Robert Francis & The Night Tide

Robert Francis & The Night Tide

Robert Francis returns with his stunning fourth album “Heaven”, set for release on June 3rd. Recorded with his new backing band The Night Tide, the album’s 13 songs were produced by Robert, mixed by Mark Rains (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Jeff Buckley, Nirvana). The first single and video will be “Love Is A Chemical”, expected to launch in April.

Following the release of the critically lauded third album Strangers In The First Place in 2012, Robert nearly abandoned his music career after a near nervous breakdown derailed his supporting tour of the album. Immersing himself in drugs and alcohol, he shaved his head and moved to Michigan with a girl he’d met on the road, unsure of his future. That is until his passion for music came calling again, allowing to him find new inspiration in these experiences and setting the path toward a new album.

“I’d never known a life other than one consumed by music,” he says. “I had to lose myself in order to rediscover who I was in the beginning. I was able to do that in Michigan but eventually left to start over and pursue a series of songs that kept showing up in my dreams.” Reinvigorated and with a fresh outlook, Robert put together The Night Tide to back him and began laying down the album in a barn, then a beach house, eventually finishing it at his newly built home studio.

Heaven is Robert Francis’ most realized album to date. It is not his most polished. It is a record that utilizes every facet and flaw of his being. Through his kaleidoscopic lyrics and vivid musical landscapes, Francis paints the picture of a man on the fringes of himself and reality. “Heaven is an idea, place or feeling in which all of us are after yet cannot fully understand. Most of the songs on this album are concepts dealing with things that are much bigger than us.”

After giving the album a live warm up in Europe, Robert kicks off a 29-date U.S. tour in support of Heaven on June 11th.

Guy Blakeslee

Guy Blakeslee (The Entrance Band) delivers his first solo album in 10 years. Produced by Chris Coady (Beach House, Yeah, Yeah Yeahs), the album ‘Ophelia Slowly,’ takes a step back from the dense rock sound his psychedelic trio is known for, delving instead into a sparse, spooky dreamscape where drum loops, synthesizers, and the occasional acoustic guitar frame haunting vocals. Recorded in New York in fall 2013, the album focuses on Blakeslee’s recent descent; wrestling with demons and angels alike, he seems to have come through it victoriously, best heard on 'Told Myself’ and ‘Smile On,’ the latter which has the hopeful message of a modern day spiritual.

Recording under his own name for the first time, Blakeslee seems to be clueing us in that his intentions for this project are that it be intimate and vulnerable, and as anyone who caught his recent solo dates opening for Spiritualized or Cat Power will attest, he delivers on that promise. His reworked 2003 version of Skip James’s ‘I’m so Glad,’ is currently heard in the soundtrack for Spike Jonze's Academy Award nominated film ‘Her,’ appearing as the infectious song Scarlet Johansson’s “character” shares with Joaquin Phoenix, confessing she can’t stop listening to it. Hopefully ‘Ophelia Slowly’ will produce a similar result.

Maxim Ludwig

In California, Maxim Ludwig lives surrounded by the ghosts of the "Gone West" migration. Though barely broken into his 20′s, Ludwig embraces folk music of eras past, and his songs seem drunk-honest in their depiction of an uncertain life in a temporary town. He was born in New York, but spent time in Germany frequently where he first started playing blues harmonica live in beer tents at age 9. In his teenage years, Ludwig began writing and playing in bands in Los Angeles until he spent a year in college in New York, working on his songwriting. After leaving the Hudson Valley, Ludwig settled in Silver Lake where he finished his self-produced debut album.

When asked about the name of the band, he says, "None of them are from Santa Fe and there aren't seven of them, which is why they're called the Santa Fe Seven." After playing with a cast of revolving characters, Ludwig set out to find what he refers to as "a balance between the Stray Gators and Booker T. & the MG's". He then teamed up with Los Angeles country music veteran and bassist Ben Reddell from Texas, a staple of the mid-west music scene, pedal steel player and guitarist Chris Vos from Wisconsin, and fresh from the Miami college rock world, drummer and percussionist Jorge Balbi from Peru. Together they make a hard, reckless, dust-laden sound.

His deeply personal and wild live shows that mix his influence of early rock and roll, classic soul, and songwriting craftsmanship have earned him comparisons to Bob Dylan, The Band, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley and caused the Los Angeles Times to label him as a "brash maverick" who "views rules as something to be broken, not followed". An intense showman, Ludwig's narratives follow the tradition of Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, and Kris Kristofferson.

Whether he is crooning over lap steel, piano, or violin, the young musician's lyrics channel the feelings of rambling desperation that inspired such greats as Hank Williams and Tom Waits. Hard living and rock n' roll tradition aren't the only places he finds his inspiration. Ludwig is a voracious reader and disciplined scholar who admires the works of Robert Creeley, Walt Whitman, and John Cassavetes. Confessing, "I became heavily obsessed with words," Ludwig's songs unveil themselves like good literature, and string the listener along with equal parts suspense and intrigue.



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