Showing posts with label Mando Saenz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mando Saenz. Show all posts

Jul 30, 2020

Exclusive Video Premiere / Skylar Gregg / “Have You Ever Tried to Lose Your Mind”

Photo by Alaina Broyles

From her forthcoming album, Roses. Gregg, on the intensely personal nature of this poignant song:

All of my grandparents died of dementia and Alzheimer’s. I remember thinking when I was young it would be an easy way to go, to just slowly forget. After I met my husband, I realized that would not be the case. That it may be the hardest. Mando Saenz and I wrote "Have You Ever Tried to Lose Your Mind" about remembering to hang on to every moment as hard as you can because you may not get to keep all the memories. Corey Pitts really brought the song to life in this video. Even in a socially distanced environment and a one person cast with very little experience in front of the camera (me) he was able to dig into the meaning of this unusual love song and I think it turned out beautifully.

FTM readers get an exclusive look at the video today. Tomorrow, she’ll take over the “Women of Americana” Instagram account, which you can check out here. 

Roses will be released on Friday, August 14.  On Monday, August 10, we’ll post our in-depth interview with this talented singer-songwriter.

More information about Skylar below!

Skylar Gregg engages in a gripping cocktail of hard work, humor, and self-discovery, expressing vivid lyrical imagery and raw grit that soaks into every note of her songwriting. The Nashville native musician translates that into a mixed bag of retro southern music immersed in old soul, 60’s and 70’s country and blues. 
Gregg’s sound stems from being raised around musicians. Her family moved to Nashville to pursue music careers - her dad as a songwriter and her mom as a piano major at Belmont University. Their influence led to Gregg performing at the age of 6. During her early college years she joined her first real band. In 2013, she started pursuing her own path as a songwriter, which included the release of two records, Walkin’ in The Woods (2015) and Time Machine (2018). Both were self-produced and recorded with her husband, Taylor Lonardo, in their home studio. On her upcoming record, Roses, she elevates her homegrown roots by enlisting producer Jon Estes, whose contributions on stage and in the studio have included John Paul White, Steelism, Robyn Hitchcock, Langhorne Slim, and Andrew Leahey.
Exuding a Muscle Shoals meets Nashville vibe, the upcoming album compiles stories spanning Gregg’s life over the past decade. Gregg says, “I think I have spent the past ten years learning who I am. And by proxy who my artist is. And that discovery has been my biggest life lesson. This record is the realest I have ever been.” 
Some of the songs were written at the start of the ten-year journey and some were written in the studio as late as 2019. When songs take a multi-year journey, it’s inevitable that growth will follow: both in the songwriting and the subject matter itself.  The first single, “Long Way Back,” which is also the oldest on the record captures a snapshot in time - a plea from Gregg for her brother to find himself. 
And then there are songs like “Landfill” which almost grow with her. A song inspired by driving past a landfill, the song serves as a reminder to recycle, and about how much garbage we make as humans, both literally and metaphorically. Two years ago Gregg started therapy which led her to know what the song was really supposed to be about. She says, “As southern people, or maybe just people, in general, we tend to really pack our troubles down and keep marching on. I thought that was a sign of strength. But in reality, it was making me weak. I had become a giant pile of trash. I was indeed a Landfill.”
Songs written in the middle of this ten-year stretch revolve around themes of addiction, mortality, and abuse. A folkloric tale co-written by Alexis Thompson about “The Bell Witch” explores the story of a witch that lives in a cave in Adams, TN on a property that once belonged to John Adams. The story goes that Adams’ family would show up in town and have bruises and cuts all over them. And John would say “ We have a witch in our house!”. Thompson and Gregg revisited the story giving it a Jordan Peele type twist where John was actually the assaulter. 
 The final song in the chronology, “Everythings Gonna Be Fine” showcases Gregg’s more peaceful state of mind. A song she wrote in the studio, it’s a reminder to chill out and to not worry so much. 
Gregg’s evolution as a songwriter expresses itself in an interesting dichotomy. She says, “It is interesting looking at these songs compiled together in a timeline. My own writing seems to get increasingly more complicated and then simple again. Maybe that is something I have learned about music over the last decade. Complicated isn’t always better. Sometimes a simple message can really resonate.” 

Feb 3, 2015

Album Review: Benton Leachman - Bury the Hatchet

Benton Leachman has a reedy croon that gives off the impression of innocence or sweetness. While that may indeed be the case for Leachman personally, his debut album, Bury the Hatchet, presents several bits of evidence that are at odds with that starry-eyed delivery. He's clearly a complicated and real person, and this record shows you all his sides with a passionate honesty that's rare in first releases.

Opener "Desire" is a bouncy country-rocker about modern dating - straddling that fine line between giving too much away while sharing just enough to keep a love interest …well, interested. "So maybe I’ll just get my feet wet first/Before I hold’em to the fire" sings Leachman late in the song, displaying a wariness that's both an armor and a sword.

The third track, "Pride," is a standout in the bunch, as catchy as it is insightful. It's a hopeful tune about trying to drop the selfish ways that make a relationship more about two hard-headed people than one committed couple. The very next song, and the title track, could well be what happens when that couple foregoes reconciliation and becomes irreparably frayed. "I'll bury this damn hatchet in your heart" is the first sign that Benton's lilting voice belies a sharp tongue, but further proof that he's not biting that tongue.

"Lonely" is my favorite song on Bury the Hatchet, highlighting Leachman's proclivity for a well turned melody and a layered story. The steel guitar gets a workout on this barroom lament that proves its protagonist an unreliable narrator who claims to be resolved in his brokenness but clearly is still fighting.

The biting wit reappears on "Cross to Bear" with the amazing opening lines:
"I think I hate you
And I want him dead
But I think I’ll take all this hurt
And I’ll just rhyme these words instead." Hot damn, that's some lyrical shade.

Closer "The Zombie Song" is either an Americana take on Michael Jackson's "Thriller," an acid trip, or a pondering of mortality. Whichever way you read it, it's a good tune and kind of a strange-ass way to end the album. Sonically, it fits the collection just fine, and based on some of the earlier lyrics, it's not entirely surprising… but still, an interesting way to draw the curtain.

Benton Leachman immediately proves himself a voice to be paid attention to on Bury the Hatchet. His vocal style certainly draws comparisons to Sean McConnell and Mando Saenz, but his unique inflections and hold-nothing-back songwriting brand him a singular and special artist. Bury the Hatchet is a heavy dose of medicine delivered with that spoonful of sweetness.

Bury the Hatchet is available as a digital download or a physical delivery at Leachman's Bandcamp page and also on iTunes.


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