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Songwriter for Southern Yankee Music, Singer for Southern Yankee Music journalist for Music journalist for

The Serpent and the Apple Self/titled EP



This CD opens with drum samples providing a techno beat, mixed with electronic keyboards and bass. The track blends the repetitive beat into a flowing dynamic track with the addition of a driving rock guitar, as well as a hypnotic effect with a vocal that reminds one of Siouxie Sioux with its sing a long drone like qualities, combined with over lapping harmonies, the vocals reach new heights. Adding distortion to the vocals adds a darker edge to the overall sound. I’m Only Heartless to the Cruel is a hit in the underground dance clubs anywhere.
On track two suddenly with a quick left turn The Serpent and the Apple took what appeared to be a darker droning track and added a pure pop edge that makes the song accessible to most anyone who cares to listen and listen you should if you like your music with a more alternative edge yet still holding true to the formula of catchy melodies and unlike most alternative music, melodies you can remember.
The Serpent and the Apple are pulling together a mix of Techno, Alternative and Classic Rock music, no mean feat to say the least.
With dark brooding edges, mixed with soaring harmonies and with The Edge influenced guitar work as well as excellent catchy melodies, The Serpent and the Apple have delivered a well crafted EP. The biggest draw back to this CD is its too short. You want to hear more and there is none. So over and over and over it plays seeping into the gray matter like a hypnotic spell.
The three songs on this CD are all excellent tracks of powerful music. Few bands have the ability to write catchy melodies and to blend such diverse sounds of music together into such an inviting sound is rarely if ever achieved.

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Siobahn Hotaling-Heart on Fire


With each submission process about three to four hundred artist submit their material for inclusion in New Classic Music For Tomorrow blog.
In todays modern world of music so many artist sound so much alike it really is hard to find artist that are unique. After listening to hundreds of artist of all styles it has become more difficult with each submission process to find those few artist to write about. Not so with Siobahn Hotaling, with her strong vocals leading the way she has mixed different styles into a sublime package of pop rock.
Never pushing the vocals, instead her smooth steady vocals are subtle and have a excellent pop feel to them. In these days of artist trying to become heavier and heavier, Siobahn, takes the opposite approach with her easy going feeling for music. She is not a incredible singer by any means but she surely knows how to use what she has with great effect as she mixes her influences into her om amalgamation of music. Drawing on folk, blues, rock, country and pop Siobahn mixes these ingredients into a warm and engaging sound.
Siobahn is able to insert a dreamy quality to her sound that slowly digs into you brain.
Not foot tapping music by any stretch of the imagination yet with each passing track one realizes that another excellent song just ended and you were humming or perhaps singing along to the song. These are the marks of excellent music. It does not have to knock you down with the noise or loudness, no the subtle easy going feeling demands your listen not just feel the vibration of loud music. Normally comparable artist would have been named from the bygone years of long ago but this is modern music that has more in common with Taylor Swift or Adele. This is adult contemporary music that anyone from the age of sixteen to sixty will hear and enjoy. No matter if it is a sixteen year old soul who’s heart aches from the pain of first love or the fifty nine year old who is lonely and in need of love, Siobahn Hotaling shares your pain, as well as your loneliness, she shares your wants and your needs in her superbly crafted CD.
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Dinah Thorpe & the Five White Guys 12


My friends Jennifer Thorington and Samual Markus sent this cd in hopes of a review for its release. Well upon listening to the first two songs one can’t help but laugh and smilie and enjoy the irrelevant humour of Miss Thorpe, this may be her biggest strength. This quirkness is charming and funny. She is a unique blend of Laurie Anderson and Woody Guthrie, with a bit of Nilson if that is even possible, thrown in for good luck. But yet of course she has to surprise you with her Every Bit Hurts with with its soul feel. Not every track is filled with humour, songs like G20 are a political comment that is brazen and in your face.
Dinah is best when she applies her talent when singing little folky ditties or a bit of electro pop feel. To the masses this will not be that appealing but to the underground culture in the world this will be as eye opeing as O Superman was by Laurie Anderson and on Tradesmen you can hear a direct influence.
The Slits are another artist that comes to mind when I listen to the minimialist approach of Dinah Thorpe. In the late seventies with the explosion of punk and as few years later as New Wave exploded onto the world scene Dinah Thorpe would have fit right in. So every college student today should call their station and demand to hear Dinah Thorpe and the Five White Guys. For those fearless and proudly independent personalities here is a artist for your generation; That you will find yourself tapping your foot, laughing and singing along to.
When boundaries are broken the masses cannot follow because they don’t have the capacity to understand that as musicians really anything goes. There is no formula to follow and there fore they have trouble understanding that when artist basically reject the accepted norm and forge their own path this is what makes the music such a success. Dinah Thorpe has forged her own way, albeit with some outside influences from the world around her.
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Natalie Royal Savor


Natalie Royal-Savor is a CD by a young lady that has a soaring voice that is full of emotion, emotions of love, of pain, of bad decisions we all make. Bonnie & Clyde starts the CD with a bit of pop edge to it, which is easily a hit if given a chance. The next track Neon Sign is has more in common with say The Roaches or maybe Sandy Denny and of course Alison Krauss, with its a winsome and lonely feel. Neon Sign is a sure sign of maturity as the song could easily dip in to boredom by many other artist, however Natalie Royal turns it into a folk baroque sound that takes the listener on a journey of new sounds. Slow Down follows this formula showing the real power of this young lady. Her voice is crystal clear with a gently easy feeling.
The music has English Folk Rock feel with hints of Pentangle, Fotheringay or early Fairport Convention. Perhaps a bit of Emmy Lou Harris Poncho and Lefty era or again Alison Krauss. The next track Black Swan follows this style but adds a bit more rock edge to the baroque folk mix.
However Miss Royal is not a artist to follow only one formula and with track six, Regret. She proves just how dynamic she can be with a simple arrangement of string, tambourine and her soaring vocals.
The Borrowers turns the formula of folk baroque into a pop rock sound that transcends any genre and is simply a excellent musical composition. 3:12 seconds of music that should be heard by a generation.
When female singers want to measure themselves against the best singers of the time, then Natalie Royal will come to mind. Coming Clean returns to the folk sound that permeates this CD. Adult Contemporary music that is more than just fluff for the masses. Deluge has the haunting winsome and lonely sound of the Roaches with the vocals ringing into sweet harmonies of a old time feel, yet never does one really think of the music as old.
From Joni Mitchell, to Laura Nyro, The Pentangle, Fotheringay, The Roaches, The Fairport Convention that list of fine artist. Artist that are natural born musicians, singers or songwriters with real chops add this young lady to the list. Natalie Royal is a wonderful singer and songwriter pushing time down the highway without looking back.
Let’s Meet Again will fit perfect for USA Country Radio
The Borrowers is great forFM Radio, College Radio it will remind you of the vintage years but will delight with its freshness.
UK Audiences will love it as well.

Click the Pic to purchase or hear samples.

Skii Bound By History


When listening to Skii she reminds me of the elegant vocals of jazz singers in the past like Ella Fitzgerald but she mixes in a deep soul sound of the sixties and seventies as well, so her sound is not jazzy but more soulful with a r&b edge. Amy Winehouse had a similar sound on some of her songs. With tight solid arrangements and a cast of pros backing her Skii is knocking on the door of with a fine mesh of soulful songs that are powerful, all the while being sensuous and sexy drawing the listener into her web of emotion. If you listen to Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn and other such jazz singers, Skii pushes the boundaries of their styles by combining different elements into her jazz/r&b sound. Track three has more of pop feel much in the vein of Herb Alpert or Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66. Soft gentle flowing melodies that are a hail back to the by gone years of musical history. Track four is a slow ballad which is not my cup of tea. She however follows it up with RedFern a r&b rocker. Skii does fall into a groove with this track which has more in common with Stax/Volt sound that anything jazz. With solid guitar work taking the spotlight to great effect and with a solid horn arrangement backing the groove, this track will get your feet moving.
The next track, Small Talk proves to be a heartfelt r&b ballad. Somewhere in the dark recess of musical memory there seems to be a mix of George Benson guitar with Benny Johnson Visions of Paradise playing though this song. Track seven Angels is another slow ballad that really does not work on these ears.
However once again Skii proves she has plenty of ammo left with the next track, Lost on which she again proves she can handle mid and up tempo songs with excellent effect. Lost is similar to Small Talk with its r&b feel. Skii should have excellent success in the UK/European soul scene. America is like a desert for this style of music. Skii could play the tens of thousands of clubs in America and never move beyond a footnote in America. However as mentioned before fans of the UK/European soul scene can probably dig Skii and welcome her fine LP Bound By History with open arms. So if you live in America and you dig the old sounds of 60’s and 70’s soul and jazz, then here is a fine new release for your listening pleasure. Oh yea its New Classic Music For Tomorrow so turn off your oldies radio station and dig Skii and be Bound By History.
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Pristine – Detoxing


Not since the days of the early seventies have I heard a band capture the sounds of that era as if they had recorded their music during that time period. But looking at the date of 2012 assures me it is only Pristine that is taking me on a journey that shows the influence of such rock bands as Savoy Brown, Bloodrock, The Allman Brothers Band (early period) as well a host of other blues rock bands of that era. Pristine is lead by a female singer and that uniqueness is makes it double enjoyable. When Zephyr released its first LP Candy Givens was a female blues rocker that took the music to the very edge. Pristine is a blues rock band that relies on Heidi’s vocals and the warm feel of the keyboards to propel the song along for the guitarist to lead the journey back into the halcyon days of such artist as mentioned earlier. Blues rock is what Pristine Detoxing is about. Soulful. painful and gut wrenching emotion. Few bands blend this sound with modern music but Pristine not only blends the blues rock of the late sixties and early seventies but they also create a new, ready for action 2012 sound that is as tight and as powerful as any other artist of this genre. Heidi’s vocals soar and fly into the face of the listener from all different emotional points. Down and dirty, wailing and pain filled. Desperate and lonely. This is the blues rock of Pristine.
One of the most interesting points is this is a live studio recording that takes the listener through a journey of different emotional feelings without ever loosing a beat. Espen Jakobsen guitar soars and dives and through the emotion of the blues. Anders Oskal organ feels the CD with a powerful and warm soaring organ that reminds one of the days of Hammond B3 with a Leslie attachment that drove such bands as the Allman Brothers. The rhythm of Asmund Eriksson, bass guitar and Kim Karlsen, drums and percussion keep the music rock solid with their tight combination of bass and drums. Pristine is not for the feint of heart. They border on the edge of psychedelic blues rock much the way Zephyr did back in the late sixties and early seventies. Heidi’s vocals are better than Candy Givens but you can still hear a similar edge they both brought to their band. All in all Detoxing is a very good album filled with some excellent tracks as well as a female vocal doing The Allman Brothers Band Whipping Post which drips with desperation, despair, that flat out rocks. Click on the picture to buy the CD:

Brick Fields – Shambhala


Brick Fields Shambhala CD is filled with Blues and Soul as well as traces of Gospel and Americana that permeate the deep roots that flow from through the sounds of Shambhala and meshed into what is The Brick Fields Band. Positive messages, heartfelt lyrics, music that is steeped in the traditions of the south. Once again an artist uniqueness is their very appeal. If the band had been singing in the sixties you can image they would have landed on one of the great small soul labels of that era. 77 Records, Silver Fox, Today Records. Betty LaVette, Ann Sexton, Debbie Taylor fans will probably love Brick Fields. In England the Northern Soul scene will probably go crazy over Brick Fields. As will modern day soul fans of early Josh Stone.
Music transcends style when the artist is making something new out of something old. The Brick Fields Band creates a new feel from the old tried and true sound of their roots. Big Maybelle and Betty Swann comes to mind as well when I hear the Brick Fields Band. With great musicians backing her Brick soars along like a bird in the sky free to turn the melody anyway she chooses. No doubt this is a sound from the past that has been made fresh and new by a group of like minded musicians. Just listen to Good People with its Staple Singers feel and its universal positive message of love and peace. If Mavis is not a favorite of Brick it would be a surprise. Dig the groove, hear the roots, no hip, no hop, no rap, no sampling, no just real music by a real artist that delivers on track after track. A powerful CD of excellent music that never leaves one in doubt as to the great power of the Brick Fields band. Arkansas Rain, is one such example of how this band is mixing a bit of Americana into the CD. Showing how deep their artistic river flow. Brick is by far one of the most soulful artist I have heard in many years. Arkansas Rain transcends the genre one would try to put her into. However track eight the title track Shambhala truly shows the deep roots of Brick Fields with its old time country feel. Combined with her soulful vocals the songs has similar feel as the great Jimmy Cliff track Many Rivers to Cross. Excellent music is common, great music is rare. Gems of gleaming light for all of us to play over and over, the songs never getting old even forty fifty years on. This is what Brick Fields Band brings to the music world with there excellent CD Shambhala.
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Crys Matthews A Lesson Learned + The Izzle Ballads


Crys Matthews-A Lesson Learned + The Izzle Ballads

Down through the ages of music history there have been many unique singers and songwriters. That uniqueness is the appeal of the artist, the difference is the specialness that they offer to the world of music. The fact that they don’t sound like anyone else is perhaps the only reason you listen to them. Well Crys Matthews is one such artist. She is perhaps an enigma in this modern world a bit of Tracy Chapman and bit of Richie Havens, a whole lot of Crys Matthews. You can hear the rural south in her voice when she sings her lyrics about life and living down in NC. Maybe Sam Cooke is playing on the radio in the background while Crys mom or grandmother cooked diner and danced around the kitchen floor. Then Bob Dylan, Shelby Lynne and Tracy Chapman visited quite often, Maybe Dusty Springfield and Ann Peebles and Ann Sexton as well. Soul music with folk overtones. Folk-soul, that is what Crys Matthews plays. Her roots are deep and cross genres like crossing state lines, effortlessly. Crys is one artist that really does not sound like any other artist if you listen really deeply to her music. More diverse than Tracy Chapman but with equal songwriting skills. Crys has a mix of gospel, soul, folk music that brings back the days of simpleness, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, CSN & Y, Jessie Colin Young, songwriters of simple songs with great power, here again Crys hold her on with songs like Caged Bird, Have Mercy, Words of Wisdom & 96 Moons, where Crys proves she belongs.
Crys also has a short ep called The Izzle Ballads out that sounds like it was songs she wrote right after she had already finished A Lesson Learned CD. The music follows her acoustic formula with the less is best philosophy. Hold On leads off the track with roots in Folk-soul sound that she is developing without even knowing it. The beauty of Crys is she is not afraid to mix her gospel and soul with her folk and country. This would scare the hell out of many artist but Crys meshes them all into a unique and powerful display of songwriting. Crys uniqueness is endearing and her simple approach is a powerful message without over stating the obvious. You know when there was something powerful in music well Crys Matthews is one of those artist who can touch your heart and reach deeper and touch your soul. Such songs as Wailing Wall has a wonderful Sandy Denny feel it and also have the power of Melanie, Candles in the Rain. This is a wonderful, delightful, CD of music that really is something special. Oh we all know that on the radio today Crys has little chance of being played but that still is no reason not to rush out and buy an excellent CD by and excellent artist.
Crys Matthews-A Lesson Learned and Crys Matthews-The Izzle Ballads
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Sylvie Simhon Short & Sweet EP


In the early to late sixties the airways were filled with songs with a light and breezy feel to them, filling the day with positive happy sounds that made each day a bit brighter. Artist like Melanie, The Mamas & Papas, The Young Rascals, Scott McKenzie and many others as well as great songs by the likes of Goffin and King. Sylvie’s’ music has that positive sound ringing throughout her EP which makes it engaging and easy to listen to. She reminds me of the Shannon Marsyada Band with the catchy sounds on tracks like Summer Fling and Uh Oh with there pure pop edge. Sylvie is a very engaging songwriter. Not trying to write epic tracks that so many song writers tend to fall into, Sylvie is positive even when she being negative. She has a witty approach to many of her song ideas like in I Don’t Love You, which reminds listeners of Nick Lowe with its wicked sense of humor.
Dreamland is the most serious track on the CD up to this point, with a mix of swelling harmonies and a melancholy feel. Her wicked humor shows through again on the track Downhill From Seventeen. As this young lady develops as a songwriter I would truly expect she will start taking on the subject matter of adult life and her audience will grow.
Miss Simhon is a singer with plenty of room to grow with her rich voice. It appears she is a natural born songwriter who will make her mark on the world if people will take the time to listen. Though this CD is aimed at younger listeners, Folks who remember the music of the sixties will hear many things to delight their ears as well. We seem to live in a world without great melodies. We all know some of our favorite songs from the past and delight in hearing them over and over. Sylvie Simhon is a artist that fits perfectly in the ears of fans of this era. Light, airy, breezy, with wonderful flowing melodies that make you smile all though the day.
Her wonderful mix of light musical accompaniment and a sweet vocals bode well for her to take her music to a larger audience. Here is real music by a fine young singer with a real sense of melody and composition who has delivered a wonderful sweet EP of superb pop tracks. Good music is like a rare gem, If you can’t recognize it you can never find it.
Give a listen, Click the pic to buy.

CatsPark Face the Future ep


CatsPark Face the Future EP

Hailing from St. Petersburg, Russia, CatsPark is a subtle mix of pop and rock music. Never quite breaking loose they remind one of bands like Lush and especially the Cocteau Twins with their full sound that bends and twist in unexpected directions. Faijee, vocals are dreamy and airy will lending a bit (phonetic tones) to the English words that give her voice a distinct vocal sound much like Bjork. Bits of dreamy pop with a laid back feel that swells into cascades of sound that reach higher and higher. All the while taking on a harder edge much in the vein of Loop yet they always returns to the pop origins of the music. Time to Quit has hints of Sade with the smoky female vocals but quickly evolves into a psychedelic, dreamy sound.
Though few submissions come from bands from this part of the world Cat Park is by far the best that have submitted to date. Many of the artists sound dated but not so with CatsPark. A mix of electronic, psychedelic, with bits of dreamy soundscapes that work exceptionally well as they create moods that have elements of rock, jazz, psychedelic which they combine into an airy mix of subtle sounds.
Faijee is a contuse singer for a new generation, sexy, rocking, mysterious, soulful. The band is equal to the task delivering on each track without over reaching or creating an overblown sound.
CatsPark is a fine new band from a part of the world that is not known for great bands but that has all changed. There is a subtle pleasure in listening to CatsPark that the Cocteau Twins also created with their majestic lp Treasure. CatsPark is not copying, no they are reinventing and with wonderful warm and fuzzy affect.

Click the pick to purchase their cd.

Read the CatsPark Interview:

1. How many members are there in CatsPark and how long have you been together?

Now Cats Park has five people, we’ve been together as such since spring 2012.

3. When did you first start playing or singing music?

Alex: I started playing music when was 6, piano then other different musical instruments. And now for two years I’ve been with Faijee.

4. What are your earliest memories of music?

Faijee: When I was six, I remember a rythmic lesson at musical school, Tchaikovsky’s Neapolitan Dance…

5. Were you influenced by bands outside of Russia growing up? Which bands did you like the most?

Alex: We were growing up when Russia already became an open country so we had access to the most foreign music. Personally I was less interesterd in music produced in our country. Speaking about favourite bands, there are loads of them, they are all famous so I won’t reveal anything by naming them.

6. I hear elements of different styles of music combined into the CatsPark music. What are your musical influences?

Faijee: Jazz has influenced me a lot, it’s still the main musical basis for me and at the same time I was having an affair with rock. But style of music is something I am least interested in – mood of music that is what attracts me most of all.

7. In the late 80’s or early 90’s Paul McCartney released in Russia only (at that time) an album called Back in the USSR did you hear or listen to that lp and was it an influence on your music.

Alex:I am a big fan of Paul McCartney’s work and of course I ‘ve listened to this LP. Regarding the influence on our work… I don’t think it influenced it. Anyway his other albums have stuck in my memory more.

8. Your social background is so different to that of other artists we have spoken to. can you give us a bit of background of growing up in Russia and howyour music influenced your daily lives?

Faijee: When I was young my parents sent me to a musical school, which I am really grateful for. Eight years of playing chello and studying classics taught me feel nuances not only in music but in everyday life as well.

9. Do you think you will ever tour outside of Russia?

Alex:Unfortunately music sang in English by Russian goups is not very popular in Russia, so we don’t have much choice. Of course we will come to you!

10. When listening to your music it reminded of the Cocteau Twins and Sade have either of these artist influenced your music?

Faijee: It’s not the first time we’ve been compared with Coctaeau Twins. Frankly speaking I am not familiar with their music but definitely will listen to them. I’ve always liked Sade, I respect her both as a personality and as a musician.

12. What are the plans for CatsPark in the near future?

Very different plans.We are preparing for the recording of a studio album,carrying out ideas for our new video… now we are working on some of our material from last summer. Our main ambition is not to halt in our creative development.

13. Tell us a little about yourselves and what you do outside of music?

We sleep, eat, drink, walk, dream… the rest is music. It happens that all we do outside CatsPark is connected only with music. We must be lucky people!

14. From our perception in the USA, contemporary music coming out of Russia seems to be about twenty years behind the times if not more. Is that simply because in the USA we are not getting exposed to the best music coming out of Russia such as CatsPark or is it a reality you face daily living in Russia?

Faijee: There are many groups in Russia which may be intersting to foreign listeners. Unfortunately the reality is that such groups will never become popular in their own country as show business in Russia is far too close to corruption and creativity will never win over money in this case.

15. Who did you listen to growing up? Who are you listening to now?

Alex:I have listened to classics of rock for a long time and still keep discovering more and more new things in it. Then jazz and different ‘jazzy’ music with all its virtuosos, a bit of classics. Now I am interested in everything that is connected to the notion of ‘musicality’. Style is not important, perfoming can be not of a high standard, the main thing is magic.

16. Is there anything you would like to share with our audience?

We sincerely want to share our music with you. All we do comes from our hearts and if you’ve found a piece of yourself in our music – you can say we have become good friends.
Best Regards,
Cats Park