Aaron Behrens & The Midnight Stroll, Nic Armstrong & The Thieves, Leo Rondeau

Aaron Behrens & The Midnight Stroll

Aaron Behrens is the lead singer of Ghostland Observatory. Aaron Behrens and The Midnight Stroll is his current form of musical expression. All of his songs were harvested from the fabric of his soul. Elements of rock and roll, rhythm and blues and so much more can be found in the rich soils of his fresh well crafted sound.

Nic Armstrong & The Thieves

Few would argue that emigrating - on a whim - to the United States has proven not to be a genius stroke of career kamikaze. However, if you lose something you invariably gain something or so the story goes.*

Born and raised in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Nic Armstrong has been based in Austin, TX, for the past five years. Utilising and drawing from a wide field of current and off-kilter resources and influences, he composes scratchy, hook-laden, left field, rock and roll with a dip of tobacco psychology. Temporarily confined to playing select showcases and residencies, Nic is finalising the arrangements of 40+ compositions - five years of work.

At the tail end of his second tour with the amazing Paul Weller (The Greatest White Liar was his album of the year) - three sold out nights at London's Hammersmith Apollo - Nic flew out to the United States to promote The Greatest White Liar. A hard working ethos and high energy live shows led to his US network TV debut (Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson), US and UK dates with Oasis (reluctantly had to turn down a full UK tour...boo!) and festival appearances (Coachella, ACL, La Gloria, SXSW, Festival des Effervessone, CMJ). Down Home Girl, a cover of a Lieber & Butler track was picked up and featured in Superbowl 50. Full UK, European and North American tours - including two US tours with The Pretenders. Oh, and lucky enough to play just before Iggy Pop in France too.

An anomaly of a non-driver in America, Armstrong landed in pre-gold rush Austin, TX, with one carrier bag of clothes, a critically acclaimed record and a burgeoning live reputation. On his very first night in the USA, a wizened Austin soothsayer-cum-cartoon-bad-guy howled at Nic, "Once you are here you will never leave!". Surprised by the weather and the warmth of the locals, it appears that Armstrong has followed the curve of this prophecy.

Do not be fooled by this for one second.

In his workshop, Armstrong has been forging onwards: consistently writing, composing, arranging and documenting all parts to a very diverse and exciting body of work. All energies focused on the road and horizon ahead. The vanishing point.

EP then EP then LP. #refreshing #unique

*writers take note

Leo Rondeau

Best of luck pigeon-holing Leo Rondeau, the man or his music. The North Dakota-born, Austin, TX-based singer songwriter boasts about as many influences and textures as a patch quilt of found fabrics. A distinctly Italian first name, a last name that describes a form of old French poetry, and enough Native blood in him to be able to say in one song on his latest album Take It And Break It that his ancestors "fought the white man," Rondeau speaks for many voices of the American experience. He'll throw out a Cajun tune complete with accordion, and transition from rock to folk without a blink. But at his core is a country music songwriter in the legendary Austin mold, wowing you with his ease at turning a phrase and illuminating emotion and perspective in his songs.

For years Leo could be seen holding down a residence at Austin's famed "Hole In The Wall" venue, and playing his part in a defiant scene of independent-minded country musicians, some of which appear on Take It And Break It like Jim Stringer, Brennen Leigh, and Beth Chrisman of The Carper Family. These artists both create a support network, and push each other stylistically. And as a respected songwriter, Rondeau songs have been recorded by folks like The Carper Family and Mike and the Moonpies.

leo-rondeau-take-it-and-break-itTake It And Break It affords nine new original tracks from Rondeau, and is produced by R.S. Field who has previously worked with folks like Billy Joe Shaver and Hayes Carll, and produced Justin Townes Earle's first two LP's.

In Rondeau's "Here's My Heart," he reveals the dichotomy inherent in many males—one of displaying a bellicose, bawdy front to the world, while hiding an inherently fragile romantic state beneath. "Bound To Be A Winner" has one of the most finely-crafted choruses you will find, reminding you of Tom Petty in his prime in its distinctly American candor and tone. "When It Was Around" also speaks to Petty in its driving beat and infectiousness.

"Blackjack Davey Revisited" is pure poetry from Rondeau. Its wit is delivered with dizzying rapidity, while the melody takes you right to the time and place of its sad story. "Alligator Man" gives Take It And Break It a bit of a spicy Cajun kick, while the epic "Whaler's Tale" finishes out the album in an immersive audio experience. For years I've believed that Cajun music sits right on the edge of a big revival, just like we've seen recently in other sectors of the roots world. Rondeau could be an artist who has just enough Cajun texture mixed with country and rock sensibilities to benefit from that wave if it ever occurs.

But even if it doesn't, Leo Rondeau is a songwriting lifer who you sense takes a wide, patient perspective, and has a belief in the power of song to outlast trends, obscurity, or even a song's original creator when it is approached with heart. Rondeau and Take It And Break It are probably not for everyone. There was a slight lack of presence on this album that I found hard to pin down or explain that may hold it at arm's length from some listeners. But this album has a great spirit and is a worthy receptacle for these original songs that now get to go out into the world and find inviting hearts. - Saving Country Music 7/21/13

$12.00 - $15.00


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