Born and raised in the small town of Brownsville, TX, Mitch Bradford discovered music at a young age and immersed himself in the sounds of Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell and others. The simplistic, warm nature of their lyrical styles and composition eventually inspired him to start writing his own material about 15 years ago. Though music was always his first love, Mitch accepted a full-time position with tech giant Google and continued writing songs on the side. His job responsibilities required him to spend a lot of time working in California. While biking with a friend one Saturday morning in scenic Monterey, CA, Mitch had an epiphany where it all made sense. During the ride along the coast, he found himself soaking in the essence of California – the people, the warmth, the tinge of salt in the air, the seals sunbathing on rocks nearby. In that moment he was overcome with an intuitive feeling that California was where he was meant to be. He made his dreams become a reality and left his full-time gig to pursue his lifetime-gig: music.
Two years later, Mitch teamed up with Grammy Award-Winning producer Matt Ross-Spang (Chris Isaak, Jason Isbell, Zac Brown) to write and record his debut album. With sessions in Memphis, TN but drawing inspiration from his new west coast home, Mitch sought out a classic ‘California country’ feel – something that hearkens back to the height of 1970s folk-rock ‘Laurel Canyon Sound’ of the Eagles, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and others – but with a modern twist. After recording the songs in just 4 days, the result is a 10 track collection fit be the soundtrack of a long drive up the California coast or a weekend away in the mountains.
The first single, “Love Is Kind,” is a request to a love for a second chance which with its laid back, breezy melody replete with organ and soft percussive notes wraps you in a warmth as bright as the California sunshine.
"I don’t sleep the same way without you in it.
I’ve been mixing night for day without you in it.
But I can relate
If you want some time
I’m learning everyday
I keep telling myself, “Love is kind.”
Love is kind"
Enjoy the track above, and for more information visit HERE.
Country duo October Rose's - Leanne Weiss and Derek Allan - new single, "Closer," is a country rocker with bluesy undertones that captures the excitement of catching someone's eye across a crowded room -- the possibilities of what could happen next.
The track can be found on their upcoming EP, All In, due on May 4th. For more information visit HERE.
In 2017, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and drummer, Shawn Butzin released his debut solo album Northern Trails which received accolades from both Relix [which featured his single "Leaving Colorado"], The Alternate Root, and Twangri-LA, which gave the album a 5 out of 5 stars. Buoyed by the warm reception, Butzin returned to the studio with a new batch of tunes where he is prepping the release of his sophomore project, Adventures, due on May 24th.
Butzin's new track is the rollicking "Westbound Train" a roots rocker that hits the musical sweet spot with it's shuffling melody, driving guitars, and Butzin's honest delivery telling the tale of a man running from the damage he created.
"Well I ran away when I was 21
I took the westbound train in the setting sun
A few dollars in my pocket
A heart full of love
I took the westbound train in the setting sun"
Get Plugged In to "Westbound Train" above. For more information head HERE and to purchase head HERE.
In a crowded field of singer-songwriters, Butzin stands out with his ability to draw from the past while forging his own path.
RIYL: Creedance Clearwater Revival, Neil Young, John Fogerty, The Eagles, Tom Petty
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ debut album, Sidelong, commanded listeners’ attention with its refreshingly blunt and unapologetically honest songwriting, tight musicianship, and outlaw spirit. Their upcoming outing, Years, finds that spirit ever present in the collection’s ten tracks as the foursome grow and refine their style with sharpened songwriting, a deepened sound, and unique perspectives that emphasize vulnerability, resiliency, empathy, and defiance. The foursome recently released another track form the album, (and one of my faves) "New Ways to Fail," a driving f-you to a relationship that is downright exhausting.
"Well the door is over there if I may speak with perfect candor
You're welcome to walk through it any old time that you fancy
Cause I need this shit like I need another hole in my head"
Check it out above.
Read the interview with Sarah HERE
LA-based singer-songwriter Sean Alan channels the classic luminaries of Nashville and Muscle Shoals, with a bit of Detroit and Philly soul thrown in for good measure, on his upcoming album, The Show Must Go On (due in June). The project takes a real, romantic, and honest look at relationships "without your usual sappy cliches," says Alan, via nuanced tracks reminiscent of Otis Redding, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty.
The album’s debut single, “My Love For You,” is a guitar and organ-led ballad that flows with a bluesy undercurrent, sweeping you up in its mature, tender romanticism...and easily leading it to become the wedding song of the year. Swoon-worthy.
"My love for you lady
If I may be so bold
It knocks out my wind
Like a punch
In the guts from you darling
My love for you baby
No love song ever told
No books on the shelves
Tell such tales of longing"
For more information visit HERE.
In the heart of the Flatiron district, Hill Country BBQ brings the spirit of Texas to NYC as it showcases live Americana music from the beloved elder statesmen of the genre, like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Billy Joe Shaver, to established artists who fly under the radar as well as talented up and comers, one of whom is K Phillips.
Touring on the heels of his March 10th release, Dirty Wonder, the Nashville by way of Texas singer-songwriter has been making music since he was a teen, but his April 22nd stop at Hill Country was his first. While many enjoyed their brisket and beverages, Phillips and his band of three made their way to the stage for an almost hour and a half set of all original music that pulled from Dirty Wonder as well as his 2012 release, American Girls.
As a steady stream of people passed through, more than usual stayed on listening to Phillips' unmistakable vocals convey an intense sensuality on "Hock The Horses" (a tune based partly on Mexican goddess Tlazolteotl ), accept a failed relationship while name-checking Shelley and Browning on "Hadrian" and expose a devilish side on "Dirty Wonder." While the melodies magnetically capture rock, country, and the blues, Phillips is an inspired storyteller, delivering lyrics that are poignant, literate, and witty detailing experiences in an unique and insightful manner.
While Phillips alternated between guitar and keyboards throughout the set, he and his band (who had only been playing out together a few days) brought people to the dance floor (often a rarity) on songs like "To Dance With You" and "Rambler" while an older couple swayed in the corner to "Coalburner." A soft-spoken and engaging frontman, Phillips brings an endearing presence to the stage interspersing stories, anecdotes, and charmingly cheesy jokes (Q: What's a metaphor? A: Cows and Sheep...ba dum dum) between tunes. Ensuring he had enough time before proceeding, he also played "Nobody Does It" and "Had Enough" before closing out with "Kat's Song." With that perfect triad of tunes, musicianship, and presence, make sure you catch Phillips when he's near you.
Read the interview with K HERE
Purchase Dirty Wonder HERE
Photos Courtesy: C. Mitt
Hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee, but always sure to feel at home in North Carolina, The Black Lillies made a welcome tour stop on December 2nd at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre. They brought their unique brand of soulful, blues infused country to a packed house ready to celebrate the band’s first time headlining the venue.
The night’s opener, Elise Davis packed a punch in her all too short set consisting of several songs from her 2016 release The Token, one of my favorite albums of the year. Small in stature but large in talent, she showcased her prowess as a stirring vocalist, wryly honest lyricist, and engaging performer on songs examining life and relationships including such highlights as “The Token”, “Benefits,” and “Pretty Girl”. Fans of Lucinda Williams and Elizabeth Cook should check out her music and her touring schedule at www.elisedavis.com.
The Black Lillies hit the stage at 10 PM to begin their set which, with the encore, included nineteen songs from their catalog and two extremely well done covers. Cruz, Trisha and the band were on fire from the opening notes of “Two Hearts Down” and kept the high energy going throughout the night. With so many long time fans of the band in attendance, practically every song turned into a group sing-a-long. What was truly a great night of fine music was slightly bittersweet since this run of shows will be the last for stellar vocalist Trisha Gene Brady. No doubt she will be missed. Every time she stepped up to the microphone she was showered with applause. I look forward to seeing what lies ahead for her.
At midnight The Black Lillies took a bow and left the stage to return minutes later to remind everyone why you should never, ever leave before the encore. Hearing their covers of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and Eddie Rabbitt’s “Drivin’ My Life Away” was well worth the wait.
Check out their bio, music and tour schedule at www.theblacklillies.com
Amid a multi-week tour outside of Texas, Reckless Kelly's Northeast run took them, and their brothers Micky and The Motorcars, from Delaware and Massachusetts to Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as New York City, Washington D.C., and Maryland in support of their latest album Sunset Motel.
It’s always special when Reckless makes it to the Northeast, which they do about once a year, but this run was doubly so as Micky and The Motorcars, who haven’t been to NYC in a few years, were along for the ride. Rather than playing general admission standing room only venues, this trek found them in restaurant/listening room environments beginning with their show on Tuesday, October 25th at NYC’s City Winery which hosted a sell-out crowd in its cozy quarters. Micky and his Motorcars were up first kicking things off with three tracks from their 2014 album Hearts From Above including the title track, “Long Road To Nowhere” and “Fall Apart.” They dove into the catalog a bit for “Rock Springs to Cheyenne” and covered Merle Haggard’s “The Fugitive” before brother and guitarist Gary took over lead vocals on a song he wrote with Josh Grider, a ballad, “Run Into You.” The five-some finished out their all too brief set (thirty-five minutes – which was just enough time for them and the audience to get into a groove before they had to exit) with “Carolina Morning” and “Tonight We Ride.”
With just a dimming of the lights, Willy Braun began Reckless’ set with a solo acoustic performance of “Alberta” which segued into “Detroit or Buffalo” as the remaining members of the band entered the small stage to cheers and applause. For over an hour and a half they pulled from older tunes like “Mirage” and “Black and White” (with its humorous back-story) to new ones from Sunset Motel including “The Champ,” “Moment In The Sun,” “Volcano,” and their recent multi-week number one “How Can You Love Him (If You Don’t Even Like Him)”. In a nod to the upcoming election, they did the song Braun commented was one, “You’ll be humming in the shower tomorrow” - “Pennsylvania Avenue.” Mid-set saw drummer Jay Nazz’s father Tom join the band onstage to sing “Kansas City” which was greeted warmly not only by the audience, but by Reckless themselves who beamed as he sang and played guitar. They rounded out the night with fan favorites “Ragged As The Road,” “Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah,” “Nobody’s Girl” and “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” – all of which proved incredibly difficult to remain seated for – before bringing the Motorcars out for a familial sing-along and sending everyone off for the night.
As summer is winding down and festival season is coming to a close, you might want to start making plans for next year...and visiting Challis, Idaho, the home of the Braun Brothers Reunion.
Many times after a music festival, sites will regale us with lists of “10 of the Best Things We Saw At...” Well, at this year’s Braun Brothers Reunion, that number would total sixteen, the number of artists who played the Reunion, as every single one of them (and their bands) brought something special to the outdoor stage, performing standout sets for a record number of attendees at what could be argued was the best BBR yet.
Having a reputation for providing an environment that attracts not only well-respected artists, but a music loving audience as well, the family owned and operated Festival took place in the beautiful town of Challis, Idaho from August 11-13th. Over the course of three gorgeous days, the BBR hosted beloved Americana artists beginning with Sunny Sweeney who had the audience wrapped around her fierce, sassy (and incredibly humorous) finger as she played songs including “Bad Girl Phase,” and “Drink Myself Single" as well as a few covers. William Clark Green and his crew were up next, performing such favorites as “Sticks and Stones,” and “She Likes The Beatles” before closing with “Ringling Road” while clearly enjoying the welcoming reception from the crowd for their first BBR. Oklahoma’s Jason Boland and The Stragglers brought a huge crowd front and center where they enjoyed a set that included “Dark and Dirty Mile,” “Holy Relic Sale” and “Electric Bill.” Following Boland was esteemed singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo who, with his full band, performed a simply dynamic set. On stage, Escovedo exudes a seasoned professionalism while simultaneously being engaging and energetic, giving a “can’t take your eyes off of him” electrifying performance. While following Escovedo might appear to be daunting, Micky and The Motorcars, who traditionally close out Thursday night, were more than up to the task. Utterly defining the phrase “killed it," the performed songs including “Tonight We Ride,” “Hurt Again” and “Lost and Found", building an enthralling, energetic and exhilarating set. Before closing out the night with “Bloodshot,” they brought Escovedo back to the stage to perform his song “Sister Lost Soul” which is found on their latest album, Hearts From Above.
American Aquarium’s frontman, BJ Barham brought the band and the fans to a sold out show at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre August 20th. The night was the kickoff for the tour in support of his solo album Rockingham, released on August 19th.
To be sure, Barham enjoys huge support in Raleigh since American Aquarium cut its teeth playing the small bars and clubs in the area. Though the crowd was eager for the headliner, they were treated to a fabulous opener in Justin Osborne from SUSTO. The talented singer- songwriter held everyone’s attention with just a mic, a guitar, cleverly written songs and his witty stage banter.
Barham and the band took the stage around 10pm for an hour and a half set which began with the outstanding eight songs from Rockingham. The material in the collection is a weighty, reflective body of work that looks at life in rural, small town American with none of the romanticized clichés we so often hear. Tales of dreams unfulfilled, economic struggles and the promise of the American Dream largely broken are featured. The driving rock influences of an American Aquarium record are appropriately replaced with heavy emphasis on Whit Wright’s steel guitar and Barham’s affecting vocal delivery which allows the audience to feel the full impact of the lyrics. Especially moving are some of the songs written from the perspective of a father (“Madeline”), a grandfather and war veteran (“American Tobacco Company”) and a grieving yet grateful spouse (“Unfortunate Kind”).
After the final song from the new album, Barham humbly and sincerely thanked the fans who came out on a Saturday night to hear “a bunch of sad songs.” He and the band then performed some American Aquarium fan favorites such as “Wolves,” “Losing Side of Twenty-Five,” “St Mary’s” and “Casualties.”
I hope you get the chance to catch one of the shows on the tour. For lovers of well written songs delivered with a listening room vibe, it’s not to be missed. You can find information on the tour and purchase the album at www.bjbarham.com
Plugged In is a brand spankin' new feature here at TDC where we give you a listen to artists on our radar who we think are poised to do great things.