NMF ’19: Artists to Watch< < Back to
June 6-9, 2019 will mark the 15th annual Nelsonville Music Festival, a sprawling four-day musical extravaganza that will take place on Robbins Crossing on the grounds of the Hocking College campus. As per usual, the festival has booked a multitude of impressive acts for the event, so it makes sense that one might get a little overwhelmed when checking out the recently released day schedules for the fest.
Thankfully, the 2019 Gladden House Sessions artist relations team Mikayla Schuyler and Liz Penry, as well as WOUB’s arts and culture editor, Emily Votaw, have done their NMF homework and selected several artists worth highlighting from the extensive lineup.
Traveling from the whimsical depths of the Earth, JJUUJJUU will be bringing psychedelic rock to Nelsonville this year. JJUUJJUU’s intoxicating guitar strums, dark and distorted vocals, and experimental looped basslines will be likely to leave you in a trance. Their latest album, Zionic Mud (Dine Alone Records) was released this past April. Be sure to check out their title track above, and do not miss their hypnotizing performance on Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. on the Porch Stage. – Liz Penry
San Francisco’s (Thee) Oh Sees delved into some curiously satisfying progressive metal stylings on 2017’s masterful Orc, a vision they fulfilled even further on 2018’s Smote Reverser (Castle Face Records). The band’s gutsy propulsion is in thanks largely to their double shot of drummers, Dan Rincon and Paul Quattrone, a formula that the west coast rockers have been utilizing for a minute. Catch them rocking out Friday, June 7 at 11 p.m. on the Main Stage. – Emily Votaw
The Brother Brothers are identical twins who will capture you with their folk harmonies. Their full-length debut, Some People I Know (Compass Records) was released to much acclaim late 2018. You can check out Adam Moss’ interview with WOUB here. Once you fall in love with their music, be sure to see them on Saturday, June 8 at 2 p.m. on the Main Stage and later that day at 5:15 p.m. in the No-Fi Cabin. – Mikayla Schuyler
Mavis Staples just celebrated her 80th birthday, and has not lost an ounce of her vivacity, brilliance, and soul. The celebrated singer and civil rights activist will bring her inspirational energy and acclaimed voice to the Nelsonville Main Stage this year. After starting out in her family’s band, The Staple Singers, and eventually becoming a solo artist in her own right, Mavis Staples has been at the frontlines of American history and has touched millions through her songs about love, hope, and hardship. Her latest album, We Get By (ANTI-Records), was released May 24. Do not miss her performance on Sunday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. She will leave you speechless. – Liz Penry
Dayton’s The Breeders feature two of the Buckeye State’s greatest rockstars, identical sisters Kim (Pixies, The Amps) and Kelley Deal (R. Ring, The Kelley Deal 6000). Sure, “Cannonball” from The Breeders’ multi-platinum 1993 album Last Splash (4AD) is a grungy, ecstatic anthem of the ’90s, when alternative rock ruled the airwaves — but The Breeders are no alternative rock one-hit wonder. They have recently returned to their full glory with last year’s release of All Nerve (4AD), the band’s first full-length featuring the original band lineup of Kim, Kelley, bassist Josephine Wiggs, and drummer Jim Macpherson. Catch The Breeders on the main stage Friday, June 7 at 9 p.m. on the Main Stage. – Emily Votaw
As our Friday night headliner for Nelsonville Music Festival, Death Cab for Cutie brings an ever-evolving indie sound to our ears with their latest release Thank You for Today (Atlantic Records). The band never fails to impress with a discography that stretches over 20 diverse years! If you like The Postal Service, a side project of Death Cab’s front man Ben Gibbard, or perhaps even The Shins, then you won’t want to miss out on Death Cab for Cutie’s set on Saturday, June 8 at 9:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. To get you prepared, listen to WOUB’s interview with the band’s longtime bassist, Nick Harmer, right here. – Mikayla Schuyler
If you like to party, Ernie Johnson From Detroit will not let you down at this year’s NMF. This 9-piece band with a full horn section is originally from Cincinnati (not Detroit). The band specializes in funk, jazz, and afrobeat, which is showcased on their self-titled 2018 album recorded at Cyberteknics Creative Studio in Dayton. Do not miss their performance on Saturday, June 8 at midnight in the Campground Tent. – Liz Penrey
Skyway Man is the intricate, ufology-informed, delectably hazy folk futurism project of lauded musician James Wallace (of Nashville’s James Wallace & the Naked Light.) In 2017, Wallace released the sprawling Skyway Man double LP Seen Comin’ From a Mighty Eye (Yewknee Records), a project whose conceptual nature is difficult to articulate but a lot of fun to listen to. Listen to WOUB’s interview with Wallace here, and see Skyway Man for yourself at 6 p.m. on the Porch Stage on Thursday, June 6; at 3 p.m. on the Main Stage on Friday, June 7 and later that day at 7:45 p.m. in the No-Fi Cabin, – Emily Votaw
If you’re looking for a unique mix of country and Appalachian soul, look no further than Tyler Childers and his 2017 debut album Purgatory (Hickman Holler Records). Earlier this month, Childers announced the upcoming release of a new album, Country Squire (also on his own Hickman Holler Records), with the drop of the smoldering single “House Fire” which you can watch above. Childers starred in WOUB’s most watched Gladden House Session to date in 2017, when he also played on the festival’s entirely free Boxcar Stage. You can catch Childers live on Thursday, June 6 at 9:45 p.m. on the Main Stage. – Mikayla Schuyler
Michael and Tanya Trotter have become the inseparable, powerhouse couple who make up The War and Treaty. Their roots lay in Southern soul, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll with groovy basslines, lap steel guitars, and volcanic-yet-graceful voices. The duo will be bringing their lively performance to Nelsonville this year. Their latest album, Healing Tide (Strong World Entertainment), was released in 2018, and tells a story of its own. There are ups and downs, hardships and happiness, and The War and Treaty are here to bring the message that the world is comprised of just that. With their vivacity and zeal, you will be able to forget about all your troubles and enjoy their performance on Saturday, June 8 at 6:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. – Liz Penry
A duo who encompass a gentle sound like no other, Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange are sure to lull you with astounding acoustics and heartfelt harmonies. Their latest album, Tides of a Teardrop (Yep Roc Records), tells a story of great loss, the loss of Marlin’s mother. You can watch their 2015 Gladden House Session video above, and then get your tissues, smiles, and hearts ready for Mandolin Orange at Nelsonville Music Festival on Saturday, June 8 at 8 p.m. on the Main Stage. – Mikayla Schuyler
Watch out, the Death Valley Girls are bringing major girl power to Nelsonville Music Festival! Describing their latest album, Darkness Rains (Suicide Squeeze Records), as “hypercharged scuzzy rock,” no other act can match the energy that will be brought from the group. How does one really describe what “hypercharged scuzzy rock” sounds like? I suppose you will have to find out for yourself on Saturday, June 8 at 9 p.m. on the Porch Stage but before that, watch them perform at Paste Studio above. – Mikayla Schuyler