Artist Preview: Rock Showcase 2019
Our Brother George
Written by Sarah Crawford
Not the typical hard rock band, Our Brother George was pleasantly surprised when they found out they booked Rock Showcase.
“Belmont has a lot of rock bands, and we have some more country leaning stuff,” said lead singer and Belmont senior Henry Long.
But knowing that Rock Showcase offered a lot of variety, the band members knew it was the one they wanted to pursue.
The band comes together with drums by Tim Miller, guitar from Andrew Lambie, bass and background vocals by Kevin Buete and saxophone by Mack Clay.
Our Brother George draws inspiration from a variety of artists, including Dawes, The Allman Brothers, Jason Isbell and Real Estate. The band’s latest single, “Patio Bar,” reflects more of its new sound. It’s “more indie, reverb, chorus effects and intricate guitar harmonies,” said Long.
Long and Miller both recall admiring the showcase years ago. This year, their first year together as a band, they got the chance to audition.
“There were a lot of people there, and I was scared to mess up, but it was fun,” said Miller.
The band is excited for the mixed bag of talent the audience will get to experience Saturday night.
“None of us are really similar. It’s gonna be four really cool, unique acts,” said Long.
Written by Justin Wagner
Though other Belmont musicians inspired Lemondrop to delve into the world of songwriting and performance, its members — Joni Lemons, David Moran, Max Moser and Chris Volzke — have a sound that is all their own.
“We actually formed after Rock Showcase last year, because Group Nap was just so cool,” Lemons said. “Me and my friends were just like, ‘We should join a band.’ You know, why not?”
With original songs in the vein of Neon Trees, Paramore and Friday Pilots Club in its repertoire, Lemondrop boasts a compelling blend of alternative rock and pop.
One of the band’s singles that the audience can expect to hear at the showcase, “Bloom,” is a song based on the experiences of Lemons and her friends.
“It was a song about how we grew as people our freshman year, and we released it after we got out for the summer,” Lemons said. “Both of the originals we’re doing are really important to me.”
Lemons is especially looking forward to performing alongside an array of talented artists.
“I’m really excited this year because three out of the four acts are female-fronted. I think, especially for Rock Showcase, that’s so cool,” Lemons said. “I’m so excited to perform with all of them.”
Above all, Lemondrop’s passion for performance is built on camaraderie.
“I’m just excited to play with some other musicians that I adore.”
Written by Kendall Crawford
It was Ysa Fernandez’s family that spurred her love for creating music.
With parents who loved to play guitar and sing together, Fernandez found herself drawn to the music industry, she said.
“Whenever we’d get together, it was always a jam session,” said Fernandez. “It was cool because it was very lighthearted.”
Fernandez transferred to Belmont last August from Daytona State College, where she studied audio engineering and learned the more technical side of music. Now studying songwriting, she has a studio setup in her room where she produces her own songs, Fernandez said.
“Down in Florida, I didn’t know any other producers who were doing the kind of music I was doing, so I said, ‘I guess I’ll just have do it myself!’”
At the showcase, Fernandez and her band will be performing jazzy rock with a bit of rhythm and blues pop influences, said Fernandez.
“My dad was a huge blues fan, and my mom loved jazz standards and big band. I just love that sound,” Fernandez said.
As for artistic influences, Fernandez has embraced singers like Rihanna and Eartha Kitt. But most of all, she is influenced by Creedence Clearwater Revival because of the organic rock n’ roll sound.
Joking about missing Vine as a platform for musical artists, Fernandez just wants to share her music with the world any way she can.
“I just want to be able to make music and put it out and be able to make a living off that, which is a big goal for artists nowadays,” said Fernandez. “I’d love to songwrite and I’d love to be in production for other artists — just pick up anything I can.”
For Fernandez, music is just about having fun. And that’s exactly what she and her band do when they play onstage together, she said.
“I want you to enjoy it as much as we’re enjoying it.”
Written by Liz Gresser
Makenzie Culver, going by artist name ENZI, writes songs because she wants music to heal others the way it healed her.
When she was just 4 years old, she had to be rushed to the hospital because of the Chiari malformation in her brain.
A family friend visited her in the hospital and played guitar to help cheer her up. While listening to the guitar, all the pain went away, and it felt like nothing was wrong, she said.
That was “the first time that music changed my life,” she said.
Culver, a freshman songwriting major, wrote her first song at 13 when her dad took her phone away.
“From then on, I have loved the process of writing,” said Culver.
Culver said her journals and phone are full of lyrics just waiting to be recorded. She’s recorded 12 so far but hopes to get around to the rest of them soon.
At the Rock Showcase, Culver will be performing the original songs “Flipside” and “I’m Sorry that I.”
“Flipside” is about being mysterious and playing with people just for fun, and it “really fits with Rock Showcase vibes,” Culver said.
“I’m Sorry that I” was the first song that Culver wrote after moving to Nashville, and she said it’s her best song yet.
“As an artist, sometimes your favorite is often the most recent, because you feel it shows the most improvement,” said Culver.
Photos by Jonathan Sommers for Rock Showcase.