Tony Arata began writing songs in high school and played in regional country and rock bands while majoring in journalism at Georgia Southern University. He was discovered in an Atlanta nightclub by a representative of the Noble Vision Records. As a result, the label’s Jim Glaser recorded Arata’s first hit as a writer, 1983’s “The Man in the Mirror.”
Arata also recorded his own LP for the label. Comprising entirely self-composed material, the disc was picked up for national distribution by MCA Records. He placed two singles on the country charts as a recording artist. The singer-songwriter moved to Nashville in 1986 and signed with Dennis Morgan’s publishing company. In 1990, Garth Brooks’ recording of “The Dance” became Arata’s first #1 hit.
“After watching movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and Peggy Sue Got Married,” he told CMA Close Up magazine, “I began thinking about the theme of being given the opportunity to go back and change your life, and then deciding not to do it. And that’s where I came up with ‘The Dance.'”
In addition to Brooks, who recorded eight of Arata’s songs, the songwriter’s works have been cut by Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Suzy Bogguss, and Randy Travis, among others. Arata’s songs were particularly favored by Patty Loveless and Lee Roy Parnell. Loveless recorded Arata’s “Handful of Dust” twice and has also cut “Long Stretch of Lonesome,” “Someday I Will Lead the Parade,” “Nobody Here By That Name” and “Here I Am,” which became a major hit for her in 1994. Parnell had a Top 10 success with Arata’s “I’m Holding My Own” in 1994 and also recorded “You Can’t Get There From Here,” “Tell the Truth” and “Right Where It Hurts.”
During his Nashville songwriting career, Tony Arata also worked as an editor for business trade publications.
From writing hits for other artists to recording her own, twice Grammy-nominated Beth Nielsen Chapman, Nashville based singer-songwriter has truly embraced musical diversity. A breast cancer survivor, environmental activist, teacher of workshops and lecturer on the magic of creativity, she’s penned numerous hits and written songs for many top artists including Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Bette Midler, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Michael McDonald, Amy Grant, Keb Mo’, Roberta Flack, Waylon Jennings, Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, Bette Lavette and many more. Her music has been heard on ER, Dawson’s Creek, Providence, Felicity and in movie soundtracks, including The Prince of Egypt, Message In A Bottle, The Rookie, Where The Heart Is and Practical Magic. Mega-hit “This Kiss,” sung by Faith Hill , was ASCAP’S 1999 Song Of The Year, garnered a Grammy nomination and Nashville NAMMY’S 1999 Songwriter of the Year.
Among Beth’s own recordings, the groundbreaking “Sand & Water,” released following the death of her husband from cancer in 1994, was performed by Elton John on his 1997 U.S. tour in place of “Candle In The Wind” to honor the memory of Princess Diana. Deeper Still was voted “Album Of The Year” by BBC2’s Terry Wogan. Beth also released Look, co-produced with the legendary Peter Collins, featuring “I Find Your Love” written for the movie Calendar Girls with Patrick Doyle.
Back To Love, released in 2010, spawned two hits on BBC Radio 2, and in 2012 Beth debuted, The Mighty Sky, a romping collection of songs about the wonders of astronomy that earned a 2014 Grammy nomination for “Best Children’s Album.”
On Beth’s new release, 2014’s Uncovered, she rolls out a batch of songs that have been covered by other artists, but she has never recorded herself. Most were Top 10 hits, seven of which topped the charts at #1. Recorded in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and her own “Tree House” studio in Nashville, Uncovered opens with a crystalline piano that gives way to an infectious groove on “Simple Things,” with backing vocals by Kim Carnes (of “Bette Davis Eyes” fame). Other guest artists lending their talent to the project include legendary guitarist Duane Eddy on “Shine On Me,” a song Beth wrote with Waylon Jennings that also features backing vocals by Jessie Colter-Jennings; Vince Gill duets on “Here We Are,” a #1 hit she and Vince wrote for Alabama; Darrell Scott sings and plays on “Maybe That’s All It Takes,” a stunning ballad that was a hit for Don Williams; Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan sing on “Five Minutes,” Lorrie’s first #1 hit; Amy Grant, Ruth Trimble and Eilidh Patterson lend their vocals to the stand-out track “Pray,” written with and featuring guitar instrumentalist extraordinaire Muriel Andersen; “Almost Home”—written with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Annie Roboff—features the “Wine Women & Song” artists Gretchen Peters, Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg on rollicking background vocals, alongside Bekka Bramlett, who also sings and plays tambourine alongside George Marinelli’s electric guitar on “Meet Me Halfway,” the bluesy track written by Beth, Bonnie Raitt and Annie Roboff for Raitt’s Fundamental release. The Scottish sessions coproduced with Phil Cunningham, feature top grade musicians including Duncan Chisholm, John McCusker, James Mackintosh, Euan Burton, and Matheu Watson. Additional recording was done at Squiggle Studios in Harlech, Wales, where legendary bassist and longtime sideman on Beth’s UK tours, former Fairport Convention member Martin Allcock plays on several tracks.
Chapman’s prowess at writing in a wide range of styles shines through on this collection. From the infectious pop sensibilities of “This Kiss” (Faith Hill) and “Simple Things” (Jim Brickman) to the strains of bluegrass and country in “Strong Enough To Bend (#1 for Tanya Tucker) and “Nothin’ I Can Do About It Now” (#1 for Willie Nelson), the true thread that runs through it all is a her great passion for the well written song. It is also clear that she has a whole lot of fun performing these songs, and has no trouble bringing them home and making them her own once again.
In 2016, Beth was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association Hall of Fame.
Glen Phillips is an American songwriter, lyricist, singer and guitarist. He is best known as the singer and songwriter of the Alternative Rock band Toad The Wet Sprocket. Phillips began Toad the Wet Sprocket in 1986, at the age of 15. By 1988, they had signed with Columbia Records. They recorded five albums and many major tours until 1998. Two of the more popular songs he wrote would be “All I Want” and “Walk On The Ocean”.
The Accidentals were named Billboard’s Breakout Band at SXSW 2015; Winner of the Emerging Artist Series, US Cellular Stage at Summerfest WI, 2015; Winner of WYCE’s Album of the Year 2015; Best New Artist 2015; Art Prize, St. Cecilia Listeners Choice winner for the song The Silence 2015, Red Hot Best Band MyNorth Magazine three years in a row… THIS is the band to watch.
Described as, “one of the most ground-breaking musical experiences one might just have in a lifetime” by Jonathan Frahm at Yahoo Voices, The Accidentals are just getting started.
Steve Poltz is a singer-songwriter and guitar player. He is a founding member of the indie-rock band the Rugburns. Steve is best known for for his songwriting collaborations with the singer Jewel with whom he wrote the hit song “You Were Meant For Me” which reached #2 on the US Charts.
As a solo artist, Steve often performs Acoustic only shows. His songs are noted for their simple melodies and satirical lyrics.
Michael Blair is an internationally known and respected percussionist, drummer, arranger, and teacher. He has contributed to many breakthrough recordings by influential artists such as Tom Waits, Lou Reed and Elvis Costello.
Michael has also collaborated with legendary beat poet Allen Ginsberg, as well as multi-media artists director/designer Robert Wilson and photographer/filmmaker Robert Frank.
His writing on music, touring/recording, and communication/censorship has appeared in industry magazines Modern Drummer, Musician, Fuzz (Sweden) and Musiker (Sweden).
Michael has co-written hit songs with Finnish rock groups The Rasmus and Sunrise Avenue. As a composer, he has contributed to film, tv/advertising, theatre, modern dance, and poetry/spoken word projects.
Collaborative work with many artists has included multi-Grammy award winners, Platinum/gold record sellers, Emmy and Golden Globe winners, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees:
Hugh Laurie, T Bone Burnett, Joe Henry, Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Victoria Williams, Marshall Crenshaw, Ryan Adams, The Replacements, REM, Soul Asylum, The Violent Femmes, Stein Torleif Bjella (Norway), Weeping Willows (Sweden), Anne Sofie von Otter (Sweden), Ed Harcourt (UK), Damon Albarn (UK), Dagmar Krause (Germany), and many more….
Jerry Salley has been referred to by Billboard Magazine as “One of Music Row’s greatest veteran tunesmiths,” Jerry Salley, the “2003 SESAC Country Music Songwriter of the Year” has had over 450 songs recorded in his multi-award winning career.
From Sir Elton John’s only chart single to appear on the Billboard Country Chart (“Where We Both Say Goodbye” – duet with Australian artist Catherine Britt) to a Gospel song so popular it has been included in Church Hymnals (“His Strength Is Perfect”); from songs recorded by country music legends Loretta Lynn and The Oak Ridge Boys to some of today’s biggest country stars like Chris Stapleton, Reba McEntire, Toby Keith and Brad Paisley, Jerry’s long list of accomplishments speaks for itself.
Savannah Buist (SAV) was born in Nashville, TN and her birth announcement came by way of Whispering Bill Anderson on the Grand Ole Opry stage where her father played piano. Sav’s love of music began on a tour bus when she was three months old. Surrounded by musicians, and mesmerized by anything with strings, it really wasn’t a question of “would she play” but “what” would she play. Now the question is “what doesn’t she play?” Sav writes most of her songs on acoustic guitar or violin and colors them with a bit of viola, banjo, mandolin and upright bass/electric bass.
Dennis Morgan is an American Songwriter and Music Publisher, best Aretha Franklin, Faith Hill, Barbara Mandrell and Eric Clapton. His publishing company has published songs recorded by Garth Brooks, All-4-One, Feargal Sharkey and Tricia Yearwood.
Morgan’s career in music started as a session musician. His first songwriting success came with “Sleeping Single In A Double Bed”, a #1 hit for Barbara Mandrell in 1978, which led to more hits such as “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”, “Nobody”, “Smoky Mountain Rain” and “All Roads Lead To You”. Dennis was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
Richard Leigh Richard Leigh has had hits spanning 4 decades and 9 #1 records. He kicked off the 21st century with a top ten hit, “Cold Day In July”, recorded by the Dixie Chicks. In September of 2009, his good friend, Billy Dean, recorded an entire album of Leigh’s compositions called Billy Dean Sings Richard Leigh. On November 1, 2015 SESAC presented Leigh with its Songwriter Legacy Award, “for extraordinary artistic achievement with words and music”. Crystal Gayle and Reba McEntire were on hand to help present Leigh with this prestigious award.
To date, Leigh has made fourteen trips to the Top Ten and has written or co-written nine #1 singles: the hauntingly beautiful “Somewhere In My Broken Heart” (written with Billy Dean), voted 1991 Song Of The Year by the Nashville Songwriter’s Association (NSAI), and also by the Academy Of Country Music (ACM); “Only Here For A Little While”, (written with Wayland Holyfield); “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” (written with Layng Martine, Jr.), nominated at the 1993 Grammy Awards for Best Country Song); “Come From The Heart” (written with Susanna Clark and recorded by Kathy Mattea); Don Williams’ “Thats The Thing About Love” (written with Gary Nicholson); Steve Wariner’s “Life’s Highway” (written with Roger Murrah); Mickey Giley’s “Put Your Dreams Away” (written with Wayland Holyfield), and the aforementioned “I’ll Get Over You” and “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”, both written solely by Leigh and recorded by Crystal Gayle.
Other artists who have recorded Leigh’s songs include: Anne Murray, Martina McBride, George Jones, K.T. Oslin, Ronnie Milsap, B.J. Thomas, Bill Medley, Perry Como, Connie Francis, Debbie Boone, Conway Twitty, Alabama, Shenandoah, Tammy Wynette, The Bellamy Brothers, Suzy Boguss, Guy Clark, Ricky Scaggs, Lorrie Morgan, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Marie Osmond, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kitty Wells, Bobby Bare, the great Ray Charles, and many more.
Roger Cook’s songwriting career has two distinct chapters. The first was as a prolific British pop composer with his collaborator Roger Greenaway. They created “You’ve Got Your Troubles,” “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” and many other hits, as well as a series of Coca-Cola commercials that included the enormously popular “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” After moving to Nashville in 1975, Cook had a second career as the writer of country hits for Crystal Gayle, Don Williams, George Strait and others.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Roger Cook sang in a number of pop acts, including the Sapphires, the Londons and Jon & Julie. In 1965, he joined Roger Greenaway in the Kestrels, and the two became a songwriting team. Their first big successes were “You’ve Got Your Troubles,” sung by the Fortunes, and “Green Grass,” recorded by Gary Lewis & the Playboys in the U.S.
When the Kestrels broke up, the two Rogers formed the singing duo David & Jonathan. They had several hits and also worked as backup vocalists in British recording studios. The singing duo ended in 1968, but the Cook-Greenaway songwriting partnership continued.
Cook joined Blue Mink in 1969. The group subsequently became very popular in the U.K., often performing Cook-Greenaway songs. He also joined the other former Kestrels members to record as the studio-only groups Edison Lighthouse, the Pipkins and Brotherhood of Man.
The writers’ next big U.S. success occurred with “My Baby Loves Lovin’,” a hit for White Plains in 1970. “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” became a worldwide musical phenomenon in 1972. “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” (the Hollies), “Doctor’s Orders” (Carol Douglas) and other hits ensued. Cook and Greenaway were named Britain’s Songwriters of the Year in both 1971 and 1972.
Blue Mink broke up in 1974. Cook migrated to the U.S. He was unhappy during brief stints in both New York and Los Angeles and settled in Nashville in late 1975. Crystal Gayle took his “Talking in Your Sleep” to the top of the country charts in 1978. It was named BMI’s Country Song of the Year. In 1998, ASCAP named “One Night at a Time,” a #1 for George Strait, as its Country Song of the Year. “I Believe in You” (Don Williams, 1980) and “Love Is on a Roll” (Don Williams, 1983) are among his numerous other country successes.
Larry Cordle Larry Cordle was born and raised on a small family farm in eastern Kentucky. While a young child he was introduced to bluegrass, country, and gospel music, by his great grandfather Harry Bryant, an old time claw hammer banjo stylist, fiddle player and dancer. He recounts, “Mom said I could sing I’ll Fly Away, all the way through when I was two years old!” Eastern Kentucky was not only home for Cordle, but also for his childhood friend and neighbor, musical prodigy, Ricky Skaggs. Upon hearing Cordle’s new song, “Highway 40 Blues”, Ricky promised that he would one day record it. In the summer of 1983, it was the number one song in the nation, helping to launch Larry’s songwriting career and skyrocketing Skaggs’ already solid country music career.
At last count, Cordle’s songs had appeared on projects that had to date sold a combined total of more than 55 million records, by artists such as Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Diamond Rio, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins and many others.
Thom Schuyler has written songs recorded by more than 200 artists including “16th Avenue” for Lacy J. Dalton, “Love Will Turn You Around” for Kenny Rogers and “Long Line Of Love” for Michael Martin Murphey.
In 1983, Schuyler was signed to Capitol Records and released the album Brave Heart. It’s title track was a #43 single on the Hot Country Singles (now Hot Country Songs) Chart. Later, he founded the trio S-K-O (originally known as Schuyler, Knobloch & Overstreet) with Fred Knobloch and Paul Overstreet. S-K-O charted seven singles in the mid 1980s, including the #1 hit “Baby’s Got A New Baby”. Overstreet left the group to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Craig Bickhardt and the group was renamed S-K-B.
After S-K-B disbanded, Schuyler continued writing songs. He was later named chairman of the Country Music Association (CMA). He also headed RCA Records Nashville division from 1992-1995. In that role he signed singer Kenny Chesney, the band Lonestar and had significant role in launching of careers of Martina McBride and Sara Evans.
Carl Jackson is a multiple Grammy award winner born in the small town of Louisville, Mississippi. By the time he was eight years old, thanks to his father’s influence and a burning desire inside, he was already well on his way to being an accomplished musician. At the age of 14, Carl was asked to join Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys and soon after made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. After several years on the road, he was asked to join Glen Campbell’s band. During his years with Glen, he concentrated on his vocal and songwriting abilities as well as his musicianship. He also released 5 solo albums while touring with Glen. It was at that time that he decided to leave Glen and go out on his own. Carl’s songwriting credits include Glen Campbell (“Letter to Home“), Wild Rose (“Breaking New Ground“), Pam Tillis (“Put Yourself In My Place“), Garth Brooks (“Against The Grain” & “Fit For A King“), Trisha Yearwood (“Lonesome Dove“), Diamond Rio (“Close To The Edge“), Patty Loveless (“You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are“), Steve Wariner (“The Same Mistake Again“), Vince Gill (“Real Lady’s Man“), Daron Norwood (“My Girl Friday“), Rhonda Vincent (“I’m Not Over You“), Mike Snider, The Seldom Scene, Charly McLain, Nancy Sinatra, The Chuck Wagon Gang, Bobbie Cryner, The Lewis Family, Keith Stegall, Tony Rice, Red Steagal, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, lllrd Tyme Out, The Rarely Herd, Alecia Nugent, Continental Divide, The McCarters, The Country Gentlemen, Mark Newton, Johnny Paycheck, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Mel Tillis, Bradley Walker, Jim & Jesse, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Jon Randall, Ricky Lynn Gregg, Mountain Heart, Terri Clark, The Oak Ridge Boys, Brad Paisley, Marty Raybon, Joe Diffie or The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Fred Knoblock – is a country music singer-songwriter. Prior to his solo career, Knobloch had been a member of the band Let’s Eat, a 1970s rock band. He was signed to Scotti Brothers Records in 1980 when he released the song “Why Not Me”, which he wrote along with Carson Whitsett. It reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, #30 on the country chart, and spent two weeks at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Later that year he released a duet with Susan Anton titled “Killin’ Time”, which reached #28 on the Hot 100 and went top ten on the country chart. He had later country hits with “Memphis” and “I Had It All”.
Katie Larson is an 19 year old singer-songwriter and mulit-instrumentalist. In elementary school she began studying classical cello, and in high school she joined her school’s jazz band on electric guitar. She grew up in a musical family, where the living room speakers often blared music ranging from The Red Hot Chili Peppers to broadway soundtracks, to jazz singers like Blossom Dearie. Her mother studied voice in college, and her father is a collaborative pianist at Interlochen Center for the Arts. In 2014 Katie graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy after studying songwriting and music technology with Courtney Kaiser and Kyle Novy, cello with Crispin Campbell, voice with Scott Skiba, and jazz improv with Bill Sears. During her time there she collaborated on projects with filmmakers Kira Bursky and Miles Carey, and continues to collaborate across film, music and art projects.
Michael Dause hails from the suburb of Northville, in Detroit, Michael Dause banged on pots and pans at the early age of one…and never really stopped. The first “real” instrument he learned to “destroy” was those mini kid drum sets, at the age of two, which just didn’t have what it takes to withstand Dause’s drumming abilities. Two years later, at the age of four, Dause’s grandfather got him a full-sized drum set for Christmas. At seven, he began his first lessons. In middle school, Dause taught himself how to play the guitar, and began writing his own songs in ninth grade.
Dause is currently working on a project called ‘TreeSkin,’ which he hopes to turn into a full band one day. The genre? Garage-rock and Jangle-pop. Not really sure what that means, but the locals can’t wait to hear all about it!
Graham Weber has found a home in the Live Music Capital of the World and established himself as one of the most talented singer-songwriters of his generation. Opening on stage for a Who’s Who of artists including Guy Clark, Todd Snider, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Chris Smither, Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Hayse Carll, Cliff Eberhardt, and Vance Gilbert to name a few, he collaborated with some of today’s most respected female musicians like Carrie Rodriguez, Amanda Shires, Dana Falconberry, Bonnie Whitmore and BettySoo in his 2011 critically acclaimed album Women.
Highly respected by his peers and fans “in the know” on the strength of both his live performances and his numerous solo albums such as Naïve Melodies (2003), Beggar’s Blues (2006), Door to the Morning (2008) and Faded Photos (2014), Weber connects with audiences on his home stage at Austin’s famed Cactus Café or across the U.S. and in Europe. The Houston Press says, “Out of the pack of mindless clones name-checking Townes Van Zandt comes Graham Weber, whose talents both in front of the blank page and on the stage are actually real.”
In addition to his solo career, Weber performs with Colin Gilmore, Bonnie Whitmore and BettySoo in the CBGBand, and his band, So Long, Problems, released Ashes in the Rearview, a 2013 rock album. He is having a great time performing with his new band, Graham Weber and The Buffalo Squeeze, and is planning to put out a live album in the near future.
Another project that sets him apart from others is his commitment to the Austin-based House of Songs project in which singer-songwriters from other countries who visit Texas co-write music with U.S. artists and perform on U.S. stages. Then Weber travels to other countries and performs for foreign audiences. Not only does the effort create incredible music, but it builds friendly and lasting relationships that transcend governments and cultures.
Akina Adderley come with a family tradition in music. You could say that her father, Nat Adderley, Jr. (jazz pianist and former bandleader for Luther Vandross), grandfather and granduncle (renowned jazz musicians Nat Adderley and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley) planted the seed of song in her soul, yet her sound and style are completely her own. Her music crosses genre boundaries effortlessly; depending on the song or the set or the day, she may make you get up and dance or sit down and cry; she may rock you with funk and soul or cloak you in jazz-infused R&B. Either way, you will be moved by what the Austin American Statesman calls her “rich, emotive pipes” and impacted by her songs with their infectious grooves and incisive lyrics.
From New York City, Akina’s studies took her from LaGuardia High School of Music, Art, & the Performing Arts (The “Fame” School) as a drama major, to the Manhattan School of Music’s Prep Division as a classical voice major, to Yale University, and back to New York to Mannes School of Music and The New School. During a stint in LA, Akina finally began to perform professionally, singing backing vocals for local bands. Akina found a home in the rich music scene of Austin, with its collaborative spirit and world-class musicians Since moving to Austin, Akina has shared bills with the likes of Bob Schneider, Gary Clark, Jr., Alejandro Escovedo, Pinetop Perkins, Carolyn Wonderland, Booker T, Budos Band, and Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and she has sung backing vocals on the albums of Charlie Mars and Gregg Rolie (of Santana and Journey).
Akina has performed all over Austin at venues as massive as ACL Live and Stubb’s and as intimate as Cactus Cafe, and has been equally comfortable sharing a set at a little landmark club and busting out a ferociously vibrant show in front of a crowd of thousands. Akina has made Austin her musical home, but she has taken her music all over Texas and to Los Angeles, New York, Memphis, Nashville, Columbus, Tuscaloosa, and Hattiesburg. She has produced two albums and toured extensively with her 9-piece soul band, Akina Adderley & The Vintage Playboys. She is currently revving up with an exciting new soul/jazz quintet, Akina Adderley and the Upper East Side, and most recently, she released a gorgeous new album—World Anew—with jazz/folk/world group, Nori. You may also catch her backing up Nakia or in Charlie Faye & the Fayettes.
Akina overflows with a passion for music, so it’s no surprise that she doesn’t stop at performing and writing. In addition to being a musician, Akina counts Educator as one of her titles. She strives to foster and regenerate this passion in others as teacher and Music Director at Griffin School, instructor and band coach at Girls Rock Camp, conductor for the Santa Barbara Youth Ensemble Theatre and Adderley Repertory Theatre Ensemble, and private voice instructor.
Signature Bank of Arkansas
Candy Lee is an award winning, “golden voiced” singer songwriter from Fayetteville, Ar. She has an old soul, with vocals reminiscent of Billie Holiday and the Andrews Sisters. She mixes this with an indie-folk songwriting style that ventures into pop, funk, and soul, and leaves listeners feeling like they’ve had a breath of fresh air. Her lyrics have been described as delightfully conscious and “philosophically giddy.”
Candy was named the 2011 Northwest Arkansas Music Award Winner for Best Female Singer/Songwriter and Best Female Vocalist in a Band. She was also a Grassy Hill New Folk Finalist at the 2015 Kerrville Folk Festival. Melody Pond (formerly Candy Lee and the Sweets) have performed at the Yonder Mountain Harvest Festival, as well as the Fayetteville Roots Festival, and a sold out show at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. They have opened for Elephant Revival, Ben Miller Band, Amy Lavere, and The Lost Gonzo Band.
SaulPaul is a Musician with a Message. He has been featured on America’s Got Talent, MTV and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Part rapper/part singer songwriter, SaulPaul travels the world entertaining and inspiring audiences as he blends his voice, his guitar and his loop pedal to create a live show that is nothing less than an EXPERIENCE.
SaulPaul is also an author, speaker and filmmaker. He is featured in the mobile gaming app SaulPaul: Dream in 3D.
SaulPaul annually produces his own #DreamIn3D Music and Arts Festival where he exclusively visits middle schools and high schools and entertains students as well as introduces them to careers and opportunities in all fields of the arts. Since he began his career, SaulPaul has impacted more than 500,000 students and student leaders across the globe.
SaulPaul, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, has risen to prominence on a platform of determination and ingenuity. In addition to being a entertaining live performer, SaulPaul has established himself as the go-to guy when it comes to writing, producing and delivering original music for film, television, interactive media, and advertising. Previous and current clients include ESPN Radio, the NFL, the NBA, SXSW, Johnson & Johnson, Honey Bunches of Oats and numerous others. He is a thought leader who has shared his ideas at multiple TEDx Talks and one of a few select individuals who has been invited to share his heart, art and thoughts at Google HQ. SaulPaul also serves as a Grammy Governor on the Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy where he serves on the Education Committee.
Graham Wilkinson is constantly reinventing himself. His new album #BecauseOfYou released in June of 2016 leans heavily upon his reggae influences while seamlessly combining them with his love for rock n’ roll and hip-hop. It features Adrian Quesada of Groupo Fantasma, Trevor Nealon from Band of Heathens, the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns of SHINYRIBS, as well as a rootsy, folk-country duet with Katie Shore; the fiddle player from Asleep At The Wheel.
Graham was recently selected to be in a new documentary for PBS about the person who wrote “I’ll Fly Away”; Albert E. Brumley. Albert’s granddaughter who runs their nonprofit ~ http://illflyawayfoundation.org ~ has asked artists from across the globe to put into song his notebooks of words that have no music. The documentary will be filmed mid September 2016 in Austin, Arkansas & Nashville with collaborating artists Jim Lauderdale, Dawn & Hawkes, as well as others from Austin, England, Nashville, Australia and more. Stay tuned for more updates to come!
The single “FOCUS” off of his 2011 release “the spiritual accessories ep” made it all the way to MTV.com and remained the #1 Most Shared, Most Commented On, & Most Viewed for over a week; all done as a completely independent, unsigned artist. All of this is on the foundation of his 2009 release “YEARBOOK” which featured Alejandro Escovedo & Hayes Carll.
In between recording, family time, & touring he has opened for such national acts as G. Love, Trevor Hall, The Gourds, Johnathan Tyler & the Northern Lights, Soul Rebels Brass Band & Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Hayes Carll, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Greg Brown, Alejandro Escovedo and dear friend Kimya Dawson.
Melody Pond is the song that dances on the water, echoes on the wind, and enchants your ear drums. The duo made up of Candy Lee and Emily Rowland, have a been singing together in various band formations for almost a decade, perfecting their tight, seamless harmonies. Their sound ranges from fun and powerful to honest and tender. Rooted in the earthiness of folk, Melody Pond keeps it fresh by merging modern indie influences with throwback moods of funk and blues, with jazz inspired vocals reminiscent of Billie Holiday and The Boswell Sisters. The duo has been compared to modern artists Rising Appalachia, First Aid Kit, and The Ditty Bops. Melody Pond performs original songs by Candy Lee and Emily Rowland.
Clayton Chaney is best know as the lead singer and bassist for The Show Ponies. Raised in Bentonville, AR; Chaney moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to study screenwriting. A simple twist of fate would have him make the jump into songwriting when he founded The Show Ponies in 2010. Since then, The Show Ponies have release two studio albums and an EP “Run For Your Life,” which won an Independent Music Award in 2015. Their upcoming album “How It All Goes Down” is set to release in January 2017. Chaney’s songwriting has been described as “salvational” and “wistfully nostalgic.” He travels the country performing his songs and has shared the stage with the the likes of Rascal Flatts, Robert Earl Keen, Elephant Revival and Michael Daves.
Joe Mack has been performing and writing music for an overwhelming majority of his life, blending all his favorite genres of music into a style that is undeniably his own. When performing solo, he’s oft compared to Leo Kottke and Keller Williams for his orchestral approach to the six-string; when paired with other singer/songwriters in the round, the tones of David Rawlings and Jerry Garcia seemingly appear both instrumentally and vocally.
To date, Joe has been fortunate enough to fill concert halls, clubs, festivals and co-bills with the likes of Tim Reynolds, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Drew Emmitt & Vince Herman (of Leftover Salmon,) Hosty Duo, Travis Linville, Randy Crouch, Split Lip Rayfield, Umphrey’s McGee, Carter Sampson, Elephant Revival, My-Tea Kind, Thomas Trapp, Sky Smeed, Turnpike Troubadours, and the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey.
Mack also serves the arts and entertainment community via print and online media, most recently serving as Editor-in-Chief for both Currentland Magazine (The Current) and Northwest Arkansas Entertainment Magazine (NWA Mag). “It’s the best way to stay connected to this (music) community that you could ever imagine,” Mack commented, “And it’s great to have another avenue to bring good news and great artists into other peoples’ lives.”
In addition to his busy full time journalism career, Mack is also a sought after collaborator, joining forces with fellow Okie musicians like Carter Sampson, Sky Smeed, Bill Erickson, Meandering Orange (alongside three of the four members formerly of My-Tea Kind; guitarist James Townsend, bassist Anna Paine and drummer Sarah Garde), The Macktet (a mashing of Tulsa instrumental jazz wizards The Movetet and Mack’s zany catalog of creations, yielding heady results), The Skillbillies (a guitar-driven, progressive bluegrass band), and whoever else heeds the beckoned call.
(Dawn & Hawkes) Miranda Dawn and Chris Hawkes met when he crossed an Austin barroom floor and asked her to dance. The first time they sang together they found a sound Texas Monthly calls “undeniably intimate”.
Their initial duo effort, Golden Heart, climbed to No. 25 in Billboard’s Folk chart and landed at No. 2 in iTunes singer-songwriter albums and kicked off a whirlwind of constant cross-country touring with artists like Alison Krauss, Patty Griffin, Chris Issak, Old 97s, Robert Earl Keen, and showcases at festivals including Austin City Limits, Folk Alliance, AmericanaFest, South By Southwest and TEDx.
Their most recent album, Yours and Mine, is foremost a celebration of life’s beautiful moments that make us want to take another breath and another step – despite uncertainty.
Emily Rowland is a budding singer songwriter hailing from the NW Arkansas area of the Ozark Mountains. She combines her love of musicals and harmonies with modern influences of folk and jazz to create an original sound both nostalgic and contemporary in nature. Combining her catchy and sugary sweet melodies with heartfelt, poignant, and largely autobiographical lyrics lends Rowland’s songwriting an honest and fresh style. Rowland’s upbringing singing in both choirs and bands gives her voice a unique ability to both blend and weave as part of a group or lead as a powerful vocalist. She and fellow songwriter Candy Lee have been singing together for the past 9 years and are currently performing as the duo, Melody Pond.
The ShotGunBillys, consisting of Lance McDaniel (lead vocals & guitar) David Snell (backing vocals & bass guitar) and Case Cooper (drums & percussion) started playing as a 3 piece in 2009, but actually got started much earlier in 1994. Lance and David started playing together in 1994 as members of The Chase Buchanan Band which recorded and toured extensively throughout the US from 1994 – 2001. This band and these years of hard touring and recording forged the songwriting, musicianship, and work ethic which ultimately became the founding sound of The ShotGunBillys. After 2001 Lance embarked on a solo career in which he wrote, performed, recorded and produced a self titled Christian album in 2004. David joined NW Arkansas guitar shredder TJ Scarlett as part of his power trio and earned 2005 Ozark Music Awards New Band of the Year & Bass Player of the Year honors. Lance and David kept collaborating on songs and songwriting until they recorded “Let’s Get Country” (with former Chase Buchanan members) and landed a movie soundtrack slot in the 2008 nationally released movie “The River Within”. This success for Lance & David combined with Case relocating just outside the blues rock capitol, Memphis Tennessee, is what initiated the musical holy question……“Hey, you wanna start a band?”
The ShotGunBillys Released their debut album “BAM” in 2014 and is named in tribute to Chris “Bam Bam” Wilmoth who was a drummer, bandmate and close friend who suddenly passed away shortly before recording the album. The ShotGunBillys are poised to release their 2nd full length album in 2017 and are currently writing their 3rd album.
Lance McDaniel is an Arkansas songwriter, lyricist, singer and guitarist who lives just outside Memphis TN. He is currently the lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter for the Arkansas based trio The ShotGunBillys. Lance co wrote “God Family Country” for Craig Morgan in 1999 and wrote “Let’s Get Country” for the movie soundtrack to The River Within. Lance he been writing songs for over 25 years with 5 full albums to his credit.
David Snell is best know as the bassist and harmony singer for the Arkansas based trio The ShotGunBillys. Born & raised in Jonesboro Arkansas David moved to NW Arkansas in 1999 to dive into the Fayetteville music scean. Splitting time between Nashville, Memphis & Fayetteville David earned a reputation of being a dynamic bassist and music arranger having played / arranged for 9 different full albums from multiple genres as well as engineering duties. David has shared the stage with the likes of Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Toby Keith, Marty Stuart, Blackberry Smoke, 38 Special and David Allen Coe.
Roger Thomas was born and raised in Memphis, TN, in which such a music city obviously would steer his music aspirations. Being heavily influenced by southern gospel and learning to play guitar as a preteen in the 70’s, he started playing and writing rock, country and blues songs as a teenager. However, while living a short stint in Harrison, AR through his high school and community college years, he held a job at the local phone company where he would sit and wait for callers to call in to make collect calls, pay phone calls, and Directory Assistance calls, and it was here that he developed songwriting skills while waiting in between these calls.
In 1985 at age 20, Roger moved back to Memphis to pursue work as a musician / singer / songwriter, married his wife Sherry (in 1986), who supported his music dreams, and he worked in both the telecommunications field and as a professional musician for the next decade.
In 1995 at age 30 the Thomas’ moved back to Arkansas, Bentonville, to pursue having a family and raising their children while being close to their immediate and vast extended family.
In 2008, Roger, along with Laura Dereszynski, put out an all original contemporary Christian CD called The Altered Project, recorded at Crisp Recording Studios in Fayetteville, in which Roger and Laura wrote the songs.
In 2011, Roger created the electric blues band THE DOWNTOWN LIVEWIRES, and put out a CD called Cruisin’ for a Bluesin’ where they cover legacy blues songs intertwined with originals that Roger wrote. THE DOWNTOWN LIVEWIRES are still very much currently active.
Today, Roger primarily plays with his blues band and solo gigs locally in Northwest Arkansas. During his LIVE performances, Roger is known for having fun conversations with the audience members and to get the audience involved with the show!
Derrick Mears is the songwriter and co-vocalist for the band Route 358. He grew up on a farm outside Neosho, Missouri where his father introduced him to classic country, gospel and bluegrass. Those early influences merged with his story telling lyric and multi-genre hopping melodies to form his own unique sound of acoustic music.
His song “Monday Again” was a winner of the Paramount Music Summer Love Song Contest and his songs “Alone Tonight”, “Long Hard Road”, “Right Here” and “Chemistry” have been semi-finalists in the Song of the Year competition where he earned the distinction of “Suggested Artist”.
Route 358’s music merges influences from Folk, Pop, Americana, Bluegrass, and Country into their own unique form of acoustic music. Recently the band was one of the winners of the 2016 Ozark Folk Festival Singer/Songwriter competition and songs from their newly released album “One Street Town” have been receiving airplay from local, regional and international radio stations. In addition, they have also appeared on KPSQ 97.3’s Americana Alley and KUAF 91.3’s Ozarks At Large.
Jes Raymond writes and sings songs that connect the day to day with the muses of wonder and myth. The Blackberry Bushes is the collective centered around those songs and her long time collaboration with fiddler Jakob Breitbach. Together, they fall somewhere between Stevie Nicks, Gillian Welch, and The Infamous Stringdusters. Jes and The Bushes draw from the deep roots of American Roots music for a modern sound that has a light-hearted rusticity, elegance, and soul.
Jes’ songs evoke the natural world, with themes of imperfection and impermanence. The instrumentation is precise and improvisational. The Bushes have that rare magic that allows them to fuse voices from many genres into an acoustic instrumentation that retains distinct threads of sonic color. They are emerging as artists with an obvious love of performing, spot on chemistry, and a live show that truly aims to stir the spirit. Jes’ skillful flatpicking interlocks the band’s soundscapes. Jakob’s virtuosic fiddle improvisation propels a song-focused band to expand outward in exploratory delight. Backed by a rotating cast of talented believers, they simultaneously honor the genius of tradition and innovation. Elements of jazz, classical, pop, gospel, and bluegrass saturate the sound that is buoyant, bold, and like their thorny namesake, rooted and growing, growing, growing.
On any given Wednesday, in a Tahlequah back alley that smells of fryer steam and hash browns, one can walk up a janky flight of stairs and find themselves neck deep in padded walls built of fiberglass and sound boards. Doctor John Eddie, or DocFell to most, is no stranger to these walls.
Fell has spent months watching his own stories bounce between the corners of this building, evolving from words into melodies and from sound bites into millions of moments tossed into veteran producer Aaron Pack’s infamous audio cauldron, otherwise known as Monotone Studios. Tahlequah has adopted DocFell & Co. as some of its favorite sons and beloved artists over the years; their first album titled Scissor Tail rang between the walls and halls of nearly every pub and restaurant from North End Tahlequah to downtown Tulsa. It has been praised by all sides of the country, folk, red dirt, and even the gospel-funk corners of the Oklahoma music scene.
Now fell and friends have stepped back into Monotone Studios to record their sophomore album titled Dust Bowl Heart and they’ve brought back a slew of all-stars (and even a few wind instruments) to help bring this vision into the ears and throats of anyone looking to add some tunes to their collection. DocFell’s classic country and strict Baptist influences lay a vintage-esque framework to this new body of work. Each song has a story, and as each song unfolds the stories begin to coral together to build the spine of this journey: a tale of heart break, delinquency, empathy, and hope.
Willi Carlisle is, according to Sing Out! Magazine, “an Ozark Renaissance folklorist.” After years of collecting folklore, playing or calling square dances, and working in the avant-garde, Willi Carlisle Goehring has turned to his first and best craft: telling stories through song.
With a style forged in the fire of the Ozark oldtime music and his ever-growing collection of antique music, Carlisle’s multi instrumental stories hoot, stomp, and saunter through joys and troubles uniquely southern and timelessly true. Equally comfortable on banjo, fiddle, and guitar, Carlisle has earned accolades for his versatility with performances at the Ozark Folk Center, the Fayetteville Roots Festival, The Orlando Fringe Festival, Thacker Mountain Radio, and with opening performances for touring acts like National Park Radio, Daniel Romano, Shawn James, and Amy Lavere.
With his big frame and expressive voice draw comparison to old balladeers and bluesmen. Willi sings new songs for the oldest reasons: love, heartache, and joy. People who watch and listen will find that he sheds a tear onstage almost as often as his audience does, fire-and-brimstone proof of larger-than-life songs from someone with no other choice.
His debut EP, “Too Nice to Mean Much” is available now!
Some Guy Named Robb a.k.a. Robb McCormick is an award-winning, multi-instrumental, Singer-Songwriter, Author, Podcaster, Blogger, Poet, Guest Speaker, and Emcee/DJ who is native to Russellville, Arkansas. He grew up spending his summers playing music in Colorado and has since traveled all over the world continuing to do all he does.
Husband to one, father to two, friend to many, Robb has recently been on tour across the ocean in the United Kingdom, England and France, as well as New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Nashville, Tennessee, Alabama and recording at the world famous Sun Studios in Memphis, TN.
Robb has toured both nationally and internationally, playing his original, folk-rock music and unique blend of covers.
Robb has written over a thousand songs, played over 5000 shows, released and sold 7 original CD’s and played to hundreds of thousands of people.
Robb is the receiver of the Beaux Arts Academy, Performer of the Year Award and is on the “top 40 under 40” list in the Ozark River Valley Awards.
After the success of his single, Crooked Bangs, Ten ’til Two Music artist, Cameron Johnson, went back to Nashville to record his debut EP. Stack Your Stones features five new songs and a re-mastered version of Crooked Bangs. All six songs were written by Cameron and his father, veteran songwriter, Bruce Johnson. The songwriting on Stack Your Stones is a true collaboration and a testament of what can be created when the bond of blood and a mutual love of music are combined.
Cameron’s soulful vocals and guitar along with multi-instrumentalist, Marcus Garoutte, combine a blend of roots, rock and blues to take the audience on an eclectic musical journey.
*ARTISTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE