February 27th, 2014 by Robin

As many of You know I do a lot of research looking for up and coming artists who are talented enough capture our attention out of an already overloaded wavefront of musical acts coming from all directions and who are also AVAILABLE to play for us here in Chattanooga, TN.
While looking over an upcoming show listing from Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta I saw a band I’d never heard of,  “The Soil & the Sun.” a seven piece full-on rock orchestra with male & female members, possibly interbreeding, carrying a toddler along for the tour. So I clicked on them and it was some of the most powerfully captivating new music I’ve seen or heard in quite some time.   Immediately I thought “I’ve got to get them here.”  So far no show is booked (but they ARE on my invite list so keep an eye out.)  And as of November 2014 I have seen them live two nights in a row and they helped restore faith that there are some really special artists out there waiting to re-confirm your faith that live shows can be a truly uplifting experience.   This live rooftop concert gives an idea what You may expect onstage.

The studio recordings on the front page of their website give us an idea of the level of songwriting You may expect.  www.TheSoilAndTheSun.com

I’ve gone out of my way and paid good money to see Sufjian Stevens, Band of Horses, Grizzly Bear and many others including Pink Floyd who I hear slight echoes of in The Soil and Sun. At this point this band sound and look way more impressive than most of those cats.. (well Grizzly Bear WAS pretty cool and I liked their opener Beach House, almost as well.. and these women are certainly prettier than Pink Floyd and none of these musicians walked offstage and let a tape loop play like Pink Floyd did when I saw them a couple of decades ago : / ) So this band, at least from a distance looks to be in a league with all those higher profile & higher ticket dollar units. For now we have unique opportunities to see this (7 piece?) full band up close and take in an experience that we may well brag about later when they’re only available in much larger venues. Or maybe they’ll just go raise kids and get jobs and fade away like so many other great experiments that we are lucky to have records by..   Sometimes it takes a lot of legwork to get your work noticed. I’m picking up the vibe there may be some internally driven purpose behind The Soil and the Sun that only the band can describe driving them forward to produce all this immersion worthy music. And maybe someone who spends their most valuable working time scouring the newest digital media will write an article and help propel them even deeper into a sustainable creative lifestyle.  A sense of community permeates everything I’ve seen from them. That must be how they do it.


January 2nd, 2014 by Robin

Sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes it makes a better artist.  Over the last few years ArtFRONT has been keeping an eye on the musical projects of  Mandi Rae.  When we first discovered Mandi Rae at an Americana Folk festival near Nashville where the Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show were just getting their early fan bases started she was a solo folkie storyteller with a guitar who was entertaining enough in that incarnation to get her an opening spot in one of our best attended concerts to date.  She has sinced developed into a true country poet with a dedicated, tight, swinging full band.  As a songwriter Mandi Rae knows how to put the hooks into each of her songs.  Her subject matter is always memorable and her tunes stick in your head like the gum under the seat of an Alabama church pew.   Earlier performances and recordings put her almost in the arena of comedienne storyteller but several years of growing up, becoming a mom  to two little girls and suffering the loss of her husband to an incurable illness has  refined her in to one of the more solidly developed artists to emerge from the underground sub-Dixie circuit.  Birmingham and Nashville have taken notice and Mandi Rae and her band are now poised to start turning heads and developing a widespread fan base starting throughout the southeast then spreading wherever people get a chance to experience one of her solid and melodically satisfying performances.  This collection of songs and videos are all the recordings that comprised her 2006 full length album called Mandi Rae & Westover Water “Gettaway.”   I have replaced two of the songs with live video versions from Nashville’s Music City Roots performance which occurred just a couple of weeks after the tragic loss of her husband.  This was a significant turning point in her style of delivery.  Making an already potent entertainer who was filled with humor and the ability to grab an audience’s attention, into a mature and intense multifaceted presence who is in the game for the win.  As focused a performer as anyone out there, the current Mandi Rae shows are worth paying attention to  for a lot of reasons.  Elements of Bob Dylan, Loretta Lynn,  and a genuine southern voice that most Americana style performers can only emulate.  Mandi Rae is the real thing and You need to be paying attention.  ~R.


January 28th, 2013 by Robin

Russel and Cameron Cook of The Little Country Giants

Russel and Cameron Cook  of the  Little Country Giants

One of our favorite “real country”/Americana groups,  Little Country Giants are coming back to Barking Legs Theater on Friday Nov. 29th.  for a double billed show with Angel Snow in one of the best venues in the southeast for sound quality and intimate settings.  Their last CD is titled “60 Grit.”   Here are a couple of songs for You to listen to before the show.  It was difficult to choose which ones to post here because everything on the album is great,  So I may switch them with others before the show so check back.   You can buy the full CD directly from the band on the night of the show. Look for full details on these musicians, more announcements and purchase advance tickets for this event HERE.

And please give a “like” to our ArtFRONT Presentations facebook page to stay alerted to our events and insights if that’s how You get your info these days .  ~R.

March 27th, 2012 by Robin

Eliza Rickman                   photo © C.B. Lindsley

Eliza Rickman is coming back to play @ Barking Legs Theater in Chattanooga, TN  Thursday Nov. 15th, 2012. . Eliza Rickman’s performance last April @ Barking Legs Theater convinced me she is completely ready for much bigger stages once the media and then the public catches on to her amazingly dynamic stage presentations, chilling vocals and captivating stage presence. Her looping capabilities rival that of Andrew Bird and we will once again roll out the Grand Piano for her performance in order to accentuate her signature set which includes toy piano and other technological marvels as well. Don’t miss Eliza Rickman while You can still see her in this up close & intimate environment. You can read about this show and link to complete information on all the artists who will be performing HERE once our updates are complete for this show.     Eliza will also be appearing on Richard Winham’s afternoon music program on WUTC NPR 88.1 fm in Chattanooga @ between 2 & 4pm on The day of the Show. You can link to their live webcast as well.   Until then You can listen here  to two  of my personal favorites from Eliza’s most recent album
“O You Sinners” which was released in March of 2012.


April 18th, 2011 by Robin

Hope for a Goldensummer

Last year’s  Hope for Agoldensummer’s April show @ Barking Legs Theater in Chattanooga, TN turned out to be the week of one of the most devastating Tornado outbreaks in memorable history but the show still went on!  If  You missed the band that weekend due to the chaos, lack of power at your house or worse, they will return on Sunday April 15th 2012 along with HuDost and dance performer Lacy Jo.   You can read all about this show HERE. ~R.*

Great fortune has it that this spring’s Hope for Agoldensummer performance coincides with the release of their most impressive studio album to date.    “Life Inside The Body.”  You can listen to these selected streaming audio files here and then  see  Hope for a Goldensummer live along with Ontario’s Americana & World Music duo HuDost who will be collaborating on dance numbers with Chattanooga’s own Lacy Jo of  Zanzibar studios Tribal fusion bellydance.   All the details for this show with links to all three artists’ websites and more of their online music, videos and info is right here.

Keep in touch with Hope for Agoldensummer through their website and be sure to get the new CD soon as it’s released: www.HopeforAgoldensummer.com

January 6th, 2009 by Robin

Davey MacManus of the Crimea gives ArtFRONT this preview podcast for the 2009 album Listen To Seashells, They Know Everything and his upcoming U.S. solo tour.

Davey MacManus front man of well-known-in-the-U.K. band The Crimea, gives ArtFRONT this preview podcast for the 2009 album Listen To Seashells, They Know Everything .

Of all the new material I’ve been hearing since last fall this music sticks with me and plays in my head as much as anything I’ve heard. These unmastered songs appear on the new full length album.

As of May 2011, Davey has announced there will be a vinyl double album set containing these and other songs from The Crimea available this fall in the U.K.   Check back for more info on this ongoing project.



September 23rd, 2008 by Robin
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July 20th, 2008 by Robin