Growing up outside of Woodstock, New York, surrounded by her mother, grandmother, and aunt, Lara Hope had a great deal of often unprompted life advice thrown in her direction. To honor the sage wisdom from the maternal influences in her life—which Hope notes has not stopped coming even into her adult years—Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones premiere their latest track “Some Advice,” slated for release May 7.
“‘Some Advice’ isn’t just about making sure you wear your jacket when it’s cold out, and remembering to take your vitamins,” says Hope. “It also touches on the deeper values that the women in my family have instilled in me. It’s about being a good person, and trying to recognize the difference between right and wrong. It’s about standing up for yourself, and for other people who may need your voice to help them. It’s about exercising our rights. It also, more simply, encourages us to sing along, have a good laugh, and celebrate the progress we’ve made as women over the years.”
Wielding on personal experience, Hope carefully crafts her own narratives into a more universally resonant tune. Family anchors much of her work as a songwriter. She says, “I wrote one for my Grandfather a couple of years back, but he’ll never be able to hear it since I wrote it too late. I made sure to write one for my Grandma while she’s still around, and she’s been so appreciative. At age 94, she told me that she drives around listening to our CDs, and will suddenly realize that she’s missed her exit because she’s busy singing along.” “Some Advice” is her mother’s turn to shine.
It only felt right to share the lessons from the source, so Hope invited her mother to contribute to the track. Hope credits her mother’s sense of humor in participating and says, “we even recorded her parts over the phone to give it that real ‘Mom on the phone’ audio quality.”
“Some Advice” is a tip of the hat to the influential talent of the ‘50s & ‘60s like Ruth Brown and Wynonna Carr. The snappy single follows “Let’s Go!” as the second track from their third studio album, Here To Tell The Tale, due out June 25. The two songs, steeped in retro-rockabilly stylings set the tone for the forthcoming record. Behind Hope, rocking her trademark red cat-eye shades, are a lineup of complementary talent including Double bassist Matt “The Knife” Goldpaugh, lead guitarist Eddie Rion, and drummer Jeremy Boniello.
Her goal, always, is to write the song that hasn’t been written. Referencing her third full-length album, she says, “I was trying to look outside that box and relate to people about the other stuff that may be on our minds, whether that be celebrating our accomplishments, fighting with our inner procrastinator, asking for what we believe we deserve, getting (or giving) unsolicited advice, or even running out of hot water in the shower.”
Written over the course of three years, Here To Tell The Tale took on thematic shape without Hope even realizing. As the title suggests, Hope takes pride in the moments that defined her and the chances she took that opened previously inconceivable doors in both her personal and professional life. Throughout 11 tracks, the lyrical content cheers on skeptical onlookers, encouraging full participation in life.
“No more Netflix and chill—let’s get out there and make some memories,” commands the artist. “Although things along the way may not always turn out how we plan, as long as we pick ourselves up and keep moving forward, we will inevitably continue to grow, and have our own unique tales to tell. I’ve learned over the years, mainly through lots of touring and travel, that there are so many different ways of living and finding happiness.”
She continues, “One person’s lifestyle choices may not work for the next person, and that’s okay. However, you get to where you need to go is your choice, but in case you’re feeling lost and need some guidance, ‘Some Advice’ will at least get you going on a path in the right direction.”
Listen to the exclusive premiere of Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones’ new track, “Some Advice,” below.
BRICE WOODALL RELEASES FIRST SOWER EP ‘THE SEARCHER’
If you drive alone on certain roads in certain parts of the Southeastern United States, you will, eventually, come to a strip of country where no terrestrial radio stations come through clearly. The only music to be found there, if you’re looking for music, is a shifting mutant, a composite of talk channels, country, Top 40, and intermittent static. It might feel, as you look around, as if everything nearby is corrupted and braided this way: the trees, half-dissolved in fog; the road, holding the charred reflections of occasional streetlights; passing houses, lit starkly from inside. It’s from here that BriceWoodall‘s new record seems to beam, this place that’s always giving way to a second place. It’s called ‘The Searcher’, because that’s what you are when you’re in it: an unfixed point drifting across an unstable map, searching. Brice’s first, and a new offering from Sower Records, BriceWoodall joins a stable of dedicated songwriters and open artistry.
A native of Newport News, Virginia, Woodall spent years immersed in Chicago’s vibrant community of singer-songwriters, playing the stages of beloved venues like Schubas and the Beat Kitchen before returning to his home state. His music — electroacoustic pop inflected by ’90s rave genres, centered on adventurous vocal melodies inspired by Björk, Beth Gibbons, and Thom Yorke — embraces the chimerical, collaging together an assortment of recording techniques and fidelities to create a rich sense of place.
Recorded with longtime collaborator Steve Barber (a former bandmate in BriceWoodall and the Positrons) across several months in 2020, ‘The Searcher’ unstitches some measure of wonder from the numbing sameness of the year. Songs like “Western Skies” and “Stay In Static” explore the places where consensus reality starts to break down: legends of cryptids, aliens, and other visitors that reproduce themselves in hopeful retellings. Inspired especially by local folklore around The Mothman and Indrid Cold, these songs explore what drives people to believe in what sounds impossible, to reject the agreed-upon world and burrow into their own stories. The record’s spacious, echoing production and uncanny instrumental tones mimic the thrill of disorientation that comes from suspending disbelief.
Like much of Woodall‘s prior work, ‘The Searcher’ takes the fragility of experience as its main theme — the feeling that the world available to your senses is always one shock away from dissipating. It’s a fitting reflection of a tumultuous year, a present that no longer quite seems continuous with past and future. But under that shadow, Woodall‘s songs vest hope in the creativity and tenacity of other people. “Sound Bomb” pays tribute to the protesters who saw and seized an opportunity to shift the mainstream narrative around racist police terror this year, while “Don’t Be Afraid (Please & Thank You)” and “We Let It Go” speak to the human ability to keep searing open a way forward in time, even as the future seems increasingly to collapse in on itself.
There’s no real telling where this road we’re on goes. With ‘The Searcher’, Woodall offers up a reminder that it’s not the arrival that counts. It’s the way we track the path, the way we press our foot to the gas even though our headlights only bore a few feet forward into the mist.
JACK HOTEL RELEASES ‘A TOWN CALLED HESITATION’
The time has come! The future is now! Friends, fans, family, folks, Jack Hotel is releasing a third album this year. They are very fancy boys. They have a fancy Indiegogo page HERE: https://igg.me/at/hesitation
Jack Hotel also has a fancy video to share (watch carefully, you might be in it!), complete with a fancy new song from the album. The video spans their career as a band and is the kind of trick you can really only pull off once, a sort of Jack-Hotel-this-is-your-life highlight reel. It’s meaningful to them and we hope it’s meaningful to you.
Please contribute generously, and share the link with everyone you know! Share the video! Don’t be afraid to be “that guy.” Post it on your wall, send it to your mom. (For real, moms love us!) If you have a water cooler at work, hang out there until someone comes up, then be like, “So, have you heard about the new Jack Hotel album?”
Thank you so much for your support!
NEW BANDS. NEW SOUNDS. SOWER WELCOMES THREE BIG ONES!
Sower Records is so proud to announce three new incredible bands to our roster: Sack of Lions, and Clarence Tilton.
Sack of Lions have drifted all around the country accumulating a fan flock of dreamers, road trippers and heart breakers. A mix of country, roots and rock music with honest lyrics with a high energy show, have made them one of the premier country act in the Midwest. Sack of Lions can appeal to country fans of all ages and tastes. They are proud to have shared the stage with Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum), John Michael Montgomery, Tracy Lawrence, Aaron Tippin, Frankie Ballard, Whiskey Myers, Kane Brown, Granger Smith, Cody Jinks, Casey James, Jeremy McComb, Rick Huckaby, Dylan Scott, JT Hodges, Bart Crow and many many other incredible and inspiring artists. Sack of Lions has been nominated for multiple awards and featured on all TouchTunes and AMI jukeboxes around the country. Check them out here: Sack of Lions
This has been a long time coming! And, we are so excited to announce the signing of Clarence Tilton, out of Omaha, Nebraska, who formed in 2014, consolidated from the debris of an elemental collision of whiskey and old-fashioned gear. Clarence Tilton continues to craft songs and sentiment that push boundaries while paying suitable homage to the greats. Country- rock- blues- folk– are the genres that come to mind. But, we like to call them straight up: Americana. The group toggles between pedal steel dripping ballads, feverishly picked telecaster driven ditties, and surprisingly loud riff-anchored stomps. A night with CT includes a shit ton of guitars, four uniquely contributing vocalists, and a rhythm section that is equal parts dance and churn. We are so excited to have them on board with at Sower Records. Check them out here: Clarence Tilton