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Signature Sounds

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Signature Sounds

Signature Sounds

© Signature Sounds

Basic Information:

Signature Sounds is a New England-based independent record label focused on folk, roots, and Americana music. Its artists include envelope-pushing string bands and singer-songwriters alike. Originally founded to promote music local to the Northampton, Mass., area, the label now represents artists from across the US.

Signature Sounds Artists:

Signature Sounds has a diverse roster of artists which runs the gamut from traditional-style country music to contemporary indie roots, singer-songwriters, straight-up Americana, and beyond. But, the one thing all the artists have in common is a firm foundation in the influence of traditional music. Among them: Patty Larkin, Joy Kills Sorrow, Crooked Still, Tracy Grammer, Mark Erelli, Caroline Herring, Eilen Jewell, Zoe Muth, Kris Delmhorst, Richard Shindell, Erin McKeown, and more. (Visit SignatureSounds.com for a full artist roster.)

Recommended CDs from Signature Sounds:

Lake Street Dive by Lake Street Dive (2012) compare prices

Golden Apples of the Sun by Caroline Herring (2010) compare prices

Strange Conversation by Kris Delmhorst (2006) compare prices

Drum Hat Buddha by Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer (2001) compare prices

Purchase/Download MP3s by Signature Sounds Artists:

"Everywhere I Go" (by Eilen Jewell, from Sea of Tears)
"It'll End Too Soon" (by Crooked Still, from Friends of Fall)
"When I Go" (by Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer, from When I Go)

Signature Sounds History:

Originally a Pomfret, Connecticut, recording studio, Signature Sounds opened in the interest of recording great roots, Americana, and singer-songwriter music in 1982. The studio churned out several folk, jazz, and roots recordings before the Signature Sounds record label was started in 1995. Its founders were Mark Thayer - original founder of the studio - and Jim Olsen. While the Signature Sounds recording studio in Connecticut is still operational, the record label is housed in Whately, Massachusetts. As such, it serves a strong contingent of the Boston-area music scene.

When the label first opened its doors, Thayer and Olsen were interested in supporting the careers of artists local to the music scenes around Northampton and Boston, Massachusetts. The artists coming out of that area, informed by the cold New England winters; the region's rich, deep history; and the intelligent, omnipresent academia, tended more toward the contemporary folk and intellectual roots music end of the spectrum. Musicology masters like Erin McKeown were playing alongside literary-influenced poet-songwriters like Kris Delmhorst and contemporary singer-songwriters influenced by the blues - Jeffrey Foucault, Chris Smither, and others. The spirit each of these artists shared was one which was intangible but still recognizable when you hone in on the songs themselves. They each possess a thick and brutal honesty, crafting lyrics which seem to sing on their own.

As more and more Americana-inspired artists started to pour out of the Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory, the music they were making (Crooked Still, Lake Street Dive, etc) was clearly rooted in stringband tradition while, at the same time, employing elements of jazz and classical forms. Even with their innovation, these bands have pulled from the same smart lyrical well which has fueled New England's music scene for so long.

As Signature Sounds has expanded its canon to include artists from places like Seattle (Zoe Muth & the Lost High Rollers) and Portland (Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer), they've continued their allegiance to these roots-minded literary songwriters. If any label in contemporary acoustic music could be said to have a decisive "sound" among its artists, that would be Signature Sounds.

According to the label's official bio:

Since our inception, we've released over 50 albums of singer-songwriter, Americana and modern folk music. Signature Sounds Recordings are distributed exclusively in the U.S. by Koch Entertainment. Our recordings are also available in Canada through True North Records and throughout the UK and Europe by Continental Record Services (CRS).
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