Musicians Corner feat. Skyline Motel, Striking Matches, The Westbound Rangers & Carolina Story
FREE MUSIC 1:30-5 PM / PRE-SHOW FESTIVITIES 12-1:30 PM
LIGHTNING 100 ACOUSTIC STAGE:
JENN BOSTIC / KORBY LENKER / WHITNEY COLEMAN
12-1:30 PM: Pre-Show Festivities - Beer Garden Happy Hour, Food Trucks, and Mix 92.9 Kidsville Activities.1:30-5 PM: Main Event - Live Music, Beer Garden, Food Trucks, Mix 92.9 Kidsville, and Chef Michael's Dog of The Day.
Special 1:30 PM Acoustic Performance by Carolina Story
Kidsville includes outdoor games and activities as well as making guitars, face painting, and a special craft provided by World Vision.
Nashville TN | Country
Simply stated, Striking Matches, made up of Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis, came to Nashville to play music. Sarah, a Philadelphia native and Justin from Atlanta met when a professor at Belmont University paired them at random to play for a classroom full of guitar majors. Consequently, their first performance was the first time they had ever played together. The pair has been writing and performing ever since. Their influences range from Jerry Reed to the Beatles, John Mayer to Patsy Cline, and back again. It becomes more obvious every day that they were born to play music together.
Sarah and Justin put out their first self-titled EP in October 2012, and their song "When the Right One Comes Along" (co-written with Georgia Middleman) was featured on ABC's new drama "Nashville". Since then, the duo has performed across the country opening for acts like Kip Moore and John Hiatt, as well as Nashville's New Year's Even Bash On Broadway with the Fray, and the Grand Ole Opry.
The Westbound Rangers
An innocent observer may initially label this young quartet a ’bluegrass’ or ’old-timey’ band due to their instrumentation of banjo, mandolin, guitar and upright bass, but the Westbound Rangers offer so much more than that. While steeped in both bluegrass and old time traditions, their unique blend of roots music draws just as heavily from rock and country musical influences and spans the breadth of American music styles. Melding strong three part harmony vocals with solid musicianship, they tastefully present original ballads, cover songs and novelty numbers - in addition to rollicking banjo tunes - and are a band capable of satisfying even the most finicky of music fans.
It’s rare you find a married music duo that adheres to none of the married-duo-cliches. Carolina Story writes and performs songs, knowing that there are enough love songs on earth. They evoke the blue collar man and woman, because that’s exactly who they are. From their genesis, they have crafted their sound to be a perfect mix of the lyrical grit and wit of Hank Williams Sr. and the tender atmosphere of Heartbreaker-era Ryan Adams.
Carolina Story (Ben and Emily Roberts) are from Arkansas and South Dakota respectively, meeting and falling in love in Memphis, Tennessee, setting up shop in Nashville and finally, making a name for them selves in every state in between. Since 2009, Carolina Story have been hard at work writing, recording and releasing music every year; each release astonishingly better than the last. Starting as starry-eyed newly-weds ready for the road ahead with their self-titled debut evolving into wise road-worn troubadours on their latest album, Home, with the ability to turn an insightful phrase at a moment’s notice.
Carolina Story’s potential is in their numbers. They’ve played in excess of 400 shows in 32 states and debuting Home at #2 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart. These feat planted the seed for success that is surely to follow with the vinyl re-release of Home.
Home was produced by songwriter and leader of fellow Nashville folk act, Humming House, who also served as backing band for the record. The vinyl release of Home, rounded out by two bonus tracks, has already been described as “a wrenchingly beautiful record as it is, vinyl only plays up the grassroots charm.”
The future for Carolina Story is limitless. They’re a small fish in a big sea of similar married Americana duos. The sincerity and humanity of their music makes them stand out among even the best.
“Love me, hate me/Leave or take me/Just don’t make me change” “Change”
Jenn Bostic’s career as a singer and songwriter began when she was 10 years old, in the back seat of her father’s car with her older brother on the way to school. A horrific crash that killed her dad, a hobby musician who taught her folk songs like “Sunny Side of the Street,” and turned her on to Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt, changed the 25-year-old’s life forever.
“God must need another angel/Around the throne tonight,” she sings on “Jealous of the Angels,” a song on her second album, the follow-up to her promising debut, Keep Lookin for Love. “Your love lives on inside of me/And I will hold on tight.”
Born in Philadelphia, but raised in Waconia, Minnesota, a small town 30 miles west of Minneapolis, Jenn grew up singing with her family around the piano. Her father, a CEO of NordicTrack, played a variety of instruments, including accordion, while his daughter picked up a love of folk, blues, R&B, soul, show tunes and, eventually, country. Seeing her father die in front of her made her angry with God at first, but she later found an outlet for her sorrow in music and writing songs.
“The first time I was able to sit down at the piano and play, I shut my eyes and honestly felt a presence next to me,” she explains. “I poured my heart into those first few songs. The only way I could connect and be with my dad was when I played music. And I still feel that way.”
Jenn went on to perform wherever she could, taking voice, piano and acting lessons, singing in choirs and school musicals. She would sit in with a local roots band, Traveled Ground, that consisted of teachers from her middle and high school, and once included her father on accordion.
She went east to attend the famed Berklee School of Music, where she honed her performance skills while studying music education, a field still vitally important to her.
“One day, I’d love to open up a ’School of Rock’ type institution,” she says. “Just really give back by working with people who are as passionate as I am about music.” She also discovered country music, singing for a cover band called DiggerDawg, which opened for a variety of performers, including Alan Jackson, Josh Turner, Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire and Gretchen Wilson, as well as traveling to Iraq and Kuwait on an Armed Forces Entertainment Tour to entertain the U.S. troops.
On graduation, she relocated to Nashville, where she fell in with the local community, taking part in writers’ rounds and performing on a regular basis. “Change,” another song on the new album, expresses her frustration at being told she was “too pop for country and too country for pop.” “Everybody’s so quick with advice/About who I’m supposed to be,” she sings, stating defiantly, while quoting Judy Garland, “Never be a second-rate version of somebody else.”
“It’s a challenge,” she says. “The biggest thing I’ve learned as an artist is to stop worrying about what I think everybody else wants and to write music that I love. When I stopped worrying about impressing people and started to focus on touching lives, that’s when things started happening, and that’s what makes me happy.”
Take Sheryl Crow’s bluesy approach, Sarah McLachlan’s purity of voice and Sara Bareilles’ funkiness and you get an idea of Jenn Bostic.
Working with producer Barrett Yeretsian (“Jar of Hearts”) in Los Angeles and fellow Berklee grad Charlie Hutto at Nashville’s legendary Starstruck Studios, Bostic’s sophomore album is a superb showcase for her talents as both a singer and writer.
The album’s centerpiece, “Jealous of the Angels,” came out of a songwriting session. “It started with the phrase, ’around the throne tonight,’” she explains. “I just began writing down pages of my feelings about my dad, read them to the others and they started picking out pieces. We just mapped out all these emotions and placed them in the song.”
The jaunty “Let’s Get Ahead of Ourselves” came from her “trying to make the best of everything… It’s about the fact life can be short, so why not grab every moment.”
“Missin’ a Man” is about her now-husband, whom she left back home in Minnesota after moving to Nashville. “I wrote it wishing he was here with me,” she says. “But it’s something everyone can relate to, like a wife waiting for a soldier to come home from the battlefront. Everybody misses somebody at some point.”
“Lips on Mine” captures that longing and sensuality. “I’ve always done my best not to jump into a relationship too fast,” she says. “I never wanted to look to a guy to try to fill the void left by my dad. Music fills that for me.”
“Wait for Me” is all about the patience needed in a notoriously competitive business like music. “I’m not only doing this for me, but for my family,” she says. “I want them to be proud of me. It’s like finding your wings and preparing to fly.”
Keep an eye on Jenn Bostic as she starts to take off.
“I’m a big dreamer,” she admits. “Winning a Grammy is the ultimate goal. I’ve visualized it happening; next step is making that dream a reality.”
With a little help from someone who continues watching over her shoulder.
“When I play ’Angels,’ and people come up to me and tell me a story about losing a loved one, how the song touched them and helped them heal, that means more to me than anything.”
Twin Falls ID | Singer-Songwriter
An abbreviated list of Lenker’s achievements so far includes: a significant amount of airplay on the legendary Seattle indie rock station KEXP; a BBC 2 interview with Bob Harris, which is only about the highest honor a rootsy singer-songwriter touring the U.K. can get; opening slots for acts ranging from Willie Nelson to Ray LaMontagne, Nickel Creek, Keith Urban, Susan Tedeschi and Tristan Prettyman; a successful run with one of the hottest young West Coast bluegrass bands of the aughts; and wins in the Merlefest folk songwriting contest as well as the Kerrville Folk Festival’s elite New Folk songwriting competition.
Lenker’s composition “My Little Life” brought him the Kerrville honors this year. It doesn’t seem possible that one song could work so well in such disparate worlds, but it also proved its powers as a galvanizing piece of indie-pop, drawing a small army of likeminded, rising Nashville artists and personalities—Jeremy Lister and Katie Herzig to name two—to make lip-syncing, ukulele-strumming cameos in Lenker’s music video.
The song—which is on the Heart of Gold EP he co-produced with A-list keyboardist Tim Lauer this year—itself points to the uncommon mixture of abilities Lenker has honed. It’s imminently accessible and effortlessly tuneful, plus the lyrics express a familiar idea in playfully unexpected ways while pointing to thoughtfulness just beneath the surface. You can tell the guy’s well-read, but he never comes off as too clever for his own good.
“I like it simple,” says Lenker. “I just do. As soon as there’s a weird chord, I’m like, ’Why? That’s all been done. Who cares?’ What’s really hard is to hit people in the heart and to reach them. That’s what I’m trying to do: make music that’s easily likeable, but with a kind of secret sophistication. I’m always trying to write a song that you can hum along with on the first listen. You’re like, ’Yeah, I’d like to hear that again.’ Then maybe you hear it 20 times and you’re like, ’Damn, that’s actually something I’m going to think about now.’”
But there’s a lot more than that to his instinctual, unorthodox journey from being brought up as a mortician’s son in rural Idaho to being recognized as one of the more innovative voices in Nashville’s current music scene.
Back in high school, Lenker had a cover band that enabled him to try on various alt-rock identities. “We covered ’Under the Bridge,’ by Red Hot Chili Peppers,” he says, “and I didn’t know this at the time, but I listened to it recently and I’m like, ’Whoa, that’s Korby trying to sing like Anthony Keidis. And this is Korby trying to sing like Trent Reznor.’”
After that, he got really into transcribing Trey Anastasio guitar solos as part of his music theory studies at Western Washington University. He also spent a semester in West Virginia with only his Martin D-18 acoustic guitar for company.
Here’s a bit of insight into the spontaneous spirit that makes Lenker’s music so interesting: He picked up a bargain bin copy of the journalistic snake handling memoir Salvation on Sand Mountain, and, with that alone to go on, decided to drive until he found one of the mountain churches mentioned in the book.
Lenker got new perspective, and a song about a snake-handling preacher, from the experience. “I ended up going home with one of the families,” he says. “We rode home with the snake in the box in the backseat. And I got to be friends with this kid who was my age—I was 23 at the time, and he was 23. We couldn’t have had more different backgrounds. He had an 8th grade education. But we somehow also had a lot in common. We ended up trading letters back and forth for years.”
Lenker returned to the Pacific Northwest inspired by his Appalachian adventures and fully immersed himself in the region’s bluegrass scene, forming a band called The Barbed Wire Cutters that proved to be an immediate hit in those parts. And he found ways to apply his pop-honed sensibilities to that tradition.
“I like it tight,” he offers about his experience fronting the 5 piece bluegrass outfit, which SPIN magazine called “The Young Riders of the bluegrass revolt”. “I like the solos short and I like harmonies in tune…it was all song-driven for me.”
All this time, Lenker was also making solo albums, and that became his primary focus with the folk-leaning Bellingham, which went over wonderfully in the U.K. and landed him on Bob Harris’s BBC Radio 4 show. After a move to Seattle, he got the urge to plug in again, hooked up with Candlebox drummer Scott Mercado and made a nimble modern rock record called King of Hearts that got lots of spins on KEXP and a 4 star review in UK mainstay MOJO magazine.
Toward the end of the last decade, Lenker followed his muse down to his present home of Nashville where he’s not only continued to hone his own unique artistic voice, but launched a stripped-down series of performance videos dubbed Wigby, spotlighting kindred musical spirits he’s found.
“I love those videos,” he says, “because it’s just people being great. It’s not production—it’s just, ’Can you sing? Can you write a great song? Can you play your instrument well?’”
Deep down, Lenker is drawn both to the sort of unadorned expression the discerning folkie crowd treasures and to the sort of playful pop embellishment and electronic textures that may land one of his tracks in a primetime T.V. show or film any day now.
And there’s nothing at all wrong with having it both ways musically when it comes this naturally. “I can’t abandon either one of them,” Lenker says, “because they’re both so me. One of my favorite musicians in the world, bassist and composer Edgar Meyer once said in an interview ’The boundaries of music have been and always should be limitless.’ I couldn’t agree more.”