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

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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.”

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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)

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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)

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Heated Land

Heated Land_Recording Session_ In a wider tone

This little poem by an unknown writer well catches the mood behind the music of Heated Land, a band project founded in 2012 in Dresden, Germany around the work of singer- songwriter Andreas Mayrock. Inspired by many old and some contemporary artists of genres like Americana, blues and folk, the songs of Heated Land wander through wide landscapes and little ghost towns, bringing up feelings of longing, lostness, nostalgia and hope.

“Now the heated land is cooling off
under a big black sky.
Where a cruel god pinned a million stars.

A raven sails through the roaring silence,
while the sun´s escaping the dusty soil
like faint smoke – bringing memory and song.“

Members:  Andreas Mayrock – vocals, guitar I Alexandre de Ligonnès – harp, voc I  Chrstoph Dehne – drums  I  Simon Preuß – contrabass  I  Raja Ghraizi – guitar ….   and more.