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!
Blind Lemon Pledge And Friends – Backwoods Glance
Called by one critic ’a national treasure’ and with previous albums hailed as ’masterpieces’ by others still, Blind Lemon Pledge steps out of his ’blues shoes’ to explore the world of americana, folk and country music on his new album ”Backwoods Glance”. When James Byfield retired from his wide ranging, award winning career as a graphic designer, animator, multi media producer and creative director, he embarked on a fresh, exciting musical adventure. Drawing on musical influences going back to his first forays into roots music. he created the musical persona Blind Lemon Pledge.
As the retro, yet edgy, Blind Lemon Pledge, he explored his passion for country blues of pre-WWII icons like Son House, Bukka White and his namesake, Blind Lemon Jefferson. In 2008, he formed the eponymously named Blind Lemon Pledge blues band and built a fan base as he performed around California with a unique combination of classic blues, old time jazz, reimagined rock and pop tunes and his critically acclaimed original songs. At the same time he recorded a series of highly regarded solo albums. Now, after a nearly decade long discography exploring a multitude of blues-related styles, Pledge is taking a ”Backwoods Glance”. More information at Hemifran.
Gus McKay – Talisman
Gus McKay is a successful songwriter and musician after almost 20 years as a seasoned recording artist and performer. He sings and writes all his own material, plays guitar, blues harmonica and more recently tenor saxophone, while also performing in a number of bands and as a solo artist in his home town of Fremantle, WA. His earthy style of music is sage like, but still in step, and finding it’s own niche around the world , within the modern blues idiom. Inspiration flows constantly ,as he bases himself in the country, finding solace on the road and peace in the bush. Weekends are spent away, playing music in the city.
“Talisman” is his latest release and possibly his best work to date. It has 10 new songs at 39 minutes length and is available on CD and vinyl, featuring strings, horns and an eclectic list of instrumentation. More information at Hemifran.
Elaine Mahon – Reach For The Stars
“In Elaine Mahon’s newest release, ”Reach For The Stars”, she does just that. Mahon, a Ph D in astronomy, lets her astronomical perspective shine through in this cohesive collection of personal songs. The new album continues to build on the universal themes of life, nature and love that Mahon explored through story and myth on her 2013 release ”Rise”. With this new release, Mahon steps into her mastery as a songwriter, with songs that will be recalled again and again in one’s memory.
Mahon weaves her stories throughout the release with tracks like ”Lean Into Love”, a sweet and powerful song of how to reach out for love. Love is also explored from a familial point of view and sung from a mother’s perspective, as in ”Afterglow”, ”You Are Not Alone” and ”Reach For The Stars”. Bringing in her affinity with nature and science, Mahon celebrates her love of the earth. Listen to ”Look Up”, the beautifully crafted ”When My Mother Sings”, ”Denali” and ”Sweet Florida”, an environmental call to action for her home state. Listen on and you’ll hear from a road weary traveler, of journeys through grief and uncertainty, and of redemption and hope found in a field of fallow ground. More information at Hemifran.
Doug Schmude – Ghost Of The Main Drag
Doug Schmude, pronounced as to rhyme with moody, is an americana singer songwriter who combines rock, folk and country with a common thread of storytelling and vividly drawn characters. His latest record, ”Ghosts Of The Main Drag”, is a collection of 10 original tracks. This album features a mixture of driving electric guitar tracks and folk and country inspired tunes with pieces of blues and grunge mixed in that should fit well within a playlist of artists such as Son Volt, Reckless Kelly and Tom Petty. The album, released independently on his own label Lost Hubcap Records, was self produced. Doug plays the majority of the acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, lap steel guitar and dobro. The album additionally features appearances by Kyle Nix (Turnpike Troubadours) on fiddle, Jessy Greene (The Jayhawks) on fiddle, Joe Fick (The Don Kelley Band) on upright bass and Bobbo Byrnes (The Fallen Stars) on organ and bass.
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Doug spent most of his formative years in Oklahoma and Texas and has called 8 states home. He honed his songwriting in the late 1990’s while performing in and around Boulder, Colorado. In 2000, he relocated to Nashville to further develop his craft. While in Tennessee, he was nominated for several awards through his work with the acoustic blues duo Hot Foot Delta. Currently based out of Southern California, his music is littered with souvenirs of the places he lived and seen. More information at Hemifran.
The Long Ryders – Bear In The Woods
“Whenever I hear this 1st new Long Ryders’ song in 30 years it only takes me about half a minute before I have to push back my chair, turn the volume up, and start dancing around the room like a happy fool. A killer Tom Stevens’ song, a strong ensemble performance, a real true thrill to be back in the saddle again, riding high with The Long Ryders, my musical home away from home.” ~ Sid Griffin
Americana pioneers, L.A.’s The Long Ryders
, are set to release “Bear In The Woods” this week. Penned by bassist and vocalist Tom Stevens
and produced by Adrian Olsen and The Long Ryders
, it will be available on Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, www.thelongryders.com
and YouTube. Additional newly recorded songs will follow closely thereafter. The new music comes just before the band’s first CA tour run in 30 years, playing club dates before their 2017 Stagecoach Festival appearance. Shows include The Chapel in San Francisco (4/26), Constellation Room in Santa Ana (4/28) and The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood (4/29).
Songwriter Tom Stevens offers the following about his new tune, “The message is complex. I wrote this song about a bear, a friendly one, approaching it like a children’s song. But what emerged under its surface was different. I likely had the state of politics on my mind. The bear in this song may not be the friendly, all knowing guru that he appears. But in real life, it’s up to us to seek our best hopes and not our worst fears in our gurus. Lately I feel that too many have done the latter”. Lead guitarist and vocalist Stephen McCarthy explains how the new music came about, “The band played a number of shows in 2016 and we felt it would be worthwhile to try and write and record some new material. Greg flew out to Virginia and we recorded a few new songs at Adrian Olsen’s Montrose Studio. Sid and Tom sent new tunes over and we recorded remotely for the first time.”
Tom continues the story, “30 years on and the band still sounds wonderful, mature, familiar yet new, and all very much The Long Ryders. It’s brand new musical scenery in our long ryde, and we’re all enjoying the view”. Drummer Greg Sowders agrees, “30 years goes by in the spin of a wig hat. We wanted to give our fans something new for our spring tour. It’s so great to be back in the studio with my favorite rock ‘n’ roll band. We hope you like this new music as much as we do”. More information at Hemifran.
Kenny White – Long List Of Priors
Born in New York City and raised across the river in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Kenny White began his career in the 1970’s, touring exclusively as the keyboard player for Jonathan Edwards and Livingston Taylor. He then became a fixture in the New York City studio scene throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, producing and arranging literally hundreds of commercials for TV and radio. Commercial work enabled White to direct artists as renowned and varied as Gladys Knight, Linda Ronstadt, Mavis Staples, Ricky Skaggs, and Aaron Neville White worked on many film soundtracks as a contributing writer and musician including “Message In A Bottle”, Kenny also appears on dozens of recordings of other musicians, including Marc Cohn’s platinum debut album. More information at Hemifran.
June Star – Sleeping With The Lights On
“Sleeping With The Lights On” is the latest album from June Star. More information at Hemifran.
Born 53 – A Talent Recognized
Stockholm based Born 53 is releasing ”A Talent Unrecognized”, May 19th, 2017, the band’s 5th album since 2005. After 2012’s ”Theving In The Alley”, entirely devoted to interpretations of Bob Dylan songs, the focus is back on band members Anders Lindh and Hans Birkholz originals, 7 and 3 respectively. The collection is also graced by one Dylan song, ‘Forgetful Heart’ and one from Paddy MacAloon, ‘Devil Came A-Callin’.
Over the years, Born 53 has developed its own style, rooted in blues, with a mixture of various pop, rock and folk influences from different parts of the world, here noticeable in ‘Forgetful Heart’, played as a Finnish tango, with fado tinted vocals by Åsa Källén-Lindh. ‘Devil Come A-Callin’ has a South American feel, courtesy of Hans Birkholz’s charango, a Bolivian string instrument. The opening track, Lindh’s ‘Looking For Marie Jones’ sounds straight out of the 70’s British folk boom, while ‘Forgive’ is best described as world music. More information at Hemifran.
Annie Gallup – Lucy Remembers Her Father
”Lucy Remembers Her Father” is the 11th solo recording from accomplished song poet Annie Gallup. Gallup layers her vocals, guitars lapsteel, Peter Gallway’s bass, and very little else to give this album a shimmering beauty and smoldering immediacy. Annie Gallup is the winner of numerous songwriting awards, including Kerrville New Folk. She grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, immersed in the arts. By the time she recorded her first album in 1994, she had internalized a songwriting style all her own, that evolved from her fascination with country blues, her love of words, and a dancer’s sense of rhythm.
She has toured extensively across North America, including appearances at the Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Mariposa Folk Festivals, and at clubs from New York’s Bottom Line to The Troubadour in Los Angeles. Annie is currently living in southern California. She performs solo and as half of the duo Hat Check Girl with Peter Gallway. ”Lucy Remembers Her Father” is Gallup’s 11th solo release. More information at Hemifran.
Elías Krell – As Eli
Elias Krell writes catchy, wistful, and witty songs that draw from as wide an array of genres, as latin, pop, jazz, blues, folk, rock, and experimental music, while remaining unmistakably her own. Her 2017 release, “As Eli”, includes 11 original songs and 2 covers, an eclectic yet intuitive bricolage of sound, feeling, and meaning. The music often marries upbeat sounds with deeper meanings in the poetry in Spanish and English. Elias studied voice and guitar at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, OH, and also works in the academy as a scholar of transgender vocality. Previously, Krell has independently produced 3 records, ”Taking My Take”, in 2010, ”Tangled Mess Of Hands”, in 2011, and ”Elias Krell & The No Good”, in 2013. The new album, “As Eli”, was produced by Paul Antonell and recorded at the Clubhouse, in Rhinebeck, New York. Elias can be found actively touring in support of her music. More information at Hemifran.
West Of Eden – No Time Like The Past – A Collection
Hailed as ’the best of contemporary folk’ by Irish Music Magazine, Swedish folk band West Of Eden now celebrate 20 years with a compilation album and an anniversary tour.
Just outside the mainstream limelight, but with a faithful and growing audience, West Of Eden have stubbornly continued carving out their own brand of music with strong influences from British and Irish folk music. Add to this their lyrics that ’put many a lyricist born and bred to English to shame’ and you will find that ’there’s a versatility and a noticeableabsence of the often tame respect for musical predecessors that can diminish so many of their European counterparts’ efforts, the band’s sound is unmistakably chiefly driven by their love of the music’.”
In spite of setbacks, deaths and no less than 7 changes of bass players, over the course of these 2 decades, the band have released 10 albums and spent countless miles together in the tour bus. The records have been met with fantastic reviews both in Sweden and abroad, which also has led to collaborations with musicians from Alison Krauss & Union Station, The Chieftains and Mark Knopfler’s band, to name a few.
The new song ”Twenty Years Of Travelling”, written especially for the compilation album, chronicles the struggles and the travels, but above all speaks about the joy in playing together. On ”No Time Like The Past”, West of Eden have also included a new recording of ”Where The Ivy Is Growing”, the 1st song they ever wrote. In addition to this, they serve up tunes like ”Faraway”, written at the request of music mogul Bert Karlsson, who wanted to send ’something Irish’ to the Eurovision Song Contest.
And even if West Of Eden like to look backwards, write albums about the Swedish wave of emigration to America in the 19th century and choose to call a retrospective album ”No Time Like The Past”, the future looks bright, indeed. Thirty something shows in Sweden after the release is followed by a German tour and then, for the first time, China. It’s simply just as Jenny puts it in the song. More information at Hemifran.
Alex Lopez – Is It A Lie
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, the heartland of rock ‘n’ roll, Alex Lopez started with organ lessons at the age of 8, and soon was playing at local church and school functions. Inspired by the Beatles and British blues rock bands, he learned how to play guitar as a teen, developing a style influenced by guitar greats Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton. While playing in local bands like Midnight Voyager and Sahara, he spent young adulthood recording in studios, while polishing his songwriting skills. Later moving to Florida to attend college, Alex continued playing in local bands performing locally and having modest success with a few original songs making their way to local radio.
After a break from his music career to raise a family. Alex reconnected with his blues musical roots studying the guitar style of blues greats like BB King and Buddy Guy. Alex then joined the popular cover band Reminiscion, performing at venues through out the Bay area, before striking out on his own. As a prolific songwriter Alex has recorded a voluminous amount of original material culminating in his first 2 albums. With his band, The Xpress, Alex is now playing major venues and festivals across the southeast United States. More information at Hemifran.
Aaron English – american (fever) dream
Seattle based piano man Aaron English has been steadily building a buzz in the US, thanks to 4 self released albums and regular touring throughout the US as a solo artist and with The Aaron English Band.
In 2012, Aaron scored a Top 5 Italian radio hit in Italy with an epic medley reinvention of The Beatles’ and Led Zeppelin’s classics “Norwegian Wood” and “Kashmir”. Also in 2012, Aaron formed the side project Boombox Séance with Baltimore singer songwriter Victoria Vox. After writing and touring together in the summer and fall of 2012, they released the album ”Boombox Séance”, produced by Geoff Stanfield, in March 2013.
In 2015, Aaron spent 2 music filled months as a record producer, songwriter, performer in East Africa, where he founded International Youth Music Project, a charity that supports music programs at orphanages.
In 2017, Aaron began a four month tour of Europe to promote his solo album ”American [Fever] Dream”. Aaron is currently releasing a new single and video each month, a project that will culminate in a new album release at the end of 2017. More information at Hemifran.