As all you good folks know, For The Country Record is in a self-imposed hibernation. That doesn’t mean we’ve stopped posting entirely, however, as the occasional article will find its way to the homepage, and this is one of those times. If you’ve been craving the indiest of the indie, take a look (and a listen) through these undiscovered gems that landed in my inbox recently.
Jake Vance ‘The Poet’
Canadian singer-songwriter Jake Vance first launched onto the scene last year aged just 20, with the release of his debut EP ‘White Elephant’. Garnering spins on Canadian college radio, its success prompted 2016’s follow-up EP ‘Eden’, helmed by lead single ‘The Poet’. Simple and acoustic at first, but building into a grand orchestral crescendo, it is a beautifully-produced piece of music, and definitely something a little bit different to the norm.
Eve Selis ‘Still Have A Long Way To Go’
‘See Me With Your Heart’, the latest album from Eve Selis, is something of a comeback. A rollerblading accident in 2014 left the seasoned performer in 6 month-long recovery, and it inspired her to create a more honest, raw and vulnerable record. This vulnerability does not always manifest itself in tender ballads however, and our featured track ‘Still Have A Long Way To Go’ is a blistering, fire-spitting acknowledgement that we all have growing and learning to do in our lives. Country meets classic rock in this gutsy track.
Frank & Bill ‘Midnight Train’
Both hailing from Middletown, New Jersey, Frank & Bill began playing together in 1973, before life eventually took them in different directions. However, they found themselves working together again in 2012, through a solo CD of Frank’s. This reunion prompted them to make a new record as a duo, 2015’s ‘One Good Line’, and hit the road, playing coffeehouses with their own brand of 70’s country rock. Our featured track, meanwhile, is ‘Midnight Train’, a rollicking old school number that recalls the jukebox joints of the 1950s.
Dave Russell ‘Middle of Nowhere’
North Carolinan Dave Russell has been based in the home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee for some time now, and in that time has cultivated a loyal following. With his fan-friendly persona and radio-friendly, mainstream country sound, he has graced CMA Fest many times and this year upped the ante with a brand new record titled ‘Middle of Nowhere’. Our featured track is the title offering, a guitar-driven summer anthem perfect for fans of the more commercial but boot-stomping kind of country music.
String Sound ‘Piece of Heaven’
Baltimore, MD-based duo String Sound is made up of Nick Horner and Luke Chohany, and finds them musically experimenting within the broad styles of folk, bluegrass, jazz and even rock ‘n’ roll. Their latest EP ‘The Wicker Word’ was released in May of this year, and includes our featured track, ‘Piece of Heaven’. The collection is largely instrumental, but ‘Piece of Heaven’ offers a sparsely-peppered vocal, the winding melody and minor key adding to the haunting nature of the picked acoustic guitars and gliding fiddle. It’s a perfect introduction to String Sound’s work.
Jay Brown ‘The Radio These Days’
It could certainly be said that Jay Brown is a musician of the world. Born and raised in Black Mountain, North Carolina, he began writing and performing at an early age, but it wasn’t until 1997 when he formed the band Lazybirds that he really got to expand his creative expression. The group incorporates jazz, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll, and has become a mainstay of the local roots scene. Of his other projects, Jay and his wife formed an Indian folk fusion band and released two albums, all whilst he was taking trips to Ghana to study and perform traditional African music. Yet his latest solo album ‘Can’t Help But Wonder’ sticks simply to acoustic-based roots music, and our featured track ‘The Radio These Days’ is a particularly provocative offering with Jay’s expertise as a worldly musician at the forefront of its message.
R.X. Bertoldi & Son ‘Solid Ground’
Seattle native R.X. Bertoldi has been writing songs for over two decades but didn’t start performing until 2009, and since then has won a number of songwriting competitions for his various recorded works. During the past year or so Bertoldi’s 16-year-old son Luca has begun backing him up on drums, and since that time they have billed themselves as a duo. Last year they released two EPs and this year have unveiled two brand new singles, including our featured track ‘Solid Ground’. The song is characterised by an easy rolling groove and delicate family harmonies that evoke early 1970’s country rock, and is perfect for a relaxing evening.