David Omlor reawakens 60’s guitar music with the exhilarating folk-Debut LP “Entropy”

David Omlor has just released his eagerly awaited debut album “Entropy” to a glistening reception from ‘The Ark of Music’ & ‘SleepingBagStudios’. David Omlor has delivered a scintillating album that is both a nostalgic throwback to 60s folk-rock and a progressive contemporary piece of art.

Omlor wastes no time in grabbing your attention, with the album opener ‘Let You Know’ delivering an irresistibly captivating guitar riff and melody that you won’t be able to rub out of your ears. The album’s second track, ‘Truth’ is a tranquil song with a gentle acoustic guitar alongside a tender electric guitar riff, reminiscent of Gary Moore’s ‘Parisienne Walkways’ beautifully melodic guitar riff. The entire album was recorded during the tumultuous year of 2020, but Omlor has used his valuable free time to construct this excellent record. Omlor states:

“During the complete insanity that was 2020 I locked myself in and created a solo record titled Entropy. Through the magic of modern technologies like Dropbox and Zoom I was able to collaborate with amazing musicians from all over the US to put together nine songs that try to make sense of an extremely strange and difficult time and come out of that darkness with some hope.”David Omlor

My favourite tracks from “Entropy” are the beautifully melancholic “Ghosts in Oklahoma” and ‘Surprised’ which takes the listener on a leisurely stroll through a tale of finding someone you love.

Omlor’s influences include such greats as Jason Isbell, Aimee Mann, George Harrison and the folk-rock legend Bob Dylan. Music is Omlar’s enduring passion, and he is currently a member of the sensational US band Benjamin Road who have played countless shows all over America. “Entropy” is Omlar’s first step into the world of being a solo artist, and I certainly cannot wait to see what other music he has in store for us. Go check out “Entropy” if you haven’t already.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BenjaminRoadMusic/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/djomlor
Website: https://davidomlormusic.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/djomlor
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2M5qfWXOwj7wysYePv8ca9?si=nDYtleVlQpaOu-K2S5fSiA

Words by Aidan Whelband

Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards release a track so good you’ll feel like you’re ‘Dreaming’

 Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards have brought us the groovy pop anthem we’ve been waiting for. ‘Dreaming’ is a sensational single that, put simple, is pure brilliance. The track incorporates synths, loops and dance-worthy grooves and is just 1 of 11 that makes up their new album ‘BITTER BETTER’ due to be released on July 17th. The album is set to transcend all genres, and take us on a journey of self discovery and connectivity.

Whilst we anxiously await the July 17th release of ‘BITTER BETTER’ Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards keep us satisfied with a feel-good video to accompany latest single ‘Dreaming’. In Laura’s words- 

‘I started imagining the video even before we finished recording the song. I wanted the band to have the fun of dancing in our own music video but without feeling the pressure of not being professional dancers. By May, the whole idea was brewing in the back of my head…’ 

The ‘Dreaming’ video emits all the happiness, grove and excellence of the track, and is the perfect means to lift your mood from the lockdown blues. 

Stream ‘Dreaming’ by Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards now and get excited for ‘BITTER BETTER‘ coming on July 17th. 

Preorder ‘BITTER BETTER’ coming on July 17th https://compassrecords.lnk.to/bitterbetterPR 

Follow Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards 

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The fragile and folk-like sounds of Rie Fu’s forthcoming album ‘Places’ and her intense relationship between music and surroundings

Set to release her debut album Places in March 2019, Rie Fu illustrates a unique philosophy whereby she creates a relationship between her music and surroundings. Radiating the fragile beauty and quintessential delicacy that Kate Bush and Laura Nyro encapsulate, Rie corresponds her music with her transition of location from Tokyo, Japan to the picturesque English countryside in Surrey.

Rie takes the abiding link between music and culture, whereby she enforces that culture differences go far deeper than language. Completing a masters degree in specialised translation at UCL, Rie emphasised in her thesis that when the Japanese attempt to replicate UK and other Western styles, the outcome is always with fault as the surroundings of the respective countries do not match.

https://soundcloud.com/rie-music/01-ripples/s-lpJfY?in=rie-music/sets/places-mastered-1/s-GwjkA

This reflection of culture and surroundings through music is exemplified perfectly in Rie’s transition of music style, from the densely textured electronica she played whilst living in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, to the more folk, pastoral current material that she has produced in the English countryside. The forthcoming album Places is built from a spine of Rie’s lead vocals, acoustic guitar and delicate piano, with classical, jazzy undertones contributed by subtle electric guitar touches and Jo Quail’s cello. Taken from the album, Ripples gives us a taster of what is yet to come in her March debut album release.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Riefuofficial

Twitter: www.twitter.com/riefuofficial

Website: https://riefu.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing: Mark Shepherd

Mark Shepherd has been a regular on the live circuit for years, playing to audiences in the UK to New York, Texas and San Francisco. Given his ability to move audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, it seems the time is ripe for him to replicate his live success on a general release.

‘The Grand Scheme of Things’ EP is his follow-up from his debut ‘Bad Man’, which made more than a few waves in the folk/country scene, being played on the BBC and community stations across the pond. The new release displays the same flair for storytelling that his fans have come to expect, and will no doubt charm audiences who haven’t yet had the pleasure of hearing the British ‘Tom Petty’.

Unique to ‘The Grand Scheme of Things’ is it’s offer of two distinct aural paths to listeners, with the EP containing both acoustic and electronic versions of each tracks, the perfect choice for an artist whose music is all about mood and emotion. Paired with Shepherd’s whisky soaked vocals, the album displays that quintessential country ability to deliver bittersweet truths in a medium that resonates across demographic boundaries.

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3eBq0mItukX32dvU3QySCo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markshepherdmusic/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/markshepherdmu1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/markshepherdmusic/

Website: http://www.markshepherdmusic.co.uk/

Fergus McKay and Nothing Concrete Ruffle Some Feathers with New Track

Rather like both The Waterboys and Dexy’s Midnight Runners, both of whom Fergus McKay and Nothing Concrete most closely resemble (as the crow flies, ba-dum-tish!), the minute you start to describe them and folk; soul; blues, the quicker you begin to question your haste in defining them. Fergus and his group of disparate followers are folk and blues in the sense they play ‘real’ instruments and sing whilst telling stories but also cabaret in presentation and country in parts…not to mention the dreaded “world” phrase. I could go on.
Though the novelty of tap-dancing female horn players will only paper over cracks in the songwriting for so long but Nothing Concrete do have a unique code for life which sets them aside from many other bands. Having rejected the capitalist roar of the metropolis, they (men, women and children) have relocated from their respective countries across Europe to gather in the foothills of the Pyrenees, surviving (how!?) without television and internet and enjoying a particularly continental Good Life of self-sufficiency. The songs are themselves orphans of sorts, gathered from folk tales and conversations as they travel to their rip-roaring live shows. Old Black Crow is your a-typical blues-folk romp with equal measure of humour and disaster, all viewed from the feathered bystander’s view.

'Belinda’ by vintage-rockers Albino

 

If vintage rock from back in the day is your thing, then make sure to check out the new single, ‘Belinda’ by Albino. It’s full of organs, guitar solos, the raw vocals of Ben Tucker and a whole load o’ whiskey, which we’ve heard the band operates on.
Since their inception in 2005, Albino has undergone a musical metamorphosis, travelling a long way from their humble beginnings, but now, the off-the-wall band has cemented their style and truly found their own sound. Whilst Albino’s eclectic and multi-talented musical line up has changed over the years, this latest track proves their musical direction, commitment and energy has always remained constant.
You can check out more on Albino here:
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/Albinomusic/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYeh0Lung8nhaCa1Zb5W8cw
http://www.albinomusic.com/index.php
 

Lisa Richards blends folk with jazz to form new album 'A Light From The Other Side'

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A Light From The Other Side is the new album from Australian singer-songwriter, Lisa Richards, who has developed her very own brand of jazz infused folk, with a few hints of blues and roots music too.
Growing up in North Queensland, Australia, was difficult for Lisa; her Mother who was formerly a concert pianist, had moved there for her Father and thus Lisa’s childhood became a turbulent time. Alcohol and substance abuse were issues from a young age, but Lisa eventually fled her troubles to the city where she would pursue a career in music.
Check out ‘Frank Sinatra’ from the album here:

Lisa’s travels and experiences have woven a rich tapestry of musical styles into her own work, resulting in the artist she is today. As a result, her eclectic, yet endearing sound has seen her compared with the likes of Norah Jones, Leonard Cohen, Amy Winehouse and even Ella Fitzgerald.
Despite this, Lisa has been gifted with a voice like no one else’s that will immediately stop you in your tracks the first time you hear it; it’s truly like nothing else.
A Light From The Other Side is out now and was produced with the help of renowned singer-songwriter/producer, Greg J. Walker.
Links:
http://www.lisarichardsmusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/mymadmusic
https://soundcloud.com/lisarichardsmusic
http://www.facebook.com/lisarichardssongs
https://www.youtube.com/user/lisamrichards

Derek Ryan – Hold onto your Hat

Hold Onto Your Hat” featuring Sharon Shannon, will be on release from Sharpe Music or available to download via iTunes from the 16thMay 2014.  

 Here they are performing on The Late Late Show:

After the rip roaring success of Country soul, Derek’s previous album, with hits such as “100 Numbers”, “Raggle Taggle Gypsy” and “Wake Me Up”, it is very likely that repeat succes is around the corner.

Derek Ryan has had a enjoyed huge success over the lats three years, and is set to continue his good form with his promiising new collaboration. Sharon Shannon is a female solo artist who boasts a promising past portfolio on her own behalf. She has had contributions from artists/Bands such as Shane Macgowan from The Pogues fame to Imelda May, no to mention her Number 1 Hit with Steve Earle.

Don’t forget to watch out for news of Derek’s new album being released later this year on www.derekryanmusic.com.

Derek Ryan appears in the Olympia Theatre Dublin on Thursday 17thJuly where he will be joined by Sharon Shannon.

Sharon will also guest with Derek at an open air event at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh on 31st May. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.ie and Armaghgaa.net.

Next weekend there will be a Derek Ryan Music Weekend taking place in the Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny when Derek will be joined by Declan Nerney and Gerry Guthrie with the Sunday afternoon dance being a family day, such is the interest amongst the youth for Derek’s brand of country.

Interview: Kelly Oliver

Kelly Oliver PRHaving only started gigging in May last year, folk singer-songwriter Kelly Oliver has made quite an impact. Within months of starting she found herself invited to open Folkstock Festival before, incredibly, bagging herself a spot at the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival. It marks a mighty rise for someone who has been on the circuit for less than a year, and with single ‘He Walked on the Side of the Sea’ out March 17th, we took the chance to ask her a few questions.

 

Many of our readers won’t have heard of your music before, how would you describe your sound?

I would say it’s influenced by traditional folk music. Traditional Irish folk music definitely, but I do have country influences. I’m influenced a lot by Dolly Parton, and people like Kenny Rogers, singers like Alison Krauss and Cara Dillon. But I think the way I write songs is influenced a lot by Irish folk music, the traditional ways. Really I take influences from all sorts, so I’m not sure how I’d describe it but that’s probably the best way.

 

The upcoming single ‘He Walked on the Side of the Sea’ features BBC Folk Awards Musician of the Year nominee Will Pound on Harmonica. How did that collaboration come about?

That was through Twitter! I followed him on Twitter – I was a fan of his a little bit before – and because I play harmonica I’d already had the song recorded [for EP ‘Far From Home – Ed]. But my manager just approached him to see if he wanted to do a collaboration, we sent him the song and he agreed. So it was quite quickly done actually, it was really good fun.

 

Your rise since starting out last year has been stratospheric – did you have any inkling you’d get the reaction you have when you started out?

Not at all. I went travelling basically, and once I went I decided while I was out there that I wanted to at least have a go at the music. I didn’t know anything, I never thought what could happen. At the beginning I just focussed on trying to do gigs, got myself a Facebook stage and started at the bottom really. Started with trying to promote myself online and approach people for gigs. I guess it’s the same way every musician starts, so I never thought I would even have the chance to record an EP let alone the things that have come from that so it was really shocking!

 

‘He Walked on the Side of the Sea’ was originally released, minus Will Pound, as part of your EP ‘Far From Home’, which has been a big part of your success so far. Do you have any plans for a follow up as yet?

Yeah, we do. There’s going to be an album that will be recorded and released this year. I have got some songs that I’m looking to put on there but then there might be some that I haven’t written yet, depending on finding the time to write and record.

 

Where is the best place to find your music online?

My website is www.kellyoliver.co.uk, and from there there’re links to my Facebook page, my Twitter and Soundcloud.

You can listen to ‘He Walked in the Side of the Sea’ here: https://soundcloud.com/kellyoliver/kelly-oliver-ft-will-pound-he

And it can also be found on Amazon and iTunes.

Ben Okafor is One to Watch

Ben Okafor is a unique musician who makes roots reggae music and bridges an artistic gap between Jamaican reggae, Afro-pop and UK folk. He has shared a stage with popular music giants like Cliff Richard, Van Morrison and Billy Bragg and has been touring and making new music since 1985.

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Perhaps the most pertinent thing about Ben’s music is his political focus and drive for social change. He was born in Enugu in eastern Nigeria with 7 siblings and his early life was defined by the Biafran civil war which erupted when he was 12. He enlisted in the Biafran military intelligence arm known as ‘the Boys Company’ without telling his parents, but luckily missed his mission rendezvous which failed with horrendous consequences. Nevertheless Ben witnessed the fighting, terror and violence first hand and has experienced being in the line of fire. This fraught background coloured some of his musical experiences in writing and in performance. Indeed, his music has such power in his native Nigeria that he has even been threatened not to play “Raise your Conscience” by a Nigerian military general and has had tanks at one of his gigs in Apartheid South Africa.

His music carries messages relating to these experiences and each one tells a fascinating story. It is for this reason that his music has received praise from the likes of Chris Rea, Bono and BBC Radio 2 DJ Simon Mayo and he has played at Glastonbury Festival, the Cambridge Folk Festival and the World Music Festival in Copenhagen. Due to his political background Ben has also had the privilege to play at high profile events to influential world leaders such as Archbishop Rowan Williams and Gordon Brown at the Lambeth Conference in 2008, at the ‘Make Poverty History’ Gleneagles Summit and at a Commonwealth leader’s summit with HM the Queen and Prince Philip. He is therefore used to gaining a great deal of attention through his music, he sees his art and art in general as a way of influencing people to do good in the world.  He currently runs a charity called ‘Amaka Beautiful Child’ (ABC) which is itself committed to ‘social and personal transformation through the arts’. It aims to use poetry, music, art, drama and dance (all interests of Ben’s) for the sake of social cohesion in order to bring communities together. Ben has been busy working on a number of projects such as the empowerment of young refugees, a campaign to make primary education free for all children globally (UN development goal for 2015), and the creation of a physical space for sociological artistic expression in his home town of Great Malvern.

Ben’s range of life experiences has provided him with some rich insight into the world around him. His albums like ‘Thing with War’ (2003) and ‘Child of Biafra’ (2007) investigate some of the effects of war and express Ben’s own experiences of conflict and violence. Whereas some of his other records such as ‘Nkiru’ (1989) and his most recent album, ‘Diverted Traffic’ (2009) delve more broadly into the human condition, self-identity, and the potential conflicts between artistic expression and a market centred music industry.

In early 2010, Ben’s youngest child was born which naturally took priority and caused him to take some time out from the industry. This didn’t stop him from continuing to write new music that will be recorded later this year for his new album.

Overall, there is no doubt that Ben Okafor is a fascinating musical talent with a rich personal history. Together these two facets of talent and wisdom make for quite a special listen.

http://www.benokafor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ben-Okafor/140357829311212?ref=sgm

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnzejsHMNnkLrL7kP2lRuXg?feature=watch