Gabe Dixon released his sophomore solo album, Turns To Gold, on April 8th, 2016. Produced by Paul Moak (Mat Kearney, Third Day), engineered by Devin Vaughan (Marc Broussard), and mastered by Brad Blackwood at Euphonics Mastering (Allison Krauss & Union Station, Luther Dickinson), the LP marks Gabe’s first official collection as an independent artist. Following the release of 2011’s One Spark, the Nashville-based troubadour changed almost everything. He was focused on starting from scratch, and parted ways with his longtime management and record label, Concord Music Group. The one thing that didn’t change was that honest, heartfelt approach to songwriting that countless fans fell in love with when he first emerged in 1999.
It’s been a busy two years for acclaimed singer-songwriter Meiko – after months on the road touring in support of 2014’s Dear You LP, she got married in the summer of 2015, and recorded and independently released her Live Songs From The Hotel Café EP which served as the timestamp for a personal Los Angeles sendoff. Meiko moved from the City of Angels to Music City this past fall, and in-between the tour dates, nuptials, a honeymoon, and packing for the one-way trek to Nashville, she wrote a new, career-defining album, appropriately titled Moving Day.
“Every song on the album is about moving in some way, shape, or form”, Meiko says. “Whether it’s moving to a new place, moving into different relationships, or just growing up and moving on emotionally, I love the idea of constant growth and change. This album represents some key moments of personal ‘moving days’ I’ve had in my life over the past 10 years.”
Emerson Hart, frontman for the multi-platinum band Tonic, comes back to time and again on his new record, his first solo release in over six years. Beauty in Disrepair, due out in early 2014, touches on loss, but also the beauty of rebirth, newfound love, family and starting a clean slate. Beauty in Disrepair marks a remarkably polished and honest follow-up to his 2007 solo debut Cigarettes & Gasoline, a critically-acclaimed album that spawned two Top 20 singles.
Whiskey Wolves of the West
Brainchild of veteran singer songwriters, Leroy Powell and Tim Jones, The Whiskey Wolves of The West are delivering a raw, authentic sound...something that can only be earned by a thousand nights in smokey bars and a million miles on bald bus tires.
Studio musician/producer extraordinaire, Leroy Powell, is heard on so many of your favorite records. Sturgill Simpson, Shooter Jennings, Waylon Jennings, Whiskey Myers and countless tracks with Grammy Awards Producer Dave Cobb. Vocal powerhouse, Tim Jones, shines on his notable collaborations with Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes), Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket), and Truth & Salvage
The legend Levon Helm said that if you give it good concentration, good energy, good heart, and good performance, the song will play you. If that’s true, then Jay Nash and Josh Day are well and truly played by the set of songs in their debut EP, “Meet The Contenders.” The collection breathes with musicality and grit in the tradition of heroes—The Band, Tom Petty, The Dead, Dylan. Thrumming and heady, with a steady heartbeat and a hint of honky-tonk, this EP speaks of wanderers and highways, lovers and losers, good times and missed chances,swimming pools and movie stars, all with a ferocity born of hard work and honed skill. Nash and Day have been players and poets for the better part of two decades; they have been making music, telling tales, drinking whiskey,and having fun touring together as The Contenders since 2012.
Jay Nash’s music is like the river that raised him—strong and deep, with a little bit of lullaby and a big damn current. Twenty years ago, he played loud in bars along the Saint Lawrence River, in the reaches of New York so far-flung they’re almost Canadian. For the last decade, he’s journeyed the US and Europe solo, selling over 60,000 records without ever putting ink on a conventional record deal. Now in the green mountains, the quiet cold of winter rarefies wit and musicianship into the kind of Americana that knows where it comes from.
Hailing from the sweet, sticky hill country of North Carolina, Josh Day brings a percussive virtuosity that shapes the music and supports the vocals. With shining creativity and fine-boned craftsmanship, Day has that special something that resonates with audiences and always feels like a party. Be it playing bluegrass with the Kruger Brothers, touring with Sara Bareilles, or drumming for Jennifer Nettles, Day keeps it busy and honest, just whatone would expect from a man who plays with so much heart.
Lady luck introduced Nash and Day at Room 5 in Los Angeles over a decade ago. They both loved The Band and whiskey, so the eventual collaboration was inevitable. Faithful disciples of Rock ’n’ Roll and musician’s musicians both, Nash and Day have given a big stage to their talents and drives with this debut EP, so pour a good glass, give a nod to your betters, and meet The Contenders.
Garrison Starr is a singer, songwriter and record producer based in Los Angeles. Her latest musical release, "What If There Is No Destination" was released June 2017. Starr has released 15 albums as a solo artist.
Known for her vibrant and impassioned live performances, Starr’s shows have been described as “marrying pop smarts and Americana grit with a voice of remarkable power and clarity”(gomemphis.com 2012).
Starr is a full time songwriter in Los Angeles whose songs have been featured on numerous TV shows and commercials. She regularly collaborates with various artists on projects and has found great success writing for TV and film.
In 2016, Starr collaborated with long time friend, Margaret Cho, and produced “American Myth.” Starr also co-wrote, played guitar and sang on the record. The album was nominated for a Grammy in the Comedy category.
Garrison's love for truth-telling, good whiskey and human connection has made her a darling of the singer-songwriter world.
For singer, songwriter and guitarist Christian Lopez, Nashville has become a home away from home. That’s where he comes to write. He rehearses there with his band. His debut album and Red Arrow, his brand new follow-up for Blaster Records, were recorded in Music City too.
But his heart? His long-term dream? Well, they’re rooted someplace far away from Music Row, to the place where he was born and knows he will never leave.
“I’ve dedicated 100% of my life and time to my music. I work on some aspect of it every day. But I also see myself back in West Virginia someday, with a house and a big yard where I can relax. And a dog too,” he adds quickly, with a laugh. “You could say that’s the American Dream. For me, it’s more specifically my West Virginian dream.”
Handsome, thoughtful and well spoken, Lopez is less concerned with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle than with spending time back home with friends, family and the old cars he and his dad like to tinker with. At the same time, as interest in his multiple talents heats up, this only feeds into his fascination with discovering places, ideas and music. Lopez has been stoking that fire for five years, since he began touring and learning how to turn a bunch of bar patrons into foot-stomping, cheering fans.
By that time, Lopez had already laid the foundation of a distinctive sound and style. Drawn first to the power of classic rock ’n’ roll, Lopez enriched and expanded on this foundation at age 15. “That’s when my dad brought me those The Essential compilation albums from Willie, Waylon, Johnny and Kris,” he remembers. “It was then that I started to realize that meaning and message could matter in music.”
So he started to write. He widened his listening, going deep into and beyond traditional country toward what wasn’t yet labeled as Americana. When inspiration struck, he responded with a song. Soon inspiration became a frequent caller. Originals nudged covers out of the way on his set lists. His love for music transformed into certainty that performing his own songs was what he had been born to do.
Eventually Lopez connected with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb in Nashville. Their creative synergy ignited on Lopez’s first album, Onward, released in 2015. “Working with Dave taught me to trust my first instincts and not to overthink my ideas because the magic usually comes naturally,” he says. “I’ll remember that forever.”
Two years later, with characteristic curiosity, Lopez decided to explore different paths for his sophomore project. Over nine months, he tempered the intuitive approach he had cultivated for Onward with a more measured process, beginning with the careful selection of producer Marshall Altman. “It was almost like a science experiment,” he says, with a laugh. “But that’s what I thought recording would be like when I was a kid — a work of art rather than just throwing together a bunch of songs.”
The songs, too, were different. His recent works reflected a more perceptive view of the world as well as a greater self-awareness. Some of this came from co-writing, which he’d never done before. “It did help me expand my thought process and come up with ideas I never would have on my own.”
All of which makes Red Arrow a milestone for this emerging artist. On “Don’t Wanna Say Goodnight,” Lopez kicks into high gear, riding by the rockabilly rhythm as if hearing it for the first time. A different innocence informs “Swim The River,” through lyrics that conjure the thrill of young love. On the other hand, “1972” is a disarmingly affectionate tribute to his International Harvester Scout — and the romantic adventures it has witnessed. Writing with Mindy Smith and Josh Williams, Lopez came up with “Still On Its Feet,” an eloquent analogy equating beloved old piece of furniture with one who has weathered hard times; Vince Gill’s guitar accompanies Lopez’s intimate vocal. And for more classic harmony singing, look no further than “Caramel,” where Lopez and Kenneth Pattengale of Milk Carton Kids blend their voices and acoustic guitars with a synchronicity the Everly Brothers might have admired.
There’s much more as well, but pay special attention to “Steel On The Water.” Lopez wrote this one alone, on his last night aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis en route from Pearl Harbor to San Diego. Brought onboard to entertain 5,000 sailors on their way home, he ended up at least as moved by their stories as they were by his music.
“This is maybe the most personal song I’ve written yet,” Lopez says. “When you come from the outside and join a bunch of people who’ve been living on that ship for years at a time, they gravitate toward you. They want to talk with you. They tell you everything. You’re almost like a refuge to them. It’s overwhelming, especially coming from kids your age.”
Lopez was struck especially with the parallel he sensed between their lives and his as he embarks ever further and for longer hauls away from his West Virginia home. But he understood the differences in their missions too. “The first lines talk about how ‘some go for school; some go for tradition and some go for a last resort.’ I had conversations with people on that ship who had done those things. I was so emotional when it was time to leave them.”
On these songs and the album’s six other offerings, Red Arrow does us a service. For many, it will introduce an artist whose singing radiates youthful infatuation with life through songs rooted in a reverence for American tradition. To those who have already had the pleasure of discovering him, it documents the next stage of a journey toward wisdom, insight, perhaps heartbreak and a fruitful crop of great new songs to come. For Lopez, maybe it’s a ticket on that trip that will lead to faraway places yet end back home in West Virginia. Through his music we travel with him, beginning here.