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blues

Masorti Interview: All about his new release Mirrors and more

With a delicious breakfast recommendation and plenty of insights into his fascinating career, we spoke with Masorti, who leads us into the world of a young Noah Wotherspoon playing live blues and much more. Telling us a wild Bruce Springsteen story and showing us why he absolutely loves making music, we find a highly likeable artist and human.

We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today, Masorti. What does a nutritious breakfast in your household entail?

Masorti: Thank you A&R Factory for taking the time to interview me and for supporting my music. A typical nutritional breakfast in my household is called “The Artist Shake” and consists largely of blueberries, raspberries, bananas, orange juice or Kefir with some chia seeds sprinkled in then stuffed into a blender. Actual ingredients may vary to include other leftover fruit, plain old fruit, sometimes old salads (if I didn’t use too much dressing), and pumpkin seeds gifted from the previous tenant. I actually much prefer breakfast at City Diner at the corner of Broadway and 90th.

Please tell us about your incredible journey from criminal defense attorney to singer-songwriter?

Masorti: I recall vividly when I became drawn into music and what would become my conversion from listener to artist. In early 2003, I was in Dayton, Ohio when one of my friends suggested we go see a young local guitar player who, at the time, was making considerable waves on the regional scene. It was at The Oregon Express in The Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio that I first saw and heard a young Noah Wotherspoon playing live blues to a sparse crowd on an off night. I was 38 years old at the time. Until that night of my life, I was a music listener. How music was created and why it was created had never occurred to me. But when I opened the door and entered the bar that night, for the first time, I was actually feeling music rather than just hearing it. Plainly, it was soulful. It was extremely soulful, and it moved me to the extent that when I drove back home to Pennsylvania, I immediately bought a guitar and scheduled my first (and only) lesson. I was determined to understand the connection between the instrument and the soul and after learning a few chords, all hell broke loose – as they say. Within a few weeks, I began writing songs and by expressing myself through the process of songwriting, I began to feel relieved and healed…I began to feel good again. Some say art comes from suffering. I emphatically agree. It’s creation is a catharsis.

Like so many others, when the Pandemic hit I took the time to reevaluate my life. By that time I had practiced criminal defense for 27 years and had tried over 120 cases to verdict. During that period, being a zealous advocate was my passion and my purpose. Justice and the integrity of the court system are very important to me. But I was becoming jaded and I was losing enthusiasm for the practice of law and at the same time I was writing more. So I decided to transition from law to music, fully embracing it as my purpose in life. I moved to New York City in March of 2021 to pursue music full-time. My musical genre is best described as New Alternative (“New Alt”) and is widely available across all digital platforms.

If you could open for any artist in the world, who would it be?

Masorti: If I could open for any act, it would be Dire Straits. Mark Knopfler is my most identifiable and undeniable influence. I can see what he writes and Sultans Of Swing is my absolute #1 favorite song of all time. “You get a shiver in the dark and it’s raining in the park but meantime…” It’s like I’m standing right there with him… “South of the river you stop and you hold everything.” Ok, Me and Mark, we stop together just two music loving buddies – Mark and me. “A band is blowing dixie double four time.” Yes, Mark I can hear them too…. ” And you feel alright when you hear the music ring.” No Doubt about that -no doubt at all.

Your latest album called Mirrors has just dropped. Please describe the process and who was involved?

Masorti: The process of making my new record Mirrors was very intense as I had just completed 2 projects From The Darkness (10 song LP) and 80 East (6 song EP). Everybody on my team advised me to stop recording and begin promoting those 16 songs but I felt strongly that I should keep recording as I had written a bunch of new songs, the band was available, and the energy was great. Basically, I felt that I had more to say and I wanted to get it down.

For my record Mirrors I once again relied on the expertise of my producer Conrad Korsch whose steady and gifted hands guided us through the Project. We recorded the 10 track LP at Mission Sound in Brooklyn with studio owner/engineer par excellence Oliver Strauss in a day and a half. Mirrors features Oz Noy on electric guitar, Stan Harrison on sax, Brian Delaney on drums, Conrad Korsch on bass, and me on acoustic guitar and vocals.

How much money do you think musicians should receive from streaming websites (per stream)?

Masorti: If all artists got a penny for each stream across all digital platforms, then there would be a more equitable distribution of the proceeds generated from streaming.

What is the wildest music industry related story you’ve ever experienced or heard of (from a legit source), that you may share with us?

Masorti: My wildest music industry-related story, or for me the most interesting, was told to me by a very close friend who was actually on the plane and in one of the bands about to be mentioned. It was during the Amnesty International Human Rights Tour in 1988 and three bands were loaded on a chartered 737 about to leave from JFK. Bruce Springsteen’s band was in the front of the plane, Sting’s band occupied the middle of the plane, and Peter Gabriel and his band were in the rear. The plane was scheduled to depart at 10 am. By 10 am everybody was on the plane except for Bruce Springsteen. By 10:30 still no Bruce. Some of the passengers became restless and began to get testy regarding the delay and made their feelings known easily enough with the help of an open bar. Now it’s 11 am and still, no Bruce. By this time some passengers began to get really riled up about the wait. Now it’s 11:30 and Bruce Springsteen finally walks onto the plane after an hour and a half delay to a standing ovation by his band. News had reached them that Bruce was at the gate at 10 am but was refusing to get on the plane until he could speak to the CEO of Nike who was sponsoring the tour. Finally, Bruce got on the phone with Nike and explained that in his view all the Artists and bands were being paid well but that the roadies and riggers and related support personnel were not and that he was not going to get on the plane until Nike agreed to double the salary of everyone else who was working the tour in support of the artists and bands.

Last of all, where can we find you live next or do you have any exciting projects lined up for 2023?

Masorti: 2023 is going to be an exciting year as we are in the process of promoting the catalog, booking shows, and rehearsing new material. Our next show is scheduled February 27 at The Bitter End in NYC. I am also excited to announce that we just finished an 8 track LP Lost At Sea that may get released before the end of the year. And on that record is a very special cover. And you feel alright when you hear the music ring.

Hear this poetic musician in action via Spotify. Find out more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Ryan Bowen and the Non-Player Characters got something, even if you’ve got nothing.

Ryan Bowen and the Non-Player Characters know how to forge a sound, taking elements of blues, punk-rock, and gritty classic sounds, there’s a lot happening here. Their newest track “You Got Nothing” is a two-fisted warning to the unwanted and annoying – it’s the kind of song we’d all sing to those individuals who deserve a punch in the face, but never receive one because of things like “social norms.”

Grungy distorted rhythm guitars start the song. I assume that Ryan Bowen is the lead singer (but the way band names are created, we never know), and his tone is fantastic – think David Bowe’s 70’s era style mixed with a mild folk/blues character, processed like singing through a megaphone and you sort of have the aural image of what it sounds like. The rhythm section is tight on the level of a sailor’s knot. I’d be remised if I didn’t mention the fantastic guitar solo; it’s melodic and sharp and breaks the character of the song somewhat in a way that ramps up the energy when the main themes return, making the track “You Got Nothing” the right kind of journey in a world full of cookie-cut pop-songs.

I was pleased to find out that these folks are somewhat local to me, they reside in Portland, Oregon, whereas I live in a small town about three hours south (I might have to make the trek north to check out a show). But upon reflection, I’m not that surprised. Portland is known for its artistic scene and this kind of refined yet against-the-grain sound is as native to Oregon as the Nike corporation and it’s good that Ryan Bowen and the NPCs are making us proud.

Check them out on IG and listen to the track on Spotify.

Wanna Run Round With Me: The Good Dudes drops bluesy kiss-filled Taste of Me

Knowing that sweet talking will only go so far, The Good Dudes reminds us we can be happy if we say those words which might drive a new lover’s ears wild on Taste of Me.

The Good Dudes is a south Louisiana-raised 8-piece blues/pop/rock-fusion outfit who reminds us of that timeless sound which will get many dancing like the 70s again.

Since making their full-length debut in 2019, the band has played Festival International de Louisiane, toured the southeast, and continued to grow their devoted fanbase.” ~ The Good Dudes

Floating into our minds with something rather accomplished on the ears, The Good Dudes untangles the seaweed of the world off our bodies like a lifeguard and urges us to move onto happier seas with a twinkle in the eye.

Taste of Me from south Louisiana-raised 8-piece blues/pop/rock-fusion band The Good Dudes is a terrific song made with so much soul and love. This is proper music. There is genuine substance on offer. Real energy. Vocally on point and dipped in a romantic energy to truly lather inside, this is one of the best moving singles of the year so far.

Listen up to this new single on Spotify and see more news on the IG page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Love Prevails in Mermaid Avenue’s Indie Alt-Country Single, Darkest Hour

Brisbane’s most amorous indie alt-country outfit, Mermaid Avenue, has testified to the redemptive propensities of love in their latest single, Darkest Hour, taken from their third album, which is due for release in 2023.

The crooned country twang with the heart-wrenchingly executed vibrato in the vocals beside the meandering blues of the guitars and flourishing piano motifs is a potent combination which amplifies the message in the uninhibitedly romantic lyricism to the nth degree.

What Mr Darcy is to literature, Mermaid Avenue is to the airwaves. Any fans of Trudy and the Romance will want to sink into the cinematic sincerity of this serenade time and time again. It’s not country as you’ve known it before; Mermaid Avenue could never be so assimilative in their autonomously scintillating style.

Darkest Hour is now available to stream via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Bahrain-based band Hotboxgroove are at their groovy best on Midnight Blooms

With a mysteriously frightening intro that shall stun your senses awake, Hotboxgroove shows us why they’re so highly regarded on the underground with an instrumental gem to play loud right now on Midnight Blooms.

Hotboxgroove is a Bahrain-based indie alternative 6-piece band who fuses together a potent mix of jazz, blues and funky psychedelic to get hearts beating worldwide.

Displaying so much skill and precise timings to solidify a quite outstanding performance, Hotboxgroove has the power to change the mood of the world with a monumental anthem of patience with Midnight Blooms and they certainly deliver. Brimming with a head-nodding style which shall get your soul alive quickly, we find a rather special song waiting to be loved.

Midnight Blooms from Bahrain-based indie alternative 6-piece band Hotboxgroove is a track that might get even the sleepiest souls to awaken from the dead again. Circulating with a world class sound that has so much value in a world with so much sadness, and shall get that blood flow streaming properly again.

Listen up to this new single on Spotify and see more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Cut Me Loose: Danny Smart moves on from a past lover on Unwind

Wishing for a happier time after so much sadness whilst dealing with a shattered romance, Danny Smart puts his smart shirt on and is ready to Unwind from it all with a sensational performance.

Danny Smart is a Barnsley, UK-based blues-rock solo singer-songwriter and music producer who assembles those delicious gems to swim in forever.

I just play guitar and write songs. Sometimes work on big boats.” ~ Danny Smart

Taking us into a whole new world of possibilities when two hearts know the right course, Danny Smart is rather brilliant on Unwind and shall stimulate many emotions we all forgot about.

Unwind from Barnsley, UK-based blues-rock solo singer-songwriter Danny Smart is one of the more memorable tracks which will take you down memory lane. Soaked in with so much care and love, this is a tremendous single which is a fantastic listen and is surely one of the more ear-stirring releases the world is likely to hear in 2022.

Listen up to this fine song on Spotify and view more vibes on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Fish in the Sea: Hertfordshire duo Tranquility Beach drops magnificent single Only One

After a memorable 48 second intro to wet our insatiable appetites, Tranquility Beach holds our attention with a masterful display that shall be your new theme song on Only One.

Tranquility Beach is a Hertfordshire, UK-based indie blues duo who makes those authentic gems you can’t help but smile with no matter the time of day.

Formed as a covers band in 2018, they began writing and recording their own material in 2019. Their music fuses Molly’s soulful vocals with Ben’s guitar and percussion to produce tracks that blend modern rock, blues, folk and soul.” ~ Tranquility Beach

Proving once again that music made from the heart can warm your mood, Tranquility Beach are rather spellbinding and takes us on a ride that will awaken your precious soul from hiding.

Only One from Hertfordshire, UK-based indie blues band Tranquility Beach is a rather revved up single which might get your head nodding like it was 1999 again. Wrapped in a timeless authenticity that teases our ears awake. we have stumbled upon a truly outstanding single that has a cinematic excellence.

There are many fish in the sea if you look hard enough.

Listen up loud on Spotify and see more vibes on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

SRVR unleashed a debut of spacey blues with their alt-rock release, Birdman

In response to America’s political decline, the South London producers and songwriters Sidney Rivers and Vincent Rogue merged their visionary creativity under the moniker SRVR and released their art-rock debut, Birdman.

Converging bluesy guitars and spacey textures in the soulfully gospel-esque production, there’s a subversive surrealism to the release, making it more than fitting for the 2022 airwaves. With Rob Wilks (Foals, Florence and the Machine, Lianne La Havas) at the mixing desk, Birdman spread its wings as a cathartically compelling sensory experience that everyone with an affinity for the Avant Garde will want to aurally revel in.

With their debut LP due for release in early 2023, save a space on your radars.

Birdman will officially release on September 14th. Stream it on SoundCloud or watch the official music video on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Been Let Down Before: Todd Michael Chapman knows that she doesn’t want to be lonely again on The One

Wondering if he can actually be that light to change how his new lover views relationships, Todd Michael Chapman sees her eyes close softly as he holds her so tight on his passionate new romantic release, The One.

Todd Michael Chapman is a Western New York-based indie rock/blues single-songwriter who performs from the heart and got his start when he was just 7 years old.

All thanks to his aunt who gifted him his first guitar when he was a wide-eyed young fella looking for a wholesome path, Todd Michael Chapman shows us his pure respect for a woman who he truly cares for. Wanting to be that special soul who shows her that love is actually possible in this seemingly forget-quick world, this is a vital reminder that a close bond is possible if you both want it enough.

The One from Western New York-based indie rock/blues artist Todd Michael Chapman is a vintage-like single from an underground storyteller who has dropped a song that so many will relate to. Packed with a pure vocal skill that is undeniably authentic, you will feel your heart jumpstart like a cold car on this gem.

When two souls connect and vow to leave the past where it belongs, the power of love can overcome it all.

Hear this new single on Spotify and see more vibes on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Play The Fool: Robert John Hanson knows that its hard to breathe sometimes in that Crowded Room

After stirring up our senses with a quality performance on Blue Cocktail, Robert John Hanson takes that one-more-dance with someone who will hopefully not leave any mental scars on Crowded Room.

Robert John Hanson is a hugely experienced Liverpool, UK-born, Rhode Island, USA-based indie blues singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and music producer.

Hanson has lived in L.A. and New York where he played with Spinal Reflex and Grandma Tootle.” ~ Robert John Hanson describing his career so far

Filling our beating hearts with a reminder of what can be if you take a chance sometimes, Robert John Hanson returns with a top single, which will encourage many to speak up when a connection is felt inside that stuffy room. Packed with terrific vocals and his storytelling brilliance that will have you sensing you are listening to an underground legend who deserves more love.

Crowded Room from Liverpool, UK-born, Rhode Island, USA-based indie blues singer-songwriter Robert John Hanson is a late night single for anyone who needs to believe that there is actually a chance. With true love seemingly hard to find, this is a dreamy single that will get you knocking on the door of your heart again, to see if there is anything romantic left in your soul after so many disappointments.

Sung with his signature deep tone that will make many swoon in delight, showing us that classic music still has a place for those who desire something with actual substance.

Hear this fine release on Spotify and see more on his IG page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen