Dirt Road Angels Soon To Release Their Second Single to Canadian Country Radio

Dirt Road AngelsFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dirt Road Angels Soon To Release Their Second Single to Canadian Country Radio

From the dirt road to the main stage, the Dirt Road Angels have slowly but surely been paving their way towards success and have been performing up a storm!

The Dirt Road Angels, consisting of Shawna Lynne, Dahlia Wakefield, Shila Marie, Karen Claypool and Danita Lynn are five creative, seasoned and talented singer songwriters.  They are excited to announce the release of their second single “Paint The Town Red” to country radio across Canada off their brand new album of the same title on Monday, July 20th.

Produced by Rob Hewes and performed by CCMA award winning instrumentalists Chad Melchert, Ryan Davidson, Tyler Vollrath, Bart MacKay and Derek Stremel, their high-energy country rock song “Paint The Town Red” is sure to get your toes tapping and you dancing in your seat! “We are thrilled with the single and can’t wait to hear it on the airwaves!”

Since their “Paint The Town Red” CD release concert at Festival Place in September 2014, they have continued to take the main stage at many events and have a full 2015 year booked. Look for these Angels at many of this year’s summer music festivals, rodeos, galas and local venues where they will be sharing the stage with Kira Isabella, High Valley, Aaron Pritchett, Doc Walker, The Road Hammers, Gil Grand, Jack Semple, Tim Hicks and more!

With their brand new single off their brand new album, these Angels are sure to fly!

Shawna says, “Thank you to team DRA for all your continued support and guidance – we cannot thank you all enough!”

Contact Shawna Lynne for more information
(780) 292-4154 / shawndal@telus.net
www.dirtroadangels.ca

“Gun Kontrol” by The Trygger Twins Packs a Pistol (New Video)

The Trygger TwinsI don’t usually publicly discuss my political opinions…

I’ve only ever voted for the NDP or Green parties

…or talk about complex issues such as same-sex marriage,

Hallelujah #SCOTUS for making it legal in all 50 states in the USA!

…or taking religious studies out of the classroom

I’m against mandatory religious curriculum in public or high schools unless all religions are studied, as I feel that an individual should be an adult before making up his or her mind about religious or spiritual beliefs and should be free to study them in college or university if they choose.

…or legalizing marijuana.

I’m all for it.

However, when a friend of mine turned me onto this crazy, thought-provoking video by The Trygger Twins – because I’m concerned about the USA’s lack of gun control and the NRA‘s mandate – I found it to be a powerfully delicious little gem that packs a pistol, er, I mean, punch. What do you think?

Here’s “Gun Kontrol” by The Trygger Twins.

Learn more about up and coming alt-country / alt-rock duo The Trygger Twins as they shoot the breeze with MuzikTown Magazine here.

Singer-Songwriter Glenn McFarlane Releases Video for “Offense Scores, Defense Wins Games”

Glenn McFarlaneSinger-songwriter Glenn McFarlane hails originally from New Brunswick and now makes his home in Brampton, Ontario. In addition to his solo endeavours, he is also one/half of the Celtic and East Coast duo Brown Ale and one/third of the Celtic-Rock trio Celteclectic. Glenn is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, harmonica, mandolin, accordion, bouzouki) who is the President and co-founder of the Brampton Folk Club, the 2009 Brampton Arts Person of the Year and a songwriter who was honoured with the 2011 OCFF Songs From the Heart Winner (Humour). He has released one solo CD to date, Food For Thought, and is about to release his second CD, Music and Friends.

With Glenn, you get a high energy, well-paced set of primarily fun and funny folk songs.  Some have an East Coast feel to them, others are more country, while still others have elements of rock or even world music in them. His well-crafted originals have a sing-a-long familiarity to them that gets the audience involved.

The one theme throughout Glenn’s songs is camaraderie. He sings about family and friends (“Music and Friends”, “It’s a Beautiful Day for a Beer”), likes to make fun of himself  (“Middle Aged and Overweight”, “Music, Sports, Sex and Beer”), raps about his East Coast roots (“Let’s Talk New Brunswick”, “Lobster Roll”)  brings dramatic  historical events to life (“Newfoundland 9-1-1”,  The Christmas Truce”), and balances it all out with the odd love song (“The Wedding Video”, “Come See the Stars”). You will be entertained!

In his latest video, Glenn McFarlane performs his original song “Offense Scores, Defense Wins Games”, which will be featured on his upcoming CD “Music and Friends”. The song is dedicated to Stan Butler (Brampton/North Bay Battalion) and José Mourinho (Chelsea Blues) and takes a lighthearted look at what it takes to win. The song is engineered and co-produced by Wendell Ferguson at The Dungeon, Toronto. The video also features Keith McFarlane as the coach and Ryan Hind as the owner. Special thanks to the Ontario Soccer Centre in Woodbridge and the Mississauga Munro Table Hockey Tournament.


On Saturday, November 1st, Glenn McFarlane will be releasing his second solo CD at a fundraiser concert for Brampton Civic Hospital at the Brampton Golf Club (7700 Kennedy Road), starting at 8 pm. As the title implies, “Music and Friends” is a collection of original songs celebrating two things that are very important to him. The songs are fun and lively folk songs that reflect his East Coast roots, along with strong elements of country, folk-rock and world music, with an underlying theme of camaraderie throughout the album. Joining Glenn will be his brother Keith on percussion, along with special guests Les Smith and Jon Grant from Brown Ale and Celteclectic. All proceeds for the concert will be donated to the Brampton Civic Hospital. For more information, please visit Glenn’s website at www.glennmcfarlane.ca.

Juno & CCMA Nominated Singer-Songwriter Kirsten Jones is Playing in Toronto

Juno & CCMA nominated, multiple award-winning, Alt-country / Roots / Americana singer-songwriter Kirsten Jones‘ music complements the likes of Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams & Emmylou Harris.

“Kirsten’s Juno-nominated recent release, The Mad Mile, should be nestled comfortably in your CD-changer beside your copy of Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball, since the transition between the two discs will sound seamless”. – Roots Music Canada

My client and friend, Kirsten Jones, has a few shows coming up in Toronto that roots music fans won’t want to miss!

Thursday, May 24th ~ Black Swan Tavern
154 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON – 9:30 PM – Tickets $10
Tin Pan North 13th Annual Songwriters Festival
Songwriter’s Circle with Dave McEathron, John Di Battista, Kirsten Jones & David Neale

Friday, May 25th ~ Dora Keough (I’m going to this one!)
141 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON – 9:30 PM – Pay what you can
Kirsten Jones & Friends with full band, playing covers as well as old favourites. Come and join Kirsten as she celebrates her birthday!

Friday, June 22nd ~ Hugh’s Room
2261 Dundas St. W.  Toronto, ON – 8:30 PM – $25 Advance/$27.50 Door

A Man Called Wrycraft presents IN CASH WE TRUST – 2nd Annual Live Concert Tribute to Johnny Cash…The Man in Black featuring
The Good BrothersDanny BrooksLynne HansonKirsten Jones, Samantha Martin, Massey Harris (featuring Scott B. & Gord Cumming), Tom Wilson / Lee Harvey OsmondPlus a Special Surprise Guest! 

 

MORE RAVE REVIEWS FOR KIRSTEN JONES:

“Smooth-as-buckwheat-honey vocals…a bona fide comparison to Emmylou Harris is not out of order…” – Eric Thom, Exclaim Magazine

Toronto-based singer/songwriter Kirsten Jones had only one producer in mind for her sophomore album, The Mad Mile: former Jayhawks front man Gary Louris. “I knew I wanted to try getting in touch with Gary before even trying to think of anyone else, so I looked up his management online and just sent them a package.” A few months later, Louris’ management e-mailed Jones, saying Gary was interested in the project. By summer, Jones and Louris were writing in her Toronto living room, where they also finished all the preproduction for the recording in three days. They hit the studio later that fall. Creating a sound that combined her alt country and folk influences with her own unique writing style came naturally, thanks to Louris’ firsthand experience with some of Jones’ favourite artists (The Dixie Chicks, Kelly Willis, Lucinda Williams, The Jayhawks).

“She has interesting lyrics, pretty heavy duty lyrics and a hook sensibility. She has it, you know? I’m jealous – I wish I had written these songs… – Gary Louris

In what proved to be a banner year, Kirsten also received a coveted FACTOR award for over $20,000 toward the making of the new CD. The Mad Mile was released on May 11, 2010, and is distributed through Fontana North/Universal. Guests include pedal steel player Greg Leisz (Emmylou Harris, Tracy Chapman, Sheryl Crow, Alison Krauss), Oh Susanna, and Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy and Bob Egan.

“The end result of their fruitful partnership (Louris/Jones) is ‘The Mad Mile,’ an alt country/roots record which could very well do for Jones what ‘Failer’ did for Kathleen Edwards”.  – Jason MacNeil, spinner.com

Throughout the last two years, several aspects of Jones’ career have fallen into place. She was chosen by Billboard Canada as one of five artists to watch in 2010, and The Mad Mile was nominated for a 2010 Juno Award, thanks to an early iTunes release. Jones has been a finalist two years in a row in the International Songwriting Competition in the Americana category (out of over 15,000 entries), a Top 3 finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the country category (alongside Canadian success story Gordie Sampson), was a finalist in the Kerrville New Folk Contest, and has received honourable mention in both the Billboard and Nashville Songwriter’s Association songwriting competitions. The Canadian Country Music Awards invited Kirsten to perform two years in a row at the prestigious Songwriter’s Cafe, alongside such celebrated songwriters as Victoria Banks, Lisa Brokop, Jamie Warren, and Jessie Farrell. Kirsten wrote or co-wrote every song on The Mad Mile, and two songs were co-written with producer Gary Louris.

“The music of Kirsten Jones combines the best elements of alt-country and contemporary folk. She’s also an engaging live performer, bringing both introspection and high humour to her shows”. – Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio

“The talented singer-songwriter is now busy winning the hearts of fans and breaking genres with her unique style of alt-country that she sings with heartfelt sincerity and catchy hooks”. – Blue Rodeo

www.kirstenjones.com
www.facebook.com/kirstenjonesmusicpage
www.youtube.com/kirstenjonesmusic

Kirsten is currently writing material for her next CD.

Lyle Lovett’s Release Me Releases Him From Contract With Curb

CD Review
Title: Release Me
Artist:  Lyle Lovett
Label: Curb/Lost Highway
Released: February 28, 2012
Stars:  3.5

Release Me is Texan singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett’s 15th album.  I remember playing Pontiac (1987) when it was first released over and over…couldn’t get enough of his saddle smooth voice, wry sense of humour, and superb medley of genres.  I followed him quite closely throughout the release of his following four albums (Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Joshua Judges Ruth, I Love Everybody, and The Road To Ensenada), and saw him in concert in Vancouver in 1995.  However, for some inexplicable reason, he fell off my radar for quite a while and I’m not familiar with the music he made after 1996.  I guess I was missing him.  After giving Release Me a good listen I remember why I loved him so much.

While Release Me doesn’t mean as much to me as the previous recordings I mentioned, as Lovett mostly covers other people’s songs here, it does have a few gems among its generous 14 track listing, that span from dour to droll, as well as a couple of Christmas songs which were, truthfully, a bit mystifying.  The CD’s black and white artwork features Lovett looking forlorn, standing on a country dirt road, bound by a very long piece of rope which is more than likely a metaphor for the place he now finds himself in his career.

Release Me opens on an upbeat note with a rollicking country instrumental reel highlighted by Luke Bulla’s fiddle called “Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom”.  Immediately your toes start tapping and they don’t stop as it segues into the title track, “Release Me”.  The country classic is interpreted by Lovett and k.d. lang, but for all intents and purposes is one of two throw away tracks on the album in my humble opinion.  I’m a big fan of k.d. lang too, but this is neither lang’s nor Lovett’s most memorable performance.  However, I’m completely captivated by “White Boy Lost In The Blues”, a sexy, cool blues number with harmonies by Arnold McCuller and Dean Parks’ slick electric slide guitar.  It’s my favourite track and I could push repeat on my iPhone and listen to it all day long!

Track 4, which I thought was a little out of place and could be classified as another one to toss, (though it’s certainly not bad) is the jazz standard, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, a Christmas duet with Kat Edmonson.  Later on in the album (Track 11), Lovett offers up his own Christmas song, “The Girl With The Holiday Smile”, a New Orleans style, boogie-woogie about a hooker in a grocery store.  Love it and will most certainly add it to my holiday playlist, but still can’t understand why he’d put Christmas songs on an album released in February.

Lovett is no stranger to the relationship blues and we hear more about them in the pretty and poignant ballads “Understand You” and “Dress of Laces”, a heartrending murder epic featuring harmony vocals by Sara Watkins.  He’s always been a master storyteller as well and spins more familiar yarns with “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” and “One Way Gal”.

“Night’s Lullaby” is exactly that, a lullaby with backing vocals by Sean and Sara Watkins (of Nickel Creek) while “Keep It Clean” is a Traditional standard arranged by Lovett featuring upbeat jazzy blues with whimsical, jaunty lyrics.  “Isn’t That So” is exceptionally good swinging, soulful blues that scream classic Lovett and is another favourite of mine on the album along with “White Freightliner Blues”, a frenetic country blues duet with Keith Sewell & Luke Bulla, written by Townes Van Zandt and featuring some fantastic drumming by Ross Kunkel.  Release Me closes with the gospel piano ballad, “Keep Us Steadfast”, written by Martin Luther featuring Luke Bulla on harmonies, but it’s a track I could have done without as I’d rather the album ended on a more exulted note.

Singer-songwriters as intelligent and charming as Lyle Lovett are as rare as white tigers, but I prefer to hear him sing his own songs.  Regardless, I’ll love Lyle’s style forever.  Release Me is definitely worth listening to and it’ll be interesting to see what he does as a free agent, now that his contract with Curb has ended and a new chapter is waiting to begin.

Live Wire Music Series Ends The Season With Ottawa’s Brilliant Lynn Miles!

Live Wire Music Series is finishing the season with one of its all-time favourite musicians, Ottawa’s brilliant Lynn Miles. Lynn has won countless awards including a Best Female Vocalist Juno in 2003 and a Canadian Songwriter of the Year Award in 2010.  She will be accompanied by another great Canadian musician, Prairie Oyster’s Keith Glass.  Opening the evening will be Ottawa musician Lynne Hanson, whose newest CD “Once The Sun Goes Down” has had much critical acclaim across North America. 

Live Wire Music Series presents:

Lynn Miles with special guest Lynne Hanson

Friday, May 4th – 7:30 pm
Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Ave., Kingston
Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door

Available now at Brian’s Record Option (613 542-2452) and Tara Foods

Lynn Miles ~ www.lynnmilesmusic.com

“With her crystal-clear voice and an insightful songwriting style, Canada’s Lynn Miles is one of the most acclaimed singer/songwriters to cross the border since Joni Mitchell.” – Dallas Morning News 

“Lynn Miles’ startling insights about bad choices and desperate needs in songs like “Wrong” and “Rust” make her a captivating performer.” – USA Today

“Lynn Miles delivers it all with an every-woman expressiveness in a voice that combines Lucinda Williams and Shawn Colvin.  Her poetic, insightful portrait of the human spirit – upbeat despite its difficult honesty, is truly inviting.” – Tim Roland, The Tennessean

“Lynn Miles makes being forlorn sound like a state of grace.” – New York Times

“Canadian songbird Lynn Miles sings lusciously…smart lyrics abound as she expounds on love lost and gained, sketched with dark hues and rising tempos.” – Billboard Magazine

Lynne Hanson ~ www.lynnehanson.com

2010 Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award winner
2009 Canadian Folk Music Award nominee New/Emerging Artist
2009 Kerrville New Folk Finalist
2008 Mountain Stage New Song Regional Finalist

“[Once the Sun Goes Down] certainly is a remarkable piece of work … Hanson is a superlative craftswoman … her fabulous voice is clear as a bell.”  John Conquest, Third Coast Music, Austin

“Killer third by Canadian songbird…more in common with the assured touch of Gillian Welch or Lucinda Williams. “Riptide” could easily be the best song Welch has yet to write”. – UNCUT (UK)

Live Wire Music Series Presents New Country Rehab & Sheesham and Lotus on April 13th!

Another great Live Wire show is coming up!  New Country Rehab, who put on one of the best shows ever at the Rankin Gallery last year, is coming to town on Friday, April 13th at the Octave Theatre in Kingston.  If you haven’t experienced New Country Rehab yet, you are missing something fabulous.  They are absolutely one of the most inventive and exciting bands anywhere right now.  And that’s not all!  Sheesham and Lotus, a highly entertaining duo, will be opening the show.  It’s going to be a great night at the Octave!

Friday, April 13th, 7:30 pm
Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Ave., Kingston

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door (if available), and include all applicable taxes. Advance tickets are available at:
•       Brian’s Record Option – 381 Princess Street, Kingston – 613-542-2452
•       Tara Natural Foods – 81 Princess Street, Kingston

On Friday, April 13th, the Live Wire Music Series is pleased to present New Country Rehab, one of the most exciting alt-country bands in Canada right now, fresh from their recent blockbuster European tour, where wowed critics compared them to The Band, Mumford and Sons, and even The Allman Brothers.

Take Canada’s hottest fiddle player, a guitarist who evokes Tom Morello and Kevin Breit, a percussionist who grooves on sawblades as readily as he does cookie sheets, mix together with one of the most versatile double bass players in Canada and you get New Country Rehab. With John Showman, James Robertson, Roman Tome’ and Ben Whiteley, the band’s unique outlaw indie country sound channels Hank Williams Sr. as much as Arcade Fire to create a spectacularly exciting new music.

“The guys everyone wants in their band, in a band!” ~ Tom Power, CBC Radio

Opening for New Country Rehab will be Sheesham and Lotus, the enormously entertaining purveyors of old-time American music, whose multi-instrumental shows have gained them a legion of fans across Canada.

As I said, it’s going to be a fantastic night, so see you at the music!

Kirsten Jones Nominated For A CCMA Award!

I am so fortunate to be able to work with some exceedingly talented Canadian musicians and singer-songwriters, including Ann Vriend, Kelli Trottier, Sultans of String, Shari Ulrich, Jennifer Gasoi, and the fabulous Kirsten Jones!

Kirsten recently shared this news with her friends and fans in a newsletter and I am so proud of her that I would like to share it with you too!  Congratulations Kirsten!!

“Hello everyone!

I couldn’t be happier to share this great news with you – I just received a nomination for Roots Artist of the Year from the Canadian Country Music Awards.

There is no way this could have happened without YOU.  Some of you have helped in huge ways (years of friendship and support) and others in small ways (simply joining this mailing list).  But all of these actions – big and small – have kept me going on a daily basis and have paved the road to this award nomination.

I am most excited about this because it is one of the only national platforms for Americana/Alt Country artists in Canada.  Most are straight folk or country awards – and it’s a little bit of a “square peg in a round hole” situation for artists like myself.  So this is a real honour and a dream come true.

Thank you so much for all your help, support, love, purchases, and good vibes.  You can check out all the other CCMA nominees and other details about the upcoming awards at www.ccma.org.

My sincerest thanks,
Kirsten”

Introducing Alt-Country Angel Kirsten Jones!

Scully Love Promo is proud to welcome Alt-country, Juno nominee Kirsten Jones to our client roster!

It’s so easy to work as a social media manager and internet promoter for someone who has a voice like Kirsten’s.  Her latest album, The Mad Mile, has earned her 1 of Billboard’s Top 5 artists to watch in 2010, a Juno nomination and four international award winning songs.  It features superstar guests like The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris, Blue Rodeos’s Jim Cuddy and Americana artist of the year Greg Leisz.

These are just some of the kudos that Kirsten has accumulated:

“Kirsten’s Juno-nominated recent release, The Mad Mile, should be nestled comfortably in your CD-changer beside your copy of Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball, since the transition between the two discs will sound seamless.”
– Roots Music Canada, rootsmusic.ca

“Smooth-as-buckwheat-honey vocals…a bona fide comparison to Emmylou Harris is not out of order…”

– Eric Thom, Exclaim Magazine

Toronto-based singer/songwriter Kirsten Jones had only one producer in mind for her sophomore album, The Mad Mile: former Jayhawks front man Gary Louris.”  I knew I wanted to try getting in touch with Gary before even trying to think of anyone else, so I looked up his management online and just sent them a package.”  A few months later, Louris’ management e-mailed Jones, saying Gary was interested in the project.  By summer, Jones and Louris were writing in her Toronto living room, where they also finished all the preproduction for the recording in three days.  They hit the studio later that fall.  Creating a sound that combined her alt country and folk influences with her own unique writing style came naturally, thanks to Louris’ firsthand experience with some of Jones’ favourite artists (The Dixie Chicks, Kelly Willis, Lucinda Williams, The Jayhawks).

“She has interesting lyrics, pretty heavy duty lyrics and a hook sensibility.  She has it, you know?  I’m jealous – I wish I had written these songs…”

– Gary Louris

In what proved to be a banner year, Kirsten also received a coveted FACTOR award for over $20,000 toward the making of the new CD.  The Mad Mile was released on May 11, 2010, and is distributed through Fontana North/Universal. Guests include pedal steel player Greg Leisz (Emmylou Harris, Tracy Chapman, Sheryl Crow, Alison Krauss), Oh Susanna, and Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy and Bob Egan.

“The end result of their fruitful partnership (Louris/Jones) is ‘The Mad Mile,’ an alt country/roots record which could very well do for Jones what ‘Failer‘ did for Kathleen Edwards.”

– Jason MacNeil, spinner.com

Throughout the last two years, several aspects of Jones’ career have fallen into place.  She was chosen by Billboard Canada as one of five artists to watch in 2010, and The Mad Mile has already been nominated for a 2010 Juno Award, thanks to an early iTunes release.  Jones has been a finalist two years in a row in the International Songwriting Competition in the Americana category (out of over 15,000 entries), a Top 3 finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the country category (alongside Canadian success story Gordie Sampson), was a finalist in the Kerrville New Folk Contest, and has received honourable mention in both the Billboard and Nashville Songwriter’s Association songwriting competitions. The Canadian Country Music Awards invited Kirsten to perform two years in a row at the prestigious Songwriter’s Cafe, alongside such celebrated songwriters as Victoria Banks, Lisa Brokop, Jamie Warren, and Jessie Farrell.  Kirsten wrote or co-wrote every song on The Mad Mile, and two songs were co-written with producer Gary Louris.

Most recently, Kirsten was invited down to Nashville to sing on WSM, the official radio home of the Grand Ole Opry, at the Country Music Awards’ Music Fest Celebration. Still eligible for the Junos next year, 2011 is shaping up to be a big year.

PREVIOUSLY…

Kirsten Jones released her debut album Drive-In Movie in 2005. It received airplay in all Canadian provinces, peaking at 3 on CBC’s Galaxie Folk/Roots chart.  She has toured in the US and Canada, including dates with Jim Cuddy, Lynn Miles, Oh Susanna, Corb Lund, Hayes Carll, Minnie Driver, Rose Cousins and numerous others.

“The music of Kirsten Jones combines the best elements of alt-country and contemporary folk.  She’s also an engaging live performer, bringing both introspection and high humour to her shows.”

– Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio

“The talented singer-songwriter is now busy winning the hearts of fans and breaking genres with her unique style of alt-country that she sings with heartfelt sincerity and catchy hooks.”

– Blue Rodeo website, “One Degree” section

Kirsten is extremely happy to report that she is one of 10 artists in the running for Roots Artist of the Year at this year’s Canadian Country Music Awards.  She has to make it one more round to get the actual CCMA nomination.  She’s in some pretty heady company, including past favourites like Corb Lund and Jimmy Rankin.  But she is unique in that she is the only female solo artist on the list, and one of the (very) few truly independent artists as well.  Only CCMA members can vote, so if you know any, please let them know about Kirsten’s spot in the Roots category.

Kirsten is currently on tour in Eastern Canada for the month of July and will be playing at Country Music Week in Hamilton, ON in September as well as at the American Music Festival & Conference in Nashville, TN in October.

Find Kirsten Jones online at:

Official website

Facebook

YouTube

Twitter

MySpace

CBC Radio 3

Roadhouse Sun by Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses

CD Review
Title: Roadhouse Sun
Artist: Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses
Label: Lost Highway
Released: 2009
Stars: 4.0

I saw the brilliant movie Crazy Heart starring Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal yesterday and it changed my life a little bit. Discovering a new artist that rocks you to your very foundation and connects with your spirit is a rare thing, but Ryan Bingham, who sings the Golden Globe winning, Oscar nominated song, The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart), co-written by Bingham and T-Bone Burnett, has done just that. With his beautiful doe eyes, old soul, and whiskey & cigarettes voice, he’s grabbed my attention and won’t let go.

Last year, Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses released their second album for Lost Highway RecordsRoadhouse Sun – to positive critical reviews. Bingham, although born in New Mexico, calls Austin, Texas home and as that’s a place I’ve spent a bit of time in on and off since 1985, it fostered my love for roots rock that’s peppered with country, Cajun, and blues.

Ryan, a former rodeo and roadhouse performer, and his accomplished band: Corby Schaub (guitar & mandolin), Matt Smith (drums) and newest member, Elijah Ford (bass) have released a 12 track collection of personal, political, hard-living, superior country cross-over songs on Roadhouse Sun. Imagine a cocktail mixed with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Kris Kristofferson and you will have an idea of the flavor of this offering. Influenced by Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, Lyle Lovett and Jerry Jeff Walker, among others, Bingham sounds like someone much older than his 28 years and doesn’t hesitate to offer up his personal, painful experiences for the sake of his songwriting. Thoughtful, honest lyrics punctuate authentic, enthusiastic southwestern melodies and while some of his lyrics may be somewhat clichéd, Bingham’s voice will hold you enslaved.

Roadhouse Sun is an album with style and substance and it opens with Day Is Done, a slide steel rocker infused with wailin’ blues, followed by Dylan’s Hard Rain, an alt-country-folk-rock political anthem for these times that pays tribute to the 60s. Tell My Mother I Miss Her So is a foot-stomping, barn-burner of a folk ditty and Country Roads, a harmonica-laced highway rocker. The slightly Spanish, sparse acoustic ballad Snake Eyes features a bittersweet vocal performance akin to Bingham’s on The Weary Kind and is one of my favourites. Change Is has been described as “seven minutes of meditative, hypnotic riffing that builds to a near-psychedelic crescendo as Bingham spins his tale of empowerment and responsibility”, but it’s not my favourite track on the album. I prefer the slower tempo, piano and steel guitar stylings of the Rollin’ Highway Blues and the humourous political rant, Hey Hey Hurray.

For me, this quote says it all:

Smokey and yearning, Bingham’s songs of border-town heartbreak tremble like living, breathing things- Epic yet intimate, rugged but crafted, Bingham forces you to hang on his every whiskey-drenched word. – Matt Diehl, BlackBook

I’d really love to see Ryan team up with Jack White to write some songs because I think that pairing could inspire some explosive thunderbolts of musical genius. If he doesn’t succumb to the bottle that almost swallowed Bad Blake whole in Crazy Heart, Ryan Bingham has one helluva future ahead of him and I want to bear witness to it.