The Ghost and the Guest is an interesting album that was recorded in a simple bedroom studio and was released last year by LDS artist Jake Workman. Loyal Linescratchers followers may recognize Jake from his days with the group “The Sweater Friends”. Prior to listening to this album, I had never heard any of his music, and knew little about him. So, it was with a completely fresh and unbiased perspective that I was able to sit down and listen to his music.
I reviewed the album in a digital download form and found that the download contained much more than just music. Graphics from the album are included, as is a scanned copy of a handwritten thank you note from Jake. Most interesting though was a large booklet, which was conveniently provided in a number of different e-reader formats. Right about here is where things started to get weird, interesting, or sentimental – depending on how you look at it. The included e-book comes in at over 40 pages. In the preface, we learn that the songs were inspired by the life of Henry Pickett Pratt, who was born in 1866, and left a journal about some of his early life – a journal which was read by Jake Workman. Something about this man and his experiences struck a chord (pun intended) with Jake, and provided the inspiration for the songs on the album. The e-book includes portions of the journal that provide a backdrop of sorts for the songs. Jake has intended for the journal and the music to be enjoyed simultaneously in order to get the full experience of what he intended to create and capture.
A singer-songwriter from Utah, Andy Allen was first introduced to Linescratchers through Young Sim. He has agreed to an interview regarding his songwriting, his inspirations, and his guitars.
First, tell us how you know our buddy Young Sim.
Young Sim is actually in my ward. He is my home teacher, and I am his home teacher. We did a collaboration at FHE of my song “The Friend That Saved My Life” and some of his rapping. Since then I have played at one of his FGM nights and he has become a good mentor and friend. Sim is an amazing person dripping with knowledge and talent.
In the acoustic videos on your website it sound like you have kind of a Damien Rice vibe. Who are your major musical influences?
I definitely like Damien Rice, although I wouldn’t consider him a huge influence. I would say Johny Cash, the Format, Brandon Flowers/Killers and Elton John are huge influences. I look up a lot to Michael Buble for his vocals. Continue Reading →
Sometimes you go to a show and you can tell that the band playing is having a good time. Clay Summers goes beyond that. You can tell that he loves to be up on stage and he wants to play music for you.
Clay started playing the guitar when he was nine and played in many bands throughout his high school career. It wasn’t until he left high school that he dedicated himself to his solo career. Since then he has recorded a CD in Logan and has played in many venues in Utah and Rexburg. Continue Reading →
Haun’s Mill is certainly a unique addition to Linescratchers. Part husband-and-wife acoustic folk duo, part performance artists, part historians, part film-makers, Eliza Wren and Nord Anderson take listeners back to darker, but not different, times in our country’s history. From the Spanish Flu outbreak, to quiet, intimacy in poverty, to the Great Depression, these stories and themes find a new, added relevance in our society today. Highly recommended.
So for the record, you two are husband and wife?
Our other favorite husband-and-wife duo, and the inspiration for Linescratchers, is Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low. Are you familiar with Low?
E: Funny, we just recently discovered them – I’d heard of them a bit before but didn’t know so much about them – nice stuff!
Is playing in a band your full time job then, or do you have day jobs?
N: Ha! That’s the goal, to not have day jobs. I quit the job I had for 8 yrs. so we could move to Austin & do more music. Here in Austin I got another day job – but yes, full-time music is the goal. Continue Reading →
For your consideration, a two step formula for judging art: 1. Identify what the artist attempted to accomplish 2. Assess whether the artist accomplished it.
Low is never as monolithic as you remember them being. One word summaries (slowcore) hide the most important and interesting part of Low–their focus on relationship. Dynamics are Low’s secret: within a harmony, a song, an album, and increasingly, a discography. Like the Beatles, like Nirvana, revisiting the back catalog is always a pleasant surprise because the precious space we have in our brains to categorize popular music doesn’t let us retain the exceptions to our heuristics. And it’s the exceptions that make those bands stand the test of time.
The Neighbors have appeared a lot here on linescratchers for a band that only is just now releasing its first record. First Arthur interviewed them, then we reported that Rachel Kaiser was singing backups for Brandon Flowers, then they recorded a barefoot and spectacled live video, then Adam Kaiser was selected as the Utah Bachelor of the Year by Cosmopolitan magazine. They can now add “Release music” to their band resume.
Is the very concept of a record review outdated? In the time it takes you to read this review, you could download this and start listening to it yourself. Since taste is subjective, why would gathering opinions of a record be any better than just deciding for yourself? Do you need another person saying that the record sounds like if Band A and Person B did X at Location Y in time period Z? How about the quick and dirty “The good, the bad, and the ugly” routine? How about a letter grade, some stars, thumbs up/thumbs down? The personal anecdote that is primarily for name-dropping self-aggrandizing? The absolute worst is the barely-rewritten press release in which it is obvious that the author never listened to the record. I’m aware of the relative value of rock journalism…so I’m not going to insult you by choosing one of those hackneyed devices. I’m going to compliment you by doing ALL of them (very quickly.) Continue Reading →
Colby Miller is an enigmatic new face here at Linescratchers. He composes and records quiet, yet textured acoustic music around his home in San Bernadino, California, yet, despite the seemingly humble context of his origins, his music is startlingly ambitious, and will most definitely tickle the ears of music lovers who think they’ve heard it all. He has released one EP called When I Should Be Sleeping earlier this year, but readers will most likely be especially intrigued by his most recent project. He has released a pair of albums in the last day or two: an EP called Epimetheus, and a full-length album called Prometheus, based on the ancient Greek mythology surrounding the two sons of Iapetus. Like I said, it’s ambitious stuff. Colby has agreed to do an interview with us about his two albums, about the role of mythology and storytelling in our lives and faith, and his unique approach to songwriting. Continue Reading →
A few hours southeast of here, at East Tennessee State, a rootsy, acoustic folk duo was organized in 2009, with tight vocal harmonies and an engaging live show. That year, they organized an ambitious lineup of 40 live shows, and added one more member, completing their trio. That group is The Barefoot Movement, and I contacted the founding member, vocalist, fiddle player, fellow Southerner, and Latter-day Saint Noah Wall to be featured right here on Linescratchers.
Listeners who are familiar with Nickel Creek and Allison Krauss and Union Station might recognize a similar approach to acoustic folk music in The Barefoot Movement. Musicians will also take note of three very talented instrumentalists, and the harmonies really have a way of catching the ear. In short, The Barefoot Movement provides musical satisfaction from almost every angle. In this interview, Noah speaks to us about growing up with an artistic family, staying spiritual on the road, and “settling down.” Continue Reading →
Recommended if you like: Sufjan Stevens, Nick Drake Recommended tracks: “The Stone”, “The Planet”, “The Sea of Glass”
It has been a while since I received The Goldminer from Canoe’s Carl Hoiland, but it takes me a while to fully digest albums like this. However, Canoe has just released their newest album, The Ship, on iTunes, and I felt like it was time. Though perhaps it borders too much on the philosophical, this album is a dreamy, crystalline journey that definitely gives back what you put into it. It’s a beautiful, mystical album that deserves far more attention than it has gotten, particularly now that their next album threatens to overtake it in popularity. Continue Reading →
Should Mormons make money off spirituality? Could LDS music possibly be elevated to the same level as hymns? Complicated questions with complicated answers. A few weeks ago, in response to a series I have been writing called The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, someone told me that I needed to look up JP Haynie, and I’m very glad I did. Upon first listen, the arrangements will seem vaguely familiar, but they also have a definite ring of their own. Listeners will find the songs literate, sparse, and harmonic, with a touch of bliss and melancholy. I sent a few interview questions to Jordan Haynie and asked him about his music, his upcoming album called The Sand, Deseret Book music, and the scene in Salt Lake, and he responded graciously and honestly. Great interview, and highly recommended from Linescratchers. Continue Reading →
Recommended if you like: The Flaming Lips, Badly Drawn Boy, Wilco, The Decemberists, Bela Fleck
Lime Colony’s self-titled release is an example of an album that is better than the sum of its parts—what it lacks in truly memorable melodies or vocals, it more than makes up for in intelligent, intricate instrumental arrangements. This is music that will grow on you. In fact, the whole album grows, beginning in its first track (“Terry’s Theme”) with some very simple guitar strumming; a second guitar is added, then a horn, a saxophone, percussion, until it builds into a beautiful, layered instrumental track—witih definite echoes of contemporary folk master Bela Fleck—before quietly fading back out. Continue Reading →
Lime Colony’s second album, a surprisingly complex, lush indie acoustic romp with almost Charles Ives-inspired backing arrangements, entitled Lime Colony, is now available for purchase on iTunes. Earl Kramer, member of the band, is a Latter-day Saint.
Recommended if you like: philosophy, pop music, and art
Recommended tracks: “See Through Rocks,” “Andromeda,” and “Huang Shan (The Ah-ha Song)”
By the time I develop a true opinion of a song or album, it’s inevitably past the time when it’s relevant. Perhaps I’m just slow. I remember how incredibly depressed I was when I found out John Lennon was shot and killed. I was fourteen years old at the time, and the year was, in fact, 1998. So you, my dear reader, should consider yourself lucky that I’m getting around to reviewing Cary Judd’s Goodnight Human album, released late in 2009.
However, I still think the album is relevant. And for what it’s worth, it’s probably one of the best things to happen to me since I started Linescratchers. How’s that for an endorsement? Continue Reading →
This past week, I had the opportunity to interview Jonathan Borgia, also known as Less Than Three (<3) and let me tell you, I had such a blast! If you are interested in not only good music, but reading an interview with an artist whose personality really shines through his writing, read on! From this interview, you can tell how excited and passionate he is about not only his music, but having the opportunity to tour as well! Being one of the youngest artists we’ve interviewed, I was very excited to get his input and views on the industry where so many people have given into temptation and gone down a different path. In this interview he not only discusses this topic, but he also talks about his future, the tremendous love he has for his fans, and of course, his music.