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A joyous fantasy realm of gas station hot dogs

Howlin’ Rain, MohaviSoul, the Album Leaf, Shane Hall, Hemisphere

Howlin Rain
Howlin Rain

Howlin’ Rain describes their sixth studio album, The Dharma Wheel, as “a six-track, 52-minute dive into a joyous fantasy realm of exaggerated present.” Due October 8 via founding member Ethan Miller’s label Silver Current Records, the title track is a 16-minute multi-movement suite. According to Miller, the group’s primary songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist, “I wanted The Dharma Wheel to be a portal from our everyday world, the one from which you stand on hard ground and hold the album in your hands and peer into the artwork, and into another universe. You enter into that universe with your eyes and ears and mind and take a ride through free-form meditation on these ideas, from big, fundamental concepts about our existence right down to the grease that rolls down the arm of a pulp novel killer as he eats a gas station hot dog in an old Dodge in an alleyway.” Miller co-produced the album with Tim Green (Six Organs Of Admittance, Earthless), who worked on previous Howlin' Rain records Magnificent Fiend and The Russian Wilds. Guests include Scarlet Rivera (Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue) on violin and keyboardist Adam MacDougall (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Circles Around the Sun).

MohaviSoul

Based in Ocean Beach, MohaviSoul is an original, soulful contemporary bluegrass band rooted in folk and Americana. A debut CD called Every Second established their sound, which has since developed into a wide-ranging repertoire designed to expand the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. Their most recent full-length was their fourth album Live at the 42nd Annual Huck Finn Jubilee, released in early 2020. As they take a break from working on new material, “MohaviSoul is on the road to Raleigh, as an invited Official Showcase Artist for the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble at the annual World of Bluegrass,” says singer and mandolin player Randy Hanson. The event runs September 28 through October 2 in Raleigh, North Carolina. According to Hanson, “MohaviSoul is the first SoCal band since the legendary [local group] Nickel Creek to be invited to IBMA. We will play two shows at the Bluegrass Ramble and a show with the California Bluegrass Association.”

Album Leaf

The Album Leaf officially began in 1998 as the solo experiment of Jimmy LaValle, who had performed in several other local bands, including Swing Kids, the Locust, and GoGoGo Airheart. In 2001, LaValle saw his part-time Album Leaf project become a full-fledged live band touring with Sigur Rós, after that band’s lead singer Jónsi discovered the Leaf’s career-launching One Day I’ll Be On Time album at a record store in Iceland. LaValle (then of Tristeza) scored a small label advance for a solo project and began self-recording with occasional studio access from his day job at a jingle house. Over the next two decades, the Album Leaf released records on Sub Pop, City Slang, and other labels. On September 17, the ambient electronic project will debut One Day XX, a 20th-anniversary edition rework of One Day I’ll Be On Time, pairing LaValle with longtime collaborator James McAlister (Taylor Swift, Sufjan Stevens, the National) and members of his live band. A reworked edition of the single “Vermillion” is available, now featuring Matt Resovich’s violin work in a full band performance. Dave LeBleu tracked his drums remotely in Gainesville, Brad Lee recorded bass in San Diego, and LaValle tracked his Rhodes piano at a Los Angeles studio.

Shane Hall

Blues, soul, funk, and Americana artist Shane Hall (The Klay) spent several years fronting Shane Hall & the Diabolicals before going solo around 2014 and appearing at the 2018 Kaaboo Festival. On July 13, his band lost $30,000 worth of gear to thieves who stole their rented U-Haul enclosed trailer while it was parked outside a Salt Lake City hotel room, near the city’s airport. Local Utah musicians loaned the band enough gear to perform their area engagements, which were the first dates of their West Coast Mountains & Plains Tour 2021. The band will still need to pay the $3000 rental fee for the missing 5x8 U-Haul trailer with Wisconsin plates, but they’ve started a GoFundMe campaign to finance that, replace their lost equipment, and finish out the tour. Shane Hall’s song “Under My Voodoo” is among more than 30 never-before-released acoustic covers on the recent compilation album The House That Bradley Built, featuring music from the catalog of Bradley Nowell’s band Sublime. Hall will be back in town to play the Carlsbad Music Festival happening on August 27 and August 2, as well as appearing at ArtWalk Carlsbad on September 26.

Hemisphere

Promoting the spirit of unity, diversity, and equality, Hemisphere features openly gay members Rob Shinno (guitar, vocoder) and Don Bowman (vocals, sax), as well as Mike McQuilken (drums), Nathan Brown (bass), and Max Zape (keys). The band draws on rock, pop, jazz, fusion, and metal for inspiration and has played at prestigious events such as the Newport Beach Jazz Festival. Tracks from their new album American Dreams, nominated Best World Music Album at the San Diego Music Awards, have scored over 400,000 YouTube views and streams since the October 2020 release date. It includes guest players such as Grammy winning drummer and percussionist Tommy Aros (Fattburger), singers Rebecca Jade (2020 SDMA Artist of the Year) and Leonard Patton, trumpeter Derek Cannon, and a guitar solo from Patrick Yandall. Local jazz star Peter Sprague served as engineer and mixer, and the album was mastered by Bernie Grundman (Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, Prince). A video is streaming online for the album track “America,” shot during the pandemic lockdown using social distance precautions, and an American Dreams collector’s CD edition is available with a 16 page pamphlet of liner notes, images, and lyrics. The band recently booked three nights at the 2022 South By Southwest music festival. Their album release party happens at Humphreys Backstage on October 2, for a bill that includes the Grant Clarkston Trio and Wolftrane.

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Howlin Rain
Howlin Rain

Howlin’ Rain describes their sixth studio album, The Dharma Wheel, as “a six-track, 52-minute dive into a joyous fantasy realm of exaggerated present.” Due October 8 via founding member Ethan Miller’s label Silver Current Records, the title track is a 16-minute multi-movement suite. According to Miller, the group’s primary songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist, “I wanted The Dharma Wheel to be a portal from our everyday world, the one from which you stand on hard ground and hold the album in your hands and peer into the artwork, and into another universe. You enter into that universe with your eyes and ears and mind and take a ride through free-form meditation on these ideas, from big, fundamental concepts about our existence right down to the grease that rolls down the arm of a pulp novel killer as he eats a gas station hot dog in an old Dodge in an alleyway.” Miller co-produced the album with Tim Green (Six Organs Of Admittance, Earthless), who worked on previous Howlin' Rain records Magnificent Fiend and The Russian Wilds. Guests include Scarlet Rivera (Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue) on violin and keyboardist Adam MacDougall (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Circles Around the Sun).

MohaviSoul

Based in Ocean Beach, MohaviSoul is an original, soulful contemporary bluegrass band rooted in folk and Americana. A debut CD called Every Second established their sound, which has since developed into a wide-ranging repertoire designed to expand the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. Their most recent full-length was their fourth album Live at the 42nd Annual Huck Finn Jubilee, released in early 2020. As they take a break from working on new material, “MohaviSoul is on the road to Raleigh, as an invited Official Showcase Artist for the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble at the annual World of Bluegrass,” says singer and mandolin player Randy Hanson. The event runs September 28 through October 2 in Raleigh, North Carolina. According to Hanson, “MohaviSoul is the first SoCal band since the legendary [local group] Nickel Creek to be invited to IBMA. We will play two shows at the Bluegrass Ramble and a show with the California Bluegrass Association.”

Album Leaf

The Album Leaf officially began in 1998 as the solo experiment of Jimmy LaValle, who had performed in several other local bands, including Swing Kids, the Locust, and GoGoGo Airheart. In 2001, LaValle saw his part-time Album Leaf project become a full-fledged live band touring with Sigur Rós, after that band’s lead singer Jónsi discovered the Leaf’s career-launching One Day I’ll Be On Time album at a record store in Iceland. LaValle (then of Tristeza) scored a small label advance for a solo project and began self-recording with occasional studio access from his day job at a jingle house. Over the next two decades, the Album Leaf released records on Sub Pop, City Slang, and other labels. On September 17, the ambient electronic project will debut One Day XX, a 20th-anniversary edition rework of One Day I’ll Be On Time, pairing LaValle with longtime collaborator James McAlister (Taylor Swift, Sufjan Stevens, the National) and members of his live band. A reworked edition of the single “Vermillion” is available, now featuring Matt Resovich’s violin work in a full band performance. Dave LeBleu tracked his drums remotely in Gainesville, Brad Lee recorded bass in San Diego, and LaValle tracked his Rhodes piano at a Los Angeles studio.

Shane Hall

Blues, soul, funk, and Americana artist Shane Hall (The Klay) spent several years fronting Shane Hall & the Diabolicals before going solo around 2014 and appearing at the 2018 Kaaboo Festival. On July 13, his band lost $30,000 worth of gear to thieves who stole their rented U-Haul enclosed trailer while it was parked outside a Salt Lake City hotel room, near the city’s airport. Local Utah musicians loaned the band enough gear to perform their area engagements, which were the first dates of their West Coast Mountains & Plains Tour 2021. The band will still need to pay the $3000 rental fee for the missing 5x8 U-Haul trailer with Wisconsin plates, but they’ve started a GoFundMe campaign to finance that, replace their lost equipment, and finish out the tour. Shane Hall’s song “Under My Voodoo” is among more than 30 never-before-released acoustic covers on the recent compilation album The House That Bradley Built, featuring music from the catalog of Bradley Nowell’s band Sublime. Hall will be back in town to play the Carlsbad Music Festival happening on August 27 and August 2, as well as appearing at ArtWalk Carlsbad on September 26.

Hemisphere

Promoting the spirit of unity, diversity, and equality, Hemisphere features openly gay members Rob Shinno (guitar, vocoder) and Don Bowman (vocals, sax), as well as Mike McQuilken (drums), Nathan Brown (bass), and Max Zape (keys). The band draws on rock, pop, jazz, fusion, and metal for inspiration and has played at prestigious events such as the Newport Beach Jazz Festival. Tracks from their new album American Dreams, nominated Best World Music Album at the San Diego Music Awards, have scored over 400,000 YouTube views and streams since the October 2020 release date. It includes guest players such as Grammy winning drummer and percussionist Tommy Aros (Fattburger), singers Rebecca Jade (2020 SDMA Artist of the Year) and Leonard Patton, trumpeter Derek Cannon, and a guitar solo from Patrick Yandall. Local jazz star Peter Sprague served as engineer and mixer, and the album was mastered by Bernie Grundman (Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, Prince). A video is streaming online for the album track “America,” shot during the pandemic lockdown using social distance precautions, and an American Dreams collector’s CD edition is available with a 16 page pamphlet of liner notes, images, and lyrics. The band recently booked three nights at the 2022 South By Southwest music festival. Their album release party happens at Humphreys Backstage on October 2, for a bill that includes the Grant Clarkston Trio and Wolftrane.

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