Tag Archives: single

‘It’s About Time’ – Jefferson Starship back with new single and new EP

‘It’s About Time’ is the latest single from US rock legends Jefferson Starship. Following the death of Paul Kantner in 2016 the band these days are: David Freiberg, Donny Baldwin, Cathy Richardson, Chris Smith and Jude Gold. The new single, however, is co-written by the band’s legendary ex-vocalist Grace Slick.

And while the single is definitely more of an upbeat slice of AOR in the spirit of ‘We Built This City’ rather than any Woodstock-era hippy freak-out, the lyrics are certainly not lacking in countercultural bite. “Can’t you feel the planet getting hotter? How can you sit back and watch your own slaughter?” sings Cathy Richardson. “Old white men have had their turn.”

A video has been released to promote the single:

The band have also announced the release of a new seven-track EP Mother of the Sun which will be released on 21st August. Not only does it include songs co-written by two original Jefferson Starship/Jefferson Airplane members – ‘It’s About Time’ co-written with Grace Slick and a further track co-written with Marty Balin, the EP also features the return of original Jefferson Starship member Pete Sears, who contributes bass on three tracks.

“Paul Kantner was our bandleader and the visionary who kept Jefferson Starship going through so many eras,” says Richardson. “He inspired so much about this record, from the messages in the lyrics to the title and album art to the collaborative process of creating music as a band with some of his original muses – Grace, Marty, and Pete. Mother of the Sun is dedicated to PK.”

Jefferson Starship today features singer/multi-instrumentalist David Freiberg (who, following a five-album stint with Quicksilver Messenger Service, was then part of the final line-up of Jefferson Airplane and the original Jefferson Starship), drummer Donny Baldwin (who joined Jefferson Starship in 1982 and also played and sang on many hits of the band’s Starship era), lead singer Cathy Richardson (whom Kantner recruited in 2008), Chris Smith (who has been in the band since the late 90s) on keyboards and Jude Gold (who joined in 2012) on lead guitar.

Having caught them several years ago I can happily confirm that live, the current line-up are well worth seeing, performing hits across all eras of the band including ‘White Rabbit’, ‘Somebody to Love’, ‘We Built This City’, and ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’.

Mother of the Sun is released via Golden Robot Records on 21st August 2020.

www.jeffersonstarship.com

News: ‘Emergency Lullaby’ Merry Hell’s song for action when we’re mired in apathy

Released on Monday 29th June, ‘Emergency Lullaby’ is the third part of the Hourglass Trilogy series of climate-themed singles released by folk rockers Merry Hell.

It will also provide the title for the next full Merry Hell album which will be called ‘Emergency Lullabies’ and is currently nearing completion.

Written by mandolin/bouzouki player Bob Kettle, he says of the song:

“The song ‘Emergency Lullaby’ developed from a melody I’d written on the piano. I was quite pleased with the tune – it had a soft, sleepy quality that reminded me of a lullaby – but, for a long time, I couldn’t come up with any appropriate words to go with it… In the meantime, I was to thinking about climate change and the devastating impact it will have on our lives and environment if it continues unchecked. I’d read about rising global sea-levels, fires in the arctic circle and deforestation in the Amazon. I was also dismayed by the nonchalant denials of the part played by human activity in this looming crisis – for example, Trump and Bolsonaro’s casual rejection of scientific consensus and willingness to sacrifice our planet’s wellbeing and the futures of generations to come for short-term political and financial gain.

“On the other hand, I’m painfully aware of just how little I’m doing, personally, to alleviate these dangers. I ride in cars and draw energy from a grid fed by fossil-fuels. I’ve been negligent with recycling and, because I’m lucky enough to live a first world lifestyle, I’m generally oblivious to the impacts my actions have in other parts of the world. I’m part of a great sleepwalk into destruction – so, in short, I’m no one to judge anybody else’s behaviour. I wanted to emphasise that, if the climate crisis has a human cause it also has a human solution. We can save our planet if we act immediately. Time is short; the longer the delay, the sooner the devastation. We need to hold on to hope because, if we lose it, we’re lost. I’m encouraged by the awareness and organisation shown by young people. If the older generation follow the young and support them in collective action, we have every chance of securing a cleaner, fairer world that can be sustained into the future.

“So, I coupled the soft, sleepy melody with lyrics about the climate crisis – to express the contradictory aspects of the problem: we need urgent action but we’re mired in apathy. That’s how I came up with the title ‘Emergency Lullaby’. I’d love to sing it in a spirit of understanding, hope and togetherness.”

 Emergency Lullaby (Wasting Time)

 The water is rising,
The Arctic’s ablaze,
The Amazon’s burning
But I spend my days
Feeding flood and fire in so many ways
Sitting here wasting my time.

 There are clowns in high places
Trading on lies,
A cult of denial to cover our eyes
But if we give up hope then we give up our lives
Willingly wasting our time.

 We will die of doubt
Time is running out…

 The hourglass counts down
An avoidable fate:
The next generation pays for our mistakes.
Act now, act together and it’s not too late
Or we’re wasting the world and our time.

 So, get down to Earth,
Let the young lead the old,
All hands to the ark!
Unfurl the rainbow!
Our life’s in our hands,
We’ll reap what we sow

The single is available to download and stream from all the usual digital platforms.

Released: 29th June 2020

http://www.merryhell.co.uk

Related posts:

‘Sister Atlas’ new single Merry Hell salutes those taking climate action

‘Leave It In The Ground’ – Merry Hell release climate call to action

DVD review: Merry Hell ‘A Year In The Life’

Album review: Merry Hell ‘Anthems To The Wind’

EP review: Merry Hell ‘Bury Me Naked’

EP review: Merry Hell ‘Come On England!’

News: ‘Fox and Hare’ the debut single from US indie-folk outfit the John Daniels Band

The John Daniels Band are a three-piece from Buffalo, New York and ‘Fox and Hare’ is their debut single. Playing together a few years now they’ve been honing their sound on the live circuit. They ask us to imagine if Neil Young, Lenny Kravitz and Pink Floyd got together to form a band – a blend of soul, psychedelia and amazing lyrics.

An album is due later this year, their signature style a union of indie, country and folk music. Comprised of John Verbocy, Drew Azzinaro, and Kevin Urso, who is also the band’s producer, they fuse acoustic and electric guitars with well timed percussion, creating dreamy soundscapes.

The band is the brainchild of frontman and lead songwriter Verbocy, whose raspy, warm vocals and emotional narratives are at the heart of the band. Being a two time cancer survivor, John has plenty of stories to tell and lots of emotion to share.

Asked to describe “Fox and Hare” John Verbocy tells Darren’s Music Blog: “We can recover from anything. It all starts with a thought and manifests into a reality.”

John Verbocy grew up listening to a broad range of musical influences. One day it would be Van Morrison and David Bowie, the next Paul Simon and Curtis Mayfield. “I am a total B-Side guy,” says John, “deep cuts of classic artists through and through.”

Drew Azzinaro met John in high school and they shared an affinity for music and weed, but they didn’t start making tunes together until they reunited again a few years ago. While looking for a band mate, they happened across Kevin Urso and the connection was immediate.

Kevin Urso is multi-talented artist that can claim singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and composer on his resume. He was the guitarist of BeArthur surrounding their album release Welcome To The Ongoing in 2006, and has since collaborated with it’s members on other projects, including Prime Mover by Rocco Of The Snow. In 2015, Kevin performed during Buffalo’s ‘Music Is Art’ festival in a piece called Life On Fire where his piano was set ablaze until it was rendered unplayable by the flames. He released his debut solo album, Goodbye, in 2018.

‘Fox and Hare’ by the John Daniels Band released 30th April 2020

https://johndanielsband.com/

John Daniels band pic

News: ‘What If’ – new single from folk singer-songwriter Zoe Wren inspired by prison music charity Sing Inside

‘What If‘ the new single from folk artist Zoe Wren seeks to raise both money and public awareness on behalf of prison music outreach charity Sing Inside.

“Taking singing workshops into local prisons with charity Sing Inside was one of the most rewarding parts of my life while living in Cambridge,” says Wren. “My song What If was inspired partly by the joy and hope music can bring to people’s lives and partly by the frustrations of working in a prison system lacking focus on rehabilitation. It is more vital now than ever to support this important community work, so all money from this release will go straight to help Sing Inside and the amazing work this charity does.”

“My heart goes out to the family and friends of Jack and Saskia, and to everyone affected by the events at Fishmongers’ Hall on London Bridge. I think we owe it to them to continue to support the cause they so strongly believed in, and focus not on hate but on love, hope and humanity.”

On its website Sing Inside outlines its mission and values as follows:

  • Sing Inside promotes and supports the use of music and performing arts as a means of community-building for all who work or live within the prison setting.
  • We aim to provide music-based educational initiatives by conducting choral workshops in UK prisons and holding facilities using volunteers drawn from UK universities and local choirs.
  • Our workshops train and develop the musicianship and educational leadership skills of volunteers drawn from universities and local communities, who support workshop delivery.
  • We believe that music can break down common stereotypes and social barriers, and encourage creativity, confidence, and a greater sense of self-worth.

‘What If’ is available via Wren’s Bandcamp page.  The track is priced at £2, but she asks that if you are able to donate any more, it will be hugely appreciated.

Zoe

More information:

Zoe Wren website

Sing Inside Website

Previous review:

EP review: Zoe Wren – Gold & Smoke

 

News: ‘Say It All The Time’ – East Sussex duo Milton Hide release fund-raising single to raise awareness of male suicide

Released: 10th October 2019 (World Mental Health Day) in digital formats

Prompted by a bleak mood that came over him during a walk on the South Downs one day and the subsequent death of a musician friend who had tragically taken his own life, East Sussex-based singer-songwriter, Jim Tipler, was inspired to write a song putting all those feelings into words. Recording it with his wife and musical partner, Josie, the duo joined forces with acclaimed producer and musician, John Fowler, and talented local film-maker, Alex Thomas. Proceeds from sales of the single will go to CALM – the Campaign Against Living Miserably. CALM is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. They run a confidential advice line seven days a week.

Milton Hyde’s Jim Tipler comments:
“The inspiration for Say It All The Time was in fact a short film called ‘Black Tuesday’ which I made for a competition entry a couple of years ago. It was a three-minute long movie of a walk on the South Downs. I was in a very bleak mood and I just started filming what I saw and then came up with a script. I’ve never felt ‘suicidal’ but on that day, for no apparent reason, my mood was very dark. I don’t usually write songs about feelings. They tend to be more kind of story or situation-based but the lyrics of this song tie in quite closely with the script of the movie and speak of how many of us, particularly men, hide our feelings, when actually the ‘brave’ thing to do is to share them. I came up with the idea for turning the script into a song shortly after the shocking news that a fellow musician and friend that I had only recently got to know had taken his own life. This was only a few months after a member of my extended family had done the same.”

“I’m really hoping the record and video boost awareness of what can only be described as an epidemic of male suicide and will maybe raise some money towards running a helpline that could save a life or make life a little more bearable for those who have lost loved ones this way. CALM seemed like a great fit. Josie, my wife and bandmate, and I have three grown-up sons so we are only too painfully aware of the terrible statistics around male suicide.”

Simon Gunning, CEO of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), said:
“As an organisation that has always worked closely with the music community, we’re delighted that Milton Hide have chosen to support CALM with their new single. Music can be a powerful forum for conversation and expression, so it’s great to see the band sharing such a positive message and using their platform to raise awareness of the issue of suicide and of the services that are available to anyone who may be going through a tough time.”

Reflecting on the process of recording the song and filming the accompanying video, Jim, comments:
“John Fowler’s treatment of the song is incredible. He is such an amazing musician and producer. He discussed what he wanted to do with it in terms of giving it an epic sound whilst retaining the dreamy ethereal quality of Josie’s voice. He did most of the instrumentation, with me doing my acoustic guitar thing and backing vocals. those people that have heard Milton Hide before might be a little surprised but we are so excited by what he’s achieved. Independently of that, a talented film-maker friend of ours, Alex Thomas, said he really wanted to do a video of it. We thought it churlish to refuse both of these generous offers and thought that we could repay that generosity by helping a charity. We roped in loads of mates to help depict a party scene where the host is the centre of attention but feels isolated. A brilliant way of showing the loneliness we can all experience in a crowd.”

Information about CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) can be found at: https://www.thecalmzone.net/

Milton Hide is Jim Tipler and Josie Tipler

Website: https://www.miltonhide.com

Say It All The Time cover image