Check out these new releases from Alaska musicians and bands

We are almost truly feeling spring in Southcentral, and there’s nothing better to celebrate a new Alaska season than new Alaska music. This has already been a fertile 2024, with some outstanding releases and plenty more coming soon. Here’s a look at some of the best of the year up to this point and a few that dip back into 2023.

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Josh Fortenbery

Juneau’s Josh Fortenbery has evolved into one of the state’s most formidable songwriters, as evidenced in his newly released album “No Such Thing as Forever.” The album delivers a lush country-bluegrass sound and sharp lyricism, from the starkly reflective ”Heirlooms” to “Sewing the Same Seam,” a toe-tapper that thematically threads inertia and aspiration.

Saucy Yoda

Melodie Langer, aka Saucy Yoda, dropped “Who They Are” last month. In typical Saucy style, the album is full of pop fun, frivolity and cutting commentary, including from “Pickles,” a song about the service industry: “Forget you with your wants and your needs, I don’t have time to walk the line for more Parmesan cheese.”

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Hilary Gardner

Gardner is based in New York but grew up in Wasilla. Her new release “On the Trail with the Lonesome Pines” sits at the crossroads of jazz, country and swing. Gardner’s velvet voice makes the trail less bumpy as she guides the listener through a selection of prewar ballads and cowboy songs.

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The Forest That Never Sleeps

The Forest That Never Sleeps, the solo project by Anchorage musical dynamo Kat Moore, recently released “T.O.I.L.” The 10-song album was recorded nearly a decade ago with Chad Reynvaan at Wattage Studio. The record features Moore on piano delivering vocal performances that shift between rousing and restrained.

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Anchorage’s Mark Spafford has been a regular on the blues scene for years as a member of The Unknowns. His first solo album as “Dyecaster” was recorded in Austin and released under his pseudonym Spaffdaddy. The record includes plenty of heavy hitters, like Joey Fender on drums, and features classic blues and rock riffs and themes.

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Ava Earl

Alaska folk-pop favorite Ava Earl released “Too Much,” her second full-length album, establishing an evolution of her sound. Still maintaining her pop sensibilities and natural delivery, Earl’s albums takes on a bit more of an indie-rock vibe. “Jealous of Her” is a standout, slightly dreamy with cutting lyricism.

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Medium Build

Nick Carpenter has been busy on the road with a worldwide Medium Build tour. But that hasn’t stopped the Anchorage singer-songwriter from releasing new material. Just last week, Medium Build released “Country,” a 12-song record. He’d already released the video for one of songs, “Cutting Thru the Country,” last month.

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Casey Smith Project

The Casey Smith Project released a full-length album, “Red Lights and Whiskey,” last year. But the Fairbanks group hasn’t stopped, putting out a pair of singles since. The most recent of those, “Confess My Love,” has a little Motown feel at the intro and evolves into a raucous rocker, featuring Smith’s signature searing vocal throughout.

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Gregory Rhodes

Anchorage musician Gregory Rhodes recorded a collection of original songs last year titled “The Dearly Departed and the Recently Returned.” Recorded at his own home studio, Rhodes’ album spans a number of genres, but the melodic and meticulous “Good Medicine” is a highlight of the release.

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Singles and shows

Songwriter Keeley Boyle has released a vibey new single called “Inviting.“ Boyle, who has a soon-to-be-released EP of the same name, grew up in Kenai and is based out of Nashville. James Glaves, the Anchorage producer/artist who releases music as Glaves, released multiple singles in the second half of last year, including the infectious “Dance Machine.” L.A.-based Fairbanks artist Emily Anderson released the beautifully reflective and wistful ”30th Birthday” last month. Anderson is one of the featured artists in the season finale of Parlor in the Round on Thursday at Bear Tooth Theatrepub.

Rock trio SunDog is in the midst of a West Coast tour that included another stint at Treefort Music Fest. The Anchorage group last month released a new single, “Spinning Out,” which drives with a soaring hook. Anchorage band Wiley Post also released a new single last month. “Sundays” has long been a favorite of the band’s live sets, but the recording highlights their knack for dynamics with a slow burn.

Mark Ward relocated to Washington but was a longtime stalwart of the Alaska music scene with Last Train and Ryebender. Last year he released “Key of E,” a collection of songs that features Alaska musical friends and former co-conspirators like Aaron Benolkin and Chad Reynvaan. The album’s opening track, “Missing,” is about his departure from Alaska.

Alaska-rooted duo Maeve & Quinn relocated to Chicago many years ago, but twin sisters Maris and Bryce O’Tierney continue to make music, most recently the album “Another Door.” The duo created a video for the album’s lead song, “Stuck Inside,” a COVID-era composition that addresses the uncertainty of the time and dreams for a brighter future.

(If you’re an Alaska artist or musician with a new work or project, email Chris Bieri at with the details.)

Chris Bieri

Chris Bieri is the sports and entertainment editor at the Anchorage Daily News.