Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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

Crys Matthews wins the 2017 NewSong Music Performance and Songwriting Competition

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

Crys Matthews was named the grand-prize winner in the 2017 NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition after performing, along with other finalists, during a live music showcase at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ David Rubenstein Atrium in New York City on Thursday, November 30.


Grand prize winner Crys Matthews performing in the live performance finals of the NewSong Music Competition at Lincoln Center in New York on Thursday.


Now in its 16th year, the competition showcases emerging performing songwriters. NewSong Music is an independent music organization that aims to build a supportive community of performers and songwriters across various genres of music and skill levels, while identifying truly exceptional artists and introducing their music to a broader international audience.

Click here for a photo gallery of the live performance finals.
Click here to listen to the 2017 finalists playlist on Spotify.

“Each year, the NewSong Music Competition presents one of the strongest platforms for music discovery by giving many of today’s most talented singer-songwriters a way to connect with a wider audience. Its rich legacy of shining a spotlight on incredible artists continues with this year’s grand prize winner, Crys Matthews. While all of the finalists were compelling in their own way, Matthews won hearts and minds with her infectious folk/blues songs that boldly explored everything from the follies of the human heart to our current political milieu. By wrapping honest emotions around her socially conscious messages and dynamically delivering them with a warm heart and a strong voice, she lifted our spirits just when we need it most in these troubled times. ASCAP will be honored to showcase her at the 2018 Sundance ASCAP Music Cafe in January.”  – Erik Philbrook, ASCAP VP/Creative Director and NewSong Music Judge

 “This year’s competition showcased the most talented and diverse cross section of the singer-songwriter category to date. We had musical theater, dark sad love songs and uplifting calls to action. Being a judge this year was challenging as each artist displayed talent and strength. Crys Mathews is a necessary voice. Her depth coupled with her openness and approachability was unmatched. She has a spark that is contagious and shares music that unites us and makes us think.” – Viviana Benitez, Associate Producer at Lincoln Center and NewSong judge

Matthews, a prolific songwriter — whose music blends Americana, blues, bluegrass, folk, funk, and jazz – has drawn comparisons to such other artists as Tracy Chapman, Ruthie Foster and Toshi Reagon. She recently released a new full-length CD, The Imagineers, as well as an EP, Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers

As the NewSong Music competition’s grand-prize winner, she will receive a six-song EP, recorded and mixed at Asheville, North Carolina’s Echo Mountain Recording Studios and released on the NewSong Recordings label; a featured performance at the ASCAP Music Café during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah; and future performance opportunities across the U.S., curated by NewSong Music.

“When my name was called, I was absolutely ecstatic,” said Matthews. “To be chosen as the grand-prize winner [from] among so many incredibly talented songwriters was an amazing feeling. To now be included among the ranks of artists I greatly admire – Rachael Kilgour, Wilder Adkins, Liz Longley – is just such an honor. I’m so grateful for every aspect of this experience – getting to play Lincoln Center, planting the seeds of so many new friendships among my fellow finalists, getting to record and release a new project and, thanks to ASCAP, getting to play at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Thank you for believing in me, NewSong Music!”

Invitations also will be extended to other 2017 competition finalists and standouts to participate in future NewSong Music events in various U.S. locations. They also will be given consideration for film and television placement opportunities as well as for future releases on NewSong Recordings. This year’s finalists included Biscay (London, England), Jerome Brooks, Jr. (New York, NY), Brie Capone (Asheville, NC), Dave Ray Cecil (Greensboro, NC), David Robert King (Decatur, GA), Becca Leigh (Charleston, SC), Andrea Lopez (Miami, FL), Cary Morin (Fort Collins, CO), and India Ramey (Nashville, TN).

– by Michael Kornfeld, editor and publisher of, an online publication for the folk, roots and singer-songwriter communities.

Complete roster of 2017 NewSong Music finalists announced.

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Congratulations to this year’s class of finalists in the 16th annual NewSong Music performance and songwriting competition.

They’ll be convening to perform, network and compete on Thursday, November 30 at New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The performance will be livestreamed via NewSong Music’s Facebook page

For more information on attending this free live event, please visit the Lincoln Center website


Andrea Lopez
Miami, FL

London, England

Becca Leigh
Charleston, SC
Early Bird Finalist

Brie Capone
Asheville, NC
LEAF Festival Finalist

Cary Morin
Fort Collins, CO
ReverbNation Finalist

Crys Matthews
Herndon, VA

David Robert King
Decatur, GA

Dave Cecil
Greensboro, NC

India Ramey
Nashville, TN

Jerome Brooks
New York, NY
Early Bird Finalist



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

Friday, July 28th, 2017


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

RSVP on Facebook



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.
RSVP on Facebook


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. 

RSVP on Facebook

Introducing the NewSong Music Summer Plaza Series, Presented by Arts Brookfield

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017


NewSong Music is once again proud to partner with Arts Brookfield this summer to showcase a roster of exceptional performing songwriters in a weekly concert series held in Lower Manhattan.

The free, outdoor lunchtime performances feature quickly ascending artists who represent an array of styles and genres, and all of whom have been recognized as previous NewSong Music competition grand prize winners or standout finalists.

The series kicks off tomorrow afternoon with 2016 finalist Brad Cole and his band. All concerts take place at 1 New York Plaza in Lower Manhattan, and begin promptly at 12:30 PM EDT.

More information and directions here.

Here’s the series lineup:

Wednesday, May 31
Brad Cole Band
2016 NewSong Finalist
New York, NY

Wednesday, June 7

Blair Bodine
2015 NewSong finalist
New York, NY

Wednesday, June 14

JBird Shogren Shanghai’d
2016 NewSong Finalist
Cheyenne, WY

Wednesday, June 21

Max Hatt / Edda Glass
2014 NewSong Grand Prize Winner
Santa Fe, NM

Wednesday, June 28

Queen Esther
2014, 2015 NewSong Finalist
New York, NY

Wednesday, July 5

Andy Palmer
2017 LEAF-NewSong Finalist
Denver, CO

Wednesday, July 12

Wilder Adkins
2016 NewSong Grand Prize Winner
Birmingham, AL

Wednesday, July 19

Amy Fairchild
2008 NewSong Finalist
Boston, MA



Brie Capone wins the fourth annual LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition, presented by NewSong Music

Friday, May 19th, 2017


ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Folk-soul artist Brie Capone has been named the winner of the fourth annual LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition, presented by NewSong Music. Capone and eight other singer-songwriter solo and duo acts were selected from more than 400 entries to this year’s contest. The finalists received complimentary LEAF Festival performer passes in order to take part in the Saturday, May 14, live finals.

Other finalists were Andy Palmer from Denver, CO; Beth Snapp from Kingsport, TN; The Broadcast from Asheville, NC; Heather Mae from Washington, DC; Lisa Bastoni from Watertown, MA; Nash Satterfield from Chelsea, MA; Ordinary Elephant from Livingston, TX; and John Batdorf from Redmond, OR (who was unable to attend).

Capone, who studied at the Berklee College of Music, has been based in Asheville for the past year. She recently released the EP Orbit. A video for her song “Scars,” from that recording, tied for the Judges Choice prize at this year’s Music Video Asheville award show and ceremony.

Of her LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition win, Capone says, “Just to be in the finals and have people hear my music was incredible. I was really happy to be playing alongside such great talent.”

Capone learned about the contest from a friend, who encouraged her to enter. The two songs she submitted to NewSong are from her forthcoming EP, one of many projects the musician has in the works. But, “I’m absolutely looking forward to what the competition in New York City holds, and I can’t wait to meet more people through my music,” she says. “I feel really fortunate to know what I’ll be doing in the fall, and that it will revolve around songwriting and performing. Can’t ask for more.”

NewSong Music cofounder Gar Ragland noted, at the LEAF finals, that the event was as much a celebration of songwriting as a competition. The spirit in the standing-room-only venue — LEAF’s barn, built by students of the historic Black Mountain College — was one of warm support and enthusiasm for the emerging artists at the mic. But beyond recognition and encouragement, the LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition also comes with a covetable prize-pack: The winner is awarded a paid, featured performance at the fall 2017 LEAF Festival (October 19-22 in Black Mountain, NC), including lodging and accommodations.

As this year’s winner, Capone also advances as a finalist in the 2017 international NewSong Showcase and Competition, held November 30, at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. The grand-prize winner of that contest will be awarded the opportunity to make a six-song EP, recorded and mixed at Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville and released on the NewSong Recordings label; a performance showcase at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival’s coveted ASCAP Music Café; and a return performance in 2018 at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The 2017 NewSong Music Contest is now accepting entries.


Announcing the 2017 LEAF Finalists

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

CONGRATULATIONS to our 2017 LEAF Festival Contest Finalists!

Andy Palmer – Denver, CO
Beth Snapp  – Kingsport, TN
Brie Capone – Asheville, NC
The Broadcast – Asheville, NC
John Batdorf – Redmond, OR
Heather Mae – Washington, DC
Lisa Bastoni – Watertown, MA
Nash Satterfield – Chelsea, MA
Ordinary Elephant – Livingston, TX

They’ll be joining us next month at the 44th Annual LEAF Festival to showcase, network and compete for the opportunity to advance to the live performance finals of the international 16th Annual NewSong Music Contest at New York’s Lincoln Center later this year. The 2017 NewSong Music Contest begins accepting entries this Monday, May 1.

On behalf of everyone at LEAF Community Arts and NewSong Music, we thank the many gifted songwriters who submitted to this year’s program. It’s a privilege to discover all the great new music coming from all of you, and we appreciate your participation.

#WhereGreatArtistsAreDiscovered #newsongmusic #LEAFigniteinspire

PopMatters premieres full stream of Rachael Kilgour’s ‘Rabbit in the Road’ album.

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Rachael Kilgour premieres full stream of deeply personal Rabbit in the Road album at PopMatters.


2015 NewSong grand prize winner Rachael Kilgour’s third album Rabbit in the Road is set for release tomorrow on NewSong Recordings, and to celebrate the Minnesota artist has premiered the full stream of the heartbreaking album on PopMatters, who said, “Kilgour is once again writing and performing songs focusing on her life, but now in the profundity of losing love and learning to love oneself again. Following the greatest betrayal she has known, Kilgour bears her bruises in captivating fashion.”

Rabbit in the Road  was co-produced and mixed by NewSong director and producer Gar Ragland at Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville, NC.  The album takes an intimate and often painful look at the failed marriage and loss of family. Kilgour’s writing and delivery cut deep, with resolute simplicity. Sorrow, rage, resilience and compassion all exist, side by side.

“A heartfelt slice of master crafted indie folk, brimming with the battle-tested capacity to endure the worst in others. There’s a steadfast confidence to her voice, which lingers around the guitar and keystrokes like smoke above a dying fire.”  Billboard 

“Rachael Kilgour writes lyrics that you want to hold onto forever.” Impose Magazine 


Enter the fourth annual LEAF Contest for your chance to showcase at the upcoming Spring LEAF Festival (May 11-14), and compete to advance to the  finals of the 16th annual NewSong Music Competition, held this fall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City!

Entry fees increase after this Tuesday’s discounted ‘Early Bird’ deadline.


The Fourth Annual NewSong Presents: LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition is now accepting entries

Thursday, February 16th, 2017


Thursday, February 16. (Asheville, NC) – LEAF Community Arts (LEAF) and NewSong Music today announce the launch of the 4th Annual NewSong Presents: LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition. With a mission to identify and celebrate exceptional performers and songwriters from across North America, the competition aims to bring some of the continent’s most accomplished emerging artists to showcase and compete at the 44th LEAF Festival, which takes place May 11-14, 2017, and the chance to advance to perform at the legendary Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.


“LEAF is thrilled to once again partner with NewSong Music for the 4th annual singer songwriter competition… Providing artists from throughout the globe with the unique opportunity to share their music, artistry, and spirit at the 44th LEAF Festival this Spring. Through creating a platform and pathway for artists to emerge through their craft, this program has become an invaluable stepping stone toward launching a thriving career. In addition to performing in front of hundreds of LEAFers and a host of world-class music industry judges, the winner receives an the opportunity to perform at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for the international NewSong Finals, as well as two sets at the 45th LEAF Festival next Fall! We can’t wait to experience the incredible talent this competition will reveal…” ~ Ehren Cruz, LEAF Performing Arts Director


The contest begins accepting online song submissions today (February 16), and the final deadline to enter is Sunday, April 2. Judges will select eight finalists from advance online submissions, who will then perform in the live showcase and competition finals at the Spring LEAF Festival on Saturday, May 13, 2017. A panel of music industry judges will select the overall winner of the competition.

The GRAND PRIZE winner will be awarded a paid, featured performance (including lodging & accommodations) at the Fall 2017 LEAF Festival, held October 19-22 in Black Mountain, NC. The overall LEAF winner will also advance to perform and compete at New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts later this year in the live performance finals of the 16th annual, international NewSong Music competition.

All eight finalists will each receive a complimentary LEAF Festival performer pass for Saturday, May 13 to perform in the live finals.

“NewSong Music is delighted to be partnering once again with our hometown friends at LEAF to produce the fourth annual singer-songwriter showcase and competition at this spring’s LEAF Festival. The program has increasingly attracted outstanding emerging talent from across North America and beyond, whom we’ve been honored to invite to showcase and compete at one of the country’s best music and arts festivals … all right here in our own backyard!”

~ Gar Ragland, NewSong Director & Co-Founder


‘Early Bird’ (before March 8)
$20 – 1 SONG ENTRY
$35 – 2 SONG ENTRY
$45 – 3 SONG ENTRY

Regular Pricing
$25 – 1 SONG ENTRY
$45 – 2 SONG ENTRY
$55 – 3 SONG ENTRY

Submit your songs safely and securely online at A portion of the contest proceeds will support LEAF Schools & Streets’ local cultural arts education programming.



Thursday, February 16
– Online mp3 submission platform opens for entries

Tuesday, March 7
– ‘Early Bird’ Discounted Entry Deadline 

Sunday, April 2
– Final deadline to enter

Thursday, April 13
– Finalists Announced

Saturday, May 13
– LIVE PERFORMANCE FINALS at the Spring LEAF Festival (May 11-14); Black Mountain, NC (near Asheville)

About LEAF Community Arts

LEAF Community Arts (lovingly called LEAF) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization with a mission to connect cultures and create community through music and arts. LEAF is comprised of two key cultural arts education programs – LEAF Schools & Streets and LEAF International as well as two signature events – LEAF Festival (the event that started it all) and LEAF Downtown.  Attendance at LEAF Festival provides a family-friendly weekend experience infused with music and arts while supporting the long-term vision of the organization. Since 1995, LEAF has served over 200,000+ youth with programs in over 15 community locations and in 10 countries worldwide.  Learn more at

About NewSong Music

NewSong Music is an independent artist development company headquartered in Asheville, NC.

NewSong’s mission is to build and support a community of performers and songwriters across all genres and levels of skill, and to identify the truly exceptional artists to introduce their music to a broader, international audience. Its programs include a boutique record label (NewSong Recordings), artist management services, concert production and the annual, international NewSong performance and songwriting competition.

Its presenting partners include Arts Brookfield and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, the ASCAP Music Café at the Sundance Film Festival.

Billboard premieres heartwrenching single ‘Deep Bruises’ from Rachael Kilgour’s forthcoming album Rabbit in the Road

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

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Billboard premieres heartwrenching single ‘Deep Bruises’ from Rachael Kilgour’s forthcoming album Rabbit in the Road

“[the track is] a heartfelt slice of master crafted indie folk brimming with the battle-tested capacity to endure the worst in others.” – Billboard



AUDIO: “Deep Bruises”/Soundcloud + Billboard (available for posting)

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 international NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition, Kilgour has been featured at NYC’s Lincoln Center and by the ASCAP Music Café at the Sundance Film Festival. She was also a finalist in the 2015 Telluride Troubadour Contest. 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 & Catie Curtis.

Kilgour married in her early twenties and devoted the rest of the decade to parenting her stepchild and building family and community. Her work from that time (Self-Titled 2008, Will You Marry Me? 2011, Whistleblower’s Manifesto 2013) chronicled her life as a young parent in a same-sex partnership and addressed sociopolitical issues from government corruption to income inequality to religious hypocrisy. Kilgour’s music career took a backseat during those years as she lived a slow, home-focused life.

In 2014, divorce brought an unwanted and excruciating end to her role as a member of her family. The sudden shift left her deep in grief. Kilgour spent many months processing with friends, family, and therapists and found solace in songwriting. Kilgour’s forthcoming album, Rabbit in the Road, was born out of that time: the love, loss, betrayal, disorientation and the profound sense of resilience that followed.

“While I have always felt a strong pull to address social injustices from the stage, this new collection of work requires something new of me,” Kilgour shared. “I feel called to use my platform to address emotion and grief and forgiveness in a way that is not often done in our culture.”

Though the album was instigated by a particular event in her life, each track explores a different aspect of Kilgour’s emotional journey. “I was taught from a young age that a person’s hurtful behavior is almost always a sign of inner pain and not a reflection of your self-worth. The second track on the album, ‘Deep Bruises’, was my attempt to put that belief into practice under the most difficult circumstances.”

Later, in “Ready Freddie”Kilgour professes an unyielding confidence in her step-daughter as she steps into adolescence. In the title track, Kilgour examines the dualities of forgiveness. As is true of the album in its entirety, the detailed examination of Kilgour’s relationships and emotions is surprisingly universal:

“With your hands around his neck, You spared his misery, How swift you gave that rabbit, What you couldn’t give to me”

Rabbit in the Road, due out March 3rd, 2017 on NewSong Recordings, was co-produced by Catie Curtis, Gar Ragland and Crit Harmon, who engineered the album. The album was mixed by Gar Ragland at Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville, NC. The album takes an intimate and often painful look at the failed marriage and loss of family. Kilgour’s writing and delivery cut deep, with resolute simplicity. Sorrow, rage, resilience and compassion exist side by side within a series of honest and memorable melodies. The collection of work stands tall on a foundation of vulnerability and opens the door to moments of profound connection.

Today, the heartwrenching first track from the record, “Deep Bruises,” has premiered at Billboard, who say, “[the track is ] a heartfelt slice of master crafted indie folk brimming with the battle-tested capacity to endure the worst in others.. When Kilgour sings ‘No one’s predictable as you,’ there’s a steadfast confidence to her voice, which lingers around the guitar and keystrokes like smoke above a dying fire. There’s hints of Stevie Nicks and Neko Case in her pensive, almost rustic vocals, which do great justice to the song’s solemn mood.”

Rabbit in the Road is set for release 3/3/17 via NewSong Recordings, preorder available here.

Upcoming Rachael Kilgour dates:
2/4 @ Eat My Words Bookstore, Minneapolis, MN
2/10 @ House Concert, Hibbing, MN
2/11 @ Prairie Wind, Windom, MN
2/17 @ House Concert, Eagan, MN
2/18 @ House Concert, Minneapolis, MN
2/24 @ Uncommon Ground, Chicago, Ill.
2/25 @ The Broad Museum, Lansing, MI
2/25 @ The Pumphouse, Lansing, MI
3/3 @ The Park Theater, Hayward, WI.
3/4 @ Crescendo Madison, WI. with Josh Harty
3/11 @ House Concert, Cedar Rapids, IA
3/12 @ Des Moines Social Club, Des Monies, IA
3/22 @ Glensheen Mansion Unplugged Series, Duluth, MN
3/23 @ Root Note, La Crosse, WI
4/1 @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN with Lucy Kaplansky
4/23 @ Jubilee House Concert, Duluth, MN
May 6 @ Circle of Friends Coffee House, Franklin, MA. with Catie Curtis
May 11 @ Light Club Lamp Shop, Burlington, VT.
May 18 @ One Longfellow Square, Portland, ME w/ Connor Garvey and Caroline Spence
May 20 @ Burghsong Concert Series, Pittsburgh, PA


Rachael Kilgour
Rabbit in the Road
Out 3/3/2017 via NewSong Recordings

You’re Through
Deep Bruises
Ready Freddie
Up From Down
Still My Wife
Don’t Need Anyone
Rabbit in the Road
Hit by a Bus
I Pray
Break Wide Open


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Terrorbird Media

Publicist: Amanda Dissinger, Terrorbird 
Radio: Shannon Kurlander, Terrorbird
Licensing: Scott Cresto, Music Alternatives