Favorite Nebraska Music Developments of 2014 | The Scene List

To encapsulate 2014 as best we could, we asked nearly two dozen Nebraska musicians, journalists and scene figures about their favorite albums, songs, shows and events of the year. Catch up on the other categories and keep an eye out throughout this week for more reflections and predictions from this crew.

In this installment, they tell us about their favorite developments from Nebraska music in 2014.

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Rebecca Lowry | All Young Girls Are Machine Guns

Molly Misek became the first lady sound person in Omaha in a long time at O’Leaver’s. Anna McClellan is interning at ARC Studios. Emily Engles became E3 Music Management. BJ Huchtemann won the Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Journalism. I need more of this. MORE AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE WOMEN IN POSITIONS OF POWER IN MUSIC IN NEBRASKA.

Marq Manner | OEAAs Music Chair, Omaha Dispatch

I liked seeing artists like Kris Lager Band, Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers, Screaming For Silence and others out touring and some of them non-stop. I like that the touring they are doing are getting them opportunities and attention. Every band and artist should be doing this.

Ben Brodin | Recording Engineer/Producer at ARC Studios

O’Leavers put a piano in their bar.

Spencer Munson | DJ Spencelove, Marketing/Booking at The Bourbon

Sower Records.  The formation of the roots and bluegrass collective in Lincoln has created so much excitement for music fans of all ages.  The energy and fun generated from the Sower bands flowed into festivals like Nebraska Folk & Roots and Lincoln Calling. Excellent releases from Matt Cox, Bud Heavy and The High Lifes, Bonehart, and Jack Hotel helped cement their future legacy in Nebraska music.

Lucas Wright | Founder/Operator of Black Heart Booking

The Keystone XL Pipeline benefit concert with Willie Nelson and Neil Young.

Hanna Guenther | Hear Nebraska Summer 2014 Intern

The Sonata Sessions create an intimate and raw setting to listen to Nebraska musicians. The vocals are the focus and the settings are relaxed. There are so many talented Nebraska artists, and these sessions create a beautiful awareness of who is here.

Laura Fortney | Host of KZUM’s “Every Kind of Blue”

Though I was unable to attend, I was really excited to see the Folk & Roots Festival start in Lincoln. Conceived of and orchestrated by a local group of folks, it showcased local, regional, and national Americana, roots, and folk artists/bands in a two-day outdoor festival setting. Aside from being unique, it brought welcome attention to one of the quieter musical genres that we excel at here in Nebraska.

Ryan McKeever | Telepathy Problems, Staffers, Skeleton Man

Almost Music threw record store day parties, anniversary parties, and several other shows. Sometimes the shows were outside. Sometimes there was a grill. Great records in the store, pretty great people, too.

Michael Todd | Former Hear Nebraska managing editor

Most of my picks for this category are somewhat self-congratulatory — “Gosh, you’re great, Hear Nebraska.” “Thank you, Hear Nebraska.” — but credit is due to former intern and friend Nickolai Hammar for Sonata Sessions, his series of videos featuring artists I have long respected and artists I hadn’t heard of but was blown away by in hearing them for the first time. My personal favorite is Anna McClellan’s “Midnight Storm,” a gorgeous preview of the Omaha piano player and vocalist’s forthcoming album.


Anna Gronewold | Hear Nebraska contributor

Sonata Sessions finds the quiet intimacy I suspect, but can never prove, when I see artists live. The settings, which Hammar said he chooses partly by asking artists about the spaces they feel at home, enhance what I know about the people creating in Nebraska right now. I wonder if the cricket chirping in the back was the way “Sweet Release” was meant to be heard and Jon Dell just couldn’t find one the last time I saw him play.


Tom Flaherty | Teetah, Routine Escorts, //FITNESS founder

My favorite thing that happened in 2014 was the start of //FITNESS by Nathan Young, Nick Holden and myself. We book 6-7 shows a year centering around nontraditional music performance and of course, we do it at the Sweatshop.

Molly Misek | Hear Nebraska Spring 2014 intern

311 hosted a bus tour.

James Fleege | BZZZ, Oketo, Silver Street producer

The continued growth of Lincoln Calling and Lincoln Exposed. Those two extended weekends bring everyone in the music community together and are a great way to check out as many local bands as possible.

Jeremy Fifield | Hear Nebraska contributor

The launch of Sower Records. This Lincoln-based record label and its music are very near and dear to me because of its focus on folk, bluegrass and country.  The artists on the label represent sounds that paved the way for a lot of developments in American music, and I can’t wait to see how big this label and its quality group of artists become in the coming years.

Derek Pressnall | Eyeball Promotions, Icky Blossoms

The Faint’s Doom Abuse! I’ve been a giant Faint fan since 1997 so it was great to get another album from them.