News From Hemifran March 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!

Eva Hillered – New Me

”My love for music, writing and performing my own songs, has kept me on the track over the years, despite a chronic disease that I suffer from. As a teenager I got diabetes, and it felt as if my life had ended. I was very self destructive for many years, refused to accept my disease that felt like a prison. Then suddenly songs began to come to me, they became my light and my rescue, and made me feel a joy and meaning with my life, despite all the demanding blood checks and routines.” ~ Eva Hillered

Eva Hillered is a Swedish, Grammis nominated, recording and touring singer songwriter. Eva is best known for her unique voice that boasts a deep soulfulness, coming from the need of expressing herself in songwriting from a very early age. She lives in Stockholm and has made 8 solo albums. She tours in Scandinavia, Germany and the US. Her influences are singer songwriters as Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Emmylou Harris, Eva Dahlgren and Anne-Grete Preus.

The new album ”New Me” is a tribute to the healing power of music and can be placed musically in the folk and americana genre. It includes her own songs, as well as co-writes with established writers from Denmark, Iceland and the US. More information at Hemifran.

Carrington MacDuffie – Kiss Make Better

In life and in art, Carrington MacDuffie is an adventurer. A New York native who now splits her time between Austin and Seattle, after a decade beachside in Los Angeles, she travels the globe and joyfully explores diverse universes of thought and practice. Whether making music, writing poetry, voicing works of literature, piloting a fixed wing airplane, or savoring the zen like concentration of target shooting, she is led by her passion for creativity, and her endless fascination with exploring both the world outside and her inner muses.

As a singer songwriter, Carrington first released work in 2014. Her love for music was originally sparked in earlychildhood while listening to the records that her dad, a huge music aficionado, was spinning, Teddy Wilson, Beethoven, Herb Alpert, Hudson River folk, Scottish marches, The Mamas & The Papas, Arlo Guthrie, classic rock, The Beatles, among many other artists and genres. Those far reaching influences weave through her entire body of work, and stand out in her new album, “Kiss Make Better”, recorded last year in Nashville. 

In Spring of 2018, she launches her podcast “Voice Of A Muse”. Twice a month, she will present outside the box, thought provoking topics seen through her deeply considered, humorous, and philosophical perspective. 

Going forward, Carrington will venture forth to engage and inspire audiences with the intimate power of words, music, and voice in all her endeavors. More information at Hemifran.

Mario Rojas – Lost Angelino

Mario Rojas is a singer songwriter from Los Angeles, CA. As a teenager he spent a few years living in Dallas, TX, where he was able to get into clubs and absorb some of the local music scene seeing such diverse acts as Freddie King and Ray Wiley Hubbard to name a few. He learned a lot living there, and has been banging on the guitar since he was a kid. Has a major in FM and a minor in AM radio. It’s all about the songs for him.

In LA around 1977 to the early 1980’s he spent a few years writing, singing and playing guitar in the Shake Shakes, a pop punk new wave band who were on the cusp of making it. After that he took some time off to help raise his kids. Now he’s back and has more to say. His songs reflect all the good parts of AM radio, from back when you could hear everything from the Stones to the Supremes, Dylan to Beach Boys, LA’s 70’s singer songwriter country rock to punk on FM. Listening to just about every type of music opens your eyes and ears and all of those influences show up.

How do you describe the music? If influences like Springsteen, Byrds, Graham Parker, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Poco, Linda Rondstadt, Laura Nyro, Goffin & King, Boyce & Hart, Leon Russell, Jam, Elvis (Presley and Costello), Cream, anything Motown, Hi, Stax, Bennett, Mathis, Badfinger, John Hiatt, Supremes, John Paul George and Ringo, Mick, Keith and Brian, Neil Young, Brain Wilson, hidden 60’s pop gems, surf greats, country greats, soul greats, and on and on and on, are to your liking, then please take a listen.

”Lost Angelino” is Mario Rojas’ 3rd release. This 11 original song CD was produced by Ed Tree and Mario Rojas. More information at Hemifran.

Dan Siegel – Origins

Keyboardist Dan Siegel, prolific recording artist since 1979 and accomplished TV and film composer, brings his love of acoustic piano to the fore on ”Origins”, a hauntingly melodic, rhythmically engaging all original set featuring the most sought after players in Los Angeles.

“I wrote these songs over a period of a year”, Siegel recalls, “and they hold together as a singular statement”. The title, ”Origins”, is for Siegel “the blending of different musical elements, which served as an unconscious inspiration. The music sounds somewhat mediterranean, minor keys with specific types of chord progressions. The feel is a variety of Latin and straight 8 note rhythms. There is also a harmonic element that is more American, somewhat bluesy. ’Origins’ is a combination of all of these things”. More information at Hemifran.

Eric Congdon – Into The Woods

2018 finds Eric Congdon further cementing his reputation as one of Western North Carolina’s most talented artists. From mind blowing live performances and ground breaking music video projects, to his ongoing charitable efforts supporting Autism, Eric always brings an energy and creativity to any project he is involved with. His latest album, ”Into The Woods” has earned high praise for its stunning mix of heartfelt songs mixed with blazing instrumentals.

His live show is a bouillabaisse of influences, ideas, and improvisation. You’ll hear sounds from Appalachia all the way to Arabia, and from Bombay to Britain. Great guitarists from Tony Rice to Jimmy Page, Chet Atkins and Duane Allman. Not to mention Eric’s interpretations of classic songs played on his Irish bouzouki that simply have to be seen to be believed. You never know what song or even what instrument he will play next.

Eric has taken advantage of living in one of the most picturesque and beautiful areas of the USA by creating his ground breaking Hiking Jams video series. Featuring some of the most scenic waterfalls and vistas in W.N.C., Eric has fused live music and improvisation against the breathtaking backdrop of the area’s natural beauty. His video series was featured in Mountain Express. More episodes of the series are in production. More information at Hemifran.

Case Garrett – Aurora

Timing can be everything. With the groundswell of americana, independent and alt country making huge gains in recent years, Case Garrett’s album ”Aurora” lands at an opportune moment of history, fitting in right alongside the sounds that are garnering larger audiences seemingly every few months. Launched in the late fall in the United States, Garrett and his mates are looking to conquer the European and Scandinavian markets with a full out tour schedule.

While firmly rooted in country music’s hallowed traditions, the independently produced album plays out as sublimely alive and contemporary. Garrett has a keen knack for songwriting and arrangement, which he confirms throughout this debut release. Saddled up with a truly superlative band of Nashville sidemen, including Michael Douchette on pedal steel guitar and the always-amazing Jenee Fleenor on fiddle, Garrett runs through a gamut of emotions and story telling throughout the album.

Playing multiple instruments, Garrett writes in a voice that is immediately accessible, blending in the hauntingly sad and personal in “Long Way Down”, to the tongue in cheek, slightly irreverent “The Thought Of You”. As a narrator, Garrett allows the characters to have wide berths in songs such a “Going Down To Mobile” and “Fill ‘er Up”, as they come vividly alive while they go about their trial and tribulations. More information at Hemifran.

Melanie Dekker – Secret Spot

Secret Spot is a new, spirited and dynamic Melanie Dekker album, recorded with award winning Canadian producer Sheldon Zaharko, and supported by Creative BC and the Government of British Columbia.

 A collection of 10 songs that will take you to a few special corners of your heart. There is depth and variety, and the more you listen, the sweeter the details get. Each song visits a time, and a place, where a feeling glues that moment together. The pace is somewhat like walking through a city on a sunny day where the wind is howling and seems to chase you, as it’s strength differs with every turn you make.

“This folk pop record was mostly influenced by the last 100 shows, journeys experienced with my family and dearest friends over the last 5 years, and paying attention to the ‘quiver’ you get when something makes the hair on your arms stand up.  The music I listened to these past few years, City & ColourTom PettyThe BandJohn Mayer, Ed Sheeran, and inevitably some heartbreak also played a part”. More information at Hemifran.

Johanna Sillanpaa – From This Side

It’s smart, it’s soulful, it’s jazz. For every style of music that Johanna Sillanpaa explores, there’s a vibrant color in her voice to match. Sillanpaa’s vocals are expertly clear, gently raw, and yet intensely bold. She performs thoughtful jazz you can dig your heels into. She and her ensemble have played everywhere from intimate jazz joints across North America and Europé, all the way to performing in front of the 60 000 plus crowds of the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Beyond filling venues in Canada and abroad, Sillanpaa’s previous solo albums have also drawn their fair share of accolades and award nominations. Johanna’s music has garnered 2007 and 2012 nominations for Western Canadian Music Awards, as well as Best Female Vocalist and Group And Duo Of The Year at the 2010 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards.

There’s no mistaking that this highly acclaimed Swedish born artist has truly come into her own with her latest solo album “From This Side”. The recording features Canadian JUNO Award winning jazz bassist George Koller, internationally renowned trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, TD Grand Jazz winning pianist Chris Andrew and 3 time WCMA nominated jazz drummer Tyler Hornby. From modern jazz arrangements to catchy originals all in the name of jazz, her latest musical statement is sure to captivate audiences everywhere. More information at Hemifran.

Mark Huff – Stars For Eyes

“There are 2 kinds of singers, the ones you believe and the ones you don’t”, observes Mark Huff. “Anything that’s good stems from honesty”.

 You can hear the ring of honesty throughout Huff’s 9th solo release, “Stars For Eyes”, as he negotiates the highs and lows of love and life in its 11 songs. But like real life, there’s nothing simple about the characters that populate his tunes or their emotions. As Huff knows, even the bliss of falling in love can be laced with conflict, a duality he captures perfectly in the title track’s shimmering sonic dreamscape, elegantly painted with steel and electric guitars, keyboards, and an angelic choir of female voices to support the balance of limerence and doubt in his arcing vocal melody.

 “Stars For Eyes” follows his 2016 tour de force, “Down River”, which ranged from full tilt roots rock to gospel fueled allegory, all spiked by Huff’s expert writing, open hearted vocal performances, and ear for perfect musical support.

 In his new album’s “I Know You Don’t Want My Love”, a number driven by Huff’s own acoustic guitar, he ventures into darker territory as the song’s narrator is driven toward madness and even, possibly, murder, by cold hearted rejection. All the while, the warm, wailing tones of an effects laden pedal steel played by Russ Pahl provides ghostly commentary. 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.