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January 1st, 2018

2017: Looking back with gratitude // forward with enthusiasm.

Thank you for a memorable 2017. We wish you great music, inspiration and happiness in the new year.

As the year comes to a final close, we want to thank you for your role in making 2017 such a memorable one, and to reflect on the milestones we’ve experienced together over the course of the last twelve months.

This year’s programming started back in late January at the Sundance Film Festival, where 2016 grand prize winner Wilder Adkins performed two captivating solo sets at the wonderful Sundance ASCAP Music Café.  

2016 NewSong grand prize winner Wilder Adkins, performing at the 
Sundance ASCAP Music Café in January

Shortly thereafter, we opened submissions for the fourth annual NewSong Presents: LEAF Festival Singer-Songwriter Competition. In May, we hosted ten amazing artists from across the county at the spring LEAF Festival to showcase and compete at one of the country’s best music and arts festivals … right down the road from our home base here in Asheville, NC.

Among the talent, Asheville’s own Brie Capone took top honors at the LEAF Contest, winning a featured performance with her band at this year’s fall LEAF Festival, along with an automatic advancement to the live performance finals of the NewSong Music Competition in New York.

2017 LEAF Contest winner Brie Capone, performing at the 
fall LEAF Festival in October.

This year’s summer programming featured two ‘NewSong Presents’ concert series. Once again we were delighted to partner with our friends at Arts Brookfield in New York City to curate eight weekly outdoor concerts at One New York Plaza in our ‘Summer Plaza Series,’ featuring NewSong alums Brad ColeBlair BodineJBird ShogrenMax Hatt/Edda GlassQueen EstherAndy PalmerWilder Adkins and Amy Fairchild.

2016 NewSong finalist Brad Cole, performing at the 
‘Summer on the Plaza’ series in New York in May.

And in August, we were delighted to partner for the first time with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. on a three-part weekly concert series entitled Verse –> Refrain: An Exploration of Song, featuring talented NewSong alums Max Hatt / Edda Glass (2014 grand prize winner), JBird Shogren (2016 finalist), Rachael Kilgour (2015 grand prize winner), Wilder Adkins (2016 grand prize winner), Brie Capone (2016 LEAF Contest winner) and Andy Palmer (2016 LEAF Contest finalist).

2016 NewSong finalist JBird Shogren (l) performing with 2014 grand prize winner Max Hatt / Edda Glass in the ‘Exploration of Song’ series at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in August.

And just last month (November 30), our 2017 programming culminated once again at New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, for the live performance finals of the 16th annual NewSong Music Performance and Songwriting Competition. There, finalists chosen from across North America convened to network, showcase and compete for this year’s top honor. In the end, Crys Matthews of Herndon, VA won this year’s grand prize with her striking, poetic songs and deeply spirited performance. 

2017 NewSong grand prize winner Crys Matthews, performing in the 
finals at New York City’s Lincoln Center in November.

On the label front, our imprint NewSong Recordings released two wonderful albums this year: Rachael Kilgour’s Rabbit in the Road in March and Kelly English’s debut album City Limits in October.

2015 NewSong grand prize winner Rachael Kilgour released ‘Rabbit in the Road’ in March,
which Billboard Magazine cited as “a heartfelt slice of master crafted indie folk,
brimming with the battle-tested capacity to endure the worst in others.”

We’ve also been quite busy in the studio this year –  doing work we truly love – producing and mixing upcoming 2018 label releases from Blue YonderWilder AdkinsRachael Kilgour and Beth Snapp.

Our mission at NewSong Music is to identify and celebrate excellence in both performance and songwriting, and to work hand-in-hand with truly exceptional emerging artists to advance their careers in a myriad of ways.

Our goal is to be an ongoing resource and partner to the artists with whom we work, and this year’s concerts, competitions and recordings have all strived to meet this goal. 

As we approach the new year, we look forward to doing much of the same, and to keeping in touch with you along the way.

For all of the artists who have either performed in or submitted to our programs this year, we thank you very much for your participation. We value the opportunity to discover your music in this way. We wish you the best in all your music endeavors in the new year.

For everyone else, thank you for your support of independent music and those who work so hard to create it.

And thank you all for following our journey as it unfolds in exciting and unpredictable ways. Here’s to new adventures in the new year!

With gratitude, 

Gar Ragland
Director & Co-founder
NewSong Recordings • NewSong Presents • NewSong Music Competition