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March 2012


Don't miss this new Westcoast AOR treasure led by Alexander Kronbrink... SONIC STATION and discover THE STORY BEHIND THE SONGS here! 


Sonic Station is a new Westcoast AOR Project put together by Alexander Kronbrink (a swedish guitarist, composer and producer). Alexander is a young musician who learned his skills working with smooth Jazz star Jonathan Fritzén – who lived in his neighborhood. Later on – after being introduced to Lee Ritenour - Alexander started to see a clearer direction in his playing. Through Ritenour he discovered the music of such giants as Steely Dan, Kenny Loggins, composer and producer David Foster and guitarist Jay Graydon, to mention a few.

While studying music at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, he teamed up with Marika Willstedt, a singer and piano player and they started writing music and playing together. This collaboration turned out to be the beginning of the Sonic Station record. Marika is today a well known artist and session musician in Sweden after appearing as pianist and teamleader in a prime time tv-show on national television. She sings and plays keyboards on the Sonic Station record and has also written most of the lyrics. Two of the songs have lyrics by Alexander’s father, Hans Kronbrink.

During the second half of the 00’s, while working on his Sonic Station project, Alexander also played the guitar with different artists and groups. Among them the thrilling side project Moonlight Sailors with, once again, his friend Jonathan Fritzén on keyboards, accompanied by drummer Aron Mellergård and bass player Henrik Linder. The last two are the founders of amazing group Dirty Loops, celebrated by both Lee Ritenour and Jay Graydon! Mellergård and Linder have also contributed with their talents on the Sonic Station record.

From the very beginning the Sonic Station project has been based in the 80’s AOR music (influenced by Toto, Mr Mister and Journey) and the West Coast-sound of Airplay and Chicago. To get the most quality out of each song Alexander, who composed ten tracks and also produced and arranged the whole record, engaged four singers with different singing styles and voices: Marika Willstedt, Magnus Bäcklund, Kristoffer Fogelmark and Tove Lo.

Backed up by a long line of session musicians and Alexander’s brilliant guitar playing Sonic Station is an expressive and warm record, where each song has an obvious and immediate hit feeling. With Sonic Station, Alexander Kronbrink has taken the 80’s into the future!

Strangeways "Age Of Reason"

So where does this stand amongst the Strangeways catalogue? There is enough here to remind older fans of the 'good old days', but as always there is material in there that is there because this is what the band wanted to do, not were forced to do.

'Perfect World' possibly strayed too far away from the Strangeways 'core sound', but 'Age Of Reason' returns the band to more familiar territory, albeit still far removed from the 'aor by numbers' approach of other bands, or indeed earlier albums. Rootsy, melodic, bluesy, moody, rocking in varying degrees and quantities, but as always the quality shines through...

Keiran Dargan - Rocktopia

Jack Sundrud "Cage"


Second solo project, from Nashville-based singer- 
songwriter, highlights the continuing growth of a major talent.

 Jack Sundrud has trodden a long, successful journey along the often precarious path known as ‘the music business.’ A respected Nashville songwriter and co-writer; former band-leader of 
early 1990s act Great Plains and some time partner of Craig Bickhardt in Idlewheel. Jack also retains the bassist, singer-songwriter berth within venerable country rockers Poco. Mr Sundrud also found time to release a riveting solo debut BY MY OWN HAND back in 2005. He’s repeated the trick here too, with CAGE.

This six-song EP fully demonstrates Sundrud’s enduring ability to delve into the 
human psyche with humility and a sense of humour. Opener Hollow Man, a co-write 
with Richard Wold, has a clockwork musical symmetry to match the subject matter. 
The tale of a character who strives to do his best, within a robotic working existence, 
faces stark facts upon losing his job; ‘Thirty years of sacrifice, he barely knows his 
kids and wife, looks at life like a stranger outside the door.’ The middle eight takes on 
a musically freer form, again matching the lyric, when the man is presented with a 
future with ‘endless possibilities.’

Jack has an appealing rasp to his voice, not dissimilar to Don Henley. Though 
his music has a country foundation, the material exhibits a contemporary feel. The 
title cut, Cage, is an innovative piece that begins with the sound of a scratched vinyl 
record: ‘Echoing your slipping grip.’ This piano led song again looks at the human 
condition, seeing the body as a ‘cage’ containing our human frailties; Jack tips his hat 
towards Shakespeare with the lyric: ‘Fretting out your hour on the stage.’ Musically it 
has a Beatles quality, never a bad thing! Here On Earth proves that Sundrud can rock 
too, with its humorous lyric: ‘Here on earth, where cars get rusty and body’s grow 
old…. So I’m gonna love every moment I can’. It’s a catchy groove song.

Even finer is The Key. A gorgeous melody, picked on acoustic guitar, the tune 
is matched by an intelligent lyric about a troubled relationship. The woman sees 
the hidden spare door key as a potential escape to another life though: ‘she’s still 
hanging on, she’s not going anywhere, but she feels better knowing it’s there.’ 
Ultimately ‘the key’ to redemption rests with her partner admitting he needs help; 
‘It’s killing me slowly the way we’ve lost touch.’ It’s the kind of song Guy Clark would 
be pleased to have written; a hit song in waiting.

A small cast of players and helpers contribute to the success of this project. Bill Halverson and Michael Clute add expertise and sheen to Jack’s production and mixing while guitarist Russ Pahl and keyboardist Michael Webb add clout and colour where needed. If I have a criticism, 
it’s that I wish this was a full length CD, call me old fashioned. Perhaps Mr Sundrud is saving some of his other songs for the upcoming Poco release. Purchase with confidence!

John Brindle - Maverick Magazine

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt at HEMIFRAN

Matt Keating "Wrong Way Home"


Matt Keating’s 10th release and newest album, "Wrong Way Home" is a 16-song emotional epic, quietly fueled by striking melodies, poetic lyrical turns and is truly aligned with the best of the classic 1970’s songwriters. While he has most recently been classified within the Americana genre, "Wrong Way Home" seeks to revisit his original pop sensibilities, while folding in his more recently discovered alt-country “twang”. Keating’s attention to the craft of songwriting effortlessly combines the humorous with the heartfelt, as stories of lonely carousel makers and long dead beach bums abound. The tone of this collection, his debut on Sojourn Records, is tinged by nostalgia while being entirely modern. It is contemplation on life’s narrative, offering moments of joy and melancholy, epiphany and regret.

Matt has been consistently putting out critically acclaimed albums since his Alias Records debut, "Tell It To Yourself" was released in 1993. In addition, he has released 6 full-length albums, as well as 2 EP’s, including 2003’s "Tiltawhirl" released on Alan McGee’s Poptones label. He has continued to tour regularly throughout the US and Europe. Keating will be touring Europe and the UK, as well as the US, in support of his new release during 2012.

Coming off last years "Between Customers" (“Enough to lift the spirits and restore a jaded reviewers faith in new music”- Americana UK), which was noted for it’s spare and minimalist approach, "Wrong Way Home" reaches for musical heights based more on orchestration and arrangement.

In recording "Wrong Way Home", Keating looked to his long time band mate Jason Mercer (Ron Sexsmith, Ani DiFranco) to produce, as well as an all-star line-up of musicians including guitarist Tony Scherr (Bill Frisell), drummers Greg Wieczorek (Joseph Arthur, Norah Jones), and Mark Brotter (Hem), with strings provided by Claudia Chopek and horns by Shane Endsley and Dave Sewelson (Microscopic Septet).

He lives in the West Village of New York City with his wife, fellow songwriter and designer Emily Spray, and their daughter Greta Spray Keating. In addition to performing and writing, he produces other artists and teaches music and songwriting.

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt at HEMIFRAN

Switch reissues at!


Bobby DeBarge (keyboards), Greg Williams (keyboards) and Jody Sims (drums) collaborated in the Ohio-based funk band White Heat in the early 70s. After recording an album in 1975 produced by Barry White, the trio left the band, enlisting Philip Ingram (vocals),Bobby and Tommy DeBarge (bass) and Eddie Fluellen (guitar) to form First Class.

Jermaine Jackson discovered the band and helped them to secure a contract with Motown Records and produced their first album titled Switch, for which they were renamed to Switch. The band’s dance-orientated brand of soul proved to be popular in clubs and discos, and they enjoyed three major hits in the late 70s, ‘There’ll Never Be’ (Top 10 R&B charts), ‘I Call Your Name’ and ‘Love Over And Over Again’. They were unable to break into the mainstream pop market however, and decreasing returns for their efforts led them to quit Motown in 1982.

Philip Ingram left and went on his own, followed by Bobby and Tommy DeBarge to join other members of their family group DeBarge. Percussionist/vocalist Renard Gallo and Gonzales Ozen and keyboardist Attala Zane Giles were their replacements. Meanwhile, Switch moved to the Total Experience label cutting the album “Am I still your boyfriend” and scored a belated UK hit with ‘Keeping Secrets’ in 1984.

Visit to listen to Switch albums and get your copy.

Interview with Laura Mayne (In English)

On february 8th, we had the pleasure to meet Laura Mayne and release a video interview with her to talk about her career with NATIVE and her return on the musical scene with her recent EP "Native song book vol.1" and upcoming new studio album "Seule et sans armes" to be released soon.


Laura had a very successful career with Native, a duet with her sister Chris, during the 90's. For their second album "Les couleurs de l'amour", they worked with an american team including Billy Steinberg, Jon Lind, Diane Warren and others. It features the song "Dans ce monde à part" which had been covered by Cher under the title "Taking Back My Heart" on her "Believe" album. Laura was also chosen to sing the Pocahontas's theme movie and be the voice of that character for the french version of that popular Walt Disney movie.

If you don't already know who is Laura Mayne, it's a big mistake and I recommend you to discover this very talented artist now!


Frozen Rain "Ahead Of Time"

German label Avenue Of Allies will release the new album Ahead Of Time by the Belgian Melodic Rock band Frozen Rain on March 9.

Ahead Of Time arrives four years after the self titled debut album and marks the second chapter in the history of Frozen Rain. In 2008 the dream of the Belgian song writer & multi-instrumentalist Kurt Vereecke became reality when the first album of his AOR / Melodic Rock project was released. The very positive feedback of fans and reviewers alike paved the way for a follow-up of the successful first "Frozen Rain" record.

Already early on some changes for album no. 2 were considered and eventually put into action. Thus all songs of the album were recorded with a constant band line-up of six musicians, besides Kurt Vereecke (keyboards, bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Jurgen Vitrier (keyboards) and Vincent De Laat (bass) were already on board for the debut album. Strengthening the Belgian party of the "Frozen Rain" team on "Ahead Of Time" are Rik Priem (rhythm, solo and acoustic guitars) and Kurt's brother Hans Vereecke (drums). The position as the front man on the mic stand is now occupied by one of the most distinctive German Rock shouters, Carsten 'Lizard' Schulz (Evidence One, Paradise Inc., ex-Domain). Rik's virtuoso guitar play and the decision to have Carsten as the sole lead vocalist on all songs (on the debut five singers shared the vocals) are a tremendous gain for "Frozen Rain".

In addition the songs sound tighter and more powerful thanks to the consistent line-up of musicians that delivers a real band feel on each cut and the refining of the material through the mix by Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Eden's Curse, Shining Line, Lionville) and the mastering by Dennis Ward (Unisonic, Pink Cream 69, Sunstorm).

Crossing Keys "About Time"


Crossing Keys was formed in 1994, based on a mutual love to modern country-rock, in the style of Eagles, Little Texas, Vince Gill and similar artists.

Efforts to record their debut album began in autumn of 2008 and continued at regular intervals during 2009 and 2010. In addition to studio work, the band has continued to develop as a live band, and as such has a little tougher sound.

"Perhaps it is our problem", the band says, "we are a little too tough for those who want traditional country music, while we haven't got a chance to get into other scenes, because we're still considered too country".

When Crossing Keys won the Swedish Country Championships in 2008, the guys got proof that they were on the right track, and it was then that they decided to start recording an album.

"But we decided from the start that we would take our time and not rush out an album. Better let it take a while and get a really good result", the band says.

Periodically the band lived in the studio and recorded the album, song by song. Now, about two and a half years later, the album is finished.

.....and, as they say, it's about time!

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt at HEMIFRAN

Crossing Keys: About time

I See Hawks In L.A. "New Kind Of Lonely"


I See Hawks in L.A. have released five critically acclaimed albums since they began writing songs in their Echo Park living rooms 11 years ago. The band’s sound layers electricity and Southern California psychedelia over acoustic guitars and rich vocal harmonies.

Meanwhile, fans have always treasured the Hawks’ acoustic shows, where Rob Waller’s rich voice, the band’s subtle guitar arrangements, and the dark, literate lyrics take the spotlight. A three-year one-mic acoustic series hosted by the band at Cole’s bar in downtown LA, and memorable acoustic shows all over the US with Ray Wylie Hubbard, Chris Hillman and Dave Alvin have honed the Hawks’ sound.

So in 2012, 'The End Of The World' according to the Mayan calendar, I See Hawks In L.A. will finally release that acoustic album, recorded live in a circle at Marc Doten’s Echo Park studio with lovely German microphones.

It’s been a long and colorful journey for LA’s best-known alt-country band. Countless whiskey-fueled shows from Santa Monica to downtown to the high desert with Mike Stinson, Randy Weeks, Tony Gilkyson and dozens of other artists spawned a now-thriving roots country scene amidst the palm trees and yuccas. Four I See Hawks In L.A. releases notched #1 on the Freeform American Roots (FAR) Chart, and several have hit the Euro Americana Top 10. Dave Alvin has cited the Hawks as “one of California’s unique treasures”.

Treks to Europe and U.K. and repeated tours through most of the 50 states have created a solid following scattered across the globe. “We thrive in the margins,” the Hawks always say. "New Kind Of Lonely" could be the recording to push them into prominence.

On every track, shimmering textures of Martins and Gibsons and upright bass, with touches of dobro and some beautiful fiddle from Gabe Witcher, embellish haunted themes. Death and loss, in very personal terms, weave into almost every song. LA Americana’s favorite sister, fiddler-songwriter Amy Farris, is mourned lyrically; the sorrow waiting at the end of every long and joyous marriage is explored in the bittersweet “Your Love Is Going To Kill Me (Someday)”.

In reaching back to pre-electric traditions, the Hawks seem to have tapped into the mortality that looms in the work of Hank Williams, Stanley Brothers, and Carter Family, far from the feel-good suburbiana of today’s Nashville songwriting. Dark times do need some kind of acknowledgement. I See Hawks In L.A. have taken this on.

But much of the music is rocking and uplifting. “Big Old Hypodermic Needle”, a black humored two beat about two best friends overdosing, is perfect for a barn dance. “Hunger Mountain Breakdown”, in which the singer plans a dramatic ridgetop suicide, is driven by Cliff Wagner’s kickass bluegrass banjo and Gabe Witcher’s virtuoso fiddling. “The Spirit Of Death” is hard charging Cajun rock. “I Fell In Love With the Grateful Dead”, a compendium of the three bandmates’ Dead show experiences over four decades, ventures into jam band territory, with lots of notes expended on guitar and bass.

I See Hawks In L.A. will launch "New Kind of Lonely" with, appropriately enough, an acoustic show at McCabe’s, followed by an electric version of the new tunes at Pappy & Harriet’s in the high desert. Over the summer they will hit the road to places new and familiar.

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt at HEMIFRAN

I See Hawks in L.A.: New Kind of Lonely

Jeremey Frederick "Every Little Thing"


Jeremey Frederick's Every Little Thing is the highly anticipated and eclectic debut CD from one of America's most versatile and exciting rock vocalists. A unique sonic blend of fresh, modern pop and melodic rock, Every Little Thing is a hook-laden album that showcases the singular voice of a singer and songwriter that first made a name for himself as one of the country's most successful tribute artists.

When Jeremey was contacted by the rock group Journey in 2007 to move forward with the band as their new lead vocalist and front man, he had no idea the dramatic turn his life would soon take. While the opportunity didn't pan out as expected, his time with Journey resulted in a co-writing credit on the band's Platinum selling 2008 release, Revelation. Rather than build on that milestone as a sound-a-like, however, Jeremey began an exploration of his own voice and melodic influences.

The result is 2012's Every Little Thing, an album that finds Jeremey traveling roads first paved by such diverse and iconic influences as Tom Petty, The Beach Boys, Tears For Fears and Peter Gabriel (to name a few). There is a common thread throughout the CD that draws inevitable comparisons to bands like Journey and the power-pop sensibilities of The Outfield (John Spinks, founding member and guitarist of The Outfield, appears on two of the ten tracks).

Ultimately, however, Jeremey's melodic vision carves its own musical niche. Songs such as the driving title track and "What Can I Do" are hooky, sing-a-long bites of melodic rock candy. Those punchy little anthems are complimented by the quiet soulfulness of "Hoping For You," the dark jazz number "I Think I Know," and the powerful ballad "This Is Your Life." The latter was released as a taster and lead-off single in 2011 and met with solid critical acclaim. The CD's sole cover song ("Goodnight Song" by Tears for Fears) hit number one for two consecutive weeks in January of 2012 on regional rock radio (Class X FM, 88.9 WMWX, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky).

Jeremey continues to tour full time throughout 2012 fronting the tribute act Frontiers, as well as select solo dates supporting the new release.

Streaming Album Preview: