Mike Stinson, The Whiskey Sisters, K. Phillips & the Concho Pearls

Mike Stinson

Named “Best Country-Western Artist in L.A.” by Los Angeles Magazine and called “the uncrowned king of the L.A. neo-honky tonkers” by Billboard, Mike Stinson is in a class by himself among Southern California country performers.

The universally respected singer-songwriter has issued two widely admired independent albums, Jack of All Heartache and Last Fool at the Bar, and 2009 will see the release of his third CD, The Jukebox In Your Heart, produced by the noted Austin, Texas musician Jesse Dayton and recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studios.

Active on the booming Los Angeles country-rock scene since 2001, Virginia-born Stinson draws inspiration from such stylistic progenitors as Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, George Jones, Bob Dylan, and Gram Parsons. He has made the honky-tonk template his own, spinning a distinctive take on the barroom muse in sharply-crafted songs that are by turns rousingly comic and profoundly heartbreaking. His evocative wordplay, emotional directness, and down-to-earth sincerity as both a songsmith and performer have forged an abiding bond with his fans.

Other performers have caught on to Stinson’s impassioned writing: His contemporary classic “The Late Great Golden State” has been covered by both Dwight Yoakam and Billy Bob Thornton. His music has also made inroads in Hollywood: Stinson’s songs have been heard on the soundtracks to the hit TV shows Mad Men, Weeds, and Cold Case, and in the feature comedy National Lampoon’s Adam and Eve.

A knock-‘em-down live performer, Stinson has attracted a legion of devoted followers with eight years of saloon-rocking shows. He is a perennially popular attraction, and plays packed-to-the-walls residencies at the Redwood Bar & Grill in downtown L.A., the Cinema Bar in Culver City, and the Grand Ole Echo at the Echo in Echo Park.

The Whiskey Sisters

Teal Collins (The Mother Truckers) and Barbara Nesbitt (Tim Flannery & The Lunatic Fringe) met in Austin and decided to get together to sing a song or two. By the time they reached the first chorus harmonies they knew it was going to be a good thing. They have been working hard to form their new band, The Whiskey Sisters, which is a sound like nothing else you’ve heard. Joined by amazing musicians, Etan Sekons (The Rankin Twins), Lonnie Trevino, Jr. (The SA Moonlighters), Phil Bass (Monte Montgomery), and Michael Davids (Cari Hutson), they are going to take Texas and the world by storm!

K. Phillips & the Concho Pearls

“If you don’t know K Phillips, you should start now. ”
Kyla Fairchild, Publisher – No Depression

On K Phillips debut American Girls, the West Texan champions the desperate, the sleazy and the broken, with small-town murals that glimpse into the jealousy of a sheriff, lovers that freeze to death and a crude lothario that misquotes dead poets. He prefers bygone rock sounds, leading his band on resonator, mouth harp, banjo, guitar, Hammond B3 and Piano, the latter being his primary tool. “The piano playing came out of necessity. I wanted to write country ballads, Motown grooves and gospel music and it’s not the same on the guitar,” he says, drawing from southern soul and rock as well — his heroes garnered from classic rock radio’s key kings like Leon Russell, Billy Preston and Gregg Allman.

Until 2006, Phillips was content working as a sideman even though he’d been writing since grade school. But when a close friend and a love interest drowned in two separate accidents, he feared ‘the rule of 3’ and made a decision not to leave “with these song inside.” The young startup label, Rancho Azul, approached Phillips (now living in Austin) to make an album, and his handpicked dream team of Texas musicians, including Bobby Keys of The Rolling Stones, Rick Richards of Joe Walsh and Jimmy Pettit of The Flatlanders — cutting the album live in 4 days.

Phillips is quickly drawing attention to his Texas spin on southern soul that backs lyrics that range from dark to humorous to plaintive. Though there are some desperate characters, as a writer he doesn’t want to take himself too seriously. “I get a kick out of out of the ridiculous and the lighthearted, and I don’t want to be afraid to be a little weird, a little fragile or a little dirty,” he says. “I got that from Warren Zevon. I always loved how his songs and characters could be absurd or sardonic but at the same time achingly beautiful.”

- Kim Fowler


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