Acts to Watch From the Springboard South Festival

Jamell "Melly Mel" Richardson
Someone suggested "Music Is Life," which is a nice slogan but simply isn't true. Life includes mowing grass, getting oil changes and scrubbing toilets, all things that kept me from the Springboard South Music Festival on Saturday.

So, with apologies to those who performed on my honey-do day, I tried to make up for some lost time by seeing as many acts as I could on Sunday. Here's a rundown on some of the talent that brought a strong close to the 2014 festival:

The C.I.T.Y.
The C.I.T.Y. took the stage just after Matthew Knowles, one of Springboard's mentors, said less than one percent of musicians ever "make it" in music during a set-change address to the audience. That sobering news was promptly met with a raucous, get-on-your-feet set by the band, with vocals that recalled the Ohio Players' Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner and band chops to match. They turned the audience out with a show-closing take on E.U.'s "Da' Butt" that said they were less interested in "making it" than enjoying the moment.

Grant Harrison
Harrison stood onstage, with guitar slung over shoulder, and peered out at the audience between songs, noting it was "weird" seeing so few people there. He's a local, from Magnolia, so he's probably used to bigger crowds from the area following he's building. He took the opportunity to give listeners an intimate set of well-crafted pop/rock songs.

Maggie Szabo
True, this music festival was unlike others that feature multiple stages and scheduling conflicts. Still, I missed a lot of the set by Szabo, a Canadian pop and soul singer who's got a healthy Youtube following. What I heard was pretty damn great, with Szabo delivering sizzling vocals while playing keys. Youtube's fine, but it's even better when an Internet famous artist can deliver the goods live. Szabo did just that.

Lucas Jack
Lucas Jack
I had no idea a talent like Lucas Jack existed in San Antonio. I walked into his time in the Warehouse Live Studio just before he started and saw a piano on stage, so I was hopeful. He did not disappoint. After his collection of songs, which were poignant, funny and well-orchestrated, I fumbled for words while unfairly comparing his act to Ben Folds Five. I even weirdly suggesting he resembled a young, Honkey Cat-era Elton. The truth is, he's got his own thing going on, including an excellent album, Sun City.

Jamell "Melly Mel" Richardson
I snuck over to Lucky's Pub to chant and cheer with the soccer fans Sunday evening. After the U.S. men lost their lead in their World Cup match with only seconds to go, I had the blues. We slunk back over to Warehouse and, appropriately, into Richardson's set. My blues lasted momentarily. But every day Richardson has the blues.

You can tell, because you can't fake that feeling that comes from the gut and explodes in face-contorting singing and not-so-gently-weeping guitar. Watching Richardson work, there's an excitement that says you could be witnessing something special, like folks who once saw a young B.B. or Albert King. Plus, his band, from Mobile, Ala., is just plain nasty. These guys are the real deal.

Story continues on the next page.

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