Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Open Letter to Independent Artists

I love music. I used to play in a band. It didn't work out. That's OK. I'm not bitter.

I hate music. Or at least what is played on the radio. That's why I dig for music and have this blog. I'm pretty much done with mainstream, any genre.

I have had the privilege in the past couple of months to be given an audience with several independent artists from a variety of genres. The way I see it, we're all in this together, the artists, the goofballs like me that support them, and the writers who have devoted much time, effort and their own money to create killer sites.

"Sea Change". That's a pretty cool term. But have you ever been to the ocean? The sea does not change, in the words of Stevie Nicks. Or if it does, it takes a hell of lot more than me, or you by yourself.

Right now, I have an eyedropper and a bucket in the Gulf of Mexico. I may affect a few people, but that does not a sea change make.

I'm fairly new to this. But I know there is community out there. I also know it's fragmented and disjointed. Why would the Dead Deads from Nashville care about Jenni Dale Lord from Lubbock care about Chaser Eight from Connecticut care about Kate Lynne Logan from Seattle care about Kate Vargas from New York? Because you're all in the same boat.

I get it. I've been there. It's all about local and regional. You have to nurture that in order to pay the bills (along with your other jobs, because I know you have them).

Why would I care about a site dedicated to saving country music or bringing back glam or promoting stoner rock or underground techno artists? Because those people share my love of music. I don't have to be a fan of that type of music.

I've heard enough independent artists and read enough blogs/sites to know that there are lot of people who take ownership in good music.

I've really only reached out to artists, selfishly, to further my blog along. Now I've come to the point where the sum is greater than the parts and I need your help. Who are the people that you trust who support independent artists? Who are some artists that would be willing to do  a Q & A? I'm open to all genres.

Leave comments here or some of you have my contact information.

Thanks for your time,
Michael


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Album Review: Chaser Eight: Chaser Eight

Photo: Phil Hovey of Find Your Lights
Edits: Alberto Torres
For my regular readers, you know I don't really do reviews, but when I do, I break it down song by song. It has to be something special.

This one is special.

Chaser Eight's self-titled debut album Chaser Eight is musical gold. (Yes, I know, it's not their first release, just their first full length record). Released in February of this year, it took me six months to find it, but that's the landscape of independently made records, it may take a while, but if you keep looking you will find the good stuff.

Here's the thing, there is not a bad song on the record. That's hard to do. There are very few albums I can put on and listen to from start to finish without skipping songs. And if you care about music, albums still matter. Songs are great, but to get the full effect of what the artist is about, albums.

To me, the best way to really know how good or bad a record is, is to listen to it by yourself driving in your car. This one passes that test with flying colors.

There is an interesting dynamic within Chaser Eight. Lead vocalist/frontwoman/guitarist *AUDRA* and lead guitarist Pat Walsh write all of the songs independently of each other. But they may be the best male/female songwriting duo this side of Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. Or Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Album Spotlight: Jonathan Tyler: Holy Smokes

This record has been out for a couple of weeks. I have been remiss in not spotlighting it up until now.

Holy Smokes, Jonathan Tyler's latest offering, is Southern Rock, the Stones, the Black Crowes, the Doobie Brothers, The Band, Butch Walker, Ryan Adams, country, alternative, rock, etc.

But it's none of that. It's all Jonathan Tyler. Or maybe it's all of that, which is Jonathan Tyler.

Judge for yourself. Here is "Hallelujah".



And now, "Riverbottom".

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Q and A with *AUDRA* of Chaser Eight

Photo: Phil Hovey of Find Your Lights
Edits: Alberto Torres
Chaser Eight is a rock band. But the Connecticut quintet is so much more than that. With the release of their eponymously titled first full length record, Chaser Eight runs a quite impressive gamut of styles, moods, textures and emotions.

The album Chaser Eight will take you on a musical journey with many twists and turns, ups and downs but all with the common thread of good musicians making good songs.

Chaser Eight is made up of frontwoman/lead vocalist/guitarist *AUDRA*, lead guitarist Pat Walsh, bassist Billy Wang, keyboardist/guitarist Aaron Tagliamonte and drummer Pete Giannini. While *AUDRA* and Pat are the songwriters for the band, the full group is what makes it all come together and sound like Chaser Eight.

I recently had the opportunity to conduct a Q and A with *AUDRA*.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Evolution of a Blog

I started writing this blog mostly for my own amusement. I didn't know what I was doing or where it was going. I'm a sports fan and a music lover. It was never going anywhere very heady.

I started out doing mostly sports with a little music. Then it moved to more music with less sports to where it is now and almost exclusively music although I can't help myself but slip some sports in there from time to time.

When I slowly transitioned from sports to music, I still didn't know what I was doing. I didn't want to spend any time or energy criticizing stuff that sucks, I wanted to feature stuff I liked. That led me further and further away from anything mainstream.

I never really did reviews, but more like spotlights. If I wrote about it, it was something I liked. I've neglected that part a bit lately. Not because I don't want to, or have become lackadaisical. It's that I've found a better way to use this forum.

On a whim, I reached out to a couple of independent, unsigned artists going the do-it-yourself path to do Q&A's. The worst thing that could happen is they said no or did not respond. And that has happened. But some have said yes.

When the first artist agreed to do it, I did not take it lightly. They were giving up their time for me. It's always about the music that gets me, but there are also stories to be told. I dig into the websites and blogs. I try to ask interesting questions that will illicit interesting answers.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Daisy Dead and Meta Dead of the Dead Deads for getting this thing started. They didn't have to do this. I made some mistakes on that first one. I've since been better, in large part because of their invaluable feedback.

I would also like to publicly thank the other artists who have given me this opportunity: Kate Vargas, Jenni Dale Lord, Kate Lynne Logan and Jessica Meuse. And another one in the can that hasn't been published. You know who you are.

Hopefully this will continue. In the mean time: Listen to albums, not songs. Support live music. Pay for your music.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Album Spotlight: Lindi Ortega - Faded Gloryville

Lindi Ortega's latest album Faded Gloryville is good. Just Google "Lindi Ortega Faded Gloryville Album Review" and you can read all the words you want on how good.

I'm just going to leave you with a couple of my favorite songs from the record.





Sunday, August 9, 2015

Q and A With Singer/Songwriter Jessica Meuse

If you're a fan of the reality TV music shows like American Idol and The Voice, you probably know the name Jessica Meuse. She was on season 13 of American Idol and finished fourth. That's not important. What is important is that she is making new music that's good.

She made it onto the show by playing an original song, "Blue Eyed Lie". The singer/songwriter will make it in the music business, or not, based on her original material. That's a good thing.

I stayed away from the show in the interview purposefully. It's all about the music now. I did offer her the opportunity to comment on the show. I think it's telling that that is only question she did not answer.

Be advised, there are a lot of exclamation points in the Q and A that follows.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Q and A With Singer/Songwriter Kate Lynne Logan

Photo By George Bentley
I recently had the opportunity to conduct a long distance interview with singer/songwriter Kate Lynne Logan. The tagline under her name on her website is "Americana In The Emerald City". She says about Americana "it means a ‘modernized version of Old Country.’ I think it means the contemporary version of artists like Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. I would love nothing more than to be compared to such artists."

Kate grew up among the wheat fields of western Washington. She now resides in the emerald city of Seattle and has released five studio projects including her most recent full length album, 2014's Animal Dreams.

She is currently finishing up another project which includes the song "Roosey Roads" which Kate says is "the true (love) story of how/when my parents met in the 1980's. We all think the perfect love story doesn't exist, but my parents will celebrate 33 years this October. That kind of love happens in real life."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Q and A with Jenni Dale Lord

Photo by Victor Mosqueda
If you read my blog regularly, you know I dig for good music because I'm not going to hear it on the radio.

Then, sometimes, while on vacation, I randomly stumble onto something great.

The latter is how I found the Jenni Dale Lord Band. A working band. A full bar set. With lots of covers. But the originals were what drew me in.

Jenni Dale Lord was gracious enough to do a Q and A session with me. Here are the results.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Album Spotlight: Samantha Fish: Wild Heart

Singer/guitarist/blueswoman Samantha Fish has released her third record Wild Heart. It's been a little over a year since I first heard her previous album Black Wind Howlin', which I wrote about here.

Wild Heart is an evolution in the best sense of the word. This record has more texture, color, depth and breadth than Black Wind Howlin'. And that's not a knock on Black Wind Howlin', because it is fantastic. Wild Heart is everything you want in a record. You don't want the current song to end, but can't wait to hear the next one.

There is some Southern Rock style blues rockers, some blues, some country, some Americana. It's all there.

Here are couple of live versions of songs from the new record.

"Go Home"



"Bitch on the Run"