Celebrating the music that sparks your soul
Builing stronger connections between fans, and the music they love

When you have a passion for music, the songs and artists you love become a defining part of your life. You don't just listen to music you feel it. And because you've experienced music on an emotional level you want the rest of the world to feel it in the same way.

The Stories

“Everyone else had seemed to have their future figured out, except for me, I had no idea what direction I wanted to go.  I was a junior in college, living in this small, podunk town. So many of my friends were finishing school and moving away. It was almost like a diaspora. They couldn’t wait to get out of there, move to the city and start a great career. I was like, fuck that. I didn’t want things to change. I mean, I’m happy right here. What’s so wrong with what we’re doing right here? 

As they began moving away I felt super alone, you know? I felt isolated, like this part of my life was over. The clock was ticking, I had to figure out where I wanted to end up in life. They say your early 20’s are the best time of your life, which is largely true. But it’s not without its lows. It can definitely be an uncomfortable time when you’re trying to figure out who you are. There were moments I felt really defeated. 

I’ve connected with music my entire life and I feel like it’s what has consistently fueled me. The song ‘Letterbox’ by Banner Pilot, really spoke to me at that time. I know it was written about something completely different, but the line, ‘maybe this isn’t forever, or maybe this is when you start to fight and you don’t surrender’ made me take a hard look at myself.  I remember feeling like, OK, maybe it’s not all over, you know? I just have to keep pushing forward. Because it’s not about reaching some magical destination, the perfect job, the perfect life. It’s about how you get there. There’s merit and just continuing, moving forward and enjoying the ride. You don’t have to win all the time, you’ve just gotta keep showing up to bat. You know what I mean?  I had kind of a bad habit of letting circumstances beyond my control impact my life back then. But I realized that the only thing that really counts is how I respond.  It’s not always easy, I still have to remind myself. But, thinking in that way has really been a strong coping mechanism for me.”


Andrew has been a life long music lover and is the founder of pop-punk trio The Carolyn based in Atlanta. “I’ve always gravitated towards music, even from a young age. I was born in 93, but I’m old enough to remember how huge that 90’s rock style of music was.  I was like 6 or 7 when my friend stole ‘Enema of the State’ from his sister’s room. Listening to that CD changed my whole fucking world!  I just felt like it was made for me, you know? And I knew at that moment, that this is what I wanted to do forever.”

Andrew started playing guitar while in elementary school and started his first band as a teenager. But it wasn’t until 2016, when a mutual friend introduced him to Peter Catalano from 59x Records that he began to gain momentum. “Peter originally signed me as a solo artist and we put out an EP. But I prefer playing in a full band, so I started looking for permanent members. Initially it seemed like I just had friends doing me favors. But I got lucky in 2017 with Dave and Ollie who wanted to do it full time. So it all just kind of  organically evolved from a solo project into a full band.”

The Carolyn is currently working on their third album.  As they continue to grow as a band their song writing process has become more and more collaborative. “With the first two releases, it was a more of a regimented kind of process. Now we trust each other. Like, if I say hey can you change this?  The guys know that I’m not coming from a place of being a control freak. I’m just trying to serve the song. We’re taking our egos out of it as much as possible and just making the best songs we can.”

Check out The Carolyn –
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“After the initial shock of the twin towers crumbling on 9-11 I thought, if I could die at work, it’s not gonna be while answering phones at an office in NYC. So I quit, and decided that making music would be my job. 

When I was 13 my dad put a banjo in my hands and showed me how to play a couple of songs like the Beverly Hillbillies theme. I really wanted to play the electric guitar because I loved rock & roll. But I just never felt at home on it. I tried it for a couple of years, and I was like, I can do the same thing on the banjo. I’ve been a banjo player ever since.

So after quitting my job I said alright, for the foreseeable future I’m just gonna say yes to every opportunity to play banjo. Immediately, it was like the world reached out to me & said, we have opportunities for you.

The day before my birthday I got a call about playing at a funeral the next day for a 23 year old kid who had tragically fallen to his death in a mountain climbing accident. He was learning & loved the banjo so his family hired a ‘proper’ banjo player for the service. But that musician bailed on them for a better paying gig, which is insane, right? They asked, ‘do you want to do it?’’ I was like, play a funeral? On my birthday? Absolutely!

It turned out his family was very wealthy. The next day I found myself inside an enormous cathedral, in Manhattan, leading 500 people in a rendition of Keep on the Sunny Side. They didn’t care that I wasn’t some hot shit banjo player. His parents told me, ‘you have the same energy as our son, it’s like having him here in the room with us.’ On top of that, it turned out we shared the same birthday. It was all way too much for me to comprehend. I mean I just quit my job so I wouldn’t die in a miserable office. And here I am, playing banjo at a funeral for this banjo playing kid, who was exactly 10 years younger than me, who died at work. It was like the universe was giving me confirmation that I had made the right choice. It was one of the most moving moments in my life. Even as I’m talking about it now, it seems like a dream, like it couldn’t be real. I’ll always associate that song with that experience & the decision to make music my career.”


 

[Curtis Eller isn’t your average banjo player.  His music is influenced by a variety of styles, & based more in rock n roll than anything else. It’s confirmation that the banjo isn’t just for country or bluegrass. “People see the banjo and say, oh, what do you play? bluegrass? Nobody sees a guitar and says, are you a flamenco player? There’s no assumption made about it. I want that freedom for the banjo and I like the challenge of altering people’s expectations.”

His live shows include a great deal of storytelling and are more engaging than most others I’ve seen. “I don’t think of performances as giving a speech so much as having a conversation. My shows exist for this kind of close and personal camaraderie with the audience, you know? Like, this will never happen again, this group of people will never be in this room again.”

To stay engaged with his audience he’s done more than 70 live streams in the last year while live music has been shut down due to COVID restrictions.  “It was really nice to see people from all over the world, from Holland to Detroit on the live streams. People from California were chatting with my friends from Leads, England, making jokes about pigeon racing and stuff. It kind of felt like I was bringing this widely diffused community together a little bit.”

Eller’s songwriting often revolves around historic figures and stories. Many of his songs are based in verisimilitude but not necessarily reality. “What I read & see probably have more to do with how my songs turn out than the music I’m listening to at any time. I’ll see something, or hear a story, based in fact, that grabs my attention & just keep thinking about it. Like, did Abraham Lincoln really dig up his dead son? I write the song before I really know the facts to retain a sense of disorientation and distortion. Like that moment when you feel the drugs kicking in.

After several months of writer’s block during COVID isolation he found inspiration while working on a film for his modern dance theater company, The Bipeds. “We went to the thrift store and bought a whole bunch of antique photos for the film.  I found a few of them so intriguing. Like this one little sepia tinted cameo of a woman that said ‘Martha Lyle Wills, for whom the church was named’. It was just so mysterious, so evocative. I had to write a song about it. I came up with this story about finding that photograph on a world war one battlefield & speculating about who it was and what it could’ve meant. The new songs are a lot more dreamy, lonely, and quieter in nature, which I guess is to be expected having been isolated for so long.  But I think people will recognize them as my kind of songs, they just unfold in a different way.”]

Find out more and support Curtis
Official Website:
https://curtiseller.com
YouTube:https://youtube.com/curtisellermusic
Patreon:https://patreon.com/curtiseller


The trigger for a lifelong love of music was my first sight of the album cover for Iron Maiden. I’m Brazilian so I didn’t speak in English, but I could translate, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and it made me wonder even more. What is this? I listened to it with my friend and we tried to understand the lyrics, but this was impossible because my friend doesn’t speak English too.

When I take the record home I tried to hide it in my dad’s collection. I put it in the middle where he would not see it. I want to put it in backwards in case he find it, but the image on the back was worse than the front. One day, while looking for Paul Simon he sees the record and he ask me, what is this, how can you explain this cover? I really liked this image and music, but how can I explain this to my dad if I can’t understand the songs? My friends older brother listened to Iron Maiden so I asked him, what is this music? He said, “It doesn’t matter …you are only a child…this is heavy metal, and you don’t even speak English so you will never understand”. At this moment I remember my daddy’s words. “Hey Henri, never give up for your dreams.” So I ask my parents to take English classes. By the end of a year I could understand my favorite song “Infinite Dreams”. Then I figure out that it depends on your feelings and how each person translate the lyrics for what the song means. When my friends brother told me that I would never understand the lyrics, he really didn’t understand the power of music.

Iron Maiden inspired me to learn English and make me realize that when I only listen to the music I miss most of the song. Now I pass this to my daughter. She is starting to listen to Megadeath and I tell her, can you imagine if you pay attention in your classes? Someday you will understand the lyrics and you can sing the song in the right way and understand the meaning behind it.


[Henri created the Instagram profile for @metalnphilosiphy in 2018. But he didn’t really share anything because of the language barrier. Then when the translate feature was introduced he realized that he didn’t have an excuse anymore and it was time to share his passion with rock music. He explains, “Many of my friends and family in Brazil don’t have the opportunity to learn English, so I have the idea to post the songs so we can all understand the lyrics. I challenged myself to post some positive lyrics everyday. Then people start a conversation with me through direct message. I realized, the worst problem during the virus is our mental health. And this is something I could do to help everyone. We all love music, it’s in our soul!”]
Why Rock and Roll

During the Spring semester in my fourth year of college I got to study abroad in Italy, which was awesome.  There were about 20 of us from the architecture program packed into two apartments.  Boys on one side, girls on the other. Even though we were really close to each other in this confined space, I felt alone. I guess just because you’re around a bunch of people, doesn’t necessarily mean you feel connected. The whole time I was there I had this sort of melancholic feeling hanging over my head.  I wasn’t one to be homesick, so I didn’t think that was it.  I just wasn’t sure where this feeling was coming from.

One crisp April afternoon I was alone, sitting in Vondelpark. It’s sort of a kin to Central Park in NYC, this giant park in the middle of Amsterdam.  I can remember every detail so vividly.  Sitting on the deck of this café, with a stream flowing in front of me, and the filtered sunlight illuminating the bubbles as they floated to the top of my glass of Heineken.  When over my headphones this song started that I had never heard before.  I could tell right away it was Ozzy Osbourne.   Then he sang that one line, “Mamma, I’m coming home”.  And in that moment, I felt a flood of emotion and this strong pull to come home.

At that time I had known about my mom struggling with her health for a while.  But what I didn’t know, until a few days later was that our family rock, my grandfather, who had been caring for my bedridden grandmother had unexpectedly fallen ill as well.  It was a heart attack.  Was this sense of loneliness and melancholy a foreboding feeling? Was the song a sign?  Turns out, it was. My grandfather – my mom’s dad – passed away within one week of his heart attack, and I instantly knew I did have to come home. My mom needed me, so I went home. Thankfully, my teachers allowed me to finish the semester by submitting my work online and I returned home to be with my family for a time where we truly needed each other’s support.

[Sarah is the creator of a unique project she’s dubbed “Why Rock n’ Roll?”.  Her interest in rock music was sparked when she was in middle school by her mom and brother, “I have this vivid memory of them in deep conversation in the dining room with CD’s sprawled out across the table.  My brother was saying something about it being a seven minute song.  That really caught my interest, and I was like Whoa! I want to hear that.” That song turned out to be “Stairway to Heaven”, not a bad intro to rock and roll.  Throughout high school and into college her fascination for rock music broadened and grew.  “I went to college in LA and I was always trying to find who amongst my friends liked rock music enough for me to drag them down to the sunset strip. Because back then, that’s where you could find this feeling of community around rock and metal music.  It was the first time I was completely on my own, and I was trying to find my identity, you know? Trying to find where I belong in the world.  I didn’t really feel connected to the people around me, and music became that bridge for me.  I found connection with people who felt through music the same way I did.  We just seem to understand things on some level that can’t necessarily be put into words. And that’s what “Why Rock and Roll?” is all about, trying to put into words, that which you can’t really put into words, it’s all feeling and emotion.”]

Follow Why Rock and Roll on instagram – https://www.instagram.com/whyrockandroll/

Ben Rector fans

When I was 20 years old I was lucky enough to study for a semester in Florence ,Italy. This would be the biggest adventure of my life. I was looking forward to spending time with 25 other students, traveling on weekends & learning about cultures half a world away from my home in Tennessee. But I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be what I expected. Being so far away from home, in a country I didn’t know, where they speak a language I didn’t speak made it a really difficult adjustment for me. The group of students that I thought would all support one another. Well, they just didn’t get along. We were all so different.  We had different ideas about what we wanted out of our time there, different personalities & different beliefs about life that just didn’t line up. We were all stuck together in the same living quarters & classroom all day long. There was a lot of tension and stress. For me, it was emotional for sure, a lot more isolating than I expected it to feel.  

I had stumbled across Ben Rector when I was in high school a few years earlier. I was drawn to his songs because he has a way of writing that’s really poetic. Not necessarily sad, but thought provoking.  His album “Brand New” had just come out & I listened to it constantly on that trip. It was something I could hold on to whenever I was feeling lonely, or homesick, or out of my element. Something that was comforting to me when I didn’t feel nearly in my comfort zone. There were happy, upbeat songs that would pick me up when I felt overwhelmed socially. But also songs that were more introspective & made me feel like I could still find things to be thankful for even if this experience wasn’t what I expected.  30,000 Feet is the song I related to most. It was a reminder that day to day life can be frustrating because we tend to focus on all the negative things. But when you take another look, from a distance, with a different perspective, like from 30,000 feet, life is pretty good. And although I was grateful for that experience,  I’ll always remember, sitting on the plane, listening to that song & thinking. The next time I disembark, I will be with my family again, back to a place I’m used to.

This vacation was quite different from others I had taken.  It was just me and my very best friend.  We rented a van, threw a mattress in the back, and drove through Sweden and Norway for three and a half weeks.  During our other trips we’d backpack, stay in hostels, and go into different cities spending time with all kinds of people.  But this time it was basically just us, So we had a lot of time to think and reflect on life. “Summer Storms” by Jake Etheridge popped up on the beautiful playlist we had selected to fill the silence as we drove through the mountains of Norway. I absolutely loved the vibe of the music and the lyrics were absolutely brilliant.  It’s quite a sad song about a guy who was just left by his girlfriend. She felt trapped in a small town and dreamt of bigger things so she finally decides to leave it all behind.  I completely identified with that girl because I grew up in a really rural, farming village in Belgium where everyone knows each other and no one ever leaves.  All my parents wanted was to keep me close, in that village. They thought I should go to school, get a good job, get married, have kids and live an ordinary life. Stability is everything to them and their generation.  

We listened to “Summer Storms” so many times on that trip, over and over again on repeat.  The more I listened to it, the more I imagined I was that girl in the song who decided to leave everything behind. We’d usually end up in really deserted places, mountaintops miles from anywhere, no people, no internet, no nothing. It was in that space and time, with no distractions, listening to that song, that it became clear to me. Oh my god, I’m so sick of that village and the life I’m living, I have to get out. I have to start living my own life. I had felt suffocated in that village for so long and I knew that there had to be more for me out in the world.

When I returned home I couldn’t shake that feeling.  I knew what I had to do, but it was way too big of a step to just pack up and leave.  I didn’t even know where to start. The feelings inside of me continued to grow until one day my boss was being horrible to me.  I couldn’t take it anymore and I sort of got fired.  When I stopped, took a step back and looked at everything, I realized that this was the time to drastically change my life. I wanted to travel, I wanted to tell my own story through music. So I explained to my family and friends that I had to go for at least a year. I didn’t want to look back and regret never trying.  It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I had no idea if I was strong enough to adapt to new places, if I would be lonely. This would be the first time I was completely on my own. What if I run out of money, what if I realize after a few weeks that it’s not what I want and I have nothing to come back to? But I knew from experience that great things come every time I get out of my comfort zone. So yeah, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but so far it’s been great!

[Elly Wild is a singer songwriter who found her voice in her early teens as she enjoyed being part of choirs and taking classical singing classes. She began performing in musicals such as Oliver! and The Sound of Music in her early twenties before joining the symphonic metalband Gallia in 2015.  “I used to be a really sensitive kid. So I put up this really tough exterior, I was always the tough girl. Which is why I think I went with a hardcore band like Gallia.” But more recently she has been concentrating on a different sound in her solo work. “The last couple of years I started finding my own path. I tapped into my feminine energy. And I think that’s when the possibility of Indie music started to open up for me.” When Elly made the choice to follow her path she left everything she had known her whole life to experience the lifestyle of a digital nomad, traveling around the world while writing her own songs. “With every phase of my travel, like, every couple of months, I take my experiences, put them into song and release it along with a video from wherever I am in the world ” Her music can be described as powerful indie music with inspiring lyrics. “Sister of My Soul” is the first song of the project “The song was written to my friend and soulmate who left to live on another continent, as I was about to go on my own adventure,  I wanted to tell her how much she means to me, and that even though it breaks my heart, all I want is for her to find happiness and peace.” Elly’s travels had to be put on hold because of Covid-19, and she’s anxiously awaiting to get back on the road.]

https://www.instagram.com/ellywildmusic/

www.ellywild.com

Elly Wild on Spotify

Our relationship had been bad for a long time. No matter what I tried, she just wouldn’t respond. So I decided to draw a line in the sand. I suggested that we separate while we figure this out. I had made a promise and intended to keep it, but she decided that we needed to get divorced. The hardest part was watching my two kids try to make sense of it at ages 8 and 4. I knew it was going to be difficult, but I had no idea just how bad things would get.

In the middle of this messy divorce is when I met the woman I’m married to now. And I know it happened fast. But I wasn’t looking for a relationship and I would’ve never imagined that I’d fall in love again so quickly. When everyone realized that I was in a new relationship the narrative suddenly changed. Now they were all convinced that I was leaving my wife for another woman, and that just wasn’t the case. I mean, I was even asked to leave my church.

The thing is, when you hear about all these people around you saying this stuff over and over again. At some point it seeps it’s way into your head. And even though you know it’s not true you begin to think, or ask yourself, “am I really an awful person?” That’s where I was when I head Chris Tomlin’s song “Whom Should I Fear (God of Angel Armies)”. It hit me hard and made me realize that even if I had made mistakes, even if I should have handled things differently, “The God of angel armies is always by my side”. Not on my side, but by my side. And even though things aren’t good right now, there is a path for me, and in the end it will work out for the good. That’s a difficult idea to hold onto when you’re in the middle of emotional turmoil. That song continues to take me to a place of peace no matter how bad things seem to get.

Eric Caldwell

It was a sink or swim moment in my life, I felt like this was gonna make me or break me, and I damn sure wasn’t gonna let it break me.

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Band Perry fans

When I first moved to Birmingham one of my friends introduced us. Three months later we were married. 45 years later, my dear husband passed way. You can imagine how difficult it was for me. He was my life, and I felt lost without him.

About a year later I went to a country music festival in Nashville. I didn’t really know that much about country music. I mean I had heard of Hunter Hayes and a couple of others. But that was the first time I had ever seen or heard The Band Perry. The very next day I went out and bought everything I could find by them and instantly fell in love. The one song I really connected to was “If I Die Young”. I was still grieving the loss of the love of my life. That one song made such a difference. It helped me express my sadness, and ultimately helped heal my soul.

If I die young, bury me in satin

Lay me down on a bed of roses

Sink me in the river at dawn

Send me away with the words of a love song

The Band Perry
Avett Brothers fans

One of things I like most about the Avett Brothers is that their lyrics really hit me, hit me in a way that sometimes reveal emotions that I don’t even realize are affecting me. They put into words what I can’t.

They change up the set list for every show so you never know what to expect. At the end of 2018 I saw them in Charlotte. When Scott came out for the encore he began to count it off, “and a two, and a three, and a four”. I instantly felt my emotions take over, fell into my seat and started balling. I guess maybe I realized there had been a problem on a subconscious level, but it wasn’t something I thought much about or analyzed. That entire year had been a particularly lonely one. It wasn’t that I was alone. I had friends, great friends. I had my family. I was just going through a season of growth in my life. Trying to figure out what I really wanted. And when they played “The Perfect Space” it was like a light bulb turned on. I couldn’t believe that in that moment, a song could make me understand what I was going through when I wasn’t even thinking about it.

I wanna have friends that I can trust,
that love me for the man I’ve become not the man I was.
I wanna have friends that will let me be
all alone when being alone is all that I need.
I wanna fit in to the perfect space,
feel natural and safe in a volatile place.

I needed people in my life that could grow with me. And maybe it was time to say goodbye to the ones that don’t get that. It was about to be a new year, a time to look forward not back, a time for a change.