Arun O’Connor’s music is definitely not ‘Too Far Gone’

With the release of his infectious, rockin’ new single “Too Far Gone” and his upcoming debut album Songs from the Reading Room, Arun O’Connor offers a powerhouse showcase for “Kiwi Country” and a primer on just how vibrant, soulful and kickass country music is in his native New Zealand.

On a more personal level, the multi-talented singer-songwriter–who’s been on the scene in the country’s Southland (southernmost) region for 15 years (or about half his life), he’s continuing a dynamic family legacy that includes his dad, Southland Rock n Roll Hall of Famer Dave O’Connor and three older brothers who played drums.

In addition to leading the popular cover band Small Feet for the past 11 years, O’Connor has built a stellar reputation as a session and touring musician and musical director for internationally renowned New Zealand country greats Jody Direen, Kayla Mahon, The Heartleys and more. O’Connor is also a three time nominee for Southland Entertainer of the Year (winning the award in 2020) as well as winning the 2018 Southland Musician of the Year Award.

The singer’s recent success as a solo artist – and discovery of his latent songwriting talents – happened serendipitously as a result of his sweeping triumph at the 2018 Gold Guitar Awards, where he won the Senior Overall Award as well as the Open Vocal Group, Senior Male Vocal, Senior NZ Song and New Country Category award. The prize package for winning for Senior Male Vocal for his rendition of Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” was, as he says, “more of a career starter than a cash prize, a new guitar and kudos.” He earned the opportunity to record a single in Nashville with Jay Tooke, former drummer of the country band The Steel Woods, who has become one of the most sought after producers in Music City for indie artists. There was only one glitch that might possibly impede a productive two week first time visit to America and some great sessions with some prominent Nashville cats – O’Connor, for all of his years of accolades and gigs as a performer, had never written an original song. Drawing on a lifetime of experiences and keen observation of the lives of family and friends, he took to the craft naturally, emerging with the killer country-blues and vocal harmony laden ballad “Following the Line.” In addition to over 132,000 Spotify streams, the track hit #2 on the NZ iTunes Country charts, #3 on the NZ iTunes Overall chart and #11 on the official NZ music NZ Hot New Singles chart.

The singer scaled even greater heights with his follow-up single, the rollicking, original “Let Go of My Heart,” whose instrumental tracks were recorded in Nashville while O’Connor tracked his vocals and guitar back home. The song went to #1 on the NZ iTunes Country charts and #3 on the NZ iTunes Overall charts. O’Connor wrote a whopping 16 new songs from October 2020 to March 2021 to lay the foundation for his Tooke-produced, Nashville and New Zealand recorded (due to COVID travel restrictions) full length debut album Songs from the Reading Room. The collection’s title is a riff on a private joke stemming from a kid in his grade school class who was dragged from class to the “reading room” next door to be reprimanded. Though he assesses much of his personal and observational songwriting as laid back and somewhat dark and melancholy in nature, his choice for lead single, “Too Far Gone” is one of those classy styled songs featuring happy up-tempo music contrasted with poignant, hard-hitting lyrics.

“I wrote this song with Nashville songwriters, Ryan Sorestad, Brittany Knott & Taylor Nash over a zoom call during lockdown here in NZ. The song was then recorded in Pentavarit Studios Nashville using members from bands such as Eric Church, Brothers Osbourne, Colbie Caillat, and Randy Houser. I recorded my parts in Auckland’s well-known Roundhead Studio, owned by Crowded House’s Neil Finn. It is being promoted by Ue3 Promotions in LA, Grass Roots Promotion in Nashville & Suzie Says in NZ,” explains O’Connor.

“Too Far Gone” is a song about the mistakes we make in life, all the bad choices that lead us down the roads we don’t want to go down. It is a song that will hopefully make us question our own intentions and reevaluate what is most important in our lives. Maybe we deserve that second chance. Maybe we can change and be the person we had always set out to be. “Too Far Gone” speaks of a seemingly never-ending cycle of mistakes and regrets but with a stubbornness of not wholeheartedly wanting to change.”

Growing up in the small city of Invercargill at the southern tip of New Zealand’s south island, O’Connor’s musical sensibilities were shaped not only by his dad and brothers, but also by the American country music his parents played – Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, etc. Fascinated by the musicianship of The Eagles when he watched their classic “Hell Freezes Over” performance, he was inspired to be the one kid in the family who, instead of drums, chose guitar, which he began playing at age 11. By 15, he was playing weekend pub dates, weddings and corporate functions. While pursuing his musical endeavors, he worked a few day jobs ( wool room laborer, mechanic’s apprentice) but the combination of his skills and diversity (bass, electric and acoustic guitar, singing) quickly led to a full time career, both leading bands and working as a sideman for others, most prominently Jody Direen, who opened for Kenny Rogers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, LeAnn Rimes and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery in NZ and played at CMC Rocks, Australia’s largest country music festival.

“After so many years making a living playing with other artists and singing cover songs, it’s definitely been a challenge to perform my own material for people,” O’Connor says. “It’s honestly something I never expected to do, and I am so grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, not only with streams and chart success, but from fans who come to see my shows. I’m looking forward to more opportunities to share my new-found passion for songwriting with everyone.”

We think that O’Connor may well be the next big international country star. Check out his Spotify page for more great tunes.

Leo Sawikin allows the music to roll away the layers of his life

As the former lead singer of the NYC indie band The Chordaes, Leo Sawikin brought their songs to life. But only now on his debut solo project does he allow the music to strip away the layers of his own life and show the world what an awesome life it is.

Sawikin is an old soul, one who would have thrived in the prime of the Tin Pan Alley days—tirelessly composing beautiful ballads in rooms with open windows for the music publishers whose offices lined West 28th Street in New York City. Although the city still swells with the sounds of ghosts past, the music landscape has drastically changed. Now more than ever, Sawikin finds himself longing for the days that were.   

For the past decade, Leo has steadily evolved his sound, spending hours both in the studio and in writing rooms, culminating in Row Me Away—his upcoming fourth album, but the first to be released under his own name. The new record was produced by Grammy-winning producer Marc Swersky and mixed by Tony Black and Seth Von Paulus.

Prior to the pandemic, Sawikin recorded a string of anthems that seem to foreshadow life as we experienced it over the last year. Questioning whether the dystopian future we’ve all been fearing had arrived, the songs chronicle the vastly changing world, a society teetering on the edge, and the transformative power of hindsight. “It’s about letting go of the past to carve out a new future,” says Sawikin.

Like many artists, Sawikin uses his music and songwriting as his primary way to connect with the world. Since very young, he was described as having Non-Verbal Learning Disability. But because it has not yet been included in the DSM and presents in various ways, it is often overlooked and misunderstood. In Sawikin’s case, it affected his ability to receive and interpret non-verbal forms of communication. “I have always had trouble paying attention to people’s non-verbal signals. I understand them as well as anyone, but my thoughts are very scattered so I often miss them.” By the age of 5, he was getting into trouble at school. This was eventually tamed by medications, but they had a numbing effect on his mood and ability to connect with peers.  At age 9, he picked up a guitar and by 12 he was immersed in workshops and music camps, where he found that songcraft came naturally. It’s proven to be his greatest strength and has become the catalyst for living his life off medication. 

“Music has always been my secret weapon to combat this. It brings me to a place outside of all of my problems, and the dream I have is that when other people listen to it they will be brought to that same place. In that space we all share, none of our differences matter and understanding one another is as effortless as the sound of the music traveling through the air. My goal in life is to bring as many people to that place as possible.”

We were fortunate to feature his music video in our Monday Mashup column back in August. Now that we have had the chance to review the entire album, we stand by our original thoughts: “If the voice behind our first music video of the week sounds familiar, that’s because he was formerly the lead singer for The Chordaes. His name is Leo Sawikin, and his song is entitled “Row me Away.” We adore his voice and wish him well in his solo career. We think it will be incredibly successful.”

Each song on the album is strongly and beautifully constructed, with lyrics that reach down and directly connect the hearts of the listener to the creator. These tunes are enduring and should be heard over and over again until the words sink in. All ten tunes are memorable, but we think that the title track, “A Whole World Waiting,” All Just a Drop,” “You Love Too Much,” and “Tell me There’s an Answer” contain the message that is at the heart of the album – you are not worthless, but of immense worth, so don’t give up until you bring that light within out where the world can see it.

With the release of Row Me Away Sawikin hopes to bring comfort and consolation to listeners as we all witness the unfolding of a new world. We think he has truly succeeded in his quest.

Monday mashup 2021 (vol 31)

It’s been a crazy month in the retail business, and we apologize for not bringing our weekly column. We hope this special “video only” play list will make it up to you. Check out these amazing videos.

In case you didn’t hear the big announcement, Indie Voice Blog has launched the Indie Voice Music Critic Awards. You can get details by clicking here.

First up is a throwback video with some serious 60s/70s vibes from our favorite Oklahoma couple, The Imaginaries, who are currently on tour. “You Already Know” is authentically staged with a sound that will last for generations, and we really dig this one. Let us know what you think.

Next up is one of Nashville’s hottest new acts, the sister duo known as American Blonde. This song should be their breakthrough tune on country radio and we think we’ll be seeing much more of them. It’s very easy to get lost in the “Quicksand” of this one.

Our third video this week highlights that all important of every morning – “Coffee.” Brought to you by the creative minds of Megan Nash & the Best of Intentions, this one requires repeated plays to fully comprehend the ties between the song and the video. Are you up to the challenge?

Are you feeling overwhelmed by this pandemic? Let the words and images of South Africa’s pop queen Cara Frew lift you up out of the quagmire and “Rise.”

Our Canadian friends Ellevator are back with another great tune, which is garnering critical acclaim world-wide. Check out “Charlie IO” and we think you’ll agree – this band deserves a world-wide audience.

We start off our second five with the latest from one of LA’s most unique bands, the amazing husband and wife duo known as Lovers & Poets. Their new song has a great vibe and beautiful lyrics, so check out “Ready to Fall.”

Next up is an acoustical masterpiece from the sweet songbird known as Sonja Midtune. With the timely title of “October,” this one is perfect all year round.

Video number eight is from a voice that has been bringing great music for more than 40 years. Although best known for his duties as the lead singer for America, Gerry Buckley is an accomplished solo artist as well. Thank you to his wonderful label, Blue Elan Records, for this amazing video collaboration.

Speaking of Blue Elan Records, here is the latest video from another of their amazing artists, The Vegabonds. We think it sums up how a lot of us feel today, “Can’t Deal.”

We close out this week’s article with this beautifully done travel video from our New York sweetheart, Katie Costello. She is truly worth all the “Silver & Gold” in the world.

Lavendine ‘Opens Up a Window’ into their heart and presents it ‘Here to You’

There is something beautiful about artists whose insight into the human condition allows them to create – some might say, divinely channel – works that perfectly meet the moment in time when we most need their inspiration. Though Oklahoma-based twin sisters and multi-talented singer/songwriters Jacy and Jana Ayers – collectively known as indie pop/rock duo Lavendine – wrote new alt-pop single “Here To You” from a personal empowering experience of breakthrough after a deeply challenging and traumatic time, the infectious, vocal harmony-driven track offers up exactly the hope and optimistic spirit we all need moving forward through and past this anxiety-ridden pandemic era.

We first introduced you to this amazing duo back in September of 2020, and they have only gotten better. They have the most perfect harmonies and their lyrics truly touch the heart in a way that is unheard of in today’s pop music.

Lifting their dreamy, soulful vocals over a jangling guitar vibe and mid-tempo pop/rock groove, Jana and Jacy share what it’s like to open up to the proverbial light after too long in the darkness: “Opened up a window in this heart of mine to see what’s going on outside/I never dreamed I would be so surprised.” 

The chorus, which we will no doubt be singing along with for awhile, is the perfect fusion of the duo’s heartfelt personal emotions and a universal call to unshackle the chains of malaise and realize that life can not only be good again, but maybe even better than before. They sing: “It’s time to tell the new day, it’s good to finally see you/It’s time to tell the heartache, you’re not mine, go away/It’s to find the reasons to smile. . .see the good that’s been around me/Don’t you see the change in me…”    

“Here To You” follows Lavendine’s impressive success with several singles from their debut album Feel My Way. Their signature song “Rapture” hit both the Mediabase AC Top 25 and BDS/Billboard AC Top 25 and #1 on the Mediabase AC Independent Artist-Song Rankings. The track had 250,000 feature insertions on Adult Pop radio digital streams in multiple major markets across the U.S. Before that, their single “Maybe I Might” hit the Top 30 on the Mediabase AC and BDS/Billboard AC charts, and “You Can’t Change My Mind” reached #36 on the Mediabase AC chart. The national buzz around these tunes also led Lavendine to be featured in the Artist Spotlight on the Jim Brickman national radio show.   

As women of deep faith, Jana and Jacy’s lives are inspirational testaments to the power of never giving up on life, love and musical dreams no matter the trials thrown at us. Jana and Jacy wrote “Open Up A Window” to claim a hopeful victory over a traumatic series of extreme health setbacks that might have derailed most people. Not long after releasing Feel My Way, both were deathly ill from the after-effects of root canals, later explained to them as a possible allergic reaction to the metal instruments used. Both felt heavy flu-like symptoms for several years. Attempts at implants were rejected. At one point, the infection got so bad that they went to Baylor University Medical Center to get both jaw joints replaced. 

These issues were on top of previous medical problems Jana and Jacy had experienced as they were working as an esthetician (Jana) and hairstylist (Jacy) while working diligently on developing their artistry and overcoming the many obstacles involved in pursuing an indie music career. Having led worship at church for years and being part of ensembles that won prestigious state competitions in middle and high school, they trekked to Nashville in their late teens to pursue their passion – but found that most producers and executives were more concerned with the marketing and creation of the duo rather than allowing them to pursue their own vision. 

When Jana began having debilitating migraines, she saw specialists, had test after test done to no avail, until one day when she went to her vocal doctor for a problem with her throat. It wasn’t until he looked in her ear that it was discovered she was experiencing the effects of trauma to her eardrum from back when she was just eleven years old, diving off a high dive. The incident had caused a tumor to grow over time backwards towards her brainstem and she was rushed into emergency surgery. Since then, she has struggled with managing her chronic nerve pain and as well as surprising everyone in the music industry that hears her sing with the fact that she has 80% hearing loss in one ear.

Meanwhile, Jacy spent ten years in and out of emergency rooms due to her own medical troubles, as well as recovering from ten different surgeries, ranging from kidney stones to gall bladder problems. Especially difficult during this time was having an ectopic pregnancy and the emotional recovery that followed.

Jana and Jacy speak like a tag team, complementing each other’s thoughts as they reflect on their intense journey of overcoming obstacles and share the resulting forward-thinking mindset that drives the music and lyrics of Lavendine. “A year and a half ago,” Jana says, “when we were coming out of all this and doubting our path forward in music, our husbands and mom told us, ‘You can’t not do music anymore. Many people in our lives were encouraging us, and deep down, we knew it was what we were called to do. No matter how relentless it felt like there were forces opposing us with one nightmarish situation after another, we wanted our positive messages to get out there. 

Jacy adds, “Particularly with ‘Open Up a Window’, there’s an underlying message of hope in our music and we want to give listeners the sense that things may look bleak, but they will get better. Bishop T.D. Jakes has talked about the trap of getting caught up in the hateful middle of a difficult circumstance and not seeing that God can open us up to the end so that we can step into the promise. We don’t always hear people talking about the hope part of it. But Jana and I have kept moving forward and those underlying themes of perseverance come out in our writing.” 

Jana continues, “Looking outside the window of your pain helps us see that we might be our own problem, and when we stay positive through all of our struggles with doubt and negativity, God will open us up to change. You can open up to that little glimmer and give yourself one more chance to believe in something good. You can crack that part of your heart open and give yourself a chance to believe in the possibilities of love and dreams again.”  

Because of their deep cultural and spiritual roots in church, it would seem that Lavendine’s natural genre in the industry would be in Christian Contemporary Music (CCM). But every time they pursued that route, the doors closed emphatically while others in the secular music world seemed to open. While Jana and Jacy were happily surprised at the mainstream success of a faith-based song like “Rapture,” that seems to be a manifestation of their belief that they were given these outlets for a reason. Rather than preach to the choir, they can share their uplifting mesages with those who need to hear them more – and bring the gospel spirit to recording sessions helmed by secular producers and engineers in their midst. 

The creation of “Open Up a Window” offers evidence that the song, as Jacy says, is “God-kissed.” She, Jana and Jacy’s guitarist husband Daniel, one of their co-writers, were in the studio one night just hanging out. Daniel felt prompted to go over to the keyboard in the room, and while he was “dilly-dallying” on it, he started playing a melody. Daniel is not a keyboardist and had never done anything like that. But as he captured that riff, Jacy suddenly said, “open up the window’ and they wrote the first verse in less than ten minutes. After the song was written, every time they asked Daniel to play it on the keys, he said he was unable to replicate what happened in that beautiful moment of inspiration.

“There are so many details Jana and I have struggled with on other songs we have written,” Jacy says. “But on this one, it was as fi we were vessels and God said, ‘Move over, I’m writing this one.’ Just like the title says, it’s opened us up to a new season of creativity and we’re excited about the new songs we’re working on that we plan to release soon. We don’t know the future, but we’re grateful and humbled to be back making music.”   We have a feeling they will be around for quite a long time.

Monday mashup 2021 (vol 30)

It’s time once again for our weekly Monday Mashup and this time it’s the final one for the month of September. Where has this year gone? There is so much great music out there and it’s getting harder and harder to choose which songs to share with you. We hope you love these five new singles and music videos we have chosen for you. But first, we have some news for you.

Ponderosa Grove wins Music Prize competition

My former client, Candace Devine, has been super busy during the pandemic. She started a new band, Ponderosa Grove, who has burst onto the scene with abandon. They recently travelled to Shreveport, Louisiana to participate in Music Prize’s Prize Fest competition. She was recently interviewed by KSLA News 12:

“I started my career as a backup singer to Christina Aguilera and then released a solo record that did pretty well. Then had a duo that was signed and toured and opened for Adam Lambert and Boys to Men and Michelle Branch. I sang on Ringo Starr’s record.”

Devine, a Grammy-nominated songwriter, lives in Prescott, Arizona. Her band, Ponderosa Grove, released its first album in June and it’s seen plenty of success so far.

She heard about Music Prize from a friend living in Arizona who was originally from Shreveport.

“We submitted to see if we could do Prize Fest and we made it in,” Devine said. “So it’s just been this really exciting, fun collaboration that’s blossomed into a beautiful thing.”

photo courtesy of Candace Devine

Devine and Ponderosa Grove walked away with the Grand Prize of $10,000. Congratulations and well done.

NEW SINGLES

Shane Alexander has been a valuable asset to not only the local LA music scene but has also performed across the country. He has just released a new single that, despite its name, will not bore you. Please listen to “Asleep” and check out his amazing catalog of great songs.

It’s been a minute since we last featured a new single from SARRA, but her latest, “All I see is You” was definitely worth the wait. She is a bright and shining voice that combines the best in old school R&B, and we simply love her sound.

LA Music Critic Award winners Carly and the Universe have been treating us to a bevy of great tunes as they have released single after single from their new album. As they say, all good things must come to an end, and they have saved the best for last. Check out their groove and “Rock the Baby.”

Speaking of great groove, we are pleased to highlight the latest track from LA emerging artist, Sun Kiss. This song definitely makes us just want to “Melt Away,” and chillax. We think this artist has a bright future.

Our final single this week comes from future country-pop superstar Crystal McGrath. It is a powerful song about breaking free of a toxic relationship. We can definitely hear this song on country radio, and encourage them to start playing “Back to Never.” Expect big things from this young lady.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

We kick off this week’s new music videos with this one from LA Music Critic Award winning blues artist Diana Rein. She may be on a “Broken Road,” but her music is the fix for everything else. Let this one get your week going strong.

Next up is the latest from The Greys. It shares a title with one of our favorite Halloween movies, and is pure magic. Check out “Hocus Pocus.”

Our third video is full of style and mixes the best of slow jam, R&B and reggae with the sweet sound of Australian band Sticky Fingers. We love the sentiments of “We can Make the World Glow,” and think this is a powerful anthem for change. Check it out.

Our fourth video this week talks about a serious subject – teenage drinking and death. It’s powerful and definitely gives us food for thought. Check out KULICK and their new single, “Time to Go.”

We close out this week with this superb video from rising country-pop star Leah Marie Mason. She tells the cautionary tale of “Hannah,” and we are listening carefully to the words. We think we’ll be hearing a lot more from this promising young lady.

Monday mashup 2021 (vol 29)

It’s been another rough couple of weeks as I’m just finishing up a nine-day run of opening my store without a day off. I think the incredible new singles and music videos we’re sharing today will make the wait worthwhile, so let’s get started.

NEW SINGLES

Our first single this week comes from a songwriter known for her positive messages and incredible musical abilities. Aptly named “Hold On,” the latest single from the incredible Patricia Bahia will lift your spirits and give you hope. Welcome to the new anthem for this crazy time in our history.

They started out as a trio of sisters named Southern Halo before becoming the duo known as American Blonde. They have now released their debut single and it’s a definite keeper. Let’s give it up for this amazing band and avoid the “Quicksand.”

Continuing in the country/Americana vein, our favorite LA queer indie artist Abby Posner is back with another great tune. We think she has reached a new “high” with her latest, “Low, Low, Low.” This one is definitely going on repeat.

We haven’t featured any reggae/funk in a while and we think this new tune from Canadian rock band Gnome Chimpsky is just perfect. We love their vibe and look forward to hearing more from them. Check out “Peter Pepper.”

Our final single this week is from Asian American artist Roma Sheth. She has an incredibly upbeat style that deserves Top 40 radio attention, and showcases those abilities in her latest, “So I Run.” We think we’ll be hearing a lot more from this artist in the future.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

Delaney Gibson may feel like an “Alien” in her transplanted home in Austin, Texas, but people that love great indie music think she is the Queen of the Realm. Check out her incredible new music video and definitely put her on your favorites list.

Next up is the latest from another of our favorite indie artists who moved to New York from California to pursue her Zen. She may be looking through “Rose Colored Glasses,” but we love the view. Thanks to Katie Costello for another instant classic.

Our third video this week features the stunning voice of Rachel Lorin. She is bringing her pop/country to a new high with “Shoot a Man,” and we think she is about to break into the big time. This one will get your toes tapping and deserves serious radio air play.

Continuing in the country vein, our next music video is a reimagining of a song that was recorded back in 2011. We love the visualization which brings the words of the song, “Erase You,” to life. Thank you Tawny Ellis for another beautiful indie music moment.

We close out this edition of Monday Mashup with another great country artist, but Teea Goans has a surprise for us. That amazing harmony comes from none other than the one and only Vince Gill, and we can’t get enough of this.
“That’s What I Know” is our pick for the best country song of 2021.

Monday mashup 2021 (vol 28)

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Somebody forgot to renew the Blog’s website hosting (wonder who that was?) and then I got stuck working the entire Labor Day weekend. Yesterday my body was in recovery mode, but today it’s time to move on and share some great new singles and music videos with you. Are you ready?

NEW SINGLES

All must be right with the universe because ABBA is back! That’s right, the band that fueled a generation has returned with a new album, and even though they are not an indie act, we would be remiss in not sharing their new single. Here’s “Don’t Shut me Down,” which brings back so many memories for this child of the 70’s.

Our first new single this week comes from one of our favorite duos, Lauren Harding and Mallory Trunnell, aka Crimson Calamity. We have always loved their harmonies and witty lyrics, and their latest is no exception. Check out “Wild Card” and enjoy the beauty of this beloved band.

Next up is the latest from Blue Elan Records artist The Vegabonds. They continue to bring the right mixture of instrumentation, vocals and lyrics with their latest, “Feels Right.” This band deserves to be at the top of your playlist.

Our third single this week is from the fiery redhead CH3LS, who relocated from California to Nashville and has truly found her home in their local music scene. She’s become a regular at Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk and Rock n’Roll Steakhouse and has definitely learned how to “Break These Blues.”

Single number four is from an artist we introduced you to a couple of weeks ago. We think he is the perfect blend of musical genres, including rock, Americana, blues and more. Really love the horns on his latest, “Murder in the Dance Hall,” and we think we will be spinning Jeff Tuohy over and over again.

We close out this week’s singles with this particularly badass song from Ruth Lyon, who we are dubbing as the “next Amy Winehouse.” We think you’ll quickly fall in love with her voice and the dynamic sound of “Lemon Tree.” Enjoy.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

We kick things off this week with the latest from alt rockers Megan Nash and the Best of Intentions. This one is called “Check Quietly / Clean Slate,” and we love everything about it. Let us know what you think.

Our next video is from Teea Goans, who we recently brought to your attention. She has a style that reminds us of vintage Terri Clark, and we think she’ll be a major factor in the country music market for years to come. Check out her latest “The Detour,” and listen carefully to the amazing words.

Next up is the latest from European sensations Single by Sunday. This one will bring back great memories and is instantly memorable. Here’s “Give it to me Now.”

We would be glad to be “Home on the Road” with Taylor Rae. This lady has a great sound that deserves serious radio airplay and we want to be the first in line to see her live in concert.

We don’t share a lot of live videos, but we felt this one deserved the attention. Abby Posner has always been one of our favorite LA treasures, and her recent single release show for her upcoming solo album, held at The Hotel Cafe with her band, The Myth, highlights why we love her so. Check out “Water Meets the Stone,” and we think you’ll become a fan as well.

We wanted to leave you with a special video treat from ABBA. It is their first new video in nearly 40 years. Enjoy “I Still Have Faith in You.” We always will.

Monday mashup 2021 (vol 27)

Happy Monday! As we approach the Labor Day weekend, indie musicians are still hard at work creating great music. Check out these five new singles and music videos as further proof.

NEW SINGLES

Do you love harmonies? They are in abundance on the latest single from Trousdale, “Always, Joni.” These ladies are pure magic. To quote from their Facebook page, “Trousdale is a powerful female band consisting of Quinn D’Andrea, Georgia Greene, and Lauren Jones. Their melodic and heartfelt harmonies are often compared to The Chicks and The Staves, but the girls draw inspiration from a wide array of music, including Crosby Stills and Nash, Kacey Musgraves and HAIM. Driven by their passion to empower young women, Trousdale is committed to making quality music that spreads a message of self-acceptance and love.”

Cover songs are a staple for many indie artists, but sometimes the cover is so good it deserves to be recorded. Such is the case for the latest single from LA super-songstress Shannon Hurley. She has once again delivered a killer cover, this time for Duran Duran‘s mega-hit, “Ordinary World.” Keep ’em coming, Shannon.

Our third single this week was the first track that The Electric Petals ever created. “We record all of our music on an island in the middle of nowhere for a reason. You have to take a boat there and there’s no cell service. You just completely tune out and let the music come together in an organized way without any city noise and distraction.” Check out the difference in “Wild at Heart.” We think you’ll want to add them to your playlist.

Our next band refers to their musical style as “sad Southern rock.” We think Red River Hymn is so much more than that, as evidence by their latest offering, “Catalyst.” Keep it rocking boys. We think you’re on to something.

Our final single this week is from the ethereal voice of Chloe Mae. She’s “Falling,” and we think we may be falling for her. Thanks for sharing this beautiful single.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

Our first video this week comes from Ontario, Canada. We are pleased to introduce you to Ellevator and their new music video for “Easy.” This one is easy to love.

Video number two is from a band we introduced to you back in March. The Flavians have a uniquely classic feel to their music, and bring it all in their latest video for “Black Bat.” Enjoy the cinematography in this one.

Our next artist, Wynnm, has a musical style that is haunting and ethereal, much like Enya, but definitely has the chops to make a name for herself. We love her video for “Twelve,” and will definitely be putting this one on repeat.

We are in love with “Girls Like You,” and expect to hear a lot more from Emilia Ali. With a style similar to Billie Eilish and Lana Del Rey, her music belongs on Top 40 radio. Prepare to be wowed by this one.

We close out this week with a stunning lyric video featuring some of the best travel footage in recent memory. The artist name is Teea Goans and we wholeheartedly agree with her song, “Enjoy the View.” Love the sweet bluegrass feel of this one.

Monday mashup 2021 (vol 26)

Hard to believe that it’s the middle of August and there are only two weeks left of summer – say it isn’t so! It’s a good thing that indie musicians keep making great music 12 months a year. Here are five new singles and music videos to prove our point.

NEW SINGLES

First up this week is another smash future hit from one of our favorite bands of siblings, aptly named We Three. Their latest is a power ballad called “Half Hearted,” and we think it is their best to date. Can’t wait to hear what comes next from this delightful trio.

Next up is a country rocker that mixes classic country and rock to give you something to keep your toes tapping as you two-step around the dance floor. This is our first exposure to Harrison Country, and we are sure it won’t be our last. What they want to know is “Ain’t the Beer Cold?”

Our third single comes from Norwegian band One and a half dog and is perfect for all you rock lovers, with elements of prog and hard rock from the 70s, 80s and 90s. We love the complex sound and hope to hear much more from this intriguing band. Check out “Shine.”

From Norway we head to Finland for the 90s alternative rock sound of Somber Distortion. This one should appeal to most lovers of indie/alt rock, and deserves multiple listens. Listen to their debut single, “Burden.”

We close out this week’s new singles with this fresh breath of pop country from MasonRoseGray. She has a “Perfect Design,” and we want to be part of it. This one is guaranteed to brighten your day.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

Our first video this week is a sure-fire country hit, featuring the sultry voice of Bailey James and some of the sweetest steel heard on any country song heretofore. We are glad she’s “Finally Free,” and hope that means we’ll hear much more from her in the future.

Sonja Midtune is the perfect artist to follow up Ms. James, as her silky sweet voice just gets better with every new song. We love the simple majesty of her latest, “Wildflowers,” and will definitely be putting this one on repeat.

Our third video has a serious R&B/dance groove, and we think it may easily become your go-to jam. Check out Luna Luna‘s latest video, “Feel it Now.” We think it is impossible to remain seated when this one is blaring.

This has truly been a week of future hits, and our favorite one so far is the latest from Jeff Tuohy, “Old Roads.” This one will brighten your day as only a solid country ballad can. IMHO, this is the song of the year for 2021 with a message we all need to take to heart.

We close out the week with a WORLD PREMIERE of the new music video from LA Music Critic Award nominee Andy Sydow. His new song is called “When it Ends,” and is a foretaste of the goodness on his forthcoming EP, Time Stands Between. We can’t wait for its release and wanted to whet your appetite in the mean time. Enjoy.

Monday mashup 2021 (vol 25)

Just when it was getting safe to get back in the water, along comes Delta and threatens to force us all back home. We have been anxiously awaiting a return to normal concerts and hope that we can get past this glitch without having to go back to square one. How about you guys? At any rate, let’s share this week’s new singles and music videos to whet your appetite for new music.

NEW SINGLES

First up this week is the latest from the lead singer of one of our favorite Americana bands, honeyhoney. Suzanne Santo has released her second solo album and it is even better than her first one. Her latest single talks about something we all need, “Mercy,” and tells it in the best possible way. This one is definitely going on repeat.

Next up is the powerful ballad, “Colors Run,” courtesy of Matt Hartke. He continues to amaze us and this well-crafted song is the perfect way to show your support during these trying times. We think you’ll want to hear it again and again.

Our third single comes from Abby Posner, the voice of LA’s LGBTQ community, and is sung with perfect layered harmonies, reminding us of Raining Jane. It may be called “Emergency Use Only,” but we think she wouldn’t mind if you played it every day.

“Silver Arrow Sunday” is the second single from former producer and now artist David Franz. It is a breath of fresh air, with its unique desert rock sound that will truly haunt you. We love it and can’t wait to hear what comes next from this intriguing new artist.

Our final single this week comes from Tucker Wetmore, an artist that sounds as familiar as if he’s been on country radio all his life. He is asking for “Another Shot,” and we truly believes he deserves it. This one could easily be a chart-topper.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

If the voice behind our first music video of the week sounds familiar, that’s because he was formerly the lead singer for The Chordaes. His name is Leo Sawikin, and his song is entitled “Row me Away.” We adore his voice and wish him well in his solo career. We think it will be incredibly successful.

Next up is the latest from the always incredible voice of Rachel Lorin. She says she’ll take a bullet for you, even if you pull the “Trigger.” We are willing to join that que. This song belongs in rotation on Top 40 radio.

Our third video will leave you drooling for some of that sweet “Honey.” Carly and the Universe are back and this time around she uses every ounce of her sexuality to hook you. This one is definitely worthy of multiple views.

Blue Elan Records artist Chelsea Williams brings us a desert mirage performance video with her stirring cover of America‘s classic tune, “Sister Golden Hair.” At this point in her career, she could sing the phone book and we’d love it. Thanks for this brilliant new take on a classic hit.

We close out the week with a bittersweet video from LA Americana band Great Willow. The video was shot last May when some of LA’s best Americana bands got together to celebrate the right to perform and hang out with people again. They call it “Together Again,” and we wish we could have been there for this momentous occasion. Hopefully we can all continue this trend.