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HoneycuttersOnTheRopesBigCov

The Honeycutters, an Asheville-based American Country Roots Band,
Release 4th Studio Album, On The Ropes, May 20, 2016 on Organic Records


Now available: CD, Vinyl and Digital
iTunes, Amazon, Tower Records, and Select-O-Hits

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. Their new album On The Ropes is out today, 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.” This morning the album hit #38 on the iTunes Top 40 Country Chart and #12 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases on Folk. It is currently at #1 on the Roots Music Report’s Country Chart! and #10 on the The Alternate Root Magazine’s Roots 66 Chart!

Joining Amanda Platt to round out The Honeycutters are Rick Cooper, alternating between upright and electric bass, accentuating 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 was produced by Amanda Anne Platt and Tim Surrett and engineered and mastered by Van Atkins at Crossroads Studios in Arden, NC.

What Folks Are Saying about On The Ropes:

AmandaSolo_2016_ByLeahBeilhart_4

Amanda Anne Platt. Photo By Leah Beilhart.

“Their songwriting is first rate, their arrangements and instrumental ability in top form and with a front woman as assertive and impressive as singer Amanda Anne Platt, there’s nothing lacking in presence or execution. The songs may revolve around the need for assurance and affirmation, but clearly, Platt and her colleagues… have every contingency covered.”  –No Depression, Lee Zimmerman

 

“Pratt is a gifted songwriter and vocalist… She has an authoritative, confident voice that can be sweet, aching, and joyous, sometimes even in the same song. Pratt’s voice and the interplay of the guitar and mandolin give this band their unique complex sound – a clear-sounding mash-up of Americana, bluegrass, folk, and honky-tonk.” –Elmore, Jim Hynes

On The Ropes wonderfully showcases Platt’s dazzling songwriting skills with themes of loss, loneliness, nostalgia and getting the shit kicked out of you by love. All thirteen tracks are original material, except for a fascinating cover of Leonard Cohen’s iconic “Hallelujah”, sung in a spellbinding manner and just dripping of honeysuckle and moonshine.” That Music Mag, Jane Roser

“Amanda Anne Platt is a master songwriter, not because she finds unusual metaphors, creates cute wordplay, or buries deep psychological meaning in her lyrics, but because her songs are so effortlessly conversational. She’s like that old friend at the bar who sidles up to you real close, in your personal space, and grabs your forearm to get your attention because she really really wants to make sure you get what she’s telling you. Her songs command attention because they are so darn human you believe them.” —Americana Music Show, Calvin Powers

“On The Ropes is brimming with affecting, relatable, and on point lyrics… It’s not just Platt’s ability to tap into emotions and experiences so keenly that makes On The Ropes so special, the band’s tight musicianship brings Platt’s lyrics to new heights. Tal Taylor’s mandolin adds something special to every song as does Matt Smith’s pedal steel, dobro, and electric guitar while Rick Cooper (upright and electric bass) and Josh Milligan (drums/harmony vocal) expertly keep a precise beat.” —The Daily Country, Tara Joan

“Make no mistake, The Honeycutters are a country band in every sense of the word. They are the type of ‘country’ that has the ability to save country music radio, in the same way as Sturgill Simpson, Whitey Morgan, and Chris Stapleton. They will probably stay firmly within the Americana charts and radio promotions and do very well there, but each time I put on their album I can’t escape the heavy realization of how much country music radio needs them right now.” —Lonesone Banjo Chronicles, Brian Swenk

“While her country-flavored songs almost always tell a story, The Honeycutters’ musical approach adds a dimension to the tunes that only widens their appeal.”  —Mountain Xpress, Bill Kopp

Honeycutters_2016inside_ByLeahBeilhart

The Honeycutters. Photo by Leah Beilhart.

“Amanda Anne Platt doesn’t sound like everyone else. Her voice has its own sweet yet strong, recognizable ring, and the songs she writes sound like old friends, yet are new and relevant.” —Asheville Citizen Times, Carol Rifkin

 

“More fans should attach themselves to her brand of poignant songwriting and Lucinda Williams-like singing… The Honeycutters aren’t like anything on today’s country music radio. The group’s music, though, is like the country music that once blared through AM radio, complete with steel guitar and a dash of Western swing.”
Hendersonville Times News/ GoUpstate, Jason Gilmer

“This here is sawdust floor and longneck honky-tonk. North Carolina’s The Honeycutters swings gentle to and fro, with a knockout punch of steel guitar, and a rhythm section that adheres gloriously to the 2/4. This is the country music you’ve been missing. The genre’s purity gets redefined by songbird Amanda Anne Platt. It’s all around beautiful and timeless.” –Rochester City Paper, Frank De Blase

On The Ropes is a worthy successor to Me Oh My. It’s relatable and heart-breaking, buoyant and hopeful. The Honeycutters just keep getting better and it’s thrilling to hear it.” —Popshifter, Melissa Bratcher

On The Ropes shows more versatility from The Honeycutters with a bit of rock and pop influence in the production, while still keeping the songs firmly planted in country music. The songs and lyrics are richer, exploring more topics, and Platt’s vocals sound as good as ever.” —Country Perspective, Derek Hudgin

“On Ropes, Platt asks the hard questions and avoids easy answers, both lyrically and musically. The pieces are familiar ones from just about any other country bar band, the pedal steel, the mandolin and guitar with touches of ‘grass, gospel and folk. Platt’s writing keeps these in play while raising the Honeycutters above the overly familiar tricks and cliches of the crowded genre. Love lost is hardly new territory, but she writes about it from a novel place.” —KRFC’s Route and Branches, Scott Foley

“All of those sad little pop singers need to get off country radio and let the Honeycutters take it from here. When I heard this album I felt the same way I felt when I first heard Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band. There’s not much of a point to making such comparisons however, because the Honeycutters are their own band… Thank god for bands like the Honeycutters, they give me faith that a group can remain true to their vision while still writing extremely memorable songs.” —Western Free Press, Skyler Miller

“There are a lot of lines that stand out, that ring true, lyrics you can hold onto.”
Michael Doherty

“One of the best current acts to come out of Asheville is The Honeycutters, a great band ready to be discovered by the rest of America.” —Cincinnati City Beat, Derek Halsey

Song Premiere: LISTEN: The Honeycutters, “On The Ropes“ at Elmore Magazine
“On The Ropes [is] a feel good barn-burner of a song that pairs Platt’s old-school country vocals with a rollicking, danceable melody. The harmonies laced throughout recall the roots tradition the band is steeped in, but the track is a radio-ready hit, dangerously catchy and perfect for when you need a little boost.”

Song Premier: LISTEN: The Honeycutters, “Blue Besides” at The Bluegrass Situation www.thebluegrasssituation.com/read/listen-honeycutters-blue-besides

Listen in to The Honeycutters’ World Cafe appearance at http://bit.ly/TheHoneycutters_WorldCafe.

More info, tourdates and updates at www.TheHoneycutters.com, www.facebook.com/Honeycutters, and twitter.com/thehoneycutters.

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HoneycuttersOnTheRopesBigCov
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.

Honeycutters_2016_Ring_ByLeahBeilhart

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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AMABAnner2The Honeycutters, Town Mountain, and Organic Records
Showcasing at AmericanaFest 2015

The Honeycutters. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

The Honeycutters. Photo by Sandlin Gaither

Honeycutters AMA Showcase
Saturday, September 19th
9pm at The Listening Room
217 2nd Ave S, Nashville, TN 37201
www.listeningroomcafe.com

The Honeycutters, an Asheville, NC-based original country roots band, released their third studio album, Me Oh My, on April 21, 2015 with Organic Records®. Fueled by the powerful songwriting and vocals of founder Amanda Platt, Me Oh My moves her into the spotlight as producer, band leader, and principal creative force behind the band. With songs that are honest and relatable, part chagrin and part hope, Platt’s voice carries a timeless appeal.

Me Oh My debuted at #33 on the Americana Music Chart and was listed 11 weeks straight in the Americana top 30 chart! They also were just voted Western North Carolina’s Best Americana/ Country band five years running in Mountain Xpress‘ annual Reader’s Poll.

Led by songwriter Amanda Anne Platt, The Honeycutters include Tal Taylor on mandolin, Rick Cooper on bass, Josh Milligan on drums, and Matt Smith rounds out the band on pedal steel, electric guitar, and dobro to create a sound that carries just as well across the bar room as in a church or a theater. Platt’s songs are shaped by a raw honesty that comes straight from the heart and emits a sort of melancholy happiness.

“The new album is the one I’m most proud of to date.” Platt says, “I took much more of a driver’s seat in it’s making, and the process has forced me to do a lot of growing up… I feel like I’ve really found my voice. I’m very excited about the line up of the band, and the songwriting includes some of my very favorites.”

Platt self produced the album along with the help of engineer and assistant producer Jon Ashley. They laid down the all original 14-track album in Echo Mountain Recording Studio and Mixtown Studio in Asheville, NC and it was mixed and mastered just down the road at Crossroads Studios in Arden, NC.

“From the first track – ‘Jukebox’ – to the closer (‘A Life For You’) this is a perfect album of tunes that – in most cases will have you dancing around the room (or at least tapping your toes).” —Steve Ramm, Amazon

“…Platt’s songwriting could be placed in the exceptional category, at least from the evidence Me Oh My presents in her favor. It’s not just the sorrow and sincerity, it’s the insight and the resonance.” —Saving Country Music

“Vocalist Amanda 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.” —Craig Havighurst, Music City Roots

Town Mountain. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

Town Mountain. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

Town Mountain AMA Showcase
Friday, September 18th
Midnight (12am) at The Station Inn
Closing Set, Directly after Willie Watson
402 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203
www.stationinn.com

Town Mountain’s hard drivin’ bluegrass sound, tight harmonies, and stellar in-house songwriting have become the band’s trademark. They light up the stage with their honky tonk edge and barroom swagger, featuring a Jimmy Martin-style bounce and confidence that is countered at times by a laid-back John Hartford-esque groove. Town Mountain includes Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, and Adam Chaffins on bass.

Town Mountain is prolific in songwriting with each member contributing to their well-supplied vat of original material. They’ve been finalizing their next studio release which was produced and engineered by GRAMMY winner Dirk Powell in his studio, The Cypress House, in south Louisiana.

Town Mountain is about to release of Town Mountain: The Dead Session this summer. “Each member of this band has enjoyed the music of the Grateful Dead for quite some time,” says vocalist and guitarist Robert Greer. “It seemed only fitting for Town Mountain to pay respect to some musical heroes in this year, their 50th year of existence.” They recorded an impromptu set of two of their favorite songs from the Grateful Dead’s catalog at Echo Mountain Studios in their hometown of Asheville, NC.

They released their first official live album Town Mountain: Live At The Isis in the summer of 2014 following 2012’s Leave The Bottle and 2011’s Steady Operator (which were both produced by Mike Bub, five-time IBMA Bass Player of the Year). Town Mountain was nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2014 Award for “Emerging Artist of The Year” following 2013’s honor of receiving IBMA Momentum Awards for “Band of the Year” and lead singer Robert Greer for “Vocalist of the Year.”

“Phil Barker’s ‘Lawdog’ sounds like an unearthed classic, and the group’s tight harmonies alone make this record [Leave the Bottle] a treat…”– Juli Thanki

“While it remains a bluegrass band in all things instrumentation and touring the bluegrass and festival circuit, its sound crosses into American roots and even outlaw country, perhaps as a result of the gritty, mournful tone of Greer’s vocals. It is reminiscent of the 1970s truck-driving film sound, the perfect accompaniment to a car chase through the south á la ‘Smokey and the Bandit.’”  —Durango Herald, KDUR DJ Bryant Liggett

ama_AD3.5x7.5Organic Records Presents:
The Carolina Ball
Friday September 18th, 5-8pm
at Dan McGuinness Pub
1538 Demonbreun St.
Nashville, TN 37203
www.danmcguinnesspub.com

It’s Friday Happy Hour and this Asheville, NC’s Organic Records® brings you new bands from North Carolina! Come hear the Americana-Honky Tonk sound of The Honeycutters, the classic Country of Merle Haggard’s favorite young band The Malpass Brothers and the working class ballads of Appalachia’s Aaron Burdett. All in Nashville’s beloved Irish house, Dan McGuinness Pub from 5-8pm on AMA Friday.

Organic Records is an eclectic home for a variety of artists that are singularly unique and defy categorization. In a time when music is becoming less defined by genre, Organic artists are developing their own musical identity outside the confines of traditional classifications. Organic Records is their natural habitat. Organic is an independent label based near Asheville, NC. They promote, distribute and market music created by original artists who defy genre categorization. Organic Records is a division of Crossroads Entertainment and Marketing, Inc.

Their team, with decades of music marketing, licensing, distribution and promotional experience, brings artists to the world marketplace. Their award winning, state-of-the-art recording studio has been in operation since 1993 and provides artists with a world-class recording experience. Their marketing division has promoted award-winning and GRAMMY®-nominated albums, and our radio promotion department has achieved multiple #1 singles. Organic Records is dedicated to the sustainable career of their artists and achieves this through cooperative efforts with their artists, their fans, media outlets, and industry relationships.

See all the full schedule for AMA nightime showcases here: http://americanamusic.org/showcase-lineup

Full AMA conference schedule: http://americanamusic.org/daily-schedule

Free AMA Phone App with daily schedules: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/americana-music-fest-conference/id1027451265?ls=1&mt=8


Cheers and see you at AmericanaFest!

Dreamspider_pub_logo_cmyk

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Mike Cullison and The Regulars
The Barstool Monologues
“A Honky-Tonk Canterbury Tales”

Album Release Show
Friday, November 9, 2012
The Building

www.theroadhouserambler.com

… one of Nashville’s most respected tunesmiths
–Chuck Dauphin, Music News Nashville

He does a great job painting this picture of this little roadhouse and the lives of its regulars. It draws the listener in, allowing us the opportunity to see behind the curtain of the world from where he draws his musical inspiration.” –Bold Life

The Regulars will join Mike Cullison for this special staged presentation of the songs and stories from the new album The Barstool Monologues. All songs from The Barstool Monologues are written or co-written by Cullison, who has been hailed by critics as country the way country used to be. Mike plays the role of the Bartender “Hollis” for the occasion, while the cast of “The Regulars” is performed by a variety of singers and musicians, all listed below. The show will be videotaped—and, of course, the bartender will be kept busy. Mark this special event on your calendar–it’s not every day that Music City plays host to “honky-tonk Canterbury Tales.”

In The Barstool Monologues, Nashville singer-songwriter Cullison weaves the lives of bar patrons into songs, then threads those songs together with short spoken-word narratives to create a vivid musical tableau: There’s the heartbroken lover, the fracturing couple, the other woman, the lonely imbiber … each introduced by a bartender named Hollis who sees and hears it all.  Various singers inhabit their personas, spinning musical novellas.

The Barstool Monologues will take place at The Building in East Nashville on Friday, November 9th. Audience Specials for the evening include souvenir scripts as well as ”Barstool Monologues” drink coasters while supplies last!

Show Details:
Mike Cullison and The Regulars
The Barstool Monologues CD Release Show @ The Building
Friday, November 9, 2012

7pm / $5 cover
The Building, 1008C Woodland St, East Nashville TN 37206
More info: 615-975-9465
www.theroadhouserambler.com

Musicians and Cast:

Mike Cullison (aka “Hollis”, Owner/Bartender at “The Oasis”), Vocals / www.theroadhouserambler.com (has written with Johnny Neel of The Allman Brothers, No. 1 country hit writer Don Goodman, and Crosby Stills & Nash veteran Mike Stergis)

Mark Robinson, Guitar and Vocals / www.MarkRobinsonGuitar.com (also Producer of the CD; debut album is critically acclaimed ‘Quit Your Job – Play Guitar’; has played and guested with Tommy Womack, Davis Raines, Walt Wilkins, Johnny Neel, Tracy Nelson)

Daniel Seymour, Bass / http://danielseymour.wordpress.com/ (also Associate Producer of the CD; plays with Tommy Womack, David Olney, Matt Urmy, Otis Gibbs)

Justin Amaral, Drums / https://www.facebook.com/justin.amaral (has played with Junior Brown, The Half Brass, Amelia White)

Randy Handley, Piano and Vocals / http://bigsisterproductions.com/randy_handley (has written songs for and/or played with John Mellencamp, Garth Brooks, Lee Roy Parnell, Hal Ketchum, John Cowan, John Denver)

David Wood, Steel Guitar (has played with Lorie Morgan, Joe Diffie, and Doug Stone)

Ben Graves, Harmonica, Saxophone and Vocals / https://www.facebook.com/ben.graves.311 (jazz-rocker extraordinaire; has played with Kid Rock, James Otto, Rebecca Lynn Howard)

Jon Byrd, Vocals / www.jonbyrd.com (most recent album is the critically acclaimed “Down at the Well of Wishes”: “Americana the way it was and the way it should be” –MOJO Magazine)

Davis Raines, Vocals / www.davisraines.com (well known Nashville songwriter with cuts by Walt Wilkins, Kenny Rogers, Pam Tillis; his most recent album “Santa Maria Hotel” has been called “a gem”)

Tiffany Huggins Grant, Vocals / www.tiffanyhugginsgrant.com (this award-winning songwriter’s new album is “Sing Sigh Kitty”)

Travis Lamb, Vocals / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Travis-Lamb/267214746632470 (has worked with, among others, Jim & Jesse and The Oak Ridge Boys)

Lisa Oliver-Gray, Vocals / https://www.facebook.com/lisa.olivergray.7 (sings with Tommy Womack and many others, including Will Kimbrough, Bonnie Bishop, Marshall Chapman; new CD “Dedicated to Love” has been called “compelling and distinctive”)

Photos by Greg Roth.

www.theroadhouserambler.com

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The Barstool Monologues

MIKE CULLISON & The Regulars

“A Honky-Tonk Canterbury Tales”
***   ***   ***

Fans of classic country music will feel right at home with Mike Cullison.
–John Davy, No Depression

A captivating blues rocker … soulful roadhouse songwriting.” –Simon Hallett, Totnes FM (UK)

This is what country music has been missing … [Mike] is bringing it back.” –Renaldo 6, SongCritic.com

I think music is the highway through life and I’m just rockin’ and rollin’ down the road.” —Mike Cullison

www.theroadhouserambler.com

Singer-songwriter Mike Cullison (aka “The Roadhouse Rambler”) is used to hearing his work defined in painterly terms; music journalists commonly pull out such metaphors when trying to describe songs. But with his new album, The Barstool Monologues (due out November 13th through JoeDog Records), it’s almost as if he’s working in the 3D style of sculptor J. Seward Johnson Jr., who turns famous Impressionist paintings into life-sized tableaux, incorporating not only the original images, but his own fanciful imaginings of what went on beyond the canvas.

Cullison takes a similar approach with The Barstool Monologues, weaving lives of bar patrons into songs, then threading them together with spoken-word narrative to create a vivid musical tableau. There’s the heartbroken lover, the fracturing couple, the other woman, the lonely imbiber … each introduced by a bartender named Hollis, who sees and hears it all. Various singers (including Jon Byrd, Davis Raines, and six others) inhabit their personas, spinning musical novellas into what Cullison likes to describe as “a honky-tonk Canterbury Tales.”

“It’s as if you walked into a place and you took a snapshot and everybody’s looking in the camera,” says the Nashville resident. “What I wanted to do was place everybody in that picture into one of the songs, either as its subject or the person singing it to somebody else.”

Mike Cullison. Photo by Greg Roth.

Cullison, an Oklahoma native who’s honed his songwriting skills with such royalty as Don Goodman (“Ol’ Red”; “Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands”), Johnny Neel (the Allman Brothers) and Mike Stergis (Crosby, Stills & Nash), describes his style as “roadhouse blues and country roots-rock.” But his influences are as vast as the early rock ‘n’ roll his mom adored and the classic country his dad preferred, and he draws deeply from that well, along with other Americana styles — from Bakersfield to hybrid zyde-Cajun blues — to create a rich aural tapestry as colorful as Johnson’s art.

He considers himself a lyric writer first, however. “The story and how it is told are very important to me,” Cullison says. “Some songs come at you very quickly, but most take time. There’s still a lot of polishing to do even after the lightning bolts strike.”

Cullison’s career has taken time, too. In fact, the release party for his first album, 2004’s BAC (Big American Car), was also his retirement party after 32 years with the Bell Telephone Co. Midway through his Bell Tel years, he moved to Atlanta, “because it was five hours closer to Nashville.” His ultimate goal was always Music City, “because that’s where the writers were.”

He finally made it in 1995. Throughout his day-job years, he always wrote and performed; in Atlanta, he was in a band called Lone Walter. These days, Cullison appears solo or with a variety of friends and collaborators in the states and Europe, where he first released the EP Roadhouse Rambler in 2011, which hit #1 on the Airplay Direct radio charts. (His second CD, Blue Collar Tired, came out in 2007.)

Like most musicians, Cullison spends his share of time in bars. And like most country-influenced players, he’s sung his share of “tears in beer” tunes. But one night, while performing at the late Nashville bar the Sutler (lost, sadly, to developers), a thought struck: “Instead of having somebody sitting on the customer’s side of the bar crying in their beer, what if we turned it around?”

That was the genesis of the Mark Robinson-produced The Barstool Monologues.

“Songwriting is storytelling, so it kind of fit for me,” says Cullison, who also has plenty of “behind the song” stories. One of his favorites involves the opening tune, “Wish I Didn’t Like Whiskey” — a perfect choice to open an album set in a bar.

“I had bought a drink for a friend of mine,” Cullison relates, “and as I handed her the glass, she said, ‘I wish I didn’t like whiskey so much.’ I excused myself for a minute while I wrote that on a coaster. Turned out to be a very good song.”

They’ve all turned out to be very good songs — vignettes, actually, sung and performed by some of Nashville’s finest. If Cullison has his way, The Barstool Monologues might even turn into a musical of some sort, with actors and stage sets. Life-sized, like a Johnson tableau. Only even more real, because we can recognize the characters in Cullison’s stories. They’re our friends, our exes … or maybe even ourselves.

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The Blue Rags
The Grey Eagle
Saturday, June 5, 2010

all ages, 9pm
$10 advance, $12 at the door
828-232-5800
185 Clingman Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
http://www.thegreyeagle.com
www.myspace.com/httpwwwmyspacecomthebluerags

Come celebrate the start of summer with Asheville’s home town favorites The Blue Rags. After playing hugely successful shows in the fall of 2009 at LAAFF and the Grey Eagle, as well as the 2010 French Broad Festival, they are back June 5th, 2010 at the Grey Eagle performing their own brand of Rag-N-Roll.

Don’t miss your chance to see this widely influential play live in Asheville, it doesn’t happen very often. The show will feature original members Jake Hollifield, Scott Sharpe, Abe Reid, Aaron “Woody” Wood, Mike Rhodes along with good friend Brent Sevier on bass (Bill Reynolds is in Europe touring with Band of Horses). The musical branches of The Blue Rags family tree spread deep and far.

After helping to put the WNC music scene on the map starting in the early 90’s (both before and after their stint on Sub Pop Records) through solo careers, side projects and session work; constant touring with such diverse acts as Bad Livers, Southern Culture on the Skids, Pavement, Government Mule and Leftover Salmon helped spread their reputation across America. They were also widely influential in the Americana scene right as it was coming into conception as a musical banner/umbrella. Popular bands of today, including the Avett Brothers, Old Crowe Medicine Show, and Scrappy Hamilton (now Truth and Salvage Company, touring with the Black Crowes) site The Blue Rags as musical influences.

If you are an old fan, come out to relive some memories with some old skool friends. If you’ve never seen The Blue Rags, but just heard about how great their live shows were, don’t miss your chance!

The Blue Rags @ The Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC

The Blue Rags “Take Me Back” at L.A.A.F.F Sept. 09

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