Emerging Artists Finalists Set to Compete March 19
We’re excited to post more information about our 2017 finalists. We will have photos of them to share with soon. Link to event information here.
Andrew Bertrand‘s favorite pastime is music; he frequently hosts a folk jam at Cure Coffee House in Norfolk. His interest in guitar and songwriting was renewed a few years ago when he realized it was a central source of childhood happiness. Songwriting influences include Graham Parsons, Robert Hunter, Bob Dylan, Peter Rowan, and John Hartford. He lives in Chesapeake with his family.
Kevin Blatnik picked up guitar from his dad at an early age and hasn’t looked back. Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and Jimmy Page provided inspiration, as did Led Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Away,” with its unusual hammer on and pull style. His love of music was one of the foundations for surviving the tragedy of youth; and now sustains the very youthful spirit that he once struggled to escape.
Lin Floyd is longtime singer/songwriter who has performed both as a soloist and in ensembles across the Peninsula. His career has taken a number of creative turns; he currently is a chef at the Hampton Yacht Club and also has enjoyed working at boatbuilding, computer science and in radio broadcast. Lin and his wife Gwen live in Gloucester.
Emily Taylor Gaines (18) has been singing since she could talk. She is from a gifted and musical family that sadly was not without its share of tragedy. She lost her father and brother before she graduated high school; she also suffered through relentless school bullying as a youngster. Self-imposed isolation bred creativity. Her songwriting proved ‘indescribably therapeutic’ and helped her carry on against all odds.
Sherri Lin’s passion has been her music for her entire life. A trained classical vocalist, she’s new to both guitar playing and to songwriting. Sherri Linn is involved in local groups Fixity and Last Fair Deal, has her own graphic design company, Songbird Creative, and collaborates with other musicians as often as time allows.
Nicholas Shane (Nick) Robertson is a Smithfield-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Nick knew exactly what he wanted to do from an early age. “I started singing since before I can remember…I always knew that singing was what I wanted to do; I never had a ‘Plan-B’ as many warned me to.” Nick currently is recording and plans to release his first single in the near future.
Zack Salsberry is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Newport News. He began playing at age five and first performed on stage at age nine. Zack’s songs are a reflection of his eclectic musical tastes. His influences include the Beatles, Howlin’ Wolf, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Mac DeMarco and Gorillaz. Zack wins over audiences with inspired performances and high-energy guitar work.
Virginia Beach-based singer/guitarist Bob Smith has been in many bands over the years; he currently plays with More Perfect Jones and DogJaw. Smith recently decided to go in search of his own voice and began writing his own material. Smith’s goal for the winter of 2017 is to write as many songs as possible, with the ultimate goal of recording a CD of his original music.
Jerry Sowers has played and performed folk music since he was 14. He studied music in college and currently teaches music in Hampton City Schools. He has served as minister of music in local churches since the 80’s. He is hosts two Friday-night coffee houses in Hampton. Jerry writes about life, love, family and friends and hopes his efforts help to continue the folk movement of the 50′ and 60’s.
Luke Willette grew up in Franklin County, Missouri and settled in Hampton Roads after a stint in the Navy. Luke lives in Suffolk with his wife Amy and two children. He owns Willette Plumbing. Luke has been playing guitar on and off since he was 12 and has been working at songwriting for the past ten years. He’s been kicking his songwriting craft into high gear more recently, which helped land him a spot as one of our ten finalists.