These are the most buzzed-about Utah bands to reach the national scene in the past decade. And while they have different styles of music, these acts share one commonality: Their ascending careers were born in Utah County.
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The Salt Lake City music scene has always been a bustling one, with local bands Royal Bliss, Kid Theodore, King Niko and The Brobecks receiving significant regional attention in the past decade.
But when it comes to moving beyond regional success and selling out venues from Southern California to northern Maine, a Provo pedigree has proved more useful.
The Provo scene shows no sign of dormancy, with musicians such as Lindsey Stirling, Parlor Hawk, The Mimi Knowles Band, Chance Lewis, The Moth & The Flame, Faith Johnson, Book On Tape Worm, Eyes Lips Eyes, The New Electric Sound, Ryan Innes, Isaac Russell, Desert Noises and others making noise.
When University of Utah grad Kaskade makes records, he turns to Utah County for singers such as Mindy Gledhill and writing and production help from Finn Bjarnson, forsaking his onetime hometown for the fruits that have blossomed in Utah County.
Not bad for one of the most conservative areas in America.
Early influences » Corey Fox is the owner of the all-important Velour Live Music Gallery in the 100 block of University Avenue in Provo. He has owned the all-ages club since 2005 and has had a front-row seat as bands have begun and built up support on his stage.
"I have respect for a lot of bands and club owners in Salt Lake City," Fox said. "That being said, I do think there is something special happening in Provo."
There are many pieces to the puzzle, but Velour has played a big part in these successes.
"I would like to think part of it is because of the structure I have put in place, that I am a good judge of potential talent and a good motivator," he said, "but it really comes down to the talent and work ethic of the bands. That work ethic can create a domino effect. If one band sets the bar high, others will follow."
That domino effect serves not as a destroyer, but as an inspiration, Fox said.
"There is definitely a strong community feel in the Provo music scene, which is another reason for all the success," he added. "It’s a small town with limited venues so bands know and support each other. To be honest, there is also a healthy dose of friendly competition between bands that has been very instrumental in the scene’s growth as well."
Bands that have found success beyond Provo say the area offers them an atmosphere where they could thrive.
Bert McCracken is frontman of hard-rock band The Used, which signed a major-label deal in 2001 and has sold more than 3 million albums. He said the opening of Velour helped turn Utah County into a hot nerve center. "There wasn’t a lot of places to play" before Velour, said McCracken, whose band began in Orem. Now, "there’s a little more open-mindedness" in Provo to music.
"The music community is a testament to Corey," said Lindsey Stirling, who lived in Provo from 2005 to late last year and performed many times at Velour, as a solo artist and as a violinist supporting other musicians. She became a YouTube sensation while in Utah, with her violin mash-up videos drawing more than 226 million total views and 1.5 million subscribers.
American Fork musician Joshua James is the only home-grown artist in recent history to perform at the Salt Lake City Arts Council’s popular Twilight Concert Series. He headlined a Seattle venue Thursday. "I love the passion Corey puts into Velour," said the folk-rock musician. "He is so supportive of local music and me. There is a community of supporting music in Provo. Go to Velour for a band you’ve never heard of, and there will be 200 people there. Go to Salt Lake City for a band that’s well-known, and there will be 30 people there."
Kyle Henderson, frontman for the nationally touring alt-country band Desert Noises, said, "[Provo] is a great place because there’s a lot of college kids forming bands at critical places in their lives. It’s really awesome to be a part of that."
Muse joins in » A rising player in Provo is Muse Music Café, also in the 100 block of University Avenue. It has been around for about a dozen years, but new owners Debby Phillips and Darcie Roy took the reins in June. While they don’t have the longevity of Taylor, they are opening eyes by providing a diverse lineup of local acts, including a heavy dose of hip-hop.Next Page >
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