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After five and half years of musical partnership, Anthony Bailey and Joy Westermann of Blue Star are releasing their debut album #dontcallthecops. This project is the embodiment of their efforts to put human emotion and creativity into an honest musical experience. Blue Star's music has been challenging for them to place in a defined genre. "There is a tendency to place humans and the music they listen to into limiting categories, I'm afraid once we label our music with a few words, that is all our music will be seen as," Westermann says. All genres aside, the sound Blue Star creates is layers of swelling strings combined with even more layers of vocals that sometimes serve more as an instrument than a means to share lyrics. Rhythm guitar typically replaces the need for alternate percussion and the song structures are frequently unconventional. The songs read like a life experience would, always moving and changing. "We are very excited to share this music that is so deeply personal, we think people will be refreshed by its honesty." -Blue Star
Anthony Bailey and Joy Westermann currently live in Bellingham, Washington, where they met. Bailey grew up in the armpit of the Hood Canal, and though he participated in his school band playing saxophone, music didn't become his own until college. Deeply influenced by punk and brit-pop, he taught himself a few covers until he had enough chords to write his own music. After a string of failed bands and dozens of raw lo-fi recordings, he made his way to Bellingham where he would meet Joy Westermann. Joy Westermann's musical upbringing up to the day she met Bailey was strictly classical violin. She participated in her High School Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, played for Western Washington University's Symphony and became a member of Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. The only gigs she was familiar with was wedding quartets. Quickly after they met these opposites created the perfect formula which is Blue Star today. They are both constantly improving themselves as musicians; the classically trained learning to let go a little (a little), the self taught learning a little discipline (a little).
Twitter: https:// twitter.com/penny841
SKAGIT VALLEY, WA
Red Llama is an independent singer-songwriter, focusing primarily in progressive and folk rock. Red Llama is the better half of the Natural Cut Records founding unit, Evan Halfmann. Evan has played music since he was only knee high and takes inspiration from artists all over the musical field.
"I don't like to think of myself as a musician.” He says, “Music is fluid and in everything. I am incredibly naïve to its nature. The songs I write and the sounds I create are just my interpretation of the world I see around me. I wish I could see it as a big profound message, but to me, it's all just nature, and I am just a tumbleweed."
Alternatively, Evan plays guitar and sings in the progressive rock/metal band Opress. He's never viewed himself as a metal musician, but more that metal music can be a catalyst into a different territory of feeling. "I never really think about what I'm writing about or try to do this, or try to do that. I just write what I'm feeling and what I see and what I know. In the same vain, I don't really write metal music. But some of the music that I write just so happens to be metal music and I dig the hell out of that.”
SKAGIT VALLEY, WA
Hunter Vaughn is a Progressive-Alternative artist from the greater Bellingham area. Their music spans from genre territories of soft rock and smooth jazz to soaring, roaring death metal. There is not a whole lot they cannot and do not do. How does someone contain such a whacky and vast amount of influence into one sound? I guess you’ll have to listen for yourself and see. What more is to be said about them? We’ll let them speak for themselves:
“As an individual, I’ve always struggled to really be myself and communicate what I think and feel. I’ve played in multiple groups with a lot of great musicians and I’ve always found my music to be lacking real personality. I decided recently to employ the guise of Hunter Vaughn as more of an experiment. I wanted to disassociate myself from my music and stop being ‘the man behind the mask’ by becoming the man behind the mask.
When I was able to do this and the weight of society and judgement was lifted from me, I found I could finally speak in way that made sense to me. I started writing music truly from my heart and didn’t censor myself or limit my thinking. I’ve never been happier and felt more wholesome in my entire life as I have been able to because of this communication. I have continued this idea for my own happiness, wellbeing and personal gratification, surely, but this thinking opened my mind to the idea of what it means to be an artist as opposed to what it means to be an identity. When music is popularized for the person behind it or shunned for the same reason, this is a crime to art itself. The only way to truly know your message is received for what it is, is to know that people don’t know who said it. I do not now, nor do I ever want to be more than an idea that makes music that is true to I am. I want to be free from gender, race, sexuality, religion and politics and I think the people who truly will appreciate my music will understand that.” Hunter Vaughn
Tumblr: https: http://huntervaughn.tumblr.com
Michael Trew is a singer, composer and muli-instrumentalist, native to the Pacific Northwest. He began playing in lo-fi rock groups, and went on to study folk, rock, European and Indian classical music. During these years, he spent time with teacher Chandana Dixit, exploring raaga, as well as performing in local progressive rock bands.
In 2005 he formed The Undercover Llamas. Though short lived, his musical friendship with keyboardist/vocalist Naomi Smith would lead to the formation Autumn Electric. The band went on to release five albums between 2008 and 2015. During this time, Michael embarked on a solo US tour (2011), as well as opening for Euopean artist Marius Ziska (2012), along with several band tours.
The last two years have seen a break from major touring, and with Autumn Electric on hold, Michael signed with Natural Cut Records to release his debut solo effort, Watiting in the Wings in 2017. An album featuring new music, as well as unreleased and re-worked material, in collaboration with several Seattle area music friends.
Other Projects: - Bassist in the kindie-rock group Brian Vogan and his Good Buddies (2011-present) - Keyboards/Vocals/Flute, in The HZ. (2011-present) - Vocals/Flute in Progressive Rock group Moon Letters (2016-present)
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