Callaghan is an English singer songwriter whose first full-length record, Life in Full Colour, comes out May 1, 2012. She played recently at Space in Evanston, Illinois with Shawn Mullins, who also produced her record.
Her music is hard to classify by genre when you see her live. That is likely because she is a multi-instrumentalist singer songwriter playing solo; by definition that makes genre hard to determine. When Callaghan tours with a nine piece band you can figure that out. For now, just accept her as a writer with a lovely voice who can play like a human metronome.
Mullin relocated to Atlanta from the U.K. (can you say “culture shock”?) and began work on her record.
“This is my first full length album it is coming out may first. It is twelve songs. The Life in full color title came from the collection of songs the theme of things from everyday life that people experience falling in love, falling out of love being overjoyed or really sad, those highs and lows of life,” she says. “It was recorded in 2010 and 2011 with Shawn and I had a fantastic time making it and getting to come out and play the songs live it has been great, real learning curve getting to go into the studio with him and watch him as a producer.”
Callaghan says she has been a huge fan of Mullins’ music for as long as she remembers. But seeing him work as a producer showed her a whole new side. The new record isn’t the first she produced but it is the first she thought of as an integral collection of songs.
“I’ve done EPs in past, five six seven songs I put out myself. This one because it was a full album I really thought about which songs are going to go on here and I have so many to choose from..” she says.
They started with 40 songs—a large portion, at least, of the songs Callaghan had written. They added a couple of songs she and Mullins worked on together.
Callaghan tours extensively and before songs are recorded they get played live.
“It is interesting because I have heard other artists say that when they play a song over and over and over again it can get monotonous but I quite like it,” says Callaghan. “That feeling when you play a song 200 times and suddenly it changes. I don’t know if it is the audience reaction or something feels different as you discover a new part of that song.”
Callaghan also feels at home on tour.
“I love touring. I love the studio side as well and all the creative part, creating a song.’ she says.
But playing live is what she really loves. Being on tour with Mullins has been a plus. When she plays with him she benefits from his fans and his past. Regardless of where or who Callaghan plays for she brings the same mindset.
“I’ve played some where there are five people in the room but it doesn’t matter whether there are five people or five hundred; I am going to have fun on stage. Hopefully the people will go home and say ‘I saw a good show tonight.’ Then I hope they go tell all their friends about it,” she says. “I know to be realistic in the way that the music business now is now to build it sustainably; get people to come out. Then they go home and tell their friends and the next time they come and see you.”
Callaghan tells a story before she plays one of her new songs. She talks about how she wrote a song for her husband, who moved to the USA with her shortly after their marriage. She played the song, Blue Eyes, for him and asked what he thought. She could tell something wasn’t quite right.
He then pointed out, “I have green eyes.”
The song now has a new title. Callaghan says he doesn’t bring this up as often as most men would.
“Yes, well…He is very understanding about being married to a songwriter and that these things happen. People come up to the CD table a lot and look at his eyes very intently and say ‘you’re the one with green eyes’.” says Callaghan.
As to her near future plans Callaghan says she plans to tour, tour, tour, for the next few months.
“I am going to play as many shows as possible to support the album coming out. More and more dates are being booked.” she says.
You can find out more information, and for awhile, get a free download at www.callaghansongs.com
Current Tour Dates (more to come, go to callaghansongs.com
) 3/8 - Indianapolis, IN - Irving Theater
3/9 - Valparaiso, IN - Front Porch
3/10 - Valparaiso, IN - Memorial Opera House (w/Dave Alvin & The Guilty Ones)
3/11 - Chicago, IL - ACE Bar
4/13 - Dahlonega, GA - Crimson Moon Cafe
4/18 - Raleigh, NC - Burning Coal Theater
4/19 - Knoxville, TN - Scruffy City Roots
4/21 - Roanoke, VA - The Blues BBQ Co.
4/22 - Easton, MD - NightCat
4/23 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live
4/25 - Asbury Park, NJ - The Saint
4/26 - New York, NY - Rockwood Music Hall
4/27 - Scarborough, ME - The Brickhouse
5/25 - Decatur, GA - Eddie's Attic
5/26 - Duluth, GA - Eddie Owens Presents, Red Clay Theatre
6/13 - Nashville, TN - Music City Roots
The Black Belles
are currently on tour--for a little while. The band have a bit in common with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
but much rawer, much more punk rock. They have energy, they are fun, they have an intensity that is regrettably absent from many rock bands today.Of course a rock band full of lovely young ladies always has potential to succeed
on some level even if they are not good. But that isn't The Black Belles. They back up their imagery and their schtick with solid rock n roll.There is a little bit of The Nymphs (remember them?) and maybe a whiff of The Cranes in the band but, as with all good bands, they do put their own stamp on the sound.
The Black Belles self-titled debut was produced by Jack White. The record came out in November, 2011 and the band has toured since. They also appeared on the Steven Colbert show and were praised by Vogue (or so I am told, I don't subscribe to Vogue).
Remaining tour dates
2/16 Farmington MO @ The Vault
3/18 Houston TX @ Warehouse Live**
3/19 Laredo TX @ Old No. 2**
3/20 Dallas TX @ La Grange
3/21 Hot Springs AR @ Valley of Vapors Festival
“Team DFA” (aka Kate and David who seem to go to all the events featuring DFA artistts was back in action recently. This time, we took in DFA recording artist Holy Ghost! and opener Jessica 6, at Chicago’s Double Door.
By Kate Anthony. Photos by David DeSanto
I get annoyed when people say a certain genre of music “all sounds the same.” This is especially true when they sat it about reggae-– one of my favorite kinds of music, and one that decidedly does not “all sound the same.”To this notion I simply say, if you listened to it more, you wouldn’t think so.
Therefore, I know this is going to sound hypocritical, but I think most of the “new-era disco” (my phrase, meaning music that sounds like the erstwhile techno / new wave fused with 70’s disco) sounds an awful lot like. I’m talking, to name a few:The Rapture, Chromeo, Friendly Fires, Cut Copy, and yes, Holy Ghost!
Mind you, I am not saying I don’t enjoy the music; I very much do. But to me, after a while it all starts sounding kinda the same. Except for the vocals, which is why I thanked god for them earlier.
For me, vocals are the one thing that can actually distinguish a band that otherwise employs standard-fare techniques.And let’s face it;the new-era disco bands really do employ some pretty familiar-sounding techniques.Again, not that I’m dissing them.I love the music. Really.
What distinguished Jessica 6 the other night (and presumably, every night) is singer Nomi Ruiz.She is a sight to be seen, tall and thin with jet black hair, very skimpy black clothing and towering black boots. And her voice is, well, distinct.The band did a fine job supporting her and keeping the beats pounding. But really, what people are in it for when they’re watching Jessica 6 live is Nomi.
Reflecting upon the show, one thing comes immediately to mind--Thank god for vocals.I know that sounds odd, but bear with me.
Yes and no.Although neither of them is the romping, preening presence that is Nomi Ruiz, they more than held their own. Granted, these guys are the sum total of Holy Ghost!, as opposed to simply being front men. But lead singer Alex did a decent job of moving around the stage.While it could hardly be called preening, he did fully engage the crowd. Nick, admittedly less so – in fact, not at all.But then again, he was stuck behind the keyboards all night.
Speaking of that, taking a cue from LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Holy Ghost! brings a full roster of real musicians – oooooh – with them onstage for their live shows (this night, borrowing Jessica 6’s drummer). In addition to the ubiquitous keyboards, there were bass and electric guitars, and yes, an actual drum kit.
And thank god for that, too.Because I agree with Alex, who recently told the Dallas Observer how he feels about musicians who get onstage and stand behind computers the whole time;“Yeeeaaah, I’m not paying for that.”
There’s also no paying for Holy Ghost’s cover of the 80s Ministry classic, I Wanted to Tell Her. Recently recorded (and distributed for free, as so many of Holy Ghost!’s recordings are) this version features fellow DFA labelmates The Juan Maclean and singer Nancy Whang.True to the original yet still uniquely Holy Ghost!…
Oh, never mind. You had me at “Ministry.”
Can the same be said about Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel, the team that fronts Holy Ghost!?