“The mixed tape is a list of quotations, a poetic form in fact; the cento is a poem made up of lines pulled from other poems. The new poet collects and remixes.” – Matias Viegener in Thurston Moore’s “Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture”
Before embarking on the assembly of an anthology, the curator must consider the form and function of such a venture. What is it trying to say, and who is the audience? Will the music tell new stories to different people? The art of a good compilation isn’t revealed through genre, alphabetical or chronological arrangement. A relationship must exist between each song, linking them together in a sonic daisy chain with overarching cohesion.
“It is everything. It’s just feeling. What presents the music scene in the most positive and digestible way?” says Grant Nielsen, architect of the Amplified Vol. 2, the new double-disc collection of 40 of the city’s best and brightest local artists. “Track selection takes a long time when there are 40 artists. Trying to figure out exactly how each track goes from one into the next for 40 songs is incredible. I’m pretty good at making mixed tapes, but this is crazy. I feel like there are maybe a dozen, maybe two people in the city who are up to that task, and I’d like to think I am one of them.”
Amplified Vol. 2 will be released Sept. 2 and includes over two and half hours of music in multiple disciplines from hardcore to hip hop and everything in between. Sponsors include the W Studio 121, 1904 Music Hall, Hourglass Pub, Downtown Vision, Inc., and this year’s title sponsor EU Jacksonville.
“The first year we didn’t have a media company that wanted to partner with us. And it felt a little lonely, frankly. To be your own publisher on something like that felt a little strange,” says Nielsen. “It was really cool that EU came forward, and we’re thankful for the contribution. We can promise that Jacksonville will be proud of this record. I can guarantee that.”
Artists featured on the upcoming release include TOMBOi, Dovetonsil, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Katie Grace Helow, Mere Woodard, Blaza Duval, JacksonVegas, The Little Books, Wunderlogik, Tambor, Insel, Canary in the Coalmine, Palm Trees and Power Lines, Inspection 12, Lady Daisy, Strangerwolf, Tom Bennett Band, Carl Swaygan, The Hereafter, Monarch Mtn, Whethermen, Billy & Bella, Brady Clampitt, Split Tone, ND 20/20, Mason, Land of la Bora, Rachel Warfield, Kudos the Kid, Crashmir, Le Orchid, Trap J ‘The 108 Great’, Some Dude, DrazaH Backwards, Lowrcase g, In Whispers, JAHMEN, GFM, Royal Francis and Grammar Tree.
“Amplified is getting local music out there, and providing the opportunity for local musicians to maybe reach a larger demographic, giving their project more exposure,” says Tomboi drummer Summer Wood. “I picked up the first compilation at a venue downtown and remember being attracted to the package design. I saw Paige’s band Universal Green on the back, recognized a few other bands, and discovered a lot of music that I hadn’t seen live. It was a good mix.”
“I picked up the first compilation at a venue downtown and remember being attracted to the package design.”
A true multi-hyphenate, Nielsen is familiar with the challenges of bringing projects to life. Nielsen was the mastermind behind the original Amplified CD in 2014 which featured 20 bands. Over 2,600 copies of the inaugural edition of “Amplified Vol.1″ were distributed throughout One Spark and as free downloads by theelbow.com.
“Even before we started the Elbow, I had always dreamed of doing a local music compilation because I love all forms of music…. Jacksonville has, as far as I can tell, the most talented local musicians of any market that I’ve ever played,” he says. “We’ve got some monster, monster talents here. It’s just about how do you cram that all into a box? How do you package that? And Amplified was that with the Elbow being the analog of that. That’s how we packaged it. We just shoved it all into a box with a nice bow, and I think other music lovers kind of appreciated the fact that we were like ‘this is for everyone.’”
Nielsen strives to create an impact that invokes emotion and change but he is a reluctant maestro who shrugs off any credit. “I don’t want to distract from the art. I’d rather let the music speak for itself,” he says. “We got very ambitious. I hired Brian Barnard to paint all of the panels for the record. We designed something together. I laid it out, and he did the painting. It added some stress to the production, but I think that’s going to make up for itself when people see how different this record not only sounds but looks.”
A generous donation from an anonymous party allowed Nielsen and company to develop Amplified Vol. 2 as a double-disc set. “We received 80 submissions this year, and we were utterly blown away by the quality of the entries,” Nielsen says. “Needless to say, it was a heart-wrenching task to separate out so many incredible and deserving groups. But in the end we feel we’ve selected an amazing cross-section of recording artists with the available space on the record.”
“It has to be something where they think ‘wow, this was a good deal. I can’t wait to listen to this'”
The concept for the original Amplified compilation followed in the footprint left by the Native Noise records released in the 90’s by Planet Radio. The record featured a handful of local artists, but was limited by the scope of the station’s format. “It was something that I always wish I had owned. They put out two or three versions of that and it was a very cool record by all means, but it was a record that was sold, first of all,” Nielsen says. “And that’s fine, but when you’re talking about music discovery, like if you really want people to learn about artists, you have to give them something that’s convenient, and, I don’t know, free, for lack of a better word. You know what I mean? It has to be something where they think ‘wow, this was a good deal. I can’t wait to listen to this’.”
Bassist for JacksonVegas, Ernie Douglass, is a fixture in the local music scene over the last couple decades. He remembers Native Noise as the only outlet for bands to get their music out there. He hopes that Amplified Vol. 2 encourages people to get out and experience live shows. “That was the last time I knew of anything like that being done. Even that was kind of a really big thing,” he says. “But you only got the kind of stuff that fit that station’s vibe….Amplified has something for everyone.”
“We, as a community, need to actively seek and demand more funding for sustainable music and arts culture, more walls for murals, more community conversations. We all need to widen our reach in general to obtain what we have yet to obtain.”
“Amplified and The Elbow are great examples of how a group of people and some drive can accomplish just about anything,” says Tomboi vocalist and beatsmith Alex E. “Seeing well put-together projects inspires future community efforts,” she says. “I think the current climate in general is realizing how far we’ve come but being honest in seeing truly how far we still have to go to obtain a truly expansive and inclusive culture. Financially, Jacksonville’s music market isn’t really known to be a high-paid region, but if you measure the amount of artists that are more boldly living their truths and owning their cultural identity and expressing it and engaging with their community…then yeah, I’d say [we are] making huge strides. I think if [we] really want a ‘better’ scene we all need to be A LOT more involved in our City Council and political climate. We, as a community, need to actively seek and demand more funding for sustainable music and arts culture, more walls for murals, more community conversations. We all need to widen our reach in general to obtain what we have yet to obtain.”
There is no real science available to accurately tally the snowball effect on the individual bookings, show attendance or downloads for participating artists based on the first round of Amplified exposure, but Nielsen says word of mouth always proves to be a valuable tool to measure the impact of any local project.
“Not a week goes by in two and half years that we haven’t gotten a compliment on the first record. People loved it. It had a modest download. We gave out 1,000 records and another 1,600 on the website. It’s not climbing the Billboard charts or anything, but locally speaking for about a month of promotion to move 2,600 units was massive. Hopefully, this one will do more or better than that,” says Nielsen.
“It’s hard to track anecdotal data that some might argue is not data at all, but I feel like as somebody who’s had his music on the record, the people that came to me and said ‘hey, really loved the song.’ I don’t know if they ever went and like, bought a record or came to a show just because of it, but I also don’t think people make decisions like that either so you know, it’s the three-touch rule. You’ve to hear about somebody from three independent sources before you’ll seek them out yourself. I think Amplified counts as at least two touches.”
So Much Talent in One Place!
We here at EU know how much work it takes to create and produce music. Each and every song on this album carefully crafted. So who are these talented groups?
BMI songwriter and artist Blaza Duval entered into the music scene in 2012, releasing his debut radio single Grind or Die on iTunes in April, 2013. The track debuted on 94.7 FM The Beat in Charlotte, North Carolina, and logged steady play in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, New York and Nevada. Blaza Duval received nominations for Independent Single of the Year, Independent Male Artist of the Year, and Independent Hip-Hop/Rap Artist of the Year. Fans ultimately voted him as 2013 Independent Male Artist of the Year. In 2014, he released a free digital single and music video entitled ‘P.S.A.’ In April 2014, Blaza Duval was named as one of three inaugural One Spark Jurors for Music and helped raise over $90,000 in donations during a RocketHub campaign. Blaza Duval founded his own independent label imprint and entertainment company, Boom Boy Entertainment, which is focused on creating original music for local businesses, major record labels, and national brands. He is currently writing original music for Brittney Lawrence, a local Jacksonville singer and fellow One Spark alum who appeared on season 10 of The Voice on NBC.
Described by NPR’s George Graham as “a tasteful album that nicely blends retro soul, blues, roots rock and even a little country influence that breathes musical life into the classic styles,” Clampitt’s 2014 Things Are Different Now features gritty vocals and rugged horns boasting southern rock and country flavors. Clampitt has been a featured artist on Jacksonville CW17’s episodes of “YourJax Music” and has appeared as a session player on a handful of independent releases. The Berklee alum has toured alongside Nashville’s Sonia Leigh in addition to his steady gigs in other southeast hubs like Atlanta, Charlotte, Savannah, and Charleston.
The Americana-folk band fronted by songwriters Jessica Pounds and Sandy Wicker has a haunting quality with striking vocal harmonies that provide a focal point for the band’s Appalachian folk and alt-country influences. It’s that uniquely characteristic sound of their voices blending together that first caught the girls’ attention in July of 2009, when they crossed paths busking in the streets of Asheville, North Carolina. Although they lived 500 miles apart, Canary in the Coalmine was formed just four months later. The band has completed work on their first full length album, produced by Matt Grondin, and officially released in March, 2015. Canary in the Coalmine has garnered local and regional acclaim and can be found on the festival and club circuit in the southeast and beyond. Pounds and Wicker are proud to have joined forces with some of Jacksonville’s finest musicians including Philip Pan, Arvid Smith, Pete Mosely, and Eric Bailey.
Swaygan is a Jacksonville-based hip-hop/rap artist. He plans on hosting a web series on Science and Skepticism and attending college for Physics, Astronomy, and eventually, Astrophysics.
Crashmir is a modern five-piece rock band from Jacksonville featuring former members of Nounhole, The Architect Sound, and Miseryhead. Drawing on influences from various artists and genres, Crashmir puts together engaging music and a high energy stage show. The band was formed in 2007 as a project to release a couple songs and then turned into a full blown band around 2011. With a variety of musical influences the members of the band bring their own personal taste and style to the table. The music for the album The Divide was written in 2011 and was recorded in 2012.
Dovetonsil is the codename for any original music composed by Jacksonville multi-instrumentalist and songwriter John E. Citrone. The “band,” as it were, has been around since the early 1990s, undergoing many lineup changes over the passing decades. Though Citrone pays his bills playing in cover bands, writing and producing for commercial projects including theatrical pieces, theme park attractions, film and television, and by working as a music journalist, his uncompromised creative vision is realized through Dovetonsil. On Dovetonsil releases, of which there are now four, he writes all the material and plays most of the instruments. For the stuff he can’t pull off, Citrone hires his talented friends to do the job. The current live lineup includes Aaron DeCicco (vocals, keyboards), Pilar Arevalo (vocals), Buck Colson (bass), Chris Jackson (guitar), Danny Strickland (guitar) and Citrone (drums, vocals). On stage, the band engages in all manner of performance art, completing the uniquely bizarre world of Dovetonsil.
The newest author to put his stamp on the new age of music in Jacksonville is DrazaH Backwards. From a young age, DrazaH has used hip-hop to allow listeners a way to see inside his mind, allowing access inside his creative and lyrical genius. Pairing fairytale styling with skill-driven lyricism, DrazaH has written a formula for music that’s allowed him to carve his own niche in the world of hip-hop. DrazaH’s is currently finishing up his first album Purple Amoebas under the recording label Illytronic.
GFM is a Christian hard rock band comprised of a trio of sisters and infuses positive, youthful energy into traditional rock styling. The group’s family ties developed a tight musical bond, though GFM didn’t officially begin touring until 2014. Since then, GFM has been sought out for both religious and secular events throughout the Southeast, playing festivals, community events, traditional venues and the Axes and Anchors Cruise. Through their individual journeys, GFM manages to blur the lines of the Christian sub-culture, reaching both conservatives and listeners beyond the devout. Drawing its name from the original gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, GFM proves that while the guitar’s distorted, the message is clear. GFM’s first original EP Death of Giants was released in February 2016. They have started work on their first full-length album at RMS Studios in Nashville. It’s slated for release in late summer/early fall.
Grammar Tree is a hip-hop duo from Jacksonville made up of the highly animated rapper adj (adjective), and producer/renaissance man Brian Squillace of Sea Cycles. Known for their exciting rapper-versus-drummer live shows, the impassioned lyrics and dark beats will not escape your psyche.
With blazing tempos, foot-stomping intensity and acoustic wizardry, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine approaches bluegrass music like the outlaws they are. The band’s tongue-in-cheek humor and dark subject matter are complemented by the strong musicianship of their instrumental compositions. The trio of Brett Bass, Jon Murphy, and “Banjo Boy” Mikey Coker creates a full sound from the seemingly simple combination of flat-picked guitar, Scruggs-style banjo, and upright bass. Their first CD Jailbird Blues was lauded as one of Jacksonville’s “Top Ten Local Albums of 2011,” followed by the critically acclaimed The Murder Chord released in August of 2012. GCM were the top-voted music act in 2014’s One Spark festival, garnering much deserved attention and a check for over $11,500. This money was used to record their third album, 180 Proof, released February, 2015, featuring guest artists including Jason Carter, Aaron Till, Randy Kohrs, Isaac Corbitt and Hank Williams III.
The up-and-coming progressive metalcore band of Jacksonville featuring members Darren McCaulley, Kyle Carper, Michael Leach, Ryan Roberts, and Anthony Roberts. The Hereafter is working to innovate while bridging the gap between aggressive and easily-digestible music.
Insel is the solo experimental composition venture of singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Robin Rütenberg. The approach is from a queer feminist perspective, one that has largely been shaped by growing up the cultural climate of the South. Rütenberg is actively involved in multiple musical projects including an indie folk rock duet The Little Books and a baroque pop trio Four Families, and also volunteers as board member and instrument instructor for Girls Rock Jacksonville.
Re-formed in Jacksonville, In Whispers rose to the top of the Florida metal scene when they signed with Bieler Bros Records in 2011. The band is comprised of Andrew Jones (vocals), Leos Crews (guitar), Mike Thigpen (guitar), Mark McHone (bass), and Jonathan Jones (drums). The debut single ‘Here I Stand’ was featured on the EA Sports video game NHL 11 and made it up to #88 on the Active Rock Billboard Charts in the United States. The band’s latest two single releases ‘I Am from the Fire’ and ‘Supernova’ invoke the promise to be “the heaviest, meanest, and most brutal compilation of music that we have ever put together.”
The pop punk OGs in Inspection 12 include Rob Reid (vocals), Pete Mosely (guitar/vocals), James Trimble (guitar/vocals), Tim Grisnik (drums/percussion), and Jeremy Baker (bass). Founded by Reid, Dan McLintock, John Comee and late drummer Scott Shad, they have released two full-length recordings internationally, one on Honest Don’s Records and one on Suburban Home Records and Takeover Records. They have also released four full-length albums independently. Incorporating vocal harmonies and layered instrumentation beyond the scope of most typical skate punk bands, Inspection 12 cemented their reputation as an unorthodox band. After the release of Get Rad, Inspection 12 remained intact though only played sporadic shows in Jacksonville. Trimble rejoined the band in July 2006, and after Yellowcard’s 2007 release Paper Walls, Mosely also returned. Inspection 12 announced in 2013 that they were in the process of recording a new record. The first single ‘Ole You’ was released on Amplified Vol. 1, a compilation CD of local Jacksonville artists. The band released its latest album, Redefine, in December, 2014.
JacksonVegas is an alternative/folk band from Jacksonville. In 2015, the group released a new EP, entitled Someday Is As Good As Any Day. JacksonVegas is the brainchild of songwriter/producer Grant Nielsen. He has been writing singer/songwriter content for over 20 years, behind the scenes of his other projects including Amplified Vol. 1 and 2. In 2011, Nielsen debuted JacksonVegas, whose name is derived from the “big-town/little-city” mentality of Jacksonville. The group consists of four core members, with Nielsen joined by Bea Gayle (drums), Cyrus Quaranta (keys), and Ernie Douglass (bass). A larger, extended lineup adds many more players to the group, including John Parkerurban, Juanita Parkerurban, Myrna Stallworth, and Crickit Balsamo.
Originally founded by two brothers in grade school, the roots reggae band has steadily grown ever since. JAHMEN started out as a backing band for popular reggae artists such as Everton Blender, Natty Remo, Bobby Hustle, Ragga Lox, and more. In 2012, JAHMEN teamed up with Gary Dread from The Movement and began performing as his backing band. By July 2013, Gary Dread and JAHMEN released a full length album titled Food For Your Brain. Inspired by the album, Rasta Empire chose to work with JAHMEN as the face of their brand. After performing on multiple tours and festivals as a backing band, JAHMEN decided to work in a new direction writing and producing original music. The band began touring the East Coast establishing their own unique sound. In March of 2016, JAHMEN released their debut album Open Your Eyes and continues to stand out as North Florida’s only original Roots Reggae band.
The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist began playing piano as a child and later moved on to electric guitar and drums. Helow also developed a love for songwriting and performing as a solo artist. In 2004 Helow recorded a 17-track compilation titled Let’s Be Wind, which she burned to CDs, packaged in brown paper lunch bags and sold for $5 at shows. On Time & the Ocean followed in 2009. Helow’s most recent album, Past Lives, features collaborating and performing partner Zach Lever. Released in November, 2015, as a double vinyl record, Helow and Lever tracked guitar, bass, drums, and vocals at Jacksonville’s Chromatic Studios, and held a release party in the historic Barnett Bank Building downtown. Helow has opened for such acts as Chris Isaak, Junip, and Loudon Wainwright III. She was also the musical guest during a live broadcast of “Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know?” and has performed events such as Natural Life Music Festival, Tropical Heat Wave, Springfield Porch Fest, Florida Folk Fest, Yoga Fest, and Veg Fest.
Kudos the Kid is an indie hip-hop duo out of Jacksonville. While their music is rooted in hip-hop, it is defined by experimentation and exploration. The songs featured on their albums Yonder and Casanova Frankenstein attempt to bend and blur the edges of various genres into something fresh. With certainly no lack of energy or style, Kudos the Kid utilizes the juxtaposition of melodies and big hooks against gritty vocals to create songs that are unique and a whole lot of fun.
Raised on the road, Lady Daisy has followed her musical path and developed her own style, ranging from sultry love songs to powerhouse feel-good old-school soul. Lady Daisy has played venues and festivals around the globe, spreading her message of love and positivity, soulfully presented over head-noddin’ Batsauce beats. In addition to singing lead for a few local pop/rock cover bands, she also performed solo acoustic guitar sets, writing her own songs, in search of her own sound. In 2002, she met producer/husband Batsauce. His beats and production, together with her unique and soulful vocals, developed a loyal fanbase. The husband/wife duo paired up with Paten Locke (aka Therapy, from Asamov) and formed the Smile Rays in 2005, releasing albums on Rawkus, 6-Hole, Jakarta and Subcontact. After recording a track with George Clinton and being selected as Rawkus 50 artists, they won the hearts of the indie hip-hop scene, touring and playing festivals throughout Europe. Lady Daisy released solo albums In My Pocket (bbe) and In My Headphones (bbe). She’s opened for Sharon Jones, Mayer Hawthorne, Chali 2na, Roxanne Shante, Bahamadia, the Perceptionists and rocked festivals around the world alongside The Roots, Method Man, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Muse, Typical Cats, Souls of Mischief, and Zion I. Lady Daisy’s voice can also be heard on recordings with Qwazaar, Typical Cats, Asamov and Marc Hype.
After many years as a musician dabbling and collaborating in different projects of many sorts, artist Scott Borland recently announced a project of his own conception. Borland’s past work varies from studio work for different bands and artists as a musician for hire and as a producer. He has also worked as a composer making music for film, TV and other media and has enjoyed a wide spectrum of styles and roles. Borland has also collaborated with brother Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit and the lead vocalist of the industrial rock band Black Light Burns.
The indie pop quartet formed at the end of 2014, when frontwoman Lori Button and bassist Michael Carter met and started jamming. They added guitarist Malakai Fisher and drummer Jake Stofan to the equation, started playing open mics and local showcases. Merging acoustic elements such as ukulele and upright bass with electronic ones such as synthesizers adds up to a unique overall sound design. Le Orchid’s adventurous spirit is fostered by everyone’s divergent backgrounds in southern rock, folk, punk, and ska bands for a decade. Fisher has toured the country and written two solo albums. Stofan has jazz training but comes from a primarily punk background. Button grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and pursued a solo career in Miami and then New York while remaining on the lookout for producers and DJs to work with.
The Little Books is the indie pop jams of Robin Rütenberg and Rick “Rickolus” Colado. The duo toured Europe with Radical Face and released an EP. Colado and Rütenberg have been individual fixtures in Jacksonville’s music scene for years, and in 2013 the two started meeting to share ideas and inspirations. The result of these creative sessions is a spirited, full-length album entitled Bridges and Empires and the creation of The Little Books.
Lowrcase g is a dirty, American rock band formed in 1998 by lead vocalist/songwriter Ryan Smith and guitarist/songwriter David Bell. What started as an acoustic duo has moved towards a full lineup of musicians with a southern-funk and blues-tinged dirty hard rock sound, with distinctly harmonized vocals. After a hiatus, Lowrcase g returned in 2014 with the current lineup of musicians including lead vocalist/songwriter Smith, guitarist/songwriter Bell, guitarist Kevin Steinmeyer, bassist Chris Wheaton and drummer Mickey Lilly. Their first studio album Born into Dirt was recorded and produced at Martell Studios and has attracted global attention. The band plays regularly in the northeast region.
Mason is a 14-year-old singer/songwriter who just started writing and performing her music a year ago. Drawing from a diverse range of musical influences and tastes including Twenty One Pilots, The 1975, The Neighbourhood, Adele, 5 Seconds of Summer, Nirvana, and many others, she has developed a musical style that is distinctly her own. The combination of her intriguing aesthetic that is the result of a blend of Alaskan Native and Italian heritage, her soulful voice, and her unique musical style makes her a performer to keep an eye on in the coming years as she develops her artistry.
Raised on a well-balanced diet of the Beastie Boys, Joni Mitchell, G Love and Special Sauce, and Simon and Garfunkel, Woodard left her hometown of Pittsburgh in 2006 to follow the sun and find her heart in Jacksonville. Throughout her adolescence, she starred in musical theater productions and wrote her first album, Dance in the Rain, for her daughter, which she released independently in 2013. In 2015, Woodard dusted off her writing notebook and ventured back into the studio. Her sophomore album, Like the Sea, captures her eclectic, unguarded, indie-folk style. Both albums were recorded in Jacksonville.
Monarch Mtn is singer-songwriter/producer Logan Farmer. After years of performing locally under the name Tobacco Pat, Farmer relocated to an isolated community in the Rocky Mountains, just to change his moniker and write and record two albums before returning to the Bold City. Described as psych folk with an emphasis on contemplative storytelling and atmospheric production, Monarch Mtn isn’t the folk music of bucolic acres or wood cabins. His songs are dark and literary, melancholic and cinematic, an evening drive through an abandoned metropolis, the gloom beneath columns of sodium-vapor orange. His newest album, Salvation, is a collection of eight stories told by the disparate voices of drug dealers, closeted mechanics, wealthy Manhattanites, and jaded police officers.
ND 20/20 is a collaborative effort between producer Lord Northstar, a Brooklyn native living in Jacksonville, and emcee D.A.R.Y.L. who was born and raised in Duval. The two of them met sometime after high school, passing each other throughout the hip-hop scene in Downtown Jax and at times frequenting the same studios. Recently, they reconnected when D.A.R.Y.L. invited Northstar to produce some songs for his first solo album, 7 Bridges. The chemistry in the studio was evident, and Northstar and D.A.R.Y.L. shared similar philosophies within hip-hop. Less than a year ago, they released their joint venture ND 20/20 with a 14-track record titled Blood Sweat & Beers.
Rock band Palm Trees & Power Lines fuses high-energy pop and punk, like the perfectly off-balanced offspring of Fall Out Boy and 5 Seconds of Summer. The band started playing together in 2012 and features Florida natives Josh Cravey (vocals/guitar), Shafer Tasso (vocals/guitar), Kyle Bailey (bass), and Christian Parrales (drums). Palm Trees & Power Lines released their first EP, High Hopes, in November, 2013. Fan votes earned them a spot on the 2014 Vans Warped Tour show in Orlando. This caught the attention of rock station X102.9, who further promoted the band in a series of on-air interviews, along with Internet radio’s Fearless Radio, Pup Fresh and The Quinn Spin. In May 2015, PTPL repeated their fan-driven success when ’High Hopes’ was chosen as the Song of the Year for the PGA Tour’s THE PLAYERS Championship, with the music and video serving as the foundation for the tournament’s national advertising campaign. Their second album, Animalistic, was released later that month. PTPL has opened up for acts like Panic! at the Disco, AWOLNation, and 311. The band was again voted onto the 2015 Vans Warped Tour, this time onto the Jacksonville date. PTPL has been featured on NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates and numerous print media.
Singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist, Warfield is a triple threat. Her voice is subtle and electric while her music exhibits elements of soul, funk, blues, R&B, and alternative rock. A native of Jacksonville Beach, Warfield has been singing and performing in numerous off-broadway musical productions since the age of three, including the lead role of Annie by the time she was eight years old. Warfield is currently focusing on touring opportunities, with guest appearances at major music festivals like Canadian Music Week.
Always having a love for the arts, hip-hop artist Royal Francis could draw anything he laid eyes on growing up, and now he’s doing the same with his music. He is not confined to a single genre. Armed with clever rhymes and a voice that can merge with instrumentation, he makes a wide range of songs, which take you from the party life to creative concepts of depth and substance. Royal Francis is truly an innovative artist on his way to the top.
For the past 15 years, singer-songwriter Shawn Lightfoot has been a fixture in Jacksonville’s music scene. This year, Lightfoot hopes to unify all of his musical muses into a singular project he calls Billy Daly. He’s on schedule to release an EP in May with Billy & Bella, a West Coast-inspired collaboration with up-and-coming singer-songwriter Anna Chlewicki, the Bella of the duo. Billy & Bella combines with spellbinding songwriting of Billy Daly and Bella Roux, envisioning California as both a symbol and setting for nostalgia and dreams. Musical elements include a contrast of the sounds of early spaghetti western style music and folk with airy guitar effects, with Billy Daly’s lyrical and melodic leads in counterpoint to Bella Roux’s rhythm guitar.
Some Dude has shot to fame in the past few years. After his performance on Nickelodeon’s hit show “Victorious” and the release of his debut album Yours Truly, Some Dude has quickly become… oh wait, nevermind. That was Ariana Grande.
Split Tone is an independent band that hails from Jacksonville Beach, creating a vibrant blend of reggae, hip-hop, soul and rock. Drawing from a plethora of musical and cultural influences, the band has created an innovative sound that has taken the First Coast by storm. Split Tone’s brassy vibrations, hip-hop swagger, vigorous stage show and socially-charged themes provide a welcome detour from the technical, riff-oriented styles of pop-punk that dominate today’s radio airwaves.
An instrumental sextet featuring Ivan Skenes (guitar), Chris Jackson (guitar/vibes), Eric Riehm (sax/rhodes), Evan Peterson (bass/percussion), Sean Hendrix (vibes/percussion), and Josh Wessolowski (drums). Founded in 2012, Tambor released a digital, post-minimalist jazz fusion album Yodel in September, 2015.
Trap J is a hip-hop music artist from Jacksonville and a member and co- founder of the Five Star Music Dynasty. At the University of North Florida, Trap J studied and graduated with a degree in Sport Management and also distinguished himself as a rugby player, but music was always a passion. His influences as an artist can be traced to soul and rap, citing Biggie, Tupac, Jay-Z, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, TI, Marvin Gaye, The Isley Brothers, Al Green, Earth Wind and Fire, and James Brown, as pivotal, amongst others.
Electronica trio TOMBOi creates a pulsing synth with candy guitar licks to force your surrender to the groove. Emotive lyrics swimming the effervescent pop stream further evidence the group’s progressive roots. Members Alex E. (vocal, sequencing, beats), Paige McMullen (guitar) and Summer Wood (drums) first came together through mutual friends, cementing a deeper bond through music and local LGBTQIA advocacy efforts. It was love at first jam.TOMBOi dropped its debut release, Queer Tears EP, in March, 2014, and single, ‘Lobos,’ in January 2015. Since then, the ladies of TOMBOi have shared bills with outfits such as Big Freedia, Of Montreal, Boyfriend, Moon Hooch, Hank & Cupcakes, La Femme, Black Kids, and more. Their latest self-titled EP, TOMBOi, is now available on iTUNES. Their remix album, Lobos + Remixes, is available on cassette via Wiener Records.
Four years ago, a man of dubious origins birthed a band the world could no longer do without. Pianist and songwriter Tom Bennett — whom some claim is the love child of Billy Joel and Tori Amos — put together a piano-driven band with the goal of blending any style, mood or feeling into its compositions. Lyrically satirical and drawing its sound from progressive rock, jazz fusion and pop, The Tom Bennett Band is a throwback to all of the greatest songwriting of our generation while presenting a unique vision in the modern music world. The Tom Bennett Band’s first album, Piece of Heaven, was released in 2012, and Tom’s mom thinks it’s amazing. Tom is writing material for a new album, and the band is currently performing some of those songs in concert. Live, the band is noted for its high-energy and often downright comical performances at clubs, festivals and specials events in the North Florida region, all the while keeping their sights set on the goal of world domination, especially in places like Mongolia and Lichtenstein, which don’t have enough rock-and-roll or piano music. The world needs more piano. The world needs the Tom Bennett Band.
Under the moniker of Whetherman, independent artist Nicholas Williams has released six full-length albums since 2007. The first live album, Whetherman Live at Blue Jay Listening Room, was released in June, 2016. The recent finalist for the 2015 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase hasn’t just been performing the music he’s created, he’s been living it. The touring troubadour has been on the road for the better part of the last five years. Williams is making waves with both his raw talent as well as an exceptional work ethic. Sonicbids, the world’s largest DIY platform for independent musicians, featured Williams for their article “How to Make It as a DIY One-Man Band: Advice from Whetherman” as he’s been touring 150 shows a year in over 40 states across the US since 2012, as well as performing throughout the UK and Western Europe. When you hear his colorful melodic range, over effervescent guitar and soulful harmonica laid beautifully down on a bed of poetic prose, it just feels good.
Wunderlogik is the brainchild of trip-hop instrumentalist Rod Savoyivok. It’s a sonic darkwave of moody, ethereal music. Tracks from his EP Deconstructed are available on ReverbNation.