Archive for September, 2022

The Company Stores Independently Release The Family Album
Produced by Galactic’s Robert Mercurio
OUT TODAY – Sept 23, 2022→

The Family Album captures those moments of magic…
From endearing to personal and taking that party up a notch.
From their hearts to your soul via your listening device.
Please listen to this on a proper stereo.”
Jammerzine Exclusive: An Interview + Album Premiere, Ryan Martin

The album had me from the opening track, ‘Savannah,’ which could have easily been on a Steely Dan record (notably the guitar parts), by way of the jazz group Return to Forever. The vocals by Ileana Ille glide over the instrumentation much like those of Return to Forever’s first vocalist, Flora Purim, did. Ille’s vocals are but one of the many textured layers that blend together in unexpected ways.”
No Depression, Amos Perrine

“…a whirling musical milieu… Complete with horns to punctuate the high points’”
Americana Highways, Melissa Clarke, Song Premiere: “A New Leaf” 

“The Latin-influenced ‘Maria’ … is about relationships and patterns and is soundtrack-ready. Indeed, you can almost envision it as a theme song to a TV show…” —HVY, Will Phoenix

Watch the Official “Ways” Music Video

CHARLESTON, WV — With Horns, Strings, & Soaring Vocals, The Company Stores release The Family Album today, September 23. The album has received notable mentions in Bass Musician Magazine, No Depression, Beehive Candy, and a slot in Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s September ‘Trail Mix’ Playlist; as well as premieres in JamBase, Americana Highways, and Jammerzine. No Depression’s Amos Perrine says, “This Charleston-based band has been making a lot of noise during the past few years. I first saw them six years ago at a one-day festival where they blew much bigger names off the stage. Not in loudness, but rather the quality of their songs and their intricate arrangements.” 

This album tells a story of everything being turned upside down; both personally and across the country,” says Matthew Marks, the primary songwriter for the band.  “It is about family and understanding the triumphs, failures, tendencies, and choices of the people who came before, in order to understand how to successfully navigate where you are going.” 

The Company Stores had plans to hit the road hard, raise funds, and save to record their new album in 2020, then all plans got curtailed and almost all of their live shows and side jobs were canceled due to the pandemic. The songs were written during a time of personal havoc for Marks after his engagement had ended and he moved to his family farm, where he still resides, in March 2020 to help with his Grandad who was dying of lung cancer. While first there, he did a deep dive into his family history and roots lending to the content and mood of the album. They were able to start recording in mid-2021 after a year-long pause once things seemed safe for travel again. 

Ileana Ille

The Company Stores features lead vocalist Ileana Ille’s stunning voice as she captivates the audience with her ability to express raw emotion. Ille says, “I am honored that The Company Stores chose my voice as a vehicle to express the stories in The Family Album. Each song is a collection of the people who have shaped us and the times that made us. I hope the listeners are able to connect with the musicality, storytelling, and creativity and feel at home when they listen to it.

The Company Stores unites many influences to lay down bold grooves amidst dynamic crescendos. In addition to collaborating with Marks on song arrangements, their key/vibes/trombone player Matthew Jackfert, works as a classical broadcaster/composer and host of All Things Considered at WV Public Broadcasting (and he and his family will appear on Family Feud in mid-October). Their music is brimming with beautiful orchestral soundscapes, soaring harmonies, strings, horns, electronic textures, and a tight rhythm section including bassist Michael Micucci, Joseph Cevallos on violin/trumpet, and John Query on drums.

The Family Album was produced by Robert Mercurio, bassist for New Orleans funk legends Galactic. The instrumentation was recorded by Julian Dreyer at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville, NC. Mercurio stepped in as engineer to record the vocal parts at Galactic’s Number C Studio in New Orleans—including bringing in the Josh Kagler Choral Group to enhance the choruses on much of the album. The album was mixed and mastered by Mikael “Count” Eldridge [Trombone Shorty, DJ Shadow, The Revivalists]. 

Mercurio says, “As a producer, I feel like I saw this band grow immensely as songwriters though the process of making this album. We started working on it before the pandemic, and with their downtime they put in the work it takes to make great songs. Illy blossomed into the rock star she now is—crushing the vocals on every take. I’m very proud of the final product and had a blast working with all of them.” Along with his own band, Mercurio has production credits with an impressive list of artists including Big Freedia, Lyrics Born, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

With keys and vibes at the front, the album opens with “Savannah,” which alternates from dark and melancholy to upbeat and happy verses. Marks says, “This song is about my best and worst day in Savannah, GA. The verse is written in present time, on a day I was on tour and just found out my engagement to my fiancé had ended. The pre-chorus and chorus is me remembering my best day, when we got engaged on vacation in Savannah, GA.”

Press Shots by The Oberports 
Album Artwork by Chris Woodall 

The fiery “A New Leaf,” the second track as well as second single, explores negative patterns in life, with the lyrics, “Damn… what a year. Sucker punched me to the next hemisphere… And now I’m waking up thunderstruck. Right in front of God and everyoneBut now…clarity… A view from the floor that I had to see myself for sure. To turn over a new leaf…” 

With its rockin’ country western vibe “Ways,” the album’s lead single, continues on this theme, but sees the narrator start to recognize how choices made have developed these patterns of behavior that produce similar outcomes. “These old ways ain’t the best ways, just the ones I know… Trails blazed over time in my mind are deciding where I go… Now I gotta find peace of mind, redefine my life…”  “Ways” also sees special guests Walter DeBarr [Song of the Year in Minnesota 2021, William Elliot Whitmore] and Jodi Hall (also on “A New Leaf”) on backing vocals. “Ways” is dedicated to DeBarr, known for his soulful songwriting and deep raspy voice, who sadly passed away shortly after recording with the band.

Maria” sees someone trapped in comparisons of old relationships and incorporates Latin styles and instruments including Flamenco Guitar, Spanish Trumpet, Latin Bird Flute, Congas, Bongos, Timbales, and Talking Drum. 

Old Dog” is told from two perspectives; it has a hip hop flare on the verses—the “Old Dog” who is stuck in the past, afraid of change, and fighting the future and getting old—and heavy guitars and horns on the chorus—the “Boy” who is bluntly saying “stop barking at the shadows.” Jammerzine says of it, “Originality and presence collide in glorious splendor and raucous attitude to define our day and redefine our listening preferences. This is music.” 

Set in the minor key, “Fathers” looks into how mistakes made can be passed down for generations, stuck in a cycle and an ethereal “Blue Tide” calls out to explore the dark depths of oneself. A rock opera, “There Went The Neighborhood” is followed by the progressive “American Dream Girl.” “Some Sunday,” composed and written by Micucci, has a R&B flavor, with a focus on bass and groove. The album closes with a southern rock gospel ambience in “Castles & Cain.

The name “The Company Stores” is a throwback to the old coal mines of West Virginia referring to the store in Appalachian coal towns during the 19th and 20th century where workers were paid in coal money or “scrip,” leaving them with no exit from working the mines. This name not only shows the bands heritage, but also the gritty feel of their music and the meaning behind many of their songs about the struggles of the common man.

“Together we spent countless quarantine hours writing and the rehearsal room, growing as songwriters and musicians, and are getting excited to present what we think will be our greatest record to date.” The Family Album is preceded by Little Lights (2017), also recorded at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, and their local debut Rollin’ In (2014). 

Stream/ Order The Family Album at https://thecompanystores.hearnow.com/the-family-album.   

The Company Stores – The Family Album – Track Listing
1. Savannah (4:08)
2. A New Leaf (3:31
3. Ways (3:47)
4. Maria (5:53)
5. Old Dog (4:58)*
6. Fathers (4:07)*
7. Blue Tide (3:47)
8. There Went The Neighborhood (2:43)*
9. American Dream Girl (3:32)
10. Some Sunday (3:58)
11. Castles & Cain (3:54)
*FCC Warning: please note explicit language
Radio edited versions are available for “Old Dog” and “There Went The Neighborhood”

The Company Stores Tour Dates 
10/15 Sat – Spirits in the Sky Fest @ The Bullock Distillery – Charleston, WV
10/28 Fri – Martin’s – Jackson, MS
10/29 Sat – Tipitina’s – New Orleans, LA *w/ Galactic

Keep an eye on their website and socials for tour dates and further news: www.thecompanystoresband.com, facebook.com/thecompanystores, twitter.com/CompanyStoresWV and instagram.com/thecompanystores


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Leftover Salmon’s Andy Thorn Releases Songs of the Sunrise Fox Today 9/16

Available Now:

“Just a Banjo Player Serenading a Wild Fox” —The A.V. Club

BOULDER, CO — Leftover Salmon banjo player Andy Thorn never expected to go viral. But in 2021, he was in his backyard, playing an improvised banjo tune to a wild fox, when his wife caught the whole thing on video. The video made headlines around the world. Soon, Andy was interviewed on the Kelly Clarkson Show, The Dodo, and A & E’s Neighborhood Wars. Even Political Gabfest discussed the video. A New York Times writer, Ferris Jabr, called it “a moment plucked from Aesop.” 

Andy was stunned by the publicity, and by how many people kept asking him about the song. He finally recorded it (“Aesop Mountain”), along with 14 other banjo instrumentals. The resulting album, Songs of the Sunrise Fox, stands in contrast to the music Andy normally plays with Leftover Salmon. This new album isn’t about the flashy banjo picking favored by jam bands. Instead, it’s the banjo melodies Andy would play for his friend “Foxy” at sunrise. The stripped-down band also features Erik Deutsch [Black Crowes] on piano, Greg Garrison [Leftover Salmon] on bass, and Windfield champ Tyler Grant on guitar. 

Andy Thorn
Photo by Molly McCormick

The first single, “Aesop Mountain,” was released last month asd has already garnered nearly 100,000 listens on Spotify. This is the song from the viral video that started all the Foxy craze (that now has 3.8 million views). Thorn says, “I really enjoyed turning it into a full band tune and Erik Deutsch’s piano brought it all together.” The album also includes an acoustic solo version of the song as the closing track.

Other songs include the upbeat solo banjo tune, “Barry’s Bounce,” which was written right around the time Thorn’s baby boy Barry started bouncing around, while the solo clawhammer number “Stork Bite” was written right after his birth. “Red Sun Salutation” commemorates a wintery sunrise and “Dawn is Coming” feels like the winter storm that it was written about with the addition of Garrison and Grant adding  to the mood. “Monarch Morning” is a relaxing duet with Deutsch on piano; Andy wrote this tune in his backyard while butterflies were swirling around. 

As you keep listening you will hear more of the songs that were first performed for Foxy during the morning light, sun pillars, and sundown as his furry little friend sat down and listened and then trotted along…  Foxy even has kids of her own now. “In a world full of crazy, this brought joy to my soul. Thank you,” Eve S. wrote on YouTube. Andy is thrilled to release Songs of the Sunrise Fox and hopes it sends some joy your way as well.

Andy Thorn: Songs of the Sunrise Fox Track Listing:

1. Aesop Mountain (3:28)
2. Barry’s Bounce (1:40)
3. Red Sun Salutation (2:44)
4. Dawn is Coming (3:42)
5. Stork Bite (2:22)
6. Monarch Morning (3:39)
7. The Morning Light (1:25)
8. Whisker Twitchin’ (1:02)
9. Fox’s Fancy (3:06)
10. Fabled Way (3:45)
11. Trot Along (1:37)
12. Fox Trail (3:05)
13. Sun Pillar (1:54)
14. Silver Thorn (3:24)
15. Aesop Mountain (2:20)

Songs of the Sunrise Fox is available at  https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/andythorn/songs-of-the-sunrise-fox.
Vinyl records are  available to purchase at the website www.andythornmusic.com/shop

More information at www.andythornmusic.com, facebook.com/andythornmusic.com, instagram.com/_thornpipe_, and youtube: Andy Thorn – Thornhub.

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Witty and Engaging, Damn Tall Buildings
Independently Release Sleeping Dogs Sept 9

Stream/ Order Sleeping Dogs Today

What Folks Are Saying:

“Brooklyn indie folk trio Damn Tall Buildings have been making their way through the Americana world, releasing a trio of albums fusing roots rock, bluegrass, and swing. In their early days, the band busked together, and today their style captures that same ragtag charm and breezy joy, blending unassuming presentation with narrative observations on the mundanities of daily life.” 
Under the Radar, Caleb Campbell

“With the title song defying conventional wisdom by advising ‘Don’t you let them sleeping dogs lie,’ Damn Tall Buildings delivers an album that is anything but conventional, guaranteed to be played on repeat.” 
No Depression, Nancy Posey

“The group is damn close to excellence with songs like ‘Cold Rain.’ Here the performance is precise & the vocals resonate with vibrancy… ‘Lemons’ is mindful of the late John Hartford & expressive… They’re an engaging trio & they indeed know what they’re doing. What’s an added value is their original music is well-written & executed.”  —Americana Highways, John Apice

“I found their music to be energizing as they sing as witnesses into the world they explore”  —The Long Island Sound Podcast, Steve Yusko

“If you were needing a reason to stomp your feet (other than a tantrum), we have one.” —Dallas Observer

BROOKLYN, NY — Damn Tall Buildings are thrilled to independently release their 3rd album, Sleeping Dogs today, Sept 9. Bluegrass, roots rock, old time, and vintage swing are among the influences on this acoustic Americana trio. Whether sharing lead vocals and instrumental solos or blending their voices into loose, joyous harmony, the three members of Damn Tall Buildings—multi-instrumentalist and primary lyricist Max Capistran (guitar and banjo), bassist Sasha Dubyk, and fiddler Avery Ballotta—delight in entertaining. For a handful of tracks on the album, they brought in special guests on trumpet, drums, flutes, lap steel, and keys to add to their dynamic sound.

Damn Tall Buildings
Photos by Joe Angelini

Sleeping Dogs is a bop about looking things smack-dab-right-in-the-face and is essentially about how it has become almost impossible to not be constantly influenced by current events, media, and all of the other things that surround you in your day-to-day life.

Damn Tall Buildings produced and recorded the record themselves, back and forth between Sasha’s parents house in the south Jersey shore and in Max and Sasha’s apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. After recording, they sent their tracks to Dan Cardinal [Darlingside, Lula Wiles, Josh Ritter] at Dimension Sound Studios in Jamaica Plain, MA to mix and master. Dan also played keyboard on the title track, adding to the texture of the song.

Max says, “With us taking the recording process into our own hands, we were able to set our studio up wherever we saw fit, which completely changed the recording process for us… With this new arrangement we were able to really take our time, which gave us more freedom to really explore the songs without the pressure of running out of studio days. We all love the beach, the ocean and surfing, so we set up shop at the house smack-dab in the middle of hurricane season in the northeast, so we were literally doing takes, then running out to the beach to catch some of the finest waves New Jersey has to offer. I’m pretty sure Hurricane Larry deserves co-producer credits, actually.”

The album opens with, “What A Nice Life,” which has some extra pep to balance out the darker “I-don’t-know-who-I-am-anymore” lyrics: “And it’s been feeling mighty lonesome now that winter’s coming on… Not sure who I’ve been lately… But holy sh*t can barely stand me.” This is followed by an old timey, swingin’ “Dark Window Panes,” in which they ponder a pending apocalypse, accompanied by longtime friend and maestro of sound Garrett Eaton [Dana Williams, Gracie and Rachel] on trumpet.

Podcast” was premiered by Under the Radar who writes, “With ‘Podcast’ the band leans further into their sun-lit harmonies, rugged instrumentation, and lively performances… they deliver some deliciously biting lyrics, taking shots at the entertainment industry’s complacency as the world rushes to its end: ‘Sleeping on the ground/Thinking you’re so profound/Your podcast sucks and I think I hate you…Your bio says your an artist/Filtering all your garbage/Do you know what you’re even saying?’”

The velvety and rejuvenating “Cold Rain” was premiered by AmericanaUK who calls it, “music that is determinedly of Now.” For the song, they are joined by mandolin wizard Dylan McCarthy (a longtime DTB collaborator and 2019 Rockygrass Mandolin Champion) and rock-steady drummer Micah Cowher [STOMP in NYC]. Cowher also lays down the beat on the catchy “Sweet Girl,” with its chorus, “I am not myself, I am everyone else,” which became what the band calls, “the motto for the record; It’s basically our new anthem.” 

Damn Tall Buildings calls Sleeping Dogs, “an exploration to the depths of oneself to discover who we truly are… maybe it really is as simple as buying some new shoes, and feeling really good wearing ‘em, while you cruise down the block on the sunny side of the street.” 

You can hear this cheery sentiment echoed in the deep groove and colorful melodies of “Lemons,” in which the virtuosic flute playing of Anh Phung [Twisted Pine] elevates the song to a new level. This fresh energy can also be felt as the sunshine slips in on “Patio.

The mid-tempo shuffle “Painter” illustrates a re-emergence into the world, with a regained sense of self with its lyrics—“But I’ve got some new shoes baby, and I’m feeling so fine… And it looks like we’ve got blue skies honey, coming up a’ down the line.” Lars Thorson [Kane Brown], an adjunct member of DTB since the beginning, brings the magic of the lap steel to this track.

They slow things down a bit in an ode to waiting, “Quietly Heartbreaking,” written on a beautiful rainy day, and the gentle “My Baby.” Avery wrote “My Baby” for his partner in both life and music (and soon-to-be-wife), Emily Gervaise Moran [Aurora Birch]; to hear her guitar sing over the bridge really brings everything full circle in sound and spirit.

The album closes out with the title track, “Sleeping Dogs,” pulling from the old proverb—“Don’t you let them sleeping dogs lie”—the song emphasizes the theme of the album: don’t ignore life, get out there and live it, take pleasure and meaning from the little things that keep us all connected and growing.

The trio is individually from all over the United States (New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Montana), but were born as a band while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA in 2013. They started as buskers on Newbury Street in Boston, started touring nationally, and then moved the band to Brooklyn in 2017. Max says, “Brooklyn has an endless influence on our music. Yemeni music on iPhone speakers at the deli. Reggaeton from the street side auto shop across the street rattling our window panes. West African guitar rhythms on the walk to the train. It’s insane. We love it.”

Damn Tall Buildings
Photos by Joe Angelini

Since their busking days, they’ve made two albums—Cure-All (2014) and Don’t Look Down (2019)—and released a self-titled EP in 2015. The band’s music has been praised by publications such as Bluegrass Today, PopMatters, The Boot, Saving Country Music, The Boston Globe, The Alternate Root, Folk Radio UK and more.

Damn Tall Building says, “Our innate desire is to connect with people on a level that’s beyond day-to-day interaction. Our hope is that the joy that making this music brings us will somehow get passed along to the people listening, which they can then take with them to pass along to someone else. It’s a shared celebration of positive energy, and that’s what keeps us cooking.”

Damn Tall Buildings on Tour

9/9 Fri – Coppell Arts Center – Coppell, TX
9/10 Sat – Cactus Cafe – Austin, TX 
9/15-17 Thu-Sat – Walnut Valley Music Festival – Winfield, KS
9/27-29 Tue-Thu – IBMA Bluegrass Ramble – Raleigh, NC
9/29 Thu – The Ramkat – Winston Salem, NC
9/30 Fri – Bourgie Nights – Wilmington, NC
10/1 Sat – IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival – Martin St. Stage – Raleigh, NC
10/13 Thu – Parlor Room – Northampton, MA
10/15 Sat – Glastonbury Apple Harvest & Music Festival – Glastonbury, CT
10/16 Sun – 118 North – Wayne, PA
10/20 Thu – Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY
10/21 Fri – City Winery – Boston, MA
11/10 Thu – Prius Hall-Ball State University – Muncie, IN
11/11 Fri – Thrasher Opera House – Green Lake, WI

Website: www.damntallbuildings.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DamnTallBuildings 
Twitter: @DamnTallTweets
Instagram: www.instagram.com/gramtallbuildings 
YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/damntallbuildings

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