Meet the BIG RED Nominees: Favorite Local Duo


Jake Hill and Hayley Sabella (Billington Sea) – recording their first official record together, both Hayley and Jake are nominated for Favorite Songwriters this year and rightfully so. The combination of the two together is a wonderful blend of beauty and gruffness set over wonderfully penned songs. and

The Meadows Brothers- Ian and Dustin Meadows have been playing music together for quite some time now. It all goes back to singing along to their parents’ records, sitting at the kitchen table in their high chairs. Somewhere in their early teens, while playing in another band together, they got ahold of some Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie albums. The Meadows Brothers are the end result of two kids from New England becoming infatuated with the roots of American music, the art of crafting song, and being able to pass on the joy they receive from the music to an audience.

Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards- For over a decade, Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards have resonated with the lover of Americana, old country, and harmony singing, commanding crafted melodies and poignant, introspective lyrics, backing them with delicate arrangements on ukulele, clarinet, guitar and banjo. They began in the basements, coffee shops and art spaces of New England, and have since tested the stages of more traditional folk music venues, colleges, living rooms and bar rooms from Boston to Austin, Denver to Nashville, Asheville to Portland, and back ’round again. Hundreds of concerts have been given and thousands of records have been sold, all on their own steam with longtime support from indie label Nobody’s Favorite Records

Steve Allain & Tracie Potochnik – Two other fantastic songwriters recently combining forces, Steve and Tracie are a real treat. Known for writing delicately crafted lyrical narratives in which she fully inhabits a range of complex and sometimes dark characters, Tracie brings three chords, the truth, and occasionally a mandolin to her shows. She once killed a man in Reno, but not just to watch him die. Bastard had it coming. Not one to be pigeonholed, Steve has returned to songwriting armed with years of experience and diversity creating a smart and unique blend of music that is widely varied, yet highly accessible to a broad audience. Praised for his excellent musicianship and soulful voice. and

6 East- 6 East was founded as an acoustic guitar duo by Todd Nickerson and Jonathan Soucy and based out of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. With our second release “Rising” we brought in a full band of session players to bring our sound to a higher level. The result is a polished, mature and tight sound that covers new and exciting musical ground for us. Both Jonathan and Todd took up guitar and singing/songwriting in their early twenties. They were influenced along the way by music ranging from Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, and The Grateful Dead, The Band, John Prine and many other artists in between. In 2006, Jonathan and Todd began to write and record songs under the name 6 East, playing regularly at Cape Cod and South of Boston area venues.

Mark Whitaker and Eva Walsh- Another duo with a member in each of the two songwriting categories. If two voices were made to harmonize with one another, Eva and Mark’s voices are them. Bringing so much to one another’s songs and sharing gigs that highlight both of their original material. Check their sites for individual bios (or in previous posts!) and

Ellie Buckland and Isa Burke – Ellie Buckland and Isa Burke are fiddlers and singer-songwriters who love traditional music and close harmonies. With two fiddles, two guitars, and two intertwining voices, they perform old folk songs, new Americana, and original songs in an acoustic roots style. They met at a fiddle camp in the woods of Maine, their shared home state, and are now both studying at Berklee College of Music. Whenever possible, they are joined by a fellow Mainer, Mali Obomsawin on bass. They bring heart, soul, energy and depth to honest music that blends the old and the new.

Hoot and Holler – Hoot and Holler is what you get when Amy Alvey (fiddle, vocals) and Mark Kilianski (guitar, vocals) combine their playing and songwriting forces.  Whether they’re tenderly harmonizing on a simple, honest folk song, or kicking off a raging old time fiddle tune, Hoot and Holler will make you do just that.  After touring with regional acts Mighty Tiny (Amy) and The Whiskey Boys (Mark), and jamming frequently on Boston’s burgeoning string music scene for years, Hoot and Holler was born from both their love of American Folk music and Appalachian fiddle tunes.  Since its formation, Hoot and Holler have entertained audiences all over the Northeast and Europe. In June 2014 they will embark on their second Massachusetts Walking Tour with Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards (  Their new EP “Nothing If Not Young” was released on October 29, 2014.!about/cy2g