Angela Meyer – Consequence

A breathe of new life into Western music, Consequence takes on a landscape as untamed and romanticized as the American West itself.

“I WRITE SONGS FOR EMPTY ROOMS AND BROKEN HEARTS
IN HOPES TO FILL THEM UP.” -ANGELA MEYER

A storyteller with a passion for her listeners, Angela pulls in the crowd with a sweet voice and brutal honesty. She knows what it means to be out in the audience, her earliest memory is dancing in a smoky tent while her mama sang on stage at the Iowa State Fair. Even before she could talk, Angela sang along with the radio and listened to the record player in her grandparent’s home. They introduced her to country music and gave her a guitar for Christmas. Compared to her 10 year old self, the guitar was so large she laid it flat across her lap to learn three chords. Angela has never strayed far from those three chords and the truth, finally picking up the guitar to accompany her songwriting at 15. Music has always been her favorite escape, and at just 16 years old she landed her first paid gig to start sharing her songs from the stage.

In her now 25 years of life, Angela has witnessed many changes to “country music” and how it is defined. Angela sees it as the fans speaking up about what’s getting radio play lacking authenticity. Listeners don’t need to be educated on music theory or the music industry to know what they are hearing is over-produced & under-thought. In a world more concerned about image than content, Angela boldly offers authenticity in her artistry. She does not give a second thought to the fact that she is a young woman; she just delivers her intention with conviction. Each person she encounters lends inspiration that only a hundred lifetimes could give. That translates to writing that paints a whole picture of the human experience, wisdom far beyond her years.

Angela is taking her lifetime dream of being a country music artist and turning it into her lifestyle. Her goal is to make music her career and help people along the way. Currently, she is finishing up her first album, Consequence, to be released April 21st, 2018. She performs live shows across the country at cowboy poetry gatherings, western events, and other events. Along with playing live shows, she also posts videos to her YouTube (angelacmeyer) and Facebook (angelameyer23) every Thursday.

Wood & Wire – North Of Despair

You can’t rightly say that bluegrass bands have never gone out of style, but they’ve certainly never gone away – even if they’re not as popular as they once were. Wood & Wire is a band that will make you glad bluegrass has never gone away.

It doesn’t take long to realize that this is traditional bluegrass. “Eliza” is a song that features some amazing picking – just like you hear from classic bluegrass acts like Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys. If the picking in this song doesn’t get you stomping your feet, it’s hard to know what will. The vocals also bring classic bluegrass to mind. It’s hard not to think of “Black-Eyed Susie” when you hear the chorus of this song.

One thing that has always been a staple of bluegrass is an instrumental song that allows all the band members to showcase their considerable skills. “Summertime Rolls” is one of the instrumental songs on this album, and you can’t help but be impressed with the picking. When you listen to the banjo and mandolin in particular, it’s hard to imagine fingers moving that quickly. Meanwhile, the bass player drives the song with a thumping bass line. Don’t be surprised if you’re out of breath just listening to this one. “Wingding” is another instrumental showcase for the band, It may not be as fast in tempo as “Summertime Rolls”, but it still shows what all the band members can do. It’s pretty difficult to stay still when you hear this one – especially when you hear the bass line.

“Just Don’t Make ’em” is another song that is incredibly impressive. The lyrics are about someone’s dad who would fix any broken thing by himself, and another man that built his own house by himself. As good as the lyrics are, the banjo is really the thing that grabs your attention. Throughout the song, Trevor Smith plays at a speed that is hard to comprehend. Even without seeing his hands, you know they were moving at an incredible speed when this song was recorded.

Like most traditional bluegrass, this album features a lot of short songs. It contains 11 songs, but only lasts for 39 minutes, which leaves you wanting more of the amazing picking and harmony vocals. If you’re a fan of bluegrass, this is an album you should add to your collection.

Jeremy Parsons – Things I Need To Say

“Things I Need To Say” has Jeremy Parsons embark on a great journey, with a tender folk style informing the entirety of the album. Details matter a great detail from the tenderness of the fiddle to the reassuring vocals that grace every track. Best of all the entire album comes together as a great story, with each song yet another chapter. Lyrics emphasize the daunting demands that life often requires in order to truly excel. Opting for such a style the colorful rush of melody and rhythm further adds to the soothing nature.  Stylistically the pieces are rooted in folk, with elements of chamber pop, country, rock, and even the blues coming into a singular whole.

 

On “Makin’ Things Up As I Go” Jeremy Parsons starts the album on a high note, as the light sunny sound goes for a celebratory spirit. Much more introspective in nature is the gentle” Life”. A distinctly western twang with fine slide guitar frames the powerful “Circumstance”. Blues informs the swinging “Purpose”. Slowing things down into a languid pace the contemplative “Lisa’s Lost” goes through the sad events that unfortunately can take a prominent place in a person’s life. Light flourishes work wonders on the dreamy “After All These Years”. With an autumnal flavor “Things I Need To Say” serves as the highlight of the album, guided with a strong sense of honesty. Nicely bringing the album together is the delicate “Why Is The Bluebird Blue”.

 

Jeremy Parsons crafts an album with a unique vision, one that feels earnest, honest, and so real.

Hoyt Axton – The Jeremiah Records Collection

About this release

Few composers could list an array of artists as diverse as BB King, Steppenwolf, Elvis Presley, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, John Denver, Waylon Jennings, The Crusaders, The Kingston Trio and Ringo Starr who have covered their songs. Hoyt Axton’s best-known song ‘Joy To The World’, a # 1 hit for the American vocal band Three Dog Night in 1971, starts with the line “Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine”. Hence, after many albums with the Vee-Jay, Capitol, A&M and MCA labels through the 60s and 70s, when Axton started his own record label in 1979 he named it Jeremiah Records.

This 5 CD clamshell box set features all five Jeremiah Records albums in facsimile wallets, and along with a 32 page booklet featuring the lyrics, musician credits, and annotation.

The first album “Rusty Old Halo” features ‘Della And The Dealer’, a hit in both the US and the UK, as well as three more US country hits. Follow-up album “Where Did The Money Go?” (1980) featured more hits, while 1981’s “Live” featured renditions of his songs made famous by others, like ‘No No Song’, ‘Lion In The Winter’, ‘Never Been To Spain’ and ‘Joy To The World’. Released in 1982 and 1990, “Pistol Packin’ Mama” and “Spin Of The Wheel” bookended Axton’s TV and film career in the 80s, most notably in “Gremlins”.

Axton’s music al guests across the albums include Dr John, Stephen Stills, James Burton, Glenn D. Hardin, Jeff Baxter, Garth Hudson, Paul Butterfield, Bill Kirchen, and Byron Berline.

Jim Chesnut – I Sure Do Miss My Hair

Jim Chesnut creates Americana country music with both melody and story.

 

Album Notes
I found a malignant tumor at the base of my tongue in June of 2017. I stopped performing for several months during treatment and watched several hundred hours of NCIS reruns. I love that show.

During that time I wondered if I would ever be able to produce another album; but, as I slowly began to regain my strength, I began to tire of the sofa and started writing songs again; and here are a few of them.

I would like to thank and recognize three talented musicians for their invaluable contributions to this collection. First, my feisty friend, Jerry Blanton, played pedal steel and lead nylon guitar. Second, A-list studio player, Alan Kolby, played lead electric guitar, and third, Don McRee (who never quits ’till he gets it right) played harmonica.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize my muse and wife, Christine, for her unwavering love and support through this ordeal. I have included a newly recorded version of I’ll Love You Forever (our wedding song) on this album to express my undying gratitude to her for her presence in my life. She inspired two other songs, Just in the Nick of Time and Before I Met You, which are also included in the album. It ain’t easy being married to mercurial me!

This CD would not be possible if not for the San Antonio medical professionals who treated and cared for me during this uncertain time. Dr. Richard Newman (an ENT specialist) referred me to Dr. Lon Smith (an oncologist) at the START Center, which is staffed by an incredible group of people—so caring and proficient. Dr. Mark Weinstein (a dermatologist) took care of some chemo-caused lesions on my scalp and neck.

Finally, I wish to thank my friends Daniel Laser, Jim Hartwell and Rick Dryden who drove and/or accompanied me to a variety of appointments during the treatment months. I could not have done this without your help.
—Jim C.

Heath Loy – Drakesville

An album filled with traditional and contemporary bluegrass/country music.

Drakesville features Minnesota musician, Heath Loy, on the banjo. Stellar cover tunes along with fresh originals make this album a must have… played and sung by some of the finest bluegrass musicians around. Recorded at Slack Key Studio in Nashville TN.

Randall King – randall king

One of the great things about country music is its legacy is so long, deep, vast, and rich, you can not only pick the name of a legendary artist and go spelunking through a long weekend of mining country gold, you can do the same with a given country era, or influence, or a regional flavor and lose yourself for a month finding new favorite songs, albums, and artists. This is what makes the country genre so ripe for discovery, and gives the music an incredible amount of variety. Certain eras can fit certain moods, mindsets, and occasions. The idea that the sonic scope of country music is limited is so shortsighted.

For the artists themselves, the same logic applies. Country music’s vastness gives them the opportunity to select a style that speaks to their passion the most, and then share their original sentiments with a specific era as the building block of their sound. We’ve seen this approach often in 2018, from Joshua Hedley delving deep first into the Countrypolitan era, Mike and the Moonpies with their distinctive take on early 80’s honky tonk, Sarah Shook with a decidedly Outlaw sound, and so on. Only stands to reason that the 90’s era with its polished style and slick, quippy songwriting could get the same treatment, and this is exactly what West Texas country newcomer Randall King has done with his debut, self-titled album.

Now that we’re 25 or 35 years removed from the 80’s and 90’s era, it infuses this particular sound with a sense of reverence and nostalgia that makes it something more than just retro. Emotions come rising to the surface in the way the songwriting and twang remind you of those tunes you heard on the radio growing up or in early adulthood, when certain loved ones were still around, and life was much less complicated. For some country listeners, the 90’s were when country music first started to sound new. But to others, it’s the first memories of country music they ever had.

A fourth generation hay hauler from the West Texas plains, Randall King is originally from the tiny town of Hereford, just west of Amarillo. He’s been kicking around the Texas scene for a while now, releasing an EP in 2016, and recently signing to the booking agency Red 11, allowing him to share some tour slots and stages with the finest in the Texas scene. Now he’s got the record he hopes takes him to the next level, and so far it’s earning big praise from listeners, and some of the biggest names in the genre.

With the same deft accuracy and studious understanding other country artists have evoked certain eras in the modern context, Randall King comes out swinging and fleetly re-imagines 90’s country with one sharp song after another. Some of the terminology and subject matter might be a little more tweaked to modern sensibilities, but the music is authentic, and you keep having to check the liner notes, telling yourself this must be a song you heard before from Alan Jackson, John Anderson, or early Garth Brooks who himself has been praising Randall King, saying recently,

“Everybody always asks me, who are the new people that you’re looking at coming up. Guys, I’m going to tell you right now, this kid right here, Randall King. All I can say is, sweet guy, good guy, hell of a writer, hell of a songwriter. An independent artist. He’s not signed to a record label. This is what country music is all about for me.”

Granted, some see the late 80’s and early 90’s as the era when it all went sour in country music, specifically because of artists such as Garth Brooks ushering in such commercial success. But within that era there was a style of music that was most certainly still country and worthy of recollecting, even before balancing it out with today’s (sub)standards. Keith Whitley’s influence had songwriters of that time running circles around composers from multiple eras in regards to wit and wordplay.

Randall King wrote or co-wrote all but one of the 13 tracks on the new album. The aw shucks and simple cleverness of songs like “Takin’ Me A Heartbreak” and “Dent In It” are exactly the type of tunes people are talking about when they mention the term “real country,” and complain how the modern stuff misses the mark. Another favorite that has emerged off the new album is the touching “When He Knows Me” about dealing with the memory loss of a loved one that so many people have to suffer through as parents and grandparents age. Very specifically about Randall’s grandfather, the personal nature of the song comes through in the writing and performance, and may lubricate a few eyes.

When making this kind of country, a corny-ness can come with the territory, and at times that creeps into the writing process for Randall. The awkward pause in the chorus of “Break It” almost feels a little too characteristic of someone else’s song to work in this instance. “Tuggin’ On My Heartstrings” may struggle to find the right balance between clever and just plain silly. But there are still some good love songs on the record, like the driving, but sentimental “Her Miss Me Days Are Gone.”

Along with the songwriting modes, the music itself is spot on for re-imagining a by-gone time in country music when words and songwriting mattered, and the steel guitar was an essential element. You really do feel like you’ve just unwrapped the cellophane off a 25-year-old record for the first time, even if this is at the expense of some originality in the approach, which is another fair concern.

Older artists such as the recently-passed Daryle Singletary, Gene Watson, and others have done their level best to keep this era of country music alive. And now joining other younger artists such as Mo Pitney and William Michael Morgan, Randall King is making sure the best portions of an important era in country music don’t go the way of the dinosaur, but instead are preserved for future generations to be influenced from and discover as the diverse and expansive timeline of country music continues on.

Larissa Tormey – Cowgirls Don’t Cry

Second country album of Irish/Russian singer-songwriter Larissa Tormey. The World never heard Irish Country with Russian flavor before!

Album Notes
One and only classically trained Russian singer turned Irish Country Singer-Songwriter!

Russian born Larissa Tormey has many strings to her musical bow, a classically trained vocalist, pianist and songwriter; she is enjoying life in rural Ireland from where she takes much inspiration for her music.

In 2001 she moved from the busy city of Moscow, to the quieter countryside in Ireland. Living on a rural farm which now gives Larissa a new muse for her writing which is influenced by classical, contemporary, jazz, pop and folk music.

In June 2014, Larissa was accepted as a guest singer at YOUBLOOM Global Music Village, a music conference event for the international artists, in Dublin and in November that year Larissa released her debut album in “Perfect as I Am”. A Charity Christmas Single “Special Christmas” released in December 2014 in aid of “Special Needs Parents Association” Ireland, was named among the top 6 Christmas Singles by The Irish Independent.

In 2015 Larissa was persuaded by her friend, Belfast songwriter BGPollock, to record her first country single “Only a Woman”, and the Pollock scribed single reached Top 100 Airplay country singles in a first week of its release and the video was premiered on The Hot Country channel on Sky TV.

This work and collaboration with BG Pollock lead Larissa to her second country album “God Loves A Trier” which was released 17th of March 2017 and shows the singer’s musical versatility, partly Irish folk, along with traditional Irish dancing country tunes.

The album includes collaborations with famousU.K. still guitar player Sarah Jory, songwriter BG Pollock, and Nashville-based guitarist Daniel Parks. Larissa reunited with producer David McCune, who produced her previous album and several of the new album’s songs, and she also enlisted producer Pete Ware whose notable productions include the albums of international country singer Charlie Landsborough and Mary Duff.

Shortly after release she opened the most prestigious country music event in Ireland “Hot Country TV Awards”

” The Sunday World” entertainment journalist Eddie Rowley wrote a big article about her “Meet Our Mos-Caw Girl” in June 2017.

Then, in July 2017, she is appeared on RTE 1 radio on Countrywide program with fabulous interview produced by famous Brenda Donohue, and after, appeared with interview and her latest songs with Shay Byrne (RTE radio presenter) at the Keep in Country TV channel.

Good looks, amazing personality and most important- beautiful voice!

Larissa is a full package, one of the best new emerging Irish country artists!

In January 2018 she was awarded by prestigious Sunday World Country Music Award “Cultural Crossover Country Artist of The Year” in Ireland

Christy Hays – River Swimmer

Like Lucinda Williams in a Carhartt jacket, Christy Hays works rugged metaphors into emotionally charged country folk. (Austin Chronicle). Christy Hays music has folk and country tinges, thoughtfully penned stories and a full band sound that is both driving alt country and moody folk rock.

New Album “River Swimmer” out April 27th, 2018 on Nine Mile Records.

“Christy Hays is likely the mostunderappreciated singer-songwriter in Austin. With River Swimmer, a rare combination of charming and powerful, she graciously ascends to another level.”

Broom Closet Ramblers – Lazy Manifesto

Traditional country, folk and blues are the influences – modern songs with lyrics and melodies built to last is the result in this second album by BCR.