Posts Tagged ‘singer songwriter’

Though the deceptively complex pop of “Quit the Curse” which marks the debut of Anna Burch, The Detroit singer/songwriter has been visible for the better part of her years-long career singing in the band Frontier Ruckus, or more recently co-fronting project Failed Flowers, but somewhere along the way a vibrant collection of solo material had slowly began taking form.

Growing up in Michigan, Burch’s fixation with music transitioned from a childhood of Disney and Carole King sing-alongs to more typically angsty teenage years spent covering Bright Eyes and Fiona Apple at open mic nights. By 18 she was deep into the lifestyle of the touring musician, After a few whirlwind years, exhausted and feeling a little lost, she stepped away from music completely to attend grad school in Chicago. This lasted until 2014 when she moved to Detroit and found herself starting work in earnest on solo songs she’d been making casual demos of for a year or so. Friends had been encouraging her to dive into solo music, and one particularly enthusiastic friend, Chicago musician Paul Cherry, went so far as to assemble a band around scrappy phone demos to push for a fully realized album.

“Writing songs that I actually liked for the first time gave me a feeling of accomplishment,” Burch said, “Like, I can do this too! But working with other musicians and hearing the songs go from sad singer/songwriter tunes to arranged pop songs gave me this giddy confidence that I’d never felt before.”

The process was drawn out and various drafts and recordings came and went as the months passed. By now Burch was playing low key shows and d.i.y. tours solo and had released some early versions of a few songs on a split with fellow Detroit musician Stef Chura. Even at a slow, meticulous pace, with every step the album took closer to completion, it felt more serious and more real. After a more than a year of piecemeal recording sessions, Burch was introduced to engineer Collin Dupuis (Lana Del Rey, Angel Olsen) who helped push things energetically home, mixing the already bright songs into a state of brilliant clarity.

The nine songs that comprise the album “Quit the Curse” come on sugary and upbeat, but their darker lyrical themes and serpentine song structures are tucked neatly into what seem at first just like uncommonly catchy tunes. Burch’s crystal clear vocal harmonies and gracefully crafted songs feel so warm and friendly that it’s easy to miss the lyrics about destructive relationships, daddy issues and substance abuse that cling like spiderwebs to the hooky melodies. The maddeningly absent lover being sung to in “2 Cool 2 Care”, the crowded exhaustion of “With You Every Day” or even the grim, paranoid tale of scoring drugs in “Asking 4 A Friend” sometimes feel overshadowed by the shimmering sonics that envelop them.

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“To me this album marks the end of an era of uncertainty. Writing songs about my emotional struggles helped me to work through some negative patterns in my personal life, while giving me the sense of creative agency I’d been searching for.”

Emerging from years spent as a supporting player, Quit the Curse stands as a liberation from feeling like Burch’s own songwriting voice was just out of reach — an opportunity, finally, for the world at large to hear what’s been on her mind for quite a while.

Two singles (“2 Cool 2 Care” and “Asking 4 a Friend”) have already been released to rave reviews, and now you can check out a third offering — “Tea-Soaked Letter”

“Comparisons to Courtney Barnett, Waxahatchee, and Eleanor Friedberger lie within her tight songwriting and infectious lyrics .” – The Line of Best Fit
[Burch’s] songs have some of the lo-fi finish and scrappy energy of 1990s indie-pop…but with a sharper edge. Frank and gratifying all the same, Burch’s tightly structured pop is an invigorating take on an evergreen sound.” – Pitchfork

releases February 2nd, 2018
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Sufjan Stevens has shared a new song, “Tonya Harding”, dedicated to “one of the greatest figure skaters of her time.” In an accompanying essay, Stevens writes, “Tonya shines bright in the pantheon of American history simply because she never stopped trying her hardest. She fought classism, sexism, physical abuse and public rebuke to become an incomparable American legend.”

The song is not associated with the new Harding biopic I, Tonya, starring Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan.

Sufjan is reminding us what popular music can do, reminding us that art can tackle any topic it wishes, delivering even a poignant five-minute “biopic” of a disgraced American figure skating champion because why not. Pop music is not supposed to do portraiture, but who made them rules? The Tonya Harding story challenges us all to look hard at our own sexism and classism.

TONYA HARDING, MY STAR 
by Sufjan Stevens 

I’ve been trying to write a Tonya Harding song since I first saw her skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1991. She’s a complicated subject for a song partly because the hard facts of her life are so strange, disputable, heroic, unprecedented, and indelibly American. She was one of the greatest figure skaters of her time, and the first American woman to perform a triple axle in an international competition. She was an unlikely skating star, having been raised working class in Portland, Oregon. Being a poor outsider, her rise to fame in the skating rink was seen, by some, as a blemish on a sport that favored sophistication and style. Tonya’s skating technique was feisty, fierce, and full of athleticism, and her flamboyant outfits were often hand-made by her mother (who was abusive and overbearing). (They couldn’t afford Vera Wang.) And then there was the Nancy Kerrigan incident. In January 1994, Tonya’s then-boyfriend Jeff Gillooly hired an assailant, Shane Stant, to break fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan’s leg at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Cobo Arena in Detroit, so that she would be unable to compete at the upcoming Winter Olympics. The after-math of the attack was recorded on camera and ultimately set off a media frenzy (and an FBI investigation). Gillooly and Stan were eventually found guilty, and Tonya pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution, and was subsequently banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association. Nancy Kerrigan recovered from her injury and won a silver medal at the Winter Olympics. Tonya Harding finished eighth.

But that’s not even half the story. When Tonya and Gillooly got married, they filmed themselves having sex on their wedding night and produced one of the first-ever celebrity sex tapes (which they sold to Penthouse for $200,000 each). Tonya also had a brief career as a boxer, and is most famous for her bout with former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones (whose sexual harassment suit against Bill Clinton precipitated his impeachment in 1998). Tonya was also (very briefly) in a band called the Golden Blades (they were allegedly booed off the stage during their first and only performance). She also raced vintage automobiles (setting a record by driving a Ford Model A over 97 miles per hours on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah). And in 1996 Tonya used mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to revive an 81-year-old woman who collapsed at a bar in Portland while playing video poker. That’s a lot to accomplish before the age of 30! 

Tonya Harding’s dramatic rise and fall was fiercely followed by the media, and she very quickly became the brunt of jokes, the subject of tabloid headlines and public outcry. She was a reality TV star before such a thing even existed. But she was also simply un-categorical: America’s sweetheart with a dark twist. But I believe this is what made her so interesting, and a true American hero. In the face of outrage and defeat, Tonya bolstered shameless resolve and succeeded again and again with all manners of re-invention and self-determination. Tonya shines bright in the pantheon of American history simply because she never stopped trying her hardest. She fought classism, sexism, physical abuse and public rebuke to become an incomparable American legend.

I admit, early drafts of this song contained more than a few puns, punch lines and light-hearted jabs—sex tapes and celebrity boxing make for an entertaining narrative arc. But the more I edited, and the more I meditated, and the more I considered the wholeness of the person of Tonya Harding, I began to feel a conviction to write something with dignity and grace, to pull back the ridiculous tabloid fodder and take stock of the real story of this strange and magnificent America hero. At the end of the day, Tonya Harding was just an ordinary woman with extraordinary talent and a tireless work ethic who set out to do her very best. She did that and more. I hope the same can be said of us all. – Sufjan Stevens

Fall (Studio 57 Recordings) is one of the first songs ‘our’ Emma Jones has written. It just pours out of the speakers showing the craft and style she’s already developing. But just listen to that voice. As the wistful trumpet seeps in, consider that the back backing is mostly provided by schoolmates, and hope is provided as well as entertainment.

‘Fall’ is the debut single from singer/songwriter Emma Jones. Her folky tone is soothing and unique. Emma’s writing is mature well beyond her age. Emma discovered her love for music in primary school and has devoted herself to honing her craft ever since. After recently taking up song writing Emma completed her first original song ‘Fall’. Her lyrics are meaningful and passionate as she hopes to encourage resilience among fellow young generations and help to encourage people to learn from their mistakes. She combined with a group of talented teenagers on drums, bass, guitar, keys, trumpet etc to bring her track to life. Her debut single ‘Fall’ is just the start of a journey which she hopes will be one filled with new experiences and opportunities to learn. Emma is currently working on a follow up EP with producer Marc Scully at Studio 57 Recording. emmajonesmusic.bandcamp.com

aimee mann Top 25 Albums of 2017 (So Far)

Five years following 2012’s Charmer, and some choice hang time with New Jersey bard Ted Leo as The Both, Singer Songwriter Aimee Mann decided it was about time to create her “saddest, slowest, and most acoustic” album to date. Needless to say, she succeeded on all three counts with her ninth studio album, Mental Illness, a lush tapestry of sounds that are about as melancholy as they are embalming. Mann writes musical snapshots, documenting the smallest details to convey rich inner worlds. By eschewing the lush instrumentation of some of her early solo work, Mann and producer Paul Bryan give the record an exceptionally spacious feel; most songs find her singing over a piano or single acoustic guitar, augmented occasionally by strings or subtle harmonies. The spare arrangements highlight Mann’s melodies—contemplative, longing, vulnerable—as well as her words—solitary, reflective, honest.

Melancholy feels good sometimes, and with a voice as affecting and nuanced as Mann’s, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the drama. Songs like “You Never Loved Me”, “Simple Fix”, and “Patient Zero” reel on by with poppy melodies that stick in your head long after you’ve tossed the vinyl back in its sleeve. Aided by strings, piano, soft percussion, and a choir comprised of Leo, Jonathan Coulton, and longtime producer Paul Bryan, Mental Illness capitalizes on our curious attraction to sadness,  for instance, those lonely nights we often yearn for amid happier times — and that’s an illness we’ll never shake.

The best cut off Aimee Mann’s stunning, new record, Mental Illness, shows how much can be done with a straightforward strum, plaintive singing, and a few background strings. On “Simple Fix”, she captures the universal feeling of being in a relationship that falls into the same rut time and time again. It’s the definition of insanity to stay in such a situation and expect better outcomes the thousandth time around, but we all have toiled in these Sisyphean relationships at one time or another. Unfortunately, the simplest solutions are often the hardest to follow through on, and Mann helps us feel less alone, if just as frustrated, in our self-imposed trappings.

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True to the title, ‘Winter’ from Donegal singer-songwriter Rosie Carney who paints an picture through gentle folk atmospherixs. Carney’s vocals are hauntingly beautiful and she says of the song:

Winter is a confessional song written about knowing when something is over. It’s inspired by the brutally honest truth experienced when realising something is coming to an end regardless of whether or not that’s what you want. It captures the true cold essence of winter which can be felt when letting go.. It was, of course, written in the winter.. The instrumentation and production were very much inspired by the cold and bare landscapes around me. Everything is raw and minimal.”

Rosie Carney brings a worldly confidence and maturity well beyond the stereotype of her years.

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This dark tale of romantic frustration is something special. The Dublin songwriter plays in a similar field of sound as Jessica Lea Mayfield and Angel Olsen yet is unmistakably her own sound. She bounces between folk and indie rock with style and grace. The world is beginning to take notice too. Accumulating over 1 million streams already, she has been labeled a ‘New Artist to Love in 2017’ by various taste makers as well as earning coverage in some impressive publications. We think her dreamy and vulnerable style is a perfect fit for our site as well as your ears. If you dig straightforward singer songwriters with an incredible talent for keeping your earbuds guessing, then look no further than this exceptional artist.

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Life out on the lonely road It’s a tale that many musicians sing about, longing for a day they can actually come home from touring around the world, meeting faceless fans and playing show after show. It can get lonesome on tour, and yet, somehow, they can’t shed their vagabond ways.

But that’s not the case for Courtney Marie Andrews, who had toured in other people’s bands for a decade before taking a break to bartend in a small Washington town these past few years. Pushing pause on non-stop touring allowed her to sit back and re-evaluate, sparking the thesis for the album “Honest Life” via Fat Possum Records, with a pressing of the deluxe edition. At 16, Andrews left her Arizona home to become transient, playing and busking in bars and cafes around the country. She continued on as a session singer and touring musician for nearly 40 artists, from Jimmy Eat World to Damien Jurado.

Her work took her all around the world, but at some point, she realized she’d lost touch with reality.“You can start to just stop calling people or stop keeping up with the people that you know and love,” Andrews said, calling from an unseasonably warm Seattle. “All of a sudden it’s been three years and you haven’t seen them.”In Washington, Andrews made connections again, getting to know people at the bar and laying down tracks for Honest Life with a trusted group of musicians. Together, the band sounds like home. Drums chug away at moderate paces, piano glitters organically over top and the guitars are cozy. In the final track, she even added a somber arrangement of strings, gifted by her friend Andrew Joslyn.
Over the majority of the album, a pedal steel guitar drifts lazily under the melody, tangling with Andrews’ voice. With her Emmylou Harris-like pipes and the pedal steel, the album is what some people have called “country.”“When I went in to make Honest Life, I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m making a country record,’” Andrews said. “It’s more about creating a timeless sound. Something that can be released now or in the ’60s or whenever… I take pleasure in being a songwriter and creating a record that’s hard to place where it’s from.”

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Honest Life is technically her sixth album, although she’s kept the first three for herself. It’s her first LP on a label. The album has made several best-of-lists, The accolades couldn’t have come at a better time, she said, when she was wiser about the industry and had gotten some time to grow.

Some people get lucky and their first record is just like a masterpiece fully formed, but that was definitely not me,” Andrews said. “I feel like I’ve really come into my own as a songwriter in the past few years. … I’m glad [the recognition] happened now when I’m a good songwriter, rather than when I was young.”To improve her craft, Andrews studied up on the greats—Neil Young, Bob Dylan, etc.—and in turn, she gained notice from other impressive songwriters, like Ryan Adams and Jurado. With practice and careful observation of legends and her contemporaries, she perfected the “tasteful way of revealing things” in her music.“When I was younger, I would write a song and I would reveal things in every single line, and that was the problem,” Andrews said. “We don’t need to know all that. The listener is overwhelmed. It’s like when you’re at a bar and somebody’s telling you their life story and you’re like, ‘Whoa, calm down.’”

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Andrews’ songwriting is more subtle now, but not cryptic. The first track, “Rookie Dreaming,” reflects on her troubadour life and the missteps of what Andrews calls “blind youth.”

“I was moving too fast to see / All the paintings in Paris or sunrise in Barcelona / I was too broke too shallow to dive deep / Too busy carrying the weight of everything,” Andrews sings, her voice rife with mild vibrato, swooping with a twang that’s not Southern, but something unique altogether. She punches syllables that condemn her apathetic lifestyle—“TOO broke, TOO shallow”— while letting other verses flow freely, warm with harmony.

While she criticizes herself in “Rookie Dreaming,” she turns her perspective to address a meek friend in “Irene.” She sings directly to the title character, a pseudonym for the real-life subject, delivering the type of constructive criticism you might not have the guts to give to a friend’s face.

“Gain some confidence, Irene / If you speak let your voice ring out / But keep your grace, Irene / Don’t go falling in love with yourself,” she sings. An organ warbles as Andrews delivers her sermon.

“‘Irene’ was originally written for a friend, but I feel like probably every growing, youthful woman has felt like Irene at one point or the other,” Andrews said. “Every woman who’s amazing but doesn’t really know it yet. We feel like all these magazines and articles that are saying, ‘No, we’re not good enough’ … It’s sort of realizing that that’s total bullshit and you are awesome and you just have to know it.”

Not only did Andrews take care of all the songwriting on Honest Life, but she was the sole producer on the album—essential for keeping control in the studio.

“With this record, I knew so clearly what I wanted that I didn’t want distractions or arguments,” Andrews said. “One person sees it one way, one person sees it another way. Sometimes it makes a great record, but for Honest Life, I just wanted the sort of clear, easy, raw and realness. And that’s what we did.”

As for settling down and slinging drinks, Andrews knew that wouldn’t last forever. She said she’s always going to travel in the name of music. But this time, she’s not going to be singing anyone else’s songs. She’s at center stage now, and she’s ready to brave the lonely road once more.

“A lot of Honest Life was realizing that I didn’t want to tour as a backup singer anymore,” Andrews said. “If was going to be on the road, it was going to be for me, for my songs, for the dreams that I’ve always had as a teenager and as a young adult. Bartending is not my career path. Music is everything.”

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We’ve gotten a sneak peak of Michigan indie-rock veteran Anna Burch’s solo work with the track “2 Cool 2 Care,” and now she’s sharing another numerically infused single, “Asking 4 A Friend.” Burch’s latest confirms that her strength lies in her clarity. Her lyrics as well as her delivery is so sharp and straightforward, there’s no way you won’t hear her when she tells you, “You’re faking, you’re faking the fall.” However, her words are still ambiguous enough to assuage her mother’s concerns, as she explains via press release:

I was playing “Asking 4 a Friend” for my mom and after the first verse she very concernedly asked “Is this about drugs?” I told her it was a metaphor for going back to a bad, undefined relationship and she seemed satisfied with that.

Also, the song contains a lyrical nod to The Lemonheads’ “My Drug Buddy.”

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Bobby Kakouris is a Musician-Songwriter and One half of Elizabeth Wolf,  i cannot find much info on her at all.

I collaborate with bassist Alex McComas and together we go by the name ‘Elizabeth Wolf’.  I found myself without any ‘recording equipment’ this afternoon so made do with my phone and laptop microphones. This is a new lil song I wrote the other day.

T feel there is something very special here please share these clips

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London based singer/songwriter Nilüfer Yanya, accompanied by saxophonist Jazzi Bobbi, captivates you with her rich and golden tones in her performance of “Thanks For Nothing” . 

The 22-year-old started writing music almost a decade ago; she has also been mentored on guitar by Dave Okumu from the Invisible. “When I’m writing it’s like a burning energy,” she says. “If I come up with something I like, it’s very instinctive, you’re not really thinking. It feels like something you have to do.”

Growing up listening to Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Pixies (she does a terrific cover of Hey), she was also exposed to a mix of diverse sounds thanks to her artist parents, who have Turkish, Irish and Bajan heritage. Her husky voice and sparse, lo-fi sound flit between soul, R&B and indie; she describes her music as “raw – even when it’s a finished track it’s still got that kind of unfinished, unpolished edge to it”.