Growing up with a single mother in San Benito, Texas, the hometown of Tejano star Freddy Fender was not easy for blues singer Charley Crockett. Hitchhiking across the country exposed Crockett to the street life at a young age, following in the footsteps of his relative, American folk hero Davy Crockett, who also lived a wild life on the American frontier. After train hopping across the country, singing on the streets for change in New Orleans’ French Quarter, busking in New York City and performing across Texas and Northern California, Crockett set off to travel the world and lived on the streets of Paris for nearly a year before searching for home in Spain, Morocco, and Northern Africa.
The blues artist returned home to Texas and released his debut solo album titled A Stolen Jewel in 2015, receiving critical acclaim in Dallas and ultimately landing him a Dallas Observer Music Award that year for “Best Blues Act”. A record “rich with Southern flavor, a musical gumbo of Delta blues, honky-tonk, gospel and Cajun jazz,” Jewel proved that Crockett, born into poverty in the Rio Grande, had come home to make his musical mark on the South. Crockett, who is self-described as elusive, rebellious and self-taught, has been compared to legends like Bill Withers, Merle Haggard, and Gary Clark Jr.
He released his sophomore record In The Night, an admirable nod to his Texas country and Louisiana blues roots, on June 4 and ended 2016 having played over 125 shows. “In the Night” and Crockett’s song “I Am Not Afraid” received international recognition from top tastemakers after being picked by NPR Music as one of the "Top 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing” and selected by David Dye to be featured on World Cafe in late July. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram called it “an impressive calling card, full of Crockett's plaintive soulfulness and swinging tempos" and Central Track noted the artist as having "the well-rounded songwriting capabilities of Van Morrison and a vocal approach that finds common ground between Bill Withers and early Dr. John." Crockett graced the cover of Buddy Magazine in May 2016, who called him “the archetype of the new American vagabond.”
He has shared the stage with artists like Justin Townes Earle, Citizen Cope, Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely, Sean Hayes, Tab Benoit, Turnpike Troubadours, and Leon Bridges.
Those who have seen Carolina girl Nikki Hill sing her ass off agree—this isn’t just another newcomer on the scene, this is a ‘whiplash’ moment. Where did this fireball come from? Why haven’t I heard of her before?
If you haven’t heard of Nikki Hill yet, you soon will, and once you see her perform, you won’t forget her.
Hill and her band have been touring extensively following the independent 2015 release ‘Heavy Hearts Hard Fists’ and debut album ‘Here’s Nikki Hill’, released in 2013. With a no-filter energy, and explosive live show, they deliver a sound that will make you believe in rock ‘n’ roll again! Nikki’s unique voice—with raw rock and soul dynamics mixed with the strength, passion, and honesty of blues shouters of the past—steers the driving guitar and a tight rhythm section to create a breath of fresh air with their fast forward approach to American roots music.
Nikki Hill’s self-titled, independently released EP in June of 2012 created a heavy and sudden international underground buzz that the band has traveled with across America and overseas to Europe and Australia. Those four tunes penned by Hill, combined with memorable live performances, have drawn a wide range of people from every avenue and musical taste to their shows. Her enthusiasm for music is simply contagious. One club advertisement will call Nikki “The Southern Fireball”, “the New Soul Sensation”, “amazing R&B Shouter”, and even “the new Queen of Rock n’ Roll”.
If you haven’t heard of her yet, prepare for your ‘whiplash moment’. You have been warned.