New Music Review: “Smoke” by A Thousand Horses

Posted January 20, 2015 by Kreuzer33
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It’s not very often that when I see a band live for the first time I am absolutely BLOWN AWAY. The latest band to do this to me: A Thousand Horses (Republic Nashville).

ATH

I had the pleasure of catching A Thousand Horses recently opening for Josh Thompson and Will Hoge at the Rodeo Club in San Jose. Nate Deaton, General Manager at KRTY, said that this was not an opening act to miss…and he was right! No joke. During the set, I sent out multiple text messages to friends to tell them that they HAD to see this band live (which they did a few days later and they felt the exact same way as I did!)

For a little background, the band consists of:

Michael Hobby – Lead Vocal
Bill Satcher – Lead Guitar
Zach Brown – Guitar and Vocal (not THAT Zac Brown)
Graham Deloach – Bass and Vocal

From their look (see photo above) to their sound, A Thousand Horses can only be described as a mix of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers and the Black Crowes. Not sure how else to describe them. But, they have the benefit of pulling all of their classic rock talents together in a modern-country sound. Nothing wrong with that!

Their new single, “Smoke” is the type of song that’s ready to jump to the top of the airplay charts at radio stations across the country, and should be firmly on your playlist right now! But don’t take my word for it, take a listen for yourself:

iTunes

Google Play

See what I mean? Great vocals. Great rhythm. It’s catchy and it’s what country radio needs right now!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2014 was the year of the horse. But I’m telling you, this band is ready to make 2015 the year of A Thousand Horses.

Don’t miss them this summer on tour with Darius Rucker, Brett Eldredge and the Brothers Osborne. Trust me. They won’t be an opening act for long! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

To keep up with the band, new music and tour news, make sure you check them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @AThousandHorses.

How the 2014 Oregon Ducks Helped Make Me a Better Father

Posted January 13, 2015 by Kreuzer33
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I’m not going to lie. This loss stings. It stings a lot. But like all things in life, you can’t let it get you down Ducks fans. Sometimes, there are more important things in life than the outcome of a football game.

My dad passed away on August 11, 2014. Those first few moments after I got the call from my brother to tell me, it felt like the end of the world. After weeks of trying to understand why this happened, and attempting to get my life back to normal, August 30 came around. This marked the beginning of the college football season. Sure, it was a game against a team perceived to be an inferior opponent (South Dakota), but it was the first bit of normalcy I had in my life since my dad’s death. As I sat quietly on the couch watching the game, alone, one by one my three kids (ages 9, 7 and 2) came and joined me.

They asked a lot of questions. “Who’s playing daddy?” “Did they score?” “Who’s winning?” I think that day was the first time I smiled in weeks.

It’s funny. My dad and I had a close father/son relationship, but it was always this sort of “unspoken word” relationship. Two things we had in common: a love of music and sports. Sure, we watched games together as a family, both in-person and on TV (and even on this thing called a radio), but there was never an emotional attachment. I remember when I was little, sitting on my dad’s lap watching a San Francisco Giants or 49ers game, but we just never had those truly bonding moments that you see on TV or in the movies. I figured that it’s probably just a fantasy that doesn’t actually happen in real life, but I have strived to be different with my kids (and I think part of that has been done both consciously and subconsciously). It’s not bad that my dad and I didn’t have this, it’s just something that I look back on and wish could have been a little different.

Which brings us to the National Championship game and the basis of this post. My kids were very excited once they got home from school and they stayed up and watched most the game with me again last night (note that the 7 year old didn’t make it into our Kreuzer “team” picture below).

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They don’t like sports all that much, but they have been to a few games with me. Mostly minor league baseball games. But I formally introduced them to Oregon football this season with that South Dakota game on August 30 and they watched a number of games with me this season. Sure, I’ve been a Ducks fan since 2002 when we first moved to Portland. But watching Oregon football this year was an opportunity for me to teach them the game. To teach them to love a team. And most importantly, to have bonding moments with them. Unfortunately, I think they got spoiled with this great team.

Last night, the two older kids were nearly in tears (like I was…not gonna lie) as the game got out of hand in the 4th quarter. They kept saying “it isn’t fair daddy.” “The Ducks are supposed to win daddy.” “Can’t we do anything.” It gave me the chance to talk about winning and losing. How there are going to be times where you have to understand that you can’t always win. During those final minutes of the game, they disappeared. I wasn’t sure where they went, and to be honest, it made me a little nervous that I couldn’t hear them.

But then they came back with these drawings in an effort to make me feel better about the loss that was about to be made official:

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I couldn’t help but smile and give them the biggest hugs I think they’ve ever had. I realized at that moment that, like I had told them just a few minutes earlier, it wasn’t about winning and losing. It was about the time we spent together over the past six months, culminating with the National Championship game in Dallas. It was about healing from personal loss. Finding that one thing that brought us together.

Even though the Ducks didn’t have the fairly tale ending that we had hoped for, we were all together. We were spending those moments on the couch that I will never, ever forget. Dealing with the hardest time of my life through college football, while it sounds crazy, had not pulled us apart, like it seemed it would in those first two weeks. It had made us stronger. In reality, looking back, the 2014 Oregon Ducks had helped make me a better father.

When I look back at the season, I can’t help but be proud of this team and the coaching staff, just as I’m proud of my own kids. What a story of inspiration. I can’t think of another team that had to battle through so many injuries, and yet found themselves winning a conference championship, a major bowl game (and not just a major bowl game, but the Granddaddy of them all: The Rose Bowl) and played for a national championship. Let’s not also forget that Marcus Mariota brought the first Heisman Trophy to the University. All great accomplishments and much of the credit goes to coach Mark Helfrich.

Sure, people will say the Ducks aren’t tough enough. They make fun of the infinite number of uniform choices (thanks Nike!) But, at the end of the day, they finished this season behind only one team: The Ohio State Buckeyes.

I have to give a lot of credit where credit is due. The Buckeyes came into this game hungry. They, like Oregon, have had to deal with their own fair share of injuries. Can you imagine winning your conference championship game by 59 points, against a good Wisconsin Badgers team, with Cardale Jones, a 3rd string quarterback? Then, to take down the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl, again with a 3rd string quarterback? You get the idea. The Buckeyes won the National Championship with a 3rd string quarterback. A guy with 3 career starts! Phenomenal.

Let’s not forget the play last night by Ezekiel Elliott. Just a sophomore, he ran the ball 36 times for 246 yards with four touchdowns. Yes. four touchdowns in the National Championship game. This was his third straight game with more than 200 yards. He was named Offensive Player of the Game and broke the record for highest rushing total by an FBS player in a championship game. Again, phenomenal.

Finally, there’s Urban Meyer. You must now consider him arguably one of the greatest head coaches in college football history. I have no problem ranking him up there with anyone on the Mount Rushmore of college coaches. What he has done at Ohio State is amazing and I can’t help but think that there could be a dynasty forming in Columbus.

As for the Ducks, I just want to reiterate that this season was not a failure. So much good came out of this year that fans should not hang their heads. I’m not…and you shouldn’t either!

I know that we played hard, through adversity, and we will be back again next year. Yes, we didn’t achieve our end goal of winning a National Championship, but we played our hardest and finished as the second best team in the country. Again, we won the Pac 12. We won the Rose Bowl. Mariota is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Don’t be sad. Be glad that you were there to witness history.

I leave you with a few of my favorite lines from the movie “The Mighty Ducks”. Yes, it’s a hockey movie, but I think that the words ring true for us today, tomorrow and forever as Oregon Ducks fans:

“Have you guys ever seen a flock of ducks flying in perfect formation? It’s beautiful. Pretty awesome the way they all stick together. Ducks never say die. Ever seen a duck fight? No way. Why? Because the other animals are afraid. They know that if they mess with one duck, they gotta deal with the whole flock. I’m proud to be a Duck, and I’d be proud to fly with any one of you. So how about it? Who’s a Duck?”

While I never attended the University of Oregon, I have made many, many friends along the way who did and I consider myself to be a Duck. Like each and every one of them, I’m damn proud to be a Duck (and a father of the three best kids in the whole world)!

Merry New Year!

Posted December 31, 2014 by Kreuzer33
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2014 was a really shitty year. Here’s to a MUCH better 2015 everyone!!!

Merry Christmas to All…

Posted December 25, 2014 by Kreuzer33
Categories: Christmas, Merry Christmas

…and to all a good night!

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Year in Review: My Top 50 Country Music Songs of 2014

Posted December 13, 2014 by Kreuzer33
Categories: Countdown, Country, Country Music, Music, Review

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It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the year that was. For me, it was a difficult year. I lost my father on August 11, and I am still trying to deal with the loss. One thing that helped me get through the past few, difficult months, is good music.

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 50 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. Also, while some of these songs may have come out in late 2013, they were ones that were predominantly played (if they made the radio) in the 2014 calendar year. Others may be primed for success in early 2015 so keep your ears open!

Either way, I’m sure that I’m going to leave 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!!!!

Unfortunately, with a list this long, I wasn’t able to go through each entry and provide background on the song, reasons for it’s placement, etc…But, feel free to leave a comment and I’d be happy to respond.

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

50. Dallas Smith, Wastin’ Gas

49. Chase Bryant, Take it on Back

48. John King, Tonight Tonight

47. Natalie Stovall and the Drive, Mason Jar

46. Maddie & Tae, Girl in a Country Song

45. Casey James, Fall Apart

44. Kip Moore, Dirt Road

43. The Swon Brothers, Later On

42. Canaan Smith, Love You Like That

41. Zac Brown Band, All Alright

40. Billy Currington, We Are Tonight

39. Randy Houser, Goodnight Kiss

38. Brantley Gilbert Featuring Thomas Rhett and Justin Moore, Small Town Throwdown

37. Justin Moore, Lettin’ the Night Roll

36. Ray Scott, Drinkin’ Beer

35. Frankie Ballard, Sunshine and Whiskey

34. Jerrod Niemann, Drink to That All Night

33. JT Hodges, Already High

32. Parmalee, Close Your Eyes

31. Sam Hunt, Leave the Night On

30. Lee Brice, I Don’t Dance

29. Scotty McCreery, See You Tonight

28. Jason Aldean, Burnin’ it Down

27. Luke Bryan, Play it Again

26. Florida Georgia Line Featuring Luke Bryan, This is How We Roll

25. George Strait, I Got a Car

24. Brantley Gilbert, Bottoms Up

23. Randy Houser, Like a Cowboy

22. Love and Theft, Night That You’ll Never Forget

21. Lady Antebellum, Compass

20. John Pardi, Up All Night

19. Cole Swindell, Chillin’ It

18. Craig Campbell, Keep Them Kisses Coming

17. Florida Georgia Line, Dirt

16. Kenny Chesney, American Kids

15. Will Hoge, Middle of America

14. James Wesley, I’m a Lonesome Fugitive

13. Maggie Rose, Looking Back Now

12. Miranda Lambert, Automatic

11. A Thousand Horses, Smoke

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/smoke-single/id952514687

10. Jake Owen, What We Ain’t Got

9. Eric Church, Give Me Back My Hometown

8. Hillbilly Vegas, Long Way Back

7. Cole Swindell, Hope You Get Lonely

6. Dustin Lynch, Where It’s At

5. Eli Young Band, Dust

4. Luke Bryan, Drink a Beer

3. Brett Eldredge, Beat of the Music

2. Dierks Bentley, Drunk on a Plane

1. Dierks Bentley, I Hold On

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!

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.


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