Five Black Americana artists from around the country announced for WXPN's Black Opry Residency - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

This spring, the first Black Opry Residency will take place in Philadelphia, and today the five participating artists have been revealed. Some are based in Nashville but rooted elsewhere (The Kentucky Gentlemen, and Texas native Tylar Bryant); others hail from the Northeast (Boston’s Grace Givertz, Hudson Valley’ Denitia); one is from right here in Philadelphia (Samantha Rise). Spearheaded by WXPN and The Black Opry, and supported with a grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Black Opry Residency will bring the artists to Philadelphia in March for a week of creative co-collaborating, workshopping, and ultimately performing.

Announced in November 2022, WXPN’s Black Opry Residency supports and spotlights up-and-coming Black performers who make original music under the Americana umbrella, with roots in country, bluegrass, folk, blues, gospel, rock, and singer-songwriter styles. The application process was open to unsigned Black musicians over the age of 21 who have been recording and performing for at least three years. About 100 applicants were received, and the five residents were chosen by a selection committee based on the excellence of their songwriting craft, lyrics, and production, as well as consideration for the point at which they are in their careers.

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The five Black Opry residents are:

Songwriter and performer Tylar Bryant, a Texas native now based in Nashville who marries modern and traditional country music with rock and pop grooves. He appeared on World Cafe‘s 2022 session with the Black Opry Revue, and performed at last year’s XPoNential Music Festival.

Soulful singer-songwriter Denitia, a Hudson Valley-based artist whose poetic lyrics and retrospective music exhibits elements of country and folk. She was featured on a popular track by UK electronic artist Quantic, 2020’s “Nowhere,” and her second independent album, Highways, was released in October.

Grace Givertz, a Boston-based folk artist and multi-instrumentalist whose witty and honest lyrics bring a refreshing energy and sound to folk music. She released her debut album, Year of the Horse, via Bandcamp in 2019.

Originally from Versailles, Kentucky, twin brothers Brandon and Derek Campbell, harmonize, write and perform as The Kentucky Gentlemen, creating a captivating blend of pop, country and R&B. The Nashville-based duo released their debut project Volume 1 last July.

Samantha Rise, a Philadelphia-based teacher, activist, performer and songcatcher whose inclusive music evoking their myriad experiences is rooted in indie folk. They released a four-part series of seasonal EPs, Brighter Days, from 2018 to 2019, and have been spotlighted at Philadelphia Folksong Society as well as the cosmic country party Baby’s First Rodeo — and they’ll perform at its next installment on February 18th at Ortlieb’s.

The Black Opry Residency selection committee is comprised of Black Opry founder Holly G.; singer-songwriters Rissi Palmer and Miko Marks; producer Nathan Tempro; and WXPN’s program director Bruce Warren and general manager Roger LaMay. The residency will take place in Philadelphia from March 18th through the 24th, culminating in a public finale performance on March 24 at World Cafe Live.

Black Opry Residency has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Get to know the Black Opry residents by listening to the Spotify playlist below.

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