Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Kristian Montgomery shares stories and souls in new album

"Price of Poverty," the 2021 release from the Massachusetts-based  Kristian Montgomery and the Winterkill Band is an authentic, honest take on the world and the lives that comprise it. The vibe I get is that we’re presented with these tales and takes and we’re left to make of it what we will. If we like it, cool, and if we don’t, that’s fine too. The band has a story to share and share it they will. 

There’s a lot of stories told in this album, but there’s a few that stuck to me. “A Warm Grave” tells the story of a grandfather, the times spent together and memories made. This one got to me, because it reminds me a lot of my own grandfather, 95 years old and still kicking. I learned a lot from him when it came to working for a living and valuing family over things.

“Soul For Soul” shows that we all have a past, with one side bringing up the other’s. It’s easy to relate to, because we’ve all faced judgment for our past. As one line goes, “I’ll match you soul for soul.” That one really sticks with me.

“American Fire” is an unflinching look at the US as it is today. The song talks about us losing our will, our voices stilled, as the folks in charge sell out the country to the highest bidder. If this isn’t a cautionary tale about our need to stand up and take ownership of the ground we walk on, show me what is.

When it comes to the sound of the album, I like the wandering feel. “They’ll Remember My Name” kicks things off with an avalanche of sound, and following it, “Tired of Being Tired” is a more mellow, walking-pace kind of song. I think it matches life pretty well—one minute things are chaos and the next, it’s chill.

Overall, “Prince of Poverty” is a solid and strong mix of music that shares a lot. Either you like it or you don’t. It’s a story that this band will tell. It’s on you to decide where you want to go with it.

For more information on Kristian Montgomery and the Winterkill Band, visit kmwkb.com.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Sunflower Series Live Music Festival

The Sunflower Series is an annual performance series created in 2018 by Boston musician, artivist and poet, Genie Santiago, that is aimed at creating a safe space for artists allowing them to experience intimate bonds with their audience using performance and storytelling.

On August 6, 2021 at 7:00pm, in collaboration with ONCE Somerville, Boynton Yards, and Creatives of Color Boston, we’re celebrating the last rays of summer, nature, and reviving the Boston live music scene. This event will kick off with feature performances from local BIPOC artists Billy Dean Thomas, Genie Santiago, Shellz, Amanda Shea, and Naomi Westwater. There will also be food trucks and a bar open throughout the event. Post performances we’ll have a late night market featuring local BIPOC vendors from 10:00pm-12:00am.

Eventbrite Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/billy-dean-thomas-genie-santiago-shellz-amanda-shea-naomi-westwater-tickets-160840725941?aff=ebdsoporgprofile

About Creatives of Color Boston
In 2019,Creatives of Color Boston was founded by visual artists Janette Santos and Tammi Jean Fedestin with the goal of providing BIPOC artists the space and support they need in an oftentimes less than ideal climate. To achieve this, CCB created multiple events and popup exhibitions such as, “In-between Spaces”, “Show N Tell Series”, and “Giving To Yourself Week”. Genie Santiago, a local musician and artist, joined the team in 2021 bringing with her “The Sunflower Series”, a performance series for Boston based musicians.

As a collective built upon the premise of creating intersectional safe spaces for artists to connect and create together, we want to communicate to you that we are now more than ever committed to you all. We fully support artists of color in the greater Boston area and will continue to establish spaces for all BIPOC to gather, reflect, and simply just BE. We are your platform.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Author Justin Lee is back with a most unexpected sequel

In 2018, author J. Lee published his first book, “The Hubley Case,” introducing the world to the character Ben Siebert. At the time, it was supposed to be a one-off story, with no sequels planned. But the fans spoke, telling Lee that they wanted another adventure for Siebert—and so we have “The Silent Cardinal,” available on Aug. 3.

In this interview, Lee and I talk about his feelings as release day approaches and plans for in-person events now that such things can be done. We look at the continuation of the story and how Ben grows as a person. We also talk about the villains and how to make such characters unique in a world where thriller bad guys are so prevalent.

Lee also talks about the complex story he created and how it all came to be, as well as his planning process and outlining.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

It's a double dose of Boston music with Linda Marks and Daniel Promotes

Linda Marks
As the title says, it's dual Boston artists in this episode. Kicking things off is singer-songwriter Linda Marks, who has a brand new album out called “Monuments of Love.” Inspired by and written during the pandemic, the album touches on a lot of the last year, from the health risks we were all faced with to separation anxiety to lost moments with loved ones.

Linda and I talk about how she stayed creative during this difficult time, even hosting a regular livestream music series. We also look at how she completed two other albums, “The Piano” and “Songs at the Heart of Life” during COVID. Linda also has a big triple album release show planned for Aug. 1 at The Burren in Somerville.

After Linda's interview, enjoy one of the tracks for the new album, “Prayers,” written for a musician friend who battled a hellish case of COVID but is now on the mend and singing once more.

Following this, I'm back with Daniel Promotes, and we also find ourselves chatting about the last 15 months and what it's been like for him. Daniel's also been hard at work joining Ambitious Writerz, and it looks like there's going to be touring in the near future. We look at the Boston rap scene and how it weather the pandemic, focusing on some artists who really made their mark with new releases during this time.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Marc Bernardin shares the diverse, detailed world of “Adora and The Distance”

Recently, I had the chance to read the new graphic novel “Adora and the Distance,” available exclusively through comiXology Originals. It was created and written by Marc Bernardin, who has a lengthy history in television, journalism, and comics.

“Adora and The Distance” is an amazing story about a young girl named Adora who faces a violent force called The Distance, a city-killing threat. Rather than wait for it to bring an end to her home, she and a group of adventurers set on a quest to stop it.

The story is years in the making, and Marc and I talk about how it came to be and the hurdles faced pitching it to publishers before connecting with comiXology. “Adroa and The Distance” is inspired by Bernardin’s daughter who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, and we talk about what it's like raising a child on the spectrum and how they're often portrayed in media.

Marc and I also talk about the team he worked with. This includes Ariela Kristantina (Illustrator), Bryan Valenza (Colorist), Bernardo Brice, (Letterer), and legendary comics editor Will Dennis. I learn how they worked to create the vivid, lush world found in the pages of this comic and how it even influenced some of the story. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Matt Jatkola talks about tying music into his health journey

Boston singer-songwriter Matt Jatkola returns to talk about his newest singles—“When Tomorrow Comes” and “Japanese Butterfly.” Both were written at different stages of Matt's battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. “When Tomorrow Comes” was written shortly after he received the diagnosis in early 2020, and “Japanese Butterfly” was penned as his treatment was nearing its end. Matt's been cancer-free for nearly a year now.

We talk about Matt's mindset when he began writing the songs and why he wanted to share the story through his music. Matt shares his feelings when he was diagnosed and how it feels to have a clean bill of health. We also look at Matt's interest in professional wrestling and how it helped him to get through both his treatment and the pandemic itself.

Keep listening after this interview, because I've got both songs for your listening enjoyment. They have very different sounds, both of which I really liked.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Dan Nicklin talks studio ownership, live music, and mental health

Boston's Dan Nicklin and I dive deep into the history and amazing work being done by Henley Row Studios. Nicklin founded this years ago and in that time it's undergone a lot of growth. Nicklin talks about the studio's creation and some of the artists he's worked with. The studio has released a number of great songs under The Henley Row All-Stars, which features a revolving cast of musicians.

Nicklin's a member of the band OldJack and they've got a new single out called “Take a Picture.” The song has a strong message about social media and mental health, which Dan outlines as well as past works that have a similar theme. It's an issue that many are dealing with from the pandemic and we need to keep in touch and offer a friendly ear when needed.

Live music has begun to return and Dan and I talk about comfort zones and how people feel about being back in crowded venues after more than a year in COVID. OldJack has some shows scheduled and we talk about how it feels to be back on stage.

Following this, enjoy the new single, “Take a Picture.”