Posts Tagged ‘singer-songwriter’

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.

 

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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.

Bryan Kirschner is a singer-songwriter that creates music that incorporates several different elements to create his folk-rock music. When listening to the music of Kirschner, you can hear more than a few hints of people like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and other legends that have made a name for themselves. In fact, with his song “Okie Highway,” Kirschner creates a song that takes the listener back in time to days gone by. And since the lyrics of the song itself were based upon a picture of a family in the middle of trying to escape the drought that cost them their farm, the resulting music, subject and lyrical style in the track are very reminiscent of songs written by Woody Guthrie. For the music of the song, Bryan Kirschner allows the piano, guitar, bass and drum combine to create a track that sounds as much like a modern folk song as it sounds like something that would have been created back during the time of Woody Guthrie. The resulting song of “Okie Highway” brings back thoughts of the drought from 2012 that created the same sort of hardship on the people of the U.S. as they tried to survive the long ordeal. The song’s lyrics about the father trying to plead to the bank because of the lack of money due to the drought also bring the song’s subject matter back to the present-day. With this track, Bryan Kirschner proves himself to be just as talented a storyteller as he is a songwriter.

****(Out of Five)

Discovering Gravity - EP by Steve D. WilsonDallas, Texas-based Steve D. Wilson made a name for himself with the band The Black Doves. With the band, Wilson created a style that alternated between Alternative Rock and ballads.
But with time, everything changes. And the same thing can be said for Wilson, as the singer-songwriter finds himself creating another release.
This time, however, Wilson is on his own as the band has gone its separate ways….at least, for now. So to fill in the sound of his music, Wilson has called on several people to create the sound and feel of a band. Together with Wilson, the rest of the musicians include: bassist Sam Hudson, guitarist Dan Conrad, keyboard player Theodore Allison, drummer Joe Varela, Keith Brown on strings and Becky Newman adding harmony vocals to the songs. These musicians have helped Steve Wilson create a new release called Discovering Gravity.
The new release from Steve D. Wilson begins with the song “Perfect”. The song contains Wilson’s signature acoustic/electric rock that was so much a part of the Moments of Clarity release from The Black Doves. The resulting song creates a bridge that seems to take the listener from the 2008 release from that band and brings them over to today without losing much of what fans of that band liked about their music. “Perfect” still contains the vocals from Wilson that feel so effortless and emotional.
It is on the song “Mess of Me” that the landscape seems to change. While there is still a little bit of The Black Doves in the music of the song that might simply be because of Steve D. Wilson’s vocals. The song contains a rock ballad approach to the music, and with the addition of Becky Newman on harmony vocals, the song ends up being one of the most commercial and radio-friendly tracks of the five songs on the release.
Listeners to Top 40 radio back in the early 80s will no doubt recognize the song “Bringing on the Heartbreak” that was originally done by the British band Def Leppard. For this version, it is Theodore Allison’s keyboards that help create the majority of the music for the song. The updated version of the song from Steve D. Wilson still contains much of the magic that came from the original single, while still containing some of the sound Black Doves fans are familiar with. The combination of the two styles on the new track shows what can happen when someone decides to do a cover of a single…..in their own style.
“Superstar” is another song on the new release Discovering Gravity from Steve D. Wilson that has a very commercial feel to it. With the addition of some electronic elements in the music, the song also has a slight feel that makes it seem like something from the 90s. While there is a slight “retro” feel to this track, it also feels fresh and would still fit right in with today’s radio formats.
Discovering Gravity from Steve D. Wilson comes to a close with “Cold Steel Rain”. “Cold Steel Rain” is yet another song that tugs at the heartstrings. The keyboard from Theodore Allison is the main part of the music of the track, creating the perfect background for the vocals from Wilson.
While it’s sort of sad another album from The Black Doves was never released, this new EP of Discovering Gravity from singer/songwriter Steve D. Wilson from that band makes up for that. And with each song being composed by Wilson with the help of guitarist Dan Conrad and keyboard player Theodore Allison, the five songs contained within the CD have enough familiarity to them while taking the music in a different that fans of Wilson’s music, new or old, will enjoy the new CD.

Click HERE for a review of Moments of Clarity for Wilson’s band The Black Doves.

While New York-based singer-songwriter Jenn Summers has a past that contains a lot of uncertainty, the songs that she writes have a more upbeat approach to them in a way that may just help you forget about your troubles. Jenn Summers took some of these songs and created a new album entitled When Life Gives You Lemons. And just recently, Summers celebrated the release of the 2012 album.

When Life Gives You Lemons from Jenn Summers is a release that features a relaxed a soulful approach with a solid soul/acoustic pop combination in its songs. For fans of music with a more relaxed approach, the new album from Jenn Summers gives you that relaxed feel while also promoting the writing style of this singer-songwriter.

Jenn Summers’ new release of When Life Gives You Lemons begins with the track “Blue Velveteen”. The bass, acoustic guitars and simple drumbeat combine to create a track with a relaxed feel to its music that follows the lyrics about taking it easy. As a song with an easy beat, the “Blue Velveteen” track gives the listener one good reason to check out the rest of the album.

The second track, “Get Better,” adds a stronger beat to the album while the song sticks with the relaxed feel that began on track one. “Get Better” also features a more hook-driven sound and moves the release in a more commercial direction.

When Life Gives You Lemons continues with the title track. “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make L.O.V.E.” The simple ukulele and handclaps approach to the song allows for the words being sung by Summers to stand out. Although the track is very sparse in its nature, the song also has some of the best and upbeat lyrics of the ten tracks on this album. The refrain of the song will also draw the listener in to sing along.

On the track “This Side of Free” takes Summers’ music and creates a track that feels the most like something you’d find on today’s radio dial. The music of the track contains guitar, bass, drums and organ. This combination of musical elements helps to bring Jenn Summers’ music to life more than any song thus far on the release. This track also allows for Summers’ voice to shine brighter than on any earlier track.

“Don’t Mind Me” is another track that features a full-band sound. This song takes on a more pessimistic view on life as the lyrics of the song tell of someone trying to accept the end of the relationship. Along with Jenn singing the lead vocals to the song, she also does a nice job adding background vocals that add a nice harmony to the track.

Just as Summers sings of sadness because of love loss in “Don’t Mind Me,” she takes a different view of things on the more upbeat song “The Monday Song”. The narrator in this song doesn’t want to see Monday come as she has too much fun on the weekends spending time with her love interest.

Like the earlier song “This Side of Free,” the track “Wake Me Up” also has a very radio friendly sound. The commercial feel to the music and the lyrics about desire make a song that has a sound that might remind people of the band The Bangles, especially the music on their song “Manic Monday”.

“On My Own” is probably the track on the When Life Gives You Lemons album from Jenn Summers that truly shows off the soulful nature of Summers’ voice the most. On this track, Summers proves she can survive anything….even after a relationship comes to an end. As Summers sings the lyrics to the song, the listener hears the conviction in her words that makes you believe what she says.

The ten tracks that make up the When Life Gives You Lemons album from Jenn Summers give you many different styles of writing from Summers on one release. Whether a simple sound like the sparse approach on the title track of “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make L.O.V.E.” or the fuller, more commercial sound of “This Side of Free,” you get to experience a wide variety of writing styles on one release from singer-songwriter who knows how to create her music in a way that keeps it sounding fresh from track-to-track. When Life Gives You Lemons from Jenn Summers is varied enough that almost anyone will find something to enjoy within the ten tracks that make up the 2012 release.

Click the link that follows to watch the video for “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make L.O.V.E.