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DownTown Mystic / Blog

2013 Review

As pointed out in my 1st Blog post, 2013 has been one crazy kind of year for me. Now that the year is over and 2014 is here, it’s a good time to reflect on what has happened and what has been accomplished. In that 1st post, I started with the final Quarter of 2013 because that’s when all the action that had been pending, was finally unleashed. But it was the previous 9 months that set the stage.

2012 had ended on a good note, with DownTown Mystic in the studio finishing the new recording and releasing the digital Read The Signs EP on the Winter Solstice. The 7 song instrumental-only EP would be digitally released in Europe in late January 2013 by my German Label, AGR, who I signed a Licensing Agreement with in 2011. AGR had released the Standing Still cd just before Thanksgiving in 2011 and it received much critical acclaim from the European Press. With the Read The Signs EP release, there would only be 1 more release left on the Agreement with AGR.

Since I had originally released Standing Still in June 2010 in the US, it was now going on 3 years without any new music from DownTown Mystic. While Standing Still received enough radio play to make the AMA Chart, it was in Europe on the Euro/Americana shows that DownTown Mystic finally found a place. It was quite a surprise to see DownTown Mystic on the Top 25 Euro/Americana Chart! From that point on, I wanted to get over to Europe to tour. 7 months later I met with a legendary A&R man named Juergen Kramar at Midem in Cannes. He was now an independent A&R scout for Universal in Germany and it would be on his recommendation that I would get the deal with AGR Television Records.

For me, the sole reason to sign with AGR was if they were willing to bring me over to tour. The very 1st conversation with AGR sold me. They told me they would only consider signing me if I was willing to come over to Europe and tour. The reason being—AGR is probably the only full Country Label in Europe and there is no national Country Radio or TV station in Germany…so the only way to promote an unknown Artist from America, would have to be live shows there. AGR has signed some known American Country Artists like Charlie Daniels, Joe Diffie and Sammy Kershaw. But DownTown Mystic was their 1st Americana signing. Unfortunately, the Germans at large don’t really know about Americana because Country is way down on their list of music genres. So the most important way to sell DownTown Mystic would be good word of mouth from live shows.

I went into the AGR deal with eyes wide open because it had the potential to be very good for both sides. But the long & short for me, was that AGR would set me up with a good promoter and fund a tour. It took AGR 6 months after the deal was signed to release Standing Still, but the reviews were great and continued that way for a few more months. The original marketing plan was that I would be brought over for a week of promotional shows. With all the great press for Standing Still, it seemed like perfect timing to have me come over and play. But for whatever reasons, AGR did not bring me over to help promote the cd. Now euro for euro, AGR had only about 20% invested compared to me, so I brought a good deal more to the table and not being met even half way!

Ok, so that’s the setup for 2013. 13 months after the release of Standing Still, in early 2013, I just finished recording and mixing the new DownTown Mystic project. I know I owe AGR 1 more release and I don’t want to give it to them. I already know that AGR won’t fund a tour and I will not fund a Tour that they had agreed to pay for. This is a “no brainer” for me. I don’t want to wait around another year with a new release being held up. It makes more sense for both parties to go their separate ways.

Go here to read rest of post: http://downtownmystic.net/downtown-mystic-blog-2013-review/

2013 A Crazy Year

Now that DownTown Mystic has a new website, it only seems natural to start a blog. With the successful release of the DownTown Mystic cd, it makes sense to talk about what’s been going on. When I look back to the start of the year and where DownTown Mystic was at, to now at the end of the year, 2013 has been one crazy kind of year. Since the last Quarter really rocked, I’ll start there.

After releasing 3 Digital Singles in April, June and August, DownTown Mystic was featured on the RADAR of the Direct Current: http://t.co/p4UAm3Frwa

The DownTown Mystic CD was released the following month in October. Here’s the Press Release: shar.es/Ee6gn …the cool thing about this was that I got the finished cds the day before I went to see my fave band—Band of Heathens at The Mercury Lounge in NYC. They had just released their great new album Sunday Morning Record a few weeks before. I saw them there back in April and met Gordy Quist & Ed Jurdi, hanging with them after the show. So I had a mini CD Release Party, with the Heathens being the 1st to get the cd. That was great!

The next day we started mailing the cd to Radio. The DownTown Mystic CD was released at Americana Radio in the US and the Euro/Americana shows in Europe, which had put DownTown Mystic on the map with the previous Standing Still CD. The response in Europe was immediate to the new cd, with the Euro/Americana shows playing 12 of the 14 tracks on the cd, and more shows giving more spins to DownTown Mystic than Standing Still. Added to this success was Dani Heyvaert’s cool review in Rootstime: http://t.co/x3lkuFR63s

I love the Euro/Americana show hosts because they really get the music. It’s very immediate. If they like it, they play it. Standing Still had received good airplay and the reviews in Europe gave such high praise, that I was really determined to up my game and put my best foot forward. It was very gratifying to have so many embrace the new release. It gave me confidence to face the US stations, which operate on a totally different level. You have to get the music heard and approved by a Music Director and Program Director, making it much tougher to get your music on the playlists, which are generally smaller. So the completion is fierce because there are only so many spots available at any given time.

It had been over 3 years since DownTown Mystic had released Standing Still in the US and I was hoping that Radio would still remember me. The response at Americana Radio was slow but sure. Standing Still had only managed to get to #157 on the AMA Radio Chart. So the new DownTown Mystic had something to prove. The new release hit the AMA Chart at #247 after the 1st week of release, but climbed up to #137 in its 2nd week, surpassing Standing Still’s best showing. I’m always amazed at the number of releases out there…I mean #247? And there’s another 400 after it! But that’s also what makes the Charts fun…it gives you something to aim for. Go here for rest of Blog Post: http://downtownmystic.net/downtown-mystic-blog-2013-crazy-year/

DownTown Mystic Twangville Review

DownTown Mystic – DownTown Mystic I would normally be a little wary of labeling a band’s sound as classic rock, but DownTown Mystic embraces the idea by labeling their music “vintage, but modern”. Record label exec Robert Allen and pals from groups like the E Street Band and Ian Hunter have put together a record that really exemplifies that concept. I hear country rock harmonies on Some Day and In the Cold. There’s a tinge of Buffalo Springfield in Can’t Let Go. The modern influence comes across a many of the songs, but to my ear is best played with the Band Of Heathens-like Everything. This is the perfect stocking stuffer for the person on your list who swears they don’t like anything recorded after 1984. Shawn Underwood / Twangville 12-6-2013 http://t.co/VlSBaiH5v9

UK Review of New DownTown Mystic CD

Downtown Mystic’s last album Standing Still had a gnarly vintage rock vibe about it, channelling the Stones and the Groovies among others creating a fine footstompin’ stew. 18 months down the line Robert Allen returns with pretty much the same crew (minus Lance Doss, replaced by J.J. Jordan) with an album that retains much of the grit and stomp of its predecessor and adds some West Coast country rock in the vein of early Eagles for what is a robust outing, fairly traditional overall but capable at times of reminding one why traditional can be gobsmackingly good. The best example here is the sinewy, snarled blues of No Exceptions and its tremendous harp wailing, guitar thrashing rush which builds into a fine frenzy. It’s a bit like the Allman Brothers doing an Exile on Main St song as the slide guitars lock in battle with the harp. That harp is played by a chap called “Nasty Ned” and he appears again on the bluesy funked out trip that is Everything, a song that sounds like a more upbeat Little Feat. Way To Know stretches back to seventies FM radio land with its airwave friendly hooks and some fine slide guitar that soars over the melody. Lost and Found is another potential rock radio staple charging along with the harmonies edging into Eagles territory and again some scintillating guitar runs. Along with the Eagles, the Doobies come to mind as DM toot down this highway. The freewheeling west coast country rock sound we mentioned earlier is evident from the start with the album opener, In The Cold. A fast paced acoustic rocker it captures the likes of Poco and the Eagles as guitars and mandolin mesh over the rhythm section and the harmonies soar, it’s a sparkling and invigorating song and is destined to please anyone who hankers after the first Eagles album and wish they hadn’t ever checked into that damn hotel. That other California band, Poco, seem to be the template for Can’t Let Go, a finely picked number with acoustic slide lacing the excellent voices. As for a ballad Allen delivers Some Day, a song soaked in rippling mandolin and washes of acoustic guitar which again recalls bands of yesteryear. It might be somewhat unfair to name check so many forebears here but Downtown Mystic deliver a fine line in good old fashioned rock and sometimes it’s good to recharge the batteries. Paul Kerr/Blabber'N'Smoke: http://paulkerr.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/downtown-mystic-sha-la-music/

New DownTown Mystic Single Release

NEW YORK, NY, November 24, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Sha-La Music/The Orchard release In The Cold, the new digital single from Americana/Roots Rocker DownTown Mystic. This is the 1st single to be released off of the self-titled album, DownTown Mystic, which was released last month. The album has been receiving steady airplay on Americana Radio stations in the US with strong support from KCCT, WQBR and WRRW, as well as the Euro/Americana radio shows in Europe. The airplay has gained the best chart positions to date for DownTown Mystic on the AMA Radio Airplay, Roots Music Report and Roots 66 Airplay Charts.

The new single In The Cold features Steve Holley and Paul Page, the rhythm section for Ian Hunter's Rant Band, who help give the song an irresistible folksy down home groove. JJ Jordan provides a hypnotic mandolin part behind Robert Allen's vocals & acoustic guitars. The result is a catchy rootsy song reminiscent of recent releases from Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers.

"There's something magical about the Holidays, starting with Thanksgiving. There's getting together with relatives and seeing friends over Thanksgiving dinner, which is a very communal experience. It also can be a very romantic time...something's in the air," laughs DownTown Mystic's Robert Allen, who wrote and produced the song. "I think because of this natural vibe of coming home and getting together with people being so strong, it follows that if you're feeling apart from this vibe, then the Holidays can be a very lonely time. So In The Cold is more about the people who feel kind of alienated. and are looking to connect."

The initial response to the new DownTown Mystic CD in Europe, where the last release Standing Still was a critical success, has been very favorable with DownTown Mystic getting strong reviews and airplay. Prior to the release of the DownTown Mystic album, Sha-La Music released 3 singles that garnered worldwide radio play on over 8,000 stations, helping to raise DownTown Mystic's profile for the new album release. The previous single Way To Know, released in August, featured E Street Band rockers Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg.

"Give this gem a good listen. You won't regret it!"...Dani Heyvaert/Rootstime.Be Listen to full CD here: http://www.airplaydirect.com/music/downtownmysticpromo/

In The Cold video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/3Bu6Js8DvNI

DownTown Mystic on the RADAR

DownTown Mystic on Direct Current RADAR: http://t.co/oN92FGm0fb

When legendary New York DJ Vin Scelsa of WNEW first spun a song by Robert Allen -- aka DownTown Mystic -- that was a momentous occasion for the veteran roots-rocker. But when the single got into the hands of E Street Band bassist Garry Tallent, Allen's musical world was about to change in a big way. Tallent and E Street drummer "Mighty" Max Weinberg both support Allen on his new single "Way To Know," a preview of a new self-titled DownTown Mystic album due in October and follow-up to his well-received LP Standing Still. “I originally wrote and demoed the song as a mid-tempo track that had a few stops and starts in it. When Garry heard it he said, ‘Once you start, don’t stop,’ and proceeded to change the tempo. Garry heard the song as this Stones kind of track and the funniest thing I remember was Garry telling Max to play like Charlie Watts." Allen's influences -- Byrds, Beatles, Buffalo Springfield -- permeate his guitar-driven songs, adding a retro sound to his more modern Americana leanings.

Win DownTown CDs on Rootstime

E-Zine Rootstime in Belgium is giving away 10 new DownTown Mystic CDs: http://www.rootstime.be/CD%20REVIEUW/2013/OKT1/CD105.html

New DownTown Mystic CD Release

NEW YORK, NY, October 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Americana/Roots Rocker DownTown Mystic's new self-titled release DownTown Mystic is being released digitally by Sha-La Music/The Orchard on October 14, 2013. The release will also be available on CD. The Digital release will have 11 songs, while the CD will have an additional 3 bonus tracks.

This is the 1st full album release from DownTown Mystic since the critically acclaimed Standing Still, released in the US in mid-2010 and Europe in late 2011. The artist's label, Sha-La Music, took a long term approach to releasing the album by starting 10 months ago with the release of the Read The Signs EP. That release has 7 instrumental tracks, 4 of which are on the new release, and 2 of the tracks have already been synch licensed and heard on TV shows like NBC's Emmy Award winning The Voice.

In April, the 1st of 3 singles, No Exceptions was released and the 2nd single Lost & Found came out in June to help raise money & awareness for Drummer Tommy Mastro and his fight against ALS. The latest single Way To Know, featuring E Street Band rockers Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg, was released in August. The 3 singles have garnered worldwide radio play on over 8,000 stations and raised DownTown Mystic's profile for the new release.

Besides having Bruce Springsteen's dynamic rhythm section making an appearance on DownTown Mystic, the new release also features Steve Holley and Paul Page, the rhythm section from Ian Hunter's Rant Band. There are also 4 tracks recorded with Nashville drummer Tommy Mastro before he was diagnosed with ALS and forced to stop playing. The album is produced by DownTown Mystic's Robert Allen and Engineer Ben Elliott, who was responsible for the award winning Thank You Les tribute to Les Paul by Paul's longtime partner, guitarist Lou Pallo and The Les Paul Trio.

The new DownTown Mystic CD will be available on CD Baby and Amazon.com and the Digital Release is available for Pre-order on iTunes: https://t.co/4szbdarAY7

Listen to full CD here: http://www.airplaydirect.com/music/downtownmysticpromo/

Lyrics: http://shala.com/dm2013lyrics.pdf

DownTown Mystic on Direct Current: http://t.co/p4UAm3Frwa

E Streeters Join DownTown Mystic on New Release

24-7PressRelease/ -- Sha-La Music/The Orchard releases new DownTown Mystic single "Way To Know" on August 12, 2013.

Americana/Roots Rocker DownTown Mystic's new single "Way To Know", featuring famous E Street Band rockers Garry Tallent on bass and Max Weinberg on drums, follows on the heels of the success of the "No Exceptions" and "Lost & Found" singles which have garnered airplay on over 500 radio stations worldwide.

"Way To Know" is a straight ahead rocker with a message aimed at the unrest, political or otherwise, in the US and around the world. Songwriter and head Mystic, Robert Allen, says he wrote the song "as a reaction to the way things are happening without much thought to the future". Robert again teams up with one of the all-time great rhythm sections in rock'n'roll--Garry Tallent and Max Weimberg from Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. Robert previously hooked up with Garry & Max on the rocker "Hard Enough", which was released on the critically acclaimed "Standing Still" cd last year in Europe.

Robert credits Garry Tallent with coming up with the uptempo driving arrangement on "Way To Know". Asked about how the song came to be recorded, Robert says, "I originally wrote and demoed the song as a midtempo track that had a few stops and starts in it. When Garry heard it he said "once you start, don't stop" and proceeded to change the tempo." Robert adds, "Garry heard the song as this Stones kind of track and the funniest thing I remember was Garry telling Max to play like Charlie Watts".

"Way To Know" is being released as a 3-Song Digital 45 and is available on iTunes, Amazon.com and other online retailers. The video for "Way To Know" on YouTube: http://youtu.be/klDiRC6I_Y0

DownTown Mysic's last single "Lost & Found" was released in June and helped to raise money & awareness for Drummer Tommy Mastro and his fight against ALS: http://youtu.be/qvyAT-W1Qqw

DownTown Mystic's music has also been heard on NBC's "The Voice" and "Last Call with Carson Daly", as well as shows on MTV and the History Channel.

For more information contact: Robert Allen: shalaman1@aol.com http://about.me/robert_allen Homepage: http://shala.com FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/DownTown-Mystic/33506110940 AirPlay Direct: http://www.airplaydirect.com/music/DownTownMystic

Lost & Found

Fate can be a funny thing. The ebb and flow of time…things lost or forgotten, reappear to be discovered. Music has some and all of those qualities. You hear something and it makes no sense to your ears…only to rediscover it years later and have it make perfect sense now.

On June 11 the 2nd of 3 DownTown Mystic singles, “Lost & Found” will be released ("No Exceptions" was the 1st single, released in April). This was not my original plan for the 2nd single, but as fate would have it, it is now. Long story short…the drummer on the track is named Tommy Mastro, who played on the 1st DownTown Mystic recording sessions and he has ALS, better known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. I had already recorded my next album with “Lost & Found” as the title track, when I learned about Tommy no longer being able to play because of ALS.

2 days before the single’s release, I will be attending a benefit for Tommy at a club on the Jersey Shore. He’s coming up from Nashville to be there and as he puts it, ”like being at your own funeral but being alive to hear all the great things people have to say about you”…that’s Tommy and that’s going to be one happy/sad event because it will probably be the last time I ever see my friend.

Tommy was quite healthy when he played drums on “Lost & Found”, and as fate would have it, you would think I wrote it about him. DownTown Mystic is all about roots/rock’n’roll and I classify “Lost & Found” as having a rock’n’roll/gospel vibe. Influence-wise, some very clever reviewers in Europe heard Dave Edmunds-Nick Lowe/Rockpile in some of my songs from my last album “Standing Still”, and I forgot how much of an influence they had on me. When I started DownTown Mystic I had wanted to have a Rockpile type of guitar sound, and on “Lost & Found”, I think I managed to get what I was looking for so many years ago.

“Lost & Found” will be released as a single to benefit Tommy, with all proceeds going directly to him. Fate has seen fit that I release it this way and get as many people as possible to know what a great drummer Tommy Mastro is, and to remember him.

Lost & Found: http://youtu.be/qvyAT-W1Qqw