Category Archives: Durango Songwriters Expo

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 42

What a wonderful Veterans Day weekend!  All of our favorite sports teams – Griz, Deacons and Wizards – won their games and the Dolphins play tonight on Monday Night Football.  The only thing that can top that is great indie music, and we have that in spades!

NINA STOREY LAUNCHES ASTRAL QUEEN

One of our favorite indie musicians, Nina Storey, recently joined with Mark McGee and launched their new techno-pop band Astral Queen.  The first single, “Take  it all the Way,” is a smash and the obvious next step in the evolution of her music.  Check it out below, and don’t forget to subscribe to her amazing blog Strangely Optimistic, as well.

THE CREAM CONTINUES TO RISE WITH MILCK’s REMAKE OF HER VIRAL HIT, “QUIET” 

In light of the recent news about sexual assault in the entertainment industry, MILCK has remade her video for  “Quiet.”  We think it is one of the most powerful videos we have ever seen, both visually and sonically.  We especially love the inclusion of the orchestra, as well as the multiple story lines.  Thank you Atlantic Records for allowing your artist to speak her mind and share this amazing song, which should help in bringing closure to these victims.

DAVID GARFIELD TEAMS WITH SMOKEY ROBINSON FOR NEW SINGLE

The new single by David Garfield, “I Lied,” ft. J. Paris, was co-written by the one and only Smokey Robinson.  The vocals of J. Paris soar on wings of angels, perfectly highlighting the instrumental soundtrack provided by Garfield.  The country vibe fits perfectly with the strings and vocals to highlight this “instant classic.”  We guarantee this one will make your day.

NEW SINGLES

First up today is “Common Sense,” the latest from Down and Outlaws, a San Francisco-based rock and roll quartet.  This one is sure to get your new week off to a rocking start.

Our second new single this week is from Australian brother duo Sellars.  “Linear Time” is a classic rock tune that will surely stand the test of time.  Welcome to the indie rock world, Sellars.  We look forward to hearing much more from them in the future.

Last but not least, here is “The Weight” (ft. Sickflip), from FRASE, an electronic artist from Montreal.   Let us know what you think.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

“Take Your Time” by Lender is an amazing dance video that has been making the film festival circuit, garnering critical and fan praise and support.  We think it is an artistic masterpiece.  Let us know what you think.

Next up is “Give Erin a Compliment (so Kind)” ft, April Olsen, the latest single from Jaye Bartell.  It is an interesting Americana song that should stimulate your senses as you begin a new week.

Our last new video this week is a lyric video from Durango Songwriter Expo alum Rachel Price.  Check out “Love is War” and have a great week.

 

Get it or forget it – Chris Daniels and the Kings, Hodera, Billy Burnette, Cairo Knife Fight

Tuesday was Election Day here in Montana for a plethora of local officials, including our mayor, judges and city council.  Seems like a perfect day to review some new indie music, and vote on our favorites.  We’ve got four albums for you today, including an artist we recently met at the Durango Songwriters Expo in Denver last month.  Enjoy these new tunes and let us know what you think.

Artist NameChris Daniels and The Kings (with Freddi Gowdy)

Album NameBlues with Horns, Volume 1

Label:  Moon Voyage Records

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Sweet Memphis; 2.  Fried Food/Hard Liquor; 3.  Get up off the Funk; 4.  Soothe me Baby; 5.  Wouldn’t Treat a Dog (the way you Treated Me); 6.  Baby’s in Love with the Radio; 7.  Can’t Even do Wrong Right; 8.  You can Stay but That Noise Must Go; 9.  Them Changes; 10.  Rain Check

Publicist:  HyPR Media

Review:  I recently served with Chris Daniels on the DIY panel at the Durango Songwriters Expo last month, where we discussed his latest project.  After listening to the first track, “Sweet Memphis,” I was amazed that he has previously released 14 albums but had never crossed my radar, because this man and his music personifies old time blues, complete with an amazing horn section that rivals the Tower of Power horns.  This album has everything you like in the blues – great sax and horns, a powerful vocal with amazing harmonies, great songwriting, and that soulful harmonica rising above it all.  Every musician in this band is a stand-out, and the recent addition of Freddi Gowdy on vocals creates a special vocal harmony that, to quote track four, “is soothing for me.”  This one is perfect for repeated listens, as you will hear different things every time you listen.  Our favorite tracks include “Fried Food/Hard Liquor,” “Get up off the Funk,” “Soothe me Baby,” “You can Stay but that Noise Must Go,” and “Them Changes.”

Recommendation:  Definitely Get this one.  It is one of the best blues albums we have heard in a long time.

Artist NameHodera

Album NameFirst Things First

Label:  Take This to Heart Records

Genre:  Alt-Americana/Roots Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Out of Sync; 2.  Highways; 3.  North Dakota; 4.  Best Intentions; 5.  Four White Walls; 6.  Baltimore; 7.  Just for Today; 8.  The Saddest Sentence; 9.  My Daily Chemicals; 10.  Holding Patterns

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  Hodera has a unique sound that incorporates the best of indie rock and Americana music.  Their music is upbeat, with well written lyrics and music, incredible vocals and instrumentation.  The songs are memorable, with catchy melodies, great hooks and a down home sound that makes you want to listen over and over again.  Considering the subject matter, it is amazing how this band makes their message positive, much like The Mavericks’ “All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down.”  Our favorite tracks include “Out of Sync,” “Best Intentions,” “Baltimore,” and “Just for Today.”

Recommendation:  This is a good one for your Americana collection.   Grab it when you can.

Artist NameBilly Burnette

Album NameCrazy Like Me

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Rockabilly/Alt-Country

Track Listing:  1.  Tear it Up; 2.  (All I Can Do Is) Dream You; 3.  Crazy Like Me; 4.  Oh Well; 5.  When I Remember You; 6.  It’s Late; 7.  Nothing to do (and all Night to do it); 8.  Ghost Town; 9.  Do I Ever Cross Your Mind; 10.  She’s Burning the Honky Tonks Down; 11.  She’s Going to win Your Heart; 12.  River of Love; 13.  All Nighter; 14.  Anywhere you Go

Publicist:  MSO PR

Review:  You may or may not know that Billy Burnette was a long-time fixture for Fleetwood Mac, but his latest CD shows that he has the right stuff to make a name for himself as a solo artist.  The sound is very reminiscent of Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats, crossed with a little Jerry Lee Lewis, bringing us back to the early days of rock and roll.  This one is just plain fun, and provides the perfect backdrop for your next friendly get-together.  Our favorite tracks include “Tear it Up,” the title track, “Oh Well,” “It’s Late,” “Ghost Town,” “She’s Going to Win Your Heart,” and “River of Love.”

Recommendation:  If you love classic and original rock and roll and alt-country music, then you owe it to yourself to Get this album.

Artist NameCairo Knife Fight

Album NameSeven

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alternative Rock

Track Listing:  1.  (1); 2.  A-Nine; 3.  (5); 4.  Six; 5.  (7); 6.  A-Four; 7.  (9); 8.  A-Seven; 9.  (3); 10.  A-Two; 11. (11); 12.  A-Three; 13.  (12); 14.  A-Eight

Publicist:  HyPR Media

Review:  Cairo Knife Fight is a very unique band that incorporates a radical hard rock soundtrack to support its well-crafted and substantial lyrics that discuss social issues and themes.  Interestingly, there is some rhyme and reason to their uninspiring song titles, as the titles in parenthesis are instrumental interludes between the different songs that are designed by the prefix “A-.”  Their music will get your head banging and your feet stomping while the lyrics will make you stop and think about their message.  The final track has been converted to a music video, which we recommend you check out.

Recommendation:  If you love hard rock acts like AC/DC and Rush, then this just might be the perfect album for you.  For the rest of us, it’s still a worthy addition to our musical libraries.

 

Get it or forget it – Canyon City, Monica Chapman, Marc Berger, Alex Mabey

We were so amazed at the level of talent at this year’s Durango Songwriters Expo.  It was our first trip since we moved to Montana, and the talent pool, which has already spawned such acts as Meghan Trainor, Alissa Moreno, Tim Fagan and others just keeps getting better.  Two of our reviews today are artists we saw perform at DSE.  We think all of these reviews will encourage and entice you to continue supporting indie music.

Artist NameCanyon City

Album NameConstellation

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Folk

Track Listing:  1.  Our Way; 2.  Find You; 3.  Midnight Flight; 4.  Like I Did; 5.  Train; 6.  For the Day; 7.  Oh my God; 8.  Satellite; 9.  Run; 10.  Be Scared With Me

Publicist:  Red Boot PR

Review:  Canyon City aka Paul Johnson has a sound smooth as silk, with a dreamy voice that will soothe the listener’s soul and provide the perfect background for a major chill session.  His music goes down like a fine glass of wine, warming your body as his vibe eases your tensions and stresses, creating a truly relaxing feel.  This is music that would be at home on Hot AC and AAA stations, as this music demands radio airplay.  From the first track onwards, Canyon City gives you song after song that will change your mind about indie music.  There are no weak tracks on the album, but we really love “Our Way,” the title track (which is also the first single), “Train,” “For the Day,” and “Satellite.”

Recommendation:  This is a must have for your musical collection.  It will soon become one of your favorites, so Get it now and play it often.

Artist NameMonica Chapman

Album NameSmall World

Label:  Live Records

Genre:  Jazz

Track Listing:  1.  A Shine on Your Shoes; 2.  Goldfinger; 3.  Piel Canela; 4.  Small World; 5.  Caravan; 6.  Baby It’s Cold Outside; 7.  Big Spender; 8.  What Kind of Fool am I; 9.  So in Love; 10.  Orange Colored Sky; 11.  Don’t Explain; 12.  A Foggy Day

Publicist:  None

Review:  Monica Chapman is a Canadian artist who was born in Romania, and teaches jazz in her spare time.  She has gathered a stellar collection of jazz standards and incorporated the incomparable voices of Mike Murley, Reg Schwager and Kevin Turcotte into her sound.  Jazz standards never go out of style, and Chapman has the perfect voice for these songs.   We love great horns, and she uses them to perfection, especially on “A Shine on Your Shoes.”  This is a great soundtrack for your daily or weekly happy hour, and the tunes will surely put a smile on your face.  We love her take on the James Bond classic “Goldfinger,” as well as the Duke Ellington classic “Caravan.”  Other impressive gems are “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “Big Spender,” and “Orange Colored Sky.”

Recommendation:  If you love jazz, then this is a great album for your collection.

Artist NameMarc Berger

Album NameRide

Label:  Real Records

Genre:   Americana/Roots

Track Listing:  1.  Nobody Gonna Ride on the Railroad; 2.  Take it on the Chin; 3.  Ride; 4.  Time Waits for no Man; 5.  Montana; 6.  Twister; 7.  Heavenly Ancients; 8.  Object of my Affection; 9.  Long way from Vixenburg; 10.  A Bottle of Wine, a Suitcase, an Umbrella; 11.  Object of my Affection (instrumental)

Publicist:  None

Review:  Marc Berger has the perfect voice for roots/Americana – full of gravel, spit and determination.  He underscores his gritty sound with a musical background that is soothing, smooth and pure.  The underlying mandolin, accordion, slide guitar and harmonica flow seamlessly with the percussion and acoustic guitar.  This album takes off from the first note and never disappoints.   While every track is wonderful, we particularly love the title track, “Time Waits for no Man,” “Montana,” “Twister,” and “Long Way from Vixenburg.”

Recommendation:  This one is a worthy addition to your Americana collection – Get it.

Artist NameAlex Mabey

Album NameEnough

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Folk/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Bravest Daughter; 2.  Enough; 3.  Wild and Free; 4.  Soldier’s Wife; 5.  Run to the Edge; 6.  Jesus Was

Publicist:  None

Review:  We met this artist at DSE, and were immediately overcome with the beauty of her voice and the power of her words.  That amazement continues from the opening notes of “Bravest Daughter,” the first track of her EP Enough, as it becomes quickly clear that Alex Mabey has arrived as the new voice in folk/Americana music.  Her songs are well crafted, her voice soars like a bird, and the musical accompaniment is first rate, especially the cello on the first track and on “Soldier’s Wife.”   Our only complaint is that this six-song EP is simply too short – merely teasing us with her greatness.   The title track has such potential for placement in television and film, and creates a yearning for Mabey’s music that can never be fully quenched, but will keep bringing the listener back for more.  “Wild and Free” and “Run to the Edge” likewise grabbed our attention, and deserve serious radio airplay.

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk, and Get this one now.  It is an absolute must have for your musical library.