Top 6: Must-See ‘Newbs’ at MusicFest2016 in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Only a few more days until thousands of Texas/Red Dirt/Americana music fans head to Steamboat, Colorado for the "6 Day, 50 Bands, 5 Mountains and 1 Really Big Tent." Dickson Productions has not only put together a stellar line up of MusicFest veterans, they are bringing tons of new talent this year with over 15 artists making their Steamboat debuts.
Here are a few "newbies" to be sure to make room for in your Steamboat schedules:
1. Aubrie Sellers
Post-country chanteuse Aubrie Sellers prefers to create friction. She says that if you’re not pushing buttons, you’re not making anyone feel anything. Putting a label on Sellers’ sound is tricky. There’s a slight drawl when she sings, and her sound has an urgency, as well as a porous jagged edge that could only be described as “garage country.” From the yearning title track to the slow-building “Loveless Rolling Stone,” her debut album New City Blues has a definite viscerally to it. Sellers was basted in music before she was even born. Her parents are songwriter Jason Sellers and Grammy-winning singer Lee Ann Womack. World-wise, Sellers knows the score – and isn’t afraid to speak the truth; but she’s young enough to still have hope tempered with a wicked wit and true discernment.
2. Mike And The Moonpies
Mike and the Moonpies are the modern face of the outlaw country music movement. From their home in Austin, Texas, they carry the torch of their predecessors, while maintaining the originality and independence that the genre is known for. The Moonpies, led by Texas born songwriter Mike Harmeier, manage themselves and produce their own albums. While steeped in tradition, the Moonpies rejuvenate honky tonk and traditional country music and appeal to a wildly eclectic audience. They are equally at home in dance halls and theaters, and can share a bill with an indie rock band or a country legend. Their regular appearances at Austin’s White Horse are already legendary, and they have quite a cultural melting pot of an audience at their shows. The Moonpies have delivered some of the most memorable performances in recent years in venues like Gruene Hall and Luckenbach, TX, and have gained a cult-like following in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and throughout the Midwest.
3. John Fullbright
John Fullbright got his start at the legendary Blue Door listening room in Oklahoma City. It was there that he recorded a live album and found his base, opening for many other writers including fellow Oklahomans Kevin Welch and Jimmy Webb. His 2012 studio debut, From the Ground Up, received a Grammy nomination for Americana Album of the Year, and later that year he won ASCAP’s Harold Adamson Award for lyric writing. In 2014, Fullbright released the critically acclaimed Songs, toured all over America and the UK, and appeared on Late Night with David Letterman. An incredibly talented songwriter, Fullbright’s Songs certainly has its moments of darkness, tracks born from pain and heartbreak, but for a craftsman like Fullbright, there are few greater joys than carving emotion into music and taking a stab at that lofty goal of immortality through song. It makes him—and his fans—happy, and there’s nothing bad about that.
4. John Baumann
Quietly circumventing the myriad of artists and bands in the modern day dissemination of country music, John Baumann is emerging as one of his generation’s next great true-blue songwriters. With a steadily building streak of positive responses from fans of good songwriting and a reputable live show, the trajectory of this up and comer speaks for itself. Having independently released projects in 2012 and 2014, Baumann’s evolution as a songwriter is in full swing. And with the upcoming release of a new self-titled EP, there are already rumbles in some circles that this songwriter might be the next one to break out
5. Dalton Domino
Domino is filled with the wandering spirit of a storyteller that’s never content with simply drawing from the tales of others. Over his life, he’s lived in a number of places, some of them such as Frisco, TX and Las Vegas, NV, might as well be on different planets. Although he’s also lived in Alabama and Mississippi, Domino says Lubbock, TX, has been, and always will be home. Another driving factor to Domino’s wide variety of influences is in the musical upbringing he enjoyed. Whether it was the hymnal singing of his grandmother, or the 1950’s Sun Records his grandfather would play, Domino soaked it all in. Over the years, he has kept the fuel for creating original music from his own viewpoint burning on high. With musical heroes ranging from Lubbock legend Terry Allan, to Bright Eyes – it’s clear Domino wants his music to hit the listener in both the gut and the mind. Domino’s tragic and triumphant travels through musical and geographical terrain have led him to become a man with serious things to say, and music is the one true way he can fully express it.
6. Zac Wilkerson
Zac Wilkerson’s songwriting and performance style is Roots Rock with heavy Soul, Country and Folk influences. Based out of Amarillo, TX, the vocalist/songwriter stumbled into a career in music after winning The Blue Light Live Singer Songwriter contest in 2011. He has since gained a loyal following in the Texas Panhandle and North Texas finding favor in the thriving rock and country scenes in Amarillo, Lubbock and Fort Worth. Wilkerson cut his musical teeth in a country church where he started singing at 4. At a young age, he discovered his parents’ country, Motown, rock, and folk records, creating a musical foundation with as much variety as passion. By 12 he played several instruments, including piano and guitar, which led to songwriting that same year. The musical voice that has evolved since is a fresh take on Rock, Soul, and Americana evoking Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers, Bonnie Raitt and Levon Helm.