Anna Tivel has spent some quality hours in a dodge caravan repeating lyrical lines over and over until the words fall in time with the windshield wipers.
A nationally touring artist with a deep love of quiet stories, Anna is beginning to carve a place for herself in the songwriting world. She was a winner of the Telluride Troubadour Contest and the Kerrville Songwriting Contest, placed second at the Rocky Mountain Folk contest, and has shared the stage with heroes and friends like Gregory Alan Isakov, Blind Pilot, Anais Mitchell, Mandolin Orange, Peter Mulvey, Matt the Electrician, Jeffrey Martin and more.
Anna was raised in the forest and farmland of rural northern Washington and currently calls Portland, OR home. Her songs reflect both the stark colors of small town life, and the hard, sharp lines of the city. Her newest album, Heroes Waking UP, was produced by guitar mastermind Austin Nevins (Josh Ritter, Anais Mitchell, Kris Delmhorst), and released on Portland’s well-loved Fluff and Gravy Records. Folk Radio UK called it, "a superb and sublime album from a voice that deserves to be shouted from the highest rooftops.” Her previous album, Before Machines, was hailed by No Depression as “raw, yet superbly composed and executed, intelligent, personal and deeply expressive.”
“Portland songwriter Anna Tivel is a favorite over at Hearth. She’s a deft, clever songwriter with a knack for observing the small, subtle beauties of our lives.” – Kithfolk
"Everything here is testament to her storytelling gifts (she’s been likened to Steinbeck and I suspect she may have a novel or short stories collection in her) with her finely drawn characters and observations of an emotional life that ranges from defiance to regret, joy to sadness." -- Folk Radio UK
“To be sure, these are organic songs that freely reveal the poetry of the mind, heart and soul, the sharp imagery of the world translated into sound, and both the simple and complex things represented sentimentally and at length.” – Examiner
“Anna Tivel brings a raft of beautiful songs with brine-soaked images of Pacific Northwest tidepools, oceans, and the birds that wheel above them in the gray skies.” – Devon Leger, No Depression
“Anna’s strength is that of a lyricist. Her songs are filled with lines that intrigue and haunt.” – David Steinberg
As a babe Jeffrey Martin sought out solitude as often as he could find it. He's always been that way, and he has never understood the whole phenomenon of smiling in pictures, although he is a very happy guy. One night in middle school he stayed up under the covers with a flashlight and a DiscMan, listening to Reba McEntire's 'That's the Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia' on repeat until the DiscMan ran out of batteries. That night he became a songwriter, although he didn't actually write a song until years later. After high school he spent a few years distracting himself from having to gather up the courage to do what he knew he had to do.
Eventually he found his way to a writing degree, and then a teaching degree. He wrote most days like his life depended on it, all sorts of things, not just songs, but songs too. He fell in love with teaching high school English, which was fantastic because he never thought he'd actually come to truly love it. His students were fierce and unstoppable forces of noise and curiosity, and for all that they took from him in sleep and sense, they gave him a hundred times back in sparks and humility.
All the while he was also playing truckloads of music. There was one weekend where he flew to LA while grading essays on the plane, played two shows, and then flew back home, still grading essays, and woke up to teach at 5 am on Monday morning. It was around this time he started wondering if such a life was sustainable.
Alas, music, the tour life, was a constant raccoon scratching at the back door. Jeffrey spent nights on end sitting up in bed, and then sitting on the front porch, staring off into the dark, wondering if he could bear to leave teaching to go on tour full time. Eventually his brain caught up with what his guts had known for months. With tears in his eyes he announced to his students that he wouldn't be back the following year, and that he didn't feel right hollering at them to chase their dreams at all cost if he wasn't going to do the same.
Jeffrey Martin tours full time now. He is always making music, and he is always coming through your town. He misses teaching like you might miss a good old friend who you know you'll meet again.
Jeffrey has put out bunches of music since 2009, but he's most proud of the more recent stuff. He's fortunate to be a part of the great and loving family that is Fluff and Gravy Records in Portland, OR. "One Go Around," due out in October 2017, will be his 3rd full length album. At his luckiest, he's shared shows with the likes of Sean Hayes, Gregory Alan Isakov, Jeffrey Foucault, Joe Pug, Peter Mulvey, Amanda Shires, Tracy Grammer, David Wilcox, and others.
He currently lives in Portland, OR but feels lately that it has become a secret that someone figured out how to monetize. And since he has no money of any kind, everything beautiful about the city is marred by the quiet ticking of a countdown toward the day that he'll have to find somewhere to live that doesn't require a steady bleeding fortune.
John Statz has been writing love songs lately, specifically about the kinds of romantic love that burn. Namely, all of them. When we first enter a new relationship we are filled with burning desire. Sometimes we later take those same relationships for granted and seemingly burn right through them. At the end we might find ourselves literally burning old love notes, or bridges, which turns out to be an excellent time to listen to that fire in our bellies. Hit the road, see something new, spend time on ourselves. The Fire Sermon is more than a meditation on romance in the 21st century, it is an assertion gleaned from trial by fire.
One of the more prolific and hard-working young songwriters working in the Americana genre, John Statz has released seven studio albums, and performed all over North America (including Canada and Mexico) and Europe, all in just a shade over a decade. Throughout that time he's been writing the kind of songs that float through your mind and stay nestled in your thoughts long after listening (American Songwriter) and it's been said that his songwriting can stand beside the best and above the rest (No Depression). Along the way John has attracted the attention of the likes of Americana scene heroes Jeffrey Foucault and Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown), who separately produced his last two records. This latest is produced by fellow Denver songwriter, Megan Burtt, whose instincts and backing band help bring forth an entirely new sound from Statz. The title of The Fire Sermon was taken from the third section of T.S. Eliot's poem, The Wasteland, the name of which was borrowed from a sermon given by Buddha, in which he denounced the fires of passion, hatred, and infatuation with which the senses burn, according to Eliot's endnotes. At the very end of the Fire Sermon section Eliot simply repeats, “Burning burning burning burning.”
John Statz was given a guitar by his grandmother when he was 15, which turned out to be perfectly timed for a teenager who, after ten years of piano lessons, had lost interest in classical music and had taken to learning John Lennon and Elton John tunes, first trying out his singing voice and turning towards rock and roll. Spending the rest of his high school years in southern Wisconsin attempting to play and sing like Neil Young and Cat Stevens, it wasn't until Statz was 19 and attending university in Oshkosh that he began writing songs. The spark lit after attending a show at the storied Cafe Carpe in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin featuring Jeffrey Foucault and Peter Mulvey, who quickly became heroes, and, much later on, fast friends and colleagues. The first record, Dusk Came Slow, was engineered by a friend enrolled in the university recording program, and what followed for John has been 11 years of touring everywhere from Bellingham to Budapest, Fairbanks to Mexico City, all the while becoming a stronger songwriter, and a more compelling performer.