Tag Archives: folk

Newest Love: Youngsmith


Like Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”, Youngsmith’s “Red” at first seems like a simple song. Yet another songwriter singing his wares. But by the end, it reveals a powerful and memorable soul. The new single by this Brisbane songwriter echoes the style of narrative songwriters of the past much like Simon & Garfunkel and writers of that ilk, but with a few rougher edges.

Youngsmith’s music is about getting you in touch with parts of your soul you don’t want to talk to. If you want to remember the song and sing it as loud as you can in your car and actually feel something through the lyrics, its for you. If you want to tap your feet to something, cry to something, hurt to something… this music is for you.

“Red” is a classic mix of folk and rock, sounding better with every listen. The song talks about an old friend of Smith’s he began a relationship with after losing everything. In this dark place, he found hope in an unlikely place. A redheaded girl…. simple in its accompaniment for the first half, urging you to tap your feet to the chorus. It soon breaks down into a strong and beautiful lament, questioning “Red, how’d you do that?”.

Recorded and engineered by Smith in his home studio and mixed by Bryce Moorhead – who’s work currently sits atop the ARIA charts with Violent Soho’s WACO. “Red” includes elements similar to Vance Joy’s “Georgia” or Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love”. Laments about life and love.

With a striking film clip by Dan Greatz (Violent Soho, Ball Park Music), “Wither” started a nation wide fan base “Red” plans to expand and build on through its wider sound, unforgettable chorus and upcoming national tour in support of the track.

Smith now has been making his own music for ten years. Having played both in a band and a solo artist, he has produced several EPs, had his work featured and played on national radio, surfing documentaries, in other countries like Germany and the US.

Recently, he’s had his back catalogue added to the Albert & Sons library sharing the digital hallways with the likes of AC/DC and Cold Chisel. Releasing his first single just last year in a combined effort with Shock Records and The A&R Department, “Wither” gained airplay across the country.


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Free Download: The Last Bison – “Every Time”

The Last Bison
…The Last Bison make theatrical folk music that refuses to stand still and isn’t afraid to get loud.” – Wondering Sound

To capture the new sounds on The Last Bison’s upcoming album titled VA (out 9/30), the band spent many days and nights in an old A-frame cabin, on the outskirts of the Great Dismal Swamp near the band’s home in Chesapeake, VA. Out of this rustic cabin emerged a collection of music with booming organic drums and energy beyond anything from their previous work. The 11 songs on VA reveal a rejuvenated band relishing in their newfound freedom and returning to their independent roots.

Ben Hardesty, who is the primary songwriter and vocalist, also recorded the drum tracks on the new album.  Andrew Benfante, who has played a 1930s reed organ on previous works, adds piano to the layers, and Amos Housworth has expanded from cello to offering all the bass tracks on the project. Dan Hardesty alternates from banjo to mandolin to guitar, while he and Annah Housworth, who plays bells, provide the lush backing vocals. Teresa Totheroh’s violin is the thread that sows the myriad parts together.

Listen/download: The Last Bison – “Every Time”

Upcoming Tour Dates
9/26 – Richmond, VA – The Camel (tix)
9/30 – Pittsburgh, PA – Hard Rock Cafe (tix)
10/01 – Bloomington, IN – The Bishop (tix)
10/02 – Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern (tix)
10/03 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry (tix)
10/04 – Rock Island, IL – Rozz Tox (tix)
10/16 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge (tix)
10/17 – Fairfield, CT – StageOne
10/18 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live (tix)
10/22 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall (tix)
10/23 – Atlanta, GA – Vinyl (tix)
10/24 – Athens, GA – New Earth Music Hall (tix)
10/25 – Charlotte, NC – Visulite Theatre (tix)
11/06 – Vienna, VA – Jammin’ Java (tix)
11/07 – Charlottesville, VA – The Southern (tix)

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Check ‘Em Out: Dwight & Nicole


Dwight & Nicole, an American roots band formed by recording artists Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson, will be self-releasing their new album, Shine On, on April 22, 2014Shine On puts some impressive talent on display:  gorgeous vocals, developed songwriting skills, and masterful playing were all captured live at Boston’s Rear Window Studio. The delivery is often exciting, always multi-dimensional, and never run-of-the-mill. Dwight & Nicole express deep emotion effortlessly on every track of Shine On.  This will be their first major release, heavily funded by their devoted fans via music-oriented crowd-sourcing site PledgeMusic.


Their performances have inspired comparisons to some of the greats — Etta James and John Lee Hooker, the Rolling Stones and the Staple Singers — but it is their own fresh blend of spirited blues, rock, and gospel that will land them a spot among the celebrated music makers. Following their critically acclaimed independent release !Signs, the Boston Globe called them, “a tour de force,” and named them among the “25 Most Stylish of the Year.”  They have garnered four Boston Phoenix award nominations, six Boston Music Award nominations and Nelson just nabbed a BMA for “Female Vocalist of The Year.”

In September of 2012, Nicole appeared on NBC’s #1 hit show “The Voice,” knocking out all four coaches and winning the hearts of millions with her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” The song was a hit of its own, rising to #26 on the iTunes Pop chart, and propelling a wave of nationwide appreciation for Nelson’s home grown style. The bright lights of network TV also shed much deserved light on her band—New England’s best kept secret Dwight & Nicole—helping the group to shatter through the glass ceiling that most self-promoting indie artists are up against today.

Their music has already been featured on TV shows such as “Nikita” on CW, “The Forgotten” on ABC, “Missing” on Lifetime, and “The Cleaner” on A&E.  Dwight & Nicole starred in the documentary film “Where’s The Music At?” They have performed live at countless world class venues and festivals around the world including Montreal Jazz Festival, Tanglewood, Life Is Good Festival, Symphony Hall, The Somerville Theatre, The Tennessee Theater, The Paradise, The Higher Ground, and The Blue Note in NYC.


Dwight & Nicole have shared the stage with many other great artists including BB King, Buddy Guy, Dave Brubeck, Dr. Maya Angelou, Ray Lamontagne, Los Lobos, Alison Krauss, Martin Sexton, Levon Helm, Norah Jones, Dr. John, Natalie Cole, Winton Marsalis, The Avett Brothers, Raphael Saadiq, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Carly Simon, The Funk Brothers, Maceo Parker, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Buffet, Biz Markie, Little Richard, Angelique Kidjo, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irma Thomas, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

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Falls – “Home”

Sydney folk duo Falls, who released their debut EP Into The Fire last month via Universal Music Group’s Verve Records, have unveiled a playful new lyric video for EP single “Home.” The video uses an array of visually striking cut-out images to set a bright and cheerful backdrop for the song.
Falls is Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston-Brown, whose intertwining vocals perfectly compliment one another to breathe life into their heartfelt lyrics.
Into the Fire is now available via iTunes

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Have You Heard…?


If you were at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, hopefully you got a chance to catch Melissa McClelland. Her third album Victoria Day is being released this month.

From her website:

Melissa and husband/producer Luke Doucet masterfully deliver us rebel-rouser guitars in 1950s Hollywood- style infused with a southern-country twang.

The songs capture all of the beauty and charm of the girl next door while lacing the punch at the sock hop with home-made moonshine.

We know you’ll be fall down drunk in love with it and can’t wait for you to see Melissa perform these songs live — check out her shows in Ontario with Justin Rutledge and shows out west with Jason Plumb.

She’s worked with Randy Newman, Bruce Springsteen, and she used to be backup for Sarah MacLaughlin.

I was really entertained and liked what Uptown Magazine had to say:

This is what Jewel might have become if she hadn’t gone to pop-radio hell. Melissa McClelland is a singer-songwriter at heart – she’s been doing it since she was four years old – but she also isn’t afraid to kick in a little distortion, play with drum loops or experiment with her sound. The result is a mixture of slow, woman-with-guitar tunes and uptempo plugged-in tracks that push the folk/guitar-pop envelope.

 Have a listen to one of the song’s from her new album, “Glen Rio” here.

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Storytime with Chase Pagan

When I first read a short description of Chase Pagan’s music, I wasn’t sure if this Arkansas guy would be anything I’d want to listen to very much. But, after hearing his single “Gun and the Sword” from Bells & Whistles, I realized I judged too quickly.

The beginning of the song is great! It really captures your attention. All of Pagan’s songs tell a story, and from listening to “Gun and the Sword” you can hear that these songs intrigue the listener. He changes up the tunes in the middle, almost making all the critical points stand out musically like plots do in a book. Not only that, but he plays all kinds of instruments. There’s the piano, which is definitely one of my favorites. Then, there’s also guitar, drums, a banjo, an accordion, and…wouldn’tyaknowit, bells & whistles!

Have a listen by clicking here, and enjoy a 3 minute and 47 second long vacation.


Chase Pagan’s newest album Bells & Whistles will be out June 9th, you’ll be able to get the rest of it then!

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Speaking of folk music…

Somehow I forgot to mention another great act that’s coming to town…on Monday, actually!

Matt Jones, from Michigan, has a new debut solo album that’s going to be released on the 7th. But I will tell you, I’ve heard it, and it’s good stuff. The Black Path is a good cd to have on while you’re cozied up on the couch reading a book. My favorite tracks are “Threadlines” and “Holy Light”, though all 11 songs are beautiful; melancholic, but captivating.

On Monday, the 9th, he’ll be performing right here in the Burgh. Guess where? Morning Glory Coffeehouse!!! So, check out Matt on last.fm (where, again, I’ve posted the show under his profile)…and then go see him in person. THEN, in another week and a half, you can go again to see The Accident That Led Me To The World!!!

Oh yeah, you can go check him out on MySpace, as well. (Of course!)

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It Wasn’t an Accident

Cover from self-titled debut album
Cover from self-titled debut album

“Will disappear into the horizon in the blink of an eye, leaving your panoramic ocean view fathomless and without object.” That is the last sentence in the description on last.fm for The Accident That Led Me To The World. That one sentence sums up their entire persona.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that being a musician takes more than being able to pick out cool beats and mix ’em all up. Mark Mandeville, Raianne Richards, and Zack Ciras can show you all about being musicians. Just listening to their melodies forces you (in a good way) to remember and appreciate the skills necessary in making music.

It’s impossible to get bored by their sounds because of how many instruments they play. They’ve got guitars, bass, a banjo, and clarinet. Not to mention their voices themselves.

They’re a folk music trio from Massachutsetts, and they’re coming this way! They’ll be here in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, February 18th, playing at the Morning Glory Coffeehouse. (I’ve added the event onto their page on last.fm that you can find here.)

If you love listening to music in a relaxed, intellectual setting with like-minded people, you should definitely come to the show. Even if you don’t go to relaxed settings to listen to ‘quieter’ music often, you should still come to this show. It’s a Wednesday people, save your fist-pumping drum-blaring jams for the weekend! (ha!) Show these guys how awesome Pittsburgh is!

Cover from newest album "The Island Gospel"
Cover from newest album “The Island Gospel”

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