Artist Spotlight: George Ducas

Posted May 21, 2016 by Kreuzer33
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In the world of country music, there are singers…and then there are artists. Artists who construct lyrics that reach down into all facets of our emotions. Artists who can be considered musical poets that can satisfy even the most eclectic listeners.

When I think about an artist who fits this bill, I think of George Ducas.

Ducas

Growing up like many of us did on Willie Nelson records, George spent much of his high school years as a private songwriter. Unfortunately for the rest of us, he did not perform professionally until he attended college at Vanderbilt University. After graduation, he accepted a banking job in Atlanta but returned to Nashville in 1990 to pursue music on a full-time basis…and the world is a better place for this decision!

George is seasoned with experience, driven by his passion for his songwriting and overall musical talent. With a string of Billboard charting songs that established him early as a country music trendsetter, George’s musical offerings encompass a creativity, sentiment, edge and wisdom of a man who lives each day with a passion for life and music.

In his own words:

“I consider myself very much a singer and songwriter with an emphasis on performing and being out there playing for people is a chance for the songs I write to live and breathe.”

George’s writing talents have been part of some of country music’s biggest hits including: Sara Evans #1 hit “Real Fine Place To Start,” Josh Thompson’s “Won’t Be Lonely Long,” The Eli Young Band’s “Always The Love Songs” as well as additional songs recorded and performed by country music royalty including The Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood and the Randy Rogers Band.

George and Keith Anderson were two of several co-writers on “Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?)”, the Top 30 duet for Garth Brooks and George Jones back in 2001. What a fun song that was! Gary Allan and Radney Foster have also recorded album cuts which he co-wrote.

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Credit: buddyleeattractions.com

But enough about the artists he’s written for. George has also seen success as a national major label and critically acclaimed solo artist, which includes a string of hits including the Top 10 single “Lipstick Promises”.

But the life of a musician can take a toll on you and eventually George took some time off to devote his attention to raising his son and daughter. You’ve got to respect that. I can only imagine what life on the road is like. I travel two weeks a month for work, and even that amount of time is hard not seeing my three kids. The life of a musician must be even more hectic.

Now, George is back…and better than ever! He recently returned to the country music scene to put a voice to his songs. His latest offering, “4340”, which debuted back in October of 2013, does that and more as it showcases his talents to illuminate storylines with imagery that brings his lyrics to life.

4340

Here’s a quick preview of the album. If you want to listen to pick up his music for yourself, you can find it on iTunes and Amazon.

I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I’ll let you check out the rest of his music, for yourself. Here’s a sample of songs off the new album, as well as a few older ones:

Lovestruck

Cow Town

Party with Your Boots On

All Kinds of Crazy

Breakin’ Stuff

I Need to Love You

Every Time She Passes By

White Lines and Road Signs

Make sure to check out his website and follow George on Twitter at @George_Ducas and on Facebook. Upcoming tour dates can be found here.

Hey George, how about a date at the Rodeo Club in San Jose or Duke’s in Portland???

So what did I miss? Have you seen George live? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Artist Spotlight: Kari Lynch

Posted May 20, 2016 by Kreuzer33
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It’s funny sometimes. You find yourself looking through a long list of great, up-and-coming country music artists when all of a sudden, a wave of fans reach out to you to tell you all about their favorite artist(s).

That’s what happened to me this week as I was introduced to the music of Kari Lynch.

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Credit: Heather Cisler Photography

Like other great, young artists that I’ve mentioned recently, one thing that I truly love about Kari is her deep appreciation for the dedicated fan base she has built up. Her unique voice, which combines classic country with a sort-of modern pop-rock twist, paired with great lyrics about real life and love, resonates with me immediately.

In creating her sound, Kari learned early on that what inspired her most was real life and struggles,  which includes a familiar topic with listeners of country music: love and loss.

In her own words, Kari says:

“I witnessed and experienced heartbreak early in my life. I think it made me grow up faster than most kids my age so I always had that longing for connecting with the rest of the world. Writing songs became my way of figuring out life and it was my place to say exactly how I was feeling, no holds barred.”

Though many new fans may view her as a brand new artist, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Kari has been writing and performing since the age of seven. Since 2009, she has released 3 EP’s and I’ve read some great reviews. She’s also landed radio time in her home state of Michigan, as well as throughout the Midwest. Hopefully, this will spread out here to the West Coast!

I really want to hear some “Two to Be Lonely” on the radio soon! Check this one out y’all. It’s a hit waiting to happen!

In talking about her inspiration, Kari says:

“I knew I would write and sing songs for a living the first time my grandma played me Patsy Cline’s cassette tape when I was 6-years-old. The first song was, “Crazy” and it was like a fire lit up inside me. I was so captivated by her voice. Soon after that I heard Garth Brooks, “No Fences” for the first time and I’ll never forget that moment. I fell in love with the idea of writing and creating my own songs, so when I was 7-years-old I started writing songs and performing every chance I could.”

I mentioned before that many fans consider Kari a new artist, but she is clearly no stranger to the spotlight. According to her website, she has played thousands of shows across the U.S and abroad, successfully released original music and videos, played to crowds in the tens of thousands and opened for an impressive list of country music royalty including: The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Chris Cagle, Dustin Lynch, Montgomery Gentry, Brantley Gilbert, Big and Rich, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, The Charlie Daniels Band, Thomas Rhett and Alabama.

Lynch

Kari is going to be very busy this year, with a loaded tour schedule that will take her all across the country and see her opening for acts such as Diamond Rio, Kelsea Ballerini and Native Run. She also has a brand new music video that continues to climb in views and popularity, and her new single, “Sweetheart” out now which has already been picked up for rotation by several radio stations.

Before I get too far, I can’t forget to mention her new album “Little Games” which was actually released today, May 20, 2016. How about that for timing? I’ve had a chance to listen through all 10 tracks and I’m really digging it. I think that you will too!

If you want to listen to “Little Games” for yourself, you can pick it up on iTunes.

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I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I’ll let you check out the rest of her music, for yourself. Here’s a sample of songs off the new album, as well as a few older ones:

Two to Be Lonely” featuring Travis Stinson

Nothin’ That a Shot Won’t Fix

Little Games

West Texas Ground

Can’t Move On

This is Gonna Hurt

One More Hit

Better Than Today

Fly Fly Fly

Make sure to check out her website and follow Kari on Twitter at @KariLynchMusic and on Facebook. Upcoming tour dates can be found here. Hey Kari, how about a date at the Rodeo Club in San Jose or Duke’s in Portland???

So what did I miss? Have you seen Kari live? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Artist Spotlight: The Springs

Posted May 19, 2016 by Kreuzer33
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There are a lot of country music acts out there. You’ve got solo artists, groups, trios and more. But to me, nothing says country music quite like a duo. And when that duo is a husband and wife team…you’ve got something special. That’s what you have with today’s featured spotlight: The Springs.

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First, a little background for you. The Springs is composed of Stewart Halcomb and Holly Helms who were married on September 12, 2015, in their home state of Alabama. The ceremony took place in front of their families, band members and some of their closest friends. While they were unable to invite all of their fans to the wedding (see later about their love for their fans), Halcomb and Helms wanted them to be a part of the wedding, which was streamed over Periscope to more than 1500 viewers.

Welcome to the future, right?

So what I love about the Springs is their harmonies, their high energy concerts, and what you would hope for from a couple…chemistry. A husband and wife team (similar to the likes of Thompson Square) brings together both male and female vocals, which really gives the songs a life of their own. Not to mention that the versatile, award winning duo delivers a great mix of country, southern rock, pop and traditional favorites. How can you not like that?

The Springs have shared the stage with country music royalty over the past couple years. they have shared the stage with some of country music’s top recording acts including Florida Georgia Line, Thompson Square, Jake Owen, Josh Turner, Gary Allan, Hunter Hayes, Love and Theft, Mark Wills, Little Big Town, Eric Church, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Charlie Daniels and Easton Corbin. Not bad company to be associated with, that’s for sure.

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Credit: thespringsband.com

But outside of the company they share on stage, the company they seem to enjoy most is that of their fans.

One thing that I absolutely love about The Springs is how much they enjoy interacting with their fans. Get this. Their fans have taken on the name “Springsters”, and have truly become more than just fans to The Springs. After each show Halcomb and Helms stay as long as it takes to make sure they sign autographs and take photos with everyone that comes to the show to let each fan know how much they truly mean to them.

You’ve got to love artists who do this. I am starting to see more and more of this these days and it always makes me feeling good. Seeing artists making personal connections with their fans.

In terms of music, their new EP “Dance With Me” is set to launch soon. You can pre-order it online through their Pledge Music page.

Preorder

I, for one, really enjoy Pledge Music campaigns. With The Springs campaign, the group is offering exclusive content and packages to all pledgers. Basically, anyone who pledges will walk away with something. Exclusive packages will include things like a concert in your living room, a songwriting session with us, unreleased (not on our EP) song and even more cool experiences and packages.

Definitely some cool items for fans. Personally, I’d love a signed 8X10 and the EP. I may have to go pledge…

Don’t feel like pledging? Fine. But you’re missing out on some cool stuff! Alternatively, they’ve got some pretty cool merchandise to go along with their music. You can also find additional music on iTunes.

Speaking of the music, here are a few links to some of The Springs songs that I’m sure you’re going to enjoy.

Hey Time

I Went There

Somethin Somethin

Crank it Up

Somethin’ Bout a Woman, Somethin’ Bout a Man

Don’t Tell Him That

I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I’ll let you check out the band, and the rest of their music, for yourself. If you’re interested in keeping up with The Springs, make sure you follow them on Twitter at @TheSpringsBand and on Facebook.

So what did I miss? Have you seen The Springs live? What do you think of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Artist Spotlight: Chasin’ Crazy

Posted May 19, 2016 by Kreuzer33
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So I’m just going to come out and say this right now: the first time I ever heard of Chasin’ Crazy, I was told by a good friend that they were an incredible band, but they were the equivalent of the Backstreet Boys of country music.

Say what???

After hearing that I paused and thought “could there really be a Backstreet Boys of country music?”

Anyways, even with that description, I set out to find out more about the band. And I’m sure glad that I did.

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Credit: Rudy Sabin

First, here’s a little background:

Chasin’ Crazy came to be back in 2012 when Jimmy James Hunter and Forest Miller met in Nashville while playing in separate acts at a show. It was out of this meeting, during which the two also met Travis Fincher, that Chasin’ Crazy was born. For several months they performed as a trio until they were approached by Scott Siman and April Rider from RPM Entertainment who believed that they had the talent, musicianship and passion to be successful.

Obviously, the next step was to build out the band which came by way of a fan who suggested that Hunter talk to Landon Parker. Apparently, Parker was in another band in North Carolina at the time, and Hunter was in awe with his vocal skills and convinced him to visit with them in Nashville. Soon after, he joined the band, moving to Nashville and committed fully to the project. Creigh Reipe joined several months later and the rest, as they say, is history.

I’ve been chatting with these guys on Twitter for nearly a year now and had the opportunity to catch them live at the Rodeo Club in San Jose at a KRTY show opening for A Thousand Horses. What’s funny is that I had taken some time to listen to some of their music ahead of the show, but nothing prepared me for their live performance.

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Credit: Rudy Sabin

I always find it interesting to see the difference between recorded music and live music. Chasin’ Crazy is a band that you definitely need to see live. Love their music, but their live performance takes things to a whole different level. You’ve got a band that is completely polished, who play off each other during the live show.

It’s obvious that they love making music and love playing to a crowd.

Smack Dab”, written by Parker, Drew Davis and Danny Myrick, is definitely my personal favorite song by the band. It’s a tune about being “Smack Dab” in the middle of love. Don’t get much more country than that, right?

Another favorite of mine is “That’s How We Do Summertime. I think the lyrics say it all:

“Yeah it’s gonna be a hot one, so drink em if ya got em…”

Sounds good to me!

And of course I can’t forget “Trespassin’”.

I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I’ll let you check out the band, and the rest of their music, for yourself. If you’re interested in keeping up with Chasin’ Crazy, make sure you follow them on Twitter at @ChasinCrazy and on Facebook.

You can follow each of the guys individually on Twitter at , ,, ,.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Chasin’ Crazy live? What do you think of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Artist Spotlight: Runaway Angel

Posted May 19, 2016 by Kreuzer33
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While you may or may not have heard of the Canadian-based band Runaway Angel (trust me…you will soon!), members Cadence Grace, Ann Chaplin and Stacey Zegers have had success in their own right for quite some time now.

But, everything changed in late-2013 when the three women decided it was time to abandon their solo aspirations to form a trio that would take their country music careers to a new level.

Runaway

Credit: runawayangelmusic.com

Here’s a link to a great introductory video featuring the trio.

As solo acts, Grace, Chaplin and Zegers toured Canada, the United States, Europe and Britain, opening for artists such as Dean Brody, Aaron Pritchett, One More Girl, Jessie Farrell, Aaron Lines, Terri Clark, Emerson Drive, and Doc Walker. Since forming Runaway Angel, they’ve taken the stage ahead of acts like Jason Blaine, Dallas Smith, Jess Moskaluke, Dierks Bentley and Tim Hicks.

Their debut single “Our Story” was released in early 2014 and landed them as Regional Finalists in the 2014 CBC Searchlight Contest. It also got them a spot in Boots and Hearts 2014 Emerging Artist Showcase. Not bad! Their Live Video entry won them the chance to play at Lucknow’s Music in the Fields that summer and they were invited to participate in the CCMA 2014 Coast to Coast showcase series.

Runaway.1

Credit: runawayangelmusic.com

Their second single “Run Angel Run” was released to radio and digital retailers in March, 2015, and continued to grow the buzz the group has been promoting since the beginning.

Hey, the song even landed on my Top 100 of 2015!

Using their passion for social media and creative video content, Runaway Angel has cultivated a loving and dedicated fan base around the world.

Their latest single “June” was released earlier this year and their debut album “No End in Sight” is now available via the Runaway Angel website. Looks like they will also personally sign a copy for you. I want one of those! You can also purchase it on iTunes.

No End

A few other songs from the new album that you should be sure to check out include:

My Someday

Around the Bend

Tumbleweed

Heart to Break

Do What I Want

If You Only Knew

Easy

I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I’ll let you check out the band, and the rest of their music, for yourself. If you’re interested in keeping up with Runaway Angel, make sure you follow them on Twitter at @runaway_angel and on Facebook.

Angel

So what did I miss? Have you seen Runaway Angel live? What do you think of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Artist Spotlight: Waterloo Revival

Posted May 19, 2016 by Kreuzer33
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When you hear the word “Waterloo”, what do you immediately think of?

For history buffs, obviously the name Napoléon Bonaparte, the French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution, comes to mind.

But, if you’re a country music lover, then Waterloo has a slightly different point of reference. I’m talking about the up-and-coming duo Waterloo Revival.

Waterloo

For a bit of background, back when Cody Cooper met George Birge in their Austin, Texas middle school, he inspired him to express himself through music. Good thing because this took them down a path that affected both of their lives.

Later, the duo, now known as Waterloo Revival, began sampling tunes during Nashville songwriter showcases, adopting the town as their new home. They soon caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, President and CEO of Big Machine Label Group, and signed a deal with Big Machine Records just one week later.

Talk about a whirlwind!

Last year, Rolling Stone Country named the band as one of the ten country artists you need to know for the summer:

Waterloo Revival’s first single, “Hit the Road,” was textbook contemporary country — down-the-middle melodies, “whoa-oh” choruses and vague romantic imagery.  Their follow-up “Bad for You,” however, taps into country’s new fascination with funky power pop — with thrilling results. Co-written by the duo with Ross Copperman (“Real Life,” “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”) and Jon Nite (“Smoke”), “Bad for You” may be a preview of where country radio is headed. Or where Waterloo Revival is taking it.

I was lucky enough to catch Waterloo Revival last year at a KRTY show at the Rodeo Club in San Jose opening for Eric Paslay. I actually caught them briefly in the parking lot…but that’s another story to tell on another day (but the band knows what I’m talking about, right???).

I had missed the band a couple of time before due to some personal travel schedule changes, but I’m certainly glad that I caught this show. If you know me, you know that one thing that I enjoy most is when the entertainers interact with the audience. This wasn’t an issue with Waterloo Revival as they spent time between each song telling stories about how they wrote a song, or just chatting with the audience.

While “Hit the Road” and “Bad for You” have found a place on country radio, and have received a positive response from programmers, critics and listeners, Waterloo Revival has a few additional songs that could certainly find their way on the radio.

These songs include:

Summer Thing

I Could Get Used to This

Fall

Front Row

That Damn I Didn’t Give

I Love You, I Hate You, I Miss You

The band’s six song EP, Front Row, came out in March and is available now on iTunes and contains a number of the songs listed above. If you like what you’ve heard (and read), be sure to go pick it up right away.

Front

If you see Waterloo Revival on the bill anytime soon, make sure you’re there early. You don’t want to miss your chance to see this band, like I did so many times before. Make sure that you check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @WaterlooRev.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Waterloo Revival live? What do you think of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Artist Spotlight: Drew Baldridge

Posted May 18, 2016 by Kreuzer33
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Today, I’ve got a real treat for you. I first stumbled upon this up-and-coming artist a few months back when a guy by the name of Eric Burgett said to check out this friend of his, a country singer from Patoka, Illinois. I finally took the time to do a quick YouTube search and listened one night and thought “hey…this guy is pretty good.”

As it happens, a couple weeks later, I heard him again on the KRTY “On Air Music Meeting” with Nate Deaton and Julie Stevens. His name? Well it’s Drew Baldridge.

Drew

Credit: drewbaldridgemusic.com

As a bit of background, Drew is a singer songwriter at heart. According to some background research I did ahead of the show, he grew up playing basketball and baseball, but would perform the National Anthem at all his games. As a teenager, he joined a quartet at church singing bass while his father sang tenor. Later on, he played acoustic gigs at a nearby bar on Saturday nights. Not a bad way to break into the business.

In 2013, Drew signed with THiS Music, joining the company of a number of the most prominent and prolific songwriters in Nashville. Soon after, he released his debut EP, All Good and singles “BYOB” and “She’s Taken” apparently became radio staples across the Midwest. Living on the West Coast, I had yet to be exposed to him.

Known as much as a performer as a singer, Drew brings an energy-packed show to every performance. Doesn’t matter if he’s opening, or the headliner. He’ll always give you 100%. No less. Over the past few years, Drew has shared the stage with artists such as Alabama, Cole Swindell, Dustin Lynch, Jerrod Niemann, Phil Vassar, Lee Brice, Eric Paslay, Parmalee and Josh Turner among others.

Not bad company to be associated with, right?

Back in January, I was lucky enough to catch Drew at the Rodeo Club in San Jose opening for Granger Smith. I’ve got to say that I was thoroughly impressed with he and the band, so much so that I hit the merchandise table after the show and bought both his CD and EP. The setlist that night was packed full of songs that were both originals, as well as a few cover songs that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

What I loved the most about the live show was how the band was always in sync and they entertained. That’s the key word. This show was entertainment at it’s finest. You could tell they were having fun up on stage. Everyone danced together while playing. Seriously. Check out the live performance video links below.

His recent radio hit, “Dance with Ya“, which closed the set (and will certainly find a spot on my Top 100 of 2016), was the most recognizable of his own songs and in San Jose, the crowd is always sure to make artists feel welcome. Check this out. Nothing says “Welcome to California and KRTY country” quite like a front row filled with Drew Baldridge bobbleheads, right?

Bobblehead

Credit: Rudy Sabin

And yes, that’s me right behind Drew’s left hand, wearing my Oregon Ducks gear!

You can generally get an idea of how a show is going to go by the setlist. Drew doesn’t disappoint. His setlist includes songs such as his latest single “Rebound”, “God’s Front Porch“, “Tractors Don’t Roll“, and “Love on Your Body“.

He also includes a great selection of cover songs including Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance”, as well as a medley of hits from the 90s such as Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”, Smash Mouth’s “All Star”, Sugar Ray’s “Fly” and Third Eye Blind’s “Semi Charmed Life”.

Of course, what country setlist wouldn’t be complete without a few classic covers such as “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Play Something Country”?

Here’s a quick clip of the live performance of “Shut Up and Dance”.

Here’s a quick clip of the live performance of “Dance with Ya”.

During Baby Got Back, the crowd was “treated” to a little rump shaking from the four guys in the band, which seemed to go over well. We also got a little “All About That Bass” from the bass player.

Oh, did I mention the drummer, Simone Simonton? She was amazing! I mean she could flat out play. She played her heart out the entire show and her drum solo was one of the highlights of that evening for me!

DrewBand1

Drew recently announced the release of his full-length debut album titled Dirt on Us. The album is set to be released on June 10 and features 13 tracks, 11 of which Baldridge co-wrote. You might recognize a few of the songs from his previous EPs.

Drew is active on social media so make sure to check him out on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at@DrewRBaldridge. Speaking of social media, also check out the Drew Crew fan page on Facebook for news, photos and discussions about all things Drew.

Anything else you can find on his website including tour dates, merchandise, news and more.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Drew Baldridge live? What do you think of him and the band? Is the setlist I mentioned pretty common? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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