One of the most exciting things about attending a music festival is discovering new artists. That take away feeling of musical rejuvenation is what live music is really all about. This year’s LOCKN’ may have one of the most diverse line-ups to date, and we feel it’s important to provide you with the necessary ear candy to get you fired up and prepared for this summer’s festivities.

1. Phish – Junta (1989)

Since 1983 at the University of Vermont, Phish has been producing music that is unlike anything else in the world. Blending various genres with musical improvisation and extended jamming, Phish has gained a loyal and committed following — with good reason. If you’re not a fan, put all your biases aside. Phish’s first official studio release, Junta, is the definitive entry into the world of Phish. By bringing together genres of jazz, funk, bluegrass, reggae, and soul, Junta will show you the many faces of this magical band. LOCKN’ is lucky to rage it with Phish for two nights on Friday and Sunday!

2. Ween – The Mollusk (1997)

There’s no denying that Ween is one of the most tongue-in-cheek bands out there, but that approach to music and songwriting is what makes Ween, Ween. This 14-track album was released in 1997, and like any great album, should be listened to from start to finish. If you’re new to Ween, you can’t go wrong with The Mollusk. We’re sure their Thursday headlining set will have you coming right back for their Friday night jams!

3. My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall (2015)

Since forming in Kentucky in 1998, My Morning Jacket’s signature blending of rock, country, soul, and psychedelia, have gained them popularity all around the world. Released in 2015, The Waterfall is one of MMJ’s finest works to date. Debuting on the Billboard 200 list at #11, the album was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at The Grammys, and showcases a bold, and ambitious progression since their studio debut, The Tennessee Fire. This album will definitely get you excited for a rockin’ Saturday night with MMJ.

4. White Denim – Stiff (2016)

Hailing from Austin, Texas, White Denim is a four-piece American rock band who produce experimental rock music with lighting fast guitar solos and gut-busting drum beats. Over the last decade, White Denim has released several albums, but their latest album, Stiff, was recently released just in time for this year’s LOCKN’. With nine catchy tracks, you’ll want to play this over and over again until they take the stage on Friday afternoon.

5. Vulfpeck – Thrill of The Arts (2015)

It’s hard to believe that with such a devoted following, Vulfpeck formed only a few years ago in 2011. With four EP releases, their first full-length album, Thrill of The Arts, will have you dancing like a funky duck from start to finish. Make sure to see them grandly open LOCKN’ on Thursday, then catch them again on Friday afternoon.

6. Umphrey’s McGee – Anchor Drops (2004)

Anchor Drops is Umphrey’s McGee’s third studio album, released on June 29, 2004. Umphrey’s McGee is a major influence in the jam scene, blending funk, heavy metal, rock, blues, and jazz, to create their distinctive sound. Blurring the lines between a prog-rock band and a jamband, Umphrey’s McGee’s musical complexity and virtuosity never ceases to blow audiences away. This album will get you ready for a real rock show on Thursday night at LOCKN’.

7. Charles Bradley – Victim of Love (2013)

The soul singer’s second album, Victim of Love, finds him channeling the sound of 1970s greats like Al Green and Curtis Mayfield.  Charles Bradley is living proof that dreams do come true. Bradley, dubbed The Screaming Eagle of Soul, went through countless hardships in life before finally catching his first big break at age 62. When Bradley let his wings fly, you’ll feel a lifetime of emotions pouring out of him with every note. This album is a must-listen to get you prepared for feel-good times at LOCKN’.

8. Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Big Moon Ritual (2012)

The music of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood comes to fruition in this incredible studio debut, Big Moon Ritual. In this impressive release, CRB charmingly lets the songs unfold in an organic and natural way, revealing that under each jam, there’s exceptional songwriting and musical craftsmanship. Big Moon Ritual is an absolute joy to listen to!

9. Khruangbin – The Universe Smiles Upon You (2015)

This debut album is comprised of bass heavy, psychedelic sounds, and a touch of surf-rock cool. Khruangbin’s inspiration from 1960s Thai music had a heavy impact on the direction of this incredible album, which pairs perfectly with the culmination of their exotic, individual sound. The Universe Smiles Upon You is one of the catchiest, soothing, soul searching, slow-mo funk albums you’ll ever listen to.  Your ears will thank you and we guarantee that you will not want to miss Khruangbin in The Wood late-night at LOCKN’!

10. Galactic – Coolin Off (1996)

What’s most impressive about Galactic’s debut studio album is how clearly they establish themselves as a New Orleans funk band without exploiting the styles of The Meters or traditional NOLA brass bands. Galactic generates a sound that draws on the emerging acid jazz scene, swamp grooves, and classic 70s funk, that can only be defined as a unique sound of their own. Coolin’ Off is a masterpiece of tight, jazz-influenced funk.

11. Tedeschi Trucks Band – Let Me Get By (2016)

What will surely be remembered as some of their best work, Let Me Get By features music that together stands as a testament to the hard work, independent spirit, and full-on commitment of the entire Tedeschi Trucks Band. Featuring 10 brand new, soulful, and all-original songs, this album will envelope you like a big hug from an old friend.

12. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus (1977)

In 1963, the Wailers joined Bob Marley to form Bob Marley and the Wailers, and together, they released 13 albums. On December 3, 1977 they released their ninth studio album, Exodus. Exodus is described as one of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ best albums, full of reggae vibes that will bring you to a place of peace and harmony. Crank up the tunes, and get ready for good vibes and musical sunshine with The Wailers at LOCKN’.

13. Twiddle – Somewhere on the Mountain (2011)

Forming at Castleton State University in Vermont, Twiddle began their touring career in 2005 — playing in small venues and local clubs. Today, Twiddle is currently crushing the scene, selling out shows at renowned venues all across the country. Their 2011, release, Somewhere On The Mountain, is said by fans to be one of their most complex albums. With fantastic lyrics, compositional  intricacies, and melodic waves, this album will bring you to atmospheric places. Give it a listen through before they jam out on both Saturday and Sunday at LOCKN’!

14. Moon Taxi – Cabaret (2012)

Hailing from Nashville, five-piece outfit, Moon Taxi, have gained a dedicated fanbase by blowing away fans at festivals across the country like Coachella, Firefly, and Bonnaroo. Their 2012 album, Cabaret, features their signature soaring guitar solos, excellent vocals, and heartfelt lyrics. Featuring electronic influences as well as folk and hip-hop inspirations, Cabaret allows the listener to experience Moon Taxi’s highly original sound. This ever-growing band’s Saturday morning set at LOCKN’ will get you up and dancing hard.

15. Hard Working Americans – Rest In Chaos (2016)

Hard Working Americans is a six-piece band featuring Todd Snider, Dave Schools, Neal Casal, Chad Staehly, Duane Trucks, and Jesse Aycock. Together, they blend their talents to create an unstoppable Americana sound. The band, featuring Duane trucks, Neal Casal, Todd Schneider, Chad Staehly, Dave Schools, and Jesse Aycock, recently released Rest in Chaos, on May 13, 2016. In contrast to their first album, Rest in Chaos consists of all original tracks written by members of the band and guest artists. Full of detailed musical textures, this 13-track album was written and recorded live while the band was on tour. Rock out to this album in preparation for LOCKN’!

16. Turkuaz – Digitonium (2015)

This nine-piece Brooklyn, New York power funk band have the power to destroy the dance floor with hard-hitting grooves. Turkuaz’s live performances combine choreographed dancing with killer musicianship, costumes, and supreme energy, leaving audiences begging for more. Michelangelo Carruba of Turkuaz explained this album perfectly in an interview in 2015, describing Digitonium as, “If Peter Gabriel made an album with The Beatles in the 80s and it was produced by Dr. Dre.”

17. Gary Clark Jr. – Blak and Blu (2012)

Peaking at #6 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and #1 on the Blues Albums chart, Blak and Blu gained Clark his first two Grammy Award nominations. Clark was nominated for Best Rock Song for “Ain’t Messin Round,” and Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Please Come Home,” which he won. Called the “Best Young Gun” by Rolling Stone magazine, Gary Clark Jr. is indeed a sharp shooter with a powerful axe – always aiming for complete mind obliteration. Featuring Clark’s technical guitar playing, and inspiring vocals, this album is a great introduction to his music, and will get you in the spirit for his Sunday night LOCKN’ performance.

18. Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter (2015)

If you’re in the mood for soulful folk-rock grooves, Brandi Carlile’s The Firewatcher’s Daughter is for you. Brandi Carlile’s music has been categorized as folk, pop, rock, and alternative country. With that being said, Carlile also somehow manages to keep her country roots firmly planted. Released in 2015, The Firewatcher’s Daughter features 12 outstanding tracks, and gained Carlile a Grammy Nomination. Make sure you brush up on her beautiful music before seeing her take the stage on Saturday at this year’s LOCKN’.

19. Circles Around The Sun – Interludes for the Dead (2015)

Described by fans as a two-hour guitar joy ride, Circles Around the Sun’s Interludes for the Dead is captivating to say the least. Circles Around The Sun, a band formed by Neal Casal to provide the intermission music to the Grateful Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” concerts, recorded their first and only album over a two day jam session. The album was released in 2015 after their free-wheeling music received immense positive feedback from fans that summer. If you’re in the mood for atmospheric jams that will fill your head with soothing sounds and remind you of the Grateful Dead, this album is for you. With songs like “Farewell Franklins,” “Space Wheel,” and “Kasey’s Bones,” you’ll have no trouble letting Grateful Dead inspiration move you brightly at LOCKN’.

20. Lettuce – Rage (2008)

Returning to the LOCKN’ this year is one of the finest funk bands on the scene, Lettuce. With James Brown inspired grooves, pounding beats, and guitar solos galore, Lettuce’s second studio album Rage, will get your head bopping and your feet moving. These masters of their craft dig deep into their funky roots, while creating uniquely new music that will have you getting down to the ground! Listen to this while you get excited to blast off to rage land with Lettuce at LOCKN’!
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