A new record label has been launched in the greater Boston area, in the shadow of Rounder Records, one of the most successful independent record companies in the US.
Casa Nueva is located in Watertown, MA, and headed by Brad San Martin, former product manager for bluegrass releases at Rounder. Brad worked as Director of Publicity at Compass Records before his time at Rounder, and has freelanced as a music writer since his graduation from the Berklee College of Music in 1999.
Their first project will be from King Wilkie, The Wilkie Family Singers, which is scheduled for release on April 28.
We chatted recently with Brad about his new venture, and the upcoming King Wilkie CD.
“I had been toying with the idea of starting a label for a year or so, but when King Wilkie approached me about collaborating on this release, that kick-started the effort.
This may be a terrible time to start a business, but, frankly, this record is too good — too heartfelt, innovative, and moving — to just languish. So I’m putting my money where my mouth is and trying to get this to the world.”
Brad tells us that Casanueva was his maternal grandfather’s last name, and that he chose it to identify his new company feeling that the words themselves implied the sense of renewel and reawakening appropriate for this new direction in his life. The Wilkie Family Singers – about which we will have more later this week – is the only project he is currently working. He says that others will be forthcoming, and that this first album encapsulizes what Casa Nueva is likely to become.
“King Wilkie’s Reid Burgess and I are in the same boat in a lot of ways. We’re both relatively young and very much in love with bluegrass, and yet we’re also inspired by a lot of other styles, sounds, and ideas. That makes this album the perfect first release for Casa Nueva — it has hard-won roots in classic American string band music, but also looks out over new vistas.
I’m a huge music fan, and I listen to pretty much every style out there with varying degrees of interest. So I’m not limiting Casa Nueva to any one genre. I will say that I’m inclined to not pursue much straight-up traditional bluegrass. It’s a kind of music that’s very important to me and that I love quite a lot, but I feel there are other labels that are better positioned for success in that field.
But who knows — there may be one act that has fallen through the cracks that I just can’t resist.”