8 Southern Arizona Musicians to Look Out For

Southern Arizona is home to plenty of cacti, wildlife, and ravaging sunsets. It is also home to a vibrant music scene. Though the region encompasses some large cities such as Phoenix and Tucson, the "hometown" vibe is strong in this music community. Musicians support one another and cheer each other on. Opportunities like the Tucson Folk Festival, Country Thunder, Gem and Jam Festival, Arizona Roots Festival, and the Arizona State Fair offer a wide range of live music for all.

Having started my music career in the Tucson area, I was blessed to see the Southern Arizona scene blossom and grow over the years. I have shared the stage with many talented artists and am excited to acquaint you with a few I am familiar with, as well as some newer artists I have yet to meet in person.

Without further ado (and in no particular order), here is my go-to list of 8 Southern Arizona Musicians to Look Out For:

1. Steff and The Articles

"Alternative pop from the desert." Steff and The Articles have been around for quite some time now. Having formed back in 2009, I remember playing one of my very first shows alongside this band down in a U of A student lounge. To keep a local band together for this long is quite a feat, and some of the members have been around for years!

Their lineup is unique. While Steff leads the group with stellar vocals and piano chops, the group also features multiple violinists alongside the bass, guitar, and drums. The group "touches on jazz, classical, and folk styles while maintaining an accessible, pop-oriented sound. They’ve opened up for national acts such as A Great Big World and Copeland (whose record Ixora features Steff)."

In 2017, Steff and The Articles released their full-length album, Timekeeper (check it out below). They also just celebrated their 10th anniversary at the beginning of this year. Congrats!

Side Note: If you are looking into piano lessons for yourself or a family member, check out lead singer/pianist Steff Koeppen's online option!

Follow Steff and The Articles:

Facebook: @steffandthearticles

Instagram: @steffandthearticles

Website: steffandthearticles.com

Twitter: @SteffArticles

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/steffandthearticles/

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2. Sophia Rankin

With a unique, folky sound and a mature voice that speaks levels above this artist's current age, Sophia Rankin continues to bring joy to the Tucson area. A pianist, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, Rankin has spent her most recent years at the University of Arizona, securing a degree in Music Integrated Studies. She has received multiple awards for her original music.

"Rankin’s music style is an Americana-like blend of folk, rock, and pop [...] With a collaborative mix of genres and a strong foundation in folk roots, Rankin’s band provides a unique blend of folk rock and alternative sounds to their original music."

Sophia's next performance is scheduled for Friday, August 14, 2020 at Desert Southwest Open Mic:

Follow Sophia Rankin:

Website: sophiarankin.com

Facebook: @sophiarankinmusic

Twitter: @SophiaRankin_

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsLTIFuMlF0euquu_F5e37A

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3. Desert Fish

I remember playing at Tucson's "The Rock," alongside Desert Fish, when their band was newer to the local scene. I dig their atmosphere and rock reggae vibes! They blend multiple genres in a fun, unique way.

Photo by @ladyhush_

One of my personal favorite things about Desert Fish is their professional, standout logo. A good logo can really differentiate newer bands from more established ones, and a logo like Desert Fish's makes for some great merchandise. They often have this logo displayed behind them while playing live shows and I truly believe that this helps them be more memorable in the minds of audience members. Check out how the "D" and "F" are blended into a reggae fish design; way cool!

Desert Fish paves the way for an entirely new genre that they dub "desert reggae." They "blend together reggae, rock, and heavy harmonies." About their name, the band says: "Our band name originates from the idea that we were born and raised in the desert and want nothing more than to live by the ocean where we can thrive, hence we are all just Desert Fish." Amen to that!

Some of Desert Fish's musical influences include Sublime, 311, and Dirty Heads. Check out their tunes and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Band Members:

Dillon Abell: Guitar/Bass/ Vocals

Nick Balta: Ukulele/ Vocals

Jon Havenhill: Drums

Austin Land: Guitar/ Vocals

Follow Desert Fish:

Facebook: @desertfishbowl