Kentucky Avenue announces new record Ballad of the Past—a hearkening back to 1970s Laurel Canyon in modern Americana spirit
Washington DC April 2021: For Immediate Release
“Do you remember . . . . the ballad of the past. . . . ”
From the opening question to the last line of their last song, Kentucky Avenue’s second record Ballad of the Past harkens back to the classic country rock music of 1970s Laurel Canyon, infusing it with their modern Americana spirit. Set to be released on all streaming sites Friday, April 16, 2021, this album presents stories of love and longing, loss and loneliness—but not without a notion that enough is enough or miracles are possible. En route to California, their songs travel through the haunted hills of the South, the misty mountains of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and make a stop in Asbury Park with a Springsteen cover.
For this second album, Kentucky Avenue is joined by Greg Watkins on acoustic and electric bass and by Michael Robert Taylor on violin—both of whom have become regulars in the band’s live performances. Also featured: Tom Hnatow (Horse Feathers, Karen Jonas) on pedal steel, banjo, and dobro; John O’Reilly (fun., Jason Mraz) on drums; and Daniel Clarke (kd lang, War on Drugs) on piano and organ.
Like many artists facing new challenges during the pandemic, Kentucky Avenue had to adjust their original plans for this album, but quickly realized they were in good hands under the direction of producer and engineer Mark Williams at Sucker Punch Recording Company. With the foundation of each song recorded before lockdown, the additional parts were farmed out to faraway places. Pedal steel player and multi-instrumentalist Tom Hnatow in Kentucky took to heart the musical direction coming from the band’s Dave Ries: “Play like Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings are having dinner with Neil Young in Laurel Canyon in the 70s. Flying Burrito Brothers are cooking the meal....” Mr. Hnatow nailed it.
Steve Wosahla of Americana Highways says of Ballad of the Past:
“In the end, The Ballad of The Past feels like a book of short stories set to music with Ries and Shindler weaving in and out like lead characters. You could say It’s a great read.”
Read Full Article: Kentucky Avenue's new album reads like a good book
Since their debut record Nothing Here is Mine in 2017 and building up to this new release, Kentucky Avenue has presented their fans with a series of singles. With the world turning upside-down during the pandemic, they released the bonus track of their second album first: a stark, achingly real rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire.” The next three singles from their newest album followed on its heels:
Record Playing Days: a heartfelt and longing look back when the summer gently passes by into autumn, soaking up sounds, "spinning truth and telling lies". OFFICIAL VIDEO HERE
Pennsylvania: The dark, haunting ballad about an old coal mining town in Centralia, PA. OFFICIAL VIDEO HERE
Enough: The song with a title that says it all. OFFICIAL VIDEO HERE
Folk Alley’s Cindy Howes says of Enough:
"Building gradually into an unexpected musical avalanche, "Enough" draws you in from the start to its riveting finish. Steadfast and true, the vocals resiliently deliver lines about a lifetime worth of struggle. It's especially a knockout when Stella arrives at that peak note: you'll definitely want to sing out in unison with that final "ENOUGH!”. Grippingly emotional, the lyrics might walk the fine line of giving up, but with the sheer power of the chorus, you believe we will persevere. And with the violin played by Michael Robert Taylor stepping in to accompany the melody until the end, you get the beautiful reminder that we are never alone."
Founding members of Kentucky Avenue Dave Ries and Stella Schindler first met in 2016 when Stella was invited to sit in with a cover band, of which Dave was a part, for a school event where Stella teaches. They began sharing original music and sensed that a bigger adventure was on the horizon. What sealed the deal? Dave invited Stella to have dinner with his family at their home on Kentucky Avenue—the same place they realized that Stella had lived 20 years ago before getting kicked out because her landlord sold the place to a new owner: Dave Ries. Yes, little did Dave know that 20 years ago, he “kicked out” his future bandmate. That was all the pair needed—serendipity and a band name: Kentucky Avenue.
Ballad of the Past – digital release Friday, April 16, 2021
Cd and vinyl available now at https://www.kentuckyavenuemusic.com/new-album-presale