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A Q & A with Penny & Sparrow

April 28, 2016

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for Folk Alley

Penny and Sparrow.jpgThe two gents who comprise Penny and Sparrow -- Kyle Jahnke and Andy Baxter -- didn't set out to be musicians. They were living together with a bunch of other guys in a house during college and, basically, stumbled into an artistic collaboration that worked... really, really well. With Jahnke focusing on guitar and Baxter leaning into vocals, the alt-folk duo has emerged to much critical acclaim with their lovely new Let a Lover Drown You release.

Kelly McCartney: Being late-comers to playing guitar and writing songs -- having sort of fallen into music as a career -- do you think that takes some of the pressure off? Or are the stakes just as high now that you're in it?

Kyle Jahnke: I would say that the pressure is off. We just love writing songs. I just didn't know I loved it until post-college! We are supremely grateful that music is our living, and I think it's hard to feel pressure because of that.

Kyle, as you deepen your guitar skills, what approach are you taking -- experimentation or tradition?

Kyle Jahnke: It ebbs and flows. I think both are important. Right now, I'm handling it in the most millennial of ways: watching YouTube lessons and videos of Paul Simon.

Andy, when you hear a lyric or read a passage that rocks you back on your heels, what's the take-away for you?

Andy Baxter: I keep multiple word banks written down at any given time in my journals and in text messages to myself. Any sentence or idea -- or even just one word -- that inspires me gets written down immediately. It happens (fairly often) that I'll take One Word and write a song around that. Anything that moves me immediately gets translated into fuel for writing songs or short stories.

What kind of freedoms -- and limitations -- are there in an acoustic duo?

Kyle Jahnke: I think that we are offered total freedom as an acoustic duo. It's really just giving us a chance to put two brains together to write the best songs we can write. Playing live, right now we are touring as a duo, but in six months we could be out with a full band or a string quartet. We just want to keep changing and pushing. I think the only limitation that we are experiencing is Andy's reluctance to dive deep in to the world of math-rock and free jazz.

You guys have cited Glenn Hansard and Justin Vernon (or their former projects) as influences. How do you feel as they both move in different artistic directions? Is that a bummer or an inspiration?

Kyle Jahnke: A total inspiration. We never want to make the same album twice. And it seems that is the case with both Glenn Hansard and Justin Vernon. They are part of the reason we know that it's possible to evolve and grow creatively. I'll always check out whatever they are working on. Also pretty sure their voices are actual butter.

###

'Let a Lover Drown You' is out now via Single Lock Records and available at iTunes and Amazon.com

Upcoming tour dates


Posted by Linda Fahey at 8:00 AM

Video Premiere: Mark Erelli, "Look Up"

April 21, 2016

by Elena See, Folk Alley

ErelliSQ.jpgLife should be more than a series of grueling tasks and unrewarding, staid routines. Life should take your breath away with its wonders and joys and beauties. And, life certainly can do that - and how. But there's the catch: YOU have to be aware of what life is choosing to offer and share.

Mark Erelli's "Look Up," which you'll find on his new recording For a Song, is a reminder not to sleepwalk through our daily existence. It's also a song that suggests that maybe there's no difference between what is sacred and what is secular - maybe, deep down, we all dream the same dreams.

Watching Erelli sing this gorgeously crafted song, staring straight ahead, hardly blinking, and playing his guitar with the kind of quiet confidence that only comes from years and years of practice and performance, you're struck with the fact that he's telling a story he knows really, really well.

It's like one of those truths we all have - the thing we know so well, that's such an intrinsic part of us, that we'll never forget. This song, with its three-person point of view, with its comments about being aware of what's around us, and yet with its willingness to admit that maybe we don't really know what life is all about, is Mark Erelli's truth.

The album version of "Look Up" features some beautiful harmony vocals from Paula Cole on the chorus and a touch of subtle percussion as well. This version, presented with a very nicely mic-ed guitar, puts Erelli's well-traveled voice and his clever lyrics front and center and is just as affecting, if not more so, because of its stark simplicity.

###

Mark Erelli's album 'For a Song' is out now and available at iTunes and direct from Mark at his Bandcamp page.

Upcoming tour dates


Video produced by Beehive Productions in Saranac Lake, NY

Posted by Linda Fahey at 11:33 AM

PLAYLIST: Folk Alley's weekly nationally syndicated radio show #1600407

April 13, 2016

Thumbnail image for Folk-Alley-Logo_medium.jpgPLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #1600407. Aired between April 8 - April 15, 2016. Hosted by Elena See

Artist - Title - Album - Label

Hour 1 (featuring our in-studio session with Hayes Carll recorded at the 2016 30A Songwriters Festival)

Alison Krauss - I've Got That Old Feeling - I've Got That Old Feeling - Rounder

Solas - Unnamed Shetland Reel / Da New Rigged Ship - All These Years - THL

Tedeschi Trucks Band - Anyhow - Let Me Get By - Fantasy/Concord

Lonesome River Band - Boats Up the River - Bridging the Tradition - Mountain Home

Doc Watson - Deep River Blues - The Vanguard Years - Vanguard

Hayes Carll - Chances Are (in-studio) - Folk Alley Exclusive - Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Hayes Carll - The Magic Kid (in-studio) - Folk Alley Exclusive - Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Hayes Carll (feat. Allison Moorer) - Love Don't Let Me Down (in-studio) - Folk Alley Exclusive - Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Larry Keel - Miles and Miles - Experienced - Larry Keel

Keller & The Keels - Bath of Fire - thief - SCI Fidelity

Fortunate Ones - Solitary Sparks - The Bliss - Old Farm Pony

Tony Furtado - Iowa - The Bell - Yousayfurtado

Gillian Welch - Winter's Come and Gone - Hell Among the Yearlings - ALM Sounds

Hour Two

Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands - Train On the Island - The Hazel and Alice Sessions - Spruce and Maple

Elixir - Babe of the Night - Rampant - Elixir

Sam Bush - The Wizard of Oz - King of My World - Sugar Hill

Mary McPartlan - Hangman - From Mountain To Mountain - Claddagh

Steve Dawson - Hangman's Blues - Black Hen Music - Blackhen

Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones - Never Knew You Loved Me Too - Little Windows - Cooking Vinyl

Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones - Only Fooling - Little Windows - Cooking Vinyl

Carrie Rodriguez - I Dreamed I Was Lola Beltran - Lola - Luz

Lyle Lovett - They Don't Like Me - I Love Everybody - MCA

Terri Hendrix - The Texas Star - Love You Strong, Project 5.1 - Wilory

Malcolm Holcombe - Sweet Georgia - Another Black Hole - Green Eyes

Mr. Sun - The Fiddler's Boot - The People Need Light - Compass

Indigo Girls - Spread The Pain Around - One Lost Day - Vanguard

The Alt - Going For A Soldier Jenny / The Chandelier - The Alt - Under the Arch

Anuna - Dulaman - Omnis - Universal



Folk Alley's weekly, syndicated radio show, hosted by Elena See, is produced by WKSU (NPR-affiliate in Kent, OH). The show is available for free to stations via PRX.org or via FTP for non-PRX members. Stations may air the show as either a one-, or two-hour program. The Folk Alley Radio Show is presently carried by over 40 stations nationally. Folk Alley also presents a 24/7 hosted Internet channel available at FolkAlley.com, TuneIn, iTunes and more. :: for more information contact Linda Fahey at 518-354-8077: Linda@folkalley.com

Posted by Linda Fahey at 1:24 PM

PLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #160331

April 7, 2016

Thumbnail image for Folk-Alley-Logo_medium.jpgPLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #160331. Aired between April 1 - April 7, 2016. Hosted by Elena See

Artist - Title - Album - Label

Hour 1

David Francey - Red-Winged Blackbird - Torn Screen Door - Laker Music

John Starling & Carolina Star - Irish Spring - Slidin' Home - Rebel

The Early Mays - Red Bud - The Early Mays - The Early Mays

Elephant Revival - Raindrops - Petals - Itz Evolving

Grateful Dead - Box of Rain - American Beauty - Warner Bros

Fortunate Ones - The Bliss - The Bliss - Old Farm Pony

The Once - All the Hours - Departures - Nettwerk Music Group

Hayes Carll - Love Is So Easy - Lovers and Leavers - Hwy 87

David Ramirez - New Way Of Living - Fables - Sweetworld

Jimmy Lafave - Buffalo Return to the Plains - Favorites 1992-2001 - Music Road

Terri Hendrix - Fifty Shades of Hey - Love You Strong, Project 5.1 - Wilory

The Lumineers - Ho Hey - The Lumineers - Dualtone

Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands - Who's That Knocking? - The Hazel and Alice Sessions - Spruce and Maple

Eileen Ivers - Farewell My Love and Remember Me - Beyond the Bog Road - Entertainment One

Town Mountain - Comin' Back To You - Southern Crescent - LoHi


Hour 2

Asleep at the Wheel (feat. Devil Makes Three) - Bubbles In My Beer - Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys - Bismeaux

Chris Pandolfi - Close Encounters - Looking Glass - Sugar Hill

Buffy Sainte- Marie - Farm In the Middle of Nowhere - Power In the Blood - Gypsy Boy Music/True

Lonesome River Band - Thunder & Lightning - Bridging the Tradition - Mountain Home

Greg Brown - Cold & Dark & Wet - The Evening Call - Red House

Parker Millsap - Heaven Sent - The Very Last Day - Okrahoma

Sam Gleaves - Ain't We Brothers - Ain't We Brothers - Community

Ashleigh Caudill - Pork Pie Hat - Looney Bird - Ashleigh Caudill

Leftover Salmon - Liza - Aquatic Hitchhiker - LoS

Free the Honey - A Beautiful Life - Fine Bloom - Free the Honey

Frank Solivan - The Fishin' Song - Family, Friends & Heroes - Compass

Harvey Reid - The Fisherman - Harvey Reid - Woodpecker

Joel Rafael Band - Talking Fishing Blues - Woodeye - Inside

Sean Watkins - Last Time For Everything - What To Fear - Single Lock

James Lee Stanley w/ John Batdorf - Last Time - All Wood And Stones - Beachwood



Folk Alley's weekly, syndicated radio show, hosted by Elena See, is produced by WKSU (NPR-affiliate in Kent, OH). The show is available for free to stations via PRX.org or via FTP for non-PRX members. Stations may air the show as either a one-, or two-hour program. The Folk Alley Radio Show is presently carried by over 40 stations nationally. Folk Alley also presents a 24/7 hosted Internet channel available at FolkAlley.com, TuneIn, iTunes and more. :: for more information contact Linda Fahey at 518-354-8077: Linda@folkalley.com

Posted by Linda Fahey at 12:36 PM

Hear It First: Mark Erelli, 'For A Song'

April 4, 2016

by Cindy Howes, FolkAlley.com

For A Song Erellicolor1hires 500sq.jpgMark Erelli hasn't produced a solo album of originals like For A Song - his new self-released record - since 2010, but that doesn't mean the Massachusetts-based songwriter hasn't been extremely busy. He dialed down his solo work a bit in order to raise his family, which includes two young boys, but the last six years have been a time of music growth for this extremely versatile musician. Erelli has been producer, sideman and bandmate to several different musical outfits, like Lori McKenna, Paula Cole and the bluegrass band Barnstar!.

What is striking about For A Song is that you not only hear Erelli's own distinct New England folkie style - a style he's been perfecting since the late 90's - you can the hear others in his music as well. You hear the playfulness of Barnstar! on songs like "Wayside," and you literally hear Paula Cole on "Look Up." Cole adds her distinct guest vocals to that track, as well as "French King."

The most touching influence for any folk fan is the late Bill Morrissey, to whom Mark paid tribute with his last studio release, Milltowns. Here, you can't help but feel like Mark is channeling Bill's whimsical vocal delivery on the song "Analog Hero."

I have it on good authority that Mark Erelli can, on command, sing Roy Orbison songs at pitch. He has a four octave vocal range, including the "Mariah Carey note." There are very few voices that can sing any type of song and contain as much emotion and power as his voice can so easily do. The songs on For A Song are worthy of this man's voice; they are the best of his career, so far. It's inspiring to hear the culmination of all his hard work in songwriting, raising a family and different musical collaborations of these past several years come to life on this album.

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For A Song is out on April 8th and is available now for pre-order at iTunes and directly via Mark's website.

Upcoming tour dates


Posted by Linda Fahey at 9:53 AM

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