Posts Tagged ‘Americana’

Scott Smith picThe Bay Area is where singer/songwriter Scott Smith creates his music. Smith’s music consists of many different elements of found in different genres of music. Smith takes Country, Blues and other genres and blends them together to form his version of Americana. With this style of music, Smith has already released one album entitled Sum of Life. That album was released back in 2016. Now, Smith returns with a two-song single to follow that release. The new music from Scott Smith consists of the tracks “I Will Love You” followed by the track “Spinning Around”. Scott Smith’s song of “I Will Love You” begins the two-song release. With this song, Smith blends together some Folk and a touch of Rock and Roll to create the song. The mostly Folk-flavored song contains a driving feel to the pace of the music that is courtesy of the banjo that helps to shape the Folk part of the track. And it is the Folk flavor of the music that stands the most when listening to the song. There is also a strong beat that accompanies the banjo on the track. That beat gives the song more of a Rock and Roll feel than Bluegrass feel. The combination of the different genres of music on the song once again re-enforces the reason as to why the music of Scott Smith would it is that his music falls into the Americana genre.  Sometimes when a single is released with two tracks, it is rather easy to tell which of the two songs the single is and which of the tracks was chosen to back the single up. This is clearly the case with the new single from Scott Smith. Between the two songs of “I Will Love You” and “Spinning Around,” it is sadly obvious as to which is which as “Spinning Around” fails to live up to the magic contained within “I Will Love You”. Going from one track to the next, is seems as if the lyrics for the track of “Spinning Around” were written with less effort on Smith’s part. The magic fades from one track to the next. That being said, while the lyrical content on the track is not as strong as on “I Will Love You,” “Spinning Around” does contain a stronger musical approach as Smith focuses on more Rock and Roll flavor and less Folk influence on the track. The “I Will Love You”/“Spinning Around” single from the Bay Area’s Scott Smith finds the singer-songwriter continuing to make use of many different musical elements to form his songs. And while the two tracks may not be as collectively strong as Smith’s Sum of Life release, the track of “I Will Love You”  is a song that finds the writer continuing to create music with an overall appealing feel to it.

To check out the music of Scott Smith, click HERE for the track of “I Will Love You”. 

For more information, check out Scott Smith’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

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Moccasin BenderRandy Steele has spent time as part of the band Slim Pickens Bluegrass. But after a few years in that musical ensemble, he went out on his own while taking the style of music that the group had been known for with him. Now as a solo artist, Steele has begun making a name for himself taking that style of music and making it fit his own personality. That resulted in the 2017 album entitled Songs from the Suck, a title that had to do with the location where Steele was from, Suck Creek, Tennessee.

Having released one solo album and finding a fanbase that was positively receptive to his music, Randy Steele returns with a new EP of music. This release is entitled Moccasin Bender.  And just like his previous album, the title of this new collection of music comes with a reference to the area where Steele comes from. Moccasin Bend is both an archaeological site and national park located in Tennessee.

With a lot of Bluegrass/Country music being influenced by real life, it comes as no surprise that Randy Steele would create a song that came straight out of his life. The EP lead-off song “Mabbitt Springs” deals with Steele being thankful that his son beat cancer. For this track and its upbeat message, Steele creates a musical background that contains a completely full sound consisting of banjo, slide guitar, fiddle and drums. That full sound leads off the EP which switches to a much simpler feel on the very next track.

Moccasin Bender continues with the track “Adam and Rose”. The simple musical accompaniment of just the banjo creates a relatively simple Bluegrass track. Like the previous song, “Adam and Rose“ finds Randy Steele creating a track with a real-life feel to the lyrics of the song. “Adam and Rose” features lyrics about two young adults making their way in the world and coming upon life’s everyday difficulties. The music’s slow pace seems to be a perfect fit as the music acts like the perfect bed for the lyrics that spell out the story.

The new six-song EP from Randy Steele continues with the track “Big Talkin’ Woman”. With this track, Steele creates one of the most commercial moments on his release. The track features a full-bodied feel to the music including a slide-guitar solo in the body of the track. While the song easily has a throwback feel to the music, that retro feel would have fit in well with songs in the seventies/eighties. “Big Talkin’ Woman” from Randy Steele will give fans of Old-fashioned Country music something to truly enjoy.

With the next track, Randy Steele touches on a subject that is rather difficult: Drug Addiction. The track called “Age of Ben” features lyrics that act as a storyline as Steele tells the story of as boy who never really had a real chance at life. The main character in the song is born with a developmental problem that gets worse later in life. And having been given up for adoption, he never got to know his real mother. When all gets too difficult to deal with, “Ben” turns to opium which just makes things worse. Just like with the track “Adam and Rose” earlier in the release, “Age of Ben” comes complete with a rather simplistic feel to the music. But unlike the other track which featured the banjo, this track finds Steel creating the simple music of the track with the guitar. The guitar-only background to the track seems to add to the sadness contained within the lyrics.

While several of the tracks on this release find Randy Steele exploring his storytelling side, the track “Rummies” finds him creating a track that has a rather familiar feel to those who know artists such as Gordon Lightfoot. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that this song was written around To Have and Have Not, a novel written by Ernest Hemmingway, it would have been a good guess that Steele had used Lightfoot as an influence for the track; which he may have as far as the music of the song is concerned. “Rummies” shows off Steele’s ability to take a storyline and set it to music.

Randy Steele’s new six-song EP comes to a close with the track “Pretty Little Girl with a Blue Dress On”. The track closes the EP out with one of the simplest musical approaches. The lone banjo and Randy Steele’s vocals on the short track bring to mind something that could have come from someone like The Stanley Brothers or someone else that are easily just as well-known from the Bluegrass genre.

Randy Steele stepped out on his own with his first release entitled Songs from the Suck. Taking the next step with his second release, Steele proves that his songwriting skills are still just as sharp. With the track “Adam and Rose” which features a rather simple musical back ground, or “Rummies” that shows off his ability to take an idea and make it his own, the Moccasin Bender release proves to be a well-made second release from the Tennessee-based Randy Steele.

For more information, check out his PR firm, Whiplash PR

Moccasin Bender from Randy Steele is due to be released in the near future. Until then, check out Randy Steele’s live version of “Adam and Rose,” a track that will be on the Moccasin Bender release. 

 

Keith MorrisThroughout history, there have been issues that made people stand up and take notice. And some of those issues even resulted in the more vocal groups within the people to demand change. Times like the Vietnam era where America became embroiled within someone else’s fight led to people becoming rather vocal and taking stands against what they knew was wrong. We are currently living within yet another era where people are taking a stand against things that they believe are not right. And just like the Vietnam era, a lot of musicians are adding their voices to the fight. One singer-songwriter making his opinion known is Charlottesville, Virginia-based Keith Morris.  

Charlottesville, Virginia-based Keith Morris was largely influenced by many singer-songwriters who have made their voices heard over the years. One such person who had a large influence on Morris was Leonard Cohen. With how vocal Cohen had been during his lifetime, the songwriter would have had plenty to say about what is going on in the country today. But Cohen died before things like the election of Donald Trump happened. That event as well as several other newsworthy others would have been just right for Cohen to write about if he had lived just a little while longer. To make up for that, Keith Morris has created an entire album of songs that have their beginnings in real-life events that are now sending shockwaves through the nation. Originally entitled “Trump Songs for Leonard Cohen” (a title that was abandoned when Morris was told he could not use it), the new album from Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers is called Psychopaths and Sycophants.

The album of Psychopaths and Sycophants from Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers begins with the track “The Future”. This track was originally written and recorded by Leonard Cohen when he started looking at what the future may actually hold for mankind. Looking back at what the songwriter had written, the track’s lyrics seem rather haunting as a lot of what Cohen had predicted has taken place. But the track as recorded by the band gives the song a lot of energy as the Rock and Roll within the song contains a driving feel to the music. That driving feel gives the track more of an upbeat approach than the lyrics seem to contain.

Along with “The Future,” Morris and the band also do an interpretation of yet another Cohen composition entitled “In My Secret Life”. While the original version from Cohen was created around the sound of the guitar, the inclusion of the organ on the new version from Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers gives the track a slightly more upbeat feel. And the slightly quicker musical delivery also adds to that more upbeat feel. Add to that the Gospel Choir in the background and “In My Secret Life” brings the new release from the band to a close on a strong note.

In-between the two tracks originally written by Leonard Cohen, Psychopaths and Sycophants from Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers finds the singer-songwriter and his band approaching very controversial topics. The song “What Happened to Your Party” covers the topic of when people within a party get firmly behind a certain candidate for president (Trump) and those people leave their beliefs behind to follow blindly along. The song “Charlottesville by Name” finds Keith Morris creating a tune written in response to the hatred and violence that took place within a rally where several people were killed. And the track “The Narcissist” deals with a man who is too stuck on himself to see the big picture of what is going on around him. And of course, the title track of “Psychopaths and Sycophants” deals with all of the wrong people who are running things today. These tracks and others give Psychopaths and Sycophants its politically-charged feel.

While the subject matter contained within the nine songs that make up Psychopaths and Sycophants is very political, the musical side of the album finds Keith Morris and the rest of The Crooked Numbers creating music that is widely varied. Throughout the tracks on the album, the Folk, Rock, Gospel and other musical influences blend together to create an album that is as musical diverse as the political themes that run through the subject matter. That musical diversity proves that there is a lot more to Keith Morris than just the emotional side to the writer that drives his desire to take a stand; there’s also a musician side that helps to shape the way his songs sound.

 

Psychopaths and Sycophants from Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers has yet to be released. The album will be available in the very near future. Stay tuned to the website for Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers to stay updated. But until the newest release from Morris and the band is available, check out the title track to the upcoming album.

For more information, check out the PR firm for the band, Whiplash PR.  

CK and the TideNew York State-based singer-songwriter C.K. Flach continues to make a lot of noise, whether it’s playing drums for other people or it’s creating his own music. After releasing a solo album called Empty Mansions back about one year ago in 2017, the artist makes a return but this time, he brings along a few friends to help create the music. This time, Flach is joined by bassist Chris Brant, Danny Boudreau on violin and keys and his brother Wayne Flach on guitars. Together, the band known as C.K. and the Rising Tide are currently in the middle of creating their first album. However, the ensemble has released their first single off of the upcoming album as a way of promoting the release. The track is called “Friends”. Like the music that made up Flach’s 2017 album of Empty Mansions, “Friends” finds C.K. and the Rising Tide creating a track that falls into the Americana music genre. The track features a rather strong Country vibe to the music but also contains a strong Rock and Roll feel to go along with that Country approach. The Alt-Country feel of the track is matched up with a lyrical content with a rather strong political lean to it. The track’s lyrics deal with the fact that we humans, as a whole species, have different ways of looking at things. And while we may not agree with everything that everyone else has to say, we can, and should, find ways to survive with each other as we look for ways to live side-by-side instead of causing wars. With the current political climate of the nation being what it is, and with recent events in the country being cause for concern, the track’s message of unity through friendship is one we should all get behind. While the song “Friends” is only one track from C.K. and the Rising Tide, Flach’s 2017 solo release of Empty Mansions may be a good indicator of what is to come in the near future from the band.

To experience just a little of the new music from C.K. and the Rising Tide, check out the early release of the band’s song “Friends” by clicking on the link.   

For more information, check out the PR firm for C.K. and the Rising Tide, check out Whiplash PR

 

 

YOUWhile Dallas-based singer-songwriter Ezra Vancil has explored several different styles of music over his time in the music industry, his album of You finds the singer-songwriter exploring the Folk music aspect of his personality as well as other styles to help bring the tracks on the new album to life. Recently, Vancil took a deeper look within his own life and started writing songs with a very personal connection. But instead of writing the collection of songs from a first-person perspective, the resulting tracks on the release deal with his relationship with his wife and other aspects of love as his various relationships have seen ups, downs, highs and lows. With the eleven tracks that make up the release, Vancil makes use of his personal influences such as Cat Stevens, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, even women such as Emmylou Harris and Joni Mitchell, as well as several other artists. Together, those artists helped to influence the music of Ezra Vancil that appears on his new release called You.

The album You from Ezra Vancil begins with the track “Galveston”. While the track deals with Vincil’s divorce from his first wife, the music and feel of the track brings to mind another artist: Although known for the track “Convoy,” the songwriter C.W. McCall created tracks with this feel with the help of producer and owner of the record label American Gramophone, Chip Davis. Together, the duo of Davis and McCall would have created a track with this very feel, including the story-like approach to the lyrics of the song. That feeling of familiarity makes Vancil’s “Galveston” feel both fresh and retro at the same time and that gives the listener a good reason to continue on the musical journey set forth by Vancil.

Ezra Vancil’s new release continues with the track “Complicated Man”. The track starts off with a rather strong acoustic guitar approach that helps create a sound that will remind listeners of early recordings of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkle, especially those days when the duo went by the moniker of Tom and Jerry. The easy pace of the solo acoustic guitar at the beginning of the track starts the song off with a simple sound. Soon, more guitars and some percussion are added to the track to add a lot of texture to the music. Although texture is added to the track, Vancil keeps the song low-key rather than building up the energy level. The low-key approach of the song allows the songwriting of Vancil to come through without being buried with a ton of other musical elements.

You from Ezra Vancil continues with the album’s title track “Wild Girl”. While the previous tracks feature a slightly light feel to the music, the title track finds Vancil adds a lot of energy to the album while still keeping a light approach. The Folk-Rock track of “Wild Girl” features an acoustic guitar as the focal point of the music and other instrumentation to create an “unplugged” feeling to the song. The song even features strings in the background to add an orchestrated feel to the music. Even though it’s a little late, “Wild Girl” is the type of song that would have fit in with all of the electric-made-acoustic songs in the nineties that made up the “Unplugged” fad back then.

With the next track, Ezra Vancil takes the music of his release to the next level. While the track “Broken King” still contains a definite acoustic approach, the track contains a complete listing of instruments. Gone is the lone guitar as “Broken King” contains a complete band playing behind Vancil. The track’s instrumentation creates a Folk-Rock sound that is heavy on the Folk influence but still heavier on the Rock influence than the previous tracks on the release. And with the addition of female vocals, the track becomes a duet of sorts. Even though the song “Wild Girl” is easily the focal point of the release, “Broken King” is yet another track on the album that could (and should) receive a lot of airplay.

One of the most emotional tracks on the You release is the song “Don’t Push Me Away”. With the overarching theme of relationships running through the album, this track’s connection to that theme is more apparent than most of the other songs. The Lite Rock feel of the song and the use of the theme in the lyrics makes “Don’t Push Me Away” one of the most emotional songs on the You release.

Throughout the various tracks on the You album, Ezra Vancil explores many different styles of music. With the track “Polka Girl From Tennessee,” Vancil brings a little more Folk influence into his music. In fact, with the inclusion of the fiddle on the track, you can even say he added a little Country flavor to the release. The resulting track gives the listener a song that feels a lot more like Country music and nothing like Polka music as you might expect with the track’s title.

Speaking of Country music, with the track of “Settle Down Good,” Ezra Vancil and the rest of the musicians on the release create a track that contains a strong Country influence, creating a track that would easily be categorized as Alt-Country. With the musical mix on this track, Vancil and the band bring to mind the music of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, with more of as modern spin on the music.

The album You from Ezra Vancil finds the singer-songwriter creating the prefect singer-songwriter release as each track feels different from the others. And with each track, Vancil and band show off their versatility because of that variety in the tracks. Having come from a much different musical background than what is contained within the release, You from Ezra Vancil truly shows off his songwriting ability. And the emotional feeling that is contained within the tracks that make up the release add to that singer-songwriter feeling of the album.

The You release from Ezra Vancil has yet to be released. However, the album is currently up for pre-order on Vancil’s website. Click on the link for more information.

While the You release is still not available, check out an earlier version of the track “Galveston” which will be on the album when it comes out.

For more information, check out Ezra Vancil’s PR Firm, Whiplash PR

Sour BruthersGrowing up together helps to add a certain amount of familiarity to the way members in a band relate to each other. One band that is truly creating music with a definite “family” feel to their music is the band called The Söur Bruthers. And even though the members of the band grew up around each other, they all went their separate ways when joining up with previous musical projects. But those previous projects are what have helped to shape the music of The Söur Bruthers.

Chicago-based band The Söur Bruthers consist of band members: Tim Dlaregztif – Guitar/Vocals, Mike Argyrakis – Guitar Vocals, Bill Lloyd – Bass/Vocals and Tony Alunni – Drums/Drums. Each member of the group (or Bruther) drops their own last name when performing in the band and uses Sour as the band identity. Together, Tim, Mike, Bill and Tony Sour blend their various musical influences to create a sound in their band that can only be described as Americana because of the Retro-Pop, Blues, Hard Rock and Country vibes that flow through the songs of the group. What the band calls “SOURLICIOUS ROCK WITH A COUNTRY TWANG!” flows through the band’s debut self-titled EP.

“Sinkin’ Down” is the first track on the self-titled release from The Söur Bruthers. With this track, the band begins their EP with one of the hardest-hitting tracks. The Rock and Roll track contains a slight Country twang in the music. Moreover, the music of the band seems to recall the style of Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band. While the music is closer to Rock and Roll, the lyrics recall Country music a little more. The energy contained within the playing of the band on “Sinkin’ Down” made the choice for leading off the EP with the song a good one as the track hits and hits hard, giving the listener a good indication of what is to come.

In the short time that The Söur Bruthers have been a band, the group has already seen some positive reactions to the music. The band’s song “Better Days” was entered in the 2017 18th Annual Great American Song Contest where it won the contest. “Better Days” contains a musical mix that actually closer to Southern Rock in the vein of a band like Molly Hatchet than it is to actual Country music. Because of the strong guitar-based foundation to the song, the track would belong more on an Album-Oriented Rock radio format rather than on a Country music format. The driving nature of the track’s music helps to create one of the more powerful moments on the release.

The six-song self-titled EP from The Söur Bruthers continues with the track “3A.M.” With this track, the band creates a sound that brings to mind another group, The Beat Farmers, as both bands have very similar blends of styles in their music, as well as the same sort of lyrical content in their words. The Country-Rock music in the song creates a track that would easily fit on any modern-day Country music format. “3A.M.” is easily one of the best tracks that make up the EP. The only thing is that the track should be a lot longer, as it currently doesn’t even hit the 3-minute mark.

The Söur Bruthers pick up the pace of the music on the next track of “Wash Me”. With this track, the band increases the energy level of their playing while stripping their sound of anything Country music-related. The resulting track finds the band creating a song that is straight-out Rock and Roll. Actually, the track would be easily categorized as being “Hard Rock”. That Hard Rock approach comes courtesy of powerful guitars that push the energy level of the song up a notch or two when compared to the band’s more Country-flavored tracks. “Wash Me” is one of the more energetic tracks on the band’s self-titled EP.

The self-titled EP from The Söur Bruthers comes to a close with the track “Release Me”. With the very first notes from the guitar and the piano on the track, it’s rather clear the track has an extremely commercial feel to the music. The track is mostly Rock and Roll with just a hint of Country to it. The song once again brings to mind acts like Bob Seger or other artists from the eighties as the song would easily fit in with the more rockin’ acts from the era. As the final track of the EP, “Release Me” hits hard from the first note and takes the release home on a very strong note.

With their new self-titled EP, Chicago’s The Söur Bruthers have created a release that makes good use of every musical influence that exists within the quartet. When the band wants to create a Country-flavored track, the result is a track that sounds very authentic and would be welcome on any Country radio format. And when the band goes in a more Rock and Roll direction, they create tracks that will satisfy any fan of the Rock and Roll genre. As you listen to the self-titled EP from this band of friends, it becomes very clear that long-time friends make the best bandmates as The Söur Bruthers are a very tight musical ensemble.

For a taste of the music from The Söur Bruthers, check out the band’s track “Better Days,” the song that helped the band win the 18th Annual Great American Song Contest.

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm, Whiplash PR.

C.K. FlachWhen listening to the music of New York State-based singer-songwriter C.K. Flach’s music, you can definitely hear the inner poet in him come out in his songs. The songs he writes have a very strong poetic feel to them as if they were simply poems set to music. As a matter of fact, to prove just how much of a poetic feel his writing style truly has, the artist even recorded one actual spoken piece and included it on his newly released album.

Along with the poetic style of C.K. Flach’s lyrics, he also creates his songs performing the majority of the musical parts himself, with only a few instances where friends and family help to flesh out the sound of the songs. The resulting poetic Americana musical style of C.K. Flach’s songs has made its way onto the musician’s 2017 album entitled Empty Mansions.

Empty Mansions from C.K. Flach begins with the track “Lazarus”. Proving that Flach’s poetic lyrical style can encompass any subject matter, “Lazarus” finds Flach making reference to a biblical character. The song about the character Lazarus being called forward in a church setting is set to a musical style that mixes some Folk elements with a few Rock and Roll ones. These elements create a track that features a slow, yet steady pace to match up with the somber lyrics. The acoustic guitar-driven track shows off some of Flach’s ability as a guitar player. The song’s slightly laidback approach allows the listener to ease their way into the new release from Flach.

The new release from C.K. Flach continues with the song “Boxcar Dreaming”. While the previous track was guitar-based, C.K. Flach creates this track with keyboards. With this track, Flach slows things down as he lightens the feel of the music. While “Lazarus” was an equal amount of Rock and Roll as well as Folk, “Boxcar Dreaming” features a lot more Folk influence. The resulting track would be perfect for a Soft Rock radio format.

One of the strongest tracks on the Empty Mansions album from C.K. Flach is the song “Tranquilized”. Ironically, with this song, Flach increases the energy level of the music ever so slightly instead of bringing it down as you would expect with a title like that. Although the track is still pretty laidback to the music, “Tranquilized” contains a driving feel to the guitar on the track. About halfway through, the track picks up the energy of the music.

The poetic side of C.K. Flach comes out on the track “The Officer”. In a nation where those who are hired to protect are sometimes just as dangerous as the ones we want to be protected from, some people have an unfavorable opinion of the police. The song of “The Officer” is a track that deals with a scenario of a person being pulled over and not treated well by the officer doing the pulling over. The sing-song delivery of the lyrics and the slightly bluesy music make the song feel like a beatnik poem.

The album continues with the title track. Throughout the release, C.K. Flach creates tracks that have a definite spiritual overtones to them. Along with the earlier track of “Lazarus,” “Empty Mansions” is one that features that approach. “Empty Mansions” finds Flach contemplating many things in life that make him question which direction to take in life. The piano and the strings in the background of the track combine to create a beautiful melody. As he sings, C.K. Flach sings about some of the sadder things that are happening in the world today. With this track, the lyrics contain one of the most somber moments on the albums.

Much like “Empty Mansions” before it, the track “Machine Gun” finds Flach a very political track. The guitar and harmonica that appear on the track bring to mind the spirit of Bob Dylan, although the style of the music on the track is very much C.K. Flach. The track finds Flach speaking to those who carry guns and bring harm to men, women and children alike. Like many of the Folk songs from the sixties, “Machine Gun” is a song that speaks to those who want to bring an end to the senseless violence both here and abroad.

Like the track “The Officer” from earlier in the album, the track “Firmament” once again finds C.K. Flach bringing out the poet in him. But unlike “The Officer” that features both spoken poetry and music, “Firmament” is strictly Flach as he reads his written words. The simple “voice only” track finds Flach closing out his new release with a powerful poem with a very strong message against oppression.

Throughout the ten tracks that make up Empty Mansions from C.K. Flach, the listener gets to experience a poet at work as he creates song-length vignettes that deal with all sorts of things from religion to politics to everything in between. And since the album changes musical directions throughout those ten tracks, there is plenty of variety to help form a truly unique release that stands out against most of today’s commercial albums.

To hear a little bit of the music from C.K. Flach, check out the title track for Empty Mansions.