Drawing from the Americana tradition and firmly grounded with a pleasing pop sensibility, the performing songwriter team, Jen and Scott Smith, and their band, Naked Blue, have become a mainstay on the folk/pop scene. They quit their day jobs in 1991 and have been writing, recording & performing music ever since. The strength of their songwriting has allowed them to easily transition between intimate acoustic performances and full band shows on some major stages including DAR Constitution Hall (DC), Webster Hall (NY) and The Bottom Line (London).
Scott & Jen's obvious joy & camaraderie on stage together and easy rapport with their audience are the backdrop to their trademark performance, defined by Jen's instantly recognizable voice and Scott's passionate and impeccable guitar work. Over the years they've developed a reputation for great songwriting as well and their music has been featured in film & television spots on The Young & the Restless, Brooklyn South, Jack & Jill, That's Life, America's Top Model, Mein Leben & Ich and in the films The Girl Next Door, About Sarah, June, Sex Drugs & Democracy, The Smokers and Second to Die.
With previous AAA and community radio success in the U.S., Europe and U.K. from their past 5 releases, 2013 will see them back out on the road and the airwaves. Their new CD, 'Weightless' is a toss up of authentic Americana, purely satisfying pop hooks and a some unabashedly good rock n roll guitar work supporting Jen's smoky, intimate and award winning voice.
Singer-songwriter Todd Wright spent the early part of this century with his band GetawayCar who's song "Superstar" was the soundtrack for the 2003 Pontiac Vibe. The band had to turn down the opening slot at the legendary HFStival in their hometown of Washington, DC when Todd landed a gig playing guitar with then-Atlantic Recording Artist Lucy Woodward. He spent most of 2003 with Lucy promoting her debut album "While You Can" in the US, Japan and New Zealand. From 2004-2006 Todd was the touring keyboardist/guitarist with the Pat McGee Band in support of their Warner Brothers release "Save Me." In addition to these artists Todd has been a fill in guitarist for Sony/Or artist Adam Richman and Better Than Ezra. In late 2006 Wright left the touring world focus on writing and producing. He has written songs for Aaron Barnhart (Bonded/Universal), Courage Call (Epitaph), Lucy Woodward (Verve), Chelsea Lee (Atlantic), Pat McGee (Rockwood) and Toby Lightman (T Killa). He also a song being recorded by the 2009 winner of X Factor Holland Lisa Hordijk for her upcoming Sony release.
Included in NPR Music's Favorite Discoveries from the 2013 CMJ Music Festival; songwriter, vocalist and live looper, Margot MacDonald embodies a one-woman band. A long time guitarist and pianist, Margot's instrumentation has expanded to include unconventional vocal accompaniments created live thru the use of a loop pedal. Haunting, powerful and indie-pop driven Margot's performances make you forget the technology she hones, as you lose yourself in layers of lush vocals and striking melodies.
Margot is the current Washington Area Music Association "Artist of the Year", a recipient of DC's Power 30 Under 30 award, an Artist-in-Residence alumna at the Music Center at Strathmore, and has been featured on NPR, Voice of America, and TEDx.
Margot began her music career with the Washington National Opera at age 10, and by 12 was releasing her first album of original material. Since then, she has put out a second, third and fourth album, opened for national acts, and played both the SXSW and CMJ Music Festivals, and such venues as the Kennedy Center, 9:30 Club, Ram's Head Live, The Bitter End, Sidewalk Café and Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. She hosted the BMI showcase series in DC, served on the board of directors for the Songwriters' Association of Washington, and has led GRAMMY U and other songwriting workshops.
Now 22, Margot has just released her fourth studio album, which she funded through the support of her fans, raising $15,000 via IndieGogo.
In her spare time, Margot supports nonprofits such as Musicians On Call and More Than Me, regularly performs at charity events, and advocates for the arts in DC. She has also been known to roast individual marshmallows, anytime, anywhere.
Mike Clem (of Eddie from Ohio)
Born in Atlanta on January 6, 1966. I'm the middle of three boys, with all the middle child hang ups. The family moved to Northern Virginia in 1968, and with the exception of the college years, have been there ever since. Since 1991, I've been playing bass, guitar, harp, and singing and writing songs for the folk-rock quartet, Eddie from Ohio. We've played all but 13 states in the U.S., and have even dipped our toes in Canada & Mexico. We've made nine CDs and a gazillion t-shirts.
Ever wondered what it might look like if a Mohawk banged a mullet and had an Altoid fetish?
Piercing vocals, half-finished tattoos, and a man-bag….all things you’ll find coming from Nate. The lyrical inspiration for all of Welbilt’s songs come from the mind of Nate Ihara. If you think he’s talented with a pen and a pick, you should see him with a spatula and a spoon. Nate plays a Fender Stratocaster through his new Vox amp and also uses his custom Budweiser guitar whenever possible.
Nate was originally the songwriter/guitarist/lead vocalist for Welbilt and is now going his own way as a solo artist.
His official site is http://www.myspace.com/nateiharamusic.
Cal has been a singer songwriter, recording artist and performer since his early teens. he has performed all over the United States with his bands, most notably 4 out of 5 Doctors in the 80's, Zip in the 90's and Onestop in the new millenium! He is perfectly comfortable in performance as a solo artist, part of a duo, or with his full band. Cal has a catalogue of hundreds of original songs, and is an unashamed admirer and practioner of the pop music format.
Reese is winner of eleven WAMMIES including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year and Roots Rock Vocalist! With the voice and musicianship on Patty Reese’s latest release Strong Medicine, it couldn’t be more clear that the medicine is working.
After a standing ovation following her performance at the packed Strathmore Music Center during the recent Woodstock tribute, Patty Reese’s attitude with soulful expression and her powerhouse pipes proved a match for the likes of Janis Joplin and other prolific and important artists. Other comparisons have been made, that Reese claims as influences, including Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
Patty Reese performs more than 250 dates a year, released a WAMMIE award winning album “Here and Now” and has garnered multiple songwriting awards over the years. Her powerhouse vocals, strong work ethic and honed songwriting skills have led her to the release of her best work to date Strong Medicine where between acoustic guitar-accompanied story songs and powerful songs backed by a full band, Patty puts all of her crafts to work. This CD has garnered even more attention and awards (WAMMIES) including Roots Rock Album and Roots Rock Vocalist.
The title track, Strong Medicine, tells of the healing power of love
with a beguiling, smokey vocal performance over a blues groove reminiscent of Al Green. “Last Call for Love,” a closing time, slow dance, anthem; is perhaps the most revealing of Patty’s style—direct sincerity with a soulful delivery. Crowd pleaser “Who’s Got Your Back” resonates soundly as the song’s Roots Rock, Surf, and Blues tones are juxtaposed with the lyrics’ “Gospel truth.” Among the originals by Reese, also are three tracks—all standout unique versions of other artists songs including “Keep Me in Your Heart” (Warren Zevon), “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (George Harrison) and “Buckets of Rain,” (Bob Dylan) which all perfectly showcase Reese’s intimate, tender and dynamic vocal range.
The CD features guitarist Dave Chappell; bassist Sonny Petrosky; drummers John Thomakos and Andy Hamburger, keyboardist Brian Simms; with special guest appearances by award winning musicians and/or vocalists, Deanna Bogart, Donna Britton, Nadine Rae, Jen Smith and Jay Britton.
Says Reese: “I feel a new level of maturity in these songs and the title track “Strong Medicine”, actually the whole CD, translates into music, my awareness of the power of love and my willingness to grow beyond my past goals.”
John Jennings' greatest asset is his knack for making other musicians sound good. A longtime member of Mary-Chapin Carpenter's band, with whom he's recorded 11 Top Ten singles, Jennings has played guitars (acoustic, electric, slide, lap, steel, and baritone), synthesizers, organ, piano, and percussion, and sung background vocals and/or produced albums for Carpenter, the Indigo Girls, John Gorka, the Rankin Family, Cheryl Wheeler, Janis Ian, Iris Dement, George Jones, Beausoleil, Robin & Linda Williams, Bill Morrissey, and Auldridge, Reid & Coleman. With the release of his debut solo album, Buddy, Jennings successfully stepped into the limelight.
Raised in Virginia, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C., Jennings grew up listening to everything from classical music and big-band swing to country music and rock & roll. Although he took piano and trumpet lessons as a youngster, he steered toward the guitar after hearing the Beatles. His performing debut came with a rock band in the sixth grade, and he continued to perform in the 1970s with Bill Holland & Rent's Due and Big Yankee Dollar, a group that mostly played his original songs.
Although he concentrated on writing advertising jingles in the early '80s, Jennings' musical career took off after Bill Danoff (of the Starland Vocal Band) introduced him to Mary-Chapin Carpenter. Performing together in the Washington, D.C., area, Jennings and Carpenter began to garner attention. An album recorded to be sold at their shows was reissued by Columbia Records as Carpenter's 1987 debut album, Hometown Girl.
Jennings took a temporary hiatus from Carpenter's band in 1993 and began work on his solo album; co-produced with Bob Dawson, Buddy was completed three years later. Jennings has remained one of Washington, D.C.'s most accomplished musicians, and has received area music awards (Wammies) as Producer of the Year (1987, 1989, 1991, and 1995), Best Folk/Bluegrass Instrumentalist (1991), Best Folk/Bluegrass Male Vocalist (1991), Best Contemporary Folk/Irish Instrumentalist (1992), Best Contemporary Folk/Irish Male Vocalist (1992), and Video of the Year ("Everybody Loves Me," 1997). I Belong to You followed in 1998.
Jelly Roll Mortals
Depending on the show, Jelly Roll Mortals are some or all of:
Arch Alcantara: Guitar, Vocals (Wes Tucker & the Skillets, Lianna)
Kentucky Jim Faris: Upright Bass (Charlie Chesterman & the Legendary Motorbikes, Dave Sammarco Band)
Scott McKnight: Guitar, Vocals (The Neighbors, Naughty Pine, Kevin Johnson & the Linemen, Last Train Home)
Bill Williams: Guitar, Mandolin, Fauxbro, Dojo, Octave Mando, Harmonica, Vocals (Naughty Pine, Kevin Johnson & the Linemen, Last Train Home)
Steve Woehrle: Drums (Naughty Pine, The Neighbors)
Music royalty hailing from the northern country of Finland, Ruut has journeyed far and wide in search of her authentic sound. a natural-born songwriter, Ruut is the granddaughter of world-famous opera composer, Aulis Sallinen. She discovered she could play piano by ear and started writing original songs at age 7.
When Ruut was 12, she moved to Budapest with her missionary mother, who was deeply involved in a fundamentalist Christian group. though her family lived in small apartments and gave away most of their belongings, Ruut’s gift continued to flourish, as she would write songs on a borrowed keyboard. Ruut moved to the States with her mom and sisters when she was 16, and remained a faithful member of the Christian group until she finally embarked on her solitary quest to find her true voice as a writer and performer at age 23.
The journey brought her to Nashville, New York and Los Angeles, where she tirelessly attempted to break into the pop scene with hit-makers such as Billy Steinberg, Mike Daly, Jeff Trott, Rob Hoffman, Heather Holley, and The Matrix. continually forced to push her own boundaries, Ruut’s seemingly futile search finally led her to confidant and mentor, award-winning LA sculptor, Tanya Ragir, whose legendary sound-engineer brother, Frank Wolf, was able to capture raw, live piano-vocal performances of songs that Ruut had composed in a secluded room housing a 9-foot Steinway concert grand piano. This collection of songs was later released independently, and these “steinway sessions”, with Ragir’s hand-drawn picture of the artist on the cover, caught the attention of other industry veterans, including Don Was, Ken Caillat and the late Greg Ladanyi.
“The Steinway Sessions” not only delivered her back to her musical roots, but to the Baltimore area, where she became a mother, and to the esteemed Wood and Stone Room, where Ruut recorded a full-length studio album, “Glimpse”. The 2013 release has already received numerous outstanding reviews, and Ruut’s fan base is quickly growing as she tours nearby her hometown of Baltimore with her band. Ruut has been called “a star” by NPR’s Kurt Andersen and has supported international acts, such as Passenger, Hem, Trevor Hall, Brett Dennen, Kat Edmonson, Slaid Cleaves and Sixpence None the Richer.
When Ruut aced a meeting with a high-powered executive at Sony Records her first time in LA, she was offered a publishing deal with a juicy advance based on polished demos of pop-songs she had just co-written. But the meeting inevitably led to Ruut performing one of her songs at the piano, and the executive was not alone in wondering if she was to be more than just a pop-writer. As Ruut encountered this response meeting after meeting, she eventually convinced herself that to profoundly make an impact on her generation, she would have to keep searching, writing and working. this ceaseless dedication has made Ruut an artist to remain.
Ty Braddock has been honing his honky-tonk craft around the dimly lit clubs of the east coast region for the past several years now. It looks as if this past year could be the springboard he needed to jump into the mainstream lights where he belongs. His new CD entitled "Mr. Honky Tonk" features such stellar stars as Merle Haggard's ace guitarist Redd Volkaert, recent Grammy nominee Bill Kirchen of Commander Cody fame, and Austin Texas pedal steel guitar master Ricky Davis to name a few. Ruthie Logsdon (Multiple WAMA award winning country female vocalist) also makes a duet appearance on the project.
Many are calling him "the voice" of country music on the Washington DC music scene these days and for good reason. Picture listening to someone with Waylon Jennings power and range, Johnny Cash's attitude, and a George Jones like softness to deliver a heartfelt ballad that will surely get the eye faucets running. It's real folks, and he delivers the goods with great passion. He is engaging, polite, and commands a great presence on stage with an often tongue in cheek sense of humor.
Scott Kurt wears many hats. Singer, songwriter, producer, and frontman for his hard charging Country band Memphis 59. "I love playing different roles in my music," says Kurt. "Some nights it's great to walk onstage with nothing but my acoustic guitar and voice to entertain an audience. But there are also nights when I plug in my Telecaster to a cranked up Vox amp - and when the band is playing at full throttle, there is no bigger rush."
"Down This Road" is Scott's new album and the follow-up to 2010's "Ragged But Right," which was produced and engineered by Grammy winners John Jennings and Bob Dawson. "As I evolve as a songwriter, I am digging deeper into the lyrics and melodies. The first record was a great experience, but it didn't have as much of a lyrical focus on certain songs. This time around it's about striking a chord that resonates with listeners and evokes emotion."
Resonating with audiences is something that Scott and his band members, Nate Taylor and Mike "Toby" Toburen, have come to do well. "The first time we opened for The Randy Rogers Band, not only was it a sold out show, but their latest album had just become the most downloaded country album on iTunes. I was nervous about meeting the expectations of their fans, but within the first few notes of our opening song, they rushed to the front of the stage and cheered throughout our whole set. I knew then that we were on to something special."
While Scott was working with Grammy winners both onstage and in the studio, he also caught the attention of local industry insiders by earning six award nominations from the Washington Area Music Association.