News From Hemifran October 2014

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!

Slowman

Slowman – Happy Boy

After two praised albums, Slowman releases an awaited 3rd album with original compositions in English. But Svante Törngren – the guitarist, composer and singer behind the alias Slowman – is chastened: “I’m not expecting to a herd of journalists and TV producers. I just want to reach out to my audience with songs and compositions that I really like myself”. The desire to find a voice of his own has characterized Svante Törngren’s musical career ever since he, almost 30 years ago, left a contract and the music industry in anger over meddlesome producers. He didn’t return until new technology made it possible for unsigned musicians and composers to call more of the shots in production. With the new album he has outdone himself: “This is the best I’ve ever done. Finally it sounds close enough to what I heard in my head when I wrote the songs”. But fans and critics who favour heavy riff-based classic rock-blues may be slightly disappointed – among the 12 tracks on the new album, only a few qualify into that category. On the other hand, there are many other elements to enjoy. The skilful Mats Lundström on keyboards and John Ahlin’s horn and string arrangements highlighting soloists like Anna Dager on cello, Jonas Wall on saxophone and Jonas Lindeborg on trumpet. Additionally, several tracks have been supplemented with a joyous gospel choir led by Camilla Stenman. Throughout the album, bassist Jan Enegård and drummer Stefan Rosén provide a steady groove and rhythmic accents. More information at Hemifran.

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Brad Colerick – Tucson

While contemplating his next CD, Brad Colerick found himself drawn to story songs, traveling tunes and folk ballads, painting sepia-toned visions of Southwestern vistas, Midwestern prairies, and the ramblers and life gamblers who crisscross them. On the surface, that might suggest he’s fixated on the mythos of a particular region or place. Digging deeper reveals that the Nebraska-raised, California-based songwriter is dealing with the shifting geography of the heart. “For me, Tucson is not so much a place as a symbol, a state of mind”, he explains while discussing the title track, composed by his friend Dave Plenn. “My grandparents retired to Arizona from Nebraska, now my parents have followed in their footsteps. It’s a transitionary time in all of our lives. But I have this strange feeling that I’ve lost a point of reference, or that I’ve just turned down an unfamiliar road”. After hearing Plenn perform “Tucson” at Wine & Song, the weekly songwriter showcase Colerick launched four years ago in South Pasadena, he realized he’d found the touchstone for his next album. Each week at Wine & Song he workshopped original songs that cohered around the emerging theme of time’s passage. The talented cast of characters appearing on this album includes Herb Pedersen, April Verch, Steve Hanson, and former Johnny Cash bassist Dave Roe, who have all sat in with Colerick at various Wine & Song nights and other performances. More information at Hemifran.

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Boister – Your Wound Is Your Crown

Anne Watts and Boister hail from Baltimore, a city that has spawned a host of musical characters, from Cab Calloway and Billie Holiday, to Frank Zappa, Philip Glass and David Byrne. It’s also home to a fertile and funky music scene that includes the likes of Beach House, Future Islands, Dan Deacon, and dozens of wildly creative groups. Boister has distinguished itself as one of Baltimore’s most exciting bands and won accolades far and wide for playing music that, as producer Jim Dickinson puts it, “makes Tom Waits sound like a sissy”. DJ John Hall calls Boister “the baddest band in Baltimore, they play in a space most other bands don’t even know exists”. Baltimore’s City Paper describes the group as “devastating and refreshingly radical”. Those sentiments have echoed around the country and across the Atlantic, where Boister’s 1997 debut disc was named Album Of The Decade by France’s Jade Magazine and critics lined up to praise the band’s subsequent releases, often citing Watts for her “mysterious and radiant songs”. Boister’s latest album, ”Your Wound Is Your Crown”, figures to expand the band’s base of loyal listeners. After recording 2 discs with Dickinson — who’d previously worked with Big Star, Bob Dylan, and many others—the band recruited another musical legend, J Robbins (Jawbox, Government Issue), to produce the new album, which was cut at Robbins’ Magpie Cage Studios in Baltimore. More information at Hemifran.

falcons

Ground Level Falcons – The Revealor Side A

Ground Level Falcons are set to release and promote the follow-up to 2012’s self-titled album. “The Revealor – Side A” is a 6 song EP that was tracked and edited at the new and improved Electric Soil Recordings by Matt Gardiner and Devon Allman over the first quarter of 2014. This collection of songs has more of an uplifting tone to them – a departure to the, at times, blues feel of the first album. These are songs of positive transformation through self reflection. The band gained a new member during the recording process. The band was excited to announce in late February that the talented Angela Power was taking over keyboards, as well as adding backing vocals. Stew Kirkwood has brought his style back to Ground Level Falcons. This time strictly as the man to paint the picture. He is the mix and master engineer. When is “Side B” available you ask? This 5 song EP is slotted for early 2015. As of this time it is to be an online-only release. More information at Hemifran.

troost

Ernest Troost – O Love

Ernest Troost is an Emmy Award-winning film and television composer and also a recipient of the prestigious Kerrville New Folk award for his songwriting. He also composed and produced two award-winning albums of songs for Judy Collins using the words of Emily Dickinson, Robert Browning, Gertrude Stein and others. Los Angeles-based Troost’s scores for films include the cult classic ‘Tremors’ and HBO’s award-winning ‘Lesson Before Dying’. In Troost’s stunning new album, “O Love”, he turns his attention to love songs, and by adding electric guitar and drums to his well-known folk and Piedmont stylings, he’s created his most powerfully dramatic album to date. From the tortured father-son relationship of “Old Screen Door”, or the fragmented images of “O Love”, to the simple grace of “Close,” Troost’s songs linger in your mind like a loving memory or a terrifying nightmare. More information at Hemifran.

grandundoing

The Grand Undoing – White Space Flavors And Parties On TV

Seth Goodman, who records under the moniker, The Grand Undoing, has two missions in life: Drink sparkling wine and record quirky, yet accessible, rock records about alienation and mortality. His second effort, “White Space Flavors And Parties On TV”, does exactly that. It’s a strange mix this bubbly and brooding, but in the world of TGU it’s a sensible balance. Raised an only child on the heels of a missing generation, Goodman leaned hard on his record player. Growing up he tuned into Boston’s vibrant college radio and later it’s club scene. Both had a profound effect, as did classic country and roots music. This stew of influences, along with his deeply entrenched outsider’s sensibility, collide and swirl to form the basis of The Grand Undoing’s distinctive sound. Themes of disconnect and despair play out across “White Space Flavors And Parties On TV” with an aesthetic that lands somewhere between the art pop of David Bowie and the psychedelic inspired punk rock of The Damned. Goodman’s 2011 debut “Appeasing The Sick” saw only a limited run of blue and white marbled vinyl. This new release will be available digitally, as well as on CD and vinyl. More information at Hemifran.

nelson

Nelson Wright – Orphans & Relics

Nelson Wright came of age in rural New York, where American roots music got under his skin and spurred his playing, writing, and gigging. Inspiration came from earlier generations of folk musicians – players like Dave Van Ronk, Mississippi John Hurt, Rev Gary Davis and the young Bob Dylan – who haunted the Greenwich Village coffeehouses just downstate. Years passed. Roots rock bands, bluegrass bands, no bands, all came and went. Nelson’s solo career started in 2012 with the release of “Still Burning”, an album of ten original songs that looked back to his folk music days and elicited great reviews (“..it’s poetic, it’s melodic, it’s timeless”, wrote Jean-Jacques Corrio in Le Cri du Coyote, France). Nelson lives in Seattle, and can be found gigging in the Seattle and Boston areas. “Orphans & Relics” is an album that captures 9 different corners of American music in 9 tracks. Country blues, rockabilly, traditional jazz, folk revival, electric blues and more – they’re all used to frame Nelson’s vivid storytelling and melodic craftsmanship. The result is a true Americana album. More information at Hemifran.

deborah

Deborah Henriksen – Traces

New release from Deborah Henriksen. More information at Hemifran.

soulmate

Soulmate – Rebel Inside

Soulmate, who’s real name is Ken Allan Pettersen, was born far up north in Norway in a city called Tromsø. Picking up the guitar at the age of 13 after his father used to play the guitar. From that moment on music became a very important part of him already in his earlier years. He started out writing songs after being tired of playing cover songs. “Funny enough nobody have asked me why I decided to call myself Soulmate as an artistname. The secret is that I try to relate to everybody, I believe that all humans are connected in some way, just as the good and the evil is in some kind of way connected. I dont believe there is only good or only bad inside a soul, I believe if you hurt someone then you`re hurting yourself, that’s the way Karma works. I hope that people who listen to this album hopefully can relate to the songs. If one of my songs could help a person to become a better self the next day I would be happy”. More information at Hemifran.

achilles

Achilles Wheel – Stones To Sand

Achilles Wheel is a high energy rock ‘n’ roll, roots and world music band from Northern California, featuring award winning songwriting played on numerous stringed instruments and the rhythmic earthquake of two full drum sets. In the wake of their breakout performance at the 2012 Kate Wolf Music Festival, the band has been burning up stages all across California, including the Strawberry Music Festival, the legendary Sweetwater Music Hall and a repeat performance at the Kate Wolf Festival in 2013 that is still being talked about. Their new CD ‘Stones To Sand’ is just being released and fully embodies the exciting musical growth Achilles Wheel is experiencing. Two sold out shows for the release party at the Crazy Horse Saloon in Nevada City on a balmy summer solstice weekend didn’t stop the large crowd of people who couldn’t get in from dancing in the street, since the doors and windows to the club were all open. This enthusiasm for Achilles Wheel ultimately earned them a spot at the 2014 California Worldfest through a ‘fan choice’ vote. And the Strawberry Music Festival also gave the band a call asking them to join the party this September when that festival will re-emerge in it’s temporary new home at the Grass Valley Fairgrounds. More information at Hemifran.

outdoor

Jewels and Johnny Nation – Outdoor Boogie

Cool as a cucumber meets hot as a pistol. The rock & roll wise man and the dancing dynamo. A gifted natural musician and a gifted natural comedienne creating modern roots music that is engaging, entertaining, and energetic. Jewels & Johnny Nation have a combined professional background ranging from Hollywood’s Sunset Strip to Broadway and they’ve honed their chops on 10 years worth of live shows that sizzle, pop, jangle and rock. Their new release “Outdoor Boogie” features a little bit of country, a little bit of bluegrass, a little bit of blues, and a whole lot of good old rock & roll. Let this collection of songs take you on a trip to the misty shores of magical Mendocino, the neon lit streets of Nashville, the dusty canyons of Southern California, and the snaking transpeninsular highway to the tip of Baja Sur, Mexico. More information at Hemifran.

anidjfranco

Ani DiFranco – Allergic To Water

As a singer, songwriter, activist and independent entrepreneur, Ani DiFranco has been setting her own pace — and encouraging countless admirers to do the same — for more than 20 years. But while she has been known as the “little folksinger”, her music has grown far beyond her acoustic solo roots in cozy venues to embrace jazz, soul, electronica and even more distant sounds. All of which are featured in DiFranco’s new Righteous Babe release, “Allergic To Water”, where she also blends abstract imagery and deceptively understated melodies with personal reflections on her life in New Orleans where she is now raising her two children with her partner, producer Mike Napolitano. 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.