Archive for the ‘H.C. McEntire’ Category

The calendar aside, spring hasn’t quite sprung in my neck of the woods. We had a morning of mad snow last Monday followed by a string of mostly dreary days and cold nights. But if the historical trends recorded by the Weather Underground are an accurate predictor of what’s to come, soon enough daytime temps will spiral consistently into the 60s and the chilly nighttime temps won’t cause heaters to kick into overdrive.

Anyway, although I’ve spent much of the past week immersed in Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John and Courtney Marie Andrews’ May Your Kindness Remain, a few new and recent sounds and artists have percolated through my psyche.

1) Savannah Jeffreys – “What It Feels Like.” My introduction to Savannah came last year, when she lent her wondrous voice to her dad Garland’s stirring “Time Goes Away” on his 14 Steps to Harlem album. The three-song Voice Memos EP, which is available on all the usual outlets, conjures a young Alicia Keys. (Diane dubs the sound “New Jack Old School,” for what that’s worth.)

2) Faustina Masigat – “Intervention.” The video dates from last summer, but the song is one of 11 gems on Faustina’s self-titled debut, which was released on April 5th. It’s a hypnotic set that I plan to revisit in the coming week.

3) Sarah Shook & the Disarmers – “New Ways to Fail.” I discovered this outlaw-country delight via the Highway Queens blog. 

4) H.C. McEntire – “Red Silo.” H.C.’s Lionheart album is an absolutely addictive album. Here she is singing one of its key tracks, “Red Silo,” at the album’s release party in February. (I plan to review the album in full at some point.)

5) The Yearning – “Do You Remember?” The Wales-based Yearning, who conjure the sweet pop confections of the 1960s, always capture my ear. They’re currently on tour in Japan. This song is one of the highlights on their recent EP, Take Me All Over the World.

Thursday night, Diane and I journeyed to the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, Pa., to see the country-flavored singer-songwriter sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer.

As expected, the set was almost the same as when we saw the two last August at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, given that the tour is in support of their note-perfect covers album Not Dark Yet. And, as expected, this show was as magical as that one. The lone change of substance consisted of them swapping their cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium” for Shelby’s “Miss You Sissy” (from her I Am Shelby Lynne album).

One performance that crawled into my subconscious this night was “Is It Too Much,” the lone original from Not Dark Yet. It’s a stark, powerful piece about the heavy emotional weight they’ve carried since their teen years, yet the lyrics are applicable to all who’ve weathered tough times. The mark of much, though certainly not all, great art is that it’s simultaneously personal and universal, restrictive yet expansive.

Live, it was even more stirring and spellbinding than on album.

Another highlight: their cover of Jason Isbell’s “The Color of a Cloudy Day.”

During the show, Allison – whose online journal is littered with interesting essays – discussed a piece she’s writing for a friend’s book about places. She said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that where we’re from shapes us as much as who we’re from. Think about it. (As Shelby then exclaimed, and this is a near-exact quote, “that’s some deep shit!”)

And, with that, here’s today’s Top 5: Personal & Universal.

1) Courtney Marie Andrews – “The Kindness of Strangers.” I shared this song from Courtney’s forthcoming May Your Kindness Remain album a few weeks back, but not this video, which she released on Thursday. She talks about it, and other things (including once crashing on Chris Pratt’s couch), in this GQ UK article.

2) H.C. McEntire – “A Lamb, A Dove.” The lyric video for the lead track from McEntire’s solo debut, Lionheart, is little more than a time-lapse of a sunrise. But it’s as amazing and addictive as the song and album.

3) Whitney Rose – “You Don’t Own Me.” In a Billboard article, Whitney says of her latest single, “[Y]ou can’t turn on the news these days without seeing that it’s just as relevant now as it was when Lesley Gore released it in 1963. I want everyone in the world to know this song and I want everyone to believe the words. I may not have that kind of reach but I wanted to do my part.”

4) Sarah Louise – “The Field That Touches My House and Yours.” Sarah Louise, who’s half of House and Land, has a new album titled Deeper Woods due out on May 11th. Back in my old folkie days, I’d have played it alongside the hand-me-down songs of yore, and listeners would likely have thought it was a lost treasure. It has that kind of vibe.

5) Bette Smith – “I Found Love.” I have to thank Highway Queens for introducing me to this soul singer, whose cover of the Lone Justice song on her Jetlagger album has drawn plaudits from the Little Diva herself. Maria shout-tweeted (in response to a tweet from me) “I LOVE THIS SO MUCH MORE THE ORIGINAL”

(And, finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Diane for the picture up top!)

It’s Sunday afternoon as I write, though I plan to post this Monday night. So I’m prognosticating here when I say the Delaware Valley is awash in beer and tears of gratitude. And what better way to celebrate than to dive deep into the digital tubes that connect the Internet and discover great new music?

Here’s a collection of recent videos from new-to-me artists – and one longtime favorite.

1) H.C. McEntire – “Quartz in the Valley.” Mojo – or was it Uncut? – had a good review of McEntire’s solo debut, Lionheart. And after hearing this song, and listening to the album on my morning commute, I have to say – I’m a fan. She’s amazing.

2) Whitney Rose – “Can’t Stop Shakin’.” According to the fine folks over at Uproxx, Whitney – who’s a country singer by way of Canada – penned this infectious tune on Inauguration Day. It’s about seeking escape from the drumbeat of insanity that is the news. The song is from her album Rule 62, which was released last year.

3) Middle Kids – “Mistake.” I stumbled across this Sydney-based trio yesterday, while killing time. Very catchy. Very cool. Their debut album, Lost Friends, is out May 4th.

4) Anna Burch – “Tea-Soaked Letter.” And yet another artist I know nothing about beyond the addictive songs I sampled yesterday. This video was released in December ’17, and the song can be found on her album Quit the Curse, which was released on Friday

5) Neil Young – “Almost Always.” The latest single from Neil’s recent The Visitor recycles the melody – at least in part – from Harvest Moon’s “Unknown Legend.” But it’s Neil. And even recycled Neil is great.