Kat Maslich-Bode: The Road of 6

Remember Eastmountainsouth? They were one of the my favorite indie bands in the early aughts. Since then, one half of the duo – Peter Bradley Adams – has released a few solo albums. But his feminine counterpart seemed to disappear…until now. Kat Maslich-Bode’s six-track solo debut, The Road of 6, will be officially released by Mishara Records on January 18th and is already available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes. A lovely little collection of folk-influenced pop and country, The Road of 6 is carried by Kat’s warm and substantial voice. The album features guests Mary Chapin Carpenter, Glen Phillips, and Jim Lauderdale.

The opener “March” is a pretty love song in which Mary Chapin Carpenter contributes backing vocals. Kat wrote the ballad for her husband on their wedding day and incorporated the ultrasound of her daughter’s heartbeat into the beginning and end of the track.

Tim Easton’s song “J.P.M.F.Y.F.” (an abbreviation for the chorus lyric “Jesus protect me from your followers”) addresses religious extremism, particularly certain perverted, hate-driven forms of Christianity. Kat’s heartfelt, low key deliver anchors the potentially controversial cover.

Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Glen Phillips lends his voice to “Sky Falls,” a song about depression, and Jim Lauderdale appears on the Coal Miner’s Daughter-inspired “Poor Old Town.”

Kat co-wrote “Back Home” with her former Eastmountainsouth partner, Peter Bradley-Adams. The song is a tribute to a childhood friend of Kat’s who died in a car crash.

The stand out track is Kat’s soulful rendition of The Blue Nile’s “Let’s Go Out Tonight,” a song she says she fell in love with at a party when she was just thirteen. The cover is a grand finale to this far too brief, but beautiful song cycle.

Kat Maslich-Bode – March (mp3 zip)*

*mp3 hosted by and offered as free download on artist’s site

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The Road Of 6 - Kat Maslich-Bode

KatMaslichBode March by MisharaMusic

Kat Maslich-Bode Official Site

Peter Bradley Adams: Traces

Traces is the new album by former eastmountainsouth singer-songwriter Peter Bradley Adams. Written and recorded within six months of his previous release leavetaking, the new disc follows through on Peter’s pretty blend of languid folk and dusky Americana.

The songs on Traces flow seamlessly and beautifully together. So much so that it’s difficult to pick a stand out, but if I had to it would be the gentle ballad “For You.”

Also of note are the slightly darker, melancholy melodies of “I Won’t” and “Darkening Sky.”

Angel Snow sings on several tracks, and Katie Herzig lends her voice to “Family Name” and “Heart of a Girl.”

Singer-songwriter Claire Small returns for “I Cannot Settle Down.” I saw Claire perform with Peter at Mountain Stage last year, and also reviewed her solo album Ledger.

Peter Bradley Adams – For You (mp3 removed)*

*mp3 provided by & posted w/ permission of artist’s label. The above mp3 will be removed from my server in two weeks, but Peter has also made the song available for free download on his site…

Peter Bradley Adams – For You (download page)

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Peter Bradley Adams - Traces

Peter Bradley Adams Official Site

Mountain Stage: Amos Lee, Sharon Little, Peter Bradley Adams, The SteelDrivers

Last night I sat among the large audience at the soldout Mountain Stage show featuring Amos Lee, Sharon Little, Peter Bradley Adams, and The SteelDrivers. NPR’s radio concert series once again outdid themselves in selecting talented artists, and some of the performances were astonishingly good.

The Cultural Center at Charleston’s Capitol Complex remains the most welcoming venue in town. Every seat in the Cultural Center auditorium was filled, but I managed to squeeze into the second row just below the audience microphone.

I was very disappointed to hear that scheduled performer Papa Mali had canceled at the last minute due to “travel difficulties” that left him stranded in New Orleans. Judging from the audio clips on his website, Papa’s sound is like a less rambunctious version of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – who, by the way, should definitely be booked on Mt. Stage sometime!

After the usual round of crowd warming and theme song rehearsal, host Larry Groce introduced Sharon Little. I would say I was equally as interested in seeing her perform live as Amos Lee, since her Perfect Time For a Breakdown has quickly become a favorite album of mine this year. As I suspected, Sharon’s voice is even more impressive without the polished production of the studio interfering with its power. She was accompanied only by guitarist Scot Sax and backup singers “The Sisters Two” – all three of which did a wonderful job – but I think Sharon’s voice would be strong enough for an a cappella performance.

Sharon physically threw herself completely into each performance and her vocals were quaking and beautiful from the opening verse of “Follow That Sound” throughout “Ooh Wee”, “Set You Free” (which sounded much better live than on the CD), “Peppermint & Glue”, and especially on “What Gets In The Way”. She closed with a clap-a-long acoustic version of “Try”. I really don’t think it’s fair to the rest of us for a skinny, pretty blonde to possess that kind of awe-inspiring voice. She had cool boots, too.

Peter Bradley Adams was up next and initially suffered from comparison. It was difficult as a listener to quickly transition from Little’s powerhouse blues vocals to the soft, low volume of Adams during his opening song. But as he eased into “Keep Us” from his new album Leavetaking, I suddenly remembered why I love his music so much and thoroughly enjoyed every song he sang after that. Singer-songwriter Claire Small sang harmony, and I’ll be seeking out her solo work after posting this review. Their renditions of “I’ll Forget You” and “Under My Skin” were lovely, but it was Peter’s pretty piano finale of “Los Angeles” that was most captivating.

After local singer Don Dixon filled some space in Papa Mali’s absence, The SteelDrivers took the stage. Though I do like country and bluegrass, I really didn’t expect much excitement from this band and their first song seemed standard bluegrass fare. So it was a wonderful shock when singer Chris Stapleton suddenly started belting out the blues in a way that reminded me of The Commitments. Highlights of their set included “If It Hadn’t Been For Love”, “Midnight Train To Memphis”, “Drinkin’ Dark Whiskey”, and “Blue Side Of the Mountain” – all from their self-titled album. The SteelDrivers stole the show, managing to simultaneously please both the genteel bluegrass crowd and those of us that prefer a louder, more soulful blues-rock sound.

Amos Lee was the last to perform, but he didn’t fail to hold his own in the wake of the preceding acts. His set was even better than I hoped it would be and it seemed that the majority of the crowd came to see him. He and his band played “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight” and “Black River” from his self-titled debut as well as the title track from last year’s Supply and Demand. And I was very pleased that he played my three favorites songs from his new release Last Days at the Lodge: “Truth”, “Street Corner Preacher”, and “Listen”. Though he wasn’t one to banter with the audience, Lee’s voice was absolutely gorgeous whether he was wailing those bluesier tunes or soaring into a flawless falsetto on his “slinky R&B” number “Won’t Let Me Go”. I would gladly have listened to him sing all night.

Unfortunately, Amos Lee did not return to the stage for the group finale of “Heard It Through The Grapevine” and neither Sharon Little or Peter Bradley Adams opted to sing verses. But The SteelDrivers helped Larry Groce round out what was a grand evening at Mountain Stage.

Mountain Stage Official Site

Listen to Mt. Stage sets on NPR

Muruch Mountain Stage Reviews

Peter Bradley Adams: Leavetaking

Leavetaking is the fantastic sophomore solo effort from singer-songwriter Peter Bradley Adams and will be released on August 5th. I sought out his album after seeing his name listed as an upcoming performer at Mountain Stage, then I discovered that Adams was formerly a member of Eastmountainsouth! If their name is unfamiliar, Eastmountainsouth was a pop-folk duo that I loved back in 2003, who were more recently featured on the Elizabethtown soundtrack. I’m happy to say that Peter’s solo material is just as good, perhaps even more so since there seems to be a bit more substance to his songwriting now.

The title Leavetaking and the album’s overall theme were inspired by a line in Mark Strand‘s poem “The View”: “He’s always been drawn to the weather of leavetaking“.

The opening track “The Longer Run” is a sweet Americana tune. The arrangement reminds me a little of Red House Painters, but Peter’s vocals have a more tangible tone. “Los Angeles” is a wistful, sparse piano ballad that caresses the warmer facets of Peter’s voice, while the banjo accented “I’ll Forget You” is done in haunting light bluegrass style reminiscent of Nickel Creek. “Always” then merges that kind of country instrumentation with an atmospheric pop melody.

“So Are You To Me” – which originally appeared on the Eastmountainsouth album – is a simple, pretty love song that Adams wrote for his sister’s wedding, and “Keep Us” returns to the dusky sound of the opener. The finale “Song For Viola” is just that, a beautiful instrumental piece centered around Andrea Zonn’s viola. The rest of the album may not stand out as much individual songs, but the general tone is melodic and peaceful.

Peter Bradley Adams on MySpace

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