Illinois native Ashley Riley returns with Can't Let You Go, a self-penned EP which contains seven tracks that while unable to find a home on her other recordings, fit together in perfect harmony here. Riley’s smokey whisper delivers a heartfelt, ambient collection that begins with the gentle, yet revelatory “Lonely” and continues with the honest emotion of the title track through to the despondency of “Tell Me Why.” Whether dreamlike (the retro “Lovers”), delicate (“Leaving Nashville”), or jaunty (“Wait A Minute”), Riley puts forth relatable songs about the human heart that grab your attention. She’s a distinctive female voice who needs to be on your musical radar. For more information visit HERE.
Alabama native Andrew Pope is set to release his full-length album, Stoned On The One on May 5th via Alacob Music. Produced by Pope, the 13 track collection centers around life after the end of a relationship, the struggles of an artist navigating the early years of a music career, and the search for the way forward.
If you spend a few minutes reading online reviews and other commentary on country music, you’ll no doubt run up on discussion of what is and is not country. That discussion will not be necessary with this album. Pope has given us a stone cold, flat out country release from start to finish. Steel guitars and harmonicas, solid storytelling and compelling, earnest vocals combine for the perfect storm of traditional country goodness. Whether it’s the slow burning honky tonk heartbreak of the title track, the stripped down acoustic quiet surrender and acceptance of “Whiskey Gets Me There” and “Even Ramblers Get The Blues” or the road-weary humor found in “Honky Tonk Tragedy” and “Wish I Was In Austin”, Pope delivers.
The writing is solid on every track but showcased perfectly on the album’s lead single “Stormchaser”, released in 2016, with its vivid description of a person who is always rushing head-first into doomed relationships.
“Radar flashing lipstick red, goodbye hanging on by a thread, in my head. I see the wall cloud overhead, let a man tell me this instead. Is she still lying in his bed? Who cares anyway?/Bring on the thunder, I’m addicted to the sound. Hit me with a lightning strike, I’ll ride it all the way to the ground.”
Fans of Jamey Johnson and Chris Stapleton are sure to find a lot to like with Stoned On The One. Find out more about Pope and his upcoming tour in support of the album at www.andrewpopemusic.com
Following up their critically acclaimed self-titled EP from October 2016, UK based outfit Curse of Lono are prepping to deliver their full-length debut, Severed, on April 7th. The five-piece continue with their cinematic-gothic sound this time around expanding it with stronger elements of Folk, Americana, Indie Rock and 70’s like harmonies.
Opening with the airy “Five Miles”, the collection features ten tracks, including current single, the bouncy “Pick Up The Pieces”, that - whether dealing with infidelity, jealousy, death, or front man Felix Bechtolsheimer’s struggles with heroin - have a beautifully ambient and intimately personal feel.
“Each Time You Hurt” is as delicate as it is honest “Dreams only let you down/Truth turns it all around”; “London Rain,” with its jazzy backdrop, emits an ominous vibe, while the folky “He Takes My Place” offers a sexually charged despondency. The album is rounded out with the infectious foot-stomper “Send for the Whiskey,” the intense "All I Got," and “Don’t Look Down” which closes out the album on a melancholy note, accepting the end of a relationship. “If that smiles not all you’re faking/We were cheating from the start.”
With Severed, Curse of Lono bring an edge to Americana, crafting a record that cuts into the darker aspects of life, yet somehow making them just as beautiful as the happier ones.
Hailing from Nebraska, husband and wife duo, The Time Burners met playing music in high school and have been together ever since. In 2016, they played a large variety of shows including several major events such as the Nebraska State Fair, Iowa State Fair, Omaha Summer Arts Festival, and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation Grower's Gala. And in January of this year they released their latest full-length, Memories, which blends classic country, rockabilly, and roots music into a collection that reminds one of the timeless songs of yesteryear.
Kicking off with the bright shuffler “Just Getting By” Memories features Becky and Travis alternating lead vocals and displaying their sweet harmonies throughout the ten track project. Becky’s classic voice take the lead on two tracks that will have you on your feet: “Walking Away From You” and the rollicking “Hop, Bop & Roll,” while Travis goes delightfully retro on “Meant To Be” and “Rick Rack.” The album is rounded out by the ballads, “Like I Want You Too” and “One More Love Song,” before closing with the jaunty “Rebekah Darlin’”. With the majority of songs here are under the three-minute mark, Memories goes by fast, but it’s a pleasurable listen you’ll undoubtedly play again and again - and might even make your own memories to.
Nashville by way of Indiana singer-songwriter Jay Putty’s “All I Need To Know” is an irresistible blend of folky-pop (think Jason Mraz) that’s the perfect tune to segue from the cold weather blues to the sunny days ahead. With a super-catchy keys and banjo inflected melody that you’ll be humming ‘til Indian summer rolls around, “All I Need To Know” is a sweetly romantic, joyful track that celebrates the simple things in life in a way that makes you feel good.
“Everything I need I already got it
Anything I don’t I don’t even want it
You, you can’t put no price tag on it
She’s got my heart going supersonic
Doesn’t need gold for me to flaunt it
The best things in life are homegrown and that’s all I need to know”
The video for “All I Need to Know” will premiere April 14th. For more information visit HERE.
Rich O’Toole brings a welcome does of 80’s and 90’s rock to his latest full-length American Kid, which was released March 17th. Thinking outside the box, American Kid beings with a brief monologue from Houston rapper Bun B who provides commentary on the uniqueness of Texas music and how it’s diversity gives it the heart and soul that makes it so special. From there the album goes forward with songs that provide snapshots of American stories whether it’s current single, “American Kid,” the roll the windows down and crank the volume “Sunset Blvd” which melodically recalls Bryan Adams hit “Summer of ’69”, the breezy, string accented “Casino Lights” or “Springsteen Gold” which tips its hat to one of O’Toole’s personal heroes (and Clarence Clemons with the sweet addition of saxophone).
Produced by Greg Calbi (Born To Run, Continuum), the remainder of the tracks offer a balance of ballads and roots rockers that give off an overall great vibe. “Heartbreak Is A Currency” (with a hint of Adam Duritz in O’Toole’s vocals) is a breakup song with an undeniable hook, while the up-tempo-romantic “101” tells the story of a South Texas boy falling for a Calabasas gal and “The Hardest Part” offers a heartfelt request to a new love to allow him to be a better man and enter her heart.
American Kid is rounded out by a cover of “God Save The King,” former #1 “Back to Back,” and “Take It From Here” whose uplifting lyrics, relaxed melody and gospel-like harmonies provide the perfect closer to an album that’s an enjoyable listen top to bottom.
Camille Rae returns March 17th with her sophomore effort, Come Find Me , a collection of songs that deals with new love, relationship’s end, and hope for the future. The fifteen-track project includes seven songs solely written by Rae with the remainder showcasing the songwriting of Lindsey Ell, Jaida Dreyer, Fred Wilhelm, and Jay Knowles, among others.
Come Find Me, which includes her current single, “But I Want You,” begins with the mid-tempo “Chills” a tune that exposes the butterflies one experiences when meeting someone special, and continues with the banjo accented story of falling in love, “Pinky Promise.” Rae injects Bluegrass in the country rocker “Who Broke My Heart,” and puts forth her strong vocal ability on both “80 Down 65” and the personal yet relatable ballad “I Need Me.” The album is rounded out with “Right Place, Wrong Time,” a duet with Hunter Leath that deals with the “what ifs”, the unsettling “Take It Away,” and the haunting “Dead Roses” before closing with the hopeful title track.
Come Find Me also includes two bonus tracks: “Here's To Nashville” which relates how any aspiring artist in Music City must feel, and “Fear” an anthem for taking chances and following your heart. For more information visit HERE.
NYC’s Emily Duff returns with her latest full-length Maybe in The Morning on March 24th. The twelve track collection kicks into high gear with the soulfully funky (and uniquely titled) opening track, “Hypmotizing Chickenz” before continuing with a rootsy request for kindness in “Please Don’t Do Me Dirty” and the scorching title track. Whether singing about finally deciding to leave (the sassy and infectious “Bomp Bomp”), the dissolution of a marriage (“Diamonds”), or offering sage advice and praise (“Listen 2 Mama”), Duff’s vocals convey a thoughtfulness alongside a grit signaling a life lived and experienced.
Lush harmonies and organ accentuate the intense emotion on “Don’t” while a danceable melody counters the serious situation in “Daddy's Drunk Again” and a rollicking set of keys provides the backdrop for a story about a changing town in “Every Time I Go To Harlem.” Maybe in the Morning concludes with a spritely, old-timey piano on “Needledrop Blues” and the uplifting, spiritual “Somebody On Sunday.”
Impactful story songs alongside memorable melodies that fuse country, soul, and rock and roll make Maybe in the Morning anything but a maybe. Purchase the album HERE.
A breakup record that’s based on experience, observation, and imagination Nashville-based, Texas-born K Phillips released his latest full-length, Dirty Wonder, on March 10th. Produced by Band of Heathens' Gordy Quist, the ten-track collection is replete with detailed, literate stories, clever allusions, and well-drawn characters that are further distinguished by pedal steel, fuzzy guitars, and juke-joint keys that lend an overall bluesy feel to the project.
Dirty Wonder begins with “Had Enough” is a bittersweet tune accented by a gentle piano and female harmonies that pinpoints the moment when you realize you’re with someone who might not be what you need and resolve to move on, “Everyone’s got demons/I must slay my own/I never thought I would bring ‘em home” and continues with stories told creatively, capturing universally experienced themes in unique lights. Featuring vocal assist from Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), the roots-based “Hadrian” name checks historical characters as references for a relationship on the brink of dissolution. “History repeats history and none of it did save them, and none of it will save me…Come on honey, show me a spark, aw this is the easy part.”; “Rom Com” channels the romantic comedy - complete with voice over like opening “They say a man chases a woman til he’s caught…..Let that sink in” – and ethereal, romantic harmonies in a precisely told story of a relationship from a delightful storybook meeting to the whole thing going awry; and “18 Year Old Girls” adds a bit of humor alongside a seedy melody in the tale of a younger woman and older man who soon realizes they have (spoiler alert!) nothing in common.
Phillips exposes a roguish side on the rollicking title track, a seductive look at the perils of temptation even when you’re committed; goes retro-soul on the bluesy “Don't Wish Me Well” and reflects on life in the hard-hitting ballad “Coalburner,” “I used to live like a locomotive travelling through them hills of gold/Spitting steam and running coal but nothing moves me anymore.” The album is rounded out with the melodically buoyant “Round The World,” the groovy send-off “Nobody Does It” and the mysteriously seductive “Hock The Horses.”
With Dirty Wonder, Phillps proves he’s not just a songwriter, he’s that rare artist (like his namesake) who is a true storyteller; whose well-crafted, insightful and imaginative tunes engage and resonate - and will undoubtedly stand the test of time.
With the first few notes of the jaunty fiddle and driving guitar, Jeremy Steding’s latest ropes you right in. Odessa, the singer-songwriter’s fifth album kicks off with the dynamic title track where his distinctive vocals convey a triad of strength, grit - and a bit of attitude, and from there flows graciously into current single, the heartwarming, sentimental “Feels So Good To Be Back Home,” and “It Takes A Lifetime” - one of those rare songs where melody, lyricism and delivery perfectly complement one another making the song’s impact undeniable (if you don’t love this song then…I can’t help you) - before dancing the night away on the flawless two-stepper “Late Night Love Song.”
The eight-track collection, all of which Steding had a hand in writing, also includes the edgy, urgent tale of regret “All These Lights,” “Blinded by the sight of my shortcoming everything I saw/I saw wrong/I look past your love and left you wanting,” and the dance hall ready “I Need A Texas Song” which extols the charms of other cities, but puts forth a longing for all the Lone Star State has to offer, as well as two intense tracks which close out the record: “Whiskey Institution” which explores how the libation changes him and “Get Me The Hell Off This Rig” an emotionally stirring story song about a guy stuck working a job he doesn’t like that will certainly be relatable to many.
In “I Need A Texas Song” Steding sings of wanting “A Texas song, the kind they only sing back home” - with Odessa, he has eight of them all of which will have people singing not only in the place he calls home, but far beyond as well.