If my blog had a common theme, it would likely be ‘talented peers’, as I often find myself amazed at how many truly gifted individuals I can consider friends and acquaintances. Case in point, my friend Kayleigh : she is a talented singer and musician who has been part of a number of bands and collectives in the central Texas area, and recently, she took a moment out of her day to film a quick performance of Mac DeMarco‘s Chamber of Reflection. With just her voice and her guitar work, she is able to create a moving and chilling experience, so if you find yourself curious, take a moment to watch, like and comment if it moves you to do so, and share it around for all to see.
Getting to know the new homie Maikéru has been one of the true highlights of 2021. I’ve met a lot of creative people in the central Texas area, but there’s something about Maikéru‘s poise and polish that makes it feel like he’s doing what he was truly born to do. Recently, SYN SESSIONS showcased Maikéru singing YIPPEEKIYAY with acoustic accompaniment by Eric G of Kid Brothers, and while seeing Maikéru with full production is on some other ish, seeing this performance in such an intimate and stripped down presentation is equally powerful. Take a few minutes to dig it, and if it moves you, hit the like button, leave a comment, and share it with someone you care about.
Life tends to get a bit hectic here in the information age, and sometimes, it’s nice to be reminded that it’s ok to take it a little easy every now and then. If this sentiment ever needed an anthem, then my candidate would be Marshall Anderson, as Sunflowers Leaning, his latest single, embodies these feelings perfectly. Over a sparse guitar and drum driven track with just the right touches of piano, Marshall tells us all about himself, his past, where he’s headed, and most importantly, he shares his view of the world with all that are willing to listen. If you dig songs that can shift your mood for the better, then check out this video, leave a like and a comment, and share it around for everyone to enjoy!
One of the many pleasures that comes with setting up my hideout in the San Marcos, Texas area is the wealth of talented singer/songwriters that also have chosen to take up residence. Over the years, I’ve run across a number of them that have truly blown me away with their talent, and one of the more recent personalities to step out of the pack is Cecil James. I knew he was a solid guitarist (this coming from a completely inept guitarist) and a singer with a richness to his voice similar to that of M. Ward, but with a bit more playful storyteller, but up until recently, I had no idea what he would sound like in the framing of a recorded project. These curiosities were laid to rest with the recent release of Las Canciones del Borracho, a 3-song EP that plays out like a movie story arc that lies somewhere between David Lynch and the Cohen Brothers. He’s always sounded great acoustically, but hearing him with a strong backing band and focused production not only brings out the sonic griot in his lyrics, but it subtextually comments on his ruminations about being an isolated soul in search of close company full of kindred spirits. In my humble opinion, that should be relatively easy to find around San Marcos, especially with a calling card like Las Canciones del Borracho in your back pocket.
After years of consistent time spent touring the United States and overseas, Scott H. Biram found himself one of countless people forced to abruptly adjust in the wake of COVID-19. With his main source of income and the biggest sense of release off the table, there was really nothing left to do but go back to the drawing board, and the result of this renewed focus is his most recent release, Fever Dreams. As per usual, the lion’s share of the instrumentation is handled by Biram, but the assist list is full of talent, including Jesse Dayton, Chris Rhoades, Justin Collins and the homie Jonas Wilson. Hopefully, the pandemic and all of the ensuing fallout is temporary, and in time, we can find our way back to some sense of normalcy, but in the meantime, it’s nice to know that artists like Scott H. Biram have not been derailed from their true passions.
“This song is a series of questions that have rested heavy on my heart for years. Questions that unfortunately, were answered on September 16th 2020 with the passing of my mother.
My mother battled alcoholism most of her adult life and it put quite a strain on our relationship. While there was plenty of joy in our time together there was grief tucked away in the dark corners. There is a quiet pain that exists watching someone you love drown in addiction. Even when I chose to get loud it still didn’t change the truth. As it turns out, love only takes you so far.
So, with years of grief under my belt and words left to say -I put them in this song. The words came through me without effort once my husband found some chords and started to strum. We found ourselves in tears around our kitchen table once the song was complete. We found some magic that day. This song is the truth. I don’t know who needs to hear it, I just know I needed to write it. “
2020 has most certainly been hard on everyone… if you could use a sense of inspiration or a bit of healing, take a few minutes to listen to Cari Hutson‘s The Rescue, leave a like and a comment if it moves you, and share it around to help lift everyone’s spirits.
Like most music scenes, or scenes thriving with creative spirits, band lineups tend to shift on a near daily basis, and many bands step to the plate to see who can survive the game. Recently, a group of talented San Martians found themselves combining forces in the downturn that 2020 has been, and despite the bleakness of the era they found one another, the noise that they are creating is joyful and inspiring. Old Lane recently released Sanctuary, an apt name for their lead single considering the times, and the song is a rollercoaster ride of introspection and observation wrapped up nice and neatly in bluegrass packaging. The song bookends on a high, energetic note, while the midsection halves the time signature and propels listeners into a brief, dreamlike state. If this song is an indication of the musical quality to come, then strap in, because Old Lane seems hell-bent on taking us far and wide. Dig the song, share it around, and throw the band a buck if you can afford to.
Many people are finding themselves having to face problems that have always existed while trying to survive in the shadow of COVID-19. For Suzanna Choffel, who self-admittedly knows her problems are lesser compared to those of many out there struggling, found that these times brought up ideas she explored in 2019 while preparing for the birth of her second daughter. During her first pregnancy, the red tape and games of health care opened her eyes to the true nature of the American health system, how politicians give lip service to the industry, and how it impacts women in particular. These ideas manifest as Good Problems, a dual attempt for her to recognize the bigger problems in the world and to inspire those going through them. As if this effort was not enough, $1 from each sale of this track will go towards the ACLU and their efforts to even the playing field and make life a bit easier for everyone. Support if you can, but definitely give this one a listen regardless of whether you can support or not, as Suzanna Choffel‘s immense talent cannot go ignored.