Browsing Tag


Interview: Indiana artist Tony Marino tells us timeless stories and shares valuable advice on Low Keyed

With a gig story for the ages and exhibiting to us what self-enlightened experience looks like, Tony Marino kindly had a chat with us and is at his honest best. Valiantly representing the original artist and leading us into his incredible life, we find out more about this determined underground great.

Hello there Tony. Thank you for chatting with us today. Where in the world are you as we speak and what did you have for breakfast?

Tony Marino: I am currently living in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I had my usual blueberries, oatmeal, and coffee for breakfast.

You’re known as the quintessential Latin jazz keyboardist. Where did it all start with you musically and what/who inspires you to perform?

Tony Marino: The title “the quintessential Latin jazz keyboardist” was given to me in one of my album reviews. I started taking lessons with Philadelphia Pianist Bill DelGovernatore, Rev. Ernie Hopkins and then Tom Lawton. I played in bands while attending High School and Tech School. After moving from Philly to Fort Wayne I started a band, called Havana Heat. In 1997, I met Claudio Roditi who introduced me to Breno Sauer. I studied Brazilian Music and Tango with Breno. While living in Fort Wayne I also took lessons with Jim Trompeter, Jose Valdes, and Laurence Hobgood. We moved to Santa Barbara, which was another great experience. I was given the opportunity to play with many other world-class musicians. I have been very fortunate to have studied and played with so many great musicians over the past several decades.

3 albums in 1 year. This is extremely impressive. Please tell us all about your new releases?

Tony Marino: Since my wife and I have been together she always wanted me to record a solo piano album. All of my recordings up to this point were instrumentals using various instruments.

Out of all the projects I did to date the piano solo album called “Original Piano Pieces” took the longest, 14 months. I wrote 12 new pieces, remixed two songs from previous albums and re-recorded two older songs. I worked on one song at a time and did many takes until I was happy with each composition’s recording.

The second album “Low Keyed” came together pretty fast. I wrote and recorded 9 new songs and re-recorded three songs from previous projects. This album is a world music album with Latin and jazz compositions.

The third album release “World Music Blues” contains 10 original compositions that use I-IV-V chord changes in major and minor keys. I wrote these songs in different keys, styles, and time signatures.

If you were stuck on a deserted island..which 5 items would you take with you if you could?

Tony Marino: My wife, our children, our dogs, food, and water.

Do you have any funny live performance stories you’re willing to share?

Tony Marino: When I was in high school, I played in a band that booked an after-hours club gig for several months. I purchased a brand-new amplifier, and on the first night playing the gig, the amplifier speaker blew out. I took the amplifier back to the music store and upgraded to a larger amplifier.

On the second night, I set up the new amplifier directly behind me. While I was playing the amplifier volume started to fluctuate, I noticed my shadow flickering directly in front of me on the dance floor and I felt heat on the back of my neck.

When I turned around to look at the amplifier, I notice 3-foot flames shooting out of it. The guitar player pulled the plug, and the bass player punched a hole through the grill cloth and put the fire out with his hand. The entire place was filled with smoke, everyone ran out of the club into the parking lot. A few minutes later everyone went back into the club. I plugged my piano into the guitar player’s amplifier, and we finished the night. I took the amplifier back to the music store and traded it in for another amplifier.

On the third night I set up my new amplifier, the club owner came over to me and placed a huge fire extinguisher next to my amplifier and said if you play one note without this fire extinguisher you will be fired.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Tony Marino: At a very early age, my dear friend, the Rev Ernie Hopkins told me to never use drugs, gamble or date women at work.

Last, if you were in charge of the entire music industry, what would you change and why?

Tony Marino: I would encourage venues and radio stations to book and play original music of all styles. Throughout my music career, I have focused solely on writing and recording original music. As an independent recording artist, it is hard to get decent-paying gigs and music played on major radio stations without big record-label sponsorship. I would also encourage people to listen to new original music by a variety of artists and music styles.

Listen up on Spotify. See more on FB.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

I’ll Take You Out: Incredible Indiana singer-songwriter Jacob Dircksen wants to make it last on Sixteen

Inspiring us to take charge of each day, Jacob Dircksen waits for those dreams to come true on one of the most uplifting singles to hear today and it’s called Sixteen.

Jacob Dircksen is an Indiana-based indie singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who grew up in the music world and hasn’t stopped since.

Jacobs writing style seems to reflect his life struggles and successes, and his music speaks clearly on his own personal experiences about life, loss, and love.” ~ Jacob Dircksen

A proud member of the United States Marine Reserve, Jacob Dircksen performs with so much passion and desire to be happy with a special human. Taking us through a few years and guiding us through what it takes to make a relationship work out, we find a glorious soundtrack to young love.

Sixteen from Indiana-based indie singer-songwriter Jacob Dircksen is an absolute anthem to millions of lost souls. Showing us deep inside and showing us self-aware lyrics with romance in abundance, this one of the most electrifying releases so far in 2022.

When you know it’s special, never let it go without a fight.

Hear this fine single on Spotify and see more on the IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Ma Bell aka Kathy Bell Interview: A True American hero

Sometimes in life you meet someone who just wants to sing for the love and nothing more. This is the story of Ma Bell aka Kathy Bell. She is the ultimate underdog and loves making others happy. A selfless soul awaits.

Hello there Ma Bell aka Kathy Bell. How are you doing today and have you found that the music scene is properly back in your local area?
Ma Bell: I have found that this last year has been incredibly busy. I feel the music scene is definitely back.

You’re a DJ and also a songwriter with Bob McGilpin. Please explain how that fusion started and how creating songs makes you feel?
Ma Bell: I began in music at an early age, playing piano in the Church of God where my grandfather preached for 57 years.
I always had a passion for music but never thought I was good enough and had to go through quite a lot before believing in myself. I had written a silly Tobacco Barn song due to seeing a barn smoking with my friend and manager, Ruth Brown. She said write that into a song but I had no idea how that could be a song. A friend said get ahold of Bob McGilpin. I have to say he is the very best and not only is a co-writer but an amazing Friend. We now have 2 songs. America She’s Cryin co-written with Bob McGilpin a Platinum hit but also Freedom Truckers co-written with Bob McGilpin that has hit platinum twice.

Never too old to dream. I love your motto. It’s so true. Do you feel you’re in a dream while on stage and living out your destiny?
Ma Bell: I absolutely feel it is my dream. I have had the dream of performing on the Grand Ole Opry Stage one day since a child. I never give up on that and work hard. I have gone through sickness etc and am chasing my dream late in life, but still believe it can be possible as long as I never give up and keep working hard.

Who do you make music for and where do you call home?
Ma Bell: My home is in a very small town in Indiana called Sheridan. I make music when an inspiration hits. It is usually something from life. It can be funny or it can be serious.

Do you have a favourite song that we should definitely hear you sing live?
Ya all come! I love having fun in character as “Ma Bell” with my audience. The more they sing and tap feet, the more animated I become.

Can we spot you live before 2022 ends or do you have some events slowly cookin’ on the stove for 2023?
Absolutely, that would be awesome!

Find out more on her Facebook page.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Sweetspeak – Light Ruined Dark: A Warped Soundtrack to a Lynchian Fever Dream.

Testing the boundaries of rock n roll, the alt-rock band, Sweetspeak released their 2022 album, Signal Interception #186-Q7. The standout single, Light Ruined Dark, is the first feat of psychedelic experimentalism I’ve heard in a LONG time that isn’t tainted with derivative assimilation.

The distorted psychedelic blues tones would be reminiscent of a remaster of Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross… if the tape was fed through a meatgrinder. Sounding like two singles being played at different speeds simultaneously with bleeding vocals in the vein of Shoegaze artists, Light Ruined Dark really shouldn’t work, but God damn, it does. The immense guitar sound is practically an aphrodisiac.

Light Ruined Dark was officially released on October 5th. Check it out on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Born Down The Road: Via Skies left this burning desert behind on Home

Home by Via Skies

With a debut album on the way soon, Via Skies shows us that even if you are stuck down a lonely hole, it is actually possible to still reach your destination on the nostalgic single Home.

Via Skies is a long distance Arizona/Indiana-based indie folk band that was formed by the experienced East Valley singer-songwriter Jeff Gonzales.

Now collaborating with Indiana-based guitarist and producer Chad Cussen under the name Via Skies.” ~ Jeff Gonzales

Taking us into a world that so many have felt in their veins before, Via Skies rises up and shows so much strength with a terrific performance here that will inspire many to reach their chosen path. Sending us into a reflective moment you won’t be able to forget, this might be an underground gem we cherish forever.

Home from Arizona/Indiana-based indie folk band Via Skies is a joyous single that will surely get your feet tapping and is loaded with a genuinely joyous vibe and shall make you think deeper. Sung with a thoughtful energy and backed with a fantastic production, this is a track that might get you closing your eyes and recalling when you felt rather lost.

Home will always be home.

Hear this fine new song on Bandcamp and see more via Twitter.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Unkle Samm asks her why she is still with this fool on ‘Call Me When You’re Ready’ (ft. Stevie Mason and Urban Jay)

Taken off his recent 7-track album ‘That Kid Eversole‘, Unkle Samm slides his number to a possible new lover who is currently being treated so badly on ‘Call Me When You’re Ready(ft. Stevie Mason and Urban Jay).

Unkle Samm is an Indiana, USA-based indie Hip hop artist who drops tracks that are witty and packed with actual stories that will surely enthrall.

The Midwest emcee started putting rhymes on paper when he was in 8th grade.” ~ Unkle Samm

Sending our perspectives into a real spin of spine-tingling fascination, Unkle Samm is one of these artists who demands our attention with his raw raps and strong vocals that will have you nodding your head in approval. He seems to slice the flows with a gleeful abandon that will get you turning the volume up to full.

Call Me When You’re Ready(ft. Stevie Mason and Urban Jay) from Indiana, USA-based indie Hip hop artist Unkle Samm is a striking song from a man who has seen what he likes and wanted to be totally honest. After taking a risk that could ultimately be worth it, this is a reminder that sometimes you just need to take a chance.

Rapped with a dynamic style, this is a song that will fill you up with memories of when you saw something that didn’t really fit.

Hear this new single on Spotify and see more on the IG page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Indiana’s Samuel Mason drops a track with an extra sharpness that sends you back to the underground on, ‘Black Masses’

Recorded in his cosy and warm home studio, Samuel Mason has created something with an inviting edge that certainly shakes the walls down via the visuals for the lead single off his sophomore solo LP, ‘Black Masses‘.

Samuel Mason is a well-loved Indiana, USA-based indie rock artist/music producer who has joined forces with his drummer Austin Sheese on this fantastic underground project.

With influences of Jack White, Royal Blood, and The Black Keys, they have one album, Phases released 2019.” ~ Samuel Mason

Sending us into a world that is free from any restrictions and filled with hope, Samuel Mason and Austin Sheese have secured their place as a rock duo to take notice of with an entertaining performance that is packed with promise and a captivating rhythm to remember.

Black Masses‘ from Indiana, USA-based indie rock artist Samuel Mason is a gritty single that has you feeling boosted and ready for more than what you see currently in this rather odd world. There are vocals to truly listen to here at full volume, skilled drumming, and a soundtrack for those who just want to be inspired again.

This is a head-nodding rock track to play and with meaning, with that fire in your eyes to help you get through whatever worries are bringing you down.

See the new music video on YouTube and view more on his Twitter page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Slow down with Hunter & Girton’s folk-tinged alt-rock single, Fast World

Hunter & Girton

With piano melodies just as haunting as the scores on Westworld, the sombre vibrato vocals, cuttingly atmospheric guitars and the lyrics that tear through the polarity that has distanced and disillusioned us all, Hunter & Girton’s latest single, Fast World, is an evocative masterpiece.

We can be counted as gratified for the band’s step away from the touring circuit and into the studio to release singles such as Fast World, which acts as a harrowing sign of the times. Conceptually, there are a fair few reminiscences to the iconic Mad World, but Hunter & Girton’s cutting dissection of contemporary society is enough to make you long for the Mad World that Tears For Fears warned us about in 1982.

Yet, through the resonance that is delivered hand over metaphorically harbingering fist, it’s hard to find anything but intense satisfaction after hearing the ordinarily-alienating ennui at the centre of this feat of pensive panache.

Naturally, we can’t wait to hear what follows from the rural Indiana-hailing folk-infused alt-rock duo. Fast World is almost enough to make up for Editors giving up the ghost on their latest album.

Check out Hunter & Girton via Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

No Lies: Indiana-based music producer/rapper TSF reflects on his life with the foot-stomping ‘Doubted’

Released from his just-dropped 12-track album that shows us the world is ‘Too Far Gone’, TSF brings the house down with a tremendously electric speaker-breaking performance on ‘Doubted‘.

TSF is a youthful Indiana, USA-based indie hip-hop/EDM solo artist and well-established music producer who makes that honest type of music we can all connect to.

Everything I do involves music. If I’m not listening to music, just know that I’m very unhappy,” Kaleb states. The sound he produces invokes emotion and allows listeners to relate. “I’m very personal with my music because that’s just it. I’m human.” ~ TSF

After previously only making EDM music which was showcased via his debut album ‘Retribute‘, we now find an innovative soul who has decided to bring his love of hip-hop inside his original creations. There is a highly imaginative musician here who is only interested in making something new for us to soak into, as he refreshingly avoids copying anybody else.

Doubted‘ from the Indiana, USA-based indie hip-hop/EDM solo artist and music producer TSF, is a roaring effort all about looking back at your life and keeping positive no matter what the storms outside may be doing. This is an ear-rattling effort that is filled with raps and a thumping beat that has your heart beating rather quickly. Just the way TSF intended.

Hear this enjoyable new single on Spotify and see more via the IG music channel.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen