Made to Heal – The Stratton Playlist December 2020 Edition Provides Soothing Escape

As the year (thankfully) comes to a close, we reflect on the strength, grit and willpower that slowly got us through. Together, we relied on new soothing, hopeful tracks that provided a welcome escape from the COVID-19 pandemic, social isolation, political rifts, grief and loss.

Uplifting, rewarding bits of indie folk, country-pop, folk rock, psych rock, shiny lo-fi soul, reggae, dreamy pop, chill hip-hop and experimental art rock demonstrate the courageous creative and emotional spirit we all share heading into 2021.

The latest edition of The Stratton Playlist provides an introspective sonic path for healing, reflection and growth. Featured musical healers and friends include Lily Milo, Meredith Shock, Mark Jewett, The Soods, Dani Darling, Joss Jaffe, Ava Panza, Blaksmith, Dirt Room and more.

Thank you for everyone who supported The Stratton Setlist in 2020. It’s an honor to feature you and the share wonderful music you create today and tomorrow. Interested in becoming part of The Stratton Playlist on Spotify? Send your submissions to strattonsetlist@yahoo.com. All artists and genres welcome.

False Note – Joss Jaffe Uncovers Empty Political ‘Promises’ with Mykal Rose

Joss Jaffe unearths political fallacies on “Promises,” with reggae legend Mykal Rose. Photo – Kim Jae Yoon

For Joss Jaffe, today’s global political climate runs rampant with false promises.

The Oakland, California world music singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist shares this widely held notion in his latest reggae-infused single, “Promises,” with Mykal Rose.

“Ultimately, I think politics is always divisive. Peter Tosh would call it ‘politricks.’ But yes, this period in time has been especially unprecedented. Although I do not call out Trump by name in this song and take the approach of an old-school reggae song, where we speak in metaphors and allegory stories, clearly it references the cascade of lies and falsehoods that seem to never end,” Jaffe said.

“However, yes, the song also speaks to the timeless, and sadly, seemingly ever relevant problems this poor type of leadership brings, and it’s not just limited to the U.S.”

Throughout “Promises,” Jaffe and Rose quickly unstitch the increasing fallacies Trump and other controversial political figures continually weave into society’s fraying fabric. Vibrant horns, thumping drums, bouncy bass, breezy synths, spirited organ and peppy electric guitar seamlessly undo each tumultuous thread.

Rose eagerly chants, “Promises are a comfort to a fool/All they wanna give is promises/We know the golden rule/Yet they wanna use you like a footstool.” In response, Jaffe soulfully sings, “Step on you to reach that goal/And cast you aside when you played your role/Promises that keep on saying/But then you look at them and see they’d never change.”

“My vision for this song is something that’s uplifting and triumphant over adversity. Something that rises above the current moment, however difficult it is, and gets back in touch with the universal consciousness,” Jaffe said.

With honest, reflective lyrics and a hypnotic reggae sway, Jaffe and Rose triumph with “Promises” as a fitting theme song for our turbulent political and social times. The track serves as the duo’s second dynamic collaboration since the divine, glistening “Elohim” with Shimshai in 2015 for Jaffe’s Dub Mantra Sangha album.

“Mykal Rose has always been one of my longtime heroes of reggae music. We have a mutual friend named Siah who is his guitar player and produces some of his songs. Mykal is a true legend; rocksteady in the studio and always pushing everyone to capture their best possible take. It was a true blessing,” Jaffe said.

Continue reading “False Note – Joss Jaffe Uncovers Empty Political ‘Promises’ with Mykal Rose”

Motor City Homecoming – Science for Sociopaths Returns for Feb. 13 RAW Detroit Reflect Show at Saint Andrew’s Hall

Science for Sociopaths artwork by Taylor Ruffin

Science for Sociopaths will return to Detroit Feb. 13 for a one-night only show at Saint Andrew’s Hall.

The San Francisco indie pop-rock singer-songwriter, aka Maggie Cocco, will perform during RAW Detroit’s Reflect along with Honeybabe, Farrah Mechael and Dmack313rd for the event, which also will feature fashion, photography, and visual and performance art.

“Saint Andrew’s is a great venue, and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” said Cocco, who originally hails from Sterling Heights. “It’s a fun homecoming for me, and what I like about RAW is that it’s not just about music. I’ve always thought of Science for Sociopaths since its conception as a multimedia project. For each project that I’ve done, I’ve worked very closely with an artist.”

Maggie Cocco of Science for Sociopaths

Hosted by RAW Detroit, an international artist collective, Reflect will be the first show Cocco has played in the Motor City since relocating to the Bay area in September. She will reunite with Detroit bandmates Neil Eby (guitar), Alex Marshall (bass) and J Durrell Gibbs (drums) for her set.

“I’m bowled over by their willingness to play with me,” Cocco said. “I’m going to do some of the favorites from ‘Love & Life,’ and then I’m going to do a new song, ‘Where I Belong,’ that I’m going to release right before the show.”

“Where I Belong” will be Cocco’s first new Science for Sociopaths single since releasing her double EP “Love & Life” in June and the first of 10 new tunes she’ll be sharing throughout 2019 to her Patreon supporters. All 10 tracks will be released as part of an official album later this year.

“It’s a love song, just like ‘Love & Life,’ which I felt was very aptly named. My music compulsions are divided between philosophical shit that I’m figuring out in my brain for myself with how life works with boundaries and then my romantic life,” said Cocco, who’s influenced by Carole King, Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow. “I’m a very romantic person, it sort of overflows, and it’s always about half and half.”

Cocco recorded the untitled pop-rock project with Benjamin Warsaw, a Nashville-based producer and sound engineer, over four days in Ohio. She also worked with Warsaw on “Love & Life,” her heartfelt nine-song ode to the trials and tribulations of life and love.

Throughout 2018, Cocco released a new Science for Sociopaths song each week through Patreon, an online platform that allows artists to receive funds directly from their fans.

Her songs included covers of Rhiannon Gidden’s “Love (That) We Almost Had” and “City of Stars” and “Audition Song (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land” as well as new tracks “Hey Sunshine” and “Hey Friend.”

“It was a very prolific year for me,” she said. “I think I grew a lot as a musician, but this year I’m trying to dedicate more time and resources to getting the music I already have in front of more people.”

Show Details:

RAW Detroit Reflect presents Science for Sociopaths

Wednesday, Feb. 13

Saint Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St. in Detroit

Event: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tickets: $22.50 for presale general admission

Indoor Campfire – The Secret Emchy Society Celebrates ‘Mark’s Yard’ Release with Thursday’s Sing-Along Show at The Lost Church

The Secret Emchy Society will host an intimate night of acoustic country music, sing-alongs and fellowship Thursday night at San Francisco’s The Lost Church.

The Lost Church show will double as a “Mark’s Yard: The Campfire Covers” album release party for the Oakland, Calif., queer country music collective and feature Americana legends The Muddy Roses as a special guest.

During the show, The Secret Emchy Society will provide “hymnals,” or booklets with lyrics, to audience members so they can sing along to songs from “Mark’s Yard,” a new covers album the band released in December.

“This room has wonderful acoustics, and we’re actually not going to amplify, but we’re definitely going to do most of the album,” said Cindy Emch, frontwoman, guitarist and accordionist for The Secret Emchy Society. “This album was made with the intention of serving up a community experience. There will be swaying, stomping, laughter, dorkery and stories about songs that will surely go off on tangents.”

Dubbed as the “First Lady of Queer Country,” Emch leads a rotating old school country music collective that appeals to fans of June Carter Cash, Lydia Loveless, Neko Case, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner. She’s been sharing her dark, sexy, boozy ballads, off-kilter anthems and cowboy songs with the Bay area queer country music scene for more than a decade.

Mark’s Yard album art

As a follow-up to 2017’s “The Stars Fell Shooting into Twangsville,” Emch’s latest release, “Mark’s Yard,” includes her own renditions of esteemed country classics from Rhubarb Whiskey, Hank Williams Jr., Tom Waits, Tolan McNeil, Johnny Cash, Carolyn Mark and more.

The album allows Emch to come full circle with her love of country music after hearing the likes of Willie Nelson and Crystal Gayle as a child and watching her mother play the accordion.

For the album, Emch teamed up with Hans Winold (upright bass, harmonica), Michele Kappel (percussion), Mya Byrne (lap steel, mandolin), Nick Foley (backing lead guitar) and Deleina Mae (backing electric bass) and recorded it over three hours one August Sunday night in her neighbor’s backyard.

Continue reading “Indoor Campfire – The Secret Emchy Society Celebrates ‘Mark’s Yard’ Release with Thursday’s Sing-Along Show at The Lost Church”

Big Apple Rodeo – The Secret Emchy Society Takes Queer Country Music to Brooklyn’s Branded Saloon Saturday Night

Cindy Emch of The Secret Emchy Society

The Secret Emchy Society will bring their foot stompin’, heart breakin’ Americana music about good friends and hard times to the Big Apple tomorrow night.

The Oakland, Calif., queer country music collective will share their dark, sexy, boozy ballads, off-kilter anthems and cowboy songs at the Branded Saloon, 603 Vanderbilt Ave., in Brooklyn from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Hosted by the Gay Ole Opry and Queer Country Quarterly, the show also will feature country music compadres Karen & the Sorrows and Viva.

“It’s New York, oh my God, that’s how I feel about it,” laughed Cindy Emch, frontwoman, guitarist and accordionist for The Secret Emchy Society, in late September during a phone call with The Stratton Setlist from the Bay area. “That’s the Michigan native playing New York, and that gets people excited.”

Emch will make her sole stop in New York City Saturday as part of a short fall tour, which also includes a Nov. 18 gig during the Queer Country Showcase at the Ivy Room in Albany, Calif., with Lavender Country and Velvetta.

“The Ivy Room started doing this great thing the third Sunday of every month where they do a 4-9 sort of country music showcase, and they have different local bands doing it,” Emch said. “I feel like there’s a lot of good Americana coming out of the Ivy Room right now.”

Dubbed as the “First Lady of Queer Country,” Emch leads a rotating old school country music collective that appeals to fans of June Carter Cash, Lydia Loveless, Neko Case, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner. She’s been helping spearhead that flourishing music scene in San Francisco for more than a decade.

Continue reading “Big Apple Rodeo – The Secret Emchy Society Takes Queer Country Music to Brooklyn’s Branded Saloon Saturday Night”