Posts Tagged ‘Acoustic’

Micah OlsanMilwaukee-based singer-songwriter Micah Olsan has gone through several stages in his musical career. And with those stages came different musical influences that helped flavor his music. Throughout his career, Olsan has performed with a band called The Many and he has performed on his own as a solo artist. But with each stage comes a different style and sound to Olsan’s music. And currently, Micah Olsan is in the middle of promoting a new EP of music that features a solo sound and style largely influenced by Folk music. The new 4-song EP from Micah Olsan is entitled Open Space.

Where the previous releases from Micah Olsan featured the singer-songwriter performing with an entire band as was the case with the All Around release featuring Micah Olsan and The Many, the new EP features a much simpler style to the music. The Open Space EP features Olsan in a solo setting as he writes music that contains a solid Folk influence created around an acoustic feel.

Open Space from Micah Olsan begins with the title track to the EP. “Open Space” is a track that takes Olsan’s music back a few decades as the style of the track feels like it would fit in perfectly with songs from the late sixties, early seventies on AM radio. The music for the track brings to mind artists such as John Prine and/or Tom Paxton. The simple guitar approach on the track is amplified when the steel guitar is added to the track. The guitar/steel guitar combination creates a song that is instantly listener friendly. “Open Space” is a great track to start off the new EP from Olsan.

Micah Olsan’s Open Space EP continues with the track “To the Moon”.  While the previous track features a throwback feel to the music, the track “To the Moon” has a very modern feel with the influences to the song including Jack Johnson and/or Ray Lamontagne. “To the Moon” contains a soothing, almost jazzy feel to the music which is helped along with the inclusion of the flute on the track. “To the Moon” finds Olsan in a rather romantic mood on the track as he creates lyrics with very poetic appeal to them. The combination of the jazz/folk music and the poetic lyrics help to create a track that comes across as “poetry set to music”.

With the next track on the EP, Micah Olsan changes the direction of his music. While the previous songs were created around an acoustic guitar, the track called “Dollar” is centered on a lightly played electric guitar that is accompanied by an acoustic guitar. While the acoustic guitar on the track creates the rhythm for the track, the electric guitar is what truly makes the track. The combination of the electric and acoustic guitar ends up creating a track that takes on a slightly exotic island-like feel to the music. The inclusion of the saxophone on the track also gives the track a little ambiance that matches up well with the aforementioned island feel. The “Dollar” track ultimately feels like something from brothers Santo and Johnny Farina of “Sleepwalk” fame if they had become known for songs that featured lyrics.

The newest release from Micah Olsan comes to a close with the track “Palace of the Setting Sun”. Olsan brings his new EP to a close with the song that contains the most production quality of any track on the release. “Palace of the Setting Sun” begins with an extended instrumental break featuring the guitar work of Olsan. The fingerpicking from Micah Olsan creates an acoustic track with a jazzy approach thanks to the acoustic guitar. The inclusion of a little reverb on the track adds a little texture to the otherwise laidback music. The track feels rather expansive through its six-minute playtime. The extended time allows for the singer-songwriter to show off his picking style on the track. While the track contains the longest playtime on the EP, Olsan’s playing keeps the listener enthralled during the longer-than-usual track.

During his time as a singer-songwriter, Micah Olsan keeps evolving and changing his style. With his latest folk-based EP called Open Space, Olsan takes his music in a much different direction than it’s ever been in before. And the softer, gentler side of Olsan shows off a very different side of the artist. The five tracks on the album are nicely varied while keeping that lighter approach on the music.

To get a taste of Micah Olsan’s new EP called Open Space, check out the EP’s title track HERE

For more information, check out Micah Olsan’s PR firm, NoVo Management and Publicity

The ShrimpsBritish-born brothers Marcus and Simon Benjamin came to the music world after spending a good amount of their lives doing other things that were as far from music as you can get. Marcus in fashion and film industries while Simon was in publishing. But eventually, the brothers found themselves looking for something more. Teaming up, they started a duo of their own creating music with a straight-out Acoustic Rock feel to it. Together, the Benjamin Brothers perform as The Shrimps. Having already put out several other releases, the brothers are currently celebrating their most recent album entitled Abstracts and Keywords.

Abstracts and Keywords from The Shrimps begins with the track “Aim with the Arrow”. The track begins with a simple acoustic guitar approach that would work for just two musicians. However, with the addition of a bass part as well as the keyboards, the resulting track contains a lot more substance. While the track could have been a normal “unplugged” acoustic sound, Marcus and Simon Benjamin create a track with a lot of energy.

The new release from The Shrimps continues with the song “Make it Better”. While the previous track on the album was a track with an acoustic rock feel, “Make it Better” shows off a slightly different side to the duo’s music. The track moves from Acoustic Rock to a more folk-like approach to the music. The Folk-Rock approach finds the brothers adding mandolin to the guitars to achieve that Folk-Rock sound. With this sound, the duo of Marcus and Simon Benjamin create a track that contains a hefty amount of British Invasion style. Not surprising, since the New York City-based brothers used to call Great Britain home.

For the track “Life We Live,” Marcus and Simon Benjamin bring the music back to a more Acoustic Rock feel. In fact, with this song, the brothers once again seem to bring a little British Invasion feel to the music. The main guitar part of the track seems to have a bit of influence from the playing of one Pete Townsend in a playing style that brings to mind the acoustic guitar part to the song “Pinball Wizard”. “Life We Live” is one of the more energetic and upbeat tracks on the new album from The Shrimps.

One of the strongest tracks on the  album from The Shrimps is the song “Rebels”. The duo of Marcus and Simon Benjamin create a track with a rather strong groove in the Acoustic Rock that makes up the track. With the inclusion of a light organ and the flute in the background, “Rebels” ends up being one track that separates itself from the rest of the album. The track would feel right at home during the seventies as plenty of other bands at the times were creating songs just like.

As all of the tracks on the new release of Abstracts and Keywords from The Shrimps are acoustic in nature and are all rather similar in the quality of their sound, the best tracks on the album are the ones where the instrumentation seems to be layered, creating a richer, fuller sound to the music. One such track that stands out because of the instrumentation is the song “Top of the World”. The track begins as guitar, bass and mandolin all combine to create the music for the track. Then, the lyrics come in about thirty seconds in. The combination of the music and the lyrics create a beautiful song about being with the one you love. “Top of the World” is easily one of the strongest moments on the album.

Marcus and Simon Benjamin bring the newest album of Abstracts and Keywords from The Shrimps to an end with the track “In the Moon”. The track begins with just the guitar before the rest of the instrumentation slowly help to build the song. The song resulting track contains a musical feel that brings to mind songs from the sixties while not feeling dated.

Throughout Abstracts and Keywords from The Shrimps, the Benjamin Brothers have put together an album that is rather simple in its musical content as each of the tracks feature very few instruments. That simplistic way of making the songs actually help to create an album that allows the listener to truly enjoy both the musical and lyrical content of the songs and it also proves that something does not have to be overly complicated to be good.

For more information on the band and their music, check out the band’s Facebook profile.

 

Andrew WiscombeSalt Lake City’s Andrew Wiscombe is not your average singer-songwriter. In fact, while music had been a part of Wiscombe’s life (he’s Berklee-trained), it wasn’t until he left the military where he had served as an Army sniper in Iraq that music truly played a pivotal part in his life. The introduction of music into Wiscombe’s life was a way for the ex-military officer to help with the PTSD that he had been dealing with since getting out of the service so that he could focus on other things, such as his family life.

Andrew Wiscombe’s style of writing is largely based in folk-rock that will remind many of songs from Bob Dylan… but with a lot more of a personal connection in them. Where Dylan may have sung about the atrocities of war, Andrew Wiscombe lived through them. And that personal connection shows in his music as Wiscombe takes the listener to places where only a person who experienced the real life situations could.

While some of the tracks written by Andrew Wiscombe deal with the heaviness of war, Wiscombe ventures into other directions that are much less uneasy but with just as much intensity to their subject matter. As a matter of fact, Andrew Wiscombe writes his songs with a style that makes each song feel like a real-life story. That realistic songwriting approach can be found on each of Andrew Wiscombe’s CDs.

Having already released Stories from Southpaw and The River, The Lark, The Pine, Andrew Wiscombe is currently promoting a brand new EP. That new release is entitled Indiana. With his previous releases, Andrew Wiscombe created each song with a very minimalistic approach with mainly just his guitar and his harmonica. For the Indiana EP, Wiscombe continued that basic idea but added Ben Carey on bass to help add some depth to the on the release. That additional element gives some of the tracks more body but still allows for a simplistic sound to Wiscombe’s music.

The first track on the new EP from Wiscombe is the song “Jinglin’ Jack”. Based deep in the ideals of Folk music and folklore, “Jinglin’ Jack” finds Wiscombe creating a track that has a very strong talltale approach to the lyrics. The story contained within the lyrics is about a man who comes to town only to be misunderstood by the townsfolk as they come to think something different about the man than the truth would actually come to show. It’s only after they chase him out of town that they realize who the man was. “Jinglin’ Jack” from Wiscombe ends up being a perfect example of “never judge a book by its cover because you’ll probably miss out on something.”

With the next song of “On the Run,” Wiscombe changes up the feel of the music. While most of the material from Wiscombe is very simplistic, this track takes the folk feel of his music and adds a lot of energy to the music of the track. The Folk-Rock track stands out rather loudly because of the energy included on the track which includes an electric guitar to help add to that energy level. The folk-rock song of “On the Run” could easily find its way onto modern-day Country radio formats.

Another track that finds Wiscombe adding Country to his new EP is the release’s title track. “Indiana” features a slow, easy pace to the Country/Folk music. As you listen to the track, you feel as if you’re listening to a story. The storyline deals with the everyday lives of men and women who call Indiana home. The simple feel of the track is what makes it easy to listen to.

The newest release from Andrew Wiscombe comes to an end with a new rendition of perhaps the strongest track off of the album The River, The Lark, The Pine. The track is entitled “Holdin’ a Ghost”. While other songs from Wiscombe’s may deal with stories about other individuals, “Holdin’ a Ghost” is very close to Wiscombe’s life since the title comes from a statement made by his wife Kate. As she held him close, she felt that his mind was a million miles away. It felt as if she had been “holding a ghost”. The emotional tug caused by the lyrics makes the song one of the strongest in Andrew Wiscombe’s personal library. It also helps to bring Indiana to a close on a very strong note.

Indiana from Andrew Wiscombe will be released on June 2nd, 2017. Until then, check out the track “Holdin’ a Ghost“.

As an ex-soldier who turned to music to help with his PTSD, Andrew Wiscombe soon found out about others who were also using music as a way to help cope with the stress that comes from combat. Together, they joined Operation Encore, an organization that helps give ex-military and military spouses a musical outlet to deal with inner demons. The organization also gives its members a new way to make a living. For more information on Operation Encore and everything it’s about, check out the organization’s website.

 

 

Singer-songwriter Steve Nick is an up-and-coming artist that is currently gaining speed as he releases his music to the world. Having already written over one hundred songs, Nick is currently promoting a new acoustic release that will be entitled “Unplugged”. As a way of promoting the new release, Nick has released the first single off of the release entitled “The Shadow of Your Eyes”. The track comes with a very simple acoustic rock approach to its sound. With the track being acoustic, “The Shadow of Your Eyes” consists simply of Steve Nick and his guitar and no other instruments. With only vocals and guitar, the simple track allows the song from Steve Nick to come through. The clear delivery in the vocals from Steve Nick may remind some of rock and roll singers from the eighties. Because of the simple nature of the music on the track, the music for the track finds Nick borrowing from any number of musical eras for the song. It is the strong guitar work on the song that shows off the talent of Nick as a musician. His guitar work for the song feels very timeless. As a result, the music for “The Shadow of Your Eyes” could have come from the eighties, nineties or today and could fit onto any number of radio formats. Together, the guitar work from Steve Nick, his vocal ability and the feel of the song itself all come together to create a track that is simplistic in nature and yet also gives the listener a really nice indication of what the entire “Unplugged” release sounds like.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin

Rating: ***** (five stars)

Antigone Rising is a Country Rock band from New York. Having been founded by sisters Cathy Henderson and Kristen Ellis-Henderson, the band has had their share of time in the spotlight for their music and other causes that are close to their hearts. The band is known mainly for their 2005 release From the Ground Up. Having had other members come and go through the band, Antigone Rising now consists of: Nini Camps – lead vocals, rhythm guitar; Kristen Ellis-Henderson – bass guitar, vocals; Cathy Henderson – lead guitar, vocals and Dena Tauriello-drums. With an ever-increasing library of musical releases, the band is currently promoting their newest release; a five-song EP entitled Whiskey and Wine Vol. II.

Whiskey and Wine Vol. II from Antigone Rising begins with the hard-rocking track called “Game Changer”. The track begins with a beat that will instantly draw you into the band’s music. The call-and-respond vocals from Nini Camps and the rest of the band at the beginning of the track will remind the listener of something from the Girl Groups like The Supremes or The Ronettes before Antigone Rising takes the track in a more rock and roll-inspired direction that makes the song feel like a true anthem for today’s people who want something more in the world.

The newest release from Antigone Rising continues with the track “I See You”. The track features a folk-rock feel as the band takes their music in a slightly more gentle direction. While “Game Changer’s” energy draws the listener in, “I See You” has its own brand of beauty in both the romantic lyrics and the easy feel of the music. Like “Game Changer” before it, “I See You” feels like it could easily become a single off of the release.

With the track “Weed & Wine,” the quartet brings the energy of the music up as they incorporate a little Rock and Roll into their style. The inclusion of the banjo on the track and the twang in the electric guitar makes the song feel as much like Country music as much as Rock and Roll. The track finds the singer invited her special someone to a special night. The track’s lighthearted lyrics and the fun musical approach on the track keeps the energy level up and makes “Weed & Wine” a song to listen to if you’re in the mood to have fun.

Perhaps the most listener-friendly track on Whiskey and Wine Vol. II from Antigone Rising is the song “My Town”. Right from the very beginning of the song, the band creates a track that pulls upon the emotional feeling of the listener as the lyrics of the song bring to mind everything that makes your hometown so special. The Country feeling blended with the light Rock feeling in the music makes the track perfect for a crossover hit as fan of both genres of music will be drawn to the track. The inclusion of the strings helps to add a lot of emotional feeling to both the lyrics and music of the song. “My Town” is easily the most additive of the songs on the newest release from Antigone Rising.

The newest release from Antigone Rising comes to an end with the track “The Last Time”. The song features one of the strongest energy levels of the songs on Whiskey and Wine Vol. II. Like the track “Game Changer” that began the release, “The Last Time” features lyrics that seem to make a statement. And since “Game Changer” started the album off with a bang, “The Last Time” seems to be the perfect track to bring to an end as it features the same type of energy in the music.

Having already released Whiskey and Wine Vol. I in 2014, Antigone Rising released Whiskey and Wine Vol. II in 2015 to finish the concept. The 2015 five-song EP contains plenty of highs within the limited amount of tracks. Flowing from Country to Folk to Rock and Roll, the five songs in the EP contain plenty of variety and that variety makes the release a jot to listen to from start to finish.

Click HERE to check out the video to the Antigone Rising’s song “Game Changer”.

Click HERE to check out the entire Whiskey and Wine Vol. II release.

Click HERE to check out Antigone Rising’s PR firm Cyber PR.

Having spent time with the bands Balligomingo and Sleepthief, Canadian singer-songwriter Jody Quine is stepping out on her own to start to create a voice all her own. While both of the bands she has spent time with have a certain style to their music, Quine is taking some of their sounds and incorporating other styles to create a style that is both electric and acoustic at the same time. The inclusion of these and other styles of music help to give Quine’s music certain uniqueness to it. Quine has taken her combination of acoustic and electric and created a new CD. The CD is called Seven.

Seven from Jody Quine begins with the song “You Are”. The first track from the CD has a simple acoustic feel. The guitar-based song includes both folk and “pop” influences to it that help create a very easy feel to the music. The inclusion of bongos instead of a drumset helps to enforce the folk feel to the song. The light musical approach creates a sound that would easily fit on any Adult Contemporary radio format where Quine would fit alongside musicians like Jewel, Melissa Etheridge, and even fellow Canadian Alanis Morissette.

With the next track of “Tonight,” the style of the music takes a much more produced sound as Rhys Fulber takes the feel of the track and takes it back in time to the eighties to give the track a sound that may remind you of something that may have been created by either Dépêche Mode, The Motels or even Duran Duran. While it does have a certain sound reminiscent of the New Wave bands from the eighties with its electro-pop sound, “Tonight” is still one of the most commercial-sounding tracks on Seven and could easily find an audience on today’s radio airwaves.

“To Be Frank” is one of the most interesting songs on Seven from Jody Quine. The song begins with a very light keyboard sound that plays behind Quine as she sings about her deepest desires. Quine’s vocals on the track are both beautiful and powerful, depending on the part of the song. The beginning of the song reminds you of something from female “pop” songs from the late seventies/early eighties from the likes of The Carpenters or the more laidback songs from Donna Summers. The song slowly builds as it becomes a track that sounds more like Dépêche Mode than The Carpenters. The song ultimately brings to mind Quine’s time with Balligomingo and Sleepthief because of the inclusion of an electro-pop feel to the song that gives the song a nice contrast between the later part of the song and the more laidback feel of the beginning of the track.

While “To Be Frank” has a complex feel to it, the track “I Love You” brings some of the simplicity in Quine’s style back to the release as the song features a much more folk-like sound to it. The acoustic guitar plays a large part in the music and the percussion also takes on a much lighter feel to it. Like the release’s first track of “You Are,” “I Love You” has a relaxed and easy approach to it.

The new release from Jody Quine comes to an end with the track “Come Back Home”. While the song has a definite beauty to it, the lyrics to the track feature a very heartbreaking feel to them as the singer pleads to her lover to return. The song features an acoustic approach as it is piano-based and it is that piano that makes up the majority of the music to the track. The slow pace and emotional feel to the lyrics brings the release to a close on a slightly low-key note.

Seven from Canadian singer-songwriter Jody Quine is a very enjoyable release as the music of the seven-song EP has a lot of variety in it. The changing of the pace in the music on the EP will definitely keep you intrigued. The release also allows Jody Quine to show off her talents as a singer as those seven tracks have Quine stretching from an emotional approach to the lyrics to a more powerful approach. Seven from Jody Quine is a release that definitely fits into any commercial music-lover’s library.

Review by Matheson Kamin
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Check out Jody Quine’s Bandpage account to hear some of her music.

Click HERE for the video to “Come Back Home” from Jody Quine.

ImageRocket Science from Drew Ross is an unusual release, as it has two different parts (on two CDs) that help make up the album. The first CD of the release consists of the music tracks created by Ross. These tracks with Ross contain only the singer-songwriter and his guitar. These guitar-only music tracks allow the songs to be heard as he had written them. This CD also gives the impression of seeing a solo singer-songwriter in a very intimate setting, like seeing a friend in alone in concert.

The second CD of the Rocket Science album contains the same songs as the first CD of the album, except that these tracks have been stripped of Ross’ guitar and have a totally new musical background added to them. These new backgrounds for the twelve album tracks have been created by an English duo that goes by the moniker of ecopunk. The band ecopunk consists of Brighton-based Tim Rose and Lee Sharp. With Rose and Sharp taking complete control of creating their take on the music on this album, there is much more depth to the songs than had they been created by one singular musician.

Both of the versions of Rocket Science begin with the track “Charlotte’s Dream”. As an opening song, the 25-second track featuring only the acoustic guitar comes across as a rather strong Folk-based instrumental. But once the electronics from the duo known as ecopunk are added in, the resulting 30-second track now comes off as a slightly long instrumental jingle. This is a slightly unusual way to begin this album. Of course, this is a slightly unusual album.

One of the best songs on the album is “Alone”. And whether it’s the solo version by Drew Ross or the version of the song created with the help of ecopunk, the song has a beauty that will hit you immediately after putting the song on. With the version by ecopunk, the duo of Tim Rose and Lee Sharp have taken the most liberties with the song adding a strong electronic feel to the song while still staying somewhat close to the feeling of the acoustic version from Ross. And the additions to the chorus on the ecopunk version give the song a much fuller sound. The two versions of the song may have the listener fighting with himself as to which version is the better of the two.

With the track “Beautiful Lie,” the listener gets not one, but two strong tracks. As the solo track by Drew Ross, the track feels like a stripped-down “unplugged” track about a man who cannot accept that the woman he has feelings for does not love him. When the track is handed over to Tim Rose and Lee Sharp, the two build on what Ross had sent them. The music featuring acoustic guitar is replaced by electronics that help to create a track that sounds as if it would have fit right in with songs in the New Wave era of the eighties. There is most definitely a British flavor to the track that helps reinforce that New Wave feel. Whether with the ecopunk version or the stripped-down version by Drew Ross, “Beautiful Lie” is one of the shining moments on the Rocket Science release.

Another song that will grab you because of the large difference between the acoustic and remake versions is the title track of the newest release from Drew Ross. “Rocket Science” sounds like a completely different song once Tim Rose and Lee Sharp got ahold of it. Since the song is mentions science, the electronic feel of the ecopunk version really makes use of the science theme of the lyrics.

It is on “Words” that you really get a chance to experience the power of Drew Ross’ writing style. With the acoustic version of the song, the beauty of the words shines through; when Tim Rose and Lee Sharp add their touch to the song, the music seems to add an even more touching approach to those lyrics.

The two CDs both come to an end with the same track, “Rainy Day”. While the original version once again features the omnipresent vocals and guitar from Drew Ross, the ecopunk version of the song takes the tune and creates a love ballad version of the song. The keys and strings on the version found on the ecopunk CD gives the song a beauty that adds a lot of substance to the album.

Drew Ross’ Rocket Science album makes wonderful use of the two versions of each song contained on the release. The two very different CDs give the listener two dramatically different sides of the music of Drew Ross.

Whether you listen to each song on Rocket Science album twice playing the acoustic versions back-to-back with the ecopunk versions or you play the acoustic CD out completely before going after the ecopunk CD to hear the difference in the album as a whole, Rocket Science from Drew Ross is the perfect way to experience how a song is shaped in the writing and production process before it ends up being combined with other songs to create that newest album from your favorite singer-songwriter or band. And the differences between the two versions for each song on this album are drastic in many cases, creating an album with two completely different feelings.

To listen to the music of Drew Ross and the songs that appear on this album, check out Drew Ross’ Reverbnation Profile.