Out of the Box Comes to Sandler Center

by Shannon Bowman

Make your New Year's resolution to support local artists! The Sandler Center's "Out of the Box" Emerging Artist Series taking place every Wednesday from January 13 – March 2, 2016 in the Miller Studio.

Make your New Year's resolution to support local artists! The Sandler Center's "Out of the Box" Emerging Artist Series taking place every Wednesday from January 13 – March 2, 2016 in the Miller Studio.

This great after work event is in collaboration with Paul Shugrue from Out of the Box on 89.5 WHRV. It's the perfect setting to meet-up with co-workers and friends to enjoy a night of music, food, and drinks.

Admission is free and kicks off right at 6pm until 9pm. *Live Music begins at 7pm. *Standing room only.


January 13th - Broke Royals

Philip Basnight and Colin Cross have always shared an interest and fascination with time as an abundant, yet fleeting commodity. After meeting at William & Mary, Basnight and Cross began collaborating musically and exploring their ideas about time, leading to the introduction of The Luxury of Time series in fall of 2014. Working out of Cross's Unkempt & Over caffeinated Studios, Cross and Basnight have been prolific in creating richly layered, energetic, and stirring tracks. They are already finalizing their third EP, the last EP in The Luxury of Time series, slated for release in early 2016. Through their recorded music and live performances, Broke Royals deliver synth-stimulated rock that serves as a musical postcard for life's affective, ephemeral moments.

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January 20th - Ian Thornton and Skye Zentz

Ian Randall Thornton is a locally grown musician and song writer from Norfolk, Virginia, who grew up learning classical instruments (such as upright bass, classical guitar, percussion and piano); but has more recently honed in on the craft of song writing. Thornton plays many instruments in multiple genres, but prefers the unadulterated simplicity of folk music as the setting to display his more weighty lyrical content and concepts. These compelling folk compositions lead the listener through emotional cinematic feeling narratives that leave you feeling contemplative, embraced and enriched.

"Ian Thornton wrote the kind of album you can sing along to on your second listening. Easily digestible in its lush and warm beauty. Accessible in its straight forward simplicity. Sung in a voice so powerful that you hang on to every word." -Alt Daily

"Ian's soulful vocals paired with layered instrumental creates such a resonance that it overwhelms your senses, and holds you with a warm embrace." -Musik Lounge

Skye grew up in Norfolk, VA, in a house full of strange musical instruments, star wars figures, and love. She taught herself to sing by osmosis, soaking up the influence of her very musical family, and humming along with the Motown anthems she learned on Oldies 95.7. Over the last decade, Skye has made a name for herself in the Hampton Roads area with her infectious, uplifting energy, honest lyrics and memorable melodies. Her releases have earned her multiple local nominations for Song of the Year (both in the 2007 Portfolio Music Awards and the 2013 and 2014 Veer Music Awards). Skye took home the Veer Music Award for Best Acoustic/Folk in 2013 and Best Busker in 2015. A versatile artist, she spreads her music from concert halls to nursing homes and schools, from public libraries to coffeehouses and living rooms. Skye's music explores themes of themes of infatuation, commitment, freedom and time, inspired by her own experiences and complemented by the insight found in mythology and traditional folk tales.

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January 27th - Mountaintide: Jim Newsom & Holly Bishop

The seeds of Mountaintide were sown when multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriters Jim Newsom and Holly Bishop met in the spring of 2014 and began playing music together around southeastern Virginia. Their telepathic musical connection was obvious from the beginning. Within a year of that first meeting, the duo had recorded its first album, Dancing in the Sun, releasing it in June, 2015. Five months later, they released an album of children's music, Away We Go.

The fourteen original songs on Dancing in the Sun reveal the duo's diverse musical tastes and talents: From the fiddle-driven back porch bluegrass of "Hey Pretty Mama" to the soulful sunshine of "All Smiles;" the balladic folkiness of "460 West to Blacksburg," and the wistful beauty of "A Girl Can Dream;" the Hot Club conjuring of "If I Could Write a Song" and the sheer poetry of "Love the Expression;" from the angsty yearning of "Fifteen Minutes" to the affirmative potency of "What You Say You'll Do."

Shortly after finishing Dancing in the Sun, the twosome began recording some of their original children's songs. The resulting CD, Away We Go, came out under Holly's name in November. The twelve original songs run the gamut from toddler play along tunes like "Baby Signs," "A Clappa" and "Big Dog" to songs for all who are young at heart like "Outside on a Saturday" and the funky groove of "The Silly Dance." "Monster Stomp" turns ballet on its head when unexpected guests arrive. "Bear Country" is a mini-musical adventure that's fun to act out, or just listen to and enjoy. "Colors of the Rainbow" is a campfire singalong for the next generation.

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February 3rd - Invisible Landscapes

Invisible Landscapes began as a group of close friends simply jamming together for fun. Front man Raphael Lambriola introduced his musical ideas to bassist Hunter Gowen and keyboardist Jed Tuazon who expanded on them while simultaneously improving musicianship. Their passion for music, along with their close friendships, flourished.

In June of 2013, Invisible Landscapes organized into an official group with the addition of a very talented drummer, Keith Perkins. Keith studied drumming in school and at the Governor's School for the Arts learning styles such as Jazz, Latin, Funk, and more. The knowledge and skill he brings to the band is unquestionable.

Keith's entrance completed the sculpting of their sound. His technical drumming creates a dynamic and intricate rhythm section. Melodic guitar playing supplemented by spacey effects and occasional wailing lend to their jazzy, psychedelic rock sound. Steady, rhythmic bass playing ensures a firm foundation for the rest of the band to branch off of. Effects layered over bluesy keyboard licks and synth tones generate ambient textures which embellish the overall sound. Aside from their instrumental tunes, Raphael's vocals and carefully crafted lyrics add a depth which the band hopes will inspire resonance in the listener. He frequently employs poetic devices such as rhyme, metaphor, and imagery which contribute to the mood and meaning of the song. With this broad range of styles and sounds, the band avoids mundanity.
An ambitious first year together led to the completion of a debut, 5 song EP and performances at their local, Hampton Roads, staples: The NORVA and Jewish Mother as well as Richmond's Camel and Cary Street Cafe. The band also traveled to West Virginia to perform at the sixth annual Pink Moon Festival. Additionally, they were up for nominations in four categories for the VEER Magazine 2015 Local Music Awards. A full-length interview was conducted with Victor Russo of WHRO as an episode of the podcast, "Stories in the Sky." The thrill of these new endeavors fueled the band's zeal as their original song list nearly tripled from 2014 to 2015. With all of this new material, the band is preparing to begin recording their first full-length album, as time and experience have produced a deeper understanding of the sound they aim for and how to achieve it.

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February 10th - The Framers

The Framers are an alternative country rock trio based in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The Framers are:

Matthew Scruggs – Vocals, acoustic guitars, kick drum, harmonica
Michael Howland – Electric guitars, banjo, mandolin, hi-hat, floor tom, vocals
Maria Thomas – Bass, lap steel guitar, vocals

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February 17th - Gina Dalmas & The Cow Tippin' Playboys

Gina Dalmas is an Indie Honky Tonk Country artist hailing from Norfolk, VA.

Gina and her band, The Cow Tippin' Playboys, won the 2015, 2014, 2013 and the 2012 Veer Magazine Award for Best Country Artist, the 2009 Portfolio Music Award for Best Americana Music and the 2009 Meona Award for Best New Alt-Country Artist.

"Gina Dalmas is a country singer with a rock 'n' roll heart. Her music contains plenty of backwoods, Southern spirit, but there are also liberal splashes of rock irreverence."- The Daily Press, November 2013

Gina's country heritage comes straight out of the North Carolina foothills, where she grew up with full plates of honky tonk country and rock and roll. Behind her stand men who dubiously claim to be some of the finest musicians on either side of the Appalachians.

"Backed by her excellent band, The Cow Tipping Playboys (currently bassist Chris May, drummer Gabe Baesen and guitarist Greg Wikle), the country singer-guitarist never fails to bring audiences to their feet and put smiles on their faces. The band is unfailingly tight and polished, but not to a fault. Throughout, you get the sense that they're having a blast. If you're not a country music fan, don't let that scare you away. If anyone can make you a convert, Dalmas can." - Veer Magazine, December 2010

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February 24th - Little Pants

Little Pants have made a respectable impact on the Hampton Roads music scene with songs that take introspection and storytelling to a whole new level. The two siblings, Abbey and Zachary Jones, work within the confines of rock, pop, and folk to construct music that is both cerebral and fun. Some fans have suggested that their songs pair the sunny sensibilities of Weezer with the sharp criticisms of Elvis Costello.

Little Pants formed in the spring of 2014 when Zachary moved back to Virginia Beach from New York City. While the thought of quitting music crossed his mind, Zachary heard his sister singing from her bedroom and persuaded her to attend a few local open mics. It was then they both realized they should join their musical forces. Recently, bassist Kyle Russo joined the group and has created a sturdy foundation on which Abbey and Zachary's melodies can rest.

Their first release entitled The Little EP (produced by Jacki Paolella and recorded at Clay Garden Studios) features the song "The Place I Live" which won the Veer Magazine 2015 Song of the Year award. Little Pants also took home the Veer Magazine award for Best Folk/Acoustic Act of 2015.

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March 2nd - DJP & MrT

"It's just that sometimes I feel I've got to reinvent the wheel."

The tongue-in-cheek lyrics from the chorus of DJP & MrT's song "The Wheel" serves as a mission statement for the Norfolk, VA indie band, whose varied approach to their music is their most consistent attribute. The trio combines elements of indie rock, old school hip-hop, 80s new wave, modern electronica, as well as classical violin to create a sound that is both fresh and instantly appealing. Since its inception in 2010, DJP & MrT have laid a path of disruption across Norfolk's local music scene, shattering audience's sensibilities and garnering attention and adoration from a wide spectrum of fans. They are known for an exciting live performance wherein each member plays multiple roles to combine electronic studio production with traditional live instrumentation. The result of this straddling is a lively and compelling production that is difficult to categorize. With multiple collaborations alongside the Virginia Stage Company (including lead singer and primary songwriter Jacki Paolella creating an original synthpop soundtrack for the retelling of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew) and song placement in breakout indie horror flick Starry Eyes, their music has found a home in both theater and film. In 2013 they released their debut full-length LP Otolith, and in 2015 the aforementioned soundtrack for the Virginia Stage Company, titled Won't Be Tamed. Both are available for streaming & purchase at www.djpandmrt.bandcamp.com.

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