News From Hemifran March 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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PI Jacobs – Hi-Rise Ranch

One of Pi Jacobs’ earliest musical memories is of riding in a car. “My mom had this giant old Buick with a speaker on the shelf under the back window”, says the Los Angeles-based, Bay Area-bred singer-songwriter. “Whenever Carole King would come on the radio, I’d crawl up there and squeeze myself over to the side so I could put my head on the speaker”.

This harmony of music and the road, travel by car or train, to the city or the country, from one state of mind to another, abides in Pi’s 6 track EP “Hi-Rise Ranch”. “Icy Road” and “The Train” explicitly map the distance between the loved and the lover, across miles and time. “Starting Now” traces the road to recovery, its protagonist declaring in the song’s triumphant hook, “I’m gonna wear a smile to go with these scars/ I’m gonna live my life and I’m starting now”. Even in the collection’s one cover, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, the singer’s got to ramble. More information at Hemifran.

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Kiana Luna – S.T.

Born and raised in the mountains of Japan to a Japanese father and American mother, Kiana Luna and her two older siblings were home-schooled at the foot of Mt Fuji, until she moved to her mother’s homeland of Hawaii in 1999. Kiana learned English by traveling to Honolulu throughout her childhood, so it was a natural transition for her to begin her musical career in a place where she felt at home and had spent time nurturing her multi-cultural roots.

Kiana’s first musical influence growing up was her mother, who was a folk singer in Hawaii during the 60’s, and then later expanded to a variety of pop, world, rock and classical music. Although without any formal training in theory, Kiana began composing piano solos at age 11, after swimming with wild dolphins in a Hawaiian ocean cove, then expanded her writing at 16, when she began creating lyrics for melodies she strummed on her mother’s guitar. More information at Hemifran.

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John McDonough – Dreams And Imagination

John McDonough is a singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas, whose shows span 5 decades of hits combined with unique originals. John’s acoustic guitar work, passionate vocals, and personal lyrics result in a modern singer-songwriter-pop sound rarely heard.

John has spent the last 20 years playing in and around Austin while co-producing and self-releasing 5 CD’s of original music. He has played to the rowdy crowds of 6th Street, the dinner crowds of Austin restaurants, and everything in-between. 4 years ago he decided to retire from practicing psychotherapy and focus solely on music – writing, recording, and performing. In that time he has written and recorded 2 new CD’s, played over 200 gigs, performed in 5 major Austin music festivals as a solo artist, and twice appeared and performed on local radio. He has drawn comparisons to Harry Chapin and Elton John for his vocal style abilities, while Austin radio host Stephen Rice has compared John’s emotional storytelling to the songwriting styles of James Blunt and Damien Rice. More information at Hemifran.

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Casey Weston – Young Heart

While her family enjoyed their backyard volleyball court and her friends were engaged in all the typical high school activities, Casey Weston picked up a guitar and fell in love with writing music. From the start, she appreciated the immediate feedback, both good and bad, to her work as she began to perform before live audiences at bars, coffee shops, malls and parks in her home town of Naples, Florida. By 15, she had developed a local following and would soon open for national touring acts such as James Otto and Craig Morgan.

On April 7, 2009, Casey won first place in the regional Colgate Country Showdown in Arcadia, Florida. That led to her opening before thousands of fans for such young stars as Justin Moore as well as seasoned Grammy winners like John Anderson. The real turning point, however, came with her being named a contestant on NBC’s inaugural season of The Voice. Finishing number eight in the final competition earned her place in a national tour, allowed her to with serious musicians and exposed her to leading industry professionals. More information at Hemifran.

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Jenna Glatt – S.T.

Jenna Glatt is a versatile and exceptionally gifted soulful singing sensation, songwriter and musician with an impressive track record. This multi-award-winning professional vocalist and entertainer has appeared in numerous high profile events and music festivals, and has performed live on television and radio programs across North America.

Jenna recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA where she was accepted with double-scholarship and is now an ambassador for the school. As a teenager, Jenna released 2 highly acclaimed CD’s and she has performed at various international music festivals over the past several years. These festivals include the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, Boston’s Outside The Box Music Festival, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, Beaches Jazz Festival, Athens Music Festival, 1000 Islands Jazz Festival and WestFest, among others. This has enabled Jenna to develop a large following. More information at Hemifran.

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The Great Dictators – Killers

The Great Dictators is a Copenhagen-based rock band. They will soon be releasing their 2nd album ‘Killers’ through Danish label Royal Toad Records. The 1st single is called ‘Strange Ways’, and the animated video for the song stars Vladimir Putin and lead singer Dragut Lugalzagosi.

Singer-songwriter Dragut formed the band in the summer of 2011, and during 2012 The Great Dictators released 3 EP’s. Danish radio and several medias quickly noticed their unusual sound, a mixture of Americana and Nordic melancholy, containing grand emotions and quirky instruments. The “dictators” achieved this by using instruments like saw, banjo, autoharp, mandolin and accordion, and especially Dragut’s deep and intense vocals received a great amount of praise. More information at Hemifran.

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Whitehorse – Leave No Bridge Unburned

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. ”Leave No Bridge Unburned” sees Whitehorse shaping a bigger, bolder rock sound. Any lingering assumptions that the two are working within the boundaries of a folk duo should be put to rest. ”Leave No Bridge Unburned” is a fiery, forceful and finely tuned album. While there’s more in the mix now, more people at the board, more sonic swagger in the ears, Whitehorse will continue to be a story told of intimacy and passion. Two musicians, one band, no looking back.

Opening track, “Baby What’s Wrong”, is the story of a creepy lover told with an evil twang, an even darker version of Calexico’s “desert noir”. The mariachi trumpet of “You Get Older”, about a human smuggler with an existential side, also conjures the burnt-out border towns, stray dogs and rooster crows that populate spaghetti westerns, southern gothic novels and dusty post- apocalyptic landscapes. More information at Hemifran.

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Bill Gable – No Straight Lines

Straight lines. They’re a man-made conceit – highways, railroads, the quickest distance between two points. But nature likes to meander, to take a slower course. And “No Straight Lines” is a path that suits musician and singer-songwriter Bill Gable. His new record is inspired by those destinations never quite reached.

“Every record is a journey”, Gable remarks. “I wanted to carry the listener with me. I often thought of these lines from a poem by Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa: ‘To be great, be whole; exclude/Nothing, exaggerate nothing that is you. Be whole in everything. Put all you are/into the smallest thing you do. The whole moon gleams in every pool./It rides so high’. Through attention to detail in the storytelling and production, in my own small way I tried to do that”.

Gable began writing “No Straight Lines” in 2004, a year after his 2nd disc, “This Perfect Day”, was released. Much of it was composed in Morocco, Spain, and Portugal, in the hotel rooms where he lived, soaking in the countries, their culture and their music. More information at Hemifran.

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Geyster – Knight Games

Geyster, aka Gaël Benyamin, presents his new musical trilogy, “Knight Games“. This journey takes us into a subtle blend of melancholy, well-being, and sensuality. As a nightly knight, Geyster entrances the listener with fleshly sensations, crescendos, aerial lifts, intense moments. 29 tracks spread out over 3 records, surfing between rock, folk, jazz and funky westcoast genres. Influences are sharp and numerous. Here and there we hear the ghosts of artists such as Supertramp, Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, or even Christopher Cross. Melodies and production unfold an overall 1970’s feel, a time when today’s flaws tended to be a quality. This reminiscent flutter tone going on throughout the 3 records is a good example. Geyster expresses here his wide and paradoxal personality and takes us on a rich, magical and unexpected ride, reflecting the image of an artist who keeps doubting and exploring within himself. 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.