Chris Chilton and Jerad Finck at Bellwether Brewing Co – live performance review

Last month we had the distinct pleasure of attending the performances of Chris Chilton and Jerad Finck at the Bellwether Brewing Co in Spokane, Washington.   Bellwether is owned and operated by Finck’s high school friend Thomas Croskey.  Finck arranged the show to highlight the brewery and to introduce Chilton from nearby Coeur d’Alene, with whom Finck has been writing and producing.

Croskey opened Bellwether in September 2015 as a place where he could demonstrate his love for historical home brews.  The brewery usually has about 19 options for beer, of which 8 or 9 are ongoing brews and the remainder are seasonal.  In fact, he created a beer called “Goomba Juice” just for this special occasion.

The Bellwether beer menu consists of Old World styles from Celtic and Nordic influences as well as contemporary Northwest styles.  The menu also contains food items like pistachios, panini’s, soft pretzels, cheese platters and bread and butter.  Interestingly enough, the bread is made daily by Alpine Bakery using the brewery’s spent grain.

Besides this amazing musical show, the Bellwether is also home to several festivals, including GruitFest in February and the BraggotFest in July.  For more information, check out their website.

First up was Chilton for a short five-song warm-up set.  He has deep passionate vocals that bring his well-crafted lyrics to life.  Not only was he amazing on his own song “You Won’t Hurt me Anymore,” but he also killed it on his cover of the Snow Patrol song, “Run.”  He closed his short set with the first single off his new project, “Adonai,” a song he co-wrote with Finck and which Finck produced.  Check out his lyric video below:

After a short break, Finck took the stage and launched into “Never Coming Back.”  Finck has great stage presence and has mastered the art of audience interaction with his tales of high school hi-jinks and the back stories of how the songs came to be written.

Among the songs he performed were originals “Code Breaker,” “Pieces of April” (which he wrote when he first met his wife, and which was nominated for an LA Music Critic Award), “Blood in the Water,” and “Carried Away,” along with a wonderful cover of The Cure’s “Love Song,” a band he was a big fan of while growing up.

He saved his best for the end of his set, including “Criminal,” a song he co-wrote with Steven Solomon and Darrell Hodges, and which won the 2016 grand prize in the USA Songwriting Competition, as well as his latest single, “New Kids,” which is all about standing up for the underdog.  Both songs were winners in the LA Music Critic Awards and have done well on the Hot AC charts, with the latter being the basis for his upcoming fall tour through Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana.

The audience demanded an encore, and Finck complied with an older song, “Whatever You Want.”  It was the perfect culmination of a delightful evening of song and beverage.

Indie musician and budding filmmaker Dan Tedesco is ‘Chasing the Lightning’

I have been fortunate enough to work with a couple of documentary film festivals since moving to Montana, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and the International Wildlife Film Festival.  When I see a documentary that features an indie musician, I get really excited.  Such is the case with the forthcoming documentary film Chasing the Lightning, by indie musician Dan Tedesco.  He is heading out soon to promote his short 20 minute film with a tour that will include a Question and Answer session followed by a concert of his music.  The tour includes a stop at Los Angeles’ El Cid on September 13.  We sat down with Tedesco for an interview and this is what transpired.

IVB:  What is your musical background?

DT:  Pretty eclectic.  I started with piano at the age of five, which led to the violin in elementary school.  I then fell in love with the guitar in junior high, which became my instrument of choice.  I took some lessons, but most of my training came from listening to music and finding out what I liked.  I started loving the jazz world and instrumental music, and played in the jazz workshop band (12-15 pieces).  I followed that up with an intense study of jazz at Arizona State University for several years.  However, I began to feel like the study was messing with my brain and I was losing the organics of playing.

After college I went back to my rock roots and began songwriting.  I wanted to be a studio musician, but also wanted more control of my musical destiny, so I decided to learn to sing.  I started playing out in Tempe about the time I was graduating and began getting some local support that encouraged me to continue doing it.  I even played at a hookah lounge weekly.   After graduation, I decided to move to Los Angeles to check out the music scene.  I stayed on a friend’s couch until he threw me out, and ended up staying in LA for about a year, doing open mics and working a full-time job while trying to play out.

This burning the candle at both ends finally caught up with me and I decided to get out of LA and move to Chicago.  I put together a summer’s worth of gigs (having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, and formed a band called Dan Tedesco and the Long Haul.  We released our first album, Staring at a Green Light, in March 2009.   We tured regionally in the Midwest and I slowly lost members of my band.  By 2011, when we released Tracks on Fire, I was touring with just a drummer.  He eventually left me to pursue other avenues and I was back to playing solo.

I think that the experience of being in a band got me through that part of my career but cleared my need to find myself.   I next started looking at what I could do with a solo career.  I began by creating my own sound using a stomp box, amps, and the keys, stretching where my music could go sonically as a solo artist.  I wanted to keep it organic without using looping, and take the stereotype singer-songwriter and smash it.  I did this from 2012-2014 before releasing my third album Death in the Valley.

I toured solo until around the end of 2015.  Inspired by Springsteen’s Nebraska project, I began creating demos at home on my ipad,  I listened to them and liked the lo-fi aspect.  I sought advice from my friends who were very supportive, and people seemed to connect with it.  I’m really glad I did the project, which resulted in a self-titled album of 10 songs, which I released in October 2015.

I kept recording but pushed it further by adding layers through the  Garage Band program.  I even found a cool drum machine and used it to create some cool songs.  Once again my friends were supportive, so I decided to do a double album in May 2016, combining the first set of stripped down songs and then redoing them with the layers.  The project is currently up on Spotify.  Through this process I gained a basic working knowledge of sound engineering.  I am very proud of these songs and the response they have generated.  I am currently working on new record, and am about three-quarters done.

IVB:  Who are your musical influences?

DT:  Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, and Eric Johnson (who taught Steve Vai and others) were my early ones.  Other artists that greatly influenced me were John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, McCoy Tyner, Stanley Jordan and other jazz greats.  Dylan, Springsteen, Tom Petty, Jackson Brown and Tom Waits also influenced me as a songwriter.

IVB:  What prompted you to make Chasing the Lightning?

DT:   I think more than anything that it was a story that needed to be told.  I have watched a lot of documentary films and have never seen anyone tell the story of what it is to be a working musician.  Maybe on a grandiose level maybe, but not the simplistic facts of being one of the other 99% of working musicians.  I wanted to tell this story to people so that they could see what most of us are going through, the working class version.  I also wanted to let people know that it is a job and that it is hard work.  I wanted to inspire people to do this but also give them a reality check if they think it is all grandiose.  I believe that showing people is a lot more powerful than simply telling them.

I have always loved films and documentaries like Anthony Bordane’s Kitchen Confidential, which exposed the unknown world of a professional chef.  That film inspired me to expose my world so they can see the behind the scenes life of a working musician.  I wanted my film to be both enlightening and educational, a wake-up call of what can be expected from a life on the road as a full-time musician.  I hired a friend to come and do the video with me, and we shopped it to people but couldn’t find anyone to help me with finish it.  I ended up doing it myself, writing the narration and pulling up the right clips that I knew precisely where they were.  Since I decided to edit it myself,  I had to teach myself how to do that.  I watched YouTube videos to learn the process.  It was truly a magical experience as the clips would fit right in with the music and line up perfectly.  This was a sign to me that I was creating something special, a truly remarkable experience that I am so glad I could do.

IVB:  What are your plans for the movie?  For your future musical career?

DT:  I am getting ready to embark on a fall/winter tour to most of the country.  Each night we’ll do a screening of the film and a Q&A with the audience, followed by an hour musical set.  I have also submitted to several film festivals including Montana’s Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.  I’m waiting to see who is interested.

I am especially looking forward to the El Cid show in Los Angeles, as I am returning to the place I left to start this journey.  I will be also be playing Seattle, Eugene and Portland shows in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m hoping to work on a new album to be released later in 2017.   I have an investor for the new album which I hope will kick me in a new direction.  We live and die by the number of gigs we can get, so having an additional stream of revenue that is not just performance based gives me a little breathing room to grow my career.  When you have people that do what they say they will do, it is a plus for your career.  Unfortunately I have found that art does not always imitate life – and it can be disheartening.

I have made it a practice to not seek a massive fan base.  Instead, I strive to fine about 2,000 people that are committed to my music.  If each of those people spend just $40 a year, that gives me an income of $80,000 a year, plus what I earn from my performances, licensing, etc.  Every artist must define his or her own level of success.  Above all else there is a true need to find balance.

Get it or forget it – Broken Bellows, Chelsea Williams, Kim DiVine, The Band of Heathens

With today’s four reviews, we have finally caught up on our submissions for albums released through August 31, 2017.  We have a special feature coming up tomorrow before getting back to some live performance reviews.  Enjoy today’s offerings.

Artist Name:  Broken Bellows

Album Name:  The Card Table 

Label:  Fervor Records

Genre:  Alt-pop

Track Listing:  1.  Magic in a Gaze; 2.  Misery; 3.  In the Deep; 4.  Waiting; 5.  Steady Steps

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  Broken Bellows bring us dreamy pop with incredible harmonies on their debut EP, The Card Table.  Their sound is truly smooth and their lyrics are thought-provoking and relatable, especially “Misery.”  This band has the goods to make a serious impact on today’s pop music scene, and deserve radio airplay.  “In the Deep” has a great upbeat feel that house DJs could play with to make a great dance track.  All in all, a very worthy first effort with five great songs.  Can’t wait to see what else they have in store for their fans, which we’re sure will be many.

Recommendation:  This is a great release for lovers of pop music.  Just released on August 25, we recommend listeners not waste any more time, but just Get it.

Artist Name:  Chelsea Williams

Album Name:  Boomerang

Label:  Blue Élan Records

Genre:  Pop/Rock/Alt-Country

Track Listing:  1.  Angeles Crest; 2.  Lonely Girl; 3.  Fool’s Gold; 4.  Anything Worth Saving; 5.  Rush; 6.  Six Bottles of Wine; 7.  Little Halo; 8.  Out of Sight, Out of Mind; 9.  Toyota Song; 10.  Don’t Want to die Alone; 11.  Dreamcatcher; 12.  Boomerang; 13.  Angeles Crest Postlude

Publicist:  None

Review:  Chelsea Williams has created quite the legacy in her career.  After seven years of playing the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, she was signed to Interscope Records.  Five years later, she is now with Blue Élan Records, and is releasing her first album on that label.  Although previously known for her simple guitar and vocals, she branches out on this album to include hints of country, blues and Americana in her sound, with an emphasis on smartly written lyrics and impressive musical accompaniment.  Her first single, “Lonely Girl,” is sheer perfection, with screaming guitar riffs and a simple drum beat.  “Anything Worth Saving” has that lilting pop feel of Lenka, while “Rush” reminds us of the incredible Katie Costello. We  really love the swing feel of “Six Bottles of Wine” and the bluesy “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.”  All in all, this is an album full of great songs from start to finish, and worthy of repeated listens.

Recommendation: As with most of the Blue Élan catalog, this one is a keeper.  We strongly encourage you to Get it now.  If you’re lucky enough to be in the Los Angeles area, you can grab one at her CD Release show August 29 at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena.

Artist Name:  Kim DiVine

Album Name:  This Time Around

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Maybe Tomorrow; 2.  This Time Around; 3.  Broken Bird; 4. By Your Side; 5.  Stay; 6.  Fancy Things; 7.  Where I am you Are; 8.  Broken Bird Remix

Publicist:  None

Review:   Kim DiVine is a fiery ball of energy masquerading as a singer-songwriter.  Her songs reflect her beliefs, and are uplifting, thoughtful and introspective.  She keeps her music simple so that the message does not get lost in the melody.  That doesn’t mean her songs don’t have depth, because she is not afraid to use layers when necessary.  It just means that she prefers to let her lyrical content be the focus of her songs by using just the right amount of musical background.  Check out the title track of her latest album, which is further proof that DiVine is one of the best singer-songwriters in the indie community today.   Further evidence is in the form of “Broken Bird,” a soulful song about relationships and knowing when it is time to move on.  We also love the upbeat “By Your Side.”  The rest of the album is just as good, so we’re putting this one on repeat.

Recommendation:  If you like music that inspires you, then This Time Around is one of the best.  Run, don’t walk to your nearest outlet and Get this one now!  If you’re in Los Angeles, she’s having a CD Release show at The Hotel Cafe on August 30.

Artist Name:  The Band of Heathens

Album Name:  Duende

Label:  BOH Records

Genre:  Alt-Country/Roots Rock

Track Listing:  1.  All I’m Asking; 2.  Sugar Queen; 3.  Last Minute Man; 4.  Deep is Love; 5.  Keys to the Kingdom; 6.  Trouble Came Early; 7.  Daddy Longlegs; 8.  Cracking the Code; 9.  Road Dust Wheels; 10.  Green Grass of California; Bonus Track 1.  Out on Each Other; Bonus Track 2.  DC9; Bonus Track 3.  Carry Your Love; Bonus Track 4.  Bessie Smith

Publicist:  Missing Piece Group

Review:  We had heard of this group peripherally, but it wasn’t until we saw them at the River City Roots Festival that we knew we had to review their album.  We secured it on vinyl, which has the same 10 songs that are on the CD, plus four additional tracks.  The release of Duende marks the 10th anniversary of the band, and their fifth studio album.  The word “duende” is defined as a quality of inspiration and passion, and definitely sums up this band, both in their recorded music and their live performance.  They combine elements of Americana, bluegrass, country and rock to create an impressive sound, with well-crafted lyrics that keep the listener engaged.  Their sound is worthy of serious radio air play, as well as placement in television and film.  In other words, this band has it all, and we listeners are the beneficiary of that greatness.  Take our advice, put this one on repeat and dance, dance, dance!

Recommendation:  You must Get this one.  We recommend you go with the vinyl edition so you get 40% more of The Band of Heathens’ greatness.


Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 32

Welcome to another week of indie music.  As we mentioned on Saturday, we attended the River City Roots Festival in Missoula.  Saturday’s line-up was impressive, and featured the guilty pleasure of The Whizpops, followed by the soulful roots of songwriter Malcolm Holcombe, the impressive showmanship of The Ghost of Paul Revere, the roots rock tunes of The Band of Heathens and the awesomeness of one of blues finest guitarists, Anders Osborne, as headliner.  We also got to see more blues with Mudslide Charley at the Top Hat following the close of the Festival.  Watch for the reviews coming soon.


Lots of great music coming down the pike from indie artists, including Jerad Finck, the winner of the 2016 grand prize in the USA Songwriting Competition, who will be heading out for a west coast tour next month.  He is planning to visit Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana before closing out the tour in his native Spokane.  Watch his official Facebook page for more tour info.  Other artists touring in those areas include several from the Roots Fest: The Ghost of Paul Revere, The Band of Heathens and Anders Osborne, who will also be playing with Bonnie Raitt.


Earshot Media has announced that 100% of the proceeds from tickets sold on August 31 will be donated the Oxfam America, a charity that seeks to end poverty.  You can purchase your tickets here.

Music Tastes Good passes start at $75 per day, passes for the new “Taste Tent” experience start at $150, and VIP passes start at $225. The event, to be headlined by Ween and Sleater-Kinney, with appearances by RIDE, Charles Bradley and his Extraordinares, ALVVAYS, Bomba Estereo, Los Lobos, of Montreal and many more, is scheduled to take place September 30 and October 1 at Marina Green Park in downtown Long Beach, California.


Some impressive new singles are being released, including these three we want to feature today:

If you like your music rocky, check out the latest single, “Get up and Go” from Love and a .38.  The full song is available on iTunes.  Just click the link to preview and purchase.

Get up and Go

If ballads are more your thing,  you will love the latest single, “Dragonflies,” from Sweden’s Elin K.  She will be performing at the Youbloom Festival in Los Angeles on September 21.

Last but not least, here’s the new single, “Rio,” from surf-punk rockers, Knifey.  It’s got the energy most of us need to kick-start our new week.  We think you’ll love it.


We are happy to welcome back Straw to our Monday Mashup with their latest single, “1965.”  This family keeps the blues alive with their impressive sound, well written songs and spectacular videos.  Hurry up and come tour America.

Here’s a very interesting lyric video from Superet for their new single “Who is This Guy.”  We think it’s the perfect song for your Manic Monday.

We have long been fans of the Americana duo honeyhoney.  Recently, Suzanne Santo released her first solo album and single, which we reviewed last week.  We think you will also love the music video for “Ghost in my Bed.”


Get it or forget it – The Sherlocks, Channel 3, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Jack Tempchin

It’s another beautiful weekend in Missoula, and we’ve been enjoying the River City Roots Festival.  Yesterday we had the pleasure of hearing amazing reggae from Taj Weekes and Adowa, rocking country from Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, and traditional bluegrass from John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band.  Watch for our review of the festival, but first, here are four more great artists to check out.

Artist Name:  The Sherlocks

Album Name:  Live for the Moment

Label:  Infectious Records/BMG

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Will you be There?; 2.  Live for the Moment; 3.  Escapade; 4.  Chasing Shadows; 5. Blue; 6.  Nobody Knows; 7.  Was it Really Worthy It?; 8.  Turn the Clock; 9.  Last Night; 10.  Heart of Gold; 11.  Motions; 12.  Candlelight

Publicist:  The End Records PR

Review:  British band The Sherlocks have released their debut album, and it is a rocking masterpiece.  With swirling guitar riffs, a steady beat and incredible vocals, these guys have come to rock.  From the first note of the first track, they bring their brand of indie rock to bear, and show that they mean business.  The music gets better with every track, resulting in an album that will definitely keep their listeners tuned in and engaged.  Their music would make a fine addition to the airplay lists of American radio, and gives a glimpse of the awesomeness that is sure to come on their upcoming UK tour.  Hopefully they will cross the pond soon, because America needs this level of music.  Best tracks include “Will you be There?,” the title track, “Chasing Shadows,” “Blue,” and “Nobody Knows,” although the entire album is worthy of repeated listens.

Recommendation:  Check out the latest amazing British band, and be the first to Get it in America.  You’ll be glad you did.

Artist Name:  Channel 3 (“CH3”)

Album Name:  Put ‘Em Up

Label:  TKO Records

Genre:  Punk

Track Listing:  1.  Model Citizen; 2.  Water & Time; 3.  Put ’em Up; 4.  She Never Wanted it This Way; 5.  Half the Day; 6.  Not That it Matters; 7.  The God That you Deserve; 8.  Blue Skies; 9.  All the Night; 10.  Take me to Your Leader

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  The latest album from veteran Los Angeles punk band CH3 is a concept album focusing on post-election America, and is heralded as a career-defining album.  This band has something to say about the state of Trump America, and uses the angst of punk music to tell their story.  The band will be coming off their It’s Not Dead Festival appearance to release this album before heading out on a national tour this fall.  Their message is timely, and told in a manner that should help them spread that message.  The album is reminiscent of The Ramones and the Dropkick Murphys but presented in a manner that will entice most music lovers to check them out.  This album needs to be experienced from start to finish, and then reheard again and again.  Some of the strongest tracks include “Model Citizen,” the title track, “She Never Wanted it This Way,” “Half the Day,” and the rousing final track, “Take me to Your Leader.”

Recommendation:  This album has the goods, both lyrically and musically, and simply must be added to your musical library.  Get it now!

Artist Name:  Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver

Album Name:  Life is a Story

Label:  Crossroads/Mountain Home Records

Genre:  Bluegrass

Track Listing:  1.  Kids These Days; 2.  Little Girl; 3.  Life of a Hard Workin’ Man; 4.  Life to my Days; 5.  I see a Heartbreak Comin’; 6.  Guitar Case; 7.  What am I Looking For; 8.  Bluegrass Blues; 9.  Derailed; 10.  Love Lives Again; 11.  Cry Across Kansas; 12.  Drivin’ it Home

Publicist:  So Much Moore Media

Review:  With a sound reminiscent of Alabama meets Nickel Creek, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver take us on a musical journey through life.  The songs are well crafted, with lyrics that tell a story, and the perfect blend of banjo, fiddle, mandolin and vocals that immediately get the listener’s attention, appealing to both the musically and lyrically inclined audience.  From the upbeat opening track, “Kids These Days,” through the end of the album, every song delivers a part of the story of life.  Their cover of John Michael Montgomery’s “Little Girl” is phenomenal, capturing all the beauty of the original with that perfect blend of fiddle, mandolin and banjo.  In fact every song is worthy of your attention, putting this album firmly into consideration for best Bluegrass album of 2017.

Recommendation:  One of the best bluegrass albums we have reviewed this year, and will appeal to most music lovers.  We strongly recommend you Get this album – your collection is lacking without it.

Artist Name:  Jack Tempchin

Album Name:  Peaceful Easy Feeling (The Songs of Jack Tempchin)

Label:  Blue Élan Records

Genre:  Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Peaceful Easy Feeling; 2.  Part of me, Part of You; 3.  Slow Dancing (ft. Rita Coolidge); 4.  The one you Love; 5.  Soul Searchin’ (ft. Janiva Magness); 6.  Already Gone (ft. Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen); 7.  Privacy; 8.  Everybody’s Gonna Love Someone Tonight; 9.  Party Town; 10.  It’s Your World Now (ft. Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen); 11.  Somebody; 12.  I Found Somebody (ft. Janiva Magness); 13.  I did it for Your Love; 14.  You Belong to the City

Publicist:  GBL Media Management

Review:  Who doesn’t love the Eagles?  Jack Tempchin is the songwriter behind some of their greatest songs, and he shares his version of several of those hits on his latest release.  From the dreamy classics “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Already Gone” to the Glenn Frey hits “You Belong to the City,” “The One You Love, and “Soul Searchin’,” Tempchin shows why those songs have become so timeless and well-loved.  He also includes the rocking and previously unreleased song,” Privacy,” the last song he wrote with Glenn Frey before he passed.  This is an album chock-full of some of the greatest ballads every written, and even includes a beautiful duet with Rita Coolidge on Johnny Rivers’ hit “Slow Dancing.”  Other artists that share songs with Tempchin on this masterpiece include Grammy-nominated blues artist Janiva Magness, The Byrds’ Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen.  We also love the bluegrass sound that Pedersen adds to “Already Gone.”

Recommendation:  If you buy only one album this year, then this is the album to buy.  It is an instant classic and you need to Get it now!


Get it or forget it – b.d. Gottfried, Castle Black, Andrew Chapman, Glass Hour

Had a wonderful day off the grid yesterday, exploring the beauty of Glacier National Park.  We hiked up McDonald Creek to the Cascades, and then spent some time by Lake McDonald before heading back home.  Earlier in the day we stopped at the Montana Vortex and Mystery House and had our minds blown by this incredible place.  We’re ready to get back into the groove with these four artist reviews.

Artist Name:  b.d. Gottfried

Album Name:  Through the Dog’s Eyes

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Something you Weren’t; 2.  Crosshairs; 3.  Blame it on the Money; 4.  Eye of Time; 5.  Frequencies; 6.  Breakaway; 7.  Reformation; 8.  Do we Have Love; 9.  Incantation; 10.  SOS with an IOU

Publicist:  Last Tango Productions

Review:  Through the Dog’s Eyes has a classic rock vibe, with a strong rhythm section, thoughtful lyrics and the steady voice of a seasoned performer.  The songs are upbeat and party-worthy, and ready for radio.  This is the type of music that is perfect for your weekend bash, and it will get you on the dance floor and keep your toes tapping.  “Reformation” even has a metal feel to it.  We can’t believe this artist has seven prior albums, and has never crossed our radar.  He is a true hidden gem, and his music belongs in our library.  He reminds us of Roy Head.  There really isn’t a bad song in the bunch, but we especially like “Something you Weren’t,” “Blame it on the Money,” “Frequencies,” “Incantation,” and “SOS with an IOU.”

Recommendation:  You simply must check out b.d. Gottfried, and Get his latest album.

Artist Name:  Castle Black

Album Name:  Trapped Under all you Know

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Seeing in Blue; 2.  Broken Bright Star; 3.  Blind Curtain; 4.  Rise

Publicist:  Behind the Curtains Media

Review:  Powerful guitar riffs, a rock-steady beat and interesting vocals are the foundational elements behind the music of Castle Black.  This Brooklyn-based, female fronted trio is making waves on the indie rock stage, and garnering praise from fans and critics alike.  Their music will fill your head with energy and well-crafted lyrics while the beat fills your ears with musical nirvana and keeps your toes tapping.  These songs belong on radio and in your favorite television shows.  We only wish there were more than four songs to enjoy.  We will definitely be keeping our eyes open for the next installment from this band that is destined for greater things.

Recommendation:  Hop on the bandwagon now cause this band is going places.  Rush out and Get this EP now!

Artist Name:  Andrew Chapman aka JoJo

Album Name:  Well It’s About Time!

Label:  Upsland Records

Genre:  Blues/Roots

Track Listing:  1.  That’s the Kind of Day That I Had; 2.  Face of Love; 3.  Harley Hotstuff; 4.  Still got the Message; 5.  You’ve got a Lover; 6.  The fit and the Feel; 7.  She Don’t Mess With my Buzz; 8.  Will you Recognize me; 9.  Bag of Bones; 10.  Plane Ride From Paris; 11.  That Takes Some Balls; 12.  Talk to Me; 13.  Butterfly

Publicist:  Frank Roszak Promotions

Review:  The blues, especially when it’s done right, has so many elements that keep you engaged, from a good horn section, a tight rhythm section, male and female voices that can wail, and interesting and thoughtful lyrics, with exciting guitar riffs and piano thrown in for good measure.  The latest by blues legend Andrew Chapman has all of that, and a bag of chips.  In a time when blues music is making a strong comeback, the cream that is Chapman is rising to the top of the cup.  Blues and Americana festivals across the country should be looking to this artist to make their events become epic, which will in turn bring in more fans.  We love this album from start to finish.

Recommendation:  Don’t waste any time – Get this album and put it on repeat!

Artist Name:  Glass Hour

Album Name:  Minute Hand

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Pop-rock

Track Listing:  1.  S.O.S., 2.  Burn; 3.  Helix; 4.  Minute Hand; 5.  Broken; 6.  Quiet Road; 7.  Back to the Ocean; 8.  Tenth Story Window; 9.  Far too long; 10.  On

Publicist:  None

Review:  Glass Hour takes today’s musical journey in a totally different direction.  With a sound reminiscent of One Direction meets Bruce Hornsby, this Montreal-based pop group brings a distinctive sound to the indie pop community.  Their songs are catchy, the melodies memorable, and the vocal harmonies dreamy.  This is what’s missing from today’s Top 40 radio.  Every song on this album is a killer track, especially the four previously released singles: “Quiet Road,” “Back to the Ocean,” “Minute Hand,” and “Burn.”  Of those four, “Burn” is the strongest track, with “Back to the Ocean” a close second.

Recommendation:  Don’t miss out on your chance to be first in line to support this up and coming band.  Get their album now and be the envy of all your friends.


Get it or forget it – Blind Lemon Pledge, Lew Jetton and 61 South, Brandon Luedtke, Suzanne Santo

Besides being a music critic, I have been a roadie, merchandiser, manager, publicist and promoter for indie artists.  I’m now adding booker to my resume as I plan a three week tour for a local indie artist.  Booking is hard, and I now have even more respect for indie artists than before.  Can’t wait to announce the tour dates and the artist, so keep it tuned here for more details.  We’ve got some more great artists for you today, including the solo debut of Suzanne Santo (honeyhoney).

Artist Name:  Blind Lemon Pledge and Friends

Album Name:  Backwoods Glance

Label:  Ofeh

Genre:  Country/Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Polly Come Out; 2.  The Hills of West Virginia; 3.  Sisters of the Coal Dust; 4.  Moon Over Memphis; 5.  Lynchburg Town; 6.  Fayetteville; 7.  Silver Wings; 8.  Sweet Celine; 9.  Carolina Kiss; 10.  Sunset; 11.  Ma Belle Cherie; 12.  Give my Poor Heart Ease

Publicist:  Working Brilliantly

Review:  This album is chock full of pre-WWII country and blues.  These timeless songs still ring true today.  The overall acoustic sound and simpleness work perfectly with the material.  Really love the banjo work on “The Hills of West Virginia,” the female lead vocals on “Sisters of the Coal Dust,” and the harmonica on “Lynchburg Town.”  We also love “Moon Over Memphis,” “Silver Wings,” and “Carolina Kiss.”

Recommendation:  If you crave acoustic music that is simple and without enhancements, then this album is a must for your collection.

Artist Name:  Lew Jetton & 61 South

Album Name:  Palestine Blues

Label:  Coffee Street Records

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Will I go to Hell?  2.  Oh my My; 3.  For the Pain; 4.  Mexico; 5.  Sold us Out; 6.  Drinking Again; 7.  Don’t Need no Devil; 8.  Christ Have Mercy; 9.  Drama; 10.  Bout Time

Publicist:  Frank Roszak Promotions

Review:  Listening to this album should be mandatory for all blues lovers.  Lew Jetton and his band, 61 South, understand the first rule of the blues – make the listener feel the music, and that’s what you get on Palestine Blues.   From the rocking blues of “Will I go to Hell?” and “Oh my my” to the soulful wailing blues of “For the Pain” and “Drinking Again,” this album has something for every blues lover, or music lover, for that fact.  Check out the political statement of “Sold us Out.”  This is the perfect album for your Friday night party, reflecting every mood imaginable.  Our favorites include “Oh my my”, “For the Pain,” “Mexico,” “Christ Have Mercy,” and “Drama.”

Recommendation:  Don’t hesitate – go Get this one now!

Artist Name:  Brandon Luedtke

Album Name:  Morning Light

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Folk/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Can’t get Away (From the way of the World); 2.  The Cuckoo Bird; 3.  Over the Interstate; 4.  Black Mountain Echoes; 5.  Let it Rise; 6.  One of These Days; 7.  New World; 8.  Stay Gone; 9.  Somethin’ Evil; 10.  By the Light of the Moon; 11.  Feelin’ the Feelin’; 12.  Soon one Morning

Publicist:  Broken Jukebox Media

Review:  Brandon Luedtke is a modern-day mixture of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, and is a folk artist through and through.  The album contains nine original songs as well as interesting and unique covers of two classic songs, “The Cuckoo Bird” and “Soon one Morning.  While his voice would give him problems in pop music, it is perfectly quirky enough for folk and Americana, and is reminiscent of old time country artists like Bob Wills and Ernest Tubb.  Luedtke is a true Texas troubadour, and proudly keeps that tradition alive.  Best cuts include “Can’t get Away,” “Black Mountain Echoes,” “One of These Days,” “Stay Gone,” and “Feelin’ the Feelin’.”

Recommendation:  If classic country and traditional folk music is your thing, then you should add this album to your collection.

Artist Name:  Suzanne Santo

Album Name:  Red Ruby

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana/Alt-country

Track Listing:  1.  Handshake; 2.  Ghost in my Bed (explicit); 3.  The Wrong Man (explicit); 4.  Best out of Me; 5.  Regrets; 6.  Yours or Mine; 7.  Love Fucked up (explicit); 8. Blood on Your Knees; 9.  Bullets; 10.  Better Than That; 11.  Regrets (acoustic)

Publicist:  Missing Piece Group

Review:  Honeyhoney’s Suzanne Santo has released her debut solo album, and it was everything you would expect from one of Americana/Alt-Country’s premier voices.  Santo pulls no punches with biting and often explicit lyrics, her soaring vocals, and a musical accompaniment that will either have your toes tapping or compel you to the dance floor.  Santo uses soaring fiddle and guitar to follow her words as she sings about heartache and loss.  This is how a modern woman grieves, because, as Miranda Lambert says, “This ain’t my mama’s broken heart.”  There is not a weak song on the entire album, and the majority of them are ripe for radio and/or placement in television and film.  This is especially true of “Ghost in my Bed” and “Regrets,” both upbeat songs with a heavy message of loss.

Recommendation:  This is one of the best albums we have reviewed in 2017, and it has the goods to become an instant classic.  We strongly urge you to Get it before it’s gone.


Get it or forget it – Scottie Miller, StoryWrens, Libbie Schrader, Niteshifters

Hope you all survived the eclipse yesterday.  That was pretty majestic, wasn’t it?  It’s time to get back to sharing reviews of the latest from indie music land.  Our list today is quite eclectic, so grab a cup of coffee and let’s get going.

Artist Name:  Scottie Miller

Album Name:  Stay Above Water

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Blues/Rock/Funk

Track Listing:  1.  Burned all my Bridges; 2.  Keep This Good Thing Going; 3.  Stay Above Water; 4.  Falter; 5.  Same Page; 6.  It Better Groove; 7.  Guardian Angel; 8.  Circles; 9.  It’s What You Do; 10.  Rippin’ & Runnin’; 11.  Come Along; 12.  Goodbye

Publicist:  Frank Roszak Promotions

Review:  With his raspy voice and his tradition, down home blues licks, this album is perfect for fans of the dirty blues.  Even a casual listen to his latest album allows the listener to understand why he is a recent inductee into the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame.  His songs are well crafted, with perfectly matched horns, piano, organ and guitar licks laying the foundation for his thoughtful lyrics.  This is the album listeners who love the storytelling of a great singer-songwriter, combined with the awesome licks of a true blues genius.  Although there is truly no weak song on the album, we especially like “Keep This Good Thing Going,” the title track, “Same Page,” “It Better Groove,” “Circles,” and “Rippin’ & Runnin’.”

Recommendation:  Stay Above Water is a must-have for all serious blues lovers.  We highly recommend you Get it.

Artist Name:  StoryWrens

Album Name:  The Sailor and the Mermaid

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Folk

Track Listing:  1.  The Sailor and the Mermaid; 2.  Saucy Sailor; 3.  John Riley; 4.  Bedlam Boys; 5.  Maid on the Shore; 6.  Three Lads from Rosendaal; 7.  Love’s Emblems; 8.  Yonder Comes a Courteous Knight; 9.  Though Philomela Lost her Love; 10.  Sir Eglamore; 11.  Health to the Company; 12.  The Streets of Derry

Publicist:  None

Review:  StoryWrens is the successor to Wren of Iniquity. the award-winning (2012 LA Music Critic Award for Best Folk Album) folk group created by long-time Renaissance Faire musicians Mark and Shawna Sellin, and currently also featuring Vickie Bottelson and Sam Danielson.  Lead vocals are shared by Bottelson and M. Sellin, with amazing harmonies provided by the others, as well as several special guests, including former member Laura Gregory.  The melodies are lush and soothing, perfect for chilling with a large glass of ale or mead, and paint such vivid pictures that the listener can almost imagine being there.  Once again, the Wrens have crafted an impressive album that brings home the Renaissance era.  Every song on the album is beautiful, deserving of unlimited repeat listens, especially “Health to the Company.”  If you are lucky enough to live in Southern California, it would behoove you to catch their performances at the Southern California Renaissance Faire in Irwindale, the Nottingham Festival in Simi Valley, and wherever else you may find them.

Recommendation:  A definite necessity for your musical library.  Get it and enjoy life.

Artist Name:  Libbie Schrader

Album Name:  Red Thread

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Shudder and Split; 2.  Nobody can see the Seams; 3.  Fascination; 4.  The Softest Place; 5.  The Power and the Love; 6.  If you Want the Lovin’; 7.  Anthem

Publicist:  None

Review:  Singer-songwriter turned Biblical scholar Libbie Schrader is back with another outstanding effort.  This incredible seven-song EP once again shows why Schrader is among the most sought after singer-songwriters in the indie music community.  Her piano based compositions soar while her well-crafted lyrics give the listener much to think about as they enjoy the total package.  Schrader’s voice is the perfect vehicle to convey these songs, as it soars and lifts the spirits of everyone who listens.  Enjoy some of the finest songs ever written as you bask in the greatness that is Schrader.  We especially like “The Power and the Love,” and think it would do well on the radio.  We wish her well in her pursuit of her Ph.D.  We will still be here waiting for her return.  At least we have Red Thread to keep us company.

Recommendation:  This one is a definite no-brainer.  You simply MUST Get this EP now!

Artist Name:  Niteshifters

Album Name:  Huge Disco

Label:  Delimusic

Genre:  Disco

Track Listing:  1.  Any way you Want It; 2.  Move Those Dancing Feet; 3.  Show me What You’ve Got; 4.  Boogie Storm; 5.  Any way you Want it (instrumental); 6.  Show me What You’ve Got (instrumental); 7.  Say Yes; 8.  You are my Sky; 9.  Give me Five; 10.  She’s the Girl; 11.  Say Yes (instrumental); 12.  You are my Sky (instrumental); 13.  Huge Disco LP Sampler

Publicist:  Neon Tetra

Review:   Just when you thought disco was dead, the Niteshifters International Disco Consortium, with voices from Rio, Stockholm and London and players from France, Italy, Austria and the UK, resurrects it with a sound like the marriage of Tavares and Tower of Power.  Not only have they brought back the disco sound, they have reinvented it with a modern flair for today’s party crowd.  Most impressive is the voice of young 19-year old singer and rising star Khadija Jajue.  She makes disco music that isn’t just fun to dance to, but fun to listen to as well. Our favorite tunes are “Show me What You’ve Got,” “Boogie Storm,” “Say Yes,” “You are my Sky,” and “She’s the Girl.”

Recommendation:  For all you closet disco lovers, come out and Get this one.  It will make your weekend (and every other night) better.


Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 31

Happy Eclipse Day!  We hope you have a safe viewing and enjoy this historical day across the country.  We have spent the past three days enjoying music across Montana, with the Redhead Express at the Music Ranch Montana in Livingston, and the Flathead Lake Blues Festival in Polson.  Watch for the reviews coming shortly.


We are getting down to the end of Festival season.  Here in Missoula, we close out with the 12th Annual River City Roots Festival this weekend, August 25-26.  This year’s show will feature local artists The Whizpops and Rotgun Whines, as well as national acts Taj Weekes & Adowa, Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband, John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band, Malcolm Holcombe, The Ghost of Paul Revere, The Band of Heathens and Anders Osborne.  The Festival kicks off at noon both days with family friendly music before moving to the adult fare at 2:30 p.m. each day.  The event is free and sponsored by the Missoula Downtown Association as a welcome back to the students of the University of Montana.  Go Griz!


The Khourys, composed of sisters Guila and Jahnna, recently returned from Los Angeles and are set to release their debut EP, Good Stuff, with a sold-out concert at their Massachusetts hometown venue, Narrows Center for the Arts.  We can hardly wait to review this EP.


It’s been another busy week in indie music.  Among the singles recently released are these promising tunes:

For more info, check her out here.

For more info, check them out here.

For more info, check them out here.


Lynn is an amazing young artist.  Her latest music video was remixed by Yoad Nevo, who has made a name working with mainstream artists like Sia and Moby.  We think you’ll love this video as we say goodbye to summer.  Pop it on whenever you really need a good dose of summer’s warmth.

Rosi Golan has been making waves on the indie music scene lately with the release of her EP, Collecting Bullets, which we recently reviewed.  Check out the BalconyTV video of her live performance in Nashville for her single, “Underneath.”  Can’t wait to check her out live.

Jacqui, an alum of The Voice, recently released her music video for “Am I the Only One.”  She has returned to her indie roots, and we are so proud of her.  We simply love this song, and the video is hot.  Let us know what you think.

Get it or forget it – The Yawpers, Upright Man, Melville

Had a blast out in Livingston, Montana yesterday when Redhead Express performed at the Music Ranch Montana.  What a great show.  Headed up to Polson, Montana today for the Flathead Lake Blues Festival.   Before we go, here are three more reviews for your Friday, all of which are being released today.

Artist Name:  The Yawpers

Album Name:  Boy in a  Well

Label:  Bloodshot Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Armistice Day; 2.  A Decision is Made; 3.  A Visitor is Welcomed; 4.  Room with a View; 5.  Mon Dieu; 6.  The Awe and the Anguish; 7.  Mon Nom; 8.  Face to Face to Face; 9.  No Going Back; 10.  God’s Mercy; 11.  Linen for the Orphan; 12.  Reunion

Publicist:  Bloodshot Records

Review:  Boy in a Well is a concept album set in the period following the end of World War I which tells the story of a woman who decides to abandon her child.  Besides the music, there is also a comic book that visually tells the story.  The Yawpers have an interesting genre-resistant vibe that sounds like Bob Dylan meets The Beatles, with elements of rock, Americana and folk.  Most of the songs are low-key, balladesque, with the exception of “A Decision is Made,” which contains all the rocky angst you would expect from that portion of the story.  Due to the nature of the album, it needs to be experienced from start to finish, as each song is an integral part to the story.   “Mon Dieu” and “Mon Nom,” though, have been released as singles, and are among the best tracks.

Recommendation:  If you like concept albums, this is a good one to check out.  It’s multi-media approach should play well to Millenials and Gen-X fans.

Photo by Sloane Morrison

Artist Name:  Upright Man

Album Name:  Upright Man

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Elysia; 2.  Agoragnostic; 3.  Say What you Mean; 4.  Upright Man; 5.  Ecstasy; 6.  Three Easy Pieces; 7.  Alaska; 8.  Designer Mind; 9.  Animals; 10.  Checked Out

Publicist:  Publicity Please

Review:  The band lists their influences as Pink Floyd, Radiohead, The Beatles, Yes and Genesis, and that rock style comes through on this album.  The band’s vocals are crisp, clear and smooth, and the lyrical content will give the listener much to consider.  The underlying musicianship is rich, with wonderful layers of instrumentation and vocal harmonies.  This is a good album to put on for your Friday chill session.  Best tracks include “Agoragnostic,” “Say What You Mean,” the title track, “Three Easy Pieces,” and “Checked Out.”

Recommendation:  A worthy effort, and we recommend you Get it.

Artist Name:  Melville

Album Name:  The New Zero

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alternative/Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Televised; 2.  Heart; 3.  Amnesia; 4.  Claws Out; 5.  Escape Plan; 6.  WDYK; 7.  Pickup Artist; 8.  War; 9.  Pics Lies; 10.  Headache; 11.  Einleitung; 12.  Forked Tongue

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  This album kicks off with a steady, upbeat rock beat and never lets up.  We love the vibe from the screaming guitars and strong, passionate vocals, which make this release a definite keeper.  Previous reviewers have likened their sound to groups like Snow Patrol, Tom Petty, Ryan Adams and REM, and we tend to agree.  These guys need to be on radio NOW, and so much of the album is radio friendly.  In addition, these tracks would do well when placed in television and film.  Best tracks include “Heart,” “Amnesia,” “Claws Out,” “WDYK,” “Pickup Artist,” and “War,” although there really aren’t any weak songs on the entire album.

Recommendation:  This is today’s no-brainer.  You simply must Get it and add it to your collection.