Picked to Click 2015 No. 8: Gospel Machine

Gospel Machine finished No. 8 overall in our 2015 Picked to Click tally with 24 points. Click here to see profiles on this year's other 11 winning acts.

After almost two years of writing songs together, local quintet Gospel Machine released their debut album, Your Holy Ghost, just last month.

Though the band's members have roots in the church, Your Holy Ghost has a modern edge, a sound the band describes as "garage-gospel music."

"The whole year has been a little bit of a whirlwind," songwriter/guitarist Wes Burdine says. Gospel Machine have just returned from an East Coast tour that included stops at CMJ in New York City and a public radio fundraising show in Baltimore. On the trip, drummer David Osborn was deeply affected by vocalist Jayanthi Kyle's outreach to the public.

"She would sing right out on the street," he says. "It was really beautiful, and I felt really privileged."

Kyle's presence both onstage and off is truly magical. Having stepped away from music for a decade, Burdine was re-inspired after meeting Kyle. Her spark is ever-present, even in the company of complete strangers, including those singing along to "Hand in Hand," the Black Lives Matter protest anthem co-written by Kyle and Burdine.

"I felt really called to be as loving as I could, and really just talk to every stranger that I could find," Kyle says of the recent tour. "It seems the more love I gave, the more guardians were put around me to protect me."

Each song on Your Holy Ghost tells a story, addressing issues of race, gender, and social struggle. "Being a white dude, it's hard to know how to be that ally, and being a part of this record has given me the chance to do that," bassist Jimmy Osterholt says. He's similarly affected by Kyle's approach to life and music. "She does that thing that people call living intentionally, and she does it really well," he gushes.

Gospel Machine was recently selected for 89.3 the Current's Local Music Exchange contest, which sent them to Winnipeg as musical ambassadors earlier this month. But it's here, in Minneapolis, that the band feels the most love.

"It feels like things are building," keyboardist Scott Munson says. "We've all been in a lot of bands and have been doing this for a while, but when we get together, there's a feeling that this is something special.

Click here to see the rest of the list, or read about the artists that tied for No. 9 on our list: Matt Latterell, Bae Tigre, and Aero Flynn.