|Today (9.6), Photo Finish Records announced the signing of 21-year-old, VA-based artist Colby T. Helms. Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains, Colby first dreamed of making music his life at age 12, when a group of old-time and bluegrass players performed at his father’s funeral in his hometown of Boones Mill, VA. He taught himself guitar, banjo, and mandolin by watching local performers and YouTube videos, and by age 18 he was a veteran performer in the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Mountains region alongside his band The Virginia Creepers.|
With starkly honest songwriting and a sharp angular twang to his vocals, Helms’ music strikes a dynamic balance between country storytelling, bluegrass energy, and blues power.
On September 13th, Helms will share his first taste of his raw country folk music that cuts to the bone with his debut single, “Higher Ground.” Written by Helms, the track details his experience as a touring musician – the day he turned 16, he bought a stick-shift Jeep Wrangler, and hit the road to play anywhere people would have him – experiencing big cities and missing home.
Pre-save “Higher Ground” here
“I will never forget the first YouTube video we all saw of Colby performing,” says Photo Finish COO Mike Marquis. “Within 10 seconds of hearing his voice, we could hear something very special. We have an unspoken rule at Photo Finish that we all must unanimously see the vision before partnering with an artist, and I cannot remember that ever being as enthusiastic as it was with Colby.
We quite literally chased him into his hometown, and what we discovered was not only that his talent was pure, but also that he has an incredible story, and every word and note of his music is authentic. He is a storyteller, wise beyond his years, and his commitment to his craft is unrivaled. We could not be more excited to be working together to develop his career.”
“Photo Finish Records couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with Colby,” shares Photo Finish founder/CEO Matt Galles. “After months of trying to track him down, we flew down to his hometown in Franklin County, VA in mid-December 2022 to meet him at his underground home built by his late father. We got a small glimpse into his life from hearing stories about his Dad, seeing his vast instrument collection, and learning about the local music community that raised him. Colby is an incredible, raw talent with a super unique voice - he doesn’t conform to any popular standards or trends. Colby writes and performs music that captivates the listener with his storytelling. Mike, myself and the Photo Finish team are proud to be working alongside him and are extremely excited to help him tell his story.
Dolphus Ramseur at Ramseur says “Colby T. Helms makes the past present with his handmade songs. He’s a tremendously talented musician, who knows the value of hard work and is wise beyond his years. I’m excited for the world to hear Colby, because he's living proof that you can still find something unique and unfiltered up the hollers of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
Paul Lohr, Agent/Owner at New Frontier Touring adds, “Look up the definition of ‘authentic’ in the dictionary, and you just might find Colby’s picture next to it. And while young, he writes and plays beyond his years. Oh… and he’s an Eagle Scout. ‘Nuff said.”
In the coming weeks, Helms will open for Marty Stuart at the Annapolis Songwriters Festival on Sept. 16, and will make his AmericanaFest debut in Nashville, TN. Stay tuned for more exciting news from Helms.
Helms is represented by Photo Finish Records, Ramseur, New Frontier Touring, and Shore Fire Media.
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