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Finalists in “Test Drive Electric” Emerging Artist Contest Announced

Taylor Guitars, together with Elixir Strings and, has determined the five finalists in the companies’ “Test Drive Electric” contest for emerging artists. Nearly 1,000 acts entered, and after a preliminary round of popular voting, a panel of artist relations professionals from the companies chose five finalists:  singer-songwriter Tyler Shea, and bands Crash Coordinates, Evaline, Fairfax, and Shot Heard Around the World.

As part of the competition, each of the finalists has received Taylor SolidBody electric guitars, the ultimate in strings and cables from Elixir, and a Crybaby Wah pedal and Max Grip Nylon Picks from Dunlop. Each act also was tasked with creating a music video using their new gear. The videos can be viewed by visiting Through March 31, fans can vote for their favorite finalist. The winner of the popular vote will enjoy an artist relationship with Taylor Guitars and Elixir Strings, the chance to show off their musical prowess and new gear in a recording session at a world-class music studio, and a paid performance slot at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, “The World’s Largest Music Festival.”

To vote for one of the finalists now through March 31, please visit

About the Test Drive Electric Finalists

Tyler Shea fell in love with the guitar when he was 12 and hasn’t looked back. In 2006, he formed the Tyler Shea Band with Matthew Gorman (drums) and Mark Thistle (bass). Influenced by the rhythms of the Dave Matthews Band, Shea and his band mates take their sonic personalities out of the box and shape them into a crowd-pleasing blend of toe-tapping melodies.

With a Spinal Tap-inspired video of goofy guitar love, Crash Coordinates share their memorable riffs and lyrics through an intelligent blend of pop-rock. Comprised of Chris Kalla (vocals, guitar), Chris Wahl (guitar), Jon Stoddard (drums) and Kevin Williams (bass), the band has opened for such acts as Saosin, A Rocket to the Moon and The Downtown Fiction, among others.

For across-the-pond-and-back rockers Evaline, a self-described “bunch of kids from California,” their layered sounds and swooning vocals have earned them a well-deserved spot in the sun. Formerly on the roster of Maverick Records, the band has played extensively on the Van’s Warped Tour and Rockstar’s Taste of Chaos tour. Reborn in 2010 with the lineup of Richard Perry (vocals), Dominic DiCiano (guitar), Christian Lewis (guitar), Daniel Petersen (baritone guitar), Greg Petersen (drums), and Steve Pedersen (bass), the band released its Patterned EP in the summer of 2010.

Blending strong, soulful vocals and intoxicating guitar riffs, the duo Fairfax, featuring Blake English (guitar) and Heavynn Gates (vocals), offers listeners a trove of grooving rock sounds. The band met while writing songs for R&B artist Brandy, and shared a common background in dance music and hip-hop, which they diffuse through melodic guitars and impactful percussive sounds. Described as “soulful and funky,” the band will release their yet-to-be titled sophomore EP in 2011.

For the hard rock set, Massachusetts’ Shot Heard Around the World has been unleashing its rhythmic, aggressive style on fans across the nation. With a solid fan base in the New England area, the group released their third EP, How Empty We’ve Become, in 2010, furthering their reputation as a mainstay of the hard rock scene. Richie Downs (vocals), Brian Luttrell (vocals, guitars), Ricky Sanchez (guitar), Ken Smiertelny (bass), and Anthony Brandolini (drums) have shared the stage with acts that include Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, and Four Year Strong.

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