Spoon, Austin’s most esteemed rock ambassadors, have released ten albums to date including a string of five straight top 10 records: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007), Transference (2010), They Want My Soul (2014), Hot Thoughts (2017), and Lucifer on the Sofa (2022).
Lucifer on the Sofa earned the band its first-ever GRAMMY nomination (Best Rock Album) and was praised by Rolling Stone as “The best thing they’ve ever done.”
Hailed by TIME as “one of the greatest American rock bands”, Spoon topped Metacritic’s chart as the single most critically acclaimed band of the aughts.
In 2019, Spoon released Everything Hits At Once: The Best of Spoon, which was praised by NPR as a “convincing argument for Spoon being one of their era’s most distinctive and excellent rock bands.” That same year, Fender released the Britt Daniel Signature Telecaster Thinline as part of their artist signature electric guitar series – highlighting the enduring influence of Daniel’s precision-punk style that has helped fuel Spoon to become what the Guardian calls ‘one of the finest bands of their generation.’
From the moment she began writing her new album, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner knew that she wanted to call it Jubilee. After all, a jubilee is a celebration of the passage of time—a festival to usher in the hope of a new era in brilliant technicolor. Zauner’s first two albums garnered acclaim for the way they grappled with anguish; Psychopomp was written as her mother underwent cancer treatment, while Soft Sounds From Another Planet took the grief she held from her mother‘s death and used it as a conduit to explore the cosmos. Now, at the start of a new decade, Japanese Breakfast is ready to fight for happiness, an all-too-scarce resource in our seemingly crumbling world.
Jubilee was released by Dead Oceans in June and quickly became one of the most praised albums of 2021, earning a GRAMMY nomination for “Best Alternative Music Album” alongside the band’s GRAMMY nomination for “Best New Artist.” 2021 also saw Zauner release the widely lauded, New York Times Best Selling memoir, Crying in H Mart, which she’s currently adapting for the screen for MGM’s Orion Pictures. Crying in H Mart is an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. She also released the original soundtrack to the anticipated video game Sable, which Entertainment Weekly compared to David Bowie’s 1977 masterwork Low and Pitchfork said is “a streamlined glimpse into her versatility as a narrative artist.”
Toro y Moi’s seventh studio album, MAHAL, is the boldest and most fascinating journey yet from musical mastermind Chaz Bear. The record spans genre and sound, taking listeners on an auditory expedition, as if they’re riding in the back of Bear’s Filipino jeepney that adorns the album’s cover. But MAHAL is also an unmistakably Toro y Moi experience, calling back to previous works while charting a new path forward in a way that only Bear can do.
MAHAL is the latest in an accomplished career for Bear, who’s undoubtedly one of the decade’s most influential musicians. Since the release of the electronic pop landmark Causers of This in 2009, subsequent records as Toro y Moi have repeatedly shifted the idea of what his sound can be. But there’s little in Bear’s catalog that will prepare you for the deep-groove excursions on MAHAL, his most eclectic record to date.
Lyrically, the album zooms in on generational concerns, picking up where the Outer Peace standout “Freelance” effectively left off. Bear seems to be surveying the ways in which we connect with technology, media, each other, and what disappears as a result. Cuts like the squishy “Postman” and “Magazine” take a deep dive into our relationship with media in a changing digital world.
Finding a sense of joy in the face of adversity is embedded in MAHAL‘s DNA, right down to the jeepney that literally and figuratively brings the music out into the community.
People change over the years, and the you that is you never changes. Yesterday you were a kid, and tomorrow you’ll be old, and you think you’re the same person you were, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Music slices you in time.
Once upon a time we lived in a world of information scarcity. We knew too little about things, and finding out about what we loved took time and effort and money and luck.
The first time I heard of Kim Deal, it was because the co-owner of Dark Carnival, the bookstore in San Francisco I was signing in had been mistaken for her the night before by a waiter, who had taken her protestations that she was a bookshop person as a cover story and brought her and the people she was with, bookstore people whom he believed to be the rest of the Pixies, free drinks all night. I now knew a band called the Pixies existed.
I owned a tiny black and white television that sat on the corner of my desk, and kept me company when I wrote, all alone, too late at night, playing badly dubbed European Detective shows, late night rock shows, cheap television. Somewhere in 1989 it played a Pixies video. A week later I had every Pixies CD you could find in London record shops. I loved the aesthetic as much as the music: the Vaughn Oliver art and typefaces.
Information scarcity. I didn’t know who these people were. I was 29 years old, writing Sandman, in England, with two small children. I bought the CD of Pod, and I wrote Sandman to the jangly Breeders music.
I knew nothing of the Breeders beyond what I read on the minimalist CD notes. I knew the names of the songs because they were on the CD themselves, and I recognised “Happiness is a Warm Gun”, Lennon’s Snoopy-and- gun-ad inspired song of murder and addiction. It’s my favourite Beatles song and that seemed appropriate. Pod is a sequence of songs that come towards you, unstoppable, not needing to be liked. Not to be anything except themselves, glorious in their emotional flatness. The Berlin wall had crumbled and technology would save us all, and there was a new optimism in the air, and despite the optimism the Breeders music felt like a note of warning. Melodic and discordant all at the same time, women’s voices singing from the darkness, uncompromising; not soft, not strident, more like a chorus of ghosts, their faces set and expressionless, singing to us while fighting to feel emotions, to feel something.
After Pod came the Safari EP and then Last Splash. I was moving to America, to a little Wisconsin village, and I played both albums over and over as I wrote. I loved the feeling in the songs that there was something I couldn’t touch, something that slipped through my fingers if I tried to articulate it. It was what it was, and the sound was something that felt like late nights and old neon signs and people who stare at you from the shadows. I had a disturbed and shadowy cat named Pod whom almost nobody ever saw.
In 2002 I went back to Sandman for the first time in five years, and the Breeders CD Title TK came out. The title was a meta-title, almost a joke, but the music was as sharp as ever and no joke at all. Mountain Battles, with its glorious Vaughn Oliver cover, came out when my life was upside down, in the weeks between my divorce and my meeting the woman that I would, three years later, marry. I played it as I drove. I loaded it onto my iPod and the Breeders followed me along the silk road in China. The flatness of affect, the intersection between noise and intelligence that I expected from the Breeders was there, along with a surprising gentleness, an unexpected kindness.
Now I’m twice the age I was when I first heard Kim Deal sing, and I live an ocean away from the English village in which I first played Pod. All of the things that were going to make life brighter and easier make life stranger and more confusing. Nothing feels as good as it used to feel, nothing tastes like it did. I used to think that the world was run by conspiracies of brilliant people. Now I would love to feel that there was any agenda, other than short-sighted greed and power-hungry bluster. I’m writing this a two minute walk from what I am told was once the finest analog recording studio in the US, now a home for a man who hoards broken things. The locals whisper that it’s now a meth lab, but that’s just the kind of small town gossip you hear about the odd and the frangible. Everything went digital and the world went bland. In American small towns opiates really have become the religion of the masses, pills that have escaped their prescriptions pushed to dull the ache of living. The music I loved loses value and importance as it becomes audio wallpaper: Spotify as Muzak.
And then All Nerve arrives and it’s as if no time at all has passed. Music slices us in time, and I get to remember what it means to be excited by music all over again. For a start, All Nerve sounds like a Breeders album: it’s not retro, it’s not 90’s, it just is what it is: smart rock music with a Breeders sound and an oblique Breeders point of view.
There is too much information now. We could pay people not to know things on our behalf, pay them to forget our surplus knowledge. Still, Kim Deal is songwriting, deadpan vocals and guitar, Kelley Deal is still guitar and vocals, Josephine Wiggs is still steady on bass and vocals (and she co-writes two songs), and Jim MacPherson is still the rockingest of drummers.
And I don’t know much about the songs: I play them over and over, a sequence that burns through my brain.
Nervous Mary, Wait in the Car, All Nerve, Metagoth (Josephine’s words, based on a found poem written by her mother), Spacewoman, Walking with a Killer, Howl at the Summit (with Courtney Barnett’s mob on background vocals), Archangel’s Thunderbird (an Amon Düül II cover, and also my shame, as I played a voice-treated CGI monster in a sad film of the same name in the 90s), Dawn: Making an Effort (which startles me with its beauty each time it comes on), Skinhead #2 (I love the crushed beetles on lips), and Blues at the Acropolis, which lets us fade away with junkies of the world draped across the monuments.
People change over the years, and we hope that the we that is us never changes. Yesterday we were kids, and tomorrow we’ll be old, and we think we’re the same people we were, despite all evidence to the contrary.
But sometimes we play music that lets us be us then and us now and us still to come, and it’s all worth it, every minute, every aching second, every gaping now.
And as simply as that, Yola encapsulates the giddy expansiveness, stunning emotional breadth, and exponential musical growth of her sophomore album Stand For Myself, out July 30. She may only be saying four words, but it’s a whole new world.
Everything about the album—musically, lyrically, spiritually—explores the epiphany that making decisive choices leads to freedom. If her critically acclaimed 2019 debut Walk Through Fire was an exhilarating exercise in country soul, Stand For Myself explores the concept of genre. The album features a fluidity of sound that defies categorization weaving elements of symphonic soul, mellifluous pop melodies, disco grooves, rootsy rawness, and ecstatic gospel power into a package with instant appeal.
For those who fell in love with the singular British artist on Walk Through Fire—and the love affair was fierce with both critics and the Recording Academy which recognized Yola with four Grammy nominations— listening to Stand For Myself is like stepping out of Kansas into Oz. Home may have been cozy and full of great songs, but it’s time to take the Yola ride in full Technicolor. And there’s no place like Stand For Myself.
“The album is like a window into my mind, my life experiences, my politics, my hopeful and sentimental sides, and my hope for humanity at large,” she says of the 12-track collection that covers a wide swath of ground in its 45 minute-plus running time. At her most melodically and lyrically free, it is an album of both artistic freedom and subtle social commentary, that Yola hopes will connect personally with anyone who has experienced being made to feel “other.”
Yola makes exciting new vocal choices on Stand For Myself. While her gale force power remains undiminished, she probes the layers of her instrument. “So often people come out all guns blazing and they don’t navigate nuance,” she says of her purposeful vocal approach. “I thought, do you know what? Instead of punching out of the gate with absolutely everything I have, I’m going to really try and navigate nuance.”
The results show themselves in glorious fashion as she pushes herself to both higher and lower registers, modulates her attack with laser-like precision and generally explores new textures on songs like the transporting title track, the addictive “If I Had To Do It All Again” and the slow-burning “Great Divide” which deftly balances grit and light.
Lyrically, she explores the difference between surviving and thriving (the languid R&B soul-searcher “Barely Alive”); inventively imagines new outcomes grappling with mortality (the inventive “Break The Bough”); frolics in the intersection of sentimentality and sexuality (the deeply sensual “Starlight”); recognizes the value of allyship (“Be My Friend” featuring vocal contributions from Brandi Carlile); and takes control of her own destiny on the anthemic title track. In examining and embracing the various elements of her identity: black, female, empathic, creative, erotic, bawdy, sophisticated, curious, intelligent, and more, Yola takes listeners on a journey to self-actualization that they might not even realize they’ve been on until the album ends.
“That’s it,” she says accompanied by one of her deeply infectious laughs. “I want to trick people into empathy and selfactualization!”
On the title track, she urges the listener to stand for themselves and those around them by challenging biases that fuel bigotry, inequality and tokenism which have deeply impacted her personal life and professional career. “It is about how people continue to bury their heads in the sand to hide from inconvenient truths that create a profound need to change how they think,” she says.
Her own journey to Stand For Myself was a somewhat circuitous route, for which, in hindsight, Yola could not be more grateful.
As the anniversary of her debut album approached in February 2020, the artist was intended to embark on opening dates in arenas and stadiums with Chris Stapleton, headline and festival gigs, and a journey to Australia to play Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis biopic starring Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker and Austin Butler as Elvis. Second album recording was to happen sometime in and around all of that. She got in one show with Stapleton before COVID-19 derailed those plans and headed home with an eerie sense of the unknown looming in front of her.
Finding herself in lockdown back in Nashville allowed Yola to have something she hadn’t experienced in a year, time.
“I wasn’t seeing anybody and I was just staying up until five o’clock in the morning until my brain was really fuzzy and hazy and then ideas would just jump out,” she says. “I studied my creative process to the point where I knew what kind of state my brain needed to be in to generate ideas and knew what time of day my ideas turn up and so the whole process was ‘Okay, I’m going to start writing some things now explicitly for this record.’”
Over the course of some weeks she brought her early morning visions to life, alongside song ideas she had been germinating for the last decade. Pandemic-penned ideas were developed with Joy Oladokun, Ruby Amanfu, fellow Highwoman Natalie Hemby, Bobby Wood, Pat McLaughlin, and more. She headed back into the studio for a week in October 2020 with Walk Through Fire producer Dan Auerbach and a fresh band of collaborators including Dap-King bassist Nick Movshon (Sharon Jones, Amy Winehouse), drummer Aaron Frazer, who plays with Durand Jones and the Indications and is an emerging artist in his own right, and in-demand session percussionist Sam Bacco (Sheryl Crow, Johnny Cash), among others.
The pair got the work done quickly thanks to Yola’s own prodigious studio work, her new sense of purpose and the ability to work with a creative partner who understood her in a new way. “Walk Through Fire was a collaboration, in the truest sense of the word,” she says of the album that grew out of her personal story of literally and figuratively surviving harrowing experiences that spawned fan favorites like the title track and “Faraway Look.” “It was a getting-to-know-you record.” She says, “Dan and I talked about the music that we had in common, and then we found that middle ground.”
After a year of touring, learning, writing, and introspection Yola was able to record Stand For Myself as the person she has known herself to be for years because what wasn’t new about the album was her innate sense of self. She wanted to show her vulnerability, her hope, her intricacies, and to ultimately uncover all of those things for the listener.
“I want people to feel like they know a dark-skinned black woman, a little better,” she says. “I could be the first, and all with an English accent and a chocolate bar skin tone. I will be an example of nuance that one can reference that someone might not have had, because the media does not want to portray us in a way that is nuanced.”
If, she says, the first record was about introducing a person who, at a low point, recognized the need to ask for help, this second one illuminates that “I’ve been proven through this fire and I’m back to where I started, the real me. I kind of got talked out of being me and now I’m here. This is who I’ve always been in music and in life. There was a little hiatus where I got brainwashed out of my own majesty, but a bitch is back.”
As world travelers for nearly two decades, Rising Appalachia have merged multiple global music influences with their own southern roots to create the inviting new folk album, Leylines. Remarkably the band has built its legion of listeners independently — a self-made success story that has led to major festival appearances and sold-out shows at venues across the country.
Founded by sisters Leah and Chloe Smith, the band established an international fan base due to relentless touring, tireless activism, and no small degree of stubborn independence. However, for the first time, they opted to bring in a producer for the new album, teaming up with the legendary Joe Henry on the sessions. These were also their first recording sessions outside of the South. For 10 days, all six band members lived and recorded in a castle-like studio in Marin County, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. As a result, a sense of unity and immediacy can be heard throughout their seventh album, Leylines.
“As far as recording goes, we’re open creatively, but we’ve often preferred elements of live recording. I mean, we’re folk musicians at our core,” Leah explains. “The experience of playing music together in one room, looking at each other, is the bedrock of what we do and how we’ve grown up with music. I think Joe very much felt that way as well. He was very clear at the beginning that he was going to encourage us to have as many element of a live recording as possible.”
Although Leah and Chloe Smith consider their voices as their primary instrument, Leah also plays banjo and bodhran on the album, while Chloe plays guitar, fiddle, and banjo. They are joined on Leylines by longtime members David Brown (stand-up bass, baritone guitar) and Biko Casini (world percussion, n’goni), as well as two new members: West African musician Arouna Diarra (n’goni, talking drum) and Irish musician Duncan Wickel (fiddle, cello). The sonic textures of these two cultures are woven into Leylines, enhancing the stunning blend of folk, world, and urban music that has become Rising Appalachia’s calling card.
“Our songwriting ties into those traditions as well,” Chloe says. “With some of our original songs, it’s a reflection of the times. We’re folk singers and we consider this a folk album, so there’s a lot in there. There’s word of politics, of being women in the music industry, as well as a lot about our lives on the road.”
Indeed, Rising Appalachia has toured British Columbia by sailboat, traversed the U.S. and Europe by train, and engaged in immersive cultural exchange programs in Bulgaria, Ireland, Southern Italy, Central and South America – not to mention the countless miles in a van. Tour highlights include: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco; Music Hall Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York; Boulder Theatre in Boulder, Colorado; and the Showbox in Seattle, Washington. The band consistently sells between 400 and 1500 tickets wherever they play, a testament to their loyal fan base.
Leah and Chloe grew up in urban Atlanta as the city’s hip hop scene began to flourish. They absorbed those rhythms through the music they heard at school, then traveled with their family to fiddle camps all across the Southeast on the weekends. The young girls weren’t all that interested in the old-time playing, but their parents were incredibly devout in their study and practice of Appalachian music.
After high school, Leah decided to postpone college and travel internationally. Feeling homesick while living in Southern Mexico, she looked for a connection to her past and taught herself how to play banjo. “I realized that I wanted something from home that I could share, something that would tell people a bit more of the story of where I came from, other than the news,” she recalls.
A few years later, when Chloe came to visit her abroad, Leah offered some clawhammer banjo lessons. They didn’t necessarily realize it at the time but a musical partnership had been established. Upon their return to the United States, they recorded an album, which they considered an art project, to sell whenever they sang at farmer’s markets. They printed 500 copies, figuring that would last them a lifetime. However, when a local college professor heard them singing at a Christmas party, he booked them as part of a Celtic holiday concert in Atlanta. After two performances, every CD had been sold.
Surprised and overwhelmed, they mulled over a career as full-time musicians, then realized that performing could be just one component of a greater overall vision – one that includes advocating for social justice, racial justice, environmental justice, and Indigenous rights.
“We’re able to filter in so many of our passions into this project,” Chloe says. “We do a lot of activism work. We do a lot of outreach. Leah is a visual artist and she can funnel her visual eye into the project. I love to write, so that comes in. There’s a big container and canvas for our life’s work here. Music is part of it, but there are a lot of other creative vehicles that are driving Rising Appalachia.”
Special guests on Leylines include folk hero Ani DiFranco, soulful songwriter Trevor Hall, and jazz trumpeter Maurice Turner. The album title alludes to the concept of invisible lines believed to stretch around the world between sacred spaces, bonded by a spiritual and magnetic presence. That deep sense of connection is key to understanding Rising Appalachia as a whole.
“Rising Appalachia has come out of this idea that we can take these traditions of southern music – that we’ve been born and raised with – and we can rise out of them, creating all these different bridges between cultures and stories to make them feel alive.” Leah says. “Our music has its foundation in heritage and tradition, but we’re creating a music that also feels reflective of the times right now. That’s always been our work.”
Ocie Elliott pen tunes that feel lived-in. You can hear their memories, experiences, and emotions in the dusty acoustic guitars, the sparse production, and the graceful harmonies between Jon Middleton and Sierra Lundy. Their life together plays out in the music as if projected on the big screen of an old small-town theater. Generating tens of millions of streams, earning a JUNO Award nomination, and inciting the applause of American Songwriter, CBC, PopMatters, Atwood Magazine, Exclaim, and many more, both of their spirits shine like never before on their 2022 EP, What Remains [Nettwerk Music Group].
“Since we spend so much time together, our life becomes our songs,” observes Sierra. “We play off each other really well. One of us will start playing around, and the other will join in. We fuel one another in a way we normally wouldn’t be fueled by ourselves. We think differently when we’re together.”
“Sierra makes me a better songwriter,” Jon agrees. “She makes me want to try different things and experiment with melody. She pushes me to use new words and phrases.”
Their interplay borders on magical, and it continues to entrance audiences. Ocie initially emerged with EP in 2017. The single “I Got You, Honey” has amassed over 13 million Spotify streams and counting. Meanwhile, their music appeared multiple times in Grey’s Anatomy in addition to a sync on NETFLIX’s Sweet Magnolias, among others. Following 2019’s We Fall In, their 2020 In That Room EP yielded the fan favorite “Be Around,” which eclipsed 10 million Spotify streams. Remaining prolific during 2021, they unveiled the Slow Tide EP and A Place EP. Of the latter, Exclaim! praised, “Each track is a direct invitation to the listener; six strings tugging on the heart,” and PopMatters attested, “The folk duo create another collection of sweetly understated music.” Along the way, they toured with Joshua Radin, Sons of The East, Kim Churchill, and Hollow Coves. During 2022, they garnered a nomination at the JUNO Awards in the category of “Breakthrough Artist of the Year,” marking their first nod.
Ocie Elliott composed What Remains during a series of writing retreats, holing up in Whistler and Sierra’s hometown of Salt Spring Island. In the midst of the process, Sierra’s dad was suddenly diagnosed with cancer.
“We had one last month with him,” she recalls. “We were able to play these songs live for him in his final days. I think it helped us. He was the reason I started playing music to begin with andencouraged me to get piano lessons as a kid. My dad was the kind of guy who picks up any instrument, plays it, and makes it sound good.”
“Playing those songs for him was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever gone through,” Jon exclaims. “When he was listening, he was fully immersed. It was a beautiful experience for us.”
On the first single “My Everything,” lightly plucked acoustic guitar (tuned to Drop-D for the first time) underlines a soft call-and-response from Jon and Sierra. It builds towards a tender assurance, “You’re my everything.”
“My dad actually kept saying during this time, ‘You’re my everything,’ to me,” recalls Sierra. Then, there’s the starkly intimate “Baby, You Know.” Infused with the bliss of a relationship’s unshakable security punctuated by soft keys, it unspools as “a pretty simple love song.” The title track “What Remains” hinges on a gently strummed melody as Sierra’s soft timbre gives way to a shared harmony on the piano-laden refrain.
“To me, this music feels like the remains of going through something heavy, or the aftermath of strong emotion,” Sierra observes. “It ties the EP together because what remains is everything we experienced during this time.”
In the end, What Remains is a batch of honest and heartfelt anthems.
“Since we’ve been through so much, all of these songs are so powerful to us,” Sierra leaves off. “They’re simple, but they hold so much truth. I hope it translates to people.”
Raye Zaragoza is an award-winning singer-songwriter who Paste Magazine called “one of the most politically relevant artists in her genre.” First-generation Japanese-American on her mother’s side, indigenous on her father’s side, and raised in New York City, Raye delivers powerful missives about embracing one’s own identity and discovering the power behind it, all across brisk, emotive, compelling folk melodies. Her sophomore LP Woman In Color produced by Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, First Aid Kit) was released in 2020 and made year-end lists from NPR Music and PopMatters.
Writing about social issues comes naturally to Raye. “As a woman of color in America, social issues are things you deal with and see every day of your life,” she says. “I write about my experience and oftentimes my existence has been laced with injustice.” Raye’s modern-day protest music been featured on Billboard, Democracy Now!, American Songwriter, The Bluegrass Situation, and No Depression. She has toured in support of Dispatch, Rising Appalachia, William Elliott Whitmore, Dar Williams, Donovan Woods, and many more.
Natural Lite is a psychedelic High Country band from Taos County, NM
Ry Warner: vox, gtr, cap’n
CJ Burnett: keys, vox
Chloe Grace: vox, fx
Tom Pryor: pedal steel
Kyle Ruggles: bass
Luke Ayers: drumkit
Ry Warner is an experimental country musician from the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio, currently based in northern New Mexico.
He has collaborated with artists such as legendary pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, trance-punk painter Arrington de Dionyso, Tara Jane O’Neil, Karl Blau, Karima Walker, Jef Brown (Jackie-O Motherfucker), Bob Jones (Eaters), Jonathan Sielaff (Golden Retriever), Dimitri Manos (Dr. Dog), Mark Hosler (Negativland), Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie), Sig Wilson (Dommengang), Ray Raposa (Castanets) and many others.
For over 10 years he led a fluid group called OHIOAN, where he developed a style called High Country that drew on free jazz, country, noise, drone, north African assouf, and Appalachian folk. The bands final recording, EMPTY/EVERY MT, was a concept album based on destructive mining in America, and brought together the influences of Tuareg blues and American banjo music to create a Desert Appalachia sound in order to represent the eventual barren wasteland of coal country.
Since dissolving the band, Warner has formed a new group named Natural Lite and shifted the focus of his High Country to classic honkytonk and rockabilly. The new sound explores subtle ways to twist, distort, and subvert the those traditions that hopefully confuse and unsettle the listener – especially in a live setting – while still presenting the patina of a regular-ass country songwriter.
CJ Burnett is a pianist & multi-instrumentalist originally from London UK and now based in Taos NM. His training and influences range from classical, blues, gospel, kraut rock, and r&b.
Chloe Grace is a globe-trotting singer/songwriter known for her languid falsetto and lyrical style. Find her solo work at dandelionessmusic.com.
Tom Pryor is a multi-instrumentalist originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, now living in Taos, New Mexico. Tom’s styles of playing pedal steel guitar, banjo, Dobro, electric and acoustic guitars reflect influences of bluegrass, jazz, improvisational psychedelic rock, and cosmic country.
Kyle Ruggles is a multi-instrumentalist based out of Santa Fe, NM. When he’s not behind an instrument, he can be found sneaking up tributaries fly-fishing with his dog Django.
Luke Ayers began playing on shoe shine tins at age 3 and learned drums by playing along with records. He’s had stints in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Austin; touring internationally with many different rock, country, and Americana acts.