Lagniappe is pleased to partner with SouthSounds this year to present two new industry showcases in conjunction with the festival.

“Since SouthSounds is a festival celebrating the hottest up-and-coming bands in the Southeast, when brainstorming with festival organizers on how Lagniappe could be involved this year, we all really liked the idea of bringing in a panel of seasoned record industry professionals for a select number of bands to perform in front of. These bands would not only get all this great exposure, but also given advice on what they need to do to break through to the next level, or with anything else they may need guidance on from these executives — who are experts in different areas, including the label, management, studio and legal aspects of the business, just to name a few,” Lagniappe co-publisher Ashley Trice said.

The Mobile Bay Music Showcase will kick off Saturday, April 9, at noon on the Cathedral Square main stage. Dozens of local acts submitted their names for consideration and the festival selection committee decided on the following six: Black Titan, Coleman-Mason Band, Crowned Jewelz, Infant Richard and the Delta Stones, Stereo Dogs and Underhill Family Orchestra. These bands each will play a 20-minute set and battle it out in front of the panel for a spot in Sunday’s New Southern Music Showcase.

“Since this is a Mobile festival, it was important to us to make sure there was a spot in the regional showcase for an up-and-coming Mobile band as well, which is why we decided to also create the Mobile Bay Music Showcase and have its winner compete in Sunday’s overall competition,” Trice said.

The panel for the Mobile Bay Music Showcase includes: Dan McCurry (Charleston, South Carolina), founder of Hearts and Plugs Records; Blake Ells (Birmingham), author of “The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME,” writer for Weld Birmingham and freelancer for Birmingham Magazine and; Jake Phillips (Atlanta, Georgia), entertainment and media attorney with the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig; Billy Francis (Daphne), owner of Bay Sound Records, which has served the Gulf Coast’s music and vinyl needs for almost 23 years; Jay Cooper (Atlanta), member/counsel for the This Is American Music record label and Jeffrey Cain (Birmingham), independent musician, former member of Remy Zero and founder/manager of the Communicating Vessels record label.

The winner of the Mobile Bay Music Showcase will join five other Southeastern acts on Sunday to compete in the New Southern Music Showcase from 1-4 p.m., also on the Cathedral Square main stage.
The following five bands were chosen as the “best of the best” of the emerging artists who were already scheduled to play the festival. They include: Bantam Foxes (New Orleans, Louisiana), The High Divers (Charleston), Motel Radio (New Orleans), The Sh-Booms (Orlando, Florida) and She Returns From War (Charleston).

“It was tough to narrow it down to just five. But many of these bands already have great followings in their hometowns, and the selection committee really felt they all have that ‘it factor’ to make it to the next level. Now we will see what the panel thinks,” Trice said.

The panel deciding who will be named the SouthSounds Best New Southern Artist includes: J.D. Connell (Nashville, Tennessee) — SESAC vice president and counsel, new media licensing, named one of Billboard magazine’s “Digital Power Players”; Matt Wilson (Atlanta) — GT Music Group, management company for Moon Taxi; T. Hardy Morris — Roadkill Ghost Choir, Dead Confederate and others; Rick Hirsch (Mobile) — legendary producer, Alabama Music Hall of Fame member and founding member of Wet Willie; Josh Brackin (Atlanta) — entertainment and media attorney, Greenberg Traurig; Jay Cooper (Atlanta) — member/counsel for This Is American Music record label; and Jeffrey Cain (Birmingham) — independent musician, former member of Remy Zero and founder/manager of Communicating Vessels record label.

In addition to great industry exposure and earning this coveted title, the winning band will also receive an incredible prize package, including three days of studio time at Studio H20 with legendary producer Hirsch as well as accommodations; a writing/R&R retreat: a one-week stay at a Gulf-front beach house in Gulf Shores provided by SouthSounds Music Festival; a $500 gift certificate to Andy’s Music (;  a $150 gas card and the music feature in the April 14 issue of Lagniappe.

“We are really excited to recognize all of these emerging artists, and we also hope these new showcases will bring even more industry attention to this great Mobile festival in the coming years,” Trice said.