CCM’s Guide to Independent Artists - Part 2
- Friday, November 02, 2007
Since debuting with a self-titled EP in 2005, the Nashville-based Tyler James has been the rage—in and out of town. PASTE Magazine notes, “Tyler James’ vulnerable lyrics, uncontrived vocals and memorable piano and guitar arrangements make for a sound as accessible as it is meaningful.” The buzz must be right, after a duet with Leigh Nash found its way to the Bridge to Terabithia soundtrack and another song played on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters. The 24-year-old is currently in the studio recording his first full-length album, Windows Facing West.
With a hybrid rock sound that infuses hip-hop and ’80s synth-pop, KNAPSACKHEROES! has teamed with Indie Community to spread its sound to the masses. The Nashville group has shared the stage with Rebecca St. James, Building 429 and Kevin Max and played Cornerstone for the first time this past summer.
The impressive progression from debut EP Slightly South of Scene to the recent @&/or shows how high the potential is for the Athens, Ga., modern rock quartet known as Leaving Araby. The band members enlisted producer Barry Blair (Audio Adrenaline) for their latest, and the results are tighter anthems and soaring choruses. The band has recently shared the stage with Kids in the Way, Fireflight and High Flight Society and will book dates through fall.
Working with producer Will Hunt (Shane & Shane), 20-year-old Maggie McClure impressed on her self-titled debut with a piano-pop sound reminiscent of Vanessa Carlton and Sara Bareilles. Christianity Today gave her four of five stars and remarked, “In addition to her thoughtful lyrics, the musical side of the equation is equally intriguing.” McClure continues to tour in and around her native Oklahoma area and just shot a music video for her song “What’s It Like.”
Nineteen-year-old popster Noel McLeary was discovered during the first Battle of the Bands at Creation West in Washington. Soon after, she began work with producer Danny Duncan on her self-titled EP, which delivers a huge pop sound and solid vocal range. McLeary is currently seeking label representation, while touring at various churches and events.
It’s nearly impossible to categorize the music of composer Ryan Lott, otherwise known as Son Lux. The moniker is as deceptive as the electro-orchestral arrangements the Ohio native creates on his debut, At War With Walls & Mazes. Lott earned numerous awards for his complex compositions, most recently top prize in the new Bandspotting contest at Calvin College’s Festival of Faith & Music.
Matt Wertz knows how to write the perfect three-minute pop song, from the spiritually-infused to the relationship-heartbreak-inspired. From his early beginnings leading worship at Young Life camps, right up to the success of his latest release, Everything in Between, Wertz’s soulful style is only enhanced by his honest lyrics and frequent collaborations with the likes of friends Dave Barnes and Andy Davis. In addition, all three of his full-lengths (plus an EP) have been produced by none other than award-winning producer Ed Cash. His tour credits include stints with Gavin DeGraw, Matt Nathanson and Jars of Clay, among others.
Cleveland native Ryan Wilkins is becoming widely known for his honest, disarming approach to songwriting that matches an impressive Americana-meets-pop musicianship, evoking comparisons to Sean Watkins, Ryan Adams and Howie Day. 2005’s Parts placed him on the map, but it’s his latest, Beautiful Disrepair, that showcases Wilkins’ mature, diverse approach.
For more indie profiles, visit CCMmagazine.com.
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