Exclusive Artist Review: Craig Ball – “Content In Bed” EP

Emerging from the Minneapolis music scene in Minnesota, Alt-Folk recording artist Craig Ball began hitting the ground running in the music world over 20 years ago when he began writing songs and playing local shows. Known for his distinctively catchy signature sound, Craig garnered an insatiable buzz and critical acclaim with his debut single “Kind Things” last year. This year in 2021, he has followed up that single with his debut EP ‘Content In Bed’, a 6-track record of anthemic folk tunes with the wittiness, charm and catchiness that makes Craig Ball the uniquely versatile artist that he is today.

This is an excellent debut EP that really shines a light on several crucial musicianship factors. Craig Ball displays a passionate craft on each song and really plays his heart out in a way where the listener can resonate with the messages he conveys through the power of his music. Opening title track “Content In Bed” and follow up track “I Can’t Quit” brilliantly open this record with anthemic goodness that showcases Craig’s gifted songwriting structures and story-telling lyrics. Both songs have smooth acoustic guitar progressions that parallel beautifully with Craig’s mid-range vocal melodies, delivering a uniquely crisp Alt-Folk flavor in his very own multifaceted style. He has a signature sound that is completely in his own realm, but also diligently balances originality and familiarity in a way that is fresh yet still identifiable. He performs with that classic Folk aura but still manages to implement a modern sensibility that can captivate a younger crowd as well.

Another highlight on this EP is the song “Good On You”. A more upbeat anthem that has a Bad Moon Rising vibe with additional flavors and textures reminiscent of other industry heavyweights like Ireland’s Flogging Molly. This upbeat number is one of the most catchy of the EP and will easily become a favorite from this record. “Everything looks good on you” will definitely stick in your head! One more crucial highlight on this EP is the atmospheric and ambient “All The Way To Mars”. A more innovative track on the record with beautiful piano flutters and a spacey keyboard lead that really sets a modern tone on this song. It’s another additional angle to Craig’s signature sound that showcases his talent in an effective way, just like the other songs on this record. Overall, ‘Content In Bed’ is an EP of classic folk songs that will inspire the ear, soothe the soul and entice you to dive deeper into Craig Ball’s career and subsequent releases. His brilliantly crafted sound has staying power that will satisfy any fan of the folk genre and will easily become one of your favorites in 2021. The EP is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. You’ll be more than glad you gave this record a spin.


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Exclusive Artist Review: Uncle Brent & The NoStone – “Malibu” Single

Packed full of twangy guitar riffs, a cruising rhythm section and spot on vocal melodies with distinctive harmonies, Uncle Brent’s newest single “Malibu” comes out swinging from all angles aiming to please any Blues-Rock fan that comes into earshot of the catchy tune. Uncle Brent is definitely no ordinary artist, he loves to come up with tunes that are honest, personal, and with a clever focus on storytelling. His music is not just entertainment, but a true example of what it is like to sing and play from the heart. Solo or along with his band, he creates a diverse and passionate sound, tipping the hat off to iconic artists the likes of Tom Petty, The Refreshments, Whiskey Myers, Reckless Kelly, and many others of a similar calibre. Uncle Brent has been active in the Austin, TX scene for over a decade now and still continues to hit the ground running with his eclectic and catchy sound; drawing an insatiable fan base since his inception and continues to do so.

Now with 2021’s Summer months finally here, Uncle Brent & The NoStone have brought us a perfect single to jam to all season long. Accompanied by a dynamically crafty lyric video, “Malibu” is a twangy and rhythmic track that puts a Rock & Roll boost into an eclectic Bluesy approach. Kicking off with a high energy guitar riff, “Malibu” immediately entices the ear with its incredibly catchy chord progressions and rhythmically gratifying drums and bass, leading us into verses that shine a spotlight on Uncle Brent’s mid-to-high range vocal melodies that are well placed and punctually performed. Eventually steering us into a chorus that lays a brilliant foundation to catchiness, blending tastefully integrated harmonies and lead guitar shreds. This is a story-telling song, one that really invests your undivided attention and the pristine production value really rounds out the signature flavor. It’s catchy, it’s crafty and it’s a perfect summer song.

“Malibu” also has something that we don’t see too often in today’s modern music market – staying power. Where the song has the power to stay with you even after it’s over. You’ll be singing this chorus in your head, you’ll be putting it on repeat. Regardless, Uncle Brent has put out a gem, and you’ll hear him shine from the very first listen. Old fans will be surprised, and if you’re a new fan, then I guarantee this’ll be the track to win you over. “Malibu” officially releases on June 18th and will be available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. This one will definitely be your summer anthem.


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Exclusive New Years Eve Review Special: Mahdi Khene – “Don’t Say a Word” Album/LP

It’s no surprise that something amazing could be conjured from an elite musician since he was the age of 14. A troubadour at heart, Mahdi Khene has been traveling from place to place, making his rounds to Maryland, D.C, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, and Virginia, only to make a full global circle more closer to his roots and find himself back in New York where he often performs his latest Folk/Rock albums and also composes original scores for films and documentaries.

And his 11-track juggernaut, Don’t Say a Word, is insatiable proof that his well travelled and highly skilled self-taught signature sound is a true anthemic payoff of many years honing his craft and well traveled experience. Encompassing a versatile folk sound with a centerpiece of indie rock and 70s-style production calibre, Mahdi blends a multifaceted, multilayered and tightly-knit craft on every track of this record and really showcases his musicianship strengths from many ambitious angles. From undeniably catchy and well put-together clean guitar progressions and carefully mastered multilayered vocals, Don’t Say a Word brings forth a sound that touches on naturally equal parts originality and familiarity; giving the listener a very nostalgic overtone of a very longed-for folk sound that diligently locks in with today’s more modern sensibilities. Each track is consistent, concise, well balanced and really composed. It’s definitely more arranged in a manner of compositions as opposed to your every day songwriting techniques for bands or indie groups.

This album can be considered one unit in its entirety rather than a track-by-track record, very anthemic and direct. A musical piece where you don’t have any need to skip one track. Its consistency and signature style is not only mastered with a fine tooth comb, but executed with a vast array of detail that never outdoes itself. The detailed additives add a perfect amount of intrigue, the intrigue differentiates other folk based acts that may have similarities. But no matter what, always finds a way to stand out on its own.

Don’t Say a Word is not just an album, but one with staying power; where the record stays with you even long after it’s over. If you yearn for that classic 70s folk stylization with today’s modern top notch production value, then this is a must-listen in every regard. Your fandom for Mahdi Khene will be just about instantaneous.


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