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Fiddler/Vocalist from The Deadly Gentleman Mike Barnett Prepares to Release Solo Album

July 29, 2014

Mike Barnett to Release Solo Album One Song Romance

Fiddler/vocalist from The Deadly Gentlemen steps out with debut solo project featuring Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz, Noam Pikelny, Tim O’Brien and more.

From a young age, Mike Barnett has made his mark on the bluegrass world as an extremely talented fiddler. He has toured as a member of Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys, the David Grisman Sextet and the progressive bluegrass quintet, The Deadly Gentleman, which he co-founded. With the release of his debut solo project, ONE SONG ROMANCE, Barnett is poised to establish himself as a solo artist with a broad and engaging musical vision that reaches from bluegrass into acoustic jazz and beyond.
Barnett penned all of the music on the twelve-track album which showcases his vocal abilities as well as his virtuosic fiddle technique.   The tracks moves from slick bluegrass fiddling ("More Strangs") through Celtic ("Change Her Mind"), swing ("Dig, Dig, Dig") and neo-grass on the album’s opener "It’ll Be All Right."  Special guests and collaborators include Aoife O’Donovan, Tim O’Brien, Noam Pikelny, David Grier, Dominick Leslie, Chris Eldridge and more. 

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Michael Barnett began studying the fiddle at age 10 and by age 15 was touring with the legendary "Mr. Mandolin" Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys, playing regular weekend performances on the Grand Ole Opry. That same year, at age 15, he became the youngest instructor ever to teach at the fiddle school at Vanderbilt University.  Barnett later relocated to the Northeast where he has built his profile touring and recording with Jonathan Edwards, Tony Trishcka and Gordon Stone. In 2010 Barnett and banjoist Greg Liszt co-founded The Deadly Gentlemen, a progressive bluegrass outfit that allowed Mike the space to push the limits of traditional fiddle playing and incorporate new influences into his constantly evolving style. After four years with the group, Barnett will now focus on exploring his solo career path.

New Album Pays Tribute to Jean Ritchie, Mother of Folk

July 24, 2014

Folk’s Best Come Together for Two CD Tribute to Jean Ritchie

Featured artists include Pete Seeger, Janis Ian, John McCutcheon, Judy Collins, Kathy Mattea, Suzy Boggus, Robin and Linda Williams, Dale Ann Bradley, Archie Fisher, Tim O’Brien and many more

Compass Records is pleased to announce the release of DEAR JEAN: ARTISTS CELEBRATE THE MUSIC OF JEAN RITCHIE.  The album is scheduled for release on September 2, 2014.  The 37 track, 2 CD set features performances from an impressive array of Ritchie’s fans and admirers, all of whom have come together to honor the living legacy of the Kentucky-born singer/songwriter many refer to as "The Mother of Folk."  Contributors were intentionally selected to represent the diversity of genres and generations Ritchie has influenced throughout her life, with classic artists like Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Janis Ian, Kathy Mattea, Tim O’Brien, Robin and Linda Williams, Oscar Brand, and Dale Ann Bradley sharing the spotlight with up and coming talents like the Starry Mountain Singers, Rachael Davis, and Matt Brown. Standout tracks include  "The L & N Don’t Stop Here Anymore" (Robin and Linda Williams), "I’ve Got a Mother" (The Starry Mountain Singers), "Black Waters" (John McCutcheon, Kathy Mattea, Suzy Boggus, Tim O’Brien), "Morning Come, Maria’s Gone" (Janis Ian) and  "One I Love" (Judy Collins). There is also a spoken word version of "I Celebrate Life" from Pete Seeger, one of his last recordings.

Jean Ritchie was born in 1922 in Berea, Kentucky, the youngest of 14 children. Ritchie grew up immersed in the traditional songs of the region and moved to New York in the 1940s where, as a social worker, she taught music to children.  She also befriended Pete Seeger, Oscar Brand, Woody Guthrie and Alan Lomax during this time and, in the 1950s, recorded several albums for Electra. In the early ’60s she received a Fulbright scholarship and traveled to the UK and Ireland to collect traditional songs. Ritchie’s songs have been recorded by a variety of artists including Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash and Judy Collins. Over the course of her career, her song collecting and song writing has helped to preserve the musical legacy of her Kentucky home, as well as expand awareness of its challenges through her continued support of the grassroots environmental organization Appalachian Voices and politically pointed songs such as "The L & N" and "Black Waters". Not only is Jean Ritchie an amazing musician, cultural preserver, and activist, she is and has always been a welcoming, supporting mentor for all those who have crossed her path, and DEAR JEAN gives a well-deserved thank you for years of inspiration.

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper Album Out Now!

July 23, 2014

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper’s On Down the LineOn Down the Line Out Now!

Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper’s New Album, Produced by Jeff White

"ON DOWN THE LINE, a terrific record by any standard, illustrates the band’s elevated cohesion and vibrant interplay even as it highlights the selflessness Cleveland brings to his bandleader’s calling." – David McGee, Deep Roots Magazine

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper’s brand new album has just been released today. Led by nine-time International Bluegrass Music Association’s Fiddle Player of the Year, Michael Cleveland, the group’s virtuoisic style and traditional bluegrass sound has never been better represented, and is already receiving high praise.

The album’s fourteen tracks showcase Flamekeeper’s rich instrumental blend and tight three-part vocal harmonies, with tunes that span from straight-ahead bluegrass (“Fiddlin’ Joe," "Orange Blossom Special") to melodic, heart-felt songs such as "Just Call Me Crazy" and the imaginative reworking of the traditional "Jack O’Diamonds" as a solo fiddle tour de force. There is also a suprise twist with a hard-driving bluegrass take on the Julian Lennon song "Too Late For Goodbyes," which is propelled by instrumental trades between banjo player Glenn Gibson and Cleveland. Grounding the driving forces of Gibson, Cleveland, and Nathan Livers on the mandolin, are bassist Tyler Griffith and guitarist Josh Richards, who contributed several originals to the project, including the neo-grass original, "Johnny Thompson."
 

Mike Farris To Release 'Shine For All The People'

July 22, 2014

New Album Slated for September Release

Mike Farris is set to release his newest studio album, SHINE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE, on September 16, 2014. This long-awaited follow up to 2007’s critically acclaimed SALVATION IN LIGHTS includes both original material and Farris’ trademark interpretations of traditional gospel steeped in the influence of rock, vintage Memphis soul and the swagger of New Orleans. 

Farris’ musical vision has coalesced into a sound that, at once, harkens back to early soul records yet emerges completely fresh with this new studio record. The album’s 10 tracks are saturated with horns, B3, and gospel backing vocals, but Farris is the star here, as his voice is one of the greatest of our time while staking his claim as sole proprietor of a musical style uniquely his own.

SHINE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE opens with “River Jordan,” an almost cubano, horn-punctuated groove, driven by Farris’ soaring vocals that form a surprising link between Havana and Hattiesburg. Two Farris originals, “Power of Love” and “Real Fine Day,” convey the album’s uplifting message of survival and gratitude. The New Orleans-infused “Sparrow” takes a side trip to Preservation Hall, and the achingly poignant “Mercy Now,” from the pen of singer/songwriter Mary Gauthier—as delivered by Farris—stands tall as a plea of forgiveness for all mankind. This album bears witness to the determination of putting one foot in front of the other and to the power of music to get you there. “I’ve discovered that falling is a divine thing,” Mike adds. “It’s part and parcel of being human. The important thing is to keep the faith, get up and go on."

“He looks a little like Prince and sounds somewhere in the neighborhood of Little Richard, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. Farris’ supercharged voice slices through the band like a knife.” —Suzanne Cadgene, Elmore Magazine

Mike Farris began his solo career in the in the early 2000’s intertwining rock, blues and gospel in a way that allowed him to rediscover and reinterpret traditional black spiritual music by adding his own mix of vintage southern soul. In 2008, Farris won the prestigious Americana Music Award for Best New & Emerging Artist and later a Dove Award in 2010 for Best Traditional Gospel Album of the year with SHOUT! Live. He has appeared at multiple festivals including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Telluride, Strawberry Festival, ACL Festival & Bonnaroo electrifying audiences with the impact of his live performances with his 9 piece band, The Roseland Rhythm Revue. In 2010, Mike was joined by some of Nashville’s finest musicians including Ketch Secor and Gill Landry from Old Crow Medicine Show, Sam Bush, Kenny Vaughan, Byron House and others to record an EP called THE NIGHT THE CUMBERLAND CAME ALIVE to benefit victims of the Nashville flood. He has contributed vocals to Patty Griffin’s Grammy Award Winning DOWNTOWN CHURCH project, as well as Rodney Crowell’s latest album, TARPAPER SKY. Additionally, Farris was invited to be a featured performer at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 16th Annual American Masters concert in 2011 honoring Aretha Franklin along with such acts as Lauryn Hill, Chaka Khan, Cissy Houston, Ronald Isley, Dennis Edwards and Melinda Doolittle.

John Cowan's SIXTY, produced by John McFee (Doobie Brothers)

July 15, 2014

John Cowan - SixtyJohn Cowan Announces New Album and Supporting Tour Dates

Produced by fellow Doobie Brother, John McFee, guest roster includes Leon Russell, Alison Krauss, Rodney Crowell, Sam Bush, among others

John Cowan is set to release his brand new studio effort, SIXTY, on August 24th. The new album, his first since 2010’s THE MASSENBERG SESSIONS, touches on all facets of his career and is, without a doubt, the legendary singer’s most ambitious solo effort to date. Produced by fellow Doobie Brother, John McFee, the album’s 12 tracks showcase Cowan’s iconic vocals alongside an impressive array of nearly 30 guests including Leon Russell, Alison Krauss, Rodney Crowell, Bernie Leadon, Sam Bush, Chris Hillman, Huey Lewis, Bonnie Bramlett, Ray Benson and many more. 

Tracks range from the New Orleans-styled, heartfelt "Miss the Mississippi," to "Why Are You Crying," a banjo driven foot stomper, to the rocking "Run For Your Life," which, as performed by Cowan, could easily become an Americana standard.  The album’s opener "The Things I Haven’t Done" alludes to Cowan’s Newgrass roots while the standout piano/vocal duet with the legendary Leon Russell, "Feel Like Going Home," (recorded live and in one take) is an absolute stunner.
 
Taken as a whole, the album illustrates the breadth of Cowan’s vocal talents while showcasing his remarkable vocal dexterity across a variety of genres, proving that 45 years into his career, John is still one of the most iconic singers in roots music.  “I love my ‘job’,” Cowan says. “I love playing music for people every night. I’m very grateful for every opportunity I have to play my music with my own band for the fans that have been so loyal to me over the years. I don’t ever want to stop sharing my music with them.”

John Cowan, John McFee and friends will launch a tour in support of the new release this September, and is currently on tour with the Doobie Brothers.

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