Hello Emerson

Pressphoto 2024 - Hello Emerson

Hello Emerson was founded in Columbus, Ohio by Sam Emerson Bodary in 2015. Quickly joined by percussionist/musical director Daniel Seibert and keyboardist Jack Doran. Hello Emerson’s midwestern songwriting now resonates internationally – particularly in Germany – with recognition from Rolling Stone Germany, DPA, and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. With comparisons to John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats), Andrew Bird, Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), and Sufjan Stevens. Their debut record was heralded as “a find for the genre” and “the sublime intersection of the best American indie-folk bands.”

Their 2020 sophomore effort, How to Cook Everything, solidified their reputation as an earnest, humble, and insistent voice in indie-folk singer-songwriting. With contributions from 50 local musicians, Hello Emerson crystallized life in a big town/small city amidst personal and political tensions. Confirming, denying, and otherwise complicating midwestern stereotypes within song’s narrative. DPA compared them to Andy Shauf, going “far beyond normal folk pop standards,” while MDR Kultur christened them, “among the best indie bands in the USA.” Stateside, they were humbled with a hometown award for the best local release of 2020.

We count Hello Emerson among the best indie bands in the USA. His greatest strength is finding the true depth of everyday stories without making a fuss. (MDR Kultur – Radio feature on 2/10/2020)

There’s no getting around the Americana indie folk rock band Hello Emerson. The comparisons with Conor Oberst or Ryan Adams are still justified, and Sam Bodary could hardly wish for better references. With ‘How To Cook Everything’ he once again succeeds in a varied and multi-layered Americana indie folk rock album. ‘How To Cook Everything’ has become a huge successor to ‘Above The Floorboards’, establishing Bodary as a brilliant songwriter. Sounds & Books

Amazingly mature debut of a young, literary American: Sam Bodary is just 23, but this sounds like the sublime intersection of the best American indie folk bands. Glitterhouse

Hometown Caravan Shop

John Blek

Original folk songwriter based in Cork, Ireland. Delving into the world of fingerstyle guitar, influenced by the music of Ireland, England and America.

“I spent much of the early part of 2017 in and out of hospital with some mysterious illness that was intent on wasting my now 30-year-old body. My energy was at an all time low and all that gave me joy had been stripped or put on hold. All but my guitar and what was left of my feeble voice. So to fill the days and occupy my mind, I wrote.

I wrote of resilience, of pain and uncertainty. Of new love through fevered dreams, of strength, hope, distance, sedation and the cure.

I did it every day and recorded the demos sitting up in my hospital bed accompanied by the electronic bleeps of the machines and punctuated by the nurse’s concerned enquiries.

I had a reason. For me this is cathartic. For me, this was the panacea.”

John Blek

Hometown Caravan Shop

In an age when it would be easy to become disillusioned with the music industry John has remained steadfastly positive and unyieldingly creative. Known for being one of Ireland’s hardest touring musicians. His live show is thoughtful and entertaining, littered with stories and showcasing his arresting vocals and intricate guitar playing.

……………..

“A lovely sounding thing” – Roddy Hart, BBC

“A force of nature” – The Irish Times

“a master of subtlety in realms of folk-informed pop.” – The Thin Air

‘His songwriter talent is shining brighter with every album.’ – John Creedon, RTÉ

Cory Branan

Throughout his career, Cory Branan has been too punk for country, too country for punk, too Memphis for Nashville, and probably a little too Cory Branan for anyone’s damn good. He has proven himself as a top-notch songwriter (Chuck Ragan recently called him “the greatest songwriter of our generation”), fierce lyricist (in Lucero’s “Tears Don’t Matter Much” they sing that Cory has, “a way with words that’ll bring you to your knees”), and a hyperdynamic performer with the ability to fingerpick finer than ‘60s Greenwich Village folkies and brutally strum like a proto punk shredder. Throughout his career, he’s made collective struggles poetic and breakthroughs into sympathetic acts of populist heroism.

Cory Branan is a natural-born storyteller, his seemingly conversational, painstakingly crafted anecdotes benefitting from a hard-eyed stare at hydra-headed life experiences. Not unlike his musical and literary pedestal sitters, from John Prine and Leonard Cohen to Raymond Carver and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cory’s gift for detail and phrase-turning is a thing of wonder.    There’s a novelistic flair to his writing, an approach full of layers and depth.  Songs seemingly reveal something new with every listen.

Cory has a well-documented history with groups like former label mates Lucero, musicians of his ilk who trend toward the rawer end of roots music (The Loved Ones’ Dave Hause, Chuck Ragan, The Hold Steady, The Gaslight Anthem, Two Cow Garage, Drag the River’s Jon Snodgrass), and rock stars like Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), who has covered Cory’s gorgeous “Tall Green Grass” and been a reoccurring tour mate.

Never one to shy away from an itinerary of non-stop cross-country shows, Cory possesses a unique performance style that enables him to gravelly sing a coy double entendre in one ear of the audience, while yelling the most beautiful love song into the other.

Josh Small

Josh Small was born in Falls Church, Virginia on the day Mt. St. Helens erupted. Now, he would tell you that a person’s perception of chaos is just as interesting and important as the chaos itself. And I would add that a person’s upbringing-their collective experiences, the things they never talk about, and the songs they stomp out together on the porch-determines the landscape of a life. Josh Small is the child of the first non-traveling generation in a family of gypsies and in his songwriting he captures what seems to be the collective memory of all the transience leading up to his life. He pulls from a legacy of tall tales, extreme loyalty, and bizarre collections to develop layered, diverse stories in which he plays the protagonist. The wily singer with the worn-through boot soles manages to capture a traveling narrative reminiscent of the bard, the ballad of a weary lover, and the “by hook or by crook” self- indulgence of a real rock n’ roller.

Small learned from his father how to play music starting at the age of six, and has since fallen in love with the work of Harry Nilson and Roger Miller. He has become a versatile part of the music scene in Richmond, Virginia. He has toured with bands such as Stop It, Pink Razors, and Strike Anywhere. He’s also a vital member of label mate Tim Barry’s touring band. Small’s debut release for Suburban Home, “Tall by Josh Small” was recorded by Lance Koehler at Minimum Wage Studio in the Oregon Hill neighborhood of Richmond. The result is an album filled with a melody-driven blend of folk music and 70’s style rock. But don’t be misled: this isn’t a lame hipster attempt to revitalize a bygone genre. There is a rare authenticity to Small’s sound that is impossible to ignore. Lyrically, the album can be read as a sort of therapy session for Small. It’s this brutally honest, almost stream-of-consciousness approach to songwriting that gives the album its greatest strength – when he sings “If New York City’s all you need, you don’t need me” you know that he means it. It’s an earnestness that cannot be faked, only felt. As Small says, “My right hand knows something that my brain doesn’t. I just let it wiggle on its own.”

The Coloradas

The Coloradas formed in 2011, as two songwriters and a handful of virtuosic bluegrass musicians, trying to create something meaningful in a gone-but-not-forgotten little apartment in Portland, Maine. The result was their self-titled debut, a collection of end-of-the-world bluegrass stomps and sad country ballads. Shortly after its release in the US, Germany-based label Hometown Caravan put it out on vinyl in Europe, and sent the band on two tours in Germany. They haven’t stopped performing, writing, and recording since.

Big Empty is the newest recording, to be released on October 22nd, the year 2013. It often sounds like the blues. It sometimes sounds like country music, back when country music sounded like itself. There are moments of mountain bluegrass, dark folk, and old time. The songs are written and earnestly delivered, re-interpreted as folk music, complete with fingerpicked guitars, clawhammer banjo, and soulful mandolin. There’s a pentecostal junkyard man, a soldier with a drinking problem, and a handful of first-person narratives.

The Coloradas currently tour the US in a 1986 Toyota Motorhome playing performing arts spaces, roots music festivals, house concerts, and other listening-based venues. They also travel to Europe several times a year. The live show is an experiment in finding common ground between American roots genres with improvisation and creativity, while staying true to their basic source of inspiration: the songs.

Roy Davis (songs, vocals, acoustic guitars) currently splits his time between Maine and his home away from home on the Bodensee in Austria. For the Coloradas, he wears the hat of audio engineer, manager, graphic designer, documentarian, and motorhome mechanic. He also travels as a solo performer.

Bernie Nye (songs, vocals, banjo, acoustic guitar, harmonica) lives in Maine with his lady and their cat Dinah. When not performing with The Coloradas, he works on a farm.

Joe Walsh (mandolin) is a guest performer with the band, appearing whenever and wherever they are lucky enough to have him. Caveat: going to a Coloradas show does not guarantee that you will see Joe Walsh play the mandolin..

Chuck Ragan

Chuck Ragan Biographie:

After playing in numerous bands in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Chuck Ragan teamed with Chris Wollard, Jason Black and George Rebelo, with whom he relocated from Sarasota, FL to Gainesville and formed Hot Water Music. That band quickly emerged as one of the American punk scene’s most distinctive and inventive units, winning a reputation as a riveting live act while releasing such well-received studio albums.

Feeling the urge to stretch out creatively, Ragan ventured into a more acoustic approach with the side project Rumbleseat, which released several singles and the album Rumbleseat Is Dead. After Hot Water Music disbanded in 2005, Ragan enthusiastically embraced his new status as solo troubadour, exploring an expanded palette of acoustic and electric textures on the acclaimed albums Feast or FamineGold Country and Covering Ground, as well as the stripped-down live set Los Feliz and a series of limited-edition subscription singles released in 2006 and 2007, and later compiled on CD as The Blueprint Sessions.

In 2008, Ragan launched the long-running Revival Tour. A series of collaborative acoustic adventures featuring a diverse assortment of punk, bluegrass and alt-country performers. In addition to Ragan, the Revival Tour, which has visited Britain, Europe, Australia and Scandinavia as well as North America.

In 2012—the same year that Ragan reunited with Hot Water Music to record their album Exister—the veteran road warrior released his first book. The Road Most Traveled, a collection of insights and anecdotes on the touring life that serves as both a personal memoir and a helpful how-to handbook. He is currently working on a second volume.

As his book makes clear, and as Till Midnight confirms, Ragan takes his musical mission seriously, drawing inspiration and emotional sustenance from the songwriters and music he surrounds himself with, his family and friends along with the close and loyal relationship with his audience.

“The way I see it,” Chuck Ragan observes, “we’re faced with tons of inspiration every day. Every step of this life has a way of teaching you something, showing you something, opening your ears and your heart to something. I have all these friends out there, and this community that supports me, who believe in what I’m doing and who believe in the power of music and the power of community.

“It’s a blessing and a privilege to stand on stage and play music for people,” he continues. “I meet so many folks out there, and they’re so hospitable and so kind and say such nice things to me about the songs. The support and the energy that I get from them is what makes it possible for me to keep doing this. And when I’m there and in that moment, it’s important to me to give it back to them as strongly as they’re giving it to me.”

Hometown Caravan Shop


Digger Barnes

Digger Barnes is a musician, based in Hamburg, Germany. He has performed extensively in Europe and the US and collaborated with various artists of the Americana genre. Being a songwriter, recording artist and touring musician for more than 20 years, he currently works as a composer for stages and screens. For more information, please visit: portdelaselva.org

Info:

An abandoned theme park, by the side of the road two old dinosaurs made of fiberglass. A car passes, followed by a cloud of dust. At the wheel a mustached man, on the backseat a guitar case.

Over the past 10 years, singer-songwriter Digger Barnes has been documenting his life on the road and capturing it on record. Tales of longing, melancholy and morbid charm are his trademark and the material of the “Diamond Road Show“. The “Diamond Road Show“ is a peculiar type of road movie – a bastard bearing the DNA of cinema and concert alike.

Digger Barnes developed this show-format alongside his friend, painter and video-artist Pencil Quincy. In previous years many miles were traveled to bring the “Diamond Road Show” to people at home and abroad. Yet here too, the outsider breaks with the norm: Instead of bringing the film show solely to clubs or cinemas, the tour, not unlike the road itself treads unfamiliar territory. Barnes takes his road trip to cemeteries, chapels, old gas stations, boxcars, squats and doesn’t even shy away from psychiatric institutions, high-brow theaters or airplane hangars. Being constantly on the road, Digger Barnes’ life and the fictional episodes of the “Diamond Road Show” merge and become inseparable.

Discography:


“Near Exit 27“ (2017, B&Q)
“Frame By Frame“ (2014, Hometown Caravan, B&Q)
“Every Story True“ (2012, Hometown Caravan, B&Q)
“Time Has Come“ (2009, Hometown Caravan, B&Q)
“Digger & Allie“ (2007, Sabotage)
“My Name Is Digger“ (2007, Sabotage)
“The Trailer Tapes“ (2006, Self-released)

Hometown Caravan Shop

The Gentle Lurch

The Gentle Lurch “We are passing our days / Like two snails / Slowly crawling past each other / A shared office, alright / But aren’t we supposed to be brothers?” . Workingman’s Lurch, just as the title track suggests, is a pessimistic album that deals with work. Going to work, being at work, stagnation, approximating death.

It’s the third album by a band from Dresden, Germany, called The Gentle Lurch. Its members hail from the rural Ore Mountain region nearby. They like to pause in between albums until each and everyone has forgotten about their existence. Their last (double-) album stems from 2009 and Americana-UK spoke of “Dresden‘s Answer to Wilco – a sprawling, experimental epic…” with regards to it back then. Rolling Stone Germany compared them to Lambchop and Tindersticks. 

Since then, the three core members and singers Cornelia Mothes on piano, Frank Heim and Lars Hiller on various string instruments were joined by Ronny Wunderwald on drums and Timo Lippold on bass. Possibly as a consequence, the band has been overheard speaking of Workingman’s Lurch as an “honest-to-God rock record” which, most likely, is an indication of their skewed self-perception. It’s the opposite of a perfectly rounded offering. Each song has got its own will, develops its own strategy and momentum. Ludwig Bauer has written two harrowingly beautiful string arrangements and, from time to time, an obscure ‘Choir of Mothers’ expands the polyphony of voices of the band’s three lead singers.

Yet, drums and bass provide a much firmer framework for this new set of songs. They let them become more concise and, at times, louder than on previous albums. ‘Our Bodies Become The Ground‘ rolls like scree avalange from the speakers. Also, Cornelia Mothes takes up much more room on this record, confronting Lars Hiller’s stoic sing-song manner of recitation with a comforting, almost redemptive element. She also brings a previously unfound directness and pop-affinity to this record. Therebeside, plenty of remnants of the old Gentle Lurch remain: close to standstill, precariously groping, a sound like rotten wood.

Their songs are lyric-heavy and narrative. The lyrics like to twist and turn to mystery like the closing observation of a short story by Flannery O’Connor. It’s difficult to call them a folk band, but it’s also difficult to call their output experimental music. There are only three choruses on the whole album. Most tracks are like journeys from point A to point B, others level and rise like waves on an ocean. They use elements of Folk, Country and Americana, because they like their emotional directness. But they realign them into something different. At times, as confrontational as on ‘All Things Come’ which tilts from complaint over into consolation on a single organ note, changing singers as well as harmonies mid-song. There is the strangely rotating chord progression that propels ‘Cannot’, or the groove torpedoing the gospel of ‘On How To Tamp Leaks‘.

Workingman’s Lurch also marks the first time, the band has worked with an external producer. Johannes Gerstengarbe usually stands for a more polished, radio-friendly production style. It was a conscious decision to combine the band’s crude approach with his aesthetics. Mastering was done at Soundcurrent in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The almost two years of recording took place in an abandoned, former chocolate factory surrounded by old GDR-housing projects depicted in the albums artwork and which – apart from a few early 90ies satellite dishes – appear to have gone untouched by the German unity and the Quarter century that has passed.  

Then of course, the album’s title is also a distant echo to Workingman’s Dead by Grateful Dead (1970). Whereas that record could be viewed as a swansong of the innocence and cultural liberation of the 1960ies, Workingsman’s Lurch is the swansong of an unaffected,  self-sufficient life. It doesn’t describe a cultural phenomenon but a biographical one: integration into employment, the groan of material, the deadlock, the grind and creak, the repulsion of nonfunctional parts. „There was something that sat on my heart like a moth.” (Nesting)

buy Workingmans Lurch

Drag The River

Drag the River began when Jon Snodgrass (of Armchair Martian) and Chad Price (of All) began writing some country songs on the side. During the 10 years since their beginning, both Armchair Martian and All have ceased to exist and Drag has become the main outlet for both songwriters. Drag The River has accomplished so much without label support. They tour all year long, self-release their records, and secure publicity, all on their own terms. This is their first label supported release in years. Fans of Uncle Tupelo, The Replacements, Lucero, and LImbeck will love this album. The band is perfecting a sound we call Country and Mid-Western!

Chamberlain

CHAMBERLAIN formerly known as SPLIT LIP. The Band had finished their 4th Album ‘Red Weather’ in 2020.

The roots of Chamberlain are planted in the Indianapolis band Split Lip, a juggernaut of the Midwestern hardcore scene between 1991 and 1995.

Signed to Doghouse Records when its members were scarcely able to drive, Split Lip (singer David Moore, guitarists Adam Rubenstein and Clay Snyder, bassist Curtis Mead and drummer Charles Walker) released the now impossible-to-find “Soulkill” single in 1992, followed by its debut album For the Love of the Wounded in 1993.

The band gained a sizeable following via constant touring, and through Doghouse’s strong European distribution ties, established an overseas fan base that would allow for a successful 1996 European visit. When Rubenstein began college at Indiana University in 1995, his bandmates moved south from Indianapolis to Bloomington and continued working on new material. 

Fate’s Got a Driver was released in 1995 and supported with a lengthy U.S. tour, but the band opted to change its name to Chamberlain as its music began to mature beyond the hardcore leanings of its younger days. The band marked its new moniker on a split EP with Bloomington band Old Pike in the fall of 1996. A short-lived distribution deal with English label For All the Right Reasons followed, yielding the import-only Five Year Diary and Her Side of Sundown EPs but little else.

Snyder and Mead left the band just after the release of The Moon My Saddle in the fall of 1998 and were replaced by guitarist Stoll Vaughn and bassist Seth Greathouse. Vaughn, the nephew of John Mellencamp guitarist Mike Wanchic, left the band in March of 1999.

The band reunited in 2009 for trio of shows promoting the midwestern hardcore retrospective – Burning Fight. Since that reunion, the band has opened for The Gaslight Anthem’s 2010 American Slang tour, toured in 2018 in support of the 20th Anniversary of The Moon My Saddle, and returned to Europe and the UK in the Summer of 2019 for a week of dates.

Chamberlain is currently at work on their 4th album, Red Weather, to be released in 2020.

Members: Adam Rubenstein I Curtis Mead I David Moore I Clay Snyder I Charlie Walker