+ Samantha Crain
+ Phil Duke (CH / USA)
Time flies when you’re having fun and this Swiss veteran power rock band made it happily this far and this fine. It seems like yesterday when they were on stage on a bill headlined by the British rock legend Frankie Miller about 30 years ago. With other musicians from Thin Lizzy, Bad Company, Spooky Tooth, Stevie Winwood etc. just to stumble down memory lane. Today and as always, the group lets it fly with the guys Tom Krailing (guitar, vocals), Stefan Zahler (guitar, vocals), Markus Graf (bass, vocals) and Haennes Grueninger (drums). And their back-up section is power. If you’re around this long, had that brush with fame and fortune, taking some lumps and packing it in followed by giddy-up and go again, you know the road’s been wild and rocky and paved with good intentions and might-have-beens. That’s just part of the deal, half the fun is getting there riding that particular highway. And now they’re back with a bang and also due to support from Crowdfundingaktion (cheers). To get back into their fan’s good graces and to fend off oblivion and go for immortality, they just released a brand new box set «Boxing Clever» with 35 songs, two of them brand new plus a t-shirt that’ll do you proud (see the-pride.com). The Pride’s back with us in the here and now. But it’s ok to live in the past for a night. That’s where we all grew up.
This daughter of Oklahoma was born in Shawnee and «Under Branch and Thorn and Tree» is the fourth full-length album, recorded entirely analog, by this bright new star in the indie folk-rock zodiac. The lady taught herself to play the guitar and she’s revered and sought after as a producer and writer as well. So much so her first recording, the self-released EP «Confiscation» was based on five short stories she wrote. She’s still under thirty and began touring at nineteen. Her virgin full-length album was «Songs In The Night» (2009) and it introduced her voice to a wider audience. And what a revelation her voice is, wonderfully fresh and billowing and gorgeously odd all at once. Samantha is of Choctaw tribe heritage and strongly feels her unique vocal interpretation is a gift passed on by her ancestors. She presents a wide repertory of her own songs, songs that are often socially engaged. She uses sweetness and tenderness to communicate her own love for life and its pitfalls and to conjure a better and more just world. / You and I, we tell the stories the TV won’t release / They keep us in the wild under branch and thorn and tree /
Is Phil Duke a phantom? If you want to know more about our long-time friend from what’s on the web be cautioned. You’ll draw a blank because all that you will inevitably run into are the announcements PHIL DUKE DOES NOT HAVE ANY PHOTOS. PHIL DUKE DOES NOT HAVE ANY VIDEOS. PHIL DUKE DOES NOT HAVE ANY ARTICLES. And most puzzling PHIL DUKE DOES NOT HAVE ANY CONCERTS. Which raises the question what’s he going to do once he’s climbed onto our stage? He will play some good music for sure but be warned ‘Laconic Simple’ are his first and last name. To recognize him before he’s on stage look for a checkered shirt with big blue eyes above which are topped by a bushel of hair. And look for hands that hold on to a Gretsch 6119 Tennessee Rose guitar. If you suspect you’ve located him this way approach him about the video game Ruzzle. Hey, he then might reveal his humanity to you. Then ask him about his songs like Nitro Girl? Nashville Platinum? Stuntman? Battle of the Bobs? This is all we can tell you about the guy before you meet him in flesh and blood. Oh, and that he’s not a phantom but the nicest slacker-next-door type you’ll ever meet.