West Coast Beats: New Music From Rockabillys Kim Lenz

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Rockabilly goddess Kim Lenz is gearing up for the release of her fifth album Slowly Speeding, out February 22, 2019.

Lenz is a songwriter, performer, bandleader, engineer and producer who pores over every nuance of her music to ensure maximum potency. The ten songs on Slowly Speeding brim with growling vocals, clever turns of phrase and heightened musicianship that services both the songs and the emotional intent behind them. As the first song written for the project, “Slowly Speeding” sets the pace for what follows — a gauzy, Western Gothic gaze into the heart of a woman who has abandoned her walls and inhibitions, falling so deeply in love that the universe itself seems unreal. 

Lenz released her debut album in 1998 as Kim Lenz & the Jaguars, via Hightone Records. Heralded as the “Flame-haired keeper of the rockabilly flame” by Allmusic, Lenz reached the highest heights of the 90’s rockabilly revival. At the same time, she established her own distinctive voice as an artist who inhabited the musical and aesthetic traditions of a classic era, even as she subverted them. 

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For Slowly Speeding, Lenz pulled the most essential elements of the past forward into the present and gave her own voice to it. Lenz’s sonic vision for the project was to combine her favorite tones from her most-treasured records, regardless of genre or era, and co-producer DH Phillips was the perfect partner in crime. They looked to early blues, classic country, and old-time gospel harmonies. ”The idea was to try to use all the ingredients that made up rock & roll, but shift around the time frames,” she offers. “I started out in the ’90s making traditional rockabilly music,” she continues. “But in my journey to understand how rockabilly and rock & roll came into being, I found blues, rhythm & blues, gospel, Western swing, and country music.”

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Nashville Beats: Singer/Songwriter Brooke Moriber

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Brooke Moriber is a singer/ songwriter known for her edgy pop tunes. She has been critically acclaimed for her “clarion voice” by the Associated Press and her “immense vocal range”. Recent shows featuring music from her latest EP “Fire” have earned her glowing reviews by bloggers and magazines applauding her “huge vocals”, and songs that are “destined for high rotation”.

Born in the heart of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, Brooke has made a mark on New York City with her distinctive sound and her unique career.

Brooke’s first professional gig was performing on the Broadway stage as young Cosette in Les Miserables. Since then, she has made a name for herself on stage, film, and TV as one of New York’s most versatile performers.

As a teenager, Brooke’s original pop/rock music was licensed to Nickelodeon and her songs have been featured on soundtracks for film and theater . Her band has played venues throughout the Manhattan club circuit such as Pianos, The Cutting Room, The Knitting Factory, and The Red Lion. 

While juggling appearances with her band Brooke has performed in 7 Broadway shows including those in which she created such roles as “Nadine” in The Wild Party, “Iola Stover” in Parade and “Lily” in James Joyce’s The Dead.   She played a young opera singer in Follies on Broadway and performed with Cyndi Lauper and Alan Cumming in The Threepenny Opera. 

Brook has released the title track of her upcoming Cry Like A Girl LP, recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, with legendary producer Fred Mollin (Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Shawn Colvin) at the helm. The song is a powerful country-pop cut that showcases Brooke’s powerhouse vocal delivery and lyrics that challenge what it means to “cry like a girl”.

Cry Like A Girl is a deeply meaningful statement for Moriber who explains, “I named the album after that particular song because it has such a clear message that embodies the collection as a whole. It’s a statement about self-discovery and the strength that comes with embracing your emotions and allowing yourself to heal and grow. Human beings are resilient and I believe music can be the best reminder of that. I hope that the journey for the listeners can be as empowering and healing as it was for me to write it.”

The album also features “The Last Goodbye” which caught attention from No Depression, who lauded Brooke as “a major league talent deserving a spot in the mainstream spotlight”, and Celebmix who raved that “her powerful voice just blew us away the first time we heard her tracks, and she is definitely destined for success.”

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New Music From Americana Artist Greg Hawks

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It’s been more than three decades since Greg Hawks picked up his first instrument, kicking off a career that has found the critically-acclaimed songwriter, front man, and multi-instrumentalist leaving his mark on everything from alt-country to bluegrass music.

He casts a wide net with 2018’s I Think It’s Time, an album inspired by the twang of classic country, the hooks of 1970s pop/rock, the rhythmic soul of old-school Stax records, and Hawks’ own roots in the American South. With influences that veer from Big Star to Buck Owens, I Think It’s Time shines new light on an enduring, eclectic musician who was making Americana music long before the genre had a name.  “The album is a culmination of all my influences, thrown into a big pot as separate ingredients and turned into something cohesive and new,” says Hawks, who recorded I Think It’s Time at his home studio in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

He produced the album himself, playing most of the instruments — from finger-style acoustic guitar to keyboards — along the way. He then turned to Chris Stamey (the dB’s, Whiskeytown, Alex Chilton), who had previously mixed Hawks’ debut album for YepRoc Records, Fool’s Paradise, back in 2001. Stamey reprised that role for I Think It’s Time, resulting in a DIY album whose songs mix Hawks’ sharp, melody-driven songwriting with plenty of social commentary.

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Nashville Beats: Country Musician Clare Dunn Releases Soulful Dylan Cover

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Clare Dunn, known for her transfixing live shows, unparalleled guitar artistry, and clean, powerful vocals has released her version of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.” This track’s audio and video were recorded in one pass and Clare’s vocal remains raw and unedited.

“I’ve always loved this song because of its poetic cadence and honesty. I recently rediscovered it playing guitar on my couch late one night, and remembered being a little girl driving a tractor the first time I heard Garth Brooks’ version of it, so in a lot of ways, Garth introduced me to Bob Dylan. I love Dylan’s writing style so when I was offered the opportunity to record a song of my choice for Spotify, this was my immediate pick,” says Clare.

An artist on the ascent, Clare is a “masterful guitar player who can do it all” (CMT) with “big, soaring vocals and serious guitar prowess,” (Rolling Stone).

Clare caught the attention of rock legend Bob Seger who, after hearing her sound check only once, invited her to be his opener for his Ride Out Tour.

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A Sound Recommendation: The Marcus King Band

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A Songwriter. Guitarist. Singer. Bandleader. 

Raised in Greenville, South Carolina, King was brought up on the blues, playing shows as a pre-teen sideman with his father—bluesman Marvin King, who himself was the son of a regionally-known guitarist—before striking out on his own.

Going beyond the sonic textures of his acclaimed 2015 debut album, Soul Insight; The Marcus King Band broadens his sound, touching upon everything from funky R&B to Southern soul and Americana in the process. His band gets in on the action too, stacking the songs with blasts of swampy brass, a lock-step rhythm section and swirling organ. Ever the multi-tasker, King bounces between several instruments, handling electric and acoustic guitar — as well as pedal and lap steel — while driving each track home with his soulful, incendiary voice.

A childhood introvert who leaned heavily on music as a way of expressing himself, King fills The Marcus King Band with a mix of biographical tunes and fictional story songs.

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His latest release, Carolina Confessions features 10 brand-new songs, all written by Marcus except for ‘How Long,’ which was co-written with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and veteran songwriter Pat McLaughlin.

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Whether it’s the searing rock exorcism of ‘Confessions’ or the propulsive road-bound soul of ‘Where I’m Headed,’ Marcus exhibits an almost Southern gothic sensibility in his songs, owning up to failed relationships, portraying his complex connection with his hometown, arraying a sprawling musical firmament in the process.

Marcus and his five bandmates – drummer Jack Ryan, bass player Stephen Campbell, trumpeter/trombonist Justin Johnson, sax player Dean Mitchell and keyboard player DeShawn ‘D’Vibes’ Alexander – are in top form on Carolina Confessions, exhibiting an intuitive sense of control and expression as they tackle their most sonically layered and emotionally complex compositions to date.

Marcus is the first player I’ve heard since Derek Trucks to play with the maturity of a musician well beyond his age,” Haynes says. “He’s very much influenced by the blues, but also by jazz, rock, soul music, and any timeless genres of music. You can hear the influences, but it all comes through him in his own unique way. He has one of those voices that instantly draws you in, and his guitar playing is an extension of his voice and vice versa.”   Warren Haynes

 

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A Sound Recommendation: Folk Rockers Edward and Jane

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Originally formed in Cleveland, Tennessee, Edward + Jane trace their roots to a young duo comprised of Lee University Students, Timothy Edward Carpenter (guitarist/vocalist) and Emilie Jane Creutzinger (mandolinist/vocalist).

In search for a deeper folk sound, the duo quickly became a trio adding fellow Lee University student, Spencer Thomas Smith (guitarist/vocalist). The final member of Edward + Jane was added in Carpenter’s childhood friend, Jerome Obholz (drums), who completed the folk/rock sound. The four found immediate success in the Cleveland music scene, writing and recording their first EP, Grow, and earning early recognition by being afforded the chance to open for Jon Foreman.

As their Tennessee fan-base grew, Edward + Jane parted ways briefly when Carpenter and Creutzinger made the move up north, back to their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. The band‘s stint away from home in Cleveland created their first true debut EP, As Family We Gather, an album written and entirely dedicated to the joys and pains of family, being away from the ones we love, and growing older. This album, recorded at Varsity Recording Co. in Anderson, Indiana, established the rock/folk sound Edward + Jane drew influence from in the sister sounds of The Head and The Heart and The Lone Bellow. The album propelled the band to their first international tour in the Spring of 2017, three summer music festivals (once opening for Mandolin Orange), and the feature-length documentary, Gather, surrounding the making and touring of the album.

With the recent addition of Aaron Sawyer (bass), and Brenden Koon (keys), Edward + Jane are now reunited with the full six-piece band in Chattanooga, Tennessee, writing and recording their second EP. The band’s desire to make true, folk/rock music is heard in their honest lyricism and incredible family band instrumentation. They are a reminder to all who listen, that music is the cloth by which we clean the window looking into the heart of what’s really important in life—those we love most.

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The folk rockers just released their anthemic new EP Too Early To Tell. The heartfelt five-song set artfully continues the band’s tradition of making folk-rock music that brims with honest lyricism and incredible family band instrumentation. The album beautifully showcases the group’s palpable chemistry, harmony-laden hooks, and ability to make even the most stoic listener swoon, as they distill influences from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers-esque classic rock to soul-moving gospel choir sensibilities. Too Early To Tell is a nostalgic journey to freedom that blends the bittersweet pain of departure with the flourishing beauty of independence.

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Nashville Beats: Alt Country Artist Elise Davis

 

 

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Elise Davis moves between lush alt-country and stripped-down folk on her second album, Cactus. Arriving two years after The Token — the songwriter’s 2016 debut, whose electrified roots-rock sound earned praised from outlets like Rolling Stone Country and The Wall Street Journal — Cactus spins autobiographical stories about a self-sufficient woman in the modern world. Like the desert plant that lends the album its title, Davis takes pride in her own independence, confident that she doesn’t need help from others to grow tall.

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Davis’ independent streak began in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she kicked off her career at 12 years old. Now based in Nashville, she has earned acclaim not only for her live show, but also her sharp, articulate songwriting. She collaborates with co-writers like Grammy-winner Maren Morris on Cactus, whose bold, country-leaning sound was produced by Jordan Lehning. The result is Elise Davis’ most honest record to date — an album about what it takes to stand alone, rooted in the hard-won wisdom of a songwriter who’s unafraid to shine a light on her missteps and victories.

 

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