singer

Zach Deputy Celebrates Another Day

On his upcoming release Another Day, soul-singer and guitarist Zach Deputy-- with the help of Grammy-winning producer Scott Jacoby-- taps into the spirit of Al Green, Taj Mahal and Stevie Wonder, creating a soulful rhythm and blues album rich with ballads and mid-tempo songs. The record will appeal to fans of contemporary artists like Jack Johnson and Amos Lee, while retaining a classic sound and feel. Full of hope and anticipation of the promise of another day, a new day, it is a pivotal point in the career of a touring musician heretofore known as a master of live looping and a staple in the grass-roots club and festival circuit.

An appropriately titled album, Another Day is truly an album in the classic sense— a collection of songs that come from the same time and place, inspired by the same muse. Reflective and introspective, it provides a glimpse at the soul of an artist and the depth of a songwriter. As a boy, the music of Zach Deputy's Puerto Rican, Cruzan and Irish heritage was cooked up in the South Carolina heat. The Calypso rhythms and folk songs of St. Croix competed with the R&B / soul of pioneers like James Brown and Ray Charles for space on the family stereo. As Zach honed his craft, a unique hybrid of these influences emerged, ultimately creating the signature Zach Deputy sound-- what he calls "Island-infused, Drum 'n' Bass, Gospel-Ninja-Soul" that has made him a hot up-and-coming artist. However, this is the one-man-band sweaty dance party side of the coin. That same gumbo of influences has the humid, sultry, quieter side, too. This is the side of the slow dances... the bodies pressed close together and the quiet voices whispering in each other’s' ears. Another Day is a warm, mellow album, one that is perfect for after hour soirees... and if Zach Deputy is about sunshine,Another Day is about sunsets.

Best described as soulful rhythm and blues, Another Day features 11 original tracks produced with Grammy award winning Scott Jacoby over just 5 days in Mission Sound Recording in Brooklyn, NY. To handle the ever-present Latin, Caribbean and African elements in Zach Deputy's backbeat and place them in the contemporary soul / pop format of the songs, Jacoby tapped Graham Hawthorne (Aretha Franklin, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, David Byrne) for the drum kit. Bassist Al Carty came into the studio after having played four church gigs that day. Despite the list of artists he has recorded or toured with (Lou Reed, De La Soul, Carrie Underwood, Gavin DeGraw), the church gigs alone proved that Jacoby was on the mark with this choice for the low end. Zach Deputy is, after all, a soul singer whose music is underpinned by Gospel as much as by any other musical idiom. Equally at home in the Gospel tradition, pianist / organist Will Buthod (Jay-Z, Fat Joe, Alicia Keys, The Harlem Gospel Choir) completed the studio trio that fleshed out Zach's vision for the recording-- a vision made real by Jacoby's pitch perfect choice of accompanists. These four accomplished professionals met for the first time on the first day of recording and worked as if they were old friends with a common purpose.

Another Day will hit the streets on September 27th following four shows in two days at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. The event will kick off a full-scale national tour with dates booked throughout the country. For ticketing and performance information check out www.zachdeputy.com.

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ON TOUR:

8/5/2011              Camp Creek Festival - Oxford, Maine
8/6/2011              Naukabout Festival -  East Falmouth, Cape Cod,  Massachusetts
8/9/2011              Songs at Mirror Lake Music Series - Lake Placid, New York
8/10/2011            The Westcott Theater - Syracuse, New York
8/11/2011            Southpaw - Brooklyn, New York
8/12/2011            Ocean Mist- South Kingstown, Rhode Island
8/13/2011            The Royal Family Affair at Stratton Mountain - West Wardsboro, Vermont
8/13/2011            Club Helsinki - Hudson, New York
8/16/2011            Divan Orange - Montreal, Quebec
8/17/2011            Kirkland Arts Center - Clinton, New York
8/18/2011            Bella Terra Festival at Gardner's Field -  Stephentown, New York
8/19/2011            Trenton Social Courtyard - Trenton, New Jersey
8/20/2011            Camp Barefoot - Bartow, West Virginia
8/21/2011            Great Bay Music Festival- Dover, New Hampshire
8/24/2011            The Otter House- Fredericksburg, Virginia
8/25/2011            The Jewish Mother- Virginia Beach, Virginia
8/26/2011            Outer Banks Brewing Station - Kill Devil Hills; North Carolina
8/27/2011            Blarney Stone's Pub and Music Hall- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
8/29/2011            Big Bamboo Cafe - Hilton Head, South Carolina
9/8/2011              8 x 10 - Baltimore, Maryland
9/9/2011              Appalachian Brewing Company - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
9/13/2011            Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) - New York, New York
9/14/2011            Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) - New York, New York
9/15/2011            The Met Cafe at Hope Artiste Village - Pawtucket, Rhode Island
9/16/2011            Wormtown Music Festival-Camp Kee Wanee - Greenfield, Massachusetts
9/17/2011            Wormtown Music Festival-Camp Kee Wanee - Greenfield,  Massachusetts
9/21/2011            Bayou Bill's - Valdosta, Georgia
9/22/2011            Blackwater Music Festival at Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park - Live Oak, Florida
9/23/2011            Skipper's Smokehouse - Tampa, Florida
9/24/2011            Culture Room - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9/25/2011            Beachside Tavern - New Smyrna Beach, Florida
9/28/2011            Handlebar - Pensacola, Florida
9/29/2011           New Earth Music Hall - Athens, Georgia
9/30/2011           Matilda's Art Gallery and Music Venue - Alpharetta, Georgia
10/1/2011           The Emerald Lounge - Asheville, North Carolina
10/6/2011           Gnat's Landing - Statesboro, Georgia
10/11/2011         Woodlands Tavern - Columbus, Ohio
10/12/2011         The Castle Theatre - Bloomington, Illinois
10/13/2011         Red Sky Lounge - Mankato, Minnesota
10/14/2011         Cabooze - Minneapolis, Minnesota
10/15/2011         The Aquarium - Fargo, North Dakota
10/18/2011         The Zebra Cocktail Lounge - Bozeman, Montana
10/19/2011         Top Hat Lounge - Missoula, Montana
10/20/2011         Tractor Tavern - Seattle, Washington
10/21/2011         Berbati's Pan -  Portland, Oregon
10/22/2011         Humboldt Brews - Arcata, California
10/25/2011         Lost on Main - Chico, California
10/26/2011         The Mint - Los Angeles, California
10/27/2011         Winstons - San Diego, California
10/28/2011         Marilyn's on K - Sacramento, California
10/29/2011         The Independent - San Francisco, California
10/30/2011         The Underground - Reno, Nevada
12/30/2011         TheBond-Fire Art and Music Festival - Groveland, Florida

New Tori Amos Album and Tour

Tori Amos marks her debut album for Deutsche Grammophon, the world’s most celebrated classical music record label with Night of Hunters, set for release this September.  The iconic, platinum-selling singer-songwriter continues her legacy of ground-breaking recordings with this 21st century song cycle inspired by select classical pieces spanning the last 400 years.

With Night of Hunters, Amos carries on the classical tradition of variations on a theme: taking inspiration from classical forms to create a bold new work while paying tribute to the mastery of the original compositions.

On Night of Hunters, which she wrote and produced, Amos comments “I have used the structure of a classical song cycle to tell an ongoing, modern story. The protagonist is a woman who finds herself in the dying embers of a relationship. In the course of one night she goes through an initiation of sorts that leads her to reinvent herself allowing the listener to follow her on a journey to explore complex musical and emotional subject matter.”

“One of the main themes explored on this album is the hunter and the hunted and how both exist within us,” the singer explains.

The release of Night of Hunters will be supported by a tour in Europe and the U.S. starting in Helsinki, Finland on September 28th.

With more than 12 million albums sold and multiple Grammy nominations, Tori Amos is one of the most successful and influential artists of her generation. A pioneer across multiple platforms, she was the first major label artist to offer a single for download, has had her songs turned into graphic novels, and has produced pioneering videos throughout her career. She is renowned for her passionate and broad fan-base, her critically and commercially successful tours, and her ever evolving live show. Ms. Amos is also a noted humanitarian and co-founder of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), which is the United States’ largest anti-sexual assault organization.

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TOUR DATES

Tori will be heading out on tour this Fall in both Europe and the US. The first of shows are listed below. Links to buy tickets and on sale dates can be found at toriamos.com/tours

9/28  Finland, Helsinki, Ice Hall

9/30  Russia, St Petersburg, Oktyabrsky Hall

10/2  Russia, Moscow, Crocus Hall

10/4  Luxembourg, Den Atelier

10/5  France, Paris, Le Grand Rex

10/7  Italy, Milan, Teatro Arcimboldi

10/8  Italy, Rome, Auditorium Parco della Musica

10/10  Germany, Hamburg, Laieszhalle

10/11  Germany, Berlin, Tempodrom

10/13  Poland, Warsaw, Sala Kongresowa

10/17  Holland, Amsterdam, Carre

10/20  Norway, Oslo, Sentrum Scene

10/21  Denmark, Copenhagen, The Royal Theatre

10/24  Switzerland, Lucerne, KKL

10/25  Austria, Vienna, Stadthalle F

10/26  Germany, Frankfurt, Alte Oper

10/28  Belgium, Antwerp, QEH

10/29  Belgium, Brussels, Bozar

10/31  Germany, Essen, Philharmonie

11/2  UK, London, Royal Albert Hall

11/4  UK, Manchester, Apollo

11/6  UK, Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall

11/8  UK, Belfast, Waterfront

11/9  Eire, Dublin, Grand Canal Theatre

Sheryl Crow @ Boulder Roots & Blues Summit

For Sheryl Crow, the title of her seventh album isn?t just a location; it's a state of mind. "I grew up in a small town 100 miles from Memphis, and that informed not only my musical taste, but how I look at life," she says. "The drive to Memphis is all farmland, and everyone is community-oriented, God-fearing people, connected to the earth. The music that came out of that part of the world is a part of who I am, and it's the biggest inspiration for what I do and why I do it."

So for the Kennett, Missouri native, calling the disc 100 Miles From Memphis is a statement of purpose, both musical and emotional. It also marks a long-awaited return by the nine-time Grammy winner to the sounds that first drew her to making music.

The results evoke a time when soul and passion filled the radio waves, when the sweat and joy of a recording session could be captured forever on wax. Sometimes the musical references?Al Green, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder?are made apparent, but the album?s eleven songs are characterized more by capturing a classic spirit than by imitating any specific style.

Crow explains that the way 100 Miles From Memphis was recorded is crucial to its slinky grooves and rolling rhythms. Produced by Doyle Bramhall II and Justin Stanley ("I knew they could get that old soul feeling with authenticity," she says), and cut mostly live with a regular crew of musicians, the album presented a new set of challenges for her as a singer and a songwriter.

With the musical direction already established, the album's messages crystallized in one night at Crow's farm, outside of Nashville. "Having a three year old, you don't get too much quiet time," she says, "but I sat up one night, and I worked all night long and came up with the better part of five lyrics."

What emerged was a set of songs that are unusually open and direct for someone often celebrated for the care and craft of her writing. "This music called for emotion, a place of sensuality and sexuality, and that's a little challenging for me," she says. "Sometimes it's easier for me to hide behind more intellectual lyrics. So it was a great stretching experience to show more vulnerability in my writing."

The songs on 100 Miles From Memphis display impressive range, in feeling and performance. First single "Summer Day" is a delightfully breezy slice of glory-days AM radio pop. "I wanted to experiment with writing something simple and positive," says Crow. "The feeling of a great, solid love, not just a new love, but something everlasting."

Crow, of course, first reached the spotlight as a back-up singer with Michael Jackson, and adds that "I Want You Back" was the first single she ever bought. "It wasn't a conscious choice to do an homage, but it wound up being a very bittersweet thing," she says. "Michael's death brought a lot of stuff back for me, so it was nice that we could include this."

For Sheryl Crow, 100 Miles From Memphis is the right album at the right moment. "My last record (2008's Detours) was pretty political, extremely personal, and more lyric-driven," she says, "so it seemed like a great time to do something soulful and sexy and more driven by the music." It took a lot of years, but with this set of songs, she finally made it back home.

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More Info / Buy Tickets

National Jazz Museum in Harlem March 7 - March 13, 2011

Upcoming events at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem for this week include:

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National Jazz Museum in Harlem

March 7 - March 13, 2011

Schedule

Monday, March 7, 2011

Jazz for Curious Readers

Ethel Waters: His Eye Is On The Sparrow, a celebration
Host: Father Peter J. O’Brien

7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

His Eye Is On The Sparrow is rightfully acclaimed as one of the greatest autobiographies by an American female singer; with the able assistance of noted journalist andbiographer Charles Samuels, Ethel Water's life and career journey is captured there in all of its joy, sorrow, bitterness, forgiveness, and spirit of perseverance no matter what she faced.

Tonight we celebrate the book and remember the bright star that was Ethel Waters.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jazz for Curious Listeners

FILM SHOW: Sing Me A Swing Song: Great Jazz Vocalists – Ethel Waters

Host: Father Peter J. O’Brien

7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: Maysles Cinema - 343 Lenox Avenue between 127th & 128th Street
DONATION SUGGESTED| For more information: 212-348-8300

Vocalist and actress Ethel Waters (1896-1977) was a key figure in the development of African American culture between the two world wars. She broke barrier after barrier, becoming the first black woman heard on the radio, the first black singer to perform on television, the first African American to perform in an integrated cast on Broadway, and the first black woman to perform in a lead dramatic role on Broadway. As a singer Waters introduced over 50 songs that became hits, including standards of the magnitude of "St. Louis Blues" and "Stormy Weather." Her jazzy yet controlled vocal style influenced a generation of vocalists, black and white, and her career, encompassing stage, song, and screen, flowered several times in comebacks after tumbling to lowpoints.

See Ethel Waters perform on film andearn about the rise and fall and rise again of a great American artist of song, and hear recordings that document the sound and style that made Ethel Waters such an influence.

Bobby Long Releases "A Winter Tale" Today!

Today ATO Records releases A Winter Tale, the highly anticipated debut record from British singer-songwriter Bobby Long. Recorded in London, the eleven-song album was produced by Grammy-award winner Liam Watson (The White Stripes) and features backing vocals from Nona Hendryx (LaBelle) and Icelandic singer Lay Low as well as pedal steel by B.J. Cole (Elton John, Sting). In support of the record, Long is currently on a North American tour, including dates at the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW.

All dates are below.

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TOUR DATES:
February 2 - San Francisco, CA - Café du Nord
February 3 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour
February 4 - San Diego, CA - Anthology
February 5 - Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
February 8 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
February 10 - Denver, CO - Bluebird
February 11 - Lawrence, KS - Bottleneck
February 12 - St. Louis, MO - Old Rock House
February 14 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
February 15 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater
February 16 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Ballroom
February 17 - Indianapolis, IN - Radio Radio
February 18 - Chicago, IL - Schuba’s
February 19 - Columbus, OH - Basement
February 21 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark
February 22 - Toronto, ON - Revival
February 23 - Montreal, QC - Divan
February 24 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
February 25 - Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall
February 26 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
February 28 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse
March 1 - Baltimore, MD - Otto Bar
March 3 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
March 4 - Philadelphia, PA - World Café
March 5 - Vienna, VA - Jammin Java
March 22 - Charlottesville, VA - The Southern
March 23 - Pittsburgh, PA - Rex Theatre
March 24 - Cincinnati, OH - 20th Century Theatre
March 25 - Knoxville, TN - Barley’s Tap Room
March 26 - Louisville, KY - Headliners Music Hall
March 27 - Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsley
March 29 - Raleigh, NC - Lincoln Theatre
March 31 - Greenville, SC - The Handlebar
April 1 -  Atlanta, GA - Vinyl
April 2 - Orlando, FL - The Social
April 3 - Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
April 5 - Birmingham, AL - Workplay
April 6 - Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone
April 8 - Dallas, TX - Poor David’s Pub
April 9 - Austin, TX - Stubbs Jr.
April 10 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s

Bobby Long Announces 2011 North American Tour

ATO Records will release A Winter Tale, the highly anticipated debut record from British singer-songwriter Bobby Long, on February 1. Recorded in London, the eleven-song album was produced by Grammy-award winner Liam Watson (The White Stripes) and features backing vocals from Nona Hendryx (LaBelle) and Icelandic singer Lay Low as well as pedal steel by B.J. Cole (Elton John, Sting). In support of the record, Long will embark on a nationwide North American tour this January, including dates at the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW.

After relocating to London from Wiltshire in the countryside of Southwest England, Long became a fixture in the city’s burgeoning open-mic scene, where he met actor and fellow musician Robert Pattinson. Pattinson would go on to sing “Let Me Sign” (co-written by Long and friend Marcus Foster) over a crucial dramatic scene in the blockbuster film Twilight. Subsequently, in support of his bedroom-made recording Dirty Pond Songs, Long embarked on a worldwide tour in April 2009, performing over 160 shows in seven countries. Of the singer, the San Diego Entertainer heralds, “All his songs are like a well-orchestrated ballet of chord progressions and vocals that pluck at the deepest confined thoughts of your soul,” while  Pollstar praises, “Long’s emergence as an up-and-coming artist is the stuff Hollywood loves to make movies about. He continues to amaze audiences with a bare-bones sound reminiscent of early Bob Dylan.” Additionally, the New York Post named him one of their “10 Artists To Watch in 2011.” Watch an exclusive performance video of “Dead & Done” part of the recently launched Burberry Acoustic series.

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TOUR DATES:
January 9 - Brooklyn, NY - Public Assembly
January 24 - Park City, UT - House of Blues Park City
January 25 - Park City, UT - Sundance ASCAP Music Café
January 28 - Vancouver, BC - Media Club
January 29 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern
January 31 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir
February 2 - San Francisco, CA - Café du Nord
February 3 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour
February 4 - San Diego, CA - Anthology
February 5 - Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
February 8 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
February 10 - Denver, CO - Bluebird
February 11 - Lawrence, KS - Bottleneck
February 12 - St. Louis, MO - Old Rock House
February 14 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
February 15 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater
February 16 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Ballroom
February 17 - Indianapolis, IN - Radio Radio
February 18 - Chicago, IL - Schuba’s
February 19 - Columbus, OH - Basement
February 21 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark
February 22 - Toronto, ON - Revival
February 23 - Montreal, QC - Divan
February 24 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
February 25 - Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall
February 26 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
February 28 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse
March 1 - Baltimore, MD - Otto Bar
March 3 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
March 4 - Philadelphia, PA - World Café
March 5 - Vienna, VA - Jammin Java
March 22 - Charlottesville, VA - The Southern
March 23 - Pittsburgh, PA - Rex Theatre
March 24 - Cincinnati, OH - 20th Century Theatre
March 25 - Knoxville, TN - Barley’s Tap Room
March 26 - Louisville, KY - Headliners Music Hall
March 27 - Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsley
March 29 - Raleigh, NC - Lincoln Theatre
March 31 - Greenville, SC - The Handlebar
April 1 -  Atlanta, GA - Vinyl
April 2 - Orlando, FL - The Social
April 3 - Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
April 5 - Birmingham, AL - Workplay
April 6 - Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone
April 8 - Dallas, TX - Poor David’s Pub
April 9 - Austin, TX - Stubbs Jr.
April 10 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s

eTown: Keller Williams and Marc Broussard

eTown kicks off its 2011 season with a live event that is sure to be energetic, memorable and packed with phenomenal singing and musicianship. Nick and Helen welcome Keller Williams back to the show. The unique musician will bring his cohorts The Keels, husband and wife duo Larry and Jenny Keel, who back Keller on his recent all covers album "Thief" as well as the 2006 collaboration "Grass." As the latter title suggests, the Keels add a bluegrass-y twist to Keller's customary one-man-eclectic-band approach. Keller will do his remarkable solo orchestration as well. Marc Broussard, the Louisiana-bred singer and songwriter, is known for his unique ability to channel the multiple spirits of classic R&B and soul into contemporary terms.

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More Info / Buy Tickets

Check out lots more Keller Williams coverage on The Grateful Web:

A BackYard Barbeque with Keller Williams

Keller Williams: thief

Keller Williams | The Egg @ The Heart Theatre

Andy Friedman prepares 'Laserbeams And Dreams' CD

On April 5, 2011, artist and songwriter Andy Friedman will release his third studio album, Laserbeams and Dreams (City Salvage Records).  Produced by noted guitarist and producer David Goodrich (Chris Smither, Peter Mulvey), the album was recorded in Friedman’s Brooklyn neighborhood and cut in 24 hours with one overdub and mixed in the studio.  Complementing Friedman’s “art-damaged, ragged-but-right” (L.A. Weekly) approach and Goodrich’s restrained, atmospheric lead guitar and piano is rising-star upright bassist and composer Stephan Crump (Grammy®-nominated Vijay Iyer Trio, Jim Campilongo), whose latest album of “ingenious originals” (The New Yorker), Reclamation (recorded with his Rosetta Trio), NPR spotlighted among its top five jazz albums of 2010. The interplay of Friedman’s “engagingly singular” (Philadelphia Inquirer) songwriting and “slow, lugubrious, dipped in country heartache” (Hartford Advocate) strum with Crump’s “full, appealingly wooden sound” (The New York Times) calls to mind classic collaborations by Van Morrison with bassist Richard Davis on 1968’s Astral Weeks, or John Hartford and Dave Holland on 1972’s Morning Bugle Call — albums also recorded live in the studio without much pre-conceived musical planning.  “We captured the mood created,” says Friedman.  “It wasn’t our place to second-guess the results.”

Andy Friedman first hit the road as a self-described “Slideshow Poet” in 2002, leaving his day job as an office assistant in the Editorial Department at The New Yorker to accompany projections of his paintings, drawings, and Polaroids with readings of his poetry in dive bars and rock clubs around the nation.  The hybrid performance was applauded by journalists as “the coolest show to come around in a long time” (Good Times [Santa Cruz]), and introduced Friedman as “The King of Art Country” (City Pages [Minneapolis]).  The transition from traveling poet to rambling musician occurred when the “erudite redneck” (Boston Globe) picked up the guitar and sang for the first time in his life in 2005, shortly before recording his debut album, Taken Man (City Salvage Records), the title track of which landed at #30 on a New York Post “Best Songs” list that included over 200 hits by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Andrew Bird, Amy Winehouse, and The National.

Friedman’s reputation as a “dusty, paint-splattered Americana sage” (Rochester News & Democrat) germinated with the release of the CD Weary Things (City Salvage Records) in 2009, garnering enthusiastic praise, a performance on NPR’s coveted Mountain Stage, a feature interview on XM’s Bob Edwards Show, and a growing audience.  The online cultural journal Slant hailed Friedman as “an arrival of one of the genre’s smartest and deepest talents.” His “hard-tack country originals” were described in The New Yorker as “the mark of a true artist,” while NoDepression.com called his songs “unforgettable.” Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor proffered the song “Weary Things” as a “certified, genuine American tune,” and Indie-icon Sufjan Stevens proclaimed, “I think the world of Andy Friedman. I’ve always wanted to be Andy Friedman.” Largely overlooked, Weary Things was highlighted alongside titles by Tom Waits and Chuck Prophet by the Associated Press among “The Best Overlooked Albums of 2009.” “Friedman can write a lyric, and he can deliver it,” declared Stephen Wine. “He is not to be overlooked, that’s for sure.”

Laserbeams and Dreams tackles themes of religion, aging, disillusionment, and family, but images of death prevail in all forms. The gospel dirge “Time for Church” is the album’s opener, and finds Friedman renouncing religion in favor of drink, music, and art.  “It’s time for church/It’s five o’clock,” he sings. “Pour a drink/let the record play.” Friedman’s vocals boom with an echo recalling the classic Nashville Sound recorded by Chet Atkins at RCA in the late ’50s and ’60s. The lilting “Motel on the Lake” presents death as the crumbling façade of a once vibrant Catskill Mountain summer resort community more famously referred to as the Borscht Belt, which the singer now reports “whips the children.” Goodrich brings haunting upright piano to “May I Rest When Death Approaches,” a song based on a series of poems written by Friedman’s father-in-law days before his passing.  “Roll On, John Herald” is at once a tribute to the late John Herald — a founding member of the seminal late-’50s bluegrass trio the Greenbriar Boys, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the summer of 2005 — and a humbling, dark portrayal of life as an obscure legend on the road. “When Vin played him on Idiot’s Delight/I knew John Herald had died,” growls Friedman, who befriended the singer when Herald invited the then “slideshow poet” to open a string of dates in 2003.  In “Quiet Blues,” recorded minutes after the ferocious “Roll On, John Herald,” Friedman laments with newfound vocal sensitivity the death of peace and quiet in the digital age.  “Hey, Command Z/bring the quiet blues back to me,” he warbles. “Recording those two songs without a break was like a biathlon,” says Friedman. Singer-songwriter Jen Chapin, who is married to Crump, lent the guitar played by her father — the late Harry Chapin — to Friedman for the recording of Laserbeams and Dreams.

It’s not all death and despair for Friedman, who approaches these themes with the acerbic wit and dark humor of a New Yorker gag cartoon — a pastime with which the singer has found past success under the pseudonym Larry Hat. With “Going Home (Drifter’s Blessing),” Friedman delivers an anthem for the little-known folksinger trying to make it out on the road, whose faith in himself is tested by long drives, missed family, and dismal turnouts, but can only wish the life on his children and theirs.  In “Down by the Willow,” the album’s closer, Friedman is seduced by the serenity of life in the country but is “shackled and chained” to the gritty confines of the city, revisiting the famous car wash scene from the 1967 Paul Newman classic Cool Hand Luke.

Friedman will perform the record in its entirety, accompanied by David Goodrich and Stephan Crump, on select dates during the Laserbeams and Dreams tour.

Eric Comstock & Randy Napoleon Release Bittersweet

The pianist & vocalist Eric Comstock, a star of the Off-Broadway hit OUR SINATRA known for his pop and jazz interpretations, and guitarist Randy Napoleon, currently of the Freddy Cole Quartet, have collaborated on a uniquely intimate voice/guitar CD, "Bitter/Sweet", on Harbinger Records.

Co-produced by Comstock and Katherine Miller, "Bitter/Sweet" features songs by Rodgers & Hart, Jobim (with a lyric by the late Susannah McCorkle), Lane and Lerner, Billy Strayhorn, Henry Mancini, Billy May, Paul Weston and others from the American, Brazilian and English songbooks, all arranged by Comstock and Napoleon. Standards such as "I Have Dreamed," "This Can't Be Love," "Gone With the Wind," "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams," "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," and "If I Had You" are joined by such rarities as Roger Schore's lyric to Strayhorn's "Ballad for Very Tired and Very Sad Lotus-Eaters". The album also includes "Two for the Road," on which Comstock is joined by his wife, celebrated vocalist Barbara Fasano. Comstock’s other CDs include “No One Knows”, “Young Man of Manhattan” and “All Hart”, and he is profiled in Will Friedwald's new book "The Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers" (Pantheon, 2010). Napoleon's arrangements are heard on Cole's Grammy-nominated salute to Billy Eckstine, "Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B."

Comstock and Napoleon first worked together at a concert for Lincoln Center's American Songbook in 2003, and felt it was time to record the duets they have performed in concert halls and festivals around the country in the years since. Napoleon says, "This is one of my favorite musical combinations. Whoever first carved a guitar out of a block of wood must have had a singer in mind -- guitar and voice are that natural together. Eric is also a first-rate pianist and accompanist, so I was particularly honored when he asked me to record with guitar and voice alone."

Comstock adds, "We live in a noisy world, and Randy and I are trying to show that whatever is worth saying musically can be said softly and slowly. This album is an antidote to stress, and Randy and I are extremely proud of it."

Comstock returns to the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room with Barbara Fasano on January 4th in a new show entitled, "HELLUVA TOWN: A  New York Soundtrack", featuring an idiosyncratic  mix of songs from Broadway and Hollywood, the pop singer-songwriters, and the jazz songbook.  Performances of "HELLUVA TOWN", which continue through January 15th, 2011, are Tuesdays through Thursdays at 8:30pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 and 11pm.

Nathan Moore To Release 'Dear Puppeteer' Feb. 1

Nathan Moore has announced the release of Dear Puppeteer, his latest collection of songs, due February 1 on Royal Potato Family. The Staunton, Virginia-based singer and songwriter recorded the album around his home in the Shenandoah Valley with co-producer and guitarist Bryan Elijah Smith, as well as, out West at his previous Santa Fe, New Mexico stomping grounds, Frogville Studios.

Dear Puppeteer could best be described as a letter in 13 songs from Nathan Moore to the puppet masters: fear, mortality, the righteous, the jailor, lost love and lost time. On the title track, Moore sings: “Gonna write a letter, dear puppeteer, I don’t want to play here, I don’t wanna stay here." From this simple plea it's apparent that a restless spirit is at work. Nathan's warm fingerpicked acoustic guitar, ghostly harmonica gales, ancient ukulele meditations and tobacco-stained vocals are inhabited by a poet seeking something better, while giving song to the human condition in all of its beauty and sadness.

A crowning achievement from one of this generation's most prolific songwriters, Dear Puppeteer is Nathan Moore's ninth studio album to date. It follows 2009's well-received EP, Folk Singer, which led Paste Magazine to write, "The sharp, introspective lyrics of Nathan Moore draw an instant connection to the great folk singers of the past." The UK's Maverick Magazine said, "Many have come and many have tried, but we may finally have a storytelling successor to Dylan, Van Zandt and Cash." Moore, who first came to national attention as a founding member of ThaMuseMeant, also currently fronts the revered American rock band Surprise Me Mr. Davis.

Check out some coverage of Nathan Moore on The Grateful Web. | Stream debut track "Hollow" here

Dear Puppeteer track listing:

1. Like A Cartoon

2. Safe To Say

3. Dear Puppeteer

4. In The Basement

5. A Little Crazy

6. I'm The Same

7. The Garden

8. Hollow

9. Can't Fly To Heaven

10. When My Time Comes

11. Train Of Thoughts

12. Choose Thy Love

13. I'm Good Company