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If you are familiar with the soul scene of Nashville, then you have heard about AJ & The Jiggawatts. Born and raised in the south, AJ Eason has played in a number of bands ranging from The Spades to Space Capone since 1998 and his latest work helps spread the group’s groovy funk-rock from East Nashville to Murfreesboro and beyond. The Jiggawatts all play with other bands in the funk-soul genre, and use that musical experience to bring a deeper element to AJ & The Jiggawatt’s sound. A few days after releasing their first full-length album, which is self-titled, I had the chance to catch up with AJ of AJ & The Jiggawatts.
Q: What path did you take to get in to music?
A: I was born in Atlanta and raised in Memphis since the age of 5. I started singing around campfires and had a little bit of church in there. I went to University of Tennessee to study business and started playing drums. I released an album with a three piece band, Hitch, around 2005. Around that time I got tied in with the G.E.D. Soul Records crowd and was able to tour with the band Sky Hi in Atlanta. I then moved to Clarksville for a job, and later traveled with other bands. I moved to Nashville around 2008 and started playing with Space Capone after begging them to play percussion. I toured with them from 2009-2011and got to play a lot of festivals, including Bonnaroo. AJ & The Jiggawatts formed soon after with G.E.D. Soul Records founder Nick DeVan. DeVan plays drums, Andrew Muller, who plays with Deep Fried 5 is on guitar, and Tim Hawkins is on bass, while I made the move to the front of the stage. We pick up players along the way and for certain performances. Austin Little joins us on trombone, and Andrew Hagen joins us on saxophone. We have had the chance to tour the St. Louis and Chicago circuits, as well as the southern circuit, opening for acts such as Nappy Roots and Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Q: How would you describe your style from your past work to your most current work?
A: My experiences in the last two years have shaped the songs on our latest album. We actually have a full second album ready which has a different vibe because it is more focused on horn, and we’re possibly recording it this summer. Two songs from our EP are bonus tracks on the full length and may sound different production-wise. This CD is really raw and recorded straight to tape. We added violin and cello for the song “Once in a Lifetime.” We made it to tell a story and to be able to listen straight through.
Q: How has Nashville influenced your style?
A: After moving here, I really immersed myself in the scene. I’m out and about so much that people have started to call me a “soul-cialite.” I keep my head in what is going on at the forefront which helps me know people in different walks of life.
Q: Who is your favorite collaborator?
A: Paul Gibson, out of Knoxville, Tennessee. He was my co-writer from 1998-2007 and is the most natural songwriter. He could always hear what I meant and build on top of small elements.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Mayer Hawthorne, Aloe Blacc, Trombone Shorty, Lee Fields, Black Crowes, Black Joe Lewis, Dap-Kings, and Grateful Dead, among others.
Click here for the full interview at CollegeBookRenter.com
Q: What are your long-term goals as a musician?
A: I want to focus on being a lyricist, getting published, and getting four songs licensed. I want to keep writing horn lines for our songs, which I often do with a handheld recorder. I’d also love to collaborate outside of our genre.
Q: What is a highlight of your career so far?
A: I was touring with The Spades, an all-star group out of Knoxville, and we had the chance to open for Al Green. I had been drumming, but was able to step out of the back and sing lead with this band. Other highlights include sharing the stage with North Mississippi All-Stars and Black Crowes.
Q: What is your advice to others in and outside of the music realm?
A: Listen to yourself and get to know yourself. Trust your gut. You are your destiny and life is now.
Written by: Lexie Deeb
Compiled by Sam Walker
Over 1000 shows, 10 years, and 200,000 miles have passed since Dean Fields went on the road to pursue a career in music. During that time his address changed from Richmond VA to Miami to Boston until most recently settling in Nashville TN. Now, he hits the road again to promote his most recent release “Any Minute Now.”
His recent homecoming has found Fields selling out shows in Richmond VA, as well as nearby Washington DC. “Dean Fields writes lyrics like Leonard Cohen and sings like Jeff Buckley. It’s no surprise that there’s a serious buzz on this Virginia singer-songwriter.” (Free Times) While continuing to feed his passion for music, Dean is fueled by a single-minded love to perform, sharing the stage with KT Tunstall, Blues Traveler, Rosanne Cash, Eric Hutchinson, Colin Hay, Bob Schneider,Auqualung, Hootie and the Blowfish, John Hiatt, Cake, Bruce Hornsby, Rusted Root, Madeleine Peyroux, Carbon Leaf, among others. In addition, Fields’ maturity as a writer and performer is brought to the fore by some of the region’s finest musicians. The band features members of Mandy Moore, Sparklehorse, Agents of Good Roots, KD Lang, Carbonleaf and Modern Groove Syndicate.
Q: Where were you born?
A: I was born and raised in Virginia, right outside of Richmond.
Q: How and when did you start playing music?
A: I started playing piano when I was four or five years old, and grew up playing classical music. My dad got a guitar for a Christmas present when I was fourteen years old. I stole his guitar and played it all the time.
Q: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in music?
A: I grew up wanting to be a runner. I ran competitively at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, but I got injured. So then I decided to go to grad school at the University of Miami to study music. I didn’t want to go but its what everyone was doing. However, as soon as I found my voice as a songwriter I was out of there.
Q: What was your major in Grad School?
A: I studied MBEI. Which is Music Business Entertainment Industry. Not many schools were offering solely Music Business back then. I also studied Audio Engineering.
Q: What are the steps of your songwriting process?
A: It used to just be messing around until I found something cool, but now its much more simplified. Musically, my classical background helps me construct a melody, and lyrically it’s my love for reading. If I’m co-writing I usually come with a hook ready, and if I’m not I’ve just developed the discipline to knock out a song in four hours or so.
Q: Do you currently have a publishing deal?
A: Nope, I don’t have anything. I pitch all my own songs and book all my own shows. I appreciate anyone’s help, but I’ve realized that no one will work as hard as I will because it is my music. I know me and know what I want to do and think about it all day and night, I can’t expect that from someone else.
Q: What has been your favorite recording experience?
A: The first record I made, I was in the studio with Alan Weatherhead who used to be in a band called Sparklehorse. He’s a great engineer, who kind of fly’s under the radar. He is like the secret weapon of Richmond, Virginia. The studio is called Sound of Music. I knew nothing about what I was doing. I was just winging it. Alan was awesome; he had this idea to just have everyone in the room be a part of the record. We made it sound like the recording was in a bar, with all this background noise, and people telling jokes in the background. It was really cool; we were all singing around the same mic, it was very spontaneous. It was fun, it sounded like garbage, but it was great for that song.
Q: What has been your favorite live performance experience?
A: I like it when there is a super loud crowd that I can shut up with my music. I think that’s amazing, now when it is the other way around it sucks. I just played this show with Levi Lowrey in Atlanta and that happened there. None of the crowd was ready for my sound, but it worked. It was weird when I used to play college gigs because I had to make them feel like they were having an awesome time, while satisfying my need to be heard.
Q: Do you have any summer touring plans coming up?
A: I actually have a big tour coming up. My home market in Virginia is solid; I can sell out venues there. I have other friends who can do the same in other markets. I reached out to them and said I’ve worked twelve years to get to this point, I’ll trade you my twelve years for your twelve years. So we put together a twelve-gig tour, and we expect to sell out at least four venues. That tour starts in June and spans from Georgia to New Hampshire, we’re playing Atlanta, Charlotte, Richmond, Washington DC, Philly, New York, Boston, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Click here for the full interview at CollegeBookRenter.com
Described as the next guitar phenomenon, Nashville Singer/Songwriter and guitarist, Justin Forrest, 21, brings a breath of fresh air to today’s music industry. Since winning the 2012 SESAC Project Next Showcase, Justin has started to build quite a reputation on the Nashville music scene and gained a good following here in the southeast. The Project Next Showcase is sponsored by SESAC to put a spotlight on up & coming writers and or Artists and it found a gem in Justin. After winning the showcase, Justin went on to debut himself at Hard Rock Nashville and sold out the venue. Since the beginning of 2013, Justin has been in a hiatus creating the groundwork to his career, and recording his debut album entitled “Chapters.”
Q: How long have you been in Nashville playing music?
A: First time was when I was 11 and have just been doing it ever since. Around 15 years now.
Q: Who are the biggest musical influences, and who do you think you sound like?
A: Before my father passed away he put in a DVD of Stevie Ray Vaughan. This was probably when I was about 6 or 7 years old. After watching him on the DVD player it moved me and I knew I wanted more of it, so that’s what I think really influenced me first. As far as songwriting goes, definitely Bob Dylan, John Mayer, and even Jay-Z because of his empire that he’s built and his determination that he has with his music.
Q: Since winning the 2012 SESAC Project Next Showcase, how has things changed?
A: Once I won the showcase I no longer felt like I had to prove myself because I had producers and other music industry professionals from SESAC backing me. It was just the validation that people actually liked my stuff. After the showcase I got a fire lit under my belt that I can actually do this.
Q: Tell us the process you take to write music.
A: I definitely always write music from the heart. I am firm believer that if an artist is singing a song, you can’t sing it unless you have some sort of special relationship to it. For instance, when I wrote “City Life” in the LA airport, I was searching for a fresh start, or a new chapter in my life. A chapter to just be anonymous in LA but still struggling with leaving Nashville because I love it so much. But, I still had that urge to try something new.
Q: Do you have a favorite track off “Chapters,” if so what is it?
A: Saved by the sun is probably my favorite, because I go wild every time I play it live for a crowd. Pulling out Hendrix moves and what not. I just connect so well with it because it reminds me of when I first picked up the guitar and played blues and R&B.
Q: What are your long-term goals as an artist?
A: I just want to keep pushing forward, making good music so I can continue to connect to a wide audience. I want to keep the intimate vibe, whether it be at Exit-In, The Ryman, or even the Bridgestone Arena. Hopefully 5 years from now I’ll be touring the US and maybe even internationally. Whether it be signing a record deal with Sony or small independent label.
Q: What is your advice for others following their dreams? (not just in music)
A: I think society puts it in people’s heads that you graduate high school, then go to college, then get a white picket fence and get married. But every single person is different and they walk their own path. My heart desired to play music, so that’s what I did. I believe people need to take leaps and go towards the happiness that their heart tells them, and not just what people expect them to do. For the last couple years I’ve been blessed to work for a ma and pa music shop here in town and my boss taught me to just go for it and follow what you think it right. We only live once and when I am 80 years old, I want to say I lived a life that was meaningful. Even if I have had failures, I just kept moving forward on to the next chapter.
Interviewed by Mitchell Manning
Forlorn Strangers is made up of Ben, Chris, Jesse, Hannah and Abigail. Hailing from different states around the country, they are united by their love for Americana music and their passion for songwriting. They are a heavy, harmony based, Americana influenced group that brings positive vibes to every show they play. Their first CD “While The Grass Grows” was released in September and they have since been touring the east coast. The writing and recording process is something special to them as they all contribute and get to watch a song come to life.
You are from Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, and Virginia, how did you all meet and form?
Chris: Ben, Hannah and I met at a college in West Palm Beach, FL called Palm Beach Atlantic University. Then we moved to Waco, TX and worked on a farm before making the move to Nashville.
Hannah: We met Jesse as soon as we moved to Nashville last Fall, a little over a year ago. Then we begged my sister Abigail to move here to be in the band. We were like “We need you!”
Abigail: We are kind of like a family band. Ben and Hannah are getting married in late April.
Why did you make the decision to move to Nashville?
Hannah: Nashville is kind of hub. We were from cool places like the middle of Texas and south Florida, but there wasn’t much of a music scene or room for growth as a band. Nashville seemed like the most central.
Jesse: There are a lot of people making music right now in Nashville and it is good to be around it.
What would you most compare your sound to? Most similar artist?
Jesse: I feel like it’s like Americana music.
Hannah: That’s a hard question.
Abigail: We did get Fleetwood Mac once.
Jesse: Yes, we got Fleetwood Mac.
Ben: The sound is vocal harmonies based.
Jesse: If there is a current artist we would like to be compared to it is Pokey LaFarge.
Ben: It’s a weird animal because it’s not a bluegrass band, but we have bluegrass instrumentation. It’s not gospel or barber shop or any of those vocal close harmony styles.
Jesse: It’s not pop, but some of it is written like pop songs.
Hannah: All in all, we want to be a mix of Pokey LaFarge and Fleetwood Mac.
How do you start writing a song?
Hannah: All five of us write so it’s different for each person. We all bring something to the table. I think the idea behind the band was as songwriters. I think we start with a song lyrically and bring it to the rest of the band to flesh out.
Jesse: And then I tear it down.
Abigail: But we do call it a skeleton. Somebody has a melody and maybe acoustic guitar and brings the skeleton to the band to fit in the other instrumentation and harmonies. Whoever writes a song sings lead.
Jesse: It ends up being a pretty beautiful process, like to learn about yourself and to learn about your family.
Hannah: I wrote “While The Grass Grows” after listening to a harp player and wrote it as a slow, minor song and we brought it and it was super fun the way everyone heard it different than I thought it would be.
Jesse: The way you wrote it was banging on a wall and singing.
Can you tell us about “While The Grass Grows” and how recording the album has been for you?
Hannah: It was great. Jesse our bass player let us record it in his home studio.
Ben and Jesse: Yeah, Jesse recorded, mixed and mastered it.
Hannah: It was a fun process because talking about the songwriting we just trust one another. We are willing to give, in the creative process, control to everybody and even if it’s your song it is still everybody’s song. It’s fun to see the work come together and take shape in the studio.
Chris: Abby hadn’t come down here yet, so she came down for a week and we all took off to work on it.
You have been touring a lot on the east coast, where has your favorite place been and what has been your favorite part of touring?
Hannah: Oh man, we got back last night at 10 or 11 from tour.
Ben: My favorite part is thinking about all the logistics like talking to venues and figuring out driving and gas. You think it will be negative sometimes, but we experienced a minimum of that. We thought we would be eating like birds, and we just got stuff thrown at us.
Chris: Yeah, we went into some venues that didn’t seem friendly or hospitable but our music seemed to cut through. We played at this one venue where the opening bands were both punk and by the end of the night we were all hanging out and drinking together.
What are your summer plans?
Ben: First and foremost, I’m getting hitched. Then we are recording and focusing on a fall tour.
Click here for the full interview at CollegeBookRenter.com
Seattle-born, Nashville-based Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden have characteristics of The Cardigans, Cocteau Twins, and early U2 on their new album The Shape the Color The Feel.
It began with a rebirth, as Tucker moved from Seattle to Nashville via NYC, where she met Wes Chandler and Ethan Place, two musicians recently relocated from southern Illinois. Their combined sound was closer to the first KT+SOS record than it was to Tucker’s solo Americana work, so with the blessing of the original Seattle lineup, the Sons of Sweden name was resurrected.
Produced by Konrad Snyder (Kopecky Family Band) at The Brown Owl in Nashville, with additional production from Jordan Lehning, The Shape The Color The Feel was a collaborative effort from the beginning. Original Son of Sweden Nic Danielson joined the new lineup in Nashville to put his signature spin on the tracks, and singer-songwriter Matthew Perryman Jones lent his voice to a song, as did Wilder Embry, and Hannah Holbrook of SHEL.
Q: Tell us about your sound. Who do you sound like?
A: We play thickly layered ‘indie rock’ with sparkling melodies and shimmering soundscapes. We have some electronic synthy things happening, a little like Metric and Phantogram, and our songs are moody and often dark in the vein of The National and Interpol. We tend toward guitar over synth, but we like using them both.
Q: Tell us about the path you took to get where you are now?
A: I started Sons of Sweden in Seattle, and then I moved to NYC to make a solo record. In New York, I learned that the New York I wanted to live in was Patti Smith’s and Bob Dylan’s NYC in the seventies, and not what it is now. I was looking for a place where I’d have a little more creative space.
Q: Why did you choose Nashville over other cities?
A: My lease was up in NYC, so I packed all my belongings in a car and was traveling back home to Seattle, but decided to stay in Nashville for a week. In less than a week’s time I fell in love with the city. I met so many amazing people and wrote some good songs with them, so I knew it was where I wanted to be.
Q: How would you describe your writing process?
A: Usually Wes Chandler, our guitar player, and I sit down with our guitars and start with an idea, chasing melodies. We get the structure sorted out and then we bring it to the band with whatever visual and sonic ideas we have to help take the song in the direction it wants to go. Then with those cues, we arrange the song and give it its texture and feel.
Q: Do you have a favorite track off the new album?
A: I would say Wide Open Plain is my favorite. I love how the chorus opens up like a highway with nothing on it and everything moves so quickly. I also really love singing about Orion the constellation, speeding in a car on the interstate. It feels like a movie I’d want to watch.
Q: Could you tell us a little about The Shape The Color The Feel visual exhibit that goes with the album?
A: We asked Australian artist Jessie English to create a series of wet process photograms based on the songs and then form the album art from that series. The Shape The Color The Feel visual exhibit opened in Nashville on February 16, 2014 and is currently on display at Crema. You can see the mini-doc about the installation on our youtube channel. The exhibit will travel across the country to several cities throughout 2014.
Q: Will you about the Kickstarter project, and the short films that go along with the album?
A: We launched the The Shape The Color The Feel, on Kickstarter, to raise funds for the album and the production. In an effort to stand out among the myriad of bands looking to fund a record, we decided to make it more collaborative and since our songs often begin with film references and visual ideas, we thought, why not see if some of our favorite filmmakers might want to take the songs and give them their own unique visual form. We enlisted 10 filmmakers to each choose a song from the record and make a music video or short film based on it. The first of these, by Silver Point Studios owner Jason Smythe, premiered on the Vinyl District in November and the most recent, ‘Best Friends’ Love’, shot at the Cannery, premiered on Esquire. Overall, the project includes 10 music videos, 3 short films, and a documentary in addition to the full length album out now on vinyl and CD.
Q: How have you separated yourself from all the other bands here in Nashville?
A: I don’t know, I think we sound like we sound and they sound how they sound. It’s kind of like a bunch of different families on the same street.
Q: What’s your advice for others following their dreams?
A: Know your story and stick to it. Whatever is unique to your experience, whatever is honestly and truly you, that’s what you do best and that’s what you know best. No one will believe you unless you do. You have to believe in yourself first and show everyone else how to do it.
Interview by Mitchell Manning.
Jillian Edwards is a 25-year old Nashville based singer-songwriter originally from Dallas, TX. Edwards has had the chance to work with or open for a number of acts, including: Drew & Ellie Holcomb, Josh Garrels, Ben Rector, David Ramirez, The Civil Wars, and Bethany Dillon. Edwards released her first EP, Galaxies & Such, Edwards’ in 2009 and released her second effort, Headfirst, in 2011, which held the #1 spot on singer-songwriter charts for its entire release week. She married Will Franklin Chapman and the pair along with her brother-in-law, Caleb Chapman, both members of the band Colony House, created an indie-folk side project called “The Inlaws.” Edwards co-wrote and sang on the title track of Ellie Holcomb’s latest album, “With You Now.” She also sang vocals on “How Great Thou Art,” a track from Steven Curtis Chapman’s bluegrass record, “Deep Roots.” The title track from her latest work, “Daydream,” is featured on an iTunes compilation album and her most recent effort was released on March 11, 2014. I had the chance to chat with Lightning’s artist of the week about her latest piece of work and how this Texas native made her way to Nashville.
Q: You are originally from Dallas, TX and recently moved to Nashville. How does the music scene differ in these two cities and how has it influenced your style of music?
A: My transition was more from college to Nashville because I started playing shows while in college. There is a combination of growing up in Dallas and the college culture. It’s more common for people to make a living through music in Nashville. You can view it either as encouraging or be intimidated and act competitively. Everyone wants to help people here.
Q: How did you get to where you are now?
A: I grew up singing in school and church, and had parents who sang. Music has always been in my family’s blood. I have always known that’s what I wanted to do, but also wanted to go to college. I went to college knowing that I wanted to be an artist, as I believe that to be my purpose, but studied communication. I had planned to move to Nashville as soon as possible. I lived in Nashville summer before my senior year at Waco. There were a few mentors that encouraged and believed in me. Being a student highlighted my desire to pursue being an artist full time. It felt like the right time and I was ready to go. Moving to Nashville was the natural next step in my career. Now living in Nashville and not being a student, it feels like home.
Q: You’ve worked with or opened for a range of artists (Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Ben Rector, The Civil Wars, David Ramirez, etc.), who is your favorite collaborator?
A: Ellie Holcomb is one of my favorite people to write with. If I write with her, I know I am going to like the outcome of it. I was able to open for those artists on their tour stops through Texas. There was one venue in Waco, called Common Ground, that these artists played at and I made myself available to open for any artists of the artists coming through.
Q: Your last EP was released two years ago, how does it differ from your new EP, if at all?
A: I really love the sound on this record. It matches what I hoped it to be and it feels very organic. There are things about each record that I want to keep progressing. This 8-song EP was produced by Joe Causey, and he was able to capture my sound and highlight it.
Q: Do you have a favorite track?
A: There is a live version of “In Just A Little While,” which is a song I wrote for my husband. It’s sort of me speaking to him and speaking words that both of us live by. They are all special to me, but that one stands out because of its truth.
Q: Some of your influences are Allison Krauss, Patty Smith, and Mindy Smith. Would you consider these your influences or consider yourself in the same genre?
A: I consider my genre as singer/songwriter. I don’t like to label my music as pop, folk, or country as some songs vary in their sound.
Q: Your voice and style have been described as a blend between Allison Krauss and Norah Jones, how would you describe your sound?
A: I am really delighted to hear that someone would complement my voice to that degree. I would love for that to be true! I hope that’s true, but I also hope to be my own unique voice. I could see similarities vocally. There are parts of their voices that I am definitely influenced by.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: Everything I surround myself with influences or inspire my songwriting. Basically, I am inspired by people who run after their sound. If it moves me, I am going to be inspired by it. Allison Krauss has one of my favorite voices, and there’s an element of respect attached to her name.
Q: Your husband is in a band and your father-in law is artist Steven Curtis Chapman. How is the dynamic of being in a musical family?
A: I couldn’t have imagined a better combination of elements in my family. It works really well to work in the same industry as my husband, but doing different things (he is the drummer for Colony House). Going into our relationship, we both felt strongly that performing was our purpose. The understanding of that has helped our relationship. One of my favorite songwriters is my dad. Having a musical family encourages and fuels me more and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Q: What is your long-term goal as a musician?
A: I want to be able to sustain a career in music for my whole life. Right now, I am in a place in my life where I am ready to put in the work. In a few years, we will definitely want to have kids, but I hope to be writing and releasing records for the rest of my life.
Q: Describe your writing process.
A: I kind of go with the flow. It ends up being relational songs, love songs, some of my songs are prayers, but most are about life. I never sit down with the intention to write a song, but let something come to me and write about it
Q: What is a personal highlight of your career?
A: My latest album is something I’m very proud of. Since Will and I got married (the couple just celebrated a year in December), he has been involved in the process of this album and having that to share is special. Right now I am most grateful for where I am at in my career. I’m not sure what the future will look like, but I know that I am blessed.
Q: What is your advice for others following their dreams? (not just in music).
Value yourself in what you’re running after. If it’s something that is life giving to you, putting in the hours will be worth it. Make sure that what you are doing is for the right reasons. Don’t look for the end product, but for the journey.
Jillian Edwards Interview conducted and written by: Lexie Deeb
Both raised in Indianapolis, IN they unknowingly attended the same high school. Chris left to study music in Bloomington, IN, and Peter to study music in Evanston, IL. They met through a mutual friend and relocated to Chicago where they formed Peter Terry & The City Profits in 2010, having set out to find a blend between folk/rock & soul. In 2011 they relocated once again to Nashville, TN. As PTCP, the guys began receiving acclaim after being featured on indie radio station, Lightning 100, with their single “The Lawyer”. After 3 years of being on the scene, they soon realized their sound was evolving into what is now known as “LEWIS”.
As a duo, LEWIS released their debut self-titled EP in February 2014 with help from former member Stephen Juergensen on cello and Zach Allen at the production helm.
LEWIS is a bit more electronic and fresh compared to their first album “I Am Jackson” when they were known as PTCP. Mixing their numerous musical influences (from jazz, classical, rock, blues, electronic, to folk) has produced a fresh, adventurous sound. They’re using their roots of blues, soul, and rock as a foundation to further explore afro-beat and synth pop. LEWIS is very excited to share their latest EP as they delve into this new chapter.
Colony House is a three piece rock band from Franklin, TN founded by brothers Caleb and Will Chapman, and shortly thereafter joined by friend/guitarist Scott Mills. From the beginning, the chemistry between the three young men has defined their approach to music and the road.
The members of Colony House are joined together by many things, and it has developed into a unique brotherhood where three stories have melded into one.
“We believe we have a story to tell – a story of hope and perseverance. That’s what we want to leave people with.”
With three EP’s setting the framework of this story – Colony House EP (2010), Trouble (2010), and To The Ends Of The World (2011) – Colony House is currently writing the next chapter in the form of their debut full length album, When I Was Younger, scheduled to release later this year.
Majestico was born from the breath of a new America, a land at the end of reason, where dogma meets God. At the beginning, he found himself living in a bungalow behind the local zoo. Amid the sounds of monkeys and elephants, he began recording what would be his first record “Boundary Conditions”. It was released into that great void they call the Inter-Net and although it remains undiscovered by the outside world, it was received with much excitement among peers.
Majestico then moved to Little Biv Town and made a bed in the studio there. Attempts were made at new recordings but the project was plagued with technical problems, personal disputes, and money was scarce. But late that summer, there was a breakthrough. A show was planned to be held in the studio so Majestico gathered a band to perform. That night people poured into the room as a cloud of steam formed above. While he played, they danced. This was all new to him, and although recording had been stunted, a new vision was realized. He just wanted to rock. Marked by this new freedom, Majestico continued to write songs and play everywhere that was cool; bars, clubs, houses, warehouses…wherever. Then Jeffery Drag Records approached him to record a 7″. He agreed and took the band to Battletapes to record the “Love is God” EP. It was released in 2012. This brought him to the doorstep of producer Andrija Tokic and Bomb Shelter Studios, where his friends the Alabama Shakes had recorded their album. This time, recording was a sinch. The music fell onto the tape and the album “When Kingdom Come” materialized. A new saga has been formed in Nashville, Tennessee and the future has no bounds.
Editor’s Note: Majestico is currently surfing your airwaves. He’s cruising a tram ride on the milky-way highway searching for the key to life, He’s totally cool, laid back, and humble. He doesn’t believe in slaughtering wheat or vegetables just to eat them. That’s wrong, but if you disagree he respects your opinion because freedom is the price we pay to get to blow stuff up with hand grenades and bazookas.
Raised in the Heart of Dixie, Rebecca Roubion is more than a pretty face with a song. At times, a sleight, speckled songbird commanding affection to a sprightly, weightless tune; at others, Roubion presents as a barely-hinged crooner, bearing her heart in a soaring, emphatic ballad. Carol King and Eva Cassidy are anything but strangers, and while she borrows from these soulful matriarchs of yore, there’s something fresh and enticing about her interpretation of folk-infused indie-pop.
“There’s a beautifully fresh voice on the Nashville music scene, and it belongs to Rebecca Roubion. It’s time to be introduced to the sweet sounds of this emerging artist with tastings of soul and folk that mark the start of a promising future for this independent Nashville artist.” – John Tumminello, Musicians Corner
Koa started in the fall of 2012, with Chase Bader (Vocals, Guitar) and Conor Kelly (Lead Guitar) at Belmont University, following past musical ventures by both. After years of sending material back and forth over the internet to each other, Conor relocated to Nashville, where the two began to reconstruct some of the past ideas. The two met Ryan Ladd (Bass) and began recording what is to be their debut ep Cool It Down, which came out in February 2013. Will Youngclaus (Drums) soon after joined the band locking down the rhythm section, and finally Alex Mathews (Sax), completing the lineup. We’re all about the good vibes and making people dance; come see us play!
The band was formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 2009, and currently consists of keyboardist/guitarist/singer Daniel Ellsworth from Minnesota, drummer Joel Wren from Kansas, guitarist Timon Lance and bassist Marshall Skinner both from Ohio. Former member(s) of the band include Ricky Perry who played guitar on their first album, Civilized Man.
In 2010, the band ran a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund their album, Civilized Man. The album was engineered and co-produced by Mark Nevers, who has also worked with Will Oldham, Andrew Bird, Yo La Tengo and Lambchop. The album was recorded at Beech House Studios in Nashville, Tennessee in early 2011, and was released digitally and physically in May 2011.
In late 2011, Amazon MP3 named Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes’ album, Civilized Man, the number 76 album out of the top 100 albums of the year. At the same time, the online music retailer also named the band’s single, “Shoe Fits,” the number seven song of the year. On February 2, 2012, Civilized Man was featured as Amazon MP3‘s Daily Deal and the following week, the album charted on Billboard’s Heatseeker’s chart at position 18.
“Shoe Fits” was released as a music video on August 8, 2011, and was Directed and Produced by Austin Gros, in Nashville, Tennessee. The single was also featured on the Australian Television series Offspring and was included on their Season 3 Soundtrack, released in Australia on June 8, 2012.
The band released their second music video for the song “Bleeding Tongue” on June 6, 2012. It premiered on Paste Magazine.
The single “Passenger” was featured in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy on November 8, 2012. The increased attention landed the song on Amazon MP3‘s Best Songs of 2012 at the number 33 spot.
Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes was named by The Deli Magazine as Nashville’s Best Emerging Artist of 2012. The title was given based on a combination of fan voting and staff opinions.
In May 2013, Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes entered the studio to record their second full-length album at Sputnik Sound in Nashville, Tennessee. The album was co-produced by Grammy Award winner Vance Powell, who has worked withThe Whigs, Kings of Leon, Jack White, and The White Stripes. The album is expected to be released in early 2014 with an extensive tour in support of the album. While in studio, the band was featured in an article in Paste Magazine, including an interview and a write-up saying “There’s very little you can guarantee in life, but one of the surer bets is that Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes will make you dance.”
In anticipation of the band’s new album, Esquire named Daniel Ellsworth & the Great Lakes one of their 15 Bands to Watch in 2014.
The band’s second album, named Kid Tiger, is set to be released on March 4, 2014. The songs were written while the band was touring and represented a collaborative effort of the band members. The first single from the new record, entitled “Sun Goes Out”, was released on January 21, 2014.
Life’s unpredictable purpose always seems to stem from life’s worst tragedies. That is just how Goodbye June was created. In June of 2005, guitarist Tyler Baker received the worst news of his life. His brother, PFC Shane Baker, was home on leave from the military and had been in a fatal car accident. His cousins Brandon Qualkenbush, Landon Milbourn and the rest of the family traveled to southern Indiana to comfort and ease the sting of unexpectedly losing a close loved one. For the next few weeks, the three cousins stayed together to comfort each other, reminisce about old times, laugh and cry over memories and, of course, play music together which essentially lead to the three of them writing songs to help pass the time.
In the months that followed, Landon, Brandon, and Tyler, all first cousins, began spending more time together in a makeshift rehearsal space in Tyler’s basement. “Music became a healthy emotional release,” says Landon, “which helped us to start the healing process and move forward with our lives.” When songs formed, they would take them to a local studio used to record jingles and radio commercials and started recording a demo. Once the demo was ready and they had a few shows under their belt, their family and friends began asking what their band name was. “We decided to name the band Goodbye June, to honor the memory of our brother passing and encapsulate what inspired the beginnings of this band,” explains Brandon, “if he wouldn’t have passed, I’d probably still be painting and never would have pursued music as a career.”
Brandon’s father, a Pentecostal preacher, and Landon’s father, a choir director, evangelized throughout the Bible belt during their childhood. Naturally, the cousins played and sang during these fiery Pentecostal church services. However, their musical influences are not confined to only the music they played in the sanctuary. “I would go and play at the Player’s Pub [a local blues bar in Bloomington, Indiana] and sit in on songs by anyone from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Booker T & The MG’s,” says Tyler. “It changed the way I thought about music. The music was built around moving people, much like the gospel music I was used to playing.” During their teens, Landon and Brandon found themselves listening to the secular music that was never allowed in their homes during childhood. “I remember sneaking in Bush’s Razorblade Suitcase record into my room and playing it with the volume turned down so low I had to have my ear right next to the speaker so my parents couldn’t hear it,” reminisces Brandon. You can hear these shadows of black gospel, blues, and old country hymns mixed into Goodbye June’s brand of rock.
Over the next three years after that long summer of 2005, the boys of Goodbye June began playing their material across the Midwest. They packed up their equipment in a borrowed trailer from a close family friend, and played to whoever would give them a stage. They returned home with stories about near death experiences, sleepless, rowdy nights and a flock of new fans throughout the Midwest. Goodbye June was on the map, and they have been pushing forward ever since. In 2009, taking the advice of close friends in the music industry, the cousins made the plunge and moved to Nashville TN, and became part of Music City’s emerging rock scene.
The members of Goodbye June have spent much of the past decade honing their skill as songwriters along with their proficiency as vocalists and musicians. Although Landon and Brandon are principally identified playing acoustic guitar and electric guitar, both cousins also play piano, drums, accordion and most anything else with strings or keys. Tyler always joked that he could “just play guitar” and that made him less of a man when compared to his multi-talented 1st cousins. Clearly, however, the sum of their collective efforts makes for a much greater musical experience. They typically write together and draw off of each other’s ideas. Being strong songwriters individually, and even stronger as a unit, there is never any shortage of material to build songs around. They have no set method to the songwriting process; the only constant is that everyone gets involved at some point. The fact is, the cousins of Goodbye June are constantly working on their music and perfecting their artistry, because they know that’s what it takes to make music that matters.
Their debut album “Nor The Wild Music Flow” released in June of 2012, alongside their highly anticipated debut music video “Microscope” featuring St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and country star Steve Holy. The band embarked on a debut European tour in Fall 2013 where they toured through Germany, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Belgium, France, and Spain during a 6-week stint across the Atlantic. Goodbye June also just announced a new album coming soon with Grammy-nominated producer Paul Moak. The band is fired up about the yet to be titled sophomore project, stating “we want this album to showcase our grit and soul by focusing on straight up rock ‘n roll.”
Smooth Hound Smith is a foot stompin’ folk-blues duo comprised of singer/multi-instrumentalist Zack Smith and vocalist/percussionist Caitlin Doyle. They record and perform a varied and unique style of folky, garage-infused rhythm & blues.
Using primal foot percussion, complex, fuzzed-out, finger-picked guitar patterns, warbled harmonicas, distorted vocals, and tasty harmonies, they are able to create something rugged and visceral- a modern interpretation of early blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll music that harkens back to the traditions of hazy front porch folk songs as well as raucous back-alley juke joints.
Aside from the obvious, the band That’s My Kid, and a panda bear don’t share too many similarities with each other. One is a cute, furry, and endangered mammal that mostly resides in the Orient where bamboo chutes are it’s main food source. The other, however, is a rock and roll band whose diet is solely composed of distortion, crash hits, and all things that groove.
Now, entering their second year as a group, That’s My Kid, is making sure everyone knows they’re open for business. From hitting the road touring, gigging around Nashville, or just playing super loud at band practice, odds are you’ll be hearing from them pretty soon.
Forrest Arnold, guitar/vocals, and Abraham Fongnaly, drums/enthusiasm, met in middle school many moons ago in Murfreesboo, TN. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that they started putting some songs together. Shortly after these impromptu sessions had begun, they found the last piece of their musical puzzle, bassist and overall cool dude, Jashaun Smith.
Ever since, TMK has been busy making a name for themselves. That’s My Kid has made themselves regular guests at many different house show venues, and of course many regular licensed venues, as well, all across the southeast. Last April they released their eight-song debut This One which is available for free download on their website www.thatsmykidmusic.com, but their newest release was December’s EP The Dark Horse Sessions recorded in nearby Franklin, TN, also available for a free download on their facebook page.
That’s My Kid is knocking on the door. Nashville’s door, the music door, and most likely your bedroom door because they just wanna hang out. They’re gonna keep on keepin’ on, and pretty soon they’ll be rockin’ and rollin’ right to your front door.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (February 8, 2012) – Most artists hoping to make it big in country music move to Nashville instead of away from it, but not Sara Jean Kelley. She grew up right here (what if people not in Nashville read this?) in Music City, born into a family of musicians that encouraged artistic expression and never hesitated to jump in the car and head across the country for the opportunity to perform in front of an audience.
Sara Jean could hardly wait to set off on her own adventure, and just days after graduating high school, that’s exactly what she did, loading up her car for a long road trip that would inspire her next move in life. A gal has a lot of time to think while behind the wheel, hours upon hours of asphalt flying by underneath, and what started as a simple vacation turned into a two-year sabbatical spanning the west. She reveled in the vast Colorado wilderness that would become a temporary new home and soaked in the inspiration that surrounded her, never forsaking her Southern roots.
After 2 years in Durango, home called to Sara Jean and she hit the road back to Nashville. She was sharpened by the journey, having had plenty of time to discover what she was put into the world to do and hone her skills as a performer.
Since the age of 16, Sara Jean has been captivating audiences across the country with her classic beauty, sultry voice and haunting lyrical stories. She has both roughed it out on the road, singing for her dinner and a bed to sleep in for the night, and snagged her own private dressing rooms in some of the most notable US venues, sharing stages with her icons: Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Rodney Crowell, just to name a few. Her slew of original songs offer the familiarity of traditional country and bluegrass while mixing in a healthy dose of modern Americana.
Like many great artists whose ambition is driven by their passion, Sara Jean is her toughest critic. In 2010, she performed for thousands of fans at Mobile, Alabama’s BayFest Music Festival. After a heart-wrenching performance received by thunderous applause, she kicked herself unforgivably for reversing the lyrics to a line of one of her songs during the encore. She was almost inconsolable until the next day when, despite the fact that the festival’s bill included a long list of major headlining acts, it was her picture that appeared on the 1A cover of the Mobile Press-Register, under the headline “Perfection.” It was no surprise that she was invited back to the same festival in 2011.
It is that tenacious spirit that drives Sara Jean to always improve, to always challenge herself. She is carrying the torch for a new generation of Americana artists. With her sights set on recording a new album this year (a follow up to 2006’s “Dollhouse”), Sara Jean has been writing relentlessly on her own and with several other Nashville songwriters including Jedd Hughes, Big Kenny and Will Kimbrough (guitarist for Emmylou Harris). Kimbrough is also slated to produce the project, along with Dave Coleman of The Coalmen, which will be released by the end of this year.
After half a decade spinning wheels on the Great American Highway, through the brutal heartbreaks and dire sacrifices that come with chasing the mythical rock & roll dragon, Great Peacock’s Andrew Nelson and Blount Floyd have finally eased up on the throttle. Like rock & roll as it transitioned from the erratic abandon of the late ’60s to the country-tinged storytelling of the early ’70s—donning cowboy boots and dipping its bucket in the well of American folk music—they’ve put their electric guitars back in the case, rolled their stacks back from 11, and let a serene hush wash over them. Their sound now? Beautiful, unadorned, moving—the bountiful harvest of a deep friendship and an unbreakable musical bond.
“The hangover is definitely starting to wear off,” Nelson says. “The amps had gotten a little too loud.”
“With our old band, we’d been playing all this angsty downer rock,” Floyd explains. “So with Great Peacock, we wanted the songs to be simple, poppy—infectious.”
For the first time, Nelson and Floyd weren’t writing songs for themselves, but rather songs they hoped would connect with fans. With Great Peacock they would embrace an unselfish, unpretentious aesthetic. “I don’t want to alienate people any more,” Nelson says, laughing a bit as he recalls the darker, more confessional songs he used to write. “I’m at a point where I want as many people to like our music as possible.”
Floyd and Nelson met in their early 20s in Nashville, the former having come to MusicCity to break into recording and the latter to play rock & roll. When they first ran into each other, neither had any close friends in town yet, and their connection was instant. “From the moment we said ‘hello,’ we realized we were gonna be best friends,” Nelson says. “It’s the only time it’s ever happened in my life. Blount’s brother introduced us, and I was like, ‘This guy is cool!’”
About an hour later, they were shotgunning beers together. “And it’s not like there was a party going on, either,” Nelson explains. “We were talking about music and I said, ‘Let’s get some beer.’ So we went to the gas station and bought a 12 pack of Busch. At every moment in the night, we became better friends—I was like, ‘Dude, we should get the camouflage cans,’ and Blount was like, ‘Hell yes, let’s do it!’”
“And there was this guy in front of us buying a single gas-station rose,” Floyd recalls, “and he says, ‘Yo, can I get some cigarillos and a box of magnums?’”
“We were both like, ‘That’s real love, man. Real love,’” Nelson says. “‘This guy has his life figured out—we need to figure out ours!’ I don’t think we drank a single beer normal that night—we shotgunned the whole 12-pack.”
The new friends soon found that their musical chemistry was just as intense, and that their strengths and weaknesses were the perfect complement. “The big thing about us,” Nelson says, “is that I can’t sing harmony—I’m terrible at it. And Blount doesn’t have a strong lead voice. When we’re riding around listening to music, he never sings the melody; he naturally sings the harmony. So we’re a perfect fit—I need him to sound good, and he needs me.”
Since the pair started playing together, they’ve seen two bands—and about a dozen bandmates—come and go. Through it all, their musical partnership has been a constant. “We always seemed to get what each other was doing more than anyone else,” Nelson says. “He keeps me artistic, and I keep him grounded.”
As far as Great Peacock has already come—recording a stunning debut EP of harmony-driven acoustic pop, performing as part of stylish, socially conscious eyewear company Warby-Parker’s Class Trip, and landing a coveted spot at one of Paste magazine’s 2013 SXSW showcases—the group began, almost literally, as a lark. “We kept noticing this hilarious trend of bands with names like Fleet Foxes, Deer Tick, Vulture Whale—they all had two names,” Nelson says, “one of which was always an animal.”
Kidding around one night, Nelson and Floyd decided to start a new band called Great Peacock. “I thought it was gonna be this cockamamie joke,” Nelson says. “We’ve talked a million times about starting random bands—including a Southern-rock band called Swamp Ass—and didn’t follow through. But even for a while there, when we didn’t really have anything going, I never stopped writing songs because I have to write to maintain my sanity. It’s my version of therapy. And Blount hadn’t stopped, either. Writing gave us an excuse to hang out.
“But I still didn’t think we were actually gonna do it,” Nelson confesses about the new band. “Really, the only reason it happened is because we wrote ‘Desert Lark.’”
Without giving it much thought, Nelson and Floyd posted an acoustic demo of the song on Bandcamp. Friends, family and fans went crazy over it, begging them to follow through on the new project. “We didn’t expect that,” Nelson says. “I wasn’t planning on being in a band again. I really wasn’t.” The chiming, triumphant acoustic anthem would become the centerpiece of the Nashville duo’s new self-titled EP.
Great Peacock’s harmony-driven sound appeals to fans of indie-folk, but the group is different from contemporaries like Fleet Foxes and The Head and the Heart in that their music is inextricalbly linked with the South. It’s who they are—Floyd hailing from a family of Alabama peanut farmers, and Nelson a long line of Mississippi preachers and sharecroppers. “If I had my way in life,” Nelson admits, “I’d be a country singer. My dream is to be George Jones.”
“But those country singers don’t exist any more,” Floyd says.
So instead of trying to live in a long-gone past, Great Peacock draws from the same inspirations that once fueled their now-extinct forebears (geography, aging, love/hate family relationships, blood, death, birds), channeling them into an unmistakably modern sound. For Nelson and Floyd, it’s natural, inutitive. “We know that even though there’s a history we’re connected to, we’re of our time,” Nelson says. “We know most records aren’t made on tape any more, but we’re also very much aware that—no matter the year or the production style—the right melody can be timeless.”
Thom Donovan is a singer, songwriter and guitarist whose music melds experimental sounds within modern pop arrangements through the eyes of a classically trained musician. While many artists spend their time looking back, reliving the sounds of a previous generation, Donovan’s music is forward-looking, taking classic sounds and pushing them into the future. An example of experimentation in his music is the juxtaposition of the cold, sterile feel of a LinnDrum against a shredding, squalling electric guitar. His sound can be described as a synthesis of Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound”, Brit-pop and indie folk.
Donovan began his career as a session musician, recording and touring worldwide with a variety of artists including Robert Plant, One Republic and Hot Hot Heat. Unfulfilled by his work performing other artist’s compositions, he formed a band of his own called Lapush. The band’s debut album, Someplace Closer To Here (456/Fontana), was released in 2005. The band’s second album, Modern Blues, was released in 2007 through it’s own imprint, and songs from both releases have been featured frequently on MTV, VH-1, and CBS.
While Lapush garnered great success, Donovan decided to embark on his solo career, releasing his debut album Cast A Light in 2010 and his second solo album, Mercury Maybe, in 2012.
Donovan’s exploratory approach upholds the philosophy of forward musical thinking and experimenting musically without disregarding the song. Listeners can testify to this with Donovan’s new single “Shipwreck,” a collaboration with Wyclef Jean and featuring Ruby Amanfu on vocals, inspired by Arthur Brooke’s poem, The Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet (1562). “Shipwreck” can be found on Donovan’s third solo album, Canon, due for release in February 2014 through AWAL.
Donovan currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, and writes for JMHB Music and Kobalt Music. Donovan’s international performance career has included concerts across the United States as well as cities around the world, including London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Ennepetal. His music frequently appears in popular television shows, including The Good Wife on CBS and Body of Proof on ABC, and he currently has a recurring role in the ABC musical drama series, Nashville, as a musician.
As you unfold the corners of Nashville, you can peer into a world flooding with diversity, where streams run together and mountains jet high above the clouds. These summits of success are just as high as they are unstable. The terrifying fear of plummeting is almost equal to the electrifying thrill of potential, yet many artists make the move to Nashville for this reason – it is a hotbed for aspirations and inspirations alike. For MODOC*, when Clint Culberson, Kyle Addison, Caleb Crockett and John Carlson met at Ball State University in Indiana, they knew making the move was something they had to do.
“It’s Music City! We love it here. We saw some of the guys we looked up to move down here and start their careers in music, and we wanted in on it. We’ve been able to reach more cities and more fans using Nashville as a touring base. We have grown exponentially as people as well as musicians. I think our fanbase has been on a continual rise since.”
With so many dreamers trying to scale these mountains at once, two things are for sure… it takes someone different to make it to the top, and making it to the top makes you different. Either way, if you’re going to start climbing, you better mean it. MODOC means it, and they’re climbing.
“I’ve always believed in having your cake and eating it too. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but when things you’ve worked hard for start becoming a reality, it is sometimes very crazy. Wow, is this really happening? Are people I don’t know really fans of our work? We’ve had some really good placements as of recently. Fox Sports just made us their Band of the Month for December. Pearl Jam was their artist for November- which is one of my favorite bands ever- that’s kind of crazy to think about!”
What at first may have looked like grappling for a new crevice to take hold as they ascended has progressed to a steady incline of popularity for the band.
“We recently signed a deal with Zavitson Music Group and since this was more of a rebirth for MODOC, we felt since we were being introduced to a whole new set of fans, the album didn’t really need a title. This album is MODOC – nice to meet you!”
This album that went live in August has an expected Vinyl counterpart that will be released next month.
It’s not their style to get lost in the muck and mire of the musical jungle that often turns out burned up genres. They’re a great rock band, a one-of-a-kind sound without sacrificing that Nashville flair that has become part of their identity.
“We travelled quite a bit this year. We have a lot of favorites. Lately, Baton Rouge has been noticeably diggin’ it. It’s been great to see the growth there. Nashville is home, we love our hometown crowd, but chances are there is always someone in the crowd that can outplay you, so it forces you to improve and put every bit of energy into the show that people came to see.”
A little bit more about MODOC
“We chose the name out of desperation and now it has just kind of stuck. We had a show before we had a name. Fans have a lot of meanings for MODOC. My personal favorite is Missouri Department of Corrections… MODOC, IN. That small town is very significant now- realizing how much that community molded me, it definitely holds a place in my rebellious heart. They’re underdogs, much like MODOC.”
*MODOC (Clint Culberson on vocals/guitars, Kyle Addison on lead guitars/vocals, Caleb Crockett on bass/vocals and John Carlson on drums/vocals)
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FnF is FUN. highly energetic, infinitely passionate and making a serious impact on the Nashville indie rock scene. With an electric grouping of songs written by singer/songwriter Michael Fabrizio FnF leaves a mark on all of their audiences. More than music, FnF is striving to promote peace and unity in a movement and it’s catching on.
With Nathanial Lee on standup bass and Steve Wolfe on drums/percussion, the groove of FnF is strong and full of force. Alex Conerly and Brian Wooden add to the mix with wicked guitar melodies. Fabrizio provides a solid musical contribution with vocals acoustic guitar, piano and harmonica.
“We come from a good place, we want to see the good in people and promote the idea of understanding, Musically, we really love what we do, you can see that passion in our performances” -Fabrizio
After winning Lightning 100’s Music City Mayhem contest in 2012, Roots of a Rebellion took the stage at Live on the Green. In the last year and a half, the reggae rock band has continued to make progressive steps in their careers and in building up their community.
In addition to their “Inner Light” EP they’ve released a Summer Sampler 2013, including 17 songs that radiate with their continual sunshine. Austin Smith’s passion for creating messages and not just lyrics, movements and not just albums shines through as he said, “We wanted them [audiences] to pay us whatever… because at this stage in the game it is more important that our music and message is getting across.”
“What I’ve come to discover is that I get lost in all kinds of music all year round…but reggae is the one and only type of music that no matter what, every time, makes me feel at ease and allows me to quiet my mind, slow down, and enjoy the moment for what it is.”
“The song ‘Fixman’ means a lot to us as a band and it is one that I personally think exemplifies the message of Roots of a Rebellion which is—only you can fix you, only you can make you happy. Think for yourself. We are all going through something, and it’s up to each of us to “walk through our pain on our own” –Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
With the growth of the band has also come much change. “Dear friend and founding bass player” Alec Newnam parted ways with the band to pursue graduate school. Adam Quellhorst, another long time friend, was then introduced to ROAR as bassist. Amidst the tumult, things kept falling into place as the group prepped for their next big move as their lead guitarist returned home from spending the Spring in California.
“The summer of 2013 found a brand new band of brothers united for the sole purpose of making music… When the band started, I [Austin] was the main singer and songwriter, but now everyone in the band has songs they’ve written and a voice to bring to the table, which makes for some serious experimentation and self-discovery as a band!”
“Before LOTG, we were very fortunate to have a super strong group of friends and followers from Belmont, but since LOTG we have seen such a wide variety of folks receive our music very well! All ages, colors, sizes, and types of people have expressed their appreciation for what we are doing and it is an enormous blessing!”
The Roots Crew
ROAR is not just a band, it’s the start of a movement. Each member has played volunteer shows for Hands on Nashville with still-dirty hands from planting trees and cleaning up local Nashville schools. While they could easily pull the artist-card and focus only on their music, they have given of themselves individually and as a family to bless others in any way that they can.
They’re not stopping there, however. They’re recruiting fans and friends to get in on the action, too. Stay up to date with their latest efforts and get involved at the Root’s Crew house.
“This past fall we started hosting ‘Medicine Wednesdays,’ a time every week where we’d come together and play our music in the hopes of spreading the healing power of music. This idea was inspired by one of our favorite bands named THUNDERBODY from Rochester, NY. This lead to meeting some truly inspiring individuals, who received our music and message of love and growth with open arms, minds, and hearts.”
“We are now, more than ever, a serious tribe of brothers and sisters, working to promote the healing power of music and it’s ability to unite like-minded individuals striving for strong, local communities thriving by staying positive and making the best music we can, all thanks to the Grace of God.”
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Freshly integrated into Nashville, indie rock band Blank Range is taking new lessons from the old: “Everyone listens to the music their parents like. You stray from that as a teenager, but sooner or later you must admit your parents were pretty boss.”
Drummer/vocalist Matt Novonty
Bassist/vocalist Aaron Wahlman
Keys proficient Jonathan Rainville
Baritone guitar/vocalist Grant Gustafson
Guitar/vocalist Jonathon Childers…
…Blank Range, a name chosen for its ambiguity and ability to embody an array of images and meanings, is bridging the cassette-tape world with today’s frenzy of digital tracks and our regurgitated, adjunct love for vinyl after it’s remission during our youth.
Originally transplanted from the mid-west (Northern Illinois & St. Louis), most of the band members either went to college together or were previously in bands together. After only living here for several years, they seem to understand how our unique, creative-dense industry thrives.
“It’s all mixed-up. It’s between big and small, north and south; you have people from everywhere and, yet, there is a huge amount of civic pride; you can get to many other cities but it is often hard to leave your little cluster within this city; and, most importantly, you can be here a day and have made friends you’ll remember when you’re 64.”
They are taking their place here seriously but also with great jovial respect for the love of the work they do.
“The cool thing about being in a new band is that then you don’t have to consider theme. You work a job and play songs you like, and, in a way, the theme builds itself. We felt like putting songs to vinyl was an accomplishment. We are proud of what we’re making and wanted to represent that.”
Already past “Phase II,” their most recent release, “Scrapin b/w Before I Go To Sleep” EP just dropped at the beginning of this month. A release show is planned for Nov. 21st at the Basement, where they’ll be joined by “Fly Golden Eagle and The New Lonely… When [we asked them to play with us and] they said yes we felt like the luckiest guy going to prom.”
Leaving a bit up to interpretation, Blank Range presents their music to the feelings and understandings of others, a brave move for an artist.
“If each song can be played earnestly, there is a similarity. The listener can find a thread running through any compilation.”
Next on the Agenda
“We’re going to be playing three shows opening for Futurebirds next weekend (Nov 15, Proud Larry’s, Oxford, MS - Nov 16, Bottletree Cafe, Birmingham, AL - Nov 17, Vinyl Music Hall, Pensacola, FL). After that we’ll work on new music and look at getting on the road early next year.”
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Formerly one of Nashville’s most eclectic bands, Buffalo Clover now feeds a more fitting hybrid of roots-rock and soul into the Music City bloodstream.
Hailing from somewhere in the Midwest, front lady Margo Price grew up in a farming town where music didn’t thrive. Fortunately, it did thrive in the more obscure parts of her lineage. Price traced her creative genes to a great-grandfather who played piano using only the black keys.
A restless soul brought her to Nashville in the early aughts where she met guitarist Jeremy Ivey. The two made a couple as well as co-writers and got married. In late 2008, they met bassist Matt Gardner whose guitar chops were so good, he eventually switched instruments. They added bassist Jason White later, and drummer Dillon Napier joined in late 2010.
Throughout the band’s formative decade, Buffalo Clover, even in its developmental stages, attracted a variety of talent. Price has worked on two different projects with Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. Pianist Micah Hulscher, who plays with rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson on the road, recorded on Buffalo Clover’s last record, Low Down Time, and sometimes joins the band for live performances. They’ve also shared the stage with The Flaming Lips, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and legendary sax player Bobby Keys, proving their southern soul style can match up with anyone.
In the simplest terms, Buffalo Clover are vintage rock ‘n’ rollers, but the South tends to creep in. This brand of southern soul bears a striking resemblance to their idols, the Rolling Stones and The Band. Taking a cue from Bob Dylan with a lyrical poeticism inspired by the troubled times, and Janis Joplin with her rough-hewn-but-honest, bottom-of-the-heart soulful lilt, Buffalo Clover emulate their musical paragons in a style of their own.
Never playing the same show twice, the band’s genuineness translates to a loyal local fan base. It makes them just as much at home playing in the UK, which they toured last summer, as The 5 Spot in East Nashville.
Ever the victims of wanderlust, what Buffalo Clover has in mind for 2013 is getting back to those places, in both Europe and the states, and continuing to bring the southern soul to a wider audience.
In his latest EP San Francisco, Seth Wood brings his gospel background to picnic with his own folk-inspired style, where audiences can feast on words that he has been carefully harvesting for months.
Ripe and ready for listening, this 2013 release, produced by Tom Laune, echoes of a season where Wood wrestled extensively with his dreams and impending realities. When friend DJ Lipscomb suggested he begin a Kickstarter campaign to fund the EP, Wood consenting under one condition: “If it doesn’t happen, this is the world signaling for me to not do music anymore.”
Six weeks of madness ensued where Wood lived on a haggard diet of social media, sharing, promoting, and praying, all of which paid off when he exceeded his goal of $7,000.
But, behind this wonderful moment was buried a great many more moments that seemingly lacked any “wonderfulness.”
Music in itself has an inexplicably powerful way of moving people, but what first moved Wood to music was the fatal car accident of a friend who lost her life in high school. He was asked to perform in her memory, an event which manifested early encouragement that this is what he was meant to do. After graduating, he jumped right into college at Middle TN State University to pursue a career in music. But, he grew increasingly discouraged after nothing seemed to be taking shape, so he moved to France to spend a year studying and exploring new opportunities.
Having already tried to stir up the waters of the music industry and finding, instead of a dynamic river a still, shallow lake, he jumped into a new pool entirely: the art of film. He nearly lost himself within the depths of creating, experiencing, and learning – but this ultimately led to him to finding himself. Nothing was settled in his spirit, he told me, without music – the inner musician was ever beckoning. So on a normal day he made another pivotal decision, acquiescing to the voice of fate by buying a guitar.
“When I heard Damien rice in Europe I thought, now there’s a guy just playing the guitar and singing. He’s doing everything with his soul and a couple of chords. I can do that.”
Between simple chords and choppy lyrics, he began to grow again.
Moving back to Nashville in 2007, the winds began to shift once more. Wood settled himself into odd jobs to support his composing and performing, welcomed into music city first by new friend Brooke Waggoner, followed by power couple-duo Elenowen and many more. “Building good relationships is key,” suggested Wood.
Discouragement returned, however, after a long bout of playing shows and leading to nothing further. So he did what anyone would do when feeling disconnected between seasons of life – he moved back home to Franklin.
While trying to regain a sense of himself and his music, Wood again tried to venture into other areas of art. Photography became a new love, a side hobby he maintains today.
Finding expression through other modes of creativity was only a step in the right direction for Wood, however. “It wasn’t clicking with my soul – didn’t make much sense for me to try all of that.” His best moments are ever in crafting lyrics, juggling chords, sculpting forms that others can relate to out of giant blobs of common emotions and experiences.
Once he let go, running into the winds that had driven him hither and thither before, he found his way to a place where he now knows that, beyond the inconsistency of the industry, this is where he calling lays.
Traveling showed him how big the world is and how music can impact people around the globe, “You don’t even have to understand what’s being said, just immerse yourself in it. It can move you even in a different language.”
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Thursday was a brilliantly crisp yet foggy morning, perfect for sitting outside of Ugly Mugs with a piping cup of coffee and chatting with Cali band Diamond Carter. They wandered into Nashville a little under a year ago after forefront man Tyler Tuohy decided it was time to get out of town. Sax player Cameron Black, drummer Trevor Hunnicutt and bassist Josh Cropper, having collided when they were each swirling through life’s madness inside of LA’s Silverlake Overpass speakeasy, decided to follow Tuohy across state lines. “I told each one of them, just give me five years and you’ll come out with the greatest stories, memories and experiences of your life,” recanted Tuohy.
They refuse to give pardon or surrender to anyone who would get in the way of following after their dreams. They’ve succeeded in planting their colorful flag in new territory by refusing to waste any time getting noticed in Nashville, and as Tuohy explained, “We didn’t want to be ‘that one guy sitting in the corner by himself.’ Lightning ushered us into the scene, for sure.”
Full of love for supporters, the guys have kept it positive even as they fight through the daily struggles of their living/work relationships. As dirty dishes pile up in the sink at home tensions grow but never cross over into the sacred places of songwriting, and they certainly have no chance of echoing through the soundproof walls of the studio. “It’s a brotherhood. We only really fight about food and dishes,” Black laughed.
The guys have found refreshment in Nashville’s “more community based” music industry than that of LA. Tuohy and Black both grew up in Orange County originally, never meeting until the cards aligned later in life, and they brought very different styles and talents to the same foundation where, in their musicianship, they found commonality.
They’ve recently been celebrating their new residency at 12th and Porter, where you can find them on the second Thursday of every month. Their upcoming performance (Nov. 13th) will be on a Wed., a tribute to Elliott Smith and his passing ten years ago.
True to the band’s nature, their previous 14-track Pink Balloon is a shadow of trippy experiences and Motown and sixties influences. Originally written for acoustic performances, the album had to be redesigned by Tuohy to work for a full band. Even in naming the title, Tuohy draws from his past with heavy drugs and the smuggling of Heroine through balloons, pink being his favorite.
All of the guys have felt the recent itching to hit the road again. Their future plans include touring fulltime and only coming back to Nashville when it’s time to record. Their upcoming Flowers of Evil resonates a heavier disco feel and will be something different for a new record because it will be the first that was originally written for a full band.
By, Kaitlyn Crocker