"The Farmacology Sessions by The New American Farmers duo Nicole Storto and Paul Knowles offers up some relaxed, loose, open-field music festival friendly tracks. Just the right amount of twang and americana interwoven with a tinge of hippie. They get help from Kevin T White, Dave Zirbel, Nigel Twist and Tony Sales to flesh out the sound and give it a lush summer day feel. There’s also a guest appearances by Chuck Prophet." - Americana Music Show
Paul Knowles and Nicole Storto aren’t young, hip, and maybe not even that cool, but the songs they write and sing are timeless, stories drawn from the heart and soul of ordinary, hard working folks. “We’re late bloomers who are more focused on the music, the mood and the quality of the songs and vocals, than image,” Knowles says. “We’re more concerned about community and survival than the health of our egos. We may be older and producing albums without a glory-filled track record, but we find that there are still those that enjoy our music for what it is.”
The duo has been making genre bending music that spans the spectrum of cosmic country, folk, bluegrass and Americana since they began performing as Mars, Arizona in the late 90s until changing their name to New American Farmers in 2010. Their albums as Mars Arizona have included guest players such as David Grisman and Al Perkins and have charted in the top 40 in the AMA Radio Charts. The 2013 Debut album from New American Farmers entitled “Brand New Day” found it’s way onto the BBC airwaves in the UK. Their cover of Jeff Lynne’s “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head” and their own original, “Everywhere”, landed in Whispering Bob’s playlists a few times in 2013 and 2014 on BBC2. The Farmacology Sessions, their second record as New American Farmers, is a little bit more folk/rock than previous outings, opening up new vocal and musical territory for the duo to explore. Several cuts from the album have received local airplay on KPFA’s “The Hear and Now”, “America’s Back 40”, and “The Bonnie Simmons Show”. “There are more late 60s, early 70s influences,” Knowles says. “It stretches out more, takes some chances, and we had a blast doing it.”
The intertwining harmonies and sharp songwriting that mark the work Knowles and Storto are in evidence here, a set finely balanced between original material and unexpected covers. “We hadn’t planned on doing a record in 2014,” Knowles says, “but the songs started flowing. We then had the opportunity for some time in a great studio, so we started recording with Kevin T. White (bass player for Chuck Prophet’s Mission Express), and drummer Tony Sales.” The sessions at Opus Sound, and the band’s own Hilltop Studios, were marked by a burst of creative energy that comes across on every track.
Bay Area heavy Chuck Prophet joined in on guitar to contribute his trademark licks to “Aiming for The Daylight” and “Breathe In, Breathe Out.” Prophet’s big chiming guitar heightens the upbeat tone of “Daylight,” goosed along by Sales’ propulsive drumming and jubilant vocals from Storto and Knowles. Prophet’s Fender VI adds its trademark expansive sound to “Breathe In, Breathe Out” a pep talk for people dealing with life’s everyday tribulations, as well as with musicians and recording artists dealing with the loss of income from their efforts.
Knowles met Alarm drummer Nigel Phillips when he was in a band that opened for The Alarm in the 80s. When they recently reconnected, they started playing together; Phillips sits on in the band’s cover of The Alarm’s “Rain In The Summertime.” The Farmers bring an extra measure of passion and grit to their arrangement, with Phillips adding his intense fills to heighten the song’s power. “Down At The Pharmacy” acknowledges the greed of big Pharma, with a tune that suggests Lennon and McCartney backed by a pedal steel drenched country band. The Monkees’ “Door Into Summer” gets a psychedelic country makeover. The vocal delivery of Knowles and Storto accentuate the anger and hopelessness of the lyric, proving that The Monkees had more soul than people gave them credit for.
The nine tracks on The Farmacology Sessions bristle with the fervor and sparkling musicianship that has made the New American Farmers one of the country’s top Americana outfits. “We’re doing this for ourselves,” Knowles says. “We’re about the songs, and planting them wherever we can. Maybe they’ll grow, maybe they won’t, but we’re not going to throw in a bunch of trendy additives to convince you that what we do has value. If you want to drop in and soak up the vibe, you’re more than welcome.”
released October 14, 2014
Nicole Storto: Vocals, guitar
Paul Knowles: Vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, 2nd lead guitar on “The Garden”, B3 organ, REV and Sitar
Kevin T. White: Electric bass, standup bass
Dave Zirbel: Pedal steel, lap steel, lead guitar on “The Garden”
Tony Sales: Drums
Chuck Prophet: Lead and rhythm guitars on “Aiming For The Daylight”, Fender VI lead guitar on “Breathe In, Breathe Out”
Nigel “Twist” Phillips from The Alarm: Drums on “Rain In The Summertime” (an Alarm cover)
Dave Walker: Lead guitars on “Rain In The Summertime”
Howie Cockrill: Mandolin, fiddle and violins on “Down At The Pharmacy” and “Carrot and Stick”
"The Farmacology Sessions by The New American Farmers duo Nicole Storto and Paul Knowles offers up some relaxed, loose, open-
field music festival friendly tracks. Just the right amount of twang and americana interwoven with a tinge of hippie. They get help from Kevin T White, Dave Zirbel, and Tony Sales to flesh out the sound and give it a lush summer day feel." - Americana Music Show...more