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Archive for April, 2011

Steel Pannist, Jonathan Scales recently released a new album entitled “Character Farm and Other Short Stories”. Here are a few reviews that have come in…

Kevin Jones with Exclaim.CA wrote:

Admittedly, the idea of a steel pan virtuoso likely conjures up images of a human carnival dynamo setting festivals ablaze with a mesmerizing display of some hot, hot island heat. Thusly hailed pannist Jonathan Scales, however, offers none of this, instead delivering a far more impressive collection of heady, multi-directional jazz soundscapes that bristle as his Fourchestra bandmates flip, slip and slide through the myriad tempo twists and compositional turns that make up Character Farm & Other Short Stories. Scales showcases his dexterity with a searing torrent of par runs on the devious, guitar-tinged “The Longest December,” while the epic tale told on “Complete,” with its double-time jazz opening descending into a tense, cavernous midsection, and the unconventional, shape-shifting “Science Fair Project” offer a scattershot glimpse at the gathered musicians’ fertile minds at work. Through the album’s countless turns, Scales manages to blend in the very particular sound of steel pan seamlessly with everything from a flute, horn and saxophone to the oft-accompanying electric guitar, all while showing off the easily stereotyped instrument in a new light.

See the post here: http://exclaim.ca/Reviews/SoulFunkAndWorld/jonathan_scales_fourchestra-character_farm_other_short_stories

MyJoog.com wrote:

Just in time for Spring Break, we received Jonathan Scales – Character Farm & Other Short Stories. Scales plays the steel pan – an instrument associated with Trinidad & Tobago, but this is nowhere near conventional Island music. I love this CD, particularly “The Trap” which includes fiddler  Casey Driessen. Other guest artists include Jeff Coffin, Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge. “Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers ” is hypnotic while “Muddy Vishnu” gets rockin’. The title track is as close as you get to an Island sound – can’t wait to listen on the beaches in south Florida with a bottle of rhum.

See the review here: http://myjoog.blogspot.com/2011/04/trying-to-find-room-on-ipod.html?spref=tw

Ashley Wilson with the Mountain Times in Boone writes:

To come across a band with a full-time steel pannist is rare. To come across a band with the steel pan as the central instrument is even more rare.

. . .   . . .    . . .  In April 2011, Scales releases his third album “Character Farm and Other Short Stories.”

“Character Farm” is a collection of nine instrumental “stories.” The album is accompanied by a comic book design sleeve. Scales is depicted on the cover as a superhero wielding pansticks. Inside, artist Gregory Keyzer provides graphic interpretations of each song. With Scales’ music being entirely instrumental, the visual aids are a nice touch that may help listeners better understand his vision.

Scales considers his music “jazz fusion.” The steel pan is not traditionally associated with jazz, but he has adapted well to the style. Scales credits innovative banjoist Bela Fleck with inspiring him to disregard the imaginary boundaries placed on instruments.

The members of the Fourchestra, guitarist Duane Simpson, drummer Phill Bronson and bassist Michael Libramento, are excellent at jazz craft and assist Scales in achieving his distinct sound. The lengthy opener, “Jam We Did,” is an excellent example of the camaraderie of the performers, with Scales opening the floor for everyone to have a solo. Another jam on the album, “Complete,” showcases the members’ jazz abilities and serves as proof that the steel pan can indeed be considered a jazz instrument.

Jonathan Scales does not limit himself to a strict jazz regimen. His penchant for experimentation is most obvious in the last two songs of “Character Farm.” The appropriately titled “Science Fair Project” incorporates the flute of Kofi Burbridge, from the Derek Trucks Band. “The Trap,” with guest Casey Driessen, could very well be the first time a fiddler and steel pannist have performed on the same song.

Other guests on “Character Farm” include Dave Matthews Band saxophonist Jeff Coffin and Derek Trucks Band percussionist Yonrico Scott. They join the Fourchestra on “Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers.” The combination of steel pan, African percussion and the saxophone make it the most diverse song of the album.

Scales is promoting “Muddy Vishnu” as the first single from “Character Farm.” The title is a cross between Muddy Waters and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a 1970s jazz fusion group. Verging on urban hip-hop territory, it furthers the idea that for Scales, the steel pan has no bounds. He has released a colorful video online, which is well worth checking out.

“Character Farm” solidifies Jonathan Scales’ place as one of western North Carolina’s most innovative and creative artists. Not only as a performer, but as the composer of all the music on the album, Scales is a groundbreaker.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www2.mountaintimes.com/entertainment_focus/Jonathan_Scales_Fourchestra_id_003326

To find out more about Jonathan Scales and get the album, visit: www.JonScales.com

Live footage from the Album Release show in Asheville:


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Mandolin Orange
w/ Maggie & Her Mistakes
Saturday, April 30, 2011
The Emerald Lounge

$5, doors 9pm, show 10pm
(828) 232-4372
112 North Lexington Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
emeraldlounge.com

***

Mandolin Orange is a Chapel Hill, NC-based duo led by songwriter Andrew Marlin and instrumentalist Emily Frantz, who ornament lyric- and harmony-focused tunes with acoustic and electric guitars, fiddle and mandolin. The duo’s understated instrumentation draws on bluegrass and rock-and-roll alike, keeping Marlin’s dark lyrical themes at the forefront of their folk-country sound. Together they deliver a sound that’s uniquely their own yet satisfyingly familiar, and were recently recognized by Rosanne Cash to be “very exciting young people making great music”. Since releasing their debut full length ‘Quiet Little Room’ in May 2010, the duo has shared bills with Chatham County Line, the Steep Canyon Rangers and Abigail Washburn, and has performed at notable festivals such as Shakori Hills Grassroots, Beaufort Music Festival, and Albino Skunk Festival (SC).

Mandolin Orange is currently touring throughout the southeast in advance of their second full-length release, and working on its finishing touches in the meantime. On some tour dates the duo is joined by their recently added rhythm section, made up of Jeff Crawford on bass (formerly of Roman Candle, SpencerAcuff) and James Wallace on drums and organ (formerly of Max Indian, The Old Ceremony). The majority of the forthcoming album was recorded in a cabin in Franklin, NC with Jeff and James in December 2010, while the rest was completed at Crawford’s Arbor Ridge Studios in Chapel Hill. The album is not yet named, and is set to release in early fall of 2011.

The duo’s first album ‘Quiet Little Room’ released in May 2010 and was self-produced, recorded and engineered by Marlin and Frantz at Rubber Room Studios in Chapel Hill. The intimate and sparse style of the tracks met critical acclaim in several reviews. Independent Weekly’s Rick Cornell states that “all across the record is the sound of voices and instruments in the dark, finding light.” In a review for swampland.com, James Clementine confidently likens the album’s harmonies to those of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Muzzle of Bees noted that their “focus moves from the instrumentation to the melody and ethos of songs … a little bit grassy, a little bit country-folk, a little bit something else.” Both North Carolina natives, Marlin’s rural upbringing and Frantz’s roots in bluegrass fiddle and harmony serve as the basis for the duo’s more explorative style. Quiet Little Room reflects the influence of traditional music on their original material, which edges into southern gothic with poignant, sometimes foreboding lyrics centered on themes of the natural world.

Mandolin Orange’s current work retains the intimacy, open space and focus established in their first album, but explores new musical territories through both Marlin’s songwriting and the addition of a full rhythm section. The band’s evolving sound reflects the eclectic musical environment of Chapel Hill, and their engaging performances are packing houses throughout North Carolina and beyond. With festivals booked for summer and Fall 2011 and an appetite for expansive touring, the second album release is sure to take this lyrical Americana act into new territory.

Find out more at mandolinorange.com, facebook.com/mandolinorange and twitter.com/mandolinorange


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Multi-instrumentalist and Producer Larry Campbell sits down with Tara Nevins (Donna the Buffalo) to discuss her upcoming solo album “Wood And Stone”. Hear music and download the song “Snowbird” for free at http://www.facebook.com/TaraNevins. To order the new album head over to www.funkyside.com.

“This album is personal and sort of revelatory,” Nevins says. “It’s an expression of recent emotional discovery within relationships lost and found, and how knowing the core of who we are is the real deal. There were so many elements I wanted to explore—to combine all the pieces of my personal musical puzzle–and then have it come together in a cohesive whole. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Larry Campbell. I am honored to have had him both produce and play on my record. He’s an amazingly talented and soulful musician. He has a very natural, down-to-earth approach and an instinctual insightfulness that I really appreciate; he really got what I was after. The whole experience was inspiring and challenging in a very positive way.”

Campbell is a much-sought-after musician/producer renowned for his work with Bob Dylan and still rolling from the success of Levon Helm’s two Grammy- winners, Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt, which he produced. He found Nevins’s project immediately compelling. “I liked the feel of the project– her combination of old-time mountain music and original songwriting—and I was taken with Tara’s unique talent; she’s got a distinctive voice—there’s a kind of honesty that shines through.”

The record kicks off with the title cut “Wood and Stone,” and that “honest” element is readily apparent in this touching tribute to home and family. Old-timey acoustics are quickly joined by drums and steel guitars as Nevins sings about “the better part of me” regarding her upbringing and early influences. “It’s got that magical blend of music and lyrics,” Campbell says of it, “and it really paints a picture of where she comes from.”

Ten of the thirteen tracks are originals, and Nevins’ complexity gets a broad stage. She dispenses wit and wisdom with an atypical take on love and relationships through gritty songs such as “You’ve Got It All” and “You’re Still Driving That Truck,” then turns to wrenching hearts with songs like “Snowbird” (accompanied by Jim Lauderdale), a beautiful metaphorical ballad about the pain of loving someone unable to truly give back, and “Tennessee River,” a haunting, gripping song about the stranglehold love can have over a person’s whole existence. “Stars Fell on Alabama” sounds like it fell from her heart and pen too, but Nevins has the capacity to take a well-known standard like this, change the melody, and perform it so ingenuously that it fits in seamlessly to the whole groove of the record.

The record is “framed” by another nostalgic piece, “The Beauty of the Days Gone By” (by Van Morrison), bringing the record full-circle and serving as a sort of catharsis for the dark tone of “Tennessee River”. “I wanted to end the record with it,” Nevins explains, “because I love the sentiment of the song and it’s kind of like ‘the sun always comes back out’ kind of thing. We grow and learn and take our relationships with us for better and for worse and that’s life in all its beauty and glory.”

Nevins’ rare blend of enormous talent coupled with genuine down-home humbleness has won the hearts of fans and colleagues alike. “Tara has this worldly awareness combined with a fragile innocence,” Larry Campbell notes, “which makes her songwriting and music very accessible…very appealing.” Wood and Stone is sure to add to that appeal.

Hear music and download “Snowbird for free at http://www.facebook.com/TaraNevins. To order the new album head over to www.funkyside.com.

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“Embrace the culture of West Asheville! Also, eat Luella’s BBQ, drink beer, and listen to some of Asheville’s best local bands,” describes Blog Asheville about All Go West on Saturday April 23rd in Asheville, NC. Here is what the Mountain Xpress had to say in previewof the event:

West is the best

All Go West Fest returns with BBQ, beer and indie music

by Nathaniel H. Axtell
Mountain Xpress www.mountainx.com
. . .   . . .    . . .This year, Samson and festival director Jimmy Hunt (also of Boone’s Music on the Mountaintop festival) are adding a second outdoor stage and offering a beer-and-barbecue tasting that pairs brews from Pisgah and Craggie with Luella’s BBQ.

. . .   . . .    . . .

What they want, say promoters, is a free, community-minded festival that boosts West Asheville’s profile and economy while promoting a wide range of up-and-coming, local artists not often heard at larger fests in the area. This year, the local artists include a preponderance of indie folk-rock acts, including For The Birds, 10 Cent Poetry, Uncle Mountain and Do it to Julia (Uncle Mountain and Do it to Julia played last year as well).

“It has turned out that way, but not intentionally,” Samson says. “I like the idea of giving bands a chance that don’t always get spots at other festivals that I really respect … these musicians, what they’re writing and the boundaries they’re pushing … they deserve to be heard.”

Getting exposure at a festival like All Go West is perhaps most important to independent artists, Hunt says, because, as the music business has gone more online, unsigned bands increasingly rely on live shows to build a buzz. Jam bands and world music artists are well-represented at many local festivals; not so with most indie acts.

“These artists can do a record in their basements,” Hunt points out. “They don’t need a big label to be successful. But a band has to have that one-on-one relationship with their fans, and the best way to do that is to play live in front of bigger crowds.”

Even more established acts, like this year’s headliner, Josh Phillips Folk Festival, see gigs like All Go West as crucial to their marketing success. In a phone interview from California (where his new album is being mixed by Ben Harper engineer Eric Serafin), Phillips says “The more hype a show you play, the more you can hype it up online and create a buzz.”

Folk Festival fans who attend All Go West will get a sneak peek at the new album, due out by September, which Phillips describes as “less world-vibe, more rockin’ than the first album. There are a couple of ska tracks, some klezmer-y sounding songs and a couple of folk-y tunes Debrissa [McKinney] and I sang in an echoing room. It’s definitely all over the map, but more heavy-hitting.”

“All over the map” describes Phillips’ supporting cast at All Go West, as well. The festival’s lineup encompasses genre-bending acts, reggae-ska, electronica, soulful songwriters, punk-thrash, funky hip-hop, Americana and more.

Hunt acknowledges that closed streets full of vendors and festival crowds may be stressful for some of the West Asheville shops near the performance area — but he hopes the festival’s community focus will more than compensate for any inconvenience.

“Hopefully, people will walk up the road and buy an album from Harvest, they’ll get a cup of coffee at Izzy’s, they’ll get a bite at the Admiral,” he says. “This really is about the betterment of the community, by supporting both independently owned businesses and independent music.”

— Nathaniel Axtell is an Asheville-based freelance writer.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2011/042011west-is-the-best

Big thanks to Ashvegas Blog for posting the release as well: http://ashvegas.squarespace.com/journal/2011/3/22/all-go-west-music-festival-in-west-asheville-set-for-april-2.html

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Dehlia Low. Photo by Sandlin Gaither

Dehlia Low is a smash hit on their tour up North with a few stops left.  CHeck out their tour dates here. They even faired a tornado and received a standing ovation at the end of their set at their show in Hayes VA, read about it here.

Tonight, Thursday April 22nd, they Play Abilene’s in Rochester; Friday at the Wellsville Creative Center in NY, then head on pver to Staunton to play the Mockingbird.  Bill Kramer with the Staunton News Leader did a great wrtiup of the band. Here are some excerpts:

Last year saw the band grow by leaps and bounds after a highly enjoyable and well-received couple of sets at the prestigious Merlefest. That momentum carried through the whole year as they recorded their concerts at choice spots that resulted in the release of their first live CD, titled simply enough “Dehlia Low — Live.” Parts of shows included in that set include those from Johnson City, Tenn.; their hometown of Asheville; and here in Staunton from their show at Mockingbird. The infectious live sound of the band’s concert experience is a good snapshot of what they’re like on stage.

The group consists of Anya Hinkle (vocals and fiddle), who comes from Blacksburg. She’s joined by Aaron Ballance (Dobro, pedal steel guitar), Stacy Claude (vocals, guitar), Bryan Clendenin (vocals, mandolin) and Greg Stiglets (bass). Their vocals are as impressive as their playing, making this group the complete package.

Because of the band’s ascension last year, they’ve recently released news that will excite their fans and give the band itself a big boost. Rebel Records, based in Charlottesville, has long been one of the mainstay labels in bluegrass music. Last month, the label signed Dehlia Low to record for them, giving them a solid national platform for their music to be promoted and more widely heard.

The group has headed into the studio to begin recording their debut on the label, its fourth release in all. The new effort could be released as early as this summer, in June or July. This new CD is being produced by Travis Book of the Infamous Stingdusters, a group that had a meteoric rise similar to the one Dehlia Low is experiencing.

. . .   . . . . . .
This ability to infuse their music with all the influences that have bubbled up from the Appalachian area from which they have risen while also maintaining a singular identity has made them a new favorite.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.newsleader.com/article/20110421/ENTERTAINMENT/104210303/1040/entertainment/Dehlia-Low-brings-traditional-bluegrass-folk-sounds-Staunton-s-Mockingbird-Saturday

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Ready for some new music from Tara Nevins? Download a free mp3 of “Snowbird” (accompanied by Jim Lauderdale) from the new album Wood and Stone, out May 3rd. Share the widget and make a comment here: http://on.fb.me/e3lYgj for a chance to win a signed vinyl copy of the album.

Please share the widget wherever you can! No email is required for the download.

American roots traditionalist Tara Nevins releases an exploration of her own heritage, musical and otherwise, in Wood and Stone, her first solo album since Mule to Ride in 1999. Wood and Stone showcases her ever-evolving repertoire as she journeys both back to her own “roots” and head-long into new territory. Set for a May 3rd release through Sugar Hill Records, the album was produced by Larry Campbell and recorded at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY, the home of the Ramble (Where she will be performing songs from the record on May 27th)! Featured guests on the album include Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, Teresa Williams, The Heartbeats, along with the core band of Larry Campbell, Justin Guip, and Byron Isaacs.

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There is a Kickstarter Campaign running now through June 18th to finish the post-production of the film, Mother’s Red Dress.

The film experience is one of the few art forms that exist where people’s lives can be emotionally affected on a personal level. Films like the Academy Award nominated PRECIOUS show us a dark world but at the same time carry a message of hope that inspires.

Latino writer/director Edgar Michael Bravo and John Paul Rice formed No Restrictions Entertainment because they enjoy telling stories that are both entertaining and deal with social issues.

They are seeking funds to finish MOTHER’S RED DRESS a social issue feature film now in post-production.

The film deals directly with the effects of domestic violence, childhood abuse and mental illness – issues we feel are important to shed light on – for the positive change that can come from awareness and action in our communities.

The story is inspired by people they know and from their own personal experiences.

Their motivation to tell the story of MOTHER’S RED DRESS comes from an understanding that far too often abuse goes unreported for years and is kept secret either willfully or with a great measure of denial but when addressed and stopped, there is hope for the victims.

Watch the trailer below and visit: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/johnpaulrice/mothers-red-dress-a-social-issue-feature-film to donate and watch another short film about the campaign.

From the creators of ‘ONE HOUR FANTASY GIRL’, No Restrictions Entertainment presents Mother’s Red Dress:

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