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Archive for May, 2012

Lisa Redford – Reminders
May 28th, 2012 (Parrot Records)
Her latest release, “Clouds of Silver”, was filled with strong songs that were easy to connect to. With unique vocals that fill in a song with warmth, believability and a personal touch, she was able to connect to many people with her songs.

She’s back now with the release of a new EP called “Reminders”. It contains four songs that have that familiar Lisa Redford-feel with the rootsy, folky undertones that reflect the blend of influences from Britain and the US alike.

The opening track Reminders has well-written lyrics that are reflective in nature and the arrangement is in the same league as some of the R.E.M. classics. The arrangement assists the lyrics in telling the story by setting the mood and accentuating those parts of the story that bring out the quality of the song.

Summer on the L is a more lively track that seems to have some ‘westcoast’-influences (Fleetwood Mac for example?). The verses are solid and the melodic chorus gets in your head. This song would fit great in a commercial or TV show as it has a certain flavor to it.

Up next is the crown jewel on this new EP. Dreaming In Crowds is a real singer/songwriter song. It has depth, both in lyrics and arrangement and tells a heartfelt story in which everyone will recognize something. The way the verses turnover into the chorus are executed perfectly and Lisa Redford really personifies with the song. Sometimes she lets go but for the most part she holds back slightly to let the emotion build up in the song so that it has double the effect. One of those songs!

The EP’s final track is called So Many Words. It starts of a little slow but starts to pick up in pace and intensity as it continues. Vocally it’s not the strongest track on the release, but it’s filled with so much feeling that you will look past that.

“Reminders” is an EP with personal songs that can really speak to you. The lyrics are relatable and the arrangements are clever and never get in the way of the story or the message. They actually enrich the songs and make them better as a whole. In conclusion we can say that Lisa Redford presents us with another very good release that showcases her talent as a very special singer/songwriter with a very own and unique sound. The crossover between her British heritage and her American influences helps to accentuate her uniqueness in her vocals and songwriting. To make a long story short, “Reminders” is a very fine new release by Lisa Redford

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Jon Foreman performing at Radio 92.9 Earthfest this past Saturday in Boston. (photo credit: Cayte Devastation)

Switchfoot played to a crowd of over 100,000 eco-friendly fans on Saturday at Radio 92.9 Earthfest. The weather was perfect and the crowd was rockin’ while the band was on stage.

Wicked awesome moment: Jon pays his respects to MCA, and then the band kicks ass playing the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage”.

Check out the photos. Videos coming soon!

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Switchfoot

Drew & Jon Foreman of Switchfoot at the Radio 92.9 studios (photo by Cayte Devastation)

I recently had a chance to chat with Drew Shirley, guitarist for the San Diego rock band Switchfoot. The band is playing this Saturday, May 19th at Radio 92.9 Earthfest in Boston. I got the lowdown from Drew on the band, and an exclusive on his own line of guitar amplifiers.

The current single off the new record, “The Afterlife” is one of my favorites. What inspired you guys to come up with the name “The Afterlife”?

We have a motto with the band that says “life is short, live it well”. It’s the kind of song, you know, we’re thinking about the afterlife, and a lot of people are thinking, “well I’ll do what I want right now”. It’s about not waiting till you die to think about how to valuable life is and how important it is to realize, you know, it’s kind of what the song says – not waiting for the afterlife to basically cherish the people I love and consider how valuable life is.

When it comes to playing live shows, how would you compare the east coast/Boston crowd to other parts of the country, or around the world? Are there any differences?

Yeah, they’re small differences in different places. For the most part, an audience just wants to enjoy the show, loose itself in the music, and to see obviously a good performance. But even more than that, we try to make it a conversation with the audience, where we’ll change songs on the fly, or people will request a certain song and we’ll play it right there in that moment. Sometimes it’s a little scary because you don’t know what’s coming up in the show. Different cities have different vibes, and we’ve always played the east coast a lot. I’d say, as it compares to international, yeah, international is a whole different animal. People are people, but different cultures have different ways of expressing themselves.

It’s obvious everyone in the band is in great shape. This can’t be easy to maintain on tour. How do you guys stay fit while on tour?

[laughs] It’s kind of the same as we stay in shape at home. We’ll hit the gym. Sometimes we’ll play at colleges, and that’s kind of cool because they have a gym there for us. Sometimes it’s just a treadmill at a hotel, or a walk around the city. We stay pretty active. I think for the most part, it’s just more a question of the food you eat than anything. Eating good on tour is tricky. We eat out for like a month straight – restaurant food isn’t the healthiest stuff.

What’s in your headphones while you’re on the bus these days?

I’ve been listening to Delta Spirit. I love the new record from the Black Keys, really into their last two records. I like Jack White, his new album is great. I’ll just put together a mix tape for you with Led Zeppelin, The Police, Depeche Mode. There’s a pretty eclectic taste from the band I’d say too. And I love dance music – Junior Senior, Justice, some of that stuff.

How do you and your families cope with all the touring? Do they ever come out on the road?

They come out sometimes, but it’s very hard because you say goodbye for the time you tour. You miss them while you’re away – you do a lot of Skype, FaceTime. I’ve got kids at home, so it’s doubly hard. It really makes me cherish the times that I am at home.

What do you like to do when you have some time off?

Play with my kids – we had a picnic yesterday. Just normal stuff – taking down a tree and catching gophers. I’ll do dishes and all that because I don’t ever do dishes on the road. You know what I mean? There’s no dishes to do on the road. We live in San Diego, so there’s a lot of stuff to do. There’s plenty of beach, so stuff like that.

This is one for the guitar nerds: you guys have amazing guitar sounds. What are your favorite amps and guitars?

Well, maybe I’ll make an announcement: I’m actually making my own amps now. I’m building and designing my own with a friend Eric here in San Diego. I’ve always loved playing different amps, I’ve played a whole bunch of different kinds, old school tube amps. I’ve not even gotten a name yet. They’re definitely going to be awesome though, I can tell you that right now.

Does the equipment you use on the road differ than what you use in the studio?

I’m sponsored by Elliott guitars. My concept is always old school tube amps so I love old Supros, and Strats, classic stuff. All analog – I don’t like using wireless controllers and digital effects. I really enjoy the old school way of an amp connected to a guitar, and just making the amp sound like they’re going to explode. Something that’s just alive, and expresses the emotion that I like.

The band’s career has been an amazing success story. What do you think has been the key in keeping the same line-up together so consecutively?

I think the same lineup has been awesome. We’re a team, we’re a band, we’re brothers. We have two brothers in the band, but we’re all brothers with each other honestly. We still like hanging out with each other, which is funny to say, it’s kind rare for bands. We’re looking forward to doing events together. We’re doing the Bro-Am coming up, which is a charity event on the beach that we’re sponsoring and promoting a lot right now. It’s something we dreamed up and wanted to do, and decided to do. To help out others and not just ourselves, to do good while doing well. It’s been quite a ride. It’s been really awesome to see all the different kids whose lives are affected and the different stories about the homeless kids here in San Diego who have been helped by this. We’re all just really excited about it. All the info is on our website, switchfoot.com. This is our eighth year doing it.

Aside from Switchfoot, do you see yourself doing anything else down the road? Do you have any aspirations in another field?

Well we’re going to make a documentary. It’s going to be called Fading West. We’re filming it all year long. It’s going to be a surf documentary mixed with behind the scenes footage of the band, as well as a lot of songs written along the way. You’ll see how we write songs, how we work as a band on the road, travel, and hit some exotic surf destinations. Also, the soundtrack will be released as a CD and it will be our next album. So there will be a film accompanying our next album. We’re looking at next summer [for the release].

I’ve got some side projects happening. Like I said, I’m going to be releasing an amp, I’m going to play my own amps, and design a guitar or two with Elliot. Also, I do some producing on the side. I’ve got a few bands lined up that I can’t talk about yet. Just looking forward to keeping busy. Switchfoot keeps so busy, it’s hard to find time to do anything else.

What’s your songwriting process like? Does someone come up with lyrics and then the music? Do some of the songs happen when you’re just jamming?

A lot of times Jon will write all the songs on the acoustic guitar, and then we’ll all put the music to it. A lot of times he’ll have the DNA of the song sketched out on an acoustic, or just a recording on his laptop. And then we’ll all as a band put everything together and make it come alive and come up with parts for different things.

Do you know what the next single is going to be?

I don’t – it’s going to be a mystery single. It’ll be a surprise. [laughs] I don’t know, I honestly don’t. Sometimes we know what’s happening next, but sometimes we don’t. We’re looking forward to just touring the heck out of the country and the world. We’re going to make this documentary and “Dark Horses” has been released, and “The Afterlife” has been released. If I had to pick a single, I would pick a song called “The Original”. But we’ll see what happens with the powers that be.

Its been a while since we’ve seen a Switchfoot music video that really tells a story. Do you guys have any plans to get back into that?

We don’t have a story-type video, except for our documentary that we’re working on. Nothing as of right now to tell you about.

What is the inspiration behind the song “Souvenirs”?

It’s a song about remembering that the valuable things in life are people, not stuff. It’s about valuing the memories we have. You look at a picture, you remember the memory. You have a souvenir there that you can take with you from different places. It’s better than a coffee mug from visiting somewhere.

Last question – this is a big one: Red Sox or Yankees?

[laughs] Red Sox, of course. Or anyone who’s playing the Yankees.

Alright, thanks so much Drew. Looking forward to seeing you guys in Boston on Saturday!

Radio 92.9 EarthFest with Eve 6, Switchfoot, Spin Doctors, and Third Eye Blind. May 19th at 12:00 p.m. Free. DCR Hatch Memorial Shell along the Esplanade, Boston. 617-822-9600. www.earthfest.com. Watch live at 1:15 p.m. EST here.

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Lisa Redford – Reminders
(Parrot Records, May 28, 2012)

There are singers with great vocals, there are singers with unique vocals and there are singers with special vocals. Once in a while you come across a singer who combines those qualities. That’s when you know you are listening to something special.

Lisa Redford certainly is something special. Having released a number of excellent albums in previous years it is time for a new EP called “Reminders”. The heartfelt lyrics are brought to life by Lisa’s warm vocals and her crafty songwriting. One of her trademarks is that the songs have a certain familiarity to it.
On “Reminders” she addresses the dreams, hopes, challenges and struggles that we all can relate to in one way or another. Recorded in NYC and produced by Jeff Hill.

After three strong full-length releases that got very positive reviews all over the board, this new EP is the next chapter in Lisa Redford’s musical journey. Watch the video below for a little teaser and be sure to keep an eye on Lisa’s website and Inner Ear Media for more news about the release and more!

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