In a perfect world, I would have gotten this up while it was still 2016. Alas, the world is not perfect and neither am I. But you know what? That's okay. I still wanted to do this because I wanted to give these acts some love. There are four total and they're all acts that I wrote about in 2016 to surprising success. You never really know how something will be received, especially when writing about someone new. And especially when it's someone you're really excited about. So the fact that the posts about these four did well makes me very happy.
As the title states, these are my four favorite musical discoveries of 2016. If you know me, you know that one of my favorite things is coming across more acts to love. As if I don't love enough already. Honestly, it's never enough. Not with all the time I spend listening to music. How about we get to it?
1) Chris Rupp. Okay, so I kind of feel like I'm cheating a bit by including Chris on here since I've known about him for a couple of years now. But here's the thing: up until 2016, I knew him strictly from Home Free. This past year, however, I got to know him as Chris Rupp - solo artist. I knew he was very talented from what I saw of him with Home Free. I consider myself lucky to have gotten to see him perform with Home Free a couple of times before he left. But I didn't realize just how talented he was until I got to see what he was capable of on his own.
To say that Chris is a hard worker would be such a huge understatement. He recently sent out a recap of 2016 and his plans for this year and just reading about everything he has planned made me want to take a nap. In all seriousness, Chris has been an inspiration to me. Especially in regards to my writing. He had a Thinkin' post last year that was along the lines of how you're going to be criticized no matter what you do, so why not just do what you love. In my case, I translate that as why not write about what I love instead of trying to keep up with other music blogs. So Chris, should you happen to read this, I want to thank you for that. I hope that I get to see you perform again someday.
In the meantime, how about a couple of his videos? I decided to post two videos per artist, but lemme tell ya: choosing Chris' two was the most difficult. I changed my mind so many times. The original thought was to try to highlight different sides of his personality, but Chris does all kinds of things. I feel good about the ones I ultimately went with though. I wrote about the first one, "Movin' On", last March and you can find that post here. It's a beautiful song, one that I relate to on a personal level. Check it out.
Then there's this. A good ole' drinking song. It features Adam Bastien, who is in 7th Ave. The song is called "Drinkin' With Me" and it's a great buddy song. Great feel and lyrics and the video makes me giggle. Watch.
You can find the other posts I've written about Chris here and find out where you can keep up with him below.
2) ECHO. Ah ECHO. I fell for these guys pretty hard in 2016. So much so that upon deciding to review their wonderful self-titled debut album, I ended up going one step further and writing about just about everything they have out. One post quickly turned into three. Because that's apparently how I roll. That's the sign of a great act though. I started off wanting to write about them, but that quickly turned into my needing to write about them. I want people to know about these guys.
Well, I want people to know about all of these acts, but it's ECHO time. These six guys are all so talented and sound so great together. The energy they radiate is explosive and fantastic. Their arrangements are wonderful. While I'd love to see all of these acts live, if you forced me to pick just one? I think it'd have to be them. No disrespect intended to any of the others, mind. Again: I'd love to see them all perform live someday. I'm just saying if I was forced to choose.
Here's the one that started it all for me and hopefully for you too. Their take on "I Put a Spell On You". Don't be surprised if the title ends up being true. They definitely put one on me! Check it out.
Picking two videos for ECHO was easy as these are the only two full videos on their channel with the whole group. They do have some great ones on their Facebook page. Including one from a soundcheck for a cruise ship gig they were doing where you can hear them sing both "Route 66" and a mashup of songs from The Goofy Movie that I adore. Their Facebook page is linked below, so definitely go check that out at some point. In the meantime, check out their beautiful medley "Home for the Holidays".
You can find all my other posts about ECHO here. Check out their links below.
3) Voctave. If you've made it this far in your life without have ever heard Voctave sing, I'm sorry. The music that these men and women create is absolutely gorgeous. I love listening to them sing so much. Their arrangements are all so beautiful and they pick such wonderful songs. I feel like I've said in one, or maybe even both, of the blogs I've written about them but they make me miss my days of being a part of a choir. It's been over 10 years since I sang in a choir, but I listen to them and it brings back so many of the great memories I had in the various choirs I've been in.
Meanwhile, did you notice a familiar face in this video? I'm talking, of course, about one E.J. Cardona who is also in ECHO. Making him and Chris Rupp the two people in this post to make the list twice. So I guess you could argue that I want to see the two of them the most? Hmm.
Their talent speaks for itself. I mean, I could say that for any of these acts, really. But you know. Voctave time here. Just watch their videos. Feel the magic. The first is "The Great Movie Medley" and it's all kinds of wonderful. See for yourself.
This next video is for what was easily one of my favorite tracks on their beautiful The Spirit of the Season album, "Carol of the Bells". They combine it with "The Bells of Notre Dame" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and I love it. I love it so much. Check it out.
My other Voctave posts can be found here. You guessed it: their links are below.
4) 7th Ave. Right, so 2016 was the year that we got to know Chris Rupp as a solo artist. It was also the year that he put 7th Ave together. They are a quartet made up of two gals and two guys, just like Little Big Town. Incidentally, I'm still hoping that they do a Little Big Town song at some point. I don't know that it matters which one. What I do know is that they'd do a great job. Those who know me know that I don't compare groups to Little Big Town lightly.
7th Ave is not an a cappella group, but they will do the occasional a cappella song. Like when they did "Can't Help Falling In Love". I think that this has become my all time favorite version of this song and I've heard some great versions of this. Listen.
I knew I wanted to include one of their uptempo videos and I must say that it was tough to pick. I ultimately went with "Can't Stop the Feeling". I love what they did with it and the video is such a fun one. Plus, Chris at the end? Always makes me laugh.
My posts about or involving 7th Ave are right here. Their links? You guessed it. Right below.
Yup, so these were my favorite musical discoveries of 2016. I can't wait to see what 2017 holds for all of them. If you liked what you saw from any of them, definitely be sure to go look at what else they've done. And be sure to share any of the videos you like on all of your socials as well.
Thanks for reading!