The Middle Kingdom is a dramatic spoken word with music album comprised of a selection of poems from the ELLIOTT MURPHY collection of the same name. Read by Elliott himself, with accompanying music composed and performed by his long time musical partner OLIVIER DURAND and mixed and produced by Gaspard Murphy, the result is a surprisingly powerful album whose provocative lyrical images are lifted to yet another dimension when combined with sympathetic and moving musical themes. The idea for this unique project was born during the Corona virus confinement in France when it was impossible for these two long-time musical collaborators to perform or record together as Olivier Durand lives in Le Havre and Elliott Murphy in Paris. Elliott proposed that Olivier make a selection of poems from his second book of poetry The Middle Kingdom that he could relate to both musically and lyrically and after deciding upon 18 titles he composed and recorded accompanying musical themes in his home studio in Le Havre. After contributing his own musical ideas to the title cut, producer Gaspard Murphy mixed the final album with state of the art HD sound. The subject matter of the poems themselves go from rock ‘n roll (“On The Death of Prince” & “Last Night I Dreamed About Lou”) to the very autobiographical “The Middle Kingdom“.
Singer-songwriter MARKUS RILL and Bavarian multi-instrumentalist Robert Hasleder have known each other for 15 years. However, with both of them being much-in-demand live performers and prolific artists, chances to play music together were few and far between. During the 2020 pandemic, however, they had nothing but time. Rill sat down in Hasleder’s basement studio to record some new and some previously unrecorded originals and a couple of cover versions. Hasleder embellished these live tracks with delicate guitar parts, mandolin, Weissenborn, slide, banjo, bass, accordion, percussion and more.
New Crop is a varied acoustic album, at times harking back to Jim Croce and Maury Muehleisen’s musical interplay, at other times reminiscent of Steve Earle’s Train A-Comin‘ or John Hiatt’s Crossing Muddy Waters. “I’d always planned to make an all-acoustic album one day. The Price Of Sin and Late Night Drive were getting close. I think New Crop qualifies“, Rill says with a grin. The dark cover version of Bob Dylan’s “Man In The Long Black Coat“, one of the album’s undisputed highlights, is the only song featuring an electric lapsteel guitar. Everywhere else acoustic instruments create a warm, lush sound.
New Crop offers all of Rill’s strengths – wide-ranging Americana, rock’n’roll, country, folk and blues tunes with remarkably strong lyrics – in a fresh, inspired, acoustic soundscape handcrafted and tailor-made by string-wizard Robert Hasleder. If you are in the mood to hear two master musicians at work, New Crop is exactly what you need.
The US four piece US RAILS from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had started in February 2020 for another extensive European tour through Spain, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. Shortly after their arrival in Spain all the booked shows had to be cancelled due to the Corona pandemic. The band tried to continue the tour in Italy but there was the same situation. In mid March it was obvious that the remaining 15 shows of the tour had to be cancelled so the show on March 15 at the „Red River Saloon“ in Heilbronn, Germany was the final show of the tour before the lockdown.
It was not only the last show of the tour, it was also the last concert at the local music venue. The owner had sold the property months before and wanted to re-open after the lockdown for another few weeks but due to the pandemic the US Rails show was The Last Call at the Red River Saloon.
The show was recorded and contained 22 songs from the band’s six studio albums, except one all songs written by the band members Ben Arnold, Tom Gillam, Scott Bricklin, and Matt Muir. The music covers the entire range of melodic rock for fans of The Eagles, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne or Randy Newman, just to mention a few.
At Mercy’s Edge, the latest CD from JOSEPH PARSONS, comes complete with arena-ready anthems bursting to break free of quarantine. While the world may be stalled, step up and take the ride from the opener „Greed on Fire,“ all the way to the pinnacle at „Mercy’s Edge.“
Now in his 50s and committed for the long haul, U.S. songwriter Joseph Parsons‘ resumé reads like an exercise of artistic endurance – or futility depending on the day. The album is reminiscent of his earlier work, but seasoned, raw and rougher around the edges; with three-and-a-half-minute deep dives into our worlds‘ unfettered capitalism, hope, desolation, war, love, politics and stories of flawed, yet potentially redeemable characters.
With the benefits of age, Parsons‘ voice and the band (Ross Bellenoit (guitar), Sven Hansen (drums), and Freddi Lubitz (bass) have never sounded better. His prolific album releases and standout live shows connect in a personal and inspirational way with the audiences throughout Europe and his original homeland, the United States.
The band, together since 2008, exude a powerful brotherhood on stage. In 2019, between German and Italian concert tour legs, they took time to capture that essence in recording sessions in Germany and Slovenia. The result is the latest release At Mercy’s Edge. „Recording while on tour is a real luxury as we are musically fully engaged and focused. The band is in top form and we are having a blast hanging out with each other. Traveling excites the senses, brings an x-factor & extra mojo to the music. A wonderful way to make records!“ says the reserved Parsons.
Uncut Magazine (UK) rightfully calls him an „experienced dealer in emotions“. And Radio Bremen (DE) declares his music to be „dynamic, intense & intoxicating.“
Ex-pat Parsons lives a private life with his wife and kids in northeast Germany. Living in a historic house from the late 16th century, he splits his downtime between the western Pomeranian town of Parchim and Berlin. He writes and records out of a personal studio he built in the back of their home in 2017. Often traveling to the U.S.A., Parsons says, “I like going to the States, but I love coming home to Germany”.
Steve Wynn first gained fame as lead singer and songwriter for the legendary Paisley Underground outfit The Dream Syndicate. But his post-Dream Syndicate solo career is the equal of any indie-rock singer-songwriter you’d care to name. Now, Real Gone Music and Steve Wynn have joined forces to release Decade (yup, the Neil Young reference is deliberate), an 11-CD set that chronicles, with lavish deluxe editions, the guitar-driven albums Wynn recorded between 1995 and 2005, most of which have been long out-of-print.
The statistics on this box set are mind-blowing: 166 tracks, 57 of them totally unreleased, plus 31 other rarities! That’s right’over half of this 11-CD set consists of either hitherto unknown recordings or tracks that have been almost impossible to find! As for the other tracks, they hail from the following albums: the American releases Melting In The Dark, Sweetness and Light, My Midnight, Here Come The Miracles, Static Transmission, and ‚Tick’Tick’Tick, and the German-only compilation entitled The Emusic Singles Collection (rare tracks from another European-only release, a collection of rarities entitled Pick of the Litter, appear here as well).
So where do all the unreleased tracks come from? Well, during this 10-year period, Steve Wynn recorded dozens of songs ‚ sometimes at home and occasionally in a proper studio. Many of those songs got re-recorded and revamped and became key memorable parts of his catalog. Other songs got tossed away and forgotten. For Decade, long-time Steve Wynn (and Dream Syndicate) archivist Pat Thomas in cooperation with Steve Wynn listened to about a hundred hours of unreleased tapes and compiled this amazing box set that not only includes remastered (by Mike Milchner of SonicVision) versions of some of Steve Wynn’s best albums but also the first American release of the two rare European only titles. And ‚ it bears saying again ‚ 57 previously unreleased recordings that not even hardcore tape traders have heard! Several of these albums were recorded with Steve Wynn’s core band of Linda Pitmon on drums, Dream Syndicate guitarist Jason Victor, and long-time Miracle 3 bass player Dave DeCastro. Along the way, there are appearances from Green On Red keyboardist Chris Cacavas, Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb, indie chanteuse Barbara Manning, Chris Brokaw & Thalia Zedek of Come, Tony Maimone of Pere Ubu, John Convertino of Calexico, Rich Gilbert and many others. With so much material, you need a program’and so Steve Wynn himself has penned very detailed notes that tell the stories behind the origins of all 57y previously unreleased songs! Plus essays from box set producer Pat Thomas and several of Wynn’s long time bandmates. And a pile of previously unseen photos…all inside a mammoth, full-color 48-page book!