Folk Soul Revival
A modern band rooted in old-school southern sounds, Folk Soul Revival whips up its own version of amplified Americana on the band's self-titled fourth record. The name says it all. Folk Soul Revival, like the band that created it, is an album that celebrates the sounds, stories, and small-town values of an earlier era, modernizing their approach with sharp songwriting and electrifying instrumental work. There's country twang, bluegrass bounce, hillbilly hell-raising, chicken-pickin' guitar, and roadhouse roots-rock, all sandwiched into a tracklist that mixes heartbreak, honesty, and humor in equal doses. Recorded in Nashville and road-tested on stages across the country, this is Folk Soul Revival's finest work — an album that nods to the glory days of the past while still pushing the band forward.
Formed in southwestern Virginia in 2008, Folk Soul Revival has spent a decade growing a wide audience both at home (where they've become a regular presence at local institutions like the Carter Family Fold, FloydFest, and Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion) and on the road (where they've shared shows with Dr. Ralph Stanley, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Isbell, Eric Church, and others). They're road warriors, logging roughly 100 performances a year. For Folk Soul Revival, though, those tours always lead back to Bristol: the group's birthplace, home, and muse. Many of the life lessons that lurk inside Folk Soul Revival's 12 tracks can be traced back to that place.
"These are stories of home," says frontman and chief songwriter Daniel Davis, who shares the band's lineup with Justin Venable (baritone guitar, vocals, occasional songwriting duties), Brandon Sturgill (upright bass, bass guitar), Chad Light (guitar, pedal steel, banjo), and Justin Louthian (drums, vocals). "We're all backwoods country people who grew up in this area," he adds, "listening to bluegrass and country. That's where we come from, and that's where this album comes from, too."
With songs about blue-collar jobs, long workweeks, wise-ass bartenders, messy breakups, and richly-deserved weekends, Folk Soul Revival sources its material from the everyday lives of rural Americans. This is biographical music, and while the stories may be specific to Folk Soul Revival, they'll sound familiar to anyone who hails from the country's forgotten pockets . On songs like "Small Town," Davis sings about front porches, back roads, and Friday night football games, sketching a picture that's quintessentially Southern. In the background, the rest of the band chimes in with banjo, slide guitar, and vocal harmonies. The result is both fresh and familiar — a new take on a classic idea.
Elsewhere, the guys duet with folksinger Leah Blevins on "Dance with Me," wink their way through the double entendres of the country two-step highlight "Horrible Girl," ride a rowdy groove with the kickoff track "Other Side," pay homage to Little Feat with a cover of "Willin'," and even make room for swooning strings and thick harmonies (the latter provided by the McCrary Sisters) on their most layered song to date, "Broken." Produced by Grammy Award winner Chad Brown (Ryan Adams, Hayes Carll, Patty Griffin) with additional production by Grammy Award winner Barry Bales (a longtime member of Alison Krauss and Union Station, as well as the producer of Folk Soul Revival's previous album, Out of the Box), these songs shine a light on the band's strongest lineup to date. Crucial to the group's soaring progress are two new members — Justin Louthian, a versatile percussionist capable of train beats, rock patterns, and everything in between; and Chad Light, whose electric guitar riffs take centerstage on multiple tracks — whose talents help Folk Soul Revival bridge the gap between the organic punch of a string band and the electrified stomp of a country-rock act.
Released years after the band's third release, Prompting the Dapperness, rose to Number 12 on iTunes' country chart and Number 10 on Billboard Magazine's Heatseekers chart (South Atlantic Division), Folk Soul Revival takes the band to new heights, merging the band's classic influences and timeless twang with a modern, musical approach. Bring on the revival.
Empire Strikes Brass
Empire Strikes Brass (ESB) is a high energy Brass-Funk-Rock band hailing from the city of Asheville, North Carolina. Formed on the streets of their hometown, ESB is rooted in the New Orleans Brass Band tradition of second-line parades and deep moving grooves reminiscent of old school funk. Combining complex musical arrangements with thoughtful lyrical song structure, ESB can stretch out and dig deep when they are feeling it or keep things tight and concise. The fat sound of the horns paired with one dirty rhythm section makes the music downright psychedelically nasty! Founded in 2012, ESB intentionally stretches the boundaries of the stereotypical brass band paradigm, fusing sounds from various genres and weaving them together with the common thread of Brass. The diversity of the music within their sets keep audiences guessing what is next to come.
Featuring rich group and strong lead vocals including Grammy Award winner Debrissa McKinney (Secret Agent 23 Skidoo), ESB not only takes its audiences on a ride to the dark side and back instrumentally, they also use the force of soaring melody and lush harmony to transport the listeners to another dimension. The band released its debut album, "Theme For A Celebration" in 2017 and it was tapped as one of the top 100 album releases in 2017 by WNCW 88.7 radio. Since their conception, ESB has been a consistent fixture at various festivals throughout the east coast. They've had the pleasure of having Warren Haynes (Allman Bros. Band and Gov’t Mule) sit in with them at New Mountain Amphitheater in Asheville, NC and the honor of headlining four years in a row celebrating the life of Dizzy Gillespie in his hometown of Cheraw, SC, for the South Carolina Jazz and Heritage Festival. ESB has co-billed with such artists as Dr. John & Lettuce. The horns have sat in on performances with Galactic, The Big Something, and many others. ESB horn players JP Furnas, Paul Juhl and Alex Bradley are also featured on the live album compilation from world-renowned artists Beats Antique entitled “Creature Carnival” released in 2015. The band is known to regularly parade off stage into the audience leading a the crowd in a raucous procession around the venue before, during or after their set.
Members of the band have also been expanding their musical resumes and repertoire. Notable side projects and performances include keyboardist Lenny Pettinelli’s recording and performing with Jazz is Phish featuring such artists as Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck, Dave Matthews Band), Chris Bullock (Snarky Puppy), Michael Ray (Sun Ra, Kool and the Gang), the Chase Brothers and many more. The band's founder, saxophonist Paul Juhl, performed with John Oates (Hall and Oates) at MerleFest. In addition to her work with Skidoo, Debrissa McKinney has performed with artists such as Karl Denson and George Clinton. ESB horn players Kyle Snuffer and Alex Bradley have recorded on Marcus King's upcoming 2018 release produced by Eric Krasno of Soulive and Lettuce.
Later this year, the band is slated to get back in the studio for a follow up sophomore effort to 2017's Theme For A Celebration. Look for the band on the road and at festivals in a town near you!
The Tillers have been thumping their own distinctive sound of string band style folk music for over a decade, riding it all over the country and across the sea. Four studio albums and one live record have won them praise as modern folk storytellers of the national soundscape.
Mid-2017, The Tillers holed up at Candyland Recording Studio in Dayton, KY with producer Mike Montgomery (Jeremy Pinnell, The Breeders) and tracked ten new songs, live to 2” tape. The recordings showcase the diversity of their writing and musicianship, from hard-tackle thump to tender graceful melody – lightning-fast banjo to intricate guitar flat picking, plaintive fiddle, deep anchoring bass and clear tenor harmonies.
Fueled by life, family, history, travel and politics, the new self-titled LP is the band’s most engaging record to date.
SHORT & COMPANY
Jackson, Kentucky original recipe singer-songwriter and genre-bending guitar blazer, Jeremy Short, has quickly risen to the top shelf of must-hear players on the scene.
First given a Gibson SG by his grandfather - a well known Methodist preacher, Short recalls with a laugh, "he handed it to me and said - let’s not make this a full time thing".
Short first made a name for himself as the solo-ripping sideman of the red-hot Americana act, “Sasha Colette & The Magnolias”, and the front man and lead guitarist of the horn-fueled R&B band “Downtown King”. Now he's found his home and what he calls “his own thing” in Short & Company.
Leaving his soul on the floor, and yours in shreds, “Ain’t That Workin”, “Bartender” and “Set in Her Ways” show why Short is a 2 Time Semi-finalist, and 2019 competitor at the International Blues Challenge, a competition featuring the best blues acts from around the globe.
But blues aren’t his only groove.
One spin of Lost in A Spin, released March 2018, and Short will have you eating from the palm of his hand.
With dance club ready R&B hits like “Shake It Off”, “You & Me”, and lead single “If The Spirit Moves You”, Short encourages you to forget the stresses of the 9-5 chaos, and get lost in his music. “Sometimes, you just gotta dance to get it out. So if you feel like dancing, dance. If you feel like singing along, do it. Do what feels right.”
Gearing down and getting candid about life in coal country with “This Mountain”(written with former Sasha & The Mags members, Sasha Colette and Steve Barker), the story of "Fast Eddie", a good guy who can’t kick his habit and get his life together, a ballad about a “heart of gold that loves to sin” in “Barefoot Beauty”, and the closer and only acoustic track, “Mountains of the Like”, Short manages to deliver an entire album of raw, untailored glimpses into life in small town Appalachia.
Touching on the throes of addiction, his shameless love of a strong willed woman, and his need to escape and hit the road, Short's unafraid to share both where he's coming from and what it is he is hoping to accomplish.
Having already notched his belt with festivals like Bonnaroo, Mountain Music Festival, FestivALL, Kickin It On The Creek, & Whispering Beard, as well as direct support for the likes of Taj Mahal, Marcus King Band, & Rev Peyton & The Big Damn Band, the future is looking bright for both Short -- and his Company.