The NBT Review 20


Master Of Your Mind EP – Lo (Independent Release)

Starting with dramatic bass breathing and evoking the spirit of Lucy Jordan era Fathfull, the listener is presented with a full keyboard swirly urban country pop song. The title song builds intensely, a show stopping power ballad in perfect miniature.

Then a switch to the personal with whispers and steel guitar, Love never lies but lies deep in a bed or quiet regret. Its story telling that connects beautifully, simple and without artifice recalling Maria Mckee at her very best.

These are songs for unseen films, or the open road sunrise, the empty city as seen from a cold midnight cloaked mountain top.

A cowboy heartbreak, soothed sweet in ambient tenderness, fractured lullabies, the European slant on this oh so Nashville oh so WideCountry  creates a subtle entrancement, slowing time just that little bit, always a good thing.

Find out more and buy the music

Drink From The Well – South Saturn Delta (Independent Release)

The best roots music does not politely imitate, blandly recreate, or coldly catalogue. The best roots music finds a new way to live the blues, dig the dirt and sing and swim in the swamps of the now. It satisfies the old timers, and invites the timid first listener right on in.

It doesn’t clean up, polish, smooth over, smile nice and package the weight of the years into something pretty for TV. It rambles in, gets the soul a little smudged, plugs in and starts to play.

South Saturn Delta creates that type of roots music.

The album was recorded in one open space, with microphones suspended from the ceiling and as the opening track begins we are transported from our office, bedroom, and lounge to somewhere wilder. The strange comfort of a howling wind blends into the strange seduction of the blues cry. And while it is close to AGO, it is more perfectly timeless.

These are party songs for the so called poor, the people who live and die in tune with the harshness and glee of the nature around them. In these songs you can both feel the weight of the rain and the throb of the beaten up truck as it rattles into town.

Investigate further

Secrets Of The Heart – Char Butler (Quantumelody Productions )

That this is a family affair is evident in the casual intimacy that slides through each song, the harmonies and the instrumentation illustrating a comfort of being able to finish the other musicians thoughts.

There is no angst here, none of the bitterness that many folk popsters mistake for honesty. The arrangements are tender and always quietly uplifting. In these songs the light that is so soothing after the dark long night, is always already creeping in, adding subtle rich nuances to what we think we know.

A lot of well crafted pop is about the surface, easily snatched emotions, spoon fed like adverts to a public that want something sweet on their way to work. This collection, though Extremely well constructed by mother, daughter and son in law, has no essence of that, rather songs created out of love and processed with a humble joy.

Find out more

hear these artists on the NBT Podcast

The Wonderful Ones 2008 Part Two


And so we continue

Listen to These artists On the NBT special Christmas Show Going Out
19th Dec 08
Also catch the brand new NBT photo gallery featuring a whole bunch of the artists here:

Caroline Herring
‘Lantana’ the third release from Ms Herring, seemed to be shipped from another time and place, steeped in folklore and gothic country dreaming, it became a personal favourite for me, its gentle lucid nightmarish qualities revealing secrets with every listen.

The Histrioniks
Thin, the new release from the Histrionik duo was possible the most delightfully disturbing collection this year. Edgy new Wave and garage, it clung to bona fide punk roots while never losing sight of incredibly catchy hooks and melodies. It had an extremely dark heart though( a good thing ).

Larry: 2008 was an exciting year for The Histrioniks. We released our third CD, “Thin” on our own label, CatErratic Records. We were fortunate to get a publishing deal which will hopefully bear fruit in 2009. In addition to significant internet radio we have received some very positive reviews including an exceptionally creative and thorough critique from Martin, our NBT master of ceremonies. The title song, “Thin” along with “Too Black” and “Shattered Youth” have been the most represented.
For 2009, The Histrioniks are recording several demos that will more than likely be posted on our website. “Sleeping with a Ghost” is our current demo which we sent into NBT for airplay in December. Let us know what you think. There are no plans for a new Histrioniks CD in 2009 but there is a side project in the works that should be finished by the summer. Martin will in possession of a copy as soon as the CD is released so hopefully all of you rock ’n rollers out there will dig it.
To all of our fellow NBT artists we wish you a Happy Holiday season and a prosperous and prolific musical 2009. Of course, as always, our sincere thanks to our friend Martin for making NBT possible.
Cat and Larry The Histrioniks Baltimore, MD USA


Luke Jackson
Imagine a collection of lost kinks songs recorded in Sweden by a Canadian artist with a full orchestra guided along with a British film soundtrack sensibility.
And you are only a third of the way in capturing the essence of ‘..And Then Some’

Luke: 2008 was a fantastic year for me. I started it off shooting the video for “Come Tomorrow” in the freezing Canadian Winter. I had finished recording my new album “…And Then Some” in late 2007 and I spent most of 2008 getting ready to release it, which finally happened on November 4th, auspiciously the same day that Barack Obama was elected president! OK, he’s not OUR president, but the less said about Canadian politics the better.

2009 is going to be a mindblowing year. I will be becoming a Father at the end of January, all things being equal, and that is going to eclipse anything else that goes on in my life and career. Still, I hope that by the time my wife and I come up for air, I’ll be able to hit the road and play some dates in Europe and the States. Oh, and there’s a video in production for “Goodbye London” that is not like anything else you’ve ever seen!

Richard Kapp

Richard calls himself the ‘Mad Musical Scientist’ but to my mind he is FAR more subtle than that, hiding a passion and an extremely warm heart and soul under the veneer of the gentle cynic. Richard composes brittle show tunes for the thoughtful and the jaded alike.

Holly Long

I wrote this on the NBT blog about Holly’s ‘Leaving Kansas’
The darkness of mortality and the brilliance of redemption, this is an album of personal strength and victory over fear and falling.
The stories captured here are sharply focused, uncluttered and so very real. This is no doom and gloom epic, but is also no shiny happy people holy missive, it realises that even in redemption there is space for dirt and truth.
And truth can be harsh, as in opening track, ‘Brokedown’ where no punches are pulled, but , Whether this is sung to the mirror or directed to another character, the words may just set the woman free.
And the singer knows that when she sings ‘Trust Me’ it cannot be wrapped in sweetness but must allow for the edge of darkness to be believed.
And the singer knows that to haunt (as in ‘bones’) is to seduce and where there is pain light will always follow. You can be saved by the romance of the harmony and the shimmer of the piano.
If anyone fails to be moved and drawn into the world of ‘He and I (For Truman)’ then that poor listener is lost indeed.
A beautifully dark uplifting release.

Lotos Nile

Kissy Black and the Lotos Nile team, (specially Patrick Steven Patterson who deals directly with NBT) are the kind of promoters/distributors that go that extra hundred miles for their artists. Never once indulging in hype or hard sell, they remain one of the most dedicated and trustworthy sources of fine music on the net.
In May NBT was honoured to host a special Lotos Nile show

Dance, Trance, Techno and just good Pop Electronica are genres that NBT DIDN’T feature too broadly this year,( a state I hope to rectify HUGELY in 2009.) Thank goodness then for Marcie, who brought thrilling dance grooves and sleek chic dance floor rhythms into the dusty NBT barn!
Not only that but this multi tasker hosted the unique podcast `behind the lyric’ which she described as an audio commentary behind the songs we hear at the late night discos.
Marcie: 2008 was an amazing year! I saw the release of quite a few tunes, and had a #1 on the Beatport. com, the recognized leader in electronic dance music downloads. I am proud that a variety of releases made their mark on the scene. I think the highlight of the year was getting steady support from XM radio and the worlds top 10 DJ’s, Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Ferry Corsten, Matt Darey! 2008 saw the release of my EP with Scottish Producer, D:FOLT, and I’m quite proud of the ideas on that album.

My radio show, “Marcie presents Behind The Lyric” had a stellar year, getting picked up by numerous stations worldwide, and featuring many established chart topping artists, as well as new faces! The best thing about the show is that it gives listeners a glimpse into an Artist’s personal creative process. I find working on the show to be a constant source of inspiration for me, and I love that there is now a ‘family’ of artists who have been on the show. Hearing from each other gives us a new respect for our art. Each episode has its own unique character due to the eclectic mix of featured guests! I am grateful that so many guests have opened up to the fans, and shared an intimate part of themselves on my show.

2009 is going to be just as exciting! I’m always in the studio working on new material. Some people tell me not to try to write as much as I do, so I do not risk burnout or over-exposure… but until I run out of things to say, I will keep writing. Sometimes my songs appeal to other people, and sometimes they are just for myself, but either way, songwriting has become an indispensible part of my life. I appreciate all the support from fans, and from sites like NextBigThing. Sharing my creations with you is the greatest blessing I have.

The Jaik Miller Band

With vocals that get right under the skin and scratch at the soul and gritty tightly constructed pop tunes, the Jaik Miller band made you want to go for a drive with the radio on..LOUD.
Recalling and utilizing a very American grasp of country tinged rock and pop, the band calls on the quirky ghosts of the 80s (violent femmes even tom petty) with the irony and sadness of the hectic NOW.

Sheri Miller
One of the most read interviews on NBT this year was with Sheri, as we talked about subjects as diverse as Diamanda Galas, Magic and Charles Bukowski, revealing a singer songwriter intensely creative and forever searching.
Sheri: 2009—-I’m pretty excited, as I’m already half-way through writing my next record, and I’m pretty pleased with the songs so far.
I’ve been road-testing them live at shows, and have gotten really enthusiastic audience reactions, a true litmus test. I hope to start recording this record
next year…cross your fingers for that! And in January 2009- SOON, SOON, I will debut my new music video for “Waste My Breath” on a big screen and all
over the internet. We filmed it in October 2008, in Soho and South Street Seaport of New York City, with over 30 amazing girls lip-synching the lyrics.
They were fantastic, and it was wild to see all these young ladies lip-synching lyrics I had written. Please keep checking back to
and for updates on the video! And I’d also love if you’d sign up for my email list on either site, to keep you posted on new
shows, videos, free music give-aways, and exciting news. Oh yes! Bring on the 2009!

2008—-After years and years of keeping my head down low in the trenches, playing shows, practicing for hours, and writing hundreds of songs, I
released my debut EP “Mantra” in February. I’m quite proud of it, and it was also received warmly from the press, with some very nice critical acclaim.
I got to play some wonderful shows in NY and LA, ranging from Hotel Cafe to Bowery Ballroom to B.B. King’s to The Living Room, both stripped-down
solo and with a full band (and live string section!) I just found out this month, that I’m featured in Music Connection Magazine’s “Hot 100 Unsigned
Artist” list in their December 2008 magazine. I think you can buy Music Connection magazine in newstands nationwide. I also cut back on my huge
Starbucks coffee addiction, which is a plus, started eating slightly healthier (less buttercream cupcakes and Philly chicken-cheesesteaks) and have
started listening to classical music again. So I’m grateful for 2008, I really feel like I have a lot to be thankful for. Including NBT- a great podcast, and a
wonderful source to discover great new music. Thanks so much, you guys!

From the NBT review of Tabula Rasa
John Phillips started this turbulent year by writing a blog for NBT about the independent music scene in Pennsylvania, a rare text of promise and optimism and now his band finishes the year with the release of a five song EP that seeks out new sounds while keeping what worked so well in their previous release.
The EP is full of pure pop moments, allowing rough edges to slide into the perfect polish, injecting tinges of darker edgier rhythms from indie grunge influences (Envious Eyes) to the more anthem like sounds of ‘Echo’ that recall Joshua Tree period U2.
The band talks of a ‘mainstream crossover,’ with this EP, and in the creation of these songs have set their sights high, high in the charts of the indie playlists, on the radios and podcasts across the world.

Amy Raasch
Singer/songwriter/actress/poet there was nothing it seemed to us that Amy could not do, and do extremely well. She had her own 52 songs project to keep her busy and/or slightly insane and released the album ‘Love Or Inertia’ to much acclaim. NBT called it ‘’a love letter to the lost, and a shy note to the soon to be found’’
If you’ve ever made a dream come true, you may have discovered a fascinating dynamic of human nature: it isn’t long before all you want to do is make the next one happen!
Such was the experience of releasing my debut album, “Love or Inertia,” in 2007. Making that album was the most difficult thing I’d ever done — a true labor of love — and it was thrilling to play songs from it live. Yet as the months progressed, I began to register a growing ache to return to the well of the songwriting process. So, in the dark hours before the dawn of 2008,“52 Songs in 52 Weeks” was born.

I decided I would post the new tunes on YouTube, in a raw, acoustic form — usually learning them as tape was rolling! Minus the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike, I had to dig for it. And minus the luxury of abandoning too many ideas — for being “not good enough,” “impossible to finish,” stylistically untried, etc — I was forced to loosen my grasp on perfection. The shockingly positive reviews garnered by some of these “risky” songs taught me that I didn’t necessarily know everything about my own songs, and freed me up to take even more chances.

I also found inspiration in the lives of others. As an actor, putting myself in someone else’s shoes has always come naturally, but what crystallizes from a true story into a song is unpredictable and revealing.
“On the Shores of Elsinore,” a bluesy rocker sung from the perspective of a 14 year-old, African-American girl, is one such tune. Confronted with racist boys in big, red trucks in the desert town where her family seeks a better life, she refuses to be bullied even when her life is threatened. “Rooftops of Babylon” expresses the confusion of an Iraq war veteran reviled in whispers she overhears around her hometown, and “Version of Me” shoots from the hip of a defiant teenager gone missing.
All of these people taught me more about life, as did the process of continuing to work even as my own life was plowed through with unprecedented intensity. As a result, I enter 2009 at my humblest, most honest and clearer about my dreams than ever. I am excited to see what will be revealed. My deepest wish is that it will inspire others to make their own dreams come true…one after another.
Your thoughts and opinions on the new songs are welcomed and encouraged. Sign the mailing list at to share the journey — and to help shape the new album!

Red Rock Management
Ritchie Koning and the guys at this German based distribution and promotions label are dedicated to getting the best rock and alternative bands to the worlds ears, and introduced NBT listeners to bands from all over including Norway, Italy, the UK and of course Germany. From Industrial to metal to quirky experimental electrix they slipped right into the NBT eclectic.

Sarathan Records

Jonathan Kochmer (owner) and Kara McGraw (head of Marketing) say it all so I will let them take the stage without further ado.

Jonathan: 2008 has been a very busy year for Sarathan Records! Some of the highlights have been our newest releases (War Tapes’ EP, Feral Children’s “Second to the Last Frontier” and Peter Bradley Adams’ “Leavetaking”. Also, I got to tour with my trip-hop band Two Loons for Tea throughout the US for three months, supporting our 2007 release, “Nine Lucid Dreams”. What a blast!

Like all companies throughout the world, big and small, we’re saddened and have been affected by the various global economic crises. But the situation has forced us to think very critically about how we spend every dollar and every minute of our time, and happily, this disciplined outlook has allowed us to simultaneously cut costs, increase efficiency — and to substantially increase sales and our artists’ profiles. A big part of this success is due to the earnest efforts of our growing team of talented interns, both at Sarathan headquarters in Seattle, as well as across the US and Canada. Thanks to all of you!

We’ve only been a full-fledged label since 2006 — so we’re thrilled that 2009 promises to be the year that our artists, and the label, truly explode onto the global music scene. Our 2009 releases will include full-lengths by War Tapes, Abra Moore, Feral Children, Peter Bradley Adams, Two Loons for Tea, our newest artist Thunder Buffalo, and others to be announced later. We’re proud to have such hardworking and talented artists, staff, interns and partners, and look forward to getting our music into the ears and hearts of everyone who might enjoy it. We believe that musical tastes in 2009 will continue to be diverse, which is one reason why we have such an eclectic roster. We also recognize that 2009 is likely to be a very challenging time financially for everyone — but feel ennobled by and proud of being able to offer the gift of music to everyone.

Kara McGraw: Sarathan Records is but one of the many start up companies to take inspiration from Amazon and Microsoft and struggle to come into their own in downtown Seattle. As it is with many labels, the concept of Sarathan started with one band — in Sarathan’s case, Two Loons for Tea. As the reputation of Two Loons for Tea grew, the company gradually expanded to embrace a uniquely eclectic roster of artists whose styles range from singer/songwriter to hiphop to rock. Its small crew of avid music-lovers huddles in a building, once known for being the WTO Anarchist headquarters. Sarathan’s walls picture large, stylized roses and giant hummingbirds that inspire its team to seek out the sweetest things in life: inspiring art, creative music, and good fun!

The year 2008 has carried its share of trials and triumphs for this little indie label. It started off with a bang when the label signed three fantastic artists: War Tapes, Peter Bradley Adams, and the vivacious Feral Children. The responsibility of preparing for three great summer releases transformed Sarathan into a buzzing hubbub of excitement and activity. The marketing team grew to help cover tour and release promotions, and routines were more firmly established to preserve organization during the expansion. As a result of Sarathan’s efforts, Peter Bradley Adams’ album has seen a surge in radio plays, reaching top twenty in the non-com charts and exhibiting some impressive staying power in AAA stations. War Tapes have performed with big names such as Tiger Army, The Bravery, and VNV Nation, and Feral Children been featured alongside Fleet Foxes, Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), and The Ettes. Most recently, Sarathan was proud to announce that Two Loons for Tea was honored as finalist in the 2008 Independent Music Awards.

Despite these successes, this year’s recent financial crisis has unfortunately taken its toll on Sarathan. After cutting as many extraneous costs as possible, Sarathan realized it would have to let go a few of its beloved employees. Heartbroken, yet determined that the “show must go on,” Sarathan looks toward 2009 with faith in its artists and hope for a bright new year.

Dudley Saunders
Simply: Dudley Saunders made the NBT Album of the year by a solo Artist. Ok it seems to have been released in 2007 BUT we only heard of it in 08, The Emergency Lane deserves to be heard by ANYONE who likes the music NBT plays and writes about.
Dudley: “In 2007, I discovered that the old print media had stopped covering underground artists. But in 2008, the blogosphere bucked the mainstream and started to champion THE EMERGENCY LANE – and did a better, smarter job of it than old-media ever did. The result? Burnside Distribution just picked up THE EMERGENCY LANE for an official re-release. I owe it all to podcasters and bloggers who had minds of their own.

And in 2009? I’ve just written and recorded my first song for an independent feature film (which, so far, they like, so keep your fingers crossed). In the spring, I’ll be singing Chris Rael’s song-cycle ARABY in New York. And I’ll be regularly releasing acoustic versions of the songs I’m writing for my next CD, NOVELSONGS – all songs inspired by – you guessed it – novels!

Phyllis Sinclair
This gentle Protester….
Phyllis: The beginning of 2008 found me preparing to package my second album, Fathomless Tales from Leviathan’s Hole. It was important to me to present this album in a way that would intrigue because I wanted its stories to be heard. The sentiment of “Fathomless Tales….” didn’t stray far from my first album, Fence Posts and Stones.

Fence Posts and Stones told the story of Hannah, an Aboriginal woman who died in the north end of the city of Winnipeg, and her unique way of coping with the difficulties that met her there while she struggled to maintain her dignity and Aboriginal identity. It also contained songs like “Sleep Baby Blue Eyes” a lullaby which included spoken word in my Cree language, and “North Coast Fisher Wife’s Prayer” all of which I worked hard at writing with integrity and respect for its subjects and subject matter.

My challenge with this new work was to meet, and hopefully surpass, the success of Fence Posts and Stones so that these new stories like “Main Street” and “Sayisi Song” would also be heard amidst “Encinitas” and “Lost for Words”, which I also value for entirely different reasons. The goal for this new album was to, once again present struggle as a powerful impetus for positive change, to view difference as an avenue for exciting exploration, and to shed light on the challenges faced by Canada’s Aboriginal people in a way that everyone could relate to in small way. After wrestling with album titles for over a month, I decided on Fathomless Tales from Leviathan’s Hole, because I felt that that was exactly what this album was: a collection of stories that most everyone could relate to, and which allowed the listener to be taken beneath the obvious surface beauty of life to explore deep, dark and often vulnerable places.

The surprise one finds is that beauty is found here too: to view, to feel, to explore. The stories and packaging of Fathomless Tales from Leviathan’s Hole were designed to allow the listener to be willingly led to witness and explore a side of life whose beauty is often hidden.
I feel that I have met this goal to a great degree since this album was selected as one of the Top Recommended Albums of 2008 by American Music Belgium and was nominated for Best Folk Acoustic Album by the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

Along with gaining interest in my music, 2008 presented a deep personal loss. My mother, the last surviving member of her family, the last fluent Cree speaker of our family, and the strongest link to our Cree culture passed away. Her passing leaves a huge hole in our family. She had a unique and humorous way of saying and doing things that were obviously an effect of the colorful and expressive Cree language that she loved so dearly.
As the eldest member of the family, I feel a renewed sense of responsibility to ensure that those things that make us Cree stay alive. Her passing has somehow ignited my determination to document our historical experience and chart our cultural future. How this will reveal itself in my music will be a surprise to us all.

Regardless, my goal in 2009 is to continue writing songs with the same degree of empathy and compassion, to not compromise my sound for one that is more accepted, and make music that everyone can relate to in some small way. I have a lot of work ahead of me in 2009 but as they say….”inch by inch” A valued friend once said to me “Don’t look up the hill and see how far you have to go. Look back down and see how far you’ve come.” Great advice! Best wishes to my fellow songwriters in 2009, health and happiness to all who listen and who support independent music. Peace.

Strangers In Wonderland
Another band, another duo who found the magic: in the dark places in the dreaming and in our fragile reality.
Swedish sugar coated spikes of sonic shivers.

The NBT Review 18

Picture: Garry Tallent, Max Weinberg, Billy Ryan, Stormin’ Norman, Clarence Clemons. 1980 at Lock Stock and Barrell

Asbury Park, Then And Now – Stormin‘Norman and Friends (Ivory International)

The man calls this, ‘’ In the simplest of terms, …my life in musical form. ‘’  The Man is Stormin’ Norman Seldin and this double album is an Unique history lesson  of the music coming out of Asbury Park from the 60s onwards.

The show starts of in 1980, and weaves back and forth through the decades, incorporating doo wop, rock and soul and even the Brit Invasion, From Garage Band to Big Band Rock extravaganza this collection has it all.

For Collectors, the First 8 tracks are a goldmine, featuring, E Street Band members Garry Tallent, Clarence Clemons, Max Weinberg, the late Danny Federici, and Roy Bittan.

Kicking off with the full keyboard driven boogie of ‘ Misery Loves Company’ to `Monopoly Woman’ a track that wouldn’t be out of place on Springsteen’s own early albums this set is a thrilling look into a particular time and place.

Favourite track for me of this first 8 is, ‘Everything I Do’ which is a mighty ballad including a breathtaking seemingly effortless sax solo from the maestro Clemons.

Going further back into the past we listen to a band Seldin signed post 1965, The Motifs, a glorious stumble mix of Iggy and the Stones, taken from vinyl these recordings have a scratchy wonder and exuberant swagger.

This is Followed by a handful of tracks by the Seldin led The Soul Set, Stax and Atlantic influenced blue eyed soul. With the additionof Clemons the band changed its name to The Joyful Noyze and are represented by six tracks, standout tune in this section, the atmospheric ‘A Winter Night.’

On CD two we go back in time again and listen to the Acapella sounds of Barbaroso & The Historians discovered and produced by Seldin, these tracks capture a musical point in time where the heavenly vocal harmonies and melodic arrangements of this kind of pop was being replaced by the dirtier blues of the british invasion.

This is followed by bands The Uniques,(who are frantically sought after by vinyl collectors, one their recordings currently sells for over $600), The Valtairs, and The Jaywalkers, all bands Seldin recorded and had a hand in writing for. This section is pop perfection, songs from long ago that still sound vibrant and important to this day.

The Cd finishes with a set of Stormin’Norman and Steel Breeze and Solo piano from the music man himself, Cinematic, widescreen, dream tunes, a wonderful way to close this journey through a past.

All in all this is music that has touched so many lives, and changed in its own subtle generous way the sounds of the rock we listen to now.

Don’t be foolish go buy this album NOW

Postscript: In honour of Clarence Clemons many tracks that he was involved in from this album and the entire Born To Run album are playlisted over the 24 hr stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: NBTMusicRadio





The NBT Review 15

Crane-Grief – Filip ( FilipSongs)

The slow motion hurt of the internal. The minimal honest sketches conceived in a room underneath the bright crackle pop of the normal day. This is gentle bare bulb sway stuff. A voice , some instruments, a scratching at the heart, a stroke a fumble a chord or 20 thrown gently, carelessly. The songs take shape ask the shadows on the wall to dance, the wall is cluttered with memories of cracks and paint and other lives.

The singer and the old equipment make timeless tunes. In the future a lost boy or girl will play this album some hours after an Antony confession. That boy or girl will try to explain to the pop relative what it is in this hesitant rawness that can mend heartbreak and cause sadness at the very same time.

Most EMOtional  Disciples will simply not get it, and ask for another spoonful of gloss and powerchord, others will fall into this ancient brand new religion of secret songs made just for them.

They will be changed and seek basements of their own, or balconies at 3 am, or half empty dangerous clubs.

And the music and the voice will deliver them from today, into something strange and otherwhere.

Buy this album here

This Is Grand Atlantic – Grand Atlantic (Popboomerang Records)

I kinda like that these two recordings happen to be reviewed in the same chapter of the NBT blog adventures. One is internal and minimal and full of the things that make love bite and sigh, and this is crazy beautiful, orchestrated to the max, dense and rich and rewarding AND full of the things that make love bite and sigh.

Listen to `Wonderful Tragedy’ and imagine  the Carpenters ‘Superstar’ done sweetly by Both the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev backed with a sighing Orchestra and you some idea of the treats in store with this collection.

This is music that sweeps you away, that insists you fly through the clouds and dreams, it is music to be listened to with eyes closed and breathing slow, music that insists you get lost within the harmonies and soundscapes.

This isn’t just sweet ballads though, take ‘ Coolite’ a surge rock n roll confection, Big Star/Mathew Sweet  alternative pop power, driven along by subtle twisting grinning keyboards, and then ‘ Smoke and Mirrors’ a song that would feel right at home at a Hold Steady concert.

A set of songs that give something new and exciting every listen, from explosions to whispers these creations exhilarate.

Buy the music here

Hear both these acts on the NBT Podcast going out on the 17th October





The NBT Review 14

Fortune Teller reviewed by Martin Smit

Short Stories, Infinite Corridors  reviewed by William Elliot


Fortune Teller – Nathalie Nahai (Fuzzy Muskrat Records)

There is a comfort in the delicate dangers of escape. As the sweetness of the country melody builds, from the very first track, the desire for adventure away from the ordinary smothering world is sketched in fragile but warm tones.

‘Here is my journey’, the singer sings,’ I will sing of the beauty of it, the joy of it, but I will not hold back on describing the shadows and the fears along the way.’

Nahai sings of ‘Blood and Cyanide’ with a shiver in her voice, and we button our coats against the feel of the cold and look to the soul of the drama, providing us thought s and fire.

We are captured.

We want to live in these stories, sway into delicate banjo and violin mist trails, let ourselves be seduced by the shy grinning sounds of pedal steel guitar. This is traditional folk flirting with the earthy Americana, the girl getting her hands messy with the dirt and the dreams.

Nahai sings of fortunes, both twisted and sensual, her songs are not always safe places to hide away in, but they are ALWAYS desired and captivating, half glimpsed sepia photos twirling in the sunset.

Grab hold of them if you dare.


Listen, Closer.

To find out more and buy this lovely album go here



Short Stories, Infinite Corridors – Sebastian Lorefice (SanSebastian Productions)


This  contemporary  collection, looks back to the electronic adventures committed by Herbie Hancock with his 80s explorations in albums like Perfect Machine, but flies in a slightly different direction, more Tangerine Dream ambient than funk.

Accused or in fact admired by many as being a set of smooth jazz, the humor and the story telling within the tunes show a flexibility and an almost ironic sense of a retro modern groove.

It is a time warp of a collection, one moment the listener imagines banks of keyboards and the neon stage glow, the next we are taken into an almost scary film like soundtrack, of mood and shadows.

Standout track for this reviewer is the dramatic `Espionage’.

To find out more behind the making of this album Go to


Hear songs from Nathalie Nahai on the NBT podcast going out on the 17th October

And tracks from Sebastian Lorefice on the NBT podcast going out on the 24th October


The NBT Review 9


The Return Of The Heise Bros. (III) – The Heise Bros. (CTL Records)


The first track is the kinda of song that you can imagine being played as the opening credits roll over some indie cult flick about betrayal and redemption. Instantly catchy and refreshingly rough, there is a sweetness in the harmonies counterpointing no thrills rock swing.


In these days of every voice heard being pumped up and polished technically and every song being produced to a crystal clean sheen, its some kind of wonderful to hear songs that roll about in the dirt, and gleefully invite ragged inspiring harmonies to sit a while, maybe even stay the night.


In ‘Satisfy’ for example, there is a sly swagger,a goofy insecurity that gets to the heart, a messy exuberance that seems born on stage and survives the studio.


But don’t think this is some red neck bar band, this is Alternative Country flirting with a Replacement soaked Punk down in the front car at the drive in.


The album has a sincerity that I have missed since playing my old DBs plastic to shreds.


Stand out moments: the the lurking menace of `Lemon`, and the near Psychedelica of `African Beauty’ a song stolen from the early 70s and brought twisting into the new century.


The show ends with a fragile ballad , slightly skewed and haunting, the ghosts in the song threatening to make a place in your home.


More to this recording than initially meets the ears it seems and a good thing too.


Find them at



The Emergency Lane – Dudley Saunders (Fang Records)


This is a scary beautiful dream, the images float past and disturb, the world is slow motion here the colours are bruised rubbing into each other, chalk in the rain on city streets, sometime just before the morning.


This is a haunting love story, the characters are wounded and bear the weight of Love in all its fierce brutality.


This is a collection of songs about the people behind locked doors, or hidden in crowds or just out of sight.

Dudley Saunders though sees it all, them all. The world, the flaws and the wonder.


A mix of subtle rock frenzy and cinematic orchestra, the faces the bodies, swoop past, the lyrics sink in the mind slow and sweet and the voice, Saunders not so secret weapon, hooks us so we cannot turn away.


A contender for one of the NBT albums of the year. This CD slow burns harsh comfort and strange desires.


It seems the second it is played, that, it has ALWAYS been there.


Find this at




Catch songs from both of these new releases on the NBT Podcast this Friday the 22nd August


The Lotos Nile/NBT Special Podcast

I was thrilled to host a show of extra-ordinary artists and bands, all part of the Media and Marketing Promotion Company that is Lotos Nile. Founder Kissy Black shares her thoughts with us and many great tunes played.


The Artists Featured:


Crooked Still



Meet Crooked Still, the hot young alternative bluegrass group on a mission to bend the boundaries of traditional music. The unlikely combination of banjo, cello, and double-bass drives this low lonesome band, whose captivating vocals and high-wire solos have enraptured audiences all over North America and Ireland since 2001.

Four very unique musical personalities merge to form Crooked Still. Aoife O’Donovan’s refined, sultry vocals float over Rushad Eggleston’s rumbling cello riffs, Dr. Gregory Liszt’s futuristic four-finger banjo rolls and Corey DiMario’s pulsing bass lines. The resulting acoustic fusion can warp a traditional American tune to the brink of unrecognizability without sacrificing the authenticity of the original sources. “It’s almost like we’re going back and making imaginary history,” says Eggleston, whose versatile cello style has already sparked a revolution among young cellists. “What if the 1920s Appalachian musicians could’ve heard the music we hear now?”

  Hop High, the debut album from Crooked Still, was released at the prestigious Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in July, 2004 and was the top-selling CD at the festival that year.

Following the success of this first festival appearance, Crooked Still has appeared at concert halls, nightclubs, coffeehouses, and festivals in twenty-three states and several different countries. This grassroots endeavor frequently lands Hop High among the top ten best-selling CD’s at the online independent megastore CD Baby.

Although being an unsigned band has afforded Crooked Still the maximum creative freedom, when the president of Signature Sounds Recordings came knocking, Crooked Still listened. With a roster that includes such diverse acts as indie-rocker Josh Ritter, contemporary songwriter Lori McKenna, and old-timey folk jammers The Mammals, Signature Sounds was a perfect fit, simultaneously progressive and down-to-earth.


Angel Band


Jen Schonwald came to Angel Band as a veteran of the Phildelphia folk scene and as singer/guitarist with the popular group “Full Frontal Folk”.


A gritty and powerful singer, Jen had been performing since the age of twelve and Angel Band offered just the right situation to showcase her wonderfully unique talent.


Newest member, Kathleen Weber, was born into a musical family, where she developed a deep appreciation for all genres of music. Having participated in numerous choirs, bands and acoustic groups for over 20 years, Kathleen has developed vocal abilities that perfectly compliment Angel Band.


She has performed with the likes of Moravian Women’s choir, singer songwriter Steven Kelly of the Lehigh Valley, and most recently with Los Manatees of the Philadelphia area. The youngest member of the group brings a musical maturity that completes the rich harmonic texture that is the Angel Band trademark.


Nancy Josephson has a long and varied musical pedigree.  As a vocalist and bass player she did stints with the Buffalo Gals, David Bromberg Band, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Rowan and Fiddle Fever.  Nancy was also a vocalist with the legendary Chicago Gospel Choir, The Annettes.  After a long absence from the “official” music scene, she returns with both voice and attitude to anchor this extraordinary group.


Suzy Bogguss


Like most explorers, Suzy offers no apologies for chasing her muse wherever it leads her. She’s always listened to her head and her heart when picking music for her albums. She’s guided by a desire to be true to herself while communicating with her audience. 

She says, “What I’m really trying to do is make music that people like. That’s why I started playing in bars in the fi rst place. That’s why I listened to people when they told me I should sing another person’s songs. I believed them. We were talking to each other. We were communicating. That’s what’s so great about the Internet now. It’s what we used to do with artist co-ops and mailing lists only now you can reach millions of music fans instead of hundreds.”

Connecting with her audience has been a fundamental part of her career since she graduated from Illinois State University with an art degree and began touring the coffeehouse and club circuit. 

After five years crisscrossing the country in a camper truck, Bogguss landed in Nashville and immersedherself in the creative community. She found like-minded writers who believed in songs with style and substance. Her big break came when a talent scout from Capitol Records saw her perform at Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park in East Tennessee’s Smokey Mountains. A tape of her music that she sold at the park got into the hands of a label executive and three weeks later she was signed. 

 Her strong, supple voice and straightforward style were a clarion call for country fans looking for music with meaning. Songs like “Aces,” “Drive South,” “Someday Soon,” “Outbound Plane” and “Letting Go” soon took her to the top of the country music charts. Along the way she won raves from critics and her peers in all genres. She won the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award in 1992 and album of the Year Award in 1994, ASCAP country and pop awards for her songwriting, and in 2005 a Grammy for her contribution to the Best Folk Album, Beautiful Dreamer, the Songs of Stephen Foster.

Holly Long

Holly’s songs have received numerous feature film and TV placements including NBC’s Passions, the soundtracks for Warner Bros.’ films Winning London and Our Lips are Sealed, and multiple CD compilations including Live On: Songs of Love, Hope and Inspiration (A benefit CD to aid the American Red Cross Relief efforts helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Rita) and Girls Night Out: Life & Love, that have graced the shelves of TARGET and other major retail outlets.

Since then, Holly has given birth to her two children, a beautiful girl named Josephine and sweet baby boy, Truman. Fittingly, Jo provided much of the inspiration for Holly’s third project and well-received second CD Every Little Seam released in 2004. Truman has also since been instrumental in molding Holly’s ever-changing creative and musical voice.

Continuing the journey of being a mom and an artist brought Holly to write and record her third full length album, Leaving Kansas, under the careful musical direction of her Manager, Producer and dear friend, Anthony J.W. Benson. For this project Benson enlisted an experienced production team to help capture the organic feel, emotion and intimacy that would best highlight Holly’s beautiful voice and skillful songwriting. With the new team in place, including renowned recording engineer Ian Terry (David Bowie, Diana Krall, Leonard Cohen) and mastering wiz Dominick Maita (Fall Out Boy, Jewel, Curtis Stigers), the results, arguably, reflect the best of Holly Long as a performer and songwriter to date.

Holly happily resides in Venice, CA with her husband and children and continues to wrangle the butterfly muse. Through therapy, yoga, and a little help from her friends, Holly performs with love and gratefulness.

Band Of Heathens

 One thing is for certain, what the Heathens do now sounds and feels more like a band. It’s something you can experience while watching Live at Antone’s on DVD. They shine on new tunes like “Rehab Facility” and “Blood In The Water.” Songs like the raucous “Jenny Was A Keeper” and the dripping with soul “Bumblebee,” – both of which appeared on their first effort Live At Momo’s – possess a different fire. Adding to the proceedings on keyboards and accordion is Chip Dolan.


The entire performance at Antone’s, thirteen songs of the Heathens at a new peak, is intercut on the DVD with interview segments that show the band’s droll sense of humor. In addition, an ‘Extras’ section includes a glimpse at the not so glamorous life on the road, as well as three songs recorded at their home base Momo’s and a collection of delightful photographs presented as a slideshow.

The Heathens ever expanding fan base will be pleased to know that they have just wrapped up recording their first studio disc, with renowned Texas troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard in the producer’s chair, and special guests Patty Griffin, Gurf Morlix and Stephen Bruton making appearances. A release in the first part of 2008 is planned.


For now however, the band will continue to tour throughout Texas and into the West, with gigs in Colorado and New Mexico scheduled for early next year, bringing their unique brand of Texas twang and country soul to anyone who is curious.  In the meantime, Live At Antone’s loudly proclaims this is a band and this is what Austin‘s Best New Band sounds like


Caroline Herring


Caroline Herring digs deep—deep into the rich soil of American roots music for her sound, and deep into the recesses of her own consciousness for her themes. The musically understated, psychologically intense songs of this Atlanta-based Mississippi native ponder the eternal verities while probing the complex nature of contemporary existence; she delivers them in a fine-grained alto replete with the residue of hard-earned insight.

On Lantana, her beautiful and eloquent third album (Signature Sounds), Herring fills the listener’s heart with hope one moment and sends a chill down the spine the next. This pivotal album, which documents a personal and artistic crossroads for its author, cements her status as a truth teller, and no matter how bitter or disturbing the story leading to the truth may be, she approaches it clear-eyed and straight-on, getting down to the nub of it with quiet tenacity. No wonder fellow artist Dar Williams, who co-headlined a European tour with Herring in 2006, described her as “the elusive ‘real thing.’”

Since emerging out of the Austin scene earlier in this decade, Herring has beguiled the critics and accumulated an international following with her provocative outpourings. Her subject matter is firmly grounded in the rural South; “Mississippi’s dense history and the shackles of its past are vividly present in Herring’s songs,” noted Craig Havihurst in the Tennessean. As a onetime folklore scholar Herring also draws on her knowledge of traditional music and culture as a way of contextualizing her personal narrative, thus bringing a dimension of timelessness and universality to the work. “I’ve learned a lot from academics and all the artists I’ve worked with,” she says, “but I do try to write from my own experience, as a poet would approach her work, rather than as an academic. Though I admire all sorts of traditional art forms, I would never call myself a traditional artist.”


Stoll Vaughan

Vaughan is an intuitive chronicler of modern-day America and its people. His songs are informed and enriched by the places he’s seen and the people he’s met since hitting the road at sixteen to pursue a career as working musician. His fierce attention to detail and an ongoing commitment to refining the craft of his songwriting have made him one of the most heralded of America‘s new breed of song poets. The results have lead to countless accolades and the opportunity to tour with John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, Def Leppard and Journey.

His latest album, Love Like A Mule, received nearly universal critical acclaim and landed in the Top 10 of the AMA (Americana Music Association) Chart. As a road warrior, Vaughan has traveled the country in support of his albums and as an explorer of the human heart. His wandering spirit leads him to the doorway of many opportunities and his fearless explorations allow him to step through them. It’s led to some fascinating opportunities.

In fact, he’s been on tour this past year with Marty Stuart, one of the finest, most respected musicians working in any genre of music. The experience both informed and inspired Vaughan to push his own musicianship to higher levels.

Jeff Black

Washed in the spirit and built on simple truths, his songs are ambitious epics performed with brawny passion. Irony does not reside here; Black’s compositions ring out with the unadorned truth of the moment they were conceived. His desire to dig deeper, to cut to the marrow is another hallmark of Black’s writing. He knows the world is painted in more subtle shades than black and white, so he writes songs with a painter’s eye for nuance and detail. His songs delve into complex emotional territory with a simplicity that often belies the craft that goes into their making.

As anyone who’s seen his moving, funny, and unpredictable concerts already knows, He never plays the same show twice. pulling from his commercial catalog Birmingham Road Arista 1998 Honey And Salt Blue Rose 2003, B-Sides And Confessions Volume One Dualtone 2003,” and the new music on Tin Lily, he responds to the moment. And to whatever voodoo is floating through the air shared by a unique collection of people on any given night with the stories and songs that transcend the role of a singer/songwriter and his instrument. What makes a Jeff Black record or show exciting is that, as a listener, you know the singer is there not to perform for you, but to take you on a journey with him.