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Michelle Penn

The Michelle Penn Band (MPB) is a three piece rock and roll trio fronted by Detroit-born Michelle Penn. Before you groan and say "not another female artist", take note that Michelle Penn is not part of the current bandwagon of little-girl voiced singer-songwriters. Michelle is uniquely different in that she is an accomplished guitar player with a passionate and wide ranging voice. She projects a combination of attitude and sensitivity in the tradition of Chrissie Hynde. Michelle has already shared the stage with the Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge, Pat Bentar and Janis Ian.

The band’s music crosses musical formats and fits comfortably on rock, triple A and modern rock stations. MPB is rounded out by John Frampton on bass and Mike Dupke (John Mellencamp) on drums. Formed in 1993 to support Michelle’s debut CD, Running From the Seasons, the Michelle Penn Band has now released a harder-edged follow up album titled How Do You Live. The CD features a guest appearance by Will Turpin of Collective Soul.

Greg Nicoll of Atlanta’s Creative Loafing calls Michelle a "golden-throated electric guitar sorceress" and declared the CD "a triumph of genuinely electric performances." Charles Earle of Nashville’s In Review says the CD is, "a highly enjoyable disc of passionate rock songs that build to choruses you’ll be singing along with after one or two listens." Nashville’s WRLT, Detroit’s CIDR and WDET and Atlanta’s WKLS and WNNX have all played Michelle’s new single "Good".
How Do You Live
Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample

  1. Good
  2. How Do You Live
  3. Here I Go
  4. Not Lovin' Anybody
  5. Save My Life
  6. House of Blues
  7. Fool Come Down
  8. Drown
  9. Cold World
  10. Runaround
CD cat.# (mpo1971) $13.99
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Check The Michelle Penn Web Page


.

Erin Benjamin
ORIGINAL,ECLECTIC,ACOUSTIC POP

In the spring of 1996 Erin released her debut self-titled CD which has steadily been gaining notoriety with reviewers and fans alike. Her recorded material has been featured on CBC's provincial program Heartland, CIUT's (University of Toronto Radio) Great North Wind, and in January of 1997 it hit the number 10 spot on CFRC's (Queen's Radio, Kingston) top 40 chart. In November of 1996 Erin was one of four winners of the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals "Song's From The Heart" song writing competition with her original song Long Hard Fall. She has performed for Canada's national AIDS fund-raiser The Kumbaya Festival and was unofficially showcased on behalf of the OCFF at the 1997 Folk Alliance conference in Toronto. In the summer of 1997 Erin's CD was in the 6th spot on Vic Bell's top 10 list of Canadian artists getting the most air play on folk stations in the United States. Her CD is also being played in Germany, Hong Kong, Australia and Guam.

Erin's music is an eclectic blend of folk, pop and jazz and is characterized by open tunings, unconventional phrasing, unusual chord progressions and powerful vocals. The result is a dramatic, sensual, passionately original sound that defines the tribulation and ardour of her 28 years on the planet. Her unique combination of styles has been revered and welcomed on festival, club and concert stages. She is accompanied on stage by her musical director Dick van Raadshooven, a gifted bass player and cellist, whose accomplishments as an innovative arranger and producer are widely respected.

Monster In My Heart Review

Since her first, self-titled, release, Erin Benjamin has grown, both as a writer and as a performer. The songs on Monster In My Heart no longer have the self-conscious folkiness evident in many of the songs on her first CD. This is music which, while still clearly falling somewhere on the folk continuum, could easily make the crossover to a number of other contemporary genres.

Benjamin's lyrics now have the depth and richness of a Janis Ian rather than the sometimes obvious folkiness of Joni Mitchell and the orchestrations provide a powerful engine to drive Benjamin's stories forward.

Where Benjamin had once seemed to wear her songwriting influences like her heart on her sleeve, now the sound is uniquely hers. Certainly Benjamin has extracted and kept the best of what her idols could teach her, and there is still a lot of Joni Mitchell in her style, but the soup of her beginnings has evolved into something new and wonderful and alive in its own right.

The fullness of the arrangements here fall just this side of syrupy, managing just the right lush consistency to carry Benjamin's unique vocal technique. This is a fine line to walk, and arranger Dick van Raadshooven has managed it exquisitely, achieving luxuriant warmth without falling into schlock. I have before compared Erin Benjamin to Holly Cole, both for talent and her tendency toward jazz stylings. That comparison still holds.

A casual listener may not notice, but Benjamin's lyrics have a much harder edge this time around. Indeed, to those who actually listen to the words (and not everybody does), these lyrics may even shock.

There are songs here about bulemia (She is a Beauty), the murder of a child (Amy), abusive relationships (Harder Than the Rain), and other hard things life can bring. As stand-alone poems (that is, for the lyric alone), my preference among these lyrics would be "Carry On" and "Hang On to Me," although all the lyrics are as tightly and powerfully written.

Choosing a favourite, or even defining a best song for qualitative or other reasons, could be a difficult task. The songs on this CD are relatively uniform and balanced in quality, and that quality is high. Erin Benjamin is definitely an artist to watch. It will be most interesting to see where she goes from here.

Sound Bytes by Bob MacKenzie February 22, 1999

Monster In My Heart
Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample

  1. She Is A Beauty
  2. Hang On To Me
  3. Amy
  4. Harder Than The Rain
  5. This Girl
  6. Carry On
  7. Too Young To Lose
  8. Scream
  9. I Didn't Think So
  10. Going Strong
  11. Bittersweet
CD cat.# (bhpcd002) $12.99

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Harmony Ridge Music
P.O. Box 995
El Granada, California 94018



Erin Benjamin
Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample
  1. Steal Away My Heart
  2. Long Hard Fall
  3. Just To Be Alone
  4. Blame It On The Wind
  5. She Is A River
  6. Hey Mr. Weatherman
  7. Home Is Where The Heart Is
CD cat.# (itm25 ) $12.99

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Harmony Ridge Music
P.O. Box 995
El Granada, California 94018


For more information on Erin, check her Web Site

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Kara Barnard/Troy Seele

Kara Barnard is a singer-songwriter and a nationally competing multi-instrumentalist. Already counted among the nations finest fingerstyle guitarists, she is also currently Indiana's top ranked female mandolinist (4th overall). Her Mountain Dulcimer skills earned her an invitation to perform and give workshops at an international convention in Bogota, Colombia in 1997. Her banjo playing has yet to win her any awards or invitations to perform abroad, but it does provide easy joke material for her fellow musicians.

Home
Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample

  1. Poppin' Wheelies, Kara Barnard and Troy Seele
  2. Rose of Sharon, Kara Barnard
  3. Send Down the Rain, Geri Kay
  4. Luna Moth, Kara Barnard
  5. Bogota, Kara Barnard
  6. Chasing One Rain Drop, Kara Barnard
  7. The River, Kara Barnard
  8. Jackie's Song, Kara Barnard
  9. Never the Less, Kara Barnard
  10. Alabama Jubilee, traditional
  11. Old Home Place, traditional
  12. Blackberry Blossom, traditional
  13. Claire's Fancy, Alan Burdette
  14. TheGarden, KaraBarnard
  15. Black Bush Whiskey, Johnna Maze
  16. Sweet Sunny South, traditional
  17. PatienceofJune, KaraBarnard
  18. Passing the Road Home, Kara Barnard

Mary Barker-Klene, congas and percussion. Kara Barnard, Taylor and classical guitars, mandolin, banjo and dulcimer. Pam Barnard- Berns, harmony vocals. Steve Brunner, drums. Alan Burdette, claw hammer banjo on Claire's Fancy. John Cannady, bass on The River. Shane Donald, harmony on The River. Sam King, harmony on Rose of Sharon and Send Down the Rain. Jennifer Kirk, various basses. Johnna Maze, lead vocal on Black Bush Whiskey. Troy Seele, lead vocal on Old Home Place and lead guitars. Loretta Vinson, guitar on The Garden.

CD cat.# (tcl64) $14.99

To Place order, note Title and cat. #
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Harmony Ridge Music
P.O. Box 995
El Granada, California 94018

The Waters Edge
Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample
  • The Water's Edge
  • Oh Donna
  • Pop Bottle Annie
  • My Friend Gwen
  • Sweetiny
  • I Obsessively Yours
  • Leavin' Time
  • As Something
  • The World Revolves Around You
  • Lee's Lament
  • Kookaburra's Tree
  • The Whiskey And The Pen
    CD cat.# (surf1801) $12.00

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    Harmony Ridge Music
    P.O. Box 995
    El Granada, California 94018

    Cheshire Cat Moon
    Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample
    1. The Farm 4:43
    2. Heartstrings 3:10
    3. Secret's Safe With Me 4:03
    4. Cheshire Cat Moon 4:03
    5. Prodigy 2:46
    6. Marry Me 4:42
    7. Cardboard Box 2:25
    8. Hangin' On 3:48
    9. Treehouse 3:04
    10. Family Secret's 4:33
    11. Now That I've Found Myself 3:20
    12. Kiss the Rain 4:05

    Engineered by Grey Larsen at Lemon View Studio
    Kara Barnard: vocals, guitars, banjo, mountain dulcimer, bass, synthesizer on Cardboard Box
    Grey Larsen: Fiddle, wooden flute, harmonium, concertina, synthesizer on Prodigy and Kiss the Rain
    Pam Barnard: Back up vocals
    Abby Peach: percussion
    photography by S.R. Horn
    All songs BMI, Sleepy Creek Music
    All songs copyright 1991 K.Barnard

    CD cat.# (sr101) $12.00

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    Harmony Ridge Music
    P.O. Box 995
    El Granada, California 94018


    .

    WildFlowers
    Wildflowers

    Elly Wininger and Susan Cohen, two bright singer-songwriters, team up with producer Steve Burgh (Steve Forbert, Phoebe Snow, Steve Goodman) and top notch musicians to create a tasty sound rooted in rock, folk, country, and classical. Intriguing harmonies, choice lyrics, sparkling guitars, and liquid flute lines complement the duo's strong, unique voices. The title cut, "Housewife From Hell," is getting significant airplay on public radio stations, and inspires some intense listener response. With Charlie Giordano on keyboards, Jon Sholle on guitar, Barry Lazarowitz on drums, Larry Packer on violin, and other guests.

    Susan Cohen
    Susan has played extensively in the New York metro-area performing country, rock-oldies and folk music in clubs, bars and coffee houses for more years than she cares to admit. After studying classical flute and piano, Susan took up guitar to accompany her unusual voice, paying her way through college by teaching music and playing with a local bluegrass band. Despite her college degree, Susan worked with Al Aronowitz to produce the Country in New York concert series and also opened for Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Throughout all this Susan's creative song writing side was gaining more and more steam and what started out as a trickle of interesting songs has burgeoned into a flood of fine music.

    Elly Wininger
    Elly is a classically trained musician who cleverly developed an acute wrist ailment that forced her to give up violin lessons. By some miracle of fate, her wrist was fine when she played guitar! As a student of David Bromberg she played the basket houses of Greenwich Village when it was way past her bedtime. Eric Frandsen even said she was good, "and not just for a girl." Sleep deprivation soon became a way of life for Elly as she picked her way through as much formal education as a musician can stand. She has composed original scores and toured with numerous theater companies. Elly is the co-producer of the award-winning program "Rockin ' the Boat, which can be heard on public radio, if it still exists by the time you read this.

      Housewife From Hell
      Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample
    1. Crystal Clear
    2. Housewife From Hell
    3. Sailing
    4. Happiness
    5. You'll Never Know
    6. What I'm I Doing In Virginia
    7. Mirror, Mirror
    8. Sea Of Heartbreak
    9. Silver Wings
    10. I'll Still Be Loving You
    11. I Don't Hurt Anymore
    CD cat.# (lmr1926) $13.99

    To Place order, note Title and cat. #
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    Harmony Ridge Music
    P.O. Box 995
    El Granada, California 94018


    .

    Halley DeVestern

    "Put this CD right next to Maria McKee, Joan Osborne and Janis in your record collection. Filled with strong, gutsy tracks of R&B- and country-flavored rock, SUGAR FREE is a debut any artist would be proud of. There is very little gentle or delicate in DeVestern's songs. Rather, her tunes are populated by real-life sufferers and survivors. Her tracks are vibrant, her melodies catchy and her delivery is soulful and sure. There is passion fused into every groove...of this disc, with DeVestern's crack team of musicians matching her every step of the way...****" - Jennifer Shields, The Musicians' Exchange

    "Kicks into high gear from the first tune, an R&B smoker on the Aretha tip. 'I'm Over It' displays a vibrato and twang descended directly from Janis, backed by an organ-fed groove evocative of Rita Coolidge's early 70s work. A tight, polished band ably backs De Vestern's bluesy flights, lifting her substantial melodies and never overpowering them... Soulful, strong and sure, Halley fits comfortably next to Joan Osborne in your unalphabetical record collection." - Jim Santo's Demo Universe Click here to Link to Demo Universe

    "Halley has an incredible voice...Overall, the cd makes you wanna go out and beat the crap out of whoever that guy was who pissed her off. Believable emotion is key to music like this, and Halley pulls it off expertly. Look out world, here comes Halley DeVestern."
    - Women in Musica

    Sugar Free

    Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample

  • I'll Light Myself On Fire
  • Animal
  • Scary
  • They Ain't Got The Ways
  • Anthropologist
  • The Family Way
  • Tied
  • She Is A Bitch
  • Ring Of Love
  • I'm Over It Catalog # sdcd-100 CD $9.99 To Place order, note Title and cat. #
    select ORDER FORM:
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    Harmony Ridge Music
    P.O. Box 995
    El Granada, California 94018

    More Information at Halley's site.


    .

    Karen Tyler

    "Karen Tyler succeeds where 99 percent of 'sassy blues mamas' fail, and it's thanks to her exceptional songwritintg skills and a voice that can deliver the full spectrum of blues from slow, smoky and sultry to raise-the-roof rockinitis."
    - Real Blues Magazine

    "This lady has a voice...a great voice...sultry and smoky...one of my favorite blues vocalists."
    - Austin Blues Monthly

    "Karen Tyler is an outstanding singer and guitar picker of the smoky blues variety...good blues, with fluid guitar playing and deeply felt singing."
    - Mike's Feedback Magazine

    "...the title cut alone is worth the price of the CD. A brilliant blend of gospel and blues, with great writing, vocals..."
    - Texas Beat Magazine

    "Karen blew the crowds away at the Austin Acoustic Music Festival this year..."
    ORB Confidential:The Musician's Trade Journal

    Alone And Blue
    So what’s next? “Alone & Blue”, Tyler’s new solo, guitar and vocal project, was conceived as a vehicle for Tyler to showcase her prolific songwriting talent. Where “Lovin’ the Blues Too Long” was a great introduction to Tyler’s music, “Alone & Blue” is the perfect second date. Without her musical chaperons on board you can really get to hear what Tyler can do on her own. Archtops, resonator guitars, flat tops and even a six string banjo are Karen’s canvas for her next release and an exciting and much anticipated release it is. The songs sizzle and snap with southern imagery, heartbreak and spunk. Sweltering hot one minute, and cool as a mint julep the next, this project is well played, impressively sung and expertly written. A diverse blend of blues styles, true life stories and Tyler’s engaging personality make this a very exciting acoustic blues release.

    Alone And Blue

    Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample

    1. Alone And Blue
    2. You Shone The Light
    3. Hand It Over
    4. Love Letters
    5. Lazy River
    6. One Long Storm
    7. Blues By Candlelight
    8. Nobody's Mama
    9. Pretty Blackbird
    10. Florence And Delilah
    11. Set Me Up
    12. Tangled Roots
    13. Cappuccino Please
    14. Big Bright Life
    15. My Time To Cry
    Catalog # rc104CD $13.99 To Place order, note Title and cat. #
    select ORDER FORM:
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    Harmony Ridge Music
    P.O. Box 995
    El Granada, California 94018

    Lovin' The Blues Too Long

    Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample
  • Don't "Sugar" Me
  • Lovin' The Blues Too Long
  • Rich In Love
  • Hello Moonlight
  • Comfort Me On
  • Two Hearts
  • Songbird Blues
  • Stars In Heaven
  • I Got A Man
  • House Of Cards
  • Too Much Love
  • Leave Me Lonely
  • Ain't No Thing
  • Stand Up Sister Catalog # rc103 CD $13.99 To Place order, note Title and cat. #
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    Harmony Ridge Music
    P.O. Box 995
    El Granada, California 94018

    Karen recently won the following awards in Delta Snake Blues News in the Feb. 1998 edition:
    BEST FEMALE ACOUSTIC ARTIST:
      Rory Block
    1. Sheila Wilcoxson
    2. Jessie Mae Hemphill
    3. Karen Tyler
    4. Del Rey
    BEST ACOUSTIC GUITAR PLAYER:
      John Hammond
    1. R.L. Burnside
    2. Rory Block
    3. Alvin Youngblood Hart
    4. Karen Tyler
    BEST ACOUSTIC BLUES CD/TAPE:
      Gone Woman Blues - Rory Block - Rounder
    1. Anything by Keb' Mo'
    2. R.L. Burnside Acoustic Stories MC Records
    3. Big Mama's Door Alvin Youngblood Hart [OKeh / 550 Music]
    4. Twist It Babe - Catfish Keith
    5. Karen Tyler "Loving the Blues Too Long"
    6. 'Philadelphia' Jerry Ricks, "Deep in the Well"
    7. Fish Ain't Bitin'/Cory Harris
    More Information at Karen's site.

    .

    Marguerite Conti

    Tapping into the incomparable beauty of California's Central Coast for inspiration, Marguerite Conti has created 10 musical paintings of vivid color on her latest project, Angels. This collection combines depth and energy in its extremely well-crafted music and lyrics. Marguerite's intricate acoustic guitar and melodic voice are delightfully complimented by co-producer, Jeff Mayer's stirring electric guitar artistry. Angels will take you on a mythological adventure in song, evoking images and emotions of holding on to hope, believing in dreams, feeling passion, finding strength, and accepting who you are and what you need.
    Produced by Marguerite Conti and Jeff Mayer

    Angels

    Check out the Real Audio Sound Sample

    1. Ocean Ocean
    2. Angels
    3. Night Wind
    4. The Ballad Of The Seal Maid
    5. There's A Way
    6. Keeper Of The Flame
    7. Across The Universe
    8. Hey Joan
    9. Inside The Ideal
    10. Merry-Go Wheel
    11. And Birds
      Catalog # VH101 CD $13.99 Cassette $9.99
    To Place order, note Title and cat. #
    select ORDER FORM:
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    or: e-mail: hrmusic@rahul.net
    Harmony Ridge Music
    P.O. Box 995
    El Granada, California 94018

    You can e-mail Marguerite at: mconti@artvarkproductions.com



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