Saturday, January 26, 2013

Country Music News International January 26. 2013

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Country Music News International
Editor / Publisher
Christian Lamitschka
An der Pfingstweide 28
61118 Bad Vilbel
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Interview with Tokyo Rosenthal

Interview with Tokyo Rosenthal

Lamitschka:  Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?

Tokyo Rosenthal:  I’d say several things. First, while I’m classified as a singer /songwriter, I play quite a few instruments on and off my records including lead guitar, piano, mandolin and drums. My genre is Americana but my music, like the music that’s classified today as Americana, is eclectic. I can go from Country to Roots to Blues to Latin to Folk and back to Country again all on the same album. But somehow it all seems to flow together. I never predetermine how the album will be. I just play and sing the songs as I feel them.
I’ve been doing this for close to 30 years now but all the prior experience came together starting about 7 years ago when I began recording “The One Score and Ten“ album and now my I’ve completed my fifth album. For the record I grew up outside of New York City, moved to L.A., and have resided in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for many years.

Lamitschka:  What is your latest CD and how's it doing?

Tokyo Rosenthal:  The new CD is called „Tokyo’s Fifth“ and I believe it’s off to a good start if I believe the initial reviews. Early airplay has been excellent in the States and in Europe and I hope it keeps up. I’ll be touring behind the album beginning in February and I’ll hit ireland and the UK in May. I’m selling a few CDs and downloads too. So no complaints and looking forward to the next several months and getting to play the tunes live.

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).

Tokyo Rosenthal:  I wrote 9 of the 10 tunes on “Tokyo’s Fifth“. If you would have told me that this record would open with a “ Klezmer style “ clarinet I would have said you were crazy. But “This Ship Will Sail“, the title track, called for that and there’s where we went and in my opinion it worked great. Subconciously I think I took the song in a Civil Wars diection. “Waste Of A Heart“ is about my Father and features the great vocals of Andrea Connolly .KInda has a Gospel feel to it in 5/4 time. “Mulberry Place“ seems to be the early crowd favorite. Beautiful fiddle work by John Teer of Chatham County Line on this one and all throughout the album. I’ll discuss the single, “What Did I Used To Be?“, below. The Immigrant is about the abuse of Chicanos in Arizona and is very Tex- Mex as we use accordion and mandolin and lots of percussion. My only cover, “Helter Skelter“ , came about by Paul McCartney’s demo version of it on The Beatles Anthlogy CD. It allowed me to take the song in another direction from how they recorded it on The White Album. Hope Paul likes it! “Killaloe“ is a Celtic flavored ballad about the town in Ireland where I kicked off my last tour. John Teer tears up the CD again with his fiddle playing on this one. “Smoke and Mirrors“, “WE Put You Down“, and “Thank You You’re Beautiful“ round out the album in reggae, grunge, and samba styles respectively while staying within the vibe of the entire record. Kudos to engineer Chris Stamey for making that happen!!

Lamitschka:  Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?

Tokyo Rosenthal:  “What Did I Used To Be?“ touches on every element of the current economic issues all over the world. Job loss, outsourcing, gas prices, home loss, obsolesence, reinvention, and suicide. If you can’t relate to this song then you must have your head in the sand. Musically the pedal steel playing of Allyn Love distinguishes this song from any other on the CD. He’s masterful and created the opening lick that ties all the elements together. Finally, Nic Beery produced and directed a very special video to go with the song and express its sentiments. It’s gone mini-viral and I believe it will coninue to attract viewers.

Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have over your music?

Tokyo Rosenthal:  I have total control but tha being said I look to others for guidance and try and give creative freedom to the other musicians that play on my CDs. My “guru“ is Chris Stamey who engineers, assists in the production, and plays bass on my albums. He gets the best work out of me and I listen closely to his opinions. Charlie Chamberlain tours with me and seems to know what I want before I know what I want, LOL, as far as lead guitar work and mandolin. The same can be said for John Teer and Allyn Love when it comes to fiddle and pedal steel repsectively. While I have the final say I’d be hard pressed to point out even one disagreement between any of us on “Tokyo’s Fifth“. Great bunch of guys to and gal(Andrea Connolly) to work with.

Lamitschka:  If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

Tokyo Rosenthal:  I would want to maintain the CD Store, even if you have downloading stations in the store as well. The loss of the CD Store a a fraternal place is criminal. It’s also a loss as a marketing vehicle. For better or worse, CD Store employees have always been a great yardstick for what’s new, what’s different and what’s good. To have to scrape around the internet(no offense Chrisitian) to find what’s new, and spearate the good from the bad, is often futile as there’s just too much out there. The local CD Stores were a great gathering place for musicians, fans, local promoters, and collectors. It’s loss has been devestating to the the music industry in my opinion.

Lamitschka:  As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?

Tokyo Rosenthal: Recording for sure. It allows me to take this raw tune, that I wrote basically on acoustic guitar with some words often just scribbled on an “air sick bag“ , and turn it into something much more with the help of a good team. There’s nothing like it. To hear your musical thoughts get created, bit by bit, until it resembles what was inside your head is a great experience that I can’t get oftenenough.

Lamitschka:  What was your big break that got you into the music business?

Tokyo Rosenthal:  My break that allowed me to start recording and get played on the radio was a song called “Edmonton“. Apparently no one had written a song with Edmonton in the title before. Next thing I knew it ws ont the radio and the Mayor was giving me the key to the city. I kept going from there and have never stopped.

Lamitschka:  Before you became a artist, were your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?

Tokyo Rosenthal: I must say that without my family amd friends my musical journey would have been impossible. My wife, while letting me tour around and live my dream, also built and maintains my web site. My daughters attend as many shows as possible and drag friends with them while helping me network on line as well. Even my Mom gets into the act and she remembers all my early bands as a teen. Publicists, while paid, have ot have passion for your work. I believe mine do and they include Billy James at Glass Onyon and Peter Holmstedt at Hemifran. It would have been easy for my friends to write my efforts into recording and touring as fantasy. But to their credit, they turn out in many cities all over the world when I need them. So while this business is a struggle, getting the support hasn’t been.

Lamitschka:  What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?

Tokyo Rosenthal:  They can expect a different experience from what they hear on my CDs. As I tour normally as a duo or solo, I can’t and don’t try to recreate the orchestration on the CDs. Instead we give them a different interpretation. But perhaps most important are the stories behind the songs which I love to tell the audience, often prefaced by, “Gotta minute?“

Lamitschka:  Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?

Tokyo Rosenthal:

Christian Lamitschka ( )


     "We're wondering which is worse, 'Texas Crud' or the 'Florida Bug?'  Bob & Sheila are in Florida, performing their hit 'on the road' Smithsonian Show, "Traveling Museum of Music," and now they are down with the Florida Bug.  "This is a very strong flu virus," Bob said, "and it takes all our passion and energy away.  We have a nice gig to do in Crystal River, and I don't want to cancel it, but this 'bug' is serious.  I had to go to the doctor, who gave me some medicine, as well as some breathing apparatus to help with lung congestion, but it's a slow process.  The 'Texas Crud' was bad, we got it last year when we were in the Rio Grande Valley, but I don't believe it's as bad as this Florida flu-bug.  It bothers my singing because there is so much nasal congestion, and that makes my hearing bad.  It's also the bad 'ache' that goes with it all the time, and sometimes it's hard to sleep.  I don't know we'll see."
     Sheila was quick to add, "Bob signed a contract with the city of Crystal River to do their Manatee Festival, and he just hated to cancel the show, so we decided to go anyway, even though he felt terrible.  We set up in the middle of a huge arts and crafts show, lots of food vendors, and a regular 'fair' of sorts.  The stage where we were at, was right beneath a high light pole where two Osprey's were building their nest.  Bobbie Lhea got some good photos of the Ospreys diving down, just about on top of us, as they went through the nest building process.  We apparently didn't disturb them too much, they just kept on building while we played."
     "We had to do three shows," Bob added, "but they were only 30-minute ones, so we managed, even though I felt so tired from the flu-bug.  We were also treated to some good pulled pork sandwiches, but Bobbie Lhea said that didn't qualify as a budget lunch.  Anyway, we enjoyed doing the program, but we would have enjoyed it a lot more had we felt better.  Even at our worst, there was still a sizable crowd, since it was a Chamber of Commerce sponsored program."
     "Dad found a neat little restaurant for our budget lunch," Bobbie Lhea piped up.  "It was called "China Taste" and we had so much food, we even took some home with us for later.  Dad had beef teriyaki, and Mom and I had chicken sesame.  It was really good.  We even had some tea, and the three meals cost $19, so of course Dad was happy about that."



I remember getting into some tough confrontations with Blake Shelton fans about a year or so ago, when I thought about his trashy mouth, and those comments still hold true from me.  I said that Blake Shelton could be the Pied Piper that country music needed, if only he would act the part of a leader, instead of a spoiled brat with an ego larger than the industry.  I said he was a great singer, and that he should use the opportunity to be a leader in a way that does not irritate the demographics that he talks about in his GAC interview.  He does not control the industry and never will.  I complimented his talent, but not his mouth.  If he wants to use trash talk on his personal appearances and drink beer on stage, that is his world, but it is not everyone’s world.  Trace Adkins, Shelton’s buddy, does his talking by example, and Shelton should take notice of how it is done by others in the music industry.  All he is trying to do is sell tickets and CD’s.  Who the hell does he think he is fooling.  Maybe his management has led him down this one-way road.  As you will read from a statement that he made of an interview he did with GAC, you will see that my editorial we shall call Round #2, but this time I am not going to mince any words on Shelton.  He and I both enjoy what our country offers to all of us, “Freedom of Speech” so I am going to express my thoughts on his one particular comment that you will read in the following two quotes from mega stars.

The following are two quotes that were sent out yesterday by two giants in the country music industry, so let’s see if Shelton will make the apology to these two “icons” first, then to the rest of the ole artists he was talking about.

As follows:

Yesterday, on the occasion of his 74th birthday, country and comedy music legend RAY STEVENS released the following statement regarding Blake Shelton's recent controversial comments:

"I just heard Blake Shelton's remarks about 'old farts and jackasses' and all I want to know is how he found out the title to my next single because it's been a closely guarded secret here at the 'Home.' It will be available on vinyl or 8-Track at your nearest Tower Records store."

The following was issued yesterday also, by one of country music’s greatest icons of all time-Ray Price.  I am wondering if Shelton thinks he will ever have a career like Ray continues to enjoy at the age of 86:

“It’s a shame that I have spend 63 years in this business trying to introduce music to a larger audience and to make it easier for the younger artists who are coming behind me. Every now and then some young artist will record a rock and roll type song , have a hit first time out with kids only. This is why you see stars come with a few hits only and then just fade away believing they are God’s answer to the world. This guy sounds like in his own mind that his head is so large no hat ever made will fit him. Stupidity Reigns Supreme!!!!!!! Ray Price (CHIEF ‘OLD FART’ & JACKASS’) ’ P.S. YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY AS US OLD-TIMERS. CHECK BACK IN 63 YEARS (THE YEAR 2075) AND LET US KNOW HOW YOUR NAME AND YOUR MUSIC WILL BE REMEMBERED.” – Ray Price

And PLEASE to all of Shelton’s fans, don’t P & Moan to me about my editorial about your artist.  Some of my language has come down to his level where he can understand, so if you are really his great fans, you should know that he really irritated and hurt a lot of special people, and it would have been much better if he just not make that statement.  No doubt his sounding off in public gave him the opportunity to get more media coverage than it would have, had he said it in private, but if he would be so blunt publicly towards the older artists and fans, I cannot imagine his words in the privacy of his close friends. 

I love his singing, his choice of songs, and his total music, but I do not like his nasty mouth and his one comment regarding older artists.  I would like to see him speak those words exactly as he stated in his interview, face to face to Ray Price, Jean Shepard, Stonewall Jackson, and thank God PayCheck is not living or he would set Shelton straight, as would Jerry Reed.  It happens I had the privilege and honor to manage and book, Price, PayCheck, and Jerry Reed, and I can tell you they would not appreciate that part of Shelton’s interview.  We all know music genre’s evolve, but Blake Shelton does not make country music evolve.  It takes all artists to do that.  And as far as Male Vocalist of the year, that doesn’t mean crap anymore-just more money he can charge for personal appearances. The voting is politics at its worst. 

It does not seem like any of the newer artists think he does no wrong, but I will not apologize to anyone, whether they be his friends or associates, who stand behind what Shelton said.  Blake Shelton is an egotistical ---- (figure it out for yourselves), and needs to be told that his form of speech does not set well with everyone.  He owes the Legends and Veterans of Country Music and the fans, who he has titled “old farts and jackasses” a sincere apology. Possibly he thinks he has become too big for an apology.  Here is an “old” thought for you Shelton. “What goes up, ALWAYS COMES DOWN, sooner or later.”  I hope I am around when he hits the ground.  Someday your TV time will be all gone and then what….

The following is a part of the GAC Interview on Backstory.  Shelton’s comment should have been deleted from this interview.  Evidently he would not allow the comment to be taken out, or maybe he didn’t care about what he said. With all of his money and fame, he must think he can do and say whatever he wants.  Shelton is not a leader and never will be.  My comments will be directed to Shelton, and let his fans babysit and cover him with kindness as they will tell him that Martel is just one of those old farts and jackasses he is talking about, but I will have my say.  I accept all changes in music and life, some good and some bad, but I will never accept the crap coming out of Shelton’s mouth, when it comes to the following:

“If I am “Male Vocalist of the Year” that must mean that I’m one of those people now that gets to decide if it moves forward and if it moves on. Country music has to evolve in order to survive. Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, “My God, that ain’t country!” Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.”

The new version of Blake Shelton’s GAC Backstory aired first in mid December 2012, and will be airing numerous times in February.

The following is my comments to Shelton:

First question Shelton.  Exactly who were you referring to in your comment about old farts and jackasses?

We are not talking about entertaining, we are talking about keeping your mouth shut, or using a better choice of words to express yourself, instead of drawing the wrath of many artists who have paid their dues so guys like you can have the success you think you have now.  Also all the fans who supported and still support that old music, and many of the older artists are still recording great music, but evidently it is not the kind you like.  SILENCE IS GOLDEN!!  I wonder what type of medication you were on to say what you did.  You have alienated a complete demographics of country music fans, no matter if you think they are ole farts and jackasses, they still have money to purchase CD’s and concert tickets.  You should welcome them with open arms, but I guess you are too big of a superstar to want ole fans.  You want those young beer drinkin fans, those who can cuss with you, who do not know the difference between rock and country, which incidentally is hard to know in this new age of country music, what you call evolving.  You sure have left something in your mess kit and I hope you have to clean it up. Your tendency to think you are some kind of rock star or idol to the music world is B.S.  You will never be the savior or spokesman for Country Music because you do not know how to handle it. 

Evidently the word Loyalty, Allegiance, and Commitment does not mean that much to you or even fit into your low class vocabulary. 

Your remarks did not make you a better man or a leader, they only caused a lot of problems that will not be erased and the time will come, when you might wish you had never said them.  But of course, your inner circle of friends and music industry people will be telling you how great you are, and that they applaud you for “telling it like it is,” but you did not tell it like it is, you said what you thought was going to get you attention.  You certainly got attention but the wrong kind.  There are high class entertainers and then there are low class entertainers…

You talk in the interview on being such a good person, and then you hurt people that do not even know you and you no doubt do not know them.  Those old farts and jackasses deserve the respect that you have not earned. You are driving a wedge in between what country music was, and what you want it to me. 

I do not care what your artist friends or your fans think about my comments, for I am not the only one who feels this way, and no doubt you will find out as time goes on.  I spoke briefly with Ray Price yesterday about his press release on his facebook page, and his comments should make you understand how “this real icon in country music” feels about you.  Why would you want to make enemies of these great artists by your stupid comment.  You don’t have a clue of what business and friendship language can do to harm someone, and evidently you do not care. 

There is more to this article, but I only want to address the issue of the remark you made on your GAC interview.  Will there be a Round #3??

Marty Martel©

The Spinney Brothers Score First Career #1

 The Spinney Brothers Score First Career #1
"Memories" Tops National Bluegrass Chart
January 25, 2013 (Nova Scotia, Canada)—The Spinney Brothers, "Canada's International Bluegrass Band," are proud to announce that "Memories", the first single from their latest Mountain Fever Records CD of the same title, has reached #1 on Bluegrass Unlimited's  Top 30 Songs chart for February. This is the band's first time in the top spot of the National Bluegrass Survey. In addition, the complete project has moved up to #3 on Bluegrass Unlimited's Top 15 Albums chart.

From the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Canada, brothers Allan Spinney on guitar and vocals and Rick Spinney on banjo and vocals debuted their band in 1992, featuring a tight brother duet vocal style that was immediately recognized for its energetic and distinctive sound. Since that time, the band has released 8 CDs independently and are recipients of many Eastern Canadian Bluegrass Awards including 3-time Vocal Group of the Year. In 2010, The Spinney Brothers were inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame. Joined by Gary Dalrymple on mandolin and Darryl Hebb on bass, The Spinney Brothers have performed professionally all over Canada and in the United States from California to Maine making them "Canada's International Bluegrass Band". 

Even with all the accolades the band had gained on its own as an independent artist in Canada, it wasn't until the band signed with Virginia based Mountain Fever Records, subsequently releasing Memories in 2012, that the band began gaining international acclaim, receiving more airplay and booking more shows in the U.S. "I had been made aware of The Spinney Brothers through a friend who suggested I give them a listen," states Mark Hodges of Mountain Fever Records. "I watched their progress as a band for about a year and when I discovered they would be in Nashville at IBMA's World of Bluegrass conference in 2011, I made a point to attend one of their late-night showcases. I was really pleased with what I saw and heard and their enthusiasm was also a big factor in our decision to sign them to Mountain Fever Records. We just couldn't be happier with their success." 

The Spinney Brothers have spent the first part of 2013 on a U.S. tour that has included a very successful benefit concert for the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY. They've just returned from performing on a bluegrass cruise and will continue their tour with shows in Florida and Georgia before returning to their Canadian homes in February. Here are the band's remaining dates on this U.S. tour:

January 25th - Lake Wales, FL
January 29th - Largo, FL
January 30th - Zephyrhills, FL
January 31st - Sanford, FL
February 1st - Woodbine, GA
February 2nd - Davenport, FL
February 3rd - Bushnell, FL

For more information on The Spinney Brothers including a complete list of tour dates and more information on their chart-topping CD, Memories, please visit

Jaida Dreyer Releases New Single, “Half Broke Horses”

Jaida Dreyer Releases New Single, “Half Broke Horses”
(Nashville, Tenn. – Jan. 25, 2013) Streamsound Records recording artist Jaida Dreyer has released her new single, “Half Broke Horses,” to Country radio.
The song, a very personal autobiographical flashback from Dreyer’s childhood, explores loss and change with a heartfelt equestrian metaphor, one which the talented horse rider turned musician is well acquainted with.  
"I'm not afraid to say this part of my life is difficult for me to write about, but I felt I had to be honest with both myself and the listener," said Dreyer.  "If I left that hole out, it would take away from the legitimacy of the record. We all experience loss throughout our lives in different ways and this song allows the audience into a piece of my past that shaped my life forever."
The single is the second release off her forthcoming album, I Am Jaida Dreyer, and is produced by Grammy award-winning record producer Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Sugarland). 
To listen to “Half Broke Horses,” click here:
The song was co-written by Dreyer along with Brad and Brett Warren and Lance Miller.
“Brett and I have written a lot of songs with Jaida, but this one is really special,” said co-writer Brad Warren.  “Its kind of Jaida's story and it’s cool that she has the guts to tell it.  It gives me chills every time I hear it.  Perfect marriage of singer and song.” 
Nate Deaton with KRTY added, “When you tune into a country station this song is exactly what you want to hear. We love both the song and singer, and we picked it as a song to watch in 2013.”
2012 proved to be a busy year for Dreyer as she traveled the country on a coast-to-coast radio promotion tour that pushed as far north as Canada. She has already made several appearances on the historic Grand Ole Opry.
As the flagship artist on Streamsound Records, Dreyer released two singles to Country radio in 2012, “Guys Girl” and “Confessions.”  The rising star has already toured with Eric Church and Luke Bryan, and opened for Dierks Bentley in arenas.
For more information, please visit

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