Monday, September 28, 2009

We Moved!!!

Thanks to all of you loyal followers and interested audiences, NYC Art Scene has moved to an easier and more recognizable location. Our new address is http://nycartscene.com, and will feature pictures, videos, and links in addition to our artist profiles and upcoming shows. Please check us out and reset your favorites to http://nycartscene.com.

Thanks! See you there!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who's In Town This Week?

Wednesday, September 23:

Catch NYC Artist ZACH HURD's Record Release at Rockwood Music Hall, 8:00pm. Free show and copies of the new CD available! Ryan Vaughn on Drums/Percussion!

Friday, September 25:

Hans Blix, "an improvisational stream of consciousness, captured in its' entirety from beginning to end" will be playing the Apple Store at West 14th St, 7:00pm. Come check out their new and innovative sound!

Robbie Gil plays Rockwood Music Hall, 12:00am... come check out his newest album and have a night cap :)

Saturday, September 26

Ian Axel's Album Listening Party at Rockwood Music Hall, 3:00pm. Free show, fall weather, great music... who could ask for more?

Then, stick around for Lucius at 8:00pm, also at Rockwood.

Sunday, September 27

8:00pm-10:00pm at Rockwood... Bryan Dunn Birthday Show, featuring artists: Jessi Robertson, Lara Ewen, Casey Shea, Chris Cubeta, Luke Wesley, Emily Easterly, and Tom Hayes. Quite a line-up, don't miss it!


Keep checking in with NYC Artists Scene... we have some EXCITING events and feature articles coming this October!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Music This Weekend!

Great acts to catch this weekend in NYC!

Friday, September 18:

ANDY GRAMMER at Rockwood Music Hall, 10:00pm. Come check out this LA-based artist back home on the East Coast at a FREE Rockwood show!

Saturday, September 19:

From 8-11pm at ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL...

8:00pm NATE CAMPANY

9:00pm HANS & SVEN

10:00pm THE MIEKA CANON

ALSO Saturday, September 20:

MARTIN & CRAIG'S CAMPFIRE at The Red Lion, 7-10pm
No Sunday Campfire this week!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Artist: Monica Ott

Today's NEW featured artist is Monica Ott, whose debut album "Only Human" is set to release at The Bitter End Thursday, October 1 at 8:30pm! Also be sure to visit her brand new website- www.monicaott.com for more information, downloads, and show dates. Here's a little info on Monica, who received Honorable Mention in the prestigious New York Songwriter's Circle contest:

"Singer/songwriter, Monica Ott is proving to be what the term is all about. Hailing from Baltimore, and relocated to New York City, Monica's not a self-proclaimed singer/songwriter because she writes a couple lines of a song, but is, instead, involved in the process every step of the way. From the original conception of the words to the evolution of the music and melodies and final production, Monica Ott's personal goal is to showcase the story of each song. That said, her debut album Only Human was just recently released. Only Human has been called 'a modern album with a timeless sound'."

Welcome to NYC Artists Scene Monica! We'll be sure to take a listen!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Emily Zuzik: Fun, Fearless, and Absolutely Fabulous

Often the most frightening and difficult decisions made in life are the ones that turn the tides. They challenge you, question your strength, and leave you feeling both empowered and completely helpless in one swift move. For Emily Zuzik, it was a summer internship in NYC making the tedious NJ Transit commute, a craving for the excitement and stimulation of the city, and the encouragement of a friend who told her, “You just have to go. It will all work out,” to make the biggest choice of her adult life. In that moment, Emily purchased a one-way ticket, grabbed her college graduation money, and said goodbye to her suburban Pennsylvania roots, bravely facing the city that would open doors of opportunity of which most spend their whole lives simply dreaming. “It never would have happened if I let fear control me,” confidently states Zuzik.


Raised in a Catholic home where singing in choirs and folk mass dominated her youth, Emily honed in on her musical abilities around age twelve, rediscovering the guitar and keyboard, writing and recording on cassette tapes, playing in bands throughout junior high, high school, and college, and consistently embracing music as a creative outlet. It was after her move to San Francisco in 1999, where she approached the open mic scene two to three times a week, feeling welcomed by the community there and finding a place in both cover and original bands, that the sultry singer-songwriter thought to herself “I could have a go at this.” From that point forward music was no longer just a hobby; it was a career she attacked with great confidence and force.


The open mic scene in San Francisco didn’t always crossover to gigs, and Emily found the music scene somewhat inundated with cover bands and specialty sounds- a free-spirited, hippie vibe complete with matching costuming and a theatrical undertone. “The quality of songwriting and playing strikes me as being higher in New York. People come here to make it,” Zuzik notes in comparing the level of professionalism between the two cities. “You find everything here. The top players in the world all come through New York.” While San Francisco tends to turn around new artists every two years or so, NYC offers more room for growth and expansion, allowing all different kinds of people to build a life. Three months after 9/11 struck, Emily and her then-boyfriend found themselves back to New York City, reasoning at the time that New York offered more opportunities than the already crash-ridden San Francisco. “It was a great time to be in New York because there was such a communal spirit,” Zuzik recalls. “Everyone was just trying to get through the madness.”


Since moving back Emily has been extensively involved with numerous aspects of the music and arts business. Originally attending college to be a broadcast journalist, Zuzik used to feel a great deal of pressure to produce an instant answer to the daunting question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Coming from a background where not knowing the answer to that question was just as bad as saying the wrong thing, Zuzik spent much of her adult life exploring a variety of career opportunities in addition to singing and performing. “I don’t know what I thought I was going to be. Part of my life is figuring it out day-to-day,” reveals Emily, citing that her secret to staying sane. Always a writer, keeping journals throughout high school and college in addition to her music and lyrics, Emily has also dabbled in the world of publishing, acting, modeling, print media, and journalism, inevitably coming back to her work creating and collaborating in different facets of music. “Even though I do work in other industries I’m doing something with music everyday, whether it’s prepping for a show, or working with music licensing, commercial singing, jingles, or background vocals.” Zuzik explains.


That same free-spirited, open-minded attitude transcends into Emily’s music and lyrics, which are layered with strength, depth, and often-brutal honesty. Usually writing from an independent, strong-willed mindset, Zuzik observes her shift in perspective as she’s grown and experienced life. Always seeking freedom and success, her style and attitude differs from many of the standard female singer-songwriters the public has grown accustomed to. “I don’t write a lot of love songs,” Emily declares matter-of-factly, ”Because usually if I’m in love I don’t have a lot of time to be writing songs.”


Lyrically, she examines the complicated parts of relationships, the relatable pieces many are often unwilling or ashamed to talk about, such as those where a strong connection cannot compensate for the pain of moving forward, making it easier to simply walk away. Zuzik finds these situations to be just as valid, harboring no fear in expressing her thoughts despite facing possible scrutiny. The song “Breaking It Down,” from her 2006 album “You Had Me at Goodbye” examines the idea of knowing and acknowledging you’re in an abusive relationship, calling out the other person, but are not yet willing to leave. “What about all these other scenarios?” Zuzik questions, adding, “They’re not pretty. They’re not the Hallmark cards.”


This exploration of vulnerability, a commanding stage presence, and a delicate fusion of beauty, intimidation, humor, and talent beguiles audiences, channeling the same musical dominance of early 90s fem-rockers like Aimee Mann, Liz Phair, and PJ Harvey. Admired by many in the NYC community, Zuzik is not only successful as a solo artist but also as a collaborator, frequently sent tracks and given carte blanche to write, bringing the pressure down in working with others, and opening the doors of opportunity to write from alternate perspectives and try on different personalities. The ease in which she transitions from one craft to the next is an inspiration to any artist, encouraging the impossible, stimulating the spirit, and reminding us all that life is simply about taking chances, living to the fullest, and not being afraid to take that giant leap of faith.


For more information on Emily, including links to music and tour dates, please visit www.emilyzuzik.com, MySpace, or Facebook.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happenings This Week!

NYC Artists Playing This Week!

Monday, September 14: EMILY ZUZIK at Rockwood Music Hall, 8:00pm, FREE SHOW! Emily is also this week's featured artist, check out her article this Tuesday! www.rockwoodmusichall.com

Tuesday, September 15: Canal Room Presents JAY NASH and TONY LUCCA with Special Guests MATT DUKE & CAITLIN CROSBY... 8:00PM, $10 advance/$12 door. www.canalroom.com

Wednesday, September 16: AMY REGAN at The Living Room, 9:00pm, FREE SHOW! www.livingroomny.com

Thursday, September 17: NYC Artist EMILY HOPE PRICE w/special guests at Rockwood Music Hall, 8:00pm, FREE SHOW!

Support your independent artist community in NYC!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Artist: Debbie Neigher

Tonight at National Underground check out Debbie Neigher! http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=140818174536

Here's a little information about Debbie:
Don’t let her size fool you; this 5’1” singer-songwriter is not afraid to bang on the keys. Learning piano at age four, composing music at age thirteen, and recording her first EP in her living room at age fifteen, Debbie Neigher has been crafting music on her own terms for as long as she can remember. Her classical training in piano, her father's love for jazz, and a childhood of attending punk and hardcore shows in her native state of New Jersey have all helped to forge her unique sound. Debbie's unabashed blend of rock, jazz, and pop is a refreshing surge of originality, combining unapologetically loud piano riffs with silky vocals. Debbie’s catchy melodies and honest lyrics allow this young artist to truly stand out as she frequents the talented singer-songwriter music scene.

Debbie Neigher Trio Live @ National Underground
September 9th, 7:00 pm
$5 Cover, 21+
This show will feature songs from Debbie's soon-to-be-released "Home" EP and is her last East Coast show before she moves to San Francisco!

myspace.com/debbieneigher
sonicbids.com/debbieneigher

Make sure to stop by!


Monday, August 31, 2009

Music, Music, Music.. THIS WEEK!

Start your week off with a little bit of music....

TONIGHT, MONDAY AUGUST 31- Martin and Craig's BACKSCRATCH III, featuring Kailin Garrity, Wes Hutchinson, Patryk Larney, Martin Rivas, Mike Tait, Rachel Zamstein, Byron Zanos, and Emily Zuzik. Click this Backscratch link to read the details, and join us at 10:00pm at The Red Lion for a great night of music and fun!!

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1- Will Knox, SleeperStar, and Tom LoSchiavo at Canal Room, 8:00pm! Details here: Will Knox at Canal Room

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2- REBEL SPIRIT MUSIC SEPTEMBER SERIES at ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL, FEATURING: Jillian Rhys, Mando Saenz, Ari Herstand + Shayna Zaid & the Catch. 8:00-11:00 PM... Come support these incredible artists as they play their hearts out and share their talents within the walls of this prestigious venue. Details on the invite: Rebel Spirit September Series.

Keep following NYC Artists Scene for the latest updates on who's playing around town, music reviews, and profiles on New York's hottest independent artists!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Larney Brothers: Hello To Farewell EP Release


This Saturday marks a new chapter in Patryk Larney's music career, as he and brother Michael are set to release "Farewell Buffalo," a four-track EP produced by Mike Visceglia and Zak Soulam, featuring the first wave of new songs to hit audiences since 2006, when the two formerly known as "Naked Underneath" recorded "50 Miles From Hope."

Highlights of "Farewell Buffalo" include Patryk and Michael Larney on vocals and guitar, and the combined talent of some of New York's finest musicians: Visceglia, Soulam, Dan Torres, Ryan Vaughn, Brian Killeen, Doug Yowell, and Caleb Hawley. The separately produced bonus track by DBV Productions, "City in the Fall," explores Larney's homage to the city that reawakened his songwriting, creativity, and spirit, rounding out an EP infused with a consummate blend of liveliness and honesty, exemplifying a maturity in sound and a love for the art.

Join Patryk and Michael, Chris Anderson, Josh Dion, Dan Tirer and a variety of special guests at The Bitter End this Saturday, August 29 at 9:30pm... CD's will be available! Additional info can be found at www.patryklarney.com.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

NYC Artists Playing This Week!

Celebrate the last days of summer with music from your favorite NYC Artists!

Wednesday, August 26

CALEB HAWLEY- Rockwood Music Hall, 8:00pm www.rockwoodmusichall.com


Thursday, August 27

NICK HOWARD: Mercury Lounge, 8:00pm opening for Company of Thieves- www.mercuryloungenyc.com

ZACH HURD: The Living Room, 8:00pm "Changing Landscapes" Album Pre-Release also featuring NYC Artists Ryan Vaughn and Caleb Hawley- www.livingroomny.com

THE MIEKA CANON: Rockwood Music Hall, 10:00pm, Final Night of Rockwood Residency- www.rockwoodmusichall.com


Friday, August 28

CASEY SHEA: Highline Ballroom w/Jesse Lynn and Paula Valstein, 7:00pm- www.highlineballroom.com

BRENT SHUTTLEWORTH: Mercury Lounge, 8:00pm- www.mercuryloungenyc.com


COME OUT AND SUPPORT!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Zach Hurd: New Beginnings

For a city that bolsters such beauty, power, and culture, it’s not hard to understand why people are often intimidated by her presence. Talent is abundant, seeping out of the aged, familiar cracks on the streets, echoing softly in the branches of the massive trees that have seen generations grow up and move on, whispering in our ears as we stroll down the streets our beloved artists once walked on, feeling the same nerves and anxiety that exist today. For Zach Hurd, a tall, quiet singer-songwriter hailing from Maine, his chiseled features and calm exterior were a simple façade, masking the concerns and fears of moving to New York.


Hesitant to relocate to the city after years of playing out in Maine, Connecticut, and New Jersey in addition to touring the country with his former band “Causeway,” Zach worried he would fall into the path he’d seen so many musicians succumb to- get a day job, work endlessly to pay rent and make ends meet, and eventually forgo music because there just wasn’t enough time. Fortunately, Hurd has experienced quite the opposite; he found himself inspired by and able to identify with the positive vibe in NYC. “New York has this reputation of being so saturated with artists and musicians, and I guess it is in some ways,” Zach explains. “But when you’re here and you’re doing it- it doesn’t feel quite so unattainable… It gave me a new sense of determination and urgency to really be involved in what I’m passionate about.”


Growing up in a home where both parents were singers, one of Zach’s first memories was observing and hearing his mom sing. “I remember seeing it and thinking ‘Wow, that’s amazing,” Hurd recalls, grinning. “My mom has this really powerful voice and she just connects with people.” While Zach inherited the singing genes, he lacked in the stage presence department, opting to play and write songs on his electric guitar in the privacy of his room or as a part of a group. Bands like Nirvana, Jimmy Hendrix, Green Day, and Pearl Jam were influences in his early years, and after learning many of their songs and beginning to write his own, Hurd and a friend were ready to take on an open mic freshman year of high school. “I could have wet myself I was so nervous,” laughs Zach, recalling the memory.


Over time, the nervousness wore off, and Hurd continued to hone his skills throughout high school and college, eventually forming Causeway with Barbara Pecirep and booking college tours throughout the country. The duo moved to Middletown, NJ as an attempt to get closer to New York City, but after a year and a half Zach decided to break out on his own, picking up and moving to Williamsburg two years ago. The move was an attempt to start focusing on his own music and ambitions, and felt a bit nerve-wracking at first for the new kid in town. “When I moved here, it felt like I was starting all over again,” Hurd confesses.


The singer-songwriter began playing out everywhere he could, making connections, playing open mics such as Spike Hill and Heartland, and re-visiting the New York Songwriter’s Circle, an organization he was already familiar with during his time in Causeway. Feeling apprehensive about going solo and unsure how it would be received, Zach was pleased to find it opened some new doors for him, helping to meet new people, boost his wavering confidence, and obtain feedback and support on new work.


Now Hurd is preparing to release his latest album “Changing Landscapes,” recorded at Thump Studios in Greenpoint, and features Hurd, Richard Levengood (the owner of Thump) on drums, Nick Sullivan on bass, and Norman Vladimir, Lourdes Santiago, and his mom Laurie Hurd on back up vocals. After years of trial and error, Zach is extremely proud of the finished product, and looking forward to the upcoming record release show at The Living Room on August 27 at 8:00pm. “I took more risks,” Hurd reveals, “It’s experimental in places. I wanted to try new sounds, think more out of the box.”


Often lyrically inspired by the more challenging parts of life, such as relationships gone wrong and death, Zach also finds himself stimulated by creative people and fellow artists, observing life through a new, metaphorical pair of glasses. “People who are always creating inspire me to want to go back to my apartment and write,” claims Hurd, adding, “I’ve been moved a lot lately by painters and visual art. Living in the city there’s so much of it- its so visually stimulating. There’s so much to work with.”


As time passes and life continually evolves, Zach’s love and passion for music grows exceedingly evident. Determined to maintain a career based on longevity and a wonderfully loyal fan base, much like singer-songwriters James Taylor and Beck, Hurd greatly admires creativity and classic resonation, striving to produce the same qualities in his own work. “The music is really important to them,” Zach notes. “Yeah, they’ve had some hits that allowed them to continue their careers, but it’s easy to see it’s not about the hit song, it’s about doing what’s right for the music… Just doing what you love.”


An artist who has quietly crept into the NYC music scene with his inventive, captivating sound and a warm sincerity that instantly draws you in, Zach is bound to make giant strides in the wake of his latest album. Understanding the importance of overcoming hardships and insecurities and pushing yourself to get to the places you need to be, Hurd is the upcoming artist to watch- securing a place on the stage and a place in the hearts of enthusiastic audiences and familiar faces that make the “Big Apple” seem that much smaller.


For more information on Zach please visit www.myspace.com/zhurd or find Zach on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zachhurdmusic. Be sure to check out the Record Release of "Changing Landscapes at The Living Room this Thursday, 8:00pm and get your copy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Amber Rubarth: A Cinderella Story

Once upon a time in a land far, far away there lived a little girl named Amber Rubarth whose love for music started with the piano at age 3. As she grew up, the inexperienced, shy, and insecure teenager found herself torn about what path she desired to take in life, and so, Amber said goodbye to her lovely home in California and set forth on a journey to discover what lay ahead. The 17-year-old found herself in Carson City, Nevada, originally planning to attend college but drawn to another unique and unusual livelihood.


On a simple bike ride one afternoon Amber came across a flyer for a wood sculpture apprenticeship. Thinking, “That sounds fun,” she researched the opportunity further and discovered an unexpected interest in the art. Three and half years later, Rubarth’s teacher noticed her enthusiasm dwindling and encouraged her to determine what inspired and sparked excitement within, and then to pursue it. “I knew it was music,” Amber says, reflecting on her early experimentation with songwriting and playing. “But I had never played guitar and I had never played out. It was such a personal thing.”


And here our fairytale begins. Rubarth packed up the wood sculpting career, and headed to Reno to explore her dormant passion. Hitting up local coffee shops to check out musicians passing through, it was after Joel Ackerson and Seth Horan, both singer-songwriters from New York, ventured into town on tour that Amber discovered her first big connection into the music world. Rubarth was invited to join them on tour, and took the opportunity to dive into and learn more about the singer-songwriter world that was so fresh and new to this budding artist.


A painfully shy adolescent, Amber wrote her first three songs as a freshman in high school, using songwriting as an outlet because she was hesitant to talk to people about her feelings. During her time in Reno, playing out and observing the talents that passed through the city, Rubarth started to come into her own, and was quickly discovered and recognized across town. “Even when I first started writing I was super shy. I remember my first open mic- my head was down and I thought it was really weird people were looking at me… I was quite awkward for awhile,” Amber recalls, laughing at the memory. “And then it just wore off. As long as I don’t think about myself it’s not awkward. If I’m focusing on the song, the music, or the people that came to the show it’s easier.”


Rubarth’s ambivalent background comes as a surprise to anyone who’s seen the sweet, genuine, down-to-earth lovely burst to life in performance. Her quirky, light style, girl-next-door quality and honest, uncontrived lyrics brighten the audience and bring a breath of fresh air to the stage. Since making the move to New York City two and half years ago, Amber has captured the hearts of industry reps, popular venues, and respected musicians all over, with so many doors opening it’s impressive she’s kept it all aligned and balanced. In just her first trip to NYC, Rubarth made a connection on craigslist.org by simply posting that she was in town and available for any acts looking for an opener. “Twenty minutes later I got an e-mail back. Someone had just cancelled an 8:00 slot at the Living Room on a Thursday night, and they asked if I wanted to open for them,” reveals Amber, her voice dripping with excitement over booking a Living Room gig first time out.


Now Rubarth’s resume reads like a chapter in the book “How to Become an Incredible Singer-Songwriter, Record Amazing Albums, Travel the World, and Still Manage to Be the Coolest Chick in NYC.” Utilizing the internet as her prominent source for networking, booking, and promoting, Amber has opened for artists such as Lisa Loeb and Brett Dennen- who simply discovered Rubarth’s music on MySpace and e-mailed her to join him on tour. Another opportunity that came about through a MySpace’s “Friends and Family” music connection, a program that highlights independent and unsigned artists on the popular networking site, is the upcoming Joshua Radin tour. When Radin’s managers were seeking opening acts they approached MySpace music, Amber’s name was recommended, and starting this September she will travel around the country with Radin and Gary Jules, sharing her beloved music with an ever-growing fan base.


In addition, Rubarth is in the process of releasing her newest full-length CD “Good Mystery,” the third album to hit the public since 2005. Recorded in upstate New York at an old church in Syracuse, Amber is extremely excited to bestow her latest work onto eager listeners. “The first [album] was ‘Hey, I have ten songs and I’m gonna put them all together!’” Rubarth smiles, continuing, “The second was really exciting at first and then everything sort of crumbled and collapsed around it. This one feels good because I co-produced it, I had a bunch of songs to choose from, and I knew what kind of sounds I wanted.”


Furthermore, the bright-eyed entrepreneur will be releasing another CD with Paper Raincoat, her band co-fronted with colleague and friend Alex Wong, and taking a brief trip to India to partake in TED Talks, where she’ll experience motivational and informative speeches by renowned innovators and creative minds.


All this will be happening after the “Good Mystery” Record Release party this Friday, August 21, at Joe’s Pub in New York City. Thrilled for the album to debut in the city she now calls home, Amber is looking forward to a long career ahead, much like those of Tom Waits and Josh Ritter, whose careers she respects, admires, and hopes to emulate one day due to their innovative, thoughtful song writing and eternal reinvention of themselves and their music.


From the timid teenager sculpting wood in the depths of Nevada to the proud-yet-humble young woman gracing stages throughout the US and Europe, Amber Rubarth has truly become the Cinderella of the singer-songwriter world. Living her life in the moment and not over thinking every step along the way, Amber exemplifies how dreams can come true; just believe in yourself and the desire to be aggressive in who you are and who you want to be. In an industry where struggle, frustration, and self-doubt is a part of daily existence, it’s refreshing to see an artist who leads with an open mind and an open heart, ready to rule the music community long after the clock strikes twelve.


For more information on Amber please visit www.amberrubarth.com, www.myspace.com/amberrubarth, or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amberrubarthmusic.


AND be sure to check out the "Good Mystery" Record Release Party at Joe's Pub in NYC, this Friday, August 21 at 7:00pm! www.joespub.com


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Martin Rivas' "Sea of Clouds" Album Release

With wild blonde hair, dark-rimmed glasses, and a smile that brightens and comforts even the gloomiest New York day, Martin Rivas is the unsurpassed winner of the NYC Artist Scene award for “Slow and Steady Wins the Race.” After years of diligently plugging away at his talent, accepting all performance opportunities and collaborating with a variety of artists, the gifted musician has brought the concept of family into the scene, creating a loving, supportive environment and nurturing opportunities for every artist to grow together. His previous albums, Glorious, Bottleneck, and Pride of the Valley were lovely seedlings, homegrown and ripe for picking, but with his fourth effort he’s finally found his prize-winning garden.


In a time when music can come across as contrived and forced, the serene, genuine quality and exquisite execution of “Sea of Clouds” provides loyal listeners with Martin Rivas’ best album to date. Tracks alternate between simple acoustic guitar riffs, soft piano melodies, and the explosive percussions of long-time friend and drummer Craig Meyer, bringing warmth, telling stories, and breathing life into the songs, while still maintaining the classic rock and reminiscent element that Rivas fans have grown to admire.


Perhaps the strongest feature of the twelve-track album, produced by Dave Pittenger, is the underlying positive consistency found in each of the songs, an attribute that Rivas is known for. Hope, love, happiness, and empathy are all superior messages, dominating the lyrics and intricately woven into the music. From the encouraging words “In the hour that’s the darkest, remember that you’re blessed,” found in “Get Yourself Together,” a tune that brings you back to the sweetness and soul of Smokey Robinson, to the rock n’roll sounds of “A Name Scratched on a Desk” and the infectious, sunny beat behind “Heckuva Day,” which draws subtle influences from pop greats like The Beach Boys, Martin has fully captured the journey he’s taken to date, sharing it graciously, powerfully, and with humility.


There are people in this world who sing for the glory and there are people who sing for love and fulfillment that a single lyric may touch just one person and change them, whether for a split-second or a lifetime. A master of his terrain, a role model to fresh singer-songwriters, and a constant supporter of the community who so obviously adores him, Martin Rivas is the latter, once again blessing us with his gift, softening the hardest of those New York hearts, slowing down the eternal rush of the city, and lifting us to a place in the sky where we can gently rest our weary, worn-out minds and escape into the simplicity of sound.


Please join Martin and crew at The Bitter End this Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:00pm for the “Sea of Clouds” album release and visit www.martinrivas.net for purchasing options.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ree Merrill: "A Broken Barbie"

Anyone who has ever lived in New York City understands the stressful-yet-comical daily struggle of making your way through this unpredictable town. From living on friends couches to stopping to order food amidst a crisis to sharing an apartment with three other NYC implants, the experiences may differ in details, but are overall strikingly similar, leaving residents both new and seasoned with stories to share for generations to come.


Such is the story of “A Broken Barbie,” a humorous, heartwarming parody based loosely on the experience of moving to New York from the South that marks actress Ree Merrill’s playwriting debut. The play, centered on the storyline of four friends living in a New York City apartment, highlights the dichotomy of their relationship and the importance of accepting people, while giving audiences a taste of what happens in the worst-case scenario of these personalities colliding. Merrill, who lives and works in New York, came up with the concept randomly while reflecting on a simple memory of a childhood toy.


“One day I was thinking about this doll I had when I was younger that my brother destroyed… Why did I remember her? Because of what happened to her- it was very traumatic,” Ree explains of the idea of a “broken Barbie,” laughing lightly. “It’s funny how as people we try to be perfect and look a certain way, but what makes you remember people, take relationships beyond surface level, and care for and love a friend, are the bad things, the things from the past, the things they’ve been through.”


The play, rounded out by a four-person cast consisting of Merrill, Wendell Jordan, Richard Bryson, and Sailor Verdes, will make its debut at The Strawberry One-Act Festival on August 13, 2009 at 9:00pm. Ree submitted “A Broken Barbie” to the festival on a whim, and was thrilled to be one of the 38 plays chosen from hundreds submitted across the country. The Strawberry Festival, founded by Van Dirk Fisher in the hopes of providing a nurturing environment to produce new plays and highlight outstanding artists, is now entering its 16th season. Described as “the American Idol for playwrights” by the New York Daily News, the festival is a play competition in which the audience and the theatre’s judges cast their votes to select the best play of the season, holding semi-final and final rounds before crowning the winner.


Directed by Emily Swanson, with Stage Director Cristina Fowler, the ensemble piece features costumes by Ashley Guiel and an original song by Wes Hutchinson. The Strawberry One-Act Festival will be held at The Theatre at St. Clements, 423 West 46th St, NY, NY. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 646-623-3488 or visit www.therianttheatre.com. Seating is limited and reservations are suggested.


Come out and support a local NYC artist, whose touching tale of “A Broken Barbie” is sure to tug at the heartstrings, break down barriers, and revive memories of the uniquely incredible experience of living in the greatest city in the world.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What NOT to Miss, This Week in NYC!

Big week of shows and events happening here in New York, so mark your calendars!

Tuesday, August 11

@ THE RED LION

DAVE PITTENGER, 8:30pm- www.redlionnyc.com

@ARLENE'S GROCERY

WALKING UPRIGHT, 8:00pm- www.arlenesgrocery.net


Wednesday, August 12

@ LE POISSON ROUGE

RUDDER, 7:00pm- www.lepoissonrouge.com

@ ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL:

JEFF JACOBSON, 9:00 PM

PORTER BLOCK CD RELEASE, 10:00 PM

SHWA LOSBEN BAND, 11:00 PM

www.rockwoodmusichall.com


@PUBLIC ASSEMBLY:

Silver Sound Presents
NYC's 1st Music Video Film Festival + Band Battle
8pm sharp!

Front room - MVFF
Back room - Band Battle
70 N6 St, Williamsburg Brooklyn
First Brooklyn stop on the L train

BAND BATTLE:
The 10 Finalists performing live for a chance to win their very own music video worth over $10,000 are:
Belikos
Dinosaur Feathers
Hank & Cupcakes
Holler Wild Rose!
No Lindsay
Sami Akbari
The Basements
The Courtesy Tier
The Dead River Company
and
The Glorious Veins
(for pics and bios head to
http://www.silversound.us/music-video-film-festival-band-battle/band-battle)

All packaged nicely and hosted by senior editor of VH1s bestweekever.tv (and talking head extraordinaire) Dan Hopper.

AND

The MVFF
Thirty eight music videos from 5 different countries have made the cut. They range from Cannes Award-winning to homemade.
For a full list visit:
http://www.silversound.us/music-video-film-festival-band-battle/nyc-1st-mvff

AND, the Music Video Film Festival will feature performances in between music video blocks by:
Lowry
H.Wood
Ivan and the Terribles
AND
a special post festival performance by
The Ludlow Lions

www.publicassemblynyc.com

Thursday, August 13

@THE BITTER END

MARTIN RIVAS- Sea of Clouds Record Release!! 10:00pm, www.martinrivas.net

@ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL

MIEKA PAULEY- Week 2 Residency @Rockwood Music Hall, 10:00pm


DON'T MISS THIS FANTASTIC LINE-UP OF ARTISTS THIS WEEK!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Derek James: The Road Less Taken

Perched casually at an outdoor café on Houston St, a beautiful Australian cattle dog named Bailey draws constant attention. Leash tied loosely around her neck, she meanders about the chairs, stopping occasionally to lap a quick drink from her Frisbee-turned-water-bowl and soak up affection from intrigued passer-bys, wanting to know the breed of this lovely animal.


The proud papa happily responds to the questioning strangers, taking time in between light conversation and delicate laughter to pet Bailey and crack jokes on the eternal awkwardness of human nature. Bailey looks up at her owner, a well-known singer-songwriter with a twinkle in his eye, dry wit on his tongue, and effortless charisma, lays back down on the sidewalk, and continues to take in the New York scenery, as Derek James begins his tale of the fascinating journey that brought him to this infamous LES street corner.


The Syracuse University philosophy major struggled as a teenager, always wanting to sing but being embarrassed of his voice. Derek compensated by using his “Adam Sandler” voice to “joke sing,” until finally opting for a few voice lessons in college. The lessons helped James loosen up, although his confidence waned after an impromptu dorm room performance freshman year. “I played for a group of girls on my floor, and when I started to sing they all started laughing. And I wasn’t doing the [joke] voice,” Derek recalls, his smile widening. “I thought ‘Oh crap, that’s not the response I wanted.’”


It wasn’t until his last year of school living abroad in Australia that James finally attended his first open mic, finding comfort in a place far from the US. After the year in Australia, Derek continued his international travels and moved to the South of France, where he worked simply playing music on the streets, earning up to 125 euros a day performing for a few hours with a four piece band. James took time during this bohemian lifestyle to dig deeper into the music and lyrics he started writing in high school and college, making friends, trying out new tunes, and embracing the non-judgmental culture. The singer-songwriter lasted in France for a year, before moving back to the States in 2004, finally ready to perform and share his music with those who spoke the same language.


The story only begins there. Upon returning to NYC, Derek needed to find a way to survive while building his music career, so he lived for a year and a half with a family as their “manny.” There was no pay involved- James lived and ate for free while serving as a surrogate brother and son to the family. The experience was humbling for Derek as he points out the irony: “I was living as a nanny because I couldn’t make the kind of money living in NYC as I made on the streets of France.” Nights were spent hanging out with the family dog in the basement of the house, editing bar mitzvah videos to make extra cash.


In the meantime, James dove into the New York scene, dropping off demos and booking gigs at CBGB’s, The Continental, and Pianos, to name a few. Eventually this persistence paid off, and it wasn’t before long that Derek found himself opening for Blues Traveler at a huge outdoor music festival in Virginia. Family and friends flew in to see his big debut, but weather conditions prohibited the show from happening. “Wind was blowing, rain was jumping in your nose and flying in every directions, and people were standing with water up to their ankles and umbrellas over their heads just waiting for it to clear up,” Derek describes of the unexpected high point of his career, “Even though we never got a chance to play it was still an awesome experience being around this huge tour bus and successful band.”


Now Derek James is a mainstay in the NYC artists scene, playing Rockwood Music Hall, Bowery Ballroom, and joining forces with other artists for concerts like the “Rocks Off!” boat cruise around Manhattan. Citing the community as being “rich and dense” with talent, Derek credits the music scene with greatly helping his career, passing creative ideas back and forth amongst friendships formed with fellow musicians. While choosing to live in NYC specifically for the community, Derek also enjoys time away, traveling and experiencing the great outdoors. “My need for playing and touring is wider than the Lower East Side,” James explains. This fall, James will embark on another lengthy tour booked through NACA (National Association of Campus Activities), as well as producing a brand-new, full length CD, loaded with the satisfying blend of the acoustic power and soulful swing audiences have grown to love.


Derek’s sound, unique in delivery and addictive in nature, is a powerful compromise of classic acoustics, rogue gypsy street music, and clever, catchy lyrics, providing audiences with a thoroughly entertaining and audibly pleasing performance… still humming along well into the following day. Despite hesitations and uncertainties growing up, James was always drawn to the magic of the stage. “Whenever I saw concerts when I was younger I was always mesmerized by these few people on stage moving this whole mass of people. I always wanted to do that,” Derek states with excitement. “I don’t want to be in the crowd, I want to be moving the crowd.” No surprise to anyone who’s witnessed a Derek James performance, rich with passion, humor, and excitement and exuding the natural love this singer-songwriter has for his art.


Whether a street performer in France, a manny in a suburban New York basement, or a reigning rocker lighting up the stage, Derek James is an act the needs to be seen. One listen to his current CD, “Stray,” leaves you hungry for the next line-up of brilliantly constructed, musically captivating songs that resonate of a time when music was for dancing, swinging, and singing along. James’ energy is memorable; a true boy-next-door embracing life’s simple pleasures and loving a quality laugh, time with family, friends and his dog, and the occasional practical joke. Hooking you instantly and plastering a perma-grin on your face that’s hard to shake off long after the last note has subsided, Derek embodies the spirit that so many New Yorker’s crave during stressful, difficult times… live, laugh, and love.


For more information on Derek please check out www.myspace.com/derekjamesmusic or www.derekjamesmusic.com.



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August Rebel Spirit Music Series

Tomorrow night at Rockwood Music Hall, Rebel Spirit Music hosts their August showcase featuring an incredibly talented line-up and a special guest performer...

The show starts promptly at 8:00pm... artists include:

Abby Payne- http://www.myspace.com/abbypaynesongs

Jerzy Jung- http://www.myspace.com/jerzyjung

Jon Solo- http://www.myspace.com/jonsolomusic

Garrison Star- http://www.myspace.com/garrisonstarr

Special Guest BRETT DENNEN- http://brettdennen.net

The night will be sponsored by the wonderful Musicians on Call and Wanduta.com, two foundations devoted to raising money and awareness for a greater cause. Musicians on Call brings live music to hospital patients, providing happiness, hope, and entertainment to those who have fallen ill. Wanduta.com is a newly formed website geared towards providing independent artists with various benefits such as affordable healthcare and discounts on food, gear, travel, etc.

Come one, come all... Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 3, 2009

For Kasey

I have a friend whose contagious smile instantly brightens any room she steps into. Her energy and aura is overwhelmingly beautiful, and you would be hard-pressed to catch her in a moment when she wasn't genuinely enthusiastic and passionate about life, music, love, and friendship. This up-and-coming actress is an avid supporter of the arts, attending shows night after night to cheer on her boyfriend and friends, whether it be dancing in front of the stage at The Red Lion or singing along to familiar tunes at Rockwood. My friend is Kasey Williams, and this weekend that gorgeous smile was unfairly taken away from her, as she experienced the tragic loss of her father in a car accident.

On Saturday, August 2, Kasey received a phone call informing her that her family, who had been vacationing in South Carolina, were in a very bad car accident. In the car had been her mother, father, sister, three-year-old nephew, and sister's friend. Her father was listed in critical condition, and passed away overnight. Her sister sustained multiple injuries and required immediate surgery.

To make matters worse, the man that hit them was under the influence and driving a stolen car. The accident was a hit-and-run... the cops found the car and finally the suspect a few hours later, and he's now in custody.

There a no words in a time like this. Nothing can make up for the great loss Kasey and her family are experiencing, and nothing will heal the pain that inevitably comes in the face of such great tragedy. For those of us who love and adore Kasey, it's a struggle to find anything that can express how much she means to us... all we want to do is make it all go away, and restore her happiness and spirit.

The NYC Artist community is doing everything we can to bring small moments of joy and a sense of financial comfort to Kasey and her family. I have included links to the first two efforts, and will continue to update the site with information on how you can help.

The first is an organization set up by Kasey's friends, where you can make donations to help the family while they are stuck in South Carolina, unable to return to their home in Tennessee at the moment. The link is http://www.thewilliamsfamilyfund.blogspot.com. Every little thing counts.

In addition, tonight at the Red Lion, Kasey's boyfriend- Ryan Vaughn- and his cover band The Red Liners, will be playing a last minute show from 10pm-1am. A donation bucket will be passed out during the show, and a video will be shot and sent down to her so she can feel the love and support of the NYC community during this difficult time. Information on the event can be found here- http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=111630718843&ref=nf. If you are in town, please come by... The Red Liners is one of Kasey's favorite shows in the city.

If you are interested in making any further donations or would like to help in any way, please contact me via e-mail-clm1126@gmail.com, and I will make sure to point you in the direction needed. Kasey is one of my closest and dearest friends in New York... my heart breaks for her and her family during this time, and I want to make sure in every way possible she is reminded daily of how much she is loved, missed, and supported by her friends up North.

We love you Kase. Stay strong.... I'm shaking two eggs in honor of you tonight. ;) Can't wait to see your smile and hear your laugh again.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

NYC Artists around town THIS WEEKEND!

So many great shows featuring our insanely talented NYC Artists happening this weekend... Take a look!

TONIGHT, THURSDAY 7/30

DAN TORRES- Final Night of Dan's Rockwood Residency, 10pm at Rockwood Music Hall- www.rockwoodmusichall.com. Full Band w/Ryan Vaughn, Patrick Firth, Dan Tirer, and Brian Killeen!

FRIDAY, 7/31

BESS ROGERS- Quest for Glory Tour w/Allison Weiss and Leila Broussard... The Living Room, 9pm. www.livingroomny.com

MARTIN RIVAS- Late night at Rockwood! 1:00am show at Rockwood Music Hall... finish off your night with some great music!!


SATURDAY, 8/1

BRENT SHUTTLEWORTH- Rockwood Music Hall, 10pm, with special guests Ryan Vaughn, Wes Hutchinson, and Dan Torres. Don't miss it!


If you are in town be sure to come hang out!!

~Christina