AMERICAN SIN IS THE LATEST ALBUM FROM COUNTRY-ROCKER LUBA DVORAK (PRONOUNCED DVOR-ZHACK). IN BLACK ATTIRE AND ARMED WITH AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR LUBA HAS BEEN CALLED A SPRINGSTEEN-DYLAN-CASH COMBO. THE TEN SONG RELEASE TAKES INFLUENCE FROM ARTISTS LIKE GARY STEWART AND DWIGHT YOAKAM, WITH BRIGHT, RAW GUITAR HOOKS AND HONEST SONGWRITING. THE RESULT IS AN EASILY-ACCESSIBLE GUITAR ALBUM THAT PROVIDES A CLASSIC COUNTRY FEEL WITH A HINT OF THE ICONIC BAKERSFIELD SOUND MIXED WITH TEXAS HONKY-TONK AND MARINATED IN SOME NEW YORK SWAGGER. A STYLE THAT LUBA DEFINES AS “BROOKLYN TWANG.”
“I WANTED TO CREATE A COMFORTABLE CLASSIC COUNTRY ALBUM THAT HAS THE FEEL OF A WELL-WORN PAIR OF BOOTS OR PAWN SHOP GUITAR.”
HIS HEART-ON-YOUR-SLEEVE SONGWRITING STYLE RESONATES THROUGH RAW, HEART-WRENCHING VOCALS DELIVERED IN A RELATABLE LIVE OFF-THE-FLOOR STYLE. THE ALBUM WAS RECORDED IN JUST ONE DAY AT ATOMIC SOUND IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.
LUBA DVORAK HAS HAD A PASSION FOR MUSIC HIS WHOLE LIFE AND HAILS FROM A LONG FAMILY LINEAGE OF MUSICIANS, INCLUDING WORLD RENOWNED COMPOSER ANTONIN DVORAK. ORIGINALLY BORN IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA, AT AGE SIX HIS FAMILY EMIGRATED TO VANCOUVER, CANADA AND IT WAS THERE, DURING HIGH-SCHOOL THAT HE FORMED HIS FIRST BAND TERROR OF TINY TOWN. THE BAND PLAYED THE BAR-CIRCUIT WHILE STILL IN THEIR TEENS AND WENT ON TO RELEASE THREE INDIE CD’S AND TOUR THE US, EUROPE AND JAPAN. A BRIEF WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH PRODUCER BILL BOTTRELL (SHERYL CROW, SHELBY LYNNE, TOM PETTY) WOULD SOLIDIFY LUBA’S ADDICTION TO MAKING MUSIC.
HE WOULD GO ON TO FRONT HIS OWN BAND BIG RIG SWEETIES FOR A FEW YEARS, BEFORE EVENTUALLY MOVING TO NEW YORK CITY IN 2005 AFTER THE SUDDEN PASSING OF HIS FATHER. WHILE IN NEW YORK, LUBA SPENT TWELVE YEARS WORKING IN VARIOUS ROLES THROUGHOUT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY INCLUDING SESSION MUSICIAN, SIDE-MAN, PRODUCER AND AUDIO-ENGINEER. HE RELEASED FOUR STUDIO ALBUMS AND PRODUCED RECORDS FOR OTHER NEW YORK ARTISTS OUT OF HIS STARR STREET STUDIO.
THE DAILY GRIND AND HUSTLE OF THE BIG APPLE EVENTUALLY STARTED TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON HIS CREATIVE SIDE AND HE WAS FACING A BAD CASE OF WRITERS BLOCK. NEEDING A CHANGE OF SCENERY HE AND HIS WIFE RELOCATED TO HOUSTON TX IN 2017. SHORTLY AFTER THE MOVE LUBA WON A SCHOLARSHIP TO STEVE EARLE’S SONGWRITING RETREAT CAMP COPPERHEAD WITH HIS SONG QUEEN OF THE RODEO. THE NEW INSPIRATION AND THE SOUTHERN STATE-OF-MIND STARTED TO RE-SHAPE HIS SONGWRITING STYLE AND IN THE FALL OF 2018 HE HEADED INTO THE STUDIO WITH HIS LONG TIME NEW YORK BAND.
Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz create candid music with deep emotional and personal resonance.
The sisters, who record under the moniker Lily & Madeleine, boldly explore what it means to be
women in the 21st century, and aren’t afraid to use their music to call out injustices or double
standards. This fearless approach has permeated their three albums, which are full of insightful
lyrics and thoughtful indie-pop.
But with their fourth studio album, Canterbury Girls—named after Canterbury Park, located in their
hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana—the sisters are coming into their own as women and musicians.
“This is the first record Lily and I have ever done where we have full control over all of the
songwriting,” says Madeleine. “We did co-write with some people that we really love. But everything
on this record is completely ours. I feel like I have full ownership over it, and that makes me feel very
strong and independent.”
That assertiveness reflects new geographic and professional realities. For starters, Lily and
Madeleine—who are now 21, 23 respectively—moved to New York City in early 2018. And instead of
recording Canterbury Girls in Bloomington, Indiana, which is where they recorded their previous
efforts, the pair headed to Nashville to write and work with producers Daniel Tashian and Ian
Fitchuk. “I feel like it was time for us to leave the nest and move on and try to make a record our own
way,” Madeleine says. “We decided to work with some new people, and it turned out to be the best
decision, because we finally figured out how to voice exactly what we wanted in the studio.”
Using an eclectic playlist of songs as sonic inspirations—soul tunes and waltzes, as well as cuts
from Midlake, ABBA and Nancy Wilson—Lily & Madeleine worked quickly, recording Canterbury Girls
in just 10 days. They spent the first half of the studio sessions working out the framework of the
songs with Tashian and Fitchuk, and the rest of the time fleshing out the music with additional
instrumentation, harmonies and other arrangement details. “By the end, I felt like the songs had their
own life; they had their own energy,” Madeleine says. “It was incredible to see them blossom so
Although Canterbury Girls contains plenty of Lily & Madeleine’s usual ornate music—including the
languid “Analog Love,” on which twangy guitars curl around like a kite twisting in the wind—the album
also finds the siblings exploring new sonic vistas. “Supernatural Sadness” is an irresistible slice of
bubbly, easygoing disco-pop; the urgent “Pachinko Song” hews toward interstellar synth-pop with
driving rhythms; and “Can’t Help The Way I Feel” is an effervescent, Motown-inflected number.
Vocally, the sisters also take giant leaps forward. The dreamy waltz “Self Care” is a rich, piano-heavy
track on which their voices intertwine for soulful harmonies, while the meticulous “Just Do It” has a
throwback, ’70s R&B vibe.
To both Lily and Madeleine, Tashian and Fitchuk, who also co-produced Kacey Musgraves’ Golden
Hour, were the perfect collaborators to lead them forward. “They were really receptive to our ideas;
they didn’t push anything on us,” Lily says. “But they also had their own ideas, and they could execute
what we couldn’t.” Adds Madeleine: “I’m super excited about how groovy the record is, and I honestly
owe that to Ian and Daniel. They are truly incredible, just the most talented musicians, and have such
a good vibe. They added so much to the record. I’m super grateful that Lily and I had them to help
Despite Canterbury Girls’ poppy veneer, the album boasts some of Lily & Madeline’s densest and
most intense lyrics to date. With the exception of the sweet romantic plea “Analog Love,” the bulk of
the album’s songs are burdened by personal angst and the weight of expectations. Lyrics provide
vivid emotional analysis of relationships going sour and what it feels like to navigate power
imbalances. “Pachinko Song” details being unable to escape a pernicious person, even while halfway
across the world in Tokyo; the protagonist of “Self Care” feels guilty about dragging out a
relationship that’s no longer reciprocal; and the narrator of “Supernatural Sadness” refuses to be
dragged down by someone’s toxic negativity and misery.
“I think the album is about emotional baggage,” Lily says. “When you have negative experiences, you
can’t just make them disappear. But the album is about overcoming negative experiences and
continuing to carry that baggage with you and accepting that that’s a part of who you are. I don’t
want it to be depressing, but you have to acknowledge the feelings.”
As usual, the sisters worked separately on musical ideas, and then came together to piece together
the album’s songs, a process that allowed each of their individual styles to shine. “Lily’s always been
an incredible songwriter, and her approach is very different from me, which is super cool,” Madeleine
says. “She always surprises me. Whenever she sends a little song clip to me I’m like, ‘How did you
come up with this?’ It feels so cool to know that I get to work with such a brilliant partner.”
However, once Lily & Madeleine linked up to finish Canterbury Girls, the pair discovered things they
didn’t know about each other. “That made the songwriting more interesting,” Lily says. “because
Madeleine would come to me with a song that she had fully finished, and I didn’t really know what
she was talking about, because I wasn’t a part of that.”
One of the fully Madeleine-penned songs is the sparse “Circles.” The restless waltz, which conveys
dissatisfaction about a stagnant relationship, foreshadowed Madeleine’s eventual split with an
ex-boyfriend. Lily also ended up writing the song “Bruises,” which boasts pulsing rhythmic
programming and melancholy piano, completely without Madeleine. The song expresses deep
frustration with the ways emotional scars color how she perceives and reacts to future
relationships—and features a stunning, haunting lead vocal.
“Both of those songs are really heavy, low points on the record, and they both encapsulate exactly
what we were going through at the time,” Madeleine explains. “In the past couple years, we both have
experienced some trauma—and that’s a heavy word, but I guess that’s the only way I can put
it—through romantic experiences and, like, unwanted experiences, mostly with men.”
Still, Madeleine expresses awe that she and Lily wrote this pair of songs, which she dubs the “most
vulnerable and meaningful tracks on the record,” separately. “It means that we are each our own
artist, and each have a voice in our experiences. And yet when we come together, it’s even more
powerful, and we are on the same page.” Indeed, Canterbury Girls’ overarching message is that
vocalizing burdens, frustrations and anxieties helps people see they’re not alone, which can then
facilitate growth and healing.
In the last few years, Lily & Madeleine have amassed a supportive global community of fans and
peers. They’ve toured as a headlining act, opened for everyone from Dawes to Rodriguez and in
summer 2017, were invited to be backup singers on John Mellencamp’s Sad Clowns and Hillbillies
Tour, on which they harmonized on hits such as “Cherry Bomb” and performed Carter Family songs
with opener Carlene Carter. Unsurprisingly, diving right into making Canterbury Girls also helped the
sisters learn a lot about themselves.
“Writing this record definitely made me realize I’ve never worked on myself physically or emotionally,
and so I’m definitely trying to do that more now,” Lily says, while Madeleine adds, “I am always
self-conscious about my art. I often think, ‘Who cares? Who wants to listen to this?’ But I was forced
to assert myself and be independent, and say exactly what I wanted, and it just made me feel more
powerful. I feel like I’m getting closer to feeling more like, ‘This is who I am.'”
With this growing self-confidence and musical poise, it’s clear that Lily & Madeleine are positioned
for even greater things going forward. “I feel like I finally found my voice in this record, which makes
me feel really vulnerable and a little nervous for people to hear it,” Madeleine says. “But, most of all,
I’m just really excited to get to express myself fully. And we’re only going to get more vocal about
things. I really appreciate it when artists have an opinion about things, when they use their platform
and their voice to talk about things that matter. Lily and I want to be loud—and we want to be heard.”
ZUNIS is an indie-psych rock trio comprised of three romantics in the modern age. Having met indirectly thru their involvement in the high school jazz program at Tulsa School of Arts & Sciences, ZUNIS set out to create something: a band they wanted to listen to, and a band they wanted to see. Formed within the budding music scene of Tulsa, Oklahoma, ZUNIS built their name and following in the Tulsa music scene by curating and fronting all-ages shows around Tulsa. Where the music scene has a number of good places to play, but virtually no good all-ages venues. Through their platform of all ages shows, backed by their philosophy of good entertainment for all ages, ZUNIS solidified themselves as major players in the local music scene by making events happen for music lovers in Tulsa. ZUNIS experienced firsthand the lack of all ages entertainment in Tulsa and pledged to change that by making shows happen. Be it a warehouse, a friends backyard, or the living room of your mom’s suburban home, the show must always go on. Because (for Tulsans) the show wouldn’t be happening anywhere else. After the success of their first release, “Self-Titled EP,” Gaining such praise as a nomination for 2017’s Best Local Album of the Year in the Tulsa Voice. ZUNIS is looking to take their sophomore release, “EARTH TO SELF” EP to the world.
“These guys are doing things differently and it’s f***king great.” -MARTIN ATKINS, Artist, Author, Educator
“For just three dudes, ZUNIS makes a ton of noise. I immediately caught Tame Impala vibes and was very impressed by their live sound and visuals on stage at SXSW.” -TREVOR CHESLER, Booking/Marketing – BOK Center, Tulsa
“Wickedly talented and professional, ZUNIS earned a spot on our official Tulsa stage at SXSW 2019. From promoting the show, to set up, to performance, working with ZUNIS is a treat that everyone should enjoy.” -ABBY KURIN, Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture
The Ugly Beats have been making a glorious, 60s garage-fueled racket for 16 years in their hometown of Austin,
Texas and throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Spain. The band wound the clock all the way back to 1966
before striking their first note in 2003 and has left it there ever since. A force to be reckoned with live, they have also released five terrific records on Get Hip Recordings, “Bring on the Beats,” “Take a Stand with the Ugly Beats,”
“MOTOR,” “Brand New Day” and “Stars Align.” You MUST obey the Beats!
Music refracts darkness as light. Through a kaleidoscope of lush guitars, ethereal orchestration, and heavenly delivery, City and Colour alchemically transforms life’s turbulence into waves of blissful, bold, and brilliant alternative anthems. Under this banner, singer, songwriter Dallas Green siphons serenity from stress on his sixth full-length studio album, A Pill for Loneliness. Ultimately, these eleven tracks illuminate an entrancing and engaging emotional expanse, balancing two extremes with eloquence and energy. “I wrote a lot of dark songs and wrapped them in the most beautiful sounds we could find,” he explains.
“Almost everything changed for us in these last two years,” says Andy Baxter, one half of the acclaimed duo Penny & Sparrow. “It was a painful experience in a lot of ways, but it was also a joyful one.”
Joy and pain walk hand in hand on ‘Finch,’ Penny & Sparrow’s magnificent sixth album. Written during their first major break from the road in years, the record finds the band reckoning with a prolonged period of intense personal transformation, a profound awakening that altered their perceptions of masculinity, sex, religion, divorce, friendship, vanity, purpose, and, perhaps most importantly, self. Deeply vulnerable and boldly cinematic, the resulting songs blur the lines between indie-folk and alt-pop, with dense string arrangements and atmospheric production underpinning soaring melodies and airtight harmonies from Baxter and his longtime musical partner, Kyle Jahnke. It’s a revelatory collection, both for the listener and the performers, one that’s been a lifetime in the making.
“We were both brought up in the conservative South, where you’re instilled with the notion that the straight white Evangelical Christian male perspective is, if not the only, then the most correct view,” Baxter explains. “We didn’t understand how wrong that was until we went out and experienced the world for ourselves.”
“Touring was what really got us outside of that bubble we grew up in,” adds Jahnke. “We met so many people on the road whose lives were so different from ours, and that led to conversation after conversation in the van about the beliefs we’d grown up around and whether they were the sorts of things we wanted to carry with us.”
Texas natives, Baxter and Jahnke first crossed paths at UT Austin, where they developed both a fast friendship and a deeply symbiotic musical connection. Jahnke was a gifted guitarist with an ear for melody, Baxter an erudite lyricist with a mesmerizing voice and crystalline falsetto, and the duo quickly found that their vocals blended together as if they’d been singing in harmony their whole lives. Beginning with 2013’s ‘Tenboom,’ the staunchly DIY pair released a series of critically lauded records that garnered comparisons to the hushed intimacy of Iron & Wine and the adventurous beauty of James Blake, building up a devoted fanbase along the way through relentless touring and word-of-mouth buzz. NPR praised the band’s songwriting as a “delicate dance between heartache and resolve,” while The World Café raved that they’ve “steadily built a sound as attentive to detail as Simon & Garfunkel and as open to the present day as Bon Iver,” and Rolling Stone hailed their catalog as “folk music for Sunday mornings, quiet evenings, and all the fragile moments in between.” In addition to the mountain of glowing reviews, the band also earned high profile fans—including The Civil Wars’ John Paul White, who produced 2015’s ‘Let A Lover Drown You’—and extensive tour dates with everyone from Josh Ritter and Johnnyswim to Drew Holcomb and Delta Rae.
“We toured really hard for a long time, and when we finally decided to take a break, it felt like a chance for the dust to settle and for us to process the evolution we’d been through,” explains Baxter. “It was our first opportunity to experience life in a new skin and explore what happens to your relationship with the people you love when change is introduced.”
Writing the songs that would become ‘Finch,’ Baxter and Jahnke often found themselves grappling with simultaneous feelings of discovery and loss, strength and weakness, birth and death.
“It was difficult to realize that what you grew up believing doesn’t have anything concrete to back it up,” Baxter continues, “but on the other hand, there’s this sense of peace that comes from finding something to believe in that feels genuinely solid in your chest. I’ve learned to love myself more than ever before because of it, and that’s in turn made me a better person to myself and to my wife and my community.”
For the first time in their career, the band decided to write and record the new album remotely in order to spend as much time with their families as possible. Jahnke, who lives in Austin, would capture melodic and harmonic ideas in voice memos and send them off for lyrics to Baxter, who now resides in Florence, AL. When it came time to record, Jahnke laid down his instrumental work in San Antonio with frequent production collaborator Chris Jacobie, while Baxter cut his main vocals at a studio just a mile down the road from his house.
“It was a totally freeing way to make an album,” says Jahnke. “It allowed us to take our time and work when we felt most comfortable, and it also made it easier to trust our instincts. We were each hearing everything the other recorded with fresh ears and no preconceptions, so there wasn’t any second-guessing or deferring to other people in the room. We knew instantly when we got it right and when a song was finished.”
The record opens with the stunning “Long Gone,” a heavyhearted, melancholic gem that the band actually reverse engineered, recording the vocals first and writing a musical bed to go underneath it after. As unusual as the approach was, it exemplified the duo’s willingness to take chances on the album and their desire to push themselves to places they hadn’t yet explored. The waltzing “Bishop,” for instance, finds Baxter pulling lyrical influence equally from Shakespeare and Ray Bradbury, while the stirring “Eloise” doesn’t introduce a single instrument until nearly a minute into the song.
“We weren’t in a rush writing this music, and I think that sense carried over into our willingness to try new things in the studio,” says Jahnke. “At the end of the sessions, we got together in San Antonio to put the finishing touches on everything, and we ended up recording the vocals for that song totally a capella with just a room mic.”
Adventurous as it may be, ‘Finch’ still nails many of the quirky, playful trademarks Penny & Sparrow have come to be loved for. The infectious “Don’t Wanna Be Without Ya” imagines reincarnation as a way to make romance last forever, while the sultry “Recuerda” uses learning a language as a metaphor for falling in love, and the stirring “Gumshoe” aims to see life with the analytical mind of a detective and the childlike wonder of a magician. Perhaps it’s the dreamy “Stockholm,” though, that best captures the heart and soul of the record.
“That song to me feels like the first challenging conversation you have with someone very different than you,” says Baxter. “It’s about recognizing the systems of thought that can trap you and being open to self examination and change.”
In the end, that’s what music offered for Penny & Sparrow, a chance to see things from a new perspective, a chance to open their eyes and their minds and their hearts, a chance to put themselves in the shoes of others and walk through this world with more love and acceptance than they’d ever thought possible. They titled the album ‘Finch’ as a nod to Charles Darwin, who developed his theory of evolution in part by studying the changes that manifested over time in groups of birds that moved to different islands across the Galapagos, and it’s easy to see the connection.
“We changed islands,” reflects Baxter, “and that in turn changed us and our relationships with the people we care about most in some truly beautiful ways.”
Sparky Parker is a blues/rock/soul guitarist and vocalist from Houston, Texas with the grit, drive, and talent needed to stand tall in the eternally-competitive Texas music scene. Houston fans knew him as a young blues guitar prodigy but Parker has grown far beyond that kind of simple label. Parker is now a triple threat who writes quality songs, sings with a feeling, and plays with ferocity. His latest release with his power trio The Sparky Parker Band, In The Dark, will see daylight in the Fall of 2019 and those close to Parker feel that the record will break him to a larger, national audience.
Parker began playing professionally straight out of high school, cutting his teeth as a frontman with the rock band Bayou Monster and playing guitar in the blues band Mojofromopolis. He also joined the Houston rock band Funky Mustard, who he still plays with to this day. Parker went on to log road miles with Blues Music Award-winning artists Diunna Greenleaf and Vanessa Collier, playing important shows around the USA and Europe, including The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, The Blues Music Awards show, and The Chicago Blues Festival among dozens of other major music festivals.
Parker launched the Sparky Parker Band in 2012 with Kevin Berry (drums) and “Fender” Phil Lock (bass). The band is a high-energy outfit whose debut album, Live In Houston, was captured live in the band’s hometown at Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar. The trio format lets Parker dig deeply into his influences, which include Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers, Texas and Chicago Blues, Classic Soul, R&B, and Classic Rock. The band is amped up to take the seven originals and three covers from the new record to the people and knows what it has to offer is tested and true.
Parker has been compared to Gary Clark Jr, Stevie Ray Vaughan,and Jonny Lang but creates intensely original music that never falls into the shadows of imitation. A shy and reserved person offstage, music has always been the best way for him to forge connections with other people. It’s how he tells his story and speaks his mind. That story will get a vital new chapter added onto it with the release of In The Dark and the road and the crowds will finish the tale. Anyone interested in where the blues is heading in the modern era should discover Sparky Parker today.
Record a remarkable single “Makin’ Love”. Play up & down Hollywood’s Sunset Strip in the mid ‘60s. Break up before recording an album. Find out the single resurfaced 20 years later on a garage compilation appropriately titled “Back from the Grave.”
The guitarist hires a private detective to find surviving members. Re-emerge in 2012, perform local shows and tour to wide acclaim. Then, as a climax, record the band’s first full-length album—a full half century after the original 45 touched a record player.
No longer just a footnote in the history of garage rock, The Sloths have embarked on something more than a victory lap reunion tour with their Burger/Lolipop release “Back From The Grave,” music video “One Way Out,” a new single on Outro Records (w/The Dwarves) and now a Euro release of “Back From The Grave” on Germany’s Eternal Sound Records.
Jason James’ self-titled debut on New West introduced a charismatic young artist whose effortless mastery of his chosen style serves as a deeply compelling vehicle for his vibrant creative spirit. The talented Texan writes rousing honky-tonk anthems, heart-tugging ballads and smart, sly-humored country-rock tunes that echo the vintage classics that are his touchstones, and sings them with a level of emotional urgency that makes it clear that he means every word. The 13 original compositions that comprise Jason James make it clear that the artist is interested in making music that’s timeless rather than retro, reflecting his interest in adding to country tradition rather than merely emulating it. Although he’s fully aware that the country mainstream is currently dominated by gimmicky, contrived commercial product, James has no interest in diluting his music for mass consumption. “I really think that what I’m doing is pretty universal and that people can recognize honesty and passion when they hear it,’ he says. “It’s worth remembering that at one time, the stuff that was popular on the country chart were the guys who influenced me. So I know that it can work. I think people still hear music the same way they always have, and they’re looking for the same things in music that they’ve always looked for. They just want to hear something that’s honest and catchy, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”. Jason & his band (their band name changes every show to suit the venue/event) are building nicely in Texas (recently headlining The Broken Spoke in Austin for the first time, and will expand their reach with the next album cycle to the rest of North America and Europe. The new single, “Here Comes The Heartache is being worked at Texas/Red Dirt radio. Another song, “Let’s Say Goodbye, Like We Said Hello” (a cool Ernest Tubb cover) is featured in a new Shiner Beer commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl on Feb 4th, it will run in select markets (mostly during other sporting events for the rest of the year. Jason is recording his second album tentatively titled, Seems Like Tears Ago now for a February 1, 2019 release.
Ragin Americana, scorching, gritty and ethereal. Reviewers say “Pretty brilliant all around”; “reminds me of a Springsteen lyric, it is just as good as Bruce”; “The vocals are INSANE. I love it”; “makes me want to dance”; “feels like it has a deep hidden meaning, that needs to be uncovered by listening closely”; “a mix of awesome and uniqueness, every song so far I truly love and have become a fan”