2024 Artists

This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council.

Miko Marks

The Wall Street Journal has described it as a “genre and industry-defying mission.” NPR declared it a “multilayered experience.” The New York Times commended the movement as carving out a new path in country music. All tell the story of Miko Marks’ resurgence as she deftly blends country, blues, southern rock and even gospel to create a sound and experience that has literally brought every audience to its feet. This new sound along with her warm and soulful spirit catapulted her into a community of change with her doing more than breaking ground – she’s shattering it. It’s a serendipitous realization that Marks was meant to be here, at this time, in this moment, for good.

After releasing her critically-acclaimed album, Our Country (via Redtone Records) in March 2021, Marks dove head first into an industry that previously never fully embraced her. She closed out 2021 with her EP release, Race Records, which shined a light on the arbitrary divisions forced upon artists and audiences in the early days of music marketing in the 1940s. In January of 2022, Marks was named to CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2022 and by April, she stood alongside five other artists and managers chosen to participate in the inaugural Equal Access Development Program, a program designed by mtheory and CMT to foster and support marginalized communities underrepresented in the genre of country music. Now more than ever, the change needed is beginning to come to fruition; a change Marks feared she wouldn’t bear witness to in her existence: “I get emotional around it, because I didn’t think I would see any of this in my lifetime,” Marks says.

Nearly one year after the release of Our Country, Marks released the first single, “Feel Like Going Home” (March 25, 2022). The lyrics sing, “Rest for the wanderer who never more shall roam.” For Marks, the time to reclaim her roots that were planted long ago is now; a powerful reconnection that can be felt in every note. No longer a wanderer, Marks has returned to her true self after years of trying to figure out her place in the world and in her first true love: music.

Feel Like Going Home is an amalgamation of where Marks has been and where she is going. What she has learned and what she wants to teach. It’s an innermost look at the ebb and flow of her past, present and future. It’s the stories she wants to tell but hasn’t been able to speak into existence ever before. The messages are profound: healing, restoration and distinctly individual.

The Brevet

Nestled in between Los Angeles and San Diego lies Orange County, CA; a culturally, economically, and environmentally diverse community with an identity all its own. The Brevet, hailing from the heart of Orange County, continues to create an ever-evolving sound that pushes stylistic boundaries. Just as Orange County is home to snow-capped mountains, pristine beaches, and bustling city centers, The Brevet’s alternative rock sound draws authentically from folk, surf, and R&B influence, but doesn’t shy away from thundering rhythms, blistering guitars and progressive synths.

Chris Pierce


In 2023, Chris Pierce was handpicked to be the special guest opener for the NEIL YOUNG Coastal Tour. He recently gained additional worldwide prominence with “We Can Always Come Back to This”. His hit song aired on 3 episodes of the #1 NBC primetime series ‘THIS IS US,’ then went on to #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart. Pierce has also done worldwide headlining tours and has performed with: Neil Young, B.B. King, Seal, Al Green, Steve Earle, Allison Russell, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Jill Scott, Keb’Mo, Blind Boys of Alabama, Aaron Neville & others.

Other recent highlights include: a solo concert at The Kennedy Center, a duet with Sara Bareilles, a sold-out concert with Allison Russell, and performance/interviews on NPR’s WORLD CAFÉ, MOUNTAIN STAGE, AMERICAN FOLK SHOW, SoCAL SOUND, and more. Stellar performances at Newport Folk, AmericanaFest, Folk Alliance, Rancho La Puerta Folk Fest, Four Corners Folk, MerleFest & NC Folk Festival led to further acclaim.

His 2021 album, American Silence garnered critical acclaim from NPR, Rolling Stone, NoDepression, SiriusXM, The Bluegrass Situation, AmericanaUK, Acoustic Guitar and others. PopMatters named ‘AMERICAN SILENCE ’THE #1 Best Folk Album of 2021 and FolkAlley named “Residential School” from American Silence one of the 100 Essential Folk Songs.

​At a young age, Pierce developed a rare hearing disorder called Otosclerosis that led to the loss of hearing in one ear and partial deafness in the other, a setback that would deter many young musicians forever. The reality, however, fueled Chris’ passion and determination all the more, forcing him to re-learn almost everything he had known prior to his condition. To Chris, music was, and still is, an unconditional companion.

His highly anticipated album titled Let All Who Will was released on September 1, 2023, with critical acclaim from NPR, NoDepression, American Songwriter, Hi Times and more. In addition to his solo career, Chris Pierce performs/records with both Americana/Folk/Soul sensation War & Peace with Sunny War, & the Americana/Roots band Leon Creek as well as doing occasional appearances with the Black Opry Revue.

Ruen Brothers

A Western record may seem out-of-place for two British brothers (Rupert and Henry Stansall) raised thousands of miles from the desert landscape from which they draw. However, their hometown of Scunthorpe, England offers more similarities than you might expect.

An industrial steel town, Scunthorpe sits amid the vast farmlands of Northeast England. “We tended to horses and often got stuck behind a tractor on the way to school,” recalls Henry. “Mum would play American western films as Rupert fingerpicked a nylon string guitar and I practiced my Howard Keel impersonation,” he laughs. This upbringing gave them the confidence to embrace their love of the genre through this album, having first hand knowledge of saddling up, strumming guitars and spending hours and hours in fields, bars and barns in the middle of nowhere.

The experiences combine with the Brothers’ technical prowess – Rupert is a classically trained guitarist; Henry, a choir-trained tenor with a dynamic four-octave range – to create a tour-de-force album that both glorifies and modernizes the Western genre. Similarly to their previous two albums, Ten Paces showcases Ruen Brothers’ wide range of songwriting ability and profound knowledge of the musical influences from which they pull.

The Arcadian Wild

The Arcadian Wild is a four-piece indie folk/pop group from Nashville, TN. Led by songwriters Isaac Horn and Lincoln Mick and Bailey Warren on fiddle, The Arcadian Wild confidently inhabits and explores an intersection of genre, blending the traditional with the contemporary. Combining elements of progressive bluegrass, folk, and formal vocal music, The Arcadian Wild offer up songs of invitation; calls to come and see, to find refuge and rest, to journey and wonder, to laugh and cry, to share joy and community and sing along.

The band’s 2023 album Welcome marks the start of a captivating new chapter for the genre-bending trio, who returned to the studio with renewed purpose and insight after devoting the last few years to a series of critically acclaimed singles and EPs. Like much of the band’s catalog, the album blurs the lines between chamber folk and progressive bluegrass, drawing on everything from country and classical to pop and choral music with lush harmonies and dazzling fretwork, but this time around there’s a rawness to the writing, an embrace of candor and simplicity that cuts straight to the heart of things like never before. The result is perhaps the most arresting collection yet from a band known for its ability to stop listeners dead in their tracks, an exquisitely beautiful celebration of community, connection, and the power of belonging that feels tailor-made for these challenging times.

John Németh

As a teenager in the early ‘90s growing up in the muddy potato fields of Idaho, John Németh was drawn to the hard-edged hip hop sounds and rock bands of the day, until a friend, Tom Moore, introduced him to the Junior Wells and Buddy Guy classic “Hoodoo Man Blues.” Together they formed Fat John & the 3 Slims, which is still regarded as a legendary band in the Boise region. John played harp and sang in local bands, often opening the show for nationally touring blues acts and quickly caught the ear of established blues musicians. It didn’t take long before he was releasing his own recordings, The Jack Of Harps (2002) and Come And Get It (2004), featuring Junior Watson, and performing in Junior Watson’s band.

John relocated to San Francisco in 2004, where he had the bitter-sweet good fortune to undertake a two-year stint with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets, filling in for the ailing Sam Myers. Németh immersed himself in the deep musical waters of the Bay area, absorbing more of the soul and funk grooves of what he calls “the early East Bay Grease sound” of San Francisco and Oakland bands.

John’s talents did not go unnoticed and he soon signed a recording contract with Blind Pig Records. His national debut for that label, Magic Touch (2007), produced by Anson Funderburgh and featuring Junior Watson on guitar, received an ecstatic response from fans and the media, and he was hailed as the new voice of the blues. Living Blues enthused, “Magic Touch gives hope that the blues will survive.” In 2008 Németh was recruited by Elvin Bishop to do some performances and contribute four vocal tracks to his Grammy-nominated album The Blues Rolls On.

Németh released two more albums on the Blind Pig label, Love Me Tonight (2009) & Name The Day (2010), both hitting #6 on the Billboard Blues Chart, and beginning his long string of Blues Music Award (BMA) nominations, numbering 20 at last count. John has also won two Blues Blast Music Awards – Best New Artist Debut Recording and Sean Costello Rising Star Award. John followed up with two independently released live albums in 2012, Blues Live and Soul Live.

In 2013 John relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, where he teamed up with producer Scott Bomar and his classic Memphis Soul band, the Bo-Keys, to create an album of revisited soul classics, Memphis Grease (2014 Blue Corn), which debuted at #4 on the Billboard Blues Chart. John won the 2104 BMA for Best Soul Blues Male Artist, followed by Memphis Grease winning Best Soul Blues Album in 2015.

In 2017 Németh released Feelin’ Freaky (produced by Luther Dickinson) on his own Memphis Grease label, crushing all barriers of style and genre with an album of original songs that defied all the usual pigeonholes, drawing from his strong influences in blues and R&B, as well as contemporary sounds in hip hop and rock ‘n’ roll. Later that same year, Németh was part of a side project “The Love Light Orchestra Featuring John Németh” recorded live at one of Memphis’ favorite watering holes, Bar DKDC. The 10-piece band was initially envisioned by guitarist Joe Restivo, vocalist John Németh and arranger/trumpeter Marc Franklin.

Németh returned to Electraphonic in December of 2019  with his seasoned road band of young gun players, The Blue Dreamers, featuring 19-year-old guitar phenom from Philadelphia, Jon Hay, drummer Danny Banks and Matt Wilson on bass for a rowdy southern swamp roots session resulting in his 10th album, Stronger Than Strong demonstrating, yet again, his uncanny ability to skillfully blend retro and modern blues and soul into compelling music that is simultaneously old and new.

Bywater Call

Meghan Parnell and Dave Barnes are the driving force behind Bywater Call, a powerhouse 7-piece Southern Soul, Roots Rock band out of Toronto, Canada. Formed in 2017, the band has received an Independent Blues and multiple Maple Blues Award nominations including Entertainer of the Year and Best Female Vocalist for the 2023 Awards Season. They have toured extensively in Europe over the last few years, including in May and June of 2022, featuring a mainstage appearance at the Netherlands’ premiere
blues festival MOULIN BLUES. Performances there have been praised in Dutch and German media, with references to Meghan as one of the best singers in blues and roots today.

In August 2023, the band participated in Joe Bonamassa’s Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea Mediterranean Cruise alongside headliners Blackberry Smoke, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and Bonamassa himself. They have headlined festival stages from Belgium to Ontario, Canada, and in 2023, they played festival mainstages from Germany to Florida, Colorado to Quebec City, Fredericton to Kentucky, among many other American and Canadian cities, including opening for White Horse at the inaugural edition of the Smoke Stack Music Festival in Hamilton, Ontario.

Bywater won the opportunity to compete in the 2023 edition of famed International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, but instead Meghan and Dave found themselves in the U.K. opening for the Joe Bonamassa supported band, Robert Jon and the Wreck, out of the U.S. Bywater returned in full format to the U.K. and Europe in late 2023 to embark on their own tour.

Bywater’s much anticipated sophomore album was released September 2, 2022 to rave reviews. Born out of a love for southern soul, blues and roots music and a passion to create a powerful and moving experience for listeners, Bywater Call is completed by Bruce McCarthy on drums, Mike Meusel on Bass, newest member, John Kervin on Keys, Stephen Dyte on Trumpet and Julian Nalli on Tenor Sax.

Joy Clark

Joy Clark is a New Orleans singer-songwriter, lyrical guitarist and composer who creates soulful original compositions that celebrate peace and the undeniable power of love. Her intricate rhythms and warm melodies reveal a sweet vulnerability that enchants her audiences around the world. Like so many other artists in New Orleans, Joy’s first stage was in church. Growing up the daughter of a minister, she learned to create an atmosphere ripe for an emotional experience. So it’s no wonder she believes music is her ministry and intimacy is her superpower.

Colby T. Helms & The Virginia Creepers

At the bottom of the Southwest Virginia foothills half-a-mile from the nearest neighbor, 21-year-old Colby T. Helms resides in an “underground house” built by his late father on land his family has owned for generations. Colby first dreamed of making music his life at age 12, when a group of Blue Ridge Mountain old-time and bluegrass players performed songs like The Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ “Standing On The Rock” and the gospel classic “A Beautiful Life” at his father’s funeral in Boones Mill, VA. To make his dream a reality, he taught himself guitar, banjo, and mandolin by watching local performers and YouTube videos. On the day he turned 16, he bought his first car, a stick-shift Jeep Wrangler, and hit the road to play anywhere people would have him.

A veteran performer in the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Mountains region by age 18, Colby wrote the songs that would become his upcoming semi-autobiographical concept album, Tales of Misfortune, as a senior in high school. The album delves into the beginning of his story – starting off as a dream and ending with the passing and remembrance of his father. “Higher Ground” is about the choices he has made to realize his dream of becoming a touring musician – and their cost. “Mountain Brandy” brings the listener back to Colby’s home at the bottom of the Blue Ridge Mountains and sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Smoke and Flames” chronicles his experience as a fledgling musician, honing his craft and searching for validation while still in high school. Album closer “Daddy’s Pocket Knife” cuts the deepest. A true story that also serves as a metaphor for Colby’s own artistic journey; it reminds us that some things lost can be found.

Colby T. Helms released his debut album on Photo Finish Records in January 2024. A touring musician from age 18, Helms has opened for Charley Crockett, Molly Tuttle, Old Crow Medicine Show, Marty Stuart and more. In 2024, he is set to support Tanner Ursey and play AmericanaFest UK, MerleFest, Blue Ox Music Festival, FloydFest, Rooster Walk and Suwanee Spring Reunion.

Stillhouse Junkies

A crowd-thrilling trio from the hills of Colorado, Stillhouse Junkies share the kind of strangely charmed chemistry that elevates both artist and audiences alike. Since forming in 2017, the Durango-bred band have offered up a hypnotic and high-energy form of roots music anchored in the free-flowing interplay among the three lifelong musicians (Fred Kosak on guitar and mandolin, Cody Rinnin on upright bass, Alissa Wolf on fiddle). While they’ve gained major traction in the bluegrass work in recent years – including winning the IBMA Momentum Band of the Year award in 2021 – Stillhouse Junkies ultimately inhabit a genre-blurring and subtly inventive sound informed by everything from blues to classical to Texas swing. When matched with their nuanced song craft and soul-stirring harmonies, the result is a one-of-a-kind musical experiences that immediately transports the listener into a more enchanted state of mind.

Joyann Parker

“A singing, songwriting, guitar-playing, self-producing, self-aware powerhouse, but the driving force is unquestionably her voice — a formidable instrument she wields with soul and taste.” – Bliss Bowen/Pasadena Weekly

“Joyann Parker knows her way around a song. She climbs inside it, dwells in it, lives with every note and phrase, delivering performances that seize our emotions and capture the ragged despair and heightened joy of life.” – Henry L. Carrigan, Jr./Living Blues Magazine 

With roots in the church and a solid foundation of musical education, Joyann Parker found her authentic voice later in life and created her own blend of roots music that combines soul, R&B, gospel, jazz and traditional blues styles. Parker has been a steadily rising star on the Midwest music scene and now brings her full range of talent as an accomplished singer, pianist, guitarist and songwriter to national and international stages. Joyann’s rootsy, genre-blending sequel, Out of the Dark, was released on February 12, 2021 and debuted at #11 on the Billboard Blues Chart and #1 on the NACC Radio chart. Joyann’s new album, Roots was released June 3, 2023. 

Roosevelt Diggs

It is not only heart, but blood that unites the core of Roosevelt Diggs. At its base: Two brothers, Levi and Logan Duddles, who have spent a lifetime creating and writing music together. With the addition of the musical backbone of Jon Shears on the upright bass and Jeff Leitch on percussion, they transformed from two brothers picking on stringed instruments to a band with a fire inside.

Musically, Roosevelt Diggs finds itself in the long standing Michigan tradition of acoustic based music. Blending Folk, Country, Bluegrass, Blues, Rockabilly and Rock and Roll into a melting pot of true Americana, Roosevelt Diggs proudly carries on this tradition and brings a genuine approach to acoustic music.
Since its beginning in 2008, Roosevelt Diggs has made its way around Michigan performing in some of the finest concert venues, breweries, and festivals. Whether it’s a high energy evening in your favorite brewery, a Wednesday afternoon at a music in the park, or the opening set for a sold out nationally touring act, their music was felt and embraced by audiences of all ages and musical preferences.

Roosevelt Diggs released their fourth album, Reverie in October 2023. Reverie displays an evident growth in songwriting from their 2018, (WYCE Jammie award winning album), Better Days. Reverie was recorded at La Luna Recording and Sound in Kalamazoo, MI and engineered by Ian Gorman and Joe Hettinga. Produced by Hettinga, and mastered by Grammy award winner, Glenn Brown, Reverie is sonically a step above any of their previous releases. The album also features a host of talented guest musicians including Paul Niehaus (Justin Townes Earle, Iron and Wine) on pedal steel, Meredith Krygowski (Adrian+Meredith) on fiddle and Eric Engblade on banjo which helps to round out the songs. Reverie captures Roosevelt Diggs at their best and shows the band still growing and improving and after 15 years together.

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