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.
Joel Leffler – New EP – Strip Me Bare
Following on from his ‘Run With The Wolves’ EP and tour Joel Leffler has released a stunning new EP “Strip Me Bare”, produced by long-time collaborator and ARIA winning Producer Peter Holz (Peking Duk, Gang of Youths).
The first single “In My Sights” from the new EP is the song which features a guest vocal from Melissa Jane. Joel and Melissa shared a house together and have worked together on numerous recordings. This poppy anthemic tune hits home and you can’t help but sing and dance along to this great party song.
Melissa: ‘Joel and I have always written and played together. Our voices blend & complement each other really well. I think this track is just one of those feel-good anthems. The chorus is super catchy, you’ve been warned.’
Joel: ‘I had this melody stuck in my head for weeks. I would wake up, drive to work & go to sleep all with the chorus sitting on the tip of my tongue. I have never been so haunted by a melodic idea as much as I have on “In My Sights”.
Pete Holz: ‘We’ve taken off from where the 1st EP left off and gone a little more into the synth and drum machine world - but still kept a lot of guitar and groove in there! A pleasure having Melissa Jade feature too - such a great singer and really bought another higher level of the track.’
Joel will be performing live at The Brass Monkey and other Sydney venues for the new release of Strip Me Bare.
Intrepid Blues & Roots man Daxton releases new album “In Verses” and scores Amrap Chart Spot.
Review Update! Check out all these great reviews from all over the world
America to Germany everyone is loving Daxtons New album “In Verses”
Links to other reviews:
“I Don’t Mind” Single from “In Verses”
The new album from NSW Central Coast Blues and Roots Songwriter and Performer Daxton has instantly struck a chord with National Community Radio with first single Sanctuary sitting at number two on the Amrap/Airit Regional Chart for April 27 .
In Verses starts off with a colourful up-tempo song track named ‘I Don’t Mind’ with high falsetto reminiscent of artist such as Marvin Gay or Eagles of Death Metal. As the album progresses further in you will notice some of the songs have a more psychedelic/grungy approach.
There are nine tracks on the album, all highlighting Daxton’s multitude of influences ranging from psychedelic blues and alternative rock with a little Spanish guitar. As always with ‘Dax’, the sound of the south is a dominating force – a touch of delta blues working its’ way through the album.
Daxton will be playing local shows followed by a tour to support the release- see website below for dates.
“It’s not that much of a stretch to think that a fan of bands like Kings of Leon or artists such as Ray LaMontagne or even John Mayer could easily find something to like here..the crossover exists for sure.” Sleeping Bag USA Review.
The Album is Out Now Via MGM.
The Mezcaltones latest Album Second
Sydney is a long way from Mexico but The Mezcaltones still know a thing or two about sultry nights and dangerous days – not to mention sultry man and dangerous woman.
Inspired by tunes from Tito and Tarantula, Dick Dale, Link Wray, Los Lobos, Santana and other artists with a sizzling Mexican sound.
The Mezcaltones latest Album Second has sounds only described as Tex Mex, 60’s, cowboy rockabilly surf guitar style of twang and incorporating Mimi’s spellbinding dance moves they are hard to pigeonhole.
But one thing everyone does agree upon is The Mezcaltones are highly entertaining! It’s more than a band: it’s a show, a journey… with ATTITUDE!
Tamworth Country Music Festival Recent completion of ‘Here’s to Love’ film clip Humble Pride clip due out April 5
Tamworth Country Music Festival Sydney Winterfest Blues festival Sydney Blues & Roots Festival ‘Painted Lady’ film clip featured on Alt Country Segment of CMC.
Tamworth Country Music Festival
‘Painted Lady’ featured in Amrap Regional Top 10 charts for 3 weeks
Self-titled EP voted #6 in the Top Ten CDs of 2016 by 100%