Making his LA mark: Shea Welsh

If you want to talk about true Angeleno musicians and figureheads, Shea Welsh is quite a prototype. Though he was born in Baltimore and raised in the East Coast, he obviously found his niche in the famed music capital. First and foremost, he is a massively accomplished guitarist, having performed with members of some of the most famous bands to grace the music industry and logged countless hours in the recording studio with various artists. His ability to transcend multiple genres “keeps him at the top of many music-makers’ lists.”

 

(Pictured above mid-concert.)

 

Shea fronts an LA-grown band that performed for three years on Thursday nights at Pip’s on La Brea as a part of a residency, so it’s not hard to see that he loves to perform. He’s very involved in the Jazz world and has really dipped into that scene – he’s headlined at Jazz festivals like the Long Island Jazz & Blues festival and the Panama Jazz festival to name a few. He’s been a sideman for many groups, always being flexible in his ability to adapt and create, whether it’s with a small combo or a big-band like Paul McDonald’s. Check out Shea performing “Sancho T. Panza,” an original composition, with his band. Perhaps this will give you a sense of just how talented he is.

 

 

Not only has he made his mark on the scene as an artist, but he has also done quite a lot of work as a producer and a writer. His most recent producing project was the The Hipnotics’ debut recording along with his work helping to write and produce Michelle Coltrane’s second album. However, this isn’t all. Shea decided early to give back to the industry that shaped him through education. He is a member of the faculty at the University of Southern California’s Thorton School of Music and has written a few instructional books on Blues and Jazz. Most recently, he has opened The Shea Welsh Institute of Jazz as a branch of The Conservatory of Performing Arts over near Westwood in Los Angeles. The school is open for dedicated high school and middle school students looking for an intense experience and immersion into the study of Jazz. He will be giving these kids masterclasses in theory, performance, and repertoire, and they are bound to benefit from his experience and absolute mastery. He’s pictured below with some of his students.

 

Shea is certainly making his mark, not only on stage and in the halls, but almost most importantly, in the minds of the young. His commitment to his young students goes to show how much he truly cares about bringing out the love of music in as many people as he can. If all of this wasn’t impressive enough, there’s one more thing. In addition to all of his work with Michelle Coltrane, Shea released his own debut jazz album entitled Arrival to the world earlier in 2017. Go give this album a listen, as it will take you to a place different from all others. His unique composition will grab all listeners with intent and fury and also with the soft tenderness of the blues. Look out for Shea Welsh around Los Angeles – whether he’s performing, producing, writing or teaching. Wherever he is, he is leaving quite a stamp on this historic city.

 

 

Atlantis the Band: Spotlight

There’s nothing like a charismatic twin-duo to get a room grooving. Today let’s look at the jazzy R&B/Soul and Pop group stationed in Los Angeles, Atlantis the Band, led by the Merriweather twins – brothers bound not only by blood but by their simple love of music. Their voices blend smoothly with a cool dynamic; lead singer Travis Merriweather leads the group with his sweet but edgy melodies and impressive range, while his brother Rustein Merriweather  provides the the fruity rap component with his quick, magnetic, syncopated verse. Watch the band performing their own version of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabrosa” live at the Viper Room in Los Angeles. 

 

 

The band also has a pretty stacked cast in regards to instrumentation. In addition to Travis with funky bass lines and Rustein’s adeptness on the keyboard, there is some serious backup. They’re joined by the Regiment Horns – Sean Eric on trumpet, Kevin Lloyd Williams, Jr. on trombone and Leon Silva on the sax. On drums sits Grammy award-winner Lyndon Rochelle, whose drum solos captivate and will leave an awestruck audience wanting more. Takahito Mori’s guitar interludes and riffs rock the stage and fill the sound with eccentric, gleaming energy. They are also joined by Grammy nominated producer and drummer Taylor Gordon in addition to Natalie Stephenson on vocals. Watch them here performing a cover of Santana’s “Maria Maria” at Couture in Hollywood. Be sure to catch Mori’s epic guitar solo about 50 seconds in!

 

 

The band has performed at some notable venues, such as The Mint, The Peppermint Club, Sofitel Beverly Hills, Sunset Tower, and The House of Blues on Sunset. The twins have also been involved at a political level with Hillary and Bill Clinton, after being invited back during college to take part in the Clinton Global Initiative University summit. The two of them stayed connected with the Clintons and Travis even got to work on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign. See lead singer Travis Merriweather showing off his vocals with “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

 

 

Atlantis the Band, thanks to the initial catapulting by the twins back in college, has emerged as a powerful band with an intense range of talent – everywhere from their emotional depth and soul to excited hip-hop beats – and their innovative interpretations and writing proves them to be very worthy of the stage. Be sure to check out their page to see and listen to more of their music. Also, although they began in Texas, their music-making happens in Los Angeles, so if you’re in the area, be sure to check on their Upcoming Gigs category so that you can hear their hearty music live! Here’s one last clip of them covering Jay Z’s “Can’t Knock The Hustle” at the House of Blues on Sunset.

 

 

Fly with Flights Over Phoenix

 

Talk about a music manifest destiny success story. Keith Longo had spent too much time in Boston feeling the need for a change, so he packed his bags and drove west. He had nothing but his car, his playlists, and his hunger to find his place in the music scene. Listen to his band, Flights Over Phoenix, playing their moody song, “Hypnotize.”

 

 

Longo got lucky as he could have been, and all it took was a little Craigslist-ing. He found guitarist Chris Santillo, and the two immediately hit it off. They started working on new material, practicing and jamming and writing as they saw fit. Little did they know, they were setting up what was soon going to become much more. Jordan Nuanez was just coming off some national tours when Santillo met him through a mutual friend. The drummer was in search of a permanent spot in a band, and the opportunity fell into his lap. The three of them started playing together and their chemistry was too obvious to be ignored. They got to work, and now their band is thriving; they’ve been playing together since. Listen closely and get swept away by Flights Over Phoenix’s official music video for “Middle of the World.”

 

 

 

It’s impossible to deny how good they sound together. Santillo’s lines carry each song with an upbeat yet smooth sound, never letting the speed fall and keeping a steady, twangy rhythm that’s peaceful on the ears. Nuanez’s beat is powerful and heavy but artistic, syncopated, and synchronized perfectly. He manages to tie together the voices of his counterparts and weave them into his playing, all the while making it seem effortless. Longo begins every song with his unique, confident, dimensional verse, but his voice takes a journey in each song. He begins with a simple, almost respectful voice, begging the audience to think that he does not have a strong range. Then, in the chorus, he offers his surprise in the form of a beautiful chorus, followed by rifs between him and Santillo on the guitar. The two of them sing together, while Nuanez holds down the back. The three of them support each other in sound, but manage to sustain their unique personas while playing. Listen to this last example of this undeniable chemistry, “Runaway California.”

 

 

Make sure you come see this guys if you’re in LA. Check their page for more music and any upcoming concert dates. Listening to them will make you want to get up and dance so we promise that seeing these guys live is an experience not to be missed!  

Emma-Jane Thommen – UK to LA

From upbeat, mysterious funk to sweet, emotional soul – Emma-Jane Thommen has it all. This Gigmor artist has mastered strong range of style, and with each song, she tells her story with her smooth, simple harmonies. Perfect, limited accompaniment grooves with her in every song, and her sounds are easy on the ears – perfect for a long car rides or even meditation! Listen to her performing her original “Running with my Eyes Closed” at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

Emma-Jane has performed at some pretty notable venues around the world. A few of these venues include the Pyramids in Egypt, many US and UK festivals, on board the Queen Mary II on a cruise to New York, as well as at LA’s Greek Theater opening for Norah Jones & Corinne Bailey Rae. Watch this moody performance of another on of her original songs, “Open Eyes,” at The Hotel Cafe in LA.

 

 

She enjoys writing her own music, but also loves has quite a knack for covering songs. She covers many different artists but her recordings are always infused with her unique mysteriousness and sentimentality.  Her melodies are dark, beautiful, and smoky, and keep listeners hooked, as she evokes something in sound much deeper than her lyrics. Watch this artsy video with her chilling cover of Nina Simone’s “Feelin’ Good.”

 

 

Emma-Jane is currently stationed in LA, and performing regularly at Hollywood’s famous music venue, The Sayers Club. She is also on her way to a milestone moment, as she’s currently working on a soon-to-be-released EP with Elton John’s Rocket Music in London & LA. If you’re in London or LA, check her page for gigs and definitely look out for her to try to see her in concert; from her videos, it sure seems like she is a marvel live. Watch this last clip of her performing her original song, “Halfway House” at the Sayers Club.

 

 

EMERGING ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: LA band Mainman

Today, we’re featuring Gigmor artist, Mainman, an Indie/Alternative group based in Los Angeles, California. Mainman found their sound by combining indie/psychedelic rock with surf and turf funk to create a repertoire of sundry tunes. The band’s song list includes a combination of originals and covers, each bringing a distinct new blend of sound. Check out their hit song “WWH” and the official music video that throws us back to the psychedelic visual-tint that we didn’t know we missed.

 

 

The band consists of four members. Lead singer Morgan Demeter’s voice is emotionally agitated and dimensional but soothing to the ear. He is backed by former Bear On Fire members; Chris Mintz-Plasse brings a smooth, steady yet moody foundation with the bass, while Nick Chamian sings along with Demeter on his guitar in his epic solos and consistently rich sound. The Hammerheads’ Ryan Dean’s command and ease with the drums binds together the group in performance, marrying the complication of sounds into a cohesive mix and makes the unexpected sound simple. Watch them playing “Feeling” live, “jammin’ in the van” in Ventura, CA back in May 2017.

 


Mainman is a fairly new group to the music scene – Wikipedia still hasn’t updated Mint-Plasse’s band-affiliation from his old one. Nevertheless, these guys are venturing into the music scene together with years of individual experience and a general love for making music. All of them are Los Angeles natives and still live in Southern California, a perfect hub for their style of music. They like to experiment and learn, and fluctuate between innovative original songs and some fun covers, and even some mixing. Listen to their “Vilify” mixed with their cover of Kendrick Lamar’s popular “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” performed at a small private concert, featuring their friend
Quintin ArsNova Pooler​ on keyboards.

 

 

Want more of their smooth, psychedelic, melancholy funk? Follow Mainman on Gigmor to get access to their music, social media pages, and gigging history so you can know when their next concert is. If you’re going to be in Los Angeles on January 12th come to Mainman’s show at the Satellite (buy your tickets here)!