Nashville Beats: New Music From Josh Rennie-Hynes


With the influx of change in Nashville, TN, the story of an artist’s move to Music City with the hopes of chasing a dream is not unheard of. Josh Rennie-Hynes, however, is not your typical Nashville transplant. Music is, and always has been number one. When the opportunity presented itself for him to make the move and focus solely on creating his next album, the distance from Australia to Nashville seemed like nothing. With that, the transition and growth that came from the move became an embedded inspiration on his stunning new album, Patterns.
In three short days, Patterns was recorded live to tape at Sound Emporium studios in late August 2018. The album finds Rennie-Hynes’ exploring new territory as an artist, both stylistically and lyrically and the result is raw, powerful and immediate. He was accompanied by an all star band that consisted of Alex Munoz (Margo Price, Nikki Lane) on production and guitar, Allen Jones (Lilly Hiatt, Will Hoge) on drums, Christopher Griffiths (Will Hoge) on bass, and Micah Hulscher (Margo Price) on keys. The arrangements and production are intentionally lean to allow space for the band and songs to breathe, while Rennie-Hynes’ voice captivates from beginning to end – the common thread throughout.


Josh Rennie-Hynes received the prestigious 2018 Nashville Songwriters’ Residency from the Australian Arts Council, awarded to him on the back of two critically acclaimed solo albums, as well as his most recent project, The Ahern Brothers. Of their debut album, Rolling Stone said ‘The Duo’s vocal harmonies and careworn guitars shiver with timeless feeling. A mesmerizing contemporary recording; restrained, pithy and pure.” They wrapped up with a successful farewell tour, and two months later Josh Rennie-Hynes boarded his plane for the U.S. By taking that leap, he was found tuning in, moving forward, and trusting life in a state of sheer vulnerability – themes ever present throughout Patterns. This album presents Josh Rennie-Hynes with a new sound – one that is gritty, honest, and fully formed. It is a masterly crafted recording by an artist now coming into his own.






Philly Beats: New Music From Driftwood Soldier


photo: Liz Kross

Driftwood Solidar are an inimitably gritty, gutterfolk duo from Philadelphia. Owen Lyman-Schmidt’s guttural, gravely voice and raging mandolin growling atop Bobby Szafranski’s ominously tempered bass compose the band’s distinct sonic-scape, which they skillfully enage to drive tales of injustice with force.

The duo have shared the second single from their upcoming album Stay Ahead of the Wolf to be released October 18.

The track is titled “Marietta” features fervent mandolin playing, dancing with gentle fury at the blurry imperfections of humanity.

Songwriter Owen Lyman-Schmidt explains, “I don’t believe love has neat edges or definite beginnings and endings, but that’s what we’ve been told to expect. On the surface ‘Marietta’ could be a lament about emotionally distant lovers, but I wrote it as a warning about what you risk losing if you insist that love conform to your prefabricated expectations.”  



Nashville Beats: Rising Star Morgan Johnston


Born and raised on the beach peninsula of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Morgan Johnston has always been destined to make waves. Morgan taught herself to play guitar at 13 years old.

Armed with this new ability, she immediately began documenting her feelings, angst, and the misadventures of teenage love. More than that, Morgan used songwriting as a way to analyze and understand her own emotions. She would soon come to find out that her interpretations of life through song touched others, as well.

This connection to other people drove Morgan to continue writing and sharing her art. Morgan took the spotlight at local open mic nights, dazzling bargoers and fellow musicians alike with her impressive talent at such a young age.

Ten years later, Johnston still narrates her journey through song, but has built her home and community in Nashville, Tennessee – singer/songwriter mecca of the United States. Her debut single, “Good Guy”, released in August 2018, features raw and heartbreaking lyrics expressed beautifully through sweet and tender vocals.

As a pop-country artist, Morgan is influenced by modern singer/songwriters such as Lori McKenna, Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves. Johnston describes her sound as “a blend of Kacey Musgraves and Kelsea Ballerini”. This unique combination is  featured in her latest release “Taillights” released over the summer.

I’ve never been afraid of being vulnerable. I’m not sure if that’s a strength or a weakness, but it’s certainly helped me as a songwriter”



Steve Forbert To Release Limited Edition Remastered Vinyl For Jackrabbit Slim ’s 40th Anniversary


A little over 43 years ago, Meridian, MS, native Steve Forbert boarded a train bound for New York City. Twenty-one years old at the time, Forbert, with his guitar and harmonica, spent two years working his way up from street performer living at the YMCA to filling historic Greenwich Village clubs and signing a major label contract. By 1979, Forbert had really hit his stride, releasing Jackrabbit Slim, which produced his first top 40 hit, “Romeo’s Tune,” and afforded Forbert the opportunity to share his music with the world. On November 8th , 2019, Blue Rose Music will be releasing an extremely limited edition vinyl reissue of Jackrabbit Slim , remastered by the legendary Ted Jensen of Sterling Sound (The Eagles, The B-52s, Dave Matthews, Norah Jones). 500 copies will be pressed on red-colored wax , and when they’re gone, they’re gone.


In addition to “Romeo’s Tune,” Jackrabbit Slim introduced the world to Forbert’s Mississippi instincts and catchy-but-deep rock and roll tunes. From the rollicking “Say Goodbye To Little Jo” to the almost-reggae-tinged “Complications” to the straight-ahead folk of “January 23-30, 1978,” Jackrabbit Slim spans Forbert’s early creative potential, all while entertaining different types of listeners. “ Jackrabbit Slim was the release that put me on the map and gave me the audience that’s still with me today,” says Forbert. “Every singer/songwriter needs one of these!”

Artists like Keith Urban, Rosanne Cash, and Marty Stuart have covered songs from Jackrabbit Slim and Forbert’s extensive 20 album catalog. And in 2017, twenty-one artists paid tribute to Steve by recording An American Troubadour: The Songs of Steve Forbert , further validating the quality of Forbert’s musicianship, writing, and profound contributions to Americana and Folk music.

To celebrate this 40th anniversary, Forbert will perform Jackrabbit Slim in its entirety at The Iridium in New York City on December 5th. “ I’m preparing my New Jersey-based band for the show and I’m having no problem still relating to the stories in these songs,” says Forbert. “‘Romeo’s Tune,’ which I’ve sung hundreds of times, is still fun! And I’m still totally down with ‘It’s often said that life is strange, but compared to what?’” A full list of Forbert’s tour dates can be found below.

Catch Steve Forbert On Tour:

9/20 – Plymouth, MA – Spire Center for the Performing Arts
9/21 – Cambridge, MA – Club Passim
9/27 – Turnersville, NJ – Volume Live Music Cafe
9/28 – Beacon, NY – Towne Crier Cafe
9/29 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Caffe Lena
10/17 – San Antonio, TX – Sam’s Burger Joint
10/18 – Austin, TX – Cactus Cafe
10/19 – Houston, TX – McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
10/20 – Baton Rouge, LA – Red Dragon Listening Room
11/23 – New Hope, PA – New Hope Winery
11/24 – Piermont, NY – Turning Point
12/5 – New York City, NY – The Iridium*
12/7 – St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway
12/8 – Memphis, TN – Lafayette’s Music Room
12/31 – Kennett Square, PA – Kennett Flash
*Vinyl Release Show

More on Steve Forbert:

From 1978 to 1982, Forbert released four acclaimed albums, including the Gold-certified Jackrabbit Slim with its #11 hit “Romeo’s Tune.” Recording success vaulted Steve onto a broader musical stage, touring the U.S. and Europe many times over. Steve’s early accomplishments would be a career for most artists, but he continues to write, record, and perform to this day. His artistic pursuit has resulted in twenty studio albums and numerous live releases, compilations, and accolades.

Like other great artists, Forbert embraces challenge as he did by recording, Any Old Time , a retrospective of the music of Meridian’s Jimmie Rodgers, which received a
2003 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Folk Album. As Rodgers’ music has inspired Forbert so has Forbert’s music influenced a new generation of artists.

In 2018, Steve released his memoir Big City Cat: My Life in Folk-Rock. “ Like the earlier Bob Dylan and Patti Smith books, Forbert has a warm way of describing the pull of NYC and the ensuing challenges of getting traction, against the context of a small-town upbringing. He offers a sparkling observation about the pull of music as excellent as any I have seen,” says Entertainment Today.

A Sound Recommendation: River Whyless


Photo:  Pura Soul


River Whyless are an accomplished folk-rock outfit from Asheville, North Carolina.

Their dynamic songwriting, heartfelt lyricism, tingling harmonies, and genre-bending sonic style have earned an international audience over the course of three full-length albums, most recently the politically charged and critically acclaimed
Kindness, A Rebel.

The foursome have performed to adoring crowds in historic theaters, selective NPR showcases, rock clubs and tastemaker festivals like Newport Folk alike — always with the same on-stage ingenuity that reaches and transforms first time listeners into lifelong fans.

This week they have shared an evocative cover of Bob Dylan’s classic “It Ain’t Me Babe.” The band’s interlocking harmonies serve Dylan’s devastating lyrics well, blending the tenderness and grit this beloved song contains. The band kick off an East Coast tour tonight, including a key play in Brooklyn on September 22 at Rough Trade with The Dead Tongues. The full list of dates is below.

Sept. 19 | Concord, NH at Bank of New Hampshire Stage
Sept. 20 | Providence, RI at Columbus Theatre
Sept. 21 | Norfolk, CT at Infinity Hall
Sept. 22 | Brooklyn, NY at Rough Trade
Sept. 23 | Sellersville, PA at Sellersville Theater 1894
Sept. 25 | Charlottesville, VA at The Southern Cafe and Music Hall
Sept. 26 | Durham, NC at Motorco Music Hall
Sept. 27 | Mills River, NC at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Sept. 28 | Greenville, SC at The Radio Room
Sept. 29 | West Columbia, SC at The New Brookland Tavern



Charley Pride To Receive Inaugural Crossroads Of American Music Award


Three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning, Mississippi-born country artist Charley Pride will be the inaugural recipient of GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi’s Crossroads of American Music Award at the Mississippi Museum’s 2019 Gala on Friday, Nov. 1.

Established by the Museum’s Board of Directors, the Crossroads of American Music Award honors an artist who has made significant musical contributions influenced by the creativity born in the cradle of American music. Pride will appear at the Museum’s 2019 Gala to accept the award on Nov. 1 at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

We are thrilled to recognize the great Charley Pride as the first-ever recipient of our Crossroads of American Music Award,” said Emily Havens, Executive Director of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. “As a native of Mississippi, Charley has had a significant impact on American music with his uncompromising honky-tonk country music. Charley broke new ground in the ’60s when he emerged as one of the most successful black country artists at that time. It’s an honor to recognize Charley Pride as the inaugural recipient of our Crossroads of American Music Award.”

GRAMMY Museum Mississippi’s Red Carpet Guild, an organization of committed volunteers whose mission is to promote, support and sustain the Mississippi Museum, is currently developing plans for the Mississippi Museum’s 2019 Gala, with this year’s theme being “Girls, Guitars, & Rocktail Bars.” The Gala will celebrate the impact of women on music, and proceeds will benefit the music education initiatives of the Mississippi Museum. The event will take place on Friday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m. at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi and will feature a reception, dinner and cocktails, live music, and a silent and live auction. Additional details regarding the 2019 Gala are forthcoming.

I’m honored to be the first recipient of this award from the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi,” said Pride. “And thankful to the many great American music artists before me that helped to pave the way for my success. I applaud the Museum for celebrating those artists and championing the importance of American music.”

Encore Broadcast of American Masters – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me:
A special encore presentation of American Masters – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me airs Thursday, September 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS(check local listings) to coincide with the premiere of Country Music, a new eight-part, 16-hour film directed by Ken Burns, which features Charley Pride, premiering Sunday, September 15 through Wednesday, September 18, and Sunday, September 22 through Wednesday, September 25 at 8-10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Additionally, the documentary is streaming at and on the PBS apps.

American Masters – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me traces the improbable journey of Charley Pride, from his humble beginnings as a sharecropper’s son on a cotton farm in segregated Sledge, Mississippi to his career as a Negro League baseball player and his meteoric rise as a trailblazing country music superstar. The new documentary reveals how Pride’s love for music led him from the Delta to a larger, grander world. In the 1940s, radio transcended racial barriers, making it possible for Pride to grow up listening to and emulating Grand Ole Opry stars like Ernest Tubb and Roy Acuff. The singer arrived in Nashville in 1963 while the city roiled with sit-ins and racial violence. But with boldness, perseverance and undeniable musical talent, he managed to parlay a series of fortuitous encounters with music industry insiders into a legacy of hit singles, a Recording Academy “Lifetime Achievement Award” and a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The film includes original interviews with country music royalty, including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and Marty Stuart. It also includes several on-camera conversations between Pride and special guests, including Rozene Pride (his wife of 61 years), Willie Nelson, and other fellow musicians. The film also features many songs from his repertoire of classic country hits, along with more modern cuts like “Standing In My Way,” from his latest album Music In My Heart, released in 2017.

On January 30, 2019 the film made its world premiere at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The premiere featured an appearance by Charley Pride himself, along with special guest artists featured in the film, including the film’s narrator Tanya Tucker, Jimmie Allen, Janie Fricke, and Sylvia Hutton. Members of the media, and other family and friends of Pride also attended. After the film a Q&A was hosted by the film’s director Barbara Hall, and journalist Robert K. Oermann, Country Music Hall of Fame’s Peter Cooper, and Charley Pride.

Tour Dates:
Sep 20 – Isleta Resort & Casino / Albuquerque, NM
Sep 27 – Norsk Hostfest / Minot, ND
Oct 05 – Sugar Creek Casino / Hinton, OK
Oct 18 – Five Flags Center / Dubuque, IA
Nov 09 – Deadwood Mountain Grand / Deadwood, SD

Apr 24 – Nugget Casino Resort / Sparks, NV



Nashville Beats: Daniella Mason Has The Feminist Anthem You Need Right Now



Daniella Mason might be known for her pop songwriting sensibilities, but don’t let that fool you. Hailed by The Guardian as “a serious musician with a distinctly pop edge, the indie songstress’ music is marked by an undeniable streak of self-awareness that even the most savvy of audiophiles can enjoy.

Her new song, Woman Lover Powerful acts as a call to arms to all women who are struggling and reminds them of the power they have inside of them… For Mason, this song serves as a dedication to all of the women in her life who persevered against all odds… It’s through her lyrics that Mason shines, and her glow is even brighter when she’s singing about the women in her life who she adores.”

The track premiered yesterday, marking the first cut from the Nashville-based alt pop artist’s forthcoming EP, Physical State, due out this fall. The new album is a continuation of her highly regarded State of Mine sound series that includes previously released EPs, Mental State and Emotional State.

This song is a first for me in that it isn’t entirely based on my story,” Mason explained. “There are huge parts of myself included, of course, but it actually takes on the perspective of many different women in my life and tells a multifaceted narrative for the most multifaceted beings on the planet. I wrote this for Gigi, my husband’s great-grandmother, who lived in a time where she couldn’t open her own bank account because she didn’t have a husband or a father to open it for her. Not only did she figure out how to make her own money and provide for herself and her kids, but she eventually helped change the system in Texas. I wrote this for Jane, a friend walking through breast cancer at the time this was written, who needed the perfect song to shave her head to, to remind her of the power she had but couldn’t feel. I wrote this for my mother, who raised me to be an independent and strong woman, but didn’t get to live to see me grow into that. I wrote this for Alex, who shattered glass steeples, and Lou, who shattered glass ceilings, and Becca, who has sacrificed so much to mother her boys well. And I wrote this for myself, for breaking away and going out on my own in this industry… for every time I’m broke and tired and need my blood to pump again. I wrote this for every woman who has been made to feel less than, or has been told to pick a lane, or to sit down, or to be quiet. I hope this can serve as a reminder of our power, when days get long and hard.”

While Mason is no stranger to pop commerciality, earning millions of streams on Spotify and praise from the likes of Popjustice, V Magazine, and Refinery 29, it’s her left-of-center musicianship and distinct powerhouse vocals that afford her credit in tastemaker and alternative spaces alike. Mason’s material is pop for pop’s sake— no flashy aesthetics or overhyped production, just a knife-edge balance between club banger and emotional gut punch that blurs genre lines to convert fans of all musical sensibilities.

Woman Lover Powerful” is available now via SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal, Deezer, and Google Play.