The independent recording artist may well celebrate the year 2012 as the best yet to be nonaffiliated with a big label.
Between the state-of-the-art recording equipment now available relatively cheaply for home studios, and the means to market directly to fans via the Internet, bands from all over the country now have much the same reach once reserved for those in major music meccas and signed to major labels.
Below and at left are five new CDs by regional talent released in recent months.
The Old World, "The Old World" -- Formerly called Matt Ben Jackson, this Ogden band plays an engaging brand of folk rock, à la The Byrds. The backbone of its sound comes courtesy of Casey Romney, whose guitar playing is rootsy, infective and inventive. He also sings, as do the other members of the band -- Austin Frodsham (mandolin/fiddle/bass), Stratton McCauseland (keyboards) and Dan Pectol (percussion).
Frankly, this record is so strong, it's difficult to choose the best tunes. The light and breezy "Rollin' Boulders" is pop at its catchiest. "Wind Calling" sounds like a lost tune by Brian Wilson, with sweet vocal harmonies. "Secret Sauce" has a driving rhythmic guitar that sounds like a lost rocker from Sun Records.
This is a young band in every sense -- together only two years, with members in their early 20s. But they already have two band names under their belt, as well as an EP (under the Matt Ben Jackson moniker) and now a full-length album full of promises. Keep an eye and ear on this talented ensemble.