Since he first started banging a piano in his parents’ house in 1974, Mark Humphreys has recorded more than 20 albums and written more than 200 songs. After an intense period of recording and performing in bands in both Northern and Southern California in his early years, Humphreys grew tired of all the near-misses and broken promises trying getting his music released through the traditional music industry. After a seven-year hiatus in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, Humphreys decided to take matters into his own hands: He re-launched his career in 1993 by starting his own record label (this one!) and began releasing his albums independently. From 1995 to 2005 he toured nationally, released four new studio albums and one live album on Trough, all of which have received both critical success and wide airplay on Americana/Folk radio. Since retiring from active performing, Humphreys has re-issued four of his early titles and produced albums by several artists on the label.
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A native of New York City, Tom Ianniello brought his guitar and his dreams to Los Angeles in the mid 1970s. A master of folk, jazz and rock guitar and a songwriter of funny, sad, twisted and emotional songs, Tom somehow found himself the owner of a coffeehouse in North Hollywood he named The Iguana Café – which for more than five years stood as one of the most influential venues in Southern California for artists, musicians, poets, actors – famous, soon-to-be-famous or never-to-be-famous – to gather, perform, play and be themselves. Tom rarely performed his own music at The Iguana, but one hot July night in 1992, he played an entire set of his own, with Duke McVinnie on bass and Jimmy Powers on harmonica – and it was recorded. And it was preserved for 28 years until it was unearthed and released in the spring of 2020 as the album HOLE IN THE ICE. Now the world can know all about this amazing man who did so much for so many – and hear his music in his own voice.
You can buy/stream Hole in the Ice and order CDs at BandCamp (click image to link):
Be sure to include your name & address as well as the title of the album(s) you are ordering in the "add a note" section on PayPal.
Born to parents who were both big music lovers, Lisa Johnson began taking piano lessons when she was just six years old. It wasn’t much longer before she took up guitar lessons, and then voice lessons. While still in college at the University of Delaware, Lisa began her performing career in cover and original bands in the Philadelphia area, where she performed and/or recorded with such artists as Loudon Wainwright III, Michael Franks, The Hooters, The Parent Johnson Band and many others. When she later moved to Los Angeles she was amazed and inspired by the number and quality of songwriters and performers in LA. She soon found her own writing becoming at once more refined and more of a reflection of her life. Lisa’s finely-crafted melodies deftly showcase her powerful, beautiful vocal stylings. Lisa’s songs reach deep – sometimes painful, sometimes hopeful but always honest and anchored with emotional truth. Her 1998 Trough release, WHENEVER THE MOON IS FULL, recorded with some of LA’s finest session players and arrangers, showcases the full scope of Lisa’s range as a writer, a musician and a vocalist.
Whenever the Moon is Full is also available at: Spotify Amazon You can order a CD copy of the album directly from Lisa! Just send $12 via PayPal for each CD - Click here and make sure to include your name & address.
Andrew Lorand/Puppets of Castro
Intelligent, witty songs, some serious, some hilarious, some a touch of each.
– Oregon Public Radio
Andrew Lorand grew up in suburban Los Angeles reading Lenny Bruce and listening to Tom Lehrer.As a result, Lorand's musical tastes became somewhat skewed. An eclectic satirist and keen observer of the humor and pathos found around the darker edges of the human condition, Lorand takes his listeners on a wild and often contemplative ride.
Perhaps Andrew’s most remarkable gift as a songwriter is the ability to simply and succinctly convey complex feelings in totally unique , and often humorous, ways. And his vision goes well beyond his own voice – his four Trough releases include two solo efforts and two titles under the band name Puppets of Castro – which feature the extraordinary vocal talents of stand-alone artists Matthew Mars and Darryl Purpose interpreting Andrew’s songs. A favorite of his songwriting colleagues, Andrew’s songs have been covered by such artists as Kristina Olsen,Emily Kaitz and Mark Humphreys. Memorable melodies and lyrics that can elicit laughter and tears, often in the same stanza, make Andrew Lorand’s music a truly satisfying experience.
Visit the Andrew Lorand/Puppets of Castro Website.
Andrew Lorand’s and Puppets of Castro’s music is also available at:
A veteran of the LA music community and a performer, presenter and passionate supporter of live music throughout Southern California for nearly four decades, Dave Morrison has long been one of the most respected songwriters among his peers. It took over two of those four decades to get Dave to put out his first album – but then, starting with 2007’s breakthrough A LITTLE FARTHER DOWN THE LINE, he brought the full force of his incredible talent to the world in stunning fashion, following in 2011 with the live SHOUT AT THE MOON and in 2017 with the widely acclaimed NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE. Dave’s songs touch the core of the human experience, from the heartache and heartthrobs of romance to the hard choices, bad choices and sometimes accidental choices made along a rough-hewn and well-lived lifetime.
Unapologetically honest and unblinking, this is music of laughter, regret, joy, sorrow and the immensity of redemption all wrapped into a musical package that rolls from pure folk to blue-eyed soul and everything in between.
You can buy/stream Dave’s albums at Apple Music (click Images to link)
Brett Perkins is a Grammy-nominated, California-born, Copenhagen-based songwriter, consultant, educator and presenter whose involvement in the international songwriting community spans four decades. He has co-written with numerous international artists, including Mads Langer, Una Healy, Boo Hewerdine and many others. An active performer since the early 1980s, Brett has toured 39 countries to date. His voice and songs have appeared on more than 20 different music releases as well as film and television shows.
In 2009 Brett released his internationally-acclaimed third album RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT, GO on Trough Records. The album is a striking and brutally honest collection of exquisitely-crafted songs of lost love, self-examination and ultimate redemption, with rich melodies and sterling musicianship. We are delighted to have this multi-faceted and supremely talented artist (and artist advocate) as a label-mate.
A true troubadour and dedicated musician, David Piper is one of the most prolific artists on our label – having released four solo albums and collaborated with Earl Grey (see Piper~Grey’s bio below) on two more. Born and raised in Central Ohio, David grew up influenced by the great folk, blues and rock artists of the early- to mid-20th Century. He toured all over the Midwest as a young man and migrated to Southern California in the early ‘80s, where he became a fixture on the local folk/Americana circuit. David’s guitar stylings blend pure elegance and raw earthiness into a sound that is completely his own. His soaring tenor vocals range from rowdy to angelic. David’s songs are always about real life – real people – and carry a palpable sense of wisdom and compassion.
There is no way to accurately describe the art of Rod Sphere – his music, his performances, his very presence on stage – all are simultaneously ethereal yet somehow incredibly tactile. Rod’s live concerts are experiences that require active participation, and that includes participating as both a listener and a visual observer. A master of song craft and the Great American Songbook (he has been known to play for nearly 5 hours without a break without playing the same song twice), Rod is also a composer and lyricist who refuses to allow any part of his music to grow static. The same song played two nights in a row might sound so different each night, some might say they are two different songs – when in fact it is all one evolutionary creation. Witnessing a Rod Sphere performance can be as exhilarating as a roller coaster ride over a deep ocean – each movement, each twist, each new step can be an awe-filled, gasp-inducing surprise.
Phil Ward is one of only a handful of artists in folk music performing comedy – and probably the only person in folk music doing comedy this twisted and unique. His takes on everything – from romance to English writing assignments to discount pain therapy – will leave you laughing uncontrollably, sometimes while nodding in amazed recognition. A charter member of legendary Los Angeles-based rock band The High Lonesome from its founding in 1987 through its present, fragile state of retirement, Phil has long been a respected member of the Los Angeles singer/songwriter community. Aside from The High Lonesome’s two albums and Phil’s two Trough Records releases – EASILY AMUSED from 2001 and DO NOT INSERT IN EAR CANAL from 2009 – he’s been heard on a number of albums by other artists, and would happily appear on your album for a very reasonable rate. His solo career – composing, playing and singing humorous songs for guitar – has taken Phil to venues all over Southern California and all over the U.S. He has been heard on The Dr. Demento Show, and has appeared on PBS stations around the country, singing funny songs to get you to donate your car.
Born and raised in Chicago, Paul Zollo started writing songs as a kid, walking in the long shadows of legendary Chicago songwriters such as John Prine and Steve Goodman. He performed in Chicago clubs long before he was old enough to drink in them, and then moved east – to Boston and New York – performing solo and with bands - and ultimately west to Los Angeles. He made one self-titled album with his band The Ghosters in 1984, before going solo with Orange Avenue (Windyapple Records, 2000). The album received rave reviews in America and the UK. Zollo also collaborated on many songs, including "Midnight In Nebraska" with Dan Bern, "Angelyne" with Severin Browne, and all the songs with Darryl Purpose on his album Still The Birds. In 2014 Paul released his second solo album, Universal Cure, on Trough. He's also a long-time music journalist, and presently Senior Editor of American Songwriter magazine. He's the author of six books, including the award-winning Songwriters On Songwriting, More Songwriters On Songwriting, Hollywood Remembered and Conversations with Tom Petty.
You can buy/stream Universal Cure at Apple Music(click image or Title to view):
Paul’s music is also available at: Spotify Amazon And make sure to check out Orange Avenue, Paul’s debut album, on Windyapple Records. You can order Universal Cure on CD directly from Paul! Just send $12 for each CD ordered to Paul at PayPal. Click hereand make sure to include your name & address.