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 Blood is thicker than water, and it can leave scars. But like it or not, those in our bloodlines are stuck with us—and us with them—for better or for worse. Paul Janeway understands this conundrum of heritage well. The singer of the Birmingham, Alabama–based rock and roll soul band St. Paul & The Broken Bones was born and raised in America’s Deep South, a place where social consciousness can still take a backseat to unsavory traditions and where a family’s expectations sometimes supersede all else. Despite the fierce familial love, he enjoyed and constantly gave back while growing up—especially to his father and grandfather—from an early age Janeway realized that the way he thought about the world was a little different from those around him, and he began to seek an outlet from which to share what was in his heart and on his mind. Blessed with a powerful voice, a magnetism for connecting with people, and a gift for making music, he traded in a career in ministry to start his own band.

Janeway’s fearless showmanship, thoughtful lyrics, and dedication to his performance soon became the band’s calling card, and paired with the inventive and skillful direction of co-band leader Jesse Phillips as well as a full eight-man roster comprised of some of the best young instrumentalists in the South, they soon became a must-see event. (In addition to Janeway on lead vocals and Phillips on bass and guitar, the lineup is rounded out by Browan Lollar (guitars), Andrew Lee (drums), Al Gamble (keyboards), Allen Branstetter (trumpet), Chad Fisher (trombone) and Amari Ansari (saxophone), who replaced Jason Mingledorff following the album’s recording) Over time, Janeway has learned the art of balancing expectations and how to reconcile his past with his future, just as his band have learned how to overcome their perception by pushing against its ceiling. In embracing those things he cannot change, he has forged ahead as an artist and as a man. 

 The Steel Woods’ sophomore Thirty Tigers album, Old News, represents a creative leap for the southern roots rock songwriting team of Alabama native Wes Bayliss and his North Carolina partner Jason “Rowdy” Cope, who completed their first recordings barely months after they first met.

Recorded in Asheville, NC at Echo Mountain Studios, the site of an old church during a six-day break in a hectic touring schedule, the new double-vinyl disc (the follow-up to 2017’s critically acclaimed Straw in the Wind) features more original songs and, for the first time, the whole band participated – including the rhythm section of bassist Johnny Stanton and drummer Jay Tooke – playing in a single room, cutting the tracks virtually live

 

 Dirty Honey is an American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 2017. It consists of singer Marc Labelle, guitarist John Notto, bassist Justin Smolian, and drummer Corey Coverstone. Their self-titled extended play was self-released in March 2019.

When vocalist Marc Labelle moved to Los Angeles he met guitarist John Notto. After performing a gig of cover songs together at a bar, they then played on the sidewalk of Sunset Boulevard in front of about 100 people. It was after this second performance that they decided to officially form a band in 2017. Notto recruited bassist Justin Smolian, and the trio had trouble finding a drummer until Smolian brought in Corey Coverstone, who enthusiastically asked to join.Labelle came up with the name Dirty Honey after hearing Robert Plant mention his band The Honeydrippers in a Howard Stern interview and thought it sounded like such a "dirty" rock and roll name

 

 “I feel like I’m film in a digital world,” says 29-year-old singer-songwriter Aubrie Sellers. “There are so many slick, clean-sounding records that are designed for quick consumption, but that’s not me. I make dirty, grungy-sounding records, and the emotions spill all over the place. They’re messy at times, but I find beauty in that.”

Elaborating on her film versus digital comparison, Sellers recounts a recent viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey: “I saw it the way you should, in a movie theater, and I just sat back and let the film have its way with me. That’s how I want people to experience my records. Listen to the whole thing, from beginning to end. It’s how I grew up listening to music, and I think it still matters.”

 

 “That was my mission on this album: To really set these songs up so that they have a life of their own,” says Samantha Fish about Kill or Be Kind, her sixth solo album and her debut on Rounder Records. “Strong messages from the heart – that’s what I really set out for.” Indeed, what comes across immediately on hearing the album is the extraordinary level of songcraft on its eleven tracks, the way these songs are so smartly put together to deliver a potent emotional impact.

Anyone who has ever heard Fish’s previous albums knows that she has earned a place in the top rank of contemporary blues guitarists and that her voice can wring the soul out of a ballad and belt out a rocker with roof-shaking force. And, rest reassured, those virtues are fully in evidence on Kill or Be Kind. But each of the songs on the album does far more than simply provide a setting for Fish’s pyrotechnics. They tell captivating stories, set up by verses that deftly set the scene, choruses that lift with real feeling, and hooks that later rise up in your thoughts, even when you’re not aware that you’re thinking of music at all. It’s the kind of songwriting that emerges when raw talent is leavened by experience and aspiration, and when a committed artist genuinely has something to say. Those qualities make Kill or Be Kind a genuine artistic breakthrough for Fish.

She concludes, “Overall my big goal, career-wise, is to contribute something different and new to music. I want to give something that stands apart and yet is timeless.” With Kill or Be Kind, Samantha Fish is well on her way along that path. – Anthony DeCurti

 "From the far reaches of rural south Alabama, The Red Clay Strays claim their unique sound with a humble confidence that can only come from their upbringing. This band, on stage and off, reminds you of southern music’s heyday and gives you hope that it may not have lost its way after all. Growing up listening to gospel along with artists such as Waylon Jennings, The Eagles, and the Allman Brothers, their wide range of influences create a combined style of the country music and southern rock we’ve all been waiting for. Lead Singer, Brandon Coleman, with vocals that bring to mind young Elvis, is the heart of their high energy show along with Drew Nix on rhythm guitar, Zach Rishel on lead, Andrew Bishop on bass and John Hall on drums. “ 
 
   

 

 

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