News From Hemifran February 2018

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!

Cina Samuelson – S.T.

My mother was a wonderful woman, she loved music, she loved to sing and she really loved to dance. The song ‘Sweet Mama’ is about a very special moment for me, my mother and a man called Elvis. The song ‘How Long Is Forever’ is about a couple getting married and the promise to stay together forever. But the question is; How long is forever?” ~  Cina Samuelson. New single just released by country music artist Cina Samuelson, recorded live in a studio in Mariestad, Sweden, and it contains the 2 songs ”Sweet Mama, Elvis And Me” and “How Long Is Forever”, both written by Cina. More information at Hemifran.

Courtney Yasmineh – High Priestess And The Renegade

Courtney Yasmineh reaches new levels of inspiration with her 2018 release, the full album “High Priestess And The Renegade”. With a decade of writing, recording, and touring as an independent singer songwriter to inform the project, we hear in her words and in her voice, a culmination of evolution and determination. Working again with producer, multi instrumentalist and vocalist Rob Genadek proves to be fruitful as the album shows them both at the height of their abilities. Themes of falling from grace and of rebirth carry the album and give a true concept album feel. There are elements of folk, gospel, r’n’b, pop, and punk in these arrangements and Courtney’s own signature Guyatone guitar keeps the vibe more D.I.Y. than polished throughout. The touring duo of Courtney and Rob Genadek will be in the US and Europe playing the entire album at shows. Courtney’s first in a series of novels about “A Girl Called Sidney”, published by Gibson House Press, is available worldwide through Amazon.com, as well as all independent bookstores. More information at Hemifran.

Deborah Henriksson – Near And Far

Deborah Henriksson is a Grammy nominated American born Swedish singer and lyricist. Her music is straightforward, with simple or orchestral soundscapes, sometimes playful, sometimes full of dark beauty.  The genre is a mix of americana, pop, celtic and folk. Swedish music magazine Lira writes, ”The music finds its cement and individuality in the voice which is unmistakably her own”.

Deborah releases her 5th album ”Near And Far” in early 2018. The album was selected for the first round of the American Grammy’s 2018 in the category ”Best Pop Vocal Album”, and it has received brilliant reviews in the United States, Sweden, and Australia.  Songs from ”Near And Far” are also nominated for prizes in the prestigious UK Songwriting Contest. Her song “Whisper” was voted # 1 for 8 weeks on the Swedish Independent Chart.  Other songs have enjoyed significant radio airplay in every state in the US, and every province in Canada, but also, among many other countries, in the UK, Sweden, France, Poland, Holland, Australia and China. Deborah has also been on several American TV shows in New York and New England, and her music videos have been aired on over 60 American TV channels.

Deborah has toured in the US, the UK, Ireland, Sweden and Austria. Charlie Elland of folkwords.com writes, ”The more you listen to Deborah’s voice, the more you find yourself laying aside the weight of the day and slipping under a magical spell”. More information at Hemifran.

J. Briozo – Deep In The Waves

J Briozo evolved out of a set of songs that Swallows’ lead singer Jeff Crandall wrote as the Minneapolis based band was set to return to the studio to record their 3rd full length album, “In The Shadow Of The Seven Stars”. The acoustic guitar and piano based songs that Jeff was working on were written from the perspective of a fictional singer songwriter named J Briozo, a persona loosely based on his mother’s Portuguese ancestry. Jeff wasn’t convinced at the time that this would be anything other than a studio project, assuming he’d play most of the parts, and he had no real intentions of conjuring up a band to perform the material.

However, as Swallows began recording in one studio, Jeff began recording the basic tracks for “Deep In The Waves” in another studio across town and he quickly recognized that his solo album had begun to take on a life of its own. The new album was going to require the talents of his Swallows’ band mates to fully realize the vision that Jeff was developing for the project. Jeff decided to invite members of Swallows to add additional parts to the somewhat open frameworks he had laid out for the songs on the album. The group composed their parts in the studio, creating psych pop, rock, jazz, orchestral and folk arrangements for the songs. By the end of the tracking, it was clear that a compelling new sound had developed and a full band would needed to support it. More information at Hemifran.

Martin Kerr – Better Than Brand-New

Since arriving in Canada as a homeless traveler, UK born singer songwriter Martin Kerr has built his career one passerby at a time, singing his way from street corners to concert halls and arenas. Often compared to the best of the 1970’s troubadours, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, John Denver, Martin’s soulful voice and lyrics connect with listeners of all ages and backgrounds. Now he’s raising his young family by performing more than a 150 shows a year, in folk clubs and listening rooms, at farmer’s markets, house concerts and festivals, even schools, offices and places of worship. He has carved out a niche as one of the most approachable and inventive musicians around.

“I’ve always wanted to take my music to the people where they are. I watched other musicians playing the same venues for the same people late at night and not making a living, so I thought I would try something different. I decided to play pretty much anywhere people gather, no matter their ages or backgrounds and performing for them when they weren’t expecting it. If you surprise people with something beautiful, with passion and sincerity, people will remember and support you”, said Kerr. More information at Hemifran.

Mary Battiata & Little Pink – The Heart, Regardless

Mary Battiata’s “The Heart, Regardless” debuted in late January at #24 and #38, respectively, on the Roots Music Report’s ‘Top 50 Americana Album’ and ‘Top 50 Country Album’ charts and is gathering great reveiws in the US and Europe. The album features 13 new songs by singer songwriter Mary Battiata and her band Little Pink, plus Mary’s cover of an instant country classic, “Drive That Fast”, by Baltimore honky tonk master Arty Hill. It was recorded by Mary and co-producer Dave Nachodsky in Baltimore, MD, with a posse of the finest country and bluegrass players on the mid Atlantic scene, along with contributions from special guests Dudley Connell, IBMA winner Mike Munford on banjo, IBMA nominee Patrick McAvinue, and more. From the acoustic twang of “Tall Timbers”, set on the 18th century Chesapeake Bay, to the dark guitar and bodhrum pulse of “March 16”, an anti war anthem set in northern Iraq circa 1988, from the classic country and rockabilly sounds of “20 Words” and “Can’t Take My Mind Off You”, to the second line swing of “Six Miles Out”, “The Heart, Regardless” is a fiery charmer. More information at Hemifran.

Meadow Creek – ´Til Death Do Us Apart

Meadow Creek is mr and mrs Peter and Linda Dahl from Degerfors, Sweden. Linda is a singer and songwriter who got her 1st record deal at the age of 17, when she was the lead vocalist in the band Angel. A few years later, the band got a smash hit with the song “Sommaren I City”, which became a Swedish summer classic, and is still played regularly at every Swedish radio station. Peter is a multi instrumentalist, producer and songwriter who started as a touring guitarist at the age of 11. As a member of the cover band Peckas Pack he has cut off most of Sweden’s party scenes. In 1996, the Dahl couple joined and started one of Sweden’s first ABBA tribute shows together with some friends from Stockholm, “SOS – A Tribute To ABBA”, touring in both Sweden and the rest of Europe for 16 years. More information at Hemifran.

Mike Spine – Don´t Let It Bring You Down

Don’t Let It Bring You Down” is the 9th full length studio album for Seattle born and Seattle plus Europe based artist Mike Spine. Since 2002, Spine has been known for hundreds of high energy rock performances and 5 albums with his punk rock band At the Spine. In 2010, Spine began revisiting his folk rock and americana roots, when he formed The Beautiful Sunsets and released the critically acclaimed ”Coalminers & Moonshiners” in 2012. Songs on ”Don’t Let It Bring You Down” are in the vein of ”Coalminers & Moonshiners”, with some added spice and variety. Started as a stripped down solo acoustic album in Portland, OR, with longtime engineer and friend Rob Bartleson (Wilco, Pink Martini, Pond), the new album morphed into a more complex full band album, with 3 Portland based musicians, when Spine returned from a long tour performing overseas in 5 continents. Delayed due to subsequent tours in Europe, the album is finally being released.

The album is a collaboration with Joey Prude on drums, Rob Bartleson on bass, and Ali Ippolito on piano, organ, accordion and backing vocals. Songs from the album paint vivid pictures of lives of the working class in cities where Spine worked as musician, teacher and activist for the last 2 decades. Known for 20 years of powerful live performances, Spine and his band mates will spend the next year touring Europe and US in support of the album. More information at Hemifran.

PK Gregory – Honkabilly Blues

PK Gregory’s 3rd collection of original tunes, “Honkabilly Blues”, was recorded entirely live in the studio, with no overdubs, click tracks, auto tuners, fluffers, or other studio trickery what-so-ever involved. All instruments were played simultaneously in one take by PK Gregory, in front of a live studio audience consisting of various local spiders and other critters, including Matt. It was born out of a desire to appease those fans who demanded a recording of tracks ’just the way you do them live’. Thus, this CD contains the essence of PK Gregory’s quirky songwriting style. More information at Hemifran.

Scott Smith – Igniting The Flame

The critical raves for Scott Smith’s 2016 debut album “The Sum Of Life” found the emerging americana country rocker earning praise for ‘his strong homage to rock and roll’ and ‘vocals that call to mind Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan’. Vocal comparisons are great, but let’s also pay respect to the thoughtful poetry of his lyrics. On “My Soul to Keep”, the high energy, horn fired track that lays the spiritual foundation of his latest EP “Igniting The Flame”, the singer songwriter waxes poetic about his own burgeoning career, and by extension, ponders just where all of us are headed. He sings, “God bless the light that shows the way, there’s some black and white then some grey, invest in your future, plant some seeds, it wouldn’t be a journey if you know where it leads”. Then there’s the extreme addictiveness of his songs, which, just like music did in the old days, makes you want to listen over and over. 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.