Yard Of Blondes Launch Second Single From Upcoming Album (Lowland)

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From left to right: Burak Yerebakan: Guitar / Fanny Hill: Bass, Vocals, / Vincent Jacob: Vocals, Guitar / Forrest Mitchell: Drums/ Vocals. Image courtesy of Yard of Blondes.

Yard of Blondes are preparing to release an album later in 2020, and they’ve just launched their second single ahead of the full record. Lowland, a jaunty, upbeat indy pop track (with maybe some darker themes just under the surface) is a great follow-up to last year’s release of You and I & I, a heavier, rockier track.

Yard of Blondes are based in Culver City, just near Los Angeles, USA but their roots come from across the Atlantic in France. Fanny Hill (bass, vocals, and one half of the French connection) got in touch about an interview, and a few days later on a sweltering late summer day in Darwin, Australia I was talking down the line with Vincent Jacob (guitar, vocals et aussi de la belle France).

Bill Quinn: G’day, Vincent.

Vincent Jacob: Hello. How are you?

BQ: Good, and as I found when I did a little bit of research about the band, I can also say: Bonsoir, ça va? Bienvenue, et c’est un plaisir de vous parler.

VJ: Oh, quel bon français. Bon! Ça va.

BQ: Un peu. Seulement un peu!

Now that we’ve gone down that [French] road, Vince, can you tell me about the origins of the band in France.

VJ: So, actually we started the band in the US, but Fanny and I, the founders of the band, we’re both French.

But we met in Los Angeles.

We were playing music separately in France, both of us, and then we landed in the US – we didn’t know each other – and we met. I guess we were there for the same reason; we needed to escape Europe for a bit, and we ended up in the sun on Venice Beach in LA and we met.

Fanny was here on vacation; she didn’t plan to stay, but we started making music together, and she wanted to stay, so we stayed.

We had friends in common, but they didn’t introduce us at all. We met randomly!

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Image courtesy of Yard Of Blondes

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Big Tobacco Company – Alternative Progressive Metal from Ohio, May 2018

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Image courtesy of Big Tobacco Company

When opportunity and access to the appropriate hardware of the trade allows, it’s great to go on a whim and speak with random bands and artists around the globe.

On one memorable occasion, I was connecting with an Icelandic MOR band (Dikta) and within the week their interview with me was on radio in Canberra. That led to some lovely chats with their management in LA as well.

Something similar happened in March 2018 with Bobby Ullmann from Big Tobacco Company on Twitter.

Big Tobacco Company come from Cincinnati, Ohio and their sound has the sort of raw, rough edge that you might expect coming from people who live on the southern edge of the cold and forbidding waters of Lake Erie. Or it would be if I got the name of the city right, because that’s Cleveland that’s on Lake Erie.

Ok, American geography is not a strong suit. I have Google Maps.

I’m just guessing that if you’re that far up the country, it’s going to be colder than balls – except for maybe a week or two in July and August.

High tech interview setup at St Marys Rugby League Club, NSW, Australia

Minimal research before our interview proved to be a bonus. Some might call this ‘laziness’; the glass half-full version is: ‘living in the moment, all spontaneous and shit’.

No, seriously, it’s been beneficial in the past to not know too much about the interviewee before diving into a stack of questions, guided more by their responses than any predetermined views about the music, the genre, and the band’s ethos.

And so it was with Bobby. Any and all surprised responses from the interviewer are genuine.

Big Tobacco Company have a new self-titled album out now, and you can listen to tracks and buy them individually or en masse via their website.

On a stunning, clear, late summer lunchtime in St Marys in far, far western Sydney, Australia I pulled up a pew in the rugby league club and had a great chat with Bobby.

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

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Image courtesy of Big Tobacco Company

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David M McLean, Skinny Devil Music Lab and Lexington Music Awards, January 2017

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Image courtesy of David M McLean

David M McLean is yet another of those prolific musical entities that are the engine room of independent music.

You know the sort of person who slogs away in the foreground and background, tirelessly making things happen and ensuring the world is a music-filled and art-filled place to live, breathe, and hear.

A writer, composer, guitarist, producer, teacher, and possibly most front-brain right now, the brains* behind the Lexifest music awards for Lexington, Kentucky.

* Refer to the interview for how the brains and brawn of this event are distributed and attributed.

In 2017, I spoke with David as he sat in his truck with his cell phone somewhere on a cool Lexington KY evening. We spoke so long that my intention was to break the interview into two parts. However, after a series of technical gremlins and many edits later, I’ve whittled this down into the one sound file.

Part of the editing leaves the back end of our chat slamming like a door in a stiff breeze, so apologies for the abruptness.

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

I’m looking forward to hearing about Lexifest 2017, and here’s hoping the blizzards stay away from town in the run-up this year.

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Image courtesy of David M McLean

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Michael Johnathon talks about the Woodsongs Front Porch Association and Gathering, August 2016

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WFPA-2016
Image courtesy of the Woodsongs Front Porch Association

The Woodsongs Front Porch Association (WFPA) is an amazingly and elegantly simple creature.

Based in Lexington, Kentucky and the brain child of Michael Johnathon, singer-songwriter, performer, producer, tour organiser, and 36 other roles, it’s spreading its tendrils across the USA and the world.

I’ll not steal any WFPA thunder by block copying and pasting here, but please follow the links and your rewards shall be many and bountiful.

The Cliff Notes, as MJ would say: it’s a cheap-as-chips member association which opens everyone up to a world of musical information, resources and networking, opens its arms, and invites the world of art and artists in to share, share, share.

On Friday 23 and Saturday 24 September 2016, the WFPA is holding its second annual Gathering in Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky – see main picture for all the salient details of the ‘wheres’ and ‘whens’.

Full details at www.songfarmers.org

It’s the ‘how much’ that’s the real news story here. And it’s a good, good news story at a time when good news stories are pretty gosh-darned thin on the ground.

Choose your preference: click on a hyperlink or click on the audio file link below, and listen in as Michael explains WFPA and the Gathering in his signature succinct, clear, resonantly-voiced vocal stylings (even over the tech equivalent of two cans and a 9063 mile piece of string).

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

Some basic notes for the interview… which I never referred to.

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Melissa Deaton-Johnathon’s Tribute To The Luke Bryan Memorial Car Park, November 2015

Image courtesy of Melissa Deaton-Johnathon of PostMan Records. Photo by Michael Johnathon.
Image courtesy of Melissa Deaton-Johnathon of PoetMan Records. Photo by Michael Johnathon.

 

At the time of recording, this was still something of a developing story, as the ripples from a fairly major event snafu were rippling outwards.

The press stories from Lexington Kentucky can tell the story better than a middle-aged music press writer from Sydney can. But put simply, there was a Luke Bryan concert at the Talon Winery and Vineyards in October 2015 that probably needed a better risk management plan.

To say the least.

Risk: half or more of the audience stay stuck in traffic at the time the concert starts, throughout the concert, after the concert, and as late as up to 4am the next morning.

Likelihood: high.

Severity/outcome: parody songs are written in the event’s honour.

Image courtesy of Rick Deaton
Melissa Deaton-Johnathon. Image courtesy of Rick Deaton.

And so it transpired.

Cut forward a few days later and the parody song (that Melissa Deaton-Johnathon wrote in her head in the car and then committed to Youtube posterity) was starting to go viral.

In stepped Lex-18 again, and the face and voice that launched several dozen Woodsongs Old Time Music Hour episodes was moving up to the majors.

Video and story from Lex-18: http://www.lex18.com/Clip/11920177/luke-bryan-fan-writes-parody

Very early one morning in Sydney, and later in the day only it was yesterday the day before in Lexington Kentucky (paging Dr Who to the TARDIS, Dr Who) Melissa spoke with Bill Quinn about the whole shooting match:

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

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Image courtesy of Melissa Deaton-Johnathon

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Interview: Rick Nestler (USA)

Image courtesy of Rick Nestler
Image courtesy of Rick Nestler

Interview with Rick Nestler (USA)

at 2013 Illawarra Folk Festival

Posting this one up just a little bit late in the piece, so hopefully late is better than never.

I had the pleasure of talking with a number of interesting locals and visitors to Australia at the 2013 Illawarra Folk Festival back in January, and Rick Nestler was one of those.

It was a classic piece of going in cold as I knew little more about Rick than his name and how to pick him out of a line-up. However, as is often the case, the interviewee was interesting, obliging, funny and articulate.

Hear Rick talk about skiffle, jug bands, and yes, we talked about ukuleles.

Rick performing at the Illawarra Folk Festival:

Kim Churchill — off to tour USA and Canada, 2013

Image courtesy of Kim Churchill
Image courtesy of Kim Churchill

Kim Churchill has a few more shows to go in Australia before he heads off to USA to join the tour of one Stephen William Bragg (aka Billy Bragg).

At the Cobargo Folk Festival in February 2013, Kim Churchill was the recipient of my vicarious joy at this news, and we spontaneously had a chat, leaning on someone’s trailer, outside a venue, out in the open — which was a bit of a mistake because as I now know: don’t try to do these things in a flukey, swirling breeze.

I’m sure you’ll cope. Muggins here did the best he could with the sound balance. [Audio file will be removed by end February 2020.] Interview text:

Bill Quinn: I’m standing here with Kim Churchill. Hello, Kim.

Kim Churchill: Hello, Bill.

BQ: Kim, You’re about to go to America and tour with someone and I’m just a little bit excited about that. Tell me what you’re going to do in America.

KC: I’m going to do the opening slots for a guy named Billy Bragg.

BQ: OH MY GOD!

KC: Yes!

BQ: How the hell did you jag that one?

KC: Ah, bottle of scotch.

BQ: Elaborate!

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Image courtesy of Kim Churchill

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