Tag: folk

New Video: Emerging Singer/Songwriter Enoch Porch Releases a Gorgeous Visual for Plaintive New Single “Grand Army”

Growing up in a hyper-fundamentalist Christian, home-school cult, the emerging Indiana-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Enoch Porch was isolated from all popular and secular music: as a child, he listened to his parents vinyl collection of classical music, church songs recorded in the 70s and Sousa marches. “I remember, age 5 or so, loving the rhythm and excitement of Sousa marches, the hypnotic repetition of Ravel’s ‘Bolero’, and the drama and emotion of The Nutcracker,” Porch recalls in press notes. “Many of my creative choices are still heavily influenced by early that musical diet.” 

When he turned 11, Porch quit school and learned to play multiple instruments and to record himself. “I was more excited about this particular path than were my folks, and I found myself locked inn a battle of wills with my ex-Marine fighter pilot/electrical engineer father for several years,” Porch says. The Indiana-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist adds that his father had a latent musical talent of his own and although he taught him to harmonize and to hear major and minor intervals — but he didn’t think that it was possible to make a living as a musician. However, his folks allowed him to work, mowing lawns around his small town to save up money for a guitar, then other instruments and recording instruments. As a teenager, Porch was a busy musician — and what he believed a recording engineer. 

Porch eventually moved to Nashville. And while in Music City, Porch had difficulty landing a job; so to get by, he gave plasma at a local blood bank to pay for his bills. He wound up landing a gig with a touring band and worked at local restaurants to keep afloat. 

The Indiana-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist then relocated to New York, where he found a partner, lost partner and fell into a deep depression. He found his way to a therapist, who taught him to un-learn false beliefs he has had since his childhood and to replace them with a certain type of care for his inner child. “It was not properly love, but the closest I had gotten to it. Eventually the seeds of care grew and I began to hold myself in high regard and to protect this precious heart,” Porch says. 

The emerging Indiana-born, Brooklyn-based artist’s solo debut single “Grand Army” is a lush, 70s AM rock-like track featuring shimmering guitars, a supple bass line, Porch’s plaintive vocals, twinkling keys and a soaring and expressive guitar solo. Centered around some quietly ambitious yet earnest songwriting, the song as Porch explains is inspired by deeply personal experience: “I fell deeply, painfully, in love with someone who was close to me but couldn’t love me back,” the Indiana-born, Brooklyn-based artist explains. “I lost contact with myself, as if my center had ripped right out of me. This song came out of exploring how this experience echoed the feelings I had as a child of my mother who, while in proximity, wasn’t able to give the kind of love her children needed.”

Directed by Gabriel Kurzlop, the recently released video employs a simple concept in a gorgeous fashion: We see Porch standing at the shore in a blue work coveralls as the camera slowly and gradually zooms closer throughout. Just before the song fades out, we see a brief flash of playfulness with Porch giving a sign to the camera. 

Will Powers · RIVERS

 

Will Powers is an emerging Sudbury, Ontario-based folk singer/songwriter and musician. Powers’ latest single, “RIVERS” is heavily influenced by the cottage his family owns on the French River. “. . . in rent years, I’ve become more aware of its history as an important trading route in early colonial times,” Powers explains in an email to me. “I’ve often thought about the significance of us occupying that land, which is now a pristine provincial park.

“Living in the twenty-first century amidst a pervasive ignorance of colonial history has pushed me to learn about the general circumstances that enabled us to be there today, and obliges me to convey a message of respect to that place.” “RIVERS,” he adds is a personal acknowledgement of the complex realties behind my presence on that river.

Centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched acoustic guitar, some pedal effected electric guitar, a propulsive backbeat, Powers sonorous baritone, the lushly arranged yet kind of dusty “Rivers” brings to mind — to my ears, least — Nick Drake and Loving. It’s a gently buzzing yet half-remembered dream of a song. “My voice shouldn’t necessarily be the one being heard in this arena, but rather be the one relaying towards Indigenous voices, attempting to draw attention to them and their needs,” Powers adds. “I hope that ‘RIVERS’ can serve as a conduit as I come to terms with my position within reconciliation.”

 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays Black Pumas Perform Their Gorgeous Cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act and JOVM mainstays, Black Pumas. Led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and guitarist Adrian Quesada and 27 year old singer/songwriter Eric Burton, the act can trace its origins back to when Burton, a popular street performer in his native  Los Angeles busked his way across country to Austin, where he eventually met Quesada.

Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed Austin-based soul act their critically applauded and commercially successful self-titled, full-length debut, an effort that featured the smash hit “Colors,” which amassed over four million YouTubeviews —and being one o the most added songs to Adult Album Alternative (AAAA) radio. Along with that, the band had gone on a relentless tour schedule that brought their uplifting live show across North America and the European Union, including three separate stops in the New York area: The Knitting Factory, last May; Mercury Lounge, last July; and Brooklyn Bowl last September. Additionally, during that same period of time the band has made begun to make the rounds across the nationally televised talk show circuit, playing  Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen Show and others.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the acclaimed, Austin-based JOVM mainstay act had been covering Tracy Chapman‘s  smash hit “Fast Car” during their live sets — and their rendition has quickly become a fan favorite. Unsurprisingly, the song and its lyrics resonate deeply with Burton — and although the Black Pumas cover is fairly straightforward and loving rendition, it comes from a deeply personal place, as though Burton could have written it himself. “To me, ‘Fast Car’ is a song of hope, dreams and a relentless heart to go somewhere and be someone,” says Burton. “I learned the song when I first began to busk and of the covers that I knew, it garnered the most attention from the random passerby. As a musician and artist, I’m attracted to songs that make us reflect on our daily struggles for making life worth living for.”

Recently, Black Pumas performed their gorgeous and heartfelt cover of “Fast Car” on Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Interestingly, with each repeated listen of the Black Pumas cover, I’m reminded of what a great song “Fast Car” is — and how much I loved it.  Sometimes a great song is an artist reaching down within themselves to tell the truth as they see it, paired with their voice and a guitar — or whatever instrument they feel fit. 

 

Black Pumas · Fast Car

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act and JOVM mainstays, Black Pumas. Led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and guitarist Adrian Quesada and 27 year old singer/songwriter Eric Burton, the act can trace its origins back to when Burton, a popular street performer in his native  Los Angeles busked his way across country to Austin, where he eventually met Quesada.

Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed Austin-based soul act their critically applauded and commercially successful self-titled, full-length debut, an effort that featured the smash hit “Colors,” which amassed over four million YouTube views —and being one o the most added songs to Adult Album Alternative (AAAA) radio. Along with that, the band had gone on a relentless tour schedule that brought their uplifting live show across North America and the European Union, including three separate stops in the New York area: The Knitting Factory, last May; Mercury Lounge, last July; and Brooklyn Bowl last September. Additionally, during that same period of time the band has made begun to make the rounds across the nationally televised talk show circuit, playing  Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen Show and others.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the acclaimed, Austin-based JOVM mainstay act had been covering Tracy Chapman‘s “Fast Car” during their live sets — and their rendition has quickly become a fan favorite. Unsurprisingly, the song and its lyrics resonate deeply with Burton — and although the Black Pumas cover is fairly straightforward and loving rendition, it comes from a deeply personal place, as though Burton could have written it himself. “To me, ‘Fast Car’ is a song of hope, dreams and a relentless heart to go somewhere and be someone,” says Burton. “I learned the song when I first began to busk and of the covers that I knew, it garnered the most attention from the random passerby. As a musician and artist, I’m attracted to songs that make us reflect on our daily struggles for making life worth living for.”

 

 

 

New Audio: Emerging Singer-Songwriter Anne Freeman Releases a Shimmering and Radio Friendly New Single

Anne Freeman is an emerging indie-folk singer/songwriter and guitarist, who grew up in Mississippi Delta, not far from Bobbie Gentry’s hometown of Woodland, MS. Although she’s starting out in her career, Freeman has already played festivals across Mississippi and has appeared on Mississippi Public Radio — and praise from American Songwriter. The emerging artist caught the attention of Fat Possum’s Graham Hamaker, who signed her to his label Muscle Beach. 

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding her, Freeman’s latest single, the Matt Ross-Sprang-mixed “Days Go By” is a shimmering and hook-driven song that sounds like a slick synthesis of Nashville and Muscle Shoals, while possessing a radio friendly studio polish. Interestingly, the song as Freeman explains “is about struggling to cut ties with a toxic friend but constantly getting lured back in. Everyone has someone or something in their live that makes them feel incredible for aw nile, but eventually leads them down a dark path.”

Interview: A Q&A with I AM SNOW ANGEL’s Julie Kathryn

Julie Kathryn is a New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, sound designer, producer and creative mastermind behind I AM SNOW ANGEL, a critically applauded solo recording project that has received critical praise from the likes of Huffington PostIndie ShuffleMagnetic MagazineCreem MagazineRefinery 29All Things Go and others.

The acclaimed New York-based artist and producer has developed a reputation as a highly sought after sound designer and producer working with Ableton and Splice.com – and she’s the co-founder of Female Frequency, a musical collective dedicated to empowering women and girls in the music industry.

JulieAtWork_FinalEdits_10.6.18-2-13
Photo Credit: Julia Drummond

TowerOfSONG

Last year, Julie Kathryn released her I AM SNOW ANGEL full-length debut MOTHERSHIP. Recorded in a cabin in the wintry Adirondack woods, the album is a concept album that touched upon themes of isolation, longing, love, paranoia and the paranormal. Since, the release of MOTHERSHIP, the New York-based artist, producer, sound designer has managed to be rather busy: she gave birth to her first child, collaborated on Sophie Colette’s attention-grabbing “In Love a Little,” and continuing on the momentum of a rather big year for her both personally and professionally, the New York-based recently released a gorgeous and spectral cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song,” featuring shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, atmospheric synths and Julie Kathryn’s vocals. Interestingly, her interpretation of the song is centered around a plaintive yearning and vulnerability.

I recently exchanged emails with the I AM SNOW ANGEL mastermind for this edition of the JOVM Q&A. For this interview, we discuss the difficult balance of one’s creative live with being a parent, her collaboration with Sophie Colette, leveling the playing field for women producers and of course, her aforementioned cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song.” Additionally, as a result of governments across the world closing bars, restaurants, nightclubs and music venues to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the impact on the music industry – especially on small and mid-sized independent venues and the indie touring artists, who grace their stages has been devastating. Much like the other artists, I’ve interviewed this year, I’ll continue to ask artists how they’re getting by, how they’re keeping busy and of course, how this period is impacting their careers.

Julie Kathryn’s full-length album Mothership and her rendition of “Tower of Song” – and below the jump, check out the interview.

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WRH: You’re a new mommy. So before we start: Happy belated Mother’s Day. How do you balance the obligations and responsibilities of motherhood with your creative and professional life?

Julie Kathryn: Thank you! Being a mother is wonderful. It’s definitely been challenging to balance everything. Taking care of a baby feels like a full time job, as I expected it would, but I didn’t realize all the ways that I personally would be changed by motherhood – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Everything feels different now. I’m finding a way to make music in this new normal and I’m excited to see how it turns out.

 WRH: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions in almost every aspect of our lives. For most of us, the seemingly indefinite fear, anxiety, uncertainty, loneliness and boredom of the past few months of social distancing and quarantines have been overwhelming. How have you been holding up?  How have you been keeping busy? Binge watching anything?

 JK: This is such a strange and uncertain time. I try to make a gratitude list every day to keep me balanced and thankful, particularly for my health. Also, I’m lucky that I have a clear and immediate purpose right now – to take care of my son! He keeps me focused and in the moment. I’m very grateful to be able to spend this time with him. In my free time, when I can find some, I make music, practice yoga and yes, binge watch! Dead to Me (Netflix) and Breeders (FX) are two of my recent favorites.

 WRH: How did you get into music?

JK: I’ve always been very musical. I took piano lessons as a kid. I taught myself how to play the guitar during high school. For a while, I was an acoustic/Americana singer-songwriter. Eventually, I started engineering and producing my own material, and it became much more electronic. That’s how this project – I AM SNOW ANGEL – was born.

WRH: How would you describe your sound for those, who may be unfamiliar with I Am Snow Angel?

 Dream pop. Melodic, electronic. Ambient and earthy at the same time.

 WRH: Who are your influences?

 JK: For this project, I was definitely inspired by Imogen Heap, Portishead, The Postal Service, Massive Attack, and other electronic and trip hop acts. Over the years, there are a lot of songwriters that I’ve studied, like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Bill Withers. The National is a band whose albums I’ve played on repeat for months at a time. I also love the artistry of Thom Yorke, Lou Reed, David Lynch. I love moody electronic soundscapes by artists like Trentemøller and The Knife, and 80s synth /new wave music like Roxy Music and Yaz. I also spent a lot of time listening to late 90s female R&B —  Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Macy Gray.  The list goes on and on and it’s hard to encapsulate it.

WRH: Who are you listening to right now?

JK: Today, I’m listening to meditative sounds – Max Richter, Brian Eno. Recently, I’ve also been listening to rootsy alternative rock (Wilco, Neko Case, Sharon Van Etten).

 WRH: Earlier this year, you collaborated with Sophie Colette on “In Love a Little.” As you know, I wrote about the song earlier this year – and in a lengthy statement for the song, Colette wrote:

“Working with Julie was an amazing experience – it was very hands on and communicative. We sat side by side and made decisions together from the tracing to the comping to the mixing. I learned so much about Ableton and the possibility of different soundscapes that could be created outside of traditional instrumentation.

 It became apparent to me, that working with a female producer, who inherently applied these types of sounds to her own work, came with the advantage of being able to feel the same nuances of emotion without having to explain them to each other. Each session was an open-ended conversation and quite nurturing to be honest. Something about that female-to-female energy in a room is really powerful when the ego isn’t there.”

How was it like to collaborate with Sophie Colette? Do you find it easier to collaborate with women artists and producers?

JK: Working with Sophie was a lot of fun. I really like how our collaboration turned out. We were able to tease out some interesting emotional undertones in her song. I remember her showing me moody photos of an urban landscape at night in the aftermath of a storm, with the city’s colored lights reflecting in puddles on the dark streets.  She said, “this is my inspiration for the bridge.” We spent the day sonically recreating this idea, and it became the soundscape for the bridge of her song. It was a really organic process. I do end up working with a lot of female artists, and I find that we often have similar communication styles and a shared experience of coming up in the music industry.

WRH: How do we level the playing field, so that there are more women producers?

JK: For me, being visible as a female producer who can do it all – instrumentation, engineering, sound design, mixing – is important. When I was starting out in production, it really helped me to see other women who were doing it. Also, when I work with other artists, I share my knowledge and encourage them to learn production and engineering, in whatever capacity is appealing to them.

 WRH: What advice would you give for women artists and producers trying to make it?

JK: Have fun!! The process of producing music is intense and quite involved, so it needs to be a fulfilling one. If the production process is merely viewed as a means to an end (ie, the finished product), it’s more likely to feel like a chore or an insurmountable feat. But, if the very act of creating music is thrilling and emotionally rewarding, the finished product is just the icing on the cake – a bonus. Don’t worry about doing it “right.” There are many ways to produce music. When possible, seek out mentors and collaborators who support and elevate you.

WRH: You recently released a slow-burning and atmospheric cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song.” What drew you to the song?

JK: I love Leonard Cohen. His songwriting and performance style have inspired me for a long time.  I first visited the song a few years back when my dear friend Gus Rodriguez (he performs under the name Silbin Sandovar and is a wonderful musician, talent buyer, and connector of artists in NYC and beyond) asked me to cover a few Leonard Cohen songs in a tribute show he was putting together. I immediately felt connected to the lyrical content of this song, to the existential themes of isolation and loneliness that Cohen associated with being a songwriter.

 WRH: Instead of a straightforward note-by-note cover, you turn Cohen’s song into your song. Was that an intentional decision – and was that a difficult thing to do, considering how beloved his work is?

JK: It wasn’t really intentional. It felt very natural for me to re-imagine the song in this way, and I didn’t overthink it.

 WRH: So what’s next for you?

JK: I’m working on a new EP. In some ways, it’s a sequel to MOTHERSHIP, which I put out last year. So far, it feels ambient, emotional and layered. We’ll see where it goes. I’ll keep you posted. And thank you for talking with me!!

New Video: Acclaimed Norwegian Singer-Songwriter Ane Brun Releases a Gorgeous and Cinematic New Single

Over the past 15 years, the acclaimed Norwegian-born, Stockholm-based singer/songwriter Ane Brun has released 12 albums of gorgeous and cinematic folk and art pop through her own label Balloon Ranger Recordings that have included 2005’s sophomore album, A Temporary Dive, which led to a Norwegian Grammy Award win for Best Female Artist; 2008’s critically applauded Changing of the Seasons, which was praised by The New York Times; 2015’s When I’m Free, which NPR’s All Things Considered called “best record yet . . . her most sonically ambitious . . .;” and 2017’s Leave Me Breathless, a collection of covers and reinterpretations of hits by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, and others.

Brun’s forthcoming (and still untitled) full-length album is slated or a fall release through her own label, and the album’s latest single, the self-recorded and edited “Trust” is a hauntingly gorgeous and cinematic track centered around an atmospheric arrangement of strummed acoustic guitar, shimmering synths and Brun’s gorgeously expressive and plaintive vocals. “It’s a song about letting go of all doubt and just letting yourself fall into the hands of fate, and trust that it’s all going to be alright,” Brun explains in press notes. “It was first written as a romantic song, but as we’re in this state of uncertainty around the planet, I feel it has gained more meaning.” 

Before the single’s official release, Brun invited fans from around the world to join in for a pre-listening party and online chat. “Many of the people who participated were alone in their homes or with their cat or dog, a partner or their family. Some were in quarantine because they were infected with the coronavirus or because they work in healthcare,” Brun says. “What we had in common was that we were all affected by this difficult situation, and most of us were isolating from the outside world. We also felt a need to trust and meet other people. It was magical to come together like this.” The recently released video will resonate will many of us, who have been isolated and feeling alone and desperately wanting to be in touch with another person.

I’ve written a bit about the Ipswich, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Hannah Scott over the past couple of years. And as you may recall much of her work is influenced by her own personal experiences, including  a year she spent working on an olive press in rural Tuscany, Italy in her late teens, her diagnosis with a form of arthritis, which causes severe joint pain and fatigue, as well as the experiences of the people in her life.

Several years later, Scott met her collaborator, Italian-born multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Stefano Della Casa when they were both in London. But as the story goes, they both recognized that they may have encountered each other years earlier, when Scott used to pass through the train station that Della Casa worked in at the time. Interestingly, when Scott and Della Casa began working together, they also quickly recognized that they had a deep and abiding creative connection despite coming from vastly different backgrounds: Della Casa had a difficult upbringing and troubled early adulthood while Scott had been lucky to have a supportive family and relatively happy childhood.

Both artists firmly believe that their musical collaboration has provided an outlet to support each other through difficult times and in a relatively short time, they’ve built up a profile both nationally and internationally with write-ups in MOJO, Songwriting Magazine , Clash Magazine and in The Guardian as a “New Band of The Day.” They’ve also received airplay on  Bob Harris’ and Dermot O’Leary’BBC Radio 2 shows and have been on  BBC Introducing’s “Track of the Week” three times. They’ve opened for  Seth Lakeman and 10cc , and played at Mondo.NYC Festival a couple of years ago.

Since I caught her at Mondo.NYC, Scott has been pretty busy releasing new material including 2018’s full-length Pieces of the Night which firmly established Scott’s sound and approach: emotive and heartfelt songwriting paired with a cinematic production featuring organic instrumentation — acoustic guitar, cello and vocals — with atmospheric electronics. Last year, she released the gorgeous Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay-like “Walk a Wire,” which managed to be one of the Ipswich-born, London-based singer/songwriter’s most urgent songs, as it’s a plea to the listener to take a chance to open up to life and possibility before it’s too late.

The Della Casa co-written and produced “Shape” is the latest single from the JOVM mainstay and it’s also the latest single off her forthcoming full-length album. Centered around a cinematic production featuring twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, Scott’s emotive vocals and an enormous hook the song further cements the sound and approach that has won Scott attention across the blogosphere. Much like “Walk a Wire,” the song showcases her narrative-based songwriting, with the song recounting the story of how her maternal grandmother refused to accept her mother’s engagement to her father, threatening to never speak to her mother again if they got married. Her grandmother kept her word for over 20 years. As a result, the song expresses an overwhelming sense of regret and loss, as well as the sense of time rushing by and missing the small yet very important things — the birth of one’s grandchild, Christmases and the like.