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The Listening Room - Port Clinton: Artist Bios

Josh Krajcik - Friday, November 24th

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When he was just 16-years-old, Josh Krajcik schemed his way onto the stage of a bar near his hometown of Wooster, Ohio. Earning $100 for his four-hour debut gig, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist decided that night to devote his life to making music. Over the next 14 years, Krajcik fronted a host of musical projects and eventually founded the Josh Krajcik Band, a three-piece blues-rock outfit that toured with the likes of Corinne Bailey Rae and The Fray and appeared on the Bonnaroo Music Festival’s 2006 lineup. But by 2011 Krajcik was fighting to sustain his music career, and ended up taking a job at a burrito joint to make ends meet. On a whim, Krajcik then auditioned for The X Factor USA—and soon found himself wowing audiences with his gravelly-rich voice and stirring delivery on the show’s premiere season. Now, Krajcik is set to release his full-length album Blindly, Lonely, Lovely that pair his powerful vocals with intensely passionate, soul-infused songwriting.

“More than anything, I wanted this music to be honest,” says Krajcik of his debut releases. Instinct has also played a key role in guiding Krajcik through the ups and downs of his early career. “Over the years I definitely had a few of those moments where you’re doubting yourself and you wonder, ‘Should I just give it all up?’” Krajcik admits. “But at the same, I really don’t know what else I could have tried to be.” So while holding to the promise he made himself at sixteen yielded its share of struggle, Krajcik asserts that those tough times have more than paid off. “The day after I finished the sessions for ‘Nothing’ and ‘Don’t Make Me Hopeful,’ I was walking around Hammersmith, just sort smiling to myself and thinking about the songs and my music in general,” he recalls. “After a while I looked up and realized I didn’t know where I was. I’d gotten so caught up in thinking about where I was now—compared to just about a year before, when I was jumping from couch to couch and making burritos to pay rent—that I’d ended up completely lost in the middle of London. It was a great moment.” Still, Krajcik asserts that his ultimate goal is to continue expanding his sound and delving more deeply into his songwriting. “The most important thing for me is to just keep on pushing myself as a singer and songwriter and musician,” says Krajcik, “since I know that this is what I’m going to be doing forever.”

Howie Day - Friday, December 1st

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Howie Day’s emotionally resonant lyrics and inventive melodies have earned him both critical praise and a legion of devoted fans.  He is known for his energetic, heartfelt shows, where he connects with audiences through the strength of his songwriting and his quirky sense of humor. Day’s warm tenor voice “soars into fluttering, high registers, but also grates with real, pleading grit,” as one critic put it.  After sales of over a million records and two Top 10 hits, Day is back on the road in support of his new studio album, Lanterns.
   
A native of Bangor, Maine, Day began playing piano at age five and guitar at age 12. By 15, he was writing his own songs and performing across New England.  Shortly after graduating high school, Day became a fixture at college coffeehouses across the U.S. He wrote, financed and released his first effort, Australia, which was named Best Debut Album at the 2001 Boston Music Awards.  The Boston Globe called Day “gorgeously seasoned, far beyond his years” with “a brave, beautiful singing voice.”  During his relentless touring schedule, Day began experimenting with effects pedals and loop-sampling techniques as he performed, layering live percussion with vocal harmonies and guitar parts to become a veritable one-man band. He went on to sell over 30,000 copies of Australia as he navigated the independent music scene and continued to hone his craft.
   
After signing with Epic Records, Day released his major-label debut, Stop All The World Now, and hit the road to support it. The constant promotion paid off: Stop was certified gold in the U.S. and spawned two Top 10 radio hits: “She Says” and the platinum single “Collide.” After three subsequent years of intense worldwide touring, Day moved to Los Angeles and returned to the studio. His next release, Sound the Alarm, built on the emotionally complex spirit of its predecessor and delved into Day’s journey from indie wunderkind to platinum-selling artist. Its lead single, “Be There,” became a staple at modern AC radio.
 
After parting ways with Epic and relocating to New York City in 2010, Day released the Ceasefire EP on his own label, Daze.  Over the next two years, as a reenergized Day toured North America, Australia and Asia, new songs began to emerge and evolve. His fourth full-length album, Lanterns, was recorded in Boston with producer and longtime friend Mike Denneen. Awash with a warm musicality and unique instrumentation, the album also features guest vocals from Aimee Mann. Lanterns was released in April 2015.

 

 

Hey Monea & Paul Pfau - Saturday, December 16th

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For brothers Dan and Nate Monea and longtime friend Adam Orin, their time is meant to be spent doing what they love – writing, recording and performing music. "Even though Nate was just 13 and I was 16 when we played our first show, I knew music would be our life", says Dan. That passion was affirmed in 2012, when this childhood trio from Cleveland, Ohio were selected to open for Bruce Springsteen to perform in front of 60,000 fans during Hard Rock Calling's summer music festival in London's Hyde Park. The band secured this opportunity by winning Hard Rock's worldwide battle of the bands, besting over 12,000 other bands from around the world. Since then, Hey Monea has shared the stage with many of their musical heroes: ranging from the Bare Naked Ladies and the Goo Goo Dolls to the Doobie Brothers, Lady Antebellum, and Kid Rock. These influences resonate deeply in their music and was captured efficiently by legendary Grammy winning producer Dennis Herring (Counting Crows, Elvis Costello, Modest Mouse) on the bands' major label debut, Cheap Souvenirs, in late 2013. The band spent two years living on the road in support of Cheap Souvenirs, playing club dates and festivals across the country, as well as opening Bronze Radio Return's entire 2014 Summer tour. On the heels of all of that activity, Hey Monea elected to seclude themselves away in a cabin in Florida to write, record and self-produce their newest release, entitled "The Fifty." The record is meant to serve as a hearty homage to the United States, as Daniel Monea offers "not only is the American landscape the backdrop for our lives, it's the inspiration as well. With every new city comes different food, different culture, different nature, and most importantly different people who live entirely unique lives." Nate Monea adds "it's our privilege as a band, being able to travel and see new and diverse parts of the country. We try to use that inspiration, and this new album reflects that." Hey Monea doesn't consider themselves patriots in a traditional sense – as Daniel puts it, "We love America for the greasy spoons, farmers daughters, and fishing holes. For the people we meet along the way and for the freedom we all enjoy…" The songs on "The Fifty" reflect that love deeply on tunes like "Honey, I Do", a devotional love song that, according to Adam Orin, "takes a few risks and doesn't fit into a specific mold". America is the land of opportunity, and on "Filthy Rich", the band laments "late model cars and paper plates" and the other trappings of a band who aspires to break through. The calypso-tinged "Buenos Noches" addresses how love might, at timed, bridge the language barrier in our diverse country. "The Fifty" will be released on October 23 on independent imprint Noble Steed Music, and the band intends to tour with all of the enthusiasm reflected on this new, youthful batch of recordings.
   
  
Paul Pfau (rhymes with "wow") is an award-winning singer-songwriter living in Nashville, TN. After graduating from college with an economics degree in 2010 he decided to forgo the 9 to 5 for a career as a recording artist. In 2011 Paul was nominated Best New Artist by the Washington Area Music Association. In 2012 he began recording his debut full-length album, Happy To Be, with double-platinum recording engineer Sean Russell (Bruno Mars), which was mixed and mastered by Grammy-award-winning engineers Jeff Juliano (John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band) and Brad Blackwood (Maroon 5, Keith Urban). In 2013 Happy To Be won a WAMMIE for Debut Album of the Year. Months later he was diagnosed with a vocal nodule that would put his career on hold for the better half of the next year. Shortly after his recovery, Paul gained national exposure on season eight of NBC's hit show "The Voice." Auditioning with Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me To The Moon" he turned the chairs of both Blake Shelton & Pharrell Williams, ultimately choosing to work with Pharrell. Since his departure from the show, Paul has been writing and recording music for his sophomore album and touring the country.

 

Leigh Nash - New Year's Eve - Sunday, December 31st

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More than two decades into her career, singer-songwriter Leigh Nash shines a light on her Texas roots with The State I'm In, a solo album that plants its feet on both sides of the border.

Nash was raised in the Texas Hill Country, where the radio stations played country music and the small towns rang with mariachi bands. A shy kid, she built up her confidence by learning how to sing. Nash began by impersonating the artists she heard on the FM dial — with particular emphasis on Tanya Tucker and Patsy Cline — before graduating to her own gigs at the age of 13, when she began singing with a country band during a series of weekly shows in New Braunfels. Within a few years, she'd also joined a band called Sixpence None the Richer, which ultimately introduced the pop world to her signature, sparkling vocal and led a successful run that included Top 5 hits like "Kiss Me" and “There She Goes.”
  
Kicking off her acclaimed solo career in 2006, Nash has spent the past decade exploring everything from folk to electronic music. The State I'm In marks a return to her days in the Lone Star State, though, with Nash whipping up a combination of Texas twang, Spanish influences, orchestral pop hooks and heartbroken lyrics. In classic country style, she sings about heartache and bad luck in a voice that swoons and sweeps, backed by a band whose members include Emmylou Harris and Wanda Jackson's pianist, Jack White's ace fiddle player and award-winning a cappella group Street Corner Symphony. If The State I'm In sounds like a country album, though, it's a wide-ranging, left-of-center, Latin American-tinged country album, with songs that tip their hat to the past while still moving forward toward something new.
  
Looking for a fellow rule-breaker who wouldn't mind pushing the envelope, Nash turned to Grammy-nominated musician Brendan Benson, who co-wrote one of the songs and produced the entire record.
  
"I've been wanting to make this record since I was 14, but I needed the life experience to do it," says Nash. "These songs are about the things you can't get back to, whether it's your father dying or your relationship ending or your band amicably breaking up. It's my own version of the music I grew up on, with an emphasis on hooks and melodies and heartbroken lyrics."
 
Releasing on September 18th on her own One Son Records in partnership with Thirty Tigers. The State I'm In was entirely co-written by Nash, whose shimmering voice seamlessly ties together the album whose track list bounces between ballads steeped in old-school pop arrangements ("Spider and the Moth") and breakup songs rooted in the brassy influence of Mexico ("Somebody's Yesterday"). "What's Behind Me" even tips its hat to "God Only Knows," the classic Beach Boys hit whose writer — Brian Wilson — has been a longtime influence on Nash's own music. Also tossed into the mix are barroom piano chords, barbershop harmonies, horns, bursts of electric guitar, fiddle and the steady pulse of an upright bass. "We weren't afraid of going beyond the country genre," Nash explains. "We just went where the songs told us to go. And they took us to some great places."
Nash, Benson and company recorded everything in Nashville, where Nash has lived since 1996. Even so, The State I'm In still creates its own geography, dreaming up an imagined place where Tennessee, Texas and Mexico all share the same border, and Willie Nelson lives next door to Ry Cooder, Roy Orbison and Flaco Jimenez.
"I tried to get Flaco Jimenez on this record!" Nash explains. "His sound is the embodiment of much of the vibe I tried to capture. We got it! But I still want Flaco to play on any and everything I do from here on out."
 
The same goes for Cooder, who has spent his career building a similar bridge between American and Latin American roots music. "There are few artists that have the kind of visibility he has had so far in his career. I'd also chew off a limb to have him collaborate on a song with me," she says, adding, "One of my limbs, not his."
 
For Nash, there's a lot to be happy about. The State I'm In may be rooted in loss, but it's also the most ambitious album she's ever recorded, anchored by songs that turn melancholy into melody. She's a proud mother, too, with a husband who co-wrote album highlights like "High is Better" and "The State I'm In." Alternately loose and lush, The State I'm In feels like a reintroduction to an artist who's never really gone away, with Nash finding new life in older sounds. It's music for roadhouses, juke joints, make-out sessions, breakups, gospel services and drives across the American desert. You can take the girl out of Texas… 

Bryan White - Friday, January 12th & Saturday, January 13th

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Bryan was born in Lawton/Fort Sill, (Comanche County) Oklahoma into a musical family. Growing up he listened to all kinds of music. His parents played in cover bands and thanks to his father, he learned to play drums while he was still very young. Drums came natural to him and he became so good at it that his parents frequently invited him to play with them. Since their bands played all different styles of music, White feels it gave him a great perspective and helped to make him the diverse artist that he is today. "Although country music has my heart, I still love and respect all kinds of musical expression."

One thing White never tires of mentioning is the day he heard the music of his musical mentor, Steve Wariner. “People talk about defining moments. For me, this was definitely one of them. I heard Steve’s voice and I immediately gravitated toward his tone and phrasing. I knew right then, at the age of fourteen, what I wanted to do with my life.” Fresh out of high school, White says he packed up his guitar, drum sticks, angst, dreams, five hundred dollars that his family gave him and headed to Nashville to pursue a career in country music.

The move proved to be beneficial. He charted seventeen singles on Billboard's Country Charts, had six number one singles, two platinum records, two gold records, he joined forces with Shania Twain and together they took “From This Moment On” all the way up to number four on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart. He has garnered several awards for himself, including a Grammy, a CMA Horizon Award, and an ACM Top Male Vocalist award among them. And, with his songwriting, he helped several other artists climb the charts; Sawyer Brown and Diamond Rio both made it to the top five slot with songs co-written by White. He's also had song recorded by Wynonna, Joe Diffie, LeAnn Rimes, Lila McCann, Jackie Lee, Love and Theft, just to name a few. The accolades led him to various TV appearances such as "The Tonight Show," "Late Night With David Letterman,” NBC's "The Today Show," and “CBS This Morning.” However, despite all of his musical successes, it is an award from outside of the music arena that is probably the best indicator of who White really is; People Magazine named him one of their “50 most beautiful people” in the world and everyone who knows him finds it easy to understand why.

White says he has always been grateful for all he’s been given throughout the years but now looking back in retrospect, he is more grateful than he’s ever been before. "To gain notoriety for doing something that's second nature has always amazed me," he says. "It's incredible that I've gotten to work with so many of the people who've influenced me. It still blows my mind."

White took some time off to get away from the craziness of the music business and to start a family. "After a decade of building my career and being on the road so much, I was spent, mentally and physically," he says. "I knew, I needed to get away and take some time to breathe and do some of the other things I had always dreamed of." He did just that by marrying the beautiful actress Erika Page (One Life To Live/Days of Our Lives) and bringing sons Justin and Jackson into the world.

When asked how his life has changed during his break from the industry, White responds, “I found my true identity, not only as an artist and a songwriter, but as a human being. I realize now that life is an incredible gift and it’s meant to be lived on purpose and outwardly. Music is a gift and a great vehicle but it’s really about what happens beyond the music for me. What kind of legacy did I leave as a husband, as a father, and a friend?”

Bryan is currently working on a new album entitled "Shine" scheduled to be released May 27th, 2014. It is a record supported 100% by his fans. When asked what he hopes to accomplish with this new album, Bryan smiles and says, “I’ve already swung the bat hard and put the ball out of the park. I have nothing left to prove, but I have a lot more to say.” White is sure to once again make a huge impact with his voice coupled with great songs full of heart and honesty. Never forgetting where he comes from or his past success, he looks ahead with confidence, determination, gratitude, and much anticipation to a future filled with more dreams...

 

 

Charlie Mars - Friday, January 26th

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Bio coming soon. 

John Berry - Friday, April 27th

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Bio coming soon.