Artists

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Ghost of Paul Revere

Headlining this year’s fun filled festival will be Portland, Maine based National touring performing artists Ghost of Paul Revere

“We grew up listening to Radiohead and the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd,” says Griffin Sherry, guitarist/singer in The Ghost Of Paul Revere. “Everyone assumed we were a bluegrass band because we were playing these traditional instruments, but we weren’t writing traditional music. We were just writing songs with the instruments we had.”

The result is a sound that the Portland, Maine-based band describes as “holler folk,” not because it involves a lot of hollering, per se, but because it invokes the rich communal tradition of field hollers, with their call-and-response melodies, sing-along hooks, and densely layered harmonies. That sense of musical camaraderie is essential to everything The Ghost of Paul Revere does, and nowhere is it more evident than their sophomore album, ”Monarch.’

The album builds on the success of the band’s 2014 debut full-length, ‘Believe,’ and their 2015 EP, ‘Field Notes Vol. 1,’ which was recorded primarily in a single day at Converse’s Rubber Tracks studio in Boston. The session was part of a prize package presented by the iconic Newport Folk Festival, which had invited the band to perform at the storied Rhode Island musical gathering earlier that year as part of a lineup featuring everyone from James Taylor and Jason Isbell to The Lone Bellow and Bela Fleck.

“The Monday before Newport we got a message saying to pack our bags and come on down,” remembers Sherry. “We hadn’t played much outside of Maine or started opening for any big acts yet at that point, and it was a hugely inspiring moment.”

Word began to spread about the rowdy pickers from the north. The Boston Globe raved that they “create the type of music for which festivals are made,” while No Depression said they “prove that superior roots music can come from anywhere,” and Dispatch Magazine wrote that they possess not only “the chops, but the heart to reach their audience and leave an undeniable impression.” Hitting listeners straight in the feelings has been the band’s M.O. since its inception in 2011, and they’ve used their powerful stage show to convert the masses at every stop along their long and winding journey, which has included shared stages with artists like The Avett Brothers, The Travelin’ McCourys, Brown Bird, The Revivalists, the Infamous Stringdusters, and more. The band sold out Port City Music Hall, Stone Mountain Arts Center, and the Strand Theater multiple times, won Best In Maine at the New England Music Awards, and capped off 2015 with an electrifying headline performance on New Year’s Eve at Portland’s State Theatre in front of 1,600 enraptured fans.

When it came time to record, ‘Monarch,’ though, the band knew they wanted to push the sonic envelope beyond the live-in-the-studio setup that had guided their previous efforts.

“Every other record has just been the three of us in a room with microphones until we got a take we liked,” explains Sherry. “We approached this one differently. It was the first time we did a lot of arranging and writing in the studio. We decided we’d worry about learning how to present the songs live after we’d recorded everything instead of the other way around.”

“It enabled us to get a lot more adventurous with our ideas,” adds bassist/singer Sean McCarthy. “We wanted to do something new and explore where we could take the sound while still staying true to who we are.”

The album opens with “Little Bird,” a playful, infectious foot -stomper that blends blues and soul and roots and perfectly reflects the communal, inviting nature of the band’s music.

Banjo player Max Davis takes over the songwriting and lead vocal duties for “Avalanche,” an emotional anthem featuring one of the album’s most lush arrangements along with driving drums from special guest Tony McNaboe (Ray LaMontagne, Rustic Overtones), while “King’s Road” finds the band expanding their sonic palette to include strings and electric guitar, and “Honey Please” channels 60’s R&B and Motown through old-school folk instrumentation. At the core of everything The Ghost of Paul Revere does, though, are their powerful, stop-you-dead-in -your-tracks harmonies. On songs like “Wild Child,” “Welcome Home,” and “Need Somebody,” the band conjures up whole worlds of shimmering sonic beauty in the blending of their voices.

“The album follows this arc where it starts very bright-eyed and optimistic and then hits a turning point where it gets really dark,” says Sherry, “like a relationship that starts beautifully and then grows sour. As we started to build the record and expand the sound, it had a place sonically and emotionally.”

By the end of the record, the song cycle reveals that traveling through the darkness is in fact a necessary step for positive growth. ‘Monarch’ closer “Chrysalides” evokes the imagery of metamorphosis, a transformation that represents rebirth and new beginnings.

“It’s about what happens in that moment of metamorphosis and change,” says Davis. “I was interested in combining different words into a new term that could capture that feeling, so ‘Chrysalides’ is a play on chrysalis. This was one of the first times that I allowed myself to bite into and really take advantage of that space in the writing.”

If there’s one takeaway from ‘Monarch,’ it’s that change is inevitable. Lovers, families, friends, instruments, sounds; they all transform with time. The key to thriving and surviving in a challenging world is to embrace those transformations, to accept them not as endings but as fresh starts. What comes next? Only time can tell. One thing’s for sure, though: by opening their hearts and souls with such artistic grace and humility, The Ghost of Paul Revere have created a rich, rewarding, passionate community, one that they can count on to join them for every step of the remarkable journey that lies ahead.

Ona

Ona is an indie-rock band comprised of longtime friends Brad Goodall (keys), Bradley Jenkins (vocals/guitar), Zach Johnston (bass), Max Nolte (drums), and Zack Owens (guitar).

The band formed in late 2013 and are based in Huntington, WV. Ona’s debut record ‘American Fiction’ reached critical success appearing on NPR best of lists, SIRIUS Radio airplay, and a spot on nationally syndicated radio program Mountain Stage.

Arlo McKinley and the Lonesome Sound

Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound When Arlo takes the stage, prepare to feel every heart in the room begin to crumble under the weight of honesty and emotion in McKinley’s lyrics. He’s been on the mission of writing truthful and honest songs since his self titled release Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound (2014).

Arlo’s songwriting crosses genres of country-folk/rock with gobs of soul and deep and profound introspection. Being billed alongside musicians such as Tyler Childers, John Moreland, Jason Isbell, Justin Townes Earle and many others have helped Arlo McKinley get his name outside his hometown of Cincinnati and has gained him fans across the US & Europe.

Arlo’s sophomore album Die Midwestern Vol. 1 comes out in 2019, and is sure to continue cementing him as a one of the important voices in American music that speak to love, struggle, loss & redemption.

Justin Wells

     “With stunning insight and honesty, Justin Wells speaks upon the disillusion of dreams, the realization of new ones, the reality of the pitfalls of the rock and roll fantasy, and does so with cutting clarity and poetic facility.” – Saving Country Music

     A roots-rock songwriter with a rough-and-tumble rasp of a voice, Justin Wells’ music shines a light on the highs and lows of a life spent on the road. For years, the Kentuckian shared that road with his bandmates in Fifth on the Floor. The guys were southern rock underdogs, and they climbed their way toward success on their own terms, earning a cult following and a Billboard chart placement for their album Ashes & Angels along the way. Their songs drifted back and forth across the line between brash and broken, carried by loud guitars and louder sentiment. However, the band abruptly parted ways in early 2015.

     The dismantling of the band fueled the writing on Wells’ first solo record, the critically-acclaimed Dawn in the Distance. On it, his voice is still mountain-sized, while looking beyond the Southern stomp of his former band. Produced by Duane Lundy (Ringo Starr, Sturgill Simpson’s Sunday Valley, Joe Pug), the album is Wells’ most affecting to date. Songs like “The Dogs” and “The Highway Less Taken” catch the singer staring in the mirror, while “Going Down Grinnin” and “Still No Rain” move like a drifter, unwilling to quit.

Sierra Ferrell

Sierra Ferrell Wicked and wild, her sirens call an oil spill, floating atop thee languid waves of torment, a nanny-nanny-bew-bew to the ocean beneath, she caresses thee buoying masses, holding them aloft with thee effortless grace of a branch-bearing dove. Born from the dark, rich soil of West Virginia, raised in the clear, hop-scented country air, Sierra Ferrell cut her teeth on the rail lines, truck stops, street corners, and dingy, dimly lit listening rooms all across the land, belting out her old-time melodies, a sorcery, drawing her patrons, ever more deeply, into her animated tapestry of forlorn, star-crossed love, of longing, poverty, of suffering and triumph, encompassing that irreconcilable thrum of the human spirit and all the complexities of emotion that come with it.

One moment, with startling clarity, she calls to bear the opium opulence, that seductively solemn soujorn of the 1920s jazz club stage, the next, she’ll have you taking to your toes, dancing in careless merriment, whirling, winking, and carrying on with all the confidence of a honky tonk king or queen, while she plays, sings, stomps, and yodels out the utter essence of the honky tonk country blues. You turn to your partner, peer into their eyes with the recognition of a perfect moment, and plant a kiss firmly upon their lips. They smile as your lips meet, pull you in tighter, romance… is born anew! Catch her now, folks, in this most intimate of settings, for her Star is ever on the rise!

 

Maggie

Born on the banks of the Ohio River and growing up in the foothills of Appalachia, Maggie is a refreshing blend of grit and modern, alternative Americana. Combining folk rock roots with a unique ambiance, their sound is truly authentic. Driving drum beats set to slide guitar riffs, breathes life into these songs that is reminiscent of poems set to melodies. Every lyric is carefully crafted to resonate with the audience, and in the hearts of the listener. The organic response to the live performance is tangible.

Maggie started out as a Southern Ohio based, acoustic three piece, but has grown to five with members stretching across the river into West Virginia. Catch them this summer and fall as they continue to book shows throughout the Ohio Valley. Also, the band is currently in the studio working on their debut album, so keep an eye out for songs as they are released to the public. This dynamic, up and coming group is focused on telling a story, and it’s a story worth listening to.

Apollo Makes Fire

Apollo Makes Fire was formed in the summer of 2017 and they played their first show at the inaugural River Rat Festival that fall.

Collecting sounds from many backgrounds and influences of the band members, Apollo tries to never write the same song twice, bringing something new and fresh to each track.

Unburdened by genre, there is a little bit of everything for you on their debut album, Apollo I, released earlier this year. You can find it streaming almost everywhere.

Sending ambient waves through the audience, their live show casts a spell and pulls the listener in like a gravitational wave.

 

Angela Perley

Angela Perley has been writing tragic love songs rooted in folk, cosmic country and indie rock for over a decade now, and it all started with The Howlin’ Moons, an American rock band from Columbus, Ohio. Perley began making demos in college, dressing them up in brown paper bags (CD sleeves with personalized artwork and a decorative track list on the flip-side). Soon enough, Perley’s demos were heard by Fred Blitzer, CEO of Vital Companies, who arranged for Perley to meet and begin working withColumbus-based musicians Chris Connor and Billy Zehnal.

In quick succession, Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons found themselves performing at Nelsonville Music Festival alongside acts like The Flaming Lips, St. Vincent, Randy Newman, Merle Haggard and Gillian Welch. In 2018, Perley and her band performed at an official showcase during Americanafest with Ruby Boots, Ladies Gun Club, Lilly Hiatt and Lucie Silvas at The Basement East in Nashville, TN. Since then she has opened for Lucinda Williams, Patrick Sweany and Tyler Childers, and has shared bills with Angel Olsen, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and Courtney Barnett.

All of this has led up to Perley’s forthcoming LP, 4:30 (out Aug. 2), her first solo effort which she co-produced with longtime guitarist and collaborator, Chris Connor. During the final phase of production, she called on Michael Landolt (Maroon 5, O.A.R.) to mix the record and Dave Collins (D’Angelo, Bruce Springsteen) for mastering. Her third full-length record illustrates the songwriter’s knack for deftstorytelling, warm vocal layers and disarming melodies that beget personal growth and mobility, surging from raw and far-sighted pathos. Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick, Diamond Rugs) contributes Hammond organ, Wurlitzer and Piano, adding crucial texture to the album, a la Al Kooper (Highway 61 / Blonde on Blonde era). Chris Connor’s guitar parts and song arrangements provide a lush and expansive soundtrack for Perley’s songs with touches of psychedelic delays and smoky tremolos to compliment her sonorous vocals.

Perley’s character-driven love songs on 4:30 are surreal in their ability to master genre-fluidity, with forthright storytelling, wry lyricism and a host of dreamy instrumentation. Colorful acoustic and electric pianos, rich and elegant strings (i.e. “Don’t Look Back Mary”), breezy organ and punctual pedal steel (i.e.“Snake Charmer”), along with soft and sweet folk and pop melodies reminiscent of Patsy Cline and Jenny Lewis (i.e. “Local Heroes” & “4:30”) pervade the record. Perley is a self-taught guitarist, gravitating toward folk giants and personal heroes such as Bob Dylan and Neil Young. “I taught myself a couple chords on guitar and then that was it. I was really into solo performances at first, and told myself, ‘Okay, I can do this,’” says Perley. Other early influences include Lucinda Williams, Patti Smith, and David Bowie.

Perley’s music is replete with realism and her methods of storytelling are deep and refreshing. This combination reveals an uncanny ability to finesse characters and poetry out of real life events, culling from important figures in her life with an effortless, stream-of-consciousness zeal. “Being realistic but also never giving up your sense of wonder about the world of art and music has been paramount to my growth as a songwriter,” says Perley.

4:30 a.m. also happens to be Perley’s bedtime. “4:30 is when my body’s natural sleep cycle begins so if I’m not on a schedule I tend to stay up until then,” says Perley. “My creative time begins as soon as the sun goes down. I’m definitely a night owl. I don’t know what it is… but there’s something special about it. It’s dark outside, and it’s quiet.”

Hebdo

Hebdo is an artist caught between two worlds. You’d sooner find his brand of indie rock-meets-vintage Americana grit emanating from a porch in Austin, Texas than his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. In an era when digital streaming is king, Hebdo crafts a sonic experience seemingly intended for vinyl. And buttressing his sprawling, diverse catalog with foot-stomping sing-alongs and a discerning ear for instrumentation, Hebdo’s live performance is equally enigmatic: whether a one-man-band or a seven-piece ensemble– rhythm section, horns, and all.

Singer-songwriter (Joseph) Hebdo does not compromise– he commits. Replete with masterful hooks, Hebdo’s music, all of which he produces himself, glows with a sonic warmth and intimacy reminiscent of Paul McCartney and Dr. Dog, while his writing and delivery reveal years under the influence of Beck, Appalachia, and Andrew Bird.

Hebdo’s defiance of simple categorization is perhaps best exemplified in the concoction of his own genre, dubbed “Adventure-Folk”. The moniker suits not only his adventurous spirit and the physical terrain he’s charted in his artistic journey, from Lebanese roots to longtime residencies in Appalachia and tours across Italy, but also the vast musical territory covered in the four EPs and two LPs he has released to date. The constant threads in his music are unshakeable choruses, the welcoming croon of his wholesome layered vocals, and plucks of his acoustic guitar, which all oscillate across his releases from the communally loose and spacious soundscapes of 2018’s Dirt Turns to Mud LP, to a riff-heavy centerpiece on records like 2015’s Keep ‘em Tgthr LP, to a supporting character amid a collage of snare rattles, brass, and distorted electric guitars on others, like 2014’s Double Tambo EP or 2013’s A Thousand Steeples.

His process tends to be one of solitude, building songs alone in the studio and experimenting endlessly before bringing in musicians to flesh out the recordings and add finishing touches. But some singles, such as “Go Back Home” & “Thievin Spirits”, were tracked live with a full band in a single session, in the often favorable 3 Elliot studio, in the Appalachian Hills of Ohio.

Hebdo marries anachronistic compositions with intensely conceptual and sophisticated visuals. His finely executed music videos imbue his soundtrack of dust-blown analog grit with a sleek cinematic luster, picking up Toronto film fest awards for both “Sailor” and “Rumors.”. Visuals aside, Hebdo has also struck a chord with Midwest radio audiences. His single “Where Else” was voted #1 song and received extensive airplay on Columbus’s WWCD 102.5 followed by heavy rotation from “Go Back Home”.

2019 will see many unique and diverse releases from Hebdo, such as a re-issue of a little known debut, a slew of cover tunes, and a hot bed of upbeat studio gems unknown to the outside world.

Chris and Jenn Shouse

Chris and Jenn Shouse Husband and wife songwriting team of Chris and Jenn Shouse play a variety of songs written from their past lives and present life of living in a cabin in the middle of the woods. Their songs are deep, melodic, Kentucky based Americana music that involve a variety of instruments including Chris on mandolin, Jenn on guitar, Cody Dugger on banjo, and Owen Reynolds on upright bass. Forming in 2016, Chris dropped his guitar and picked up mandolin to play behind his wife, Jenns soothing voice and bone chilling lyrics. The debut album “Gray Space” was released June 2018 with 12 original songs, since then the couple has continue to hone their musical repertoire with more original songs and unique covers. Recently adding Jamie Briscoe on drums, the band is shaping up for a wonderful 2019.

SWAMPFOOT

SWAMPFOOT of Crown City Ohio can be described as “Appalachian, foot-stomping one man folk/blues band.” With cigar box guitars, banjos, slide guitar, fiddles, harmonica and a bullhorn!

SWAMP FOOT

SWAMPFOOT of Crown City Ohio can be described as “Appalachian, foot-stomping one man folk/blues band.” With cigar box guitars, banjos, slide guitar, fiddles, harmonica and a bullhorn!

Niles Elliott

Niles Elliott is a singer songwriter from Mudsoc, Ohio. In 2016 he released a self titled EP called “Wild Thoughts”. Now with one album under his belt he is now working on a full length album.

Devin Henry

An Ohio-Made country artist making a new type of country music, Devin Henry grew up chasing big dreams in Gallia County Countrytown.

Check him out on Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play.