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Woodcock Group Debuts 'Water Stories'

Woodcock Group's trio gives jazz listeners a piece of music works that evoke a great characteristic of eloquence impressive for an artist that has not even released its debut CD to stores, until now with Sunset Jazz. This Serbian jazz trio also composes and arranges its music and every song on this ten (10) song full length CD. Woodcock Group’s new debut album, Water Stories (Sunset Jazz Recordings) gives jazz aficionados great evidence there are new music artists in jazz that can carry a wide-ranged music of original songs taken as a conceptual, the album is now available to pre order at Amazon. The Jazz label is continuing to set up the full length CD for the May 3rd street day, with its' Sunset Classics & Jazz (SC&J) division, Sunset Distribution Company and then via Republic Universal for digital distribution into stores.

Woodcock Group is a band that is no doubt aware of its mixing modern jazz with traditional jazz music influenced by, among others, Thelonious Monk, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans and Art Blakey. Born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, in the spring of 2009 pianist and composer Aleksandar Jovanovic founded the "Woodcock Group." What is now a trio with (Aleksandar) Jovanovic, Marko Fabry is on the bass while Aleksandar Cvetkovic does the drum work on the ten (10) song CD. Their first performance was at the "Umbria Jazz Balcanic Windows" Music Festival 2009 in Belgrade, which they won in a competition winning over 28 bands from the south-eastern Europe regions. Not to mention, they were listed in the top six as best young jazz band in Eastern Europe this year. "I not only plan on using this album to springboard a new sense of direction at Sunset Jazz (Recordings)", says label head, Don Lichterman, "we are also in hope of using Alex's (Aleksandar Jovanovic) A&R chops to gain more jazz acts for the label."

The debut album being released at Sunset (Jazz) is inspired by "water" as in a state of a "form" and (Don) Lichterman says that he, "loves the concept" of it. He (Lichterman) goes on to say that he also "loves the deep traditional style of this band (Woodcock Group)." Woodcock Group's debut recording entitled, Water Stories, has already gained international radio play with "Vrelo," the first song being worked to radio this year. And the CD has received great critical acclaim after the label released its initial press to blogs and social networks. Look for the CD to be available in stores everywhere that sells cds along with being made available at every retailer that sells downloads, ringtones and streams, on May 3rd this year!

The Wailers & Duane Stephenson Tour Starts this Week!

The Wailers, the world’s most celebrated reggae group in the world, are getting back to their roots with their new 3-singer line-up when they embark on their 2011 U.S. Tour.  The new line-up includes Yvad, Koolant and Danglin as well as original member and the band’s musical director Aston “Familyman” Barrett. The band will be using the tour to bring attention to their new single “A Step For Mankind“ which was written by Duane Stephenson specifically for the World Food Programme.  They will be donating unused funds from the band’s hospitality riders directly to the United Nations’ World Food Program to help stop world hunger.

“A Step for Mankind,” recorded in Jamaica specifically for Oniric Records’ Solution for Dreamers: Season 3 is the band’s first studio song in more than 16 years. The band have been supporting the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) efforts to eradicate hunger throughout the world.  The new song calls for world unity and strength to support the ongoing struggle against world hunger. The band is joined on the track by the Wailers’ new singer Koolant,a fresh talent from the heart of St. Thomas known for blazing a positive future for reggae music with his work. The track also introduces Dr Dre protégé Bishop Lamont, an up-and-coming rapper, who contributes a magical flow in the track’s breakdown.  Graced by the Wailers’ undeniably distinctive groove, “A Step for Mankind” is a small taste of more music forthcoming from the legendary group.

Formed in Jamaica in the late 1960s, The Wailers are one of the most successful reggae bands of all time, selling 250 million albums, and playing live to an estimated 24 million people worldwide. Wailers’ bass player Aston “Familyman” Barrett  is recognized throughout the world as the architect of reggae.  A revered innovator, he joined The Wailers in 1969, quickly becoming singer-songwriter Bob Marley’s right-hand man and musical director. On record and on stage, his inimitable style became an essential part of the Wailers’ sound. Following Marley’s death in 1981, “Fams” took the reins as the band’s leader, spearheading performances to adoring crowds the world over, as well as the band’s involvement with the fight against global hunger.

Duane Stephenson recognized one of reggae’s most talented sons, is promoting the release of his latest album, “Black Gold”, and is joining the tour as special guest. This is Stephenson’s sophomore album, following the top-selling “August Town”.  He is also the writer behind “A Step for Mankind” which he will be performing on tour with the Wailers at each performance.  His new 15-track studio album with 14 original songs and is riding high in the charts sees Stephenson working with legendary reggae producer, Dean Fraser, the mastermind behind the majority of production on Black Gold.

Black Gold encompasses Stephenson's growth mentally, emotionally, and musically. From ballads to roots reggae, his musical skills and heartfelt sentiments on this album will resonate with reggae fans and be sure to gain him new ones. Such is the quality of Black Gold , Steve 'Flash' Juon of Rapreviews.com raves that “...so powerful is his vocal tone and the diaphragm which pushes it out over the microphone that almost every word will make perfect sense to even the most jaded listener who thinks they can't understand Caribbean music...”

“For more than forty years, The Wailers have been about spreading a positive message to our audiences,” says Fams. “With the World Food Programme’ campaign, we want to get the word out beyond the audience – so even if these people can’t feel it musically, they can feel it spiritually. I can’t think of a better way to give thanks for forty years in the Wailers than giving back to the people.”

The Wailers continue their relentless touring schedule bringing their message of peace and “one love” to their audiences worldwide.  They will be spreading their message throughout the U.S. in 2011.

“A Step for Mankind” is available at iTunes with ALL proceeds from the song going towards the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) to help stop world hunger.

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2011 Tour Dates

04 April – Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL

05 April – Tipitina’s – New Orleans, LA

06 April – Granada Theatre – Dallas, TX

08 April – Sunshine Theatre – Albuquerque, NM

09 April – Spring Break Breckenridge – Breckenridge, CO

09 April – Belly Up – Aspen, CO

10 April – Steamboat Springs Ski Area – Steamboat Springs, CO

11 May – The Windjammer – Isle of Palms, SC

12 May – Cox Capital Theatre – Macon, GA

13 May – House of Blues – Lake Buena Vista, FL

14 May – House of Blues – N. Myrtle Beach, SC

17 May – Kelly’s – Nags Head, NC

18 May – Innsbrook After Hours – Glen Allen, VA

19 May – Penn’s Peak – Jim Thorpe, PA

20 May – Chesapeake Jubilee Festival – Chesapeake, VA

21 May – Recher Theatre – Towson, MD

25 May – World Café @ The Queen – Wilmington, DE

26 May – Oneonta Theatre – Oneonta, NY

27 May – Seneca Niagara Casino – Niagara Falls, NY

29 May – Freedom Weekend Aloft – Simpsonville, SC

03 June – Surf Club – Ortley Beach, NJ

01 July – Hard Rock Hotel and Casino – Biloxi, MS

05 July – Milwaukee Summerfest – Milwaukee, WI

22 July – Sessions Music and Food Fest – Salem, OR

23-24 July – Alyeska Resort – Girdwood, AK

28 July – Wanderlust Festival – Lake Tahoe, CA

06 August – Gaia Festival – Laytonville, CA

13 August – Pacific Ampitheatre – Costa Mesa, CA

The Chain Gang of 1974 Set To Release Wayward Fire June 21

After self-releasing two albums over the past several years and receiving early praise from the likes of SPIN, The FADER, RCRD LBL, Brooklyn Vegan, and more, The Chain Gang of 1974 is ready to break out with Wayward Fire! Set for release June 21st on Modern Art, this is an album as restless as The Chain Gang of 1974’s White Guts, an album which funneled three years of instrument-swapping, sample-splicing experience into a lean focused listen, but it melds the standout moments from that release into something wholly new and realized. In creating this new album, The Chain Gang of 1974’s genre-jumping singer/multi-instrumentalist Kamtin Mohager moved from Denver to Los Angeles, severed the ties of the two-year relationship that fueled Wayward Fire, and raised the curtain on what’s next, proving that this particular film has just begun.

On Wayward Fire, the laser-guided synth lines of “Undercover” and the rather epic “Hold On”—crowd pleasers that hint at everything from LCD Soundsystem to Talking Heads—make perfect sense alongside such shifting soundscapes as the shimmering keys of “Don’t Walk Away,” the hands-in-the-air hooks of “Taste of Heaven,” and the choruses that cut through the rain clouds in “Matter of Time.” Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Mohager balances his minor-key melodies with bold, bloodletting lyrics.

In the lead up to this release, The Chain Gang of 1974 will play select dates on the west coast with Jamaica. Dates are below.

Born in San Jose and raised in Hawaii, Mohager spent his first 13 years playing inline hockey and dreaming of being drafted by the NHL. He was surrounded by music growing up, but not the Beatles or anything of that nature – more along the lines of the Persian records his parents played all the time, leaving he and his brothers to discover everything on their own. His thoughts officially shifted to music soon after a move to Colorado, all thanks to the sinking feeling he felt after seeing the final scene in Real Genius. That’d be the part where “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” kicks in, tugging at the audience’s collective heartstrings like only the finest Reagan era records can.

The Chain Gang of 1974 Tour Dates:

Sat. April 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex

Tue. April 26 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent w/ Jamaica

Thu. April 28 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios w/ Jamaica

Fri. April 29 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos w/ Jamaica

Sat. April 30 – Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club w/ Jamaica

Sat. June 11 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre w/ Candy Claws, Bad Weather California, Fellow Citizens

Free Download From Ben Harper, "Rock N' Roll Is Free"

Beginning today, Ben Harper will be giving away a free download of “Rock N’ Roll Is Free” at his website for a limited time. The track, which was Starbucks’ “Pick of the Week” last week, is the first single from his upcoming album, Give Till It’s Gone. The commercial single, video and ringtone for “Rock N’ Roll Is Free” will be available at all digital retailers beginning April 5th. Give Till It’s Gone, due out on May 17th on Virgin Records, was recently spotlighted in Rolling Stone’s Spring Music Preview.

The songs on Give Till It’s Gone – Harper’s first solo record since 2006’s Both Sides of the Gun – are nothing less than a revelation, expressing one man's struggle, confusion and, ultimately, redemption. Harper has never been afraid to dig deep into his emotions for his songs, but there's a sense of maturity and experience on Give Till It's Gone that add new weight to his efforts. Most of the album was recorded at the Los Angeles studio of Jackson Browne, who harmonizes with him on the wistful ”Pray That Our Love Sees The Dawn.” The album also features Ringo Starr on two tracks. “Spilling Faith” and “Get There From Here” were co- written in the studio with the legendary drummer. The pre-order for Give Till It’s Gone is underway now at iTunes.
Harper made his debut in 1994 with Welcome to the Cruel World, which was subsequently certified Gold. In 2005, he received GRAMMY awards for “Best Pop Instrumental Performance” for his single “11th Commandment” and for “Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album” for There Will Be A Light, featuring the Blind Boys of Alabama. Harper formed Fistful of Mercy with Dhani Harrison and Joseph Arthur and the trio released the album As I Call You Down in 2010. He will be playing a mixture of headlining shows and festivals this year, including Lollapalooza Chile this Saturday, April 2nd.
See below for itinerary or visit www.BenHarper.com. Additional dates will be announced soon.
Tour Dates
4/2 - Santiago, Chile - Lollapalooza Chile
4/21 - Byron Bay, NSW Australia - Bluesfest
4/22 - Byron Bay, NSW Australia - Bluesfest
6/4 - Ozark, AR - Wakarusa Festival
6/5 - Kansas City, MO - Crossroads
6/6 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre  SOLD OUT
6/7 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre SOLD OUT
6/12 - Fès, Morocco - Festival de Fès
6/30 - Chicago, IL - Vic
7/2 - Sioux City, OA - Saturday in the Park
7/3 - Milwaukee, WI - Summerfest
7/5 - Toronto, ON - The Sound Academy
7/16 - Aix les Bains, France - Festival Musilac
7/18 - Lucca, Italy - Piazza Napoleone
7/19 - Rome, Italy - Fiesta Ippodromo delle Capannelle
7/20 - Milan, Italy - Arena Civica
7/22 - Nimes, France - Festival de Nimes
7/25 - St. Malo Du Bois - Festival de Poupet
7/28 - Lucerne, Switzerland - Swiss Blues Festival
7/29 - Tarvisio, Italy - Piazza Unita
7/30 - Verona, Italy - Castello Scaligero di Villafranca
8/5 - Avenches, Switzerland - Rock Oz Arènes
8/6 - Colmar, France - Festival Foire aux Vins d’Alsace
8/7 - Dranouter, Belgium - Dranouter Festival          

GARAGE A TROIS Announce New Album & Tour

On April 12, Garage A Trois will release Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil via Royal Potato Family. Aptly described by photographer John Margaretten as "a transformative, punkalectic, pornographic seizure of sight and sound," the modern day post rock/freak jazz supergroup will support the album with west and east coast tour dates in April and May. Garage A Trois, a force greater than the sum of its colossal parts, is comprised of Seattle-based saxophonics master Skerik, Brooklyn sound-sculptor/keysman Marco Benevento, Texas-born punk rock vibraphone hero Mike Dillon and New Orleans funky drummer/beat scientist Stanton Moore.

Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil follows Garage A Trois' 2009 release, Power Patriot (the band’s debut with Benevento replacing original member Charlie Hunter). In the words of Stanton Moore, "the band set out to capture the highly flammable, rock-driven, avant pop album we all knew we were capable of making." Recorded at Studio In The Country in Bogalusa, LA (where masterpieces by The Neville Brothers, Stevie Wonder and The Wild Magnolias have been cut) with revered engineer/producer Randall Dunn (Cave Singers, Black Mountain, Sun City Girls), Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil is indeed the finest representation yet of the band's sinewy, fourth-dimensional, polychromatic songwriting. It's sure to fuel the fire for a growing legion of fans amassing around the most dangerous instrumental band on the scene today.

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Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil track listing:

1. Omar
2. Resentment Incubator
3. Earl Harvin
4. Shooting Breaks
5. Kansas (interlude)
6. Swellage
7. The Drum Department
8. Thumb
9. Baby Mama Drama
10. Chimp & Flower
11. Dark Bogul (interlude)
12. Assault On Precinct 13

Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil tour dates:

April 19 | Tractor Tavern | Seattle, WA
April 20 | Doug Fir Lounge | Portland, OR
April 21 | Sam Bond's Garage | Eugene, OR
April 22 | Humboldt Brews | Arcata, CA
April 23 | Amoeba | San Francisco, CA (2PM Free In-Store)
April 23 | Independent | San Francisco, CA
May 4 | Louisiana Music Factory | New Orleans, LA (3PM Free In-Store)
May 4 | Howlin' Wolf | New Orleans, LA
May 7 | One Eyed Jack's | New Orleans, LA
May 8 | DBA | New Orleans, LA
May 11 | The Five Spot | Atlanta, GA
May 12 | Pour House | Charleston, SC
May 13 | Pisgah | Asheville, NC
May 14 | Capital Ale House | Richmond, VA
May 15 | Jewish Mother Backstage | Norfolk, VA
May 17 | 8x10 | Baltimore, MD
May 18 | Rex Theater | Pittsburgh, PA
May 19 | North Star | Philadelphia, PA
May 20 | Regattabar | Boston, MA
May 21 | Brooklyn Bowl | Brooklyn, NY

Vanity Theft Announces New Single, Launches Remix Contest

Ohio’s hard-rockin’ quartet Vanity Theft has been hard at work lately- the band is fresh off a nationwide tour with Hunter Valentine, which culminated with several SXSW shows and now a four week residency at Los Angeles’ famed Club Moscow, being the first band in over four years to be invited to a residency there. Their full-length album Get What You Came For came out on March 1st via Vigilante Music/Adamant Records, and now they’re happy to share the news of a new single and remix contest for their fans!

They’ll be releasing the “Rattle Rattle” single on April 26th, which will include remixes by HOUSES, Jesse Christenson and Tiny Bill. On top of that, the band is launching a remix/mashup contest in conjunction with Laptoprockers.com.

The contest lasts from March 30-May 20th- here’s a note from Laptoprockers regarding their partnership with Vanity Theft:

“Laptoprockers are very happy to have Vanity Theft aboard for this remix contest. With five sexy songs to remix, this is our biggest contest to date! Thanks to Ableton and D16 Group Audio Software there are great prizes to win, while the best remixes are eligible for inclusion on Vanity Theft's remix album due out this Summer. Not to mention the bonus prize for the best Vanity Theft mashup! Who needs a bigger challenge for Spring?"

Here’s a little more background on Laptoprockers:

Since their inception in 2006 Laptoprockers are shaking the web with remix contests, remix contests and more remix contests. With their comprehensive remix contest listing, Laptoprockers are the longest running independent remix contest resource webwide. Other daily topics include interviews, album reviews and anything related to music (making) in the digital domain. We Are Laptoprockers!

Fans can enter the contest here, so feel free to spread the love!

Download the FREE MP3 of “Rattle Rattle” HERE | And Chrissy Murderbot’s “Limb From Limb” Remix HERE

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Vanity Theft Tour Dates:

March 30 – Hollywood, CA – Club Moscow
April 6 – Hollywood, CA – Club Moscow
April 9 – Las Vegas, NC – Bunkhouse
April 11 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
April 13 – Hollywood, CA – Club Moscow
April 15 – Santa Barbara, CA – Muddy Waters
April 20 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern
April 22 – Bloomington, IN – Bear’s
April 23 – Cincinnati, OH – Mainstay Rock Bar
April 28 – St. Louis, MO – Cicero’s
April 30 – Bowling Green, KY - WWHR Music Festival

Marshall Crenshaw celebrates 30th anniversary with special NYC shows

“His intelligence, integrity, and passion for the great song always show up in his music,” wrote Robert Christgau in his Consumer Guide of Marshall Crenshaw. Over a span of 30 years, Crenshaw has released 13 albums, all of which have received the highest marks from critics and have earned him a fiercely local fan base. And now as Crenshaw prepares to transition from releasing physical albums to making his new music available in a subscription series to be announced soon, he will celebrate his first 30 years of recording in a special three-nighter at City Winery, 155 Varick St. in New York on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, which are already sold out, with Sunday, May 1 just added. For information, click here.

Crenshaw will perform his debut single and his self-titled debut album in sequence, adding as many other hits and favorites as time permits. He will be joined by Yo La Tengo guitarist Ira Kaplan, longtime associate Graham Maby on bass, drummer Josh Dion, and on the 29th by original drummer (and brother) Robert Crenshaw.

According to Crenshaw, “The emphasis in the advertising, etc. has been on my first album but this year actually marks the 30-year anniversary of the release of ‘Something’s Gonna Happen’ on Shake Records, my first record, and a really, really darn good one, produced by the late Alan Betrock and myself.  Therefore, this year marks my 30th year as a recording artist . . . amazing. It’s crazy!! Holy @!*&&^%!!!

“In 1978, by chance, not by design, I landed in New York City (with my wife) and the next few years were something like a whirlwind. We still do and always will look back on those days with great fondness; these anniversary shows will give me and everyone else in the room on those nights a chance to celebrate those times.”

“As it stands now we’re planning on mostly focusing on early repertoire, sprinkling in some middle period stuff, even some brand new stuff,” Crenshaw says. “I’m normally not that big on nostalgia and don’t plan to make a habit of it, but sometimes it can be a sweet feeling, harmless fun, etc.”

Rolling Stone, in its review of Crenshaw’s first long-player, called the album “1982's most gorgeous singer-songwriter debut,” adding, “every song here sounds like a classic.” Said Creem: “Marshall’s songs are perfect unto themselves — melodies, jaunty rhythms, super fine love lyrics and an exactly executed production that gives the songs a final and finished veneer when put on vinyl.”

Indeed, it was 1981 when Detroit-area native Crenshaw released his first single, “Something’s Gonna Happen” b/w “She Can’t Dance,” on New York Rocker founder Alan Betrock’s Shake Records label. The collectors’ site Discog calls it “As truly romantic, energetic and catchy as any early Beatles, British Invasion or Buddy Holly top hit record.” From it came the Warner Brothers contract that produced such classics as “(You’re My) Favorite Waste of Time,” “Someday Someway,” “Whenever You’re On My Mind” and “Cynical Girl.” The great songs continued with the Life’s Too Short album on MCA (“Fantastic Planet of Love”), three albums for Razor & Tie and the 2009 release Jaggedland (“Someone Told Me,” “Passing Through,” “Never Coming Down”). The Onion’s “A.V. Club” cited Jaggedland’s “sophisticated, warm, and carefully crafted melodies,” while SonicBoomers called it, “as good as anything he’s ever done,” adding, “There is a freshness of spirit to all these songs, like the artist is just starting out instead of being 30 years into a career.”

As The New York Times noted, “Mr. Crenshaw’s songs seem to roll off the guitar in a casual blend of pre-1970s styles — folk-rock, surf-rock, country and above all the Beatles — that put melody first. With his winsome tenor, he delves into the ways love goes right and goes wrong, from distant yearning to the aftermath of infidelity, hiding turmoil within the chiming tunes.”

And the Denver Post, reviewing a show from Crenshaw’s most recent tour, stated, “Crenshaw’s best songs, replete with irresistible hooks and perfect for his voice, are what drew critics and listeners from the beginning. Yet, in live performances, as well as on record, Crenshaw’s noted guitar talents shine through.”

As well as celebrating the first 30 years, the City Winery shows will mark the end of the album era for Crenshaw, who will shortly elaborate on plans to offer a subscription series to a quarterly series of vinyl and digital EPs, which will be available from his web site and other locations.

Further reflecting on his 30-year-old debut 45 RPM recording, Crenshaw notes, “I know that on that night I’ll be thinking of Alan Betrock. We already had some momentum on a couple of fronts: Robert Gordon’s version of ‘Someday Someway’ was causing a big sensation on NY radio, our club gigs were creating a lot of excitement, the press was getting on board, etc., but when Alan stepped into the picture it really put the pedal to the metal. We made a great record, my first, and really, I’d wanted to make a record with my name on it since I was a little kid. Alan put us in touch with another mover and shaker, the great Andy Schwartz, who had taken over New York Rocker magazine from Alan. There were others but that magazine was one of my bibles at the time; in fact I’d met Alan by responding to an ad that he’d run in the magazine announcing the launching of Shake Records.

“These guys had clout and credibility, not just with me but with everybody who was cool and involved with rock music in the city. Pretty soon ‘Something’s Gonna Happen’ was on the radio right alongside of Robert Gordon’s ‘Someday Someway’ and we were officially a big deal on the New York rock scene, something I was hugely proud of, and hopefully not too arrogant behind.”

And looking toward the three dates at City Winery, Crenshaw says, “I’m excited to say that joining us on guitar all weekend, all night long, will be the great Ira Kaplan, somebody who really knows how to spice up the proceedings.”

Amy Black Takes Her Shot With Sophomore Release Out Today

Singer/songwriter Amy Black releases her sophomore album entitled One Time today, March 29, 2011. After a decade of success in the business world, Black is taking a chance and following her music dreams with this new release. The rootsy collection of revealing and authentic tunes was recorded with producer, Lorne Entress (Lori McKenna, Bittertown). Available digitally, the album’s foundation is a traditional American roots sound but it’s not without a dash of rock and soul. “My goal was to create music that successfully merged the acoustic and electric instrumentation that I love,” says Black. “I tend to be drawn to a classic sound and paid my respects to some of the great music of the past when I wrote this album.”

Black worked with Entress to bring the perfect cast of characters together – top-notch musicians, including singer/songwriter Mark Erelli on vocals, guitar and lap steel and Nashville’s favorite fiddle player, Stuart Duncan. With Entress’ guidance the players have created a rich and compelling album. The music spotlights traditional roots instruments like Dobro, fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel and upright bass as well as the smooth and classic sounds of the electric guitar. “Making One Time was an incredible experience for me,” says Black. “As happy as I am to get the music out there, I’m also sad that the creation process is over. My favorite part of making this record was witnessing these incredible musicians doing what they do best. I can’t wait to get back in the studio with them again.”

In her debut album Amy Black & The Red Clay Rascals, Amy paid tribute to her favorite songwriters. With One Time, Amy’s powerful voice and presence are matched by the commanding range of her own song writing as seen in the nine originals on the album. The characters in “Molly” and “Whiskey And Wine” ache with bittersweet yearning in a world of pleasure and pain. “All My Love” simmers with seduction, while “Meet Me On The Dance Floor” is a flirty delight. “Stay”, featuring harmony vocals by Amy’s little sister Corrie Jones, swings with grown-up romance and “Run Johnny” crackles with bluesy menace.

“This album is really a tribute to my southern roots and is dedicated to my Granddad who grew up dirt poor in Alabama,” says Black. After putting himself through college, Black’s grandfather worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority for decades before pursuing his dream of starting his own business. This can-do tenacity along with a flare for storytelling, are traits passed along to Black. “He was a bit of a showman and I think I got that from him,” says Black. “He passed away during the production of the album and I’m proud to honor him with this music.”

In the album’s potent title track, "One Time," the plaintive lyric “Time for you to make a break/And show what you’re good for” could describe Black’s bold step with this new release. “I decided a few years back that it was now or never,” says Black. “I love music way too much to sit on the side lines. You only get one chance at this life, and I’m taking mine.”

For more information or to purchase the album visit www.amyblack.com.

Brian Wright's House On Fire - Out TODAY

Sugar Hill Records is proud to continue its legacy of incredible songwriters with the release of Brian Wright’s House on Fire – out today. While this is the first label release from the Waco, TX native, he has built a firm base of fans within and beyond the music industry with two previous releases and tireless touring in the US and Europe. Unlike previous releases, which were both recorded in the studio with a band, House on Fire approaches the recording process in a much more relaxed and reflective manner, with Wright playing every instrument himself and handpicking his prolifically written songs into a mindful, well-curated collection.

And make no mistake, this album truly is about the songs. Gems like “Mean ol’ Wind” and “Live Again” convey the tenderness of the soul which very few songwriters can capture.  “Striking Matches” and “The Good Dr.” bring the driving sound of a cross-country bound train, bound for heartache or redemption. “Maria Sugarcane” paints with a Southern Gothic brush that would make Flannery O’Connor proud.

“When people ask what I sound like, I usually say I’m somewhere between Woody Guthrie and Velvet Underground,” says Wright. “This album finally allowed me to make the music the exact way it was in my head.”

After spending his early twenties on the Austin/Waco/Dallas bar circuit, playing everything from punk to covers, Wright flipped a coin to decide his future home, either New York City or Los Angeles.  Going West won the day.  Today, when not touring, he resides in Los Angeles where he is a fixture in the LA music scene.  For the last six years he has been the front man and lyricist for his band Brian Wright and the Waco Tragedies, a band that has gathered a devoted audience across the country.

UK Sensation Israel Nash Gripka Releases Sophomore Album Today

Singer/songwriter Israel Nash Gripka releases his sophomore album entitled Barn Doors & Concrete Floors TODAY, March 29, 2011. Building on the success of his debut release, New York Town (2009), Gripka is poised to increase his fan base both stateside and abroad. In fact, strong buzz for the upcoming release in the UK, lead UNCUT Magazine to include a track from the new album on their March cover mount.

In addition to a new record, the Ozark native has been passionately supporting Food for Thought a program created by his mother. Across 29 counties in southwest Missouri, children often go home to an empty dinner plate. Many of these children rely on school meals alone for their daily nutrition. In the Pierce City school system where Gripka grew up, 71% of children qualify for free or reduced lunches. Food for Thought was established to help by providing the most at-risk children with backpacks filled with healthy, easy open foods to eat over the weekends. “It is such a great program,” says Gripka. “I’m honored to help give back to my hometown and help kids in need.” In addition to working with his mother to obtain donations, Gripka is working on a music festival this summer to raise money for the program.

Multiple tours in the US and Europe, growing recognition as a songwriter and new philanthropic endeavors, the last two years left Gripka with renewed passion. He set out to write new songs, with new sounds and new ideas from these experiences. The nostalgic and uplifting record starts off with the reflective, harmonica infused, “Fools Gold.” It then slips into the bittersweet ache of “Goodbye Ghost” and UNCUT’s March cover mount “Baltimore” before settling into the flirty “Red Dress.”

Harkening back to the days of Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Gripka’s vision was to record in a studio that was, in fact, not a studio at all. In the heart of a dusty, old barn nestled deep in the Catskill Mountains, Gripka, along with co-producer/drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and a merry band of musicians, created the highly anticipated follow up. “I really wanted to capture sounds that no other place could create,” says Gripka. “I wanted to throw away clocks, avoid set hours, eat around a big table for dinner and sit around a warm fire at night. The idea was to create an environment where nothing else really mattered except making music.”

Gripka presents a musical experience that is both old and new. In an almost conflicting manner, Gripka uses his upbringing as the son of a southern Baptist minister to contrast the realities of his life through music. From drinking to praying, from churches to county jails and from sorrow to revival, his songs are stories and reflections that kick like classic Rock N’ Roll all while pining with the heart of Americana roots, complete with undertones of soul trampled country, and gospel choirs.

The 11 track record plays like a vinyl relic you might find in your parent’s basement. “When artists make records that are unencumbered by regimented schedules,” says Gripka. “And you turn off contact from the outside world and really reflect, you can hear that in the recording.” Listeners will hear it loud and clear on Barn Doors & Concrete Floors.

For more information about Israel Nash Gripka, to purchase the album or donate to Food for Thought visit www.israelgripka.com.