Joanna Ramirez’s Latest Album Keeps Us on Our Feet

A soulful voice, lyrical depth, infectious music, everything you want in an artist Joanna Ramirez has. The Dallas native Austin-based neo-soul, jazz, and R&B artist has been making music for some time now. Starting in the 1990’s, Joanna launched her career with her funk/blues band called Soul Providers. When she moved to Austin in 1998, she joined the blues/R&B band Shake ‘Em On Down formed by guitarist J.P. Lilliston.

It was only inevitable that Joanna would go into a career in music seeing as it’s in her blood. Her grandfather was a singer and guitarist of traditional Mexican music and recorded for the Bluebird and Victor labels in the 1930s. Her father was an R&B guitarist and harmonica player, and, along with his two brothers, Charles and Chick, played in various combos during the 1960s

 “It is not easy to bare your soul through music, but I believe it is the only way to truly impact others and possibly inspire, comfort, heal, or just get people to dance,” she says. In her latest album, On My Way, she does just that, exposes her truest self. The album has 11 upbeat R&B, jazz, and neo-soul songs, each giving a glimpse into Joanna’s eyes and heart.

The title song, “On My Way” is a neo-soul song that chronicles her musical career, a narrative of overcoming and showing the world that she is not to be underestimated. “I think a lot of people can relate to the song’s narrative of wanting to give up on something, but knowing that they can’t ignore a voice inside telling them to keep going,” she says. “Sixteen Years” is a slower jazz and R&B song, but still has a beat that makes you want to dance. She took a hiatus away from music before the release of this album, sixteen years. This song shares her experience with that break. “Whaddui” is a soul and R&B song with a hook and melody that truly makes you sing out loud. It’s an anthem-like song seemingly about the craziness that was 2020, with a global pandemic and the political drama that was unfolding. She sings “whaddui whaddui whaddui have to do to prove to you/that there’s no need for all your crying/oh I just want to help you/get through/this crazy dream.”

It can’t go without mentioning Joanna’s voice. There is no other singer out there who encompasses her strength, power, and self-confidence that Joanna does. You can hear every emotion and all her passion in her singing. It’s one of the most stunning things about her music, particularly On My Way.

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Slim Sly Slender’s “War Paint” Exposes Our Collective Insecurities

The Baltimore, Maryland-based artist Slim Sly Slender had his musical awakening in 2009, during a casual warehouse jam session with friends. A successful painter and visual artist since his youth, Slim had an epiphany that day–and one single experience set him on a new path to become a prolific singer-songwriter. His quirky, wry lyrical style and straightforward instrumental settings are reminiscent of the Beatles music he grew up with, as well as great 80s acts such as Randy Newman, Billy Bragg,and  Andy Partridge of the XTC. 

Sly Slim Slender (performance name of Jay Schlueter) is setting up for the release of his sixth album, Pay to Play, with his recent single “War Paint”(May 27, 2022). “The initial idea for this song came from the title of the book about Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden, although other than that the song is not about either of them,” Slim said. “The song is about how normal and necessary it is for some people to be cosmetically made up at all times to confidently go out in public.” 

“War Paint” invokes a fun vibe through the upbeat rhythm, melody, and ebullient bass. However, when listening close to the lyrics, the song becomes “a bit of a downer.” Without giving too much away, “War Paint” is the battle cry for those who do their face up for public outings, whether it is for artistic purposes or conformity. This song is nothing short from an earworm. The melody, backing vocals, and funky guitar rhythm will have listeners bopping and humming at any time of day.

“I do this because I love it,” Slim says. “Music is unlike visual art because when a person buys a painting, they put it on a wall, and only they and their friends can enjoy the piece of art. Music is for everybody. I love sharing it, and I’m excited to get this album out there in front of more people.”

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Stream “War Paint” everywhere today, and follow Sly Slim Slender on social media to not miss his next release!!

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Video Voyager: The Impliers’ “Lightning”

The Impliers are the psychedelic rock duo making waves with their oddly tuned guitars, superb production quality, and innovative musical techniques. Dan and Charles have known each other since High School, though they recently got together to create The Impliers when their lives seemed to mirror each others. It was fate.

Their recent music video is for their single “Lighting.” The song is seemingly about mental health and it’s effect on people. They perfectly and masterfully visualize what it’s like to suffer from a mental illness, stuck in a depressive state and suddenly, as if struck by lighting, you are in another place mentally. The use of quick shots and flashing lights aid this idea and show how fast things can change. They interchange the fast with the slow with a lot of shots that represent stillness, but stillness in a way that captures the inability to move.

We spoke with The Impliers about their innovate and powerful video:

1. Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way?

There’s a bipolar sense to what’s going on in this song, lyrically and in how the parts dramatically change in moods and range of feeling. I had always thought bipolar was someone who rapidly changed their mind or moods and was hot and cold, but it’s more of an exaggerated version of what everyone tends to go through – which is a longer arc of being down and then coming out. It was so interesting to learn that bursts of creative energy and motivation that most of us feel can actually be a symptom of bipolar, the mania specifically – that had never occurred to me that the higher highs were one of the poles. Charles and I have both experienced this through our own diagnosis as adults. I think this song shows some of that bipolar thinking in seeing different perspectives, with bursts of energy and some subdued elements while showing forward progress in diving within – it really compliments the broader story we explore on our record ‘cocoon coming out on August 19’ as it rounds out the first part of the record before there’s a change in atmosphere. The visuals really try to exaggerate these emotions.

2. What was the inspiration behind this video (visuals, storyline, etc.)?

We initially decided that we would not have any music videos for this album, as we felt the music and the experience that happens in the minds of the listener is the most important experience of the music, and we didn’t want to interfere with that, but one day the image came of the man in the bed that opens the video, and the rest of the video came like a string of pearls. There is an interesting duality that is explored both in the settings, ranging from the closed, dull inside scenes to the expansive colorful external scenes, but there’s an additional layer that shows a crossover of elements between the two landscapes and a hint of further duality in each of the individuals own consciousness. 

3. What was the process of making this video?

Well, from a technical execution standpoint, we handle our own filming, editing and everything from ideation to completion. Charles and I always vet ideas together, and that ranges from bouncing a full idea off one another to coming up with the idea together from scratch and riffing. And sometimes, we will get our hands on one another’s idea and try to send it back in the most surprising fashion. Lightning was an interesting approach in that I filmed a few scenes to understand Charles’ reaction and when we realized we were on to something and worked out more of the ideas, we booked time to film and I put together a few ideas that I wanted to film without giving context as to what was happening. When we started filming in the woods, Charles had a post-it note of hand-gestures which he executed on flawlessly. The beauty of our working relationship, is throughout the entire process, with the post-it notes,  while we were exchanging uniforms consistently throughout the day as we relocated filming locations, there was never the question of “what are we filming” and the complete trust that our ages old creative collaborative process would come through in the end, in a way that worked for both of us. One funny moment, though – my brother Bryan flew in to help operate our film gear that weekend and on the first night we filmed a scene with the foot and the man under the bed. He called our brother Sean that night and said “I landed, and next thing you know I was being filmed sitting on the bed with a gel dripping off my bare foot, while a grown man dressed in a white suit laid under the bed.”

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George Collins’ New Single Takes on Lost Opportunities

George Collins is no stranger to the music industry. Back in his younger years, before committing to the world of high finance, he played in local restaurants and bars in Charlottesville to pay his way through school. He even became a local staple. He also played in an eleven-piece Earth, Wind & Fire-esque band called Common Knowledge which included Carter Beauford and the late LeRoi Moore.  Beauford  and Moore later became founding members of The Dave Matthews Band. “While backstage with Carter and Dave during their most recent concert in Prague in 2019, I joked that I was in The Dave Matthews Band even before Dave Matthews,” Collins says with a good-natured laugh.  “They both burst out laughing, and Dave clicked his beer bottle to mine and said, ‘If anyone ever asks me about that, I will back you up one hundred percent!’” 

George is back and better than ever with his upcoming solo EP, It’s Been a Long Time. He just released the pop rock title song “It’s Been a Long Time.” It has a Tom Petty meets U2 in sound and energy with a hint of Fleetwood Mac. In “It’s Been a Long Time,” George showcases his songwriting with lyrics that spew emotion. It’s about a lost love and missed opportunities. It can be taken literally and metaphorically, the sign of a great songwriter.

He sings “Never knew love before, never met no one like you/And I’m always gonna wonder what might have been/World spinning circles now, but there’s one thing I know/It’s gonna be a long, long time till I love that way again.” It can connect with any listener and that’s what makes George Collins’ music so special.

His songs feature instantly hummable melodies; subtle but smart counterpoint; clever chord sequences; ace musicianship; and vocals that ooze soulful rock n’ roll longing.  As a lyricist, Collins is a poet, a sage, a storyteller, and an empath.  He covers the full-spectrum of emotions and the human experience, and he writes with cinematic detail, visceral vulnerability, and clever turns of phrase. 

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Star Goes Nova’s Debut Album is Ethereal

The queen of ambient electronica and dance music debuts her EDM, drum and bass, and chillwave self-titled album, Star Goes Nova. The artist, also known as Los Angeles bassist Christine Law, connects her swirling spirit with her 115 year old piano to create the synths we know and love. She finds meaning in time, space, and thought, often including the sounds of rockets and the stars in her music.

“Phat Barbarella” was released alongside her album. It was inspired by Jane Fonda’s 1968 sci-fi film Barbarella. Dubstep vibes, retro synths and grim bass take the Queen of the Galaxy on her quest for love. Light-hearted and fun, starship travelers party in zero-g. Rarely seen in her videos,  Star Goes Nova  appears as the astronaut queen leading the quest for party fun through retro psychedelia.

It has a Pink Floyd vibe to it with a big cinematic energy that guides the story. She plays with instrumentation and electronic sounds, which creates emotion in the song, like it’s alive. The tempo is smooth and the beat gets under your skin, like an itch that needs to be scratched and the only way to relieve it is to dance along.

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Cary Morin Puts an Americana Spin on His Cover of “Goin’ Down South”

Cary Morin is by far one of the most impressive guitar players you’ll ever encounter. He wonderfully marries the varied musical traditions and styles of America defined by his fingerpicking style and sultry voice that conveys grit and elation. He characterizes his style as roots-infused Native Americana with hints of bluegrass, folk, blues, and rock.

Cary just released his cover of R.L. Burnside’s blues rock song “Goin’ Down South” with his band Cary Morin and Ghost Dog. Their rendition withholds the blues rock style of Burnside, but includes a folk and roots rock sound. Their version of “Goin’ Down South” has a Bob Dylan meets The Allman Brothers kind of vibe. Their hook and accompanying melody is catchy. You find yourself instantly dancing along.

It’s no wonder Cary Morin has so many accolades. “Goin’ Down South” is exactly what you want in a cover song; it stays true to the bones of the original song while also giving it an artistic spin that’s unique to the cover artist. Cary Morin and Ghost Dog’s version is uniquely Cary Morin. The roots rock and blues is what makes their sound so special.

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