Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Charlie Hardin's Kickstarter Campaign- Be A Part Of Making An Album!

We stream it. We steal it. We "borrow" it from friends. We buy it. How about actually being a part of making it? Well with Kickstarter you have that chance. Artist from all over the country are using Kickstarter to raise money to record albums while allowing their fans and supporters to be a part of the process. The best part is that you are not just donating. You get something in return and you can tell people you helped make that album happen. Charlie Hardin out of Nashville is in the middle of his Kickstarter campaign to raise money to record his first album. If you remember Charlie was featured here way back and was actually my first ever artist interview. Its been a joy to watch how his music career is unfolding and I've also had the pleasure of hearing a few of the new song demos and let me tell you that so far they are amazing. I got back with Charlie to hear more about the new album and Kickstarter. Check out our convo and make sure to visit the Kickstarter page and if you want to support the arts support Charlie!

1. So Charlie, your Kickstarter is off and running for the new album. Can you tell us a little about what Kickstarter is and how it works?

It is indeed off and running! Kickstarter is a sweet platform for artists such as myself to fund projects. A person can choose to pledge any amount of money, and in return they will be given a reward if the goal is reached (if it's not reached, then you don't get the rewards and you are not charged for your pledge). I was recently discussing the whole thing with my friend Will - at first he was under the impression that is was like running a donations-based fundraiser. I don't care for that description because it seems to infer that people are involved in a one-sided transaction. With Kickstarter, nobody gets nothing in return for something. Every person who pledges not only will receive a cool Thank-You for their support (like a signed copy of the album, or their name in the liner notes or their initials tattooed on my body), but more importantly, by backing this project, they become part of it's history. When you choose to back this record, you are literally becoming a valuable part of it getting made. I'm going to love delivering every one of my supporters their rewards, but the best part will be giving them the completed record, because we have all been a part of making it.

2. How long have you been waiting to make this album?

It's been about 2 and a half years since my last release, but it really feels like I've been building up to this record my entire life, frankly. I will have a great deal more creative control with this record, and will be recording material spanning about 4 or 5 years. I have been very fortunate to make many kinds of recordings in the last decade or so, but I am most excited to really express what I've been given with this go-round. There are some very important family stories that I wasn't able to tell last time, which I'm really excited about. One that has been with me for a while is "John David", about my late identical twin brother, which has been a favorite for several years. I've recorded it before, but never officially released it. That's a song that has apparently touched a lot of folks for a while, so letting it fully come to life is going to be a priority. Another favorite (at least of mine) is called "Invention". I've done demos of it a few times, but the most recent one was possibly the closest I've ever come to putting on tape what I actually wanted in my impressionistic brain! I've listened to it a ton of times. How vain! It's based on a dream I had a while back where I had built a time machine involving a 2" reel-to-reel tape deck in this basement, and I traveled back in to a time before my mother suffered from the mental illness that plagued her during her later years. It was such a vivid dream, and the recording, even in demo form, has this amazing dreamlike quality. I just can't wait for everyone to hear it.

3. How has the recording process gone for you so far?

At this moment, we've mostly been doing demos and deciding which songs to use - pretty early on in the actual recording process, but it's already surprising me. The success we experienced with "Invention" has really got my blood moving. I can't wait to see what we come up with when we really dig in to the process.

4. Has your music changed since your previous released recordings? Do you feel like your style has changed or developed over the last year?

Sure, I absolutely do. It's taken me a long time to feel comfortable with the rock and roll side of what we play, and the last record was not taken in that direction. Of course, I listen to stuff I've been recording since college or high school or before that, and it always has this feeling of "did I know what that sounded like when I did it?" In a sense, I feel more like myself as a writer and a performer than I've ever felt. I have always had a weakness for epic sounds and melancholy themes, I feel the way that sounds differently than I have before. Still big, but not too glossy. Still personal, but not unnecessary.

5. Once the album is out do you plan on hitting the road and touring?

I do! Most of the touring will likely be in the spring, but I will start circling the wagons in the fall. Part of the Kickstarter is the option for people to buy a personal concert, so those will be my first priority.

Hope you enjoyed Charlie and all his plaid glory. Check out the campaign and help an artist bring a dream into reality. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)

If you enjoyed the Kimbra video from last week I think you'll enjoy this video as well. Continuing on my Aussie kick here is Gotye (pronounced 'gore-ti-yeah') featuring Kimbra. I can't seem to stop watching this video. Its so mesmerizing.

Gotye just released his new album titled Making Mirrors. Make sure to check it out!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Andrew Belle Concert Review at The Mint

This post is about a week and a half late but better late then never right? I've been wanting to start reviewing shows on this blog since I go to so many and what better way to start reviewing then with a show that provoked my post on concert etiquette (see previous post).

Andrew Belle is one of my favorite new artists out of Nashville and I have been eager to see him live ever since I got sick and missed the Ten Out Of Tenn show in Hollywood. I bought tickets right away for his show at The Mint and I'll preface with saying that he did not disappoint. The venue however did. This was my first time at The Mint and I'm not sure I'll ever go back. I don't think I've ever been so irritated at a concert before and I'm a pretty easy going person.

Schuyler Fisk opened accompanied by Ryan Lerman on guitar. Schuyler is also the daughter of Sissy Spacek, who was in attendance, and an actress herself (Any fans of The Baby Sitter's Club?). It was our first experience with her music and we were all really impressed. Unfortunately the sound guy was having some issues with levels and feed back. Its a lesson all musicians have had to learn, you are only as good as your sound guy. Despite the technical issues Schuyler and company were really refreshing. My favorite songs from her set were, What If I Leave, You Hung The Moon, and a cover of You Belong To Me that was absolutely fantastic.

Next up was the headliner of the night Andrew Belle. He played solo on acoustic guitar and played all my favorites. It would have been a perfect set except the fact that the whole crew of people who came for Schuyler were off to the side talking loudly during Andrew's set. Imagine like 15-20 people trying to talk over the music. That accompanied with two very tall girls working their way right before the start of the show through the crowd only to stop front and center video taping the whole set just put me on edge. Andrew handled it all well and the crowd there for Andrew tried to shush the talking people the best we could but they were totally oblivious.

Andrew Belle was great interacting with the crowd sharing funny stories and even allowing two girls who politely asked to come sit on stage for one of his songs. Even without a full band behind him his performance had depth and emotion and captivated all those who were there to see him. After the show I waited for quite a while to go up and meet him. Being that he is tall and pretty easy on the eyes the girls at the show swarmed up to meet him and take pictures. I hate being considered one of those girls so I waited my turn until they had all gone. I'm a music industry professional after all not a groupie. Yet for some reason when I finally got up to talk to him I freaked out! I got really nervous and shaky. I work at a major record label and deal with big acts all the time and I never get nervous. What was wrong with me?? Maybe it was that the band playing at that point was so loud that all the things I had to say to him became too difficult with the noise. Sometimes my old nerves hit me out of no where. In any case I left feeling like an idiot. Sorry Andrew, I'm normally more composed. Thanks for putting on a great show despite the obnoxious L.A. crowd. Comeback again soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kimbra - Plain Gold Ring (Nina Simone Cover) video

Ever since my roommate showed me this video of Australian artist Kimbra covering a Nina Simone track I have not been able to stop watching it. The vocal loops she creates are so fabulous. I think big things are coming for Kimbra and she is going to blow up any second. Her new album comes out in Australia only on August 30th (lame). Hopefully her U.S. release will follow shortly! Enjoy!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Concert Etiquette by Mary

After attending a concert at The Mint in Los Angeles I feel the need to write out a list of concert etiquette because apparently most people aren't aware of how to behave at a show. Los Angeles... for shame...

#1 Being Tall at a Standing Show - If you are more then 5'10" with or without heels its definitely not OK to push your way through the crowd acting like you are just trying to get to bathroom only to stop front row center to watch the show. You have now blocked everyone who have been standing there for the last hour and your giant heads will be in everyone's picture.

#2 Flash Photography - Is it necessary to blind the artist with your red eye flash while they are tuning their guitar in the dark?? Eventually the lights will go on and you can take photos till your hearts content without a flash.

#3 Talking - When the artist starts playing it doesn't mean continue talking but louder so you can be heard over the music. Why did you pay for a concert ticket only to talk through the whole thing?? Take it outside chatty Cathy and have some respect for the artist.

#4 Participation - I don't know what it is about people in Los Angeles who think they are too cool to act like they are enjoying a concert. Everyone stands there with arms crossed with this attitude like, "What you got for me? Play some music and see if you can impress me." Try clapping, dancing, swaying or even just a head bob. I promise that you'll have more fun and the artist will appreciate people participating and enjoying the music.

#5 Videotaping - If you want to videotape your favorite song during the show so you can watch it back later to relive the moment I get that. Carry on. However, if you are going to video every song with your arm up in the air while you are standing in the front row you suck. Your arm is in all my pictures...

On a recent trip to Ireland I learned the proper way to participate at concert. Let's watch and learn a lesson from the Irish shall we? Look how much fun they are having. Maybe its the fact that they all have a pint in hand...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Boy & Bear

There is something about Australians I just love. Maybe its the accent, maybe its their cheeky laid back humor and attitude. Or maybe its in my blood since my dad is Australian. In any case I am loving some great artists from down under like Angus & Julia Stone and Ellen Kibble both featured here. Now I'm all about Boy & Bear. After hearing their song Mexican Mavis I couldn't wait for the whole album to be released in the U.S. As of Tuesday it is!! Take a listen to their first two songs and you can stream their album on Spotify and buy it on iTunes.

Members: Dave Hosking - Killian Gavin - Tim Hart - Jake Tarasenko - Jon Hart

Boy & Bear Website
Buy the album on iTunes here
Download Mexican Mavis single here
Stream new album on Spotify here

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

Last year was the first year I heard about the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Fransisco's Golden Gate Park. Sadly it was a little too last minute and I couldn't find any hotels to stay at that weren't already fully booked and wouldn't have weird stains on the bed spread...

This year I've planned ahead and will be making the drive up to San Fransisco with three friends with accomodations already lined up. So far this years line up DOES NOT disappoint. Check out these medleys of who is confirmed so far and see if you can guess the artists. #3 has my favorite selection. See if you can guess why ;)

For more info on this FREE festival click here. 

HSB 2011 Sneak-Peak Medley Round 1 by Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

HSB 2011 Sneak-Peak Medley Round 2 by Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

HSB 2011 Sneak-Peek Medley Round 3 by Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Sneak-Peek Medley Round 4 by Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

The Civil Wars AND The Punch Brothers?!!! Can life get any better? I submit that it cannot!