London-based singer-songwriter Hannah White will release her third album Whose Side Are You On? on Friday, April 29th. The collection includes the infectious lead single “I’ll Make You Strong” as well as eight other hook-laden tunes with complex lyrics that explore life and relationships. Hannah’s personal songs (delivered by her honest attention grabbing vocals) draw from a well of life experiences and a range of musical genres such as country, blues, pop and soul. Whose Side Are You On? begins with the dark “Stupid Little Fruit Tree,” which is followed by the autobiographical “Whoops” and the touching “Whose Side Are You On” which deals with the daily life struggles. The album also includes the thoughtful piano ballad “His Perfect Mind,” and the joyful and hopeful “I See Sky” before closing with the airy and intimate “It’s All That I Know.” With production input from Nigel Stonier, White brings her most personal collection of emotional songs on Whose Side Are You On? Give it a listen.
Jessica Rotter’s voice has been heard in movies (Frozen and Big Hero 6), television and commercials as well as in collaborations with other artists such as Daft Punk, Carole King, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith, and others. Now, Rotter is preparing to release her full-length album, Plains, on April 22nd. Produced by Cazz Brindis and mixed by Scott M. Smith (Carole King, John Mayer), the eleven track collection is simply striking.
The gorgeously romantic “Aflame” opens the collection which also includes the Celtic influence of “Stars” and the pop-centric, upbeat “Pray for Rain.” Throughout, Rotter’s vocals are gentle and light, yet stirring, conveying intimate emotions and stories (reminiscent of Dido or Enya) through lush cinematic melodies. “Flowers In My Head” brings in the mystical while “Flying Off” begins with strings before guitars enter to complete an Indian feel that carries over to the glorious “Winter Sun.” The album is rounded out by the infectious “Let Me Go” and the piano ballad “Lost Found” before closing with the utter perfection of “Porch Song.”
A plain can be defined as a tract of level or almost level countryside that is open and free from obstruction. Similarly, is Rotter’s Plains. Vocally stunning and melodically captivating, it’s spiritual and often mystical, yet human and deeply grounded. It is refined, lush, and free from obstruction allowing emotions and lyricism to be fully in view.
British Colombian singer-songwriter Vanessa Forero released her new EP, From The Uproar, on March 28th. A collection of five songs which Forero not only wrote, but also performed and produced are truly a one-of-a-kind blend of Indie Folk and Forero’s Latin roots (Forero’s mother’s life was documented in the bestselling book The Girl With No Name and documentary Woman Raised By Monkeys).
The EP starts off with “Heaven Knows” on which Forero’s ethereal vocals captivate alongside an earthy, tribal melody. That’s followed by the insanely catchy “Same Boat,” (a song that will instantly put you in a joyful mood), “I’ll Be Wrong Again,” a delicate tune about the heart and the enchanting and mystical “Raven.” From The Uproar concludes with the bonus track, “Anhela.” Sung in Spanish, Forero’s delivery transcends language barriers in a song with thoughtfulness and depth, that like the album, lingers long after the last sweet note is heard.
This Nashville-based duo TOWNE consists of Pennsylvania-bred, music theater geek Steevie Steeves and straight-from-Kentucky, former bassist for punk-rock band, The Pink Spiders, Jon Decious. The two talents crossed paths at Skip Ewing’s Horse and Writer Seminar in Wyoming where they immediately connected musically. Not long after they met, they realized they both lived behind the liquor store on 8th in the heart of Music City, yet they had to travel thousands of miles to find out they were meant to make music together.
Recently, the twosome released their latest EP, Games We Play, which blends Americana, country and pop into an easy on the ears collection. Produced by Evan Hutchings (who also doubles on the drums), the EP contains five tracks (all co-written by the duo) that deal with varied aspects of relationships beginning with the incredibly relatable “Runnin’ Into You” about seeing your ex every time you turn around. That’s followed by two ballads, “Messed Up” and “The One I Love,” that are soulfully delivered by Steeves. The former is an emotionally charged, contemporary tune about relationships and how confusing they can often be while the latter captures that moment when you realize the one you’re with isn’t the one you love.
Rounding out the EP is “All About Us,” a song about trying to remember to put things in perspective, and the EP's highlight “The Rest,” (on which Decious takes lead vocals) which is quite simply a gorgeous pedal steel accented, roots based ballad about the ones we meet before we meet “the one.”
Steeves and Decious deliver a heartfelt look into the "games we play" on an EP that you will find yourself both relating to and frequently revisiting.
Named one of Music Connection Magazine’s “hottest unsigned bands” of 2015, Steven Casper and Cowboy Angst prepare to release their latest offering, I Feel Like I’ve Got Snakes In My Head on April 29th. The seven songs encompass roots rock, country, and blues and once again find Casper collaborating with producer Ira Ingber (Bob Dylan, JD Souther). In addition, Casper rounded up bandmates John McDuffie, Carl Byron, Herb Deitelbaum, and Jay Nowac, and added the guest vocals of sisters Charity and Linda McCrary to bring the songs to life.
Things start off with a ripe for the big screen instrumental “For A Few Dollars Less” which features guitar and harpsichord paying homage to one of Caspar’s favorite film composers, Ennio Morricone before segueing into the bluesy rocker “Driving Fast” and the moving “Restless Heart.”
The roadhouse-ready (complete with keys and tambourine) “She’s Bad” tells of a gal whose angelic looks are quite deceiving while the charming “Maria” has a decidedly Mexican flair. The thoughtful ballad, “Slow Dancing” and a reprise of “Driving Fast," featuring acoustic guitar, accordion and tambourine, round out this twenty-four minute player that you should definitely give a listen.
Following the release of her 2015 “lyrical and musical masterpiece” (No Depression), Traveling Light, alt-Americana singer-songwriter Lana McMullen is setting the stage for her sophomore release with her new single, “Friend of Mine.” Beautifully scaled back, introspective, and honest, “Friend of Mine” finds the songwriter in conversation with her younger self. With her gentle and subdued delivery, the song becomes intimate, as if McMullen is letting you into her life where she confronts her father’s sudden death, her battle with depression, and her decision to “make nice with her memories.” It’s reflective, thoughtful and personal, yet universal in that it encourages dealing with grief in a healthier way rather than letting it consume us. The song will be available May 6th.
Named by the Nashville Music Guide as one of their Top 8 Best Artists of 2015, The Darlins - Erinn Bates and Jude Toy - debuted their EP Crush in September of last year and have recently released the title track as their first single. With it’s almost gothic feel, the song is a smoky, sassy number about someone you just cannot get out of your head….even though he may not be the healthiest person for you. With it’s cool riff and the ladies’ strong harmonies, the song carries a sentiment that many a female will be able to relate to.
"You’re like a poison running through my blood
I need holy water and a rosary
I'm going down to the river gonna purify me
Feels like a curse can’t get enough
You’ve got me all jacked up"
NYC’s Trailer Radio return with their “metro-twang” on their second album, Country Girls Ain’t Cheap, on which the band breezes through some seriously genuine - often dysfunctional and incredibly humorous - country tunes about wild women, murder and Jesus.
Front woman Shannon Brown and company kick off the ten song project with the downright funny and intensely catchy “Granny’s Got the Baby” (‘Cause Mama’s Doin’ Time) about the members of a family who straddle the line somewhere between two extremes as she sings, “ain’t got no hedge fund, but we ain’t section eight.”
The blending of humor with honky-tonk ready tunes continues on the stomping “Country Girls Ain’t Cheap” in which she lets potential suitors know that she’ll be the fun girl for the night, but if you want to make a play you best “show me the deed to your double wide.....better have a few grand in your IRA,” the cleverly written ballad “Woe Is Me,” which reminds that sometimes no matter what remedy you try, sorrow still wins, “I tried to mend my self-esteem with brand new shoes….but you can’t buy love with a credit card now I’m limping everywhere I go, because the blisters on my heart match the blisters on my toes.”, and the roots rocker “Dirt Queen” which pays homage to Appalachia’s favorite daughter who doesn’t want to settle down.
The tale of a place you may (or may not) want to eat at can be found on the witty “Jimmy Jack’s Diner,” “Three Diamond Rings” answers - in super amusing stories - why she hasn’t found someone to settle down with, while the laugh out loud bluegrass fueled “Jesus Loves You (But I’m On The Fence)” is a disastrous tale of a marriage to a man who is a “lower life form than a fly on the wall.”
The album is rounded out with the heartbreaker “The Bottom of Her Boots,” and “Tar Beach,” (the place you’d totally hang for a hell of a time), before closing out with “Big Day for Steffie” a rockabilly tale of a woman who may have gone a little too far after taking “a toke too many.”
Trailer Radio merges traditional country with believable stories and a hefty dose of humor (and heart) that’s a hoot and a half. It’s smart, sassy, and hits the musical sweet spot.
Purchase Country Girls Ain't Cheap here
Singer-songwriter Shalo Lee’s debut album, Hometown Girl, is an emotional collection of stories that seamlessly blends Americana, Folk, and Country. Throughout the album, Lee weaves honest stories of life on the road, chasing dreams and relationships (some forever gone and some that still have hope). Hometown Girl opens with “Gasoline,” a relatable roots based tale about outgrowing the town you love, feeling the need to follow your dreams and hopefully finding the one who will sit beside you. A theme that continues with the bluesy title track, where Lee returns home telling of where she’s been and the dream she’s been chasing.
There’s a melancholy resignation to the demise of a relationship on “While You Let Me Go” where Lee expresses “If it hurts at all to say goodbye, well you never show it…. I can’t stand to hold on while you let me go,” while there’s hope for a true love long abandoned on the mandolin-accented “Waiting On You Now” a sentiment that carries over in the twangy, “Feel The Same” about maintaining a love for someone who hurt her, wondering if they did it all again if they would still feel the same.
“Song For A Lost Soul,” with its lovely piano interlude, deals with breaking through emotionally to a loved one and encourages staying strong through difficult times, while happiness shines on “Coming Home to You.” The album is rounded out with “21st Century Life” which starts as a piano ballad before turning into a mid-tempo song about leaving “stuff” behind and slowing down from this plugged in life to a place where your “soul is in reach” and Lee’s tender ode to her grandmother on “Gram’s Song” before concluding with a rocking, Celtic flared rendition of the Steve Earle classic, “Copperhead Road.”
Lee’s Hometown Girl introduces us to a woman who, while chasing her dreams, has experienced the ups and downs of life and love. It’s honest and touching and leaves you looking forward to hearing more.
Singer-songwriter Travis Rice delivers a just-in-time-for-summer song with his new single, "Women, Water and Beer." Penned by Rice and produced by Noah Henson, the up-tempo tune is an ode to small town country life where one enjoys the simple things. The energetic melody, carried along by Rice's baritone, is sure to find a place on contemporary country radio.
"Having a good time in the sunshine
It's a wild ride every day
And there's just three things that we need
I guess some things just don't change
Now we don't need much around here"
Rice's upcoming EP is slated to be released this summer.
Watch the lyric video for Women, Water and Beer here.