You Sing, I Write: September 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Miranda Lambert Kicks Off Revolution Tour

New York City's Terminal 5 was packed to capacity Wednesday night for the start of CMT's ninth annual CMT on Tour, this year featuring Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and Josh Kelley. New Yorkers put on their cowboy boots and hats for the three-hour show and proved that the city that never sleeps has some very ardent country fans. Hats, beer cups and even one girl's cowboy boot were raised in the air multiple times throughout the evening.

David Nail and Lady Antebellum were spotted in the crowd, as was Josh's wife, actress Katherine Heigl, who danced along to most of Miranda's set. On the heels of their Beacon Theater performance, Lady A and David opted to spend an extra night in New York to catch the show before flying to St. Louis to continue their current headlining tour.

The first day of the tour, Miranda confessed she missed sound check and instead spent the night in Nashville to celebrate fiancé Blake Shelton's induction into the Grand Ole Opry.

For the complete review, visit The Boot.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Forever Young" For the Young and Young at Heart

On Saturday, Benjamin Wagner will release Forever Young, a 10-track album of cover songs and collaborations with some of New York's finest musicians. The collection of songs, which include two Bob Dylan hits, connect to his childhood and were inspired by the birth of his daughter, Maggie. This weekend, Wagner and friends will debut the tracks at Rockwood Music Hall during two benefit performances Saturday at 3 and 8pm.

Tracks on Forever Young include "Rainbow Connection" (with Amber Rubarth), "Golden Slumbers" (with Casey Shea), and "You've Got A Friend" (with Mai Bloomfield). Saturday's benefit show will include performances by Chris Abad, Jamie Leonhart, Casey Shea, Bryan Dunn, Emily Easterly, Tony Maceli, James Williams and more. Proceeds will be donated to organizations like Fred Rogers Center and Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood in support of their efforts towards advancing early learning and children’s media.

Next week, You Sing I Write will premiere the music video for title track, "Forever Young" and you can be a part of it! Simply upload a big, non-compressed image of yourself as a baby or toddler on Facebook by Saturday for a chance to be featured in the video. For more information on the project and the inspiration behind each song, visit

Related Links:
Artist to Watch: Amber Rubarth
Jamie Leonhart Keeps Standing Room Only Crowd Singing
A Holiday Benefit Concert Recap
A Family Holiday Album to Benefit Young Writers

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Band of the Week: The Boxer Rebellion

Currently on their first American headlining tour, The Boxer Rebellion have been impressing audiences with their atmospheric rock. With soaring guitar interludes, foot-thumping percussion and frontman Nathan Nicholson's emotion-fueled vocals, the band captivated all in attendance during their show Saturday at The Bell House.

Performing just over an hour, the UK-based band showcased tracks off their albums, Exits and Union as well as debuted new material from their upcoming 2011 release. The first unsigned band in history to break into the Billboard Top 200 Charts with a digital only release, you can expect to hear much more from The Boxer Rebellion soon.

Currently featured in the film, "Going the Distance" with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, Nicholson and guitarist Todd Howe confessed in an interview before their set that a lot more women have been showing up to their gigs, not that they mind.

"It's good to be back in New Brooklyn I should say. I don't want any people to get pissed off," Nicholson told the crowd after playing "Evacuate."

With vocals that bring to mind U2's Bono and arena friendly musical accompaniment, it's easy to picture The Boxer Rebellion in a stadium setting. Hard to believe they remain unsigned, their American tour promises to be a success. Both lead guitarist Howe and Nicholson command the stage while bassist Adam Harrison and drummer Piers Hewitt flush out the sound. Throughout their set, the band transitioned from slower ballads to more rock centric numbers effortlessly. In fact, on some tracks each member could be found pounding away on some form of percussion.

Tracks like "Semi-Automatic" slowed down their set with solid instrumental interludes while others, like "Soviets" were a welcomed surprise. Switching gears from electric to acoustic guitar, Nicholson told the crowd that the song is "a kind of country song if there were such a song in our repertoire."

While the girls were most excited to hear tracks from "Going the Distance" performed, the band managed to please all in attendance. Whether it was the females nearing close to the stage or the men back towards the soundboard nodding along, The Boxer Rebellion satisfied during their gig in Brooklyn. Lucky fans who stayed until the very end of their set enjoyed dancing and singing along with Nicholson when he jumped off the stage for last song of the night, "Watermelon."

For more on The Boxer Rebellion, be sure to visit them on MySpace and watch a video of Saturday's show here. Stay tuned for my exclusive interview and concert footage.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Song of the Week: "Until You"

Gearing up for Miranda Lambert's concert next week at Terminal 5, I've been listening to country music all day. (Not that I don't normally listen to country music to begin with...) I came across Billy Currington's song, "Until You" off his latest release and decided to make it my song of the week until I found out it was a cover of Dave Barnes' original. Having featured Barnes on the blog several times, I couldn't believe that I had never heard it before. Watch the video below, I'd love to know your thoughts!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Album Review: Matt White’s “It’s the Good Crazy”

With 11 tracks of infectious falsetto and defined soul, Matt White impresses on sophomore release, It’s the Good Crazy. From the very first track, “And the Beat Goes On” White manages to capture the listener's undivided attention with his powerful singing, piano playing and whistling. The versatility between each song on the LP electrifies as it's nearly impossible to predict what will come next.

Catchy songs like first single, "Falling In Love (With My Best Friend)" are instantly likable and easy to picture heard on Top 40 radio while the sexy "She's On Fire" offers surprising diversity with a seductive beat matched well with White's deep vocals.

The slower "Taking On Water" follows "She's On Fire" and embodies lyrics that are bound to make every girl's heart swoon. "It's your eyes that keep me hanging around/Make me drive all night to get to your house," he sings over light percussion and acoustic guitar accompaniment. 

While White demonstrates his ability to be more serious on a number of ballads throughout his LP, it's on more playful tracks like the 70s influenced "Teacher Teacher" that showcase his talent best. Alternating between slower singing and belting the chorus, his transformation is impeccable. "Off My Wall" follows suit with higher vocals and slow groove building that is sure to bring even the shyest wallflower to the dance floor. 

Overall, a remarkably solid release, White makes a name for himself on It's the Good Crazy. In an industry of predictability, White remains to stand out from the crowd.

For more on Matt White, be sure to visit MySpace and to learn about the stories behind his songs, read a recent interview with him on The Huffington Post. Watch him perform latest single, "Falling In Love" below.

Matt White performs "Falling in Love" at Joe's Tavern, Sept 2010 from Julia Allison on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Music Wednesday: 2AM Club, Hope, Kellee Maize

Always on the hunt for the latest tracks from up-and-coming artists, this week brings three new artists in completely different genres. I think you'll enjoy each one. Love to know your thoughts!

I caught 2AM Club live a few months ago and was blown away by their catchy harmonies and infectious rap interludes. Watch the video for their latest single, "Worry About You" below.

With airy vocals that bring to mind Colbie Caillat and Kina Grannis, singer-songwriter Hope teams up with Jason Mraz for this breathlessly delicate ballad.

Female rappers don't get enough credit. I've received a few emails from Kellee Maize and was impressed by her words and style. Watch the video for "Third Eye" below.

What new songs are you listening to? Let me know!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You Sing I Write Wins Music Award!

I received an email last week informing me that You Sing I Write won a Web Excellency Award from Theater Seat Store!

When checking out the site for myself, they write:

"Sometimes it seems that everyone has an opinion about music. This award goes to those blogs who's opinions matter."

The site went on to explain their process of choosing the blogs that stand out for music coverage.

"The team has once again composed a list of the best blogs in music, this time focussing on the heavily-stamped ground of music reviews. We provide the unique sites below in one simple location for your review and enjoyment, while at the same time using the opportunity to award each for their fine writing skills and services to the sprawling world of music and, of course, the dear reader.

The amount of music review blogs out there is staggering to say the least – from professional publications to personal journals, we focussed not on the size of the operation (or indeed the subsequent output) when choosing our award winners but on the sheer quality of content on offer. This will be manifestly apparent to anyone who takes the time to read them."

Thanks for all your support over the years! Mark your calendars for a special 3-year anniversary blog bash November 12th in Brooklyn. More details to come! To check out the other blog winners, visit Theater Seat Store.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Artist of the Week: Joy Ike

Pennsylvania based singer-songwriter Joy Ike has been making a name for herself. After releasing her second album independently, she won an opening slot performing at this summer's reinstated Lilith Fair through a fan voted contest on OurStage. Since then, she has continued her grassroots approach to music to stay true to her values.

With vocals that recall popular singer-songwriters Sara Bareilles and Regina Spektor, Ike's soulful singing style and breathtaking piano accompaniment impress. What is most striking of Ike is that she embodies a timeless and familiar quality. Songs like opening track, "Sweeter" draw the listener in with her upbeat singing style while the nearly one minute piano intro on "Give Me Truth" relaxes.

Beautiful title track, "Rumors" leaves an impact on the listener with Ike's slow and powerful vocals accompanied by the light strokes of the piano and fitting string features. Despite the impressive music, it is Ike's hopeful and introspective lyrics that allow her to stand out from popular singer-songwriters.

In fact, in an interview with, she touched upon the importance of creating memorable music.

"What a person says reflects who they are. I want to make music that's purposeful and I want to create music that people can hold onto for a long time."

With a release as strong as Rumors, Ike is well on her way.

For more on Joy Ike, be sure to visit her on MySpace and watch the interview below. You can download her track, "Sweeter" here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Join YSIW and The Ramblers Next Sunday in Brooklyn!

I can hardly believe it's been a month since I moved to Brooklyn. While I've been exploring all the venues in the area and attending numerous shows in cool locations like rooftops and friends' backyards, I thought, "Why not host my own backyard concert with my roommates?" So, instead of the typical housewarming party, my roommates and I are planning a show at our friend's backyard in Park Slope next Sunday.

Won't you join us?

Brooklyn-based band The Ramblers will bring their soulful Americana for a set you won't want to miss. They'll be performing the night before at Mercury Lounge, so if you're in the area definitely check them out there and come to our soiree the next day for a scaled down, acoustic set. The Ramblers have been compared to The Band and like to refer to themselves as a mix of Jim Croce backed with Booker T. & the M.G.'s. With rave reviews by numerous music publications, they will surely impress.

Be sure to listen to The Ramblers on MySpace and to RSVP for the location of our backyard concert E-mail me. Hope to see you Sunday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lights Resolve Host Van Listening Party After Maxwell’s Show

One of the hardest working indie bands I've come across, Lights Resolve has spent the past four years incessantly touring and building their fan base. Whether on the road or online, they continue to form relationships with fans and Sunday night was their way of thanking fans for that support.

For nearly 40 minutes, Lights Resolve diehards piled into their van and listened to their soon to be released debut full length. Parked outside of Maxwell's, it was the first time they heard the record in its entirety.

"Whenever you guys want to leave, you can. We're not holding you," Reich joked.

By the tenth and final track most were still there, often singing along to the songs they heard earlier that night.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Asbury Fever Showcase Jersey Pride in Hoboken

New Jersey's Asbury Fever entertained an energetic crowd at the 84th annual Hoboken Italian Festival Friday. On a stage set up in Frank Sinatra Park, the 10-piece band performed over 20 hits, including Jersey staples made famous by acts like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, among others.

Complete with saxophone, trombone, trumpet, guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion, the group was reminiscent to Springsteen's powerful E Street Band. With strong vocals by lead singer Brad Hobicorn, Asbury Fever had Hobokenites singing and clapping along.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Song of the Week: "Magic"

While it's been in constant rotation on many radio stations recently, I cannot get enough of this track. "Magic" features B.o.B. rapping with guest vocals from Weezer's Rivers Cuomo. With a catchy beat and a music video that makes crowd surfing look so tempting, it's the perfect song to distract you from the realization that summer is over.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bob DiPiero, Jamey Johnson Tell Tales Behind Hits in New York

"How y'all doin? Welcome to Nashville," Bob DiPiero joked before introducing fellow celebrated songwriters Jamey Johnson, Buddy Cannon and Kendell Marvel at the CMA Songwriter Series at Joe's Pub in New York City Wednesday night.

Now in its sixth year, the CMA series brings country to the city every few months, recruiting some of Nashville's finest songwriters to the Big Apple to tell the stories behind their biggest hits. "This is our country hillbilly outpost up here in Manhattan," continued Bob, whose laundry list of country hits include Tim McGraw's 'Southern Voice,' George Strait's 'Blue Clear Sky' and Vince Gill's 'Worlds Apart.'

"They make fun of rednecks. What about 'Jersey Shore'? You've gotta be kidding me. No wonder Bruce Springsteen wants to get the hell out of there in every song he sings. Makes me embarrassed for being Italian, and I'm Italian! Good God in heaven. This is as far from New Jersey as you can get. This is down in Apalachicola," Bob said before he introduced 'Southern Voice.'

For the complete review, visit The Boot and be sure to catch Jamey Johnson tonight on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Swingadelic Offers Big Band Classics in Frank Sinatra Park

Swingadelic, Hoboken’s legendary swing band, has become a staple in town.

Formed in 1998, the band frequently performs at Maxwell’s and venues throughout the tri-state area. The 12-piece entertained Hobokenites during a recent two-hour set at Frank Sinatra Park. Complete with classic jazz standards by Ray Charles, Count Basie and Duke Pearson as well as many originals, Swingadelic had the crowd dancing and tapping their feet along during the entire performance.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Artist of the Week: Amy Regan

Two years ago, I introduced you to Amy Regan as an artist to watch. Since then, the New York singer-songwriter has continued to record new material, tour and have her music featured in a national Hertz commercial. (Watch video below).

In fact, it was at a gig playing Rockwood Music Hall in New York that art director Haley Fulop witnessed Regan live and later brought her on with the idea for the Hertz campaign. While she's been compared to Norah Jones and Joni Mitchell, Regan continues to make a name for herself with latest EP, Gonna Get Better.

The four-track EP kicks off with energetic title track, "Gonna Get Better." Complete with edgy guitar and percussion accentuated by her soulful vocals, Regan quickly grabs the listener's attention. Next song,
"Keep You Warm" is a ballad with fitting piano accompaniment. With her deep and powerful singing style, the song strikes a chord.

Though only four tracks, Gonna Get Better demonstrates Regan's versatility as a singer. Effortlessly jumping from a sultry ballad to a more energetic number, she manages to keep the listener intrigued.  "Crazy" is just one example. The track showcases Regan's more playful side and is a surprising transition from "Keep You Warm." With piano and vocals that bring to mind Sara Bareilles, one can only expect to hear more from Regan in the near future.

For more on Amy Regan, be sure to visit her MySpace or Web site. Stay tuned for a full album release later this year.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Song of the Week: "Helium Hearts"

A few weeks ago I recommended Jason Reeves as an artist to watch. I've interviewed him and covered his live show a few times and can't get enough of him! Check out his latest music video for "Helium Hearts," the first single off his upcoming album.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Backyard Brunch Concert Satisfies Listeners Appetites

Photo Credit: Raki Lavon

Last Saturday, My My My and Kelli Scarr performed in Williamsburg for a special edition of Backyard Brunch Sessions. Founded and hosted by David Chaitt, every few weekends in the summer he invites friends and music industry enthusiasts to his apartment in Brooklyn for homemade breakfast and an unplugged set of music.

Since the beginning of the summer, Chaitt has been running a contest through Sonicbids for bands all over the country to submit their music for a chance to perform in his backyard. Indie rock outfit My My My were one of two bands selected and traveled from Chicago to play August 21. Their unplugged set featured two guitars and Casio accompaniment that won the hearts of the audience.

Rotating vocals between Russell Baylin and Sarah Snow, the band impressed with spot-on harmonies and emotion-filled lyrics. While powerful choruses in songs like "Swoon" captured the audience's attention, it was last track, "War Party" that struck a chord. A tale about navigating the world through a mid-life crisis, Baylin's raspy, impassioned vocals brought the song to life.

Singer-songwriter Kelli Scarr performed next and quickly quieted the crowd with her delicate vocals and soft guitar finger picking. While she's known best for touring and singing with Moby, the release of her debut album promises more notoriety. Ballads like "Anything" showcased Scarr's beautiful vocals while light horn accompaniment accentuated the track.

Performing the day after her album release party for Piece, she warned the crowd "I'm hurting a little today. So, let's all hurt together in this bright light. This next song is called "Break Up," speaking of hurting. This is when you gotta hand it to someone because they're fucking stupid."

With edgier guitar and more aggressive vocals, she got her point across. 

"I want to do a quiet one, but I feel like airplanes keep flying," Scarr said. Ironically, during last song, the soft "Baby Boom," two planes flew overhead. Never showcasing any distraction, Scarr continued with light guitar and breathtaking vocals.

To listen to the recording of Scarr's set, complete with airplanes flying overhead, click here. Stay tuned for video footage of My My My and Kelli Scarr's performance in the upcoming weeks.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Watch CMA Music Festival Tonight on ABC!

If you weren't able to make it to Nashville for the CMA Festival in June, you can watch over 20 performances tonight on ABC. Join host Tim McGraw as he introduces sets by Jason Aldean, Billy Currington, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift and more.

If you haven't seen Taylor Swift's latest music video for "Mine," you can below. Do you think she'll perform it tonight? Tune in at 8/7C to find out!


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