Sara Petite "Road Less Traveled" Release Date: May 9th, 2017 (San Diego, CA)
The Songwriter Offers Up A Honest and Vulnerable Take on Heartache, Love, and Life
San Diego, CA February 16, 2017—Sara Petite is proud of her 5th Studio Album, The Road Less Traveled, her favorite work to date. In true classic country style, her autobiographical songs have her sweeping up the pieces of her broken heart off of the floor and putting them back together. “The road has twisted and turned, burnt me, bent me, and broke my heart in ways I never knew could happen,” said the artist. “I have a knack for making people feel both heartache and happiness. I think my songs can be very cathartic.”
A true original, Petite’s music does not conveniently fit into any one musical genre or sub-category, but rather traces her influences in country, bluegrass, rock and folk and emerges into a sound completely her own. As both a solo artist and with her band The Sara Petite Band, Petite has shared the stage with many greats such as Josh Turner, Marty Stuart, Lonestar, Todd Snider, Dave Alvin, Ralph Stanley and more.
Petite recorded Road Less Traveled in Escondido, CA with Christopher Hoffee at Chaos Records and used her band instead of studio musicians. “My last 2 CDs were produced in Nashville,” said Petite, “This album is a dream come true for me to be able to work with my band. It helped me to be as creative as possible.”
Getting right down to it, the 12-song album kicks off with the rollicking title song, “Road Less Traveled “with Frank Lee Drennen of Dead Rock West on harmonies. “It’s about being passionately in love with someone and also being passionately in love with the road,” she confesses. “I am stubborn, wild and independent with a great spirit for adventure.”
Already released as a single, “Getting Over You” is a Tammy Wynette inspired classic 70’s country song. Petite enlisted Phil Jordan (No Doubt) on horns. “I heard Herb Alpert all over this song,” said Petite, “and Phil cam in and did exactly what I wanted.”
“It’s Good to be Me” came from a surreal dream Petite had where she would look in the mirror and see Tom Petty instead of her own reflection using the famous Matthew McConahey line, “Alight, Alright, Alright” and then adding, “It’s good to be me.” Petite states, “I feel like a had a small experience of having Tom Petty’s soul inside my body. For two months I truly felt like it was good to be me.” “Monkey on my Back” is musical homage to famous San Diego band that personally inspired Petite, The Beat Farmers and the record fittingly ends with an acoustic version of “The Road Less Traveled”.
“I am not who I was 3 years ago,” states Petite, “Just like I wasn’t 5 years ago when I put out Doghouse Rose, or when I put out Lead the Parade or Tiger Mountain. I am very proud of all my CDs and they are a collection of who I was at that point.”
In 2010 after her 3rd CD Doghouse Rose came out, Petite didn’t expect to stick to music. She had received a degree in Political Science and International Relations and was starting down a corporate path. Then everything changed when her partner and drummer, John Kuhlken died. “Everything went south for a long time,” she remembers. “I was trying to stay numb so I wouldn’t lose it. Music was the thing that no one could take away from me.” Coming through the pain much stronger and more resilient, Petite felt like a different person. “I feel thankful to be out of that cloud and to have felt so connected to my music.”
It took Petite a long time to believe she could make her career in music. “I used to be so nervous and scared, waiting for people to call me out and tell me how bad I was,” she confesses. “Now my body of work is extensive. I can easily play 4 sets of my own material. I’ve become a diverse musician that can’t be pigeonholed.”
A true artist and musician, Petite is equally at home at a raucous honky tonk as she is at a traditional bluegrass picking party--a small stage in a listening room to the larger stages of rock clubs.
“A musician’s life is not a normal life, but it brings beautiful gifts as long as you don’t get on the emotional roller coast and dip too low,” she said. “It sometimes feels weird to put my life out there so honestly, but the responses I get back make me realize we all feel grateful, we all feel depressed at times, we are all flying or crawling. It just depends on what life is bringing us at the moment or what we have created for ourselves. I love performing and I love telling stories and writing songs. I am so thankful for this life.”
Jared Tyler "Dirt on Your Hands" Release Date: June 2nd, 2017 (Tulsa, OK) photo: Phil Clarkin
The Singer-Songwriter/ Producer Joins the Ranks of Tulsa’s Burgeoning Americana Scene
Tulsa, OK March 14th, 2017—There is a line from Jared Tyler’s bio that puts his career into perspective—“There is no best way to introduce Jared Tyler. He’s too many things.” Still in his 30’s the artist has accomplished so much in a short span of time. Playing Dobro with Malcolm Holcombe since 1999, he has also worked with many artists and bands such as Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Wilco, fellow Okie John Moreland in a recording capacity or as a supporting act. As a producer he has worked with Jesse Aycock, Jimmy LaFave, Monica Taylor and Malcolm Holcombe, among others.
Dirt on Your Hands is Tyler’s 3rd solo record. He made his national debut in 2006 with Blue Alleluia (Produced by the legendary Russ Titelman) and followed up with Here with You in 2010 (co-produced with Chuck Zwicky who was the mixing engineer for Prince). Dirt on Your Hands was co-produced with Nashville bassist, Dave Roe who also plays on the record. This recent solo project has allowed for Tyler to collaborate dear friends and incredibly talented people with players and guest spots from John Fullbright, Malcolm Holcombe, Kenny Vaughn, and Jellyroll Johnson to name a few.
Already growing crowds in Tulsa and with a listening audience nationwide, Tyler is set to expand his audience with Dirt on Your Hands. Written as a nod to his roots and community, the record is the most Americana/roots sounding project that he has ever released as an artist. Described as World beat Americana Soul Tyler’s music straddles many genres including folk, blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, red dirt and soul without losing focus on the songwriting and Tyler’s voice.
“I’m a lover of songs telling honest stories of love and loss on this path of human existence,” said Tyler. “The songs I write or interpret are dear to my heart telling the stories of my life experiences. My hope in sharing these songs is that they would strike a chord in others that have gone through similar experiences or have felt the same way- somehow making them feel a little better.”
A longtime fan of Malcolm Holcombe before he began playing with him, Tyler covers two of his songs, “Dressed in White” and “The Door” and covers friend, Dixie Michell’s song “Waltzing Around With My Shadow”. Tyler wrote 4 of the songs on the record and shares writing credit on 5 of the songs.
The 12-song album kicks it off with “Death of Me” a song encouraged by dear friend and luthier, Dixie Mitchell (who has since passed) and written for his life partner, Jacob Mehlhouse. “[Dixie] had showed me a lick on the guitar that I believe might’ve been in an old Chet Atkins song and I just loved it,” explained Tyler. “I twisted it around within a few minutes started scatting with my own melody and Dixie said that it sounded like a hit.”
The title song “Dirt on Your Hands” was inspired by Tyler’s memory of his grandma’s compost pile and the worms they used to dig out for fishing in the neighborhood pond. Co-written with Monty Holmes (who wrote “when did you stop lovin’ me” and “Troubadour” for George Strait, and “Never again, Again” for LeAnn Womack), the song felt like a “power song” for Tyler—“I felt like the message for this song perfectly summed up this collection of songs, so I made it the title track of the record.”
Jared Tyler’s grandfather who was a fiddle and mandolin player is credited with putting a tater bug mandolin in Tyler’s hands at 6 years old when he taught him 3 chords. “Lucky Man” is the song that brings to mind his grandfather’s advice, “If you can count your friends on one hand, you’re a lucky man.” “Musically I wrote this song on a mandolin with a more bluegrass feel to it, but in the studio we just went with the moment, and it turned out a little more of a red dirt rockin’ vibe,” he explains.
Tyler finishes up the album with “Love of You”, a personal love song. “One night while Malcolm was visiting Tulsa for a few shows, we were sitting outside talking and I had a ukulele I was plucking on,” said Tyler. “There was a half a moon in the sky and a bright star (probably a planet) right next to it. I started singing the first line of the song, and Malcolm said there you go - there’s a song. I roughed out the idea, and then played it for Jamie Kindleyside in Dickson, TN. He helped me simplify it even more, and articulate what I was really trying to say. In it’s almost nursery rhyme form - my true feelings were conveyed. I would usually be too shy to ever put out a song like this one, but it was from such a deep place of love that I knew it needed to be on here. I love how the two songs written to Jacob start and end the cd.”
As a special note, Tyler’s friend, Dixie was, as mentioned, a luthier. She was world-renowned for making acoustic instruments under her company name, Guitar Company of America. Due to their masterful tone Tyler made a point to feature her instruments as much as possible on the record. Tyler plays her hand made Nick Lucas-style guitars on “Death of Me,” “Waltzing Around with my shadow,” “Heart Wide Open,” “Gwendolyn,” and “Norway” and a mandolin she made on “Waltzing around with my shadow” and on “Lucky I Am.”
Jared Tyler’s diversity of sound is the standout for this record. Comfortable in large settings including Ryman Auditorium and Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, the artist also loves performing acoustic music in intimate listening rooms (he just returned from a week of performing at the Folk Alliance Festival). “Growing up in the buckle of the Bible belt as a gay man has given me a unique perspective on life, and I think my music can cross genres and speak to people on all walks of life.”
Dirt on Your Hands is released June 2rd, 2017.
Jack Spann "Beautiful Man From Mars" Release Date: June 16th, 2017 (New York City, NY)
Making The Strange and Fabulous Digestible One Song At A Time
New York City, NY March 16th, 2017—Jack Spann has had an incredible couple of years. The Saint Louis native has lived in New York City for the last 16 years and established himself as one of the city’s in-demand keyboardists. His reputation led to an introduction to David Bowie’s producer, Tony Visconti who hired him to play on the demos for what would be Bowie’s final album, Blackstar.
As Spann told St. Louis Magazine, “It’s hard to describe how nice [Bowie] was to me. He was really, really genuinely interested in how and what I was playing. Overall, he was just a delight to work with.” During the demo sessions, Bowie asked if Spann would be available to tour, but then his illness and untimely death precluded that.
Spann’s Visconti connection did not end there. It led to an introduction to Milwaukee-based producer, Gary Tanin, who worked with Spann on his 1st solo record, Time, Time, Time, Time, Time and again on his 2nd upcoming full band release, Beautiful Man From Mars.
Beautiful Man From Mars took a year to record and produce and is different from his last, a more straight up solo piano and vocal recording. Several guests appear for backing vocals while Spann provides lead vocals, piano, keyboards, guitar and bass. Rob Medcalf and Don Kelly play drums and percussion along with producer Gary Tanin adding additional keyboards.
The 13-song record kicks off with the title track, which Spann confesses he was inspired to write after working with David Bowie on the Blackstar demos. “It was just a simple little melody that came while I was driving from New York to Vermont to play a gig and the lyrics wrote themselves.” Spann played his acoustic guitar for the song, a handmade Bourgeois, which he considers himself “lucky to own.”
“Time” is Spann taking aim at unraveling the mystery. “The second hand went first, the minute though he’d try, pretty soon the hour hand had also gone by.” The song becomes distinct by adding a metronomic piano and unique chord structure to the mix.
Another song that focuses on piano with a rousing solo towards the end is “She Makes Pornography on the Weekend.” “I wrote this song for myself,” explains Spann, “and anyone who’s poor and striving to break out of the life they find themselves stuck in.”
“Songman” keeps the rhythm moving sans guitar. “It’s just piano, bass, drums and a little organ and violin in the background,” said Spann who tributes the song to fellow artists who have to play on the street, open mics or at songwriting circles.
“Mars in Twilight” is a pastiche of instrumental sounds described by Spann as “A free ride with no gravity, in the near space of the other side of Mars.” “Deep Inside” opens as a pulsing piano song of love, confusion, resignation and fleeting hope, while “Jack Around” is a little fun up-tempo instrumental ditty. The record ends with the fitting instrumental “Man From Mars Reprise.”
Spann’s music has covered considerable ground over the past two decades. He was a founding member of the St. Louis group, Vitamin A and then took the risk of moving to New York City for his art. “I got sidetracked for a while by the world of theater,” he said. He got an onstage gig acting and playing bass in the show “Lost Highway, The Hank Williams Story” and was then cast as ‘Songman’ in the Tony award-winning show “War Horse” at Lincoln Center for three years.
His piano skills have been characterized “Carnegie Hall-class chops” and while he can play ragtime, pop, jazz, blues, rock and in several other musical genres, Spann claims to look upon “honesty, emotion, and technique as a genre.” His work has been compared to Elton John, Billy Joel, Joe Jackson, Ben Folds and even “Tony Banks’ work with Genesis during their early 70’s peak with Peter Gabriel” (New York Music Daily).
Jack Spann is someone who’s impassioned and obsessed with expressing truth through music. He is someone who performs emotionally and with pure abandon. “I will spend hours and hours and hours writing the perfect line and I really want to make sure people ‘get it’— the idea with the original intent, when I deliver it,” he explains, “I care foremost about making them feel the same emotion that drove me to create it in the first place.”
Beautiful Man From Mars will release June 16th, 2017 in CD, Vinyl LP, and Digital formats through Big Boo Music / OARFIN / Alliance