Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rae Morris Update,  Plus Cool New Video,  Way Back When (2013)

Saturday Video:  We were quite taken with Rae Morris' debut EP, released last fall. She is an enormously talented singer-songwriter, and this week she announced that she is starting to record her first full length album. Here is what she said on her Facebook page.

Good morning my friends! Just wanted to let you guys know that today i'm starting to record my album! Making a record has been something I've dreamt of doing for a long time, and it feels incredibly surreal.

In meantime, here's a little video for you all that we filmed in Amsterdam a few months ago. It's an accapella version of my song Way Back When and I hope you enjoy....

Thank you for everything, Rae xc

Photos courtesy of Rae Morris

Bonus Video:  This is "Walls". Rae said, "I was lucky enough to perform my song Walls with 4 members of the Halle orchestra. This is how it turned out...."

Rae Morris - Grow (EP)

Rae Morris - Don't Go

Rae Morris' Website
Rae Morris' Facebook
Rae Morris' Twitter

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jackie Ryan,  Jazz Singer,  New Album Just Released,  Listen Here (2013)

We tend to temper our enthusiasm when encountering a new (to us) artist, and in the case of Jackie Ryan's new album, Listen Here, we might say something like, this album brings a fresh new approach to old school vocal jazz, and that Jackie's rich voice is accompanied by a top notch jazz band, and that the result compares favorably to the work of Jane Monheit.

Jazz Times Magazine apparently has no such reserve, saying (about Jackie), "one of the outstanding jazz vocalists of her generation and, quite possibly, of all time - rivaling the dexterous sass of Sarah Vaughan and the scintillating verve of Diana Krall." The first song draws a good picture of what's in store with producer/arranger/bassist John Clayton giving the band a good workout, while Jackie lays down an impeccable vocal.

Listen to "Comin' Home Baby"

Photos courtesy of Jackie Ryan

As a sometime composer of lyrics and vocalese (writing lyrics, word for note, to a jazz solo), Jackie has a special affinity for lyrics, and she selected the wide ranging material on Listen Here as a tribute to some of her favorite lyricists. "Throw It Away" by Abbey Lincoln is a pretty piano ballad. "Accentuate The Positive" takes the classic Johnny Mercer song (written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer) and gives it a nice bluesy swagger. Jackie's vocal is magnificent on "I Loves You Porgy", from George & Ira Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.

"On all her albums, Ryan includes a song in Spanish in memory of her Mexican mother, once a singer with the operetta company Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara. This time she turns in a passionate performance of Luis Demetrio's torch song La Puerta, accompanied only by the guitar prodigy Graham Dechter, whose delicate, perfectly played solo makes you want to stand up and applaud" (press release).

Listen to "La Puerta"

"Anytime, Any Day, Anywhere" has a sweet sax solo, and "Rip Van Winkle" is graced with a tasty trumpet solo. The arrangements, the production, and the level of musicianship of the players assembled by John Clayton is positively brilliant. Here are the personnel.

Jackie Ryan - Vocals
John Clayton - Producer, Arranger, Bass
Gerald Clayton - Piano, Organ
Graham Dechter - Guitar
Rickey Woodard - Tenor Sax
Gilbert Castellanos - Trumpet
Obed Calvaire - Drums

"The Gypsy In My Soul" has a superb vocal performance paired with a driving bass line and alternating sax and piano solos and shows everyone at their best.

Listen to "The Gypsy In My Soul"

We've always a had a weakness for Brazilian jazz, and apparently Jackie does too, so we're going to leave you with a live performance recorded in 2012, of something from her last album, details are from Youtube.

Jackie Ryan's passion for Brazilian music is evident performing to a jam packed, sold-out audience in San Francisco Bay Area's premier Jazz club - Yoshi's. Jackie combines two Jobim bossa nova classics into one passionate gem - moving seamlessly from the joy of two lovers vowing never to quarrel (Brigas Nunca Mais) to the dreams of Rio's downtrodden to find happiness at Carnaval (A Felicidade, written for the movie Black Orpheus). This medly can be found on Jackie's double CD "DOOZY" (which charted number one nationwide for 7 weeks on JazzWeeks industry-standard chart). Music: Antonio Carlos Jobim, lyrics: Vinicius de Moraes, LARRY DUNLAP piano, RUTH DAVIES bass, DESZON CLAIBORNE drums.

Buy Listen Here at Amazon
Jackie Ryan's Website
Jackie Ryan's Facebook

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hot Feet – New Folk Rock from the U.K., Wood House EP (2012)

Several weeks ago, Hot Feet's publicist blogged about an evening spent in Cambridge, seeing Hot Feet and going out for dinner at a pub across the street. I had been listening to their fine debut EP, Wood House, and at that moment I had the thought that if I could magically be anywhere in the world, I could not think of any better way to spend a Friday night than to be in Cambridge, England, doing exactly that. Here's why.

Photos courtesy of Hot Feet

Based in Stroud, Hot Feet has been enthusiastically received everywhere they play, including some nice supporting gigs with Lucy Rose, King Charles, and Emily and the Woods to name a few. They have also been embraced by radio, BBC 6 Music, Amazing Radio, and Folk Radio UK. They have recorded live sessions for Balcony TV, Folk Radio UK, The Tea Sessions, and a recent set for the Songs From The Shed Sessions, as follows, "Pine Needle Blues".

The five beautiful songs on Wood House were written and performed by Hot Feet, specifically Marianne Parrish, Jack Page, Lachlan Mclellan, and Rob Pemberton, together with their producer Pete Roe who is also a longtime member of Laura Marling's band. The backstory of the EP and the band speaks to me on a lot of levels, and I have to give you their words.

Hot Feet’s music lives and breathes in the countryside. ‘Wood House’ was written in a small cabin on the east coast of Sweden and recorded in a remote studio in the Scottish Highlands, only accessible by boat. The five songs are set, however, in the Cotswolds where Marianne (vocals) tends to goats and sheep when she’s not playing music, and Lachlan (bass) builds dry stonewalls.

The band draw together a range of musical influences including delta blues, sixties folk and world rhythms. Clamorous in places, delicate in others; sometimes offering raucous, earthy uproar and a wistful, yearning narrative within the same song. The EP ranges from stomping gallops to tender ballads, and has been lovingly and impressively produced by Pete Roe, longtime sideman of Laura Marling and a gifted songwriter in his own right.

Here's another tune from the Songs From The Shed Sessions, "The Woe Does Fade".

The good news is that the Wood House EP is available at Amazon and Bandcamp. There's one more video you have to see. This performance of "Under October" dates from 2011, when the band first got started. The camera pans for a nice view of the countryside there in Stroud, Gloucestershire, where they're from, it looks so peaceful and beautiful. Hot Feet is a great find.

Hot Feet Website
Hot Feet Facebook
Hot Feet Twitter

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday Video: Grace Pettis - Ebb and Flow (2013),  You Are the Cowboy (2012)

Photos courtesy of Grace Pettis.

Grace Pettis' sophomore album, Two Birds, made our list of the best albums of 2012, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was her appealing voice and her indelible songs that seemed to spring directly from experience and her heart. Grace just released the second video from Two Birds. "Ebb and Flow" is a beautiful song and a beautiful video.

Last September, when Two Birds was released, the first video was for "You are the Cowboy".

Bonus Video: In October, Grace took a full band out to do a short record release tour of some very intimate venues. The tour culminated October 26th with a very special show at Blue Rock Studio in Wimberley, Texas, which was where Grace recorded both of her albums. For the benefit of everyone who couldn't get to see the tour and to celebrate the Two Birds album, they webcast the concert with high definition video and excellent sound. This is a video they put together of the highlights from that night.

Grace Pettis - Two Birds

Grace Pettis' Website
Grace Pettis' Facebook
Grace Pettis' Twitter