The great painter Georgia O’Keeffe once said, “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.” - Americana songwriter Kelley McRae approaches songwriting the same way, immersing herself in the meaning each song offers up.
Roots is proud to premiere her music video for the song "Rare Bird".
For nearly two decades, the Magnetic Fields’ frontman Stephin Merritt has shown the world that the ukulele is as powerful a songwriting and performing tool as any fretted instrument. Often compared to the tunesmiths of Tin Pan Alley, Merritt is a unique force, a prolific composer and even the author of a book on each of the two-letter words suitable for Scrabble. In short, he’s one of our favorite people.
Sean Hayes was raised in North Carolina and grew up listening to the teen staples such as the Smiths, the Police and Led Zeppelin. A childhood friend named Michael Horowitz eventually turned him onto Irish music and bluegrass (Horowitz is now based in Seattle and known for his gypsy jazz playing). Hayes’ current songs are an amalgam of rock, folk and soul. “I don’t really write from genre, just from an emotional spot,” he says.
Brad Barr of the Barr Brothers stopped by the Fretboard Journal offices to perform “Half Crazy” from their 2014 album Sleeping Operator. He brought along the 1951 Gibson J-45 he bought at Chelsea Guitars in New York City. The ’51 replaced a guitar that his uncle had left him but was stolen from a car in NYC. The new instrument “changed the way I thought about the acoustic guitar,” according to Barr.
Bill Frisell plays "Shenandoah" on a '30s Gibson L-00 that was handed to him just seconds before this Fretboard Journal video shoot. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what guitar he's playing, that telltale Frisell touch and tone is always there.
Leading up to the release party for his new CD, Sun Might Shine on Me, singer/harmonica player Grant Dermody stopped by the Fretboard Journal office with Orville Johnson in tow to share the song "Illinois Blues".
Australia’s Paul Kelly is one of the world’s greatest songwriters. And the tune “From Little Things Big Things Grow” is a favorite from the legendary musician. Co-written with Kev Carmody and first found on the Paul Kelly & The Messengers’ 1991 album, Comedy, this fact-based song spotlights a pivotal moment in the struggle Australia’s indigenous population.
Songwriter Kristin Andreassen (Uncle Earl) performs “Lookout” from her 2015 release 'Gondolier'
With Alec Spiegelman – bass clarinet and Jefferson Hamer – guitar
Filmed in front of a live audience during the 2015 Winter Hoot at the Ashokan Center.
To learn more about The Winter Hoot, watch Beehive Productions' Ear To The Ground featurette.
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Jefferson Hamer performs “Helena.”
Sean Rowe performs his song "Desiree", filmed and recorded live at Caffè Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY - January 2015.
To learn more about Caffe Lena, watch Beehive Productions' Ear To The Ground featurette, available December 16, 2015.