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Beck Covers John Lennon’s “Love”

beck_hansen_0100If the last few weeks have been any indication, winter seems to be the season for cover songs. Between The Flaming Lips, The Joy Formidable, Ke$ha and more, there hasn’t been any shortage of classics getting a new lease on life. Beck‘s new cover of John Lennon‘s “Love” only cements that tradition. Made for Starbucks’ fifth compilation album, Sweetheart 2014, “Love,” originally from Lennon’s 1970 Plastic Ono Band album, sits alongside tracks by Vampire Weekend, ThaoThe Head and The Heart, and many more in an easy listening covers paradise. Check out the new song, along with the track listing below, and pick up Sweetheart 2014 beginning Feb. 4. Continue reading ‘Beck Covers John Lennon’s “Love”’

Perform On The Rock Boat With Tony Lucca, Sister Hazel, And More!

There’s no better time to hit The Bahamas than in the dead of winter, and what could be cooler than cruising around the Caribbean on The Rock Boat? Answer: Performing while you’re on board…twice.

Enter the “Rock Boat Lucky 13″ Competition now for your chance to win this career-changing opportunity, and you could get added to the impressive list of performers like Brandi Carlile, Tony Lucca from The Voice, Sister Hazel, Scars on 45, and more! So, what are you waiting for? Enter now, rally your fans and get your swimsuit ready…you might need it soon.

Your Country’s Right Here: Amber Rubarth Wows at FloydFest

The headliners at this year’s FloydFest—including Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, Brandi Carlile, and the Drive-By Truckers—were  as amazing as you’d expect from internationally known and much-lauded musicians. But the real treat at the 11th Annual FloydFest, a four-day world music festival in Floyd, Virg., was arguably the array of up-and-coming artists certain to burst into prominence not too far into the future.

Amber Rubarth was clearly at the front of that line. Perhaps that’s not surprising when you consider she’s a fixture on New York’s indie scene and has won such accolades as the Grand Prize in NPR’s Mountain Stage New Song Contest. Her recent album A Common Case of Disappearing, which features duets with Jason Reeves and Jason Mraz, debuted at No. 13 on iTunes. Watching her spin her musical web of alt-country, folk tunes on various stages at FloydFest, one couldn’t help but be struck by her poise and warmth, which translated into her music.

“I was really shy growing up,” said Amberth when discussing her set. “Music gave me the outlet to be able to get out my feelings and get out things I wanted to say that were more personal, even if I couldn’t say it in a conversation. It’s really powerful for me. It’s a way of healing, releasing, really.”

Those feelings translated to the audience, too, when Rubarth joined the Ivy League Hillbillies set that had nine up-and-coming musicians on stage and when she played her own sets—including a brand new song “The Maiden and the Ram,” that got the audience dancing.

Continue reading ‘Your Country’s Right Here: Amber Rubarth Wows at FloydFest’

Vocal Points: Live Vs. Recorded

There’s something exciting about discovering an artist who not only records fantastic music, but can also perfectly duplicate their music onstage. In this auto-tune age, an artist who can rock just as hard every night in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands of fans as they do the studio—where they have multiple takes to nail that high note—is a rarity. That’s why I continue to go to live shows. Enduring all the mediocre acts is really worth it when you finally come across an exceptional talent. Vocally, I’ve always been blown away by James Taylor‘s live performance and how well he re-creates his sound live. His gentle and soothing voice translates perfectly to live performance, he is a master at utilizing the tone of his voice to mesh, but also to contrast his simple arrangements.  His low-key delivery is able to captivate his audience and get them intertwined in his magnificent stories.

Continue reading ‘Vocal Points: Live Vs. Recorded’

Your Country’s Right Here: Gill Landry of Old Crow Medicine Show Sheds Musical Light on the Darkness

It’s almost too simple to say that Gill Landry‘s new album Piety & Desire is something akin to him going home.

The New Orleans native who is a multi-instrumentalist with the Old Crow Medicine Show has clearly traveled a long way since his days as a busker in the Crescent City. This sonic ode to the city and the tour he’s taken to support it shows that despite his success, his musical heart is still there.

“I wanted it to be dirty,” said Landry of his hopes for the album that is named after two streets that run parallel through the city’s ninth ward. “I wanted to have the grit of the old records I love and to fit the language of the writing that is pretty in its own way.”

The way of which he speaks is to find beauty in some of what many might consider the darker sides of New Orleans such as the barmaids, merchants and thieves that inhabit the city’s famed French Quarter.

To make the musical vision come alive, Landry worked with the Felice Brothers as his musical accompanists and co-producers. He also enlisted a cast of folk, pop and country artists including Jolie Holland, Brandi Carlile, Ketch Secor, and Samantha Parton to guest on the album. Basically, Landry credits something akin to stars aligning for the good fortune in bringing such an array of talent together, starting with the famed Felice Brothers.

“When they asked if I wanted to come up to New York State, I said sure right away,” said Landry. “That just lined up perfectly. I didn’t even think twice about it. Once they [invited me to come work in their studio] I knew how the record would be made.”

Since the famed Old Crow Medicine Show was on a break, the timing was perfect for Landry to dig into his songs and create the album.

Continue reading ‘Your Country’s Right Here: Gill Landry of Old Crow Medicine Show Sheds Musical Light on the Darkness’

A Q&A With Brandi Carlile

Hearing Brandi Carlile’s voice over the phone, it’s impossible to ignore her country roots and warm family wisdom.  Born into a musical home, she has always been an honest musician, never considering herself anything else.   Yet after 2 albums and hectic touring, Carlile has found a way to let even more of her true self show in her latest release, Give Up The Ghost.

Carlile breathes music and even embodies it through her charity work.  OurStage got the change to catch up with Brandi to talk about her evolution as an artist, touring and Lilith Fair.

OS: When did you first get involved in folk music?

BC:  I never made a conscious decision that music was what I wanted to do with my life.  I just started doing it so young that I never made a decision to do anything else.

OS: Did you family have anything to do with it?

BC: Definitely.  That’s largely important, my family, because it was such a constant thing in our household that it never occurred to me that I was anything other than a musician.

OS: How have you grown up with your music over the years?

BC: Well, it’s always kind of been a parallel to me.  It goes through all of the phases that I do the coming-of-age, departure from family, the wanderlust.  All of those things happen and they become songs.  It started out being a country and western influence on me, then wanting to be a departure from that when I thought I wanted to be involved in rock ‘n’ roll, and the marriage of those two concepts is where I’m at now.

Continue Reading Our Q&A with Brandi Carlile

Fine Tunings: 10 To Watch in 2010

OSBlog02_FineTunings_10in2010The last year and last decade were a mixed bag musically-speaking, and all over the map. From Sri Lankan M.I.A. to Canadian Feist and Londoners Amy Winehouse and Adele, it has been impossible to predict where the next break-out scene will come from. As we begin a new year and a new decade, I have compiled a list of 10 fascinating female artists to keep your eye on. Some are new artists but most are on their way to becoming well-known and one even became a full-fledged superstar in 2009.

10. Visqueen: Rachel Flotard is the undisputed Visqueen of Seattle but has yet to make the national impact she deserves. With a stint as Neko Case’s backup singer on her resume, I’m thinking that 2010 will finally be her year. Visqueen’s latest album, Message To Garcia is filled with catchy hooks that are brainy too.

Continue reading ‘Fine Tunings: 10 To Watch in 2010′

Fine Tunings: Making Plans for The Redwood Plan

OSBlog02_FineTunings_RedwoodPlanIt’s so common it’s almost become tradition. Typically, lead singers start out fronting a band and then, once they make a name for themselves, go on to a solo project with their name on the marquee. The polar opposite is true for Lesli Wood of The Redwood Plan. Lesli is a well-known, long-time fixture in the diverse Seattle music scene. A decade ago she began performing locally as a solo acoustic artist. Then she put together the band, lesliwood. That was followed by the politically-charged group Ms. Led, which she “led” for nine years. And now, Lesli is the chief singer, songwriter and manager of The Redwood Plan, a  four-piece band (Wood on vocals, guitar and keys; Sydney Stolfus on vocals and guitar; Betty ST on vocals and drums; and bassist Larry Brady) that makes totally infectious dance punk with more hooks than a tackle box.

Attitude is Everything

Attitude is Everything

In the brief year The Redwood Plan has been together, the band has already released two four-song EPs, one self titled, and Movers, Shakers, Makers, produced by Martin Feveyear (Jesse Sykes and the Hereafter, Brandi Carlile, The Epoxies, Kings of Leon, Poststardom Depression, Queens of the Stone Age and zillions more). KEXP radio personality and local tastemaker John Richards says, The Redwood Plan has, “Just the kind of energy and attitude that the Seattle scene was missing.” That is high praise indeed!

Read Carla’s interview with The Redwood Plan

Brandi Carlile @ Newport Folk

Before stepping out at Newport Folk Festival for her powerful performance at the Newport Folk Festival – Brandi Carlile took some time to sit with us backstage. Check out the video to find out what influences this little starlet, where she gets her edge and how it felt to have her music embraced so heavily through Grey’s Anatomy.

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