Radio Free Earth | Available Light

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Available Light

by Radio Free Earth

From "Firebird Blues" to "Fisherman's Blues," from "Necks and Feet" to "Two Hearts," and from "Gotta Find Her" to "Drive All Night." Radio Free Earth sings about what's been draggin' us down and what's lifting us up. Recorded in the moment.
Genre: Pop: Pop/Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Firebird Blues
4:26 $0.99
2. Necks and Feet
3:50 $0.99
3. Like a Hurricane
5:14 $0.99
4. In the Summertime
1:59 $0.99
5. Gotta Find Her
4:03 $0.99
6. To Ramona
3:31 $0.99
7. Crying Tears for New Orleans
3:54 $0.99
8. Papa's on the Housetop
2:56 $0.99
9. Jim Dandy
3:37 $0.99
10. Still Searching
4:05 $0.99
11. Drive All Night
6:01 $0.99
12. Way Down Deep
3:47 $0.99
13. Lights
4:21 $0.99
14. Fisherman's Blues
4:58 $0.99
15. Two Hearts
4:48 $0.99
16. Bye Bye
4:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Radio Free Earth is a shuffle band that plays crossover music. You never know what you'll hear next. In this incarnation Radio Free Earth is Josh Wachtel on acoustic guitar and vocals, Kim Wachtel on lead and backing vocals, Mike Stanley on electric guitar, Ben Wachtel on keyboards and backing vocals, Allen Heppe on drums and Matt Koch on upright electric bass. Radio Free Earth has three previous CDs: Crossover and Fortune and Death are acoustic albums; And Don't Forget It! has the same lineup as Available Light.

Read about the songs and most of all, give a listen!

FIREBIRD BLUES A blues about our animal friends. The spark for this one came from Cliff Carlisle, and from a story we heard called "The Firebird, the Horse of Power and the Princess Vasilissa."

NECKS AND FEET There's no accounting for tastes. We got this song about unusual cravings from the Texas band, The Juke Jumpers.

LIKE A HURRICANE It's about time someone besides Neil Young did this just to see what it sounds like.

IN THE SUMMERTIME This goofy song was our introduction to Roger Miller.

GOTTA FIND HER Sometimes what you're looking for is also looking for you.

TO RAMONA Ben and Josh turn some brother harmony on a Dylan song about someone who's gotten bent out of shape trying to be like everybody else.

CRYING TEARS FOR NEW ORLEANS Fats Domino said: "We've lost everything. I don't know what we're going to do." ...And the malign neglect, exploitation and greed that led to the disaster go on.

PAPA'S ON THE HOUSETOP Leroy Carr wrote this in the Twenties. We heard it from the Jim Kweskin Jug Band who did it in the Sixties. Our version is different.

JIM DANDY When everything seems hopeless, Jim Dandy to the rescue–he don't need no 'chute. La Vern Baker had a hit with this in 1956.

STILL SEARCHING The Bible says, "Seek and you will find." We found this song by Bongos Ikwue and the Groovies in a collection called Black Star Liner: Reggae from Africa.

DRIVE ALL NIGHT The first time the band tried this one, Josh said to Mike Stanley, "Play it with atmosphere." Mike said, "What atmosphere did you have in mind?" "You'll know," said Josh. And Mike did. The song is by Bruce Springsteen.

WAY DOWN DEEP Leonard Cohen had a hand in writing this song, but never recorded it. But Jennifer Warnes sure did.

LIGHTS "The lights on the city look so good." This song is by Victoria Williams, who sees like nobody else.

FISHERMAN'S BLUES There are times when you wish you could just leave the dry land behind and become a fisherman tumblin' on the sea. We learned this from The Waterboys.

TWO HEARTS Chris Isaak wrote this once, and recorded it at least twice.

BYE BYE The German group Trio, who did a lot with a little, is responsible for this barebones classic.



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Joshua Wachtel Review
Je moet een dosis lef hebben om je aan covers te wagen van Dylan, Springsteen of Neil Young. Gelukkig dat er nog lefgozers zijn, want Josh en Kim Wachtel en Josh’s broer Ben slagen erin om hun oudere songs hoogst origineel aan te kleden vanuit die typische cross-over ‘feeling’, eigen aan muzikanten die de liefde voor de muziek in hun bloed hebben. Ook de andere muzikanten verstaan elkaar met weinig woorden. Als leadzanger Josh meer atmosfeer vraagt bij zijn zang dan komt Mike Stanley hem direct tegemoet met zijn elektrische gitaar en weidsheidspreiding. Al vanaf het eerste ‘Firebird Blues’ vermoed je waarop deze cd zal uitdraaien: een dynamisch aaneenrijgen van songs uit het verre verleden opgepikt om ofwel speels (Roger Miller’s ‘In the Summertime’), traditioneel of wrang maatschappijkritisch (‘Crying Tears For New Orleans’) te worden vernieuwd. Dylan’s ‘To Ramona’ klinkt nieuw doordat Kim’s en Josh’s stemmen hier een eigen interpretatie aan geven. Met die zilverklokjes in haar stem herinnert Kim aan Mary Hopkins, terwijl Josh’s stem iets weg heeft van de Sonny, van Sonny en Cher. Josh stichtte de groep in 1998 en vier jaar later kwam zijn vrouw Kim erbij. Als zij niet met de band rondtoeren door Amerika en Europa dan treden zij als akoestisch duo op in hun verblijfplaats Massachusetts. Op dit album bewerken zij zestien songs die afhankelijk van de stemming in ritmes als bluegrass, swing, jump, blues, reggae of calypso worden gehuld. Sommigen haken zich vast in het geheugen, zoals de ‘Fisherman’s blues’ met scheurende gitaren. En daar zit Matt Koch voor iets tussen met zijn staande elektrische bas. Of nog het calypsoachtige ‘Two Hearts’ van Chris Isaak met die sprankelende piano van broer Ben Wachtel. ‘Papa’s On the Housetop’ van Leroy Carr is een song om ‘s morgens je wekker op te programmeren. Deze cd is al hun vierde. Na de twee eerste akoestische, werd deze elektrische ‘Available Light’ opgenomen op Musikfest in Pennsylvania en hierop stoomt de RFE band met een drive van een op hol geslagen Black Star Liner doorheen het meestal rootsy materiaal, songs opdiepend die ooit een hit waren of toch bijna. Innoverende en frisse muziek om alert wakker te blijven, genre ‘Drive All Night’ en dat een vol uur lang en liefst met volle maan.

(Thanks to Michaël Michiels for translating to English!!!!)

You need a lot of courage/boldness to risk yourself at making covers of Dylan, Springsteen or Neil Young. Luckily those daredevils exist, because Josh and Kim Wachtel and Josh's brother Ben manage to give the older songs a new original coat of cross-over-feeling, typical for musicians who have the love for music in their blood. The other musicians of the band understand each other easily (without words) as well. When leadsinger Josh asks for more atmosphere to accompany his singing, Mike Stanley immediately joins him with his electric guitar and impressive range. Right from the first Firebird Bleus you feel where this CD is leading us: a dynamical collage of songs from a far past to be renewed playfully (In the Summertime), traditionally or critically to society (Crying tears for New Orleans). Dylan's To Romona sounds new because Kim's and Josh's voices give it a whole new interpretation. With those silver bells in her voice Kim reminds us of Mary Hopkins, while Josh's voice sounds a little bit like Sonny, from Sonny and Cher. Josh started the band in 1998 and 4 years later his wife Kim joined the band. When they're not on tour with the band through the US and Europe, they perform accoustically as a duo in their residential area Massachusetts. On this album they dress sixteen songs, depending on the atmosphere in rythmes like bluegrass, swing, jump, blues, reggae or calypso. Some immediately hook into your memory, like Fisherman's blues with tearing (?) guitars - this has a lot to do with the electrical bass of Matt Koch. Or also the calypsolike Two Hearts of Chris Isaak with the sprankling piano of brother Ben Wachtel. Papa's on the Housetop of Leroy Carr is a song you want to program on your alarm clock in the morning.
This CD is their fourth. After the first two accoustical this electrical Available Light was recorded at Musikfest in Pennsylvania. On this CD the RFE band blows through the mostly rootsy material with a drive of a Black Star Liner, dissing up songs that were once a hit or at least almost. Innovating fresh music to stay alert and awake, like Drive All Night, and for a full hour. Preferably with a full moon. Marcie.