Hello Dollface hails from a small town called Durango, tucked into the southwest corner of Colorado. But they haven’t stayed put, racking up miles playing shows across Colorado, Mexico, and Arizona. Their music has the same vagabond soul ” meandering between blues, jazz, and folk pop and even making its way over to Scandanavia for a tune. Den Svenska Laten translates to The Swedish Song, and, true to its name, is a Baltic waltz sung entirely in Swedish. Violin, soft percussion, and plucked strings are braided with Ashley Edwards‘ husky, silky vocals. Capital Me is more percussive, jazzier fare with reverberating guitars, xylophone, and a strutting bass. But it’s Great Wall that really picks up the pace, galloping along while the violin whinnies and the xylophone twinkles. It’s a sad and hopeful little melody from a band of restless romantics. Check ˜em out.
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“When Carolyn Wonderland took the stage at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California, the crowd didn’t know exactly what to make of her at first. She appeared somewhat shy and unassuming, armed with a Tele, a lap-steel, and a tiny Fender combo. As the band went into the opener, the first thing listeners were struck by was her singing voice, an amazing instrument unto itself, with uncommon power, dynamics, and range. Comparisons to Janis Joplin are inevitable, but Wonderland possesses a purity of tone that is all her own.”
Published by Matt Blackett, Guitar Player Magazine
Tyler Bryant was only eleven when he got the calling. It was in a music store where Roosevelt Twitty, a sixty-three-year-old bluesman, was playing. A decade later, Bryant’s come into his own as a blues musician. He’s got a song on Guitar Hero 5; a feature in the film Rock Prophecies alongside Santana, Beck and Slash; and serious hype from Vince Gill, who called Bryant a future guitar god. One listen to Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown and you’ll realize the future is now. The band delivers sweaty and swaggering rock with plenty of blues gristle. From the droning, shivering Say A Prayer to the bruising guitars of The House that Jack Built, to the delta blues moan of Kick the Habit, Bryant and his comrades know how to give listeners a visceral thrashing. If you worship at the altar of whiskey-soaked, cigarette-singed, explosive blues rock, well, you just met your gods.
Rebecca Ramone likens her music to the sounds of a Texas strip club, but we’ll to venture to say that you don’t have to have a pole between your legs or a $1 bill in your hand to appreciate the Torontonian’s sultry blues. If you like to ease into things, start with Worryin, where the static burn of guitar, the dusty stomp of drums and the amiable wheeze of a Hammond organ combine for a sweet, shuffling groove. Here, Ramone transforms her powerhouse voice into a feline coo that brushes over the words. She can purr when she wants to, but you’ll soon discover that the singer is more inclined to yowl. Back In My Bed is less a wish than a demand”a blistering blues rock summons that will have your fur standing upright. On El Camino, Ramone warns the listener that she has a pistol at the hip of her pink underwear. Whether she’s whipping you with guitar lashes in The Flood or transfixing you with her caterwaul in Like I Knew, Ramone aims to make you hurt so good. We think you’ll like being in her crosshairs.
Like a car that’s broken down on the side of a highway under a blistering desert sun, The Roaming Soldiers make the kind of music that demands some sweat and grit to get going. Guitars screech and groan like a machine that desperately needs oil; rhythms buck and start before jolting forward precariously. It’s swampy, soulful Southern rock that’s made for beer drinking and bad decisions. On Shot Gun, dual guitars rear up like a double-headed dragon, scorching everything around them while cymbals shimmy in the background like a rattlesnake ready to pounce. Healing Machine is a lurching, angular groove that has whiffs of Black Crowes’ Remedy. Anyone who’s ever been kicked in the teeth by life will find plenty of commiseration in the bitter blues jam Last Cards. If howling and licking your wounds isn’t your thing, skip to Strange for a Zeppelin-esque guitar lashing. Pain’s no picnic, but The Roaming Soldiers make it hurt so good.
There are singers, and then there are singers. Kristen Cothron is the kind of vocalist blessed with a natural ability that all the training in the world can’t replicate. At first pass you may think jazz chanteuse, but this Nashville native won’t be pigeonholed so easily. Listen to the moody, dramatic Anthem and you’ll hear someone just as influenced by Fiona Apple and My Brightest Diamond as she is Sarah Vaughan. Cothron’s voice can drift up like ash or smolder in the embers. On Anthem she coats each lyric in veiled suggestion: A hint of contentment / An offer of violence / A glimpse of my descendants / And a shower of silence. Who knows what it means, but it sounds wonderful. Maybe It’s You is bright and fulsome, with organs, guitars and horns rounding out the groove, while High On Blues is a slow burning ballad, where guitar fuzz and organ bellows kindle the flame. It’s rare to find a voice like Cothron’s, even rarer to find a performer so effortlessly chameleonic. Keep an eye, and an ear, on this ingénue.