Micah Dalton is a tried and true Atlanta favorite, known and respected by just about everyone involved in this southern music community. Not only is Dalton a fiercely talented writer, musician and vocalist, but he is also deeply involved with the community and making music with others. Micah started ATL Collective (co-founded with David Berkeley), an eclectic group of musicians in Atlanta who come together once a month at Eddie's Attic to perform a series of songs by one selected artist. This month, for example, they'll be covering Bruce Springsteen's album, Born in the USA, on March 18th. These aren't your typical cover shows, though, as they make each event of musical storytelling a unique experience, leaving you with the feeling that you've just listened to this classic album for the very first time. Another collaborative effort of Micah's is the annual Christmas show at Eddie's Attic, which he performs in with Ryan Horne and Nathan Angelo. I went this past year and had a blast-- so great to see a community of artists come together and create something as memorable as these guys do.
Though Micah has many other albums that precede this one, I'm especially excited about Blue Frontier. I've listened to the album at home, of course, as well as got a little live preview of a few songs at the Christmas show. I keep finding myself with the track, The Way Our Seasons Change, on repeat. Needless to say, Blue Frontier will undoubtedly be his best CD to date.
The official release date for Blue Frontier was on March 13, 2012. To kick off the release, Dalton hosted a CD release party last night at The Vinyl with live performances by the band, Shook Foil and singer-songwriter, Peter Groenwald. Another great collaboration that I was thrilled to be present for. Micah and his band took the stage at the end of the night, accompanied by The Shadowboxers and vocalist Molly Parden, performing some of his previous hits, as well as introducing us to the new musical stylings on his latest album. Funny, because even Micah said in his live performance that he's gotten a lot of positive feedback about The Way Our Seasons Change (the song I mentioned earlier), and that it seems to really resonate with people. I can relate. I couldn't help but notice the track, Bad Blood, off of Blue Frontier, was a crowd favorite-- myself included. I also loved how Micah, an Ohio native, threw in a little MoTown flair to some of his music (I'm a Detroit-born girl, so some MoTown flavor is always appreciated). After the performance, I bought the hard copy (because I still listen to CDs... I'm old school like that) of Peter Groenwald's EP, Sweet Science and of course, Micah's newest addition. You can purchase your own copy on iTunes, Amazon, or through his website listed below.
I have been a fan of Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers since the fall of 2010, when a friend of mine told me to listen to them. I obliged, and within a few minutes of YouTubing a few of their songs, I had gone to their website to order their newest album at the time, Glassjaw Boxer. Though this is a relatively new band in my repertoire (they started in 2003.. I'm behind the times, apparently), it was like a whirlwind romance, as my love grew quickly for the music of these Massachusetts natives. Glassjaw Boxer has insightful lyrics, many written by Stephen Kellogg, expressing his love for his family, and a clear American folk-rock influence.
Nicole's Top 10 SK6ERS Lyrics (Mostly from "Glassjaw Boxer" and "Gift Horse", in no particular order):
1. "She was on fire and wild and American"
2. "Brown-eyed actress" (I'm sure you can't guess why on Earth I'd like that one)
3. "Did you ever think that, maybe, if you're not happy, it's because of you?"
4. "And I'll wear your memory underneath my shirt like an Indian tattoo"
5. "It's okay in the clouds, but I love it, right here, with my feet on the ground"
6. "She's got a sun kissed smile that the winter won't go near. And her hips could shake a mountain and her lips could start a fire."
7. "Call it artistic or agnostic, altruistic, now I've lost it. This uncertainty just gets to me."
8. "I don't have the time for your nostalgia or your criticisms. You live and learn.. me, well, I learn to let go."
9. "With a fierce disposition like the beat of a drum, you get hurt more than others but you had more fun"
10. Umm and the entire song, "Noelle, Noelle"
I love seeing people I know follow their dreams, make a breakthrough and find success doing what they're most passionate about. That being said, I was beyond excited when I heard that Matt Ryan, "Ducky Duke", was going to be on NBC's hit tv show, The Voice. Matt and I go back to the high school lunch tables and he has always been a creative guy who cares about his friends and marches to the beat of his own drum. You can't help but respect that. Over the last several years, Ducky has been hard at work, creating music and playing shows with his band, Ducky and the Vintage, in and around Harrisburg, PA. Not only that, but he is a supremely talented painter with an affinity for creating imaginative murals that reflect his personality (click the link to his official website below to see more of his work).
A big break came when Matt did a blind audition for NBC's The Voice. Ducky was featured as the first performer on Season 2's third episode, airing on February 20th, 2012. Before stepping out onto the stage, Ducky, dressed in black, tested his moves in his red cowboy boots, tipped his fedora over his shaggy jet black hair, smoothed the ends of his iconic mustache, and prepared for his big moment. On the stage, he performed "Tighten Up" by The Black Keys for host Carson Daly, judges Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and millions of viewers across the US and beyond. Ducky's high energy, real grit and irresistible stage presence blew the crowd and judges away. Although no judge pressed his or her button, it was apparent to all watching the show that they felt as if they'd made a mistake, with Blake Shelton saying, "Ducky's one of those that I'm probably gonna look back on this and regret it a little bit." And Carson Daly launched the #whattheheckhappenedtoducky movement on Twitter by saying, "I think, tomorrow morning, when we wake up, there's gonna be a big internet buzz, like the 'what the heck happened to Ducky' movement."
Now, after the airing of his episode, Ducky is playing more and more shows around Pennsylvania, making radio appearances and has been set to perform on Last Call with Carson Daly. I was lucky enough to get a tidbit of his time to ask a few questions about his experience on the show, as well as get the 411 on what's to come.
Photo credit: Snapp-shot Photography
NK: How long have you been writing and performing music?
DD: I've been writing lyrics and music since I was 9 or 10. Been performing since I was around 7 years old.
NK: Wow, you've had a lot leading up to this point! What made you decide to audition for NBC's The Voice?
DD: My manager just let me know I had an industry invite to audition, so I did it!
NK: Tell me about your experience on the show-- preparing, performing, the judges and your interactions with the other musicians.
DD: Well, it was amazing being on the show! There was a lot of running around, practice and networking. But mostly good hangin' out and havin' a good time with all the other contestants. Lots of partying in our down time. Performing was easy; it was hard to stay still after 6 cups of coffee. Overall, the whole experience was awesome!
NK: Ok, I have to ask-- the mustache. It's become your trademark! How did that all start?
DD: The stache. I actually grew it for a music video that ended up getting postponed cuz I made it on The Voice. I left it grow for a Halloween party too. I've trimmed it up and gotten a hair trim since the show. It got a little out of control there for a while.
NK: Another must-know. Where did you get the name, "Ducky Duke" from?
DD: The name, "Ducky", is completely random, it came from my best friend, Alison, in high school. I was trying to get a duck hat or plush duck out of a crane game machine at a diner. She said, "you got it, Ducky Duke", and there it is. "Ducky" became a stage name after I moved to Harrisburg and everyone started calling me that. So I stuck with it. I still go by Matt too, though.
NK: Haha, I love that story! It's so cool to see you trending on Twitter! How are you feeling about the #whattheheckhappenedtoducky movement?
DD: I feel great about the whole trending thing! I've definitely gained a shit ton of fans from it, which is a blessing in itself. Gotta thank Carson for starting the movement.
NK: What can America expect from Ducky Duke in the near future? Are there any television appearances coming up or tours with Ducky and the Vintage?
DD: Well, I'll be in LA this week to do an interview for Last Call with Carson Daly, the late night show. I'll be performing a few original tunes acoustic from my band on the show as well. Then I'll be playing The Whiskey in LA too. We'll be releasing an EP soon and hopefully starting to tour. There's a lot coming! So stay tuned!
NK: Tell us one thing we don't know about you that we should know!
DD: Something that ya should know is I'm A.D.D. I'm lucky I have friends and my girlfriend, otherwise I wouldn't get anything done! Haha. I do have trouble paying attention 90% of the time and remembering names.
NK: Thank you so much for your time! I look forward to seeing your career skyrocket from here on out!
If you want to learn more about Ducky Duke or stay in touch with him, here are some useful links:
Ducky Duke Design
In the meantime, check out the video below and KEEP IT QUACKIN'!
I would simply like to share my love for life with you-- be it inspirational music, photography, written word, joyous works by local artists, theatre and independent films, travel, community outreach projects, silly musings and adventures, or little things I've learned along the way. All categories are open for discussion! If there's something you'd like to hear more about, just ask!