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The Blackbird Revue

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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
 
 
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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Best of Kansas City 2014 for Emerging Artists: Readers' Poll results

Deli Readers,

The Deli KC's Best of 2014 Readers and Fans' Poll for local emerging artists is over, thanks to all those who cast their vote in support of the emerging local bands and artists in our list of nominees.

1. Kangaroo Knife Fight

Congratulations to The Deli’s 2014 KC Readers’ Choice artist, Kangaroo Knife Fight (pictured above)! The four-piece rockers recently released its debut self-titled EP, which can be found below. We’ll be featuring them in an upcoming interview very soon. Until then, check out their tunes!


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2. Yore
 
 
Before even playing its first show, Yore has taken second place in our Readers’ Poll! This new project includes former members of The Cherry Tree Parade, Mother Culture, and Gentleman Savage. Yore recently released its first video; keep your eyes peeled for a new single from them soon.
 
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Coming in at third place is The Blackbird Revue, the husband-and-wife duo whose folk pop melodies have been winning over audiences in KC and around the country (they’ve been featured on The Voice and The Discovery Channel). The couple recently released a video in advance of a 2015 album. Here’s a Q&A we did with them.
  

 

Here's this poll's top 10 chart, full results can be found here

BEST OF KC 2014 - READERS' POLL RESULTS
 
Artists
Votes
 
1
Kangaroo Knife Fight
502
2
Yore
461
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3
The Blackbird Revue
302
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4
ATLAS
181
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5
AY MusiK
57
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6
Scruffy & The Janitors
34
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7
Jorge Arana Trio
21
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8
Riddles
18
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9
The Gorlons
17
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10
The Thunderclaps
15
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Stay tuned for the composite chart, to be released soon, which will include the point nominees accumulated from the jurors and Deli writers' votes, and will crown The Deli's Best Emerging KC Artist of 2014.

The Deli's Staff

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KC Open Submission Results for The Deli's Year End Poll 2014 for emerging artists

Thanks to all the artists who submitted their music to be considered for The Deli's Best of KC Year End Poll for Emerging Artists. After tallying the votes for the Open Submissions stage, it’s time to release the results. Please note that to avoid conflicts no local editor was allowed to vote for bands in their own scene.

Total submissions from KC: 32

Jurors: Jason (The Deli Chicago), Maylis (The Deli NYC), Paolo De Gregorio (The Deli NYC)

Acts advancing to our Readers/Fans Poll:

1. ATLAS - (Alt Rock/Americana) - 8

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2. Storm Circus - (Songwriter) - 7.33

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3. White Girl - (Electro Pop) - 7.33

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4. Westerners - (Indie Rock) - 7.33

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5. Scruffy & The Janitors - (Garage Rock) 7.16

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6. The Blackbird Revue - (Americana) - 7

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Honorable Mentions (ranked above 6.0):

Avenue SeventeenMy Oh My!The Feel Bad HitThe PhilistinesJungle BehaviorA Gecko Named TerranceThe Matchsellers.

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WHAT’S NEXT: These results end the first phase of the poll. We will soon unveil the artists nominated by our local jurors, and we’ll let our readers and our writers influence the poll with their vote.

Keep creating, keep supporting, and stay tuned for your chance to vote! 

The Deli KC Staff

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Artist of the Month: The Blackbird Revue

(Photo by Kristi Yarcho)
 
From the first moments of hearing a performance from The Blackbird Revue, you know you’re in for something special. Danielle and Jacob Prestidge have been creating music together since they started dating. Six years later, their musical and romantic collaboration has proven successful: the two have been married for 5 years, they have two acclaimed albums under their belts, and their music has been featured on national television.
 
Since then, Danielle and Jacob’s connection as artists has continued to solidify. The Blackbird Revue is a collaboration of Danielle’s upbeat pop influences with Jacob’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.
 
We talk with Jacob Prestidge a bit more about the duo, and find out what else they’re up to. They are also one of our November Artists of the Month!
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
 
Jacob Prestidge: I might describe our music as harmony-laden, rhythmically driving folk-rock.
 
The Deli: Give me some background info on The Blackbird Revue. I inferred from your bio that your musical collaboration and relationship coincided with one another. If I am correct, how do you think that has affected your music?
 
Jacob: We began playing music together almost as soon as we began dating. Our musical relationship has been like our personal relationship in many ways. I would not say working together musically, or as a couple was easy, or natural from the start. Some relationships are like that; ours was not. We've been learning, and continue to learn how to fuse two different personalities, tastes, and styles into a cohesive, fulfilling expression. Has it been difficult? Absolutely, but I have no doubt that it's made us stronger as a couple, and better as a band.
 
The Deli: What else inspires your music and songwriting? Do you write everything together, or is there a primary songwriter?
 
Jacob: We both write. Historically, I have been the primary songwriter, but lately Danielle has been writing more and more, which I am genuinely thrilled about. Danielle is often inspired by her own life experiences. Her songs often have a cathartic effect and a deeply personal meaning. I, on the other hand, tend to tell stories. I'll generally write more of a third-person narrative, into which I'll infuse a few lines of my own heart, my own experiences.
 
The Deli: I've seen The Blackbird Revue as a full band, but more recently just the two of you. Do you plan on keeping it that way, or adding more members in the future?
 
Jacob: We both love playing with a full band, but at this point in our career the two-piece just makes a lot more sense. It allows us to travel much more, and it definitely plays to certain strengths of ours, such as our harmonies, and our songwriting.
 
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
 
Jacob: That's very hard to say. We've had some things happen that sound good in a bio, but our desire is honestly to share the gifts we've been entrusted with to bless people. If someone has been moved by a song of ours, been wakened to beauty around them, or somehow felt less alone in the world, then that would without question be our greatest accomplishment.
 
The Deli: Are you in the process of recording anything? If so, what can we expect from it? Will it be different from your previous albums?
 
Jacob: We're in the process of being in the process. We have a grand plan that involves raising money for our own home studio. My degree is in music recording. So our goal is to have the tools and the time to record a new album as we'd like, and then be able to record more at a minimal cost, and even getting into producing records with other bands that we love. At this point, we're simply trying to build our fanbase to the point where we feel like our specific financial goal is attainable.
 
I can say we do have the material for our first full-length album, and it will be both similar and different from our previous releases. Danielle is writing more, and she lends a more driving, upbeat pulse to the sound. Additionally, the electric guitar has been playing an increased role in our newer music. For a sample of what this might sound like, you can check out the brand new video for our latest single, “Blueprints” (below). That said, the album will not be a total departure from what has made us who we are; there will be plenty of acoustic guitar, and lovely harmonies.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Jacob: It's very important to us. It takes some effort to find the bands you really love, and it takes some effort to get out of the house and go see them. But we've personally never been sorry we made the effort.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
 
Jacob: Our KC area favorites are (and this is incredibly hard, by the way): The Grisly Hand, Akkilles, Outsides, White Girl.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
 
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
 
Jacob: If someone asked us to open for a tour featuring Stevie Nicks (Danielle's pick) and Emmylou Harris (Jacob's pick), that'd be okay by us.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Jacob: Hmm. Our personal musical Mt. Rushmore would include Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Paul McCartney, and Stevie Nicks.
 
The Deli: What other shows do you have coming up?
 
Jacob: We're heading out for a short tour this week through Chicago, Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster, PA.
 
In the KC area we have some great shows coming up, including November 25 at The Bottleneckin Lawrence with Dawn & Hawkes; December 5 at The Riot Room with Nick Thomas of The Spill Canvas; December 12 at 12 Baltimore for their Emerging Artist Series; and December 18 for a Christmas House Concert at our place. We also just found out we’ll be playing an official showcase at the 2015 Folk Alliance International conference this February.
 
The Deli: What other goals does The Blackbird Revue have for the rest of the year, and beyond?
 
Jacob: We want to get better. Better as songwriters, better as singers and musicians. Better at getting the sounds we want in the studio. Improvement is our constant goal. We will get a new album out in 2015, and it will be our best yet.
 
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
 
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Jacob: Thank those who help make you aware of good local and regional music. It's too often their hard work goes unnoticed, or underappreciated.
 
Next Tuesday, November 25, you can catch The Blackbird Revue at The Bottleneck, where they will be supporting Americana duo Dawn & Hawkes from Austin. Facebook event page.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 
 

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Album review: The Blackbird Revue - Glow (EP)

2013 is shaping up to be another very fine vintage for local music, with several quality releases already available and a slew of eagerly-anticipated albums coming soon to fine retailers and Bandcamp pages near you. Add to this list Glow, the third EP (and first since 2010) from The Blackbird Revue. Husband-and-wife team Jacob and Danielle Prestidge have established themselves as purveyors of an ear-pleasing sound that combines Americana, folk, country, and indie pop in various layers, and their vocal harmonies continue to astonish and devastate. Glow shows the twosome, with the help of several skilled musicians, bringing these skills to the listener in fine form.

 
The lead track, “When You Are Mine,” shows The Blackbird Revue at the height of its harmonic powers. Those of you who have taken singing lessons or been involved in choral music for any number of years will understand this: both Jacob and Danielle show great ability at singing over the notes. Coming at the music from above gives the vocals an airy, lilting quality during the softer moments at the beginning of this song (and throughout the EP), but the second half sees the tempo change from a gentle breeze to a howling gale, lifting the listener up and carrying said listener on a Thelma and Louise-esque ride straight over the cliff …
 
… where the title track awaits to catch you and cradle you in its gentle comfort. Glow paints a lyrical landscape with such verses as “fade / our sunsoaked yesterdays / to sepias and grays,” with the intertwined voices alternating in the roles of both palette and canvas. “Winter Rest” is the most pop-sensible track of the four, with undeniable hooks that make toe-tapping a near certainty. The EP concludes with “Lone Swan,” a winsome ballad that offers an encouraging word and a shoulder to lean on for someone whose burden has grown heavy (“this world is cruel this world is kind / and sometimes love is hard to find / so if you need to clear your mind / take the keys and take your time”).
 
When you listen to Glow, you hear music that pleases with its honesty and directness, but the notes that spring from your speakers don’t tell the entire story. Listening to Danielle and Jacob work together, harmonize together, and just be together, you realize that they have … something … indefinable, yet unmistakable. This isn’t just a musical duo, and this isn’t just a married couple. This is a union of two spirits and souls that complement each other perfectly as no other could. The underlying intensity and obvious passion shine brightly throughout this 14-minute love letter from the Blackbird Revue.
 
I hope someday we all get to experience that same glow.
 
The group’s next performance will be next Friday, March 8 at River’s Bend Restaurant and Bar in Parkville with Jason Craig and The Wingmen at 8:00 pm (Facebook event here). The Blackbird Revue will also be a part of the HomeGuard Festival VIP party on Saturday, March 16 at The Midwestern Musical Co. at 7:00 pm.
 
 
 
--Michael Byars
 

Michael Byars may or may not be pickling things at this moment. It’s possible that he’s already had four or five bottles of Mountain Dew by now. There’s a chance that he is at a hookah bar somewhere. You may say he’s a dreamer. But most of all, he spells pretty well and he works for free, so we let him write stuff for us sometimes. 

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