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Jon Stickley Trio. Photo By Heather Hambor

 

Jon Stickley Trio Releases Maybe Believe on May 12, 2017
Produced by Dave King (The Bad Plus) at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville NC

Thoughtful & energetic”Bryan Sutton

Watch a behind-the-scenes video from the recording session → www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccQB75r3Vww

ASHEVILLE —  Riding the wave of their critically acclaimed 2015 album, Lost at Last, Jon Stickley Trio independently releases their 3rd full length album, Maybe Believe, on May 12, 2017. Jon Stickley Trio combines Jon Stickley’s rapid-fire flatpicking guitar with the sultry and wild, yet refined, melodies of Lyndsay Pruett on violin set over the deep groove of Patrick Armitage on drums.

“The latest record from the Jon Stickley Trio flexes new and strong muscles, utilizing more progressive structures and deeper pockets than ever before,” says Producer Dave King (Of The Bad Plus). “All the while, the group retains its place as a modern-thinking acoustic ensemble with one foot in tradition and the other in a bluegrass honored future that allows for the avant garde, punk, and be bop to mix in freely and tastefully.”

Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck says of Jon, “Sure, comparisons to previous musicians are a good way to explain a new artist to the masses, but to do so is to cheat Stickley of what he really is: a damn genius, a musical mastermind, and one of the most unique, creative, and inventive guitar players I’ve ever heard…  Stickley’s guitar playing shares as much in common with the flow of the greatest rappers of all time as it does with his flatpicking heroes…”

1-Maybe-Believe-FrontThe album title, Maybe Believe, is a continuation of the theme from Lost at Last. With Lost at Last, the band was stepping away from their collective musical past, into new territory that was somewhat uncomfortable, but also inspiring and free. With Maybe Believe, they have become more comfortable in their own skin yet retain an element of vulnerability while continuing to move into uncharted territory. This album marks the next step in the band’s evolution, and takes the listener to original and unexpected new places that still embody the familiarity of the Jon Stickley Trio’s signature style.

 

Dave says, “I was honored to be a part of this evolution and I think we made a very compelling album for music fans and musicians of all kinds.” This is his second time joining forces with the Trio at Echo Mountain Recording Studio in the band’s hometown of Asheville, NC, once again working with Engineer Julian Dryer. Both were also on board for Lost at Last which garnered praise from The New York Times, NPR’s Heavy Rotation, NPR’s World Cafe, Folk Alley, Premier Guitar Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Performer Magazine, and many others.

Stickley says, “We had just gotten to know Dave last time and had such a good time. Bringing him in again takes the whole thing up a notch. It was a completely different experience, after traveling all over the place touring [in 2016 the Trio drove over 50,000 miles], over time we’ve developed a cohesion as a band where we intimately know each other and can feel where each other is wanting to go and respond. It’s developed into a tight musical relationship.”

The album’s opening track, “Jewels,” is a short, mellow, piece which serves as the album’s prologue, setting the tone of the record, quieting the mind of the listener. It’s a cleansing of the palette before the full course, and features the delicate harmonics of Jon and Lyndsay along with and Patrick’s textural brushwork.

Then they go full throttle with “Playpeople,” an eclectic piece that draws inspiration from Green Day, Duran Duran, Grateful Dead, and David Grisman Quintet, but in the end, is ultimately pure Jon Stickley Trio. This track’s title is a gender-neutral term for someone who likes to have a good time, and does so despite all external obstacles and displays the Trio’s fun-loving energy and virtuosity, as well as their controlled intensity.

Almost With You” and “Mt. Sandia Swing” highlight the Jon Stickley Trio’s ability and inclination to play with polyrhythms and layer different grooves on top of each other. Dave King described “Sandia” as “The Violent Femmes… playing Jazz.”

Jon Stickley’s music brings forth mental imagery from the soundscapes the band has created in songs like “Slow Burn,” which is a like simmering pot of stew that occasionally boils over, while “Microbruise” embraces the fun-loving nature of Asheville’s beer brewers and drinkers, and “Cecil” is the Trio’s heaviest song yet featuring seamless interplay between guitar and violin with a sludgy, old school, John Bonham style drumbeat.

The aforementioned songs were all penned by Stickley, while Lyndsay Pruett’s hand brings forth a couple of jazzier numbers. A highlight of the record, “The Price of Being Nice” has a quirky, infectious theme that is explored throughout the song with a somewhat deconstructed treatment that allows the Trio to shine. Pruett also wrote “Lady Time,” a short solo song that closes out the album that features her distinctive pizzicato playing and improvisations.

The album contains three covers, “Jerusalem Ridge” (a Bill Monroe tune with a twist that has become a staple at live shows), “Avril 14th’ (a piece by Richard James a.k.a. Aphex Twin), and “Birdland Breakdown” (a tune by mandolinist John Reischman which also appeared on Tony Rice’s jazz-grass album Still Inside).

Jon Stickley Trio On Tour
3/10 Fri – The Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC
3/15 Wed – The Station Inn – Nashville, TN *w/ The Dustbowl Revival
3/16 Thu – The Earl – Atlanta, GA w/ The Dustbowl Revival
3/17-18 Fri-Sat – Anastasia Music Festival @ St. Augustine Amphitheater – St. Augustine, FL
3/21 Tue – Taos Mesa Brewing – El Prado, NM
3/22 Wed – House Concert – Albuquerque, NM
3/23 Thu – Last Exit Live – Phoenix, AZ
3/24 Fri – Coconino Center For The Arts – Flagstaff, AZ
3/25 Sat – Seven Grand – San Diego, CA
3/29 Wed – Throckmorton Theatre – Mill Valley, CA
3/30 Thu – Neck of the Woods – San Francisco, CA
3/31-4/1 Fri-Sat – WinterWonderGrass – North Lake Tahoe, CA
4/6 Thu – The Stage at KDHX – St. Louis, MO
4/7 Fri – Rhythm and Blooms Festival – Knoxville, TN
4/8 Sat – Albino Skunk Festival – Greer, SC
4/12 Wed – Willie’s Locally Known – Lexington, KY
4/13 Thu – The Fire Pit’s Side Bar – Milwaukee, WI
4/14 Fri – Mid West Music Festival – LaCrosse, WI
4/15 Sat – Two Brothers Roundhouse – Aurora, IL
4/29 Sat – WV Craft Brew Fest – Lewisburg, WV
5/12-13 Fri-Sat – LEAF – Black Mountain, NC
5/19 Fri – Lower Town Arts & Music Festival – Paducah, KY
5/20 Sat – Moonshiner’s Ball – Berea, KY
5/26 Fri – Rooster Walk – Martinsville, VA
6/8 Thu – Founders Brewing – Grand Rapids, MI
6/9 Fri – Parliament Room at Otus Supply – Ferndale, MI
6/10-11 Sat-Sun – NorEastr Festival @ County Fairgrounds – Mio, MI
7/15 Sat – Red Wing Roots Music Festival – Mount Solon, VA
7/29-30 Sat-Sun – FloydFest – Floyd, VA
More dates TBA!

Maybe Believe Track Listing*

  1. Jewels 2:03
  2. Playpeople 4:36
  3.  Almost With You 3:39
  4.  Slow Burn 4:47
  5. Jerusalem Ridge (Bill Monroe) 5:36
  6.  Avril 14th (Richard James a.k.a. Aphex Twin) 1:59
  7. Cecil 4:36
  8.  Microbruise 3:19
  9. The Price of Being Nice (Lyndsay Pruett) 3:39
  10.  Mt. Sandia Swing 4:23
  11.  Birdland Breakdown (John Reischman) 3:54
  12. Lady Time (Lyndsay Pruett) 3:44

* All songs written by Jon Stickley unless otherwise noted

For more information and updates from the road, please visit www.jonstickley.com, www.facebook.com/JonStickleyTrio, www.instagram.com/jonstickleytrio, and www.twitter.com/StickleyMusic.

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Bill Scorzari Releases Through These Waves,
Produced by Jonah Tolchin, on March 10


Bringing Together a Cast of Fine Musicians,
Scorzari Explores Impassioned & Thoughtful Landscapes

Huntington, NY — New York native, Bill Scorzari, is set to independently release his sophomore album, Through These Waves, on March 10, 2017. Produced by Jonah Tolchin (Yep Roc) and engineered, mixed, and mastered by Billy Bennett, the album of all original material was recorded over twelve days at the famed Bomb Shelter in East Nashville through the studio’s 1970’s MCI console and mixed to tape. In a recent interview with No Depression, Tolchin calls Bill Scorzari, “one of the greatest songwriters I’ve ever heard.” With sincere and robust lyrics, Scorzari’s raspy vocals usher the listener breezily into his world.

Joining Scorzari on the album are Joachim Cooder (drums, percussion), Laur Joamets (electric guitar, slide guitar), Chris Scruggs (steel guitar), Will Kimbrough (mandolin, piano), Eamon McLoughlin (fiddle, viola, cello), Jon Estes (upright bass, guitar, organ), Kim Richey (vocals), Brent Burke (dobro) and more.

Bill has a scruffy sentimentality that was comforting to behold.” Billy Bennett comments on the recording sessions, “There were humbling moments of marvel for me during the process, as the tremendous cast of musicians populated Bill’s emotional landscapes beautifully. I was privileged to have played a part.”

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Bill Scorzari. Photo by Lauren Jahoda

“The experience was surreal… transformative… unifying… effortless… and profound. In fact, this record captures every magical moment in a journal of the sound, time, friendship and passion which we all created and now share,” Scorzari depicts. “I am forever grateful to Jonah, Billy B., and equally for everyone who participated in, and made this experience and recording possible and real.”

With twelve original compositions, the album opens with a rolling, peaceful moment in the song “A Dream of You.” Bill wrote it one July morning upon waking and realizing that he had been dreaming he was writing a song. He continued to hear the melody through breakfast and it led him into a beautiful day. “The early morning sun was shining, birds were singing and the sky was an incredibly clear blue. The first two verses came to me instantly. I finished the rest a couple of weeks later,” Bill recalls. “The beginning of this recording was improvised in the studio when Joachim Cooder (drums) said, ‘Ready?’ and we all started playing, joining in one by one.”

Written from the first person stance, many of Scorzari’s songs have come together for him like writing a letter. “A Brand New Deal” is a delightful number with fiddle, dobro, and mandolin weaving together to make the song happily jump. “The most amazing thing in the world is to love and be loved. This is a love song you can dance to,” says Bill. “Shelter from the Wind” is an intimate tune written during a weeklong downpour of rain that just would not quit, in a single chair, in the quiet of an empty room. The occasion is emulated by Danny Roaman’s slide guitar and Will Kimbrough’s understated piano as Bill sings, “But, I don’t know now, if I know how, I might make it through these waves. But I will make it through these waves.”

“’Hound Dog Diggin’” takes on a different role. “This is one of my favorite tracks on the record. Jonah had a vision for it right from the start and everyone grabbed hold of it and ran with it. That focused Zen trait of doing that which you are doing while you’re doing it, is exactly what I was thinking about when I wrote this song, and it was almost prophetic how everyone in the studio immediately brought that same intensity to this recording,” says Scorzari. “Brent Burke plays some of the best dobro I’ve ever heard, and Laur Joamets added two incredible electric guitar parts to Danny Roaman’s already amazing slide work. Matt Murphy’s bass line jumps and Joachim Cooder’s drums snap and thump just so great! They all just blew this song up.”

“One of the most idiosyncratic voices I’ve ever come across,” Laur Joamets expresses. “Bill’s timbre is one-of-a-kind. It’s a great record. I’m proud to be on it.”

Annie Johnson joins Bill to sing a beautiful, “More of Your Love,” with Jon Estes adding a melodic bass line and second guitar part and Joachim Cooder’s steady kick and percussive water-droplet sounds driving the song and giving it an ethereal feel. “Holy Man” features Kim Richey’s beautiful vocals in a soul searching duet about figuring things out on your own terms and for your own well-being as time goes on.

She Don’t Care About Auld Lang Syne” reflects on a profoundly sad breaking apart of a close relationship, while “For When I Didn’t See” and “Loser at Heart” realize awareness that even with many falls in life, seasons change, time passes and we grow and learn from our experiences as part of the journey of life. “I Can Carry This” and “It’s Time” bring moments of enlightenment through it all, with an understanding that we all have the capacity to help each other along, especially if we will just let go.

The album closes out with a confident “Riptide.” “This recording captures the feel and sounds I’ve always envisioned for the song. Joachim Cooder’s cymbal strikes make me think of a swimmer’s arms plunging rhythmically into the sea while Jonah Tolchin’s electric guitar ripples like water. It just amazes me every time I hear this track.” Bill recollects, “As fate would have it, we discovered a creaky old chair on the patio just outside the studio. I rolled it up to the console and engineer Billy Bennett put a microphone to it and recorded the sounds as I rocked back and forth. With a little studio magic Billy made it sound like a big wooden boat drifting on the waves of the ocean. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album.”

Even through all of the chaos in the world, every time you are let down, or hurt, or feel broken, there is a softness within our hearts that will help us to come through and rise above anything that life deals us, without hardening our spirit. There’s a solemn, yet uplifting and gracious feel to Through These Waves, a gentle roll of energy in the songs and the recording experience that is emphasized in the musical collaboration that came about when the musicians entered the studio.

Will Kimbrough says, “I enjoyed playing on Bill Scorzari’s record… Boy, did it turn out fine — thoughtful, soulful songs, with -by God- real music to back them up. Top notch.”

Bill Scorzari on Tour with Through These Waves
2.17 Fri – Cape Ann Brewing Co – Gloucester, MA
2.18 Sat – Riverwalk Cafe & Music Bar – Nashua, NH*
2.21 Tue – WFUV’s On Your Radar at Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 3) – New York, NY%
3.02 Thu – Live in the Lobby at The Patchogue Theatre – Patchogue, NY^
3.08 Wed – Finley’s of Huntington – Huntington, NY
3.18 Sat – Avenue 209 – Lock Haven, PA
3.24 Fri – House Concert – Louisville, KY
3.25 Sat – Bobby’s Idle Hour – Nashville, TN
3.26 Sun – Acoustic Coffeehouse – Johnson City, TN
3.28 Tue – Awendaw Green Barn Jam – Charleston, SC
3.29 Wed – The Roasting Room (Songwriter Showdown) – Bluffton, SC
4.02 Sun – Americana Cafe Sundays – Lynn Haven, FL
4.12 Wed – Wine & Song – South Pasadena, CA
4.18 Tue – The Laughing Goat – Boulder, CO
4.29 Sat – Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 1) – New York, NY

Also Performing:
* w/ Jeff Scroggins and Colorado
% w/ Susan Kane and Cole Quest & The City Pickers
^ w/ Toby Tobias and SEE

More dates to be announced!

Through These Waves Track Listing:
1. A Dream of You (5:48)
2. A Brand New Deal (3:12)
3. Shelter From the Wind (5:28)
4. Hound Dog Diggin’ (3:27)
5. More of Your Love (5:23)
6. Holy Man (3:26)
7. She Don’t Care About Auld Lang Syne (4:21)
8. For When I Didn’t See (3:56)
9. Loser at Heart (4:33)
10. I Can Carry This (4:32)
11. It’s Time (3:30)
12. Riptide (4:38)

Musician Credits (alphabetical order):
Brent Burke: Dobro
Joachim Cooder: Drums, Percussion
Jon Estes: Upright Bass (Tracks 2, 3, 5, 8, 11), Second Acoustic Guitar (Track 5), Organ (Track 10), Percussion (Track 8)
Laur Joamets: Electric Guitars (Track 4), Slide Guitar (Track 6)
Annie Johnson: Second Vocal (Track 5)
Will Kimbrough: Mandolin, Piano
Marie Lewey: Background Vocals (Tracks 4, 10)
Eamon McLoughlin: Fiddle, Viola, Cello
Matt Murphy: Upright Bass (Tracks 1, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12)
Kim Richey: Second Vocal (Track 6)
Danny Roaman: Slide Guitar (Tracks 3, 4, 9)
Bill Scorzari: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Chair
Chris Scruggs: Steel Guitar
Jonah Tolchin: Electric Guitar (Tracks 1, 6, 11, 12), Lap Steel (Tracks 1, 10, 11)
Kyle Tuttle: Banjo
Cindy Walker: Background Vocals (Tracks 4, 10)

For more inforation and updates, please visit www.billscorzari.com, www.facebook.com/billscorzari , and www.twitter.com/BillScorzari.

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Out Today 11.11 Balsam Range Casts Acoustic Spells with ‘Mountain Voodoo’
Get it at iTunes, Amazon, and morehttps://clg.lnk.to/3OSAZ

Stream the album at The Bluegrass Situation www.thebluegrasssituation.com/read/stream-balsam-range-mountain-voodoo

Asheville, NC — Casting Acoustic spells, Balsam Range releases their sixth album, Mountain Voodoo, on November 11, 2016 on Mountain Home Music Company. The band thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surrounds part of their home county of Haywood, NC where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range. Mountain Voodoo is like the book of life “Chapter Six” for the band; 13-tracks filled with songs of journey, home, sense of place, hardcore drive, and longing.

“Balsam Range can lay down that stomping bluegrass as well as any band but the ballads clearly set them apart. They also add just the right touch of contemporary to their sound, separating them from so many who play that old-timey sound.” Elmore Magazine’s Jim Hynes continues, “The spirit and ambience of the mountains, as seen in CD cover art with the smoky haze set against the fir trees, not only imbues their sound but seems to create a kind of magical intrigue when you listen to ‘I Hear the Mountains’ and some of the others.”
Since the band’s inception in 2007, they have left a trail of success towards the top of the Bluegrass World. One of the genre’s most award winning artists in recent years garnering ten International Bluegrass Music Association Awards to date with five critically acclaimed albums, Balsam Range have made multiple Grand Old Opry appearances, were presented by the Governor of North Carolina the NC Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2015 for a “proven record of extraordinary service to the state, and extra effort in their careers”, and were the first band to play at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC in 2010. They have left audiences spellbound, and now Balsam Range is offering something that is sure to continue to mesmerize fans of Bluegrass and beyond with Mountain Voodoo.

“To be sure, Balsam Range fronts a traditional bluegrass sound, but Mountain Voodoo displays depth and texture not found in contemporary straight-ahead bluegrass groups.” Country Standard Time’s Fred Smith says, “They wear it well, and Mountain Voodoo is a fine snapshot of Balsam Range today.

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Balsam Range. Photo by David Simchock

Balsam Range is comprised of five gifted friends who all hail from Western North Carolina. Tim Surrett delivers entertaining MC work as well as seasoned lead and harmony singing. Tim plays bass and he will occasionally share his talents on the resonator guitar. He charms with spontaneity, wit and professionalism. A stellar fiddler, Buddy Melton is also one of the most gifted tenor voices in Bluegrass and Americana today. His range and tone give Balsam Range its identifying sound. With his envied guitar style, Caleb Smith has been called “one of the top young guns of guitar.” He sings with both power and control, delivering a high energy song or a tender ballad with equal vocal skill. Darren Nicholson is a gifted mandolin player and harmony singer with tremendous enthusiasm for American heritage music. That twinkle in Darren’s eye says it all. He is usually up to something! Grammy Award winner, Dr. Marc Pruett brings more than 40 years of entertainment experience to the group. He brilliantly complements the ensemble with the intuitive, traditional three finger style that has made him one music’s most admired banjo players.

“They kick the album off with a bang.” No Depression’s Frank Gutch Jr. says, “Pure (what they at one time called) Newgrass, the kind of stuff on which Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs based their reputations. Acoustic guitar (mostly picked), bass, mandolin, fiddle and banjo, and voices. The voices are crucial. You can jig and reel and you can breakdown without vocals but you cannot have the best of what bluegrass offers without voices. Think Seldom Scene and Doyle Lawson. Think harmonies sung by angels. Think harmonies stacked to the ceiling.”

There are multiple songs written by Balsam Range “staff writer” Milan Miller, including the catchy opening track, “Something ‘Bout That Suitcase,” which Miller penned along with Beth Husband. Buddy Melton, a longtime fan of lyrics that make you think, says, “‘Suitcase’ is a song we can all relate to and one that will at least have you looking around the airport terminal with curiosity the next time you fly the friendly skies.”

Mountain Voodoo is thematic of life in Western North Carolina, from the harmonically sentimental melodic “I Hear the Mountains” [Milan Miller, Davis Raines], to the the mystical deep jam of “Voodoo Doll” [Jeb Stuart Anderson], to the Honky Tonk of “Hello Heartache” [Milan Miller, Glenn Simmons], to the rip-roaring banjo led “Chain Gang Blues” [Marvin C. Davis] the sacred and soothing “Rise and Shine” [Mark Bumgarner, Aimee Bumgarner] the Gospel inspired and powerful “Wish You Were Here” [James M Stover, Michael C Williams], the vividly picturesque “Eldorado Blue” [James Ellis, Milan Miller], to the groovy “The Girl From The Highlands” [Milan Miller, Thomm Jutz], and the emotionally powerful “Lines In The Sand” [Craig Market, Barry Bales].

“’Blue Collar Dreams [is] a hard-luck, hard-workin’ song from Aaron Bibelhauser, sung as a duet by Caleb Smith and Buddy Melton. And in true bluegrass style, this workin’ man’s blues is presented with a cheerful, upbeat sound,” says John Lawless with Bluegrass Today. Watch a video of Balsam Range performing the song in studiohttp://bluegrasstoday.com/blue-collar-dreams-video-from-balsam-range/

Elements of jazz, country, gospel, swing, and old-time music are all infused into the fresh sound of this unique Southern band. It’s five distinct personalities creating one remarkable musical experience. It’s the award-winning Balsam Range and they are excited to bring Mountain Voodoo to the world.

For more information, tour dates, and more, please visit www.balsamrange.com.
Stay up to date with current news on
www.facebook.com/balsamrange, www.twitter.com/BalsamRange, and www.instagram.com/balsamrange.

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The Honeycutters, an Asheville-based American Country Roots Band,

Release 4th Studio Album, On The Ropes,
May 20, 2016 on Organic Records


A Special Vinyl Edition On The Ropes Featured as a National Release
for Record Store Week
in partnership with Select-O-Hits
on ‘Vinyl Tuesday’ April 12th


Pre-order starting April 1st at iTunes
Get the vinyl at Tower Records, Select-O-Hits, and Amazon

Tune into NPR’s World Cafe Thursday, March 31st to hear The Honeycutters → www.worldcafe.npr.org

ASHEVILLE, NC — The Honeycutters have a voice you can’t ignore; a voice of persistence, of struggle and of hope, a voice that leads the new music movement erupting out of Asheville, NC. Poised to release their 4th studio album On The Ropes May 20, 2016 on Organic Records, Nashville’s Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst says principal songwriter and frontwoman, Amanda Anne Platt “has a voice that’s complex, sweet and aching. Even more potently, she writes songs that folks are citing as up there with the best of the field, such as Mary Gauthier and Lucinda Williams.” Along with Platt, The Honeycutters are Rick Cooper (electric and upright bass), Josh Milligan (drums and vocal harmonies), Matt Smith (pedal steel and electric guitar), and Tal Taylor (mandolin). On The Ropes was produced by Amanda Anne Platt and Tim Surrett and engineered and mastered by Van Atkins at Crossroads Studios in Arden, NC.

“Fitting in at country honky-tonks and hard-scrabble bars alike, the Honeycutters have built a reputation for high energy shows coupled with tight harmonies and wistfully delicate lyrics of longing, heartbreak, and the American experience,” writes Alan Cackett (UK).

In On The Ropes Platt continues to bring songs of heartache, yearning, and comebacks using phrases so relatable you wish you had thought of them yourself, ”Love ain’t ever black and white, it’s pink and gray and blue besides” (“Blue Besides”).

Platt’s writing is always personal. The title track, “On The Ropes,” is a rally song about coming back from hard knocks. “When I’m down for the count there’s a voice I can’t ignore,” like a continuous conversation with herself, pushing her along and encouraging her to make “something out of nothing.”

In a recent interview with David Dye of the World Cafe, Dye pointed out Platt’s string of songs with ‘love gone wrong’ themes. Her response, “Doesn’t everyone have stories of love gone wrong?” Part of Amanda’s significance as a songwriter lies in her ability to write everybody’s story and allow each listener to feel it’s theirs alone. She shares songs of love and loss, songs of struggles and fears; in “The Only Eyes” Amanda writes, “If there were an easier road that wasn’t so crooked, Honey, I hope you know I would have took it.” NPR’s World Cafe, produced by XPN in Philadelphia, brought the show to Asheville’s The Grey Eagle this February for a sold out evening of entertainment including The Honeycutters in their “Sense of Place” series. The airdate for The Honeycutters’ World Cafe segment is Thursday, March 31st during the first hour of the show.

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The Honeycutters. Photo by Leah Beilhart

The power of Amanda’s songwriting requires musicianship with the kind of edginess needed to match it, to cohesively surround the lyrics in just the right skin while still shining in their individual performances.

Alternating between upright and, new to this album, electric bass, Rick Cooper accentuates the band’s delve deeper into a rock sound blending with their old-school country roots attitude. Along with drummer Josh Milligan the two create a powerful pocket and groove that locks the album together, with Milligan’s vocal harmonies complementing and enhancing Platt’s lead. The pedal steel work of Matt Smith brings unexpected rock licks on an instrument traditionally reserved for a classic country sound in tracks like “Blue Besides” and “Only Eyes”. Smith also shows his prowess on electric guitar with rock, and R&B flavored runs and solos like in “Golden Child”. Tal Taylor’s mandolin cuts through with bitey, bluesy notes and fierce tremolo that pushes the instrument beyond its obvious folk appeal.

On The Ropes has thirteen tracks of all original material with the exception of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” a song Amanda has been playing since before she moved to Asheville. She says, “We’ve had a number of people ask us to record our version, so here ’tis.”  Special guests on the album include Amanda’s father Mark Platt on harmonica, Jeff Collins on piano, and Jason Webb on Hammond B-3 Organ. “The Handbook” features the lovely ladies of Sweet Claudette on vocals: Dulci Ellenberger, Melissa Hyman, and Amber L. Sims.

A special vinyl edition of On the Ropes will be released April 12, 2016 on Vinyl Tuesday, as a featured national release for Record Store Week. This will include a double album released through Organic Records®’ national distribution partner Select-O-Hits. This vinyl album will be made available to independent record stores throughout the country in time for Record Store Day on April 16th. Vinyl Mastering by Scott Barnett at Crossroads Studios / Arden, NC and Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl, Memphis, TN.

On The Ropes builds on the critical success of The Honeycutters breakout album Me Oh My [Organic Records 2015], which appeared on over twenty “2015 Year End Lists” including nods from No Depression, “It’s the type of country music you’d play on the jukebox and take a spin on a red dirt floor” and Cleveland Scene, “an upbeat symphony of regret, redemption and resurgence.” The album was voted #3 on WNCW’s Top 100 Listeners Poll (Under Jason Isbell and Alabama Shakes), listed in NPR’s Folk Alley’s Top 50, and was one of KBCS’s “Most Played Albums of 2015.”

In their “50 Essential Albums for 2015” list, Saving Country Music writes, “Me Oh My is the 14-song testament that you sense could be the centerpiece of her career when it’s all said and done… This is a band, an album, and a songwriter that both the Americana and country world should pay greater attention to.” Me Oh My launched The Honeycutters onto the national stage, bringing along an army of fans with them. Don’t blink now, they’re coming back for more.

It has been said that overnight success is a result of long time dedication and hard work. Amanda writes, in “Golden Child,” her love letter to the music industry, “Now I don’t mind if it takes a little time, when it comes to waiting I’ve been practicing for years.”

On The Ropes – Track Listing
1. On the Ropes
2. Blue Besides
3. Golden Child
4. The Handbook
5. The Only Eyes
6. Back Row
7. Useless Memories
8. Piece of Heaven
9. Let’s Get Drunk
10. 500 Pieces
11. Ache
12. Hallelujah
13. Barmaid’s Blues

Stay tuned to www.TheHoneycutters.com for tour dates and more news about their upcoming Spring 2016 album release on Organic Records!

For news from the road, please visit www.facebook.com/Honeycutters and twitter.com/thehoneycutters.

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Larry Keel’s Experienced Out TODAY Friday, February 26, 2016!
Experienced is a blazing journey of music
featuring Larry Keel, Jenny Keel, and Will Lee

with special guests:
Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Jason Carter,
Mike Guggino, and Anders Beck

LEXINGTON, VA —  Flatpicking guitar phenom Larry Keel dazzles music-lovers once more with his 15th self-released album Experienced, out today, February 26, 2016. Del McCoury says, “Larry Keel is a triple threat… songwriter, guitar player, entertainer. He can do it all.” The album is an entirely original work that showcases both Larry’s and bandmate Will Lee’s exceptional songwriting, singing and jaw-dropping instrumental performances, accompanied by Keel’s equally talented wife Jenny Keel on upright bass and harmony vocals.

Experienced is available now at Keel’s web store (http://larrykeel.com/products-page/) and CD Baby (http://bit.ly/LarryKeel_Experienced_CDBaby).

Added to the raw sophistication of Keel’s progressive acoustic style are several guest-musician-friends who appear on various tracks of Experienced, a list of artists that reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of icons and new stars including Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Jason Carter (The Del McCoury Band), Mike Guggino (Steep Canyon Rangers), and Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass). The album was recorded at Wally Cleaver Studio in Fredericksburg, VA with engineer (and guest drummer) Jeff Covert and mastered by the award-winning industry great Bill Wolf (Willie Nelson, Tony Rice, Doc Watson) in Arlington, VA.

The seven tracks on Experienced reflect Keel’s musical personality, from frenzied and raunchy to mystical and sensitive, and through it all, Keel’s honest attitude shines, fearlessly and with throttle wide-open. “I love me some Keels. There is a certain genuine authenticity that Larry and Jenny possess,” says Keller Williams. “When we get together, our wonder-powers unite to form a giant, impenetrable sphere of open-minded, Appalachian psychedelic goodness.” Sam Bush (who plays mandolin and fiddle on the fiery opening track “Ripchord”) exclaims, ‘Enjoy the music… Larry does!”

Kind Words About Experienced

Experienced is on the rise on the Americana Music Association’s radio chart and currently at #25!

Experienced jimmies into your soul” —No Depression, Amos Perrine

“Few people can get away with describing their music as an ‘experience.’ But then again, few words come close to actually describing the music of Larry Keel. To see Larry Keel perform is to have just that: a unique, singular experience that cannot be duplicated.” —Bluegrass Today, Brian Paul Swenk

“The Keels are the next generation of pickers, and the way they invite legends like Del (McCoury) and Sam (Bush) into their songs adds a punch to music that already punches you in the gut, a punch that makes you want to giddy up, to stand-up, to throw your hands up and slam your boot wearing feet in the ground and shout ‘Hallelujah’” —Relix Magazine’s Peter Shapiro
Relix Magazine presented world premiere of Experienced
which is available to stream through the end of the day of the album release

“Not that many artists get to album number 15 in their career. With Experienced… Larry Keel hits that milestone… and he does so with more than a little help from his friends.” —Folk Alley premiered the song “Fill ’em Up Again.”

“[Keel] keeps things interesting by offering genre-bending novellas that demand attention and then subsequently, if not inevitably, satisfy it. The guy is simply too good to allow anyone a sense of comfort. Don’t dare click the stop button — you never know what might be coming around the playlist.”
Frederick News-Post, Colin McGuire

“Always innovative and pushing boundaries, I was eager to see what type of magic Larry Keel could pull off with a list of guests that included Keller Williams, Del McCoury, and Sam Bush… To say that this album lived up to it’s hype would be an understatement. Every guest was utilized in a way that showcased their most impressive talents, yet this still clearly felt like a Larry Keel album the whole way through.” —Music Marauders, Mitch Melheim

“Keel’s record is beautiful–I love how the rawness of his voice (and playing) really lets the soul shine through the arrangements! I’ve always liked how he can go from sweet and sentimental to dirty and greasy and back.
I especially liked the song ‘Memories’” —Oliver Wood, The Wood Brothers
The Bluegrass Situation Premiered the song “Memories.”

“The album alternates from the sweet nostalgia of ‘Memories’ to the rough and raw ‘Fill ‘Em Up Again,’ to the spooky spirit-filled ‘Warrior,’ complete with Native American chanting from Rowan, similar to his work on ‘Land of the Navajo’ from the first ‘Old and In the Way’ album.” —Mountain Times, Jeff Eason

“It is clear just how much heart was put into each and every word written, and every note sang and played. It also seemed that Keel took the time to write songs that fit well with the musical stylings of his guests.”
NYS Music, Amy Lieberman

“Bluegrass, Americana, and everything else that sounds good”
The Lonesome Road Review, Larry Stephens

Experienced… represents an exploration of American roots music
with folk and blues making appearances on the record.”
Americana Review, Jason Gartshore

“Listening to the new Larry Keel album Experienced is a revelation. It is a look at what music can be when stripped of preconceptions and when a blend of bluegrass, deep woods psychedelia and moonshine combine.”
Consider Collective, Eric Rayburn

Experienced is an album you’ll want to experience again and again.”
Wildman Steve, The Corner News

Experienced Track Listing:

  1. Ripchord [Lee] 6:09  w/ Sam Bush
    2. ‘Lil Miss [Keel] 4:22
    3. Memories [The Keels]  4:00
    4. Fill’em Up Again [Lee] 2:55 w/ Del McCoury, Jason Carter, Mike Guggino
    5. Miles and Miles [Keel] 4:37 w/ Keller Williams
    6. The Warrior 4:38  [Keel] w/ Peter Rowan
    7. Another Summer Day [Lee] 4:47 w/ Anders Beck, Jeff Covert*All tracks with The Larry Keel Experience:
    Larry Keel, Will Lee, and Jenny Keel

    Find out more and stay up to date with news from Larry Keel at www.larrykeel.com, www.twitter.com/LarryKeel, www.facebook.com/LarryKeelFishinAndPickin.

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Experienced_Keel_COVER.png
Larry Keel Independently Releases Experienced
on Friday, February 26, 2016

A blazing journey of music featuring special guests:
Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Jason Carter,
Mike Guggino, and Anders Beck

LEXINGTON, VA —  Flatpicking guitar phenom Larry Keel dazzles music-lovers once more with his 15th self-released album Experienced, due out February 26, 2016. The album is an entirely original work that showcases both Larry’s and bandmate Will Lee’s exceptional songwriting, singing and jaw-dropping instrumental performances, accompanied by Keel’s equally talented wife Jenny Keel on upright bass and harmony vocals. It was recorded at Wally Cleaver Studio in Fredericksburg, VA with engineer (and guest drummer) Jeff Covert and mastered by the award-winning industry great Bill Wolf (Willie Nelson, Tony Rice, Doc Watson) in Arlington, VA.

Added to the raw sophistication of Keel’s progressive acoustic style are several guest-musician-friends who appear on various tracks of Experienced, a list of artists that reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of icons and new stars including Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Jason Carter (The Del McCoury Band), Mike Guggino (Steep Canyon Rangers), and Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass). According to Larry, “This project is a collection of my songs and Will Lee’s music, developed further with the amazing talents of some of our musician friends and heroes. Very real. Very fresh.”

The seven tracks on Experienced reflect Keel’s musical personality, from frenzied and raunchy to mystical and sensitive, and through it all, Keel’s honest attitude shines, fearlessly and with throttle wide-open. As Sam Bush (who plays mandolin and fiddle on the fiery opening track “Ripchord”) says, ‘Enjoy the music… Larry does!” “‘Lil Miss” follows up with a cynical gibe at a mock Miss Prim and not-so-proper young lady of modern day society, set to a down and dirty blues-rock riff.

“Memories” (co-written by Larry and Jenny) is the portrait of the artist (Keel) gently swept away by life’s vast gallery of experiences and personal connections, and the poignant emotions that spring from it all. As the third track, it cools down the pace of things, letting the listener settle into the musical journey Keel has orchestrated.

“Larry Keel is a triple threat… songwriter, guitar player, entertainer. He can do it all,” says Del McCoury, who is featured on the playful and rollicking “‘Fill em Up Again” along with Carter and Guggino. “I think what makes Larry so powerful is that he has lived his songs, he’s not sitting in a room trying to write the hit of the week, he’s writing what’s in his heart and on his mind.”

“I love me some Keels. There is a certain genuine authenticity that Larry and Jenny possess,” says Keller Williams. “When we get together, our wonder-powers unite to form a giant, impenetrable sphere of open-minded, Appalachian psychedelic goodness.” Appropriately, Keller plays on the swelling and rolling “Miles and Miles,” which is a sort of metaphoric travel log of life on the road as a musician (and as a human being)… the key being to stay true to one’s own ‘voice’.

“The Warrior” is loosely based on the Carlos Castaneda book The Teachings of Don Juan and the search for knowledge by an old Yaqui Indian brujo. Peter Rowan joins on percussion instruments, yodeling and throat singing, adding a burning tension to the music, as the tale is sung in Keel’s gravely baritone. “The warrior is seeking the power… Standing tall he will never cower… He can see the spirits in the air… He can see the things that are not there.” The musicianship, lyrics and magical production combine to bring the listener down into the depths of the mystics and back out again in revelation.

Following “The Warrior”, the album’s gentle and refreshing closing melody, “Another Summer Day,” emits the feeling of resurfacing into the world, relaxed and carefree to enjoy the daylight and breeze.  The tune was written and sung by Will Lee, with Anders Beck lending his intuitive touch on dobro and Jeff Covert carrying it along with a light drum beat.

“Larry is the yin and the yang,” declares Beck. “He will break your heart with a waltz, but he can also scare the hello out of you in the next song.  He plays on the edge… no, strike that.. he creates genius guitar solos while staring over the edge and laughing maniacally.”

“This studio album was a complete blast to make, from start to finish,” says Jenny Keel. “Larry, Will and I, along with our exceptional engineer Jeff Covert coalesce into a working musical unit that push each other to higher and higher heights of magic, skill, art and energy.  Add to that this cast of guests with all THEIR unique talents, and you have a recording that is pure enjoyment. Every detail of it!”

Throughout his prolific career, Keel has released 15 albums, including Experienced, and is featured on 10 others. Along with those that guest on the new album, Keel has performed with a multitude of top acoustic and electric musicians alive, and some now gone, including Vassar Clements, John Hartford, Tony Rice, Bill Monroe, Bob Weir, Jorma Kaukonen, Little Feat, Trombone Shorty, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon and many many others. Larry has written songs being performed by the likes of Del McCoury Band, Infamous Stringdusters and Yonder Mountain String Band and has a tune on Del McCoury’s GRAMMY-winning album The Company We Keep [2005] entitled ‘The Mountain Song.’

Experienced Track Listing:
1. Ripchord [Lee] 6:09  w/ Sam Bush
2. ‘Lil Miss [Keel] 4:22
3. Memories [The Keels]  4:00
4. Fill’em Up Again [Lee] 2:55 w/ Del McCoury, Jason Carter, Mike Guggino
5. Miles and Miles [Keel] 4:37 w/ Keller Williams
6. The Warrior 4:38  [Keel] w/ Peter Rowan
7. Another Summer Day [Lee] 4:47 w/ Anders Beck, Jeff Covert

*All tracks with The Larry Keel Experience: Larry Keel, Will Lee, and Jenny Keel

Find out more and stay up to date with news from Larry Keel at www.larrykeel.com, www.twitter.com/LarryKeel, www.facebook.com/LarryKeelFishinAndPickin.

 

 

 

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Cover Carnvial of Hopes(1)-1(1)

Vocalist & Songwriter Jane Kramer Makes a Full Voiced Return to Her Roots with Mountain-made Second Solo Album,
Carnival of Hopes – Due Out Feb 26, 2016

Produced and Engineered by Adam Johnson of Sound Lab Studios,
The album features backing band Free Planet Radio as well as guest appearances by Nicky Sanders of Steep Canyon Rangers and more

ASHEVILLE, NC — Vocalist and songwriter Jane Kramer is set to independently release her gutsy and ambrosial second solo album entitled Carnival of Hopes on Friday, February 26, 2016. Carnival of Hopes feels both celebratory and frank. It is filled with songs of regret and insight found after deep and gritty self-reflection. At its core, the album tells the story of facing down dark inner demons while still clinging to “that tiny chirping of light in your bones that somehow keeps you tethered to keeping on,” Kramer says.

Throughout the album, it is Kramer’s unvarnished honesty and searching, powerfully sweet and heartrending voice that carry the well-crafted and arranged songs and tie both elements of loss and healing cohesively together. “I’m not great at making stuff up,” she says, “so I sing what I lived and what I know, without any sugar or fluff.”

“Anyone who has stared down the barrel of themselves and their failures and fears and shipwrecked loves has scraped up against the bottom of their own capacity for hoping,” says Kramer, a social worker and musician by trade. “My carnival of hopes is busted and hideous and rusty and somehow still brave and sparkly,” she says, “like the image of the forgotten Ferris wheel printed on the disc – half taken over by trees and time, but still standing.”

With deep ties to the area, Carnival of Hopes, boasts a sparkling cast of Ashevillian producers and players. It was recorded at the award-winning Sound Temple Studios in Asheville in February of 2015, while she still lived on the other side of the country in Portland, Oregon. A few months later, after a four-year run spent writing and reflecting on the West Coast, Jane Kramer pulled up stakes and returned to Western North Carolina with a renewed energy to share her new music with the world.

Carnival of Hopes aches and soars with her connections to Appalachian balladry, a force she first encountered at Warren Wilson College and honed while performing with the Asheville-based all-female trio, the Barrel House Mamas, who helped reintroduce Americana music to the Blue Ridge Mountains a decade ago. However, it is as a solo artist where the power of Kramer’s songwriting and world-class vocals truly shine.

Kramer’s longtime friend Adam Johnson of Sound Lab Studios, whose portfolio of clients includes such names as Alison Krauss and Yo Yo Ma, produced and engineered the album. Kramer is backed by Chris Rosser on piano and harmonium, Eliot Wadopian on upright bass and River Guerguerian on drums and percussion, the virtuoso trio that comprises Free Planet Radio, and by master Georgia-based bluegrass musicians/ multi-instrumentalists, Pace Conner (steel string, high string and baritone guitars, ukulele, mandolin, and backing vocals) and Michael Evers (Dobro, banjo, mandolin, and backing vocals) who arranged the songs for recording and perform and tour with Kramer regularly.

Carnival of Hopes as an album is full of sometimes-searing flourishes on the complexities of Kramer’s modern life. The title track clearly encompasses that, she says.

jane_kramer_photo_by_sandlin_gaither-16.jpg

Jane Kramer. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

“In the song ‘Carnival of Hopes’ and on the record as a whole, I talk about letting things die and being honest about it: the notion that I am a good woman, ideas for my future and success, a big love, and even parts of myself dying and being reborn in the letting go” she says. “I talk about laying down my hammer but leaving the light on in the window. While these are heavy concepts, I feel the take-away feeling of the album is one of hope.”

 

On this deeply personal album, Kramer’s favorite track is the ballad, “Good Woman.” While she says she’s not one who fits that description, listeners might disagree after hearing the lilting but earnest passion and regret in her voice.

“Good Woman” is the song you write when your lover kicks you out of the house and you’re half drunk on cheap box wine in a crappy motel room staring at yourself in the mirror under the fluorescent bathroom light,” Jane says. “You can’t help but be honest then.”

“Aside from the sentiment, the contributions of virtuoso players, Nicky Sanders of Steep Canyon Rangers and Franklin Keel of Sirius B, also help make the song a favorite,” Kramer adds. They play orchestral fiddle and cello, respectively, on “Good Woman”.

Other songs on the album offer clear hints to Kramer’s unflinching self-examination and ability to convey heavy subject matter through utterly palatable and even catchy song-crafting. The New Orleans jazz-influenced “Why’d I Do That Blues,” (which features a horn section comprised of JP Furnas on trombone and Ben Hovey on trumpet), the classic country honky tonking sass of the opening track “Half Way Gone,” and the banjo-driven, uptempo modern-day spiritual “My Dusty Wings” all speak to a talented songwriter laying herself bare. She credits her songwriting hero and mentor, Mary Gauthier, with helping her reach for, and express, everything she hoped to communicate with the album.

The songs on the album were all penned by Kramer with the exception of one cover, “Down South,” written by Tom Petty. “This tune just sounds like the mountains.” Kramer says,”I’m a huge Petty fan and love the poignant simplicity of his writing. Additionally, and probably what was most important to me was the message of the song thematically, about returning home to the south and it’s little idiosyncrasies.”

The sense of homecoming that rings through was a conscious effort, Kramer says. “I did that because Asheville is my dirt. It’s my home and my culture, musically and otherwise. I missed it and knew somewhere in my bones I would be coming back to stay soon,” she says.

“I didn’t want to make an album that didn’t sound like home,” Kramer adds. “I wanted Asheville musicians and Appalachian instrumentation – that wistful, southern dobro sound that hurts your heart a little.” Carnival of Hopes is indeed a homecoming album, and will take listeners through the enchanting and accessible emotional landscape of a woman who has climbed the mountain of her own failures and fears and learned how to be at home with herself.

Album: Carnival of Hopes Track listing:

  1. Half Way Gone  3:45
  2. Carnival of Hopes  5:25
  3. Your Ever~Green Heart  3:21
  4. Good Woman  5:29
  5. Down South (by Tom Petty) 3:30
  6. Truck Stop Stars  4:31
  7. Why’d I Do That Blues  2:38
  8. Highways, Rivers & Scars  4:25
  9. Truth Tellin’ Eyes  4:19
  10. My Dusty Wings  2:57

Learn more about Jane Kramer and her music at www.JaneKramer.net and stay up to date with news at www.facebook.com/janekramersongstress.

 

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