Jean-Michel Blais is a 33-year-old pianist from Montreal, Canada. His enchanting instrumental compositions pair the melodic pop sensibilities of Amélie-era Yann Tiersen and Chilly Gonzales with the breathtaking technical skill of classical minimalists such as Philip Glass and Erik Satie. His debut album of original compositions, il, was released in April 2016 by Arts & Crafts. The album received a fair amount of critical acclaim and was one of TIME Magazine's Top 10 Albums of 2016.
Blais grew up in a rural French Catholic town in Quebec. He began tinkering on his family's organ at age 9; at age 11, he started taking piano lessons and writing original compositions. By 17, he was invited to the Trois-Rivières Music Conservatory, where he began training as a classical pianist. However, Blais was entering the throes of teenage rebellion and found the constraints of formal training cumbersome. Gravitating toward experimentation, he wasn't content to be told how to play, improvise, or compose.
See the music video for "il":
Megan Davies, originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is an alt/pop singer-songwriter based in Nashville, Tennessee. During the summer of 2013, Davies began uploading acoustic covers and mashups to YouTube—collaborating with her sister Jaclyn and other artist friends in Nashville. Since then, her creative stylings have garnered her more than 163 million views and 1.1 million subscribers.
Although Davies enjoys producing covers and mashups, her passion lies in writing and performing original music. Her unique sound has been influenced by a combination of commercial pop, indie folk, and experimental rock. Her debut original EP, Bad Poetry, is available now. She performed the EP live across the country this fall, opening 19 shows for YouTube heavyweights Boyce Avenue.
In April 2016, Davies was the featured artist for the Spotify curated playlist “Acoustic Covers,” which received global visibility. Her songs on Spotify maintain more than 2 million listeners per month. In June 2015, her three-song mashup “See You Again/Love Me Like You Do/Sugar” reached no. 1 on the U.S. and Global Spotify Viral 50 charts. The Coffee House station on XM Radio voted the cover of Lorde’s “Royals,” performed by Davies and fellow artist Emily Hackett, the best cover song of 2013.
Keelan Donovan is a vocalist with an energetic tenor tone and perceptive lyrics that showcase his humor and passion for life. Originally from Portland, ME, he currently resides in Nashville, TN. He graduated from Belmont University in 2012 and almost immediately immersed himself in the Nashville music scene. In 2016, Donovan signed his first deal with Big Yellow Dog Music, a place that artists such as Meghan Trainor, Maren Morris, and Jessie James Decker also call home. His self-titled EP, produced by Daniel Tashian and Dan Agee, debuted at #14 on the Singer-Songwriter iTunes chart. Donovan has also been featured on various playlists including Spotify's "New Music Friday", "Weekly Buzz", and Apple Music's "The A-List: Singer/Songwriter." Along with signing a publishing deal, Donovan has had placements on TV shows on ABC, Syfy, CMT, and a number of upcoming independent films.
Watch Davies perform “Black and White”:
Always reaching, always expanding, Becca Stevens reinvents herself once again with her new album, Regina. In the years since the release of her critically acclaimed third album, Perfect Animal, Stevens has undertaken a journey that began with a study of Queen Elizabeth I. This expanded into tributes to various queens from history, literature, folklore, and her own imagination, to songs inspired by the regal and divine, and finally to Regina as a voice.
Regarding her muse for the album, Stevens says, “Regina has become an alter ego, or an imaginary friend. Like a dream, she exists separate from me but is reliant upon my consciousness to exist. I carry her with me in everything now. So I guess you could say that neither ends; in Becca, there is always Regina, and in Regina, there is always Becca.”
Stevens’s style has always evaded categorization, and with Regina, even more so. One hears pop, rock, R&B, and funk side-by-side with traditional Appalachian and British folk, classical, world music, and jazz. Intricate instrumentation and rhythms seamlessly intertwine with vocals and melodies that draw you in and stay with you.
Jade Collective is an Boston-based contemporary jazz/folk band. They released their debut album, Clarity, in September 2016.
Wolf! is a Brooklyn-based trio that seamlessly merges soul, blues, country, and rock to create a party where everyone's welcome. They continue to find new and exciting ways to evolve and push what's possible with the classic guitar, bass, and drums formula while maintaining a fundamental groove that's both irresistible and undeniable.
The energy of rock n’ roll is impossible to categorize – mercurial, specific to its beholder and profoundly reflective. From the Binghamton, New York music scene comes Driftwood, a band with a rock n’ roll soul and a folk art mind. Carving out a name for themselves with electrifying live performances, they bring one of the most unique, raw sounds to the Americana/roots music scene. Incorporating upright bass, banjo, acoustic guitar and violin, the ghost of traditional American folk music lives in their palette. But the melodies, the harmonies and the lyrics are something else entirely.
Coming from a town not often recognized for music but predominantly for industry, being the home of Twilight Zone author Rod Serling and donning the title of the “Carousel Capital of the World”, it’s easy to wonder how this not-so- traditional string band came out of the Binghamton music scene. “What people don’t often realize is that bands like Old Crow Medicine Show, The Horseflies and The Highwoods String Band came out of this same area and had a huge influence on us”, says Forsyth. “We played a lot of old-time in the beginning and it was a huge part of our band learning to play music together”.
Formed in 2005, the band spent four years playing just about anywhere they could. “We just wanted to be able to play for any crowd and turn heads”, says banjo player Joe Kollar. After the release of their Debut CD “Rally Day” in 2009, the band has spent most of the last 4 years on the road. With club and festival appearances alongside of artists such as Bela Fleck, Old Crow Medicine Show, Rusted Root, Del McCoury, Brett Dennen, The Wailers, Railroad Earth, Robert Randolph, Rubblebucket, Leon Russell, Emmylou Harris and Donna the Buffalo, Driftwood is making serious waves on the East Coast scene. In the last three years they’ve played over 500 shows. With the release of their second CD “A Rock & Roll Heart” in 2011, the band landed spins on a slew of great radio shows and stations such as WFUV’s Sunday Breakfast with John Platt (New York, NY); KZSU (Stanford, CA), WCBE (Columbus, OH), WNRN (Charlottesville, VA), WUNC (Chapel Hill), NC and WDVX (Knoxville, TN).
In November 2012, Driftwood started work on their third and latest CD. Despite a grueling tour schedule and very little time at home, the recordings were finished in the summer of 2013. The self-titled new disc was recorded in a church outside of Ithaca, NY with Grammy-winning engineer Robby Hunter. It was released on December 3rd, 2013.
Viniloversus is a Latin Grammy-winning rock band based out of Miami, FL. The band, originally from Caracas, Venezuela, recently released their first English album titled Days of Exile, which is a follow-up to their first 3 critically acclaimed albums. The outfit is currently touring in the US, where they have recently participated in important music festivals and conferences such as III Points Music Festival (Miami) and LAMC (NYC). The album is available on vinyl as well as all digital platforms.
For twelve years, Robert Stevenson was the frontman, producer, and primary songwriter of Oxford, UK’s A Silent Film. The band’s anthemic music broke into alternative rock fans’ consciousness with their 2010 debut album The City That Sleeps and its single “You Will Leave a Mark,” which was held the record for most weeks at #1 ever on SiriusXM’s Alt-18 countdown. The band followed up with 2012’s Sand & Snow and its hits “Harbour Lights” and “Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well.” In 2015, the band released its eponymous album A Silent Film, again achieving alternative radio success with its singles “Lightning Strike” and “Something to Believe in.” Throughout, the band developed a hardcore following for their spectacular live performances. The Owl Mag described one of their shows: “There was nothing like this night. It wasn’t just a concert. It was an experience for fans to hold onto forever…a night filled with intimacy and emotions.”
After 3 albums, multiple charting singles, over 20 million streams of their songs, festival appearances at Corona Capital and Firefly, and supporting tours with OneRepublic, the Temper Trap, and Smashing Pumpkins, Stevenson and ASF co-founder Spencer Walker decided to take an indefinite break from the band to pursue other creative and personal interests.
As a thank you to their rabid fan base, Stevenson decided to mount an intimate tour of the U.S. playing the band’s hits and other fan favorites in stripped-down, acoustic arrangements. The “All Good Things” tour will be the only time Stevenson will tour and perform A Silent Film’s repertoire during the band’s hiatus. “Spencer and I had taken some time off after his daughter was born,” said Stevenson, “and when we reconvened, we both realized we were really happy doing things away from the band – for him fatherhood, for me producing and writing with other artists. So it felt like a natural time to close this chapter of the story. But we hadn’t had a chance to say a proper good-bye to our absolutely wonderful fans. So we hatched the All Good Things idea as a way to do that given the practical considerations of Spencer not being able to go on the road.”
The Last Bandoleros are a four-piece outfit that blends together Tex-Mex, country, and rock n’ roll. Their story begins in San Antonio, Texas, with guitarist/producer Jerry Fuentes who, during a musical pilgrimage to Manhattan, happened to meet singer-songwriter/producer and New York native Derek James. Fuentes and James soon began collaborating in Brooklyn. However, Fuentes kept being drawn back to his native Texas to record in the same San Antonio studio where a couple of talented brothers were also emerging. Diego and Emilio Navaira, sons of Tejano music legend Emilio Navaira Sr., had been making a name for themselves around town with their energetic live performances and sterling vocal chops. Fuentes decided to combine both of his universes by introducing James to the Navaria brothers and inviting them to joint sessions in Brooklyn and San Antonio. Riffs and lyrics began flying fast; the Last Bandoleros were born.
L.A. Salami (Lookman Adekunle Salami) is a singer/songwriter from London, England, known for crafting magnetic blues-rock songs with a postmodern twist. Salami was fostered when he was two months old and grew up between his birth mother in Peckham, South London and his foster family in Broadstairs on the English coast. Much of his teens and early twenties were spent on the move, rarely settling in one place for more than few months at a time. It was this lifestyle that provided him with a unique insight about life in the city, something that he would later use to fuel his songwriting, both lyrically and conceptually.
His love for music began when he first heard Bob Dylan on the radio, subsequently leading him to explore more blues and folk music and inspiring him to write his own songs. Unfortunately, he could not afford his own instrument and wasn't introduced to one until he was given a guitar for his 21st birthday. After three months of soul-searching, tapping into different creative avenues, and sleeping rough, Salami eventually had his first few songs written and set out to land some gigs. Success soon came knocking after relentless gigging, starting with a tour support slot for Lianne La Havas in 2012.
It's an old saying, time flows away like the water in a river. A comparison that has more to it than you might think at first glance. Whether its a raging torrent or a bubbling backyard brook, both water and time can hide, obscure, and keep us from seeing some of the priceless treasures that lie just beneath the surface. The key to finding them is simply knowing where to look, and when to listen. Cat Clyde, a brand new artist out of Stratford, Ontario. A fresh take on the classic sounds of yesteryear; breathing new life into the velvety vocal, tack-piano, slide-guitar-style that can instantly walk you through the swinging doors of a packed saloon. With influences ranging from Etta James to Janis Joplin to Lead Belly, hers is a mix that goes down smoother than a neat glass of mellow Kentucky bourbon. No longer do you need to reach for your trusty sifting pan and river boots to find gold. You just need to know one name.