Category Archives: The Songstress Spotlight

Fox Eyes, Whale Heart, #1255

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It always gives me great pleasure to update my blog readers on the progress of one of my Songstress Spotlight artists.  In 2013, I introduced my Tucson Songstress readers to Bobby Jo Valentine, a singer songwriter out of the San Francisco area who was highly touted in 2011 as “Songwriter of the Year” by the West Coast Songwriters Association.  (CLICK HERE to read my 2013 interview with Bobby Jo.)

It is easy to understand why the West Coast Songwriters Association would give the folk/pop artist such a distinction, as his music clearly appeals to the highest level musician, and his open and honest lyrics fills a listener with hope.  His soulful voice finds its way into your heart, and simply, Bobby Jo Valentine’s music is as his name suggests – a greeting of love and kindness that gives “Be Mine” an interesting edge with all the sugar you’d expect.

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“Fox Eyes, Whale Heart” is Valentine’s latest collection, which took him 2 years to complete with producer Scott Michelson.  The compilation leads you in with the upbeat “Carry Me Away,” and immediately, the listener assumes that they are on a love-bound journey with starry eyes and a full heart.  When the lilting strings of song #2 “Bones” starts playing, however, with a very different sound from “Carry Me Away,” the reality of a true relationship sets in.  We realize that this love is much more complex with the lyric “I’m breaking more than just my bones.”  Song after song leads you through the roller coaster of relationships, and by the time you get to the last track, “Something You Happen To,” there is a maturity to the love with the lyric “Life isn’t just what happens.  It’s something you have to do.”

Bobby Jo Valentine’s “Fox Eyes, Whale Heart” is a gorgeous collection and one that’s worth listening to in great detail.  The album is now available for pre-order on iTunes (and includes 4 free songs!!!) with an expected release date of March 27, 2016.  You can also listen to one of the new songs, “Bones,”  off of the new album by CLICKING HERE.  Or, go check out Bobby Jo live when he tours to your city.  CLICK HERE for upcoming concert details and make sure to like his Facebook page for all of his latest news.

In the meantime, here’s a beautiful track from Bobby Jo Valentine’s previous album.  The song is called “Fly,” and it clearly paints the picture of why Bobby Jo is music to take note of.  Enjoy!

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New Music from Songstress Spotlight Band: High Tyde

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You all may remember High Tyde, the very first Songstress Spotlight band that I ever wrote about.  (Click HERE to read that very first article and great interview.)  I am so happy to report to all of you that the boys from Brighton, UK are doing so well!  During the summer, they were in the studio and working hard on new music.  There is so much going on with them, and I must share!  It thrills me to spread their music, which I genuinely have become a big fan of, and Tucson Songstress blog readers, let’s show our support to these young rockers and help them fulfill their dream of becoming big famous rock stars.

We, those on this side of the “pond”, can do a lot to show our love to a new talented musical band who works and dreams hard.  Here’s what we can do:

(1 )WATCH…The new “Get Up Tonight” video…just available  and released today!!!  Here’s the link to the High Tyde Youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnmgqgqczL8

(2) LISTEN….Here’s the link to the new single, “Get Up Tonight” on Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/wearehightyde/get-up-tonight/s-ksWM0

(3) BUY….”Get Up Tonight” on iTunes (available as of September 15, 2013).  Here’s the link to the High Tyde iTunes page:  https://itunes.apple.com/hk/artist/high-tyde/id504627820

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So, show a little love to a band who fully deserves it. Their sound is so unique, and I got so jazzed hearing sounds that I’ve never heard before.  I am choosing their new single, “Get Up Tonight” as my song of the day today, too, because simply…it rocks!  Click HERE to hear and watch their new video just released today!  Check out all of their music, too.  You’ll be glad you did!

Songstress Spotlight Artist: Kristi Barnard

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Lyrical Abstracts Artist:  Kristi Barnard

Lyrical Abstracts Artist: Kristi Barnard

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a Songstress Spotlight, as summer seemed to get the best of me steering me away from highlighting amazingly talented artists who are worthy of recognition.

All summer long I watched children and parents walk around the Tucson JCC escaping the desert heat in the wonderfully air conditioned building casually spending time in the facility and seemingly never wanting to leave.  It is such a happy and inviting place and a hub of summer socializing for both children and parents alike.

It was during all of that activity that I found myself talking to camp mom, Kristi Barnard.  I kept hearing all of these incredible musical tidbits from her.  In one week, this lucky lady saw both Fleetwood Mac and Mumford and Sons in concert.  I also learned that she used to follow the Grateful Dead.  I had found a kindred spirit, and though I knew I liked her before, she seriously stepped up a hundred notches on my coolness meter.

We became Facebook friends, and that is when I really learned about Kristi.  I was overwhelmed to learn that Kristi is an artist.  She is not just any artist, however.  Kristi paints lyrics.  Kristi paints music.  Her website is even called “Lyrical Abstracts.”  I was floored…and fascinated.

My Songstress Spotlight articles are meant and designed to be about musicians.  When I started going through the art on Kristi’s website, however, I knew that I must write about her.  She is an extraordinary artist, and seeing her work really touched my soul.  I just knew I had to share her with my Tucson Songstress community, and though Krisiti Barnard is not a musician, she is definitely worthy of recognition in a music blog and in the music world.  So, Tucson Songstress friends, I proudly must introduce you to an incredible human being and artist.

The Interview

Kristi was more than willing to answer some questions when I approached her about a Songstress Spotlight article.  I know you will all love learning more about her as I did, too.

Tucson Songstress (TS):

When you hear music, is it the music itself or the lyrics that inspire you?  Are you painting sounds along with the lyrics?  Is every nuance of your art thought out and planned….the colors, the medium, the shape of the canvas, etc?  Please tell us all about your process from hearing a song to the completion of a painting.

Kristi Barnard (KB):

It’s both…but my paintings in most recent years have been inspired mainly by the lyrics…the fact that the music behind them is transcendent is a bonus. I have always loved music and identified with it in such a physical sense. I love the crescendo of certain pieces, even if it’s low key. For example, Old Man by Neil Young-the chorus in that song just breaks me every time. When I first hear a song I love, I know pretty much right away that one day I will try and paint that piece. I get a vision of what I’d like it to look like, but it always ends up morphed in some way. I let it become what it’s going to be in the divine sense. The background is my favorite part to create and it’s often many many layers that one can’t see at the end. The application of the paint for the background is very random at best, but so therapeutic for me-this part actually takes the longest and I’m the most critical of it.

So if there’s “spare time” (ummmm…what?) what happens is, I have to be home alone. We have a tiny little “art room” in the back of the house and I paint on a tarp on the floor in my favorite t-shirt that’s printed with all of my most cherished lyrics printed on it. It’s hot, or cold, depending on time of year because that room isn’t heated or cooled, but I don’t care. I have music on…not even always the song, or feeling that I’m painting. Music choice ranges from Led Zeppelin, to Mumford and Sons, to Adele, to Neil Young, to Loreena McKennitt (celtic) to reggae, and old shows from the Grateful Dead of course…I have some old bootleg cassettes that are awesome.

I get my materials out, attempt to convey my vision…I would say about 40% of the time the first try gets thrown in the dumpster out back. But I usually come out with at least one that I like, and sometimes even one that I love, and if I love it I can’t stop looking at it, and it has to be named and framed immediately. None of them are complete to me until they’re titled and framed in a frame that compliments the content.

TS:          In your bio, it said that you used to go to Grateful Dead concerts and do pen and ink drawings of their lyrics.  What was it about GD’s music and/or lyrics that prompted you to draw their music?  Were these the first lyrical drawings that you tackled?

KB:         These were the first lyrical drawings and I am definitely a confirmed “deadhead”, but the community and the spirit of the concerts back in those days (late 80’s early 90’s) was what drew me in. I am an addict…and therefore I have always kind of been an island trapped in my addictions and in my own head, so doubtful of myself. The Grateful Dead family allowed me to feel like I was a part of something that I didn’t have to fit into…I was just Ok to be me.

TS:          It’s impossible to talk about your art without talking about your fight with addiction.  Obviously, your art has become a therapeutic outlet for you.  What advice would you give to other artistic addicts who use their art in their recovery?

KB:         I wasn’t able to connect with this part of myself until I had a good experience with a great therapist and cognitive talk therapy. I was so closed off, and I had no way of identifying my feelings, there was no way I could have shared these parts of me prior to that…I didn’t know they were there! I’ll never forget one doctor telling me I was angry. I was like, “Angry?” what do you know, I go along with everything just fine. Well that was it, I had always kept my mouth shut, and I was angry, and resentful that I’d felt I had to do that! Awareness. Awareness of oneself is the number one motivator. My tagline for my paintings is Awareness : a Gift that allows one to turn a weakness into a strength. We all have positive and negative character traits…I am an addict, I have crazy OCD and I’m not good with free time. So I learn about addiction, I am ridiculously organized and a great planner, and if I have free time I try to put a smile on someone else’s face. Look…all good things! So my advice to other addicts: Don’t deny it. Embrace itjust because you embrace it doesn’t mean you have to fix it. That is your choice to do in your time. But if you embrace it you can start living as a real flawed person, in all of your glory. And if you’re inspired, pick up paint brush and let the feelings dance. Don’t keep them bottled up. When I’m stressed about eating, the stress makes my throat all tight. A very wise woman once told me, let those feelings dance…imagine it has legs and arms and it can dance so it unravels and you are freed.

TS:          You have an affinity with Mumford and Son’s album “Sigh No More.”  The title of the album comes from Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” and there are other lyrics from that album that come from this classical piece of literature.  It seems you draw on their lyrics in the way that they draw on Shakespeare’s play.  Have you ever spent time reading Shakespeare?  What do you think it was about “Much Ado about Nothing” that Mumford and Sons could relate to?  Tell us about your relationship, if any, to Shakespeare or to the feeling and mood of “Sigh No More.”

Timshel, Based on the lyrics "Timshel", Mumford and Sons; "...and you  have your choices - these are what make man great, his ladder to the stars..."

Timshel, Based on the lyrics “Timshel”, Mumford and Sons; “…and you have your choices – these are what make man great, his ladder to the stars…”

KB:         I’m embarrassed to say that I have not read Shakespeare since I had to in high school! I didn’t know this about this album! But what I can say about this MINDBLOWING Godsend of an album-it changed my life and the way I look at myself. It taught me SO much about myself, and it made it Ok to be who I am. In much of the lyrical content it seems like he’s addressing maybe an old lover, where things went wrong, and he was hurt. For me, each song, and every word is what I would like to say to my eating disorder. It’s taken it all, it’s hurt me more than anything else ever has or ever could. It has a power over me that is completely indescribable and unfathomable. I can be actively aware of my disease, in the midst of the madness and know logically how destructive it is, yet continue on that path. Who does this? Hopefully at some point, not me, and I can say goodbye. I can quote the lyric from the end of Dust Bowl Dance on Sigh No More, and say….” I went out back and I got my gun, and said you haven’t met me, I am the only son.”

Blog readers, Kristi Barnard is definitely a hidden talent and a force to be reckoned with.  Below is her website information, and I strongly urge you all to check out her work and read all about her.  If you’d like to meet Kristi in person and see her art up close and personal, she has a show and opening reception coming up.  Details are below.  It has been an honor and a pleasure getting to know Kristi, and I know you all will be as drawn to her as I am.  If you are a musician or a musical artist as Kristi is and would like to be featured in “The Songstress Spotlight,” contact me! (https://tucsonsongstress.com/contact-me/)  The world is waiting to hear you!

 

Information About About Kristi Barnard

Website:             http://www.kristibarnard.com/

Upcoming Show:

Tucson Jewish Community Center/Perlman Gallery
3800 E. River Rd./Tucson, AZ 85718
(520) 299-3000
August 15 – September 15, 2013/ Opening: Sunday, August 18th, 2-4pm

Online Galleries:              

(Introspection) http://www.kristibarnard.com/#/gallery/5/0
(Early Works) http://www.kristibarnard.com/#/gallery/3/0
(Abstracts) http://www.kristibarnard.com/#/gallery/4/0
 (Sigh No More) http://www.kristibarnard.com/#/gallery/1/0

 

 

We Are High Tyde

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Hey everyone!

Songstress Spotlight band, High Tyde, is at it again.  They just made a new rock doc/promo 4 minute video that is awesome.  Check it out!  Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcX_EXFILsY&feature=youtu.be

To read the interview and Songtress Spotlight article that I wrote about them back in March, click HERE.  High Tyde is an up and coming British pop/rock alternative band that you should definitely check out.  I love these guys!  So read  and listen up, my peeps!

Finally, to learn more about The Songstress Spotlight, click HERE.  I’ve put the project on hold this summer being swamped with my schedule, but I’ll be looking for new bands to write about in a month or so.  So please do contact me if you’re a band that would like some free and honest publicity from a music lover.

Until then….g’day mates!

Songstress Spotlight Artist: Bobby Jo Valentine

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One of my favorite things in the world is getting turned on to new music.  When you discover any new thing, at first you just can’t get enough of it.  I listen to these songs over and over again discovering little distinctions I hadn’t noticed before until I am so familiar with every musical moment of each song like they are burned into my brain.  It is one of the many reasons why I have developed “The Songstress Spotlight”… because we all need new music from time to time.

I am so grateful to my cousin, Jonathan, for recently introducing me to Bobby Jo Valentine, a singer/songwriter out of the San Francisco area.  My cousin sent me a message that Bobby Jo would be in Arizona on tour and did I know of any other venues where he could play.  Unfortunately, the timing was not great, as I was swamped with projects and did not address his message until too late.  I am kicking myself, because at the very least, I could have attended one of his shows while he was here.  Darn!

My cousin had sent me Bobby Jo’s website and some Youtube links, and when I finally settled down to listen, I was so pleasantly transfixed on the most gorgeous voice, beautiful acoustic guitar riffs and refreshingly optimistic lyrics that reminded me about the kindness in the world.  It was like hearing John Mayer on Zoloft, and for me, that was a very endearing concept.  This is talented and well thought out music that is also so amazingly healthy.  Truly, I want to slap this guys high fives and shout out a strong, “Hallelujah!”  Amen, brother Bobby Jo.  You view the world with great attitude, and it’s contagious.

So, I contacted Bobby Jo Valentine who wrote back and enthusiastically agreed to let me interview him.  I hope you enjoy his answers as much as I did, and I can promise you, this is one musician worth getting to know.

Tucson Songstress:

The LA Weekly called you “the nicest guy to ever pick up an acoustic guitar” when you made your LA debut in 2011 at the Viper Room opening for folk-rock band “So & So.”  Have you felt a need to live up to that reputation and does your good-guy demeanor ever get in the way of your music?

BJV:

“I don’t think so. I hope not! My music is hopeful – after a lot of thinking, I’ve ended up with the theme ‘Hopeful folk/pop’ to define what it is- but I think it’s honest too, and doesn’t shy away from the darker sides of life. Not every song has an easy answer at the end of it. But, there’s always this undercurrent of hope. I’ve always been taught ‘nice guys finish last’ and that you need to be mean and ruthless if you’re going to make it, especially in this industry. I just do not believe that at all. I think, like John said, we’re ‘waiting on the world to change’ and a new music industry is going to come out that’s honest, and kind, and has integrity. And it’s been going pretty good for me so far. ”

Tucson Songstress:

You are known for not only playing venues like LA’s Viper Room or San Francisco’s Hard Rock Café, but also for entire tours in your fan’s living rooms.  In 2011 you embarked on a 36 concert tour in 32 days solely in homes.  How would you say these two obviously completely different venues affect your music and how you relate to your audience?

BJV:

“I like both shows for different reasons. The larger shows, you can lose yourself a little more – get a little wide, anthemic, bring the whole band out. They’re great, and the energy is high, and you get to interact with these different people. But I love the intimacy of a house concert, and I think, no matter where this goes, I’ll always do those. There’s nothing like telling a story, deeply personal, about a song to a group of 20-40 folks.”

Tucson Songstress:

In 2012 you released your most current CD “Home,” your 3rd CD release in only a little over a year.  Despite your short amount of time in the music scene, your music is critically acclaimed even earning you titles such as 2011 Songwriter of the Year by the West Coast Songwriters Association as well as the 2011 Song of the Year by WCS for your single “Fly” off of your CD “A Place to Belong.”  2013 has not brought out another Bobby Jo Valentine CD release as of yet.  Did you feel the need for a break after all of that songwriting?  Are you currently working on any new material you can tell us about?

BJV:

“I am! There’s a song called “Lion in the Summer” on the inter webs somewhere. Youtube has a sample of an early performance. I’m working on some things, but it’ll probably be 2014 before another release. I’ve been writing a lot lately. There’s some more history of my life, some nuances, that I haven’t revealed in song yet, and I’m excited about sharing.”

(Click the link to check out the Youtube sample mentioned:   “Lion in the Summer.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4ZwtRtO_50)

Tucson Songstress:

It seems like “Come Back to Bed” is your most recent single off of “Home.”  Your bio suggests the song as a “commitment is cool” anthem.  Most of your songs really do focus on relationships, so please tell us your views on commitment, and without getting too personal, who that special person or people that you write about and what qualities they have that you find most attractive.

BJV:

“I’ve always felt that the idea of being with someone, for good, is incredibly romantic. We’re human, so there’s always that, and there’s a constant ebb and flow in a relationship. But in all that, the idea of faithfulness and commitment has somehow retained its beauty. I love that. I’ve been in my first (and hopefully, only) serious relationship for over 3 years now, and it’s given me some of the most amazing experiences and songwriting material ever. I’m still over the moon, and love writing about it. ”

So, Tucson Songstress friends, it is time for you to turn up your speakers and listen to the music of Bobby Jo Valentine.  I know that you, too, will embrace this heart-warming music as I have.  Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about Bobby Jo Valentine.

My Favorite Singles

“Come Back to Bed:”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jBqM5Hjf07w

“Fly:”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DUWHlblEm0

“Home:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eyjms2z4ge8

The Website:

Visit:  http://www.bobbyjovalentine.com/#

Music Available on iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/home/id569996861

The Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/BobbyJoV

The Twitter Page:

https://twitter.com/bobbyjovalentin

Thank you so much, Bobby Jo, for sharing a little bit about yourself with The Tucson Songstress.  It’s been a pleasure to learn about you and your music, and I am so happy that it is music that will stay with me (and hopefully my readers) for years to come.  I look forward to all of your future new music, and I promise, next time you’re in Arizona, call me for a house concert!  Please do keep in touch.  All the best wishes!

Songstress Spotlight Band: The Ridges

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My little cousin, Allie, who is really not so little anymore has turned into a fine and very cool young woman.  She attends school at Ohio University in Athens, OH and plays the cello, studies film, interns on movie sets with various jobs ranging from camera assistant to marketing assistant and even has an IMDB page.   It’s sad that I don’t see her more than I do, but I have followed her over the years fascinated with all of her projects and artistic skills.  She is so creative, and it did not surprise me at all when I suddenly started seeing posts from her that she was sitting in as a guest artist playing cello in the popular Athens band, The Ridges, from time to time.

When I announced that I was launching “The Songstress Spotlight,” she contacted me very soon after to suggest that I write about The Ridges.  It was a no-brainer.  I had listened to The Ridges off and on over the years and am thrilled to feature them.  They are such a talented group with such a unique sound, and I am proud and excited to share their music with all of my readers today.

The Ridges consist of:

–Victor Rasgaitis (guitar, vocals)
–Talor Smith (cello, vocals)
–A rotating cast of guest musicians adding instruments ranging from additional cellos to viola, violin, trumpet, banjo, mandolin, bass, vocals, percussion and accordion

Cousin Allie put me in contact with her friend and band mate, Talor Smith, and Talor and I have been writing back and forth over the last couple of weeks.  She has been nice enough to squeeze some time in for me between her studies, and I have really enjoyed our fun banter back and forth.  When getting some interview questions returned to me a few days late, she wrote, “I am a bonehead!”  It is so not true, Talor!  You are busy and have accomplished far more than most young women your age.  “Bonehead” would be the last word I would use to describe you.  Check out these thoughtful and wise-beyond-her-years responses, and you, too, will know how insightful this lady is.

Tuscon Songstress:      Did you and Vic meet in classes at OU?  How did you start playing music together?

Talor:

“Vic and I are actually five years apart, so we never were at Ohio University at the same time. We met through a mutual friend who is a singer-songwriter. She was playing a show at our local coffee shop, Donkey Coffee, and she asked me to play cello with her. At that point, because of my classical upbringing, I had never played cello in a non-classical setting, so I was honestly a bit terrified. My friend was opening for her friend Vic, who was visiting Athens to play this show, which was actually on his birthday. Upon hearing that his opener managed to find a cellist, he quickly asked her if I could play with him as well. I was so nervous, but I managed to gather the courage to accept his offer, and that night ended up being the starting point for our collaboration. A couple of months later we formed The Ridges. The day was almost exactly three years ago, and now we proudly have a rotating line-up of around ten musicians that are all very talented.”

Tucson Songstress: 

In Athens, The Ridges is also known as a mental health institution, and on the band splash page, The Ridges music is described as “indie rock music with moody folk sensibility.”  Was it the moody emotion of the music that connected the band with the mental health institution?  Please tell my readers why you chose The Ridges as your name?

Talor:

“The Ridges Insane Asylum is an incredible piece of Victorian architecture that sits on a hill overlooking the Ohio University campus. It is legendary for its ghost stories, as well as its real stories of now outdated ‘cures’ for insanity. Many think that it is haunted, but I just see it as haunting. This is also how I would describe much of our music, which is heavily minor and intensely real, with both folk and classical instrumentation. We take inspiration from our name sake, because it is exactly that- a classical, Victorian building resting in the foothills of Appalachia.”

Tucson Songstress:

The Ridges just completed a tour with the Seedy Seeds which culminated with several days at SXSW.  Was this the first time the Ridges hit the road and please share your experience about what SXSW was like.  What did you take away from the experience.

Talor:

“SXSW was such a mind-blowing experience. I don’t even know how to begin to express how awesome it was and how grateful I am to have experienced it. It’s our longest tour to date, and it was also the farthest we have traveled. We stopped and played shows in Nashville, Newport, Columbus, Lexington, Louisville, and Chattanooga on our way to Austin. We were so lucky to have the best tour buddies ever, The Seedy Seeds, who are unbelievable…. and everybody should look them up if they haven’t already graced your ears with their presence. We got the pleasure of playing with a bunch of amazing bands, like The Miracles of Modern Science, who are almost too talented. We had six awesome shows in Austin, listened to many incredible bands (check out Mother Falcon. Do it.) and we also had some experiences that I never thought would happen… like meeting the owner of the Boston Celtics and hanging out with him at his birthday party.”
Tucson Songstress:
“War Bonds” is your current single off of your self-titled album.  War bonds were also used to finance military operations for the government and to get the average citizen involved in the financial side of WWI & WWII.  Why did “The Ridges” feel compelled to right about this topic?  
Talor:
“Well, I don’t want to tell you too much about the meaning of War Bonds, because I don’t want to ruin the listener’s interpretation of the song, because it is very important. But, I will tell you this: War Bonds were a way to get American citizens to help the greater struggle. People had to sacrifice to help to whole. The song “War Bonds” is about our own personal wars that we fight with ourselves and others.”
So, Tucson Songstress blog readers, now is the time for you check out this incredibly talented and intelligent band.  Here is all the info you will need about The Ridges.”
The Song:
Here is the link to listen to their most recent release “War Bonds.” http://theridges.bandcamp.com/track/war-bonds
The Splash Page:
Everything you need to know about The Ridges including contact and booking info, music samples, bio, etc: http://onesheet.com/TheRidges/splash/#
The Youtube Channel:
Awesome video footage….some of it even filmed by my cousin, Allie!  http://www.youtube.com/user/RidgesBand
The Twitter Account:
Follow The Ridges on Twitter for updates and band info. Handle is @the_Ridges.  Or, here’s the link to their Twitter page:  https://twitter.com/The_Ridges
The Facebook Page:
Another way to follow The Ridges!  https://www.facebook.com/TheRidges?fref=ts
Thank you so much, Cousin Allie, for putting me in touch with Talor Smith.  The Ridges are one seriously rockin’ band with a promising future, and I encourage all of you to keep them on your radar.  I know that I will be following them for a long time and look forward to all the new music they put out ahead.  If you are a just-starting-out musical artist and would like to be featured in “The Songstress Spotlight,” contact me! (https://tucsonsongstress.com/contact-me/)  Let’s get your music heard, too!

Songstress Spotlight Band: High Tyde

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I am so honored to introduce my very first spotlight band to all of my blog readers today.  High Tyde is an unsigned band from Brighton, England, and they recently contacted me with their newest song release “Solana.”  I was taken right away with their song, and my initial reaction was, “Wow!  This is Eddie Vedder meets the Caribbean!”  As I listened deeper to their previous releases, however, I realized that this Indie group of young rockers had quite an impressive and eclectic sound.   There is a maturity to their music that goes way beyond their youthful appearance, and I knew right away that this band was worthy of featuring in my blog and holding the title of first “Songstress Spotlight” band.

High Tyde consists of:

Cody Matthews – Vocals, Bass, Synth
Spencer Tobias-Williams – Lead Guitar
Connor Cheetham – Guitar, Vocals
Louis Semlekan-Faith – Drums, Vocals

I have had the pleasure of corresponding with the band’s drummer, Louis, over the last couple of weeks.  He appears to be all business and professional sending me links to the music on Sound Cloud, links to a Facebook fan page and other promotional information.  There is a fun human being that peeks through his emails, however:  “We know you’re busy teaching and being a mum but thought it’ll be cool to be a part of the ‘song of the day.”  He is endearing, and I am a sucker for charm.  Of course, you can be part of the song of the day, Louis!  You’re awesome, and your music is rockin’!

The band was also nice enough to answer some questions for me that I thought my readers would want to know, too.  Spencer, High Tyde’s lead guitarist, wrote the following responses:

How did the band come together?  How did you all meet?

Spencer:             

Originally I met Louis a year and half ago on a music course where we really hooked and started playing music together a lot, including playing the old blues tunes busking in Brighton. Louis and I really wanted to start something bigger though.  We wanted to create a new sound different from what we had previously been doing.  We wanted to get into that indie rock tone of raw guitar but also sweet and lush sounding with that booming drum mixed together with jazz, rock and ska. We asked Cody to join where in our first practice we had made the song “High Tide.”  We then recorded our first EP ‘Meal Deal’ with our producer and manager Ryan Gorringe.  Whilst recording we noticed that we would need a second guitar as we had packed quite a lot of guitar melody’s and riffs together it would need to sound just as big live so we asked Connor to join who I had previously been friends for a long time and been in other bands with. It then kicked off from there with releasing ‘Spill the Beans’ which has been one of our most popular tracks.

Tell me about “Solana.”  What is the inspiration for it?

Spencer:             

As Summer’s slowly approaching here in the UK, we thought that we would write a song about our previous summer being a band. The song came about like every song we have written – at band practice. I had come up with a guitar riff resembling a South African Soukous sound…a bit like something you would hear off a Johnny Clegg record. Louis came up with the initial lyrics which were then adapted by Cody to suit his style of singing. It all came together and after a couple of hours we had finished the track but were still without a name. Originally we were going to call it ‘Sunny Day’, but after a discussion, Louis had thought of the word ‘solana’, which is the Spanish word for ‘sun’. We felt it would fit perfectly with the sound of the song.

What can we expect from High Tyde in the future?  Any plans for an album?

Spencer:             

Well, we are planning on a doing UK summer tour this year to celebrate our leaving of high school and generally just getting our music around more, support bigger bands, play bigger shows and hopefully coming over to you guys over the pond 🙂 (As for) An album release we will lay low on this.  For now, we are just going to release a few more E.Ps and singles just to build up our fan base a bit more.  Then by the time we are ready, the album can be put into process.

 

I, for one, look forward to the day they come over “to you guys over the pond,” and really look forward to the day when I can upload an entire album on iTunes, too.  I do believe it will happen for them, and I am truly excited to spread the word of their music on to all of you.  So, here is some good stuff for all of you to take into account, note and check out.  This Songstress in Tucson really believes in this band, and I am certain you will agree with me.

So, without further ado….Ladies and Gentleman………this is High Tyde.

The Song

Here is the link to “Solana” their most recent tune just released on March 16th, 2013:  https://soundcloud.com/wearehightyde/solana-new-single

The Facebook Page

“Like” High Tyde on Facebook and follow them:  https://www.facebook.com/wearehightyde

The Twitter Handle:  @wearehightyde ….  https://twitter.com/WeAreHighTyde

The Youtube Channel:

Here’s the link to check out High Tyde playing live:  http://www.youtube.com/user/hightydeUK

Thank you to High Tyde for working with me and please do keep in touch.  I will always be happy to spread your amazingly talented music.  If you are a just-starting-out musical artist and would like to be featured in “The Songstress Spotlight,” contact me! (https://tucsonsongstress.com/contact-me/)  Let’s get your music heard!