I was sick last weekend and most of this week with a nasty sore throat. Tuesday afternoon and evening I slept a total of fifteen hours (fact: sleeping pills do work, but they give you a hangover like any other drug). Wednesday night, another twelve. Prior to this, I can’t remember the last time I slept more than ten hours in a night, but I don’t think it was in the past five years. Crazy.
Still forging ahead on getting ready for the release. Finalized the lineup for the night, which is both a relief and totally exciting: a very solid bill of American rock and roll for the night. Slow Motion Cowboys and the Fancy Dan Band will kick things off, and the Hypnotist Collectors will close it down after us. Other than that, the promotion machine whirs away. Asking my graphic design friend to help us come up with cover art, which will also be used on the poster. Asking blogger friends to review the album or feature the show. Asking the film friend to make a video. Sometimes being a musician feels like being a professional favor-asker, and being self-conscious about that fact doesn’t change either the fact that it might possibly be annoying or the fact that it needs to be done. So, I’m not complaining. I guess I’m trying to say thanks.
What else? I spent the better part of the afternoon writing up a one-sheet for the album release, which is like a resume that will get read even less than a real one, because you can’t actually point to any objectively measurable skills or credentials, and your application was only just barely welcome in the first place. Still, I’m pretty proud of some of the copy I churned out in the meta-, pretend-someone-other-than-the-artist wrote-this voice. So check it out; it starts out similarly to my current bio but then goes off.
Shareef Ali & The Radical Folksonomy perform deeply lyrical songs against a rich tapestry of American traditional music from folk to jazz to country to rock & roll. On April 9, they will be releasing their first full-length album, entitled Holy Rock & Roll.Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, Shareef Ali studied music composition at Oberlin College and Conservatory. In 2008 he recorded the solo acoustic Music From And Inspired By Our Doomed Love Affair and began performing original folk songs around the Bay Area, his poignant and revealing verse drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Conor Oberst. In 2009 Shareef assembled his outstanding six-piece backing ensemble, the Radical Folksonomy.
In July 2010 Shareef Ali & Radical Folksonomy embarked on a Northwest tour, visiting Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Ashland and McKinleyville. Seattle music blog Mid By Northwest praised their “orchestral-indie-punk-folk…sound built to showcase Ali’s heartfelt songwriting but with enough dynamics and edge to keep even a casual listener engaged.”
On September 1, the Radical Folksonomy released The Once & Future Boyfriend EP, a six-song debut that saw the band equally at home playing bittersweet country ballads, anthemic rock with a sardonic bent, and “autobiographical folk boogie” (Pirate Cat Radio). East Bay Express lauded the album’s “cute, funny, frustrated lyrics”; PCR noted that “the thoughtful lyrics here don’t insult my intelligence.”
Holy Rock & Roll contains over forty minutes of music and explores ever more eclectic terrain. As the title suggests, the group dives further down the rock-and-roll-rabbit-hole into sultry, pounding garage rock (“Holy Rock & Roll”), haunting minor blues (“You’re A Fox”), shoegazer rapture (“Sunken Treasure”) and a distinctive Tom Petty cover (“No Second Thoughts”). Still other tracks feature the band’s trademark blend of rich vocal harmonies, Telecaster twang and cascading piano textures distilled to an even greater potency (“If My Love”, “Red Balloon”). The band flexes their improvisational chops on tunes like the stately, jazz-and-soul-tinged “Nothing, I Just Love You Is All”.
Holy Rock & Roll will be released on Saturday, April 9 at the Hotel Utah Saloon in San Francisco. Also appearing will be Slow Motion Cowboys, the Fancy Dan Band and the Hypnotist Collectors.
What do you guys think? Does it make you want to listen to the album and/or attend the show? Man, I sure hope so, ‘cuz if I can’t persuade my own blog audience then I’m a sorry excuse for a shameless self-promoter. Oh, you folks are too patient, putting up with me rambling like this. Why don’t let’s have a diphenhydramine and call it a night?