PRESTON SMITH, Bluesman
Preston Smith is a singing, guitar, and harmonica playing virtuoso of blues and jazz, which makes him a great fit. His stuff is upbeat, intelligent, and classy, He's known for his widespread appeal to a variety of audiences and some say his music knows no boundaries. While Smith's songwriting skills have received a big thumbs up from critics all over the map, his live gigs are legendary" says John Sollenberger July 28th, 2006, The Pasadena Weekly."
An How does one categorize an artist, who during the sn of his career has sung for Barbra Streisand's wedding, performed at countless functions for people such as Steven Spielberg, Bruce Willis,Aaron Spellings,Brad Grey ,The Cast of The Soprano's and the late Sonny Bono, played harmonica and scat rapped alongside Salt n’ Pepa on Quincy Jones’ TV show “Vibe”, and has had the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Eddie Van Halen and Jerry Lee Lewis, among countless others, join him on-stage for impromptu jam sessions.
Preston appeared on “The Tonight Show” along with the late Jimmy Stewart and released an album on Curb Records entitled “Preston Smith.” He was featured on the hit movie soundtrack “Cocktail” starring Tom Cruise with the title song “Oh I Love You So,” which he composed, produced and performed. The soundtrack went on to sell over six million units foreign and domestically. He And His Band Performed on The Hit TV show "StarSearch" .... Roseanne Cash then recorded his song “Black and White,” which released as a single, andwas a hit on the country radio charts and was included in her greatest hits CD which went on to sell gold. Preston’s latest CD's “That Real Feel,” "RomancingTheBlues" and "A Night Blooming Jazzman" and "Christmas Blues " and his latest release "Blue Skies For A Rainy Day" all which he produced and released on his own label many of which he played all the instruments himself or recorded live with his band in the studio, they are all a mix of his own Orginals and a combination of many genres of the past ...........................................................
Preston has performed on many live radio and cable TV shows on both the east and west coasts, and has performed live on club circuits in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville. His multifaceted talent has enabled him, both with his band and solo acoustic, to share stages with a diverse crowd of performers ranging from KROQ alternative rock favorites Blues and Soul Legends Robert Cray,Albert Collins Foreigner,Salt N Pepa,The Red Hot Chili Peppers,..James Brown, .haka Khan,George Duke..Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Bonnie Raitt ,Spencer Davis,Ellis Hall ,Bill Chaplin,Bobby Kimball,The Robert Cray Band, Fine Young Cannibals, Fishbone,Social Distortion, Wall of Voodoo, Concrete Blonde,,Savoy Brown, Charlie Sexton, The Mighty Lemon Drops, and The Bonedaddy’s, to rock, R&B, and blues legends such as k.d. Lang, John Mayhall, Tower of Power, Joe Satriani, The Ventures, Dick Dale & the Deltones, Eric Burden & the Animals, Delbert McClinton, Paul Butterfield, Poco, Santana,Charlie Musselwhite, Joe Louis Walker, Booker T. & the MG’s, The Ink Spots, The Coasters, Savoy Brown, Spencer Davis, Al Kooper, Marshall Tucker Band, Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Youngbloods, Donovan, Commander Cody, Asleep at the Wheel, N.R.B.Q., Buster Poindexter, Mink DeVille, The Tubes, The Busboys, David Lindley & El Rayo X, John Stewart, Al Stewart, The James Harmon Blues Band, Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers, Billy Vera & The Beaters, The Palladins, The King Bee’s, and Jack Mack & the Heart Attack
"An exceptional, gutsy singer, songwriter, and guitarist…a phenomenal artist, who appeals to all types of music lovers, Preston always "delivers!" Whether he's wailing on the harmonica, or singing through a megaphone, the audiences love him!" UNIVERSITY REPORTER ...........
"Indeed, Preston is a man of melody. Talent oozes from him. As a vocalist, his delivery possesses a subtle growl charismatic of the great bluesmen of past decades. His snarlin' guitar sound blends with his screamin' harmonica work to produce a raw, soulful treat for any music lover. He has been known to break into a guitar solo using his tongue." SANTA CLARITA SIGNAL "…originals that could easily sound good on the airwaves of your local triple A stations…" ENTERTAINMENT TODAY
"Smith writes memorable songs. Tunes that you hum in the shower for weeks after seeing the band."
Santa Barbara NEWS AND REVIEW
Lauren Braddock, Country
Nashville songwriter and actress, Lauren Braddock (Havey) grew up in Music City the only child of Hall of Fame songwriter Bobby Braddock. Lauren graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan and worked there and in Los Angeles before returning to her hometown for a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV Tree.
She has released two CD's produced by Grammy-winner Don Henry, including the folk-rock opera, A Journey to the Son, written to accompany Lauren's parenting memoir by the same name. Among her song cuts, Blake Shelton recorded Lauren and Don Henry’s cowrite If I Was Your Man on his platinum-selling debut CD. A self-proclaimed Daddy’s girl, she is honored to have accompanied her dad in concert venues around the country from the renowned Bluebird Cafe to the Bottom Line in New York to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco, singing his classic country hits like D-I-V-O-R-C-E by Tammy Wynette and Unwed Fathers are co-written with folk legend John Prine.
Lauren has starred/appeared in numerous theater, film, television, and music video productions. She first got into the Screen Actor’s Guild playing Lindsay Wagnor’s teenage sister in the Made for Television movie “Shattered Dreams.”
Last year, Lauren released a new EP, Witch Hairs Don’t Care, and a book, Homebound Healing in Troubled Times, that offers tips and tricks for anxiety reduction during COVID and beyond through peaceful modalities including arts/music therapies.
"If you ever wanted to know what happened to that kid born at Woodstock, Lauren Braddock is your answer"
Don Henry, Blues & Country
Grammy Award winner Don Henry's songs have been recorded by legends like:
Ray Charles, Patti Page and Conway Twitty
By country crooners like:
Gene Watson, John Conlee and B.J. Thomas
By young hit makers of today like:
Blake Shelton, Lonestar and Miranda Lambert….
...and the list goes on.
And he’s shared the stage with performers as diverse as
Joey Ramone to Keith Urban.
The wit and wisdom of Don's songs are widely renowned whether it's campfire favorites, the hilarious "B.F.D." and biker lullaby "Harley", to the wonderfully poignant tribute to Martin Luther King "Beautiful Fool", and of course his Grammy Award winning country classic "Where've You Been".
In addition to a Grammy, Kathy Mattea's version of "Where've You Been" won Don (and co-writer Jon Vezner) song of the year honors from ACM (Academy of Country Music), CMA (Country Music Association) and NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International).
"Where've You Been" was the first song in country music history to be awarded all four honors in the same year!
Gary Matsumoto, Jazz Pianist
Gary Matsumoto Pianist and educator Gary Matsumoto has been a mainstay in the Southern California music scene for over two decades. As a regular touring musician, he has shared the stage with such notable names as George Benson, Haley Reinhart, Gordon Goodwin, and Macy Gray. Currently, he can be seen nationally with Grammy Award winning vocalist Steve Tyrell. As an educator, Matsumoto has taught nationally recognized and award-winning students in programs including Young Arts, Grammy Band, and Los Angeles’ Music Center Spotlight. He is on faculty at UC Riverside, El Camino College, and Los Angeles College of Music.
Matsumoto started playing piano at the age of 6, but his interest in music began to peak while attending the University of California, Irvine. There, in addition to classical lessons with Dr. Lorna Griffith and Keiko Halop, he studied jazz piano with Kei Akagi. In 1999, he graduated with a B.M. in music performance and in 2002 received his master's degree in jazz studies from the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with David Roitstein. Much of his early musical development can also be attributed to the variety of great teachers he was exposed to Charlie Haden, Joe LaBabera, Larry Koonse, Darek Oles, Wadada Leo Smith, and James Newton.
Over the course of his career, Matsumoto has strived to keep a well-rounded portfolio of work. His first multi-state tour was with famed MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, opening for Cheap Trick. He also worked with film composer Nathan Wang on a variety of projects, including performing in concerts with international pop recording artists Coco Lee, JJ Lin, Vivian Hsu, and Jenny Tseng. Some of his earliest jobs were in musical theatre, where he worked as a pianist and musical director.
However, Matsumoto is most well known for his work as a jazz pianist. In 2008, SP records released The Matsumoto Trio - Days Ahead, his first as a leader. It featured Henry “Skipper” Franklin on bass and Tony Austin on drums. As a sideman, he has been featured on over two dozen recordings, most recently with Haley Reinhart, Crystal Lewis, and Dave Damiani. Other recording credits include Bruce Forman, Dave Koz, Renee Olstead, Spencer Day, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., Aubrey Logan, Maiya Sykes, Erin Boheme, and Kate Flannery (from NBC’s the Office). Other live performance credits include Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Jeff Clayton, James Carter, Herman Riley, Tierney Sutton, Jane Monheit, Sara Gazarek, Roy McCurdy, Sam Most, Azar Lawrence, James Tormé, Bobby Rodriguez, Grant Geissman, Keith David, Joe Piscopo, Don Most, Robert Davi, Sal “the Voice” Valentinetti, and Billy Vera. In 2020 he worked alongside Steve Tyrell as co-arranger and accompanist for Ben Platt in Father of the Bride Part 3(ish).
Melissa Morgan, Jazz Singer
Melissa Morgan, You have to check out this voice. It is interesting. It is sassy. It is sexy.", says producer John Clayton. Brought up in the jazz clubs of New York City, Melissa Morgan has a voice that is unexpected. From the exterior, you would assume a sultry lounge singer, which does make an appearance once in a while, but from inside she contains a powerful instrument. "Prepare to fall in love" (Bay Area Reporter), and fall in love you do. On stage, she bares everything and makes you laugh while doing it. While belting a blues or tenderly massaging a ballad, she has come a long way from her appearance at the 2004 Thelonious Monk Competition. While you will always hear definitive influences from Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington, and Billie Holliday, "Melissa isn't copying anybody" (London Evening Standard) and most certainly has a definitive sound all her own.
“Give your Norah Jones collection a break and pop in this 27-year-old’s debut CD of classic and obscure jazz tunes. Her sultry voice shines on Nancy Wilson’s ‘Save Your Love for Me’ and ‘I Wonder,’ in which she asks a past love, ‘Will your heart come running back to me?’”
“Morgan is a consistent joy, and unlike some singers, she commands the band, not the other way around. Given the spicy edge in her sexy voice, her dry allure, and the way she pops the words like a whip on a gospel choir, Morgan’s time has come.”
- DownBeat Magazine
“Every once in a while, a jazz singer appears with a voice so filled with soul and deeper meaning that you wonder how you could have possibly survived so long without her. That singer is Melissa Morgan…Morgan’s voice speaks with knowing sophistication; her mastery of innuendo is supreme. Backed by an excellent rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass drums) and horns, she has an uncanny ability to bring a contemporary outlook to the classic jazz sound of the 1950s and ’60s…As Morgan grooves through 11 selections that range from ballads to blues, prepare to fall in love.”
- Bay Area Reporter
Maiya Sykes, Jazz Singer
Maiya Sykes is a classically trained vocalist, producer, vocal arranger and entrepreneur. She studied independently with Nina Simone and Betty Carter. A Yale graduate, Maiya starred in a reality show, VH1’s “Bands On The Run” immediately after graduation. She was also featured nationally in both television and radio commercials for “Green Light Financial”.
Maiya was highlighted on the commercial trailers for the “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” & “The Return of the King”, chosen personally by the films director, Peter Jackson. Maiya has provided back-up vocals on recordings for The Black Eyed Peas, Macy Gray, Fantasia, Joss Stone, and Allen Stone. She was a featured backup singer for Macy Gray in her live show for more than three years.
As a recording artist, Maiya released a dance single with DJ Manny Lehman, “Body Rock”, recorded under the pseudonym Oceana. The single reached the number one position on the Billboard Charts in July 2009.
Currently, Maiya has been busy as the lead singer of The Endangered. The band’s second release, produced by legendary producer Steven Miller (Dave Mathews Band, Chaka Kahn), was released in early May 2012 to excellent reviews. Though she currently touring and performing with her band, Maiya is grateful for every opportunity to make good music.