News From Hemifran May 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!

amandarheaume3

Amanda Rheaume – Keep A Fire

Not many independent albums have the shelf life of Amanda Rheaume’s Keep a Fire. The Ottawa singer-songwriter released her third album almost two years ago, and embarked on a career-building ride that’s taken her far and wide on both sides of the Atlantic, gathering accolades along the way.

The album, which explores her Metis roots in a series of well-crafted country-folk songs with a pop sensibility, earned Rheaume her first national recognition when it was nominated for a Juno Award and then a Canadian Folk Music Award. Rheaume and her songwriting partner, John MacDonald, lost the Juno but were thrilled to win the 2014 folk-music award that declared them the year’s best aboriginal songwriter(s).

What’s more, in a sure sign of making it onto the Canadian music industry’s radar, Rheaume was invited back to this year’s Junos, held in Hamilton earlier this month, even though she wasn’t a nominee. She presented an award, performed a showcase and played hockey on the musicians’ team in the Juno Cup. Scoring a goal was a big thrill for the irrepressible musician, who’s in her early 30s. More information at Hemifran.

Social-Music

Spuyten Duyvil – The Social Music Hour Vol. 1

Returning to the band’s beginnings (a porch, a bouzouki, a copy of Rise Up Singing), producer Joe Iadanza and SD’s Mark Miller mined this sing-along bible for great popular songs of the early 1900’s. Seeking the lyrically relevant, known but not worn out, open for suggestion song, that thrive with re-interpretation. Familiar, forgotten words find new meaning in this historically informed but thoroughly contemporary treatment. Jug Band, Blues, 2nd Line, Piedmont, Roots and Folkrock blend the decades.

The intimate sound of Spuyten Duyvil’s 1898 Victorian living room turned live room is key. Old wood, plaster, real spaces, vintage guitars and hot tubes are captured in warm, analog tones by room designer and engineer Jim Keller (Willie Nelson, Nellie McKay). Recorded by the full band (no click, no net), the tracks burst with life, joy and vitality. Five years of touring lend familiarity, intimacy and intuition to the dynamics. The band clearly knows and enjoys one another. They play off of each other. They harmonize as old friends. And then there is her voice. Lead singer Beth Jamie Kaufman stretches out and luxuriates. She inhabits characters, styles and emotions with ease, sincerity and virtuosity. More information at Hemifran.

Whelan

Whelan – The Story Of Ike Dupree

A blues-influenced americana guitarist and songwriter, Sid Whelan cut his teeth on rock ‘n’ roll and charted on Midwestern indie college radio in the mid 80’s with his song “NY Taxi”. Early in his career, Whelan was lead guitarist with various world music acts including the Lijadu Sisters and later Afroblue, which also experienced regional indie radio success with their cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “You Can Get It If You Really Want”. Following the breakup of Afroblue, Sid left his guitars in their cases for the better part of a decade while he made a life and family in New York City. Now he’s back and again on the radio and web with americana and blues show airplay around the country of “Frisco Lines”, the rollicking Fred McDowell country-blues opening track on his 2013 comeback album, “Flood Waters Rising”.

The comeback started in July 2012 when Sid’s niece Lora-Faye – the 2012 NPR Mountain Stage Songwriting Contest winner – called him to replace her previous lead guitarist. Sid joined her for a baptism-by-fire return to performance for a string of gigs in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Rejuvenated, he began writing music again, returning for inspiration to his love of pre-1960 American music, particularly the blues but also country, folk, bluegrass, Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and jazz. More information at Hemifran.

grizzly

Grand Old Grizzly – Cosmonada

Grand Old Grizzly exploded on to the Texas music scene sharing the stage with Blackberry Smoke, Leon Russell, Rodney Crowell, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Soulhat and many more. The band has received multiple nominations from the Houston Press including “Best New Act” and “Best Folk-Americana”. Through their headlining performances at The Continental Club, Fitzgerald’s, various festivals and The House of Blues, they have been solidifying their reputation as one of the best live bands in Texas.

Grand Old Grizzly’s sound falls somewhere in that grand lexicon of americana music. Is it country, rock, surf, folk? Yes. While the musical styles may vary slightly from song to song, the songwriting remains solid throughout, a testament to the bands lyrical wit and musicianship. More information at Hemifran.

fry

Byron Fry – Explosive

A veteran of the L.A. music industry as composer, arranger, producer, guitarist and vocalist, Byron Fry’s credits span work with numerous artists, film and TV productions, records and international tours. Byron Fry is an arranger, producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and guitar virtuoso. Well known in the Los Angeles music scene, having produced Frank Gambale, Allan Holdsworth, Shawn Lane, Brett Garsed, Scott Mishoe, Carl Verheyen and a host of others, he has only recently turned his attention to writing and producing his own guitar-oriented rock-fusion. Byron has recently completed a new album, ”Explosive”, as a follow-up to his debut, ”Combustible”. More information at Hemifran.

vincentcross

Vincent Cross – A Town Called Normal

Vincent Cross is a song poet whose catalogue of critically acclaimed albums draw from the purest of mountain springs to urban Americana. A truly international troubadour, he was born in Dublin, raised in Australia and is now based in New York City, where he often performs solo on his trusty vintage Martin guitar. He has performed for and shared the stage with a diverse range of artists including Oscar winner Glen Hansard, folk legend Odetta, Damien Rice, Michael Daves, Rory McLeod, Ron Kavana, Lloyd Cole, James Reams & The Barnstormers and master blues picker Roy Book Binder. He has toured extensively from both coasts of the US, UK, Europe and Australia, from the Long Island Bluegrass Festival to Greystones Americana Festival. More information at Hemifran.

gallup

Annie Galop – Ghost

”The seed that grew into this project was planted about five years ago when I heard a recording that took my breath away and asked, “Who is that fiddler?”. That fiddler was Gabe Witcher, A-list sideman (Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson) and a member of The Punch Brothers. I was haunted by his playing and his instinct for interpretation, and I began winnowing songs for this collection, songs to wrap his soar­ing, blistering, tender, compelling and exquisite sound around. David West (Cache Valley Drifters, Kate Wolf) added brilliant mandolin and dobro, and Peter Gallway co-produced the album and played a driving upright bass to complete the string band. I’m very happy to put this, my tenth solo recording, in your hands. Thank you for listening.” ~ Annie Gallup. More information at Hemifran.

rafael

Joel Rafael – Baladista

Singer-songwriter and folk musician Joel Rafael has been writing and performing for over 50 years, beginning as a drummer with his first band, a jazz combo, in the 6th grade. After transitioning from jazz to surf music in junior high, Rafael soon found himself swept up by the rise of folk music in the early 60’s. He began learning chords on a cheap guitar he picked up in Tijuana, until he was able to afford a more respectable instrument by selling an expensive rifle he’d been given. He soon became the resident folk musician of his high school, performing in hootenannies, benefit shows, and on open stages, polishing his style. He began incorporating his own lyrics and melodies into the folk format, and by his senior year he was gigging in clubs his classmates were too young to enter. More information at Hemifran.

tod

Tod Hughes Project – Changing Gears

Tod Hughes was born into a musical family and started his first band in grade 3, The Silver Surfers. Although the surfers soon disbanded and never found commercial success, their rendition of “Young Girl” was considered a minor hit in some circles. After many years of life, family, and business, (with some musical coaching and band experience thrown in), Tod was in a place to return to his real musical love and gift, telling stories, as a singer-songwriter.

Tod writes real music that comes from the heart, stories of love, hurt, happiness, fear, disappointment and fun. A message of hope is thread through the stories which are sometimes serious and sometimes a bit tongue in cheek. The toe tapping melodies and memorable choruses will stick in your mind for days after hearing them. They are told with truth and respect. Tod wrote and sang all of the songs on his 1st EP, “Changing Gears”, which celebrates this new phase of life and the opportunity to share some stories. More information at Hemifran.

lovelies

Good Lovelies – Burn The Plan

With ”Burn The Plan”, a long-awaited new album, Good Lovelies are both fulfilling and defying their so-called musical destiny as a folk trio. What makes this ”Burn The Plan” special is that the band’s considerable strengths – winsome songwriting, impeccable vocals and triangulated charisma – don’t tell the full story. There’s a new spirit of adventurousness that gives ”Burn The Plan” an extra spark, the album is permeated with textures and tones from musical worlds away.

The eye-opening “In The Morning” has a delicate electronic touch that is more Postal Service than McGarrigle. “Waiting For You”, the most radio-ready of the collection, is an up-tempo, shimmering keyboard-laced number that would fit comfortably alongside the soft pop throwback of Haim. Even the old time underpinnings of “Old Fashioned” and “The Doe” have a new polish, confidence and depth. 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.