Faces on Film‘s album Some Weather was a release that regrettably escaped me in 2011. The project is the vision of Boston’s Mike Fiore, featured below forsaking his native Red Sox for the Cincinnati Reds. Fiore crafts the type of songs that resonate deeply and immediately. The material is reminiscent of My Morning Jacket’s early work on Tennessee Fire.
Fiore’s writing stands up well in an acoustic setting, as indicated by the video for “Great Move North” from his recent Sleepover Show featured below. However, the production work on Some Weather does nothing to distract from the writing that lies at the album’s core. The songs are richer and more interesting, without losing their identity. The simple piano line and stabbing lead guitar on “Harlem Roses” serves as an excellent example.
Some Weather is the follow-up to 2008’s The Troubles. Fiore has been steadily building a dedicated local following. In 2009, The Boston Phoenix named him the city’s Best Singer-Songwriter. His latest release should do nothing to undermine a growing reputation. The album proves that Fiore’s voice is one deserving of a wider audience.
Written by Rob Peoni
Some intriguing sounds are floating their way up I-65 these days. Louisville band Nerves Junior’s release As Bright As Your Night Life made a significant splash across the indie blogosphere last year, despite their lack of mainstream coverage as recently noted by hometown champion The Decibel Tolls. The latest band from south of the border to catch my attention is Whistle Peak. Their sophomore release, Half Asleep Upon Echo Falls, from Karate Body Records is due to drop on Valentine’s day. The album’s first single “Wings Won’t Behave” has a bounce in its step that makes me nostalgic for Motown, with vocals that maintain the uncanny ability to feel at once melancholy and deceptively cheerful. The lyrics of lead singer Billy Petot have a tendancy to wash over the listener like a brief summer rain on a lake – before you can adjust the drops have passed and the sun has returned. Listen below:
Whistle Peak is yet another Midwestern group that deserves a larger regional following. Last summer the band dropped a video for the song “Gold Teeth” from their debut self-titled LP. The video footage appears as if it could be from some pre-cursor to the Planet of the Apes, where primates have overran a rural, early American outpost. Like “Wings Won’t Behave,” this track exudes the same sleepy frivolity. From the video, we can discern that this is not a band that takes themselves too seriously. If there is a hidden artistic agenda in watching a monkey barber, then it is over my head. For those of you who prefer your sounds via vinyl, Whistle Peak will be issuing 250 copies of their new LP on wax. Act fast.
Written by Rob Peoni
Here is your introduction to a band that toes the Pennsylvania / New Jersey state line, The Grand Nationals. They list Springsteen, Dylan, Simon, and Costello as their influences while leaning heavily on a rabid fiddler named Sammy Barnes.
The Grand Nationals is the new project fronted by Adam Honeycutt and Ian Bennett. Honeycutt was the co-writer in the group Like Lions for their entire six-year history (2004-09), while Bennett fronted the alternative rock group We Are Castles (2006-09). The two also worked together co-producing each others respective groups throughout the years.
The group is rounded out by Sammy Barnes on fiddle and Jason Harris (We Are Castles, Like Lions) on bass. It also features Andy Keenan on pedal steel. Their first album(produced by Honeycutt and Bennett) is in its final stages and will be available this fall.
The Grand Nationals released Tennessee Rain on June 16 of this year. You can buy their album HERE. This is another noteworthy release from the Alt Country genre that this blog has quickly been covering daily. The fall brings power to the fiddle and what better ways to close out this post then a Hoosier Spotlight.
Grand Nationals fiddler, Sammy Barnes is a good friend of this blog and a true owner of his musical vision. While in high school, Barnes wowed crowds with his extraordinary artistic talents. Whether it was fiddle, guitar, or piano, Barnes was going to impress you. I am lucky to have been able to follow Barnes pursuit of music as a career closely. Upon high school graduation, Sam and I both chose DePauw University where he majored in the School of Music showcasing his talents to another student body. He quickly became a school legend showing up at parties to get down with wannabe musicians like me.
Sam was gracious enough to send us a clip of him getting down on some improv much like he did in college. Enjoy and best of luck Grand Nationals!
Written by Brett McGrath