“It’s Evolution, Baby!”

By on Jan 11, 2017 in Blog, Reviews | 0 comments

Sounding like he’s singing from the backside of a hand-cranked phonograph, songwriter Walker Smith opens his new record “Great Divide” with a minute-and-half long intro that could easily take place in a dime store record booth somewhere out in the Great Plains. The subtle crooning of Smith rides shotgun to a beautiful ukulele as the singer paints a picture of what might happen if you “turn your back on the folks you know…the faces start to fade.” Basically, ending up alone, “carving out your memories in alabaster stone.” A strong image set by Smith, who, over the past five years has become a true standout in the NH music scene. His voice is butter, just about as smooth as it gets. He works his tail off to be heard. His lyrics, they’re big boy lyrics, fully realized, bursting with intelligence. To date, Smith, who lives in Concord,...

A Great Awakening

By on Jan 4, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Miketon and the Night Blinders aren’t wasting any time kicking in the doors on 2017. The Manchester-based “garbage grass” band has a new CD ready to launch on January 12th called “Building A Home.” And if you enjoy a rollicking country sound with fiddle, bass, brushes and banjo, then this CD is your first purchase of the New Year. Three seconds into the opener “Lucky Hearts” and I’m sold. Lead singer Miketon Graton strikes a quick chord, then sings hard for his love that sleeps at home, waiting to smell the stink of his beer-stained skin and feel the warmth of his allegiance to her. Cameron Rapoport enters in with a steely smooth fiddle solo and off we go. This is when we know the Night Blinders have identified themselves as a serious rock band, pledging that, “the love of ours will last if together we hold fast to hope that’s...

By on Dec 14, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Procrastination was mocking me again. For months, maybe a year, I’ve had a blocked left ear. Didn’t know what was causing the blockage — yolk, wax, a fingernail, a puzzle piece — but I wasn’t prepare to do anything about it. Panic mode is usually what brings me to a doctor office — the snap of a bone, a small spittle of blood, the numbing of an limb. But not a clogged ear drum. This stuff works itself out, doesn’t it? That’s why I waited. Then waited some more. Then even more. Until finally, the waiting was over and I forced myself to visit a Convenient MD in Merrimack. This wasn’t planned. There was no intent behind my reason to concede. The medical office was right there, fifty feet from my car, almost chastising me for my weakness. The lot was empty, which played well into my horrendous lack of patience. The condition of my ear...

Let Low Lily Set The Tone

By on Dec 7, 2016 in Interviews | 0 comments

I figure, the best way to listen to the traditional folk trio, “Low Lily,” is lying flat on your back, staring up into the blinking branches sparking off the ornaments on your Christmas tree. Get your head right under that tree. Fire up a glass of red, find those old thermal pajamas, lock the kids in the basement and turn up the volume. Not too loud now. Go easy. Low Lily will set the tone. Listen to Flynn Cohen pick that mandolin — slow and steady and well studied in the craft. Feel the pulse of your fingertips as Liz Simmons sings a ballad or two about old world Ireland. Lissa Schneckenburger will fiddle you right into a trance before the brass of New Orleans comes calling. But, if you haven’t bought a Christmas tree yet or only itch in thermal, then simply come down to New England College in Concord this Friday night and hear Low Lily for yourself. The show...

Right Time for Wrongtown

By on Nov 30, 2016 in Interviews | 0 comments

It’s the right time for Wrongtown Productions to arrive on the music scene. Started by local musicians Eric Ober, Brad Schneider, Micheal Crane, Corey Garland and Mark Trottier, the idea of the artist dissecting the artist is intriguing. Generous even, considering both subject and interviewer are so entwined creatively within the majesty and anguish of being a musician. Music is a hard business. Hard to get recognized, hard to make money, hard not to spend money (especially when the trough is rusted out) on video and recording costs. So, Wrongtown might ask, why go it alone? Why not take advantage of this beautiful concept based solely off kindness? It’s not a business, Wrongtown will tell you, it’s simply a “garden” of artist helping each other to grow as one. Need a video shot and an interview done but don’t have the tools, cash or connections to...

Thanks To You!

By on Nov 24, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Every year I wish my buddy T-Bone a “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day” he says the same thing to me: “Bobby, I’m Irish every day of the year.” His terseness is honorable if not somewhat annoying, but I understand what the big lug is saying. He’s letting me know that ones heritage and religion or race doesn’t need to come packaged and sold in order to recognized. I get it. Sweet of him to jam it down my throat. But I remind Big T that reflection is a celebration in itself. We need it as humans, those rarified moments during the year when we’re forced to admit our thanks to the world. Whether it’s to the gods at Christmastime or a pile of punch drunk friends during Thanksgiving or to that weekend lover you hustled onto the legion hall dance floor on Valentines Day, giving thanks is a healthy gesture. And those on the receiving end of that appreciation can only feel warmth upon acceptance....

Film and Music with Mark Battle

By on Nov 9, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

“Music really does connect us to the emotional chords of a film…” Wish I said those words. I didn’t. Mr. Mark Battle did. He’s an award winning filmmaker from New Hampshire and he knows his stuff. Or at the very least is filling in those creative edges mighty fine. Every year I see one of Battle’s short films, THE JANITOR or THE CONVICT, at the SNOB Film Festival, I can’t help but say to myself, “Yup, this cat is on a whole other level. Wow.” I’m betting ten years down the road, I’ll be filling my face watching HBO or Cinemax or Showtime, and touch down on a Battle series, something spun out of these early years of Mark’s as a filmmaker in the Granite State. And what is film without music? That’s what we at Soundcheck wanted to know. So we turned to Battle for his take on blending film with music as he...

November’s Reign

By on Nov 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

November can be a beast of a month, a gnarly hole of shrinking light capable of decapitating ones disposition. Like her cranky cousin February, November serves just one purpose: to annoy. There’s simply no bloom in her step, no arch in her heel, just the desperate sound of human bloating, cutting northern winds and dark, cold mornings. But we aren’t going to get anywhere with that kind of attitude, now will we? That’s why this year, instead of cowering in defeat to the month of November, I decided to push back on her by booking a steady diet of good music into the studio. It’s really all I have in defense. A couple months ago, I was enjoying a few pints downtown in Manchester, not necessarily searching for any new music. That night was built for rampant exaggerations and spinning white lies with my compadres. Not introspection. A couple pulls later, I’m thrust out of my juvenile...