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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The 2017 Summer Mix

unnamedHey guys, Happy 4th of July.

Although it’s a bit belated, the 2017 Summer Mix is FINALLY ready for your ears. Two hours of songs to make you laugh, cry, and feel alive.

Believe it or not, at one point, it was up to something like 42 songs, so I have done a LOT of editing (although the liner notes sure don’t make it seem that way…they are forever long).

Hope you’re doing all the summer things. It is the best season, after all, isn’t it?

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.

Shake, Don’t Shatter

Quiet Hounds new record, Shake, Don't Shatter, is a conversation between musical brothers that you can't stop listening to.

Quiet Hounds new record, Shake, Don’t Shatter, is a conversation between musical brothers that I can’t stop listening to.

Every once in awhile, life throws you a huge curve ball. Yesterday, I found out that the company where I have worked for 17 years – the better part of my adult life – is being sold. The future, for right now, is up in the air. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared and apprehensive about what comes next.

So it seems almost cosmically divined that one of my favorite bands, Quiet Hounds, released their new record, Shake, Don’t Shatter, on the day all of this craziness in my life went down. Hollywood couldn’t have scored a soundtrack better. Why? Because this album is a journey of self-discovery. A collection of songs about realizing what those unbreakable threads are that tether you to the people you love most. It’s a record about learning the strength you have to keep it together when everything around you seems to be crumbling.

There’s no doubt that this record is personal. For the first time in the band’s four-year history, the relatively mysterious quartet has given listeners a peek behind the literal masks. For a month leading up to the album release, they teased the story behind these songs. When life circumstances relocated the band’s lead singer to California in 2013, leaving behind the rest of the band in Atlanta, the future of Quiet Hounds was uncertain. But, they persevered, recording melodies and vocals and sending them back and forth via Dropbox to one another, finding creative solutions for problems that might stymie other bands (like recording vocals in a Toyota Prius when no other alternatives were available). In a series of emotional videos and blog posts, individual band members told their pieces of the story, sharing their thoughts behind the separation, intimate glimpses into their songwriting process, and more.

“These songs mean more to me than any others we’ve created. They’re about us. About struggling in the dirt and the mud. About being afraid, but never doubting. About what it means to be an artist, one that can’t live without the songs and the people that you create them with,” M Hound says in one of the videos, a simple yet intensely powerful statement about the deep bonds of friendship and camaraderie that develop in making music together.

That sentiment is at the very heart of this record. The separation, which continues today, resulted in six songs that, through metaphor and analogy, are a conversation among friends, a catalog of a musical brotherhood. In reading their preambles to the album, it’s clear that there’s an incredible amount of respect not just for the craft of making music, but for what each of them bring to the table in the band.

In my imagination, I see the band working out songs, sans lyrics, and sending these blank canvases of music across cyberspace, waiting for them to come back with vocal paint, messages from their friend 3,000 miles away. It’s an incredible frame for these gorgeous songs, but it should be noted that it is my singular interpretation of the album, and in no way do I know the actual meanings behind these songs.

“Gentlemen, believe we’ll do what we must, we hunt at all costs. So my friends, take heed, my hunter we trust, my hunter we trust. Don’t don’t don’t don’t stop stop stop stop stop, every time you fall, I pick you up.”

The chorus of the album’s opening track, “Hunter Gatherer,” is what lead singer E Hound called “a letter to my friends back home” to express his homesickness, expressed through the imagery of earlier times and the struggle for survival. The melancholy is palpable.  It is a call to be heard, even across the miles. It is from here that the album takes off, and we watch the Hounds struggle with their new reality.

We hear E Hound roaming the California countryside, looking at estates and sprawling hills, but mocking the overindulgence in the Beatles-esque “Mansions.” He beckons his friends to “come and join me here someday, in artificial structures we can play.”

On the first single, “Magnolia,” the Hounds are truly at their best, with an almost orchestral number that illustrates their musical prowess that oscillates between gauzy, questioning verses and an upbeat, percussion-punctuated choruses that answer back, before closing with a bevy of strings that will make you swoon.

By now, you’re fully immersed in the Hounds story, and if you aren’t prepared, “Tidal Wave” will knock you off your feet. There’s an underlying current (pun intended) of complete defiance from E Hound, wrapped in the picturesque scene of California surf, as he seems to address the very real possibility that the band might not weather the distance between them. “You keep on talking bout the end…/These things I can’t even pretend…”

And then we come to my two favorite tracks of the record. The dreamy “Bright Matter” is the source of the album name, a celestial-themed number full of buzzy melody and animated drumming that uses the stars as a metaphor for connection. Given the way that these songs came to fruition, zipping across the miles through routers and servers and wires, it’s a particularly apt one, and as E Hound sings, “Hey, bright matter, you keep me safe, you keep me moving along/Shake, don’t shatter,” you get the feeling that the foundation that this band is built on is unbreakable.

The closing track, “Still Phantoms,” is like “Weathervane,” the final track on this album’s predecessor, both a message of resilience and a portending of what’s yet to come. Although sparse, it is arguably the richest track on the album, showcasing each of the band members individual musicianship in a way none of the other tracks do. (Don’t think I missed the double entendre in some of those lyrics, either.) As the song reaches a crescendo, layered vocals overlap and bleed into one another, and the four individual voices of the band come together as one.

Selfishly, I want this record to be longer than six songs. I want it to go on forever. But even in its brevity, Shake, Don’t Shatter is perfect because of the connection it inspires between the listener and the artist. If we are lucky, we’ve all felt these things: loss, homesickness, strong bonds with our friends, a “never-give-in” moment where we know for certain what it is we want to do.  In the end, that is what it is all about, isn’t it? Music – and all art, for that matter – is a reflection of what it is to be human. It can be a celebration of our hopes and dreams, a conduit for our sadness and grief, a confessional for our fears and guilt, a way for us to express our love and gratitude for others, and a vehicle for finding our strength to hold on when the ground we know seems to be falling out from under us.

As for me… I’m more uncertain than I’ve been in a long time about my future. My job, my company, are so much a part of who I am that the idea of losing them makes me feel like I’m going to be left with a big black hole in my center. I don’t know what’s coming around the corner, and probably won’t for a little while. That’s really scary for me. So I’m going to need you all to remind me – and need to remind myself – that it’s okay to be lost for a little while, because I’m strong enough to find a new path back to solid ground.

Shake, don’t shatter.
spotify:album:4OOBD1xfIkSxkQv2It3SRn

More Quiet Hounds:  Web | Facebook | Twitter | Buy Shake, Don’t Shatter direct from the band