Shore Fire Media

Country/Folk Newcomer Colby T. Helms Signs To Photo Finish Records

Helms’ debut single “Higher Ground” arrives September 13th - preview here

Opening for Marty Stuart on September 16th

Set to make AmericanaFest debut later this month


Today (9.6), Photo Finish Records announces the signing of 21-year-old, VA-based artist Colby T. Helms. Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains, Colby first dreamed of making music his life at age 12, when a group of old-time and bluegrass players performed at his father’s funeral in his hometown of Boones Mill, VA. He taught himself guitar, banjo, and mandolin by watching local performers and YouTube videos, and by age 18 he was a veteran performer in the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Mountains region alongside his band The Virginia Creepers.

With starkly honest songwriting and a sharp angular twang to his vocals, Helms’ music strikes a dynamic balance between countr storytelling, bluegrass energy, and blues power.

On September 13th, Helms will share his first taste of his raw country folk music that cuts to the bone with his debut single, “Higher Ground.” Written by Helms, the track details his experience as a touring musician  – the day he turned 16, he bought a stick-shift Jeep Wrangler, and hit the road to play anywhere people would ave him – experiencing big cities and missing home.

Pre-save “Higher Ground” here

I will never forget the first YouTube video we all saw of Colby performing,” says Photo Finish COO Mike Marquis. “Within 10 seconds of hearing his voice, we could hear something very special.  We have an unspoken rule at Photo Finish that we all must unanimously see the vision before partnering with an artist, and I cannot remember that ever being as enthusiastic as it was with Colby.  

We quite literally chased him into his hometown, and what we discovered was not only that his talent was pure, but also that he has an incredible story, and every word and note of his music is authentic.  He is a storyteller, wise beyond his years, and his commitment to his craft is unrivaled. We could not be more excited to be working together to develop his career.”

Photo Finish Records couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with Colby,” shares Photo Finish founder/CEO Matt Galle. “After months of trying to track him down, we flew down to his hometown in Franklin County, VA in mid-December 2022 to meet him at his underground home built by his late father. We got a small glimpse into his life from hearing stories about his Dad, seeing his vast instrument collection, and learning about the local music community that raised him. Colby is an incredible, raw talent with a super unique voice - he doesn’t conform to any popular standards or trends. Colby writes and performs music that captivates the listener with his storytelling. Mike, myself and the Photo Finish team are proud to be working alongside him and are extremely excited to help him tell his story.

Dolphus Ramseur at Ramseur says “Colby T. Helms makes the past present with his handmade songs. He’s a tremendously talented musician, who knows the value of hard work and is wise beyond his years. I’m excited for the world to hear Colby, because he's living proof that you can still find something unique and unfiltered up the hollers of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”

Paul Lohr, Agent/Owner at New Frontier Touring adds, “Look up the definition of ‘authentic’ in the dictionary, and you just might find Colby’s picture next to it.  And while young, he writes and plays beyond his years. Oh… and he’s an Eagle Scout. ‘Nuff said.”

In the coming weeks, Helms will open for Marty Stuart at the Annapolis Songwriters Festival on Sept. 16, and will make his AmericanaFest debut in Nashville, TN. Stay tuned for more exciting news from Helms. 

Helms is represented by Photo Finish Records, Ramseur, New Frontier Touring, and Shore Fire Media.

Colby T. Helms with Photo Finish’s Shane Friedman, Photo Credit: Guadalupe Bustos


Follow Colby T. Helms: 







Upcoming Colby T. Helms Tour Dates: 

9/9 - Augusta Bike Rodeo & Rally in Fisherville, VA

9/21 - AmericanaFest Day-Party @ The Basement in Nashville, TN

9/30 - Rocky Mount 150th Festival in Rocky Mount, VA

10/7 - Albino Skunk Music Festival in Greer, SC

11/25 - Seafood Festival in Martinsville, VA


About Photo Finish Records:

Photo Finish Records is an independent record label boasting a diverse artist roster including alternative rock, indie pop and hip hop. The label was created and founded by Matt Galle and in 2021 celebrated its fifteenth year of success. As the label grew and developed, Matt brought in his business partner Mike Marquis to co-run the label with him. PFR is known for developing and breaking an eclectic roster of artists such as 3OH!3, SHAED, Marian Hill, MisterWives, ROZES, The Mowgli's, and newer signings The Maine, Colby T. Helms, Delacey, Billy Lockett, AVIV, Elliot Lee, and joan. SHAED’s track "Trampoline" is triple platinum in the US with over 2 billion streams worldwide, 3OH!3's debut album "Want" is certified Gold with 3 platinum singles and over 15 million singles sold which includes collaborations with Katy Perry, Wiz Khalifa, Kid Cudi, Lil' Jon and Ke$ha. Marian Hill's releases including their debut album “Act One” have sold 12 million tracks making big waves with the breakthrough hit "Down" as well as successful albums from MisterWives and their gold single "Reflections," Anthony Green, Handsome Ghost, and many others. Matt Galle and Mike Marquis are well known and respected leaders in the music industry having both been recognized in Billboard’s 40 under 40 and three years (2020, 2021, 2022) in a row on Billboard’s Indie Power Players list.  The team is located in NYC and PFR is distributed through Virgin Music, Label and Artist Services.




Press Contacts: 

Matt Hanks | Shore Fire Media | 

Mark Satlof | Shore Fire Media | 

Andrea Evenson | Shore Fire Media | 

Maria Eilert | Shore Fire Media |


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