6 Hudson Valley Artists and Musicians to Listen to Now

A Radio Woodstock DJ shares top picks for talented artists and musicians to listen to around the Hudson Valley.

The Hudson Valley is home to many highly talented musicians, singers, and songwriters. We asked Aja Whitney, midday DJ and music director at Radio Woodstock, to clue us into the local artists she has on repeat.

Callie Mackenzie


“A rising artist from Kingston, Callie brings authenticity, honesty, and pure soul to her sound,” says Whitney. She frequents local venues like Montgomery’s City Winery Hudson Valley, Opus 40 in Saugerties, and Rough Draft Bar & Books in Kingston.

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LISTEN TO: “The Wreckoning”

Joelle & River


“This husband-and-wife team based in the Catskills are super accomplished musicians with a fun and loving vibe,” says Whitney. Their songs fuse classical, hip-hop, and Caribbean genres to create upbeat tracks. Although the duo—formerly known as Aziza & the Cure—haven’t released new music in a few years, they continue to play shows at orchards and intimate venues across the region.

Joelle & River
Joelle & River

LISTEN TO: “Joelle & River”

Laura Zarougian


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This Red Hook-based singer-songwriter debuted with ‘Nayri’ in September, an album that echoes her ancestral roots in Armenia,” says Whitney. Zarougian’s songs fuse influences of American folk and traditional Armenian music, a unique genre the artist affectionately terms “Armenian cowgirl.”

“Nayri” by Laura Zarougian
“Nayri” by Laura Zarougian

LISTEN TO: “Nayri”



A member of the rock band Habibi, this Hudson-based Iranian American artist released a solo album in May. Her tunes meld jazz and folk with a touch of electronica for a fresh, almost psychedelic sound. Look out for a feature from alternative rockstar Beck on the track “Fables.”

“Flowers at Your Feet” by Rahill
“Flowers at Your Feet” by Rahill

LISTEN TO: “Flowers at Your Feet”

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Royal Khao Z


Now locally based, this band of Jamaica natives plays a fusion of reggae, roots, neo-soul, jazz, and rock. “They command the stage wherever they perform with their infectious, well-written songs,” adds Whitney. Catch them playing shows in the Valley and New York City.


The Bones of J. R. Jones


Whitney describes this Catskills-based musician as having a “unique yet familiar sound,” blending influences from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Iver, and J.J. Cale. The one-man band just released a record in October and is touring Europe throughout November, but expect him to return to local spots such as Levon Helm Studios and Bearsville Theater in the future.

“Slow Lightning” by The Bones of J.R. Jones.
“Slow Lightning” by The Bones of J.R. Jones.

LISTEN TO: “Slow Lightning”

Related: These Artists Are Shaping the Hudson Valley’s Music Scene

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