Posted tagged ‘Alan Jackson’

Artist Spotlight: Michael Beck

May 22, 2016

A few days ago, I was talking about California Grown country music artists. You know, the performers that we get to see here on the West Coast who have yet to be discovered in Nashville. It’s amazing how lucky we are to have such great talent on this side of the Rockies.

I was fortunate enough to catch one recently opening for James Wesley at The District in Gilroy. His name? Michael Beck.

Beck_Wesley

Beck is a local guy from the Bay Area (who actually graduated from George Fox University just 10 minutes down the road from me here in Oregon). Influenced by many of the greatest country music artists of all time, his style has a familiar feel to it, yet he comes off as both unique and highly entertaining. Backed by an energetic band, known as the Michael Beck Band, every performance is a blast and is also fun for all ages.

Trust me when I say I’d love to take my kids to one of his shows with their love for live, country performances.

Beck1

Now, let me repeat myself again for those of you who may have missed it earlier: California grown country artists don’t always get the attention they deserve, but this is an artist that Nashville needs to take notice of…and they need to take notice right away.

Man. What a voice and stage presence that screams “Forget your drink…pay attention to me”. Most young artists can come off as unpolished or even unentertaining. Beck is nothing of the sort. He makes the audience want to get up out of their seats and sing along with every song.

At the James Wesley show, he played a number of songs from his CD “Countin’ on Tennessee” (available on iTunes) as well as an assortment of cover songs from the likes of Jon Pardi (Head Over Boots) and David Lee Murphy (Dust on the Bottle). From the EP, songs such as “Tennessee”, “Gone from My Mind“, “Paradice”, “Long Gone” and “The Reason (I Love the Rain)” all have the potential to be hits. Seriously, the EP is THAT good.

TEnnessee

What are you waiting for. Go get it now!

However, one song that stood out to me, and I know is a personal favorite of Beck’s, is “Little Piece of Heaven”. To me, nothing is better than a song that is written from the heart, about someone you love. In this case, Beck’s 18 month old daughter. Haven’t seen this available online yet (it’s just too new), but in the coming months, if you’re looking for a song that’s destined to be a hit, this is it.

I mentioned that Beck loves to throw in a few covers during his live shows. Check out a few of them below:

Head Over Boots

Cruise

Copperhead Road

Gone Country

Boot Scootin Boogie

Friends in Low Places

Beck2

If you want to learn more about this up-and-coming artist, be sure to visit his website, where you can also pick up the CD. Also check out the entire Michael Beck Band on Facebook for more information on news and upcoming shows. These guys are amazing!

BeckBand

Hey…how about a couple shows up here in Oregon?? Would love to introduce the Pacific Northwest to some real, California country music.

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

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Artist Spotlight: The Springs

May 19, 2016

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.

Springs1

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.

springsband

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.

Year in Review: My Top 100 Country Music Songs of 2015

December 4, 2015

It’s that time of year again where I like to take a look back at my favorite country music songs of the year. We’re into the home stretch so now is as good a time as any, right?

Now, let me preface this list as I always do.

  • I’m not a professional music reviewer.
  • I don’t get paid to promote artists.
  • I don’t go by Billboard or radio airplay charts.

Got it? Good. Let’s get going. My list which consists of the top 100 songs that I loved over the past year (or so). The 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.

Now you might notice that a lot of mainstream, radio hits by major artists are not included. No reason except for the fact that my list is not based on how famous you are. Simple as that. I listen to the radio all day long, but a lot of the songs that are played just get played too often. I get burned out. Or, I hear them so often that I change the station. For that reason, those songs may or may not be on my list.

Frankly, it’s my personal list which includes the songs that I love and want to hear (but please feel free to sway me in your direction if I left a song off or ranked a song too high/low).

You probably heard some of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local station. Others may not have been played much (if at all) when they should have been, in my own, personal opinion. You’ll note quite a few songs on the list that haven’t even been played on the radio. If you see those…be sure to take a listen!

Also, while some of these songs may have come out in late 2014, they were ones that were predominantly played (if they made the radio) in the 2015 calendar year. Others may be primed for success later next year so, like I’ve said before, keep your ears open!

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!!!!

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

Now, without further ado, let’s get this party started with a three-way tie at #100:

(T) 100. “Amen“, Toree McGee

(T) 100. “CRUSH“, The Darlins

(T) 100. “Kids with Cars“, Dallas Smith

99. “Lovestruck“, George Ducas

98. “Giving it All“, Haley & Michaels

97. “Trouble Maker“, LANco

96. “Upside Down“, Dean Brody

95. “Hit the Road“, Waterloo Revival

94. “Hey Time“, The Springs

93. “Move On“, Clare Dunn

92. “Run Angel Run“, Runaway Angel

91. “Hanging on a Lie“, Striking Matches

90. “I Met a Girl“, William Michael Morgan

89. “Drink Drink Drink“, Cloverdayle

88. “Til the Summer’s Gone“, Emerson Drive

87. “Trespassin’“, Chasin’ Crazy

86. “Country Proud“, The Stickers

85. “I Am Invincible“, Cassadee Pope

84. “The Driver“, Charles Kelley (Featuring Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay)

83. “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face“, Craig Wayne Boyd

82. “Miss You the Most“, Natalie Stovall and the Drive

81. “Kiss By Kiss“, Kristen Kelly

80. “Go Live Your Life“, Wade Hayes

79. “Next Boyfriend“, Lauren Alaina

78. “By the Way“, Lindsay Ell

77. “Ray Bans“, JT Hodges

76. “Me and Johnny Cash“, Rainey Qualley

75. “Clean Hands” Kyle Douglas

74. “Ain’t Always Thirsty“, Ray Scott

73. “White Lightning“, The Cadillac Three

72. “On To Something Good“, Ashley Monroe

71. “Fix“, Chris Lane

70. “Bad for You“, Waterloo Revival

69. “Blue Bandana” Jerrod Niemann

68. “It All Started With a Beer“, Frankie Ballard

67. “Kiss You in the Morning“, Michael Ray

66. “Live Forever“, The Band Perry

65. “Folks Like Us“, Montgomery Gentry

64. “Ain’t No Trucks in Texas“, Ronnie Dunn

63. “Lose My Mind“, Brett Eldredge

62. “I See You“, Luke Bryan

61. “My Mistake“, Cam

60. “Shake it Like a Hillbilly“, Hillbilly Vegas

59. “Tomorrow Tonight“, Craig Campbell

58. “Gonna Know We Were Here“, Jason Aldean

57. “Crooked Halo“, Annie Bosko

56. “Going Out Like That“, Reba

56. “Sippin’ on Fire“, Florida Georgia Line

54. “Hole in a Bottle“, Canaan Smith

53. “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey“, Cole Swindell

52. “Run Away with You“, Big & Rich

51. “Raise ‘Em Up“, Keith Urban featuring Eric Church

50. “A Guy Walks Into a Bar“, Tyler Farr

49. “Take Your Time“, Sam Hunt

48. “Better Than You Left Me“, Mickey Guyton

47. “Confession“, Florida Georgia Line

46. “My Church“, Maren Morris

45. “Standards“, Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers

44. “Backroad Song“, Granger Smith

43. “Little Toy Guns“, Carrie Underwood

42. “Riser“, Dierks Bentley

41. “Crushin’ It“, Brad Paisley

40. “Save it for a Rainy Day“, Kenny Chesney

39. “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16“, Keith Urban

38. “Nothin’ Like You“, Dan & Shay

37. “I Got the Boy“, Jana Kramer

36. “American Flags in Black & White“, John Moreland

35. “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial“, A Thousand Horses

34. “I’m to Blame“, Kip Moore

33. “Nobody to Blame“, Chris Stapleton

32. “Hell of a Night“, Dustin Lynch

31. “Let Me See Ya Girl“, Cole Swindell

30. “Already Callin’ You Mine“, Parmalee

29. “Jim and Jack and Hank“, Alan Jackson

28. “Biscuits“, Kacey Musgraves

27. “She Don’t Love You“, Eric Paslay

26. “Love Me Like You Mean It”, Kelsea Ballerini

25. “Little Bit of You“, Chase Bryant

24. “It Feels Good“, Drake White

23. “Young & Crazy“, Frankie Ballard

22. “Buy Me a Boat“, Chris Janson

21. “Don’t It“, Billy Currington

20. “Head Over Boots“, Jon Pardi

19. “Traveller“, Chris Stapleton

18. “Die a Happy Man“, Thomas Rhett

17. “Country“, Mo Pitney

16. “One Hell of an Amen“, Brantley Gilbert

15. “Whiskey on my Breath“, Love and Theft

14. “All Country on You“, Austin Webb

13. “Break Up with Him“, Old Dominion

12. “Like a Wrecking Ball“, Eric Church

11. “Anything Goes“, Florida Georgia Line

10. “I Love This Life“, LoCash

9. “Trailer Hitch“, Kristian Bush

8. “Burning House“, Cam

7. “Hooked Up“, James Wesley

6. “Crash and Burn“, Thomas Rhett

5. “House Party“, Sam Hunt

4. “Homegrown“, Zac Brown Band

3. “Girl Crush“, Little Big Town

2. “Stay a Little Longer“, Brothers Osborne

1. “Smoke“, A Thousand Horses

Well that’s it. My Top 100 of 2015! I know, it was a longer list than normal this year. But, I wanted to be sure to give everyone their due.

Where did I hit the nail on the head? Where did the arrow miss the mark?

I want to hear from you!

Let me know in the comments below!

September 11: Never Forget

September 11, 2010

I can’t believe that it has been 9 years since the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

I can still remember sitting at the airport in Burbank, waiting for my then fiancee, now wife, to land on her flight from San Jose. Quite a few anxious moments!

Where were you when the world stopped turning…that September day?

George Jones Calls Out Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift

November 3, 2009

Seems like George Jones still fears change. The country music legend is speaking out against up and coming stars such as Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and others, saying that they need to leave country music and find a genre that better suits them.

Yes, today’s country music isn’t the same as traditional country music, but what “The Possum” needs to learn is that people change, styles change and music changes.

Sorry George. I’ve been a fan of both traditional and modern country music and if it reverts back, I think you’ll lose at least one fan (me). I enjoy a lot of the country songs on the radio today, but when I hear new music by George Strait, and even Alan Jackson lately, I have to turn the station. Their songs just don’t do anything for me anymore.

These days, I’m more of a fan of singers such as Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, Toby Keith and Brad Paisley and bands like Trailer Choir and Montgomery Gentry. These are artists who can reach across different genres of music and reach a larger audience. In Jones interview, he said that he had no intention of collaborating with any musician of another genre.

We’ll see what happens! I have a lot of respect for Jones, but right now, he’s coming off like a grumpy old man.

From The Boot:

George Jones says he’s been robbed. Not of his personal belongings, but of something perhaps even more valuable: his role as a country singer.

Referring to some of today’s biggest stars, including Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift, the country legend tells the Associated Press, “they’ve stolen our identity.” And, he maintains, they need to give it back and move on to another genre. “They had to use something that was established already, and that’s traditional country music. So what they need to do really, I think, is find their own title, because they’re definitely not traditional country music.”

Grand Ole Opry Announcer Hal Durham Dies

March 31, 2009

Famed Grand Ole Opry announcer Hal Durham has died in Florida at the age of 77.

The Tennessee native was with the legendary country music program for 32 years, beginning his stint as the voice of the Opry in 1964.

From The Boot:

While overseeing operations at the Grand Ole Opry, Durham was credited with giving it a modernized facelift. He allowed full drum sets on the Opry stage for the first time and lessened the attendance requirements of its members, allowing artists with packed tour dates to become members without having to perform on the Opry several times per month. That opened the doors for Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Reba McEntire and Ricky Skaggs to all become Opry members during Durham’s time in office.

He also served as general manager from 1978 – 1993 and as program director of the Opry’s radio home, WSM.

Concert Review: Phil Vassar Previews His “Six Pack Summer” in San Jose, California

August 7, 2008

As a bit of background for those of you who are new to the country music scene, Phil Vassar has written hits for Alan Jackson with Right On The Money, Tim McGraw with For A Little While and My Next Thirty Years and Jo Dee Messina’s hits Bye Bye and “I’m Alright. Vassar released his debut album in 2000 which produced five hit singles in the U.S. and was certified gold. Helped by constant air play on country radio, GAC and CMT, Vassar has risen to stardom over the past decade.

This night was electric. Previously, I saw Vassar 3 weeks after 9/11 at the KZLA country bash in Irvine, California. This night was special because it was one of only two CD release party’s for his “Prayer of a Common Man” CD. KRTY brought Vassar to Club Rodeo in San Jose for this one night event. Tickets were only $10 so this was a must see show of a great performer and song writer, not to mention that the $10 included an autographed copy of the new CD as well!

As the audience packed in, members of the KRTY team took the stage in preparation for Vassar’s arrival. When he took the stage, the crowd went crazy! He opened the show with the first hit off his new CD, “Love is a Beautiful Thing” which got the crowd going and followed that up with a past hit “Six Pack Summer”. The crowd was into this show! Vassar took audience requests the entire night which was a pleasant surprise. Many times, artists tend to fill their set list with new songs to promote the new album but Vassar took the approach of having a great time with the audience and let us choose the songs that were played. Class act!

The audience was into the show from the very start as Vassar mixed classic hits, with new songs and a few “special” songs courtesy of Grease. The highlights of the show included “Bye Bye”, “I’m Alright”, “Carlene”, “Just Another Day in Paradise” and “Little Red Rodeo” which are always crowd favorites. Vassar concluded the show with a great finale with Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” which was a perfect ending to a great show.

The show had very high expectations and did not disappoint. Vassar has an incredible stage presence which was obvious from the moment he first appeared. I have not been to a concert in years where every person in the audience was able to sing every word to every song and it was clear that Vassar was very impressed by the crowd.

In addition, my wife had her hat signed by Vassar after the show and that was an extra, added bonus.
Phil Vassar plays a great set list. I loved that he played all of his greatest hits. This was the best part of the show for the crowd. If Phil Vassar comes to your town, make sure that you make an appointment to go see the show. You will not be disappointed. If you went to this, or any other Phil Vassar show, let me know your thoughts.