Music News & Reviews

Northwest music project culminates in rockin’, hip-hoppin’, swingin’ singles party

Dozens of recording artists are gathering next week to perform and celebrate the completion of a yearlong project that saw the the release of 52 singles from 52 performers.

London Tone Music Group’s ambitious project released one never-before-recorded song every week for the past year. Thursday, the label will have a celebratory concert at Seattle’s Triple Door.

“52x52 – A Year in Your Ear” was the inaugural project for the label that is a collaboration between Seattle’s London Bridge Studio and music consultants 2 Jeffs on Music.

Jeff Heiman and Jeff Ross are the two Jeffs. They partnered up with London Bridge Studio owners Jonathan Plum, Geoff Ott and Eric Lilavois to create the label in 2014. Heiman, a Tacoma native, said the yearlong project was intended to give exposure to up-and-coming performers in a variety of genres.

At Thursday’s show, 43 of those artists will perform either solo or in groups. Many of the songs played at the show will be the singles recorded for the project.

“They’ll be surprises,” Heiman said. “It’s not just one song after another.”

The criteria the label used to find the artists and the never recorded songs for the “52x52” project wasn’t typical, Heiman said.

“It didn’t have to be artists that were hugely known. It was more important that we loved the artists and loved the songs,” he said.

While some of the groups came from the East Coast and even Europe, most have Northwestern roots, Heiman said. Each song required a studio session, mixing, contracts and the all the usual protocols, Heiman said.

“It was a very ambitious project and everyone thought we were a little nuts,” he said. “It’s never been done before. And I think we know why now,” he said with a laugh. “But it was worth it.”

Though the songs have only been digitally released, a CD with the first 20 songs will be on sale at the event. More will follow.

The “52x52” project includes songs from Edmonds native, hip-hop artist and NBA player Martell Webster and singer-songwriter Whitney Lyman. Macklemore orchestra leader Andrew Joslyn contributed on several songs and will perform Thursday. Artists with South Sound ties performing Thursday include:

Rikk Beatty: The Olympia native and guitarist fronts his own band and performs with other local groups.

Kitt Bender: The singer and songwriter and former Tacoman plays piano and sings on his track.

Nolan Garrett: The Tacoma teen guitarist and singing sensation has opened for Jonny Lang and performs regularly.

Will Jordan: The Grammy-nominated, American Music Award winning R&B singer-songwriter is from Tacoma.

Jessica Lynn: The country singer lives in Parkland and performs locally and in her native Denmark.

Smokey Brights: Stadium High School grad Ryan Devlin fronts this band with a wry and vintage sound. And bassist Jim Vermillion and drummer Nick Krivchenia met while students at The Evergreen State College in Olympia.

Kim Virant: The Lakewood native’s band Lazy Susan was a fixture on the 1990’s rock scene. She now has a solo career.

Heiman hopes “52x52” will boost the careers of the artists. One outcome so far: Many of the performers are building alliances, he said.

“A lot of these artists did not know each other,” Heiman added. “Now you are seeing collaborations and tours because the music resonated with each other and they’re friends.”