Music of Nevada

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For most people, the music in Nevada is probably most closely associated with the Rat Pack and lounge singers like Wayne Newton playing in Las Vegas, Reno, Carson City and other cities. However, Nevada has had several other notable and innovative musical communities.


Las Vegas is the home of a growing alternative music scene. Big Talk (Epitaph Records), Brandon Flowers (Island Records), Imagine Dragons (Interscope Records), Panic! at the Disco (Decaydance Records), The Cab (Universal Republic Records), and The Killers (Island Records) all originated in Las Vegas.[1][2][3] The Killers and Imagine Dragons were headliners for the inaugural Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas (2013).[4]

The Killers have released four consecutive #1 albums on the UK charts and sold more than 25 million records, making them the all-time best-selling group from Nevada. Brandon Flowers (lead singer of the band) released a solo album which also reached #1 on the UK charts in 2010.

Imagine Dragons' debut album Night Visions sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. Single "Radioactive" is the best-selling rock digital song in the history of SoundScan and was both the "Top Rock Song of 2013" and the "Top Alternative Song of 2013" according to Billboard.

Bassist Branden Campbell (of Neon Trees) grew up in Las Vegas. Singer Aja Volkman (of Nico Vega) resides in Las Vegas with her native husband.

Brumby are an upcoming group with Las Vegas roots.[5]

Alt country[edit]

Several alt country bands including The Clydesdale and the The Yeller Bellies, both of whom have released multiple albums each, are a part of the Las Vegas music scene.[6][7]


NBC's America's Got Talent winner Michael Grimm is a Las Vegas resident who regularly performs in the valley.


The city of Elko, Nevada is an important center for cowboy music and poetry. In 1985, Hal Cannon, director of the Western Folklife Center, founded the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which has since spread across the country; Elko is also home to the Cowboy Music Gathering. Las Vegas' music scene includes a number of country and cowboy-themed hotel shows, many of them featuring big stars like Reba McEntire, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton.[8]


David Hopkins, a singer-songwriter from Ireland, relocated to Las Vegas where he released a 2010 album featuring Damien Rice and Laura Jansen.[9] His recordings have landed on the Irish singles top 40 chart and Las Vegas Weekly dubbed him "an Ace singer-songwriter".

Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) grew up in Las Vegas and featured on the debut solo album of Brandon Flowers.

Garage rock[edit]

Several garage acts have gained notoriety in Las Vegas. The Mad Caps mix blues and rockabilly with garage rock, while Rob Bell of The Yeller Bellies mixes country with garage rock in his project known as The Psyatics [10]

Hard rock[edit]

Otherwise charted on the Billboard 200, and blend hard rock and alternative rock. They charted on the Hot Rock Songs chart with "Soldiers".

Formed in early 2012, Crazy Chief premiered their first show during Las Vegas' Neon Reverb festival in September 2012. Crazy Chief's Jesse and Roxie Amoroso are the owners of Cowtown Guitars, a vintage guitar store in downtown Las Vegas, and singer Drew Johnson also fronts a Doors cover band in Las Vegas known as Mojo Rising.[11][12]


As a result of the downtown Las Vegas restoration that began in 2006, mainly that of the Fremont East district, which spurred the opening of several new bars and clubs, a new music scene began sprouting up in Las Vegas. With the support of local press, independent musical artists such as the bands Black Camaro, The Big Friendly Corporation, Halloween Town, and A Crowd of Small Adventures grew large fan bases quickly in Las Vegas.[13][14][15]

The Las Vegas indie music community would soon form its own music festival to parallel that of the SXSW festival in Austin, TX. Founded by Thirry Harlin, James Woodbridge, and Jason Aragon, the music festival, known as Neon Reverb, which consisted of both national and local indie acts, experimented with genres such as Hip-Hop and punk rock as well as other culture related segments such as film and visual art that compliment the music portion of the festival.[16][17] The festival has grown to include a radio segment of the same name, founded by Donald Hickey and The Killers bassist, Mark Stoermer that broadcasts from 91.5 KUNV in Las Vegas.[18][19]

As a result of the continuing revitalization of downtown Las Vegas, a second wave of indie acts have grown prominent in the local music scene. In December 2011, songwriter Zach Ryan premiered his new band Zach Ryan and the Rouge, which has since been renamed Zach Ryan and the Renegades. Other second wave Las Vegas Indie acts include Restless Suns, and Alaska, who both arrived in 2012.[20][21] In October 2012, Las Vegas based band Bear With Me finished tracking an EP at Chrome Werewolf, a Las Vegas studio opened in 2011 by Black Camaro's Brian Garth. The EP marks Bear With Me's second release and features the song I Am a Fiesta.[22]


In December 2012 Trevor and The Joneses self-released There Was Lightning, their first LP. The band formed in early 2012, has performed over 50 shows, and has shared the stage with acts such as The Warlocks.[23][24][25] The band was the last to record in Brian Garth's now defunct studio Chrome Werewolf in downtown Las Vegas.[26]

Punk rock[edit]

Las Vegas is home to notable punk and hardcore bands such as Civic Minded Five (Recess Records), The Mapes (Recess Records), Caravels (Topshelf Records), Last Call (Broken Arrow Collective), Stolas (Blue Swan Records) and The Dirty Panties and The People's Whiskey (SquidHat Records)[citation needed].

Punks in Vegas[edit] is a website founded by Steven Matview in 2011.[27] The website publishes news, concert photographs and album reviews relating to punk rock, hardcore punk, ska, emo and indie rock with a specific emphasis on bands from or playing in the Las Vegas and Henderson area. The website began as a simple database of punk shows coming to the Las Vegas area and quickly expanded to include original content, most notably a series of acoustic videos called The Stripped Down Sessions.[28] The Stripped Down Session have featured such notable acts as Less Than Jake, The Bouncing Souls and Dead to Me playing acoustic versions of their songs, often debuting songs for the first time through the Sessions.[29] In late 2011 the website released their first music compilation, featuring new, acoustic holiday-themed songs from Forever Came Calling, Last Call and The Sheds.[30] More recently, has begun re-releasing out of print punk and hardcore albums digitally under the Vegas Archive banner.[31]

Producers In/From Nevada[edit]

  • Ron Aniello (Lifehouse, Jars of Clay, Bruce Springsteen) - Grammy Award nominee
  • Kevin Churko (Five Finger Death Punch, Hinder, Ozzy Osbourne) - Grammy Award nominee
  • Chris Cox (Cher, Hannah Montana) - Grammy Award nominee
  • Mark Stoermer (Howling Bells, The Killers) - Grammy Award nominee
  • Bjorn Thorsrud (Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan, The Dandy Warhols)

Major Label Artists (signed from Nevada)[edit]


Solo Acts[edit]

Nevada music venues[edit]

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts[edit]

In 2012, Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a $470 million facility opened. The center is free of slots and gambling. Instead, it features fine arts productions including symphonies, Broadway performances, and international talents.[33] It is also the home of the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra and Nevada Ballet Theatre.[34]

Other venues[edit]

Music Festivals[edit]

Recording Studios[edit]


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  7. ^ "The Yeller Bellies release follow up to debut: "Here to Suffer"". No Depression. 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  8. ^ Byron, pgs. 146 - 149
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  10. ^ "Psyatics' verve: rough and rumble". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  11. ^ "Neon Reverb report: Crazy Chief's live debut". Las Vegas Weekly. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  12. ^ "Local band upstages headliner: Neon Reverb, Sept. 12, Beauty Bar". Las Vegas CityLife. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
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  17. ^ "Las Vegas guide to Neon Reverb". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  18. ^ "Las Vegas Arts and Culture: Neon Reverb Radio LIVE on KUNV". LV Arts and Culture. 2010-04-08. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  19. ^ "Music: Radio Reverb". Desert Companion. 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  20. ^ "Getting personal: Zach Ryan, new band in tow, gets to the heart of the matter -- his heart". Las Vegas CityLife. 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  21. ^ "New bands worth scouting on the local music scene". Las Vegas Weekly. 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
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  23. ^ "Concert review: Trevor and the Joneses". Vegas Seven. 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
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  26. ^ "Trevor And The Joneses end Chrome Werewolf studio's run on a high note". Las Vegas Weekly. 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  27. ^ "The ePunk era: Punks in Vegas has put a national spotlight on local acts". Citylife. 2013-05-31. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  28. ^ "Blooger Spotlight: Steven Matview". haulix. 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  29. ^ "Videos: Dead to Me: "The Monarch Hotel" (acoustic)". PunkNews. 2013-09-08. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  30. ^ "Punks in Vegas Holiday Compilation". AbsolutePunk. 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  31. ^ " to reissue iconic local hardcore music". Las Vegas Sun. 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
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  33. ^ "No slots or showgirls at new Vegas culture megacenter". USA Today Travel. 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  34. ^ "History". The Las Vegas Philharmonic. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
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  • Blush, Steven (2001). American Hardcore: A Tribal History. Feral House. ISBN 0-922915-71-7. 
  • Byron, Janet (1996). Country Music Lover's Guide to the U.S.A. (1st ed. ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-14300-1.