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Taking a cue from youthful folk revivalists like Laura Marling, Mountain Man, and the Pierces, Watford, England's the Staves blend the wistful cadences of classic British folk with breezy, Laurel Canyon-era Americana. The trio was formed in 2010 around the talents of sisters Emily (vocals), Jessica (vocals/guitar), and Camilla Staveley-Taylor (vocals/ukulele), who first learned to harmonize by singing along with their parents' record collection, dominated by the likes of Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Emily was only 14 years old when the siblings made their live debut at a neighborhood pub's open-mike night, but they were well received and began appearing on a regular basis. They released their debut EP, Facing West, in 2010, and the same year they performed as backing vocalists on Tom Jones' 2010 gospel collection Praise & Blame.
The year 2011 brought a pair of EPs, Live at Cecil Sharp House and Mexico, which brought them to the attention of the major labels. The siblings signed with Atlantic Records, and capitalizing on the buzz created by their well-received debuts, they spent the beginning of 2012 supporting acts the Civil Wars and Bon Iver in North America before releasing their first full-length outing, Dead & Born & Grown, which was produced by Glyn and Ethan Johns. The fall of 2014 saw the release of another EP, Blood I Bled; the title track was a preview of the album If I Was, which was produced by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and released in February 2015. The trio toured with Florence and the Machine, and also appeared at Glastonbury. An EP, Sleeping in a Car, followed in 2016. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi
Singer-songwriter Frankie Lee releases his debut album American Dreamer on July 8, 2016 (Thirty Tigers/Loose). A Midwesterner by birth, Frankie Lee is a traveler by nature. His father was in the horse business, and the family moved around a lot — Michigan, Texas, Minnesota, Tennessee, among other places — which accounts for his sometimes vague answers to questions of where he “comes from.” Lee spent a couple years in college before dropping out to become a folksinger. (Lee often returned to Minnesota in subsequent years, spending entire summers, he said, working alone on a farm.)
He moved to Austin, TX, and got his first paying gigs on the folk/country scene. He played clubs like the Scoot Inn and the Longbranch where he met JT Van Zandt (who he later worked for) who introduced him around the up and coming East Austin scene. After almost seven years in Austin, it was off to Los Angeles. The first show he played in LA was with an up and coming band named Dawes. As time went by, it was obvious Lee didn’t belong in LA, but he stayed a few more years chasing the music and the women only to find he couldn’t keep up with either.
After 10 years away, he returned home with a bag of new songs and recorded them right away. Minneapolis was the right fit for the sound he had in his head at the time. A band was assembled through drummer JT Bates that included Jeremy Ylvisaker (Andrew Bird) and Mike Lewis (Bon Iver) amongst others. Most of the songs were cut live the first night and appeared as they were on Lee’s locally released EP Middle West.
It was Middle West that connected him to a wider world and American Dreamer that brought him there. American Dreamer was recorded over a period of time he spent working on a pig farm and living in St. Paul, the songs were written in the early morning commutes from city to country. That’s where these songs sit best, opening up as you get further away: a vision from a man alone in time, capturing the sound where dreams and reality meet. The album was released in England in 2015 by London label Loose, who were the first label to sign the likes of Sturgill Simpson, The Felice Brothers, Hurray For The Riff Raff.
American Dreamer is “Nostalgia for the Future.”
Rich vocal harmonies merge with intimate layers of guitar, fiddle and banjo to define the lush sound of Dusty Heart. Brought together through a shared wanderlust and love for musical harmony, the powerhouse duo has crafted a dynamic and haunting sound rooted in the vast landscape of the American Heartland that bridges together the diverse musical worlds of roots, indie, and folk.
BBGUN began in a sunny living room, over coffee, on a Friday morning that quickly turned into every Friday morning. Musicians and songwriters Al Church and Neal Perbix's distinct styles, matured over years of Minneapolis gigs, wove to form lyrics that are both contemplative and playful and harmonies both sophisticated and singable. Complemented by Jeremy Hanson's expert, easy drumming, their rock 'n' roll tunes sound best blasted from the speakers of a pickup truck. BBGUN's solid debut album documents the anxiety and surprising joys of trading in late-night cigarettes for a kind of settling down.