Travis Linville

It’s a quiet confidence, an air of authority limited to only the most studied artists, a commanding irreverence woven with a thread of vulnerability. There’s something inexplicably authentic about Oklahoma’s Travis Linville, and it’s carried him from dive bars and classrooms to “The Tonight Show” and esteemed theaters and festivals across the globe.

Linville is legendary regionally for his work in the now-defunct Burtschi Brothers and for his behind-the-scenes influence—including producing John Fullbright’s first album and teaching guitar lessons to a then nine-year-old Parker Millsap. The “Oklahoma Gazette” rightly called him a “godfather of modern Oklahoma folk” and noted that his success opened doors for a state teeming with talent: a mentor and contemporary for other Oklahoma acts like Fullbright, Millsap, Turnpike Troubadours and John Moreland.

His acclaimed solo releases include 2012’s “Sun or Moon” and 2014’s “Out on the Wire” EP, called “rich, soulful and beautiful” by Jimmy LaFave. A live audition of a track from the latter even netted him a role in a William H. Macy film, in which he performed the song.

A gifted instrumentalist, Linville is also known for his work as a sideman with Texas songwriter Hayes Carll, who calls him “criminally underrated.” He’s also performed with Willie Nelson, Tommy Allsup and Ryan Bingham and shared billing with Merle Haggard, Other Lives and Billy Joe Shaver, among countless others.

Independently, Linville has sold 15,000 albums and played thousands of shows across his 20-plus year career, with an ever-evolving repertoire deeply rooted in songcraft, sly humor and subtlety.

"Travis Linville writes, plays and sings music the way it's supposed to be done,” Carll says. “With depth, heart and soul. One of my all-time favorite musicians."

Tekla Waterfield

Tekla's first public performance was at the age of 4, singing at a family member's wedding. With an Alaskan folk musician for a mom, Tekla grew up around music, appearing at the Southeast Alaska State Fair and Alaska Folk Festival as a child with her sister, her mother and her mother's various musical cohorts such as Dan Minuskin and Myrna Ukelele.

The family relocated to California where Tekla became immersed in choir, learning classical vocal techniques with the remarkable Denise Hedlind, Dr. Donald Kendrick as a member of the California State University, Sacramento University Chorus and Kerry March while singing with the Vox 2 vocal jazz ensemble.

Tekla heard her musical calling after college and a brief non-musical stint when she realized how important music and the performance arts were to her. In 2009 she became a member of the Americana/Folk band, Blvd Park (Sacramento, CA), who toured extensively across the U.S. and released two independent albums together. The band relocated to Seattle, WA together and achieved a mild level of success including having their song, "It Ain't Gonna Be Easy" featured on the Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union's "Homegrown - Roadtrip Music From the Great State of Washington" compilation album and being invited to audition for the television show, America's Got Talent by the show's producers. The band split in 2013.

With plenty of original music to work with, Tekla began putting her own band together in 2013. Calling heavily on musical influences such as The Cowboy Junkies, Neko Case, Gillian Welch, Sera Cahoone, Eileen Jewel, Wilco and Tom Waits, Tekla's music is a blend of country, Americana, folk, pop, rock and blues.

Tekla frequently lends her vocals to others for recordings and live appearances including General Mojo's Key Project, Jeff Fielder, Wayne Horvitz, The Walkabouts and more and is an active member of Seattle's Bushwick Book Club, a group of artists who create work in response to literature.

On Sweet Whiskey, Seattle, WA country artist (you read that right) Miller Campbell has boldly declared her intent to claim a prominent place in the canon of western music. It would serve us all well to take Ms. Campbell at her word. Armed with a voice at turns clear and bright as high mountain air and round, warm, and rough in all the right places, Campbell sings with a natural assuredness usually only found in artists with decades of experience. She gets it honest, but almost never got here at all.

Born into a musical family (Miller is Glen Campbell's cousin), she grew up a classically trained musician steeped in musical theater. A statuesque natural redhead, Campbell soon grew tired of being told she was too striking for the chorus line and started singing at open mic nights while in college. “At this point I didn't even know my history with Glen and that side of the family. I was drawn to country music as the songwriting style was so similar to musical theater.”

With a fake I.D. and big dreams, Campbell immersed in the Seattle music scene. At nineteen she formed a band called Twisted Dixie and things started to go their way in a big way. “We were HOT in the Seattle scene” laughs Campbell. They played huge venues, casinos, rodeos and were soon selling out in their home town. While writing their first LP Campbell got some unexpected news. “I learned that I had a fatal condition that demanded immediate double jaw surgery” she explains. Campbell was put on a liquid diet and wasn’t allowed to speak for eighteen months. Unsure if she’d ever be able to sing again, she focused on songwriting and her classes, graduating the University of Washington with two degrees and honors at 21.

After graduation Campbell was recruited by the C.I.A. Two weeks before she was scheduled to deploy to Ankara, Turkey she came to the realization she just couldn’t imagine a life not suffused with music and quit. She got a sales job, and, overachiever that she is, was soon made national director. Crisscrossing the country on business, Campbell dropped in on open mics whenever she could.

Trying to find more time for music, Campbell posted an online ad. Within a week she was called in for what she thought was a backup vocalist role. Upon arriving she discovered it was for a backup guitarist position. Knowing only one cover on guitar (Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart”), she gave it her best – and got the gig. She quit her job, got bought a new guitar, and spent 10 hours a day learning how to be a real player.

The tour fell through, yet the experience inspired Campbell. With the encouragement of her brother John she struck out on her own as a solo artist. A month after she made that choice John Campbell died unexpectedly from an irregular heartbeat. “He was autistic, and my absolute soulmate” relates Campbell. “He was the life and soul of the project, and the only reason I began work on this record. Without his encouragement, belief, and memory, I just can't imagine having the courage to do this. The song “One Step” is written in his memory.”

Written in Battleground, WA and Nashville, TN, Campbell rounded up a crew of star players to help bring her vision to life, including Tim Hanseroth (Brandi Carlile), Harrison Yount (Kacey Musgraves), blues artist Amber Sweeney, and Andrew Joslyn (Macklemore). The record was recorded with producer Geoff Ott (3 Doors Down, Ra Scion) at London Bridge Studio in Seattle, WA. “It was extremely important to me to record in WA” says Campbell. “I want to show the world what country music in the PNW is really all about!”

Campbell pulls no punches in the honesty of her art. “I hope that people get a genuine feel for who I am from this record” she says. “It truly follows the story of my last year and a half, which I think is something a lot of modern records lack. Above all, I hope I can make a name for country music in the Northwest. We have incredible talent, and our own unique story to tell.”

Campbell and her bands first show was in January 2017, and once again it looks like our heroine is on the way to achieving her vision. From festivals and rodeos, to country bars and honky-tonks, fans are giving themselves over to an artist that writes form the heart and sings from her very soul. Take a spin with some Sweet Whiskey and you just might get swept away as well.

Afton Prater

How many 19 year olds can truly say they have been pursuing their career since age 11? That is when Afton Prater picked her first guitar. A year later she wrote her first song and at age 14 ventured to Nashville to record her first EP (Stay with Me). Born only in 1998, the young upcoming country artist, Afton Prater, is one of the few who can truly and honestly say that she’s been chasing her dream since the 6th grade.

Growing up listening to Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley on her grandparent’s record player, as well as listening to her parent’s favorite artist Bruce Springsteen, Afton has had a very diverse but successful set of musical influences. Claiming her music to be a mix between Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift, Afton admires and has been influenced by many of the powerful and awesome artists in country music today. Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and especially the women in country music like Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves, Dolly Parton, and Kelsea Ballerini are just some of her biggest influences, both old and new. Afton has studied and implemented their ability to write and perform light, fun hearted songs, as well as “kick ass” songs, and deep, emotional, soul touching songs.

Afton’s ability to write and perform has led her to be voted “Best Teen Songwriter” and “Best Country Songwriter” at the 2013 Indie Music Channel Songwriting Competition. Afton was also named “Best Female Teen Artist” and won “Best Teen Album” for her album Stay with Me, at the 2014 Indie Music Channel Annual Awards Ceremony. Afton has also performed in front of an audience of over 30,000 people at Safeco Field and has opened for Josh Thompson, Kelsea Ballerini and Drake White. Afton performed at Century Link Field for radio pre function events for two Kenny Chesney concerts as well. Afton was awarded “Best EP Alternative Rock/Country” for her I Want a Truck EP and has had the title song featured throughout western Washington advertisements.

Afton’s success so far, the talent she’s developed, and the hard work she’s put in, has led her to release her latest singles “Barbed Wire”, “Old Soul”, “Hey Country Boy”, and “Wildfire”. Working with Nashville record producer Sean Giovanni, Afton has continued to refine and develop her own unique sound. Afton has also recently signed with artist manager and former Universal Music Group executive Zach Scott of Fruitful Music Group. Working with new manager Zach Scott, Afton is working to continue to develop, build, and expand her fan base, as well as improve her marketing and increase her touring and performance opportunities.

Working with those who believe in her, she continues to build her team and reach her goals. To say Afton Prater has lofty goals is an understatement. In the next five to ten years, Afton hopes to be performing at CMA fest, and she says, “The Grammys would be incredible!” Overall, Afton hopes to be “living in Nashville”, “impacting and influencing people and fans” with her music, “writing songs nonstop”, and “meeting new musicians and fans all the time.” Simply put, as a young female country music artist who works every day to achieve her dreams and reach her goals, Afton continues to “Dream big!”

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