Melody Walker & Jacob Groopman – We Made It Home

Melody Walker has made several appearances on Beat Surrender over the last few years starting with her EP III then her successful Indiegogo campaign that resulted in the release of her debut album Gold Rush Goddess last year, now she’s back again this time officially sharing the limelight with partner in life and music Jacob Groopman on their debut release as a duo We Made It home, the pair also play together in the Bay Area based progressive bluegrass band Front Country winners of the Band Contest at both the Telluride and RockyGrass festivals this year.

One of the albums highlight’s is the track Black Grace secular humanist gospel song which recently earned Melody Walker the prestigious MerleFest songwriting award so all-in-all they are on a roll at the moment and the album was produced by another winner, the bluegrass artist Laurie Lewis who collected a Grammy for True Life Blues:The Songs of Bill Monroe in 1997, the album features a dozen tracks combining Melody’s original material, collaborations with Jacob, a pair of  covers – Peter Rowan’s wonderful Mississippi Moon and the Paul Simon classic Graceland and an arrangement of the traditional American folk song Bright Sunny South. 

The something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue (grass) creation comes together in a heaven made match of Americana music.

Beat Surrender Quarterly Round Up

Spring has sprung and we are a 1/4 way through 2012 already, this last few weeks has seen the arrival of a raft of wonderful recordings and I thought it an appropriate time to put something on record.

My youngest is now starting to take more notice of the sounds emanating from the various speakers and portable devices his old man appears to have permanently switched on in one form or another and made a rather sweeping statement last week “Dad you listen to so much different music” which started a variety is the spice of life conversation, not sure he wholly grasped my initial responses but with a few football comparisons thrown in a little nod of the head acknowledged the concept, so the blog will continue to ignore any central focus, genre, artist type or hype and simply focus on the music I like.

Kicking things of is Simone Felice who’s first solo album proper has made a real impression on this listener and this reviewer too – a really self-effecting album with some truly excellent writing.

Last week saw the arrival of the follow up to Lucero’s horn adorned 1372 Overton Park (2012) the bands sound has taken a larger step away from the raucous roots rock ‘n’ roll of the earlier recordings, the ‘new’ sound embracing a more soulful type of rock ‘n’ roll and after a few spins the Memphis soul-train has me on-board and stoked to be along for the ride.

Any recording by Paul Weller is of course an highly anticipated event here and of the back of the two previous albums the expectations were high for Sonik Kicks, rarely has Mr Weller been a disappointment to me and he avoids doing so this time around too, whilst the album has had the impact of 22 Dreams or Wake Up the Nation it is still a great recording and combines enough of the old and new to prove once again his status as one of nations absolute finest musicians of the last 30 years.

From Woking to Stockholm, working their magic into what I’d describe as a more radio friendly package of songs the Söderberg sisters have produced a wonderful album in The Lion’s Roar, not a weak link or shooed in track to be found it’s a fantastic collection of songs that I’m sure will remain of my playlist for years to come.

Following on from 2012 Joe Hill’s Ashes Otis Gibbs has produced another great collection of American songs for Harder Than Hammered Hell, in a parallel world of more perceptive musical tastes Mr Gibbs would be a household name and his tunes would find themselves floating out of speakers all over the place.

No round-up would be complete without a couple of records from country side of the tracks, may I recommend a couple that I’m more than keen on, the first from this side of The Big Pond is the retro-duet offering from the collective talents of Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish who as My Darling Clementine have produced a classic sounding duets album that pays homage to Johnny and June, Dolly and Porter or George and Tammy but there’s not a cover version to be found all the songs are originals and the albums are real delight, crossing over the water another album that’s getting plenty of airtime with me is Rachel Harrington & The Knock-outs self titled début, you can read my thoughts and listen to tracks here.

The advent of Kickstarter, Pledge, Indie GoGo and the like has really opened up avenues for artists to get their music out to the fans with the help and support of the fans, a winner for both sides, I’ve backed a few projects over the last couple of years and yet to be disappointed by the result of my investment and this last quarter has seen the arrival of quality albums from Nat Johnson and the Figureheads, Sons of Bill, Melody Walker, Ellen & The Escapades and some rough mixes and bonus tracks from Kasey Anderson and the Honkies.


Melody Walker – Gold Rush Goddess – CD Giveaway

An album I got behind last year is set for it’s formal release today, Melody Walker’s Gold Rush Goddess is available on CD or as a download on a pay what you want basis at Bandcamp – please give generously.

I have a copy of the CD to give-away to one lucky winner, just send an email to Email with Gold Rush Goddess in the subject line for a chance to win, I’ll pick one out of a hat around March 14th – overseas entries are welcome.

Melody Walker “III EP”

2243-Melody Walker-III EP-38fd9cdf173d365d

Melody Walker is in the process of raising funds for her debut full length album, she’s using a her three track EP, entitled simply III to aid the effort and there’s an interesting back story to the lead off track Gold Rush Goddess – which you can check out at No Depression, the EP features Melody on tenor banjo, guitar and vocals with musical partner Jacob Groopman on mandolin, guitar and vocals, on the strength of the three tracks the album’s definitely worth a punt.

Melody Walker – Gold Rush Goddess

Help fund the album


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