Music of Utah

Music of Utah
Music of the United States
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Utah music has long been influenced culturally by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The local music scene thrives in clubs. However, the musical history of Utah, and much of its current distinctiveness, is owed to secular artists.


Contemporary Utah music scene

Utah has produced some popular recording artists since 2000. It has a thriving local music scene some nationally recognized bands. Most are based in Provo and Salt Lake City, and perform at venues like Velour Live Music Gallery, Kilby Court, Urban Lounge, and Muse Music. Notable bands include Fictionist, Kid Theodore, Imagine Dragons, Goodnight Annabelle, and The Brobecks, whose frontman Dallon Weekes now performs with Panic! At The Disco. Many genres are represented, including rock, indie folk, emo, synthpop, singer-songwriter, death metal, blues, punk rock, goth, alternative rock, hip hop, jazz, country and religious music.

Rock groups

Several popular bands have roots in Utah. Post-hardcore band The Used was formed in Orem in 2001. Currently signed to Warner Music Group-owned Reprise Records they have released two gold-certified albums in the United States.

The post-punk band Neon Trees is from Provo. In 2010, their single, "Animal," rose to number one on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. They occasionally make appearances at the venue where they first amassed a following, Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo They are currently signed to Mercury Records,

The increasingly popular indie rock performers, sisters Meg and Dia Frampton, formed their band Meg & Dia in Draper and until recently were signed to Warner Music Group-owned label, Doghouse Records.

Royal Bliss, from Salt Lake City signed with Capitol Records in 2007 and has enjoyed national recognition and touring success.

Fictionist, from Provo was signed with Atlantic Records in 2011 and will soon be going on tour.

Folk and pop

Newgrass artists Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand [1] had a country music hit single in 2005, "Dream Big."

Provo based folk singer/songwriter Joshua James had moderate success in 2007 when his album The Sun is Always Brighter reached number one on the iTunes Folk Album chart.

Recently, Isaac Russell left his deal with Utah based Northplatte Records to sign with Columbia Records. He is also from Provo.


Salt Lake City has also been the home of several underground extreme metal music bands. One interesting act is Progressive act Katagory V who are still relatively unknown in their hometown of Salt Lake City but have had considerable success nationally. Katagory V has released four albums and signed with Nightmare Records in the U.S. and later with Burning Star Records in Europe. They appeared at some notable heavy metal festivals in the U.S. including the ProgPower USA festival in Atlanta, Georgia.

Another considerably big band to come out of Salt Lake City, Utah, is Chelsea Grin, who have 2 albums and an EP

Folk music

Folk music constituted some of the earliest white/euramerican music in modern Utah. These songs, simple and easy to remember, were usually sung without accompaniment because of the scarcity of musical instruments in territorial Utah. Although they often employed the same tunes as folk music elsewhere, Mormon folk is distinctively Utahn. The songs often include unique pioneer-era Mormon culture references such as crossing the plains, Mormon ecclesiastical leaders, and LDS religious convictions.

A cappella

Utah has a flourishing a cappella music scene. Some groups include Voice Male, InsideOut, Octappella, Eclipse, The Standards, T Minus 5, 6th Gear, Moosebutter and BYU's Vocal Point.

Religious music

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 innumerable albums.

The Utah Saints' song Something Good added an uncharacteristically ecstatic experience to Utah religious music in 1992[2] and the 2008 remix topped the UK dance charts.[3]

Utah music events

The Ogden Music Festival, 3-day outdoor festival featuring bluegrass, blues, folk & rockabilly is held the first weekend in June at Ogden's Fort Buenaventura with on-site camping. The Park City & SLC Music Festival and Autumn Classics Music Festival,[4] formerly the Deer Valley Music Festival, the Park City International Music Festival and Autumn Classics Music Festival, is held in Park City and Salt Lake City. These are projects of the Park City Chamber Music Society (PCCMS). PCCMS founded the original Deer Valley Music Festival and the name was changed to Park City International Music Festival after a number of years.[5] After two years, Russell Harlow joined the Park City Festival as co-director. When the Utah Symphony started its own Deer Valley Festival in Park City, the Park City Chamber Music Society divided its Park City International Music Festival into two separate festivals and added concerts in the Salt Lake City area. Utah's oldest classical music festival, the Park City &SLC Music Festival is well-known for its chamber music concerts.

The Park City Film Music Festival [6]

The Utah Symphony [7] was founded in 1940 by Maurice Abravanel and performs at Abravanel Hall, a modern concert hall in downtown Salt Lake City. The symphony merged in 2002 with the Utah Opera Company,[8] which was organized in 1978. These organizations were the largest arts organizations in the state. Some opera and orchestra aficionados claimed that combined production quality would decline. There were questions about the wishes of the symphony's late founder. However, critical response to the merger has been good.

The Utah Valley Symphony[9] is a community orchestra organized in Utah County, Utah in 1959.

Notable musicians from Utah

Osmonds, Donny [10] and Marie Osmond[11] and other members of the Osmond family hail from Ogden, Utah. In the 1970s they rose to prominence and Donny became a teen idol.

The Deseret String Band [12] formed in 1972 has performed across the world. They play a mixture of old-time music, Utah pioneer songs and Celtic music.

Rock band The Used was formed in Provo, Utah.

In 2007, David Archuleta rose to the national spotlight as a major contestant in the seventh season of American Idol.

Dallon Weekes, bassist/keys for multi-platinum rock band Panic! at the Disco and singer/songwriter for indie band The Brobecks

Record labels

Although no major record labels are based in Utah, there are several small independent labels, such as Northplatte Records, Differential,[13] ExUmbrella,[14] Lincoln Street Sound/Handsome Rob Records, Rest 30,[15] and Sound vs. Silence.[16] The End Records is an independent metal and rock label that has signed some avant-garde and experimental groups. It was formed in Pasadena, CA and relocated to Salt Lake City and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.

The ISOMIKE label, which produces SACD (Super Audio) recordings, primarily of classical and jazz artists, is based in Utah and is produced by Ray Kimber.

Matchless Records is a fast-growing record label based in Utah [17] It has a management division called Monolith Management, with approximately 100 local and international bands signed. [18].

The second-largest Utah publisher of local heavy rock music is HGR (Heavy Guitar Rock) Records [19].

Smaller heavy rock labels are Full Metal Distro (hardcore & death), Exigent (mostly death) and Retrospect (metalcore & 80's glam reissues).


Northern Utah

Notable venues in the Salt Lake Area include:

  • Club Vegas - 445S 400W, SLC
  • The Dawg Pound - 3550 S State St., SLC
  • The Depot – 400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
  • The Complex – 536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City
  • The Rail Event Center – 235 N. 500 West, Salt Lake City
  • The Great Saltair – 12408 W. Saltair Drive, Magna
  • In The Venue (formerly known as "Bricks") – 219 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City
  • Club Sound – 579 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City
  • Kilby Court – 741 S. Kilby Court (330 West), Salt Lake City
  • Murray Theater – 4961 S. State Street, Murray
  • Avalon Theater – 3605 S. State Street, Salt Lake City

Notable venues in the Ogden Area include:

  • The Basement – 329 24th Street, Ogden
  • The Storm Cellar (inside Uncommon Grounds) – 136 25th Street, Ogden
  • Though other all-ages music venues in the Ogden Area do exist, they are not considered "notable".

Notable venues in the Provo Area include:

  • A. Beuford Giffords Libation Emporium - 190 W. Center St. Provo
  • Velour Live Music Gallery – 135 N. University Avenue, Provo
  • Muse Music – 151 N. University Avenue, Provo
  • The Death Star – 145 N. University Avenue, Provo
  • The Grove Theatre - 20 S. Main Street, Pleasant Grove

Southern Utah

Because of a quickly growing population in Southern Utah,[20] local venues with regular performances are increasing. These include The Electric Theater, Sand Hollow Resort in Hurricane Utah, Jazzy Java cafe, The Firehouse Bar, the St. George Elks Lodge, and the Avenna Center on the campus of Dixie State College in St. George, Kayenta in Ivins, Utah and The Grind Coffee House and Mike's Tavern in Cedar City.[21] The Southern Utah Songwriter's Association was founded recently and has released several CDs of local performers [22] as well as sponsoring open mic nights and songwriter competitions.

See also


External links

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