A Sound Recommendation: Singer/ Songwriter and Activist Raye Zaragoza

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Photo: Ursula Vari

Raye Zaragoza is an award-winning singer-songwriter who carries an acoustic guitar and a message. Her quiet yet powerful song “In the River,” written in response to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, resonated strongly with listeners and went viral in late 2016, garnering half a million views on the video, national media coverage, and a Global Music Award and Honesty Oscar.

Raye’s debut album, Fight For You (independent, 2017), displays her compassion, dedication to justice and equality for all, and keen eye for the seemingly small daily moments that become our most meaningful memories. About the record, Raye says, “This album is about finding yourself and finding your voice. It’s about maturing and realizing that you can make a difference if you so choose.”

Writing about social issues comes naturally to Raye. “As a woman of color in America, social issues are things you deal with and see every day of your life,” she says. “I write about my experience and oftentimes my existence has been laced with injustice.”

Raye performs her music all over the United States as well as across Europe, where she spent five weeks touring in summer 2017. Her music has been featured on Democracy Now! and on numerous lists of the best modern-day protest songs, including those by Paste Magazine, What Culture, and Overblown. 

At SXSW 2018, Raye spoke about her loyal fanbase and maintaining an independent career on a panel entitled “Serving the Sacred Bond” hosted by PledgeMusic. Zaragoza has just finished a national tour, where she was supporting Dispatch and Nahko and Medicine for the People, including dates at Red Rocks and Central Park Summerstage.  

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Devon Allman + Duane Betts Announce new 2019 Album/Tour

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After a successful year touring as The Devon Allman Project with special guest Duane Betts – the sons of Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts are joining forces to form The Allman Betts Band .

They will kick off 2019 with a new Allman Betts Band album and a worldwide tour that will feature new music, songs from their solo projects and classic Allman Brothers and Gregg Allman tunes in honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Allman Brothers Band. The new album, which is slated to be released in the Spring of 2019, will be produced by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine and Elvis Presley).

TOUR DATES

The new ABB will include Devon, Duane, Berry Oakley Jr. (son of original Allman Brothers Band bassist Berry Oakley), slide guitar virtuoso, Johnny Stachela and DAP percussionists R. Scott Bryan (Sheryl Crow) and John Lum.

Peter Levin (Gregg Allman’s Hammond B3 player) and Chuck Leavell (former Allman Brothers Band keyboardist and current Rolling Stones keyboardist) will also appear on the record.

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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.”

ARTIST LINKS

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West Coast Beats: New Single From LA’s Acclaimed Activist Musical Collective – Trapdoor Social

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Trapdoor Social is a Los Angeles based independent rock band with a mission.

With it’s origins in a college environmental studies program, the band has a record of fundraising and activism to promote sustainability. Starting in 2015 Trapdoor Social branched off from the usual mix of club/radio/college shows and began producing outdoor, solar-powered concerts and events around the US, including Sunstock Solar Festival, which is takes place in Los Angeles annually. Their other projects combining music with activism have benefitted Homeboy Industries, Mesa Ridge High School, and Kids Cancer Connection.

The band’s music is energetic and passionate, with lyrics that play with love, philosophy, and social critique. Several of the band’s songs— “Away”, “Fine on My Own,” “Sunshine,” and “Wining as Truth” – have received significant airplay around the country, a national TV ad placement and success on Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’.

Since Sunstock ’17, the band has been working on an LP that will be their fourth release.

Their new single “Hold Me Down” blends surf rock and captivating indie pop featuring anthemic melodies and jangly guitars. Trapdoor Social is set to release a full album following around the new year, and a national tour in the spring of 2019.

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ANGLO FILES: Young Artist to Watch Alfie Templeman

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Alfie Templeman is a fifteen year old recording artist from Bedfordshire, England.  There is not a great deal of information available on the young artist which is not surprising as he is just 15 years old!  Alfie has just released his debut EP Like An Animal

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We will just have to let the music do all the talking… and man this young man has a lot to say!

Templeman’s songs max on melody, with lovelorn lyrics midway between a resigned shrug and a prolonged swoon, and are uniformly lovely. If this is what he can come up with alone in his room at the age of 15, he has to be one to watch closely.  – The Sunday Times

You can stream Like An Animal HERE.

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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.

PURCHASE I THINK ITS TIME

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