December 5, 2016

Andrew Hyra reunites with Billy Pilgrim partner Kristian Bush at Eddie’s Attic

BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene

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Kristian Bush and his collaborator in folk-rock duo Billy Pilgrim hadn’t performed – or talked much – the past 15 years.

That changed briefly in January when Bush’s partner in harmony, Andrew Hyra, hopped onstage with his old friend at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Florida for an impromptu rendition of “I Won’t Tell,” the Springsteen-esque song from their 1995 album, “Bloom.”

It was their first performance together since 2001.

The affable Bush, of course, catapulted to stardom with Sugarland shortly after Billy Pilgrim dissolved in 2001 – they never officially disbanded — and remains a fixture in country music. He’s also currently writing the score to the upcoming musical “Troubadour,”which will have its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre on Jan. 18.

Kristian Bush shunned his solo material and Sugarland catalog for a set focused on Billy Pilgrim. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

Kristian Bush shunned his solo material and Sugarland catalog for a set focused on Billy Pilgrim. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

Hyra, meanwhile, worked as a carpenter in Atlanta and performed with his band Smokin’ Novas, but recently moved to Connecticut.

On Monday night at Eddie’s Attic, Billy Pilgrim lived again – but this time for nearly two rapturous hours. (Bush played his usual post-Thanksgiving quartet of shows on Sunday and Monday, but this was the only performance to spotlight Hyra.)

Despite the decade and a half gap in sharing stage time together, Bush and Hyra – joined by multi-instrumentalist wunderkind Brandon Bush – owned the tiny stage as if they never left it.

With eyes scrunched shut and voices perfectly in sync, the pair traded lyrics on “Hurricane Season,” “Blind Spot” and the acoustic guitar strummer, “Try.”

Hyra’s sweetly powerful voice melded effortlessly with Bush’s chameleonic tones, and it was as obvious to the audience as the two onstage that theirs still is a magical, musical symbiosis.

Despite his admitted nerves when talking onstage, Andrew Hyra found his comfort zone behind the mic. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

Despite his admitted nerves when talking onstage, Andrew Hyra found his comfort zone behind the mic. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

“We still got it, man,” Hyra confirmed to Bush with a smile.

While much of the set centered on the thoughtful midtempo musings that exemplified the Billy Pilgrim sound, the pair accelerated with the clap-along “Sweet Louisiana Sound” and the driving “The Last American Poet,” which featured Brandon Bush on drums.

And yes, they returned to the poetic “I Won’t Tell,” which was wrapped, fittingly, around the chorus of Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.”

Before the guys encored with a nod to the holidays – their evocative read on “The First Noel” – Bush shared another smile and bro hug with Hyra.

“When I woke up today, I hoped this would happen,” he said.

Mission accomplished.

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November 4, 2016

2017 30A Songwriters Festival Announced

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The 8th annual 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL- set for January 13-16, 2017 – has announced the initial line-up for the 2017 celebration of singers and songs. The festival, held in venues along scenic Highway 30A in Florida’s South Walton County, will feature headline performances from esteemed artists JOHN PRINE, CHEAP TRICK, DR. JOHN & THE NITE TRIPPERS, AND SHAWN COLVIN. Also confirmed on the main stage are Parker Millsap, Drivin N Cryin, and Motel Mirrors (featuring Amy LaVere and Will Sexton).

Featured artists in venues at night on 30A include Smokin’ Novas, John Fullbright, Over the Rhine, JoJo Hermann (Widespread Panic), Chely Wright, Murray Attaway (Guadalcanal Diary), Sarah Lee Guthrie, Matthew Sweet, Tom Gray (The Brains), Shawn Mullins, Peter Case, John Gorka, Nicole Witt, and Farewell Angelina.

Among the total of 175 stellar songwriters who will perform and have distinguished themselves in bands and on pop charts in various genres of music are Emerson Hart (Tonic), David Ryan Harris (John Mayer band), David Hodges (Evanescence), Michelle Malone, Peter Holsapple (the dB’s), Jeffrey Steele, Lari White, Ellis Paul, Chris Stills, Heather Maloney, Robby Hecht, Elise Davis, Caroline Spence, David Berkeley, Joe Leathers, Peter Karp, Webb Wilder, Jonathan Tyler, Cory Chisel, Robert Ellis, Jonny Fritz, Luther Dickenson, Charlie Mars, Griffin House, Michael McDermott, Dan Navarro, Dan Bern, Hailey Whitters, Sean McConnell, Trea Landon, Muscadine Bloodline, Jacob Powell, Eliot Bronson, Brigitte DeMeyer, Lilly Winwood, Ben Glover, Daphne Willis, Davin McCoy, Billy Montana, Kyle Jacobs, Callaghan, Don Dixon & Marti Jones, Cale Dodds, Logan Brill, Hannah Dasher, Derek George, Jaren Johnston, Josh Kear, Josh Kerr, Phil Madeira, Willis Alan Ramsey, Jimmy Robbins, Frank Rogers, Cole Taylor, Abe Stoklasa, Tommy Talton, Brian White & Karyn Williams, Willie Sugarcapps, Sugarcane Jane, Grayson Capps, Will Kimbrough, Corky Hughes, Cooper Carter, Connor Garvey, Jemina & Selina, Hannah Thomas, Jonathan Mitchell, Courtyard Saints, Wyatt Edmondson, and ESOEBO. “The talent pool of songwriters is vast and prodigious” muses co-Producer Russell Carter.

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September 14, 2016

2016 Wire & Wood Songwriters Festival Lineup

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November 17, 2015

7TH ANNUAL 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL LINEUP ANNOUNCED

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The 7th annual 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL– set for January 15, 16 and 17, 2016 – has announced the initial line-up for the 2016 celebration of singers and songs. The festival, held in venues along scenic Highway 30A in Florida’s South Walton County, will feature headline performances from esteemed artists Jackson Browne, Grace Potter, Shovels & Rope and Wine, Women & Song featuring Matraca Berg, Suzy Bogguss & Gretchen Peters.

 

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Also confirmed are Smokin’ Novas, Ani DiFranco, Emerson Hart (Tonic), Kristian Bush (Sugarland), Shawn Mullins, Jay Farrar (from Son Volt), Peter Holsapple (the dB’s), Drew Holcomb, Jeffrey Steele, Parker Millsap, Dan Bern, Steve Poltz, Hayes Carll, Charlie Mars, Grant-Lee Phillips, Bob Schneider, David Ryan  Harris (John Mayer band),  David Hodges (Evanescence), Bobby Bare, Jr., Chris Stills, Jim Lauderdale, Callaghan, Kris Delmhorst, Kristy Lee, BettySoo, Randall Bramblett, Griffin House, Jennifer Knapp, Toby Lightman, Liz Longley and Heather Maloney.

Get Your Tickets Now!

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September 29, 2015

Wire and Wood Songwriters Festival Lineup for 2015

Mark your calendar! The Wire & Wood Alpharetta Songwriters Festival takes place on Oct 15-17. Artists include Smokin’ Novas, Edwin McCain, Tinsley Ellis, Todd Snider, Randall Bramblett, Parker Millsap, Jim Lauderdale, Angaleena Presley, Chris Stills, Tommy Talton, Elizabeth Cook and Kim Richey among many others.
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Tickets available now (kids 12 & under free): https://www.freshtix.com/…/wire–wood-alpharetta-songwriter…
Wire and Wood Songwriters Festival’s photo.

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June 10, 2015

EuroAmericana Names Smokin’ Novas Top 10 Album of 2014

June 10, 2015

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EuroAmericana recently announced their top album picks for 2014 and Smokin’ Novas debut album came in at number 7 according to Hansjoerg Malonek.

Their complete list for 2014

1. Rosanne Cash, The River & The Thread

2. Old Crow Medicine Show, Remedy

3. Micky & The Motorcars, Hearts From Above

4. Rodney Crowell, Tarpaper Sky

5. Hot Rize, When I’m Free

6. V. Artist, Looking into you – Tribute to Jackson Browne, Music Road Records

7. Smokin’ Novas, Smokin’ Novas

8. Jason Eady, Daylight & Dark

9. John Mellencamp, Plain Spoken

10. Willie Nelson, Band of Brothers

 

 

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October 27, 2014

Alpharetta-Roswell Revue & News

Wire & Wood: Alpharetta makes beautiful music at songfest

Concert goers come from all over

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The Wire & Wood Songwriters Festival filled downtown Alpharetta with music, people and good times.  Local and nationally touring songwriters combined with a glorious Georgia October afternoon and evening to create a magical event that drew visitors from near and far.  John Barranca lives just steps away from the main stage on Milton Avenue. As he sat at a table with friends, he said the day had been a success.

“It’s awesome. The music is great, and the venue doesn’t get any better than this,” Barranca said.  His buddy, John Revell of Roswell, agreed.  “The festival is just great. Sit back, listen to good music, eat some food and drink beer,” Revell said.  Nicole and Duane Schuler from Canton said they were going to the airport to catch a 10 p.m. flight, but they had to stop for the festival.  “We were driving by, and just had to stop,” Nicole Schuler said. “My husband said, ‘We’re going to hang around here tonight.’ So that’s what we’re doing.”

But if you really want to give a prize for “Traveled the Farthest,” it would have to go to Tracy McClain who came all the way from Seattle just to hear Michael Tolcher perform.  “Michael has a national following, and he’s releasing an album soon,” McClain said. “He’s really cool. I just love to listen – and watch him sing.”  All in all, it was a laid-back atmosphere. Mini-concerts nearby at SmokeJack, Hop Alley Brew Pub and South Main Kitchen contributed to the ambience.  People relaxed around tables or sat back in groups in the chairs they brought from home and just went with the flow as the sky darkened and the music played on.

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October 24, 2014

Smokin’ Novas added to the 30A Songwriters Festival Lineup Jan 16-18, 2015

The 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL has announced the initial line-up for the 2015 celebration of singers and songs. The 6th annual festival will feature performances by esteemed artists Graham Nash, Indigo Girls, Leon Russell, Jason Isbell, Shawn Mullins, Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket). Also confirmed are Smokin’ Novas, Jeffrey Steele, Chely Wright, Bobby Bare Jr., Steve Poltz, Angaleena Presley, Over the Rhine, Jesse Harris, Mary Gauthier, Hayes Carll, Bob Schneider, Ellis Paul, Allison Moorer, Deana Carter and Peter Karp & Sue Foley.

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Additional information

150 artist – 25 venues along scenic 30A in Northwest Florida

http://www.30asongwritersfestival.com

Tickets available HERE

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July 17, 2014

Smokin’ Novas review by Danielle Boise/Target Audience Magazine

By Danielle Boise @DanielleBoise· On July 17, 2014

With the tag Americana music that moves the soul, Smokin’ Novas lives up to that statement and more with the release of the band’s self-titled debut album, which happens to be produced by Grammy award winning producer Don McCollister. The 10-tracks run approximately 40 minutes and will fill you with every emotion possible –from the swells of sheer bliss to the pangs of a fragile heart. Smokin’ Novas masterfully fuses together the world of Americana and Folk with moments of nostalgia as the lyrics wrap intimately around the melodies to catch the listener in a truly perfect string of moments.

Smokin’ Novas start off with “Sunrise” a song filled with an earthy richness. “Crooked Smile” is that moment when you realize that you have to finally make room to fit in your life as yourself, no one else. “Wildflower Honey” by far is one of my personal favorite tracks on the album. The song is more than the tangy sweetness that the title indicates. With a true country hilt, the levels of sincerity are captured in the notes, lyrics and tone in this endearing love song with picture perfect images that causes the heart to smile and eyes to leak.

“Nightdriving” is a sexy escapism with “The mess you’ve been making is all your own design.”  Every person has created their own chaotic hell from one time to another, “Nightdriving” reminds us to just get out of our own way and drive through it. “Monteverde Ride” is a sleek song. I love the how the strings and percussion come together tightly on this song as they roll over the senses.  The most personal song on the album is “Up on the Mountain,” which hit me hard.  A touching tribute to loss and to learning how to come to terms with a missing piece of you. One that is so profound that it rewrites who you are. Yet, in all of that learning to live again and find joy in small moments.

The last track “Rosemarie” wraps the album up on a perfect note with a charming accolade to a loved one. The entire album is rich, full and lush. One that fully activates the senses. This is an album you will want to listen to more than once, and often.

If you are fans of The Civil Wars, John Mayer or The Lone Bellows, then this is the band for you.

Danielle Boise on Google+

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