Americana Siren

The opening chords of Corey Koehler‘s country tinged folk rock song Take this Ring immediately made me think of 6th Avenue Heartache by The Wallflowers. For me, that’s a good thing. I love The Wallflowers’ 1996 album Bringing Down the Horse.

The lyrics of this Minnesota Man’s song are pure romance:

Walking through my life with half a smile on my face
Standing all alone with my shadow
Trying real hard not to open doors to more empty space
Wondering will I get some fire to light my way

Then I saw you there with a smile on your face & a spark in your eye
And now I’m standing here cuz I know I can’t let you go

Take, Take this ring and be mine for evermore
Be the beat of my heart and my sunshine when its grey
All I need is you like the birds need the sky
To spread their wings and fly away

Just take this ring my love

Since we met I don’t want to spend a second without you
You make me laugh and your always quick with a compliment
When we’re apart, I get goosebumps just thinking about you
I crave your touch, it makes me feel so alive

Now I see you there with a smile on your face & a spark in your eye
And now I’m standing here cuz I know I can’t let you go

Take, Take this ring and be mine for evermore
Be the beat of my heart and my sunshine when its grey
All I need is you like the birds need the sky
To spread their wings and fly away

Just take this ring my love

I want to see you there, every morning when I wake up and I open my eyes
And when I lay down at night I want to hold you till I drift away

Take, Take this ring and be mine for evermore
Be the beat of my heart and my sunshine when its grey
All I need is you like the birds need the sky
To spread their wings and fly away

Just take this ring my love

Corey Koehler shows his sense of humor when he describes his music:

“Some say it’s Americana, some say it’s Folk Rock, some say it’s Country, and some say just makes beer taste better.”

What do you think?

Corey says Take This Ring is about “The romantic, heartfelt realization of how much one person means to you that Will Melt Your Heart Like Chocolate In The Sun.”

(Ooh! He said chocolate!)

“Also, this song was a wedding gift to my uncle and his bride. It made their day even more memorable. I wanted to capture the feelings and thoughts that race through your head at that moment you realize how in love you are with someone and know you want to spend the rest of your life with that one person I hope this song will help you relive that special moment in your life over and over.”

To hear more of Corey Koehler‘s music and learn more about him, click on his picture and visit his website.

And don’t forget to let us know if his music makes your beverage of choice taste better, it is Friday after all.

The Littlest Siren

Here’s #MySonIs5 recording his part for The Crankamacallit Song yesterday at Kevin Salem’s studio in Woodstock, NY.

We’re going to be using the song for the demo video we’re making later today with Polymash for The Crankamacallit iPad app which is available now on iTunes. Kevin helped me write the song and sings on it as well.

After years of admiring Kevin’s songs and being in love with his voice and his guitar playing, my dream of writing and singing something with him has finally come true . . . sort of. Kevin has produced a bunch of my songs over the years and I find it pretty hilarious that we’ve finally written something together called The Crankamacallit.

This blog isn’t really about my music, but I couldn’t resist sharing :)

I’ll make sure to post some of Kevin’s music soon as well. Until then, if you’d like to check out the app, click on the title page below.


Start the Summer with Atlantic Winter Blues & a Sirenstories Update

I know, I know, I said I was going to post 365 songs by 365 different artists, but I just can’t resist sharing this second Inti Rowland song.

A quick note to the artists who’ve been featured on Sirenstories so far: please send another song! I’d love to hear more music from you all, and I want to be fair. Looking at the Sirenstories stats, I’d say the blog listeners (blog listeners, is there a word for that?) would like to hear more as well.

Oh, and about the ah, 365 part? That’s another Sirenstories ‘law’ that I’m going to have to break for now.

I’m not going to be able to post a new artist/song EVERY day. Why? Well, #MySonIs5 is one reason. It’s summer (read: no school). Another reason is that I’ve become so inspired by the music on Sirenstories I’m spending WAY too much time listening, tracking down bits & pieces of info about the artists, watching videos, etc. I’m spending so much time here, that I’m ignoring almost ALL my other projects! So I’m taking things down a notch. This will still be a place to help songwriters get their music heard. Singers + stories = Sirenstories and that’s not going to change, but starting today Sirenstories will feature one or two artists each week. Thank you for understanding. As my grandmother used to tell me in her southern accent, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. All right then.

I still need more songs in the Sirenstories SoundCloud, so please pass the word. I’d also love to post book trailers that feature music created especially for the book/trailer, and I’m happy to feature instrumental music, as long as the composition has a story at it’s heart.

And now, back to Inti Rowland.

Of his music Inti Rowland says, “Knee Length Socks. Brik a Brak. Lighthouses. Lemonade. Marrow. All make it into these songs.”

Since my last post about Inti Rowland I’ve learned a little more about him. He’s 18, he’s from London, and his song Tesa Cry Out reminds me of Nick Drake. Listen to this video recorded by Lewin St. Cyr in the photography department at the royal college of art in January 2010 and tell me if you agree.

To hear Inti Rowland‘s intriguing song The Ballad of the Ballroom Ghost, click on the artwork and check out my earlier post.

The Green Lady Demo Defies Mondays

Big thanks to John Drain and the Live City Blues for uploading this exciting tune to the Sirenstories SoundCloud!

The Green Lady got her spark from Led Zeppelin I’m sure of it.

John Drain and the Live City Blues are from London. Are they knocking the socks off your Monday morning?

John Drain is known in London for playing aggressive delta blues style music. John started out by busking for a few years, but these days he plays in cabaret shows. He says, “Consequently I’m often surrounded by burlesque dancers, magicians, comedians and other exotic acts.”

John talks about his recording project:

“Mostly I have been a solo act, but as of late I have started to include a few friends to play harmonica, saxophone and violin and will be including these players on my new CD. I used to do electronica, so I’m quite familiar with the recording process. On my limited budget—and equipment—I am creating and producing this record alone.

“The new album will be as varied as possible. It will consist of delta blues, swing, psychedelic, county styles and themes with the accent on groove…

“I like to make people dance just using an acoustic guitar, a foot and vocals…often people find it totally unexpected in a live situation and that’s reason enough to do it for me.”

About The Green Lady:

“This song is simply about addiction, in this case to absinthe.”

Green fires, purge my dreams
Show me the world, how it oughta be seen
Grand wormwood, devotee of the green faerie
Oh, you left a stain on me

Mama please, Something come to steal my soul

Absinthe, makes the heart grow fonder
I can see what wasn’t there before
It’s on the ceiling, covers the walls
I’d like to scream but i cant even talk
oh, wont you let me go

Mama please, Something come to steal my soul

Spent my money, spent hers too
I’ll see you in court if i can see at all
Oh wont you let me go

Found two crates, down by the port
I like the taste and it flavours my thoughts
Oh, get me a paint brush
I wanna show you it all

Mama please, Something come to steal my soul

I hope to hear more from John Drain soon. Unexpected. Yes.

Sunday Morning Siren Rowena Cairns

Our 19th guest today on Sirenstories is Rowena Cairns, a songwriter from Northern Ireland. She’s definitely a Siren.

Nothing to Hide is a contemporary folk song that Rowena says is, “a love song of sorts, but the main influence for it came from watching news reports of soldiers returning home.”

I’ve got goosebumps. Here are the lyrics for Nothing to Hide.

I woke up this morning with your words running through my head, running through my head.
You said your jacket looks good on me, I should wear it instead, instead.
Don’t you know that you’re killing me with your words, your words.
And I know you can’t be with me but it hurt,s it hurts.

There’s nothing to hide when it’s just me and you,
so why don’t you come over and prove that it’s true.
There’s nowhere to run when this love is kept,
There’s no hurt to explain and there’s no lies to regret.

I’ve tried so many times to tell you how you make me feel, you make me
and I know you keep on showing me it’s real so real.
but I can’t hold you back you have to leave me now, leave now.
here’s comes the promise you’ll get back to me somehow, how about now.

There’s nothing to hide when it’s just me and you,
so why don’t you come over and prove that it’s true.
There’s nowhere to run when this love is kept,
There’s no hurt to explain and there’s no lies to regret.

Oh I pray that you’ll be sent back home to me,
somehow, somewhere, somebody, sets you free.

I woke up this morning with your words running through my head,
running through my head.

I think writing songs about soldiers requires a great deal of courage. Rowena has done a beautiful job with this song.
You can click on the pictures to learn more about Rowena Cairns, I’m sure you’ll want to.

Sirenstories Saturday with Songwriter Joe McLeod

It’s my pleasure to introduce Saturday Siren Joe McLeod, aka 2 Bit Johhny.

Joe McLeod tells a bit of his rich story below, but he doesn’t mention Leo Kottke. My very first thought, as I listen to the guitar playing on Joe’s song Galax Shine is that the two ought to be friends.

Deep in the ground with a shovel in your soul
Digging to the bottom of the Jelly-Roll
Take it out for the mansion on the hill
With the baby-grand and a hundred dollar bill

Toss a coin into the well
When you meet the devil, please say Hell….o
How do you do

Rollin through the City, car salesman glory
Finding love in the streets, it’s a poor man’s story
Lump of coal in one hand, tobacco in the other
Serving the south, like the old Southern

There’s a going wrong you can tell
When the birds in the sky here the Yell….ow
Canary lying on it’s back

Gonna burn it in the woods, Daddy’s turpentine
I make my living selling Galax shine
Horseshoe on the mantle, fiddle on the wind
The madstone will save you from your sin

There’s a going wrong you can tell
When the birds in the sky here the Yell….ow
Canary lying on it’s back”

“I grew up in the small town of Rockwood, Ontario, Canada. My earliest memories consist of being rocked to sleep in a gun crate that hung beneath the maple and beech trees while my older siblings and parents made the annual batch of maple syrup. Later on, I took my turn in boiling down the sap into maple syrup and roasting the pigs while CCR, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones echoed through the woods while friends and family danced on the homemade dance-floor. When I was 16 years-old, these experiences inspired me to finally learn to play the guitar and since then I have traveled afar and lived in every corner of North America including Florida, British Columbia, Colorado, New Mexico, Tennessee, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Alberta. My songs embody the stories of these places, being on the road, and having your heart and hands in the country.”

Galax Shine makes me think of Old and in the Way, one of my favorite bluegrass recordings. Joe McLeod has more songs and I’m looking forward to hearing them. You can hear more too, click the pic.

As much as I appreciate all the info Joe provided—and believe me, I’m THANKFUL to have some of the writing done for me!—what I really want to know is, when is he going to come to Asbury Park?

A Siren Who Sings Burlesque

I want to start today’s post with a big THANK YOU to all the songwriters who’ve contributed to this blog so far. Without the music, well obviously Sirenstories wouldn’t be here.

I need more Sirens to upload their songs to the Sirenstories group on SoundCloud to continue the project, so please spread the word.

I’d also like to thank everyone who has left a comment. One thing that artists want, that everyone wants, is to be recognized by their culture. When a listener leaves a positive comment about a writer’s song, that listener is participating in the creative process, maybe even influencing the very next piece an artist creates. The love and approval of the listener is key for a musician, and it’s much needed. For some artists, it’s necessary, they need listener feedback in order to create. Some need it in order to survive. Thank you listeners, always remember how important you are.

Okay, enough seriousness, it’s Friday People! Lighten up, will you?

The song is Koo Koo. The artist is Peta Jeffress, singer, songwriter & fashion designer. Peta, who’s from Melbourne, Australia, has been influenced by the sights and sounds of a Parisian past. Peta’s own sound blends classic Parisian music hall music with a bit of Aussie pop, and New York grittiness. She definitely has her own unique style.

I totally want to go out for beers with this woman.

Thanks for the adorable song Peta!

To hear more of Peta Jeffress‘ music and learn more about her, click on the pic.

Siren Sweet 16 is Rebecca Jordan

“Sitting in the silence with me and my unspoken words” is the opening line for Rebecca Jordan and Marc Swersky‘s perfect song, Unspoken Words.

Unspoken Words is, among other things, a song I wish I wrote. Enjoy.

Although the song is filled with light and the slightly shuffling groove on the verses gives it an upbeat feel, Unspoken words also has an underlying sadness.

“Love gets left behind if you don’t speak your mind.”

The easy-going acoustic guitars and conversational country alt vocals on Unspoken Words lead me to believe that Lucinda Williams and Michelle Shocked are among Rebecca Jordan’s influences.

After today, I’ll count her among mine.

Rebecca wrote Unspoken words with songwriter and producer Marc Swersky whose influences are obviously many.

I mentioned Marc on day 5 of Sirenstories, he and Gedeon Luke wrote Going Up together, and Marc produced Going up as well. Mark also produced Home in a Bit which I posted a few days ago, a great song by Open til Midnight, and I assume he produced  Unspoken Words.

Marc is a multitalented musician, and a he’s a huge music fan. He has to be, he makes music for a living. When he read about my idea for Sirenstories, he wrote me a note and told me how much he loved it. I’m so grateful to Marc for turning me on to so many wonderful artists in the last couple of weeks. Marc, keep the music coming!

The chord changes in Unspoken words, at around 2:40 are making me miss my guitar so much, I’m going to have to end here today. Thanks for the inspiration Rebecca and Marc. I’m off to see an old friend.

And you Listeners, I hope you’re on your way to Rebecca Jordan’s website. Click on the pic.

Week 3 of Sirenstories Starts with The Summarily Dismissed

My first reaction, right now, as I listen to Your Salve for Sorrow for the first time is, oooohh  . . . what have we got here?

The Summarily Dismissed has given us a song that’s sending me back through time and making me think, I CAN’T WAIT to stop typing so I can post this tune on a the fb page of a certain friend of mine who luuuuvvs this kind of music!

Here’s what the artist says about the song:

“The second single off the brand-new album “To Each!” by The Summarily Dismissed is Your Salve for Sorrow, a classic R&B-style mid-tempo tune with an Al Green-style groove.”

The Summarily Dismissed is the brainchild of composer/lyricist/keyboardist Ari Shagal, and the album consists of 11 of her original songs, featuring Matt Lomeo and Ferima Faye on lead vocals. Lomeo takes the lead on Your Salve for Sorrow, with Faye and Shagal providing backing vocals on the chorus. Let this infectious groove get into your head and into your soul!”

Your Salve for Sorrow has definitely gotten into my head! I’ve heard the tune a few times now. It’s one of those songs that gets better and better with each listen.

Thanks so much to The Summarily Dismissed for sharing Your Salve for Sorrow with Sirenstories. The song put a smile on my face.

Click on the pic to visit The Summarily Dismissed on fb.

Brielle Brown Ends Week 2 of Sirenstories

A song that starts with acoustic guitar is always going to grab my ear, not only because I love the sound of acoustic guitars, but because for me, hearing an acoustic guitar playing at the beginning of a song is the equivalent of  hearing the words, “Once upon a time . . .” at the start of a story.

No matter how many times we hear those words, we always want to hear what comes next.

And so the sweet acoustic guitar playing at the beginning of Brielle Brown‘s lovely song We Both Know immediately drew me in.

But even as I was enjoying the music, I was asking, what’s next? Because, since there are a million songs that start with acoustic guitar, it’s also like starting a conversation with a promise. The promise goes like this: “I can start my song with this guitar part, because not only is it a beautiful guitar part, but because I’m setting you up for something just as good that will follow.”

Brielle Brown doesn’t disappoint. When she sang the lyrics,

“You and I and the headlights . . . ”

I was right there with her in the car.

As soon as I heard that opening line, my mind said, classic. The first line of We Both Know put me right in the story.

I’d love to know if it does the same for you.

Brielle Brown‘s voice is new to me and yet it’s familiar in a wonderful way. Shawn Colvin crossed with a country singer who catches my ear while I’m driving along spinning the radio dial. Okay, punching the preset stations or the seek button. But you get it.

“You and I both know,

I’m still learning how to love you . . . ”

We Both Know is sweet and powerful at the same time. My intuition tells me that Brielle Brown is the same way.

Click on the pic to learn about Brielle Brown and hear more of her music.