Tag Archive: Alison Krauss

Hello! My name is Alison. I’ve been passionate about country music since I was very young. I got to know music by following styles – rock, southern rock and the country music styles of today – and by cruising through the USA. I’ve also bought a lot of CDs! In recent years, I started broadcasting the “Les News de Nashville” on the Big Cactus Country presented by my friend Johnny Da Piedade. You can read my blog post on the Big Cactus Country site as well as here on the HorizonVU Music Blog and SHOP!

Big Cactus Country Radio Show!!! The best of American Country presented by Johnny Da Piedade and Alison Hebert! The BCC is a syndicated radio Show presented by Johnny Da Piedade and Alison Hebert broadcast weekly more than 250 times. The BCC network is 120 affiliated radio stations in France, Reunion Island, St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec and more.

This week don’t miss the release of the fourth studio album by singer Kellie Pickler entitled “The Woman I Am” including her latest single “Little Bit Gypsy” and “Someone Somewhere Tonight.”

Regarding the top 3 best-selling albums in USA,the latest installment of the cowboy and business man, Toby Keith, came in third with ” Drinks After Work” released on October 29.

In the second position is the young singer-songwriter Thomas Rhett, with his excellent debut album “It Goes Like This” which also appeared on October 29.

Thomas Rhett

In first place, we have the redneck Duck Dynasty, i.e., the real stars of the show American reality with their first Christmas album “Duck the Halls A Robertson Family Christmas” in which we find the king George Strait, as well as Luke Bryan, Josh Turner and singer Alison Krauss!

Duck Dynasty appeared at the CMA Awards ceremony, alongside Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley – total success!

Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Duck Dynasty

Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Duck Dynasty

Gareth Dylan Smith aka Dr. Drums

Gareth Dylan Smith

Gareth Dylan Smith IS Dr. Drums, and in addition to his own blogging, he’s agreed to join us on the HorizonVU Music Blog and SHOP. Drawing from his teaching, and most definitely, his experience as a heavy duty rocker and drummer of the band “The Eruptors” http://www.eruptors.com/ Gareth is going to bring us great VUs and reVUs in keeping with HorizonVU Music’s focus on women in rock, alternative and folk.

Introducing…Yazmyn Hendrix

Yazmyn Hendrix, Dublin Castle, 29th March 2013

Yazmyn Hendrix

Yazmyn Hendrix

The Dublin Castle, Camden, Friday night. I arrive late but am relieved to find that a band is still sound-checking. They eventually clear the stage and allow Yazmyn Hendrix a 30-second line-check while the house lights dim, impatiently announcing the start of Yazmyn’s set while she’s still plugging in gear. Into first song ‘Birth’, and the ticket guys continue to shout unnecessarily to anyone coming through the door (for people charging the public to listen to music, they seem strangely oblivious to the subtle sounds emerging from the speakers directly behind them). Venue staff keep slamming the door behind the sound desk in the tiny venue as though they, too, have forgotten they’re meant to be curating a music experience for their customers. Before the song is done a bartender noisily raises the motorized cover to the venue bar, and a group who’ve come early for the next act gather and talk as though they were standing next to road works.

I manage to focus my ears on Yazmyn, who, amidst the din, creates an oasis. She stands alone on the crowded stage, singing breathily in a microphone, weaving a sonic spell that spreads by the middle of second song ‘Whole Heart’ to everyone in the room. I look around and find we’re ALL silently watching Yazmyn, who is so completely immersed in the moment that she’s barely performing – she doesn’t need to. She’s making her music in the now – carving something from nothing and making time stand still five minutes at a time. She sings of love and yearning with sincerity and passion. She sets up onstinati with her voice and a shaker, laying down octave-ized bass lines, vocal percussion and full harmonies using a collection of pedals. She has a wonderful way of singing around the beat – lazily and groovily in time with herself. There’s a gorgeous organic feel to this process, as the technology allows Yazmyn to fill the listeners’ consciousness.

With her pedals and multiple mics, her faded black jeans and t-shirt bearing pictures of cassette tapes, Yazmyn’s tech-savvy, contemporary-retro cool recalls Imogen Heap, while her voice combines the sounds of Joss Stone, Sinead O’Connor and Alison Krauss. Her set is short, and in a breath she is into the last song with its cry for freedom, ‘I just wanna be me’. The rapt silence and the calls for ‘more’ tell me the audience wants this for Yazmyn too.

What a wonderful start to the weekend.

Visit Yazmyn Hendrix at


Find Gareth Dylan Smith at

What’s The Buzz ?

Happy February all, the month of my birth, my mama’s birth, my grandma’s birth…water signs or water carriers we Irish women…
I’m about to head out into the cold blue to make my way north, very far north, to Toronto, Canada for the International Folk Alliance Conference where I’ll be debuting my new record, “How To Sleep In A Stormy Boat” in my showcases. The record doesn’t release until April 16, but already we are beginning the publicity swing and it’s all very exciting. More news on that soon. On the February tour, I’ll be joined by my friend Angel Snow, one of my favorite singer-songwriters here in Nashville. You might have heard of Alison Krauss? Yeah her. Well, Alison Krauss recorded a few of Angel’s songs and has introduced Angel to her audiences. Not so shabby, huh?
In the meantime, here are the tourdates. I’ll have a new look to my website in the next month, so don’t be a stranger there as we’ll be posting a lot of cool content soon. Next month, I head to South By Southwest, so if anyone in Texas or en route wants to do a house concert March 8/9 I’m headed to Austin for my show on March 12th. Lemme know!!!!

Keep warm!

Tues 2/12 Rockville, MD FOCUS MUSIC @ UU CONGREGATION OF ROCKVILLE w/ Angel Snow opening
Wed 2/13 Philadelphia, PA WORD CAFE LIVE UPSTAIRS (Cobill with Angel Snow) BUY TIX HERE
Thu 2/14 New York, NY ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL. Angel @ 6pm. Me @ 7pm.
Fri 2/15 Cambridge, MA RUTH RYALS HOUSE CONCERT w/ Angel opening. Email rryals@comcast.net for rsvp
Sat 2/16 Sharon, MA SHARON HOUSE CONCERT w/ Angel opening. email lees@resourceful.com
Sun 2/17 Montclair, NJ THE ART GARAGE w/ Angel opening. Tix 973-744-6484
Tues 2/19 Ann Arbor, MI ROSE-MARSHALL HOUSE CONCERT cobill w/ Angel. Email sheryl.rose.marshall@gmail.com for info.
I’ll spare you all the showcases I’m doing, but if your’e there, please come to my official.
Friday 2/22 @ 8:15pm
I’m right between The Milk Carton Kids and Dar Williams, so get there early!!!


Kelly Tillotson

Kelly Tillotson

We have the pleasure of visiting with Kelly Tillotson. We first got to know Kelly when she was a student at Belmont University and working at The Recording Academy. Born and raised in Maryland, Kelly grew up listening to 90′s country in the car with her grandmother, a native Tennessean herself, and she became hooked to iconic artists like Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, George Strait, Lonestar, Reba, Faith Hill, Alison Krauss, and the Dixie Chicks…among many others. She sings and writes music that aims to inspire others and empower them to be themselves, chase their dreams, change the world, laugh, cry, dance, forgive, sing, and dare to love. She’s released her music video “Betting On You” and she will be releasing her first album next month!

Kelly, thanks so much for joining us. We’ve been following your career for a while now, but let’s bring everybody up to speed and and start out by finding out a bit more about you and your background. Tell us how you got into music and some details about the road to your upcoming self-titled album.

KT: Of course, I’m so excited to be able to talk to you guys! Okay, well I have always been musically driven, taking piano lessons, voice lessons, guitar lessons, participating in school choirs, musicals, and things like that, but I didn’t become serious about my music or realize I could make a career out of it until I was a senior in high school. I had a wonderful music teacher and a fabulous voice coach at the time who were both instrumental in encouraging me to chase my dreams. With their support I decided to put aside my plans of going to medical school and pursue my one true passion: music. Figuring I had to go big or go home, I only applied to one college, Belmont University, because I knew I had to be in Nashville, and wanted to study commercial music. Thankfully, I was accepted as a Vocal major and spent the next four years growing as an artist, performing, songwriting, and working in the industry. My senior year, I knew I wanted to put together an EP to officially “launch” myself as an artist and kick start my career. A year and a half of hard work later, I am now preparing to release the album on Valentine’s Day and could not be more excited to share my new music with my friends, family, and fans! All you lovebirds out there, there’s no better way to say “I love you” than with a couple of love songs, right?

Absolutely! So what drew you to music and country music in particular?

KT: Not unlike most people, there was something about music I always connected with. Being able to relate to an emotion through a song is an irreplaceable feeling. Not only that, singing along to my favorite songs has always been an incredibly fun, liberating experience! Much to my sister’s dismay, I would spend hours and hours with a microphone hooked up to our stereo system, belting out every song on the Shania Twain album. After that, I’d whip out my other favorites…Celine Dion, Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, and on and on. My poor family probably regrets the day they purchased that microphone…quiet afternoons or evenings around the house became a distant memory. In regards to my particular love of country music, as I mentioned, my grandmother was always blasting country music in her car, and she would drive us around a good amount, so there must have been something about it that stuck with me. I loved the emotion behind country songs, and I loved the stories. It was as if every song was a three-minute movie, or a brief glimpse into someone else’s life.

In listening to your music, it seems pretty clear that in addition to your love of country, you’re drawn to love songs. For example, you’ve performed “Marry You”, “Your Love Feels Like Home” and your latest single, “Betting On You”. Is there anything in particular that makes you want to sing about love or is love just one of several themes?

KT: That’s definitely true! I’m pretty much your typical girl…in love with love, and not only in a romantic sense. Most things people do or don’t do are from either an overflow or lack of love…it’s such a powerful experience and emotion, so it’s understandable why so many songs in the world are written about love. My songs are usually an outpouring of experiences and emotions in my life, so I can only hope there’s a lot more love songs to come, because that means there will be lots of love in my life! Through my songs, I hope to be able to spread that love around to everyone else. I guess since I have so many love songs, Valentine’s Day was the perfect day to release my EP!

We mentioned that you were drawn to Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Reba and other country greats. When you get right down to it, is there one, or maybe two, of these stars that really captured your spirit and really influenced your career? Is there that special song that you played over-and-over?

KT: That’s a great question. There are too many to count!! There have been so many songs I have played repeatedly over the years that have meant to so much to me. I have always been incredibly inspired by Faith Hill, Lee Ann Womack, and Martina McBride. “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack was the first song that I would play and sing over and over. The message of the song was incredible….”and when you get the choice, to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance”. Simple, but brilliant! Living my life to the fullest, and encouraging others to do the same is an integral part of who I am as an artist. As much as I love inspirational and empowering songs, I also love songs that are sassy and fun…that make people want to get up and dance! Shania was my go-to for those kinds of songs.

Turning to your current work, you’ve just released a super video for the single “Betting On You”. Give us a little background on the video. How did it come to be? Who worked with you and how do you see the video in partnership with the music?

KT:Yes, I am so excited about it! I worked with an amazingly talented videographer named Thomas Gentry, who went to Belmont with me and is a good friend. He did such a stellar job and deserves absolutely all of the credit for this video. The actual process of shooting the video was relatively short. I organized the band and the extras in the span of a week (while I was on vacation in Minnesota with no cell reception – minor detail!) and we shot the entire video a week later in just one day. It was probably the most thrilling, exhausting day of my life. Although we actually had one big scare…the concert scene was at an outdoor venue and naturally; the weather forecast was predicting a huge storm that night. Fortunately, by the grace of God, the rain held off the entire night until the exact time we started packing up…around 10:30pm, when it started to pour! The video was also really special because everyone in the video is a dear friend of mine. It meant so much to have them all be a part of it, and share in the excitement of seeing the video for the first time.

Great! I thinks it’s time to take a look and listen…”Betting On You”!

Bravo! That’s fantastic…well done! Your self-titled album is coming out in February. Tell us about the release. What’s the story or message you want us to take away?

KT: It is, only a couple days away now…on February 14th, Valentine’s Day! Hooray! The EP will be available on my iTunes, my website(http://kellytillotson.com/), Amazon, Rhapsody, Spotify, and more! I will also be doing a release show, the night before, on February 13th, at The Listening Room in Nashville…which will be so much fun. I’ve been working on this project for the last year and a half, so I could not be more excited to finally be able to share what I’ve been working on. Not only do I want people to be able to relate to the songs, enjoy them, blast them in their car, be entertained and encouraged, but I also want people to be inspired to chase their dreams, in the same way that I chased mine. When I started this process, I felt like there was no way in the world I could undertake such a huge project, but here I am today my own CD, website, and music video! It took a ton of hard work and faith, as well as a lot of help from family, friends, musicians, designers, and photographers, but it happened! I feel so blessed, and I really hope this can be an encouragement to others to do all those things they thought were never possible!

Do you have one or two favorite tracks?

KT: Probably “Betting On You” and “Coming Home.” It was an awesome experience to have written both of them, because I saw them go from a simple idea to a fully produced song. With the help of a talented producer, engineer and skilled musicians, they changed a lot musically, and turned out better than I could have ever imagined! I’m really excited to get the album out and see what everyone’s favorite songs are.

Okay. Looking out onto the horizon, what’s next for Kelly? Any special projects you’d like to pursue?

KT: I would love to do a bunch of shows outside of Nashville and really begin to connect with, and grow my fan base. I am also really excited about co-writing more and getting ready to record another EP! I also have a couple of side projects that include an online craft show called Kelly’s Krafts (on my YouTube channel), and have actually started singing and performing in a trio with two other guys, which has been a really fun experience. I’m just going to keep working hard, singing, writing, enjoying this amazing journey, and seeing where it takes me!

And my last (and my favorite) question. Do you have any superheros? What’s the story?

KT: My number one superhero would be God; I truly could not embark on this crazy journey without faith and trust in Him. My Mom and Dad are two of my superheroes…my Mom runs a non-profit for homeless youth in Orange County, CA called Build Futures and is a wonderful woman, and my Dad is one of the most loving, patient people I have ever met. I look up to them so much!!
Other super-heroes would probably be…my songwriting heroes Natalie Hemby, Lori McKenna, and Melissa Pierce. They are all awesome women and unbelievably talented. If you haven’t heard their music, you will want to check it out! I work part time at a music publishing/management company called Creative Nation, run by a woman named Beth Laird and her husband (a songwriter), Luke Laird. They are both brilliant, talented, and some of the kindest, most generous people I know, so they would definitely fall under the category of super-heroes as well!

Thanks very much, Kelly Tillotson. It’s been fabulous visiting with you and we wish you all the best for success. We hope to see you back with HorizonVU Music!

KT: Thank YOU so much!! Thank you for all your support over the last couple months, it has meant so much. Thank you for all you do for independent artists!!

Visit Kelly at www.kellytillotson.com and “Like” her Facebook page at Facebook.com/kellytillotson
Follower her on Twitter: @KellyTillotson

Gareth Dylan Smith aka Dr. Drums

Gareth Dylan Smith

Gareth Dylan Smith IS Dr. Drums, and in addition to his own blogging, he’s agreed to join us on the HorizonVU Music Blog and SHOP. Drawing from his teaching, and most definitely, his experience as a heavy duty rocker and drummer of the band “The Eruptors” http://www.eruptors.com/ Gareth is going to bring us great VUs and reVUs in keeping with HorizonVU Music’s focus on women in rock, alternative and folk.

Rachael Travers is a folk singer from London, England. There are plenty of these, and they seem to be especially prevalent at the moment, following the collective decision of mainstream media to focus their gaze for a season on ‘nu-folk’. However, against a backdrop of Marlings, Mumfords and Staves, what sets Travers apart in this nebulous UK ‘scene’ is her voice – a uniquely beguiling instrument in which she combines the purity of Alison Krauss, the playful agility of Dolly Parton and a heart-wrenching emotional palette approaching the depth of Jeff Buckley. With lyrics that are direct and suggest a youthful naiveté, Travers visits some deeply personal spaces in her music; her songs are strength and tenderness, conversation and introspection, confidence and uncertainty. She reels in her listeners, addressing all of the songs to ‘you’, with memorable original melodies She tends to perform either alone with her guitar, or accompanied by a band that includes banjo, mandolin, double bass, drums, and harmony vocals reminiscent of Emmy-Lou Harris with Gram Parsons. I attended a performance in the spring of this year where Travers showcased new material at a songwriters’ circle in North West London. The songs were disarmingly honest, her performance powerful, and the entire audience wrapt, spellbound.

With live shows being rare (a delicacy not to be missed) and often announced at short notice, a selection of Travers’ music is available on her 2011 Ivy Road EP. Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Travers disrobes emotionally on this touchingly intimate clutch of songs that take the listener on a journey through an undulating landscape of love. On the opening track, ‘Forgive Me’, she sings of love unattainable, and leaves us ‘clenching on to the night, with nowhere else to go’. She declares frustration at God, whom she later rejects completely in the final song when she sings ‘I don’t believe in God no more, I’m sorry to say’. The title track is a soothing, beautiful and impassioned reminder to a companion about a path taking him or her to where ‘you’re loving again’. ‘All I ask’ sees Travers at her breathiest and most needy, and also her most defiant, in a song of unrequited love in which she ultimately confesses in the poignant final line that ‘all my world would fall apart, if you weren’t in my heart’. On ‘You are the One’ she is upbeat and feisty, angry over more unrequited love. She dismisses her would-be suitor, admitting nonetheless that ‘I dream of your hand for me to hold’. It is on this cut that she sounds most like Dolly Parton, showcasing a Nashville finesse that few of her contemporaries pull off with such alacrity. The final song, ‘No More’, features Travers’ voice at its most intimate. A slow crescendo, this might be the cream of the crop. It is a plea for autonomy and some space of her own; her pure, crystal voice soars high into the distance, away from her suffocating, controlling lover.

Travers tells listeners that ‘all I ask is for your love’. You can start by accessing most of the songs from Ivy Road here: http://soundcloud.com/rachaeltravers, where Rachael Travers sings of her heart.


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