Freddy & Francine is an Americana-Soul duo comprised of Bianca Caruso & Lee Ferris. With voices reminiscent of Aretha Franklin & Van Morrison, their songs blend Soul, R&B, Folk, and Americana with a modern, yet timeless appeal to all ages. Based in Los Angeles, Ferris and Caruso met in the 40th Anniversary of a musical production of HAiR in LA in 2007. As individuals, Caruso developed a comedy television show with ABC and Ferris racked up 500 performances as Carl Perkins in the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet. Freddy & Francine have released 2 EPs & 3 full length records since 2008. Their latest, “Gung Ho” was produced by renowned producer Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco, Andrew Bird, Anais Mitchell) and featured members of Ryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright, and Andrew Bird’s touring bands. Freddy & Francine most recently performed at The 2017 Telluride Bluegrass Festival as well as Rocky Mountain Folks Fest as main stage performers. They are recording a new EP in Nashville with producer Dan Knobler (Rodney Crowell, Roseanne Cash, Lake Street Dive) and plan to release it in 2018.
Connor Garvey is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Portland, Maine, with the amiable presence of an entertainer, the lyrical depth of a poet, and the enchantment of a storyteller.
Garvey leaves audiences uplifted and inspired through a positive message delivered in a way The Portland Press Herald says proves you can be optimistic and self-aware without being boring. His unique sandy tenor and masterful blend of rhythm and melody draw comparison to Paul Simon and contemporaries Josh Ritter and Jason Mraz. He wins song competitions. He fills rooms. But most of all he moves people.
Heather Styka dances where others fear to tread, gleefully cutting to the truth with gutsy vulnerability. She combines the lyrical intricacy of folk with a catchy melodic pop sensibility and the grit of classic country in songs that are smart and disarming. Call it folk, call it Americana, call it alt-country, but Styka’s heartfelt croon draws as much inspiration from classic warblers such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald as it does from Shawn Colvin and Eva Cassidy.
After growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Styka moved to the city to studying creative writing, meanwhile honing her song craft among Chicago’s long-standing folk community. Her 2011 release Lifeboats for Atlantis brought her to national attention, hitting #3 on the FOLK-DJ charts. Styka’s honest, image-heavy songs have garnered her a number of awards, including being a New Folk Finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival (2015, 2017) and official showcases at Folk Alliance International, NERFA, SWRFA, and FARM.
While living in Portland, Maine, Heather Styka released While This Planet Spins Beneath Our Feet. Recorded in the Adirondacks with Beehive Productions and printed by Styka on a 1901 letterpress in Maine, this 2014 release charted for four months on FOLK-DJ. Styka’s next album, The Bittersweet Tapes (2016), “tugs the ear on first listen and greets you like an old friend on subsequent visits” (Simon Rigby, Indie Music Portal). These gut-punch pretty songs nod to traditional folk, classic country, and even garage rock, carried by Styka’s emotive vocals. Recorded in Tulsa, Oklahoma on an old four track recorder with sparse, ethereal production by John Calvin Abney (John Moreland, Samantha Crain), The Bittersweet Tapes retains an unfiltered immediacy. “In this raw and intimate portrait of life, disguised as a collection of songs, Heather Styka has truly created a masterpiece… A writer with this kind of vision and ability doesn’t come along very often” (Chris Darby, Independent Melody).
Live, Heather Styka comes off as something like Leonard Cohen crossed with Patsy Cline. Armed with a guileless, unvarnished delivery, she’s equal parts wordsmith and entertainer. Styka’s energetic shows feel as intimate and candid as late night conversation, peppered with a quirky sense of humor and confessional storytelling. Once again working with Beehive Productions, Styka is currently releasing her her fifth full-length studio album, North, which was recorded with Danish backing band The Sentimentals in a cabin in northern Wisconsin.