News From Hemifran August 2015

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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Allan Thomas – Class Of ´65

In honor of the upcoming 50th reunion of the class of 1965, Allan Thomas’ Black Bamboo Recordings is offering a free download of the long-unfinished Allan Thomas track ”Class Of ’65”. Originally recorded in 1988 by producer Stephen Barncard as part of ‘The Island’ CD sessions, but never completed or released till today. With new vocals, keyboards, mix and mastering. Featuring long-time singer and songwriter Allan Thomas on vocals and rhythm guitar, Michael Ruff on keyboards, Bryan Kessler on electric guitar, Cliff Hugo on bass, and Rick Schlosser on drums. Enjoy.

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Auburn – Mixed Feelings

In January 2015 Liz returned to Nashville, TN, and again with producer/guitarist Thomm Jutz, and some fine Nashville musicians, recorded the new CD, ”Mixed Feelings”. The CD has 12 brand new songs, covering all the usual emotional issues, including love, loss, domestic abuse and manslaughter, confusion, perseverance, trust, friendship and psychotic-stalker-dumped-girlfriends. More information at Hemifran.

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Barbara Blue – Memphis Blue

The undisputed queen of Beale Street has done it again. Another no holds, here it is, the blues as it is, direct from the heart, release. Some folks sing the blues, others feel it and you know they do, especially when you feel it too. Barbara Blue’s personal delivery comes through as real life on this latest release. ”Hands Off” will grab you, the following tracks will immerse your soul and then the original ”Sweet, Strong & Tight” and ”800 Mile Blues” will make you want more Barbara Blue. This collection surely reaches home. More information at Hemifran.

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Ryan Davidson – A Wick Burning High

Everyone has a story. You can look into people’s eyes and get a glimpse of where they have been, where they are, and where they even might be going. Singer songwriter Ryan Davidson catalogs those human tales on his new self-released, full-length album, “A Wick Burning High”.

The new album is filled with songs and stories that will pull at your heartstrings and run circles in your head. It all stems from Ryan’s personal story, at 13-years-old, the Chico, California native was riding his bike when a semi-truck suddenly cut him off, ran him over twice, dragged him, and then stopped on top of him, as he recalls. Bedridden for nearly a year and facing what would eventually be 15 surgeries to provide him with a half-artificial right leg, he picked up music. “I was a super active kid, but after that accident, I couldn’t really do much”, he sighs. “We had these instruments in the house, and I told my mom I wanted to learn how to play guitar”. More information at Hemifran.

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Melanie Dekker – Live In Europe

Melanie Dekker is a Canadian roots-pop sensation home to Deep Cove, BC, Canada. Her world class strumming and voice like chocolate earned her a radio hit in Canada “I Said I”, and a more recent radio hit in Denmark “Boomerang”. Her Dutch background gives her that no-hold-back fun attitude, she’s vulnerable, funny and powerful. Fans experience a sense of connection. Her songs weave between emotion and sensibilities, each at a different pace and in a different place. She tours over 100 concerts yearly and her latest studio release “Distant Star” has already sold 12,000 copies since November 2013. This ‘longing’ album is a beautiful addition to her elaborate discography, her previous album “Revealed’ was produced by David Kershenbaum (Tracy Chapman, Willie Nelson, Joan Baez, Joe Jackson). Like these artists, Dekker has a special tangible emotive flare.

And now Dekker brings her fans what they’ve been asking for by releasing a spontaneous live album. On this “Lekker Eh” collection of songs, Melanie Dekker presents a live tasty bit of a special kind, intimate recordings of various concerts from her 2014 tour. It’s an acoustic journey through worlds of feelings. Inimitably warm-hearted and tender and carried by Dekker’s powerful gentle voice. Like a delicious filling of a cake she is accompanied by various world-class players at times, while her dynamic guitar playing and piano playing is the center that leads the vibe. A delicacy for your ears. More information at Hemifran.

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Tom Freund – Two Moons

Over the course of his career, Tom Freund has created a wide variety of albums. His 1st was a collaboration with Ben Harper and his last was a double disc live album. In between, he’s made full-lengths, EP’s, a children’s CD and a Christmas album, but he’s never made an album like ”Two Moons”.

This self-produced disc finds the Los Angeles-based Freund in a contemplative yet confident mood, where swirls of nostalgia blend with sharp-eyed views of life today. He delivers this CD’s main message in the standout track “Lemme Be Who I Wanna Be”, in which he declares: “I’m basically hooked on this life/it’s got a lot of problems/but it treats me real right/and you don’t have to agree with me/but let me fly my freak flag”. This oddly upbeat anthem of personal empowerment so impressed Canadian rock star Serena Ryder that she asked to sing on it. “Lemme Be Who I Wanna Be” represents a different type of song for Freund. “I’d rather just be honest and say ‘take me as a I am’”, he reveals, adding, “I felt that I didn’t have to dress up songs with clever couplets all the time”. More information at Hemifran.

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David Massey – Until The Day Is Gone

David Massey played guitar on and off for 15 years before taking a stab at writing a song. At 35, moved by his sister’s struggles with mental illness, he wrote “Susie Came Home”. Not sure what to make of the result, he set it aside and didn’t attempt a 2nd song until 6 years later. On Memorial Day, 2001, he read a Washington Post reprint of a letter a young American fighter pilot wrote to his wife during World War II after learning of the birth of their first child. Massey wrote “The Drunken Letter” that day, played it for friends, and the positive response set him down the road that has resulted in 3 independently released CD’s, “Blissful State Of Blue” in 2004, “So Many Roads” in 2009, and “Until The Day Is Done” in 2015. The few reviewers who noticed were wowed, Rootstime, Belgium, called “Blissful State Of Blue” a masterpiece, and added “David Massey manages, with his storytelling, to blow away celebrities such as John Prine, James McMurtry, Todd Snider and others that have preceded him”.

David’s day job (he’s a partner in the mergers and acquisitions group of a large Washington DC law firm) limits his live performances to the DC area clubs and coffeehouses, but he has assembled an extraordinary band consisting largely of the players on his 3 CD’s, all veterans of the Washington music scene. Their versatility allows them to explore the wide variety of styles and genres reflected in Massey’s compositions, from swampy rockers to bluegrass-inflected country rock to delicate ballads. More information at Hemifran.

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Pinder Brothers – Melancholy Sea

Sacramento-based duo The Pinder Brothers are renowned for their songwriting and instrumental savvy, and have been compared to the likes of Crosby, Stills & Nash and Simon & Garfunkel. But there’s so much more to their story. These guys are sons of rock legend Mike Pinder, one of the founding members of the Moody Blues. But brothers Michael and Matt are making their own kind of magic, via recently released album “Melancholy Sea”. The 11-track collection, which offers keen observations on the serenity of our world, provides a showcase of the duo’s sing-along pop melodies, alongside enough pulsating guitars to add the bite of alternative rock to their signature.

From the onset of “Melancholy Sea” listeners embark on a sonic journey with twists and turns as the tracks unfold. The tracks of the album delve into bends in life’s journey, exploring universal themes. More information at Hemifran.

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Tokyo Rosenthal – Afterlife

“Take Jackson Browne’s personal confessions and wrap them in Kris Kristofferson’s world weary tales of broken relationships and you have an idea of what to expect from Tokyo Rosenthal.” This and more is what the critics are saying about Tokyo Rosenthal. But it wasn’t an overnight trip. Hardly, as “Toke” has spanned the music scene for three decades. But it was in 2007 when recognition finally reached him through the recording of his CD, “One Score And Ten”.

The song “Edmonton” off this album led to Rosenthal receiving the key to the city of Edmonton as an award for cultural and artistic contributions to Alberta’s capitol city.

In a career that started with the country rock boom, Rosenthal has honed his craft with a little blues thrown in sound to perfection. His move to Chapel Hill, North Carolina allowed him to team up with the famed producer and recording star Chris Stamey in the studio. But prior to that, Rosenthal made his reputation while living in Rhode Island, New York, and Los Angeles. He headed such groups as the legendary Harpo & Slapshot and Treo Gato, as well as his solo endeavors. This has helped him receive radio airplay in the US and Canada, and radio stations in the UK and Europe are spinning Tokyo as well. More information at Hemifran.

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Willy Bo Walker & E D Brayshaw – Stone Cold Beautiful

Wily Bo Walker is a solo artist, songwriter, composer and performer noted for his characterful vocals and swaggering live performances. Renowned as being one of the most diverse and prolific artists around and hailing originally from Glasgow, Scotland, he is also the frontman with his bands Rattlin Bone and The Mescal Canyon Troubadours and works across many styles and genres, blues, rock, soul, swamp, alternative, soundtrack and jazz.

Working with long-time friend and musical collaborator, E D Brayshaw, he has just released an album of cinematic storylines and timeless guitar solos entitled “Stone Cold Beautiful”. More information at Hemifran.

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Elisabeth MacInnis – Sensitive Guy

Elizabeth MacInnis is a Canadian born singer-songwriter, her rich and varied musical upbringing finds her blending jazz, pop roots and soul. In 2013 Elizabeth released her debut solo album, “One Eye On The Highway”, done with famed producer Billy Sherwood (Toto, Yes, etc). Since this release, her holiday EP, “That’s What Christmas Means To Me”, a collection of 5 festive originals is played globally during the season. Before breaking out on her solo journey Elizabeth lent her versatile voice to countless recordings, and continues to be sought out for radio and television commercials. Coming up is her brand new single, “Sensitive Guy”. More information at Hemifran.

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Billy Hector – Old School Thang

New Jersey blues legend Billy Hector has more than 35 years of live performances, including 2 appearances at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame American Masters Series paying tribute to Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, alongside Jimmy Vaughan, Double Trouble, Sonny Landreth, Bonnie Raitt and Charlie Musselwhite. He recently performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as part of the “Lead Belly at 125” tribute along with Robert Plant, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Josh White Jr and others.

Hector has toured as a guitarist with Hubert Sumlin and Joe Louis Walker and has produced 11 original releases on his Ghetto Surf label. The new CD, “Old School Thang”, features horns, keyboards and harp added to Hector’s more familiar styling of bass, drums and guitar. More information at Hemifran.

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Mike McGuire – Southern Attraction

“This is music for those in the heartland made by those from the heartland and, as such, it strikes right to the heart, but please don’t ever misconstrue these jams as simple, because there’s more here than meets the eye” ~ Andrew Greenhalgh

“McGuire touches on universal truths through personal narration, and the stripped down arrangements keeps him in an elemental range, with the focus on adeptly crafted lyrics, don’t overlook the music, however, there’s a quiet brilliance in McGuire’s creations, ‘Southern Attraction’ has universal appeal” ~ Wildy Haskell. More information at Hemifran.

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Selina Martin – S.T

Currently one of Canada’s most potent songwriters, Selina Martin is a Toronto-based art pop post pop siren with a massive stage presence and an unforgettable voice. Martin will release her 4th studio album in the fall of 2015. Working again with Chris Stringer (Toronto’s ’producer of the year’ and producer of her massively acclaimed ”Disaster Fantasies”) and with electronic guru Grapes Godly (Ark Analog, Woodhands), countless hours were devoted to studio experimentation in order to refine and define her sound.

On this brave new recording she delves into developing minimalist chord structures and melodies to maximal effect – a process she refers to as ’various forms of space exploration’. Martin spent over 3 years writing and one and a half years recording in order to capture her current artistic vision. She has emerged with a post pop album that is robust, profound, and truly original. She calls it “i’ve been picking caruso’s brain, i think i have the information we need to make a new world”. 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.