Tag: Americana

Earlier this month, I wrote about the St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada-born singer/songwriter and guitarist, Dallas Green and his acclaimed, commercially successful folk rock/alt country-solo recording project City and Colour. Green started playing piano when he turned eight and was writing music when he turned 14. Initially beginning his music career as a member of Helicon Blue, Green was a founding member of Canadian post-hardcore act Alexisonfire with whom he wrote and recorded four Platinum-certified albums and an EP — 2001’s self-titled album, 2004’s Watch Out!, 2006’s Crisis and 2009’s Old Crows/Young Cardinals and 2010’s Dog’s Blood EP — before officially breaking up in 2011.

City and Colour, Green’s solo recording project can trace its origins back to 2005 when he began releasing early versions of songs for fans to download. Many of those songs were written when Green turned 16 — and he complied those songs and rewrote many of those songs, eventually releasing them as his 2005 City and Colour debut, Sometimes.

2008’s City and Colour sophomore album, the folk-influenced Bring Me Your Love featured a wider arrangement of instrumentation, including harmonica, banjo, drums and lap steel and found Green collaboration with The Tragically Hip’s Gordon Downie and Attack in Black‘s Matt Sullivan. The album’s lead single “Waiting . . . ” peaked at #32 on the Canadian Hot 100. Building upon a growing profile on both sides of the border, Green and his backing band went on their first American tour, opening for Tegan and Sara and Girl in a Coma. The following year, Green went on a Stateside headlining tour with William Elliott Whitmore. 

January 2010 saw Green on another headlining Stateside tour to support Bring Me Your Love with opening act Lissie, which he followed with a UK tour opening for Pink and Butch Waters, with a handful of headlining dates. He ended that year collaboration with Polaris Music Prize-nominated artist Shad on a remix of one of “Listen” off TSOL, and an original song “Live Forever.

2011’s Little Hell featured Green’s highest charting single, “Fragile Bird,” which reached #1 on the Canadian rock/Alternative Charts. That August, Alexisonfire formally broke up with a statement from the band’s George Pettit saying that Green had been planning to leave the band to focus on his solo work, as balancing the two projects became too difficult.

In 2014 Green collaborated with multi-Grammy nominated and winning pop artist Pink in You + Me and the duo’s full-length debut, rose ave. debuted at #4 on the US Top 200 Charts, #1 in Canada and #2 in Australia, eventually being certified Platinum and culminating in appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Green’s most recent full-length album 2015’s If I Should Go Before You debuted at #16 on the US Billboard 200 and #1 in his native Canada, marking his third consecutive chart-topping album in his homeland.  As far as other accolades, Green has won 3 Juno Awards, including two Songwriter of the Year Awards — and in Canada he has 3 Double Platinum-certified albums, 1 Platinum-certified album and 1 Gold-certified album, which may arguably make him one of the most commercially successful, Canadian artists of his generation.

His forthcoming sixth, Jacquire King-producedfull-length album is slated for release this Fall through the acclaimed Canadian singer/songwriter’s newly minted Dine Alone Records imprint, Still Records. Now, as you may recall, the album’s first single “Astronaut” was one part, honky-tonk ballad about a lonely life on the road, far from friend and family, playing your sad, beer and whiskey-soaked songs on the road, one part, towering and anthemic hook-driven shoegaze that recalls Slowdive and The Verve.  “I always think of the relationships in my life that have been fractured because I ended up doing what I do for a living,” Green says of the new single. “I’m always gone, wandering around and singing songs. However, it weighs on my family and friends. I’m asking for ‘one more year.’ I left home at 21 to go play my guitar. It’s lonely, but it’s because I yearn to wander, I’m aware of how lucky I am. “

The as of yet-unnamed album’s latest single “Strangers” is interestingly enough, its first official radio single and it manages to continue in a similar vein as its predecessor — a mesh of honky tonk country and towering shoegaze, centered around an enormous, arena friendly hook, Green’s plaintive vocals and a haunting refrain in which Green pleads “Don’t wake when when this is over/just let me drift amidst my dreams.” “‘Strangers’ is about how you will never truly know another human being,” says Green. “You’ll never really understand what it’s like to be inside someone else’s brain or heart. So, we need to appreciate the differences. If we do, maybe we can live better with one another.”

Earlier this month Green announced festival dates and a North American tour that will feature back-to-back nights in Nashville, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and New York. One night in each of those cities will take place in a seated theater, featuring Green playing an intimate solo show with stripped down versions of songs across his catalog with Ben Rogers, the first artist to sign onto Green’s new label.  The second night will feature Green and his touring band playing in general admission rock and indie rock venues with Ruby Waters opening. You can check out the tour dates below.

For this tour, Green has partnered with PLUS1. $1 from every ticket sold in Canada and the States will be donated to charitable foundations — Crisis Text Line here in the States and MusiCounts and Indpsire in Canada. Since launching in 2013, Crisis Text Line has provided free, 24/7 confidential support for those in crisis across the country, exchanging over 100 million messages from folks across the country. If you or someone you know needs help, have them text 741714 in the US to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor.

TOUR DATES
Festival Dates
Jun 27 – Lansing, MI @ Common Ground Festival (Solo)
Jun 29 – Peterborough, ON @ Peterborough Musicfest (Solo)
Aug 3 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival
Aug 5 – St. John’s, NL @ George Street Music Festival
Aug 4 – Saint John, NB @ Area 506 Festival
Aug 17 – Elora, ON @ Riverfest
U.S. Tour Dates
Sep 20 – Tacoma, WA @ WAMU Theatre (w/ ALICE IN CHAINS)
Oct 09 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East**
Oct 10 – Nashville, TN @ James K. Polk Theater (Solo)*
Oct 14 – San Francisco, CA @ Palace of Fine Arts (Solo)*
Oct 15 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore**
Oct 16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Ace Hotel (Solo)*
Oct 17 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre**
Oct 21 – Boston, MA @ Royale**
Oct 22 – Boston, MA @ Berklee Performance Center (Solo)*
Oct 24 – New York City, NY @ Webster Hall**
Oct 25 – New York City, NY @ Town Hall (Solo)*
Canadian Tour Dates
Nov 08 – Victoria, BC @ Save On Foods Memorial Centre^
Nov 09 – Vancouver, BC @ Pacific Coliseum^
Nov 10 – Kelowna, BC @ Prospera Place^
Nov 12 – Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome^
Nov 13 – Edmonton, AB @ Rogers Place^
Nov 15 – Regina, SK @ Brandt Centre^
Nov 16 – Winnipeg, MB @ Bell MTS Place^
Nov 19 – Sudbury, ON @ Sudbury Arena^
Nov 22 – Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena^
Nov 25 – Ottawa, ON @ Canadian Tire Centre^
Nov 26 – Kingston, ON @ Leon’s Centre^
Nov 29 – Halifax, NS @ Scotiabank Centre^
* = w/Ben Rogers
** = w/Ruby Waters
^ = w/Jacob Banks and Ben Rogers

Live Footage: Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter Dylan LeBlanc Performs “Renegade” at FAME Studios

Dylan LeBlanc is Shreveport, LA-born and based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who grew up in a very musical home. LeBlanc’s father was a country singer/songwriter. who performed in various bars and clubs across the region. At a very young age, LeBlanc acquired a unique musical education, in which he frequently spent late nights watching his father and other musicians record at the studios, where his father play as a studio musician. Naturally, the Shreveport-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician was intrigued and became a musician himself, eventually playing in his first band, an alternative rock band by the name of Jimmy Sad Eyes Blue with another local musician Daniel Goodwill. 

As the story goes, Goodwill inspired LeBlanc to begin writing his own music. After spending a few years with Jimmy Sad Eyes Blues, LeBlanc was forced to attend rehab. Following rehab, LeBlanc decided to pursue music full-time instead of returning to high school. He joined Muscle Shoals Punk Rock band, replacing its lead singer, who left the band to join Sons of Roswell — and as a member of the band, Dylan toured throughout the region. A few years later, he co-founded the band Abraham, a band that also featured Alabama Shakes’ Ben Tanner, who at the time was also the house engineer at FAME Studios. 

When LeBlanc turned 19, he left Abraham to pursue a solo career. He signed with Rough Trade Records, who released his full-length debut, 2010’s Paupers Field, which featured “If The Creek Don’t Rise,” a collaboration with Emmylou Harris. To support the album, the Shreveport-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist opened for the likes of Lucinda Harris, The Civil Wars, Laura Marling, George Ezra and Calexico. Building upon a growing profile, LeBlanc’s sophomore album 2012’s Cast the Same Old Shadow was released to critical praise, with The Guardian calling the album’s songs “as beautiful as they are bleak,” and the album itself, “eerie rather than unsettling.” That year, LeBlanc opened for Bruce Springsteen, First Aid Kit, The Drive By Truckers and Alabama Shakes. 

Dylan LeBlanc’s third full-length album, the John Paul White-produced 2016’s Cautionary Tale featured Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard and was praised by the likes of NPR and No Depression. Supporting that album, he wound up touring with the likes of Anderson East, The Wood Brothers and others. 

Interestingly, LeBlanc’s fourth album, the recently released Dave Cobb-produced Renegade finds the Shreveport-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and his backing band attempting to write the sort of songs that matched the atmosphere that they were bringing live. “So, I started with ‘Renegade,’ which was fitting since I felt myself going in a new, more intense direction with this record. In the studio, I let go almost absolutely and let Dave Cobb do his work. It was a different experience for me-how focused Cobb was and how quickly we would get live takes down, mostly in one or two takes and never more than three. It left me spinning at how quickly it all came together. Over the course of ten days Renegade was complete and ready for mastering. And I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.”

“Renegade” the album title track and first single off the recently released album is a shuffling and atmospheric, minor key rocker, centered around an atmospheric hook, shimmering, pedal effected guitars and LeBlanc’s lilting falsetto, and while clearly being indebted to Damn the Torpedoes-era Tom Petty, the carefully crafted reveals a novelistic attention to psychological depth, as it tells the story of two star-crossed lovers — one, who seems desperate to leave, the other, who is desperate to stay. 

Directed by Alysse Gafkjen, the recently released video was filmed at Muscle Shoals’ legendary FAME Studios. Interestingly, the live session was a sort of homecoming for LeBlanc, who who began working at the studio when he was 16 — and where he later began recording his own music. “It was surreal and brought me back to a time and place that I had almost forgotten,” LeBlanc says of the sessions. “The only place where time always seems to stand still.” 

I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed, Swedish Grammy-winning,  Gothenburg, Sweden-based singer/songwriter Sarah Klang, and as you may recall, with the release of “Sleep,” and “Strangers,” Klang received praise across the blogosphere for crafting heartbreaking and achingly sad material that meshed Americana, country and pop and was frequently compared to  Roy Orbison and Jeff Buckley.

Building upon a growing profile, Klang released her critically applauded full-length debut Love In The Milky Way last year, which she supported with touring across Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the US. Adding to a breakthrough year for her, she also played sold-out shows at Gothenburg Concert Hall and Stockholm’Södra Teatern.

The Gothenburg-based singer/songwriter and JOVM mainstays highly-anticipated, forthcoming sophomore album is slated for release later this year and the album was written and recorded during what was arguably one of the busiest years of her young career. The album’s slow-burning and swooning, Dolly Parton meets Carole King-like first single “Call Me,” was centered around twinkling piano, a shimmering string arrangement and Klang’s achingly tender vocals — and as the Swedish JOVM mainstay explained in press notes, the song was “about the love that only happens once. It might not last for long, but you’ll remember it forever.” The album’s second single, the slow-burning and spectral “Endless Sadness” was centered around shimmering and twangy bursts of steel pedal guitar, twinkling organ and a soaring hook, which made it the perfect setting for what I think is one of the most gorgeous and heartbreakingly saddest voices I’ve come across in recent memory.

The album’s third and latest single “New Day Coming” effortlessly meshes 70s troubadour pop and AM Rock with Dolly Parton-like country as it features an uncannily period specific arrangement consisting of a shimmering stringiest arrangement, twinkling piano, strummed guitar and a soaring hook, and it’s roomy enough for Klang’s aching vocals to express hope that in the fact the most difficult and darkest periods don’t last forever — that a bright new day and a new start are often just over the horizon. While continuing a spectacular run of gorgeous singles, Klang’s latest single may actually be the most hopeful of her growing catalog — while rooted in hard-fought, lived-in experience.

 

New Video: An Intimate Look at Life on the Road in New Visuals for Daniel Norgren’s Latest Single “Let Love Run The Game”

Daniel Norgren is a Boras, Sweden-born blues/roots music singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist — and with the release of his full-length debut, 2007’s Kerosene Dream, which was mostly recorded on mostly homemade instruments and 2008’s Outskirt, the Boras, Sweden-born multi-instrumentalist amassed a growing profile across Europe; in fact, the success of his first two albums led to eventual touring across Europe. 2010’s acclaimed, full-length effort Horrifying Deatheating Bloodspider was nominated in the Singer/Songwriter Album of the Year category at the annual Manifestgalen. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Norgren followed his acclaimed Horrifying Deatheating Bloodspider with 2011’s Black Vultures EP, which featured “Going Home Finally,” a track featured on the BBC Radio show God’s Jukebox. 2013’s Buck was mostly recorded in Norgren’s home on a 4 channel cassette portages studio with studio recordings like “Whatever Turns You On,” a song that was tracked and filmed at Algorhythm Sound Studios and quickly became a viral hit on YouTube, as well as a live version of “Moonshine Got Me,” which was recorded during a Scandinavian tour. 

2015’s Alabursy was recorded in a similar fashion as its predecessor — at home on Norgren’s 4-channel cassette porta studio. The album was followed by another European tour. 

Slated for an April 19, 2019 release through his longtime label home Superpuma Records,  Norgren’s forthcoming album Wooh Dang will be the acclaimed Swedish singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s first album to see a worldwide release.  Self-produced by Norgren and engineered bu his longtime collaborator and Superpuma Records founder Pelle Nyhage, Wooh Dang was recorded last fall in a single room of a 19th-century textile farmhouse in the woods, near Norgren’s home. “The interior looked it hadn’t been touched for the past 80 years,” Norgren recalls in press notes. “I moved a lamp and it left a dark red ring on the pink tablecloth underneath…goldmine! The house was huge, full of good, inspiring mustiness, creaking wooden floors, scary old portrait paintings on the walls, and an old, black German piano which I used in all the songs.” Recorded live to tape on a 16 track analog rig, the album finds Norgren mixing live performance and rural field recordings — while capturing the simpatico and energy between him and his backing band, which features old friends and longtime collaborators Andres Grahn (bass), Erik Berntsson (drums) and Andreas Filipsson (guitar, banjo).

The album’s latest single, the defiantly hopeful “Let Love Run The Game,”  meshes twangy Americana, Southern fried rock, psychedelia and blues that to my ears reminds me of The Band (in particular, “Up on Cripple Creek”), Otis Redding and King Bee-era Muddy Waters. Interestingly, as a result of the song’s production, it manages to sound as though it could have been recorded in 1965 or so — while capturing the urgency of three like-minded musicians and longtime friends jamming over the course of an afternoon.  

Featuring footage shot by Petra Wester Norgren,  Daniel Norgren, Anders Engström, Ida Brogren, Pelle Nyhage,  Erik Berntsson, Jean Millet, Sandra Filipsson, Drew Hanson,  Nathan Von Brown, and Edward Hill, the recently released video for “Let Love Run The Game,” intimately captures life on the road, from playing large venues in front of thousands of fans, to playing smaller venues with maybe a hundred people, the endless stretches of blacktop and gorgeous scenery that one would never dreamt to see, the band and crew goofing off — or just exhausted and sleeping whenever and wherever they could. And yet all of it is treated like wonder and joy, with the tacit acknowledgement that you gotta take it all in stride.