For Washington-based artist Kären McCormick, it all started with a song. After hearing Taylor Swift's "Tim McGraw" McCormick begged her father for a guitar, which she got as a Christmas present when she was 13 years-old. McCormick got right to work and wrote her first song that day. Since then. she has performed for audiences at fairs and festivals across the Pacific Northwest. Now, the young singer-songwriter is gearing up for the release of her new single, "Just A Song."
Produced by Matt Carey in Nashville, "Just A Song" is an autobiographical, yet universal, tune that deals with how a song can be so much more, especially when it evokes strong feelings of nostalgia. The pop-country track is accented by electronic flourishes, drums, and McCormick's airy vocals, which recalls a certain superstar.
"Just A Song" will be available on March 16th
For the better part of the past twenty years Texas native Johnny “Chops” Richardson has been perhaps best known as the bass player for the Randy Rogers Band. In 2013 the talented singer-songwriter released his first solo album Sticks & Stones introducing the music scene to his blend of blues and soul. On March 23rd Richardson returns, backed by an all-star band, for the release of Johnny Chops & The Razors. Co-produced by Richardson and David Abeyta of Reckless Kelly, the new release is a refreshingly eclectic mix of rock, blues and soul that is buoyed by stellar writing.
The album adds an other-worldly vibe to the blues as it delves into the supernatural and superstition in “Believer” and infuses rock on “Medicine” a song grounded in the reality of the dangers inherent in our pill-for-everything society. Willie Dixon’s sultry “I Just Want To Make Love To You” has been covered by a variety of artists spanning many different genres but Richardson’s version is a breath of fresh air and provides a more modern take on the lyrics with the addition of Brandy Zdan as his duet partner.
“Ten Cent Talker” and “Only When You’re Breathing” are stories of deceit with the former exposing those who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, while the latter explores the dissolution of trust in a relationship. The Gospel Starz are featured on the uplifting, soulful “Taking A Chance On Me” which was released as a single in January and is a song of gratitude for those who can see past the flaws in a person who might look less than promising on paper.
The humor is dark and clever on “Tombstone Flowers,” where an old school R&B sound backs the lament of a relationship’s end, and “Rock Bottom,” a rollicking romp of a tune about bad decisions.
The collection closes with the same other-worldly vibe of the first track on the shadowy and sharply-written, “Good Night,” which tells the tale of a killer having his fate sealed by a revenge seeker skilled in deception.
There’s a lot to love in Johnny Chops & The Razors for both the lyric driven listener and fans of gritty blues. Visit the website at www.johnnychopsmusic.com to pre-order the album and to learn more about this multifaceted artist.
On February 16th, singer-songwriter Courtney Patton follows up her extraordinary 2015 release, So This Is Life, with her eagerly anticipated third album, What It’s Like To Fly Alone. Continuing to draw on true life and personal experiences, the twelve-track collection is replete with well-crafted, vividly emotional stories of everyday people who encounter struggle, love, and loss - yet through it all resolve to persevere.
Album opener “Shove” acknowledges those sentiments via a spirited declaration of continuing on despite the trials and tribulations that come along the way. “It’s still a long way up to getting back to who I was/And I watch the leaves fall down about ten times and grow back up/Before I find the nerve to say I just can’t climb another way/I need a shove.”
That’s followed by the fiddle and mandolin led title track which at first blush appears melancholy, but really is an affirmation of personal strength; the solemn “Round Mountain” a story song about a farmer’s wife who commits transgressions and ultimately decides to forge her own destiny, and “Open Flame” where, over a stirring acoustic guitar and piano, there is courage in the decision to end a relationship “It might burn but it won’t leave a scar/Let’s just walk away.”
Among a weary troubadour, there is tenderness felt on the rootsy “This Road To You,” deep sadness, guilt, and regret on “Devil’s Hand” the tale of a sinner who “grabbed the devil’s hand for a minute to see if it felt as warm as it looked,” intent on "I've Got One Waiting," and devastation on “Words To My Favorite Memory” an astute take on how songs can trigger memories that shatter. “The words to my favorite memory were playing when mine fell apart.”
Patton rounds everything out with the Owen Temple and Kelley Mickwee penned “Gold Standard,” the utterly relatable “Sometimes She Flies” which recognizes universal truths, “Red Bandana Blue,” for friend Kent Finlay, and the extremely loving and compelling “Fourteen Years” about the tragic loss of her sister.
Throughout the self-produced project, which features an all-star line-up of musicians - Chip Bricker (piano), Heather Stalling (fiddle), Lloyd Maines (pedal steel, lap steel, dobro, mandolin, baritone guitar, electric guitar and acoustic lead guitar), Giovanni “Nooch” Carnuccio (drums) and Jerry Abrams (bass), respectively - there is a beautiful balance between the instrumental interplay and Patton’s always strong, yet sensitive vocals that only compliment and enhance the poignant storytelling present.
Via layered narratives that relay tales of heartache, loss, and ultimately determination, Patton delivers a stunning album that not only touches the listener, but empowers them to find their own happiness and inner fortitude as well. On What It’s Like to Fly Alone, it’s clear Patton doesn’t simply fly, she soars.
Hailing from Connecticut, Jeff Przech (pronounced 'Presh') is prepping for the release of his new album, JEFF PRZECH & THE OUTFIT, on April 6th. The follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2015 release Sounds Like Fresh offers a vintage vibe and full band take on the Americana sound that's heavy on Telecasters, twang, and grit while remaining grounded in solid storytelling.
The project's first single, “Maribelle,” is steeped in southern rock tradition with gritty electric riffs and a solid backbeat that's led by Przech's perfectly-worn vocals relaying a tale about things not turning out the way one planned.
Social Media: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Bandcamp
Atlanta's Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics are the heirs to the throne of the old schools masters - but they are much more than just a group of revivalists trying to create a period piece. Powerhouse singer Velle and her band will settle for nothing less than bringing these classic sounds glimmering into the now with a fresh, new contemporary sheen. And that they do with their new single "Call Out My Name." The funktastic, soulful vibe of the track channels Motown/Jackson 5 heyday into an original, impassioned anthem led by Velle's captivating vocals, a firm percussive beat, the swell of an organ, and a dynamic blast of horns.
Previously, the group has shared bills with Erykah Badu, the XX, Gary Clark Jr., Animal Collective, Feist, The Temptations, and Kendrick Lamar among others. For more information:
Nashville-based artist Grace Gonzalez recently released her first single, the infectious "This Old Town." Produced by Trina Shoemaker (Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris), "This Old Town" is grounded by a vibrant folk melody (think Mumford and Sons) driven by keys, a shuffling backbeat, and Gonzalez's raspy, passionate vocals which perfectly reflect the sentiment of the tune which encourages following your dreams.
"If we gave a damn about Abrahams
We wouldn't be here strumming
We play until out heart stops running"
Gonzalez is currently at work on her debut record.
Follow her on IG HERE
Released on February 9th Beth Nielsen Chapman’s Hearts Of Glass is a sparse, yet powerful collection that touches on the joyful and the melancholy - and all of the emotions in between. Produced by Sam Ashworth, Hearts Of Glass features eleven songs beginning with the timely track “Come To Mine” (written with Graham Gouldman and Kevin Montgomery), an open call for unity and love put forth by her serene and emotive vocals. The ten others include tunes familiar as well as several new compositions, from the mournful “Epitaph For Love” to the reflective “Old Church Hymns and Nursery Rhymes,” (a song Chapman wrote that was recorded by Waylon Jennings), and the gripping “Life Holds On.”
Love takes center stage (and fills your heart) on the sweet-tempered “All For The Love,” the classically romantic “You’re Still My Valentine,” and the delightfully uplifting “Enough For Me,” If My World Didn’t Have You,” which features Rodney Crowell on backing vocals.
Hearts of Glass is rounded out by three album standouts - “Rage On Rage,” a devastating story of domestic violence, the emotionally overwhelming “Child Again” and the encouraging, hopeful “Dancer in the Drum” which closes out a record that digs deep into honest emotions and truths both beautiful and devastating.
In an already crowded release year, don’t let Hearts of Glass fly under your radar.
Texas-based troubadour Wade Bowen returns on February 9th with his long awaited new album, Solid Ground. Working with friend and producer Keith Gattis, Solid Ground features eleven tracks that exemplify the varied musical soundscapes that are the Lone Star State. From the roots-rocking opener “Couldn’t Make You Love Me” to the Gattis-penned Tex-Mex seasoned tale of lost love “Day of the Dead,” the bittersweet harmonica and keys accented “Acuna” and the nostalgic “So Long 6th Street” the melodies and stories on Solid Ground carry you throughout Texas, imparting an auditory guide of the singer-songwriter's beloved home state.
On Solid Ground, Bowen and Gattis balance grittier tracks with heart-rendering ballads, tunes which Bowen has always had the ability to craft well, and continues to do here, including the haunting, remorseful “Broken Glass,” album stand-out “7:30,” an achingly painful yet beautifully universal story, and “Anchor,” a tale of crumbling love. Solid Ground is rounded out with the jaunty bluegrass-flaired ode to love “Compass Rose,” the rollicking “Fell In Love On Whiskey,” and the Guy Clark inspired solemn and comforting shuffler “Death, Dyin’ And Deviled Eggs,” before closing out with the moody, cinematic “Calling All Demons” a track that, at almost eight minutes long, perfectly completes an album that is varied, cohesive, and yes, incredibly solid.
LA-based band Bird Concerns - Marcus Buser (Bass, Vocals), Travis Meador (Guitar, Vocals), Jake Sucher (Guitar, Vocals), and Cooper Wolken (Drums, Vocals) - build their garage-rock sound upon four-part harmonies, interweaving guitars, and infectious rhythms, while delving into themes such as selflessness, awareness, relationships, and navigating the pressures of the outside world.
Their new single, "The Monster" mixes the 90's melodical moodiness of the Smashing Pumpkins and the jangle of Semisonic on a confessional tune that deals with self-acceptance, guilt, and facing internal demons via crunchy guitars, tight harmonies, and a driving back beat.
Enjoy the track above and for more information visit: