Posts Tagged ‘Folk’

Based outside of San Francisco, singer/songwriter Josef McManus creates a style of music that uses plenty of Folk influence to flavor his songs. Of course, with San Francisco’s history with that music, it comes as no surprise that McManus would end up picking up that influence in his writing. And because of that, some of the songs that McManus creates are rather deeply steeped in political meaning. To bring his music to life, Josef McManus performs and records under the moniker of White Owl Red. Having already created quite a bit of noise with the success of his previous albums, especially 2019’s Existential Frontiers which is still making noise in the music industry, McManus is currently working on the follow-up to that release. And to give his audience (both new and established alike) a taste of the upcoming album, McManus (as White Owl Red) has released the track “Working Class Heroes” as a way to promote the new release. With “Working Class Heroes,” a title that refers to the title of John Lennon’s song called “Working Class Hero,” McManus’ political side comes through loud and strong. And although “Working Class Heroes” from White Owl Red finds Josef McManus creating a song around the idea of the men and women who help keep America strong and moving, the song is more about the facts of the situation and not so much about preaching. While there have been plenty of positive moments in the history of the American worker, there have been moments that proved to be challenges to those workers. The lyrics of “Working Class Heroes” speak of the pride and determination of those men and women trying to work around those challenges to try and make a living for themselves. The music to the track itself blends together Folk music and some Rock and Roll influence to create a track that contains a driving feel to the music while still being laidback. What results is a track that brings to mind a combination of Bob Dylan-like lyrics with music inspired by the likes of John Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen, an artist himself who has written songs with rather strong messages within their lyrics. “Working Class Heroes” keeps the momentum of White Owl Red’s last release Existential Frontiers going and gives the listener just a glimpse of what it to come. Stay tuned for more Josef McManus and his band called White Owl Red in the near future.

For more information, check out White Owl Red’s PR firm, Whiplash/ Whizkid Management by clicking on the logo.

Check out the song of “Working Class Heroes” from White Owl Red.

You can also find the “Working Class Heroes” single from White Owl Red on spotify.

Some people say that music runs in the family. Since five of five members of my family have or had some sort of connection to music in some way, I can attest to that. And the same can be said for Alzara Getz, the woman behind the San Francisco-based Chamber Pop band known as Brother Spellbinder. Alzara’s music connection came by way of her father, Dave Getz, a drummer who played in the band Big Brother & The Holding Company, the same band that would back Janis Joplin up back when she was still alive. And while Dave Getz has been a drummer, his daughter Alzara Getz is the bandleader of the San Francisco ensemble known as Brother Spellbinder.

Brother Spellbinder is a musical collective made up of Alzara Getz on Uke, vocals, harmonica; Jamie Wilson on guitar, vocals; Steve La Porta on drums, percussion; Sean Griffin on Electric Guitar; Helena Tietze on Cello & Vocals; Steve Bollhoefer on violin, mandolin, vocals, tap dancing; Gabriel Beistline on Cello; and Dale Carlson on saxophone, flute, harmonica, pennywhistle. This band blends together so many different genres and musical influences that it’s slightly difficult to narrow down the band’s sound. However, you can find sounds such as Americana, Classical, Swing and some Eastern European influences. It is this musical blend that can be found on the band’s new seven-song EP can We Were Children Yesterday.  

We Were Children Yesterday from Brother Spellbinder begins with the track “Birds of a Feather”. The track begins with the sound of handclaps as they set up a beat for the track. It is the sound of Alzara Getz on Ukulele that begins the music. Soon, the song “Birds of a Feather” begins as it contains a slow, easy feel to the music with Folk influences, Rock influences and some Classical influences. The result is a track that mainly feels like a Folk-Rock track but with a dated feel to the music, taking it back in time to another time. The Classical feel from the strings truly brings out that Other-timely feel to the music. With the unique quality in the vocals from Getz, that Other-timely feel is even further reinforced.

As the next track of “Mandalay” begins, there is the sound of the mandolin and the aforementioned strings. With those instruments, the song feels very much orchestrated. The track is arranged in such a way to provoke a vision of a scene in a Hollywood movie. The vocals from Alzara Getz adds to that vision. The rather short track that lasts for less than two minutes could easily have found its way into a movie in the late forties/early fifties.

The first few moments of the track “Aching Eyes” once again provoke the vision of a movie soundtrack as the harmonica and acoustic guitar play out a tune very reminiscent of scores from Ennio Morricone of Spaghetti Western music fame. Soon, that music changes directions and what it is replaced with is a musical blend that features a strong Folk feel to the music with a light beat to it. The track features the violin from Steve Bollhoefer. That violin and Folk music mix creates a track with a strong Gypsy feel to the track. The track is also rather reminiscent of the Lounge music revival that took place back in the nineties where bands like Novelle Vague and Combustible Edison were creating music outside of the normal spectrum of Pop music at that time. “Aching Eyes” from Brother Spellbinder is a track that would have fit right in with music at that time.

With the next track, Brother Spellbinder creates a track that takes some of the flavor from “Aching Eyes” and mixes it with some influences from a band such as the Squirrel Nut Zippers. It is on the track called “Woman” that the music consists of a blend of Jazz, Folk and some Rock and Roll influence in the form of the electric guitar courtesy of Sean Griffin. The track features a strong Jazz backbone but also has a strong Rock and Roll feel to it at the same time. There even seems to be a slight hint of “Hell” from the Squirrel Nut Zippers in the track. The strong male and female vocals on the track add even more flavor to the track. “Woman” has perhaps the most unique feel to its music of any track on the We Were Children Yesterday release. The track changes directions many times during its playtime of less than three minutes.

While most of the We Were Children Yesterday release from Brother Spellbinder consists of original tunes, the band changes directions for one song. Brother Spellbinder slows thing down on the track “Red River Valley”. For those familiar with that title, this is the same song made popular by many different artists such as The Mills Brothers, Woody Guthrie, and many others. Brother Spellbinder takes their turn at the song. With the Old Timey feel that exists within the music of the band, “Red River Valley” seems ready-made for Brother Spellbinder. The band takes some Old-time Blues influence, adds some Swing influence and some Folk influence to create their version. The band’s version feels both dated and fresh at the same time. This version of the well-known song fits well with those versions that have already come before.

Brother Spellbinder brings their new EP of We Were Children Yesterday to a close with the track “20 Years Ago – The Full Version”. With this track, the band strips things down to just a simple guitar and Alzara Getz’s vocals. This creates a very personal moment on the EP as the listener gets rather up close because of the simplicity of the track. And while there is only the guitar and vocals on the track, the song does is far from dull. While Getz sings the verses of the track, the band joins in as they add just their vocals to the track. The addition of the band’s vocals adds depth to a track that would otherwise be rather sparse in nature. The easy feel and uncomplicated approach to the music makes “20 Years Ago – The Full Version” the perfect track to bring the album to a close.

As you make your way through the We Were Children Yesterday EP from Brother Spellbinder, you encounter many different musical approaches within the EP’s seven tracks. Some of the tracks have Folky approaches, some have stronger Rock-flavored approaches, and some are simply different. This is the type of release that is nice to find from time-to-time as it feels different from anything else out there. We Were Children Yesterday EP from Brother Spellbinder is strong from the very first song and needs to be heard straight through.   


For more information, check out Brother Spellbinder’s PR firm, Whiplash/ Whizkid Management by clicking on the logo.

To hear some of We Were Children Yesterday EP from Brother Spellbinder, check out the band’s current single of “Birds of a Feather“.

To check out the entire album, click on the link below.

Sam Levin is a New York City-based singer-songwriter. And what separates him from most of the music industry is his age: Levin is barely old enough to drive. And while he is rather young, that hasn’t stopped him from already making a name for himself as a singer and musician. The singer/guitarist started young as a guitarist and then began writing his own music when he was only ten years old. Now, Sam Levin has used his limited time in the music industry and has put it to good use. To this point, Levin has released three albums: 2017’s Frame of Mind, 2018’s I Am, and the most recent album, 2019’s A General Air of Regret. And although A General Air of Regret was only released half a year ago, Sam Levin has wasted no time as he continues to write and release new music. The most recent single from Sam Levin was released this month in early September. The new single from Sam Levin being “Dairy Queen Queen”. “Dairy Queen Queen” from Sam Levin begins with the sound of the guitar. It is right from the very beginning of the track that the listener gets to experience the talents of this musician as the guitar playing on the track is reminiscent of a studio musician many times older than Levin at this point in his life. The blending of the guitars at the beginning of the track creates a style of Folk music that brings to mind the style of the now-defunct Contemporary Instrumental band Wind Machine as the track from Levin blends together Jazz and Folk in a manner that is reminiscent of that talented band.  The Jazz/Folk blend performed on the guitar by Sam Levin is mixed with the other instrumentation from Levin to complete the musical feel of the track. With lyrics about admiring a woman from afar but not approaching her, the song “Dairy Queen Queen”  finds multi-instrumentalist Levin creating music that sounds as good as anything that easily could have been made by studio musicians. Although Sam Levin just released a full album of music called A General Air of Regret earlier this year, “Dairy Queen Queen” would be the perfect starting point for the next album from the singer-songwriter.

Check out the new single from Sam Levin being “Dairy Queen Queen”.

For more information, check out Sam Levin’s PR firm, Whiplash Management by clicking on the logo below:

Chuck Whyard is a singer-songwriter is currently creating his own music. And to do so, he is using the stage name of C. Wired. For the most part, C. Wired’s music features Progressive Rock and/or Album Oriented Rock, straight-out Rock and Roll influences while he also incorporates musical styles such as Jazz, Blues, and Country. Under that name of C. Wired, the singer-songwriter has already released one album of original music. The first release from C. Wired is entitled Angel Circuit Engaged. Now, the singer-songwriter returns. This time, he has created a single track of original music. That new song from C. Wired is entitled “Baby Prime Became Baby Blue”. And to bring this new track to life, Chuck Whyard once again called upon Angel Circuit Engaged producer Addison Smith to help bring out the best of the song. Having already created songs that switched between many different genres of music, this new track of “Baby Prime Became Baby Blue” is a track with a rather laidback and low-key approach. The first fifty seconds of music on the track focuses on the pairing up of the acoustic guitar and the keyboards; the guitar containing a definite folk feel while the keyboards contain an ambient quality to them. The result is a Folk/New Age musical combination. Soon enough, Chuck Whyard himself adds his vocals to the song. His vocals continue the same low-key feel as the music of the song. The lyrics of the song “Baby Prime Became Baby Blue” also contain a somber feel as they describe a woman who lives in her own personal view of reality. But it’s all a lie as she believed everything she had been told. The new track from C. Wired ultimately comes across as a storyline set to music. With the track “Baby Prime Became Baby Blue,” C. Wired gives the listener just a taste of his music and proves that he could be the next singing storyteller, in much the same vein as songs from the likes of artists such as Tom Waits, Marty Robbins or even C. W. McCall.   

For more information, check out C. Wired’s PR firm, Whiplash Management by clicking on the logo below:

Jesh Yancey is a singer-songwriter who makes his home in Denver, Colorado. Yancey spent the early years of his adult life in the Navy and the former military man is now spending his time in the music industry as a musician and songwriter. As that musician and songwriter, Jesh Yancey already has one album under his belt and is now creating more music with his band. Upright bassist Lizz Hough, drummer Ryan Van Dyke and harmonica player Jef Funk join the singer-songwriter to create the band known as Jesh Yancey and The High Hopes, a moniker that lends itself rather well to some of the songs that are currently being performed by the band and which are now available on the band’s second and current release entitled Maybe It’s the Drugs an EP which contains some Country vibes, some Folk vibes, some Rock and Roll vibes, and even some Cajun influence. The songwriter and his band refer to this style as PsycheDeltaFolk.

Maybe It’s the Drugs begins with the song “When in Rome”. The listener gets an immediate glimpse at just what the band means by PsycheDeltaFolk. The band’s music on the track blends together a stronger Country vibe with some Folk influence and some Cajun influence by way of the accordion. The slow-paced, easy feel to the track creates a song that brings to mind some of the Country music of the seventies while mixing in some influence from a musician like Doug Kershaw who has been known for his Cajun-influenced music. The lyrics to the track deal find Yancey explaining that his actions were a result of simply trying to fit in, even if it wasn’t the best idea.

After the Cajun-flavored “When in Rome,” the feel of the music changes dramatically. With the song “Ridin’ High,” the band abandons the Cajun feel of the music for a much stronger Blues approach. The main Blues influence on the track of “Ridin’ High” is matched up with some Folk-Rock to help fill out the track’s sound. This gives the song a nice easy groove that allows the song to flow along smoothly. On the track, Jesh Yancey and The High Hopes create a track that features a jamband feel: each of the members of the group take turns giving small solos on their various instruments and that helps to show off the talents of each musicians in the group.

The feel of the music changes once again on the very next song entitled “In a Pinch”. While the first song of the release called “When In Rome” contained a Country/Folk/Cajun blend, “In a Pinch” contains a much simpler musical approach as the track contains a straight Country music sound. The track reminds the listener of what Country music used to feel like in the late seventies and/or early eighties, before the Rock and Roll influence seemed to overtake the heart of the music. For those looking for a song with a classic Country music feel, “In a Pinch” is the track for you.

Jesh Yancey and The High Hopes continue their new EP with the song “My Little Soul and Me”. And like with the tracks that came before it, this song changes the feel of the EP yet again. With this track, Yancey and the rest of the group create a track that seems to draw a large amount of inspiration from singer-songwriter and Rock Hall Member Tom Waits. Like with much of Tom Waits’ material, “My Little Soul and Me” contains a lyrical approach where the lyrics create a story. The story unfolding is a man explaining that he has given away his soul. Lyrics like “I Gave It to a Black Haired Girl, Her Name Was Destiny. Said It Wasn’t Worth Too Much So She Gave It Back to Me” truly bring to mind the writing style of Waits. While the song contains some of the darkest lyrics on the release, “My Little Soul and Me” is one of the strongest moments on the EP.

Maybe It’s the Drugs from Jesh Yancey and The High Hopes comes to a close with the title track of the release. While the entire EP features the four musicians of Yancey, Hough, Van Dyke and Funk, “Maybe It’s the Drugs” truly brings out the ensemble feel to the band. The track not only features all of the members, but all of the members join in on the vocals of this track. The lyrics of the track deal with the political state of the country at the present time. While it is a rather political track, many will likely agree with the sentiment shared within the lyrics.   

Although only five tracks, Maybe It’s the Drugs from Jesh Yancey and The High Hopes shows a band that has plenty of musical ability and talent. Each track has a different sound, a different feel. Because of this, the release flies by, leaving the listener wanting for more. 


Maybe It’s the Drugs from Jesh Yancey and The High Hopes will be available shortly. When the release is live, you can find it here. Until the entire EP is available, you can check out the first single off of the release, “When In Rome”.

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

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It was back in late 2007 that alt-country singer-songwriter Ryan Adams released his album entitled Follow the Lights. On that album, Adams created a song called “If I Were a Stranger,” a track that came rather late in the seven-track release. The tracks contained on that album had a sound that fell directly in the middle of the alt-country genre with “If I Were a Stranger” being equal parts Country and Rock and Roll. Now, more than a decade later, Puerto Rico native Leeane Melendez (here on out to be referred to by her stage name of Reina Mora) has released her version of the track as a follow-up to her last single of “Trouble”. For her version of the track, Reina Mora has stripped the track down to a bare minimum as the track contains the sound of an acoustic guitar, bass and cajon, all played live in the studio. “If I Were a Stranger” features the sound of the acoustic guitar and the cajon helping to form the basis for the track with the addition of the cello as the instrument helps to add texture and some bottom to the body of the song. The track feels as much like the acoustic version of “If I Were a Stranger” from Adams’ one performance on David Letterman he where performed solo as it does like one of Reina Mora’s own tracks, which proves she wanted to stay close to the original material but also wanted to add her touch to the song. The track blends together the two styles of both Reina Mora and Ryan Adams as the song contains both a strong Folk approach and a strong Pop feel to the music. The five-minute playtime on the track shows that Reina Mora and the musicians backing her up on the track simply allowed the track to play out in its own way. Like the single of “Trouble” before it, “If I Were a Stranger” shows off only one side of the talent from Reina Mora. With this and the previous single, the upcoming album release from the singer-songwriter is shaping up to be a rather strong album.    

To hear Reina Mora’s version of the song “If I Were a Stranger,” click HERE.

Singer-songwriter Caroline Ferrante started out on the South Side of Chicago where she gained her knowledge of theater and voice. With this added knowledge, she ended up in the Washington, D.C. music scene where she has been making music ever since.

As a solo musician, Caroline Ferrante is constantly adding to her collection of songs. She has several releases under her name at the moment. Having already released Live from the Belfry, and Sky, Ferrante returns with yet another release called Beyond.

Beyond from Caroline Ferrante sets itself apart from her earlier releases as Ferrante shifted her style to take on a religious feel to the music on the four-song EP. While Ferrante stays true to her Folk music background, the addition of religious themes and words gives the tracks a much different feel than what had come before from the singer-songwriter.

Caroline Ferrante begins her Beyond release with the track “River Flow”. The track begins with a strong beat that is the result of several people clapping their hands and stomping their feet to create a rhythm for the rest of the instrumentation to go on top of. The rather strong beat in the song is met with the sound of an acoustic guitar that helps to create the actual music for the song. What is created is a sound that is Folk-Rock at its best. The lyrical content of the spirit being a river that washes the singer clean helps to bring the religious meaning of the song to life. The inclusion of other female voices blending together with Ferrante’s voice helps to create a strong chorus in the track. “River Flow” contains a strong musical approach to start the EP off strong.

The Beyond release slows down a little on the track “Peace Be Still”. Where the previous track of “River Flow”contained a strong beat providing a powerful backdrop to the rest of the music on that song, “Peace Be Still” is much more relaxed in nature. And while the previous song also contained a strong, religious message, the EP’s second track is much more relaxing to listen to. The laid-back feel of the music once again comes from the acoustic guitar; but this time, the instrument is played with a gentler approach. The soft, laid-back approach on the music works well with the lyrics about seeking the chance to find inner peace when everything around you is not the way you want it. As Caroline Ferrante sings the lyrics, she produces a crescendo in his delivery near the end of the track that is very reminiscent of the same type of build up one would expect from the late entertainer Kate Smith who was known for her pinnacle version of the song “God Bless America”. While the previous song on the release may be a stronger track because of its energetic feeling, “Peace Be Still” has its own strength in its musical beauty.

The energy level goes way up on the next track of the four-song Beyond EP. The track “A Little More Faith” finds Caroline Ferrante joining forces with a Gospel choir to bring the song to life. And with the combination of Ferrante and the chorus, there is definitely a lot of life in the song. The music of the song contains a Folk-Rock approach with a stressing on the word Rock. The entire musical ensemble blends their various musical and vocal talents together to create a track that is one of the strongest points within the four songs included in the release. The music and the vocals come together to create a track that is sure to fill up your ears as you listen to the song.

Beyond from Carolina Ferrante comes to a close with the track “Hear Your Name”. This track is one of the more spiritual tracks of the EP as Ferrante sings to and about the one above. The guitar and piano found on the track blend together to create a musical sound that is beautiful and easy on the ears. The feel of the music, the lyrical content and the vocals delivery from Ferrante all combine to create a track that feels very reminiscent of a rather well-known singer within Gospel music circles- Amy Grant.

If you had to come up with a one-word description for Beyond, the latest release from Carolina Ferrante, “Energetic” is probably the word to use. Right from the start, the listener experiences the Folk-Rock of “River Flow”. Then, the pace decreases as it slows down on the song “Peace Be Still” but the intensity on the track does not decrease. As the release continues, the other tracks help to finish out the EP with both beauty and strength.

To check out the music of  Carolina Ferrante, check out her song “Peace Be Still“.