Posts Tagged ‘Folk rock’

Mark RogersVirginia/DC-based singer-songwriter Mark Rogers finds himself in a situation that many others have experienced. Years ago, he has spent time creating music. The style of music that he created incorporated Folk, Folk-Rock, and even a little Bluegrass influence. Needless to say, the style of the music created by Rogers would have fit quite nicely with music from the sixties.

But then Mark Rogers found himself creating a family. Music would have to wait. And wait it has. Then, after an extended time away, Rogers has resumed his pursuit of music. In fact, Rogers has made it official as he just created a new EP of original music. The new EP from Mark Rogers is entitled Rearranged.

Rearranged from Mark Rogers begins with the “Right Here”. The track features a sound that would have been right at home during the seventies. In fact, the track’s Folk-Rock feel brings to mind the sound and feel of a band like The Eagles. That sound comes courtesy of guitars that bring to mind the various musicians from the band. The easy pace of the track and the rather familiar Eagles-inspired sound would have felt right at home on AM radio. Right from the start, the track “Right Here” makes Rearranged from Mark Rogers feel like a musical release that fans of Pop-Rock music would truly enjoy.

While the previous track brought to mind the styles of The Eagles, Mark Rogers changes his musical approach on the song “Slow Parade”. The second track of the release features a style that incorporates just a little Beatles flavor into the music. Although it is not overwhelming, the listener can hear just a little Lennon/McCartney influence in the lyrical content of the song. That Beatles-esque lyrical content and melody contained in the words of the song brings to mind that band’s style from back in the sixties when they were just making a name for themselves. Along with the Beatles influence in the lyrics, “Slow Parade” contains a musical approach that once again contains a definite Folk-Rock sound.

After Mark Rogers spent two songs creating music with a throwback feel, the next track of “I Can’t Say Why” features a timeless sound. The Folk-Rock style on the track contains a strong musical approach that could have been played in the seventies, eighties, nineties, or even on today’s Pop-Rock radio formats. Throughout the song, the acoustic approach of the music helps to create a track with a gentle feel to the music. With the inclusion of the electric guitar, Rogers adds a nice amount of energy to the song.

With the track “Waiting,” Mark Rogers once again conjures up the sound of the seventies. The slow pace and easy feel to the music brings to mind a song like “Harvest Moon” from Neil Young. Much like Young’s song that contains a throwback feel to the music, the feel of “Waiting” from Mark Rogers would fit in with older tracks but would also fit on modern-day Adult Contemporary radio formats. “Waiting” is one of the strongest tracks on the Rearranged release from Mark Rogers.

The new release from Mark Rogers continues with the track “Takes Me Back Again”. On this track, Rogers continues to create music with a strong Folk background, but changes things up a little as he incorporates a strong Jazz influence to the music. That Jazz influence comes in the form of the guitar on the track and the light vocal delivery from Rogers. The rather short track shows off Mark Roger’s playing ability.

Mark Rogers brings his new EP to a close with the track “The Blue of December”. As the song revolves around the sound of the piano and the acoustic guitar, the two instruments combine to create a track that contains a very laidback feel. The low-key track brings the Rearranged release from Mark Rogers to a close on a gentle note.

Rearranged from Mark Rogers is a short six-song EP that gives the listener a very strong Folk-inspired . But this is just a taste of what is to come!
For a taste of Mark Rogers’ new EP, check out the track “The Blue of December“.   

Check out Rearranged from Mark Rogers. The album is available on Bandcamp.  You can also find the album on GooglePlay and iTunes

For more information, check out Mark Rogers’ PR firm, Whiplash PR

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.  

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

TFIA Album CoverIt seems that there are mainly three types of people:  Those who have never heard of Trout Fishing in America in any matter; those who know that as a title of a book written by Richard Brautigan; and those who know that as the name of a two-man folk-based band of Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood who took their band’s moniker from that book. There are those who know both the book and the band; however, it seems that that group of people is a rather small exception to the rule.

And for those who know the band, you usually come to know them through two different directions:  through their children-based music where the duo creates music like the song “The Window” that is generally for younger audiences and their parents OR a song like “A Proper Cup of Coffee” for their more mature (but NOT adult-rated) music for the adult set.

Together, with both musical mindsets, the duo of singer/guitarist Ezra Idlet and singer/bassist Keith Grimwood has amassed an impressive library of music. And whether you are for the Adult set or for the Children/Parent set, the duo has a large amount of albums to choose from. And that library of music from the duo has just recently grown by one as the duo has just released a new album for the Adult portion of their fanbase. The new album from Trout Fishing in America is entitled The Strangest Times.

The Strangest Times from Trout Fishing in America begins with the album’s title track. “The Strangest Times” is a track that features Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood creating a track that falls into a Folk category with a slight Rock and Roll edge to it. The easy pace to the music helps add to the Folk influence in the track. The guitar solo in the track helps to add to the Rock and Roll influence. The lyrics find guitarist Ezra Idlet lamenting his hard life but also being glad when his lady shows up to help him through all of the problems. “The Strangest Times” is a semi-sweet song with a hint of hope to it.

Trout Fishing in America’s newest album continues with the track “In the Morning”. The feel of the music changes on this track. The song features a slightly easier feel to the music as the duo of Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood create the track with more of a Folk influence with a little Blues feel thrown in. This time, bassist Keith Grimwood handles the vocals on the track. The Folk/Blues combination in the music along with Grimwood handling the vocals combine to create a track that is reminiscent of something from Canadian troubadour Gordon Lightfoot. The overall gentle feel of the track creates a song that will easily satisfy fans of Folk music.

With the next track, the duo creates one of the most commercial tracks of the album. “A Place to Fall” finds Ezra Idlet once again handling the vocals to a track that features a definite Folk-Rock style. The track’s musical delivery as well as lyrical direction brings to mind a timeless Folk-Rock style that would be right at home on radio today but could easily have found a place on the airwaves back in the sixties/early seventies. “A Place to Fall” is one track on The Strangest Times that demands repeated playing.

Speaking of a commercial appeal, the album of The Strangest Times continues with the song “When the Fog Rolls In”. The song hits the listener with a style that will immediately catch the ear of the listener. The track features a definite Folk-Rock approach that adds to that appeal. This is one track from Trout Fishing in America that will make you wish the act was much more than just a duo Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood. As the track proceeds, the listener can all but imagine the track being completed with a drumbeat and maybe a rhythm guitar to add some depth to the track. As it exists, “When the Fog Rolls In” is easily one of the standout tracks on the newest album from the duo.

The Strangest Times continues with two of the more “adult” tracks on the release. With the track “Where’s Your Mama,” Keith Grimwood finds himself in the predicament of finding someone who is just his type but NOT in his age range. And the song “Someone Your Age,” he handles the vocals on a song about growing old. The two tracks seem to have several things in common, which is probably why they ended up being grouped together on the release. The two tracks deal with age issues while being on opposite sides of the coin. They also have a certain amount of humor as they deal with the subjects they contain. With the subject matters of the tracks being what they are, “Where’s Your Mama” and “Someone Your Age” are two of the more “realistic” songs on this new Trout Fishing in America album.

Staying in much the same vein as the previous two tracks, the song “Where Did Everybody Go” contains a grown-up quality to the lyrics as Ezra Idlet sings a song about falling out of the in crowd as everyone around him disappears. While this song may be relevant to the older crowd, it has mass appeal as everyone can relate.

The mood of the album changes with the track “Quiet Alleys”. For most of the album, bassist Keith Grimwood plays his instrument by plucking the strings. But with this track, he changes directions and bows the instrument. The bowing motion of the bass creates a completely different sound to the music than any previous track on the release. The orchestral quality of the Grimwood’s bass mixed with Idlet’s guitar combine to create one of the more solid Folk-like combinations of the entire release. Add to that the gentle vocals from Ezra Idlet and “Quiet Alleys” is one of the strongest moments of folk music on the release.

The Strangest Times from Trout Fishing in America is a solid effort from the duo of Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood. The album contains many moments of both serious and more lighthearted moments. And in the case of the song “When the Fog Rolls In,” the duo seems to have hit gold with yet another song that with end up being as much a staple in the duo’s set as songs like “The Window” or “A Proper Cup of Coffee” but on a slightly more serious side.  This album will easily make any fan of Trout Fishing in America. Plus, for those who have yet to discover the magic of the duo, this album is a great place to start your relationship with the music of the duo.

To hear just a hint of the music from Trout Fishing in America, check out the song “When the Fog Rolls In“.

Check out this live version of the title track, “The Strangest Times”.

 

emphmeral-cover-pdf“I grew up listening to Punk Rock and Reggae.” So says musician and music promoter Ryan Zimmerman. And it is very apparent that that is the case when you listen to the Long Beach Island, New Jersey-based artist’s song “Fireproof” from his album entitled Working Musician. The track of “Fireproof” is an equal mix of both of the musical styles blended together to create a sound that is rather reminiscent of a band like Sublime that has made a name for themselves creating music based around that particular blend of genres.

While Ryan Zimmerman’s Working Musician was released back in mid-2016, the musician is currently in the middle of promoting a brand new EP of music. The 2017 4-song EP from Ryan Zimmerman is entitled Ephemeral as a Kiss, a release that features a rather seductive painting on the cover that was created by the musician’s late father. To bring the release to life, most of the music was created by Zimmerman himself on the guitars, bass and percussion with some help from Dan Galvano on drums. The release was produced with the help of producer and engineer Pete Steinkopf.

Ephemeral as a Kiss by Ryan Zimmerman begins with the track ‘The Reason”. While Zimmerman may have grown up listening to stronger musical styles, his new release begins with a track that features a rather relaxed musical delivery. “The Reason” contains the sound of an acoustic guitar as the focal point of the music. That acoustic guitar gives the track a Folk-Rock feel. The lyrics of the track find Zimmerman pondering why things happen to him and how he ends up surviving each of those happenings. While the track is called “The Reason,” it never actually becomes clear as to what “the reason” actually is.

The new release from Ryan Zimmerman continues with the song “Backpacks”. The track contains a slower pace to the music than the previous song, but it comes with a slightly stronger energy level. That stronger feel to the music comes from the fact that Zimmerman has traded the acoustic feel of “The Reason” for one that includes an electric guitar that helps to add a little energy to the otherwise laidback music. The lyrics to the track feature a slightly angry approach as Zimmerman sings about things that make him upset. “Backpacks” finds Zimmerman looking for a way to get away from those annoyances.

On the song “Lola and Johnny,” Ryan Zimmerman takes the singer-songwriter approach as the track features only his guitar and voice. The track’s musical simplicity allows for both the guitar and Zimmerman’s vocals to shine at the same time. However, there is one slight problem as the reverb on the track seems to swallow up the vocals from time to time, causing some of the lyrics to become lost. While the lyric/echo situation is what it is, the track’s simplicity does bring the listener just a little closer to the musician as nothing but the guitar and Zimmerman’s voice make up the track.

For the fourth and final track on the Ephemeral as a Kiss EP, Ryan Zimmerman finally incorporates some of the Reggae influence that he had grown up with into the track of “For the Meek”. The track of “For the Meek” features a strong Reggae vibe to the music courtesy of the guitar on the track. The electric guitar in the music of the track mixed with the percussion helps to create a strong Reggae groove in the music. The lyrics of the song also contain a Reggae vibe that draws from artists like Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff. While there is a Reggae feel to the song, the track also has a gentle delivery to the pace to the music. “For the Meek” helps to bring the Ephemeral as a Kiss EP by Ryan Zimmerman on a strong note.

The Ephemeral as a Kiss EP from Ryan Zimmerman contains four songs that contain different sounds and musical approaches. It is that variation in the musical direction that makes the release as enjoyable as it is.

For a taste of Ryan Zimmerman’s music, check out the song “The Reason“.

For more information, check out Ryan Zimmerman’s PR Firm, WhiplashPR.

 

 

Divining RodAfter Miyuki Furtado had spent time creating some Alternative Rock with the band called The Rogers Sisters, the band dissolved and went their separate ways. But having spent so much time as a musician, it wasn’t long before musician Miyuki Furtado was looking for the next phase in his musical career. Before long, Furtado hooked up with Patrick Harmon. Like Furtado, Harmon had a background in music that included Rock and Roll. In fact, the band that Harmon had last been a part of created a style referred to as Psych-pop.

You would figure with backgrounds in such strong Rock and Roll styles that the two musicians of Miyuki Furtado and Patrick Harmon would end up creating a band together that was rooted in Alternative Rock or another style of Rock and Roll that was equally as powerful. However, once they came together as a duo, the two musicians started exploring their other musical influences. For instance, with Furtado having been raised in Hawaii, the Hawaiian music was a major influence on him as was Country and Bluegrass. Together with Harmon’s influences, the duo started creating music to fit around the lyrics written by Furtado. Together, the duo started creating music under the moniker of Divining Rod.

As Divining Rod, the duo splits up the musical responsibilities. As the main singer-songwriter, Miyuki Furtado sings and plays the guitar, bass and drums for the duo. At the same time, Patrick Harmon helps to flesh out the music for the duo as he provides the lead guitar/acoustic guitar for each of the tracks that Divining Rod creates.

Having already put out several short releases which includes the 2012 self-titled EP, Diving Rod is currently working on a full-length album that will be entitled Return to Crystal Cove. But for right now, the duo is promoting a two-song single to help get the word out about the upcoming album. The new two-song single from Divining Rod features the tracks “Hemlock Blues” and “Love Come Tumbling”.

The “Hemlock Blues/Love Come Tumbling” single from Diving Rod begins with the track “Hemlock Blues”. The track features a sound that is based around both the acoustic guitar and the electric guitar at the same time. The combination of the two different guitars creates a full sound that seems equally balanced right from the start. The resulting musical combination gives the listener a track that would have been right at home back in the seventies and ends up feeling like something that would have come from some of the more Folk-like musicians from that era. The track also contains a slightly psychedelic feel to that same musical combination while at the same time, containing a very driving feel to the music. Ultimately, because of the folk feel of the song along with the style of the lyrics in the song, the track of “Hemlock Blues” sounds like something from the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young if they would have added a lot more energy to their music.

The new two-song release from Divining Rod continues with the second of the two tracks. The second song is entitled “Love Come Tumbling”. With this track, the duo of Miyuki Furtado and Patrick Harmon change the pace to the single by slowing the music down just a little. “Love Come Tumbling” features a style that is slightly retro in its nature as the duo creates a track that combines some elements of early Rock and Roll with more recent Indie Rock. The track begins with a rather simple guitar riff and an easy beat of the bass drum. The inclusion of the bass and the rest of the drumkit help to give the track that retro feel. The song moves along and includes an instrumental break that brings to mind songs from jambands like The Grateful Dead. After a while, the vocals from Miyuki Furtado return to help bring the song to a close. The song of “Love Come Tumbling” feels both fresh and retro at the same time.

The “Hemlock Blues/Love Come Tumbling” single features two tracks from Divining Rod that help to give the listener just a small indication of what is to come when the group finally puts out the Return to Crystal Cove album in the near future. With how strong the two tracks included in the single happen to be, the upcoming release promises to be worth the wait.

While the Return to Crystal Cove album from Divining Rod is still being created, their “Hemlock Blues/Love Come Tumbling” single will be released on November 11, 2017. Along with a digital version, you’ll also be able to purchase CD copies as well as actual record singles.

To check out the music of Divining Rod, click HERE for the Tiny Desk video to “Love Come Tumbling“.

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

stephencovell3For the last dozen years or so, Stephen Covell has been creating music. The Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter has been creating music that is deeply influenced by Folk-Rock. The Folk-Rock style goes well with the writer’s storyteller side of his personality. Because of that, the songs that Covell writes seem very close to stories set to music.

Some of the songs that Stephen Covell includes on his releases have a slight reference to the military in them. That is because Stephen Covell spends part of his time as a musician performing his own material and at other times, Covell is one of the active members of an organization called Operation: Encore, A Veteran Music Project. Operation: Encore is very close to Covell’s heart as the organization helps to support current or ex-military members who are looking for something to do outside of the military world that so many are part of.

As a part of the military, Stephen Covell was a U.S. Army combat medic. As a musician, some of Covell’s songs are very deeply steeped in the civilian mindset; the mindset of enjoying time while back on American soil.

As part of Operation: Encore, Stephen Covell has written several songs that have made their way onto the two current releases that help to promote the music of the artists that are part of the organization. In fact, one of Covell’s tracks ended up becoming the title track of the group’s newest release called Monuments. And along with “Monuments,” one other track from those two compilations is now included in Covell’s newest CD, a five-song EP called Longing for the Hills.

Longing for the Hills by Stephen Covell begins with the track “Ruled by You”. A Rock and Roll track that features an easy, Folk-like pace to the music, “Ruled By You” is a track that finds Covell creating a song that comes across as a love song. The easy pace to the music and the emotional feel of the lyrics helps create a track that feels ready-made for the radio. In fact, “Ruled by You” has enough of a Folk feel to the music that the song seems to have a slight twang to it, making it perfect for “crossover” potential for both Country and Pop-rock radio formats.

The new EP from Stephen Covell continues with the song “We Guards Stood Our Watch”. One of the more personal tracks on the release, “We Guards Stood Our Watch” finds Covell asking why others get to enjoy themselves when those on duty choose to keep watch? The music to the track features a much softer feel to the music. In fact, the almost orchestral feel to the music adds both a slight gentleness to the track and an emotional tug at the heart, as well.

Stephen Covell includes the first of the two Operation: Encore compilation tracks next. Having been included on the organization’s first release, the track “Sand Hills to Sandals” is the perfect track, lyrically, to follow “We Guards Stood Our Watch”. Like the track before it, “Sand Hills to Sandals” deals with military life. However, with this track, Covell focuses on the more upbeat and positive side of life as he sings about being home from overseas and being able to enjoy the things he could not enjoy while on duty; things like going to the beach. While the track does offer a happier side to life than “We Guards Stood Our Watch,” Covell also mentions more sober things like dedicating a toast to those who never made it home. The music to “Sand Hills to Sandals” is once again rather laidback in its nature. The folk music seems to have the best choice for accompanying the semi-sweet lyrics to the track. While “Sand Hills to Sandals” is one of the more laidback tracks on Longing for the Hills, it’s also one of the strongest tracks on the release.

Following the first of the Operation: Encore compilation tracks on Stephen Covell’s new release is the second one entitled “Monuments”. This is the track that was chosen as the title track for the 2017 release from the organization. “Monuments” from Stephen Covell is the hardest rocking track on the singer-songwriter’s new album. Like the other tracks on the five-song release, “Monuments” contains a strong folk influence to the music by way of things like the addition of the mandolin. However, this track finds Covell and the other musicians who helped create the EP adding a lot of Rock and Roll feel to the music. The track comes across as something that may have recorded by The Eagles. The Pop-Rock style of the music on the track makes the song one of the most commercial moments on the release. “Monuments” could easily be the single off of the release. Stephen Covell changes directions completely for the final track on the five-song EP.

The final track of Monuments, “Winter of My Soul,” is an Eric Clapton-inspired track that features a slow-paced Blues-flavored approach. The track includes some very Bluesy guitar playing that would make Clapton proud. While “Winter of My Soul” comes out of nowhere when compared to the rest of the release, the track proves that Stephen Covell has a wide array of influences to draw from. And those helped Covell to create a very strong release from the first note to the last.

His impressive background notwithstanding, Stephen Covell’s new five-song release, Longing for the Hills, is a testimony to the talent that is sometimes hidden within the most unlikely people. And with the five tracks on the new release being different from one song to the next, that talent really shines in this release. Having already released several other albums thus far, this five-song EP would be a great place to discover the talented singer-songwriter named Stephen Covell.

To hear the music of Stephen Covell, check out the song “Monuments“. For more reading about Operation Encore, check out the review for the first album, the second release of Monuments, the review for Rachel Harvey Hill, the review for Andrew Wiscombe and the review of Steve D. Wilson

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.

 

 

Peasant MoonAlt-Country duo Peasant Moon came together when two people from different continents joined forces. Singer-songwriter and Australia native Harvey Russell makes up one half of the combo while longtime collaborator Josie Rothwell originally came from the west coast of the United States. However, the duo is currently making their home in Russell’s native land of Australia.

Together, Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell create music as Peasant Moon that contains a strong Country flavor with plenty of other elements that require their style of music to be categorized as Americana. To bring that Americana sound to life, the duo draws influence from the likes of the Civil Wars, Mandolin Orange, even Ryan Adams. Together, those influences make Peasant Moon’s musical approach very heavy on the folk/country sound. The duo is currently promoting their new 5-song release entitled Our Timing Was Wrong. To help bring their new album of Our Timing Was Wrong to life, Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell are joined by Aaron Langman (pedal steel, electric guitar), Jonathan Kelly (bass) and Rich Burrows (drums). Together, the ensemble creates a very strong release.

The new release of Our Timing Was Wrong from Peasant Moon begins with the track “Back in Time”. The first track on the release contains a strong country/rock combination. “Back in Time’s” musical combination feels very commercial in its tone and the laidback pace of the music makes good use of the Country music that the band has as an influence. The duo also seems to add just a little bit of Folk music influence to the song, as well. “Back in Time” contains so many different musical elements together that combine effortlessly to create one solid track. The song feels very commercial and would fit well on any Country radio format as well as any Folk format, as well.

Peasant Moon’s new EP continues with the title track of the release. “Our Timing was Wrong” finds the duo adding a lot more of a Country feel to their music. With the inclusion of mandolin and steel guitar, Peasant Moon gives “Our Timing was Wrong” a real Country music flavor. Plus, the lyrics to the song also gives the track that authentic Country flavor. While Harvey Russell comes from Australia, he seems to be doing well in following in the footsteps of fellow Aussie Keith Urban in creating Country music that feels as authentic as anything created here in the U.S. “Our Timing was Wrong” would feel right at home on any Country music radio format.

Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell take Peasant Moon’s music in a lighter direction for the next track of “Over Again”. With this track, the duo create a track that is much more in the vein of Folk-Rock music than Country music. The mandolin and acoustic guitar help to create most of the flavor to the song as the song proceeds with a light touch and a moderate pace to the music. While the song features Harvey Russell as main vocalist, the vocals from Josie Rothwell help to add a lot of harmony to the lyrics of the song. “Over Again” finds the duo creating a very strong track that would be right at home in the seventies following a band like The Eagles or during the later eighties following The Traveling Wilburys.

The feel of the album changes on the track of “Party”. While the other tracks on Our Timing Was Wrong are full-bodied and contain the entire band helping to back up Peasant Moon, “Party” features a much simpler feel to the music with Russell’s guitar and Aaron Langman’s steel guitar providing much of the track’s musical background. On the track, Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell create a beautiful duet that would fit well on today’s Country music formats. “Party” is one of the standout tracks on the EP.

Peasant Moon’s Our Timing Was Wrong comes to an end with the track “Leaving Tonight”. The musical combination of the song brings to mind something that would have fit right in on the Every Picture Tells a Story album from Rod Stewart as it would have fit with those songs. The Folk-Rock track has the same sort of feel as several of the songs on that album as the music and vocals would both fit in with those songs.

Our Timing Was Wrong from Australia’s Peasant Moon is a solid five-song release. Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell have created an Americana release that is as strong as anything released here in the U.S.

Peasant Moon’s Our Timing Was Wrong will be released on August 31, 2017. Before the band’s EP is out, check out “Our Timing Was Wrong,” the title track from their upcoming release.

 

Welsh AvenueAustin, Texas-based singer-songwriter Mark DiLillo was once on his way to having a degree as a biology major. That was before his college roommate showed him the ways of Ableton computer software. With the help of that software, DiLillo’s path changed. Soon, instead of helping animals in need, DiLillo was creating music on the computer.

Earlier in life, Mark DiLillo had taken music lessons that helped to instill a love for Classical music. When he started creating his own music with the help of the Ableton computer software, it was only natural that he began creating music with that Classical influence to it. Soon, however, a shift in his musical direction meant incorporating more pop-based influences. The resulting musical style created by DiLillo finds him creating a hybrid style that is part Classical and part Electronica.

Mark DiLillo’s part Classical/part Electronica music is matched up with lyrics that have a realistic feel to them as DiLillo incorporates elements from life into them. The “natural” side of life is included on songs like “Germ Theory” and “Time to Fly”. These and other tracks have been assembled to create Mark DiLillo’s debut release entitled The Great Exchange, and album released under the moniker of Welsh Avenue, the name of the street where DiLillo grew up.

The Great Exchange from Welsh Avenue begins with the aforementioned track “Germ Theory”. The track begins the unmistakable sounds of a scratchy record that helps to add to the ambiance of the music. The song itself features a sound that is part Indie Rock, part New Age because of the easy nature of the music. The light, easy pace of the song matches up well with the very infectious sound of the piano. With the piano comes a gentle quality that makes up the majority of the music. The lyrics about a man who claims to know what’s best for someone else feel very familiar as most of us know that type of person. “Germ Theory” is an easy track that helps get the listener in the mood for the rest of the release.

The second track off of The Great Exchange from Welsh Avenue is called “Blue Eyes”. The first verse to the song consists of just DiLillo and a piano as he sings about being in love. The music of the track then segues to a much fuller sound as the track takes on a more Indie Rock feel. Like the first track of “Germ Theory,” “Blue Eyes” has a gentle feel to the music but contains a slightly heavier feel to the music as DiLillo adds many levels of complexity to the music. Those musical levels create a track that features a strong pop/rock beat while still remaining rather light in nature. Of the first two tracks from the EP, “Blue Eyes” seems to be the more commercial track.

The third track off of the new EP from Welsh Avenue is the title track. Unlike the first two tracks, “The Great Exchange” finds Mark DiLillo creating a track with some real backbone to it. The track features a sound that combines New Wave elements with a few Techno elements to create a song that picks up the energy level quite a bit. The resulting track would easily have been welcome on college radio stations back in the late seventies/early eighties when New Wave was at its peak. At the same time, the track would also have been just as welcome on those same college radio stations about ten years later during the early days of Alternative Rock. “The Great Exchange” from Welsh Avenue is easily the strongest, and best, track on the EP.

Mark DiLillo brings his debut EP to a close with the track “Time to Fly”. As with the track “Germ Theory” from earlier in the release, DiLillo uses real life as a basis for the lyrics to this track about knowing when to let go and say goodbye. The heartbreaking lyrics contained within the song and the rather somber music that goes along with them add an element of sorrow to the otherwise upbeat EP.

While only four songs long, The Great Exchange EP features songs that are rather different from one song to the next. The variety in the tracks showcases the talents of a singer-songwriter Mark DiLillo. The EP also suggests that there is much more to the singer-songwriter than what is found on the release. Future releases should be just as interesting. Keep your eyes and ears open for Mark DiLillo and his musical project called Welsh Avenue.

To hear music from Mark DiLillo, check out The Great Exchange from Welsh Avenue HERE on Bandcamp.

Check out the video to the song “The Great Exchange” HERE.