Paz Fest IV: A New Orleans Tribute To Joni Mitchell

Chuck Mitchell

Born Charles Scott Mitchell in New York City, he grew up in farm country north of Detroit. He thought of becoming a forest ranger like Aldo Leopold. Instead, he graduated from college with a degree in English and drama.

After a brief time pursuing but not capturing an acting career in New York, Mitchell was drafted into the US Army, where he learned to drive a tank and use an assortment of weapons. Then he spent a peaceful year in Korea as a reporter for Stars & Stripes and as a hoofer in musical comedy reviews, entertaining the troops.

Mitchell returned to Detroit and became a writer for the Great Cities project, a public school experiment bankrolled by the Ford Foundation to develop programs for educating "culturally deprived" children. A program called Head Start was one.

Mitchell started singing in Detroit folk clubs and saloons, and left his writing job in 1965. In Toronto, on his first out of town gig, he met Canadian songwriter Joni Anderson from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They married, and as a duo Chuck and Joni Mitchell played the coffeehouse circuit and gin rummy until they divorced in 1968.

The folk clubs faded, and Mitchell moved on to college and arts council residencies. He has lived in Coconut Grove, Florida, Santa Monica, California, and Greeley, Colorado. In the eighties, he gravitated back to the middle west, and bought a tall brick house built by a riverboat captain in 1879 overlooking the Mississippi River in Iowa.

Mitchell's credits include A Prairie Home Companion, and repertory theatre in Texas and England. He has played Harold Hill in The Music Man, and Woody Guthrie in Woody Guthrie's American Song. Most recently, he wrote and produced Mr. Foster & Mr. Twain, in which Stephen Foster joins Mark Twain for an evening of story and song.

Chuck Mitchell's one-man show combines his seasoned skills as an actor, singer and guitarist with a selection of delightful material. He sings cabaret songs by Brecht and Weil -- "Mack the Knife" and "The Bilbao Song" -- and whimsical songs by Flanders & Swann -- "The Gnu" and "Have Some Madeira, M'dear". He roves the room singing "Freeborn Man" by Ewan McColl, or "Necessity" from Finian's Rainbow. He weaves poetry by Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot into his shows.

He has been called a renaissance man, and thinks he is old enough to be one.

Chuck Mitchell

Born Charles Scott Mitchell in New York City, he grew up in farm country north of Detroit. He thought of becoming a forest ranger like Aldo Leopold. Instead, he graduated from college with a degree in English and drama.

After a brief time pursuing but not capturing an acting career in New York, Mitchell was drafted into the US Army, where he learned to drive a tank and use an assortment of weapons. Then he spent a peaceful year in Korea as a reporter for Stars & Stripes and as a hoofer in musical comedy reviews, entertaining the troops.

Mitchell returned to Detroit and became a writer for the Great Cities project, a public school experiment bankrolled by the Ford Foundation to develop programs for educating "culturally deprived" children. A program called Head Start was one.

Mitchell started singing in Detroit folk clubs and saloons, and left his writing job in 1965. In Toronto, on his first out of town gig, he met Canadian songwriter Joni Anderson from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They married, and as a duo Chuck and Joni Mitchell played the coffeehouse circuit and gin rummy until they divorced in 1968.

The folk clubs faded, and Mitchell moved on to college and arts council residencies. He has lived in Coconut Grove, Florida, Santa Monica, California, and Greeley, Colorado. In the eighties, he gravitated back to the middle west, and bought a tall brick house built by a riverboat captain in 1879 overlooking the Mississippi River in Iowa.

Mitchell's credits include A Prairie Home Companion, and repertory theatre in Texas and England. He has played Harold Hill in The Music Man, and Woody Guthrie in Woody Guthrie's American Song. Most recently, he wrote and produced Mr. Foster & Mr. Twain, in which Stephen Foster joins Mark Twain for an evening of story and song.

Chuck Mitchell's one-man show combines his seasoned skills as an actor, singer and guitarist with a selection of delightful material. He sings cabaret songs by Brecht and Weil -- "Mack the Knife" and "The Bilbao Song" -- and whimsical songs by Flanders & Swann -- "The Gnu" and "Have Some Madeira, M'dear". He roves the room singing "Freeborn Man" by Ewan McColl, or "Necessity" from Finian's Rainbow. He weaves poetry by Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot into his shows.

He has been called a renaissance man, and thinks he is old enough to be one.

Judith Owen

British singer/songwriter Judith Owen's eclecticism has seen her records shelved in the rock, folk, and jazz sections of record stores. She was born the daughter of an opera singer and began writing songs as a teenager. Becoming a professional musician, she met and married actor/musician Harry Shearer and contributed vocals and keyboards to his 1994 album, It Must Have Been Something I Said. Her debut solo album, Emotions on a Postcard, was released on her own Dog on the Bed label in 1996. Among its songs was "Hand on My Heart," which was featured in the 1997 film As Good as It Gets and appeared on the soundtrack album. Owen befriended singer/songwriter Julia Fordham and appeared on Fordham's albums East West and That's Live. Another musical association was struck up with Richard Thompson, which led to Owen's appearances on the Thompson albums Mock Tudor, 1000 Years of Popular Music, and Old Kit Bag. She released her second solo album, Limited Edition, in 2000. "Creatures of Habit" and "Get into It" from the album were featured in the film Olive Juice. 12 Arrows (2003), her third album, boasted guest appearances by Fordham and Thompson, and it featured Owen's cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." It earned her an opening slot on a k.d. lang tour. In 2004, Owen released a holiday EP, Christmas in July, including her cover of "Christmas with the Devil," a song by her husband's fictional group Spinal Tap. She also placed her song "Dreaming" in the film P.S., then used it on her fourth album, Lost and Found, released on her newly formed Courgette Records label in 2005. Her cover of the Kinks' "I Go to Sleep" was featured in the TV movie Mrs. Harris, and she then included it on her fifth album, Here, released August 8, 2006.

Harry Shearer

Actor…author…director…comedian…musician…philosopher…political satirist…record-company owner…and one of the best “voices” in the business (just ask THE SIMPSONS), Harry Shearer is a comic personality and modern day renaissance man.

For the past two decades he has enjoyed enormous success and planted the fruits of his talents in the heads of millions worldwide thanks to his voice work for THE SIMPSONS, where he plays a stable of characters: most notably Mr. Burns, Smithers, and insufferable neighbour Ned Flanders.

Movie audiences will know Shearer best for his collaborations with Christopher Guest and friends. The most famous of these is the granddaddy of all mock-umentaries, THIS IS SPINAL TAP (with Rob Reiner and Michael McKean). The film revealed the concepts of spontaneously- combusting drummers and amps that go up to eleven. Spinal Tap – the band have enjoyed worldwide success performing live and five years ago stole the show at the Live Earth concert at Wembley, London. In 2009 Harry, Christopher and Michael reunited to tour an acoustic version of Spinal Tap songs as themselves in the Unwigged and Unplugged tour (which is available on DVD) and returned as Derek Smalls, Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins to play Glastonbury and Wembley Arena with the volume turned up to eleven. Other Guest collaborations have included, A MIGHTY WIND and FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.

Shearer’s other film credits include REAL LIFE, THE RIGHT STUFF, PORTRAIT OF A WHITE MARRIAGE, THE FISHER KING, GODZILLA, THE TRUMAN SHOW, SMALL SOLDIERS and DICK. He has been a regular cast member on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE twice and, in 2002, wrote and directed his first feature film, TEDDY BEARS’ PICNIC.. In 2010 Shearer wrote and directed THE BIG UNEASY, a documentary feature investigating Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans. The film has been selected for numerous film festivals and has won multiple awards including The Golden Eagle Award and The Visionary Award at The DC Independent Film Festival.

Shearer directed and narrated the documentary feature The Big Uneasy, which revealed the reasons why New Orleans flooded during Hurricane Katrina. The film received stellar reviews for Shearer and his team of experts and whistleblowers.

Shearer’s most recent project is a new TV comedy-drama, six part series based on real-life recordings from President Nixon’s Oval Office co-written by Shearer and Stanley Kutler. Starring Shearer as Richard Nixon, NIXON’S THE ONE is made by one of the most respected and prolific UK TV production companies, Hat Trick and is due to be broadcast on Sky Arts.

Harry Shearer is also known for his bitingly satirical songs and impersonations. He was nominated for a Grammy for his CD SONGS OF THE POINTED AND POINTLESS. His album SONGS OF THE BUSHMEN (also Grammy nominated) was an incisive musical impeachment of the Bush administration with impersonations in song of the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove. His last album, GREED & FEAR was a searing satirical attack on Wall Street in the wake of the world economic meltdown. He is currently working on a new album of duets, which will be released in the Summer. Shearer’s musical collaborations with his wife singer/songwriter Judith Owen led to the launch of Courgette Records (a nod to the infamous airport scene from THIS IS SPINAL TAP).

A child of Hollywood, Shearer made guest appearances on a variety of A-list television series while still in his teens. Credits include THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM, GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATRE and ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS

He attended UCLA as a political science major, where he edited and wrote for the school humor magazine. He pursued graduate work at Harvard University and served a political internship in Sacramento before turning to freelance journalism, most notably covering the Watts riots for Newsweek. In 1968, Shearer auditioned for a satirical news team at KRLA-AM called The Credibility Gap. The crew developed a fanatical following, engaging in guerilla comedy actions like alternative live running commentaries to the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena. The classic Gap lineup including Shearer, future bandmate Michael McKean, David Lander, and Richard Beebe began to play local clubs and eventually recorded a number of hilarious – and now scarce – albums, including A GREAT GIFT IDEA, THE BRONZE AGE OF RADIO and FLOATS.

Theatrically, Shearer has collaborated with writer Tom Leopold and composer Peter Matz to create the book and lyrics for an original musical about J.Edgar Hoover simply called J. EDGAR!: THE MUSICAL. The play premiered to sold out houses and critical raves at The Aspen Comedy Festival and is currently being developed for Broadway.

A published novelist (NOT ENOUGH INDIANS), exhibited artist (TELETHESIA at the Fullerton Museum Center and WALL OF SILENCE at MOCA) and celebrated broadcaster (his satirical sandbox LE SHOW is heard weekly on stations around the world), Shearer is a true renaissance man

Harry is also the recipient of two Cable Ace Awards.

Deacon John

For many decades Deacon John has symbolized the ultimate in dance music. Deacon John is a man who gets around. And to all the best places: debutante cotillions, carnival balls, fraternity formals, proms, wedding receptions, birthday celebrations, class reunions, charity galas, corporate events, outdoor music festivals—even jazz funerals. If there is an important social event going on, Deacon John will be there!

This is the music that will turn your party into an occasion all will remember. Deacon John still rides the crest while others, wildly popular in years gone by, have drifted silently from the scene. Whatever you want, Deacon John has it.

This is why President Bush invited him to play at the Congressional Ball at the White House in 2005. It is why he was chosen to sing for the historic inauguration of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in 2007. It is the reason he has performed at every New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Deacon, with his band Deacon John & the Ivories, was the first rock’n’roll musician to play with the New Orleans Symphony in 1970. In the 1980s Deacon’s prowess on the slide guitar eventually landed him a part in Allen Parker’s movie, Angel Heart, and a national television commercial for Miller Beer. In 1990, he released his first CD, Singer of Song, followed by his second CD, Deacon John Live at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (1994). In 2000, he was inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame and taught blues music in the schools throughout the state of Louisiana. In 2003 Gambit Magazine named Deacon Best Male Performer, Best Rhythm and Blues Artist and Entertainer of the Year. Also in 2003 Offbeat magazine awarded him Album of the Year, Overall Band of the Year and Best R&B/Funk/Soul Band. In 2006 Deacon was elected the first African-American president of the New Orleans Musicians Union. In 2008, the United States Postal Service and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation honored him with a commemorative envelope and he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. In 2009, he received a Community Arts Award from the Arts Council of New Orleans, performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, and was honored with an Asante Legends Award. In 2010, Offbeat music magazine awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award; he also received the Cutting Edge Music Conference’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the American Federation of Musicians’ highly coveted Charles Walton Diversity Advocate Award. In 2011, the New Orleans Blues Society gave him the Snooks Eaglin Lifetime Achievement for Blues Excellence Award. In 2012, he earned the Slim Harpo Blues Pioneer Award from the Slim Harpo Music Awards. In 2013, Deacon John earned a star on the Tipitina’s Walk of Fame.

Deacon has graced the covers of many local and national newspapers and magazines. He has appeared in movies, live musical theater, and has been featured in national TV commercials, including Lincoln Cars, Southern Comfort Whiskey, Snickers Candy, Blue Cross health insurance, Capital One Bank (“What’s in Your Wallet?”), People’s Health Insurance and AirBNB. Deacon has also been in many WYES-TV documentaries on New Orleans history and culture, most recently Growing Up in New Orleans and Audubon Park Memories; and the 2013 horror film, The Last Exorcism Part II. Deacon played “Danny Nelson” in the first season of HBO’s acclaimed Treme. He is currently featured in the New Orleans media campaign, “Follow Your NOLA.” Deacon is the star of the critically acclaimed documentary movie, Going Back to New Orleans: The Deacon John Film, and live concert DVD and CD, Deacon John’s Jump Blues.

The band’s instrumentation is comprised of piano/keyboards, percussion/drums, bass, guitar, alto and tenor saxes, trumpet, trombone, two female vocalists, and, of course, Deacon John. He is currently available and eager to work with you on your event!

Johnny Vidacovich

As Johnny Vidacovich stood on-stage talking to the crowd gathered to hear hometown favorite Astral Project at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the group's drummer epitomized the New Orleans musician's sensibility: relaxed, unpretentious, and great. And when he sang about the passing of the old ways in "Old Folks," you could tell he meant it. Drawing on the musical heritage of New Orleans, Johnny Vidacovich has become one of the best drummers in a city known for its drummers. Born and bred in New Orleans, Vidacovich has the city's unique, syncopated backbeat running in his veins. Many outsiders have sought to imitate that sound which comes so naturally to those who grew up exposed to the Big Easy's street music traditions. One can hear the beat of the street in multifarious places, from the music of the Mardi Gras Indians to the Neville Brothers to Vidacovich himself. He is the quintessential New Orleans jazz drummer, with all the exuberance and skill befitting one who grew up in the birthplace of jazz. Since starting to play the drums at the age of ten, performing has been the passion of Johnny Vidacovich. From French Quarter clubs to the big stages, he has shared his talents with greats like New Orleans' "Tan Canary" Johnny Adams, Professor Longhair, and Mose Allison, and as a member of Astral Project. The seminal New Orleans contemporary jazz group, Astral Project has been taking its audiences to higher planes of reality for several decades. The loose affiliation finds its members doing their own thing and returning to renew their musical acquaintanceship with each other. Each player is a master in his own right: Steve Mazakowski on the guitar willed to him by the late, great Danny Barker; James Singleton, at one with his bass; Tony Dagradi, the essence of cool on the saxophone; wild man David Torkanowsky on the piano; and Vidacovich on the drums. Astral Project started out in the '70s, jamming at the venerable Absinthe House on Bourbon Street, with Bobby McFerrin often sitting in. Gigs at Snug Harbor and the New Orleans Jazz Fest won them a devoted local following, which has expanded to international acclaim. The musicians have continued to hone their skills individually and collectively in live gigs and recording sessions. The group's first CD, Dreams of Love (now out of print) was released in 1987, and things have been on the upswing ever since. The ensemble's live CD, Astral Project, introduced the artists to audiences in far flung places like New York, L.A., and Europe, and established their reputation as pushers of the envelope in the jazz idiom. Meanwhile, Vidacovich continued to gig and record with other musicians until he became the most sought after drummer in the city of New Orleans. He also paid his dues in New York, where he received rave reviews. Vidacovich has been recognized by everything from the Big Easy Entertainment Awards to accolades in Offbeat and Downbeat and the New York Times, to an appearance on the NPR show of fellow New Orleanian Branford Marsalis, Jazz Profiles. It is in improvisation that his abilities show to greatest advantage. Always sensitive to the shifting sands of jazz, the drum maestro may mix it up with reggae, bebop, street beat, and blues rhythms in the course of one tune, as he follows the lead of one of his collaborators. The lightning speed with which he morphs from one style to another as the occasion requires can be heard on CDs such as Astral Project's Voodoo Bop and Elevado; his own Mystery Street, and Banks Street; and We Came To Play with George Porter Jr. He is also a highly regarded teacher and educator whose past students include Stanton Moore and Brian Blade. He has been a longtime faculty member at Loyola University and the University of New Orleans. Johnny and his wife Deborah maintain the Tipitina’s Sunday music workshops where younger students can come play with the pros on Sundays at Tip’s.
Johnny played the first and every New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (which just celebrated its 40th anniversary) and has become a fixture on the New Orleans music scene. He has 4 records under his own name and an instructional book and DVD focusing on his approach to New Orleans drumming. He continues to maintain an active playing, touring and teaching schedule and is currently busy touring with Voice of The Wetlands Allstars.

A Celebration of Joni Mitchell featuring Kimberly Ford

When the counter-culture blossomed in the late 1960s, Joni Mitchell’s poetic tales of free men in Paris, buskers who played for free, and love — lost and found — raised the bar for folk music fans everywhere. In time, she would meld rock, jazz and world music into a sophisticated style that captured the world’s attention and several Grammy wins. Joni Mitchell was the soundtrack for a generation.

Now singer Kimberly Ford has created "A Celebration of Joni Mitchell," a group of World Class musicians with a shared passion for Joni's music. The band includes George Friedenthal on keys; Lee Rollag on guitar; Tom Buckner on saxophone; Tom Etchart on bass, and Charles Levin on drums. They perform songs from every decade of Joni's career.

Kimberly and the band perform beautifully nuanced versions of Joni's quintessential classics, without resorting to Tribute Band-style mimicry... A true "celebration" of Mitchell's artistry. Ford has been a fan since her coming-of-age years, where she learned to sing using Mitchell’s soul-baring, 1971 “Blue” album as a primer. “Her poetry and melodies spoke to my experiences before I even had a language for them."

From their first Sold-out Show, it was obvious that this band does something that makes people feel good.

Tonya Boyd-Cannon

New Orleans’ Soul Vocalist showcases versatility, sensuality and bravado.

New Orleans— Mississippi-born, Louisiana-raised singer-songwriter and soul artist Tonya Boyd-Cannon is no stranger to the music scene. The daughter of a preacher, she has been singing since she was a child. Although most of her musical training came by way of high school and middle school band directors, auditory and observation, Boyd-Cannon is a classically trained vocalist studying vocal performance in college. She says of her musical background, “I love to sing. Whether I’m singing jazz, funk, classical, rock, gospel, reggae or neo-soul, I perform like it’s my last time. I try to use all my gifts to my fullest potential.” She continues, “I believe I have grown so much as an artist. My songs are really about me sharing my love of music and my soul with other music lovers. I am extremely excited and dedicated to music and musician-ship.” As an artist, Boyd-Cannon plays piano, organ, drums and saxophone.

Boyd-Cannon got her professional start as a background vocalist for Jean Knight, best known for her 1970’s hit single, “Mr. Big Stuff”. Boyd-Cannon’s professional career also includes work as a music vocal coach, educator, creative arts teacher and minister of music. Additionally, Boyd-Cannon is credited with creating the first, combined male and female mass choir in the Orleans Parish prison. She states, “In working with inmates I made it clear, ‘I’m not the judge and jury. I’m not here to convict you or condemn you. I’m here to help you and to revitalize you.’” Clearly, these words of inspiration are strongly reflected in her artistry as a performer, composer and writer.

Boyd-Cannon’s fairly rare contralto voice, almost identical to that of a countertenor, pushes the envelope with amazing musical arrangements and jazzy lyrical content. Her current single “No Approval” is the self-validating anthem for the new millennium. Boyd-Cannon states, “This is a song of self validation! I lived my life for everybody else. I took their opinions over mine. The decisions that I made were theirs, not my own and now I’ve found myself. I loved myself. I approved of myself and put the stamp of approval as Tonya Boyd-Cannon.” Her international single “In New Orleans” captures the true heart of the city. The catchy chorus is in your head long after the song is over. Even if you have never visited New Orleans, Boyd-Cannon brings the personality of the city to life by using her sultry voice in every description.
Boyd-Cannon’s delivery is sharp yet inspirational; contemporary and authentic. From the first note of “I Wish You Well”, Boyd-Cannon captures your worst memories of love lost, but it’s a journey the listener cannot refuse. This haunting ballad is reminiscent of Nancy Wilson or Etta James. Melodic and melancholy at the same time, “I Wish You Well” is classic R&B. If there is a meaning for the word music, “Music All Over the World” is the definition. Boyd-Cannon’s combination of sounds and instruments is a kaleidoscope. She strategically blends creative vocals and instrumentation into a fusion of musical gumbo. In 2006, Boyd released her CD Rise My Child. The self-titled single is delivered with innocence and surrender. Boyd-Cannon shows her soulful vocal range, including fresh lyrics and robust harmonies.
In 2010, Boyd-Cannon was crowned winner of “Budweiser’s: Battle for the Crown” contest. The win gave her the opportunity to open for R&B heavyweights: Anthony Hamilton, KEM & Jaheim. This achievement, also catapulted her to national prominence, with performances in showcases and festivals around the country. In 2011 and 2012, Boyd-Cannon performed in Alabama’s Bayfest, where she stopped the crowd in their tracks, when she belted Journey’s ballad, “Lights.”

In 2012, she performed with the Stooges Brass Band at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Essence Music Festival. Her appearance at Essence Fest, led to an onstage performance with Grammy-Award winning rapper-songwriter, Eve. Boyd-Cannon has performed with Cassandra Wilson, Rhonda Richmond, Danny Glover and many others.

Most recently, she returned home to New Orleans after ranking in the TOP 20 on NBC’s Emmy-Award winning show, The Voice, where she was on Adam Levine’s team. Not only did Tonya move the world with her voice, but she also wowed her coach, where he told others on her team to “Do what Tonya does!” Today, she continues to bring her distinctive style to the stage as she shares her musical quest. She states, “Music is a healer. It has allowed me to heal myself and bring vitality and happiness to others. I don’t care which genre it is. It can be the hardest metal rock to the most heart-wrenching ballad; with each lyrical and melodious piece, I will find a peace in the music.” Boyd-Cannon incessantly states, “I love performing for and connecting with people, no matter where I am. I just sincerely hope my fans enjoy the music and the journey we are embarking on together.”

The singles “No Approval”, “In New Orleans” and “Rise My Child” are available on iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon, CD Baby, and Googleplay.com.

The Asylum Chorus

Blending genres, voices and influences, The Asylum Chorus brings its unique roots-soul music to venues large and small. With seven singers and a full backing band, The Asylum Chorus resonates with audiences in unique ways. Their complex vocal harmonies merge with modern arrangements, to drive the music to higher places.

In every performance, The Asylum Chorus showcases their prodigious talents as vocalists, songwriters and instrumentalists, with songs that range from quiet acapella originals to funky, full-throttle burners.

The Asylum Chorus mixes the laid back, street-funk, electric church mood of their New Orleans home with their musical talents into dynamic, interactive performances that give audiences unforgettable memories.

Personel: Soprano, Melanie Gardner
Soprano, Amy Trail
Alto, Ashley Shabankareh
Alto, Hannah Krieger-Benson
Alto, Sybil Shanell
Tenor, Roan Smith
Bass, Lucas Davenport

DJ G-Cue

Mike Paz, more commonly known by his stage name G-Cue, is a New Orleans based DJ and event producer. G-Cue pursued a professional career in Dj’ing at the age of 16 and has become one of the most sought for DJ talents in the New Orleans area. He worked his way into his first prominent club residency at age 18 and hasn't looked back since...

Sean Ardoin

The Ardoin name is truly Creole/Zydeco royalty.

The legacy started with legendary Creole musician Amedee’ Ardoin, the first Louisiana Cajun or Creole accordionist to record; followed by Bois Sec Ardoin, one of the best-known practitioners of the state's rural Creole sound for six decades, to Sean's father, Lawrence "Black" Ardoin and the Ardoin Brothers, then to Sean.
He co-lead the critically-acclaimed Zydeco outfit Double Clutchin' for 10 years, then started Sean Ardoin + Zydekool's in 1999. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, festivals worldwide and stateside, performed live on BET’s Comic View, been featured in commercials, had his music in movies and on MTV's Road Rules, Real World, Fraternity Life, Sorority Life and recently performed live on a Bravo TV reality show not yet released.

Sean represents both the rural roots and progressive future of Louisiana's Creole-Zydeco sound like no other artist. He's truly one of Zydeco's "triple threats." He's a rare combination of tradition, talent and creativity. Sean started a new genre called, Creole Rock and Soul, in order to be able to express his artistry without the confines of the traditional Zydeco idiom. He also works hard to keep the tradition alive with his super group Creole United and founded the Creole Hall of Fame in order to recognize the Creole contribution
to the world. Sean sees a bright future and is ready to bring the Zydekool experience to world!!!

Phil DeGruy w/ Emily Robertson

Phil deGruy. What can you say? It's a shame more people don't know about him. He's one of those guys who has changed the face of the guitar without using a lot of spandex. He's taken the vibe of Lenny Breau, Chet Atkins and Bill Evens. The first time I saw him perform was in his room in New Orleans. There were five other musicians watching him play. It was the truth. No bullshit at all. Just this guy and his totally insane playing. He can even take the corniest tune in the world -- like this one, which I could stand never hearing again -- and make is sound golden. He has his own sense of humor and sense of harmony, incredible voicing, and you can't mess with his right-hand chops. Plus, no one else in the world can play that instrument. This album is the only solo-guitar record I can listen to now. Every guitar player should have this in their collection, no matter what kind of music they play. Stars? Oh, a million. Five million and a half.

hil's approach to the guitar sounds like John Coltrane meets Mel Brooks at a party for Salvador Dali. It's uncanny the way he has conjured up such an unorthodox way to attend to virtuosity.
-- Steve Vai

Debbie Davis

The daughter of two opera singers, Debbie Davis never had a chance. She was born a singer. Making her first professional singing appearance at the age of two, her childhood was peppered with performances in opera and musical theater. As a young adult she was on track for a career as an actress, singer and dancer when a knee injury diverted her energies toward singing exclusively. She became well known in her native New Jersey as a rock and roll singer in several bands, dabbling in jazz standards when opportunity allowed.

Moving to New Orleans in 1997, Debbie began making a name for herself in the local music community singing jazz and all manner of musical styles. She's gone on to record with people like John Boutte, Soul Asylum, The Misfits, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Dukes of Dixieland, Leigh "Lil Queenie" Harris, Paul Sanchez (Cowboy Mouth), Kevin Clark, Tom McDermott, 3 Manisha, All That, Tin Men, Lil Band of Gold (CC Adcock), Marc Stone, Mike West, Harry Shearer, and Alex McMurray and was the jingle singer for the 2003 Zatarains ad campaign produced by David Torkanowsky. In 1999 she joined the world renowned vocal group,The Pfister Sisters, and has spent the last 14 years performing locally and internationally with the group.

In 2009, Debbie began work with one of the most ambitious and critically acclaimed local projects to date, Nine Lives- the Musical,singing several character roles and assisting in the vocal arrangements, not only for the 39 song recording but for the numerous subsequent live productions. She played herself in seasons 1, 3 and 4 of the critically acclaimed HBO series, TREME, and sang on the Grammy nominated soundtrack. She was nominated for Best Female Vocalist of 2010 by Offbeat Magazine along with Susan Cowsill and "the Soul Queen of New Orleans", Irma Thomas. In January 2012, Debbie and her ukulele traveled to Jazz at Lincoln Center for a one night only performance with friend and Tony Award winner, Michael Cerveris.

Debbie's first solo recording, It's Not the Years, It's the Miles, was released in March 2012 and features a who's who of New Orleans finest players (Jon Cleary, Bobby Lounge, Tom McDermott, Todd Duke, Evan Christopher, Aurora Nealand, Mark Bingham, Paul Sanchez, Matt Rhody and more) and songs spanning from Irving Berlin to Amy Winehouse as well as the talents of local songsmiths, Alex McMurray and Paul Sanchez and arrangements by Matt Perrine. (REVIEWS)

In 2014 Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers released Linger Til Dawn, the last full record to be recorded and mixed at the legendary Piety Street Studio in New Orleans. The four piece ensemble with Alex McMurray on guitar, Josh Paxton on piano and Matt Perrine on sousaphone recorded 13 songs in a single afternoon to popular and critical praise. "Debbie Davis stands out in the crowd of singers like a bird-of-paradise in a room full of canaries".

Debbie is New Orleans' premier female ukulelist and is proud to endorse Southcoast Ukes. She is also married to tubist, bassist, composer and arranger, Matt Perrine. They live in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans with their sons, Ben and Henry and their dogs, Cosimo and Daisy Mae.

Matt Perrine

By the time he was twelve, California native Matt Perrine was an accomplished trombonist, bassist (upright and electric), and arranger, and before he graduated from high school he'd played with the Artie Shaw Orchestra and other well-known jazz luminaries.

Since he move to New Orleans in 1992 Matt has become a staple – and an innovator – in the city's music community, a triple threat on sousaphone, upright, and electric bass. His skills, versatility, and musical sensibilities make him a sought-after musician throughout New Orleans and around the globe.

Matt's versatility extends from jazz, rock, and reggae to avant-garde, Dixieland, Latin, swing, or funk, on either electric or stand-up bass, tuba, or sousaphone. He is also an arranger and bandleader, and has been closely involved with the musical Nine Lives and as a performer and consultant to the HBO series Treme.

Downbeat magazine calls Matt a "virtuoso sousaphone player" and it is for that instrument and the tuba that he is best known and most prodigious. Matt’s 2007 release, Sunflower City was one of the first for the highly-acclaimed Threadhead Records label, the progenitor of crowd-funded artistic projects. Sunflower City was named “Best CD of 2007” by WWOZ-FM. With his Sunflower City Band, comprised of a host of New Orleans all-stars, Matt released the follow-up Bayou Road Suite in 2010, also on Threadhead.
Matt is co-founder of The New Orleans Nightcrawlers, acting as tubist, chief composer and arranger, as well as producer of their first eponymously titled recording and co-producer of their third, Live at the Old Point, and their latest release on Threadhead Records, Slither Slice. Combining brass band, jazz and funk elements, and for the past 15 years the Nightcrawlers have garnered local awards, toured domestic and European festival circuits and produced four recordings which sell internationally.

He is also a founding member of the Tin Men, along with songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Alex McMurray and local phenom "Washboard Chaz" Leary. The Tin Men's first release, Super Great Music for Modern Lovers, was nominated by the Big Easy Awards committee for Album of the Year.

Matt has also performed and recorded with OK-Go, The Indigo Girls, Pete Fountain, Stanton Moore, Ray Anderson, Bonerama, Better Than Ezra, Bruce Hornsby, Nicholas Payton and Howard Johnson's tuba ensemble, Gravity, as well as with Ellis and Branford Marsalis, Lillian and John Boutte, Kermit Ruffins, Royal Fingerbowl, Alex McMurray, All That, The Johnny Vidacovich Trio, the Danza Quartet featuring Tom McDermott and Evan Christopher, Henry Butler, Leigh "Li'l Queenie" Harris, Paul Sanchez's Rolling Road Show, Sista Teedy and Cool Riddums, Aaron and Charles Neville, Jason Marsalis, Debbie Davis, and Neslort.

Matt is an active educator and clinician, and is closely involved with the New Orleans Young Audiences program and with traditional jazz camps. He's been repeatedly commissioned by Copenhagen's Rhythmik Music Conservatory and its sister school in Aahus, Denmark, to give academic and performance clinics on brass band music.

Today Matt Matt's Sunflower City band plays regularly around New Orleans, both privately and publicly. He also continues to play in the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, the Danza Quartet, the Hot Club of New Orleans, and with Paul Sanchez and many other local bands.

Alex McMurray

If Alex McMurray’s songwriting seems a bit dour at times—okay, most of the time—well then that’s totally intentional. “Like Blanche DuBois in Streetcar,” he says, "I find sorrow to be quite a beautiful emotion. Loneliness can be nice.” And he’d know. A New Orleans fixture since the ‘80s, the guitar slinger is now widely recognized as the embodiment of the downtown New Orleans lifestyle: sketchy bars, cracked sidewalks, fallen-down houses, tattered hearts, broken spirits, discarded chicken bones. He’s often compared to Tom Waits; they both have whiskey-throated voices and share a curious ability to find inspiration in the degenerate, not to mention an obsession with the Ninth Ward. Except McMurray actually lives there.

His latest album, I Will Never Be Alone In This Land, continues his musical celebration of the city he calls home. “I’ve been trading time for chump change,” he sings on the title track,” but I will never be alone in this land.” That seems a safe bet. He’s solidified his status as a kind of New Orleans institution, appearing three times as himself in the HBO series Treme, once in a ladies’ blonde curly wig, leading a packed-in crowd at Ninth Ward haunt The Saturn Bar in a Mardi Gras Day sea-shanty sing-along. The show’s third season concluded, appropriately, with “You’ve Got to Be Crazy to Live In This Town” from his 2009 album, How to Be a Cannonball. The song sums up nicely the way McMurray feels about New Orleans—and perhaps himself.

Paul Sanchez

Fans may know native New Orleanian Paul Sanchez as a founding member of the rock band Cowboy Mouth, with whom he has 11 albums; for his role in the HBO series TREME where he played himself; or as the creative force behind the musical NINE LIVES, a musical adaptation of the best-selling novel by Dan Baum. NINE LIVES follows the lives of nine people in New Orleans from 1965 (the year Hurricane Betsy ravaged the city) through 2005 (the year of Hurricane Katrina) and beyond.



Paul Sanchez transforms audiences with his unique blend of music and storytelling – at once powerful, sad, humorous, entertaining, and hopeful.

Like many New Orleanians, Paul was tremendously impacted by Hurricane Katrina, having lost his home. “I lost my home, my possessions, community and, eventually, my job after the flood. I was changed, am changed as a person and it couldn't help but change my music", confesses Sanchez, who like many struggled to find a new identity after Hurricane Katrina. After much soul-searching, he left Cowboy Mouth to go solo.

Paul Sanchez began writing songs and playing his first professional shows in the French Quarter before he turned sixteen. By the 1980’s, Paul was an established part of the New Orleans rock scene, playing in The Backbeats along with Vance DeGeneres, another native New Orleanian.

He lived in New York City in the late 80's and was part of the now legendary Anti-Folk scene in the East Village.

In January of this year Off Beat Magazine awarded Paul Songwriter of the Year 2014, he won three Best of The Beat Awards n 2010: Songwriter of The Year, Best Song of The Year, Best Folk/Rock Album for Stew Called New Orleans, his duet record with friend and collaborator John Boutte. In April of that same year Gambit Weekly awarded him Best Roots Rock Performer at The Big Easy Awards.

Primarily a songwriter Sanchez has written songs for Darius Rucker of Hootie and The Blowfish, had a song in the country charts which was recorded by The Eli Young Band, and a song covered by Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans. Paul resides in the Treme neighborhood, where he sings and breathes everything New Orleans.

Bryan Thomas

Albany soul rocker Bryan Thomas’ latest projects include “Smash to Pieces,” a five-song EP produced with his band the Buggy Jive; “Basement Live,” a series of music videos recorded live in his home studio with a band that includes multiple versions of himself… and, oh yes, an app. Seriously.

Says Nippertown’s Greg Haymes: “With Prince as his primary musical touchstone, Thomas’ uncompromising songs are specifically local, yet gloriously global. He writes smart, and he writes from the heart, balancing intellect, passion and politics.”

The Albany Times Union named Thomas “Best Male Singer-Songwriter” shortly after he released his acoustic hip-hop debut Radio Plastic Jennifer in 1999. The follow-up soul rock epic Ones and Zeros was Metroland Magazine’s “Album of the Year” in 2002.

Since then, he’s been in the studio with punk legend Tommy Ramone, making a special guest appearance on a track produced by Ramone for New York City’s genre-smashing neo-punksters Collider. Bryan’s music can be heard on the opening track of the Black Rock Coalition’s Bronze Buckaroo Rides Again which also includes a track by BRC founder/ Living Colour guitar wizard Vernon Reid. He has three songs on the double-live Pazfest: A New Orleans Tribute to Joni Mitchell recorded on a steamy Louisiana night at the Howlin’ Wolf in the summer of 2000.

Samples of Bryan’s music, video and poetry can be found online at his award-winning web site bryanthomas.com, and at TheHiddenCity.com, a webzine for underground arts in Albany, New York. Thomas is a founding member of the Hidden City collective.

He’s also been known to take a photo around town.

Leslie Smith

Leslie Blackshear Smith personifies what it is to be a New Orleans musician. She cut her teeth working with the likes of iconic drummers Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeleste, James Black, Johnny Vidocovich, Herman Ernest, Herlin Riley and Willie Green- just to name a few.

Working with pianists Allen Toussaint, Ellis Marsalis, Art Neville, Willie T, Ivan Neville, Jon Cleary and David Torkanowsky helped to shape her as the artist she is today as well.

Cary Hudson

Cary Hudson is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from the great state of Mississippi who resides somewhere between Memphis and New Orleans. He is a former drugstore clerk, landscaper, farm hand, waiter, house painter, pizza deliverer, and fry cook who currently spends his time canoeing the creeks of south MS, riding his bike to the snowcone stand, and going for leisurely walks with his dogs.
Cary’s music career began with a bang when his band placed third at the Sumrall High School Talent Show in 1980. In the late 80’s he moved to Oxford and started The Hilltops with John Stirratt (currently bassist with Wilco), and shortly thereafter John’s twin sister Laurie joined the band. After five years of touring, recording, and liver damage, The Hilltops called it a day and Cary and Laurie moved to Los Angeles in 1990.

While living in Venice, Cary worked in a deli and hung out with the guys in Weezer (fun), walked on Zuma Beach hoping to meet Neil Young, started a band called Blue Mountain with Laurie, and experienced the Rodney King riots (not fun). After moving back to Oxford in 1992, Blue Mountain began touring nationally, signed a deal with Roadrunner Records, and recorded their classic Dog Days album with producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel. They went on to record more albums, played shows with Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, Wilco, The Jayhawks and Wille Nelson, were the cover story of the second No Depression magazine, and in 2011 were voted “Most Legendary Oxford Band” by the readers of The Local Voice. After parting ways with Roadrunner, Cary and Laurie started Black Dog Records with Chris Hudson and released albums by Blue Mountain and Marah, among others.

Blue Mountain went on hiatus in 2002 and Cary began working as a solo artist, touring and releasing five albums. Blue Mountain reformed in 2007, recorded Midnight in Mississippi and toured extensively in the US and Europe. In February of 2013 Cary and Laurie announced that Blue Mountain would play it’s final show at the North Mississippi Hill Country picnic that year.

Cary has played guitar for Bobby Rush, RL Burnside, Big Jack Johnson, Shannon MacNally, Dayna Kurtz and many others in his close to thirty years on the road. He was chosen as one of the Top Ten Alternative Country Guitar Players by Gibson magazine, and his songs have appeared in TV shows and movies including the George Clooney film “Up in the Air”. He recently released his sixth solo album,Town and Country (mixed by Multi-Grammy winner Trina Shoemaker). Blue Mountain’s tune “Mountain Girl” to be on SundanceTV series Rectify, episode #304. Cary’s sincerely trying to be a better person, and hopes to someday whistle like Professor Longhair.

Jim McCormick

Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Brantley Gilbert, Jamey Johnson, Craig Campbell, Randy Travis, Trisha Yearwood, Trace Adkins, and Ronnie Milsap are among the artists who have recorded Jim McCormick's songs.

Jim is a staff songwriter at BMG Chrysalis and an in-demand top liner who has charted multiple #1 hits on the Billboard Country charts.

Jim has performed at clubs and festivals throughout the South, including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the South By Southwest Music Conference, the Key West Songwriters Festival, Engelsholm Castle, and the Zihuatanejo Guitar Fest in Mexico.

He holds a BA in English from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and an MFA in poetry from the University of New Orleans and is a frequent guest lecturer at music schools and conferences around the world. His poetry and scholarship have been published in academic journals around the United States. He is also a current Governor on the Recording Academy's Memphis Chapter Board and a member of Leadership Music's class of 2013. Jim is a visiting professor at Loyola University's School of Music Industry Studies.

Krewe de Groove with Brandon Tarricone & Henley Douglas Jr.

Krewe de Groove– With its transcendence of Funk, Soul, Jam, and Roots Rock; Krewe de Groove brings together some of the best musicians in Massachusetts to create its musical family. After 17 years based out of New Orleans, guitarist/vocalist Brandon Tarricone is back on the east coast and has brought the flavor of the bayou back to New England with his original sound. Justin Lopes on B3 organ, John Iltis on drums, and Dave Walker on bass make up the Krewe’s rhythm section and their tight, syncopated pocket. Well known sax players Henley Douglas Jr and Eric Schindler make up the horn section, blowing up the funk that lays on top (literally!). Tarricone’s original compositions, vocals, and sprinkled arrangements of classic New Orleans material is combined to make every show, interesting, fun and always danceable. With 6 original albums released between 2001-2016 and a large list of precisely chosen covers, the band plays different shows every night.

Dave Torkanowsky

American keyboardist.

Renshaw Davies wants to make you happy and sad at the same time.

Through bright and bittersweet dream pop waves of synth, guitar, and vocal harmonies, John Renshaw and Emily Davies devote themselves to creating a place of peace.

Renshaw Davies' new EP. "The Heat" is out now!

Joe Tullos (of Big Sun)

Big Sun was formed in 1990 when singer/songwriter Joe Tullos contacted drummer and long time friend Kevin Aucoin, in hopes of putting together a new music project. With the addition of guitarist Perrin Isaac and bassist Rolando Chicas, the new group was set. For the next six years, Big Sun performed at clubs and festivals throughout the region and beyond.

Member changes also occurred through the years...James Slaughter and Steven "Beaver" Montz contributed on bass. Sam Jones, John Jackyl and Mark "Byrdawg" Dillon contributed on keyboards. And Randy Ellis, Brian Stoltz and Bill Dillon contributed on guitar. Big Sun released a CD in 1993.

Christina Friis

When hearing Christina Friis’ original music, if you allow yourself, you will be transported through ALL the different emotional landscapes. Whether the song reminds you of the universal connection, a lost love or life’s quirky moments, you will find yourself in the music. “That’s what it’s all about,” says Christina. “Music is a kind of spiritual journey. When letting the inspiration flow through you and you can experience these emotions with others, barriers are broken down and there’s a feeling that we are all made up of the same stuff! This is what drives me to make and share music.”

Christina grew up in a tiny village on the outskirts of Copenhagen in Denmark listening to her parents’ folk and pop records. Her dad built a swimming pool from scratch to the sound of her voice coming from the balcony, as she sang along with the same LP records over and over. The lyrics were often in French, English, or Swedish, which was the seed of inspiration for her to later become fluent in those and three more languages.

In 2002, Christina came to New Orleans for the first time by way of a Joni Mitchell fan gathering in Woodstock, New York. Of her first time in the Crescent City, she vividly recalls “a crazy and inspiring time living with an eccentric artist and cruising around the French Quarter in a limo driven by a musician friend while playing music and sipping cocktails in the back.” She soon started developing her own artistic expression co-writing with local songwriters among which were Jim McCormick, who has since written songs for several grammy-award winning artists, including Tim McGraw and Trisha Yearwood.

In 2005, Christina was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to return to Denmark for surgery and treatment. Her vocal cords as well as her physical and mental balance took a hit and while going through intensive voice training, she decided to finish a degree in Spanish and American studies, while her voice gradually got stronger. In the spring of 2012 as her health had fully stabilized, she returned to New Orleans with a suitcase full of life experiences to write about and a voice ready to SING!

At the time of her return, Christina knew that she wanted to form a musical partnership and further explore the world of co-writing that she had begun during her last Big Easy experience. This collaboration came about when she called Chris Adkins to play guitar with her at a gig at the Hermes Bar (Antoine’s Restaurant). Their first rehearsal turned into a songwriting session, and what Christina describes as a “dream musical partnership” was formed. With a similar taste in music, their song style has developed into one that can be described as (but is not limited to): Adele meets Aretha Franklin meets Bonnie Raitt, all with a touch of Joni Mitchell, naturally. The genre is simply “soulful pop”.

Christina is currently planning the recording of her debut album and is in the process fine-tuning the songs to be recorded, while planning to do some live shows with a full band in New Orleans. In the late Fall of this year, she will go in the studio with a stellar line-up of musicians. A collaboration agreement with a producer who’s worked with many grammy-award artists is also in the works!

Lawrence Sieberth

Pianist, composer, and producer Lawrence Sieberth is at home in virtually any musical setting. While based in jazz, Lawrence’s musical vision is not limited by genre barriers—he prefers to integrate the many facets of music and performance into an engaging, inclusive experience. His own neo-bop improvisations and experimental inclinations combine with his classical and world music influences providing an extensive musical vocabulary for both performances and compositions for television, film, and stage.

Lawrence Sieberth’s transcendent 2009 album New New Orleans finds him literally center stage, a solo piano set wherein traditional New Orleans jazz pieces get a brilliant surveying with some judicious modern overtones sprinkled throughout them. That same year saw the far side of the spectrum via Arkipelago, an album exploring the area(s) where the ethereal overlaps with the earthy, where fevered fantasy coalesces with funk, the Second Line strolls Alpha Centauri. In the most recent album ‘It’s Magic’ in collaboration with singer Germaine Bazzle, Sieberth’s exemplary skills as accompanist come to the fore—songs such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” and “Sophisticated Lady” are not merely covered but made anew, the notes dangling from his fingertips as if they were dipped in honey.

His local ensembles vary from New Orleans traditional to questing improvisations, from the avant-garde to mainstream jazz and R&B. He has performed at virtually every venue in New Orleans, from small clubs to the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival where he has been a regular featured artist and musical director of over 30 years. His collaborations with notable local performers include: Johhny Adams, Charles Neville, Leslie Smith, Tony Dagradi, Jeremy Davenport, John Vidacovich, Luther Kent, Leah Chase, Topsy Chapman, Herlin Riley, Brian ‘Breeze’ Cayolle, Victor Goines, and Jason Marsalis.

He presently performs and tours with Gerald French & the Original Tuxedo Jazzband, Germaine Bazzle, and Lena Prima (daughter of the legendary Louis Prima) with whom has just released a Christmas cd playing duo with Lena on vocals.

Some of the notable musicians he has performed with include: Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Joanne “BJ” Crosby (Dreamgirls & Smokey Joe’s Cafe), Frank Gratowski, Hamid Drake, Eddie Harris, David Amram, Roseanna Vitro, Newport Jazz All-Stars, The Funk Brothers with Tom Scott, Badal Roy, Carlos Malta, Maria Marquez, Marl Growden, Aashish Khan, Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff, The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Corpus Christi Symphony and the Baton Rouge Symphony.

Dayna Kurtz

Dayna Kurtz is the kind of artist who inspires wild-eyed zealotry among her fans, and there are 3 reasons for it: 1, she's an artist's artist, one whose whiskeyed, determined alto often earns her comparisons with Nina Simone; 2 while Europeans adore her, she's obscenely underappreciated in her own country; and 3, her songs straddle a difficult space between jazz, rock, and folk, & are pure poetry.

Kevin Stylez

Kevin Stylez, born on December 3, 1991, was raised among a family of musicians and there’s no doubt he inherited all the talent that came before him. His musical journey began in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that devastated his hometown, New Orleans, LA. Stylez took a keyboard that his mother purchased for him and spent countless hours teaching himself how to play by ear, to help relieve the stress of starting over. A tragedy helped create a unique love affair. In high school, Stylez joined a band “Muzik Hertz” and opened for the likes of Trey Songz, Boyz II Men, Cameo, & Jeffery Osborne.

Later in his solo career, Kevin Stylez opened for R&B entertainer Avant, headlined the Essence Music Empowerment stage, and has partnered with bebe, Macys, and The Law Offices of Attorney Chip Forstall. Kevin’s innate ability to connect with his audience makes him one of the best breakout artists to embrace real music. He credits his musical styling to some of his favorite artists including Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Jamie Foxx, Ray Charles, Luther Vandross, Darryl Coley, & Michael Jackson.

Where else can you find an artist who creates feel good music, with talent & insight beyond his years, and all the ingredients for stardom? The answer: Kevin Stylez

Joshua Thomas

Joshua Thomas (born Joshua Thomas Schurr ; January 22, 1988) is an American singer-songwriter based in Portland, OR. He has independently released 2 EPs and a full-length album, Sleep Like The World (2010), Halfway (2012), and The Harboring (2014). The first EP and the full-length (Halfway) were released under his given name, Josh Schurr, before he decided to produce all future projects under Joshua Thomas. His first work under that name is a 6-song EP, The Harboring. Thomas is currently at work on a full-length album. Recording began in May 2017.

Early Life
Thomas grew up in Marlton, New Jersey. At age eleven, he began piano lessons at the urging of his parents, Tom and Jane Schurr. After playing piano for five years and developing a growing appreciation for songwriting, Thomas realized at the age of sixteen that he could sing. This sparked a change in his musical path. Upon discovering the music of Joni Mitchell, Thomas took up guitar and taught himself to play through the many alternate tunings Mitchell herself created. He began writing his own songs in the cavernous stairwell of his apartment building in midtown Manhattan. Thomas met Joni Mitchell in the fall of 2007 at the release party for her album Shine. Her positive reinforcement proved to be a turning point in his life and he subsequently began his performing career.

Career
Sleep Like The World (2009-2010)
Thomas lived in New York for two years, but ultimately settled in Philadelphia. In the summer of 2010, he recorded his first EP, Sleep Like The World, a collection of five songs written over the course of a year. According to Victoria Phetmisy of the online independent music review, The Blue Indian, SLTW is "pretty and well composed," and features vocals that are "deep, resounding, and always soothing." Although the EP was fairly well-received, the songs were Thomas's first attempts at songwriting, and he has since distanced himself from the work and removed the EP from all online sales outlets.

Thomas appeared on NBC Philadelphia’s 10! Show twice in 2009 and 2010, and started performing frequently in both Philly and New York. Throughout 2010 and 2011, he began compiling new original material for a future record.

Halfway and national tour (2011-2012)
Thomas entered the studio in the winter of 2012, after completing a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise the money for production and duplication of a new album. He released his first full-length record, Halfway, on June 12, 2012 (under Josh Schurr), and promoted it through a national summer tour. This album was far more personal than his previous EP, and explored various themes including religion, love, sexuality, and art. Thomas has been candid about the title track being written around a time when he was only open with a small number of people in regards to his sexuality, and the difficulty in feeling not quite whole. He recorded most of the piano and vocal tracks together, to achieve a more natural performance. Thomas wanted this release to be sparse and organic, and only brought in a few other musicians in the process. Peter Adams is featured on violin, Eric Daelhousen on bass and tenor saxophone, and Dave Hirshblond on drums and percussion. Thomas's sister, Lauren Schurr, also joins him on background vocals. Bill Chenevert of Philadelphia Weekly reviewed the record saying "his voice is a beautiful instrument and his piano skills are awe-inspiring." WXPN's music blog The Key called the album "a mix of expansive piano compositions very reminiscent of Tori Amos and back-to-basics acoustic ballads in the vein of David Gray."

The Harboring (2014)
In March of 2014, Thomas announced plans for his next EP entitled The Harboring, the first project made under the name Joshua Thomas. The EP is another independent release, made possible through a successful crowd-funding campaign with PledgeMusic. Thomas spoke with G Philly about the new record: "I like to say that The Harboring is a collection of songs about a collection of men. Although in reality, the bulk of the record is about one man in particular." Of the title he says that he was "contemplating how often we harbor sadness or real emotion when working through something difficult. I think we all become pretty great actors in the process. The beautiful thing about working that stuff out through songwriting is that everything goes down on paper, so all the feelings I was harboring have been released and I can move on."

The Harboring was released on Tuesday, September 29th, 2014. It contains six original songs, and features Thomas on vocals, piano, electric and acoustic guitars, Rhodes and Wurlitzer keyboards, and Hammond organ. Guest musicians include Erica Miller on violin and viola, and Pat Brier on drums and percussion. Philadelphia composer Joshua Stamper wrote the string arrangement for a track called Weeds. The entire album was recorded and mixed at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia over the course of eight days.

Relocation and new recordings (2015-present)
Thomas relocated from Philadelphia to Portland, Oregon, in September of 2015. After a successful crowdfunding campaign in spring 2017, Thomas entered the studio to begin recording a new full-length album. The album will consist of 11 original songs. No release date has yet been set.

Jahida Esperanza

Powerful, soulful, passionate. These are just a few words to describe Jahida Esperanza's performances. Spanning across all genres from jazz, funk, rock, soul, to folk and latin, Jahida takes each song and imbues it with a strong sense of self and storytelling.

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1979, this Puerto Rican and Cuban songstress went on to earn a degree in Jazz Vocal Performance from Johnson State College in Vermont. Now based out of Colorado, Jahida Esperanza is also a music teacher in the Colorado Springs public schools. She loves helping our younger generations find their voices as well as exposing them to as many different cultures as possible.

Jahida Esperanza plans on heading into the studio sometime in 2018 to record her debut album!


Her audience has said:

"[Jahida songs are] wonderfully phrased, voice pours out like cream from a pitcher. Sweet, sweet spirit."

"Equal parts pathos and playfulness, she evokes a sense of deep experience yet lightheartedness. Everything about her; her voice, style and song choice, is a perfect mix of classic and contemporary."

"A truly delightful combination of power and grace. Passion and elegance. Simultaneously, this is what love and pain sound like."

"Sings from the heart."

"Emotionally charged."

Don’t miss your chance to see her!

ENiiD Goodman

ENiiD Goodman (aka Carol) was born Nov. 21st, 1973 (a twin) in Ottawa to parents who immigrated from Sweden & England. She has called Wakefield, Québec her home for over 15 years and lives with her family on a 200 acre homestead called 100 Mile Farm. ENiiD’s name means “Spirit” in Welsh and is shared with her Swedish grandmother. Her debut album (Nov. 2015) is A Celebration of Joni Mitchell; songs by & for her + stories and 2 originals. One of her favourite venues to perform is the Blacksheep (voted one of the top 10 music venues in Canada) in Wakefield, QC. ENiiD has toured her debut album across Canada and looks forward to bringing her tour to the States and Europe in 2017.

$25 General Admission

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A fundraiser for the Ruth Paz Foundation to benefit The Ruth Paz Pediatric Surgery and Burn Hospital in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

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