Wednesday, October 09, 2019

"Today is Today" by King Pine

Listen to this soft, beautiful song opener. Excited to share the first song from King Pine. It's the lead single "Today is The Day," from Hudson Valley songwriter James Hearne who has quickly become one of my favorite east coast singers. 

Today is Today is a Bon Iver-like exit from reality. Transported and lifted away as on a cloud, I'm a child looking out the window of a moving car, my eyes squint as the sun bathes my face in warm light. The guitar work here is exquisite, the song tight and fast. This is a fleeting moment on a glorious day and the start of something pretty wonderful.

World Premiere:

A journeyman of the Philadelphia music scene (he jokingly refers to it as "a bare-knuckle indie rock scene") Hearne has made his way up and down the Atlantic,into upstate NY and through New England for shows over the last year. The results for audiences and his songwriting have been pretty inspired.

Raise the sails batten down the hatch
Set the table kill the fatted calf
Sweep the galleys swab the floors
Sing the songs from some forgotten war
Prepare ye the way
Today is today
Coming home to stay
Trim the trees deck the halls
Fill the holes we put into the walls
Turn down the lights turn down the bed
Make believe we didn't say the things we said
Prepare ye the way
Today is today
Coming home to stay
Everything is change
You're in and out of range
Prepare ye the way
Today is today
Coming home to stay

“None Use Swear Words” is performed entirely by Hearne and co-producer Dave Drago (Sean Barna, Tallahassee) at Drago’s 1809 Studios in Macedon, NY. It was tracked in just under twelve hours, Hearne handling all the guitars and most of the vocals and keys, Drago playing all the rest, a rapid-fire barrage of idea and execution that Hearne calls “the most gratifying studio experience I can recall.”

photo by James Orr

Hearne is a serious songwriter but he's possesses a comedian's mind, underscored by the functional (if not funny) album title, "None Use Swear Words." The functional name reflects the lack of curses used, sure, but it's also a simple way to relay the survival mode struggle creators operate in. Attention of one's audience is a desperate struggle with all that inputs and noises in this fast-paced world. The EP title effortless lends itself to copious listens from music festival producers, radio station programmers and prudish soccer Moms alike. 

None Use Swear Words (Nov 1)

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Short story is this is an excellent artist debut on an album with soaring singles and a funny little name. An A debut and we're certainly hoping for more of the same really soon. (Prebuy the digital-only album for just four bucks.)

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Ghosts We Can Always See

I started this music blog thirteen years ago this fall and have had to provide mea culpas for disappearing acts only a few times during that span. Today's post is a hybrid of one. I've been away dealing with professional responsibilities and caring for my dying mother - who I was largely estranged with prior to all this.

Seeing a vital person fall apart medically and psychologically has been one of the most emotionally draining things I've ever had to go through. Having it being an awakening of our difficult relationship has been another eye-opener.. Life is not easy. But light can be found anywhere. Life prevails.

For the last six weeks I've gotten into the habit of seating myself in front of my desktop with a cup of coffee (if only for 30 minutes) to see if I could write. My mind is often racing too fast to compose. Or, often, I'm just too tired to find the words. 

Today I write and hope I've turned a creative stone that reflects my own well-being. I still have a lot to say. And at least for now, I'm back. 

Mom's story 
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Ryan's Smashing Life Facebook
Outlaw Roadshow Facebook

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Spotlight on Beth Bombara

It's hard for me to imagine a musician on the road with a bigger heart than Beth Bombara and that shines through in her live performance. In the last few short years Bombara's dreams of reaching audiences around the country have come true. 

And with each journey, experience and show Beth becomes better-armed with life material for new songs. Her quietly amazing self-titled debut was the launching point for me. Bombara deftly followed it with a stellar collection of songs called Map & No Direction in 2017. Today, she's still touring like her music heroes before her and making new traditions to follow.

July 31- Ripon WI, The Heist
Aug 1-3-Appleton WI, Mile of Music
Aug 6- Columbia MO, The Blue Note 
w/Old 97's
Aug 8- Nashville TN, City Winery 
w/Erica Blinn
Aug 9- St. Louis MO, Old Rock House 
w/Lilly Hiatt
Aug 11- Madison WI, The Winnebago 
w/Sway Wild
Aug 13- Minneapolis, 7th Street Entry 
w/Sway Wild
Aug 15- Chicago IL, Hey Nonny
Aug 16- Holland MI, Park Theatre
Aug 17- Muskegon MI, Unruly Brewing
Aug 29- Kansas City MO, Knuckleheads 
w/Kevin Galloway

IN HER OWN WORDS - With a folksinger’s head and a rocker's heart, Beth Bombara has built her career on an evolving sound that blurs the lines between genres. To those who make their living onstage, she's a musician's musician — a road warrior who writes her own exemplary material, plays multiple instruments, and fronts her own band, often a duo with her husband - guitarist and producer Kit Hamon.

Beth Bombara
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Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Claypool Lennon Delirium

“Ideas always come quick for us, and I think that’s why we like working together. But playing with Les is like knowing you’re gonna be playing tennis with Rafael Nadal – it makes you wanna brush up on a few things before you get on the court,” Sean Lennon on playing with Les Claypool of Primus. 

The pair have been making music for a couple years now during Claypool's available dates with Primus. But now The Claypool Lennon Delirium are at center stage. The psychedelic Batman and Robin, Claypool and Lennon are touring dates with Flaming Lips in support of CLD's sophomore album, South of Reality. The duo unveiled the animated music video Little Fishes this week.

The Claypool Lennon Delirium
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Friday, July 26, 2019

RIBS drop Too Long

FIRST LISTEN - Chris Oquist and Keith Freund - the dark rock duo RIBS unexpectedly dropped another new song today. Too Long is a mesmerizing, mechanical beauty with a creative lineage that reminds this listener of both vintage Deftones and NIN. Pay attention. The fact that another track has dropped and so soon is a positive turn for the act and could mean a full album is on the way.

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Five Songs from Jesse Malin

FRIDAY SPOTLIGHT - Long one of my favorite singers and songwriters, Jesse Malin just announced dates with Justin Townes Earle. If you're in the path of one of these shows, you are advised to arrive early!  Jesse's new album, Sunset Kids (which was produced by Lucinda Williams - who sings with Jesse on new song "Room 13") has an August 30 release. 

IN THEIR OWN WORDS - Already a veteran of the NYC hardcore scene by the time he was a teenager, Jesse Malin first rose to fame with the influential punk band D Generation, a group Rolling Stone called "the best thing to happen to New York noise in the Nineties." Malin traded in his electric for an acoustic in 2002, though, shedding his skin and embarking on an acclaimed solo career with his Ryan Adams-produced debut, ‘The Fine Art of Self Destruction.’ Hailed by Uncut as “an instant classic,” the record was stripped-down, raw, and intimate, earning comparisons to Neil Young and Tom Waits for its ragged, poetic beauty.

In the decade-and-a-half that followed, Malin would go on to blur the lines between singer-songwriter and punk rocker with a string of similarly celebrated solo albums, including his most recent back-to-back releases, ‘Outsiders’ and ‘New York Before The War.’ Malin has recorded with Bruce Springsteen and Green Day, performed on The Tonight Show, Conan, and Letterman, and shared stages with everyone from The Replacements and The Hold Steady to Bob Weir and The Gaslight Anthem. A prolific writer and relentless road warrior, he continues to circle the globe with his band and has finished his seventh studio album, a collection produced by American roots icon Lucinda Williams.

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