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Entries in Roots (14)
Erin Sidney (aka Syd), Patrick Thomas and Lisa Piccirillo are each experienced touring and recording artists with self-released albums and a thick portfolio of singer/songwriter accolades. In the Fall of 2010 they came together in a lakeside cabin to form Hotels & Highways and record what would become “Lost River”, a folk-tinged meditation on the deeper meaning of living and a love letter to the spirit of collaboration.
In every way, Phyllis Sinclair is a lady of conviction. Phyllis Sinclair creates songs of dignity and change. Ethnically of the Canadian Cree tribe, or “Swampy Cree” as she jovially qualifies, and raised in deep poverty by a single mother in Winnipeg, her musical blend of folk, pop, and country seeks to encourage those who struggle with life and often places her in league with fellow messengers like Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Stan Rogers.
John Connolly is a gutsy songwriter with a strong stage presence.
In the spring of 2010, John collaborated with Brian Ahern (Emmylou Harris, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash) to record an acoustic album due out in September.
Tin Pan connotes a world from the past – the most dominant and enlightened strains of American music of the early part of the 20th century – jazz, blues and American popular song. But it would be a mistake to say that Tin Pan is fixed in that past. Rather, it is music created to be enjoyed profoundly and joyously in the present. The band has created a rabid following by playing music that resonates powerfully because its intention is pure – to make people dance, smile and conjure with the spirit of music itself. On their new album, Hound’s Tooth, the band has perfected their sonic vision – effortless, wondrous and festive, feeling much like, as the band describes themselves, Ray Charles and Tom Waits at a Bourbon Street Parade.
Take the ‘50s-era country of Hank Williams, Sr. and filter it through ‘70s punk rock, ‘80s psychobilly, and ‘90s post-punk. You’ll find yourself staring eye-to-eye with San Francisco’s own “Pixies in a cowboy hat.”
Not many blues artists can call themselves “the Doctor of the Blues” without a whole stretcher-full of the idiom’s winking big talk. But Marshall Lawrence can, and with only the slightest bit of irony. The award-nominated Canadian bluesman actually holds a doctorate in psychology, and he knows how to use it—just as he knows how to use his slashing guitar, stinging, lightning-fast slide, and pleading, mournful moan: Marshall’s prescription for a maximum blues remedy.
With a voice that has been described as ‘both heart breaking and uplifting’ Miriam sings and plays kora (African harp ) as well as guitar. With a strong West African flavor her songs chart journeys around the world. Monsoon in an African shanty town, stories of a courageous escape and a village healer who casts spells of love !
Cady Finlayson is a spirited Irish fiddler, with a global twist. And while she’s best known for her Irish music expertise, Finlayson’s latest release, Electric Green, her collaboration with French guitarist Vita Tanga, is sure to expand her audience well beyond traditional Celtic boundaries. Finlayson and Tanga met during a tour honoring the music of John Denver. The downtime between touring dates led to musical experimentation and an electric guitar and fiddle performance in Finlayson’s New York City home. “It was at this total dive bar, and I wasn’t sure how the traditional Irish music would go over with that crowd,” Finlayson recalls. “So, just for fun, we decided to add some electric guitar sounds to the mix — crybaby pedal and all. We recorded it and listened to it later, and it sounded really cool!”
Like the rest of life, music shouldn’t make you feel like you’re just punching the clock or spinning your wheels. It should be a journey. One in which the artist weaves together his or her experiences into impeccably performed songs that not only appeal to the ear with strong hooks and addictive melodies, but also resonate deeply on an emotional level. Tunes that have the power to directly move the listener to their very core, and perhaps even serve as reassuring beacons during difficult times. Such a skill is, of course, a rare gift for any artist, and one that takes most of them decades to attain, if at all. And yet it’s a skill that Zach Maxwell, still only in his mid twenties, already has—in abundance.
Coming from a farming community in Far North Queensland, 8 Ball Aitken is the oldest son of an impoverished family of twelve children. 8 Ball spent his adolescence on a banana plantation, living in a rough tobacco shed with resident rats, bats, snakes, and spiders as his sleeping companions. He started work as a farm labourer aged fifteen, doing back-breakingly hard work on the mango and banana plantations of the Atherton Tablelands, a man’s work for a boy’s pay. He had to help support his family with these wages.
A storyteller through song, Maria Dunn combines North American folk and country music with the influences of her Celtic heritage. She writes songs inspired by historical and contemporary characters, capturing their struggles and triumphs in her lyrics. A 2009 nominee for the Canadian Folk Music Awards for her newest CD, The Peddler, Maria also received a Juno nomination in the Roots/Traditional Solo category for her second recording, For a Song.
8 Ball Aitken is authentic — a real-deal Outback character who rattles the roof, stomps the planks, and gets his audiences whooping and hollering along in a frenzy of pure exuberance. He plays a sizzling hot blend of original Australian roots-rock, served up spiced with country and blues — roots music with balls.
To call Michael Behm a music industry renaissance man is actually something of an understatement. As an artist, he’s equally comfortable working under the spotlight or behind the scenes or in a studio, while he has found significant success as an entrepreneur in many different facets of the music business.
Twelve years of touring through North America have established Behm as a compelling live performer. To a rapidly growing number of fans around the globe, he is best known as a singer/songwriter of real melodic and lyrical intelligence. His versatile take on pop-rock has been showcased on seven albums, including 2008’s acclaimed Saving America.