Utah’s Music Scene

Utah and its Thriving Music Scene

Mike Eckhardt absolutely loves the fact that Utah is home to a lot of creative festivals: Sundance Film Festival, Tulip Festival, Utah Arts Festival, and Shakespeare Festival. There’s no shortage of creative input in the state. From gorgeous mountains to never-ending plains, taking the whole Utah landscape in is a total pleasure. There’s a lot to discover in pretty great music from the Beehive State too. Thanks to a burgeoning music scene both in the capital of Salt Lake City and down in Utah County, Utah-native bands are on the rise.

Utah has had several notable bands and musicians for decades. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Salt Lake was a hub of the ska scene with well-known acts, such as Swim Herschel Swim and Insatiable. Other notable bands from that era are Stretch Armstrong, Big Fin, Catfische, The Gamma Rays, Hoo Ray Who, Peter Breinholdt and the Big Parade, Seven League Boots, Sturgeon General, Honest Engine, the Feel, the Sun Masons, and King Tree. Electronic groups Big Idea, Cosmic Moscow, Banlecoixe, and Tom Purdue were also from Utah. From mid to late 1990s, the following bands were notable: Ali Ali Oxen Free, Clover, The Obvious, Agnes Poetry, Iceburn, Second Hand Grace, and Chola.

Utah music has long been influenced culturally by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The local music scene thrives. However, the musical history of Utah, and much of its current distinctiveness, is owed to secular artists. The state’s most famous musical group is The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Named after the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, the 300+ member choir is world-famous. The choir performs at least weekly at the Tabernacle for a radio program called “Music and the Spoken Word”. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was first recorded in 1910 has released more than 100 albums. Billboard Magazine declared that they were the year-end Top Charting Traditional Classical Albums artist of 2012. The choir has been awarded the National Medal of Arts, a GRAMMY Award, and even been inducted into the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.

Mike Eckhardt wishes to eventually report on the thriving music scene in Utah. His music journalism dreams can certainly come true if he can cover one of the bigger festivals for an official news outlet. Music doesn’t stand still, especially in the digital age where anyone can make music in their bedroom. Because of this, the traditional media that was once so powerful now shares its influence with blogs, web-zines, message boards, Facebook, and Twitter too. Over the past few years, music blogging has been changing as much as the music industry itself. As a whole, consumers are starting to look at music differently, and signs of this are evident on the Internet more obviously than anywhere else. Mike hopes to report on the Utah scene in order to let the whole world know the musical greatness coming from the Beehive State.