Click the image above to order the new CD “Volume 2”.
Graham Colton promotes Acoustic for Autism Volume 2.
Recorded October 11, 2012, backstage at The Red Room, Cafe 939, Boston, MA, USA.
Like most fledgling musicians, John Ondrasik (aka Five For Fighting) grew to be successful – radio play, an appreciative audience, rubbing elbows, and maybe even collaborating with heroes who inspired him. Thanks to impactful No. 1 hits such as “Superman” and “100 Years,” Ondrasik has certainly had that success and been able to establish himself as a working — and, importantly, evolving — artist. But he’s also accomplished a great deal more during the 15 years of his recording career.
Ondrasik used his formidable position — more than 2.5 million albums sold and stature as one of Billboard magazines Top 5 Adult-Contemporary artists of the 2000s — as a launching pad that’s taken him well beyond the charts. In 2012 he’s a philanthropist and an in-demand public speaker. “I’m very lucky,” Ondrasik says. “For over a decade I’ve been able to make my living as a songwriter and be able to practice my craft. I could’ve been one of those guys who, yeah, had some potential, wrote a few good songs but never was allowed to have that public hearing. I DID have the gift of being heard. I caught the falling star. Obviously you have to do the work and have the tenacity to face the hurdles along the way — everything has to align,. Then, if it does, you can embrace success as an opportunity to do something even more with it.”
Cowboy Junkies were formed in Toronto in 1985 after guitarist and songwriter Michael Timmins and long-time friend and musical partner, bassist Alan Anton, recruited Michael’s sister, singer Margo Timmins and brother, drummer Peter Timmins to join them. For more than 20 years, Cowboy Junkies have remained true to their unique artistic vision and to the introspective, quiet intensity that is their musical signature, creating a critically acclaimed body of original work that has endeared them to an audience unwavering in its loyalty. Their music chronicles a creative journey reflecting the independent road the band has elected to travel. Cowboy Junkies have appeared on countless major television shows in North America from Saturday Night Live to Late Night with David Letterman and The Tonight Show. Their music has been featured in dozens of television programs and feature films.
The Wailin’ Jennys are Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta and Heather Masse – three distinct voices that together make an achingly perfect vocal sound. Starting as a happy accident of solo singer-songwriters getting together for a one-time-only performance at a tiny guitar shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, The Wailin’ Jennys have grown over the years into one of today’s most beloved international folk acts. Although known primarily as an acoustic outfit, The Wailin’ Jennys have a wide range of musical backgrounds that have formed their musical sensibilities. Soprano Ruth Moody (vocals, guitar, accordion, banjo, bodhrán) is a classically trained vocalist and pianist known as an accomplished, versatile singer of traditional and Celtic music. Mezzo Nicky Mehta (vocals, guitar, harmonica, drums, ukulele) was nominated for a Canadian Indie Music Award. Alto Heather Masse (vocals, upright bass) is a Jazz Voice graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, and is a regular guest on A Prairie Home Companion. With their varying backgrounds, each of the Jennys is unique in their individual expression. Together they forge a unified folk-pop sound all delivered with the irresistible vocal power of three.
“Minnesota winters,” is what Joy Dragland credits as her first musical influence. “You couldn’t go anywhere, and it was so dark and quiet. For months on end, all I had to entertain myself was my own imagination.” Joy was born in Minnesota, studied English in Wisconsin and wrote her first albums-worth of songs by age 19. Her self-produced solo record, “Soften the Blow”, was released in 2010. Joy continues to write, produce and perform, based out of Brooklyn, NY and she’s currently working on a solo record to be released late 2012.
1996 brought us eBay, DVDs, the concept of Global Warming and Wheat the band – Scott Levesque, Brendan Harney, Ricky Brennan and Kenny Madaras. They began playing in the Boston area, and grabbing the attention of local fans and writers, ultimately leading to world tours and a global fan base – receiving critical acclaim from Melody Maker, Q, Rolling Stone and Spin among others. Wheat has shared the stage with artists including The Flaming Lips, Liz Phair and John Mayer and have influenced artists including Snow Patrol. Wheat is always trying to find new and unique ways of delivering the love song.
Seth Rollins made a big splash in America’s living room when he appeared on American Idol as a contestant. Seth and his son Samuel, who has autism, were featured in one of the audition round episodes, bringing worldwide attention to the daily lives of families who live with autism every day. His rendition of “Someone to Watch Over Me” was lauded by both Kristin Chenoweth and Simon Cowell. Ms. Chenoweth declared “I love your voice, I love everything about you”. Seth Rollins heard “YES” from all 4 judges. Though he didn’t make it past the Hollywood round, his featured appearance and dismissal was one of the most talked about moments that season. Seth continues to develop his skills as a writer and musician. He says “my son is such a source of joy and inspiration to me. I am constantly amazed by all of his abilities”.
A self-described ‘late bloomer’ musically, Ben Taylor didn’t start singing until his early 20s. The hesitation is understandable, given the daunting example of success set by his parents, James Taylor and Carly Simon. While Ben thought of other vocations he could pursue, including a wilderness guide or martial arts instructor, he was drawn to the family business. Ben had a true affinity for music, and not surprisingly, a love for words. “My scholastic career was not successful. My attention wanders, and I like to follow it. It’s a creatively lucrative process for me. My internal jukebox was always so much louder than my teachers.”
Patty Larkin has been redefining the boundaries of folk-urban pop music for 25 years with her inventive guitar wizardry and uncompromising vocals and lyrics. Acoustic Guitar hails her “soundscape experiments” while Rolling Stone praises her “evocative and subtle sonic shading.” She has been described as “riveting” (Chicago Tribune), “hypnotic” (Entertainment Weekly) and a “drop-dead brilliant” performer (Performing Songwriter). A self described “guitar driven songwriter,” Larkin has wound her way through soundscapes of evocative vocals, inventive guitar wizardry and imaginative lyrics. Her songs run from impressionistic poetry to witty wordplay.