Need some new music on your rotation? Take a listen to Northwest Louisiana’s rising stars.
In Louisiana, music is as much a part of the culture as gumbo—a stew of influences that history slow cooked into a thick and savory amalgamation of multiple genres with no fixed music identity. While talent spans the entirety of the state, the music scene has historically concentrated in south Louisiana, namely New Orleans—for now, at least. Tucked in the northwest corner of the state, a local music movement continues to gain exciting traction. The Shreveport-Bossier area, self-monikered “Louisiana’s Other Side,” fosters a hotbed of adventurous bands, many with influential instrument-wielding ladies, that are steadily building the music scene of the state’s new center for funky and innovative tunes.
Chelsea Norman and The Daydreams
Behind a Nord Electro 3 keyboard, Chelsea Norman belts out sharp vocals with a smooth aftertaste while Josh Hollis and Jerry Lee flesh out her ethereal sounds on guitar. Atmospheric styled shows enhance her music’s dramatic swells. Spacey and emotionally driven hooks fill the spaces between lyrics. It’s nostalgic and influenced by her classical background.
Currently the band, rotating their bass and drums, is working on their first LP, an album that captures Norman budding into motherhood and the changes that arrive with that. From start to finish, tracks run into the next—one complete instrumental torrent enlivened with cello and violin parts. Tune into the feelings that connect you with others upon the album’s tentative release.
Winners of The Band Wars 2018 and the 2017 Louisiana Music Prize, Star Chamber’s dreamy surf rock sounds remain a local favorite. Frontwoman and second guitar, Amanda Tamaccio’s colorful and melodic songs combine with lead guitar Corey Bissell’s punching riffs, vivaciously melding into Chris Spickerman’s bass lines and Anthony Tamaccio’s ferocious drumming—a unique pretty-mixed-with-gritty arrangement.
Their first LP Seeing Circles (2017) sounds like an intriguing mix of dreamy pop melodies adding to the indie brigade, but it’s not their set music aesthetic. A new album in the works shifts into a heavier rock focus, promising rhythmic beats and harmonized vocals with electrifying guitar melodies.
Frontwoman AJ Haynes emblazons her band with powerful vocals, while Adam Davis’s bass and Jesse Gabriel’s drums serve a combo of Southern musicality and garage rock force. The band’s potent debut album Get Gone (2016) channeled the band’s collaborative process with raw energy-driven punk sounds and soul, with an occasional jazz swing.
Exploring and creating intimate spaces, Haynes’ new album grapples with vulnerable lyrics and nuanced vocals, keeping the artistic process simple but pointed. She makes it clear that she writes as a woman, not despite being one. This compelling “soul power” rock and roll anthology has a tentative release you won’t want to miss!
Jennifer Janét started playing guitar at the age of nine, and though she’s the leadwoman of Spectra Vamp, she’s a guitarist first. Heavily influenced by several different styles of music which showcases in their multi-genre album Attention (2017), the band stylistically covers about seven different genres. The album, an ode to her son with autism, speaks to writing out of necessity, because it’s a way to explore the condition of existence. A new EP is set to release in 2019; it takes a strong R&B flavor and couples it with hard rock tones. While a high energy shift, it translates on stage as sweat-dripping, melt-your-face fun.
Lions May Cry
This dynamic force has shared the stage with national acts like Candle Box, Fastball, Tantric, Heartless Bastards, and Charm City Devils. Consisting of lead singer and guitarist Jimmy Wooten, his sister Laura Wooten on bass guitar and vocals, and their long time friend Cody Lowery on drums and vocals, this power-rock trio slams powerful rock style drum beats, melodic driving bass lines, and haunting lead guitar.
Progressive sound coupled with insane guitar parts are strongly impelled by Laura’s bass. It almost takes the lead in a band that throws down on stage.
Joanie Nerrettig is the type of musician that hands you her acoustic guitar and says, “Let me teach you a few chords.” Not surprising for the leader of a band and namesake that claims the tagline, “good for the ears, good for the soul”—their music’s raison d’etre. Joining her on stage is Steve Benton on bass and vocals, Marc Miller on percussion and vocals, and Kyle Martin on lead guitar. Though she already stands out as frontwoman, at times strapping on her harmonica, Nerrettig has been known to model wildly stunning glittery dresses on stage. Her syrupy vocals and thoughtful lyrics mesh with the band’s multigenre groovy, melodic, and hypnotizing sounds, which they are currently cultivating for sync licensing.