Sunday, October 22, 2006

Joan Osborne News

Joan Osborne
to release “Pretty Little Stranger” on November 14th
Vanguard Records debut features guest performers such as Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Sonny Landreth & Rodney Crowell

Santa Monica, CA - Premier vocalist and songwriter, Joan Osborne, will be releasing her Vanguard Records debut, “Pretty Little Stranger” on November 14th.

Recorded in Nashville and produced by Grammy winner, Steve Buckingham, “Pretty Little Stranger” highlights the soulful sound of Joan Osborne with elements of country blues and Americana. This 12 song collection features six original tunes written by Joan including the first single, “Who Divided”, “Shake That Devil”, “After Jane” and the title track and also compositions by Kris Kristofferson (“Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends”), Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter (“Brokedown Palace”) and Patty Griffin (“What You Are”).

Joan stated, “I would call this my version of a country record -- some of it very traditional, some less so. It tells feelings and stories in very simple language, and I wanted to focus on that simple way of communicating, rather than be flowery and poetic. I needed to get down to the bare bones and I feel like we did a good job of doing that.”

“Pretty Little Stranger” features some of music’s finest performers lending their talents including Vince Gill on “Time Won’t Tell,” Alison Krauss, “Holy Waters”, Sonny Landreth playing slide guitar on “Dead Roses” and Rodney Crowell providing harmony vocals on his own “When The Blue Hour Comes.”

Joan Osborne had one of the biggest releases of the mid-90’s with “Relish” and participated in the historic and successful Lilith Fair Tour. She has worked with a myriad of artists like Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, The Chieftains and Bonnie Raitt. She toured with The Dead in the summer of 2004 and recently finished a tour with Phil Lesh & Friends.

For more information contact Lucy Sabini @ Vanguard Records 310-829-9355x137/ or Lauren Gaffney @ 310-829-9355x158/

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mindy Smith News

MINDY SMITH’S LONG ISLAND SHORES SET FOR RELEASE OCT. 10Singer/songwriter’s sophomore album is a follow-up to her stellar debut
One Moment More

Los Angeles, CA—On the heels of her critically acclaimed Vanguard Records debut, singer-songwriter Mindy Smith is back with her highly anticipated sophomore CD, Long Island Shores, a nod to her family and her heritage growing up in Smithtown, New York. The album is scheduled for release on Oct. 10th.

Long Island Shores retains the raw, emotional intimacy of Mindy’s songs and haunting vocals but adds some sharp edges both musically and lyrically, broadening the landscape of Mindy’s storytelling. Mindy co-produced this record with Steve Buckingham and Lex Price along with additional production by Roger Moutenot.

Smith’s debut album, One Moment More, featured the hit single, “Come to Jesus,” which earned her critical accolades and went on to sell close to 300,000 copies. She recorded a version of “Jolene,” the first single on the much-praised Dolly Parton tribute album, Just Because I’m a Woman, which included contributions from Norah Jones, Sinead O’Connor, Melissa Etheridge and Alison Krauss. She made her national debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, performed on Lifetime’s “Women Rock” Television Special, had a video in top rotation at CMT and was part of VH1’s “You Oughta Know” Program. She went on to perform on Conan O’Brien and was featured on National Public Radio. The album took on a life of its own with several songs being heard on national television shows such as HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and the WB’s “Smallville” and “Summerland”.

The press was effusive in its praise of the Nashville-based singer-songwriter, “One of the most buzzed-about albums of the new year,” raved USA Today, while Rolling Stone said simply, “Smith’s voice is marvelous.” Harp magazine called her “a contender if ever there was one,” while The New York Times enthused, “…excellent debut album.”

Mindy also co-wrote with John Scott Sherrill the current Alison Krauss single, “If I Didn’t Know Any Better.”

For more information on Mindy Smith contact Lucy Sabini,, 310-829-9355x137 or Lauren Gaffney,, 310-829-9355x158.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Chicks?

I reviewed the Chicks last CD which is basically a rootsy, alternative sound and disses the country scene. There are many very well done songs. Rick Rubin has produced a clinically, mistake free masterpiece. The disc has sold very well. The CD plays it safe sonically, very heavily produced and some, well, maybe too much venting about their past.
What I do not get is why their PR people want the songs on country radio so much. I was very surprised to see their album on the Country Billboard Charts. Country Music has ignored them for at least three years. "Not Ready To Make Nice", which attacks country music fans, was their first single attempt, which totally failed. Now they are promoting "Voices In My Head" as their next single. Better, but I think that something like "Bitter End" or "Favorite Year" would work because of the lyrical content. Usually music like this ends up on adult alternative AAA stations or college stations.
I have been listening to some earlier Chicks, more specifically "Wide Open Spaces", my favorite CD for four years and still on my top ten. Also, I have been listening to "Top of The World Tour " which is great, the Chicks are great live, had the pleasure of seeing them twice.
There is something so emotive and creative about all twelve songs on "Wide Open Spaces" , I have gone thru two or three discs. It is honky tonk country, a great country production and the great dobro, fiddle and banjo of the Chicks which is missing in their new disc. (Well, a little banjo deep in the mix.) Not heavily produced, even a live cut with their road band.
The live CD of "Top Of The World Tour" which only went Gold is a great two disc live performance. I remember the "Fly" tour, at that time, their fans were teenage girls. The whole venue in Philly stood up from song one to the end of the show. The great pedal steel, banjo fiddle and dobro. Missing in action here, replaced by orchestra and layers of hard rock guitars. What I really don't get is there are no instrumental solos to speak of, just power chords except for some John Mayer riffs.
Just switched from listening to "Taking The Long Way" to "Wide Open Spaces". Compared to Rubin's production, Chancey/Worley's production sounds like a demo. What a great country sound, this disc turned country music back to country again.
Well, you know there's a big tour coming up "Accidents and Accusations", the same basic band that did the last tour. There's some trouble selling tickets and I've heard some shows are being cancelled, especially in country music hotbeds.
Oh, for a simpler time, when they didn't have midgets on Country stages and country music was all about God, apple pie and broke down pickups. There's some great new indies and always great bluegrass. Brooks and Dunn still win duo of the year. Patty Loveless is at the top of her game, but her last CD was ignored. Vince Gill, I miss you, you were class.
Well, what do you think?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"Stand Still- Look Pretty" - The Wreckers - A Review

When I saw Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp with their beautiful Gibson acoustics and sparse backup band do "Leave The Pieces" on Leno, I was blown away. It was incredibly refreshingly good music. I had to hear more. So I got the disc and have been listening to it incessantly. A great recording with some great tunes.

Branch has been a name known artist for awhile, her friendship with blond beauty Jessica Harp who is a Nashville singer-songwriter is six years old. The combination is magical. They are just made to sing and play together. They also wrote all of the songs except for two. Patty Griffin gave them one. "One More Girl" , which is a slow edgy song about what most guys look for in women. A rock sounding song.

John Levanthal (Roseanne Cash) produced the whole CD except for two songs, one being the bouncy "Leave The Pieces" which was produced by Branch and John Shanks. This song has incredible harmonies and is a hit waiting to happen. Great, light weight slick production.

The song that caught my ear was "My, Oh My", produced by Paul Worley (Dixie Chicks and mega others Nashville acts). Worley brought in some great Nashville sessions players Stuart Duncan/fiddle and mandolin, Shannon Forrest/drums, Randy Kohrs/Dobro and Biff Watson/National guitar. Really love this upbeat country sounding sounding song, reminds me of early Dixie Chicks. Michelle Branch said that she would like Worley to produce a whole CD for her in the liner notes.

Levanthal does a great job of getting an audiophile organic sound in the mix, playing most of the instruments in the songs he produces. It's hard to tell from the liner notes whether the girls play their guitars or not, does not matter, great overall sound, mastered very well by Stephen Marcussen of Marcussen Mastering.

"Stand Still, Look Pretty" is a pretty, slow song about getting around in the music world as a woman. Their vocals say more than that, they sound so good.

"Cigarettes" sung by Harp is a great song about the road of life and finding true love. "Tennessee" is another very pretty song that Harp sings. Neither has a country accent or fakes one, which is refreshing.

Overall, I find this to be a refreshing change of pace in music this year, A CD of just great well recorded and performed music.
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