Posted tagged ‘Bay Area’

Concert Review: Jana Kramer and Mo Pitney Have a “Good Time Comin’ On” in San Jose, California

October 23, 2015

So it’s approaching midnight and I just got back from another fantastic KRTY show at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California. Tonight, the capacity crowd was treated to an evening of country music with two great, up-and-coming artists: Mo Pitney and Jana Kramer.


Around 8:30, Pitney took the stage with his band in tow. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Pitney play for quite some time now, so I’m glad that my latest travel plans worked out this time around.

As background, Pitney was born in Cherry Valley, Illinois. He began playing drums at age six, guitar at age twelve, and later played in a bluegrass band with his brother and a friend. Eventually, Pitney moved to Nashville where he signed to Curb Records.

Last December, Pitney released the single “Country”, which he co-wrote with Bill Anderson and Bobby Tomberlin. I remember the first time I heard it. It was one of those songs that just jumps out and makes you say “wow. This is big. This is a game-changer.” And it certainly was. The song went back to traditional country roots and put Pitney on the map. I heard country music fans talking about it day in and day out. His latest single, “Boy & a Girl Thing”, was released to country radio this summer and it’s certainly another winner.


Credit: KRTY

During his set, Pitney ran though the aforementioned songs as well as a few personal favorites including “Clean Up on Aisle Five” and “I Met Merle Haggard Today”, a song he wrote after what can only be described as the “religious experience” of meeting the man himself. Nothing like turning a chance meeting with a living legend into a great song. That’s what country music is all about, right? On top of that, the audience was also treated to a fun cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me.” How can you not have fun with that one?

I have to say, Pitney may very well be the future of country music. I was quite impressed with the set. Pitney is certainly a rising star and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store from him. It’s always nice to see a traditional country musician step to the forefront, especially in a day and age where it doesn’t always get the airplay it deserves. Make sure you check out his website and give him a follow on Twitter at @MoPitney and on Facebook.

After a brief break, it was time for the main event of the evening: Jana Kramer!

You may know Kramer from her roles of Noelle Davenport on Friday Night Lights and Alex Dupre on One Tree Hill. But she began her country music career back in 2012 with the release of her debut single “Why Ya Wanna” which appeared on her self-titled debut album for Elektra Records…and she hasn’t looked back!

Credit: KRTY

Credit: KRTY

One thing I noticed right away about Kramer is her smile. You can tell that she truly loves what she is doing as a musician, playing for her fans. Not once during her set did I see that smile come off her face. OK, maybe for a second during the encore when she was singing “I Hope it Rains” right to me. But, come on, how can you keep a smile to that song, right?

Her entire set was fantastic. A great mix of songs from her first record, and her latest album “thirty one”. Songs like “Why You Wanna”, “Whiskey”, “I Got the Boy”, “Don’t Touch My Radio”, and “Boomerang” filled the high energy set list. We were also treated to a fun track from her new album, “Said No One Ever”. The sing-a-long aspect of this song was great and the audience was really into it. Oh, did I mention that we also got a killer cover of Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic”? Dare I say…awesome?

If you’ve been living under a rock, and haven’t seen Kramer live, make sure that you clear your calendar the next time she’s in town. What a talent. Her vocals. Her stage presence. The way she interacts with her fans. Oh yeah, did I mention that she performed while more than 7 months pregnant? Did I leave that out? Seriously. I can’t remember the last time I was this impressed by a solo artist. Kramer is definitely going places and I can’t wait until the next time she comes to town!

Interested in keeping up with her? Make sure you visit her website and check her out on Twitter at @kramergirl and on Facebook.


As I sit here reminiscing on another great night of country music, I have to give thanks, and the highest praise to KRTY. As always, thank you to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson, Gary Scott Thomas, Randy Jones, Indiana Al, Jamie Jackson, Danika Gurley, Jenna Johnson etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay. I’d love to see any other so called “local country station” in the Bay Area try to do that!

Did you go to the show? Have you seen Mo Pitney and/or Jana Kramer live? Let me know your thoughts below.

Two Earthquakes…One Day!

October 20, 2011

Rockin’ and Rollin’ here in the Bay Area today with two earthquakes about 6 hours apart. 4.0 and 3.8. YEEEEE HAAAWWWW!

From the Associated Press:

A quake with a preliminary magnitude of 3.8 struck about two miles east of Berkeley at 8:16 p.m., the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Thursday night’s quake came nearly six hours after a magnitude 4.0 earthquake hit in the same area.

Berkeley police said there were no reports of damage or injuries from either quake.

The second temblor was strong enough to knock photographs off the wall and glasses onto the floor at the home of Diane Coppini, who lives in nearby Emeryville.

“It was a nice jolt,” Coppini said in describing the quake.

Earthquake, Tsunami Rock Japan; West Coast Next?

March 11, 2011

A magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck offshore of Japan overnight and it was followed for hours by more than 50 aftershocks, many of them measured more than magnitude 6.0 on the Richter Scale. Much of the damage, though, was caused by a massive Tsunami which brought waves of more than 23 feet high ashore.

While there is a Tsunami warning here in the Bay Area, it’s anticipated that the surge will only be 1-3 feet, far less than the waves that hit Japan overnight. Evacuation orders have been issued along the entire West Coast, from Northern California up to Alaska.

From the Associated Press:

A ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes on record slammed Japan’s eastern coast Friday, killing hundreds of people as it swept away ships, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control.

Hours later, the tsunami hit Hawaii but did not cause major damage. Warnings blanketed the Pacific, putting areas on alert as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West coast. In northeastern Japan, the area around a nuclear power plant was evacuated after the reactor’s cooling system failed.

Police said 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai, the city in Miyagi prefecture, or state, closest to the epicenter. Another 110 were confirmed killed, with 350 people missing. Police also said 544 people were injured.

Concert Review: The Dirt Drifters, The Jane Dear Girls and James Otto

February 12, 2011

Just another Friday night at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, CA? Not quite…

My Buddy Travis and I Enjoying Intermission

Last night, a capacity crowd was entertained with 3+ hours of music from a mix of up and coming acts and an established superstar. While I was excited to see James Otto for a 2nd time (I’ve previously seen him as the opening act for Toby Keith and Trace Adkins),  I was looking very much forward to seeing the openers for this particular show…The Jane Dear Girls and The Dirt Drifters.

As the 9 o’clock hour struck, and following another great session of line dancing lessons from Adam the Dancing Cowboy (seriously, if you need to learn how to line dance in the South Bay Area, you need to check this guy out), KRTY’s Randy Jones, celebrating his birthday, hit the stage to introduce The Dirt Drifters. I discovered this band online a couple of months ago and had high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed.

The band consists of lead singer/guitarist Matt Fleener, vocalist/guitarist Ryan Fleener, vocalist/guitarist Jeff Middleton, bassist Jeremy Little and drummer Nick Diamond. These five artists, signed to the Warner Bros. label, started the night off right with a mix of country, rock and even some R&B that got the crowd moving.

The Dirt Drifters

With songs such as “Something Better”, “Call in Sick”, “As Soon as I Get You Alone” and “Married Men in Motel Rooms”, I think I’m safe in saying that these guys have a huge future ahead of them in the country music business. The passion that they have for their music comes out in their live performance and I don’t see them as an opening act for much longer. If you get the opportunity, please be sure to call, email or Tweet your local country station and tell them to put The Dirt Drifters on the radio. You won’t be disappointed. The only disappointment I had from last night’s show, other then I don’t believe they played “Guys Like Me”, was when they’re set was complete.

After a short intermission, we were treated to the music of Susie Brown and Danelle Leverett, otherwise known as The Jane Dear Girls. When they started out, the girls were each pursuing solo country music careers when a friend suggested that Danelle watch Susie perform at a local, Nashville club. Before too long, the two made an attempt at writing together and from the moment they finished their first song together, they knew that they were a duo.

To be fair, it’s very difficult to give an honest opinion of the duo because they unfortunately had some technical difficulties throughout their performance, both with their microphones and instruments. This wasn’t ANY fault of theirs but it was obvious during the set that it was affecting their performance.

Through these issues, Brown and Leverett remained as professional as possible and worked through a great mix of ballads and crowd pleasing, party songs. Opening with their latest single, “Shotgun Girl”, The Jane Dear Girls set the pace for their performance and had the crowd singing and dancing along. The duo also played songs that are sure to be future hits including “Merry Go Round” and the slowed down, melodic “Saturdays and Septembers.” They told the crowd that “you won’t hear many sappy love songs”, but “Saturdays and Septembers” is definitely a song that shows the range that the duo has and is a song that I know we’ll be hearing on country radio in the near future (and trust me, you need to hear Susie on the fiddle…wow!)

Closing with “Wildflower”, their biggest hit to date, The Jane Dear Girls brought the decibel level to its loudest point of the night (so far) as both women and men alike sang along to the tune that landed the act an ACM nomination for best vocal duo. While they have some tough competition with the likes of The  Band Perry, after seeing their live performance, I can say that they are, without a doubt, a duo that is ready to take the country by storm (much like the Dixie Chicks did back in the late 90’s).

At the conclusion of their set, it was obvious that Danelle was still visibly upset over the issues that plagued the group from their opening number. Although the microphone problems seemed to be resolved by the end, there were still some problems with her instrument. After signing a quick autograph for a fan, she took off, off the stage and didn’t look back. Hopefully this experience won’t keep the group from coming back to San Jose again soon.

Following one final intermission, it was time for the headlining act of the evening, Mr. James Otto. Seeing Otto walk out on stage, you can’t help but notice his large stature and stage presence as he seems to fill the room with his larger than life personality. From the first song of the evening “These Are the Good Ole Days”, Otto set the pace of a night that would be filled of nearly every genre music you could imagine.

James Otto

Otto treated the crowd to all of his hits including “Groovy Little Love Summer Song”, “Lover Man” and his number one single “Just Got Started Loving You”. But what may have been the highlight of the evening was the stirring rendition of his latest single “Soliders and Jesus”. Prior to the song, Otto brought a woman up from the crowd who was a Gold Star Mother. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a Gold Star Mother is a woman who has lost a son or daughter in service of our country. This mother recently lost a son in Iraq and it was an emotional few moments as they embraced and Otto kept her onstage as he played the ballad. In looking around the crowd, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, yours truly included.

Another great night at the Rodeo Club with three acts who didn’t disappoint. I was thoroughly impressed by The Dirt Drifters and also look forward to hearing more from The Jane Dear Girls. I hope that despite some of the technical issues experienced during the show, that each of these acts will consider a return trip to the South Bay.

Did you go to the show? What did you think? Have you seen any of these acts in-person before? Would you see again? All comments are welcome!

Thanks again to KRTY for bringing the show to San Jose.

Explosion, Fire Rock San Bruno

September 9, 2010

All of the news channels here in the Bay Area are tuned to a massive fire which was apparently caused by a natural gas explosion in a residential neighborhood of San Bruno, a suburb of San Francisco.

Witnesses are reporting that a loud explosion was felt just before the flames erupted around 6 p.m.

Live coverage can be found on KPIX.

From the Associated Press:

The fire is burning in the town of San Bruno a few miles from San Francisco International Airport, prompting speculation it was sparked by a plane crash. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the agency has no record of a crash. Spokesmen for local airports also said they knew of no missing planes.

Pacific Gas and Electric, the utility company that serves the San Francisco Bay area, is looking into the possibility of a natural gas explosion but had no additional information, said spokesman J.D. Guidi.

Live footage on KPIX-TV showed at least a dozen homes destroyed, with flames reaching as high as 60 feet in the air as the fire fueled itself on the burning homes. Planes and helicopters flew over the neighborhood dumping water in an effort to stanch the flames.

From KPIX:

San Bruno Fire Chief Dennis Haag told CBS 5 that he believes a high pressure gas line blew just after 6 p.m. Thursday evening.

Pacific Gas and Electric is looking into the possibility of a natural gas explosion but had no additional information, said spokesman J.D. Guidi.

Live footage from Chopper 5 showed at least a dozen homes destroyed, with flames reaching as high as 60 feet in the air as the fire fueled itself on the burning homes. Planes and helicopters flew over the neighborhood dumping water in an effort to stanch the flames.

A person who answered the phone at Seton Medical Center in nearby Daly City but did not want to give her name said the hospital was on a triage alert because of people being brought to the hospital with injuries caused by the fire. She could provide no details about the number of injured people.

Hi Everyone…

June 13, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve written to say hello to everyone out there. Thought that midnight on a Sunday night/Monday morning was as good a time as any!🙂

How are y’all? Hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of summer!

Me…I’m getting ready for vacation. Come this Friday…I’m outta here for ten days! We’ll see how often I update the Web site and my Facebook and Twitter accounts!

We’re taking that “short” fourteen drive from the Bay Area to the Pacific Northwest. To say I’m excited is an understatement. It’s been almost a year since the kids saw some of the family up there so they are in for a surprise. Pictures and videos don’t do justice!

Anyways…just wanted to say. Hope all is well! Feel free to drop a line in the comments section!

8.8 Earthquake Rocks Chile

February 27, 2010

According to the USGS, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake has struck central Chile. The earthquake’s epicenter was located near the city of Concepcion.

8.8 is a huge number! I was hearing 8.3 at first, and that number was soon upgraded to 8.5. I can’t imagine what it must have been like. I remember the Loma Prieta quake in the Bay Area as being pretty big and that was only a 7.0.

A tsunami warning was issued for Chile and Peru by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and a tsunami watch was issued for Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Antarctica.

I even read that a watch will be in place of the US West Coast but we’ll see if that watch is necessary in the coming hours.

From the Associated Press:

A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake capable of tremendous damage struck central Chile early Saturday, shaking the capital for a minute and half and setting off a tsunami. Buildings collapsed and phone lines and electricity were down, making the extent of the damage difficult to determine.

The quake hit 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santiago, and at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers) at 3:34 a.m. (0634 GMT; 1:34 a.m. EST), the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Its epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.

Buildings shook and collapsed in Santiago. With phone lines down, confirmation of damage was difficult elsewhere, especially further south toward the epicenter. The quake was felt in Argentina as well.

From Fox News:

A Reuters witness reported shaking buildings and loss of electricity in Santiago, which is north of the epicenter.

The earthquake struck 56 miles northeast of Concepcion at a depth of 34 miles at 3:34 a.m./1:34 EST/0643 GMT. The quake was initially reported at a magnitude of 8.3.

The Reuters witness reported a very strong shaking lasted for 10 to 30 seconds.

From Reuters:

The USGS said the earthquake struck 56 miles northeast of the city of Concepcion at a depth of 34 miles at 3:34 a.m./1:34 EST. Its magnitude was initially reported at 8.3 then 8.5.

An earthquake of magnitude 8 or over is classified as a “great” earthquake that can cause “tremendous damage,” according to the USGS website. The earthquake that devastated Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on January 12 was rated at magnitude 7.0.

According to a 2002 census, Concepcion is one of the largest cities in Chile with a population of around 670,000. The quake knocked out power in nearby coastal areas.