Reverend Billy Hartman blesses us with a fabulous chat on the CloudwatcherUno podcast from his hometown in Stephenville, Texas. We catch up on his plans for his follow up album to “Beans and Cornbread” his 2020 release. We delve into the why’s and how’s of bringing such modern classics as “Cheese and Taters“, “Forrest“, “Railroad Blues” and “Divine Town” to life and the enjoyment of the listening public.
On a particularly warm and humid day Billy talks about what it means to be an independent artist during the pandemic, living in Texas, becoming an ordained minister of The Universal Life Church, producing music with other musicians such as Zach Pack and by extension James Steinle who’ve now become friends and vice versa. Billy will be recording his new album at Melody Mountain Studios near the house which gives Billy more control around recording the album. Ben Hussey will record and produce the album.
After a period of self reflection and Billy uses his diary entries as his therapy and as the source for coming up with his lyrics and songs over the last couple of years. Billy’s musical heroes were pretty much the gold standard of country music from George Jones, Webb Pierce and Johnny Cash to name a few. Listening to these artists is what got Billy started on the musical path he’s been on rather than mainstream artists such as Garth Brooks. Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Guy Clark‘s “Together at The Bluebird” truly inspired and made Billy strive to capture that level of quality in song writing and musicianship. John Prine also figures largely in Billy’s songcraft.
What finally pushed Billy into writing was having problems with his high school girlfriend which got Billy started into writing songs and paying attention to alliteration in songs and wordplay. “Sunday Morning, Coming Down” by Kris Kristofferson from 1970 is a perfect example of what Billy is trying to achieve with his own songs.
Looking forward Billy and Zack Pack will be singing together for the Hico Steak Cookoff in Texas on Saturday 21st May 2022. There’s also local clubs that Billy will be playing live with Zack Pack.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Billy Hartman. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Ingvild Flottorp is a fabulously talented 22 year old Nordicana (Norwegian Americana) artist from Åmli, Norway. Ingvild comes from a family of musicians that includes her older brother and sister Johanne and Tobias who play together in Ruby Red and the Moonshine Brothers while Johanne also plays in the legendary The Northern Belle band.
Ingvild is the next generation of singer songwriters to come out of Norway to carry the flame for the Nordicana music scene. Her voice and music are reminiscent of Iris Dement and Kate Bush but with lush country overtones.
Her debut album ‘It All Seems So Clear’ by Vestkyst Records came out in April 2021 and it’s a spellbinding display of virtuoso lyrics, heavenly vocals supported by sublime pedal steel and fiddle.
In the podcast host CloudwatcherUno and Ingvild talk openly about the joys and lows of bringing an album to life only to have it nearly snatched away by the pandemic and the lockdown that followed not only in Norway but across the globe. It meant that the young star wouldn’t be able to promote her album by singing live to audiences across Norway.
With the help of Tobias who produced the whole album something magical has been born. Shania Twain was Ingvild’s hero and as a young girl dressed up and performed in videos for her siblings. This early exposure to country music from her father on road trips influenced her love for this genre. There’s also a rich folk tradition of making honest music that connects with audiences. The song writing process can sometimes take up to a year in trying to capture the sound that Ingvild is looking for.
Making and recording music brings joy to Ingvild and to us as fans of her imagination and you just have to listen to these magnificent songs. It took a year before Ingvild found a label that would champion her sound and promote it to a wider audience. Looking forward Ingvild has many more songs for her sophomore album which promises to be in a different direction.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Ingvild Flottorp. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Coleman Williams has country-western music bubbling away in his DNA while also bringing the energy and excitement of punk rock sensibilities to his music, his lyrics and ethos of his strange band.
“Music to me is like a way to communicate to anyone and anything even if you can’t understand each other. Music is the Universal language”.
CloudwatcherUno and Coleman talk about how every living thing responds to the frequency of music and if you just search on the Internet you’ll see cows loving music, the subtleties and complexities of the English language and literature. And how the written word is his true love and how he combines that with music. Using his music to express his views on love to other people.
Doc Watson’s music can transport Coleman through the power of musical time travel to his childhood running around barefoot and fishing with his friends. Music especially live music whether it be in a basement or a concert it is one of the best things that the young Coleman enjoyed and it is that joy that he tries to bring to his music. About a month ago Coleman got to experience some live music at a La Honda Records event with the Local Honeys, Vincent Neil Emerson and Riddy Arman.
Coleman’s music almost always has two versions this stripped down version and the band version and this is how he sees himself as a country artist who is willing to experiment and branch out. An artist is an artist and it is unfair to pigeonhole artists into categories dreamt up by marketing teams of big monolithic music labels. Artists shouldn’t have to apologise for trying to branch out into rock or metal or punk when audiences only see them as country music artists.
Coleman knows that he will have made it as an artist when he gets to play with artists that he loves, respects and idolises and then can collaborate with those singers and songwriters to produce music that is unique thrilling and experimental that delights audiences around the world. Being respected by his peers and the music scene now he will know that he has made it in this world of music.
Coleman loves his father and deeply respects his grandfather and especially his great-grandfather and wants to be an artist in his own right who is related to all the amazing musicians in his family but is known for the music he wants to produce and showcase to the world. If you haven’t realised by now Coleman’s great-grandfather is Hank Williams, his grandfather is Hank Williams Jr and his father is Hank III.
Coleman’s song ‘Son of Sin‘ It is his calling card to the music world that he is his own artist and not just a relation to one of the greatest country western legacies that still resonate today in 2021. Coleman’s forthcoming album and music will be a country record with elements of other music genre’s.
Coleman talks about how Hank Williams is still not a member of the Opry. Hank Williams has been synonymous with the country music institution. Williams remains a former member of the Opry. It’s a mistake that has continued to be made for the last 60 years. There are many organisations that pay reverence to the name of this classic country-western artist but show a lack of respect by their lack of action or monetisation of the Williams name.
More and more in this age, tradition and respect mean nothing and the all mighty dollar and disneyfication of what was supposed to be music in all it’s rich and varied history has been left behind. Coleman talks about this and how music is no longer the main reason for tourists to come to Nashville. Born and bred in the city, Coleman has seen with his own eyes all the changes generally for the worse that has taken over the city that he loves.
Coleman’s mission as he sees it is to help country and western music grow through the influences of other genres so that it doesn’t wither and die and country music needs to grow and change. Artists like Coleman are leading a renaissance in what it means to be a country and western artist in 2021.
Coleman is looking forward to performing with his strange band in the summer and autumn and perform in front of fans scratch that actual fans instead of just online shows. Long may Coleman and his band continue to make music that excites and brings joy to fans across the world.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Coleman Williams. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Pearl Charles is quite simply a magician who has mastered the dark arts of creating cosmic country music with her album ‘Magic Mirror‘ with stunning songs such as ‘Only For Tonight‘, ‘Imposter‘ and ‘What I Need‘ she has pioneered new territory in combining the worlds of Americana, slide guitar country and western, soft rock disco, piano ballads, pedal steel harpsichord infused Fleetwood Mac, Abba, Toni Brown and Emmylou Harris.
Pearl Charles surrounds herself with cool doodads which give her inspiration and positivity inside her home in the desert. Dancing Queen was the jumping off point for Pearl’s ‘Only For Tonight‘ Andy is an outlier for the rest of the album as the songs that follow on the album don’t continue the Abba-esque music that’s captured by Pearl Charles on this track. We talk about astral projection alternate realities and what it means to be truly you in the universe that is constantly changing.
While Pearl and her band were touring of the ‘Sleepless Dreamer‘ record she was recording and writing the songs for ‘Magic Mirror‘. ‘Sweet Sunshine Wine‘ was released prior to ‘Magic Mirror‘ coming out as a single. The title of the album came to Pearl in a dream and reflected the magic that is Disney’s Snow White. We talk about how the magic mirror showcases the best potential vision of you but also delivers who you are right now at this point of time.
The album is fully biographical and captures Pearl’s hopes dreams and aspirations about relationships from breakup to sharing one’s life with a partner. Growing up Pearl was influenced by her father’s music collection which introduced her to Frank Zappa and Bob Dylan.
As a DJ Pearl likes to mix it up when she is on the dancefloor from disco to country and everything in between. Songs that Pearl has written to change especially if they are continuously on the set list and so they become almost like a alternate brand-new version from the one that was born on the keys of a piano.
Taking the pandemic in stride Pearl has been able to focus on performing with her band in preparation for when she gets to tour in England and Scotland in February 2022. Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Pearl Charles. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Cristina Vane’s new album ‘Nowhere Sounds Lovely’, took two years for it to come out before fans could listen to her country and western music sound. In this podcast with CloudwatcherUno we get to talk about her experience of touring while writing the songs for the album, moving from Los Angeles to Nashville and then getting Rodney Dawson and Cactus Moser to mix and produce this amazing album.
Cristine is very much influenced by traditional country music brings with it a modern sensibility That captures the experience in all its ups and downs of being a travelling musician and not having a home or a homeland and that uncertainty brings its own friction and is captured not only in the songs of this album but the mood of the album itself.
While studying at Princeton it didn’t really seem like a possibility for Christina to pursue a music but then after graduating she gave her whole heart and soul to becoming a singer songwriter and to take her songs across the United States. Pete Steinberg became a mentor of sorts for the young Cristina Vane and he inspired her from giving guitar this lessons, encouragement and support as he could see the potential within another human being to produce passionate music that connects with other souls.
For Cristina to sing the words that she is written down on paper and that she is kept for his songs and produce music for fans that is her favourite thing to have achieved as an artist. Songs can be very traditional verse chorus verse chorus bridge but what’s most important for her is to convey a message something I can connect with other people to lift their spirits. For the future Christina plans to tour over the summer and then to get back into the studio to begin recording album number two.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Cristina Vane. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
John Smith is a Spotify sensation having amassed over 40 million streams for his songs. On the podcast host CloudwatcherUno spoke with John about his childhood, his musical influences and his sixth album ‘The Fray’ which is released on Friday 26th March 2021 via Thirty Tigers.
Having become a professional musician at the age of 22 and playing pubs and clubs for three years, John started to make a name for himself. He became known for being a virtuoso guitarist, exceptional lyricist and singer with the kind of voice that is dripped in velvet. He crossed paths with Cara Dillon and Lisa Hannigan and started touring all over England, Ireland and Australia as a side man while making his own records. His reputation as a session musician grew as he played for Lee Ann Rhimes, Roseanne Cash, Joan Baez and Tom Jones.
Starting off playing with the piano, then drums John settled for the guitar as his instrument of choice and has been playing this iconic instrument and has been a good friend to him for the last 27 years. Growing up John spent his time day dreaming at school, getting terrible grades and generally hating the experience until he went to University to study music and then out into the real world where he could do whatever he wanted.
John is a man on a mission to save your ears from the tedium that passes for music out there on the internet. His sixth album was written as a response to the cards that life had dealt him at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Having had his remaining gigs in Australia cancelled followed by distressing family heartache there didn’t seem much hope of retrieving his life as a touring musician.
John had one remaining card to play and in September 2020 he went back into the studio to begin work on his new album. With the help of long time friend and producer Sam Lakeman life was breathed into songs that began life on paper. The album is a testimony to the craft of song writing, arrangements and production that has been John’s signature sound.
Smith reached out to fellow musicians across the world to record remotely or virtually onto the album – Jessica Staveley-Taylor of The Staves, Sarah Jarosz, Courtney Hartman, The Milk Carton Kids, and Bill Frisell from the Americas and Smith’s frequent touring partner Lisa Hannigan via a virtual studio session in Dublin and others added their magic to the album.
‘The Fray’ is a truly phenomenal album, that shows what it’s like to be vulnerable, to hold onto the dream of love when the reality and hard times has driven that to collapse.
John’s voice is the key to this album it takes your hand and carries you into a world that reflects the trails and tribulations of living life in the 21st century. ‘Friends’ is a love story to the bonds of friendships and all those souls who have come and gone and still mean that much in our lives. It showcases exquisite lyrics delivered by a voice from the gods. ‘Hold On’ is a beacon to us all that better times are coming and that we shouldn’t give up but find the will within ourselves to carry on living. ‘Eye To Eye’ is a plea to make things work out and making things right between lovers when all that remains is silence. ‘Deserving’ is the most honest song about love, heartbreak and wanting to be deserving of being in a relationship with another human being.
Update: On 28th March 2021 John played a show for fans to celebrate the release of the album. It was streamed live around the world by Mandolin as John performs from the legendary Yellow Arch Studios in Sheffield.
Click below to hear the Artist Showcase podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring John Smith. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Matthew Fowler’s first album ‘Beginning’ was released when he just turned 19 and he hasn’t looked back since. That’s the record that made his name in music. In this podcast host CloudwatcherUno sits down with Matthew to talk about his journey not only as a musician but as a documentarian, his love for all things Japanese including Godzilla and Akira, why modern movie trailers ruin the movie going experience, Star Wars and his love of Glen Hansard’s music. We get to listen to ‘Blankets’ and ‘Beginners’ from that first album. His next album will be released by Signature Sounds in Massachusetts later this year.
Matthew started his life as a touring musician with fellow singer and friend Reggie Williams and got see the great American landscape. He’s also collaborated with The Prado Sisters on his first album ‘Beginning’ and have played woodwind instruments on the the upcoming second album. Another passion of Matthew’s is being as a videographer/documentarian and it’s his favourite way to travel filming bands such as ‘Just Neighbors’ on tour in Japan.
“PLAYING MUSIC LIVE IS A VERY FULFILLING EXPERIENCE”
Matthew’s music is authentic and you get an immediate reaction that connects you as an audience to something that’s real and fills your head with the music that dreams are made of. It’s like having your life put to music and the soundtrack is one that other travellers can enjoy. Matthew follows in the footsteps of Ryan Adams, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne and especially Glen Hansard.
Glen’s music has been such an influence on Matthew and how you can be a vulnerable artist working in the top tiers of music but still remain a normal human being who you could drink and hang out with. Having met Glen quite by accident when going to one of his gigs, Matthew is determined that one day he will collaborate or tour with his idol.
Music is a language that is spoken all over the world and Matthew can speak it fluently. For the future Matthew is excited for the world to open up again so that he can start touring and promoting his sophomore album when it is released.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Matthew Fowler. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts
Darling West are the cosmic folk duo hailing from the land of Norway who have released Spelleman-winning (Norwegian Grammy) album ‘Vinyl and a Heartache’ and such hits as ‘Rolling On’, ‘Traveller’ and ‘The Sweetest Tune’. Host CloudwatcherUno sits down with artists Mari and Tor Egil Kreken to talk about their music, gorgeous lyrics and phenomenal harmonies and melodies. In the podcast Darling West perform live acoustic versions of ‘Rolling On’ and ‘Loneliness’ and there’s also the album version of ‘The Sweetest Tune’ that starts the show.
Darling West started life as folk trio with very dramatic thoughts on how they would be a band and ended up more into cosmic folk territory with electric guitars, drums and the banjo. Tor plays claw hammer style banjo like his Appalachian heroes of the US. Darling West’s sound started out as an interest in old fiddle tune time songs with mountain folk vibe similar to the music from the film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’ It was a jumping off point for the band to start their exploration of building and writing their songs.
The last EP ‘Interpretations’ explores their love of pop tunes through a country landscape. The music on the EP brings them joy and that translates to the listener when they hear the tracks ‘Don’t Start Now’, ‘Pamela’ and ‘Bulletproof’. It’s a way of expanding their audience’s expectations of the band. It was a challenge to find the tenderness within the original lyrics and the almost harsh production style and reimagine with a much softer gentler interpretation.
Darling West also bring their sound to life by showcasing their music through their Friday Sessions cover videos available on YouTube and Instagram. They bring the joy of their music by collaborating with fellow artists such as Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra. The ‘Friday Sessions’ started out as a response to the duo experiencing the lockdown in Norway and not being able to go out but still wanting to connect with their fans and audience. It’s a lot of work learning a new song every week and then record it flawlessly as a live video to such a high professional standard. Don’t expect the sessions to continue forever though as the duo need to work on releasing their own original music.
One of my favourite songs from the album ‘We’ll Never Know Unless We Try’ is ‘Home’ written by Tor Egil with Mari in their family’s cabin and was a song that just came out so easily and encapsulates the cosmic folk catalogue of Darling West. You can feel the influence of Gillian Welch in the lyrics and it sounds like poetry put to music.
The duo have adapted as well as they can to having to put touring to one side and have now been able to focus on the Friday Sessions, their songcraft and building a nice home for themselves to create an atmosphere conducive to blossoming their creativity. Without the pressure of trying to make a Darling West record has enabled them to explore different genres, sounds and musicality.
Growing up Tor Egil started off wanting to play football but that obsession was overtaken by learning to play the guitar while listening to his older brothers record collection. In junior high school reading about musicians playing their instruments and touring with their bands, Tor Egil knew this was going to be his life. When Mari and Tor met 15 years ago, Mari didn’t even play an instrument. Mari always enjoyed singing and her father always sang as a way to relax. There was always country music on the radio. After 7 years together Mari also wanted to become a part of the musical community in a real way and bought her first mandolin. It took a lot of practice before Mari felt that she had the sound she wanted from her instrument and could call herself a musician. It was all worth it as the duo have released four albums showing their incredible virtuosity, skill and range in producing stellar music.
Mari and Tor Egil don’t right formulaic music or middle of the road tunes for them there is no formula that they stick to. They want to keep their music as alive as possible and act as a homage to the Norwegian mountains. Speaking metaphorically if they found themselves in lifeboat having to recue their songs then they would save ‘Darling West’, ‘Vinyl and a Heartache’, ‘Someone Like You’, ‘Rolling On’, and River.
Darling West are at the forefront of the Nordicana music scene and bringing their own twist to the traditional Americana/ Appalachian music that’s been produced and being released. Their music is full of guitar, banjo and pedal steel which envelops the listener transporting them to a mythical country and western world. Going forward the duo want to focus more on their own song writing and they have more time to really record the songs they want in the style and production that showcases their music the best. A new album will arrive and when it does you know it’s going to be fantastic.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Darling West. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.