The Harmed Brothers (from the album The Harmed Brothers available on Fluff and Gravy Records)
Over the course of their career, The Harmed Brothers have evolved from a duo of singer/songwriters into a band, staying on the road to let their songs enjoy the same transformations as they unfold in same the manner as the group. On their recent self-titled release, The Harmed Brothers blend new songs with older tracks that have followed them around through the dive bars and makeshift stages that have been the destinations of long hours on America’s highways. The Harmed Brothers blend scratchy chords strums and electric feedback to sonically reflect their changes to begin “A Lovely Conversation”. Firmly planted in the IndieGrass style the band hears in their music, The Harmed Brothers puts out a thumb, catching a ride on a wish for good days ahead for all travelers in “Adopt a Highway’. The boys in the band let in “Sunshine” on a sparse rhythm of piano and percussion, relate family history for a personal resume in “Cryin’ Shame”, and sway on a sad horn-fueled march for “Don’t Want to be Lonesome”.
The Harmed Brothers spend time picking at what makes relationships tick, using the songs for the do’s and don’ts as the have trouble finding footing with “In the Wind”, introduce “Elvis the Lion” on frenetic electric chord slashes, and let the story unravel on sonic cloudbursts to describe “A Life in Progress” as they pack it in to make an exit.
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61 Ghosts (from the album …to the edge)
The trio that forms 61 Ghosts adds a fourth influence, the sound of the band’s base, Clarksdale, Mississippi, and its rich history of Blues. The recent E.P. release, ….to the edge, from 61 Ghosts, growls and roars in the language of dirty Blues with its blend of Hill Country homegrown styles, electric rock, and Americana. Gritty vocals and feral guitar chops are provided by Joe Mazzari, former guitarist for Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls) as well as fronting his own bands and recording with producer Jimmy Miller (The Rolling Stones, Traffic, Motorhead). Joining Joe in 61 Ghosts is the hard-edged rhythm section of JD Sipe on bass and drumming from Dixie (Len ‘Bud’ Welch).
The playing quiets for the spoken dark stream of consciousness that poetically describes a “World Gone Crazy” against raw electric Blues as …to the edge asks to “Show Me Your Scars” with an acoustic guitar as duet partner and continues the backing, keeping the simple man and guitar format, in “Passion Tipped Arrow”. 61 Ghosts crackles with a inch-by-inch build of electricity that rises slowly before turning into flames on “If Tears Were Dirt”, and playfully teases the Blues with Country in “Heartbeat”.
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Pokey LaFarge (from the album Manic Revelations on New Rounder Records)
If insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results, Pokey LaFarge is the sanest man on earth. He sees what is not working and can clearly visualize the prize so that when his feet hit the floor for each new step towards a goal, a different path will be taken. Pokey LaFarge is looking for ‘a good woman and family of your own’ and he is willing to make changes when the harmony prods him along asking ‘better man, don’t you wanna be a better man” in “Better Man Than Me”. The latest Pokey LaFarge album release, Manic Revelations, has “Bad Dreams” on thick, wobbly guitar leads, comforting horns, and a marching beat while “Silent Movie” screens its images on rumbling strums of rolling rhythms, pockets a “Good Luck Charm” to get back on solid ground, and makes plans for a getaway on a mysterious melody in “Going to the Country”.
By his own admission, Pokey LaFarge is constantly ‘reshuffling the deck’ to make sense of the trouble that comes his way as well as to understand the trouble he has made. He uses pen and paper to show the hand he is dealt, making his bets on the words and music he makes on Manic Revelations. Wearing a wardrobe that lands somewhere between a businessman and a janitor, Pokey LaFarge heads to New Zealand on a bouncing beat in “Wellington”, reads aloud headlines from the morning newspaper in “Riot in the Streets”, and wrangles with relationship woes with “Must Be a Reason”. Manic Revelations goes back the Jazz-era birthed in Pokey LaFarge’s hometown of St. Louis, Missouri to back the ways to be a woman in “Mother Nature” as Pokey shuffles his feet to the beat and vows “I Will Never Change”.
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Mike Younger (from the album Little Folks Like You and Me)
Life and love for both a personal and worldwide view are the subjects for the songs of Mike Younger on his recent release, Little Folks Like You and Me. He opens up his heart in “The Living Daylights”, tackling environmental issues with “Poisoned Rivers” and the problems that face cultures around the globe on “What Kind of World”. Mike Younger is a Nashville, Tennessee-based musician, staying close to home to record Little Folks Like You and Me at Music City’s Studio G with local guitar man Bob Britt (Leon Russell, Bob Dylan, Delbert McClinton, John Fogerty) as producer. Mike Younger brings in a cast of characters for the album, taking audio snapshots of everyday lives, traveling alongside people on the road (“Drifter’s Lament”), traipsing with the lonely footsteps of big city streets (“Walk in the Mud”), and wrangling a Country twang into universal love story (“With Every Heartbeat”).
The skin in the stories of Mike Younger touches all lives, his words unify and stand in solidarity with men and women no matter what path their feet are walking, bridging the distance between two hearts or among the masses who stand together in defiance. Little Folks Like You and Me tells a tale of dreamers setting out and coming to a fork in the road in the heartfelt “How to Tell a Friend Goodbye” and sits at home to imagine a life on the road with “If I Was Wheel” as Mike Younger shares the story of a “Rodeo Queen” and makes up for the shortcomings of his feet with the love in his heart in “Never Was a Dancer”.
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