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!
Inouwee – Rawhide
Danish duo Inouwee are set to release their album “Rawhide” on March 4th, 2016. Inouwee are Kaare Hansen and Signe Marike, and the founding of the duo happened in the winter of 2009, beginning with Kaare’s burning desire to create new music that would reflect his own passion for musical integrity and intimacy. His search led him to Signe who instantly became his musical counterpart in creating something more than they would have been able to do on their own, and this was the beginning of Inouwee. The new album is a series of 9 immediate tracks. The album lyrics talk of life, death, love, loss, hopes and ambitions. Signe’s soft and honest vocal, combined with heavy beats and Kaare’s melodic guitar and keyboard, both creating a genre somewhere in between trip-hop, indie pop and electro and delivers a pure nordic excellence in sound. More information at Hemifran.
Blind Lemon Pledge – Pledge Drive
“Pledge Drive”, the 5th album from critically acclaimed musician, composer and producer Blind Lemon Pledge (aka James Byfield), is a percussive thrill ride of rocking blues and americana. From his original take on the famous Bo Diddley beat, to sax driven r‘n’b, to tender, haunting ballads, to the final explosive jug band romp, Blind Lemon Pledge delivers the startling diversity of musical styles and lyrical themes that are the signature of his unique music.
Since childhood, James Byfield has been deeply involved with music. He wrote his first song at 8 years old and began a life-long love of melody and lyrics, and the magical synergy between the two. At 14, he picked up his first guitar and discovered the country blues of the pre-WWII era, Sun House, Bukka White, and stage-namesake Blind Lemon Jefferson, just to name a few. As he grew, he experimented with a variety of musical forms including blues, jazz, country, folk and rock‘n’roll, with the occasional foray into classical and other forms, even Chinese classical, learning the er hu, a 2 stringed Chinese fiddle. More information at Hemifran.
Daniel Martin Moore – Golden Age
“Our golden age is here”, Daniel Martin Moore sings on the title track of his latest offering, and he could easily be singing about his own career. Moore has steadily gained a following as one of our most emotive and haunting singers since his acclaimed debut back in 2008. Those deeply moving vocals are pushed to new heights on ”Golden Age”, which he co-produced with Jim James of My Morning Jacket. The album is also a whole new sound for Moore. Known for his meditative singing and guitar-driven melodies, ”Golden Age” manages to hold onto that calming element while also giving Moore a more upbeat quality on a larger canvas. More information at Hemifran.
Spicewood Seven – Still Mad
The Spicewood Seven are really 2, musician and producer Tommy Spurlock (The Band, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell) and songwriter and college professor Luke Powers. ”Kakistocracy” (meaning government by the least principled) was their 2007 debut Americana album protesting what America had become in the Bush Jr years. As Stewart Mason of All Music Guide put it, “’Kakistocracy’makes Steve Earle look like a milquetoast”. In 2016 Spurlock and Powers reunites with a cycle of songs that take up where ”Kakistocracy” left off. ”Still Mad” is about road rage, failing relationships, broken institutions, the devil inside, the death of the average American. The songs are full of sharp hooks and sharper humor.
In “Everything is Great”, a Donald Trump-like persona brags of prosperity, while the rest of the country drowns in debt. In “The Magic Bullet” (w/Garth Hudson of The Band), the Kennedy assassination is retold from the bullet’s point of view. “Hey Idiot” reveals the inevitable result of a lowest-commondenominator America owned and operated by Wal-Mart. The song is included in the March 2016 issue music sampler of Maverick Magazine in the UK. More information at Hemifran.
Bill Price – I Can´t Stop Looking At The Sky
“It’s all right with me if you want to go home, it’s all right with me, I can sink on my own, but I will be the last refugee”. So goes the chorus of singer-songwriter Bill Price’s final song,’ The Last Refugee’, written for and connected to his ambitious ”I Can’t Stop Looking At The Sky” musical, literary and design odyssey. He says it sums up not only the project, but also what it’s like to be a creative person with an artistic vision that only he can clearly see. 4 years in the making, ”I Can’t Stop Looking At The Sky” is over 2 hours and 20 minutes of original music housed in a gorgeous, deluxe package that includes a 120-page journal, a 160-page book of short stories, essays and poems, 2 oversized, extensive lyric booklets, plus posters, buttons, postcards and stickers, all designed by Price.
The music is varied and rich with different textures, instruments and rhythms. Presented as a journey, this thematic work speaks to universal human experiences of time, home, place, childhood, forgiveness, grace and paradox. Price claims that at this point in his life, it simply adds up to his worldview. While the themes may be broad, what makes the piece unique and more specific is the story behind it. Inspired partially by explorers Lewis & Clark, Price took a lengthy trip to the American West. “It was life-changing, a real journey on several levels. I have not been the same since”, he says. “The ideas and inspiration from both the physical and internal journey propelled this project forward, and it seemed to take on a life of its own”. More information at Hemifran.
Stephen Casper & Cowboy Angst – I Fell Like I´ve Got Snakes In My Head
What do you do when you’re an independent artist with no major label or corporate sponsorship, and a burning desire to reach audiences? For Los Angeles artist Steven Casper, the answer is to huddle with in-demand session players who happen to be longtime bandmates, plus guests like gospel and r’n’b songbirds Charity McCrary and Linda McCrary-Fisher, and produce honest, skillfully crafted music that gives people good reason to listen. Casper, whose tunes have been heard in shows like “True Blood”, plans a spring 2016 release of his 7th album, “I Feel Like I’ve Got Snakes In My Head”. Like 2014’s “Endless Sky” and 2012’s “Trouble”, “I Feel Like I’ve Got Snakes In My Head” is an EP. “I love albums”, he says. “I don’t care about singles. But we’re really tribal in our listening now. We don’t have to wait for radio to play music we like, we go to a streaming service and listen to what we want. I want my music out there sooner so instead of full LP’s, I’m putting out 6 or 7 track EP’s”.
That love of albums, and the longer stories they reveal through carefully sequenced songs, was developed while growing up as an ‘American embassy brat’. Casper’s music loving parents worked in the Foreign Service in Italy, Japan, Mexico and Nigeria, and he has vivid memories of raptly listening for hours to records from their select collection, Woody Guthrie, Mahalia Jackson, Hank Williams and Bob Wills, along with rock ‘n’ roll icons such as the Beatles and Elvis Presley. His own, rootsy rock springs from those early influences, plus later inspirations like Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams. More information at Hemifran.
Dave Insley – Just The Way That I Am
Dave Insley has done it again. This is old-style country crooning from a distinctive and original voice from Austin, Texas. Dave’s new disc showcases his quirky, heartfelt narratives and smoky baritone, and features the musical muscle of some of Austin’s finest players. From the opening lines of “Drinkin’ Wine And Staring At The Phone” through the closer, “Everything Must Go,” it ain’t nothin’ but a party, y’all, with Rick Shea, Redd Volkaert and Danny B Harvey on guitar, Matt Hubbard on piano, harmonica and trombone, and special guest vocalists Kelly Willis, Elizabeth McQueen and Dale Watson. “Just The Way That I Am” is Insley’s 4th solo release, and his first since 2008’s “West Texas Wine”. His artistic maturity and the clarity of his ideas shine through, carried by the easy cadence and quality performance Insley is known for. Highlights include the honky-tonk weeper “Win-Win Situation, For Losers”, co-written with Rick Shea and Paul Lacques (I See Hawks in LA) and performed here as a duet with Kelly Willis, “Arizona Territory 1904”, a re-telling of a Marty Robbins classic, and “We’re All Here Together Because of You”, a tender, upbeat homage to his wife and family. Insley’s modern voice and old-fashioned approach have earned him a singular position in the broad field of Americana music. This is thinking man’s country, intelligent, thought provoking story-songs that grow more satisfying with each listen. More information at Hemifran.
The Sumner Brothers – The Holl In Your Mind
The Sumner Brothers have been recording and touring for the past 10 years. They have 5 critically acclaimed albums to their credit and are now considered one of the pre-eminent live acts in Canada. They have consistently been leaders in the alternative country movement and their recordings have aggressively pushed the limits of the genre. They have been difficult to pigeon hole and impossible to predict. Their first release ‘In The Garage’ charted in the top 10 for folk, roots and blues on Canadian college radio. The Brothers released ‘Sumner Brothers’ in 2008. The album placed in The Province Newspaper’s 2008 top 10 list and ‘Girl In The Window’ won best alt-country song at the 9th Annual IMA’s. In 2010, the brothers released ‘In The Garage II’. The record was featured in Slowcoustic’s top Canadian records of 2010 and received 4.5 stars from Americana Roots UK. In 2012 they released ‘I’ll Be There Tomorrow’. The Straight called it ‘a triumph’, The Edmonton Sun referred to it as ‘the finest alt-country north of the 49th parallel’, and Americana Roots UK wrote ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if this 5 star album ends up in my top 20 all time.
Recently brother Bob was nominated for songwriter of the year at the WCMA’s. Their most recent release ‘The Hell In Your Mind’ was made available in their homeland of Canada in late 2015. It has become a mainstay on the Canadian college radio charts and has received widespread critical acclaim. The Manitoban called it ‘a beautifully twisted symphony, the music is excitingly unnatural’, ‘alternative country music at its best’ and Flying Shoes UK had this to say, ‘loud, intense and impassioned’, ‘2 things above all strike me about this album, the first is The Sumner Brothers boldness and skill in making songs built around the very simplest of musical elements, the 2nd is their determination, along with all the finest artists there ever were in rock music, to make music that their muse demands, to please no-one but themselves’. More information at Hemifran.