Thursday, December 11, 2014

Popa's Top 2014 Releases

Been digging on the end of year lists compiled by those whose tastes I like and yowza, some good stuff came out in '14 many obvious choices for those with discerning tastes, though unfortunately there are omissions when wittleing down.  Here is an eclectic list that got my ears all a tingle this year. Hope you'll take some time and check out these up and coming movers and shakers and help them get on the lists that matter next year.

Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray - Lean Into The Wind

Mat D and the Profane Saints  - Holyoke

Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons’ - Hey Kid

Darrin Bradbury - True Love
Those Mockingbirds – Penny The Dreadful
The Everymen - Givin' Up On Free Jazz

The Harmonica Lewinskies - Dad Rock
Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones -  Luck Maker

The Lucky Jukebox Brigade - Familiar Fevers

Blackwater Jukebox
The Nuclears - This Is How We Party

Briana Layon & The Boys Debut LP Touch and Go

The Moonshine - And Now
Thomas Bryan Eaton - We All Want To Be Love
Deena – Rock River
Mud Rey – Lusi
Francie Moon – Glass House

Graveyard Train - Takes One To Know One

The Warren G. Hardings - Get A Life

Joe Sundell – The Hat Thief

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lauren Calve Debut EP release, "Between the Creek and the Tracks"

Photo by Dennis Benavides
Lauren Calve  possesses a truly stunning voice, soulful and powerful, she's backed by some very talented  musicians -- brothers, Colin Thompson and Bobby Thompson on guitar, her brother Michael on bass, Ben Tufts on drums and Jesse Hooper on keys, her debut EP has polish and refinement not typical on debuts.
A Virginia native, raised in Fairfax County, and is now a resident of the District.  Although she's loved music and singing as long as she can remember, she didn't seriously begin writing songs and playing publicly until a year a half ago.  Our friend Ben Tufts met her two Winters ago at IOTA. 
 "I wandered into the Wednesday open mic and heard this huge voice--he introduced himself immediately."  They began working on the EP August of last year.

Lauren's influences--Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Susan Tedeschi, and Bonnie Raitt, to name a few--are immediately evident on the first hearing.  Lauren tells stories of personal struggle, her own family's history in the steel mills of Pennsylvania, and pays homage to sharpshooter Annie Oakley.
Lauren is also a gifted studio artist--all of the artwork for the album is by her own hand.

Track List
Looking For The Water


"We made the record in a barn in Fairfax--no AC, no running water.  Just some drums and guitars and the engineering genius of Aaron Mason, a new face on the recording scene in the metro area.  Lauren made a conscious decision to forgo slick packaging and polished production in favor of a genuine, natural sounding recording.  When you listen to these tracks, you can really hear the barn (and it's inhabitants) breathing and singing along with us.  It's the fifth band member on the album."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Snake Oil Superscience by The Mad Doctors

The Mad Doctors are: 
Dr. Seth: Guitar/Vox/Noises 
Dr. Josh: Bass 
Dr. Gregory X: Drums 

Brooklyn's The Mad Doctors conjure up another elixir of mind controling, fuzz popping, spider stomping, full moon surfing, howlin' at hounds, ear hole treats. Invite your friends, lock the dungeon doors, shit's about to get wild and weird as only the Mad Doctors with thier degrees in Medicinal Mayhem can prescribe.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Front Country Debut Full Length Sake of the Sound

I'm a big fan of Melody Walker since I first heard Gold Rush Goddess in '12, I've gobbled up everything shes' done solo and with Jacob Groopman which made my best of year '12 & '13 so I was much excited when news of a Front Country full length surfaced. The release of the 'woodsey' video for 'Sake of the Song' dropped the same day as the album made a tedious Tuesday into splendid day.
Melody and Jacob are joined by Adam Roszkiewicz - Mandolin, Jordan Klein - Banjo, Vocals, Leif Karlstrom - Violin, and Zach Sharpe - Bass to make up the soulful powerhouse band Front Country. This ain't your papaw's bluegrass band, this is special and powerful stuff.

From the first notes of “Gospel Train,” as Melody Walker’s soaring voice entwines around the phrase “I woke up with heaven on my mind,” you’ll hear that Front Country isn’t your usual bluegrass band. When the fiddle and distorted acoustic guitar come crashing into the song like roaring waves, rushing back and forth with swelling ferocity, you’ll know that this is bluegrass unleashed, American roots music that refuses to be constrained. Each song on the album points to traditional influences, but it’s clear that Front Country views these traditions as a launching pad for grander explorations. On their highly anticipated debut full-length album, Sake of the Sound, Front Country blend everything from high-lonesome mountain music to new-wave power pop, newgrass picking, oldgrass harmonies, and just plain glorious musicality. This is Americana at its best: music with deep roots and wide-ranging vision.

Upcoming Shows
Sunday September 28
4:00 PM
The Hill Center American Roots Series, Washington DC    American Roots Series

Sunday, September 28, 2014
4:00pm – 5:00pm
September 30
to Oct 1
The Pour House, Raleigh NC

IBMA!  Bluegrass Situation and Hearth Music showcase with Mipso and 10 string Symphony!
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 – Wednesday, October 1, 2014
October 1
to Oct 2
Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh NC

IBMA! Musicians for the preservation of Bristol Bay showcase. 1am!
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 – Thursday, October 2, 2014
October 2
to Oct 14
Marriott Hotel downtown, Raleigh NC

IBMA! California Bluegrass Association showcase.
Thursday, October 2, 2014 – Tuesday, October 14, 2014
October 3
12:30 PM
Albino Skunk Music Festival, Greer SC

Friday, October 3, 2014
12:30pm – 1:30pm
October 4
5:15 PM
IBMA's Wide Open Bluegrass Festival   5:15pm Hargett Stage, 7:30-9pm, Dance Tent

Saturday, October 4, 2014
5:15pm – 6:15pm
October 5
3:00 PM
Sugarlands Distillery, Gatlinburg TN

Sunday, October 5, 2014
3:00pm – 6:00pm
October 8
7:00 PM
Music City Roots, Nashville TN

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
7:00pm – 10:00pm
October 10
8:00 PM
Moe's Alley, Santa Cruz CA
W/ Steep Ravine!

Friday, October 10, 2014
8:00pm – 11:30pm
October 17
7:00 PM
Palms Playhouse, Winters CA   Our first time at the Palms!

Friday, October 17, 2014
7:00pm – 8:00pm
October 24
8:00 PM
Hopmonk Tavern, Sebastopol

Friday, October 24, 2014
8:00pm – 9:00pm
October 25
7:30 PM
Hangtown Halloween Ball, Placerville CA

Saturday, October 25, 2014
7:30pm – 8:30pm
October 26
12:30 PM
Hangtown Hallween Ball, Placerville CA

Moira Smiley & Voco NEW Album Laughter Out of Tears

There's a whole lot of beautiful music and extraordinary talent happening on this album......
When you first hear the vocal explorations of Moira Smiley, you might think she has a restless spirit. On her new album, Laughter Out of Tears, she moves between Appalachian roots music, Balkan polyphony, choral compositions, multi-voice original songwriting, and Scandinavian harmonies. But listen closer and you realize you’re hearing the work of a true musical polyglot. Smiley takes her musical explorations seriously, and her new album is almost a travelogue mirroring her recent voyages as one of the most in-demand roots vocalists in the US. Recently returned from an international tour with the critically acclaimed tUnE-yArDs, she’s releasing her newest album and looking forward to more collaborations with artists like Solas, Tim O’Brien, Jayme Stone and more. It’s this spirit of collaboration and community that’s so strong in Laughter Out of Tears, from direct collaborations with her own group of vocalists, VOCO, to the innovative, viral community that Smiley calls The Choir of You. Like a true traveler, Smiley knows that we journey to find other people, not other places.

Moira Smiley’s musical interests were first formed growing up on a small farm in Vermont. From an early age, she forged an eclectic relationship with music, listening to LPs of Appalachian banjo and Simon and Garfunkel and rounding this out with weekly shape-note hymn sings with friends and family. “Music always meant escape into beauty,” she says, “it was a way to relate warmly and strongly with other people.” It became the language in which she thrived and communicated. Fast-forward to today and it’s clear that Smiley has become fluent in music. With her far-reaching knowledge of music traditions, Smiley has since sought to explore the overlap between polyphonic songwriting and improvisation within a communal setting of voices. In 2006 she founded VOCO and over the course of three albums Moira Smiley & VOCO have explored American and European folk music with ground-breaking improvisation and vocal harmony.

Laughter Out of Tears grapples with the grief of Smiley’s father’s passing by moving even deeper into her world of collaboration. Among the vocalists tapped to be part of VOCO on this album, Smiley was looking for other women who know the trials of the road. Women who draw their strength from the risk and unpredictable joy of live performance. She wanted to translate that kind of bravery to the songs on her album. She also wanted to expand the circle from her own network of fellow performers to her audiences. This became her viral project, The Choir of You (featured on five tracks on the album). “People could download the tracks from my website and add their own voice,” says Smiley. Putting all this submitted audio together became the highlight of her year and has helped frame the purpose of the album. And while Laughter Out of Tears continues to develop Moira Smiley & VOCO’s sound, combining polyphonic songwriting with European and Appalachian folk song, the songs this time around are far more personal, with Smiley’s original songs exploring her recent journey through the loss of her father. “It’s about moving out of sorrow into a place of joy, of laughter,” she says. “It feels more intimate. There’s much more of me at my most tender here.” And if there’s more of Smiley in this album, there’s more of her friends too, a glorious community of curious, restless musicians and artists, a true community.

Moira Smiley - Composer/ Arranger, Vocals, Accordion, Banjo, Body Percussion
Pilar Diaz - Vocals, Body Percussion, Ukelele
Sally Dworsky - Vocals
Inga Swearingen - Vocals, Body Percussion, Guitar
Abigail Nessen Bengson - Vocals, Body Percussion
Laura Cortese - Fiddle, Vocals
Emily Eagen - Vocals, Ukelele, Body Percussion, Whistlin
Jody Redhage - Cello, Vocals

Upcoming Shows
Saturday, September 27, 2014
moira & VOCO :: Album Release Tour :: "Laughter Out of Tears" @ CalTech University
1200 E. California Blvd. Bldg. 74, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States) - Map
(626) 395-4652
Set: 8:00 PM Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 CalTech students & children
Buy Now 
Sunday, September 28, 2014
moira & VOCO :: Album Release Tour :: "Laughter Out of Tears" @ Candlelight Concerts Series
2325 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123 (United States) - Map
415-921-3665 ext. 310
Set: 7:00 PM Tickets: Free
Monday, September 29, 2014
moira smiley & VOCO Harmony & Stomp! @ Marin School of the Arts
625 Arthur Street, Novato, CA 94947 (United States) - Map 
Set: 1:00 PM Tickets: $25
Friday, October 3, 2014
Moira sings w/Lomax Project! @ Ojai World Music Festival
210 S Signal St., Ojai, CA 93023 (United States) - Map
(805) 646-3117
Set: 7:30 PM Tickets: $35
Also Playing: Bassekou Kouyate 
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Moira teaches w/Lomax Project @ The Kim Maxwell Studio
226 W. Ojai Ave. #102, Ojai, CA (United States) - Map 
Set: 1:30 PM
All Ages 
Tickets: $20
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Moira sings w/Lomax Project! @ Ojai World Music Festival
210 S Signal St., Ojai, CA 93023 (United States) - Map
(805) 646-3117
Set: 7:30 PM Tickets: $35
Also Playing: Nevenka 
Sunday, October 5, 2014
moira & VOCO :: Album Release Tour :: "Laughter Out of Tears" @ University of Alabama - Huntsville
1510 Ben Graves Dr NW, Huntsville, AL 35899 (United States) - Map 
Set: 7:30 PM 
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
moira & VOCO :: Album Release Tour :: "Laughter Out of Tears" @ Agnes Scott College
141 E. College Ave., Decatur, GA 30030 (United States) - Map 
Set: 7:30 PM Tickets: FREE
Friday, October 10, 2014
Moira teach in MILES OF MUSIC CAMP - BOSTON @ Miles of Music Camp
Boston, MA (United States) - Map 
Set: 8:00 PM
All Ages 
Tickets: $300
Buy Now 
Also Playing: Laura CorteseKristin AndreassenMark Simos 
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Moira teach in MILES OF MUSIC CAMP - BOSTON - First Full Day @ Miles of Music Camp
Boston, MA (United States) - Map 
Set: 8:00 PM
All Ages 
Tickets: $300
Buy Now 
Also Playing: Laura CorteseKristin AndreassenMark Simos 
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Moira teach in MILES OF MUSIC CAMP - BOSTON - 2nd Full Day @ Miles of Music Camp
Boston, MA (United States) - Map 
Set: 8:00 PM
All Ages 
Tickets: $300
Buy Now 
Also Playing: Laura CorteseKristin AndreassenMark Simos 
Monday, October 13, 2014
Moira teach in MILES OF MUSIC CAMP - BOSTON - Final Day @ Miles of Music Camp
Boston, MA (United States) - Map 
Set: 8:00 PM
All Ages 
Tickets: $300
Buy Now 
Also Playing: Laura CorteseKristin AndreassenMark Simos 
Friday, October 17, 2014
Moira sings Billy Child's 'Laura Nyro Re-Imagined' @ Segerstrom Center for the Arts
600 Town Center Dr,, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (United States) - Map
Set: 8:00 PM 
Also Playing: Lisa FischerBecca StevensBilly Childs 
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Moira sings w/ tUnE-yArDs! @ Life Is Beautiful Festival
511 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV (United States) - Map

More dates on the website....

Dann Morr & The Dashing Bastard Sideshow Debut Album Shouting Into the Wind

Here's a nice collection of Earworms........
Dann Morr, songwriter and sideman, steps out with his debut album Shouting Into the Wind, a collection of indie rock gems that deftly incorporates the best parts of his long tenure in the Chicago music scene. Produced by Mike Hagler (OK Go, Wilco, Billy Bragg) and Morr, the 10-track album was recorded in Chicago at Kingsize Sound Labs and released September 23, 2014 on Squirrel Trap Records.

Since the 1990s Dann Morr has been a singer and multi-instrumentalist in the folk-rock group Wells-next-the-Sea, indie-rock/power-pop outfits Analog Radio, and High Energy Physics, as well as bassist and backing vocalist for a number of other Windy City artists including The Cheetles, Mooner, Kerosene Stars, Kevin Lee, Phil Angotti, and Tom Daily.

“My original plan for this album was to find a home for orphan songs that had fallen by the wayside over the last few years… songs that were performed by my previous bands, but never properly recorded or never released,” Morr explains. “Although, once we started recording together, I was inspired to write some new material for this amazing line up of musicians- which we dubbed The Dashing Bastard Sideshow.”

Intricately woven guitar lines lounge atop a raucous rhythm section and each track covers distinct territory, from the power-pop crunch of “Jaded” to the rockabilly twang of “I Remember You”, with Morr moving from grit-throat rocker to sly crooner. The end result is that Shouting Into the Wind is an exploration of songs that show where Dann Morr comes from and where he is going.

23 October 2014
The Hideout
1354 W Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL
Shouting Into the Wind release show!
Dann Morr & The Dashing Bastard Sideshow
with Terriers and Phil Angotti
-tickets and info-

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