FIVE FLYING UNDER THE RADAR - 09-02-14

Like every family as they grow, we ran out of room for music. The Record Rack section was meant to take care of the incoming music. Diversity is great, and we love hosting a format that represents Americana, Folk, Blues, Bluegrass, Classic Country, Soul, and other forms of American Roots music. It does, however, create a bit of a music jam.  Five Flying Under the Radar continues both the Record Rack and the Under the Radar section to bring more independent artists to your eyes and ears; words above and music below.

Eileen Rose   (from the album Be Many More) - Eileen Rose garnered praise for previous releases from press. The kudos were appreciated yet the lesson that she took away was that to keep ahead of the congratulations, a songwriter needed to constantly educate themselves in their art. Her learning came from taking a residency at Robert’s Western Wear in Nashville, performing four and five hour sets of country music selected from the Country music tower of song. Eileen explained that ‘it is like boot camp. We’re playing songs from some of the greatest songwriters in the history of country music. I’m honing my skills by playing and singing songs by Willie, Patsy Cline, Kris Kristofferson, Gene Watson, Shel Silverstein and Merle Haggard. I live with these folks every single day. You can’t help from learning from them. This is like graduate school for musicians.’ Eileen makes head of the class for her final paper on Be Many Gone. The fiddle of Billy Contreras (solo, The Black Lillies) flies around Eileen Rose as she passes a message to the king that she is ‘singing the blues for the new “Queen of the Fake Smile”’. Drums thunder, lighting the darkness of “Space You Needed”, hushed confessions dry off from the rising heat of the plea in “Comfort Me” and Buddy Spicher’s siren fiddle calls a final voyage to shore, as the captain gives up the wheel with tough tears in “She’s Yours”.

Listen and buy the music of Eileen Rose from AMAZON or iTunes

Blind Willies   (from the album EveryDay is Judgment Day) - Alexei Wajchman holds the heart of Blind Willies in his hands. The band formed as a duo at San Francisco’s High School of the Arts where American Folk traditionals and Alexei’s original tunes served as a set for the group. The band made their professional debut in Golden Gate Park at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, delivering two albums that brought them to Every Day is Judgment Day, the band’s recent release. Alexei searched for a larger screen to play out the songs in his head, and incorporated diverse instrumentation with a full band of experienced young musicians playing a cross-section of styles. The beat on “Break Free” is a second line cousin building a foundation for hard-edged guitar chops and horn blasts, “The Possible World” gently floats over a freckled patch of notes and “Prey” climbs a heavenly ladder in the story line, drawn upward by hushed strings and hurried guitar notes. Every Day is Judgment Day defines itself in the liner notes as ‘this album is all about freedom, over whatever the opposite of freedom is within ourselves and our relationships with others.’

Listen and buy the music of Blind Willies from AMAZON or iTunes

Nick Tann    (from the album 3AM) - The music of Nick Tann is tricky. He is a singer/songwriter, a good one, and he can draw you in immediately with an audio whisper in your ear. When he talks to the wall at “3AM”, the title track to his most recent release, your can feel the worry, the angst and anger, as if you were sitting on the edge of the bed with him, the only sound in the room the clocking ticking and the rain on the window. The tricky part is the way Nick wraps the power and pull of his voice with influence textures. He touches the songs with jazz in percussion, bass lines and chopped chord patterns (“Can't Stop Missing You”), folk through its use of acoustic accents (“Parallel Lines”) and hints of country in its high rolling harmonica riffs and rode hard guitar chords (“Never Did Me Harm”). File the vocals of Nick Tann under soul and you get an idea of 3AM.

Listen and buy the music of Nick Tann from AMAZON or iTunes

Walking Spanish   (from the album Phoenix Down) - The Roots found in the music of Walking Spanish struts confidently onto their recent release, Phoenix Down, fronted with a rock swagger. The hard-edged stance and spit of lyrics gets rolled around in guitar bends and confident beats on the album. Using that model as a template, Walking Spanish draw a line and raise the bar on Phoenix Down as “Born Getaways (Diamonds in Disguise)” stomps onto the album. The title track shuffles lightly, breathing in heavy beats and bass while “Big Paw” teases its intro with random notes that answer the call of the drumbeat to unite. Walking Spanish present a side of Roots that stretches the warmth of its music with care over “Tomorrow Is the New Today” and claim that “Baby Love Me” is the reason for no sleep, though my guess is that caffienated rhythm that plows through the song like that first hit of morning joe.

Listen and buy the music of Walking Spanish from AMAZON or iTunes

David Vest   (from the album Roadhouse Revelation) - The rock’n’roll piano of David Vest spreads its love with equal doses of blues and boogie woogie. The surprise that David reveals on Roadhouse Revelation are the touches of soul (“You Came Through”), the smoky lounge ramblings (“Pretty Things For Anne”) and the island rhythms with a side of second line (“Crooked Politician”). David Vest remembers who brought him to the dance, and spends plenty of quality time with the boogie woogie of opener “Freight Train Rolling”, hauls through the smoke blowing skyward from “Santa Fe Steamer” and spends time confessing about Houston Blues with a live version of “Heart Full of Rock and Roll”. David Vest turns the time of his piano back to ragtime for “Streetcar” and lets the blues have its way with the inspirational spit and shine of “That Happened To Me”.      

Listen and buy the music of David Vest from AMAZON or iTunes

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