A Sound Recommendation: Louise Goffin

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Louise was born in Brooklyn and, with her songwriting parents, migrated west to be raised in LA’s Laurel Canyon during an exciting time in music history. As a child, she was immersed in the halcyon days of the emergence of singer-songwriters’ explosion into pop culture.

Goffin is a writer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and artist. She released her debut album “Kid Blue” on a major label (Elektra-Asylum) when she was 19, and has gone on to release eight albums on both majors and her own independent Majority of One.

Her latest single, “All These Hellos (ft. Billy Harvey),” was released in April 2018. Her previous record was The Essential Louise Goffin Vol 1 – released in 2016. Louise both wrote songs for and produced an album for Carole King (on Concord) that was Grammy Nominated in 2011.

Louise has worked with some amazing guest musicians, including Rufus Wainwright, Chris Difford (Squeeze), keyboardist Benmont Tench (Tom Petty), drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello), guitarist Ben Peeler (Shelby Lynne), and award-winning musician Billy Harvey, who have contributed to her latest sessions. She toured with Tears for Fears, played with Donovan, Bryan Ferry (of Roxy Music), has Stevie Nicks, Don Henley and JD Souther singing on her first album, & has had her songs championed by David Gilmore, Linda Ronstadst, and Michael MacDonald.

Some other fun facts: she was the youngest artist to appear on the soundtrack the Cameron Crowe high school classic Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Her songs have been recorded by the likes of Paul Thorn, Shawn Colvin, Terry Reid, and her mother, Carole King. Goffin also dueted with her mom on the theme song for the hit TV show Gilmore Girls.

Her recordings have appeared on film and television shows, most recently Gilmore Girls, Bad Santa2, Carrie Pilby, and Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce.

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New Music Coming From Texas Songwriter Salim Nourallah

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Photo credit: Casey Pinckard

Respected Dallas, TX-based singer/songwriter/producer/musician-of-many-trades Salim Nourallah is set to release a sprawling double-album, Somewhere South of Sane, on September 28, 2018 on Palo Santo Records. 

Recorded and mixed mostly at Nourallah’s Pleasantry Lane Studio in Dallas, the self-produced album is an honest, often brutal introspective exercise that is relatable, heartbreaking, and amusing all at the same time. With the two-fisted melancholy of John Lennon and the elegant bluntness of Neil Finn, Somewhere South of Sane elevates Nourallah to the apex of his art, trading rock riffs for a classical guitar and assisted by the mind-bending instrumentation of guitarist Nick Earl, Nourallah’s bandmate in the Travoltas and a musician he calls a “total freak genius.” Nourallah further explains: “He has this ability to create worlds. Music is very visual to me, and I’ve always seen music in colors. Each of these songs has a sonic world, and Nick is responsible for that because he doesn’t play conventional guitar.”

The 21 tracks that comprise the four-sided Somewhere South of Sane are what the respected musician/producer admits is “the work of a functional crazy person.” He adds, “Spending a lifetime dedicated to any form of writing is a particular form of madness. Especially in the face of the unlikely event that you will ever see much or any monetary compensation.”

Nourallah, who is equal parts songwriter and producer, creates a shifting sonic landscape that could easily be mistaken for the work of multiple artists. From the gorgeous trance-inducing psychedelia of the opener “Boy in a Record Shop,” to the gut-wrenching self-realization in “I Missed My Own Life,” to the dueling Lennon/McCartney lyrical/melodic axis on display in “Tucumcari,” and the Nick Drake-esque “Moving Man,” Somewhere South of Sane traverses more artistic landscape in one album that some artists could in an entire career.

In the tradition of nakedly stark, confessional songwriters like John Lennon and Bob Dylan, Nourallah makes no bones about confronting his inner demons on Somewhere South of Sane. “When I was a kid, I was struck by the violence, greed and insanity of the ‘grownup’ world,” he says, “and the only way I found I could deal with it was music. I guess I’m still using the same, crude method of self-therapy.”

He continues: “The other interesting thing that struck me while working on this record is that songs are just photographs of feelings. There’s something to be said for singing a song, recording a song, and documenting it while you’re still in the moment of the feeling. Just like a photograph that happens instantly. Trying to circle back later and re-capture that feeling in a recording usually doesn’t work out.”

In advance of the album, Nourallah is releasing four pre-album “bundles” that will include tracks from the album as well as bonus material: previously recorded but unreleased songs or acoustic re-imaginings of tracks from past Nourallah albums. Each bundle (EP) will be accompanied by new online video content. Already released bundle one, North (which came out June 1, 2018), and already announced bundle two, West (out June 29, 2018), precede bundle three, East, and the final bundle; details for bundle four will be announced soon. The four EPs give fans a sneak peek into what is in store for them on Somewhere South of Sane.

As a solo artist, Nourallah has long mined the terrain between catchy and devastating. After gaining initial acclaim with the Denton, TX-based Nourallah Brothers, he went on to release six solo albums. His debut, Polaroid (2004), had Rolling Stone calling him “a singer-songwriter who can stop time.” 2015’s Skeleton Closet was cited by Dusted as a “masterful balance of the said and the unsaid… like a good novel, full of implications and shadowy contradictions and complexities.” As a producer, Nourallah boasts quite an impressive C.V. of production credits (Old 97’s, the Damnwells, Rhett Miller, the Deathray Davies). He’s also been involved in numerous other projects, including co-founding and running A & R for the Palo Santo music group. Over the years, his work on both sides of the sound booth has won him an armful of Dallas Observer music awards. That, and the consistent quality of Salim Nourallah’s music, have proven that some musicians actually can continue to stay relevant.

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Singer-Songwriter RJ Comer Releases Debut: One Last Kiss

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When RJ Comer dropped out of music school thirty years ago, he thought that was the end of his dream – but music wasn’t done with him just yet. Three decades later, his dream of becoming a full-time musician was not only re-ignited, but became his reality. He’s released his debut solo album One Last Kiss.

Multi-instrumentalist Shawn Byrne produced One Last Kiss , and fluidly combines various themes ranging from somber moments to happy love songs. The album features contributions from Grammy-winning guitarist Randy Kohrs (Jim Lauderdale, Dolly Parton, Dierks Bentley), fiddler Daniel Foulks (Parker Millsap) and cellist Brian Sutherland . The album moves from joyful moments like “Under a Lover’s Moon,” an upbeat love song co-written with Comer’s wife Deborah, to darker moments like the bluesy title track. “All Over Again” is for those who work hard day in and day out with a smile on their face, putting in long hours for the sake of their families, and humorous tinges weave throughout “Desert Mama” and “Bad Day in Paradise.”

PURCHASE ONE LAST KISS

When music school didn’t work out, Comer’s path took a grim turn: years of violence, poverty, addiction, fractured relationships and suicide attempts followed. After a come-to-Jesus weekend in a Mississippi jail, he straightened his life out, worked his way through law school and became a lawyer. Along the way, Comer kept coming back to music, starting a band for fun on the side – one that was eventually signed. He took the opening and stormed back into music. Though One Last Kiss is his debut full-length album as a solo artist, it’s his sixth release since returning to music, including two band LPs and two solo EPs.

Offering insights of a man who transcended hardships few people escape, the songs on One Last Kiss deftly straddle the line between traditional and contemporary Americana and blues. With a ragged edge to his baritone voice, One Last Kiss shows the emotional and experiential range of a man who once only knew how to fight or flee — who slowly learned to live and prosper, and eventually learned to love.

Leaving his former life in Los Angeles behind, Comer now resides in the Tennessee woods with his wife of 23 years and tours throughout the US and Canada. He has played official showcases at SXSW, Canadian Music Week and various songwriter’s festivals.

ARTIST LINKS

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A Sound Recommendation: The Watters Bring Americana Soul Rock

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Photo credit: Barbara FG

 

Austin-based indie act The Watters announce the release of their sophomore effort The Watters, due on June 15. The album is a follow up to their critically acclaimed debut , Great Unknown.

Nestled in the unassuming hills of central Texas, Jenna & Daniel Watters and their seven-piece band have started a raucous revival of the big band Americana sound. Having been called “Fleetwood Mac with a horn section,” their new record features lingering melodies, lively horn riffs, and stunning locked-in harmonies that can only come from years of intimate practice.

Almost a direct response to their debut effort as a band, Great Unknown, their sophomore effort is filled with self-discovery and confidence as a result of their journey. Recorded with some of Austin’s finest session musicians (Trevor Nealon of Band of Heathens, Anthony Farrell of Greyhound, Tijuana Train Wreck Horns of Shinyribs), The Watters is full of the rich experience and expert contributions of everyone involved. Well-crafted songwriting and intricately woven instrumental and vocal collaboration are the corner stones of the new album.

Our self-titled album was the most fun we have ever had recording an album. Playing live with 9 players gave this record a special, palpable energy. It was a perfect blend of organization and spur of the moment improvisation.” – The Watters.

Their music is a representation of the life experiences of front couple, Jenna and Daniel Watters. Their story starts where they grew up – surrounded by the mystique and allure of the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. A love story of epic proportions, the pair met in middle school and sang together for the first time at their high school graduation. After reuniting years later, the couple fell in love and now enjoys a loving marriage filled to the brim with music.  Their sound is as unique as their story, a perfected blend of Sedona mystic meets big band Americana layered with The Watters signature vocal harmonies and horns.

 

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West Coast Beats: Folk Rockers Mapache

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Mapache is a new folk / blues / rock / bluegrass / psychadelic duo born in Los Angeles California. Mapache is interested in spreading good feelings of love as well as raw musical talent to anyone and everyone. Mapache is an experience both live and in the studio presenting a memorable and honest sound.

Mapache has released ‘Lonesome LA Cowboy,’ a surprise EP consisting of three charismatic covers. Coming just months after the Southern California-based, twenty-something duo were introduced via their acclaimed self-titled debut album, which showcased the incisive lyrical and melodic craftsmanship of their original work, ‘Lonesome LA Cowboy‘ highlights their skills as interpreters, taking songs best known for renditions by The Louvin Brothers, Doc Watson and New Riders of the Purple Sage and making them distinctly their own.

The lilting “Katie Dear” spins beauty from tragedy, while the bittersweet “Last Thing On My Mind” bids a fond farewell to a lover. The laid-back title-track, “Lonesome LA Cowboy,” captures the days and nights of a West Coast troubadour.

“We just didn’t see any reason to wait,” says Mapache’s Sam Blasucci, addressing the decision to drop the collection without any advance promotion. “Our repertoire has grown since our first record, and these songs are just too much fun not to sing.”

Clay Finch, Blasucci’s musical partner in Mapache, continues: “We make music that’s reflective of the landscape we grew up with in southern California. It’s a sweep of all the really rich influences you encounter around here: folk and psychedelic and country and Latin and rock and cowboy and Hawaiian. We’re drawing from a really deep well. Plus these songs still speak truth in the present. ‘Lonesome LA Cowboy,’ even though it was written in 1973, couldn’t be more accurate of life here in LA as a musician.

Their self-titled debut was recorded in a similarly stripped-down fashion with producer Dan Horne ( Cass McCombs, Allah-Las). It introduced the duo’s infectious songwriting and airtight harmonies, earning obvious comparisons to The Louvin Brothers in addition to more cosmic keepers of the flame like Gram Parsons and The Grateful Dead. 

TOUR DATES

6/13 – Arcata, CA – Humbrews **
6/15 – Hunter, NY – Mountain Jam
7/7 – Mariposa, CA – Yosemite Music Festival
7/12 – Port Chester, NY – Garcia’s at The Capitol Theatre *
7/14 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl *
7/15 – Ardmore, PA – The Ardmore Music Hall *
7/17 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom *
7/18 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen *
7.19 – Detroit, MI – El Club **
7.20 – Toronto, Canada – The Velvet Underground **
7.21 – Toronto, Canada – The Velvet Underground **
7.22 – Cincinnati, OH – MOTR Pub ^
7.23 – Detroit MI – El Club ^
7.24 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe ^
7.27 – Floyd, VA – Floydfest
7.28 – Floyd, VA – Floydfest
8.2 – Portland, OR – Pickathon
8.3 – Portland, OR – Pickathon
8.10 – Las Vegas, NV – Vinyl @ Hard Rock Hotel **
8.12 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge – **
8.13 – Boise, ID – Neurolux **
8.15 – Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern **
8.16 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios **
8.17 – Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s **
8.18 – Mill Valley, CA – Sweetwater Music Hall
8.24 – Pine Plains, NY – Huichica East

* w/ Nicki Bluhm
** w/ Grateful Shred
^ w/ Howlin Rain

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Nashville Beats: New Video From Michelle Mandico

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Nashville-based folk songcrafter Michelle Mandico unleashed her beautiful video for her song “Water Bearer”

The song is the opening track from her forthcoming album, Ptargmigan, due out on July 6th, which was recorded in Mississippi and in Nashville, co-produced by Mandico and Kevin Houston, and executively produced by Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars). 

Water Bearer” is a plea for peace in our tumultous world and a reflection on healing from intangible fears that can be crippling.

The video expresses this sentiment through a dance, scenes of Mandico alone in nature, and two young sisters who symbolize the hope in our future. “My idea of incorporating the young girls stemmed from a short video clip that their mother sent to me of the youngest daughter singing along to the song,” Mandico explains. “I was so moved by a
20-second clip of a child singing the words, ‘humans helping humans helping humanize our fears…”’ There was an obvious conviction in her voice that fit the simplicity and innocence of a child’s point of view.”

American Songwriter says, “’Water Bearer’ is an early preview of Ptarmigan. Showcasing Mandico’s ethereal voice and compassionate songwriting, the track offers a balm for our current social ills.”

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A Sound Recommendation: The Underhill Family Orchestra

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The Underhill Family Orchestra is a rowdy, enthusiasticly heart-felt rock n roll band from Mobile, AL. Combining elements of unique vocal stylings with soulful beats and rambunctious instrumentation, their live performances keep you dancin’ all night and leave you tappin’ your toes on the way home.

They released their debut LP, Tell Me That You Love Me via Skate Mountain Records in May.

A brand new video, “When The Trumpet Sounds” premiered last week:

The band, which was recently recognized by Playlistplay as one of “4 Artist You Need To Know” from this year’s Westport Roots Festival in Kansas City, has been tearing up the highways bringing their raucous energy to stages across the country to support the release of Tell Me That You Love Me.

DittyTV calls their live show “one of the most kinetic and absolutely captivating performances…Underhill deliver a wide range of sounds from stomp-and-holler rock to tenderhearted tales of finer feelings betrayed. Their upcoming album…will solidify their reputation as one of Americana’s must-see live bands.”

The album, produced by Noah Shain, swirls with soulful harmonies, powerful riffs and gut-punching rhythms; the band’s deeply-rooted Southern influences are on full display as the Mobile, Alabama-based collective explores the ideas of togetherness, love, and finding “what makes you a kid again.” From New Orleans second-line brass, to swamp-infused blues-rock, nods to spirtuals and spoken recollections from bandmember Joelle Rosen’s Maw Maw Ida about meeting, and losing, the love of her life, it’s impossible to remain unmoved by Tell Me That You Love Me.

ARTIST LINKS

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