Category Archives: Contests

Kicking off in Style Part 2: Missy and Chelsea

And after much delay, the Fall edition of the 500 dollar Battle of the Bands is underway with a spectacular singer-songwriter duo from Chippewa County, Michigan – Missy and Chelsea.

Sisters Missy Zenker and Chelsea Zenker have the kind of talent at ages 17 and 15, respectively, that most of us can only dream of. To prove it, here’s their original piece Same Story:

We rest our case.

But as listening to one of their songs makes you immediately want more, here’s another Missy and Chelsea original: No Stoppin’ Us Now will be looking to interview the duo in early 2013. In the meantime, make sure to like them on facebook and visit the facebook page where we’ve shared their first ever Christmas song. Tell us what you think.

And so once again the bar is set high out of the gates. Up Next: a recent video from fan favorite Pound

Press Release: The 9th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) kicks off.

Maddy Rodriguez

From our friends at IAMA:

“IAMA promotes excellence in Acoustic Music Performance and Artistry. Acoustic artists in various genres can gain exciting radio and web exposure through this competition. Participating sponsors include New Music Weekly, Loggins Promotion,, Acoustica, NoisyPlanet, SongU, Acoustic Cafe Radio Show, Broadjam, Sonicbids and XM Satellite Radio.

IAMA is open to all independent artists and labels. Unlike other music industry competitions, IAMA focuses on developing new markets for Acoustic artists, labels and with or without CD releases. Past years’ winners include Maddy Rodriguez (Canada), David Francey (Canada), Liz Longley, The Refugees (USA), Kate Lush (Australia), Wayne Southards (USA), Larry Pattis (USA), Omega (Uganda), El McMeen, etc. Last year’s winner went to Canadian folk singer-songwriter Maddy Rodriguez who won the overall grand prize as well as the Best Folk Artist. Maddy hit the charts with her winning song “All The Wasted Time”. Maddy is the youngest top winner of IAMA at just 18 years old.

Win prizes in 8 different categories: Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Group/Duo, Folk/Americana/Roots, AAA/Alternative, Instrumental, Open and Country/Bluegrass. There will also be an Overall Grand Prize winner awarded to the top winner worth over US$11,000, which includes radio promotion to over 250 radio stations in US and Canada. Winning songs will be heard on radio! Winners and runner-ups will be featured on our CD compilation. Also, we feature up to 10 different artists get featured and promoted on IAMA website every month, which provides a review, ratings, CD information and more.

Judging is based on excellence in music performance, songwriting/composition and originality. Winners are selected by a panel of established artists and industry professionals. Winners and finalists of the Awards will be featured in the IAMA website and e-newsletters, read by music press, talent buyers, promoters and other industry insiders. All songs submitted must be submitted must be original and submitted online or via CD, the artist may also perform original material not yet released and written by other songwriters or composers. Cover songs are permitted. Deadline to enter is November 9th.”

Media Contact

Jessica Brandon

The Winner of the 500 Dollar Battle of the Bands: Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands

Our first contest since we resumed publication is in the books, and it was literally decided by one vote:

Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands win it; congratulations to a great band and our thanks for participating. Our first runner up, Floozzie Shooz is also a winner and will receive a 100 dollar Sam Ash gift certificate.

If you haven’t already checked out either of these great artists, visit them on their sites and like them on facebook – is incredibly lucky to have two bands of this caliber on our pages.

Look for our 500 dollar Photography contest and Fifty dollar Artist of the Week contests to begin later this summer. In the meantime, we have upcoming features on Bill Madison, Cat in the Box, and Michele Kishita…

All the best.

Floozzie Shooz, featuring the guitar work of Joe Osorio

Hello, May! The 500 dollar Battle of the Bands continues with “The Spider and The Fly” by Floozzie Shooz.

Joe Osorio was raised by his grandmother. At the age of eight he heard his father sing on an amateur radio show, and this set the tone for a lifelong fascination with music, leading him to become a rabid fan of the music of the late-Fifties and early Sixties. He listened to the Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five, The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Del Shannon, Roy Orbison and, of course, Elvis. Joe was determined to find the common denominator in this music and its origins: the Blues.

Joe went on to become an incurable Blues fanatic, listening to the likes of BB and Albert King, Muddy Waters, T Bone Walker, Albert Collins and Buddy Guy among many others. Having had one guitar lesson from a teacher who couldn’t quite play the stuff he was already playing, who tried to teach him Jingle Bells, he never took another lesson, but went on to play in many garage/basement bands in his hometown of Flushing, New York.

Joe joined the Army in 1970, got married in the mid-Seventies, and quit the guitar for over ten years. In 1987-88, he heard Guns n Roses and Joe Satriani and was inspired to play and write.

Joe was once told by an NYPD Police Lieutenant “Someday I’m gonna put a toe tag on you, Joe. You’ve already had nine lives.” Fortunately for us, that hasn’t come true.  Joe moved to Virginia where he recorded the music you hear on our facebook page on a fifty-eight dollar guitar.

Give “The Spider and the Fly” by Floozzie Shooz a listen and let us know what you think. We think you’ll enjoy.

Kicking off in Style: Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands

It’s our first contest since we woke up from our nap – and we weren’t quite sure what the response was going to be…and then we got an email from Ron Royster, director of “Drowned Out” by Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands. Not only is the 500 dollar Battle of the Bands up and running, it is kicking off in grand style. We just hope this doesn’t scare off the competition – but then again, give Drowned Out a watch on our facebook page and you’ll probably agree that this contest is already a success. The gauntlet has been thrown down – who’s gonna pick it up? But enough lead in, the rest is all Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands:

“Out in the woods she lived, all alone. At least that’s what it felt like, never belonging to any one group and having a penchant for the oppressed. Crystal did not come from a musical family, and unlike so many children who are forced into music lessons, at age seven she practically ran away to her piano teacher’s house down the street – books in her basket – pedaling as fast as she could down the gravel road – dust flying behind.

When she was still young, a little demon told her that she shouldn’t sing, that it sounded better when she just played the piano, but she was determined to ignore the demon and sing her heart out anyway. But sometimes the influence of the demon rendered her silent and still, and her hands seemed to be void of life.

As she grew up she traveled the world, dancing with the Romani people of Spain, residing in an “anarchist” collective, working in Yellowstone, and above all else learning about other cultures and their music. It was in Greensboro, NC in 2010 that she met what would become her first Silver Hand. Diego Diaz had witnessed her previous band that took him to another time and place, and he wished to contribute his haunting and ethereal guitar sounds. It was around this time that Crystal’s hands began to grow back. She began writing her own music again, and in less than a year collaborated with the North Carolina Symphony on an arrangement of her song “Toy Hammer” for their 2010 New Year’s Eve program at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. She is constantly performing, has had two Northeast tours and has played alongside Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Larkin Grimm, Pearl and the Beard and many more.

Muses and Bones , her second album, will cast you into an otherworldly, ethereal, hauntingly familiar yet strange landscape, ranging from deranged Cirque du Soleil to burlesque European Carnival. Within Crystal’s unconventional song structures, you’ll hear her inspiration from P.J. Harvey and Björk, and a deep love for Yann Tiersen and the Gotan Project. Her lyrics and melodies portray the world as a dark and strange (and often funny) place deeply connected to fables and imagination. Stories such as “Little Match Girl” and “Skeleton Woman” convey folklore lessons that address phases in women’s lives where they need to be conscious of staying true to their intuition. Songwriting begins in many different ways, including inspiration from refrigerator magnet poetry or going to the movies alone at midnight, but is mostly a channeling process that happens late at night when the veil between reality and dreams is the thinnest. Expect the unexpected.

Crystal’s songs reflect her educational background in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology and her experiences playing and singing various styles – Mariachi, Chinese, Balinese Gamelan, Ugandan, Samba and more. She is a mad multi-tasker who jumps around on accordion, musical saw (self-taught through YouTube videos), piano, adungu (a Ugandan harp), concertina and bombo (Argentine drum) – sometimes more than one at a time! She possesses astounding vocal range and power that descends on a dime to delicate subtlety. One moment she sings, she soars – and the next… a falsetto whisper that slyly peeks behind the curtain.

Many Silver Hands have come and gone on various nontraditional instruments. These days Sandy Blocker, whom Crystal met as her African drumming teacher 11 years ago, contributes African, Middle Eastern, and South American rhythms by adding riqq, jembe and congas, alongside kick drum and cymbals. Another Silver Hand is the exquisitely tasteful Jeremy Denman from the hip-hop group Urban Sophisticates on trumpet. Crystal desires to collaborate with other artists in all areas of media and believes strongly that arts have the power to create community and heal.”

Check out Drowned Out and let us know what you think. And visit Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands at their website and on facebook. Thanks for the submission, Ron – this band rocks.