For nearly a decade, American Aquarium have spent the majority of their days on the road, burning through a sprawl of highways during the day and playing hours of raw, rootsy rock & roll at night. Sometimes, the job is a grind. Most times, it's a blessing. American Aquarium's songs, filled with biographical lyrics about last calls, lost love and long horizons, have always explored both sides of that divide. For every drunken night at the bar, there's a hangover in the morning. For every new relationship, there's the chance of a broken heart. It's that kind of honesty — that sort of balance — that makes the band's newest album, Wolves, their strongest release to date.
Visit their website at americanaquarium.com
For over a decade, Matt Menefee and Ross Holmes have been composing, imagining, and shaping the sounds of fiddle and banjo. As founding members of the progressive acoustic band Cadillac Sky, Matt and Ross have become part of a movement to expand the direction of acoustic/bluegrass music and venture into new areas of sound that have never been explored. As of February, 2015, ChessBoxer has added the wonderful artistry and groove of upright bass player, Royal Masat, who has been performing and collaborating with Matt and Ross since he was a teenager.
ChessBoxer is the boundary pushing, collaborative project by these three widely recognized musicians. With an interest in symphonic music, Matt, Ross, and Royal have taken their orchestrated musical ideas and condensed them down to three instruments. Their technical form and knowledge of melodic structure has resulted in the creation of beautiful instrumental compositions, stories that evolve with each performance and listen. From their inspired original pieces, to traditional tunes of the American vernacular, arrangements of jazz, rock, classical, and world music, ChessBoxer is at the forefront of one of the most important renaissance periods of American music.
Visit their website at chessboxermusic.com
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JP HARRIS & CHANCE MCCOY
JP Harris and Chance McCoy met under circumstances slightly different than many of Nashville's duos: a week-long, muddy, moonshine-fueled fiddler's convention, set high in the West Virginia mountains many summers ago. Over the last seven-some-odd years they continued to meet at random, drinking corn liquor and losing time in the drone of the old fiddle-and-banjo tunes of the 19th century they both love. In time, JP formed his notorious honky tonk band JP Harris and The Tough Choices, while Chance went on to join the Grammy clad, platinum-selling band Old Crow Medicine Show.
With their careers landing them both in Nashville, it was time at last for the pair to find an outlet for the old time music that had initially brought them together; however this time it is with a road-wizened ear, a new eclectic mix of folk, rock and country, and few more miles on their already-calloused fingers.
Visit JP's website at ilovehonkytonk.com
Visit Chance's website at wildhogintheredbrush.com
Not even 23 years old, Oh Pep! have been awarded Young Folk Performer of the Year 2014 and nominated in the Best Folk Roots Category by The Age Music Victoria Award. They have released two EPs to date and gained rapid momentum, touring Australia, the USA and Europe. Amongst others, they’ve been invited to play at The Woodford Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival the National Folk Festival in Canberra, and Folk Alliance International, Kansas City.
Visit their website at ohpep.com
Sam Outlaw had a successful advertising career in Southern California; however, on his thirtieth birthday he experienced what he calls "an existential crisis moment" and realized that only music has ever made him feel anything. He immediately switched gears to pursue his passion. Sam Outlaw self-released an EP in 2014. It immediately created a buzz and he secured performance slots at the Stagecoach Festival and AmericanaFest produced by the Americana Music Association. He landed his music video on CMT. Outlaw caught the attention of Ry Cooder who asked to produce and play on Outlaw's first full length album. Recorded, mixed, and engineered in North Hollywood, he enlisted a crack group of backing musicians to record "Angeleno", including Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Gabe Witcher (Punch Brothers) and vocalist Arnold McCuller.
Visit Sam's website at samoutlaw.com
SEAN & SARA WATKINS
For singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalists Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins, the Watkins Family Hour has long been an oasis from the rigors of the road, a laboratory where they can try out new material or master beloved cover songs. Their monthly show at L.A.’s famed venue Largo has been hailed as a convivial, communal event where they welcome an impressive array of musician friends old and new. While it’s true that fans who aren’t lucky enough to be in L.A. and score a coveted ticket can check out the proceedings via YouTube or on the podcasts the Watkins siblings have created, the fun of these evenings is really in being there as the unscripted show unfolds. The Watkins Family Hour is always full of surprises, unexpected guests, one-of-a-kind match-ups; serendipity plays as much of a role as virtuosity. Fiona Apple often joins them, and recent guests have included Dawes, Jackson Browne, Nikka Costa, Booker T. and actor-singer John C. Reilly, as well as comedians Paul F. Tompkins, Nick Kroll and Pete Holmes
Visit Sean's website at seanwatkins.com
Visit Sara's website at sarawatkins.com