Bernardus debuts stirring emotional folk track; Dominique Morgan, The Hottman Sisters, TKO added to New Generation; I Forgot To Love My Father goes country in Sofar Omaha video

Bernardus debuts sitrring emotional folk track

words by Gabriella Parsons

Loss, love, happiness and purpose are the plurality of themes rooted in Bernardus’ “Sleepy Eyed Thoughts.”

The song, which debuts today via HN, possesses a deep, warmhearted lyricism mirrored by the group’s ability to create a clean, unique string arrangement. Lyrics that say “I’ve been wandering in the dark for the light that you hold, now my sleepy eyed thoughts are clear,” exemplify an emotional turbulence that has reached a climactic, clear-eyed conclusion.

Solo musicians in their own right, brothers Ben and Jake Kramer have both lent their talents to local bands between playing private gigs and weddings. Ben plays the keys in Evan Bartels and the Stoney Lonesomes, and Jake had juggled the guitar, fiddle and mandolin — like he does in Bernardus — in Dylan Bloom Band up until recently.

Ben’s lead vocals and Jake’s multi-instrumental talents are the foreground of Bernardus, their vision complemented by drummer Adam Kovar, bassist Matt Cornell and keyboard player Christian Hale. In January, the group got their hands on a PA system and Bernardus was born in an old bunkhouse in Northern Nebraska.

“We had no wifi, no cell phones, and barely any electricity,” Ben said. We were able to focus solely on music and what emerged was an EP that is unlike any project I’ve ever been a part of.”

In its self-titled debut, Bernardus explores a multitude of harmonies and pairing of string instruments in the Americana vein of Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers. The Lincoln five-piece plays its EP release show Friday in the Railyard with The Wildwoods and Evan Bartels and the Stoney Lonesomes. RSVP here.

Listen to “Sleepy Eyed Thoughts” below:

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Dominique Morgan, The Hottman Sisters, TKO added to New Generation

Raleigh Science Project continues to build its New Generation Music Festival lineup, this week adding more than 10 diverse acts to bill.

R&B singer/songwriter Dominique Morgan, pop duo The Hottman Sisters and rapper TKO were among those announced yesterday for the Aug. 5 Stinson Park festival. They join producers Wrekafekt (Brent Hafner) and Jamison Denton Carter (a festival co-organizer) as well as rappers Greco and Mark Patrick and Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award-winning artist Rothsteen.

New Generation also announced its first out-of-state act in Sioux Falls emcee Nikko McFadden. His most recent album, Real Life Music Vol. 2, continues to explore his rough upbringing and successful bid to turn things around through music.

Tickets to New Generation Music Festival are now on sale here.

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I Forgot To Love My Father goes country in Sofar Omaha video

When it comes to odd thematic and environmental schisms, leave it to I Forgot To Love My Father.

Sofar Sounds Omaha releases “The Country Boy’s Love Tune” today, shot during the Lincoln band’s October 26 living room performance. Frontman (and former HN intern) JP Davis appears first, face painted white, eyes blacked out like Gene Simmons. He growls as if to foreground the demonic, only to sleepily drift into a romp of a country ballad.

Watch the video below:

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Omaha Stairwell Sessions features Jack Hotel, Brady Wells

Omaha musician and videographer Ben Baldwin dropped a pair of Stairwell Sessions videos this week. First, Lincoln folk group Jack Hotel graced the stairs with “Iron Bell,” a new track not on its forthcoming LP Voices From The Moon (which the band releases next Friday at Zoo Bar).

The second video features Omaha singer/songwriter Brady Wells and upright bassist Matt Jones. “Wolves” is an original track by Wells’ band Domestic Blend.

Watch both videos below:

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Concert Round-Up

Tonight, a pair of touring Oklahoma bands in Keeper and Wallclouds play Lincoln’s SP CE Commons, 1239 S 14th St, with local support from Once A Pawn, Mad Dog & the 20/20s and The Way Out. Entry is by suggested donation of $5. The event is drug and alcohol free. RSVP here.

Also tonight, Possessed By Paul James plays The Bourbon, 1415 O Street. Multi-instrumentalist Konrad Wert is a thrilling one man show. Online roots music publication No Depression calls him one of “the 20 most important singer/songwriters of our time.” Laughing Falcon frontman Kevin Chasek opens the show with an acoustic set. The front room show starts at 9 p.m. Entry is $12. RSVP here.

In Omaha, songwriter Jackson Phillips performs at Slowdown, 729 N 14th St, as indie pop act Day Wave. His dreamy, guitar driven lo-fi work has garnered airplay on the likes ofAlt Nation, XMU, KCRW (including Jason Bentley’s Morning Becomes Eclectic), KEXP, WXPN, and more. Phillips is currently on a nationwide tour that runs through June, interrupted this month for a quick two-week European tour. Omaha’s Lot Walks and Bokr Tov open the front room show. Tickets are $12. RSVP here.

For a fuller listing of this week’s shows, head to our statewide calendar here. Share news tips, story ideas and upcoming events via email at