Friday, May 26, 2017

About Applewood Road

In September 2014, three songwriters met for the first time in a cafe in East Nashville. By the next morning they had put the finishing touches to their first song, ‘Applewood Road’, which they recorded live to tape at Nashville’s all analogue studio, Welcome to 1979.

The song’s nostalgic air, along with the clear, sparse arrangement of three vocals accompanied by double bass, drew immediate positive response, and they decided to expand the idea into a full album.
Six months later, they reconvened to write, rehearse and record songs for the self-titled album Applewood Road. The songs were again performed live around a single microphone at Welcome to 1979 and recorded to two-track tape with minimal accompaniment from some of Nashville’s finest session players, including Aaron Lee Tasjan, Josh Day,  Fats Kaplin, Jabe Beyer, and Telisha Williams.

The tapes were assembled at London’s most exclusive high-end mastering suite, Gearbox Records, mastered through their vintage analogue outboard, and lacquers cut in-house on their own Haeco lathe.

Applewood Road is Emily Barker, Amber Rubarth and Amy Speace.

About Amy Speace:

Amy Speace is a folk singer, timeless and classic, and a bit out of her own era. “She has one of the richest and loveliest voices in the genre and her songs are luxuriously smart,” writes Craig Havighurst (host of Nashville’s “Music City Roots). “She’s profoundly personal yet also a bit mythic.”  Since her discovery in 2006 by folk-pop icon Judy Collins, Speace has been heralded as one of the leading voices of the new generation of American folk singers. Her latest release, “That Kind Of Girl”, received rave reviews by Billboard MagazineThe New York Times and NPR.  Recorded live in 3 days with her longtime collaborator/producer Neilson Hubbard,  with a small combo featuring Will Kimbrough (Emmylou Harris) and Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket), Girl is spare, direct and brutally honest and is her most personal collection of songs yet.

Born in Baltimore, Amy Speace studied classical acting in New York City after graduating from Amherst College and then spent a few years with The National Shakespeare Company and other Off-Off Broadway classical rep companies, doing guerrilla Shakespeare in Lower East Side parking lots, working backstage on Broadway, writing poetry in cafes and feeling increasingly like success as a theater artist was just out of reach. In that season of doubt, she bought a cheap guitar at a pawn shop in the East Village and began putting her poetry to music and in short time was appearing at local folk clubs The Sidewalk Cafe, The Bitter End and The Living Room. Judy Collins’ manager caught a set of Amy’s at the 2005 SXSW conference and brought her demo back to Collins, who had just started her own imprint, Wildflower Records and immediately signed Amy.  Her Wildflower Records debut “Songs For Bright Street,” was released to rave reviews in 2006 and featured E-Street band fiddler Soozie Tyrell and a duet with The Jayhawks Gary Louris.  That year she was nominated as Best New Artist by the International Folk Alliance.  In 2009 she released “The Killer In Me,” recorded in North Carolina with Mitch Easter (REM, the db’s), which had NPR comparing her to a young Lucinda Williams.  That record's bonus track, an acoustic version of her song "Weight of the World" was recorded later that year by Judy Collins herself, who named it “one of the best political folk songs I’ve ever heard.”  WFUV, NYC's premier AAA radio station, awarded "Weight of the World" the #4 Folk Song of the Decade.  Seeking new inspiration, in late 2009, Speace moved to Nashville, changing management and labels, and began collaborating with producer/songwriter Neilson Hubbard on a collection of songs that would become  the  cinematic “Land Like A Bird,” released in 2011 on Thirty Tigers.  In 2013, she received the best reviews of her career with the epic "How To Sleep In A Stormy Boat,” a string-laden song cycle inspired by Shakespeare, winning 4 stars from Mojo Magazine and a feature on NPR’s “All Things Considered”.  Rock critic Dave Marsh, long a fan, who contributed the album's liner notes, wrote "Amy Speace’s songs hang together like a short story collection, united by a common vantage point and common predicaments…it’s a gift to hear a heart so modest even when it’s wide open." 

An accidental side project was born in East Nashville in 2015, when Applewood Road was formed.  The trio of Speace, Amber Rubarth and Emily Barker  met in 2015 at a coffeeshop in East Nashville and, after writing one song together, were signed to a deal with the London-based Gearbox Records. Their eponymous debut was recorded in 4 days around one microphone at Nashville's analog studio Welcome To 1979 and was released in the UK in February 2016 to astonishing 4 and 5 star reviews. The Sunday London Times called the album “a flawless set that has to be the most haunting release of the past year” and The Telegraph wrote “There’s a Moorish magic to the harmonies of this country-folk trio that recalls the vintage appeal of the Everlys and the Andrews.”  Applewood Road appeared that summer at Glastonbury Festival, The Cambridge Folk Festival and on the Andrew Marr Show. 

About Amber Rubarth:

"Part of the new old-soul generation." - HUFFINGTON POST

"She has developed a unique gift of knocking down walls with songs so strong they sound like classics from another era." - ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAGAZINE

Amber Rubarth has a playful simplicity and insightfulness to her musings on life that has connected with people around the world.  She has performed in villages across South Africa and small clubs in Japan, at Carnegie Hall, and backed up by a full chamber orchestra, as well as hundreds of clubs and theaters throughout Europe and the US. "She has developed a unique gift of knocking down walls with songs so strong they sound like classics from another era." -Acoustic Guitar Magazine.  The word has spread organically around her independently released albums, attracting glowing features from The Huffington Post, NPR, and BBC Radio.  She has been hand-picked to open tours for songwriting legends Emmylou Harris, Kenny Loggins, Richie Havens, Marc Cohn, Loudon Wainwright III and Dr. Ralph Stanley and was awarded Grand Prize in NPR's Mountain Stage New Song Contest.  A live recording of Rubarth from Memphis' legendary Sun Studio is currently airing on PBS.Rubarth's forthcoming record, Wildflowers in the Graveyard, is a collection of songs centered around the theme of of life/death/rebirth in nature and relationships.  It opens with her raw vocals and a finger-picked guitar, "There are wildflowers springing up at the graveyard / An oak tree that's been standing here so long / And dandelions pretty in the sunshine / 'til the wind blows and they're gone." All songs are self-penned and recorded analogue straight to 2" tape with engineer and co-producer Matt Andrews (Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, Dawes) in her hometown of Nashville.  The record has a bold magnetic energy that draws you in to each nuance and detail, revealing layers with the elegance of a wildflower in a land consumed by fireworks.In addition to her solo music, Amber recently made her acting debut co-starring alongside folk troubadour Joe Purdy in the new feature film American Folk, which won Best of at the Cleveland International Film Festival and will release in the Autumn 2017.   She has also scored and composed for films including the highly acclaimed Sundance Film Festival winner Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (with Paul Brill) and the award-winning documentary Desert Runners.  She also is the founder of two collaboration projects, Brooklyn indie band The Paper Raincoat, an iTunes Indie Spotlight featured in commercials for Google and Aquafina, and the UK-based harmony folk trio Applewood Road, whose debut album was named The Telegraph's Best Albums of 2016.
Wildflowers in the Graveyard will be released worldwide Summer 2017.

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