Boulevardia hosts touring bands and showcases local talent

In only its second year, Boulevardia has experienced exponential growth as a music, food, and beer festival, curated by Boulevard Brewing Company and located in the historic West Bottoms district. Though its first year boasted a musical lineup of touring acts like The BoDeans and Catfish & the Bottlemen, this year exceeded expectations with J. Roddy Walston & the Business, Mayer Hawthorne, Atlas Genius, and more.
The festival also highlighted a bevy of local musicians on two stages, curated by Ink and 90.9 The Bridge. Among several others, the Greenville Acoustic Stage featured a Delta blues/gospel-inspired set from Kris and Havilah Bruders, one-man folk troubadour Nicholas St. James, and newly formed trio Lovelorn. Meanwhile, the Chipotle Homegrown Stage presented a diverse swath of artists, many of whom—such as The Architects, Hembree, and Making Movies—performed to a large, eager crowd singing along to their music.
Local groups also dotted the Boulevard Main Stage throughout the weekend. Outsides kicked off Boulevardia on Friday with a danceworthy set that warmed up the audience for In the Valley Below, MS MR, and The Mowglis. On Saturday, Captiva, Chris Meck & the Guilty Birds, and The Clementines endured strong sets in the sweltering heat before the evening’s headlining acts, which welcomed Boulevardia’s first sold-out day of 20,000 patrons. On Sunday, Sara Morgan and Hearts of Darkness warmed up a Father’s Day crowd for The Grisly Hand—who brought in a horn section to augment an already fully formed country sound—and Big Head Todd & the Monsters.
--Michelle Bacon
Here are some photos of the festival from Jaime Russell of Anthem Photography. To see more of Jaime’s shots from Boulevardia, visit her Flickr page.
The Architects
Making Movies

A sampling of some of KC's 2014 emerging artists

Here are some blurbs we wrote in 2014 on ten of our favorite emerging KC artists of the year:
Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear
Madisen Ward can write tunes that sound more seasoned than someone of his age should be able to do. Along with it, his vocal styling demands attention, ranging from serenely soulful to ardent and impassioned. Ruth Ward plays guitar effortlessly, as though it’s an extension of herself, and sings each note from deep within. The connection they share—both musically and as mother and son—comes through with the genuine delivery of each song.
Special congrats to them for their appearance this evening on The Late Show with David Letterman!

The duo was signed to Glassnote Records in 2014, and just released its newest single “Silent Movies.” It is now available on iTunes.

The Project H
Most people know that Kansas City is steeped in a rich jazz heritage that continues to this day. One of the groups that has helped carry on the city’s vibrant jazz scene is The Project H, who has taken the music’s tradition to a modern level. Though still tasteful to listeners of jazz standards, the band incorporates a range of influences and abilities, creating music that is relevant and colorful.
The Project H released its third studio album We Live Among the Lines in September 2014. It is available on Bandcamp.
Katy Guillen & the Girls
Katy Guillen & the Girls' style is rooted in the blues but draws heavily from rock, flamenco, and jazz elements, performed by three musicians at the top of their craft. The group—led by Guillen's masterfully intricate guitar work and earnest songwriting—is propelled by the rhythm section of Claire Adams and Stephanie Williams, who adds crucial melodic accents to its signature style.
Katy and the Girls advanced to the finals of the International Blues Challenge in early 2014, and released its debut self-titled LP in September 2014. It is available on Bandcamp.
Jorge Arana Trio
There’s something both soothing and jarring when you hear Jorge Arana, Jason Nash, and Josh Enyart share a stage together. They conjure up these wickedly rich, complicated rhythms and melodies that almost make you uneasy. It’s like when you snuck out of your parents’ house as a teenager to smoke cigarettes with your friends or make out with your crush—an innocent enough gesture, coupled with the exhilarating rush of rebellion and intensity. And every time the trio takes the stage, it seems like the perfect setting, be it in a dingy basement or a big venue.
The trio released its EP Oso on Haymaker Records in July 2014. It is available on Bandcamp.

The Blackbird Revue
The Blackbird Revue is a collaboration of Danielle Prestidge’s upbeat pop influences with husband Jacob Prestidge’s sincere folk approach, resulting in compositions that are simultaneously sweeping, delicate, and intriguing. The duo’s latest offerings have incorporated a multi-instrument approach, adding a momentous layer to its already purposeful music.

Danielle and Jacob released the music video for their latest single “Blueprints” in late 2014, and are currently working on a studio album.
Your Friend
(Photo by Lindsey Kennedy)
Taryn Miller’s project Your Friend was signed to Domino Records earlier this year. Her intelligent songwriting and entrancing music is making its way around, and for good reason. With her debut album Jekyll/Hyde, Miller constructs a simultaneously comforting and haunting atmosphere, fashioned around somber but colorful vocals.
Miller was signed to Domino Records in early 2014 and released the Jekyll/Hyde EP in February. It is available through Domino Records.
Miry Wild
(Photo by Zach Bauman)
Only a month after forming its full lineup, Miry Wild recorded its debut self-titled EP, a concise spiritual sojourn dotted with enchanting instrumentation and alluring vocal harmonies. The band’s natural chemistry and charm is apparent even from a cursory listen to the album. With this fairly new lineup and only a handful of shows under its belt, Miry Wild is finding its identity as a collective. Fortunately for the rest of us, they’re finding it through cohesive, tasteful songwriting.
Miry Wild released its debut self-titled EP in March 2014. It is available on Bandcamp.
The Thunderclaps
Though the two have been making music for a number of years, Bryce Jones and Colin Blunt formed The Thunderclaps just at the beginning of 2014. A grimy garage rock guitar/drums duo influenced by the surf leanings of The Gories and the psychedelic offerings of Thee Oh Sees, the band delivers an undeniable lo-fi rock ‘n roll edge.
The duo released a self-titled EP in August 2014. It is available on Bandcamp.
Admiral of the Red
In its short time together, Admiral of the Red has quickly evolved from a blues-based garage rock duo into a fully realized, dynamic rock band. The raw roots rock approach of guitarist Matt Hurst and drummer Tom Hudson, coupled with MB Hurst’s visceral vocals and a low-end punch from bassist Meredith McGrade creates the band’s primal, driving sound, reminiscent of The Dead Weather and Queens of the Stone Age.
Admiral recently released its single “Footbeats.” It is available on Bandcamp.
Hembree is picking up where Quiet Corral left off, but with a renewed vigor and sensibility. The group—who makes up five of the six members of now-defunct Quiet Corral—retains much of its former identity of compelling, captivating Americana, but with a pop appeal.
Hembree released its debut EP New Oasis last month. It is available on Bandcamp.
--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.  

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Album review: Hembree - New Oasis (EP)

Music—writing songs that resonate with people, observing snapshots in time, and reconciling emotions in one’s head—can be cathartic and somewhat serious business. Out of a conversation with Hembree singer/guitarist/songwriter Isaac Flynn, you get very little of that. The guy is just really nice. He says early in the conversation that they “want to make fun music.” New Oasis, Hembree’s eagerly awaited debut EP, does just that. In spades.   
From the ashes of Lawrence/KC group Quiet Corral rose Hembree. This quintet—the remainder of the QC members after vocalist/guitarist Jesse Roberts departed—took stock of its situation and instead of going their separate ways, they seized—as Flynn tells it, the “opportunity to create something totally different.” Take a liberal dose of supremely fresh Americana and add to it a couple scoops of vintage keyboards and beats and you’re beginning to get the idea.
New Oasis is, from front to back, a journey of gritty and honest vocals, dreamy and ethereal harmonies, beautifully constructed guitar layers, a near perfect rhythm section, and killer keyboards that provide a yin to the roots rock yang. The lyrics come from the heart as well; all drawn from, as Flynn asserts, “my life experience and those close to me.” He fills pages, his mobile phone memo app, and has even inundated the memory in his car’s onboard voice memo storage with lyrics he sings aloud to remember tune ideas that randomly pop into his head. 
“It’s like an ‘80s band decided to become an Americana band but forgot to tell the keyboard player,” he explains. Well said. 
The feel of New Oasis is poppy but real. Many of Hembree’s musical influences such as Tom Petty, Hall & Oates, and Tears For Fears can be heard, but with a definite modern freshness. Hembree has taken these filters and molded them into a remarkably cohesive sound that literally anyone could listen to and find a slice that inspires them and leaves them wanting more. 
The opener, “Whistler,” is a longing introduction that sucks you in with an Alan Parsons-ish vibe and is followed by the hopeful title track, which seems to spell out the bright outlook of this group that—in spite of their losses—sees only promise for the future. “Subtle Step” is a downright infectious number (I’ve had it in my head for literally days) that would be perfectly placed on the soundtrack for Real Genius or Weird Science. “October” is that perfect, lovely mixture of the Americana/synth compound: Equal parts Tom Petty, a wide-open Midwestern twang, and OMD. “Walk Alone” is a modern and somewhat lonely song that belies its outwardly upbeat meter. The hooky and interplaying vocals, dynamics, and immaculate guitar riffs make this one as strong as any cut from the record. “Six Years” closes it out with greater guitar fuzz and an earnest entreat: Meet me on the other side / Where there’s time to learn this life.
New Oasis has focus, it has balance, and it has integrity. My only complaint about the record is that it’s too short. As to Hembree’s goal of making “fun music”? Check that one off the bucket list, guys.
Hembree is:
Jim Barnes: Drums, vocals
Garrett Childers: Guitar, vocals
Eric Davis: keys 
Isaac Flynn: Guitar, vocals
Matt Green: Bass
--Jeff Stalnaker
Jeff Stalnaker plays in a local band and can open a beer bottle with his wedding ring.
Hembree will be celebrating the release of New Oasis in Lawrence this Saturday, January 31, at the Granada Theater. It’s an all ages, free show sponsored by KJHK, with special guests Paper Buffalo, Ebony Tusks, and The Phantastics. Facebook event page.

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Noise For Toys returns to KC

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
The Noise FM will be bringing its Noise For Toys benefit concert back to Kansas City for the second year in a row. This dancey indie rock band—currently based in Chicago—started the event in 2008, when brothers Alex and Austin Ward were still living in Lawrence. Since moving to Chicago in 2010, they’ve held the event there annually.
“We weren't sure what to expect the first year, other than we knew we wanted to host a benefit concert for an organization that would benefit the community,” says lead vocalist and guitarist Alex Ward. They eventually chose Toys For Tots, and Noise For Toys was born. “If our band is remembered for nothing else, please let it be that we came up with the name Noise For Toys. It's almost too good.”
The holiday party includes an ugly sweater contest, costumes, and Christmas tunes, “and usually one of our unfortunate friends dressed as Santa in the same unwashed Santa suit we've had for 10 years,” mentions Ward. “It's pretty gross in that suit, but we usually buy Santa a bottle of peppermint schnapps before the show to keep his spirits high.”
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle is the editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
This year’s Noise For Toys show in Kansas City will be this Saturday, December 6, at The Riot Room. The lineup includes The Noise FM, Hembree, Bonzo Madrid, French Horn Rebellion, and music from DJ Sheppa throughout the night. Tickets are $10, or $6 with an unopened toy. Starts at 9:00 p.m. Facebook event page.



Spotlight on Plaza Art Fair artist: Hembree

(Photo by Rusty Wright, The Waldron Photograph Co.)

This week, we’ll be highlighting some of the artists playing INK’s stage at the Plaza Art Fair this weekend, September 19-21.
With the release of a brand-new single and its upcoming debut performance, Hembree is picking up where Quiet Corral left off, but with a renewed vigor and sensibility.
The group—who makes up five of the six members of Quiet Corral (vocalist/guitarist Jesse Roberts left the band last year, shortly after the release of its debut album Ancestors)—retains much of its former identity of compelling, captivating Americana, but with a pop appeal.
Hembree’s lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Isaac Flynn answers some questions about the new outfit and what we have to look forward to from them.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music.
Flynn: I’d like to think that our music sounds like a 1980s pop band that decided to start an Americana rock band, but they forgot to tell the keyboard player.
The Deli: How long have you all been making music under this moniker?
Flynn: The lineup is all of the remaining members from Quiet Corral. It consists of Garrett Childers, Jim Barnes, Zach Mehl, Matt Green, and myself.
We had talked about starting a band called Hembree as soon as Quiet Corral ended in October of 2013. During our time in the studio throughout 2014, we came up with several other names, but for some reason we couldn’t escape Hembree. We have a great friend named Hembree, and he was instrumental in convincing me to write more music after QC ended. His encouragement meant a ton to us, but we also just thought he had a really sweet name.
The Deli: Your appearance at Plaza Art Fair will be your debut as Hembree. Since disbanding Quiet Corral, what has changed about your music and how have you grown from that experience?
Flynn: So much has changed since Quiet Corral. Several of us were very young when we started Quiet Corral. Like 19 years young. I remember a show in Bowling Green, KY, where our bassist Matt [Green] and I had to watch the headliner play through a window because we weren’t legally allowed in the venue. We learned so much during that time period, and now we are trying to take what we learned in Quiet Corral and apply it to Hembree.

We were incredibly serious about everything in Quiet Corral. While we still hold ourselves to a high standard musically, we’ve learned to have way more fun throughout the entire creative process.
The Deli: You just released the single "New Oasis.” Are you going to release an album with it? What can listeners expect from the new material?
Flynn: We are planning to release an EP later this year. We kind of holed up in the studio, and we’re starting to show folks what we made. It was an amazing experience. We had no expectations or deadlines. We’re excited for everyone to hear the songs.
The new material is going to have some of the elements that listeners enjoyed with Quiet Corral, along with a heavy focus on melody, electric guitar, and keyboards.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Flynn: For me, supporting local music means getting to know as many people as possible in our music community. I’m an audio engineer, and I’m very fortunate to have worked with a lot of bands from Kansas City and Lawrence. I’ve learned that we have some of the most talented and genuinely amazing individuals living in our area. Whether they’re musicians, promoters, journalists, DJs, fans, etc., KC has some incredible people. I love how supportive musicians are of other musicians in the community.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
Flynn: In no particular order…
CJ Calhoun (Cowboy Indian Bear): CJ is a dear friend of mine, and he happens to be one of the most talented musicians I know. CJ has the unique ability to craft infectious music with just the right amount of darkness.
Spencer Mackenzie Brown: Spencer is another great friend of mine. He delivers lyrics in a way that make you feel like you’ve lived the exact experience he’s writing about. 
Alex and Austin Ward (The Noise FM): The Wards are also dear friends. As you can tell, I really admire my friends. These guys live in Chicago now, but they’re KC natives. Their music hits so hard, and they never fail to blow my mind during their live shows. They’re also some of the funniest dudes ever. Check out their Boy Meets World fan fiction and see for yourself.
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
Flynn: I’m really digging this band called Snowmine from Brooklyn (thanks Middle of the Map!). They write brilliantly crafted indie-pop songs.
The Deli: Who are you looking forward to seeing at Plaza Art Fair?
Flynn: The lineup is fantastic this year. Just a few of the bands that I’m excited to see are Wells The Traveler, Josh Berwanger Band, Carswell & Hope, and She’s a Keeper.
The Deli: Besides Plaza Art Fair, what other shows do you have coming up?
Flynn: We’re in the process of booking several shows right now. It’s looking like we’ll have EP release shows in Lawrence, Kansas City, and Austin in November.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Flynn: Arcade Fire, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and The Beach Boys of 1966 headline (not to be confused with The Beach Boys of 1996 with John Stamos on drums).
Side note: if you’ve never seen it, check out the episode of Full House where Uncle Jesse sings the song “Forever” with the Beach Boys…perfection.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
Flynn: Prince: The man can play every instrument!
Quincy Jones: Perhaps MJ deserves this spot (maybe the best performer of all time), but I can’t get over Quincy’s production. So incredible.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney: I can’t split these two up. They definitely both deserve a spot.
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
The Deli: What other goals does Hembree have for 2014, and beyond?
Flynn: In Quiet Corral, we wanted to be the first band to play on the moon. I think it’s safe to say that goal still remains for Hembree.
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Flynn: Visit the Space Jam website. It hasn’t changed since 1996. You’ll love it.
Hembree is:
Jim Barnes: drums, vocals
Garrett Childers: guitar, vocals
Isaac Flynn: vocals, guitar
Matt Green: bass
Zach Mehl: keys
Be sure to catch Hembree’s debut on INK’s stage at Plaza Art Fair on Friday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m. The stage is located at Ward Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Gram & Dun and Plaza III. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands. Seriously, check out the Space Jam website. It’s unreal.
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