Dean Baltesson

 

ARTIST NAME: Dean Baltesson

 

SONG TITLE: Homeless Hills

 

ALBUM TITLE: Covering Ground

 

RELEASE DATE: December 12th, 2017

 

GENRE: Folk/Singer Songwriter

 

 

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Dean Baltesson is a Canadian songwriter, musician, and poet. Covering Ground is a reflection of the journey from his youth on the Prairies to the West Coast where he lives today.

 

 

Tell us how you develop your sound and style to make it different from other musicians.

I just try to forget about any music theory that I have ever learned so I can break rules. Sometimes it works. It worked a few times on this CD I guess.

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Tell us your opinion on the way new artists are coming up and the frequent release of songs.

I think there is too much content in our lives, but what else can you do when you want to write songs for the love of it? You have to put it out there by whatever means. I find plenty of people who write great and interesting songs so I have no complaint about the current state of the industry.

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Tell us your experience as a musician.

I played drums in an R&B band, then I played Jazz, then I tried to record my own ideas and became a musical recluse. This CD was nice because after making it alone, I remixed and added the performance of other musicians, which is a better way to do it.

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Tell us your opinion on streaming and digital download of songs.

In a strange way, it is almost like music has returned to age of the troubadour because the only way to make a living is to tour and be an entertainer. The only difference is that nowadays we have tons of recorded music, but it produces very little revenue and people can’t possibly digest it all.

You can’t control the way things will go so you have to go with the flow. Perhaps blockchain will play some important part here in how musicians connect with fans and find remuneration.

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Tell us your goals and plans.

Write more songs and try to learn more about myself and hopefully produce a totally honest piece of music. I like Bon Iver for this reason.

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Tell us five current artists that are your favourite.

I like The Weather Station, Ryan Adams, Ellen Doty, Phoebe Bridgers, Bon Iver.

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Tell us your best song up to date and share the link.

The one I like best is the instrumental title song from the CD called “Covering Ground”. The video is at YouTube

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Tell us what has changed in the music industry.

I think the big upheavals were Napster and finally streaming.

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Tell us your opinion on television/radio stations playing the same songs from established artists and giving little chances to independent artists.

What else can they do given the new music they are offered? Anything with enough money behind it is likely to be formulaic and unimaginative. It’s not necessarily their fault. They are in business.

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Tell us the challenges independent artists are facing and how to tackle it.

You have to be a great musician and have a great live show, that’s it.

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Tell us your opinion on using social media to promote music online.

It’s a great way to reach a lot of people, but it can also be a very clear indicator of how unpopular you really are if you have no followers.

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Tell us what still motivates you to go on with your music career.

It’s just this undeniable and unquenchable joy of making a song or a poem. The moment that the spark happens.

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Tell us about you as a person.

I always think in metaphors. I have trouble connecting with reality. I love landscapes, even ugly ones. Nature is always multi-faceted, and I believe our lives are as well, but we ignore that because we want everything to be simple and easy, so we try to make all the colours monochrome.

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Elaborate on the story behind the song.

“Homeless Hills” is a reflection of growing up on the Manitoba prairie. There is a book about the history of the area surrounding Bruxelles, Manitoba entitled “The Hills of Home”. The people who live there wrote it because of their strong ties to the land. Their ancestors settled it and it is where my father grew up. It is a beautiful place and a wonderful home. My early experiences led me away from the region and I had always thought of it as homeless place to which I would not return, which led to the song title “Homeless Hills”. Thankfully, some fortunate circumstances led me back to visit in 2016, well after I had written the song, and I rediscovered what a beautiful and special place it is, full of people who care about their land and their families. It was like discovering a full circle from my melancholy feelings about the “Homeless Hills” to quite the opposite emotions about home reflected in “The Hills of Home“ and the spirit of the people who live there.

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Tell us the process involved in making this song.

I wrote it on a 20 euro guitar and my iPhone on vacation in Lisbon. Came home and recorded it in my bedroom. Then I took it to a studio to remix and do the vocals and add backing vocalists.

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State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.

Dean Baltesson – not my choice.

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State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.

The album is called “Covering Ground” because it is a story about migrating during the course of one’s life from the prairie to the coast. Each song speaks about a different type of landscape or environment and its effect on the development of the protagonist and what lessons and reflections have been gained from living in that environment.

The James Carratt Project

 

 

 

 

ARTIST NAME: The James Carratt Project

 

SONG TITLE: Jackson Street Pub

 

ALBUM TITLE: Volume One

 

RELEASE DATE: October 17 2017

 

GENRE: Country / Rock

 

 

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Rockriver Times

 

Beloit Daily News

 

Rockford Register Star

 

Janesville Gazette

 

 

 

Discuss your composition and melody.

The song is based in the key of C Major and uses a simplistic classic country melody.

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State the name of your producer and elaborate on the song.

The song was self-produced by James Carratt the writer.

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Discuss the lyrics of the song.

The song was written during a very rough time in my marriage.  Essentially, the lyrics take me back to my college days where my wife and I had met.

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Elaborate on your music career.

I’ve been playing since I was young.  I’ve played almost every genre with the exception of jazz and polka.  Rock, Classic Rock, Country, Classic Country, Rap, and etc.  I started out with influences like Van Halen, Metallica, Led Zep and the old classic rock bands.  I was not big into country but appreciated it none the less.  Eventually, country evolved to be something more of an 80’s rock sound with a southern voice on the mic.  As music changed I found myself listening more and more to the country stations.  From there we started taking trips to Nashville, playing clubs like Tootsies, the Cadillac Ranch and other bars all along the strip.  My good friend, Jamie Campbell was the lead singer at that time and eventually life just caught up and I retreated back to my home to write music.

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Brief us on how you are reaching fans with your music.

I find that allowing other musicians to sing and play my material is the easiest way to get my music to be heard.  Other musicians throughout the country, but mostly in my own community are starting to play and listen to the music that I wrote.  Sure, I’ve allowed others to record the tracks in my studio, but at the end of the day, it’s my song being shared across their band pages and web sites.

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Discuss your motive behind making music.

At 50 years old I’ve given up on the dream of becoming the iconic rock star from my youth.  However, as I began this project I realized that a lot of local musicians really enjoyed the writing.  I found that I can reach more people by simply allowing others to record my music which resulted in an album featuring 47 musicians on a project of over 60 different people.

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Discuss your lyrics and songwriting.

Songwriting for me comes from the heart and what I’m feeling inside.  It’s almost therapeutic.  My wife and I struggled for years and I almost lost my marriage as a result.  This was when most of the songs for the last record were written and recorded.  Appears I’m not alone when it comes to this.  Adele has three albums that reference her break up.  She has since moved on but she had written so much material from this emotional heartbreak the songs are still there. I have to say I also have about three albums worth of material that cover the subject, however I’m glad to say I’m finding myself able to finally write about other subjects.

 

Many of my songs are impromptu.  I’ll get an idea, record the rift and loop the track.  I’ll scat around a bit, but the lyrics being to flow pretty quickly.  I do use a cookie cutter approach many times.  I know where the hook is coming and at that point I copy and paste the rest of the song together and start writing the remainder of the song.

 

The best material usually takes less time to write.  One of my best compositions, “Fall in Love Again” and “Pictures On My Page” were both written in under 10 minutes…

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Elaborate on your work and achievement so far in your music career.

Winning Rockstar Radio’s 2017 best country song from an unsigned artist had to be the pinnacle.  Next week we find out whether we have secured album of the year for the Rockford Area Musicians Industry (RAMI).  Again another huge accomplishment for a guy in his 50’s who never thought this could happen.

 

I’ve been approached by record executives including David Ross of Reviver Records who found that our unique approach to making music was at least interesting enough to talk about.  It was an amazing moment to be speaking to the president of a top 20 Billboard record company to say the least.

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Tell us your opinion on using rhymes dictionary or writing software to develop lyrics.

I think that these are great tools for beginning song writers.  I often found myself using rhyme dictionaries early on.  However, the more and more that you write the better and better you become as a writer.  Even Paul McCartney once said he didn’t like any of his songs until after he had written 100 songs.  It takes time.  It takes passion.  I’ve written almost a 100 songs and most of them are garbage and sit inside my hard drive never to be heard by anyone.  However, there are a couple of gems inside there.  Over time a writer will find he no longer needs these tools and write from the heart.

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Discuss the music industry.

The music industry has changed by leaps and bounds since the 80’s and 90’s.  Record Companies are not making what they used to and as a result the business model has evolved and continues to evolve.  Artists have to grasp and understand these changes if they are to be heard.  Right now, there is simply so much information.  Between all the social media websites and band promotional websites it’s hard to get yourself heard.  It was at that point I decided to take a unique approach of simply letting others sing and record my material.  In return I would produce and release the material on VINYL and on all the digital platforms on their behalf.  Almost like a label myself but slightly different.  Slowly, we are starting to turn the “Big Machine” called the music industry.

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Elaborate on how you prepare yourself for a recording session.

I have a small studio in my basement where I recorded almost the entire album.  However, my main source of income, an insurance adjuster, the office is also in my home.  When I get an idea that is overwhelming I simply track immediately, the songs are typically written in only a few minutes.

 

I am very limited vocally.  I’ll listen back to the track.  I’ll ask other people what they think.  If there is a green light to move forward with recording I start vetting the players for the song.  It’s a process of finding the best singer for the track.  Sometimes, a song will go through 2-3 singers before landing that special someone who gives it life.

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Brief us on your preference in terms of tempo as in up-tempo, mid-tempo or slow tempo.

I like to write mid tempo… it’s easier to get the lyrics out.

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Discuss your shows or live performance.

47 musicians on one record.  Really hard to get them all on stage.  We simply took a handful of musicians of the record and formed a core group.  Periodically we do invite all the singers on stage for special events, typically however; we stick with 3-4 singers off the album performing all the songs.

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Send a message across to your fans and supporters.

I can only say that this project would not have been accomplished without the amazing musicians and their fans.  With them we would not have garnished the amazing support we have had from radio, press and media around the world.

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Discuss the story line of the song.

The story is essentially about my remembrance of a time from my past when my wife and I met.  Those days when you meet someone for the first time and fall madly in love.  Jackson Street Pub is that place for me.  All the memories and all the good times wrapped up in one song.

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Tell us what makes this song unique from others.

It holds a classic country sound with a unique approach to the drum production.

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Tell us the theme of most of your compositions.

They vary.  Honestly, because I’m bringing in different musicians and different singers the theme continually changes.  I may start the song off with a classic country vibe, but after the musicians arrive to record I start to hear something different.  I like to allow these changes and allow the musicians to take chances and change the approach to the song.  It’s still my song, and still my chord structure but the approach that each musician has always intrigued me.  Several tracks were recorded 2-3 times with different musicians before I was happy with the track.  Yet, each time it was recorded, even with the same exact chord structure the tone and approach continued to change.

 

I think this what makes the project so unique to the listener.  As they comb track by track not one song sounds the same.  All the tracks are written by the same guy, yet the approach to the material and the theme changes from track to track.

The Impersonators

 

Discuss the gaining of confidence to sing in front of a large crowd for the first time.

I was sixteen when I did this for the first time and really made a mess of it. I had a microphone that had an on-off switch. Nervous as I was, I accidentally turned the microphone off. Nobody heard me sing that day as my band was only doing one number. The singer of the group that came on after us made a joke about the incident by switching the microphone back on with grandiose gestures and by saying, “and now after that instrumental, let’s get back to some pop tunes.” I just wanted to be invisible at that point. But hey, who knows, perhaps that was for the better. I’m not sure how great my singing would have sounded anyway. It took a lot of courage to climb back on stage a few weeks after that. You can bet your ass, I didn’t put my hands or fingers even near a microphone after that for a long time.

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Tell us the best way to make money in the music business.

Is there one? I suppose if one goes for the money end of the music business, they should probably try to get their face on TV somehow. Having said that, I think it’s the YouTubers that make the money these days. It’s all changed so much. Apparently, you can make millions with cat videos. Maybe I am wrong. Money never interested me a whole lot, so don’t take anything I am saying here as the almighty truth.

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Share your press release and reviews with us.

Here’s one review:

Review

 

Here’s the press release:

After a break-up, memories of the way things used to be usually come back to haunt you. For a brief confusing moment, you only remember the good stuff and find yourself reflecting on the beginning of the relationship rather than the end. This is what the Impersonators’ new single, a Tikka/Autio original “Burning Blue” is all about: Walking around aimlessly with your heart broken, trying to make some sense of what happened, missing the person you thought was going to stick around.

Produced by Janne Saksa and Tommi Tikka, “Burning Blue” showcases another, more esoteric side of the Impersonators but carries all the familiar trademarks of the group: poignant lyrics, emotive music and sixties-flavored vocal harmonies.

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Tell us if you consider acting.

I am not and never will.

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State what takes your time apart from music.

My family. I have six kids and a lovely wife. I try to spend as much time with them as possible. Sometimes, it’s a challenge to find the time to do that. I try to prioritize my family.

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Discuss the music industry.

It’s gone to hell in a hand-basket. I don’t like where pop music is going stylistically or lyrically. Most of it has become shallow and uninspiring as well as synthetic and computerized. This is only my opinion of course. Apart from that, the medium through which it is consumed has changed dramatically. We’ve come a long way since sheet music and Saturday nights by the piano, haven’t we?

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Tell us how you will rate yourself as an artist.

An impossible question to answer! I will leave it up to the listeners to rate me. From my own perspective, I am just a guy interested in music emulating the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.

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Tell us how you plan to impact the society.

By bringing up responsible and savvy children.

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Tell us how to become a famous artist.

I’m not famous, so I wouldn’t know. Probably by doing the opposite of what I am doing.

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Narrate your recording experience.

I love recording and I love the concept of using the studio as an instrument. Every time I step into the studio to record a new track, I am like a kid at a candy store. My favorite memory of recording “Burning Blue” is when I came up with the idea to add the accordion in the mix. I thought it sounded awesome in the intro. Also I am proud of the Beach Boys-influenced harmonies in the middle eight. I had a lot of fun recording the different parts for it. Shooting the “Burning Blue” video was also an incredible experience. Having dinner with the mannequin head was so surreal and also, watching them shoot that scene where the female protagonist runs in the snow with a wedding dress on was a moment I will never forget. It was 20 below zero that day.

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Tell us what you will buy if you want to build your own studio.

I have my own studio. Whoever wants to take on the task of building a studio is faced with a lot of work and planning. However, if you just want a basic set-up to get started, all you will need is a good computer and a good microphone, the right kind of software etc. Also, instruments might come in handy.

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Tell us the instruments put together in this song.

I already mentioned the accordion. Other than that it’s pretty basic: guitars, bass, drums, piano, keyboards…am I leaving anything out? I always felt that it’s not so much the instruments you use, it’s how you use them. Does that make any sense?

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List your five favourite songwriters.

Brian Wilson, Gene Clark, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ken Hensley.

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List your five favourite music producers.

George Martin, Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, Jeff Lynne, Rick Rubin.

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Describe your feelings when you hear your song on the radio.

It’s the best feeling ever and incredibly exciting. It’s always as exciting no matter how many times it has happened. It never loses its appeal.

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Describe your best mood to write a song.

I write my best songs when I am sad.

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Tell us five artists you can regard as legends.

There are too many to list but in addition to everyone that I have already mentioned above…maybe I’ll add the Go-Betweens and Hanoi Rocks to the list because although not as famous as the ones above, they are truly legendary rock bands.

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Tell us the story behind the song.

It’s a sad song about getting over losing your significant other. A friend of mine lost his wife, so that’s what I was thinking but I am not the lyricist of the Impersonators, Antti Autio is. He might have an alternate view on this or another story to tell. I might actually even know what that story is but Antti is a very private person, so I will not say anything more about the topic.

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State your band name and elaborate on it.

The Impersonators. I play all the instruments. The name comes from that. I am, in a manner of speaking, impersonating all the musicians in our little band.

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State the title of the song and the meaning.

“Burning Blue” is us describing the incredibly sad feeling that overtakes you when you are left by the person you love or when the world or destiny steals him or her away from you.

The Last City

 

The Last City combines classical instrumentation with indie rock arrangements and pop melodies. Adrien (guitar and vocals) and Lizbet Palmer (violin and piano) draw from such influences as Damien Rice, John Mayer and Fall Out Boy. As “religious free agents”, their music and lives explore different cultures and spiritual practices, but is also willfully human. After living abroad in Japan for three years, they are currently laying roots in Dallas, Texas.

 

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Audio Force One

 

A girls night out takes an unexpected turn when 3 women take a gimp to an abandoned warehouse to live out their S&M fantasies.

 

Already attracting a great deal of attention from radio in the UK, Audio Force One’s latest single ‘Black Eyes’ provides a fresh take on the pop/alternative-rock genres, with a raunchy S&M themed music video to match.

Audio Force One is the creation of international multi-instrumentalist Tiago. The music video, filmed in Sydney, Australia was created by award winning director Emma Tomelty. The video has already gained global attention, taking first place in the International Independent Film Awards and a further third place in the International Music Video Underground Awards. In a gothic-like development of attitude and transient personality, the video underlines a smooth, dark rendition of rock and alternative film aesthetics.

 

Long before the release of any original music, Tiago’s unique display of contributory rock had set him on the path for an efficacious musical career. After achieving his first success by winning first place in a European music competition, Tiago went on to play alongside The Black Eyed Peas, Moby, New Order and The Hives, and founded boutique record label Musica Das Esferas (Sound of the Spheres), representing several European acts to a global audience.

 

With an aim of taking the the music industry in a fresh new direction, ‘Black Eyes’ is an exceptionally vivid track, portraying an uplifting pop-rock tonality with drive and power.

 

With all lyrics and melody written by Tiago, he also plays every instrument on the track (excluding the drums), Audio Force One truly is the ultimate one-man-band.

 

Thrusting himself onto a new wave of rock, ‘Black Eyes’ portrays a truly authentic and individual sound, reflective of Tiago’s own vibrant personality. His remarkable ability to create a fully-fledged rock track from the hands of just one musician is one of the many distinct properties that stem from the talents of Audio Force One.

 

Kicking off a mammoth year ahead, ‘Black Eyes’ is just a small example of the upcoming debut album of energetic pop-rock and emotional ballads, best described as ‘the sound of breaking up and rediscovering life’. This strong, vivacious introduction to Tiago’s artistic rock personality is sure to captivate a demographic of both pop and modern rock fans.