One of the regrets I’ve had in my years of broadcasting is coming across bands/artists that deserve much larger stages than they ended up having in their career. Bands that in all honesty should have gotten that big record deal or number one record. There’s a variety of reasons why it didn’t happen (or in the case of the last one I’ll mention, hasn’t happened yet) but it still pains me when I have one of their songs pop up on the MP3 player and I think about what SHOULD have been.
The first is from my days in Christian pop/rock radio in the late 90s. There was a band of five kids (at least, they were kids to me) out of Minnesota who called themselves Clear. They were, for lack of a better description, an acoustic driven pop rock group. The quartet consisted of Alison Ogren, Matt Berry, Nate Larson, Pete Sanders and David Caton. They had a unique sound and carried strong messages in their lyrics; best of all they were honest-to-God decent people.
I supported the living crud out of them as much as I could because I thought they had a sound that needed to be heard.
They were on an indie label from Memphis called Ardent Records. (You may not know the label by name, but the star pop metal band Skillet also started on Ardent around the same time as Clear.)
Why didn’t they become bigger stars? Well, I’ll be nice and say some inside baseball among some program directors who wanted to dictate to labels what should be was part of it. There was the stress and struggles of a young band trying to make it on the road with little money and constant expenses. I remember when Matt called me to say the band was splitting up…I was very disappointed but wasn’t surprised. They didn’t have the backing needed from a big label to break through. It’s not really Ardent’s fault…they did what they could do with what they had at the time.
Still, Clear deserved better. I still listen to their records all the time.
Where are they now? Last I heard Matt was a worship leader at a mega-church in Minnesota. Alison is still making music, married to a guy and living in Minnesota. No idea what the other three are doing. Kind of lost touch with all of them. 🙁
The second and third bands were out of Springfield, Missouri and they’re connected in that the second of the two bands rose from the ashes of the first.
The first was a band called One Star Story. Another 5-piece: Vanessa Rose, Geno Valloni, Bryant Babbitt, Will Vastine and Zack Person.
(Tears Behind a Smile is one of my favorite bands.)
I met these guys through another Christian radio station I was working for in the 2000s. At one point, I was pretty good friends with a few of them but like Clear I have little contact with them now. I see Bryant around Facebook sometimes (and get the occasional PS4 Fortnite invite from him) but that’s it. The band split for a variety of reasons, mostly “musical differences”, but out of the ashes came another band that was in my view a little stronger overall than OSS: Storyline.
Storyline started to get some national attention. One of their songs was being used as the theme for a national TV show. Geno, Bryant and Zach from OSS anchored the group which endured lineup and lead vocalist changes before coming to a close. As you can hear from the video of “What You Do To Me” they had the goods.
Every time the song comes up in my music mix it just makes me wonder why they didn’t get their due.
The last artist is still out there making it happen and for the life of me I cannot understand why she is not a big star. Jasmine Cain.
I have never seen Jasmine put on a bad show.
This woman outworks just about every band/artist I’ve met during my career and she flat. out. rocks.
Her original material is just as strong…if not stronger…than 90% of the stuff you hear on rock radio today. She has songs that when I listen to them I want to go to every rock programmer in the country and hit them with an oversized meat tenderizing hammer for not adding her stuff to their playlist. There’s no reason I can think of…other than Jasmine doesn’t take any crap and does things her way…that she’s not a national name.
She should be.
I mean…seriously…listen to this!
I’m still pushing and promoting her all I can do but I don’t have a platform any longer to really get her name out there. But if you love rock and roll, you seriously need to check her out.
She’s working on a new album so I’m praying this is the one that gets her the attention she more than deserves.