Music Monday | Dana Swimmer

DanaSwimmer002Photographed in Opelika, AL

I heard our first Dana Swimmer song live behind John Emerald Distlling Company with Jess Graves. I shot during their performance of “Take What You’re After” (video here). Not pictured above is the rest of the the band: background vocalist Maggie Blauvelt, drummer Parker Lusk, leader guitarist John Riccitelli and bassist Danny Hurley. The three above slayed their one take for us and we were sold. I turned off the cameras, Jess and I looked at each other, and one of just blurted out “wow…y’all are really good!” Jack’s voice is rock and soul and easy to love. You can read a little more about Athens based Dana Swimmer on The Love List’s Meet Me in Lebanon story.

Stream: “I’m Still Your Man”

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Music Monday | Delta Spirit

A few of my favorite images (and a tune) of Delta Spirit that I photographed in Opelika, AL at John Emerald Distilling Company. I took these for the Meet Me in Lebanon: A Tale in Three Acts story on The Love List. Head there for the full piece!

Stream: “Hold My End Up”

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Music Monday | Oh Wonder

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Oh Wonder is duo Anthony and Josephine from South-East London. They’re releasing a song every month for a year to make their album. So far, this one’s my favorite. It’s just as Wonderland Magazine describes it: “soft vocals, polished timing, impeccable tone and a somewhere between heart-achingly and heart-breakingly emotive quality.” I’m

Stream: “Livewire”

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Music Monday | Jus Post Bellum

jus-post-bellumPhotographed by William Hereford

A couple of pages into last week’s New Yorker, I flipped to an article titled “State of the Union.” Above it, a cool drawing of a couple – the man draped in an American flag. Under it, this: “Geoffrey Wilson and Hannah Jensen play music inspired by the Civil War.”

You’ve got my attention, New Yorker, please continue…

No one paid much attention to the interim act – a black man with an acoustic guitar and a white woman with hippie-straight hair – started delivering gorgeous unamplified harmonies.

They were Geoffrey Wilson and Hannah Jenson, of Jus Post Bellum, a Brooklyn group in the same contemporary-folk vein as Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes that forgoes the excitability pop in favor of a more intimate approach. Wilson and Jensen have been a couple for five years, during which time the band has release two albums of erudite songs inspired by the Civil War. (The name means “justice after war.”)

I was completely intrigued and the next morning listened to their Oh July album over and over. It demands more than one listen to truly feel out the stories they’re telling. But back to the article, because I’m not trying to compete with the writing skills of a New Yorker review by John Donohue…

The calvary shows up in Wilson’s lyrics, but his songs are not mired in history. “Abe & Johnny” moves from Lincoln to Wilkes Booth to a meditation on the mortal limits of love. “Sharp Was the River Bending” is lively and bucolic, but there’s an undercurrent of despair – the river is the Mississippi, and war is never far from it banks.

I love the album, but “Tell Me Mama” wins for my favorite track. Something about it hurts me in the best of ways that a good song can.

Stream: “Tell Me Mama”

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Lying in the attic
Waiting for the night to fall
Taking all our clothes off
I can hear your voice a calling me
And we were sent to war
And I was in love I don’t want to be here no more…
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Music Monday | The Whiskey Gentry

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I first heard about The Whiskey Gentry at a wedding I shot two years ago. They were the band, and I was impressed. I put their album in my car on the drive home, and it’s remained in there since alongside a random assortment of CD’s I listen to when I’m too lazy to plug my iPhone in: Boyz II Men, Pearl Jam, Stroke 9…

Fast forward to last week. I’m on their back porch with a whiskey and camera in my hand shooting a story of them with Jess Graves. It was an amazing handful of hours hanging out with Jason and Lauren. Jess and I agreed that high school us would be really proud of what we called a job that day. Enjoy the video below of a new song of theirs and then head over to The Love List: At Home with The Whiskey Gentry for the full story.

Music Monday | Twin Forks

100-twin-forks-chris-carrabba-live-music-orlando-florida-music-photography-by-photos-by-chris-martinPhotographed by Grizlee Martin

For a lot of us who follow Taylor Swift on Instagram, we lost our damn minds last week when she posted Chris Carrabba singing “Hands Down” at her best friend’s birthday party. If you don’t know who Chris Carrabba is, it probably wasn’t very exciting for you. But if you were a high school kid obsessed with Dashboard Confessional, it was kind of everything and you wished you were at that party.

And then…

I thought to myself, “Man I wonder if he ever tours anymore? I never got to see Dashboard in high school.”

Which led me to pulling up Dashboard’s website to discover that they have reunited and are going on tour with Third Eye Blind. Which led me to, again, lose my damn mind, because 3eb is one of my all time favorite bands (Top 3) and made my all time favorite album. Which led me to search for tickets, which led to buying tickets and being so excited for June 4th at Chastain Park where all of my high school dreams will come true.

And then…

Naturally, I followed Dashboard on Instagram. And a few days ago, they posted a photo and asked “How many of you guys know about Chris’ other band Twin Forks?” NOT ME!

I figured I’d like Twin Forks before even starting the album because, duh, Chris Carrabba, but y’all… I really like them. The album isn’t at all Dashboard-esque. I’ve read a handful of articles quoting Chris saying “It’s so different from Dashboard, in every way.” It’s poppy folk-rock that brings together some hints of my past obessesions (his voice and lyrics) with the sounds that I love so much today.

Stream: “Can’t Be Broken”

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And my second favorite from the album…

Stream: “Kiss Me Darling”

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And one more? Yup. Twin Forks covering Taylor Swift. FULL CIRCLE. Thank you and goodnight.

Stream: “Mean”

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iTunes | Spotify | “Mean” free download.

Music Monday | Gavin James

gavin_james01_website_image_gallery_standardPhotographed by Tom Martin

Dublin’s Gavin James cover of “The Book of Love” took the award for my most played song last week. His studio version of Magnetic Field’s song is wonderful, but I fell harder for the remixes, particularly Raffertie‘s. It’s crazy beautiful.

Stream: “The Book of Love” (Raffertie Remix)

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