Introducing Alt-Country Angel Kirsten Jones!

Scully Love Promo is proud to welcome Alt-country, Juno nominee Kirsten Jones to our client roster!

It’s so easy to work as a social media manager and internet promoter for someone who has a voice like Kirsten’s.  Her latest album, The Mad Mile, has earned her 1 of Billboard’s Top 5 artists to watch in 2010, a Juno nomination and four international award winning songs.  It features superstar guests like The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris, Blue Rodeos’s Jim Cuddy and Americana artist of the year Greg Leisz.

These are just some of the kudos that Kirsten has accumulated:

“Kirsten’s Juno-nominated recent release, The Mad Mile, should be nestled comfortably in your CD-changer beside your copy of Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball, since the transition between the two discs will sound seamless.”
– Roots Music Canada, rootsmusic.ca

“Smooth-as-buckwheat-honey vocals…a bona fide comparison to Emmylou Harris is not out of order…”

– Eric Thom, Exclaim Magazine

Toronto-based singer/songwriter Kirsten Jones had only one producer in mind for her sophomore album, The Mad Mile: former Jayhawks front man Gary Louris.”  I knew I wanted to try getting in touch with Gary before even trying to think of anyone else, so I looked up his management online and just sent them a package.”  A few months later, Louris’ management e-mailed Jones, saying Gary was interested in the project.  By summer, Jones and Louris were writing in her Toronto living room, where they also finished all the preproduction for the recording in three days.  They hit the studio later that fall.  Creating a sound that combined her alt country and folk influences with her own unique writing style came naturally, thanks to Louris’ firsthand experience with some of Jones’ favourite artists (The Dixie Chicks, Kelly Willis, Lucinda Williams, The Jayhawks).

“She has interesting lyrics, pretty heavy duty lyrics and a hook sensibility.  She has it, you know?  I’m jealous – I wish I had written these songs…”

– Gary Louris

In what proved to be a banner year, Kirsten also received a coveted FACTOR award for over $20,000 toward the making of the new CD.  The Mad Mile was released on May 11, 2010, and is distributed through Fontana North/Universal. Guests include pedal steel player Greg Leisz (Emmylou Harris, Tracy Chapman, Sheryl Crow, Alison Krauss), Oh Susanna, and Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy and Bob Egan.

“The end result of their fruitful partnership (Louris/Jones) is ‘The Mad Mile,’ an alt country/roots record which could very well do for Jones what ‘Failer‘ did for Kathleen Edwards.”

– Jason MacNeil, spinner.com

Throughout the last two years, several aspects of Jones’ career have fallen into place.  She was chosen by Billboard Canada as one of five artists to watch in 2010, and The Mad Mile has already been nominated for a 2010 Juno Award, thanks to an early iTunes release.  Jones has been a finalist two years in a row in the International Songwriting Competition in the Americana category (out of over 15,000 entries), a Top 3 finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the country category (alongside Canadian success story Gordie Sampson), was a finalist in the Kerrville New Folk Contest, and has received honourable mention in both the Billboard and Nashville Songwriter’s Association songwriting competitions. The Canadian Country Music Awards invited Kirsten to perform two years in a row at the prestigious Songwriter’s Cafe, alongside such celebrated songwriters as Victoria Banks, Lisa Brokop, Jamie Warren, and Jessie Farrell.  Kirsten wrote or co-wrote every song on The Mad Mile, and two songs were co-written with producer Gary Louris.

Most recently, Kirsten was invited down to Nashville to sing on WSM, the official radio home of the Grand Ole Opry, at the Country Music Awards’ Music Fest Celebration. Still eligible for the Junos next year, 2011 is shaping up to be a big year.

PREVIOUSLY…

Kirsten Jones released her debut album Drive-In Movie in 2005. It received airplay in all Canadian provinces, peaking at 3 on CBC’s Galaxie Folk/Roots chart.  She has toured in the US and Canada, including dates with Jim Cuddy, Lynn Miles, Oh Susanna, Corb Lund, Hayes Carll, Minnie Driver, Rose Cousins and numerous others.

“The music of Kirsten Jones combines the best elements of alt-country and contemporary folk.  She’s also an engaging live performer, bringing both introspection and high humour to her shows.”

– Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio

“The talented singer-songwriter is now busy winning the hearts of fans and breaking genres with her unique style of alt-country that she sings with heartfelt sincerity and catchy hooks.”

– Blue Rodeo website, “One Degree” section

Kirsten is extremely happy to report that she is one of 10 artists in the running for Roots Artist of the Year at this year’s Canadian Country Music Awards.  She has to make it one more round to get the actual CCMA nomination.  She’s in some pretty heady company, including past favourites like Corb Lund and Jimmy Rankin.  But she is unique in that she is the only female solo artist on the list, and one of the (very) few truly independent artists as well.  Only CCMA members can vote, so if you know any, please let them know about Kirsten’s spot in the Roots category.

Kirsten is currently on tour in Eastern Canada for the month of July and will be playing at Country Music Week in Hamilton, ON in September as well as at the American Music Festival & Conference in Nashville, TN in October.

Find Kirsten Jones online at:

Official website

Facebook

YouTube

Twitter

MySpace

CBC Radio 3

Roadhouse Sun by Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses

CD Review
Title: Roadhouse Sun
Artist: Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses
Label: Lost Highway
Released: 2009
Stars: 4.0

I saw the brilliant movie Crazy Heart starring Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal yesterday and it changed my life a little bit. Discovering a new artist that rocks you to your very foundation and connects with your spirit is a rare thing, but Ryan Bingham, who sings the Golden Globe winning, Oscar nominated song, The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart), co-written by Bingham and T-Bone Burnett, has done just that. With his beautiful doe eyes, old soul, and whiskey & cigarettes voice, he’s grabbed my attention and won’t let go.

Last year, Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses released their second album for Lost Highway RecordsRoadhouse Sun – to positive critical reviews. Bingham, although born in New Mexico, calls Austin, Texas home and as that’s a place I’ve spent a bit of time in on and off since 1985, it fostered my love for roots rock that’s peppered with country, Cajun, and blues.

Ryan, a former rodeo and roadhouse performer, and his accomplished band: Corby Schaub (guitar & mandolin), Matt Smith (drums) and newest member, Elijah Ford (bass) have released a 12 track collection of personal, political, hard-living, superior country cross-over songs on Roadhouse Sun. Imagine a cocktail mixed with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Kris Kristofferson and you will have an idea of the flavor of this offering. Influenced by Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, Lyle Lovett and Jerry Jeff Walker, among others, Bingham sounds like someone much older than his 28 years and doesn’t hesitate to offer up his personal, painful experiences for the sake of his songwriting. Thoughtful, honest lyrics punctuate authentic, enthusiastic southwestern melodies and while some of his lyrics may be somewhat clichéd, Bingham’s voice will hold you enslaved.

Roadhouse Sun is an album with style and substance and it opens with Day Is Done, a slide steel rocker infused with wailin’ blues, followed by Dylan’s Hard Rain, an alt-country-folk-rock political anthem for these times that pays tribute to the 60s. Tell My Mother I Miss Her So is a foot-stomping, barn-burner of a folk ditty and Country Roads, a harmonica-laced highway rocker. The slightly Spanish, sparse acoustic ballad Snake Eyes features a bittersweet vocal performance akin to Bingham’s on The Weary Kind and is one of my favourites. Change Is has been described as “seven minutes of meditative, hypnotic riffing that builds to a near-psychedelic crescendo as Bingham spins his tale of empowerment and responsibility”, but it’s not my favourite track on the album. I prefer the slower tempo, piano and steel guitar stylings of the Rollin’ Highway Blues and the humourous political rant, Hey Hey Hurray.

For me, this quote says it all:

Smokey and yearning, Bingham’s songs of border-town heartbreak tremble like living, breathing things- Epic yet intimate, rugged but crafted, Bingham forces you to hang on his every whiskey-drenched word. – Matt Diehl, BlackBook

I’d really love to see Ryan team up with Jack White to write some songs because I think that pairing could inspire some explosive thunderbolts of musical genius. If he doesn’t succumb to the bottle that almost swallowed Bad Blake whole in Crazy Heart, Ryan Bingham has one helluva future ahead of him and I want to bear witness to it.