New indie releases make waves … and charts
Brevard Busking Coalition – It Will Come Back To You
Brevard Busking Coalition has released It Will Come Back To You. From West Melbourne, Fla., the coalition incorporates many genres and calls their music “Hyperbolic Supersonic Urban Folk” with elements of world, acoustic punk, folk, bluegrass, birth metal and busking. The six multi-instrumentalists/singers locked themselves in a music store over Memorial Day weekend with no electricity, but with plenty of fluids and “busker chow.” At the end of the session, there was just a giant pile of abandoned instruments: banjo, bass, guitars, mandolin, melodeon, ukulele, didgeridoo, kazoo, singing bowl, big bass drum, bongos, cajon, djembe, doumbek, frame drum, kit, ramwong, talking drum, udu, agogo bells, cowbell, cymbals, flexitone, frog, goat hooves, guiro, klaves, metals, shakers, triangle, vibraslap, and more. They admit it took weeks to sort out, and there was no sign of the band which had sublimated into the musical “aetherspheres.” If you’re into peace, love, happiness and freedom, you’ll enjoy their racket. Listen to their music with plenty of chocolate, espresso, hot sauce, crash potatoes, organic meat, hot tea, and spicy hummus.
Bethel Steele – Of Love & Whiskey
Bethel Steele is an Americana singer/songwriter whose second studio record, Of Love & Whiskey, climbed to #17 for Top Albums and Songs on the Folk DJ Charts. Steele established herself at #26 for Top Artists. Bethel Steele continues to do very well on the Roots Music Report, coming in at #11 on the RMR State Chart for Mass., and secures #33 for Top 50 Folk Albums on the Roots Music Report Charts. Of Love & Whiskey is an introspective and tender exploration of the human condition. The ten-song effort delves into love’s adventures, the journey of recovery and self-reflection, and our capacity to find hope in unexpected places. The production on Of Love & Whiskey ranges from Bethel’s vocal and guitar (“With Age”) to fully produced songs backed by seasoned performers (“Sunrise,” “The Farm,” “Blue Skies”), but every song on the album shares an intimate story with the listener. Even the edgier numbers, like those that tackle the subject of addiction (“Hard Love,” “Whiskey”), have a certain heartfelt conviction and sincerity about them. An intimate journey of storytelling, hard truths and life experience, Of Love & Whiskey has continually gained momentum, reaching audiences across the globe. The most played cuts from Steele’s current project are “Farm,” “Seasons,” “Sunrise,” “Whiskey” and “Base.” At times edgy, at times tenderly expressive, Steele has established herself as an artist to be heard. The album was produced by Neale Eckstein and Jagoda. It was engineered and mixed at Fox Run Studio, Mass.
T Ferrell – Jesus Year
Mississippi-based T Ferrell’s Jesus Year has been out for a few months since its June 2012 release on Trace Records. Ferrell is into Americana music, with alt-country, country rock, roots rock and Southern rock flavorings. Mississippi native Taylor Ferrell writes and performs anti-establishment alt-country music. His populist themes and gritty stories channel Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle. On his debut album, Jesus Year, Ferrell weaves whiskey-soaked tales of Mississippi working class heroes doing battle with crooked preachers, man-eating vultures, and Confederate Generals.
Don Gallardo – The Art Of Troublesome Times
Don Gallardo released The Art Of Troublesome Times back in July 2012. Gallardo entered the studio three months before to record his third full-length album and second project with producer Neilson Hubbard (The Apache Relay, The Farewell Drifters, Kim Richey, Jill Andrews). As he and Neilson began whittling down Gallardo’s catalog of folksongs and heartfelt Americana numbers, the singer/songwriter decided he wanted the album to nod to his past while also pushing toward his future. “I just wanted to have this album loaded with songs that tell people ‘this is where I came from and this is where I’m going,’” he says. The songs that make up the album speak for themselves. They are stories and testimonies of a songwriter who’s spent the past 15 years crisscrossing the country, appearing with musicians such as Rosanne Cash, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Jim Lauderdale, and Yonder Mountain String Band. During the last decade, Gallardo averaged 120 shows a year, and he began touring the UK in 2011. This album encompasses all those years, from his earliest shows in Chico, Calif., to more recent performances in Nashville, Tenn., his adopted hometown. The 11-track album opens with “Sinking Ships,” a dark love song about the end of the world. From there, it moves between lovely folk songs, 1970s cosmic country-rockers, and bluegrass tunes like “Burgundy Wine.” Joining Gallardo is his road-tested band, How Far West, as well as guest musicians like organ/piano extraordinaire Jen Gunderman (The Jayhawks, Todd Snider), Eamon McLoughlin (The Greencards, Robert Earl Keen), and Jill Andrews (The Everybodyfields). Gallardo recommends the album if you like Bob Dylan, Justin Townes Earle, Ryan Adams, The Band, Old Crow Medicine Show and Ray LaMontagne.
Brittany Spriggs – Brand New
When Brittany Spriggs put out her album Brand New on Agnes Records, the young Franklin, Tenn. musician wasn’t sure what to expect with her brand of country pop and country rock. The debut album for the upcoming country artist is bringing her much attention. The album has a little something for everyone from the rockin’ uptempo, “Full Moon Friday” to the emotional vocal performance of “I Don’t Know.” Producer Michael Spriggs, who is a 40-year veteran of the Nashville music scene and also Brittany’s father, passed his passion for music down to his daughter. The two had an unforgettable experience working in the studio and continue to work harmoniously together. Musicians featured on Brand New include Michael Spriggs (acoustic guitar), Tully Kennedy (bass), Rich Redmond (drums), Kurt Allison (electric guitar), Charlie Judge (keyboard), Russ Paul (steel guitar), and Rodney Ingle (background vocals).