The Porch Sessions

As a 2012 Sammies winner in the R&B/Soul category, James Cavern is making a name for himself in the music scene. But the Sacramentan-by-way-of-England is now also a director. Since July 2012, the troubadour has been regularly uploading footage of (mostly) local artists' acoustic performances on his (now-former) porch onto YouTube. His video series, known as The Porch Sessions, sometimes features Cavern collaborating with the other musicians. Mostly, though, his guests include full bands (Musical Charis, Walking Spanish, Honyock) and solo artists (Autumn Sky, Hans Eberbach, Lindsey Pavao)—usually singer-songwriters with an acoustic guitar.

The footage is recorded on an iPhone and often put through various filters—indeed, these videos could be considered a bit amateurish. But that's exactly what makes them endearing: Instead of being encumbered by sets, plots and overdubs, these clips just display pure local talent in a raw, informal live setting. They're videos for music nerds and hard-core fans, but also for people wanting to get to know local artists a little better. Watching them gives you the feeling that you're just hanging out and jamming with your friends—even if, in reality, you're just distracting yourself at work and watching YouTube videos. The Porch Sessions Vol. 1—an album consisting of audio from 20 videos from the series—can be downloaded for free at Cavern's Bandcamp site ( And the entire video series, 31 sessions long at the time of this writing, is available via Cavern's YouTube page.