Essie was born in 1992 as Sarah Ellen Riddle in Hurricane, WV. She grew up to study music and special education at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. (Go Herd!) Most recently Essie earned her Master’s in Opera Performance at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ.
Essie was a nickname that found her once she started singing in the band “Essie & the Big Chill.” She soon came to love the variety of genres she was able to explore with this group. She developed her ability to sing funk, rock, jazz, reggae, and even rap all while studying opera full-time. Essie & the Big Chill have been fortunate enough to headline several large events including Triumph Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest and Halloween Celebrations. This year the Big Chill will be playing Princeton’s Communiversity, New Jersey’s largest and longest running cultural art festival!
Essie has been described as having “powerful vocals” paired with “high energy” performances. Most recently Dean Ween said “Essie has got a great voice […] and the Invitational finds another great singer for the house band….” Other’s have commented on her ability to sing such a variety of music from Poulenc to Zeppelin. On Saturday nights she can be found wailing with The Big Chill. The next morning she can be found singing sacred solo works for various churches.
When she is not performing Essie is writing her own music. She hopes to release her first EPs within coming year with the overall goal of completing her first solo album. It will be a mix of styles across genres to express and explore her vocal capabilities.
BURNING RED SUN
Burning Red Sun is an alternative, rock band from Flemington, New Jersey. With influences ranging from The Cars to AC/DC to Beatles to Qotsa , This is a band that is full of hard crunching alternative sound, which is unique sounding just when you say it. The sound is driving with a bold layering of sounds produced by individual musicians on their respected instruments. Vocally this band may seem like what someone might expect this genre, but it draws a fine line of working with the music, and at the same time, pronouncing itself as a needed aspect. A band that rocks it’s genre to the core. Songs I like are “What She Said,” and “Into the Light.”
Ammunition is a high-energy hard rock band that unapologetically combines searing guitar solos and gravelly vocals with heavy grooves to deliver the firepower missing from this generation’s music.
After years of refining their sound through their thundering live performance, Ammunition releases their long-awaited self-titled debut album. Fronted by their charismatic vocalist Spencer Johnson, Ammunition draws on a wide range of musical influences to deliver a ten-song steamroller of an album. The band, rounded out by lead guitarist Stefan Bogner, bassist Rick Anthes, and drummer Peter Palilonis, brings together the relentless onslaught of timeless acts like Motorhead and pairs it with the raw, unpolished sound reminiscent of early 1990s rock bands like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots.
Johnson’s gravelly vocals provide the prime compliment to the grit and groove supplied by the drum and bass duo of Palilonis and Anthes, as heard on songs like “Kill the Head” and “Top Me Off”. Bogner’s reputation as a riffmaster is only overshadowed by his ability to effortlessly layer blistering solos over tracks like “Pleasure Slug” and “Thunder Thief”. Songs like “Blood City” and “Toll Due” highlight the band’s ability to diversify their songwriting while maintaining their sinister sound, bubbling just beneath the surface.
Guests on the album include the backing vocals of Nick Oliveri on “Kill the Head”, Carol Brooks on “Blood City” and the lead guitar services of Mickey Melchiondo (aka Dean Ween) on the album’s epic finale, “Toll Due”.
Nine young men and a girl—The Broomestix are an R&B/Soul/Funk Jam Band out of the Nashville area; an exceptional group of musicians with an irresistibly funky rhythm section, stand-out vocalist, and tight, in-your-face, 5 piece horn section whose sound engages their audiences with irresistible rhythms and provides a unique introduction to emerging, right-now talent. Audiences all over the country rave about the explosive talent and creativity of their live shows. Broomestix members all live within the creative aura of Music City, but their music is their own, taking inspiration from funk, soul and jazz icons way before their time. You might find them at various music festivals and venues around the country, playing new original music all the time. Their recent accomplishments include, their newest recording, “Running From the Law,” two appearances on PBS Nashville’s show, “Music City Roots,” and the well earned love of many fans around the country. None of the members are over 21, and many are childhood friends. Young, yes they are. But skillful, exuberant talent has no limits. Enjoy the Broomestix, for an unforgettable musical experience.
Renee Dion’s soulful sound could be heard on music blogs across the web, on albums by alternative soul icons, and in clubs and festivals from her hometown, Columbus, Ohio, to New York City. And as her fans anticipated her fourth project, life came at her fast–she took a musical break. What emerged from Renee’s hiatus is a simmering album, HAVEN where she breaks free of her normal setting of an external producer directed album and found her soul trappings and plays in an uncharted space musically producing her own project with the help of one of Columbus Ohio’s musical geniuses Jonathan Baker assisting her in some of the tracks. Renee has crafted a delicate safe space of honest music creating a home within her lyrics and detailing patience through some of life’s harsh and gorgeous transitions as Gods child a woman and an artist.
Philadelphia area native Christine Havrilla, after embarking on an ambitious new journey with her Gypsy Fuzz project in late 2011, is releasing a series of “Live Sessions” into 2017 which will include long-time fan favorites as well as new songs with her current band, Gypsy Fuzz. Recording in numerous settings such as venues, living rooms, a recording studio with an live audience, in an old church, etc…these volumes will capture the spontaneous energy, soul-felt vibes and musical adventures that Christine brings to the stage, ANY stage! Havrilla, who has seven studio albums, five EPs, five live albums, and over 18 years of touring under her belt, continues to venture out under “Christine Havrilla & Gypsy Fuzz” as well as a solo artist, showcasing ALL of her music with new twists. Gypsy Fuzz/“Searching. Finding. Living.”, produced by Larry Crane (Cat Power, Sleater-Kinney, Elliott Smith) and Christine, is described as “a blend of 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s rock delivered by the modern singer/songwriter.” Christine will continue her “Neofunkadelicfolkpoptwangrock” style with a full band recording in 2018 with Gypsy Fuzz!
Christine is known for bringing her “well-built, catchy, smart tunes” (Upstage Magazine) to audiences everywhere, touring nationally as a solo act as well as with Gypsy Fuzz. After an inspirational time of being based in Portland, OR, Christine is once again back in the Philly area and frequenting such venues as Tin Angel, World Café Live, Steel City, Godfrey Daniels, Jammin’ Java, Burlap and Bean, Triumph Brewing Company, Rockwood Music Hall, Club Passim, to name a few.
Michael McKenna at Steel Notes Magazine shares, “This ambitious Philly native manifests her talent in certain ways that allows her to create eclectic music which will grab your heart and leave a lasting memory. Her Roots/Folk/Americana background coupled with that unique individuality that she possesses allows her to be a presence that steps into many genres and gives her the tools to crossover to different music formats. This album (Vol. 2 The Sunset Sessions) just defies description. It’s hot, tight, precise, and just plain kick-ass. If I was still programming radio, I’d be all over this! My recommendation is to go hear the band live, buy the CD, and experience what I have just heard. I give this TWO THUMBS UP!”
Mark Rogers at 93.7 WSTW raves, “With Gypsy Fuzz (the album and the band), Christine takes especially that rock element and turns it to 11. Gypsy Fuzz fuses fantastic guitar work with Christine’s vocals, which can reach down inside and grab your heart. A very diverse album, showing elements of rock, blues and even country, among others, Gypsy Fuzz continues Christine’s string of fantastic albums. Buy it.”
Nor’easter Magazine raves, “Christine is a creative, talented powerhouse wrapped up in one complete package.”
Inessa at 101.9 KINK FM Radio calls Gypsy Fuzz, “Yet another fun late-year discover!” While touring in support of her Gypsy Fuzz project, Christine continues to perform solo and support her recently released “A Collection”, which showcases fan favorites from all of her previous albums. CDBABY, reviewing “A Collection”, states “…her voice is a comforting constant, drawing you in with its raw emotion and not letting go.” Michaela Majoun at 88.5 WXPN applauds her “terrific, big sound”.
Ramona LaBarre, Managing Director at Godfrey Daniels (2013), says, “I see so many artists…I’m always pleased and amazed at what Christine is doing, and have enjoyed watching her art develop over the years I have known her. We especially appreciate it when an artist recognizes the energy in the room, and harnesses it to take their audience on a wild ride.”
The Washington Post writes, “(Havrilla’s) songs are intelligent and moving, the arrangements are incisive and colorful, and, best of all, Havrilla consistently comes across as a confident and seasoned performer.”
Christine Havrilla’s album, “In My Chair,” demonstrates her ever-evolving musicianship. In a very personal and solo endeavor, Christine recorded and produced In My Chair in her home studio, singing and playing all instruments in an eclectic collection of songs as its predecessor, “Velocity.” However with “In My Chair,” Havrilla showcases her songwriting abilities and instrumental prowess with an organic, intimate approach. Along with her earlier albums, Christine has a collection of songs that clearly define her as a singer/songwriter at the peak of her form. Listeners hear raw authenticity as Christine’s gritty vocals and overall musicality breathe life into fifteen engaging songs. Christine’s strength on guitar is ever-present.
As noted by the Princeton Packet, “Angst takes a left turn to upbeat and fun.” J.F. Pirro writes, “On In My Chair, Havrilla’s music and message remain as high-energy and introspective as ever…and always from the heart, dispensing medicinal lyrics for the soul.” (Main Line Today Magazine)
“I’m completely blown away and hooked. Havrilla’s talent is not only music but to take you away from the hum drum of life and go on a journey where she is the driver and we are her passengers,” writes Madalyn Sklar (Founder/Publisher, GoGirlsMusic.com – Houston, TX).
“Christine breaks out the gasoline and sets fire to the typical Roots/Folk genre, with blazing acoustic guitars, blatantly honest lyrics…” – Rik Ferrell, What’s Up Magazine
Chris March of the Phoenixville Mercury writes, “(Havrilla’s) tunes offer some of the most focused and empowered songwriting from any artist to stem from the local area yet and results in an eclectic set that can range from adrenalized to emotionally stirring.”
Nate Bauer from Blue Weekly says, “Christine offers the kind of pop-guitar songwriting that definitely should not be overlooked…Havrilla has shifted from the typical Lilith Fair pigeonhole into her own enjoyable sound.”
Her material has garnered a variety of accomplishments such as:
One of 23 Power Women chosen for Main Line Today Magazine (Oct 2015)
Featured Artist for American Musical Supply’s Singer/Songwriter Month (Feb 2015)
Featured “Artist of the Month” at MyRuralRadio.com (Jan 2015)
On Takamine Guitar’s Worldwide Artist List, CLayton Picks, Audix Microphones
Top Ten Artist multiple times on Reverbnation (2014, 2015)
Nominated for 5 Homey Awards for 93.7 WSTW (2014, 2015)
“Silent Night” featured on WSTW’s Holiday benefit Album (2014)
Top 10 Artist list on Reverbnation (2013-2014)
Christine nominated for About.com’s Reader’s Choice Awards (2012)
“Searching. Finding. Living.” (Gypsy Fuzz) listed in Advocate Magazine’s Top Ten Best Overlooked Albums of 2012 not to miss!
Christine had 2 songs nominated for the Out Music Awards (2011)
“Blinders” won the Garden State Film Festival’s “Best Country Song” for the film, Embraceable You ( 2010)
Co-wrote the song, “Hightail”, for the Independent film Til Death Do Us Toby (2010 Chateau Entertainment/Canada)
Curve Magazine’s Anniversary Issue Finalist for Favorite Musician/Newcomer (2010)
One of the Top Ten Indie Artists” – Advocate Magazine
Velocity’s “Hole in the Ground” topped Sirius Satellite Radio’s Hot 20 chart at #1 to start off 2007 and remained on the chart 16 weeks!
Featured in Curve Magazine’s Music Issue (August 2008)
“Every Now & Then” used for the Violet Mendoza film, No Boundaries (2008).
Christine received Best Female Rock Album for “Velocity” from WSTW radio (Feb. 07).
Christine was a finalist for Philadelphia City Paper’s 2002 Best Folk Artist/Group
Christine received grants in two consecutive years from The National Endowment for the Arts for its Meet the Composer series.
Christine has opened for and shared the stages of venues and major festivals with an eclectic list of acts such as international artists & friends including Chely Wright, Brandi Carlile, Jeffrey Gaines, Jill Sobule, Janis Ian, Antigone Rising, Michael Glabicki (Rusted Root), Grey Eye Glances, Train, Melissa Ferrick, Catie Curtis, America, Don McLean, Willy Porter, Michelle Malone, David Wilcox, Heart, Christopher Cross, Karla Bonoff, Sara Lee, Kris Williamson, Holly Near, Dave Mason, Edie From Ohio, Kyler England, Adrianne, Susan Werner, Davy Knowles, Erin McKeown, Bitch, Barnaby Bright, and Sally Taylor. She also composed and performed the music for the Johnny Cash Franklin Bible Session, a spoken word recording, and had the song “Sing” chosen for the GoGirls 2005 Radio Compilation CD, “Hole in the Ground” followed in 2007. She has also donated through her music to local non-profit groups helping abused women, homeless shelters, animal cruelty, and to national fundraising organizations such as The American Cancer Society, Musicians on Call, Music Makes Life Better, Immanuel Shelter, various womens’ shelters, and GLSEN. Other projects have included 3 Stories High, Sugar Mistress, & “9 5IVE 4OUR”, as well as being a bass/guitar/mandolin side-player for other various acts.
Self-taught from the age of 5 and growing up with a musical family, Havrilla, based once again in the Philadelphia area from Portland, OR, wins crowds over wherever she goes with her musical innovation, heartfelt lyrics, and her guitar a mere extension of herself. Her music and sound are difficult to fit into one category; hence Christine describes it as “Neofunkadelicfolkpoptwangrock!” Philadelphia Magazine simply states, “She rocks!
THE PAPER JETS
w/ Lowlight, Kate Dressed Up, & The Successful Failures
The Paper Jets aren’t your typical New Jersey rock band. Eschewing the epic bombast and hard-edged emo-punk that often defines the state, The Paper Jets deliver their own brand of pop-based alt-rock that folds in elements of Big Star, Weezer, The Beach Boys, Ben Folds, and Spoon. The result is an eclectic, melody-focused sound with the power to move, both physically and emotionally.
Based in Princeton, NJ, and consisting of Brian Erickson (lead vocals/guitar), Mike Virok (lead guitar), Scott Austin Miller (bass/backing vocals), and Frank Lettieri Jr. (drums/vocals), The Paper Jets have developed a strong following in the Asbury Park and New Brunswick, NJ, scene thanks to dynamic live performances at venues such as House of Independents, The Stone Pony, The Court Tavern, The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park Yacht Club, The Saint, and more. In 2015 and 2016, they earned two straight Asbury Music Awards nominations for Best Alternative Rock Band.
Their debut full-length album, 2014’s “We Are All Strange Friends,” further established a solid foothold in Philadelphia, with radio airplay for single “Cooking Up an Accident” on alternative rock station Radio 104.5, two on-air performances on the station’s “Live at 5” program, and concert performances at the Welcome America Festival, the Trocadero Theatre, World Cafe Live, Xfinity Live, and more. The band has also played at Piano’s and The Bitter End in New York City, Club Passim in Boston, The Abbey Pub in Chicago, and many more.
Jam/Jazz/Funk/Smooth/Soul/Blues/Spooky/Spacey/Super Amazing trio from Northern Jersey
THE PETE HILL BAND
Pete Hill’s “The Bullet Tree” is now available on iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp.
Reviews for “The Bullet Tree”
“It’s literally the only album I listen to.”
– David Hasselhoff
“So good I bought it twice.”
“What’s a Pete Hill?”
Watching them perform, you might think Dyado: cousins Louisa Stancioff and Matt Lohan, were raised from zygotes in some Red House Records incubator, and forced to play music together at cruelly young ages, like some folk Jackson Five. Then, you look at them onstage and realize they’re having fun, sneaking dumb looks and setting each other off, like real cousins. Turns out neither knew the other existed until they were both around 20, and met at a family gathering one summer in Maine, where Louisa grew up and Matt worked on schooners.
They began Dyado as a trio with their friend Emily Ramsey, and released an EP in 2016. Emily no longer tours with the cousins but plays with the band when she can and lends her gorgeous third-part harmony to their forthcoming record Dreamcountry.
They’ve recently welcomed Matt’s childhood friend Dylan French on drums. Dylan’s enthusiasm for playing music makes Louisa and Matt look like shrugging punks. He’ll drive six hours out of his way for a show, and get out of the car twitching and ecstatic just to be six hours closer to getting to play. He’s a great drummer besides – his huge respect for the songs informs a subtle latticework of rhythm that works into and between the cousins’ sweet melodies and dynamic shifts, always supporting the changes.
Louisa and Matt are of that ilk who sing and handle instruments with an infuriating effortlessness. As a generosity to those of us who struggle to play instruments and sing recognizable melodies, they both occasionally contort their faces in faux fits of agony mid-syllable to make it look harder than it really is. Matt’s guitar playing is at once offhand, precise, and inspired, and Louisa’s voice is unswervingly true-toned, warm, lilting. Both write great songs. Both play fiddle, and both would rather stay up playing fiddle tunes and singing than sleep.
I met them in the backyard of a commune in Portland, Oregon. They’re nothing if not flexible, if music is the reason. We performed to a modest audience perched on hay bales and were paid with salad and homemade cookies. We were all pretty happy about it. They’ll perform in a stranger’s living room, or unannounced to a bar of locals. They’ll play at farm parties, beaches, on giant theatre stages, or at weird venues on the edge of the woods, and always they play with the same verve and dedication, and always they catch people’s ears.
They catch people’s eye, too, trucking around in a neon-blue Ford Focus with a cow skull wired to the front grill, the car packed with weeks-worth of gear for camping and playing music. Onstage, it’s a pleasure to see Matt relax into himself when a song starts, or watch Louisa switch seamlessly from breathless, red-faced laughter into a heartbreaker of a song. Self-described shitheads, they’re not precious about music – they’re scrubby, passionate, realistic. They put in the time, they make the long drives and sleep on the ground, and when you hear or see them play it’s obvious that the only people pushing them to be this good are themselves. – Izaak Opatz.