By Stacy Keith
When Lubbock received its Texas Music Friendly Community certification in 2020, the committee began working to fill niches in Lubbock’s rich music culture and industry. One of the areas the team felt could be impactful was the professional development for music students and young professional musicians. Specifically, in the areas of business development and industry knowledge to encourage them to pursue their dreams. The team also wanted to be sure this important community within Lubbock’s music industry felt supported enough to stay here and reach for their dreams without moving outside of the “Hub City.”
To reach these goals, the committee first wanted to establish a festival that would not only provide great entertainment, but also offer top-tier educational opportunities. For the inaugural event, the team has invited Aimee Nolte and Taylor Roberts to be the featured artists.
Aimee Nolte, a Weaverville, California native, currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. She holds a music degree with a jazz emphasis from Brigham Young University and is the proud mom of four children. Nolte has a long and prestigious music career beginning at the age of five – and has even been compared to Joni Mitchell by a review in Downbeat magazine.
Nolte loves to write songs as well as perform vocals, and is a talented pianist and educator. She credits her success and talent to her mom for pushing her to enter contests when she was young. Nolte believes life offers us all seasons and there are heavier seasons of writing than others. Songs become an expression of emotion and allows something beautiful to result from a life experience which may be hard or sad.
Being a mom is her favorite title. As time consuming as it is, she has found it challenging to perform with a growing family. In search of a solution, in 2016 her friend Rick Beato suggested she create a YouTube channel where she could consistently upload videos. He felt she had something special to share. His advice was to post one video per day to develop a following. Ready to take on something new, she enjoyed teaching and began posting consistently. Nolte admits it was a lot of hard work to attract followers who would subscribe to her channel. However, she has been extremely successful and much of that is due to not only her talent, but also her work ethic.
Nolte has also been active in the Facebook community. In 2014 she joined a group called “Jam of the Week”, which allowed performers to post a song to get honest feedback from others for their improvement. Nolte met another performer through this group named Taylor Roberts. Roberts, a guitarist from Jacksonville, FL, also posted often and they began to sense complimentary musical vision.
Nolte invited him to attend the Hilton Head Jazz Camp where she was a featured educator. They have been friends and collaborators ever since. Now, Roberts performs at the jazz camp each year. Roberts will join Nolte in Lubbock to perform with her at the Cactus Theater. In their collaborations, they do step outside the jazz world. On Robert’s album, A Day in the Life, he features classis hits such as “Billy Jean” and “What a Wonderful World”.
Jazz is Nolte’s first love due to the spontaneity the music lends to the performer, allowing for great solos and expression. She loves the classics, and on her 2020 Lighten Up performance her arrangements include the greats such as “Brandy” and “Moon River.” Nolte performs at numerous festivals around the United States such as: Fullerton College Jazz Festival, University of Mary Jazz Festival, NMU Jazz Festival, and Hilton Head Jazz Camp. She is often a clinician, featured artist or performer.
An easy spirit, it’s evident that Nolte is a joy to collaborate with and she does so often. On her 2019 “Looking For The Answers” album she performed with John Clayton. That performance can be seen here. Other duets that can also be viewed on her YouTube channel include Jacob Collier, Nicki Parrott, Rosanna Eckert and Tony Dumas. Independent and talented, the Lubbock Music Friendly Community team couldn’t ask for a more fitting duo to launch the new Buffalo Grass Fest: Fostering Musical Growth. Not only will Nolte and Roberts perform, but they will field questions about their music careers and offer insight as independent artists.
Tickets may be purchased through the Cactus Theater’s box office at cactustheater.com. Nolte and Roberts both have much music available to enjoy and each have a website. They can be found at https://www.aimeenolte.com/ (Aimee Nolte) and https://www.tr7guitar.com/home (Taylor Roberts).