Category Archives: Beat-Play, LLC

Nashville Symphony with K.S. Rhoads at Live on the Green in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

Live On The Green is a free yearly concert series that takes place every fall in downtown Nashville.  Last Thursday was the first show and kick off event for a number of great concerts yet to come featuring some great local artists.  After attending this show from start to finish, I highly recommend that you check out music from an artist named K.S. Rhoads.  He was the headline act of the night and performed with the Grammy Award winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra… but that’s not all.

It’s not everyday that an artist get’s an opportunity to play a show with an entire orchestra, but it’s quite a fitting opportunity for Rhoads.  Kevin grew up in Fort Myers, FL, where at age 15 he began focusing intensely on music, learning many instruments including bass, piano, and harmonica.  He purchased a four-track recorder in ninth grade and started to record his own music.  He moved to Nashville in 2001 after attending school in Texas, but it wasn’t until 2007 when he began work on his first album.  His debut, critically acclaimed album Dead Language was released in 2007.  It received excellent reviews from publications like American Songwriter who said it was “an exhibition in style, grace and limitless possibilities…”  Being a composer and music-producer, he has since written string arrangements for artists like Trent Dabbs, Erin McCarley, Third Day and By The Tree.  In addition, Rhoads has had continued success as an American songwriter with songs on shows like CSI: Miami and World of Jenks on MTV.  From songwriting and performing to composing and producing, K.S. Rhoads has immersed himself in music and isn’t stopping anytime soon.  Check out this video of “Dark Hotel” from the album Dead Language by K.S. Rhoads.

After months of preparation, he took the stage last Thursday with his band and the 70-piece Grammy winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra in downtown Nashville to put on one of the greatest performances of his career.  Rhoads had been working on this performance since March 2011 and scored all of the music himself.  He began the set with a really cool new song called “Invisible Fortress” by looping beat box, vocal harmonies, and piano riffs.  After establishing this creative foundation for the song, he added his band and orchestra to produce a beautiful full sound.  They continued to perform songs from his new album, and even covered Paul Simon and Katy Perry with the full orchestra.  While the covers were truly entertaining, I really enjoyed his original songs.   My favorite song of the night was a powerful new song by Rhoads called “The Wilderness.”  The song’s presence resembled that of “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire, and it was awesome.  Rhoads said that his ultimate goal with this project was “for people to come hear it and really get how important and still current classical music is,” and how it relates to the music of today.  It’s a great goal, and Rhoads definitely accomplished it.

But wait, there’s more!  His big performance also marked the debut of a five song EP called Cannons containing three unreleased songs from his soon to be released second album called The Wilderness.  Click on the album cover below to snag a copy and/or visit his website for more music and information on K.S. Rhoads!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play, Music Without Labels, LLC

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Datsik Live at Identity Music Festival in San Diego, CA [PHOTOS]

Datsik Live at Identity Music Festival in San Diego, CA

Datsik– “Gizmo”

Click the pic for more concert shots!!!

CHECK OUT DATSIK!!!

Photography By: Shane Suski |Ambassador of Photography | San Diego, CA| @shanewithmwl | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC

New Faces Nite at The Basement in Nashville, TN with Emily Davis, Jeffrey James, Stephanie Nilles and more! [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

I’ve been going to a lot of shows recently.  I’ve been to five venues in the last four days; one festival and four concerts.  Am I tired?  No.  Am I sick of music?  No.  Am I nuts?  Well, that has yet to be proved or disproved, so we’ll leave that question out of the mix for now.  What you should know is that on most Tuesday nights, The Basement in Nashville has New Faces Nite, a free show with great bands.   In case you missed it, that’s a FREE show with GREAT bands.

This week was another example of a stellar New Faces Nite at The Basement.  First up was Emily Davis, an acoustic folk rock artist from El Paso, TX.  With the tough job of opening the night, Emily used her strong vocals and “darkly optimistic” lyrics to warm up the crowd.  Second of the night was a new local rock artist named Jeffrey James.  Jeffrey and his backing band called The Professional Children took the stage and released a blend of blues and soulful rock from his latest EP called Goin’ Back Down.  The album was produced by Nashville veteran Lex Lipstiz, who said, “Jeffrey James has one of those classic soul voices.  With his bigger than life stage presence and commanding vocal delivery, he definitely sells you on every word… I think it’s only a matter of time before he’s a huge star.”  Well, I think that’s about one of the biggest compliments you can get from a producer, so if you like rock with a little country, blues, and soul thrown in the mix, check out Jeffrey James.  These artists had good music and played well, but I would like to highlight the crowd favorite of the night.

Photo by Kellie Coughlin.

Stephanie Nilles is not your typical jazz-infused punk folk artist.  If you want to listen to something fresh, but are tired of all the Ingrid Michaelson, Grizzly Bear, and Feist indie band imitations, her music is sure to wake you up.  New Faces Nite at The Basement was my first time hearing Stephanie Nilles, and it’s been awhile since I’ve heard an artist be so creatively bold with their music on stage.  She has taken her training as a classical pianist and developed an amazing jazz and blues style filled with her own unique embellishments for each song.  Rolling Stone has even said, “she’s like ‘Ella Fitzgerald on speed beating the shit out of Regina Spektor.’  Whoa!  There’s a review that won’t go in one ear and out the other.  Even if you have your own personal preferred style of music, I think that her music is powerful enough that you can appreciate it at the least, especially if you’re a musician.  Check out the song “For a High Life Commercial” by Stephanie Nilles.

Photo by Leonard Lopp.

She’s different, but brilliant in a twisted sense that maybe she writes from thoughts that you have had, but didn’t exactly want to communicate because of what people would think about you.  I think this is a huge part of Stephanie’s music.  She also has the musical talent to back up anything she sings in that dirty Regina Spektor tone of hers.  These also aren’t your typically structured songs either, with syllables that land when they want and fully diminished seventh chords that appear in thoughtlessly considered, appropriate places.  Stephanie communicates what she wants when she wants to, and it’s thoroughly entertaining every time.  Check out another one of her songs called “Cool Aid Stand.”

If you’ve been having as much fun listening to Stephanie Nilles as I have, check out more of her music at www.stephanienilles.com.  The other bands that played that night (that I didn’t get to see) were Boom Forest, I Believe in Hotpants, and Haley Dreis.  I’ll be on the look out to cover some of these artists at a later date.  Until then, keep supporting independent music!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Cameron Bedell, Foxes Have Foxholes, and Natalie Royal at 12th & Porter in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

Nashville is home to a lot of colleges and universities.  One of the staple schools in Nashville is Belmont University, a private school with a well-known music business program in the heart of Music City.  Belmont also has some very talented artists at its core.  Earlier this week, with the help of music business student Allen Smith, 12th & Porter presented a concert showcasing some of Belmont’s best up-and-coming artists.

First up to start the evening off right was Natalie Royal, a soulful folk rock artist from Charlotte, NC.  Natalie has passionate music, and a voice with both presence and dynamics.  She was joined by two backup singers and a violin player.  Like many of her contemporaries, Natalie writes from experiences and thoughts that come through life events.  This is a great new female folk artist with a lot of potential in the near future.

Next up was one of my favorite new local bands Foxes Have Foxholes.  This was my first time seeing them perform full band and I was super impressed with their musicianship and confidence on stage.  They had a tight band, great sounds, and most importantly, good songs.  At the core, Foxes Have Foxholes is Kyle Sapp (vocals, guitar) and Ryan McAdoo (keys, vocals).  In less then a year, Kyle and Ryan started the band and recorded a great EP available for FREE on Noisetrade.com.  Check out this official music video of a song called “Whistle Blower” from their EP.

That’s some good stuff right there.  I, for one, am excited to see where Foxes Have Foxholes take their music this year.  Check them out and download their EP for FREE!

(photo courtesy of Travis M. Ball at TMB.Productions)

Last but definitely not least was Cameron Bedell, a fresh pop-soul artist from Wichita, KS.  Cameron was joined on stage by his band called The Skunks, a ten-piece band with drums, bass, keys, lead electric guitar, rhythm guitar, trumpet, sax, trombone, and BGVs.  Wow!  It’s even better live than it sounds in words because every musician in Cameron’s band was excellent.  Cameron’s music is exciting to watch and thrilling to listen to.  His influences consist of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Jason Mraz, and John Mayer.  He has been writing and recording music since he was 12 years old, and released his first EP when he was 18.  He says that the reason why he continues to pursue music is, “Music is the best way to bring people together, and with my music I intend on bringing joy and hope to everybody willing to listen.”  Check out one of his most popular tunes called “Flower Song.”

While “Flower Song” is a laid back song, Cameron has others that will really get you out of your seat.  Just remember that if you plan to see Cameron Bedell live, you better bring your dancing shoes, cause he’s gonna get you movin’!  Make sure you check out these artists and give them your support if you like their music.  Stay tuned for more new music and shows from Music City.

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Nero Live at Identity Music Festival in San Diego, CA [PHOTOS]

Nero Live at Identity Music Festival in San Diego, CA

Nero-“Promises”

Click the pic for more concert shots!!

Check out NERO!!!

Photography By: Shane Suski |Ambassador of Photography | San Diego, CA| @shanewithmwl | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC

Musicians Corner at Centennial Park in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

After sweating for a couple hours at The National Folk Festival last Saturday, I decided to head over to Centennial Park where Nashville was kicking off its free fall concert series called Musicians Corner.  Two events in one day?  Well, three actually.  I ended up going to another concert later that night, but I haven’t written about that yet.  Musicians Corner featured seven bands from 3pm to 6pm on a medium-sized stage with a decent turnout of a few hundred people at its height.  The artists that played this week were The CO, Metro Parks Jamband, Andrew Osenga, Foxes Have Foxholes, Damien Horne, Striking Matches, and Attwater.

I arrived a little late and missed The CO open up with their set, so I’ll have to catch them at another event in the future.  I did get there just in time to hear Metro Parks Jamband finish up their set with a funky sax and guitar duet.  Next up was American singer/songwriter Andrew Osenga.  He was formerly the lead singer for The Normals and is a member of the band Caedmon’s Call.  His performance on Saturday took place as part of his solo career, for which he has released four albums.  The bands rhythms and tones were super tight, and the crowd really took to his music.  After Andrew Osenga, Foxes Have Foxholes took the stage and played an acoustic set with just two of their members.  The pop rock duo serenaded listeners with a short set of a few songs that they will hopefully be performing live at their next show as a full band tonight at 12th & Porter.

The next act was Damien Horne, a pop-rock soul artist from Nashville.  Also known as Mista D, Damien has collaborated and performed with Bon Jovi, Kid Rock, John Legend, 3 Doors Down, Hank Williams Jr., Faith Hill, Robert Randolf, Jewel, Velvet Revolver, and more.  Damien is working with John Legend who when asked about Damien said, “I’ve been working with this guy who is based in Nashville, his name is Damien Horne, he’s good.  Look out for him, he’s a good song-writer and performer.  He plays the guitar too.”  You can get some free downloads of his music on his website.  Check out this video of Damien Horne performing “Sacrifice” live at The Rutledge.

I posted an article two months ago about a blues duo called Striking Matches.  They were the next band to play at Musicians Corner and they were a huge hit.  Performing as a duo with their acoustic guitars, Justin and Sarah had a great set showcasing their clever songwriting, tight harmonies, and ripping solos.  Like I said before, this is a Nashville band that you want to keep close tabs on because of their huge potential.  The last band to perform was Attwatter.

Attwater is a country band from Sacramento, CA that signed with the independent production company and label, Twenty Ten Music in December of 2010.  They were discovered through Twitter by Grammy Award-winning producer Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars, Switchfoot), the Sr. VP of A&R for Twenty Ten Music.  Check out this official music video of Attwater’s first single called “Never Gonna Happen.”

You can download the song for free at http://www.attwatermusic.com/.  Attwater’s foundations lie with Erika Attwater and Jonathan Richards, the duo songwriting team that first started the band.  Their discovery occurred after they played their first set of tunes in the Northern California Area.  With a good product and intentional use of social networks, Attwater was picked up by Charlie Peacock and the band was on its way to having a beast of a debut project.  The recordings include co-writes and musicians from some really great teams that have produced music for Carrie Underwood, Sixpence None The Richer, Faith Hill, Taylor Swift, The Civil Wars, Lady Antebellum, and more.  Attwater’s music combines modern country with bluegrass flavors and classic rock roots.  Keep an eye on the country charts for this band and stay tuned for an article on next week’s Musician’s Corner!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Kaskade Live at Identity Music Festival in San Diego, CA [PHOTOS]

Kaskade Live at Identity Music Festival in San Diego, CA

Click the pic for more concert shots!

Check out Kaskade!!!

Photography By: Shane Suski |Ambassador of Photography | San Diego, CA| @shanewithmwl | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC

The National Folk Festival in Nashville, TN September 2 – 4, 2011 [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

Saturday morning and it’s time to go… to The National Folk Festival in Nashville, TN!  Sorry for the Jack Johnson lyric reference.  I couldn’t resist, even though I probably should have.  It was 100 degrees in Nashville this past Saturday, which made it one of the hottest days of the summer and a difficult day to perform outside for the dozens of artists on the seven stages under the sun.  The free festival took place at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and featured a variety of performers and artists from different cultures and heritages.  This is the 73rd National Folk Festival that presents “the folk and traditional arts that are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community.”  The festival featured multiple genres of artistic activity including music, dance, crafts, and oral expression.  It’s a celebration of America’s cultural roots featuring over 250 traditional artists that express their art in different ways.  What an amazing concept!  Maybe this video will give you a better look at the overall idea.

I know the video was kinda lame, but it’s definitely interesting to see all those artists in one place.  This was an amazing opportunity to see art and music that you don’t typically see at major venues.  The music is all historically part of todays pop culture, but you would never hear most of the deep-rooted cultural stuff on the radio.  We’re talking PBS special at the most.  However, it was a fairly eventful day of visiting different stages and learning about the variety of folk music that exists within the city.

The most interesting part of the day for me was watching the World Percussion Traditions group perform.  They had percussion from Japan and North America.  It was bizarre at first to hear string instruments from Japan play with drums from the Middle East, congas, and a keyboard, but it sounded cool.  Then there were other acts like The Holmes Brothers that brought some great old time, gospel-style R&B music to the stage.  These guys have kept the tradition of their music for so long, and it’s nearly the same style as when they first started playing in 1978.  Talk about not selling out!  That’s some dedication right there.  They have won countless awards and have shared the stage with many of the other greats in blues and soul music.  Hopefully that can provide some encouragement to those up-and-coming artists out there to stick with what you love to play, even if it’s not Top-40 music.  Allow me to leave you with a fine piece of entertainment.  Sit back and relax as The Holmes Brothers join Willie Nelson for “Opportunity to Cry.”

The National Folk Festival will be held in Nashville for the next two years, so if you missed it this year, be sure to check it out in 2012 or 2013!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play, Music Without Labels, LLC