Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith has been playing music since 1978 and has been releasing albums for twenty years, so it's no surprise that he's garnered substantial recognition from both critics and audiences. Still, he's reached a point that few musicians get to while still at the height of their powers: becoming the subject of a documentary.
Indie rock & folk prodigy and Saddle Creek Records founder Conor Oberst has released over a dozen albums under various monikers and in collaboration with various musicians, but it's his band Bright Eyes that has most consistently been the primary vehicle for his heartfelt, erudite and emotive lyrics.
Multi-instrumentalist Meric Long began as a solo artist steadily gigging around San Fransisco in 2005. After meeting Logan Kroeber, it seemed obvious Kroeber's progressive metal/experimental drumming was a prefect fit for Long's love of West African Ewe drumming and bluesy finger picking style. With a reputation for using an alternate instrumental approach, their blend of indie-psych folk is definitely a treat for the ears.
Middle Brother may be a new band, but their members are familiar players on the indie rock scene, including Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, John J. McCauley III of Deer Tick and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit. They first performed together under the name "MG&V" in an impromptu set at 2010's SXSW festival, but a year later they've cohered into a real live indie supergroup, with a self-titled debut album to boot. The band played a set at Auditorium Shores in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011 as part of the South by Southwest festival.
A former member of '90s R&B hitmakers Tony! Toni! Tone!, Raphael Saadiq also has a deeper resume: as a producer and songwriter for many of R&B, soul and hip-hop's biggest names--and now as an established solo artist with an addictive retro-soul sound. His latest album, "Stone Rollin'," is due out in May. He played March 16 at Stubb's in Austin, TX as a part of South by Southwest.
Local quartet Rogue Valley is collaboration of Chris Koza and fellow Twin Cities musicals Peter Sieve, Luke Anderson, Joey Kantor, and Linnea Mohn. Named after a rift near Portland, Oregon where Koza grew up, their orchestral-folk sound has made them a favorite throughout the cities music scene.
The Los Angeles-based post-grunge Flogging Molly would best be described as a mix of traditional Irish music and spunky punk rock. Dave King formed the band and they got their start playing at the L.A. bar Molly Malones.