The annual Road to Nightfall contest has proven to be a boon for local musicians, as it has allowed their music to be heard by a larger audience to which it might not normally be privy. Besides the extensive prizes for winning this musical gauntlet, involved artists—including 2016 winner Nick Lutsko—have found themselves thrust into the local and regional spotlight as an ideal of the variety and creativity that Chattanooga has to offer.
And this sentiment holds true for this year's lineup, as there is no short supply of acts ready to hock their musical wares for all in attendance.
The third night of this year's contest will be held at Granfalloon Thursday and will start at 8. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the door.
Check out Nooga.com's brief preview below of each artist performing, which will give you some idea of what to expect when the music starts.
Chattanooga pop-rock trio Midnight Promise infuses their unconventional rock rhythms with a wobbly pop heart. The volume may rise at times, but the band doesn't stray too far from a great melody, giving their songs a polished but determined veneer. The atmosphere of each track is just as likely to contain zigzagging guitar lines as it is to embrace an acoustic introspection. Composed of singer-guitarist Davey Armstrong, bassist Chrono Jesus and drummer Gene Ingram, the band takes a wide-angled approach to their work, incorporating a handful of genres into their pop and rock revelations. Hints of R&B, blues and folk also wind their way throughout their music, but these occasionally disparate sounds are always in service to a greater and more complex melodic release.
Mountain Cove Bluegrass
Formed in 2008, Mountain Cove Bluegrass plays an expansive version of their titular music—a bright and grand mixture of bluegrass, Americana and gospel sounds. Having played venues and festivals across the region, the band looks to the past for insight into the future. Their vintage sound isn't a novelty; rather, it's a way for them to approach the complications of the present with an ear turned toward the past. Echoing with the hum and twang of strings and voices, they build an impressive momentum that carries them along on a wave of banjos, mandolins, fiddles and guitars. Drawing accolades for their homespun stories and affecting rhythms, the band continues to explore the complicated history that radiates out from these sounds.
Music is about the transience of experience and the idea that sharing this movement through sound is a necessary thing. For Kerchief, these collective associations—all buried in the hiss and grit of indie rock and some assorted electronic ephemera—form a broad landscape of memory and communication. Their work possesses a kinetic momentum, the kind of fire that quickly rises to the surface when given the chance. Exploring ideas of identity, love and vulnerability, the band never draws away from deeper, denser topics but embraces them with a fierce independence, a glowing determination that strikes at the heart of their emotional resonant noise.
A complex version of indie rock is alive and well in the sounds of Chattanooga band SunSap, but it's a sound that doesn't play on abject familiarity so much as it does our associations with these communal rock rhythms. Citing bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Police as inspirations, they focus on creating a driving pulse that sets the direction for their music. Guitars snap into place while drums bear up under the weight of our expectations through an effortless roll and shimmy. They build intricate grooves from quiet assumptions and blend their varied influences into a cohesive expulsion of rock 'n' roll—it's loud, brash and adamant in defying a certain musical conjecture.
Kid Cuebas & Melancholy Dupree
For many musicians, collaboration can often bring out the nuance and emotion that resides within certain songs, and for hip-hop artists Kid Cuebas and Melancholy Dupree, this idea of musical cooperation is born from a deep friendship. For Cuebas, it draws out the psychedelic variations within his musical and lyrical aspirations, and for Dupree, it reveals a lingering melodicism that seeps into your bones and refuses to be shaken off. Their music is dense but light on its feet, a knotty combination of genres and influences that quickly moves from one end of the musical spectrum to the other, often within the framework of a single song. Their voices twist and engage, creating an affecting call-and-response mechanic; and with a layered backdrop that presents a decidedly murky atmosphere, they build a colossal homage to their collective hip-hop inspirations.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.