Mike Stinson (Houston, TX)
“Named “Best Country-Western Artist in L.A.” by Los Angeles magazine and called “the uncrowned king of the L.A. neo-honky tonkers” by Billboard, Mike Stinson is in a class by himself among Southern California country performers.
The universally respected singer-songwriter has issued two widely admired independent albums, Jack of All Heartache and Last Fool at the Bar, and 2009 will see the release of his third CD, The Jukebox In Your Heart, produced by the noted Austin, Texas musician Jesse Dayton and recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studios.
Active on the booming Los Angeles country-rock scene since 2001, Virginia-born Stinson draws inspiration from such stylistic progenitors as Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, George Jones, Bob Dylan, and Gram Parsons. He has made the honky-tonk template his own, spinning a distinctive take on the barroom muse in sharply-crafted songs that are by turns rousingly comic and profoundly heartbreaking. His evocative wordplay, emotional directness, and down-to-earth sincerity as both a songsmith and performer have forged an abiding bond with his fans.
Other performers have caught on to Stinson’s impassioned writing: His contemporary classic “The Late Great Golden State” has been covered by both Dwight Yoakam and Billy Bob Thornton. His music has also made inroads in Hollywood: Stinson’s songs have been heard on the soundtracks to the hit TV shows Mad Men, Weeds, and Cold Case, and in the feature comedy National Lampoon’s Adam and Eve.
A knock-‘em-down live performer, Stinson has attracted a legion of devoted followers with eight years of saloon-rocking shows. He is a perennially popular attraction, and plays packed-to-the-walls residencies at the Redwood Bar & Grill in downtown L.A., the Cinema Bar in Culver City, and the Grand Ole Echo at the Echo in Echo Park.” – Chris Morris
Delicate Cutters (Birmingham, Al.)
It opens with a plea. While everything around us, world events, work, technology, all seem to push and shout at us to “Go! Go! Go!” Some Creatures, Delicate Cutters’ first recording for Skybucket Records, emerges as a sobering voice, calling on us to slow down, savor these moments, this music, each other… Over the course of the thirteen tracks comprising Some Creatures, Delicate Cutters examine themes of transition, family, impermanence and loss, delivering a message rich with hope, compassion and a powerful understanding of how these shared experiences connect us with one another.
Following extensive performances across the southeast in support of 2006’s We Are Not Lovers, Delicate Cutters reconvened in 2009, pared down from a quintet to a quartet, to begin working on the songs that would become Some Creatures. This paring down offered new opportunities for Janet Simpson to explore more space in her songwriting. This space provides an opportunity for each player’s own voice and expression to be explored in the ensemble. The result is a set songs that are trim without being spare, a focused album of unified vision.
Kevin Nicholson, a well-known fiddle player in the southeastern U.S.’s Irish music scene, helps propel the emotional intensity of the album. Ferocious at times, at others subdued and textural, his play sets a deft balance with Janet’s vocal and instrumental work. Chance Shirley, in addition to leading the rhythm section, brings his experience as a film director to the band, enhancing the cinematic scope of the album, a fact evidenced by the licensing of one of the album’s tracks in the upcoming film L.A. I Hate You starring Malcolm McDowell. Bass player Brian Moon also produced the album, his intimacy with songs apparent in the rewards found in repeated intentional listens.
Having completed Some Creatures, Delicate Cutters have resumed writing and performing across the Southeast as they gear up for the album’s early 2011 release.