Thursday, February 19, 2015

AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION’S JED HILLY ON SIGNATURE SOUNDS’ 20TH ANNIVERSARY: “THE KIND OF STUFF THAT WILL LAST FOR GENERATIONS”

COLLABORATIONS YIELD UNEXPECTED FRIEND FOR SIGNATURE SOUNDS FAMILY AS NEW RARITIES DISC COMES OUT NEXT MONTH

"This is the kind of stuff that will last for generations,” said Americana Music Association head Jed Hilly said of Signature Sounds, introducing a set from the 20th anniversary concerts in person in November.

'Signature Sounds 20th Anniversary Collection: Favorite and Rarities from the Second Decade’ is out March 3 and it hangs together as an album and a 19-track survey of the best of recent Americana music. One of the unique aspects of this label is in its collaborations between label-mates and between Signature Sounds artists and their peers—and a willingness on Jim Olsen’s part to follow his artists’ muses in whatever direction that might lead. Signature Sounds is a tight community.

Sweet & Lowdown is a Brooklyn-based collaboration between Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive, the band that led 2014 to be Signature Sounds’ most successful year to date, and Miss Tess & The Talkbacks. Together, they sing soulful versions of country, rockabilly, rhythm & blues, and western swing standards. Even while Lake Street Dive entered the Billboard top 20, Sweet & Lowdown has continued to gig in NYC. “Violent Love” from ‘Favorite and Rarities’ is a swinging rhythm & blues performance and fun example of two powerhouse vocalists in cahoots.

The Sacred Shakers offer the standard “Samson & Delilah.” Take Eilen Jewell and her band, add four members to double the size, and insert a repertoire of gospel songs and you have the Shake Shakers.

Meanwhile, Shelburne Falls, MA couple and Signature Sounds label-mates Kris Delmhorst and Jeffrey Foucault offer the previously unreleased track “If This Ain't Heaven.” Diffuser.FM premiered it, saying, “Delmhorst’s gorgeous vocals are backed with Foucault’s soothing guitar work, espousing the sentiments we wish we could feel all the time."

Heather Maloney recorded an EP with fellow Massachusetts musicians in the band Darlingside on the hypnotic music set to handclaps and Maloney’s drop-dead stunning vocals and songwriting. Murmurs were heard in the lobby of the 20th anniversary shows that Maloney may be a future star.

One Signature sounds band actually grew out of the staff itself, as Winterpills is partly made up of Signature Sound employees Flora Reed and Philip Price. The Wild Honey Pie debuted a previously unreleased track by the band, saying, “'A Tree In The Lung’ is a soothing whisper of harmonies paired with a fresh upbeat-tempo, and the ebb and flow falls nothing short of hypnotizing and charming. The verses beautifully echo themselves but never feel like lyrical fillers."

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