Spiritual Awakening – Taylor DeRousse Releases Haunted Past on ‘Winter Ghost’ Single

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Taylor DeRousse experiences an emotional transformation on “Winter Ghost.” Artwork – Taylor DeRousse

Taylor DeRousse slowly expels the lingering spirits of a haunted past.

The Royal Oak indie-rock singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist calmly exhales former selves and bygone relationships in her latest heart-melting single, “Winter Ghost.”

“The writing of this song was a cool experience for me. Last winter, I tried writing a song a day for a while to challenge myself,” DeRousse said. “This song came from that. It was snowing outside, and I got the first line in my head … ‘It snowed today.’”

Throughout “Winter Ghost,” DeRousse thaws frozen memories and warms icy self-doubt as ethereal synths, pensive electric guitar and sanguine acoustic guitar prompt a spiritual awakening.

She sings, “I saw the sun today/It’s mid-July, and now I’m feeling the weight of you wash away/White was the world in my heartbreak/And pale as snow was my skin while the ghost of you remained/Saw the color come back into my face.”

“And then I thought, ‘Why would someone not like the snow?’” DeRousse said. “Then, as it all came together, I was like, ‘This is definitely an experience that I’ve had in my life, but the details are different,’ and yet the theme is still the same.”

DeRousse seamlessly carries “Winter Ghost’s” transformational theme forward while Traverse City producer John Piatek conjures an otherworldly soundscape.

“When I go up and record, and by the time I make it home, John has sent me something. I remember he had sent me the rough track of it … and I listened to it, and I was just floored,” she said.

“The vocals that he adds on that track are my favorite part of the whole song. It felt like, ‘Wow, this is how it was supposed to always be,’ but I could have never gotten it there myself.”

Continue reading “Spiritual Awakening – Taylor DeRousse Releases Haunted Past on ‘Winter Ghost’ Single”

Home Plate – Chain of Lakes Shares Tales of Comfort and Vulnerability on ‘Catch’ Album

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Kyle Rasche addresses life lessons on his new Chain of Lakes album, “Catch.” Courtesy photo

Whether it’s summertime visits, thumb-less mittens or minivan jams, Chain of Lakes instantly finds himself at home.

The Alto, Michigan indie-folk singer-songwriter openly recounts personal tales of heartwarming comfort and raw vulnerability on his introspective new album, Catch.

“As an overarching theme of my writing, I’m always going to write autobiographically from where I am a lot,” said Kyle Rasche, aka Chain of Lakes. “That’s not a big stretch, especially since everyone’s only been home for the last two years. I’m sure there’s been an exclamation point behind some of those themes.”

Throughout Catch, Rasche shares a 37-minute, visceral response to life lessons across 11 tender Chain of Lakes tracks. As a son, husband and father, he dedicates an emotive craft to past and present family members who embody honesty and courage.

“You’re taking home with you, and it’s what you hope your kids do. You want nothing more than for them to have the confidence to leave and explore and see it and do everything,” said Rasche, who has three daughters.

“Then, you hope they’ll never do it because you’ll miss them so much. You want to raise them up to be confident, strong women who aren’t afraid of anything.”

Continue reading “Home Plate – Chain of Lakes Shares Tales of Comfort and Vulnerability on ‘Catch’ Album”

Past Perfect – Bobby Pennock Shares Enduring Favorites on ‘The Vestiges of Art’ Album

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Bobby Pennock demonstrates his musical prowess on “The Vestiges of Art.” Photo – Kent Koller

Bobby Pennock strategically revisits past songs for future reflection.

The Detroit folk-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist shares insightful vignettes from an enduring canon of tales on his new power-pop-fueled album, The Vestiges of Art.

“Interestingly, most of the songs on this album are older songs that I’ve performed live over the years, but never recorded. Although a couple are older and have never been performed,” Pennock said.

“When I started selecting songs for the album, rather than thinking about a theme, I thought about which songs I had that are up-tempo and kind of pop-rock. I thought the phrase, ‘The Vestiges of Art,’ is what an album is, so the idea to name the album came pretty quickly and easily.”

Pennock proudly reveals 10 “vestiges” (and one new track, ‘Perhaps We Were’) bursting with melodic instrumentation, thoughtful lyrics and timeless pop-rock sensibilities.

Whether addressing internal struggles or changing relationships, each track places a vivid storyline inside listeners’ heads and delights their ears with infectious soundscapes.

“About 99 percent of the time when I sit down to write a song, I have no idea what I’m going to write about,” he said. “I don’t keep a writer’s notebook.”

Continue reading “Past Perfect – Bobby Pennock Shares Enduring Favorites on ‘The Vestiges of Art’ Album”

Hit-Worthy Parade – Matthew de Heus Unveils Hidden Gems on ‘Greatest Misses’ Album

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Matthew de Heus shares his multi-genre gems on “Greatest Misses.” Photo – Avram Golden

Matthew de Heus prefers to acknowledge life’s under-the-radar moments.

The Bay City Americana singer-songwriter and bassist thoughtfully unveils those hidden milestones on his new hit-worthy anthology, Greatest Misses, out today.

“I had planned on having two releases. One was gonna be a new EP, but then I was gonna do what I initially called a Greatest Hits album, and it was almost self-deprecating,” said de Heus.

“I wanted to take some of the songs we had already done and put them on one album, so that people who wanted those could get them. I don’t reprint any of the old albums, they’re just gone … because that way if I ever do get famous, they’ll be worth a fortune.”

With Greatest Misses, de Heus assembles a priceless 15-track collection of multi-genre gems, including old favorites from prior releases and three new songs. Filled with melodic hooks, memorable lyrics and clever instrumentation, the album glides through country, power pop, jazz, blues and indie rock terrain.

“Traditionally, in pop music, and in the early days of rock and roll, you might put the same song on more than one album. That was part of it. Though I did want to throw those three new ones up front, I tried to still sequence it like an album, so it was a decent listen,” de Heus said.

“In way, this is almost like a second version of Silk Purses. Andy Reed called that my Goodbye Yellow Brick Road or White Album in the fact that every song is a different genre. Making the songs individually is one thing, but mixing and mastering them so they can sit next to each other on an album is another.”

Continue reading “Hit-Worthy Parade – Matthew de Heus Unveils Hidden Gems on ‘Greatest Misses’ Album”

Travel Guide – Eric Ripper’s Life Adventures Elicit Dreamy, Ambient Pop-Rock Music

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Eric Ripper seeks musical inspiration from his ongoing travels. Photo – Kris Herrmann

Eric Ripper naturally follows his sense of adventure.

The Northville acoustic singer-songwriter drives cross-country, visits campsites and boards cruise ships to seek inspiration for his growing catalog of dreamy, ambient pop-rock music.

“This past summer I went to Utah, and I wanted the whole experience of just driving across the country. I knew it would be inspirational for me, and then I worked at a resort just entertaining people and playing covers and originals five days a week,” Ripper said.

“I wrote a few new songs while I was out there, and that’s kind of what I wanted … to be out there experiencing life.”

Ripper thoughtfully depicts his travels, experiences and reflections across three recent releases, including an atmospheric covers album, an outdoorsy instrumental project and a transformational anthology.

“For Classic Covers, I kept noticing how I was staying in the classic rock genre, and I decided to stick with it and kept the songs in that era. I also wanted to experiment with the sounds that I created and discovered with Lost in a Perfect Camping Trip. I wasn’t ready to write new original stuff yet,” he said.

“I like the instrumental album because I’m self-conscious about my voice like all singers are. I wanted to have some fun and not focus on writing lyrics. I was just gonna jam out and play with a different sound. And Story Notes is definitely a coming-of-age album … it’s different topics and different parts of my life.”

Continue reading “Travel Guide – Eric Ripper’s Life Adventures Elicit Dreamy, Ambient Pop-Rock Music”

Waiting to Exhale – Danielle Cosby Breathes Sigh of Relief on ‘Growing’

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Danielle Cosby immerses listeners in newfound relief and closure on “Growing.” Artwork – Danielle Cosby

These days, Danielle Cosby breathes a little easier.

The Nashville, Tennessee indie pop singer-songwriter slowly exhales painful emotions and experiences from the past on her latest curative single, “Growing.”

“This song is about taking a moment to reflect on and accept the journey that I traveled to get to where I am today. This song also serves as an apology to those I was forced to leave behind, or anyone I may have hurt while I was hurting,” said Cosby, who hails from Grand Rapids.

“I’ve had to forgive myself for a lot of things and let go of resentments that kept me tied to my past. ‘Growing’ is my reminder to not look back, but to press on with the full understanding that I can do hard things. It gives me a sense of empowerment and hope for the future.”

Filled with cathartic piano and hopeful bass, “Growing” beautifully immerses listeners in newfound relief and closure. As the third release in Cosby’s “Songstress” series, it’s the ideal anthem for moving forward and rediscovering your sense of self.

Cosby sings, “Gotta cry every once in a while/Write it down, sing a song, walk a mile/In my worn out shoes, from the years I spent with you.”

“‘Growing’ is actually my oldest ‘baby’ in the series. I started writing this song probably in late 2019/early 2020 before COVID and before I moved. I think it started as a hope of what the future could feel like. Kind of a ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ scenario,” said Cosby, who relocated to Nashville in July 2020.

“It sat with me, always playing in the back of my mind, but never really felt authentic and ‘true’ until I moved. Clarity is a powerful thing. Once my healing journey and my feelings kind of ‘caught up’ to the song, I was able to finish writing it, and it feels like one of my most prized possessions now.”

To realize her “Growing” vision, Cosby collaborated remotely with Los Angeles producer (and Grand Haven native) Kevin DePree and recorded the piano at Nashville’s East Iris Studios. Playing on a beautiful Bosendorfer Grand provided Cosby with additional inspiration for the track.

“It’s been such a positive and fulfilling experience working with (Kevin). I think this is my most vulnerable series of music to date, so working with someone I really trust as both a producer and a person was really important to me,” Cosby said.

“(Recording on the Bosendorfer Grand) was pretty much an out-of-body experience. It really boosted my confidence in my piano skills and felt like a gift I was granting myself. I felt really proud of myself.”

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A Deeper Understanding – Lilly MacPhee Digs Beneath the Surface on ‘Between the Lines’ EP

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Lilly MacPhee uncovers hidden thoughts about time, loss and love on “Between the Lines.” Photo – Jackie Pappas

Lilly MacPhee continually searches for a deeper understanding in life.

The metro Detroit indie folk singer-songwriter explores the true meaning of everyday words and actions on her new contemplative EP, Between the Lines.

“When I named the EP and thought about the overall theme of all the songs, I wanted people to really think about something before they say it. I believe in the notion of ‘say what you mean and mean what you say,’” MacPhee said.

“My whole goal with songwriting, and especially with the lyrics on this EP, is to always be authentic and raw. I also want to write lyrics universal enough to where everyone can interpret their own meaning.”

While reading Between the Lines, MacPhee digs beneath the surface and uncovers hidden thoughts about the passage of time, the loss of a loved one, the value of simple pleasures, and the need for lifelong connection.

Each haunting track also reminds listeners to learn from the past and find a sense of gratitude in the present, even as life’s troubles and uncertainties continue to build.

“Even through all the loss and the grief that I’ve experienced and others have experienced during these crazy times, I’m always trying to find the bright light,” MacPhee said.

“And for me, that’s through songwriting and the idea of trying to find the bright light in the darkness and finding the positivity when it might be hard to see.”

Continue reading “A Deeper Understanding – Lilly MacPhee Digs Beneath the Surface on ‘Between the Lines’ EP”

Spirit Animal – Adam Masterson Urges Trusting Your Instincts on ‘Wild Wolves’

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Adam Masterson explores romantic fear and uncertainty on “Wild Wolves.” Photo – Anna Gabriel

When it comes to a passionate relationship, Adam Masterson urges people to follow their instincts.

The New York City roots-rock singer-songwriter quickly identifies the romantic fear and uncertainty others face on his latest spiritual single, “Wild Wolves.”

“A passionate relationship can be a terrifying place because you’re at the mercy of someone else. It can be filled with uncertainties,” Masterson said.

“Wolves feel like a good image because they seem both above those things as creatures that know how to survive with the uncertainties of the wild … but at the same time, they can be kindred spirits that know the frailties and vulnerabilities of fear.”

Masterson freely explores those primal “Wild Wolves” emotions as ascending piano, aerial synths, spirited electric guitar, playful bass and speedy drums sprint across the open countryside.

He sings, “There’s something out there coming/And it’s after you and me/I’m so scared of losing/You among these trees.”

“Maybe for me, the song isn’t about salvation in a relationship, but more about finding a good omen in the uncertainty and danger that surrounds us … (and) trusting in (your) animal instinct to survive and connecting with your spirit animal,” Masterson said. “(By) being at ease with the wild wolves that will always be part of your nature, they’re leading you to knowledge of yourself.”

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Moments of Clarity – Premium Rat Unearths Deeply Buried Emotions on ‘Cope’ EP

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Premium Rat extracts her raw vulnerabilities from different places on “Cope.” Photo – Lee Hubbel

For Premium Rat, writing and recording a debut EP brings unexpected moments of clarity.

The Ypsilanti indie rock singer-songwriter finds truth and comfort while addressing deeply buried emotions on Cope, a poignant six-track introspection, dropping on Friday.

“Making and releasing Cope has honestly been one of the most therapeutic experiences of my life. It’s funny, one of the reasons I named it ‘Cope’ is because the EP itself helped me cope with certain things, so it’s kind of meta in a way,” said Mer Rey, aka Premium Rat.

“Songwriting is absolutely something I use for reflection and processing, and sometimes I’ll write a song and figure out what it’s about after it’s written. It’s like I can access my emotions with a certain clarity when I’m songwriting that I don’t have otherwise.”

Premium Rat extracts her raw Cope vulnerabilities from a myriad of places – drug store parking lots, internal acknowledgements, post-breakup analyses and crystalized memories. Each track is beautifully wrapped in confessional lyrics, melancholic soundscapes and cathartic instrumentation.

“It’s very honest, and we live in a society that does not prioritize emotional honesty. So it’s, of course, nerve-wracking and very vulnerable to release these songs, but I think that’s also why it feels important to me,” Rey said.

“I want my music to make people feel less alone and to give them permission to feel their feelings. If even one person feels comforted or validated by what I’ve written, then I’ve accomplished my goal.”

Continue reading Moments of Clarity – Premium Rat Unearths Deeply Buried Emotions on ‘Cope’ EP

Personal Empowerment – Aspen Jacobsen Confronts Negative Emotions on ‘Shouldn’t Give a Damn’

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Aspen Jacobsen practices self-care on “Shouldn’t Give a Damn.” Photo – Scottie Magro

Filled with confidence and purpose, Aspen Jacobsen boldly shares a sense of personal empowerment.

The Americana-folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist confronts internal guilt and fear from toxic relationships on her latest defiant single, “Shouldn’t Give a Damn.”

“I struggle with people-pleasing, and at times, have given a tremendous amount of energy to others, leaving nothing for myself and getting nothing in return,” said Jacobsen, 17, a senior at Interlochen Arts Academy.

“What inspired me to tackle toxic relationships and the effects it has on someone was through my own personal experience. I felt powerless and used, yet guilty and afraid of putting an end to an unhealthy relationship to prioritize myself.”

Jacobsen strongly channels that “Shouldn’t Give a Damn” energy as steadfast acoustic guitar, pulsating drums, fearless electric guitar and earnest fiddle create a protective barrier of fortitude.

She sings, “3 a.m. caffeine I don’t want to fall asleep/‘Cause your misted over eyes are haunting my dreams/Yes it helped me but hurt my guilty mind/Now you’re cleaning up my ashes and what’s left of your pride.”

“The first two lines … I wrote after a sleepless weekend. I had constant nightmares that left me scared to fall asleep because of feeling guilty. It was through writing this song that I had let go of the guilt and reminded myself that it’s OK to be ‘selfish’ sometimes and take care of yourself before others,” Jacobsen said.

“That is healthy, that is self-love. This song is me declaring to myself and the listener that you don’t have an obligation to give a damn for someone with whom you have a toxic relationship.”

Continue reading “Personal Empowerment – Aspen Jacobsen Confronts Negative Emotions on ‘Shouldn’t Give a Damn’”