Archive for Hearth Publicity category
De Temps Antan:
Ce Monde Ici-Bas (The World Below)
The music of French Canada has an undeniable joie-de-vivre, a kind of infectious energy born from the slapping ‘tac-tic-a-tac’ of les pieds (a seated form of clogging), the jumping, syncopated fiddle bowing, and the driving force of the button accordion. Or maybe it’s the rowdy drinking songs, or the eerie ancient ballads of medieval France that have lasted for centuries in the New World. Whatever the case, Québécois power trio De Temps Antan have this energy in spades, as they prove on their newest album, Ce Monde Ici-Bas (The World Below). It makes sense that these three artists would have such a powerful sound; each member of De Temps Antan (guitar/singer Éric Beaudry, fiddler/singer André Brunet, accordionist/harmonica player/singer Pierre-Luc Dupuis, was formerly a leader in the massive, multi-platinum Québec folk band La Bottine Souriante and has toured the world over on some the biggest stages. With De Temps Antan, they’ve taken the energy they brought to arena performances and channeled this into a shockingly powerful trio.
On Ce Monde Ici-Bas, De Temps Antan draw from the traditions of Québec, but actively seek to push these traditions to a new place. These musicians are virtuosic performers, and their interpretations of the music of Québec are as much informed by their world travels as by their fieldwork and family ties. The new album incorporates recently written songs like “Refaire le monde (Remake the World)” from Québécois songwriter David Marin, or newly composed instrumental pieces like “Valse St-Sévère” (St. Sévère Waltz)” by fiddler André Brunet. The traditional song of emigration “L’América (America)” gets rebuilt with the help of Louisiana’s star Cajun fiddler/singer Louis Michot (of the Lost Bayou Ramblers). Of course, this being a Québécois album, drinking songs play a large role! The album opens with “Mépriseuse de garçons,” a song which has the great line “I’ve got a bottle on my knee, and I like it a lot better than you.”
Throughout Ce Monde Ici-Bas, De Temps Antan build to powerhouse crescendos, arranging the songs and tunes to sound like a full band. It’s a remarkably diverse album, drenched in the true sounds of French Canada but influenced by each member’s travels and diverse influences. Recorded in Éric Beaudry’s small home village of St-Côme in the heart of Québec, Ce Monde Ici-Bas echoes with the voices that came before De Temps Antan and will surely influence the voices to come after them.
Note: De Temps Antan is pronounced Duh Ta-Zawn-TAWN. The name is a pun meaning “From Time to Time” and also “From the Olden Times.”
De Temps Antan: "Mépriseuse de garçons":
De Temps Antan: "Matin d'hiver":
12/04/2013 | comments (0)
From their home in the Colorado Rockies, The Railsplitters have been scaling new heights with a refreshing and charming range of Bluegrass and beyond-Bluegrass tunes. For a debut album, The Railsplitters sound remarkably assured, playing with the kind of abandon that their live shows are known for. Bringing real depth, and formidable talent, this group draws influences from all the greats-- from Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs to modern groups like Uncle Earl and Crooked Still. The Railsplitters are nothing if not enthusiastically bluegrass and contagiously so, with rapid tempos, unusual instrumentals and goodtime-breakdowns! Using powerful female and male vocals, enchanting harmonies and masterful instrumentals, The Railsplitters have the kind of raw power that can raise mountains and maybe even a few eyebrows.
The Railsplitters’ debut album starts off with a nostalgic homage to lead singer Lauren Stovall’s hometown of Jackson, Mississippi,“The City With Soul”. As a singer, Lauren has certainly got soul, and plenty of it! And while Lauren is giving Alison Krauss a run for her money, Peter Sharpe and Dusty Rider (yep, that’s his real name folks!) are masterfully pickin’ the mandolin and banjo (respectively). Laura, Peter and Dusty, along with innovative upright bassist Leslie Ziegler, all sing on the album and add to The Railsplitters’ impressive songwriting.
The quartet usually start by writing their songs individually and then come together to develop them as a group. This songwriting interplay adds a special addition to an already broad diversity of styles and genres on the album. From dance numbers like “Lonesome Feeling” to modulated instrumental numbers like “Longs Peak”, to sweet ballads like “Where You Are”- The Railsplitters have a song for every kind of mood.
The Railsplitters have a musical range that sets them apart from other up-and-coming Bluegrass bands. Calling on genre influnces from Roots/Americana, Country Twang, 50’s doo op, modern pop and of course, good ol’ fashioned Rock n Roll, they’ve been wowing listeners at home in Colorado and beyond. Since their beginning in early 2011, The Railsplitters have won two major contests: 2012 Pickin’ in the Pines in Flagstaff, Arizona and 2013 RockyGrass in Lyons, Colorado!
At the core, The Railsplitters are a high energy, bluegrass roots quartet whose vocals soar well above all the blue in the sky. With luminous vocal clarity, unclouded songwriting talent and exceptional music range, we expect this high energy group will be growing far beyond Colorado’s Front Range in no time!
The Railsplitters: "Jackson Town"
The Railsplitters: "Lonesome Feeling"
12/01/2013 | comments (0)
The Abramson Singers:
As we draw to the twilight of the year, it seems appropriate to be listening to Vancouver, Canada’s The Abramson Singers, whose music seems to come so naturally from the grey skies over wintery British Columbia. Their new album, Late Riser, is layered with rich vocal harmonies, indie pop and folk songwriting, and the kind of shimmery dissonance that bandleader Leah Abramson learned from years of singing Appalachian music. If this music sounds different, it’s because of Abramson’s eclectic taste in music and her deep ties to Vancouver’s innovative indie roots scene. Like her friends in Vancouver indie roots band The Be Good Tanyas (Samantha Parton guests on Late Riser!), Abramson knows the roots of American music inside and out, but brings a decidedly fresh approach to her music. Inspired by Canadian history as equally as local stories of heartbreak and longing, Abramson writes songs that subvert the folk or pop songwriting structure, blossoming beyond these boundaries into something entirely new.
With a voice that is paradoxically rich and full, but also gossamer thin, Abramson taps into the eerie backbone of a song. It’s an ability she first honed with alt-old-time stringband The Crooked Jades, then as a touring harmony vocalist for well-known Canadian artists, and later developed on her own following a difficult wrist injury. Unable to play her instruments, Abramson sat down with an 8-track recorder and began layering her own voice and creating harmonic structures that echoed a full singing group. This first iteration of The Abramson Singers came from her background as a proud “choir nerd,” and showed that she had an uncanny knack for arranging her songs into Victorian lace superstructures. Now with her new album, produced by Colin Stewert (Dan Mangan), Abramson’s brought all her friends to bear on the music. Renowned old-time fiddler Rayna Gellert joins in, as do Canadian roots luminaries like Jesse Zubot and Josh Grange (of kd lang’s band). Aside from the guests, The Abramson Singers are made up of Tyson Naylor – keyboards, Patrick Metzger – bass, Lucien Durey – harmony vocals, and Dan Gaucher – drums/percussion.
It’s the songs that stand out as the key to Abramson’s music. Here, the longing and heartbreak of today rub against the tragedies of Canada’s historic past (songs “Red River Valley” and “Marguerite” speak of the Métis people’s tragic leader Louis Riel). Abramson’s soothing voice is as sharp as frozen ice, but just as fragile. This fragility makes for one of the most endearing and intimate indie roots recordings of the year.
The Abramson Singers: "Liftoff Canon"
The Abramson Singers: "Marguerite"
11/22/2013 | comments (0)
The Henry Girls:
Anyone who credits their aunt for doing finger snaps on their recording is obviously dedicated to family. That’s part of the joy and charm of The Henry Girls, a trio of sisters still living in the same town in County Donegal, Ireland in which they were raised. With voices as tight-knit as an Aran wool sweater, The Henry Girls bring an intriguing blend of vintage Americana and Irish traditional music. From naming their group after their grandfather Henry to the addition of family members on several tracks, The Henry Girls prove that there is magic in a group tied so strongly to their family and heritage.
Karen, Lorna, and Joleen McLaughlin recorded their first album ten years ago as The Henry Girls. By 2010, they were nominated for an Irish Film & Television Award for Best Original Score, having had their songs appear on the film A Shine of Rainbows; and soon after The Henry Girls appeared with the acclaimed Mary Black on her album Stories from the Steeples. Recording their fourth album, December Moon, was, however, a memorable experience. “We are Irish but our mother is Scottish and we were delighted that we got to record part of the album there,” says Lorna. “It was great as we got a chance to catch up with the Scottish relations” (including Aunt Maureen, noted finger snapper).
In addition to the vast number of instruments The Henry Girls play interchangeably on the album—harp, banjo, fiddle, bodhran, viola, piano, mandolin, accordion, guitar and ukulele—they have brought on a veritable treasure trove of outside musicians. Denis Boyle (fiddle), Ted Ponsonby (dobro, guitar), Liam Bradley (drums and percussion), Nicky Scott (double bass) provide a rich, rounded sound while a slew of musicians guest on several tracks, including Gameli Tordzro on the African kora!
The Henry Girls have cast their fishing net as far as possible, and from the depths of their musical bounty they have pulled up a wide range of inspirations. They have even reinvented the Elvis Costello song “Watching the Detectives” as a film noir cabaret number! The title song “December Moon” was written after a devastating fishing accident that claimed the lives of two young local men that The Henry Girls knew personally, weaving in the image that they had of the winter moon acting as a beacon in their search. “Sing My Sister Down” highlights the group’s talent as songwriters, with its effervescent charm and exceptional musicianship, while the traditional American ballad “Rain and Snow” explores the group’s ability to pull music from deep roots and cover it with their unique fingerprints.
The Henry Girls are family in every sense of the word. Their inexhaustible joy of music, roots, and family shines through every track on December Moon—from Auntie Maureen’s snapping to the nearly-audible grins that seem to permeate the sisters’ voices—and their deft songwriting and reinventions ensure that not a single track goes unheard. The Henry Girls make you feel like part of the family, and turning on December Moon feels like turning on the heat on a cold winter day and snuggling into home.
The Henry Girls: "December Moon"
The Henry Girls: "Rain and Snow"
11/07/2013 | comments (0)
The Show Ponies: We're Not Lost
The life of an artist is one that frays the tether to safety and comfort. Yet, it is on this edge of risk that magic happens, and The Show Ponies’ new album We’re Not Lost is proof of the rewards of taking a leap of faith. Funded entirely by crowdsourcing, the album is a realization of both their ardent fan base, and the power of setting a goal and trusting the process. “The paradox of having a pretty good idea where we’re supposed to end up but having no clue what’s between you and the final destination is one I think we all experience,” says Jason Harris (banjo, guitar, and vocals). “It’s what gives the five of us this absurd and, at the same time, rational notion that we’re not just random agents of movement and location, but that we’re moving toward something.”
What they’re moving toward is becoming one of the hottest Old Tyme groups out of the West Coast, with a stellar sophomore album that flirts effortlessly with a modern new-roots sound and a hard-driven progressive beat. The young quintet is led by Andi Carder (lead vocal and guitar) and Clayton Chaney, both Texan-born, who lay the song-writing foundation. “The process usually starts with Andi or me having some kind of skeleton of a song,” says Clay, who sings lead vocal and plays bass. “Then Jason, Phil and Kevin start to add muscle and organs and flesh to it until it’s like a moving, breathing creature.” The resulting songs on We’re Not Lost are both lyrically timeless and humorous, as in the song “Whiskey and Wine,” a back-and-forth song so perfectly timed it could be a Vaudeville skit, in which the lovestruck man declares, “Girl / You take my breath away!” only to be met with “Then go ahead and suffocate!”
Jason Harris joined The Show Ponies after producing their last album, but feels like he’s always been an integral part of the group. Award-winning fiddler Philip Glenn showcases his vast talents in a variety of styles, adding rich support to each track. Kevin Brown’s innovative percussive skills add the final piece to this already tight-sound group, and along with special guests Sarah McGrath on cello and David Burrows on doublebass, we get a unique and progressive sound that shows exactly why The Show Ponies fans were so eager to make certain We’re Not Lost became a reality.
From the floor-breaking bluegrass-tinged “Baby, I’m In Love With You,” to the heart-ache stop-everything ballad “The River,” The Show Ponies make sure everyone has something to love on We’re Not Lost. The Show Ponies went “deeper in the wilderness and farther from safety,” explains Clay, in creating a 100% crowdsourced album, but the result is one that we can all appreciate. The full line of the album title, the band explains, is “we’re not lost, we just don’t know where to go.” From here, only one way—up.
The Show Ponies: "We're Not Lost":
The Show Ponies: "The River":
10/12/2013 | comments (0)
Ken & Brad Kolodner: Skipping Rocks
There’s something intensely satisfying about skipping rocks across the water. Each ripple rings away in perfect circles as the stone breaks the water’s surface, like a needle pulling thread tightly through cloth. On Ken & Brad Kolodner’s new album, Skipping Rocks, the dynamic pulse of their neo-traditional sound is ringed with masterful guest artists, sewing together new takes on old tunes, and new tunes with old slants. As a whole, it is exactly the album you need in order to pull a peaceful sunset lake right up to your front porch.
If the Kolodners sound so in-synch for only a sophomore album, that’s because they have a uniquely deep connection: they are father and son. “Playing as a father-son duo feels very natural,” says Brad Kolodner, who plays banjos, fiddle and adds vocals. “Besides being musical partners, we’re great friends. When we’re rehearsing, jamming, performing on stage or in the recording studio, we’re always locked in. Our musical sensibilities are very aligned.” Their previous project, Otter Creek, found itself on in the top 50 albums in rotation on the Folk DJ charts and Brad’s self-penned title song was the most-played instrumental for 2011. For Skipping Rocks, Brad and Ken decided to add to their sound by bringing in Robin Bullock (of Helicon) on guitar and mandolin, Alex Lacquement (double bass), Elke Baker (fiddle, viola) and Kagey Parrish of the Honey Dewdrops on harmony vocals.
Widely regarded as one of the most accomplished hammered dulcimer players in the US, Ken Kolodner shines more than ever on Skipping Rocks. His gentle groove is the calm water over which Brad’s percussive banjo skips. Drawing extensively from Appalachian old-time, the duo can blaze through a melody with wicked precision or carefully deconstruct a tune, such as “John Brown’s March,” with inventive new arrangements. They also compose new tunes to add to the tradition, such as Brad’s “The Orchard,” and Ken’s “The Reunion,” each with a backstory that you can almost hear through each note.
There is a special quality to the overall sound of the album, perhaps because each track was recorded in the warmth of the Kolodners’ living room. “There was something very special about recording our album in the house where my father raised me,” says Brad. “My father and I will stay up some nights until the wee hours playing tunes in our living room. Being able to capture those magical jams in the same living room was ideal.” From the faint creaks in the worn floorboards to the chirps of the tree swallows outside the window, the Kolodners bring us right into their home and family, surrounding their listeners in a warm Baltimore summer.
Listening to Brad & Ken Kolodner’s Skipping Rocks not only highlights the magic that seems to spark in musical families, but also transports its listeners to the soft shores of a summer lake, where each skip of the rock is a moment that ripples out; from father to son, from a duo to a musical community, from old tunes to new ones. It’s a moment in life and time that will have you pushing play again and again.
Brad & Ken Kolodner: "The Reunion"
Brad & Ken Kolodner: "John Brown's March"