Of Sea and Stone

Of Sea and Stone is a Folk Pop duo formed around the vocals of Luke and Morgan Dierker. After meeting on Tinder, the Missouri born, Austin based duo quickly realized their vocal chemistry and began writing and performing together. Of Sea and Stone’s sound ranges from joyful to solemn, hopeful to desperate, and ultimately reflects the very nature of their relationship. The two are opposites in many ways, yet they share an inherent link. Much like their namesake, they’re always crashing into one another. Their latest project, soon to be released, was engineered and recorded at Dark Horse Studios with producer Billy Smiley in Franklin, TN. It was mixed by Richie Biggs, engineer of The Civil Wars’ albums, Barton Hollow and The Civil Wars. The album features guitarist Brad Rice (toured with Keith Urban), drummer Jared Kneale (toured with Kacey Musgraves, currently performing with Hunter Hayes), bassist Danny O’Lannerghty, and guitarist Brennan Smiley of The Technicolors. The album is scheduled for release in Fall 2017 through Sony RED and Soundly Music of Nashville, TN. Of Sea and Stone will be touring the West U.S. in July 2017.

Of Sea and Stone

Nonstop To Cairo

Nonstop to Cairo is quickly emerging as one of New York’s premiere bands. Currently they take to the road, bringing a unique blend of ska, hip-hop and funk, to their eager fans. Artistically speaking, Nonstop to Cairo’s newly released, debut album is the band’s crowning achievement and the hard work and dedication put into its inception can be heard in every note and groove Dabble Heavy has to offer. Nathan Leigh of Afro Punk raves “Nonstop to Cairo rewrites the book on Ska… Make no mistake Dabble Heavy is the future.” This band is a guaranteed exceptional music experience for the listener and they invite anyone who will hear them to grab hold and enjoy the adventure.

Nonstop To Cairo

Ava Bryant

Texas native, Ava Bryant, is an indie-pop singer/songwriter. Ava began singing and performing around age 10. By her teens she was writing original music and performing regularly at local venues. In August 2018 Ava was signed to Strega Entertainment Group. This year she has continued her music journey and is about to release her debut single, “Always You,” at Springboard South in Houston on June 22. Ava Bryant is distributed through the SRG-ILS Group, with worldwide distribution through Universal Music Group, and EMI Music Europe & Caroline / EMI USA.

Ava Bryant

White Label Analog

The past, present and future all converge into a mighty mix in the music and performances of White Label Analog. “The band carefully and beautifully crafts melodic pop-rock that’s totally in the moment, with inspiration coming from every era – something all generations can enjoy and appreciate,” says Elmore magazine.

The four members of the Austin, TX-based group – lead singer Chris Didear, drummer/singer Heath Macintosh, bassist Aaron Herbster and guitarist/singer Chal Boudreaux – bring a wide and diverse palette of stylistic inspirations to what’s a truly collaborative team endeavor. They all share the wisdom gained from their time on the big-time music business battlegrounds in multiple previous outfits that were courted by, signed to and had records released by major and indie labels, and playing national tours. The end result now in White Label Analog is a mutual musical maturity that values making music for its own sake and the rewards of creating with kindred souls and genuine friends.

The band’s 2015 debut EP, A Little More Time, and first full-length album the following year, In Case You Just Tuned In (“quite addictive” raves Music Junkie Press), won airplay on album rock, alternative, college and modern rock stations nationwide and overseas. Their hometown club dates are a strong draw in the highly competitive Texas musical capital, and the band’s tours through the Midwest, Northwest and West Coast as well as their home state have earned them a cadre of fans and friends.

A third release later in 2018 promises more and even better things to come: irresistible grooves, winning pop hooks, a solid foundation of rock’n’roll veritas in a modern, alternative architecture of innovation and adventurousness – an undeniable combination that commands attention.

White Label Analog

Tender Beats

After emigrating from Colombia in 2017, lead singer and band founder, Oscar Fernando reimagined his Tender Beats in NYC with musicians Marcelo Maccagnan (Bass) and Jared Pease (Drums). The band is here to do soulful raw rock and roll with thunderstorm guitars and melodic lines.

Tender Beats raised over $10,000 on their first IndieGoGo campaign and they’ll be releasing their 4-song opus at the end of April 2018 along with video

Tender Beats

The Boleys

The Boleys are three siblings, making their own flavor of rock n roll from Florence, TX. With influences from 13th Floor Elevators all the way to Nirvana, The Boleys are truly “musical mutts”. They have played in and around Austin since 2015, becoming a fixture on the Austin music scene. With the debut of their self titled, full length album release in August of 2017, they gained the attention of the Houston Press, were featured in the Austin Chronicle (Jan 19, 2018) where they were described as putting an “acid-punk spin on the family bands of the sixties”, and were named one of the Top Selling Artists in 2017 at Texas Record Stores by the Texas Music Office (Jan 2018). They are a mixed breed of multiple genres that has appeal to everyone, always bringing a great show and great vibe anywhere they play.

The Boleys

Xavier Keyz

Burgeoning singer, songwriter and music producer Xavier Keyz has no intention of redefining R&B. On the contrary… It is his passion for classic soul that continues to make the artist a standout among so many gimmick- ridden acts currently pervading the airwaves.
Born and raised in Chicago, Keyz (a.k.a. Cameron Frazier) began singing at age 2(!). He recalls, “It was Faith Evans’ hit ‘Soon As I Get Home.’ I sang it out loud to my parents and friends and they all gave me this look of surprise. I was just learning to speak and yet I was delivering verses and choruses… and they were in tune!”
From that point on, there was little doubt that music was destined to become the major force field in his life. He took to the piano as if he had played it all of his life—playing any song by ear. And thus was born his lifetime moniker: Xavier Keyz.
Ever working to increase his talent, Xavier Keyz was in the right place at the right time, joining Chicago’s Children’s Choir, and then a cappella sextet the Harmony Brothers at Kenwood Academy during high school. They sang at basketball games and other local functions around Chicagoland area, hoping to make a name for themselves.
After downsizing to four members and then to two (as J2), Xavier Keyz and his partner released a full-length album, “Another Level” in 2012. It was three months later when Xavier realized that his best shot at notoriety was as a solo artist. Meanwhile, he was wise enough to fortify his talent with college studies in Television Production and Communications at Kennedy King.
But music remained Priority No. 1: Keyz’ first official step into the solo music realm was single “Trip To Mars” in the fall of 2013, which was followed in February 2014, by love song “Nobody Else but You,” a collaboration with songstress B.Lin. That became the game-changer for Keyz, creating massive buzz in the Midwest—and then beyond—including positive press
onUSAToday.com, thisisrnb.com and Youknowyougotsoul.com.
Xavier Keyz’ released his debut project Monday Thru Sunday in December of 2015. Xavier’s project has sold over 1200+ albums direct to his loyal female-based supporter base. His project is about bringing love back to R&B and is a modern Odé to letting his listeners know that love based R&B isn’t dead.
“I’m the perfect example of someone that knows that if you believe in yourself and never allow your vision to be diminished by circumstances or the negativity of others, success will find you. I know I have what it takes to shine in a crowded field. It takes perseverance, of course, but this is where I belong.

Xavier Keyz

Ronnie Lott

Texan rapper/songwriter/producer Ronnie Lott brought a pop sense to his cross-genre mix of Rap and R&B. The San Antonio native channe’s the smooth, sensitive tone of Drake, but with hints of the Weeknd’s mainstream savvy. Ronnie honed his craft in local groups before going solo with a series of mixtapes and LPs like Paradise and It’s Just Different. His 2016 full-length, Nothing Is Forever, featured production from frequent collaborator J-Nice and included the single “Trophy,” which gained traction on online streaming charts, ultimately finding placement on spotify’s #1 discovery playlist “Fresh Finds”.

Ronnie Lott

One Headlight High

Hailing from the small town of Tarkio, Missouri is a group of five friends; Keifer Nemyer, Tim Miller, Danny Hogue, Ethan Piveral, and Duston Noland, known collectively as One Headlight High. The pop-punk style group got their start in February of 2010 when three longtime high school friends and former band mates decided to begin writing music together again. One Headlight High is a pop/punk rock band with an alternative rock feel that has energetic drums and guitar along with very catchy melodies. One Headlight High has been influenced by bands such as All Time Low, Yellowcard, Blink-182, A Day to Remember, Eve 6 and so on. You can feel a mesh of each when you listen to any of their albums. The band has released three independent studio albums, “One Last Chance” in the summer of 2011, “Live Free or Don’t” in September of 2013, and “Show Me State of Mind” in February of 2015. Their music can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, and many other streaming/downloading sites. One Headlight High over the years has played regularly throughout Midwest cites such as Kansas City, Omaha, Lincoln, Council Bluffs, Lawrence, St. Joseph, Columbia, and St Louis. They performed with national touring acts such as Digital Summer, Blameshift, The Stickup Kid, No Bragging Rights, 12, Stones, Head East, Warrant, and Smile Empty Soul. In 2015, the band was selected to play on the Warped Tour in Bonner Springs, Kansas.

One Headlight High

Dyggz

Rafael Frederick Randall at a very early age knew what he wanted to be… a great rap artist. While in elementary school he heard 90’s rap being played by his Uncle David who lived with him, his parents and his 3 siblings in Hartford CT. Dyggz has an older brother, an older sister and a younger brother. As the the third of 4 children he got to spend plenty of time alone listening to his uncle’s rap music collection. He learned every word to every song on the Wu-Tang Clans first album “Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers)” His Uncle would often bring his friends around who watch in amazement as his 6-year-old nephew would recite every word to such Wu favorites as M-E-T-H-O-D- M-A-N & C.R.E.A.M. His Uncle’s friends would often say “lil Man you are going to be a big-time rapper one day” … He would say “Yes I am!!”
Dyggz was born in St Ann Bay Jamaica to a Jamaican Father and Dominican Mother. His father got a job with US Air and when he was 2 his family moved to Hartford CT. He got the name Dyggz (pronounced Diggs) in junior high school when he told his friend KP (still by his side today) he was going to make rap Albums that went Diamond (10 Million sales) KP said u gonna have to really dig! He started calling him Digs and the name stuck!! He has lived in Virginia, Atlanta, Costa Mesa, CA and currently reside in Dallas. He states he basically has no hometown. But the lack of a hometown has been an asset. All of the places he has lived have had some influence on his style which has led to very unique original sound.
Dyggz is currently finishing his first album and released the first single 4real4real which is now on ITunes, Spotify, Tidal and Pandora.

Dyggz

Tariq Aidid

Tariq Aidid is a 24-year old recording artist, songwriter, musician, and vocalist based in Houston, Texas. Tariq started singing and playing the guitar at the age of 10 years old. Tariq’s style and ability to play multiple genres is drawing comparisons to Prince and Jimi Hendrix. At 19, he entered the I.C.E. Artistry Showcase at the House of Deréon Media Center. L local hopefuls performed at the showcase for a chance to get signed by Mr. Matthew Knowles of Music World Entertainment. Fittingly, Tariq’s performance of Prince’s “Purple Rain” would stun the judges and the audience in the early rounds. He advanced to finals, which was attended by Mr. Knowles. Tariq sang his original song “Breath of Air” and followed up with an instrumental of “1+1” by Beyoncé. Mr. Knowles was very impressed and said, “Tariq’s musicianship and stage presence is incredible.” He has been an opening performer for the Sun Seeker America band at Warehouse Live, K-KCI & JOJO, Fantasia and Toni! Tony! Tone! NYE 2017 concert at The Arena Theatre.

Tariq Aidid

j and the 9s

j and the 9s are a hard hitting rock band originally from Brooklyn, New York, now living in Southern California. Formerly a 4 piece, now a duo that fuses together rock, pop, punk, blues, soul, and metal coupled with jazzy flute licks, catchy hooks, glam visuals, strong vocals, and a high energy interactive stage show “that is certain to steal your attention.”
“A powerhouse of raw, uninhibited rock with the swagger to back it up”, it’s no surprise that they cite pioneers Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, Royal Blood, and 21 pilots as inspiration. j and the 9s have toured across the U.S. multiple times playing festivals big and small, most notably multiple dates on Vans Warped Tour, SXSW, and The Mesa Music Fest as well as abroad for The Lancaster Music Fest (England), Zandari Fest (South Korea),The V-Rox Fest (Russia), with lots of club dates in-between.
Currently engaged, j9 and Beatz of j and the 9s are on a 4 month U.S. tour in their painted rv with their dog Rusty and cats Max and Ruby. They have just released a new single/video, and their 3rd ep will be released this August.

j and the 9s

Alyx Rush

Writing and recording music from the age of 16 and self taught on guitar, Pop & R&B artist Alyx Rush is making waves not only from the Midwest, but worldwide! The next level singer/songwriter just released his debut single “Minutes (Rewind)” available on all digital outlets, from his upcoming EP.

Alyx Rush

Danger Scene

Danger Scene was born with a common goal. Make the music that they would listen to and impact people with relevent, possitive lyrics. “Music is what we love. It has impacted us in a major way. This is the way God has given us to love on others and be the example we want others to see…” Matthew quotes without hesitation.

These brothers are not new faces to the music world though. Already their single “I Wanna To Be Famous” has charted at #2 on Billboard Christian Rock for 26 weeks and their song “Drive” charted at #15 for 10 weeks.

Their last project “The Lost Colors” received recognition by winning a nationwide battle of the bands that landed them slots on 15+ festivals from San Diego to Atlanta. Not to mention opening for bands such as Hey Monday, Relient K, Breathe Carolina, Emery, RED, and Hawthorne Heights. They have also played multiple warped tour dates, all of this done while being independent of a label.

But what really make these two special are their music and the shows they put on. Danger Scene is one of the most fun and exciting groups to watch live. With only two members, Danger Scene fills more space on stage than some 5-piece bands. Electro-Poprock has never been so much fun. Dance breaks and high energy are a staple for the boys. Michael (Vocals) goes from keys to front man seamlessly. Matthew (Drums) could be the only one on stage and still captivate with his showy yet fun style of playing.

Danger Scene

Copelin Bates

Notably having many mainstream influences, Copelin Bates is an artist who consist of multiple genres. While specializing in guitar driven blues, the independent artist doesn’t shy away from writing and composing original music that fit into the playlist of mainstream pop radio.

Born in Raised in ”The Natural State” of Arkansas, Copelin Bates has a deep remanence of southern tone spanning from his soulful vocals, and on into his original lyrical/musical content.

Slightly following in the footsteps of his father, Stanley Bates(professional vocalist for the 12 piece ‘Rock and Soul’ horn band “Full House”, whom are also from Northwest Arkansas), Copelin picked up his first guitar shortly after the age 10. While pursuing a career in athletics during the High School years and onto College, he also begin his musical career at the age of 14 within his hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Being home to the University of Arkansas and one of the largest biker festivals in the country, “Bikes Blues and BBQ”, Fayetteville has grown into a unique artistic atmosphere very similar to the likes of Austin, Texas. Through years of cultural growth and change, Copelin himself has grown into a well known and frequently featured artist through out the whole state.

Giving extensive dedication into the recording and production process through out the last 6 years, his debut EP will be officially released in the summer of 2018.

With the release of the debut single “Immaturity” in 2016, Copelin has gained a high level of local and regional notoriety, while building great anticipation for the album release.

The independent singer/song writer has been compared to the sounds of John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and along with ‘Pop Sensations’ Prince and Michael Jackson.

Copelin has a deep spiritual ideology that music can heal the world. Many should look forward to seeing and hearing from the artist Copelin Bates for years to come.

Copelin Bates

Glass Mansions

Glass Mansions, led by the charismatic, sultry voice of Jayna Doyle, is an Altpop duo from South Carolina, influenced by modern and 90s pop, heavy synths and tight, dance-friendly rhythms. Their music is propulsive and elastic, with bubbly pop-melodies, lush electronic beds of sound and intelligent, intimate lyrics. Live, it’s pure Rock n’ Roll – raw, sweaty, passionate and covered in a cloud of fog and confetti – and chances are you’ve probably seen Glass Mansions at some point or another as they’ve crisscrossed the country, playing places like SXSW, Warped Tour, Daytrotter, South Sounds and Florida Music Festival. In the case that you haven’t, you are in for a treat.

Go See Live Music says “Glass Mansions are a pop lover’s dream,” and that the music “follows pop anthem sensibility, and does so magnificently. You feel like you know the song when it is over and are reaching for the repeat button.”

That knack for writing earworms recently landed the band a featured song on Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” among other sync placements. Their newest EP, “RITUAL” was helmed by multi-platinum producers Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount and finds the duo of Doyle and ,ulti-instrumentalist Blake Arambula exploring self-discovery, demons, nostalgia, and the satisfaction and laser focus that comes with leaving toxicity in the past.

The record has already been met with early rave reviews. Pure Grain Audio calls the EP “damn good” and says the band has “layered in a ton of hooks, sing-along choruses, and even captured their live energy,” and South Carolina’s Free Times has called the record “a spectacular collection of edgy electronic music that finds Glass Mansions hitting a new peak.”

To Doyle, that new peak brings relief, especially in the live show. “They are 100% cathartic. They are just raw rock and roll vibes and a lot heavier and super fun. Every show is different and everyone has a good time”

That rawness and authentic connection translates from the songs themselves directly to the live experience, something you’ll have to witness yourself. Catch them across the country, and you’ll see why Glass Mansions is proving their worth, one sweaty fog and confetti-filled show at a time.

Glass Mansions

Hello Noon

Hello Noon fuses pop-rock, folk and orchestral elements to create a powerful and dynamic listening experience that aims to empower and connect with audiences on an intimate level. Beginning as a group of friends and songwriters, Hello Noon came together sharing music with each other while students at UCLA. Their debut album, “Into Place,” was developed with all seven band members adding their own unique layers into each track.

The band’s name is inspired by the positive experience of waking up to a new day. Their music shares a range of experiences and inspires others to positively tackle emotions such as loneliness, personal insecurity, and uncertainty.

Hello Noon

Dossey

“Conjuring up a sublime blend of powerful synths and surging alt-pop melodies, Dossey can only be described as a long-overdue musical whirlwind,” Danielle De Wolfe, One Stop Record Shop.

Dossey is the electro-pop alter-ego of artist/songwriter/enigma Sarah Dossey, who derives her sound from a truly eclectic appreciation of music and art. The banjo playing member of Austin-based folk/bluegrass trio Indian & the Jones, Dossey’s sound as a solo artist is very much influenced by traditional American folk, all through the funnel of 1980s synth pop and new wave. A songwriter at heart, her music is always built on a foundation of a catchy, memorable hook, paired with a danceable beat.

Dossey has been an officially Featured artist on Noisetrade, and has received nods from indie blogs like The Deli, Parachute Music, One Stop Record Shop, and Wolf in a Suit. She was also nominated for Deli Magazine’s Best of Austin poll, and the video for her cover of Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes was included as an official selection of the Austin Music Video Festival in 2017.

Released in April of 2017, Dossey’s debut EP, “Electric” is currently at 100,000 total streams and counting between Soundcloud and Spotify alone. Her official music videos boast over 6000 views on YouTube since the summer of 2017.

Dossey

Sol y Motion

There’s something about the creative dynamic between brothers that has propelled some of the greatest bands in history. From The Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, AC/DC, Van Helen, Oasis up to the present with Kings of Leon, Radiohead and Arcade Fire, Rock and Roll history is filled with sibling teams creating great music.

It could come from the deep understanding of each other developed over a lifetime together. Or the fact that brothers have a special, and sometimes extreme way, of coming to a resolution of differences. But the energy and bond that comes from knowing your creative partner better than anyone else has led to some of music’s greatest and most innovative groups.

Sol y Motion is one such band. Nick and Thomas Klein form the core of one of Houston’s most exciting new groups. The counter play between Nick’s soulful vocals and Niles Rodgers inspired guitar style along with Thomas’ energy and technical precision on the drums have helped them to create a unique sound all their own. Sol y Motion’s music is a blend of Soul, Blues, Rock and Reggae pulled together with some influences from their Latin roots.

They’ve drawn comparisons to a broad range of artists, from mainstream acts Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars and Maroon 5 to alternative acts like O.A.R., 311 and Rebelution. With Sol y Motion, it’s the blending of sounds and influences that makes them a band you must see!

Sol y Motion

Jazzo

Hypnotic. Intoxicating. Electric. Just a few words used to describe Massachusetts born, Maryland raised singer/songwriter, producer, actress, and choreographer: Jazzo. Jazzo is a Reverbnation CONNECT artist, SESAC songwriter/publisher and a member of the DC Grammy Chapter of the Recording Academy. With three EP’s under her belt, she plans on releasing her first feature length album “Matters of the Heart” later this year.

Jazzo

Sierra Nicole

Sierra Nicole is a 26 year old singer/songwriter from Durham, North Carolina. Sierra began recording cover videos for Youtube in 2013 and has been picking up momentum ever since. She developed a love for music and performing at a young age, first learning to play trumpet, then developing skills in guitar and voice. You can find Serra online on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to show your support.

Sierra Nicole

Lee Perreira

Singer-Songwriter-Guitarist Lee Perreira combines classic blues riffs with a soulfully textured vocal style leaving his audience instantly captured. His New Album “Whats That Gotta Do With My Dreams?” has already been added to 111 radio stations across the US so far. Lee Perreira has opened for and sat in with Blues Legend Buddy Guy at Marquee Theatre, opened for James Bay at Mix 96.9s SOLD OUT “Spring Thing” at LiveWire and has also been blessed to of shared the night with many other amazing artists such as well.

Lee Perreira

Alex Marie Brinkley

With a recent win at the Wildflower Arts & Music Festival Singer/Songwriter contest in Dallas, Texas, Alex Marie Brinkley is lighting up both the Dallas/Fort Worth and Nashville music scenes. In Nashville, she’s been working with Grammy-winning songwriters and multi-platinum producers, where she recorded her first single ‘Broken’ and EP ‘The Other Side.’ The Nashville Songwriters’ Association International has acknowledged her as “One to Watch.”

Writing songs since she was fourteen, Alex’s original music comes from a place of personal experience and honesty. Her songs are being recognized both nationally and internationally, as her songs ‘Sincerely, Me,’ ‘Broken,’ ‘The Other Side,’ and ‘Messy’ were all finalists in the Great American Song Contest, the UK Songwriting Competition, and the International Songwriting Competition. Outside of writing her own music, Alex is currently writing with & for tunnA Beatz, Arc North, Vinil, Dylan Taylor, Oscar Olivo, & other DJs across the US & Europe.

She’s a featured artist for the House of Blues’ ‘Chick Singer Night,’ which raises money for a Dallas women’s shelter. Even with her busy schedule, she still finds time to travel and sing the National Anthem at sporting events for teams like the Boston Red Sox and Indiana Pacers!

Alex Marie Brinkley

Cinema For The Blind

Cinema for the Blind is fronted by the songwriting brother-sister duo, Kruz and Blaze Bramlett. The band is young, yet insightfully tuned-in to the world around them. Cinema for the Blind songs will get you dancing, feeling romantic, rebellious, hopeful, empowered and even reminiscent. With their single “She’s Forever” getting radio airplay on dozens of mainstream stations across the country like KLTZ/MIX93 and KLIR 101.1, the band is beginning to get recognized for it’s “major label” potential. Band members Kruz, Blaze, Mateo and Victoria are charting a fresh, new path in the indie / alt / pop music scene.

Cinema For The Blind

Awaken The Giants

Awaken The Giant is an American rock band from Houston, Texas, formed in 2013 by Blake Suarez (guitar/vocals) and Tab Cocchia (vocals/guitar).

Original band mates from a former band, Blake and Tab broke away to create a heavier, harder sound and be the sole song writers. This allowed them to create the sound that they always envisioned.

Their debut single ‘I Fooled You’ has blown up in the Anime Community and has been streamed over 3 Million times between Spotify and YouTube.

Awaken The Giant independently released their debut EP ‘Black & Blue’ in 2017, and has amassed a world wide fan base. The EP showcases mainstream rock songs to heavier

Awaken The Giants

RADS Krusaders

RADS Krusaders Bio
In the late 50’s, Texas Southern University gave rise to one of jazz’s most innovative and legendary groups ever when pianist Joe Sample and his friends, saxophonist Wilton Felder and drummer Stix Hooper met trombonist Wayne Henderson and formed The Swingsters – which became the Modern Jazz Sextet and then the Jazz Crusaders. They cemented their place in jazz history in the 60’s with a fusion of hard bop and soul, and then shifted gears into a jazz funk style throughout the 70s and beyond, when they were known as The Crusaders. Sample, Felder and Henderson are no longer with us, but their legacy and trademark vibe fusing powerhouse melodies, R&B grooves and jazz improvisation are alive and well, thanks to the dynamic emerging five piece contemporary jazz band RADS Krusaders. The ensemble’s explosive, multi-faceted new album Going Way Back Home is a follow-up to their well-received 2013 debut In Session.
Though they originally performed around the greater Houston area as a group called At Its Peak, the second half of their unique moniker ties their music to the enduring inspiration of The Crusaders while the first is an acronym of the names of the four original members: “King” Richard Owens (vocals, trombone), Nic Allen (vocalist, bassist), Yul “Quick Time” Dorn (percussion) and Mark Scurlock, Jr. (woodwinds, vocals). Completing the lineup is guitarist Masatoshi “Ichi” Ichikawa. All of the members of RADS began their musical journeys at TSU, just as the original members of the Jazz Crusaders did in the late 50’s.
Together, they fashion an expansive range of fresh musical concepts, sonic effects, a mix of vocal and instrumental R&B/jazz styles and a forward thinking, 21st Century approach to the classic styles recorded and performed for decades by The Crusaders. Though “Crusaders Overture,” the multi-movement expository opening track on Going Way Back Home, includes the new band’s takes on snippets of three Crusaders’ classics, the other eight full tracks are a mix of originals and re-imaginings of classic R&B hits by Marvin Gaye (“I Want You”) and The O’Jays (“Use Ta Be My Girl”).
RADS Krusaders didn’t simply begin with the blessing of Joe Sample – he helped put the group together in 2013. Three years earlier, the pianist received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Texas Southern, and he returned in 2012 to teach the TSU Jazz Orchestra Project masters course. This led to the creation of the Joe Sample Jazz Orchestra, whose members included Allen (one of its conductors) and Owens. Sample, who died in 2014, put the band together with students selected by Allen and Owen. He began to mentor these musicians with several rehearsals, song structure and key practice techniques. Another key band mentor is Horace Alexander Young, Director of Jazz Studies at TSU and principal conductor of the Joe Sample Jazz Orchestra.
Writing about the group, Sample said, “When I accepted the position at Texas Southern University I aimed to teach students the art form of playing and recording music at a high level. The students who became RADS Krusaders, opened their hearts and ears to what I needed to share with them from my experience and point of view. The hard work these guys developed in their performance, compositions/arrangements and personality allowed me to appreciate teaching, and it was a lot of fun. It’s a new evolution of ideas towards the Crusaders music and I’m proud to have been a part of such creativity, and not alone, keeping that energy and sound alive.”
Allen also gives a shout out to Henderson, Felder and longtime Crusaders associate, legendary flutist Hubert Laws, who were all tremendously supportive of RADS Krusaders and came to the studio during the recording of their first album.
ON STAGE
In the summer of 2013, the band was hired to be mentors, arrangers and provide all the live music as the house band for a TV pilot show called “Houston’s Got Talent,” hosted by Antoinette Robinson. While performing over the years at many high-profile private parties – including “Night of Jazz,” sponsored by Shell Corp. – RADS Krusaders has also performed at the Taste of New Orleans Festival (put on by the Zulu Association), the 90.9 KTSU radio station festival in Houston, the Lake Charles Jazz Festival and the International Jazz Festival of Houston. Allen says, “The best part of our shows is receiving the energy from our audiences. We love it when people are dancing and truly engaging themselves in the music we’re playing. Instead of looking at us as an art form, they look at us as a fun form of art. They appreciate the way we dance onstage when we play, and our ability to provide entertainment value as well as incredible music. We like to say, ‘We can bop you to death, but we choose not to.’”
MUSIC
Nic Allen invokes Joe Sample’s hilarious bluntness when he recalls that the legendary pianist basically coined two phrases for RADS Krusaders which have guided the quintet ever since: “I need you all with the Crusaders groove, and do not F*** up my groove”. On Going Way Back Home, the group’s first album since Sample’s passing, they honor their mentor’s request, keeping the Crusaders’ influence prominent while developing their own fresh approach to contemporary jazz. Their first album was titled In Session because it was more of an exploration of what they could do with the groove; this one acknowledges, as one of the titles says, that they have “Big Shoes to Walk In,” and they fill them with great chops, rich melodies and harmonies and of course, intensely cool, often swinging rhythms.
The opening track “Crusaders Overture” is a medley of a spoken word mission statement (“Let’s go Krusaders!”) and artfully quoting musical passages from the Crusaders’ classics “Cosmic Reign,” “Way Back Home” and “Street Life.” “Big Shoes…” offers an easy swinging trombone and sax blending to create a silky melody that soars over jangling guitars and a deeply percussive groove. Named for Sample’s initials, “JLS” is a direct tribute starting with a mystical musical intro and spoken word poetry about a fancy dance about music; it evolves into a slow burning ballad with intense electric guitar jamming and tight horns. The sultry vocal ballad “Universal Pain” shows of RADS’ ample vocal talents in an anthem setting reminiscent of the Crusaders’ socially conscious anthems. Veteran Houston based pianist and longtime Sample associate Skip Nalia tackles the stunning piano melodies on two of the album’s jazziest tracks, “Off Shore” (which moves from ambient to swinging) and “Far From Home,” which swings from the get go and features some of Owens’ and Scurlock’s most dynamic sax-trombone interactions.
FROM THE BEGINNING
The “story behind the story” of how RADS Krusaders came to be starts in 2013 with Sample’s annual concert with the Joe Sample Youth Orchestra to raise money for Catholic schools in the region. He wanted to gather the original Crusaders to perform for the occasion, but Felder and Henderson were not available. Sample turned to his big band, and his obvious choices for fill-ins were Allen and Owens. Allen, who was a graduate student, had a long history with the pianist that included working on his 2nd big band albums The Pecan Tree. Impressed with what he heard, Sample had an important conversation with Allen and Owens, and the three decided to put together a new band, hand selecting other musicians enrolled at TSU. After paring down the lineup from six to five and some early turnover, the final ensemble took shape.
Unlike the Crusaders, who all hailed from Houston, the members of RADS Krusaders all hail from different places. Richard P. Owens (Chicago) has shared the stage with jazz and blues legends Frank Foster, Frank West, Von Freeman, Kurt Elling, Buddy Guy and John Faddis. Prior to his move from New Orleans to Beaumont, TX as an engineer, Nic Allen was performing and recording as a tuba player with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, New Wave Brass Band and The Paulin Brothers Jazz Band. He has also toured and/or guested with Norah Jones, Irvin Mayfield and Rafael Saddiq. Yul Dorn, Jr. (San Francisco) has made guest appearances with Grammy winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum and rap duo Digable Planets. Mark Scurlock, Jr.’s (Jackson, MS) smooth R&B sax sound has been cultivated in performances with national and local artists including Whalum and Joe Carmouche. A veteran of the “Do Jazz Big Band,” Japanese born Masatoshi “Ichi” Ichikawa has toured in the U.S. and internationally with Mel Waiters, Lil’ Brian and Zydeco Travelers and Mary Griffin.
REVIEW
“Asked what he likes most about Going Way Back Home, Nic Allen replies simply, ‘It’s a great album to sit back and listen to or get up and dance to. I like the variety of music we play on it, which showcases the versatility of where we can go as a group.’ And that’s the key to the band and this compelling recording infused with jazz, R&B/soul, swing, funk, spoken word sultriness and atmospheric magic. The band’s provocative name, and the promotional materials used to market them to the world, will always invoke The Crusaders and the band’s origins with Joe Sample. Yet everything they do with that similar lineup – centered on jazzy-funky piano, intense grooves and swinging swagger and the sizzling duality of sax and trombone – is focused on bringing originality and fresh, exciting compositions and arrangements to a new generation. The origin story of RADS Krusaders is fascinating, but, with the release of Going Way Back Home, they’re firmly their own band now and all eyes are on what they are going to inspire us with in the future.” – Jonathan Widran

RADS Krusaders

Alii Michele

Alexandria Michele Chargois, professionally known as Alii Michele, skirts the boundaries of jazz, indie-soul, R&B and pop music. Her artistry is somewhat impossible to categorize, as it goes well beyond soul singing to incorporate elements of classical music. The Houston, TX native grew up in a Creole household, which also lends to her eclectic, melting pot approach to expertly crafting genre-bending records. Inspired by life, her work is stimulating in subject matter as well as in process. Last year was very active for her as she made the move to terrestrial and Sirius XM Radio with her song “Never”. In December 2017 Alii hit the road and performed as the opening act for Bell Biv Devoe and Tank at the Columbus Civic Center in Georgia. A dynamic vocalist that exudes grace, poise, and brilliance not only in her music but also with her stage presence, Alii is emerging as an instantly memorable new artist in recent memory.

Alii Michele

Rah

Rah Is An American Rap Artist/SongWriter. Born Robert Shelton In The 9thWard Area Of New Orleans, La . Growing Up In A Rough Proverty Stricken Envoirment. Rah Only Had One Source Of Blocking Out The Negativity Surrounding Him And That Was Music. Taken A Liking To Artists Such As Nas, 2pac And Fellow New Orleanian McKinley ( Mac ) Phipps Jr. For Their Gritty But Yet Political & Uplifting Form Of Lyrical Storytelling. By An Early Teen Rah Began Crafting His Own MC Skills And Found A Talent For Not Just Rapping But Also Writing For Himself And Other Artist Ranging From HipHop/Rap , R&B And Even Pop.

Rah

Steff Neff

Two words come to mind when describing Steff Neff; dark and sparkly. She creates a unique atmosphere by combining sugary pop melodies with much darker lyrics that bleed raw emotion. Steff is both a talented entertainer and passionate songwriter. Taylor Swift’s former manager, and the founder of The Music Industry Blueprint, Rick Barker says “[She] had me from the very, very, beginning…I really dig [her]”. Tom Jackson from live music cares states “I love [her] voice…I love what [she’s] doing.” Steff Neff was one of 23 applicants accepted into Belmont University’s Songwriting program, out of thousands of candidates in 2015. She was also one of 27 applicants chosen internationally to participate in the “It All Starts with A Song” songwriting retreat hosted by the former VP of Warner Chappell Music, inc., Judy Stakee, in 2017. Judy Stakee says “Between her strong vocals, pop melodies, and insightful lyrics, it’s hard to believe she is only [20]!”

Steff Neff

Sweet Chaos

Sweet Chaos is a young female hard rock duo from Dallas, TX. Comprised of Sydney Hefley (bass guitar, vocals) and Payton Taylor (drums), the band has toured the great state of Texas and has become a local draw, garnering significant attention performing at many prestigious venues across the Dallas Metroplex. The band has a broad range of musical influences, including Muse and Royal Blood, but have created a unique powerful sound that is undeniably all their own. Combining current and relevant lyrics with electric live performances, audiences are energized and left wanting for more. The band received the MXD Mag Rock and Metal 2016 Rising Talent in Texas Award and the duo was honored again in 2017 by MXD Mag by receiving individual awards for Best Rising Talent in Texas Bass Guitarist and Drummer, respectively. Their single “IRRELEVANT” has been added to playlists on major active rock/market indicator station KEGL 97.1 FM in Dallas in addition to 89.9 FM Pop Roxx Radio, Rock Rage Radio, Canada Rage Radio and Deep Dallas Radio. The band is scheduled to record new material soon for release in 2018.

Sweet Chaos

RHU

Vocalist Jordan Coffing is evocative and captivating, playfully finessing sophisticated melodies, while displaying a tone that is lush and compelling. As a composer her music encompasses an eclectic mix of indie rock, acoustic pop, jazz, and hip-hop.

Coffing attended Houston’s High School For the Performing and Visual arts and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Jazz Performance from the internationally acclaimed University of North Texas, where she had the opportunity to work with living legends Rosana Eckert, Kurt Elling and Peter Eldridge. She performs classic jazz repertoire by Billie Holiday, Betty Carter, and Sarah Vaughan and cites current artists such as Feist, Tigran Hamasyan, St. Vincent, and Becca Stevens as her main influences. Coffing hybridizes traditional and progressive concepts to deliver a fresh, singular sound that is all her own.

Jordan was born in Los Angeles to a film composer/songwriter and a graphic artist. She began singing at an early age and needless to say her talent was encouraged. Her father brought her into the studio at a young age which led to singing background vocals for Film & TV scores and records including vocals for a TV theme song performed by Chaka Khan.

Currently residing and performing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Coffing works as an active vocalist, composer, guitarist and educator. She has worked as a sideman for several diverse projects from singing backup for “Naked Lunch”, a Steely Dan Cover band, to performing with Denton based folk group “Many Voices.”

Jordan Coffing is a new voice that will speak to the current generation while echoing sounds from the past.

RHU

Natalie Patton

Natalie’s music is bright, clever indie-pop. She plays ukulele, piano, and plucks at a rusty mandolin even though it hurts her fingers. She’s inspired by mostly indie and folk artists, but remains addicted to Top 40 hits. Natalie’s first EP of original music is set to be released in 2018, produced by Barry Coffing and mixed by Dale Penner. She performed at Springboard West Music Festival in January 2018 in beautiful Ocean Beach, CA. She was recently a part of the West Coast Singer Songwriter Showcase at Genghis Cohen, hosted by Elyse + The Aftermath. Natalie lives in Los Angeles (despite her better judgement), but is excited to be back in her hometown of Houston for Springboard South.

Natalie Patton

Alexander FRE$CO

Jackson, MS native Alexander FRE$CO is growing to be the next big brand that’s not afraid to stand out and be different. Being a rapper, singer, and songwriter, Alexander FRE$CO is making his way through the underground with genre-transcending sounds and collaborations with many artists.

Successfully completing 4 tours in 2017 alone totaling 61 concerts, Alexander FRE$CO’s music has been streamed over 30K times this year.

His stage presence is energetic, fun, and always an eye-opening and unforgettable experience. Expanding his performance in to new markets is the goal for those online fans to finally see what’s trending through his social media, blogs, and word-of-mouth.

Facebook.com/frescobeflexxin

Twitter.com/frescobeflexxin

Instagram.com/frescobeflexxin​

Alexander FRE$CO

Sami

12 year old, Sami is a country music singer/songwriter from Houston, TX and is the youngest of six kids. She took the stage for the first time when she was eight years old, proving that she is strong, fearless, confident and independent. She loves to write music and her passion is performing to large crowds. She lives in Houston with her family and is working on her first EP which is due to be released in early 2017. You can find links to all of her social media at SamisMusic.com

Sami

Jake Bardin

On the heels of his recently released EP, Half-Degree, Jake Bardin intertwines folk, rock, pop, and punk undertones with an emphasis on fervent lyricism. Immersed in the Austin music scene for the last half-decade, Jake draws his inspiration from his life experiences and strives to combat existential, coming-of-age woes through the cathartic act of singing about them. His complex lyrics ride on simple, relatable melodies, creating a unique yet digestible listening experience.

Jake Bardin

Almost Awake

Almost Awake is a young, five piece rock band from Las Vegas. This fast rising, high energy group of teen-agers (18-20 yrs old) range in musical influences from Paramore, and Nirvana, to Joe Satriani and Blink 182. The result is a bombastic blend of melody and musicianship.

Almost Awake has sold out headlining shows at venues such as Vinyl at The Hard Rock Las Vegas, the legendary Viper Room and Whiskey a Go Go, performed throughout the west coast with The Extreme Tour, played at the Extreme Thing Sports and Music Festival with Mayday Parade, Saosin w Anthony Green, The Story So Far, Bayside, Set it Off, and Dance Gavin Dance, played the Mesa Music Festival with Fuel, POD and Authority Zero, and opened for such acts as Escape the Fate, Polyphia, Slaves, Capture the Crown, A lot like Birds, Goldboot, Handguns, Roam, Broadside, Hit the Lights and many more.

The band recently signed with manager Damon Moreno and the Inner Light Agency and the legendary Tommyboy Entertainment, releasing the powerful single ‘Cloudwalker’, securing their place as a rising rock band with superstar potential.

Almost Awake

Darbi Shaun

Darbi Shaun is a country, singer-songwriter from Houston, TX. Following the release of two EP’s, she released her album, 4AM, in February. This features strong vocals and heartfelt lyrics all with a g​​enuine feel, as she wrote all of the songs that make up 4AM. Her career has taken her to stages in Los Angeles, Nashville and across Texas. Following her graduation from Texas A&M University in May, this list will only grow.

Darbi Shaun

Subscribe To The Newsletter!

Subscribe To The Newsletter!

Not a persistant thing - we only publish when there's important Springboard Festival stuff you need to know!

You have Successfully Subscribed!