Bella Vita
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Bella Vita

Wilmington, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Wilmington, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Band Folk Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Top Indie Albums of 2010 by Scott Fryberger"

Top Indie Albums of 2010
If you're an avid reader of and all it has to offer, then you know we have two different classifications for the artists we cover: major label artists and independent artists. For a little over a year, I've been the main "writing guy" for the indie section (aka, the State of Independents - a nice little name I came up with....okay it was actually John who came up with it, but I liked it). Ahem.

Earlier in the month, we posted our top ten albums and songs for 2010. This year, I thought I'd get with some of the other staffers who listen to a lot of independent music and post our lists of the top indie albums we got to hear this year. Some had big lists, some only picked a few.

Now, it's obviously not possible to have heard every stinkin' indie album put out, so if you don't see an album in any of our lists, it's not necessarily because we didn't like it. It may just be because we didn't get a chance to check it out - though there is the possibility that we have heard it and none of us liked it ;). With that being said, I'll kindly ask those who read this: please do not post comments getting angry at us, berating us or threatening our mothers because we didn't list an album or artist. On the other hand, I do encourage anyone to post their own lists if you so desire. I'd love to hear what you guys have been listening to this year. When you do post your comment, keep a few things in mind:

1) the artist has to be an independent artist. This includes any artist that does not have major/national distribution of their album, regardless of whether they're signed to a label or not (for instance, labels like Come&Live!, Eden Records, Much Luvv Records, etc., despite being legitimate record labels, are considered indie labels due to the fact that they don't have nationwide distribution). In other words, if you wouldn't find the album in retail chains like Best Buy, Lifeway, WalMart, etc., they are indie. (NOTE: artists like Showbread and Playdough made this list because, despite having been previously signed to major labels, they released albums independently this year)
2) the album has to have been released in 2010 (or late December 2009) to qualify for the list.
3) I know a lot of readers aren't exclusively Christian music listeners, myself included, please keep the lists to Christian artists. Thanks:)

I know this is getting ridiculously long, and you're just wanting to read the lists. So I apologize. Without further ado, here are a few of Jesusfreakhideout's top indie albums of 2010!

Scott Fryberger:
Abel - Lesser Men
-A very strong, and surprising, indie rock record. Going the independent route didn't seem to hurt them one bit.

Bella Vita - Flight Patterns EP
-Not a perfect album, but good for fans of folk/indie music. Keep an eye on these guys.

Blood and Water - In Character
-Blood and Water's sophomore album is a fun mixture of pop punk and ska. With a little more refining, they could easily fit in with the bigger names of the genre.

Bradley Hathaway - A Thousand Angry Panthers
-Deeper and darker (and shorter) than previous Hathaway releases, this may be some of his best work yet. Very heartfelt and emotional.

dropsci.GIANTS - littleONES
-Four fairly underground emcees come together to create a pretty decent debut EP. A good offering for fans of Tunnel Rats style hip hop.

The Ember Days - Finger Painting EP
-A gorgeous instrumental landscape, with honest and profound worshipful lyrics mixed in perfectly.

I Am Alpha and Omega - The Roar and the Whisper
-It was a long wait, but this album's arrival was refreshing. IAAAO gets better with each release.

Listener - Wooden Heart
-Beautiful, passionate, intense - there's almost nothing I don't like about this album (not too fond of the fact that it ended).

Manchild & Jaq - You Don't Know Jaq EP
A short EP showcasing the newfound chemistry of DS5/Mars ILL emcee Manchild and Scribbling Idiots producer Jaq. Nice little intro to the duo.

Playdough and For Beats' Sake - Writer Dye
-The Dallas, TX, emcee is always at the top of his game, as proven by this generous free offering. His mic skills and For Beats' Sake's beats will keep you coming back for more.

Preson Phillips - Weep...He Loves The Mourner's Tears
-Skilled with the acoustic guitar and holding nothing back lyrically, this is a worship album to keep on repeat.

Showbread - Who Can Know It?
-Completely different than anything we've ever heard from the raw rock geniuses, but oh so fulfilling and amazing. Is there anything Dies and company can't do?

Sons of God - The Genesis Prologue EP
-Only three songs, but so so good. Their very first full length next year is one of my most anticipated.

Your Heart - Autumn
-Some of his best material to date. Ten songs that capture the overall feel of autumn, and make you want to listen to the album all over again as soon as you're finished.
- Jesus Freak Hideout

"JFH Indie Music Spotlight by Scott Fryberger"

A relatively new band, Bella Vita formed in late 2009 as a duo. They wrote a few songs, played a lot of cover songs, and ended up recording a short demo that they quickly sold out of. They played as a duo until early 2010, when they stumbled upons the other bandmembers that make up the lineup they have today. Their first release as a full band is an EP called Flight Patterns. It's six songs that give us a glimpse of who they really are, and a glimpse of a folk/indie band to keep an eye on.
At its core, Flight Patterns is a folk/indie album. That's the main sound that Bella Vita displays, though there's hints of modern worship incorporated as well. The opening track, "Hear The Name," is a good example of the worship aspect. It's a little folky, but it mostly feels like a standard Christian hit radio worship song. It's not a bad song, but definitely the weakest track of the bunch. The rest of the EP fairs much better. "For The Just" is a beautiful southern jam (complete with banjo) about a lost loved one. Nathan Storey's vocals oddly sound almost like Robert Chisolm from Jonezetta (to a degree, not fully). "Some Great City" is one of the songs from their original demo and they wisely decided to use it for Flight Patterns. It goes on for a little too long, but it's a nice acoustic ballad that demonstrates their ability to skillfully use harmonies.
"Winter's Might" still retains some of the folk sound, but works more as an indie rock song. It's still rather tame, but more upbeat than the three previous songs were. It sings about pushing aside everything (including ourselves) to speak the Gospel. "Winter's Might" didn't catch me like some of the other songs at first, but after a couple listens, its beauty is revealed. The next song, "Wait By The Water," is a slow, albeit joyful, track that really keeps the pace low, but sings about the imminent return of Jesus. The combination of the guitar work and vocals go really well together. The only thing I didn't like about it was that it might have been just a bit too slow. Flight Patterns ends with another highlight, "Light Would You Find Me." The banjo makes a triumphant return, adding so much to the song and making a good thing even better. It's clear the glory belongs to God, as they humble themselves and invite God to meet them where they are ("My need is great for deliverance, and desperation is my only hope, take a stroll through the alley way that since yesterday is my home").
Bella Vita has something good on their hands. Though Flight Patterns may have had its weakest song leading it off, getting past it revealed an overall good EP that will hopefully gain the band some credit. With a strong focus on the the love and mercy of God, and the skill to write quality music, Bella Vita could go places. They're one of those bands that could be both popular on radio and popular with those who don't enjoy listening to what the radio offers. Fans of NEEDTOBREATHE, Third Day and Bradley Hathaway should get a copy of Flight Patterns.
- Review date: 12/3/10, written by Scott Fryberger of - Jesus Freak Hideout

"Bella Vita Moves from Studio to Stage by Rachel Hodges"

All musical bands dream of making it big and touring across the country. For the members of Bella Vita, their dreams are heading in that very direction.

Nathan Storey and Matt Stevenson started their "alternative indie folk" group Bella Vita just last year and began playing publicly within a few months. While attending UNCW, they discovered their shared passion for music and decided to try some songs together.

"We played together on the worship team at InterVarsity. I had approached Matt about playing songs and we started jamming and writing and that's where we started," Storey said.

"The way I see it is that music speaks words that I can't; music is the language of God in my mind," Stevenson said. "I'm not a well-spoken person sometimes. I feel like if I can't say something with words, I can say it with a melody."

"The most true answer [to where our music comes from] is everything," Storey shares. "From life experiences, to relationships, to reading the word of God; for people to understand that's where we come from, that's the greatest gift we can give them."

Since their first show in November, Bella Vita has been booking local shows around the Wilmington area.

"Our goal is to reach as many people as possible with our music. We'd love to tour. We might have that opportunity this summer, actually," Storey said.

Bella Vita has a handful of shows lined up for the next few months, including a show at Holy Grounds Feb. 5. After being in the recording studio for a few months, the group is excited to share their first CD at their EP release show.

"It should be interesting because it's in Matt's apartment," Storey said. "It's more of an intimate setting. We just want to have a good time more than anything… Plus, house shows are cool."

"Every band says they are going to try and break down and be different. In a sense, we are trying to accomplish the ground we have but also the ground we don't see," Stevenson said. "We're different from other bands because we take pride in our songs. We are also trying to bring in different instruments. Who knows? There could be a banjo on the next recording."

Bella Vita's release show is open to everyone. It will be held Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. at 461 Grouse Court in Wilmington, off of Randall and across from the UNCW campus. There will be no cover charge.

To hear their music and other Bella Vita events, go to their Facebook page at or
- The Seahawk

"Flight Patterns by John Fonvielle"

Bella Vita, which translates to “beautiful life”, is a local band that started as a duo but has expanded to a 5 piece.

The meat and bones, so to speak, are Nathan Storey and Matthew Stevenson, multi-instrumentalists (keyboards, guitars) and most of the vocals. I saw them last year, 2010, at a “Wilmington Super Unplugged”. Young and engaging, they were a vocal driven duo with very melodic and catchy tunes. Now they have expanded those songs to great effect on their EP Flight Patterns.

No point in mincing words as Bella Vita don’t, this is a Christian band. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (referencing Seinfeld). The point being these are big songs with big ideas, not preachy and narrow minded, but universal enough to embrace everyone that ever wanted or considered hope and beauty. They offer it both lyrically and melodically, wide open chords supporting wide open musings on life, here and elsewhere. The message they impart leaves enough room on the couch for anyone to sit and relax.

The opening track “Hear the Name” starts with a nice mid-tempo drum beat, followed by a dreamy, well played, slide guitar riff. Intro a simple two chord progression and Storey’s strong vocals (sounding surprisingly like Marshall Crenshaw) swoop the melody up and down in heartfelt fashion.

Next comes the country influxed “For the Just”, banjo and all. A simple secular love song about learning from loss and excepting it ain’t all about you. They don’t call it tough love for nothing.

They continue with a simple banjo riff on “Light Would You Find Me”. This is when I just opened my aural senses and quit worrying about message. Again, strong melody and Storey’s great vocals backed by Kim Price’s able harmony. Spot on rhythm section afforded by Travis Price drums and Josh Garcia, bass.

“Winter’s Might” starts with a bit of a bass groove. More mellowness but an infectious tune and tempo.

“Wait by The Water” slows it way down. What really makes all of these songs tick is Storey’s voice. He could be singing death metal and make it sound pretty (not that there’s anything wrong with death metal). His timbre is rich and expansive. He puts lush emotion and sincerity into each note making any listener sit up and take notice. Flushed out by ethereal harmonies, his melodies and chord changes become hook laden delights.

Flight Patterns is a well recorded, well played little engine that can. Bella Vita isn’t reinventing the wheel but they have a sound of their own, a message that is clear and concise, and a passion that is laid like bricks in each song. Easy to listen to, closely or in passing, FP is worth putting on your radar. - The Beat Magazine


Some Great City EP- Feb. 2010
Flight Patterns EP- Oct. 2010



Music is a language all it’s own, no matter what words are written to accompany it. With so many artists and bands releasing music today it can be difficult to interpret any of it. Music that has a clear message, however, can speak volumes. The members of Bella Vita have challenged themselves to speak loudly and clearly above the musical tower of Babel.

After forming the band in late 2009, Nathan Storey and Matthew Stevenson immediately went to work writing, recording and developing the sound they hoped to share with a full band some day. The duo began playing at coffee shops to standing room only crowds. They played the original music that they had as well as original music that had inspired them in the first place. Songs by The Swell Season, The Decemberists and Coldplay accentuated their set.

Releasing their full band demo in early 2010 their first pressing sold out in only a month. They were also fortunate enough to find Travis and Kim Price and Josh Garcia who joined the band to complete the lineup.

In just a few short months Bella Vita has made strides forward in developing their career as a versatile act. Playing everything from unplugged listening parties to church festivals with more than 1,000 people in attendance, Bella Vita prides themselves in being a unique band that has the opportunity to reach many different types of people with songs about faith, life, and love. As Christians this is very important to them. No matter what opportunity the band is presented with, the most important thing is that they are able to spread the love of Christ through their music and personal experiences.

Being as blessed as they have been in only a short time, the members of Bella Vita are excited to see what happens next.