Friday, February 28, 2014

The College Experience with Kate Russell

>> Now, the point of me creating this feature was to highlight the people struggling to balance things like school, opportunity, networking, etc.  I came up with the idea because I've had such a hard time with the issue of prioritizing school over a potential great career opportunity, and I wanted to see other forms of the struggle, and how other people deal with it all.  What I realized is that it would be a good addition to the feature to have the site's staff participate in this exploration as well.  So, while I'm interested in hearing everyone else's perspective, maybe there's someone out there who wants to hear mine.  I'll be answering the same questions that I ask everyone else, so while it'll be weird to answer my own questions, I'm looking forward to how this will add to the feature series as a whole.  Let's begin, shall we?

Please state your name, age, and what school you attend.
Oh hey guys. I'm Kate Russell and I'm a soon to be 21 year old finishing up my third year at good ol' NYU.

When and how did you first get involved with the music scene?
I guess it happened when I was in high school.  I had attended my first concert just before high school actually, the 2007 Honda Civic Tour featuring Fall Out Boy, Cobra Starship, +44, The Academy Is..., and Paul Wall.  That first concert basically featured all of my favorite acts at the time (yes, I liked Paul Wall too. It happens), so it was an amazing experience to finally hear the songs I'd been listening to for so long performed right in front of me.  It was June 5th, 2007 and I remember it like it was yesterday.  I briefly met Pete Wentz and Gabe Saporta after the show and it was something that made me think, "yeah I can definitely get into this live music thing."  I didn't go to another show until almost a year later though.  After finishing my first year of high school, I attended The 2008 Bamboozle Festival in May 2008.  That experience changed my life.  I started this site a month later, and it was that year that I started going to local shows thanks to my then friends in A Rocket To The Moon.  So, after seeing some bigger acts, I was exposed to the local (Long Island) scene which was fresh and fun and once I started this blog I knew there was no turning back.

If you got involved at a relatively early age, was it hard having to deal with age restricted shows?
It's been THE biggest pain.  I started this site when I was 15, and at the time I wasn't getting many press invites because it was so new and initially I used it like more of a cool music journal.  Once I was 16-17 I started getting invited to cover shows, and that's where the trouble started.  I was always too uncomfortable to admit that I wasn't 18 yet.  We've all seen Almost Famous for the most part, and unfortunately things don't work that way when it comes to age restrictions anymore.  So I had to answer my first press invites with excuses like "I'd love to cover that show but unfortunately I'm already covering another show that night" [lie] or "I have a scheduling conflict" [I meant homework], etc.  I felt super cool to be getting invites but suuuper lame for not being old enough to go to some of the 18+ shows.  I had more free time when I was younger, but I couldn't get into certain shows with an age restriction.  Now that I'm old enough for most shows, I have much less free time. Life is weird. I'm still dealing with the 21+ issue, but as of March 12th 2014 I'll be a grown up and I can cover whichever events I want and I cannot wait to not have to ask if there's an age restriction ever again, ever. 

Now that you're in college, has that aspect gotten easier? Are things more accessible to you now?
The fact that I go to school and live in New York City now has made things more accessible in the sense that all of the venues are just a subway ride away, or a walk away in many cases as well.  I have a wider range of venues and therefore shows that I can potentially cover, but like I said I still have to wait a few more weeks to pass my final obstacle age-wise. 

Do you find that you have more or less free time generally as a college student?
Way less. Waaay less.  In high school, I had some homework, occasional shows, and this site.  In college, I have classes that are far more involved, the need/want for internships, a part time job, a boyfriend, and this site.  In September, I started working part time at a balloon/toy/fun store in Tribeca called Balloon Saloon.  I work a lot, but that's what happens when you actually enjoy your job.  I interned with Golightly Media, a PR agency full of lovely ladies, last semester (Fall 2013).  That was super engaging but it felt like a second job (because it was).  This semester (Spring 2014), I'm interning at Wiz Kid Management, a music management company whose roster includes The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jr, and more.  It's a great position but between that, the job, and school, I feel pretty overwhelmed.  I'm fortunate in the sense that I'm so overwhelmed by all good things for the most part, so I can't really complain about not having any free time.  I do the best I can, and it just brings up those ideas of balance and prioritizing I'm always talking about.  Being overwhelmed comes with the territory of trying to establish a name for myself while I'm still a student.

What experiences have you had so far in the industry?
Well, you're looking at it.  I've been able to do a lot through this site of mine.  I've been doing press on the Long Island date of the Vans Warped Tour every year since 2010 which has been so incredible.  I get to talk to some of my favorite musicians, and be introduced to artists I might not have met otherwise.  The press team for Warped has their shit together and it's been a fantastic experience each year.  I also covered the CBGB Festival and CMJ this past fall, each for the first time.  Basically, lots and lots of interviews and acoustic sessions and the like.  I've been able to meet lots of great people this way and I wouldn't give it up for anything.

Being actively involved in the music industry, how often have you been tempted to skip class or put off an assignment in order to attend a show?  How do you make the choice?
Uh... Well... (I hope mom and dad aren't reading.) Yes, of course!  It's always a very hard decision that I never feel 100% okay with either way.  I try not to skip class because I'm at NYU and tuition is ridiculous, so I hate the thought of voluntarily skipping a class I pay so much for.  So with regards to that, I have skipped a class or two over the years in favor of covering a show or doing a session with an artist who is only in town for one day.  It's rare, but I think about how far into the semester it is, if I've missed that class already, what is being covered in class that day, and the likelihood of me being able to work with this artist again any time soon.  Mental pros and cons lists are definitely made.  I'm more likely to put off an assignment in favor of a show but only because my professors are generally super understanding, as long as I tell them if I'll be submitting something a little late.  But usually I'll attempt to hand something in on the due date, and worst case scenario, I offer to fix it up.

Have you ever arranged your schedule based on music related obligations? Have you ever had to turn something down or reschedule something based on your school schedule?
Like I said above, it's always a super tough call when it's music/career vs. school.  On the one hand, I'm at this school because it's supposed to help me further my career and get a good job after I graduate and help me make connections and blah blah blah.  It does do that - I find the networking opportunities here incredible and that's what I love most about this school in particular.  But at the same time, I've been pursuing a 'career' for a fairly long time now, and I'm at a point where I'm looking to take the next step with it.  It's hard when I get an opportunity that could help me make another connection or accomplish a major goal, but I have to worry about my school schedule and/or homework.  I've asked for nights off from work to cover a show, but I make a point of making up for those lost hours at a later time.  But I can't exactly ask a professor if I can skip class to go interview a band they've never heard of.  I've definitely had to reschedule a lot, and the same goes with turning things down unfortunately. 

Are you often faced with tough choices when it comes to priorities and scheduling as a student who's also involved in the music industry? 
 Yes! Yes.  I have to prioritize shows a lot of the time.  It's New York City, so there are several shows happening every week.  While a lot of them seem really interesting, I obviously can't go to all of them.  I've missed shows of bands I really like, and I've missed friends' shows because I have work or a huge paper to write, or because I can't make the trip out to Long Island and get back in time for a class.  The whole thing is such a pain, but at the same time it's been a huge learning experience.  It taught me how to decide which shows I *have* to go to, and which I can skip in favor of getting work done and seeing that artist next time they're in town. The worst example was during CMJ.  A few times I had to reschedule interviews last minute because I forgot to factor in the fact that I had class during all that chaos.  So not only did I have to reserve the class time for class, but I also had to take into account travel time from the press area to that class, and back.  That week was a whirlwind of excitement, frustration, and fun.  I'm looking forward to a time when I can cover it and give the music my full attention without having to push something back so that I can do my homework. Worst excuse for anything, ever.

Do you find it hard to find the time and a quiet space in which to listen to an album fully before reviewing it? Also, do you find it hard to find a place to do interviews or acoustic sessions, or to edit videos? 
(Wow these are detailed questions, gosh)  Sometimes you just have to turn the headphones up and the world down. It's more of a struggle to find the time to really sit down and fully take in an album, for me at least.  Since I'm still in school, I obviously don't have an office or anything.  There's always the idea of doing something in Washington Square Park or some other cool park, but that's risky where sound and weather are concerned.  But I've gone the park route and it can be done.  I've also done interviews in vans and the office of the artist's publicist, so those are good options.  Doing sessions or interviews at a show, even if it's before doors, can be tricky.  Sound, empty space, lighting, and timing are all potential issues.  The good thing is that generally there are at least a few options, but it would be much easier if I had a headquarters for The Music Obsession other than my small dorm room. 

Do you struggle with roommates?  Do they ever complain about you taking up too much space or being too loud with your musical endeavors?
I try to use headphones whenever my roommate is around. Generally the stuff I listen to isn't offensive or anything, but sometimes you just have to jam The Lonely Island and sometimes not everyone gets the joke, you know?  So I opt for the headphone method.  I also go downstairs to the lounge of the dorm at times just to be able to spread out and not worry if my roommate wants to go to bed when I *just* started editing a video or something.  It's another scheduling conflict mixed with potential noise complaints and bad vibes, but I tell my roommates up-front that I'm a music person and we all do our best to make our own endeavors work.

What is one of the biggest obstacles you've faced while trying to progress your career while still in school? Have you faced many tough obstacles like that, or has being in school helped you take those next steps?
Time management is my enemy. Always has been, and hopefully won't always be but we'll see. I've been learning strategies and seeing what works with regards to prioritizing and making tons of to-do lists, so being constantly on my game has been a positive in that way.  Being in school has helped in the sense that I've been able to meet people I wouldn't have met otherwise.  Sheila, the contributor for the site who does The Family Breakfast feature, is from New Mexico.  Without us both having been in the same Intro to Music Business class, we very likely wouldn't have met which would have been fairly tragic.  On a bigger scale, I've had classes with guest speakers who I've been able to meet and speak to after that class.  Where else could I have spoken to real investigative journalists, actors, film makers, politicians, and more?  NYU has helped me make soo many connections, and you know the classes are great too, but the networking abilities I have here are insane.  I mean, many CMJ panels take place in NYU buildings, and several showcases happened in venues nearby the "campus" which made things much easier with regards to covering the festival and still having classes.  It's a weird experience, because being in school while taking the next steps in my life is both a blessing and a curse, but in the end these trials are only helping me adapt for what I could face when I'm out.

How has being in college helped you advance your involvement in the music industry?  Do you think the pros of being in both outweigh the cons?
Initially, I didn't want to go to college.  I started this site as a sophomore in high school, so by the time senior year rolled around, I wanted to be done with school and just pursue music stuff full time.  I knew that that wasn't really an option given the competitive market for even starting positions in companies, so to college I went.  I really can't say enough how being here at NYU has further opened doors. 

Do you think it's been beneficial to start your career / path in the music industry while you're still in school?
It was hard having started in high school, but it left me ahead of the curve at the time and it helped me get into the college I'm at now.  So, my logic is this - if you're passionate about something, get involved!  Start a zine, reblog some cute songs, tweet a link, make signs - do something.  Even recommending an album to a friend can really make a difference. A friend recommended that I should listen to Cobra Starship and 6 and a half years later, here we are.  If you really feel strongly about something, do whatever you can to get involved.  Start writing for a school paper, join a club oriented around organizing shows on your campus - anything.  It's a pain at times, and it takes determination but after years of struggling, I'm able to look back and say I'm happy I did what I did when I did it.  Also, pursuing internships is also super valuable, just make sure you're smart about where you work and what you get from it.  
You are valuable! Your ideas are valuable! Remember this, always.

What are your plans for after graduation?
For now, I'm going to keep experimenting with internships, and from there I'll decide where I want to end up immediately post-grad.  Long term, I would love to someday run a small label, or even a record store that also sells collectibles... I love the idea of running my own business and combining all of my passions.  So, those are my goals. Wish me luck.

- Kate Russell

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Skate And Surf Festival Announces Preliminary Line-Up

>> For those of us who attended, it's fairly safe to say that last year's Skate and Surf Festival was a bit of a mess for various reasons.  The line-up was great, but the circumstances of the event made attendees lose some sight of that.  In an attempt to make up for the past, and to put on a killer event, the people behind Skate and Surf are at it again.

>> The 2014 Skate and Surf Festival will take place on May 17th and 18th at the Middletown Sports Complex in Middletown, New Jersey. In the spirit of starting over, or getting a fresh start, this year's line up of the festival involves tons of reunions - including the long-awaited reunion of Midtown. In addition to the return of that Jersey-based band, fans will also be able to witness the return of Saosin featuring Anthony Green.  Other headliners announced include DMX and Circa Survive.  

>> The Skate and Surf Festival prides itself on promoting local acts as well as booking big, big names, and so far it looks like they've got that balance perfected for this year.  The reunion of Midtown is complimented by the addition of hometown heroes such as Hidden In Plain View, NGHBRS, Patent Pending, Bears & Motorcycles, and more.  This is just the first wave of band announcements, and so far things are looking up for this event.

Visit for ticket information

- Kate Russell

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Frank Iero (Death Spells, Leathermouth) Releases 'B.F.F.'

>> After the release of the last My Chemical Romance song, it's clear that the members are now moving forward with their own endeavors.  Frank Iero is working on some solo music, and his newest release is potentially one of the most adorable things you'll see and hear this week.  Frank just released a video for his new single "B.F.F.", a song that features his daughters, Lily and Cherry. 

>> According to Frank's initial announcement of the song, "B.F.F. was written by Lily and i, and features vocals by myself, Lily, and Cherry. i recorded and performed all of the instruments on the track at B.CALM Underground studios, it was then mixed by Ed Rose and mastered by Alan Douches at west west side music." It's an impressive feat for two three and a half year-olds.

>> The song is fairly tame, and includes an intermission from the cuteness at 1:46 with a very mild guitar solo, which is followed immediately by the continued singing of Frank and his little girls.  The family collaboration is a very sweet touch.  Knowing that Frank filmed and edited this video at home further brings the idea of family values to the forefront. The video shows three Ieros playing, singing, and having a good time together.   It'll warm your heart, even if they lyrics themselves are pretty sad.

"B.F.F." by Frank Iero featuring Lily and Cherry Iero

>> One more great aspect of this song is the fact that the proceeds from all sales of "B.F.F." go toward both Lily and Cherry, and their brother Miles', college funds.  A side note from Frank: (so no piracy will literally be stealing from a baby).  Another brief message from Frank can be seen below.
thank you so much to everyone that helped this project along, waited up late for the release, or was interested enough to take a look and a listen. it means the world, and we appreciate it from the tops of our hearts.
please enjoi! xofrnk,lly,chrry,mls

>> For more background information on the song, check out the feature / video premiere on Alternative Press.

- Kate Russell

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Bellwether to release 'After Reflection' on February 18th


>>  Long Island based Bellwether are proud to announce the release of After Reflection, the band's first acoustic EP.  The 5-song EP will be released on February 18th and will feature 3 tracks from But I Have To..., a new song, and a special cover song.  The EP will be streaming in full on starting tomorrow (2/11/14).  

>> This will be Bellwether's first release since 2013's But I Have To..., which was produced by Vinnie Caruana and Brett "Ratt" Romnes from I Am The Avalanche.  To celebrate, Bellwether will be playing an album release show on March 1st at The Wood Shop in Copaigue, NY. More info on the release show can be seen below.  The band also will be performing at Today's Mixtape Festival on March 29th, so you have plenty of time to learn the words.

- Kate Russell
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Sunday, February 9, 2014

The College Experience with JP Catalanotto

>> You never really know when you're going to meet someone who will end up being in your life for years.  I didn't have a set group of friends in high school, so I just kind of went with the flow and would only spend time with people who didn't try to force me to go to lame events or what have you.  I stuck with the kids who had a different set of priorities.  Through those kids, I ended up meeting JP (who at the time spelled it JayP and it was ..interesting).  While we didn't go to the same school or have the ability to drive at the time, we hit it off instantly.  We'd talk about music and movies and things that weren't necessarily "cool," which are often best things. Flash forward to our junior years of college and here's JP, contributing to the site I started around the time we had first met.  He's a co-host of podSessions, the coolest music podcast on the block.  That feature helps add more personality to the site, and I'm glad I met JP when I did because it's helped me enhance a project of mine years in the future.  Sometimes the world brings music fans together, and sometimes it's a great thing.  JP answered these questions for me back in December, so I figured it was about time that I shared his responses with you.

Please state your name, age, and what school you attend / what year you're in (if applicable).
My name is JP Catalanotto, a recent 21-year-old and junior at Iona College.

When and how did you first get involved with the music scene?
My first involvement in the music scene was with a basement band a friend formed freshman year of high school. I played guitar but certainly not well. With that, I moved on to bass and that’s where I really made my stint in the band and in live shows. Looking back, it was an important learning experience. Gotta start somewhere, right?

If you got involved at a relatively early age, was it hard having to deal with age restricted shows?
I was playing guitar by 12. By 12 and a half, I was dying to get to shows – at a stadium or otherwise. The bands I’ve always wanted to see where always playing big venues like Nassau Colliseum or Madison Square Garden, so that wasn’t too bad. I think the issue really came with me trying to get to local shows that my friends were playing at. A lot of my friends have a two year jump on me, so by the time they could play 21+ shows, it got a lot harder to see them.

Now that you're in college, has that aspect gotten easier? Are things more accessible to you now?
They’re officially easier as of the day I’m writing this (December 2nd, 2013) because I just turned the big 21. So, my days of sneaking into shows are over… for now.

Do you find that you have more or less free time generally as a college student?
Absolutely the least amount of free time but in the same breath the most amount of free time I’ve had. Time management is the biggest lesson with any undergraduate; I’ve gotten into a terrible habit of filling up every time slot in my day. I like to stay busy at school, but at home I prefer not to move from my couch unless it’s to fetch some Taco Bell.

Being actively involved in the music industry, how often have you been tempted to skip class or put off an assignment in order to attend / play a show? How do you make the choice?
Let’s be honest; no one’s perfect. I’ve skipped classes for sleep, mental health, and definitely to play shows. That said, the trick is to realize that if you’re in school, you should get your money’s worth. I always make sure that I keep the skipping to a very bare minimum – shows are great, but grade guilt is always better in the long run.

Have you ever arranged your schedule based on music related obligations? Have you ever had to turn something down or reschedule something based on your school schedule?
I’ve never based my schedule on my music obligations. That’s a personal choice, though. Most musical things in my life happen at night, so I just make sure to ease up on night classes. I’ve turned down quite a few gigs because of classes, though.

Are you often faced with tough choices when it comes to priorities and scheduling as a student who's also involved in the music industry?
Not necessarily. I know when I can and can’t skip a class or a library day for a night in Manhattan to check out a band. It’s heavily based on where I’m at in the semester more than the schedule.

With being in a band, do you find it hard to find a place to practice if you're in dorms or if you and your band mates are at different schools? Is it hard to coordinate shows and performances for the same reasons? 
It’s definitely not easy. The reality is that, more often than not, you won’t “make it big” in the normal sense (money, fame, a VH1 series that painfully ends a career, etc.). I think that reality hits home for a lot of great musicians too soon and is the big deterrent for bands not to give it an honest go. That’s not to say they’re minds are in the wrong places, obviously – sometimes reality becomes way too overwhelming. Out of nowhere, you’re more concerned about adult things like getting into graduate school or landing a career instead of doing what you love (I’m caught in that adult-like whirlwind too). These are all great things and with both in mind I think it’s important to balance your idyllic and realistic goals. Keep your passions passionate, your work hard, and your brain focused and everything will fall into place (also, a quick prayer to John Bonham or Hendrix couldn’t hurt either. Go ahead. Try it).

For those who dorm - Do you struggle with roommates? Do they ever complain about you taking up too much space or being too loud with your musical endeavors?
I don’t think it’s an overt struggle for me. I try my best not to be loud and to keep practicing to a minimum out of consideration for my other nine roommates (that’s right, nine men in one floor). While that’s really saintly of me, that sacrifice really does affect my playing. I’m still holding out for Fender to make a soundproof porta-potty like structure, all inclusive with mics, spare strings, and a record deal.

What is one of the biggest obstacles you've faced while trying to progress your career while still in school? Have you faced many tough obstacles like that, or has being in school helped you take those next steps?
I have three goal-based mental states that I’ll constantly drift into: the creative one (being a musician, a podcaster, a film maker, or a writer), the realistic one (becoming a lawyer, a government employee, or a professor), and, finally, the Jedi one (self-explanatory, methinks). The biggest obstacle for me is just choosing one and sticking to it for more than 6 months. For example, it’s hard to write when I have to worry about studying for LSATs and it’s harder to play shows when I have important classes. Even as I write this, I should be studying for two midterms – but the creative mindset has sneaked in, plopped down on my brain-couch, and brought some snacks, too. He’s usually the most considerate.

How has being in college helped you advance your involvement in the music industry? Do you think the pros of being in both outweigh the cons?
As far as my major? It hasn’t. The biggest thing it’s helped with is, as I mentioned, time management. You’re lying if you tell yourself that you’re going to remember every lesson of every lecture you’ve sat through. But, you’ve pulled yourself out of bed, threw some clothing on, and went to that class. Maybe you forgot to brush your teeth and you’re wearing the same David Bowie shirt that’s been on you for the past three days (guilty, by the way), but you made it there and sat it out. As Woody Allen imparted, eighty percent of success is showing up.

Do you think it's been beneficial to start your career / path in the music industry while you're still in school?
Well, it depends on where you’d mark a starting point. For me, a starting point to your music career, not the starting point for your passion for music, is having your songs done, demoed, and ready to market the hell out of your product. Though many don’t want to admit it, the music industry an industry for a reason – there’s money to be made. That being said, I think it’s good to constantly be writing your music and perfecting it as a skill and passion. However, unless you’re studying anything music related, school is probably the worst thing that could happen to a potential music career. Of course, that’s not to say that school is bad (I have a sick love for research papers, history, and law, to the point where I’m spending my 21st birthday in the library). My recommendation? When you’re in school, keep the music fun – you’ll need it for some long nights with lots of coffee, trust me on that one. When making music isn’t fun, there’s a serious problem. 

What are your plans for after graduation?
I’d like to go right to graduate school, but I need money first. That’s also a very convenient segue for me to focus on my very considerate aforementioned creative mental state. In short, lots of traveling, music, and wacky adventures in my dearest Nassau County. 

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- Kate Russell
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bayside Announces The Great American Cult Tour

>> Long time fans of the band Bayside will know that the fan base is often referred to as a cult.  The band has released merch with "cult" on it, people have had Bayside logos and the word "cult" tattooed - this is a thing that's been going on for years.  So, after years of releasing killer punk/rock albums, Bayside it at it again with Cult.

Lyric Video for Bayside's new song, "Time Has Come"

>> As previously announced, Bayside will be releasing their sixth studio album, titled Cult, on February 18th through Hopeless Records.  Can't wait that long? The band just put out a lyric video for "Time Has Come," a single from the new album, which you can watch above.  In addition, you can download "Time Has Come" here, as well as the band's single "Pigsty" here.

>> To further instill the feeling of being part of something bigger (like, I don't know, a cult), Bayside is taking this show on the road.  The band will head out on The Great American Cult Tour starting in March with Four Year Strong, Daylight, and Mixtapes along for support. The full list of dates for the tour can be seen below.

The Great American Cult Tour Dates
**Updated 3/4/14:
3/5 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom- SOLD OUT
3/6 - Pontiac, MI @ The Crofoot Ballroom
3/7 - Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
3/8 - Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
3/9 - St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
3/11 - Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall
3/12 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Club Sound
3/14 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
3/15 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
3/16 - San Francisco, CA @ Slim's
3/18 - Pomona, CA @ The Glass House
3/19 - Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Live
3/20 - San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
3/21 - Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues
3/22 - Tempe, AZ @ Club Red
3/24 - Dallas, TX @ The Door
3/25 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk
3/26 - Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
3/28 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
3/29 - Orlando, FL @ Beacham Theater
3/30 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
4/1 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle
4/2 - Silver Springs, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage
4/3 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero
4/4 - New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
4/5 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium

- Kate Russell

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Feature: The Grahams Release 'Riverman's Daughter (Deluxe)'

The Grahams - Riverman's Daughter (Deluxe)

If you like: Toy Soldiers, Neil Young, The Lumineers, Lucinda Williams, Avett Brothers

>> Happy Tuesday, Breakfast Eaters! For many of you it's 'SNOW-MUH-GAWD TWO-KAY-ONE-FOUR'* - myself included. We definitely need some cozy, winter friendly jams to defrost our hearts. Look no further! The Grahams' debut record re-release of Riverman's Daughter came out today and has got what you need. Put the kettle on and settle in for some foot-stomping, whiskey-rich ballads to sooth the soul. 

The Grahams are the hardest-working, New York City native couple that you ever did see. Alyssa and Doug Graham have known each other since childhood, and this makes their musical stylings seamless as they fit together like puzzle pieces from the clay, ya'll. I had the pleasure of seeing the duo play in Brooklyn on a cold evening in November. Alyssa's strong, beautiful voice filled the room, captivating the Brooklynites. I recall eating a plate of garlic fries - an infamous dish at this particular venue - which were soon forgotten when The Grahams began to play. Alyssa and Doug play with such joy and soul that it immediately changes the vibe of the entire room. Normally stoic Brooklynites were besought to dance, and I found myself experiencing such rapture that one song (which, unfortunately didn't make it on to the re-release) brought me to tears. 

This passion, joy, heartache and truth is the glue of Riverman's Daughter. The Grahams tell a real story based on their experiences starting in NYC and moving through the heart of America. Alyssa and Doug literally followed rivers, a la Huck Finn, and the result is this astounding debut album. 

The first track Revival Time is a playful barn-dance anthem. You can almost smell the dirt and hear the floorboards creaking from the dancing crowd, hands clapping and drinks spilling.

If You're In New York is a miracle. A bluegrass ballad about NYC finally exists! This is my favorite song on the record - the city is compared to various landscapes across the country that you would here in classic bluegrass songs. I love this song because as a bluegrass junkie, it makes me feel less homesick. 

Lonesome Child is a power ballad with the gut-wrenching chorus "then you went off the rails and I went straight." I think we've all been there at one point or another. 

Goodbye Babe showcases Alyssa's beautiful, beautiful voice and her guitar, singing a heartfelt goodbye. I hope this song is the backdrop to any situation where I have to make a heartfelt goodbye and I'm driving away, looking back through the rearview mirror - although I will cry like a baby. 

The album features some great live tracks from the album, as well as four new tracks, one being a cover of Neil Young's Down By The River. The live tracks are a perfect example of how incredible this band is live - trust me - they are a must see. The Grahams will a bring a light to your life that you didn't know you needed, but will want to hang on to forever.

>>We here at The Family Breakfast are big fans of the Americana/Folk/Bluegrass sound and this album has it all. Heart-wrenching vocals and lyrics, guitars, fiddle, songs to dance to, songs to belt it out to, and songs to cry to. Keep your eyes on these two, they're going places.

 Luckily, the duo have lots of dates coming up for their spring tour - if they're coming through your town you absolutely NEED to see them. The album is available today on iTunes. You can stream The Grahams debut album, Riverman's Daughter (Deluxe), find tour dates, watch the official video for A Good Man and get connected with the band below.

Peace, Love and Family Breakfast.
Yours Cruelly,

The Grahams Spring Tour 2014 Dates:

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*Term coined by The Architect's Brandon Phillips on his Facebook in reference to the insane snow throughout the country
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