A Song for Your Wild Heart

In April, I went to see Jamestown Revival here in Charlotte. I’ve been a fan for a few years and had already seen them once in Greensboro earlier this year. I wasn’t expecting that I’d leave that night anything less that googly-eyed over their set.

Then the opener happened. I pretty much forgot about Jamestown Revival.

That opener was Ghost of Paul Revere, and these Mainers completely stole the show. Hilarious banter. Energetic performance despite a somewhat empty-ish “before the headliner” room. Fantastic harmonies. And these songs, you guys.

You know how every once in awhile you hear a song for the first time and it just instantly grabs you by your ears? Well, that’s what happened when I heard them play “Wild Child” that night. I was enthralled.

So imagine my disappointment when I found out it was new and it wasn’t to be had ANYWHERE.

Well, finally, six months after that show, the song has been soft released – Spotify stream only for right now, but the new record is only 10 days away. You guys MUST hear this song. I swear I’ve already played it like 100 times.

You can blame me for the earworm later.

Check the band out on tour now and see this song, plus this bad ass cover of “Baba O’ Riley.”

 

MORE GHOST OF PAUL REVERE: Pre-Order Monarch on iTunes | Buy music on Amazon | Watch the AudioTree Session | Listen on Spotify

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Coming Back to Life: The 2016 Spring Mix

unnamedIt’s closing in on the best night of the year…Daylight Saving Time begins in an hour. Tomorrow, it won’t be dark outside until 7 PM, and my internal clock will once again be back on track. While most of my friends are out getting an early start on St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to stay in and tackle finishing up the Spring Mix.

Spring is definitely in the air here in the Queen City. After a pretty emotionally tough few months – winter is always rough for me – I feel myself finally starting to perk up. The 2016 Spring Krissie Mix is definitely a reflection of what’s been going on in my life as I was building it…it is ALL OVER the place. Some new artists, some old loves. Some happy tunes, some sad. Anyway, there’s a little something for everyone to love.

If you want to read about why I was listening to these songs, or how I found out about the artists, or just get a sort of creepy look inside the way my brain works, download the liner notes here. I didn’t do a label this time around…if anyone really wants one, send me a note and I’ll make one for you. But I figure no one is really burning CDs anymore, right?

Happy almost Spring, everyone!

 

A Cure for the End of Summer Blues: The 2015 Fall Mix

I don’t know about you guys, but even though we have the day off, Labor Day is always a big bummer for me. Not only do I have a case of the Sunday-night blues on Monday, also the unofficial end to summer… and we all know that I’m a summer girl. So, this year, I decided to make sure that I finished the Fall Mix in time to brighten up Labor Day. Because I can’t possibly the only one not looking forward to fall and time changes and cold weather. Right?

If you’re one of the folks that likes to read my ramblings about the songs or wants to burn everything to a CD and listen, you can pick up the liner notes and the label here (and perhaps a bonus track that wasn’t on Spotify).

Happy listening, friends. Hope you’ve had a tremendous three-day weekend.

Looking for the Light with David McMillin on Daytrotter

Quote

“I can still hear your voice echo beneath the Alabama night, like a firecracker whistle on the Fourth of July / You said, ‘Don’t fear the distance dear, don’t fear the dark, you don’t need to set the world on fire, you just need to catch a spark.'”
– David McMillin, “Looking for the Light”

David McMillin

A new Daytrotter session from the musician who loves the craft of songwriting more than any artist I know, David McMillin. Artwork by Johnnie Cluney, copyright Daytrotter

A long time ago, I went to see a show of a local musician I tried to support. It was at The Evening Muse, my absolute favorite place to see music in Charlotte, a tiny, intimate venue that might hold 125 people when it’s busting at the seams. The opener clambered onto the stage, a kid of maybe 21 or 22 that might have weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. He had just an acoustic guitar and he looked so small, even on the miniscule Muse stage. Then he opened his mouth and started singing. Huge voice came out of that little body. He was probably about a song in when I turned to look at Annie and we both had the same expression on our face… WOW.  And that is how my friendship with David McMillin began.

If I could say one thing about David, just one, it would be that among the musicians I know, he is the one who loves songwriting the most.  I mean he absolutely LOVES it.  And he excels at it. He’s prolific, but I’ve never heard him put out a mediocre song. He and his band, Fort Frances, make amazing music together, and in the down times in between, when his band mates are tending to their personal lives, David writes more and pursues his solo work. It’s pretty inspiring to watch as a fan.

In the eight or nine years since that first show at The Muse, I’ve gotten to know David well…and he remains the only rock star ever to hail me a cab. I’ve watched him grow tremendously as a songwriter (and grow a tremendous beard) and been heartened by the fact that no matter what successes come his way, he remains humble and genuine. And so today, when Daytrotter released a solo David McMillin session, my heart skipped a beat. Even better?  NEW SONGS. Gorgeous, lovely new songs like “Looking for the Light.”

I’d recommend going to take a listen (if you are a Daytrotter member, you can download it…and if you aren’t a Daytrotter member, you should be). Let yourself be won over. Because if you love music, you can’t help but appreciate an artist who loves it even more than you do.

LISTEN TO THE DAVID MCMILLIN DAYTROTTER SESSION

More David McMillin:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Buy Heartsteady on iTunes

Quiet Hounds & The Wild Hunt

Quiet Hounds The Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt, the latest album from Atlanta’s brilliant Quiet Hounds, drops on August 9th.

I am turning 40 next week.

It’s a big birthday, and to my credit, I am not freaking out about it. That said, the milestone has me doing a bit of serious reflecting ­– where I am versus where I thought I’d be, the things I’ve cut from my life in recent years and the things that really are important, and mostly where I go from here. I think a lot of people do this, don’t they? Because no matter how happy we are, I think it’s human nature to always be on the hunt for that next big moment, the new best thing…

Amidst all this ruminating and nostalgia this week, the new Quiet Hounds album, The Wild Hunt, landed on my desk. My admiration for this band hasn’t been much of a secret; I’ve put their music on a bit of a pedestal. I have an insane amount of respect for the way they’ve struck out to create music that is a deep and reflective experience ­– to challenge the “accepted” way of doing things. They’ve been uncharacteristically quiet as of late, so when The Wild Hunt arrived this week, it was an unexpected surprise and I dove in with pretty high expectations.

The experience begins before the first note even sounds, with the album preamble, where the Hounds set the stage:

Mystical creatures crafting story.
Personified in song and otherworldly experiences.
The Quiet Hounds find themselves amongst the souls, the embers, the lights of a new journey.
A seekers chase, a race to find the questions and to build the answers. The past, the future, the present. They all have their role.
And so the Wild Hunt begins…

A story of hardship, of life and of love. The weary traveler’s tale can only be sung. Though the cities have yearned, the path has been long and the wanderer takes on a life of his own. So listen close for his language is old but his message is burned into the deepest of souls. May you smile or may you cry, be you lifted by the light, share this tale with all kin in sight.

The record is, as I’ve come to expect from this sextet of artists and their compatriots, masterful. A few factoids on the actual recording: the album was tracked in a number of places around Atlanta, including the famed Southern Tracks studio. It was mastered to analog tape, so if you’re a critical listener, you’re going to notice the richer tones and slightly fuzzier sound (with all the percussion and low-end in this record, it sounds pretty fantastic.)

At 33 minutes, it is the longest of the three QH albums. There are nine tracks in total, and eight full-length songs, making it the deepest dive the band has taken to date. That’s not the only difference fans will notice. These songs seem decidedly more personal; while the lyrical poetry that is a QH hallmark is still at play, the fantastical and historical elements that peppered earlier songs are toned down in The Wild Hunt. Instead of an exotic adventure through lands foreign to us, this record is much more of an emotional journey ­­– and if you’ll forgive the metaphor, a lot like real life.

The album begins with an outtake from a later track, and then kicks off hot and heavy with “Good Bones,” a youthful, angsty, rebellious song loaded with clapping, buzzy bass, wicked drumming and cymbal smashes, and even a howling hound. “Wild Light” continues this theme of youth and adventure, of striking out to create yourself, no matter the risk. The horn arrangement that dominates the last minute of this song is pretty damn spectacular.

Things settle down a little bit with the hazy, sing-songy “Cove Noises,” the closest thing to an outright love song I think the band has done. That is followed by a tremendously upbeat “Young Clover,” which could easily be a breakout single for the band, with its snappy staccato percussion and stick-with-you chorus. Is this a song for a lover or a new spouse?  A song from a young parent to their child, or an aging parent to their adult child? I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this song just fits here. (Watch a live takeaway of Young Clover here.)

A pair of rockers, “Underwater Listening” and most likely my favorite Quiet Hounds song of all time, “Dangerlove,” team up to form what I’ve been calling the “midlife” songs: doing the work it takes to keep the life you’ve built, fighting for your identity and for those that you love, questioning your decisions, and pushing through the tough times. [Aside: Word from the QH camp is that “Dangerlove” barely made the cut for the record, so I have to say a little “thank you” to the band for bringing it to life.]

If this record is the tale of a life’s journey, then the closing two songs are reflective, looking back at life, teaching lessons to those of us yet to get to those later years. “Stand and Stare” is the carpe diem anthem, the one that chides us with quiet snaps not to waste and to not be held back, with a particular warning for our technology-obsessed society. “Making time to listen is an accident / we fall into our boxes, so hollow / Making time to turn away and lift our heads into the atmosphere/ oh, I follow.” The capstone of the album is “Weathervane,” an orchestral number rich with strings and timpani that reminds us that wherever our wild hunts may take us, we must seek out the things that truly bring us joy and comfort. It reminds me of Whitman, telling us “In things best known to you, finding the sweetest, strongest, lovingest/ Happiness, knowledge, not in another place, but this place, not for another hour but this hour.”

The Wild Hunt reveals another dimension of this mysterious band of brothers,  the next phase of the continuing evolution of Quiet Hounds. They’ve made an album that allows their audience to find a bit of themselves in every song. It’s that type of emotional connection that makes art the most meaningful, and that – at least for this fan ­– makes The Wild Hunt the best of what Quiet Hounds have created so far.

And as for me, I’m feeling a little inspired. I’m thinking that 40 might be my best decade yet.

The Wild Hunt will be released on August 9 to the public, coinciding with Quiet Hounds opening for Rodrigo y Gabriela at Chastain Park in Atlanta. For you vinyl enthusiasts, the album was also recently cut in Nashville, so expect an actual record to be available within the next few months.

More Quiet Hounds:  Web | Facebook | Twitter | Buy Megaphona or Southern Charm on iTunes