Showing posts with label Song Premiere. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Song Premiere. Show all posts

Aug 28, 2020

FTM Song Premiere / Ruby Mack / "Machine Man”

Photo by Gianna Colson
Inspired by Americana traditions, the four songstresses of Ruby Mack are rough around the edges, with their unabashed harmonies and pictorial lyricism. The band is made up of Abbie Duquette (fretless uke bass); Zoe Young (vocals and guitar); Abby Kahler (bocals and fiddle); and Emma Ayres (vocals and guitar.)

“Machine man is an ode to the blue-collar workers, the skilled laborers, without whom the fabric of the lives we live would surely unravel,” says Kahler. “Machine Man shines a light on the beauty and grit of the special folks who work with their hands in an age when they are not celebrated nearly enough.”

“We ended up nurturing a love song for a mechanic who saved us one too many times,” adds Young. “You never realize how much you value skilled workers until you’re faced with a relentless, ‘check engine’ light and zero idea how to fix it,” says Duquette.



You can preorder Ruby Mack’s forthcoming album Devil Told Me here.

Aug 27, 2020

Exclusive Song Premiere / Sam Morrow / "Money Ain't A Thing"

Photo by Christine Solomon

FTM Exclusive Song Premiere:
Sam Morrow’s “Money Ain’t A Thing”

Sam Morrow has invited favorable comparisons to Little Feat and Lynyrd Skynyrd – rightfully so and for the very best reasons. In “Money Ain’t A Thing,” (heard only here at FTM) he captures a ballsy everyman ethos that’s the mirror image of “Workin’ For MCA.”

"'Money' is a song that reminds me of what’s important through all the distractions or stresses we get fed on a daily basis,” Morrow says. “Whether it’s the expectation to look a certain way or something you need to buy, it’s important for me to constantly remind myself that I don’t need those things.”

His forthcoming album, Gettin’ By On Gettin’ Down, drops October 30. Keep it here for updates; it’s one of the best American rock, rhythm & blues records in a while. The dude jams.  “All I need’s my guitar and my sh*t-kickin’ band,” indeed.


n  Kevin Broughton



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August 4, 2020 - Sam Morrow will release his new album Gettin' By on Gettin' Down October 30th via Forty Below Records. It’s a modern album that revisits — and reshapes — the primordial sounds of hip-shaking rock & roll. These nine songs are rooted in grease, grit, and groove, from the swampy soul of "Round 'N Round" to the funky syncopation of "Rosarita" to the hook-laden rock of "Money Ain't a Thing." There's hardly an acoustic guitar in sight; instead, amplifiers and guitar pedals rule the roost, with everything driven forward by percussive rhythms that owe as much to R&B as country music. Written and recorded in the wake of the tour for Morrow’s breakout record Concrete & Mud, Gettin' By on Gettin' Down doubles down on the electrified fire and fury of Morrow's live shows, with a road-ready band joining him on every song. 

"My favorite rock & roll is the stuff that has groove to it," says Morrow, a native Texan who kickstarted his music career after moving to Los Angeles, where he's since become one of the city's biggest roots-music exports. "I want to make music like that — funky, layered rock where it's not just the songwriting that's important, but the presentation, too."

To find the right presentation, Morrow turned to drummer Matt Tecu, whose versatility as a percussionist had landed him a spot in the documentary Echo in the Canyon, backing up West Coast icons like Jakob Dylan, Brian Wilson and Neil Young. The two had spent months on the road together, touring their way from coast to coast, steadily growing Morrow's sound into something that nodded to — but was no longer defined by — the country music he'd grown up with. Looking to funnel the spirit of those concerts into a studio recording, Morrow asked Tecu to send him a series of drum beats, which the frontman then turned into songs with help from co-producer Eric Corne. The grooves served as building blocks for the music that followed, anchoring Gettin' By on Gettin' Down in a rhythmic, full-bodied sound whose mix of country, rock, and funk influences nodded to Morrow's genre-bending heroes: Little Feat, Los Lobos, Queens of the Stone Age, and even David Bowie. 

While recording the album at an L.A.-area studio owned by The Doors' guitarist Robby Krieger, Morrow and Corne embraced their experimental side, focusing on layered arrangements that were as unique as the songs themselves. They added a T. Rex-worthy, fuzz-rock riff to the title track. They punctuated "Rosarita" with a slide guitar wrapped in wah-wah wooziness. They filled "Round 'N Round" with blue notes and swung swagger. Over six days, they pieced together the Gettin' By on Gettin' Down tracklist, with help from guest musicians like guitarist Doug Pettibone and bassist Taras Prodaniuk, both veterans of Lucinda Williams' band. The result is a record that builds a bridge between Morrow's command as a frontman and bandleader — a record, in other words, that pairs sharply-written insight from a songwriter at the top of his game with the raw, rocking slash-and-burn of a band stocked with roots-music heavyweights.

Morrow’s 2018 album Concrete & Mud was a true breakout, earning critical praise and radio success. Vice called Morrow “LA’s young prince of unabashed Country gold,” KCRW declared “Sam Morrow's third album cements his place as a member of LA’s Country elite,” and Rolling Stone said “Concrete And Mud’s vibe is less sunshine and palm trees and more in line with the hard surfaces and grit of it’s album title…Morrow pairs his brawny voice and tales of life at the margins with brittle funk grooves and greasy slide guitar licks." The album made it into the top 10 at Americana radio, album standout “Quick Fix” was featured on Showtime’s hit show Billions, and Morrow toured relentlessly in support of the record in both the U.S. and Europe. NPR Music said Morrow’s 2018 AmericanaFest set was one of the festivals “most anticipated,” going on to say “If you're a fan of Little Feat, Tony Joe White and classic Lynyrd Skynyrd, then Sam Morrow has it all for you: He's the essence of Americana, blending together diverse styles of roots music, and his showcase set at The Local more than delivered on the anticipation for it.”







May 1, 2020

Exclusive Song Premiere / Zach Aaron / "C.C.C."

Photo by Kayla Rayborn

Today we have a premiere for you. The song is “CCC” from Texas songwriter Zach Aaron, whose forthcoming album Fill Dirt Wanted promises a healthy slice of folk-country with plenty of heart, history, and weirdness thrown in for good measure. “CCC” refers to the Civilian Conservation Corps, a voluntary public work relief effort that operated from 1933 to 1942 for unemployed, unmarried men. It provided 3 meals a day and $30 a month for people going through the hard times of the depression¹, and this song presents that program from the viewpoint of an eager and thankful worker. It’s a simple and tuneful song that will find you singing along to a hard luck narrative that seems a world away, but maybe really isn’t. RIYL: Woodie Guthrie, Adam Carroll, Colter Wall, Townes Van Zandt.

Zach’s thoughts on the song:
I was sitting around the house drinking and thinking about stuff one day when I came across a PBS documentary about the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). I had recently taken a deep dive into Woody Guthrie and Depression-era songwriters at the time, so I was really intrigued by this. There is a part in the documentary where they interviewed men who served in the CCC and I remember one man in particular mentioning that his time in the CCC was the first time he had ever had two pairs of shoes. I loved the contentment he had with three meals a day and two pairs of shoes and it made me want to write a song about the CCC. We have so much nowadays and we are, for the most part, very ungrateful. While on a solo acoustic tour in the northeast I came across a few sites that were actually built by the CCC and made it a point to find a few more (which I'll do whenever touring is a thing again). 

The CCC was a very controversial program when it first came about. I didn't want to bring to light the politics of the whole thing as much as the human element and the gratitude these men had for receiving so little in a time of great strife.

More information about Zach and Fill Dirt Wanted under the video.


Zach Aaron -- Fill Dirt Wanted (May 15)

There’s a whole lotta lonesome in the world. Trying to make sense of it all, including his own, Texas troubadour Zach Aaron travels through lifetimes of hurt on his new album. Fill Dirt Wanted weathers every kind of storm - from a dear friend’s final moments to working one’s hands to the bone. Spanning 12 songs - all tracked live in a room, straight to tape - the record also contains tales about paranormal activity, the Civilian Conservation Corp, and a good for nothin’ local train system - all fitting hallmarks of a traditional Texas country/folk troubadour. 

“Running from the preacher / Running from my sins / Running from my family / I’m running from my fears / Running from anything that gets too near,” he agonizes over the hole swelling in his chest. “Got no one to blame / I dug it on my own.” Such anguish is the bedrock of the record, often writhing around or drowning in it completely, and the title cut serves as an appropriate kick starter.

“Animal of Burden” pounds and yanks the listener out of their seat. “Work, work, work / That’s my game / I’m comin’ up short at the end of the day,” he barks. “I’m an animal of burden / I know my place / Fueling all the fires in a rich man’s race / Breaking my back with a smile on my face.”

Calling to such influences as Woody Guthrie and Guy Clark, Aaron walks a delicate tightrope - doing what needs to be done but feeling suffocated while doing it. “I was feeling like I was working my ass off and not really getting anywhere,” he says. “I came across the term ‘animal of burden’ and got to thinking about how most people live their whole life as just an animal of burden - working their life away. I was wondering, ‘What for? Is it all worth it?’”

With his third studio album, recorded at Breathing Rhythm in Norman, Oklahoma, with producer Giovanni Carnuccio and engineer Steve Boaz, Aaron tears through a rush of emotions. Moments like “Potato Salad,” “Aztec Cafe,” and “Southeast Texas Trinity River Bottom Blues” flex the full extent of his abilities. He combs very honest encounters and observations to dissect humanity’s darkest pains and tragedies, as well as our brightest joys. It’s a true cross section of what it means to be alive, to be broken, and to find healing in the wreckage.

Born in El Paso, Texas on an army base, Aaron shuffled off with his mother to Tombstone, Arizona to live with his grandparents following a divorce. The two lived there until Aaron was 12 years old, and soon, they relocated to East Texas. It wasn’t until after high school that he began to explore music as a creative outlet. He took up a local construction job, and one of his co-workers first taught him basic chords.

Aaron was hooked. “I never sang in my life before or even wrote songs,” he says. Six months later, he entered the Air Force in which he worked for the next four and a half years. He continued to hone his craft, of course, and when he returned, he pursued music more seriously.

In the coming years, he worked with a fence company for a while, playing shows and writing when he could, and later on an oil field. He then rough necked in northern Louisiana on an oil rig for the Patterson Oil Company. His work took him all over the south and as far as Corpus Christi, Texas. 

The music eventually pulled him back, and he decided to “go all in,” he says. “I always had little jobs here and there to keep bills paid.” During his many work endeavors, Aaron released two albums, 2014’s Find My Soul and 2016’s Murder of Crows - both recorded at The Zone in Dripping Springs, Texas.

In addition to his music, Aaron does custom leather work. His items include belts, guitar straps, and holsters. His younger brother first started in the business, eventually piquing Aaron’s interest, so when an ex-girlfriend’s mother was getting rid of some tools, he took to the craft himself.

Now living in Tarkington, outside of Cleveland and 45 minutes north of Houston, Zach Aaron eyes the most emotional and compelling record of his career. Fill Dirt Wanted boasts rootsy compositions and a roster of musicians, including Kevin Haystack Foster (guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, harmony vocals) and Dave Leech (upright bass, piano).

Fill Dirt Wanted carries with it a timely air, too. Aaron’s lyrics implicate great compassion and empathy, but he never hops upon a soap box. It just is.

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Fill Dirt Wanted can be pre-ordered through Zach's site and I imagine it will be available for purchase in all the usual locations on release date (May 15).

Mar 12, 2020

Exclusive Song Premiere / Jesse Daniel / "If You Ain't Happy Now (You Never Will Be)"

Photo ©MOLLY GISHOLM


From his forthcoming album, Rollin’ On, here’s Jesse Daniel with a song found only on Farce The Music. While “If You Ain’t Happy Now” could presumably be directed at a perennially dissatisfied love interest, Daniel was looking in the mirror.

"So much of the music industry is based on the future,” Daniel said. “As an artist, you’re always planning ahead and it’s easy to forget to appreciate the here and now. I wrote this song as a personal reminder to stay in the moment. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t here yet... All we truly have is now.”

Trust us on this one: Go ahead and pre-order Rollin’ On now, as it will be one of the best country albums of the year. And check back in a couple weeks for our exclusive, in-depth interview with this rising star.

-- Kevin Broughton


Sep 18, 2019

EP Premiere / Alex Krug Combo / Sleeping on the Woodlands


We’ve got an exclusive premiere today from the Alex Krug Combo. Their EP Sleeping on the Woodlands comes out tomorrow, but you can give it a full listen right now. It’s an exploration of nature, love, and life as an outsider. Musically, you’ll hear yearning folk rock with jazz influences, flourishes of country instrumentation, and the emotional spaces of R.E.M.-esque college rock. It’s dreamy, atmospheric stuff, but never gets so heady as to pull you out of the moment, Krug’s clear vocals keeping you in the now. This is the kind of music my mind turns to in the fall, so it’s perfect timing. 

Adobe and Teardrops described the EP as “four intricate songs that joyfully wed Americana influences with jazz. These songs will take you far afield, with free-wheeling song structures reminiscent of early-90s queer artists like Ani DiFranco.”

Here are some thoughts and origins from the band on 3 songs from the EP:
“Woodlands”
It was winter in western North Carolina where I live.  The mountains had new snow and a crispness about them.  A few friends and I drove to go for a hike on a remote trail that follows a clean fast river.  I walked in the back behind them, our foot steps making fresh tracks in the snow.  It was late in the day and the beginnings of dusk were coming in around us, deepening shadows.  I was looking around at the young green snowy hemlocks and the sycamore, which leaned over the creek with their strong smooth gray and white camo trunks and dry winter achene dangling from the thinner twigs, unfazed by cold winter.  The words just came to me there on that walk for some reason.  

“Overboard”
Is for those who are on the outside, that are on the periphery, who have been, in some way marginalized, tossed out, thought unworthy, not included, neglected, dismissed, hurt and harmed, sometimes killed (due to hate, injustice, prejudice and ignorance).  This song is so close to home I have to let it speak for itself.  

“Merriment”
An exploration of head over heels love and admiration.

More information about the band and album are below the player.


Life is at its very core about exploring. We can remain stagnant and rooted in place, or we can take a page out of the Alex Krug Combo’s playbook and dive headfirst. The thrill of adventure looms ahead of this heart-driven blues-rock band, and with a new EP called Sleeping on the Woodlands, the Asheville-based players strike a stunningly evocative chord about life, being an outsider and the kind of heartache that transforms your soul.

In their burgeoning career, the Americana six-piece already boast quite a list of accomplishments. To-date, they’ve shared stages alongside such movers and shakers as Horse Feathers, The Hip Abduction, Erin McKeown and Donna the Buffalo, among countless others, and stormed such gigs as LEAF Festivals, All-Go-West Festival, Grey Eagle, Orange Peel and Pisgah Brewery. Additionally, their 2015 EP, Gentle Spotted Giant, was named one of the Top 5 “Dreamiest Local Albums” of the year by the Mountain Xpress and features production work from the prolific Michael Selverne (Motley Crue, Steep Canyon Rangers, India.Arie), as well as contributions from Bill Berg (Bob Dylan), Lyndsay Pruett (Jon Stickley Trio) and Jackson Dulaney (The Blood Gypsies, The Aaron Burdett Band).

It’s been four years since that very first project, one that is as bold as it is raw. Lead singer, songwriter and musician Alex Krug is a colossal force of power, strength and charm, and her voice emerges as a diamond in the rough. Having grown up in rural Maryland, Krug didn’t have many friends, but she did have a record player in her room. Left to her own devices, she would jam out to many classic ‘60s records spanning every genre you could think of. “I’d get lost in the sounds,” she says. Krug also made frequent visits to her grandmother and would tinker around on an old piano to pass the time.

Krug’s parents later purchased her a Yamaha keyboard, and she soon began writing her own songs and playing music. Free from inhibitions, she followed her muse wherever it so happened to lead. In 2007, she moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and initially, she abandoned music altogether. Her work took her to Wilderness Therapy, an organization to help troubled teens with behavioral and emotional problems find a new lease on life.

Two years later, though, music beckoned her back in, and she formed the Alex Krug Trio, a collaboration which included her now-ex-girlfriend. “It ended in a heartbreaking way,” she remembers. The Combo iteration as she now knows it kick started around the time she met Bill Berg, and they began to jam out together. “Drums changed things a lot in a great way,” she says.

That’s when Gentle Spotted Giant took shape, and her artistry reached soaring new heights. “That album was a really huge for me. I got to meet Bill, and it brought us all together. He has an insane sense of groove, and he’s one of the best drummers in the country,” says Krug, whose vocal inflections are tightened with production that’s earthy, yet slick. “He slays all the way.”

Berg’s pedigree not only includes a brainstorming studio session with the one and only Prince, but he once worked as a senior animator for Disney. His credits include work on The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty & the Beast. You could say Berg’s vast style and sense of color and ambiance spilled between media in a way that revitalized what Krug could do on her recordings.

“That album also overwhelmed me. I got to work in awesome studio, so it took me a year or two to lean into having a drummer and learn how to play with a really good drummer,” she says. “I was letting go and trusting the music and them. Once that started happening, it was really freeing. We like to set each other free, and it’s like a machine now.”

Sleeping on the Woodlands is four tracks of rollicking, organically-produced Americana. Recorded at Echo Mountain Recording, the collection is a steam locomotive barreling down the tracks -- the team behind the release is an exquisite lineup, including executive producer Jessica Tomasin, mixers Michael Selverne (also primary producer), and engineer Julian Dreyer. Even more, Jackson Dulaney’s work on lap steel is astonishingly tight-knit, as is Zack Page’s upright bass, yet both permit the arrangements to really breathe on their own. Truly, it is Alex Krug and her mountain-crushing vocals and evocative storytelling driving the industrial-sized apparatus.


Jul 22, 2019

Song Premiere / Philippe Bronchtein / “Beneath the Bridge”


Today we’ve got a song premiere from singer/instrumentalist Philippe Bronchtein. He’s previously been a touring musician with acts such as The War & Treaty and Esme Patterson, but looks to share his own outlook with his new EP Oregon Air, out tomorrow. “Beneath the Bridge” is a chilled-out folk rock song that showcases Bronchtein’s warmly weathered vocals and honest way with words.  It's as comfortable as a fleece in the cool Pacific outdoors, and by comfortable I mean just what you needed. RIYL: Caleb Caudle, John Prine, James McMurtry.

"I wrote Beneath the Bridge while reflecting about a past relationship during my time in Portland OR. I've always tried to live my life in the moment, but the other side of that coin is that the memories take on a life of their own. They flux between feeling like none of it ever happened and a romanticized version of events. The song is really just a series of questions regarding the nature of our memories." -Philippe

More information on Bronchtein and his new EP below the song player!


As a side man and solo artist, Philippe Bronchtein has logged several hundred thousand miles in on the road, crossing and recrossing the US and the Atlantic. In a few short years, he had quickly become one of Portland's most well-loved, consummate road-warriors, cherished by fans of songcraft, other songwriters, and the bandleaders who, over and over, invited him to join them on tour. Before the age of thirty, he'd released three LPs, numerous splits, 7"s EPs, and singles under the moniker Hip Hatchet and toured as a multi-instrumentalist for the likes of Esme Patterson, The War & Treaty, Quiet Life, and others. He relocated to Nashville in 2017 to continue working as the pedal steel & organist in The War and Treaty.

On July 23rd, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Philippe Bronchtein will release his brand new four song EP Oregon AirOn it, Bronchtein offers familiar musings about home & love. These are road-worn songs penned in the back of vans, airport gates, hotel rooms, and unfamiliar kitchen tables. The album features Max Brown (Bass) and Sam Wilson (Guitar) from the War and Treaty band, while Drummer Josh McCewn lends a reliable and upbeat rhythm to the songs. Despite recording Oregon Air during a brief break in his touring schedule, this collection of four songs proves that Bronchtein is more than just a side man.



Mar 1, 2019

Song Premiere: Kyle Daniel - Somewhere in Between

Sometimes the side-man deserves to be a front-man. Kyle Daniel, who's been a touring guitarist with artists like Casey James and Clare Dunn, steps to the mic and displays an exceptional voice on "Somewhere in Between", a song from his forthcoming second EP. This easy-rolling song fits easily on a playlist with the likes of Brent Cobb and Chris Stapleton, sonically and vocally. "Somewhere in Between" straddles Americana and the more traditional leaning parts of modern country - in other words, the kind of stuff I wish was dominating mainstream radio. Give it a good listen; I think you'll dig it. 

From Daniel: "Over the past few years as a musician, I have kind of felt like I was in the waiting room of my career. Although I have accomplished some things I am very proud of, I have yet to feel like I’ve really had the opportunity to do what I want as an artist, on an elevated level. I’ve felt “Somewhere in Between.” I think that we all feel this way at some point in life; when things seem to be moving, yet at a standstill all at the same time. 

This was an internal struggle song, so it was a little easier to write than most. When Jackie Leigh, Seth Rentfrow and I got together to write this song, it came out so naturally and honest. There was some sort of magic in the room that day that really helped to shape this song. I think we were all able to get on the same page with this because we all felt the exact same way, at the exact same time. 

When we went into the studio to begin cutting this song, I vividly remember telling the boys seconds before the record button was hit, “Let’s make this one sound like it should be in a Quentin Tarantino film.” We wanted it to have that southwestern/Americana feel that was tied to the melody and lyrics. I felt like we hit as close to the mark as we possibly could have on the production."

More information about Daniel below the song player! 



Kyle Daniel // What’s There to Say? (March 15)

What’s there to say when you’ve conceded to the hardships of life? Kyle Daniel wrestles with this question throughout his sophomore EP, aptly titled What’s There to Say? Delivering his message via bright melodies and a wall of electric guitar, Daniel navigates the trials and tribulations of being a working musician, failed relationships, being surrounded by addiction and growing up in modern-day America. Wearing his heart on a tattered sleeve, he pairs everyman lyricism with a rusty vocal akin to Blackberry Smoke, Will Hoge and Chris Stapleton, bristled with a warm guitar bravado. It comes as no surprise that he’s road-dogged as a guitarist for Clare Dunn, Jimmy Hall and Casey James, as well as opened for the likes of Jason Isbell and Miranda Lambert. These are rich, authentic stories told from the perspective of someone who’s wrestled with the ups and downs of being a touring musician.

His new project carries with it tremendous gravitas, particularly in a time when truth is under the microscope. Daniel draws upon the uncertainty of an ever-evolving music scene, currently in a state of transition especially in the age of streaming. “You learn to take the victories as they come and be proud of those,” he says, considering the weight of his new music and the past year of his personal life. “Born to Lose” ignites the set from inside out, as he turns his gaze on the taboo topic of addiction and its omniscience in our everyday lives.

“I tried to start digging through all of the shame in hopes I’d see her again,” he sings, the yearning in his soul spilling over onto gold-flecked guitars. The instruments crash against each other like rolling thunder, and it’s both a cathartic sigh and a mountain cry.

“I wondered what it would feel like to be completely down on your luck and feel like there’s nothing you can do about it or nobody to help you. In the title itself, you feel like you were damned from the time you popped out into this world,” he says. Within the song’s shiny structure, borrowing from classic rock as much as contemporary country, he observes such tragedies as the opioid crisis but veers on the side of uncompromising empathy. “I wanted to bring awareness to it without being completely negative in that respect,” he stresses.

It is from such a caring viewpoint that Daniel has approached much of his work, whether it be music-making directly or working behind the scenes. Born and raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky, he was instilled early on with a diligence for an honest day’s work and never giving up. Through much of his youth, he played on various traveling all-star baseball teams, but an accident in his freshman year of high school left him with a broken femur -- and idle hands.

He picked up the guitar to pass the time and was instantly struck by the power of music.

He spent three months honing his craft and later formed his first band. “By default, I had to learn to sing. Nobody else wanted to sing because they were too timid,” remembers Daniel, downplaying his own raw abilities as a natural born storyteller. When that endeavor ended, he founded a trio called the Kyle Daniel Band at 16 and went on to win the Southern Kentucky Blues Challenge. He was given the opportunity to head to the International Blues Competition, held in Memphis, Tenn., and placed in the finals.

Feeling the buzz of success, he initially opted out of college and took off his first year to explore music on the local scene. “But my dad was like, ‘You need a backup plan. Not everybody can be a freaking rockstar,’” he says. He put his guitar away and sought a music business degree at Middle Tennessee State University. “I felt like a piece of me was missing at some point and decided to put together a college band,” he says of The Last Straw, a blend of outlaw country, blues and southern rock. They soon caught the attention of the industry and snagged opening gigs for Jason Isbell, Blues Traveler and the Black Crowes.

Following college, Daniel focused his attention on using his business degree and accepted a merchandise manager position for a Los Angeles group called Vintage Trouble. Through his work, he gravitated toward artist management and went on to rep a band on the road with Taylor Swift for the global Red Tour. “I absolutely got annihilated,” he recalls. “It was not my bag.”

He soon left his tour manager gig, and not a week later, he received an unexpected call from Wet Willie’s Jimmy Hall, who was seeking a guitar player for their upcoming tour. “I hadn’t played for three or four years really,” he says. “So, I put myself through boot camp to start playing with him.” Daniel toured around the country with Wet Willie for about a year before landing on Casey James’ tour, a risk he took that later led him to nab gigs with Bob Seger, Clare Dunn, Miranda Lambert, Lee Brice and Chris Young.

A new cycle of life came his way, and he made his way back home where he worked with a group called Jericho Woods. But feeling dissatisfied creatively, Daniel stepped back from collaboration and spent the next few years concentrating on finding his own songwriting voice, penning hundreds of songs in that time. He worked his way around Nashville and linked up with such titans as Brent Cobb, Dave Kennedy, Channing Wilson (Jason Eady, Luke Combs) and Seth Rentfrow, a force of nature who would soon become vital to Daniel’s many solo artistic endeavours.

“It took every single step of the way for me to be ready for this type of career and well-versed in in music both on front of and behind the scenes,” says Daniel, whose career was nearly derailed completely last spring when he had extensive surgery on his right ear. Four and a half hours post-op, he awoke and soon discovered things were much worse than he thought, his doctor prompted an immediate surgery on his left ear. “The doctor said if I had waited another month, I would have been completely deaf in my left ear. An infection had eroded two of the bones in my ear, and I couldn’t walk by myself for two weeks after the surgery.”

The fighter that he is, Daniel was in the studio cutting his new EP just under two months later. What’s There to Say? is pressed with unwavering perseverance, gritty urgency and viscerally-charged brokenness that quakes at his core. His voice is even more self-assured than on his 2018 debut, which landed on the iTunes Country Chart and was written about three times in Rolling Stone County. With such standouts on the new record as “Somewhere in Between,” in which he laments feeling stuck in second gear of his life and career, and “God Bless America (Damn Rock ‘N Roll),” a ‘70s-inspired arena revolt against the system, Daniels illustrates a colorful blend of tales backed by a rollicking beat.

“This EP came out in a flash. It was unbelievable how seamless this thing worked,” he says, citing how everything was tracked, dubbed and mixed within 12 days. “Songs have their power in the person.”

What’s There to Say? captures a special moment in time for Daniel as he looks to build on momentum built and praise garnered in 2018. This EP is lightning in a bottle; a readily-accessible, deeply relatable culmination of his years of surviving each and every challenge life has thrown at him, and it’s the perfect vessel for Daniel break out in 2019 and beyond. 

Jan 30, 2019

Song Premiere / Marley's Ghost / "So Happy I'll Be"

Got the debut of a great gospel country song for you this afternoon. This'll take you back. It's upbeat, warm, and catchy. Marley's Ghost will get your toe tapping with a strong shot of harmony and rhythm for the Lord. This is good stuff if you dig Flatt & Scruggs or the Oak Ridge Boys. Their album Travelin' Shoes comes out February 9th. 

“So Happy I’ll Be” was a celebratory ode to joy from Flatt & Scruggs’ wonderful gospel repertoire which we left pretty much unchanged. It’s a very fun song to sing with gospel harmonies and emulating Earl Scruggs’ guitar fingerstyle is an added bonus. —Mike Phelan

More information about the album and band below the song player!


SEATTLE, Wash.—As most people will tell you, there’s an undeniable connection between versatility and variation. Suffice it to say that each depends on the other. In the case of Seattle-based Marley’s Ghost, that eclectic energy has resulted in a broad repertoire that has defied any ability to tag them to any one particular genre. Their dozen albums to date — like the output of The Band— survey a broad scope of Americana and acoustic music in general, refusing to confine them to any singular niche.

“It is, and always has been, about the music,” bassist, fiddler, guitarist, singer and chief songwriter Dan Wheetman insists. “That’s what’s kept this band going for so long. It’s always been about digging a little deeper, honing our skills and celebrating the entire playing process. That drives us forward.”

For their upcoming album, the aptly named Travelin’ Shoes, Marley’s Ghost veers towards a path that doesn’t detract from that overarched umbrella, but instead helps define it further. Due for release on February 8, 2019, the 12-song set offers an assured selection of traditional gospel tunes, each delivered with the rich, dynamic, vibrant instrumentation and tightly locked communal harmonies that have been integral elements in Marley’s Ghost’s m.o. for well over 30 years.

“Most of us in the band grew up with gospel music,” Wheetman reflects. “It’s a sound that connects with our spirit in a very direct way. That’s the thing about gospel music. It was written by people who were eager to express their faith and feelings.”

Produced by acclaimed virtuoso Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm), who was previously behind the boards for their highly acclaimed 2016 album The Woodstock SessionsTravelin’ Shoes is a joyous and surprisingly diverse set of songs, a celebratory salute to the finest traditions of American music. From the compelling, banjo-plucking, back porch delivery of the title track, the crisp, Caribbean flavor of “Run Come See Jerusalem,” and the festive sing-alongs “Hear Jerusalem Moan” and “So Happy I’ll Be,” to the goodtime feel of “Someday” and the upward gaze and chorus of clapping that informs “You Can’t Stand Alone,” it’s an album that will have even the most confirmed skeptics, cynics and agnostics sharing in the sentiment.

“Larry has a vast knowledge that spans so many genres,” Wheetman recalls. “The thing he recognized in us is our connection to the folk and roots musicians of a past generation, and he saw in us an ability to give that music contemporary credence. He knew our strengths and how to use them to the best advantage in each of the songs.”

Or, as the L.A. Weekly aptly put it, “This West Coast group deftly dashes across decades of American music to create a sound that’s steeped in tradition but never bogged down by traditionalism.” Acoustic Guitar added its praises by insisting “The real draw is the band itself, showcasing the kind of ensemble performances that come only from a lifetime of playing together, thriving across the decades as virtuosic, unsung heroes of country, folk, and Western swing.”

That dedication to purpose has bound this band of multi-instrumentalists together from the start. Wheetman, Jon Wilcox (mandolin, guitar, bouzouki, vocals), Mike Phelan(guitars, dobro, bass, fiddle, vocals) and Ed Littlefield Jr. (pedal steel, guitars, bass, fiddle, bagpipes, vocals) have been together since the beginning. Wheetman, Wilcox and Phelan first came together like bluegrass samurai during a fateful week of St. Patrick’s Day shows in the San Fernando Valley in March 1986. Wheetman was living with Wilcox, who brought along his friend, Phelan. The three clicked instantly. It was reggae-minded Wilcox who conjured up the name, offering a nod to Charles Dickens.
They reprised the set a couple of months later at the first spring edition of the Strawberry Music Festival, the gathering that became a long-standing California folk music tradition. Given that it was on the verge of branching out beyond the strictly traditional music the festival always featured, it became an ideal forum for the still budding band.

That winter, when Wheetman went to record a solo album at the invitation of his friend, Littlefield Jr. (who had built a recording studio on his remote Washington farm, where the group continues to record), he brought Wilcox and Phelan to sing with him on the sessions. Littlefield set up his gear with the band the first night they arrived and the jam session went into the early hours. “When I woke up the next morning,” says Phelan, “Eddie was in the band.” In time, old pal and kindred musical spirit Jerry Fletcher (keyboards, accordion, vocals) and Bob Nichols (drums, percussion) respectively followed suit, officially joining the ensemble and bonding with the others right from the get-go. 

More than three decades from the initial spark, they’re still playing together with the same passion, purpose and chemistry that inspired them early on. Their combined career has since resulted in a recent series of albums of singular distinction. Van Dyke Parks — he of Brian Wilson and Beach Boys fame — produced 2006’s Spooked, while artist Robert Crumb (the same man who created the iconic cover of Big Brother and the Holding Company’s classic Cheap Thrills album) did the artwork. Jubilee, released in 2012, was produced by the legendary Cowboy Jack Clement and included guest appearances by none other than Emmylou Harris, John Prine, and Old Crow Medicine Show. Their last outing, The Woodstock Sessions, raised the game even further.

Naturally then, their efforts have been frequently praised by the press.

No Depression noted their “remarkable, distinctive voices” and “giddily eccentric eclecticism,” proclaiming them “a heady, subversive treat.” PopMatters called Jubilee “a joyous record that more than earns its title ... Marley’s Ghost is a fantastic band who have themselves figured out.” Relix summed it up even more succinctly when it declared, “The vocals will blow you away with their purity ... the group sings with the heartfelt conviction that only those who embody music’s spirituality can convey.”

“We now have this album of songs that just happens to be a gospel album,” Wheetman reflects. “Our mission was to aim higher. It’s not just about singing a song, but rather to bring a part of ourselves to the proceedings. Art is an expression of what one feels inside. The primary goal is to create that connection, and at the same time to keep things fresh. And if, along the way, it resonates with another human being, then all the better.”




Apr 13, 2018

Exclusive Song Premiere: Charlie Overbey w/Eleanor Whitmore "Trouble Likes Me Best"

Photo by Chris Phelps
Here's a great new song from Charlie Overbey, a Californian with a southern soul. It's an anthemic mid-tempo country tune about …well, getting in trouble. What's more country than that? Joining Charlie with some great backing vocals is Eleanor Whitmore. I don't want to call it an outlaw song, but it certainly dabbles in the habits and misfortunes of that brand of country. Definitely a great Friday tune and a solid introduction to his forthcoming album, Broken Arrow. Give it a listen!

From Charlie:
"Trouble Likes Me Best" was written about a combo of truths from a trip to the county jail in Nashville to witnessing a couple of stoned young ladies driving onto the highway off-ramp in Los Angeles, CA.

David Allan Coe once said to me while touring together, “I shoulda written that fuckin’ song~!“

But my favorite is that my father used to say, “That’s the best song you ever wrote, son. Who wrote that?”

More information after the song player!



"Written as a kind of last will and testament, Overbey inhabits his friend's psyche to celebrate his life with thrilling glee" -   LA TIMES

“Country folk rock that packs a gritty emotional punch." - Cowboys & Indians

"This well-traveled troubadour gets our attention with a gruff vocal style whose undertone says, ‘I’ve lived it, I’ve been there.’” - Music Connection

“Overbey has the songcraft to turn his anecdotes and observations into engaging songs that are by turns melodically hooky and lyrically genuine.” - Music Connection

“L.A. rock veteran Charlie Overbey is creating quite a buzz with his brand of California alt-country.” - Amazon.com

“Charlie spent years evolving as a musician, from Sunset Strip band Big Bang Babies to cowpunks Custom Made Scare to Deadbolt and Charlie & the Valentine Killers. Now he’s emerged—not entirely unscathed—as a pretty serious songwriter.” - Little Brother Music

“A staple of  the Los Angeles music scene.” - Echo Park Rising

“Overbey has been writing songs for years that hit listeners with raw emotion.” - The Coachella Valley Independent

“Captivating. Overbey’s songwriting takes you on a musical journey filled with emotion and vivid imagery. He lands himself right next to some great singer/songwriters like Tom Petty, Jackson Browne & Bruce Springsteen.” - Music Junkie Press

“Uptempo twang. California to the core.” - Monterey County Weekly

“Wearing Willie Nelson’s braids, holding his guitar low and approaching his songs with some Springsteen muscle. … an energetic ballet of layered guitars with plenty of heartbreak, setbacks, tattoos & whiskey.” - Rock NYC 

“A hard-rocking classic-country sound, soulful lyrics and a bit of twang on the side - Rock NYC

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CHARLIE OVERBEY -- BROKEN ARROW

Charlie Overbey may be a lifelong Californian, but his songs are steeped in the timeless traditions of the American South. After years of touring the world supporting acts ranging from David Allan Coe and Blackberry Smoke to Social Distortion and Motorhead, Overbey slowly amassed a collection of introspective original songs that transcend the endless rock & roll party, taking a stark, undeniably honest look at some of life’s most gritty moments. The result is Charlie Overbey’s new LP, Broken Arrow.

A triumphant collection of road-hardened alt-country tunes born of Overbey’s upbringing in what he calls “the school and church of Johnny Cash,” Broken Arrow  features guest appearances from The Mastersons (who also play in Steve Earle's band The Dukes), Miranda Lee Richards (who sings on duet single “Slip Away”) and Eddie Spaghetti of the Supersuckers, and was produced by Ted Hutt who recently won a Grammy for his work with Old Crow Medicine Show, and has helmed multiple albums by Lucero, The Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphys and many more.

“I’ve never worked with anybody like Ted,” Overbey says, reflecting on the sessions. “This is the first time I’ve ever let go and trusted somebody else as a partner in my songs. He really pulled some stuff out of me that I had not planned on delivering. Honestly, these songs can be hard for me to sing—they come from a deep, real and sometimes dark place.”

Self-aware and introspective without relying on played-out tropes of love and loss, Overbey’s songwriting is genuine, fearless and visceral. Authentic, reverb-drenched ‘70s-channeling album opener “Slip Away” gets right at the heart of life’s darkness, chronicling the heart-wrenching suicide of a young girl. Accompanied by wailing pedal steel and the haunting harmonies of Miranda Lee Richards, the song sets a tone of somber acceptance in the face of mortality.

“The Ballad of Eddie Spaghetti”—featuring a guest appearance from its namesake—also addresses mortality, though from a different perspective, confronting Spaghetti’s recent struggles with cancer. While the refrain, “If I die at 47, if I die before my time / Will they drag me up to heaven or deliver me to Hell in my prime” might read as a last will & testament, the soaring vocals and upbeat tempo elevate it to an awe-inspiring, fist-pumping battle cry. As Overbey sees it, “You gotta step up and kick life’s ass sometimes.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Overbey was exposed to country music early and often. It wasn’t something he sought out on his own—his father owned a 1947 Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar, and almost every time it was played, out spilled a Johnny Cash song. Overbey recalls these times fondly and admits they shaped his musical growth, though it took years of punk-rock rebellion before he’d come to appreciate the genre’s influence on him. “When you’re raised, and it’s all around you,” he says, “it’s the last thing you want to be a part of.” 

Overbey’s first success in the music industry came when his cowpunk outfit Custom Made Scare landed a deal with Side One Dummy Records in 1998. But before the band’s debut album dropped, Overbey went on the run from the law for months, finally turning himself in and spending a year in prison. The very same week he was released, the band hit the road immediately, and toured heavily into the new millennium alongside seminal punk acts such as Suicidal Tendencies, Social Distortion, Agent Orange, Zeke and REO Speedealer.

A side project of Overbey’s called Charlie & The Valentine Killers also toured in the late 2000s with David Allan Coe and Lemmy's side outfit The Headcat. “It was still days of angst,” Overbey says, but the country-leaning project’s sound served as an important precursor to his current solo work backed by the Broken Arrows.

Looking ahead to the April 2018 release of Broken Arrow, Overbey is gearing up to hit the road with a vengeance for the first time in years. He and the band are already working on songs for a follow-up record that will draw from the same rich vein as Broken Arrow. Overbey isn’t one for idle hands—when he isn’t playing or writing, Charlie has become a well-known name in the fashion world with his one-of-a-kind, hand-shaped Lone Hawk Hats, for devotees in the Americana scene, including the camps of Blackberry Smoke, Miranda Lambert, Lucero, the Foo Fighters, Dwight Yoakam, Cage The Elephant, Kaleo, and Miley Cyrus. Lone Hawk Hats were even the focus point in a recent Stella McCartney campaign. It’s a craft Overbey taught himself by trial and error, ultimately carrying with it the same authenticity and attention to detail you’ll find in his songwriting. They are available at several high-end locations, including he and his lady's brick-and-mortar shop Honeywood Vintage / Lone Hawk Hats on ultra hip York Blvd in Highland Park, Los Angeles. 


As the album title suggests, an existential darkness permeates Broken Arrow. It is the work of a road-savvy rock & roll veteran who sees the world as it is, fully grasping the jagged pain of life. But this darkness isn’t a dead end—Overbey’s songs are shot through with enough hard-fought resilience, determination and optimism to remind listeners the only way out is forward, and that the wild ride of life is a mysterious and beautiful gift.

Mar 30, 2018

Exclusive Song Premiere: Western Centuries "Wild Birds"

Photo by Joseph Vidrine
"Wild Birds," from Western Centuries' forthcoming album Songs From The Deluge, was written by Jim Miller. It's his first autobiographical song, and breaks his life into three phases. 

"It's a sad song," Miller says, "but singing it in front of audiences has taught me how to dissociate myself from personal emotions, which seems to be an important aspect of performing."

Check back a week from today -- the album's release date -- for our extended conversation with Jim Miller, about the band, the record and much more. 




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Songs from the Deluge comes out next Friday, April, 6. You can preorder now at Western Centuries' site, Amazon, etc.


Jan 22, 2018

Exclusive Single Premiere: Whiskey in the Pines "Sixteen"

Today we offer you the exclusive single premiere from Florida alt-country outfit Whiskey in the Pines. "Sixteen" is a bass line driven slice of anthemic Americana in the vein of American Aquarium and Ryan Adams. It may take you back to the 90s heyday of alt-country music, when Son Volt was being played on MTV, The Jayhawks were on fire, and Wilco wasn't dad rock. It did me.

There's a bit more bio information and the band's thoughts on "Sixteen" below the player.

Their new EP, Sunshine From the Blue Cactus is available February 2, 2018 from Amazon, iTunes, etc.






What is "Sixteen" about? 
This is one of those songs that just fell out of the sky. To break it down simplistically the song was my way of expressing that in the end, it all works out. There is no doubt that the song is the most personal on the record and it encapsulates this strange emotion I was feeling at the time. My mom had passed, my son had just been born, and in the middle of it all was this feeling of retrospect of what in the hell just happened. We move so fast in life we don’t process what we feel. This was me simply looking back saying to myself “If you would have told me that in one year from now this is where you will be, sitting on this bed, writing this song, I would have called you a bold face liar.” I don’t know if it’s because I am more aware these days or just more grateful but I am still astonished at how unpredictable life can be and how good it really all is.

Who/what were some influences when it came to writing "Sixteen?" 
Oh, it was so long ago it’s tough for me to remember what I may have been listening to at the time. But I remember distinctively watching an interview with Ryan Adams and he was discussing how he knew what kind of song he would be writing based on where he placed his capo. I never really purposely thought of it like that, even though I love using a capo. On “Sixteen” the capo on the guitar is on the 4th fret which brings a bit of a brighter feeling to it. I remember when I was coming up with the melody in my head that I wanted it to be a bit brighter and the best way to do that was to bring the capo to a higher register. So to answer the question I suppose I would tip my hat to Mr. Adams for at least making me realize how powerful the capo can be when tapping into the emotional feel of a song.


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Photo by Pat McDonnel


WHISKEY IN THE PINES - SUNSHINE FROM THE BLUE CACTUS

While Whiskey in the Pines’ hails from Florida, synonymous with endless sunshine
and miles of beaches, the ocean is still a long way from the band’s hometown
Tallahassee. “It’s about a two-hour drive,” says David Lareau, Whiskey in the Pines’
plainspoken singer and principal songwriter. The band’s unmistakably Southern
moniker—a perfect fit for its brand of heartfelt, no-frills Americana—was inspired by
their frequent excursions down US-319 south to the languid shores of the Gulf.
“You’re traveling miles of road surrounded by nothing but pine trees,” he says. “And
a good friend of mine always called me ‘Whiskey.’ I drove out to the beach so often
that when it came time to name the band, it was a pretty straightforward choice.”
For Lareau, Whiskey In The Pines has been at once a new beginning and a much-
needed salve to heal the wounds of a tumultuous year. As the band prepares to
release its new EP, Sunshine From The Blue Cactus (named for drummer Erik
Wutz's admired waitress, Sunshine, who worked the lunch shift at the band’s favorite
haunt), Lareau has been reflecting back on the pothole-filled road that led him to this
point.
 
“When I was writing the songs for Sunshine, My mom had recently passed away,
and I’d also just had my first kid,” Lareau says. “There were all sorts of conflicting
emotions pouring out through the songs. It’s been a journey, for sure.”
 
Lareau’s Florida roots provide the EP’s alt-country songs with a gentle warmth and
sense of connectedness. This is heartland rock & roll, shot through with an ambling,
country-tinged flourishes. There are songs that would perfectly score a backyard
day-drinking session and others that work as peaceful codas to soundtrack the
after-party cleanup. Which makes perfect sense after everything Lareau has
experienced in recent years. On the autobiographical “Sixteen” and shifty love paean
“Do You Believe in Hell,” Lareau ruefully examines his life’s circumstances,
pondering how past decisions have influenced his present state. Elsewhere on the
EP, “Roses” chugs forward with a driving melody reminiscent of Jason Isbell or Ryan
Adams’ earlier work in Whiskeytown. “It’s times like these when you’re driving
through this town / And you’re playing Tom Petty with the windows down,” Lareau
sings on the chorus, delivering his lines with the authenticity of someone, who—like
the rock legend he name-checks—knows small-town Southern life firsthand.  
 
Inspiration comes to Lareau in many forms. An avid distance runner, he often works
up melodic ideas as he pounds the pavement, reveling in the solitary miles. And, of
course, life in Tallahassee is inseparable from college football and the Florida State
Seminoles—it was at a tailgate where Lareau came up with the framework for what
would become the somber “Drunk with My Friends.” Sometimes, though, the tunes
come together until the pressure is on to record, which was the case with “Roses.”
“My first stab at writing that song came out really dark, which wasn’t a great fit for the
upbeat melody,” Lareau says. “I was stuck on it for a while but ended up pulling out
some new lyrics the night before we cut it. Everyone loved the spontaneity, so we
went with it.”
 
Lareau writes quickly and trusts his instincts. He may edit things later upon further
reflection or after hearing input from his bandmates, but he knows he’s at his best
when he strikes while the iron is hot. “For ‘Sixteen,’ I literally picked up the guitar with
the melody in my head laid down with my wife and son beside me, and wrote the
lyrics on my phone in ten minutes,” he says. “I luckily found the right words that
rhyme at 3:30 in the morning.”
 
Though Lareau anchors the band as frontman and songwriter, Whiskey In the Pines
is a collaborative affair and his bandmates have the chops to make these tunes
really hum. Bassist Aaron Halford and guitarist Kelly Chavers are longtime pals. Noel
Hartough produced the band’s new EP while Erik Wutz handled drums on the
recordings, and ace session musician Barrett Williams soars on pedal steel. The
band dynamic and this new set of songs have energized Lareau as he prepares to hit
the road in support of Sunshine From The Blue Cactus. 
 
“We’re really proud of this one,” he says. “We want people to remember these
songs, to sing them in the shower, or when they’re taking their kids to school—to

have them become a part of their life.”

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