Tag Archives: iTunes

Olivia Penalva | “Dream You Home” Single Review

by Randy Wayne Belt
Dec 23, 2017

(First published in Starlight Music Chronicles on Nov. 30, 2017)

I’ll admit I love the Hallmark Christmas movies.  There’s something about that time of year  that makes even the mediocre movies seem good or magical.  But the best ones always have great music behind them.  Olivia Penalva’s new Christmas song “Dream You Home” would fit well as a background track for one of the well produced Hallmark Christmas movies, or any other, for that matter. This song is far beyond medicocrity.

Olivia, who hails from Vernon, BC in Canada, has put together quite a gem with this new song.  It has that magical sparkle to it in the underlying arrangements.  It is not as much an in-your-face Christmas song as it is capturing the spirit behind the season, making it perfect for placement in any Christmas or Holiday movie.  The chorus of the song is very memorable and powerful and even having  this as a background track would make any movie even better. (Great tracks can MAKE a great movie)

Not only does the song have a great mix of sounds based around a sort of shuffle march type drum beat on the verses but the lyrics are well written and paint a perfect picture of what she is trying to convey.

My favorite lyric in “Dream You Home” is “The light in your soul shines brighter than gold in my heart – that’s where you are.”

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The images invoked by the song could be any number of situations. It could be a lost loved one or a significant other who is separated by distance or time, or even a soldier gone in a far away land during the Christmas Season and the song  is almost like the soldiers spouse singing to bring him home even if it’s only at home in the heart.

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The song does indeed grab your heart and imagination, which is, to me, the ultimate goal of a song – to speak to anyone or everyone in any situation.  This is one more thing that makes it an easy shoo in for anyone considering it for a spot in a Christmas movie.

Often, it is this time of year when many find themselves missing a loved one in some capacity, and it isn’t always the best time for many, but even still and even if you are not into Christmas or the spirit of it, and even if you are the Grinch himself, this song still weighs in on its own merit as a song with a powerful  chorus that demands attention and speaks to the soul.

This isn’t Olivia’s first Christmas song.  I reviewed “Christmas For Two” which was published in Starlight Music Chronicles’ December issue back in 2015

 

And also on my own blog: https://barleystation.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/review-of-christmas-for-two/

Since that time Olivia has progressed even further as an artist and has honed even further her vocal and songwriting skills. Recently reaching a million plays on Spotify, her newer music bears out how far she’s grown since then.

Her voice still has that same special warmth to it but with a sultry yet still innocent sound that will capture your ears, heart, and will leave a memorable impression when you hear it.  I compared her voice before, in a sense to that of Nora Jones, or Colbie Caillet.  In fact, since the last review, Olivia was able to be mentored by Colbie Caillet after winning teen artist of the year in the Starlight Music Chronicles “Artist of the Year Contest” in 2016.

As a winner, Olivia got to attend ArtistMax an Artist Development program in L.A. in March 2017. Artist Max was dreamed up by legendary producer and engineer Ken Caillet (Fleetwood Mac Rumours) and was mentored there by Ken and Colbie Caillet, and David Foster in L.A..

Link to Dream You Home on Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/album/69E17KNMwKzhFSPRHKNHQU

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OliviaMusicLive/

Website: https://www.oliviamusiclive.com/

YouTube Lyrics Video: https://youtu.be/Fp6F0TAK1AI

Olivia Penalva SMC 2016 TEEN Artist of the Year

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dream-you-home/1300720379?i=1300720661

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Back There Somewhere

With the release of the new album Back There Somewhere on September 14, Barley Station has launched a weekly Facebook Live show called ‘T-Night Live with Barley Station’.  The format draws somewhat from the old Saturday Night Live concepts and formats and incorporates a type of humor, skits, and live music into the weekly broadcast. Already into Episode 3, which is the most fun and zaniest Episode yet, the band promises to take you on a ride that will leave you laughing, crying, singing along, or in stitches. 

(watch below – Facebook required to view -And below THAT is the Official Press Release of the Album)

Episode 3

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbarleystation%2Fvideos%2F1653805027998414%2F&show_text=0&width=560

For all Episodes go to:  https://barleystation.net/tnight-live-archives

BARLEY STATION ‘BACK THERE SOMEWHERE’
ALBUM RELEASED SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

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BARLEY STATION ‘BACK THERE SOMEWHERE’
ALBUM RELEASED SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 14th, 2017 – Barley Station has just announced the official release of their third studio album ‘Back There Somewhere’ via Barleyfields Records (ASCAP). The first new single off the album, ‘Waiting’, released on August 10th, 2017 and has already been well received by North American and European media and radio.

Barley Station consists of multi-instrumentalists Randy Wayne Belt and Brian (Hex Jin) Kious as its core vocal and songwriting team, and is often joined onstage by others. The album also guest features the exquisite backing vocals of Virginia Grey of Carolina Magnolia fame. (Tracks 3 and 4 on the album)

Founded in 2011, Barley Station has written, produced, and launched two albums ‘After All’ (2012), and ‘Damaged Goods’ (2013) followed by a multiplicity of singles. Songs from the ‘Damaged Goods’ album have already hit the top 10 on charts in Paris, France and with the release of the bands’ new album ‘Back There Somewhere’ (September 14th, 2017), the band will surely become a household name on the European charts. Barley Station has been picked up by prestigious curated Spotify Playlists and have received glowing press feedback from a myriad of credible publications, radio, and television media platforms. The bands’ signature sound is a genre crossover blend of Americana, Country, Pop, Folk, and even Rock Alternative which is authentic and original.

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Inside art and disc art

Singles from ‘Back There Somewhere’ have already garnered the interest of North American radio and media such as Steel Notes, Skope, AVA Live Radio, Indie Music Monday, Starlight Music Chronicles, American Pride Magazine, and Ally’s Attic to name a few. Their first single off the new album ‘Waiting’, was released on August 10th, 2017 and is a warm, uplifting, mellifluous song reflective of the heart of this masterpiece.

Songs like ‘Take Me To The Shade’, and ‘Warm Embraces’ lend a fun element to the album while others like ‘Long Ago Angel’, ‘Like Winter’, and ‘Keep Me High’ add emotional depth with well thought out lyrics & Instrumentation that is a true reflection of Americana.

A few previously released singles like ‘Double Star’, ‘Like Destiny’, ‘4th Of July’, and ‘Must Be Something’ have been added to the album to appease avid Barley Station fans and European radio who have demonstrated a strong, supportive response for them. The closing number on this album, ‘Come On Down Hey’, is the jewel in the crown. It is a smooth but driving song that is inviting in its lyrics and jubilant in its melody with mandolin weaved in careully. It’s the perfect way to leave loyal fans on a lingering note of what’s to come for this exceptional band.

Back There Somewhere | Track Listing

Release Date: September 14th, 2017

  1. Waiting 3:04
  2. Take Me To The Shade 3:13
  3. Warm Embraces 2:39
  4. Long Ago Angel 3:54
  5. Keep Me High 3:59
  6. Must Be Something 4:02
  7. Like Winter 3:41
  8. Double Star 3:29
  9. Like Destiny 3:21
  10. 4th Of July 2:21
  11. Come On Down Hey 4:03

The album is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes, and has also been launched on Spotify.

 

Website: barleystation.net

 

PR Contact: Candice Marshall pr@barleystation.net

New Album To Be Released Sept. 14, 2017

After releasing a litany of singles since the last album, a new album is ready to go. It will only be featuring 4 of the singles previously released and has 7 brand new songs and remixes of the singles.  The new Barley Station album is set to be released on Thursday, September 14, 2017

The title is “Back There Somewhere”.  Pre-release sales on iTunes and Amazon begin on August 10, also a Thursday.  The Instant gratification track will be the leading track, a song titled “Waiting”.

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With 11 tracks on the album, each one has its own story, mood, and exemplifies how carefully selected and crafted each song was in the studio. No one song defines who Barley Station is so one won’t be picked for that purpose.

One of the more unusual songs though, is Double Star.  The song Double Star evokes imagery and terminology throughout that relates a relationship, or longing for that special someone, to the relationship between the stars and constellations and evokes astronomy terminology to explain it in a metaphorical way.

Have you heard of a wandering star? What is it? The retrograde motion of planets causing them to appear to be stars that move back and forth was the inspiration that caused the song to be written.  Like the skies at night, the relationship between people is not always what they seem.

Hear Double Star on Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify:album:2BHhGsESXYamZL6Phe0AOR

In its use of metaphors to describe this relationship one wonders if it is so far into space that they might think “is it a love out of reach or is it a possibility”?  The lines “When the sun is dark will you be my star and take me into orbit” paint a picture of the longing but in the song’s lyric “Did aurora’s laugh into your skies?” there arises the doubt – What does it mean? Can it be interpreted in several ways? Is it a joke? Is it a joy? Can you figure it out?  Listen to the lyrics and see if you can.

First released as a single in late 2015, a slightly different mix of Double Star will be appearing as track number 8 on our third full length studio album due out on September 14, 2017. True to Barley Station outlaw form, the album is a mix and blend of genres from rock to folk to country and beyond.

The Musical Art of Naomi Psalm

Naomi Psalm can best be described, by this reviewer, as a very creative music artist in the realm of indie pop that really brings the word “artist” back into play again.  After all, it is supposed to be art isn’t it?  With a music industry so far away from musical art and relying on overdone formulaic sound patterns instead of actual musical painting, Naomi brings a much needed refreshing of sound to the music scene.

I’m sure her own music scene in Boise, Idaho is the richer for having her there.  She writes, she sings, she plays guitar and ukulele. Oh, and she can play bass as well. 1618538_10153846410705608_2003472706_nPsalm has a knack for knowing what to do with her voice in a given song.  Her vocals make good use of her dynamics and she sings with a passion that you can feel in the emotions of what she is singing about.

Her voice has some hints of Sarah McLachlan in her tone and melodic expressions at times, but she has a voice all her own.

Currently working on a new  album, we must go back a little first to look at some of the musical art that precedes what is to come. Perhaps it may foretell?

First, we journey back to her last single.  In her April 21, 2015 interview with Jacqueline Jax on A.V.A. Live Radio, http://avaliveradio.com/behind-the-music-naomi-psalm-music-is-freedom/  Naomi gives a glimpse of what her single “Losin It from 2013 might be about when she says, ” It’s based on a true story….lol! I lost more than a few things one day that prompted me to make the best out of it and use the experience for a song. It’s one that everyone can relate to.”

“Losin It” is a fun and lighthearted song that will simply leave you in a good mood. The song opens with a well recorded Ukulele.  Now, a ukulele will always get my attention right away, so the intrigue begins the song.  A rich bass guitar comes in next with drums driving the song home, and then unexpectedly, the chorus brings a change that brings in a swingy feel that makes one think of the type of experimentation you might get on The Beatles’ White Album in a vaudevillian song like “Honey Pie”.   It’s quirky, it’s fun, and it makes you drift off into somewhere else. The song will definitely leave you wondering what she will do next or what she may have done before. 11150212_10155456204290608_6075027914761612038_n

Now we go to 2012.  A single titled “Fitted Sheets” was released that year.  The sound on this song reminds one more of a mid-western Sheryl Crow type feel and with a west coast laid back vibe behind it and accompanied by a more progressive bass line.  It’s unique – which always gets points with me.  Though not a bad song by any means, neither did it strike me as a smash hit, but it’s no matter because this song gives a display of the artist’s continuing creativity and uniqueness, which is a more desirable trait.

So let’s go back a little further.  On Naomi Psalm’s six-song 2011 EP Stare you get a feel for her continuing creativity where pictures are painted with carefully crafted words.

400x400xf6afd07a10be61d997be508a6d93efad_JPG_pagespeed_ic_1411486622 In the song “Ink” for instance, the song opens with the lines: “Pain turns to ink, ink becomes words, words become melodies, flowing like tears”.  The verses of the song captivate you right away with their iambic beauty, driving beat and haunting melody.  

I can’t tell you what the song is about, and I don’t like having a song ruined by someone telling me exactly what it’s about because I like to stay guessing.  But to me, the song speaks to my own soul of the inherent therapeutic value in music and in creating music. This song is a personal favorite and the one song that would be that unexpected hit song by the artist.  A song that would slowly rise on the charts and just stay there for a long time somewhere near the top.

The brush Naomi paints with is streaked with colors of old and new, with experiments and fusions of sound with a twist of pop likability to it In fact, if you watch the video for the song “Ink”, you will notice there is painted art all throughout the video perfectly fitting my opening description of this artist being an “artist” in the truest sense of the word. I definitely recommend watching the video for “Ink” here:  https://youtu.be/eg1ohMThDrk

In fact, so much is she the artist that you will find an art section on her webpage. The title of this artwork is Leaves.

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Now – back to musical art. Another real powerhouse of a song and what I would call the first of two hits on the Stare EP, for me, is the opening track Already Hit Send” which is a powerful song that will just leave you feeling in a good mood, well, depending on what mood you started at maybe, but it did the trick for me.

It features what I call an acoustic-guitar-driven-rolling-smoothness on the verses, then on the chorus the bass changes to a slap type bass sound with a synth/keyboard piece behind it giving an extra musical hook to highlight the vocals and brings the song to a new level of goodness! One thing notable to me, as a bassist myself, is the way the drums and bass guitar stay locked together in this and all of her songs, providing a tightness that I often find lacking in many independent artists.

IMG_4534Another notable song from the Stare EP is the song “Gazing”.  It is a song that will hook you into it on the chorus, and shows this artist is capable of creating more than just one or two good songs.  In the closing song “Listen”, you will find considerable vocal control demonstrated in the delivery and emotional conveyance of the song.  Now that we’ve gone back a ways, the question is, “what’s next”?

With a new record in the works, Naomi describes what she has so far recorded for it as “more in the vibe of Imogen Heap and Ellie Goulding with an electronic, industrial feel”.  Considering what she’s done in the past and how she describes what’s coming up, one can’t help but be intrigued to hear how the new album will sound!  A release is hoped for in late autumn of 2015.  And in October look for a song Naomi Psalm wrote to be in a movie titled Ghostumentary.

Having already received various music awards, I’m sure there will be more on the way for this artist! So stay tuned with that, and be sure to connect with Naomi Psalm on her homepage and her social media here:

http://www.naomipsalm.com

https://twitter.com/naomipsalm

https://www.facebook.com/naomipsalmmusic

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheBlueCinemaMusic

on iTunes: http://www.iTunes.com/bluecinema