Posts Tagged ‘singer-songwriter’

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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.

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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“. 


Reina Mora picPuerto Rico native Leeane Melendez (here on out to be referred to by her stage name of Reina Mora) has spent time in the music industry as part of many bands. But after spending time in other people’s groups, the L.A.-based singer-songwriter has taken on a new role as a solo artist. Having written her own songs, Reina Mora is about to release her first solo album. While Mora is an artist that is proud of the Latin part of her background, the singer-songwriter has just created a release that is largely influenced by the same type of music that she has been singing as part of other bands. That pop/rock-based album is entitled Bird’s Eye View. Before she releases the entire album, however, she is releasing one track as a lead-off single. That song is entitled “Trouble”. The music of “Trouble” focuses on the electric guitar that help to create a very strong Rock and Roll feel to the track. The electric guitar provides a moderate pace to the music. On “Trouble,” Reina Mora’s vocals are strong and focused as she plays out the character she created for the song. To go along with the Rock and Roll music, the lyrics of the song find Reina Mora creating a scene based around an Adam and Eve-type setting where Mora is portraying an Eve-like character who knows the power she possesses over “Adam” and is taking advantage of him as she plays out the forbidden apple scene from the Bible. As the title of the track suggests, Reina Mora declares that she is nothing but bad news. But as it turns out, Adam is no fool and he has a few tricks of his own. While only one song, “Trouble” shows off at least some of the writing style contained within the album as it comes across as a vignette set to music.

The album Bird’s Eye View from Reina Mora is scheduled to be released in the near future. Until then, enjoy the album’s first single entitled “Trouble”.   

For more information, check out Reina Mora’s PR firm, Whiplash PR.

Caroline Ferrante Washington DC-based singer-songwriter Caroline Ferrante spent part of her youth learning how to sing opera. But after a few Open Mic Nights, that musical direction was changed for the singer as she started to drift over to more commercial styles of music. Soon, she was developing her own style and she started writing her own music. And today, Christine Ferrante has amassed a musical library of her own songs that have been collected on three CDs of original music. The latest release from Ferrante was released earlier this year. The 2017 five-song EP from Christine Ferrante is entitled Sky.

Sky from Caroline Ferrante begins with the track “Feels Like a Holiday”. The track begins with a whistle and a ukulele. Soon, the voice of Ferrante fills up the track, soon to be joined with a full chorus of background singers. The track’s music soon becomes full and complete as the track takes on a Pop-Rock direction. The track takes on an eighties feel to the music. In fact, the music and the call-and-response chorus on the track combine to create a track that would easily be right at home being played right after Tears for Fears.

The new EP from Ferrante continues with the track “Better Angels”. The pace slows down on this track as Ferrante adds a generous amount of Blues influence to the music of this track. While the track contains that Blues direction, the track also seems to contain a strong Rock and Roll feel. The two musical genres blend together on the track in order to form a song that emphasize the pain in the words as Caroline Ferrante sings about several things in her life that have left behind some pain and emotional scarring. The music for “Better Angels” is a blend of both the acoustic guitar that makes up the majority of the musical direction and the electric guitar that adds a strong backbone to the song. Together, the two instruments create a track that is rather light and bouncy but still contains a powerful delivery.

Caroline Ferrante’s new release continues with the track “Great Big Beautiful World”. A song about seeing the world with her family, the track has a strong, upbeat and bouncy feel to the Rock and Roll that shapes the music. The music is kept light and simple to add to the Pop direction of the track. The lyrics are rather easy to sing along to. Altogether, “Great Big Beautiful World” is one of the tracks on Sky that will be running through your head long after the five-song release has come to an end.

While several of the tracks on the Sky release from Caroline Ferrante have a rather personal connection in the lyrics, perhaps the most personal of these tracks is “Symphony”. With this track, Ferrante sings of the emotions to she feels when she thinks about her. The track begins with a moderately-paced tempo created with the help of a piano that acts as the focal point of the music. Along with the piano, the track also contains an electric guitar, bass and drums that help to enhance the music while still allowing the piano to shine. The gentle pace of the track as well as the easy playing of the instrumentation help to add to the emotional feeling within the lyrics.

Along with being a singer-songwriter, Caroline Ferrante is also an outspoken advocate for Women’s rights. Having formed the Songwriters Against Sexual Assault group, Ferrante sings and performs to help raise awareness. Ferrante’s Sky release comes to an end with the track “Brighter Day,” a song she wrote as part of that group. Along with lyrics about standing up for yourself and making your voice heard, the track contains a musical direction that allows for the words to be heard while still being strong enough to entertain.

The five-song release of Sky from Caroline Ferrante is a short, yet strong EP that contains many different musical directions. With the changing of the styles from one track to the next, the listener gets to experience many sides to Ferrante’s personality in a short amount of time. Plus, the relatively short playtime guarantees you’ll want even more once the release is over.

To hear the music of Caroline Ferrante, check out her song “Great Big Beautiful World“.

Check out the Sky release from Caroline Ferrante on her Reverbnation profile.

For more information, check out Caroline Ferrante’s PR Firm, Whiplash PR.

 

Rachel Harvey Hill is a singer-songwriter from Kentucky. It was during her time as a military wife that Hill picked up the guitar and start writing music. Some of the material written by Hill has to do with being apart from the husband as he serves his country in the military. Other points of influence happen to be life and everything that happens within it.

It was back in 2014 that Rachel Harvey Hill contributed to a recording project known as Operation Encore, a project that features military personnel, ex-military personnel and spouses of those currently enlisted. For the 2014 release of Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project, Hill contributed the song “Another Trip Around the Sun,” a track about living with someone who is involved with the military. The track is one of the strongest tracks to be featured on the release. While Rachel is currently working on a new CD featuring her own music, a singer-songwriter album featuring Hill’s songs recorded by other artists is currently available. The album is simply titled Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1.

Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1 features three talented musicians who helped bring the music on the album to life. The featured musicians are: Josh Coffee on fiddle, mandolin and banjo; Eddie Dunlap on steel guitar and Kyle Howard on piano. Together with Rachel Harvey Hill and her guitar, these three musicians are responsible for giving each track its unique personality. While the musicians shape the music of the tracks, several singers helped to complete the tracks on the album. The featured singers for the project are: Tim Harvey (Rachel’s brother), April Jewell, Josh Mills, Trevor Turner and Lane Davis, along with Rachel Harvey Hill herself who sings on three tracks of the album.

The album of Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1 begins with the track “Blue Kentucky Moon”. The country-based track features a very commercial feel to the music. The duet by Tim Harvey and April Jewell creates a very happy track to start off the release. The resulting track would feel right at home on any modern-day Country radio format. April Jewell takes a solo turn on the next track of “Loved Like That”.

While the previous track features a rather happy approach to the lyrics, Rachel Harvey Hill changes the mood on “Loved Like That,” a track about a child going through several stages of her life longing for the fairytale ending. Jewell takes the lyrics of the song and handles them with grace while the piano from Kyle Howard adds just the right amount of emotion to the music. At the same time, the orchestration on the track is as professional as any major label release. The resulting track would be perfect for an artist like Amy Grant who is known for singing songs that contain the type of message contained within this song. Like “Blue Kentucky Moon” before it, “Loved Like That” is another track that should be a single, though it would best fit on a Christian music radio format.

Another song that stands out on the album of Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1 is “Wrong Side of the Street”. Unlike “Loved Like That” that features a completely orchestrated feel to the music, “Wrong Side of the Street” features a more simplistic approach with only an acoustic guitar, a piano and an organ creating the music. That simplistic musical feel is the perfect background for the duet created by Trevor Turner and Lane Davis. The resulting track feels like a pop song that might feature the likes of someone like John Mayer and Gwen Stefani. The track is easily as strong as anything on the radio today. While the album features other people doing songs written by Rachel Harvey Hill, Hill herself does appear on the album. In fact, she performs three songs on the release. One track that needs to be heard is the song “I’m Here, You’re There”. With a minimalistic musical makeup of just one guitar, a piano and a bass viol, the track features a slow, easy tempo with a simplistic quality to the music. That gentle music lends itself well to the lyrics about missing someone.

Rachel Harvey Hill’s current release comes to an end with the one track that will definitely find its way onto another release. “I’m Going Home” is the track that Hill has written to be included on the next Operation Encore album, Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project Vol. 2. Written on the day that Hill learned she would be heading back to the United States after spending time over in Korea, “I’m Going Home” is an upbeat track that makes the listener happy for her and her family as well as others who go through the same thing every day.

Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1, the songwriter album from Rachel Harvey Hill, isn’t so much about the performing talents from the songwriter as it is about her songwriting itself. And since many of the moments contained within the nearly 40 minutes of music could easily be used as singles on radio station formats throughout the country, the album as a whole does an excellent job of showcasing that songwriting talent. While there is a true album of music in the works from Rachel Harvey Hill, this release is an excellent place to familiarize yourself with her before she hits the big time.

To hear just a little of the music from Rachel Harvey Hill, check out the video to the song “Loved Like That“. 

Check out the Operation Encore organization by clicking on this link.

Austin, Texas-based Lizzy Lehman has made a name for herself in the folk music scene in that area. And now she is making a new identity for herself as part of the very recently-founded band Carry Illinois. Along with Lehman, the rest of the band consists of guitarist Darwin Smith, bassist Nick Droz and drummer Rudy Villarreal. Together, Lehman and the rest of the musicians in the band have created a group that builds on Lehman’s Folk music identity and takes her songs in a new direction that truly gives her songs a new life. The resulting Americana sound from this new musical ensemble blends folk and rock and other genres together to create a sound that is very enjoyable. This blending of genres can be found on the band’s new release entitled Siren.

The first track from the Siren EP from Carry Illinois is the track “Weakest Limb”. The song features a slow-placed Indie Rock sound. The drums from Rudy Villarreal provide a very strong beat that creates that slow pace in the track. Along with that strong beat, the rest of the band combine to create music that has a very infectious feel. And when Lizzy Lehman adds her lyrics about trying to make it through an unforgiving world, you end up with a track that many people can get behind. With the various elements of the song playing together, the track ends up being one of the best moments from the Siren release.

While “Weakest Limb” finds Carry Illinois creating a track that has an Indie Rock sound, the title track of “Siren” incorporates many more musical aspects to create a song that is just as strong as that first track. The track starts off with a quietness that quickly gives way to folk-influenced music. With banjo and cello added to the music of the track, there is a definite folk influence to the music that is undeniable. While “Siren” does contain some folk music influence to it, there is so much more to it as the band incorporates drum loops and other instruments that help add elements to the track not normally found in folk music.

With the song, “Jackson,” the music takes on the most folk-like of any of the tracks on the Siren EP from Carry Illinois. The addition of the banjo and standup bass to the music of the track helps give the track that folk base that will be so familiar to fans of Lehman but like the rest of the song, the folk base is only part of the track. The strong yet simple drum part, the simple electric guitar and keyboard parts on the track help give the song a lot of energy while still allowing a lot of the folk flavor to shine through. With all of the various musical elements, the song easily falls into the folk-rock category as the music of the song has an easy feel to it while still containing a rock influence, as well.

Carry Illinois returns to a more rock-like sound with the track “Nothing to Despise”. The track begins with a feel that may remind of songs that were created by more traditional folk singer-songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell. But very soon, the drumbeat and loops on the track helps bring the track back to an Indie Rock feel to the music. The song features lyrics that seem to focus on an upbeat look at the afterlife as opposed to songs with lyrics that focus on the finality of death. While still not a very upbeat track because of the subject matter, “Nothing to Despise” does seem to say to live life to the fullest while you can.

The Siren EP from Carry Illinois comes to an end with the track “A Good Farewell”. The music takes on the most folk-like of any of the tracks on the release. With the simplicity of only a guitar and banjo as the main instruments on the track, the track contains a very minimalistic approach to the music. With this track, the listener gets a good idea of what Lizzy Lehman’s songs sound like when she is the only one creating the music. The addition of RP Oates on the banjo helps give the track some depth while still allowing a certain amount of simplicity to exist in the music.
Taking the songs of Lizzy Lehman and giving them some depth that was not there before, Carry Illinois has created an album in Siren that will make folk music fans happy while also giving rock music fans a lot to smile about. Whether you are a fan of Rock and Roll or of Folk music, Siren is a release you should really check out.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

Click HERE to hear the song “Nothing to Despise” from Carry Illinois from the band’s Bandcamp profile.

danhazlettDan Hazlett is a singer-songwriter, guitar player from the state of Michigan. With his style of writing, Hazlett’s easy listening music would fit alongside people like Christopher Cross, Jim Croce and James Taylor. Hazlett is a seasoned musician who has several releases in his discography. The newest one, The Corner of My Eye, was released in 2012.
The Corner of My Eye from Dan Hazlett begins with the track “Alchemy of Fish”. The folk-rock song has a simple feel to the music and sort of brings back the feeling of the writing of John Denver. The lyrics to the song about living off the earth also have the same John Denver-like quality.

The next track on the album is “Empty Room”. With this track, you can tell that Dan Hazlett is the type of writer that can tell a good tale in the lyrics of his songs. “Empty Room” is a song about two people on different paths who end up needing each other. The lyrics of the song are written using free verse, making the listener pay attention more to the story than to the music of the track.

On the song “Alien,” the listener gets to experience the true talent of Dan Hazlett as a guitarist. The first third of the song features the guitar as Hazlett plays some very beautiful and moving instrumental jazz. When Hazlett’s voice does appear on the track, the song takes on a different kind of feeling than the first part of the track. The lyrics of the song have a bit of pain in them as Hazlett sings a very touching song about a boy who is dealing with cancer and the kids he calls friends who decide to stand by the boy as he goes through Chemotherapy. The song is sung from the perspective of the kids on the baseball team who are standing by the boy with cancer. The moving song once again shows Hazlett to be a very good storyteller. The music, lyrics and guitar playing from Hazlett on this track make “Alien” one of the strongest tracks on the release.
The song “Postcard from Paris” is yet another example of Hazlett’s ability to create a story in song. The track features music that is part folk and part jazz. The jazz part of the melody goes well with the visuals of the subject in the song reading the postcard he received from someone he knows who went to France.

With the song “The Other Side of Dawn,” Dan Hazlett creates one of the fullest sounding tracks on the release The Corner of My Eye. The addition of background vocals by a choir of voices and the inclusion of the trumpet and piano on the track really add body to the track. The song contains a lot of emotion in the lyrics to the song as the lyrics tell of two people who are going their separate ways.

The Corner of My Eye from Dan Hazlett comes to an end with the track “Where the Blue Meets the Blue”. The song features a folk-like approach to the music and features a fiddle that adds to the beauty of the music. Like the songs that came before it, the lyrics to “Where the Blue Meets the Blue” have a very strong affect on mind as you can almost see the pictures that Hazlett describes in the song.

The album The Corner of My Eye from Dan Hazlett feels very much like a collection of short stories as Hazlett writes very straightforward lyrics that tell it like it is. The music on the album is performed with style and lends itself well to the lyrics written by Hazlett. You only come across an artist like Hazlett once in a while and his album The Corner of My Eye is a joy to listen to.

Click HERE for the video to the song “Alien” from Dan Hazlett.