Like Neil Young and Rich Mullins before him, Derek Webb has matured into a fearless artist who delights in betraying expectations, and making art that explores detours, departures and roads less traveled. Take his latest album, Ctrl, which features Webb picking up his acoustic guitar after a long layoff from the instrument. For Webb fans who know and love his past work with Caedmon’s Call, his return to unplugged sounds should come as welcome news: They adore this latest record from start to finish.
With his first-ever solo album, “Kind Ghosts,” (2011), Billboard-honored singer/songwriter Derek Nicoletto flaunts his knack for infusing unique pop hooks, vivid lyrical imagery and evocative instrumentation into what could be called full-bodied electropop collection of singles. Shaped by Platinum-selling producer Jamie Siegel (Taking Back Sunday, The Roots), Nicoletto’s new direction in “Kind Ghosts” highlights his pure vocal talent upon a backdrop of bubbly, yet sensitive electronica with a signature flair of rocky soulfulness.
Brothers Ty and Trey Turner are living their dream as professional musicians writing songs that strike an emotional chord with their listeners. In roughly six years as The Icarus Account, they’ve learned a lot about writing and performing, but ultimately the goal has never changed. “We try to write songs that are honest and relatable,” Trey shares. “One of the most beautiful things about writing songs is that it proves how connected all of us really are. We get messages all the time where people tell us that our songs ‘say everything they are feeling but didn’t know how to express.’ To me it’s really humbling because I’ve never met that person before and yet they are feeling the same feelings that we had when we wrote the song.”
Singer-songwriter Jason Sinay leads two lives. In one life, he’s a respected studio guitarist. Sinay has worked with legends such as Neil Diamond, Jerry Lee Lewis, Toots And The Maytals, and produced many notable TV spots, most recently a steamy Super Bowl ad featuring Adriana Lima. In his other life, Sinay enthusiastically leads a virtuosic Americana band with a deeply engaged fanbase. The recently released Ape & The Wall Of Questions, the band’s sophomore release, is the LA-based quintet’s most definitive studio statement. It captures that elusive jam-band ideal of live fluidity documented with pristine-but-vibe-y production; in short, it’s lightning in a bottle.
In 1988, Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce, the “Jack O” and “Pierce” who make up the seminal acoustic duo, Jackopierce, were playing cover songs in a dingy club with a crummy PA in their hometown of Dallas, Texas. In a moment of young-musician desperation, they whipped up a tune on the spot called “Three of Us In A Boat” to elongate their set. That became a signature track for a decade-long career wherein the two-piece sold 500,000 records over six albums (two for major label A&M) and toured three continents, nine countries, and 44 states. After a five-year breakup, in 2002 the duo reconvened as Jackopierce. Today Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce have a renewed creative vigor, mutual respect, and deep gratitude for their Jackopierce heritage. These good vibes shine through on JP’s euphoric new album, Everywhere All The Time, which was released on August 28.
Anya Parker-Lentz looks like your typical, All-American teenage girl. The sixteen-year old Short Hills, New Jersey resident loves practicing yoga, running, writing, sewing and hanging out with friends. Anya is prone to giggle fits with her closest friends, and shows a unique and inquisitive mind in conversation and in her academic pursuits. Everything changes once Anya sits down at a piano, however. The sweet shyness of a teenager falls by the wayside, and she becomes an intense, brooding and eccentric artist who thrives in the maelstrom of creation. With a distinctive ear for melody, and a perspective on the world that reaches far beyond her sixteen years, Anya is an old soul spinning songs written under the influence of youth.
Dual city musician Shannon Haley divides her time between Los Angeles and Nashville, where she maintains writing communities and musical partnerships. No stranger to travelling, she has written many of her songs on airplanes and in the famed traffic of Los Angeles. Originally from (Los Altos in) the San Francisco Bay Area, the singer-songwriter began making trips to Nashville during her college years at UCLA, where she studied opera and graduated with a degree in sociology.
As original cast members of Broadway’s Jersey Boys, they took the world by storm in one of the biggest hits of all-time. Now they are together again becoming rock stars in their own right as THE MIDTOWN MEN. Tony Award winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer are taking their sensational sound on the road once more, bringing to life their favorite “Sixties Hits” from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Motown, The Four Seasons and more.
On July 10th critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter Jesse Terry released his most courageously emotional music, Empty Seat on a Plane. Immediately upon release, the new record was featured on iTunes’ Discover This and New and Noteworthy pages. “Songwriting is a healing force for me. I’ve used it to talk about my turbulent childhood, and to express emotions about love, loss, and hope. Songwriting saved my life—I was in a dark place before it found me,” the NYC-based troubadour reveals. Terry refined his songcraft at Berklee College Of Music, where he studied songwriting and performance. Two months after graduation, he landed a plum gig as a staff songwriter for a respected publishing house in Nashville, and dove into Music City’s vibrant local scene.
Jensen Reed figured out his future in one of those split-second moments that sounds like it fell out of a movie script. He was in high school when a friend from Spanish class said he needed a duet partner for a school talent show. Reed volunteered. They covered the Beastie Boys’ “Pass the Mic.” The crowd went nuts.
“Once I hit that stage, there was no going back,” Reed says. “I knew it was what I wanted to do.”
He’s been honing his skills ever since, first in North Carolina and now in Los Angeles, where he put together his debut album, “Forget About the Cameras,” a hip-hop/pop fusion of organically grown, energetic beats and smooth, smart rhymes that marks the arrival of a distinctive, versatile voice.