KCA Artists Welcomes Maybe April to the roster!

 
Maybe April

Maybe April is a Country Americana trio made up of Katy Bishop, Kristen Castro, and Alaina Stacey. Hailing from Jonesboro, AR, Simi Valley, CA, and Chicago, IL, the three met in the summer of 2012 at a music industry camp in Nashville, TN and wrote a song that would later take them to Los Angeles to play at a GRAMMY week event, along with Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristofferson, Allen Shamblin, Gavin DeGraw, J.D. Souther, Joy Williams from the Civil Wars, and many others. Since then, amongst hundreds of shows, the girls have opened for Brandy Clark and Sarah Jarosz, and have played Pilgrimage Music Festival and IBMA's Wide Open Bluegrass Festival. Maybe April is recognized for their three-part harmonies, strength as instrumentalists, original songs, and shared roles as frontwomen, each adding something different from their musical backgrounds to create a unique sound. Just like their harmonies, Alaina, Katy, and Kristen are a perfect fit. Their love for each other and their music continues to push them in their endeavors in Nashville, where they have been based since 2013.

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Congratulations To Our Grammy Nominees!

Congratulations To Our Grammy Nominees!

We would like to congratulate Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley for their nomination in Best Bluegrass Album for Before The Sun Goes Down on Compass Records. We would also like to congratulate The Fairfield Four for their nomination in Best Roots Gospel Album with Still Rockin’ My Soul on Fairfield Four Records. 

Steep Canyon Rangers' New Album Radio to be Released August 28 on Rounder Records

TITLE TRACK PREMIERE ON 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Video Premieres:

"Radio" - Paste Magazine

"Blow Me Away" -  No Depression

Grammy Award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers’ highly anticipated new album, RADIO, will be released August 28 on Rounder Records and can now be pre-ordered via Amazon. Produced by Jerry Douglas (John Oates, Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck), the album’s title track premieres today on The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog. Of the track, The Wall Street Journal comments, "Led by bright fiddle and tight, interlocking harmony vocals, the track is a wide-eyed tribute to the magic of discovering music over the airwaves, with sly references to other songs salted into the lyrics." Stream the song and read the piece here: http://on.wsj.com/1GLaTft. In addition, the band is currently in the midst of a widespread U.S. tour including dates in Telluride, CO, Boulder, CO, Charleston, SC, Raleigh, NC, New York City and Washington, DC.

The Steep Canyon Rangers are Woody Platt (guitar), Graham Sharp (banjo), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass), Mike Guggino (mandolin), Nicky Sanders (fiddle) and Mike Ashworth (box kit). Known for touring extensively and widely praised for their performances, the acclaimed bluegrass band performs between 125 and 150 dates per year, including tours they share with actor/comedian and respected banjo player Steve Martin and esteemed singer-songwriter Edie Brickell.

RADIO is Steep Canyon Rangers’ ninth studio album and was recorded with Douglas at Asheville, NC’s Echo Mountain Recording Studio. The album comprises twelve all-original bluegrass/ Americana tracks written by Sharp, Humphrey, Platt and Guggino in varying degrees, including a few co-writes with fellow musicians from the folk world such as Phil Barker of the Carolina bluegrass band Town Mountain.

RADIO follows Steep Canyon Rangers’ 2013 release, Tell The Ones I Love, which Bluegrass Today praised as “…a great mixture of today’s bluegrass styles, excellent harmonies, and a few surprises…an excellent album…The Steep Canyon Rangers have delivered another winner, and their fans are sure to be pleased.” Ed Helms’ The Bluegrass Situation asserted, “It’s an exquisite recording, a wonderful marriage of their talent and work ethic, and Larry Campbell’s remarkable intuition.” Previously, their 2012 release, Nobody Knows You, was presented the Grammy Award for “Best Bluegrass Album.” The band has also been nominated for and won multiple awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association, including Entertainers of the Year in 2011 for their work with Steve Martin.

Continuously involved with the community and charitable organizations, Steep Canyon Rangers’ annual Mountain Song Festival, which benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Transylvania County, will celebrate its 10th Anniversary this year, kicking off with an inaugural Steep Canyon 50 K & Relay Ultra Run on September 10th. Additionally, the band has entered a partnership with Oskar Blues Brewery and their CAN’d Aid Foundation as well as SevenBar Aviation and their affiliated hospital foundations.

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“One of the most expressive bluegrass bands you’ll find…” CMT Edge

“…holding fast to bluegrass roots but refusing to do what some hard-liners maintain passes for tradition: aping the sounds and styles of first-generation bluegrassers Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs.”

The Tennessean

“Meaningful and engaging.” – PopMatters

“Virtuosic playing…witty, honest, songwriting.” Charleston City Paper


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RADIO TRACK LIST

1. Radio

2. Diamonds In The Dust

3. Simple Is Me

4. Blow Me Away

5. Blue Velvet Rain

6. Looking Glass

7. Down That Road Again

8. Break

9. Wasted

10. Long Summer

11. When The Well Runs Dry

12. Monumental Fool

www.steepcanyon.com

Press Release: Sacks and Co. 

The HillBenders Announce the Release of Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry Critics Praise the Project at SXSW and Folk Alliance

Out June 2nd on Compass Records 

Watch the video for “Tommy’s Holiday Camp/Eyesight to the Blind” Exclusively Available Via Billboard.com 

“The HillBenders...proved to be the perfect group to execute this "Whograss" concept” –Rolling Stone, “50 Best Things We Saw at SXSW” 

Ambitiously and audaciously rendered…Well worth standing in the rain to hear.” –Gary Graff, Billboard 

Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry was the highpoint of a night of many stellar Friday night performances at Folk Alliance.–Timothy Finn, Kansas City Star

May 5, 2015 (Nashville, Tennessee) – Forty-five years after its initial release, The Who’s rock opera Tommy has been transformed by The Hillbenders into a full-length bluegrass tribute with all of the original record’s energy, instrumental showmanship, and rock star vocals in tact.

Originally recorded with a full rock band, the dynamic bluegrass quintet recreated the legendary album with a banjo, Dobro, mandolin, bass, and guitar. The “Bluegrass Opry,” as its been dubbed, brings a new perspective to Tommy while paying homage to its creators.

SXSW co-founder and musician/producer Louis Jay Meyers conceived the idea of a “bluegrass opry” and felt he’d found the right band to pull off this high-wire approach to the record when he met The Hillbenders, a band known for its ability to bridge the gap between musical genres and fans.

The live performance is a full 75-minute show covering the original album from start to finish with special video accompaniment and audience participation.

The HillBenders will host a pre-launch show on May 10th at Nashville’s historic bluegrass haven, Station Inn.

www.hillbenders.com

The Honeycutters Release Me Oh My via Organic Records!

“There are a lot of worthy and compelling Americana singer-songsters and bands out there right now, it’s a rich landscape. But The Honeycutters, fronted by Amanda Platt is surely a wonder to behold. The band just sounds so darn good and makes a style of country music that always makes me feel good, even when it’s so melancholy. I think Amanda has something to teach us about the economy of words, the magic of a good melody and the satisfaction of an aching and honest vocal.” – Amy Ray, The Indigo Girls Led by songwriter Amanda Anne Platt, The Honeycutters include Tal Taylor on mandolin, Rick Cooper on bass, Josh Milligan on drums, and Matt Smith rounds out the band on pedal steel, electric guitar, and dobro to create a sound that carries just as well across the bar room as in a church or a theater. Fueled by the powerful songwriting and vocals of founder Amanda Platt, Me Oh My moves her into the spotlight as producer, band leader, and principal creative force behind the band. With songs that are honest and relatable, part chagrin and part hope, Platt’s voice carries a timeless appeal.

In both her simple composition and honest delivery it’s easy to hear the influence of country legends such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, or Loretta Lynn, and with this Miss Platt credits growing up listening to her Father’s extensive record collection every Saturday morning. Despite her love for classic country, Platt cites Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty as major influences and her songwriting carries a wit and an edge that plants her firmly in her generation.

Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst calls The Honeycutters “… just superb, with a sweet toned and melodious aura… Today’s Smoky Mountain area modern folk thing does have a certain vibe, and these guys are among its finest purveyors.” Folk Music About.com’s Kim Ruehl wrote, “Their music embodies a very catchy, accessible, optimistic sort of spirit so frequently lacking in folk circles (where brooding, hyper-analytical music reigns supreme). What’s more, like Carolina Story, they’re a great band replete with tasty harmonies.”

The Honeycutters formed in 2007 in Asheville, NC, the town they still call home, and had quick success with their first release Irene (2009). Me Oh My is the highly anticipated follow up to the 2012’s When Bitter Met Sweet. Each album has helped to grow grow their audience and expand their tours to include notable appearances at MerleFest, Suwannee Springfest, Strawberry Music Festival, Vancouver Island Music Fest, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Folk Alliance, Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Fest and the Nelsonville Music Festival. They have also performed alongside esteemed musicians Guy Clark, Tony Rice, The Seldom Scene, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Amy Ray, Donna the Buffalo, Jill Andrews, and The Steep Canyon Rangers.

For more information, visit www.thehoneycutters.com or www.organic-records.com.

For news from the road, please visit www.facebook.com/Honeycutters and twitter.com/thehoneycutters.

New Albums from The Fairfield Four & The McCrary Sisters!

Let's go  

Two brand new albums hit the streets today from The Fairfield Four & The McCrary Sisters!  Do yourself a favor, and be sure to pick up a copy of each!:

The Fairfield Four: Still Rockin' My Soul: http://smarturl.it/StillRockinMySoul

[Fairfield Four Records | Distribution by Thirty Tigers, Sony Red, and Provident]

The McCrary Sisters: http://smarturl.it/Lets-Go

[McC Records | Distribution by Thirty Tigers]

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The Fairfield Four are a legitimate national treasure with a history that goes back nearly 100 years when the original members began singing at The Fairfield Baptist Church in Nashville. Over the years the group has received numerous honors including two Grammy awards, a National Heritage Award and were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. They are best known for their appearance in the Coen brothers movie, “O Brother Where Art Thou,” and the corresponding soundtrack.  The current members of the Fairfield Four are Joe Thompson, Levert Allison, Larrice Byrd, Sr., and Bobbye Sherrell. Their four soulful voices combine into a rich harmony that’s as soothing as a cool breeze on a hot summer day.

www.thefairfieldfour.com 

www.facebook.com/FairfieldFour 

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The McCrary Sisters (Ann, Deborah, Regina and Alfreda) are the daughters of the late Rev. Samuel McCrary -- one of the original members of the legendary gospel quartet The Fairfield Four. The daughters were raised in harmony, singing at home and at their father's church, but word soon spread of their individual accomplished voices and each began sharing the family vocal legacy as solo artists with a wide range of performers to include Bob Dylan, Elvis, Isaac Hayes and Stevie Wonder.

In 2011, the Sisters officially formed their own group, The McCrary Sisters, and have recorded or performed with the Black Keys, Martina McBride, Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Jonny Lang, Robert Randolph, The Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Nashville’s Jonathan Jackson, Mike Ferris and many more. They have been featured on Bobby Jones Gospel and TBN’s Jason Crabbe Show.

 

The McCrary Sisters’ new CD Let’s Go is produced by Buddy Miller and features The Fairfield Four.

www.mccrarysisters.com

www.facebook.com/mccrarysisters

www.twitter.com/mccrarysisters

 

The HillBenders Present The Who's TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opry

“Ever since I was a young boy I played the silver ball” Maybe not your standard bluegrass lyric, but a line known by all the world from the biggest rock opera of all time, The Who’s Tommy.

45 years after its original release, this classic of classic rock has now been fully realized as a full length bluegrass tribute featuring Springfield, Missouri’s The HillBenders.  Conceived and produced by SXSW co-founder and longtime musician/producer Louis Jay Meyers, this Bluegrass Opry brings a new perspective to Tommy while paying total respect to its creators.

Originally composed by guitarist Pete Townshend as a rock opera that tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy, including his experiences with life and the relationship with his family. The original album has sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and significant value".  In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Tommy number 96 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Meyers had been looking for the right band to pull off this high wire bluegrass approach for several decades and The HillBenders are the right band.  With a perfect mix of virtuoso musicianship and rock star vocals, The HillBenders bring Pete Townshend’s original vision to life in a new and exciting way.

It’s amazing to hear banjo, dobro, mandolin, bass, and guitar bring the same energy and vision to Tommy as The Who did with a full rock band and orchestra.

The HillBenders are one of the few bluegrass groups that recognize their ability to bridge the gap between the common music consumer and the bluegrass genre, selecting material that defies any hillbilly stigmas. With their widely varied influences, they are trying to bring to bluegrass songs that unify. “We wanted to pair bluegrass with the other music we grew up with —rock and roll!” say HillBender Nolan Lawrence.

The live performance is a full 75 minute show covering the original album from start to finish with special video accompaniment and audience participation.

This recording was originally planned as a co-production with the legendary musician/producer Lou Whitney.  After Lou’s tragic passing in October 2014, plans were revised to record in Lou’s studio in Springfield, Missouri surrounded by those that helped create the Lou Whitney sound and style of making records.  This record is dedicated to the memory of the late great Lou Whitney.

Tommy is appealing to music fans of all ages.  This is truly a classic.

Credits: Jim Rea – Guitar/Arranger Nolan Lawrence - Mandolin Chad "Gravy Boat" Graves - Dobro Mark Cassidy - Banjo Gary Rea – Bass All vocals: The HillBenders Recorded at The Studio, Springfield MO

www.hillbenders.com

The Fairfield Four - Pre-Order Still Rockin' My Soul NOW on PledgeMusic!

Pre-Order Still Rockin' My Soul NOW on PledgeMusic! 

The Fairfield Four is back in action!  The group just launched a PledgeMusic Campaign where you may pre-order the brand new album, Still Rockin' My Soul, as well as check out exclusive items: autographed CDs, photos, the group's signature overalls, and legacy items such as rare 78's and signed pictures of earlier members.

With every pre-order, you'll receive a download of the album ahead of the digital release AND you'll also have access to exclusive photos and videos of The Fairfield Four backstage or in the studio. You'll even have the opportunity to sing on stage with the group or have them over for a house concert!

Still Rockin' My Soul will be released on March 10th, 2015 (Distribution by Thirty Tigers, Sony Red, and Provident).  The album features Lee Ann Womack and coordinates with the PBS pledge campaign entitled, "Rock My Soul!"

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The Fairfield Four are a legitimate national treasure with a history that goes back nearly 100 years when the original members began singing at The Fairfield Baptist Church in Nashville. Over the years the group has received numerous honors including two Grammy awards, a National Heritage Award and were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. They are best known for their appearance in the Coen brothers movie, "O Brother Where Art Thou," and the corresponding soundtrack.  The current members of the Fairfield Four are Joe Thompson, Levert Allison, Larrice Byrd, Sr., and Bobbye Sherrell. Their four soulful voices combine into a rich harmony that's as soothing as a cool breeze on a hot summer day.

To get album teasers, special offers, and the most up-to-date news, join The Fairfield Four's mailing list via their website or Facebook page below:

www.thefairfieldfour.com 

www.facebook.com/FairfieldFour 

 

 

 

KCA Artists now presenting...Rock My Soul!

KCA Artists is now presenting a new touring package coming out in Spring of 2015, supported by a national PBS pledge campaign entitled, "Rock My Soul," featuring the legendary Fairfield Four and The McCrary Sisters.  The show focuses on how the African American gospel experience influences every genre of music in America today. For everyone in the television audience the night of the "Rock My Soul" taping, there was no escaping it:  the music coming off the stage was absolutely stunning!  This historic piece will be presented  beginning next March and continuing through the end of 2015.

PBS will be airing the show to millions of arts supporters in March and April.  Guests on the show include: Lucinda Williams, Lee Ann Womack, Buddy Miller, Van Hunt and Amos Lee - with all guests sharing the stage with either The Fairfield Four or The McCrary Sisters.

The TV special is a musical performance with some documentary overtones and will be timed with the release of The Fairfield Four and The McCrary Sisters' new albums on March 10, 2015.  (Distribution by Thirty Tigers, Sony Red, and Provident.)

Shore Fire will publicize both the tour and album releases through 2015.  The tour package will not include the guest performers from the PBS special, but will feature The Fairfield Four a cappella and The McCrary Sisters with a four-piece band.

 

"But suddenly we got The Fairfield Four and The McCrary Sisters singing together in a row, with a range like an organ and sonic energy like a helicopter taking off... a stunning, core-shuddering sound that kept me dabbing my eyes."  

-Craig Havighurst, Bluegrass Situation - review of "Rock My Soul"

"The legacy of their group [The Fairfield Four] may be massive...  But last night, they summoned spirits through the most lasting, natural and convincing musical device of all - the human voice."  

- Walter Tunis, Lexington Herald-Ledger    

 

"When Ann, Deborah, Regina and Alfreda McCrary sing, there is no way - no matter your religious bent - not to be moved...The sisters have music in their blood and you can hear it in their passionate voices."  

- Jeff Schwachter, Atlantic City Weekly

www.thefairfieldfour.com

www.mccrarysisters.com

 

Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley - Before the Sun Goes Down

Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley will release a brand new album, Before the Sun Goes Down,  on January 13, 2015!  This unique collaborative effort between two uniquely gifted musicians—Rob Ickes is a longtime, well established instrumental giant, and Trey Hensley is newly arrived in Music City, bursting with talent both as a vocalist and guitarist—is bound to be a revelation to traditional music fans on several counts. It is the vehicle which first introduces Trey Hensley to much of the bluegrass and country music world. Trey is a young man poised on the edge of an incredibly bright future, steeped as he is in much of what is best in the music. From his powerful yet sympathetic vocal interpretations of traditional and new material, his jaw dropping instrumental skills on both acoustic and electric guitar, and his own considerable songwriting talents, Trey is bursting at the seams with freshness and musical excitement. His resonant baritone voice is rich, expressive and equally at home with classic bluegrass, traditional country, or original compositions from his own hand or written by others. This album promises to be a breath of fresh air on the country music scene today, even while bringing Trey’s comfort and familiarity with traditional country and bluegrass music to the fore. He began playing guitar and singing in his native Jonesborough, Tennessee when he was 10. At 11 he was invited by Marty Stuart to play the Grand Ole Opry and was thrilled when they were joined from the wings by Earl Scruggs with whom he played several times thereafter. Marty remains a fan and a booster. Trey has also in his young life already played with Johnny and June Carter Cash, Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, The Oak Ridge Boys and Janie Fricke. He’s appeared on bills with Sara Evans, Charlie Daniels, Peter Frampton, Randy Owen, Steve Wariner and Marty Stuart and has appeared before President George W. Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush and Vice President Cheney. Another benefit the album offers is an opportunity to view Rob Ickes, by now an acknowledged master of the dobro and lap steel guitar, outside the box, as it were. Rob has been playing bluegrass with his much decorated band, Blue Highway, for over twenty years, during which time he has been adjudged Bluegrass Dobro Player Of the Year fifteen times. He has also played on countless sessions, recording with artists as diverse as Merle Haggard, Dierks Bentley, Patty Loveless and Alison Krauss. He has also helped form a jazz oriented trio, Three Ring Circle, along with Andy Leftwich and Dave Pomeroy. His most recent recording, THREE BELLS, is a true dobro summit meeting with fellow greats Jerry Douglas and the late Mike Auldridge. He even once received (out of the blue!) an admiring phone call from jazz guitar and harmonica master Toots Thielemans!

One is struck when talking to Rob and Trey by the satisfaction they both feel about what they have produced. The album was recorded mostly live, with minimal overdubs, fixes, punch-ins, or even very many takes and with all the musicians in one room in only a few days of studio time. Rob, the driving force behind the album and the man largely responsible for its being made, says that his favorite albums by the pioneers of the music, the ones that made him want to make music in the first place, were made this way. The spontaneity and sheer joy of creation among a small group of master musicians is palpable in listening to the completed product.

Rob has been a booster since he first heard Trey, a happening that came about in an unusual way. He became aware of the young man’s enormous vocal talent when he heard his scratch vocal (suggested by the album’s engineer) on Rob’s band Blue Highway’s album THE GAME. Wayne Taylor and Tim Stafford of Blue Highway penned the song “My Last Day In The Mine.” The band had initially hoped to have a prominent lead singer outside the band to perform a guest vocal of the song for the album, but found themselves falling in love with the youthful Trey’s evocation of the world weary working man’s fears of leaving the only job he’d ever known. Trey was 22 at the time. His vocal was used on the completed product and has received considerable positive notice, as has the entire album. Shortly thereafter, Trey and his wife Amber relocated to Nashville, and Rob has been showing Trey the ropes.

Completely consumed by country music from an early age as he was, I wondered aloud to Trey how he made it through school. “I just smuggled an iPod into classes,“ he confessed, smiling ruefully. From the evidence offered on this album, I’d say he was listening to the right stuff. Accompanied by some of the finest, most accomplished musicians in Nashville, Rob and Trey tackle a diverse group of songs, put a fresh spin on some old ones, polish up some more recent hits, and offer up an original from Trey, drawing from the music of artists as diverse as Jimmy Martin, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Buddy Emmons, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills. In addition to Rob—Trey’s friend, mentor, and co-producer on dobro and lap steel—Trey’s sterling vocals are bolstered by a band which includes Aubrey Haynie or Andy Leftwich on fiddle, the ubiquitous (and mighty fine) Nashville acoustic bassist Mike Bub, and drummer John Gardner, who is rightfully lauded for his sensitivity to the needs of country music in the studio and who has toured with the likes of Don Williams, the Dixie Chicks and The Dead Reckoners, among others. He provides impeccable rhythm throughout. Vocal harmonies or instrumental sweetening are added on one song or another by Jon Randall, Susanne Cox, Dan Tyminski, Shawn Lane, and Ron Block. – Randy Pitts

The Honeycutters Sign with Organic Records: New Album Slated for Spring 2015!

ASHEVILLE, NC -- The Honeycutters, an Asheville, NC based original country roots band, has signed an exclusive recording contract with Organic Records®. The band led a successful Kickstarter campaign raising $31,317 to help fund their third studio album. They have laid down the tracks in Echo Mountain Recording Studio in Asheville and are mastering it at Crossroads Studios in Arden. The album is slated for release in the spring of 2015. Led by songwriter Amanda Anne Platt, The Honeycutters include Tal Taylor on mandolin, Rick Cooper on bass, Josh Milligan on drums, and Matt Smith rounding out Platt's songs on pedal steel, electric guitar, and dobro to create a sound that carries just as well across the bar room as in a church or a theater. Platt’s songs are shaped by a raw honesty that comes straight from the heart and emits a sort of melancholy happiness.

“We're very excited to be joining the Organic family!” said Platt. “We've been considering going with a label to help us grow, and it feels right to team up with one that is based in Asheville. Keepin' it local. We want to keep the music coming, and believe the Organic folks are just the guys to help us do that.”

“The Honeycutters fit perfectly with Organic, where we love to support and promote great original music,” said Organic Records Marketing Director Ty Gilpin. “They are super talented players and Amanda is a songwriting and singing tour de force. They are hard-working, dedicated to the music and great people to boot!"

The band is frequently mentioned along with the movement to "Take country music back to it's roots." The Honeycutters are just doing what they know how to do: making music that feels as good to hear as it does to play.

“The new album is the one I'm most proud of to date.” Platt goes on to say, “I took much more of a driver's seat in it's making, and the process has forced me to do a lot of growing up... I feel like I've really found my voice. I'm very excited about the line up of the band, and the songwriting includes some of my very favorites.”

The soon-to-be-titled release is slated to drop in April with an album release party in Asheville along with a release tour to be announced. They are also scheduled to appear at MerleFest that same month.

The Honeycutters formed in 2007 in Asheville, the town they still call home, and had quick success with their first release Irene (2009). That release and their sophomore effort When Bitter Met Sweet (2012) grew their audience to help expand their tours to include notable appearances at Merlefest, Suwannee SpringFest, Strawberry Music Festival, Vancouver Island Music Fest, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Fest and the Nelsonville Music Festival. They have also performed alongside esteemed musicians Guy Clark, Tony Rice, The Seldom Scene, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Amy Ray, Donna The Buffalo, Jill Andrews, and The Steep Canyon Rangers.

Amanda Anne Platt has been hailed as "easily one of the best songwriters coming out of WNC these days” by WNCW programming director Martin Anderson, who goes on to state, “and she really needs to be discovered by the national Americana world.” In both her simple composition and honest delivery it's easy to hear the influence of country legends such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, or Loretta Lynn, and with this Miss Platt credits growing up listening to her Father's extensive record collection every Saturday morning. Despite her love for classic country, she cites Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty as major influences and her songwriting carries a wit and an edge that plants her firmly in her generation.

“We're very excited to be joining the Organic family!” said Platt. “We've been considering going with a label to help us grow, and it feels right to team up with one that is based in Asheville. Keepin' it local. We want to keep the music coming, and believe the Organic folks are just the guys to help us do that.”

“The Honeycutters fit perfectly with Organic, where we love to support and promote great original music,” said Organic Records Marketing Director Ty Gilpin. “They are super talented players and Amanda is a songwriting and singing tour de force. They are hard-working, dedicated to the music and great people to boot!"

The band is frequently mentioned along with the movement to "Take country music back to it's roots." The Honeycutters are just doing what they know how to do: making music that feels as good to hear as it does to play.

“The new album is the one I'm most proud of to date.” Platt goes on to say, “I took much more of a driver's seat in it's making, and the process has forced me to do a lot of growing up... I feel like I've really found my voice. I'm very excited about the line up of the band, and the songwriting includes some of my very favorites.”

The soon-to-be-titled release is slated to drop in April with an album release party in Asheville along with a release tour to be announced. They are also scheduled to appear at MerleFest that same month.

The Honeycutters formed in 2007 in Asheville, the town they still call home, and had quick success with their first release Irene (2009). That release and their sophomore effort When Bitter Met Sweet (2012) grew their audience to help expand their tours to include notable appearances at Merlefest, Suwannee SpringFest, Strawberry Music Festival, Vancouver Island Music Fest, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Fest and the Nelsonville Music Festival. They have also performed alongside esteemed musicians Guy Clark, Tony Rice, The Seldom Scene, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Amy Ray, Donna The Buffalo, Jill Andrews, and The Steep Canyon Rangers.

Amanda Anne Platt has been hailed as "easily one of the best songwriters coming out of WNC these days” by WNCW programming director Martin Anderson, who goes on to state, “and she really needs to be discovered by the national Americana world.” In both her simple composition and honest delivery it's easy to hear the influence of country legends such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, or Loretta Lynn, and with this Miss Platt credits growing up listening to her Father's extensive record collection every Saturday morning. Despite her love for classic country, she cites Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty as major influences and her songwriting carries a wit and an edge that plants her firmly in her generation.

For a sampling of The Honeycutters’ previous releases and some live mixes, visit: http://noisetrade.com/thehoneycutters/noisetrade-mixtape.

For more information about the Honeycutters and their tour dates, please visit: www.thehoneycutters.com.

Jesse Winchester 1944-2014

“You can’t talk about the best songwriters and not include him.” – Bob Dylan“The word that comes to mind is grace.” – Elvis Costello

Jesse Winchester, a singer’s singer and a songwriter’s songwriter, died of bladder cancer on April 11, 2014, at the age of 69. His voice, by turns ethereal, sly, earthy, and heartbreakingly direct, delivered some of the finest songs of our time over more than four decades of live performance, and twelve original albums, including the forthcoming A Reasonable Amount of Trouble. His songs have been covered by artists as different as Jimmy Buffett, Elvis Costello, Reba McIntyre, Wilson Pickett, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and the Everly Brothers.

Jesse Winchester was born May 17, 1944 in Bossier City, Louisiana, to James Ridout Winchester and Frances (Manire) Winchester. He spent his early years in Mississippi, and moved to Memphis with his family at age 12, where his father went to work with the Winchester law firm. There, Jesse’s ears were opened to the sounds of rhythm and blues and rockabilly via radio stations such as WDIA, where B.B. King and Rufus Thomas hosted shows, and WHBQ, where the irrepressible Dewey Phillips mixed the music of black and white acts in a glorious jumble. Jesse got his first guitar shortly after arriving in Memphis, and began playing in bands around town while attending Christian Brothers High School.

Winchester left Memphis to attend Williams College, from which he graduated (after a brief period studying, and playing with a band, in Munich, Germany) in 1966. Soon thereafter he received a piece of mail that would profoundly alter the course of his life – a draft notice summoning him to serve in Vietnam. Deeply disturbed by the war and the prospect of killing in what he considered a dubious cause, Winchester abruptly left the United States for Montreal, Canada, where he was to live for the next 36 years.

In Montreal he made his living first playing with various bands, including one called Les Astronauts, whose members were required to dress in spaceman costumes. Deciding that space travel was not his forte, he began to focus on solo performance and, more importantly, songwriting. The first song he wrote, “The Brand-New Tennessee Waltz,” set a very high standard, and remained a signature tune for him. It was eventually covered by Joan Baez, Ralph Stanley, the Everly Brothers, and, in 2000, Patti Page, who had recorded the original “Tennessee Waltz” fifty years earlier.

In 1970, his self-titled first album, Jesse Winchester, was released. Produced by Robbie Robertson and engineered by Todd Rundgren, the album contained several of Jesse’s most enduring and popular songs, including “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz,” “Payday,” “Biloxi,” “Yankee Lady,” and the haunting “Quiet About It.” The record firmly established his reputation as both songwriter and performer, and a succession of albums followed as he kept up a busy touring schedule through Canada, Australia, and Europe.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter announced an amnesty for those who had left the country to avoid being sent to Vietnam, and Jesse was finally able to visit, and perform in, the United States. He did not, however, consider moving back. “I had a Canadian wife,” he said later, “Canadian children, and a Canadian mortgage.” Based in Montreal, he continued busily touring and recording through the 1980s.

On the eve of the 1990s, tired of touring, and with his songs being recorded regularly by top country artists such as Reba McIntire and Wynonna Judd, Winchester took nearly a full decade off from traveling and performing to stay home and concentrate on songwriting. At the end of that decade, Winchester recorded Gentleman of Leisure, an album containing his pick of the songs he’d written during that time. The record, produced by Jerry Douglas, remained one of Winchester’s favorites among his own recordings.

In 2002, he met his future wife, Cindy, and the next year moved back to the United States, settling in Charlottesville, Virginia, after a brief period in his old home town of Memphis. In 2007 he was awarded ASCAP's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.  He maintained a comfortable touring schedule and continued to write new songs, the best of which made up his 2009 album Love Filling Station.

But a 2010 appearance on Elvis Costello’s Sundance series Spectacle introduced Jesse’s music to a new and larger audience. Alongside Costello, Neko Case, Sheryl Crow, and Ron Sexsmith, Jesse performed several songs, most notably the stunning “Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding,” from Love Filling Station, a tender and shockingly beautiful ode to the nonsense lyrics in the teenage love songs of the 1950s. The performance literally stopped the show, according to Costello. “I just bowed my head,” the host said, “and told the audience that they had to go home because I could not gather myself to make the next introduction, such was supernatural beauty of his voice.” That performance quickly became a word-of-mouth sensation via YouTube, and Winchester’s performing schedule went into a higher gear.

That wave of activity was brought to an abrupt halt in June 2011, when Jesse was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. He underwent surgery and a brief but difficult treatment, which he faced with extraordinary dignity and spirit. Amazingly, in August of that year he was pronounced cancer-free, and he resumed his performing schedule. During his illness, an all-star group of artists recorded an excellent tribute album of Jesse’s songs, entitled Quiet About It. Jimmy Buffett, one of Jesse’s biggest fans, was the driving force behind the tribute.

The title song, a subtle and strikingly honest meditation on mortality that appeared originally on Jesse’s first album, contains these lines:

Be of good cheer It's all in His plan He's walking with us And He speaks through every man But I have this notion Call it my fear That I will die alone And even He won't be there But when I feel that way I thirst, and I want to shout it Trust me Lord, to be quiet about it

In February 2014, cancer was found again, and this time it was untreatable. Jesse Winchester finally succumbed to it on April 11, 2014, at home – not alone, but surrounded by the presence and love of his wife, Cindy, and his family.

He is survived by his wife, Cindy, a brother, Cassius Winchester, and a sister, Ellyn Weeks, as well as his children, James Winchester, Alice Winchester, and Marcus Lee Winchester, a stepdaughter, Jennifer Slangerup, and his grandchildren Oliver, Gus, and Luke Dungavell of Ontario, Canada, and Tave and Vann Slangerup of Charlottesville, Virginia.

-- Tom Piazza, author and family friend

Chatham County Line Signs with KCA Artists

(Nashville, TN) December 5, 2013: One look at Raleigh NC-based Chatham County Line onstage and one expects to hear the dusty bluegrass nostalgia of the faded album covers we all grew up with, but give them three minutes and that notion is easily dispelled. Where the suit and tie-bluegrass instruments-single mic approach look very traditional, it is the original songwriting that paves the road for these four gentlemen. Imagine the sound of Kentucky, written in Texas, filtered through a pen in the North Carolina Piedmont and you will be on the right path...although this day in age, YouTube might be easier.

Over ten years of constant touring, five studio albums, and last year's long awaited live concert release entitled Sight & Sound, this band has truly carved their own little home in the acoustic music community. Such is the path that leads to the band today, hastily finishing up work on their sixth studio release due in early 2014 on Yep Roc Records.

Chatham Count Line has played festivals in the US such as MerleFest, Grey Fox, Rocky Grass, Pickathon, Hardly Strictly, Bristol Rhythm & Roots, Grassroots, and Pickin' in the Pine. With worn passports, they have played Lowland (NL), Take Root (NL), Kilkenny (IE), Bergenfest (NO), Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver in Canada as well as the BBC2 soundstage for their 2008 performance on Jools Hollands in the UK. Somewhere along the way, the boys also found time to record two gold records in Norway with folk luminary Jonas Fjeld.

2014 find the band joining some great company in signing with KCA Artists in Nashville TN. Chatham County Line looks forward to this collaboration, releasing their new record and taking their distinct sound into the next decade.

For more information, visit www.chathamcountyline.com, www.keithcase.com, or www.yeproc.com 

The HillBenders Sign with KCA Artists

(Nashville, TN) July 24, 2013: The HillBenders are an aggressively energetic acoustic quintet at the forefront of an alt-grass revolution. With the release of their latest project, Can You Hear Me? on Compass Records, The HillBenders have established their own brand of acoustic fusion: a rich blend of bluegrass and Americana with a razor-sharp indie-rock edge. The HillBenders, along with many of their of their non-traditionalist peers, are turning heads across the country and around the globe as they continue to redefine bluegrass and acoustic music for the modern era. The fans are not the only ones who are jumping onto the Benders' alt-grass bandwagon. The band has just started a new chapter in their remarkable journey by entering into a booking agreement with nationally renowned, and highly esteemed talent agency, KCA Artists. Responsible for the touring careers of some of the country's most beloved performers like Hot Rize, Guy Clark, Seldom Scene, and Steep Canyon Rangers, KCA has been instrumental in the growth of the American acoustic music scene for more than three decades. The agency's deep connections in the folk, Americana, and bluegrass markets will offer countless new opportunities for the band and raise the bar for a bright future.  

Formerly known as Keith Case & Associates, KCA Artists is a talent agency providing direction to the finest roster in American music. With over 30 years in the business, Keith Case has become widely known for representing one-of-a-kind artists of exceptional quality, and doing so with integrity and professionalism. Today, that tradition continues and grows. Case has a long-standing reputation as a passionate, dedicated advocate of bluegrass and roots music, helping pave the way for the best artists in these genres move toward the mainstream. He and his staff bring that same energy and devotion to their select artists in the fields of folk, gospel, contemporary blues, roots rock, bluegrass  and Americana. The music represented is both timeless and contemporary, with each artist having a history of inspiring critics and electrifying audiences of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life.

 

Billboard Magazine has touted Compass Records Group as one of the leading independent labels of the past decade. The label group is home to more than 500 releases across the Compass Records, Green Linnet and Mulligan Records imprints with a roster that boasts a variety of artists including Colin Hay, Victor Wooten, Claire Lynch, Altan, Peter Rowan, The Gibson Brothers, Darden Smith, BeauSoleil, The HillBenders, Michael Cleveland, and label co-founder Alison Brown. For more information, visit compassrecords.comkeithcase.com, or hillbenders.com

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Shannon Whitworth Releases 'High Tide'

Shannon Whitworth's sultry, bluesy stylings on her new album High Tide ascertains her new place in the musical landscape. Shannon kicked off her album release tour in Ashland, Virginia en route to New York City. Shannon's new video for the title track "High Tide" recently premiered on American Songwriter and features a cool, old warehouse vibe with her regular hired guys from Brevard, North Carolina. From her origins playing in bluegrass and string bands, Shannon has proved she's a voice to pay attention to and is one that will most definitely evolve. High Tide is the follow up to her duo/covers album with Barrett Smith (Bring It On Home  in 2012).

http://shannonwhitworth.net/