Formed in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1994, Hatebreed has been one of the most respected Hardcore and Metal bands for over a quarter of a decade. From their original Hardcore demo that was released on a split 7” single in 1995 to their most recent recordings, the band has evolved over the years, sticking to their Hardcore Punk roots but also embracing a menacing Metal sound. This blending of two aggressive styles has been referred to as Metalcore. Alongside other Metalcore band such as 36 Crazyfists, Senses Fail, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, From Autumn to Ashes, and Bullet for My Valentine, Hatebreed has been on the forefront of a musical scene that swept the nation and invaded every country, large and small. For many, Hatebreed has been the perfect gateway from Hardcore to Metal and vice versa.
Thirty six years after forming, three of the original members remain in the line-up since those early demos: vocalist Jamey Jasta, bassist Chris Beattie, and lead guitarist Wayne Lozinak (who took a 13 year break from the band from 1996 to 2009). While the rest of the line-up has changed over the years, their musical vision has remained the same – create music that evolves but still retains that classic Hatebreed sound. The band released their debut album, SATISFACTION IS THE DEATH OF DESIRE, in 1997 and followed that up with a series of albums that became stronger and more powerful: PERSEVERANCE (2002), THE RISE OF BRUTALITY (2003), SUPREMACY (2006), HATEBREED (2009), THE DIVINITY OF PURPOSE (2013) and THE CONCRETE CONFESSIONAL (2016). Always moving forward, Hatebreed has built a catalog that continues to inspire a generation of new Metalcore fans.
Their 2020 release, WEIGHT OF THE FALSE SELF, is Hatebreed’s eighth album and finds the band’s new music arriving at a very strange and unique time in our history. With a pandemic spreading across the globe and politics dividing the U.S., the album may not lyrically address the issues, but the music reflects the anger and confusion that the world is experiencing on a daily basis. The album was produced by Zeuss and follows up the enormously successful 2016 album THE CONCRETE CONFESSIONAL and a 25th Anniversary tour in 2019. With songs like “Let Them All Rot”, “Dig Your Way Out”, “Instinctive (Slaughterlust)”, and “The Herd Will Scatter” are amongst the highlights of this long-awaited release from one of the country’s most reliable Metalcore outfits. They never fail to satisfy and surprise in equal measure.
Nick Cave has been on one hell of a musical journey over the years. From his early 1970s beginnings in Australia to his more recent recordings, he went from being a post-punk outsider to a critically adored elder statesman of Alternative Rock. Although he’s worked with a few different bands over the years – The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party, Grinderman, and, of course, The Bad Seeds – the music that he creates is purely Nick Cave. He’s managed to maneuver his way through a career filled with highs and lows, triumphs and tragedies. Even when he flavors the music with different instruments and atmospheres, Cave still manages to sound entirely unique. Some have called him ‘Goth’ in the past, but Nick Cave doesn’t pretend to occupy the darker side of the music industry. Instead, he walks alone on a dusty road, always wondering if the oasis ahead of him is real or just a trick of the light. Along the way, he does what he wants… and does it very well.
Nick Cave’s best-known work are his recordings with The Bad Seeds. Since 1984, the band has evolved alongside Cave’s songwriting skills. From harrowing heroin tales to sad songs filled with loneliness and confusion, his work is never without hope. They lyrics may take you down a dark alley, the music is often filled with hopeful beauty. And vice versa. Critics fall all over themselves when a new release is dangled in front of them. His fans are devoted and the wait with bated breath for new Nick Cave material. Never one to let his fans down, Cave continues to release albums of that are deep in emotion and wide in ambition. From darkness to light, Nick Cave’s musical journey continues to travel down a road that is filled with suspense and surprise.
2020’s IDIOT PRAYER – NICK CAVE ALONE AT ALEXANDRA PALACE is an album that was born in the shadow of COVID-19. In June 2020, after a long period of isolation and confusion, the UK slowly lifted sanctions and people were able to slip out and experience little snapshots of real life again. While others marveled at the joy of being able to gather down the pub, Nick Cave plotted a musical re-emergence – a way to connect with his audience. While he still had to follow social distancing rules, Cave stepped on to the Alexandra Palace stage, sat down at a piano and performed a tender, emotional set of songs spanning his entire career. During this performance, there was no band behind him, no Charlie Hodge-like henchman wiping the sweat off his brow… and no audience. Well, at the venue, anyway. IDIOT PRAYER – NICK CAVE ALONE AT ALEXANDRA PALACE was originally an online-only event, a gift of music and emotion to his fans. The audio of the show is now available on CD and vinyl and is just as heartbreaking and beautiful as you’d expect – just Nick and a piano performing some of his finest material. While it is stripped back, haunting, and gentle, the listener will be inspired as they are met with wave after wave of emotion.
While Pop, Soul, and Dance music usually celebrates the lighter, happier side of life and love, Country, Folk, and Americana are genres that embrace the more realistic – and often heartbreaking – darker side of things. Yes, there are plenty of powerfully positive Country/Folk songs that are out there, those genres are also prone to tackling less popular subjects like drinking, divorce, abandonment, death, infidelity, and struggle. To be honest, it is hard to convey a ‘feeling’ of loss if the production is slick and glossy, which is why modern Top 40 Country songs stick to more lighthearted subjects. However, take a deeper dive into Country, Folk, and Americana and you’re going to find songs that your weary heart can relate to. Sometimes, we need a band that reflects what we are thinking and feeling…
Lambchop is more than just a band. Ever since their first official album – I HOPE YOU’RE SITTING DOWN (aka JACK’S TULIPS) – in 1994, this collective of musicians led by singer/songwriter Kurt Wagner has created a body of work that is inspiring. Often minimalistic in tone, the music that Lambchop creates is never without huge waves of emotion. Like a lonely dog sitting on a porch and waiting for his owner to come home, Lambchop albums leave the heart yearning for something more yet grateful for the life that they’ve stumbled into. Wagner and band create little masterworks that you can hear and ‘feel’. And isn’t that the point of creating art?
Lambchop’s 2020 release, TRIP, offers the listener a chance to experience life in real time while adding elements of melancholy and nostalgia. Quite a different release for the band, TRIP is a collection of cover versions chosen by the other members of Lambchop and then presented to Wagner. Instead of this release sounding like a musical diversion until the next proper album, TRIP sounds like a proper Lambchop album complete with tears of sadness and joy. Amongst the highlights is “Reservations” (originally by Wilco), a 13-minute immersion in emotion – joyous in its beauty yet heartbreaking in its execution. “Shirley” (originally recorded in the mid-‘70s by Cleveland’s Mirrors) is a jaunty, upbeat track with a slightly menacing vocal. “Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone” (originally by Diana Ross & The Supremes and Michael Jackson) gets a complete makeover – it is still upbeat but in a completely unusual way. TRIP is an album of many moods and rhythms. It is exactly what you’d expect from a Lambchop album but… completely different. It is a truly atmospheric and ultimately rewarding experience.
Born in Memphis, Tennesse in 1934, Amos Wells Blackmore, Jr. was better known as Blues vocalist and harmonica player Junior Wells. Acknowledged as one of the amplified blues-harp pioneers, Wells is best known for a string of albums he recorded with fellow Blues legend Buddy Guy as well as his own solo releases. While Wells’ signature song, “Messin’ with the Kid”, was released in 1960, his most celebrated album is his 1965 full-length debut HOODOO MAN BLUES (featuring Guy). Wells’ musical career began when he relocated with his mother to Chicago. There, he honed his skills on the blues harp and as a vocalist. Influenced by Little Walter, he joined the Aces and developed his own amplified harmonica style. He was then recruited by Muddy Waters to replace Little Walter and recorded his first sessions with the Blues legend. Wells then began recording a series of independently released singles including “Messin’ with the Kid”.
Wells’ commercial profile was raised significantly with the release of the album HOODOO MAN BLUES. The first of many albums to be recorded with guitarist Buddy Guy, it solidified his position as one of the hottest Blues musicians in the U.S. Dozens of studio, live, and compilation albums followed including IT’S MY LIFE, BABY (1966), BUDDY & THEJUNIORS (1970), ON TAP (1974), GOT TO USE YOUR HEAD (1979), UNIVERSAL ROCK (1986), UNDISPUTED GODFATHER OF THE BLUES (1993), and COME ON IN THIS HOUSE (1996). Although he was facing health issues in the ‘90s, he continued to perform and record up until his death on January 15, 1997. In the 23 years since his passing, Junior Wells’ catalog has continued to grow with posthumous live albums and compilations. His influence and legacy continue to live on, and he left behind an inspiration body of work that will be studied for decades to come.
In 2020, Junior Wells’ music is given a new lease on life with the release of BLUES BROTHERS, a collection of recordings that combine original Junior Wells tracks with new instrumentation by many of today’s most exciting Blues artists. BLUES BROTHERS features guest performances from guitarists Eric Gales, Joe Louis Walker, Tyler Bryant, Colin James, Kirk Fletcher, Popa Chubby, Pat Travers, Guitar Shorty and others. This set also includes smokin’ harmonica from James Montgomery. Includes fresh versions of such Junior Wells classics as “Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl”, “Baby, Scratch My Back”, “You Don’t Care”, “Worried Life Blues”, “You Gotta Love Her with a Feeling”, “Hoodoo Man Blues”, “Messin’ with the Kid”, and many more. Without abandoning the thrill of Junior Wells’ recordings, these versions blow off the dust and give each song a shiny new spin. They don’t try to erase the memory of the originals. Instead, they add a new dimension and present Wells’ energy and excitement to a new generation of Blues fans. .
AMPED Distribution will begin working with Entertainment One (“eOne”) for its diverse labels beginning November 1, 2020. AMPED will take over physical distribution for the majority of eOne music labels’ titles in the US, Mexico, and Canada. eOne’s label family includes landmark labels like Death Row Records, Dualtone Records, Artemis Records, and Steamhammer, as well as a roster of 150 artists on the company’s flagship music label. The new deal demonstrates the ongoing need for logistically strong, digitally savvy physical distribution partnership.
eOne is one of the most iconic and important multifaceted labels ever. From eOne to Dualtone to Death Row and SPV/Steamhammer, it’s simply impressive. Then add in some of the artists they have like Ace Frehley, The Lumineers, Brandy, High on Fire, Bryant Myers and that list is deep!” states Dean Tabaac, head of AMPED Distribution. “AMPED is thrilled and honored to be entrusted as Entertainment One’s new distributor and to become a part of their growing legacy for years to come.”
“eOne’s titles include some of the most iconic albums in contemporary music, as well as groundbreaking new releases,” says Sean Stevenson, eOne’s EVP and GM, Music. “We’re looking forward to having the support of a seasoned but innovative partner to get this music out to listeners across the continent.”
The partnership kicks off a crucial time for sales, the holiday season. Several major eOne releases are timed to drop on Black Friday (Nov. 27, 2020) for Record Store Day including Ace Frehley, Snoop Dogg, and Tha Dogg Pound. Additionally, other notable releases are set for that date, including classic, Memphis hip hop from Juicy J (The Hustle Continues); new thrash metal from Sodom (Genesis XIX); and a convergence of metal and hardcore from Within The Ruins (Black Heart).
AMPED is one of the fastest growing, top-tier independent distributors committed to developing and growing independent artists and labels worldwide. A part of Alliance Entertainment, AMPED gives the indie community access to a global distribution system with the largest sales force, a seasoned and skilled staff that provides a suite of services and data second to none. AMPED’s customer base is the largest in the industry directly servicing brick and click retailers large and small along with (DTC) direct consumers. AMPED’s growing roster of labels include labels such as AWAL/Kobalt Music Recordings including Glassnote, Alligator Records, Believe Digital, Big Loud, Bloodshot Records, Cleopatra, Compass Records, Empire, Hopeless Records, Inner Knot, Merge Records, Prospect Park, Ruf Records, Shanachie, SM Entertainment, Tuff Gong and more.
Entertainment One Ltd. (eOne) is a talent-driven independent studio that specializes in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. As part of global play and entertainment company Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS), eOne’s expertise spans across film, television and music production and sales; family programming, merchandising and licensing; digital content; and live entertainment. Through its extensive reach and scale, and a deep commitment to high-quality entertainment, eOne unlocks the power and value of creativity.
eOne brings to market both original and existing content, sourcing IP from Hasbro’s portfolio of 1500+ brands, and through a diversified network of creative partners and eOne companies including: international feature film distribution company Sierra/Affinity; Amblin Partners with DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, and Reliance Entertainment; Makeready with Brad Weston; unscripted television production companies Renegade 83, Daisybeck, Blackfin and Whizz Kid Entertainment; live entertainment leaders Round Room Live; world-class music companies Audio Network, Dualtone Music Group and Last Gang; and award-winning emerging content and technology studio Secret Location.
Believe it or not, it has been 37 years since Country Music duo The Judds first entered the charts with their debut single “Had A Dream (For The Heart)” (a cover of a 1976 track by Elvis Presley). However, it was 1984’s #1 single “Mama He’s Crazy” that sent their career into the stratosphere. Up through 1991, every single by The Judds reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Country Singles chart, 14 of them reaching #1. Their six albums were certified gold and/or platinum including WHY NOT ME? (1984), ROCKIN’ WITH THE RHYTHM (1985), HEARTLAND(1987), RIVER OF TIME (1989), andLOVE CAN BUILD A BRIDGE (1990). In short, The Judds practically owned the Country Music charts all throughout the ‘80s. Although their albums did better on the Country charts than on the Pop charts, they certainly did cross over and sold a lot of records to folks who wouldn’t normally listen to Country music. The Judds were literally everywhere. And I haven’t even mentioned all of the awards they won over the years…
However, all good things come to an end. The duo – mom Naomi Judd and daughter Wynonna Judd – was sidelined in 1991 when Naomi was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. They immediately stopped touring and Naomi essentially retired from the grind of the music business. However, there was a lot of music left in Wynonna so she embarked on a solo career that was just as successful as The Judds’. Reverting to using her first name only, she released the album WYNONNA in 1992. The album hit #1 on the Country Albums chart and #4 on the Billboard 200. Her second solo album, TELL ME WHY (1993), did similar business and proved that Wynonna could easily carry The Judds legacy into a new decade. Other hit albums include REVELATIONS(1996), WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE (2003) and WYNONA & THE BIG NOISE (2016). Wynonna even reunited with Naomi a few times over the years, but those were never meant to be permanent. While her solo career is more or less low key these days – by choice – than during her first two decades, she’s no less a Country superstar in 2020.
Wynonna returns to her roots this year with the release of her RECOLLECTIONS EP. This five-track release finds Wynonna in fine form, recording a handful of her favorite songs including “I Hear You Knocking”, “Angel of Montgomery”, and “Ramble On Rose”. Mostly recorded during quarantine at her Tennessee farm, RECOLLECTIONS will surprise those who think of Wynonna as just a commercial Country Music artist. This EP is loose and bluesy, filled with honest emotion, and a spirited rootsy vibe. This might be the most raw that we’ve ever heard Wynonna. In a sense, this is much like being a fly-on-the-wall during a fun and relaxed jam session with Wynona and her band. The love and passion she has for creating music is on display for all to hear. She says that the recording of this EP took her right back to where she started and, in many ways, it certainly feels that way. But she’s matured as an artist and all her life experiences come through loud and clear. This is the real Wynonna and that is what makes this an inspiring listen whether you are a fan or not.
The daughter of legendary guitarist Johnny Copeland, Shemekia Copeland was born to sing the Blues. Her first public performance was at the Cotton Club at the age of 10 but she didn’t fully commit to a singing career until the age of 16. Johnny took Shemekia on the road with him and she became his opening act. Thanks to her electrifying live shows, she became one of the most talked about artists on the Blues scene. She signed a recording contract with Alligator Records, releasing her debut album, TURN UP THE HEAT!, in 1998. She followed that up two years later with the award-winning WICKED. Her third album, TALKING TO STRANGERS (2002), was produced by New Orleans legend Dr. John. Her next release, the Steve Cropper-produced album THE SOUL TRUTH, was released in 2005.
At this point in her career, Copeland was being lauded as one of the most exciting Blues singers in the studio and on stage. Her tour schedule took her around the world, playing to adoring fans in intimate clubs and bustling Blues festivals. In 2011, she inherited Koko Taylor’s crown as the new ‘Queen of the Blues’ at the Chicago Blues Festival. But that wasn’t her first ‘award’, having won many from the Blues Music Awards, Down Beat Magazine, and others. Copeland’s 2015 album OUTSKIRTS OF LOVE reached the #6 spot on the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart. In 2018, she released the album AMERICA’S CHILD, which climbed to the #3 position on the Blues chart and walked away with Album Of The Year and Contemporary Album Of The Year awards at the 40th Blues Music Awards. They also honored her with the Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year Award in 2020.
Two years after AMERICA’S CHILD, Shemekia Copeland returns with UNCIVIL WAR, an intimate and powerful follow-up to one of her most successful albums. Produced by singer/songwriter/producer Will Kimbrough, whose career dates back to the ‘80s and his Roots Pop band Will & The Bushmen. The album includes performances and/or songwriting from Kimbrough, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Jason Isbell, Steve Cropper, Shawn Mullins, Duane Eddy, and others. While the album is certainly brimming with the Blues, fans of Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Gospel, and Americana will find a lot to love on UNCIVIL WAR. From “Clotilda’s On Fire” to “Apple Pie and a .45”, “Uncivil War” to “Love Song”, the album is filled with songs that reflect the emotional times that we are all experiencing in 2020. While the subject matter may cut deep, there is still a real sense of hope, strength and passion that shines through in Shemekia’s voice. In times like these, let Shemekia be the voice of peace, love, and understanding.
When a major Rock band splits up, most people expect the lead singer/frontman to be the breakout star while all of his former bandmates struggle to keep themselves in the public eye. However, this is Mötley Crüe that we are talking about… and Mötley Crüe is no ordinary Rock band. Known for their hard rocking hits in the ‘80s and their offstage debauchery, the Crüe became one of the most popular bands in the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal genre. One of the most astonishing things about the band is that they were able to maintain their credibility while also becoming hugely successful and one of MTV’s most popular bands. And for a Hard Rock band to maintain their integrity while also being commercially successful was a rarity in the ‘80s – very few bands knew how to maintain that balance. And you have to admit, Mötley Crüe deserves a lot of credit for thriving and surviving… at least through the ‘80s.
The public first learned about Mötley Crüe’s inner turmoil when lead vocalist Vince Neil left the band in early 1992. While Mötley Crüe continued with a new vocalist and Vince pursued a solo career, their releases did not sell as well as expected and Vince eventually rejoined the band. However, even while their main band was back together, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee pursued musical projects outside the Crüe’s universe. While Sixx continued down a Rock ‘n’ Roll path with Sixx A.M., drummer Tommy Lee took a far more eclectic solo path. From Hard Rock to Punk, Nu Metal to Hip Hop, Tommy approached his various solo recordings and side projects with the same manic energy that he exhibited in the Crüe. He even guested on album by a wide variety of artists including Fall Out Boy, Richard Marx, The Smashing Pumpkins, Rob Zombie, Post Malone, Fuel, Jack’s Mannequin, and others. Since the late ‘90s, Lee has continued to work with Mötley Crüe, yet still finds time to record and release solo albums as well as albums with Methods Of Mayhem and Rock Star Supernova. With each release, he has continued to explore and experiment with many genres of music.
On his 2020 album ANDRO, Tommy Lee rounded up a cast of vocalists and musicians and created a Hip Hop-influenced album that couldn’t be more different from Mötley Crüe yet still manages to retain the same restless energy and bravado as anything else he’s done over the last 40 years. From the scream-filled Rock blast of “Knock Me Down” (featuring Killvein) to the dark cover version of Prince’s ‘When You Were Mine” (featuring Rock Star Supernova vocalist Lukas Rossi), ANDRO is a sonic blast of edgy, blissed-out Hip Hop ‘n’ Roll. Other guest vocalists on the album include PAV4N, Josh Todd, Mickey Avalon, Brooke Candy, Moonbounce, King Elle Noir, PLYA, Push Push, and Shotty Horroh. The album is modern and sleek while still playing it dirty and dangerous. Tommy Lee has certainly done some surprising and unpredictable things in his life, and it’s nice to see that he’s still challenging himself and his fans.
STEPHEN SCHNEE: QUIET PLACES has just been released. How are you feeling about the album and the reaction you’ve had to it so far?
ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER: QUIET PLACES is intended to provide something like a hide away, a place where we can slow down, step out of the crazy spinning carousel of life, and breathe freely for a moment. Especially in these times, such moments of contemplation are of existential importance. The first things that go overboard in such situations is our view for the positive, which very often is overpowered by the seemingly dominant negative. Music can lead us to such a place where we can gather strength for our fight for the better and the good. The feedback we have received to QUIETPLACES so far makes me quite confident, that it really does work…
STEPHEN: It has been quite a while since the release of your last album. Do you consider QUIET PLACES a continuation of your recorded legacy or a musical rebirth? Or maybe a little of both?
ANDREAS: I do not follow any strategy, neither in my life, nor in my work. I mainly follow my intuition, which has been a reliable mentor so far. For the first time, I had an unusual, additional support from my work on my novel IM SPIEGEL DER VENUS. I could actually say that writing has inspired the music and the music has inspired writing.
STEPHEN: During the lengthy break between your last album and this new one, did you gather quite a backlog of material ready to use, or are the songs on QUIET PLACES written specifically for this project.
ANDREAS: The music of QUIET PLACESis actually the result of many hours of improvisation with the brilliant young cellist Isabel Gehweiler. Although musical structures were formed here and there, most of it is still open and free and could never be played the same way a second time. As an additional source of inspiration, the themes and ideas behind the novel REFLECTIONS OF VENUS always floated somewhere in the room.
STEPHEN: While many music fans are fairly aware of the songwriting process in Rock music, how do you compose your songs? Are they born from improvisation or do you think of a certain melody and then begin writing composing around that?
ANDREAS: All our music from the past 40 years have come from improvisation – one could almost say that the music has written itself.
STEPHEN: And sticking with the same subject, do you compose your music differently today than you did 40 years ago?
ANDREAS: I am far too wild a spirit, not to be tamed even by myself. I am not disciplined and structured enough to construct music intellectually on the drawing board.
STEPHEN: QUIET PLACESis filled with beautiful melodies that evoke a sense of wonder and beauty, which is especially welcome during these trying times. When putting together an album, is it easy to create an atmosphere that will take the listener on an emotional journey? Or is that the most difficult part of the recording process?
ANDREAS: You have to go on these journeys yourself, dive into these depths yourself, experience all this yourself, and the music will emanate the right atmosphere all by itself. The work on our mindset, and our stance towards life, with the sum of our feelings, thoughts and values that must be the basis of our artistic expression. Only then we are worthy of credibility and people will follow our invitation to join us on the journey.
STEPHEN: QUIET PLACESis the beginning of a new trilogy for you. Like your first trilogy, which began with 1981’s …BEHIND THE GARDENS – BEHIND THE WALL – UNDER THE TREE, do you pre-plan out which direction you want each release to go, or do you let the music guide each project?
ANDREAS: As I said earlier – I am planless and clueless 😉
STEPHEN: QUIET PLACESserves as a companion piece to your first novel, IM SPIEGEL DER VENUS. Did you initially conceive QUIET PLACESto work as a ‘soundtrack’ to the novel or are you treating them as two separate projects?
ANDREAS: QUIET PLACESwas never intended as a soundtrack for the novel. It has developed parallel to the story, it has accompanied me over the many years of my research, it has grounded me, and made my thoughts fly, just like a good travel companion should.
STEPHEN: Over the years, your music has been classified as everything from New Age to Jazz to Classical. How would you prefer your music to be classified?
ANDREAS: Honestly? I PREFER NOT TO BE CLASSIFIED, AND SO DOES OUR MUSIC (same way as you and everybody else, I think…)
STEPHEN: What is next for Andreas Vollenweider?
ANDREAS: The international release of QUIET PLACES, the novel as well as the audio book. That keeps me busy for quite some time. Touring seems not really to be an option due to the virus. All we can do at the moment are these LIVE@HOME mini concerts on YouTube. It’s a very surprising new way for me to bring the music to people, even to places we could never travel to. I must admit that I have underestimated this option very much and today, however, I am very excited about it. I would never have thought that such an intense feeling of closeness is possible in this very virtual situation. But seen in this light, even a love letter that the postman brings is also virtual. You are not personally present there and yet, if the letter is well written, you can touch your loved one deeply.
Special thanks to Andreas Vollenweider
Additional thanks to Larry Germack, Clint Weiler, and Doreen D’Agostino
Folk and protest music, for the most part, are timeless. There are certain songs that may focus on a particular incident in history, but most Folk-oriented ‘protest’ songs address universal issues that are still sadly relevant. When you sit down today to listen to a classic by Pete Seeger, you suddenly realize that the more things have changed, the more they’ve remained the same. Seeger is associated with his social activism and his amazing cache of songs – that he wrote or co-wrote – including “If I had A Hammer”, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”, “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine”, and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” Just as beloved as iconic singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie, Seeger’s songs came from the heart, although some speculate that they may have been sent from somewhere more magical and/or mystical. For decades, his words and melodies have become part of pop culture. They are important cornerstones in the soundtrack of our lives. Pete Seeger remains an icon that all of us should always hold in high esteem. His words were often direct, sending messages for all of us to take to heart. However, the musical arrangements were – and are – often left to reinterpretation…
And that’s where Kronos Quartet comes in. Formed in Seattle, Washington in 1973 by violinist David Harrington, the Grammy Award-winning quartet is often filed under Classical Music, but as they’ve proven time and time again, Kronos Quartet is often unclassifiable. They’ve tackled everything from Jazz to Pop, Avant-Garde to World Music. They have also collaborated with an impressive cast of artists in the past including Elvis Costello, Phillip Glass, Joan Armatrading, Laurie Anderson, Nelly Furtado, and Nine Inch Nails. Since their first album in 1979, Kronos Quartet has embraced change and growth. Instead of taking the easy road straight down the middle, this outfit has taken every off-ramp and explored each musical town before getting back on the road and heading for the next musical adventure. Their catalog is wildly diverse and thoroughly engaging. Like Pete Seeger, Kronos Quartet creates music that touches the listener emotionally. It is truly inspiring.
Kronos Quartet may create music that seems – on the surface – worlds apart from Pete Seeger, that hasn’t stopped Harrington & Co. from exploring his classic songs on LONG TIME PASSING: KRONOS QUARTET & FRIENDS CELEBRATE PETE SEEGER. The album features a fresh approach to Seeger’s music but still retains the power of his initial cries for unity and peace, driving Seeger’s messages home in fresh, new ways. On the album, Kronos Quartet is joined by friends Sam Amidon, Maria Arnal, Brian Carpenter, Meklit, Lee Knight, and Aoife O’Donovan, all of whom add their unique voices to the recordings. The songs on LONG TIME PASSING – “We Shall Overcome”, “Which Side Are You On”, “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, “The President Sang Amazing Grace” and more – were written years before many of us were born yet they are still as relevant as ever. One would think that the world would have evolved over the years, but like the planet itself, everything just keeps spinning and the issues we deal with – from personal to political – just get recycled over and over again. We should turn off the TV, put down our smart (?) phones and really listen to the messages on LONG TIME PASSING. We shall overcome, indeed.
KRONOS QUARTET & FRIENDS
LONG TIME PASSING: KRONOS QUARTET CELEBRATE PETE SEEGER