Wallflowers & Springsteen – Best of Two Worlds

Time – such a crazy concept and though it keeps moving us forward it is always fun to take a peek back and relive moments that stand out in the scrapbook of life.
Believe it or not there was a flash in time when the Wallflowers were more popular than Bruce Springsteen. In 1997 they delivered their second album ‘Bringing Down the Horse’ – one of the top albums that year – with hits ‘One Headlight’, ‘6th Avenue Heartbreak’ and ‘The Difference’.

For any that may not know – Wallflowers are fronted by Jakob Dylan – yes Bob Dylan’s son. How surreal it is to look into the face of the offspring of music history and see them all over again, yet knowing nothing is as true as the original.

Around this time Bruce seemed to be wandering a path in his career with a little uncertainty, having released ‘Human Touch’ and ‘Lucky Town’ on the same day and entering a time of reflection that only his real fans understood. He woke the world up when ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ won an Oscar and set hearts on fire – in that place where you can’t remember and you can’t forget – with ‘Secret Garden’ from the feel good movie Jerry Maguire.
It was a time for movie soundtracks as Bob Dylan also returned with ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Bruce put forth ‘Dead Man Walking’ for the Sean Penn movie and with it hearts could not help but feel his space in time – so necessary for growth.

In 1993 it seems the MTV’s were reaching out to expand their audience over the age of 26 and teamed up Neil Young with Pearl Jam – an unlikely duo at the time – and now it is the kind of stuff avid music lovers hope for. In ’97 they put Sting on stage with Puff Daddy and decided to inject some depth to the Wallflowers tune ‘One Headlight’ by bringing Bruce on board. An interesting move as Bruce was labelled the new Dylan when he came on the scene back in ’73 and now he was singing with Jakob Dylan in a new time. Brilliantly planned though equally cool to have a number one song – and have Bruce front it with you.

As only Adam Sandler could deliver that night;

“You know your career is going well when Bruce Springsteen wants to sing a few lines from your song.”

For all it appeared a seamless fit and from there Bruce did everything right and it seemed the Wallflowers did everything wrong. The Wallflower’s recorded an instantly forgettable cover of Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ and then waited too long to release more music, for three years later people had almost forgotten about them.

Well in case you haven’t been following – the E Street Band reunited and began working like maniacs and the prophet found his place and the congregation still sings today with a strength, hope and stamina that may never be matched again.

Funny though every time I hear the Wallflowers come on the radio – I turn it up and sing like I was right there and it meant everything – because that’s what good songs do – they stay with you forever.

Check out their new album Glad All Over

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Thom Byles – Greenwich, London

We were really excited when our sweet friend Thom Byles stopped by to share a song from his new project Hanging Valleys.

Feels so right when soothing music floats your direction and gently washes over you when needed most. English – Mexican  singer songwriter Thom Byles knew just what we were looking for when he stopped by to share his good energy. With a sound as haunting as Bon Iver but drawn from that place that only he can call his own. We invite you to come on in for a moment to the world of Thom Byles and discover something new.

– Fresh Independence


 Home is where your story begins… please share a little about yours.

I started my life in a small village called Nazeing in Essex, England. I’ve lived in a fair few different places but that one feels the most like home. The village is near woods, lakes and some canals which was incredible to grow up around and explore.

How did music find you and begin to grow within?

My first memory of enjoying music was when my Mum would sit me and my sister in the living room whilst she would do an aerobics video, always the same one hahah. The workout was enhanced by incredible bass lines and 80’s style saxophone which soon had me running around the room projecting my limbs in all different manors and speeds.

Some years later when I was living in Mexico I would ride the bus to school which would take about an hour. My parents had a great collection of tapes and I would audition them on my walkman on the ride in. Things like The Doors, The Kinks, Cream, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Jazz on a Summers Day to name some. That’s when I really started to listen to music a lot. I would have those two hours a day to myself and I could stick a tape in and get lost in the sounds. I knew I wanted to be involved in music and so started out borrowing the school saxophone and having after school lessons. That didn’t turn out so well so I moved on to the piano and then finally on to the guitar where I felt at home.

What is the songwriting process like for you?

It always takes me by surprise. I always try and make time to write but it’s quite rare that something ever comes out of those sessions. Most of my songs come about at the weirdest times. Sometimes I’ll just pick up the guitar briefly while I’m waiting for a tea to brew or for my turn in the shower and then the next thing you know you’ve got the makings of a song on your hands and a freezing cold cup of tea! Mostly I start out with a line on the guitar and then I try various vocal melodies until I find one I like and the rest of the song stems from there. The lyrics come last..

Tell us about your relationship with the guitar & ukulele.

When I first picked up a guitar it was the first instrument that I really felt comfortable with. Especially the nylon string acoustic. I loved how you could make such a complete sound and that different tunings would make it feel and play very differently. It amazes me how each and every guitarist has their own way of interacting with it. What an instrument!

The ukulele was a gift to me from a very good friend. I was travelling a bit over one summer and wasn’t able to take a guitar with me. I fell in love with it. Being limited to only using 4 strings and having a less powerful sound forced me to really focus on the song writing. I haven’t been playing it as much recently by itself but I’ll often use it when recording to add another layer and texture to the sound.

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The Zilis – Hamilton, Ontario

” Not since The White Stripes has a band lit us up quite like The Zilis. With a sound that is distinctly nostalgic and rocking full of fun, these guys are proof that good things do come north of the border.  ”  – Fresh Independence

Name: Zander Lamothe, Justin Bozzo and Sean Royle

Age: Zander is 24. Justin and Sean are 26.

 Where are you writing this: Sean’s home.


How did The Zilis come to be?

We started playing together when we were in high school. We had a front man at first but we really started playing as a three-piece when we formed a cover band called the Led Hot Zili Peppers. We played three one-hour long sets a night to pay off the debts of our old band. When our front man left, we began writing originals as a trio and found that things were really clicking. Eventually, we decided to shorten the name to The Zilis for our original stuff.

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Ben Holland – London

a ben holland by sandi hudson francis

Photo by Sandi Hudson-Francis

Music has the ability to reach out and touch us in ways we never expected. Just as Bob Dylan shares the ebb and flow of his life through song, so too does London’ s own Ben Holland. He brings a genuine sincerity to his work and gives your restless heart a soft place to rest it’s weary head.

– Fresh Independence

B E N  H O L L A N D

A Ben Holland Kid

Home is where your story begins… please tell us a little about yours.

I was born in Carlisle, north west England. I went to school there and had my first few jobs there- but I knew I needed to be in London to do what I do, so I now live South of the river near Camberwell. I like London a lot and don’t see myself moving anytime soon.

When did music find you?

Bob Dylan’s to blame. I heard his music and wanted to learn it. I learned about two hundred of his songs then began to write my own.

What is the song writing process like for you?

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