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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Premier Single : Birds Over Arkansas "Forgotten Lights"

Philly/CT band Birds Over Arkansas' is currently recording their full length release as a follow up to their 2014 Behind The Lights EP.  Root Down In The Shadow is proud to debut the first single from this release, "Forgotten Lights."

"Forgotten Lights" was first teased in an exclusive release for a RDITS house show in March featuring BOA, Kevin Killen, Chelsea Mitchell, and Max García Conover.

Finally ready for the masses, "Forgotten Lights" is helplessly watching a loved one slip away into dementia. The song starts as a mellow Americana groove, and the split at the outro introduces the progressive rock elements to bring in the lyric "the flame blew out again." This was the pivotal point in the lyrics, signifying the change from someone who was slowly losing their faculties who has now seemingly become a different person. The switch from the easy, mellow groove to the frenetic time signature embodies this.

Scott Haskitt - lead vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, ukulele
John Mondick - mandolin, electric guitar
Laura Hartshorn - vocals, piano
Ryan Berg - drums

capture from Bob Sweeney video

Keep an ear open for "Big Star", written by BOA and recorded in collaboration with Carbon Leaf at Two-Car Studios in Richmond, VA, showcases both band’s Americana rock sounds.

mixed by John Mondick, Scott Haskitt, Brian McTearmastered by Bryan Dale, Pyramind Studios

Carbon Leaf, the definitive top 10 songs

Photo by Elmo Tham

Virginia natives and Philly favorites Carbon Leaf have been serving up their unique brand of alt-country, Celtic, and folk-infused indie rock for 20 years. We put together a list of our top ten Carbon Leaf songs - it was no easy task given their extensive catalog. Here are our favorites in no particular order:

What About Everything: The song that first introduced us at Root Down In The Shadow to Carbon Leaf, from their album Indian Summer that received heavy rotation on AAA radio and introduced them to a world-wide audience.

Block of Wood: Poignant lyrics offering comfort after the loss of a family member: “In the ash I found an ember, something warm to help remember, a block of wood that used to be, a strong tall family tree.”

The Boxer: An encore staple – a raucous, Celtic-infused rocker that won the band an American Music Award in 2002.  The song that EVERYONE knows!

Tombstone vs. Ashes: Your body is merely a vessel - spiritual musings on how to deal with it once it’s no longer needed.

Photo By Elmo Thamm
On Any Given Day: A string section and rollicking guitar riff kick off this playful tune. The syncopated vocal melody hooks you in.

Desperation Song: A live favorite, quintessential Carbon Leaf with mystical pennywhistle melodies and a driving sing-along chorus.

The War Was In Color: A powerful tribute to our fallen war veterans.

Two Aging Truckers: Their Americana-flavored take on “Stand By Me” - “My yoke is, your yoke is, resting on our shoulders and we share the weary load.”

Unknown Bride: Our surprise wild-card on the list, it isn’t part of the live set. But this deep track is undeniably picturesque and moving.

One Prairie Outpost: Another track from Indian Summer - a weary ode to life as a touring band on the road.

Check out our selections on our Spotify playlist. If we missed a song that’s in your top ten, go ahead and add it:

Carbon Leaf plays World Café Live on December 5th at 8:00 PM, with local country songstress Jillian Jacqueline opening the show.




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Live at Leo's Place - A Root Down In The Shadow House Show recap

So what's a formula for a successful House Concert.
1. Find bands that fill your soul
2. Invite your like minded music fiends
3. Forget the rest, if you have music & friends nothing else matters.

Some of you may have noticed some repetition to a Root Down In The Shadow House Concert.  But if a musician fills your soul, why would it be a bad thing to repeat?  Max García Conover, is one of those artists I will gladly go see everytime he comes through, even if it happens to be in a living room or backyard of a friend.  Haunt The House, who are coming this Saturday, is another one of those artists.  But hey, when you find something that works; stick with it.

Last Friday we had a special show in Fishtown.  Max had a Thursday slot in Nashville for Sofar Sounds and a gig Saturday in Mt. Holly, NJ; so of course a Philly house show made sense.  Why not?

Filling out the line-up were William Doobies & Dan Weirauch of New Sweden and Mike Batchelor of Kettle Pot Black.

A photo posted by Root Down In The Shadow (@rootdownintheshadow) on

Mike started things off with a quick set.  He's got this wonderful soft spoken voice, yet can fill the room with his songs all at the same time.  He has expressive tales that are typically songs of family and love and are best heard among friends in an intimate space.  One beautiful song brought out a few tears.  Another brought a few giggles, as he covered "Foolish Games"  One fan tried to play the, "who's song was that", but we all knew it was Jewel.

A photo posted by Root Down In The Shadow (@rootdownintheshadow) on

New Sweden was next.  Currently going through some line-up changes, Dan & Billy played wonderfully stripped down versions of some New Sweden songs. The great thing about a house show is the intimate showcasing makes little things like playing normally five piece arrangements with two people totally okay.  Any missing parts are totally moot, as the chance to experience the songs in a new format shows off new aspects.  Some of the versions are the closest to their origins coming from Billy's head to the guitar the first time, bringing out another layer of honesty to the area's most straight-forward, pull-no-punches writer.

Check out this stripped version of "Frying Pan" by New Sweden

New Sweden — Live at Leo's from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

Max García Conover- Photo by Dan McGurk

Photo by Mike Batchelor
Finally, Max García Conover took the stage.  With this being his fourth house show this year in Philly this one was given a twist to be extra special.  A normally talkative singer, he gave extra time to the stories he told for a special Storytellers style house concert set.  With this being my eight time seeing Max in the last two years, you would think some of the stories may be repeats, but he took extra care to give new nuggets and gems with his tales. 

"Eddie's Wine" took on a more special meaning, as some of the Weathervane supporters and producers were in attendance at this house show, as they were at the Shaking Through event when the song was given vibrant life with Birds Over Arkansas behind him. 

"Never Will the Same Thing Do" was probably my favorite story.  Max does songs each week and puts them up on his site.  He described how they take about three days on average to do them and the Patrons help make it possible.  While the support does not mean like or dislikes, this one particular song he felt he was the only one that actually likes it.    Check it out and share it if you think you might like it too!

Max García Conover — Never Will the Same Things Do from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

Palmas covers Boyz II Men for #Cover Club / Shares the Love on "I Want To Know (Your Love)

Finally, the last session of Season Three of Cover Club is here.  The final pick is a new band to us.  We first caught them at one of the fantastic Sofar Sounds: Philadelphia shows, this last May at the Old Swede's Church.  While there was little to find on the band out on the web, the intrigue was strong.  And their sound was so much fun!  A little surf, a little sass, a lot of energy!

Seemingly coming out of no where, the dudes of Palmas are quickly bringing their East Coast Surf/Soul to the masses.  In just the last few weeks, they have a brand-new Daytrotter Session, their Sofar Sounds: Philadelphia video has been released and of course To The Valley their new EP is available; bringing "warm tones meets bright days incorporating vintage surf rock sounds with present day pop and indie."

Today of course is the day we release their #CoverClub Session.   Later today Palmas plays Johnny Brenda's with Surfer Blood plus The Lighthouse and the Whaler.

Before heading out to the gig, first bounce & groove along with Palmas on "I Want To Know (Your Love)" recorded at Cambridge Sound Studios.  


Don't forget to check out their cover of Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love To You".  Grab your date and slow dance along.

I'll Make Love To You (Boyz II Men)

Haunt The House return to Philly for a stripped down House Show

For a special Turkey Saturday edition of the Root Down In The Shadow HQ House Concert series, our pal Will Houlihan, better known by his moniker Haunt The House returns to Philly for a solo show. He's joined by tour mate Zach Schmidt and local favorite David Janes.

To get you excited for the show, let's check out some videos that our friends and frequent collaborators Kettle Pot Tracks did this summer.  The first was an unexpected surprise as he recorded a video during the house show this July when the full band played at the RDITS HQ.

Haunt the House, "Vampyre" live from RDitS House Show 7/13/15
Haunt the House, "Vampyre" live from RDitS House Show 7/13/15 from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

While we shared that video this summer, the next video is brand new.  Kettle Pot Tracks were a gracious host to us & Haunt The House and recorded a beautiful On The Hill Session with the band.

Haunt the House — Mosquito Coast
Haunt the House — Mosquito Coast from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

Haunt The House returns to Philly this Saturday at the Root Down In The Shadow HQ
Check out the event for more details