John Mark McMillan
John Mark McMillan is something of an anomaly: an artist and Platinum-selling songwriter bending genres and defying categorization by carving out his own unique and independent path. With an ear for melody and a poet’s eye for metaphor, no topic has been off-limits. While each of his albums over the past decade have continued to explore new territory, it’s McMillan’s ability to give lyric and language to the human experience that many consider his greatest gift. Mercury & Lightning (released Sept. 1, 2017 via Lionhawk Records) reminds us why we love great songwriters; the exceptional ones find a way to put new words to private musings and desperate feelings until the songs themselves begin to live in our bones.The vibe and tone from each song on Mercury & Lightning will mesmerize, but it’s McMillan’s voice that draws you in and makes you feel as though you’ve entered a conversation you want to stick around for. Recorded just outside of Portland, OR at Feng Sway Studios over 18 months with close friend Gabriel Wilson and longtime bandmate Jesse Proctor, this is the kind of record that your kid usually discovers before you do - something progressive yet accessible. Borrowing from their childhood influences, they bring elements of 80’s rock and 90’s R&B together, somehow making the record feel both modern and unexpected.The album title was pulled from Roman mythology. “Mercury is the god of financial gain, commerce, communication, travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves”, says McMillan. “If something is hard to catch, understand or lock down, it's known to be ‘mercurial’ or ‘like Mercury.’ The story of the new record begins with a conversation about all the things we run after, give our lives to - even die for - thatoften seem so mercurial and mysterious.” McMillan would know; this being his 7th studio album, each new record seems to reveal a man chasing a new set of questions we should have been asking ourselves all along.Now McMillan fans can enjoy brand new eclectic, acoustic, symphonic takes on the record with The Mercury Sessions and The Lightning Sessions. These albums include fresh versions with special guests (including GRAMMY-winner Joy Williams, Sarah McMillan, Propaganda, and more) and commentary on each song. John Mark McMillan is back on the road this fall on the Body + Ghost Tour playing favorites from his catalogue plus a few new surprises. For tickets and information, visit johnmarkmcmillan.com/tour.
In North Central Washington State, Tyson Motsenbocker grew up in the apple orchards and pine forests at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. It’s the pastoral sound of his childhood that has defined the sound of his music, even among the freeways and fast pace of his new Southern California home. After the release of two EP’s Until it Lands and Rivers and Roads Motsenbocker defined himself as a mature lyricist and accomplished songwriter, sharing the stage with the likes of David Bazan, Vance Joy and James Bay.
In 2013, after the death of his mother and hero, Motsenbocker walked the six hundred mile stretch of coastline to San Francisco in memory of her. In the contrast of loud cars on a dirty highway with the serene beauty of the Pacific Ocean Motsenbocker contracted a new view of life beyond loss, a renegotiated relationship with God and peace inside the turmoil. This walk would become the basis for his debut full length record available now on Tooth & Nail Records.
Motsenbocker has two brand new EPs, Almira and A Kind Invitation, which both released late 2017.