New Music Review: “Long Way Back” by Hillbilly Vegas

Posted October 31, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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I must confess, when I stumbled upon Hillbilly Vegas a few weeks ago, I didn’t know what to expect.

As I looked at the name, I imagined Duck Dynasty meets the guys from Pawn Stars. In reality, after checking out their website, and listening to a ton of their music, I’ve found them to be more of a mixture of Blackhawk, Bon Jovi and John Mellencamp. Sounds good, right?

They intrigued me and I can say that I’ve been listening to their upcoming single, “Long Way Back”, on repeat for the last 8 hours straight (and I’m still not tired of it). From the vocals of lead singer Steve Harris, to the guitar work of Johnny Reed, as well as the rest of the band including Troy Hollinger, Robb Edwards and Stacey Thornburg, this song, which was co-written by Harris and Reed, is destined to be a hit.

Vegas

Before I get to the music, let me start with a little background.

“Long Way Back” is a very special song for the members of Hillbilly Vegas. According to the band, the upcoming video is going to be used by an organization known as Battle Saint who works tirelessly raising money to build treatment facilities for PTSD and traumatic brain injuries in returning veterans.  The Zac Brown Band and the creators of HBO’s Band of Brothers are also supporters of the organization.  The soon to be released video for “Long Way Back” will feature the great things Battle Saint does along with a number of veterans and their families. I, for one, can’t wait.

Now, onto the song itself:

Judging by the description above, this obviously isn’t a song simply about graduating high school and getting out of town as fast as you can. There’s a lot more to it than that, and that’s why “Long Way Back” is indeed a special song. While the melody and the music pull you in, it’s the lyrics that hooked me, and reminded me of my adolescence and my own struggle, wanting to get out of where I was. They say the grass is always greener, right? In the end, I knew it would be a long way back, and I still haven’t gotten there just yet.

“There’s a two-lane, blacktop, leading in and out of town”

I think a lot of us can relate to that.I grew up in Petaluma, California, which was about 30,000 people when I lived there. For the most part, we had two roads in and out of town, and both were just two lanes. It’s a symbol of old town America, the towns we grew up in.

“…and nothing ever happens no matter how long you hang around”

Remind you of your teen years growing up? I don’t care how large your hometown was, it never, ever felt like anything was going on. You always needed to be somewhere else. Where the girls were. Where the parties were. Certainly, not there. It’s funny how your perspective changes once you get out. Once you see the world. The good. The bad. The scary. Makes you think about how safe, and enjoyable, your hometown really was.

“There’s a girl back there that I used to call babe. Yes she said she’d wait but I bet by now she’s called it a day.”

While I never served, many members of my family did across a number of branches of the military. I’ve also seen it in movies where the boy heads off to battle, only to return, afraid that she’s no longer waiting for him. I can’t imagine the heartbreak. But I think that there’s a double meaning here. What about the soldiers who return who aren’t just afraid of the girl they loved and lost, but that everyone has forgotten about them. What about their kids birthdays they missed. Anniversaries. Graduations. The list goes on and on. These men and women give up everything to protect us. They should NEVER be forgotten.

“But if I ever find my way back. From wherever I’ve been. I ain’t leaving again.”

Ain’t that the truth. I know that if I could do it all over again, and I could go back and live my life in that small town, I would. Not sure why I wanted to get out so fast. Maybe it was the small town atmosphere. Maybe it was looking for my freedom. Either way, I miss that small town life. I’ve tried to bring it back by moving to a small town here in Oregon, but it’ll never be the same as my hometown. I can’t imagine the feelings that the men and women of the military have when they return home. After a year, two years or more. Away from their families…their friends. It might be a long way back, but I’d never want to leave again.

My Final Take

A good song…you’ll remember. A great song…you’ll never forget!

“Long Way Back” is certainly the latter. It’s a well written piece of lyrical genius with plenty of emotion to make you want to put it on repeat (like I did) and listen over and over again. This isn’t a fly-by-night song that you’ll hear on your local station a few times, only to disappear into the abyss. “Long Way Back” has staying power. It’s different than anything I’ve heard recently on country radio, and that makes it special.

This is the type of song that takes a band like Hillbilly Vegas and pulls them from obscurity, and puts them directly in the center of the country music map.

When you get the chance, check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @hillbillyvegas.

You can also find “Long Way Back” on iTunes and Amazon.com. The song comes out next week (November 6, 2014) and I suggest you take a listen today. You won’t regret it!

Just Checking In…

Posted October 21, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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Hope everyone is doing well.

It seems that things are still in order and that no one has burned down “The Korner” yet! :)

Celebrating my daughter’s 2nd birthday today. Time flies, that’s for sure!

Easton Corbin and John King Prove They are “A Little More Country Than That”

Posted August 27, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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It’s been a whirlwind two weeks for me following the sudden passing of my father. I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to get out of the house after the emotional toll this has taken on me. But I’m glad that I took the first steps in getting life back to normal tonight by checking out Easton Corbin and John King at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California.

What a crowd. A sellout on a Tuesday night. You don’t see that too often but KRTY is known for bringing the best in country music to the Bay Area and tonight’s show DID NOT disappoint.

First to take the stage was John King. As background, just last year, Black River Entertainment signed King to their artist roster which includes the likes of Kellie Pickler and Craig Morgan. Great move guys! King is a star waiting to happen.

King

When you go to a show, I’ll admit, you usually look right past the opening act in anticipation of the headliner. Boy am I glad I didn’t miss this one! King is already a polished performer who not only knows how to work the crowd, he has them eating out of his hands. With songs like “Tonight, Tonight”, “Something in the Water” and crowd favorite “Huk’r Shoes” (that’s right, I said Hooker Shoes), King nearly stole the show tonight. 

But, one of the best parts of the evening was when, out of nowhere, King suddenly appeared in the crowd after his set. Signing autographs for his fans. Taking photos. Who does this??? I’ll tell you who does: John King. I can’t wait to see him again soon (whether it’s here in San Jose or in my home state of Oregon). Bravo Mr. King. Bravo!

Now, it was time for the main event: Easton Corbin. I’ve seen Corbin before, but not in a small venue such as the Rodeo Club. What a treat! How often can you say that you’ve seen one of country music’s biggest acts in front of 1,000 of your closest friends.

Easton

Corbin was on his game tonight. Mixing it up all night long with an assortment of new music, established hits and cover songs. “A Little More Country Than That”, “Lovin’ You is Fun”, “All Over the Road”, “Roll with It” and “Clockwork” were crowd favorites, but we also got a taste of some new songs that are going to hit the radio soon…and judging by the reaction for the crowd they can’t come soon enough! 

Cover songs? Did I mention cover songs? How can you go wrong with the likes of “Brand New Man” and “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” by Brooks & Dunn and Alabama, respectively. The perfect encore to a great evening of music. I don’t know his name, but Easton Corbin’s fiddle player is FANTASTIC. It’s always great to get some fiddle action.

So there you have it. Another great show from the Bay Area’s country music leader KRTY! If you haven’t seen either of these acts before…what are you waiting for!

I’ve said this before (on Twitter @KreuzersKorner), and I’ll say it again: John King is a star in the making. Take notice now before it’s too late. And as for Easton Corbin: the guy is one of the best out there today. From the first time I heard him a few years ago, all I could think of was George Strait. Seriously. The voice draws an immediate comparison. Quite a compliment for sure.

Were you at the show? Have you seen either in concert? What did you think? Share your thoughts and personal experiences in the comments section below.

Napa Earthquake

Posted August 25, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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Wouldn’t you know that we would have my father’s wake in Vacaville, California on Saturday afternoon and where would we stay on Saturday night? Yep…the Napa Valley.

 

We were rocking and rolling, but all are OK. Didn’t even wake the kids up. After living through Loma Prieta, this was a “small” one but still caused some significant damage. Good thing it happened in the middle of the night. Probably saved lives!

Taking it Day by Day…

Posted August 16, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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Experiencing all of the stages of grief over the past 5 days following the sudden passing of my father. 

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We had our good times, we had our tough times. But at the end of the day, we always had our weekly calls about whatever came to mind. Getting the two of us together in a conversation (two people who could talk your ear off forever) was always an adventure.

I hope you found that big Grocery Outlet and record store in the sky..and that they are in the same shopping center!

We love you and miss you.

Taking Some Time Away…

Posted August 11, 2014 by Kreuzer33
Categories: Uncategorized

I probably won’t be posting for quite some time (a few weeks) but I didn’t want everyone to worry.

I have been dealing with some family issues for a couple of months that now must be handled. Sorry to be vague but I just need some time to process things.

Dont’ worry, my wife, the kids and I are doing fine. Healthy and getting along (as best we can) :)

Thank you all in advance for your understanding. Please take care of The Korner while I’m away…

Robin Williams Dies of Apparent Suicide

Posted August 11, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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Whether you knew him as Adrian Cronauer, John Keating, The Genie or just Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams was a talented, talented actor.

Much of my childhood movie memories are of him. Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire…not to mention his stand up.

I’m still shocked by the news and keep hoping that it’ll be another Internet hoax.

According to a press release issued by the Marin County Coronor’s office, the Sheriff’s office suspects the death to be “suicide due to asphyxia.”

From ABC News:

Actor Robin Williams died this morning in California, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office-Coroner Division and his press representative. He was 63.

“Robin Williams passed away this morning,” rep Mara Buxbaum said in a statement tonight. “He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

Officials are investigating the circumstances of his death.

From Entertainment Weekly:

Oscar winner and comedian Robin Williams died this morning at 63. While his publicist wouldn’t confirm that his death was a suicide, a rep did issue this statement. “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”


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