All posts by Marshall Cullen

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Gareth Koch & Martin Kennedy Release Album ‘Music In The Afterlife’

“Brian Eno meets Massive Attack and classical guitarist John Williams”

The idea of an afterlife has fired imaginations across cultures for millennia and is one of the earliest belief systems in recorded history. It is fascinating to consider that a type of identity or stream of consciousness might exist in the absence of the physical body.
In ‘Music In The Afterlife’, Gareth Koch & Martin Kennedy have created a sound world which seeks to convey a continued existence taking place in the spiritual realm, or otherworld. In mythology there are phases through which the consciousness passes before arriving at a reward in the afterlife. The Koch/Kennedy songs, or pieces, reflect imagined states in which the protagonist journeys through the stages of waiting, trance, drifting, resignation & Elysium.

In their debut collaboration Viennese-trained classical musician Gareth Koch & ambient music specialist Martin Kennedy have created a unique sound world. Their compositions weave acoustic & electronic realms into a seamless fabric in which medieval, folk & electronic influences are entwined. If this melange is beginning to sound like an unholy brew nothing could be further from the truth. The pieces are deft, intuitive & hypnotic, drawing the listener into a reflective & profound listening experience.

In what is termed classical music (perhaps more aptly described as western art music) the earliest notated plainchants of around CE930 were centred on spirituality & belief in the afterlife. From this point onwards classical music evolved with a connection to an otherworld or divine, often embracing various mythologies. Ambient music came of age in the twentieth century in the era of electronic synthesisers, but its origin’s date back to French classical music composer Erik Satie. Satie pioneered a genre of music which emphasised tone & atmosphere, providing the ideal sonic environment for contemplation & spiritual reflection.

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Jack Nolan Releases New Single ‘Oh My Darling’

Oh My Darling is the third cut from Jack’s fifth solo album release ’23. A love so deep but a resignation, where you must stand by & watch the one you love work through a process where nothing you say can help, where all you can do is stand by & be there when it gets too much. Here’s yet another step, a story adding to Jack’s commitment of producing one album per annum because ultimately the best promotion is the hard work, the output, the live shows & the letting go of outcomes, the life.

Oh my darling

There’s nothing I can do

I will row the boat my darling

That I promise you

Oh my darling

There’s nothing I can say

I’ve played around with versus

Only words get in the way

Based in Sydney, Australia, singer songwriter Jack Nolan has been performing and releasing music since the mid 1990’s. Along with a five-album solo catalogue Jack also fronted The Kelly Gang, with Rick Grossman, bassist for The Divinyls and Hoodoo Gurus along with Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst and guitar player Martin Rotsey. Their 2004 album Looking for the Sun was critically adored along with their energetic live shows.

Once quaintly described as ‘Darlinghurst Country’, his sound unites elements of folk, country, rock ‘n’ roll and ambient atmospheres fusing Nolan’s passion for intensely charged electric guitar and finger-picked acoustic guitar.

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The Mezcaltones Release New Single ‘If I Could Make You See’

In the lead up to the band’s no less than 10 live performances at this years Tamworth Country Music Festival here’s the first cut from the forthcoming album.

Key dates
Jan 13 ‘If I could make you see’ digital single release(all platforms)
Jan 14 – 21 CD Album Agave Soiree Pre release available exclusively at Tamworth Live shows
March 1 CD Official release available via MGM
March 17 Digital Release Album Agave Soiree

Lyrically, ‘If I Could Make You See’ is an old story told with a twenty first century bias. Instead of the typical “Man goes off working while woman pines away waiting for his return“, it’s the man left behind to pine and wonder if his love will ever come back. This track bounces comfortably along on the back of some tasty Mezcaltones style bluegrass riffory. While the rhythm section lays down some Buck Owens/Buckaroos vibes, the modal guitar solo gives a respectful nod to the late 60’s Byrds/Flying Burrito Brothers’ style.

Classic country Mezcaltones style on this first cut from the new album for 2023 specially released for the Tamworth Music Festival. A tight snappy rhythm track with plenty of hooky country twang guitar. Col’s signature vocals and some catchy backing vocals in the chorus – what more do you need!

WHAT IS IT WITH THE MEZCALTONES?
Four guys dressed as cowboys and two women dressed like Spanish Mexican Señoritas that you might find in a Quentin Tarantino movie – two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, a crazy front man and a beautiful dancer/percussionist.
Whilst their original songs have an alt country rockin’ blues flavour, the guitar tones also reach into the realms of 60’s surf instrumentals. With the band’s slick look and sharp costumes, THE MEZCALTONES are there to entertain.

THE MEZCALTONES comprise 6 experienced musicians who came together through their love of cool country rockin’ blues, and get down and get dirty Tex Mex sounds.

  • Don Juan – Texan Time Keeper with a Smooth Tequila Feel
  • Col Padre – Raspy Lead Vocals dripping with Desert Soul
  • El Shango – Lead Guitar possessed with tangy, psychedelic blues, magic finger licks
  • Lucre – Mezcaltonic Groovin’ Bass Sounds
  • Mimi – Spicy Seductress who shakes it like a Rattle Snake
  • Neralita – Queen of Southern Rhythm Strummin’

The Mezcaltones have previously played six Tamworth Country Festivals; Groundwater CMF; Sydney Blues & Roots Festival; Dashville Skyline Festival. Their latest album Mexican Hillbilly Surf Music debuted Top 10 in the Australian Blues & Roots charts.

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Celebrate Christmas with Gareth Koch’s Instrumental Guitar Album

Imagine timeless European Christmas music played instrumentally, as if upon a choir of lutes. Ancient & exquisite songs, deep within the human psyche, are now newly arranged by ARIA Award winning guitarist Gareth Koch. The interpretations reveal his signature blend of contemporary flair laced with medieval sensibilities.

The arrangements are both elegant & appealing, sidestepping any notion of commercialised Christmas clichés. Re-imagined as troubadour-like ballads or tender Austrian folk songs, each carol receives a unique treatment. The listener is invited into an array of soundworlds, ranging from the early medieval to English folk-revival.

The music of this album leads us away from the bustle of many modern realities. Instead, we are drawn into a gentler universe, filled with subtlety & nuance. In any year, at any time, this album presents a Christmas message we all need to hear.

Song Descriptions
Little Drummer Boy
This timeless mid-tempo classic Christmas carol is dealt with not just using multiple classical guitar parts but with hand percussion and rice shakers.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
A very old piece, dated to the 16th century and referred to in Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’. Gareth recreates the vocal melody perfectly and becomes a terrific hum along piece. Bass guitar rounds out the arrangement featuring multiple guitars: acoustic, nylon string and electric creating a lush sonic tapestry.

About Gareth Koch
Gareth Koch is an ARIA Award winning recording artist, guitar soloist, composer & songwriter. He has recorded a diverse repertory across multiple albums spanning works for classical guitar, flamenco, original compositions, arrangements, medieval projects & song writing.
Gareth is involved with many cross genre projects. Over the past two years he has released two collaborative albums with ARIA Hall of Fame inductee Steve Kilbey (The Church).

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Jack Nolan Releases New Single ‘Reading Minds’

READING MINDS is the second cut from Jack’s next LP set for release March ’23. This is a farewell, a song that sees the flag at half-mast.

There’s a backstory, and in this one instance, I’ve decided to repeat it. We were two little boys with our families buying ice creams. I was more friendly with his younger brother in my schoolyear, but on this day, I recall a tap on the shoulder, to turn around & watch my soon to be friend reach into a cabinet to take a handful of cigarette lighters. It was right then, that very act of delinquency, where I thought “he’s going to be my friend”
We became best friends, and we were lucky to survive as long as we did.

Cut to 1994, we’d reached a nadir & I ended the ride, I wanted him to join me, and for a while he did, but jail cells and more catastrophe awaited him.
It’s been a while now, but yea, he’s been on my mind. Where is he? Maybe he’s in the Bardo. Is it addiction, is it mental illness, is it both? Who knows.
I know for the last five years or so he’d spent a lot of time in and out of a psychosis of some sort, things were said, we lost touch, but we both know what the truth is.

Nobody likes talking about suicide, but I’ve come to thinking that maybe he couldn’t help it, and that horrific act serves as the ultimate statement of the failures we’ve all created, where the only way out for some of us, is to end it.
There’s simply no way to try and make sense of it all but maybe a song will help. Reading Minds is a deep pulse, delivered by the brilliant Jimmy Paxon @jimmypaxon & Chris ‘Cowboy’ Auty @autbra11 that floats my eerie Gretsch finger picker around a masterful Justin Weaver @notnotweaver soundscape & production.

“Farewell friend
Sleep softly now
Sleep softly I will be
Lost in a dream myself
Yeah maybe it was me
That made my mind up like a fool
Call me that don’t call me cruel
It could be worse it could be me
You are reading minds”

Music was our first and lasting bond, I know he would have loved this track.

Basic Credits
By Jack Nolan
Produced by Justin Weaver
Recorded @ Welcome to 1979 Nashville, February, 2022
Engineered by Chris Mara
Mixed by Mitch Furr @ Early Bird Studio Nashville
Mastered by Bobbi Giel @ Welcome to 1979

Personnel Credits
Jack Nolan – Vocals & guitars
Justin Weaver – Electric & acoustic guitars
Jimmy Paxson – Drums & percussion
Chris Autry – Bass guitar

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Darlene Koldenhoven’s new album has reached #1 on the Soundslikecafe instrumental chart

GRAMMY® Award Winner and 3 time Nominee Darlene Koldenhoven’s new album ‘Traveling the Blissful Highway’ has been cruising up the Soundslikecafe  charts since its release in October and has now hit the number 1 instrumental album spot!!
Not only that but the single ‘Jade Dreams’ is hanging out at number 2 on the overall top 10.

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 The album also had local Australian articles in Scenestr magazine and Whats My Scene. Darlene was recently interviewed across the pond for Aparna Vats Point of View show on Alive 90.5 fm Sydney.

The chart position isn’t surprising considering these great reviews of the album below:

It is some of the most relaxing and
dreamy music you will have the pleasure of enjoying – a slice of heaven.
– Keith “Muzik Man” Hannaleck, New Age Music Reviews, Founder 7/18/22

The music of “Traveling the Blissful Highway” is colored with many colors, as if you are enthusiastically
leafing through a color album of a wonderful photographer who captured the most beautiful landscapes
that he met on his way. And each new page is even more beautiful… There is sophistication and a lot of the
smallest nuances in its perfect sounding music. A wonderful end to a hard day, bringing peace to the soul
and clearing the mind of worries.
– Serge Kozlovsky, Minsk, Belarus skozlovsky.com 7/30/22

“Traveling the Blissful Highway is an album you will want as your musical companion, to help make your life
joumey a more enjoyable and beautiful discovery. Darlene’s experience and exposure to varied cultures,
countries and traditions have contributed positively to her broad and diverse vision of humanity and our
world which comes through in her musical compositions and especially shines on this album.”
-Lizzette Cascante, Aurelscapes 8/3/22

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Travel with Darlene Koldenhoven and her musicians on the blissful highway in her new album that features twelve instrumental tracks including four with her angelic, harmonic vocalese, occasionally used as background instrumentation. All of her compositions and arrangements invite us to go out and see the world and have a good rest at the end of an exquisite day. There are 53:46 minutes of colorful timbres and some nature sounds to keep you balanced, focused, refreshed, and joyfully relaxed. Darlene performs on keyboard synths, creating a culture of calm: half the album has ethnic influences to gently keep you going on the road and half lets you exit to the rest areas. Even when real travel is not in the picture, pack these traveling soundscapes for your inner and outer journey. With this album, the only passport you’ll need for these destination cities – peace, calm, happiness and bliss is your own mindfulness to visit them and the album as your tour guide.

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About

GRAMMY® Award Winner and 3 time Nominee, Darlene Koldenhoven is a vocalist, pianist, composer, arranger, lyricist, speaker, and sonic therapist from Studio City, CA, born and raised in Chicago, IL. Her last two albums, “The Grand Piano Spa” and “The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy” debuted on the prestigious Billboard Classical Crossover Charts at #4 and #8, respectively in May & November 2021.

She was inducted to the Indie Music Hall of Fame at the GRAMMY® Museum in 2019 by the Indie Music Channel Awards and the COVR Award hailed her “Chromatones” as Album of the Year a few months later. Several of her albums ranked #1 on the worldwide ZMR Radio Charts and she has 2 Best New Age Vocal Album and Best Holiday Album from ZMR.

Darlene is best known worldwide as the featured soprano in “Yanni, Live at the Acropolis” and for her role as the tambourine-waving choir nun in both “Sister Act” films with Whoopi Goldberg.

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Jack Nolan Releases Single ‘Dollar’

When it was just you and me, broke, young, and free, that’s love. No houses, no fast cars, no responsibilities.

“And she loved me like no other / When I did not have one dollar / Not a dollar / On me”

They say when you’re on a good thing, stick to it – so why not go back to Nashville, it worked out perfectly pre-pandemic, why not post-pandemic? And what better way to add a bit of hope to 2022 than a 12 string guitar and a nod to the mighty Wilbury’s? Listen out for Justin Weaver’s jangling 12 string intro to herald the first track release from Jack’s upcoming 2023’s album Jindabyne.

Dollar is a story about hope and knowing things would work out just fine.

“See my reputation follow / When I did not have a dollar / Not a dollar / On me”

An up-tempo acoustic/band based track akin to Paul Kelly from Jack Nolan as the debut single from his forthcoming album. The tune moves along very smoothly with some sweet backing vocals, catchy guitar riffs and Jack’s story telling vocals. A hooky chorus sets the spot on vibe of this one.

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Based in Sydney, Australia, singer songwriter Jack Nolan has been performing and releasing music since the mid 1990’s. Along with a five-album solo catalogue Jack also fronted The Kelly Gang, with Rick Grossman, bassist for The Divinyls and Hoodoo Gurus along with Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst and guitar player Martin Rotsey. Their 2004 album Looking for the Sun was critically adored along with their energetic live shows.

Once quaintly described as ‘Darlinghurst Country’, his sound unites elements of folk, country, rock ‘n’ roll and ambient atmospheres fusing Nolan’s passion for intensely charged electric guitar and finger-picked acoustic guitar.

The critically acclaimed 2018 album ‘Our Waverley Star’ was followed up by the equally impressive ‘Gabriel’. It was these two American outings that cemented Nolan’s love of Nashville and built from a connection with guitarist/producer Justin Weaver that started with a one-off phone call and developed into an alliance that Nolan describes as ‘Team America’. What’s now become a regular jaunt is an opportunity for Nolan to get away from all the distractions of home, and “arrive in town, in the northern winter, when everyone’s off the road, with my swag of songs to greet all the boys again to collaborate”.

Jack’s new album – JINDABYNE is set for release in early 2023. This album has waited in the wings while lockdowns and rules meant the guitar took on a whole new meaning. “I arrived home from Nashville in early March 2020 with ‘Gabriel’ ready for mastering. One week later, the world turned on its axis and – lockdown. This created a sense of urgency in me, so I made a conscious decision not to waste the time and went to work writing JINDABYNE. As soon as the plane could fly I was booked and took off back to the US”. 

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Halfway Homebuoy Release Single ‘1000 Others’

This second single from the band’s forthcoming album, following on from the first single ‘Sheets’. This song was penned during lockdown by the Homebuoy writing team of Jack Davison (lead singer and rhythm guitarist) and Curtis leigh Murray (lead guitar).

It was recorded over a succession of sessions in and out of lockdown at Damien Gerard Studios on the NSW Central Coast which luckily is the band’s current home base. The studio’s in house producer/engineer Andrew Beck took the reins across those sessions and then the final recording was sent to long time Homebuoy ‘mix guy’ Russell Pilling now living in Tasmania who pulled it all together into the tight, cohesive and very rocking final tune. As Jack said: ‘Big Rusty knows us so well and always makes us sound like we know what we are doing’.

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About

It’s been a strange path for Halfway Homebuoy to finally end up as ‘based’ on the NSW Central Coast, an hour north of Sydney.  The band was formed almost 10 years ago on the ski slopes of Switzerland where all of the (then) members were working the season and playing shows at night.

With three Englishmen and one Aussie the band moved out here and were recommended to Foghorn Records where they quickly found a home. As things happen after a few years, the visas ran out, the Aussie moved back to Europe and the sole remaining member, principal writer and singer, Jack Davison, married an Aussie and stayed here. Unfortunately, he was left without a band.

Not to be deterred, Jack found local musicians, new songs were written, live shows booked, a new album released, the band continued on. Now based on the Coast and with a new record almost finished the guys are ready to reboot post lockdown into 2022.

Song Description

This sonically exciting single features striking and clear drum, bass, guitar and vocal parts. Jack’s brilliant vocals are offset by the multi layers of guitars supplied by Curtis, all highlighted by a great mix from Russell Pilling.

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