Concert Review: James Wesley Keeps on “Running” in San Jose, California

Posted July 11, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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Ladies and gentlemen…boys and girls…children of all ages!

If you don’t know him already, go spend some time on YouTube and check out Broken Bow recording artist James Wesley. If you can only catch one show this year, this is the guy to see. OK, I can’t forget Jesse LaFave, Michael Blakemore and Eric Burgett either because they’re pretty damn good too. But you get my point!


For us hardcore country music fans, James Wesley is already known. With hits such as “Real”, “Didn’t I”, “Jackson Hole” and “Thank a Farmer”, he has been getting airplay for quite some time now thanks to stations such as KRTY 95.3 and KAT Country 103, but definitely not enough airplay (in my opinion) and I can’t stress this enough! His videos have reached the top of the GAC charts and if you see him in concert one time, you’ll be hooked.


Before you ask too many questions about James, let me tell you this: he is a traditionalist, which is something that I find rare in country music these days. He’s also VERY passionate about his music and his especially his fans. He writes his own songs and both he, and the band, play their heart out each and every time they take the stage. Just take a look at the photos and they will give you just a small idea of what a live performance is like. But photos really don’t do justice.


During his show in San Jose last night, James mixed his own music with the sounds of Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam and George Jones (see the full set list below). “Mama Tried” some “White Lightning” and a little “Fast As You”. Good stuff! Though I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t just a little disappointed that there was no “Family Tradition” or “Folsom Prison Blues” this time around…but I’ll live!


Besides the staples (Real, Didn’t I and Thank a Farmer) we were also treated once again with new songs that haven’t made it on the radio yet (or maybe an album in the near future???). I’ve said this before, but just to reiterate, there are a few songs that I expect to be hits in the near future, including: “Running”, “See You on the Radio” and “The You I Wanna Know”. “Running” (co-written with Marcum Stewart and Zac Wrixon) and “See You on the Radio” were two songs that continue to stick out for me as having the potential to be radio hits. Do you hear that KRTY? KAT COUNTRY?


How do describe last night’s show? How about high energy. Absolutely entertaining. A little bit country…a little bit rock and roll! I could go on and on but I’m sure you’d eventually get bored with my endless rant. So, in closing, I’ll say it again: if there is one artist that you see in concert in the next year, make sure that it’s James Wesley. From the stage presence, to the love of the music to the time he spends with his fans, it is not just a concert. It really is a “Real” experience that music lovers of all ages and genres will enjoy. Trust me, you won’t regret it!


Have you seen James and the band in concert? What did you think? Please leave your comments and thoughts in the comments below! Would love to hear about your similar experiences!


If you like the review (and want to help spread the James Wesley name) please share this review with your friends, family, etc…


By the way, I left out the pregame “festivities” with KRTY DJ’s Randy Jones and Indiana Al. Or are they now known as “Indiana Lambert” and “Randy Underwood”? I’ll just post one picture and let’s just say…you might not be able to unsee this! :)


Missing Washington Teen Found Safe

Posted July 9, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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Good news in the Pacific Northwest tonight!

Angelic (Anji) Dean, a Camas (Washington) teen missing for more than two weeks has been found safe, this according to reports from KGW in Portland, Oregon.

From KGW:

Authorities have not yet released details of her condition or how she was found. They have not said exactly where she was found, either. Only that it was in Clark County around 4 p.m.

In the more than two weeks that she was missing, police asked for tips, her family posted hundreds of missing person flyers, and her mother helped spread the word nationally with a TV interview on CNN’s Nancy Grace show.

Concert Review: (Steve) Holy Moly! KAT COUNTRY 103 – 2014 Listener Appreciation Concert

Posted June 22, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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What else can I say. I drove nearly 700 miles from my home in Portland, Oregon, for this show…and it DID NOT disappoint!

Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of spending nearly 7+ hours with 15,000 of my newest, closest friends in Stockton, California. While it may have been nearly 95 degrees for this outside show, it didn’t matter. To see acts including Maggie Rose, Natalie Stovall and the Drive, Chuck Wicks, Josh Thompson, Love and Theft, Steve Holy and Keith Anderson, no weather (neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night) could have kept me from having an incredible afternoon.

Credit: Nikki Thomas. We're having a blast at LAC 2014. Ignore the gum that apparently was about to fall out of my mouth.

Credit: Nikki Thomas. We’re having a blast at LAC 2014. Ignore the gum that apparently was about to fall out of my mouth.

First and foremost, I have KAT COUNTRY 103 to thank for their 2014 Listener Appreciation Concert. This includes the staff, volunteers and everyone else who made the event happen. Concerts like this take months of hard work and dedication, and from what I saw, incidents were minimal and everyone had A LOT of fun!

OK. That’s enough of the introduction. Let’s get to the music!

First to take the stage was Maggie Rose.


I’ve seen her once before at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California, and was excited that KAT COUNTRY brought her to kick off the show. She definitely set the tempo for a “kick ass” afternoon. Songs such as “Mostly Bad”, “Better”, my wife’s personal favorite “I Ain’t Your Mama” and radio’s next big hit “Looking Back Now” filled the set list, which sadly was only a few songs due to the number of acts at the event. If you haven’t caught Maggie live, I suggest you pick up a ticket next time she’s in town. She won’t be an opener for long. She has headliner written all over her!

Next up was Natlie Stovall and the Drive.


I’ll admit, this was the act that I knew the least about going into the show, but I certainly left a HUGE fan. Let me introduce them to you. The band consists of Natalie Stovall (lead vocals, fiddle), Miguel Cancino (guitar), Zach Morse (bass), Joel Dormer (guitar, vocals) and James Bavendam (drums).

Anyways, I can’t say enough about this band to do justice. High energy doesn’t even begin to describe them. Awesome work on the guitar…the bass…the drums. Oh, and did I mention Natalie has a great voice and is an incredible fiddle player. This was demonstrated in their closing rendition of Charlie Daniels “Devil Went Down to Georgia”, one of the highlights of the entire afternoon.

OK. Stop reading my review for 10 seconds and visit their website, bookmark it, and come back to read the rest of the review.

Back? Good…

Next up was Chuck Wicks.


What can I say about Chuck Wicks. I’ve been fan of his since his first hit “Stealing Cinderella” hit the radio back in 2007, and was very excited that the song made the set list. But then again, why wouldn’t it!

The crowd was also hanging on every note of “All I Ever Wanted” which kicked off the set as well as one of my personal favorites “Old School”. My wife was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Chuck bust out any of his moves from Dancing with the Stars, but she, and all of the women standing around me, were content with the opportunity to see his eyes when the sunglasses came off and was joined on stage with Keith Anderson.

Next up on this afternoon in Stockton was Josh Thompson (sporting a KAT COUNTRY temporary tattoo).


How can you not love a Josh Thompson show. Even with an abbreviated set list, he was able to pack in all of his hits as well as some new songs which will appear on his new album “Turn it Up”.

I’ve seen him twice before, both at small club shows at the Rodeo Club, but this was my first time in a larger venue. He didn’t disappoint. Songs such as “Beer on the Table”, “Way Out Here”, “Cold Beer with Your Name on It” and “Won’t Be Lonely Long” filled the set list and I can still hear the echo of the crowd singing every note, ringing in my ear today.

A great performance by a great artist (who by the way came out with Maggie Rose, Natalie Stovall and others to the after party following the show).

As we passed the halfway point of the afternoon, Love and Theft took the stage.


Love and Theft, featuring Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson, who both sing lead vocals and play guitar, is a band that I see EVERY TIME they come to town. This was my fourth time seeing them play, and they just get better with each and every performance.

The set list started off with the rocking “Runaway” and concluded with radio favorite “Angel Eyes”. In between, they talked to the audience and just had a good time. Oh yeah, they also played “If You Ever Get Lonely” and the crowd favorite “Let’s Get Drunk and Make Friends”. If you haven’t heard this one, look it up. It’s a fun song that the crowd really gets into every time! Those of us in the front row were having a good time to it and the actual drunks behind us seemed to relate (with hugs and kisses for everyone around them).

Next up was the act that I specifically came for: Steve Holy!


I’ve said this before, and I will say it again here: while he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, Steve Holy is one of the best male country artists today. Fact!

Not only does Steve Holy have the voice and the hits, he has a stage presence that is second to none. No one is able to build a rapport with the audience quite like him. While he spent much of time during his set interacting with the crowd, his rapport building, and love for the fans, was demonstrated with the dedication of his hit “Good Morning Beautiful” to a young, 6 year old girl named Paisley (named after Brad Paisley). What a great moment.

The set list featured other hits such as “Love Don’t Run”, “Hauled Off and Kissed Me”, and my personal favorite “Men Buy the Drinks (Girls Call the Shots)”. While we didn’t get to hear “Radio Up”, instead, we were treated to “Wrap Around”, which was co-written by Keith Anderson who joined Steve on stage for the song.

Following the set, I was able to catch up with Steve (along with Chevon and Christine of course) for a few minutes AND introduce him to my wife. Being my wedding anniversary, and knowing that “Good Morning Beautiful” was our wedding song, this was a great few moments and the highlight of the afternoon for us.

An all-around great guy (and performer), don’t miss Steve Holy when he comes to your town. You’ll leave a HUGE fan!

To end the afternoon was the one, and only, Keith Anderson.


Keith Anderson is not only a great performer, he’s an incredible songwriter. A quick Google search will bring up the songs that he has played a part in, either recording or writing, and it was great that we had a nice sample of them on this afternoon. As a country music fan, how could you not like songs such as “Pickin’ Wildflowers”, “XXL”, “I Still Miss You” and “Lost in This Moment”.

But besides the music, one thing that I really enjoyed (and respected) was how he seemed to come out and watch every act perform. He didn’t show up 30 minutes before his set and leave right away, like I know some artists do. The guy was out there supporting and enjoying each of the acts and even joined in on a few of them. We saw him taking photos with the other performers and just having a good time. That’s what I consider awesome!

Speaking of having fun….I think Maggie Rose and Natalie Stovall may have had the most fun of anyone when they weren’t performing. Definitely a couple of “Charlie’s Angels” with the water guns cooling off the crowd.


So that’s it. Not much else I can say other than that! What an incredible afternoon with 7 GREAT acts!

I have to thank KAT COUNTRY 103 for putting on this shindig! Pulling together a lineup from top to bottom that has no holes in it is difficult to do in any musical genre, but you succeeded and I can’t wait until next year’s show.

I also have to thank my wife who was able to secure tickets for us, for our anniversary, from 700 miles away. She knew that I can’t miss a show that features Steve Holy or Love and Theft, and I got to see both (and 5 other fantastic acts).


Yep! That’s me trying to look cool with my hand on the rail (thanks to Tim Cruz from KAT Country 103 for taking the picture).

Top Moments:

*10 minutes with Steve Holy after the show (and “Good Morning Beautiful”)
*Natalie Stovall and the Drive’s fantastic version of “Devil Went Down to Georgia”
*Keith Anderson checking out all of the other performances (and joining in on a few)
*Love and Theft’s “Let’s Get Drunk and Make Friends” sing a long
*Chuck Wicks “Stealing Cinderella”
*Maggie Rose with the super soaker (with help from Natalie Stovall)
*Josh Thompson putting some “Beer on the Table”

Were you in Stockton for the show? Tell me about your experience and what you enjoyed the most in the comments below!

Half Year in Review: My Top 15 Country Music Songs of 2014 (So Far…)

Posted May 26, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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We’re almost halfway through the year, so I figured it was about time to recap my favorite country songs of 2014 (so far).

Once again, and I know that I always preface this, I’m not a professional music reviewer. I don’t get paid to promote artists. I don’t go by the Billboard or radio airplay charts. This list consists of the top fifteen songs that I wanted to come on my radio while driving to and from work, on a road trip, or when I was just sitting at home. You probably heard a lot of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local country station.

Or maybe you didn’t…I don’t know. I admit I listened to a lot more radio and digital music channels in the first half of the year than usual, so I’m sure that I’m missing a lot of great music from up and coming artists (if I did, please leave their names and songs in the comments so I can check them out!!!)

Either way, I’m sure that I’m going to leave quite a few songs off this list that could have easily made it. I know this going in and expect each and every one of you to say “hey, what about this song…or what about that song.” Please do. Fight for the music and artists that YOU love!!!!

So without further ado, let’s begin the countdown. And my apologies in advance for not going in-depth on why the song ranks where it does. I’ll save that for my end-of-the-year wrap up in December.

15. Miranda Lambert, “Automatic”

14. Thompson Square, “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About”

13. Eli Young Band, “Dust”

12. Scotty McCreery, “See You Tonight”

11. Lady Antebellum, “Compass”

10. Cole Swindell, “Chillin’ It”

9. Eric Church, “Give Me Back My Hometown”

8. Jon Pardi, “Up All Night”

7. Brantley Gilbert, “Bottoms Up”

6. Luke Bryan, “Drink a Beer”

5. Cassadee Pope, “Wasting All These Tears”

4. Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane”

3. Craig Campbell, “Keep Them Kisses Comin’”

2. Brett Eldredge, “Beat of the Music”

1. Dierks Bentley, “I Hold On”

So that’s it. My top fifteen country music songs for 2014…so far. I know that there were a good 10-15 more songs that could have easily fit onto this list, but in the end, I had to go with the ones that would be on my fifteen song playlist.

Thoughts? Who/what did I miss? Please leave your thoughts (or your list) in the comments below.

Family Christmas Card for 2014?

Posted April 28, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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I think this one is an early nominee for the Kreuzer Family Christmas Card. What do you think?


An Earthquake in Sherwood, Oregon? Yep!

Posted April 6, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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Laying on the bed on the second floor and all of a sudden, a little shake, rattle and roll (get your mind out of the gutter people!!!)

I called out to my wife “earthquake?” I think her and the kids thought I was crazy. But…it looks to be true!

A 3.3 quake at around 8:30 p.m. this evening with an epicenter just about 3 miles from our house between Tigard and Sherwood, Oregon.

Having lived most of my life in California, this was nothing. But the neighbors and others in the area sure seemed a little shaken (no pun intended).

The kids go to school in Sherwood so it will be fun to hear what their friends have to say about it. I doubt they even do earthquake drills in school here. They might, but honestly, I have no clue!

Did you feel it where you were at? What did you think?

The Songs That Shaped Me…

Posted April 1, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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All to often, we listen to the music. The beat. The instruments. But do we take the time to listen to it as a whole. The lyrics. What they mean.

Most people will say yes…but do they really?

As I approach my 36th birthday in two days (April 3), I wanted to take a few minutes to share the songs that shaped who I am today…and a little of background on each.

Let’s start with the one that has meant the most. Steve Holy’s “Good Morning Beautiful” is a song I sang to my girlfriend (then fiance and now wife) every morning. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

“Good Morning Beautiful” was released in July of 2001 as the fourth single from the album Blue Moon. The song slowly became a major hit, reaching # 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart on in February of 2002. The song’s five-week reign atop the chart was part of a 41-week chart run.

It’s so simple, but powerful. One listen, and you’ll be hooked.

“Good morning, beautiful, how was your night?
Mine was wonderful with you by my side
And when I open my eyes to see your sweet face
It’s a good morning, beautiful day”

Next up is another ballad (which may be an ongoing theme here). In 1992, John Michael Montgomery recorded “Life’s a Dance”. To this day, it’s one of my favorite songs of all time and probably the most quoted song I use on a daily basis. Montgomery provides listeners with the example of being too scared to ask a girl out when he was 14 years old. The girl ends up moving away and he never had the chance to ask her.

While not necessarily the same experience, we’ve all had those moments where we hesitated and never know what might have been. Thinking of this song always reminds me that we have one life to live and you learn as you go!

“Life’s a dance, you learn as you go.
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow.
Don’t worry ’bout what you don’t know,
life’s a dance, you learn as you go.”

U2′s “With or Without You” has been my all time favorite song since it came out. The song is the third track from The Joshua Tree and was released as the album’s first single in March of 1987. The song was easily U2′s most successful single at the time, becoming their first number-one hit in both the United States and Canada. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks.

But enough background. The song just makes you think. Ponder your life. Can you live “with or without someone”. Those thoughts ran through my mind for years…you know how tough high school years are :)

“My hands are tied
My body bruised, she’s got me with
Nothing to win and
Nothing left to lose”

There was a time in my life. A time that many go through. When you don’t think you can go on. When you don’t want to go on. You come so close to taking your life, then a song pulls you back out. The funny thing is that the song that pulled me out was a song about suicide.

“Fade to Black” was the first power ballad by Metallica, released as the first promotional single from its second studio album, Ride the Lightning (their best album in my opinion). While I’m sure the band freaked out a bit how their fans would react to a ballad, I’m glad they recorded it.

It saved my life on one summer evening back in 1998.

“No one but me can save myself, but it’s too late
Now I can’t think, think why I should even try
Yesterday seems as though it never existed
Death greets me warm, now I will just say goodbye”

Those are just three of the songs that shaped me. Maybe I’ll post a few more later down the road.

How about you? What are the songs that shaped who you are today? The ones that mean the most to you?

Feel free to leave your thoughts and songs in the comments.


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