published Friday, February 4th, 2011

Phillips: Chattanooga artists making waves in music lately

Even the most jaded critics of the record industry might feel a twinge of sympathy for label executives after the kind of week Chattanooga musicians have been having.

First there was the ear candy they were handed when the Nashville round of "American Idol" concluded with the audition of 15-year-old Lauren Alaina (Suddeth) of Rossville, Ga.

Nothing could have prepared them for her triple threat of glorious pipes, spunk and an emotional back-story.

Assuming they knew Chattanooga (much less Rossville) at all, it was probably as a slightly larger dot on the map between Knoxville, Atlanta, Birmingham and Nashville. But if making J-Lo tear up and having Steven Tyler credit Lauren's future performance as "mak(ing) 40 million people cry" didn't send aides scrambling for a map, then they weren't paying attention.

I also heard a rumor of major-label interest in the local alt-metal band Downstream, which has been recording its third album in Orlando, Fla., with former Creed bassist Brett Hestla. You can hear some of the band's work tonight at Rhythm & Brews starting at 10.

Big things are also shaping up for Chattanooga expatriate singer/songwriter Angel Snow.

Snow, 27, a Chickamauga, Ga., native, moved to Nashville in February 2007. For the last two years, she has been collaborating with Viktor Krauss, the brother of 26-time Grammy Award-winning songstress Alison Krauss, whom she met through a mutual friend.

Within 15 minutes of their introduction, Snow and Viktor wrote "Lie Awake," which Snow said is confirmed as the third track on Alison's next album, "Paper Airplane."

"He (Viktor) called her the moment I left and said, 'We just wrote this great song, and I'm going to send it over to you,'" Snow said. "He did, and she loved it. Then she introduced the song to Union Station, and they loved it."

Snow said Alison has recorded several of her songs, including "These Days," which will be available as an exclusive downloadable track when the album is released April 12. Other pieces were also recorded, although their future is less certain, Snow said.

Although she wouldn't have pegged the Krausses as likely collaborators two years ago, Snow said she now can't imagine anyone else meshing with her so well.

"It's like a perfect match," she said. "Even though we have different styles of music, it just works so well."

Snow said she and Viktor will enter the studio next week to record an album to be released concurrently or shortly after "Paper Airplane."

I've always loved Snow's vocals, so I'm not surprised she's achieving such success as much as satisfied that people have finally opened their ears. If you agree, you'll have a chance to congratulate her in person on Feb. 23 when she takes the stage at Rhythm & Brews with Erick Baker.

So yeah, a good week, and I would be astonished if the last seven days haven't put a pin in Chattanooga on people's mental maps. I know it makes my chest swell with pride.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...

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