“This album has been a long time coming,” says John Splithoff. “I guess you could call it a slow burn.”
Recorded in both New York and Los Angeles, ‘All In,’ Splithoff’s invigorating debut, has indeed been brewing for quite some time now, and its release this year marks the culmination of nearly a decade of highs and lows, victories and defeats, breakthroughs and setbacks. Building off a series of hit singles that have racked up more than 100 million streams, cracked the Top 10 at AC radio, and earned Splithoff festival slots everywhere from Bonnaroo to Lollapalooza, the collection is bold and self–assured, mixing intoxicating R&B swagger with soulful introspection and dazzling harmonic sophistication. Splithoff writes to make sense of himself and his world, and though the record was completed before the arrival of COVID–19, it feels particularly fitting for the times, grappling with loneliness and isolation in the face of longing and desire. The songs are subtle in their personal reckonings, often masking deep, profound revelations with playful, effervescent arrangements, and Splithoff’s performances are similarly complex, exuding both a carefree independence and a burning need for connection all at once. It’s a conflicted album for a conflicted moment, a rich, mesmerizing collection that hints at everything from Marvin Gaye to John Mayer as it transforms doubt into determination and self–reflection into celebration.
Sometimes, it seems, a slow burn yields the brightest fire.
One of LA’s best-kept musical songwriting secrets for over a decade — collaborating with the likes of Sondre Lerche, Jim James, Moby, Sarah and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), and Mikael Jorgensen (Wilco) — Jamie Drake has all the while been carefully honing her own craft and preparing to take center stage.
In September 2019, Jamie Released her breakout album, Everything’s Fine, on AntiFragile Music, a record peppered with indie-folk-pop stylings wrapped in lush orchestrations.
Singles such as “Everything’s Fine,”Wonder,” and “Redwood Tree” surpassed over 15M streams on Spotify and brought in critical acclaim from NPR Music, Talkhouse, Flood, BGS, and Atwood Magazine, plus a flurry of famous fans (like Ed Helms, Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20), and Sarah Watkins (I’m With Her / Nickel Creek) heaping public praise. The album was even featured on Wilco’s “Favorite Albums of 2019” List.
2019 continued to be a year of high notes, with tours and appearances supporting J.S Ondara, The Watkins Family Hour, Devotchka, Sondre Lerche, and Shawn Colvin, plus a sold out Los Angeles residency.
Drake maintained the cover of Spotify’s “Modern Eclectic” playlist for a year and a half — winning her the attention of new fans across the globe in a time when playing live had ended for the foreseeable future.
This June 2022, Drake’s love for early 1970s Laurel Canyon folk unexpectedly meets Rio de Janeiro in “New Girl,” once again displaying her ability to evolve as a dynamic artist in her time. “New Girl” is a raw and emotionally brave follow up to her last release, with 11 songs primarily recorded in single vocal takes; keeping her best performances along with raw, minor imperfections.
“New Girl’s” bossa influence came as a welcomed surprise and was inspired by the incomparable Getz / Gilberto “76” album, which Jamie discovered for the first time in 2020 while living in upper Ojai, California. “I listened to it every day while riding my bike around Meiners Oaks with my dog Moxie and a red JBL speaker in the basket. I got to know those songs really well, even though I don’t speak Portuguese. I knew they had gotten into my marrow when I met and wrote ‘It’s A New Life’ with Rich Jacques that following May. I knew immediately that I would make my next album with him because the feeling of this new song was the world I wanted to live in musically.”
By fall 2021 Rich Jacques came to California to produce the album with Jamie and Austin Myles Grant, fellow LA artist / multi-instrumentalist who ended up playing most of the instruments on the record. The trio was invited to record at a private residence
set in the Santa Monica mountains, seeped in the purity and quiet of nature, where they could fully unfurl and connect musically. This purity and connection can be felt in the recordings. Drake bravely asks one of the most human questions in “Is There Something Wrong with Me?” And contemplates that “..Life feels undeserving when the whole world is hurting.. And then John Prine dies.. Am I just a lie.. if I haven’t had to cry?” Jamie synthesizes the guilt many felt across the globe in early 2020 with clarity while still maintaining hope and purpose in “When John Prine Died.” These heartfelt tracks are magnificently balanced by other offerings like the comically recorded Bossa- influenced, “New Girl,” which depicts Jamie’s gypsy-like childhood and not-so-great life lessons with a twinkle in her eye. And then there’s “Sing,” a song that can lift the heart of the listener into a fantasia of imagination and wonder not unlike Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music.” It’s this childlike awe Drake maintains that draws even the youngest of fans to her. Hits like “Easy Target,” remind us of Carol King in “It’s Too Late,” and feel as if it was recorded around the same time. The album becomes hypnotic with “It’s A New Life,” which takes us to a world where Drake’s vocals feel like a cross between Astrud Gilberto and Sade. “Lifted by Love” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” bring the listener to their heart center where anything is possible and the world is still filled with hope and wonder.. all melded together by Jamie’s mesmerizing and unique vocal melodies and songwriting; bringing a fresh perspective on Folk and Bossa Nova that is uniquely her own.
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