“Dolzani is a skilled songwriter with melodies that are eternally engaging…and even soothing and seductive.” – No Depression
“Brian Dolzani exists somewhere between the sawdust covered floors of Southern dance halls and the green fields of the best folk festivals” – Lonesome Noise
Brian Dolzani mines his personal life and experiences to create songs that cut deep upon first listen. Through his unique vocal tone (a ‘smoother Neil Young’) and individualistic writing style, you can tell Brian is putting himself on the ledge with every song and performance. His music reflects his heartache and perseverance through early life tragedy, as well as the daily complexities of family life and deep existential issues we all face (if we know how to look and feel). Despite the often confessional and weighty issues that he writes about, Brian’s music is inspiring, healing, and a testament to the human ability to engage life at a deep, spiritual level, and live to tell the tale.
Cactus Flowers is Jessica A.M., Matt Black, and Mark Carcamo. Based out of Houston, Texas, Jessica & Mark met in early 2017. After bonding over mutual psych bands, they started playing and recorded a live session at Steamboat Ampworks. Matt soon was added to build the heavy undertones of each song. With a full arsenal of rock, dream pop, shoe gaze and psych, Cactus Flowers wants to take you on a journey into the mystic of the natural and spiritual world, outside & within.
Rose Ette debuted their fresh take on indie-pop in 2015, and have since established themselves as one of Houston’s most exciting new bands. They captured their guitar driven sound on Jungle, their debut EP on Miss Champagne, by mixing the shoegaze influenced sounds of the Jesus and Mary Chain with a girl-group vocal style to create something lo-fi, melodic and unpretentious.
Velveteen Echo draws equally from indie rock and bedroom pop to create a sound that is reminiscent of bands like The Sundays and The Cranberries. The band deftly combines catchy vocal melodies, jangly guitar, precise bass lines, and endearing lyrics to offer something lovely and hard to dismiss.
Emo influenced Shoegaze from the southeast.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Matt Mason knew from an early age that his home would one day be Nashville, Tennessee. His earliest memories of his musical aspirations are going the Grand Ole Opry with his family, and telling his Dad that he wanted to play there someday. So by the time he was eleven he was playing guitar and singing whenever he got a chance. Early on, his influences came from the gospel music of his family’s small church and the sounds of the late great Elvis Presley. Today those influences still hold true, along with the music of Waylon Jennings, Garth Brooks, Merle Haggard and other country greats.
Matt’s dream of being a singer became stone cold ambitions one summer on a family vacation in South Florida when he talked his father into letting him enter a talent show. In front of a crowd of strangers Matt sang one of his favorite country songs and the reaction was overwhelming and more proof that being a country music performer was what he was destined to do. After this experience in Florida, Matt began to hone his craft even further by playing locally in his home state, and regionally opening for acts like Charlie Daniels, Joe Diffie, Vern Gosdin, Brian McComas, and Mel McDaniel.
The spring of 2005 brought the moment Matt had been waiting and working to reach for many years. He graduated from high school, packed his bags, and made that promising move to Nashville. He learned quickly that Nashville is not a town that hands out free passes to stardom. It takes hard work and lots of paying your dues up and down the musical trail of bars lining Nashville’s most famous street, Broadway. Matt was ready for the challenge and quickly gained local fame at famous bars like Tootsies, The Stage, Legends Corner and others. It was humbling to play on the stage of Tootsies where many of his heroes had played in their youth, and to know behind Tootsies majestically stands the Ryman Auditorium, the mother church of country music, waiting to embrace a new generation of country stars. Matt wanted to lead that new generation of country stars while always paying homage to his heroes and their influence with his music.
His big break seemed to be on the horizon when in 2006 Matt auditioned at the Wild Horse Saloon for a television series called “Nashville Star” on USA network. From among 20,000 contestants Matt was chosen as one of the 10 contestants. Each week contestants competed for America’s vote and the judge’s approval. Matt’s strong willed, mysterious, and reserved demeanor lead him to be dubbed ‘The Quite Storm” by co-host Cowboy Troy. “You deserve a record deal,” proclaimed Anastasia after Matt sang David Allen Coe’s “The Ride,” and Phil Vassar and John Rich agreed that the young performer was “a certified badass.” Matt’s performance of the Georgia Satellites’ song “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” was a definite hit with the judges on an episode. Anastasia and Phil agreed that he showed range and ability, and Naomi gushed that it was Matt’s best performance to date. “You’ve got a quality,” she said. Placing fourth overall in the competition secured Matt a spot on the “Nashville Star” Tour that crossed the country and brought Matt a solid following and fan base.
Matt’s fan base has stood strong behind the performer over these past years as he has continued to play shows around the country and has spent a significant amount of time in Nashville writing and recording songs. Matt has used his songwriting as an outlet to tell the up and downs from his own life over the years following the show. While continuing to work hard to attain his goals, a friend at renown booking agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment who Matt had known nearly ten years, recommended him for an opportunity to audition for a new show called CMT’s Next Superstar. Recognized from his Nashville Star days and for his amazing talent and perseverance in this industry Matt once again was chosen as one of the 10 contestants to compete for a major label record deal in Nashville. After each episode, would travel to different cities re-airing the show, playing an acoustic set and just hanging out with fans which soon paid off. He won “CMT Next Superstar.”
Since winning the show, Matt has recorded eight master sides. Four with producer James Stroud and four with producer Phil Odonnell. He has written upwards of one-hundred new songs, and played shows with Little Big Town and Blake Shelton. He also toured three months with Luke Bryan, Lee Brice, and Josh Thompson on the “CMT on Tour” tour. Matt is continously working, writing and touring to become a name that will go down in history.
- “… ‘Fireball’ is a phenomenal debut album that rivals most of what I’ve heard all year.” Scott Zupardo (No Depression)
- “Western Star, a young band from Baltimore is one of the most intensely, straight up rock and roll bands I’ve heard this year. Sounding raw and raunchy but still structured and melodic, their debut album, ‘Fireball’, is a welcome introduction.” Rob Ross (Pop Dose)
- “There’s a wonderfully retro feel to ‘Fireball’, the debut album from Baltimore-based rockers Western Star. They’ve cultivated a classic garage rock sound, with just a hint of alt-country twang…” Jeffrey Sisk (Pittsburgh In Tune)
“If rock ‘n’ roll ain’t killin you, you probably ain’t doin it right!” These words echo above the din as I try to digest the lyrical feast that is Grand Old Grizzly’s latest work, Pure Country Pyrite. The Houston band’s third studio album is a jailbreak of western Americana wisdom and gulf coast grit.
Lead vocalist and lyricist Will Thomas sings and writes songs the way gym rats workout, the way I breathe air: because he HAS to. There’s no other way. It’s merely a convenience that, according to Thomas himself, he “has some weird s#&@ to say that no one else is saying.
“The band formed in Houston in 2012. Thomas linked up with Guitarist Paul Beebe, bassist Mark Riddell and Drummer Chris Lewis. After recording an album in Beebe’s closet they decided to take these songs Thomas had written and start playing them live. Grand Old Grizzly was formed. They were soon nominated by the Houston Press as Houston’s Best New Band and its Best Country/Americana act. Their second record, CosmoNada, charted in the Top 100 on the national Americana charts, and the band has performed shows with a bevy of nationally touring acts, including Leon Russell, Blackberry Smoke, James McMurtry, Cody Canada and The Departed, Mike and The Moonpies, Roger Clyne, Rodney Crowell, Red Shahan, and Soulhat, to name just a few. They’ve been featured on a compilation in Texas Music Magazine and Chris Gray of Houston Press calls the sophomore release “one of the finest slices of Americana” cut by a Houston act in quite a while.
Chris Lewis left the band after the second album. Houston drumming virtuoso Isaias Gil took over drumming duties and the lineup has remained static since. The boys next stepped into Edgewater Studios with producer Derek Hames and engineer John Shelton to capture the band in a new light. The brand new songs, some road tested, some born in the studio, all served well in capturing a fresh perspective for the band.
The songs on Pure Country Pyrite explore themes both poignant (“Awkward” takes a look behind the curtain of a relationship that’s outlasted its shelf life) and peculiar (“Gundowners” sardonically explores the tale of a pair of murderous rampaging lovers on a crime spree). There’s salty barroom rock ‘n’ roll in “Papa Was a Radio” and touching heartbreak in “Sunlight.” At the end of it all, Grand Old Grizzly always does a great job leaving the listener wanting more. This is a record that will make you want to catch the band live, hoping to learn the stories behind the songs. But it’s also a road trip record filled with songs to sing along with.
Dripping with irony and humorous wit, Grand Old Grizzly is a band on the cusp.
RACHEL STACY —
Based in Dallas, Texas, but plays all over the globe, Rachel Stacy is a super energetic, passionate and unforgettable singer, songwriter, musician and entertainer with a “never give up attitude.” Her talent, personality, and drive is so infectious, she is hard to deny. A violinist since she was 6 years old, her music is a mix of rock, southern rock, blues, soul, and country. On top of her strong presence and songwriting, Rachel is unique, genuine and hard working. Add her killer vocals & fiddle to any tune, and you have Rachel’s signature sound!
Rachel has had the privilege of sharing the stage with a variety of artists such as ZZ Top, George Thorogood, Kentucky Headhunters, Willie Nelson, Shooter Jennings, Merle Haggard, Joe Diffie, Johnny Lee, Jesse James Dupree from Jackyl, Dierks Bentley, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Keith Anderson, Rick Springfield, Oakridge Boys, Alice in Chains, Trace Adkins, and many others.
Rachel is a dynamic performer. Her strong, soulful, raspy voice, gives her the freedom to deliver crowd roaring performances. Her live show is full of energy, passion, attitude and a serious devotion to her fans. She is a true entertainer.
Rachel has been compared to many of the greats; Etta James, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Melissa Etheridge, Tanya Tucker, Koko Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, Loretta Lynn, Lacy J Dalton, and many others. No matter who she is compared to, with her range of influences, Rachel Stacy is unique in her own way and never fails to deliver.
JEFFERSON THOMAS —
One word can be used to describe Jefferson Thomas’ music: American. It is quite literally a “melting pot” – of the places he’s been and the things he’s seen, heard and felt.
Jefferson started out in his father’s footsteps as a guitarist in his teens, playing professionally all around the US, doing country, blues, and rock, yet always keeping his mind and his ear open to any music he hadn’t yet encountered.
He discovered vintage R&B and soul as the lead vocalist in a nine-piece horn band in college, and a thousand gigs later had refined the “blue-eyed soul” vocal style that sits atop his rich amalgam of retro fingerstyle-guitar, alt-pop, and indie rock.
While in college he also interned in the music school’s recording studio and practically lived there while recording his first release. “I was nineteen when I put out my first CD”, says Thomas. “It’s probably still out there somewhere, which makes me feel queasy. I don’t think I even still own a copy.”
Jefferson’s live video of his song “Jacksonville“ from an NPR broadcast went viral and introduced him to audiences worldwide. As a result, he embarked on his first European tour and has subsequently toured overseas every year since constantly breaking new ground and growing his fan base.
Today Jefferson lives in New York City, where the culturally variegated environment further informs and affects his music. That music has always been more about what’s going on around him than the lyrics he might be working on, or which guitar he might decide to pick up. It will never lose its rootsy, American origins, but with the constant onslaught of so many different sounds, sights, smells, and languages, Jefferson’s music is constantly evolving and reinventing itself.
Los Nahuatlatos (nä wät lâ tōs) But what does it mean?
The name, Los Nahuatlatos, derives from the body of language spoken by the various tribes of the Aztecas. It loosely means “the translators”. They are a group of musicians with deep roots to their Xicano-Indigenous heritage whose mission is to create original, inspiring and innovative music on a conscious level that people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy.
Los Nahuatlatos are “an authentic voice that epitomizes a shift in la onda (the scene).” – Hector Saldaña, Express News
Self-described as “Xicano Roots Fusion,” their music is a synthesis of traditional Latino styles. From Conjunto to Reggae, Chicano Soul to Cumbia and Ska, Los Nahuatlatos don’t so much straddle the line as find the groove in between worlds.
This is the voice of a generation eagerly pushing the boundaries.
Los Nahuatlatos have been featured at the 2013 International Accordion Festival, the 32nd Annual Tejano/Conjunto Festival, and have opened for the Grammy Award winning bands Los Texmaniacs and La Santa Cecilia. Their debut album, “Tierra Sin Fin”, was released in the Spring of 2017 with their second album, “Jamás Inquieto”, set to be released this Fall.