BOSTON STRONG – About the Artists

These talented artists have all generously lent their voices to this campaign. Here’s a bit of information on each of them as well a link to their website where you can find more information. We encourage you to visit their websites, learn more about them and support their music. Please help us thank them for their contribution!

Frank Hurd – “Light”

Hurd_ProPix_2“This young man is on his way,” states former A&R executive, Holly Hutchison (Capitol & Atlantic Records).  Frank possesses a “beautiful vocal tone” and employs “compelling songwriting.”

Though he didn’t pick up music until just before graduating high school, Frank Hurd has won a number of songwriting competitions in the short time since, including the “Show Me The Music International Songwriting Competition” in December of 2010.  A few months later, he signed a publishing deal with Reach Global Music and has since garnered the attention of record labels, renowned producers, and music management personnel.

In October of last year, Frank was recognized as SingerUniverse’s vocalist of the month for his performance of the original song, “By Your Side.”  Though his career is still quite young, Frank has performed at countless venues and music festivals, including the Cutting Edge Music Fest (New Orleans), The Block Island Music Festival (Rhode Island), The Carousel Festival (North Carolina) and the Millennium Music Conference (Pennsylvania).  He has also opened for Ben Kweller, had his music featured in an independent film, co-written with a Grammy award nominee, and worked with world-renowned producer, Elliot Mazer (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson).

On September 12, 2012, he released his debut solo album “Pressed For Time – EP,” which cracked the top 10 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts.  His follow-up album, “Empty Canvas,” will be released in April, 2014. Visit artist’s website…

Judah and the Lion – “Back’s Against the Wall”

Judah and the Lion-cropJudah & the Lion is an americana-folk band with their roots planted in Nashville, TN. Their music comes from many influences that cumulates in a blend of folk instruments, played with fresh musicianship and powerful vocal harmonies.

They got their start in December of 2011 and exist to create honest and relatable music. The lead singer, Judah Akers, Banjo player, Nate Zuercher, and Mandolinist, Brian Macdonald, lead the group and are honored to play with a band of talented musicians. They love music, love life, and love people. Visit artist’s website…

Liz Longley – “We Run”

LizLongleyIn the short time since her graduation from Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music, singer-songwriter Liz Longley has assembled an impressive resume. While best known for her stop-you-in-your-tracks voice, Liz has steadily developed a reputation as an accomplished songwriter, crafting intimately personal portraits through her music.

In the past two years, Liz has taken home top prizes at some of the most prestigious songwriting competitions in the country, including the BMI John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship Competition, the International Acoustic Music Awards and the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest Songwriting Competition. New England named her the 2011 Female Performer of the Year, the Washington Post declared that Liz is “destined for a larger audience” and Dig Boston called her “a rising acoustic sensation.” Even John Mayer is a fan, calling her music “gorgeous, simply gorgeous.”

A Philadelphia native, Liz recently made the move to Nashville, Tennessee where she has quickly made her presence known throughout Music City. In addition to writing more than forty songs with some of the best songwriters in the business, Liz has also managed to keep up her seemingly never-ending touring schedule, playing over one hundred shows in the last year – all without the help of a record label or booking agent.

While Liz frequently supports the likes of Shawn Colvin, Amos Lee, Paula Cole, Nanci Griffith, Livingston Taylor, Lori McKenna and Colin Hay, something remarkable has begun to happen – audiences are emerging from these shows as fast fans of Liz’s music as well.

Most recently, Liz’s music has taken center stage on the national level with numerous television placements and radio airplay. ABC’s critically acclaimed series NY Med featured Liz’s music throughout the first season, and the 2012 season finale of Lifetime’s Army Wives displayed her towering vocals in an epic grand finale song, “This Is Not the End.” Executives at SiriusXM caught wind of her captivating cover of Van Morrison’s hit “Moondance” and added it into the regular rotation, along with her award-winning original song, “When You’ve Got Trouble.” After an impressive response from listeners, Liz was invited to perform live in the SiriusXM studios in New York city and was named one of their Coffee House Discoveries of 2011.

Following the success of her previous release, Hot Loose Wire, and an impressive Kickstarter campaign this past summer, Liz recently returned to the studio where she recorded her fourth full-length album which is scheduled to be released in 2014. Visit artist’s website…

 Jen Foster – “A Little Help” & “A Hero to Me”

jen-straight-ahead-full high resIt all began with the “The Writer’s Share” songwriter series at the  Bluebird Cafe, in which Foster brought together high-profile  artist/writers such as Richard Marx, Keb’ Mo, Mike Reid, and Chuck  Cannon, to raise money and awareness for the TJ Martell Foundation for  Cancer, Leukemia, and AIDS. “This event was a turning point for me,”  Foster says. “My mom had just died from endometrial cancer, and the  healing that came from doing this event in her honor was so powerful, it  made me rethink how I wanted to spend my time. I knew I needed to do  more projects like this.”

Most recently, Fosterchild Records, along with legendary LGBT  director Nicole Conn (“Claire of the Moon”, “A Perfect Ending”) and  Melke PR, have created the #SHE4MARRIAGEEQUALITY campaign, which centers  around Jen’s song, “She.” Marriage Equality USA quickly jumped on  board, as did the renowned Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood, CA, and  together, they are rolling out a national promotion.

#SHE4ME looks to be a life-changing step in Foster’s celebrated  career. In the coming months, she plans to select more of her songs and  align them with relevant causes, and in the process raise money and  awareness for organizations dear to her. Visit artist’s website…

 Joey Hatcher – “Tragedy”

joey-pic-5“Joey’s music attracts the listener’s attention with soft, pleasing melodies, sincere vocals and a strong emotion that flows through the songs…” – Eva Jostakova of “Music Gets Me By”

I was born in Petoskey Michigan, raised mostly in Illinois and grew up in a very musical family. I was brought up listening to folk music but appreciate something about every genre and incorporate that into my approach to songwriting.

I have been writing music since I was about 6 years old, and enjoy creating moods through music that take you somewhere new. I released my first album “Music In My Head” last year which features a dramatic collection of both soaring and intimate songs. The music style can be described as melodically and lyrically driven alternative/pop with folk influences.

Awards: 2013 “International Acoustic Music Awards” Finalist in two categories:  “Bathed In Silence” for “Best Male Artist”  “Goodbye” placed for the “Alternative” genre. “SongDoor” 2013 International Songwriting Competition Top 5 Finalist:  “Tragedy” for “Singer-Songwriter” genre. “Song of the Year” 2013 Runner Up: “Before We Knew Who We Were”

“It’s an honor to be a part of such a wonderful cause. Especially since I lived so close to the Boston area for several years. On that fateful day we learned that not only are the people of Boston tough, they are also kind. When I saw the news about the Boston Marathon bombing it was very sad and troubling – not only the tragedy of it all, but how low humanity can stoop to cause such hurt towards innocent people. But the stories that soon followed were stories of people helping people – of simple and courageous acts of kindness during a very freightening experience. On that day the world saw the darkest side of humanity, but we also got to see brightest aspects of it. When you turn on a light so bright, where can the darkness hide? It can’t. On that day, Boston reminded us who we all are and who we should forever strive to be as Americans.” Joey Hatcher Visit artist’s website…

James Bennett – “Right Here”

James BennettThe way a song reaches into a complicated heart/mind and begins to  change it is what originally drew me to songwriting when I was  young.  When I have faced burnout and wanted to quit, it has usually  been the message within a song that disarmed my negativity and kept my  dreams alive.

Before moving back home to Tulsa, I lived in Nashville, TN where I  finished my Master’s Degree in English/Literature from Belmont  University.  I took a 2 year break from songwriting, but during that  time I entered a few song contests to help me make the decision to quit  for good or to begin to seriously pursue it again.  To my surprise, I  won 3 contests that year and was a finalist in a few others.  Those  successes gave me the encouragement I needed to pick up my guitar and  pencil again and keep trying. And I’ve been giving it my best ever  since.

About my song – Right Here – Right here is a song  about overcoming negativity.  A hero of mine named Graham once told me,  “Your circumstances aren’t your problem.  Your perspective of your  circumstances is your problem because you are looking at them through  the eyes of fear, not through the eyes of faith.  Fear and faith can’t  abide in the same place at the same time.  Only one gets to stay.  And  you get to choose which one.”

I wrote “Right Here” with Chris Roberts about making that choice to  step out in faith in my own life.  It wasn’t easy to get started at  first because I had grown comfortable in my passivity and also in my  negative outlook on my life.  The truth is I was scared to step out in  faith because it meant that I would be walking off the only map I had  ever known and into the uncharted territory leading me to my destiny.   The lyrics in Right Here were to remind myself and others find their  courage and take action because Right Here and right now is always where  your destiny begins, if you want it too. Visit artist’s website…

 Debra Gussin/Stacy Hogan – “I’ve Already Won”

DebraGussin&StacyHoganDebra Gussin

After graduating from Syracuse University, Debra enjoyed a successful career as a television producer on programs such as ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Fox Sports News, Daytime Emmy Awards, Wolfgang Puck, and Dr. Phil.

While launching the National Geographic Channel, Debra’s colleague introduced her to multi-platinum lyricist, Marty Panzer. Having never before written a song, she enrolled in his Master Class at UCLA Extension, and the following year, won the first Concord Records & Barry Manilow Scholarship For Writing Lyrics That Succeed & Endure. After winning two more scholarships, Debra was honored with a Lifetime Barry Manilow Scholarship Award.

Taking a sabbatical from her television career, she left the Dr. Phil show to focus on songwriting full time, and proceeded to win both the Grand Prize and the Lennon Award in the John Lennon Song Contest (Country), the UK Song Contest (Pop and Adult Contemporary), SongDoor International (Country), Show Me The Music (Pop), and Unisong International (Broadway). When UCLA Extension chose her song THIS IS OUR TIME as its Official Graduation Song, the World Premiere took place before a sold out crowd at Royce Hall in Los Angeles, performed by Erich Bergen (Jersey Boys).

Debra was commissioned by the Federal Trade Commission to write lyrics for their AnnualCreditReport . com commercials, which won the CINE GOLDEN EAGLE AWARD for Best Public Service Announcement. Visit artists’s website…

Stacy Hogan

Stacy Hogan is a producer/songwriter based in Nashville, TN.  In the  last 2 years, he has written ten major label cuts including two Top 10  Billboard hits.  His band, “Lovers and Liars” was signed to  Universal/Republic in 2010. Now, he mainly produces and writes for other  artists.  Stacy’s productions have been featured on many popular TV  shows on MTV, NBC, TLC, E!, and more.  His writing and productions have  also won many awards both in the U.S and internationally.  Stacy also  runs his own Nashville music production company, A Writer’s Paradise,  which helps up and coming songwriters. Visit artist’s website…

Down Home Band – “Son of Mine”

DownHomeBandDown Home’s charismatic frontman, guitarist and chief songwriter Jeff Estes, admits that there are a lot of incredible artists and bands in his newly adopted hometown of Nashville – but he’s full of confidence and optimism when he declares that “we are the hardest working, most dedicated band here.”

Want proof? Try the band’s whirlwind performance and recording schedule since moving there from Boulder, Colorado in early 2013 to unleash their energetic, infectious blues, alternative country, folk rock and Americana hybrid (best defined as “American Rock”). While working tirelessly with group co-founder, lead guitarist/vocalist Robert Havill, Stephen Hopkins (bass/vocals) and Griffin Criste (drums) at Station West Studios on completing Down Home’s full length debut album Monrovia, Estes spent hours on the phone booking a wild number of gigs.

In Music City, where they debuted in January 2013 in the lounge at 12th & Porter, Down Home has built a following with shows at The Basement, Mercy Lounge and Bootlegger’s on Broadway, where they booked themselves under the pretense of being a bluegrass band. Everyone dug them. They now regularly play the main room at 12th & Porter. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, they played for 7,000 people at the Monroe Street Fair. They’ve played honkytonks in Austin, the University of Texas, Free Bird in Jacksonville (yes, owned by family members of Lynyrd Skynyrd) and have played everywhere from Tulsa and Lexington to Chapel Hill, Baltimore, Charlottesville and Brooklyn, NY. Down Home has won crowds over wherever they play – including the restless jazz crowd at The Shrine in Harlem, where the band was misbooked.

Estes was living in Breckenridge, Colorado, running his own lumber business, when the film “Crazy Heart” sparked his desire to start performing. He picked up his guitar and discovered his powerful talent for songwriting as an emotional release. He met Havill at an open mic at The Gold Pan. The bar was packed and Estes admired the way Havill played a loop pedal by himself. He invited Havill to come up to play lead guitar over the originals he sang. The two hit it off and, while keeping up a steady pace of writing songs together, also joined the backing band of country artist Erin Duvall and the Stargazing Rebels. Their 15 date tour included stops throughout Texas and in Nashville. Estes and Havill opened the Duvall shows as a duo, laying the foundation for what would ultimately become Down Home.

Though their powerful musical chemistry was undeniable, the duo split for a time to pursue other musical interests. Estes sold his business and moved to Austin, where he went on a tear of songwriting and performing open mics while saving money to record an EP. Havill joined a jam band in Colorado. When that band split up, the two joined forces again. They slept in their truck and on floors at the Boulder studio where they recorded their raw first EP Lost at Sea. Brighter days awaited them in Nashville, where they hooked up to record Monrovia with producer Kyle Manner.

As part of the band’s exciting ongoing evolution, Down Home’s currently in the works follow-up album will feature songs penned by both Estes and Havill. Visit artist’s website…

Ashley Jordan – “New Engand Tears”

AshleyJordanMusic01Whether performing as a solo artist with just her guitar and powerful vocals or backed by a band of talented musicians, 21 year old Ashley Jordan’s unique style and unforgettable original songs compel listeners of all ages to stop and listen.  Described as “charismatic” and “honest”, Ashley has performed at music venues across New England and beyond. Pulse Magazine states that “Her music is truthful and convincing and raises the emotional bar.  It’s almost as if Jewel decided to cover a Janis Joplin song in her own sweet style, called upon the impassioned spirit of Damien Rice and pulled it off perfectly.”

Ashley was born and raised in the little town of Harvard, Massachusetts where she first began performing music at talent shows and open mics in her early teens.  She ignited a more focused music journey when she began performing original songs on the streets of Boston as a “busker” just before the age of 15.  Onlookers quickly took notice, and Ashley soon became recognized as a musical force on the busy streets of Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. Since that time, Ashley has received many awards including Limelight Magazine’s “Country Artist of the Year” and The Worcester Music Award’s “Best Country/Americana Act” and “Best Female Vocalist”. From 2011 to present, Ashley has received numerous “New England Country Music Awards” and “North American Country Music Awards International” for Songwriter, Vocalist, Entertainer and Music Video of the Year. In 2014 she also received the award for “Patriotic Song of the Year” for her original song “New England Tears”.

Ashley released her first CD of all-original music at the tender age of 17 titled “Simple Love” and her second album “Liquid Words” was released a year and a half later. In early December 2013, Ashley released her highly anticipated third album of all-original Country/Americana music titled “Nothing In Doubt” and it has been receiving radio play and positive reviews from dozens of online and print publications. Music Director/on-air personality Matthew Reid of WBMX Boston’s Mix 104.1 wrote: “This is a great album. Although released independently, this collection of songs stands up to Nashville’s best. Several songs would be right at home on the radio next to today’s biggest country stars. It takes a special artist to share these kinds of songs, rich with real life stories and imagery, and Ashley delivers.” In addition, Ashley has also released five music videos including her song/video “If I Had You” that has been televised regularly on the Nashville Network (The Heartland) and has been featured in the “Rising Star” portion of their top ten videos for 2013! Visit artist’s website…

The Steel Wheels – “The Race”

TheSteelWheelsThe Steel Wheels have captured audiences across the country with their heady brew of original soulful mountain music and their deep commitment to roots and community. Based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, this dynamic four-piece string band marries old-time musical traditions with their own innovative sound and lifestyle.

The band is renowned for their raw energy and chemistry on stage, where they cluster tightly around a single microphone to adorn Trent Wagler’s unmistakable tenor with bell-clear four-part harmonies inspired by their shared Mennonite heritage. Add to this Eric Brubaker’s evocative fiddle, Brian Dickel’s grounded upright bass, and Jay Lapp’s signature mandolin style, and it’s no surprise that The Steel Wheels have enthralled the contemporary Americana scene and are selling out venues from coast to coast and appearing at many of the top festivals in the US and Canada.

In July the band hosts their own annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival ( that brings over 40 bands to 4 stages for 3 days of music and community.  In addition as the schedule allows, the band organizes and performs the SpokeSongs bicycle music tour, during which the band members tow their instruments, equipment, and merchandise from one show to another via bicycle.  Past tours have spanned up to 11 days, 600 miles, and 10 shows.  The attention from these special SpokeSongs tours allow the band to raise extra money and awareness for charities and causes along the way. Visit artist’s website…

David Fagin – “Boston Strong”

DavidFaginDavid Fagin is a New York-based writer, producer, and musician and the founder of indie-rock icons, The Rosenbergs, the band credited as being the first to go ‘viral’ back in 2000. The Rosenbergs were instrumental in paving the way for artists to begin partnering with labels, thus giving them a share in the ownership of their masters and better control of their financial futures.

An Emerson College alum, David’s music can be heard on dozens of television shows and in retail stores around the country. His song ‘Birds of a Feather’ was recently used as the theme to the sitcom ‘Accidentally on Purpose’ on CBS and he currently contributes to The Huffington Post.

An artists’ rights advocate, David has testified on Capitol Hill, lectured at Harvard, appeared on Howard Stern – alongside the infamous Gene Simmons – made Dennis Miller laugh, and shared the stage w/ artists such as No Doubt, The Strokes, and Duran Duran. As a writer, he’s contributed to Dennis Miller Live, NPR, FOX Sports, FX, Billboard magazine, AOL News, Salon, and even worked with The Muppets. As a Pop Culture consultant, David was on the team responsible for creating (it was originally going to be called Gravy).

The song “Boston Strong” was co-written with Jaime Hazan, a NY-based film/television composer and 9/11 First Responder. He is honored that a song he helped write can be used to help heal victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Visit artist’s website…