2019 Listening Room Season

Friday, January 18th at 7:30 pm

Martin Sexton

 Martin Sexton returns with what Rolling Stone calls his “soul-marinated voice,” acoustic guitar, and a suitcase full of heartfelt songs.

The winter tour begins with an extensive run through Europe then takes Martin across North America trying out new material as well as reinventing his own classics for these critically-acclaimed solo performances.

Still fiercely independent and headlining venues from The Fillmore to Carnegie Hall, he has influenced a generation of contemporary artists. His songs have appeared in television series such as Scrubs, Parenthood, Masters of Sex and in numerous films, though it’s his incendiary live show, honest lyrics, and vocal prowess that keep fans coming back for a new experience every time.

More info on Martin 

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Saturday, February 16 at 7:30 pm

The Wildwoods

Nebraska natives, The Wildwoods, bring a pioneering sound to Americana Roots Music. Their heartwarming lyrics and vocals are wrapped in a style of music that is like no other. With influences from old time country masters and today’s Indie/Folk sound, The Wildwood’s nostalgic melodies captivate people of all ages.

Andrew Stellman managing editor from Hear Nebraska wrote “There are perhaps few Nebraska acts that represent a merger of past and present quite like The Wildwoods, and if it’s taken you this long to notice, take the opening track of its new album Sweet Nostalgia. The young songwriting tandem of Chloe and Noah Gose harmonize like something out of the Depression Era, fitted with a certain weight yet warmly and triumphantly capable of lifting hearts regardless.”

The Wildwoods completed their third album “Sweet Nostalgia” which has been nominated as local Album of the Year by the Omaha Arts and Entertainment Awards. This is what Live on Hear Nebraska FM had to say about it: “Sweet Nostalgia” is the third release for this young five-piece folk act is alone admirable, were it not for the effortless charm and youthful whimsy they bring to classic Americana.”

Residing in Lincoln, Nebraska, The Wildwoods’ Noah Gose (vocals,guitar, harmonica, piano), Chloe Gose (vocals, violin, mandolin), and Noah Pinkman ( vocals, guitar, mandolin,) were drawn to music at an early age. In 2016 they added talented member Andrew Vaggalis (Bass, vocals), and 2018 Nate Morris (percussion) to complete the band’s “nostalgic” sound. The Wildwoods strive to make music that touches the soul, music that speaks of truth, and music that shares inspiring stories of effortless love, that will be sure to melt your heart after every performance.

More about The Wildwoods

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Friday, March 1st at 7:30 pm

FREDDY & FRANCINE

Authenticity in the music industry is slippery when wet. Everyone praises its value, yet when an artist is truly authentic, it is often only embraced if it can be easily walked on without slipping and landing in a pile of genre-related questions. To the casual observer, Freddy & Francine seem safely cemented as a folk duo. They got the look. The soulful harmonies. The folk circuit bookings — over 150 a year, including the legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival. They’re even getting married. Cute. Even their act’s name is cute. You could make a movie about it. Someone probably has.

But Freddy & Francine (their actual names are Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso) aren’t interested in acting, or genres, or talking or not talking about their relationship. They’ve done all that. They’ve even recently left their longtime home of Los Angeles for Nashville. And they’ve never looked more like themselves.

“We just want to play music all the time and we don’t care about the rest of the bullshit,” Ferris said. Freddy & Francine are full-time musicians, and have released three full-length albums and two EPs. They released their latest Nashville-recorded EP in September, 2018. The six-song “Moonless Night,” co-produced by Dan Knobler (Lake Street Dive, Rodney Crowell) finds Freddy & Francine — which has often used full bands on its recordings — still produced but more intimately portrayed, a sound closer to the duo’s live performances.

But don’t call it folk music. It’s too energetic.

“We’re performers. We’re not just folk musicians who play and sing mellow songs with little voices … there’s screaming,” Caruso said. Don’t call it Americana either. They don’t wear hats. Besides, Caruso says, “The minute you think one of our songs is an Americana song, it can turn into a retro pop song.” Despite the reaction of most roots music fans to the dreaded “P” word, Caruso says she doesn’t mind Freddy & Francine being labeled a pop band. “Pop music gets a bad rap, but it comes from the word ‘popular.’ I’d love to be popular,” she said. “I never discriminate against a song because it’s popular if it stays in your head … every Beatles song is a pop song.”

 But mostly, Freddy & Francine sounds like Freddy & Francine. It ain’t the easiest thing to explain, but it makes sense when you hear it, and finally, it makes sense to the two people who matter most. “I’m really happy with who I am and I’m happy with the life I have,” Ferris said. At the end of the day, or road, authenticity is internal. Watch your step. 

More about Freddy & Francine

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Friday, April 12th at 7:30 pm

Jessica Paige

 As a committed wanderer, Jessica Paige draws on personal experience and the stories of old souls to bring her own unique brand of songwriting to the stage. Folk-inspired lyricism is brought to life by a master vocalist, backed by a dynamic soulful band.

 “I spent most of my childhood  running around our Kansas Farm. I have a memory from around six years old, jumping on my bed, singing into a plastic microphone and proclaiming that I would be a singer. I’ve always felt fortunate to have known my passion in life. After learning to play chords on the piano as a teenager, I was finally able to put music to the melodies and lyrics I had been writing. It felt like a part of myself had been set free. I began to perform my own music, which was terrifyingly vulnerable, but taught me the beauty of connecting your soul and story to a room of people.”

 I self-produced my first album “Sweet Nothings” with an amazing set of talented Nashville-based artists and producers. The album is a reflection of the life-cycle of a relationship; the exciting and insecure beginnings to the lamenting demise of something that was once beautiful. The single released from the album, “Beautiful Life,” is a soul-pop reflection of someone trying to reconcile the conflicting emotions of trying to rescue or walk away from a relationship, while still appreciating how beautiful it is to love, regardless of how things turnout.

My own music has been described as a melding of “folk, story-telling lyricism,” “soulful” vocals and “indie-pop” instrumentals creating an overall “bluesy-pop” sound. For me it’s a chance to explore my favorite sounds and influences.

 I combine musical elements from classic rock/blues legends; Janis Joplin, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt with the tone and style of modern artists like Brandi Carlile, Norah Jones, Sara Bareillis, Ingrid Michaelson, ZZ Ward, Sam Smith and James Morrison. You can see those featured prominently on “Sweet Nothings.” My upcoming work combines those same storytelling themes with more exploratory structure and sound.

more about JESSICA

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Saturday, May 25th at 7:30 pm

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal

Night after night at their live shows, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal leave it all on the table, bringing crowds palpably authentic music. This is a real working band; music for the people, by the people. You hear the veracity in Hoyer’s voice. You hear the strife of a guitar amp being pushed to its limits. You hear keyboards hammering notes home while emboldened horns soar over the top of a rhythm section akin to a freight train. The raucous funk and smooth soul emanating from the stage dutifully pays homage to the past soul giants while simultaneously charging forward, piloting themselves into the modern era. This is soul music.

Hoyer formed Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal in 2012 in famed blues town Lincoln, Nebraska. The award-winning five-piece band includes some of the area’s most revered and accomplished musicians. Joining Hoyer (keyboards/vocals) is Blake DeForest (trumpet), Mike Keeling (bass), Benjamin Kushner (guitar), and Larell Ware (drums). Inspired by the sounds of Stax, Motown, Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Philly and San Francisco, the band continuously crosses musical boundaries both in style and era, and joins forces each show with a common goal – to have the crowd dancing so much they forget even their smallest troubles.

On January 18th, 2019, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal released Do It Now, their fourth full length studio album. The album was recorded at Silver Street in Ashland, NE and at Make Believe Studios in Omaha, NE. Upon its initial European release in August 2018, the album drew rave reviews from European publications with Blues Magazine stating, “Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal still prove to be at the top of the contemporary soul movement.” The band promoted the album on their second European tour; a 37-city outing spanning 6 different countries. Do It Now is available on vinyl, CD and all streaming platforms.

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal hit the road again in 2018 as they traveled to over 25 states and played numerous festivals across the United States. On January 26th, 2018, Hoyer released The End of the Night, a 3-song EP and solo side project with veteran Nashville songwriters Jay Knowles (Harry Connick Jr, Blake Shelton), and Jon Coleman (Trace Adkins).

In 2017, Josh was featured as a contestant on NBC’s The Voice, and the band completed their first European tour; a 27-city stint capped with a live album release from their show in Brussels, Belgium.The hard working band completed several national tours from 2015-2017, playing more than 150 shows in 32 states each year, including opening for George Clinton, Charles Bradley, Booker T Jones, and Muscle Shoals Revue.

More about Josh & the band

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Past shows:

January 13 2018 – Jackie Allen

February 18 2018- The Mammals

March 9 & 10 2018 –  Darrell Scott

April 6 2018 – Melodime

April 20 2018 – Sweet Talk Radio

May 4 2018 – Korby Lenker

June 10 2018 – Zoe Lewis & the Rubber Band

August 3 2018 – The Railsplitters

September 14 2018 – The Honey Dewdrops

September 30 2018 – The Steel Wheels

November 16 2018 – The Talbott Brothers

December 7 2018 – Kevin Cott & The Ghost Chorus