“Right now, my stuff is all in storage,” she says of her state of constant motion. “I’ve lived in a lot of different places – different countries even. It’s a little overwhelming, keeping track of stuff, but it’s been an amazing trip because music has taken me places I never dreamed.
“I’m the same way with writing. Even when I’ve finished a record, or am in the middle of recording, I’m writing. Writing songs is what I do; it’s how I connect with the world.”
That sense of motion infuses Edgeland with immediacy. From the Buck Owens/Don Rich opening notes of “Red Line,” the dusky blond sweeps listeners up in her whirl. If “Red Line” is a missed train and a moment of immersion in the station, “The Get Together” shimmers with a Laurel Canyon lushness and ease in the awkward (that evokes J.D. Souther’s post-romantic midtempos) and “Can’t Seem To Let You Go” owns the ‘60s Merseybeat pop luxury of the Seekers or Dusty Springfield in Memphis. Demonstrating a facility for slipping in and out of oeuvres and emotions, this – in many ways — culminates her passage through music.
Kim Richey is a traveller, after all. Musically, physically, emotionally. Not merely restless or rootless, it’s who she is. Willing to follow where the music leads, she’s landed in Los Angeles, Nashville, London, working with a who’s who of producers – Richard Bennett, Hugh Padgham, Bill Bottrell, Angelo, Giles Martin. She’s attracted a coterie of top-shelf genre-definers — Jason Isbell, Trisha Yearwood, Chuck Prophet, My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel, Wilco’s Pat Sansone – for her critically-lauded projects. She has also sung on records for Ryan Adams, Shawn Colvin, Isbell, and Rodney Crowell.
Part of what draws them to the dusky honey of her crystalline alto is the way she writes: to and from the soul, never flinching from the conflicts and crushing moments, yet always finding dignity and resilience. Her arc of the human heart is true. True enough that over the years, Richey’s been both Grammy nominated. Nominated for Yearwood’s truculently groove-country “Baby, I Lied,” she also co-wrote Radney Foster’s #1 “Nobody Wins.”
“Harlan Howard said – and maybe I’ve taken it too much to heart, ‘It’s always more believable if you sing it in the first person.’ And when I sit down to write, if it’s something I’m going to sing, I want it to be what I want it to be. I don’t really settle, which may make me a little hard to write with. But I have to be able to stand up and sing it night after night, and I can’t if I don’t really believe it.”
Those standards made Glimmer one of TIME’s Top Records of 1999 and Rise named People’s Best Alt-Country Record of 2002. Even when singing from the point of view of a guy working on a barge going up and down the Ohio River in “Dear John,” her aim is true. As she says of the man refusing to read the letter that ends his romance, “because if I don’t read your letter, then it’s not over. Sometimes these songs are specific and personal, but it’s also true in ways that reflect so many other people’s experience, too.”
Sometimes Richey channels profound truths. Sometimes she embraces breezy freedom. “Leavin’ Song,” a rambler’s shuffle, is more about tasting the world than exiting a bad situation. As its chorus offers, “This ain’t no leaving song, you ain’t done nothing wrong” over an electric banjo and Resonator guitar, Richey finds the sweet spot in exulting for just being alive.
Once again, Richey has drawn a multitude of collaborators who rival her own singular voice. Veteran journeymen artist/writers Chuck Prophet, Maendo Sanz, Mike Henderson (Steeldrivers), Bill Deasy (the Gathering Field), Pat McLaughlin (John Prine) and Al Anderson (NRBQ), plus Aussies Jenny Queen and Harry Hokey co-sign on these musical polaroids from the going, the leaving, and the pausing.
“I’ll be doing an interview, and people will say, ‘You co-write a lot…’,” she marvels, “like it’s a bad thing. But it’s inspiring to me, and takes me in other directions, to other places. The people I write with are funny, and smart, and a blast to hang out with, but they’re also really good writers in their own right. Nobody’s pandering or chasing ‘a hit,’ we’re all just trying to get to the best possible song.”
Whether growing up, owning and relinquishing high times in the sleek “Chase Wild Horses,” echoed in the ether-lite, percussive folk “High Time,” then jettisoned on the smoky acceptance of her own flawed inability to be in a romance on the Western-tinged on “I Tried,” the woman from Ohio makes our natural selves both exotic and homey.
Richey enlisted producer Brad Jones, known for Over the Rhine, Josh Rouse, Butterfly Boucher, Hayes Carll and Marshall Crenshaw, in crafting an adult album that evokes and provokes musically. “I wasn’t sure at first if we’d be a good combo because he has such strong opinions, and I do, too. But it was (laughter) the easiest record I’ve ever made. He has really different ideas, and it’s nice to have somebody push you in a direction you might not have gone – and have them respect your opinion, too. I really loved working with Brad.””
With three different tracking bands, Edgeland is a who’s who of Nashville’s roots players: beyond co-writers, steel player Dan Dugmore, drummer Jerry Roe, multi-instrumentalist Sansone, guitarist/various stringed thing players Doug Lancio and Dan Cohen, string arranger Chris Carmichael and Robin Hitchcock all contribute to the bewitchery.
“So many of these guys produce and make records on their own,” she marvels. “I’m open to collaboration, too. These songs wouldn’t sound the way they do without these players.”
The noir-slink of “Pin A Rose,” a cautionary told-you-so tale of domestic abuse’s repeat cycles, the neo-madrigal “Not for Money or Love,” inspired by the father Richey lost at 2, and the Mellotron-tinged austerity of “Black Trees,” finished after a few years gestation during a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts Colony and expanded to consider a refugee’s fortunes, all seek and explore. Here melody reinforces words, feelings, even interpersonal dynamics. Simplicity – as executed – breaks complicated things into evocative clouds that seep into the listeners unconscious.
“It’s a lot easier to say something in a song than in a conversation,” allows the easy-going grown-up. “And it’s not all about me, but the people in the songs. Even the stuff you leave out says something, so you’re creating on so many layers. And sometimes I don’t know where it comes from, just some other place.”
Listening to “Whistle On Occasion,” the Everly-esque closer duet with Prophet, Richey owns one’s place in the world. Here, there, going or gone, that’s all anyone can ask.
Hailed as “a talent to outrank Ryan Adams or Conor Oberst” by Uncut and praised for his “spare and easy sounding guitar songs” by NPR, Rouse first emerged in 1998 with his debut album, ‘Dressed Up Like Nebraska,’ which Billboard called a “dark horse gem.” Over the next two decades, he’d go on to release a steady stream of critically lauded records that would solidify his status as one of the his generation’s most acclaimed songwriters, both in the US and Europe, where he’s lived on and off since 2004. Q called his breakout album, ‘1972,’ “the most intimate record of the year,” while Rolling Stone dubbed his follow-up, ‘Nashville,’ “a landmark album,” and EW described 2013’s ‘The Happiness Waltz’ as “a big contender for Rouse’s best work.” In 2014, Rouse won a Goya Award (the Spanish equivalent of an Oscar) for best song for “Do You Really Want To Be In Love,” from the film ‘La Gran Familia Española.
As he began work on ‘Love In The Modern Age,’ Rouse was caught in a moment of international limbo. He was ready to relocate from Spain back to Nashville with his family, but his wife’s green card process was stretching out interminably. As they awaited news from the US government, their Tennessee home sat empty for more than a year, and Rouse found himself making regular trips across the Atlantic to check in on the property.
“I started working on songs with my old friend and writing partner Daniel Tashian on those trips,” Rouse explains. “I’d just finished reading Sylvie Simmons’ great Leonard Cohen biography, ‘I’m Your Man,’ and it got me really into Cohen’s synthier records. I told Daniel that I thought it’d be fun to write some stuff in that vein, so we’d start with these moody soundscapes, and then I’d write lyrics on top of them.”
Inspired by Cohen and cult heroes The Blue Nile, as well as the English bands Rouse grew up listening to like The Cure and The Smiths, the songs were cinematic and enveloping. Each track created its own entrancing world out of dense synthesizer textures and shimmering electric guitar lines. While many of his previous albums were recorded with a full band performing live in one room, Rouse built up the tracks on ‘Love In The Modern Age’ a layer at a time, recording the majority of the instruments himself between Spain and Nashville.
in me that wouldn’t have happened with just an acoustic guitar.”
Much like love in our modern age, the album is defined by the coming together of those physical and digital worlds. Underneath it all, though, lays the same endless search for human connection that drives each and every one of us. Times may change, but the song remains the same.
With appeal for both lovers of space-age and vintage, FUTURIST has been likened to the visions of Flaming Lips, Pink Floyd, and Spoon. The band is known for its associations with folk-lore and psychedelia, with elements of this culture permeating the group’s instrumentation, effects, and composition.
Their debut 2011 LP War Is Yesterday laid foundation for the anthemic duality found throughout the band’s core sound. The Deli Magazine NYC wrote:
‘FUTURIST hearkens to the past with the sounds of strings and colonial drumbeats, but the underlying darkness meshed with sunny demeanor proves they offer enough light to burn.
Lovaas’s records have premiered on Billboard, Idolator, Culture Collide, Ones to Watch and We Found New Music. In 2017, he released his debut single, “Lie,” which garnered over 5M plays and appeared on Spotify’s Chill Vibes and Pop Chillout playlists. The following year, he dropped “Find,” a single produced with artists Shallou and Kasbo that reached 17M streams as well as “Prove It,” which earned 3M streams and a place on Starbuck’s Coffeehouse playlist. Lovaas’s most recent releases Talk Slow and Finally Fallen gained over 50 playlist placements as well as Apple Song Of The Day. Both songs are from his upcoming EP which will release May 31st.
Lovaas was fourteen and performing at an intimate open mic in his hometown of Carlsbad, CA, when he caught the attention of Jason Mraz, who began to mentor him and develop him as his protégé. Lovaas quickly emerged as an intuitive and prolific songwriter. Throughout his teenage years, he found his way up the coast and into studio sessions in Los Angeles. Today, his writing draws on a youth spent falling in and out of love in a small beach town and demonstrates the restraint and maturity of a seasoned artist.
Bring your lawn chair and join us for Sounds on the Square! This free event takes place at The Square at Spirit Square. Concessions and beverages will be available for purchase. This event will be moved indoors if there is inclement weather.
Caleb Hawley is a Harlem-based, Minneapolis-raised singer, songwriter, and producer. Combining catchy melodies with dark and satirical lyrics, one has to be careful not to slip while dancing in a puddle of their own tears. Popdust proclaims “Caleb Hawley is the pop star pop music has done nothing to deserve, but desperately needs. The production of every song is attention grabbing, bringing the listener on a rollercoaster of 80’s vibes and surprising emotional layers.”
Hawley’s music is elevated by stellar, out-of-the-box live performances (he’s played over a thousand), backed by a slew of reviews noting his onstage charisma. He forms authentic connections with an air of openness, soulful singalongs and untethered guitar work drawing comparisons from Prince to Robin Williams.