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Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

Lukas Nelson

“In case you didn’t know, Willie Nelson has a son. His name is Lukas Nelson.

Lukas Nelson has long been better known for being the son of a country music legend than for the music he’s made, but that’s changing.

With the release last summer (2023) of their eighth album, “Sticks and Stones,” Nelson and his band, Promise of the Real, are affirming their identity as musicians who can play just about anything, from rock to country.

“I’m discovering more who I am in every album. And this album is completely who I am,” Nelson says in an interview on his website. (Michael Shapiro, The Press Democrat)

S. A. Cosby

S.A Cosby

Location – Rural Virginia

S.A. Cosby is the New York Times national best selling award-winning author from Southeastern Virginia. His books include MY DARKEST PRAYER, BLACKTOP WASTELAND, Amazon’s #1 Mystery and Thriller of the Year and #3 Best Book of 2020 overall, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, Winner of the LA Times Book Award for Mystery or Thrillers and a Goodreads Choice Awards Semifinalist and the winner of the ITW award for hard cover book of the year, the Macavity for best novel of the year, the Anthony, The Barry , a honorable mention from the ALA Black Caucus and was a finalists for the CWA Golden Dagger. He is also author of the best selling RAZORBLADE TEARS which was also nominated for numerous awards as well

His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, and his story “Slant-Six” was selected as a Distinguished Story in Best American Mystery Stories for 2016. His short story “The Grass Beneath My Feet” won the Anthony Award for Best Short Story in 2019. His writing has been called “gritty and heartbreaking” and “dark, thrilling and tragic” and “raw ,emotional and profound ” (Amazon)

His latest release (2023) is All the Sinners Bleed.

For more about the book

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Eilen Jewell

From: Bernard Zuel – Music Journalist

FULL DISCLOSURE: WHY THE RULES HAVE CHANGED FOR EILEN JEWELL

MAYBE IT’S THE MIDWEST UPBRINGING of politeness and reserve that lay behind it. Maybe it’s the natural defence of someone who already was out and exposed as an artist in a corner of Americana that values the personal as much as the historical. Whatever it might be with Eilen Jewell, in about 13 years of interviewing her, she has always shown herself adept at talking about her songs and her life in a way that deflected personal revelations.

It’s not that she didn’t answer questions, but those answers made the generalities of her characters the focal point and gave just enough to let us see how she’d build relationships to them but not be defined by them. It was politely done of course, and was not without things to chew on given a sharp intelligence and an eye on American culture whether it was her love of Loretta Lyn and Howlin’ Wolf, the pay gap between the sexes, or political resistance as something of a progressive island in a state that’s anything but.

Well, things have changed with the coming record, Get Behind The Wheel. Not only has Jewell written an album that came out of the Covid-era breakup of her marriage to long-time drummer, co-manager, and co-parent, Jason Beek, and some deaths in her wider family, but she has been talking openly, frankly, about her circumstances.

It’s hard to imagine that was a comfortable transition, not least because growing up in Idaho you kept your business to yourself, but you have to wonder if it has been dragged out of her, or did she feel it was inevitable and stopped fighting.

“It is really new for me to talk about anything having to do with my personal life,” the Boise-based Jewell says. “But this time around it seemed like it would be wrong to not discuss it because this album is so, so directly influenced by everything that I’ve gone through in the past couple of years. I just feel like I would be lying if I said ‘oh, I don’t know, it’s just about people and things’ [she laughs].

“Also the pandemic taught me that that there’s something really important about sharing parts of ourselves. That’s what sharing my music is [and] I guess it dawned on me this actually could be a good thing for me, it could open me up to my fans and there’s a chance there could be some cathartic sharing on both sides.”

There probably won’t be any problems getting her fans to share their thoughts next month when she will spend several weeks in Australia (heaven knows we’re not a quiet bunch), but when you put these things out like Jewell is now doing, not only are you exposing yourself but you are setting the agenda for how things are interpreted. And this is before even considering that Beek is still playing in her band and will be on the tour.

How people interpret your songs and your album, and inevitably yourself, will be shaped by these revelations and explanations. Is that a good thing? Was it even planned?

“The label was saying you’ve got to figure out how to talk about this new album, so I was like, yeah, shoot, I’ve gotta decide how much do I want to disclose? How much do I want to set the stage for these songs?,” she says. “Because, yeah, in the past I’ve not done that and thought that the songs should stand on their own and people can interpret them how they want. People are still free to interpret them however, obviously, but this album really did occur at a particular point in time for me. It was a disaster of a moment in my life this album was born out of, beyond anything else I’ve ever experienced, and I felt this album deserved an exception to my normal rule.” It was time? At 43, maybe it’s as simple as that.

“I guess I do want to talk about this stuff, this stuff being the pandemic, the divorce that came out of that, or coincided with it, and then family losses, people near and dear to me – not even Covid-related, but just one after another,” Jewell says. “For the first time in my life it feels cathartic to talk about what was going on behind the scenes. I don’t think it’s necessary information to appreciate the album, but there’s a few Neil Young albums where I gleaned he was going through a particular thing in his life and then read later that in fact, yes that’s happening, and something about that makes me appreciate the album just a little bit more. I have a sense of who he is more.”

From a long low base of knowledge about the album so far – it’s not yet available to media, let alone the public, though we will hear some songs from it at her March shows – a title like Get Behind The Wheel suggests maybe taking control of her life, or at least setting the direction. How did she handle this resetting and reclaiming of control?

“It’s really been a mixed bag,” she confesses. “I think when I wrote that song – the song that contains that phrase ‘get behind the wheel’ is called Alive – I felt so inspired to take control and have agency, it was all very new. I was like, well, so much is crashing down around me but this is an opportunity to just up inside my life in a really authentic way. And that’s still present, but I’m also realising that it’s much harder than it sounds, and sometimes [she laughs ruefully] it’s awful.” No one would blame her for looking away.

“There’s part of me that would just love to drift around and say ‘I don’t know, someone else take the wheel: I’m getting tired already’,” says Jewell. “But I was guilty of some of that for many years, going with the flow with my career, and my personal life too … being cooperative, and they really comes at a cost eventually. You can’t keep whittling your life away like that. Eventually you realise that your heart is not fully in it, and there’s always a reckoning with that.” When she looks at who she was, even three years ago, and who she is now, how does she judge that person?

“I … think … that … person … was … somewhat,” she says slowly, before a long pause. “Somewhat overeager to find distractions. The old me really didn’t want to look at life just as it is. The old me was always kind of looking into the future, thinking about how things will be better or should be better, or the past. The here and now was something that I tended to avoid. “But all we really have is the here and now. The past is gone and the future is a fantasy.”

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Tedeschi Trucks Band

Go back to December 31, 2008 when guitarist Derek Trucks and his wife, singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi, were preparing to ring in the New Year. Married since 1999, these two soulmates, equally steeped in the musical roots of blues, jazz, and gospel, had finally decided the time was right to set aside their successful solo careers and commit to a new band melding their vision and talent. It wasn’t the first time they had collaborated; they had shared a stage countless times and traded album guest appearances, all while starting a family together. But on that night, hitting the stage together with members of the Derek Trucks Band and a guest horn section they heard the future.

“The 12-piece outfit puts out a big band sound that still rings intimate, shaking listeners to their emotional core.” – Rolling Stone

Two years later, the couple debuted Tedeschi Trucks Band. The nation’s economy was heading into recession. The popular music landscape was filled with technological theatrics and auto-tuned singers. And here were Tedeschi and Trucks along with their (then) 8-member band, loading up two tour buses and hitting the road with a sound that defied conventional genre boundaries or traditional labels; a gypsy caravan on the rock-and-roll highway. To call it ambitious was an understatement.

During their five-year rise, the group toured incessantly, raising their profile and being handpicked to play with the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and Santana

In pursuit of their ideal sound driven by world class musicianship, Tedeschi and Trucks put together a musical collaborative like no other, flying in the face of any practical or economic considerations. There have been evolutionary changes to the band along the way, but the freight-train force of veteran drummers J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell were there from the start, along with two brilliant Trucks Band veterans to amplify the rhythm section: Kofi Burbridge with his prodigious talent on keys and flute, and Mike Mattison, with his dynamic vocals and songwriting skills. A 3-piece horn section brought on for studio work proved indispensable to the group’s sound and became a permanent addition – now composed of Kebbi Williams’ intergalactic saxophone, Ephraim Owens on trumpet and Elizabeth Lea on trombone. Industry-renowned bassist Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Sting) joined in 2013, and two years later a third incredible voice, Alecia Chakour, was added to the background vocals provided by Mark Rivers and Mattison; each more than capable of delivering a stirring turn as a lead vocalist.

On the road for upwards of 200 days a year, the TTB family has grown strong, bonding over backyard BBQs and long bus rides, all the while developing a growing repertoire of original material and paying homage to an extensive canon of influences ranging from Sly & the Family Stone, Miles Davis and George Jones to Joe Cocker, Nina Simone, and even Indian sarod master Ali Akbar Khan. Embracing improvisation over convention, and set lists rarely repeated, the collective is adept at exploring almost any musical territory. The genuine respect within its ranks is evident on stage. Trucks’ masterful guitar skills and Tedeschi’s soaring vocals and bluesy guitar shine but don’t overpower the breadth of talent, happily yielding the spotlight as needed in service of what the song deserves.

“I saw them live and it was mind blowing. [Derek] has taken the guitar, specifically slide guitar, somewhere it has never been. His phrasing both with and without slide is uniquely his and just odd and jarring and exciting to listen to. [Susan] is an earnest blues player as well and her voice is astounding. The band was mind-blowing. They take a form that is arguably tired and turn it inside out with originality and musicianship and make it totally their own.” – Marc Maron

Trucks and Tedeschi’s uncompromising vision has paid off. Now 12-members strong, and with a catalog of five albums and nearly a decade of steady touring in the U.S. and abroad, Tedeschi Trucks Band carries a distinguished reputation earned from both audiences and critics as one of the premier live bands in the world. Sold-out multi-night runs at venerable venues like the Beacon Theatre, Ryman Auditorium and Red Rocks Amphitheater are a testament to the can’t-miss concert experience fans have come to anticipate. The band’s own “Wheels of Soul” tour has become a sought-after summer experience from promoters across the country, bringing TTB’s unique stew of upbeat rock and soul together on stage with a slew of guests, sit ins, and supporting bands that have included the late Sharon Jones, Los Lobos and most recently The Wood Brothers and Hot Tuna. 2018 will also mark the sixth year for the TTB-curated Sunshine Music Festival, hosted each January in their home state of Florida.

“Epic is an overused word, but if one contemporary rock band were to rightfully wear it, the Tedeschi Trucks Band might be the ones.” – Santa Barbara Independent

TTB’s most recent CD/film release, Live From The Fox Oakland (2017) was nominated for a Grammy and follows a quartet of critically-hailed and commercially successful albums, including the Grammy-winning debut, Revelator (2011) and Let Me Get By (2016), called “one of the great records of the year” by the Associated Press. The film documents the progress the band has made since its inception, while also showcasing its endless potential to bring out the best in each other every night in any musical direction they choose. It’s clear that the leaders have no intention of slowing down now. As Trucks remarked to Mark Maron on his WTF podcast featured in the film, “I haven’t found this band’s ceiling yet.” For Tedeschi Trucks Band, there may not be one.

Allman Betts Band

Allman Betts Band

Devon Allman and Duane Betts unite in this exciting band.

Back on the Road. (Somtimes with friends)

The Allman Betts Band includes Devon Allman & Duane Betts on guitars and vocals, Berry Oakley Jr. on bass, Johnny Stachela on slide guitar, John Ginty on Hammond B3 (Robert Randolph/Dixie Chicks) and Devon Allman Project percussionists R. Scott Bryan (Sheryl Crow) and John Lum.  The show features original music from their two recent BMG albums, songs from their solo projects as well as classic songs by The Allman Brothers Band, the legendary group founded by Devon and Duane’s fathers, Gregg Allman & Dickey Betts.

Their sophomore album, Bless Your Heart, was released on August 28, 2020.  Like their debut album, Bless Your Heart was recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and produced by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine and Elvis Presley).

“This is The Allman Betts Band’s best offering yet, showcasing a band still tethered to their legacy but finding their own way with a sound that honors their roots without stepping all over them.” – No Depression

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The Record Company

The Record Company

The Record Company is an American rock band from Los Angeles. The members are Chris Vos, Alex Stiff, and Marc Cazorla. Their music is influenced by blues musicians like John Lee Hooker, early punk bands like The Stooges, and rock bands like The Rolling Stones. Wikipedia

These rising stars have been riding up the charts with their latest release Play Loud.

Below is an excerpt from an excellent article featured in RELIX…where Music meets Journalism

From Play Loud’s first notes, it’s quite evident that something has changed. The raw, bluesy feel that lined The Record Company’s first two albums is no longer there; instead, there’s a rock[1]and-roll swagger that shines through. It’s energetic in ways that feel more apt for arenas instead of the home-studio recordings that often looked inward. On the album’s opener “Never Leave You,” Vos laments being a bit lost, searching for answers, finding solace in the sun. It’s a simple song about relationship confusion, but it sets the tone for Play Loud: The music here is catchy as hell. The single “How High” is an anthemic number, driven by Stiff and Cazorla’s thumping rhythms. At times, it feels like a pure adrenaline rush, especially when the chorus asks listeners to consider “how high do you want to fly”—in an aspirational way.

That’s not to say that their past is completely devoid on Play Loud. “Today Forever” is a slow, bluesy number that finds Vos passionately declaring to a lover that a great move would be to run away for “a day that will last forever.” It’s grand gesture thinking, but that’s the running thread throughout Play Loud—be yourself, take a chance, do it with some gusto.

Most of the songs were written pre-pandemic, but the Play Loud recording sessions took place in the spring of 2020. Unexpectedly, the lyrics seem to take on a new life once they started laying down the tracks, particularly “How High,” which seems to touch on themes relating to recovery.

“We were in a new, challenging time,” Vos says. “But at my core, as a human, I was back to being a 14-year-old kid sitting on the edge of my bed, playing guitar because I had nothing else to do today. The only thing on my mind was music. It was the only thing that would make me feel better, making the record. It became the absolute focal point of our lives. That was unexpectedly positive in a field of a lot of negativity. That was one area where we did benefit from being isolated. These songs for me were very emotionally profound. We’d written a lot before [the pandemic] but, all of a sudden, you’re taking it into the studio, and you’re singing this song—and this life, it means something different. We all have a relatable struggle. We all didn’t see our moms and dads for a long time. We all didn’t see our friends for a long time. That’s something we all share.”

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The Jayhawks

The Jayhawks

One of the most enduring and beloved groups of the last thirty years, The Jayhawks first emerged from Minneapolis in the mid-1980’s, though their commercial and critical breakthrough didn’t arrive until the release of their 1992 masterpiece, Hollywood Town Hall. Over the ensuing decades, the band would go on to record a series of highly influential albums and tour the world countless times over, sharing stages with everyone from Bob Dylan and Tom Petty to Lucinda Williams and Wilco along the way. Following an extended hiatus in the mid-2000’s, Louris and his long-time bandmates—bassist Marc Perlman, drummer Tim O’Reagan, and keyboardist Karen Grotberg—returned to the studio, most recently releasing the acclaimed Paging Mr. Proust and Back Roads and Abandoned Motels in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

The 11th Jayhawks studio album XOXO was released on July 10, 2020 through Sham/Thirty Tigers. Recorded in late 2019 at Pachyderm and Flowers Studios in Minnesota, XOXO represents a bold step forward. For the first time, all four members contribute writing and lead vocal duties. XOXO is the most diverse and wide-ranging in the group’s storied history. Rather than marking a sonic departure, though, the collection signals a sharpening of focus for the band, an elevation in understanding of who they are and what they do best. In classic Jayhawks fashion, the songs here mix the influence of American roots music with British invasion and jangly power-pop, but there’s a newfound vitality at play, as well, an invigoration of confidence and energy that could only come with the injection of fresh blood. The result is an album that, much like the band’s lush harmonies, brings multiple distinctive voices together into a singular whole, a collection that, ironically enough, finds unity in individuality and identity in reinvention.

Dawes

Dawes

Dawes is an American folk rock band from Los Angeles, California, composed of brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, along with Wylie Gelber and Lee Pardini. Wikipedia

A group of road warriors who’ve carved out their blend of amplified folk-rock, the music is nuanced and collaborative, with no single instrument dominating the track list.

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The War and Treaty

Just two lovebirds singing without reverb. The War and Treaty, a married duo comprised of Michael and Tanya Trotter, whose songs such as “All I Wanna Do” and “Healing Tide” convey an ecstatic, empowering sense of partnership that serves as the duo’s creative engine and core message.

Darlingside

Darlingside

“It’s over now / The flag is sunk / The world has flattened out,” are the first words of Extralife, the new album by Boston-based quartet Darlingside. While the band’s critically acclaimed 2015 release Birds Say was steeped in nostalgia and the conviction of youth, Extralife grapples with dystopian realities and uncertain futures. Whether ambling down a sidewalk during the apocalypse or getting stuck in a video game for eternity, the band asks, sometimes cynically, sometimes playfully: what comes next? Their erstwhile innocence is now bloodshot for the better.

Hope arrives in the form of Darlingside’s signature superpower harmonies, drawing frequent comparisons to late-60’s era groups like Crosby, Stills & Nash; Simon & Garfunkel; and The Byrds. And yet, their penchant for science fiction and speculative futurism counteracts any urge to pigeonhole their aesthetic as “retro”. The four close friends construct every piece of their music collaboratively, pooling musical and lyrical ideas so that each song bears the imprint of four different writing voices. NPR Music dubs the result “exquisitely-arranged, literary-minded, baroque folk-pop”, and calls Extralife “perfectly crafted”.

Darlingside perform all of their music around a single vocal microphone, inviting audiences into a lush, intimate world where four voices are truly one. Their 2016 performance at the Cambridge Folk Festival “earned an ecstatic reception and turned them into instant stars”, according to The Daily Telegraph. The band tours regularly throughout the United States, Canada, the UK, and Europe.

 

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