Fresh Cuts For May

Over the past few weeks we’ve been doing some fun things on The Appetizer radio program, including an exploration of the colors in music and long & short songs from the same artists. All the while I’ve been presenting some new flavors of music along with some older ones (the pairing of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Guns ‘N Roses with Green Day, Brass Bed, and Iron & Wine last week). And in the time between shows I’ve received some great new music in the mail and acquired some other new stuff from iTunes. And I want to share the fresh new cuts of music with you this weekend. Below are some insights into the artists that will be featured in this weekend’s presentation of The Appetizer. Please check them out on Facebook and tell them The Appetizer introduced you and/or showcased them to you. Thanks.

Blame Salley
Blame Salley is a collaboration of four solo female singer-songwriters from San Francisco who have recorded and performed together frequently over the past decade. The members of the group include Pam Delgado (percussion and vocals), Renee Harcourt (guitar, bass and vocals), Jeri Jones (guitar, bass and vocals} and Monica Pasqual (piano, accordion and vocals). The group was formed in 2000, and in 2001, KFOG “began playing the band’s music on the popular ‘Acoustic Sunrise’ show, leading to more gigs and bigger venues”; the band “got national attention through XM Radio and “by the end of 2006, the band was playing more than 50 shows a year.” Allmusic praises their 2007 album, Severland as “the first on which they sound more like a proper band than four solo artists working collectively,” and gives it a rating of 4.5 stars. As of 2009, the band was signed for a three-album, five-year contract worth a half-million dollars. In 2010, Blame Sally released Live at Stern Grove Festival, recorded at Stern Grove Festival in 2009 and headlined by the legendary Joan Baez. Also in 2010, Germany saw its first taste of Blame Sally with a 15 date tour across the country. The band played in a myriad of venues from inns to The House of Blues. More information on Blame Salley can be found here.

Matt Morris
Matt is the son of country music star Gary Morris. He achieved early fame when he appeared on the Disney Channel television series The Mickey Mouse Club in the early 1990s, where he was a cast member from 1991-1995 (Seasons 4-7). Here he met future collaborators Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, along with future celebrities Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling, Chasen Hampton, Keri Russell, and JC Chasez. Morris first experienced success as a songwriter in the early 2000s. Morris collaborated with Aguilera on her 2002 RCA Records, “Stripped”, co-writing 5 songs with Aguilera and producer Scott Storch, including the hit “Can’t Hold Us Down.” Another of their collaborations, “Miss Independent”, went on to become a number one hit for American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson. Morris continued his success in songwriting by co-writing with Timberlake the song “Another Song (All Over Again)” for Timberlake’s second solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006). The track was produced by Rick Rubin, and the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Most recently, a song of his appeared on Reba McEntire’s Reba: Duets album, which McEntire sings with Timberlake. Morris’ January 2010 performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with Justin Timberlake and Charlie Sexton on the Hope For Haiti Now telethon became the most downloaded song from the international broadcast’s digital release and went to #1 on the iTunes music chart and #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. During the same month, Morris released “When Everything Breaks Open” on Timberlake’s Tennman Records. The release gained wide distribution through Interscope Records, garnering much praise in the press. In April of 2011, Matt sat down with me for an exclusive interview at Flyboy Studio in Clyde, TX. Excerpts of this session and music coming soon. More information on Matt and his music can be found here.

Merging Blue
There is something about the power of three. Three voices melding. Three personalities connecting. Three journeys braiding together. Americana vocal trio Merging Blue captures that fusion with a unique and inspiring sound born of open ears and open hearts. They are long-time friends, music industry pros and stellar singers who bring a range of influences and experiences to the group. Embracing and assimilating blues, soul, gospel, bluegrass, country and rock, Merging Blue finds the sweet spots and the common ground in American music. Their shows are joyful, uplifting experiences — celebrations of music as a uniting force. Merging Blue inspires even as they entertain. Lydia Gott, George Pendergrass and Heather Lawson met as friends in the Nashville music community and worked together as backing vocalists on a variety of projects, from major country and gospel sessions to each other’s individual albums. But personal and musical chemistry took control, and they decided to join forces into a new group that literally merges three rich and varied lives in music. Each member of Merging Blue has a distinguished resume. George, a formally trained singer from the Bronx, New York, has sung in a wide variety of professional settings. His studio credits include backing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” on U2’s Rattle And Hum, as well as the sound track for Prince of Egypt and other major Hollywood films. He also spent years touring as leader of the vocal group Acappella. Heather is a solo artist who has performed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and opened for country diva Wynonna and new star Taylor Swift. Nashville mega-producer and guitarist Dann Huff has said that “beyond possessing a great voice, Heather is a stylist.” Lydia has been a professional songwriter and singer in Los Angeles and Nashville since 1994. Her song “New Day” charted #1 at CCM radio for the group Avalon and was featured in Oprah’s “Big Give” special. More information on Merging Blue found here.

Susan Enan
Susan Enan released her debut album ‘Plainsong’ in 2009. In 2006, while demoing songs for the record, Enan began receiving worldwide attention after her track “Bring On The Wonder” featuring Sarah McLachlan, and appeared on the second season of the Fox show Bones. The song was also featured on the shows soundtrack two years later. It took another 6 months to wrap up the record proper which features Enan’s remix of “Bring on the Wonder” along with 9 other tracks. In June 2010 Sarah McLachlan recorded her own version of “Bring On The Wonder” for her seventh studio album Laws of Illusion. Susan is currently embarking on a worldwide house concert tour called “Bring On The Song”. Enan grew up in Cambridgeshire, England. After moving to Liverpool to study music, she began playing the local singer songwriter scene. It was during these years she discovered a love for film scores and the simple, yet intelligent, folk songs of Woody Guthrie. More information on Susan can be found here.

The National
Formed in 1999, the Ohio-raised, Brooklyn-based band consists of vocalist Matt Berninger fronting two pairs of brothers: Aaron (guitar, bass, piano) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), and Scott (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums). Their first full-lengths, The National and Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, and a crucial mini-album, Cherry Tree, preceded their signing to Beggars Banquet in 2004. Alligator (2005), included underground anthem “Mr. November,” and raised their profile as the National grew into an incendiary live band. As the first decade of the 21st century came to a close both Boxer and Alligator made countless “album of the decade” lists and their members began to occupy a still larger cultural footprint. In the period between Boxer and High Violet, Aaron and Bryce produced 2009’s Dark Was The Night, a 31-track album to benefit the Red Hot Organization. I interviewed NPR’s All Songs Considered hosts Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen last year who named The National’s High Violet album #3 on their Top 100 albums of 2010. More information on the band found here.

Erin’s Charm

Erin’s Charm is a three-piece Irish folk outfit based out of Abilene, TX. Concerned with the impression that Irish music is all about drinking and fighting, the group began playing together to show the beautiful side of the Land of Erin. More information and their music can be found here.

James Vincent McMorrow
James Vincent McMorrow released his debut record, Early in the Morning, in Ireland to widespread critical acclaim in February 2010. A stunning collection of songs recorded over 5 months in an isolated house by the sea, the album is a completely self recorded and played affair, filled with beguiling and vivid stories, fables that move from a whisper in your ear to a mountainous crescendo in the space of a song, all the while retaining the environment and sentiment in which they were formed. James is currently on tour with The Civil Wars. Get more information on him and his music here.

All these great new artists and even more coming up this week. Join us. And comment on what you hear on our Facebook page. Thanks.
The Appetizer is heard Saturdays at 3P on KVLU, Saturdays at 9P on KACU, and Sundays at 9P on KTRL.

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Host of the syndicated radio program The Appetizer heard on public radio across Texas and online from our Listen Now link; enjoys conversations, music, food, art, storytelling, and people. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you.

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