Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Missy Raines is considered one of the most respected, popular, and trailblazing figures in bluegrass today. A seven-time winner of the IBMA bass player of the year award, and a member of Alison Krauss’s first all-female bluegrass band, she has backed greats such as Claire Lynch, Mac Wiseman, Kenny Baker, and Peter Rowan. Raines now leads her own innovative and genre-bending trio: a rich, jazz-tinged combination of her bluegrass roots and thick Americana, featuring George Jackson on fiddle and Ben Garnett on acoustic guitar. With a smoky and seductive alto, Raines heads up this trio featuring mandolin/fiddle, upright bass, and acoustic guitar. The trio covers broad territory and the compass is set by Raines, planted center stage, directing with her bass every bit as much as she plays it. She is set to release her third album for Compass Records in October, Royal Traveller, produced by Alison Brown, featuring lush sounds, thick grooves, and memorable songs.
Very few musicians of any stripe personify a musical genre as completely as Tony Furtado embodies Americana roots music. Furtado is an evocative and soulful singer, a wide-ranging songwriter, and a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist—adept on banjo, cello-banjo, slide guitar, and baritone ukulele. A native of Pleasanton, California, Furtado took up the banjo at age 12, inspired by the Beverly Hillbillies television show and a sixth grade music report. Beginning with Swamped in 1990, he recorded six critically acclaimed albums for Rounder Records, collaborating with master musicians such as Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Stuart Duncan, and Kelly Joe Phelps. Beginning in the late 1990s—influenced by musical heroes such as Ry Cooder, David Lindley, and Taj Mahal—Furtado added slide guitar, singing, and songwriting to his musical toolbox and began leading his own band.
The Wind and the Wave, a duo from Austin, Texas, composed of Patty Lynn and Dwight Baker, will release its third full-length and fifth album in its five-year existence this fall.
Human Beings Let You Down was a record made in hotels and backstage dressing rooms across the United States as the duo toured to support its last release on Island Records, Happiness Is Not a Place. Produced and mixed by Dwight A. Baker, Human Beings harkens back to the Wind and the Wave’s original record on RCA, From the Wreckage. It’s a sonic tapestry that brings a rock ’n’ roll edge while retaining the original folk vibes and incredible lyric and vocal work by Patty Lynn that rose the duo to prominence. The record also features the first appearance of the duo’s touring band. The new tour, Neon Prayer Flags, kicks off in October.
Blanco White started as the solo project of London native Josh Edwards in 2014. After studying guitar in Cádiz, Spain, and later the charango (an Andean instrument) in Sucre, Bolivia, Edwards sought to bring elements of Andalusian and Latin American music alongside influences closer to home.
In early 2016, Blanco White released The Wind Rose, a self-produced debut EP, through Yucatan Records. A second EP, Colder Heavens, was later recorded with producer Ian Grimble (Bear’s Den, Matt Corby, Daughter) and released in 2017.
A VIP ticket includes a 20 minute Q&A session and a photo taken with Clark after soundcheck. The VIP event will begin at 7:00 PM.
Clark Beckham’s killer vocals and profound musical abilities as a multi-instrumentalist have led him on a journey from busking on the streets to performing on national television in front of millions of viewers.
On American Idol, his soulful, bluesy voice outsold every other contestant combined on iTunes and placed him as the fan favorite and runner-up of the 2015 season. Beckham’s live performances also ranked among the top 10 most viewed videos on American Idol’s YouTube channel. Since the television show, he has performed with the Nashville Symphony, written with Brian McKnight, been nominated for the Teen Choice Award for Music’s Next Big Thing, opened for Jon Bellion on tour, and signed with Quincy Jones.
Beckham recently released his EP Year One, which debuted at no. 6 on the iTunes alternative chart and no. 22 on Billboard’s R&B chart. The highly awaited EP includes “Must Be Hard Being You,” a collaboration with the Shadowboxers. It also includes “I Need,” produced by Steve Jordan and featuring John Mayer’s all-star band: Jordan on drums, Pino Palladino on bass, Isaiah Sharkey on guitar, and horn arrangements by Jerry Hey and Keyon Harrold.
Alex2e (Alex Tuohey) is a self-taught singer-songwriter from Western Massachusetts. In 2012, while recovering from major surgery, he picked up his sister's beat-up guitar and started writing. Words became lyrics, days became months, and bathroom video covers turned into gigs. In June 2017, his debut EP, Strange Company, landed in the top 10 on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart.
His new single, "Bring Out the Ghost," starts a new journey, honing his alternative/acoustic sound for a new EP titled Half-Grown, due out in late 2018. He has traveled across the country, averaging about 130 dates per year. Alex2e has supported national acts such as Tyler Hilton, Griffin House, Shawn James, O-Town, and Zac Brown Band alumnus Levi Lowrey.
When they aren’t touring with jazz virtuoso Raul Midón or starring in London’s West End in the hit show Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined, 25-year-old twins Daniel (bass) and David Bailen (drums) are playing and singing in three-part harmony with their 19-year-old sister Julia (guitar) in their band Bailen.
Childhood friend Pierre Piscitelli (keyboards) is the fourth member of the band—and the only “non-Bailen,” but band members say they are working on that. Bailen has collaborated with artists such as Burt Bacharach, Bill Withers, Alex Clare, Kyle Riabko, and Dianne Reeves. It has written music for Sons of Anarchy, Victoria’s Secret, Paper Magazine, Marc Jacobs, and Ansel Elgort. Bailen can be heard on Midón’s new album, Don’t Hesitate, as well as Jon Batiste and Stay Human’s My NY.
The group’s three-part sibling harmonies have been compared to Fleet Foxes and the Staves, and Entertainment Weekly described them as having “harmonies to rival Simon & Garfunkel.”
Cypress is the project of singer-songwriter Ben Higginbotham. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, but originally from Dallas, Texas, Higginbotham formed the group in 2017 with several friends from college. Based in simple melodies, the music allows his lyrics to shine in a way that evokes artists such as Ray LaMontagne, Maggie Rogers, or James Bay. The band’s debut single, “Oh Canada,” was recorded in Austin, Texas, by longtime collaborator Taylor Tatsch. Its first EP will be released in October 2018.
In 2018, Cub Sport has undergone a transformation from local indie band to global pop powerhouse. Although it has been a year of musical triumphs for Cub Sport—including the independent release of its sophomore album BATS and sold-out shows around the world—the most striking part of its rise has been how the band has used its platform to share a message of love, encouraging and inspiring people around the world to live their truth and love themselves.
Ed Balloon is a singer and performer whose music is a unique blend of R&B, electronic, pop, and hip-hop. With influences ranging from Of Montreal to Jill Scott to Maxwell, his diverse musical background, combined with his Nigerian roots, produces an unparalleled sound. Ed Balloon performs live with a full band to create an energetic stage presence, captivating his audience with one-of-a-kind dance moves.
After dropping out of college two years in to chase his musical dreams, Tor Miller found himself living them in real time. In early 2014, the Brooklyn native signed to independent label Glassnote Records, putting his professional career on track at age 20. Miller’s debut EP, Headlights, was soon followed by his first full-length record, American English, in September 2016, putting him on an international tour that included stops at SXSW, Lollapalooza, and multiple visits to Europe.
When Miller returned from his first international tour, it all came crashing down. “I didn't have an apartment and hardly had any money after touring so much, and you realize that everything comes out of your pocket in the end,” recalls Miller, now 24. Despondent, he moved back in with his parents in New Jersey, disillusioned by where he had ended up. “I was stuck back in my hometown with no prospects of what to do next—no idea.”
Depressed and uninspired, he reconnected with his old childhood mentor, a local producer, who listened to sketches of new material, inspired by the bleak suburban life he thought he’d fled for good. The sessions, recorded in one take with five instruments in a room, yielded his sophomore album Surviving the Suburbs, a stark portrait of an artist whose life didn’t materialize as planned and how he coped. Leaner and simpler than the lush, full-bodied arrangements of American English, Surviving the Suburbs is an honest self-reflection framed as a musical coming of age. It’s a step forward into vibrant territory where the vitality of a live backing band gives Miller more Americana flavor, as if, he explains, “Elton John made a Bruce Springsteen record.”
Neia Jane is an alternative rock songwriter and performing artist from Olympia, Washington. Her colorful melodies written atop distorted guitars and synthesizers work in parallel with her unique lyrical style to tell her stories. Her upcoming album, Magic & Honey, is a rowdy and emotional letter to all the sad girls and sad boys of the universe, screaming, "It's okay, I am a sad girl too."
Fifteen-year-old Brandon Niederauer, nicknamed “Taz” for his ferocious guitar playing, is living proof that dreams really do come true. Having performed in some of the most legendary venues in America with many of the most prominent musicians of our time, the young guitarist, singer, and songwriter has already earned himself quite the reputation.
It all started at eight years old, when Niederauer watched the movie School of Rock. Already inspired by his father’s record collection, Niederauer instantly realized he was destined to play guitar. From that moment on, his guitar rarely left his hands. Just four years later, he was cast in the principal role of guitarist “Zack Mooneyham” in the Tony Award-nominated Andrew Lloyd Webber Broadway production, School of Rock the Musical.
Based in New York City, Niederauer has had the opportunity to play with many of his musical idols. In recent years, he’s shared the stage with multiple members of the Allman Brothers Band, including Gregg Allman, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Butch Trucks, and Oteil Burbridge, as well as a variety of other notable musicians including Buddy Guy, Stevie Nicks, Lady Gaga, Slash, Jon Batiste, Dweezil Zappa, Eric Gales, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Dr. John, Gary Clark Jr., Col. Bruce Hampton, Eric Krasno, George Porter Jr., Robert Randolph, Karl Denson, Doug Wimbish, and John Popper. He has also performed with Tedeschi Trucks Band, the String Cheese Incident, Umphrey's McGee, the Revivalists, Dumpstaphunk, Blackberry Smoke, Galactic, and countless other bands.
Since making his national television debut on the Ellen DeGeneres Show at just ten years old, Niederauer has appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Good Morning America, and the View. In 2018, he reunited with Andrew Lloyd Webber, performing in January with Sarah Brightman at the Phantom of the Opera’s 30th Anniversary celebration, and in April alongside Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper, and John Legend in NBC’s live broadcast production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Niederauer is currently featured in Spike Lee’s Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It, and performs concerts for audiences across the country and around the world.
On her deeply moving debut album, At Weddings, Sarah Beth Tomberlin writes with the clarity and wisdom of an artist well beyond her years. Like Julien Baker and Sufjan Stevens, she has a knack for transforming the personal into parable. Like Grouper, she has a feel for the transcendent within the ordinary. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, and now based in Louisville, Kentucky, Tomberlin wrote most of At Weddings while living with her family in southern Illinois during her late teens and early twenties.
The daughter of a Baptist pastor, Tomberlin found herself questioning not only her faith, but her identity and purpose. In songwriting, she found relief and lucidity she had trouble articulating otherwise. When she was 19, she wrote “Tornado” on her parents’ piano and began to gain confidence in her music. A year later, Tomberlin had enough songs to fill an album.
Throughout At Weddings, Tomberlin’s lyrics yearn for stability and belonging, a near-universal desire among young people learning to define themselves on their own terms for the first time. The songwriter cites the hymns she grew up singing in church as her greatest musical influence, and although At Weddings in many ways documents the unlearning of her childhood faith, it’s easy to hear the devotional quality of sacred music in her songs. The album is laden with reverence for music itself, for the power it has to heal and help people navigate their lives. It is a record about learning to love oneself and others without reservation, from a place of deep sincerity—a lifelong challenge with tribulations that Tomberlin articulates beautifully.
“My number one goal with my music is for honesty and transparency that helps other people find ways to exist,” she says. With At Weddings, Tomberlin offers up comfort and wonder in equal measure.
Will Evans has spent the past decade as the front man for the roots/rock outfit Barefoot Truth. He recorded four full-length albums and several EPs of his original music with the band. Barefoot Truth’s release, Carry Us On, debuted at no. 10 on the iTunes Rock Chart, and the band has surpassed 20 million plays on Spotify. With the band playing limited shows each year, Evans has opened a new chapter in his musical journey with Will Evans & Rising Tide. The band features several members of Barefoot Truth, along with Evans’s didgeridoo and advanced looping skills. Fans can expect to be out of their seats and dancing for this high-energy performance.
Evans’s first solo release, Wishin’ Well, was named Bullseye of the Week by Entertainment Weekly and ranked no. 4 on the Northeast Billboards. His entry into Guitar Center’s Next Great American Songwriter contest brought him national attention. Out of more than 10,000 entrants, he was chosen as one of the nation’s top finalists.
In October 2015, while on a national tour supporting Trevor Hall, Evans released his sophomore solo album, Signal Flares. With topics such as the album’s opener “Do It for the Love” and “To Be Human,” the singer-songwriter once again spoke from his heart, advocating his socially conscious messages of love and inclusion. His third full-length album, RISE, is due to be released fall 2018. Evans has shared the stage with many top artists, including Crosby & Nash, Grace Potter, Bruce Hornsby, Rusted Root, and Donavon Frankenreiter.
Jean-Michel Blais is a pianist and composer who grew up in rural Quebec. He began writing original compositions by age 11, and by 17 he was invited to the Trois-Rivières Music Conservatory. However, the constraints of formal training drew Blais off his musical course. He stopped playing piano until years later, when he rediscovered his love for music while settling in Montreal. Decidedly not limited to the keys as his compositional palette, Blais’ music is imbued with an emotional depth that belies its wordlessness. His playing and composition are poetic in themselves, with an inspired understanding of the inherent lyricism in instrumental music.
Il, his critically acclaimed 2016 debut album, was written and recorded by Blais over two years, culled from rolls of accumulated experimentation into an enchanting, unignorable arrival. The debut album would go on to amass 50 million streams worldwide, reaching #1 on Billboard’s classical chart in Canada 14 times. Dans ma main, the sophomore release by Blais, is an expansive album of post-classical piano with strands of electronic detail. Blending his conservatory skill and precise pop sensibility with synthetic accompaniment, Blais creates unique environments where the piano’s intimacy can be subtly disrupted at any time.
Since the May 2017 release of the full-length album Hôtel de Ville, four-time Juno Award nominee Scott Helmanhas maintained a relentless touring schedule in support of the album and its hit singles “Kinda Complicated,” “Ripple Effect,” and the gold-certified “PDA.” After a headlining tour across Canada in fall 2017, Helman started 2018 with dates in Singapore, Hong, Kong, Australia, and Japan before heading to Spain and Italy for multi-artist festival shows. In summer 2018, he was invited to open for Vance Joy’s five cross-Canada tour dates. Those shows went so well that he was asked to join Vance Joy’s European tour.
Finding his musical influences in album-focused artists such as Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, the Cure, and Paul Simon, Helman has established himself as one of Canada’s leading young songwriters.
In 2014, he released “Bungalow” as the first single from his debut EP, Augusta. The song introduced a fresh voice to the musical landscape, and his versatility led to tours across Canada, playing with Tegan and Sara, Shawn Mendes, and Matthew Good. Opening for Walk off the Earth on extensive tours of the United States and Europe, Helman stood alone on stage night after night, winning over skeptical audiences and building an international fan base.
In 2015, he beat out 11 other artists to win Spotify Canada’s Emerge program, and in 2016, he topped the Teen Vogue list of voices to look out for that year. By the time Helman returned to the studio to work on Hôtel de Ville, he had been nominated for a 2015 MuchMusic Video Award, two 2016 Juno Awards, and performed to massive national television audiences on both award shows.
Formally known as Linus Hablot, Hablot Brown is composed of Linus Lester-Hodges, Austin Brown, and John Brown. Bringing an interesting blend of vastly contrasting genres, the band borrows from diverse musical backgrounds and influences such as Nick Hakim and Tom Misch to create their own unique sound that is difficult not to fall in love with.
Transforming pain into transcendence is the genius of many pop artists; Doe Paoro brings an entirely new depth to that process. On her third album, Soft Power, the Los Angeles–based singer-songwriter digs into her frustration and anguish, and ultimately comes away with a newfound strength that is profoundly inspiring.
“So much of the album is about reclaiming parts of myself that I had lost,” explains Doe, originally from Syracuse, New York. “It’s about being a woman, and what exactly that means at this particular moment in time; about witnessing a lack of justice when it comes to men and control. Both at the personal and societal levels, I was watching people in power play games with our lives, with the environment. I found this theme reappearing in the music I was writing during this period; it was less intentional and more about a certain kind of catharsis.”
Naming Carole King among her inspirations, Paoro notes that the more urgent feel of the new record comes partly from reconnecting with the instinctive approach of her earliest songwriting.
“One of my intentions was to drop any questions about what might be inventive, and just focus on writing songs that felt true to my experience,” she says.
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Caroline Jones coproduced her album Bare Feet with Grammy-winning and Academy Award–winning producer Ric Wake (Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Trisha Yearwood). Bare Feet rose to no. 20 on the country albums chart and no. 15 on the iTunes country albums chart. The album features the single “Tough Guys,” which spent six weeks at no. 1 on CMT.com’s 12-Pack Countdown.
Rolling Stone named Jones one of the “10 Country Artists You Need to Know,” calling her “an ambitious, entrepreneurial guitar heroine primed to bring back the pop-country glory of the Nineties.” Billboard called her one of the “15 Country Artists to Watch in 2018.” Throughout 2018, Jones has been touring with artists such as Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles, Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill.
In 2017, she was on the road with Zac Brown Band and shared the stage with Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and Toby Keith at the Trying to Reason hurricane relief benefit concert. A live duet with Buffett led to a charity single release and, ultimately, a partnership with his label, Mailboat Records. Jones previously toured schools and universities nationwide—including underserved and charter schools with Stedman Graham—on the Heart Is Smart School Tour. Jones is the host of Art & Soul on SiriusXM.
Watch Jones’s music video for “Tough Guys”: