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02. Mai 2019

The title tells the story – MARKUS RILL’s songwriting is the heart of Songland !

Songland
RILL, MARKUS Songland CD
€ 14,90*

If you go into the studio planning to hopefully record ten songs in ten days and you come out the other end after little more than half this time with all 15 of your new songs recorded and in the bag, you have every right to call that a successful session! This happened in late October of 2018 at 7V studios in Bockenem/Germany to Markus Rill – considered by experts and fans to be Germany’s finest Americana artist for more than 20 years – and his band The Troublemakers as they recorded their brand-new album Songland. The title tells the story: Rill’s
songwriting – the joy he finds in poetic, sometimes surrealist lyrics, in creative eloquence as a logical evolution of his earlier, purer storytelling – is at the heart of the album. Musically, Rill and his guys always play in service of the song and do so in absolutely terrific fashion. Not one of the 15 tracks falls short of the others in any way, so Rill’s decision to forget about marketing ploys or saving any song as a possible bonus track makes perfect artistic sense. Almost an hour of Songland – a true feast for fans!

Since 1997 Markus Rill from Würzburg has been living proof that you don’t necessarily need American genes to write and sing authentic folk & roots music. He’s been touring in Germany and Europe for more than twenty years and has steadily released album after strong album which makes his back catalogue quite an impressive one. Since his second album, The Devil & The Open Road (1999), he’s been signed to Blue Rose Records who have released most of his albums since then. There’s the trilogy of albums recorded with some of Nashville’s finest musicians – Hobo Dream (2004), The Price Of Sin (2006) and The Things That Count (2007) -, the meaty Americana songwriter effort Wild Blue & True (2011) and in early 2013 the tremendous band album My Rocket Ship, recorded with The Troublermakers. With Dream Anyway in 2016 Rill & band made a quantum leap. This gem was very varied, sounded fantastic and presented a mature artist with depth and rock’n’roll appeal at the apex of his abilities (up to now). In early 2018 he released Getting Into Trouble for his 20-year anniversary, a double album featuring new material and a collection of rare tracks culled from limited releases or collaborative albums with Swedish New Folk artist Annika Fehling or his German colleagues Hubert Treml & Franz Schuier.

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25. April 2019

Six years after Waterfall TODD THIBAUD is back with Hill West !

Hill West
THIBAUD, TODD Hill West CD
€ 14,90*

Like his last record, Waterfall, Todd Thibaud’s studio albums have been predominantly full band, rock collections, charged with a collective energy that effortlessly pulls the listener in on his journey. With Hill West, that energy still resonates, but Thibaud steers it toward a more intimate, stark approach, fueled by a changing and uncertain world. Inspired by artists and albums such as Johnny Cash’s American Recordings, Gillian Welch’s Revival, Aimee Mann, and Nick Lowe, Thibaud, a Blue Rose artist since 1997, homes in on the essentials: lyric, melody, and voice.

The result is a poignant reflection on our modern world – in a time when other artists have chosen to eschew the big questions or sit still with themselves long enough to look inside. In songs like „Find Your Love“, Thibaud shares a glimpse into two people’s struggle to grapple with the fear and pain that surrounds them, zooming his lens out as he goes to view the greater picture of human relationships. „Great Unknown“ explores the nostalgia we all have for the simpler, hopeful times experienced in youth – when uncertainty was fueled by big dreams – with lyrics reminiscent of Pete Yorn’s Music for the Morning After. In the gritty, forceful „Edge of Breaking“, Thibaud takes the wheel of his future, demanding a fearless love from the perspective of nothing left to lose. „Path of Us“, perhaps the barest track with only his voice and an acoustic guitar, turns back to those two lovers, offering a bittersweet delivery but hopeful message. „Something about open doors, makes me feel so unsure… But what I wouldn’t do for you.“ While the narrator may be unsure, the message is clear: we always have a friend to share our burdens.

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16. April 2019

Welcome back to the Blue Rose family: RUSS TOLMAN with Goodbye El Dorado !

Goodbye El Dorado
TOLMAN, RUSS Goodbye El Dorado 2CD (incl. Bonus-CD "Compass & Map")
€ 14,90*

Americana singer, songwriter and guitarist, Russ Tolman has been confounding expectations from the start, following his own unique path, all the while with a knowing nod, tugging on our coats, inviting us to come along. It has always been a pleasing, worthwhile suggestion.

With his eighth album, Goodbye El Dorado, Tolman wistfully, but with a clear, critical eye examines his homeland from afar, penning his „love letter to Los Angeles“ without acrimony and with the clarity of distance. He was half a world away in Osaka, Japan and the miles provided a prism of certitude.

From his gunslinging days in the seminal 80’s twin guitar chainsaw band True West throughout a varied, exceptional solo career, Tolman’s strengths as a singer-songwriter are on full display here. From the everyday laments of time melting away on the 405 freeway to the personal musings over the intimate, familial travails of having your hopes and dreams running headlong into reality. Heady stuff you say? No doubt.

Dispatching these emotional adventures with his usual wisecracking aplomb, Tolman enlists some familiar musical samurai, along with some new ronin to expand the colors of his burgeoning musical palette. Multi-instrumentalist Robert Lloyd (Steve Wynn, Nels Cline, Wesley Stace) caressingly picks a mandolin, tickles the ivories and delightfully offers the plush inflections of his accordion, painting Tolman’s House of Melody with a fresh coat of satisfying color. Long-time six-string comrade Kirk Swan (Dumptruck, Amy Rigby) swings as usual with an insouciant groove, handsomely propelling the overall sentiment with taste and verve. Veteran Kevin Jarvis takes a double dip, serving as both engineer and drummer, providing pivotal experience from his previous work with Lucinda Williams, Grant Lee Phillips, and Brian Wilson. Cindy Wasserman (John Doe Band, Dead Rock West) provides glowing, elegant backing vocals and Tolman vet Dave Provost (Dream Syndicate, Al Green) anchors the bottom with his Motown tinctured bass guitar, while Tom Heyman contributes his potent pedal steel sheen. Newcomer Slim Zwerling offers his trumpet and flugelhorn, providing a yummy Bacharach zest, adding new flavors to Tolman’s soulful gumbo. Drop in a healthy dollop of Tolman’s seasoned, silky honeycomb vocals
and the results are a golden treasure.
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29. März 2019

THE BLACK SORROWS are returning with a live album!

We have another Friday with a new Blue Rose release and it’s a very special one: For the first time in the label history an album is only available in the digital format and only available on CD at the band’s shows in Scandinavia and the UK in April and in the fall at their upcoming German tour – THE BLACK SORROWS are back with the live album Live At The Palms, recorded on October 26, 2018 at „The Palms At Crown“ in Melbourne, Australia.
The album contains features nine songs, seven taken from the band’s latest studio release, Citizen John. The remaining tracks are covers by The Coasters („Down Home Girl“) and „The Honeydripper“ by Joe Liggins & The Honeydrippers.
Live At The Palms is now available at European download and streaming sites.

14. März 2019

Digging For Rays is JOSEPH PARSONS‘ new album and way of saying „searching life for a little light, for rays of hope & sunshine“

There are beautiful melodies and insightful lyrics, a sound of wide-open spaces and a vibe that’s both timeless and contemporary, and there’s this majestic elegant voice. Joseph Parsons‚ new album Digging For Rays has got everything you want from a song-oriented album in 2019 and then some. Sure, Parsons is a singer-songwriter but he’s also a widely-traveled musician in the here and now and his 13th studio album effortlessly reflects both.


The Pennsylvania & Louisiana raised artist currently residing in Germany draws from the familiar well of folk and rock to create something new – a music that’s exciting and current without eschewing its roots or catering to the dance-oriented zeitgeist. In other words: It’s the kind of album this writer thinks you’ve been waiting for.

Songs like „Living Things“ with its propelling beat, the acoustic, elegiac „Sad Parade“, the dark, driving rocker „Wide Awake“ and the beguiling „Beautiful Lie“ all sound fresh and original and are elevated by a one-of-a-kind voice. Parsons is a deliberate, controlled singer who conveys emotional depth with subtlety and nuance – and a lot of lure.

Digging For Rays is Parsons‘ way of saying „searching life for a little light, for rays of hope & sunshine“ – sorely needed considering the shape the world is in and, specifically, his home country. „I’m still an optimist even when things look bleak“, Parsons says. Music helps him maintain his equilibrium and positive outlook.

Over the course of a dozen studio albums, various live & collaborative projects and more than twenty years of touring, Joseph Parsons has established himself as a world class singer and writer, great all-around musician and an immensely personable performer. And yet he still keeps pushing himself, adding modern sounds to his palette to create another eminently listenable album that reveals deeper layers with every repeated listening. Some of his songs are introspective and provide keen insight, while others are written from the vantage point of an astute observer and chronicler of this ever-changing world. It is a world he knows well having lived in many places over the years from Los Angeles to Baghdad to Berlin.

Parsons also draws from artists like songwriting greats James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and outside-the-box-thinkers like Miles Davis, Paco de Lucia, Bob Marley and Daniel Lanois. From these ingredients he creates original music unconcerned with fitting into a specific genre. The only thing that counts for Parsons is a good song. And how does he measure if it’s a good song? „When it reaches the heart & soul of the listener,“ Parsons says. Undoubtedly, the 10 songs of Digging For Rays do exactly that.

08. März 2019

Welcome to the Blue Rose family: DAN NAVARRO!

Shed My Skin
NAVARRO, DAN Shed My Skin CD
€ 14,90*

Shed My Skin is Los Angeles native Dan Navarro’s long-awaited first studio album after 14 albums in 20+ years with Lowen & Navarro, Triple A Radio mainstays in the 1990s. Dan went solo in 2009 after the retirement and subsequent death of Eric Lowen due to ALS (MND).


Shed My Skin is produced and guitarred by Steve Postell (Little Blue, Danny Kortchmar, Jennifer Warnes) featuring a duet with blues singer Janiva Magness, hit singer-songwriter Wendy Waldman (Vanessa Williams, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Grace Pettis and Brother Sun, plus players Danny Kortchmar (James Taylor, Don Henley, Jackson Browne), Leland Sklar (James Taylor, Phil Collins), Butch Norton (Lucinda Williams), Bob Malone (John Fogerty), Debra Dobkin (Bonnie Raitt, Was Not Was), roots artist Tony Furtado, Phil Parlapiano (John Prine, Grant Lee Buffalo), Joel Tepp (Bonnie Raitt, Danny O’Keefe), Freebo (Bonnie Raitt), Dennis Edwards (Eddie Money), Brendan Buckley (Shakira), Jon Ossman (Marc Cohn, Paula Cole), Aubrey Richmond (Shooter Jennings), David Glaser and Peter Adams.

The songlist on Shed My Skin features eight Navarro originals plus four covers, two by old friends, Kenny Edwards („Night Full Of Rain“) and Tom Wilson of Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and Lee Harvey Osmond („You Drove My Crazy“, a duet with Janiva Magness). Rounding out the album are the haunting „Sweet Sixteen“ by Billy Idol and the Jimmy Webb standard „Wichita Lineman“ in a sumptuous new arrangement.

Dan’s long songwriting career includes Pat Benatar’s Grammy-nominated classic „We Belong“, Top 5 in 30 countries, plus songs recorded by The Bangles, Dave Edmunds, Dionne Warwick, Jackson Browne, Keb’Mo‘, The Temptations, freestyle hip-hop pioneers TKA, Jon Ondrasik (Five For Fighting), Nile Rodgers or The Triplets Billboard US #14 single „You Don’t Have To Go Home Tonight“), among many others.
His songs have appeared in films and TV shows as „Deadpool 2“, „Pitch Perfect 2“, „The Office“, „General Hospital“, „Melrose Place“, „The Color of Money“, „American Dad“, „American Idol“, „The Voice“ and dozens of MTV & VH1 specials.

Dan tours constantly, for over 20 years with Lowen & Navarro and since 2008 as a solo artist, with headline and mainstage performances in legendary acoustic/roots venues and festivals, including The Kerrville Folk Festival, The Woody Guthrie Festival, Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, Vancouver Island Music Fest, The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, McCabe’s Guitar Shop (Santa Monica CA), The Birchmere (Alexandria VA), Rams Head Onstage (Annapolis MD), The Bitter End and The Bottom Line (NYC) and many more.

Lowen & Navarro were listed in the „100 Most Influential Independent Artists“ by Performing Songwriter Magazine in 2008.

30. Januar 2019

He wanted to do an album like this for decades: Steady As We Go of and with HANK SHIZZOE !

HANK SHIZZOE is back with his new record Steady As We Go. Released on CD, LP and in all digital formats it is a remarkable achievment: Recorded live on the studio floor with his fabulous band, Steady As We Go presents a singer, songwriter and guitar player in top form. This is Americana roots music at its finest, sung and played by an ensemble of musicians whose skills and talents are second to none. New originals meet old traditionals, songs by Randy Newman, Washboard Sam, Tammy Wynette, Bob Nolan and a moving tribute to the late great Tom Petty. Topping off the finely crafted production is the mastering by Stephen Marcussen who was involved in at least half of your record collection.

Steady As We Go is Hank Shizzoe’s 16th album since 1994. One might be tempted to ask, why make another one? Hank says: „Because it’s time. We’ve never played better as a band. I felt very confident singing these songs, my voice is at an entirely different level now. I’ve wanted to do an album like this for decades. We’ve had a blast making this record and I think it shows.“

„We“ in this case means Hank’s core band for the last five years: Tom Etter on guitars and Simon Baumann on drums. With the addition of Michel Poffet who had played his upright bass with Hank for 15 years and since the first album, Low Budget. „With Tom and Simon there is something very special and rare going on for me“, Hank says. „We just click, it feels like home. So we invited my dear old friend Michel Poffet over and he came in like a long lost relative that everybody just adores. We recorded in the same room playing off of each other, unrehearsed, fresh. Nobody was wearing headphones, I sang live. The way it used to be done, really. You know, four guys doing what they love and do best, expertly captured by the finest audio equipment, no funny stuff, no fixing or tinkering. Just real good, inspired playing and singing – boom, straight to the heart.“
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22. November 2018

AD VANDERVEEN declares on his new Blue Rose album: I Was Hank Williams !

Reminiscent of works like John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charlie or Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, the new album I Was Hank Williams by songwriter and singer Ad Vanderveen is a personal quest and an adventure. It is a quest for self-knowledge leading to spirituality, and an investigation into the origin of a dream. A dream that is old and has led the writer down a long road of countless songs and many records. It has a strong fascination for the new world, and is anchored in the old one. Remarkable of Vanderveen’s work may be the insights and influences of Eastern philosophy, which he has studied and practised for years, that shine a special light on different subjects, within a musical context of a distinct Western character.

Writing is like breathing for Ad and, although it doesn’t come quite as easy, it is a bare necessity for him, and so is playing. He is undoubtedly one of the most prolific writers in the genre and his work is considered to be of a consistent high level by fans, critics and peers (recently none other than Van Morrison personally invited him to be his opening act). Almost every year a new collection of AV songs in a different sphere and setting presents itself as a CD.

This year there’s even two: Where the previous releases, the diptych of Worlds Within (2017) and Denver Nevada (2018) were characterized by somewhat more extensive production and arrangements than is Vanderveen’s usual MO, for I Was Hank Williams there was a more minimal, direct and diverse approach. Voice and guitar, poem and music, remain center stage and keep the listener close to the content of the songs. Around that, charming and effective embellishments of horn and string arrangements, harmony vocals and old rootsy string instruments are weaved throughout the album, as well as ambient soundscapes enhancing the songs‘ atmospheres.


According to Ad: ‚A song should be able to stand on its own feet and come across without any bells and whistles, otherwise I don’t see the point in what I’m doing. It strikes me as disproportionate how much music seems to revolve around production, arrangement and even marketing these days. It’s like the packaging is more important than the content, while a song in itself is already something magical and miraculous; a poem and a message with a melody, a rhythm and a title – something complete with a distinct own identity, like a world you can live in‘.

It is this world the listener can be drawn into like in a very personal story, as in old folk tradition, without frills or distractions, and is able to visualize his or her own images and spheres, like reading a good book. As do many of his predecessors, old masters like Bob Dylan, Van Morrison or Neil Young, Ad Vanderveen has an instinctive way of working: „The Muse is a very fleeting and evasive thing and you have to catch it while it’s there. This goes for all of these recordings; they were made right after or sometimes even during the writing of the song, in the stage where the images and pictures are fresh and lively and close to their origin. Sometimes this was in a studio and sometimes in special locations like an old auditorium, or even the cave of Pythagoras. That Muse is certainly also present in the ambient spheres and sonic souvenirs of special moments that accompany these songs. A highlight being reuniting my mom and dad musically, on church organ and ragtime piano respectively, in a little piece called ‚Live and Give It All‘.“

09. November 2018

New album on Blue Rose by JESS KLEIN: Back To My Green !

Over a career that spans more than a decade and a half and has won her a devoted worldwide fan base, Jess Klein — who possesses what Mojo magazine calls “one of those voices you want to crawl up close to the speakers to listen to” has pursued a remarkable creative evolution that’s seen her dig ever deeper for resonant emotional insights, while continuing to refine her eloquently melodic, effortlessly accessible songcraft. Jon Pareles of The New York Times calls her “a songwriter with a voice of unblinking tenacity…who finds parables in the everyday and also finds humanity behind the archetypal.”


The Rochester, NY native began writing songs as a college student in Kingston, Jamaica, and is known for staking out brave lyrical and musical territory with such albums as Wishes Well Disguised (1998), Draw Them Near (2000), Strawberry Lover (2005), City Garden (2006), Bound to Love (2009), Behind A Veil (2012) and Learning Faith (2014) which Folk Radio UK calls “Unquestionably the finest album of her impressive career.” Jess spent eight years soaking up the live music culture of Austin, TX. Bootleg (2015) Jess’s live, full band album captures the dynamism of Jess onstage, backed by some of Austin’s top players. Jess was named a 2015 Finalist in the highly regarded Kerrville New Folk Competition.

Following a move from Austin to the tiny but vibrant town of Hillsborough, North Carolina, Jess joined forces with Producer Mark Simonsen (The Old Ceremony, Weems/Gerrard Band, film scores: Elephant Sighs, Radiation Veterans and Rareified) and Engineer Thom Canova (Amy Ray, 4 Non-Blondes, Oranj Symphonette) at Studio M in Durham, North Carolina to record a new album entitled Back to My Green.

On this striking collection of ten new originals, Klein’s incisive lyrics address living in uncertain times and the resilience that carries us through. Songs like “New Thanksgiving Feast”, “Tougher than I Seem”, and “Kid” look through the lens of a world-traveler and granddaughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, to celebrate the human capacity for healing and redemption during dark times. Guest vocalists include Gaelynn Lea and Jonathan Byrd. Simonsen and Canova’s deft production calls on influences including Motown, Classic Rock, Tropicalia and 70’s folk and creates a stirring backdrop to Klein’s passionate mezzo soprano on this timely and powerful album.

11. Oktober 2018

After three years the BOTTLE ROCKETS are back with the new album Bit Logic !

Bit Logic
BOTTLE ROCKETS Bit Logic CD
€ 14,90*

Formed nearly 30 years ago, the Bottle Rockets helped forge a now-popular subgenre-small-town, middle-class, Midwest American roots rock-part right-to-the-gut poetry, part rock ’n‘ roll, all truth. Bit Logic is a different sort of album for the St. Louis natives and shows them at their most self-aware, self-challenging, and socially alert.

Recorded in St. Louis at Sawhorse Studios, engineered by Mario Viele and produced by longtime studio collaborator Eric „Roscoe“ Ambel (The Del-Lords, Steve Earle), the Bottle Rockets‘ 13th album has them looking at their unique stylistic blend through a different lens. While one of the group’s earmarks is constructing blue-collar anthems, Bit Logic has the quartet focusing outside themselves, at how change and adaptation affects the bigger picture.


„We were not planning any kinda ‚theme‘ to this album, but one kinda showed up,“ said lead singer and guitarist Brian Henneman. „If it’s about anything at all, it’s an album about existing in this modern world. Trying to dodge depression and anger. These songs are views from the moments when you’re mostly succeeding at it.“ Yet, to balance those times when success may seem just a breath out of reach, the album includes the infectious pop masterpiece „Maybe Tomorrow“ which offers an optimistic and buoyant outlook on momentary failure.

The band returned to its more democratic songwriting approach this time, which generated four co-written songs, in contrast to their previous and critically acclaimed album, South Broadway Athletic Club, which Henneman primarily wrote. Leading up to their time in the studio, Henneman sent around some bare-bones acoustic iPhone recordings that would serve as the album’s blueprint, and the group fleshed out one song a day by means of three 4-day studio sessions.

The group went into the recording sessions with a fresh outlook-to bring out more of their Americana influences and to write a record that more accurately reflected their collective approach. What they found while doing so surprised them.

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