Crys Matthews A Lesson Learned + The Izzle Ballads

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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
Click the Pic to BUY.

Sylvie Simhon Short & Sweet EP

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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

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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

Tini Grey-Shades of Grey

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Starting with track one, Turn Around you can hear the individuality of Tini Grey who has come into his own with this release Shades of Grey. Track two, Home Again, has a fun style that was popular many years ago. A bit of rock and soul music mix that soars and reminds one of music from many years ago. The third track Hold On delivers with its soulful vocals and harmonies. Tini Grey has a more soulful sound than most male artists heard today. It’s seems that he has listened to many soul records from the sixties and seventies and does an excellent job of creating a new sound that reminds one of the glory days gone by but yet soars to new heights with his rock solid groove and passionate vocals and excellent songwriting. Tini Grey is the most real soulful male vocalist heard in many years. Hold On gets your feet moving and urges your body to get up and move, much like the Style Council’s, My Ever Changing Moods and their great tribute to soul music.
Record Player is track five and its starts out with a slow bluesy acoustic guitar, with lyrics that ooze the soulful sounds of his vocals and push the song to its limit.
I Feel Lucky is a new classic track that really reminds one of songs like My Pledge of Love by the Joe Jeffery Group from 1969. Tini captures these old grooves and makes them sound brand new for audiences who most likely have never listened to the roots of soul music. With a bit of Tyrone Davis, some Bill Withers and some Gamble Huff style song writing, Tini makes music that is rich in history but not stuck in the past. Check out Just Smile, you can feel its groove taking you away. This is positive music, music that makes your smile, you might sing along, but you will want to get up and groove to the positive sounds of Just Smile
The track is smooth without being slick delivering heartfelt vocal which is not over processed so the truth and soul of the singer comes through. Record labels always seem to over process music these days. But Tini Gray has produced a solid rock and soul cd that offers plenty of soul with real emotions and honest music oozing from the grooves of the cd. Music is a magical thing and Tini Grey has captured one of the most magical music releases heard by a male singer in many years.
Weatherman lends its self to a more pop jazz sound which although well done, simply does not have the soulful sound of some other tracks but does show his versatility style, though this track has more in common with artist like Harry Connick, Jr. than soul artist of the sixties.
This is artist will bring smiles to the faces of many people who like the older styles and always say there is no good music anymore. Well here it is don’t waste any more time, don’t debate it, this is the real thing, go buy it today.
This is the best male vocal album of 2012 hands down. Not because Tini is the greatest singer but because he captures the soul of each song. Forget the Grammy awards, this is the real music you have all been missing.
Click the pic to buy the cd:

Mobile Apps Grassroots Marketing Tool for Musicians

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This blog has written about quite a few bands and a few other things, mobile apps to be specific. With each passing moment people find less value in music today than at any other time in my life. Gone are the days of flipping through albums to find new music to listen to. Now there are too many choices to be had. This goes back to the very reason I started this blog in the first place. With so many choices in music the general public does not have the time to find new music to listen to. Oh they hear what the radio plays but since most of the best music is never played on the radio. With the loss of value that was once placed on music now artist make more out of T-Shirt sales than cd sales and for indie artist, (which most are) that is especially true.
So the problems arise with so many artists to choose from, from so many sources to find music via the internet how does the public decide if they like something. Well believe it or night being told something is good by someone is a very powerful tool. If it comes from friends or acquaintances from work people tend to trust those opinions. Also music reviews are a very powerful tool for artist to promote their music. With over three hundred submissions for a review only twenty five or less is chosen for review by New Classic Music For Tomorrow, because there are too many artist who can’t meet the level of professionalism or they simply don’t appeal on a gut level.
How do mobile apps play into the every changing music scene? I asked the question a few weeks ago, do you think mobile apps will replace cds and mp3’s. Well the simple truth is they should. Web sites are great for hosting your music and making sales from places you might not have thought about. But now with smartphones and QR code technology you can add a mobile twist to the whole picture and though not free. They are much more effective at driving traffic and making sales than web sites with millions of bands to choose from. It’s simply too many bands for the average consumer to even consider searching anything below the top five pages since there is probably already more than enough music for them to listen to for six months at least on those top five pages.
Mobile apps are very important for indie bands future. I am convinced that independent bands can make a living using their own customized mobile app to promote, marketing and book their band. Assuming you are a working band and not just playing out once or twice a month. In essence the mobile app becomes your record label, your promoter, booking agent, PR, marketing and sales company all wrapped up into one bundle on your bands customized mobile app.
Seems cheaper than printing cds and covers, seems cheaper than paying internet sites to maintain fan signup list, seems cheaper than paying sites to sale your music, seems cheaper than printing flyers for shows and there is more. It also allows artist to market directly to opt in consumers who want to interact with artist and even companies. They want the latest news from their favorite band as soon as they can get it. When a band has a mobile app the information is sent directly to the fan who will have no need to log in, no need to remember as password, no they only need to opt in and download the app to their phones’ home page and they will receive all the latest news as soon as the artist either text blast it or simply updates the app itself.
From this point of view the mobile app simply becomes the new cd or mp3 from the band that has so much more for the fans to enjoy from the band, personal interaction, instant feedback what more could any band want. With fans basically carrying around your release on their phones they can share instantly with friends anywhere in the world. Fans become the word of might promotion with your app in hand building your network from a grass roots level. With so many millions of artist to choose from fans who are told how good you are by a friend and then they friend sends your app, this is a powerful word of mouth marketing that cuts through all the thousands of artist on web sites and in different web site charts and goes straight to potential fans mobile device.

Are phone apps going to repace cds and other mediums

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Writing about artist is something I do for fun and to help artist get their music reviewed. I recently got involved with phone apps and being a long time vinyl record collector and CDs I feel a new trend is taking place in the music industry. With artist selling fewer and fewer hard copies of their music and more and more revenue is being generated by t-shirts and other merchandise sales and less and less by actual music sales. The ideal that a phone app could be the new music medium, focused more on the distributing the phone app for free with the music included and pushing for the sale of more merchandise to the artist fans, seems like a likely scenario to change the landscape of the music industry.

Music has lost its power of influence over the buying public. People use to hang on a new artist release and buy the album as soon as they could get a copy. Now even top artist like Lady Gaga who has sold millions copies but with the price reduced to $0.99 for downloads and most sales coming via downloads there is a paradigm shift taking place in the music industry that many have not grasped. Music has lost is value with the buying public.

Working with Stage Band Network and ShowBiz Apps has been an enlightening experience from not only a artist point of view, also from a music consumer point of view.
Why would people pay for music when they can get the app for free with all the music included and with the right app the artist can update the music or pics, videos, show dates at any time.
You can add merchandise when it becomes available. Unlike a vinyl lp or cd that cannot be changed the mobile phone app becomes and ever changing release.

The opt in format of mobile apps leaves the fan in charge, however it provides the artist with a great tool for marketing to the fans who want to receive marketing through this direct pipeline of exchange. More importantly fans want this kind of interaction with artist.

There are many options to choose from when it comes to mobile marketing and I would recommend that every artist who’s target audience is under thirty five look into getting a mobile app for your act. If you are a working band it is one of the most effective ways to market to your target audience.

There are a few things to consider. Price, you can get a mobile app for the price of a show. If you are a 5 piece band playing for $75 dollars a show each one show will pay for a mobile app. The ability to edit the app is also a major factor in buying an app. Many of the companies offering apps only allow content changes through the company, some even limit the changes, some even charge for the updates. There is no need for any of that. Many offer text blasting and that is very important to get unlimited text blasting. Or at least a very low rate for text blasting.

With the major shift in the music industry taking place over the last 10 years or so artist must now decide for themselves the best way to promote their career and with mobile marketing you are making the right decision.

Feedback would be greatly appreciated on this topic.

Karen Collins and the Backroads Band-No Yodeling On the Radio

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Karen Collins & the Backroads Band-No Yodeling on the Radio

When this cd started playing and the vocalist started singing it was a sound that brought back memories of artist from many years ago. With a voice that would have fit perfectly in the 50’s and 60’s era of country music. Karen Collins has a lot in common with artist like Loretta Lynn and specially Rose Maddox. With the sort of comic yodeling that is engaging and reminds one of artist from the days gone by. You can tell this lady loved Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and probably both the Loretta and Rose. Here voice is a quirky mix of country charm and offbeat humor. A bit of Minnie Pearl echoes in the air when Karen sings. The song No Yodeling on the Radio is a pure delight. With a modern twist on the lyrics, with the vocals winding down the road of country music history, Karen Collins is an enigma in the music scene.
If you grew up on Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, Rose Maddox and other such greats from country music then Karen Collins and the Backroads Band a wonderful modern take on an old style. There is some fine picking on this cd by band members Ira Gitlin and Geff King. The bands plays rock solid grooves though out the cd rocking when they need to and playing it nice and easy when it’s called for.
That There Boogie is a jaunt into the rockabilly boogie sound with excellent effect. Too Much Me, Not Enough You could easily have been recorded by Loretta and is an example of how Karen uses the throwback sound to excellent effect. Mama’s In A Honky Tonk Downtown is another track that could easily be a classic country track. Though I think it would have worked better with Karen doing the vocals.
Parallel Lines is an acoustic Americana style song that has nice duet by Karen and Geff King.
Salvation Saloon follows in the foot steps of classic country music and if you are a fan of the artist mentioned then you should enjoy this cd for years to come.
Click the pic to purchase.