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.
Seattle native Merrily James began as a gospel ingenue before being picked up, at the tender age of 17, by Showtime at the Apollo to perform in front of a national audience. Since then, she’s shared the stage with legends ranging from Linda Ronstadt to Smokey Robinson and Bobby McFerrin. Though she’s able to hold her own with elder statesmen, James’ music appeals to youngbloods, too. Street With No Name is spacious piano balladry”desolate and sweet. Here, the singer’s voice is dusky and soft, but on the jazzy Get Up Go Out she loosens up for some soulful motivation. Muted horns and wah-wah pedals help create a lazy, vintage vibe. Things aren’t always so peachy, though, and on Long Long Time James has a little fun with wordplay while taking a lover to task. Not a little rip that a stitch will fix / Now your tricks don’t look so slick she croons. It’s a torchy little number that showcases the Merrily James trifecta: vivid lyrics, a limber voice that warms every word, and an old soul.
OurStage, Guitar Player magazine, and Ernie Ball are teaming up this summer to offer aspiring guitarists a chance to win the ultimate Grand Prize. Enter the Guitar Player “Take The Lead” Competition by August 17 for your shot to win your very own feature in Guitar Player magazine, a year’s supply of strings and accessories from Ernie Ball, and more! Throughout the competition, we’ll be bringing you exclusive editorial content, like this Q&A, fresh from guitarplayer.com”enjoy!
“What were the motivating factors behind your decision to form Spectrum Road?
I was touring in Europe with my band the Cuicoland Express a few years back with Vernon. I always try to get him in my bands whenever I can because he’s my favorite guitar player. We got to talking and that led to the Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute band and a series of gigs in Japan. Eventually it morphed into Spectrum Road, which is a band inspired by the music and spirit of Tony Williams. In my mind John Medeski is a modern day version of [original Lifetime keyboardist] Larry Young, and Cindy Blackman is a direct link to Tony Williams because she studied with him when she was little.”
-Published by Vinnie DeMasi, Guitar Player magazine
With a father who sang for the Vienna Opera House, a mother who was a professional piano player and singer and a grandfather who won the gold in the Senior Olympics for playing a saw, Kat Parsons boosts a DNA advantage for a rich musical career. But genetic predispositions can only take you so far before you have to roll up your sleeves and do some work. Parsons is clearly accomplished”a multi-instrumentalist with a limber, gossamer voice. With the torchy Go Find Her, she proves her mettle as a chanteuse. But Parson’s got some pop chops as well. Miss Me is Fiona Apple meets Vanessa Carlton, a spare, emotive ballad that tumbles into gleaming pop with cascading keys. And then there’s No Will Power, a starry-eyed melody with jagged guitars and reverberating keys. Whether it’s jazz or pop, Parsons is equally adept. With all that pedigree, being a one-trick pony just isn’t an option.
Maybe the best way to first experience Karmin is to start with their cover of Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper. Under the direction of Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan, Lovato’s pop song becomes a sophisticated, swooning piano ballad. Heidemann replaces Lovato’s rocker rasp with her pristine, bell-like vocals, smoothing out all the rough edges. If anything, Karmin’s Skyscraper illustrates their ability to blend instantly accessible pop with elements of jazz and R&B. You’ll see the interplay of all three styles throughout Karmin’s songbook, from the bright acoustic amble of Let’s Get Lost to the languorous, layered Inside Out. Probably the most impressive thing about Karmin is that they can create full, percussive pop melodies with only a handful of instruments”acoustic guitar, cajon, two voices and the occasional piano and trombone. Like musical MacGyvers, this Boston-based duo emerges triumphant again and again using only the sparest of parts.
“Let It Go” – Karmin