Authentic Self – Chain of Lakes Experiences Personal Growth on ‘Songs That Didn’t Make the Record’ Album

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Chain of Lakes shares candid stories on “Songs That Didn’t Make the Record.” Photo courtesy of Kyle Rasche

Chain of Lakes doesn’t hesitate to show his authentic self.

The Alto, Michigan indie-folk singer-songwriter candidly shares honest stories about self-acceptance, familial love and the passage of time on his latest album, Songs That Didn’t Make the Record.

“I’ve consciously been trying to not worry about how a song is gonna come off. The second I stopped trying to be cool, audiences started responding,” said Kyle Rasche, aka Chain of Lakes.

“When I play my ‘Worm’ song from the [upcoming] kids’ record because that’s the last one I finished, people wanna see who you are—good, bad, ugly. You’re just more interesting that way when you’re yourself.”

The album’s 10 tender tracks showcase Rasche’s increasing growth and strength over different points in time. Whether it’s his last day on earth or his ideal day at the beach, his wise lyrics, sentimental stories, and earnest instrumentation reflect his evolutionary mindset.

“I do write a lot, so these were all from that same season of writing. I think it makes sense there’s a theme throughout because I have been writing a lot about my family. I have been writing a lot about discontent on not being able to fully dive into art,” Rasche said.

“I use a lot of imagery … sunsets on a chapter, day or period. I didn’t consciously make these songs to be a batch that comes out like this by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it makes sense if they sound like that because they were all made in the same time period of a writer that was writing a lot.”

A prolific songwriter, Rasche’s Songs That Didn’t Make the Record serves as his second full-length Chain of Lakes release in over six months. In May, he dropped Catch, an introspective album that recounts personal tales of heartwarming comfort and raw vulnerability.

“Thematically, Catch was more cohesive as it was than if we had just thrown a random ‘Sunset’ song on there or a very sweet love song that wouldn’t really fit,” Rasche said. “Catch is about coming of age and nostalgia and finding reconciliation with parts of yourself.”

Amidst that reconciliation, Rasche compiled a timeless gem of an album with producer Josh Kaufman for Songs That Didn’t Make the Record. However, don’t let the album’s title fool you—there’s nothing ephemeral about any of its tracks.

“I put this record out because I love these songs too much to not have them on a record. I’m very, very proud of them, and now I have a little bit of regret on that name. If it sounds like these are reject songs … that last record was made to be that record, and this means those weren’t for it. I think this one is a little lighter,” he said.

“Calling this Songs That Didn’t Make the Record took so much pressure off of having it be a cohesive album because everybody just gives me liberties of it being the next songs.”

Continue reading “Authentic Self – Chain of Lakes Experiences Personal Growth on ‘Songs That Didn’t Make the Record’ Album”

Eternally Grateful – Tom Alter Shares Appreciation for Family and Friends on ‘Love and All That Comes With It’ Album

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Tom Alter examines the emotional and spiritual side of love on his latest album. Photo courtesy of Tom Alter

Tom Alter feels grateful for his loved ones, especially during the pandemic.

The Fraser indie-folk singer-songwriter acknowledges the longtime support of his family and friends on his latest album, Love and All That Comes With It.

“It really does come from my past albums and dealing with all the controversy and disagreement in the world. What has gotten me through these last few years has been love and the relationships with my wife, my family and my friends. In a way, while it seems like a departure, it’s really part of the same story,” Alter said.

“How many times have you spent your whole day watching whatever news channel you watch? I did a lot of that, and what got me away from that and allowed me to deal with things emotionally and intellectually was turning back to the people I could count on in my life.”

Throughout Love and All That Comes With It, Alter revisits past and present relationships alongside reflective lyrics and atmospheric folk-jazz-rock instrumentation. Each track encourages listeners to take an emotional and spiritual look at the love in their lives.

“Some of the songs on the album were written a while ago, but a lot of them were rewritten where I repurposed lyrics and things like that. There were songs I wasn’t happy with, but I liked certain concepts in them,” Alter said.

“The first song really written for this album was ‘Love and All That Comes With It.’ It has the line, ‘With love you can deal with it,’ and it’s a continuation of my previous statements.”

To expand on those statements, we recently chatted with Alter about writing and recording tracks for his recent release.

Continue reading “Eternally Grateful – Tom Alter Shares Appreciation for Family and Friends on ‘Love and All That Comes With It’ Album”

Active Voice – Mike Ward Encourages Casting Your Ballot on ‘Troubled Times’ EP

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Mike Ward tackles sociopolitical challenges on “Troubled Times.” Photo – Danny Ward

Mike Ward knows the nation’s times are a-changin,’ especially with today’s midterm elections.

In response, the Americana singer-songwriter encourages people to raise their voice and chase their freedom on his latest sociopolitical EP, Troubled Times.

“From my standpoint, I’m hoping it will help people look in the mirror and ask themselves some of these questions in terms of raising your own voice and paying attention to what’s truth and what’s not truth,” said Ward, who’s based in Detroit. “That’s basically the theme of ‘Wishing Well,’ and it’s the subtle theme of ‘WWTFS.’”

The contemplative opener, “Wishing Well,” advocates protecting individual rights and free speech alongside determined acoustic guitar and solemn organ.

Ward sings, “Stand alone, stand apart / Take a deep look into your heart / Because these are troubled times / These lives of yours and mine / So seek the proof in the face of the untruth / In the face of all the untruth.”

To learn more about Troubled Times and his upcoming plans, we recently chatted with Ward at Folk Alliance Region Midwest in Lisle, Illinois.

Continue reading Active Voice – Mike Ward Encourages Casting Your Ballot on ‘Troubled Times’ EP

My Brave Face – Ken Newman Uncovers Societal Fears on ‘What Am I Afraid Of?’ Album

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Ken Newman’s “What Am I Afraid Of?” album features purposeful lyrics, vigorous instrumentation and massive rock soundscapes. Photo – Jayms Ramirez

Ken Newman boldly tackles society’s deepest and darkest fears on What Am I Afraid Of?

The San Francisco indie-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist deftly uncovers and deciphers a multitude of emotional traumas, violent conflicts, racial injustices and political tensions on his insightful debut album.

“It was gonna be called ‘Dreaming of Guns’ based on that one song. At some point, somebody else recommended another title, and I tried that for a little while, but that didn’t quite resonate,” Newman said.

“And then Scott (Mickelson) and I were talking about it, and I said, ‘What if I just called it What Am I Afraid Of? ’ Then, the two of us went, ‘Oh my God, of course, that’s what everything’s about.’”

For Newman, “everything” serves as an umbrella of personal and societal challenges ranging from everyday anxieties to teen suicide to homelessness to gun violence. The album’s 11 gripping tracks provide a poignant wake-up call for the nation to strongly unite, take action and instill change.

“The thing about this album is essentially the same paradigm that’s kind of dictated my entire life,” he said. “I don’t exactly know what’s happening until I look in the rear-view mirror and go, ‘That happened.’”

Continue reading My Brave Face – Ken Newman Uncovers Societal Fears on ‘What Am I Afraid Of?’ Album

Ripple Effect – Eric Ripper Finds Growth and Love on New ‘Wavelength’ Album

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Eric Ripper features exploratory lyrics, radiant acoustic guitars and ambient soundscapes on his new album. Artwork – Dean Ripper

Filled with emotion and adventure, Eric Ripper rides the wave of new possibilities.

The Ferndale, Michigan acoustic pop-rock singer-songwriter boldly journeys through the peaks and valleys of growth, love and aspiration on his latest revelatory album, Wavelength.

“I traveled out to Utah to start this project, worked on it while I was out there and continued it after coming back. I’ve seen many beautiful things and spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts,” Ripper said.

“Those thoughts come together when you finally sit down with a guitar in hand. I’ve learned that I need time to write and need to explore myself if I am to continue writing and producing music.”

With self-discovery top of mind, Ripper soars alongside Wavelength’s exploratory lyrics, radiant acoustic guitars and ambient soundscapes. The album’s nine contemplative tracks instantly invite listeners to accompany Ripper on his introspective, cathartic odyssey.

“Traveling is a big part of my inspiration as well as having good and bad life experiences. All elements toward this album have been therapeutic: writing, producing, recording and releasing – all of it,” he said.

“I feel as if I’m sharing a big side of me with others on this release, and I just hope people can hear the work and dedication put into it. Everyone is growing as a person … they all have their own direction. I’m riding this wavelength, and I hope others can hear their purpose and find themselves.”

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Sonic Youth – Allye Gaietto Reconciles Past Expectations on New ‘Hoping for More’ Album

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Allye Gaietto revisits her past self on “Hoping for More.” Photo – Rolando Ybarra

Allye Gaietto candidly shares an internal monologue with her younger self.

The Detroit indie folk-pop singer-songwriter and pianist reconciles past expectations, relationships and interactions on her perceptive new album, Hoping for More, which drops Aug. 26.

“It’s so much discovering of who you are, what your beliefs are and where you stand on all sorts of different things. I think, for a lot of us, our identity is about who’s around us and how we interact with people and how they see us,” said Gaietto about previous life experiences in her early 20s.

“I think for this record there are a lot of things … like I had my first serious relationship and then got dumped for the first time, and that’s one of the songs on the album. That was huge for me.”

With Hoping for More, Gaietto provides a huge release of deeply buried emotions that still feel tender and raw. Whether encountering relief, heartache or courage, she beautifully documents those experiences through contemplative lyrics, haunting melodies and lush instrumentation.

“It’s this funny contrast of me trying to reconcile like, ‘What do you think about me? What do I think about you? How do we feel about each other?’ with friendships, romantic relationships and parent relationships,” said Gaietto, who also released the single, “I Guess I Don’t,” earlier this year.

“After the album was finished, the new stuff I’ve been writing … sometimes I have to put myself back in that early 20s, new relationship mindset because it’s a goldmine for feelings and content.”

Continue reading “Sonic Youth – Allye Gaietto Reconciles Past Expectations on New ‘Hoping for More’ Album”

Travel Light – Linden Thoburn Emits Hopeful Tales on New ‘When the Sun Comes Shining Through’ Album

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Linden Thoburn creates a spring-like feel on “When the Sun Comes Shining Through.” Photo courtesy of Linden Thoburn

Linden Thoburn beautifully shines a light on the road less traveled.

The Brighton, Michigan country-folk singer-songwriter and guitarist shares hopeful tales of navigating life’s seasonal changes on her adventurous new album, When the Sun Comes Shining Through.

“There’s a lot of movement, and there’s a lot of leaving one state and going into another state. I write from listening to life and listening to myself, and that’s just what was there,” Thoburn said.

“It’s somebody who’s able to look back and be here, yet still be able to bring some perspective, hopefulness and realism, too. The journey continues, and if you’re really going to live this life and be here, you have to be awake to the journey.”

On When the Sun Comes Shining Through, Thoburn deeply embraces a pictorial journey filled with lonesome AM radio, cherry red vans, summer berries, Mississippi tributaries, bright wings and Avalon forests. Each radiant track leaves a lasting imprint on the heart and soul of bygone eras and unread chapters.

“A lot of 2022 has been getting this album ready to launch … and I keep thinking COVID is over, and the sun comes shining through, and then COVID keeps coming back,” she said with a laugh. “This album is like leaving COVID, and it’s like going from winter and heading into spring.”

Continue reading Travel Light – Linden Thoburn Emits Hopeful Tales on New ‘When the Sun Comes Shining Through’ Album

Sonic Epilogue – Cece June Searches for Closure and Certainty on ‘Over’ Single

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Cece June finds newfound strength and confidence on her latest single, “Over.” Photo – Adelaide Wilson

Cece June deeply searches for a sense of closure.

The Barcelona, Spain indie-pop singer-songwriter and guitarist thoughtfully addresses unanswered questions, lingering uncertainties and changing relationships on her latest contemplative single, “Over.”

“It just happened, and it wasn’t really autobiographical because I wasn’t dating anyone at that point,” said June, who’s currently an art history and political science senior at the University of Michigan.

“It’s interesting, with so many of my songs, they just kind of happen, and the ability to write ‘Over’ without having felt it personally … I genuinely don’t know where that came from.”                                                     

Throughout “Over,” a tranquil symphony of pensive electric guitar, hopeful cello, crashing cymbals and thunderous drums infuses June with newfound strength and confidence.

She sings, “I can’t help but to let you know/That this is more than intended/I never meant to let you go/I said I loved you and I meant it/It isn’t over just cause you say it is/I’d like to tell you where my ending begins.”

“With the guitar pattern, I knew that I wanted a message, and I wanted it to be really restated. The verses are structurally the same, but obviously lyrically different,” June said.

“The choruses are different, and as that desperation nears the end, that’s when the music starts building up, and the cello gets stronger, and the drums come in. The drums are almost cacophonic, and I wanted them to be loud … like something’s breaking, and it’s not in your control to mend it.”

To create “Over’s” emotive sound, June collaborated with a talented cast of U-M musicians and students, including producer Ethan Matt, guitarist Matt Stawinski, drummer Casey Cheatham, cellist Micah Huisman and mixer Samuel Uribe-Botero.

“Ethan pushed me to try new things. In the first session, he was giving me auto-tune vocoders that sounded like T-Pain, and I was like, ‘What is this? This is awesome!’ It was such an awesome experience to see it evolve with the mindset of someone who’s really different,” said June, who recorded the track at Ethan Matt’s home studio in mid-February. 

“It’s really just a close-knit community of people who are always willing to help. It’s so incredible because you can be like, ‘Oh, I need a trombone,’ and you have like 70 people available.” 

Continue reading “Sonic Epilogue – Cece June Searches for Closure and Certainty on ‘Over’ Single”

Change Agent – Fernando Silverio Solis Chronicles Personal Growth on ‘When the Good Starts to Fade’ EP

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Fernando Silverio Solis processes past relationships on “When the Good Starts to Fade.”

Fernando Silverio Solis instinctively understands the rate of change.

The Flint indie-folk singer-songwriter and guitarist aptly evolves and shifts with changing relationships on his latest introspective EP, When the Good Starts to Fade.

“With this group of songs, there are definitely some huge life changes taking place. You’re arriving at a different point whether it’s literally or figuratively and are unsure where to go from there,” Solis said.

“There’s a big theme around friendships … you have to acknowledge that sometimes you outgrow people or maybe they outgrow you.”

Those keen observations thoughtfully address past connections and anticipate future ones across three astute tracks. For Solis, When the Good Starts to Fade acknowledges the nuances and notions that slowly arise as one chapter ends and another begins.

“A lot of times I compartmentalize these ideas, thoughts and processes into a time when I can finally let it out,” he said. “After the songs are written, it’s almost therapy in a way … you don’t always know that you feel or think a certain way about something until you are given that space to say it freely.”

Continue reading “Change Agent – Fernando Silverio Solis Chronicles Personal Growth on ‘When the Good Starts to Fade’ EP”

Evolutionary Perspective – Mike Ward Examines Passage of Time on ‘Particles to Pearls’ Album

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Mike Ward highlights the fleeting passage of time on “Particles to Pearls.” Photo – Danny Ward

For Mike Ward, a new album chronicles a thoughtful evolution of sound.

The Detroit Americana singer-songwriter carefully transforms a dozen acoustic tracks into an earnest collection of expansive tales on Particles to Pearls.

“I think the first track we added any instruments to was ‘All We Have Are Words.’ David Roof played the electric guitar on it, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s what this can sound like.’ I’d been playing that by myself for two years,” said Ward about his third Psychosongs album.

“Because it’s been two years since I wrote most of those songs, and that’s right about now, every day on Facebook there’s a memory of the song, and I get to hear how I first wrote it.”

During the 2020 pandemic lockdown, Ward penned 31 new tracks as part of a 30 Songs in 30 Days songwriting challenge with New York City folk-rock singer-songwriter Paul Winfield. The poignant tracks opened his creative floodgates and pushed him deeper into the songwriting trenches.

“They’re all moments in time. The album has a number of those songs,” Ward said. “I’m pretty happy with the end results. David Roof plays bass on everything, but he also plays a 12-string Rickenbacker electric guitar on ‘Back Again.’ We wanted a Byrds/Roger McGuinn-style sound on it.”

Continue reading “Evolutionary Perspective – Mike Ward Examines Passage of Time on ‘Particles to Pearls’ Album”