Massachusetts trio Love Crumbs have released their debut, Cavalcades, in January 2021. It has been added to playlists all over the world giving the band a nice blast of good reviews. Michael, Ali and Scott spent some time on Nine Volt Heart to discuss their musical path. The conversation centered on how the music “business” has changed over the years especially in today’s touring “pause”. We talked about their signing with the UK label, Animal Farm Records, and their approach to release singles over the next months.
The band’s sound is a nostalgic throwback to classic rock and a really bluesy belter that features the strong vocals of Ali McTavish. Her comparison’s to both Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin gives you an insight to her versatility (even within this song). We listened to an acoustic duo tune called “All I Want” to open the show and we finish with “Cavalcades”. Watch for more music from this talented trio at love crumbs music on Facebook.
Wes Corbett is one of acoustic music’s most accomplished and melodic banjo pickers. Originally from Bainbridge Island Washington, he found his way east to Boston’s Berklee School of Music to teach in it’s recently minted Roots Music Program. He joined the string band Joy Kills Sorrow along the way while collaborating with this generation of all star players. He’s been part of many projects in acoustic music for a decade in New England. While he joined the roots exodus to Nashville two years ago, his presence is still strong due to his stints with Molly Tuttle and most recently, the Sam Bush Band!
Our segment begins with the first cut from his recently released album “Cascade” called “Boss Fight”. The conversation that follows is a mostly chronological inquiry about his influences, his peers and the amazing collaborations they’ve created. Topics include early piano lessons, meeting his future collaborators at an early age, and video game references. We talk Berklee School of Music heroes to Nashville tornadoes; producing some amazing young artists while learning all the Sam Bush songbook in a week. The final song we include is called “Dinosaur Party” where Wes confesses his continued fascination with Paleontology.
Give it a listen, or better yet, purchase a copy by this virtuosic band which includes Chris Eldridge, Sierra Hull, Paul Kowert, Alex Hargeaves, Casey Campbell and Simon Chrisman. “Cascade” is a great melodic listen and a long awaited entry into acoustic music history. Recommended.
The four siblings from Hubbardston Mass, The Green Sisters, have created original music ranging from bluegrass to folk to jazzy pop. They use traditional bluegrass instrumentation and the classic family sibling harmonies to create their own “genre-proof” sound. They’ve released their second album this past year called “Blink of an Eye”.
Our segment with two of the Sisters, Mel and Brie, begins with the title cut of this release. Our conversation covers their grandparents and their parent’s musicality as well as their early experiences singing together. Their Dad advertised a delivery of cordwood by his four singing daughters, possibly their first paying gig! An appearance at a wedding further confirmed their musical possibilities. In any case, all four sisters; Melody, Brianna, Betsy and Rebecca, play multiple instruments and all sing effortlessly together.
Their first album, “Endless Blue”, as well as the latest release, focus on original material. Each sibling writes individually which gives some diversity to both offerings. Most of the subject matter could be considered “rural country life” themed but in a modern way. Love songs and ballads are mixed with fiddle tunes and traditional songs. The easy laughter and jovial banter of our conversation mirrors the live show when each give good natured sisterly jabs at each other.
The segment ends with another original from “Blink of an Eye” called “Honeybabe” as well as “Here and Gone” from the debut release.
The pandemic has derailed many a creative musical project, for Wallace Field, it redefined and focused hers. While she was unable to record her full length debut, her creativity required an outlet. This five song EP, “Crystal Mirror” was recorded this summer with the help of musician/producer Nate Mondshein. The songs were recorded at home and produced by Nate’s Echo Base Productions giving these songs an eerie and spacey vibe.
Our segment began with the premiere of the song, “The End”, from “Crystal Mirror” which will be released on January 15th. Wallacefieldmusic.com has details on purchasing the music. We talk about her musical influences like Weyes Blood, Aldous Harding, and Kate Bush. This eclectic batch of artists inform these songs throughout the EP. We talk in depth about the writing and inspiration around the songs, “Only Moon” and “Clare”. The former uses personal experience as a influence while the latter uses a fictional character from “The Time Travelers Wife” as a narrator. The segment finishes with the premiere of another song, “Love is Paradise (It All Depends)”
The duo, High Tea, consists of guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Isabella DeHerdt and percussionist and vocalist Isaac Eliot. They just released their debut collaboration called “Hell of a Ride”. Our segment features four songs from the new release. We began with “Homegrown” and “Heather” before the artists joined me on zoom. Our discussion covered a lot of biographical information including important touchstones in their musical journeys. Topics included discussion of the importance of Western Massachusetts’ Institute for Musical Arts’ Rock n Roll Camp for Young Women. Isabella formed her trio with Alouette Batteau and Amelia Chalfant called Kalliope Jones at IMA. Other touchstones included an earlier live show as a duo at Bishops Lounge in Northampton which encouraged these two young artists to work together. Our “great pause” in live performances this summer gave Isaac and Isabella time to work on the development of this batch of songs.
We got an update on both of these musicians educational experiences this past year and got caught up on their latest efforts which include another EP as High Tea as well as new Kalliope Jones material to be released this upcoming year. The band will do another livestream on Saturday 12/19 at 7:30 which will be Holiday-song themed. Check out their facebook page to see other events including a Hawks and Reed sponsored series called “Resonate Sessions” in which they appear.
Two additional songs from “Hell of a Ride” conclude our segment. We hear “Simpler Time” and “Silver Lining”. Give the segment a listen in the link above. These are two entertaining mature young musicians making the best out of the past difficult year with a release that will shift your focus to themes of nostalgia and a place called “home”; a welcome change of perspective and a necessary one.
Becky Buller has too many awards to keep track of. It seems that every year she finds a hugely successful collaboration to work on. She has a knack for bringing like minds together often resulting in a new addition to her expanding award cabinet/room! The International Bluegrass Music Association has recognized her at least 10 times for her songwriting, singing and fiddling with her own band or for the collaborations with others.
The Becky Buller Band has just released her sixth album called “Distance and Time” that contains this year’s IBMA Collaborative Award winning “The Barber’s Fiddle”. The song showcases a bevy of singers including Laurie Lewis, Shawn Camp, Jason Carter, Kati Penn and Sam Bush. If that isn’t enough, the tune features 18 fiddlers!!! In the same year, Becky Buller cowrote, with two of the “First Ladies of Bluegrass”; Alison Brown and Missy Raines, a new song for Special Consensus’ “Chicago Barn Dance”. The magic touch again; Song of the Year!
Our segment begins with “Southern Flavor” which features (a theme here!) a collaboration from the first generation of bluegrass players from Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys.! We follow that with the Song of the Year, “Chicago Barn Dance”. Of course, Becky gives us all the details of these projects as well as her work with “The First Ladies of Bluegrass” including award-winning instrumentalists Missy Raines, Alison Brown, Sierra Hull, and Molly Tuttle!
Our chat covers Becky’s early music years in Minnesota with her parent’s band “Prairie Grass” to writing songs for other bluegrass artists to record. We discuss the benefits and pitfalls of co-writing dozens of songs with others; especially virtually. Lots of other topics from “lockdown” family binge TV watching to “Anne of Green Gables”. Give the segment a listen in the link above. We finish with Becky’s hopeful introduction to another song from “Distance and Time” called “More Heart, Less Attack”.
Whiskey Treaty Road Show was a spontaneous collaboration of five singer songwriters who came together independently to perform and ended up a “Band Together”. Billy Keane, Tory Hanna, Chris Merenda, Greg Daniel Smith and my guest, David Tanklefsky, make up The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow. All five have released as solo acts over the years (including another original member Abe Loomis) but none expected a onetime festival would morph into a full time commitment. A couple of EP’s and a live album led to this latest release which found the band facing some serious obstacles. Their crowdfunding source, Pledge Music, folded in mid stream leaving the band short of thousands of dollars of fan contributions. A major label that showed interest pulled out as well. Undeterred, these five musicians were persistent in their collaborative vision. They recorded in Dalton Ma’s Stationery Factory with Johnny Irion at the helm as producer.
Our conversation fills in the gaps in the band’s trajectory leading up to a successful release in early 2020 including rave reviews in Rolling Stone and No Depression music magazines. A set recorded at NYC’s Paste studio garnered thousands of streams. A “Rock Boat” expedition added to the band’s Western Mass legions of fans. Things appeared positive with a national tour planned. Then, we hit “pause” in our live music scene.
This development has been difficult for all independent musicians and David shrugs it off as “just another Whiskey Treaty standard operating procedure”. The band has done some limited touring locally and some livestreams but they all look forward (as do I) to getting these songs out to a listening public. The disc contains ten songs ranging from rock to folk; from anthems of social justice to love songs. Highly recommended listening.
Our segment starts with Billy Keane’s tribute to the Women’s March with “Hey Lady” and ends with David Tanklefsky’s penned “Reasons”.
Raye Zaragoza’s “Women in Color” has just been released and has rocketed to the top of the Folk charts. For good reason, her songs are passionate pleas for social justice; timely and artistic. After gaining fame from her song “In the River” concerning the Standing Rock protest against the Dakota Access pipeline, Raye has toured nationally in support of her independently released “Fight For You”. This past year, she added Grammy-winning producer Tucker Martine to her team to guide the latest release, “Women in Color”. The songs range from topical issues such as immigration, womens and indigenous rights.
We talk about Rayes’ unique background as part Japanese American; part Mexican and Native American. This intersection of immigrants gives her a perspective on what the “American Dream” means for her folks. Other topics include the experience of recording with a “dream team” in Portland, Oregon. The “patreon” experience has helped independent artists like Raye continue to create in these times without touring these songs live.
Our segment begins with “In The River” and finishes with “Run With the Wolves”.
From Mississippi John Hurt to John Hartford, Blind Blake to Norman Blake, Jordan Tice incorporates these influences seamlessly in his new recording, “Motivational Speakeasy”. For a born collaborator, Jordan Tice has created something new; a solo effort, just his voice and Collins acoustic guitar.
Our segment begins with “Tell Me Mama”, a song that conjures up the wry humor of David Bromberg as well as a relaxed yet complex guitar accompaniment. We finish the segment musically with “Walkin” and “Live on the River Till I Die” which channels the likes of John Hartford from his previous release, “Horse County” from 2016. We finish with the instrumental “Bachelorette Party” from the latest release.
Our conversation touches on his musical upbringing in a bluegrass family in Maryland and his Classical and Jazz composition work at Towson State University. Jordan recounts the experience of working in NYC’ s “Shakespeare In the Park” with Steve Martin and Tony Trishka for a performance of “As You Like It”. He also tells us a bout a more recent experience playing as part of Yola’s band for a PBS special at the Ryman.
Of course, we talk about guitar influences and his new batch of songs recorded pre-pandemic last year. All throughout, Jordan portrays a relaxed vibe; comfortable with his latest work. Give the segment a listen.
Corey Laitman and Anand Nayak have entertained audiences locally for years. Anand Nayak is a long time member of Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem and has collaborated with dozens of local musicians over the years. One of his projects was to work with Corey Laitman on their latest release, “Seafoam”. Corey and Anand have worked on a new set of songs in a new band called Cloudbelly. They both joined me yesterday on Nine Volt Heart.
We start the segment with Corey’s song from the previously mentioned Seafoam, called “Marching Band” followed by “If I’m One” by Anand from RADM’s release called “Violets Are Blue”.
The music released so far is more textured, embellished, more experimental and (in Corey’s words) more weird. They gave themselves permission to throw out expectations and let each song act as a new project. While there are many more songs written, they’ve not been given the “cloudbelly’ treatment but will be released over time.
We discover the context of two of Cloudbelly’s new songs starting with the spooky “You the Dark and I”. Corey describes the inspiration for this song comes from their reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ brilliant book “Women Who Run with Wolves”. The last song we discuss, and finish the segment with, is “Crayon” which features a video shot by Piper Preston with animation added by Wishbone Zoe. Check out this video on Youtube to see the song re-envisioned by these talented two Pioneer Valley artists.