OK Sweetheart, Ruler, Timothy Robert Graham

OK Sweetheart

Erin Kathleen Austin ,better known by her stage name OK Sweetheart, is an American singer-songwriter, with late 1960s pop influences. She spent a number of years in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the name OK Sweetheart developed out of her involvement with the Oklahoma music community.

Ruler’s music—hook-heavy, assertive, inspiring—is made for motion. It’s a soundtrack for moving forward, for getting better, in terms of both healing and self-improvement. Built on main man Matt Batey’s lifelong fears, anxieties, addictions and failures, not to mention his preternatural gift for creating instantly classic indie rock, Ruler’s songs follow that old adage by Robert Frost: The best way out is through. And in this case the best way through is with the volume cranked all the way up.

No platitudes or love songs here—only raw interior monologue and deep character analysis. For most us, this stuff is hard to confront and even harder to articulate. Batey’s lyrics are pointedly specific—so much so that they’re immediately relatable. And they’re set to soaring tunes that are beautifully, earnestly upbeat. Amid his brilliance and artistry, Batey exposes himself as one of us. That’s his purpose and his gift, spelled out in Ruler’s bold, beautiful songs: Life hurts, but it's great, and that’s it.

Timothy Robert Graham

Hard work pays. “It took nearly two years to complete this record,” says Timothy Robert Graham
of his new album SPEAK.
He’s taken vocal lessons with Galen Disston of Pickwick, written and recorded songs with
producer Steve Aguilar (The Head and The Heart, Damien Jurado, Silver Torches), arranged
keyboard solos with Gabe Molinaro (Health and Wellness, Tenderfoot), and crafted drum beats
with Jase Ihler (Manatee Commune, Iskah Dhaaf, Hibou).
“Working as a songwriter has been a constant state of growth for the past ten years,” says
Graham. “My grandfather taught me that learning to become a songwriter is a lifelong
journey.”
SPEAK is the next step in Graham’s journey. Although he completed the album two years ago,
he’s postponed its release; and will finally present it to the public on May 5th. Why the long
wait? A little over a year ago, Graham started touring and co-writing with Daniel Blue and his
band, Motopony. "It's a privilege to be flown to festivals and be paid to perform with my
friends in Motopony,” says Graham. ​“It’s helped me hone my craft and learn a bit of patience
with regards to my own work.”
All that focus and patience is evident in the new eleven-track LP. At first blush, the album
sounds like a collection of singles: Three-minute songs with melodies crafted to lodge
themselves into the listener’s brain upon first play. The tracks weave fun, bright guitar hooks
into pop melodies with lean efficiency.​ SPEAK draws a clear line back to Britpop-flavored
bands like Elliott Smith and Oasis, and modern tastemakers like Spoon and Portugal. The Man.
Thematically, the record is about two prominent elements: Personal relationships and social
interactions, particularly as they pertain to social change.
“For me it’s a reminder to talk to my friends and family and share my truest self in an act of
intimacy and vulnerability. For everyone else, I hope it will be a word of encouragement... A
reminder that when people bravely choose to share their stories, we all grow.”
"​SPEAK ​is just as much a reminder to listen as it is to say what's on your mind.”

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