On December 13th, 2016, Ed Sheeran went light blue on all of his social media platforms.
This caused an uproar across his fan base, as it was the first sign that new music is more than likely on it’s way.
You have to have been living under a rock to not have known that Ed Sheeran released new music to kick of the new year. It’s been just over two years since “x”, so the talk of a new album has fans bursting with excitement.
After taking a hiatus from all social media for 2016, Sheeran released a video on New Year’s Day, stating that new music would be coming on January 6th.
In the following days, he began teasing lyrics and small sound clips of what was to come. January 3rd, he posted a status with the division symbol, which lead many fans to believe that a full album was going to be released. (I was really hoping it was going to be a full album) However, on January 6th, Sheeran released not one, but two singles titled “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You”. Both tracks quickly soared to the top of the iTunes charts, claiming the #1 and #2 spots. According to billboard.com and Warner Music, Sheeran shattered the previous Spotify record for one-day streams. The record was previously set by One Direction in July of 2015 for their song “Drag Me Down”, which received 4.75 million plays in its first 24 hours. Both of the tracks released by Sheeran crushed that number. “Castle on the Hill” was streamed 6,168,395 times, and “Shape of You” was streamed 6,868,642 times.
January 11th, Ed posted the tracklist to the album on his social media pages! The tracklist is as follows:
“Castle on the Hill”
“Shape of You”
“Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
“What Do I Know?”
“How Would You Feel (Paean)”
Finally, on January 12th, Ed Sheeran told the world when “Divide” would be available. Mark your calendars for March 3rd, 2017! I personally cannot wait to hear this album!
Check out the respective lyric videos for the first two singles!
“Shape of You”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dK2tDK9grQ
“Castle on the Hill”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qp5vcuMIlk
(photo courtesy of the Ed Sheeran Facebook page)
Written by Remi Taff
2016 has come to a close, and it’s that time of the year when everyone is asking, “What was your favorite album this year?”. It’s quite the daunting task to pick just one once you realize how many great records were released. After going back and forth and rearranging my top 10 albums countless times, I’ve settled on my number one for the year.
Released on November 4th, 2016, “Blessed Are Those” is the second full-length album from the acoustic solo project, SayWeCanFly. This album was a late addition to the list I had been compiling throughout the year, however, it managed to score the number one spot on my list. I am a huge fan of concept records, and songs that tell a clear and vivid story. This album is everything I could have ever expected and then some.
“Blessed Are Those” is filled with fantastic lyrics and haunting instrumentals. The album opener “There Are No Flowers In Heaven (Foreword)” starts with a winding music box, and transcends into an eerie piano and string section. It’s quite possibly one of my favorite opening tracks on an album. The title track, “Blessed Are Those”, follows and really pulls you into the universe that frontman Braden Barrie has created within the album. I am a really big fan of the vocal production on this track.
Songs like “I Didn’t Know”, “Left the Light On”, and “Sweetest Heart” are prime examples of the stellar songwriting skills that Barrie possesses. The closing track, “When We Die”, starts out with layered harmonies and a light piano line. Around the two minute mark, the song reveals a cinematic orchestration of percussion and strings. The second verse softens, but still adds in some new elements that you haven’t heard in the song yet. The way the song builds between verses and choruses is one thing I really adore about the song, and at the five minute mark, the song hits its big peak in my opinion. This track sounds like something straight off of a movie soundtrack, and is a picture perfect way to conclude this album. I highly recommend giving this album a listen if you have not already.
Listen to the album here and make sure to find SayWeCanFly on Facebook!
Written by Remi Taff
Written by Kyle Goffinet
If you have ever paid any attention to any band in recent times, you can almost always find an acoustic version of at least one of their songs throughout their discography. You can truly tell when a song is great when it is completely stripped down and still an absolutely wonderful song. This week, I wanted to talk about three of my favorite acoustic renditions of songs. Keep in mind, these songs are in no particular order!
1 - Silver Lights - In Her Own Words (Invogue Records)
In Her Own Words is a pop punk band hailing from California. This is a band that I had not listen to prior before I saw their signing to Invogue Records. Being a huge fan of the label, I decided to check them out and happened to stumble across the acoustic version of their song, “Silver Lights.” This is what absolutely made me fall in love with the band and their singer’s voice. They also just announced an acoustic tour and you can catch my solo project, Goodbye, Goodnight, opening the Nashville date.
SONG LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5wWjrxYOy8
2 - One of Us - Picturesque (Equal Vision Records)
Picturesque is band from Lexington, KY that has been noted for their vocalist, Kyle Hollis, having a very high vocal range. It has been compared to Anthony Green and Kellin Quinn, but all in a good way. They put out an acoustic version of their debut EP and this was my favorite tracks of the three. Lyrically, it is my favorite song they have released and being able to hear it in the raw acoustic form is just chilling. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
SONG LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3hIRpXhcDE
3.Counterparts - WVNDER (We Are Triumphant)
WVNDER (Formally Wander) is a band you can find chilling on the East Coast. Last year they put out an EP entitled, Rest, that featured new songs and new renditions of songs on their debut album. One of the songs they redid is called, Counterparts, and it is truly astonishing how great it came out. I remember when it came out, I was listening to it constantly and could not stop. On a side note, the vocalist of WVNDER recently one a cover contest for Picturesque and they both made it on my list.
SONG LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw5k5ui2NIg
Chris Swartz is a solo acoustic artist who hails from the Baltimore, MD area! He has been making absolutely killer tunes and even just finished recording an EP with Mat Kerekes of the band Citizen. He also ventures into the booking side with his booking company, Big Red Booking. This had led him to feature of the Common Ground Records comp that features artist such as State Champs, Like Pacific, and many more well know artist. With a fresh new EP coming out soon and the ability to book tours, you can expect to see great things from Chris.
Link to music: www.chrisswartz.bandcamp.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisSwartzMD
Photo Credit: Kristina Mccomas
Ponder, otherwise known as Joseph Barnum, is the teenage wonder kid. With him only being sixteen years old and have an EP and touring under his belt, this gives him a lot of opportunity to grow as an artist. He recently put out an EP, entitled, “The Ups, The Downs, and The Inbetweens”. He is only 16 years old and is writing better songs than most people and if he keeps at it, he will surely have great success in the music business.
Link to Music: www.pondertn.bandcamp.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/PonderTN
Safe Bet is an acoustic artist from the Chicago area. I discovered him while playing a show up in Lansing, IL this summer and his guitar work and songwriting blew me away. His EP, “How’s Life WIthout Me”, is filled with so much emotion and you can tell he poured his heart out on it. I will always appreciate a musician who writes honest music and even more so when the music is incredible.
Link to Music: https://www.safebetin.bandcamp.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/safebetofficial
Beta is the solo project from My Sweet Fall vocalist, Nick Long. He did a special release for his EP, “For What It’s Worthless”, where he released one song every few weeks along with a music video for each of the songs. Every song was absolutely amazing and he wrote songs that I thought were ready to be number one hits on the radio. I am very excited to hear what he will do next as a solo artist because it surely will not disappoint.
Links to Music: https://www.notalpha.bandcamp.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/notalpha
Bogues is the solo project of AJ Grunewald. He has just put out an EP that completely blew all of his fans away. The anticipation for it was huge being as he did a bunch of touring after having one song. He breaks away from the traditional solo artist style by using an electric guitar rather than an acoustic. It works wonderfully and he seems to have perfected his art. I strongly suggest checking out his EP, “Mulligan”.
Link to Music: www. boguesdude.bandcamp.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/boguesdude
Photo Credit: Michael Herrick
Written By Kyle Goffinet