Maura Rogers is relatively new to the area scene — she started to get her name out about six or seven years ago at open mics. A few years on the singer-songwriter circuit culminated in a 2010 solo album Get Up Girl. Soon after , she began working with additional musicians, leading to the five-piece Maura Rogers & the Bellows. That lineup, together for two years, recorded A Good Heart Will Break, which they'll release with a show at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday night at the Beachland Tavern.
"It was such a transition," says Rogers. "I thought, 'Holy hell, this is hard work.' It was so much more sound."
Rogers says her writing is influenced by artists ranging from Cyndi Lauper to Dolly Parton "Life experiences shape the way I tell stories," she says. "Being last of nine children, I grew up watching my brothers and sisters and learning a lot about relationships."
A less upbeat but still influential part of her experience is the kidney transplant she'll have soon after the CD release.
"You'll hear it on some of the tracks," she says. "I'm looking at life with bigger, deeper perspective. Having to accept that somebody else is going to save my life, there will probably be a whole new album on that alone. I struggled with why is this going on, but I've learned a lot about making the most of the situation you're given."
Even though she didn't know her band members — drummer Dan Jankowski, guitarist Andy Laiskos, bassist Brent Stowe, and accordionist Meredith Pangrace — prior to playing with them, she says they're her bulwark.
"We worked really hard knowing the time frame we had before I jump into the next period of my life," she says. "Each member of the band has a real commitment to the project. I've known Meredith two years and she might be my kidney donor. She's the best match I have so far."
Mike Uva Returns
Quietly With New Music
Mike Uva has been a steady presence on Cleveland's indie rock scene since his days as guitarist with Machine Go Boom. He also ran the Collective Escalators, the label that released their music. But he's had his own career making sparse, casual-sounding music since his 2004 release Where Have You Been. He's back now with another unpretentious album, Lady, Tell Me Straight. Mike Uva and the Bad Eyes (bassist Matt Charboneau, drummer Tony Cross, and pianist Mike Lyford) will play at 9 p.m. Friday at Mahall's.
"I really wanted to have a new calling-card batch of songs," says Uva. "I wrote most of these over the last two years and recorded them as I wrote. I conceived of it as collection of songs other people would be singing instead of me, like a collection of songs from the Brill Building."
To stretch limited money, he used "a couple of microphones and a little portable recording machine" at Charboneau's house, mixing it himself. For the vinyl-only pressing, he turned to Kickstarter, setting a modest goal of $1,500, which he overshot by almost a third.
Why vinyl? "It seemed like a lot of people listen to music on their computers," he says. "The download thing has devalued CDs as an object. I had boxes of CDs from various projects in my attic. My guess is that if people are going to get a physical thing, they would prefer vinyl."
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