HAVE PLAYED WITH: Brad Paisley; Flo Rida; Wiz Khalifa; Far East Movement; All American Rejects
South Bend, Indiana duo The Bergamot sport a fitting name. Much like the native Italian Bergamot orange - which, despite it's lemon-like color is orange-sized and tends to bloom in winter - classically-trained musicians vocalist Jillian Speece and guitarist/vocalist Nathan Hoff are an eclectic pair that challenge normal categorization. Vocals this pure, songwriting chops this bright and a drive this unstoppable don't often come from bands bubbling just below the radar, let alone those with Division I athletics in their blood.
With a strong EP (2010's Smile) and an even more impressive full-length (2011's Haven) already under the belts, the brand new Static Flowers is a whole new ballgame, thanks to a talented, experienced roster of seasoned session players, fleshing out an already polished catalog of tunes. Throughout the 10-song disc, Speece and Hoff are joined by guests like Jimmy Clark, Tim Marks and Jimmy Johnson (whose resumes include stints with stars as diverse as The Rolling Stones, Loretta Lynn and Aretha Franklin). If that weren't enough, Tom Coyne lends his expertise - having been lead mastering engineer on blockbuster albums like Adele's 21 and Beyonce's I Am... Sasha Fierce - giving Static Flowers a radio-ready sound without sacrificing any heart.
Static Flowers is a record bursting at the seems with memorable hooks and honest-to-goodness smiles, all the while flaunting the potential to catch like wildfire. Speece's lilting vocals on cuts like the peppy opener "Linen," the blue-eyed soul of "Candy Wrappers" or the honky-tonk valentine of "The Southern Line" are worth the price of admission alone, while Hoff's guitar mastery and live injections of kick-drum and keyboards lay a stellar blueprint. Their repertoire is canyon-wide, but whether they're letting loose with a party anthem ("Shake Ur Brotha" is a funky live favorite) or presenting intimacy close to the vest (the hushed R&B ode "Amy"), The Bergamot wear each hat proudly, and more importantly, like it's been a part of them since birth.
Nationally, The Bergamot have been gaining fans at a rapid pace, thanks to consistent touring and a huge break this year in the form of winning a battle-of-the-bands set up by Bud Light. Surviving a painstaking 6-step voting process, the group were chosen play as part of the brewing company's Port Paradise Music Festival in the Bahamas, alongside the likes of Pitbull, Flo Rida, and more. In front of a staggering 8,000 screaming fans, The Bergamot proved again why they stand out, and deserve to stand among music's elite.