WILLY TEA TAYLOR
Willy Tea Taylor is a father, brother, and son. His remarkable ability to sing about profound subjects in a simple way makes his songs a great place to lose yourself. Much of that comes from his upbringing.
Willy grew up surrounded by rolling hills and horses in the small town of Oakdale, California. Known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World” for breeding so many world champion rodeo cowboys, Oakdale is still Willy’s home and the setting for many of his songs.
Despite coming from a long line of cattlemen – his grandfather Walt was one of the most respected of his generation – Willy’s first love was baseball. As a catcher, he had a gift for the nuances of calling a game from behind the plate. When a knee injury ended his ability to catch, Willy turned his attention to music.
At the age of 18, a discerning and intimate set by Greg Brown at the Strawberry Music Festival inspired Willy to pursue life as a folk singer. Strawberry would play an integral role in Willy’s development as a musician, going from spectator to stagehand, to performer. He made his main stage debut with his band the Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit at the 2009 festival. In 2015, Willy made his solo debut on the main stage. Willy has charmed fans at some of the best festivals in the country.
Willy calls John Hartford, Roscoe Holcomb, Bob Dylan, KISS, Weird Al Yankovic and Willie Nelson his biggest influences, but is always quick to advocate for his favorite contemporary songwriters which include Tom VandenAvond, Nathan Moore, and his Good Luck partner in crime, Chris Doud. He and VandenAvond have travelled the country together on a series of tours they call “Searchin’ for Guy Clark’s Kitchen” where each evening’s show is just a precursor to an endless quest for the kind of serene late night scene depicted in the cult classic documentary Heartworn Highways.
On his new release Knuckleball Prime, Willy received support from greats like Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers), Greg Leisz (Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton), and Gabe Witcher and Noam Pikelny of the Punch Brothers. Of the album’s title, Taylor says “most baseball players peak in their twenties, but knuckleball pitchers tend to blossom in their late thirties and early forties. I’m staring down my knuckleball prime.”
Led by producer Michael Witcher, the songs on Knuckleball Prime are arranged and accompanied magnificently by a first rate team of musicians and engineers. If you’re a fan of well-written lyrics, alluring melodies, and a voice that ties them together with emotion as deep as the artist’s own roots, you’ll savor Knuckleball Prime, and just about anything else Willy Tea Taylor has ever done.
Moonsville, named after a home in the sky, is a band that writes songs that are trimmed from the fat of the American experience. During a time of high saturation and modern pace, the band draws from a slower and simpler time with the belief that good songs can still save, move and speak.
As young ramblers from the suburbs of recession in Los Angeles, they began their musical formation by taking refuge in Central California and sitting-in on jug band and old-time music circles where an infectious and pure spirit of “music for music’s sake” lived. Injecting that same spirit into their own community became their quest. Moonsville started as a collective, a group for musicians to come and go while fine-tuning their chops. They cheerfully and often drunkenly sang their voices hoarse at homegrown hootenannies and local bars that had never heard covers of C.C. Rider and Goodnight Irene.
In 2013, the band changed its course. Deciding it was time to chisel their own hometown sound, they set out to explain and narrate their lives and their California while curbing their reliance on old-time tunes. Since then, they have recorded 2 albums of original music, toured the country, and played countless shows sharing the stage with The White Buffalo, Willie Watson and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, among others. Moonsville pairs their LA reality of flickering neon signs and mariachi dive bars with their out-of town travels to form a landscape where their songs can grow, emoting a heart of contentment for what’s been given and a desire for the beyond.
Moonsville is dedicating the next year to recording 4 EP’s (20 songs) in a focus to capture their current prolificacy. With multi-instrumentalists and several songwriters in the band, they keep their Americana style variable, always allowing for experimentation and the blurring of genre lines. One of the songwriters, Ryan Welch says; “Each song has a different feel but the consistency lies in the history of us playing together and the trust we have in each other to make good decisions.”
This first release of the quarterly EP’s will exhibit the band’s versatility. From a heavy hitting rock anthem about being on the road to a harmony laden progressive old time song about being home, Moonsville uses their lyrics to contrast the duality of being independent and dependent. Those are followed by an aching ballad about sharing your name with the woman you love and what that entails, which echoes the emotion of an old country song. “This EP exposes our tough and tender,” says another of Moonsville’s songwriters, Corey Adams. The fourth song is a unifying commentary on being raised in America and speaks to having it all and giving it back. In the final track, a mystical folk tale, they laugh at the ways of the world and the futility of going it alone. With a definitive vision of relying on quality songwriting, a fine tuned team, and a gritty drive to reach beyond the cul-de- sac of suburbia, Moonsville presses on.
G BURNS JUG BAND
The G Burns Jug Band plays old American music with an intensity and authenticity rarely heard today: urban blues, mountain fiddle, and popular music of the nineteen-twenties and thirties. Based in San Diego, G Burns is led by multi-instrumentalist and native Kentuckian Clinton Davis, whogrewup hearing jug band music in its birthplace of Louisville. They have quickly established a presence in the west coast roots music scene, opening for legendary roots music acts like Jim Kweskin, Del McCoury, and Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet. In 2015, No Depression described them as “a joyous and soulful restoration of one of the lost treasures of American musical tradition.”
"Raw, powerful, old-mountain vocal alchemy rarely heard west of the Rockies." SFFFF
Every once in a while music comes along that you just know instantly that you are going to like. Amber's melodies are more than complimented by thoughtful, interesting and honest lyrics, along with fine, understated musicianship that proves the old adage that "less is more". The result is a set of superbly crafted, well-rounded, addictive songs that stay with you long after the last notes have ended, and make you hungry for more.
Upon first hearing the straightforward, old-school country songs of Amber Cross, you might at first think you are listening to an archival Smithsonian recording. Her old-time voice is clear and captivating, like a strong muscle fringed in lace. She's a singer and songwriter who writes from her own life’s struggles and experiences, delivering her stories with unforgettable power and emotion.
Originally from Maine, Amber spent her early years surrounded by gospel music in a small town church where her father preached and her mother played piano. After leaving her studies at New Mexico State University to pursue her love for music in 2003, Amber has lived up and down the coast of California; the San Francisco Bay Area, the Sierra Foothills, the San Joaquin River Valley, the coastal range of Sonoma County, and now San Luis Obispo County. She has opened for such artists as Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Dave Stamey, Gurf Morlix and Mary Gauthier, as well as made frequent guest performances with The Wronglers, Warren Hellman's band, founder of San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.
Amber released her debut album, You Can Come In, in March of 2013. The largest country music magazine in the UK, Country Music People Magazine, discovered the album and gave it a 5 Star Review and CD Of The Month in their May issue, saying "every now and again a debut CD arrives and you know about 30 seconds in that you are experiencing something a bit special... it's appeal is likely to be broad, from bluegrass, rootsy Appalachian, to country or honky-tonk.
Amber performs solo and in band arrangements. She is often accompanied by long time friend and Cajun/old-time fiddler Gary Arcemont, and James Moore on guitar. The two men play a variety of instruments to support Amber's songs; fiddle, banjo, harmonica, mandolin and upright bass, as well as offering vocal support.