Porter & Sayles - Onward and Upward

Singer-Songwriters Christian Porter and Regina Sayles first met in 2007 after they'd been hired for a marketing campaign for the American Music Awards. Their job? To be New York City street performers for a few days. During the campaign they started chatting and were amazed to find out both were based in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Over the next several years their musical friendship grew and they joined each other frequently on local gigs.

It wasn't until last year, however, that they first collaborated together as a duo. They recorded a percussively rollicking and joyous cover of the Sheppard song Geronimo, which showed beyond any doubt how great their voices are together. The two found themselves to be a great songwriting team and over a period of six months, worked together on an album between gigs and day jobs.

Photo by William McKee - Used With Permission

Sayles, who had been a solo artist, has a strong, lovely voice that at once calls to mind freejazz Joni Mitchell as well as smooth and smoky Karen Carpenter and rocking Sheryl Crow. Porter, who first came to the music world's attention through a well reviewed 2012 stint as a contestant on The Voice, also performed in the clubs and bars of Stroudsburg and the surrounding area. Artists whose styles they both love include Sugarland, the Civil Wars, and Lady Antebellum.

Porter & Sayles' self-titled debut was released this summer and contains 13 fresh, folk/pop tunes that are emminently enjoyable. In addition to Christian and Regina, who handle vocals and guitars, they are joined by other musicians on violin, viola, organ, keyboard, cello, banjo, fiddle, and accordion. The record is frankly great and deserves attention and airplay. Standout tracks range from the spooky I'm Just Gonna Go to the bluesy More to an achingly sweet Over and a song any American bar band can relate to, Free Bird (not the Lynyrd Skynyrd ubiquitous hit, but a tongue in cheek song about people yelling for it night after night).

They will begin an October residency at Asbury Park's House of Independents backed by a 5-piece band, the first date of which is Sunday October 2. More info and ticket information can be found on the venue's website. Other dates will follow later this year. Don't miss them; great things are definitely in the cards. Keep up with them here.