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.
His songs often seem light and easy-going, but they are guaranteed to stick in your ears: Dutch singer, songwriter and producer Tim van Berkestijn, better known by his stage name Benny Sings, has become one of the Netherlands’ most talented musical exports with his distinctive blend of mellow Californian-influenced pop, jazzy R&B and a hint of DIY charm. In the music business for around twenty years, Benny Sings has collaborated with the likes of Anderson .Paak, Cornelius and Mayer Hawthorne and earned himself a loyal fan base – not least among artists and musicians. In 2019, he made his international breakthrough with the critically acclaimed record “City Pop”. On his new album “Music”, released on April 9th via Stones Throw Records, he refines his signature sound, supported by great artists such as Mac DeMarco, Tom Misch, Emily King and Kelsey Gonzales. WEST COAST SOUL talked with the Amsterdam-based artist about his new album, his latest collaborations, sources of inspiration, the right beat, nostalgia and much more.
With “Memories Of Love”, the fourth album of soul singer Myles Sanko will finally be released on 12th March via Légère Recordings. In ten stylishly recorded and arranged new songs, Sanko illuminates the eternal theme of love with all its facets, delivering his most personal album to date. WEST COAST SOUL talked with the prolific musician, producer, designer and director about recording the new album, the many shades of love, the meaning of authenticity, musical influences, fatherhood and his longing to perform live again.
While winter still has Central Europe in its grip, Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 bring us the first great summer album of the year with “Mas” via Légère Recordings. Like its predecessor, the highly acclaimed “Joia!”, this album is a collection of songs sung in Welsh, combined with distinct pop and South American influences from bossa nova, cumbia, samba and tropicália. Behind the project stands the Welsh musician Carwyn Ellis, founder and leader of Welsh band Colorama and renowned session man who has played with artists including Edwyn Collins, Oasis, The Pretenders and Shawn Lee. WEST COAST SOUL talked with the Cardiff-based singer, songwriter, composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist about cultural exchange, his fascination with South American sounds, recording the album in Rio de Janeiro and the role Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders played in the making of “Mas”.
With “Introducing…”, Brooklyn-born, Baltimore-raised songwriter Aaron Frazer has released one of the first album highlights of the year. Frazer previously stepped into the international spotlight as drummer and co-lead vocalist of the fabulous soul band Durand Jones & The Indications. The artist with the unique falsetto voice hadn’t planned on releasing a full-length solo LP until he received a call from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, who was so taken with Aaron’s voice and songwriting that he quickly convinced him to produce his solo debut. The result is an album on which Frazer doesn’t hide his old school soul roots, but also opens up to other influences from pop to gospel to doo-wop. WEST COAST SOUL talked with the talented musician about the making of the record, high-speed songwriting sessions, musical influences and the importance of the right drum sound.
Californian singer-songwriter Eddie Chacon is probably best known to most as one half of the early 90s US soul duo Charles & Eddie. With “Pleasure, Joy and Happiness”, the 56-year-old has ended his self-imposed musical exile in 2020 with the support of Solange and Frank Ocean collaborator John Carroll Kirby and released one of the best albums of the year. The introspective masterpiece will finally be released as a limited LP in Europe in January. Reason enough to talk with the artist, whom Mac DeMarco recently called his “planet earth’s number one musician”, about his current album, his career and musical influences.
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