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March 2009

Dean Owens "Whisky hearts"


Edinburgh based Dean Owens is one of Scotland’s most acclaimed and established singer / songwriters. 

Previously the front-man of the much loved and lauded Americana act ‘The Felsons’, Dean has subsequently been recording and touring as a successful solo artist for the last three years. His first two solo albums ‘The Droma Tapes’ and ‘My Town’ were both very successful and attracted significant critical acclaim on release, while his new album ‘Whisky Hearts’, generally agreed to be his finest work to date, is set for its full commercial release on Navigator Records on the 15th September 2008. The release will be preceded and followed by a series of live dates around the country. 

The album itself will be subject to a major national advertising campaign, while the sleeve notes for it are penned by no less than Irvine Welsh of ‘Trainspotting’ fame - a big fan of Deans. A track from ‘Whisky Hearts’ is also set to appear on a ‘Rock n’ Reel’ cover CD, exclusively featuring Navigator Records artists, in the August edition of the magazine. 

Dean recorded ‘Whisky Hearts’ exclusively in Nashville, Tennessee with a band that featured many internationally acclaimed musicians from that area. They include Al Perkins (Flying Burrito Bros, Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones and, most recently, Solomon Burke); Thad Cockrell, Will Kimbrough (Americana Instrumentalist of the Year award winner / Rodney Crowell Band); Jen Gunderman (Jayhawks) and Robert Reynolds and Paul Deakin (The Mavericks) among others. 

On its initial release in 2007 on Vermillion Road Records, ‘Whisky Hearts’ attracted highly positive national media reviews and radio play via the likes of Russell Brand, who recently played a track on his Saturday evening BBC Radio 2 programme - and followed this by affording Dean a rare live session on his show. The album also secured air time on the Radcliffe / Maconie and Aled Jones Radio 2 shows, and has been featured extensively on Radio Scotland, most notably the Tom Morton afternoon show, where Dean recently performed a live session and interview. Although not a country music artist as such, Dean has supported artists such as Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris and the Mavericks on UK tours, while he is now set to join Nanci Griffiths at the Royal Concert Hall in Perth on 1st August, 2008 during the ‘Southern Fried’ Festival.

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt - Hemifran

Dropkick "Patchwork"


Dropkick's new album "Patchwork" was released on 1st November 2008. It is the band's first release on Swedish label Sound Asleep Records. Dropkick is a Scottish band who play catchy, countrified pop music with great harmonies and melodies that will stick in your head forever. Imagine Buddy Holly playing "duelling banjos" with Paul McCartney and you’re halfway there… 

They were formed at school in a small town in Angus in 1995 by drummer/singer Andrew Taylor, guitarist Alastair Taylor (brothers) and bassist Ian Grier. At this time the band played original punk-pop songs but over the years, Dropkick's sound has gradually evolved from its punky origins into a much more mature alt-country style, yet without losing any of the punchy simplicity and immediacy of the songs. 

The Taylor brothers have played with a variety of different musicians over the past decade including Martin Black (guitar) and Craig Hendry (who now plays drums for the Sugarbabes). 

Founding member Ian Grier also had several lengthy spells in the band, most recently playing guitar and mandolin from September 2005 to August 2006. The current line-up is completed by cousin Stuart Low and the unrelated Roy W. Taylor. Dropkick have written over 600 songs and most of these have been recorded in some form or other. They have released 6 albums and 1 EP on their own Taylored Records label. The latest Dropkick album “Turning Circles” shows off their songwiting skills and multi-instrumental talents to the full. It is also their most diverse album and features, for the first time, songs written by Roy W. Taylor. The album has already been awarded a 5 star review by Scottish independent music magazine Is This Music?

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt - Hemifran

Buy the CD

Aggieland "Heading for the sun"


In times of falling CD sales, due mainly to 'free' downloads of digital music, you've got to have a better excuse then being a dumb blond to make your debut album. Well, initially singer songwriter Aggie de Kruijf wasn't thinking of a CD at all. She just wanted to record her first songs ever. As a singer of The Very Girls she was touring the USA in 2002. Spending a lot of time on the road listening to the radio in the tour van, the band criticized songs they heard on the car radio. 

Guitar player Stephan Jankowski challenged Aggie to write some lyrics herself. She accepted, providing he'd come up with a melody for it. To make a long story short: she started making songs and writing lyrics. The simple recording plan for this material soon turned into a more complicated process of co-writing songs, playing live music, recording their creations and enjoying fantastic contributions of guest musicians. One result of this process was the launch of their debut-CD 'Welcome to Aggieland' in 2005. In Aggieland the makers express what's on their mind. Everyday life as well as the world we live in are observed, and reflect in the lyrics and melodious, subdued singer-songwriter-folk-music. 

Participating with Working Wonders in the (United Nations) International Music Aid Music Awards in 2006, Aggieland was voted Best Band for the Netherlands!

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt - Hemifran

Jon Brooks "Moth Nor Rust"


Upon his return from a 1997 pilgrimage to war ruined Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jon Brooks traded guitar for pen, claiming his faith in popular music as a legitimate healer had been challenged. In 2005 - after 8 years of neither writing music nor performing - Brooks declared an opposing view to be equally true: that "only the art of song carries within itself the means toward greater social justice and community survival”

Brooks: “I aim to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I want to improve our world by showing it, as truthfully as possible, to others. As well, I believe I owe you, the listener, some hopeful argument as to why we should believe our world could be improved. I believe songs can afford us the rare chance to see others as we might see ourselves. In this sense, the folk singer is simply trying to politicize love, hence, my contention that today’s songwriter should be a lobbyist for compassion to be our principle representative in government office”.

In 2006 he released 'No Mean City', a weighty and conceptual exposition of the modern urban soul’s homelessness and moral fatigue. 2007 afforded Brooks only superlative acclaim with the release of 'Ours And The Shepherds', a CD of Canadian war stories inspired by James Loney, Senator Romeo Dallaire, Sgt. Tommy Prince, and John McRae among others. The collection earned Brooks a ‘Best Songwriter’ nomination at the 2007 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Penguin Eggs deemed it “a thoroughly wonderful and truly important addition to the canon of Canadian folk music”. 'Ours And The Shepherds' is now among the collections of The Canadian War Museum and The John McRae Society.

His third CD, ‘Moth Nor Rust,’ is an investigation into all the living things that neither “moth nor rust” can touch: love, hope, memory, justice, faith; in a word, peace. More than a celebration of the inner life, 'Moth Nor Rust' is an implicit reminder of how the folk song may be a means toward lifting humanity in the 21st century.

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt - Hemifran

Steve Lukather in Paris - "Ever changing times" Tour!


On February 26th Steve Lukather and his band (Ricky E. Zahariades/guitars, vocals,
Steve Weingart/keyboards,
Carlitos Del Puerto/bass, vocals,
Eric Valentine/drums, vocals) will start the Ever Changing World Tour 2009 at Tivoli in Utrecht, Holland. They will play in Paris on March 9th, 2009 at Alhambra

Steve says: "I will be doing songs from my first solo record Lukather, Candyman, Luke, and Ever changing times with a few Toto album cuts that I wrote and sang (NO ballads or hits!!!) a few songs I wrote for other people and a cover or 2 that I have recorded on tribute records myself in the past."

Sugarland in Paris!


Mercury Nashville’s Grammy-winning duo Sugarland will embark on their first European tour throughout the entire month of March. They will perform at the Showcase (Paris) on March 10th, 2009. 

Sugarland is an American Grammy Award winning country music duo composed of singer-songwriters Jennifer Nettles (lead vocals) and Kristian Bush (background vocals, lead vocals, mandolin, acoustic guitar). The duo was founded in 2003 by Bush and Kristen Hall (acoustic guitar, background vocals), and became a trio when Jennifer Nettles was brought in as lead singer. Signed to Mercury Nashville Records in 2004, Sugarland broke through that year with the release of their debut single "Baby Girl", the first single from their multi-platinum debut album "Twice the Speed of Life". The trio became a duo in 2006, when they also released their second album, "Enjoy the Ride". This album produced their first two #1 singles, "Want To" and "Settlin'". In 2008 they released their third album titled Love on the Inside. This album produced two more #1 singles with "All I Want To Do and "Already Gone".

Indigo's debut album "Reach out"


INDIGO plays west coast rock that often reminds people of Toto or Giant.
The band has been playing together since the year 2005 and released their debut album ”Reach Out” in 2009 on Feedback Records

Indigo Story: In the autumn of 2004 Michael Olofsson and Josef Brengesjö attended to the same school where they became very good friends and shared the same interest and passion for music. In the spring of 2005 the duo started to write songs together, mostly soft singer songwriter with an acoustic guitar and a bass. After a while they decided that the music was made for a "real band". Rasmus Ryefalk (drums), Marcus Severinsson (Keaboards) and Fredric Thomsen (Guitar) joined them to complete the band. Rasmus had known Joseph for years and had palyed with Michael in a TOTO tribute band.

The debut album from Indigo is something special. With musical-roots from the Westcoast (AOR) genre, this band performs great live and in the studio. With a great sound, catchy melodies, cool harmonies and excellent guitar performance, this young band has the future at their feet.

"Great melodies, excellent vocals and guitar solos with some TOTO inspiration, "Reach out" from Indigo is a must have for AOR/Melodick rock fans."

Ron Bolton Band


Avenue Of Allies Music is very pleased to announce the official CD release of the sole album by the Ron Bolton Band. The street date of the CD is the 27th of February 2009.

After a quarter of a century the Ron Bolton Band finally rises like a phoenix from the ashes of the high quality Melodic Rock obscurities. The sound of the band is deeply rooted in the AOR of the Eighties, enriched by a touch of Pomp Rock, Westcoast and Power Pop. The official CD release of the ultra rare vinyl private pressing will cast a spell over fans of Toto, Dakota, Preview, Keane, 707 and the B.E. Taylor Group as well as over friends of Franke & The Knockouts, Le Roux, Automatix, Balance, 38 Special and the Michael Stanley Band. The Ron Bolton Band CD will be the third release by Avenue Of Allies Music. 

Previous releases included the Frozen Rain album, an awesome AOR project by Kurt Vereecke from Belgium and Daniel Nelsons self titled Westcoast AOR CD. Both albums are still doing great on the independent CD Baby charts, with Daniel Nelson holding the number one spot of the Soft Rock charts since the beginning of January 2009.

San Diego in sunny Southern California is the point of origin of the Ron Bolton Band. In the early Eighties the band was working hard to earn a good reputation as a live band. At first the gigs were performed by the trio of Ron Bolton (vocals / guitar), George Kosta (drums) and Robin Henkel (bass), about a year later Mike Peters joined on keyboards. The final line-up of the band was found when Robin Henkel left the combo and Dean Schulenberg took over the position as a bass player. Previously Dean was in a band called Prisoner, which was signed to Warner Curb, but they never released an album. The singer of Prisoner was James House whose solo debut for Atlantic is also a highly prestigious item among AOR connoisseurs.