Tag Archives: Singer/Songwriter

Tommy Alexander – Old News is Good News!

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Tommy Alexander has just released a new album entitled Old News. Portland Notes says, “It’s good news to us!” The classic folk lyrics combined with interesting instrumental voicings have resulted in a sound that appeals to folk traditionalists and new style seekers alike. Tommy’s return to Portland with his album release at the Goodfoot on Wednesday night was a success after an exciting tour. The concert with the Harmed Brothers and Taylor Kingman was only $1 – providing an all-access pass to experiencing the excitement of the release celebration!

Tommy-Alexander-Old-News-is-Good-News-01We asked Tommy a few questions about his recent tour and the new album. For more Information and links to videos from Tommy Alexander’s Old News, check out the album review in Vortex Music Magazine! Please enjoy the link to Old News in its entirety, available on Bandcamp!

I’m very interested in Jenke, your artist collective. What led you to form this collaboration?

Tommy-Alexander-Old-News-is-Good-News-04It started at a small idea of collaboration between friends. I was living in Burlington, Vermont working to get into the music scene. I figured it would be fun to present the shows at a series, “Jenke Presents”. This idea grew and grew, until eventually we had 1400 square foot studio and 100 or more donation-based classes a month plus fundraisers and musical events – we released almost 20 albums in 4 years. Truly this was not my plan when I started Jenke, but it was very fun seeing it grow and grow.

Your lyrics seem to be based from personal experience – it that the case? Does Old News really reflect old news for you, or does this represent your current state of mind?

Tommy-Alexander-Old-News-is-Good-News-03Yes. generally my lyrics can be very relatable to my life and current experience. The process is very therapeutic. In the case of ‘Old News’, the tune was inspired by my own break up with an ex-lover. Inspiration for me comes from all over for sure.  Stillness and movement have their place in the process. I travel quite a bit these days and the creative juices have really been flowing. Happily, I’ve already got the next album written and ready to record.

The songs have traditional folk elements, for sure. But, there are some instrumental sounds and production techniques that are extremely modern. What led you in that direction?

Tommy-Alexander-Old-News-is-Good-News-02Working with Mike Coykendall opened up all those doors with ease. He and I are on the same page in every regard of where the sound should go. I’ve always been very into different genres of music, from hip hop to punk rock. Growing up in southern California, I was constantly hearing new sounds and new beats. I don’t want to be confined to any specific genre because truly I like them all. It is much more fun for me that way, and the band agrees.

How have your fans reacted to the new sound?

The reaction has been really incredible. FUN FUN FUN! The music drives and moves with a nice story to tell. People are listening and dancing. Folks have been loving it, and I’ve been loving it too. We’re really just beginning to scratch the surface here.

YONDER BLUE – Hey Love, Hold On

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Country music has long held a fascination for me – it seems so simple, to tell a story in song…but it’s harder than it looks (or sounds). The ingredients of a song: the lyrics, melody, harmonies, instrumentation, flow, and dynamics – they all tell a part of the story. When combined, the end result is dramatically more than the sum of the individual parts. Yonder Blue has really grasped the idea of honest and heartfelt storytelling in a way that is very appealing. Terri Lynn Davis and her band have thought through the stories from introduction to plot and conclusion. Terri shared part of her musical story with Portland Notes this week, and we are thrilled to share it with you. If you love country, Yonder Blue’s music will resonate with you. If you haven’t found country that connects with you yet – this might be the day your life changes! True words about life, love, and loss paired with musical skill and attention to detail have blossomed into an album that is simply precious.

Blue-Yonder-Hey-Love-Hold-On-03For me, there is a fine balance between honesty and poetry in songwriting. Being true to one’s soul and inspiration is key to writing songs that make a difference in people’s lives, but sometimes saying something directly is too harsh or cold. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful when a metaphor can be powerful, yet hit home in a sensitive, respectful way. Terri Lynn’s writing pays absolute respect to her life experience, with a dedication to simple chord structure and truth in storytelling. With that solid base, Yonder Blue can explore rich harmonies and instrumental layers that build into the lovely embellishment we all love to hear from good storytellers.

Blue-Yonder-Hey-Love-Hold-On-01Terri’s background is diverse – she’s always loved music, but Yonder Blue is a new project birthed from a lifetime of paying attention to detail, learning lessons through work and musical trials, and being open to partnering with like-minded individuals. In the audio interview, Terri gives credit to a number of people throughout her life who have influenced her musically, personally, and professionally. Yonder Blue is composed of musicians who are very active in the Portland music community – with experience in booking, marketing, producing, writing, and performing. This level of expertise and experience again gives the band a stable and solid foundation, on which they can build and expand their project.

Yonder Blue owes great thanks to Kevin Hahn, who not only produced the album, but also introduced Terri to her fellow vocalists Michele Linn and Katie Lou Ellen. Terri also is extremely grateful for the encouragement of Matthew Higgins, as well as the skill of Andy MacMillan on lead guitar and Paul Prato on bass.

Blue-Yonder-Hey-Love-Hold-On-02Yonder Blue’s upcoming show on March 19, is greatly anticipated by friends and fans of Terri and her past work. The band has purposely released just two of the songs in advance : the title track, “Hey Love, Hold On” and “Little Grace”. The Laurelthirst show ticket will include a free copy of the entire album, in addition to experiencing the full band live! Yonder Blue plays alongside Ryan Rebo, and Jawbone Flats. The night looks to be amazing, with plenty of great conversation, catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones. This is quality work, with good intent, and presented with great love and care. We hope to see you there!

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