The Sword in Pittsburgh September 29th @StageAE with Opeth

The Sword is from Texas (Austin) and released their latest album, High Country, on August 21st to rave reviews. The band received great press from Village Voice, Revolver, Brooklyn Vegan, USA Today’s “Dad Rock”, Alternative Press, and many more. The album debuted at #14 upon release. The band is set to release the acoustic version of the release on September 23rd called Low Country.


The Sword Bio:

There’s an unspoken edict handed down through the ages when it comes to rock bands: there are no rules.

Nobody picks up a guitar to be constricted or oppressed. It’s all about feeling free artistically. Now, The Sword—John Cronise [vocals, guitar], Kyle Shutt [guitar], Bryan Richie [bass], and Santiago Vela III [drums]—cut out boundaries since day one. Their style never stood predicated on a trend or a template. They always create what feels right and let the results speak for themselves.

When it came time to record the group’s fifth full-length album, High Country [Razor & Tie], Cronise landed at something of a spiritual crossroads. Following the final tour for their critically acclaimed Apocryphon, he holed up in his North Carolina home and eventually began writing new songs. The material began to veer into a different space that at the time Cronise felt was somewhat outside of The Sword’s sphere.

“I didn’t even intend for the demos to be Sword songs,” he explains. “But then I realized that I had taken on a sort of limiting view of what The Sword was, and that wasn’t actually what I wanted it to be. I think the new album is more reflective of the music I listen to and where our heads are at collectively. With each of our albums, it’s become less about fury and bombast and more about trying to write good songs. We realized that our music can go wherever we want it to go. There’s no pre-determined course here now, and there never was.”

High Country became new territory for The Sword, and they began doing things differently. That approach included more attention to backing vocals and harmonies, implementing more synthesizers and percussion elements, and tuning to E-flat instead of all the way down to C. As a result, the guitars stand out as more vital and vibrant than ever.

“I felt like the low tuning had become more of a crutch than a tool,” he says. “It was all a matter of trying to keep things fresh, and not fall prey to habits or expectations. We wanted to break out of any classifications and just put out a good rock record.”

Inspired, the boys headed to Church House Recording Studio in Austin, TX to cut High Country with Adrian Quesada of Brownout and Grupo Fantasma producing, Stuart Sykes [The White Stripes] engineering, and J. Robbins mixing. Over the course of four weeks, they hammered out the album’s 15 tracks in the old converted church. Thematically though, Cronise’s head was still in North Carolina.

“There are a lot of lyrical themes that run throughout the album,” he explains. “I live out in the mountains, so nature really inspired the whole record. That’s a large part of the lyrics.”

The title track and first single “High Country” springs from a transfixing guitar melody into a sweeping refrain, illuminating the group’s inherent dynamics. Over those rolling riffs, the singer paints a thought-provoking topography.

“That was actually the first song I wrote that ended up going on the record,” he says. “The title can have quite a few meanings. Physically, it might mean mountains and literal high country, but it can also refer to a plane of being; a place of wisdom and enlightenment.”

“Empty Temples” opens with a psychedelic buzz that quickly ramps up into towering guitars and another robust vocal display evocative of rock’s golden age.

“It’s loose and swinging, but it has these epic moments,” says Cronise. “Lyrically, it’s about letting go of the past and moving on. You just have faith if you embrace change and be unafraid, and you’ll find where you need to go.”

The gathering storm of “Early Snow” eventually gives way to a rapturous horn section, another first for the band, while “Mist and Shadow” stirs up a haze of blues that’s instantly thunderous. “That song is based around riffs written by Bryan, which is a new thing for us. He contributed quite a bit of music to this album, and in many ways it’s our most collaborative work to date.”

Both “The Dreamthieves” and “Tears Like Diamonds” have titles inspired by the work of science fiction author Michael Moorcock, though Cronise insists the lyrics have lives of their own. “I’d prefer to let people interpret the songs how they want,” he says, “which is one reason the lyrics aren’t printed in the album sleeve this time. I think they’re pretty intelligible and accessible, and I didn’t want them to distract from the music.”

The Sword’s impact continues to expand. 2012’s Apocryphon debuted at #17 on the Billboard Top 200, marking their highest entry on the chart. Since first emerging with 2006’s Age of Winters, the group has been extolled by everyone from Rolling Stone and The Washington Post to Revolver and Decibel. Metallica personally chose them as support for a global tour, and they’ve earned high-profile syncs in movies including Jennifer’s Body and Jonas Åkerlund’s Horsemen. However, High Country is the band’s biggest, boldest, and brightest frontier.

“I want to make positive, uplifting music,” Cronise leaves off. “High Country has moments of darkness and thoughtfulness, as anything I write probably will. But at the end of the day I want to put smiles on people’s faces.”

LITA FORD Premieres Video at USA TODAY



Living Like A Runaaway Available Now on Steamhammer/SPV

The reigning queen of Hard Rock LITA FORD has teamed up with USA TODAY for an exclusive premiere of the new video for her single “Mother”.  The song comes from FORD’s latest solo effort Living Like a Runaway that was released last summer on Steamhammer/SPV.  The video was directed by former Runaway Victory Tischler-Blue.  Head over to get a first look at “Mother”.


LITA commented on the video and the song “Mother”:


“Mother is my song to my beautiful sons.  I know they will see the truth one day.  They will always have a place in my heart, which bleeds for them through this song.”


LITA will be on the road in the coming weeks, a complete list of dates can be found below.


Living Like a Runaway is available in four configurations: a double LPlimited edition CD,standard CD and digital download.


LITA FORD teamed up with producer Gary Hoey and lyricist Michael Dan Ehmig to work onLiving Like a Runaway.  Together the team invested a lot of time and effort into this kick ass project: “We worked on the lyrics intensively to really give the songs a lot of meaning and that special emotional depth. I think that these are some of the best lyrics ever, period.  FORD is referring to numbers such as ‘Devil In My Head,’ ‘Hate,’ and ‘The Asylum’ which see her bare her soul in a way which she has never done before.



5/23: Melbourne, Australia @ Prince of Wales Bandroom

5/25: Sydney, Australia @ Factory Theater

6/8: Vernal, UT @ Thunder Rocks @ Western Park

6/24: New York, NY @ Iridium Jazz Club (Lita Salutes Les Paul – 2 Shows)

6/29: Norfolk, NE @ Music Fest 2013 w/Bret Michaels and Vince Neil

7/13: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot w/Ratt

7/24: Gothenburg, Sweden @ Sticky Fingers

7/25: Malmo, Sweden @ KB

7/26: Rejmyre, Sweden @ Skogsrojet Festival

7/27: Jevanaker, Norway @ The Untouchables

8/7: Sturgis, SD @ Sturgis Bike Rally

8/15: Mankato, MN @ Stond Amphitheater w/Dokken, Sebastian Bach and Ratt

8/16: Moline, IL @ I Wireless Center w/Dokken, Sebastian Bach and Ratt

8/17: Chicago, IL @ Congress Theater w/Dokken, Sebastian Bach and Ratt

8/18: Kalamazoo, MI @ Wings Stadium w/ Dokken, Sebastian Bach and Ratt

8/23: Viroqua, WI @ Vernon County Fairgrounds “Jamming for the Vets”

9/14: Hinckley, MN @ Grand Casino Hinckley w/Dokken, Skid Row and Ratt


For More Information Please Visit:


USA Today Premieres Courtney Jaye’s Music Video and Single “Say Oh Say”

 “I wanted to make a record that was modern but also had those classic undertones,” says Nashville-based singer/songwriter Courtney Jaye to USA TODAY‘s Brian Mansfield as she prepares to unleash her latest long-player Love and Forgiveness on May 7, 2013 viaTropicali Records. “The songs, she adds ‘harken back to melodies from the ’70s. There’s a common thread that reminds me of music from that era’.”
USA TODAY recently premiered the video to her first single “Say Oh Say”, featuring legendary “couture cowboy” Manuel who is credited for outfitting Johnny Cash in his trademark black suits, crafting Elvis Presley’s signature white suits, and creating the Grateful Dead’s roses and skeletons insignia, among many other iconic pop culture references.
Co-written over the last three years with Thad Cockrell, Kristen Hall (Sugarland), and Bryan Cates, Love and Forgiveness is an organic and rootsy album that recalls the classic 70s-inspired pop of her heroes Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, The Band and Fleetwood Mac.
She has collaborated with the likes of Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Matthew Sweet, comedian Stephen Lynch and members of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. That broad range of experience and musical interests comes together beautifully on Love and Forgiveness.