My new year kicks off nicely with a boost from the Eugene Register Guard (specifically, musical writer Serena Markstrom) who lists “Hard to Believe” as one of the Best Local Songs of 2011.
It’s my simplest, rootsiest country tune off Villain. A broken-hearted country lament in the classic male/female duet style. I credit my duet partner Halie Loren for putting it over the top, and producer Ehren Ebbage and guitarist Al Toribio for injecting just the right amount of twang.
Now, if I can find someone to help me shop the tune around Nashville, I will pay such a person handsomely in foot massages, grilled cheese sandwiches, and untold royalty percentages.
As I go into the 3rd phase of the Villain promo run, new reviews begin to trickle in. Here’s one from Anna Maria Stjärnell at Luna Kafe (Sweden). She is kind. And it’s no surprise that she praises my friend and beautiful duet partner Halie Loren, refering to “Hard to Believe” as “countryish in a sweet way” with “sharp words” that “contrast with the blue mood.”
I thank Anna from Sweden.
I don’t have much Swedish contact yet, but I am well aware of how friendly Swedish audiences have been to American music that isn’t commercially popular in the States (going all the way back to the great jazz artists like Roland Kirk.) I love Swedish film–Ingmar Bergman, Max Von Sydow, Liv Ullman, Girl with the Dragon Tatoo…
I’m glad I still qualify as a Northwest Musician, so I could be reviewed by a young man named Andrew Fickes of Northwest Indie Music.
Andrew says: “Villain” is hands down among the top 10 releases of 2011.”
Villain has been reviewed more than any I’ve released so far. Most of the reviews are kind, some glowing. None, so far, are blanket pannings. But I am truly glad that Andrew likes it, because he’s one of the few critics who pays deep attention to the story-writing. Most critics talk about the “sound.” They refer to content only in passing. And this, in some way, tips off the lack of time and attention lent to the material. Read more »
I love getting reviews from overseas in European languages, because the suspense lasts while I seek a translation into English.
Recently, a new online friend from Italy posted a review of Villain on his blog: Resto in Ascolto. Admittedly, I already know I’m in friendly territory here, ’cause we’ve communicated back and forth by personal e-mail, and he has said some nice things. But I am fascinated by the whole idea of language, dying to know how he describes my music to his fellow countrymen.
First, I scan the review in the original language, trying to decipher as best I can. (I took French for 5 years, and studied Old English, so there are some European words whose meaning I can guesstimate. I enjoy this linguistic exercise.) So far, I see the phrase “album dell’anno.” If this means “album of the year,” I’m going to faint. And when I wake up, I’m sending him flowers.
I have Lord Litter to thank for spreading my music around Germany. The result: “Love Belongs to Everyone” hit #1 on Radio Marabu Hot Rotation, in the company of Radiohead and R.E.M. (I’m stoked, because I am fans of both, leaning in either direction–folkrock & artrock. It is to the credit of my producer and friend Ehren Ebbage that this song is suitable for such company.
Thanks to a warm referral from Lord Litter (Germany), “Love Belongs to Everyone” is still no. 2 of Radio Marabu’s hot rotation. (In addition to Lord Litter, I should thank Rachel Harrington of Emerging Artist Resources for introducing me to Europe’s supporters of Americana Music. She helped me send Yellow House across the pond, and luckily they remembered me when I sent Villain)
I just put out an APB, the content of which is roughly:
The big official National release of Villain is at hand. Glowing reviews with comparisons to Elvis Costello, John Hiatt, Jeff Buckley, Damien Rice, and both Joshes Ritter and Rouse. WOW. (See the PRESS page)
A modest Viper Room Acoustic Lounge set on Monday marks the occasion.
Please allow me these two humble requests as I reach out for help.
1) Donations: My national promo campaign nears its end. If you’d like to help me out with the bill–in exchange for Shipe gifts–please click the DONATE page above.
(This is usually done by artists prior to album releases, as pre-sells. I am backwards.)
2) New SHIPE web spots are popping up, where fan reviews and comments are truly golden. Especially at Last FM which is a standard resource for music critics. Fans are shaping the Biz more than ever. So, anywhere you find a Shipe entry, please lend your layman’s touch to the content.
Thank you so much. I shall continue to work my hardest in 2011 to please and entertain.