Back when they were in high school, PARACHUTE’s Will Anderson (vocals, guitar), Johnny Stubblefield (drums), and Christopher “Kit” French (saxophone, keyboards) spent nearly every afternoon in Anderson’s basement dreaming up songs showing a deep affinity for classic pop, heart-felt rock, and tuneful blue-eyed soul. Now, after a decade of touring internationally and turning out hit singles like the platinum "She Is Love" (#1 at iTunes), the gold "Kiss Me Slowly," "Forever And Always," and "Can't Help" (from the album Overnight, which debuted at #15 on the Billboard Top 200), PARACHUTE’s last album Wide Awake (2016) reclaimed the spirit that first sparked their love of music.
In the early days, the band quickly began landing gigs locally and soon gained a following at the nearby University of Virginia. Losing Sleep, their inaugural release under the name Parachute, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Digital Albums Chart and climbed to #40 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Over the next few years, along with releasing The Way It Was and Overnight (which shot to the #3 spot on iTunes), Parachute toured with such artists as Kelly Clarkson and Gavin DeGraw, in addition to three sold out headlining tours.
“One of the biggest highlights over the years is definitely playing all these venues that we dreamed about growing up,” says Anderson. “Anytime we play a show like that, it’s just mind-blowing for us.”
The band embarked on several tours during the Wide Awake album cycle including the “Wide Awake Tour” in the Spring and Summer of 2016 as well as the “Tour De Compadres” in the Fall of 2016 with NEEDTOBREATHE and Mat Kearney. The extensive touring and promotion once again spawned an infectious, smash single, "Without You," which jumped to the top of the band's Spotify Top 10.
Following the “Tour De Compadres,” the band continued to tour across North America in 2017 with their sold out “Getaway Tour” in the Spring and a series of intimate acoustic shows in the Fall. Since then, PARACHUTE have been hard at work writing and recording for their 5th studio album. Expect new music in the second half of 2018.
Pop / Singer Songwriter
On New Year’s Day in 2013, Kris Allen and his then-pregnant wife Katy were in a head-on collision that left the singer/songwriter/guitarist with a career-threatening shattered wrist. In the two years that followed, he underwent three surgeries, re-learned how to play guitar (despite regaining just 30 percent movement in the damaged wrist), recorded his third album, and toured relentlessly – including a two-month-long stint that started just one week after his accident. The American Idol season 8 winner ultimately retreated from the whirlwind and immersed himself in a songwriting spell that yielded more than 70 new tracks. Culled from the collection of songs, Allen’s fourth full-length album Letting You In finds the Nashville-based artist delivering his most intimate and dynamic work to date.
The follow-up to 2014’s Horizons, Letting You In builds off the soulful musicality Allen first showcased with his platinum-selling 2009 single “Live Like We’re Dying,” But with its sophisticated songcraft and vulnerable lyrics, Letting You In reaches a new depth of feeling that infuses each track with undeniable emotional power. “Looking back, I think I tired to put off dealing with my feelings around the accident for as long as I could,” says Allen. “But in the past year I’ve realized how much it all affected me, and that definitely came out in the writing of this album.”
Allen recorded in Nashville with producers Konrad Snyder (Mat Kearney, Owl City, Milo Greene), Ian Fitchuk (James Bay, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, Griffin House), and Grammy Award-winner Brown Bannister (Amy Grant, Kenny Rogers, Steven Curtis Chapman) and made a point of exploring both the bright and dark elements of everyday life. “There’s almost two different sides to the record,” Allen notes. “On one hand you’ve got these happy love songs, because that’s life – I’m a happily married guy, everything with my family’s really great. But internally I was going through some things and trying to figure out my life, and the rest of the album very much came from that.”
The latter category of songs includes “My Time Will Come,” whose lyrics reflect on Allen’s struggles with self-doubt (“Lately I’ve been making friends with the doubts in my head/Hanging on every word that they’ve said”). But with its lilting guitar melodies and soaring vocals, the song ultimately emerges as anthem of gritty perseverance. On “If We Keep Doing Nothing,” Allen offers a poignant look outward. Written in the wake of the mass shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, the song’s throwback-soul arrangement of stark guitar tones and stirring organ lines provide a powerful backdrop for a determined meditation on gun violence.
While Letting You In takes on its share of weighty maters, the album radiates a hopeful spirit that’s got everything to do with Allen’s easy warmth and open-heartedness as a songwriter and vocalist. One of Letting You In’s most uplifting tracks, “Way Up High”, blends cascading guitar lines, breezy melodies, and slice-of-life storytelling that came to Allen while flying back home after spending days away from his family. “Usually when I’m writing a song I start with the music, but with ‘Way Up High’ the lyrics all came to me in a poem form,” he says. “I just tried to get down all these thoughts that were rolling through my head at the time, in a very stream-of-consciousness sort of way, and it all felt really natural.” And among the love songs that make up much of Letting You In is “Waves,” whose gospel-inspired harmonies and spirited piano work perfectly capture the tenderness in Allen’s opposites-attract serenade to his wife.
Allen first picked up the guitar at age 13, after spending much of his childhood singing in church in his hometown of Jacksonville, Arkansas. Writing his first song in his late teens, he self-released an album at age 22 and auditioned for the eighth season of American Idol the following year. Several months after his Idol victory Allen put out his self-titled major label debut, with lead single “Live Like We’re Dying” climbing to the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition to releasing his sophomore album Thank You Camellia in 2012, he spent the next several years sharing stages with such artists as Maroon 5 and Keith Urban, as well as landing Billboard, Teen Choice and People’s Choice Awards nominations.
In the aftermath of his accident, Allen devoted himself to relearning guitar, adjusting his technique to adapt to the lack of movement in his wrist. “At first I thought I’d never be able to play again,” he recalls. “But once I got my case off, I spent more time playing than I ever had in my life. Through all that I realized that I shouldn’t take my craft for granted, so I really focused on developing it and becoming even stronger as a guitar player than I ever was before.”
Along with rebuilding his guitar skills, Allen revamped his approach to songwriting and soon saw a resurgence in his creativity. “When I’ve made albums in the past, there’ve always been other artists and songwriters that I was using as reference points,” says Allen, who names Stevie Ray Vaughan and Stevie Wonder among his earliest inspirations. “But this time I shut myself off from all that, and just focused on making music that was completely true to me.”
That process proved both thrilling and daunting, but in the end instilled him with a new sense of purpose as an artist. “When I first started making music, it was very much coming from a place of ‘Are people going to like this?’” he recalls. “But as I was making this album, it really became more about being genuine and writing songs that feel good. My hope is that if those songs mean a lot to me, they’ll mean a lot to the people listening, and that they’ll get some of that hopeful feeling too.”
Penny & Sparrow
Singer | Songwriter Duo
Texas born duo Penny and Sparrow hunt for what’s really there in the dark on their 2017 release of Wendigo. With a musical maturity that has been honed over half a decade and hundreds of live shows, Kyle Jahnke and Andy Baxter are presenting their most sonically diverse & ambitious album yet.
Rejoined by Chris Jacobie (producer and engineer of their albums Creature, Tenboom, Struggle Pretty & Christmas Songs) Penny & Sparrow delve into numerous new and eclectic soundscapes throughout Wendigo, without sacrificing the sharp and deep reaching honesty that’s accompanied their body of work thus far.
Listening to Wendigo is hearing the true to life soundtrack for the Baxter and Jahnke families. The footsteps, the wood creaking, and the din of supper prep heard throughout. The songs were recorded in their shared home and reinforce the sense of integrity that has long been a staple of the band.
The creature with which this album shares its name is a shape shifter. One moment it looks completely normal and the next it’s all fangs and gore. In an instant, it can slip its skin and go back and forth from ominous and ugly to hope and lovely. Life can be like that. Hell, all of us can be like that. Knowing this, Penny and Sparrow offer Wendigo as the flashlight you can arm yourself with. Use it to see what’s worth fearing and what was actually beautiful all along. Shine it into whatever patch of darkness scares you. For better or worse, at least you’ll know what’s there.
Texas Folk Band
The world can be a discouraging, negative place.
When a community leader told us to quit pursuing music because we weren't qualified, it knocked the wind out of our sails... for a moment.
You'll hear well-meaning people tell you you're not qualified, or you can't do that and it's not realistic to pursue your dreams. It's easy to feel lonely and isolated.
Are you tired of the voices of discouragement, negativity, and loneliness in the world today? So are we.
That's why we create music that inspires happy. That cuts through the discouragement and dystopia in the world. It's music that we hope will become anthems for every season of your life.
Willow City is more than music. It's community. Community where you will feel connected to others who are not only seeking hope and happiness, but who become the hope and happiness in the world around them.
Join us as we inspire happy.
Emma Faye (deaf)
Singer Songwriter | Founder of Aid The Silent
Emma Faye (deaf) is an internationally-known role model for the (D)deaf and hard-of-hearing (HOH) community and founder to nonprofit organization, Aid the Silent. Aid the Silent is a system of support for the four main programs of: deaf ministry, deaf education, deaf research and deaf resources. The overall mission is to aid economically-disadvantaged deaf children and teens to reach their full potential and to live life more richly by providing funds to receive hearing and speech resources (hearing aids, FM systems, speech therapy), ASL lessons, ministry-related activities and education enrichment programs.
Emma Faye created the campaign called #ShowYourAids to encourage the (D)deaf/HOH to be proud of who they are. The campaign went viral with 10,000s of people posting their hearing aids and implants all over the world - giving Aid the Silent a global presence.
Emma Faye was Miss San Antonio 2015 where she took individual awards for Overall Talent, Overall Interview and Miss Congeniality. She is profoundly deaf, sings and plays four instruments: piano, guitar, ukulele and the kick drum. In 2015, she placed Top 10 in the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant 2015 where she won the Inspiration Award, Quality of Life Award, Academic Interview Award and Spirit of Texas (Congeniality). Emma Faye was again crowned Miss San Antonio 2017 being the first to hold this title twice since the first titleholder in 1923 where she won Overall Interview, Evening Gown, Community Service, Photogenic and Spirit of Texas. In July 2017, she placed 4th runner up in the Miss Texas Pageant 2017 walking away with both the Community Service and Quality of Life awards for her work with Aid the Silent.
Emma Faye has been Fiesta Royalty for 2015 & 2017 Fiesta San Antonio and has appeared in dozens of parades and events on behalf of Fiesta. Fiesta is a citywide celebration benefiting area nonprofits.
Emma Faye was named San Antonio’s Woman of the Year in the 2018 class of 40 Under 40 honorees celebrating the city’s rising stars. She & Aid the Silent were also nominated by the San Antonio Business Journal and The Najim Family Foundation for their Corporate Philanthropy & Nonprofit Awards for Nonprofit CEO (Emma Faye) and Nonprofit of the Year (Aid the Silent) for small to midsize. In addition, her Good Vibrations Music & Arts Festival won Best of Fest for Charity Music Festival in Santa Barbara, CA presented with Jeff Bridges, Kenny Loggins, TBone Burnett and the Coen Brothers. Emma Faye was also named Best of City of San Antonio 2018 by San Antonio Magazine for Best Pageant Queen for using pageants as a platform to advocate for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and made the list of “9 Utterly Astounding Women Who’ve Shaped San Antonio” 2018 by KW San Antonio for her advocacy endeavors.
Emma Faye publicly advocated for the largest theater in San Antonio to offer captioning for their deaf/HOH patrons and won with Star Wars being the first movie played there with open captions. She advocated for deaf rights with the Texas Court Reporters Association for captioning legislation as well as hearing aid and implant insurance coverage legislation and personally met with eight Texas State Representatives and Senators on the importance of passing these two bills.
She has had over 43+ TV appearances, two of which were broadcast syndications that aired in 50 markets on hearing loss and the #ShowYourAids campaign. She was featured on Texas Country Reporter for her non-profit Aid the Silent and Good Vibrations Music Festival which won the Barbara Jordan Media Award from the The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities as Broadcast Winner for the show “Love Hears: Emma Faye Rudkin.” She has been featured 50+ times in local and national print, digital publications and radio interviews nationwide. She has shared her story at over 300+ speaking engagements and events. Emma Faye was the opening musician for Lysa TerKeurst, Max Lucado, Ben Rector, Penny & Sparrow and Matt Wertz.
Emma Faye, along with musician Ryan Proudfoot, co-wrote and produced the soundtrack for the documentary “Love Hears.” The video project that came from the soundtrack “Love Hears: In the Silence” went viral and has reached more than 352k, 174k views off the Aid the Silent Facebook page and was shared 1700 times.
In May 2017, Emma Faye along with the Aid the Silent Team threw the first fully-encompassing (D)deaf/HOH accessible festival - Good Vibrations Music & Arts Festival- that brought together the (D)deaf/HOH and hearing worlds in a way unseen before through a series of efforts that enhanced music for festivalgoers through eight hours of live captioning, ASL Interpretation, t-coiling, vibrating backpacks and an LED dance floor that synced to the music attended by 1000s.
Today, Emma Faye travels all around the country speaking at business conventions, ministries, churches and deaf conferences sharing her story and letting others know about the programs Aid the Silent offers to the (D)deaf/hard-of-hearing community. It is because of her ability to communicate via sign language and orally that she is able to unify the Deaf community with the hearing world. Emma Faye is the primary fundraiser and spokesperson for Aid the Silent as well as a staff member for San Antonio’s pilot program Deaf Young Life.
Zoë Nutt & The Union
Zoë Nutt & The Union is a Nashville based Americana/Folk band currently recording their second album. Zoë's first album, "Like You", addresses her progressive hearing loss, her second album is slated to release this Spring. The group has played festivals that include Rhythm N' Blooms Festival (TN), Riverbend Festival (TN), Red Ants Pants Festival (MT), as well as having played her songs with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.
Zoë Nutt is a storyteller. She likes to tell stories with music and poignant and meaningful lyrics, but it’s perhaps her vocal interpretation of those words that brings her musical tales to life. Simply put, Zoë Nutt is a voice you will not soon forget.
Raised in Knoxville, and a songwriting graduate of Belmont University's Curb College in Nashville, Tennessee, Zoë has a way of quieting a room and hushing those voices in our heads that make it hard to sit and listen, so that all you want to do is hear the next thing she is going to sing.
Sarah Spivey is a San Antonio native who grew up watching KSAT long before she began to think about a career in television.
Sarah says she's so happy to be back in her hometown. It was through science and math classes at Clark High School (Go Cougars!) that she first fell in love with the laws of nature and weather.
A proud graduate of Texas A&M University, Sarah graduated with a degree in meteorology, learning from some of the best professors and researchers in the field. Not to mention that she got to storm chase from time to time.
Sarah's career began at KTEN News, catering to households between Sherman, Texas, up to Ada, Oklahoma -- in the middle of Tornado Alley.
When Sarah is not busy forecasting, you can probably find her hanging out with her cat Norah - although she promises she's not a "cat lady" - and playing her guitar and mandolin.
Ryan Scott Travis
"Lost between towns, lost between loves, and told in a musical language lost in time. The textures of the 70's country folk era—the melancholic chords, the mild volume, tasteful percussion treatments, and swooning melodies re-imagine human memory in song."
-Saving Country Music
“The unique mixture of folk, Americana, and country, leave you wanting more at the end of every track."
-Texas Music Pickers
Ryan Scott Travis is a Texas reared Country and Americana artist based in Nashville, Tennessee. Reverently tying in the the earthy reflections of fellow Texans Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt with melancholic sounds of early 70's Country Folk, Travis creates a modern cosmic-cowboy atmosphere unlike anything being made today.
Travis released his debut full length The Guadalupe Breakdown in 2015, produced by Grammy award winning producer Mitch Dane to much critical acclaim. In 2017, Travis' song Yellow Rose My Darling was featured in the hit Netflix Original series, The Ranch.
Songwriters | Multi-instrumentalists
Adopted Kids is a collaboration between five talented songwriters and multi-instrumentalists from San Antonio, TX. All prolific musicians, Adopted Kids members have founded and created for projects leading them to play alongside bands such as Mutemath, Girl in a Coma, Lonely Horse, The March Divide; at venues such as Sam's Music Hall, Josabi's Amphitheater, The Cameo Theatre, Jack's Patio Bar, and Paper Tiger in San Antonio, as well as Radio Coffee & Bar, and Empire Control Room in Austin.
The band released a demo album in December of 2017, and plan to release a full length album in the fall of 2018. Adopted Kids is an energetic experience, with lively performances and storytelling, accompanied of course by their setlist going from raucous and jubilant to sweet and balladic. With influences such as Bob Dylan, Dr. Dog, The Beatles, Ryan Adams, David Ramirez, and Dry the River, the band creates a unique soundscape filled with beautifully classic melodies, and heartfelt lyrics.
Although during sets, the members switch instruments with extreme skill, the band mainly consists of:
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