Posts Tagged folk

new music: Swarming Branch; Luca D’Alberto

 

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Swarming Branch, “Zsazsur’s Real Estate Song

Upbeat, catchy and quirky single. I get a bit of a Folk Implosion and OK Go vibe from this Columbus, Ohio based experimental electro/indie/folk project of singer/songwriter Andrew Graham, drummer Lon Leary and a rotating group of collaborating musicians. The new album from Swarming BranchSurreal Number— (SofaBurn Records) is out now. The album was produced by Rob Barbato (Drinks, Kevin Morby, Peaking Lights).

 

 

Luca D’Alberto, “Endless”

Full throttle new wave classical music in this gorgeous, atmospheric song. Luca D’Alberto is a classical composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist [violin, viola, violectra, cello and piano] from Italy. Endless [7K!] is out now. The album was produced by Martyn Heyne (Nils Frahm, Lubomir Melnyk, Peter Broderick, Tiny Ruins and The National).

About the album title, Luca said: “Endless is a secret place, a place where we can be free to remember everything, without being afraid, without limits. A place where we can let go of ourselves, without thinking, where we can allow our bodies to rest peacefully and find the courage to live the noisy silence of our lives.”

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new music: Connor Desai; Thayer Sarrano

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Connor Desai, “Killing the One Who Believed in Your Love”

— comfortable, soulful vocals combined with meaningful lyrics provides candor and intensity in this song about a woman’s independence and self-identity. Desai explained: “The decision to reclaim oneself often requires women to grieve someone who is still living, or an ideal which was part of them.”

Connor Desai earned a masters in teaching and works as a music teacher. The Seattle-based musician’s new EP, Sister, is out now. Feminists take note.

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Thayer Sarrano, “Thieves”

Thayer’s vocals sound a lot like Hope Sandoval and the song’s arrangements may remind listeners of Mazzy Star. The ethereal, swirly music instantly takes you to emotional depths both gloomy and exquisite.

Athens, GA-based psych/shoegaze/dream-pop artist Thayer Sarrano grew up in a seminary as well as the swamps of southern Georgia. Classically trained as a child, she writes poetry and instrumental compositions. She started collaborating with friends and worked as a studio/touring session player with of Montreal, Dead Confederate’s T. Hardy Morris, Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven, Dave Marr, David Barbe, Kuroma and more. Her new LP is called Shaky.

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show preview: Leyla McCalla at Davis Square Theatre on Friday, October 6 at 7pm

 

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The sophomore album–A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey— from multi-instrumentalist, multi-lingual singer Leyla McCalla is an emotional, stunning and impressive album to listen to again and again. It makes me want to immediately visit NOLA. There’s sadness, beauty, truth, bravery and hope in her gypsy jazz/ folk music. Haitian-American and NOLA resident McCalla [formerly of Carolina Chocolate Drops] uses her own experiences as well as interpreting Haitian, Cajun and Creole jazz and folk. Every song is magical but I particularly favor the lovely and heartbreaking version of the classic Creole slave song “Salangadou,” the plaintive “Les Plats Sont Tous Mis Sur la Table” and the aching “Let It Fall” as well as the thoughtful title track. Strings truly can speak from the soul.

Leyla McCalla at Davis Square Theatre, Somerville, Mass., Friday, October 6 at 7pm 

Davis Square Theatre

255 Elm St. Somerville, MA

Tickets: $20 General Admission
21+

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on tour: Chris Robinson Brotherhood

©Jay Blakesberg

©Jay Blakesberg

formed in 2011, Chris Robinson Brotherhood plays folksy, psychedelic, trippy, wandering, guitar-heavy, wandering songs that transport you to a transcendental state. The band wil tour in support of its fourth studio album, Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel, out now via Robinson’s Silver Arrow Records. The band plays two Boston dates at Paradise Rock Club on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1.

 

TOUR DATES:

August 28 – Arrington, VA – LOCKN’ Festival
September 16 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
September 18 – Scranton, PA – Outlaw Music Festival
September 21 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
September 23 – Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot
September 24 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Rex Theater
September 25 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
September 26 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
September 29 – Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theater
September 30 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
October 1 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
October 2 – Syracuse, NY – The Westcott Theater
October 4 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
October 6 – Cincinnati, OH – 20th Century Theater
October 7 – Nashville, TN – Cannery Ballroom
October 8 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note
October 9 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
October 11 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
October 13 – Indianapolis, IN – Deluxe At The Old National Centre
October 14 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
October 15 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
October 16 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom
October 19 – Bloomington, IL – Castle Theatre
October 20 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
October 21 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre
October 22 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
October 23 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
November 9 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
November 11 – Columbia, SC – Music Farm
November 12 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
November 18 – Westbury, NY – The Space at Westbury
November 19 – Port Chester, NY – The Capitol Theatre
November 29 – Missoula, MT – The Wilma Theater
December 1 – Sandpoint, ID – The Hive
December 2 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
December 3 – Portland, OR – Revolution Bar & Music Hall
December 4 – Eugene, OR – HiFi Music Hall
December 6 – Sacramento, CA – Ace Of Spades
December 8 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
December 9 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
December 10 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore

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show preview: Stains of a Sunflower at Lily Pad tonight, July 1, 2016

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Stains of a Sunflower is a Boston-based funk-folk band started by California native Natalie Renee. Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers so the band name intrigued me. Natalie explained: “Stains of a Sunflower was inspired by a poem by Allen Ginsberg, called “Sunflower Sutra.” Essentially, the poem instills self-confidence and self-love during times of challenges and obstacles in life. In the grand scheme of things, life is a huge obstacle and the poem explores the beauty in that; the beauty in between. What we try to do with our music is make people feel vulnerable, uncomfortable, and comfortable, proud and filled with love and acceptance, all at the same time.” A beautiful sentiment and mission statement for music. This young band infuses soulfulness and honesty with a jazz, folk and funk melodies. Reminds me a bit of Berklee grad Lila and Norah Jones. Stains of a Sunflower released its debut album February in April 2016.

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Stains of a Sunflower is:

Natalie Renee [vocals/guitar]

Alex Michael Jones [guitar]

Dan Soghomonian [bass]

Shade Tramp [drums]

Stains of a Sunflower –Lily Pad—Friday, July 1, 2016– will be joined by In Ivy and Atlas Lab. Doors at 7pm.

venue info:

Lily Pad

1353 Cambridge Street

Cambridge, Mass.

 

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new music: George Sarah; David Trull

George Sarah, “Min and Sarah”

Just the relaxing, exuberant song I need right now. Exquisitely emotional, positive vibes and pure art. A talented Los Angeles electronic composer and multi-instrumentalist for 30 years, George Sarah has scored 28 episodes for the Discovery network. What a lovely, perfect pairing. He creates songs using a bank of synthesizers and drum machines as well as a trio of live strings. Gorgeous. The upcoming EP Min and Sarah [Flat Field Records] is out June 17, 2016.

 

David Trull, “Dark Magic”

Honest bluesy folk from St. Louis based indie singer-songwriter David Trull. Soulful vocals and melancholy arrangements effectively swirl about on this track from Trull’s debut album Coin Toss. For creative inspiration, Trull quit his office job to tackle the Camino de Santiago– an ancient 500 mile pilgrimage route across France and Spain. This song makes you want to wander about and admire your surroundings. To be in the moment.

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show preview: Rachel Garlin at Club Passim on June 5, 2016 to benefit Mothers Out Front

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Bay Area singer/songwriter and Harvard College alumna Rachel Garlin will play a benefit show for Mothers Out Front at Club Passim on June 5, 2016. She will perform songs from her forthcoming album Hello Again. Two decades ago the folk singer covered the Pete Seeger song “Come Early Morning” at an open mic in Harvard Square which kick-started her music career. The song “Alternative Fuel” aired on the popular NPR “Car Talk” was featured in the independent film Fuel, an audience choice winner at Sundance.

 

The show benefits Mothers Out Front–a sustainable climate organization [which has an active Cambridge chapter] with an energy focus on “efficiency and conservation as well as solar, wind, geothermal, and small hydropower.” Garlin’s effort to support Mothers Out Front through a show is part of a lifelong effort to lend her music to social causes for a better world.

Tickets available here for Rachel Garlin at Club Passim in Cambridge, Mass. on June 5, 2016

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show preview: Skinny Lister at Middle East Nightclub Thursday, September 24

  

  
British six-piece folk act Skinny Lister formed in 2009 after meeting at clubs in Greenwich. High energy folk with varied instrumentation. If you’re a Frank Turner fan you’ll surely appreciate Skinny Lister’s blend of the political and the social.

Skinny Lister is: 

Dan Heptinstall – vocals, guitar, and stomp box (July 2009–present)

Max Thomas – melodeon, mandolin and vocals (July 2009–present)

Lorna Thomas – lead vocals (July 2009–present)

Michael Camino – double bass and vocals (October 2012–present)

Thom Mills – drums (March 2014–present)

Sam “Mule” Brace: guitar, concertina, vocals (July 2009- March 2013, September 2014–present) mandolin (2014–present)

discography: 

Forge & Flagon (2012)

Down on Deptford Broadway (2015)

Skinny Lister perform at The Middle East Club Thursday, September 24.

venue:

MIDDLE EAST

480 MASSACHUSETTS AVE

CAMBRIDGE, MA

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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

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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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