For many years, the State Cows from Sweden have been a permanent fixture when it comes to great West Coast AOR from Europe. With “High And Dry”, the duo, consisting of Daniel Andersson on vocals and guitar and Stefan Olofsson on keyboards and bass, release their long-awaited fourth studio album, which is, as always, filled to the brim with sophisticated new West Coast AOR music. West Coast Soul talked with Stefan Olofsson about the new album, their love for the classic L.A. sound, their development as a band over the past decade, the European West Coast AOR scene and many more.
When Shawn Lee released his very personal country-soul solo album “Rides Again” in 2019, it was to remain a one-off. In the middle of the tour for the album, the pandemic set in and life came to a standstill. The consequences of the lockdown, personal strokes of fate and experiences inspired the US-born and London-based singer, songwriter, musician, producer and arranger to record a sequel under the title “Rides Yet Again”, now released by Légère Recordings. WEST COAST SOUL talked with the “Silver Fox” about the making of the new album, music as a way of processing personal crises, his eternal search for the perfect sound and much more.
“Mr Experience”. “Konichiwa”. “Santorini” – these songs represent just a small taste of the enigma that is Donny Benét. On 1 April, the Sydney-based composer and multi-instrumentalist – hailed and panned by critics as “Prince on a serious budget cut” – returned with a new EP, “Le Piano”, an intoxicatingly groovy instrumental album paying homage to 80’s funk, city pop and disco. West Coast Soul talked with “The Don” about his new EP, his eternal love of 80s culture, the power of instrumental music, his return to touring and further plans.
After the turbulence of the last two years, the long-awaited fifth album “Cure The Jones” by British soul band Mamas Gun is finally released – a lush, nuanced and expansive contemporary meditation on a world turned upside down, embedded in the classic soul tradition of Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye. West Coast Soul talked with singer, songwriter and band founder Andy Platts about the new album, the impact of the pandemic on their music, what it feels like to be back on stage, the healing power of soul music, his new studio and much more.
With “Magic Mirror”, American singer-songwriter Pearl Charles has released one of the best albums of the past year. Her unique blend of catchy ABBA melodies, Laurel Canyon hippie bliss, sun-drenched West Coast soft rock and 70’s cosmic country reveries excited critics and listeners alike worldwide. In mid-January, the LA-born artist returned with her celestial new single “Givin’ It Up”, which seamlessly follows the greatness of “Magic Mirror”. West Coast Soul talked with Pearl Charles about her new song, the impact of the success of “Magic Mirror”, the creative power of relationships, her love of 60’s and 70’s music and sources of inspiration.
A staple talent of the Ohio rock scene for more than a decade, Andrew Gabbard first made his name as the guitarist and vocalist for the Cincinnati garage rock powerhouse Thee Shams before co-founding the critically celebrated Buffalo Killers. Now, while simultaneously serving as one half of the sibling duo Gabbard Brothers and performing as the touring guitarist for The Black Keys, the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter releases his first solo release “Homemade” via Colemine/Karma Chief. The result is an album that, with its great harmonies, psychedelic playfulness, Americana and West Coast influences and vintage analogue atmosphere, is reminiscent of the music of artists like the Beatles, Brian Wilson, Wilco or the Flaming Lips.
What do two multi-talented musicians do when they suddenly find themselves at home because of the Corona pandemic and no live gig is in sight? They decide to record an instrumental album bursting with positive grooves and crisp horn arrangements, celebrating the jazzy L.A. sound of the 70s and early 80s. This is what happened in 2020 when singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger and “Silver Fox” Shawn Lee and trombonist and keyboardist Nichol “The Gift” Thomson joined forces to form The Superhighway Band. Their debut album “Studio City” has now been released on the Hamburg label Légère Recordings. WEST COAST SOUL talked with Shawn Lee about the recording of “Studio City”, the secret of great horn arrangements, the return to the stage and further plans.
After their outstanding 2019 album “American Love Call”, on which Durand Jones and The Indications celebrated the soul of the 60s and 70s to perfection, the American quintet opens the door to a world of synthetic, modern soul and string-infused disco beats with their new album “Private Space”. WEST COAST SOUL talked with lead singer Durand Jones about the making of the album, their new sound, the effects of the pandemic, his musical roots and further plans.
“Yacht Soul – The Cover Versions”, the latest edition of the renowned Too Slow To Disco series, highlights an area of 70s and 80s music that has long been criminally overlooked: the interpretations of West Coast AOR by black Soul and R&B artists. On the basis of 16 songs, TSTD curator Marcus Liesenfeld aka DJ Supermarkt shows how artists like Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Greg Phillinganes or The Brothers Johnson put their stamp on well-known world hits like “What A Fool Believes” or “Summer Breeze” by making the songs their own with refined soul, funk and sometimes even political attitude. WEST COAST SOUL talked with the Berlin DJ veteran about the ninth edition of the series, the creative exchange between the genres, the influence of the studio musicians of this era on AOR and R&B, further plans and much more.
Three years after his critically acclaimed Michael Franks tribute “Cool School”, American multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer-songwriter Leo Sidran finally returns with his long-awaited new and arguably most personal album “The Art Of Conversation”. Listeners can expect a treasure chest of intimate and introspective portraits of family life during the pandemic, performed by Sidran in his irresistible blend of jazz, singer-songwriter pop, bossa nova and funk and supported by numerous friends. West Coast Soul talked with the Grammy Award winner about the making of his seventh studio album, family life in times of Covid, the influence of his adopted hometown of New York on his music, the impact of the crisis on the music industry and his plans for the future.
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