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NewSong partners with Kennedy Center in D.C. to present upcoming ‘Verse –> Refrain’ concert series.


NewSong Music is excited to present in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. the upcoming three part weekly music concert series ‘Verse –> Refrain: An Exploration of Song.’

In the spirit of community and collaboration, each of the three weekly performances will feature and pair two emerging artists or acts from the NewSong community, to share the stage to explore, perform and discuss their own inspirations and methods of songwriting.

The concerts take place on each of the last three Thursdays in August (17, 24, 31), are free to the public and begin at 6 PM at the Kennedy Center’s Millinneum Stage. No advance ticket purchase is required, and there is no free parking for these free events.


Here’s the series lineup:


Max Hatt / Edda Glass // 
JBird Shogren

SHOW #1: 2014 NewSong Music grand prize winners Max Hatt / Edda Glass (Santa Fe, NM) and 2016 NewSong award round finalist JBird Shogren (Centennial, WY).

Max Hatt / Edda Glass have “an incomparable spook” (Nashville Scene) and “a unique sound” (Larry Groce, NPR), comprised of Glass’s unmistakable voice and Hatt’s lyrical guitar. Originally from Montana, their award-winning Jazz Americana and wistful interpretations of Brazilian Bossa Nova have taken them all the way to New York City’s Lincoln Center, NPR Mountain Stage, Sundance Film Festival and Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival.

Praised for her “impeccable vocal command” (PopMatters) and compared to a gamut of singers from Astrud Gilberto to Billie Holliday, Glass’s voice is ultimately “one of a kind…you cannot confuse her with another artist” (New York Theatre Guide). Hatt’s equally distinctive guitar work combines the harmonic innovations of jazz with the melodic resonance of folk, creating music that’s “subtly poignant, elegantly funky, and haunting without trying to be” (Nels Cline, Wilco). Together, Max Hatt / Edda Glass evoke a world that stretches from the beaches of Rio de Janeiro to the prairies of the American west, telling stories of little people on great plains, and leaving audiences with a feeling both light and deep. 

J Shogren from Centennial WY (pop 100, 4 bars) has a singular vision of what he is doing musically—Roots & folk music filtered through a contemporary dissonant transmitter. He describes his music as “Catawampus American music”. Shogren plays all over the US & Europe, represented Wyoming in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and was a finalist in the 2016 NewSong Competition held at Lincoln Center in New York City.

“Brilliant storyteller from Wyoming. Hard Boiled, sometimes dark humorous stories delivered with a voice that clearly have lived through them.” Lennart Persson (SWE) Rootsy

“This could well be one of the first albums, in the hundreds of reviews written, that I simply can’t compare to anyone else or even come close to slotting into a genre.” American Roots UK

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Rachael Kilgour // Wilder Adkins

SHOW #2:  This performance features the two most recent grand prize winners of the NewSong Music Competition: 2015’s Rachael Kilgour (Minneapolis, MN) with the reigning and 2016 grand prize recipient Wilder Adkins (Birmingham, AL).

Rachael Kilgour is a Minnesota-based songwriter and performing artist whose sincere, lyric-driven work has been called both brave and humane. The 2015 grand prize winner of the esteemed international NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition and 2017 winner of the Kerrville Grassyhill New Folk Contest, Kilgour has been featured at NYC’s Lincoln Center and by the ASCAP Music Café at the Sundance Film Festival.
A versatile performer, Kilgour has shared stages with the likes of indie artists Haley Bonar & Jeremy Messersmith as well as folk legends Greg Brown, Cheryl Wheeler & Lucy Kaplansky.
Wilder Adkins’ songwriting gleans as much from the earthy poetry of Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver as it does from the works of folk luminaries Richard Thompson and Bruce Cockburn. He’s a true theosophical spirit, arrestingly taciturn, but possessed of startling guitar skills, a wit as dry as October leaves, and a tremulous, dented voice that’s frankly mesmerizing.
Adkins’ songs, steeped in natural imagery, frequently touch upon the subjects of faith, doubt, and as the title of his new album would indicate, Hope and Sorrow.
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Brie Capone / Andy Palmer

SHOW #3: NewSong’s 2017 LEAF Community Arts Contest award round finalists Brie Capone (Asheville, NC) & Andy Palmer (Denver, CO).

Brie Capone is a singer/songwriter and performer from Asheville, NC, and the recent 2017 winner of the NewSong Presents: LEAF Festival Contest. Brie’s video for the single ‘Scars’ from her debut EP Orbit was also selected as a co-winner at the 2017 Music Video Asheville Awards. 

Denver-based Andy Palmer is a former New York City public defender whose three years of living and working in Brooklyn’s trenches clearly provide fodder for the painful truths and ruggedness of his alternative roots-rock sound. 

Palmer’s distinctively gritty vocals and hard luck tales have garnered him favorable comparisons to Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, and Leonard Cohen. Westword magazine calls Palmer’s music “timeless” and “epic” and listed his debut CD Sometime Around among one of Denver’s best releases of 2011. Palmer’s music is featured in multiple independent films, including ‘The Boat Builder’ starring Christopher Lloyd and written by Denver’s own Arnold Grossman. 

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