Here are bands and artists you may not have heard of yet…but they have major potential and you get to read about them here, right before they make it big! And “Graduates” are musicians we highlighted in past issues whose careers, as we predicted, have really taken off!
GRADUATE: Dave Magario
By Rebecca Carter
Following several self-released singles and a demo, musician Dave Magario is keeping things local with his first full length/live album, Live at the Q.
Inspired by the likes of Bobby McFerrin and Jeff Buckley, it’s obvious that despite the many instruments Magario plays, his voice is his weapon of choice and Live at the Q is a fitting representation of what the musician brings to the stage. Recorded at The Q Café, over the course of six shows in two months, Magario captured the best moments for his album. “At first the recording was just for my own use; to have something for down the road to laugh at,” he explained. “I had just started playing every other Friday at The Q to work out some new material and have a home-base to work from. I brought my PC and digital recorder with me to get the shows on file. When I listened back to the recordings, there was something there.”
The Q Café has since closed after the album was recorded, but Magario has come away from the experience with more then just an album. He may have found a band as well with fellow musicians Shane Hall and Dusty Cobb who he met while playing at the café.
Should The Q return, Dave hopes to play there again and in the meantime he has several ideas bouncing around in his head. “I’ve always got ideas and projects I’m working on. So as long as life leaves out the dangerous curves and doesn’t cut my brakes, you can expect my music to keep growing and moving forward. It’s planned improvisation. I’ve got an idea but I’m not sure what’s next so I keep moving until it becomes clear.”
BAND: Shane Hall and TickleBomb Orchestra
By Tine Roycroft
He’s one of the sweetest men in indie music these days and he’s making friends by the hundreds through his original, sung-from-the-gut music, his love for frivolity and experimentation, and his charmingly boyish smile. His name is Shane Hall, 31, and he’s the brains behind TickleBomb Orchestra.
“I’m obsessed with words that don’t go together,” Hall said, referring to the Orchestra’s name. “Tickle and bomb. What could be better?”
The accomplished TickleBomb Orchestra, made up of Brian Del Signore on percussion, Justin Bowse on the keys, Jon Grey on electric guitar, Adam Trudel on bass guitar and vocals, and Hall on vocals and guitar, create a crazy and joyous celebration in all performance venues. From country licks and blues rhythms to experimental rock and hip hop, these boys know how to bring the variety that the crowd demands. But Hall is continuously at the forefront, acting as quality assurance and making certain that the lyrics and music exploding from the stage are three parts groove and two parts inspiration, with pure love running throughout.
Take their song “Enemy.” It’s a ditty with guts and chutzpah. Hall wails out the words with his whole heart exposed as the band gathers together a magical storm of bad baby bluesy-ness behind their maestro. There’s a rock edge to this song ~ the drums and guitar lead the way almost as strongly as Hall and suddenly there is a perfect harmony of men and instruments before you.
Then you’ve got “Hard to Notice” ~ an epic piece that blends psychedelia with the stark emotional determination and tempo of a soldier’s simple marching song. The piece builds as it goes, Hall’s voice reaches new heights and the audience has no choice other than to let their hearts flutter in time with the beat.
The TickleBomb Orchestra is amazing to hear and even more amazing to watch live. Hall has compiled a group of truly talented individuals who keep twisting, bending and widening the horizon of music. And there’s no stopping them.
BAND: The Reach
By Alex Kantarelis
A new rock band is standing tall in Worcester, a city known more for its metal scene. Rock n’ Roll fans please welcome ~ with open arms ~ The Reach, a Worcester based trio who like to keep things simple. As vocalist Ray Auger described it, “It’s kind of a blend between classic rock, blues rock and modern rock. We’re not trying to re-invent anything.” But while they keep it simple, they also keep it catchy. “You’ll be singing along by the 2nd chorus,” Auger said.
Backing Auger’s vocals are Will Highlands on guitar and Timmy Carriere on drums. The band got their start this past October and have been playing live all over Worcester. The response has been great: “I see a lot of smiles, and a lot of people bobbing their heads,” Auger said. “I know there is a lot of metal and progressive rock, and I think we’ve been a breath of fresh air,” he added.
The band played live for 8 months before recording their demo, which Auger views as beneficial to the band’s sound. “The best way to learn from your mistakes is to do it in front of a crowd,” he said.
Auger gives credit all the right influences: AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin, and “anything that sounds rock and roll,” as he put it. And that’s what gives them their edge. “We’re not perfect, but we’re rocking,” he said.
The guys just recorded their first demo at a home studio and have it available at shows for free, a price that we just don’t hear all that often anymore, and will continue playing shows anywhere and everywhere. “We’re out there playing whether it’s in a basement or on a big stage,” Auger said.
So rock fans take notice. The Reach is in town, playing a rock sound that is keeping it totally real.
SOLO: Ashley Jordan
By Suzy Geers
When most 17 year olds get home from school, they watch TV, hang out with friends or hit the internet to update their Facebook and Twitter pages. Not so much for Harvard, MA’s Ashley Jordan ~ she hits the recording studio. Singing and playing the guitar since age 12, Ashley has blossomed into a well trained singer/ songwriter ~ and chatting with her, I had to question her age: “Are you REALLY just 17?!” She is poised and possesses the confidence and maturity of a Music City veteran… and this veteran writer sees her headed precisely in that direction.
In 2009, Ashley entered a “Teen Idol” competition for Central MA and was immediately noticed by the judges. She made her way to second place. One of the judges said of her talent, “I love you…and if you had a CD out I’d buy it in two seconds flat! You’re an absolutely gorgeous musician. Beautiful voice ~ you’re so unique and you’re one of my favorites…ever! You are just phenomenal.”
The impressive 12 song CD, Simple Love, spotlights TEN original Ashley Jordan songs and two “Ashley-ized” covers (“You are Not Alone” by R. Kelly and “When The Stars Go Blue” by Ryan Adams). The title track ~ a sweet-turns-saucy number (as are many of her songs) ~ accurately chronicles teenage tumult; Jordan explains, “Anyone can relate to these situations ~ family, friends or boyfriend ~ everyone is searching for that ‘simple love’ ~ nothing complicated where everything is perfect all the time, and it’s NEVER going to be that way.” “Why Can’t You,” for instance, is a “wannabe” love story that obviously comes from the heart. Recalls Ashley, “There was one guy I was infatuated with at my school. He would walk by and I’d be like, ‘Awwwwwww NOTICE ME!’”
Ashley Jordan is truly a rising star just about to shine super brightly in the world of music with her combination of musical talent, knack for storytelling, and beyond-her-years professionalism.
I say, “Go Girl,” and can’t wait to follow her career as it takes off.