Though South Florida doesn't have the tides to shoot the curl, West Palm Beach's Surfer Blood fuse sunny surf rock charm with indie rock cool. Guitarist/vocalist John Paul Pitts and drummer Tyler Schwarz had known each other since high school; they started playing together and connected with guitarist Thomas Fekete, bassist Brian Black, and percussionist Marcos Marchesani at an Ultra Music Festival after-party, officially becoming Surfer Blood in spring 2009. www.surferblood.com
After spending six years with Southern rock outfit Drive-By Truckers, singer/guitarist Jason Isbell left the group in 2007 to pursue a solo career. Isbell had already honed his songwriting skills during his tenure with the Truckers, and he funneled those talents into Sirens of the Ditch, a bluesy, punk-infused lesson in guitar tones and Southern swagger that marked his solo debut in summer 2007. Backed by a new band dubbed the 400 Unit, Isbell took his songs on the road and soon began penning another album, which he recorded with the 400 Unit in 2008. Released the following year, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit was another step away from his work with Drive-By Truckers, relying as much on sad, melancholic country ballads as the familiar Muscle Shoals sound. www.jasonisbell.com
The Avett Brothers
There is no harmony like brotherly harmony. Something indelible in the weave of voices and play of sensibilities is stamped into the fraternal DNA and also stems from a lifetime of shared experiences. You can hear it in classic brother acts across the musical spectrum, from the Louvin Brothers to the Everly Brothers and on down the decades through the Wilson brothers (Beach Boys), the Davies brothers (Kinks), the Allman Brothers and even the Brothers Gibb (a.k.a., the Bee Gees). You can clearly hear fraternal magic at work in the songs of Scott and Seth Avett, better known as the Avett Brothers.www.theavettbrothers.com
The roots revival of the last few years has primed listeners for a new generation of rustic, heart-on-the-sleeve music—the kind that nods to tradition while setting off into uncharted territory. The Lumineers walk that line with an unerring gift for timeless melodies and soul-stirring lyrics. It will all be on display soon, on the band’s first full-length album, due April 3rd via Dualtone Records.
Band of Skulls
The trio of British musicians that is Band of Skulls make big, dark rock based around strong riffs and big rhythm. Playing together in one form or another since age 12, the band has the chops to back up their swagger. The band has received a feverish response in America, Australia, across Europe and elsewhere, playing festivals, tv and more, even appearing on the soundtrack for Twilight: New Moon.
City and Colour
The voice is unmistakable – immediately identifiable by those that know it and intensely intriguing to those that don’t. It belongs to Dallas Green, perhaps better known as the man who writes, records, and performs under the moniker of City and Colour. Of his latest album, says Dallas "I’m just always aiming to become a better player and better songwriter, and this is the culmination of that at this point in time."
Gabrielle Aplin is the whipsmart teenage sensation with spirit in her voice and ability to bottle melodic lightning who, at 14, wrote her first song, Ghosts. At 17, she made it the title track of her first EP. At the same age, she set up her own label, Never Fade Records. Soon she had landed herself a booking agent and was plotting her own tours round the UK.
Of Monsters And Men
Of Monsters and Men is an amiable group of day dreamers who craft folkie pop songs. But last year, the normally mild-mannered six pack transformed into total rock stars after stomping out their competition during Músiktilraunir, a yearly battle of the bands in their native Iceland. Though their reach is growing broader, the group’s appeal has remained distinct: Their music is as fantastical as it is pretty.
Among the many extraordinary things about Hunter Hayes, the multi-talented musician, writer, producer and performer, perhaps what is most astonishing is that in truth, he's just getting started. And it is that fact which holds the promise of Hunter Hayes becoming one of the most significant musical talents to emerge, not just from Nashville, but from anywhere, in a long, long time.
It's simple: Once you see and hear LP, you remember. She's a gripping performer, a curly-headed force of nature who looks like a cross between a young Bob Dylan and Marc Bolan, albeit often wielding a ukulele. A rockin' ukulele, in front of a dynamic, versatile band, that is. And her voice is instantly ear-catching, a natural instrument of power and grace.
Ed Sheeran is blessed – he seems to know exactly where he is going, and exactly how to get there. Where countless others fail to make an impression amid today’s information overload, Ed’s music and talent cut straight through.He has a poise that is as welcome as it is unusual in someone so young. He’s both utterly self-assured but still charmingly open. He has a confidence that’s built not on being able to sing someone else’s song quite nicely on a teatime TV show, but on hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of gigs where it’s just him, his guitar, a loop pedal and a crowd.
Dierks Bentley is an American country music artist who has been signed to Capitol Records Nashville since 2003. That year, he released his self-titled debut album. Both it and its follow-up, 2005's Modern Day Drifter, are certified platinum in the United States. A third album, 2006's Long Trip Alone, is certified gold. It was followed in mid-2008 by a greatest hits package. His fourth album, Feel That Fire was released in February 2009. Bentley's studio albums have accounted for sixteen singles on the country singles charts, of which eight have reached No. 1: his debut single "What Was I Thinkin'", as well as "Come a Little Closer", "Settle for a Slowdown", "Every Mile a Memory", "Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)", "Feel That Fire", "Sideways", and "Am I the Only One". Four more of his singles have reached Top Five on the country charts as well. www.dierks.com
To create his fifth full-length album Start Livin', Hawaii-based singer/guitarist/songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter holed up in a Southern California studio for seven days with his longtime bassist Matt Grundy—and no one else. The follow-up to 2010’s Glow, Start Livin’ is a nine-track selection of folk-infused songs that sweetly reflect the simplicity of their recording. With its smooth showcasing of Frankenreiter’s rich, honey-thick vocals and masterful guitar work, Start Livin’ bears all the intimacy of an impromptu back-porch performance and the tenderness of a treasured love letter. www.donavonf.com
We Are Augustines
Emotionally charged, stadium-ready indie rock outfit We Are Augustines was formed in 2009 by Billy McCarthy, Eric Sanderson, and Rob Allen after the dissolution of the similarly themed Pela. After Pela's breakup, McCarthy and Sanderson decided to pursue the batch of songs that were intended to appear on the ousted group’s sophomore outing, and put them toward a new project. The resulting Rise Ye Sunken Ships, which tows the line between the spirited expansiveness of early U2, the lit-heavy heartache of the Hold Steady, and the introspective alt-rock of the National, arrived on August 28, 2011. www.weareaugustines.com
Weezer has been around since 1992, and in its present form since September 2001. Weezer consists of Rivers Cuomo, primary songwriter, lead vocals and guitar, Patrick Wilson, drums, guitar, vocals, and production whiz, Brian Bell, guitar and keyboards and vocals, and Scott Shriner, bass, vocals, and keyboards. Whether on the stage or in the studio its not uncommon to see just about anyone in the band playing just about anything they can get their hands on. Its also not uncommon to see some pretty wacky stuff go down both on stage and on the web. Weezer has sold over 10 million albums and has played thousands of shows to date. www.weezer.com
Mumford & Sons
Since they formed in December 2007, the members of Mumford & Sons have shared a common purpose: to make music that matters, without taking themselves too seriously. Four young men from West London in their early twenties, they have fire in their bellies, romance in their hearts, and rapture in their masterful, melancholy voices. They are staunch friends - Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane - who bring their music to us with the passion and pride of an old-fashioned, much-cherished, family business. They create a gutsy, old-time sound that marries the magic of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with the might of Kings Of Leon, and their incredible energy draws us in quickly to their circle of songs, to the warmth of their stories, and to their magical community of misty-eyed men. www.mumfordandsons.com
Vince Gill says it simply, and maybe best: “I’d rather hear Del McCoury sing ‘Are You Teasing Me’ than just about anything.” For fifty years, Del’s music has defined authenticity for hard core bluegrass fans-count Gill among them-as well as a growing number of fans among those only vaguely familiar with the genre. And while the box set Celebrating 50 Years of Del McCoury, like its distilled companion, By Request-both in stores on May 12th-provides an opportunity to look back on a unique legacy, it’s also one that Del McCoury’s rolling past with a wave and a grin and some of the best music he’s ever made. www.delmccouryband.com
Sleepy Man Banjo Boys
Over eight hundred miles from the Grand Ole Opry and the birthplace of Bluegrass, 9-year-old banjo picker Jonny Mizzone and his brothers, Robbie 12, and Tommy 14, might be the most unassuming bluegrass trio in the region. The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys are the result of faith in God, brotherly-love, and a passion for this fast pickin’ & fiddlin’ genre. Though their combined age is younger than music's Hip-Hop era, it's the music of Flatt & Scruggs & Ralph Stanley that inspires the sound pouring from the strings of Jonny's banjo, Robbie's fiddle, and Tommy's guitar. Just as comfortable picking on his back, eyes closed, Jonny was the inspiration, and the name had emerged: the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys were born. www.sleepymanbanjoboys.com
Sick Puppies don't do things halfway, not when they're playing live in front of their rabid fans, nor when they tackled Tri-Polar, their second major label album for RMR/ Virgin/EMI and follow-up to Dressed Up As Life. When the Australian band decided to break through in the U.S., founding members, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Shimon Moore and his high school classmate, bassist Emma Anzai, simply picked up and moved lock, stock and guitar amps to L.A., advertised for a drummer on Craig's List, and were soon joined by Orange County native Mark Goodwin...www.sickpuppies.com
Multi-platinum-selling rock band Third Day has played to millions of fans in numerous sold-out arenas around the world. It’s garnered 25 No. 1 singles across multiple formats—not to mention armloads of Grammy and Dove Awards. Yet the band’s willingness to struggle openly before fans and critics alike to unearth its identity, purpose and mission stands as Third Day’s most valued accomplishment during its first decade together. Backing up the band's ascent, Billboard magazine noted the act is "not only one of the best Christian bands of the '90s but one of the best rock bands, period.”... http://thirdday.com/
Frightened Rabbit are a Scottish indie rock band from Selkirk, formed in 2003. The lineup consists of lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and lyricist Scott Hutchison, guitarist and bassist Billy Kennedy, guitarist Andy Monaghan, drummer Grant Hutchison and guitarist and keyboardist Gordon Skene.They are a band who live in Glasgow and have done for some time. They record in bedrooms, cupboards and kitchens. Anyone can be in Frightened Rabbit. They have played some live shows in this city, but want to meet people from other cities, in order that they can come and blow into tubes when they play live. Lets keep pop music alive by getting it out of that dress and into a sweater. http://frightenedrabbit.com/
A lifelong dancer and musician, Emmy nominated Mark Ballas has wowed over 20 million viewers on ABC’s number one show, “Dancing with the Stars,” for eight seasons. On April 12th, Mark’s debut solo album HurtLoveBox, was released by Hit Play Records – Sony Red. A true passion project, HurtLoveBox is an intimate, personal journey of the trials and tribulations of life and relationships. His first single “Hotwire” was the winner of MTV’s Freshman Five for 2011 and has been put in rotation on the network. Thus far, it has received over 100 million documented views, and appeared on feature reels in over 100,000 retail and business locations worldwide. Mark was named the Clear Channel “Artist To Watch” in July, 2011.... www.markballas.com
Panic! At The Disco
First they infected us with A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, then they captivated us with Pretty. Odd. and now it's Panic! At The Disco's turn to remind us why we fell in love with them in the first place. With Vices & Virtues, their first album as a duo, frontman/multi-instrumentalist Brendon Urie and drummer/percussionist Spencer Smith have proven that their best ideas are just starting to get realized—and the disc not only marks the beginning a new era for this Grammy-nominated, Las Vegas-based rock act but in many ways also rings in a new period of musical and emotional growth that shows no signs of subsiding... www.panicatthedisco.com
To call Adam Levy a “well-traveled musician” would be a hell of an understatement. During a six-year stint touring as a member of Norah Jones’ Handsome Band, Levy went round the world several times and maxed out the pages of his passport—and then a second one—with country stamps and visas.
Adam Gardner (Guster)
Since 1991, Adam Gardner, along with his band Guster, have been making a stir with their albums and a smash with their live shows. Ever since their humble beginnings at Tufts University, Guster have always sought to outdo themselves. They sell out New York’s fabled Radio City Music Hall one year and perform with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall the next. They sell out a 33-date college tour, and this past spring founded the eco-friendly Campus Consciousness Tour, with buses powered by biodiesel and performances powered by wind power. It’s in this overachieving band’s nature to one-up itself.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Benjamin Francis Leftwich picked up the guitar at age 10, and hasn't put it down since. He has been hailed as a "serious new talent" by the Sunday Times, and his album Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm has received great comparisons to Dylan, Springsteen, and Coldplay.
Hailing from Nottingham in the UK, Jake Bugg has been channeling Dylan with an edge all his own. He's won over fans on Later with Jools Holland and the Conan O'Brien Show, and if the strength of his debut album is anything to go by, this 18-year old just getting warmed up.
Carrie Elkin's voice is melodic and reedy as the great singer-songwriters of a bygone era. The deep roots of her songs hail back to that time, while chugging forward.
Josh Crowe (The Crowe Brothers)
After seven albums and over forty years of making music together, The Crowe Brothers continue their tradition of providing beautifully blended harmonies. Their latest project, Bridging the Gap, has delighted both bluegrass and traditional country fans as the veteran brothers, Josh and Wayne Crowe, deliver an album filled with soulful lead vocals, blended harmonies, and fine pickin!
Danny Schmidt has been writing songs rich with melody, meaning, and rhythm for years. On his latest release, Man of Many Moons, Danny has honed his craft even further.
“Youth may be in their blood, but tradition guides their instincts”, reveals M! Music and Musician’s Magazine. “The Dirty Guv’nahs are wise in the ways of rock n’ roll beyond their tender years”. The swell of grassroots momentum for this 6-piece rock n’ roll collective from Knoxville, TN is undeniable. “The Guvs” have been steadily growing their fan base across the country, selling out shows in theatres and bars alike, and making standout festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, and SXSW, to name a few. The band has also shared the stage with a diverse and notable list of major artists, including Wilco, Zac Brown Band, Levon Helm Band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Train, Dr. Dog, and Chris Robinson.
With his husky voice, a head full of catchy tunes and a story to tell, Jack Savoretti would seem to have everything it takes. Yet the songs on 'Before the Storm' chart a turbulent relationship, and articulate the emotional dilemma of a young man torn between enjoying his freedom and settling down with the love of his life. There are fast songs and slow songs, sad ones and happy ones, songs about wild nights on the town and dark nights of the soul. What they share is the honesty of the lyrics and the catchiness of the tunes.
Though Jesse and his band, the Dime Novels, first played together in 2009, they sound like a band who has been together much longer. Their sound is lush with guitar and rhythm, but Jesse's voice is a unique blast of straight Americana. Their latest album, The Lament of Tumbleweed Hawk, was honored with a win last night at the 22nd Annual San Diego Music Awards in the category of Best Americana Album.
Jacques Stotzem's finger style work leaves audiences stunned. With just a single guitar, this Belgian musician performs the work of entire orchestras, jazz quartets, and rock groups. Armed with his trust Martin OMC-Jacques Stotzem, his performances are always guaranteed to amaze.
In a career that has already spanned a half-century, Jorma Kaukonen has been the leading practitioner and teacher of fingerstyle guitar, one of the most highly respected interpreters of American roots music, blues, and Americana, and at the forefront of popular rock-and-roll. He was a founding member of two legendary bands, The Jefferson Airplane and the still-touring Hot Tuna, a Grammy nominee, a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the most in-demand instructor in the galaxy of stars who teach at the Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp that he and his wife operate in picturesque Southeastern Ohio.
Loudon Wainwright III
At 65, Loudon Wainwright III is older than his father ever was, which got him thinking, and writing, and singing. As he puts it, his latest album, Older Than My Father Ever Was, deals with “death ‘n’ decay” and he’s approached the subject from all angles, with his customary insight, honesty, and rueful humor. But pondering the imponderables can be a lonely business, and so, like never before, Loudon has brought in friends and family to help him with the heavy lifting, leading to an all-start guest roster.
Mountain Sprout has the look of wild all over them in their long beards and smoke and drink while they play attitudes. It is a potent combination and it works. The Quartet plays wild and loose too, sawing fiddles or trashing banjos. They inject their funny songs about hard living with fervor and a sense of believability.
Aaron Nigel Smith
Aaron Nigel Smith's “Call To Action” is to get kids moving. In 2002 he founded FUNdamentals of Music and Movement, an arts program which is now the program of choice to over 100 early education centers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, NewYork, and Boston. His fun, inspired, and lively show is guaranteed to get the audience off their feet.
Rachel's latest record, Under Mountains, comes from a wizened perspective that belies her relative youth. With a voice both husky and sweet, she composes songs that rollick, roll, and swim with sweet melody. This 21 year old Scot is a break out success, and is just getting started.
"If you like music steeped in tradition and genuine feeling, this is your woman," says People Magazine, and they are spot on. With a sultry twang and a mean slide sound, Rory Block spins songs that transport you to another place and time.
A Choctaw Indian, Crain grew up in the small town of Shawnee listening to her father’s Dylan and Grateful Dead records, dabbling in painting (a pursuit she took seriously enough to later land a gallery exhibition in Oklahoma City) and trying her hand at writing short stories. The movement in the songs of Kid Face, her latest release, is purposeful, as Crain searches for herself and her place in the universe. Think of Kid Face as a key early chapter in what promises to be an extended, enthralling personal saga. Woody would have been proud.
Celebrated folk singer-songwriter and virtuoso fiddler Seth Lakeman could not have dug deeper into his Devon roots for his 6th album, “Tales from the Barrel House”. In his boldest musical statement yet, Seth has not only written all the songs, but played every musical contribution himself, as well as producing and mixing the album.His usual bow-shredding violin riffs are there, as are his driving tenor guitar rhythms, but it’s the new primitive sounds he’s conjured up that give this album its atmospheric vibe.