On Stage (Extra): Richard Shindell comes to New Hope

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

Richard Shindell

This month, New Hope has caught fans’ attention as a worthwhile destination for live music.

Two weeks ago, Dave Davies, guitarist and co-founder of the Kinks, performed at the Havana Club in New Hope. This weekend, veteran singer-songwriter Richard Shindell has a show in the artsy, riverside town.

On April 29, Shindell will be performing at the New Hope Winery (6123 Lower York Road, New Hope, 215-794-2331, www.newhopewinery.com).

Shindell, a New Jersey native who now splits his time between living in the states and living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, released his debut album “Sparrows Point” on Shanachie Records in 1992.

He is now playing shows in support of his latest album, “Careless,” which came out on Amalgamated Balladry in 2016. His discography also includes 11 albums that were made in between his first and his newest.

“I’m an album-oriented artist,” said Shindell, during a phone interview two weeks ago from Nashville. “I released the new album because I love it. I felt all these songs belonged together.

“The songs sort of grew themselves over a period of time on the voice recorder on my phone. I use my phone to capture melodies and lyrics – mostly things I play on my guitar.

“A lot of times, it’s a melody free of any setting.  Sometimes, it’s an observation – something I’ve seen or something I’ve heard someone say. I do this a lot but many of them never see the light of day.

“Giving them the name is tough. I’ve found that it’s a good idea to go back and name them – a title that gives them an identity. It takes form and becomes a thing in the world. It’s a way of validating them.”

Shindell is more than just a song writer – he is a song crafter.

“It’s just a question of having a phrase in English that sounds good to me,” said Shindell, who also released five EPs from 1995-2009.

“The line has to sound good and be something that can be sung. It’s really helpful for these words to have a wide-open quality – to not be too specific – to not be too determined about where it is going.”

Like a good Scrabble player, Shindell is always looking for the perfect word to fit the situation.

“I edit fairly well,” said Shindell. “I like to mess around with word choices and word order – and that will go on forever. I love that process.

“I love polishing it. Then, after a while, it sounds fine and I can’t do anything more to it. I am a perfectionist. Actually, I wish I were less of a perfectionist.

“I recorded ‘Careless’ mostly in upstate New York – at a studio in the Saugerties near Woodstock. I also did a lot of recording in Buenos Aires.

“My wife is from Buenos Aires and we’ve been living there for 17 years. I love Buenos Aires. There’s a lot of culture there. Argentina and its people are really interesting.”

Video link for Richard Shindell — https://youtu.be/9gek6HgQilI.

The show at the New Hope Winery will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Listeners looking for sincere, heartfelt music have two other good concert options on April 29. There are two shows by soul/funk female-fronted acts – Emily King and Nalani & Sarina.

Nalani & Sarina

Fortunately for fans, it’s possible to catch both shows on Saturday — Nalani & Sarina in the afternoon in Delaware and Emily King in the evening at Union Transfer in Philadelphia.

Nalani & Sarina will have a matinee show on April 29 when they perform at “WilmU Spring Fest” at Wilmington University (320 North Dupont Highway, New Castle, Delaware.

The event, which gets underway at noon, features live music, food trucks and family-friendly activities.

Musical performers scheduled to appear include country singer Sara Ann Garrison; The Susquehanna Floods, a blues-folk rock band from Maryland; pop singer Taylor Tote; Camden’s King Zimm, who mixes hip hop and soul; and Nalani & Sarina.

Nalani & Sarina are 23-year-old twin sisters from central New Jersey who have been building a huge fan base in the Mid-Atlantic region for the last four years.

The highly-talented twins have already established themselves as top-flight vocalists, songwriters, and multi-instrumentalists.

“We’ve been working in the studio a lot lately,” said Sarina Bolton. “We’ve been recording a lot. We’re taking a pretty relaxed approach — doing it piece-by-piece…song-by-song. There are no deadlines and that makes it a lot less stressful.

“We’ve been recording at Carriage House Studio in Stamford, Connecticut and at the home studio in Wayne (PA) or our engineer Julian Herzfeld.”

With roots based in rhythm-and-blues, soul, rock and especially funk, the sisters create vocal harmonies that only twins can make.

“We’re identical twins,” said Nalani. “We graduated early from Hunterdon Central High a few years ago and we’ve been doing music ever since.

“We both started playing classical piano when were six and then studied operatic vocals when we were in sixth grade. Classical music and opera provided good basics for us.

“Our mom was a folkie so we listened to a lot of folk music when we were young — great songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. And, we’ve listened to a lot of classic rock.”

Sarina said, “We always have the funk. It’s impossible for us to keep the funk out. We’ve always had funk in our blood.”

Video link for Nalani & Sarina – https://youtu.be/OMe0lVy6eMM.

The outdoor event will take place on April 29 from noon-4 p.m. on The Green at Wilmington University’s New Castle campus.

“WilmU Spring Fest” is free and open to the public, and plenty of free parking is available.

Emily King

Emily King is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter born and raised in Manhattan’s Lower-East Side. King has toured and performed live with such acts as Maroon 5, John Legend, Emeli Sande, Alicia Keys, Aloe Blacc and Sara Bareilles.

King celebrates her roots, pop, soul, and indie influences by carefully crafting compositions that serve as the perfect vehicle for her polished, lush vocals.

The New York-based singer visited Philadelphia two years ago for a show at Underground Arts when she was touring in support of her just-released sophomore album, “The Switch.”

Still touring “The Switch,” King returned to Philly for a show at Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, 215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com). The songs from the album will once again be featured in concert at Union Transfer on April 29.

“I have a deluxe re-issue of ‘The Switch’,” said King. “I decided to do the re-issue. I got with my manager and brainstormed about it. When I first put it out last year, I didn’t have any support. So, I put it out again last year.

“There are three new songs. We recorded them at a little cabin in upstate New York. We cut the songs in Woodstock and then finished them in Brooklyn. We recorded one of the songs at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock.

“I’ve always been in love with singles. When I started making the album, I wanted to make an album of singles. The three new songs are all very different from each other. The song ‘Focus’ is very different than anything I’ve ever written.

“I was conscious of having additional stories that would add to the arc. I was also conscious of trying to make each song its best and that it would fit in with the other songs on the album. I feel like the new songs fit well. I hope that people feel that way too.”

King definitely has savvy when it comes to making attractive music. Making music is more than something that is in her blood — it’s in her DNA.

“My folks got me into singing,” said King. “It was something I was raised to do. I don’t know what I’d be doing other than making music because I don’t know how to do anything else.”

Her parents, Marion Cowings and Kim Kalesti, were a singing duo who performed and traveled regularly, bringing her and her older brother along with them.

Cowings is a jazz singer who was mentored by the legendary Jon Hendricks and is a master of scat and vocal technique. Kalesti is an acclaimed torch singer who is known for her project “Kimistry, The Living Museum,” a moveable feast of sounds, beats, visuals, philosophy, and words that deals with emotional subjects that affect the way we live and feel.

“My parents sang jazz together for 14 years,” said King. “They’d tour with bands and take my brother and me along with them. We were bored at the time. But, we were constantly exposed to the music so we were subconsciously soaking it in.”

King’s debut album East Side Story was released in August 2007. The critically-acclaimed album earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Contemporary R&B Album of the Year.”

Video link for Emily King – https://youtu.be/4DbeYbcZAJE

The show at Union Transfer will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.

For entertainment of an entirely different style on April 29, consider attending a stage performance by Inis Nua Theatre Company.


Now through May 14, Inis Nua Theatre Company is presenting its current show “Swallow” at the Proscenium Theater at The Drake (302 South Hicks Street, Philadelphia, www.inisnuatheatre.org, 215-454-9776).

Inis Nua Theatre Company ends the 2016-2017 mainstage season with the American premiere of “Swallow” by Stef Smith.

First staged in Scotland, “Swallow” follows three lives intricately connected and the quiet, traumatic struggles of being human.

The play was a 2015 Fringe First Winner and received the Scottish Arts Club Theatre Award.

This American premiere of “Swallow” is directed by Claire Moyer and stars Corinna Burns, Samy el-Noury and Felicia Leicht.

“Inis Nua is in its 13th year,” said Moyer, during a recent phone interview. “I’ve been on the staff for two years.

“Our goal is to present contemporary theatre from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Tom Reing, our artistic director, goes to Edinburgh, Scotland and sees dozens of plays.

“He came back with the script for ‘Swallow’ and was very enthusiastic. We decided we’d use it this year. It has been staged in Scotland, Germany and New Zealand but this is the first time in America.”

“Swallow” features three characters whose lives are taking drastic turns. Anna feels a bit of herself fall away every day. Rebecca teeters on the edge after a breakup, wondering who she is on her own. Sam wants to step forward to meet the future, coming to terms with his gender identity.

Their stories intertwine — delicately looping together then flying apart. These three strangers’ fragile connections with each other might lead to a shift in their worlds.

According to Moyer, “Each of these three characters’ experiences are deeply important to them. Every day they are fighting for their lives.

“I really liked the idea that these things that are so desperately huge to us as individuals can be completely unapparent to people on the outside.”

Aside from watching TV, Anna cannot face life outside her apartment. Denying herself speech, food and any connection to others, she pours her energy and anxiety into mosaic projects using the remnants of her life.

Rebecca is doing her share of smashing things too. Her long-time lover has left her but didn’t take the TV. Her self-mutilation is a monument to the old life she built, but also to her loneliness and anger.

Sam is leaving someone behind too.  He is getting ready to jump a chasm he has been staring at his whole life. He is leaving behind the gender he was assigned at birth to live fully as himself, as Sam.

“It’s quite an emotional play – three people having crises in their lives. Two of them live in the same building and the other lives in the same town and they come into each other’s lives. There are three stories that intertwine, separate and then intertwine again.

“The play doesn’t become indulgent. It’s very matter-of-fact. It’s a play about people who are working hard to show that they are O.K.”

“Swallow” will have 16 performances through May 14 All shows are at the Proscenium Theater at The Drake, 302 South Hicks Street. South Hicks Street is right next to The Drake apartment building at 1512 Spruce Street. Tickets are $25 and $35.

Area fans who like live shows by Swedish bands that pack a punch have been in hog heaven this month.

Last week, Sabaton and Katatonia visited the area for concerts at local venues.

Now, Horisont is coming to town to headline a show April 30 at Kung Fu Necktie (1248 North Front Street, Philadelphia, 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com).

The Swedish hard rock band has returned to North America as part of its “About Time World Tour.”

Horisont — Magnus Delborg (bass), Axel Söderberg (vocals), Pontus Jordan (drums), Charles Van Loo (guitar) and David Kalin (guitar) — is touring in support of its fifth album “About Time.”

The new album, which was released on February 3 on Century Media, features the singles “Electrical,” “The Hive,” and “About Time.”

“The new album just came out here in the states,” said Axel Söderberg, during a phone interview last week as the band was travelling to a show in Atlanta, Georgia.

“We recorded it last summer by ourselves. We put together our own studio – and that took a lot longer than we expected. We had to learn everything about the equipment.”

Formed in 2006 in Gothenburg, Sweden, Horisont features dueling guitars, a thunderous rhythm section and an intense vocalist.

“We’ve been together 10 years now,” said Söderberg. “We all kind of met in Gothenberg by coincidence. We met and formed Horisont. The name just sounded good. It means ‘horizon.’

“We keep growing with every record. When you’re done with an album, you’ve heard it so many times that you just want to moe on. You want to evolve – never try to do the same thing over and over again.”

The group has released five full-length albums – “Två Sidor Av Horisonten” (2009), “Second Assault” (2012), “Time Warriors” (2013), “Odyssey” (2015) and “About Time” (2017).

As soon as one album is done, we start writing for the next record,” said Söderberg. “I do most of the writing but everyone contributes. Magnus wrote a few songs on the new album.

“With the ‘Odyssey’ album, we had come off a tour and decided to write a 10-minue songs. We did the song ‘Odyssey’ and it just took off from there.

“The ‘About Time’ album is a continuation of ‘Odyssey” – but it’s even more diverse – more piano and more synthesizers.”

Video link for Horisont –https://youtu.be/r3hOX56m8GE.

The show at Kung Fu Necktie, which also features The Dirty Streets, Screaming Rattler, and Age of Truth, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Beauty Pill

Back in October, Beauty Pill headlined a show at Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com).

It was so nice, they’re doing it twice. Beauty Pill is returning to the same venue for a show on April 30. This time, the band will be opening for Brazilian master musician Arto Lindsay.

Beauty Pill is a Washington, DC-based, semi-electronic band led by producer, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Chad Clark. The band includes Basla Andolun, Jean Cook, Drew Doucette and Devin Ocampo.

After several critically-acclaimed records, Beauty Pill amicably parted ways with Dischord Records in 2014. The band is back now with a new album on Butterscotch Records — “Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are.”

The excitement surrounding the return of Beauty Pill is not just because of the densely-constructed and deeply-felt music found on the new album but also because Clark is healthy and able to continue creating music.

Vocalists often sing about “having a broken heart” – in a symbolic wat. When Clark refers to “having a broken heart,” he is speaking about a real situation.

In 2007, Clark was stricken with viral cardiomyopathy, a rare condition resulting from a virus invading and inflaming the heart. In 2008, he underwent two open heart surgeries that saved his life.

“I have a heart condition that came from a virus,” said Clark, during a phone interview last week from his home in D.C. “So, there are no super-long drives when we are on tour. We just set up short tours when we go out.

“A few years ago, a virus went to my heart. Usually, it is fatal because the heart has very few defenses against viruses. I had a couple surgeries that saved my life. I’m grateful just to be alive. I still want to tour but I have to do it safely. The doctors told me to make sane decisions. I feel great — especially when we’re playing.”

The band now is doing is mini-tours in support of the well-received “Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are” album.

“My health condition was definitely one of the themes of the album,” said Clark.

“The struggle — mortality looms over the record. It’s fine that they see my reality. I don’t think that it’s a gloomy record. There is only one song that directly addresses my experience.

“Most of the things we know about mortality are already well documented in literature. Life is short. You need to try to live life understanding how short it is — and how precious it is. Death is threaded through the songs in a less direct way.”

Beauty Pill is a vehicle for Clark’s songs.

“I do all the writing for the band,” said Clark. “My band mates all have their own projects in addition to Beauty Pill but the line-up has stayed steady. I really value my band mates but, at its core, the band is my vision.”

Fans awaiting a new Beauty Pill album might get good news later this year.

“We will be going into the studio this summer,” said Clark. “I have a bunch of new things. Our last album was packed with sound. With the next album, we want to make something more restrained – more minimal.”

Video link for Beauty Pill — https://youtu.be/0GENOl4sbiE.

The show at Boot and Saddle, which has Arto Lindsay as the headline act, will start at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $20.

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