Rich Hopkins came of age on his abilities as a guitar-slinger and songwriter. His ear-bending way of expression became a rock ’n‘ roll definition of the romantic American southwest, these desert blasts filled with spirited tales, soaring hooks and a warm, beating heart. The songs pump blood in that essential way that says there’s nothing else in life for Hopkins but the song. Think of the music as an aural equivalent of rainwater-etched swirls in sandstone-it’s got timeless unstoppable beauty, and its shape sometimes shifts in graceful ways, but it’s always formable, always heavy.
Yes, that might sound like bio-ready hyperbole, but hold on: Trust the sizable audiences the world over who have long regarded Hopkins as the essential lifeguard of „desert rock,“ audiences who have responded to Hopkins‘ guitar heroics and scruffily quixotic songs since the storied, late-’80s and ’90s albums he made with that rowdy (now-mythological) major-label combo he co-founded called The Sidewinders (later rechristened The Sand Rubies), and then his own Rich Hopkins and the Luminarios. Nearly two-dozen albums all told, each persuasive and subtly dramatic, like a mounting monsoon storm, and also fun as hell.
Along the way he met Texas born-and-raised Lisa Novak, another gifted singer/songwriter whose shrewd yet empathetic storytelling rivals good short-story fiction, and whose voice and songwriting resembles a dusty mix of Emmylou Harris and Aimee Mann, and that’s considering just how hallowed (and odious) such comparisons can be.
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duende – [duen-de] (noun) 1. a quality of inspiration and passion 2. A heightened sense of emotion, expression and authenticity 3. a spirit
Duende, the title of The Band of Heathens‘ fifth studio album (and eighth overall), marks their tenth anniversary as a group, and it certainly applies to its overall theme about the collective search for connection and communion in a technology-fueled world increasingly splintered, distracted and lonely. As band co-founder Ed Jurdi, who first learned of the term, explains, „It’s the essence of the artist,“ or as partner Gordy Quist says, „It’s a word we don’t have an equivalent for in English, Artistically, that’s where we tried to set the bar, to do what this band does best.“
Indeed, Duende lives up to those high ideals, a stylistically diverse effort that takes a leap beyond their last, more acoustic, introspective effort, 2013’s Sunday Morning Record, with an eclectic batch of material that shows where The Band of Heathens has been, but more importantly, where they are going.
There are high-energy rockers like the Keith Richards-Chuck Berry guitars and barrelhouse piano in „Trouble Came Early“ as well as the Grateful Dead-by-way-of J.J. Cale Oklahoma boogie in „Keys to the Kingdom,“ and the New Riders pedal steel country twang of „Green Grass of California,“ an ode to the more potent strains of sensimilla on the dispensary shelf and a fervent plea to „legalize it.“
Duende also touches on some of The Band of Heathens‘ favorite topics, from the sacrifices of a life lived on the road („All I’m Asking“) to the limits of materialism („Keys to the Kingdom“), social media absorption („Cracking the Code“), and a moving depiction of Mexican immigration in an age of increased discrimination („Road Dust Wheels“).
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The team of Blue Rose Records is wishing their friends, customers and lovers of our small record label a Happy New Year! Like in the previous twenty-two years we’ll do our best to make you happy with exciting and interesting music of the extensive Americana genre.
Our office is closed until Wednesday, January 4th. On the 5th we’ll be back at full force and ship all the received orders.
The 82nd edition of the Blue Rose mailorder-only CD series Blue Rose Nuggets once more contains a colourful mix of brand new songs by Rich Hopkins & Luminarios and The Band Of Heathens, numerous tracks of the 21 year expanding Blue Rose catalog plus previously unreleased live songs by Jason & The Scorchers and Tom Gillam & Todd Thibaud.
1. CODY CANADA & THE DEPARTED – Revolution / taken from the album “HippieLovePunk” (BLU DP0651)
2. CHRIS KNIGHT – River Road / taken from the album “Enough Rope” (BLU DP0406)
3. WACO BROTHERS – When I Get My Rewards / taken from the album “Electric Waco Chair” (BLU CD0234)
4. THE SILOS – Change The Locks / taken from the album “Official Blue Rose Bootleg Series/Heilbronn 20.04.2006” (BLUBS 035)
5. JIMMY LAFAVE – Buckets Of Rain / taken from the album “Road Novel” (BLU CD0046)
6. THE BAND OF HEATHENS – Trouble Came Early / taken from the album “Duende” (BLU DP0692)
7. STONEY LARUE – Train To Birmingham / taken from the album “Us Time” (BLU DP0672)
8. TODD THIBAUD – Going Home / taken from the album “Lakewest Sessions” (BLU DP0485)
9. JAMES McMURTRY – Forgotten Coast / taken from the album “Complicated Game” (BLU DP0649)
10. MATTHEW RYAN – The First Heartbreak / taken from the album “Boxers” (BLU CD0647)
11. JASON & THE SCORCHERS – Moonshine Guy / recorded live at the Blue Rose Christmas Party at the Blues Garage in Isernhagen/Germany on December 5, 2009 (previously unissued)
12. STEPHEN BRUTON with THE RESENTMENTS – Nobody Gets Hurt / taken from the album “Switcheroo” (BLU CD0378)
13. CHRIS BURROUGHS – Walk Away On Level Ground / taken from the album “Official Blue Rose Bootleg Series/Complete HOT-FM Sessions” (BLUBS 033)
14. TOM GILLAM & TODD THIBAUD – Ooh La La / recorded live at Ebene 3 in Heilbronn/Germany on December 4, 2008 (previously unissued)
15. RICH HOPKINS & LUMINARIOS – If You Want To / taken from the album “My Way Or The Highway” (BLU DP0691)
„I was just into music,“ says Joe Camilleri of his earliest days playing in bands. „That was all I was interested in. I would live it, breathe it, eat it.“ Forty-eight albums later, and his 20th – Faithful Satellite – with The Black Sorrows, and if anything he’s even more passionate than he ever was. He and longtime songwriting partner Nick Smith pretty much write every day, and ask Joe about a favourite song in his vast catalogue and he’ll tell you – the next one.
Sure, he’s kicked a staggering number of goals over his 50+ years in music as a singer, songwriter, musician, performer and producer at the top of his game. As frontman of the seminal 70s band, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, Joe was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2007. With The Black Sorrows, there have been hits not only in Australia but also in Europe. Touring there several times playing songs that have become radio staples like „Chained to the Wheel“, „Harley & Rose“ and „Hold On To Me“. There was an ARIA Award for Best Group in 1990, and last year their Endless Sleep album was nominated for the 2015 ARIA Award for Best Blues & Roots Album, the band’s 19th nomination. Returning for the first time in 20 years, The Black Sorrows toured Scandinavia in support of the release of Endless Sleep that reached #13 on the Euro Americana chart in 2015.
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The German Country Music Awards 2016 in 7 different categories were handed out in a gala on October 14 in Bergheim near Cologne, Germany. MARKUS RILL who has been a member of the Blue Rose family since his 1999 album The Devil & The Open Road won two trophies: for “Male Artist Of The Year” and for “Album Of The Year”. Dream Anyway, recorded with his band The Troublemakers, was released on Blue Rose Records in April.
The „Album Of The Year“ Award does not come as a complete surprise since Dream Anyway received numerous media accolades.
„Saarbrücker Zeitung“: “Markus Rill may still look like a sunny boy but he does not shy away from hot-button topics (child abuse, Alzheimer’s disease, celibacy). His album cover design are reliably classy and nostalgic. Rill has a sandpaper voice and plays guitar, banjo and harmonica passionately. He has a sense of humor and irony about himself (“I love you forever unless I don’t”) and moves effortlessly between folk, country, heartland and rock’n’roll, sometimes sounding like Bruce Springsteen. On ten albums he has disproven the theory that there is no exciting roots rock from Germany.”
Music magazine „Good Times“ is practically ecstatic: „They are rare but every once in a while you find one: An album in which everything fits, when you know from the first listen that it will be your life-long friend. With ,Dream Anyway’ Markus Rill has created such an exceptional masterpiece. It’s hard to point out a single quality because this assessment comes from a combination of various components and a gut feeling. On the Americana musician’s new outing, the songs come first and foremost, moving beautifully between Tom Petty-inspired heartland rock, laconic songwriter fare a la Townes van Zandt and classic Americana not unlike The Band. Strongly recommended for all roots rock fans, an album that (in a fair world) belongs on many a year-end best list.”
Industry magazine „Musikwoche“ sums it up in one sentence: „Markus Rill is rightfully considered Germany’s best, most consistent and most authentic Americana musician – and he delivers further proof that this assessment is entirely justified with his tenth album of original songs.”
Veteran American songwriters Todd Thibaud and Kim Taylor come together to explore the nuances of intimate relationships and the constant of shifting time in a new collaborative project: WATER AND SAND. Their self-titled debut album, produced by Sean Staples, will be released on Blue Rose Records. WATER AND SAND, including additional musicians Thomas Juliano and Sean Staples, will be touring throughout Germany and Austria in October 2016.
Todd Thibaud is a consistently convincing, reliable artist who always stays true to his musical vision. He does not change things up dramatically but finds variety in nuances of arrangement and production. After all, the consistently high quality of his songs and his mellifluous, warm voice create an irresistible and familiar atmosphere. This was already true of his first band, The Courage Brothers, in the early to mid-90s. With his 1997 solo debut Favorite Waste Of Time, the man from Vermont made his first mark on the songwriter/pop canopy. It was followed by a slew of classic Blue Rose studio albums Little Mystery (1999), Squash (2000), Northern Skies (2004), Broken (2008) and Waterfall (2013).
Cincinnati-based songwriter Kim Taylor has toured extensively with Canadian songwriter Ron Sexsmith and friends Over The Rhine and supported songwriting heroes like Kris Kristofferson. Her songs have been featured in numerous television shows including Flashpoint, Army Wives, Smallville, Cyberbully, One Tree Hill and most recently in the UK’s flagship comedy-drama, Stella.
In 2013, she made her acting debut in the Sundance and Berlinale selected independent film, I Used To Be Darker, portraying a musician mother in the throes of divorce and on the brink of a new life.
In the chaotic world of a rock band, 6, 8 or 10 years is a respectable lifetime.
However, US Rails, Blue Rose Records‘ own super-group, has set its sights on being more than just another short-lived entry in the music history books and continues to gain new fans, touring regularly in Europe, as well as in the United States. With three studio releases and a handful of live CDs, no one could fault the US Rails if they decided to take a break, but then again, US Rails are not just any band, and taking a break is simply not an option.
In late 2015, US Rails, who formed originally in Philadelphia, PA (USA) streamlined down to a quartet of founding members Ben Arnold, Scott Bricklin, Tom Gillam and Matt Muir with the amicable departure of Joseph Parsons. Arnold, Bricklin and Gillam have all released solo albums on Blue Rose as well over the past year, and toured on their own.
In the meanwhile, the band has been continuing work on their most ambitious work to date, Ivy. Like the vine itself, the band is enduring, growing, insistent, and full of life. Ivy features the uniquely American sound that US Rails fans are familiar with. Containing the very comfortable elements of rock, soul, folk and the echoes of mid 70’s Southern California, their voices still blend beautifully and are the focus, front and center of almost every track. US Rails looks forward to taking Ivy on the road this fall with dates in Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Austria and Switzerland.
While all of the members of the ‚Rails continue careers in music separate from the band, when inspiration strikes, there is an undeniably strong musical bond. There is still much to be said, energy to feed off of and right now there is no reason for this train to come to a stop any time soon!
The Field The Forest is a double EP package that focuses on two distinctive writing styles of JOSEPH PARSONS. The Field carries a lighter meditation on redemption & relationships. The Forest is an adventurous, heavier rock toned EP that delves into topics of mortality, war and love.
There are at least two sides to every story and as we progress through life we often find our perspective switches as we evolve our thinking or change our condition. Right out of the gate, „“All The Way““ feels like a ride on a sunny day with the top down or another round on the Tilt-a-Whirl. We’ve got a tonic for mankind and we’re „“taking it all the way around the world, ‚til my heart explodes.““ „“Berlin““ celebrates the spirit of one of Europe’s oldest cities as she defines her place in the 21st century. Steeped in history, she seeks to maintain the vibrancy, diversity and independent streak that attract those who would gentrify her. Or maybe it’s about an attractive woman whose beauty is much more than skin deep.
This song cycle tackles the complicated nature of romantic entanglements and the challenges of maintaining a relationship over time. „“Don’t Belong““ is a signature Joseph Parsons love ballad: moody, melodic and honest. You have to have lived a little and felt a lot to be here. This is what brings audiences back again and again to his live shows and recorded work.
Following the opening catharsis of „“Scream““ and later „“Bliss““ Parsons takes us on The Forest on a path through an aural landscape that is moody and sometimes ominous. This is delivered through beautiful melodies rewarding our companionship on this journey. His poetic lyrics describe one man’s search for salvation from the „“Shadowland““. It feels personal. We are offered a glimpse into an intimate and private journal.
The Forest challenges Parsons‘ fellow musicians to go beyond their undoubted talents as a powerful rock band („“Scream““, „“Bliss““, „“Shadowland““) to conjure up textures for the moodier pieces and reign in for a lighter touch with equal devotion. The song cycle opens with the anthem-like „“Scream““ and concludes with the pastoral English folk stylings of „“Horizon““. It is here that our guide leaves us standing with the sun on the horizon, to ponder our thoughts and continue the journey in our own time. If you seek the companionship of a fellow traveller, you can always start again with The Field.
For their spring and summer 2016 tours, the Band Of Heathens are offering a five-song limited edition EP, Green Grass. The title track of the EP, “Green Grass of California,” is a timely tongue-in-cheek marijuana anthem. “The issue of legalization has become both a ballot issue and a hot topic of discussion around the water cooler, so I like the idea of pushing it a little bit and getting involved in the discussion,” says Ed Jurdi. We’ve been playing that song live and it’s something that everyone’s been talking about with us after the show, so it’s connecting and is something that is on people’s minds.” The Green Grass EP premieres four new BOH originals and a faithful cover of The Band’s “Bessie Smith,” featuring Joe Fletcher.