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Exceptionally versatile singer-songwriter Maggie Rose released her highly anticipated album, Change The Whole Thing, September 21, 2018. The album was named by Rolling Stone as one of the “Best Albums of 2018”. Stamped with her affinity for finely crafted melodies and intricate storytelling, the project encompasses a blend of American music melding Rock, Soul, Rhythm and Blues, Country and Gospel. Recorded entirely live at the famed Starstruck Studios in Nashville, TN and released to overwhelming critical-acclaim, Rose marked major milestones with first-time performances on NBC’s “Today Show,” Southwest’s Live at 35, a debut at AmericanaFest with a show-stopping performance as part of WMOT/NPR’s Wired In series, AOL Build, Paste Sessions and more.
Implementing an impressively demanding method highlighting an artist in complete command of her ever-evolving creative process: live with her 13-piece “family band” in one take, no overdubs, no bullshit and a sound that is best described by the following quote from Rolling Stone:
“Maggie Rose has come into her own with this current earth-conscious, trippy country-soul stage of her ever-evolving musical persona…Rose’s performances showed her embracing her inner soul diva, belting with fire on ‘It’s You’ and the pulverizing ‘Pull You Through.’ Just to drive the point home, Rose and her band even stretched out on a swinging cover of ‘The Letter,’ doing a more-than-respectable impression of the funky Mad Dogs & Englishmen arrangement originally sung by Joe Cocker.”
Rose’s ability to embrace her creative freedom in the studio as an independent artist and capture the synergy of her live performances continued to open the floodgates. Critics raved about her live performances including Rolling Stone who named her in their list of 20 Must See Acts (out of 700), USA Today who named her in their list of “…performers who’ll go above and beyond, define a moment…,” and The Nashville Scene who called her performance, “…visually striking, full-sounding, and highly entertaining…” The Washington Post shared, “…louder, looser, more spontaneous…her voice, which has always threatened to incinerate the eyebrows of anyone sitting in the front row…” and Columbus Alive added that her voice “…could run circles around most of the singers on country and pop radio today…
In addition to her head-turning live performances, critics applauded Rose’s independent rise, after nearly a decade at various labels, both independent and major, and her ability to transcend genres performing with a range of artists. This past year, she toured nationwide on her headlining Change The Whole Thing tour, and made first-time festival appearances aboard the Cayamo Cruise, Peach Music Festival, and opened select tour stops with Rock icons Heart and Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, and pop superstar Kelly Clarkson.
“One and one and one and one makes one” “Powers Collide”
When Them Vibes co-founders, singer Larry “Brother Love” Florman and guitarist Alex Haddad first moved from New York City – where they were fellow, non-writing members of a country-rock band – to East Nashville almost a decade ago, the two didn’t really know what to expect.
“The city is a musical tapestry,” says Haddad. “There is so much going on besides country. Music Row might be the main economic force, but there are also punk, metal, rock ‘n’ roll and soul bands here. It’s as diverse a scene as Haight-Ashbury in the ‘60s or New York’s East Village in the ‘70s.”
Ten years later, Them Vibes – which now includes guitarist Kyle Lewis (“He looks like Duane Allman and plays like Mick Taylor,” marvels Haddad) – are a central part of Music City’s thriving rock scene. Them Vibes’ 2013 debut album, Shine On, represented their love of bluesy bands like the Rolling Stones and the Faces, but their latest represents a distinct left-hand stylistic turn.
The title track of the band’s most recent album, 2017’s Electric Fever, offered a preview to Them Vibes’ new five-song EP, which answers their own musical question, Why the Funk Not with a collection of tracks designed, as Brother Love puts it, quoting Keith Richards, “to put the roll back into rock…to get people up and dancing.”
This new direction drew inspiration from such ‘60s and ‘70s icons as James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield, Tower of Power and Chicago. The first song from the EP, “Right On,” featuring vocals by Maggie Rose – whom they frequently tour and write with – came out late last year, garnering airplay on Nashville’s indie/Triple A powerhouse WRLT Lightning 100, which ranked it #4 on its list of Top 200 Songs of the Year.
“We just began writing songs that naturally came out like that, so we decided to release them all together before starting our next full-length album,” says Haddad. “We wanted to surprise people and pay homage to music we really love.”
“We grew up on dance music,” says Brother Love. “Recording these tracks was such an organic process. It came naturally to us.”
Produced by Bobby Holland at Pentavarit studios in Nashville, “Powers Collide,” which came from a musical idea by “seed man” Alex Haddad, is the next single, a plea for unity especially apt for today’s polarized society. Brother Love’s wife, ace drummer Sarah Tomek – who performs on the rest of the EP as part of a dynamic rhythm section with bassist Kyle Whalum, is joined by Matt Nolan on the track for a Them Vibes first — a two-percussion set-up, with local group The Shindellas’ soaring vocals providing “heavenly might.”
“It’s important to tell these stories,” says Brother Love of the band’s call for social change and love. “It feels right to say something, especially in times like these.”
The horn-punctuated “Time” and “Can You Dig It” feature brothers Rahsaan and Roland Barber, under the direction of producer Holland. Just as “Electric Fever” proved a harbinger for Why the Funk Not, so does the EP’s final track, the New Orleans backbeat of “Sinners’ Revelry,” anticipate the next, more rock n’ roll-influenced full-length.
Described as sounding like the product of “the Kinks and Led Zeppelin spending a wild night in the French Quarter and writing a song about it,” this ode to seven days of debauchery evokes everything from the Meters, Allen Toussaint and “Iko Iko” to Lowell George and Little Feat. Haddad came up with the original riff on a $300 Harmony 12-string acoustic guitar he received as a birthday present from Brother Love.
“We tried to get the meaning and feeling just right, where every word, every note, counts,” explains Brother Love.
Them Vibes have already performed several of the songs in a live setting to great reaction and look forward to a hefty touring schedule, having shared bills in the past with the likes of Cage the Elephant, Lake Street Dive, Marcus King Band, Allen Stone, Train, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joan Jett, Flaming Lips, Robert Plant, Heart, Cheap Trick, Trey Anastasio and St. Paul & the Broken Bones, among many others.
“The music we play is meant to be experienced in person,” says Haddad. “We come alive when we’re on stage. We take the songs to places we never thought was possible.”
The band’s music has served as synchs for CBS’s NCIS: LA, ABC’s The Rookie, Showtime’s Shameless, Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, Netflix’s The Ranch, the 2019 NFL Draft held in Nashville and a National T-Mobile campaign.
“We just know who we are,” says Brother Love, explaining the band’s continued growth. “It’s been a very spiritual journey. We’re not chasing the next trend. We’re doing what we want our way…which makes the music real. It’s authentic.”
Them Vibes… No longer Nashville’s best-kept secret.
Born down on the Bayou of Southeast Louisiana, music and dancing were always a sizable part of life for Gracie’s family- something she always assumed was “normal.” At the age of four, she and her family moved (back) to Arkansas to be near her mother’s folks. It was there that Gracie eventually realized her need to create music.
A wonderful, centrally located melting pot, this middle-of-nowhere existence served as the perfect blank canvas upon which to mold her style. Building upon the foundation her parents laid, from which Gracie took favorites such as Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, and The Band, she found herself deeply drawn to the works of Texas singer- songwriters such as Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Delta Bluesmen Mississippi John Hurt and Robert Johnson, Americana heavy hitters Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch, and sweet soul music, the likes of Sam Cooke, Etta James, and Otis Redding.
At age 19, after an encouraging read of Jill Andrews’ biography, Gracie decided it wasn’t too late to pick up an instrument. She bought her first acoustic guitar and taught herself to play, thereby turning her poems into songs and breathing new life into the words she’d been writing for years.
Despite an almost complete lack of a music scene in the small town where she lived, Gracie was able to find a few like-minded folks at sparse open mics and gatherings. This eventually led to the formation of The Jaypan Fans- a three piece comprised of Gracie on rhythm guitar and vocals, Amanda Rodriguez-Olivo on rhythm guitar, bass, and vocals, and Ryan Dickerson on lead guitar. The trio played as many events and music nights at the locals bars as they could get their hands on, focusing heavily on harmonies and a southern sound. The trio occasionally rounded out their sound with Matthew Beavers on drums and Amy Leigh on dobro.
Eventually, joined by a desire to do more with their music, Gracie and Amy started working on a sound as a duo, with an initial focus on Gracie’s songwriting and Amy’s trinkly dobro accompaniment. The duo grew exponentially together, building a fan base across the Midwest and relationships with many other musicians. The Ozark Mountain Maybelles were only able to record one self titled, six track EP.
Now living in Asheville, North Carolina, Gracie is enjoying the challenges and triumphs of being a solo musician, and allowing this decompression time garner more focus on her songwriting. She does enjoy striking up a hot band, though.
The Grey Eagle
185 Clingman Ave
Asheville, NC, 28801