A Sound Recommendation: Teddy Grossman

photo: Steph Port

LA-based singer/songwriter Teddy Grossman has released his latest single “Ready”, off of his forthcoming debut solo full-length LP due out early next year. “Ready was written during the later stages of recording the album,” Grossman told Glide Magazine, “an album I’ve always dreamed of making, in the early stages of a budding relationship. It’s a song about opening up, and letting a little love in.” Having finally arrived in this sense, the song finds Grossman opening up to both a new partner and way of life – with his music at the forefront. Although a lifelong music lover & maker, pursuing a career in music was put on the back burner for a time, but after a cross-country move to Los Angeles Grossman took the leap to embark on that long-gestating journey. He’d always been a lifer at heart — his childhood was spent ingesting Otis Redding and Steve Wonder, Bob Dylan and The Band— but upon graduating college, he took the road often traveled and held down an all-consuming tech job, ever the weekend warrior recording and touring with his former band on the margins. A few years back, however, after a near-decade in Chicago and New York City, all the while holding down the desk job, in 2018, Grossman was finally ready to take the plunge. “Moving to LA and finding my community here unquestionably changed everything,” says Grossman looking back at his decision to break out on his own and transform his passion into his livelihood. With only a handful of songs out to date, Grossman has come out of the gates swinging: his single Leave it on the Line

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New Music From Canadian Singer-Songwriter Amanda Rheaume

First a songwriter, Rheaume comes from a long line of tireless, transformational organizers and activists, and carries this lineage forward in her ever-growing role as a crucial builder of Indigenous music infrastructure and community. a Citizen of the Métis Nation 

From the International Indigenous Music Summit, to newly-founded Ishkode Records, and the National Indigenous Music Office, the goal of raising Indigenous sovereignty in the music industry drives all of Rheaume’s work. Rheaume has released 5 full-length albums over a period of 15 years, a self-managed career that has traveled countless tours and milestones. 2013’s Keep a Fire was nominated for a JUNO Award and won a Canadian Folk Music Award for Indigenous Songwriter of the Year. With a new single “100 Years,” a driving, surging Copperhead Road-esque journey through a wilfully, woefully misrepresented chapter in a violent colonial timeline, Rheaume makes a powerful statement about history and identity.

With the new new song, “100 Years.” Rheaume’s seeks to answer, for herself, complex questions about Métis identity and history. The song interrogates the colonial record and Rheaume’s place in the bigger picture.
Of the accompanying video, filmed on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabeg territory (Ottawa), Rheaume says, “This video speaks to Spirit calling and finding the courage to answer that call – finding the strength and the courage to break through the heavy weight imposed by the colonial agenda, and second to that, breaking through the layers of the limiting self beliefs caused by colonialism. I believe that artists hold the ability to awaken our spirits and a new path forward.”

Rheaume’s rootsy, guitar-driven ballads introduce crucial dimensions to the world of Heartland Rock. In a genre characterized by anthems of underdogs, assumptions and unfair advantages, Rheaume’s sound and story crucially and radically expand the boundaries, geographic and cultural, to make space for new perspectives on resistance and resilience. A Citizen of the Métis Nation, and an active and proud member of the LGBTQ2S+ community, Rheaume’s music is indeed from the heart, and the land.

“100 Years” is the first single from an album due in Spring 2022 via Ishkōdé Records.

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A SOUND RECOMMENDATION: Good Dog Nigel

Good Dog Nigel is the stage name of Parker Emeigh. At 10, Parker would dress up when his mom took him on errands around Lynchburg, Virginia. In highschool, he would dress as wildly as possible, selecting clothes from his trunk of costumes “just to entertain myself and the kids around me.”

At 20, with a strong feeling of not fitting in, he dropped out of college supported by a mixture of his parents’ radical optimism and the thought that you can truly do whatever you want, which it turned out for Parker, was to entertain. If school and the people who attended it didn’t make sense to Parker, when he picked up a guitar and started writing songs as Good Dog Nigel, he had found his vehicle. Parker writes with a purpose of overarching optimism, a desire to reach for the small gems in life and how to help others find and relish them too.

In a time of political unrest and uncertainty, Parker intentionally set out to be non-political. He doesn’t want to be revolutionary; he wants to entertain and be the escape from the negative while constantly sharing his drive for life, art, and positivity.

One thing we can all learn from Parker Emeigh of Good Dog Nigel, a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, is that “life is too precious to not do what makes you and others happy.” His music is there for all of us striving for that ideal.

He has recently dropped a new single “My Whole Life.” “From the guitar tone to the lilt of the riff to the vocal runs, the influence of The Beatles is evident,” said American Songwriter in their interview with Emeigh. “Even the way [he] dresses is reminiscent of the late ‘60s fashion — a calculated move on the part of Emeigh, who adores showmanship in music…”

From Parker on his track:

“My Whole Life,” is a song that speaks on the little moments in life that are equally beautiful, mystifying, and mysterious. It’s the moment when a ladybug lands on you and you appreciate its beauty and question the significance of its presence, or when the light hits the water just right, or when you make extended eye contact with a doe crossing the street in the middle of the night. It’s all part of the essence of the human experience and the never-ending mystery that is the world we live in.

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NASHVILLE BEATS: New Single From Eloah Jones

Nashville-based indie-pop singer-songwriter Eloah Jones released a new single, “Under the Bridge,” this mobth, via Rock Ridge Music. The single, a jazzy, hypnotic, ethereal-pop cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ hit, is from her forthcoming self-titled EP, which will be released in early 2022.

Jones channeled a love of one’s chosen home into “Under the Bridge,” an intimate love song originally dedicated to a different city. “I moved to Nashville when I was 18, and I didn’t know anybody, hardly had any money,” she says. “There’s something so beautiful about being alone in a big city. It’s terrifying, but also, it almost feels like a big hug. The lyrics really resonate with me, and this song really speaks to me. When I moved to Nashville, all I really had was the city around me. And this song reminds me of that time in my life, and of all of the uncertainty I had.”

“Under the Bridge” appears on her forthcoming EP, which features several original creations and was produced by Aaron Bonus (Sasha Sloan, Lost Boy Crow, Boehm, and Peking Duk) and recorded in Nashville. “Working with Aaron is always a pleasure,” says Jones. “We’ve known each other for three years now, and he’s become like family. Not only is he a great producer, he’s also an amazing songwriter. Aaron just gets me, and every song we make together just keeps getting better and better. He helped me find my sound, and I’m so thankful for that!”

Jones’ music conjures a hypnotic singer-songwriter vibe, instantly relatable confessions that call to mind the plummy depth of influences like Lana Del Rey and Banks. These sounds inspire so many descriptions. Edgy pop. Alternative. Jazz. But beneath those labels are the emotions that give them life: vulnerability, a yearning for connection, a longing for home, a need for love. “I’ve learned so much about myself, every time I write a new song,” says the Texas native of working on her eponymous EP. “And I want other people who listen to learn about themselves, too.”

Even at 21, Jones can claim veteran industry status, having started singing and acting at age 11 in small-town Texas, “where no one was really doing what I was doing,” she recalls. “I’ve always loved to write, little poems, but I was about 14 when I started turning my words into lyrics.” Around that time, connections she’d made as a kid at a Florida talent showcase yielded introductions to influential people in the industry including Matt Bronleewe (Jars of Clay, Hayley Williams) who produced her first original single, “Soldier.” At a certain point, an artist must decide whether or not they’re going to be all-in, and Jones packed up and headed to Nashville, where she now resides, writes, and records.

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Nashville Beats:  Meet Indie-Pop Singer-Songwriter Hadley Kennary

Nashville-based indie-pop singer-songwriter Hadley Kennary has recently released her EP, Crooked Roots. She is planning an EP release show at the High Watt in Nashville on November 20th.

Recorded in Nashville, this collection of five new songs finds Kennary tipping her musical hat to the early-2000s songwriter-pop she was raised on while introducing a fresh take on raw songwriting. On this EP, Kennary makes her own musical collage: personal, multi-faceted storytelling rife with poetic prose, contagiously catchy melodies, hooky guitar lines, and undeniable pop sensibilities. 

With these songs, Kennary teeters on the line between poking emotional trigger points and full-on dance-party-in-your-bedroom euphoria. A song like “Orbit” is the perfect soundtrack for a windows-rolled-down, summer drive, while the nostalgic title track, “Crooked Roots,” tugs at the heartstrings woven into the growing pains of growing up. 

“Most of my songwriting is pretty personal, but this one really hits close to home,” Kennary says of the title track. “It’s bittersweet; there’s an amount of grief buried in it, realizing that there are versions of ‘home’ I’ll never get back, but it’s wrapped in gratitude for the colorful variety of places I do get to call home.” 

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Nashville Beats: New Single From Jamestown Revival

New album Young Man, produced by Robert Ellis, is due out in early 2022.

Jamestown Revival have made the quietest record of their career with Young Man, yet it may resonate the most. Recorded in their home state of Texas, it is their first project without electric guitars, with the emphasis instead on skillful songwriting, flawless harmony, and intricate fingerpicking. In addition, it’s the first time that bandmates Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance have created an album with a producer—in this case, Robert Ellis, a fellow Texan and a recording artist in his own right. Showcasing most of the genres that collectively make up “Americana” music—folk, jazz, bluegrass, roots rock—sometimes all in one song, their upcoming LP Young Man represents a distilled and pure Jamestown Revival at their finest. Today, the band is happy to share “Young Man,” the album’s namesake and first single, with fans. “How far removed from our younger selves have we become? Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that we were full of piss and vinegar and blissful ignorance,” say Clay and Chance. “We hadn’t yet felt the burdens and responsibilities of growing up. ‘Young Man’ is about trying to identify with our younger selves, someone we know from old photographs and memories that start to feel a little more distant with each passing year and asking ourselves, ‘Is that part of me still there? Do I still have the same fire that I once knew?’”

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A Sound Recommendation – James Blake’s Friends That Break Your Heart

GRAMMY-winning UK artist James Blake’s first new full-length album in 3 years, Friends That Break Your Heart, was released last month, via Republic Records and features the single, “Say What You Will.”

Blake calls this a concept album and worked closely with artist Miles Johnston to design cover art that is a visual encapsulation of the emotions brought forth throughout the body of work.

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New Album From Singer Songwriter Christian Lopez

Lopez isn’t merely riding the wave of Americana, the West Virginian native is bending it to its knees. As the son of a music teacher, he was learning piano and guitar by the time he was in kindergarten, and he recorded his debut album, produced by Americana super-producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton) when he was just 18. But on his new album The Other Side, Lopez transcends all of those hot-shot titles to emerge a well-rounded and experienced artist. 

 A collection of 12 eclectic songs that veer from sprightly indie-rock to brutally vulnerable ballads, The Other Side, produced by Robert Adam Stevenson (Queens Of The Stone Age, Jeff Beck, Hollywood Vampires) is the sound of a man who knows precisely who he is. Now 25, he’s excised the trappings of a youth run wild and all but killed the ego that can undermine the evolution of an artist. “Take the blade from my hand and do what I can’t: cut me down,” Lopez pleads in the slow-burning “Tanglin’.” He doubles down on that sentiment of transformation in the brooding title track: “I’m gonna go to the woods and come out the other side,” he sings over and over again like a mantra.

 “This album is a product of the strength I had to walk away from everything I knew,” Lopez says. “I had to start fresh on my own.”

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Nashville Beats: New Music From The Wild Feathers

The Wild Feathers have just released Alvarado via New West Records. The 12-track set was produced by the band and follows their 2020 career-spanning odds-and-ends collection Medium Rarities.

Formed in 2010, The Wild Feathers have released three critically acclaimed studio albums, one live record captured at the historic Ryman Auditorium, and toured with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Bob Seger, and more.

After a major tour with Blackberry Smoke was rescheduled due to theCOVID-19 Pandemic last year, the group hunkered down in a small cabin northwest of Nashville in Van Leer, TN. Using the confidence gained from self-producing three new songs found on Medium Rarities, The Wild Feathers decided to keep things in-house, producing themselves, which was a part of the hard-scrabble work ethic that got them their success in the first place.

For the first time without a fancy studio, the band were confident and calm during the process, which cohesively allowed the sound to be exactly what they felt like instead of having to answer to anyone. Knocking out 14 songs in just four days, they bonded over barbecues and beers and there was a warmness that hadn’t been present since their early days. This relaxed approach is reflected in the laid-back nature of the songs featured on the stellar Alvarado.

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A Sound Recommendation: Dwight and Nicole


American roots artists Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson have toured the eastern United States as a power trio called Dwight + Nicole since 2017. They have been steadily cultivating a devoted following and gaining plenty of industry respect along the way; they’ve been nominated for nine Boston Music Awards, eight Daysie Awards, and ten New England Music Awards, winning “Band of the Year,” “Vocalist of the Year,” “Best Blues/R&B Band,” “Female Vocalist of the Year,” “Blues Act of the Year,” and “Video of the Year.” They have opened up for their idols, including Mavis Staples, who said, “Dwight + Nicole are powerful! They’re one of my favorite new bands.” Melissa Etheridge also chimed in, saying, “Dwight + Nicole are absolutely the real deal; they are outstanding singers and songwriters, and I am proud that they are here. They are carrying the torch.”

Nelson and Ritcher met in Boston, MA when they were just out of school, both cutting their teeth on the local club circuit. They each fronted popular bands in the area and discovered a shared obsession of soul and blues greats like the Staples Singers, Albert King, Lighting Hopkins, Jimmy Witherspoon, Roberta Flack, and Etta James. They began singing together often and developed a close friendship that grew romantic over time. Eventually, they formed Dwight + Nicole, which was, in the early days, a duo: Dwight on electric guitar, Nelson on tambourine, stomping their feet and singing in harmony. They began to tour regionally, writing together and developing a sound. After a move to Burlington, VT, they met powerhouse drummer Ezra Oklan (Nicole Atkins, Elle King), and the group quickly formed a trio with Nelson picking up the bass.

Their 2018 EP, Electric Lights, was recorded live to analog tape with multi-Grammy-nominated producer Joel Hamilton (Aaron Neville, Tom Waits, The Meters, The Black Keys) at Studio G in Brooklyn, NY. Hamilton undoubtedly captured their sound and live energy while also bringing out their experimental side. The EP introduced the band to a new wave of fans and opportunities, including their first major label distribution deal through Orchard/Sony Music. The year wrapped up with another Independent Music Award nomination, and the Electric Lights EP landing on several “Best of the Year” lists.

Dwight + Nicole is set to release its new EP, Further, on October 22, 2021. Five songs deep, the EP showcases the strengths inherent in the American roots/vintage R&B music made by band members Dwight Ritcher, Nicole Nelson, and Ezra Oklan. Produced by multi-Grammy-nominated producer Joel Hamilton (Aaron Neville, The Meters, The Black Keys) and recorded at Studio G in Brooklyn, NY in the fall of 2019, the new EP was set to be released in April of 2020, but the worldwide shutdown and cancelled tours hit pause on the release of the new music.

Says Ritcher of Further, “The EP came about with time off the road. Believe it or not, we don’t listen to a lot of music when we’re on tour, so we listened more and more at home. What changed over the next few months, and fueled the EP, was that we began to hear the threads that connected five of them. It was almost like they decided to share a sonic landscape apart from the other songs. It’s important for us to tell a story whether we choose to release a full-length record, EP, or even a 78, and with Further, we felt a sense of relief because it was almost like the songs chose themselves.”

While Covid shut everything down in 2020, the members of Dwight + Nicole took the time off the road to become more active in their local community, hosting fundraisers, streaming concerts, and Nelson began offering online sound healing sessions. Unable to wait any longer to share new music with their fans, they released the first single from the EP, “The Next Go-Round,” in the summer of 2020 to set the table for the forthcoming release. The Boston Herald called them “a retro soul band, contemporary blues act, roots rock duo and R&B dynamo all at once,” and said that “The Next Go-Round” “resembles a gospel tune written a century ago and would also fit nicely on Brittany Howard’s 2019 experimental pop album.” A cinematic video for the track, directed and produced by Jim Dandee, was released in late September 2021 and premiered at Americana Highways.

Says Nelson of “The Next Go-Round,” “When I wrote this song, I was suffering from a broken heart. I had to let go of a person whom I love deeply, but I don’t think that real love actually ever dies. From that perspective, I found some solace. There is a feeling – or a knowing – that our connection is bigger than this lifetime. What if we can just try it all again in some other incarnation? Maybe we can, and maybe the next time we’ll get it right.”

As 2021 brought waves of the music industry re-opening, Dwight + Nicole celebrated by releasing the second single from the EP, “Time,” on June 18, 2021. A retro-soul, R&B banger for the new age, the song premiered at Glide Magazine, who praised the Ritcher-penned track, writing, “Beginning with the simple and soulful vocals of Nicole Nelson, the song leans into a slinky groove that carries notes of R&B and hip-hop with a smoothness that feels like cruising through the city on a summer night. The band layers on funky elements on guitar and organ, culminating in a mix of vocal harmonies and rich instrumentals that leave you feeling enchanted.” Says Ritcher of the song, “I started writing this song after a conversation Nicole and I had about our perception of the passing of time. I wanted the listener to feel that sense of mystery and unlimited possibility. Time is measuring our echoes in the corners of the universe, and Nicole’s voice on this track is one of those ethereal echoes.”

A third single from the EP, the title track, “Further,” releases today (October 8, 2021). It premiered earlier this week at American Songwriter who wrote, “They’re retro, they’re groovy… the single and its soulful, lo-fi sound are indicative of Dwight + Nicole’s particular brand of thoughtful song-smithing. [There’s a] sense of immediacy… there’s something about Ritcher and Nicole Nelson’s vocal performances that makes it feel so raw, so urgent.”

As touring and live shows return, the stages have gotten bigger and the band has grown to feature horns, keys, and backing vocalists. Fans interested in seeing Dwight + Nicole live should follow them on socials (@dwightandnicole) for tour dates. Relix Magazine has applauded their live show, writing, “Take R&B, soul, blues, mix in razor-sharp rock guitar… heat to boiling, and watch your face melt. That’s Dwight + Nicole.”

  “Dwight + Nicole are powerful! They’re my favorite new band.” – Mavis Staples
 

Dwight + Nicole are absolutely the real deal; they are outstanding singers and songwriters. They are carrying the torch.” – Melissa Etheridge

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