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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Release. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Release. Show all posts

Monday, January 11, 2016

Gretchen Peters - New 2xCD Collection + UK Tour Dates

Proper Records, February 5th 2016
New 2-CD collection + UK tour dates

On 'The Essential Gretchen Peters,' this very special Nashville-based singer-songwriter  combines career-defining tracks with rare outtakes, demos, and B-sides to provide a two-disc snapshot of her remarkable journey as a singularly fearless and creative talent.  The album is released to coincide with her latest UK tour.

January 2016


February 2016

Thurs Feb 4 DURHAM, GALA

"I remember going on my first radio tour for my debut album and the guys at the radio stations would say, 'So you're a songwriter, and now you want to be an artist?'" remembers Gretchen Peters.

In hindsight, it's a laughable distinction. Over the last three decades, Peters has proven to posses one of the most indelible voices in country and roots music in addition to wielding one the genres' most enduring pens. But in 1996, as she crossed the invisible Music City barrier between writer and performer, few could have predicted what lay ahead.

Peters first arrived in Nashville in 1987 and quickly established herself as a songwriting force to be reckoned with and tracks recorded by some of the biggest names in country music. She landed her first #1 with George Strait's rendition of her "Chill Of An Early Fall," garnered her first GRAMMY Nomination and CMA Song of the Year win with Martina McBride's recording of "Independence Day," and penned hits for Patty Loveless, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Trisha Yearwood, Jimmy LaFave, and Etta James among others. "If Peters never delivers another tune as achingly beautiful as 'On A Bus To St. Cloud,'" People Magazine wrote, "she has already earned herself a spot among country's upper echelon of contemporary composers."

All the while, though, she had bigger plans for herself.

"Performing my own material was always in my sights from the time I moved to Nashville," Peters explains. "I didn't separate the writing from the performing from the recording in my mind. I always saw myself as a singer-songwriter, and that was all part of the job."

Riding the momentum from her remarkable success, Peters signed her first recording contract in 1996 with an independent label and released her debut album, 'The Secret Of Life.' While it fared well critically, Peters fell between the cracks of an industry hungry for easy-to-categorize products to feed the machine. Marketing a nuanced, mature storyteller—one who penned songs like the album's bittersweet title track and the stirring "When You Are Old" (both of which appear on 'The Essential' Disc 1)—to mainstream country radio proved to be fruitless, and when the label later folded, Peters bought back the master recordings and vowed to maintain control for the rest of her days in the business, becoming an early adopter of the now-common process of self-releasing albums through licensing and distribution partnerships.

Despite the early commercial stumble in the US, though, Peters found a different appreciation for her songs in the UK, where she earned the admiration of early champions in radio and press, like the legendary BBC host Bob Harris.

"The first time I went over, I played four little gigs with no more than 40 or 50 people at any of them, maybe less," she remembers. "But I immediately felt completely comfortable in my skin. I felt like those audiences didn't expect or want me to be anything other than who I was. Everything that wasn't working here in the States was working really well over there. It was like stepping through the looking glass."

Over the next twenty years, Peters would self-release seven more studio albums on both sides of the pond (including a collaboration with Tom Russell titled 'One To The Heart, One To The Head') and see her profile in the UK reach a new peak with 2015's 'Blackbirds,' which debuted at #1 on UK Official Country Artists Albums Chart. Uncut hailed her as "one of Nashville’s greatest talents of the past two decades," while The Sun called the album "an Americana tour de force." The record led to a sold-out UK tour, as well as spots on massive European festival stages from Glastonbury to Roskilde.

All the while, the US was catching up to what they'd been missing out on in their own backyard. NPR called her 2012 release 'Hello Cruel World' "the album of her career," while Rolling Stone dubbed "Blackbirds" "one of the most affecting murder ballads since Bruce Springsteen's 'Nebraska,'" and in 2014, she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

While 'The Essential Gretchen Peters' collects some of the most memorable moments from her inimitable catalogue, it also offers a unique window into Peters' process. Highlights include rare recordings of her own takes on classics like "The Chill Of An Early Fall," "On A Bus To St Cloud," and "Independence Day," as well as a previously unheard collaboration with Bryan Adams and unreleased demos and outtakes from throughout her career. Listeners can also trace the evolution of her work with keyboard player Barry Walsh, who began recording on Peters' demos in 1990 and appears on every one of her albums (the two were married in 2010).

"The first real UK tour I did with Barry was in 2001, and when we started playing live together it really became apparent that we had this sympathetic way of playing music," Peters explains. "We were always able to telegraph to each other what we were going to do. At this point now, 25 years since we first started recording together, it's like we play with one brain, but even back then, I felt like we had some kind of language that we were speaking onstage."

Though Peters is beloved as a songwriter of the highest calibre, she also uses the 'The Essential' collection as an opportunity to showcase her talent for interpreting the work of others that have influenced her, including a stunning cover of John Lennon's "Love" and a gorgeous rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" performed by Wine, Women & Song, her touring group featuring fellow Nashville icons Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg.

"Once the idea for this collection came up, I took the title pretty seriously when I was deciding on what to include," explains Peters. "Regardless of when, how, or if they were released, I wanted to choose tracks that really felt essential to who I am, the closest, absolute right-down-to-the-bone expressions of myself."

Gretchen Peters is a songwriter and an artist. Both sides are essential to her identity, and one listen to this collection makes it clear that her extraordinary body of work is indeed essential listening for the rest of us.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Davina and The Vagabonds To Release Nicollet And Tenth On March 25th....


Minneapolis, MN – Over the past several years, Davina And The Vagabonds, have been building an audience around the globe.  Their shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages. Singer/pianist Davina Sowers' presence is indelible, while her voice defies simple categorization. Evoking comparisons as diverse as Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop, she is simply a true original, presenting a personal vision that celebrates a century of American music.

With a full tour schedule already in place for the top of the new year, Davina And The Vagabonds will release a brand new live album: Nicollet And Tenth on March 25th.

Normally when an artist announces they are releasing a ‘live album’ it’s considered a stopgap or throwaway release, not vital to the artist’s collection.  In the case of Nicollet And Tenth, it couldn’t be any farther from the truth.  Davina And The Vagabonds have built their success on the road, and the two studio albums released by the group so far have tried to be a reflection of their rollicking focused performances, clean sound and raging fun. 

With the release of Nicollet And Tenth, the band is giving the listener a front row seat to what has made them popular in the first place, their live show.

“On the corner of Nicollet and Tenth, in downtown MPLS, lies a moody jazz club called the Dakota,” Davina remarked.  “The Vagabonds and I have been playing there for over 10 years. It is our second home and we are welcoming you to come in, grab a drink, and listen to us play our hearts out to you!” 

In 2011, Davina And The Vagabonds released her first full length, all original album Black Cloud. It was named one of the ten best releases of the year by their hometown daily the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and awarded 4 ½ stars from Downbeat Magazine. Their next release in 2014, Sunshine, hit number 13 in the Billboard Blues Chart, which led to an performance on the famed hit BBC show, Later with Jools Holland. 

Watch Davina And The Vagabonds Perform “Red Shoes” live on Later With Jools Holland here:

Knock Me A Kiss
Black Cloud
Ain’t That A Shame
Louisiana Fairytale
Shake That Thing
Muddy Waters
You Must Be Losing Your Mind
Lipstick And Chrome
Start Runnin
I Would Rather Go Blind
Red Shoes
Travelin All Alone
5 ft 2
Bee Sting
St. James
His Eye is On The Sparrow

2016 Davina And The Vagabonds Tour Dates
1/08                 Brainerd, MN                          NP Event Space
1/13                 Northampton, MA                  Iron Horse Music Hall
1/14                 Westerly, RI                            Knickerbocker
1/15                 New York, NY                       City Winery
1/16                 Williamsburg, VA                   Winter Blues Jazz Festival
1/20                 Chicago, IL                             City Winery
1/21                 Wisconsin Rapids, WI            McMillan Memorial Library
1/22                 St. Paul, MN                           Wilebski's Blues Saloon
1/23                 Marion, IA                              Campbell Steele
1/24                 Lansing, IA                             The Other Place
1/29                 Minneapolis, MN                    Crooked Pint
1/30                 Minneapolis, MN                    Crooked Pint
1/31                 Indianapolis, IN                      Jazz Kitchen
2/02                 Vienna, VA                             Jammin Java
2/03                 Richmond, VA                       Tuckahoe's Woman's Club
2/04                 Mifflinburg, PA                      Rusty Rail Brewing Company
2/05                 Wyomissing, PA                     Building 24
2/06                 Philadelphia, PA                     Chris' Jazz Cafe
2/08                 Ann Arbor, MI                        The Ark
2/09                 Grand Rapids, MI                   Tip Top Deluxe
2/10                 St. Louis, MO                         Old Rock House
2/11                 Kansas City, MO                    Knuckleheads
2/12                 Davenport, IA                         Redstone Room @ River Music Experience
2/13                 Racine, WI                              Racine Theatre
2/14                 Madison, WI                           Majestic Theatre
2/26                 Minneapolis, MN                    Dakota
2/27                 Minneapolis, MN                    Dakota
2/28                 Sioux Falls, SD                       Sioux Falls State Theatre
3/04                 Des Moines, IA                       Social Club
3/05                 Bloomington, IL                     American Red Cross Fundraiser
3/10                 Akron, OH                              Jilly's Music Room
3/11                 Cleveland, OH                        Music Box Supper Club
3/12                 New Cumberland, WV           Oak Glen Culture Club
3/19                 Mankato, MN                         Hooligan's
3/29                 Seattle, WA                            Jazz Alley
3/30                 Seattle, WA                            Jazz Alley
4/02                 Eureka, CA                             Redwood Coast Music Festival
4/21                 Minneapolis, MN                    Dakota
4/22                 Minneapolis, MN                    Dakota
4/23                 Zumbrota, MN                        Crossings
4/24                 Minneapolis, MN                    Dakota
5/03                 Hopkins, MN                          Hopkins Center For The Arts
5/12                 Minneapolis, MN                    Lowertown Line Filming
6/04                 Rapids, IA                              Veterans Memorial Building

Monday, January 4, 2016

Blues Music Award-Winner Johnny Rawls Is Like a "Tiger In a Cage" on New Catfood Records CD Coming February 19

Blues Music Award-Winner Johnny Rawls Is Like a Tiger In a Cage on New Catfood Records CD Coming February 19

EL PASO, TX – Catfood Records announces a February 19 release date for Tiger In a Cage, the new CD from Blues Music Award-winning singer/guitarist Johnny Rawls. Produced by multi-Grammy-winning producer Jim Gaines, Tiger In a Cage was recorded at the Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas. It features backing by The Rays: Johnny McGhee – guitar; Bob Trenchard – bass; Richy Puga – drums; Dan Ferguson – keyboards and accordion; Andy Roman – alto/tenor sax; Mike Middleton – trumpet; Robert Claiborne – trombone; Nick Flood – baritone sax; Jon Olazabal – percussion; with vocal backing by The Iveys. Joining as special guest is Eden Brent, who duets with Rawls on the sexy, soulful tune, “Southern Honey.” 

Johnny Rawls was recently nominated once again by the Blues Foundation in the “Soul Blues Male Artist” category for the upcoming Blues Music Awards to be held in Memphis in May. 

The even-dozen tracks on Tiger In a Cage include nine original songs, plus Johnny’s scintillating takes on Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party,” Jackie Wilson’s “Your Love Is Lifting Me (Higher and Higher),” and The Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden.” Rawls also does a funky re-working of “Red Cadillac,” a Rawls composition that first appeared as the title track on the album of the same name released in 2009 and has since become a fan-favorite at Johnny’s live shows. While known for his irresistible “old school” soul party tunes, which are well-represented on his new CD, the album’s title song is a serious track about a 19 year-old black man being sent to prison; a life thrown away, being over before it has begun. (Note: there are three times as many people in prison in the U.S. today as there were when the failed “War on Drugs” was begun.)  

Johnny Rawls’ last album for Catfood Records, Soul Brothers, released in 2014, teamed him up with Blues Hall of Fame singer Otis Clay for what became one of the musical highlights of the year and generated both critical acclaim and strong radio airplay. Soul Brothers was also one of the two highest-rated blues albums on the Downbeat magazine “Best of the Year” list. His 2013 release, Remembering O.V., showcased Rawls in a moving tribute to his late friend and mentor, O.V. Wright, which also featured singer Otis Clay as a special guest on three tracks of the album, and included nine songs associated with Wright and an original cut, “Blaze of Glory,” that closed the album in rousing fashion.

Johnny’s 2012 CD, Soul Survivor, garnered him two more Blues Music Award nominations and followed Memphis Still Got Soul (2011), which received three. He’s been nominated numerous times in both the Soul Blues Male Artist and Soul Blues Album categories by The Blues Foundation, and his Ace of Spades CD won the BMA in 2010 as “Soul Blues Album of the Year. In 2014, he was voted Living Blues magazine’s “Male Blues Artist of the Year” and three of his albums have won the Living Blues “Critics' Choice Southern Soul Album of the Year.”  

Born in the southern Mississippi town of Columbia, and raised in Purvis and Gulfport, Johnny Rawls - while still in high school - was already backing such stars as Z.Z. Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and The Sweet Inspirations when they toured in his area. In his early 20s, Rawls was hired by the legendary deep soul singer, O.V. Wright, as his band director. After Wright died in 1979, Rawls kept the band together and toured for several years with Little Johnny Taylor and others.

By 1985, Johnny Rawls was touring as a solo artist and had made his first solo recording. In 1994, he recorded the widely acclaimed album, Down to Earth, with L.C. Luckett on the Rooster Blues label. After a second Rooster Blues album with Luckett, Rawls recorded a number of albums for JSP before starting his own label. Rawls first met Catfood Records president Bob Trenchard in 1997 and the two have worked on a number of projects together since then, culminating when he released his first album for the label, No Boundaries, in 2005    

He’s also garnered previous nominations for his albums Heart and Soul in 2007; and Red Cadillac in 2009. Both Red Cadillac and Ace of Spades were nominated for Album of the Year by Living Blues and his last five albums have all charted top ten on blues charts with Red Cadillac reaching #1 on the Living Blues Radio Play Chart. Ace of Spades hit the #4 spot, remaining in the top 20 for three months. Rawls continues to tour consistently, performing 150 dates a year, both in the U.S. and overseas.

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Sandy Carroll Takes a Musical Journey on New CD, "Last Southern Belle," Coming February 19 on Catfood Records

Sandy Carroll Takes a Musical Journey on New CD, Last Southern Belle, Coming February 19 on Catfood Records

Produced by Multi-Grammy-Winner Jim Gaines and Recorded in Tennessee & Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Songs Reflect Carroll’s Experiences as a Southern Woman

EL PASO, TX – Catfood Records announces a February 19, 2016, release date for Last Southern Belle, the new album from celebrated singer/songwriting Sandy Carroll. Produced by Sandy’s husband, multi-Grammy-winner Jim Gaines, Last Southern Belle was recorded primarily at Bessie Blue Studio in West Tennessee, with additional recording done at Nutthouse Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The CD includes backing from a host of all-star musicians, including legendary bassist David Hood, guitarist Will McFarlane and drummer Steve Potts.  Several songs on the new CD were co-written with Mark Narmore who is in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and has penned several big hits (“That’s What I Love About Sunday,” “Moon Over Georgia,” “Like There Ain’t No Yesterday”). 

Sandy Carroll will support the release of Last Southern Belle with a series of shows, including Sunday, February 21, at Huey's Midtown in Memphis (4-7PM) to kick-off the album’s release, with other dates expected to be announced in Nashville, Muscle Shoals and the Midwest. 

“This is the music of a journey: from universal pain and loss (‘Headin’ Out on Empty,’ ‘The Nothing in Your Eyes’) to hope (‘Driving Toward the Sun’) and laughter (‘Tattoo That I Can’t Undo’), but mostly this music is about the South,” Carroll says about the new album’s songs.

“I was a ‘Southern Belle’ in training,” she recalls about her upbringing. “I didn’t know it at the time, of course. I could only see through the eyes of a child. I never graduated to full Southern Belle-hood, but those who did were the women of the ‘50s and early ‘60s - before eyes were opened … before civil rights … before equal rights for women.  It was unhip to be a Southern Belle after that.  There were more important things than matching pearls and beauty pageants. We were on the front lines.

“I saw this through the eyes of a young girl-woman - the shame of the South’s injustice toward an innocent race of people and a nation’s indifference toward gender equality.  Both were simply born that way and it was unfair.”

Sandy Carroll grew up in West Tennessee, and once she left her childhood home to pursue the dream of being a musician and songwriter, her perceptions changed. “For the rest of my life I saw the world through the eyes of a musician,” she remembers. “I saw no color, no sex, no lifestyle - what mattered is if you were GOOD … that is, if you could PLAY.  I have lived a lot of places, traveled and toured, learned and accepted the beautiful differences of human beings.  I was always a proud Southerner. I would defend the good things of the South, the creative, warm, funny traditions (as told in the songs ‘Southland Rules,’ ‘Family Reunion Day’) that are soulful and enlightened.  I had no defense for the bad things; there is none.”

After 30 years away from home, Sandy Carroll returned to her childhood rural area to live. “I was stunned to find some things were the same and I was delighted to find that some things were the same,” she says. “The voices of the gospel still ring loud and clear (‘Hallelujah Hill’) and the nearby Shiloh battlefield of the Civil War remains untouched and spiritually haunted (‘The Boys of Shiloh’). However, the dangers of the past lurk underneath the surface (‘Water Run Deep’).  The rest of the world sometime sees the South lumped together like one of those confederate trenches in Shiloh: ignorant, Bible-thumping, racist, illiterate people.  It is Unfair … Unfair.

“I have seen prejudice and dishonor all over this earth. It is not specific to a region south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but the stigma of our past and the myth of the South lives on … some truth but not all truth.

“The Last Southern Belle lived in a generation that was insular and circular. The new Southern Woman (‘Southern Woman’) stands firm in her own power and her own truth. When I was a little girl, I asked my mother ‘Am I pretty?’  She would say, ‘you are pretty enough.’  I hope my soul is pretty enough.  I am working on it.”

About Sandy Carroll

Last Southern Belle is Sandy Carroll’s third album for Catfood Records. Her prior releases, Unnaturally Blonde (2013) and Just as I Am (2011) received international critical acclaim and substantial radio airplay on blues and Americana/country radio stations. In 2012, the single “Romeo and Juliet,” off the Just as I Am CD, stayed on the New Country Indie Chart for three months and reached #5. Also, “Good to be Home” from Unnaturally Blonde made it to #3 on the Country Indie Chart and stayed on the chart for 14 weeks.

Sandy Carroll returned to her Memphis roots in 1983 and spent a year headlining at a local club on historic Beale Street, following several years of performing on the road. Writing and recording the singles, “If You Got It” and “Memphis in May” in 1984, Sandy partnered with Jim Dickinson, NARAS Memphis chapter’s seven-time producer of the year. “Memphis in May” became a regional hit and for several years, the unofficial theme song for the Memphis in May annual festivities.  Sandy performed at the Memphis in May Festival with the Memphis Horns (and special guest Rufus Thomas) and also at the first Beale Street Music Festival.  She sang the national anthem and “Memphis in May” in front of 30,000 people at the Memphis Showboats football game, as well.

A year later, Sandy left for San Francisco to write and record.  After three years on the West Coast and a short stay in the Midwest, Sandy returned to Memphis. In 1989, the legendary Albert King recorded Sandy’s, “If You Got It” which appeared on his final studio album, Red House. She then starting writing songs for her own full-length debut album, Southern Woman, released in 1993.  Following the release, Sandy was invited on a month long tour of the United Kingdom.

Back in the States, Sandy continued promoting Southern Woman by performing at various festivals in the South, including Arts in the Park, Eureka Springs Blues Festival and the Southern Heritage Festival.  She maintained a heavy performing schedule at all of Beale Street’s most prestigious clubs, and one of Sandy’s more unique gigs was writing the Memphis Mad Dog football team theme song, “Mad Dog Boogie,” recorded by Southern-fried soul and blues musician Preston Shannon.

In 1997, the great Luther Allison recorded Sandy’s “Just as I Am” and “It’s a Blues Thing” on his final album, Reckless, which was nominated for a Grammy.  That same year, Sandy recorded and released her Memphis Rain CD, which was honored by the Memphis and Shelby County Film and Music Commission.  She went on to receive a nomination by NARAS’ Memphis chapter for Songwriter of the Year.

Beginning the new millennium with concerts, club and festival performances, Sandy appeared at Muscle Shoals Songwriters, Beale St. Caravan National Radio Show at B.B. Kings, W.C. Handy Festival and the (invitation only) International Songwriters Festival in Orange Beach, Alabama, where she opened for songwriting legends Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham. In 2001, Sandy was filmed by Memphis’ PBS station WKNO, along with great songwriters Keith Sykes, Teenie Hodges, Nancy Apple, Duane Jarvis and Delta Joe Sanders as part of the “In Their Own Voices” concert.  Premiered in 2001, the concert has been syndicated on PBS affiliates nationwide.

Inside Sounds released a CD entitled Memphis Belles: Past, Present & Future in 2002 that featured Sandy along with Ruby Wilson, Cybill Shepherd, Carla Thomas and other Memphis female artists.  In 2007, Sandy released an EP, Rhythm of the Rivers, with five previously-unpublished songs and a reprise of “Bound for Glory.” The localized release featured “The Pickwick Song” popularized in Sandy’s home community. Rhythm of the Rivers showed another side of Sandy’s music and writing, and the songs reflect her love for home – both her Memphis musical heritage and her childhood and present home by the Tennessee River at Pickwick. In 2008, Sandy was awarded her own brass note on Memphis’ historic Beale Street, and in 2010 the note was formally presented and enshrined in front of the Hard Rock CafĂ©.

Sandy Carroll also co-wrote cuts on Catfood Records labelmates Johnny Rawls’ Soul Survivor CD, Barbara Carr’s Keep the Fire Burning, James Armstrong’s Blues at the Border and Daunielle Hill’s self-titled album. Sandy was one of the first inductees into her hometown’s Music Hall of Fame along with famous Memphis DJ, Dewey Phillips in 2013. Sandy was also named a “Memphis Music Emissary” in 2015 in recognition of her contributions to Memphis music. 

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