News From Hemifran April 2016

Hemifrån is an independent A&R, promotion and marketing company, based in the heart of Sweden, specializing in, what they call, “gut music” – The kind of music that you can feel in your gut, no matter what. Hemifran is promoting a lot of singer-songwriter, westcoast-pop, country, AOR and more. Here are featured some of their latest news – it is not all west coast, but dig into it!

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The Grahams – Glory Bound

“There is a special connection between American folk music and the railroad that has no parallel elsewhere in the world. Rail lines stitch together the sprawling fabric of American song. As writers of Americana music, our goal is to draw on the deep, recurring sources of American folk culture, giving them new shape” ~ The Grahams The unique process that Americana group The Grahams employed in the writing of their debut album “Riverman’s Daughter” resonated so well with the Nashville based band that they undertook a similar technique in the creation of new material, which will come together on their forthcoming release “The Glory Bound EP”. More information at Hemifran.

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Mårten Lärka – Alouette

Mårten Lärka is a pop oriented singer, songwriter and troubadour, from the northern part of Sweden. He has mostly used Swedish lyrics, but now also sings in French. The music of Mårten Lärka is minimalistic with the songs clearly defined in the centre. Rock’n’roll or lullabies. The lyrics are given with a mix of humor and seriousness, with the modern society in focus. Mårten Lärka has attracted creative youngsters, curios children and cultured adults for more than a decade. He has been touring with his personal style all through Sweden, and parts of Germany.

2005 saw the release of the debut album, “Innan Natten Har Gjort Kväll”. 2006 it was time for the xmas single, “Trasiga Pepparkakshjärtan”. The 2nd full length album, “Livstidsvicket”, followed in 2008. The EP series, “Trubadelica”, started off 2011. The 4 track “Doneras Till Staten” was released in 2013 and a 3rd full length album, “Jadåså”, in 2014. The 10” vinyl album “Alouette” will be released in April this year. More information at Hemifran.

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Billy Shaddox – I Melt, I Howl

“This album was born in a time of change for me”, says singer Billy Shaddox. “It’s about being excited about moving forward, or being unsettled where you are”.Billy Shaddox’s heartfelt new album, ”I Melt, I Howl”, is that product of change. It marks a remarkable journey for the singer, who during his musical travels has shared the stage with innumerable rock, country and folk legends, and won a few best americana awards in the process. But that was then. Long before his remarkable new album, Shaddox knew he needed change. His mind and body were giving him clues that he wasn’t on the right path.

1st change, a little while back, he went solo. “I wore a lot of hats in different bands”, the singer explains. “But if I’m going to pursue this passion, I shouldn’t hide behind anything. It should be my name out there”. He laughs. “It’ll be my creativity fighting with my analytical nature. That’s all there, front and center, along with my influences”. More information at Hemifran.

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The Ted Vaughn Blues band – S.T.

The Ted Vaughn Blues Band features 5 professional musicians with decades of recording and performing experience among them. Their raucous, high energy live performances are gaining legions of fans worldwide. Individually, the members have shared venues with top artists such as John Fogerty, Timothy B. Schmidt, Ted Nugent, Doug MacLeod and John Nemeth. The band has electrified blues lovers at some of the largest festivals in the country, as well as smaller, more intimate venues. Due to the popularity of their original music, the band was listed as one of the top 10 bands for worldwide airplay on Jango internet radio.

Their long awaited CD, “The Ted Vaughn Blues Band” was released on Harbinger Northwest Records and recorded by the production team of Leon-Forrest and Paul Carlsen. It has garnered critical acclaim worldwide and received a nomination for ’CD Of The Year’ by Indie Music Digest. More information at Hemifran.

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Phil Smith – Year Of The Dog

Music with stripped back soul, songs that speak to the inner stillness and sadness, an album that echoes after you stop playing it. This is how you could describe folk country artist Phil Smith’s latest offering ‘Year Of The Dog’, his 3rd full length album, following 2008’s ‘Goldmine’, and 2010’s live studio album ‘Second Hand Heart’ which was produced by Scott Horscroft (Birds of Tokyo/ The Sleepy Jackson/The Panics/ Silverchair). ‘Year Of The Dog’ is without an emotional filter and speaks the truth as Smith sees it. Stripped bare on every level, and in the great tradition of albums like Nick Drake’s ‘Pink Moon’ and Ryan Adam’s ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘Year Of The Dog’ delivers 10 tracks of beautifully understated folk and americana.

Phil originally hails from Sydney, where he started playing the guitar at the relatively late age of 15, before moving to Darwin to finish high school. Studying jazz for the better part of a decade, it was in Bristol, UK, that Phil started writing and performing his own material. With an EP under his belt, and being courted by Sony, Phil returned to Brisbane in 2003 to attend to urgent family business. Along the way, he seems to have shared his life with people that always seemed to be running away from something, and it was these experiences that shaped him as a songwriter. More information at Hemifran.

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The Mystix – Live Rhythm And Roots

Called ’a roots supergroup’ by The Boston Phoenix, The Mystix continue to headline major venues throughout New England, performing their unique interpretations of the music of rural America, as well as inspired original material. Their 5 critically acclaimed CD’s have enjoyed substantial airplay across the country and around the world, consistently appearing on major americanaand roots charts in the US, UK and Europe. Noted for their impeccable musicianship as well as their soulful, spirited and lighthearted performances, The Mystix’ legendary, veteran lineup never fails to deliver a thrilling show. Jo Lily, guitar and lead vocals, Bobby Keyes, guitar, Matt Leavenworth, fiddle, Jesse Williams, bass and vocals, Marty Richards, drums and Annie Raines, harp and vocals. More information at Hemifran.

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Stone Cupid – The Cardinal

Julie Christensen’s new band Stone Cupid, a kindred spirit to her post-punk powerhouse Divine Horsemen, headed to the studio with producer Jeff Turmes last spring to capture a debut album to be released this spring. Christensen, who’s authored 5 independent albums and sung with everyone from Leonard Cohen to Lou Reed, has surrounded herself with a team of team players. Guitarists Sergio Webb and Chris Tench flank Christensen at the front. As Tench creates the ideal sonic landscape, Webb populates it with one stunning surprise after another. Propelling the enterprise are drummer Steve Latanation and bassist Bones Hillman, who combine taste and telepathy into something so unified they seem a single entity. The crew’s resumés feature stage or studio credits for a wide swath of top-shelf acts, including Midnight Oil, Sheryl Crow, Agent Orange, Americana stalwarts Matthew Ryan, Amelia White and David Olney, and country mavericks Gail Davies and Pinto Bennett. More information at Hemifran.

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Allison Dietz– Pretty Lies

Allison Dietz sings in a voice both naive and experienced, like honeysuckle and heartache, or sunshine and sorrow. She’s equal parts Loretta Lynn, Ford F-150, and Johnny Walker Red. No stranger to the stage, Allison has recently embarked on a journey from singer to artist, finally giving her songwriting skills priority. The result is ‘Pretty Lies’ and with it, she gracefully delivers songs filled with both anguish and redemption on a remarkable debut album. Born and raised in Maryland, Allison’s musical roots began with the classic folk, rock, and rhythm’n’blues records her parents frequently played. An avid devotee of all genres of music, it was during her college years when americana, roots rock, blues and classic country began stirring her desire to write. Willie Dixon, Elmore James, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Dolly Parton, Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, and Patty Griffin all became personal songwriting heroes. More information at Hemifran.

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Rod Melacon– LA 14

It is the mark of great artists to build on past work, rather than cover old ground. This is true of Rod Melancon and his upcoming 5 song EP,”LA 14”. In the same way Johnny Cash captured the Arkansas of his childhood and Springsteen brought Asbury Park alive for millions, Rod Melancon has brought the sound and feeling of South Louisiana’s storied towns filled with conflicted characters. The sound is driven with a raucous blues that would make Leadbelly feel at home. Rod grew up in the shadow of Angola State Prison where the great bluesman made his home for many years. Deep in the swamp lands of South Louisiana, found in the small towns off State Highway 14, along the Parish lines and the borders that dwell with the native sons of this often unseen heartland, there are stories waiting to be told. There are ghosts to conjure up in the night fires and bayou jamborees. It takes a special artist to conjure up the soul of the land through song and story. It takes an artist possessed of a singular vision. Welcome to the world of ”LA 14”. It is a world that is uniquely Rod Melancon, born and bred in South Louisiana.

On this new EP Melancon, with the help of innovative producer, Brian Whelan, former lead guitarist for Dwight Yoakum, has pushed the artist’s song-cycle into a swamp-like, country blend that moves out to the parameters of psychedelic-rock laced through with strains of deep southern blues. It is brought together by Melancon’s strong singer-songwriter sensibility. His songs here, while entirely original, echo the lyrical poetic soul of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. If the finest artists write what they know, then with ”LA 14”, Melancon has not only written what he is intimately familiar with, he also gives us a portrait of his love for the land of his childhood and the souls he has encountered during his lifetime. More information at Hemifran.

About the author

Good music enriches your life. At BLUE DESERT we are passionate about this particular yet wide-ranging style of music we call West Coast Music. This site is a modest tribute to the music and the performing artists, who through the (many) years have given us - and continue to give us - endless hours of musical enjoyment. As long-time fans we want to share our enthusiasm, experiences and views with fellow connoisseurs as well as curious newcomers. If we can do our bit to help promote this great music and all the gifted artist – well, then we have succeeded.