Music News & Reviews

This Lexington blues troupe is getting national attention in a really good way

Magnolia Boulevard is (from left) Todd Copeland, Gregg Erwin, Ryan Allen, Maggie Noelle and John Roberts.
Magnolia Boulevard is (from left) Todd Copeland, Gregg Erwin, Ryan Allen, Maggie Noelle and John Roberts. Kim Blackburn

This time two years ago they were gathering for their first practices as a band.

In the time since, Magnolia Boulevard, the Lexington blues rock troupe comprised of vocalist Maggie Noëlle, guitarist Gregg Erwin, keyboardist Ryan Allen, bassist John Roberts and drummer Todd Copeland have garnered the attention of, and been brought under the personal guidance of, PRS Guitars Founder and CEO Paul Reed Smith.

The group has also released it debut EP, taken home honors for Best Rock Band at the 2018 Lexington Music Awards (which they look to defend this weekend); and were voted first by fans at FloydFest’s On The Rise competition, one of the East coast’s top emerging festivals.

Led by the captivating vocals of Noëlle, which have drawn comparisons to Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi; paired with the smooth and explorative guitar of Erwin, complimenting keys of Allen and seasoned rhythm section of Copeland and Roberts — former bandmates in Tribe Called Lex — the group has fostered a sound that falls between that of the Allman Brothers Band and Grateful Dead.

The band’s roller coaster ride began in May 2018, when weeks prior to releasing their debut EP — a collaboration with Duane Lundy and Shangri-la Productions — the group performed an abbreviated set at Willcutt Guitars’ 50th anniversary celebration.

Although the show was short, the band managed to catch the attention of the aforementioned Smith, who was standing side stage preparing to perform a demo following the band’s set. The group quickly bonded with Smith, getting invited to perform the following month during Experience PRS at the company’s Maryland headquarters

In addition, PRS has officially endorsed Noëlle and Erwin. The band has continued to work and partner with Smith, who flew them out to Los Angeles this past week to play as on of PRS’ featured performers at Winter NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants), the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products, pro audio and event tech industry.

It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity according to Noëlle.

“People dream about just attending NAMM, much less getting to play at it,” Noëlle said, with Copeland adding “We’ve got 40 minutes to change our lives ... It’s where all the music companies debut new equipment. It’s a musician’s version of being a kid inside a candy store.”

Following the brief west coast getaway, the band will mark yet another goal off their to-do list on Jan. 30 when it shares the stage with rising southern rock and blues star Marcus King at Manchester Music Hall.

While the group has sold out area venues such as The Burl on several occasions, Wednesday’s show will mark its first at the larger venue.

If you go:

The Marcus King Band/Magnolia Boulevard

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 30

Where: Manchester Music Hall, 899 Manchester Music Hall

Tickets: $12, $15