Posts tagged with "folk music"

Elena Brody "Rock Steady" image via Jon Bleicher for use by 360 Magazine

Elana Brody Q×A

By: Emily Bunn

Celebrating the beauty of human experience and the universality of dance, Elana Brody enchants fans with her exhilarating dance-pop music. Her most recent single, “Rock Steady,” showcases the singer’s joyous choreography and passionate songwriting ability. The “Rock Steady” music video can be viewed HERE. The bold, emotional ballad was produced by Max Martin protégé, Dominic Fallacaro. Brody spoke with 360 Magazine about the spirituality that courses through her songs, her music production process, and upcoming releases.

Your recent material was written during the pandemic. How did you manage to find inspiration during lockdown?

As a songwriter, lockdown – with all its grief and deep, life-changing themes- was a very fertile time for me. For one, I retreated from NYC to my childhood homestead in Virginia – in one of the most remote places East of the Mississippi. While there in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, with the music world at a stand-still, I found myself with very little to do but be in nature and play music. My then-partner had come with me, and we spent much of our time playing music together. I also felt called to offer musical prayer services online for those who needed inspiration and connection to Spirit. Because of this, I began by writing new prayer music – which felt right for the time. But, after my partner decided to split with me, as you can imagine – the folk songs started pouring out. This break-up, combined with being my original creative habitat, the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter uprising, the political election-year insanity, and a life far from community, took me the deepest I’ve been in my writing for a long time – especially as a lyricist. I think some of the lyrics you will hear on my upcoming EP are possibly my best yet.

What does your songwriting process look like?

It depends on the song. Sometimes snippets of lyrics, with a bit of their melody, come first. Sometimes a really awesome piano hook comes first. Over the last many years, I have found my songwriting process to be mostly a long-winded jam session where I sing out my heart for hours, creating spontaneous free-style lyrics. Many of those lyrics disappear forever, but at least a few of them make the cut! Once I get a sense of the general narrative of the song, I think about phrases that will help move the story along, and then build new lyrics around the original “spontaneous-gems” to flesh it out. Over the pandemic, lyrics were everything – and I found myself caring more about them than the music. The music could have been 3 chords, and I’d be totally okay with that, as long as the lyrics were telling the story. But, in other phases of my life as a writer, I would basically compose a piano concerto! And then, lyrics come in afterwards. I love and live music. And honestly, I don’t have to work hard to have music flow through me. I have found the best music and lyrics that I have written, have written themselves. It’s actually that simple. “Rock Steady” was a bit like that.

Are you still looking to release your EP eventually, or have you decided to shelve it in favor of tracks like “Rock Steady”?

Yes, to the EP! If all works out with piecing it together (because it was recorded in many different settings over the pandemic) then I would really like to release it in the late fall. But! Because “Rock Steady” is such a banger and I want to make more songs like that, I decided to quickly write and record a new song called “Quicksand,” which is another pop-influenced song, to release as a follow up – before I transition into my folk music.

Why did you choose Costa Rica as the location for the “Rock Steady” music video?

It chose me! My friend lives there and she invited me to come out to visit. I said I would, but under the one condition – that we film a music video! She is a great networker and knows so many people to reach out to and work with. She also happens to be an ecstatic dance facilitator and DJ and was planning a dance on the weekend of my visit. So, naturally, we organized to film the dance party at an already scheduled and high-vibe (to use a very Costa Rican term) dance party! It couldn’t have been more perfect. We also did all our beach filming at a beach called Roca Beach – aka Rock (Steady) beach!

How does your spirituality factor into the way you create music?

Once, after I auditioned for the first season of USA’s XFactor, I left the stage (a story for another time!) and was interviewed by a faceless producer speaking to me from behind a black curtain. This producer asked me, “When you sing, it seems as if you are connecting to some higher power. Is this true for you? And what is that higher power?” At the time, I wouldn’t have considered myself a prayer-leader or religious at all, but I knew the answer to that right away. I said, “Yes. God.”

God can bring up a lot for people. And for me too. Growing up in rural Virginia, the idea of “God” sometimes felt like some kind of angry, repressive, overpowering righteousness. But – in my family – and in my own experience – God was gentler than that. The spirit between things. As a youth, I was surrounded by the most beautiful, untouched nature – and witness to the seasons in their full force. With below-zero cold and windy winters, slow-to-pop springs, abundant green summers with my folks’ organic gardens in full bloom, and then the rainbows of colorful Appalachian autumns – I knew what Spirit had to offer us humans. And music had always been my human way to offer Spirit back to Spirit, if that makes sense. It’s a giving and receiving from the big, wild wonders of creation, and then music is my way to return it back. Now that I have dived into my Jewish roots, and studied the traditions, I would say that song is the modern equivalent of sending burnt offerings up to the Creator. Instead of smoke, we let our voices rise. And I don’t see prayer music and pop music as all that different. Different themes, different stories, but ultimately, what we sing or speak is all prayer. And, especially now that I am very involved in prayer-leadership, as I create more songs, I do think about that in my writing.

What do you anticipate the reaction to “Rock Steady” will be like?

A fun one! Hopefully one that makes people dance and dance some more! Because I haven’t released much of my other music yet on the bigger platforms, most people won’t know the difference. Like, how did that happen? All of a sudden, I’m a pop star! The truth is, I’ve always been a pop star. Christina Aguilera and Celine Dion were my first vocal idols, and all of the first music I ever wrote sounded like it could have been in a Disney Channel original movie. Anyhow, I had this thought that I should go about my career in the opposite way of other folk artists, a la Jewel circa “Intuition,” and drop in with the fun and danceable stuff first. I don’t see myself ever being too genre-confined, anyway. Life is too short not to write whatever you feel and whatever is coming through you! I did think, “oh, maybe I should sell this song to Rhianna or another artist who could do it amazingly.” But honestly, this route of self-producing is very fun, and maybe even better. Now I get to be heard singing like a pop star too!

What other artists, musicians, or bands serve as inspirations for your music?

It’s a long list…

Joni Mitchell is my in-utero and post-utero,songwriting teacher. I used to call her my piano teacher, because I learned to play by playing so many of her songs. Several other musicians of my parents’ 60s/70s era also come in close as primary inspirations – including Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Carole King, and the Beatles. They have shaped what a well-written song could be for me.

It’s hard to decipher what is an influence now because it’s just one big, long-cooked stew or spicy mole at this point.

I have always liked lyric-forward music, with bands like Of Montreal (his candidness in writing was life-changing for me!) and Death Cab for Cutie (the simple metaphors and speaking-style of his writing) and the Decemberists (storytelling, bard-like songs.) And the orchestral and lyrical artistry of the Fleet Foxes is stellar.

I have also always liked some good classic, chunky, Rock’n’roll and music that gets ya’ dancing, like Led Zeppelin and CCR. And the blues, especially blues piano music, has played a role in my music education since early childhood.

Then, there’s the eternal list of female influences. My most listened to, other than Joni, from the beginning are Ani DiFranco and Sarah McLachlan. Then: Jesca Hoop, My Brightest Diamond, Regina Spektor and Kate Bush. And now: artists like Gillian Welch, Brandi Carlile, Sylvan Esso, and Sarah Jarosz have taken up a lot of my listening time. Sarah Jarosz’s album World on the Ground was really powerful to listen to last year during the pandemic. I hope that I can achieve that level of presence and intelligence in the instrumentation when I go to make my full-length album next year!

I also derive a LOT of influence from pop music. I can’t help it. I definitely fell in love with Ariana Grande’s album positions this year, and right now I am going down a Dua Lipa rabbit hole. I would say Rhianna is my number one, though. And I finally fell in love with Lady Gaga after seeing A Star is Born and listening to Joanne. Her belt has inspired me a lot. And I love vocalists in general. I have spent a lot of time really listening to vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand. These days, Elvis is my number one!

I will also never not want to listen to albums of bands like Nickel Creek, the [Dixie] Chicks, Bela Fleck, Mandolin Orange/Watchhouse, or the band Solas, to bring me the feeling of my early mountain roots and make me feel good.

I am truly a world music fan. I love to listen to the magic of music across the world. I am really inspired to hear virtuosity, no matter what genre. I love vocal virtuosos and am listening right now to the artist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I am curious as to when I’ll be able to imitate him. (I’m really good at imitating!) Bobby McFerrin has also been a teacher in real life. He inspires me to become more accurate in my improvisations.

I also listen to prayer music, but mostly of the Sikh or Kundalini yoga genre. Sometimes you’ll find me jamming out to Jewish artists (many of them friends of mine) or Gospel music. Anita Wilson, a modern gospel singer, has been a vocal inspiration for me because she really sings with the lows of her range.

Musical theater music is also a major influence. That Roger and Hammerstein stuff pours out of me like it were an extension of my soul! Lastly, at this point, after spending time at Berklee College of Music, I have been greatly inspired by jazz and R&B.

Besides “Rock Steady” and the EP, can fans look forward to any other releases to come in 2021-2022?

Yes! I mentioned that I am wanting to get cracking on my full-length album that will be mostly in the Americana, New Orleans blues, Rock-and-Roll, and folk pop styles. I am really, really excited about it. But I’m not sure yet who I will work with on it. An exciting unknown. I imagine it will end up feeling like a magnum opus when it is finished because I’ve been with these songs for so long. Nothing will be more amazing than when they are out in the world surrounded by strings, the right instrumentation and arrangements. I also would like to produce my song “City of Man” in a big vaudevillian, brassy style. [I want to] make a little music-video theater piece out of it. I have also been sitting on this one for a long time. It sort of harkens to the fall of capitalism…that is going on in our world and the post-Trump era– it’s due time that I get that one out. Look out for it all!

image from Joshua Hammond photo by Caity Krone for use by 360 Magazine

TROUSDALE — “THIS IS IT”

Single Out Now via Independent, click HERE to Listen

“Trousdale blends elements of Americana with sleek pop” – CMT

Fast-rising indie-folk trio Trousdale have released the music video for their latest single, “This Is It,” which urges listeners to stop, take a breath and recognize happiness in the moment. You can click HERE to watch the Nina Kramer directed and produced video, and you can click HERE to check out CMT’s premiere of the video, where Trousdale discusses the motivation behind an all-female crew for the shoot.

Their desire to empower young women and spread a universal message of love and self-acceptance can be found rooted in both the message and the video for “This Is It.”

Capturing the friendship behind Trousdale, the music video “shows our goofy, fun-loving side. It is somewhat of the antithesis of our last EP, Look Around. We’ve previously released songs that focus on heartbreak and loss. Alternatively, this song was born out of a genuinely fun night drinking and laughing at our favorite bar. With the song and video, we aim to highlight the importance of savoring the simple joys in life, because they so often go unnoticed.”

The infectious optimism and enthusiasm of “This Is It” has resonated with both media and fans. Spotify and Apple championed the single with adds to multiple key playlists including Fresh Finds County, Next Gen Singer-Songwriters, and Country Risers while indie mainstay Consequence featured the friendship anthem in their weekly New Sounds round up and The Honey Pop proclaimed “‘This Is It’ is magical and we had to stan.”

Blending unflinching vocals and raw, transparent storytelling that mirrors their real-world vitality, Trousdale has developed a devoted and engaged community on TikTok and other corners of the internet with “This Is It” mirroring the success of their previous releases. Their fanbase, along with supporters like the Jonas Brothers, Dan and Shay, John Mayer, Jensen McRae and Betty Who, have propelled the trio’s self-produced single “Wouldn’t Come Back” to over 2 million streams and their cover of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys to over 1 million streams.

Trousdale has garnered comparisons to Kacey Musgraves, The Chicks and HAIM, and prompted A1234 to compare their passionate lyrics and evocative storytelling to icons like Taylor Swift and her latest critically acclaimed albums Folklore and Evermore. Additionally, their singles “Better Off” and “Happy Anymore” along with “Wouldn’t Come Back” from their debut EP Look Around led to The Radar Station naming them the #1 Emerging Global Roots Artist and the #7 Emerging Global Artist, while landing on some of Apple Music and Spotify’s top Americana, Folk, Singer-Songwriter and Mood playlists including Roots Rising, Women of Folk, and Infinite Indie Folk.

image from Amy Fennie for use by 360 Magazine

BRETT DENNEN — SEE THE WORLD

Today, acclaimed folk-pop singer/songwriter Brett Dennen releases his new album See the World available everywhere now via Mick Music. The album features 10 songs including new single “Paul Newman Daytona Rolex” and the title track, which is currently in the Top 10 at AAA and growing. It is Dennen’s fifth song to do so. Click HERE to buy/stream the album. Click HERE to watch the official lyric video for “Paul Newman Daytona Rolex.”

See the World is a blend of experiences and sometimes seeming contradictions, much like Dennen himself. Peppered in equal parts with shrewd quips and vulnerable admissions, the album is ultimately an exploration of life’s deepest meaning and a call to get out and explore. It is Dennen’s first full length studio album release on Mick Mgmt’s (Leon Bridges, Maggie Rogers, Ray Lamontagne) new frontline label, Mick Music, distributed by DashGo. 

On the inspiration behind the album, Dennen shares,

“See the World is about making a choice to experience life and take a stand for things you believe in. We’ve all gone through the pandemic and evaluated our lives; there’s an opportunity now for all of us to take risks, to follow our dreams and intuitions. It’s time to see the commonalities between us. It’s time to take care of the planet as well as each other. We need to make choices about what is meaningful and what is not. All of the songs point back to these things. I hope it inspires people to live well and do good things with their lives.”

On the new lead single, “Paul Newman Daytona Rolex,” Dennen dives into his signature witticisms and sings of a sentimental attachment to a rare watch he owns. The song touches on what we value as humans ourselves with Dennen sharing, “the things you can’t put a price on should be the things you value the most…to me it’s all about self-worth and peace of mind. It’s a funky-catchy little tune that makes me feel good when I sing it.”

Dennen is currently headlining a US summer tour in support of the new album—see upcoming dates HERE and below. He will also take the stage this year at festivals across the country including BeachLife Festival, Ferdinand Folk Festival and Moon Crush.

Tour Dates:

7/30 Wall Township, NJ Daydream Farm

7/31 New York, NY City Winery @ Pier 57

8/1 Belle Vernon, PA Vinoski Winery

8/4 Highland Park, IL Ravina Festival

8/5 Ann Arbor, MI Sonic Lunch

8/6 Cinicinnati, OH Summer Music Series on Fountain Square

8/7 Columbus, OH Woodlands Tavern

8/8 Cleveland, OH Music Box Supper Club

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Ray LaMontagne

Ray LaMontagne – MONOVISION

Grammy Award winning artist Ray LaMontagne releases his eighth studio album MONOVISION today via RCA Records. The 10-track album sees Ray not only writing and producing the album once again but also includes added duties of engineering as well as performing all the instruments for the tracks. Already receiving praise from the critics, The Associated Press called the album, “stunningly refreshing,” while No Depression said MONOVISION is “one that best represents his artistic core,” and American Songwriter states, “Both LaMontagne’s craftsmanship in the composition of these songs and his easygoing, unaccompanied playing will come as comfort food to established followers who should welcome this most organic return to his roots.”  Internationally, MOJO’s 4 star review claimed MONOVISION is “further proof LaMontagne is among the finest singers of his generation” while Uncut Magazine gave the album 7 out of 10 rating.

Strong Enough ” is currently soaring up the AAA chart having already closed the panel. The track is the #1 greatest gainer at the format and just about to reach the Top 10. Ray LaMontagne has released 8 studio albums, 6 of which have reached Top 10 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart and Billboard’s Digital Albums chart.  Additionally, his 2010 album God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise won the Grammy for Best Folk Album and was nominated in the coveted Song of The Year category for “Beg Steal or Borrow.” Each release from his catalogue over the last 16 years carries its own character and feel. Having worked with producers Ethan Johns, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Ray’s vast sonic catalogue has been called everything from “a perfect throwback to the lost art of the album-length format,” from Entertainment Weekly to “epic and magical,” from Rolling Stone and “gorgeous and ambitious,” from Esquire.  NPR’s All Things Considered said that Ray throughout the course of his career “has continued to push himself in different directions,” while People called Ray a “marvel of nature.”

Follow Ray LaMonatgne: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

The Avett Brothers × The Tonight Show

THE AVETT BROTHERS TO PERFORM ON THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON TONIGHT

Tune in tonight as The Avett Brothers share a special performance for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: At Home Edition pre-recorded from their home in North Carolina. Don’t miss the performance airing tonight at 11:35 pm EST on NBC where the band is asking viewers to donate to DirectRelief.org . In the U.S., Direct Relief is delivering protective masks – along with exam gloves, isolation gowns, and other protective gear to healthcare organizations across the country.

About The Avett Brothers:
The Avett Brothers​ made mainstream waves with their 2009 major-label debut, ​I and Love and You​, landing at No. 16 on the ​Billboard​ Top 200 and garnering critical acclaim. 2012 saw ​The Carpenter​ hit No. 4 on the ​Billboard ​Top 200 and was followed by ​Magpie and the Dandelion (2013) which debuted at No. 5 on ​Billboard’s ​Top 200 and saw the band appear twice on ​Jimmy Kimmel Live! True Sadness​ (2016) achieved The Avett Brothers’ highest career debut to date hitting No. 1 on ​Billboard’s​ Top Albums Chart, No. 1 Top Rock Albums Chart, No. 1 Digital Albums Chart, No. 3 on ​Billboard​ Top 200, and scoring two GRAMMY​®​nominations. In the same year, the band was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. In 2017, the band released their critically acclaimed documentary ​May It Last: A Portrait of The Avett Brothers​, which was co-directed by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio. The film followed the band as they wrote their GRAMMY​®​ nominated album ​True Sadness​. The film was released theatrically and on HBO to rave reviews and critical acclaim and is now available on DVD/Blu-ray/VOD. In November 2018, the band headlined the Concert for Hurricane Florence Relief in Greenville, North Carolina, raising $325,000 to help those affected by Hurricane Florence. Last year, the band released their tenth studio album ​Closer Than Together​ featuring new single “High Steppin’” which reached #1 on the Americana Radio Chart. Coming soon: Swept Away – a new musical inspired by and featuring the music of The Avett Brothers – will have its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

BEN HOWARD NORTH AMERICAN TOUR

Following his sold out U.K. European tour, Ben Howard will return stateside confirming a run of headlining North American dates this fall. The tour kicks off on September 20 and includes stops at legendary venues such as Berkeley’s Greek Theatre, Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Los Angeles’  Shrine Auditorium, New York’s  Hammerstein Ballroom, Montreal’s Bell Centre as well as DC’s new venue Anthem. Fans can pre-order Howard’s highly anticipated new album, Noonday Dream, via his official store here to gain exclusive pre-sale access to the North American tour. Alternatively, artist pre-sale begins on Monday, April 30 at 10 A.M. local time and general on-sale begins on Friday, May 4 at 10 A.M. local time. See below for complete tour details.

BEN HOWARD LIVE
May 27—Lisbon, Portugal—Coliseu dos Recreios
May 28—Porto, Portugal—Teatro Sa Da Barderia
May 29—San Sebastián, Spain—Teatro Victoria Eugenia
June 1—Cologne, Germany—E-Wek
June 3—Oslo, Norway—Sentrum Scene
June 4—Stockholm, Sweden—Cirkus 
June 6—Berlin, Germany— Admiralpalast
June 8—Warsaw, Poland—Stodola 
June 9—Prague, Czech Republic—Divadlo Archa
June 11—Paris, France—Salle Pleyel
June 13-14—London, UK—Hammersmith Apollo
June 28— Edinburgh, IL—Playhouse
June 29—Manchester, UK—Albert Hall
June 30—Cornwall, UK—The Eden Sessions
July 3—Lyon, France—Theatres Romains de Fouviere
July 4— Gardone Riviera, Italy—Anfiteatro del Vittoriale
July 6—Wertcher, Belgium— Rock Wertcher
July 7—Amsterdam, Netherlands— AFAS
July 8—Luxembourg, Germany—Rockhal
July 13—Madrid, Spain—Mad Cool Festival
July 14—Barcelona, Spain—Cruilla Festival
July 22—Byron Bay, Australia—Splendour In The Grass
September 1—Stradbally, Ireland—Electric Picnic
September 8-9—Berlin, Germany—Lollapalooza Berlin
September 20—Burnaby, BC—Deer Lake Park
September 21—Seattle, WA—Paramount Theatre
September 22—Troutdale, OR—Edgefield
September 26—San Diego, CA— Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
September 27—Los Angeles, CA—Shrine Auditorium
September 28—Berkeley, CA—Greek Theatre
October 1—Morrison, CO—Red Rocks Amphitheatre
October 2—Kansas City, MO—Uptown Theater
October 3—Chicago, IL—Aragon Ballroom
October 5—Toronto, ON—Budweiser Stage
October 6—Montreal, QC—Bell Centre
October 7—Boston, MA—Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
October 9—Philadelphia, PA—The Fillmore
October 11—Washington, DC—Anthem
October 12—New York, NY—Hammerstein Ballroom
Bold—Sold Out