As promised – from now on the „Blue Rose Nuggets“ series will have a monthly new issue! Number 86 again contains songs from current Blue Rose releases (Nora Jane Struthers, Jeff Crosby), numerous tracks of the over 600 Blue Rose catalog titles plus two previously unreleased live songs by Rainravens and Jason & The Scorchers.
1. STEVE WYNN – Resolution / from the album „Northern Aggression“ (BLU DP0524)
2. MIC HARRISON – Shake Your Faith / from the album „Pallbearer’s Shoes“ (BLU CD0349)
3. JEFF CROSBY – Best $25 I Ever Spent / from the album „Postcards From Magdalena“ (BLU DP0717)
4. THE BOTTLE ROCKETS – Welfare Music / from the album „Bottle Rockets/The Brooklyn Side“ (BLU DP0622)
5. IAIN MATTHEWS – Like Dominoes / from the album „Sparkler“ (BLU DP0375)
6. HANK SHIZZOE – Rocket Ship / from the album „Songsmith“ (BLU DP0632)
7. RAINRAVENS – Real Wild Child / recorded live at the Musikwerkstatt in Neustadt/Weinstraße, Germany on November 14, 1997 (previously unreleased)
8. NORA JANE STRUTHERS – Belief / from the album „Champion“ (BLU DP0714)
9. HARDPAN – The Hands That Hold The Reins / from the album „Hardpan“ (BLU DP0700)
10. BILL JANOVITZ AND CROWN VICTORIA – Mary Kay / from the album „Fireworks On TV!“ (BLU CD0369)
11. PAUL THORN – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright / from the album „Too Blessed To Be Stressed“ (BLU DP0645)
12. CINDY BULLENS – Box Of Broken Hearts / from the album „Dream #29“ (BLU DP0368)
13. FRED EAGLESMITH – Ten Ton Chain / from the album „50-Odd Dollars“ (BLU CD0106)
14. JOHN P. STROHM – Better Than Nothing / from the album „Vestavia“ (BLU CD0090)
15. JASON & THE SCORCHERS – Getting Nowhere Fast / recorded live at the Blue Rose Christmas Party at the Blues Garage in Isernhagen, Germany on December 5, 2009 (previously unreleased)
Great vulnerability is often part and parcel of great artistry. The songs that last decades and weave themselves into the fabric of listeners‘ lives are usually the ones in which an artist lays her soul bare for the world to hear. Nora Jane Struthers‚ new album Champion is built on these kinds of songs.
The 13-song collection is the follow-up to 2015’s Wake, which earned Struthers acclaim from major outlets like NPR Music, Rolling Stone Country, and „Fresh Air.“ Struthers wrote and recorded the album with her longtime road band the Party Line, and the chemistry between her and the other players is palpable. The album, produced by Neilson Hubbard in Nashville, is full to the brim with stellar musicianship, unexpected arrangements that blur the lines between folk, roots, and rock, and an audible sense that everyone in the studio is having a damn good time.
Where Wake explored themes like new love and new beginnings, Champion finds Struthers documenting the trials and tribulations of adult life; decrying the increasingly intrusive nature of technology; and plainly laying out the struggles faced by a young woman grappling with infertility.
„I’m 33 and want to start a family, but when I was 18 I was diagnosed with a condition called premature ovarian failure,“ she explains. „I’ve known for a long time that I’m going to have to find other ways to have kids. A lot of the songs on the album are about my personal fertility quest.“
It doesn’t always have to take forever … A mere three years after the surprising return of his band The High Line Riders with Bumping Into Nothing, their mastermind Ed Pettersen presents us with Walking Home, an equally excellent successor. It’s a classy, timeless mix of handmade rock’n’roll, dynamic country rock and heartfelt folk roots numbers – an immensely listenable musical gumbo that will excite 70ies retro fans as well as current Americana listeners. Ed Pettersen: „artist, writer, producer“ is what it says on his website. These three simple words cannot encompass the multitude of activities Pettersen is involved in. The High Line Riders are just one of many projects in the 50-something’s career – but they are currently his most important project, the one he has most fun with, the one he pours his heart out in. You can hear it in every note and every riff of Walking Home.
Ed Pettersen, born of Norwegian descent in New York City, started his musical career in the mid-90s as a folkie singer-songwriter, inspired by the outlaw country music his parents had listened to and self-found idols like Pete Townshend and Paul Westerberg as well as Bruce Springsteen, Oasis and Steve Earle. When his debut album Desperate Times was released in 1995, he was already friends with The Brandos and The Del-Lords, two of the hottest NYC acts at the time. In 1997 the High Line Riders broke through with the much-lauded album Somewhere South Of Here. Since Pettersen’s health issues didn’t allow him to tour much then, the High Line Riders era ended quickly.
At the start of the new century he moved to Nashville, played pop rock with The Strangelys and revisited early, partially unreleased material. Additionally, Pettersen contributed to tribute albums for Waylon Jennings and Uncle Tupelo. In 2006 he was materially involved – as producer and musician – with the epochal three-CD project Songs Of America which dealt with 500 years of American history with participation by John Mellencamp, Blind Boys Of Alabama, The Black Crowes, The Mavericks, Andrew Bird, Old Crow Medicine Show and more. This project alone brought him more recognition than his entire previous output. Riding this wave he released his first album of new material in 2007 with The New Punk Blues Of … – exquisite, handmade, self-penned tracks between urban folk and songwriter rock.
Almost a decade ago five musician friends decided to start a band in addition to their long-lasting solo careers because they were convinced it could grow into something big. By now US RAILS have established themselves as classic Blue Rose artists, they are about to release their fifth album, We Have All Been Here Before. The album differs quite a bit from its predecessors US Rails (2010), Southern Canon (2011), Heartbreak Superstar (2013) and Ivy (2017). What does a band do when they are about to go on tour and would like to present a new album but do not have enough new songs? Exactly, they look for fitting songs by other songwriters and record a covers album. This approach isn’t always successful but the song selections and arrangements by Tom Gillam, Ben Arnold, Scott Bricklin and Matt Muir work like gangbusters! All four of them cherry-picked their songs and interpreted them as if they were original compositions.
Since Joseph Parsons‘ departure two years ago, three otherwise independent artists – Ben Arnold (Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Vocals), Scott Bricklin (Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals) and Tom Gillam (Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Slide Guitar, Banjo, Vocals) – plus drummer Matt Muir are US Rails, a combo not unlike CSNY or the Traveling Wilburys. US Rails are direct successors of Philadelphia’s „4 Way Street“.
We Have All Been Here Before contains a delightful mix of well-known and lesser-known gems from rock and pop history. It’s legitimate to assume that „Poor Poor Pitiful Me“ by Warren Zevon, „So Into You“ by the Atlanta Rhythm Section or the old blues number „I’d Rather Be (Blind, Crippled & Crazy)“, recently rejuvenated by the Derek Trucks Band, were picked by Tom Gillam – they seem to fit right into his wheelhouse. Ben Arnold sings lead on Neil Young’s „Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere“ and „Put The Message In The Box“ by Karl Wallinger’s band World Party – a clear indicator as to who picked these songs. Scott Bricklin is a declared Beatles fan – „You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away“ may very well have been his suggestion. Matt Muir is not only a great drummer, he also has a beautiful singing voice that he lends to „Second Hand News“ from Fleetwood Mac’s classic album Rumours and to album closer „Running On Empty“ by Jackson Browne.
Each member of US Rails is a great songwriter – they don’t have to prove it with every album. We Have All Been Here Before is a beautifully fresh-sounding in-between record to shorten the wait for the next album with original songs.
Desolation, serenitiy; scenes like in a David Lynch movie or an Edward Hopper painting come to mind when listening to the singer-songwriter’s new album. Existential themes such as solitude, longing and resignation are expressed throughout the lyrics. But the album is also about the inexplicable and unstoppable drive and necessity to keep writing and creating.
Vanderveen can be counted among the most prolific songwriters in the new folk and roots genre, with over 30 albums to his name since the early 90s. As a person and a craftsman Ad is mostly geared towards growth and development and he tends to keep away from matters not involving music or spirituality. Dealing with issues like name, fame and big sales numbers is not one of his priorities. Among music lovers and critics, colleagues and peers however, he is highly regarded as a songwriter and musician; none other than Van Morrison, after hearing Ad’s album A Worlds Within, personally invited him as his opening act in July 2017.
Another one of Vanderveen’s long-time favorites, John Gorka, joins on Denver Nevada’s lead off track in the duet Another Song.
Denver Nevada strikes a certain melancholy atmosphere and mood that underscore the poems and lyrics at the core of the songs. The style can best be described as contemporary folk with influences of rock, jazz and classical music. The songs and instrumentation are based on acoustic guitar and vocal; accompanied by piano, electric guitar, bass, percussion/drums, harmony vocals and augmented by strings and horns.
Ad’s previous album A Worlds Within was hailed as a ‘classic’ by roots-americana critics and considered to be one of his best works. Fortunately the well has not run dry yet and those initiated say the sequel Denver Nevada will top the former one, journeying further and deeper into new territory and changing soundscapes. Ad Vanderveen keeps on challenging himself and the roots music audience!
We are starting the Blue Rose releases in 2018 with a very fine piece of work – MARKUS RILL and Getting Into Trouble!
After 20 years of making records – „20 years of gunslinging“ as he calls it – MARKUS RILL feels like it’s the right time for „a gift to the people who enjoy my music and to myself“. Getting Into Trouble is his first double album and it delivers ample proof why he is considered a stellar songwriter and Europe’s finest Americana artist.
CD 1 features eleven new songs with all of Rill’s trademark strengths: raspy, captivating vocals and wide-ranging sounds from driving roots rock to thoughtful acoustic numbers, from pristine bluegrass to the dirty blues. Rill’s lyrics are fresh, insightful and infused with laconic poetry whether he portrays a New Orleans stripper or a young girl about to make a choice, whether he pays homage to fiddle great Vassar Clements, ruminates on a childhood friend gone bad or love’s travails from the unlikely perspective of Henry VIII. Great musicians from Nashville, Australia, Seattle and Germany perform these songs with creativity and energy, supplying them with great heft.
„A little bit of house-cleaning“ is how Rill describes the album with a wry smile. „After twenty years I felt like revisiting and updating a few of my early songs and recording some songs and co-writes I’d been saving for a special occasion or that took a while for me to figure out how to do,“ Rill says. „I think all of them are well suited to hold up the next twenty years.“
Needless to point out, the veteran artist now has a much clearer vision of what his songs need than he did as a young upstart in the 90s.
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