Casey made a name for himself in 2012 as an American Idol finalist. "Every sunrise on another day is another chance to smile." It's not often that the blues gets summarized with a happy platitude, but when Casey James inserted that phrase into "Hard Times, Heartaches & Scars," it was a hard-won truth. James is familiar to many as a finalist on American Idol, and familiar to still more as a country artist who notched the top 15 hit single, Crying On a Suitcase. His new Blues based album, Strip it Down, featuring Delbert McClinton and Bonnie Bishop, was released June 9 to fantastic critical acclaim.
THE NOUVEAUX HONKIES
"As far as genres are concerned, I don't think it is an intentional thing for us to be bouncing around the map," confesses Tim O’Donnell, The Nouveaux Honkies' songwriter and lead singer. "It is just my personality. I love lots of stuff. To me there is good music and bad music and I really have no formula on what it is. I just know when I like it. Jimmy Webb, Jimmy Reed, and Jimi Hendrix all give me this crazy feeling when I listen to them." With all these regional flavors, it's no wonder The Nouveaux Honkies' music jumps so easily and happily between genres, mixing up a bubbling Americana gumbo of blues, country, roots, R&B, Texas swing, honky-tonk and old-fashioned songwriting.
RUSTY BLADEN & THE UNSTOPPABLES
"Rusty Bladen is a familiar one to anyone who has spent any amount of time in the live music establishments of Indianapolis. It’s for good reason that he’s one of the most popular live acts: Audiences love him." --NUVO
Rusty's solo show is a high energy, freewheeling tour-de-force of Bladen originals, songs from the radio, and some excellent hippie country-rock tunes. The band show is an exhibition of what five guys holding onto the same roots rock and roll rope can pull an audience into. The band shows are fun, rockin’ and loud.
BEN MILLER BAND
Since it’s formation in 2004, the Ben Miller Band has staked out a singular niche that’s established the Joplin, Missouri threesome as both a potent creative force and a perennial fan favorite."]
The Ben Miller Band channels a century’s worth of wide-ranging influences that radiate with energy, smarts and soul; Music that’s wholly contemporary, while ringing with ages-old echoes of bluegrass, delta blues, Appalachian mountain music and more. A stew they lovingly call “Ozark Stomp.”
Miller writes roots-rocking barnburners, thoughtful ballads and left-field departures with melodic skill and lyrical insight, and the band elucidates them with urgency and eloquence.
The hard working threesome has already won a substantial -– and still-growing – grassroots fan base through old-fashioned ingenuity and an unstinted work ethic. Their D.I.Y. success has also led to some high profile touring with ZZ Top, thanks to the enthusiastic patronage of avowed fan Billy Gibbons. Opening for ZZ Top on a 2013 tour of Europe, the humble BMB wowed unfamiliar crowds on stages in large halls and arenas, including a triumphant set at the fabled Montreaux Jazz Festival.
The Ben Miller Band’s homespun, self-reliant approach extends to the lo-tech, and largely self-built, instruments that the members play on stage and in the studio, e.g. singer-songwriter Miller’s thrift-shop guitars and banjos, bassist Scott Leeper’s one-string washtub bass – comprised of a weed-eater string attached to a wooden pole – and Doug Dicharry’s varied arsenal: trombone, trumpet, mandolin, electric washboard and electric spoons.
The band’s use of offbeat instrumentation, however, shouldn’t be misunderstood as a gimmick. Instead, the three band-mates have mastered the technical challenges of their unconventional axes to produce a uniquely evocative ensemble sound that offers a compelling frame for Miller’s compositions.
The same maverick spirit that motivated BMB’s early musical adventures came into play recording their new album “Any Way, Shape or Form,” which they cut with seasoned producer Vance Powell, who’s renowned for his studio work with the likes of Jack White, Buddy Guy, Wanda Jackson, Willie Nelson and Kings of Leon.