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!

Jay Pinto – S.T.

Jay Pinto’s undeniably catchy folk pop melodies surround lyrics capturing the complex realities of love, family, home, and perhaps most significantly, hope. As a songwriter Jay sees his role as an observer of the world, whose task is to distill his experience into an emotional connection with the audience, in a 3 minute pop song. This challenge has driven him during his 30 year career as an accomplished singer, songwriter, musician and producer, leading to what has been described as an ’ability to write what may be close to the perfect pop song’.

Musically, Jay reaches far beyond his genre’s standard acoustic fare. Whether working on his own song or one for a client, you might find him in his home studio sampling the jangling of aluminum can tabs for a new sound design, layering a cloth muffled bassline into a mix that needed an extra ’something’, or recording vocal ’oohs’, ’ahs’ and ’la la la’s’. Jay’s musical universe is limited only by his imagination, everything is an instrument, every word is a lyric, every situation is an opportunity to create.

At the age of 8, Jay began what would be a lifelong passion for music. First playing piano, then guitar, Jay’s boyhood fascination with music eventually led him to write and perform his own songs. After relocating from his native Boston to the westcoast of the US, Jay performed original music on stages from Sacramento to LA,  San Francisco to Seattle. It was in Seattle that he met Tom Kennedy and the 2 formed Bananafish, an acoustic folk pop duo that recorded and released 4 CD’s and toured internationally, sharing stages with Heart, Shawn Colvin, and Ani DiFranco.

In 1999 Jay released his 1st solo album, ”9 Song Demo”. Over the next decade he sharpened his craft through the discipline of writing music for television and film, landing placements in major daytime soaps, primetime network and cable dramas such as ’The Sopranos’, ’Queer As Folk’, and ’Party Of Five’. He also brought his vast artistic and industry experience to the studio as a producer working with newer artists like Emilia Glaser, Pellegrini, Adena Atkins, and Dana Hubanks. In 2012 he released the full length album, ”blink”, followed by the 2013 single, “Whoa”.

Currently Jay is writing and recording his 3rd solo album, to be released on his own label, Nervesauce Music, and preparing for a 2017 international tour in the United States, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland.

Jay Pinto’s forthcoming self titled album is an unvarnished acoustic and vocal reimagining of songs written throughout his 35 year career, along with 2 never before released tracks. Fans of Jay’s solo work or his material from the Bananafish years will appreciate this intimate glimpse into his world, where universal themes like love, hope, friendship and fulfillment all ring with notes of both melancholy and joy. Deeply honest and vulnerable, this album has an immediacy to it that borders on eavesdropping, listeners will have the sense they have been let in on a secret Jay has chosen to reveal only to them. More information at Hemifran.

Frank Migliorelli and The Dirt Nappers – Bass, Drums, Guitars and Organs

Frank Migliorelli has written and published a library of music for advertising agencies, children’s publishers, and video game projects. He’s been a finalist in top songwriting competitions and performs either solo, or with his band, The Dirt Nappers.

He’s produced recordings for Rounder Records, including the award winning duo “Satan & Adam”, ”Point Blank” and a number of other international releases. He’s written and produced music that has appeared on NBC’s television show “Homicide”, an “X-Files” video game, numerous video games and educational programs for Scholastic and Sunburst, and even wrote a soundtrack for a “Chippendales” video.

His creative work extends beyond songwriting, as he has had a successful career in interactive media as an award winning exhibit and game designer, and a college professor at New York University.

In addition to performing with The Dirt Nappers, Frank hosts a monthly songwriter showcase at The Green Growler in Croton on Hudson, NY. Starting it’s 3rd season in the spring of 2017, the Singer Songwriter Series features artist from Brooklyn to Boston, and beyond performing original music, accompanied by a great selection of beer.

The influences are easy to spot in the mix of his original songs. Raised on 45’s and AM radio, and an ongoing passion for great songwriting, the music has a pop sensibility that makes it easy to listen to, and easy to remember. Rooted deep in the best of american folk, rock’n’roll and soul, Frank and his band bring a great show to the stage wherever they play. More information at Hemifran.

Humphrey/McKeown – Tapestry Of Shadows

Paving an americana lane all their own”, this 5 piece modern americana folk rock act, Humphrey-McKeown, engages listeners in with organic melodies, originality of sound and soulful lyrics. Writing together since 2006, Humphrey-McKeown delves deep into universal human experiences and captivates live audiences with their high energy music, atmospheric gypsy taste, melodic colors and first class storytelling.

They have created a buzz for themselves with their personal concerts to unsuspecting fans during tours, are on rotation on 120 independent radio stations across the US and Canada, and have released 5 albums in 6 years, self produced by Tom McKeown and Heather Humphrey. ‘Tuned Loud’ states, “It’s not too much to say that Humphrey-McKeown is one of the most promising figures in contemporary folk rock music”. Given much acclaim across varied press, their 5th album, “Tapestry Of Shadows”, is available on Spotify, iTunes and wherever digital music is sold.

The band’s songwriters and lead vocalists, Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown, met in their current home towns of Schaumburg, IL, in 2006, when they joined forces to write for publishers in Los Angeles, Chicago and Nashville.  By blending New York native, Heather’s innate sense of melody, and Chicago based Tom’s pursuit of something new and unexpected, the partnership wrote for any occasion and in any style always seeking to better themselves and their craft.  After peddling their songs for the success of others, they realized they wanted to find success for themselves and write for their own musical voice.

In 2011 they formed the Humphrey-McKeown Band, subsequently released 4 studio albums from 2012 to 2015, and honed their unique take on americana folk rock. By bringing Tom and Heather’s  dual lead vocals to an americana style with unexpected progressive sense, broad sweeping melodies, a big beat, and a touch of Brill Building sensibilities, the Humphrey-McKeown sound was born.

On their 5th album, “Tapestry Of Shadows,” bassist Tony Meadors, violinist Gary Jacklin, and drummer Jim Livas, join Tom and Heather on the recordings. Unlike previous albums, this is truly a band album where everyone has a key role in the creation and execution of the music.  ”Tapestry Of Shadows” is a milestone for Humphrey-McKeown and is sure to garner even more national and international recognition for them as songwriters. The entire band is actively touring across the US and Canada. More information at Hemifran.

Howard Simon – Visitors

I am a San Francisco based singer songwriter. My, mostly, acoustic music is based in folk and blues, with fingerstyle and flatpicked guitar accompanied by a small band. I have been writing songs most of my life and I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to have worked with exceptional musicians and a phenomenal recording engineer in bringing my songs to life on my 2 albums, “The View From This Horizon,” released in 2014, and my new album, “Visitors,” just about to be released.

My songs are about love, romantic and otherwise, family, morality and mortality. The writing spans many years, from my 20’s to my 50’s, and thus the songs consider these things in many lights and through the widely differing lenses of a young man and one somewhat older, though in my case, one probably not much wiser. If there is a common thread to my songs, it is the people we love, the desire to do right, and the hope and fear, the peace and the struggle that constitute life bring wonder in addition to its joy and sadness, and sometimes loss. My music is an attempt to capture and communicate some of that wonder as I have known and imagined it throughout my life. I hope you enjoy it.” ~ Howard Simon. More information at Hemifran.

Neila Dar – Son Of The Stars

Neila Dar is an indie music project led by singer Jasmine Tommaso and guitarist Lorenzo Grassi. It kicked off in 2014 with the release of the single “Son Of The Stars”.

Based in Los Angeles CA, this project is formed by an eclectic ensemble of musicians from all over the world (Italy, Colombia and the US) living and playing in Los Angeles. In 2015 the first EP “Some People Question Reality” was released. It was produced by Sage, aka Saverio Principini, and recorded at Speakeasy Studios.

Bandleaders Jasmine and Lorenzo began their musical journey in the city of stars by playing weekly as jazz musicians. While gigging around town, they began developing an original sound and writing new songs. Very soon, they had all the music for their 1st full length original album.

They completed the record in December of 2016, featuring Camilo Melo on drums, Joe Bagg on organ, Lorenzo Grassi on guitar and Jasmine Tommaso on vocals. The album was named after the single that started the whole adventure, “Son Of The Stars”.

It’s a collection of 11 tunes that were inspired by some of southern California’s most evocative landscapes, the Pacific Ocean, the urban cosmos of greater Los Angeles, and the vast wilderness of the high desert.

Neila Dar’s sound brings unity to the complexity of reality, using music as a medium to describe it in the simplest way. The soothing textures, enchanting vocals, and captivating grooves give birth to a sound they call vintage avantgarde, where the known and the unpredictable sit together in consonance. More information at Hemifran.

Pi Jacobs – A Little Blue

Los Angeles singer songwriter Pi Jacobs plays what she calls an ’americana bluesy rock thing’, one nonetheless edged by accents evoking her urban San Francisco childhood. Enamored of her mother’s rock and soul heavy music collection, she sang throughout school, picking up guitar, bass and songwriting as a teenager. She earned her GED and left high school early, then pursued music studies at the local junior college. A period of woodshedding, gigging and recording ensued, culminating in the release of Pi’s debut album. She spent 2 years in New York before landing in L.A., which has proven fertile creative ground and a convenient base for touring

In addition to her ’smoldering vocals’, and intricate guitar playing, Jacobs plays a homemade percussion stomp box, driving her ’one woman band’ show, similar to Texas favorite Shakey Graves, to the next level of high energy, dynamic fun. More information at Hemifran.

Stormy Mondays – Suitcase Full Of Dreams

We are an indie folk rock band, hailing from Spain’s rainy northern coast. We play rock, folk ock, americana and soul. Acoustic and electric. Classic and modern. That’s not important. What’s important is that we don’t make ’fast food’. Our music is always slow cooked. It’s not for everyone, but it could be precisely right for you. We have released 15 records, which include songs in English, Spanish and Asturian, the endangered language of our homeland. The ace up our sleeve is our live shows, intense, fun and always surprising, with 8 musicians and more than 20 instruments onstage. And, yes, all the stories are true, our song ’Sunrise Number 1’ was chosen by NASA to be played in space. We have played live with both Slash and Springsteen, and, in 1999, were the only Spanish band to ever play at the Woodstock Festival. We are pioneers of internet music distribution, since 1996, and the use of creative commons licenses.

There’s a recent book that details the techniques behind the manufactured big hits of the last few years. We have taken that manual and turned it inside out. They say a song needs a ’hook’ every 7 seconds. Really? We make music for people, not for distracted chimpanzees. They say you need a team of writers. A dozen is not unusual. We write our own songs. Our way. We are songwriters, it’s what we do. They say you don’t even need to learn how to play, the computer does that for you. We enjoy playing our instruments. The more, the better. We are musicians, it’s what we do. They say you don’t need to be a good singer. Autotune will make you sound perfectly in tune, and robotic. We sing with human voices, imperfect by nature. And real. We are singers, it’s what we do. They say, they say… We don’t care what they say. We make real music for real people. Slow cooked. It’s not for everyone, and that’s alright.

We share common influences with some current bands that we like, such as Mumford & Sons, Avett Brothers, Dawes, The Lumineers, Ryan Adams, and Wilco. We mix the electric sound of a rock band with all sorts of acoustic instruments, from a horn section to the hurdy gurdy, an instrument from the 12th century that seems to come from the future. Some people say that we sound like Springsteen, Counting Crows, Tom Petty, Waterboys, and R.E.M., and we like that. You can also find echoes of The Band, Dylan, Neil Young, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

On we release our new EP ’Suitcase Full Of Dreams’. It’s being released on CV, compact vinyl, a surprising format. There’s only been another release like this in the world. One side carries a song in vinyl, which can be played on a turntable. The other side is a CD with the whole record, which can be played in a regular player. It’s a hand numbered edition limited to 500 copies. The album cover photo was made in Asturias, Spain, but that’s not the biggest surprise. It’s a 1955 Cadillac Eldorado, and the incredible part of the story is that it belonged to Ava Gardner.”. More information at Hemifran.

Tokyo Rosenthal – This Minstrel Life

Rock & Sock Records just announced that they will be releasing “This Minstrel Life” from their recording artist, Tokyo Rosenthal in September 2017. This will be Rosenthal’s 7th album on the Rock & Sock Records label.

The CD contains 6 original studio recordings and 4 live recordings from various locations, with an assortment of accompanists. This follows the theme of the new record which is about the lives of touring musicians, today and yesterday. The new recordings include the politically driven single, “Now I Believe There’s A Devil”, and an updated version of the previously released, “The Immigrant”, now entitled “The Immigrant Revisited”. In light of the present climate regarding immigration, Tokyo wanted to revisit this subject.

The new studio cuts touch on a variety of subjects including a family tragedy, a life gone wrong, co-written with Moira Saucer, politics, immigration policy, the music business, and ultra marathon running.

Toke is joined once again by a stellar crew of musicians including the dB’s Chris Stamey, Allyn Love,  Chatham County Line’s John Teer, Charlie Chamberlain, and Juanito Laguna. Backing Tokyo on the live tracks are The Sap Boilers, Manguss, Charlie Chamberlain, Logan Matheny, and Kieran O’Malley. The live recordings took place in Pittsboro, North Carolina on The Tokyo Rosenthal Program, in Knoxville, Tennessee, on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special, on SXSW in Austin, Texas, and in Keighley, UK.

“This is a very different album for me and I’m excited by this project”, says Rosenthal. “I like being able to present what I sound like on tour with a group of different touring partners from over the years. As always, the studio experience was great and enhanced by the magnificent musicians who joined me in Chris Stamey’s facility. Navigating the music business these days is very difficult and I feel we’ve come full circle from the original days of traveling minstrels. I see myself, and my colleagues, mirroring the way things were back in the 1800’s. In other words, we go from gig to gig, often getting room and board, selling our wares, and of course performing our original tunes. Today we travel by car, back then by horse. I believe the new songs are complimented by the live tracks as they expand on the ‘minstrel’ theme”.

Rosenthal intends to begin touring in the fall, in and around his Chapel Hill home area, and the southeast US. Then early next year he will begin visiting the midwest, the northeast, the UK, Ireland, and other territories. More information at Hemifran.

Kashka – Relax

The new album from Canadian folkpoptronic artist KASHKA is called “Relax”, but that’s not exactly what she’s been doing lately. During the 4 years since her last album she’s put out many singles, an acoustic EP, an instrumental piano album, written countless songs, including for other artists , gotten a dog called Char, toured living rooms and backyards and had her songs appear on TV.

Co-produced by Kat Burns, Lisa Conway [LCON] and Andrew Collins, ”Relax” is KASHKA’s most experimental to date, with themes of human disconnection and feminism weaving through springy synths and cinematic string arrangements. Recorded mostly at Wildlife Sanctuary Sound, a converted studio in rural Ontario owned by Lisa Conway and Andrew Collins, the album is both sparse and rich, upfront vocals, curated synth sounds and 808 drums coexist with lush string arrangements framing delicate melodies, at times explosive. Exploring themes of connection, feminism, and being stuck, ”Relax” draws the listener into a landscape of droney instrumentals and hooky choruses, feeling like flying while just daydreaming.

It’s a departure from her last single, the radio friendly ‘Heavy Ghost’, but a return to her roots in many ways, in Kat’s words, “It’s not slick, it’s not perfect, and that’s me. This came out of 2 years of writers block, travel, heaviness, frustration, and a lot of figuring out who I am, as a woman in this industry”. The album includes stellar collaborations with Valerie Broussard, James Bunton, and LCON.

Kat Burns has never been one to sit still. Over the last decade in Toronto she has been slowly creating an extensive body of work, 3 albums with folkpop band Forest City Lovers, and plenty more music with her latest folkpoptronica project, KASHKA.

Debuting KASHKA with a collaborative album with producer James Bunton, Vichada, and following up with a Leon Taheny produced full length, ”Bound”, her sound was quickly coined folkpoptronica by media, as she successfully married organic and synthetic elements into her songs. Her voice is always in the forefront and minor key melodies have always been her strong suit.

Between albums, KASHKA has put out a well received acoustic EP, ”Bones”, with over half a million listens, and a number of singles. No stranger to licensing, Burns has had many of her compositions placed in network television, short films and commercials over the years. Most recently her song, “Smoke It Out” was featured on primetime show, The Killjoys.

In her down-time Kat illustrates for local publications, maintains a voice over career, and publishes weekly videos on her YouTube channel. Not one to sit still, indeed. More information at Hemifran.

Peter Gallway – Feels Like Religion

Called “a master of free verse” in the Boston Globe, Peter Gallway has released more than 20 albums on the Warner and Reprise labels, as well as various independent labels. A founding member of The Fifth Avenue Band, last year’s critically acclaimed solo release ”Muscle & Bone” was his most politically impassioned work to date. 2017 heralds the release of ”Feels Like Religion”, dedicated to, and inspired by, the work of Laura Nyro.

Along with iconic singer songwriter Annie Gallup, Peter Gallway has collaborated on 6 album projects in as many years as the duo Hat Check Girl, with their most recent collection ”Two Sides To Every Story” in 2017 garnering several 4-star reviews. They are currently at work on a new project due for release in 2018.

In addition to his solo and band recordings, Peter Gallway has produced over 50 albums and special projects, such as the Grammy nominated ”Bleecker Street : Greenwich Village In The ‘60s”, featuring Chrissie Hynde and Jonatha Brooke, and ”Time And Love : The Music Of Laura Nyro”, featuring Suzanne Vega and Jane Siberry.

He has also produced projects for singer songwriters Laura Nyro, Cliff Eberhardt, Annie Gallup, Louise Taylor, Aztec Two-Step, Wendy Beckerman, and Japan’s Bread & Butter, to name a few. He has had his music featured in film and theater, and has had songs performed and recorded by Bette Midler, Kenny Rogers, Cliff Eberhardt, Bread & Butter, Kalapana and many others.

Peter Gallway makes his home in Ojai, California. More information at Hemifran.

Paul Messinger – America 2.0

Paul Messinger is a poet, songwriter, vocalist, and instrumentalist, originally from New York, now based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is known as one of the early proponents of the Howard Levy (The Flecktones) approach to playing diatonic harmonica, and writes nuanced, character driven songs in varied styles, explaining, “Different stories require different musical styles to tell them”.

His abiding passions are history and people, and his artistic lens is focused on telling the stories of the people in the world around us.

“America 2.0 (Assorted Tales And New Myth)” is a song cycle about the idea of America. What is this place we call America? Who are these people we call Americans? The idea of America has, for over 2 centuries, drawn the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of mankind to these shores. Let us go, then, you and I, and begin again to explore the places peopled with that idea….. More information at Hemifran.

Delta Wires – Born In Oakland

Seminal San Francisco Bay Area blues band, Delta Wires, announces a September 2017 European release date for their new CD, “Born In Oakland”, on Mudslide Records. The album was recorded and mixed at Brickwall Sound in Concord, CA, and mastered by acclaimed engineer Bob Olhsson in Nashville. It showcases 10 originals and unique covers of a wide assortment of blues styles.

Delta Wires is a powerful harmonica and horns 7 piece band dedicated to modern blues, while paying tribute to the blues origins of the Mississippi delta. Their name was derived from the image of a band with modern, electric instrumentation, playing a style of music born in the Mississippi delta. What began as a college project and anthology of blues music from the Mississippi delta to the south side of Chicago, inevitably evolved into a band which has become known for its originality, versatility and crisp, tight, exciting, sound.

A living history of the San Francisco west coast blues, Delta Wires was truly born in Oakland over 30 years ago. The band started as band leader Ernie Pinata’s college project, demonstrating the evolution of the blues from the cotton fields of the Mississippi delta, to Chicago and ultimately, to the west coast. The small band Ernie put together to play examples of this evolution grew into the high powered 7 piece band that now calls itself Delta Wires.

The band started by playing clubs in Oakland such as Esther’s Orbit Room and The Continental Club. Around this same time, legendary bluesman Lowell Fulson sat in with Delta Wires at the New Orleans House in Berkeley and Ernie Pinata sat-in with the Freddie King Band at Mandrake’s in Berkeley. These were followed by a performance with Buddy Guy and Junior Wells at Keystone Berkeley. The Delta Wires then began to open shows for these blues greats, and continued to grow as musicians and as a band.

 “Born In Oakland, their 7th album, demonstrates a further maturation of the group’s west coast blues style, influenced by the ups and downs of city life, and of life, itself. It’s a sound that is truly original and untypical of what fans might expect from a blues band. Both high energy and moody, with intricate horn arrangements and harmonies, Delta Wires is justifiably proud of what it has accomplished, which includes being voted best band by the East Bay Express and Oakland Magazine, and being inducted into the California Blues Hall Of Fame.

They have performed at the San Francisco Blues Festival, Russian River Blues Festival and Monterey Bay Blues Festival, among others, and were 2008 International Blues Challenge finalists in Memphis, TN. Delta Wires has toured or played with many noted artists, including Van Morrison, John Lee Hooker and Buddy Guy. In 2017, they were invited to perform at the prestigious Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy. More information at Hemifran.

Angus Crowne and the Family Jewels – Shag Rug

Angus Crowne continues to push the uke-billy punk music genre with his 2nd LP release, titled “Shag Rug”.

A true modern day renaissance man, Angus Crowne’s restless creative spirit has driven a crazy cool, multi-faceted career that includes work as a writer, musician and concert producer for Queen, Boy George, Spacehog and many more.

Both musically and lyrically, this kind of playfully defiant irreverence drives Angus’ determination to continue to pursue a completely original sound and point of view. With new bandmates, guitarist Gavin Ross and drummer Tino Marrufo, the singer combines elements of his favorite styles to create a hybrid of infectious and unique tunes.

With strong reviews received for his self titled debut album in the US and Europe, Angus Crowne continues to move the ‘middle age’ reality dial backwards by releasing “Shag Rug” within a year.

“’Shag Rug’ seamlessly blends the sounds of rock, country and rockabilly”, Angus says. “And it continues to chronicle my journey, like that of so many others, getting older and wiser, but still feeling frustrated and bitter at times”. “Shag Rug” offers the rockabilly sound with “Little Green Men”, encouraging his audience to find a way to their next payday. Songs like “Middle Age Crawl” and “Get Me A Beer” rouse the listener to get up and move, maybe to the refrigerator?, and to sing along to make it through another moment of getting older and accepting wisdom.

“The 99” and “Punk Rock Aftershock” keep the west coast punk rock sound part of Angus’ style, and his ode to old Nashville with “Hello Goodbye” shows a more curious somber side to the musician. “Opened Book” and “Calm Seas” are musical diary notes of his journey as a father and artist, and the lounge feel of “Beyond The See” takes his listeners on a deep bass rhythm ride of romance and style.  The album’s title song, “Shag Rug” brings Angus’ quirky and humorous style to the forefront. Co-produced with Gavin Ross and mixed at Steady Studios in Burbank, CA, “Shag Rug” documents Angus Crowne’s remarkable journey with wit, charm, and keen observation. More information at Hemifran.

By Published On: september 9, 2017Categories: In Focus, Miscellaneous

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About the Author: Kbremer

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.