Forty Below Records & Friends, Volume I features tracks from blues legends John Mayall and Walter Trout, Americana veterans Tim Easton and Anne McCue, emerging artists KaiL Baxley, Sam Morrow and Bonson Berner, and other friends and frequent collaborators of Forty Below founder Eric Corne, including Joanna Wang. A star in her native Taiwan, yet still unreleased in North America, this adventurous songwriter pushes the boundaries with an American supergroup as her backing band.
1. “Don’t Matter To Me” from KaiL Baxley’s Heatstroke/The Wind and The War (Forty Below)
“Don’t Matter To Me” is the lead off track to Baxley’s double EP, Heatstroke/The Wind and The War which was nominated for NPR Album of the Year and featured on NPR’s World Cafe and All Songs Considered.
"One of NPR's Top New Artists at South By Southwest" - Bob Boilen (All Songs Considered).
“One of our favorite new recent discoveries is Los Angeles based singer-songwriter KaiL Baxley. The album knocked my socks off. It’s simply enthralling... Seriously, I'm stuck on this one.” - Bruce Warren, WXPN/somevelvetblog
2. “Sure Thing” from Sam Morrow’s Ephemeral (Forty Below)
Co-written by Morrow and producer, Eric Corne, “Sure Thing” is an upbeat ode to heartbreak featuring Freddy Koella (Bob Dylan) on fiddle.
"Sam Morrow has crafted a sterling debut LP that offers ready comparisons to the inspiring melancholia of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, Steve Earle’s Train a Coming and Jason Isbell's more recent Southeastern." - No Depression
3. “Take A Little Time” from Walter Trout’s The Blues Came Callin’ (Provogue)
“Take A Little Time” is a Chuck Berry meets NRBQ flavored romp with inspired performances from Trout, pianist Sasha Smith (Jesca Hoop), bassist Taras Prodaniuk (Lucinda Williams) and drummer Michael Leasure (Edgar Winter). The album, co-produced with Eric Corne, was nominated by The Blues Foundation for Blues Rock Album Of The Year.
“I’ve done many Chuck Berry’esque songs over my recording career,” says Walter, “but this one probably comes closest to having an authentic Chess Records feel. It’s inspired by the breakneck pace that everyone I know seems to be living their lives at these days. If you are unfulfilled and looking for love, you’re going to need to take a little time out from the rat race and take care of your own heart.”
“Walter Trout’s The Blues Came Callin’ is a fully rounded triumph in the face of adversity” - Classic Rock Magazine
4. “Just A Memory” from John Mayall’s latest full length release, A Special Life (Forty Below)
Cut live in the studio in one take with Mayall’s touring band, this Mayall composition recalls some of his early Bluesbreakers classics. John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers were the launching pad for some of rock’s most iconic bands including Fleetwood Mac, Cream, and Mick Taylor era Rolling Stones. The blues icon is still thriving today with an internationally acclaimed new album and a 150 date world tour.
"I’d easily put this one among Mayall’s best efforts – and that includes Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, A Hard Road, and Blues From Laurel Canyon – so run, don’t walk, to your record store come release day for a copy of A Special Life!" - about.com
5. “Not Familiar” from Eric Corne’s Kid Dynamite And The Common Man (Forty Below)
In 2008, Forty Below Records founder Eric Corne gathered a cast that reads like a who’s-who of LA rock and roots royalty to record “one of the year’s most dramatic debuts” (Blurt). He has been threatening to release it’s follow up ever since, and word is 2015 will be the year.
“Corne's compositions are rich and textured, flecked with marimbas, reed organs, accordions, ukulele and upright bass. Tuneful, melodic and smart, Kid Dynamite And The Common Man is a stunning musical polemic that uses a light touch to make heavy points.” - Alex Green, Caught in the Carousel
6. “Running Days” from Bonson Berner’s Passport (Forty Below)
Bonson Berner is the brainchild of Argentine musician, photographer, painter and architect Lisandro “Pato” Aloi. Working with the production/mixing tandem of Guillermo Porro and Eric Corne, Bonson Berner is set to release their sophomore album, Reflection February 24th, 2015.
“Bonson Berner’s electro-charged rock bridges the gap between indie-rockers like The National and another well-known band with Argentine bloodlines, Diego Garcia’s Elefant. The first single “Running Days” is as urgent as it is concise.” - Kevin Bronson, Buzzbands LA
7. “Adult Crap” from Joanna Wang’s The Adult Storybook (Sony)
Joanna Wang is an Asian American artist of incredible breadth and talent. Signed to Sony in Taiwan, where she reached #1 with her debut, Joanna has set off on an independent, adventurous and often experimental course. The path began with The Adult Storybook, disc two of her 2nd album. Recorded with Eric Corne and Joanna’s father, renowned Taiwanese producer Bing Wang, the music is credited to New Tokyo Terror, a moniker for the LA studio band who accompanied Joanna on the sessions. Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Beck, Jellyfish) contributes a keyboard solo worthy of a 1970’s prog-rock opus. He’s joined by Freddy Koella (Bob Dylan) on guitar, Paul Bushnell (Elton John) on bass, and Brian MacLeod (Sheryl Crow) on drums.
8. “Bright Light Of Day” from Anne McCue’s Koala Motel (Messenger)
Heart’s Nancy Wilson makes a guest appearance on mandolin on this gorgeous Anne McCue track recorded by Eric Corne and produced and mixed by his mentor Dusty Wakeman at Wakeman’s famed Mad Dog Studios.
“Backed by an intuitive three-man ensemble that includes co-producer Dusty Wakeman (Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam), McCue performs as if newly liberated and determined to sidestep earlier critical comparisons to Williams and Bonnie Raitt. She's still best described as an (Australian-born) Americana artist whose fretwork marks her a student of the blues. But Koala Motel is so steeped in tuneful rock classicism that it has all the earmarks of a mainstream break-through.” - Stomp and Stammer
9. “The Weight of Changing Everything” from Tim Easton’s Since 1966 Volume 1 (Dualtone)
Originally appearing on Tim Easton’s 2011 album, Since 1966 Volume 1, “The Weight of Changing Everything” was recorded live to analog tape at Elliott Smith’s New Monkey Studio with Eric Corne at the helm.
The stripped-bare, voice-and-acoustic guitar arrangements on (Since 1966 Volume 1) speak directly to Easton’s strengths: an affinity for early Dylan, a dusty campfire songwriting aesthetic, and adept rhythmic cross-picking. All over the album, Easton displays his gift for molding lyrics into the little top melodies he plays on guitar. - American Songwriter
10. “Boy Got It Bad” from KaiL Baxley’s Heatstroke/The Wind and The War (Forty Below)
Baxley channels his Southern gospel roots on this haunting a cappella performance from his debut, Heatstroke/The Wind and The War.
“Baxley’s music should please anyone who has fallen fleetingly for bands like The Black Keys. His focused approach to folk and blues outstrips those superstars in terms of melodic complexity and emotional impact. - Jordan Lawrence, Shuffle magazine