On March 10th, the North Carolina duo Sinners & Saints released their second full-length On The Other Side, a ten-track collection that features Bluegrass, Americana, and Appalachian Folk coupled with foot stomping melodies and sweet harmonies. Singer-guitarist Perry Fowler and bassist-multi-instrumentalist Mark Baran kick things off with the harmonica tinged “Up Like the Sun, Down Like the Rain” which rings of lament and sorrow, but quickly turn the tempo up with the jaunty, spiritual-esque “Whiskey Drinking” and the perky toe-tapper “Old Bones,” which emits a jug band feel.
The duo’s harmonies (which surprisingly recall They Might Be Giants) shine throughout including on the apologetic “Meant” as well as on “Carry On” a somber tune which conveys both an acceptance and disconnect about moving forward, while “Music Man” relates the life of a troubadour and the importance of connecting with your audience. On The Other Side is rounded out with two irresistible tunes, “The Way” and “Promise Land”, before closing, appropriately enough, with the trumpet-accented traveler “Ready To Go.” To hear tracks and purchase the album, visit HERE
Los Angeles-based Miranda Lee Richards will release her fourth full-length album, Existential Beast, June 16 via Invisible Hands Music. To this project, as well as to her previous releases, Richards brings her substantive, poetic lyrics together with a psychedelic, folk-tinged country sound (reminiscent of Los Angeles-based, early 1970’s band Spirit) to deliver a powerful look at today’s post-election political climate.
In the title, Existential Beast, the singer-songwriter has skillfully conveyed the premise of the album. No matter on which end of the political spectrum we may fall, most of us are grappling with the beasts within that emerge and influence the way we deal with instincts of fear, dread, survival and competition. It has been argued that fairy tales, rife with beasts, serve the purpose of helping children cope with these instincts so you can think of Richards’ latest as a fairy tale for adults.
“Ashes And Seeds” is the first track and serves as a thoughtful reminder that history is constantly repeating and that conflict is essential to positive change. The smooth sounds of pedal steel highlight Richards’ laid back, fluid vocals. “Lucid I Would Dream” evokes the dream-like state with the effective use of strings and Mellotron while lyrically imagining that with clarity, fears would diminish. The title track brings a slight R&B vibe into the mix and poses that the time for complacency is over.
Existential Beast closes, as it begins, with hope in the ethereal, string-laden and aptly- titled “Another World”. It is epic in length (over 12 minutes) and in breadth with its uplifting call to contribute to solutions. "Well I see another world/Where we invite the enemy for dinner/And we learn to draw new boundaries/Exploring new territories/California don’t throw yourself to the sea/You were part of a bigger picture."
Though certainly a collection of politically charged songs, to define the album solely as such would be limiting. There is much to discover in the beauty of the vocals, the poetry in the lyrics and the uniqueness of the production found in Existential Beast. Visit her website at www.mirandaleerichards.com to learn more about this accomplished artist
Formerly of the infamous LA band The Mutts, Eddy Sill (Bass/Vocals) has joined forces with John Adair (Guitar, Harmonica, Mandolin, Vocals) Dean Lyons (Guitar, Vocals) and David Rogers (Drums) to form The Popravinas! who bring a roots rock influenced set on their latest, California Sonic. Often recalling The Replacements and Wilco, the album kicks off with the warm harmonies and irresistible melody of “She’s Going South” and continues with nine other tunes that put forth, a fresh, yet familiar sound that will grab your ears.
California Sonic! flows with the breezy “Santa Monica Moon,” the nostalgic “Wow,” and the insanely catchy “Alone Ain’t So Bad.” An alt-country vibe surfaces on the shuffler “Great Western Fiasco” and the twangy “Checked Out Love,” while “Top of the Heartache” brings in guitars riffs with a pop sensibility before the harmonica-laden “Sent Callin’” brings it all to a close. It’s a fun, melodic, and pleasing disc that puts you in a California state of mind. For more information visit HERE.
Hailing from Minnesota, The Devon Worley Band released their second full-length album, The Sunrise Resistance earlier this year. The album, produced by Grammy-nominated producer, Matt McClure (Lee Brice, Kelly Pickler) contains twelve songs that were written and performed entirely by frontwoman Worley and her band.
Worley who describes the band's signature sound as, “If Led Zeppelin and Willie Nelson had a baby and that baby’s best friend was Eric Church." brings a rock and roll attitude to the album's lead track "Wrecked and Mended", as well as "Hook" and the raucous "Banshee," but also isn't afraid to show a tender side. Standout track "Don't Look Down" offers a gentle a mandolin coupled with a shuffling country melody that allows Worley's powerful vocals to shine - exuding a warmth and wisdom well beyond her eighteen years. Check out the track here and then give the entire album a listen.
"I used to live a life I can't find anymore, anymore
I put in all my chips and now I've got so much more than I gambled for
And there's nothing more surprising than getting kicked out of your seat and having all the clouds swept out from underneath your feet"
For more information please visit www.devonworley.com
Radney Foster and Kyle Hutton join forces on The Foster EP, a five-track EP benefitting the Texas foster care system. Released March 31, the collection offers four originals co-written by Hutton and Foster who open their hearts on songs that honestly capture both the challenging and rewarding aspects of the system.
The Foster EP opens with the heartwarming and uplifting “A Little Love” before turning personal on the emotional “Three More Bottles,” which recalls Hutton’s real life story of watching his first foster child leave his home to be reunited with his mother. The short yet impactful set, which features fiddle, mandolin, and pedal steel throughout, also includes “Cross To Bear” a song that expresses the mixed emotions faced by foster parents, and “A Place to Stay” which tells of children who have not yet found their forever home, before closing with a poignant rendition of “Amazing Grace” that features some of Texas’s most celebrated singer-songwriters including Pat Green, Cory Morrow, Wade Bowen and Roger Creager.
Both Hutton’s and Foster’s lives have been directly impacted by the subject matter of these songs. A former foster child who was adopted as an infant, Hutton recently became a foster parent himself, while Foster grew up alongside two adopted siblings. Currently, more than 30,000 children occupy the Texas foster care system, including 5,000 children who've yet to be adopted by a forever family. To find out more visit HERE
One-hundred percent of proceeds from The Foster EP will go to foster care awareness and aid
Singer, songwriter, and guitar player Nikki O’Neill’s latest, Love Will Lead You Home, merges soul, rock and gospel on six songs that focus on the healing power of love. Except for the jubilant “I Will Cross Over,” which was written by Cody LePow, all of the songs on the EP were penned by O’Neill and her writing partner Paul Menser, including the emotional closer, “That’s What Love Can Do.” The soulful tune about meeting someone unexpected, opening your heart and ultimately reaping the benefits of a healthy and happy relationship caps the EP on an emotional note: celebratory for those who can relate and inspiring for the rest of us.
“It’s a funny thing you know
When two people say hello
When no one knows exactly what to do
But you don’t need to feel alone if you know you’re really known by someone who brings out the best in you”
After receiving critical acclaim with his 2016 full-length, Long Ride Home, Tyller Gummersall returns with his new song, “I’m Not Dead.” Pairing once again with Lloyd Maines, “I’m Not Dead” is a good-hearted, uplifting tune where Gummersall’s warm, genial vocals – which are complimented by a jovial, dance floor ready melody - remind one to embrace the people and things we often take for granted (and that are often really important) rather than dwelling on the negative and complaining.
“When first world problems start to get me down
Well, I’m reminded how nice it is to stand on solid ground
‘Cause I’m not dead
Someone still loves me
Oh, it’s easy to get wrapped up in silly reasons to get down”
Hailing from Minnesota, Romantica 's fourth album, and first new release in seven years, Shadowlands, is a lovingly crafted, ambient collection of fourteen tracks that offer encouragement particularly when situations may seem dispiriting. The heartfelt “Let The Light Go Through You” opens the record engulfing the listener with its sweeping melody and uplifting lyrics, and segues beautifully into the reassuring “Harder To Hear” and the emotional “Give Your Heart A Shelter” where front man Ben Kyle sings, “All of this life is a gift that were living/All of this love is given to you.”
From there, things liven things up with the jaunty, keys-accented tribute to Gram Parsons “Cecil Ingram Conor,” touch on the loneliness of the road in the roots-based “Lonely Star,” and search for hope “After The War”
Shadowlands also includes the dreamlike “We Were Young” which reminisces about a lost love, “Blue Heart” a shuffler about wanting to heal a hurt heart, and the tug-at-the-heartstrings “Get Back in Love” which reminds us just how easy it can be to reconnect with someone, before closing it all out with the irresistible “Shandy Bass.”
Combining vivid, introspective songwriting with lush and memorable melodies, Shadowlands reflects on life’s ups and downs, reminding one that even the darker times can (and should) teach us about ourselves, make us better, and ultimately, give us hope.
Four-time winner of San Diego’s Best Country/Americana Band, Sara Petite returns with her latest, Road Less Traveled, on May 19th. The journey begins with the jaunty banjo and horn-laden title track on which the raspy voiced singer proclaims herself a free spirit even though she may have a love, “Where I’m bound heaven only knows” and leads into “It Was Just A Kiss” a classic country ballad about how a kiss frequently leads to something more. Themes of love and heartache flow throughout the record particularly on “Blackbird” a dark shuffler about desire, “Do you know what I know/That following your heart can lead you down a desperate road”, the Tex-Mex accented “Getting Over You” and “You Don’t Care At All” which captures real truth as to why leaving sometimes is better than staying. In addition to her way with a phrase, Road Less Traveled displays Petite’s ability to shift between musical styles with ease. There’s the irresistible and uplifting “Patchwork Quilt”, the truthfully somber “Sweet Pea Blues” where she notes, “Trying to smile in the pouring rain is like try to whistle in hurricane,” the rockabilly groove of “Monkey On My Back” and the sweetly sexy “Sweet Pea Patch.” Petite closes out with the bluesy anthem “I Will Rise” and a reprise of “Road Less Traveled” reminding us that the road her wandering heart loves stretches far ahead - just the way she likes it.
California’s Moonsville Collective return with their latest EP, Moonsville II, on April 21st. The second in their four-volume series, the EP is a road trip of sorts that finds the listener traveling from London to LA and places in between with songs that continue to highlight the quintet’s impactful storytelling, lush indie-folk melodies, and sweet harmonies. Featuring Corey Adams (vocals, guitar, banjo), Matthew McQueen (mandolin), Dan Richardson (dobro, vocals), Seth Richardson (bass), and Ryan Welch (vocals, guitar, banjos), Moonsville II leads with the warmth of “Hundred In The Sun”, ushers in optimism and love on “LA County Line”, and lulls you into the Crescent City on the lovingly detailed “New Orleans.” The EP is rounded out with “Rumblin and Tumblin”, a mid-tempo tune that mixes nostalgia with hope and “Sante Fe” a gorgeous ballad about returning to home and the one you love. It’s a stunning offering that already leaves you eagerly anticipating Moonsville III.