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Amy McCarley Launches MECO, Her 3rd Album, February 8, 2019
Co-produced by Kenny Vaughan & George Bradfute

Kenny Vaughan & Chris Scruggs Join McCarley on the Entire Album
Featuring special guests:
Pat Alger, Marty Stuart, Kenny Lovelace, Harry Stinson, and George Bradfute

Available Now To Stream & Purchase→  http://radi.al/MECOAmyMcCarley

MECO_ALBUM_COVERARTHUNTSVILLE, AL —  With poignant and thought provoking lyrics, Amy McCarley finds balance in a new perspective with the launch of MECO, her 3rd studio album, out February 8, 2019. After collaborating in writing new songs with Bluebird Cafe round-mate and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer, Pat Alger, McCarley returned to the studio with esteemed colleagues, co-producers Kenny Vaughan & George Bradfute to work on MECO, her highly anticipated follow up to 2014’s Jet Engines. MECO was recorded and mixed by Bradfute in his Tone Chaparral Studios in Madison, Tennessee and mastered by Jim DeMain at Yes Master Studios in Nashville.

An acronym borrowed from the Space Shuttle program that stands for Main Engine Cut Off, MECO occurred for the shuttle when onboard propulsion systems were disengaged at an altitude where velocity could be maintained by the power of an innate force at work in the universe with periodic adjustments from the vehicle. The album traces McCarley’s experience of what it’s been like leaving life as a NASA contractor to pursue a career in music.

Featuring two of Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives on the entire album including Vaughan on guitar and multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs on drums, percussion, bass, and steel guitar; it is only fitting that Harry Stinson joins in on backing vocals on a track and Stuart himself plays mandolin onNever Can Tell.”

The ten tracks of all original material feature McCarley’s yearning vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmonica. Alger, who co-wrote half of the songs on MECO says of McCarley, “Super, super intense guitar style. And I was so fascinated by it. Everything she did was real. Super intense. She’s just a different kind of performer.”  Alger describes the series of events leading to a co-writing partnership that yielded half the songs on MECO in this video cliphttps://youtu.be/oY3V2ZZwTXU

Uniquely relatable, this northern Alabama native’s music is embraced by Americana fans across the country and abroad. Vaughan says, “I think all of her songs come from a personal experience. Each song is about something she’s gone through, which is good because it gives her a little edge on the delivery. The emotional content kinda comes through in there.”

What Folks Are Saying:

MECO demonstrates beyond doubt that Amy McCarley has established a clear flightpath in Americana music with her blend of country rock sung with a world weariness that immediately brings to mind Lucinda Williams… in MECO she has reached an elevation that deserves a wider acclaim to propel her musical voyage.”
Americana Music Show, Lyndon Bolton,
Listen in to Lyndon Bolton’s podcast interview with McCarley on Americana Music Show

“Not only can McCarley write songs, sing them and play a mean acoustic guitar, she has an astute sense for musical support…. this is a can’t miss effort.”
Country Standard Time, Jim Hynes

“With any luck, the record should propel McCarley into the big time at least as quickly as a NASA rocket launches a capsule into space. It combines mainstream accessibility with the sort of authenticity and depth you’d associate with artists like Lucinda Williams.”
The Morton Report, Jeff Burger

“Marshall Chapman, Lucinda Williams, and (delightfully) Linda McRae come to mind as McCarley utilizes various aspects of her lithe voice, the result entirely her own with soulful shades of her Alabama roots apparent.” 
Fervor Coulee, Donald Teplyske

“It is superb… She possesses a strong and expressive voice that can display presentiment and positivity equally… Vaughan and Bradfute’s production is spot on, never overwhelming the vocal or getting in the way of the song.” 
Lonesome Highway, Stephen Rapid

“… there’s a reflective spirit and emotional honesty that’s very transparent on the listen, as each song is carefully crafted and delivered with a pensive, gorgeous timelessness.”
Take Effect Reviews, Tom Haugen

More About MECO:

With Scruggs’ wild driving rhythm and Vaughan’s insane blazing solo, the album opens with  “A Clue,” a determined revelatory song started in McCarley’s days at NASA. A song of finding strength in perseverance, “Clarksdale Blues” features Bradfute on slide guitar and gives a sense of those wide open blue skies in the Mississippi Delta, the location of the song’s inspiration.

Jerry Lee Lewis band leader, Kenny Lovelace, plays fiddle on the upbeat and breezy tune “Ain’t Life Funny” which muses about how life can tell a joke, “Just when we think that things are humming… Ain’t it funny how it all goes up in smoke.” McCarley says, “He cranks it all up to where either a square dance or hippie jig seem equally appropriate to me.”

Triumphant and joyful, “High Wire” is about survival. McCarley says, “Kenny and Chris brought the emotion in ‘High Wire’ to full impact during the instrumental break right after I sing ‘A little bird perched on a limb / In a wild storm in the wind / I will sway I will bend / With eyes wide open / And drink it in.” Other songs demonstrate a cathartic release in a new perspective such as “Everything Changed,” “Happy,” and “Farewell Paradise.

Sorrow and gratitude go hand in hand on the dream-like “Days” which features McCarley’s co-writer Pat Alger playing lead acoustic guitar and recalls treasured moments with loved ones which can go by so quickly. “Never Can Tell” is a song about finding meaning amidst uncertainty and “How You Do” is more plaintive in nature.

McCarley’s trajectory is defined by her personal strength as an artist and her ability to learn through the enormous collaborative power of connecting with other stellar talents. She says, “It has taken everything I have plus the guiding unseen hands of time and chance together with support from some incredibly talented generous souls in order for this album to be made and on its way to listeners.”

MECO Track Listing & Credits:
1. A Clue (4:41)*
2. Clarksdale Blues (4:18)*
3. Everything Changed (5:28)
4. High Wire (4:20)
5. Days (3:13)*
6. Never Can Tell (2:39)
7. How You Do (4:32)
8. Happy (4:12)*
9. Ain’t Life Funny (3:04)*
10. Farewell Paradise (3:57)

Amy McCarley — vocals, acoustic guitar (all), harmonica (7)
Kenny Vaughan — electric guitar, acoustic guitar (all)
Chris Scruggs — drums, percussion, and bass (all), steel guitar (5,10), backing vocals (10)
George Bradfute — slide guitar (2), fiddle (6), viola and cello (7), fiddle and mandolin (8)
Pat Alger — acoustic guitar (5)
Marty Stuart — mandolin (6)
Kenny Lovelace — fiddle (9)
Harry Stinson — backing vocals (10)

Producers — Kenny Vaughan & George Bradfute
Audio & mix engineer — George Bradfute (Tone Chaparral)
Mastering engineer — Jim DeMain (Yes Master Studios)

*Indicates a song written by Amy McCarley & Pat Alger

© 2019 McCarley Publishing (BMI) & Algerhythms (ASCAP)
All other songs written by Amy McCarley © 2019 McCarley Publishing


For more information, please visit  www.amymccarley.com, www.facebook.com/amymccarleymusic, www.twitter.com/amy_mccarley,  www.instagram.com/amymccarleymusic.

 

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ReedFoehl_LuckyEnough_13x13_cover
Reed Foehl Releases 5th Studio Album,
Lucky Enough, Feb 1, 2019

Recorded in Austin, TX with The Band of Heathens
Co-Produced by Reed Foehl with Gordy Quist and Ed Jurdi


Available Now On All Outlets to Stream and Purchase → http://hyperurl.co/3xm6td

POWNAL, VT — With the Feb. 1, 2019, release of Reed Foehl’s fifth solo album, Lucky Enough, fans will get a dose of powerful medicine, a cathartic collection of 10 songs that Foehl recorded with help from a mighty musical force, The Band of Heathens, at their Finishing School studio in Austin, Texas. It’s an album that will undoubtedly solidify his standing as one of the most compelling and vital Americana artists around.

On Lucky Enough, Foehl touches on a range of Americana styles, all with emotionally charged lyrics and can’t-get-out-of-your-head choruses, from somber folk elegies and gospel-tinged tunes to barroom country singalongs and jaunty calypso-flavored, country-infused pop. These are deeply personal songs for Foehl, and while they were written during some dark days, there’s a sense of optimism and gratitude, an overriding feeling that the hope outshines the heartbreak.

Lucky Enough is dedicated to the memory of Foehl’s mother — “the Queen of Everything” — and a keen sense of loss flavors the album. But there’s also a sense of hope, of forward momentum, change and a celebration of love, including not just the romantic variety but the kind a guy has for the oldest of old friends. For Foehl, creating Lucky Enough with The Band of Heathens has been a cathartic process. “If I can help myself, maybe I can help others,” he says. “You’ve got to keep moving forward. I think that’s the important thing. Live to fight another day.”

What People Are Saying:

“Certain songwriters have an innate gift for infectious songs that just linger for days on end. Reed Foehl is one of them. Each song on his fifth album, Lucky Enough, tells a story in his quietly understated way that somehow results in powerful imagery and emotions… This is as good as songwriting gets. Foehl’s lyrics are often astonishing and his relaxed, comforting approach works wonders.” —Glide, Jim Hynes

“His voice—smooth, companionable, and flavoured with a touch of palatable wisdom—is the first thing one is likely to notice. But the songs are masterfully constructed, some poetic and symbolic, most situational explorations brought to fruition with elegantly nuanced instrumentation… ‘Stealing Starlight’ and ‘American Miles’—both expansive, grandly produced three-minute epics, worthy entertainment for listeners who appreciate Josh Ritter, Fleet Foxes, or Vance Joy.” Fervor Coulee, Donald Teplyske

The Bluegrass Situation premiered “Stealing Starlight”

“Reed Foehl’s excellent album Lucky Enough takes the listener on an existential journey to fill life’s holes. Written at an impossibly difficult time in Foehl’s life, while he was caring for his mother who was battling cancer, Foehl would be understood for writing a melancholy record. Lucky Enough ducks expectation. It does not feel melancholy. It feels settled. Not resigned, but at peace with life’s challenges and tribulations.” The Marinade with Jason Earle, Listen in to a Podcast Interview

“Reed has the ability to transport the soul, a true master. One of the great songwriters of our time.” —Gregory Alan Isakov. Isakov co-wrote the debut track, “American Miles,” a road song that was inspired by traveling and the great american landscape. Glide Magazine premiered “American Miles”

“Reed Foehl is like a brother to me, we’ve traveled a lot of miles on the road together, and I don’t think they make better singer-songwriters than him.” —Todd Snider  

“He starts out with the gentle strumming ‘Stealing Starlight’ and the quiet acoustics of ‘American Miles,’ which just excels into the beautiful landscape that Reed paints with his words. He begins to pick the tempo up with the steady rhythm of ‘If It Rains’ and ‘He’s On An Island,’ but sandwiched in-between is the piano ballad ‘Carousel Horses.’ Reed Foehl finishes up his new album with the pop/folk tone of ‘Wish I Knew’ and wonderfully, emotion-filled ‘Color Me In.’” JP’s Music Blog, Jim Pasinski

“I fell for this album just a few moments into its first track, ‘Stealing Starlight.’ There is something so sad and yet oddly comforting in Reed Foehl’s vocal delivery that worked on me immediately and pulled me in, so that I wanted to pay closer attention to every word, to see what this voice had to tell me.”
Michael’s Music Log, Michael Doherty

“Reed Foehl is a familiar voice in the wilderness calling you home.  His songs are part New England Folklore, told around an old wood stove in the midst of a winter’s blizzard and part Southern Charm, warm and inviting, like the spring breeze that welcome the magnolia blossoms.” —Ed Jurdi, The Band of Heathens

“Reed’s songs hit you in the heart, and everything else falls away” —Anais Mitchell

reed guitar hi res photo_ByKateDrewMiller

Reed Foehl. Photo By Kate Drew Miller

More About Reed Foehl & Lucky Enough:

Foehl certainly took an unexpected route in getting to Lucky Enough. Then again, he says, “I’ve always done things very unconventionally.”

A New England native who had long lived in Colorado, Foehl was making a big move, heading to Nashville to continue his craft as an artist and a songwriter. That made sense after co-writing the leadoff song (“Fly”) with up-and-coming country singer/songwriter Brent Cobb on Lee Ann Womack’s 2014 GRAMMY nominated album, The Way I’m Livin’.

On the way, he got a call from his mother, Linda. She had lymphoma, and she needed him. He didn’t hesitate, ditching his fully loaded car in Nashville and flying straight home to Massachusetts. “It put in perspective what life’s about,” he says. “This was important, definitely more than any of these records I’ve made.”

While he cared for his mother, Foehl kept at his songwriting, thanks to the sponsorship of a longtime friend and hockey teammate. Keeping the creative flames burning was vital. “It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. I’m writing songs so people can hear them and so I can be OK. That’s really the gist of it,” he says.

After Foehl lost his mother in July 2017, he knew he had to keep moving forward and started thinking about recording an album. Although he launched his solo career with the release of Spark in 2001, he played in bands for years, notably fronting Acoustic Junction and then as a charter member of Great American Taxi. For his fifth solo album, he thought, why not go into the studio with a full-fledged band? “With all my records. I like to take leaps and chances and want to try different things,” he says. “I said, ‘What about doing it with The Band of Heathens?’”

Foehl had toured as an opener with The Band of Heathens, and he knew and loved their tones and sound and how they worked together. The Heathens, for their part, had really hit it off with Foehl on tour and were primed to help him make an album. “We really dug his stuff and felt like it would be a good match,” said Ed Jurdi, who co-produced Lucky Enough with Foehl and fellow Heathen Gordy Quist, with both Jurdi and Quist adding guitars and vocals on the album. “What I felt our job was, was to put him in a position where he could do his thing, just really make him comfortable. The record is about Reed and his songs, so how do we elevate that by adding what we can do? The idea as a producer is to both create a record the artist likes and making an album that the artist didn’t know they could make.”

The great thing about the Heathens, Foehl says, is they always knew when to hold back and when to let it rip, deftly embellishing the 10 songs on Lucky Enough. “They are very much chameleon-like,” Foehl said of the Heathens, “capable and talented enough to adapt and play any style of music.”

Foehl’s solo career has been bookended by loss, losing his father, Billy, in 2001 around the time Spark came out and then his mother preceding Lucky Enough, with three albums in between — 2007’s Stoned Beautiful, 2009’s Once an Ocean and 2014’s Lost in the West. Growing up in Dover, Mass., his parents were a huge influence for Foehl, filling the house with John Prine music and playing for decades together in a bluegrass/country band called The Centre Streeters. His parents encouraged him in his musical passion, regularly taking him to Boston, where he cut his teeth as a performer, busking at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace at the tender age of 11.

ReedFoehl_LuckyEnough_back.jpgLucky Enough Track Listing
1. Stealing Starlight (3:33)
2. American Miles (3:22)
3. If It Rains (4:48)
4. Takes a Long Time to Make Old Friends (3:18)
5. Carousel Horses (3:00)
6. He’s on an Island (3:26)
7. Running Out of You (3:46)
8. Wish I Knew (2:36)
9. Hello My Dear (4:12)
10. Color Me In (3:28)

Reed Foehl – lead vocals and acoustic guitar
Gordy Quist – guitars, background vocals
Ed Jurdi – guitars, background vocals
Trevor Nealon – keyboards, background vocals
Jesse Wilson – bass guitar, background vocals
Richard Millsap – drums, background vocals
Geoff Queen – pedal steel

Engineered and mixed by Steve Christensen
Mastered by Fred Kevorkian
Green Mountain Records

Reed Foehl On Tour Supporting Todd Snider!
3/13 Wed – The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
3/14 Thu – Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA
3/15 Fri – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
3/17 Sun – Infinity Music Hall & Bistro – Hartford, CT
3/18 Mon – The Birchmere – Alexandria, VA
3/20 Wed- The Beacon Theater – Hopewell, VA
3/22 Fri – Lincoln Theater – Raleigh, NC
3/23 Sat – The Ramkat – Winston-Salem, NC
3/24 Sun – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC
5/2 Thu – The Jefferson Theater – Charlottesville, VA
5/3 Fri – The Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA
5/4 Sat – Rams Head On Stage – Annapolis, MD

For more information and updates, please visit www.reedfoehlmusic.com, www.facebook.com/ReedFoehl, www.twitter.com/reedfoehl, and www.instagram.com/reedfoehl.

 

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ReedFoehl_LuckyEnough_13x13_cover

Reed Foehl To Release 5th Studio Album, Lucky Enough, Feb 1, 2019

Recorded in Austin, TX with The Band of Heathens
Co-Produced by Reed Foehl with Gordy Quist and Ed Jurdi

On Tour with Todd Snider in March!


POWNAL, VT —
With the Feb. 1, 2019, release of Reed Foehl’s fifth solo album, Lucky Enough, fans will get a dose of powerful medicine, a cathartic collection of 10 songs that Foehl recorded with help from a mighty musical force, The Band of Heathens, at their Finishing School studio in Austin, Texas. It’s an album that will undoubtedly solidify his standing as one of the most compelling and vital Americana artists around.

Other artists have long sung the praises of Foehl. As fellow songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov notes, “Reed has the ability to transport the soul, a true master. One of the great songwriters of our time.”

Isakov co-wrote the debut track, “American Miles,” a road song that was inspired by traveling and the great american landscape. Glide Magazine premiered the song and writes, “…the vocals in the beginning immediately conjure images of staring out the window of a car as it cruises along a lonesome highway at sunrise. Foehl keeps the instrumentation sparse, letting a lightly picked acoustic and the quiet thumb of a drum create the groove while the occasional flourish of a piano and a tambourine. His vocals have a dreamy folk quality that reflects the quietly reflective lyrics.”

Listen to “American Miles”→ http://bit.ly/AmericanMiles_GlidePremiere.

Todd Snider, whom Foehl will be touring with in March 2019, says, “Reed Foehl is like a brother to me. We’ve had a lot of miles on the road together, and I don’t think they make better singer-songwriters than him.”

Ed Jurdi of The Band of Heathens, a fellow native of Massachusetts, was downright poetic in his expression of admiration for Foehl, “Reed Foehl is a familiar voice in the wilderness calling you home. His songs are part New England folklore, told around an old wood stove in the midst of a winter’s blizzard and part Southern charm, warm and inviting, like the spring breeze that welcome the magnolia blossoms.”

On Lucky Enough, Foehl touches on a range of Americana styles, all with emotionally charged lyrics and can’t-get-out-of-your-head choruses, from somber folk elegies (“Stealing Starlight” and “American Miles”)  and gospel-tinged tunes (“Carousel Horses”) to barroom country singalongs (“Long Time to Make Old Friends”) and jaunty calypso-flavored, country-infused pop (“Wish I Knew”). These are deeply personal songs for Foehl, and while they were written during some dark days, there’s a sense of optimism and gratitude, an overriding feeling that the hope outshines the heartbreak.

The uncannily cinematic album takes its title from the chorus of “If It Rains,” on its surface a Dust Bowl ballad about persistence in the face of the vagaries of nature. “If it don’t shed a tear, we wait ’til next year, heartbroken but lucky enough,” Foehl sings in the unforgettably melodic chorus. With the final verse, it’s clear the song digs deeper than drought when he sings, in a voice worn and weary but warm:

With the cold came the snow

On our favorite place to go

I carved the slated path

Just thought you should know

And built a wooden bench

Then laid it in cement

Out of love and in memory of.”

Foehl certainly took an unexpected route in getting to Lucky Enough. Then again, he says, “I’ve always done things very unconventionally.”

A New England native who had long lived in Colorado, Foehl was making a big move, heading to Nashville to continue his craft as an artist and a songwriter. That made sense after co-writing the leadoff song (“Fly”) with up-and-coming country singer/songwriter Brent Cobb on Lee Ann Womack’s 2014 GRAMMY nominated album, The Way I’m Livin’.

On the way, he got a call from his mother, Linda. She had lymphoma, and she needed him. He didn’t hesitate, ditching his fully loaded car in Nashville and flying straight home to Massachusetts. “It put in perspective what life’s about,” he says. “This was important, definitely more than any of these records I’ve made.”

While he cared for his mother, Foehl kept at his songwriting, thanks to the sponsorship of a longtime friend and hockey teammate. Keeping the creative flames burning was vital. “It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. I’m writing songs so people can hear them and so I can be OK. That’s really the gist of it,” he says.

After Foehl lost his mother in July 2017, he knew he had to keep moving forward and started thinking about recording an album. Although he launched his solo career with the release of Spark in 2001, he played in bands for years, notably fronting Acoustic Junction and then as a charter member of Great American Taxi. For his fifth solo album, he thought, why not go into the studio with a full-fledged band? “With all my records. I like to take leaps and chances and want to try different things,” he says. “I said, ‘What about doing it with The Band of Heathens?’”

Foehl had toured as an opener with The Band of Heathens, and he knew and loved their tones and sound and how they worked together. And The Heathens had just opened their own studio in Austin, christening it by recording an update of the entire landmark Ray Charles album, A Message from the People. “These guys are really good,” Foehl says. “If I hire them, it’s a built in sound. They’ve been playing together forever.”

The Heathens, for their part, had really hit it off with Foehl on tour and were primed to help him make an album. “We really dug his stuff and felt like it would be a good match,” said Ed Jurdi, who co-produced Lucky Enough with Foehl and fellow Heathen Gordy Quist, with both Jurdi and Quist adding guitars and vocals on the album. “What I felt our job was, was to put him in a position where he could do his thing, just really make him comfortable. The record is about Reed and his songs, so how do we elevate that by adding what we can do? The idea as a producer is to both create a record the artist likes and making an album that the artist didn’t know they could make.”

The great thing about the Heathens, Foehl says, is they always knew when to hold back and when to let it rip, deftly embellishing the 10 songs on Lucky Enough. “They are very much chameleon-like,” Foehl said of the Heathens, “capable and talented enough to adapt and play any style of music.”

Quist even pitched in on the writing of “Wish I Knew,” helping Foehl take the song in a direction he would never have thought to go. Musically, it playfully moves along at a frisky pace, while lyrically Foehl wrestles with some of the life’s big questions:

If the choices were just black and white

I’d a half a chance to get things right

How to make it through the dark of night

Only wish I wish I knew

In addition to Quist and Jurdi, the other Heathens playing on the album include Trevor Nealon (keyboards), Jesse Wilson (bass guitar), and Richard Millsap, (who played drums as well as electric guitar), along with Geoff Queen on pedal steel. Lucky Enough, which will be released on Green Mountain Records, was engineered and mixed by Steve Christensen and mastered by Fred Kevorkian.

Foehl’s solo career has been bookended by loss, losing his father, Billy, in 2001 around the time Spark came out and then his mother preceding Lucky Enough, with three albums in between — 2007’s Stoned Beautiful, 2009’s Once an Ocean and 2014’s Lost in the West. Growing up in Dover, Mass., his parents were a huge influence for Foehl, filling the house with John Prine music and playing for decades together in a bluegrass/country band called The Centre Streeters. His parents encouraged him in his musical passion, regularly taking him to Boston, where he cut his teeth as a performer, busking at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace at the tender age of 11.

Lucky Enough is dedicated to the memory of Foehl’s mother — “the Queen of Everything” — and a keen sense of loss flavors the album. But there’s also a sense of hope, of forward momentum, change and a celebration of love, including not just the romantic variety but the kind a guy has for the oldest of old friends. For Foehl, creating Lucky Enough with The Band of Heathens has been a cathartic process. “If I can help myself, maybe I can help others,” he says. “You’ve got to keep moving forward. I think that’s the important thing. Live to fight another day.”

Reed Foel Holiday Shows This December with Gregory Alan Isakov
12/22-22 Fri-Sat – Gold Hill Inn, Boulder, CO

reed guitar hi res photo_ByKateDrewMiller

Reed Foehl
Photo by Kate Drew Miller

Reed Foehl On Tour Supporting Todd Snider March 2019!
3/13 Wed – The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
3/14 Thu – Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA
3/15 Fri – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
3/17 Sun – Infinity Music Hall & Bistro – Hartford, CT
3/18 The Birchmere – Alexandria, VA
3/20 Wed- The Beacon Theater – Hopewell, VA
3/22 Fri – Lincoln Theater – Raleigh, NC
3/23 Sat – The Ramkat – Winston-Salem, NC
3/24 Sun – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC

Lucky Enough Track Listing
1. Stealing Starlight (3:33)
2. American Miles (3:22)
3. If It Rains (4:48)
4. Takes a Long Time to Make Old Friends (3:18)
5. Carousel Horses (3:00)
6. He’s on an Island (3:26)
7. Running Out of You (3:46)
8. Wish I Knew (2:36)
9. Hello My Dear (4:12)
10. Color Me In (3:28)

Reed Foehl – lead vocals and acoustic guitar
Gordy Quist – guitars, background vocals
Ed Jurdi – guitars, background vocals
Trevor Nealon – keyboards, background vocals
Jesse Wilson – bass guitar, background vocals
Richard Millsap – drums, background vocals
Geoff Queen – pedal steel

For more information and updates, please visit www.reedfoehlmusic.com, www.facebook.com/ReedFoehl, www.twitter.com/reedfoehl, and www.instagram.com/reedfoehl.

 

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MECO_ALBUM_COVERART
Amy McCarley To Release
MECO, Her 3rd Album, February 8, 2019
Co-produced by Kenny Vaughan & George Bradfute

Kenny Vaughan & Chris Scruggs Join McCarley on the Entire Album
Featuring special guests:
Pat Alger, Marty Stuart, Kenny Lovelace, Harry Stinson, and George Bradfute

The sound quality on ‘High Wire,’ like the rest of the album, is clear, spacious and uncluttered… McCarley’s voice rings out like a sultry blues nightclub singer, as the music spins a country waltz on the high wire.
Americana Highways premiered the first single, “High Wire

“High Wire” Available Now → http://radi.al/AmyMcCarleyHighWire

HUNTSVILLE, AL —  With poignant and thought provoking lyrics, Amy McCarley finds balance in a new perspective with MECO, her 3rd studio album due out February 8, 2019. After collaborating in writing new songs with Bluebird Cafe round-mate and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer, Pat Alger, McCarley returned to the studio with esteemed colleagues, co-producers Kenny Vaughan & George Bradfute to work on MECO, her highly anticipated follow up to 2014’s Jet Engines. MECO was recorded and mixed by Bradfute in his Tone Chaparral Studios in Madison, Tennessee and mastered by Jim DeMain at Yes Master Studios in Nashville.

A rhythm section all in himself, multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs lent his talents not only on drums, percussion, and bass, but also steel guitar. Alongside special guests Marty Stuart, Pat Alger, Kenny Lovelace, and Harry Stinson — the future is bright for fans of Amy McCarley.

Uniquely relatable, this northern Alabama native’s music is embraced by Americana fans across the country and abroad. Vaughan says, “I think all of her songs come from a personal experience. Each song is about something she’s gone through, which is good because it gives her a little edge on the delivery. The emotional content kinda comes through in there.”

MECO, an acronym borrowed from the Space Shuttle program that stands for Main Engine Cut Off, occurred for the shuttle when onboard propulsion systems were disengaged at an altitude where velocity could be maintained by the power of an innate force at work in the universe with periodic adjustments from the vehicle. The album traces McCarley’s experience of what it’s been like leaving life as a NASA contractor to pursue a career in music.

McCarley explains the inspiration behind the album, “Similar to shuttle missions, the trajectory of my path has been defined by how well I have been able to develop personal strength as an artist to the point where the possibility of connecting with the enormous collaborative power of other worldly talent exists. It has taken everything I have plus the guiding unseen hands of time and chance together with support from some incredibly talented generous souls in order for this album to be made and on its way to listeners.”

She says in an interview with Wide Open Country, “It’s taught me to be grateful for every opportunity and all the talented people I’ve had the good fortune to work with on this project. It’s taught me to do my best and then let go of the need for the outcome to be a certain way. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t forget and need to relearn all this over and over. I’ve certainly not graduated from the school of life!”

Her sultry voice was lauded by No Depression as “a nuanced instrument” and her drive and determination to continue charging forward is readily apparent on MECO with a blazing backing band to accent in instrumentation what her emotion filled vocals bring forth in each song.

This is McCarley’s second album working with Vaughan (Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, The Pretenders, Lana Del Rey, et al) and Bradfute (Webb Wilder, Planet Rockers, et al) at the helm since she left the NASA contracting world in 2013. Both also accompany her in performance on MECO, with Vaughan taking the lead on electric and playing acoustic guitar on the entire album and Bradfute performing on slide guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and other strings.

McCarley says, “What Kenny brings to this whole project as producer and lead guitarist cannot be overstated. Together with a stellar assembled cast —including mighty partner in crime, co-producer / engineer / studio owner, George Bradfute— his influence and signature sound took this album to a place I never would have known to go on my own that I feel so fortunate to be able to share with the world.”

The ten tracks of all original material feature McCarley’s yearning vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmonica. Alger, who co-wrote half of the songs on MECO says of McCarley, “Super, super intense guitar style. And I was so fascinated by it. Everything she did was real. Super intense. She’s just a different kind of performer.”

Throughout the album there are songs of determination and revelation (“A Clue”), perseverance after despair (“Clarksdale Blues”), and cathartic release in a new perspective (“Everything Changed,” “Happy,” “Farewell Paradise”). There are melodies of joyful triumph (“High Wire”), gratitude (”Days”), and a song about finding meaning amidst uncertainty (“Never Can Tell”). Some are plaintive in nature (“How You Do,”)  while others are breezy lighthearted observations on universal topics (“Ain’t Life Funny”).

Based in Huntsville, Alabama, McCarley toured over 200 dates in support of her second album, Jet Engines, and is expecting to tour throughout 2019 with MECO. McCarley has made many festival appearances including Maverick Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, Kate Wolf Music Festival, W.C. Handy Music Festival, 30A Songwriters Festival, EarleFest, Rocket City Summer Fest and Panoply Arts Festival, as well as unofficial showcases at Folk Alliance International, SXSW, and AmericanaFest. She has performed as an opening act and toured with a variety of performers including Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Ronnie Milsap, John Hiatt, Kenny Vaughan Trio, Pat Alger, Doyle Bramhall II, Kim Richey, Webb Wilder, Kevin Gordon, Claire Lynch, Lilly Hiatt, Delta Rae, Edwin McCain, and The Grahams.

MECO Track Listing & Credits:
1. A Clue (4:41)*
2. Clarksdale Blues (4:18)*
3. Everything Changed (5:28)
4. High Wire (4:20)
5. Days (3:13)*
6. Never Can Tell (2:39)
7. How You Do (4:32)
8. Happy (4:12)*
9. Ain’t Life Funny (3:04)*
10. Farewell Paradise (3:57)

Amy McCarley — vocals, acoustic guitar (all), harmonica (7)
Kenny Vaughan — electric guitar, acoustic guitar (all)
Chris Scruggs — drums, percussion, and bass (all), steel guitar (5,10), backing vocals (10)
George Bradfute — slide guitar (2), fiddle (6), viola and cello (7), fiddle and mandolin (8)
Pat Alger — acoustic guitar (5)
Marty Stuart — mandolin (6)
Kenny Lovelace — fiddle (9)
Harry Stinson — backing vocals (10)

Producers — Kenny Vaughan & George Bradfute
Audio & mix engineer — George Bradfute (Tone Chaparral)
Mastering engineer — Jim DeMain (Yes Master Studios)

*Indicates a song written by Amy McCarley & Pat Alger

© 2019 McCarley Publishing (BMI) & Algerhythms (ASCAP)
All other songs written by Amy McCarley © 2019 McCarley Publishing

For more information, please visit  www.amymccarley.com, www.facebook.com/amymccarleymusic, www.twitter.com/amymccarley,  www.instagram.com/amymccarleymusic.

 

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TaylorMartin_SongDogs_CoverArt_2018

Taylor Martin Releases Song Dogs on November 16 on Little King Records
Produced by Amanda Anne Platt at Sound Temple Studios in Asheville, NC
Featuring Members of Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, Mountain Heart, and more


First Single: “Little Pictures” Available Now →  https://taylormartin.hearnow.com/little-pictures

More about Taylor Martin at https://about.me/songdogs

ASHEVILLE, NC — Taylor Martin brings you music with a beating heart; his raspy, emotion filled voice is instantly recognizable and his lyrics have an unflinching sincerity. Martin releases his third album, Song Dogs November 16, 2018 on Little King Records. On it, he spins tales of the highway, homes, lost love, love regained, redemption, and the overuse of cell phones. The Honeycutters’ Amanda Anne Platt took the lead as Music Producer (along with adding harmony vocals on a handful of songs) with the help of Co-Producer and Engineer, Robert George, and Martin’s visions for the album. The album was recorded at Sound Temple Studios in Asheville, North Carolina.

“Taylor Martin is a killer songwriter,” declares Platt. “He’s got a great sense of melody and an ability to write classic, accessible songs about things we all take for granted. It’s also to his credit that he hits all sides of the spectrum– there are toe tappers and tear jerkers on this album and everything in between. I’m a big fan of the saying, ‘Great songs produce themselves,’ I certainly found that to be true in working with Taylor.”

The album’s bluesy opener “Little Pictures” tips the brim to people like Professor Longhair while having a contemporary social commentary. The song is what Martin calls his, “observation of people being lost to reality and the death of empathy and the human experience. People being on cell phones too much are missing out on the beauty of the world.” It also invites the listener to put down their electronics and sink further into the experience of the album. Americana Highways premieres the official music video for “Little Pictures and write, “The song rings instantly familiar and simplifies a complex message in clear lyrical fashion, over catchy, punchy, piano-prominent rhythms.”

A resident of Asheville, North Carolina since 2004, Martin has been creating music since 1994. He blends musical styles: the approach to music he grew up with in Richmond, Virginia; the western spirit he experienced living five years in Paradise, Utah; and the sounds of southern rock, country, and rhythm n’ blues.

The album features some of the finest, most innovative musicians in acoustic music today including, not only The Honeycutters’ Amanda Anne Platt, but also their guitarist and pedal steel player, Matthew Smith. Mountain Heart’s Aaron Ramsey (mandolin, acoustic guitar) and Josh Shilling (Piano, B3, Wurlitzer) perform on much of the album along with Jon Stickley Trio’s Lyndsay Pruett on fiddle. Drummer Richie Jones [Ralph Roddenbery, Donna Hopkins Band] and bassist Matt Dufon perform on all eleven tracks. Asheville guitar legend, Aaron “Woody” Wood, takes the lead on acoustic and electric guitars on a handful of tracks, GRAMMY winner Debrissa McKinney (Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Empire Strikes Brass) lends harmony vocals on a song and Phil Alley adds some texture with his Telecaster on a track.

“I was supported by mostly local musicians for Song Dogs, says Martin. “Josh came in from Nashville and Richie came from Atlanta, but other than that it’s all friends from Asheville. There’s a lot of love on this record. Having close friends record with you really helps the album go deeper.”

“Working on Taylor’s albums has always been an awesome process,” says Josh Shilling.  “His distinct melodies, chord progressions, and organic recording approach create a unique and extremely vibey song and sound. His ability to pull the perfect band together makes the recording sessions feel amazing, and I love that he’s seeking emotional, human performances more than perfect performances. There’s some grit and soul on this record that feels like it came from another time and place… perhaps an Allman Brothers or Leon Russell time and place.”

“I’ve always tried to write from the heart and to do that there just has to be a story underneath,” says Martin. From the catchy “Here Comes The Flood” to the mellow and rolling “Eden Colorado” (with Wood’s expansive guitar solo and the delicate interplay of Smith’s pedal steel) to the dreamlike “Second Sight (with it’s lucid surf tones and Pruett’s orchestral string arrangement) to the more pop-oriented “Hollywood” (featuring McKinney on harmony vocals), the album will have you hooked.

Our Memories” is a lonesome duet that reflects on remaining in a home after the love has moved out and the remnants are left behind; Martin and Platt’s vocals intermingle with the sultry fiddle and pedal steel melodies of Pruett and Smith. Another duet with Platt, “Milk and Honey” features Aaron Ramsey on mandolin and is a love song that written over the course of many years to express that even in this numbing technological age people can still be in love in the land of milk and honey.

There are three covers on the album including Bob Dylan’s nostalgic “Sign on the Window [New Morning], an upbeat and slightly cajun version of Neil Young’s poignant “Music Arcade[Broken Arrow], and Merle Haggard’s song of tragic loss, “Kern River.”

The album’s title track, “Song Dogs,” lands as the final track and features Shilling on piano paired with Smith’s pedal steel. Martin says, “I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the woods alone. Usually right before dark the coyotes will begin to howl to find each other for the nights hunt. One such evening I wrote these lyrics about the loneliness of the modern age and how difficult it is to ‘stay’ when your heart is restless. And the remorse after you’ve gone too far… I sure do identify with those animals at dusk.”

“Taylor Martin is a singer-songwriter who will remind you of everything good from Tom Waits to the Everly Brothers or the Avett Brothers with some surf rock thrown in. Well-sung, well-played, well-written and relevant…” writes Asheville Citizen Times.

Asheville’s veteran songwriter is just below the forty mark with a bright future as a songwriter and performer ahead of him. Although as jaded and bitter as some road worned heroes, Martin finds refuge in a good sense of humor. “I would have been a terrible dentist,” he laughs. “I’m here, music is why, this is Earth, let’s make more music.”

Taylor Martin – Song Dogs Track Listing

  1. Little Pictures   3:34
  2. Here Comes the Flood    2:59
  3. Eden Colorado   3:17
  4. Music Arcade [Neil Young] copyright Silver Fiddle Music   4:25
  5. Second Sight   3:41
  6. Hollywood   3:41
  7. Our Memories   3:49
  8. Kern River [Merle Haggard] copyright Mt. Shasta Music   4:00
  9. Milk and Honey   3:22
  10. Sign on the Window [Bob Dylan] copyright Big Sky Music   3:39
  11. Song Dogs   4:49

    MUSICIAN CREDITS
    Taylor Martin – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar (all)
    Richie Jones – Drums, Aux Percussion (all)
    Matthew Dufon – Bass (all) Harmony Vocals (2,10)
    Aaron Woody Wood – Acoustic Guitar (3,8), Electric Guitar (5, 6,10)
    Matthew Smith – Electric Guitar (1, 2), Pedal Steel (3,7,8,11)
    Aaron Ramsey – Acoustic Guitar (2,4,7,9,10), Mandolin (9)
    Josh Shilling – Piano (1,2, 6,7, 8,10,11), B3 (1,2,5,6,7,10), Wurlitzer (5)
    Phil Alley – Telecaster (7)
    Lyndsay Pruett – fiddle (4,5,7,8)
    Amanda Anne Platt – harmony  vocals (2,4,7,9,10)
    Debrissa McKinney – harmony vocals (6)

    Recorded @ Sound Temple Studios in Asheville, NC
    Recorded & Mixed by Robert George
    Produced by Amanda Anne Platt
    Co-Produced by Robert George & Taylor Martin

    For more information and tour dates, please visit www.TaylorMartin.org and www.facebook.com/taylormartin.org and www.twitter.com/song_dogs.

 

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Carolina Chimes:
Rudi Ekstein’s All Original Bluegrass Instrumental Showcase

Ekstein Collaborates with All-star Musicians Stuart Duncan, Jeff Autry, Mark Schatz & More

OUT TODAY: October 5, 2018 on Foxfire Recording

Available Now On All Outlets→ http://smarturl.it/2pryj6   

Asheville, NC – Rudi Ekstein has been in the music business for many years as a performer, producer, and studio owner. Now, on his album Carolina Chimes: Rudi Ekstein’s All Original Bluegrass Instrumental Showcase, released October 5, on Foxfire Recording, Ekstein showcases his mandolin prowess on 12 original instrumental tunes featuring an all-star cast of world-class talent. Some of the artists brought into the studio for this project include multi-GRAMMY Award Winner Stuart Duncan on fiddle and renowned guitarist Jeff Autry for the entire album, two time IBMA Bass Player of the Year Mark Schatz performs on all but one tune, long-time collaborator John Plotnik plays banjo on the majority of the album and steps in on Dobro on four tracks while GRAMMY nominated multi instrumentalist, Patrick Sauber takes the lead on banjo. Bluegrass Today premiered the first single off the album, “Spikebuck.”

With Carolina Chimes as Ekstein has put together an upbeat collection of bluegrass barn burners performed with great pickers who help to bring these unique cuts to life. Unselfish and smart, Ekstein lets his collaborators do what they do best here. The result is a fast-paced recording that will remind you of the power of bluegrass music.

rudi_ekstein suit-473_fxd_CreditSandlinGaither.jpg

Rudi Ekstein. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

“The most obvious parts of everyone’s life have been depicted in a bluegrass song,” says Ekstein. “The bluegrass tunes I’ve written for my records over the past 30 or so years are mostly named after people, events, or something important that happened in my life. That’s just part of my love for bluegrass.”

As the son of an Austrian immigrant to America his surname, Ekstein, translates, literally, to “Cornerstone,” which is the aptly titled opening track to the album, symbolizing his heritage and love of the genre. Another song on Carolina Chimes that reflects that philosophy is “Jessy’s Fancy,” named for Ekstein’s daughter.

Many of the tunes on Carolina Chimes reflect Ekstein’s travels in this world, from his early years living in California and exploring the American West, to settling down in the western North Carolina mountain town of Asheville.

“Hoot Owl Hop” was written from his days of living in California when the warm summer nights brought hoot owls to the eucalyptus trees every year. The perfect title for a wild ride of a tune, ‘Spikebuck,’ refers to the name of some rapids on the Arkansas River in Colorado where his family, barely hanging on, took a fast-moving whitewater rafting trip one year. “Back Drag” was named after an insane stunt Ekstein once attempted for the first and last time as a trick rider on a galloping horse in his youth.

About a decade ago, Ekstein relocated to Asheville, where he continues to run the Foxfire Recording Studio (started in 1990), so he could play more bluegrass with western North Carolina roots musician, Billy Constable, for whom this album is dedicated. Constable, who passed away in 2015 of cancer, was best known for his three-finger-picking banjo technique and his vigorous acoustic guitar leads.

A couple of songs on this project were written in Constable’s memory including, “‘Bacon in the Pan,’ Rudi’s version of an old-time fiddle tune done in the bluegrass style as, Rudi recalls, “Billy often spoke endlessly on the phone about the fine points of cooking a good breakfast, and ‘All Night in Kentucky’ is a tune I wrote after jamming all night long at the IBMA convention in Louisville, KY, with Billy. Inspired by that experience, I just couldn’t stop pickin’ on that early morning and I spontaneously ended up playing this tune.”

Rock ‘n’ roll music and bluegrass music from the Appalachian Mountains have had a big influence in Ekstein’s musical life. Within weeks of arriving in the area, Constable introduced Ekstein to many players in the WNC pickin’ scene. Both were in the band Blue Wheel Drive, along with bassist Rob Parks, and all three went on to perform for two years with The Bobby Hicks Band. Parks makes an appearance on Carolina Chimes playing “Rockalachia,” a tune BWD performed live that is reminiscent of the boogie-woogie style of bluegrass played on the mandolin in the 1940’s by the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Another bluegrass buddy from those days, Seth Rhinehart, also steps in on banjo on that ditty as well as “Dixie Sunset,” of which Ekstein says, “I wanted to see how close I could write a ¾-time tune within the style of bluegrass, but still make it unique in its own way. Playing music on the deck of my North Carolina mountain home while overlooking the woods and watching the sunset inspired me to write this twisty waltz.”

Other cuts on Carolina Chimes reflect Ekstein’s many musical influences. “I always thought ‘Indian Rain’ would be a good song for an old fashioned western movie. Too bad it was 60 years too late. Turned out to be a better bluegrass fiddle tune, especially with Stuart Duncan at the Helm. In the late 1980’s, I recorded my song ‘Flapjack’ while playing Dobro for a band project,” says Ekstein. “I originally wrote it on the Dobro as a tune for the mandolin. I finally made it a reality here on this album. And, that brings me to the album’s title cut, ‘Carolina Chimes.’ I’ve always loved the classic banjo tunes that featured the sound of arpeggio chimes created by banjo and mandolin duets. It reminds me of bells ringing at an old Carolina country church house.”

Kind Words about Carolina Chimes:

“The bulk of [the songs] are flat-out, hold-on-to-your-hat wild rides that he takes you on… The entire album brings back many great memories to me of John Hartford’s many musical excursions through the years, jam sessions with Mike Marshall down in Florida back in the ’70’s and all sorts of good stuff... I would suggest the best way to listen to this CD is on a nice drive through the country or anywhere.”Elmore, Ken Spooner

“Here is good, pure music… ‘Carolina Chimes,’ the disc’s title track, is one that completely delights me, certainly another of the disc’s highlights. There is something incredibly catchy and even pretty about it. It’s happiness in the form of music.” Michael’s Music Log, Michael Doherty

“Rudi Ekstein has written a great collection of new bluegrass instrumentals and as writer, producer, engineer and musician, recorded this album and maintained a very high degree of quality at every step of the production process! The mix is wonderful and Rudi’s cast of musicians is stellar!” —Gene Libbea (Nashville Bluegrass Band)

“Rudi’s original tunes are sure to become classics. The musicians on this project are fantastic – every tune is a gem.” –Dennis Caplinger

“Rudi has put together a nice mixture of tunes that take us from up tempo fiddle numbers to sad mountain laments with a gypsy jazz feel thrown in for good measure. I am honored to be included in this stellar lineup of world class acoustic players from around the country. This project is superbly crafted using the finest instruments, played through the finest microphones by virtuoso musicians. Great job Rudi! —Jeff Autry

“I have known Rudi for a long time. Having lived in California for several years we used to cross paths alot. Rudi, like me, as we have grown older, seems to have a calling to write tunes. Bill Monroe did the same thing. The 12 tunes that Rudi has put together are winners. These musicians that Rudi picked to play on his project are top notch. Surrounding yourself with good musicians is the key, and Rudi, you found the right key.”  —Byron Berline

Carolina Chimes Track Listing
1. Cornerstone   (2:41)
2. Indian Rain   (3:21)
3. All Night in Kentucky  (2:48)
4. Hoot Owl Hop   (2:52)
5. Jessy’s Fancy   (3:54)
6. Spikebuck   (2:04)
7. Flapjack   (3:31)
8. Bacon in the Pan   (2:28)
9. Rockalachia   (2:35)
10. Carolina Chimes   (2:26)
11. Dixie Sunset   (2:39 )
12. Back Drag   (1:50)

 

The Musicians on Carolina Chimes include:
Stuart Duncan – Fiddle (all tracks)
Jeff Autry – Guitar (all tracks)
Mark Schatz – Upright Bass (all tracks except 9)
Rob Parks – Upright Bass (9)
John Plotnik – Banjo (1,2,3,7,10,12), Dobro (4,5,6,8)
Patrick Sauber – Banjo (4,5,6,8)
Seth Rhinehart – Banjo (9,11)
Rudi Ekstein – Mandolin (all tracks)

All tunes written by Rudi Ekstein, BMI, Carolina Chimes Music, P & C 2018
Produced by Rudi Ekstein.  Recorded and Mixed by Rudi Ekstein

Rudi has owned and operated his own commercial recording studio business Foxfire Recording since 1990, and since then has played for, or produced and/or engineered numerous albums for CMH, Rounder, Sugar Hill Records, as well as artists like Tony Rice, Larry Rice, Chris Hillman, Josh Graves, David Grisman, Richard Greene, Bill Keith, David Grier, Herb Pedersen, Bill Bryson, and other notables. His array of recording and live performance credits include many internationally known bluegrass musicians like fiddle players Byron Berline and Gabe Witcher; banjo hotshots John Hickman, Dennis Caplinger, and Craig Smith; gifted Dobro player, Rob Ickes, The Nashville Bluegrass Band’s GRAMMY award winning bass player, Gene Libbea; an original Bluegrass Cardinal bass player Bill Bryson; as well as three members of the Country Boys (later the Kentucky Colonels), bass man Eric White, banjo player, Billy Ray Lathum, and Dobro player, Leroy Mack among many others.

For more information, please visit the album website: www.carolinachimes.com and www.facebook.com/rudieksteinbluegrass.

 

 

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Carolina Chimes: Rudi Ekstein’s All Original Bluegrass Instrumental Showcase

Ekstein Collaborates with All-star Musicians Stuart Duncan, Jeff Autry, Mark Schatz & more

Released October 5, 2018 on Foxfire Recording

New single “Spikebuck”out now to stream and purchase → https://rudiekstein.hearnow.com
The album is also available to pre-order → http://smarturl.it/2pryj6   

Asheville, NC – Rudi Ekstein has been in the music business for many years as a performer, producer, and studio owner. Now, on his album Carolina Chimes: Rudi Ekstein’s All Original Bluegrass Instrumental Showcase, to be independently released October 5, Ekstein showcases his mandolin prowess on 12 original instrumental tunes featuring an all-star cast of world-class talent. Some of the artists brought into the studio for this project include multi-GRAMMY Award Winner Stuart Duncan on fiddle and renowned guitarist Jeff Autry for the entire album, two time IBMA Bass Player of the Year Mark Schatz performs on all but one tune, long-time collaborator John Plotnik plays banjo on the majority of the album and steps in on Dobro on four tracks while GRAMMY nominated multi instrumentalist, Patrick Sauber takes the lead on banjo. Bluegrass Today premiered the first single off the album, “Spikebuck.”

Throughout bluegrass music’s 70-plus year history, albums of all-instrumental tunes have been recorded and released, showcasing the amazing level of artistry found in the genre. While singers tend to write songs that require lyrics brought to life by vocalists, instrumentalists of all stripes are prone to write tunes and melodies that let them cut loose and have some fun.

That is the case with Carolina Chimes as Ekstein has put together an upbeat collection of bluegrass barn burners performed with great pickers who help to bring these unique cuts to life. Unselfish and smart, Ekstein lets his collaborators do what they do best here. The result is a fast-paced recording that will remind you of the power of bluegrass music.

rudi_ekstein 1-176_fxd_CreditSandlinGaither.jpg

Rudi Ekstein. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

“The most obvious parts of everyone’s life have been depicted in a bluegrass song,” says Ekstein. “The bluegrass tunes I’ve written for my records over the past 30 or so years are mostly named after people, events, or something important that happened in my life. That’s just part of my love for bluegrass.”

As the son of an Austrian immigrant to America his surname, Ekstein, translates, literally, to “Cornerstone,” which is the aptly titled opening track to the album, symbolizing his heritage and love of the genre. Another song on Carolina Chimes that reflects that philosophy is “Jessy’s Fancy,” named for Ekstein’s daughter who finally noticed his mandolin playing in a different way. “My daughter Jessy heard me working out this tune in my backyard one day,” says Ekstein. “She said, ‘What’s that Dad? It’s beautiful.’ It was the first time I ever got my daughter’s attention while playing the mandolin, so this one is dedicated to her. She still loves to hear it.”

Many of the tunes on Carolina Chimes reflect Ekstein’s travels in this world, from his early years living in California and exploring the American West, to settling down in the western North Carolina mountain town of Asheville.

“Hoot Owl Hop” was written from his days of living in California when the warm summer nights brought hoot owls to the eucalyptus trees every year, which he often heard and occasionally saw. The perfect title for a wild ride of a tune, ‘Spikebuck,’ refers to the name of some rapids on the Arkansas River in Colorado where his family, barely hanging on, took a fast-moving whitewater rafting trip one year. “Back Drag” was named after an insane stunt Ekstein once attempted for the first and last time. He says,”I was an accomplished trick rider in my youth and I tried a crazy stunt with my ankles strapped to the back of the saddle while dangling behind a galloping horse. I was nervous at first as I coaxed my horse to a full gallop. I threw myself back, with rocks flying, the wind in my ears and my head and hands now dragging within reach of the ground. After rounding the corner of the arena at full speed, my horse abruptly stopped, throwing me off to fall flat on my face in the mud.”

About a decade ago, Ekstein relocated to Asheville, where he continues to run the Foxfire Recording Studio (started in 1990), so he could play more bluegrass with western North Carolina roots musician, Billy Constable, for whom this album is dedicated. Constable, who passed away in 2015 of cancer, was best known for his three-finger-picking banjo technique and his vigorous acoustic guitar leads. A couple of songs on this project were written in his memory.

‘Bacon in the Pan’ is my version of an old-time fiddle tune done in the bluegrass style,” says Ekstein. “It is named after my beloved friend of a lifetime and band mate Billy Constable. He often spoke endlessly on the phone about the fine points of cooking a good breakfast. ‘All Night in Kentucky’ is a tune I wrote after jamming all night long at the IBMA convention in Louisville, KY, with Billy, who was an instrumental wizard. Inspired by that experience, I just couldn’t stop pickin’ on that early morning and I spontaneously ended up playing this tune.”

Rock ‘n’ roll music and bluegrass music from the Appalachian Mountains have had a big influence in Ekstein’s musical life. Within weeks of arriving in the area, Constable introduced Ekstein to many players in the WNC pickin’ scene. Both were in the band Blue Wheel Drive, along with bassist Rob Parks, and all three went on to perform for two years with The Bobby Hicks Band. Parks makes an appearance on Carolina Chimes playing “Rockalachia,” a tune BWD performed live that is reminiscent of the boogie-woogie style of bluegrass played on the mandolin in the 1940’s by the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Another bluegrass buddy from those days, Seth Rhinehart, also steps in on banjo on that ditty as well as “Dixie Sunset,” of which Ekstein says, “I wanted to see how close I could write a ¾-time tune within the style of bluegrass, but still make it unique in its own way. Playing music on the deck of my North Carolina mountain home while overlooking the woods and watching the sunset inspired me to write this twisty waltz.”


Other cuts on Carolina Chimes reflect Ekstein’s many musical influences. “I always thought ‘Indian Rain’ would be a good song for an old fashioned western movie. Too bad it was 60 years too late. Turned out to be a better bluegrass fiddle tune, especially with Stuart Duncan at the Helm. In the late 1980’s, I recorded my song ‘Flapjack’ while playing Dobro for a band project,” says Ekstein. “I originally wrote it on the Dobro as a tune for the mandolin. I finally made it a reality here on this album. And, that brings me to the album’s title cut, ‘Carolina Chimes.’ I’ve always loved the classic banjo tunes that featured the sound of arpeggio chimes created by banjo and mandolin duets. It reminds me of bells ringing at an old Carolina country church house.”

As producer of his own album, Ekstein had the pleasure of deciding who he would bring in to play on the project. Fortunately, he chose to collaborate with some of the best pickers in the business.

When it comes to musicians respected by music fans and professional peers alike, few receive the accolades that are routinely given to fiddler Stuart Duncan. From his work in the Nashville Bluegrass Band to his contribution to the 8-million copy selling “O Brother, Where Art Thou” movie soundtrack album, from his annual run in the all-star Telluride Bluegrass Festival House Band to his playing on countless recording sessions, and with multiple IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year Awards and also nominated for 2018, Duncan is considered one of the best fiddlers on the planet.

Guitarist Jeff Autry is also widely appreciated as a solid axe man who has played with everyone from the Ricky Skaggs to Tony Rice, Peter Rowan, and others. He also held down the guitar chair for a decade-and-a-half with the John Cowan Band. His latest gig finds him as a member of The Edgar Loudermilk Band featuring Jeff Autry.

Mark Schatz has played the bass with living legends for most of his career, anchoring historical jams with folks like Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements, and so many more. Currently he is the bassist for the Claire Lynch Band and is one of the best in the business and is a two time winner of IBMA Bass Player of the Year and is currently nominated 2018.

The same can be said for Patrick Sauber, a GRAMMY nominated banjo picker, who is currently kicking up the five-string for many well known national acts like Tim O’Brien, the Peter Rowan Band, John Reishmann and the Jaybirds, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, and others.

Rudi has owned and operated his own commercial recording studio business Foxfire Recording since 1990, and since then has played for, or produced and/or engineered numerous albums for CMH, Rounder, Sugar Hill Records, as well as artists like Tony Rice, Larry Rice, Chris Hillman, Josh Graves, David Grisman, Richard Greene, Bill Keith, David Grier, Herb Pedersen, Bill Bryson, and other notables. His array of recording and live performance credits include many internationally known bluegrass musicians like fiddle players Byron Berline and Gabe Witcher; banjo hotshots John Hickman, Dennis Caplinger, and Craig Smith; gifted Dobro player, Rob Ickes, The Nashville Bluegrass Band’s GRAMMY award winning bass player, Gene Libbea; an original Bluegrass Cardinal bass player Bill Bryson; as well as three members of the Country Boys (later the Kentucky Colonels), bass man Eric White, banjo player, Billy Ray Lathum, and Dobro player, Leroy Mack among many others.

Kind Words:

“Rudi Ekstein has written a great collection of new bluegrass instrumentals and as writer, producer, engineer and musician, recorded this album and maintained a very high degree of quality at every step of the production process! The mix is wonderful and Rudi’s cast of musicians is stellar!” —Gene Libbea (Nashville Bluegrass Band)

“Rudi’s original tunes are sure to become classics. The musicians on this project are fantastic – every tune is a gem.” –Dennis Caplinger

“Rudi has put together a nice mixture of tunes that take us from up tempo fiddle numbers to sad mountain laments with a gypsy jazz feel thrown in for good measure. I am honored to be included in this stellar lineup of world class acoustic players from around the country. This project is superbly crafted using the finest instruments, played through the finest microphones by virtuoso musicians. Great job Rudi!” —Jeff Autry

“I have known Rudi for a long time. Having lived in California for several years we used to cross paths alot. Rudi, like me, as we have grown older, seems to have a calling to write tunes. Bill Monroe did the same thing. The 12 tunes that Rudi has put together are winners. These musicians that Rudi picked to play on his project are top notch. Surrounding yourself with good musicians is the key, and Rudi, you found the right key.”  —Byron Berline

Carolina Chimes Track Listing
1. Cornerstone   (2:41)
2. Indian Rain   (3:21)
3. All Night in Kentucky  (2:48)
4. Hoot Owl Hop   (2:52)
5. Jessy’s Fancy   (3:54)
6. Spikebuck   (2:04)
7. Flapjack   (3:31)
8. Bacon in the Pan   (2:28)
9. Rockalachia   (2:35)
10. Carolina Chimes   (2:26)
11. Dixie Sunset   (2:39 )
12. Back Drag   (1:50)

The Musicians on Carolina Chimes include:
Stuart Duncan – Fiddle (all tracks)
Jeff Autry – Guitar (all tracks)
Mark Schatz – Upright Bass (all tracks except 9)
Rob Parks – Upright Bass (9)
John Plotnik – Banjo (1,2,3,7,10,12), Dobro (4,5,6,8)
Patrick Sauber – Banjo (4,5,6,8)
Seth Rhinehart – Banjo (9,11)
Rudi Ekstein – Mandolin (all tracks)

All tunes written by Rudi Ekstein, BMI, Carolina Chimes Music, P & C 2018
Produced by Rudi Ekstein.  Recorded and Mixed by Rudi Ekstein

 

For more information, please visit the album website: www.carolinachimes.com and www.facebook.com/rudieksteinbluegrass.

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