For best seats, arrive early for dinner.
For a while, most people still recalled her as the precocious next-generation talent that produced one of the defining hits of the internet age, ‘I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair).’ This talented singer-songwriter has come a long way in the years since then. As Sandi now says, “The strange thing about having the kind of success I had, people think they know you. In fact, people don’t know me at all.”
That is all about to change, however, with the release of Sandi’s superb new album, Flesh and Blood. Recorded at Nashville’s legendary 16 Tons studio, with celebrated Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson in the production hot seat, the fourth Sandi Thom album is, she says, “the first album I’ve done that is really all about me.”
It’s a sound that combines the blues-rock raunch of belting opening track ‘Help Me’ with the balladic, country-flavoured charm of ‘In The Pines’; that shows how to funk it up, as on the strutting, clavinet-led ‘Stormy Weather’; and that knows how to break your heart, as with the movingly climactic finale track, ‘Lay Your Burden Down.’
Featuring a core studio band led by Black Crowe Rich Robinson, drummer Steve Gorman and fellow Black Crowe and widely travelled session star Audley Freed on guitar, respected Nashville stars Mike Webb (keys/Dobro) and James Haggerty (bass) complete the lineup along with special guest appearances from acclaimed singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte Marie and famous Rolling Stones collaborator, saxophonist Bobby Keys.
Says Robinson: “Sandi really stretched herself and made a bold new album. Her songs are honest and very strong. Her vocal abilities are showcased really well, as is her guitar work, and harp playing. Sandi’s a well-rounded musician and she made a great record. It was a joy to work with her.”
Legendary producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, John Hiatt, Journey) also mixed two tracks, ‘When The Sun Comes Crashing Down’ and 'Big Ones Get Away'. “Her writing is fantastic,” says Shirley, “and her singing is wonderful on two great songs. ‘When The Sun Comes Crashing Down’ has everything it needs to be a hit!”
Then there is the intriguingly titled ‘I Love You Like A Lunatic,’ based on her “life-changing” love affair with superstar blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa. The couple have been together three years now, living and loving on and off the road. Like a modern-day Johnny Cash and June Carter story, “my life just turned crazy,” says Sandi. “Yet that’s what everybody wants, that insane kind of love that utterly consumes you.”
Like David Bowie and Elton John, who also enjoyed early one-off hits before finding their true niche as musical artists, Sandi feels that Flesh and Blood is her coming of age album. “All I ever want to do is write songs that connect with people. And with this album I’ve finally found a place where I can make the very best music I can achieve. The people that only know me from ‘Punk Rocker’ won’t recognise me on this album. But they are going to find out.”
Sandi Thom is not who you think she is. She’s something else. Written by world renowned rock journalist and author Mick Wall.
Confiding narratives and striking melodies illustrate the songs of Francesca Lee. Layered and lustrous, the music on her new full-length release, The Pieces Left, radiates from an organic center colored by electronic shadings and beats. As sonic light breaks through the opaque mist of a dense soundscape, the sound mirrors the drama of her locale: San Francisco, home to generations of visionaries. “Nothing is more dreamlike than the adventure of walking in this city,” she says. “I look out my window to see people in the street, a bus moving, a couple fighting on the corner, a homeless man. The inspiration for the album comes from what I visualize everyday.”
In addition to crafting the recordings, Francesca has been headlining with her band The New Believers at high profile NoCal venues like Yoshi’s, Café Du Nord and her home base, Hotel Utah. Selected for inclusion for the KFOG Local Scene 6 CD, Francesca was featured in a live broadcast and interview from San Jose on the station’s Morning Show to celebrate the station’s Local Music Month where she was greeted by a line of fans familiar with her song “Maybe Today” from its regular radio rotation. Additionally, she was featured in a live performance and an on camera interview on KOFYTV 20 Cable 13 in San Francisco and selected as an artist for “Born To Play Live Acoustic” for Gap, Inc., when the retail giant hosted live music in 700 stores nationwide. Attracting cross-cultural audiences is her trademark: the mix of acoustic roots and electronic edges that she titles “Introspective Dream Pop” resonates to a wide spectrum of listeners including artsy indie kids and fans of serious songwriting.