Tag Archives: Massachusettes

Here comes a N’oreaster……….. Mystics Anonymous

With a N’oreaster on the horizon I thought it might be fitting to go back to the Northeast.  So back to Massachusetts and Mystics Anonymous. Jeff MA

Mystics Anonymous is the recording project of Jeff Steblea.  Formed in 1995 Jeff’s focus was artistic freedom. He released “Mystics Anonymous” in 1998.  However, a solid line up never materialized so with  a little creative thought a light bulb went off and Mystics Anonymous became a recording project as did building his own studio.  It was during this time that Jeff was asked to contribute some original scores for some independent tv/film projects.  The “Brutality of Beauty” was released in summer 2003 as a limited mail order featuring 7 new songs.  He also composed “Middle Distance” for the “Of the Earth” art exhibit at the Artworks Gallery in Connecticut.  That score was released in 2003 and comparisons of his work were made to Brian Eno and David Lynch. Mystics Anonymous was quite active during this time, recording and releasing “Winsted in the Space Room” also in 2004. It featured 14 new songs that leaned towards the more experimental side of Jeff without alienating the listener.

That brings us to present day and Mystics Anonymous’ latest release “Dreaming for Hours” which came out January 2014.  I’ve been listening to this thoroughly over the course of the last few weeks delving into the composition, style, the nuances of the vocals. The first sounds of “Sinner’s Lament” are that of a drum machine spewing a tribal beat that compels you to listen.   Slowly the other instruments/sounds are layered on top of it adding fullness and further drawing you into what’s next. Imagine smoke tendrils as fingers curling in a “come hither” motion. And you do.

In “Wells had it Right” the lyrics are poignant, reflective and present that leads you into “False Voices” which is an instrumental piece. This  experimental instrumental has all the ebb and flow of a tide. A little more than halfway in and you may notice some R2D2 sounds and a vocal sample as it seamlessly transitions into a tribal themed beat again, reminiscent of Meat Beat Manifesto.  The allterna-pop pace picks up again with “Knife Thrower”  The lyrical sarcasm/irony is smart and well done. For some reason “Days” really sticks with me.  Maybe it is because it reminds me of early World Party (All Come True) even be the way the backing vocal comes in and hi-lights the lyric that reminds me of the time I first heard Sinead O’Connor backing Karl Wallinger and World Party on Hawaiian Island World.

Mystics anonymous“Made of the Time” has a heavier sound to the vocal and overall mood of the song.  It reminds me of Low Pop Suicide / Joy Division and how they tended to be a bit darker without being completely dark.
The next few songs “Dreaming Interlude”, “Theme from Night Sweats”, “The Fifth Business”, and “Hours Epilogue” are the more experimental songs on the album. They contain more of an electronic feel and they are a welcome addition. It mixes up the alterna feel of the album and takes it into yet another musical realm. There is no easy classification of this release and I like that.  It has appeal to many in that sense.

Jeff states: “the whole point was to establish a project where nothing is off-limits”.  Well Jeff, mission accomplished.

Check out Mystics Anonymous on their website here: or like them on Facebook

Listen and download their stuff here :



Happy listening

-Not Haydn





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Re-introducing Daniel hales, and the frost heaves and their new release Contrariwise

Hello friends, I hope that the new year has found you all well and managing to keep warm if you have been affected by the polar vortex.  I apologize for my extended absence. I have been rather busy with my own musical endeavors and certain things have been neglected.  This blog being one of those things.  However, I promise to get back into the swing of things and get new, local, undiscovered talent your way. That being said let’s get to it……….


Back in December 2012 I introduced you to Daniel Hales and the frost heaves from Massachusetts.  Well, they have been busy working on a new release and it is here that we pick up their story.  They ran a successful crowd funding campaign to help bring their latest project to fruition.

This project was to take the poetry of Lewis Carroll and set it to music.  This is a fitting marriage of the arts as Lewis Carroll was known for his word play, fantasy and literary nonsense long before our own beloved Dr. Suess.  Daniel Hales and the frost heaves are musically eclectic with smart lyricism so it works. Their latest release “Contrariwise” consists of the poems of Lewis Carroll’s from” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” as well as “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There”.  The title song combines both verse from Carroll with the chorus by Daniel Hales and  “(Push them into the) Wishing Well” is drawn strictly from Hales himself. I guess you could say it hails from Hales.

The adventure begins with “Jabberwocky” and continues on from there telling a story along the way.  The music is seamlessly fused into the writings of Carroll and it all makes sense. Well, as much sense as a Lewis Carroll poem can.  The tone of the poem sets the tone for the music going from excited (Jabberwocky) gentle (A Secret Kept) firm (Speak Roughly) and so on.

One of my favorites in “Contrariwise” is the title song itself.  The chorus reflects upon doing different tasks “peek past the scenery”, “pet the Cheshire Cat” but if you are to do any of these things do it “contrary, contrariwise”.  The poems set to music keep you as the listener engaged.  Daniel Hales and the frost heaves know when to turn it up a little and when to lull you further into the story.  “(Push them into the) Wishing Well” provides a nice little reprieve from the absurdity of Carroll’s words but let’s not get carried away, we are on a journey here and the lyrics while modern still maintain some absurdity to them.  Because the whole concept is brilliant “it’s time to surprise them, push them in and baptize them, it’s time to surprise them, push them into the wishing well”.

The journey begins to wrap up with “Queen Alice” and ends with “But a Dream”.  The last song is ethereal and you feel as if you may be waking up from an unsuspecting nap under the summer sky. You feel groggy, confused, and refreshed all at the same time.  You stretch and contemplate your next journey.  I hope that some of you out there will be willing to take this particular journey as it is worthwhile.


To buy the album or find out more about Daniel hales and the frost heaves check out their website 

There is a little Alice in Wonderland visual surprise if you hurry there. Just beware of the Jabberwock.  

Find some videos of them on you tube as well.

The frost heaves are: James Lowe: bass , Ivan Ussach: drums & percussion and Anna Wetherby: viola


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Follow up on Daniel Hales and the Frost Heaves



So you liked what Daniel Hales and the Frost Heaves had to offer?  A Travelling Wilbury’s motley sort of bunch that wants nothing more to deliver a good time to all even those of you who feel rhythmically challenged. Their folksy alternative sound, their artistically smart lyrics, Daniel’s soul patch?

If you liked all of that or are just into supporting local acts then let’s give them a hand.  They are currently working on a third release. And if you are like me, can’t wait to see just exactly what they are up to.  Then let’s help them reach their goal.  Throw them a few bucks if ya can. If you would like to help them on their latest recording endeavor follow this link.  They will be grateful for your support as all the local guys I feature are.



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Back Where I began and Mike Ryan

MRyanOk, maybe I didn’t really begin in Massachusetts which is where this weeks feature DID begin. Mike Ryan began in Massachusetts a la East Brookfield.  He hasn’t gotten very much media out there yet but what he has put out is very pleasant to listen to as well as promising. I am very much reminded of acoustic Kurt Cobain.  There is a rawness and simplicity to Mike’s playing and vocals that reminds me of the Godfather of Grunge.  But let’s not compare any further than that because Mike is not grunge.  He is a guy on a mission, currently solo but looking to possibly add a few more members to his tribe of one.

Mike aka Tank began his musical journey as a drummer but got restless and wanted to try something new.  He picked up his dad’s  old Epiphone in 1996 and began to teach himself by listening to some of the people he listened to growing up. As his guitar playing progressed Mike eventually picked up the pen as well and began writing some songs in 2000.  The songs are raw and well done lyrically.  It’s simple and simple is good when it works.

As I have said Mike is new to the media aspect but he has put together some songs and a video over at Reverbnation and there are a few videos on YouTube :    The videos on YouTube are really just the songs with a visual of a scenic picture, but that is ok because the recording is clear.

Check Mike out if an acoustic Nirvana-esque sound is something that you enjoy.

I am sure that Mike will add more as he further delves into self promotion and I will update as further releases become available.


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Follow up to some artists I have featured this year, Richard Davia, Mike Wyatt, Truly Ford and Matt Wade

Happy holidays to all!!!! I will not be featuring any one artist this week as the holidays are fast approaching and things are hectic all around.

So I thought as the year starts to wind down and winding down it is since the Mayans were kinda wrong.  (Where are those Mayans anyway?   Seems they fizzled long before 2012)  I thought I would do a little piece on some of the artists I have featured and what they have been up to since they last appeared here.

So first let’s start with Richard Davia the singer songwriter from Rhode Island.

Richard won the Charter TV3 WooTube video of the month and now he is up for Video of the Year  with his videodavia1 “Breaking up around me”

Let’s help Richard achieve that by voting here

Richard’s videos were top of the line so let’s get him the recognition he so well deserves.

Also, a quick note of Mike Wyatt and Truly Ford, the two Brits I have featured.  Both have a unique style and vocally are not your average pop singers, Mike, having the makings of the grittiness of Tom Waits and Truly a  young Florence.  Both of these artists are making their mark in the UK and both are in the studio working on new material.  I will keep you updated on the progress and release as I learn more.



And last but not least is NJ’s own  Matt Wade who was up for Keyboard player of the year and well, you matt 2

guessed it, he won. Great accomplishment.

I guess that about sums up all there is for now.  I will

return in 2013 with more great bands and artists and of course 50 States of Talent continues.

Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Kwanza and a great Boxing Day, sorry if I missed any and Have a safe and Happy New Year!!!!!


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From the Pioneer Valley Region of Massachusetts come Daniel Hales and the Frost Heaves

HeavesFolksy harmonies and alternative a la R.E.M and Michael Penn,  Daniel Hales and the Frost Heaves is a must listen.

Daniel Hales and the Frost Heaves offer a very unique listening experience.  I cannot easily place them into one specific musical genre since they encompass so many. Folksy alternative may be a good generalization. The songs are smart, catchy and well written.

The first full length CD, Frost Heaves, was released in 2009,   The sound of this CD reminds me of 60’s psychedelic folk sans the mind altering drugs.  It is mellow and quite pleasing to the ear.I picture a mixed lot of musicians travelling a well worn road and playing at various stops along the way. Adding texture and flavor to their songs the further they travel. “Wrong Meter” picked up the pace a bit but quickly settled back into folk psychedelica with “When the Sun” and grabbed you again with “Northpole in July”.

The second full length release in 2012, You Make a Better Door than a Window is equally satisfying.  Lyrically there is more here than just your average pop song.  There is artistry in Daniel’s songwriting.  The overall feel of this release is more upbeat than the previous but still Daniel Hales and the Frost Heaves have continued to flirt with various musical genres. This album overall I find to be a bit more alternative folk than psychedelic. I am reminded of Dan Zanes and Friends and their quirky folksy take on many songs.

frost heavesDaniel Hales and the Frost Heaves is a come have a good time kind of band.  If you’ve got no rhythm then I am sure they will give you some.  They want you to have a good time in a Travelling Wilbury’s sort of way.

The  core make up of this band is obviously Daniel Hales, guitar and vocals and master of a killer soulpatch, James Lowe on bass, Ivan Ussach on drums and Anna Wetherby on viola.  I say core because I am sure along the way and on various incarnations a few other souls find their way in to the mix.

The website is and it contains everything that you need to connect with the band.  Links to buy the music, pictures, samples of some live performances, merchandise etc.  They can also be found on Facebook and Myspace.


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50 States of Talent continues……. this week The Blue Veins

Blue veins

This week I am featuring a band from Massachusetts   The Blue Veins.

 The Blue Veins founded in 2009 and hit the scene primarily as a cover band.  However, as they continued to play and write songs it became apparent that their original material was growing.  They gave it a go and started playing primarily originals quickly becoming a hit on the Western Mass bar scene.

 Their musical style is alt rock with a mix of the classic rock that alt rock sprung from.  The songs are catchy and nicely balanced.  The Blue Veins are easy to listen to regardless of musical taste.  They have a sound that touches upon many different musical styles. They are rock without being too hard,and alt without being too out there and pop without the bubblegum. I could musically hear the Eagles, Queens of the Stoneage, and some Jimmy Buffet on a song.

The Blue Veins are: Jacob Watson – guitar/vocals, Bryan Forbes – Bass, Matt Skowyra- drums and Jamieson Goodwinon lead guitar.They released a self titled debut album earlier this year.  It contains a nice mix of slower titles, “Follow” and some more upbeat titles, “Blue Dream Number Seven”.

The Blue Veins have a few videos on YouTube but the quality isn’t the greatest.  Your best bet is to check out their website   Be careful, don’t get them confused with at least 2 or 3 others acts with the same name.  The website contains all you need to either book them for an appearance, shop for some merchandise, see upcoming shows and most importantly, listen to and buy their music. They even have photos posted which I always think is a plus.

So if a solid alt rock band is something that appeals to you then I suggest checking out The Blue Veins.  Their popularity is expanding and for good reason.


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