songs

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.”

Connie Smith's Long Long Of Heartaches | Out 8/23

New recordings by the country music legend Connie Smith, long acclaimed as one of the greatest singers in the history of the genre have been as rare as the voice and knowing singing she brings to them.  Long Line of Heartaches, set for release on August 23rd, her first full album of new material since 1996 (and only her second since 1978) is an event in the making. That’s not just for the rarity, or because her legions of fans have so long awaited this news, but because in its range of undiluted traditional country moods, themes, rhythms and sound, this new Sugar Hill release is simply, unmistakably a new Connie Smith masterpiece, offering the pleasures of the very best that saw release during her remarkable run of recordings during the 1960s and‘70s.

“And that,” she says. “is exactly what I wanted to accomplish.  I’ve had people ask me what this album was going to be like, since it’s been a long time since they’ve heard me on record, but my musical tastes have remained the same. I wanted this to be traditional country, and it is.”

“One of the reasons that I wanted to do this recording, and it’s a personal reason, is that I have such a deep love for traditional country music. We can talk about the music slipping away, or we can do something about it.  The only way I know to do something about it is to keep singing what I’ve always loved.”

The album’s dozen new tracks, potent songs of heartache, joy, and spirit recorded at Nashville’s celebrated RCA Victor Studio B, where Connie recorded most of her chart-topping hits in her first years as a recording artist, include five new traditional country songs co-written by Connie and husband Marty Stuart, the project’s producer. Memorable songs come from long favored Smith sources such as icons Harlan Howard, Foster & Rice, Kostas, Johnny Russell and Smith’s longtime collaborator Dallas Frazier.  Frazier’s song “A Heart Like You” becomes the 69th Frazier composition that Smith has recorded – breaking his 30 years of songwriting silence, an event within itself.

Having become an overnight country sensation in 1964 when her first single, “Once a Day”, became a number one hit, the first time a female country singer’s debut single accomplished that, Connie Smith enjoyed a string of hits in the following years that have become country standards, including “Ain’t Had No Lovin’”, “Just One Time”, “Run Away Little Tears” “I never Once Stopped Loving You” and “The Hurtin’s All Over”.  She became a star whose iconic voice has influenced other singers for decades. She has recorded a string of 53 albums notable for their quality and range.

To this legacy she now adds Long Line of Heartaches, featuring her band The Sundowners and, for the first time, her three daughters, Julie, Jeanne and Jodi who add striking family harmonies on the contemporary hymn “Take My Hand.”

“I still love to sing as much as I ever did.  I could sing at the kitchen sink and I’d be happy. I feel it is my destiny to sing.”  Country music fans everywhere should rejoice in the fact that we get to be a part of that destiny.

Luke Temple To Release New Solo Record

Before the success of his group Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple worked full-time as a plasterer.  At nights after work, he spent his hours crafting what would become Here We Go Magic's self-titled debut.  During the days he wrote a completely different set of songs in his head.  The resulting record Don't Act Like You Don't Care shines with clarity and daylight, in contrast to Here We Go Magic's hazy aquatic debut.

After recording two critically acclaimed solo records for Mill Pond (2005, 2007) Temple's work still hadn't garnered much attention from the record-buying public.  Frustrated, but not defeated, he focused his creative energy into the writing of two amazing, but completely different records.  Initially referred to as "The Country Record," Don't Act Like You Don't Care was shelved due to the success of Here We Go Magic's self-titled debut.  Now, three years later, we're finally able to offer this incredible collection of folk-pop songs.

Unlike the Here We Go Magic record, Don't Act Like You Don't Care focuses on Temple's songwriting and evocative tenor.  From heartbreaking ballads like "So Long, So Long" and "Ballad for Dick George" to jaunty pop gems like "Ophelia" and "In The Open" you'll become fast friends with these songs that continue to satisfy after hundreds of listens.

Inspired by Rudy Vangelder's early Blue Note recordings, Temple and friends recorded the songs in two 4-hour sessions using just three microphones and a 4-track recorder.  Temple is fortunate to have some amazingly talented friends with Eliot Krimsky ( shines with clarity and daylight, in contrast to Here We Go Magic's hazy aquatic debut. Glass Ghost) on synths, Tyler Wood on piano, Parker Kindred (Antony and the Johnsons, Jeff Buckley) on drums, Michael Bloch (Here We Go Magic) on guitar, and Adam Chilenski on bass.

Luther Russell Announces New Double LP

Luther Russell is set to release his fifth LP, a double-length entitled The Invisible Audience, on July 12th on Ungawa Records. It's a wildly ambitious record from the multi-talented singer-songwriter/producer, which he calls "a glimpse into the jukebox of my psyche." The twenty-five tracks on this epic record were culled from months and months of recording "whenever I could get into my eight-track studio or on a four-track cassette to get an idea down." The album's narrative flow seems to run the gamut of emotions from regret, betrayal and loss to humor, nostalgia and hope. His last release, 2007's Repair (produced by Ethan Johns) was a ragged, rootsy pop record full of rich, sometimes bouncy melodies which belied their darker subject matter, namely that of his then-fresh divorce. The album won him quite a bit of acclaim but nonetheless failed to break him to a wider audience. Since then he concentrated on the production side of things, working with a wide array of artists, including Noah & The Whale, Laura Marling, Sarabeth Tucek, Holly Miranda, Richmond Fontaine, Sean Lennon and Fernando, to name a few.

It was during this industrious period that Luther would hit the recording studio on his own whenever time permitted "to capture some kind of feeling before it slipped away" or for other projects like "the odd failed soundtrack that never was." Being a multi-instrumentalist (Luther has lent his talents to many other artists on drums, guitar, bass, keys, etc.) helped to get many songs recorded with no time to waste. For instance, "Traces," a track evoking Slim Chance-era Ronnie Lane, was done "pretty much in one day", recalls Russell. Still, he did enlist help from a few close musical allies to help flesh out harmony-laden blasts like "Everything You Do" and "Tomorrow's Papers", as well as the psychedelic trance-rock of "Motorbike". In fact, on the elegiac "In This Time," members of his old band The Freewheelers popped by to help with the feel of the track. "I just had so many different types of songs coming out of me over the past few years that for once I wanted to intertwine as many as I could, regardless of style or genre, to try and paint a more complete picture of who I am as an artist. This would be my chance because I could take my time and do it until it was done--whenever the hell that would be".

Turns out it wouldn't be for roughly five years, as Luther wouldn't finally compile the songs until he was able to listen to many different sequences on the often snail-paced subway rides between Manhattan and Brooklyn where he had relocated after several years in Los Angeles. "I just began to hit upon the fact that all of the instrumental tracks that I had accrued could provide little 'smoke breaks' for the listener, so to speak". Inspired by the sprawling double-albums of his youth, such as Husker Du's Zen Arcade, Game Theory's Lolita Nation and Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, he began to see the songs woven together in a longer, more colorful tapestry. "I wanted to make a record that someone could literally get lost in...every time you'd drop the needle you'd be somewhere new. It would be like a friend that was always around, but each time you get together something has changed a little, just like in life". Invariably the album would wind up consisting of some darker pathways, to which Luther attributes more than a few harrowing experiences, such as the sudden passing of two of his "very best friends" and a horrible accident where he nearly lost use of his right hand. "A period of intense darkness seemed to settle over me after the recording of my last record. Moving to New York was definitely an 'escape' of sorts, but the kind of loss I experienced over the past few years one can never quite shake, I think".

It's these more contemplative stretches of musical highway that are found in songs such as "A World Unknown," a stripped-down blues lament concerning "various frightened glimpses into one's own mortality" and "1st & Main," a spidery concoction regarding a certain sojourn through downtown L.A. "which I'd rather not discuss", Russell broods. Livelier tracks include the uproarious "Long Lost Friend," something of a sonic shotgun-wedding between the Faces and Nilsson, juxtaposed with lyrics about "literally having fuck-all", and "Ain't Frightening Me," a dervish of acid words and zig-zag melody influenced by the proto-power-pop of Nick Lowe and Dwight Twilley. The font of mix-and-match songcraft throughout the record can also be attributed to Luther's background, which includes a grandfather and great-uncle, each of whom wrote several Tin Pan Alley standards. It's this family history which he pays tribute to on instrumentals such as the ragtime-y "109th & Madison" (named for the intersection in Harlem where his grandmother grew up) and "Still Life Radio," the old Broadway-style opener which evokes an instant nostalgia even before the expansive record has begun to rev-up (with the grinding Sidekick Reverb).

As to the inevitable head-scratching regarding the sheer length of the record, Luther takes it in stride. "I fully get and understand that many people will ask 'why so long' and generally not have the patience to sit through such an 'endless' listen", he laughs, "but I just had to do it. It just felt right and I thought it would be a true musical experience--that is if you even like what I do in the first place!" This time around, not only has Luther Russell made a record that has many of the hallmarks he is known for (ear-catching melodies, lyrics layered with multiple meanings and adventurous musicianship), but he's managed to make one that contains all of them: the dark folk-blues territory he has covered in past records such as Lowdown World, the bold experimentation found in out-of-nowhere u-turns like Down At Kit's and the melancholy pop of the aforementioned Repair. The Invisible Audience aims to tie up the many loose ends of Luther's recorded output and twist it into something new, yet strangely recognizable. "It's an album made for music fans. People like me. Folks who want to disappear for a while, take a vacation from all the bullshit. All you need is a pair of headphones and an open mind".

Gary Nicholson's New CD, Texas Songbook

Gary Nicholson is a musical renaissance man — a number one hit songwriter, a two time Grammy winning record producer, a guitarist, singer, and recording artist. A consistent presence on the upper reaches of the country chart hit parade for the last three decades, his associations and collaborations read like an honor roll of notable talent in country and beyond: George Strait, Ringo Starr, Garth Brooks, Jeff Bridges, Robert Plant, B.B. King, Fleetwood Mac, Gregg Allman, The Judds, Buddy Guy, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Del McCoury, The Neville Brothers, Vince Gill, Delbert McClinton, Etta James, John Prine, Keb’ Mo’, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson among them. His songs have been heard in the movies Crazy Heart, Major League, City of Hope, Message in a Bottle and Where the Heart Is. “I’m always curious about working with different people and styles,” he says.

He is also a true blue son of the Lone Star State whose love and pride for the place he calls home brims from every track of his Bismeaux Records album, Texas Songbook, due out June 21, 2011. Recorded in Austin with some of the finest players in the state, it features such guest stars as Joe Ely, McClinton, Marcia Ball, Randy Rogers, Ray Benson and Jason Roberts of Asleep at the Wheel on songs inspired by or about Texas by Nicholson himself and penned with Texans like the late Stephen Bruton, McClinton, Guy Clark, Lee Roy Parnell and others. It’s sure to satisfy anyone with a taste for swinging, two-stepping, and dancehall and honky-tonk style Lone Star country music.

The album leaps into a Lone Star state of mind from the opening track, “Texas Weather,” and keeps the theme dancing though “She Feels Like Texas,” “A Woman in Texas, A Woman in Tennessee,” “Lone Star Blues” (with Ely and Benson singing along, and just recorded by George Strait for his next album), “Talkin’ Texan” and “Texas Ruby” (with Ball on piano). The set includes the signature song “Fallin’ & Flyin’” from Crazy Heart, the infectiously swinging “Messin’ With My Woman” (with backing vocals by Benson and Roberts), “Same Kind of Crazy” (written with McClinton, who plays harmonica on the track and cut the song, as did George Strait on his Twang album), and “Listen to Willie” (a tribute to the Red-Haired Stranger with Stoney LaRue and Benson on vocals and Mickey Raphael on harmonica). It wraps up with “Bless Them All” (with the McCrary Sisters), “Live, Laugh, Love” (previously recorded by Texan Clay Walker), and the closing grace note of “Some Days You Write the Song” (the title song of the Grammy-nominated Guy Clark album, co-written with Clark and Jon Randall Stewart).

Nicholson’s impetus for making Texas Songbook was his recent induction into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame. “I’ve always wanted to make a truly country record,” he says of his fourth release in his own right. “So I figured, okay, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this in Texas with all Texas players and with songs co-written by Texans. I’m just going to make the most Texas record I can possibly make and have fun doing it.”

To do so, the first and only choice was to “go straight to Ray Benson.” Recorded at Benson’s Bismeaux Studio, the disc features Asleep at the Wheel members and associates Roberts (fiddle), David Sanger (drums), Floyd Domino (piano) and Kevin Smith (bass) as well as steel guitarist Tommy Detamore and accordion player Joel Guzman. “I couldn’t have made this record in Nashville and gotten this music,” notes Nicholson, a Music City resident for now more than three decades. “I could have come close. But I knew I could only make this album in Texas.” Plus for good measure include in the creative mix some honorary Texans from the state’s “north 40” of Oklahoma like guest singer and Lone Star/Red Dirt music scene hero LaRue and Kevin Welch, co-writer of “Listen to Willie” and now residing in the Hill Country town of Wimberley.

The trail that led Nicholson to becoming an integral and pervasive presence in the Nashville music industry and scene — and 26 ASCAP songwriting awards and nomination to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame — begins in Garland in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex where he came of age within the fertile musical context of the mid 1950s.

He soon took up the guitar and started playing folk and country music, making his public debut in his school’s eighth grade talent show and winning it. Then along came The Ventures and Nicholson took up electric guitar. When he later came to believe that the Beatles “were the greatest thing ever” and heard area resident Freddie King, his fate was sealed. As a teen he played in such British Invasion-inspired bands as the Valiants, the Catalinas and the Untouchables.

While studying at North Texas State University in nearby Denton, Nicholson fell in with such other musical students as soon-to-be Eagle Don Henley and pianist/producer/arranger Jim Ed Norman, later president of the Warner Bros. Nashville label. He stayed busy by night in club bands, and was also recruited to tour with the Nazz after Todd Rundgren left the group. “They hired me because I had a Marshall stack and a Les Paul,” Nicholson recalls with a chuckle. Following a night in 1971 hanging out with Gram Parsons on a swing through Dallas by the American-music pioneer, Nicholson left college and, urged on by Parsons, moved with his band to Los Angeles.

His friends Henley and Norman soon followed as Nicholson went on to win his first publishing deal, scored his debut recorded cover by bluegrass star Doug Dillard, and inked a record deal with Kapp/MCA with his band, Uncle Jim’s Music. They rehearsed in the same building as budding star Linda Ronstadt, whose producer John Boylan helmed the first of the band’s two albums of Nicholson’s songs (with Norman on keyboards for the second), prized by collectors.

Not long after watching Henley join forces with Glenn Frey in Ronstadt’s band and then soar to superstardom in The Eagles, Nicholson married his college sweetheart Barbara and headed back to Texas in 1973. Despite the artistic boom in California, “I liked the music back in Texas better,” he notes. One reason why was an album by locals and fellow expatriates to L.A. who would also return home, Delbert & Glen (Clark).

Nicholson wound up doing stints as a guitarist in McClinton’s band throughout the rest of the 1970s. He also started a group called Hot Sauce that melded country-rock and blues and were sometimes joined by his guitar hero Freddie King at their weekly Sunday residency at Mother Blues in Dallas. He also sharpened his Western swing and country chops taking gigs throughout North Texas, and continued to hone his songwriting skills.

Then Norman tapped a Nicholson song, “Jukebox Argument,” for a recording by Mickey Gilley that ended up on the Urban Cowboy 2 soundtrack. His friend then invited him to relocate to Nashville to write for his publishing company in 1980. By 1984 he had joined the roster of legendary writers at Tree Publishing and nabbed his first No. 1 cut with “That’s the Thing About Love” by Don Williams. He has since written or co-written scores of country chart songs including such Top 10 gems as “One More Last Chance” (Vince Gill), “The Trouble With the Truth” (Patty Loveless), “She Couldn’t Change Me” (Montgomery Gentry) and Reba’s “When Love Gets a Hold of You.”

Nicholson showcased his skills as a producer on his 1995 solo debut, The Sky Is Not the Limit. Four albums for McClinton followed, two of them Grammy winners (Best Contemporary Blues Album) and another nominated, and to date the longtime friends have written some 40 songs together that Delbert has recorded. His other noteworthy productions include T. Graham Brown’s acclaimed Wine Into Water, New Day Dawning by Wynonna and the landmark Reunion by the Judds as well as discs by Chris Knight, Seth Walker and Pam Tillis plus Marcia Ball’s latest album, among others.

Soon after arriving in Music City Nicholson did his first session as a guitarist. His credit can be found on numerous albums since, especially when a taste of Texas C&W and blues is called for. He toured out of Nashville in his early years there with Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Tracy Nelson and Gail Davies until Bobby Bare advised him to leave his band and better spend his time at home writing songs. Now that his sons are grown, Nicholson is back out on the road and with his band Fortunate Sons, who put out an album in 2010, as well as gigging and making a record under his nom de blues Whitey Johnson. As Texas Songbook hits the market, he also gathers together a country band to share stages with Asleep at the Wheel over the summer of 2011.

Texas Songbook follows the form of his previous Nashville Songbook album that collected a number of Nicholson’s top country covers in his own versions. Given his Lone Star State roots, his latest disc is a truly special endeavor for the multi-talented musical artist. “I’m really proud of it,” he concludes. “It’s very important stuff for me. As great as Nashville is and has been to me, it will never take the place of Texas in my heart."

The Milk Carton Kids On Tour Now!

Their songs disguise the youth of the members of the band. Befittingly, so do the old guitars they play and old clothing they wear. But to be sure, The Milk Carton Kids have something new to present: harmonies & minimalist instrumentation which are a clear reference to times passed, but with an eye intently on the future; a perspective on coming-of-age in the eye of a present-day storm; and the chronicling of an American struggle for simplicity, at least musically. To present it they use two guitars and two voices, they labor over the arrangements, they record themselves live, and they release their music on their own label, and for free.

A performance by The Milk Carton Kids is a quiet and intricate affair. Kenneth Pattengale & Joey Ryan have enjoyed intently listening audiences across the country and abroad in their respective solo careers, but an even greater sense of urgency and demand of attention is palpable now that they’ve come together as The Milk Carton Kids. Their songs are written together, but you won’t know there is more than one author.  Their history together spans only one short year, but you won’t know that either. They stand close together when they play, facing each other and using microphones instead of plugging their guitars in. And if they looked more alike, they’d fool you that they were brothers.

As solo artists they have 10 releases between them. As a band their career is off to an auspicious start. Starting from a highly regarded position among their peers, they’ve opened for the art-piano-pop critical darling Vienna Teng, Grammy nominated friend and fan Sara Bareilles, and now will take to the entire U.S. and Canada this summer supporting one of the consummate songwriters of their generation, Joe Purdy. Despite the decision to stick to acoustic guitars in their own show, both Ryan and Pattengale are multi-instrumentalists and will also comprise Purdy’s backing band, joining him on bass, pedal steel guitar, piano, and harmonies.

Their first collaborative release, RETROSPECT, is a live album due out March 15th, 2011, that represents the culmination of the past year of live performance. A collection of songs from each of their solo careers, written separately but reinterpreted and performed as the duo now called The Milk Carton Kids, RETROSPECT will be released under the name “Kenneth Pattengale & Joey Ryan”.

The first official release of The Milk Carton Kids, entitled PROLOGUE, is comprised of original songs written by the duo for this project. It is slated for release later in 2011, on their own Milk Carton Records.

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Tour Dates:

May 5 – Doug Fir – Portland, OR
May 6 – Crocodile Cafe – Seattle, WA
May 7 – The Rio Theater – Vancouver, BC
May 9 – Neurolux - Boise, ID
May  10 – State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
May 12 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
May 14 – Bottleneck – Lawrence, KS
May 15 – Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA
May 16 – Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN
May 17 – Turner Hall - Milwaukee, WI
May 18 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
May 19 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO
June 8 – Mercy Lounge – Nashville, TN
June 9 – WorkPlay – Birmingham, AL
June 10 – The Loft – Atlanta, GA
June 11 – Grey Edge – Asheville, NC
June 12 – Cat’s Cradle – Carborro,  NC
June 14 – Ram’s Head – Annapolis, MD
June 15 – World Cafe Live – Philadelphia, PA
June 16 – Highline Ballroom – New York City, NY
June 17 – Stage One – Fairfield, CT
June 20 – Iron Horse – Northampton, MA
June 21 – Brighton Music Hall – Allston, MA
June 22 – Narrows Center for the Arts – Fall River, MA
June 23 – Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
June 25 – Petit Campus – Montreal, QC
June 26 - Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, ONT
June 27 – Rex Theater – Pittsburg, PA
June 28 – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
June 30 – Westscott Theater – Syracuse, NY

On tour with Joe Purdy

Sugar Hill Records To Release Little Bird From Kasey Chambers

Sugar Hill Records is excited to announce the July 12th release of Little Bird from one of Australia’s most accomplished singer-songwriters, Kasey Chambers.  The 14 song collection – her first solo project in four years - is the result of an outpouring of new material from Kasey written within a hectic two week period in February of 2010, and Chambers is confident in calling Little Bird the best recording of her career.

Recorded a month later in brother Nash’s Foggy Mountain Studio Little Bird features an all-star band that Kasey dubs The Millionaires; John Watson on drums, Jeff McCormack on bass, Shane Nicholson, Jim Mogine (Midnight Oil) and Kasey’s dad Bill Chambers playing all manner of guitars and stringed instruments.  Guest vocalists Missy Higgins, Camille Te Nahu, Patty Griffin and more accompany Kasey on various tracks.

“These guys are some of my favorite musicians and singers, including the backbone of my touring band, so there is a familiarity and intuitive understanding of where this music should go,” says Kasey. Nothing in the recording process sounds forced or labored; every track sounds fresh, positive, exciting. "When the songs are that fresh, there’s something magical about taking them into the studio and bringing them to life, right then and there."

The new album, which is already certified Gold in Australia, represents a diverse spread of musical styles from Kasey’s glittering career, which has reaped multiple ARIA and APRA awards, Number One hits and multi-platinum sales in Australia and around the world.

Despite the upbeat and optimistic vibe of Little Bird, Kasey notes that it also reflects on a young woman’s insecurities.  “I started remembering how I felt when I wrote “Not Pretty Enough” and comparing it to how I feel now. I was wondering how that sentiment would come out if I revisited it,” says Kasey. “I still have moments like that, of feeling insecure and unsure, but I feel differently about that now. I feel stronger and more powerful, not willing to compromise so much.  This record is like the strong, secure version of ‘Not Pretty Enough’.”

Kasey excitedly rates Little Bird as the best recording of her career. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited by a bunch of songs. They all came out completely differently. I was back in that same frame of mind that I had for the early albums. And it made me feel so confident. I was so absolutely in love with all these songs, I could not wait to make them come to life.”

Andrew Belle live on the Lennon Bus in Austin

At SXSW this year, Andrew Belle was invited aboard the Lennon Bus to perform the track that won the John Lennon Songwriting Award for excellence in their pop category. On the Lennon Bus, Andrew recorded an intimate, live version of "The Ladder," which premieres today on Paste.
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After his performances at SXSW and the South Beach Food & Wine FestivalAndrew Belle has returned to hometown Chicago to prepare the limited edition re-release of debut LP The Ladder featuring new music and new artwork and has planned a celebration around the release with his biggest Chicago show to date.
Andrew Belle is a new artist on the pop singer/songwriter scene. Residing in both Chicago and Nashville, he is currently touring clubs and universities across the country, and is also a member of the critically acclaimed national tour Ten Out Of Tenn. Andrew released his debut EP All Those Pretty Lights in 2008, containing songs featured in hit TV shows including “90210”, “The Real World”, “Ghost Whisperer” and “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”.
His debut full-length album The Ladder was released in February 2010 on 1L Music. The Ladder reached #1 on iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts, scored a spot in the Top 100 chart on iTunes and charted in the Top 25 on the Billboard Heatseakers Chart.  His songs have garnered nationwide airplay including Chicago’s WXRT, Nashville’s WRLT, and Los Angeles’ KCRW. Andrew recently was named “Best Breakout Artist, Chicago” by MTV. Recently, Andrew was awarded with the John Lennon Songwriting Award for excellence in their Pop category for the title song off The Ladder. Fans and critics often refer to his songs as “smart pop”—nuanced melodies and sophisticated, contemplative lyrics coupled with bold, infectious hooks.
2009 saw Nashville / Chicago resident Andrew Belle invited out on the second generation Ten out of Tenn Tour and after an overwhelming response on the road, invited out for the Ten out of Tenn Holiday Tour.  Ten Out of Tenn is a diverse and unique community of artists making organic pop music in the shadows of Nashville's slick commercial country music industry on the road supporting each other every night!  The original Ten out of Tenn debuted in 05 with ten musicians who were at the forefront of the vibrant Nashville pop music scene with over thirty albums released between them.

Callers Announce 2011 US Summer Tour

Ryan and Sara met Don at a show at Melvin's, a bar on St. Claude in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. Ryan and Sara had just begun writing and recording songs together on an old 4-track with a mic hanging from the blade of a ceiling fan in the middle of that stifling sweaty summer, but they would soon part ways and leave New Orleans. Over the next couple of years they relocated to Providence together and later settled in Brooklyn where Don had also settled after Katrina.
Life of Love is the first collection of songs Callers wrote and recorded exclusively in New York as a three- piece. Naturally the band's sound grew in volume in response to the volume of the city; however, they held on to what makes them so consistently affecting: their raw spartan style, anchored by Sara's sensually tough vocals, and Ryan and Don's Southern-honed chops as multi-instrumentalists.
The album started with the band's cover of Wire's "Heartbeat", and the idea of creating something simple and cathartic. Using borrowed amps and mics, in bedrooms and in studios, and by the grace of their good friends, Callers recorded Life of Love in intense spurts over the course of a year. Unlike the experimental ballads on their debut Fortune, the new songs pulse with gritty urgency, colored by the sounds of damaged gear and the earnest spirit of a middle-school gospel choir. The result is an album stripped to the core, an expression of the inexpressible space between us and the places we inhabit and the people we share those places with.
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US Tour Dates
6/4 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY ^&
7/6 - Club Passim - Cambridge, MA
7/7 - One Longfellow Square - Portland, ME
7/8 - Casa Del Popolo - Montreal, QC
7/9 - Cisco Systems Bluesfest - Ottawa, ON
7/10 - The Monkey House - Winooski, VT
7/23 - Hillside Festival - Guelph, ON
7/24 - Beachland Tavern - Cleveland, OH%
7/26 - Brillobox - Pittsburgh, PA%
7/27 - Metro Gallery - Baltimore, MD
7/28 - World Cafe Live Upstairs - Philadelphia, PA%

^ Yellow Ostrich

& Wildbirds & Peacedrums

% Nat Baldwin