Tag Archives: music

Review of One More Life

Review of One More Life by Coco Scott
(written by Randall Wayne Belt)
November 2019

One thing about this artist is that she knows her strengths and makes the most of that by highlighting her stellar vocals and great pitch with sparse arrangements with piano and/or guitar, beats and accents of various kinds. One thing you’ll notice on her previous releases is that her voice is always the highlight of the song leaning on strong melody and vocal performance to carry her through. The song Falling is a good one to listen to to hear what I mean and is a fabulous song on its own . The melody and instrumentation have a very beautiful and Celtic feel.

Her song Smolder, another beautiful vocal oriented piece with rich piano backdrop, has the same Celtic underpinning.  As does the song “Wait For Me”. Scott puts all her heart and soul into her vocal takes, that much is obvious. And in that vein, as stated in her description of the song Wait For Me on her YouTube Channel, the description says, “we all make mistakes, but sometimes we don’t get to make up for them. ‘Wait for Me’ is a heart-wrenching plea for forgiveness. If you like any of the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ soundtracks, you’re going to love this song!”

And the song is indeed heart-wrenching and continues with the sparse arrangement and emphasis on the vocal. After all, a lyrical song is all about the vocal and what is being sung. But this amazing vocalist is capable of much more than the sparse arrangements of Celtic underpinning, and she doesn’t leave it all there.

On Coco’s latest release “One More Life” the production gets more experimental with sounds and moves slightly away from the sparser arrangement style and takes on some more contemporary pop appeal.

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And it is a great success because the arrangements do not take away from the vocal but underscore it. On this song, which is my big focus here, piano starts as slowly the song builds and sequenced sounds appear – and then other sounds come in and build around the perfect vocal take and begin to pulsate by “Baby lets fly, I can’t wait another moment”. Electric guitar comes in just to make accents at this point. Then the beat picks up and pulses the song home even further while all is tastefully done and not subtracting from the vocal, but  rather, highlighting it!  The concept of less is more is working here as it has on other recordings of Coco Scott. Nothing is to intrusive. Nothing is overdone. Perfect arrangement.

Her voice is crystal clear like you are there in the room with her. A result of using very high resolution recording. Every syllable and consonant are crisp and clear and leave you hanging on the edge of your brain. One has to commend the recording engineer, as well as the singer, for capturing everything so well. Independent artists should take note of how well recorded this song is and use it as a vocal standard that can be achieved.

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The song seems to be asking for “one more life”, “One more love”, which could mean another chance at love to perhaps get it right this time – as it seems perfect for once – a concept I think a lot of people can relate to. The line “Better late than never” says it well. The song is short and sweet coming in under 3 minutes as a radio friendly pop song should. It does what it needs to do and ends leaving you wanting to listen again, which I think is the ultimate goal of a song in terms of wanting more.

This song is much more preferable than much of what passes as pop that clutters the airwaves today. It is contemporary but it is it’s own thing. The music and luxurious tasty vocals are rich like the audio version of sleeping on custom satin sheets.

Hear/Buy One More Life on CDBaby:

Coco Scott Homepage

Coco Scott on Spotify

Watch and listen On YouTube

Heart Song

Review of Heart Song
by Randy Wayne Belt
October 2019

It’s autumn now and the smell of burning wood is in the air accenting the slight nip of chill beginning to make itself known. The perfect background music for warming up or winding down in front of the fireplace has been located.

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After listening to this album by Lisa Mitts in a nice relaxed atmosphere with, yes a real fire in the background, I have determined that the album’s title Heart Song was truly the best title it could have been given. As the title suggests, we can hear the songs emanate from the heart itself with the musical sounds giving life to emotions and feelings that otherwise could not be more perfectly expressed.

I don’t generally do reviews of purely instrumental music but I have to make an exception. This album could also work great not only as a soundtrack, or devotional background music, but is quite a charming album to have on during the Christmas Season.

Lisa Mitts is a Christian singer/songwriter from Washington state with influences of r&b, pop, country, jazz and rock. Her passion is to bring joy, love, and healing through music to everyone who listens. With also a good sized collection of albums under her belt that are more of an indie Christian pop and rock sound it is refreshing to hear an artist take a breather and express his or herself without words as Lisa so effectively does with the
Heart Song album, a collection of 10 piano driven songs released in 2018.

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The opening track Abide in my Love starts the album off setting the pace as a gentle piano piece with string sections woven in and throughout.

Divine Breath is the second track which continues the rich and full piano sound that was recorded just perfectly. Pianos are sometimes tough to get to sound the way you want them, but this was perfectly captured. There is just the right warmth that was captured by the microphone and placement of the mic giving this whole album the feel of a warm analog recording.

Falling Into winter is the next track and the minor chords carrying the song give you that sense of winter coming. It has a certain bleakness to it that speak of the frigidness of winter. But with it a certain beautiful sadness that is best highlighted by the main piano riff that works as a chorus if this were a vocal piece.

The albums’ title track Heart Song appears as track 4 and takes a gentle but bright and uplifting turn from the wintry past and moves on and upward to a more delightful sound and tone and just a touch of flute makes sound as it could be a background music track for an episode of Downton Abbey or the background music for a part of Pride and Prejudice. It has a classical feel to it that takes you back there. This one is my favorite!

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Dancing in the Field is a roving piano tune with strings accompanied at times again. I could hear this for a soundtrack for a very deep movie. It has an edge of sadness to it despite being titled “Dancing in the Fields”.

Leading My Path comes in as track 6 and if words were written to this it could well be a hymn and does have hints of influence from the gentle sacred hymn As the Deer Panteth for the Water“, which again leads us back to the title of the album by mood and emotion. This was the longest track of the album clocking in at 5:42. You can get away with that on instrumentals and this one fills the time as if it is not passing at all.

Rushing River displays once again Lisa’s knack for melody and writing a catchy melodic phrase. In a bit more of a minor chord emphasis, this song also has a wintry feel of the icy cold water moving along and beginning to freeze as if in slow motion at your feet and backs up my claim that this could be a good Christmas Season album, well, as long as you are somewhere where it gets cold in winter!

Track 8 is titled Peaceful Wanderer and once again that knack for melody is on display and with the help of synthesizer strings in carefully selected spots of the song. The song and its chosen melodic phrasing does indeed give a sense of peace and a sense of wandering though not tooo far off.

Joy in the Morning begins to close the album and starts with yet another beautiful melody and structure and has a new twist with some double time melodic phrases thrown in giving the song a lot of added interest. The song explores more of the pianos range and does so effectively. It is a happy type of song just as the title suggests.

And finally, the closing track gives us the sense that the album is complete and is appropriately titled Soul Rest. It gives a sense of completeness and rest for the weary soul. You can hear on this song especially a sense of two different playing styles that I would guess were learned earlier then later and combined together to paint a picture of an accomplished pianist.

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As an accomplished singer, songwriter, performer, and pianist it is no surprise that Lisa is an ISSA (International Singer Songwriter Association) 2019 recipient of the Female Songwriter of The Year (Bronze) and was also nominated in 5 categories for the Josie Music Awards, the largest globally recognized music awards for Independent Artists. She is also a prolific performer and serves as a worship leader. She resides in Auburn, WA with her husband David. They have four children and three grandchildren.

Put this one on and relax at the end of a long day and sit in front of a nice warm fireplace. Or put on a pretend fireplace on your TV screen, have a beverage and chill.

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And what is coming next for Lisa Mitts? Well, she has a pre-release announcement for – yes – Heart Songs Vol. 2: Songs of Peace.

In her own words “I wrote each one of these 11 new soothing instrumental songs by inspiration of God’s love and healing, all of them spontaneously at my keyboard. You will also love the beautiful strings on a few of them added by Billboard producer & sound engineer Kenny Lewis of Mixedemt Emotions who did an outstanding job mixing and mastering.”

The album is anticipated to release on Spotify and on iTunes and all digital outlets by Oct. 25th, 2019. A very limited number of physical CD’s (just 50 copies) are also being made and will be available by the end of this month. You can place advance orders by emailing to lisa@lisamitts.com or calling 425-277-2775.
website: www.lisamitts.com

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2pP7RonAsAN91ouZXLi5hC?si=vN3X0AxZSkO4-xTT2OT3vQ

iTunes: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/lisa-mitts/359488551

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/lisamittsmusic

Somebody To Love

Review of “Somebody To Love”
by Randy Wayne Belt
Sept. 2019

With a distinctly mid western and southern charmed voice, not to mention a Dove Awards nomination and Josie Awards nominations, Karisa Kay brings and sings her song “Somebody To Love” to life by telling the story of two people who find love in each other for a lifetime.

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You get that sense in this song and can feel an emotion in the singing voice that just can’t be pretended especially on the powerful chorus. And when you see the video (below) you’ll understand why: The song is about her own grandparents. You’ll see the pictures and images and know they were from what we call “The Great Generation”, a generation that understood love for country, each other, and commitment. You can’t help but get a sense of longing for the same kind of thing by the artist when you hear the heartfelt singing.

Originally from Iowa, Karisa Kay is a country singer and songwriter strongly influenced by Gospel and her roots come from traditional country having been brought up listening to Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynnete, Crystal Gayle, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire. Those influences come out in her writing and singing and you can hear that she has a heart and soul of old country.

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I like to start at the beginning and this song from the 2016 album is a good starting point. Appropriately fixed as the album title, the song “Somebody To Love” strikes me as the big hit of the same titled album. The song begins with what I call “the Americana beat” – you know, that shuffly country beat you might hear in a Tim McGraw song?

The body of the song is then accented by a bit of slightly crunchy guitar riffs, steel guitars or pedal steel, with a piano giving the under rhythm and at times a bit of accenting counter melody that you don’t notice unless you pick it apart (like a reviewer might do) with the beat. The song is like a revival of when country music was more traditional but with a slight contemporary twist.

Even if you are not a fan of country you’ll have to admit this song has a compelling and crossover chorus.

The chorus is very powerful and strong and grabs you and makes you feel like it is familiar and you want to hear it again and again. The harmonies are carefully placed to fatten up the sound. The key change at the end of the song gives the chorus an extra push without making it feel overdone, as choruses often do, by the end of the song. The lyrics at the end of the story perfectly lead into the last chorus with the line “all because two people found…somebody to love” making the chorus flow right off the last verse/pre chorus.

The songwriting sticks to traditional country theme but does it in a way that shows the song is well crafted, structured, and ready for radio. The sense of melody is apparent and the song will hook you in by the chorus and keep you coming back.

Karisa Kay web page:  https://www.karisakaymusic.biz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarisaKay76/

Listen on Spotify:

Watch the video:

https://itube247.com/video/karisa-kay-somebody-to-love/

Breaking Out

Review of  Verity White’s album: Breaking Out

reviewed by Randy Wayne Belt
April 16, 2018

I remember how relieved a lot of people were when rock made a bit of a comeback in the 90s and I recall a lot of people saying how they felt they could listen to new music again instead of just regurgitated classics.

With rock’s decline in the late 90s and taking a backseat on major charts like Billboards, the dance and electro music chiefly took over pop radio and totally dominated by 2009. However, a pop/rock resurgence has occurred as led by the electro rock of groups like Imagine Dragons. It is almost like a cycle where pop/rock declines – then rock declines then pop/rock resurges – then rock resurges thereafter.

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Will rock make another comeback? Or will it stay almost as a cult following like when it first started? No one knows for sure. But there is one thing that is for sure – Rock is not dead  – and The UK’s own Verity White will be in the leading edge of a comeback!

Influenced by the 90s rock/grunge scene and adding her own twist of pure rock, some electronic, and a touch of progressive, Verity White’s debut full length album Breaking Out continues to do just that (break out). It is a strong debut album that should lodge her foot in the door and kick it in just enough for the next one to break it down.  And Verity isn’t waiting around for some pie in the sky big label to do the work for her.  She is dong it herself!

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Not only do the lyrics ring true from the heart of life’s experiences, Verity effectively delivers her vocal performance to match the moods on each song. Each song has its own character and each character is easily slipped into. And that shouldn’t be surprising considering her background in theater. Whether a song or component within a song requires the growl of a wild cat or the purr of a kitten, Verity delivers. Power and grit with fire and wit – Purr and claw, she’s got it all.

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As Indie Music Mag put it ” A powerful vocalist with a soulful streak that is truly compelling” (indie music mag, May 2017) I think they are onto something here.

If Verity is the wild cat of this album, then Alex, the guitarist, is the tom cat and shows no mercy to the helpless mice as they are shredded by claws of wound string fret to fret. The rest of the band fills right in with the necessary ingredients to cook up a perfect musical meal.

The extra rich crunchy electric guitars lift this album to a new level. The Hughes and Kettner head and Blackstar cab with a Les Paul Custom guitar run through provided the perfect warm and crunchy sound for this album. No wimpy guitars here!

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The textured layers of music on each track create a unique atmosphere for each song and relate to the lyrics in some way. Each song sounds like it was approached with a unique perspective of what that song needed production-wise. Each song was carefully crafted and attention to details are obvious to a scrutinizing listener.

The opening and title track, Breaking Out, with its meaty introduction to the listener of a real rock experience, kicks things off. It’s a musical “scotch on the rocks” and has a message that you can interpret for yourself in the video. (Watch recently released video for the song)

The second track, Zeroes and Ones, starts things off with a taste of keyboard driven verses showing the artists diversity in taste and style and ultimately lead into crunchy rock chorus pieces that flow easily together while following the emotion of the lyrics.

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Demonstrating an understanding of the importance of the bridge of a song as a great reset point, it is clear Verity and her production team have taken great pains to finely tune each track.

The keyboard driven sounds of track two continue into track three and then reset back to the harder edged guitar based riff rock with edgy and attitude oriented vocals. Carefully placed vocal effects further demonstrate that the production ideas of this album were no mere accidents but were carefully planned.

The rock attitude comes out fully in the song I Don’t Care which is a total pure rock song that Joan Jett would have been proud to have written and has the perfect bridge providing contrast to the rest of the song.  The fifth song, See Through It, demonstrates that Verity is capable of utilizing her obviously very trained voice and her sense of melody to give the album a break and slight detour into a bit of electronic pop/rock feel that gives the perfect reset point while it lyrically delves deeper into personal struggles that are ultimately given a sense of hope to overcome by the last track, (which is aptly titled Overcome).

That ability to handle any type of vocal is what led me to be ever more curious of her talent and how this album would turn out.

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So impressed was I with her handling of a number of vocal formats that I asked her to provide the leading harmony vocals on a remake by my own band, Barley Station, of the old dance/pop Madonna song “Borderline” (from 1983/1984) changing its format to a more rock-oriented tune but with a male/female lead vocal. And Verity indeed delivered! (view article on that)

One of my favorite tracks on this album is the song Exhale“. So I wasn’t surprised this was pushed as a single from the album. Like some of the other songs presented in this collection of original songs, “Exhale” combines the cleaner sounds of keyboards and weaves them through the song with the crunchy guitar sounds, creating textures

The album concludes with another of my favorites, the creative and hypnotic track “Overcome“. By now as the album is about to conclude, you understand and have a clearer picture of the concept behind the album of overcoming many of the things we struggle with in life. And especially so the struggles of an artist in a world that imagines perfection is achievable and projects unrealistic demands on its inhabitants. Overcoming the struggles of depression and using music as an outlet and healing mechanism seems to be an underlying theme that is effectively delivered in this album.

The set up is all there for a follow up album to demonstrate that Verity White will be an artist to watch and take notice of and as I said earlier, kick that door in the rest of the way. Verity is always interacting with her fans, has great stage presence, and works her tail off writing, recording, and touring. There’s no reason not to belief that she cannot achieve whatever she sets her mind to. Rumor has it a new single is in the works, so watch for that!

WEBSITE : www.veritywhite.com
SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/7zF9Hwte3JZG8qLDZveCBM?si=V0ZITobGSDeBid2edOg75w
TWITTER : www.twitter.com/veebear
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/VerityWhiteSinger
INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/Original_Verity
PATREON: www.patreon.com/VerityWhite

PR Contact
Email: veebear@me.com

Announcing the release of Borderline by Barley Station

March 21, 2018

This is a Rock/Pop version of Madonna’s song that hit #10 on Billboards Top 100 in 1984. I was on the Billboards chart in various positions for a total of 30 weeks. This new version by Barley Station is more akin to the version of Madonna’s 2010 Stick and Sweet Tour and is a collaboration of vocals between Randy Wayne Belt (Barley Station) on lead vocal and Verity White (Verity White) on leading harmony (and both on backing vocals). It is an across the pond vocal collaboration between he U.S. and UK that will surprise many!

The old saying that a hit song is a hit song in any format bears true.  The new format for the song was achieved by removing the dance/pop elements from the song and stripping it all the way down to an acoustic guitar and vocal and rebuilding it with a rock/pop beat, crunchy guitars and somewhat gritty vocals.  It was with the help of Verity White on a leading harmony vocal that the song was able to be sung with a conviction and reflection of the new atmosphere that helped the song stay true to the integrity of the original underlying song written by Reggie Lucas and first performed by Madonna.

It was deemed by Randy, who produced the new version, that the piano/keyboard melody that opens the song was an important element that should be kept as closely as possible to the original and tastefully translated to the electric guitar. This was achieved by multi- layering various harmonics of the melodic phrases to achieve a thick and believable electric sound.  The rest of the song fell easily enough into place very naturally.

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So far, all those surveyed before the release, liked this version even better than the original.  That could be a matter of taste because the original was a brilliant mix of dance and pop. But at the least, this song works very well in a rockier format to be certain!

The photo for the cover is by Veronica Linge Phillips of Veronica Marie Photography.

You can find Borderline at most major digital retailers such as:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/borderline/1352851105?i=1352851119

On Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/0vXxqupVurPDg7DMFtDK2Y?si=od48UVxjSMq4F-cGtbzkTA

And at CD Baby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/barleystation20

 

Katie Belle Akin: Review of “You Are My Holiday”

 

Katie’s enthusiasm for music and singing has been consistent since an early age.  Following her dreams, working hard, and learning from her mistakes with an always upbeat attitude has helped her multi-task successfully as a musical entertainer and in fashion as a model.

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Since her very first music release, and even since my last review of her music, she has come a long, long way, and like a fine wine, only improves with time.

She has that special “it” in all that she does that brings me to her Christmas song, which I pulled from her back catalog of other great songs.  

Blessed with natural vocal talent and an ear for a good melody, Katie brings home the Christmas cheer easily with her song “You Are My Holiday“. I dug this song up by accident and was surprised I didn’t find it before. It is from 2012 but sounds as fresh as yesterday!  It is pure goodness!

I can hear this song being covered by other artists in the future in a big way. And it is also a great candidate for a Christmas movie soundtrack.

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The rich warm acoustic guitar played by song co-writer Kip Williams starts the song out accompanied by Katie’s naturally pure and very tuned vocals and with the snare brushes and brush hits that give it a light and smooth feel.

Katie’s vocal gives a rich, warm, and enchanting beginning to the song that when the chorus kicks in knocks you out with a fantastic hook that will be stuck in your head for life.

As the song progresses from the perfect opening sparse arrangement, more instrumentation comes in and the bass picks things up a notch and never lets it back down.

With dramatic vocal pauses before the chorus, the song is well arranged and puts the “Merry” into Merry Christmas.

The song will fill you with feelings of jubilee and bright cheerfulness washing away any kind of sadness that sometimes come to many this time of year. The song is like an escape into merriment and blissful joy.

Katie Belle’s Homepage:  http://www.katiebellega.com

Watch the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/gvqd1IKorwI

 

 

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

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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

Releasing Your Own Music in a Nutshell

Releasing your own music in a nutshell.

Since I frequently get asked a lot of questions regarding distribution and releasing new music by new or newer independent artists I thought I’d write this hopefully short blog to answer a few of those questions. This is nutshell, not comprehensive!

You have a single or an album and you want to release it. First make sure you copyright your work. Go to copyright.gov to do that. Next, if you are in this for the long haul, you’ll need a PRO (Performing Rights Organization) such as BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC which are among the most recognized. Personally, I use ASCAP for both my publishing arm of my own label and personally as a songwriter, copyright holder. Go to their respective website and signup. It’s easy. Having your works registered in the database is also a bit of insurance if you run into a copyright issue and you need to prove that your work was created before a certain date.

You’ll also want to register with SoundExchange for collection of digital performing rights. Now you you need distribution. I can’t tell you who has the best prices and gives you the most of your cut, but considering the cut major labels take, this should be the least of your worries because the cut you take from ANY independent friendly distributor is WAY more than any major label will ever give you (and many indie labels as well.) So there is no sense in nickel and diming at this stage of your game.

Fact is, you are not going to sell a lot of physical or digital copies at first unless you have huge money backing you for marketing and advertising.
So the best bet is to go with an independent friendly distribution service like CD Baby. I have used CD Baby for my band Barley Station from day 1
of our first release back in 2012. And I used them prior to that for a previous band and have always have had great service and communication
with a myriad of extra benefits.

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Here’s an example of one of my own releases to the right —>

So, without sounding like an ad for CD Baby, I must say I have not felt the need to shop for other services as I have been very happy with all they have to offer. And what they have to offer answers a lot of the other questions I get.

CD Baby has a lot fo benefits for the independent artist. For one, they have been doing this for many, many years. They have made the connections you won’t need to spend the time making, if you even can.

If you need digital distribution, they cover it. They will get your music to your choice of paying platforms and/or a combo of non paying platforms as well. They get your music to iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3, Deezer, Tidal, Google Music Store, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Rhapsody, Groove, Rumblefish, and many more. And they are always adding what is new.

In addition to this, they offer YouTube content ID and make sure you get paid if someone uses your music for anything on YouTube, and in general, protect your copyrights there. This is an option they provide so you want to make sure that that option is for you.
And now that you have registered with SoundExchange, when you are entering your release data while signing up your single or album, they will send your release info to SoundExchange.

And if that is not enough, you need UPC bar codes? For a small amount more (usually only $5) they can assign you a bar code so that purchases of your album get registered with Soundscan and are tracked (if you want to eventually hit the charts after you sell a lot copies) OR you can always request your own UPC barcodes.

If you want radio play of various sorts you will want ISRC codes attached to your track.
(International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. These codes are unique and permanent identifiers for your song and are like your songs fingerprints and are used to track your spins and collection of royalties. You need these! CD Baby can assign these as well.

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Another benefit is that CD Baby often partners with other services that you may need, such as Easy Song Licensing if you want to release a cover song, and services like RadioAirplay.com if you want to test out your music on radio and have great stat analysis. And they have a number of other helpful partners, blogs, and newsletters to offer the DIY artist.

Not only that, but CD Baby has tracking and trending reports of services such as your Spotify Streams and iTunes sales before they hit your account as monies. All these services are with a basic album signup and not the Pro package. That has its own benefits but is not necesary unless you just want everything all in one place, such as ASCAP collections if your are with ASCAP.

And yet another benefit is you can opt for brick and mortar distribution so that when the demand comes for your album, CD Baby can supply that particular store for you. This is, of course, unless you’d rather do your own consignment, but I find it is much simpler to allow them to handle that unless you enjoy doing paper work and following up with all your consignments and tracking them yourself, which eventually can turn into a real pain.

The question also comes to me of having any legal issues hassles when you part ways is not a question I have had to worry about thus far because the service with CD Baby has never lacked for me and I have not as yet felt any need to part ways with them. But since they are professionals, that is not something I would worry about. The fact is, if you happen to get a major label deal, your new label would handle the legal aspects of all that for you.

Others may have other opinions, but I speak only from my own experience.
In short, CD Baby is a service I highly recommend to handle a lot of needs and keep your own work load down and get the biggest bang for your buck without having yearly fees and as many worries.

“Like Destiny” Coming Soon!

On Thursday, January 21, 2016, Barley Station will release a new single titled “Like Destiny”.  Blending folk and rock with progressive beats and pop sensibilities, this one has been called the best yet by those who have heard the song. The song will be available at most digital retail outlets.

Here is a sneak peek of the album art:

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Snippet from a Pre-release review:
“You’ll want to find a pretty spot under the old oak tree by the river and let Barley Stations new single ‘Like Destiny’ flow right through your soul.

“The unique instrumental in the song pairs perfectly with Vocalist Randy Wayne Belts ‘tranquil fluid motion’ vocals transcending one into a heavenly place of peace also known as: bliss… Infectious and pretty, this song is one for the iPod ‘favorites’ playlist for sure!”
~CA Marshall editor of Starlight Music Chronicles and Magazine

(Click here for a sneak audio from the track “Like Destiny”)

 

Album art by Candice Anne Graphics & Photography

 

 

Review/Interview of Naomi Psalm

Interview With Naomi Psalm and Review

of Naomi Psalm’s new single “Now You See Me”

You may remember awhile back I did a review of the music of recording artist Naomi Psalm titled “The Musical Art of Naomi Psalm”.And remember that section that talked about looking for a song by Naomi Psalm in October that was to be in a movie titled Ghostumentary?

Well, it’s here! The title of the song, “Now You See Me”, and the atmosphere created in the song were made to fit perfectly for the film with the line “Now you see me – now you don’t”.

And as always, with Naomi’s consistently good songwriting, it is not only a good fit for the film but is also a very catchy song that will definitely be stuck in your head!  Psalm has proved once again that she is a consistently good songwriter and vocalist!

(Click here to learn about the film at: http://www.ghostumentary.com/)

Produced by Scot Alexander (from the band Dishwalla), the big thumpy beat that comes in and the thick bass sounds drive the song home accenting, pulsating and drawing you into all those little nuances, such as the effects on the vocals, which in spots will leave a haunting impression as you hear it in stereo. (Yes, stereo is still the best way to listen to music) The mixing job and effects on the vocals are perfect and helped lend to the song the haunting effect that make the lyrics come alive.

IMG_8238The depth of Psalm’s songwriting will always intrigue as you wonder what some of the deeper meanings of the lyrics are when she sings “I’m not only in your dreams, but that’s the way it seems”. If you are a fan of the song “Ink”  from the Stare album, you’ll also be a fan of “Now You See Me”, which is in the same creative vein.

Click here to preview and purchase “Now You See Me” on iTunes here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/now-you-see-me-single/id1046929061

So on the thought of creativity, I was able to get in a quick interview with Naomi

and being a visual artist myself as well I had to get into that right away.

Randy: What other creative arts are you into?

Naomi: I’m also a visual artist using the medium of water acrylics. I got into that in 2003 when I didn’t want to pay someone else to design my album cover.

Randy: I also paint (oil paint), so I have to ask, was there any artists (visual) that have inspired you or that you look up to?

Naomi: No one in particular. I just really like artists that paint abstract and colorful.

(Click here to view Naomi’s art on her homepage)

Randy: How did you get started in music?

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Naomi: I began writing poetry when I was 8. When I was 13, I inherited my grandfather’s guitar and started playing. I am self taught, and would glean inspiration from friends of my parents that would come over and jam all the time.

Randy: Explain your passion for music:

Naomi: I am deeply passionate about music. It is what makes me feel alive. The world seems right when I am performing music, writing songs, and creating art.

Randy: Do you have a “pet” instrument? (your favorite guitar, a ukulele, etc.)

Naomi: My takamine is my favorite guitar and has been with me since my dad bought me it in 1993. It gets better with age.

Randy: Yeah, the older the instruments the better they sound. So, who are your biggest influences and musical role models?

Naomi: Brandi Carlile is one of my biggest influences. She’s is an incredible singer/songwriter who really moves me.

Randy: What are you working on and what’s in the future for Naomi Psalm?

Naomi: I am finishing up an EP right now, as well as 2 music videos. I also just released the song that is in the movie Ghostumentary.

Randy: Does the EP you’re working on have a title yet? And can you divulge any of the song titles from the EP?

Naomi: I have a title rolling around in my head, but it’s top secret at this point.

“Hole in the Carpet” and “The Postman” are 2 song titles I’ll give away.

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Randy: How did you get hooked up with doing the song for Ghostumentary?

Did you write the song specifically for the movie? Or did you have something you

were already working on that you tailored to the movie? How did it come together creatively?

Naomi:   I am friends with one of the movie directors and he needed a theme song. I watched some rough footage for inspiration, and wrote the song specifically for the movie. That song came together really fast for me. The lyrics and music happened simultaneously.

Randy:  Awesome!  Do you have any collaborations going on or planned?

Naomi: There are 2 newly released songs out on YouTube that I have written with a local musician Ryan Bayne.

Randy: Cool! Link us up.

Naomi:  “Not My Kind” at http://youtu.be/929nhRF_cW4

and  “I Don’t Know Why You Love Me” here:  http://youtu.be/uf2-53R51Sc

Randy:  Great!  My two top favorite videos of yours thus far are “Ink” and “Already Hit Send”

(hint: click the song titles to watch the videos)

Randy:  Thanks for taking the time to interview!

Naomi: Sure! Thank YOU

Connect with Naomi Psalm here:

Website: http://www.naomipsalm.com

YouTube: http://www.YouTube.com/naomipsalm

Twitter: https://twitter.com/naomipsalm

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

“Now You See Me” on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/now-you-see-me-single/id1046929061