Need a Friday jam? You can borrow mine.

Short weeks are the WORST. Why do they always seem to drag on forever and leave you feeling like you were put through the wringer?

Well, if you had that kind of week, too, let me give ya something to put a little pep back in that step.

The gents in Fort Frances dropped a new, catchy little ditty out today called “Fantasy of Youth.” I’ve had on repeat for most of the day today, and it was just what I needed.

This is my new Friday jam. 

 

David McMillin

David and me

And man, if you don’t know David, their lead singer, you should. He’s a gem of a human. Actually, the entire band are wonderful, joyful people, but I’ve known David the longest… I was lucky enough to see David on his first tour EVER 15-ish years ago and watching him develop as an artist has been a true joy. He’s a prolific songwriter and thoughtful being, and that always makes for a helluva combination.

He’s also a magical, word-wielding wizard. Check out what he wrote about the song…

 

“I guess this song is somewhat of an ode to my 16-year-old self. That guy was great. He strummed amateur rhythm guitar in a cover band called Trial and Error and cruised a maroon Buick Century with a cassette deck and a Discman adapter. Playing in that band felt like being a member of The Rolling Stones, and driving that car felt like owning a Rolls Royce.

Reclaiming that time is an impossibility. But I still think it’s good to try to peer through that unspoiled lens of non-adulthood — the one that frames the promise of the whole world at your front door and puts a smile on your face because you don’t need to bother looking at the news, waiting for emails or thinking about how to divvy up your next paycheck.

When you listen to this song, I hope it helps you erase whatever you’re thinking about — your bank account balance or your shitty boss or your concerns about whether the world is going to be able to make it through the wild waves of the modern age —and puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life. And I hope it feels as comfortable as the upholstery on the bench seat of that Buick.”

– David McMillin, Fort Frances

Yup. Exactly that.

Cheers to the weekend.

Catch them on tour or follow Fort Frances on the socials: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 

Have you heard J.S. Ondara?

I’m three years late writing this post.

In 2017, I was at my first Mile of Music Festival in Appleton, Wisconsin. I wanted to see Matt Hires play, so I dragged my best friend to a brewery a full hour ahead of time so that I wouldn’t miss him.

I’m so glad I did. Because on that day, I fell head over heels for the music of J.S. Ondara. Plus, he was so impeccably dressed, it was hard not to immediately love him.

J.S. Ondara at Mile of Music 2017

J.S. Ondara, Appleton Beer Factory, August 4, 2017, Mile of Music

After learning his story, I promise you that you’ll be fascinated by this singer-songwriter – how a bet about the song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” led him to move to Minnesota and Bob Dylan’s hometown. To hear him tell the story live is heart warming and humorous.

A day after I caught that first show of his, I saw him play a song called “Saying Goodbye” in a very loud Irish pub. I took video of it…but there were so many people talking that it’s hard to focus. The song stayed with me and I was relieved when it made the cut for his first album, Tales of America, that he released earlier this year.

Luckily, a few years later, the fine folks at KXT in Dallas recorded him singing the song in a beautifully broken old greenhouse… How this video only has 855 views is beyond me.

What a treat this young man is to watch sing.

 

Dry cleaning…

Who takes stuff to the dry cleaner any more?

Me, I do. Occasionally.

And then I promptly forget about it.

So on Wednesday night, realizing that my boss’s boss – the VP – was going to be in town, I was frantically figuring out what I was going to wear. And realized the thing I needed was at the dry cleaner. I’d dropped it off like a week earlier and it had completely slipped my mind.

Grabbed my keys and zipped over with maybe 20 minutes to spare before the place closed – figured I’d run in, grab the stuff, pay, and be back home in under 10 minutes.

And then when I walked in, there was a kid talking to the clerk about dry cleaning this band t-shirt. And he was picking up another one.

Odd, band t-shirts at the dry cleaner. But okay.

Once he left, the clerk – she’s probably in her late 50s, maybe early 60s – started telling me about how he’d washed the t-shirt and the colors had run, so they worked to fix it for him.

Then she says, “I don’t go to many concerts anymore…”

Then she asked me if I know who Jason Isbell is. Now she had my attention.

“I do,” I say.

And this woman starts telling me about how magical she thinks Jason Isbell is. I agree with her. She tells me about how she saw him in Charlotte, and then in Charleston. And she lit up talking about him, how Southeastern is her favorite record.

Then she tells me about going to see Neil Young when she was younger, and about how she loves him, too. And that she has been sober for years, but that back then, she was drinking a lot. But when she went to see Neil, she made sure she was sober because she wanted to remember all of it.

I launch into telling her about Evan Bartels, who I think sounds like Jason Isbell and Noah Gundersen had a musical lovechild. And I told her that, too, and that led us down a path talking about Noah for a second. I pulled out my phone and played her an Evan song.

She says, “Ohhh, he sounds a little like Bruce Springsteen.”

Well, we all know that’s an instant friend for me…

This clerk and I have probably had a dozen interactions over the last year, and it’s never been more than hi, how are you, drop stuff off, it will be ready tomorrow night, thanks.

But not in that moment on Wednesday night. In that moment, we were two music fans, bonding over Jason Isbell, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen.

As I left, she wrote down Evan and Noah’s names to check them out.

I can’t wait until I have something to take back to be dry cleaned to hear what she thinks.

 

 

 

 

6:10 AM and Grace Potter

Honestly, the two things have nothing to do with one another.

I woke up at 3 AM and can’t fall back to sleep. It’s 6:10 AM and pitch black outside. Summer is coming to an end and I hate it.

So what does one do when one can’t sleep? Clean out the email inbox that has been stacking up for months with promotional junk. Buy tickets to a few upcoming shows. And listen to the new Grace Potter song on repeat.

Have you heard it yet? If not, you’re missing out. Just watch.

Grace has been on a promotional tour this week to talk about her upcoming new record, Daylight. Read this. And watch this. She was thinking about no longer making music.

That actually makes my heart hurt.

The first time I saw Grace, I was coerced into it. I was visiting at home in NJ and Will Hoge happened to be playing this festival. My friend Pete was going and bribed me with access to a “members only” area where you could meet and greet with the artists.Pete said he’d get me into the meet and greet area, but that I had to stay the rest of the day to see Grace Potter play. I had no idea who she was, and I REALLY wasn’t interested. But I  REALLY wanted to say hi to Will. So I agreed.

And she FLOORED me.

I became Grace-obsessed. Her album, This is Somewhere, came out like a month later, and I played it for everyone and anyone who would listen. She came to Charlotte and played the Visulite to maybe 100 people, and I was a complete fan girl, front row, staring up at her and taking pictures on an actual camera.

A friend and I drove to Greenville once to see her. Grace came out on stage and looked like and angel, wearing this white dress and these chunky sandals with heels. And she said something like she’d been on a bus all day and hadn’t showered and she just needed to put-on a dress to feel like a girl. My friend and I belted out songs at the top our lungs that night…I was so happy.

Almost three years to the day after I first saw her, on the day my Mom told me she had cancer, I drove to Isle of Palms to see Grace play at The Windjammer. It was July. I remember being in that venue and dripping with sweat – July humidity in coastal South Carolina is no joke – and being so emotional about Mom, feeling every note that Grace sang. That night will live with me forever.

There are probably a dozen more Grace memories I could write about…For 12 years now, that woman’s music has been part of the soundtrack of my life.

I cannot imagine my world without her music.

Thanks for coming back, Grace. It’s so good to hear you sing.

 

My favorite noise: A daring new Quiet Hounds album (that is almost here)

“What are you listening to, Krissie?” 

That’s a question I get a lot… And my answers are typically all over the place. 

Everything Else is Noise CoverBut, if you’ve seen me in the last couple of weeks, there’s only one answer: The new Quiet Hounds record, Everything Else is Noise.

No, it’s not out yet. So you’ll have to take my word for it for now.

Let me put it simply:

This is the best music that QH have made in their eight years as a band. 

(Side note: how has it been 8 years since these marvelous gentlemen came into my life?) 

The Hounds have never been afraid of experimenting, and for even their biggest fans, I think that this new record will be a surprise. Yes, there are threads that run through it that make it essential Quiet Hounds – poetic lyrics, historical themes, and creative interludes among them – but this album also finds the QH quartet taking new sound directions. 

Everything Else is Noise is a cinematic soundscape that will have you hanging off the edge of your seat wondering what twist is about to come next. From the sweeping pedal-heavy piano opening to 80s-inspired synth adventures to dreamy California pop, the whole thing is a journey that I just don’t want to end. 

Two words: RIVER DELTA. You’ll find out what that means soon enough. 

Pretty sure it’s going to be the record of the summer for me. And fall. And winter. And next spring. And next summer. You get the point. 

So here’s the skinny…

You’re going to have to wait until fall to hear the record. Official release news will follow soon, but I can totally spill the beans on a big secret. 
You can be part of this new record, get some sneak peaks and early access. How so? By taking part in the Kickstarter campaign.

Be sure to watch the video…for the first time ever outside of an event, the QH fellas have faces and names! 

That’s right, those secretive Hounds are opening up the vault. Now’s your chance to get in on the action and help Everything Else is Noise come to life and in the process, get some really unique and collectible rewards. I mean, who doesn’t want an authentic Hounds mask???

More blog posts to come from me on the album as I can tell you more, but for now, get to clicking on that Kickstarter. These one-of-a-kind rewards are not going to last long.