Clay Franz – The American Dream

The American Dream EP is the first record released by Clay Franz. Born and raised on country music, this album provides a good mix of country with a pop edge to it. For fans into anything from George Straight to Backstreet Boys!

Gypsy Wind – Songs From The Grove

A musical journey from the Kentucky bluegrass of Bill Monroe to the gypsy swing of Django Reinhardt and working in a medium of acoustic instruments, Gypsy Wind embodies a new take on an old blend of jazz, swing, bluegrass and folk.

 

Album Notes
Through the eyes of a child, those sweet melodies, hot licks and unforgotten stories imprinted a unique pattern much like the squares of a handmade quilt – carefully sewn into the experiences that created inspiration. From those familiar Wednesday night pickin’s in Gainesville to the countless bluegrass jams after the Seminole Bluegrass Festival – music strummed its chord deep. And so serendipity played its hand in 1993 at the Florida Folk Festival as Mike Powell gathered the gypsies together to jam some “Dawg” tunes well into the early morning hours. Twenty-three years later on a moonlit night at that same festival Michael, Rob, Mark and Kristen continue interweaving melodies generating a new sound laced with echoes of the past. White Springs evokes a timeless energy that speaks of generations past, present and future – always carrying the love for music and tradition. We are forever grateful to our fathers – Mike Holloway and Walter Godwin – for sharing their love of music and passing on their gifts to their children and grandchildren.

Beth Snapp – Don’t Apologize

“To me, this EP is a continuation of a journey. My second project was largely an account of just coming out of a storm. I had survived, I knew things were going to get better, but there was some healing and processing to be done. As time passed, and I did the work to heal, I emerged into a new place. I realized that surviving the storm wasn’t enough. I realized I was put on this Earth to do more than survive.”

Beth Snapp is describing her new EP, tellingly titled Don’t Apologize. A collection of soothing and supple melodies, underscored by a bracing backing band, it offers astute observations about the challenges, expectations and ability to overcome obstacles — either self-imposed or those that result from outside interference. It’s a personal tale gleaned from lessons learned, from a need to face those realities and cope with them accordingly. Snapp delivers these songs with clarity and conviction, sharing universal truths that can resonate with us all.

Produced and mixed by Gar Ragland, engineered by Grammy winner Julian Dreyer, and recorded at Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville, North Carolina, Don’t Apologize features a stunning array of guest contributors, including celebrated cello player and pianist Dave Eggar, guitarist Phil Faconti, Black Lillies frontman Cruz Contreras, and her band mates Jason Crawford, Jay Farmer, Kevin Jackson, and Justin Short.

Indeed, the song titles are as revealing as the expressive melodies themselves, a sequence of sound that reaches from the comforting caress of the title track, the mellow musings pervading “Princess Dream” and the restful, reassuring “Counting Down,” to the jauntily paced “Little Much,” the banjo ramble of “Easy to Love,” the upbeat urgency of “Scream” and the easy but unapologetic “Confessions of an Exhausted Thirty-Something.” It’s a set of songs that run through a gamut of emotions, doing so with both vibrancy and vulnerability.

“I wrote a collection of songs to remind me, but also those around me, that it is perfectly acceptable to not apologize for loving yourself as the imperfectly perfect soul that you are,” Snapp says. “It is acceptable — no, imperative — to be proud of yourself and what you’ve worked for. It is important to not be ashamed for putting yourself out there for any reason – be it reaching out to another person, trying something new, doing hard things, or simply being yourself.”

This is nothing new as far as Snapp’s concerned. That astute awareness is part of her DNA. As a child, she felt well connected to the Appalachian environs where she was raised. Notably, most members of her family hailed from the area of Southwest Virginia that the Carter Family once called home. Her mother, aunt and cousin sang together in a gospel trio, leaving her with an indelible impression and a determined desire to sing. By the time she was in high school, she was performing regularly at her church, at weddings and even at funerals. By the time she was completing her graduate studies, she was ready to venture out on her own and begin offering her original compositions.

“I met some fantastic bluegrass players and songwriters that took me under their wing and gave me advice on how to develop my craft,” she recalls. “I feel like I’m a bit of a late bloomer in some ways, but I’m working hard to be as quick of a study as possible.”

Clearly, she’s succeeded. Her debut album, 2014‘s That Girl in the Magazine featured contributions from Dave Eggar, Tim Stafford, Rob Ickes, and Trey Hensley as well the Stafford’s bluegrass band Blue Highway. Her sophomore set, Write Your Name Down, was released in 2017 and introduced the song “Grime and Grace,” which brought her honors that year as a semifinalist in the prestigious NewSong Songwriting Competition. It also gave her entry to open for such singular artists as Iris Dement, Scott Miller, Jill Andrews, Cruz Contreras and Dave Eggar, as well as make a series of guest appearances on albums by Eggar, Stafford and Blue Highway.

Ultimately, it earned her continued kudos from those who found themselves enticed by her unerringly accessible fusion of folk, bluegrass, roots and pure pop. Leah Ross, Executive Director of the ever-popular Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion festival, described her as a “local jewel.” Tim Stafford insists that of all the artists coming out of East Tennessee in the past two decades, “Beth is easily the most original and talented.”

Tom Netherland, writing in the Bristol Herald,” declared, “Beth Snapp sings like a cage-less bird flies. Freedom waves in her delivery of lyrics, upon the wings of which glide distinction and the boundless glory of a soul undeniable.”

Those are heady praises, but Snapp remains modest. “I feel like my career is just beginning,” she confesses. “I’ve laid some groundwork, but now I’m at a jumping off point, and it’s time to jump.”

Jump she has. With Don’t Apologize, Snapp has taken an enormous leap forward and landed safely, with her talent obvious and intact.

The Cory Grinder Band – Cahoots & Other Favorites

With a deep love for classic country music, The Cory Grinder Band writes original honky tonk tunes for those who love that old hillbilly sound. Cory, from Akron, Ohio leads the group playing rhythm guitar, fiddle, and singing with pedal steel/electric guitar player Stephen “Tebbs” Karney. Gluing the group together is veteran bass player, Jason Willis. Between them the members of the band have quite a bit of experience playing for local venues (House of Blues, Beachland Ballroom) and national programs (NPR’s “On Point,“ SXSW.) Their entertaining live performances are full of fun, upbeat songs and the silly antics of the band. Always trying to have a good time, it’s not unusual to see the group switching around instruments and bringing guests into the fold.

Josh Grigsby and Country Line – Love Life and Misery

Good time original, classic, contemporary and gospel bluegrass music that will surely get your toes tappin’ and your hands clappin’.

Recognized as one of Virginia’s fast rising new bluegrass bands, Josh Grigsby and County Line was awarded the 2015 Bluegrass Band of Virginia Championship by the Virginia Folk Music Association. The VFMA is the only organization in Virginia sanctioned by the Governor of Virginia to hold Virginia Bluegrass, Gospel and Country Music “Championship Contests” and to induct Virginia Artists into the VA Country Music Hall of Fame. In addition to winning the Band Championship, Josh Grigsby was voted first place Male Vocals and, Judge Parker was voted third place Male Vocals. The band was also the winner of the 2014 East Coast Band Competition at the Bluegrass by the Bay Festival in Gloucester, Virginia. Band members are Crystal Grigsby (vocals), Mark Mills (guitar, vocals), Whitney Perkins (Dobro), Robert Kidd (bass), “Judge” Parker (banjo, vocals) and, of course, Josh Grigsby on guitar and lead vocals. The band has three CDs under their belt, Changes in the Tides, Ruby Lane Memories and Love, Life and Misery. Find out more about our band on FaceBook and our website.
The title of the CD was inspired by the original tune “This Old Town”, which was written by Mark Mills, lead guitarist at Josh Grigsby and County Line, along with Tommy Valentine. The tune is sure to bring back memories of the listener’s home town. Another original that is featured on the CD; was written by Josh Grigsby titled You Can Call me lonesome. This song was written after his learning of a friends heartbreak. Another song of note was penned by Tunesmith, David Norris, who written songs for some of bluegrasses’ best. When presented to the band, they all fell in love with this tune – titled Fields of Indiana. This release is a mix of several styles of bluegrass music; hard driving classics, beautiful love ballads, story-telling songs, soulful gospel and more. The band is excited to release this CD and hopes the fans will enjoy listening to it as much as they enjoyed recording it.

Gary Allegretto – Blues on the Trail

In his 5th recording, Allegretto leaves the well-trodden path and blazes a new trail creating a rare, original, exciting, and cohesively themed record that intently and seamlessly mixes Cowboy and Blues genres – fresh and classic at the same time.

Zoli Althea Browne – Never Too Old To Heal

Album Notes
Never Too Old To Heal supports recovery work, wounded child work, and spiritual renewal. I began my CODA recovery work in 1988 and continue working the 12 Steps to this day, one day at a time. After a double-header day of two meetings back to back, I intuited that we are indeeed never too old to heal! A participant had just stated that “ it is never too late to have a happy childhood”. Since I was nowhere near that understanding, I sought understanding by beginning to write the lyrics and music for this cd. I lived in Olympia, Wa. and was raising Scottish Highland cattle, but realized I required a change of scenery and energy to work on this project, away from my farm work. So, every weekend for the next couple months I stayed in the top left side room at the old Governor’s House Hotel on Capitol Way, to ponder, process and write. I finally recorded and released this cd early in 2010. Now living in Montana, I still honor those first difficult years of recovery work…I still choose daily not to drink alcohol. Some days are better than others, but after 30 years of challenging, continuing recovery work I still maintain that we are never too old to heal. This cd is a bit of a 4th step presented with the love and aspiration coming from the 12th. Many blessings and love to you!

The Whispering Tree – Invisible Forces

Richly immersive folk-rock brimming with evocative lyrics and a panoramic musicality. This album explores a deeply personal and political landscape, with messages of hope, despair and social consciousness.

Album Notes
Called “one of the most talented duos to take stage in NYC” by Deli Magazine, The Whispering Tree includes singer/songwriter Eleanor Kleiner and multi-instrumentalist Elie Brangbour. Together, they craft richly immersive folk-rock brimming with evocative lyrics and a panoramic musicality.

The fiercely independent twosome’s new album, Invisible Forces, was self-produced, fan-funded and recorded at Elie and Eleanor’s home studio in Beacon, NY and at Old Soul Studio in Catskill, NY. The album explores a deeply personal and political landscape, with messages of hope, despair and social consciousness.

The leadoff single, “Fat Cat” has antecedents in Elie’s French background and the old-time gypsy jazz tradition back in his hometown while the satirical, anti-capitalist sentiment of the lyrics is firmly rooted in the protest songs of the folk revival. Other album highlights include the impressionistic “These Houses;” the revelatory “Heavy” which, with elegant grace, connects New Orleans-style jazz with the 1960s rock and pop harmony vocal tradition; the darkly foreboding environmental ballad, “Garden;” and the concluding track, the sweetly rousing protest song “Bells.”

Since its 2007 inception, The Whispering Tree has issued two albums and two EPs, and toured nationally and internationally. The duo has also earned prime critical acclaim from Keyboard Magazine and The Big Takeover Magazine, among others. Other marquee career moments include being Kerrville New Folk finalists; Philadelphia Songwriter’s Project winners; and Eleanor and Elie having the honor to lend their voices to Pete Seeger and Lorre Wyatt’s album, A More Perfect Union.

Braden Gates – Pictures Of Us

BRADEN GATES is writing hard hitting topical songs giving us a street
view of our times and that are delivered with honesty and conviction.
PICTURES OF US is his fourth album – his first release on Borealis
Records.

Comanche Moon – Country Music Deathstar

Mark Erikson (MHE): We get asked a lot, “what kind of music do y’all play?” It’s always been kind of a tough question for us because it really has more to do with what we were listening to growing up than it does with current genre categories. In the sense that our sound is country, it’s because we grew up in the country listening to a lot of 90s country like George Strait, Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks, as well as traditional forms like bluegrass and old cowboy fiddle tunes. But we also listened to a lot of bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Allman Brothers Band, and that kind of music had a huge influence on our sound. So when people ask about our sound, you can spend a paragraph saying that, or you can just call it “Country Music Deathstar.”