Sideways Media

ASHRR

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LOS ANGELES HAS A LONG RICH HISTORY OF CULTIVATING SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST INNOVATIVE AND PROGRESSIVE ENDEAVORS, BRINGING TOGETHER TALENTED INDIVIDUALS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE WHO THRIVE IN COLLABORATION. THAT HOTBED OF ARTISTIC EXPRESSION IS WHAT ALSO LED TO THE CREATION OF ASHRR. 

 FORMED THIS YEAR, ASHRR IS AN ALTERNATIVE ROCK / SYNTH POP MUSICAL COLLECTIVE MADE UP OF SINGER-SONGWRITER STEVEN DAVIS AND ARTISTS / PRODUCERS ETHAN ALLEN AND JOSH CHARLES. WHILE SOMEWHAT NEW TO THE MUSIC SCENE IN LA, THE TRIO HAS A LONG ECLECTIC MUSICAL BACKGROUND THAT MELD EXPERIENCE AND INFLUENCE FROM A MULTITUDE OF STYLES AND GENRES. 

 STEVEN DAVIS’ COMES FROM A FASCINATING MUSICAL PEDIGREE RANGING FROM HIS MIDWESTERN CHURCH ROOTS, SINGING GOSPEL TO HIS BOOMING CAREER AS A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN. SELECT HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE HEADLINING RESIDENCIES AT NYC’S ESTEEMED RAINBOW ROOM; (SHARING THE STAGE WITH ICONS SUCH AS DIANA KRALL AND TONY BENNETT, HEADLINING ROCKEFELLER CENTER'S RAREFIED RAINBOW & STARS) AND CO-WRITING WITH POP LEGEND JOHN OATES. HIS MUSIC HAS BEEN FEATURED IN TELEVISION AND FILM INCLUDING, GRITTY TECH INFUSED THRILLER “STARTUP”, CBS HIT SHOW “CRIMINAL MINDS” AND THE TITLE SONG TO THE TOMMY LEE JONES AND MORGAN FREEMAN FLICK “JUST GETTING STARTED". 

 ETHAN ALLEN IS A GRAMMY-NOMMINATED RECORD PRODUCER, MIXER, ENGINEER, WRITER, MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST MUSICIAN ORIGINALLY HAILING FROM AUSTIN AND NEW ORLEANS. HIS CREDITS INCLUDE BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB, BEN HARPER, THE 88, TRICKY, LUSCIOUS JACKSON, THE CULT, GRAM RABBIT, SHERYL CROW, TIM FINN, BRANT BJORK, DONITA SPARKS, MEG MYERS, PATTY GRIFFIN AND BETTER THAN EZRA, AS WELL AS MANY LICENSING PLACEMENTS IN FILM AND TELEVISION. 

 JOSH CHARLES IS A CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED PIANO PRODIGY, GUITARIST, SINGER, PRODUCER AND SONGWRITER MENTORED BY ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAMER DR. JOHN. HE HAS RECORDED FOR COLUMBIA RECORDS/SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, ISLAND RECORDS AND ELEKTRA RECORDS/WARNER MUSIC GROUP, AND HAS PRODUCED/CO-PRODUCED AND WRITTEN/CO-WRITTEN SEVEN ALBUMS, INCLUDING HIS OWN LOVE, WORK & MONEY (2010) AND 1974. HE HAS BEEN PRODUCING EXCLUSIVE SOUND CONTENT FOR NATIVE INSTRUMENTS AND SPLICE. JOSH HAS MANY SONGS ON RADIO, FILM AND TV INCLUDING SEVERAL CUTS WITH JOHN OATES. 

 THE COLLECTIVE CAME TOGETHER AFTER MEETING THROUGH MUTUAL FRIENDS IN MUSIC AND EVENTUALLY MADE THEIR WAY TO THE THE STUDIO BEGINNING IN 2018 WITH ONE GOAL: CREATE MUSIC FOR THEMSELVES AT THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE LEVEL. “OUR COLLECTIVE LOVE OF ANALOG SYNTH POP, CLASSIC NEW WAVE MELODIES AND SONGWRITING, AND TAKING MODERN PRODUCTION TO THE LIMITS, DEFINES US,” SAYS CHARLES. “WE ALL COME FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS WHICH IS WHAT CAN BE HEARD INSIDE THE MUSIC. WE'VE MADE A BAND FOR OURSELVES THAT WE WANTED TO HEAR IN TODAY’S CLIMATE. ASHRR SOUNDS LIKE ASHRR.” 

ASHRR’S UNIQUE SOUND SHINES BRIGHT ON THE BAND’S NEW EP, THAT’S DUE OUT IN OCTOBER. MUSICAL DIVERSITY CAN BE HEARD THROUGHOUT THE RECORD WITH EACH SONG WRITTEN AND PERFORMED WITH DISTINCT PURPOSE AND METICULOUS SKILL. THE BAND’S CONTRASTING BACKGROUNDS ALLOWS FOR A COLLISION OF INFLUENCES FROM NEW WAVE AND ART ROCK TO INDIE ELECTRONIC POP. 

 “WE ARE INTERESTED IN TRUE EMOTION AND INTENT, AND HAVING SOMETHING REAL TO COMMUNICATE,” ADDS ALLEN. “WE ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN EXPERIMENTING AND PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES TO FIND SOMETHING NEW.”

NOAH LEKAS

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Noah C Lekas is a poet, essayist and journalist. His first book, Saturday Night Sage (April 13, 2019) is a collection of narrative prose exploring mysticism and menial labor in contemporary America. After calling all four corners of the country home, his work is as uniquely American as his perspective. The first literary release for San Diego record label Blind Owl, the collection gives voice to an often overlooked and undervalued, working-class experience. Hailed as “A punk séance for the beat spirit,” Saturday Night Sage weaves the unwavering ethos of post-industrial Wisconsin with the poetic tradition of New York City and the eccentric Rock ‘n’ Roll soul of San Francisco. 

Even before its official release, the collection inspired other artists to take Lekas’ words beyond the page with audio recordings and visual art. San Francisco artist Alan Forbes, best known for his work with The Black Crowes, Mars Volta and Patti Smith, brought the title piece to life with original cover art. Saturday Night Sage is the first poetry collection to feature Forbes’ work. Six recordings were also made featuring Lekas reading with accompaniment by members of Mrs. Henry and Taken By Canadians. Those recordings were then interpreted by film makers Scott Rosenbaum (Sidemen: The Long Road to Glory), Shelby Baldock (North Mississippi Allstars) Joshua and Jeremiah Zimmerman (The Silent Comedy), Blake Cook (Visual Artist), and Elizabeth Lekas (Visual Artist) for a series of promotional short films.   

 In a time when spirituality is often confrontational and nuance is trivialized, Saturday Night Sage fearlessly digs into American culture. In its unique rhythm of Thoreauvian romanticism and punk contrarianism, Lekas defines the poetic voice of blue-collar mysticism.  

 Saturday Night Sage pre-order begins March 2nd with an official release on April 13th.  

ANiiML

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Puking rainbows, gun to head, exploding animals, human road kill, a pregnant woman on a cross, a forest covered in recycled plastic… ANiiML will put herself in the way of comfort in order to bring her vision and message into the forefront.  

Whether her music has slipped into your consciousness behind hit TV shows including Fox’s Lucifer, The Royals, Wentworth, VICE, BULL, So You Think You Can Dance, Mustangs FC, the trailer for VICELANDS’ World of Sports, the trailer for Black Market, Slutiver, Beerland, Reed Krakoff adds, or from her visually stunning live multi-media concerts, ANiiML’s message is strong, her voice is quirkily recognizable, and her passion is contagious.  This Canadian born, LA based singer, songwriter, producer, film-maker and activist isn’t afraid to walk the edge in sound and in sight. 

ANiiML has warmed the stage for acts such as MOBY, Emily Wells, Raury, Dreamcar, and Waka Flocka Flame, among others. The live show is a multi media experience which incorporates elements of performance art, dance, and theatre, featuring the three drummer band; Daniel Burdman on the electronic drums/guitar, Ryan Fyeff on the acoustic drums, and Lila Rose as their fierce, hypnotically “possessed” front person, and third drummer.  

ANiiML radiates goose-bumps of 'whoa!!!', entrancing listening audiences with liberating primal “witch-pop” and fierce gothic-r&b infused cinematic arrangements; weaving looming electronic soundscapes with thunderously booming layered drums. An intoxicating symphonic message straight to the open hearted, moving audiences to tears with a distinctive juxtaposition of guttural and whimsical vocals; battle cries of a big hearted lover-of-all-life. 

 

JAMIE MCDELL

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Now at age 25, New Zealand singer/songwriter Jamie McDell has achieved a prolific amount for someone so young. Being signed to EMI at age 16 sparked the beginning of a successful musical journey, making Jamie McDell a household name across the nation. With the release of her debut album ‘Six Strings and a Sailboat’, she went on to achieve Gold album sales, receive three NZ Music Award nominations, winning Best Pop Album of 2013. Her sophomore record ‘Ask Me Anything’ gained global attention, seeing album track ‘Moon Shines Red’ featured on American TV series Pretty Little Liars. A lot was going on for the young songwriter throughout her formative years. 

2018 marked McDell’s return with an independently-released record that celebrates her musical roots and the sounds of her upbringing. This new recorded project came together between Auckland, New Zealand and Nashville, Tennessee where she recorded the tracks with Australian award-winner producer Nash Chambers. The record features a hearty cast of country music legends including Kasey Chambers, Bill Chambers and Tami Neilson. 

 It was the music of her childhood that would form the fundamental elements of what excited her about songwriting the most - an honest vocal, lots of acoustic guitar and deep storytelling. 

It was at age 7, while living aboard a yacht in the Mediterranean, when McDell wrote her first song. On that yacht lived a small collection of her parents’ favourite tapes, including albums by Jimmy Buffett, John Denver and James Taylor, which the young McDell formed a particularly strong bond with. She fondly remembers watching her parents perform Jimmy Buffett duets - and occasionally chiming in, learning how to harmonise vocally with her mother. An eager learner, Mcdell picked up the guitar after studying her fathers’ John Denver chord book collection and has never looked back. 

 In March 2017, McDell booked a trip to Nashville for a change of scenery and to connect with the environment that birthed the country/folk music of her youth. There she wrote the songs that would make up the fabric for her upcoming record. 

 Later that year, twelve songs (written solely by McDell) were recorded in two days with full band at House Of Blues, Studio D in Nashville, with Chambers at the helm. Recording this way would boil up feelings of nostalgia for McDell, who’s very first recording experience took place at Auckland’s York Street studios in the same vein. 

“This is the closest thing I’ve done to a live record,” McDell says. “I enjoy playing and singing in the same room as everyone, recording full takes, celebrating the liveliness of the players and accepting mistakes or imperfections as a special and important part of the body of work.”  

On this new record, McDell’s vocals are the most raw and vulnerable they have ever been - powerful and honest - and reflect her core listening inspirations which include Patty Griffin and Alison Krauss. Her Margaritaville-infused childhood sneaks through in humorous lines like “scared of looking crazy, she opens up a bottle of wine, forgets about her baby and looks to have a hell of a time.”  

This new album also marks McDell’s second independent release since going independent from 2016 - the first being a debut album, written/performed with her younger sister Tessa as Dunes. This record has been personally hand-crafted from the ground up, with McDell overseeing everything from the writing, creation, promotion and release. She also creates the visual artwork herself, as a graphic designer by day. 

Putting the overall feeling of the album into words isn’t easy, but McDell reflects on the personal challenge of leaving the comfort of home to write something that was honest and true. 

“Nashville was me getting out of my comfort zone and finding my way back to it. I like to write songs quickly and alone and quite frankly when I feel like it, and I think being away from home helped me get back to that headspace,” 

“The listener is getting a sincerely true collection of stories that haven’t been tampered with since they were written. They are exactly what I felt like saying/singing at the time - raw, unpolished and deeply honest.” 

 

WASI

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WASI’s music and vigor is an invitation into their utopia of love, liberation and a questioning of the status quo. They’ve built a following based on their contagious live energy and anthemic indie/alt songwriting. 

Influenced by the pop tenderness of Tegan and Sara with the rebellion of The Clash, they draw influence from the west coast underground punk scene, late night dance clubs and hip hop production. Their anthemic songs speak of their experiences as Outsiders and owning your voice in a cloudy world.

Their debut album RIOT POP speaks the stream of conscious honesty of a rebel who also fights to love themselves. RIOT POP drops June 7, 2019. 

“The group is well-equipped to be a part of the resistance, providing sounds and solace for young people coming into their own, just as music had helped them before.” – Billboard

Taylor Scott Band

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Taylor Scott is an international touring guitarist and singer/songwriter based in Denver, Colorado. He has consistently toured all over the US, Canada, and Europe with both the Taylor Scott Band and trance-blues legend Otis Taylor.  In 2015, he played alongside the likes of Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers, Gov't Mule) on Otis' critically acclaimed release, "Hey Joe Opus: Red Meat."  The Taylor Scott Band, based in Denver, is an original rock & roll band heavily influenced by funk and soul music.  2018 will bring the release of a new album from the band featuring Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) as producer and guest appearances by Henry Garza (Los Lonely Boys) and others.  Here is a word on the music:

"Heavily influenced by soul, funk, blues, and rock & roll, Taylor Scott's music is gaining a reputation for transcending the limitations of a single genre.  His diversely influenced rock & roll group, The Taylor Scott Band, is a high-powered extension of this mélange of sounds."

Greg Holden

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 After I was dropped from Warner Bros Records in 2016, I was faced with an unexpected existential crisis; How was I, Greg Holden, — the artist with enough gall to write his own press-release — any different from the thousands of cliché-ridden white male singer-songwriters out galavanting in the world today?

 My knee-jerk reaction was that I wasn’t, and I started preparing myself for a life-shattering return home to England, tail between my legs, armed with a few good stories to tell my mates on Quiz night back in old Blighty.

 So I did what any self-respecting artist would do and Googled myself for some positive reinforcement. I realized that what has and always will separate me from the pack is that I am breathtakingly handsome. Okay, maybe that’s not it. What I realized is that the most successful songs in my career to date were written either for a special cause or ended up being used in a special cause. They were the songs I’d written without ever considering how well they’d sell, or in 2019 language how many Spotify streams they would garner. Forgive the outlandish arrogance and cringe-worthy Zuckerberg-esque tone, but I realized that my best songs had quite literally helped people. The ironic part was, I hadn’t actually meant to do that at all.

 By accident, “The Lost Boy” raised €80,000 for The Red Cross and ended up helping to — if in just a small way — build schools in Africa. I wrote “Boys in the Street” for Everyone Is Gay, an organization supporting the LGBTQ youth community, a creation that Tom Hanks of Turner & Hooch fame dubbed “the perfect song”. An unbelievable compliment that pulled me from the depths of hell in 2016 and provided me with a very obnoxious name drop opportunity in times of insecurity. “Home”, made famous-enough by Phillip Phillips after he won American Idol with it, has been used by countless organizations and charities over the years. There are more examples, but I’m sure I’ve sufficiently annoyed you with my excessive hubris.

 So, after 10-minutes of Googling myself, I decided my intentions were pure enough to make me somewhat unique and would give my 4th studio album a go after all…

 ‘World War Me’ was inspired by the Great Existential Crisis of 2016, and written during the Great Existential Crises of 2017 & 2018. The songs came during a time where I was quite literally at war with myself, and to an extent, those around me. I had moved my entire life from New York to Los Angeles for my label/career, and months later it was falling apart. Now what? What was the point in making another record after I was just crowned the most anti-climactic signing in Warner Bros history? Can I really go through all that again? I am even good at this? Do I even want to do this??

 I decided to make matters worse and record ‘World War Me’ myself.

 I recorded all but “On The Run” — recorded by legendary producer & singer-songwriter Butch Walker — in my home studio in Los Angeles, and wrote most of it with one of my best friends, the incomparable singer-songwriter Garrison Starr.

 I realize now that the record was born the day after Donald Trump was elected. We were both crushed. Myself as an immigrant, and Garrison as a gay woman, we were like the triple threat of Trump’s worst nightmares. I felt Garrison’s pain so much more though, as she felt like her own country had just abandoned her.

 We sat in a cold Green Room in eastern Germany, practically in tears, and hummed out the melody of what would become “I’m Not Your Enemy”. We finished it hungover the next afternoon and played it to an arena of 10,000 people that evening. We were off to the races…

 Upon our return home we immediately wrote “Chase The Money”, “Nothing Changes” — the song that seems to encompass the central theme of the record — and “What I Deserve”, based on my acquirement of a beautiful house in Los Angeles, and perhaps my overall disbelief that my life was actually happening.

 I wrote “The Power Shift” to liberate some of my extreme anger towards the maddening news I was voluntarily injecting each morning, and then “Temptation” was birthed from the residual anger left over from “The Power Shift”. The unidentical twins of the album if you like…

 “Something Beautiful” manifested itself when I realized I was putting way too much negative energy out into the universe, and that was the last thing the world needed more of. My co-writer and friend Richard Harris helped coax out the 3rd single from the album, and what would be the voice of reason on a pretty humorless set of songs.

 I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved personally during the making of this album. Despite the fact that I am still a cliché-ridden, male singer-songwriter, I believe that people will be able to at least relate to ‘World War Me’. I have no idea if it will help them or not, but I turned the vocals up pretty loud so at least I know they’ll hear me.

 “I wasn’t trying to help people before, and I’m not trying now. People can only help themselves, which is what I realized in the making of this record.”

  - Greg Holden

‘World War Me’ comes out through BMG on March 29th, 2019. The day The United Kingdom is due to divorce the E.U. Coincidence? Absolutely.

January Jane

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On a cold New York January winter evening in 2013, Pat Via and Mitch Mitchell had not yet met, but were making their way separately through the snow covered West Village streets to a gallery opening on Jane Street, never expecting the twist of fate the night would unveil. Once there, Pat was making the rounds, clad in downtown black from head to toe, weaving through the crowd, whiskey in hand, with one eye on the art and the other on the Soho amazons gathered there that night, when a friend offered to introduce him to a fellow musician, Mitchell C. Mitchell, who was boisterously holding court in a back corner of the gallery, his face hidden beneath a fedora and a mane of unruly hair, his neon colored fingernails weaving nimbly through the air as he spoke.

The two immediately hit it off, debating the rumor that Rock and Roll was officially dead, Bach concertos, girls wearing miniskirts in winter, and other such things one discusses on the way to the bottom of a bottle. As they parted ways that night, they agreed that Rock was very much still alive and just needed a swift kick in the ass to get it going again, so they arranged to meet for a jam session the following day, and January Jane was born.

Things progressed quickly from there and they began playing shows around NYC and recorded their first EP. A few months after they released their “No More Last Times” EP, another New York City night cast its spell and delivered yet another surprise, when after wrapping up a show they were invited to a private gathering at a loft in the Meat Packing District: As they walked through the door they heard the sound of a piano rising from the center of a crowd that had gathered in a circle around the source of the music. They were immediately drawn in, and pushed their way past the pack to the grand piano in the center of the room, where they saw Peter Scialla manning the keys from within the eye of the hurricane. Peter seemed to sense their presence and looked up briefly from his keyboard, waving them over, before returning his gaze to the black and white keys in front of him. As the night progressed and they made their way through another bottle, singing and playing together to the impromptu crowd, they all realized they had found the missing piece, and Peter became part of January Jane.

Since then, the band hasn’t stopped, signing a deal with Whiskey Vinyl Records, recording tracks in Los Angeles and NY for their soon to be released full length debut, and gearing up for a tour later this year.

Kezar

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Jack Mosbacher has always had music in his heart, but it took enduring one of the most painful experiences of his life to begin writing his own. 

A veteran of the jazz and cabaret scenes in New York, Jack was preparing for his first headlining show in San Francisco when one of his oldest friends was killed in an accident. He was inspired to write his own music for the first time, hoping to provide something for the community affected by the unthinkable loss. He quickly realized that his sudden urge to write songs was just as much for his own healing as it was for others. It was the only way he could cheer himself up. 

“I started making music in earnest in some really dark moments in my life,” Jack explains. “For some people, that might manifest into songs about pain and loss. For some reason, I instinctively wanted to make music that would cheer people up, make people happy; make people dance; make people hopeful.” 

In the years that have followed, the singer-songwriter has been living up to his goal of being a beacon of light in a dark world. His brand of retro soul is uplifting and joyous. He’s had his music played at weddings and at wakes, but now he’s ready to begin a new chapter in his career. And with a new chapter comes a new name. 

Although Jack is still the mastermind behind this project, he wanted the focus to be less on him and more on the music he was making. Hailing from the Bay Area, he searched for a moniker that stood for his hometown and came up with Kezar, taken from San Francisco’s iconic Kezar Stadium in the Haight-Ashbury district – the original home of his beloved 49ers that still stands today, and a music venue that played host to some of Jack’s favorite bands, including Led Zeppelin, Santana, Tower of Power, and the Grateful Dead. 

As Kezar, Jack wanted to take his music in a new direction while staying true to the uplifting nature of his sound. And there’s no better feel-good music than pop, a genre Jack’s always wanted to tap into but never felt he possessed the right resources and tools to do so. One fateful day, he met manager Brad Margolis, who introduced him to a couple of producers that specialize in pop: Nitzan Kaikov (K-Kov) and Jeoff Harris. 

 With K-Kov producing Grammy-nominated albums for Keith Urban and sharing producer credits with Justin Timberlake, Jack knew he was in good hands. From the first day in the studio, the California native made his vision clear: he told the producers he wanted to find a sound that Berry Gordy would sign if he was starting Motown today. He wanted to make hook-dependent, danceable, fun music. He wanted romance, he wanted joy. He wanted to make music that could help people escape their worries, even if just for a few minutes. 

“I’ve always tried to pack as much joy into every measure of my music as I can,” Jack admits. “I didn’t want to lose that by going in a new direction, but I knew for some reason that I really wanted to make a true pop record. I finally met people who were willing to bet on me and give me their time and talent to help make it happen.” 

 While soul is still the backbone of Kezar’s music, it incorporates a wide array of sounds. Using state-of-the-art synthesizer technology, he and the producers added throwback elements from hip-hop’s glory days, like the big 808 drum machines on Run-DMC and NWA records and stacked backing vocals and bass synths reminiscent of the 2000’s Hyphy Movement – homages to Mac Dre, Mistah F.A.B., Keak da Sneak, and Traxamillion. On top, he injected the tracks with the rock-leaning pop sensibility of his hometown heroes Train and contemporary pop influences like Bruno Mars, Sam Smith and Shawn Mendes. The result is a collection of songs that range from sensual, slow-burning R&B jams to funk-laden pop earworms. Partnered for live performances with drummer James Small (Fantastic Negrito), it is obvious that the duo’s sound is defined by the marriage of Jack’s sunny San Francisco pop and Small’s heavier-hitting Oakland rhythm and blues. 

“The possibilities of what you can do with people who possess this kind of technical skill and composition talent is really limitless,” Jack says of K-Kov and Harris. “It’s like a sculptor looking at big piece of marble and realizing, ‘I can literally shape this into anything.’ And you have to figure out a way to carve out something that feels both new and true to you.” 

 Although the way in which this project was created couldn’t be more foreign to Jack—he’s used to writing a song and then recording it with a group of musicians in a big studio, rather than creating everything in a studio between two people—the process has made him more open-minded to new sounds and, quite frankly, a better songwriter. 

“This feels as much like me, if not more so, than the music I’ve made in the past,” the singer-songwriter says without hesitation. “I love pop music, I just never knew how to make it. What I’ve found is that if you know who you are and what you’re trying to do going in, then regardless of your influences and methods, the result will sound like you. That’s the thing I’m most proud of with this music: it’s a completely new sound for me, but it feels genuine to who I am, and I think it is a big step forward for me as an artist and as a human.” 

 With these new tools, the sky’s the limit for Jack—as Kezar or otherwise. And this is just the beginning.


THE SILENT COMEDY

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For a few years, Joshua Zimmerman couldn’t bring himself to listen to his band’s most recent album. Enemies Multiply – the Silent Comedy LP he and Jeremiah, his brother and longtime bandmate, had written and recorded several years ago – felt too personal, too raw to engage with. Born of a rough patch in the Zimmerman brothers’ personal and professional lives, listening to it felt like rubbing salt in healed wounds. Despite the brothers collectively viewing the album as some of their best work in the decade-plus they’d been a band, the project was shelved.

Then the 2016 election happened.

 “And suddenly, at that moment,” while living in New York City and feeling bewildered and frustrated at the country’s new reality, “I realized the feeling of this moment was what we wrote this music for,” Joshua recalls. A certain pall and desperation had settled over the country in the days and week after the election and, in Joshua’s estimation, the album now had widespread cultural resonance. “At this particular moment in U.S. history I felt like a lot more people could take comfort in the songs than ever before,” Joshua notes of the 11-track LP that at long last is set for release on October 19th. Jeremiah concurred: “For the first time ever I just want people to hear it and have it.”

Recorded in Austin, Texas, Enemies Multiply is sonically a big-boned, bruising affair. The brothers channeled an admittedly confusing time of conflict in their lives — as well as the previous perilous years leading up to it, characterized by what Josh describes as “being jerked around by the music industry” — into their most impassioned, hard-hitting, and thoroughly engaging album of their career. Standing at the center is “Sharks Smell Blood,” all bluesy strut, spooky choirboy harmonies and sing-along hook. Likewise, “Avalanche” is framed around a searing guitar line and squelching church organ. Like the album itself, and the band’s own views on it, “that song evolved over time. I’ve loved it in every incarnation it went through, but when I listen to how it ended up I really feel that’s the pinnacle of all of that work,” Joshua explains. Even “No Saints Forgiven,” which begins as a back porch delta-blues confessional, quickly explodes into a Van Halen-esque sing-along at the chorus.

But it’s the messages in the songs  – namely combating malevolence by banding together with likeminded people – that compelled the Silent Comedy to finally release the album. As children, after traveling the globe with their missionary parents only to return to the United States, meander some more, then settle down in San Diego in a house with literally nothing but an upright piano, the two brothers looked to musical collaboration in their mid-teens as a cathartic outlet. “Jeremiah started writing songs, “Josh recalls. “That was kind of his way of processing everything that we’d been through. That’s really when we started writing together.” It was their traveling that also colored their worldview which, when compared to some of their peers, was decidedly darker. “It skewed our perception to see how much suffering there is in the world and how fortunate we are in the United States by comparison,” Joshua explains. “We have always had a little bit more somber view of things.” Enemies Multiply, he then adds, “is a distillation of that worldview.” Jeremiah admits the album “has a lot of stuff in there about people backstabbing each other” which caused some record labels to initially balk at releasing it. And even now, as he wishes that subject matter weren’t so applicable, “I think people are more sympathetic to that idea,” Jeremiah offers. The album, he adds, “is a journey in context.”

Though, as Joshua explains, it’s the album’s most hopeful track, the closing “Peace of Mind,” that he says now connects with him on an intensely personal level. One of the most collaborative songs he and Jeremiah ever wrote, the harmonica-drenched folk lament, on one hand, “is really about being in a desperate place and a hopeless place, but also about taking comfort in banding together.” It especially spoke to him in the past two years, particularly as the world seemed to slip further into chaos. “It still is a really emotional song to listen to and to sing,” he adds.

“All of what we have been through as a band is wrapped up in this new project,” Joshua notes of the Silent Comedy’s realization that conflicts and challenges often reveal themselves as the best source material for artistic expression. The years spent writing the material that became Enemies Multiply, according to Jeremiah, “were exhausting and it was really taking a toll on us. We were in a legitimate struggle. But all the songs started to take on a new meaning. This entire process was saturated with so much frustration and conflict. So to see something like Enemies Multiply rise out of that is awesome.”

 While not always visible in plain sight, rock music has always formed the foundation of the Silent Comedy. The brothers, who were fanboys for bands like Rage Against The Machine and At The Drive-In during their teenage years, first delved into band life via joint membership in a punk and post-hardcore act. But after forming the Silent Comedy in the mid-2000’s, their early albums, including 2010’s Common Faults,, began to incorporate the folk, Americana and the blues they picked up from listening to a healthy dose of Cat Stevens and Simon and Garfunkel. Still, all throughout, their live show was centered on its rollicking, over-the-top, energy. To that end, the Zimmerman brothers felt their studio efforts needed to better match up with their live persona.

“In a way it was only a matter of time before we fully embraced our rock n’ roll roots,” Josh says.  Adds Jeremiah: “The farther we kept going, we realized the stuff that was more interesting to us was the more energetic and rock-focused material. Our energy has been our biggest asset. We wanted to put that on the record.”

If the journey has felt long and at times painful, the Zimmerman brothers feel that with Enemies Multiply now set for release the ends truly do justify the means. “There’s a certain freedom to whatever happens now,” Jeremiah says. “After a while in life you start to look at the bigger picture.”

 

 

 ”

WILL DAILEY

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"Then what of the national throat?  Will it not weaken?"

These emphatic words of protest appeared in a 1906 essay written by John Philip Sousa. The patriotic American composer found himself standing before a dramatic threshold in music. Faced with the advent of the recording of music and an onslaught of innovation, all of which he deemed, “the menace of mechanical music,” the composer feared the sacred creative entity he had dedicated his entire life to serve would be forever ruined. Sousa passionately lamented that singing would be replaced by a "mathematical system of megaphones, wheels, cogs, disks … all matter of revolving things."  More than anything, he feared that the introduction of new contraptions of innovation would serve to water down his cherished artform, all in the name of commercialism. More than a century later, treading upon a similarly fragile fault-line in music, singer-songwriter Will Dailey asks these very questions in his upcoming release. His record is aptly entitled:  National Throat. 

Will Dailey has chosen to deviate from that predestined path of cogs and commercialism.  He willfully parted ways from one of the world’s largest record labels to produce his latest full-length album.

Now independent, Dailey feels liberated. National Throat tells the story of that journey. 

People have been complaining about change in the music industry for centuries but artists make art because they have to,” Dailey says. “I write songs because they happen to me; it fuels my life and I see it fuel other people’s lives… Nothing can disrupt that. This album of songs is about doing this because you have to.

Featuring 11 new tracks, National Throat is a thriving embodiment of an authentic American Dream. It is a registry of a national reverie, one brought to fruition through a musician’s pursuit of art in its rawest form. It is music felt, not contrived. It is fresh soul untarnished by the grease of cogs or disks, left pure in the midst of a virulent commercial world.

Though fortune and fame have never been of main concern, Dailey’s music has been amplified by acclaim: He is a three-time winner of the Boston Music Award for Best Singer/Songwriter and his songs have been featured on more than 50 shows and films. Critics agree that he holds his ground performing next to artists like Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, and John Mellencamp. He was unfazed by the call from Oscar and Grammy-winning producer T Bone Burnetts to join Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crowe, and Rosanne Cash in the studio. All this from a man who has never, ever been anything but a musician.

But with National Throat, Dailey risked the potential to obtain an even broader reach by parting with a major label after realizing his goals and theirs were out of whack. This time he counted on a solid fan base to save him from a failing partnership, the inspiration for one of the album’s most talked-about songs. “I’m jumping overboard /And I’m swimming back to shore,” Dailey sings over a Burnett-inspired tune in “Sunken Ship.”  Somewhat stranded but never alone, he took charge and involved his fans in a communal creative process through Pledge Music. “It will be a unique experience,” he wrote to his fans, “a one of a kind process. When the day is done, you will have elevated my music to a whole new level. A true artistic community will be built here.”

And build it they did. Dailey’s fans’ admiration feeds National Throat from the inside out – like gas to an engine. The album’s closing song, “We Will Always Be A Band,” reflects the timelessness of the special kind of relationships sewn together with sonic filaments. Its lyrics draw Dailey’s audience in close, wrapping us in a warm familiarity that lingers beyond silence:

Am I in your headphones
Am I on your mind
Is there a tune that’s stuck in your head
That comes from a song of mine?


Indeed, listeners will hear his dynamic voice echo around the naturally catchy melodies that replay themselves effortlessly in our minds.

Though unified by Dailey’s characteristic plaid, rootsy charm, each song on National Throat vibrates with unique personality and showcases his dramatic vocal range. Each is a knockout delivered through a triple threat talent for singing, writing, and playing guitar. Listeners are already addicted to “Why Do I,” a rollicking shout-out to a promise-filled night of debauchery in his hometown, Boston. The epic, beautifully melancholic “Castle of Pretending” contrasts sharply with the sexy and demanding “Don’t Take Your Eyes Off Of Me.” Dailey is not afraid to spike his songs with attitude, nor to expose a naked softness, typified by the folksy “Higher Education” and the romantic spoken French quote (“Nous devrions tous avoir la chance de connaître l’amour…”) that closes the McCartney-esque “Once In A Century Storm.”

John Philip Sousa was wrong to preemptively mourn the loss of “songs that stir the blood and fire the zeal,” of “songs of home, of mother, and of love, that touch the heart and brighten the eye.” These songs flourish and surge with vigor in National Throat. The 2014 album makes clear that Will Dailey’s zeal for art, for music—for life and love—is unhampered by time and liberated from the contemporary materialism Sousa so wisely presaged. When Dailey sings, “My last dollar will be spent keeping these lights on/Doing the only thing that I can” we better believe him. He’s unstoppable.

Today, despite the persistence and further development of all matter of revolving things, the National Throat is alive and well in Will Dailey. 

YOU SUCK AT PIANO

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Do you suck at piano?

Is there someone you know who just isn’t as good as they say they are? Do you wish that there was an instructional piano book for adults that pulled no punches, told it like it is, and wasn’t afraid to put you in your place?

This, my piano flunkies, is your book. For all of you people who used to take piano lessons and are thinking of “getting back into it”, You Suck at Piano is your jam. For those of you who wish you could crank out a simple tune… You Suck at Piano will get you there.

The key is honesty. Learning to play the piano is difficult, folks. And most piano books lie to you. They say “you can do it!” when in fact you’re not so sure you actually CAN do it.

You Suck at Piano takes a different approach. It’s a brutally honest and fun method to improve your piano skills, complete with 50 arrangements of famous piano pieces, irreverent comic strips about the composers and the terrible lives they led, and cocktail recipes to drown all of your piano related frustrations.


Dr. Joel Pierson

Composer and jazz pianist Joel Pierson has worked with artists of great repute (The Kronos Quartet, The Houston Symphony), & artists of not-so great repute (Wayne Newton, Ke$ha). As a pianist, Joel has performed on all seven continents (yes, even Antarctica) and has shared the stage with the New York Philharmonic. As a songwriter, Joel was signed to Warner Brothers Records and has written and performed with artists like Linkin Park, Father John Misty, and My Chemical Romance.

Joel’s symphonic arrangements have been performed by over 20 symphony orchestras, including Atlanta, Toronto, Cleveland, & The Philly Pops. Joel has been commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, and won second place in the New York Philharmonic’s New World Initiative Composition Competition. He wrote additional music for the 2013 film The Internship, and is Musical Director The Queen's Cartoonists (www.thequeenscartoonists.com), a jazz band dedicated to the preservation and performance of music from classic cartoons. Joel has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, McSweeney’s, The Chicago Tribune, and the CBS Evening News. He has a doctoral degree in music composition from the University of Maryland, a masters degree in jazz piano from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in classical piano from Westmont College. Joel lives in Queens and maintains an active performing and teaching schedule in New York City.

LETTERS TO CLEO

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When Boston alt-rock band Letters To Cleo split after 10 years, 3 albums, and thousands of tour miles together, it was at the behest of a pact that singer Kay Hanley and guitarist Greg McKenna made with each other when they started the band in 1990.  

“We said that we’d stop doing it when we weren’t having fun anymore.” says Hanley. “I had just had a baby, (lead guitarist) Michael Eisenstein and (drummer) Stacy Jones were recording and touring with Veruca Salt’s Nina Gordon, (bassist) Scott Riebling was crazy in demand as a record producer, and I know it was frustrating to Greg to be in the shitty position of doing all the work to try and keep the ball rolling. It felt hard all of a sudden, and I hated that feeling.”  

Soul searching done and tough decisions made, Letters To Cleo called it quits. The band members moved into new careers in and out of the music business, with Hanley, Eisenstein, and Jones migrating to Los Angeles. They all remained friends and sometimes even colleagues, collaborating on a host of movie, TV, and touring projects.

Now, for the first time in 17 years, Hanley, Eisenstein, Jones, and McKenna have written and recorded five brand new songs for “The EP”, are poised to launch a Pledge Music campaign, and will play club dates in Boston, NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the Fall. So why reunite now?

"Because we’re good and stuff”, laughs Jones. “To me, the question isn’t ‘Why are we doing this now?’, the question is, ‘Why didn’t we do it sooner and why aren’t we doing it more?’’ 

McKenna adds, “It’s a blast. I mean, we spent our formative years learning how to do this stuff together. When it was done, we went out and lived our lives and now everyone’s bringing their experiences back to this at a new level of musicianship, but writing with these guys still feels effortless.” 

The new material reflects McKenna’s sentiment. All 5 songs are instantly recognizable Cleo concoctions that fans will devour. From Eisenstein’s fierce, angular guitars locking horns with Jones’ roaring locomotive rhythm on “Hitch A Ride” to McKenna and Hanley’s signature melodic ESP on “Good Right Here”, the Cleo bandmates are in prizefighter form.  

Staying true to the chemistry that defined their muscular pop sound throughout the 90’s was key to Cleo’s new venture.  “It feels completely unforced. It sounds like classic Cleo. But at the same time, there’s nothing nostalgic about it.”, says Jones. 

In addition to playing guitar, bass, and keys on The EP, Eisenstein also handled the lion’s share of production at Death Star Studio in the Koreatown section of LA, where he and Jones are current and former partners, respectively.  Eisenstein is hesitant to pick any favorites from the new batch of songs but offers,  “I really like “Four Leaf Clover” because it’s so in line with who we are as a band. It could have been on any of our records. The emotional content of “Back To Nebraska” is impossible to deny. It’s beautiful and powerful.” 

According to Hanley, the opportunity to re-unite with her former band and make new music came almost from out of nowhere. “I didn’t have time to think up reasons to say no, so I just said yes. We didn’t have a plan. We just jumped in and everything unfolded really quickly. We all love the new songs and can’t wait to start playing them. It’s really fun!” 

ELEVATION GROUP

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Formerly part of San Francisco’s Bill Graham Management, Elevation Group formed their independent operation in 2002. Since then Elevation Group continues to provide dedicated full service artist direction and management to artists including The Neville Brothers, the Funky Meters and The New Mastersounds.

LIP SYNC MUSIC

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Lip Sync Music Inc. is a prominent music licensing agency started by founder and current owner Lauren Harman. Since the inception of the company in 2009 Lip Sync has worked with an impressive array of artists both established up-and-coming, including Au Revoir Simone, Cults, Hanni El Khatib, Rhye, Local Natives, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Mayer Hawthorne, Snoop Dogg, Bloc Party, Digitalism, The Naked and Famous and more. The labels they have represented have included some of the most prestigious tastemakers in the world including Delicious Vinyl, Daptone, Innovative Leisure, DimMak and more.

At the core of the company is Harman’s philosophy of having a small focused roster of diverse and talented artists. This philosophy has propelled Lip Sync into into being one of the top film & tv/music representation firms in the US, generating millions in sync revenue every year for their artists through an impressive flow of placements in  films, television, commercials, trailers, video games and online & industrial videos.

The company has worked with marquee brands such as Target, Nike, Windows, Amazon, PlayStaion, The Gap, Miller Lite, Honda, Audi, Lexus and more. Their clients music has been heard in major motion pictures and television shows such as Magic Mike, the Scream franchise, What to Expect When Your Expecting, Showtime’s Shameless, The Newsroom and Californication, HBO’s Girls and Entourage, Netflix’s hit show Orange is the New Black, ABC’s Nashville and Grey’s Anatomy, Fox’s Glee, AMC’s Breaking Bad , CBS’s NCIS and CSI and many, more.

ALO

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“We’ve never fit into any quickly digestible category,” says ALO’s keyboardist/singer Zach Gill.  “It’s just a different kind of experience.”

With its delightfully vibrant blend of inventive musicality and genre-blurring reach, Sounds Like This sees ALO operating with fresh verve and vitality, their always-kaleidoscopic funk pop ‘n roll aglow with exceptionally ebullient songcraft and deliriously danceable grooves.  The California-based band’s fourth Brushfire Records release showcases their unfettered passion, wit, and imagination while simultaneously exploring hitherto uncharted musical terrain.  Invigorated by an unstructured approach to the studio process, ALO have accessed new avenues of resourcefulness, resulting in a truly distinctive collection of songs that adroitly captures all the glorious ingenuity and adventure of the band’s legendary live sets.

“There has always been a division between the fans that get to know us through our live shows vs. the fans that get to know us through our albums,” guitarist Lebo says.  “This album is going to bridge that gap.”

Long acclaimed for their deft musicianship, potent songwriting, and astonishing on-stage interaction, the members of ALO have played together for more than two decades, with the current permutation now in its 10th year and counting.  The band followed the release of 2010’s Jack Johnson-produced Man Of The World by doing what they do best:  playing live, with highlights including the Halloween-themed “Haunted Carnival of Traveling Freaks & Frights” tour and their annual Tour d’Amour benefitting public music school programs.

In April 2011, ALO convened at San Francisco’s Mission Bells studio with no plans other than to make some music together.  With studio owner/longtime collaborator David Simon-Baker assisting behind the board, the band opted to take the same improvisational tack towards recording as they do on stage.  Any distinctions between pre-production and real recording would be shed, allowing for ALO’s instinctive spontaneity to make it to track.

“We thought, what if we started recording from the get-go,” Gill says, “instead of rehearsing, making songs, and then going into the studio.  We decided to start the whole process all at once, with the intention of wanting things to feel really live.”

“Without a clear roadmap, we hit a lot of dead ends,” says drummer Dave Brogan says, “which forced us to create our way out of the morass.  I think that helped us look to within ourselves – rather than outside influences – to bring the music to life.”

The band – all based in the Bay Area, bar Gill, who resides in sunny Santa Barbara – were also able to utilize a lifetime’s bag of tricks in a way the previous album’s sonic scope only suggested.

“The previous record was done in Hawaii, so we simply couldn’t fly with much,” bassist Steve Adams says.  “Doing this one in San Francisco definitely made it easier to bring anything we wanted from home – Dave set up a more elaborate drum zone, Lebo had more guitars and amps, Zach brought up more keyboards.  I had all my basses and a keyboard rig as well.  Having a broader palette of sounds definitely had an influence on how the record turned out.”

In the past, ALO felt compelled to adjust their expansive songs to better suit the recorded format, trimming tracks to a more easily consumed length.  While this certainly honed the band’s songwriting skills, ALO were now eager to let it all hang out, marking tracks like the bombastic “Dead Still Dance” with collage-like structures, deep dance grooves, and inventive, intricate solos.  The inclusion of longer songs on Sounds Like This epitomizes “ALO being more comfortable with who ALO is,” according to Lebo.

“The truth is, longer songs come more naturally to us,” he continues.  “In the past we've spent more time whittling the songs down because we felt that we needed to do so in order to ‘fit in.’  This time around, we let the songs be what they wanted to be, and sometimes that meant a long song.”

“There was a part of us that went, ‘Are we being a tad too indulgent?,’” says Gill, “but in the end we decided that we wouldn’t say we were being indulgent – we were being generous.”

ALO let their imagination run free, both musically and lyrically, resulting in such larger-than-life highlights as the Old West flight of fancy, “Cowboys and Chorus Girls” or the self-explanatory glitterball workout, “Room For Bloomin.”  Where prior albums featured songs penned individually and then arranged by the band, this time out, ALO were determined that their collective spirit inform every groove.

“With collaborative writing, everyone’s personal stamp is in the DNA of the song,” Lebo says. “That makes these songs definitively ALO.”

At the heart of the album is ALO’s raucous reverie for days past, “Blew Out The Walls,“ as well as its more subdued sibling, “Sounds Like That” (included exclusively as an iTunes bonus track).  The track reverberates with the excitement and passion of a rock ‘n’ roll band in its nascent stage, that magical moment where four friends first get together in someone’s basement for the sheer joy of making music together.

“I think we all were feeling the dream again,” Adams says, “remembering back to where it all started.”

All four members of ALO agree that a similar sense of excitement is currently spurring the band forward.  Sounds Like This has imbued ALO with an audacious energy that is certain to infiltrate the band’s already spirited live shows, not to mention their next studio outing.

“Like all ALO albums, the next one will be a culmination of all the past albums and everything that happens in between,” Brogan says, “I don't know if we'll be so bold in our lack of planning next time, but I'm sure we'll find some other way to challenge ourselves.”

“I love making records,” Gill says.  “With this one done, now there’s the excitement of, what about the next one?  Those juices are already brewing.  I feel like we just cracked the ice so it’ll be exciting to see what happens next.”

JACK MOSBACHER

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“There’s something really brave…about being unabashedly happy.”  

Hearing Jack Mosbacher’s voice for the first time is like stumbling on a sunflower in the middle of a city sidewalk. At first, you’ll wonder if it’s real (it is). Then you’ll want to take it home (you can). His thoughtfully crafted traditional hooks and cheerful Motown vibes have drawn comparisons to The Temptations, Hall and Oates, and Otis Redding, exuding the old school power of Alabama Shakes with the pop sensibility of Andy Grammer and Ed Sheeran . Mosbacher revives the best of past eras with timeless warmth and modern charisma. In a world of confusion, chaos, and division, he is determined to make you smile. 

Jack’s music is his means of “accessing a higher joy” passed down from traditional greats of bygone eras. And at first listen, one can see why. His old-school style and joyful lyricism bear a uniquely innocent power. Invoking the past with an eye on the present and future, Jack Mosbacher’s original music is an uplifting delight for old souls of all ages.  

“I had a teacher once tell me: ‘You’re either in the lighting business, or the heating business. You’re either doing something new, or you’re bringing forgotten warmth to people who need it. I’ve always wanted to be a combination of both.”  

His journey into the ‘heating business’ began in early childhood, upon finding The Temptations in an old cassette drawer. It was an “unbelievable, mind-exploding moment” that ignited his spirit with fervor. But Jack hadn’t yet been exposed to the painful adversity his idols faced, or the turbulent era that he would himself enter as an adult. Today, Mosbacher harbors no illusions about what it means to honor their work.  

“So much of American music and popular culture…was driven by heroes and geniuses of color, or from some kind of background that is not like mine,” he says. “The things I’ve seen, and my faith, have taught me that you really run into trouble when you’re not acknowledging who your influences are, and all the systemic injustices and hardships that inspired artists before me to write a lot of this music in the first place.”  

Jack underwent a rigorous period of education – in school and in the real world - that would inform and empower his perspective. He eventually graduated from Stanford University (while playing on the baseball team and writing for the school paper) with Honors in Political Science. He credits this education for laying the bricks of his platform and social awareness. “The vast majority of people whose art has significantly shaped my life have looked different from me, and have gone through things I’ve never had to deal with,” he says. “There’s a huge sensitivity there. Everything white artists have done has been influenced by artists of some kind of ‘other.’ And the main thing that really strikes me about all of it is that I fell in love with this music before I knew what any of that was. There was an innocence there that I’m trying to retain while also being mindful of my own place in all of this. And a sense of purpose in being an ally, in respecting and advancing the message.” 

Mosbacher is vividly aware of the dichotomy between innocence and struggle in music, particularly in regard to race and identity. “There is such a cultural importance, and a continued relevance, to acknowledge and respect. But music is also the one place where we can all come together, where we’re able to shed these differences and presuppositions in a way we can’t in any other part of our lives and our world.” 

For Jack, authenticity is key. Audiences are more educated, connected, and responsive than ever. He trusts that they know when it’s real. “Regardless of how I look or the differences I have from artists who wrote this in the past, this music is my heartbeat. It raised me.”  

His radiant sound has evolved to exude the old school power of Alabama Shakes and Leon Bridges, with the pop sensibility of Andy Grammer and Ed Sheeran. Today, Mosbacher aims to add happy elements to the next generation of soul. “There’s a lot of darkness out there,” he says. “Joy isn’t what you regularly see on the front page of the paper, or on your Facebook feed. I’ve been so incredibly fortunate, and it seems like the least I can do is to try to spread some light.”  

Prior to pursuing music, Jack was an accomplished athlete and student. International affairs and human rights were (and are) deeply important to him. At Stanford, Jack played on the nationally ranked baseball team and was awarded a special grant to write a thesis on income inequality and oil politics in East Africa as part of an international development program. He has since traveled to 13 African countries and published pieces in Foreign Affairs and The Washington Quarterly; with that, a career in journalism and policy seemed like a foregone conclusion. But Jack’s family, friends, and mentors pushed him to follow his heart, and it called him to music and entertainment. Once he listened, he never looked back.  

He dove headfirst into musicals on the east and west coasts, dazzling audiences in cabaret shows and Off-Broadway hits such as Sondheim’s ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ and ‘Napoleon.’ But as Jack prepared for his first headline cabaret show in San Francisco, one of his oldest friends was killed in an accident.  

In the wake of unthinkable loss, mourning friends and loved ones still came to the show, looking for an evening of relief. Being able to raise the audience’s spirits redefined the concept of entertainment for him. “The purpose of my music became solely to lift everyone in the room out of whatever darkness they are fighting and join them in the light, even for a fleeting moment.”  

Since recognizing his true purpose, Jack’s songwriting has been unstoppable. The San Francisco Chronicle heralded the young talent as “a star on the rise.” But Mosbacher stays rooted in his craft and the responsibility he feels to his listeners. His only goal is for people to leave his shows happier than when they came.  

“Music has never been my means of justifying myself, to myself or to anybody else,” he says. “It’s simply my way of giving something back.” 

Mosbacher’s recent collaboration with Nerf Herder’s Linus of Hollywood and Letters to Cleo’s Michael Eisenstein resulted in over a dozen new songs, set for release in 2018. His inaugural single, “The Second Time Around,” debuted on December 1. “These songs are full of energy and an almost naïve innocence,” he says. “They’re the best representation of what I’ve wanted my music to be to this point, and I hope that the trajectory is only upward as we continue to write, record, and perform.”  

Mosbacher fell in love with music by hearing The Temptations, but he never could have guessed that his future would bring them front and center. David Ruffin, the band’s original lead singer, was forced to abandon a solo record following struggles with addiction and a tussle with Motown Records. 30 years later, an independent label acquired the album and quietly released it. Mosbacher jumped at the chance to honor his late hero’s forgotten work. In collaboration with Michael Eisenstein and an eclectic array of musicians, Mosbacher covered four of Ruffin’s previously unreleased songs in a classic Motown session: all of the instruments in one room, making music until they got it right. 

“I’ll never be David Ruffin,” he says. “That was never the point. It was just incredibly exciting and fulfilling to pay my respects to the guy I grew up trying to be.” 

In early December, Mosbacher closed out a home-run year by performing new songs at the Peppermint Club in LA. He’s scheduled to kick off 2018 with a springtime tour of the West Coast, appearing with Train, Michael Franti, Robert Randolph, and more on the fifth annual Sail Across The Sun cruise.  

But even as big breaks roll in, Jack stays humbly nonchalant. “Exuding unapologetic joy and happiness has never really been ‘the cool thing,’” he says. “Fortunately, I don’t really care about being that cool.”  

Given his unique talent and authentic drive, Mosbacher’s rise to musical prominence seems almost inevitable. But whether good fortune comes knocking or not, Jack is too happy to care.  

“…I know what I love, and I know why. And I want to bring just as much of it into the world as I can before I’m through.”  

We’re listening.