DAM AWARDS 2018: Best Country/Americana Act

Isaac Hoskins

Isaac Hoskins has played local venues like Dan’s Silverleaf, West Oak Coffee Bar and Shift Coffee in Denton. He has traveled as far as Arkansas, North Carolina, Minnesota and Tennessee to perform.  His music has a real rugged feel to it, with a sense of country jam bliss. Heavy guitar strum sounds set him apart and ragged voice qualities shape his music beautifully into its country music.

Hoskins’ song “Half Empty” particularly stands out, as his voice fills the room of sounds he creates. The beating sounds hiding in the background are light and gentle enough to guide the listener into his moving music.

The album Double H Bar Songs is a good listen; you can check out Hoskins’ music here.   

Kim Nall and The Fringe

With a smoky, yet smooth sound and troubled, quiet beats, Kim Nall and The Fringe’s music takes the listener on a battered path of honest yet beautifully harmonized songwriting.  Each verse quietly pulls you into this music one pitter-patter at a time.  

Kim Nall began writing music at the age of 13, and immediately began penning sad songs, eventually forming the band Kill Nall and The Fringe in 2015. Their album Lay Your Vision Down was released on January 20, 2017 and you can check out the album here.

The band consists of Kim Nall -- guitar and vocals, Petra Kelly -- violin and vocals, Matt Shasteen -- guitar, Taylor Sims -- keyboard, Josh Kitchens on bass and Charlie Moore on the drums.

Levi Cobb and The Big Smoke           

In inviting “let’s get going” beats with upbeat melodies, the band Levi Cobb and The Big Smoke has it all: beautiful harmonies, inviting lyrics, and an inventive sound. With a little piano, some harmonica, fiddle and drums the band has a unique instrumentation.

Full of guitars, bass and even a banjo at time, this band is definitely worth a listen. The band, which formed in 2010, now includes members Levi Cobb (banjo, harmonica and vocals), Brandon Author (guitar and pedal steel), Nathan Norman (drums), Tim Ross (bass), Matt Farmer (guitar), Poppy Xander (piano), and Sharla Franklin (fiddle).

You can listen to the band’s albums When The Wind Came Down and Troublemaker here.         

Matt Grigsby

The album Worthy of Love, produced by CaptivEar Studios, engineered by Zeb Ernest, and released 2017 at Dan's Silverleaf is the work of none other than Matt Grigsby. With well-carried vocals well in this album, he moves the melodies in the subject of love throughout his tunes.

The album mixes its upbeat sounds with the distinctive vocals of Grigsby and his harmonica to create something special; Worthy of Love is something special for listeners, who through it can experience or even re-experience love.

“To me music is a living thing,” Grigsby said “Our biggest obstacle as musicians and songwriters, is getting out of the way and letting the song do the work. We're just the medium."

Grigsby said he first realized the power of music when he was a teenager watching an infomercial advertising a DVD of Paul McCartney and the Wings singing old Beatles tunes. In the video, he saw the camera pan out over the audience; seeing the joy of the mostly middle aged crowd break down one-by-one in the video as though the music transported them to the memories of youth.

You can stream “Worthy of Love,” here, or on Spotify and iTunes.

Plato’s Theory

With the intoxicating sounds of original singles, such as “Corners” and “Empty Silence,” Plato’s theory is a band of three sisters; Maegan, Rose, and Mia Mckey who have a real musical talent channeled through different instruments.

After first coming together in July 2016 to form the band, Plato’s Theory is currently finishing up their first album which is planned for six original songs and two to three covers. .

Originally the band was going to be just a violin and cello duo. They were practicing "Brown Eyed Girl" for their first performance when things changed. “Mia came out of her room and said she could sing and play ukulele to that song. We looked at her like she was crazy because she barely talks, let alone sings!” the trio said, “So she sang with us at the performance! It was such a unique sound and the rest just fell into place.” 

 You can listen to the music of Plato’s Theory here.

Header image by Cristopher Rodgers