Showing posts from June, 2013

At the Half - 2013

Here are my choices for the five best albums of the year so far. 1. Tess Henley - High Heels & Sneakers Listen to "Daydreamimg" A Perfect Storm :  Before we go any further, I've got to say that "Daydreamimg" completely knocks me out. It's a perfect storm of exquisite songwriting, singing, instrumental performance and production. Tess was already having some success in her native Seattle with a solid album and an EP, when Dice Raw from the Roots entered the picture. "After Dice Raw heard her music, he took an immediate interest in the young talent, taking Tess under his wing. He brought her to Philadelphia – the epicenter of a soul sound all it’s own – and introduced her to fellow-producer Khari Mateen (The Roots, Jill Scott, J*DaVeY). Dice and Khari signed on to produce" (from her bio). When I listen to Tess, I hear a little Aretha, a bit of Stevie Wonder, a touch of Minnie Riperton, and even some Corinne Bailey Rae, and when she bu

Lissie is a Rocker, in the Best Sense of the Word, Watch Lissie at Union Transfer, 6/07/2013

This may be straight from the PR department, but I totally love this description of Lissie: "She's a straight-talking midwestern girl, all flaxen hair and big blue eyes, and this girl is smart and gutsy and tough, with a big old voice to match it: Laurel Canyon prettiness stewed in campfire and bourbon." So true, read the complete text at the end of this article. Lissie came to Philadelphia on June 7th to play Union Transfer as part of her current tour. It had been about four years since her last time here, which she mentioned when she thanked everyone who had come to see her at the Church on that snowy night. Maybe it was her midwestern charm, or maybe she is just an engaging, appreciative sort, but Lissie spent a lot of time thanking the crowd, after every song in fact, and it sounded completely genuine. Lissie talked quite a bit about her songs too. Foremost on her mind was the new album that she recently completed, Back to Forever, coming September 10th. She off

Katie Couric on the Stern Show, 5/28/2013 - Howard's Best Interview Yet

Howard Stern has always been a better interviewer than he gets credit for. As his broadcast radio show grew from a local into a national show, he began to get more and better guests, but he was and is very selective about bookings, he doesn't interview everyone with a book, movie, or CD to sell, like the TV talk show circuit. He only interviews people who interest him or who he thinks his audience will want to hear. Since moving to satellite radio in 2006, Howard has grown into one of the best interviewers in the business. There are a number of reasons for this. Without the time pressure of commercial radio, and without having to stop for commercial breaks, Howard's interviews can and do go deep, routinely lasting an hour, often longer. Free from the censorship limitations of terrestrial radio, Howard can have natural conversation with his guests, and very often they open up like in no other medium. In many of his best interviews it sounds like two friends having a conve

Meet Tess Henley, Sweet Soul Singer and Songwriter with an Amazing New Album, High Heels & Sneakers (2013)

Every once in a rare while a voice comes along that not only sounds completely irresistible, but connects with you in ways that you are not even totally aware of. A few months ago, I had the good fortune to find myself on Tess Henley's Soundcloud page. I really liked what I heard there and opened a browser tab with her contact information to serve as a reminder that I needed to hear and write about her forthcoming album. The weeks flew by and before I could get in touch, something extraordinary happened. The album was released and Kari Mateen who co-produced, engineered, and played on it, wrote at length about the making of the record. He said in part, "So yesterday Tess Henley put out a record that took 3 years to make. 3 f$&@ing years. that’s a long time. In today’s times when you might see 4 mix tapes from an artist in one year, she made a record. 3 years without a label. 3 years with money collected from gigs, contests, day shifts at a restaurant, and family friend