Avi Kaplan lives deep in the forest near the Tennessee run of the Natchez Trace trail. His cabin is worlds away from Los Angeles, his hub for six years as he toured the world with Pentatonix. Now, surrounded by farms & forests just a stone’s throw from Nashville, the kid who grew up listening to folk music among the California Sequoias is content. “I’m finally writing the music that’s in my heart,” Avi says. In 2017, Avi stepped away from creating after years of rushing from stadium to stadium at a frenzied pace–an experience he calls “beautiful,” but one that also left him physically and artistically depleted. Since returning to music on his own terms, the songs have poured out of him, ready for foot-stomping music halls and serious listening rooms alike. He’s also liberated his vocals, once known as the perfect power-bass, to reveal a nuanced voice, rich, tender, and abounding. Surrounded by forest and newfound artistic clarity, the result has yielded dozens and dozens of new songs. Reveling in the simplicity, “I get on my porch with my guitar, look at my trees, and write a song,” he says. Avi has taken his time, and his future is wide open because of it. He has rediscovered his own musical roots and delved deeper into the folk he’s always loved–exploring a range of sounds from soul to bluegrass–he has reconnected with himself and found yet another way to connect beautifully with others. “I am so grateful I get to do this” Avi says. “I’m truly excited for the future.”
Andrea von Kampen
A musician who bridges acoustic folk and lyrical singer/songwriter pop, Andrea von Kampen emerged in the mid-2010s with a string of short-form releases and a highlighted entry in NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest before presenting her first long-player, Old Country, in 2019. She followed it with the more expansive That Spell, her Fantasy Records debut, in 2021. Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, von Kampen released her first EP, Another Day, in 2015. She soon reached a broader audience with her video submission in the 2016 Tiny Desk Contest; within 24 hours of receiving her performance of “Let Me Down Easy,” NPR Music selected her as their featured artist of the day. She issued two more EPs, AVK Christmas Project and Desdemona, before the end of the year. A live album for Audiotree followed in 2017. Von Kampen recorded her full-length debut, the Midwest-inspired Old Country, with all Nebraska-based musicians. The single “Portland” landed a handful of coveted spots on streaming-site playlists before the album’s arrival in early 2019. It included five additional original songs, a Bob Dylan cover, and a version of the traditional folk tune “Wildwood Flower.” She had shared bills with the likes of Tall Heights, Darling West, and Dead Man Winter by the time she signed with Fantasy Records for her sophomore LP. That Spell arrived in August 2021, shortly after her debut appearance at the Newport Folk Festival.