By Alyson Kay
Ten stages, 150 musicians, multiple genres — One Koast Entertainment is bringing back its Frozen Harbor Music Festival to Baltimore on February 22 and 23, and Severna Park and Arnold musicians will be there to please the masses.
Haint Blue, a folk-pop band, will play at Mex Tequila Bar on February 23. The band’s current lineup has been together for three years and includes guitarist Mike Cohn, keyboardist Dave Sheir, mandolin player Nellie Sorenson, fiddle player Victoria Grier, standup bass player Mark Strother and drummer Alex White.
The band plays folk and bluegrass mostly because of the variety of expression that it allows.
“This was the most acceptable medium where I could truly and honestly say what I wanted and have a broad swath of expression,” Cohn said. “I can play something quiet and soft and beautiful and something big and loud and raucous.”
While each member has different tastes in music, they don’t feel that those artists influence their music much.
“We have really varied musical tastes,” said Cohn. “I’m not sure if they necessarily influence us. Some of us do listen to bluegrass and folk, but others have really eclectic tastes.”
Haint Blue will mostly play music from its upcoming album, “Overgrown,” which includes 11 new songs along with a single called “Bear the Burden,” which was released in December 2018. The song is about Cohn’s struggle with drug addiction and losing a friendship after leaving the fundamentalist religion that he grew up in. Like “Bear the Burden,” the rest of the record serves as a reflection for Cohn. The full album will be available on February 15.
“The idea of the last album was a memoir of 10 years,” Cohn said.
The band also released a music video for another song from “Overgrown” called “Another Year” on February 1.
Another folk band playing at 614 Water Street on February 23 is Leo & Cygnus, whose members met at a music theory class at Anne Arundel Community College. Originally called Daniel and the Lions, the group changed its name after realizing that many bands shared that title. The bandmates picked Leo & Cygnus because of its ties to constellations.
“We love the idea of stars and constellations as a whole, and it's a great representation of our music since it's ethereal and mysterious in a beautiful way,” said Chris Au, the band’s bassist and synth player.
Leo & Cygnus is Au, keyboardist and vocalist Nicole Blickenstaff, drummer Kelsey Price, and guitarist and vocalist Daniel Alvarez.
The band likes to take pieces from other music and incorporate it into their music, like complex harmonies and textures of bands such as Snarky Puppy and the vocal harmony of bands like My Brightest Diamond.
At the Frozen Harbor Music Festival, the band will play mostly from the new album “Sagittarii,” which was released in December 2018 and includes five new songs. Their songs are mostly about different viewpoints of failed relationships.
Another local band, Fast as Lightning, will perform on February 23 at Rams Head Live! The band consists of five kids ages 12 to 17. The members are lead vocalist Katie Hall, bassist Jacob Spitzer, drummer Jack Peery, keyboardist Trystan Martin and lead guitarist Jackson Anderson.
At the festival, Fast As Lightning will play covers of rock songs such as Aerosmith’s “Dream On” as well as original music including “Koko,” which is about Anderson’s feelings about cat-sitting for Martin.
Fast as Lightning formed in August 2014 through a performance at School of Rock. Along with lessons at School of Rock, the musicians have a mentor, Ben Grant, who rehearses with them and goes to most of their shows.
Like the songs that they play, the band’s influences include a variety of genres, from heavy metal and rock bands — like Slipknot and Porcupine Tree — to classical piano artists.
“There’s just a lot of artists that that are really good and you just want to be like them,” said Hall.
Fast As Lightning has played at the Frozen Harbor Music Festival before. “It’s a good crowd,” Anderson said. “They always get into the music.”