indie music artists

It is increasingly typical of music to make itself available without a major label contract. Musicians have the technology and the means of distribution in keeping with today. Downloads, Spotify, etc. make it easy to be an indie music artist. By definition, not on a major label.

Joan Osborne

Joan Osborne

also see: Trigger Hippy

Joan Elizabeth Osborne is an American singer, songwriter, and interpreter of music, having recorded and performed in various popular American musical genres including pop, soul, R&B, blues, and country. She is best known for her recording of the Eric Bazilian song “One of Us”, from her debut album Relish. Wikipedia

Recent Video showing her heart and feeling....Great American Cities

News from her website:

Joan Osborne is back with Nobody Owns You, out today on Womanly Hips Records and produced by Ben Rice (Valerie June, Norah Jones). While the Grammy-nominated singer’s highly praised 2020 release Trouble and Strife took a frank and honest look at our socio-political landscape, Nobody Owns You finds Osborne in a very personal place, contemplating life’s major questions. The introspective collection highlights Osborne’s songwriting prowess, and offers inspiration, optimism and hope, surrounded by a rootsy and deeply soulful sound.

As the writer and co-writer on all twelve new songs, Osborne shares her profound personal beliefs but still has much to say regarding the current climate in the US. The first offering off the album is “Great American Cities,” a rebuttal of right wing TV pundits disparaging America’s urban centers.

Osborne shares, “I go to these cities all the time, and while they have issues like anywhere, they are full of life and energy and creativity and joy. This song came from my desire to celebrate America’s big cities and challenge the disinformation that’s being put out about them.” Listen to Nobody Owns You HERE.

 

Randall Bramlett

Randall Bramlett

Jesup, Georgia native, multi-instrumentalist Randall Bramblett may be known as Southern Rock Royalty for playing on stage with rock heroes like Bonnie Raitt, The Allman Brothers Band, Steve Winwood (16 years), Widespread Panic. And respected for his songwriting – Bettye LaVette, “The Great Lady of Soul” just released an album of 11 of his songs in June 2023. He also penned the title track for the Grammy nominated Blind Boys of Alabama’s album Going Home, adding to a long catalog of songs covered by Raitt, Gregg Allman, Bonnie Bramlett, Hot Tuna, Delbert McClinton and more. But it’s Bramblett’s own career as frontman, creating 12 albums, where his artistry is in full display.

“One of the South’s most lyrical and literate songwriters.”  Rolling Stone 
“Randall Bramblett is the William Faulkner of Southern music”  Hittin’ the Note
“He’s a soulful, poetic badass if ever there was one.”  Marc Cohn

The video featured above is an old one, but a favorite song. (ed.) For more recent video click onto his website below.

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Band of Heathens

Band of Heathens

Performance Video — Heaven Help Us All

When The Band of Heathens decided to dub their sixth studio album of original material Stranger (its first since 2017’s Duende), the veteran band, formed in Austin, TX nearly 15 years ago, had no idea how prophetic that title would turn out to be. Although the name references the famed existential Albert Camus novel and Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi classic Stranger in a Strange Land, it also touches on the “strangers” who make up the band’s loyal fan base, who supported the band during this period with all touring canceled.

As co-founder Ed Jurdi acknowledges, it is certainly an unusual time to release a new album. “The strangest,” he says. “Maybe no time stranger. Since we started, there have been sweeping, revolutionary changes in the music business, but, in this global pandemic, we’re just a microcosm.”
“We’re really fortunate that we have been able to turn directly to our fan base during the pandemic,” adds fellow co-founder Gordy Quist. “The last few months we’ve spent four nights a week live-streaming personal private concerts to fans, and one night a week publicly live-streaming with the whole band Zooming in from their respective homes in California, Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee. At first it seemed very strange until
these walls started coming down and we realized how connected we are by the fabric of music.”

Extending the metaphor of Stranger even further. The Band of Heathens traveled to another city, Portland, OR, with a brand-new producer, Tucker Martine [The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket, Modest Mouse, Camera Obscura], and the result is something different – a more airy, intimate atmosphere, with added emphasis on songcraft and intricate arrangements set in a spacious sonic landscape that reinvents the band’s sound. These are songs stripped of pretense, but teeming with the emotion borne of personal experience, as has been The Band of Heathens’ method from the very start. Stranger moves off into a new place, but still echoes the group’s artful songwriting and multi-layered narrative observations.

The Stranger was released in 2020 and is a top ten roots rock album riding high in the charts.

 

California Honeydrops

California Honeydrops

The Honeydrops have come a long way since guitarist and trumpeter Lech Wierzynkski and drummer Ben Malament started busking in an Oakland subway station, but the band has stayed true to that organic, street-level feel. Listening to Lech sing, it can be a surprise that he was born in Warsaw, Poland, and raised by Polish political refugees. He learned his vocal stylings from contraband American recordings of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong, and later at Oberlin College and on the club circuit in Oakland, California. With the additions of Johnny Bones on tenor sax and clarinet, Lorenzo Loera on keyboards, and Beau Bradbury on bass, they’ve built a powerful full-band sound to support Wierzynski’s vocals. More like parties than traditional concerts, their shows feature extensive off-stage jamming and crowd interaction. “The whole point is to erase the boundaries between the crowd and us,” Wierzynski says. “We don’t make setlists. We want requests. We want crowd involvement, to make people become a part of the whole thing by dancing along, singing, picking the songs and generally coming out of their shells.”

 

 

Leftover Salmon

Leftover Salmon

For the past quarter-century, Colorado’s Leftover Salmon has established itself as one of the great purveyors of Americana music, digging deep into the well that supplies its influences; rock ‘n’ roll, folk, bluegrass, Cajun, soul, zydeco, jazz and blues. During their twenty-five plus years as a band they have headlined shows and festivals from coast to coast, released nine albums, and maintained a vibrant, relevant and influential voice in the music world. The evolution of Leftover Salmon’s music is influenced by Leftover Salmon co-founders Drew Emmitt (mandolin/vocals) and Vince Herman‘s (guitar/singer) keen musical instincts, and follows a musical path that adheres to the deep tradition the duo started when they first formed the group along with deceased banjo player Mark Vann. The addition of new band members over the years has nurtured an unmistakable evolution and freshness in Leftover Salmon’s sound, and has added an edge to the long-lasting power of the band’s music. (youtube)

 

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Jerry Douglas

THE JERRY DOUGLAS BAND

Dobro master and 14-time Grammy winner Jerry Douglas is to the resonator guitar what Jimi Hendrix was to the electric guitar: elevating, transforming, and reinventing the instrument in countless ways. In addition to being widely recognized as the foremost master of the Dobro, Jerry Douglas is a freewheeling, forward-thinking recording artist whose output incorporates elements of bluegrass, country, rock, jazz, blues and Celtic into his distinctive musical vision. Called “dobro’s matchless contemporary master,” by The New York Times, fourteen-time Grammy winner Jerry Douglas is one of the most innovative recording artists in music, both as a solo artist and member of groundbreaking bands including J.D. Crowe & the New South, the Country Gentlemen, Boone Creek, the Grammy-winning The Earls of Leicester, and Strength In Numbers. Douglas’ distinctive sound graces more than 1500 albums, including discs released by Garth Brooks, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, Earl Scruggs, and Ray Charles, among many others. Since 1998, he’s been a key member of “Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas”, touring extensively and co-producing and playing on a series of platinum albums. He has produced albums for Krauss, the Del McCoury Band, Maura O’Connell, and Jesse Winchester and is is co-Music Director of the acclaimed BBC TV series Transatlantic Sessions, and his latest solo album Traveler features guest appearances by such notable friends as Paul Simon, Mumford & Sons, and Eric Clapton, among others. (from NPR)

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Eilen Jewell

From: Bernard Zuel – Music Journalist

FULL DISCLOSURE: WHY THE RULES HAVE CHANGED FOR EILEN JEWELL

MAYBE IT’S THE MIDWEST UPBRINGING of politeness and reserve that lay behind it. Maybe it’s the natural defence of someone who already was out and exposed as an artist in a corner of Americana that values the personal as much as the historical. Whatever it might be with Eilen Jewell, in about 13 years of interviewing her, she has always shown herself adept at talking about her songs and her life in a way that deflected personal revelations.

It’s not that she didn’t answer questions, but those answers made the generalities of her characters the focal point and gave just enough to let us see how she’d build relationships to them but not be defined by them. It was politely done of course, and was not without things to chew on given a sharp intelligence and an eye on American culture whether it was her love of Loretta Lyn and Howlin’ Wolf, the pay gap between the sexes, or political resistance as something of a progressive island in a state that’s anything but.

Well, things have changed with the coming record, Get Behind The Wheel. Not only has Jewell written an album that came out of the Covid-era breakup of her marriage to long-time drummer, co-manager, and co-parent, Jason Beek, and some deaths in her wider family, but she has been talking openly, frankly, about her circumstances.

It’s hard to imagine that was a comfortable transition, not least because growing up in Idaho you kept your business to yourself, but you have to wonder if it has been dragged out of her, or did she feel it was inevitable and stopped fighting.

“It is really new for me to talk about anything having to do with my personal life,” the Boise-based Jewell says. “But this time around it seemed like it would be wrong to not discuss it because this album is so, so directly influenced by everything that I’ve gone through in the past couple of years. I just feel like I would be lying if I said ‘oh, I don’t know, it’s just about people and things’ [she laughs].

“Also the pandemic taught me that that there’s something really important about sharing parts of ourselves. That’s what sharing my music is [and] I guess it dawned on me this actually could be a good thing for me, it could open me up to my fans and there’s a chance there could be some cathartic sharing on both sides.”

There probably won’t be any problems getting her fans to share their thoughts next month when she will spend several weeks in Australia (heaven knows we’re not a quiet bunch), but when you put these things out like Jewell is now doing, not only are you exposing yourself but you are setting the agenda for how things are interpreted. And this is before even considering that Beek is still playing in her band and will be on the tour.

How people interpret your songs and your album, and inevitably yourself, will be shaped by these revelations and explanations. Is that a good thing? Was it even planned?

“The label was saying you’ve got to figure out how to talk about this new album, so I was like, yeah, shoot, I’ve gotta decide how much do I want to disclose? How much do I want to set the stage for these songs?,” she says. “Because, yeah, in the past I’ve not done that and thought that the songs should stand on their own and people can interpret them how they want. People are still free to interpret them however, obviously, but this album really did occur at a particular point in time for me. It was a disaster of a moment in my life this album was born out of, beyond anything else I’ve ever experienced, and I felt this album deserved an exception to my normal rule.” It was time? At 43, maybe it’s as simple as that.

“I guess I do want to talk about this stuff, this stuff being the pandemic, the divorce that came out of that, or coincided with it, and then family losses, people near and dear to me – not even Covid-related, but just one after another,” Jewell says. “For the first time in my life it feels cathartic to talk about what was going on behind the scenes. I don’t think it’s necessary information to appreciate the album, but there’s a few Neil Young albums where I gleaned he was going through a particular thing in his life and then read later that in fact, yes that’s happening, and something about that makes me appreciate the album just a little bit more. I have a sense of who he is more.”

From a long low base of knowledge about the album so far – it’s not yet available to media, let alone the public, though we will hear some songs from it at her March shows – a title like Get Behind The Wheel suggests maybe taking control of her life, or at least setting the direction. How did she handle this resetting and reclaiming of control?

“It’s really been a mixed bag,” she confesses. “I think when I wrote that song – the song that contains that phrase ‘get behind the wheel’ is called Alive – I felt so inspired to take control and have agency, it was all very new. I was like, well, so much is crashing down around me but this is an opportunity to just up inside my life in a really authentic way. And that’s still present, but I’m also realising that it’s much harder than it sounds, and sometimes [she laughs ruefully] it’s awful.” No one would blame her for looking away.

“There’s part of me that would just love to drift around and say ‘I don’t know, someone else take the wheel: I’m getting tired already’,” says Jewell. “But I was guilty of some of that for many years, going with the flow with my career, and my personal life too … being cooperative, and they really comes at a cost eventually. You can’t keep whittling your life away like that. Eventually you realise that your heart is not fully in it, and there’s always a reckoning with that.” When she looks at who she was, even three years ago, and who she is now, how does she judge that person?

“I … think … that … person … was … somewhat,” she says slowly, before a long pause. “Somewhat overeager to find distractions. The old me really didn’t want to look at life just as it is. The old me was always kind of looking into the future, thinking about how things will be better or should be better, or the past. The here and now was something that I tended to avoid. “But all we really have is the here and now. The past is gone and the future is a fantasy.”

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Hiss Golden Messenger

Describing the Durham-based Hiss Golden Messenger is like trying to grasp a forgotten word: It’s always on the tip of your tongue, but hard to speak. Songwriter and bandleader M.C. Taylor’s music is at once familiar, yet impossible to categorize: Elements from the American songbook—the steady, churning acoustic guitar and mandolin, the gospel emotion, the eerie steel guitar tracings, the bobbing and weaving organ and electric piano—provide the bedrock for Taylor’s existential ruminations about parenthood, joy, hope, and loneliness—our delicate, tightrope balance of dark and light—that offer fully engaged contemporary commentary on the present. And then there’s an indescribable spirit and movement: Hiss Golden Messenger’s music grooves. There’s nothing else quite like it. Merge Records

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Jimmy Carpenter

Jimmy Carpenter

Jimmy Carpenter is on a roll. For over 40 years Carpenter has plied his trade as Saxophonist, singer-songwriter, and arranger. Having won the 2021 and 2022 Blues Music Award for Best Instrumentalist/Horn, he is nominated again in ’23, his 8th nomination overall. He is also a Grammy-Winning Composer, for a composition he contributed to the New Orleans Nightcrawlers’ winning album, Atmosphere. After many years living and working in New Orleans, Jimmy now resides in Las Vegas, where he serves as Musical Director of The Big Blues Bender.

Praise for The Louisiana Record, Released September 2022 on Gulf Coast Records:
The Louisiana Record is the kind of set that will get your whole neighborhood dancing if played loud enough. Get it and get going! Mike O’Cull, Rock and Blues Muse

“I enjoyed this album from start to finish. Carpenter does a great job on vocals and tenor saxophone throughout and the bands does an exceptional job, too!”  Steve Jones, Blues Blast Magazine

“Carpenter’s singing seems to get more soulful with every outing..” Grant Britt, No Depression

“This has really become an album that can really get a party started.” Bluestown, The Netherlands

“Tenor sax man Jimmy Carpenter reminds me of 50s and 60s R&Ber King Curtis, with his big sound grooving through vintage juke box tunes of that period.” George W Harris, JazzWeekly.com

“I have been a Jimmy Carpenter fan for 20 years, from the first time I heard him play with Jimmy Thackery. He’s always been one of the premier sax players around. But Jimmy is also a stellar songwriter and singer. His voice is at its best on ‘Soul Doctor’,  Jimmy’s best record to date. This album oozes cool and rocks hard with a classic sound that only Jimmy Carpenter can bring to the table.”  — Mike Zito

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Willie Porter

Willy Porter is a contemporary American rock musician and singer-songwriter from Mequon, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In April

Willy Porter Biography

by Richard Skelly – from Allmusic.com

Like Greg Brown, John Hammond, Leo Kottke, Stephen Fearing, Richard Shindell, Kelly Joe Phelps, and so many others, Willy Porter is often at his strongest as a solo act. He does work with a band periodically, but given the economics of touring in recent years, he seems to perform more frequently accompanying himself with guitar and mandolin. Porter honed his chops the natural way, busking across Europe and playing every little coffee house and dive bar on both sides of the Mississippi. He’s a veteran performer who takes his audiences with him on the journey. He elicits a rare kind of communication between artist and audience, mostly because he’s able to read his audiences so well.

Porter was raised near Milwaukee, and his first big breaks were playing theater-sized shows there and in Madison. As could be expected from someone from this part of the country, there’s an element of blues in Porter’s singing and songwriting and in most of his live shows, although he’s best thought of as a contemporary singer/songwriter, straight out of the world of folk music. He began playing viola, a notoriously difficult instrument to master, in his youth, but found he lacked the discipline for classical music as a career path. He had a revelation in his teens when he found Leo Kottke’s album, “6 & 12 String Guitar.” Kottke‘s playing opened up new vistas for Porter, who began playing guitar after dropping his viola studies.

As the occasion or tour dictates, you can catch Porter solo or with a backing band of veterans from Wisconsin.

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When you hear the word Indie, what picture comes to your mind? Maybe someone with long hair, calmly stringing an acoustic guitar and looking sad. They are easily seen as artistic, soft-spoken singers who recite poems in a gentle alto tone. This image of Indie music artists has a lot of historical steepness, but how do you describe music artists in Indie? With Roaming the Arts, all your confusion and controversy become a thing of the past. Read on to learn more about male and female indie pop artists.

Who Are Indie Music Artists

The term ”Indie” is used as an abbreviation to represent ‘Independent’. It implies that the producers of this music genre are independent of any commercial record label. Categorizing indie music artists as being independent singers of many genres is different from the ancient method of describing Indie, looking at musicians like Mac Demarco and Tame Impala. They are a group of alternative rock musicians, whose music genre has evolved into Indie rock. And although most Indie artists are classified as alternative rock, it has caused a bit of controversy whereby many independent rock artists don’t collaborate with independent labels. Many independent music artists don’t belong to a single music genre or style, and they also make categorized self-published music that you can categorize.

Why Is The Genre Called Indie?

Indie music is a product of strong common musical threads that has existed between many artists through the years. This music genre is poetic and introspective and this background dates back to frontiers like Bob Dylan the Nobel Laureate and other similar musicians. Although the music artists in Indie are termed independent, they often do not have a streamlined music genre. Other musicians like Nick Drake gave Indie music the dreariness it is characterized with. The demure and subtle disposition of Indie music was the formative aspect of the business.

Popular Indie Music Artists 

There are lots of singers in Indie music that define the genre and music style. Dylan and Drake belong to a group of Proto-Indie experts and they paved the way for new musicians who expanded the genre to what it is today. Musicians like Elliot Smith, Nirvana, and other first-hand Indie singers still set the pace. The likes of Foals, Coldplay, Frank Ocean, Radiohead, Pavement, The Maccabees, Wiz Khalifa, The Cults, and Billie Eilish. The list is endless, and you’ll be amazed at some music artists in Indie. In the end, whether your favorite artist is Indie or not, music is about the soul. When you don’t have words to express yourself, music does it. But with a deeper understanding of the historical aspect of Indie music, you’ll better appreciate the songs.

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