BACK FROM A LONG REST

The Last Hombres regroup and record third album Last Hombres_photo by Ken Farrell.jpg

The previous Last Hombres drummer was responsible for a lot of the attention directed toward their second album and subsequent tour. Their current drummer is responsible for the band having a second life.

When concert dates in support of Redemption came to an end, The Last Hombres — whose lineup in the early 2000s included Levon Helm of The Band on drums — went their separate ways and pursued other projects.

Fast forward about a decade to 2012: Tom Ryan, a mutual friend of original Hombres Russ Seeger, Michael Meehan and Paul Schmitz, asked the group to play a set at a benefit show in Huntington, N.Y., with Ryan offering to sit in on drums.

They agreed, performing for about 30 to 40 minutes, recalls bassist-singer Meehan. His musical reunion with Seeger and Schmitz — and Ryan’s involvement with The Last Hombres — was only just beginning. Continue reading

DUES BEFORE BLUES

Annie Stela traces the path from her first album to second
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In the time most people spend attending high school or college, Annie Stela got an education in just how chaotic the music business can be.

Signed to Capitol Records in 2003 when she was in her early 20s, Stela had the label’s support at first, touring and recording her debut album “all on their dime,” she says with a laugh. But by 2007, changes within the industry and within Capitol in particular resulted in Stela’s album being removed from the label’s release schedule.

Eventually, Stela parted ways with Capitol, but she was able to take the album with her. Looking back, the Los Angeles singer, songwriter and pianist is not bitter about what happened — or what didn’t happen — during that four-year experience.

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NO STOP SIGNS ON THE HORIZON

Playing in Traffic remains a discerning, dedicated label
Kevin Wommack and Jojo Garza of Los Lonely Boys_Photo Courtesy of Playing in Traffic.jpg

In its five-year history, the Austin, Texas-based Playing in Traffic has released six full-length albums and four EPs. That’s not a huge catalog, but those numbers are a shining example of the selective approach taken by the label and its sister business, Loophole Management.

Co-founded by Austin native and longtime music-industry veteran Kevin Wommack, Playing in Traffic has a roster that includes the Grammy Award-winning Los Lonely Boys, as well as girl pilot (aka Sahara Smith), The Dunwells and Speak. By the end of this year, PIT’s catalog will expand by a few more titles, and among the scheduled releases is girl pilot’s On My Way.

Whether it’s on the label side or the management side, there’s a lot of work that needs to be handled by a small, shared staff.

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AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT

American Fiction connects, then records with Eddie Kramer
American Fiction_Chris Johnson, Landon Moore, Blake Rhea and Pat Fusco_photo by Bob Bayne.jpg

What really should have amounted to nothing ended up changing everything for American Fiction.

The fledgling Memphis, Tenn.-based band needed a producer, so singer-guitarist Chris Johnson did what most anyone else in his situation would not do: reach out to a living legend. Johnson sent an e-mail to Eddie Kramer, whose studio credits include albums by The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Led Zeppelin, among others.

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ROY ORBISON — MYSTERY GIRL DELUXE

Heartfelt documentary complements reissued album
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The expanded 25th-anniversary edition of Roy Orbison‘s Mystery Girl (Legacy Recordings) is a fitting tribute of sorts to the late singer, as the set plays much like his most beloved material. It is sweeping and stirring, with more than a tinge of heartache and moments that persistently leave one in awe of that elegantly aching voice.

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ON THE SAME PAGE

Thomas Dybdahl bonds with new producer, musicians on latest album
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As he’s gotten older, Norwegian singer-songwriter Thomas Dybdahl has focused more on working with people whose company he enjoys.

On the way to completing his latest album, What’s Left Is Forever, Dybdahl added a few more to his creative inner circle, starting with producer and bassist Larry Klein (whose studio credits include albums by Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin and Herbie Hancock).

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PUT TO GOOD USE

Aaron Comess calls on trusty players for new instrumental album
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For his third solo effort, Blues for Use, Spin Doctors drummer Aaron Comess once again recorded with guitarist Teddy Kumpel and bassist Richard Hammond — the same players featured on Comess’ prior album, 2011’s Beautiful Mistake. But there’s nothing “same old, same old” about the end result or the way they prepared for the sessions.

By playing gigs over the past few years, Comess says they’ve really gelled as a band. Those shows also gave the instrumental trio the opportunity to test out and shape a lot of the textured Blues for Use material in a concert setting before entering the studio — something they didn’t do with the songs that ended up on Beautiful Mistake.
The New York-based Comess checked in May 5 to discuss Blues for Use and what the immediate future holds for him, Kumpel and Hammond.

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DAVE MASON — FUTURE’S PAST

Singer-guitarist provides fresh take on Traffic, solo songs
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Throughout his long-running solo career, singer-guitarist Dave Mason has regularly returned to and placed emphasis on his Traffic roots.

He’s doing it again this year — and in a big way. His current tour is dubbed Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam, and on his new album, Future’s Past (due May 13 via Something Music/MRI), Mason includes a mini-tribute of sorts to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group he co-founded circa 1967 with Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. (Mason has gone as far to say recently, “I think that it is important to keep alive the legacy of four young men from the heartland of England and their contribution to contemporary music.”)

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