The first round of artists competing in the Tampa Bay Acoustic Music Festival packed the Hard Rock Cafe Thursday June 4th for a night of all out acoustic magic!  Attendees rocked out to performances by Autumn June, Kelly Neff, Ian Doubt, Stonegrey, and headliners Jeremy Thomas.  Although we're only one night into the competiton, it's clear, there's a ton of local musical talent in the Tampa Bay area just waiting to be found.

Kicking off the night was Autumn June, accompanied by Jimmy Delisi on guitar and John Spinelli on percussion. Autumn June has been playing the guitar since she was 12 years old and performing locally for a year and a half.  You could feel the emotion in her songs as she belted out a mix of country and rock tunes.  She played 5 original songs including "Rushing Wind" and "Edge of Everything".  Autumn June is getting ready to head into the studio to produce her first EP which should be out by the end of the year. If it's anything like what we heard last night, you'll want to pick it up as soon as it's released!

Next up was Kelly Neff. Kelly has been performing her mix of Indie Acoustic music live for 13 years.  Inspired by Tim Reynolds, Bonnie Raitt, and David Grey, Kelly brings a uniqueness to the stage and her music covered a wide spectrum of blues, folk, funk, and rock. Kelly's music hits you straight in the heart, especially "The Breakup Song".  Catch Kelly next at Georgie's Alibi on Jun 13th in St. Petersburg. 

Ian Doubt turned it up a notch with his mix of original and cover rock tunes.  Ian has been playing live music, performing on stages, and entertaining professionally for over 10 years. He played his first rock show at the age of 13!  In Ian's words, "I live for the stage and try to show that passion with every performance".  Ian's passion is apparent both on and off stage - he is one of those guys that just lives and breathes music.  Ian has a great stage presence and really rocked the house!  I especially enjoyed his story, "The Best Song In The World".  Catch Ian playing at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.

The biggest surprise of the night was Stonegrey.  Who knew four guys from Land O' Lakes could transform the Hard Rock Cafe into a full on concert hall!  Performing together for just four years, this foursome knows how to rock, and they have the hair to prove it! Belting out their signature style of "Straight Up Rock and Roll", no one was sitting down as Eric Whitener, Tristan Dusek, Tommy Dunne and Tyler Dusek played a mix of original and cover rock tunes. Stonegrey released their first CD titled, STONEGREY, this past year and has another one in the works. See them next at The Sand Bar in New Port Richey on June 19th.

Rounding up the evening was headliner Jeremy Thomas, accompanied by Sean Colpoys on bass on Casey Grillo on drums.  Jeremy is a veteran musican in the Tampa Bay area, playing and recording songs on a daily basis for the past 20 years. Jeremy and his band filled the Hard Rock Cafe with classic rock melodies mixed with their unique southern charm and a whole lot of heart and soul. Catch Jeremy Thomas next at Jimmy B's Beach Bar (Beachcomber Resort) in St. Pete Beach on June 11th. 

The Tampa Bay Acoustic Music Festival continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 5pm in the Hard Rock Cafe at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.  Click here for the schedule. Don't miss your chance to see the best local talent in Tampa Bay! Admission is free.

*Photography by's KK Photography.