Posted tagged ‘Amen’

Artist Spotlight: Toree McGee

May 25, 2016

My 3 year old is currently in her room. Her music is turned up really loud and she’s dancing around to California Gurls by Katy Perry (yeah, I know. What’s up with that, right?).

But the song got me back to thinking about doing another spotlight on a California grown country artist. Or in this case, a “California Girl”. Let me introduce you to Toree McGee.

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Gifted with a rafter-reaching soprano range and a voice that brings out a true grit and fire, McGee describes her music as a blend of “Woodstock rock ‘n’ roll, and  sparkly country.” Interesting mix, but you’ll soon understand where she gets it from and why it works!

First a little background.

McGee’s grandparents were part of a traveling gospel quartet, and her father was a singer in what can only be described as a “garage rock band”. Her father can be credited with giving McGee her love of classic rock and her passion for music, while her mother gravitated toward classic country.

Not surprising that I enjoy her live shows (I’ve probably caught here 5-6 times now) with my professed love for classic rock and country music.

McGee has some of the strongest vocals I’ve heard in a long time. Her musical style embodies elements of her influences, ranging from the sounds of The Judds and LeAnn Rimes, to  Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith. She also embodies the vocals of Janis Joplin.

In her own words:

“I was a really big fan of Janis Joplin for a long time. I loved her uniqueness and how you could feel her emotion when she sang. But the whole rock ‘n’ roll kind of jagged edge thing wasn’t really me all the way. I always had a sunshiny personality, and I wasn’t as hardened as the rock scene was. Country music always made me happy, and everything always brought me back to that.”

McGee had her first performance as an opening act with a 30 minute set for country music superstar, Clay Walker in San Jose at the Rodeo Club, followed by another opening slot for one of my favorites: A Thousand Horses.

While she throws a lot of great cover songs into her typical setlist, McGee has a few of her own including “Run Right Back to You” and her first single, “Amen”.

Amen

“Amen”, gained airplay on Northern California radio stations and climbed to the #1 slot on 95.3 KRTY’s ‘Hot 9 @ 9’ segment. It has also gained the attention of Sirius/XM radio, as well as local news stations. The aforementioned “Amen” was released on March 31, 2015 and her full EP was officially released in October 2015. I’ve got it. You should too!

In speaking of her EP, McGee says:

“I wanted to blend my love of hard rock and country together. I have this heavy-hitting, gravelly tone I can get in my voice, and I didn’t want to lose that side of me that played in bars and grew up in bars. But country has always been my favorite genre of music. That’s where I want to be, but I want to bring a bit of that old style of rock with me.”

I mentioned her live sets earlier. Now besides her own songs, she also loves to fill her set lists with a few cover songs. Here’s just a sample of a few that I enjoy:

My Church

Girl Crush

Someone Like You

Piece of my Heart

Stay

Son of a Preacher Man

But what I enjoy the most about McGee, is her happy go lucky personality and her passion for life and her music. Nothing sums this up better than the moment she first heard herself on the radio when Randy Jones played “Amen” for the first time on KRTY. This is what it’s all about!

If you haven’t checked her out before, do so now. Also, make sure you keep up with her via her website or follow her on Twitter at @ToreeMcGee and Facebook for her latest news and concert schedule.

Don’t forget to check out her music on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.

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

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Concert Review: A Thousand Horses and Toree McGee “Smoke” the Competition

April 2, 2015

What can I say. Another KRTY concert at the Rodeo Club…another INCREDIBLE night of live music in the South Bay!

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Frankly, I got lucky this time around. I usually know a few weeks in advance when I’ll be able to catch a show in San Jose, based on my travel back and forth from Portland, Oregon. But this time, I learned the night before that I’d be in town and there was no doubt in my mind that I had to catch local singer songwriter Toree McGee, and one of my favorite, up-and-coming bands, A Thousand Horses. Literally, these guys are THE band to watch in 2015 (see further comments later). To say that I was excited by my last minute change in travel plans doesn’t do justice.

This is the second time I’ve caught Toree McGee at the Rodeo Club. Last time she was the opening act for Clay Walker.

On top of her own songs, including “Run Right Back to You”, “Might as Well be Us” and “Amen” (which has consistently been in the KRTY Hot 9 at 9 the past few weeks), she pulled off a great cover of “Kerosene” by Miranda Lambert. Who doesn’t like a great sing-a-long to end a set?

Oh yeah, there was also a few minutes during the set for what McGee called #toreeselfee time. While I wasn’t coordinated enough to take one with everyone else in the crowd, here’s mine after the show (thanks Toree and Indiana AL):

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If you haven’t checked her out before, do so now. Also, make sure you keep up with her via her website or follow her on Twitter and Facebook for her latest news and concert schedule.

Also, props to Mr. Gary Tackett, a guitarist and manager who’s worked with the likes of Merle Haggard, Billy Currington, Vern Gosdin, Eddy Raven and Tammy Cochran, who I had the opportunity to catch up with after the show. Thanks for making the trip back down to San Jose y’all!

Now it was time for the main event of the evening. In the words of Michael Buffer: “Let’s get ready to rumble!”

A Thousand Horses is a band I’ve been talking about for a good 6-8 months now…but I’m not the only one. Check out a few of these features they’ve been included in recently:

USA Today

Rolling Stone

Taste of Country

I said it before, and will say it again, this is THE band you need to watch, follow and support in 2015. 2014 may have been the year of the horse, but 2015 WILL BE the year of A Thousand Horses.

For a little background, the band consists of four core members (but their are a bunch more!):

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

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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 that should give you a good idea of what to expect when you take a listen to their music. I’ll say, though, that they have the benefit of pulling all of their classic rock talents together in a modern-country sound. Is there anything wrong with that? I don’t think so!

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Their new single, “Smoke”, is heading straight to the top of the airplay charts at radio stations across the country, and should be firmly on your playlist right now! The folks at KRTY have had “Smoke” in regular rotation for quite some time now, and as always, Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens and the rest of the crew (Randy Jones, Indiana Al etc…) have their finger on the pulse of what’s going to be hot in country music well before anyone else.

On top of “Smoke”, the band ran through a mix of some older tunes, as well as some new music off their upcoming album “Southernality”. Three of my favorites, “Tennessee Whiskey”, “Trailer Trashed” and “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” were featured on the set as well as the catchy “Landslide”. The Wednesday night crowded was also treated to two great covers of Tom Petty’s hit “I Won’t Back Down” and The Black Crowes “Hard to Handle” as their encore. Certainly another couple of highlights of the evening.

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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. I know that I sound like a broken record, but if there is one new band you NEED to see in 2015, it’s A Thousand Horses.

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.

Did you go to the show? Have you ever seen Toree McGee or A Thousand Horses live? Please share your thoughts and comments below. Feel free to share this review as well!