New jams and a new album from The Talbott Brothers (and a Charlotte show)

There’s something about sibling musicians, isn’t there?

The family factor adds another layer of depth to a performance. The way they can read each other, the way their voices blend,” the stories and banter…To me, there is a chemistry that is nearly impossible to match.

Enter The Talbott Brothers, a sibling duo originally from Imperial, Nebraska, now calling Portland, Oregon home. Bred straight out of Americana stock, Nick and Tyler wield strong jawlines and even stronger songwriting chops.

Their 2017 album, Gray, is laden with songs that speak to the promise of youth, love, and adventure, demonstrating their abilities to blend gorgeous melodies with stunning blood harmonies. But after crisscrossing the country for the last two years, the brothers were ready tackle weightier issues with their new material.

They’ve spent the last few months in and out of the studio recording. The latest single, “Run No More,” reveals a matured Talbott Brothers sound, laced with an edginess that only comes with growth and life experience. That theme runs through the new album, Ghost Talker, which will be released on October 18 (pre-order on Apple Music).

“One of the reasons we wanted to write these dark songs is because we felt like Gray was so bright,” says multi-instrumentalist Tyler, who also takes lead on vocals. “It’s fun to write a song about having a good time that you can dance to, but it feels better for me to hear a song that’s honest about being human.”

Nick echoes his younger brother, saying, “We had a lot of pent up emotion and it feels good to dive into some of it. We wanted to get heavier with this one.”

The brothers have been on the road most of the summer, debuting several of the songs from the new album. Their live show is not to be missed – just check out the video below for proof. Recorded at Lawrence Chapel in Appleton, Wisconsin during the Mile of Music festival in August, it’s a sneak peek at “Family,” one of the lighter tracks off the upcoming album. It also captures a glimpse at their brotherly banter and showcases their crystalline vocals.

It’s a “don’t miss” live show…and luckily, Charlotte fans will get a preview of the duo’s new release. The Talbott Brothers will return to The Evening Muse in Charlotte on Tuesday, September 24th, just two weeks into a two-month long tour that will see them make nearly 40 stops across the U.S. Charlotte singer-songwriter Ross Adams, who last year released his own new record, Songs from an Ancient Terrace, will open the show.

Get tickets to the show here.

 

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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 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.