The emergence of the EP as a great means of entry into the music business has been one of the best innovations. It allows artists to get their product into the marketplace and into the hands of their fans at a faster pace that recording a full length studio album. The nominees this year have shown, though, that just because the EP has less songs than a full length, the quality and production value are at times better.
Kat Parsons - Oh! and Talk to Me - Case in point - Parsons released 10 songs in 2012, but chose to do so on two EPs instead of one full length CD. Both of her projects were funded through Kickstarter and both are probably the best work she has done to date.
Tempest - The Tempest EP - Singer/songwriter Gabrielle Wortman transformed herself into Tempest, and the result has been stunning. With an electronic sound that complements her lyrical style, Tempest has brought forth a masterpiece. Kudos also to her uniquely recycled packaging (using old books), making each and every EP unique.
The Rob Michaels Band - The Revolver Sessions - Up until now, Michaels has probably been best known as a uniquely talented guitarist. But his collaboration with Mikal Blue has resulted in a new and improved sound. The EP includes songs co-written with Blue as well as of Verona's Jeff Sojka and offer a glimpse of the promising career ahead for Michaels.
JC Villafan - Sweet Time EP - A newcomer to the scene, Villafan is a young man with an old soul, bringing forth the style of music past into a contemporary new format. Another successful crowd-funding project, Villafan has a sound that is timeless.
The Well Pennies - The Well Pennies - Familial harmonies are incredible, such as Mumford & Sons, The Band Perry and SHeDAISY. What sets the Well Pennies apart are that they are family by marriage, but by birth. Their rich tones blend effortlessly with the sweet instrumentals to provide songs that are as memorable as they are beautiful.
The Jason Adamo Band - Bricks & Mortar - I first heard about this group through my good friend Laura Goldfarb of Red Boot Publicity. My first impression was Keith Urban and Bruce Springstein had been merged with the Doobie Brothers. The resulting EP is a true masterpiece, including the amazing cover of the Doobie Brothers' smash hit Listen to the Music.
And the winner is . . . THE JASON ADAMO BAND!