All posts by lamusiccritic@gmail.com

Monday mashup 2017: Vol 12

Welcome to the final week of March.  Had so much fun reviewing the live show of Chris Shiflett and Brian Whelan last night in Missoula.  Watch for the review coming soon.

Been another busy week in the world of indie music.  We posted our review of the new single from BritRoyal earlier this morning.  Definitely check out this group if you love songs with great lyrics and meaning, and music that comes from the heart.  Thanks Jen Lyneis of Ue3 Promotions for turning us on to this amazing band.

FUEL ON FIRE RELEASES NEW VIDEO

Fuel on Fire, the “other” great redheaded sibling band, has released a new single and music video for the song “Never Said Goodbye.”  Besides the amazing song itself, the video features an appearance by Meghan Walker from Redhead Express.  Check it out and let us know what you think.  Speaking of Redhead Express, major announcement coming soon.

ONEFiFTEEN RELEASES FIRST ORIGINAL SONG

Hot new band OneFifteen has released their first original song, “Break the Wheel,” on Soundcloud.  It is amazing, featuring the smoking hot vocals of Chelsee Foster, which remind us of Evanescence’s Amy Lee.  Let us know what you think about it.

FOOFIGHTER GUITARIST CHRIS SHIFLETT SET TO RELEASE NEW SOLO PROJECT

Chris Shiflett, guitarist for the legendary FooFighters, is currently on tour with Dwight Yoakum’s former guitarist, Brian Whelan, in support of Shiflett’s new album West Coast Town, which is set for release on April 14 on Side One Dummy Records.  Check out the official video for the title cut, and watch for our review of both his CD and live show, coming soon.

NEW NAME, SAME GREAT MUSIC

San Diego based indie band and multiple LA Music Critic Award winner Daddy Issues has changed its name to Kick the Princess.  The band has also parted ways with bassist Jules Whelpton.  Watch for additional news on this amazing band, led by Angela Alvarez.  We expect more great things from them.

See ya soon.  Have a great week.

Britroyal encourages us to ‘Change’ with their latest single

Just when you thought the British Invasion was over, along comes an indie group on a mission.  Composed of twin brothers Kais and Mazin Oliver, BritRoyal is taking the US and the world by storm.

They first came to light when they recorded their first EP with renowned Grammy-winning producer Mikal Blue (Colbie Cailat, Jason Reeves, FiveforFighting, Jason Mraz, OneRepublic, Carrie Underwood) and J.R Richards (Dishwalla), both of who shared in the songwriting.  That EP opened the doors for them to tour across the Continent and exposed their music to the masses.

In late 2015, they partnered with PledgeMusic to raise funds for their first full length album, London, which was released in February 2016.  The album has spawned several singles, including “Tears,” which was just featured on BBC, as well as “Count on Me” and “Love’s Burning Out,” which have been featured in Macy’s stores across the US.

“Change (Dream Mix)” is the latest offering from the album to be released as a single, and it is one of the most powerful songs we have had the privilege of reviewing.

The chorus tells us “It’s never too late to change your life,” while the song tells us in terms easily relatable, that we have the power to rise above our otherwise routine life and be something better.  The song is reminiscent of those provided by other great British bands like Spandau Ballet’s “True” and Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”  The simple piano accompaniment is the perfect backdrop, allowing the listener to focus on the words, which easily reach deep within and take root in the heart of the receiver.

The song is instantly memorable and the catchy chorus will run in your mind and become a mantra for social awareness and change.  BritRoyal practices what they preach, and are an active participant in the fight against cancer through the Cancer Research Campaign.

To find out more about this amazing group, check out their website, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify channels.  You can purchase London on iTunes.

Monday Mashup 2017: Vol 11

Sorry about the past two weeks, but we have been hit with computer problems on our desktop, losing the CPU fan and, of course, the part is out of stock everywhere.  We have been forced to go back to our trusty lap top computer for the foreseeable future.

Consequently, we are offering a rare Wednesday edition of our Monday Mashup because we just couldn’t wait until next Monday to share indie news and these amazing videos with you.

REDHEAD EXPRESS SIGN LABEL DEAL

We are proud to announce that one of our favorite indie bands,  Redhead Express, have signed a record deal with a major indie label.  The band recently shone during their time at CRS in Nashville, and as a result, not only will they be signed to the label, but will also be the stars of a reality show based on the label.  We send our love and best wishes to these four amazing sisters, and wish them well in the future.  We will continue to update you here about their successes.

THE WILD NOW RELEASE VIDEO AND PERFORM AT SXSW

Noisy Ghost PR client The Wild Now just finished performing at SXSW and released a music video for their song “Run for Your Life,” ahead of the release of their new EP Afterglow, which is set for May 19.  We will be reviewing their new EP shortly, but in the meantime, enjoy this amazing video.

CHELSEA WILLIAMS RELEASES NEW ACOUSTIC VIDEO

Blue Élan Records artist Chelsea Williams has released another acoustic music video in support of her EP Little Halo – Demo Sessions.  Check out her incredible vocals and enjoy the simplicity of her song “Boomerang.”

my education releases dreamy video for ‘Class A’

Need some soothing background music?  Check out the new video by my education for their single “Class A” off their recently released album Schiphol.  This eight minute video should provide the perfect background for reflection, meditation or just chilling.

Have a wonderful first week of Spring and we’ll be back soon with more indie news, reviews and videos.  Please let us know what you think of this series and all of the rest of the content on Indie Voice Blog.  We love hearing from you.

Laughter flows abundantly ‘Over the River & Through the Woods’

Plays do not seem to have the same drawing power for MCT as musicals, but if the crowd present on opening night last Friday are any indication, the current production of Over the River & Through the Woods should change that perception.

The production was perfectly directed by Teresa Waldorf, University of Montana adjunct instructor and Educational Outreach Coordinator for Montana Rep., with assistance from Scenic Designer Spencer Perry, Properties Designer Lesley Washburn, Costume Designer Kara Chandler, Sound Designer Gregory Boris and Hair & Make-up Designer Maeve Ball.  The set was breathtakingly beautiful, and one of the most elaborate this reviewer has ever seen at MCT.  Megan Wittshire provided the final piece of the production puzzle with a truly amazing job of stage management.

With a core cast of just five actors plus one amazing supporting member, the ensemble cast turned in a fine performance that kept the audience in stitches.  At times we laughed so hard we were on the verge of crying.  Throughout the memorable show, this cast taught us the value of having family close at hand, and left the audience not only entertained but educated on this fact.

While the story revolves around grandson Nick, played admirably by Ian Tooley, it was a true ensemble effort, with Mike Verdon (Frank), Anne-Marie Williams (Aida), Paul Ronaldo (Nunzio) and Salina Chatlain (Emma) each turning award-winning performances as Nick’s grandparents.  Brit Garner was perfectly cast in the supporting role of Caitlin,  niece of Emma’s Canasta partner brought in to help the grandparents keep Nick close to home.

This is definitely a play that needs to be seen, if not just for the humor provided by the amazing playwright Joe DiPietro.  You will leave the theater entertained and energized, and we highly recommend you bring your friends and family to this outstanding show.

Tickets are still available at the MCT Box Office or online at MCTinc.org.  Remaining performances are scheduled for 2 pm. on March 12, 18 and 19, 6:30 p.m. on March 12 and 19, and 7:30 p.m. on March 15, 16, 17 and 18.

Monday Mash-up 2017: Vol 10

We finally made it to March, and the first signs of spring are happening here in Montana.  We had our first day of temperatures over 50, followed the next day by a freak snow storm that dropped 1-6 inches.  Can’t wait for spring to finally arrive.

Plans are still continuing for our first live LA Music Critic Awards show, tentatively scheduled for June 20 on the roof of the W Hotel in Hollywood.  Artists currently scheduled to appear include Allison Iraheta & Halo Circus, The Spider Accomplice, Papermoon Gypsys, Cindy Alexander, Bess Beckman and Janey Street.  We’ll keep you informed as the event firms up.

MILCK SCHEDULES DAY TO SPEAK OUT

Indie artist Milck continues her viral stance on speaking out and has scheduled an event.  Quoting from her announcement:

I’m so excited to announce my plans for an #ICANTKEEPQUIET DAY, on April 8th, the Saturday after Maya Angelou’s birthday. This is an in person or virtual experience. You can flashmob either with me or in your own town, or share your story/art online. Help all of us find your welcomed content by adding “#icantkeepquiet” to whatever you share. Your voice matters.

OF VERONA COVERS PINK FLOYD

Of Verona, the dynamic indie musical duo of Mandi Perkins and Dillion Pace Rodriguez, have released a cover of the seminal Pink Floyd song, “Wish You Were Here.”  Check out their version of this classic  hit.

BILLY MOON RELEASES VIDEO FOR “I WANNA KNOW”

Indie artist Billy Moon recently contacted IVB and let us know about his new video for his song, “I Wanna Know.”  We think it’s kinda cool – what do you think?

MASCULINE FEMINITY IS THE ISSUE PORTRAYED IN THE NEW MUSIC VIDEO BY CAMPBELL L SANGSTER

Another recent email informed us of this intriguing artist, Campbell L Sangster.  We are very curious to hear what you think of this video and song, which was released today.

Keep those emails coming.  We will introduce as many of you new indie artists as we can.  Until next week, keep supporting indie music.

Discover the magic that is Susan Calloway

Gamers will probably know this, but for the rest of us the discovery of the magical qualities of the voice of Susan Calloway will come as a sweet surprise.  After making a name for herself as a featured vocalist in the Final Fantasy XIV sci-fi and fantasy media franchise, Calloway is now gearing up to share a deeper part of her artistry with her thousands of fans worldwide.  She is returning to her roots as a singer-songwriter and is set to release her first single, “Time for This,” on March 24, courtesy of Nashville distributor Tone Tree Music.

Calloway, who hails from Detroit, wrote this amazing song, which was produced by her friend, the legendary producer  Gerard Smerek, whose resume of pop/R&B icons includes Aretha Franklin, R. Kelly, Kid Rock, Natalie Merchant, Bob Seger and Diana Ross. 

Smerek also produced Calloway’s solo debut EP, Chasin’ The Sun.  The title track was released as a single, reaching the Top 40 on the national Radio & Records charts.  It can still be heard on numerous Top 40 and Hot AC stations, as well as on Pandora radio.  In addition, “Don’t Fall in Love” received a nomination from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA) for Best Pop Song.  Calloway has licensed several of her songs for placement on such television hits shows as Dawson’s Creek, Summerland and One Tree Hill.

Her new single, “Time for This,” is destined to return Calloway to the Top 40 charts.  This song is absolutely beautiful, and a perfect vehicle to develop the intimate relationship Calloway has with both her old fans and the new ones that have come from her participation in the world created by Final Fantasy.

“I want my relationship with the fans to be a journey of inspiring people and building trust, and that begins with honesty, integrity and allowing myself to be vulnerable in the songs I write and perform,” Calloway says.  “My song ‘Time for This’ gives me the opportunity to let my guard down, make a meaningful emotional connection and let people know how I really feel about things.  The scariest risks we take in life seem to be the ones that involve our hearts.”

Calloway originally came to the attention of Grammy winning conductor Arnie Roth and Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, who is known in gaming circles as the “Beethoven of video games music.”   Uematsu requested that Susan sing his new theme song, “Answers,” for Final Fantasy XIV.  The game was released in 2013, and the overwhelming response by fans to Calloway’s first track led to other recording and performing opportunities within the world of Final Fantasy.

 “You can’t always control who you love or who loves you,” she adds.  “This makes moving on and letting go harder than we would like.  There are moments where it hardly seems worth the effort to put yourself out there when you know the potential will always be there for someone to leave.  I wrote ‘Time for This’ about a single moment, that moment when you feel like you wasted so much effort on a relationship, only to lose in the end.  Pain and heartbreak can take down the strongest among us if we let it.  We go back and forth between moving on and looking back . . . until we humbly realize that even when you lose something you wanted, time keeps moving whether we like it or not.  But, for every dark moment time forces us to walk through, it also heals us with the future it wants to usher in, if we let it and if we keep moving forward with faith.”

For more information about Calloway, check out her Facebook and website pages, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to her channel on SoundCloud and YouTube.

Get it or forget it: Derek Davis, Of Verona, Findlay

Welcome back to our review series, Get it or Forget it.  We’ve gotten quite a few new submissions since 2016 closed out, and we have been listening to them in preparation for the return of this series.  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and learn about these three great artists and their latest offerings.

Artist NameDerek Davis

Album Name Revolutionary Soul

Label:  Apocalypse Records

Genre:  Classic Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Revolutionary Soul; 2.  Rapture; 3.  Valerie; 4.  Think About It; 5.  Love and Abuse; 6.  Nobody Knows you When You’re Down & Out; 7.  Vicious Heart; 8.  Woman’s Gotta Have It; 9.  King of Fools; 10.  Picture of Love; 11.  Stop!  Wait a Minute; 12.  All the Roads 

Publicist:  Doug Deutsch Publicity Services

Review:  If Janis Joplin and James Brown had a child who grew up playing the music of Grand Funk Railroad, the result would be a fitting description of the musical style of Derek Davis.  Formerly the lead vocalist of Babylon A.D. , Davis combines the best elements of Joplin, Brown, Jim Morrison and GFR to create his own musical genre, which hits you right out of the box on the title track.  He especially shows off his abilities on covers of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” Jimmy Cox’s “Nobody Knows you When You’re Down & Out,” and Bobby Womack’s “Woman’s Gotta Have It, all of which he makes his own with his dynamic interpretations.  Of the rest of the self-penned songs, “Rapture,” “Think About It,” and “Love and Abuse” continue to showcase his rock side, while “Vicious Heart,” “King of Fools” and “Stop! Wait a Minute” highlight the R&B and soul side of his repertoire.  He wraps it all up with the heartfelt “All the Roads,” which is the perfect icing on this magnificent cake.

Recommendation:  This album releases next Tuesday, but we highly recommend you Get it  by any means possible.  This one will rock your world for years to come!

Artist NameOf Verona

Album NameGlass Beach

Label:  None

Genre:  Alternative Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Kids on the Street; 2.  Can you Hear Me; 3.  Under a Purple Sky; 4.  Glass Beach (interlude); 5.  Fleurs de la Lune; 6.  Bright Precious Things; 7.  Wish you Were Here; 8.  Miracles 

Publicist:  De Novo Music Management

Review:  We have followed the career of Mandi Perkins, lead singer of oV, as the band is affectionately known by is fans, for many years.  Their first album, The White Apple, released in July 2012, and its key single, “Dark in my Imagination,” has been streamed more than one million times, while other songs have received placements on such television shows as Grimm, Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Teen Wolf, and Stalker.  Their new album takes off from there, and should propel this dynamic duo even further into the musical stratosphere.   The first two tracks, “Kids on the Street,” and “Can you Hear Me” are already receiving massive attention while being constantly streamed on such sites as Spotify and SoundCloud.  There are no bad songs on this second masterpiece,  and their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish you Were Here” is especially poignant, not only capturing the true meaning of the song, but giving it that special oV treatment.

Recommendation:  If you love music that comes from the heart, and is true to itself, then we highly recommend you rush out and Get It.  This album, which was released on February 24,  is perfect for repeated listens and can form the soundtrack for your daily living.  Be one of the first to grab it and share it with your friends.

Artist Name: Findlay

Album Name:  Forgotten Pleasures

Label:  The End Records/Mint Records-BMG

Genre:  Electronica/Garage Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Electric Bones; 2.  Waste my Time; 3.  Stuck in Your Shadow; 4.  Greasy Love; 5.  Monomania; 6.  Junk Food; 7.  Off and On; 8.  Wild & Unwise; 9.  Forgotten Pleasures; 10.  Stoned and Alone; 11.  We are Never the Last; 12.  St. Elmo’s Fire; 13.  Sunday Morning in the Afternoon 

Publicist:  The End Records PR

Review:  Manchester, England born Findlay is an artist that has been around the industry and back again.  Signed to a major label at the tender age of 17, she found the arrangement stifled her creativeness.  Consequently, she created her own label, Mint Records, which is distributed by BMG in the UK and Europe and by The End Records in the United States.  She has had success in the European music festival scene, while writing and putting together the 13 songs on her debut indie album.  She’s inspired by such diverse creative muses as David Lynch and Michael Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Working with such great producers as her accompanist Jules Apollinaire, as well as Jake Gosling, Samy Osta and Flood, she has assembled an album that takes you on a musical journey across time and space.  The best tracks include “Electric Bones,” “Waste my Time,” “Monomania,” “Stoned and Alone,” “Sunday in the Afternoon,” and “St. Elmo’s Fire,” on which she collaborated with Carl Barat of the Libertines.  In addition, her song “Off & On” was used by BMW on a recent international campaign.

Recommendation:  If your musical tastes include artists like Bjork, Beck, Tame Impala and The Velvet Underground, then this is definitely the album for you.  It will be released on March 3, and we recommend you go out and Get it.

 

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award winners – Allison Iraheta

Over the past few years, we have had the chance to see quite a few of our indie music friends take the national stage on American Idol and The Voice, including Brooke White, Tony Lucca, Katrina Parker, and Justin Hopkins, to name a few.  However, this is the first time that we have become friends with an artist who has gone indie after appearing on one of those shows.  Thanks to Patrick O’Heffernan for introducing us.

We had a delightful time interviewing Allison Iraheta, who appeared on season 8 of American Idol and was originally signed to Jive Records.  Many of her greatest achievements, though, have been accomplished after she became an indie artist.  Iraheta was the winner of the Best Pop/Rock Female Artist for the first half of 2016, primarily on the strength of her band’s single, “Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena).”  Iraheta and Halo Circus also finished second in the Fan Favorite category.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

AI:  Since I was six years old when I got my first gig at an opening for a department store.  I sang a ranchera song.  I was also a big fan of Selena, but unlike her, I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, and primarily spoke Spanish, being the child of Salvadorian parents.  We were surrounded by a true cultural mix of music.  I loved the emotion behind rancheras music, which in turn became the inspiration for our current music.  I recently turned 24.

IVB:   Who are your influences?

AI:  My first big influence was Linda Ronstadt, especially her album “Canciones de mi Padre.”  My dad also turned me on to Paul Williams.  Other artists that inspired me included Amy Winehouse, Roy Orbison, Brenda Lee, PJ Harvey, and Radiohead  This definitely led to our music being very diverse.  We didn’t have to be stuck with one sound but were able to show a myriad of colors.

IVB:   What made you decide to DIY?

AI:  I didn’t really have much of a choice.  As you know, I was signed to Jive Records just as the old music business began to fall apart.  There were lots of job upheavals and a change in the rules, affecting the whole industry.  I was actually dropped by Jive in the middle of my tour and found out about it via Twitter.  I was only 18, but decided to finish out the tour.  It was in shock, having gone from nothing to successful and then back again.  Once I got back from tour, I didn’t know where I was musically, and felt lost, not sure what to do anymore.  I did a few demos to make money and was very close to giving up on the industry.  I felt betrayed and injured and was not yet aware of the DIY side of the industry.  However, I don’t hold any resentments and am still friends with some of those same industry people.

I met Matthew (Hager) when I was doing a demo for a song he was pitching to Carrie Underwood.  We started writing together and I returned to my roots to find inspiration.  Everything we were doing sounded like it needed to be done by a band, which led to the formation of Halo Circus in 2013.  The support we have received is what has propelled us to where we are now, and new opportunities are happening all the time.  Everyone in the band is a veteran musician.  Matthew was a No. 1 Billboard multi-platinum producer who crossed multiple genres working with the likes of Duran Duran, Scott Weiland, Mindi Abair, and Mandy Moore.  Brian Stead was and is a relentless guitar aficionado who evokes energy and charisma.  In addition to being an accomplished Cantonese and orchestral drummer, Veronica Bellino worked with Jeff Beck and DMC of Run DMC before leaving Halo Circus.  She was replaced by Stead’s friend, Matteo Eyia.  

Magic happens in this band.  It happened when we were writing, when we were recording, and when we were failing.  The only thing that mattered was keeping it honest and getting it right, whatever that meant. We may be inconvenient, but we continue to attract believers.

IVB:  Do you want to go back to being a mainstream artist?

AI:  There is a balance to moving on from the previous level of exposure to the creative freedom we have now.  We believe we can return to that level, but on our own terms.  We are doing it through the back channel and believe that is a better way for us to return.  We love what is happening in the indie scene.

Last February, we shocked the music industry when we announced in Billboard Magazine that we would be embarking on the first fully crowd-sourced American tour ever to be attempted on such a large scale.  With the help of our fans and Road Nation, the program that allowed this format, we reached full funding just nine weeks later, and confirmed a tour of 30 cities.

IVB:  What are your future plans? 

AI:  We are definitely going back on tour in the not too distant future.  We would love to revisit some of the places where we played on our last tour.  We have some new stuff on the horizon and are so proud of those who have supported us from the beginning.  There will be surprises and thank you’s and fun stuff for everyone.

IVB:   Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

AI.  During the tour we were scheduled to play a show in Orlando during Hurricane Matthew.  We played the show despite the weather.  When we got to the venue under very gray clouds, there were about 30 of our fans waiting for us with signs proclaiming “End of the World” show.  We lost our AirBnB reservation for the night due to the storm, and had no place to stay after the show.  Consequently, we started heading out of Orlando, but couldn’t find anyplace open that had gas or water.  We did finally find some gas, and just kept driving until we found a hotel where we could stay.  It was a scary time and we saw cars driving on the wrong side of the road, trying to get away from the storm.

IVB:  What is the significance of the rabbit?

AI:  It represented humans for me during the writing of our first album Bunny.  I seemed to notice them everywhere.  The totem for bunny meant prey, with their fluffy tails for hawks to see, but they are also very cute, adorable and fast.  I came to the conclusion that the prettier you are, the more different you are, the more likely you are to become prey.

IVB:  What social media do you use?

AI:  I have a Facebook page with a link to the band’s website.  I also use Twitter and Instagram, and of course we have a channel on YouTube, all of which our fans can subscribe to or follow.

Monday mashup 2017: Vol 9

Welcome to another week of spotlighting the indie arts.  We have spent the past week with the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, as well as combing through a constant stream of emails from indie artists, who have been busy creating new material for the world.  Grab a cup of coffee and let’s look at some of the happenings over the past seven days.

Michaela May releases new single

Based in London and Toronto, Michaela May is a dynamic singer songwriter whose lyrics are personal and heartfelt, while her music is electrifying and upbeat.  We love her new song, You and I, and think you will love it too.  Check it out on Song Cloud and Spotify and grab your copy today.

Milck continues to speak out

Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Milck continues her viral quest to speak out against injustice with a recent appearance in Toronto, where she and a choir of 1300 singers recorded this video on behalf of Choir!Choir!Choir!  It is a powerful protest statement and should be spread near and far.  #ICANTKEEPQUIET

Chelsea Williams releases latest video from Little Halo – Demo Sessions

Blue Élan Records artist Chelsea Williams continues to tease us with acoustic demos of songs from her forthcoming album, Little Halo Demo Sessions.  Check out this acoustic demo session of her tune “Lovesick Blues,” which was released last Friday.

Adrian Underhill releases new video for ‘Not Good Enough’

After viewing this intriguing video, I am looking forward to see what else Adrian Underhill has planned for his debut album, which will be released later this year on Indica Records.  Please let us know what you think about his video.

Thanks for checking us out and for supporting indie music.  Check back later for an exclusive interview with LA Music Critic Award winner Allison Iraheta, as well as the return of our Get it or Forget it review series.  Until then, keep it indie!

 

 

UM’s production of ‘Thinner Than Water’ blasts preconceived notions of family dynamics

The latest black box production of the University of Montana’s School of Theatre & Dance and College of Visual and Performing Arts is Melissa Ross’ stirring drama Thinner Than Water, currently being staged in the Masquer Theatre at UM’s PAR/TV building.

We attended the opening night sold out production, and judging from the audience’s reactions, the performance was a smashing success.

One of the beauties of black box theatre is that there is no pre-constructed set on stage, which alleviates the audience building up any pre-conceived notions about the performance.  It was the perfect showcase for this production about family dynamics, since the material presented was not in keeping with the popular notion that “blood is thicker than water.”

Skillfully directed by John Kenneth DeBoer, with technical assistance from Scenic Designer Mike Monsos, Costume Designer Lynn Martyn, Lighting Designer Timothy McHenry and Audio Designer Caitlin Larson, the production was perfected staged managed by Sadie Framness.

Annika Hanson was perfectly cast as elder sister Renee, with much support from Matt McDaniel as Gary and Danielle N. Sather as Cassie, her siblings, and Megan Merhar as Gwen, who portrayed their father’s girlfriend.  Further support was provided by the amazing ensemble cast of Anna Evans as Angela, Jake Bender as Henry, Joshua Pitt as Benjy and Aaron Williams as Mark.

This was a true ensemble production, as each cast member contributed equally to the story line.  Even so, Hanson and Merhar were so relatable to the audience at large through their larger than life portrayals, while Pitt’s Benjy provided some much needed laughs and surprises.

This is a production that will definitely leave the audience questioning some of their long-held beliefs about family, while providing a story line that just about everyone can relate to.  We highly recommend this production, which is part of one of the best seasons of shows we have ever seen at the University.

Thinner Than Water can be see today and next Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., as well as 7:30 p.m. performances on March 1, 2 and 3.  Tickets are available at the UMArts Box Office or online at umt.edu/theatredance.