Press Releases for Musical Performers at the 61st WV Black Walnut Festival
CHASE LIKENS - ARTIST BIO/PRESS RELEASE
Chase Likens is a 23 year old Country music singer, songwriter and actor. He was a Top 12 Males Finalist on American Idol Season 11 and has continued to perform at numerous venues and county fairs throughout the US, sharing the stage with the likes of Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Thompson Square, and Eric Paslay. Chase most recently performed at Zeigenbock Fest in Houston, TX alongside notable Texas Country artists Kevin Fowler, Roger Creager, and Randy Rogers.
Chase's single "Caught in a Storm" was serviced to Country radio by veteran promoter Jerry Duncan (Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean) and was received well by Country music fans and program directors alike. Chase's follow up single "Playing It Safe" impacts Country radio stations January 13, 2015 and will be spearheaded by HMG-Nashville.
Likens is signed with William Morris Endeavor/Nashville and managed by John Gomez of Union Entertainment Group out of Austin, TX. Chase's debut EP "Whiskey Kisses" is currently available for pre-order on iTunes and will be released on January 20, 2015.
For more information on Chase Likens, visit his official website by clicking here.
RACHEL B - ARTIST BIO/PRESS RELEASE
Exuding a smoky undertone, sassy delivery, and catchy melodies, Singer-Songstress Rachel B is paving her way as an undefinable and timeless Entertainer. Rachel B, often described as “A Sassy Treat,” is an independent artist who insists on being The Boss of her own life. In 2014 she self-released her debut EP, “I’m The Boss” and headlined a 10 city national tour. In 2015 she independently released her second EP titled, “Break It Down.” In Fall of 2015 Rachel B will release her debut album, a collection of the best remastered songs of the two EPs, along with brand new material to be released in early 2016. Whether she’s singing about being A Boss or tickling the ivorys on a La La Love song, this songstress is sure to leave you with memorable hooks that empower and inspire.
Rachel has been captivating audiences from an early age with her natural ability to inspire and connect with fans. Often noted as being a sassy version of Norah Jones with the bite of Amy Winehouse, this up and coming starlet will reel you in and leave you wanting more of her sultry style. Rachel is inspired by bold woman of their time, such as Barbra Streisand and Marilyn Monroe, and is deeply influenced by the soulful sounds of Minnie Riperton, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.
After studying Classical Voice at Interlochen Arts Academy, Rachel B wanted to bend the rules and notes a little more. She fell in love with songwriting and various genres of music, from Motown to new and classic popular music.
Rachel B then attended Berklee College of Music in Boston followed by a move to Los Angeles, where she honed her artistry by performing on stages all around Southern California, in addition to writing music for film and television. She has had songs placed on ABC shows such as General Hospital, independent films, and has played at venues across the country such as Chicago Symphony Hall, Berklee Performance Center, Traverse City Opera House, Wine Festivals, Mr. Smalls, Altar Bar, Flood City Music Festival, and more.
“Her set was brimming with sass, playful energy, and unquestionable talent. One moment she was giggling about ripping pantyhose and teasing her guitar player, and the next belting out originals “I’m the Boss” and “Vicious.” I’m all about lady-power, so needless to say I was into the equally flirty and ferocious set.”
For more information on Rachel B, visit her website by clicking here.
CHRISTIAN LOPEZ - ARTIST BIO/PRESS RELEASE
Christian Lopez is a 19-year-old with the soul of a 65-year-old Appalachian mountain bluegrass musician hidden away inside, steeped in the roots of his West Virginia upbringing in Martinsburg on the shores of the Potomac River in the Eastern Panhandle of the state. On his debut full-length effort, ONWARD, the young artist emulates the sound produced by the region’s resident pickers and strummers, writing all but one of the songs on the album. Highlights include the Old Testament gravity of the focus track, “Leaving It Out,” the plaintive, yearning lament of “Seven Years,” the twangy pedal steel guitar lacing through “Morning Rise” and the whistling-past-the-graveyards fatalism of the ghostly goth-gospel “Oh Those Tombs,” a song Christian discovered in the public domain popularized by Hank Williams.
Christian’s impressive melding of influences into something identifiably his own ranges from the classic rebel country of Kris Kristofferson (“Morning Rise”) to the lyrical folk-rock of Jackson Browne and James Taylor (“Take You Away,” “The Man I Was Before”); from the classic rockers in his dad’s record collection like AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, Foreigner and Free ( “Goodbye”) to the neo-Americana revival of the Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show (“Don’t Know How”), which first prompted him to unplug his electric Les Paul to prove you can “rock your face off” with an acoustic. There’s even a hint of world music in the Middle Eastern rage-by-way-of Celtic jig of “Stay with You,” which builds to its own impressive, operatic Orbison-esque climax.
If his previous five-song Pilot EP was, in Christian’s own words, about adolescent relationships, ONWARD is about the responsibilities and sacrifices that come with pursuing something you are drive to do. Songs like “Seven Years” and “Pick Me Up” are about moving inexorably forward, forced to leave those you love behind, even while keeping them close. The conflicts described in “Stay with You” and “Will I See You Again” could be summarized in the phrase, “should I stay or should I go,” while the gravity of “Leaving It Out” and the orchestral benediction of the closing “Goodbye” confront mortality itself with hope, optimism and joy intact. ONWARD is about yearning to put down some roots, but being hopelessly addicted to the wanderlust of the road, seeking to escape the day-to-day for the promise of what tomorrow may bring.
“There are songs about staying, and songs about leaving,” he laughs. “So I guess I’d agree.” Produced by Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson) – who also worked with Christian on his previous EP at his Nashville-based Low Country Sounds studio -- Lopez was able to use that experience in recording his album bow, which is, in the singer/songwriter’s own words, “a much more organic, natural effort.”
“I wanted less effects on my vocals, a drier, more present sound,” he explains. “Less touched-up elements in the production, with everything right on the surface, not too much make-up, and Dave Cobb is the guy to go to for that. He’s such a genuine producer, who makes music in such a pure, old-school way. He’s the right person for the job. In the same way, Christian has no real use for today’s crossover-obsessed Nashville, preferring the city’s more authentic past. “I feel out of step with it and I’m proud to be,” he declares. “From the beginning, I’ve never wanted to make ‘pop’ music...I knew my heart is in a different place. I was influenced by artists and bands that pushed through that barrier to do the music they loved. My goal is to work my ass off to succeed with that approach. That’s the destination I have my sights set on.”
Although he’s been playing piano since he was five (introduced to it by his music teacher mom, an opera and classical music lover) and guitar at six, in several garage bands along the way, Lopez has only been performing his own music in front of people for the last couple of years. He performed the single, “Will I See You Again,” which he re-recorded for the new album, at the Fillmore in Charlotte, NC, when he was declared the winner of last year’s Belk Modern Musician Showcase, which landed him a spot on their tour. Christian Lopez Band has also opened for both Zac Brown Band and Dave Matthews Band, along with a stint on the Vans Warped Tour.
“We bought an old RV, ripped out the seats and put in bunks,” says Christian, whose father often served as the tour manager and van driver. “I want to be on the road touring for the foreseeable future.”
Christian is committed to following his muse wherever it takes him. In the final, elegiac “Goodbye,” he quotes Bob Dylan in an interview he happened to catch one night on 60 Minutes, talking about the personal sacrifices a performer must make to achieve a goal, “the back end of a deal you made yourself.”
“That line really connected with me,” explains Christian. “”It’s a sad, but necessary thing to say goodbye to that way of life, being a carefree kid to embark on a mission you have to, and want to, accomplish.”
To that degree, ONWARD expresses that pressure to keep on keeping on, writing, singing, performing…
“I try to take each day as it comes, and make the most out of it,” concludes Lopez. “But I have long-range goals, too… It’s always been my dream to play a new place every night. I’d really love for people all over the world to listen to this record, to enjoy and relate to the songs.”
For the Christian Lopez Band, everything from here is ONWARD.
For more information on the Christian Lopez Band, visit his website by clicking here.