Category Archives: Track premiere

Track Premiere: Chris Stamey “Greensboro Days”

North Carolina indie rock godfather serves up a gem of a flashback. (Photo credit: Daniel Coston)

By Fred Mills

As North Carolina’s Chris Stamey quips, “Here it is, the followup to my first single, ‘The Summer Sun’—after only 41 years!”

The songwriter/rocker/producer is talking about “Greenboro Days,” which we here at BLURT are honored to be able to present to our readership. I’ve been a fan ever since the mid ‘70s, when he emerged as one of indie-rock’s earliest movers and shakers with his outfit Sneakers. Since then he’s consistently delivered the sonic goods, and this new track is no exception, so check it out:

The folk-pop tune’s available now at Spotify as well as Amazon. It was produced by Chris and Jeff Crawford and features Dan Davis (drums) and Jason Foureman (acoustic bass), plus John Teer from Chatham County Line on fiddle and mandolin, and Peter Holsapple from The dB’s (who also has a new record out, the Omnivore-issued Game Day album) on harmony vocals. (The tune will tweak the memories of longtime Stamey/Holsapple watchers who have the pair’s Mavericks collaboration from the ‘90s.) According to Chris, “’Greensboro Days’ is a folk-rock lament about traveling from summer into autumn, on steel wheels.” Those steel wheels can be viewed in the accompanying lyric video, which is considerably more than just a typical “lyric video”:

“Greensboro Days,” then, makes for a fitting followup to Chris’ “Summer Sun” single from ’77. It’s released on Stamey’s recently reactivated Car Records label, which released some true gems in the late ‘70s from Holsapple, Stamey and The dB’s, Big Star’s Chris Bell, and Sneakers. It’s more than appropriate, considering the back pages Chris recently thumbed through in his A Spy in the House of Loud musical memoir. The city of Greensboro is just a few miles from where Chris grew up, in Winston-Salem, and it played an influential role during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s when the North Carolina indie scene—and Stamey himself—was establishing its musical footing. And speaking of the Car label: He also has plans to release a new solo album, The Great Escape, via Car in early 2019, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Incidentally, fans wanting to dive a bit deeper into “Greensboro” can snag a free download of Chris’ sheet music for the song at THIS LINK that he kindly provided. The sheet music is from his songbook New Songs for the 20th Century.

 

 

 

 

Track Premiere: Bird Streets “Carry Me”

Terrific tune culled from eponymous album, due out this week on Omnivore. Above: Jason Falkner and John Brodeur.

By Fred Mills

Brooklyn-based John Brodeur has been releasing top-shelf pop records for a number of years now, and in his current incarnation as Bird Streets and new album Bird Streets he’s knocking the ball out of the park. The album was produced by the mighty Jason Falkner (Jellyfish, Beck, etc.), who also plays on it and shares co-writing credit with Brodeur on all but two tracks. It drops August 10 via Omnivore, and we are extremely pleased to be able to unveil a track for our readership. Check out “Carry Me”:

Sings Brodeur, tellingly,

“Let’s raise a toast my friends
To new beginnings and bitter ends
Flip the hourglass again
‘Cause morning’s breaking soon…”

Brodeur comments on the song, saying, “I left Falkner’s place one evening having been instructed to return with ‘something that rocks.’ This old lyric full of car crashes and explosions seemed to fit the bill. We knew almost immediately that ‘Carry Me’ was going to open the record, it just had this undeniable vibe. In a way, it was the first Bird Streets song—the one that made me realize we weren’t making just another John Brodeur record.”

The record was primarily produced and recorded at Rhetoric studio in Los Angeles, and among the other musicians appearing on the record are Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell.

 

Both Brodeur and Falkner will be appearing onstage together for some shows August 25-26 in Los Angeles; joining them will be bassist Keith Hosmer and drummer Ben Lecourt. Brodeur’s official album release party will be August 9 in NYC, and you can keep track of the shows at his Bird Streets website.

Meanwhile, check out the track “Betting On the Sun” over at Magnet magazine, and the video for the song “Direction” at Glide mag.

 

Video Premiere: Willie Nile “Earth Blues”

Stompin’ tune taken from latest album Children of Paradise. (Photo by Cristina Arrigoni)

By Fred Mills

“I wanted it to feel like Judgment Day.”

That’s veteran rocker Willie Nile, on his song “Earth Blues,” an apocalyptic-lined powerhouse of a number even by Nile’s own blazing standards. And it’s no surprise, either, as his new Children of Paradise album (released July 27 on his own River House label) is a relentless, topical look at the turbulent darkness that currently engulfs us, what with tracks like “Getting’ Ugly Out There,” “Seeds of a Revolution,” and “All Dressed Up and No Place to Go.”

We’re pretty stoked to be able to premiere the video for “Earth Blues.” It was directed by Ehud Lazin, and Nile notes that he “filmed a show in June in Asbury Park, NJ, and used footage from that along with shots of the environmental chaos going on around the world. Lazin did a great job directing it. It’s got all the things I like about rock ‘n’ roll. It’s heartfelt, pissed off, in love, on fire, and out of its mind all at the same time.” Check it out:

Of the song, Nile says, “I wanted to give the earth a voice with all the chaos that’s going on with it. The ocean level’s rising, the weather’s changing for the worse and the climate for living a decent life here is going to hell. There’s a mass of plastic garbage the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean for cryin’ out loud! A hundred years from now, the people responsible for letting it fall into ruin will be long gone and won’t give a damn and our descendants will be left to suffer and deal with the darkness and difficulties to come. They do it all for the money and nothing else, and our grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to have to pay for it. It’s not right and it’s not ok. That’s why I wrote ‘Earth Blues.’ I wanted to write a rocker with an anthemic chorus and I’m thrilled with how it came out. The band was on fire the day we cut it. I wanted it to feel like Judgment Day.”

Indeed it does, sir.

Nile’s 12th studio album was co-produced with Stewart Lerman (Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, Norah Jones) and cut with his crack live band (guitarist Matt Hogan, bassist Johnny Pisano, drummer Jon Weber). Also on the album are guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Steuart Smith (Eagles/Rosanne Cash/Rodney Crowell) and keyboardist Andy Burton (John Mayer/Rufus Wainwright/Ian Hunter), plus backing vocals by singer-songwriter James Maddock, Leslie Mendelson (Bob Weir), and Frankie Lee.

Nile recently wrapped up a short tour but plan on seeing him back on the road soon starting in mid-August—you can keep track of him via his Facebook page and his Instagram account, and of course at WillieNile.com. You can also check out a 2016 interview, “Storming the Gates,” here at BLURT, as well as one we published in 2013, “On the Right Path.” Needless to say we’re pretty big Nile fans around here…

Track Premiere: Kevin Gordon “Right on Time”

Brooklyn, NY – November 17, 2017 – Portrait of musician Kevin Gordon.
Photo credit: Jacob Blickenstaff

Rock ‘n’ roller transcends labels and genres – and he’s right on time, at that. From his new album, Tilt & Shine, out July 27.

By Blurt Staff

Though often tabbed as a songwriter or an Americana artist, Kevin Gordon is really a rock & roller. He proudly flies the rock & roll flag on “Right On Time,” a three-and-a-half-minute, tongue-in-cheek ode to the road. And Blurt is proud to be the one to introduce this track to you.

Gordon captures the strangeness of missing loved ones, the road as an in-between space of disconnection, the nerves of trying to make a sound check six hours away, as the guitars keep pushing. It’s a track from his vivid, swampy new album and artistic high water mark ‘Tilt & Shine,’ out July 27 on Crowville Media.

Gordon says, “I did a lot of driving when touring in support of the Gloryland and Long Gone Time records. The song is triggered from little moments—a morning in a motel in Marion, Virginia opens the story. The van I had at the time had 185,000 miles on it — and three out of four speakers blown — when I bid it goodbye. It was also an acceptance of that life—the over- romanticized ‘road,’ which I still love but which has become extremely familiar.”

He adds, “And being who, and what, I am, it’s easy to feel alienation in that literal distance from your family—distance that becomes metaphorical, in a fearful way. I also felt the challenge of writing a song with such a familiar phrase as its title and refrain. With my friend Gwil Owen, hopefully we crafted something that’s real, and fresh.”

July 23 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3
July 24 – Washington, D.C. – Pearl Street
July 27 – Nashville, TN – City Winery
July 29 – Charleston, WV – Mountain Stage at Charleston Center Theater
September 20 – Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
September 21 – Charlotte, NC – River Jam
September 28 – Baton Rouge, LA – Red Dragon Listening Room
September 29 – Houston, TX – McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
September 30 – Austin, TX – Sam’s Town Point

Track Premiere: Hair & Skin Trading Company “Nihil”

Track will appear on the forthcoming new album.

By Fred Mills

Speaking as a huge fan of late ’80s/early ’90s British psychedelia – My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3, and Loop especially – I couldn’t be more thrilled to unveil a brand new track from the Hair & Skin Trading Company, the band formed by John Willis (drums), and Neil MacKay (bass, vocals) following Loop’s demise; they were augmented by Nigel Webb (guitar) plus the short-tenured keyboardist/sampler player Richard Johnston.

Longtime contributor Jonathan Levitt has just interviewed MacKay and Willis for BLURT about their classic 1992 album Jo in Nine G Hell as part of our “The Story Behind the Album” series which Levitt spearheads. (Check out, in particular, his profile of Thee Hypnotics’ Soul Glitter & Sin.) And not only did he obtain from the band an unreleased live recording of one of the album tracks to include, they also supplied him with an exclusive track from their forthcoming new album, I don’t know where you get those funny ideas from. 

Check out the brilliant “Nihil” below and don’t forget to read the interview at the above link.

Track Premiere: Smash Fashion “Rompus Pompous”

By Blurt Staff

Now that the smell of burnt fireworks and Lee Greenwood-led jingoism has finally faded,  we thought it was about time to focus on some West Coast explosion of talent. Blurt is proud to offer the song premiere of Smash Fashion’s new track “Rompus Pompous,” in all its glitter-encrusted frenetic glory.

>

The song is the title track from the LA.-based glam/punk/power-pop band’s latest album (their fourth to date, for those counting) Rompus Pompous, which came out just 2 days after the nation’s anniversary, July 6th.

“Our title track ‘Rompus Pompous’ is a case of textbook narcissism… which seems to be running rampant!” says front man Roger Deering. Along with Deering, the band is made up of ex members of London Quireboys, Smack and Rock City Angels.

Enjoy!

Video Premiere: mmhmm “Aw Hell”

Track taken from Willie’s granddaughter’s combo’s new album, out in June.

By John B. Moore

I’m not sure why we’re getting all worked up about Prince Harry’s wedding, when we’ve got out own Royal Family here in the U.S. to pay attention to. Willie Nelson’s granddaughter Raelyn Nelson (just the latest in a growing line of talented Nelson’s) and Hannah Fairlight have partnered for a new project, mmhmm. The two are pioneers in the Americana Pop genre.
Shortly after moving to Nashville, Fairlight landed a leading role on A&E’s Crazy Hearts: Nashville, released a self-produced EP, and landed the role of Veracity in Pitch Perfect 3. Before co-founding mmhmm, Nelson fronted the appropriately named, The Raelyn Nelson Band.
Their debut album is out on June 8, the first single from it is “Aw Hell” and they were kind enough to let Blurt be the first to share it with the world.

See the video:

“Aw Hell” is the first song Raelyn and I wrote together, sitting on my back porch in Inglewood, East Nashville,” said Fairlight. “I guess we were just reflecting on real life circumstances and our coming to terms with them. Raelyn’s house burned down, which was INSANE.,. And it gave me and definitely Raelyn new perspective on everything.”

The duo have a handful of dates set up for June:

June 1st at Puckett’s in Lieper’s Fork, TN
June 15th at Lipstick Lounge – Album release show and party in Nashville, TN
Supporting Todd Snider:
June 16th at Paramount Center of the Arts in Bristol TN
June 17th at Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH
June 28 Summer NAMM show in Nashville, TN

 

Exclusive Album Premiere: Arthur Alexander (Sorrows/Poppees) Solo LP

 

Kickass platter One Bar Left arrives this week, May 4, on the Dead Beat label.

 

By Blurt Staff

Arthur Alexander is no stranger to memorable guitar hooks. As the guitarist/singer/songwriter from both the mid-‘70s NYC power-pop band The Poppees and early ‘80s power-pop band Sorrows he’s written his fair share of impossible to shake ditties. That’s one of many reasons Blurt is stoked to be able to premiere Arthur Alexander’s new debut solo effort, One Bar Left.  The LP comes out May 4th on all formats via Dead Beat Records, and traffics in a similar high-energy style of power-pop from his former bands.

“The songs on this album literally span decades – from some of the very first songs I’d written, like “Hello Suzanne” and “Till I Was On My Way”, to “I’ll Get Your Love Someday” which I wrote while I was with The Poppees, through “Can’t Get You Out Of My Dream” written shortly before Sorrows’ breakup, to songs written only recently,” said Alexander. “Some started their life years ago, but were never finished, only to be completed as I was recording this album.”

One of the things he’s proudest of on this album is how all the songs (and it’s a lot of songs!), no matter how diverse from one to the next, all seem to somehow flow together.

“As unintuitive as it may sound, I think that’s because I paid absolutely no attention or made any effort to making them “sound similar”.  Instead, I went for what sounded and worked the best for each song, and nothing else. I simply went where each song wanted to take me, rather than me trying to take the song where I thought it should go. “Shot In The Heart” felt like it wanted to sound like Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” meets Tom Waits?  Why Not?!  As long as I felt like I’m staying true to myself and my music, that’s all that mattered.”
Check it out for yourself. Oh, and while you’re at it, check the man himself out at his Facebook page for more info, tour dates, et al.

Exclusive Video: New Chris Smither (acoustic): Down to the Sound

O, what a lucky man: Key track from new album currently out (and being toured as well).

By Fred Mills

This clip is a personal fave: Having followed Chris Smither avidly ever since seeing him in a small blues club in Charlotte, NC (and later having the privilege of hanging with him and sundry other fans and media types during a memorable night of, ahem, music and fun in Tucson, AZ), I can state personally that the cat is the real freakin’ deal —and you, gentle readers, will bear witness with me when you view the following video for “Down to the Sound,” a special solo acoustic performance, filmed in Leverett, MA, of a key track from his superb new album, Call Me Lucky (Signature Sounds/Mighty Albert), which dropped a few days ago, on March 2:

With video production via J. Elon Goodman / www.saltstage.com, this simple-yet-piercing track comes alive, not unlike having the blues/Americana virtuoso sitting across you in your own house.

Smither, on the track: “This song came about from some press interview awhile back when I was in the middle of writing songs for this record. He asked me the question I’ve been asked more times than I care to remember, ‘How do you write songs?’  I think ‘Down To The Sound’ ended up being a suitable answer.”

Amen, sir.

It’s the Boston virtuoso’s 18th—yes, that makes EIGHTEEN—album to date, and a 2CD set to boot, one which took him to Austin with producer David Goodrich along with players Billy Conway (Morphine) and Matt Lorenz (The Suitcase junket). If you need more convincing, HERE is a video you can also view over at NPR’s World Café.

Or you could just check out the man in concert, because he’s on the road just about constantly for the next couple of months…

Wed., March 7  PORTLAND, OR Alberta Rose Theatre*

Thurs., March 8  EUGENE, OR Shedd Institute*

Fri., March 9  BAINBRIDGE WA The Treehouse Café*

Sat., March 10  VANCOUVER, BC St. James Hall*

Sun., March 11  SEATTLE, WA  Tractor Tavern*

Wed., March 14  SANTA CRUZ, CA  Kuumbwa Jazz Center*

Thurs., March 15  AUBURN, CA  Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center*

Fri., March 16  BERKELEY, CA  Freight & Salvage*

Sat., March 17  SEBASTOPOL, CA  Sebastopol Community Center*

Fri., March 30  HOUSTON, TX  The Mucky Duck

Sat., March 31  AUSTIN, TX  Cactus Cafe

Wed., April 4  NEW YORK, NY  City Winery NYC*

Fri., April 6  FALL RIVER, MA Narrows Center for Arts*

Sat., April 7  TURNERS FALLS, MA Shea Theater*

Sun., April 8  CAMBRIDGE, MA  The Sinclair*

Fri., April 13  AUBURN, NY  Auburn Public Theater

Sat., April 14  PHILADELPHIA, PA  World Cafe Live

Sun., April 15  BALTIMORE, MD  Creative Alliance at Patterson

Fri., April 27  NASHVILLE, TN  Bluebird Cafe

Sat., April 28  BATON ROUGE, LA Red Dragon Listening Room

Sun., April 29  NEW ORLEANS, LA Chickie Wah Wah

Thurs., May 10  EVANSTON, IL  Evanston SPACE

Fri., May 11  MINNEAPOLIS, MN Cedar Cultural Center

Sat., May 12  ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark

Sun., May 13  CLEVELAND, OH Beachland Ballroom

Tues., May 15  PITTSBURGH, PA  Club Cafe

Wed., May 16  BUFFALO, NY  9th Ward @ Babeville

Thurs., May 17  ROCHESTER, NY Penthouse at One East Ave

Fri., July 20  TELLURIDE, CO  Telluride Americana Music Festival

 

*Band dates

 

Video Premiere: Kevin Daniel “Myself Through You”

Choice title track from the artist’s upcoming record in March.

By Blurt Staff

Americana/blues/alt-country virtuoso Kevin Daniel’s new EP, Myself Through You, will arrive March 16, via Creative Entertainment Network/The Orchard, described as “a mix of roots rock riffs, Americana flavor, alternative country backed by pedal steel guitar, flugelhorn, and bluegrass banjo.” Indeed, as evidenced by the title track (not to mention this wonderful video for the tune “Born A Preacher”), it’s all that and much more. We’re proud to unveil “Myself Through You,” in fact, here at BLURT. Check it out:

Explains Daniel, “I chose to name the album after this song because it’s got a lot of what I love in music, banjo, organ, and great harmonies. It’s a bit of a departure from my more country-tinged stuff, but I think pushing yourself is often how you get some of your best work. The music video itself was shot on probably one of the coldest days of the winter so far, it was maybe ten degrees that day? Maybe less. It was super, super cold which is why I kept dancing and moving. Originally, I was just supposed to sort of walk around Brooklyn but decided if we were going to’ be outside all day, then I needed to keep moving around.”

The new record was recorded in the summer of 2017 at Brooklyn’s Degraw Sound with Benjamin Rice (Jack Penate, Silya & The Sailor, Aoife O’Donovan). It follows 2013’s debut FLY, and is the culmination of a career that’s began blossoming during the North Carolina native’s childhood and steadily developed through high school orchestras, a pair of jazz/blues bands, a bluegrass outfit, a punk/ska combo, and even an a capella group (he was a tenor, in case you’re wondering).

Watch for Daniel and his band, currently based in NYC, hitting the road this spring and throughout the summer. Details at his official website – and don’t confuse him with that other Kevin Daniel (a pop artist) or even that other Kevin Daniel (a visual artist). This guy’s the real deal.

Upcoming dates:
March 16th at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC, NY
April 4th at The Fire in Philadelphia, PA
April 7th at The Pour House in Raleigh, NC
April 14th at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ
More to come…