In case you haven’t noticed, music is a thing in the Hudson Valley. During a normal calendar year (read: not 2020), major music festivals like KFEST and Mountain Jam enliven the region every summer, bringing major names like Sam Hunt and Rita Ora with them. Locally, budding music makers flock to open mic nights in small cafes and community bars to test the waters and fine-tune their skills. It’s no surprise, then, that the valley boasts quite the collection of bands. Take a look at our list and give a few of the groups a listen. You may very well find the next addition to your playlist.
A local favorite, The Big Takeover has risen in fame since 2007 thanks to its unique blend of Jamaican pop music and Motown sophistication. Vocal powerhouse Nee Nee Rushie leads the way with an infectious voice that is just as catchy as the songs she performs. Get ready to play “Rainboots,” the group’s recent single, on repeat.
Named the Best Local Band in our 2017 Best of Hudson Valley Awards, Soul Purpose is a seven-piece band that fuses jazz, Motown, soul, and swing. The group has played in and around the Valley for nearly 20 years, gracing stages like the Town Crier Café in Beacon and The Falcon in Marlboro. With this one, foot tapping is inevitable.
Known for its infectious covers of popular musicians like Beyonce and Bruno Mars, Bill’s Toupee is a staple in local performance spaces and on the wedding circuit. In 2018, it earned the Couples’ Choice Award from Wedding Wire. With five multitalented vocalists who rock out on drums, guitars, and keyboards as well, this band is a guaranteed good time.
If you love a good sultry sound, you need to check out Bear Grass. The Troy-based band channels lead singer songwriter Katie Hammon’s hypnotic voice to enchant audiences with its folk-rock fusion. Notably, the band is a member of Five Kill Records, the Hudson Valley record label based in Albany.
The Troy-based garage pop band is another member of the Hudson Valley’s Five Kill Records label. Formed in 2016, the group hits a home run with “Honey Bee,” its 2018 single.
This upstate NY band is a partnership between husband-and-wife duo Eric Krans and Jen O’Connor. The creative couple embraces the challenges that life brings to compose upbeat melodies that you won’t be able to get out of your head. As a member of Albany’s Five Kill Records, The Parlor is a true local band. If you’re a fan of indie tunes, this group deserves a listen.
Any fans of classic rock and blues should take a peek at Night Train, the six-piece ensemble known for its commitment to community. As the group approaches its eighth year in existence, it continues to remain a beloved presence in the Hudson Valley. Expect classic tunes from hitmakers like The Doors, The Eagles, and Jimi Hendrix, to name only a few.
As the name suggests, Willa & Company owes its voice and its lyrics to singer songwriter Willa Vincitore. A former member of the Chris O’Leary band, Vincitore, lures listeners across the Valley with her individual medley of blues, soul, funk, and rock. Her 2017 album, Better Days, is ideal for at-home jam sessions.