A Sound Recommendation: Bluesman Hamish Anderson

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Hamish is a blues rock artist (guitarist/singer/songwriter) from Melbourne, Australia who was the last artist to open for the late BB King. In 2016, he completed a 12-city tour opening for The Rides (featuring Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg). In addition to these tours, he’s performed over sixty shows in the US including Robert Cray, Los Lobos, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Wynona Judd and Blues Traveler.

In 2015, he received an award for Best Blues Song by the Independent Music Awards for his single “Burn” and was profiled in Huffington Post “Beyond the Six Strings” as well as The Blues Magazine UK for their “Future of Blues Music” issue.

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His debut album, Trouble, was produced by Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Wilco, Grace Potter), and features Steve Berlin from Los Lobos on Baritone Sax; Johnny Radelat (Gary Clark Jr), Freddie Bokkenheuser (Ryan Adams), and Aaron Sterling (John Mayer) on drums; Chris Bruce (Doyle Bramhall II, Meshell Ndegeocello) and Rob Calder (Angus & Julia Stone, Kanye) on bass; Chris Joyner (Ryan Bingham) and Jerry Borge (Jonathan Wilson) on keys.

The first single from that album, also titled “Trouble,” is featured on Spotify’s official “Blues & Roots Rock” playlist. The official video had an exclusive premiere on Relix.com. Hamish’s second single, “Hold On Me” video debuted in November.  

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Americana Unveils Final Round of Performers For AmericanaFest 2017

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(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) Aug. 1, 2017 – The Americana Music Association℠ announced today the final round of almost 300 artists slated to perform at the 18th Annual AMERICANAFEST℠: The Americana Music Festival & Conference, which runs from September 12-17 in Nashville, TN.

The six-day festival will fill the city with legends, newcomers, award winners, and buzz bands, showcasing the breadth of Americana’s influence. With almost 300 artists and bands participating, the event promises to be, as described by MOJO Magazine, the “roots alternative to the GRAMMYs® and South by Southwest.” A list of the 97 performers announced can be found below, bringing this year’s total lineup to almost 300.

AMERICANAFEST℠ Conference Registrations (currently $349 for members/$449 for non-members) offer priority admission into all showcase venues, sanctioned parties, and events, daytime educational panels, and can be purchased here. At this time, only Conference Registrants may purchase Honors & Awards show tickets. For those just interested in the nightly showcases, a festival wristband will be the most suitable option at the wallet-friendly price of $75. Available on their website, a festival wristband grants admission into all showcase venues as well as select sanctioned parties and special events.

For more information and ticketing, CLICK HERE

Final Round of Artists Confirmed to Play AMERICANAFEST℠:

A.J. Croce

Amelia White and The Blue Souvenirs

Amy Black

Belle Plaine

Big Star’s Third Live

Billy Strings

Blackfoot Gypsies

Blair Crimmins and The Hookers

Bonnie Bishop

Brigitte DeMeyer

Caitlyn Smith

Cale Tyson

Carson McHone

Carter Sampson

Cat Clyde

Cereus Bright

Charlie Mars

Christian Lopez

Colin Hay

Colter Wall

Danni Nicholls

Danny Burns

Darling West

Dave Alvin

David Mayfield Parade

David Myles

Don Gallardo

Early James & the Latest

Eddie Berman

Escondido

Falls

Faustina Masigat

Front Country

Gill Landry

Grant-Lee Phillips 

Harrow Fair

High Plains Jamboree 

India Ramey

Jack Ingram

Jamie Kent

Jamtown

Jason Wilber

Jesse Dayton

Jimmy Lumpkin and the Revival 

Joana Serrat

Joey Kneiser

Jon Langford

Joseph Huber

K Phillips

Kaia Kater

Kamara Thomas

Korby Lenker

Kristina Murray

Lee Ann Womack & Friends

Leyla McCalla

Liz Cooper & The Stampede

Lucie Silvas

Mark Erelli

Mary Bragg

Max Gomez

Me And My Brother

Motel Radio

Muddy Ruckus

Natalie Hemby

Old Sea Brigade 

Otis Gibbs

Parsonsfield 

Rachel Baiman

Rayna Gellert with Kieran Kane

Reckless Kelly

Reuben Bidez

Robby Hecht

Robyn Hitchcock 

Ryan Tanner

Sam Outlaw

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers

Shane Nicholson

Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer

Shelly Fairchild

Skyway Man

Taasha Coates

Tattletale Saints

Ted Russell Kamp

The Americans

The Lowest Pair

The Mulligan Brothers

The Steel Woods

The Stray Birds 

Tony Joe White

Trout Steak Revival

Vikesh Kapoor

Webb Wilder

Wild Ponies

Will Hoge

Will Kimbrough

Zach Schmidt

Zephaniah O’Hora

AngloFiles: Indie Rockers Doe

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Since forming in early 2013 Doe have built a UK following with their unique brand of ‘wonky alt-pop’ (Clash Magazine). The band’s influences are rooted in 90s indie-rock, but their songwriting style and lyrical content place them very much in the present alongside contemporaries such as Speedy Ortiz, LVL UP and Dilly Dally. Off-kilter time signatures, intertwining guitars and the vocal-interplay between guitarist Nicola Leel and drummer Jake Popyura stand as clear markers of a band completely at ease with themselves. Their songs pack power but are also loaded with a wry sense of humour.

In 2016 Doe released their debut full length ‘Some Things Last Longer than You’ on Old Flame Records (US) and Specialist Subject Records (UK). Produced by Matthew Johnson (Hookworms / Suburban Home Studio), the album impressed critics and made it on to several end of year lists, most notably landing at 6th place on ABC News’ Best Albums of the Year. The Quietus branded STLLTY ‘the kind of record that will stir and inspire you during moments of existential crisis’.

Live, Doe are a formidable presence and bring a frantic energy to every performance. As noted by ABC News, ‘Doe might just become one of your new favourite bands.

Catch them this summer in a city near you.

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New Music From Joel Madison Blount

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Birmingham, AL-based Americana/folk singer-songwriter Joel Madison Blount is set to release his new album, Our New Moon, on September 29, 2017.  Merging the influence of Southern literary authors with a musical response to the rhythm and melody of life, Blount writes songs about the human experience, meant to offer hope and inspire the listener. The songs appearing on Our New Moon were written in response to the birth of Blount’s first child and represent a new beginning for his growing family, and a new phase of life for Blount and his artistic career.

“A new moon marks the start of the first phase of Earth’s moon during the course of the lunar cycle,” says Blount, “and it also alludes to the mystery surrounding what we will encounter on our journey ahead, as neither are visible from our perspective.” Themes on the album wind their way through a time of sorrow and brokenness, but ultimately lead the listener to witness redemption and an outpouring of grace. “This is a record in favor of the quiet life,” Blount says about his forthcoming album, “best savored while winding down in the peace and calm of the evening.”

PRE-ORDER OUR NEW MOON

Standout tracks on the album include “Beauty that Remains” (which calls upon the listener to reflect upon the beauty of life in spite of personal shortcomings and failures), “Arms Open Wide” (written as a letter to his son after learning he would become a father), and “Inner Monologue” (written as a response to fear and anxiety – with the refrain “just let it go” sung as a reminder for us to let go of the things we can’t control).

Changing the way he usually approached the guitar, through the use of unfamiliar tunings, Blount challenged his songwriting sensibilities, breaking what had become rote in search of new perspectives. Limiting reliance on routine chord progressions allowed him to simplify song structures, discover new melodies, and focus on crafting more pointed lyrical content. He also invited others to collaborate with him in the studio, including producer Brian T. Murphy (The Lone Bellow, Sandra McCracken, Greg Holden, Drew & Ellie Holcomb), guitarist Josh Vigneulle, bassist Will Weir, and drummer Alex Hinson. Production in the studio was intentionally limited to a four-piece band in order to ensure the songs were presented in a simple, yet elegant manner. The album was mixed by Chris Steffen (Damien Rice, Beck, John Mayer, Joshua Radin) and mastered by Harris Newman.

Our New Moon follows on the heels of his first full-length album, Taming the Wind, which released in early 2014, and two EPs (Joel Madison Blount in 2010 and I Believe in Love in 2011); Blount has pursued music professionally as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer since 2010. In a previous life, Blount worked as a CPA in public accounting before refocusing his endeavors solely toward artistic pursuits. In addition to his work as a solo artist, Blount runs a music production studio called The War Room out of a nearly century-old commercial building near his home, he is the band coordinator for a local church, and he is a member of the band War Jacket and A Slim Shadow. Fun fact: he’s a distant relative of the author Roy Blount Jr., another relative is ’70s rocker Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show.

Blount is planning some tour dates in support of Our New Moon. Tour dates will be announced soon.

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New Release from Singer-Songwriter Jillette Johnson

Jillette Johnson

All I Ever See In You Is Me

Genre: Americana

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Jillette Johnson is the rare artist who needs little sonic accompaniment to make an indelible impact. Produced by Dave Cobb (the Grammy Award-winner known for his work with Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson), Johnson’s sophomore album All I Ever See in You Is Me offers up sparsely orchestrated songs centering on her spirited piano work and ever-changing vocal texture, an instrument that’s irresistibly powerful whether she’s belting out a refrain or whispering a hushed melody.

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Like only the most timeless songwriters, Johnson finds infinite depth within that simplicity. Recorded at RCA Studio A – the historic Nashville space where Dolly Parton laid down ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Will Always Love You‘ in the same three-hour span – All I Ever See in You Is Me bears an unhurried pace and warm intimacy that echoes the purposeful looseness of its production. Drifting between hazy romanticism and resolute self-awareness, Johnson examines heartbreak and resilience with a willful and magnetic vulnerability.

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First Listen to Tyler Childers’ Debut ” Purgatory”

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photo credit:  David McClister

Tyler Childers’ anticipated debut album, Purgatory is now streaming in full exclusively at NPR Music’s First Listen series.

Of the album, NPR Music’s Ann Powers declares, “Childers is a vocalist muscular enough to carry an outlaw rocker like ‘Whitehouse Road’ and agile enough to roll with a cosmic meditation like ‘Universal Sound,’ a road song that ends up as philosophical as [Sturgill] Simpson’s best work,” and continues, “Childers manages to really live within the stories he tells, having learned how to be unlearned and as authentic as possible.”

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PRE ORDER PURGATORY

Recorded at Nashville’s The Butcher Shoppe studio, the 10-song record was produced by Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson. In addition to Childers (vocals, acoustic guitar), the album features a variety of world-renowned musicians including Simpson (acoustic guitar, background vocals), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Miles Miller (drums, background vocals) and Russ Pahl (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel, Jew’s harp) among others.

Of the album, the Lawrence Country, KY native comments, “I am extremely grateful for Miles Miller introducing me to Sturgill Simpson, and also for Sturgill and David Ferguson taking the time to work with me. I think we both wanted to make an album for east KY, and I reckon that’s what we did. It’s not about rock, or grass, or country…it’s just hollerin’ in the mountains and stirring shit up! The band Sturgill and David put together was an all-star cast, and an honor to work with and learn from. I hope to do it again, but once is more than most are blessed with. For that I am thankful.”

In support of the album, Childers will tour throughout 2017, including a sold-out show tomorrow at Prestonsburg, KY’s Mountain Arts Center, an August west coast headline run, a September residency at Nashville’s The Basement and a special show supporting Drive-By Truckers in Hazard, KY on September 24.  See below for full details.

Tour Dates:

July 28—Prestonsburg, KY—Mountain Arts Center (SOLD-OUT)
August 1—Kansas City, MO—The Riot Room
August 3—Abilene, TX—Grace Museum (SOLD-OUT)
August 4—Amarillo, TX—Hoots Pub
August 5—Denver, CO—Lost Lake Lounge
August 6—South Fork, CO—Rhythms on the Rio
August 7—Phoenix, AZ—Valley Bar
August 9—San Diego, CA—The Casbah
August 10—Los Angeles, CA—The Echo
August 12—San Francisco, CA—Hotel Utah Saloon
August 15—Portland, OR—Doug Fir Lounge
August 16—Seattle, WA—Sunset Tavern
August 18— Whitefish, MT—The Remington Bar
August 19—Bozeman, MT—Live from the Divide (SOLD-OUT)
August 22—Minneapolis, MN—7th Street Entry
August 26—Lexington, KY—MoonTower Music Festival
September 11—Nashville, TN—The Basement*
September 12-17—Nashville, TN—AmericanaFest
September 16—Irvine, KY—Kickin’ It On The Creek
September 17—Bristol, VA—Bristol Rhythm & Roots
September 18—Nashville, TN—The Basement‡
September 23—Gallipolis, OH—River Rat Beer & Music Festival
September 24—Hazard, KY—The Forum+
September 25—Nashville, TN—The Basement§
September 30—Roseland, VA—Devil’s Backbone

*with special guest Miles Miller
‡with special guest William Matheny
+with Drive-By Truckers
§with special guest Kelsey Waldon

 

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New Jim Croce Song Surfaces

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RECORDED BY A.J. CROCE
FEATURING GRAMMY WINNING COUNTRY STAR VINCE GILL,
PRODUCED BY SOUL SONGSMITH AND PRODUCER DAN PENN

“Name of the Game” is released on A.J. Croce’s ninth studio album, Just Like Medicine, in stores August 11

Name of the Game” available on all digital streaming and purchase platforms
on Friday, July 28

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As the son of legendary singer-songwriter and Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee Jim Croce, A.J. chose to not follow in the folk footsteps of his father, and instead forge his own musical path in his career.

Only after 18 years of an established career did A.J. Croce begin to explore playing a song or two of his Dad’s at shows.

A.J. was only two years old when Jim Croce died in an airplane crash in 1973, so he didn’t know his father’s music firsthand. Instead, “I came to love it in the same way everyone else did,” he explained, “by listening to the albums.” While he describes his father’s music as “part of me, part of my life,” A.J. had never really performed those songs live. As a piano player, his interests tended to favor the blues and jazz-rooted music of musicians like Ray Charles and Allen Toussaint.

A few years ago, however, A.J. was digitizing some of his father’s old tapes and came across a cassette filled with covers of old blues and folk tunes by the likes of Fats Waller, Bessie Smith and Pink Anderson. It was a revelation to him. “He was playing stuff I played myself,” A.J. says, adding that “stuff made sense” discovering that his father and he had “all the music in common.”

When it came time for A.J. to record his ninth studio album in 2017 (Just Like Medicine, due out August 11, 2017 on Compass Records), and bring songs to his producer, Dan Penn, A.J. brought 16 of his own and snuck in “Name of the Game,” written by his father. Without having been told about the song’s origin, Penn chose it for the record and said that it reminded him of A.J.’s father.

The track is notable for many reasons. One is that it finds A.J. Croce connecting with a part of his soulful legacy that hits close to home because the bluesy gem is a previously unreleased song by his father — the only known completed song written for the elder Croce’s next album, and the last song that he wrote. A.J. explains, “‘The Name of the Game’ is a song I had known about for a really long time. It was destined for my dad’s next record that he never got to make. The song had been bootlegged, just him playing guitar, but it had never been properly recorded. I thought this song really fit this album. We listened to a couple of my father’s demos and final recordings and tried to treat the song with the respect it deserves — while still making it my own. At the beginning of our track, Colin Linden — who’s amazing — is playing the same guitar my father wrote the song on. You can tell it’s a Jim Croce song, no doubt. And I just love Vince Gill’s playing, so I called him up to add his musical touch to it too.”

Jim Croce found long-overdue success in 1972 following years of struggling to make a name in the music business. That year he released two albums, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim and Life and Times, that spawned the hit singles “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim,” “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels),” “Time in a Bottle” and “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (the latter two tunes both reached Number #1). His final studio effort, I’ve Got a Name, was released in December of 1973, less than three months after his death. Three more hits (“Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues,” “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” and the title song) came from that album, which reached #2 in the album charts. A.J. pointed out that these three classic albums amazingly were recorded in just a one-and-a-half-year time period. Both Jim Croce and his longtime collaborator, lead guitarist Maury Muehleisen, died in that fatal plane crash in 1973. Jim Croce was just thirty when he died, and has had his folk-rock music remain popular over the years. His record sales have surpassed the 45 million mark, and his songs have appeared on more than 375 compilations. Jim Croce’s music continues to be used in films, television shows, and commercials including X-Men, Transparent, and the recent Apple Siri commercial.

A.J. Croce has been inextricably linked to a version of his own story by virtue of his name. He’s experienced a lifetime of comparisons to a father he lost at age two, whose music bares little resemblance to his own output yet still serves as a reference point despite the years that have passed and the many iconic mentors who have stepped in to offer their counsel, creativity, and endorsement throughout his long career.

It’s curious then that it now feels necessary to include the reference, as enough time has passed that a new generation of tastemakers and journalists might not know who Jim Croce was — that he was a golden-voiced everyman, a singer-songwriter-guitarist who died too soon, leaving one of pop music’s most beautiful and memorable ballads (written about a young A.J.) in his wake.

Croce the younger, on the other hand, is a piano man, first and foremost, and a vocal stylist second. His muted growl pulls from a host of American traditions and anti-heroes — it’s part New Orleans, part juke joint, part soul, but somehow evokes New York, a continuum where John Lurie meets Lou Reed. He is further a songwriter, driven by a personal muse, informed by a life on a boomerang of tragedy.

His gritty and accomplished ninth studio album, produced by legendary soul singer-songwriter and producer Dan Penn, is the latest and arguably greatest effort yet. Penn, of course, is writer of such hits as “The Dark End of the Street,” “Cry Like a Baby,” “I’m Your Puppet” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” and producer of The Box Tops’ “The Letter,” as well as songs and recordings by Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Blue Bland, Clarence Carter, and Alex Chilton. Also making appearances are Grammy Award-winning country artist Vince Gill, Steve Cropper (Booker T. & the MGs, Blues Brothers, author of many Stax hits), the McCrary Sisters and the Muscle Shoals Horns. In addition to the Jim Croce composition, there’s a tune written by A.J. and Dan Penn, as well as a co-write by A.J. and the late great Leon Russell.

Just Like Medicine is an exploration of relationships, the disappointments and the confusion, and reflects Croce’s realization about the role music has played in his life. “I’ve been to therapy for 25 years and it never helped me as much as sitting down and playing the piano or writing a song.”

As he explains, “I wanted to make a real soul album, but not a throwback Stax album or a Motown album or anything like that — even though Dan was producing and there are great players from that world and Muscle Shoals on these tracks.” Sonically and in every other way, the intention on Just Like Medicine seems to keep things real. “We recorded this album in mono, to analog tape, primarily to two tracks and we never used more than sixteen tracks,” says Croce.

We did that not to be cool or trendy, but because these days everyone seems to be listening to music primarily on little devices and tiny speakers. In a world of amazing audio possibilities, we’re all basically listening to music on transistor radios again. After that first session, Dan explained that when he worked with the Box Tops, they only had like three tracks — one for the band, one for the vocals, one for string and horns. So that became our starting point.”

Croce has lived longer now than his father did — at 45, he is 15 years beyond the age his father was when he died. With Just Like Medicine, an authentic version of his story, which contains both unimaginable sorrow and many blessings, can be felt and understood.