Long-time Cleveland record label/distributor Little Fish is launching a series of showcases called Rising Tide for newer area bands on the verge of making a splash. The first event, dubbed Rising Tide Spring Kickoff, takes place at 7 p.m. Friday March 24 at Peabody’s. It will feature Wanyama, Burning River Ramblers, Falling Into Fire, Jul, Robby Burg, the Ian Shaw Band, and B.H.B. (the Brandon Hawkins Band). It’s free.
“It’s kind of the bridge between the high school rock off and the legacy groups that are out there already established,” says Little Fish head Larry Koval whose label has been known as the go-to source for music by classic area acts like Glass Harp, Alex Bevan, First Light, Rainbow Canyon, Jonah Koslen and Wild Horses. “These are for a group in that three-to-five year window.”
It’s part of a shift for Little Fish from music sales and distribution to what Koval calls a ‘broader focus that’s more like a management mode.”
“Music sales are disappearing before my eyes,” he says. “Last year our download sales dropped 50%. Just like downloads replaced CDs, streaming is replacing downloads. So you have to take a broader involvement in everything a group is doing — booking, march, branding. We’re getting involved with bands on a one-year look-and-see basis and if it feels right, we can sign them to a longer deal.”
He credits musician Brandon Hawkins, who was the impetus behind the Cleveland Music Coalition a few years ago, with being his “right hand man” when it comes to identifying promising new acts.
Little Fish will sponsor a series of three to four such showcases at different venues in the next six months, with part of the bar proceeds from each show going to a charity. The first will benefit the Suicide Prevention Education Alliance. — Anastasia Pantsios