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.

One Race, One Horse and One for the “Woodman”

Posted March 25, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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In this day and age, there aren’t enough “feel good” stories in the media.

Today…I have one for you.

Please see the link below for a story about my good friend, and Phi Delta Theta fraternity brother, Woody Bolin, who passed away at the age of 26 due to complications from Cystic Fibrosis. I’ve written about him before (see this link) but this story is one that we all heard, but never thought anyone would write about. We were wrong.

If you have 5-10 minutes, PLEASE READ this GREAT article by Keith Sharon of the Orange County Register.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/woody-605222-stu-bob.html

Oh yeah…have a box of tissues handy. You’re going to need them!

Thanks,

John

From the article:

Bob Pappert is not a religious man, but he knows that when he tells the story about what happened on Dec. 22, 2013 at 6:11 p.m. – the story about the most unbelievable 1 minute and 41 seconds in his life – most people who hear it will think of God. They will consider their own spirituality and the power of angels.

On Aug. 2, 2006, with several family members and friends in the room, Woody died. He was 26. He donated his liver, kidneys and eyes. (Stu later got a letter saying that two people in the San Diego area are alive because of Woody’s donations).

His college friend John Kreuzer wrote in his blog, “Kreuzer’s Korner,” about how the people who attended Woody’s funeral had been inspired by his life.

“…There were many, many tears of joy shed for ‘The Woodman.’”

Concert Review: Chase Rice and Sam Hunt Turn the “Party Up” in San Jose, California

Posted February 27, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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If you haven’t heard the names Chase Rice and/or Sam Hunt…then you need to look them up (and you might as well go do it now).

1

On February 26, Rice and Hunt put their talent on display at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California, for a show that was not to be missed.

First, a little bit of background. Rice has released two albums, Country as Me and Dirt Road Communion. He released his second 6 song EP, titled “Ready Set Roll”, featuring the single “Ready Set Roll” back on October 15, 2013. Oh, he also co-wrote a song that you might have heard…the number one single performed by Florida Georgia Line called “Cruise”. Ring a bell?

If not, here’s the song live from last night:

Not bad, huh?

The show was high energy from beginning to end. Lots of fan interaction and just really good music. With a set list including “Party Up”, “I Like Drinking, Cause it’s Fun”, “Dirt Road Communion”, “Country in Ya”, “Whoa” and “Jack Daniels & Jesus”, Rice had the crowd eating out of his hand.

Could I really pick a favorite song of the evening? Probably not. The reason? In reality, while there were some great tunes, they all fell into a fairly similar theme (drinking and women). Not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, this was a country music show. But I hope to see a little more diversity with the next few singles. He’s definitely got the talent to take it to the next level!

But before you go running off to check him out…hold on just a second. Rice wasn’t the only one who rocked San Jose last night. Let’s not forget about Sam Hunt.

In my opinion, Hunt is one of the top, up-and-coming singer-songwriters in country music. Also, get this, he’s a former college football player. He co-wrote Kenny Chesney’s 2012 single “Come Over”, for which he received an award from ASCAP. Last year, Hunt released his debut single “Raised on It” and he also wrote two singles released in 2014: Keith Urban’s “Cop Car” and Billy Currington’s “We Are Tonight”. Never heard of any of those, right?

During his set, Hunt played each of these hits as well as a selection of other crowd favorites. My favorite: without hesitation was “Ex to See”. Loved it before I saw him live and loved it even more during his performance last night. The set list also included “House Party”, “Leave the Night On”, “House Party”, his current single “Raised on It” and the ballad “Speakers”.

Great songs and live performance for sure. One thing I do have to add is that Hunt has an acoustic mixtape (Between the Pines) that you need to check out. The playlist contains 15 songs and you can find it here.

KRTY always puts on a great show. Anyone who’s a fan of country music in Northern California knows this. This show was no different. A $50 show for only $15. A no brainer. Go check them out when they come to your town!

One little thing I want to throw in here at the end is congratulations to KRTY General Manager Nate Deaton. Deaton was recently awarded “GM of the Year, Large Market” at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. A well deserved (and overdue) recognition for the man who brings the best acts in country music to San Jose. Congrats Nate!

The Cutest Thing You Will See Today…

Posted February 11, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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It’s my one year old ROCKIN’ OUT to some Metallica “Enter Sandman”. Enjoy!

Happy New Year!

Posted January 1, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year!

What’s on tap for 2014??? Any resolutions???

Year in Review: My Top Ten Country Music Songs of 2013

Posted December 29, 2013 by Kreuzer33
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It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the year that was. I know…I know. I’ve seen the video that’s circulating that pretty much says that every country music song was exactly the same this year. But I’m not here to support or fight that claim. I’m here to present you with “my” top ten country music songs of 2013.

Now, let me preface this list. 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 ten 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 some of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local country station. Others may not have been played much (if at all) when they should have been, in my own, personal opinion.

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 that song.” Please do. Fight for the music and artists that YOU love!!!!

To begin, a few songs that just missed the cut were: “Point at You” by Justin Moore, “Don’t Ya” by Brett Eldridge, “It Goes Like This” by Thomas Rhett, “Outta My Head” by Craig Campbell, “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” by Gary Allan, “Anywhere with You” by Jake Owen, “Drunk Last Night” by Eli Young Band, “Jump on In” by Zac Brown Band, “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” by Randy Houser and “Crash My Party” by Luke Bryan. Consider these, in no particular order, my numbers 11-20 (and yes, I could have easily gone up to 50).

Without further ado, let’s get this party started:

10. Tyler Farr, Redneck Crazy

Tyler Farr crashed the country music scene this summer with his hit “Redneck Crazy”. The classic story of love and loss…or is it more of an in-your-face, cheating girlfriend, you’re gonna regret it later song? Either way, it was fun and it was a staple on my playlist this year.

9. Steve Holy, Radio Up

You know him from hits such as “Good Morning Beautiful”, “Brand New Girlfriend” and “Love Don’t Run”, but in 2013, Steve Holy definitely turned the “Radio Up” with another fan favorite. “Radio Up” got some great airplay on KRTY in San Jose thanks to DJ’s Indiana Al, Randy Jones and others, but is still fighting for airplay nationwide. If you haven’t heard it yet, take a listen below. Remember, if you like it, please tell your local station to add it to their rotation!


8. Eric Paslay, Friday Night

Eric Paslay seem to have taken the Phil Vassar route: After gaining acclaim for writing hit songs for other artists, he is finally breaking out on his own. He definitely did this in 2013 with his hit “Friday Night”. Great song by an up-and-coming star. Keep an eye out for this guy in 2014.

7. Parmalee, Carolina

California and Carolina once again came together in 2013. No, it wasn’t a Jo Dee Mesina remix. It was the Parmalee hit “Carolina”. Now, I know what you’re thinking: this song came out well before this year. It’s true. The song was first released on their 2008 EP entitled Complicated before being re-released this past February. Either way, it was a huge hit this year and lands at number seven on my list for 2013.

6. Thompson Square, If I Didn’t Have You

“If I Didn’t Have You” was released back in October of 2012 as the first single from Thompson Square’s album Just Feels Good. The song was written by Keifer and Shawna Thompson with Jason Sellers and Paul Jenkins. It’s a powerful song, and one of two ballads that makes my list (see below for the other).

5. James Wesley, Thank a Farmer

Broken Bow recording artist James Wesley was at it again in 2013. Following hits “Real” and “Didn’t I”, Wesley went back to his roots this year with “Thank a Farmer”, an ode to those farmers that put food on all of our tables and takes listeners, wherever they may live, directly into the heart of Middle America. A song that should be on everyone’s playlist, “Thank a Farmer” really drives home the fact that real songwriting is still alive and well in 2013. Go take a listen and enjoy!

4. Kip Moore, Hey Pretty Girl

The second ballad that ends up on my list, “Hey Pretty Girl” seemed to be on my radio constantly for months earlier this year. The song was released back in January as the third single from his debut album, Up All Night and was co-written with Dan Couch. A simple, yet moving ballad, “Hey Pretty Girl” basically tells the story of a man who makes some moves on a woman, dances with her, then marries and has a child with her. Simple enough, right?

3. Lee Brice, Parking Lot Party

“Parking Lot Party” was a huge hit for Lee Brice in 2013. It was released in May as the fourth single from his 2012 album Hard 2 Love and was co-written with Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett and Luke Laird. In simple terms, this was a song about partying with your friends before a concert. Talk about a fun song. Who hasn’t done that??? Every time this song came on the radio, I immediately turned the volume up to ten. I suggest you do the same!

2. Darius Rucker, Wagon Wheel

Where do I begin with “Wagon Wheel”. I absolutely love this song, and especially the cover in 2013 by Darius Rucker. As a bit of background, “Wagon Wheel” was originally written by Bob Dylan and later completed by Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. Rucker, with some help from Lady Antebellum, took the song to a new level this year. I heard this song everywhere, from my cousins wedding to my living room (where I danced to it with my one year old every night to help put her to sleep).

1. Florida Georgia Line, Cruise

Could I go anywhere else with my selection for number one song of 2013? “Cruise” was everywhere this year. It crossed genre’s with the Nelly remix and spent more than 20 weeks at the top of the charts. Brian Kelley (from Ormond Beach, Florida) and Tyler Hubbard (from Monroe, Georgia) have been performing the hit on every major show out there and after starting the year doing club shows, are now selling out arenas nationwide. More hits followed with “Get Your Shine On”, “Round Here” and “Stay” and their album is FULL of more hits (not to mention their cover of Alabama’s “I’m in a Hurry”). I’ve followed Florida Georgia Line for a couple of years now and it’s great to see that they have finally “made it”.

So that’s it. My top ten country music songs for 2013. 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 ten song playlist.

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

Concert Review: Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch Turn the “Radio Up” in Davis, California

Posted December 20, 2013 by Kreuzer33
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Davis, California, may not be the world’s hotbed for country music. But, on the evening of December 19, 2013, the city welcomed two of my favorite live performers in Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch.

Courtesy of 101.9 The Wolf

Courtesy of 101.9 The Wolf

I’ve been lucky enough to catch both of these stars in small venues on multiple occasions, and after last nights show, I’m thinking that it might be my last chance to see them in such an intimate setting. In my opinion, both were tremendous performances once again. I’ll keep this simple: Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch are destined for stardom.

The Davis Graduate was the venue for 101.9 The Wolf’s Country Acoustic Christmas Show, which hardly had the feel of an acoustic show with the energy from the crowd, the radio personalities and the performers. From the moment the doors opened at 7 p.m., until Steve Holy concluded his set at 11:45 p.m., the venue was electric.

Dustin Lynch took the stage first and played a mix of his own music featuring “Cowboys and Angels” and “She Cranks My Tractor” as well as a great selection of cover songs including “Wagon Wheel”, “Callin’ Baton Rouge”, “Dust on the Bottle” and “Friends in Low Places”. How can you go wrong with any of those songs?

Lynch

Not only is Lynch a great live performer, you can tell that he loves what he’s doing and appreciates his fans. Great interaction throughout the show with the audience, who were pretty much eating out of his hand from the first note. Just like Steve Holy and other artists including James Wesley, Phil Vassar and Chris Cagle, he’s genuine. You know that he actually wants to be there, playing music for the people. Taking requests, taking photos (and photo-bombing a few being taken in the front row) and just having a good time.

If you haven’t seen a live Dustin Lynch show, you’re missing out. Check him out next time he’s in town.

Around 10:15 p.m., Steve Holy took to the stage. I’ve seen him in concert three times before, with the most recent concert being a “Songwriter’s Night” in San Jose, hosted by KRTY 95.3, along with Troy Olsen, Brian McComas, Aaron Benward and Jason Jones.

Holy

What must be said first and foremost is that Holy brings a passion to his music that is unmatched in the industry. All of his songs are written from the heart (whether serious in nature or in fun) and this comes through in his live performances.

He played all of his hits including “Good Morning Beautiful”, “Love Don’t Run”, “Hauled Off and Kissed Me” and the crowd favorite “Brand New Girlfriend.” He also threw in a great cover of “Easy” and his current single “Radio Up” which is a standard on my playlist these days. If you haven’t heard it yet, what are you waiting for??? The song is a hit waiting to happen.

I always find it hard to choose a favorite moment. On this night, I’d have to go with the few moments we got to catch up after the show in the parking lot, talking about the show and plans for 2014. Spending time with your fans, even when you’re running late and in a big hurry, is important and what sets the good artists from the great artists.

Holy

Steve Holy is a genuine, all around great guy who doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves. This is something that needs to change and it really needs to change starting in 2014. There needs to be a movement and I’ll take the charge holding the flag if need be. We need to bring Steve’s name and songs to the top of the charts. Call, email and Tweet your local radio stations and tell them that you want Steve Holy played. Tell your friends to check out his music and videos…and tell them today! Country music needs more of the likes of Steve Holy, James Wesley and others who “get it”. We need to stand up and do what we can to get their names out there!

The future is bright for both of these artists, and I can’t see what’s in store for the year to come.

Have you seen either in concert before? What was your experience? Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. I’d love to hear them!


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