Tag Archives: Country

Marty Thompson Brings Island Sound Within Romantic Stories

12 May

Marty Thompson combines feel good music with the modern sounds of classic rock and country in his album, Romantic Stories. Combining the real lyrics and the grunge feel of the guitar sounds and full sound, Thompson brings an island like sound to his overall tone. To add even more coolness and authenticity to the album, the entirety of it was composed while hiking in the Bavarian Alps while backpacking with his family. Set to release at the end of May, the track list highlights the places he visited and memories he created, adding a sentimental travel diary vibe to the album as well. While listening to the album, if your mind begins to wonder about all the variety of sounds, you’ll hear everything from Martin Acoustic Guitars to the Gretsch Mandolin, Congos, Bongos, and even the triangle! Having an extensive amount of experience within the music industry and as a creative, Thompson brings to the table a well thought out and intentional album with a rich sound, sentimental meaning, and inspiration for rockers everywhere.

For more listening (track below is from his first album, If You Could See Me Now)

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Silver Lake 66 Pulls At Listeners Heartstrings In Let Go Or Be Dragged

29 Mar

Silver Lake 66 makes listeners very aware of their full bodied sound that exemplifies the epitome of Americana sound. In their debut album, Let Go or Be Dragged, stories about Little Rock, life, and travels are prominent themes throughout. The effortless combination of Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo meshes together to form a signature and connecting sound within their music. The arrangement of the songs proves strong with Overbo’s guitar work and light percussion in the background of the prominent tracks on the album. The overall style of their songwriting definitely alludes to traditional country and Americana standards, but with a soulful and modern twist in the present.

For more listening:

Rocky and the Goldstein: Living a Chassidic Country Dream

11 Apr

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Move over Ray Benson, there is another country musician and member of the tribe who has rolled into town with a guitar strapped around his neck and yarmulke firmly on his head. Yes, Rocky Goldstein is about as unique as you can get as a musician. As titled, he is a Brooklyn Chassidic (type of Judaism) Country Musician, which, while it seems slightly peculiar, is actually pretty apt. When you consider the tenets of good country music – pleading tales of existential journeying and other dig-into-your-soul storytelling – it fits the Jewish story quite well. As we conclude another Passover, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Jewish people out of Egypt (the age-old tale of they tried to kill us but they didn’t succeed), I bring you Rocky Goldstein’s eclectic country tunes, and I am enlivened to do so, not just because I too shared bitter herbs and charoset at the seder table this Passover, but because Rocky & The Goldstein, the official name of the band profiled in this post, is an exciting band who, faith aside, plays fresh country/folk tunes that all should hear.

I had an opportunity to email Rocky a few questions for this post, and when I asked him about his musical journey, he immediately mentioned musicians like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Merle Haggard and how he can, with his music, “relate to the struggle and, of course, the joy” that these artists evince in their own tunes. That is what music is, right? A combination of these emotions that reflect the artist’s own life, which is what Rocky echoed to me in the interview. This mature foundation creates a well-rounded approach to music that Rocky, and the people who support his tunes reflect.

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Rocky is for all intents and purposes a solo musician, but Rocky & The Goldstein is made up of a select supporting cast consisting of the producers of his self-titled EP, Thomas Bryan Eaton and Alex Korinzer; Rocky’s writing partner Isaac Schapira; and fiddle player Craig Judelman, who can be heard prominently on the album’s initial track.

When I asked Rocky about the foundation of his sound, he recalled his exploration of Judaism and trip to Israel that sparked his musical inclinations.

“I played a few shows in New York and then went off to Israel for a year and half to learn in a Yeshiva, which is a Jewish higher learning institute. There, I met my good friend, Isaac Schapira. We both talked about our love for country music and started writing these mock American pride songs. Eventually, we decided to start writing songs about the experiences of what we were actually going through.  He really helped me hone in on writing lyrics with a clear message as opposed to cryptic, subconscious prose.” 

This prose and sound, as stated above, might be viewed as a bit odd, but when I asked him how a nice Jewish boy from Long Island gets into country music he explained a natural progression to the genre.

“Country music in particular always had these themes of self-deprecation, regret, and life lessons with religious undertones. Jewish identity is often defined by these characteristics. As I became more observant in my Judaism, I found songs like “Less of Me” by the Statler Brothers or “In my hour of darkness” by Gram Parsons to be songs I could relate to. They spoke about the struggle of going on a spiritual journey and the tribulations that came along with it.”

Let’s listen to some tunes.

“A Dream,” the initial track on the EP, features a traditional Jewish folk fiddle followed by Rocky’s grainy vocal that carries the piece. The guitar is plucked with upbeat intensity and the fiddle is never to far behind. I particularly enjoy the song’s simplicity, which, in my mind, is what makes good country music. It is vocal and strings mixed with light percussion, which acts like a perfect pairing.

“The Sun” is an ode to the singer/songwriter. Much in the vein of classic musicians like Paul Simon and more modern musicians like Vance Joy, Rocky’s vocal is smooth and tender and it carries the piece. The fiddle is such a great touch and it adds to the song’s dulcet sound. Using a culinary allusion, it simply tastes good, which makes sense, because when I asked Rocky to imagine a situation where he gets to dine with two musicians who inspired him, Rocky picked legends of the pen and harmony Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon, a classic dinner of “melody” and “lyric.” Asked what he’d get, he figured he’d go simple, “a beer or a coffee and maybe a knish, as long as it’s kosher,” of course.

 You can find the self titled EP on rockyandthegoldstein.com and purchase at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/RockyandtheGoldstein. Feel free to like him on Facebook.

Runaway Dorothy in the Blue Kentucky Rain

15 Jul

Runaway Dorothy

Dorothy has run away with a Brooklyn-based four-piece into the blue Kentucky rain. It sounds like a mix between a pastoral film about America’s heartland and a horror movie. But don’t worry, there is nothing horrible about Runaway Dorothy; on the contrary, this band, which has already been featured on a variety of TV, Internet, and Print outlets, successfully melds a bucolic snapshot of America with Northeastern edginess. Runaway Dorothy tugs at the heartstrings of Americana, and much like The Avett Brothers, connects southern folk and country together effortlessly.

Runaway Dorothy is the pet project of Dave Parnell, who, after playing guitar for a showcasing rock band, chose to pursue his own tunes. After moving to Brooklyn, Parnell enlisted the permanent support of his brother Brett “Bert” Parnell (electric guitar), Sam “The Reverend” Gallo (bass), and Evan Mitchell (drums), who aided in the release of the band’s first album, The Wait, in February of this year. The album, a skillful take on classic folk harmonies and subdued country, plays like a potent combination of The Head and the Heart and The Everybodyfields. All of the flowery language and comparisons aside, the album is worth a listen … or two or three.

How can we best showcase the band? Well, let’s take a look at two of its hits – one more country and one more folk. First up, a trip into the “Blue Kentucky Rain” for a little slow-dance Country/Americana; more simply put, a ballad.

A melancholy acoustic guitar strums in the background of Dave Parnell’s smooth, clean croon. There are no rough edges to his voice; he draws out notes effortlessly and with the precision of a professional (which he is). The dulcet harmonies in the chorus help carry out a lugubrious guitar riff of the song’s primary melody. The song is a bit of a lamentation and/or an entreaty. Parnell plays the part exceptionally well; his vocal a testament to desperation mixed with some hope. And the Springsteen-esque harmonica is spot on.

“Sing With Me” has more hop to its step. I love the rhythm of this song. It fulfills all one wants in a song. There is neat harmony when there should be neat harmony. The acoustic guitar is apt, and the lyric falls off the tongue of Dave Parnell with tenderness and ease. The song is just a joy to listen to.

Make sure to check out more about Runaway Dorothy on the band’s website, Facebook, and Twitter.

The Duke of Norfolk is Flying South

27 May

The Duke of Norfolk

Adam Thomas Howard is the Duke of Norfolk; well, at least that is what his moniker suggests. Although one of the main reasons behind the name was to distinguish himself from the many other Adam Howards in the world, the name, which he has carried since the summer of 2010, is indicative of a sprawling sound that features the authority and flair of British royalty. Some might take a quick listen to Howard’s crunchy acoustic guitar and his distinct southern drawl and consider his title somewhat ironic, but his full sound suggests otherwise. The name catches your attention and Howard’s distinct folk rhythms pull you in.

The Duke of Norfolk is no stranger to album releases and live shows. He released his debut under Adam Howard – Shadows and Shapes – in 2009, and since then has released several EPs and his debut full-length in February of this year under The Duke of Norfolk. Today I have for you a track off of the new album called “The South.”

From the outset the sound is engaging. The soft acoustic lay comfortably over drawn-out strings – much like John Cale’s stylings with the Velvet Underground. The music is uplifting and varied. The strumming is distinctive, and it matches the Duke of Norfolk’s eclectic Conor Oberst-like vocal. The song moves with a fantastic energy and the delightful strings and concluding vocal harmony bring it home to its country/folk roots. Add the Duke of Norfolk to a short list of excellent modern folk musicians.

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