Kevin Meisel

Currently available from Brambus Records:

Country Lines

Kevin Meisel - Country Lines
  1. Country Lines
  2. Stains
  3. Pretty Little Postcards
  4. The Story of His Riese to Kingdom Come
  5. Broken Heart Tattoo
  6. She's Gone
  1. Down in Memphis
  2. Junkyard
  3. Thicker Than Blood
  4. Doncha Pawn Yer Diamond Ring
  5. Drifter's Son
  6. Unmarked Graves

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Ein ganz neuer und heisser Tip aus dem Hause Brambus! KEVIN MEISEL ist unsere Zufallsentdeckung, zugegeben. In der Umgebung von Michigan ist er seit Jahren ein anerkannter Songwriter, der sein Schaffen auch bereits auf CDs verewigt hat, wegen seinen bissigen Songtexten aber nicht unbedingt den Mainstream-Nerv der amerikanischen Labels trifft.

Kevin Meisel ist besser, tiefgehender. Manchmal melancholisch spartanisch klingend und an die ruhigen Springsteen-Songs erinnernd, dem gegenüber aber auch wieder voll positiver Energie und Ausdruckskraft. Dazu hat Meisel die Fähigkeit, die Songs passend und sehr abwechslungsreich zu instrumentieren, wobei ganz klar und deutlich die für Brambus übliche akustische Instrumentierung im Mittelpunkt steht. Die Songs sind sehr zugänglich arrangiert und haben teils Ohrwurmcharakter, während die Songlyriken oft engagiert, teils bissig und teils sehr tiefgehend sind.

Kevin Meisel ist der Sohn eines Bigband-Musiker und wuchs in Detroit auf, reiste einige Jahre durch die USA, lebte zeitweilig in New York City, wechselte irgendwann vom Malen zum Songschreiben und zog dann in die lebendige Musikszene von Ann Arbor in Michigan zurück, wo er mit verschiedenen Formationen spielte, ehe er mit „Coal And Diamonds“ sein erstes eigenes Album einspielte – das neue Werk „Country Lines“ ist ein neuer Höhepunkt in einer Songwriter-Karriere, die auch in Europa schnell aufwärts führen wird!

Another very fine online review for KEVIN MEISEL, maybe usefull, please check under:

A brand new and hot name from the brambus family: KEVIN MEISEL is an incidental discovery of the label and we are very proud about that! He is a well respected songwriter in his surroundings in Michigan, USA, and has already released his music on CDs, but due to the partly very critical songlyrics he does not really match the needs of the American mainstream labels. But he is hot for indies like brambus!

Kevin Meisel is better, going deeper. He sometimes sounds melancholic and spartanic and remembers in quieter songs to the likes of Bruce Springsteen. On the other side, he has songs with a lot of positive energy, expression and dynamic. In addition to this, he has the ability to arrange the songs perfectly with mostly acoustic instruments in the best brambus tradition. The songs are easy to follow and remain strongly in the ear, meanwhile the song lyrics are often with a critical eye on the American society and politics.

Kevin Meisel is the son of a big band-musician and raised in Detroit, travelled extensively through the USA later and lived for a while in New York City, changing from being a painter to being a songwriter. He is now back in Michigan and is part of the very strong music scene of Ann Arbor, where he plays with different artists on his side and where he released his first album “Coal And Diamonds” a few years back. The new album “Country Lines” is his masterpiece so far and will get his name known in Europe soon as well!

cruising for paradise

Kevin Meisel - Country Lines
  1. rustbelt girl
  2. if you're goingt out with her
  3. jealous kind
  4. lighter shade of gray
  5. last goodbye
  6. neon valentine
  1. tijuana line
  2. misguided love
  3. st. augustine
  4. i've got a line on you
  5. vagabond dream
  6. cruising for paradise

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The idea and momentum for “Cruising for Paradise,” Kevin Meisel’s third record, (his second for the Brambus label), germinated while Meisel and guitarist Alex Anest were touring Switzerland in 2004. At that time, while touring behind Meisel’s folk/country inspired recording “Country Lines” (Brambus, 2003), the two musicians listened incessantly and repetitively to Beatle recordings, most notably “Revolver”, and “The White Album.” Interspersed between those listenings were other familiar favorites by Dylan, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Neil Young, all artists hugely influential on Meisel. During trips between the venues, the two engaged in spirited dialogues about those records and what made them so timeless and lasting.

Inspired, Meisel, who is mostly known for his folk narrative songwriting style, began to include in his live sets various selections from an unrecorded cache of songs in his catalogue. Those tunes, written in a more pop style than is customary for Meisel, brought an unusual variance to the live shows and sets. In Alpine hotel rooms, in sound checks before shows from Lucerne to Filisur and Chur, the two rehearsed the tunes and other favorite covers, later interspersing them in the live shows to positive audience response.

So, while touring in 2005, Anest, emboldened by the prior tour’s experiments, proposed that the tunes they were now playing more regularly in the shows be recorded for Meisel’s next release. Initially hesitant, Meisel eventually warmed to the idea, and accepted Anest’s proposal to both record and produce the new record. The resulting release is “Cruising for Paradise,” an eclectic blend of song styles that embrace both Meisel and Anest’s love of classic, Beatlesque pop; rootsy Americana flavored Rock and Roll, and folk narrative song styles. The tracks, largely cut live on vintage recording gear in a rundown recording studio in Detroit, feature a celebration of the tradition of the rock aesthetic of feeling as content itself.

In this sense, “Cruising” is a change of direction for Meisel. The record features what Meisel describes as his “dream touring band.” Meisel has affectionately named his band, “The Raging Glories.” Band members include, Alex Anest and Sam Vail on electric guitars, Keith Meisel on bass; Jim Latini on drums, with Kevin handling acoustic guitar and keyboard duties. The recording, produced by Anest, serves to bring forward the rootsy, pop song style influences lurking in Meisel’s approach to songwriting all along. “Cruising for Paradise” then, serves as a double entendre: On this new recording, Meisels’s song characters continue down the boulevard of life, cruising for an ephemeral and fleeting sense of what is real and lasting, even as Meisel and his band cruise for the paradise found in making music exuberant and real.

Black Orchard Songs

Kevin Meisel - Country Lines
  1. black money
  2. ballad of the parted ones
  3. gibsonton, fla.
  4. no place for the lonely
  5. into nothing
  6. out of time
  1. the girl with jesus in her eyes
  2. cry for home
  3. hark the heart and the arrow
  4. what do we owe the dark?
  5. i am carrying a mourning tune

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Black Orchard Songs, Kevin Meisel's fourth release and the third for brambus, it comes nearly four years after it's predecessor, Cruising For Paradise (2007), This new CD is, by all indications, a change of direction for an artist steeped in the narrative tradition of songwriting. The songs here are, in part, love songs to an impossible muse that demands continuous change and artistic evolution. The story of the record's development is woven into the song's subtexts: The recording emerged on the ill wind of several failed prior attempts to assemble other collections of songs. Discouraged, in the fall of 2009, the artist took retreat to rediscover his muse. The outcome of this immersion is Black Orchard Songs.

The pieces that came to form this collection were mostly written on a nylon stringed guitar in a small cabin in northern Michigan. Unsure of their merit, Meisel contacted his old friend and co-producer, Brian Lillie (Country Lines, 2003) for counsel. Impressed, Lillie agreed to co-produce the songs. Meisel recorded demos of the pieces in his home studio in the fall of 2010, and in early 2011 those demos were brought to Big Sky Studios in Ann Arbor where full pieces were assembled from the demos themselves.

What seems to distinguish these songs from his earlier pieces is a conscious shift toward a kind of language that is elusive and symbolic, even as it is narrative. Moving from the apocryphal and corrupted landscape of Black Money, through the wondering innocence of unlikely love in the double entendre of Out Of Time, toward the nocturnal inquiry of What Do We Owe The Dark? one can sense the acknowledgment of mystery behind the mundane.

David Boucher, in his profile of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen (Dylan and Cohen, poets of rock and roll, 2004) describes how this acknowledgment of mystery “evades reality by tracing the pathway of dreams that lead, in the subconscious, to an unsuspected fact.” The facts revealed here seem to be pieces of a map to oblivion where inspiration and redemption, in all its tenderness and cruelty, revitalizes even as it refutes the impulse toward explanation.

Musically, the return to an acoustic palette of instrumentation seems to support the contemplative nature of these new songs. Brian Lillie's light handed production, with it's weeping violins, harpsichords, and understated adornment serves to accentuate the displaced and nocturnal feel of the compositions while leaving ample space for each narrative to unfold.

With the recording's title, perhaps something of the artist's intention shows through. There is the implication of fecundity here, and one senses cycles of fertility and decay as the constant pulse inside these songs. A Black Orchard must invariably compel one's attention toward the earth; to darkness and light and to that which is fertile or fallow.

Dreams, and the oddities of symbolic and mythic place are the subjects du jour here; the shifting of the temporal and the emergence and subsequent disappearance of what is taken as reliable is what is being negotiated.
These themes, contemporary and universal in their nature, have always been at the heart of what has been called true folk music. Without question, they certainly inform this new collection of lyrical songs.

Bring It To Light: Unreleased Demos and Songs 2005 - 2017

Kevin Meisel - Country Lines
  1. Camino Real
  2. Why Don't You Stay Awhile
  3. Tulsa Blues
  4. Leavenworth Time
  5. Like Diamonds Loosened from the Mines
  6. Coalinga
  7. Pure
  8. Girl of the Maquiladora
  9. Corrido
  1. Ring of Fortune
  2. Jaqueline
  3. Lonesome Company
  4. Just a Burning Light
  5. When You're Leaving a Goodbye Undone
  6. Bring it to Light
  7. Black Potatoes
  8. I Can't Let Her Go

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Kevin Meisel ist seit seinem Zuzug bei Brambus ein gehegter Songwriter der poetischen Sonderklasse. Das haben bereits seine drei bisherigen Alben für Brambus gezeigt und mit dem Aufarbeiten seines Oeuvres mit diesem Album komplettieren wir nunmehr!

"Bring It To Light, Unreleased Demos and Songs 2005-2017" captures a cache of unreleased tracks in a 12 year period between Kevin Meisel's first Brambus Records' recording "Country Lines" (2003), and the present time. The tracks, all written, performed, recorded and mixed by the artist capture a glimpse into the solitude and intimacy of a home recording studio wherein ideas can flourish unencumbered by external influences, and personal vision can prevail.

These recordings, all acoustic and minimally adorned, remain congruent with Meisel's proclivity for narrative songwriting.

Some of the tracks were recorded informally, sitting cross-legged on the studio floor while singing live into a single tube microphone. Others were done more formally with an intent for possible development. Regardless, all the tracks were invariably orphaned for various reasons and subsequently filed away. They reappear here in this collection to bring context and further definition to the arc of this artist's oeuvre.
Familiar themes prevail.
Characters wander across borders seemingly aimless, though mysteriously guided by hidden forces that usher them into humbling realizations. Still, others marvel at what their eyes can see, sequestered in stairwells in lonesome embraces. These songs all address the human yearning for meaning in a seemingly random world of occurrence and circumstance. Beyond meaning, the characters in these songs seem to be in search of a kind of redemptive blessing, only possible by their own choosing. This motif is persistent in Meisel's songs across the spectrum of his catalogue. Willfulness, error and impulse consistently mingle in a tangle of outcomes that hold the possibility of something more. To this end, heartbreak, sorrow, desire, elation and forgiveness can all coexist together in a pot pourri of recognition.

These songs, when taken together, play across a premise that holds that no matter the circumstance or occurrence, life provides an inimitable beauty and mercy perceivable in the darkest of times. This songwriter's characters are compelled to discover this impossible truth by their own volition. Sometimes they wildly miss it; other times they stumble into it, dumbfounded. Throughout though, the songs repetitively point to the impulse to liberate from self-perpetuated confinement and limitation. This theme remains at the heart of this songwriter's humanistic and artistic concerns.

In the devastated song, "Pure," the singer sings, "sometimes there ain't no way to see/but through the lost and found." That line sums up this lost and found collection of songs appropriately, and aptly describes the tie that binds this new release to Meisel's existing output, dating back to 1998's debut, "Coal And Diamonds."