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

Apr 15, 2021

Exclusive Song Premiere / Zach Schmidt / "Concrete Dreams"

From his new album, Raise A Banner. If you’re curious how an unsigned artist made an
album of the year contender, check back tomorrow for our in-depth interview with the man

-- Kevin Broughton

Dec 9, 2020

Exclusive Song Premiere / Craig Gerdes / "You're Not in the Picture Anymore"

Photo by Al Steinz

Got a killer song premiere today, if you're in the mood for a stone-cold country heartbreaker. Craig Gerdes brings us this gut-punch of a sad song replete with steel guitar and fiddle. "You're Not in the Picture Anymore" also sports one of those memorable 90s-style hooks that'll grab you right away. This will have you hankering for a smoky barroom with scuffed wood floors and a barely working jukebox in no time at all. 

Here's what Craig had to say about the song:
After the release of our Smokin, Drinkin & Gamblin album in 2018, I had several people reach out to me wanting more of those "hurtin'” country songs. So I went back through all this material I'd written but never recorded, and that's when I came across "You're Not in the Picture Anymore."

I thought it fit the mood they were looking for, so I reached out to my old friend Jim Vest to produce it. You’ll might remember Jim playing pedal steel on all of those classic Johnny Paycheck and Vern Gosdin hits, and he also played on most of my Smokin, Drinkin & Gamblin album, which includes our remake of the 1977 hit “Slide off of Your Satin Sheets.”

When you hear the crying pedal-steel intro and the opening line, “It's over,” you’re not quite sure what’s over, but you know it’s probably not going to be good. 

I hope this one takes you where you need to go, when you need to be hit in all those hurtin' places."

More info about Craig and his most recent album below the song player.

You can pre-save "You're Not in the Picture Anymore" here:

Craig Gerdes - Tough As Nails

Steeped in the white lines, black tar and diesel smoke of the American highway, Tough As Nails—the latest LP from Craig Gerdes—is raw and real, a document of a road-tested band fast on the rise. Ever since the central-Illinois songwriter released his lauded 2018 debut LP, Smokin’ Drinkin’ & Gamblin’, he’s been on tour almost constantly, playing upwards of 150 shows per year, including opening slots and festival support for top country and Americana artists from Tyler Childers and Paul Cauthen to Jamey Johnson and Cody Jinks, as well as a lengthy run with hard-rocker-turned-country-star Aaron Lewis.

“There’s definitely a lot of the road in this record,” says Gerdes, who travels with his band and his wife Janel in the van. “I love moving—that part of traveling where you’re actually rolling down the highway. It’s when we feel most at home. Things are just different—your sleep patterns and your mindset change. But the thing I love the most about being on the road is meeting different forms and facets of people—talking with them and hearing their stories about where they come from and what they do. I find that intriguing. So there’s a lot of that in this record, too. The title track and the album, when you boil ‘em down—that’s what it’s about. We wanted to speak to the people.”

For Tough As Nails, Gerdes and his road band—lead guitarist Jake Baxter, bassist Britton Wood and drummer Randy Noy—hit St. Louis’ Native Sound Studio revved up and ready to go, with producer/engineer David Beeman at the helm. Beeman had also worked with Gerdes on 2019 single “Tailgate n’ Tallboys,” a theme song commissioned by the festival of the same name, a six-day, 30+ band country concert, held annually in Peoria, Ill. “Tough as Nails was the first time that I was able to be like, ‘Alright, boys, we’re pulling off the highway and going into the studio for a week,’” Gerdes says. “Capturing the energy of our live performances was crucial to me. So we just went in fresh off the road and banged out the meat and potatoes of it in three days.”

The resulting LP—spruced up by Robby “Man of Steel” Turner on steel guitar—reeks of spilled Jack Daniels, truckstops, pool halls and tobacco-stained green rooms. Its second track, a hi-octane, four-on-the-floor cover of Roger Alan Wade’s “If Guitars Were Guns,” acts as a manifesto for Tough As Nails, a record that packs more grit and wallop than most of its country contemporaries: “I play country music in my little cabin home in the hood, I play rock & roll because it makes me feel good / I play them ol’ blues to take a load off my mind, I play what I please, out of tune and out of time.”

As with any artist worth his salt, Gerdes’ sound has been evolving since the last record. Smokin’ Drinkin’ and Gamblin’—anchored by Nashville pedal-steel icon Jim Vest—was deeply indebted to the ’70s country on which Gerdes was raised. But with Tough as Nails, he and his band just “let it all go.” “We approached it like we would a live performance,” Gerdes says. “I didn’t put no reins on it or nothing like that. I just let it evolve into what it became. It’s a mixture of all my different influences. With country music, the way I see it, it’s a melting pot: rock & roll, Southern rock, rockabilly, the blues—it all goes in there.”

The new album’s rock & roll leanings make sense when you consider the influences of the lineup that has solidified as Gerdes’ backing band. Baxter, now in his 20s, has been playing guitar with Gerdes since he was a 16-year-old worshipping at the altar of Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Duane Allman. And it’s a similar story with drummer Randy Noy. “Ottawa, Ill., the part of the state Randy’s from, is pretty blue collar, pretty rock & roll,” Gerdes says. “He didn’t really know much about country music when he joined the band. His biggest influence is John Bonham, which is cool because I always wanted that kick, that drive to my sound. When we started playing together, I was like, ‘Don’t hold back just because you think we’re playing country. Play them drums like they owe you money, brother.’ We were able to capture that kind of energy on the new record.”

Sit with him for five minutes and you’ll know that Gerdes is a natural-born storyteller. Really, Tough as Nails is a documentary in album form. It deals with real people, real places and real struggles, collected along the Interstate as Gerdes and his band play an endless parade of one-night stands. The record is about family, community, honesty, tragedy, travel, the fleeting nature of existence, even silent visitations from the ghosts of our loved ones. Above all, though, Tough as Nails confronts the elusiveness of the American Dream in the 21st century, giving voice to the plight of the working poor, brought to life by an ex-steel worker from Pennsylvania, an out-of-work coal miner from Alabama, a suicidal veteran wrestling with PTSD in rural Ohio, and a teenage girl from god knows where trying to shake herself free from the grip of heroin. Track after track, it’s a testament to fighting for your ideals, taking your blows and doing your damnedest to press on in the face of adversity.


“All the stories in these songs are true,” Gerdes says. “It’s about the people. I wanted the album to speak directly to them, to things they’ve gone through. In my mindset, country music has got to be real.”

Two years ago, with this same spirit of authenticity and connection in mind, Gerdes launched a weekly, hour-long Facebook live series called The Gatherin’. “Janel had the idea that we could reach people who couldn’t make it to my shows,” he says. “We do it every Tuesday night—either from the road, or at home in my garage, interacting with people as we go. I play songs, they make requests, but most importantly, there’s a back and forth. We talk about what’s going on in their lives. And we try to help in any way we can.” 

Gerdes refers to the people who tune in regularly not as fans, but kinfolk. Many of them have started to identify as “The Gatherin’ Family.” Through this community, lasting friendships have been made, with Gerdes and Janel, the band members, and with each other. “Life can be tough and we all need each other,” Gerdes says. “Music is a great vehicle for that. If that’s a way we can bring people together, that’s what we’re gonna do—make a difference in their lives through the music, and bring them together around a common passion. And the more they’re together, the more they find out just how much they have in common.”

Craig Gerdes’ Tough as Nails was released April 24, 2020.

Craig's social media accounts:

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



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.


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)"


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:
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.  

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.  

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. 


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