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Johnny KaplanJONNY KAPLAN & THE LAZY STARS released their long-awaited fourth album, SPARKLE AND SHINE, today on Reckless Grace Music.  The Southern California band has created an innovative and engaging collection of American rock numbers that opens singer/songwriter/guitarist Jonny Kaplan into a new era of his musical career.

SPARKLE AND SHINE is the product of collaboration, bringing together a slew of talented musicians whose presence augments the quality of the songs.  The Lazy Stars includes Rami Jaffee on keyboards, bassist Jokin Salaverria, guitarist Dan Wistrom, and the latest addition to the band, drummer Dave Krusen (Pearl Jam, Unified Theory).  Kaplan also enlisted help from some very cool friends for the album:  The Black Crowes keyboardist Adam MacDougall, Blind Melon bassist Brad Smith, Jessy Greene on violin (who also plays with Foo Fighters), and actress Daryl Hannah, who lends her vocals to two tracks (“When You’re Down” and “Always”).

In an early album review, here’s how Flashwounds.com described SPARKLE AND SHINE:  “Kaplan’s music falls under the umbrella category of country rock, but that term has been used and abused too much over the decades to do this album justice.  Yes, it’s country music, and it’s rock music.  And blues, and folk and then some.  But never mind all that — simply listen to the whole CD, and when you’re done you’re left with the feeling you’ve been on a cross-country road trip through the American countryside.”  And Fourculture.com agrees:  “For fans of true Americana, look no further than the new album, SPARKLE AND SHINE, from Jonny Kaplan & the Lazy Stars…From the first beat of the album, it is obvious that this is no electronically jazzed up, auto tuned, dolled up and twerked out album.  This is pure American rock, baby!”

When he’s home in California, Kaplan lives on a sailboat and is an avid motorcycle rider, even suffering a massive motorcycle accident after the release of the group’s third album, SEASONS, in 2007.  He broke 20 bones and was laid up in bed for months, wondering whether he’d be able to get back onstage again. Although he fully recovered, the accident put him in a bit of a dark place.  Keyboardist Rami Jaffee inquired about the next steps for his music, offering his Fonogenic recording studio as a place to create what would become the fourth Jonny Kaplan & The Lazy Stars album.

For Jonny Kaplan, SPARKLE AND SHINE also represents an opportunity to bring his music to new audiences, particularly live.  The musician’s songs frequently appeared on major network TV shows like USA’s Graceland, FOX’s House and NBC’s Grimm, and over the years he’s played with artists like Kings Of Leon, The Wallflowers, Lucinda Williams, Keith Richards and Wilco.  But this album will be his first to receive a proper release in the U.S., giving him the opportunity to earn the sort of passionate acclaim stateside that he’s cultivated in Europe.  From 1999’s CALIFORNIA HEART, named U.K.-based Mojo magazine’s “Americana Album of the Month” upon release, to 2002’s RIDE FREE to his last album, SEASONS, Jonny has built an extensive fanbase internationally.  The musician’s new album feels like the right release to finally match that overseas attention at home.

 

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