Monday, 13 October 2014

High Valley

High Valley - County Line (2014)

Canadian pop country trio High Valley is made up of brothers Brad, Bryan and Curtis Rempel. The brothers grew up on a farm in the remote rural community of La Crete, Alberta where it seemed there was always a lot of country music being played, and the brothers quickly absorbed it, forming High Valley before any of them was even a teenager. The young band played wherever they could, often at church camps, eventually working their way up to open for country stars who toured through, all while still attending school and holding down part-time jobs. They recorded for the first time in Nashville in 2001 and released a debut album, the self-titled High Valley, on Open Road Records in the fall of 2010.

Kira Isabella - Caffeine & Big Dreams (2014)

Kira Isabella - Caffeine & Big Dreams (2014)
Isabella will likely get the ingenue label thrown at her — after all, she's only 21 — but she's been doing this a long, long time. She's been playing guitar, writing songs and performing since she was seven, and left her hometown of Ottawa for Nashville as a teenager. Her debut album, Love Me Like That, came out in 2011 and she's already opened for Carrie Underwood.

Caffeine & Big Dreams should push Isabella to the next level, and her timing couldn't be better, what with fellow upstarts like Kacey Musgraves and Lindi Ortega making a splash, and Taylor Swift breaking up with country music, leaving a giant hole in the Nashville scene. In fact, we're so sure that this is Isabella's time to shine, CBC Music recently kicked off its Next Big Thing series by profiling her.  

Monday, 6 October 2014

Matt Hillyer - If These Old Bones Could Talk (2014

Matt Hillyer, also known as “Matt the Cat” and as the leader of Dallas-based and beloved Honky-Tonk band Eleven Hundred Springs is, rather simply, an artist. Few artists stick to a single, narrow path as they wander, viewing things in a philosophically unique way than many non-artist types might.

With the release of Hillyer’s debut solo album, the Lloyd Maines-produced If These Bones Could Talk, we get to see a new side to Hillyer’s country-gold vision, but to be clear, his solo foray isn’t the end of Eleven Hundred Springs, which was formed in 1998, nor is it the death of the rockabilly-flavored Matt the Cat Trio. Hillyer as a solo artist with a fresh group of players, including some buddies from Eleven Hundred Springs, is merely a fascinating, new chapter to a musical life that’s never been conventional, and isn’t going to be anytime soon.

With 11 new songs, all written or co-written by HIllyer except for his rocking, stomping cover of the Everly Brothers’ classic the “Price of Love,” a rare occurrence has taken place. The leader of a popular, established band has branched out to go on a personal, musical vision quest, and has come back with a sound that satisfies on all levels. In some ways, These Old Bones resembles the stone-cold country of his band, but the new collection has increased the sonic value of everything he’s affiliated with, thanks to spreading his tattooed, whiskey-soaked wings a bit.
The notion for a solo record came from a wonderfully personal spot that’s as honest as it is meaningful to Hillyer.

“I was very close with my Grandmother, he says. “She was always pushing me to do it. She loved Eleven Hundred Springs, but she really wanted me to make something with my name on it. So, over the years, it started to seem like a good idea as I did more solo acoustic shows. It also seemed like a good idea for me to have a CD of my own to sell at some of those shows. Then when these songs started to come out in my writing, I really wanted to make this happen.”

While cuts such as “Home is Where the Heartbreak Is” certainly recalls a familiar Buck Owens-esque brightness and “Try Not to Take it So Hard” has the classic Texas Tornadoes playfulness some of Eleven Hundred Springs best tunes boast, one listen to “Dancing With the Moon,” a smooth, soft romancer of a tune, and it’s clear Hillyer’s found another gear of country storytelling that is only the beginning of a new era for him, whether it’s solo, as a trio or leading “Eleven Hondo.” The same can be said for the begging-to-be-two stepped-to “I Still Have a Lot of Falling Left To Go,” as it’s gentle fiddle leads Hillyer through a piano-twinkling sawdust shuffler that doesn’t kick the footlights as hard as some of his other band’s best tunes do.

Hillyer acknowledges the similarities between his past band-related works, but highlights the differences in a manner that’s clear with drama-free simplicity.

“To me it always boils down to the material, he says. “I know there are songs on this album that I would not have put on an Eleven Hundred Springs album. Even the songs that would fit like a glove on an Eleven Hundred Springs album are, for the most part, rooted in very personal places. When the collection of these songs started to really come together it became apparent to me that the majority of them felt like something I was trying to say independent of a group.”

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Jo Burt"Indestructible"2014

Jo Burt - Indestructible (2014)
Jo Burt is an English songwriter, storyteller, singer and guitar player possibly best known for his incredible history working with musical legends such as Freddie Mercury, The Troggs and Black Sabbath over the past 40 years. The last few years have seen Jo making a name in his own right with his project 'The Jo Burt Experience'. Originally created as a songwriting development tool, in the last three years the band have become an outstanding live act playing festivals and venues around the UK, Europe and North America.

The Sunny Cowgirls"My Old Man" 2014

Sunny Cowgirls - My Old Man (2014)
THE SUNNY COWGIRLS have delivered their seventh album with a collection of carefully selected covers paying tribute to paternal figures across the country.

Their new release ‘MY OLD MAN’ will be unveiled nationally on Friday 29th August 2014.

Produced by the singer/songwriter sister duo that make up THE SUNNY COWGIRLS, SOPHIE and CELESTE CLABBURN have ensured the album showcased the country siblings’ musical influences and songs that have stood the test of time… and resonated with fathers all over!

The eclectic song choice gives an insight into the sisters’ musical upbringing and the many influences that have shaped their successful recording and touring career thus far.

They are without question, one of the most in demand country acts in Australia and continue to bring their unique and unashamedly Australian sound to audiences across the county.

Freely admitting the album recordings are also a personal tribute to their own father, Sophie and Celeste said, "Our Dad is a huge inspiration to us and our music. He brought us up on these songs, and taught us what good music was. Our style is very similar to his! We would jam with him as kids and a lot of those old songs ended up on this record! It's our little way of saying "thank you" for teaching us. I think most Dads will find something they love on this album… and Mums too, because we love our Mum!"

Don McLean to John Williamson, Paul McCartney to Joy McKean and only enhanced further by the likes of Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan and Burt Bacharach to name just a few, the underlying tone of this album is recognising great songwriters domestically and internationally.

Of course, SOPHIE and CELESTE bring their own style and sound to these iconic songs like only they can. Like the songs, you recognise their voices and sound as THE SUNNY COWGIRLS without even having to ask.

This album, though their seventh, is the first time THE SUNNY COWGIRLS have taken on the role of Producer, a new territory that they welcomed.