Crys Matthews

Already being hailed as the next Woody Guthrie, Nashville resident Crys Matthews is among the brightest stars of the new generation of social justice music-makers. A powerful lyricist whose songs of compassionate dissent reflect her lived experience as what she lightheartedly calls "the poster child for intersectionality," Justin Hiltner of Bluegrass Situation called Matthews’s gift "a reminder of what beauty can occur when we bridge those divides." She is made for these times and, with the release of her new, hope-fueled, love-filled social justice album Changemakers, Matthews hopes to take her place alongside some of her heroes in the world of social-justice music like Sweet Honey in the Rock and Holly Near. Of Matthews, ASCAP VP & Creative Director Eric Philbrook says, By wrapping honest emotions around her socially conscious messages and dynamically delivering them with a warm heart and a strong voice, she lifts our spirits just when we need it most in these troubled times.

Matthews began performing in 2010 but cemented her acclaim at Lincoln Center as the 2017 NewSong Music and Performance Competition grand prize winner. That year she also released two new projects — her album of thoughtful songs on love and life called The Imagineers, and her EP called Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers, which tackles social justice themes. Matthews also won the People’s Music Network’s Social Justice Songs contest at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance. Loyal fans quickly followed as Matthews racked up performances at large music festivals and prestigious venues across the country including the Sundance Film Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, and locally at venues like The Birchmere, The Hamilton, Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, and Jammin' Java. In her TedTalk about difficult conversations called "Sing, Don't Shout — An Alternative Approach" Matthews spoke about being born and raised in a small town in southeastern North Carolina by an A.M.E. preacher, and how she witnessed the power of music from an early age. A former drum major and classically trained clarinetist turned folk singer, Matthews is using her voice to answer Dr. Martin Luther King's call to be "a drum major for justice."

I believe in hope, Matthews said. As a social-justice songwriter, it is my duty to keep breathing that hope and encouragement into the people who listen to my music. And, from the title track to the last track, Changemakers does just that all while tackling some heavy topics like immigration, the opioid crisis, Black Lives Matter, and gun safety to name a few. Ani DiFranco said, People used to make records as in a record of an event," said Matthews, so I hope that these songs will serve as a time capsule, a record of the events of the last four years and what it was like to live through them. Crys Matthews's thoughtful, realistic, and emotional songs speak to the voice of our generation and remind us why music indeed soothes the soul.

Seth Glier

The earth speaks to us in a myriad of ways — through ice cores, through uplift and erosion, through tree rings — languages we have the potential to restore our literacy in. Reconnecting with these quiet messages has set Seth Glier, an avid mushroom forager and a Grammy-nominated artist from Western Massachusetts, on a path of channeling nature’s longing for communion with humanity into song. His new album Everything is a collection of eight songs inviting us to imagine a future in which humans and the planet are re-aligned into mutual restoration.

Each song presents a practical climate solution with concrete optimism.What if this is the beginning, not the beginning of the end, the album opens with bristling energy and hope on Rise, an anthem about rewilding. Finally Home is a celebration of regenerative farming with driving doo wop vocal harmony. Mammoth, written from the perspective of a wooly mammoth being brought back to life from frozen DNA, invites us to consider the blip of human history against billions of years of evolution. The album’s guest stars Crys Matthews, Hayley Reardon, and Windborne elevate the record with surprise from the stark choir arrangement of Birches recorded a capella in an old church to My Body Remembers, a flowing meditation on the transmission of healing, EMDR & The Language of Trees. The album’s title track was inspired by an experience Seth had while foraging. When I picked up the chantarelle mushroom and brought it towards my nose I first smelled sweet apricot and then my spine straightened suddenly. The feeling was like déjà vu. It was a first time, yet somewhere inside of me I had done this once before. I was reconnecting to a knowledge I had already known. The album is an acknowledgement of the sacred connections that exist between all living things and is an active questioning of what might be possible collectively. Everything is a reminder that the future is something we always have an influence over.

Seth’s gifts are an innate curiosity and a fierce desire to connect with other people. His musical acumen provides him with a vehicle for both. He was worked as a cultural diplomat for the US State Department and collaborated with musicians in Ukraine, Mongolia, China, and Mexico. Seth has shared the bill with a diverse list of artists ranging from the likes of Ronnie Spector, James Taylor, Ani DiFranco, & Glen Campbell. As a producer, music director, or studio musician he has collaborated with Sophie B. Hawkins, Tom Rush, Antje Duvekot, Richard Shindell, Doctora Qingona, Dar Williams, Nick Carter, & Cyndi Lauper. Seth is a five-time Independent Music Award winner and received a Grammy nomination for his album The Next Right Thing. With a commitment to using songwriting as a tool for positive change, he has written with the students in Parkland, FL for the Parkland Project, cowritten with soldiers at Walter Reed, and is an advocate for autism awareness citing his autistic brother Jamie as his greatest non-musical-musical influence.

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