Category Archives: Women in Entertainment

A series of articles on leading indie women

Get it or forget it – Jess Penner, Lazarus, KRON, Tim Bennett

We have a very eclectic group of album reviews for you today, including our first children’s album, which rocketed to #2 on the iTunes chart last Friday.  Kick off your shoes, grab a cup of joe and let’s get to it.

Artist Name:  Jess Penner

Album Name:  Imagination

Label:  Position Music/Recurrent Records

Genre:  Children’s

Track Listing:  1.  I’ve Got no Strings; 2.  I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon; 3.  Imagination; 4.  Mr. Sun; 5.  You are my Sunshine; 6.  Somewhere Over the Rainbow; 7.  Thank you for Being a Friend; 8.  Forever in my Heart

Publicist:  None

Review:  This is the first children’s album we have reviewed, but it comes from a trusted source.  We have previously reviewed the music of Jess Penner, and stand behind what this indie artist is trying to accomplish.  Our most recent review was of her band KayJez.  Penner also earned nominations for Best Pop/Rock Female Artist and Best Video (lyric) in the 2016 LA Music Critic Awards.  Needless to say, with that kind of history, we expected to be blown away by her latest foray into children’s music.    We were not disappointed.  From the electronic sounds of the first track, Disney’s “I’ve Got No Strings,” through the simple accompaniment and golden sound of “Forever in my Heart,” Penner delivers her take on these classic songs that will satisfy children of all ages.  We really love her upbeat approach to the Andrew Gold classic “Thank you for Being a Friend.”  She even gives us a couple of amazing originals, including the title track and “Forever in my Heart.”

Recommendation:  Penner delivers to kids of all ages.  We highly recommend Imagination, and suggest you Get it now – the kid in you will thank you.

Artist Name:  Lazarus

Album Name:  Rock n Roll Heart

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Roots/Rock/Country

Track Listing:  1.  Rise; 2.  Making Good Time; 3.  Promise not to Tell; 4.  Rock n Roll Heart; 5.  Small Axe; 6.  Shit and Shame; 7.  Come Again in Glory; 8.  Diggin’ a Hole; 9.  Loathsome Shadow; 10.  Gonna be Okay; 11.  Exit Music

Publicist:  Broken Jukebox Media

Review:  Austin-based Lazarus does not possess the best singing voice, but what he brings to the roots/rock genre is his ability to tell a story.  He exemplifies the old country adage of “three chords and the truth” in his songs that capture and convey the truth of his words.  He starts off simply with just a guitar on the first track, “Rise,” before building to a full band on “Making Good Time,” which brings in amazing fiddle work with the harmonious backing vocals and guitar in this homage to his hometown.  “Promise not to Tell” then adds a flamenco touch to his sound, revealing that his music is multi-dimensional and inclusive.  He continues his musical journey with the addition of electric guitar on the title track, an upbeat two-step that begs the listener to get up and dance.  The remainder of the album is just one gem on top of another, making this a great album to put on repeat while you chill with a cold one.

Recommendation:  Lazarus has something to say and it deserves to be heard.  We recommend you Get this album as soon as you can.

Artist Name:  KRON

Album Name:  Raptoid

Label:  Ring the Alarm

Genre:  Synth/Rock/Electronica

Track Listing:  1.  Poof You’re Gone; 2.  Arcane Sanctuary; 3.  Raptoid; 4.  Celestial Spheres; 5.  Valley of the Wind; 6.  Fondu Sunset; 7.  NeoKong; 8.  Starlight Zone

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  Every now and then most of us love to hear music that you can feel, without any lyrics to distract you.  When the feeling hits you, we think you should pull out this EP.   KRON has evolved from being a house band at a monthly art/tech dance party in Los Angeles into a full fledged musical experience, delivering a sound that is all encompassing of your senses.  This music should be played LOUD with lots of flashing lights, compelling your body to get up and Dance!  This is the only album you need for a successful dance party.

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk to your favorite music source and GET IT NOW!

Artist Name:  Tim Bennett

Album Name:  The View From Here

Label:  Sandy Beach Records

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  As Long as You’re Buying; 2.  Forgive & Forget; 3.  There was Nothing I Could Do; 4.  Coulda Woulda Shoulda; 5.  I’ll be Expecting You; 6.  Hot Town; 7.  A Dangerous Man; 8.  Tonight I’ll be Staying Here With You; 9.  Ain’t got Time for This; 10.  Awakened by my Breaking Heart; 11.  The End of the Line

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:   With a voice akin to Merle Haggard, Tim Bennett’s music will appeal to Americana and hard-core country fans equally.  It has all the elements of Merle’s music, with a down-home feel that begs you to throw your boots on and get up and boogie.  Like Merle, Bennett knows how to tell a story, and his lyrics will get into your heart and deliver their truth, while the music will give your ears something to celebrate.  The album features both upbeat songs as well as tearjerkers that will make you want to reach out and hug your sweety.  Underneath it all is a collection of outstanding musicians that have been called “the Wrecking Crew of country music.”  This album is definitely a keeper and deserves your attention.

Recommendation:  If you love country or Americana music, then you simply must add this album to your collection.  Get out and Get it.


Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 30

Happy Monday.  We survived the Western Montana Fair, and enjoyed some nice performances from Seattle’s Miller Campbell and other local bands.  This week we’re headed to Livingston to see our friends Redhead Express  at Music Ranch Montana, as well as to Polson for the Women of the Blues salute at the Flathead Lake Blues Festival featuring LA Music Critic Award winner for Best Blues Band, Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method.  Should be a great week.


Seems like you can teach an old dog new tricks, at least in the case of veteran performer Frank Shiner.  A recent convert to Spotify, Shiner’s music has been blowing up lately, with nearly 25,000 streams of his latest single “Drink You Away” in just the past two weeks.  Shiner is averaging more than 22,000 streams a month.  Check him out on Spotify.

Nashville’s Risa Binder is another indie artist who is blowing up on the charts.  She recently reached #77 on the Music Row Chart with her current single “You Haul.”  Check out the video for the song.


Check out this new single, “Money on it” by together PANGEA, from their new album Bulls and Roosters which will be released on August 25 on Nettwerk Records.  We think you’ll like it.

Like the haunting sounds of artists like Tori Amos and Enya?  Check out the latest single from Hannah Park, “Not Like You.”  Please let us know what you think.


We mentioned we were going to see Redhead Express this week.  They have recently released a new music video as an entry into Ryan Seacrest’s “Best Cover Ever” contest.  It is a cover of “I Got You” by pop artist Bebe Rexha, and we think you will love it.

Blue Élan artist Chelsea Williams has released a live studio video of her new single, “Anything Worth Saving,” from her recently released album Boomerang.  Please let us know what you think.

Last but not least this week is the first Christian music video from Spokane native Chris Chilton, co-written and produced by another Spokane indie legend, Jerad Finck.  Please check out the lyric video for “Adonai,” an amazing song of worship for today.


Get it or forget it – DieAlps!, Emily Zuzik, Andrea Stray, Johnny Paglino

Well, the weekend is here and so are more album reviews here on Indie Voice Blog.  We hope you will check out these artists, and continue your support of indie music.

Artist Name:  DieAlps!

Album Name:  Our City

Label:  New Granada Records

Genre:  Indie Pop/Rock

Track Listing: 1.  Running into Walls; 2.  Invincible; 3.  Mayfly; 4.  Trust Me; 5.  Our City; 6.  Dwight; 7.  Get Yours; 8.  In the Country; 9.  I Can See it Now; 10.  Battles; 11.  Hands Up; 12.  We Fought the Sea

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  DieAlps! is a spirited foursome from Florida led by Austrian-born Connie  Calcaterra and her husband Frank.  The band’s name, which translates to The Alps, is an homage to their native Austria.  Their music has a true 90’s vibe, and is perfect for lovers of such groups as Pavement and Radiohead.  Connie and Frank split the lead vocal duties, while the rest of the band provides the perfect musical soundtrack for their thought-provoking lyrics.  They have brought their best on this debut album, and clearly show why they are such a crowd-pleasing hit in central Florida.  The entire album is noteworthy, but we think the best tracks are “Invincible,” “Mayfly,” “Trust Me,” the title track (with its surf rock vibe), “Dwight,” and “Get Yours.”

Recommendation:  We love this CD and think you will too.  Don’t waste any time – go Get it!

Artist Name:  Emily Zuzik

Album Name:  Tender

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Roots/Rock/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Tender; 2.  Ernst Kirchner; 3.  Winter in California

Publicist:  None

Review:  Tender is a short and sweet three-song EP that merely whets our appetite for more of this amazing Americana artist.  We recently reviewed her last release, Angelenos, and have nothing but good things to say about her continuing growth as a musician.  This time around her music has a little bit more bluesy soul, especially the title track, which is topped off with classy horns and the sweet sound of Zuzik’s voice.  “Ernst Kirchner” has a spooky vibe, while “Winter in California” has a rockier beat and is a beautiful story song with sweet harmonies and a memorable sound, with a vibe reminiscent of the Mommas and Poppas.

Recommendation:  Zuzik truly brings it every time, and always leaves us wanting more.  Grab this tasty hors d’ouevres to tide you over until her next full length release.

Artist Name:  Andrea Stray

Album Name:  Into Blue

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana/Roots/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Into Blue; 2.  Don’t Cry; 3.  Little Word; 4.  Forgive and Forget; 5.  You’re the Kind

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  Andrea Stray is the kind of musician that thinking people love.  She recently won the lyric writing contest for American Songwriter Magazine, and this album is further proof of her lyrical prowess.  Her well-crafted lyrics give you plenty of food for thought, and allow her to craft music around those words to bring you a story, not just a song.  This also allows her to not be confined to any particular genre, but simply write the perfect music for the story.   A prime example of this is “Into Blue,” which incorporates some amazing guitar riffs into a perfectly told story, while “Don’t Cry” brings in a rich piano sound in the style of Bruce Hornsby.   “Little Word” brings a sassy, jazzy sound to Stray’s words, while “Forgive and Forget” is pure Americana, with acoustic guitar and pedal steel.  “You’re the Kind” keeps that Americana vibe, but adds some amazing guitar riffs, which serves to bring this amazing EP full circle.

Recommendation:  Get this one like your life depends upon it.  It is one of the best we’ve reviewed this year.

Artist Name:  Johnny Paglino

Album Name:  21

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  SynthPop

Track Listing:  1.  Today is Tomorrow; 2.  Sunset Key; 3.  Anna; 4.  Kant at the Dinner Thing; 5.  When Xanax Came to Rule the World; 6.  Juan was Pistol Whipped; 7.  South Chicago; 8.  Heroin; 9.  I Will Kill Myself; 10.  I Could Forgive You; 11.  21

Publicist:  None

Review:  This album has a soothing mellow sound that belies the hard-hitting lyrical content.  If you listen carefully, however, you will hear tales of triumph over drug addition, and of living a better life, despite what’s going on around us.  This is an album that needs to be listened to repeatedly, first just to enjoy the music and then to concentrate on the stories that Paglino is telling about living in this crazy world of child trafficking, drugs and political unrest.  We think that the listener will feel empowered after hearing these songs, and encouraged to make a difference.  Best tracks include “Sunset Key,” “Juan was Pistol Whipped,” “South Chicago,” and his current single, “Heroin.”

Recommendation:  Take a chance on this new artist and Get his debut album.


Get it or forget it – Bryan Stephens, Katie Costello, Gerry Spehar, Flood Coats

Happy Friday – looking forward to some rodeo action today as we head to the Western Montana Fair.  Yesterday’s trip was cancelled as we spent the afternoon in the ER.  Nothing to worry about.  Here are the last of the July releases.  Enjoy our reviews.

Artist Name:  Bryan Stephens

Album Name:  Village of Dreams

Label:  Blue Élan Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  River Flows; 2.  In June; 3.  Turnabout; 4.  Revolution; 5.  Deprivation; 6.  Out of her Mind; 7.  No Time; 8.  Generations; 9.  Taking Time; 10.  Attrition; 11.  Wars Again; 12.  Dreams

Publicist:  MAD Ink PR

Review:  OMG – smooth vocals, amazing musical tracks and noteworthy lyrics – this new CD by Bryan Stephens has it all.  The songs are perfect for radio and placement, and brighten up the listener’s day.  From the first note, Village of Dreams provides adequate proof that Stephens is the real thing.  Dave Darling has done it again with his production, creating a musical masterpiece that needs to be put on repeat.  There is not a weak track on this album.  Rumor has it that Stephens is already at work on his next project, an album of covers – we cannot wait to hear his interpretations.  Check out his cover of the classic song “No Time” for an example.  Look out music industry – we have a new superstar.

Recommendation:  A true no-brainer, you simply must Get this album.  What a perfect album to celebrate Friday!

Artist Name:  Katie Costello

Album Name:  New World

Label:  REBEL POP Records

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  New World; 2.  A Beautiful Mystery; 3.  Hearts on Fire

Publicist:  FAR Digital PR

Review:  What can we say that hasn’t already been said about the powerful pop princess named Katie Costello?  She has been the topic of quite a few articles on this blog, and the recepient of several LA Music Critic Awards.  She also performed at the recent Winners Showcase back in June, and brought the house down.  Costello has previously released “New World” and “A Beautiful Mystery” as singles.  Her new addition on this EP is “Hearts on Fire,” and it is just as powerful as her previous releases.  Costello is our choice to be the next Meghan Trainor – her music is ready for worldwide distribution and deserves to be on the radio and receive a Grammy.  Keep up the awesome work – we need more artists like Katie Costello!

Recommendation:  Get it NOW!

Artist Name:  Gerry Spehar

Album Name:  I Hold Gravity

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Country

Track Listing: 1. Dirt; 2.  Muleshoe Mules; 3.  I Hold Gravity; 4.  Be Nemanic; 5.  Holy Moses Doughboy; 6.  Here in the Pass; 7.  Mr. & Mrs. Jones; 8.  How to get to Heaven From LA; 9.  God Lubbock; 10.  Into the Mystic

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  Gerry Spehar brings a classic country vibe to his songs, which are well crafted lyrically and musically.  His tunes have a familiarity that makes them seem like you’ve heard them a million times.  They are truly radio ready and provide a sound that is missing on today’s pop country stations.  Listening to the first track, “Dirt,” feels like getting together with an old friend, and the album just gets better from there.  The entire album feels like it was heavily influenced by such country greats as Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks, with Spehar’s own creative genius added in.  It is a loving tribute to his late wife, Susan.  While the entire album is great, we really love “Dirt,” “Muleshoe Mules,” “Here in the Pass,” “How to Get to Heaven From LA,” and “God Lubbock.”

Recommendation:  If  you love classic country music, you owe it to yourself to Get this album.

Artist Name:  Flood Coats

Album Name:  Vaquita

Label:  Hey Amigo Recording Co.

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Billowing Open; 2.  Hurricanes; 3.  Don’t Hold the Door; 4.  Ultraviolet; 5.  P-22; 6.  Window Seat; 7.  Magic Ones; 8.  Still Life; 9.  Vaquita

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  Flood Coats is a collaborative effort from two of LA’s best indie musicians, Joel P. West and Darla Hawn.  While we are not familiar with West, we have known Hawn for quite a few years from her time playing drums for Curtis Peoples.  Needless to say, the collective sound of Flood Coats is rich and vibrant, with perfectly written pop melodies supporting strong lyrical content, topped off with the amazing harmonies of West and Hawn.  The entire album has that 80’s pop feel that uplifts and empowers the listener, and is just plain fun.  We especially love “Billowing Open,” “Don’t Hold the Door,” “P-22,” “Window Seat,” and “Magic Ones.”

Recommendation:  This album belongs to all true music lovers and will surely be the first of many that you add to your collection.  We strongly suggest you Get it ASAP!


Get it or forget it – Julian Borrego, Cara Frew, fos, Sundara Karma

Still trying to catch up on the multitude of submissions we have recently had from indie musicians.  Still have about 15 to do to bring us up to last Friday, and another three being released this Friday.  We will do our best to be caught up by then.  Here are today’s four reviews.

Artist Name:  Julian Borrego

Album Name:  Ouroboros

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Psychedelic Funk/Electronica

Track Listing:  1.  Small Talk; 2.  Weekdaze; 3.  Xeriscape; 4.  Sound Is; 5.  1 2 3; 6.  Mbuti/Devotion to the Rainforest; 7.  OutroThanks4ListeningAdios

Publicist:  Mora May Agency

Review:  Eerie, psychedelic, electronic, dreamy, synthy and funky – all of these words describe the music of Julian Borrego, which combines so many individual types of sounds to create a rainbow of music – think OEM meets Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix.  Borrego is fast becoming an force both inside and outside the indie music community.  His single “Xeriscape” is introducing people to the power of his songs, and propelling Borrego into the spotlight.  Judging from this eclectic collection of music, that spotlight is well deserved.  We really love “Weekdaze,” “Xeriscape,” and “123.”

Recommendation:  This album can send you on an acid trip without the drugs.  We recommend you Get it and give it a spin.

Artist Name:  Cara Frew

Album Name:  Dance

Label:  Sony Music Entertainment

Genre:  Pop/Dance

Track Listing:  1.  Only High With You; 2.  You Got Me (SNBRN & Blu J ft. Cara Frew); 3.  Dance; 4.  You Got Me POP Mix

Publicist:  The Blossom Agency

Review:  Cara Frew is an artist who splits her time between her native South Africa and London.  Her music is a mix of both her cultures, infusing pop lyrics over African beats to create music that makes your toes tap and your body want to get up and dance.  All four songs are fun and serve as a perfect tease of Frew’s potential.  We especially like her collaboration with SNBRN & Blu J on “You Got Me” as well as the title track.

Recommendation:  If you love to dance, then this is the perfect EP for you.  Get it and dance!

Artist Name:  fos

Album Name:  Captain Free

Label:  Near the Exit Music

Genre:  Electronic Folk

Track Listing:  1.  Captain Free; 2.  Aeras Fissa; 3. Better no Map; 4.  Adamos; 5.  Captain Free II; 6.  Captain Free III; 7.  Sailing out of the Storm; 8.  Wild on Blue; 9.  Captain Free IV

Publicist:  Vision Music Promotions

Review:  London based Greek artist Katerina Koutouzi is the force behind fos.  She takes traditional Greek folk music and gives it an electronica feel.  The title track is presented in four different styles, each of which show just a portion of the immense talent of this artist.  Although this is not the type of album that is radio friendly (except for maybe NPR), it is perfect for those with eclectic tastes who crave something different.   Her music does have that eerie ethereal feel of Enya, which makes the album perfect as background music.  Best tracks include “Aeras Fissa,” “Better no Map,” “Adamos,” and “Wild on Blue.”

Recommendation:  This one is not for everyone, but if you have eclectic taste, it should be a perfect fit.  We still recommend you Get it.


Artist Name:  Sundara Karma

Album Name:  Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect

Label:  Chess Club/RCA Victor

Genre:  Alternative

Track Listing:  1.  A Young Understanding; 2.  Loveblood; 3.  Explore; 4.  Olympia; 5.  Lakhey; 6.  Happy Family; 7.  Flame; 8.  She Said; 9.  Lose the Feeling; 10.  Vivienne; 11.  Be Nobody; 12.  Deep Relief; 13.  Watching From Great Heights; 14.  The Night; 15.  Another Word for Beautiful

Publicist:  Stache Media

Review:  UK natives Sundara Karma are back with an extended version of their latest album, which was released digitally earlier this year.  The extended version adds three songs, including their latest single “Explore.”  Their previous single, “She Said,” reached #31 on the Alternative Songs chart while “Explore” has already reached #18 on the Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists chart and is still climbing. The band has charted on three additional charts:  Next Big Sound, Rock Airplay and Spotify Viral 50 with a total of four different songs.  Needless to say, this band seems to be just what the indie world needs right now.  Even with just a casual listen to the album, it quickly becomes apparent why this band is having so much success.  The music is upbeat with great rock vocals that play well on the radio.  The lyrics are great without being so deep that the listener gets lost in them, instead of the steady alternative rock beat lurking underneath.   There is not a weak song on this 15-song treasure chest.  Have fun exploring this emerging giant of music.

Recommendation:  You simply must Get this album.  It is that good!

Get it or forget it – LOLAA, Shannon McNally, Eli Raybon, Kelly Fitzgerald

Because of some snafus with getting access to several of the CDs and EPs that were released in June, we now have quite a few that need to be reviewed so that we can get back to the reviewing those that have been released since July 1.  Here are (we hope) the final three from June, as well as one from July.  While we try to catch up, we will be interspersing the Get it or Forget it reviews with our live performance reviews of recent shows, including Chris Chilton, Jerad Finck, Celtic Festival Missoula, and Anni Piper/Magic City Blues Festival.  Let’s get this party going!

Cover by Jose Garcia

Artist Name:  LOLAA

Album Name:  LOLAA

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Breaking Sound; 2.  Always Been; 3.  Lola; 4.  Song 6; 5.  Barricades; 6.  Spirits

Publicist:  The Syndicate PR

Review:  Toronto based sisters Lex Valentine and Nadia Valerie King combine their amazing voices to form LOLAA, and the result is pop heaven.  The music is upbeat and makes you want to tap your toes or get up and dance.  The songs are radio friendly.  This band deserves industry attention.  We love all six songs on this all-too-short EP, and can hardly wait to see what comes next.  We especially love their first music video of “Always Been” and also love the song “Barricades.”

Recommendation:  Don’t waste any time.  Just Get this one – trust us.

Artist Name:  Shannon McNally

Album Name:  Black Irish

Label:  Compass Records

Genre:  Roots/Americana/Blues/Soul

Track Listing:  1.  You Made me Feel for You; 2.  I Ain’t Gonna Stand for It; 3.  Banshee Moan; 4.  I Went to the Well; 5.  Roll Away the stone; 6.  Black Haired Boy; 7.  Low Rider; 8.  Isn’t That Love; 9.  Stuff You Gotta Watch; 10.  Prayer in Open D; 11.  It Makes no Difference; 12.  Let’s go Home

Publicist:  The Syndicate PR

Review:  Shannon McNally has been floating around the indie music community for quite a few years.  In fact, Black Irish is her tenth studio album.  But what sets this one apart is the fact that it is produced by Roots icon Rodney Crowell, who brings out the best of McNally, both in her vocals, the musical arrangements and the overall sound of her songs.  He also wrote two of the songs, including “You Made me Feel for You,” and co-wrote one additional song.  These songs are radio ready and definitely should be considered for placement in a myriad of television and movies.  McNally’s interpretations of songs from classic artists like Robbie Robertson, J.J. Cale, Muddy Waters, The Staple Singers and Stevie Wonder, clearly establish her as a major voice in today’s music market.

Recommendation:  We can’t believe we haven’t heard of this artist until now.  If you’ve also been in the dark about this amazing voice, remedy that by running out to Get this CD.

Artist Name:  Eli Raybon

Album Name:  Green

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alt/Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  30 Cents; 2.  Like an Eel; 3.  Sucker me In; 4.  Unsymmetrical

Publicist:  Working Brilliantly

Review:  Don’t let them tell you that 80’s music is dead, because it is alive and well in the person of Eli Raybon.  His songs bring back memories of such acts as A Flock of Seagulls, and have a soothing effect, especially on those of use who still remember that decade.  This four-song EP is far too short, but is the perfect teaser of what is to come from this truly outstanding artist.  We can’t wait to see what’s next.

Recommendation:  Definitely Get this EP digitally now, even before the hard copy comes out.  It will brighten your day.

Artist Name:  Kelly Fitzgerald

Album Name:  Find the Silver Lining

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Singer-Songwriter Pop

Track Listing:  1.  I Think You’re out of my Mind; 2.  You’re the man for Me; 3.  Piece of Cake; 4.  Behind Bars; 5.  Everything That’s Good; 6.  I Can’t Stop Thinking About You; 7.  Make Your Heart Happy; 8.  Sweet Love; 9.  Thinkin’; 10.  Bring me Back

Publicist:  None

Review:  Kelly Fitzgerald is one of those old school indie performers.  Her songs are well crafted and upbeat, her voice is heavenly and she is one of the sweetest and most personable of performers.  She sings about everyday subjects in such a way that they become instant classics.  This time around she has hooked up with Brian Pothier and the result is one of the most fun CDs we have reviewed in quite a while., as she mixes genres with ease.  We especially love the jazzy fun horns on “You’re the Man for Me,” and the ukulele on “Piece of Cake.”  Our other favorites include “Behind Bars,” “Everything That’s Good,” and “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You,” which pretty much sums up the way we feel about Fitzgerald.

Recommendation:  If you love great music, then this one is a no-brainer – Get it ASAP.  If  you’re in Southern California, we strongly suggest you see her perform live.  It is definitely a rewarding experience.


Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 29

Happy full moon Monday!  We had a wonderful road trip last week, travelling to Casper, Fort Collins, Denver and Billings before returning home.  Along the way we met with Amanda from Music Promotion, Inc. and Gina Sicilia, winner of Best Blues Artist from the most recent round of the LA Music Critic Awards.  We also got to hang out with Australian blues queen Anni Piper at the Magic City Blues Festival, as well as Miranda Lambert’s new fiancée Anderson East, review their amazing performances, and catch some of Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot show too.

This week we’ll be heading out to the Western Montana Fair to see what music they have going, and hopefully catch some of Melissa Forrette‘s show at the annual Chicks and Chaps rodeo clinic.


K-Syran continues her climb up the charts with her latest song, “Dizzy,” produced by Amanda’s husband, Eric Alexandrakis.  She currently sits in the #32 spot on the BDS/Billboard Mainstream Top 40 Indicator chart.  Check it out and tell us it doesn’t remind you of some of the great hits of ABBA.


First Denny Tedesco brought us The Wrecking Crew, the untold story behind so much of the music of the 60’s.  Now Dan Tedesco brings us Chasing the Lightning, the story of an life on the road as an independent musician.  Check out this new film as he heads out to share the film before Festival season begins.  The film is amazing and we highly recommend you go see it when it comes to your town.  For more info, check out his website.


Check out this new track from The Crowleys, “LA Sunset,” with its multi-genre sounds.  The vocals are raw, the soundtrack is sweeping, but the potential for this band comes through loud and clear.  Please let us know what you think.

Australian band Cloning the Mammoth will be releasing their new single “San Francisco” on August 11.  We really dig this song, and think you will too.  Please let us know if we’re right.


Here’s the latest video from LA Music Critic Awards winner Amilia K. Spicer for her second single “Lightning.”  Enjoy this Americana jewel.

Speaking of new videos from LA Music Award winners, you simply must check out the latest from FlecHaus.  Their video for “Pitter Patter” simply kicks ass, foretelling the greatness that is in store for this band.  We strongly encourage to check them out and grab a copy of their music – you will definitely not be sorry 🙂

Last but not least this week is another Australian artist, Josh Johnstone.  We love his video for “Just What it Is.”  It is infectious, upbeat and the perfect song to kick start your new week.

Have a great week.  We’ll be back soon with more “Get it or Forget It,” as well as some live performance reviews.


Melissa Forrette at Darby Logger Days – live performance review

On Friday, July 28, we had the opportunity to attend the Darby Logger Days event, which was scheduled for Friday and Saturday.  The event celebrates the rich logging history of the Bitteroot Valley of Montana, and is also a fundraiser for several local non-profits.  Music was scheduled both days, with country legends Sawyer Brown as the headliner on Friday night.  Two indie bands opened up the show:  Melissa Forrette of Missoula and Mabel’s Rage from Helena.

photo by Chelle S Imaging

Forrette proved herself to be a humble and gracious performer from the very start.  Her sound check was delayed almost 45 minutes, and then her start time of 6 p.m was further delayed another 30 minutes, more than likely due to the fact that Sawyer Brown’s tour bus broke down and they were more than three hours late to arrive.

Photo by Chelle S Imaging

Forrette played a mixture of originals and covers by such legends as Don Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones, John Pardi and Emmylou Harris and newcomers like Ashley McBryde, and kept the audience engaged and entertained.  While Forrette has learned to play a lot of covers for her usual honky tonking gigs, it is her original songs that strike the chord.  She performed several of her best ones, including “Second Best Again,” “Bad Habits,” “Behind These Walls,” “I Don’t Want to be Found,” and the song that won her the award for Best Song at the American Country Star competition, “I Made Him Your Man.

photo by Chelle S Imaging

Forrette was personable on stage with her witty banter, but it was her closing cover of Ashley McBryde’s “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” that really brought the house down.  It was emotional and power-packed, and summed up the struggles of an indie artist trying to make it in today’s music industry.

photo by Chelle S Imaging

After her performance, Forrette spent time talking to her friends and fans, signing autographs and just listening to them.  This is one area where she truly shines, and watching her with her fans is a great joy.

photo by Chelle S Imaging

Forrette will be performing at the Chicks and Chaps Rodeo workshop at the Western Montana Fair in Missoula on August 11 before heading up to Big Fork to perform at The Raven, Woods Bay on August 20.

photo by Chelle S Imaging

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 28

Getting ready to head out on the road this week to check out some indie artists.  Will be leaving on Wednesday for Casper, Wyoming (anything we should see there that day), before heading down to Colorado Springs on Thursday to catch LA Music Critic Award winner Gina Sicilia at The Gold Room.  On Friday it will be back to Billings, Montana for the Magic City Blues Festival and a performance by Anni Piper.  Then on Saturday we’re off for Victor, Montana to catch Melissa Forrette.  Gonna be a busy week!


Our dear friend and faithful indie supporter Heather Jacks has a couple of events coming up.  First up is the premiere of the Stilettos for Shanghai documentary For Chechyna on August 7 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, which is a fundraiser for ORAM and Rainbow Railroad.  The second is the Project Nunway 8 Charity Fashion Drag Show on August 19 at SOMArts in San Francisco.  Please support these worthy events.

IPO (International Pop Overthrow) is coming back to Los Angeles.  Please support local indie artists like Patricia Bahia, who will be performing at Club Fais Do Do at 1:45 p.m. on August 4.


CHVNGES is an amazing band with a new single, “Mischief Managed,” being released on Friday.  We love it and think you will too.  Check it out and let us know what you think.

Another band we covered last year, Junk Parlor, is releasing its single “Vultures and Weasels” on Sunday.  They have a very distinctive sound that we think you’ll like.


Our featured video this week comes from Denmark.  Straw is an amazingly talented family with a mom and two daughters who can truly sing.  This video rocks and we are proud to feature it today.  Expect great things from them as they expand their reach internationally.  We believe they would be an outstanding addition to the American music scene.  Special thanks to Doug Deutsch Publicity Services for sharing this treasure with us.

Los Angeles transplant Caitlin Eadie has recently released a new album, Balancing Act, as well as a music video for her current single “Wolf Cry.”  We think it is one of the best we’ve seen in a while, and think you’ll agree.

Last but not least this week is the new lyric video for “New Kids” by multiple LA Music Critic Award winner Jerad Finck.  He has been blowing up recently with both “New Kids” and “Criminal” charting nationally.  Enjoy this treasure.


Get it or forget it: Maita, Scarlett Taylor, Garrison Starr, Vacant Home

Now that the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017 have been put to bed, we can begin looking at submissions for the second half.  With the exception of Maita’s Waterbearer, these albums will be considered for the second half awards, even though they were technically released in June 2017.  They were unfortunately overlooked in the nearly 100 submissions for the first half, so we are giving them a fresh look now.

Artist NameMaita

Album NameWaterbearer

Label:  Maita Music

Genre:  Folk/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Kinder Than Most; 2.  Geography; 3.  Too Tired to Love You; 4.  Burned Out Has Been; 5.  Waterbearer

 Publicist:  None

Review:  Maria Maita-Keppeler is one half of the Americana duo The American West, but also is the lead singer of her own band, Maita.  Her short five-song EP is a breath of fresh air in the female singer-songwriter genre, and bodes well for this budding artist.  Her voice is haunting like Gillian Welch and Shannon Hurley, and is perfectly suited to the lyrics she has skillfully written.  All five songs are perfect for a chill afternoon or night, enjoyed with a beer or wine, while the listener contemplates the meaning of life.  Give her a listen and let us know what you think.

Recommendation:  We definitely think this one is a keeper and recommend you Get it for your collection.

Artist NameScarlett Taylor

Album NameIII

Label:  Borderline Musick

Genre:  Alternate Pop

Track Listing:  1.  I can Fly; 2.  Children of the Sun; 3.  Concrete Angels; 4.  Orphan; 5.  Unborn 

Publicist:  None

Review:  We reviewed her second album, Churches, last November.  What we said then still goes, but Taylor continues to work on her style, and the lyrical content has gotten better.  She is still not a radio friendly artist, but her music makes you stop and think about the issues she is addressing, and her unique musical background provides the perfect foundation for her truth.  This album is dedicated to those who suffer from addiction, and the toll it takes on them and those who love them.  She also continues to make interesting music videos that bring out the darkness in her music, and we think that she still has a lot to say.  Our favorite cuts are “Children of the Sun” and “Concrete Angels,” and the music video for the latter is definitely worth checking out.

Recommendation:  If you like your music dark, disturbing but relevant, than you should Get this album.

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Artist NameGarrison Starr

Album NameWhat if There is no Destination

Label:   Self-released

Genre:  Folk/Singer-Songwriter

Track Listing:  1.  Put Your Weapon Down; 2.  Hollow; 3.  Easy Mark; 4.  All About You; 5.  The Lucky One; 6.  Tough Girl

Publicist:  Red Boot PR

Review:  From the opening notes of the powerful protest song, “Put Your Weapon Down,” it becomes quickly apparent that this is no ordinary indie artist.  Starr is a woman on a mission, with a dynamic story to tell and a lesson to teach.  Her voice is throaty and unique, carrying the truth of her words deep into your consciousness.  Her musical background is simple but provides the necessary foundation for these liberating words.  Starr is an indie artist who has come full circle, and is content in her DIY “indieness.”  But that doesn’t mean the world is not taking notice of her music and her message, as indicated by her recent participation as part of Amy Pohler’s Smart Girls.  We love everything on this EP, but especially “Put Your Weapon Down,” which was Starr’s response to the Pulse tragedy in Orlando last June.  Stop and smell the roses while you listen to the wisdom of these songs.

Recommendation:  This one is a total no-brainer.  You NEED to Get it, now!

Photo courtesy of Split Task Media

Artist NameVacant Home

Album NameReflect, Respond

Label:  Mutant League Records

Genre:  Post Hardcore Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Lament; 2.  Bliss; 3.  Inner Peace; 4.  Shiver; 5.  Back Bay; 6.  Reflect Respond; 7.  Heirloom 

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  Vacant Home comes to us from Perth, Australia.  Their music starts out as great indie rock, with stirring guitar riffs and pounding drums, providing a nice musical interlude.  But then the Screamo vocals come in and the serene mood is lost.  This is definitely an album for hard rock lovers.  There are moments when the lyrics are sung, but they are lost amidst the angst and the screams.  It is apparent that this bad is pissed off and wants the world to know it.  Were it not for the screaming of the lyrics, we might actually be able to understand their message.  Nevertheless, their instrumentation is strong, and make it worthy of a closer listen.

Recommendation:  This is another artist that is not radio friendly.  However, if you can understand the screaming, and like that kind of music, then this is a strong effort.  For the rest of us, just Forget it.