The Northstar Session
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The Northstar Session


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"North County Times - EP REVIEW"

ROCK / POP: B+ "To Be Continued ..."

The Northstar Session


Recently relocated to the LA area from San Diego County, the Northstar Session is no longer the solitary plaything of Matt Szlachetka, but is now a dual venture with Kane McGee.

With a shared vision has come an earthier sound than on the 2005 EP, "Little Lies." Where that release was almost over-polished at times, "To Be Continued ..." has more of a stripped-down sensibility to it ---- due at least in part, no doubt, to Kane's role as producer and engineer. The violin of Melissa Elena Reiner (who co-wrote four of the five songs) adds a richness to the sound as well.

What hasn't changed is the band's devotion to gorgeous pop melodicism. The five songs here are each a small gem of pop songwriting: more hooks than a Velcro strap, a gently building sense of dramatic tension, a refrain that brings it all full circle.

It's a winning formula, and one that ought to bring ever greater success to the band.

---- JT

Jim Traggeser, North County Times - North County Times, San Diego, CA






(LOS ANGELES, CA) - As a favor to the band, Grammy and Oscar Nominated songwriter Matt Malley of Counting Crows has agreed to step in on Bass for The Northstar Session’s upcoming show at Los Angeles’ Hotel Café, October 19, 2007.

LA-based rock band, The Northstar Session will be without their Bassist, Paris Patt, for one night due to scheduling conflicts. Malley and The Northstar Session have become good friends ever since he first heard the demo release that became the band’s “To Be Continued…” EP (2007) earlier this year. “I am thrilled to be out with my new friends, and such great songwriters,” Malley said.

“It’s quite an honor to have someone like Malley fill in for you for a show,” said Patt, “and I’m just glad that we were able to do another show in the L.A. area while I’m away.”

"Paris has a brilliant touch - so I hope I can live up to filling his shoes for a night!" Malley continued.

“We are so excited to finally get Matt on stage with us,” Matt Szlachetka of the Northstar Session said. “He is such a giant in this business – and such a great friend to the band. We’re looking forward to a fun night.”

The band is in the middle of recording a full-length album in their Laurel Canyon studio - their first release, scheduled for January 2008. They are currently without a label, and scaling back performances while recording. They plan to tour, promoting the new record immediately following the release.

Matt Malley (born 4 July 1963) is an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe nominated songwriter, and he is most recognized for being a founding member and bass player for the rock group, Counting Crows.

*** END ***

Matt Szlachetka (Guitar), Kane McGee (Drums), Dave Basaraba (Keyboards), Paris Patt (Bass)
More Info on the Web:
- Grounded Music



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Music Connection
Vol. XXXI, No. 15
07/16/07 to 07/29/07

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The NorthstarSession
Hotel Cafe

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The Players: Matthew Szlachetka,lead vocals, guitar; Kane MeGee, drums, lead vocals; DaveBasaraba, keyboards, vocals; Shiben,bass, vocals.

Material: The Northstar Session's classic rock & roll sound is tinged with elements of blues, folk, country, jazz and funk. The group evokes a modern, more urban take on the vocal harmonies and simple-yet-elegant melodies of the Gram Parsons-era Flying Burrito Bros. They also give a nod towards the down-home, blues based country rock & soul of The Black Crowes and Allman Bros.The lyrics are intelligent and witty, with topics that range from the deeply personal to the universal.

Musicianship: At the forefront of the band's sound are the vocal harmonies of lead guitarist Matt Szlachetka and sticks man KaneMcGee. While each is a more than competent singer in his own right, together, the sum is greater than the parts, and their harmonized vocals add depth and texture tothe impressive musical backdrop provided by Szlachetka's excellent guitar work and his talented bandmates. Szlachetka's inspired solos are guitar pyrotechnics at their finest. McGee propels the sound with energetic drumming,adding both muscle and a touch of funk to the mix.

Performance: Led by the unassumingand charismatic Szlachetka,the Northstar Session cameacross as an accomplished live act. Their performance clearly impressed the crowd, delighting their fans and winning over a fewnew ones in the process.Summary: The Northstar Session played the Hotel Cafe to promote their new EP, To Be Continued,copies of which were given away for free at the show. Judging by the band's performance and their recorded work to date, let's hope they continue for a very long time.

-Ben Nachman, Music Connection - Music Connection Magazine

"Rogue Radio Reviews The New Album"


Release Date: Mar. 13, 2008

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Each second the earth is struck hard
by four-and-a-half pounds of sunlight
Each second
Try to imagine that
No wonder deep shade is what the soul longs for,
And not, as we always thought, the light.
~ From "Night Music" by Charles Wright

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"I'm beginning to understand that I'm the direct product of something that's wild and woolly. They probably never even really had a notion about where they were going back then. Nobody could foresee this disaster.… This problem of identity has always interested me. Who in fact are we? Nobody will say we don't know who we are…"
~ Sam Shepard

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If history repeats itself, The Northstar Session is here to usher in the New Prehistoric Times. It's about time. With a compass pointed where all directions find their mark, the songs on this album are on a personal search for an identity in a world lost in the routine. Northstar lives in a promised land where the blind can't see and the lame can't walk. But you don't need no money to join this church. While others may heap shame in the blinding light of certainty, these men may take you back to when you felt like yourself. The Northstar Session offers deep shade for the soul. Just follow your heart and you will be on the road to New Prehistoric Times.

There's a wealth of taste in these rock songs. Matt Szlachetka and Kane McGee write songs with deliberately short and honest lyrics. They have their roots in Crazy Horse, The Band, Tom Petty and blues based rock. Matt's guitar builds a perfect frame for the meaning of the song, and the atmospheric sounds on this album are a cut above. Kane is that rare drum devil who can sing sweet and passionate over a rolling thunder of sticks in search of a kick. The rising star in the band is Dave Basaraba, who has taken a giant step on a whole slew of keyboards in service of these songs. The new bassist Paris Patt has found the core and the drama and added some imagination to the mix. Best of all, this a real band. There is a sense of identity being in Northstar. That's something hired guns can't fake or fathom.

The details on this album make the second listen special. There are lots of little sounds and sweet small embellishments in the repeat that draw me into the song. Gerry McGee of the Ventures and his son Kane are a special treat on "All Roads." I've met the man and he is duly proud. That new song makes me smile. If the rock productions of Gerry Rafferty and Mott the Hoople catch your fancy, The Northstar Session has the same detail with a little less frill on the doily. It all comes down to the songs, and I think they have a roadmap to find yourself, walk without crutches and love somebody. This is a good day in new prehistory.


1. STRAIGHT TO YOU : Matt's opening rhythm guitar riff reminds me of Happy Traum playing "Buckets of Rain" the way it marks the beat and sets the mood. "Great big city / Swallow you up, now / I'm all alone and waiting…" establishes the emotional location of this album. "Great big city / Living of angels / Sanity is far away." How do you clear your head? "I clear my head at the top of Runyon Canyon. I raise my glass and face what's in my way." Really? Looking out at Griffith Park and the Hollywood sign? I should try that. It's good to get centered before you meet people. "I run straight to you." Oh, you mean your girlfriend, probably, right? Whoever. This city makes people feel ordinary. "Follow the leader. Ask no questions." Damn right! That's the feeling. Looking at the city like that puts things into perspective. Maybe we should feel what we do. I guess I have been playing follow the leader. Good talking with you!

2. LOVELY LIFE : Builds the drama for a thesis of a first line: "You figured it out there's nothing to hold onto in this lovely life." There is so much right about that sentence. You are on your own. "It's only you this time." Northstar stands for that compass point you find to put everything else in its proper place. "Keep walking / Keep shining on / 'Cause there's truth between the lines." It's all we have. "Reach out! It's there for you! Trust what you never knew." This song lives honestly. It even acknowledges the monotony of living right "on and on and on and on and on." Look closely, and there's something new every day. For God's sake, keep your eyes open.

3. EASIER If you want to be creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society." ~ Jean Piaget. There is a time in early childhood when a child recognizes that his body is not the whole world. It was easier then. "My body's a stranger now / Reason is fleeting / I'm falling apart / I desperately try to hold on." That's about right. Northstar at its deepest. Simple.

4. ALL AT ONCE is a slow ballad in search of a neglected heart. The Northstar wisdom always points toward the heart. There's a touch of gospel in this tune. Kane takes the pace down to a deliberate ballad to rebuild a neglected heart. It is a sin in this religion to igore your heart. Atrophy is a little death. Accept no substitute for your own feelings. "I regret All At Once / I've ignored my own heart / I will repair all by myself." This song lights the torch from my favorite line in Greaser's Ball: "If you feel, you are healed." Gotta love a slow song with something to say. I'll waltz to this one.

5. POLDY AND MOLLY : Matt at his phase shifted best laying out the groove. On the second or third listen, you will hear Dave's tiny magic bells sparkling in the corners of this song. Damn, that's cool. This is a song of daily life in a relationship of lovers living separate lives. Maybe the thrill is gone, but the love remains in action—breakfast in bed. Still, she lives a little less when he's around. "Her day starts / When he's gone / ow she feels she can breathe." The brilliance of this song is in the celebration in the music behind the lines: "Yes he loves her / Yes he loves him / But can't remember why." It's been better. (Matt based this song on the characters from James Joyce's Ulysses, his favorite novel. Poldy is Leopold Bloom, and Molly is Molly Bloom.)

6. BEEN HERE BEFORE takes it's time to build a little anticipation. That's a good move. There is an axiom in this epistle: "Don't give up your faith / And you'll never, ever be alone." Something in that line, "I've been here before," seems a little cosmic. The singer is coming back home to "what I used to be." It feels like a Buddhist rebirth. "It's the last time," so there's something special about this metaphorical homecoming. The opening line was a warning: "Don't turn your back on fate / It will sneak up on you."

7. HANGING ON has a touch of Crazy Horse in it's deliberate fire dance and overture. There is more than a little angst against the fortress of a brick house woman who is "more popular than Jesus Christ." She arrives late and constantly asks, "What have you done for me lately." The chorus gets the pain right if the singer surely gave more than he took. "Waiting, Waiting, Waiting / Waiting for you" with a life on hold and hanging on for a rope or a hangman's noose. "Her rope's a noose." Okay, I guess it's both. She must be something. Better wait for someone next time.

8. HARD TO BE FOUND continues the meditation waiting this time for the will to leave. "Waiting around / In your lonesome town / The chances you had / They slipped through your hands." Sounds like you need to feel more and get grounded. "Floating off the ground / Makes it hard to be found." This song of hope is helped along with Dave's keyboard like a concertina on a gondola in Venice. A little advice in the chorus floats above like a word from a friend: "Break down these walls and move on / Get back what you lost, you belong." Time to go.

9. MORRIS has a change of pace in the beat and keyboards. There's a spring in the step of this epiphany song. Morris is ready to take control. "Morris had a change of pace today A light went on inside and paved his way / Started thinking all by himself." There is a cake walk shuffle to this stepping out song.

10. ALL ROADS is a shout chorus stomp with Gerry McGee on lead guitar on hiatus from The Ventures. That's Kane's Dad. There's something so right about Gerry sitting in on this particular song. "All roads lead to one / Guided by time / Is this meant to be? / Stay on this path you'll see." Kane kicks it with a Bo Diddley beat for this song of hope. I talked to Gerry once out back of The Hotel Café. We compared Kane to Levon Helm without going to far with the comparison. He was a proud father. Mom had to break in and tell me he was a guitarist in his own right. He knows the road. That guitar will tell you where it leads. "All roads lead to one."

11. WORLDS APART opens with the Rhodes and Matt singing his heart with a little complaint about this arrogant man and the war he believes in. There a little extra anger in Matt's guitar, especially in the subtle atmospherics. Paris plays a dark walking bass figure with a little punch to it. Kane's splash cymbal builds under the fire of complaint in Matt's guitar. "He knows that he's right / It's a war he must fight / He has God on his side / We know it's just his foolish pride." The burning question: "Is this evil, just who decides?" Open your eyes.

--Billy Shepperd, RRM - Billy Shepperd, Rogue Radio Music

"Review of The Northstar Session's New Prehistoric Times"

Written by John O’Rourke
Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Hailing from Southern California, this four-piece is giving new dimension to the concept of rock. The Northstar Session is breathing old breath into new rock. These guys are paying homage to acts that have traveled the world before them.The Northstar Session

The term "rock" entails something that’s hard. Hard is something that these guys aren’t. I wouldn’t throw them to the other side of the spectrum either, though, as a soft rock act (which always seemed like such a ridiculous label to me). If we needed to apply some form of geological mass to The Northstar Session, I think we’d have to go with clay.

Likened to Wilco and the Black Crowes, The Northstar Session pull from classic rock influences as well as some more recent acts. While experiencing this, their first full-length album, I heard some hints of Beck as well as some Oasis somewhere. If I had to give depth to a description of them, I’d say The Northstar Session is akin to an updated male Fiona Apple if she/he weren’t so preachy.

Originally the brainchild of Matthew Szlachetka, the act has grown to four, including Kane McGee on vocals and drums, Dave Basaraba on vocals and keyboards, and Paris Patt on vocals and bass. The foursome have developed a good following at their live sets, which have been flooded with western coasters from Seattle to San Diego.

In a world where most acts are so focused on having a hook and huge guitar leads, The Northstar Session have created a quality album that is supported by actual songwriting. New Prehistoric Times is not an album with one or two great singles, but a great album that has a lot of good songs on it. Tracks that I’ve enjoyed on this album that give a good picture of what to expect would be "Straight To You" and "Easier".

Please track the Northstar Session down at one of their live sets, visit their myspace page at:, or pick up New Prehistoric Times available now. -

"North County Times Review of "New Prehistoric Times""

North County Times
CD reviews for April 17-23

A "New Prehistoric Times"

The Northstar Session


After starting life as a solo plaything for singer and guitarist Matthew Szlachetka, then seeing him move to L.A. and connect with fellow songwriter and singer (and drummer) Kane McGee, the Northstar Session has grown into a tight, four-piece band. The first full-length album (following two very solid EPs in earlier incarnations) from the Northstar Session finds the band still built around the decadent-as-Belgian-chocolate melodic hooks that Szlachetka, and now McGee, seem able to turn out at will, as well as smooth as silk vocal harmonies and thick-pile power-pop arrangements.

The 11 tracks on "New Prehistoric Times" have a timeless pop feel to them, but the addition of Paris Patt on bass and Dave Basaraba on keys has given the band a bit of a rougher edge than the two earlier EPs. Nobody will confuse them with, say, the Allman Brothers or Lynyrd Skynyrd, but there is a bit of a country vibe to its power pop that reminds a bit of vintage America or Poco.

But its smart, imaginative songwriting (and intriguing arrangements) is what's at the heart of things here ---- and on that score, the Northstar Session would seem destined for an ever-larger audience for its brand of accessible, radio-friendly pop music.

The Northstar Session plays Saturday at O'Connell's in San Diego.

---- Jim Trageser

Staff writer - North County Times (San Diego)

"New Prehistoric Times album review"

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Label : Eigen Beheer

In October 2005 the first ep of The Northstar Session from Hollywood, California appeared under the title "Little Lies". The group was established a year before by singer-songwriter Matthew Szlachetka who with Kane McGee, Dave Basaraba and Paris Patt as the Northstar Session now published their first full cd "New Prehistoric Times". On which are 11 rock songs with mostly American and country blues influences. The boys love guitar rock (not necessary very loud).

So much they explain in songs as "Straight to You" and "Easier"

Music critics compared the sound of the group with Wilco's work, The Wallflowers and the Counting Crows. The last one is probably because they got help in the studio from Matt Malley from the Counting Crows. There is lots of melody and thoughts in most of the songs on "New Prehistoric Times". Example: "All At Once", "Poldy And Molly" and "Been Here Before" explain perfectly what they mean.

In the excellent "All Roads" Gerry McGee plays the lead guitar. He is the father from the band member and drummer Kane and just to be the appreciated guitarist by "The Ventures, Kris Kristofferson and Emmylou Harris.

Best song, in our modest opinion is "Hard To Be Found", a slow ballad with the lyrics to motivate you to grab the bull by the horns and start over again after a hard time in your life. "Morris" a good sing a long song good to have on an IPod for a frequent jogger. The album ends with "Worlds Apart" a song about the arrogant president of America and about het holy war in which he apparently believes. "He knows that he's right/It's a war he must fight/ He has God on his side/ We know it's just his foolish pride".

To end with a global judgment about "New Prehistoric Times" refreshing pop sound from a group who will probably be a successful and even more so if they make a good second cd. - Rootstime


To Be Continued... (2007 EP)
New Prehistoric Times (2008 CD)



This 4-piece rock band hails from Southern California, and has quickly amassed a worldwide following for their recorded works. Supporting only an EP for the first year, they have played to sold-out audiences from Seattle, WA to San Diego, CA, and hope to grow their live audience in 2008 - their second year together - when they head out to support their first full-length release: New Prehistoric Times (2008 CD).

Originally the artistic outlet of Matthew Szlachetka as early as 2002, The Northstar Session has since grown to a 4-piece collaboration between Szlachetka, Kane McGee, Dave Basaraba, and Wayne Miller.

Listeners appreciate their ability to unite generations of music-lovers with a "vintage-rock" sound - an obvious homage to the great bands that influenced them - while still incorporating a new feel and personal variation on a simple rock style. A seemingly perfect blend of new and old, The Northstar Session focuses on the value of the "song" first and foremost.

Their music can be heard on a variety of TV and movie placements such as:

PBS' "Roadtrip Nation"

Discovery Channel's "Surgery Saved My Life"


Numb (Matthew Perry, Kevin Pollak, Helen Shaver, Mary Steenburgen, William B. Davis)

It's Alive (Bijou Phillips, James Murray, Raphael Coleman)

Repo (Jason Mewes, Ben Gourley, Izabella Miko, Lindsey McKeon, Patrick Muldoon, Frankie Jay Allison, Sunny Maybrey)

Audiences and Reviewers have likened their music to that of The Band, Wilco, The Black Crowes, The Wallflowers, Ryan Adams, and Counting Crows.

More information at: