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Suzy Bogguss Revives Folk Favorites with New Release

Suzy Bogguss had a revelation on stage with Garrison Keillor in 2008. Everyone loves to sing along on “Red River Valley” – except the children who somehow don't know the song. Folk songs are the scrapbook of the American experience, but as music education fades from our public schools, she worried; these beautiful melodies are in danger of being overlooked. She resolved to record these timeless songs in an updated but reverent way – so that everyone can sing along on “Red River Valley.”

And who better than the golden throated Suzy? The platinum selling songstress already has a full bookshelf of Grammy and CMA awards and now with the release of American Folk Songbook she can put her own book up there too. The CD and companion Songbook will be released on July 18, 2011 at all Cracker Barrel Country Stores followed by a wide release to other fine retail and digital outlets on August 2, 2011.

As Suzy writes in the introduction to the book: “Music has always been my purest joy even as a child. One of my favorite memories is my grade-school music teacher pounding on the piano and leading the class in rousing renditions of folk songs from all around the world. In the summer of 2008 I toured with the brilliant and engaging Garrison Keillor. The energy that passed between the audience and Garrison was overwhelming at times. Several thousand people standing and singing together—old songs, hymns, the Beatles and the Everly Brothers. People of all ages, sharing music. Ahhh, pure joy."

But Bogguss was not content to present the songs as dusty museum pieces, instead she chose to breath new life into them with contemporary arrangements and a crack squad of Nashville's acoustic A-Listers. Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Pat Bergeson, Charlie Chadwick and Jeff Taylor all join the band for Suzy's self-produced project. Ultimately though it's the voice that lovingly weaves through the guitars and mandolins to find the new in these old songs. As John Lomax III writes in the forward to the book, 'Prepare yourself for enchantment! ...This work is, in a word, delightful!"

Suzy says she modeled the songbook after her "good old 5th grade songbook." The hardcover, 96-page book is filled with illustrations, fascinating historical stories about the songs, easy to read sheet music arrangements for piano, voice and guitar as well as personal insights and anecdotes from Bogguss. Her intent from the beginning was to make the book attractive to music lovers and musicians at every level. Again from her introduction: "that way, younger generations could share these slowly fading gems with their families and tell their stories of how they learned a few chords on the guitar or a couple of favorites to play at family gatherings.”

Cracker Barrel, with its devotion to families and appreciation for authentic Americana was the obvious choice for the initial release.

American Folk Songbook is the natural progression of an artist who has demonstrated skill and passion for all types of music in her career. Songs like “Aces,” “Drive South,” “Someday Soon,” “Outbound Plane” and "Letting Go" took her to the top of the country music charts. Along the way she won raves from critics and peers including winning a GRAMMY in 2005 for Traditional Folk Album, the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award in 1992 and album of the Year Award in 1994.

2007’s Billboard Jazz Chart topping Sweet Danger, the universally praised album, Swing recorded in 2003 with Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel and Simpatico, her beloved collaboration with Chet Atkins showed the world Bogguss was willing to both embrace tradition while continuing to grow and challenge herself as an artist. However, it is an appreciation for tradition that really shines through on American Folk Songbook.  The album is filled with songs that are the very fabric of American musical history and Bogguss reclaims this history and revives it with a fresh and beautiful take on classics like “Shenandoah,” “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Ol’ Dan Tucker,”  “Beautiful Dreamer” and of course, "Red River Valley." Everybody sing along!

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Upcoming Appearances:
Suzy is currently on tour in the UK with Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg as part of Wine, Women & Song 2011. When you put these three critically acclaimed, award winning singer-songwriters with years of friendship on stage together you can expect an evening of laughter and exceptional music. For more on the tour visit www.suzyboggus.com. The ladies will be appearing on BBC 1 Breakfast on June 7 and they will make a special appearance on BBC Radio 2 on June 22 when the network turns its schedule upside down for 2DAY – a 12 hour on air celebration of everything the station has to offer.
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US Tour Dates:
07/06/2011 - Boothbay Harbor, ME - Opera House at Boothbay Harbor

07/07/2011 - Ogunquit, ME - Jonathan's

07/08/2011 - White River Junction, VT - Tupelo Music Hall

07/09/2011 - Londonderry, NH - Tupelo Music Hall

07/10/2011 - South Hiram, ME - Ossipee Valley Fair

07/19/2011 - Lake City, CO - Sportsman's BBQ Station & Backyark

07/22/2011 - Moses Lake, WA  - Moses Lake Summer Series

07/29/2011 - Toronto, ON - Hugh's Room

07/30/2011 - New York, NY - City Winery

07/31/2011 - Norfolk, CT - Infinity Hall

08/13/2011 - Logan, UT - Cache County Fair

08/20/2011 - Dubois, WY - Dubois High Country Cowboy Gathering

08/25/2011 - Kent, OH - The Kent Stage

08/26/2011 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark

09/02/2011 - Highlands, NC - Highlands Performing Arts Center

09/03/2011 - Clinton, AR - World Champion Chuck Wagon Races

09/22/2011 - New Hope, PA - New Hope Winery

09/23/2011 - Annapolis, MD - Ram's Head Tavern

09/24/2011 - Staunton, VA - Fortune Williams Festival

New era of NRBQ and new CD ushered in by Terry Adams

Terry Adams, visionary, driving force, and “untamed genius of the keyboards” for the great American band NRBQ since its inception more than 40 years ago, resumes his life’s work with the release of a new studio album, Keep This Love Goin’ by NRBQ, due out July 19, 2011. Recorded with the band he formed in 2007 — Scott Ligon on guitar and vocals, Pete Donnelly on bass and vocals, and Conrad Choucroun on drums, formerly known as The Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet — Keep This Love Goin’ features 12 unforgettable songs, from the opener “Boozoo and Leona,” inspired by Adams’ relationship with the great zydeco musician Boozoo Chavis and his wife (Adams produced three albums for and performed with Chavis), to the instrumental closer “Red’s Piano,” a tune written by Piano Red and recorded in one take in that unmistakable NRBQ style. Adams learned the song from Red himself, when the Atlanta legend visited him at his upstate New York home in the 1970s.

In between is the unique Q mix of rock, pop and jazz, and of course no album of theirs would be complete without a classic Adams twist — here, an adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor,” done as a country tune called “In Every Dream.” Original compositions from Adams, Ligon, and Donnelly, written separately and together, and stellar playing throughout make for a true band effort. Former NRBQ bandmate Tom Ardolino provided the front cover art (and sits in on drums on two tracks).

“I found musicians who not only understand NRBQ’s past and traditions but who are open to future impossibilities,” says Adams. “It’s important that their reason for being musicians in the first place is real.”

Chicago’s Scott Ligon is on guitar and vocals. The multi-instrumentalist is, says the Nashville Scene, “an unqualified badass — he echoes Adams’ gift for balancing melody with dissonance.” Philadelphia-based Pete Donnelly, also a member of the Figgs, handles bass and vocals. And from Austin comes drummer Conrad Choucroun, who has played with numerous Texas bands and musicians (Bob Schneider, Kelly Willis, the Damnations, among others).

Adams announced in March 2011 the return of the NRBQ name along with the release of the new album. In the years since 2004, when the most recent Q line-up last appeared regularly onstage, Adams has been steadily rebuilding his health after a cancer diagnosis, and rebuilding the band after the other members decided to form their own band (Joey and Johnny Spampinato) or retire from the road (Tom Ardolino).

Why did he initially call his band the Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet in 2007 instead of NRBQ?

“I didn’t want to call the band NRBQ right away,” says Adams “because I didn’t want Scott, Pete, and Conrad subjected to unfair comparisons. It was clear in the spring of 2009 that we had it onstage, but I wanted to wait until we had more road experience and a new studio album with new songs that we wrote and recorded together. You can hear it on Keep This Love Goin’. The time is right.”

“I’m finally free to let go and move NRBQ forward. That’s what I’ve been doing since I was 18. With all due respect to the past, NRBQ is a living, breathing, ongoing sound. I never intended it to ever become a trip down memory lane.”

The first weekend of April found the band onstage for their first live shows, now billed as “the New NRBQ.”  Said the Albany Times-Union, “ . . . the current incarnation lived up to the legacy. They reclaimed not only the vast NRBQ catalog of songs and loose-as-a-goose sound, but also the band’s wildly unpredictable spirit on stage . . . their willingness to step way out on a limb has always been one of NRBQ’s most endearing qualities, and in the contemporary world of pre-packaged, cookie-cutter pop stars, it’s sure great to have them back.” The Schenectady Gazette added, “the re-branded NRBQ has developed an impressive depth of mutual intuition so that even odd detours took on unanimous glee Sunday. They felt so good and they made everyone feel good too.”

Sarabeth Tucek Streams New Album On AOL

Sarabeth Tucek is set to release her sophomore LP, Get Well Soon, on May 24th on Ungawa Records. It’s a stunning record that, although not a concept album as such, forms a narrative based around the death of Sarabeth’s father, or as she beautifully describes it “an impressionistic rendering of a time ruled by grief”. The 12 tracks were “sequenced and resequenced for weeks” in order for the story to emerge and the end result sees not one wasted word or unnecessary note; all we’re left with is “just pure feeling”.
Sarabeth was born to a psychiatrist and a psychologist in Miami, but grew up in New York. She was a latecomer to music, her first calling being acting. However, after a few years in Hollywood, her singing and songwriting was encouraged by people on the music scene she fell in with. She first made an impression singing backing vocals on Smog’s 2003 album Supper and then in the film ‘Dig!’, where she sings a song she had just written called "Something For You". The Brian Jonestown Massacre went on to cover the song (retitled "Seer"), but Sarabeth’s own version became her debut single, on Sonic Cathedral, back in February 2007.
This stark and simple song won her legions of fans and her self-titled debut album followed a few months later (on the Echo label) to rapturous reviews. Produced by Ethan Johns and Luther Russell, its understated style was an inspiration to a number of singer-songwriters who followed in Sarabeth’s wake, including Laura Marling, who approached Johns to produce I Speak Because I Can after hearing it.
However, despite everything seemingly going so right, at home everything was going wrong. “Some very bad things happened during the first record and after,” recalls Sarabeth. “It was as if all that had ever troubled me, hurt me, came back just as I was embarking on what should’ve been the happiest time of my life. It all came back and said, ‘Not so fast...’
“I don’t think my mind could handle all the good coming its way. It was unfamiliar terrain and I didn’t know how to traverse It. Predictably, my drinking got out of control and that led to a couple car accidents, jail and legal troubles.I wanted to leave LA anyway, but now I felt I sort of had to. I hoped that by coming back home to New York I would be able to forge some kind of redemptive break from the past. To forgive myself.”
The move has informed much of the music on Get Well Soon. The warmth of the West Coast has gone, replaced by a much rawer sound, all recorded over an intensive 15-day period in a basement in Southampton, Pennsylvania. “We recorded this record in a house where we also lived,” Sarabeth explains. “My friends Robert and Peter from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club recorded ‘Howl’ there. It’s owned by the Nicgorski family who are all very musical: Billy, who offered me the basement, and his brother have played in lots of bands, their sister Maria sings on ‘State I Am In’ and their father Wally spent his mornings on the front porch singing in his rocking chair. Making a record where I am singing to and about my father and seeing and hearing their dad out there every morning served up a pretty strong and bittersweet feeling for me.”
“I think we managed to capture a unique mood down in that basement,” adds producer Luther Russell. “As guests in someone’s home we got a feeling that might not have happened in a regular studio. Sarabeth wanted to be somewhere totally unfamiliar; the material was incredibly personal to her, so she had to feel right about where she did it. My job was to capture that feeling, and fast. The plan was to mix it in LA, but it turned out that all the magic was there in the rough mixes I did as we went along – so that is what you hear. I think that’s why it’s such an immediate record, because it really was completed in those two weeks... but with a lifetime of preparation, of course.”
The rawness of the recording reflects the subject matter and provides the perfect accompaniment to Sarabeth’s voice, which seems stronger, more confident and more crystalline than ever, like Karen Dalton or a less histrionic Cat Power, as she deftly conveys her grief with an eloquent, understated majesty. The musical reference points of the first album – Neil Young, Dylan, The Velvet Underground, Big Star – are still there, but somehow amplified, and Sarabeth is definitely not looking towards the current music scene for inspiration. “It’s odd how placid a lot of music seems now; so washed out in sound and feeling,” she says. “It’s like antidepressant music to take antidepressants to. I don’t really give a shit. I am more likely to buy a new book now than a new record.”
This would explain the number of literary references on Get Well Soon. The opening track "The Wound And The Bow" is named after a book of essays by Edmund Wilson, in which Sarabeth discovered and subsequently became obsessed with the myth of Philoctetes, a play by Sophocles in which the protagonist suffers a wound so grotesque that he is left alone on an island to live in a cave and tend to his injuries. The title of "Exit Ghost" was taken from the Philip Roth novel, but he appropriated it from ‘Hamlet’, where it is written as a stage direction. “The scene when Hamlet sees his father’s ghost became lodged in my head,” explains Sarabeth. “And his subsequent madness I understood in a more personal way.”
The narrative ends with the title track and a resolution of sorts. “I feel like I’m either the patient or the doctor, somebody always has an ache,” she says. “When I wrote the title track I had a friend of mine on my mind. She was so sad... just inconsolable and it was painful to see her like that. The title is a reminder to keep myself well. It’s hard to explain the ferocity of the grief I experienced when my father died. I really felt like it was going to kill me, so to be here... well, I just wanted to remind myself of what I survived.”

Suzanna Choffel To Release New Album, 'Steady Eye Shaky Bow,' May 24

Suzanna Choffel, whose dusky vocals are as intriguing as her indie-soul-pop originals and sultry stage presence, releases on Tuesday, May 24, her latest album, STEADY EYE SHAKY BOW, a collection of upbeat melodies and ballads that Choffel describes as “blues-colored dark grit” drawing from musical influences that include Stax-style jazz and Motown R&B.

Choffel and her band — Kyle Thompson on drums, Johnny Vogelsang on bass, Laura Scarborough on vibraphone and synthesizer, and Chris Gebhard on keys and guitar —will make numerous special appearances around the new release. The band recently performed at SXSW Music Festival, including a show at Auditorium Shores with Blue October.

Around the release of STEADY EYE SHAKY BOW, Choffel will tour in Texas in May and June, including an Album Release Show in Austin. The album has already yielded “Raincloud,” with its smart, witty lyrics and soulful syncopated sound that is more than pop, the song infused with the flavor of New Orleans with the backing by Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and a video viewed on YouTube more than half a million times.
Another song on the new album is “Archer,” from whence the album’s title comes, a song that exemplifies Choffel’s unique lyrical expression of the emotions inherent in relationships.
Multiple award-winner Choffel was named Indie Artist of the Year at the 2009 Austin Music Awards and won top honors in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
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Suzanna Choffel upcoming shows include:
May 13, Saxon Pub, Austin
May 19, The Shady Grove, Austin
May 20, Luna, San Antonio
May 24, Waterloo Records In-Store, Austin
May 28, One World Theatre, Austin (Album Release Show)
June 11, McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, Houston
June 16, Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock

Pepper Rabbit Announce New LP + Tour

Since Pepper Rabbit's debut album Beauregard was released last fall, the band has been touring nonstop, with the likes of Passion Pit, Freelance Whales, Miniature Tigers, and Ra Ra Riot.  The duo made up of Xander Singh and Luc Laurent, is now pleased to announce the release of their new album this summer along with upcoming tour dates with Givers.
On tour, Pepper Rabbit will continue to showcase stand out tracks from Beauregard, like “Older Brother”, as well as tracks from their new sophomore album.

Red Velvet Snow Ball is to be released on August 9th, 2011 on Kanine Records. The Los Angeles duo continues to be inspired by the band’s birthplace, New Orleans.  This album highlights the band’s ability to incorporate 11 instruments into their songs and include influences that span generations, from Portishead to David Bowie and Supertramp to Jamie Lidell to create their own brand of psychedelic pop music.
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Upcoming Tour Dates:
5/28 - Sasquatch! Festival - George, WA
5/29 - Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR
6/9 - The Mohawk - Austin, TX
6/10 - Mangos Cantina - Houston, TX
6/12 - The Earl - Atlanta, GA*
6/14 - Rock N Roll Hotel - Washington, DC *
6/16 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY *
6/17 - Northside Festival @ Knitting Factory - Brooklyn, NY ^
6/19 - Middle East Downstairs - Cambridge, MA *
6/20 - Il Motore - Montreal, QC *
6/21 - The Garrison - Toronto, ON *
6/23 - The Basement - Columbus, OH *
6/24 - Schubas Tavern - Chicago, IL *
6/26 - 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN *
6/27 - Ciceros - St Louis, MO *
6/28 - Stickyz Rock N Roll Chicken - Little Rock, AR*
* w/ Givers
^ Kanine Showcase w/ Surfer Blood, Eternal Summers, Grooms, Xray Eyeballs & Dream Diary

Blues & Roots: Vieux Farka Toure w/ William Elliott Whitmore

It was a pretty quiet night on the hill in Boulder, CO at the Fox Theater, even though it was the beginning of the 1st annual Boulder Blues and Roots Summit Festival.  This festival featured early shows at the

Amy Black Announces iPod Giveaway Contest

Singer/songwriter Amy Black released her sophomore album entitled One Time this spring and has been on the road supporting the record.  For fans who have not had a chance to catch one of her electric performances, Amy has release videos from her CD release show at Club Passim in Boston's Harvard Square.

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 new release and her live performances. “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.”

"One Time" is the first single off the album and Amy rocked it at the release show. Fans who share the video with their friends will be entered in the "iPod 'One Time' Music Collection" Contest. The winner will receive a new Apple iPod Touch loaded with Amy Black’s music catalog and videos from the "One Time" CD Release Show.

In order to win, watch the video at www.amyblack.lotosnile-dev.com. Viewers of the video can enter to receive a personalized URL to share the video. They can post the link on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or email it to their friends.  The person who gets the most people to view Amy’s video by Thursday, June 2, 2011 through their personalized URL will win the iPod Touch with Amy Black’s music and videos.

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

Band Of Skulls Announce Select U.S. Dates

Southhampton, UK trio Band of Skulls are taking some time out from recording their second album to play select tour dates in the U.S. Currently recording at Rockfield Studios in Wales, the band will bring the driving guitar force and Wall of Sound harmonies of their live shows back to the states to play four shows in California before heading to Manchester, TN for their Thursday night slot at the Bonnaroo festival. They will be performing new songs at these shows along with favorites from their debut album 'Baby, Darling, Dollface, Honey.'

After spending two years touring in support of their debut album which was universally embraced by the U.S. press including SPIN (Best of Coachella), Rolling Stone (Best of SXSW) and Entertainment Weekly (Your Next Favorite Band) and culminated with a sold-out show at the Forum in London in late 2010, the band retreated to a studio in Norfolk UK to begin writing the follow-up. They returned to their home studio in Southampton to start the recording which they are now completing in Wales. The album will be mixed by Nick Launay (Grinderman, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire) and is scheduled for release in 2012. The album will be preceded by a single and EP released in late 2011.

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BAND OF SKULLS U.S. TOUR DATES:

June 4, Santa Barbara, CA @ Velvet Jones

June 5, San Diego, CA @ Independence Jam w/ Cold War Kids, Lykke Li, Peter, Bjorn & John

June 6, Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater (SOLD OUT)

June 7, Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater (SOLD OUT)
June 9, Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo in THAT TENT 8:30pm - 9:30pm

EOTO Releases 39 Track Live Album

The cyber-kinetic bass juggernaut EOTO will release their third annual tour compilation K-Turns and U-Turns for download today, May 17th.  Featuring 39 hand-selected live tracks, spanning four consecutive hours of music, the album captures the best performances of the year with crystal clear soundboard quality. The collection features songs from every genre, style, and tempo from their grueling non-stop 2010 tour highlighting the live evolution of a band that has put their unique stamp on the electronic music world. The album, which has been edited to flow from one song to the next, mirrors the feeling of a live EOTO show creating the perfect environment for on-the-fly living room dance parties and sci-fi soundtracks alike.

Since 2008, Michael Travis and Jason Hann of EOTO have taken on a brutal tour schedule packing in nearly 150 national shows a year. Armed with thousands of performance hours, it is no surprise the duo has become masters of a skill very few have yet to imagine. By incorporating real instruments alongside high-tech computer programming and the tools of a traditional DJ, the band has made major headway in a very short time.

Each twist and turn of their national 2010 tour saw the project adding new gadgets and techniques to their performance style, paving the way for the project to literally evolve before the eyes of the fans. And, with each turn of the tour, the record button was on, marking each and every move they made. In turn, the band has selected their favorite moments for their annual K-Turns and U-Turns release. This year, the band has chosen 39 tracks from over 125 recorded and released shows in 2010. The album highlights the absolute best diversity in their growing catalog of music.

Along with the release, fans who purchase the latest rendition will also receive a FREE download of the coveted Portage Theater performance from May 6th 2011.

To download a copy of K-Turns and U-Turns album check out ___________ or scan through their entire archive of recorded shows at HERE. For more information on the upcoming EOTO summer festival schedule, visit www.eotomusic.com

Frank Sinatra's inaugural Reprise album reissued on Concord

Concord Records marks the 50th anniversary of a pivotal transition in Frank Sinatra’s career with a digitally remastered version of Ring-A-Ding Ding. Under license from Frank Sinatra Enterprises (FSE), the album is set for release on June 7, 2011.

By the end of the 1950s, Sinatra had spent nearly ten years on Capitol, where he’d made some outstanding recordings. But at the dawn of a new decade, he was eager to establish a creative environment of his own making — one that would open up new territory to explore and take him a step closer to realizing his unique creative vision.

The result was the establishment of Reprise, his own record label and his primary base of operations for the remainder of his career. His initial recording on the new label was Ring-A-Ding Ding, a 1961 album that not only captured Sinatra at the top of his game with a self-confident swagger, but — with the help of songwriters like Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen, and arrangements by Johnny Mandel — also captured the optimistic tenor of the period.

In addition to the 12 songs from the original recording, the 50th anniversary reissue also features two bonus tracks — “Zing! Went The Strings of My Heart” and a previously unreleased version of “Have You Met Miss Jones?” The packaging also includes extensive new liner notes by Frank Sinatra Jr., who shares personal memories of his father during the founding of Reprise and the making of the album as well as annotations and insights for each track.

“As the new decade began, like Midas, everything Sinatra touched turned to gold,” says Frank Jr. “His movies were box office blockbusters, his records were gold, his concerts were standing room only, and with the help of his tireless efforts, he had been very instrumental in helping his friend John F. Kennedy become the 35th President of the United States. It was no wonder that for Frank Sinatra, the period of time in which he was living could only be referred to as ‘Ring-A-Ding Ding.’ The music in this premier Reprise recording reflected that state of mind in every note.”


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TRACK LIST
Ring-A-Ding Ding
Let’s Fall in Love
Be Careful, It’s My Heart
A Foggy Day
A Fine Romance
In The Still of the Night
The Coffee Song
When I Take My Sugar to Tea
Let’s Face the Music and Dance
You’d Be So Easy To Love
You and the Night and the Music
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

BONUS TRACKS:
Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart