Archive for September, 2016

Sabrina Toole set to release first-rate debut album

September 14, 2016


by Dave Carew

One of the great blessings of living in Nashville for 33 years was the opportunity to spot world-class talent “on its way up.” I firmly believe that’s the experience I had when I saw Sabrina Toole perform at a modest little café in Nashville called Village Vibe.

Now, Sabrina is set to release her much-anticipated debut album, Something Beautiful, which will be formally unveiled on Friday, November 4 at Lago Del Pino in Tyler, Texas. I envy the people who will be there. The way I envy people who saw Adelle or Janis Joplin or Joss Stone when they were unknowns. That’s the kind of sell-out-stadiums potential this artist possesses.

From the anger and angst of “Red Handed” and “Future X” to the sultry cool of “Psycho” to the haunting beauty of “Something Beautiful” and “Long Distance,” Something Beautiful is an impassioned artistic journey through the world of a singer-songwriter blessed with a voice so uniquely compelling you can’t wait to hear what it will tell you next.

In one of the album’s most compelling tracks, “Disease,” Sabrina Toole sings “I’m alive / I’m on fire.” Indeed she is. And it’s a very special fire—the kind sparked by one of this year’s absolute best pop/rock albums.

For more about Sabrina Toole, please visit:

David M. (Dave) Carew is the acclaimed author of the novel “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville,” which was praised by “The Tennessean” as “beautiful, haunting, powerful.” For more information, please visit Amazon or:



Shantell Ogden releases superb “The Road That Drives Me”

September 9, 2016


by Dave Carew     *     Photo by Chuck Eaton

During the many years I lived in Nashville, I never met a singer-songwriter who cared more passionately about her craft, or about writing songs that truly connect with people, than Shantell Ogden. After moving to Nashville from her “homeland” of rural Utah, Shantell set about creating a body of work that now has been repeatedly lauded by the International Music and Entertainment Association (Songwriter of the Year, Americana Song of the Year, Americana Album of the Year).

Those awards are nice—and richly deserved—but they aren’t as revelatory as actually listening to Shantell’s music. And that is doubly true for her latest album, the stand-out The Road That Drives Me.

One critical characteristic of an outstanding songwriter is the ability to write a melody so distinctive and indelible that it manifests in the ear as completely fresh and completely familiar—all at the same time. That is Shantell’s gift on tracks from “The Truth about Trains” to “Devil Comes Knockin’,” to “The Road That Drives Me,” all of which reveal a deeply perceptive, spiritual vision of the American landscape. From truth-revealing trains . . . to country roads stretching to an endless horizon . . . to boyfriends who “got a lot to learn about loving [her],” this album is like a beautiful fountain, pouring its beauty and truth out from the deepest wellsprings of the female heart—and the still-rich American dream.

In an era when too many songwriters settle for “good enough” melodic treatment and lyrics, Shantell Ogden respects herself and her audience enough to never settle for second-best—to consistently and lovingly craft work that ranks with that of the finest Americana artists and songwriters of her era. She does so again—richly and unforgettably—on the must-have The Road That Drives Me.

For more about Shantell Ogden, please visit:

David M. (Dave) Carew is the acclaimed author of the novel “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville,” which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful.” For more information, please visit: