Rachael Yamagata

Rachael Yamagata

Rachael Yamagata: Notorious ‘troubadour of heartbreak’ singer songwriter original long haired piano ballad girl? Please.

When Philip Petit was asked why he walks the tightrope he responded, ‘Why – there is no why’ and this really fucked me up. Here I was having devoted an entire theme of the tightrope walker to my new record and it made me ask myself my own why – why keep going, why stay in an industry that I’ve not yet conquered, why write when you have to give up so much to do so – all of it. Perseverance. Relentlessness. Owning your own power. These are the themes of my new record. If you’re thinking of quitting – anything – this is your record.

It started as a mystical vision I had in Woodstock, NY. I’m not religious, but I am spiritual and I love the signs. Did I ‘see’ a sweat lodge where strangers experienced a cathartic healing after facing their own traumas? Yes I did. They weren’t pains devoted to heartbreak in relationships, but rather the desperation of a youth getting pummeled by loss of a loved one, failure of a dream, betrayal by those you thought were your allies – human condition struggles. I started to write and ‘Tightrope Walker’ was born. My musical identity started to shift and the sweetheart of tragedy transformed into grit and hope. My lyrics have become both vicious and optimistic and my musical identity has gone off the map. A 16 yr. old indie rocker recently described it as ‘a new genre of music,’ and that suits me just fine.

I became a producer, den mother and manager and we turned my hermit house in the woods into a studio. I ran a Pledge campaign (still ongoing since 2014) and rounded up Kevin Salem (Yo La Tengo, Dumptruck), Owen Biddle (The Roots), Zach Djanikian (Amos Lee, Amy Helm), Ben Perowsky (Rufus Wainwright) and Pete Hanlon on the board and started recording. I switched from my usual 200 songs and focused on 15 – editing and reworking and determined to find the exact musical expression that would hold for each song. More players joined as we went : Russell Simins (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion), Oli Kraus (Sia), Michael Chaves (John Mayer, Adam Cohen), Matt Chamberlain, Victor Indrizzo, Randy Cooke (all with too many credits to name). My longtime producer John Alagia came in half way through and began co-producing the record. We reworked some and edited others, spent time at Applehead Studios, The Village in L.A. and I got Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes) to mix. Throughout the process I riled in 5 Grammy winners, completed 10 tours, self managed and made a lot of eggs.

There are saxophones, mandolins, rain recorded on an iPhone, French spoken word, metallic ironing boards and ladder drums, massive angel harmonies and loops on this record. There are unforgiving reactions to someone questioning my womanhood; to another reaching out on their wedding day. Some songs are poised to become anthems of not giving up your passion and others tonic after life’s heartbreak whether in love or family.

I’ve got the impressive resume of major label artist goes independent, becomes Pledge legend, gets profiled in two Berklee marketing classes, has history of a gazillion syncs, plays for the President, earns praise by those at NPR and artists like Gregory Colbert and gurus like Deepak Chopra, scored a #1 single in Australia, toured with a slew of incredible artists and all of the goods that make me cred worthy. There are interesting heritage facts of being half Japanese, German/Italian, finding out Cindy Cashdollar is my cousin after playing with her on Ryan Adams’ ‘Cold Roses’, my grandfather being Bob Dylan’s land surveyor and my great uncle being Frank Sinatra’s private pilot. Oh yeah, and it turns out Philip Petit is my neighbor, but I wrote everything before I even knew who he was. I’m a twin and have a famous younger brother and my roots are in Woodstock and yes something kumbaya has rubbed off on me despite myself. I’ve already played Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden and shared stages with Patti Smith, Michael Stipe and Pete Townsend.

But what matters to me most is that I have fully stepped into my power as healer, optimist, entrepreneur, writer, producer and spirited badass. And that is my ‘why’.


Sanders Bohlke

It's been seven years since Sanders Bohlke's eponymous debut- a folk album hailed as passionate and praised for its honesty. But that doesn't mean that Bohlke has been quiet in the interim. To fill the spaces between, he's released a slew of standalone singles and EPs, including "Search and Destroy," a 7+ minute track that expands in an unyielding cascading rhythm and "The Weight of Us," a string-laden ballad that Popdose referred to as "sound[ing] like a stark personal statement… a hauntingly lovely song."

The wait is over, though, as Sanders releases his new album Ghost Boy on February 19, 2013 via Communicating Vessels, one of the new crop of cutting edge Southern record labels, based out of Birmingham, Alabama with Jeffrey Cain (of Remy Zero) at the helm.

Lead single "Ghost Boy" is arguably Bohlke's most infectious melody and fully realized flirtation with pop music, and could easily hold its own with the biggest indie singles of the last few years. On this new record, Sanders continues his evolution as a songwriter with lush soundscapes that layer brooding and billowy textures against his soulful voice. Once again recorded with Jeffrey Cain, they've perfected a sonic world that deftly highlights both the beauty and the dark romance of Bohlke's songs.



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