Alyssa Walker “Stupid Boy”

When you get to meet other artists and they have infectious energy, you can’t help but smile.  That’s the effect of San Diego based country singer Alyssa Walker and her song “Stupid Boy.”  Click play on the song and read the story of how this song was made.

Story Behind “Stupid Boy”

“Stupid Boy” is a song that I wrote when I was in a rough place. I had just had my heart broken for the first time and I really didn’t know how to deal with it. It took me awhile to get back into music, but when I did, the songs just kept coming. Stupid Boy was written when I finally realized that I was going to get through my heartbreak and that my ex wasn’t going to be able to destroy or control my life, whether he was a part of it or not. This was my most therapeutic song about my break up.

Being able to record this song with a Grammy winning producer, Steve Churchyard, was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had. Getting to share this song with the world is so important to me. I want this song to be relatable to other girls, and I want to be able to lift people’s spirits and let them know that even though there are going to be rough times, they are strong enough to get through anything.

Alyssa Walker

Alyssa Walker

You can find my song on itunes, spotify, soundcloud, amazon, and more. All my information is on my website at

Alyssa Walker Bio

Alyssa Walker is a talented singer-songwriter and acoustic guitar player. She developed a love for writing songs at a young age and currently has written over thirty original songs which she performs on a regular basis. Her lyrics not only tell a story, but are relatable to her fans, as many have reached out to Alyssa to tell her that her song “struck a chord” with them. Her music can be described as pop, indie, folk, country and Americana. She can also play a wide-range of covers from all different genres.

Alyssa Walker Links

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Every Lovely Thing “Running”

Meeting like minded artists is always good.  Through Twitter, Marianne from Every Lovely Thing and I started talking about the music blog and setting up a song.  To find a song, I visited Every Lovely Thing’s site and really enjoyed the feel of “Running.”  The song is one that inspires lots of cool memories.  I found myself thinking of music from Tori Amos to Enigma and how my life intersected those sounds.  Click play on the beautiful video for “Running” and see what memories the song brings for you.  Every Lovely Thing is a musical duo from Dayton, OH.  Read about their music below as you listen.

Story Behind “Running”

We recorded ‘Running’ late July 2016. It was officially released August 26th, the video released October 1st. This was the culmination of writing songs together for over a year!
The song is about toxic relationships. Both of us are INFJs on the Myer’s-Briggs personality test and highly sensitive people – thus have had our share of relational struggles, sometimes feeling swallowed up, misunderstood, overrun by others. Rather than “I am a victim running away,” it is our intention to depict a healthy acceptance of ourselves, and of moving (or running) toward the freedom of positive life-affirming boundaries.
Every Lovely Thing

Every Lovely Thing

We feel like our emerging sound is ambient dream pop. We really had no parameters when we started writing music together other than to create a beautiful sound with authentic introspective lyrics. Kate brings her ethereal vocals and elegant piano stylings, with Marianne adding vocals and harmonies in a lower register, and often playing acoustic guitar.
The studio experience was amazing! Marianne has experience in the studio with her solo singer-songwriting career, but it was Kate’s first time recording professionally. We worked with Ben Kesler (Ex’treme Institute by Nelly) at Red Pill Studios in St. Louis. His expertise and quiet demeanor, plus our friendship and understanding of each other’s personalities and how that affects our work, helped create a beautiful studio experience!

Every Lovely Thing Bio

Every Lovely Thing is a music duo from Dayton, Ohio formed by singer-songwriter Marianne Kesler and Kate Stanton. Following a decade long friendship, the two decided over coffee to try writing a song together. Sharing lifelong passions for music, they had no idea what was in store for them. One song turned into twenty, monthly co-writing into weekly sessions. Before long the duo, dubbed Every Lovely Thing, was on their way to St. Louis to record their first single “Running” with producer Ben Kesler.
Their debut single “Running” is available on CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, and other online sources for digital music, as well as now playing on Spotify, and Cascade.FM!

Every Lovely Thing Links

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Halfway Good “Letdown”

Again, Twitter is an excellent place to find new music and connect with artists.  I met Halfway Good through Twitter and we quickly worked together to get a blog post put together.  Click play on this California duo’s song “Letdown” and read the story below.

Story Behind Letdown

“Letdown” was written at weird time in my life, and is a song about just being frustrated with the world around you and not really caring about much of anything anymore. I wrote the riff for this song a few weeks before I wrote the lyrics. The riff is pretty fast paced and groovy, and unlike any of the other songs that we had at the time, so I was unsure about what type of vocals to put on top of it.
Eventually, amid my frustrations, I had the idea to make the vocals just as quick and erratic as the guitar, and soon I had two pages full of moody, manic-depressive lyrics to work with. When we began Halfway Good and started working on our debut album, we really had no direction for the band other than to do whatever we wanted to do, and this was one of the first few songs that came out of that mindset.
Halfway Good

Halfway Good

To me “Letdown” sets the tone for the record, and yet it sounds like nothing else on the record, as if to say “anything can happen here.” Recording this song and adding all the little voices in the background was really fun, and I think this song is by far my favorite on the album. – Dakota Tenhet (Guitar/Vocals – Halfway Good)

Halfway Good Bio

Halfway Good is a two-piece Indie Rock band from The San Joaquin Valley in California. Comprised of brothers Dakota Tenhet (Guitar/Vocals), and Ashton Lambert (Drums), the band is a result of all of their combined influences, and years of jamming in the bedroom they shared growing up.

Halfway Good Links

  1. www.twitter.com/halfwaygoodband
  2. www.instagram.com/halfwaygood
  3. www.snapchat.com/halfwaygood
  4. www.facebook.com/halfwaygood
  5. https://soundcloud.com/user-466013243
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$ir K. ReLyT “Fully Aware”

Last week, I traveled to Indiana for some shows.  Through that trip, one person I met was Kris, aka $ir K. ReLyT.  Near Ball State University in Muncie, IN, there’s a cool club called Be Here Now.  On Tuesdays, the stage is open and you’ll find a good bit of hip-hop with a few guitar player/singers too.  With those genres mixing, the vibe is cool, friendly, and supportive.  I started talking with $ir K. ReLyT and made a connection.  Click play on “Fully Aware” and read about this hip-hop artist.

Story Behind Fully Aware

The song “Fully Aware” was written in the summer of 2015 in one sitting, at the time I was signed to Not Only Street Records and my manager was hassling me to write and record 3 new songs on a very short deadline. I had first wrote “Was’ Hannin” and got a case of writer’s block, a few hours went by and the first few bars of “Fully Aware” came out of no where in my head, “fuck what a hater think/ throw em’ in a gator tank/” next thing I knew, I had locked myself in the extra bedroom and had written half way through the beat already and didn’t have a hook yet. In my mind I started thinking, “hmm… I’m fully aware of all the surrounding context, I’m fully aware of my schemes, and what I’m actually talking about, I don’t need a hook if it’s going to speak for itself to someone else, if it has that effect on me.”
So after the concept decision, I took that and felt the direction I should go in. By the end, I was sitting in the car practicing it acapella for hours, so the first time I rapped it to the beat, it fit perfectly to me. (Because I don’t write with a beat playing, I hear the beat, count the bars, then write in silence)
It was recorded with Audacity on a friends laptop with regular ass Samson Co3u.  The song was released on all digital online retailers and is still available, along with the album, “ReVised” from which it was the single.
In 18 Years, ReLyT has performed over 490 shows, including performances with the well known Boogie from Dallas, Texas, and RoLya T from Anderson, Indiana.
$ir K. ReLyT

$ir K. ReLyT

In 2014, he auditioned for BET’s new Hip Hop Reality show, “One Shot” and blew judges away. (Which airs this summer.)
$ir K. ReLyT released 8 full-length albums, 14 mixtapes, and 6 singles in the span of his career. Along with getting his music in rotation on internet radio stations in France, The United Kingdom, West Africa, and Memphis, TN.
While being a very audible, visual, and hands on learner, he’s taken on the skills of a music industry professional. Specializing in social media marketing, branding, audio/ video production, distribution, graphic designing, booking, understanding royalties and percentages, and is paying very close attention his publisher/ mentor, Phil Duncan (CEO of Underground Railroad Entertainment Group/ WURE-FM; Memphis Don) to continue gaining the knowledge he’ll need for a successful career.
In 2016, he hitchhiked the coast of California spreading his music on his way to Los Angeles, while homeless the entire time for 9 months, he managed to book shows throughout the state, shoot a music video in Hollywood, become an inspiration to many homeless youth, and acquired many more industry connections, followers, and opportunities through ‘cardboard sign marketing’ on a regular basis. You can find a picture of $ir K. ReLyT’s tent on Sunset Blvd. with a letter to Slim written in sharpie on the side from when he opened up about his alter ego, $tan on Milloux Suicide’s instagram @millouxsuicide

$ir K. ReLyT Links

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River Ratz Band “I Am What I Am”

Always amazed by the music I can find on Twitter.  A huge perk of connecting with other artists is getting to hear them.  I connected with the River Ratz Band and quickly lead to this blog post being created.  The four pieced band is compose of two married couples.  The River Ratz Band is from the Charlotte, NC area.  I enjoy the old timey sound and vocal harmonies.  I never tire of hearing talent like that.  Click play on the live video below and see if you agree.  Read about the River Ratz Band and the song “I Am What I Am” below.

Story Behind I Am What I Am

River Ratz Band formed by chance three years ago. We met in a class to learn how to jam in a bluegrass circle.  We hit it off immediately when none of us wanted to play the songs the leader picked–we gravitated toward upbeat, hard-driving songs. Our music today is better described as modern bluegrass laced with country, folk, and rock’n roll. “Born in bluegrass, bred in rock’ roll” is our motto. 

River Ratz Band

River Ratz Band

Our band is made up of two married couples with a combined 60 years of marriage. Our favorite venues to play are breweries because people go there to have a good time, and we try to facilitate the fun. We get our audiences  involved in playing various percussion instruments on what we call “fungrass” songs. 

River Ratz Band

River Ratz Band

I Am What I Am came about when we were getting ready to go to a Halloween gig. (Maybe I had morbid thoughts on my mind!). This song was inspired by absolutely no true events (in our lives anyway!). I tried to imagine severe consequences for a cheating man, with a comical spin. Plus I knew we needed a seafaring song–doesn’t  every band with a fiddle?  I had never heard of a trimaran, but picked that type of yacht to impress my band mates with my knowledge of ships. Scott (our other songwriter) wrote the singalong lines to complete the song. 

This song was recorded live at Birdsong Brewery for their Louisiana Crawfish boil. 

River Ratz Band Links

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Lunar Tides “Would You Believe”

July 15, I met Lunar Tides the old fashioned way.  No, not MySpace, but in person.  I had the honor of opening for them at Moon City Pub in Springfield, MO.  A week or two before the show, I messaged Lucas O’Dougherty the drummer and one of the vocalists.  Before the show, I had a chance to meet him and the rest of the band.  I respect the attitude of the the band, they seem to “get it” and we were giving shout-outs for each other and made a cool connection.  Lunar Tides stream often on Twich.tv and have some music online.  Click play to catch this Carthage, MO trio perform “Would You Believe” and read about the band below.

Story Behind Lunar Tides

Hello Internet! We are Lunar Tides, a three piece rock band out of Carthage, MO. The band consists of Randy, Lucas and Lydia. A little family piece that has been heavily inspired by many genre’s and forms of music. We formed Lunar Tides in late 2013 after watching a documentary on Ian Curtis of Joy Division, and another documentary called “Horse the Band: Earth Tour” which was pretty life changing to say the least.

We hadn’t really had much experience playing music, and it had been quite some time since any of us had really touched any musical instruments or tried writing a solid song.

Lunar Tides

Lunar Tides

We kicked off writing our first songs Spring of 2014 trying to model our sound lo-fi, and similar to Joy Division from the late 70s, however over time this quickly changed to become more of a heavy melody riff based type of band with inspirations from the 80’s, to modern day metal and break downs. To be honest, we are probably still searching for our sound. Having only been a band for three years, I think we have plenty of exploring to do with out we continue to write and what will influence us next in the songwriting process.

We’ve been playing shows pretty solid for the last year. I think we did 13, which was a huge accomplishment for us. There were times early on that we didn’t think we’d even get to play one but it’s been a 99.9% positive experience for us in the Southwest MO area, with venues, bands, and other friends and family that have supported our music and what we do. We’re taking a few months off to recharge, work on a studio we’re building, write some more material and add a few covers to the set in the future, but we plan on playing out again this fall, and into the winter months. We hope to see you out!

Lunar Tides Links

You can find us on facebook, twitter, instagram, twitch.tv, youtube, etc.  We hope to see you out at a local show sometime.

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Kascarade feat. Julie E. Gordon “Rise Again”

A little milestone here with the 50th I met Martin from Kascarade on Twitter.  After a couple clicks, asked if they might be in sharing a song on here.  Click play on this Leeds/Halifax area group and enjoy this superb video.  Read the story behind their song below.

Story Behind “Rise Again”

On a cold January winters morning we took to the hills in beautiful West Yorkshire. Where the members of kascarade prepared to film on location at Ilkley “Cow and Calf”.

Featuring Matthew Milnes (Lead Vocals) and Julie E Gordon backing singer from the Happy Mondays, and all the film crew.

“Rise Again” is a traditional pop/rock song with driving drums, distorted guitar riffs. Backed up with sharp melodic organ sounds. The message within this track is an urgent call to get on with living, which states “what’s been has gone” and all we have is “here and now” so get up and start again.

Kascarade

Kascarade

We do write as a collective, or build on an idea from a lyric that one member might want to use. Our main priority is to create a feeling within a moment that the audience or listener can relate to.
We have performed this track many times and was always well received. As to the recording process we felt that this particular recording was great as a single but compared to the rest of the tracks that feature on our debut album (Start of it All) we would re work the track?

We are lucky enough to have our own recording studio in Bradford and wanted to take it to the next level.

We are now currently working on album no 2 which we are very excited about.

Kascarade Links

Rise Again – Single by Kascarade

Kascarade Bio

Kascarade are Matthew Milnes (vocals), Luke Milnes (lead guitar), Carl Bower (drums), Adam Brankin (bass), Martin Horton (keys).

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Tracy Colletto “The Ride”

Twitter has been a great place to find new music.  I met Tracy Colletto sending blue birds around and checked out her music.  The storytelling vibe in Colletto’s folky genre combination of folk, country, Celtic, makes you want to listen to what comes next.  Click play on “The Ride” and enjoy the story.  Read about the song and Colletto below.

Story Behind “The Ride”

The Ride was one of the later songs written for my 2016 album, Chocolate Happy Cake. Being more of a balladeer at heart, I needed a few more upbeat tracks to round out the album. I liked the thought of paying tribute to people I have met along “the ride” of life. At first I was thinking of a bus theme where friends of mine would get on and off as life progressed, but later it became a positive spin on conflict resolution. Most of this song was written while driving or on lunch break, it took me a couple months to complete the lyrics although the melody came right away.

Tracy Colletto

Tracy Colletto

When it was time to record the track, I saw it as a fun type of song so the fiddle quickly came to mind. Gary Oleyar is the fiddle soloist, he tours with Loggins and Messina and it is great to have him featured. We all had a lot of fun recording it. So far, The Ride was nominated as Best Alt Country Song at the 15th Independent Music Awards in 2016 and it has received airplay on many independent radio shows globally, especially in the country genre. Many friends of mine like the catchy phrase, “It’s inevitable, inevitable.” If I did a music video for The Ride, it would have a hoedown theme.

Tracy Colletto Links

Listen to “The Ride” on Spotify

Tracy Colletto Bio

Tracy Colletto’s lyrics are poetic and story-telling. Her delivery is straightforward and vulnerable, and with an emotive, versatile range. Several songs from her most recent album, Chocolate Happy Cake, have been added to the playlists for radio stations, including WXPN’s Sleepy Hollow and Women of Substance Radio. Her single, The Ride, is a recent nominee for Best Alt. Country Song at the 15th Annual Independent Music Awards. You can listen and purchase her music at https://tracycolletto.bandcamp.com, and her website tracycollettomusic.com.
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Guitar Sculptures Merch

Talking with a tour manager, he passed along a great idea for merchandise.  As I get to that idea, I need to state that I’ve been trying to find a good story for myself.  Like the difficulty my students have when I ask them to write about themselves, I’m having the same experience.

The tour manager suggested using my teaching job as a way to put a twist on things.  Like most ideas I like, my imagination begins flowing like a river out of its bounds.  I wanted to have fun with the idea and here’s just one manifestation of my thoughts: destroyed pencil and used guitar strings art.  This helps me build a story for myself–you can see I love my job yet I’m not the typical teacher.

I wanted merch that’s unique, has a cool edge, and is easy to carry.  For the art, I put some ideas on paper and drafted some construction plans.  I researched supply costs, made purchases well under budget, and set out to work.  One final note I made was time.  In arts, it’s easy to not value your time spent working.  Keeping track of time is one of the best measures of effectiveness.  Of course, while building the first piece, I learned a lot.  Each piece is titled, numbered, and mounted on a dated and signed card.

I’ll be opening these pieces up for sale at the June 24, 2017 Refrain Showcase event.  The cost is $10.  Going to see how people respond before making more.  But, I do have many other related ideas besides these.

Art piece 1

Art piece 1

Art piece 2

Art piece 2

Art piece 3

Art piece 3

Art piece 5

Art piece 4

Art piece 5

Art piece 5

Art piece 6

Art piece 6

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Nightmare River Band “Goodbye To Your Friends”

As I think to myself how great Twitter is as a way to discover music, I find Nightmare River Band.  Their SoundCloud link became my focus and I enjoyed what I heard.  After typing with front-man Matt, we came down to blog business. Click play on “Goodbye To Your Friends” and resist smiling.  This Bronx NYC based group is sure to keep you smiling.  Read about the story and the band below.

Story Behind “Goodbye To Your Friends”

Goodbye to Your Friends was one of those songs that stuck around for years without being finished. I wrote the verses sitting at a campfire overlooking Lake Algonquin in the Adirondack Mountains. It was part of a two week writing/ rehearsing retreat with my previous band, Fire Flies. There was an old boat next to the cabin we were staying in. Being out in the open air, overlooking the dark water, and most likely having a couple PBR’s down the hatch, I set out to write a sea shanty.

Nightmare River Band

Nightmare River Band

“First we’ll patch the old boat up, and sail into the sea..” was the first line I came up with. Oddly enough, it ended up being the final line of the song. Fire Flies eventually split up, and the song sat around unfinished. Years later, I was flipping through one of my old writing notebooks and stumbled across it. I was reminded of all the great times we had with Fire Flies, and though we were still all close friends, certain things had obviously changed with time. I sat down, and within minutes I had the chorus to “Goodbye to Your Friends” and the song was finally finished.

Nightmare River Band Links

Nightmare River Band Bio

The Nightmare River Band (NRB) is a fierce combination of raucous Alt-Country, Americana and good ol’ Rock N’ Roll. According to Matt Krahula, songwriter and front man, the songs are about “love, loss, pain and drinking… not necessarily in that order.”

After their debut album Call the Cops!! (2009) NRB hit the road and played SXSW, CMJ, Summerfest, and the Old Port Festival, sharing the stage with acts such as The Legendary Shack Shakers, Sean Rowe, Robert Ellis, Tokyo Police Club, and Old Man Markley. Their crowd-pleaser “Mary,” was nominated for an Independent Music Award for Best Alt-Folk Song of 2010. When NRB released their sophomore album Last Goodbye (2012), Popmatters gave it 8 out of 10 stars, referring to it as “One of 2012’s best!”

Recently, core members Matt Krahula, Seth Faulk (Drums, Vocals), and Wil Farr (Guitar, Vocals) teamed up with an all-star roster of collaborators to record their third full length release, entitled Stormville. The new album, due out fall 2017, represents a departure from the typical studio recording environment. After several writing and arranging sessions, the songs were recorded live in a remote farmhouse in upstate New York. Stormville combines all of the ingredients of The Nightmare River Band’s potent blend: foot-stomping rhythms, overflowing arrangements, and infectious chorus’ that you can’t help but sing along to.

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