Free Download:Avalanche City-Our New Life Above The Ground

avalanche city Our New Life Above The Ground

This week I present so good ol’ indie folk just in time for campfires and chili. Honestly I don’t know what one has to do with the other, but one thing is for sure is that Avalanche City is doing us all a favor by allowing us to enjoy their stellar album for free. If you knew the band The Snake The Cross The Crown, then that is about the only band I can compare these guys to. If you don’t know that band, then i guess the term “indie folk” is the best description I can give. The music from Our New Life Above The Ground is defiantly folk, but there are alot of modern flares present as well, giving the whole album a light-hearted mood that somewhat clashes with more serious lyrics. In a good way.

If I had to be honest, I may have found one of your new favorite bands. So you are welcome……

Download Avalanche City-Our New Life Above The Ground

The Farewell Drifters Post Live Video

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Below is a live performance of bluegrass/indie folk band The Farewell Drifters‘ new song “Everyone Is Talking”. The song will appear on their upcoming May, 2010 release, Yellow Tag Mondays. Enjoy!

Christian Artists To Know: The Welcome Wagon

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The Welcome Wagon
Genre: Country/Folk
Styles: Americana, Indie Folk, Gospel
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Label: Asthmatic Kitty
Myspace: www.myspace.com/welcometothewelcomewagon
Christian Label: No
Category: The Spiritual whats this?

When the modern worship movement began way back In the sixties, the modernizing of the gospel felt like a fresh approach for a generation feeling alienated by their hymnals.  As time progressed, so did the way we worshiped. Larger bands and more vocals aloud worship services to build to a crescendo never felt before in church.  Like all good things though, an over saturation of highly produced, commercialized praise music began to leave some of the intimacy out of the process.  A need has begun to grow for music that not only is able to be relevant to the current generation, but also never lose the heart of praise, and the sweetness of a seeking believer. It is in this need that we find The Welcome Wagon.

The band is made (primarily) up of Monique and Reverend Thomas “Vito” Aiuto, a pastor and wife team out of Brooklyn.  Neither are trained musicians, but that did not deter the couple from playing music in their home. Since they weren’t able to read music, their early sessions were simply made up renditions of old church songs. Time went on, and they began to write their own songs and experiment more and more. Thus the beginnings of  The Welcome Wagon were in place.   It was with the help of friend, neighbor, and church member Sufjan Stevens that Welcome To The Welcome Wagon was recorded however; with the Aiutos writing the core of the songs and arrangements for the tracks,  and Stevens producing and fleshing out the couple’s sound.  Sufjan released the album through his label, Asthmatic Kitty, and the critics loved it. Welcome To The Welcome Wagon was in the top of most people’s “Best Of 08″ lists, and the album has been well received by anybody lucky enough to hear it.

So what is so special about THIS album? How can a couple out of New York with no musical ability make songs that everybody, inside and out of the church, seems to love?  Two things: sincerity and quality.  The Welcome Wagon lead a new brand of worshipful music that does its best to remain honest in front of God. Not all the songs are originals, some are older than people playing them, but the new arrangements make every track The Welcome Wagon‘s. This allows their original songs to flow seamlessly with the cover songs, and for the collection of tracks to work as a body.  Thoughtful but simple lyrics populate their original songs, uncluttered by “church speak”.  At times it almost sound like the type of songs that a child might write to God on a rainy night.

Don’t take that to mean that the songs are not deep, Vito is a pastor remember, but the ideas are never presented in a way that only believers could understand. The music that accompanies the words moves along the same lines, blending elements of country, folk, and Steven’s unique indie touch. There are horns, soaring vocals, and a little piano jazz in there. At no times are you ever thinking that this band made this is a studio though, it is safer to assume that they might be in a living room, all sitting around on the floor recording. This allows the album to draw the listener into an intimate atmosphere with the band and their Creator.

A perfect illustration of this intimacy is the song “Up On A Mountain” , recorded beautifully here in late 2008

The Welcome Wagon are a breath of fresh air. Their light-hearted but deeply intelligent approach to music is one rarely seen in a world of T-Pain and Three Doors Down.  Their music will make your heart soar and your mind happy.  Their is a undeniable sweetness that just makes you want to listen them over and over.  We are featuring Vito as one of our “Voices Of The Underground”, and so far he has contributed some of our best responses. Maybe with all the attention, The Welcome Wagon will make a lot more music over the next few years. Maybe they wont.  My prayer is that everybody gets to listen to this cool little couple’s music and smile like I did the first time I heard The Welcome Wagon.

You can buy The Welcome Wagon‘s music digitally on The Welcome Wagon

You can also buy their CD on Amazon:

Welcome To The Welcome Wagon

Christian Artists To Know: Brooke Waggoner

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Brooke Waggoner
Genre: Pop
Styles: Indie-Folk, Progressive, Singer/Songwriter
Location: Nashville, TN
Label: SwoonMoon Music
Website: www.brookewaggoner.com
Myspace: myspace.com/brookewaggoner
Christian Label: No
Category: The Light whats this?

There is a fine line in music that few can walk.  This line is the one that separates the familiar from the new. The easy from the difficult.  The lite from the dense. The accessible from the talented.  Most artists crumble under the pressure of trying to stay on this line. On one hand they want to be creative and innovative. On the other, they want people to be able to get into their music, to be accepted.  Most go one way or the other, some never find either extreme.  In the hands of a capable and talented artist however, this line is walked with seemingly effortless execution, understanding, and depth.  One of these such artist’s is Louisiana born turned Nashville native Brooke Waggoner.

At only 23, and with only one EP and one full-length LP under her belt, Brooke Waggoner has carved a musical niche’ envied by musicians twice her age.  Long before  receiving degrees in music and composition, Brooke had played music since she was very young ( before age 10).  Once she hit college, her aspirations of just simply writing  faded, replaced by a new love of live music and performing.  After relocating to Nashville, her first EP entitled Fresh Pair Of Eyes was released in 2007.  On the surface, Brooke appeared to fit in to the piano-girl pop scene with Vanessa Carlton and others like her.  It does not take long, however, to realize that Ms. Waggoner is miles ahead of her peers. Deep and soulful lyrics company with dense and beautiful piano/folk arrangements in a impressive display of song writing prowess. In 2008, Brooke released her first full-length, Heal For The Honey, to critical acclaim.  Patrol Magazine named it “Best Faith-Based Album Of The Year”. The LP was a natural extension of the EP, but with new shades of indie rock and pop progression. All these sounds come together in a gorgeous display of balance and patience, giving listeners a lot to love in Honey‘s eleven tracks.

Brooke’s sound stems from a desire to wear her influences on her sleeves.  Her weapon of choice is the piano, but her song writing abilities extend far beyond that.  Where most performers in this genre hire writers to compose this and that for their songs, Brooke has her hand in every aspect of her music. Including the string arrangements found on Fresh Pair Of Eyes.  Her lyrics are full of whimsical joy, but with tinges of sadness and thought.  Every song seems to be a look inside but not so much that the listener cant see a little of themselves. The music lends itself in every way to the lyrical directions of the songs, letting the softer melodies remain, but also allowing the more progressive elements shine. As with every aspect of her art, the sound is creative without exclusion.  Easy to understand without dumbing down.  So many descriptions can be written, but two seem the most obvious and natural. Beautiful and talented.

Its just one of those things you have to see for yourself

Brooke Waggoner is our quickest hear-her-for-the-first-time-must-to-tell-people-about-her conversion. Artists like Brooke are the type that you might have gone through your entire life without hearing about, especially in the “Christian music” circles. However, those same artists are the ones you cant think of what you would do if they weren’t in your collection after you hear them.  The classics you never knew were there.  We highly recommend Brooke to fans of any music, because you wont be disappointed. Stop reading this and do yourself a favor, go listen to Brooke Waggoner right now!

Oh yea, you can. You can buy Brooke Waggoner’s music on Brooke Waggoner

HEY, I almost forgot! Click on the link below to get the Fresh Pair Of Eyes EP for free after you sign up for her mailing list. How much better can it get?

Get Fresh Pair of Eyes EP by Brooke Waggoner for free