Posts Tagged ‘singer songwriter’

There’s a bittersweet beauty to the passing of time, the changes it brings are just as often heartbreaking as they are heartwarming. The inevitable tension that arises from that sway is Gretchen Peters’ most trusted muse. With melody supporting that melancholy, the songs on Peters’ new album, Dancing With The Beast, combine to lift the effort over the high artistic bar set by her last outing, 2015’s award-winning Blackbirds. Strung together and populated with strong and broken female heroines, those vignettes make up Dancing With The Beast and, indeed, Peters’ entire discography.

Dancing With The Beast puts female characters at the fore, from teenage girls to old women. And intentionally so. With the 2017 Women’s March and #MeToo Movement as bookends to her writing time, Peters knew that a feminist perspective would be the critical core of the record. She admits, “You can trace the feminist DNA in my songwriting back to ‘Independence Day’ and probably before. The thing that 2017 did is just put it front and center.”

Beauty tempered by dread, sorrow buoyed by hope, these are the ever-present tugs of war that make life worth living and songs worth writing. And they are the over-riding themes that make Gretchen Peters one of her generation’s most compelling singer/songwriters.

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Strung together and populated with strong and broken female heroines, Dancing With The Beast has a bittersweet beauty that lifts it over the high artistic bar set by her last outing, 2015’s award-winning Blackbirds

“Beautifully defined and utterly compelling album.. Peters’ ability to give voice to believable characters is unbeatable.” –

“Right now, you would be hard-pressed to find a better songwriter than Gretchen Peters. Her willingness to sing about tough, somber subjects is a rarity in the industry, and on her new album, Dancing With The Beast (due out May 18th), she continues to prove her mastery.” – The Shotgun Seat

“50 minutes of exquisite-sounding emotional devastation, depression, murder and heartbreak” – The Tennessean

 

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Guy Clark, one of the most beloved and influential country songwriters of all time, Songwriter, poet, guitarist, husband, troubadour, craftsman, “patron saint of an entire generation of bohemian pickers” as writer Robert K. Oermann once put it, Clark was for nearly five decades one of America’s most important fixtures of country songwriting, a man revered in equal parts by his contemporaries — artists like Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Lyle Lovett, Townes Van Zandt, and Kris Kristofferson — and by several younger generations of literary-minded country songwriters — artists like Jason Isbell, Steve Earle, Todd Snider, Ashley Monroe and Andrew Combs — all of whom viewed Clark’s songwriting, which combined dark wit, romantic optimism, and weary skepticism — as the highest form of popular lyric.

Born in Monahans, Texas in November 1941, Guy Clark was raised in his family’s shotgun hotel, where he learned about music and life from men like Jack Prigg, the well driller who would later become the subject of one of Clark’s most famous songs, “Desperadoes Waiting on a Train.” The Clark family moved to Rockport Texas, where Clark came of age before joining the Peace Corps as a young man.

After the Peace Corps, Clark eventually settled in Houston, where he would soon become a fixture in the city’s growing songwriter community alongside young artists like Townes Van Zandt and Jerry Jeff Walker. Townes Van Zandt would become one of Clark’s closest friends and greatest contemporaries in later years, with Clark covering songs like “To Live is to Fly’ throughout his entire career. “Townes Van Zandt is one of the reasons I started writing songs,” Clark said in 1982.

Before long, Clark had met his future wife, Susannah Clark, with whom he’d stay married until her passing in 2012. The two moved to Nashville in 1971, where they would live the rest of their lives. A few years later, Clark released his first two albums for RCA, 1975’s Old No. 1 and, a year later, Texas Cookin.’ Those two records — with their stark talking blues, lonesome tales of a fading America, and rambling travelogues of departures and arrivals — were full of the type of hard-earned wisdom unprecedented for a songwriter releasing his debut album.

But Clark, who was already in his mid 30s when he first became a recording artist, had been amassing material for years, and his first two albums contained songs like “LA Freeway,” “Anyhow, I Love You,” “That Old Time Feeling,” and “Let Him Roll,” compositions that would become some of Clark’s most beloved material.

“Most of the really good songs are dead true,” Clark said in 2011. “You couldn’t make up ‘Desperadoes Waiting for a Train’ or any of that stuff. It had to have happened to have the song be there.”

Clark would continue writing his songs inspired by real life for the next four decades, and in addition to releasing genre-defining albums like 1978’s Guy Clark, 1983’s Better Days, and 1995’s Dublin Blues, Clark’s songs also became touchstones throughout the extended country music world, with artists ranging from Kenny Chesney to Johnny Cash to George Strait to Rodney Crowell all recording his songs over the years.

“Real, poetic, unique, visual, powerful and tough are a few descriptions when describing Guy,” says Scott Robinson, founder of Dualtone Records, Clark’s label at the time of his passing. “He was one of the best in so many ways.”

Throughout his entire career, Clark was also a social focal point of the songwriting community in Nashville, from the drug and booze-fueled song pulls famously depicted in the 1976 documentary Heartworn Highways, to recent years, where getting an invite to write, smoke and hang out with Clark in his notorious basement workshop was just about the highest honor a young songwriter in town could receive.

“I can’t think of anything I would rather have set up than a guitar shop and a table to write in the same room,” Clark said in 2011.

In 2011, dozens of Guy’s closest friends and musical contemporaries joined together for This One’s For Him, a moving 30-song tribute to Clark’s music ended up winning Album of the Year at the Americana Music Awards in 2012. The record’s producer, Tamara Saviano, is also at work on a forthcoming documentary on Clark’s life and music.

Clark’s wife, Susannah Clark, was Guy’s closest collaborator and partner, and after his wife’s passing in 2012, he dedicated his final album to her with his moving 2013 collection My Favorite Picture of You.

Guy Clark was a tireless, meticulous songwriter, an avid self-editor who demanded the highest integrity of his own craft and remained his own toughest critic until the very end. During an interview promoting My Favorite Picture of You in 2013, Clark spent a good portion of the discussion, frustrated, explaining why he should have ended up cutting the third, final verse of one of his new songs, “Romance in Durango.”

Guy Clark died 17th May 2016,

Sugar Still Melts In The Rain is Sarah Mary Chadwick’s 4th solo work. It was recorded and mixed by friend, musician and filmmaker Geoffrey O’Connor in Vanity Lair and Phaedra Studios in Melbourne. The album came together so quickly partly as a result of the duo’s commitment to efficiency and partly due to Sarah’s lack of attachment to the idea of “the perfect vocal take.” She knows she isn’t a virtuoso; tongue firmly in check, she is quick to reference those limitations mockingly. Yet, it’s within those boundaries that she thrives, disinterested in the perfect take in lieu of her best take – unique, somber and raw.
Fourth album release from Sarah Mary Chadwick ‘Sugar Still Melts In The Rain’. This pre-order comes with a limited edition art print by Sarah Mary Chadwick.
released May 11th, 2018

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Among the best albums of 2016 was singer songwriter Mitski, She has now announced her fifth studio LP, “Be The Cowboy”, out on August. 17th via Dead Oceans Records. The acclaimed indie rock singer-songwriter has also shared a video for lead single “Geyser,” directed by Zia Anger.

Whereas Mitski’s previous work has been characterized as emotionally raw and confessional, Be The Cowboy,  recorded with her long-time producer Patrick Hyland, “introduces a persona who has been teased before but never so fully present until now a woman in control,” per a press release.

Mitski herself explains, “For this new record, I experimented in narrative and fiction,” creating characters including “a very controlled icy repressed woman who is starting to unravel. Because women have so little power and showing emotion is seen as weakness, this ‘character’ clings to any amount of control she can get. Still, there is something very primordial in her that is trying to find a way to get out.”

As for how “Geyser” fits into that narrative, the album opener “introduces us to a woman who can’t hold it all in any more. She’s about to burst and unleash a torrent of desire and passion that has been building up inside.” Anger’s cathartic visual accompaniment finds Mitski alone on a secluded beach under gray skies, beginning with thrumming synths and exploding in sound at its halfway point, as the singer takes off running down the shore.

“I had been on the road for a long time, which is so isolating, and had to run my own
business at the same time,” says Mitski. “A lot of this record was me not having any feelings, being completely spent but then trying to rally myself and wake up and get back to Mitski.”

Mitski’s “Geyser” from Be The Cowboy. Out Aug 17th on Dead Oceans Records.

Katie Crutchfield’s southern roots are undeniable. The name of her solo musical project Waxahatchee comes from a creek not far from her childhood home in Alabama and seems to represent both where she came from and where she’s going.

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On her third album, singer-songwriter Jess Williamson is a giant, throbbing valentine, so taken by her new romance that she has become tenderness itself. “Love is my name now / Love, darling” she coos at the top of “Love On The Piano.” It’s a far cry from where she left us with 2016’s Heart Song, a stormy, brutally beautiful collection of prose about gnarled matters of the heart. Cosmic Wink a journey, a reckoning, choosing a path, dealing with it, learning, growing, disappointing, finding, evolving, being cruel, being crueled, wildness, loving, turning toward, turning away, fool energy, finding, pleasing, past lives, future lives, soul mate, twin flame, Home, new Home, old Home, fate, luck, chance, new love, old love, Ancient love, being in love, being Love, being loved, Dream wisdom, death, rebirth, sacred everyday, sacred every damn DAY. Y’all…. this is my baby. Her name is Cosmic Wink. All my life she’s been waiting to be born and now she is finally here. Worldwide. Thank you

Jess WilliamsonI See the White From the upcoming album Cosmic Wink Available May 11th via Mexican Summer Records

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Nadia Reid’s debut full-length album Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs is the culmination of ten years’ writing.  “Love is sold on the promise that it’s better than any solitary satisfaction, so you might as well bet everything on it, time and time again. On “Call the Days”, New Zealand songwriter Nadia Reid cuts to the heart of this deception: “I was happy on my own,” she sings in a plainspoken lilt. “I would call the days as they were known.” Yet there’s no trace of vengeance in her deep, capable voice, and the surface of her gorgeous song remains steady, as a raga-like drone anchors rolling acoustic guitar and languid cello. Instead, like Laura Marling or Joan Shelley, the self-assurance Reid had once cultivated acts as its own safe harbor, turning the event into a meditation rather than a rupture. For a new artist, her confident grace is all the more remarkable…”

Nadia Reid, a singer songwriter from Port Chalmers, New Zealand, is a folkish, slightly country, roots-oriented singer-songwriter. In the words of her songs, love is dangerous, good things are missed or longed for, and habits last a long time; in the music, guitars twang spaciously and the drumming, when present, moves with slow stealth…

Originally released November 27th, 2015

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Listen to formation, look for the signs was recorded in July 2014 at the Sitting Room in Lyttelton, New Zealand. Players on this record were Richie Pickard, Sam Taylor, Joe McCallum and Anita Clark.

Haley Heynderickx is an expert at confessional songwriting. Turning her gaze inward, she recalls the delicate sounds of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, while crafting earworms that serve as therapy for the Portland-based singer-songwriter. With her superb debut album I Need To Start A Garden, Heynderickx analyses her own self-doubt and isolation, all the while trying to find confidence.

Premiering Heynderickx new video for one of the most poignant tracks on the record: “No Face.” The track stemmed from the idea of a Miyazaki character in the film Spirited Away. Of the song, Heynderickx says, “‘No Face’ represents a soul in no-man’s-land. The song is an odd ramble written after witnessing a bar fight in Portland based on racial discrimination. The question that started the fight was simply, ‘what race are you?’”

The visual is a simplistic, emotional portrait of energy around Heynderickx.Haley and I wanted a silhouette for simplicity to compliment the song,” says music video director Evan James Atwood. “Shooting it surrounded by these plants, the Palo Santo, and the energy…it came together naturally in one take. We both loved how we tapped into the heart of the song itself — capturing the emotion so strongly.”

“No Face” is the opening track off ‘I Need to Start a Garden’, Haley Heynderickx critically acclaimed full-length debut, out now on Mama Bird Recording Co.

In the two tracks already previewed from her upcoming second album The Future and The PastNatalie Prass has shown us her frivolous side on the sprightly ‘Short Court Style’ and her emphatic, political side on the anthemic ‘Sisters’. Today she delivers a third single, ‘Lost’, and it’s the most heart-rending and delicate song to be aired yet, and will certainly appeal to fans of her debut album.

Although it is similar to the songs from Natalie Prass, ‘Lost’ shows growth in many ways for Prass. For starters it’s the first of her songs that she’s produced on her own, and you can hear how she’s crafted and commanded her band to swell and resound so phenomenally well with herself at the centre. And Prass, as that central figure, is magnificent; her voice has never sounded so honeyed, as it is in the tripping and contemplative verses, nor has it sounded as rich as it does in the swelling undercurrent of emotion that comes pouring out in the chorus.

Taking a deep breath and releasing my new song “Lost” today. I was afraid to record this one, I fought it hard (and it almost didn’t make it) because it was written during a time that I needed to completely put behind me. But I wrapped my head around a new understanding of it’s lyrics…it’s empowering. It’s about putting your foot down when enough is enough. Most of the time it’s easier said than done. Thanks for listening. Natalie Prass

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For the final lullaby recording during South by Southwest 2018, the London-based singer Nilüfer Yanya for her performance in the memory-filled world of Uncommon Objects. It’s a shop in Austin, Texas dedicated to sentimental curiosities of a world gone by. With that in mind, the relatively new musician with a bright future tackles a tune about something old and familiar: fond memories overwhelmed by the pain of love gone wrong.

“Baby Luv” can be found on Nilüfer Yanya’s 2018 release Do You Like Pain?The EP’s title is a line she repeats multiple times on “Baby Luv,” while her choppy guitar punctuates a weary, clock-like rhythm. That ticking beat is then amplified by the saxophone of her bandmate, Jazzi Bobbi while a camera pans a literary world of books that all seem blood-red. Objects once shiny and proud are worn and somewhat torn, with a future as uncertain as the love in this song