Just like the journey on the previous interview, I had to travel to the other side of the state to link up with the artists I was interviewing for the 18th interview and state of this project, in Jackson, Wyoming. Along with some more reflection, online artist discovery, heards of Buffalo, a few speeding tickets, breaking over 100k miles, my car dying in the middle of a long stretch empty two-lane highway, causing me to walk by foot to the nearest gas station to fill up a gas jug, (multiple times)...the drive was blissful and mentally productive and necessary. The majority of my views to my left and right was a flat sea of land, hay and farm, but by the time I got closer towards Jackson it became more mountainous. I wasn’t really prepared on how massive and beautiful driving through the edges of the Rockies was going to be.
Besides the amazing views, why Jackson, Wyoming? Well, by the time I was done with the interview in North Dakota, after many streams through social hashtages and bandcamp searches, I hadn’t connected with a sound yet in Wyoming, so I figured I reach out to someplace that for sure had some type of connect with the local music culture--a popular local radio station.
I found a contact from the Wyoming Public Radio Station who referred me to a few locally-known artists. After going through the music suggested, the sound from the Canyon Kids stood out—they had a soufull folk-rock band sound to them, and whenever I feel soul, I feel intrigued. I reached out and got connected with one of the founders, guitarist Dusty Nichols, who invited me to do the interview after their show at one of Wyomings Top Media Marketing Agencies, Orijin, last summer concert series of 2018 at the Anvil Hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with proceeds benefiting the Grand Teton National Park.
It was an organic experience to drive for hours across the state listening to the music culture of Wyoming, listening to their music, and then meeting them in person right before a live performance, outside of a Boutique hotel in a cosy town nestled within a valley of Mountains. Canyon Kids, Jackson Holes perfect Americana soufull rock n' roll backdrop, as defined by source of Wyoming culture, is a big part of the growing music scene in the state, having performed at several events over the years, releasing 3 albums and even was featured on NPR's "Here and Now" program back in 2016.
One aspect, of many, on what makes them unique is their passion for making music. Life can make our dreams and visions so complicated but it's that passion that keeps you driven to your purpose as an artist. As of 2019 the lead singer and creator of Canyon Kids, Bo Elledge moved to Seattle, Washington, however that didn't stop the rest of the members nor himself from staying on track of their creative visions. Bo has recorded 3 solid singles since the move, one of which already making it on to Seattle's top public radio station for alternative rock.
Dusty Nichols, the other founding Member along with Canyon Kids existing bandmates Leif Routman (Bass) and Shawn Fleming (Drums) are also using this opportunity to create another vessel of music forming a new folk-rock band called Inland Isle. Dusty brought on friend and also one of Wyomings Top Ten Musicians, Patrick Chadwick, and togehter in just 30 days, succesuflly completed their Kickststarter project in March 2020 for their first Album release. As for the Canyon Kids, the passion for making and playing music together remains intact as more projects to be releasesd are in the works and Bo now being in Seattle could offer the band great way to expand their name.
In a continued search for an organic sound, native to the 17th state on this trip, North Dakota, I figured I head to the most populous city in North Dakota, Fargo.
While I had to expand my search radius for events and artists online, I quickly stumbled upon an album titled Brotherman by Madi Smith Bandcamp. She had moved from North Dakota, but forwarded me to her friend Danny Savage, who with Jordan Eslinger and others merged from a group called Northern Lights, into a band who now go by the name of ‘Mooncats’. Even though they were in Beulah, the other side of the state, their campfire blue-grass sound was just about as organic of a sound as I was looking for, and worth the 4 hour trip from Fargo.
Along with social media updates and online artist discovery, check-in calls with the fam, and restroom breaks, this particular long drive gave me more opportunity to listen to their music, a fitting soundtrack to the Dakota open road, and various agricultural fields that seemed like never ended.
Danny and Jordan had me meet them by a lake in a park, a spot where they often come to jam out or just draw inspiration from. They talked about their journey from Northern Lights to Mooncats, their passion for music, the changing music scene in North Dakota, genre, coining their own term 'Ameri-conscious Folk', as it related to their own style. They defined it as Americana-Campire-Folk, a combination of the traditional Americana style blended with their own versions of storytelling to tell around the campfire, and even gave me a sample after the interview. Danny busted out his banjo, and Jordan his guitar and harmonica and they got in their zone. See instagram post below along with a few screenshots from the footage.
16th State, Minnesota - 16th Interview, Pinkie Promise with Eleanor Elektra
It just so happened that there was another cross country road tour happening. Three musicians, Minnesota-native Crispin Swank, Brooklyn’s Kaitlin Pelkey who together play in a group called Pinkie Promise, along with Eleanor Elektra from Boston were on their 5th stop on their 18-city music tour across America. I stumbled across a facebook post, checked out their music and liked their experimental drift. There was this mystic-soul, folk vibe about their sound and I wanted to learn more. So I reached out and there were nice enough to do the interview literally right before their show at The Tiny Diner.
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The diner had an outdoor patio where people ate, drank and laughed. Surrounded by large bushes and flowers, there was a machine tucked in the back of the bushes behind the Mic area that periodically blew out bubbles. It definitely added to its intimate environment, perfect for an acoustic set, especially the dreamy and jazzy melodies from these three. Eleanor Elektra kicked it off mixing jazz and folkish blues, followed by Pinkie Promise mixing folk rock and dream folk performing until the sun went down.
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They had their merchandise booth setup by the entrance, so after their set, with all the change I had in my pockets, I made sure I furthered my support and bought some merch. As they caught up with friends I said my goodbyes and hit the road to the next state.
Check out their Music
If you appreciate good music, a soulful voice, an acoustic sound — your definitely going to like this guy. Reigning out of Portland, Oregon, Craig Irby Jr. takes us away from the electronic loops, and into his rabbit hole of good vibes. From staying hip to his social media, based off of a few shares of his open mic performances, it looks like he’s about to drop an upcoming project.
In the meantime, Craig Irby Jr. has graced us with this organic and harmonious jazzy original, collaboration with Andrew Jones on the bass, and Andy Rayborn on the clarinet. Multi-talented Craig Irby Jr. was on everything else — percussion, acoustic guitar, vocals and lyrics; recorded at Anjuna Studios with Slater Swan and Mercury Mastering. Listen and stay tuned for more of his uplifting sound.
Elise Brianne is currently singing and strumming in a tiny high desert hot springs town in New Mexico and working toward recording her first studio album. A favorite, "Holy Now", was recorded in 2014 by Tom Bones in Staten Island, NY, with music and lyrics written by Rob Carey of The Headlocks. "All I Need" and "Drift Away" were recorded by Jeff Curtin of The Minstrels in Rochester, NY from 2007 to 2008, pre west coast wandering years.
"Jonah Ramirez is an emerging Singer-songwriter from Venezuela.
His debut album Mientras EstemosJuntos which in English translates to
while we're still together, had its digital release on December of 2014.
The album goes thru different styles like, Reggae, Rock, Electronica and Folk" - (Source: Bandcamp)
Nacido en Araure, estado Portuguesa, en el año 1987, su vida cambió cuando en el principio del nuevo milenio se mudó con su madre a Orlando, Florida, en medio de este nuevo horizonte este cantautor se enamoró de la guitarra un amor que marcaría el rumbo que hoy recorre día a día.Luego de 8 años y muchas experiencias vividas Jonathan vuelve a su ciudad natal convertido en un cantante y compositor lleno de ideas y con ganas de mostrar su talento desde Venezuela para todo el mundo.
El estilo y la forma de afrontar la música de Jonathan se plantaron rápidamente en la escena musical local, luego de unos cuantos toques privados ya la gente empezó a conocer el talento de este portugueseño en su tierra.
La polifacética carrera de Jonah, como también se le conoce, pasó por géneros tan radicales como el metal, para luego de tantas metamorfosis bailar entre acordes de reaggae, R&B, la voz única de Jonathan es su carta de presentación sin duda alguna.
Trovador, productor, bohemio y con muy buena vibra Jonathan admite que detrás de los sombreros y las bufandas que marcan su atuendo quiere llevar un mensaje positivo a quién pueda disfrutar de su música.
Un mensaje cargado de toda esa paz y ese amor que tanto le hace falta al mundo, todo esto lo motivó a recopilar todo lo que había estado creando y de manera independiente se montó en el tren de su primer disco.
“Mientras estemos juntos” es el nombre de su ópera prima que viene cargada de toda la creatividad de Jonathan para él este trabajo es el néctar del esfuerzo que durante años le ha puesto a la composición, “Vida” es el primer sencillo que se desprende de la producción que consta de 11 canciones que se pasean por géneros con los que la gente ya asocia artista como el Reggae y el R&B, y experimentos con sonidos electrónicos de vanguardia.
Precisamente y en las palabras del cantante, esta canción Vida, “es un tributo a la felicidad que Dios me dio con la llegada de mi hija Vida Sophia”, la canción suena insistentemente en las radios nacionales y ha recibido muy buena crítica en toda Venezuela.
El disco se completa tanto con canciones compuestas en años anteriores por Jonah y que cuentan con nuevos arreglos como parte de lo que en estos momentos le ha dado la musa a este brillante músico emergente.
Jonathan asegura que sigue en busca del sonido como le fluye el viento y como le brota el sentimiento sin ataduras a una banda o a un género, y todos los que han escuchado las
diversas notas que da su guitarra pueden dar fe de la forma en que este artista ve la música, universalmente.