Sean Hayes

Low Light, the eighth album from independent recording artist Sean Hayes, captures his distinctive sound at its most intimate. Recorded both at home and in the studio, Low Light webs its way through genres, incorporating the pulse and yearning of R&B with the low-fi grit and crackle of folk. From the gauzy, beat-driven title track to the aching, old-school country “Sing Me Your Love Song,” Hayes’ voice glides between a growling purr and seductive vibrato, transporting the listener into a rich, sensual late-night world.

In his twenty -year career as a San Francisco-based musician, Hayes has won acclaim from fans and critics alike. He’s duetted with Aimee Mann, toured with Ani DiFranco and the Cold War Kids, been covered by The Be Good Tanyas and re-mixed by DJ Mark Farina, and had his music featured in a variety of television shows, films, and commercials. Raised in North Carolina and honed as an artist in Northern California, Hayes crafts music that, as the SF Weekly puts it, “succeeds on the tension between warm, resonant soul and dirt-road folk, all laced with a wandering troubadour’s coo.” In the track “Home I Left” Hayes sings of leaving San Francisco--“headed north with my young family/needed space to grow”--and this album is structured to represent snapshots from his life in the four years since. Low Light thrums with songs of desire, sanctuary, and the redemptive power of love.

Birds of Chicago

Birds of Chicago, is a collective based around JT Nero and Allison Russell. Whether touring as a duo or with the full family band, Nero and Russell have emerged as two of the most compelling new voices in North American Roots music.

For several years Russell and Nero's respective bands, Po' Girl (Vancouver, BC) and JT and the Clouds (Chicago, IL), have collaborated extensively, but on 2011's Mountains/Forests, released under the JT Nero banner, they tapped into the true, bewitching power of their voices together on an entire record. It also featured the full cast of characters that would round out the Birds of Chicago ensemble -- the Clouds and Michelle McGrath, the luminous singer and picker from the hidden hills of Southeast Ohio.

The record received critical raves and won them new fans on both side of the Atlantic, and created a great deal of excitement for the first official Birds of Chicago album, slated for release in September, 2012.

Nero's fractured country-soul voice wrapped in Russell's silver and gold tones, is a fine thing. Not too perfect, not at all saccharine, you'll hear echoes of mountain gospel, street corner doo-wop, and classic soul. Accompanied by just a banjo and a guitar, it's haunting. Fired by the band, it's a full tilt revival.

Nero and Russell are most at home on the road - pick almost any night in the next two years and you can bet they will be in some festival, theater, pub, VFW hall, roller rink (they wish) or living room, dovetailing their voices, singing their songs of hope, despair, love.... and electric seahorses. And honey bee apocalypses. And ice cream. It's familiar and strange stuff - the everyday and the magical. Come see 'em, they won't be hard to find.


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