Fiona Joy (Hawkins) – New Album – Story of Ghosts
Having won many awards for her two previous solo piano albums, Fiona is destined to do the same with Story of Ghosts.
Fiona’s third solo piano album takes her fans on her journey of the past year of her life as she deals with a harrowing year in 2017 and makes no attempts to sugarcoat the emotional’s. The year included many friends and family members getting seriously sick, dying or going insane.!!
She bares it all over the course of these mostly grey-toned melancholy and vulnerable pieces, that draw on her classical background and impressionistic modern yet melodic composition.
‘There is a little madness in the music I write, it only pops out of the calmness momentarily, but enough to know that there is uncertainty in everything we hear, feel and experience. It’s much more classical and very connected to my roots” says Fiona .
“There’s a lot of emotion in it, that part was challenging. But when I get feedback from my fans that I’m touching their lives, and in some way making a difference, that makes it worthwhile.”
She uses the piano to weave interconnected tales with similar motifs – She opens the album with the uplifting and just whimsical enough “Song for Dunnie,” which she wrote for the funeral of Annette (Dunnie) Crossley, one of her best friends and business partner in her company Little Hartley Music. The lushly flowing piece represents a life full of vibrant brightness, good humour and joy.
“Story of Angels” moody hypnosis that leads to attempts to dance and then sudden dream-dashing stops into “Story of Ghosts” the deepest tale is told by the third story song. The contemplative “Story of Insanity” which alternates shards of light and night in a romp of anger tempered by gentle understanding. “Contemplating (Solo) which find Fiona deep in thought, seeking answers in the high notes as tension builds. “Blue Dream” whose high and low dynamics indicate mood swings that shift on a dime during crises. “The White Light” perhaps a place between worlds where high and low notes battle it out for our mortal hearts.
Fiona ‘s choice to work with producer Cookie Marenco reflects Fiona’s appreciation for high quality audio. “Even CD quality is unsatisfying when you’ve heard DSD or SACD, especially when played on a high-end system” says Fiona.
Fans of FLOW, the recently launched hit new age group featuring Fiona, Will Ackerman, Lawrence Blatt and Jeff Oster, will recognise the closing track “Before the Light” as the beautifully rendered foundation of “Arrival,” the opening track on FLOW’s self-titled debut. In the FLOW version, the darker edges of the piece get subsumed into a lighter hearted grooving vibe. Here it’s allowed to flourish in the shadows, exploring the heavy mysteries of life’s pain that occur before the healing – and wondering along the way if it will ever come.
Fiona recalls asking Ackerman once “What would happen if I ever got happy? Would the creativity dry up?” – since she’s built her artistry and fan base on her incredible musical embrace of sadness.
“No, Fiona, you will just start writing happier music.” He said, surprised at the answer “Maybe down the road, I’ll make a few happy songs”.
But for now, especially on Story of Ghosts we can enjoy the musical beauty and grace that she shares while working through the obstacles to make peace with the sorrow life has thrown her.
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The Vegas Nerves Debut Album “An Act of Faith”
Update!; Vegas Nerves are on Air on Triple M 104.9 FM nationally at HOMEGROWN 8-10PM SUNDAY
Drops 3/8/18 and the title track and New Video Premieres on Scenestr. Today August 1
After the success of their Single/ Video release “A List As Long As Your Arm” on the 5 of June. There are only good things coming to this Sydney based band, playing their music around the less salubrious parts of Sydney town.
They also have a radio interview lined up with Aussie Music Weekly playing on the air at the end of August.
About; Did you ever make a wish that only brought you trouble? Well then here are the band for you because they know that feeling well. Did you tell a secret and find out everyone already knows? Then let The Vegas Nerves talk you down because they understand. Their work has been compared to a consultation with a psychiatrist who could well be crazier than you are. They can’t make too many promises but if you come out of your safe spaces you could learn something new. You might remember how to celebrate both the sublime and the ridiculous in the everyday and avoid listening to bores who are afraid and offended by their own shadows.
The Vegas Nerves Playing with Ariane Campbell on October 11th @ Leadbelly
keep up to date with gigs with Vegas Nerves @
Update – LAUNCHING Django Bar Marrickville NSW
September 13. with special guest Andrew Barnum
NB – Ivona is back from a break up north and is available for in person or phone interviews over the next 2 weeks leading to launch.
Media to date includes interviews on Australian Spectrum, 2SER, and Whats My Scene, Plays on ABC Local, Outpost, 4ZZZ and many more community stations Nationally.
Raw, evocative, honest and uncompromisingly unique. Dreamy, eccentric melody marries poetic song writing and something brave is born. Hand carved like insignia on pavement, her tales of suburban life are as being lead through an enchanted garden, by a haunting hymn.
Ivona has just released her debut album “So Modern”.
The record has already garnered early Airplay on ABC Local and 2ser, and will be launched at Django bar September 13.
Produced with Brian Campeau at “The Plex” recording studio, it is a collection of 10 carefully selected and crafted songs. Featuring Zoe Hauptmann on Bass (Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins, King Curly), Evan Mannell on Drums (Sarah Belkner, The Alcohotlicks, Self Titled Artist), Emily Palethorpe on Cello (Sarah Blasko, Accent Strings), Casey Nicholson on Trumpet (Ngarukuruwala, The NEO, The Boom Band Krewe) and Brian Campeau on Guitars and Synth (Self Titled Artist, The Green Mohair Suits, Jimmy Swouse and the Angry Darts).
Central Coast based Ivona Rose migrated to Australia, from Krakow Poland. Her passion for music arts was born at a primary school age.
Whilst honing her craft as a singer songwriter, she has performed in Sydney, Melbourne & Regional NSW as part of Peats Ridge Music Festival, Tamworth Country Music Festival, Wharf 2 Loud at the Sydney Theatre Company and has performed at various venues, where there is a call for live acoustic music.
In 2006 she independently produced and released “SheHeIYouMeWe” her debut EP. It enjoyed strong CD sales and air play on Sydney based, FBi Radio, 2SER, Bondi FM and local Melbourne radio stations.
In 2012 she won Songs on Stage Songwriters and Performers award, the prize money of which, helped her get back into studio and record the single “Hoopla”. 2013 she was finalist in Music Oz Awards Singer Songwriter category for the song and top 100 of the People’s Choice across all genre’s in the country.
Tell us about the moment you decided to become a singer? What did your family/friends have to say about it?
For as long as I can remember I was writing poetry, singing and playing instruments. It was a natural progression that this nascent self expression would amount to a body of work that I am proud to share. My family and friends have aways been encouraging and supportive, saying I offer a very unique voice and musical quality, that is hard to pigeonhole.
What is the first record you bought and why?
It was Joni Mitchell “Hits and Misses” and it was a tape. Purchased to learn every word by heart.
Favourite artists of all time?
I have to say Bjork. It’s a hard question to answer and it doesn’t necessarily mean that my music is in the same genre or that I am aiming for a pop sphere but the truth is own all her albums, admire her creativity and boldness and when I feel that I’m just a bit too weird for the word, I take solace in Bjork.
Fave food or drink and is there a story associated with that?
My favourite food is Pierogi because I am Polish but as I am gluten intolerant, so only allow the indulgence every now and then.
You are backstage with Nick Cave what do you say?
I say “My great ambition as a songwriter is to collaborate a duet with you. It would be an incredible murder story to sit alongside “Henry Lee” and “Where The Wild Roses Grow”. (I think I need to work on my approach here!)
“So Modern” the Title Track to the album
“If we live our lives as an avatar of ourselves, what are we giving up of our true self to uphold that image and where do we go from there as a society?” (Ivona Rose) So Modern questions the impact of technology, how we are using it and what we are losing as a society in the process. A dance between Autoharp, Guitar and Zoe Hauptmann’s expert Double Bass licks, take us to a time reminiscent of 60’s Go Go. “
The Vegas Nerves
- New Single from forthcoming album -
A List As Long As Your Arm
The Vegas Nerves are a four-piece band boasting the Latin beats of Alejo Alvarez, the rhythmic bass of Cameron McWilliams, the steadfast guitar of Jürgen Joader and the solid words and voice of Stephen Greenacre. Playing their music around the less salubrious parts of Sydney town.
Did you ever make a wish that only brought you trouble? Did you tell a secret and find out everyone already knows? Well then The Vegas Nerves are the band for you because they know that feeling well. They can’t make too many promises but if you come out of your safe spaces you could learn something new. You might remember how to celebrate both the sublime and the ridiculous in the everyday and avoid listening to bores who are afraid and offended by their own shadows.
The Vegas Nerves are releasing their debut album An Act Of Faith in August and are looking forward to getting as many people as humanly possible to hear it. Some fools may confuse telling the truth with pessimism, others know that only honesty can really set you free.
Questions for the frontman Stephen Greenacre
Q. Tell us about the moment you decided to become a singer/writer/band? What did your family/friends have to say about it?
A. I can’t remember ever not wanting to do this but wouldn’t dream of telling my family or friends.
Q.Who are your early influences?
A.Cole Porter and Jilted John.
Q.What is the first record you bought and why?
A.”So” by Peter Gabriel. Why? Because I’m an idiot.
Q.What current/new Artists/Bands inspire you and why?
A.DMAs, Jen Cloher, Just A Number, John Grant, The Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood.
Q.Tell us a little about your writing process, how does a song come along? What gets you going creatively?
A.I’m always writing in my head which makes travelling by public transport a problem as I’m always getting off in the wrong places. I fall in love about 16 times a day which is good for the creative juices but nothing else.
Checkout the video on the right hand pane
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Rachel LaFond – New Album – Encounters of the Beautiful Kind
Come along on a powerful musical journey inspired by Rachel LaFond’s experience, of being a stranger in a new country. New Zealand to be precise where she now calls home.
This beautiful solo Piano Album was recorded in high resolution audio at her home and mastered by the golden ears of Mike Bloemendahl.
The music explores universal human experiences: feelings of loneliness, worries about not being good enough, and the evolution we undergo as existing friendships change or fade while new connections spring to life.
This journey culminates in the realisation that as we bear each other up and connect with one another, we make the world a more beautiful place for all of us.
About Rachel LaFond:
Rachel LaFond is an American composer and pianist now residing in New Zealand who has been steeped in musicality her entire life. Her appreciation of the piano began when she was a toddler as her mother (a piano teacher) played with a young Rachel on her lap. She began formal lessons at age five, and by the time Rachel was eleven, she began teaching lessons herself. She lived in Vienna and studied piano performance there as a teenager, then returned home to major in piano at the University of Washington. After university, she continued to teach and perform professionally, but for years Rachel didn’t realise she had a talent for writing music hidden inside herself until David.
David she had met just weeks ago. Rachel couldn’t stop thinking about him on one rainy autumn afternoon, everything changed. Gazing out the window of her teaching studio, Distraction transformed into inspiration, and by the end of that evening she had finished her first original piece, Loving in the Rain. This first piece stood alone for a while as Rachel got swept up in life’s adventures: Rachel and David got married, quit their jobs, and embarked on a year of long-term travel around the world.
Rachel’s music is inspired by, and engages with, the full depth of human experience. Whether she’s capturing the heady wooziness of falling in love or responding to the chest-cracking pain of Barcelonans who suffered in the terror attack of summer 2017, her pieces are unflinching and compel the listener to lean into the feeling of the song for just a moment more. Rachel’s drive to bring beauty, light, and kindness to dark places through her music lends a striking sense of purpose to her creative work. And she’s just getting started.
All recorded in Auckland, New Zealand in Rachel’s home.
Mastering by Mike Bloemendahl
Connect with Rachel LaFond
Medusa’s Wake – Debut Album – Rascals & Rogues
With the recent release (1 June) of Sydney Celtic Folk Rockers Medusa’s Wake’s debut album ‘Rascals & Rogues’ with a very uptempo and energetic style of music that will have you raising your beer glasses and showing off your skills on the dance floor. Rooted very much in a Celtic Rock style based on Australian and Old Ireland folklore, Medusa’s Wake has been described as a love child of The Pogues and Australia’s own Roaring Jack.
Their debut album portrays lots of characters of time past who in fact where Rascals and Rogues hence with the naming of the album. The band spent quality time in Damien Gerrard Studio’s in Balmain with the brilliant Russell Pilling adding his magical touch to the recording.
The debut single: ‘Seldom Sober’ was a late inclusion to the album. It is an ode to, lead vocalist Eddie Lawlor’s, love of whiskey. It is a hard and fast lively drinking tune to get you in the mood for a party! With band members John, Zane, Ben, Ron and Frank all fond of a drop of whiskey this song certainly shows the fun-loving high energy that this band is all about.
Seldom Sober (video) In the bands own words ‘It’s fairly lively as all good Irish Whiskey drinking songs should be’, and we heartily concur, with full band backing and great production this one will have ‘ye dancin’ a jig’ in no time at all. Band quote word for word “1. Seldom Sober. This is a song wrote as an ode for my love of whiskey with the origins being a young boy drinking with a friend up till my adult years. It’s fairly lively as “all good drinking songs should be”
Link to Scenestr Article with Seldom Sober video
Band Questions; Eddie Lawlor lead frontman
1. Your bio mentions your sound is a “lovechild of The Pogues and Australian’s own Roaring Jack” High praise indeed.
It is a comparison and I think that’s where it stops! We have a similar edge but In my view, if we were to be half of what both those bands where we would be doing alright. I think the Irish/Celtic influence is there. I have gotten to know Steph Miller who used play in Roaring Jack and he truly is one of the most gifted musician’s and performer’s I have ever seen. Big boots to fill! We can only stay doing what we do and see how we go.
2. Favourite artists of all time?
Did I mention The Pogues! Luke Kelly Folk singer with The Dubliners and Paul Kelly.
3. What current Australian acts inspire you and why? What international acts?
I also play with The Handsome Young Strangers Driza, Looch, Adam, Dave and Na na are really top muso’s and have been doing it so well for such a long time. International acts always have been and will always be The Pogues!
Medusa’s Wake launch ‘Rascals And Rogues’ at Norton’s Irish Pub in Leichardht (Sydney) 16 June.
Album Out Now
BiG MERiNO – Debut album Suburban Wildlife
Sydney based Alt-Country/ Rock/ Soul band Big Merino released their debut album Suburban Wildlife on the 13th of May 2018, all recorded and engineered by Russell Pilling over three weeks at Damian Gerard Studios.
Big Merino songwriters Alex and Stuart write socially and politically-charged song lyrics that are sometimes gentle and nostalgic and at other times nothing less than a fierce cry for revolution.
Big Merino’s music has a handmade quality to it, they try to blur the lines between Rock, Country, Blues, Roots, Soul, Funk, Grunge occasionally and make their way into lesser known genres. Stuart’s passion for New Orleans second lane and Cuban music has its influences in the bass lines and rhythms of several songs.
How did the Big Merino start Alex?
It just grew like topsy, at first it was Stuart and I we went to school together and we played in bands together for years. It was just two old friends jamming and making up tunes then suddenly there was a bass player and finally we found a drummer (We did manage to explode another drummer along the way) and my wife had a birthday coming up so we played a few songs and after that we just kept going.
What was the first record you bought? And what drove you to make music Alex?
My first record I think it was “Night at the Opera”. It was awesome but I remember ABBA being on high rotation a lot back then or it may have been something deeply uncool.
It’s hard to walk past something as beautiful as a guitar and not want to pick it up. I was your regular earnest, spotty, undateable 15 year old when I first started playing the guitar. I never lost the passion and my early influences were all those sixties and seventies bands.
What was the first record you bought? And what started your journey to make music Stuart?
My first record was The Monkees “Someday Man”. I loved that song! It was classic 60’s pop song written probably by Neil Diamond or some other great songwriter. The B side was a Mike Nesmith song called ‘Listen to The Band’.
In my early 20’s I lived in London with a friend who introduced me to the infamous 100 Club. At that stage it was a Jazz/ Blues venue and I was lucky enough to see several old Blues legends like Memphis Slim, Nina Simone and Slim Gaillard. The night I saw Memphis Slim my whole world changed and I was going to be a performer.
My other big influence is Black Gospel Music. I spent years listening to the great Gospel groups like The Soul Stirrers and The Swan Silvertones – trying to emulate that sometimes ferocious, sometimes tender vocal delivery.
What are the future plans for Big Merino?
Get our album done and out there, get some gigs at festivals and play to bigger audiences, more travelling and playing & singing!
Other cameos on the album include:
Featuring guest performances from the creme de la creme of Australia’s musical talent, including:
Musician of the Year at Tamworth Music Festival Clare O-Meara, player extraordinaire Jonathan Zwartz double bass, Johnny G from Johnny G and the E-Types on piano, organ and accordion, Australia’s most sought after percussionist Jess Ciampa, Living legend James Greening on trombone, sousaphone, euphonium, trumpet, flugelhorn and pocket cornet, the pedal steel player of choice for Australia’s leading country performers Michel Rose from the band The Catholics, a string quartet from the Sydney Chamber Orchestra. Stuart’s wife Alice is featured on 2 songs for vocals.
Beach sloth – “Big Merino goes for a powerful, heartfelt sound on the symphonic folk musings of Suburban Wildlife.”
Dancing About Architecture (by Dave Franklin) – “The art of pinning down a band in just a few generic descriptions or a handy soundbite is the stock-in-trade of the music reviewer but I have to admit that it will take a better man than me to concisely pin down Big Merino.”
Middle Tennessee Music.com (by Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman) – “Comprising of a team of seasoned music makers, Big Merino is the culmination of various musical styles, years of various experiences and the talented personalities which have come together like Voltron to form an appealing, soul-infused rock record that can be listened to from beginning to end…multiple times…without getting old.”
Loren Evarts newest album Home Again
Home Again is the 6th original album, of this amazing contemporary pianist. It revisits several pieces previously recorded by Loren in the 1980’s, and eight new ones. It was produced by Grammy award winner Will Ackerman (Windham Hill Records) at his Imaginary Road studio in West River valley, Windham County, Vermont and was engineered by Tom Eaton.
Featuring Grammy-winning artists and Grammy-nominated Artists Eugene Friesen on cello (Paul Winter, Trio Globo), Rhonda Larson on many types of flutes (Paul Winter, Ventus) and Jeff Haynes on percussion (Pat Metheny, Pete Seeger), bassist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel and King Crimson).
Besides Piano, Loren Evarts has been known to perform by singing, trombone, hammered dulcimer and organ.
Loren has performed professionally in the Connecticut area of USA in a variety of musical situations for over 40 years. He has been grateful to have been involved in performances with artists such as Dave Weckl (Chick Corea), Gerry Neiwood (Chuck Mangione), Everett Silver (Chuck Mangione), Mike Davis (Rolling Stones), Danny Stiles (Bill Watrous), Fred Vigdor (Average White Band), Rhonda Larson (Paul Winter Consort).
About Loren Evarts:
I was in first grade when I heard a fellow classmate play the piano, and I said, “Hey, I want to do that, too.” Of course, I had no idea that you had to practice, which made me think twice about my choice. But due to frequent beatings from my mom, I persisted, Partially kidding!
I started playing classical piano at age 7, but like a lot of kids, I started listening to pop radio in middle school. Fortunately, I was allowed to stick in a few popular tunes in my lessons along with the serious music. In high school I started to get influenced by jazz. My biggest influences were bands like Chicago and Tower of Power, Elton John, James Taylor, Carole King, Jazz singer Al Jarreau, and jazz pianists like Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Liz Story.
What can a crowd expect at a live show?
My music is probably best described as a mix of new age, jazz, classical and world. It’s piano-based but sometimes I will add a percussionist, bassist or woodwind player for concerts.
What are your future plans for 2018/2019?
Well, I am an American so, like many of my fellow citizens, I am looking to survive until 2020(enough on politics). But otherwise, At my stage of the game, I just want to put out a good product, and I hope to write some new material now that my newest album has been released. And that means I have to sit down at the piano and start! I am always gratified when people enjoy my music. I no longer crave being a big star. It’s nice being in this place.