New album release: Little Songs by Colter Wall

Colter Wall’s new album Little Songs will be out July 14, 2023. Photo: Google

Colter Wall and his music are from the prairies of southern Saskatchewan, where he lives and works. He is a La Honda Records/RCA Records recording artist and has appeared abroad, including Austin City Limits and most recently at the Ponoka Stampede. “Evangelina” is the first release from Wall’s upcoming album, Little Songs which is due out on July 14 via Wall’s longtime label La Honda Records and new partner RCA Records. On Little Songs, Wall’s fans will find the same hardscrabble voice they have loved over the years connecting the contemporary world to the values, hardships, and celebrations of rural life. The ten-song LP features eight originals inspired by—and written in—Wall’s home of Battle Creek, Saskatchewan, along with a Hoyt Axton cut and a cover of Ian Tyson’s “The Coyote & The Cowboy.” (IV-PR, 2023)

“Evangelina,” originally written and recorded by Hoyt Axton, paints a thirsty picture of longing and half-laid plans to chase down a lost love; all backed up by a band steeped in the traditional sounds of Wall’s prairie homelands. Fans can hear “Evangelina” at this link and pre-order or pre-save Little Songs ahead of its July 14 release right here. Wall is also gearing up for two rare live appearances at Denver’s Dusty Boots festival on July 1 and Montana’s Under The Big Sky on July 14. More information and tickets are available online. 

With his longtime touring band, Wall returned to Yellowdog Studios in Wimberly, Texas, where he cut his 2020, Billboard-charting album, Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs, to track the ten tunes that make up Little Songs. With co-producer Patrick Lyons, Wall tracked eight original songs and two fan-favorite covers from Ian Tyson and Hoyt Axton. Little Songs is an upbeat, sometimes somber glimpse into the rural work and social life of the Canadian West, and, more so than with previous albums, opens emotional turns as mature and heartening as the resonant baritone voice writing them.

This release of new music follows the recent partnership between Wall’s longtime label La Honda Records and RCA Records, with Little Songs as the first album on the joint venture. Prior to the new album, Wall released two standalone singles—“Cypress Hills and the Big Country” and a cover of Cowboy Jack Clement’s “Let’s All Help the Cowboys (Sing the Blues)”—as well as the 2020 LP Western Swings & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs and Colter Wall and the Scary Prairie Boys’ Live In Front Of Nobody, a 2021 livestream, full-band show turned indie record store, vinyl-only release–a coveted and limited release. 

Little Songs track list:
Prairie Evening/Sagebrush Waltz
Standing Here
Corralling The Blues
The Coyote & The Cowboy
Honky Tonk Nighthawk
For a Long While
Cow/Calf Blue Yodel
Little Songs
The Last Loving Words



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Little Songs release date


Book review: ‘Meru’ by S.B. Divya

‘Meru’ is the new science fiction novel by S.B. Divya. Photo: Amazon

S.B. Divya is the Hugo and Nebula nominated author of “Meru,” “Machinehood,” “Runtime,” and “Contingency Plans For the Apocalypse and Other Possible Situations.” Her short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and she was the co-editor of Escape Pod, the weekly science fiction podcast, from 2017-2022. Divya holds degrees in Computational Neuroscience and Signal Processing, and she worked for twenty years as an electrical engineer before becoming an author. In her new book “Meru,” one woman and her pilot are about to change the future of the species in an epic space opera about aspiration, compassion, and redemption. A reading sample is available on Amazon. (Amazon, 2023)

“Meru” – For five centuries, human life has been restricted to Earth, while posthuman descendants called alloys freely explore the galaxy. When the Earthlike planet of Meru is discovered, two unlikely companions venture forth to test the habitability of this unoccupied new world and the future of human-alloy relations. For Jayanthi, the adopted human child of alloy parents, it is an opportunity to rectify the ancient reputation of her species as avaricious and destructive, and to give humanity a new place in the universe. For Vaha, Jayanthi’s alloy pilot, it is a daunting yet irresistible adventure to find success as an individual. As the journey challenges their resolve in unexpected ways, the two form a bond that only deepens with their time alone on Meru. How can Jayanthi succeed at freeing humanity from its past when she and Vaha have been set up to fail? Against all odds, hope is human, too.

The story takes place in the far, far future when humans, whose numbers have dwindled, live in colonies on Earth and their robot/AI descendants called ‘alloys’ are the next form of intelligent life. This concept in itself is what stands out because of the rapid rise in AI in recent years. Combined with science fiction, space exploration, and genetic engineering, it makes for a complex saga filled with technology, friendships, and the ever increasing question of what it means to be human. There are so many types of technologies introduced, like the bodym, the body’s information network, and an incarn, the temporary body that alloys use while on Earth, that at times it is hard to focus on the story itself. While the use of the pronouns zie/zir is commendable, it can be distracting until/unless the reader gets used to them. The language, while occasionally tech-heavy, is relatively easy to understand and the story is mainly dialogue driven and switches narration between Jayanthi and Vaha. ‘Meru’ is an impressive work of science fiction complete with space travel, world building, exploration of the human condition in the face of insurmountable challenges, and even an interspecies romance. Labeled as The Alloy Era Book 1, the story will likely continue, and is recommended for readers who appreciate books on genetic engineering, space exploration, and science fiction. It is certainly an interesting work of science fiction.

“No amount of grief and rage could overcome a lifetime of conditioning. Do the least amount of harm to every form of consciousness, alive or not. A planet might not think and feel, but it had a place in the universe. It deserved respect and kindness, especially from a puny thing like her, whose survival depended upon it.”

*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

New book release: ‘Good Night, Irene’ by Luis Alberto Urrea

‘Good Night, Irene’ is the new novel by Luis Alberto Urrea. Photo: Amazon

Luis Alberto Urrea, a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss, and triumph. Winner of a Lannan Literary Award and Christopher Award, he is also the recipient of an American Book Award, the Kiriyama Prize, the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Literary Award, a Western States Book Award, a Colorado Book Award, an Edgar Award, and a citation of excellence from the American Library Association. A professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois – Chicago, he is a member of the Latino Literary Hall of Fame and has won numerous awards for his poetry, fiction, and essays. His new book “Good Night, Irene” asks the question: what if a friendship forged on the front lines of war defines a life forever?” It is an epic based on the magnificent and true story of courageous Red Cross women. (Amazon, 2023)

“Good Night, Irene” – In 1943, Irene Woodward abandons an abusive fiancé in New York to enlist with the Red Cross and head to Europe. She makes fast friends in training with Dorothy Dunford, a towering Midwesterner with a ferocious wit. Together they are part of an elite group of women, nicknamed Donut Dollies, who command military vehicles called Clubmobiles at the front line, providing camaraderie and a taste of home that may be the only solace before troops head into battle.

After D-Day, these two intrepid friends join the Allied soldiers streaming into France. Their time in Europe will see them embroiled in danger, from the Battle of the Bulge to the liberation of Buchenwald. Through her friendship with Dorothy and a love affair with a courageous American fighter pilot named Hans, Irene learns to trust again. Her most fervent hope, which becomes more precarious by the day, is for all three of them to survive the war intact. Taking as inspiration his mother’s own Red Cross service, Luis Alberto Urrea has delivered an overlooked story of women’s heroism in World War II.

New movie release: First Contact

First Contact is set for a June 6 digital and DVD release. Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Uncork’d Entertainment has acquired North American rights to Wendigo and Monstrous director Bruce Wemple’s First Contact. The creature feature, which features strong practical effects and an outstanding performance by Wemple film-staple Anna Shields, premiered to raves at Panic Fest in April. James Liddell, Chris Cimperman, Caitlin Duffy, and Paul Kandarian also star and is scheduled to premiere on digital and DVD on June 6, 2023. (October Coast, 2023)

First Contact is a movie about two estranged adult siblings, Casey and Dan, who travel to their late scientist father’s farmhouse to make sense of his incomplete work. They soon learn that their father’s work was far more dangerous than they could ever imagine. An evil entity, buried in time and space for millions of years, has been released and has begun wreaking havoc on the locals. One by one the bodies start to pile up. Now, Dan and Casey must figure out the secrets of this extra – dimensional monster before it’s too late.

“Bruce Wemple’s latest film has it all – a strong script, incredible effects, terrific performances, and brilliant direction. After a such strong response at Panic Fest, we expect the film to do very well when we release it in June.” – Keith Leopard, President of Uncork’d Entertainment



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First Contact release date

New single: Dead and Gone – Chris Shiflett

Chris Shiflett turns out another LA-meets-Nashville country rocker in Dead and Gone. Photo: Google

Punk veteran. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Americana and rock songwriter. Modern-day guitar hero. For more than 25 years, Chris Shiflett has blurred the lines between genre and generation, balancing his full-band projects with a thriving solo career. Named “Americana’s biggest rockstar” by Rolling Stone, Shiflett has played a crucial role in shaping the sound and scope of modern-day rock music as a longtime member of the Foo Fighters. He is also an alum of California-based punk rock bands No Use For a Name and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Shiflett’s latest releases refocus his attention on a mix of country twang and rock & roll bang, showcasing the full range of his musical abilities. Dead And Gone is his latest single. (IV-PR, 2023)

“It’s kind of classic country chords,” says Chris Shiflett about his brand new tune Dead And Gone. He is not wrong, but it is so much more than that. The two-step-ish feel is there, as are the sweet dobro playing of Charlie Worsham and the swampy tremolo guitar tones of Tom Bukovac, but a wildly fuzzy electric guitar fills the space between Shiflett’s slightly overdriven and doubled vocal lines. He stomps on another pedal for his solo that splits his guitar into three whole octaves of in-your-face chicken pickin’ licks. That is country, for sure, but it is also very rock and roll. The first song he tracked with Jaren Johnston producing, Dead And Gone touches on some old friends of Shiflett’s who, as the first verse goes, “Passed away, just another Saturday night mystery.” “My hometown was an odd mix of luxury paradise and working-class grit and continues to be a bottomless pit of lyrical inspiration,” says Shiflett. “Sad to say there’s been more than a few friends who’ve left us too soon, so there are lots of stories there…kind of a lost generation.” Fans can hear Dead And Gone right now.

Written spring 2020, recorded spring 2021, and played live ever since, Dead And Gone is the second look into a brand new Chris Shiflett album due out in 2023 via his new label home at Blue Élan Records, the Los Angeles-based independent label celebrating its 9th anniversary this year. Fans will hear more about the Jaren Johnston-produced LP in the coming months but can count on hearing an album that represents Shiflett’s fully realized vision of connecting L.A. to Nashville. “A big part of my inspiration to work with Jaren on this record was because I knew he’d push me out of my comfort zone into new territory,” Shiflett says. Fans can also check out the first track from the upcoming album, Black Top White Lines.

In addition to the release of Dead And Gone, Shiflett was just announced as part of the Americanafest 2023 lineup. The long-running event takes place in Nashville on September 19-23. 

New book release: ‘Leave Your Sh*t Here’ by Jackie Wallace and Liz Reed

‘Leave Your Sh*t Here’ is the new self-help workbook by Certified Professional Life Coach Jackie Wallace and Psychotherapist Elizabeth Reed LMSW. Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Jackie Wallace and Liz Reed are co-authors of a workbook aimed to help people start their own mental health journey. “Leave Your Sh*t Here” is now available everywhere, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The book is a perfect gift for anyone who is going through something. It is an excellent sendoff gift for a graduate as well. (Jackie Wilson/Liz Reed, 2023)

Jackie Wallace is a serial entrepreneur, four-time author, and successful podcaster. With over thirty-five years of leading and coaching people and over 250 interviews as a podcaster, Jackie enjoys exploring how everyday people figure out their purpose and pursue it. Jackie is the founder of BDOPE Water and the creator of the national holiday, Sit with a Stranger Day, every September 16th. Her professional background includes a B.S. in General Management from Wayne State University in Detroit  Michigan, and  a Certification for Professional Life Coach from World Coach Institute Inc. Photo: Jackie Wallace

Liz Reed has been a practicing psychotherapist for over 11 years. She is also an author and podcaster at Liz Life Guru; before that, she was a gourmet chef for thirty years. She has embraced sobriety for 20 years as well. With a life full of numerous emotional and tumultuous times, she shares her story to help others on their path to a better life and believes it is never too late to create the life you want. Her podcast is available on all platforms. Photo: Liz Reed

“Leave Your Sh*t Here: Write, Release and Destroy” is a new self help workbook that aids in stress management and normalizes life’s struggles by letting us now that “everything will be ok.” It is a book with a purpose: to assist people with everyday challenges and struggles. This workbook helps people understand that it is normal to face adversity in life and that in the end, everything will be just fine. The workbook also provides a safe space to release those feelings in confidence and dispose of them in a manner the reader chooses, releasing all emotions privately into the universe, ridding them of all toxic thoughts and feelings.

The idea for this workbook originally appeared pre-pandemic during a lunch meeting between co-authors Jackie and Liz and another friend. Jackie would often use a piece of paper to write out the day’s frustrations, negative thoughts or life’s problems and then destroy it. It was a method that she used for some time as it was private and safe from anyone else’s eyes. In a world where people post everything on social media, this was a method to vent and protect her inner most private thoughts. As Jackie shared this practice with Liz, a tenured practicing psychotherapist, she learned this was a method Liz also used many times, and the idea for the workbook was born.

The two worked on the book through the pandemic and developed a workbook that delved beyond anything that the two had seen on the market. Besides being a book with facts and best practices with highlighted topics, “Leave Your Sh*t Here” is poised to provide teachable moments with worksheets covering subjects such as:

  • Your Inner Strength
  • How to Face Your Emotions
  • Self-Reliance
  • Investing in Yourself

“This workbook is a method to write what you feel, not be judged by society and then do what you want with the writing. This is a work through it book, not a get over it book as life is something we continuously must work through. The isolation of these negative thoughts can become daunting and weigh us down which is why it’s important to have a safe space to work through them and let them go. It becomes a freeing, liberating moment.” – Liz & Jackie

“Leave You Sh*t Here: Write, Release, and Destroy” is definitely not your garden variety of self-help books, and I enjoyed reading and going through it mainly because the language used is your everyday, straightforward, down-to-earth talk that stays clear of technical jargon. It also has an appealing visual format for both texts, writing space, and pictures and the use of cartoon-style illustrations definitely help engage the reader. The workbook also has sections to help the reader track any progress that one reaps throughout its activities. The overall tone of the material has a hopeful and optimistic mindset that tells the reader not to give up.” – Readers’ Favorite

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New movie release: The Curse of Wolf Mountain

The Curse of Wolf Mountain is available for digital streaming. Courtesy photo, used with permission.

In horror movie news, here is a new movie available on digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play, Vudu, Apple TV, and more. Directed by David Lipper, The Curse of Wolf Mountain is distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment and stars David Lipper, Tobin Bell, Danny Trejo, Keli Price, and Eddie McClintock. (October Coast, 2023)

The Curse of Wolf Mountain
AJ begins having dreams of his parents death. He decides to go back to the spot where they were killed, accompanied by his brother and his brother’s family. Legend has it there is something mysterious roaming these woods.

New album release: Western Chill – Robert Earl Keen

Robert Earl Keen’s laid back opus Western Chill is accompanied by a play-along songbook, full album performance video, and a 92 page graphic novel. Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Americana legend and model Texan Robert Earl Keen retired from touring in September of last year but his new release Western Chill finds the songwriter alive and well and, seemingly, very relaxed. While Keen is still making public appearances—he was just officially honored on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives and popped into Dallas’ newly reopened Longhorn Ballroom to play a tune with Old Crow Medicine Show—Western Chill makes it very apparent that retirement suits him. For most artists, dropping an album of fourteen new songs would be enough, but, proven time and time again, Keen is not most artists. (IVPR, 2023)

Currently, the only way to hear Western Chill is to purchase the entire box set. Thankfully, the box set has it all, including a 92-page graphic novel inspired by the album, a play-along/sing-along songbook for all fourteen songs, and a DVD of the Robert Earl Keen Band performing the entire new album at Keen’s Snake Barn studio space. The only thing “chill” about the release is the songs themselves. For the foreseeable future there will be no download or streaming links, so fans are encouraged to dive into the entirety of Western Chill the way it was intended: kick back, crack a cold one, sing along, and enjoy the vibe.

Pre-sales are over, but fans can now purchase Keen’s Western Chill package for immediate delivery and do not forget to stay up to date—rumor has it, REK has already finished another record.

Western Chill track list:
Western Chill
Blue Light (feat. Bill Whitbeck)
Waves (feat. Brian Beken)
Hello Stranger (feat. Kym Warner)
The City (feat. Brian Beken)
Let’s Valet
Bone and Flowers (feat. Bill Whitbeck)
Sweet Summer Rain
Mister Mockingbird (feat. Bill Whitbeck)
Mr. Blues on the Run
Walking On
Rippling Waters

The Western Chill vibe is packed with enough surprises to keep even the most seasoned fan guessing what is coming next. The opening title track—an instant Keen classic in the easy-loping vein of “The Front Porch Song,” “Gringo Honeymoon,” and “Feelin’ Good Again”—sets the mood for the whole album, followed by back-to-back original stunners sung and written by fiddle/guitar player Brian Beken and bassist Bill Whitbeck. If variety is the spice of life, Western Chill is the Silk Road to chill with more contributions are heard from Beken and Whitbeck, as well as compositions by the rest of the band. This has all been documented on the accompanying video because true to the “featuring” tag on the album cover, this really is a REK Band affair.

Book review: ‘Liquid Shades of Blue’ by James Polkinghorn

‘Liquid Shades of Blue’ is the debut novel by James Polkinghorn. Photo: Amazon

James Polkinghorn is a lawyer and partner in a national law firm specializing in labor and employment law. He has extensive trial and litigation experience accumulated in multiple jurisdictions throughout the country. A Pittsburgh native, Polkinghorn moved with his family to Florida in high school, where he has since stayed. He has a degree in political science as well as a law degree from the University of Florida. He now lives in Key West with his wife, Becki, and their dog, Major Tom. In “Liquid Shades of Blue,” his first novel, after the death of his brother and now his mother, Jack Girard searches for the truth behind his family’s tragedies. (Amazon, 2023)

“Liquid Shades of Blue” – When hungover ex-lawyer and Key West bar owner Jack Girard groggily wakes up one morning, he is greeted by a beautiful woman lying next to him and a shrill, ringing telephone. The call is from his father, Claude “The Duke” Girard, who tells him that his mother is dead in an apparent suicide. Jack then heads back to his childhood home in Miami to face his tyrannical father. His mother’s death brings up haunting memories from Jack’s past—memories of his brother Bobby’s suicide when they were in college together. Being back in Miami only continues to dredge up his family traumas, but things grow more complicated when The Duke suggests that his estranged wife’s alleged suicide may have been a murder. As Jack begins to uncover the truth about his mother’s death, including the secret she had revealed to only two people—the same secret Bobby had taken with him to his grave—he finds himself in imminent danger. Can Jack reveal the true story before it is too late? He has to act quickly, or he fears he may be the victim of the next Girard family tragedy.

Jack Girard has not had an easy life. He comes from a well off family, but his brother committed suicide, his mother is now dead, and he is not in the best of terms with his father who refers to himself in the third person: ‘the Duke.’ This is a clear indication that his father is a strong willed person who demands respect and that what he says is not up for debate. Jack has tried to make a life for himself even after his career derails but when his mom dies, he has to return home. When his father asks him to look into his mother’s death, what he discovers comes as a big surprise. The plot twist at the end will take readers by surprise too. The characters are well developed and relatable. For a first novel, it certainly is impressive; the language is poetic at times: “the kaleidoscopic azure and green surface of Biscayne Bay glistening in the winter sun behind me” and as a whole, it reads like a fine work of literature. It is narrated in the first person point of view as experienced through Jack’s eyes. Even though it is a small book and an easy read, it is packed with action and is destined to become a classic. With interesting characters and beautiful prose, “Liquid Shades of Blue” is this year’s beach read and is recommended for readers who enjoy a good mystery novel. It is perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Harlan Coben.

“By the time I passed the airport, the familiar orange and yellow disk had emerged from the sea, casting magnificent white and yellow reflections across the water to the sand. Four brown pelicans flying at my approximate pace were silhouetted against the sun as they began their morning search for baitfish near the ocean’s surface.”

*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

New book release: ‘Indiscernible Elements: Calcium’ by Korynn Newville

‘Indiscernible Elements: Calcium’ will be released on May 30, 2023. Photo: Google

Korynn Newville is an artist, designer, and environmental activist. She received a master’s degree in architecture from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Design from the University of Minnesota. She is currently an architectural designer studying to become a licensed architect. She strives to utilize sustainable building practices in her professional projects and has a passion for creating artwork through the common materials used to construct her buildings projects. Korynn believes in the use of our imagination to offer new solutions to problems, and her artwork is her voice to tell the story. Her drawings and passion for the environment are the catalysts that led to her writing. Her first book, “Indiscernible Elements: Calcium,” explores the vital role of calcium not only in the body but also in architecture and human relationships. It is available for pre-order now. (Black Château, 2023)

“Indiscernible Elements: Calcium” – Calcium is a vital element that plays a fundamental role in various physiological processes in the body. As an architectural designer, Newville tells us how this element connects all of us, beyond our bodies. With a focus on practical advice and evidence-based research, her new book provides readers a new perspective of this element, and helps readers look at the world differently. 

 “A lot of building materials are made of pieces of calcium. My teeth are made of the same things as dry wall. Buildings are made of bones. These structures are just like us.”  – Korynn Newville

Her book stems from her thesis work on how architecture needs to practice with living and dying. Newville envisions a series of future books focusing on more elements, and is embarking on a journey of sharing her art through events, media, and other vehicles. 

“This book is just the beginning of what could be. By breaking us down to our core elements, we can understand the importance of our connection to the planet. And maybe that will help prepare us to live in a world that is rapidly evolving and changing.”  – Korynn Newville




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Indiscernible Elements: Calcium release date