musician

A New Voice in Music

A New Voice in Music:

BERKLEE GRAD RETURNS TO VIRGINIA TO RELEASE FIRST SINGLE

Story and photos by Jennifer Gray

Hannah Juliette Rutti is a small-town girl from Upperville, Va., with big dreams of where her musical profession may take her. If you hit play on her latest single, “lazy boy,” or another favorite, “Air Supply,” you’ll hear why her powerful voice and pop melodies are meant for bigger things than what this small town has to offer.

Rutti attended Wakefield in The Plains before setting her sites on Berklee College of Music. During the pandemic, Rutti returned to Upperville to finish out her senior year remotely. We caught up with Rutti to find out more about who she is, what she’s listening to, and what’s next for the aspiring young artist.

Can you tell us about Berklee College of Music and what you focused on while you were there?

I graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a major in songwriting. I learned about the art of songwriting, how to work in the professional world, the technicalities, and the many ways to earn income as a songwriter.

What was your biggest takeaway from attending Berklee?

Berklee was an amazing school of music with incredible facilities and faculty, but it was a place where you had to network and go above and beyond to get the most out of it. Music is a very competitive field, but there are so many different facets of the music industry, and Berklee was so helpful for students to seek those opportunities out.

Do you think you will relocate for music now that you have graduated?

I am living in Virginia and am pursuing my music career, and if I feel that I get to the point that moving to either LA or NYC will benefit me, I will begin to make the move.

“My style of music is pop music with a very warm, fun twist to it.”

– Rutti

Can you tell us about your performance at Trinity while you attended Wakefield?

My senior recital was at Trinity Episcopal. It was for my music-directed study at Wakefield. I studied with my jazz teacher, Dr. Adrien Re, and my vocal teacher since 12 years old, Professor Emeritus at Shenandoah University, Dr. Janette Ogg. Dr. Ogg and I studied vocal anatomy and classical music history. It was a culmination of my high school musical journey. The recital was a combination of my classical and jazz repertoire.

What do you see as your more immediate next steps in your music career?

I am releasing music and building my social media following, and pitching songs for synch work (tv shows, movies).

How would you describe your style of music?

My style of music is pop music with a very warm, fun twist to it. I often incorporate indie styles and dark pop [into] some of my music.

Do you write your songs?

Yes, I write all my songs.

The lyrics in your songs are fun. Are they about anyone in particular? What inspires you?

Yes, they are about my longtime boyfriend, and [they are] fun-loving, ode[s] to summertime song[s]. I am inspired by so many things: relationships, nature, my feelings, movies, books, music.

What’s your new single about, and where can we listen to it?

It’s about being in the moment and doing nothing with someone who means a lot to you. It is on all streaming platforms. “Lazyboy” came out on August 20, and since then, I have gotten [over] 9,000 streams.

What other artists influence your music?

I am very inspired by Charlie Puth, Elley Duhe, Lennon Stella, Fletcher, Sasha Sloan.

What’s currently on repeat in your playlist?

I am listening to Fletcher’s new single “healing” on repeat and Sasha Sloan’s “hypochondriac.”

If you could fulfill all of your musical career dreams, what would that look like?

I would be a Grammy winner and be a very successful recording artist who has written hit songs for artists and myself, and done big synch movies, tv shows, play live shows, and be able to make a living solely on my music.

Can we expect to see you play a live show in the local area at some point soon, or are your sights set on bigger venues?

I do not have a live show on the books just yet, but I am hoping in the near future to release my next song and do a show next year! ML

This article first appeared in the October 2021 Issue.

Three Bands You Need to See this Summer and Where

Three Bands You Need to See this Summer and Where

Written by Chelsea Moore

As live music makes its return, music lovers flock to local shows with excitement and maybe a little caution. Live music ushers the return of community and many of our favorite things — dancing under the stars, supporting local breweries and wineries, and turning strangers into friends at live shows. Catch these three local bands across the Northern Virginia area this summer. Trust us when we say: You won’t want to miss this.

THE CROOKED ANGELS

Husband and wife duo Amy and Jamie Potter started playing in different bands but decided to combine their musical talents and form The Crooked Angels six years ago. The band’s name is a nod to Emylou Harris and the late Gram Parsons, who created a band called The Fallen Angels.

“It was a cool 70s traditional country with some psychedelic elements,” Jamie said. “[The name ‘The Crooked Angels’ is] not a sinister thing, but I think everybody has real humanity that is good and bad, and we can explore that through music.”

Amy sings and plays guitar, and Jamie plays guitar and the keyboard. While they primarily play local shows, they have performed as far south as Charleston, South Carolina. Their genre spans country, bluegrass, and Americana.

“Music is a universal language,” Jamie said. “Beyond political and religious affiliations, it’s something that cuts across all demographics. You play to your strengths. [It’s] communication without some grand fundamental message. This is what I’m feeling and enjoying, and maybe you connect with that, maybe you don’t.”

Outside of the band, the two have unique and exciting careers. Jamie writes novels for young adults, with newly published “Thomas Creeper and the Gloomsbury Secret” through Regal House Publishing. He was recently interviewed on Good Morning America and ABC News. Amy is a master healer and practices reiki.

“Music is the joy,” Jamie said. “We have our gears going in different areas, and we come together and are in the community. It’s great to come out of the cloister and be in the world again.”

Where To Catch The Crooked Angels This Summer:

Live Music at Lost Barrel Brewing
Fri., July 9, 5-8 p.m.
36138 John Mosby Hwy, Middleburg, Va. Join Lost Barrel Brewing in Middleburg every Friday for live music from 5-8 p.m. Happy hour is from 4 – 6 p.m.

Live Music at Dirt Farm Brewing Fri., July 16, 4-7 p.m.
18701 Foggy Bottom Rd, Bluemont, Va. Meet us at Dirt Farm Brewing for beer and music.

Live Music at Slater Run Vineyard Fri., July 23, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. 1500 Crenshaw Rd, Upperville, Va. Join us at Slater Run Vineyard for wine and music.

Live Music at Slater Run Vineyard Fri., Aug. 27, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. 1500 Crenshaw Rd, Upperville, Va. Join us at Slater Run Vineyard for wine and music.

Learn more about The Crooked Angels and find details on upcoming shows by visiting facebook.com/thecrookedangels.

SHORT HILL MOUNTAIN BOYS

What began as a two-person fiddle and guitar duo has turned into the 5-person Short Hill Mountain Boys. The founders of the band live in Lovettsville and named the group after the Short Hill Mountain. Primarily a cover band, the group plays throwback covers people haven’t heard before.

“Most of our stuff has not been on pop charts ever,” John Bestwick, the band’s co-founder, said. “It’s fresh, new material that people will hear. It’s all fun music. It has a definite bluegrass background and roots. It’s got country, swing, jazz, folk, soul, and Mo-town music.”

The band is composed of John Bestwick, who plays guitar and is lead singer; Joe Hammett, who plays guitar, mandolin, and does vocals; Evan Bell, who plays bass; Erik Burnham, who plays the mandolin, harmonica, and does vocals; and Ben Walters on fiddle and vocals.

“We just love playing music together,” Bestwick said. “That’s the tie that binds us. That’s what I love most: the camaraderie and musicianship with some of my best friends.”

The band members all have full-time jobs, but the band is their creative outlet. “Music is a passion of ours, and we are always going to do this,” Bestwick said.

Where To Catch The Short Hill Mountain Boys This Summer:

Low Country Boil On The Mountain Sat., July 17 from 5-8 p.m.
South Mountain Creamery
8305 Bolivar Rd, Middletown, Md. Bring your friends and family and kick back to the sounds of Short Hill Mountain Boys, who will strum into the night with a blend of bluegrass, old-time, Cajun, classic country, and folk music. Tickets available at southmountaincreamery.com.

Live Music by Short Hill Mountain Boys at Flying Ace Farm
Flying Ace Farm, 40950 Flying Ace Ln, Lovettsville, Va.
Sun., July 18 from 2 – 5 p.m.
Join us for live music by Short Hill Mountain Boys.

Bluegrass on the Half Shell
Sat., Aug. 21
Henway Hard Cider,
18780 Foggy Bottom Rd, Bluemont, Va. Join us at Henway Hard Cider for a full day of local bluegrass bands that will have you flatfooting in no time! Tickets required.

Find the Short Hill Mountain Boys on Facebook, where they share upcoming shows.

SCYTHIAN

Scythian was founded over a decade ago when brothers Alexander and Danylo Fedoryka began singing in Old Town Alexandria as street performers. Since their humble beginnings, they have grown into a successful folk-rock band, performing across Ireland and the United States.

Alexander and Danylo are first-generation sons of Ukrainian immigrants. Scythian, named after Ukrainian nomads, has four band members: Alexander Fedoryka, who plays the fiddle, mandolin, bass, and does vocals; Danylo Fedoryka, who plays rhythm guitar, accordion, and does vocals; Johnny Rees on drums; and Ethan Dean who plays electric and upright bass and does vocals. Their music spans the Americana, bluegrass, country, folk, and world genres, finding its sweet spot in folk-rock.

During COVID, the band live-streamed shows every two weeks to a cumulative audience of over 600,000. To support the band, fans bought t-shirts and sent them money over Venmo. But now, as live music returns, they are eager for fans to come out in person.

For the first time since 2019, they are hosting Appaloosa, their annual music festival, on August 13-15 in Front Royal. The festival has hosted Grammy-award-winning artists and was voted the best music festival in D.C.

“The festival is super family-friendly, but still hip,” Danylo said. “We want people to come out, and we want people to believe in music again, and believe in community,” Danylo said.

Tickets vary in pricing, from general admission to VIP tickets that include luxury chalets for glamping at the festival. This year’s festival will be smaller than previous years, but with 15-20 artists performing, attendees are still in for a treat.

“We are keeping it very affordable because a lot of people don’t feel comfortable because of COVID,” Danylo said. “It’s going to be one of the most reasonably priced festivals out there.”

With ample outdoor space, the festival is the perfect way for people to “dip their toes in the water and get back into social environments” while still being socially distant, Danylo said.

“It’s not a guarantee that live music is going to come back unless people take risks,” he said. “If you ever get in a car accident, you have to get in the car as soon as possible, or it reaffirms that you’re scared. With music, we have to throw these festivals, or otherwise, people are going to get comfortable in their fear.”

He pointed out that before COVID, live music was at an all-time low. He credits the slowness with the ease of Netflix, which provides entertainment without needing to leave the house. But he believes live music is going to come back stronger.

“The type of appreciation people are going to have for live music is going to be a throwback, like the 60s again,” he said. “It’s an electric vibe. It’s kind of my suspicion that this will be our best year.” 

Where To Catch Scythian This Summer:

Music at Arrowbrook Centre Park
Sat., July 17 at 7:30 p.m. Arrowbrook Centre Park, 2351 Field Point Rd., Herndon, Va. Gather with your friends, family, and neighbors to dance till the sun goes down and picnic under the stars as you enjoy this free show.

Appaloosa Music Festival Fri., Aug. 13-15 at 3 p.m. Skyline Ranch Resort, 751 Mountain Rd., Front Royal, Va. Appaloosa will be a joyful weekend that will show the world that live music is not dead. We suggest getting your tickets early.

Learn more about Scythian by visiting scythianmusic.com, and get more details on the Appaloosa Music Festival by visiting appaloosafestival.com. ML

This article first appeared in the July 2021 Issue.

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