John Cowan Aligns with Compass Records for First Album in Four Years

March 31, 2014


New album scheduled for Summer 2014 release

(Nashville, TN) March 24, 2014 –John Cowan, one of the most legendary voices in roots music, has signed to Compass Records with a new album slated for an early summer release. Cowan is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on the project which promises to be the celebrated singer/bassist’s most ambitious and compelling solo release to date. Working with Doobie Brothers band mate John McPhee in the producer’s chair, Cowan has assembled an impressive list of guest artists so far, including Leon Russell, Alison Krauss, Rodney Crowell and Sam Bush, on the way to creating what is shaping up to be a cross-genre musical celebration of his 35 year career.
John Cowan, known by many as "The Voice of Newgrass," has been singing his heart out for the past 35 years. As a member of New Grass Revival, he helped create a sound which brought a new audience to the bluegrass music and was arguably as important in shaping the direction of modern bluegrass as Flatt and Scruggs was to the genre in the 1960s. After New Grass Revival disbanded in 1990, Cowan went on to record a series of critically acclaimed solo albums and to lend his unique vocals as a session musician to a lengthy discography including albums by Garth Brooks, Glen CampbellSteve Earle, Janis Ian, Delbert McClinton, Kenny Rogers and Poco. Currently, Cowan divides his time on the road between solo tours with the John Cowan Band and as a touring member of the Doobie Brothers with whom he has been performing regularly since 2010.

Guitarist/Vocalist Jim Oblon Releases New Album Sunset

March 31, 2014

Guitarist/Vocalist Jim Oblon Releases New Album Sunset

New album from Paul Simon Band member features legends Jim Keltner and Larry Goldings
(Nashville TN) February 13, 2014 –

Jim Oblon is one of those rare talents—a jaw-dropping guitarist, soulful singer and compelling writer. On Sunset, to be released on March 25, Oblon’s virtuosic Telecaster-driven blues chops and vocals shine on a set of originals, vintage rock & roll, and country blues, all delivered in a neoclassic organ trio setting comprised of legendary session drummer Jim Keltner and renowned GRAMMY-winning organist/pianist Larry Goldings.

Oblon has gained national attention as guitarist, drummer, and vocalist in Paul Simon’s band as well as for his contributions on bass, drums and guitar to Simon’s latest album So Beautiful or So What. Always a believer in the bigger musical picture, he aims to expound upon the legacy of his forbearers without ever becoming an impersonator himself. “Today there’s a ‘blues scene’ with Brylcreem and bowling shirts, all the gear, but it doesn’t have the essence of music,” Oblon explains. “I wanted to honor the people who came before me. Maybe I can add a few of my own things, but I want to not lose what was.”

Sunset is a showcase for all three musicians. The album was recorded with the trio playing together in one room and the energy and intensity of this created by this performance-style recording approach yields tracks that literally seem to pop off the disc. A blues-funk reworking of Little Richard’s “Lucille” gives each of the players a chance to stretch out and strut their inventiveness, musical depth and mastery, as well as their ability to put a fresh spin on an old classic. Oblon’s soul shines on his two originals, the languid “Desert Sun” and the almost time-suspending instrumental title track, “Sunset.”  And his plaintive telecaster, backed by Keltner’s bombastic rhythm bed, lends a particularly vibey feel to Lead Belly’s “When I Was a Cowboy 1911.”

Goldings, featured on piano on “Desert Sun” and “Railroad Bum,” uses the Fats Domino classic “Blueberry Hill” to illustrate why he is considered one of the best Hammond B3 players alive; he delivers a solo that makes you think he’s been waiting his whole life to play this tune. And rock/session legend Jim Keltner’s performances stand out as almost a “Jim Keltner how-to”: propulsive yet laid-back, rocking yet swinging, and rhythmically percussive enough to make you swear there is more than one of him playing.

In 2011, Oblon released a Jim Morrison-esque recording of the traditional song “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” which was featured in last season’s finale of HBO’s hugely popular vampire drama True Blood. He now lives in Nashville where he’s a fast rising guitarist on the session scene.  His Tuesday night residency at fooBAR in East Nashville is becoming the buzz event of the week among musicians and those in the know.

Watch Jim Perform "Can’t Be Satisfied" at Music City Roots

Compass Records at SXSW 2014

March 07, 2014

At SXSW: A.J. Croce, The Farewell Drifters, Darden Smith and Missy Raines.COMPASS RECORDS ARTISTS DURING SXSW WEEK

AJ Croce
Fri 3/14 – 2:00PM – Acoustic Café/SongCraft Presents Writing Session
Sat 3/15 – 11AM – KDRP Live On-Air show from Downtown Austin
Sat 3/15 –  9:30PM @ St. David’s Bethel Hall (301 E 8th St)

The Farewell Drifters
Wed 3/12 – 4PM – G&S Lounge (2420 South 1st St) (Unofficial SXSW)
Thurs 3/13 – 11:55PM @ HAAM Showcase – Hilton Garden Inn Creekside Lounge (501 N IH 35)
Sat 3/15 – 5:30PM – Folk Alliance All Day Party @ Threadgill’s (301 W Riverside Drive)

Darden Smith
Thurs 3/13 – 3PM – Lucy’s Fried Chicken Revival (2218 College Ave) (Unofficial)

Missy Raines
Wed 3/12 –  9PM – Playing with non-Compass Robbie Fulks – Continental Club (1315 S Congress Ave)

All artists available for interview opportunities.
Contact Betsy Buntin at [email protected] or text 615-714-3360
We’d love to meet you. Meet us at our artists’ shows or let’s find time to connect. Send us an email or text.


Justin Currie Set To Release New Album on Compass Records April 15th With US Tour To Follow

February 28, 2014

Justin Currie - Lower ReachesFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


Announcing US Tour Dates Including New York, LA and Chicago

(Nashville, TN) February 18, 2014 - Justin Currie, the lead singer and songwriter of Scottish pop-rock band Del Amitri, is set to release Lower Reaches on Compass Records on April 15th. The new album is the follow-up to Currie’s 2010 critically acclaimed project The Great War which garnered 4 star reviews and earned Currie the moniker of "a songwriter’s songwriter" from Mojo. On Lower Reaches, Currie’s pop sensibilities and radio ready vocals are ever present, but it’s his songwriting that is perhaps most striking.  The new set of self-penned songs show Currie emerging as a writer of great depth and sensitivity, deftly examining life, relationships and the human condition, albeit delivered with the healthy dose of cynicism and wit that his fans have come to count on.

Currie wrote most of the songs on Lower Reaches during a solitary songwriting retreat on the Isle of Skye off the coast of Scotland.  Hunkered down in a remote cottage in the shadow of The Cuillins, the mountain range that dominates the Hebridean island, Currie had no internet and no mobile phone, just an acoustic guitar, a piano, and a ghetto-blaster on which to record his ideas. "I suppose it was a bit like my Brill Building," he smiles. "You’re being your own boss and putting yourself under pressure to write." Currie wrote fifteen songs in eleven days, something of a personal best in terms of rapid-fire delivery. When it came time to capture the music in the studio Currie traveled to Austin, Texas to work with producer Mike McCarthy (Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, Spoon, Patty Griffin, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead). The process was, in Currie’s words, "a brilliant experience" and the resulting tracks have been heralded by the UK press as among the songwriter’s recent best.

As singer and main songwriter in Del Amitri, formed in Glasgow in 1983, Currie wrote many of their biggest hits including ‘Roll To Me’, ‘Always The Last To Know’, and ‘Nothing Ever Happens’. During their long and distinguished career, Del Amitri released four Top 10 albums, including ‘Waking Hours’ (1989), which sold over a million copies in the UK alone.
Justin Currie will be on tour in support of Lower Reaches in the following markets:

April 21 Philadelphia, PA – Tin Angel
April 22 New York, NY – City Winery
April 24 Chicago, IL – Schubas
April 25 Evanston, IL – SPACE
April 26 Minneapolis, MN – Dakota Jazz Club
April 29 Denver, CO – The Soiled Dove Underground
April 30 Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room
May 2 Mill Valley, CA – Sweetwater Music Hall
May 3 Santa Monica, CA – McCabe’s Guitar Shop
May 4 Los Angeles, CA – Largo
May 6 Scottsdale, AZ – The Western
May 8 Dallas, TX – The Kessler Theatre
May 9 & 10 Austin, TX – Cactus Café
May 13 Nashville, TN – 3rd & Lindsley
May 14 Chapel Hill, NC – Cat’s Cradle
May 16 Vienna, VA – Jammin’ Java
*All tickets on-sale Friday, February 21

Watch Justin Currie’s Video "Bend to My Will"  here.

GRAMMY-Nominated Special Consensus to Release Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver

February 28, 2014

Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John DenverFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Grammy-nominated Special Consensus Prepare to Release Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver
Guest laden project features Dale Ann Bradley, John Cowan, Jim Lauderdale, Claire Lynch, Peter Rowan, Rhonda Vincent and more.

(Nashville TN) February 12, 2014 – Grammy-nominated Special Consensus joins forces with contemporary bluegrass music’s best on Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver slated for release on March 25. There is a natural affinity between bluegrass musicians and John Denver’s repertoire but this is the first purely bluegrass tribute to the iconic singer/songwriter who died in 1997. 
Country Boy features Special Consensus at the musical center of each track with a guest cast of Grammy-winning and International Bluegrass Music Association-winning vocalists and instrumentalists joining in. Produced by Compass Records co-founder Alison Brown, the album’s 10 tracks draw from across Denver’s hits and lesser-known songs.

Talking about the genesis for the idea, band founder Greg Cahill comments: “I’ve met so many people who were affected by John’s music and so many musicians who mention him as an inspiration. It felt like a bluegrass interpretation of his songs would be something really special and might also serve as a way to connect more people to bluegrass music.”

And there is no question that the album achieves some special musical moments – both vocal and instrumental. Special Consensus mandolinist Rick Faris and reigning International Bluegrass Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year Claire Lynch share lead vocal duties on the album’s first track "Wild Montana Skies", their vocal lines perfectly complemented by Rob Ickes’ Dobro.  On "Country Roads," Special Consensus guitarist Dustin Benson and the legendary John Cowan swap verses against a tapestry of banjo and fiddle provided by Greg Cahill and Del McCoury band fiddler Jason Carter. And, in a surprise twist, Special Consensus delivers an all instrumental version of "Thank God I’m a Country Boy" with the twin fiddles of label mate Michael Cleveland and session ace Buddy Spicher AND twin banjos (Greg Cahill and Alison Brown). The entire cast of featured guests includes Dale Ann Bradley, Jason Carter, Mike Cleveland, John Cowan, Rob Ickes, Jim Lauderdale, Claire Lynch, Peter Rowan, Buddy Spicher and Rhonda Vincent.

Click here to watch video of "Wild Montana Skies" with Claire Lynch.

Be sure to catch the Track by Track on SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction with Kyle Cantrell, airing March 19 @ 11AM EST.

About Special Consensus:
Special Consensus was founded in 1975 by banjoist Greg Cahill as a showcase for his urban traditionalist take on bluegrass which encompasses elements of Chicago blues, swing, newgrass, and country music. Over the past 37 years, the group has seen a myriad of personnel changes and has been the breeding ground for some of the best young stars in bluegrass today; Josh Williams, Chris Jones and Robbie Fulks are just a few names in a long list of former members who have gone on to build solo careers. Special Consensus maintains a busy year round touring schedule, reaching an eclectic demographic through appearances at festivals, listening rooms, bluegrass in the schools programs and symphony appearances.  Their 2012 release Scratch Gravel Road achieved a Grammy-nomination for Best Bluegrass Album.


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