa City, IA ^

Oct 15 – Fine Line Music Cafe – Minneapolis, MN ^

Nov 01 – Bijou Theater – Knoxville, TN*

Nov 02 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA*

Nov 05 – Iron City Birmingham – Birmingham, AL*

Nov 06 – Charleston Music Hall – Charleston, SC*

Nov 07 – Neighborhood Theatre – Charlotte, NC*

Nov 09 – Haw River Ballroom – Saxapahaw, NC*

Nov 10 – 9:30 Club – Washington D.C.*

Nov 12 – Infinity Hall Hartford – Hartford, CT*

Nov 14 – State Theatre – Portland, ME*

Nov 15 – House of Blues – Boston, MA*

Nov 16 – Higher Ground – South Burlington, VT*

Nov 17 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA*

#Supporting The Head And The Heart

*w/ The Wild Reeds

^w/ Mt. Joy

 

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on tour: Chris Robinson Brotherhood

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Chris Robinson Brotherhood will tour in support of new album Barefoot in the Head and will be playing House of Blues Boston on August 19, 2017. Chris Robinson said: “The music that we make, the concerts that we play, it’s this world we’ve created for ourselves and our people. We want everybody to understand that no matter where you are in your life that you can always be barefoot in your head. There’s always this other place you can go. Is that place it real? That’s your decision to make, what you’re going to let be real to you.”

$29.50-$45, Thursday, August 19, House of Blues Boston, 15 Landsdowne Street, Boston, Mass., houseofblues.com.

TOUR DATES

August 5 – Petaluma, CA – Petaluma Music Festival
August 9 – Wilmington, NC – Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre
August 10 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
August 11 – Virginia Beach, VA – Shakas
August 12 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theatre
August 13 – Annapolis, MD – Rams Head On Stage
August 15 – Portsmouth, NH – The Music Hall
August 17 – Manunuck, RI – Ocean Mist
August 18 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony Summerstage **
August 19 – Boston, MA – House of Blues **
August 20 – Holyoke, MA – Gateway City Arts
August 22 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Small’s Theatre
August 23 – State College, PA – The State Theatre
August 24 – Ithaca, NY – The Haunt
August 25 – Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theater
August 26 – Washington, DC – The 9:30 Club
September 7 – Pompano Beach, FL – Pompano Beach Amphitheater *
September 8 – St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheater *
September 9 – St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Landing *
September 10 – Orlando, FL – The Social
September 12 – Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall
September 14 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
September 15 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
September 16 – Macon, GA – Cox Capitol Theatre
September 17 – New Orleans, LA – The Civic Theatre
September 19 – Chattanooga, TN – Revelry Room
September 21 – Oxford, MS – The Lyric Oxford
September 22 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre
September 23 – Louisville, KY – Bourbon & Beyond Festival
September 24 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre
September 26 – Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger
September 28 – Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall
September 29 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
September 30 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
October 1 – Nashville, TN – Third & Lindsley
October 3 – Augusta, GA – Sky City
October 5 – Norfolk, CT – Infinity Hall
October 6 – Ardmore, PA – Ardmore Music Hall
October 7 – Ardmore, PA – Ardmore Music Hall
October 27 – Placerville, CA – Hangtown Music Festival
October 29 – Santa Barbara, CA – Lobero Theatre
October 31 – Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre
November 2 – Westbury, NY – The Space at Westbury
November 3 – Port Chester, NY – Capitol Theatre
November 4 – Hartford, CT – Infinity Hall
November 5 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
November 7 – Portland, ME – Port City Music Hall
November 9 – Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre
November 10 – Niagara, NY – Seneca Niagara Casino & Resort
November 11 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
November 12 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
November 14 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
November 16 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Cafe
November 17 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom
November 18 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
November 19 – Madison, WI – Barrymore Theatre
December 2 – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall
December 3 – Seattle, WA – The Neptune Theatre
December 5 – Santa Cruz, CA – Historic Cocoanut Grove Ballroom
December 7 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
December 8 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues San Diego
December 10 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theatre
December 12 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades

* w/ Blackberry Smoke
** w/ Donavon Frankenreiter

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new music: Jason Wilber; Samantha Urbani

jason wilber

Wistful, upbeat and comforting, it’s kick back with a beer or a glass of wine and soak it in music from a talented songwriter and guitarist. Indie-folk/Americana artist (and longtime John Prine guitarist) Jason Wilber will release a new album, Reaction Time, on August 11, 2017. His music is in the vein of Neil Young, Replacements, Father John Misty, Son Volt and Old 97s.

The Bloomington, Indiana-based musician said:

“Making records, for me, is a process of discovery. Often, the song you thought was gonna be great turns out to be okay, and the one you thought was just okay turns into something amazing. And that’s because of all the collaboration—with the producer, with all the other musicians—and also the unknown, the mystery of what’s gonna unfold when you start working on a song. You can never predict what’s gonna happen. So as you go through the process, you have to keep your ears open for the things that are magic.”

Looking for a fun, catchy summer song? With sweet vocals and heavy beats this is a good choice. New York pop singer Samantha Urbani wrote, recorded and co-produced the song and directed the video. Urbani is the front-woman for conceptual punk pop band friends and this is her solo project. Urbani said “Go Deeper” is about “how necessary visibility and accountability are – getting to the bottom of things, transformatively: the harder it is, the more worth it. The only way out is to go through.” Debut EP out soon.

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STEELE INTERVIEWS: Beth Bombara

Credit: Nate Burrell

Credit: Nate Burrell

St. Louis, Missouri-based musician Beth Bombara creates Americana/folk songs with bluesy undertones and earthy vocals. Growing up in Grand Rapids, Mich., Bombara played in a punk band in high school The 32-year-old singer/songwriter moved from Michigan to St. Louis in 2007 to embark on a solo music career. Her musician/producer husband Kit Hamon collaborated on her moving and diverse self-titled fifth album. The recurring themes are existentialism and travel. Quite thoughtful and provocative. She’s currently on tour and plays Club Passim in Harvard Square tonight.

I spoke with Beth Bombara during one of her days off.

Amy Steele: How’s the tour going?

Beth Bombara: It’s been a lot of fun so far.

Amy Steele: How did you get into music and singing and playing instruments?

Beth Bombara: There were always instruments around my house. We had a piano and my mom had a guitar. I was just really into music and teaching myself how to play guitar. I met some kids that wanted to start bands and it was something I always remembered doing.

Amy Steele: What do you like about being a solo artist?

Beth Bombara: I like both but I like playing with a band, in terms of having more band members to play with. In some ways it’s more fun because I don’t have to carry as much weight. I can just focus on singing more and maybe move around stage a little more. I like both. They’re just different. The band aspect there’s more collaboration. Solo. I’m rarely just playing me alone. Usually I have at least my husband playing bass with me.

Amy Steele: You moved to St. Louis in 2007. How has the music scene had an influence on your music now?

Before I moved to St. Louis I was in rock bands and went to a lot of sweaty basement shows and it was fun. I guess that can tie back into why I got into playing music in the first place. It was so fun to go see live music as a teenager. There’s a raw energy and getting to be part of that was fun. I was enamored with instruments and melody. When I moved to St. Louis, I really started experiencing music in the Americana roots music genre and even some blues. It was this perfect evolution of these things coming together. Moving to this place that roots and blues and heritage. A lot of folk coming out of the Ozark mountains. Banjo players and things like that. It definitely had a big influence. Examples of bands that played a part in my evolution after moving to St. Louis: Wilco; Uncle Tupelo; and more underground bands like The Rum Drum Ramblers (who are now a part of Pokey LaFarge’s band); and the Hooten Hallers.

Amy Steele: What makes you work well with your husband, to produce and collaborate on the album?

We have different ideas about things. We come at things from different perspectives. We might not always agree but we realize each perspective is valid. Having a certain respect enables us to use that different perspectives to find the best thing for the song.

Amy Steele: What do you think makes a good song?

Beth Bombara: I feel like the best songs are deceivingly simple if that makes sense. It can’t seem too forced. Simplicity makes good songs. Lyrics that are simple and a melody that is simple but also says something in a brief way .

Amy Steele: Let’s talk about some songs. What they’re about or what the writing process was like.

Amy Steele: “Promised Land”

Beth Bombara: It describes a point in life where I thought that a lot of things are unknown. It’s kinda scary when you don’t know, to plan things, to get a vision for what you’re doing. That definitely came from a place of uncertainty. Feeling this is kind of scary but we have to go into this darkness, unknown and it’s good to do with someone who supports you.

Amy Steele: “Give Me Something”

Beth Bombara: The writing of that was interesting: I did that as a writing experiment where I gave myself only a couple of days to write and record it. It’s kind of an anomaly in my songwriting. I didn’t have a specific idea. It was more stream of consciousness. It speaks to that whole cycle of getting to know somebody and feeling like you’re close and then that’s gone and navigating that.

Amy Steele: “Great the Day”

Beth Bombara: It kind of embodies my mantra. My philosophy. My life philosophy. So many things happen in life that we can’t control. We’re going to experience happiness, we’re going to experience sadness and you have to take that all with a grain of salt and support each other.

Amy Steele: “It Slips Away”

Beth Bombara: I feel like I was in the same emotional state with that song as I was when I wrote “Promised Land.” You’re on a journey and things are a little bit uncertain. Questioning yourself. Did I do the right thing? Am I headed in the right direction?

Amy Steele: What are your greatest challenges?

Beth Bombara: It’s challenging to be a singer/songwriter but not to get stuck in that box. Especially as a female singer/songwriter people have expectations about that. I’m going to show up to a gig with an acoustic guitar or a piano. And those stereotypes are hard to shake off. It’s only hard for me in my mindset. I don’t think it effects how I write songs. It’s just something I run into sometimes.

Amy Steele: What do you like best about being a musician?

Beth Bombara: I like the spontaneity. There are a lot of different areas where being a musician is spontaneous whether on stage playing a song and something happens you didn’t expect to happen. Collaborating with other musicians. I always enjoy that. Getting to meet a lot of people.

I enjoy creating songs. I think that speaks to my personality. I think I’m a maker. I like to make things. I like to garden. I like to screen-print. All these things I like to do have to do with building things. Creating something from nothing.

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music review: Joshua Fletcher

joshuafletcher_readyaim_coverart

Nashville-based and former ATL resident, Joshua Fletcher created a bevy of moving alt-folk songs with heart and his baritone vocals. “The Eye and the Storm” is a romantic song with lyrics such as “I get so caught up in your eyes, in the shapes of your smile, in the way the rain comes awash in the blues. I get so caught up in your lips, in the songs of your hips . . .” Beats pick-up on the full band, infectious drumming and harmonica-infused “We are All Alone.” Whispery tender vocals on “To Find Your Name.” Then there’s the compelling arrangement of “Wheels.”

There’s enough variety but definitely a distinctive flair to Fletcher’s songs– a bit wistful, definitely thoughtful and eminently passionate. He sings about relationships and being alone and belonging. Lovely songwriting and a beautiful album. This is what to listen to hanging out on the back porch or during a romantic dinner. Portland, Oregon-based The Damnwells’ Alex Dezen produced the album.

Joshua Fletcher
Ready, Aim
In Music We Trust
Release date: May 26, 2015

RECOMMENDATION: BUY/Download NOW

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music review: Callaghan

A History of Now - Album Cover HIGH RES

Singer/songwriter Callaghan moved to the United States from London in 2010. She blends Americana, folk and pop in her cheerful songs. I call it alt-country. Her sophomore album A History of Now will definitely make you feel 10% happier after listening to it. “We are all, right now, writing a story which will one day fascinate someone,” Callaghan says. “The way we live, the decisions we make, and the moments of hope, grief and happiness which punctuate all our lives will one day make someone stop, think and wonder. All of us are writing our own ‘history of now.’”

The running theme throughout A History of Now is mindfulness and everything’s okay. There’s the toe-tapping opening track “Best Year” that just oozes optimism—“this could be the best year of our lives/ tear up the rule book leave it all behind/ work all day til you close your eyes/ let’s get out of this town/find some bluer skies.” Catchy beats and a cool arrangement usher in “We Don’t Have to Change the World.” Sometimes you get a Shania Twain vibe with Callaghan, like on the track “Crazy Beautiful Life.” It’s an up-tempo optimistic track that’s both catchy and thoughtful. Both strong women with the ability to cross genres and be expressive. A favorite song is “Free to Be” — an exuberant celebration of being yourself complete with an invigorating tempo and infectious lyrics. Sometimes Callaghan gets dreamy and pensive. There’s the wistful “I’ll Take You Away” and the romantic, makes-you-feel-like-slow-dancing, country twinged “When You Loved Me” and gorgeous arrangement and aching vocals of “Lost.” Thoughtful lyrics and lovely arrangements combined with diverse emotive vocals conveys empathy and sentiment. Callaghan scores again with her sophomore album.

Callaghan
A History of Now
Release date: April 7th 2015

RECOMMENDATION: BUY IT

purchase at Amazon: History of Now

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music review: Colleens

Colleens - Wild Dreams - Album Cover

who:

Josh Harter [singer/songwriter/guitarist]
Jon Harter [drums]
Deric Wynne [bass]
Jackson Floyd [guitar]

Colleens debut album understandably sounds polished and professional. Josh and Jon Harter’s father Keith, a composer, owns San Antonio-based KHM Studios where the brothers work as recording engineers and producers which gives them an inside edge into music production and sound.They’ve been working in the business and know what works and what doesn’t. Fantastic musicianship immediately stands out on “About You.” The album’s brimming with clear, crisp guitar chords, bass lines, soothing vocals and harmonizing. I’m a goner for soothing vocals and alt-folk/ Americana bands with a bunch of bearded dudes. Lovely melodies on “Maybe We’ll Fall in Love.” When they break into wah-wah [“Do You Remember Love?”] and guitar blitzes you get why they’re tagged more psych-Americana and that’s cool. Colleens is also melodious, gentle with 60s and 70s classic pop-inspired flair like on the fantastic “Sun Before I Set.” Impressive 30-minute debut album. I’m looking forward to catching these guys live.

album: Wild Dreams [February 4, 2014]

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