“Somewhere in the Middle” by Wes Weddell, from the album “Somewhere in the Middle”

 

For the past twenty years, Wes Weddell has worked multiple shifts in the engine room of Seattle’s roots music scene asfrontman, sideman, writer, teacher, and community-builder. “Always heartfelt and well-constructed” (“Seattle Weekly”), listeners have come to expect Weddell’s songs to “speak for themselves” (“No Depression”). 

“Valley of the Bones” by Jane Kramer, from the album “Valley of the Bones”

 

Just listen to the words.

 

 

 For those who may be unfamiliar with Jane, she is an Appalachian singer/songwriter who is currently located in Asheville, North Carolina and who has been mentored by Mary Gauthier as a songwriter. Not content to just be a musician, Jane is also a social worker and humanitarian. She regularly teaches the process behind songwriting in prisons, hospitals, rescue missions and to at-risk youth.

 

“Somewhere A Place” by RJ Cowdery, from the album “What If This Is All There Is”

From the first few notes you know this is a special album, but it’s RJ’s voice that seals it. The opening song, “Somewhere A Place”, hits you immediately. A reflective song about love denied wrapped in velvet vocals. It’s a love song, a what if song with a tom-tom pater, simple key strokes, and gentle guitar. 

words by Viola Krouse of  MAKING A SCENE

“Eyes of a Child” by Greg Jacobs, from the album “Encore”

Greg Jacobs is one of the Red Dirt Troubadours based in Stillwater, Okla. who influenced the songwriting of fellow Okies Garth Brooks, Jimmy LaFave, Tom Skinner, Cody Canada, The Red Dirt Rangers, Bob Childers and Jason Boland. He’s a smooth singing vocalist who records only periodically, living by Childers’ adage of it’s better to write one good song than 10 bad ones. For “Encore,” which Jacobs indicates could very well be his last album, he sets forth a collection of songs with some of the state’s best session musicians including producer/string man Jared Tyler, Gene Williams, Jeff Parker, Shelby Eicher, Terry “Buffalo” Ware” and two duets with Carter Sampson.

“Windows of Halifax” by Steve Poltz, from the album Shine On.

Known more for his live shows than albums Steve Poltz is as much a comedian as Folk singer. With Windows of Halifax (where he was born) Steve shows his wit, intelligence,uniqueness you could say talents.

I chose the video to get a feel of his live act.

Below is his Bio written by himself so guess it should be autobio.

Listen carefully to the lyrics of this wonderfully clever song.

 

Steve’s Bio 

DISCLAIMER 1: The “official” Wikipedia for Steve Poltz describes the material contained therein as “contentious, not to mention “unsourced or poorly sourced.” We can wholeheartedly assure you Steve remains sourced and rarely contends. Either way, allow us to present the real story from the horse’s (man’s) mouth…

DISCLAIMER 2: (No animals were harmed in the making of this bio.)

Throughout over three decades in music, Steve Poltz did it all and more—often shared by way of his rockin’ countrified folk slices of sardonic Americana (hatched in Halifax). Of course, he co-wrote Jewel’s multiplatinum Hot 100-topping megahit “You Were Meant For Me,” but he also went on a whale watch with her and a few federales that turned into a drug bust. The two still share the story at every festival they play together. He made his bones as the frontman for underground legends The Rugburns, who burned rubber crisscrossing the continent on marathon tours and still pop up once in a while for the rare and quickly sold out reunion gig.

In 20 years since his full-length solo debut, One Left Shoe, he blessed the world’s ears with twelve solo records, spanning the acclaimed 2010 Dreamhouse and most recently Folk Singer in 2015. NPR summed it up best, “Critics and fans alike now regard Poltz as a talented and prolific songwriter.By 2016, he survived a stroke, endured anything the music industry could throw at him, and still performed like “280 days a year.

However, he still never lived in Nashville, which represents a turning point in the story and the genesis of his 2018 Compass Records debut, Shine On

“My girlfriend Sharon sold the condo we were living in, and I was ready to live in a van, which seemed like a good idea for one night—then I decided I wanted a kitchen and a closet,” he admits. “Sharon wanted to move to Nashville, because she thought it would be good for me. It caused a huge fight. I’d been in San Diego since 1980, and that’s where I cut my musical teeth. I thought I’d never leave.  In fact, at the height of our fight, I said, ‘I’m not leaving San Diego. I am San Diego!’ This makes me laugh now. As soon as I got to Nashville, I immediately knew I wanted to make a record in ‘Music City’.”

So, the man who once protested “I am San Diego” made Shine On in his new home of Nashville with one of its elder statesman behind the board, Will Kimbrough [Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell]. Holing up in the studio at Kimbrough’s house, nothing would be off limits. Together, they unlocked the kind of creative chemistry you only hear about in band bios—but for real.

“I respect Will so much, and I’d always wanted to work with him,” says Steve. “Like two mad scientists, we just took our time and had fun. We didn’t overthink things. Everything felt organic. We ate soul food and drank lots of really good coffee. We tried out weird sounds, and the songs always started with voice and guitar—no click track, just how I’d play them. I road tested many of them, and they were ripe for the picking when recording time came around.”

Evoking themes of “hope, love, contemplation, celebration of Wednesday, pharmacists, and the fact that windows are not inanimate objects and they sometimes have conversations with each other, the record represents Steve at his most inspired and insightful. The opener and title track “Shine On” pairs a delicate vocal with lithely plucked acoustic strings as he urges, “Shine on, shine on.

“The song was a gift,” he recalls. “I woke up really early in Encinitas, California at Sharon’s sister’s house. The sun was just coming up. I was all alone in perfect solitude. My guitar was there. The sky was gorgeous. I wrote it as a poem. Everyone always told me, ‘Never start a record with a really slow song.’  So, seeing that I have O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), I  started my record with one. I love the mood it sets. It’s almost like my mission statement, trying to find some semblance of positivity and light in a sometimes ruthless world.”

On “Pharmacist,” rustling guitar and harmonica propel a tale of “this dude having a crush on his pharmacist.” It also serves as an extension of his friendship with neighbor Scot Sax—with whom he shares the podcast “One Hit Neighbors” (since they’ve both had one hit song). Meanwhile, he joined forces with Molly Tuttle on “4th of July,” which, of course, came to life on the 3rd of July. “Ballin On Wednesday” drew its title and chorus from a diner checkout girl (with a super cool gold tooth) who Steve paid with a $100 bill and she replied, “Oooh, ballin’ on a Wednsday.The finale “All Things Shine” skips along on sparse instrumentation as Steve sends a message.

‘All Things Shine’ came about after one of the many mass shootings on this planet,” he sighs. “I was feeling overwhelmed. So, I wanted to put my feelings into words and melody. I was thinking that even if we’re feeling hopeless that there is still beauty. All things shine in their own way.”

Who could contend that?

In the end, for everything you can call him “searcher, smartass, movie freak, lover of technology, news junkie, baseball fan to nth degree, lapsed catholic who still believes in god even though all his friends are atheists and think he’s an idiot, and maker of fun, you might just call Steve that little light in the dark we all need in this day and age.

Or Nashville’s Canadian Jiminy Cricket…

“I hope Shine On makes listeners smile and feel welcome, and they want to share it with their friends,” he leaves off. “Music means energy to me. All things. It connects us, makes us move, helps us relax, and inspires us to change things up.”

“The Flow” by Daniel Norgren, from the album Wooh Dang.

The flow is perfect for a summer chill out, close eyes and listen or watch the video. My favorite track of the album Wooh Dang.

Daniel Norgren is a Swedish songwriter from the tall woods of the north. 

He’s working through the small indie label Superpuma Records and has been doing so since 2006.

 

I’m bumming around trying to find the flow
Window blinds shut, doors locked everywhere I go
I’m bumming around trying to find the flow
Window blinds shut, doors locked everywhere I go

I’m bumming around waiting for the train
Sleeping on the cold, cold ground in the pouring rain
I’m bumming around waiting for the train
Sleeping on the cold, cold ground in the pouring rain

Skin and bone a long way from home
Skin and bone a long way from home
Skin and bone a long way from home

“Standard Deviation” by Danny Schmidt, from the album Standard Deviation.

This song is a romance set in the multi-dimensional realm of theoretical physics, string theory, quantum mechanics, and descriptive statistics.  At its most distilled, it’s just simply about how there’s someone out there for everyone, no matter how distant an outlier they may be, and no matter how esoteric their passions and obsessions.

It weaves together several other themes, as well, though.  It touches on the pushback that smart women can face when expressing their smarts in traditionally male-dominated arenas. It draws parallels between quantum entanglement and human entanglement.   And it asserts that even the most guarded and unlikely heart has some perfectly twisted key somewhere that will open up it right up.  

And it’s about how sexy a smart mind can be when it’s set totally and wildly free.

“Fold Of Your Dress” by Rod Picott, from the album Tell The Truth & Shame The Devil.

 

Final track off the album has yet another haunted track. “Fold Of Your Dress” has Picott seeking out ways to disappear: “Pills make me rattle and cocaine’s worse/Whiskey is a slower ride to the hearse.” But it’s the connection he’s missing that haunts him the most: “Did I set you free just like I did the rest/Wish I was in the fold of your dress.” This is what Picott calls one of the “lighter” songs on the record. Clearly, the man’s been through some stuff.  ( Americana Highways provided the words )

 

 

One hell of an album that has got the reviewers raving with big words and phrases  “Anyone who’s gotten near or past 50 years old knows the existential ruminations that invariably ensue” 

Sorry but I’m over 60 and still feel like 18 and think like a 16 year old. Does that mean its a great album?

I think its  GREAT ALBUM and Mr. Picott does not like writing silly, glittery Pop.

The album is on regular play on TMEfm Radio and was provided by Adam Dawson who can promote great artists if not that famous.