Friday, January 29, 2021

The Peter Frampton Band pays tribute To David Bowie, George Harrison, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead and more on new instrumental covers album

Exciting news for fans of Peter Frampton with today's announcement of an upcoming instrumental covers album and a great advance single (he guitar playing is truly affecting)...Robert Kinsler






Peter Frampton Band-Forgets The Words-Band Photo-Credit Austin Lord.jpg Peter Frampton Band-Frampton Forgets The Words-Cover-Final.jpeg

                        Photo by Austin Lord


One of rock ‘n’ roll’s lifelong major players



Los Angeles – January 29, 2021—Frampton Forgets the Words, the new studio album by The Peter Frampton Band, will be released April 23 via UMe. The album features instrumental tributes to some of Frampton’s favorite songs and is the follow up to his 2007 Grammy Award-winning instrumental album, FingerprintsThe first track to be revealed is their take on Radiohead’s “Reckoner,” alongside a video—watch/share HERE.   


Frampton Forgets the Words was co-produced by Frampton and Chuck Ainlay and was  recorded/mixed at Frampton’s own Studio Phenix in Nashville. With his infamous 1954 Les Paul Phenix—which was lost in a plane crash in 1980 and recovered more than 30 years later —  Frampton brings virtuosic guitar playing to songs by David BowieGeorge HarrisonStevie WonderLenny Kravitz and more. See track listing below. 


Frampton notes, “This album is a collection of ten of my favorite pieces of music. My guitar is also a voice and I have always enjoyed playing my favorite vocal lines that we all know and love. These tracks are my great band and me paying tribute to the original creators of this wonderful music. So much fun to do and I really hope you enjoy it too.”


Peter Frampton is among the most celebrated guitarists in rock history. At 18, he co-founded one of the first supergroups, Humble Pie. By 22, he was touring incessantly and making use of the talk box which would become his signature guitar effect. He’s collaborated with such legendary artists as George Harrison, David Bowie, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ringo Starr, among many others, and has toured with the likes of Stevie Nicks, Greg Allman, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cheap Trick, and the Steve Miller Band. In 2014 he was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame. 


His 2019 album All Blues (UMe), was #1 for fifteen weeks on Billboard’s Blues Chart, and his autobiography Do You Feel Like I Do?: A Memoirreleased last October via Hachette Books, debuted on The New York Times Bestsellers list. His 1976 album, Frampton Comes Alive! remains one of the top-selling live records of all time and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame last year.



1. If You Want Me To Stay 

2. Reckoner 

3. Dreamland 

4. One More Heartache 

5. Avalon 

6. Isn’t It A Pity 

7. I Don't Know Why 

8. Are You Gonna Go My Way 

9. Loving The Alien 

10. Maybe



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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Cheap Trick return with blistering new track "Light Up The Fire"

 Ready for some new Cheap Trick? I am! Listen to the band's great new track "Light Up The Fire" off the band's forthcoming new album...Robert Kinsler


Photo Credit: Martin Thompson
"Quick, think of any other American rock band formed in the ‘70s who is still putting out albums in the modern era that not only don’t embarrass the band but repeatedly revitalize their career. The list starts and stops with one name: Cheap Trick.”
– Paste
“Few acts inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as Cheap Trick deservedly was in 2016, are cranking out music as fresh, honest, energized and explosive as these guys… If this recent burst in activity keeps going, they will be the poster boys for how ageing rock and rollers can stay relevant without selling out or trying to be hip…Long Live Cheap Trick.”
– American Songwriter
The one and only Cheap Trick have announced today’s premiere of their pummeling new single. “Light Up The Fire” is available now at all DSPs and streaming services. The song heralds Cheap Trick’s eagerly anticipated 20th studio album, IN ANOTHER WORLD, arriving via BMG on Friday, April 9 digitally as well as on standard black vinyl and CD. Limited edition blue and white splattered vinyl will be available at independent record stores nationwide. In addition, a limited edition picture disc will be available exclusively via Target. Pre-orders are available now, with all pre-orders joined by an instant grat download of “Light Up The Fire.”
Produced by longtime associate Julian Raymond, IN ANOTHER WORLD sees Cheap Trick doing what they do better than anyone -- crafting indelible rock ‘n’ roll with oversized hooks, mischievous lyrics, and seemingly inexorable energy. Trademark anthems like “Light Up The Fire” and “Boys & Girls & Rock N Roll” are countered by more introspective – but no less exuberant – considerations of times past, present, and unknowable future on such strikingly potent new tracks as “Another World” and “I’ll See You Again.” IN ANOTHER WORLD – which marks Cheap Trick’s first new LP since 2017’s double-header of WE’RE ALL ALRIGHT! and CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS – further showcases Cheap Trick at their most eclectic, touching on a myriad of distinct sounds and song approaches, from the swampy Chicago blues number, “Final Days” (featuring fiery harmonica from GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer and Wet Willie frontman Jimmy Hall) to a timely rendition of John Lennon’s still-relevant “Gimme Some Truth,” originally released for Record Store Day Black Friday 2019 and featuring the instantly recognizable guitar sound of erstwhile Sex Pistol Steve Jones. As irresistible and immediate as anything in their already awesome catalog, IN ANOTHER WORLD is Cheap Trick at their irrepressible best, infinitely entertaining and utterly unstoppable.
Founded in 1974, Cheap Trick is an indisputable American institution, beloved around the globe for their instantly identifiable, hugely influential, brand of pop-rock ‘n’ roll. The band - Robin Zander (vocals, rhythm guitar), Rick Nielsen (lead guitar), Tom Petersson (bass guitar) - are true pioneers with an unparalleled streak of certifiably classic tunes, from “He’s A Whore,” “California Man” and “Dream Police” to “Surrender,” “I Want You To Want Me,” and the worldwide #1 hit single, “The Flame.” 2016 saw Cheap Trick inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a long-overdue acknowledgment of a nearly five-decade career that has earned them more than 40 international gold and platinum certifications, myriad awards and industry honors, featured appearances on over 20 movie soundtracks, and total record sales well in excess of 20 million.
Cheap Trick - Zander, Nielsen, Petersson along with drummer Daxx Nielsen - are of course one of rock’s hardest working live acts, lighting it up at arenas, concert halls, and amphitheaters worldwide more than 150 nights each year. Alas, recent events have forced the band off the road for perhaps the longest hiatus of their storied history. Cheap Trick plan to return to the endless highway later as soon as they can, including North American and U.K. tour dates – for updates and pre-sale information, please visit
“This band is held together by music,” says Robin Zander. “It’s the super glue that keeps us writing and putting records out. The reason we started the band in the first place was to tour and write songs and put records out. If all that went away, there would be no point then, would there?”
Track List:
Here Comes the Summer
Quit Waking Me Up
Another World
Boys & Girls & Rock N Roll
The Party
Final Days
So It Goes
Light Up the Fire
Passing Through
Here’s Looking At You
Another World reprise
I’ll See You Again
Gimme Some Truth

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Neil Young to release live album and film 'Way Down In The Rust Bucket' on Feb. 26, 2021

I didn't get to see Neil Young & Crazy Horse perform in Santa Cruz in 1990, but I did catch the troupe in action in April 1991 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and it was an incredible performance. 'Ragged Glory' is a fantastic rock album. I can't wait to get 'Way Down In The Rust Bucket' next month! Robert Kinsler

Never Before Released Set Captures Young And Crazy Horse’s Electrifying 1990 Show In Santa Cruz, California And Includes Live Versions of Songs from Ragged Glory

Neil Young has announced the release of Way Down in the Rust Bucket, a never-before released, incendiary and essential live album and concert film documenting a legendary 1990 show with Crazy Horse in Santa Cruz, California. Available for pre-order and out on February 26, 2021Way Down in the Rust Bucket features the debut public performances and much of the songwriter’s grungy, cranked-up 1990 album, Ragged Glory. Pre-order now and receive and instant download of “Country Home.” Click here to stream the track.

Vinyl, CD and Deluxe box sets will be available via 
The Greedy Hand Store at Neil Young Archives and music retailers everywhere and digitally via NYA and all DSP’s. Purchasers of Way Down In The Rust Bucket from the Greedy Hand Store will also receive free hi-res digital audio downloads from the Xstream Store © at NYA

After recording Ragged Glory at Broken Arrow Ranch in the spring of 1990 and releasing it that September, Young and Crazy Horse took the stage at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz on November 13 to unleash the songs upon a live audience. In true Crazy Horse fashion, the incendiary show ran across three sets and over three hours, with songs like “Love and Only Love” and “Like a Hurricane”hypnotically stretching past ten minutes. The Catalyst gig also marked the first time “Danger Bird”—a cut from Young’s 1975 album Zuma—was played for a live audience, thundering on into psychedelic six-string fireworks. Other live debuts on Way Down in the Rust Bucket include “Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze,” “Love to Burn,” “Farmer John,” “Over and Over,” “Fuckin’ Up,” “Mansion on the Hill,”and “Love and Only Love.”

Way Down in the Rust Bucket—which is #11.5 in Neil Young’s Performance Series—will be released in a number of variations. A deluxe edition box set will contain a DVD of the electrifying live concert—directed by Bernard Shakey and produced and directed for Shakey Pictures and Upstream Multimedia by LA Johnson—alongside four LPs and two CDs. The DVD contains one additional performance of “Cowgirl In The Sand” (13 minutes worth!) which does not appear on the vinyl or CD editions. Other versions will include a 4LP vinyl box set and a 2CD set.

Way Down in the Rust Bucket will also be available digitally from the Xstream Store © at Neil Young Archives and all major DSPs. Only at NYA can you find Young’s music in the highest possible digital audio resolution alongside a seemingly infinite store of archival files. It’s also the home of Young’s virtual daily newspaper, The Times Contrarian, and The Hearse Theater, where you can see rare footage and stream live shows. NYA is a fittingly sprawling repository for Young; few artists—perhaps none—have explored such a vast spectrum of sounds and styles over more than half a century. Way Down in the Rust Bucket is a worthy reminder of all the greatness he has up his sleeves.

Way Down in the Rust Bucket Track Listing:
1. Country Home
2. Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze
3. Love to Burn
4. Days That Used to Be
5. Bite the Bullet
6. Cinnamon Girl
7. Farmer John
#. Cowgirl In The Sand (exclusive to the DVD ONLY)
8. Over and Over
9. Danger Bird
10. Don’t Cry No Tears
11. Sedan Delivery
12. Roll Another Number (For the Road)
13. Fuckin’ Up
14. T-Bone
15. Homegrown
16. Mansion on the Hill
17. Like a Hurricane
18. Love and Only Love
19. Cortez the Killer

Official Site/NYA: 

Media Release: Shovels & Rope and Sharon Van Etten Surprise release Beach Boys track ahead of “Busted Jukebox, Vol. 3” - out Feb. 5, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    JANUARY 27, 2021

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Nashville, TN  - Celebrated, award-winning duo Shovels & Rope have announced the surprise February 5th release of Busted Jukebox, Volume 3, (nicknamed Busted Juicebox) the latest installment of their Busted Jukebox collaborative series. Busted Jukebox Vol. 1 (2015) and Vol. 2 (2017) featured the acclaimed duo (Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent) teaming up with an eclectic list of artists to record a series of cover songs with inspired new arrangements.

On Busted Jukebox, Volume 3, Shovels & Rope invited artists who are also parents (hence the “Juicebox” and cover art) to record a selection of songs with children in mind. The album contains a diverse collection of not-so-obvious tracks that have significant meaning to their family. Hearst and Trent explain their choices and discuss each collaboration in this Track By Track.

Shovels & Rope is joined by Sharon Van Etten, M. Ward, The War and Treaty, John Paul White, members of Deer Tick, The Secret Sisters, The Felice Brothers, T. Hardy Morris and more. The artists put their signature on songs ranging from classic lullabies to REM and from Janis Joplin to Annie. The album was produced by Michael Trent. See Full Track Listing Below.

A rousing rendition of The Beach Boys’ “In My Room” featuring Sharon Van Etten was just released (LISTEN HERE). Trent used to listen to the original to help him fall asleep when he was a child. Once a parent, he and Hearst sang it for their daughter regularly when she got her own room. Apparently,  they were not the only parents looking to the Brian Wilson classic for an assist. “My heart swelled when Cary Ann & Michael reached out to me to sing “In My Room” for their Busted Jukebox series,” says Van Etten. “As a mom, there are ‘go-to’ songs that help calm my son down and there are nights where I just sing the same song over and over. This is a song that is so personal to me, as we have listened to a lot of The Beach Boys music with our child and to share a sentiment of calm and exhaustion, sleep and frustration - this cover embodies it all.  Means so much to have been asked by musician parents that are trying to figure it out in all this chaos as well.  All we can do is keep doing what we love, sharing optimism and hope and supporting one another during these trying times.”
Busted Jukebox, Volume 3 is available for pre-order on limited edition vinyl and CD HERE.

 Stay tuned for some upcoming Shovels & Rope news

Busted Jukebox, Vol 3
Track & Artist List

 “Hush Little Baby”
Shovels & Rope

 “In My Room” 
featuring Sharon Van Etten

 “What A Wonderful World”
featuring John Paul White

 “You Are My Sunshine”
featuring Ian & James Felice of The Felice Brothers

 “Cry Baby”
featuring John McCauley & Dennis Ryan of Deer Tick

 “My Little Buckaroo”
 featuring M. Ward

 “Everybody Hurts”

featuring T. Hardy Morris

 “Mother Earth and Father Time”
featuring The Secret Sisters

 “The Ants Go Marching”

featuring Shrimp Records Family Band

featuring The War and Treaty

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Alarm set to release new album 'WAR' on Feb. 26, 2021

This year is shaping up to be a great one for music fans. Look no further than today's announcement about the release of a new studio LP titled WAR from The Alarm...Robert Kinsler



The Alarm will release a brand-new album ‘WAR’ on 26th February 2021, despite the record

still currently being written and recorded in a creative process that began just days ago


Band invites fans to view daily vlogs as they write and record via




The Alarm’s brand-new album ‘War’ has to be completed by February 24th 2021 in order to be serviced around the world at midnight on February 25th/26th via the world’s digital music suppliers. In order to combat production times and to have physical product available immediately, the band is advance-releasing the album (without music) in a special CD-Rom format. Fans will then burn their own copy of the finished record. The album’s writing and recording creative process only commenced on 7th January 2021, but the band promises finished tracks will be sent electronically to fans once the final mix and mastering process has taken place.


‘War’ is also available to pre-order as a hand-cut vinyl LP which will be released to fans on February 25th (Alarm lead vocalist/guitarist Mike Peters' birthday).


Mike, The Alarm & producer George Williams, are currently writing and recording the record from scratch using their own isolation studios. Mikes wife, Jules Jones Peters has been documenting the recording process and creating a very incisive fly on the wall vision of Mike Peters and The Alarm at work, sharing regular videos online at


The record is really starting to take shape”, says band frontman Mike. The responsive nature of the writing and recording situation has given rise to some radical thinking on how to instantly release the album into the modern world and also across all the major formats - stream, download, CD and LP.”


To release the album on vinyl, a specialist cutting-house has been engaged to hand-cut as many pre-ordered vinyl copies as possible, once the final master has been cut in Los Angeles by the legendary Howie Weinberg (Howie mastered The Alarm’s 2019 album ∑ Sigma, which entered the UK Rock Chart at No.1).


The digital edition of ‘War’ is being distributed internationally by InGrooves who have already paved the way for this groundbreaking release to appear on all digital service provider platforms on February 26th.


As the artwork has been created in advance, each CD/LP will also have the album title and band logo painted onto the cover by Mike Peters personally, with the tracklisting left intentionally blank so that fans can write in the song titles themselves, once they receive the completed work.


"I really want the fans to have access to this album as soon as its finished”, continues MikeWe have set ourselves a very tight deadline, and the music is already being created out in the open for all to see and hear. The technology is there so that fans who still have access to a CD burner and wish to get involved in the spirit of the project can do so by interacting with the creative process and play their own part in bringing this new Alarm album into the world.”


The Alarm – ‘War’ is available to order/pre-save now exclusively via

Sights and Sounds: Eddie Van Halen, Alabama Slim, Strawbs, Nobody's Girl

 A number of upcoming releases have been announced this week. Here are details on several of the most anticipated titles, as well as a leading news item on a tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen by Kramer...Robert Kinsler

Kramer Tribute to Eddie Van Halen on his birthday

In honor of Eddie Van Halen's birthday today (January 26th), guitar maker Kramer has posted a nice tribute to the late guitar great who passed away in October 2020. Read the tribute HERE.

New Orleans Bluesman Alabama Slim offers up a new solo album with an All-Star cast

Alabama Slim's 'The Parlor' is due Friday, Jan. 29, 2021

Due Friday, January 29, 2021, 'The Parlor' dives deep into the blues with a less-is-more approach overflowing with soul but keeping steady on the boogie, eliciting comparisons to the late great John Lee Hooker

Special guest Little Freddie King joins Slim on New Orleans Blues summit

PopMatters premiered a track ("Rock Me Baby") you can hear HERE

NEW ORLEANS, La. — Alabama Slim was born Milton Frazier in Vance, Alabama on March 29, 1939. His father built trains at the Pullman plant and his mother did domestic work to make ends meet. In their home they had an old Victrola turntable and a boxful of 78s. Slim fell in love with the blues of Bill Broonzy and Lightnin’ Hopkins, and that’s where the journey began for the always dapper bluesman, who was poised for a late-in-life breakout in 2020 with a scheduled appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.


“I met Alabama Slim in New Orleans while visiting bluesman Little Freddie King,” remembers the Music Maker Relief Foundation founder and president, Tim Duffy. “Slim is a towering man, close to seven feet tall. He was well spoken and dressed in an impeccable tailored suit. He told me he was a cousin of Freddie’s and was originally from Vance, Alabama.”


When Duffy asked Slim how he honed his craft, his response was a vibrant timeline of decades past all wrapped into a few sentences. “I grew up listening to the old blues since I was a child. I spent summers with my grandparents who had a farm. Them old folks would get to moanin’ while they worked, and I just started moanin’ with them. That’s where I learned to sing. When I got grown I formed a band and we played little juke joints in the ’50s and ’60s. In ’65, I came to New Orleans after Hurricane Betsy. Got me a job with a moving company and then one making cooking oil. My cousin Freddie King was drinking hard in those days, and I was too. We jammed every once in a while. By the time the ’80s rolled around I was not doing much but Freddie always checked on me. By the ’90s I got myself together and we have been best of friends ever since, tighter than brothers really; there is not a day that goes by when we do not speak or see each other.”


You can hear this in the way the two play together. Bobbing and weaving guitars like a middle-weight title fight, one shakes the trees while the other rakes the leaves. It’s an otherworldly connection really, one rooted in song and making a joyful noise, much deeper than blood or a familial line. The two lived and played music daily in New Orleans up until Katrina’s landfall. In fact, during the storm, Slim rescued his cousin, King, with the two evacuating together.


Slim and Freddie settled into a Dallas apartment complex and spent most of their days working up old and new songs post-Katrina. Freddie's guitar work followed Slim wherever he went vocally. They visited Music Maker in Hillsborough, N.C. that December and together along with some fellow New Orleans musicians cut The Mighty Flood, released in 2007 on the Music Maker imprint. Slim is also featured in the 2019 Music Maker Relief Foundation book Blue Muse and the compilation album of the same name, both of which were critically acclaimed and garnered national media attention.


Now back in New Orleans, the pair has been touring the globe with the Music Maker Relief Foundation’s all-star band, playing Telluride Blues and Brew Festival, Roots N Blues N BBQ, Outdoors at Lincoln Center, even landing a prime slot on the lineup of the duo’s hometown Jazz and Heritage Festival that was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic.


On June 7, 2019, when the world was still like we remember it, Slim, Little Freddie King, and drummer Ardie Dean entered a New Orleans recording studio called the Parlor. The session took merely four hours with Reginald Nicholas at the board and Dean in the producer’s chair. What was tracked is a master class on deep soulful blues. Slim and King’s guitars interweave with Dean’s masterful drumming to create a driving boogie, with Slim’s soothing vocals sprawled out on top, reminiscent of John Lee Hooker. And yes, he sings as well as he dresses … impeccably.


Cornelius Chapel Records teamed up with the Music Maker Relief Foundation for this record, titled The Parlor, to immortalize where it was initially captured. The album was tracked in one-take for a straight-to-tape feel but was captured digitally. Cornelius Chapel brought in Dial Back Sound’s Matt Patton of the Drive-By Truckers and the Dexateens for post-production. He and Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Mississippi Blues Legend) sequenced the record and added the perfect amount of bass, organ, and piano so that the other half of DBS, Bronson Tew, could work his audio magic.


The Parlor will be available on January 29, 2021 on vinyl, CD, and all streaming and digital platforms.


The final product is an instant classic, a lesson of perseverance and true grit. One never knows when the proper team can come together to leave their cumulative mark on an age-old genre. Pearl Rachinsky Moreland (Pearl JR) provided the album artwork.


There’s a politically charged, poetic masterpiece titled “Forty Jive” that paints the perfect picture of the past year. The name pretty much says it all. That opening salvo was premiered by American Blues Scene fittingly just before Election Day. Slim’s writing is inspired and stands among the pillars that’ve come before him. His delivery drips in soul — Slim was meant to sing. From opening track “Hot Foot” to the superior low-end sanctum of “Rock Me Baby” his vocal prowess is on full display whether retooling old classics or stomping out new masterpieces, Slim and company deliver the goods. Special guest Little Freddie King takes over lead vocals on “Freddie’s VooDoo Boogie.” 


“Who knows how many incredible unrecorded blues artists are out there,” says the Music Maker Relief Foundation’s Tim Duffy. “It is clear that the blues will never die within the community from which it was born, as there are artists that embrace the older musical traditions and are determined to scuffle and hold dear to their blues even if it takes them 50 years to get into a studio.” We couldn’t agree with him more.

Slim was recently a guest on NPR’s Thacker Mountain Radio Hour on 10/17 - Listen Here!

Here is video of Slim performing and speaking with Offbeat Magazine.

Pre-sale link here.

STRAWBS Release New Studio Album “Settlement”

Album set for release on February 26, 2021

Esoteric Antenna
is delighted to announce the release of the new studio album by the legendary band STRAWBS. “Settlement” is the latest album recorded by STRAWBS, more than 50 years on from the band’s first major label release. The album comes at a time of political and social upheaval, which the lyrics and melodies of the songs reflect. Undeterred by the fact that ‘business as usual’ was not possible because of the global COVID-19 pandemic – working remote from one another, from their own home studios – “Settlement” is a remarkable achievement.

David Cousins, leader of STRAWBS says: “‘Settlement’ is something extraordinary. I can’t think of another band who can go from metal grunge to the lilt of an Irish ghost story – or from a song in 6/8 time to singing in 4/4 over a 5/4 backbeat – in half an hour. The lyrics reflect the times we have been living through and I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved.”

“Settlement” is produced by Blue Weaver who played with STRAWBS and Bee Gees in their 1970s heydays. The recording was coordinated from Blue’s studio in Germany, where he now lives. STRAWBS are David Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, Tony Fernandez and Dave Bainbridge. Special guests on the album are John Ford, another former member of STRAWBS, who lives in New York, Cathryn Craig, with her lovely voice and unmistakable Southern lilt, who lives in Northern Ireland, and bass player Schalk Joubert, with whom David Cousins performed in South Africa at the beginning of the year. The album will be available both on CD and 180 gram vinyl formats.

There comes a time when every Settlement is due!”

Track Listing:


To pre-order:

Austin Trio Nobody's Girl bridges the great divide between folk and heavenly pop on upcoming self-titled album due this summer

Americana/folk-pop supergroup featuring acclaimed singer-songwriters BettySoo, Rebecca Loebe and Grace Pettis to release first full-length on July 30, 2021 via Lucky Hound Music

Ditty TV recently premiered the video for the band's version of Carole King classic "So Far Away" - view the video HERE

L-R: Rebecca Loebe, BettySoo,
Grace Pettis
Photo by Valerie Fremin Photography
AUSTIN, Texas — “We always joke that it started out by accident,” offers singer-songwriter (and former Voice contestant) Rebecca Loebe when asked about the fortuitous aligning of stars that officially brought her and fellow Austin-based troubadours BettySoo and Grace Pettis together as Nobody's Girl. “Well, actually, Grace and I like to joke that we tricked BettySoo into being in a band with us ...” 
BettySoo, sitting across the table from her two bandmates at a post-rehearsal Tex-Mex dinner, laughs at this, but Grace is quick to correct the record. “It’s not really a joke, though,” she insists with a mischievous grin. “It’s true!”
But why split hairs? Whether it was sparked by happy accident or some manner of sly master plan, the magic of that union was undeniable from the get-go. That three of the loveliest voices in Americana and contemporary folk music could complement each other so beautifully might have been a given, but it was the songs they wrote together — songs unlike any of them had ever or probably would ever write on their own — that really made Nobody’s Girl, well, sing.
“In a lot of ways, I think of Nobody’s Girl as a super fun project that lets us blow off steam, because it gives us a whole different channel to tap into," says Rebecca. “But most of all, I’m always really moved by the power of what we're able to access as a trio: ‘ust the power of three voices onstage together, carrying the same message.”
They’ve carried that message for the better part of two whirlwind years, playing more than a 100 shows together from Texas to Ireland in support of a 2018 EP, Waterline, and a handful of singles released late last year. But that “power of three” they share has never been stronger than it is now, and it’s captured like bottled lightning on the trio's strikingly assertive — and yes, striking fun, too— full-length debut: Nobody's Girl, releasing on digital, CD, and vinyl through Lucky Hound Music on July 30, 2021.
Recorded in September of 2019 and January of 2020 at Lucky Hound’s own state-of-the-art Studios at Fischer campus in the Texas Hill Country, the new album found Nobody’s Girl once again working with Michael Ramos, the Grammy-winning producer who helmed Waterline. The sessions also reunited — and expanded — the veritable dream team of Austin talent that played on the EP. “Michael brought in so many great players for this record, it’s kind of insane,” marvels Rebecca. In addition to Ramos on percussion and keyboards and the formidable rhythm section of bassist Glenn Fukunaga and drummers J.J. Johnson and Conrad ChoucrounNobody’s Girl features arguably the deepest roster of Texas guitar heroes this side of a classic Joe Ely or Arc Angels record: Charlie Sexton, David Grissom, and David Pulkingham
Of course, as road-seasoned (and in the case of BettySoo and Rebecca, classically trained and Berklee educated, respectively) musicians themselves, BettySoo, Rebecca, and Grace can certainly hold their own with the best of the best, just as they all have literally on their own, both as a lean-and-mean touring trio and as solo artists with more than 15 albums among them. But it’s the gorgeous sound of their voices, be they harmonizing as one or trading leads with the graceful, elegant precision of aerial silk dancers, that's clearly the main event. Well, that and the revelatory nature of the songs themselves. Lyrically, their co-writes can be as heavy and introspective as anything each of the three Kerrville “New Folk” winners has ever shared with a listening room or festival audience of serious Americana/folk fans. But the energy throughout the album leans decidedly more rock, with buoyant melodies and catchy choruses that often as not move the needle clear into the straight-up pop zone. It’s a disarmingly delightful turn that BettySoo playfully calls “bubblicious.”
“By that, I don’t mean that it’s flaky or light,” she explains, “because I think our songwriting instincts are all honed from the folk world. But I do think that the textures we tap into when we write together for Nobody's Girl are definitely more pop.”
“And, I don’t think there’s anything bad about that!” adds Grace. “I think for some people, ‘pop’ is almost like a dirty word — especially in a town like Austin thats all about ‘serious’music with integrity. But sometimes something fun is good in its own right. The kind of songs I want to write are the ones that have something to say, but that also make your foot tap and that you want to play really loud in your car and sing along to. And in a lot of ways, those songs are a lot harder to write, at least for me. But as a band, I think we are able to really do that sometimes. I don’t know what it is about the combination of our different backgrounds that brings that out, though, and it actually really surprised us when we started recording that EP two years ago. We were all going, like, ‘Oh, wow — these are pop songs!’”
Two of the songs from that EP, “Waterline” and “What’ll I Do,” are featured again on the new album, remixed with a brand new coat of proud sheen. “What’ll I Do” was actually one of the first two songs they ever wrote together. Back in late 2017, the three longtime friends decided to embark on a tour together — not as a “band” so much as one-time, three-week song-swap. But on a whim, just for fun, they decided to try co-writing. Doubtless it had something to do with the fact that Grace happened to already have an “in” with the Studios at Fischer (and Lucky Hound) team, who’d offered her and her friends an overnight stay for a writing retreat. Come morning, when they played their hosts the two songs they’d written as a thank you for the hospitality, they were offered a record deal on the spot. 
“At this point, we had not even played a single gig together,” Rebecca recalls with a laugh. “But the chemistry was really good, and we were already having so much fun, we just figured, why not? And that'show we became a band!”
Apart from its two covers (one by another Austin songwriter friend, Raina Rose, and the other by New Wave legends Blondie), the rest of that first EP was written in about 36 hours and recorded nearly just as quick. By contrast, the new songs on Nobody’s Girl came along quite a bit slower — as in a little over a week, spread out over a couple of non-consecutive months in late 2019 and early 2020. Those were literally the only days that they could schedule for writing together all year, given the myriad distractions and responsibilities of road-managing themselves on tour. “But fortunately,” says Grace, “we have a pretty high productivity rate in terms of hours that we're able to actually write together yielding songs that we're all excited about.”
All nine of their new co-written originals that made the cut for Nobody’s Girlcertainly warrant that enthusiasm. From the Wizard of Oz-inspired opener (and lead single) “Kansas,” a stirring call to technicoloradventure and self discovery, straight through to the closing lullaby of "Lark" (described by Rebecca as an abstract meditation on earth and life and letting go, chock full of love and loss and “a whole lot of tenderness”), it’s an album rife with intriguing juxtapositionsnot unlike the aforementioned balance of lyrical depth and effervescent fun. Sometimes the contrasts are weighed against each other within the confines of a single song, as in the somber reflection on family pride and generation-spanning guilt in “Birthright” and the soaring, cautious optimism of “Promised Land,” with its metaphorical mountaintop perspective on the entire country (and human race), hoping to see a picture big enough to eclipse the bitter political and social divides tearing us apart. Other times, entire songs seem to pair off against each other as two sides of the same coin. Take, for example, "Rescued" and "Tiger," two future singles that balance each other out like the proverbial devil and angel over one’s shoulders. “Tiger,” notes Grace, is a warning about the “darker side of what happens when you let loose of your self control”; “Rescued,” on the other hand, is a defiant paean to not just losing self control, but owning that decision with unabashed pride. 
“In other words, don’t mansplain my bad decisions to me,” explains BettySoo with a laugh. “And don’t try rescuing me, either, because I'm going to make this irresponsible choice and I’m going to have fun doing it! Because sometimes in life you have to be able to do that. Basically, if you’re not going to hurt anybody, bend the rules a little bit. But when there are stakes, then take care of each other! That’s what ‘Promised Land’ is about — and I think that also hews pretty closely to our philosophy as a band.”
Well, that, and maybe this, too: No matter how much songwriting talent you have in-house, a smart cover or two can really help tie the proverbial room together. Back before they wrote their first two Nobody’s Girl songs together, BettySoo, Rebecca, and Grace took Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” for a spin and posted a video of them performing the classic as a sort of teaser trailer for their maiden tour. Late last year, they revisited it again with a proper studio recording that was released as a stand-alone single. And although you won’t find that particular gem on their new album, the record does offer two other covers every bit as perfect: “Beauty Way,” a resplendently bittersweet anthem/ballad for the troubadour life penned by Eliza Gilkyson, another Austin-based songwriter and one of their biggest heroes, and Carole King’s ‘So Far Away,” from 1971’s immortal Tapestry. 
“I don’t know that we necessarily added anything to ‘Beauty Way,’ because Eliza herself and even Ray Wylie Hubbard have already done a pretty damn near perfect job on that song,” admits BettySoo. “But the siren call of it was too strong. We love it so much, we couldn’t resist attempting it — we just felt it in our bones that we had to sing it.”
And the King song? Let’s just say the piano made them do it. As in the very same piano that King herself played on the original recording of “So Far Away” — and the whole rest of Tapestry, too. It was the same piano that was also used on Joni Mitchell’Blue— and that now just happens to be proudly owned and homed by Studios at Fischer. And although it was actually Ramos, the producer, who played the piano on the album, just knowing that the instrument so prominently featured on two of the most iconic singer-songwriter records of all time can now be heard on theirrecord, too, is a thrill in itself for all three women in Nobody’s Girl.
“I mean, we’re all fans of both of Tapestry and Blue, so for as long as we’ve known that that piano was there, we dreamed about recording a song from one of those albums,” says BettySoo. “We daydreamed about just letting that piano sing through one of those songs again — and about having an album that would be a vehicle for that to happen.”
Who knows? Maybe it was destiny. But Nobody's Girl, the album, is a lot more than just a vehicle for three friends to cover a beloved old song on a piano with an especially storied history. It’s a testament to the power of three strong independent songwriters with three strong voices coming together as one, carrying their message along the beauty way with a "bubblicious" roar like nobody else.  
To view the broadcast premiere of the Nobody’s Girl “So Far Away” video on January 27 at 10 p.m. CT: DittyTV is accessible on the web and on any connected device, and also on your TV set via AppleTV, FireTV, Roku, GoogleTV, Sony and LG Smart Televisions, on DittyTV's iPhone and Android phone apps and through cable providers with digital service, such as Mediacom, Comcast and Cox via a Tivo box.
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