Monday, April 22, 2013

Boston Music Community...

Hey all,
The past week has been crazy, the week before that work has been a pain. But the past week, just no words can really describe the climate in Boston. Last Monday’s (and the subsequent days) events still hang heavy in the air, and while there is some relief in the capture of the suspect of the bombings, I still do not feel at ease. I don’t suppose I really will be able to ride the T, check out a show at a big venue, or feel completely safe while out in public with something hitting so close to home. The events have forever cemented a feeling of unrest and perhaps distrust of humanity, and that saddens me. We have seen the worst and the best of the people in our fair city, but life will go on as it must. I don’t have any ground breaking words of wisdom or advice on how to cope, just am thankful for all of you out there.

(image above by local artist and musician Dan Blakeslee)
On a lighter note, I have seen the music scene rise up in a way that I never could imagine. Music samplers, benefit shows, people just lending each other a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. I am so proud to be a part of this town and its music community.
Things will pick up again strong on the blog this week with new reviews and features. I just wanted to reach out and say much love to you all and I hope everyone is safe and feeling ok this week.
Keep on keeping on,

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Red Line Scene Feature: Krista Angelucci

 Krista Angelucci is a rising country artist from the Boston area. A phrase that you may have had to double take on a few years back, but is becoming more and the norm in the present day. Now while some folks may not agree with me here, pop-country can certainly be considered roots or Americana music. The great thing about this community has been its constant support and acceptance to bring all types of music under one umbrella that defines music soaked in American tradition. So long as the artist is dedicated to their craft and does it for the love of music, I’ll be the first in line to jump on in. With a voice well beyond her years and a passionate drive and affection for music, I’d welcome Krista under the umbrella any day!

Krista took some time from her busy schedule of shows, radio performances, being nominated for local awards shows and writing for a new record to answer a few questions.
1: What projects are you currently working on?
KA: I’m very busy right now working on a lot of exciting things with my music! I am currently working on a new music video for my single "Like You" which will be released this summer. I will also be going back into the studio within the next few months to record some new songs.

Why do we have the best music scene? (if you don’t think we do, what do you love about the scene here in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville. If you are not as a part of the scene as you would like to be, what draws you to the roots music community in the area?)
KA: I think the Boston music scene is great! There are plenty of places to play and fun crowds to play for. I would say the country scene is huge for the college kids in Boston and that’s always a fun time. It would be great for Boston musicians to have more opportunities to play their original music.

Favorite OR least favorite/most embarrassing moment on stage from your career?
KA: My favorite time ever on stage was when I was out playing with a cover band and a fan walked over and requested "Like it or Not" from my upcoming album. Only a teaser of the song had been released at that time, and it was just really encouraging to hear that she already liked it!

If you could collaborate with anyone from the area (general New England) who would it be?
KA: Who would I want to collaborate with from the New England area? Steven Tyler all the way! Ha I love Aerosmith!

3 records that shaped you when you first started playing and 3 records that best represent who you are now/are listening to now?
KA: I would have to say my top three favorite records that I listened to growing up and encouraged me the most were all Amy Grant—“House of Love”, “Heart in Motion”, and “Behind the Eyes.” Other artists that were very influential to me were Martina McBride and Deana Carter. I would say in today’s music scene I would relate a lot to The Band Perry, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert. Those are some of my favorites.

Why is creating music important to you?
KA: Creating music is important to me-- not only because it’s a passion of mine, but because music speaks to people and touches lives. For me, it’s a way to some times "get things off my chest", but also a great way for me to share life experiences. If I can touch someone’s life or bring a smile to their face from a song I wrote, it’s a great and amazing thing!

Music you listen to that you otherwise wouldn’t tell your friends about?
KA: I wouldn’t say I listen to any type of music I wouldn’t want anyone to know about, but I do have some “different” choices in my playlists that people probably wouldn’t guess. My iPod includes all types of music from country to classic rock to Inspirational music. I’d say the most unexpected is the fact that I love Disney music! The sound track to “Oliver & Company” has always been one of my favorites.

Aside from music, do you have any other pastimes? What would you want people to know about you aside from your musical endeavors?
KA: Music takes up most of my time and I enjoy it more than anything, but there are other things I enjoy as well. I absolutely love animals! I could spend hours at the zoo. Also I am a chocolate freak! That’s the secret key to my heart. ;)
9.) Anything else you want to plug or we should know :
KA: My debut album “Like It Or Not” is available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and Spotify. You can learn more about me by visiting or I’m also on Twitter (@kristaangelucci), YouTube, Reverbnation, Bandsintown, and more! Recently I was honored with “Video of the Year” for my song “C R E E P” at the Limelight Magazine Music Awards, and am nominated for “Country Act of the Year” at the New England Music Awards! I have a lot of exciting and fun shows coming up this summer, so check out my tour dates-- it’s always great seeing new faces in the crowd!


Be sure to keep an eye out for this girl. You may just see her on her way up to the top of the Nashville charts and say "damn, I wish I got to see her way back when!"

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

brown bird "Fits of Reason" album review

I was first introduced to brown bird at a dive I used to haunt (and play at quite often), called Porter Belly’s in Brighton Center a couple years back. Hard to believe I caught them here and they would be playing the Newport Folk Festival and all over this fine country a few months later, but perhaps it is a testament to the duo as true lovers of the music and will play anywhere they will be heard. Needless to say, I have been a fan ever since that evening in my favorite cozy local pub and their new record “Fits of Reason”, doesn’t give me any reason to ever feel any differently. The band puts forth 11 fresh new tracks with that unique driving force of upright bass, archtop guitar, thumping kick drum and vocal harmonies that makes brown bird, well, uniquely brown bird. Plus they added some other pieces to the board too... 

The duo of David Lamb and MorganEve Swain manage to stir up something I can’t quite put words to, but without fail, every time I put on one of their records I find myself stomping my feet but at the same time, actually paying attention to the words behind the music. Usually it’s one way or the other. I either want to just hear music I can nod my head to a bit, while losing myself in work or a long haul drive or (on the other end) sit and meaningfully contemplate what a songwriter is trying to tell me. The combination of Swain’s driving bass rhythms and ever-present tranquil harmonies with Lamb’s profound lyrical work (I should mention that Swain also writes some pretty great songs...and plays a bunch of other instruments), tasty guitar lines and pulsing foot percussion do just that. The music is fun and upbeat, yet deep and meaningful in its content. Something that is purely brown bird, something that is purely excellent and something I just don’t understand the equation of, but am extremely envious of and grateful this band does it so well. The band somehow, makes sad/somber themed songs fun.
The first track launches with a flamenco-ish feel, the duo begin to sing in unison while the rhythm section of bass and tambourine coerce the words along, the chorus section picks up and you are now fully invested and will most likely listen to this record all the way through...multiple times. MorganEve and David complement each other in such a seamless fashion it’s almost like they are in each others head and know what the other is feeling and thinking next. Swain takes the lead vocal duties on Bow for Blade and her almost otherworldly voice laces its way through the “indie rock polka-waltz” feel of the tune. All together the tracks are familiar and sound like the band as fans love them, but they have also strayed a bit outside of the box and tried new and exciting things with this effort. The closing track, ‘Caves’ opens up with an almost medieval dance of instrumental string parts quickly followed up with Lamb’s slightly raspy vocal. There is something about his voice that tells you he has seen a thing or two in his day, but there is a deep, purposeful and clean soulfulness to it as well. The record is clearly brown bird, but strongly displays the growth of the band into areas previously untapped. Additions of new instrumentation (or more frequent use of certain parts throughout) and venturing into different sounds and musical textures make this project indicative of the bands staying power and proves they are only getting better with time.
Head on over to their site, buy the new record, and if you don’t already have them, but the entire back catalogue of their music. You won’t regret it!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ian Fitzgerald "No Time to be Tender" album review

 Ian Fitzgerald is a songwriter and folk storyteller (not a phrase I use lightly, and respect wholeheartedly) from the Boston area. As a songwriter, he has mastered the craft of presenting vivid narratives that truly draw you in and make you just feel good about what you are hearing. When listening to this record, I found myself on MANY more than one occasion [per song] feeling like I wish I had come up with 90% of the lines in his writing. Ian truly sticks to the heart and soul of songwriting and where the art originated,  creating well thought out, clever, and for lack of better word, kick-ass tunes.

As track 1 (Something to Remember me by) launches, I immediately get that “This guy loves Bob Dylan” feeling from the song, but delving in further there is much, much more to Ian Fitzgerald and after track 2 starts, I immediately get that “this guy is my new favorite songwriter” feeling. I mean, I am sure he loves and has a high opinion of Dylan, but his work encompasses so much more. You can tell he has honed his skills over years of listening, playing, and frenetically writing about everything he has come across. I have heard a lot of records that come out of Dirt Floor studios, but this is by far my favorite thus far. A lot of the works have Erik Lichter’s distinct stamp on them, and while he adds some impressive instrumentation to it, I really see the collaboration between Erik and Ian here and I think that’s a pretty great thing. Fitzgerald weaves his way through songs evoking feelings of sorrow, pain and perseverance with a road weary, gruff vocal and natural break. There are a also ton of great harmonies on the record as Ian and his female vocal counterpart Courtney Gallagher, play off each other in a truly beautiful, but intensely powerful manner.
My personal favorite track is ‘Galveston’, a haunting walk along a dusty road of recollection and regret of things loved and lost. Beautiful harmonies, a slow churning acoustic rhythm, plowed along with a melodic verse. There are few songs that touch me in a deep emotional way, but something about this track nearly brought me to tears somewhere around Charles/MGH on my way into work this morning. The follow up track, ‘Melinda Down the Line’, is reminiscent of the male equivalent of Gillian Welch in Fitzgerald’s tone, inflection and the sonic quality of the tune. And trust me, that’s a damn good thing! It’s a bit more upbeat, with a driving guitar backed by some fine picking with really great flourishes and feel. A fun tune for sure, and reflects Fitzgerald’s ability to write in a variety of tempos, feelings, and styles while remaining true to his folk roots. He harkens back to the days of great storytellers in the folk genre, a skill that is often lost on a lot guys (and gals) toting acoustic guitars around town.
She lifts up her head from the blanket-less bed / says “I hope you know what a pal you’ve been”
Like love was a handshake, or worse a mistake / and she wished she never left Galveston
This was one of my hardest records to review in my, so far, short lived music review writing career. As much as I tried and tried, it’s really hard to put descriptive phrases and words to a work by a guy who uses descriptive phrases and words so well. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this and put it on the old iPod for later. I have a feeling that I will be getting a lost of use out of this record and checking Ian out live soon (by the way…Hey Ian, want to put some gigs together soon?).The entire 10 song work is one incredible song after another. Do yourself a huge favor and check out Ian.