Posted tagged ‘Big Machine’

Concert Review: Eli Young Band, Ryan Follese, Jackie Lee and Brennin “Turn it On” in San Jose, California

November 6, 2016

Two hours sleep. Yes, I’m writing my latest concert review on only two hours sleep.

However, it was definitely worth it.

For the second night in a row, I was treated to an amazing show at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California, featuring some great up-and-coming talent, as well as one of my all time favorites: The Eli Young Band. Joining the headliners were Ryan Follese, Jackie Lee and Brennin, and as with other KRTY-hosted shows, this one certainly did not disappoint.

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As the clock struck 9 o’clock, Brennin Hunt (Brennin) was the first artist to take the stage. Brennin is a singer, songwriter, producer and actor who hails from Harrah, Oklahoma. To chase his lifelong dreams, he moved to Nashville back in 2007 and soon after landed his first publishing deal. He began writing and performing songs for numerous television shows while touring and opening for artists across the United States and Canada.

If you like artists such as Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt, with their blend of country and pop, then Brennin is right up your alley. Brennin gained notoriety in 2011 as a contestant on the first season of Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor” and again in 2015 when he made a guest appearance on ABC’s “Nashville”.

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Currently signed with William Morris Endeavor and Deluge Music Publishing, his latest song, “I Can’t Do This” appears on Vince Gill’s 2016 album Down To My Last Bad Habit. His self-titled, 6 song EP, is available now.

When Brennin first took the stage, I could hear all the girls around me talking about one thing: his looks. But what I noticed about Brennin was how he immediately engaged the crowd with his guitar and voice, while at the same time, showcasing great songwriting skills. Once he had finished his first song, the same girls who merely mentioned his looks just a few minutes earlier, were now saying that they were surprised that he wasn’t just another cute guy with a guitar. The guy is talented, that’s for sure!

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If you haven’t heard his music before, I recommend listening to songs such as his latest single “Lose My Cool”, “Slow Rise” and a favorite of the audience, “Strut”. Here’s his “Promo Performance” of “Lose My Cool”:

Make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @BrenninMusic and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

After just a few minute respite, KRTY General Manager Nate Deaton took the stage to introduce the second act of the evening, Jackie Lee. Funny story here. Lee wasn’t even on the bill originally, but Deaton found himself sitting next to him on his flight back from the CMA Awards and invited him to play a few songs ahead of Eli Young Band and Ryan Follese. Naturally, he accepted.

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As background, Lee was only six years old when he stepped into a professional recording studio to cut songs with famed country songwriter, musician and producer Carson Chamberlain (Keith Whitley/ Easton Corbin). Lee’s father was a devoted fan of traditional country music, while his mother enjoyed pop hits from the 1980s. As a youngster, he  found himself influenced by everyone from Bob Seger to Justin Timberlake.

After high school, Lee headed to Nashville, and at the age of 19, he signed a recording contract with Republic Nashville. However the deal with Republic ended without the artist releasing anything for the label, and Lee was looking for another chance. He heard a demo of a song called “She Does,” and was curious about the tune until he was told Kenny Chesney had plans to record it. Chesney eventually passed on the tune, which worked out in Lee’s favor when he landed a new record deal with the independent Nashville label Broken Bow. Lee and his team decided “She Does” was the perfect song for his recording debut, and when his version was released in the fall of 2014, it soon landed on the Billboard Country Airplay charts.

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While the crowd was only treated to two songs on this evening, Lee certainly earned new fans. I would say that I was one of them, but that would be a lie. I actually became a fan of Lee’s at an earlier Rodeo Club performance. The guy can sing and he definitely knows how to make an impression on a crowd. I could hear folks all around me talking about how impressed they were with this young, up-and-comer.

His new single, “Getting Over You”, is just hitting country radio and made quite an impression on the audience. Make sure to keep an eye out for it and start requesting it right away. This song has what it takes to quickly climb the charts.

Take a listen:

Make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @JackieLeeMusic and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

Next up was Big Machine Label Group recording artist Ryan Follese (pronounced “fall-uh-ZAY”). As I have mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I first came across Follese a little over a month ago when I heard KRTY promoting that he would be in San Jose opening up for both Cassadee Pope and Eli Young Band. I’m certainly glad that I didn’t miss either show because Follese is something special. When I talk about artists that you need to drop what you are doing immediately and take a listen to, Follese is one of them.

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For a little background, Follese  co-wrote each of the six tracks on his self-titled debut solo EP, the Ryan Follese EP, including “Put A Label On It,” which hit country radio in October as his first official single and, naturally, was the closing song of the evening. We were also treated to his summer vacation anthem “Float Your Boat.” While the aforementioned songs might have received the notoriety to date, we also had the opportunity to hear a few more, great tracks from the EP such as “Wilder“, “One Thing Right” and “Lose a Little Sleep“.

This might surprise you, but Follese originally hit it big on the pop scene. During his successful run fronting the band Hot Chelle Rae, Follese co-wrote their #1 hit “Tonight, Tonight” and toured around the globe, featuring arena dates with none other than Taylor Swift. What really stands out for me is how Follese has seamlessly transitioned from pop-rock to country music. I’ve seen a number of artists go the other direction, and a few that have tried to join the country ranks, but I have a feeling that we’ll look back in a few years and realize that Follese made the right decision.

It also doesn’t hurt that Follese grew up surrounded by the music of his country music songwriting parents, Keith and Adrienne. Their songwriting catalogue includes songs that he covered on this evening including Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That”, Faith Hill’s “The Way You Love Me” and Martina McBride’s “I Love You”.

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Watching Follese command the stage, it was clear that he is a polished artist who knows how to play the crowd. From the very first note, he had the crowd singing along to every note. That’s one thing that many country artists lack when they first launch their careers.

Make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @RyanFollese and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

Finally, around 10:15 p.m., it was time for the main event of the evening: Eli Young Band. To give you a little background on the guys, Eli Young Band is composed of members who met while students at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. They include:

  • Mike Eli (vocals and guitar)
  • James Young (guitar)
  • Jon Jones (bass guitar)
  • Chris Thompson (drums)

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Mike Eli and James Young met at the University of North Texas and became dorm roommates their freshman year. They played guitar and eventually began writing and singing songs together. They originally formed the acoustic duo, Eli & Young, while attending school. Thompson and Jones joined them later on and the rest is history!

With the 2011 release of their Republic Nashville debut, Life at Best, the Eli Young Band scored their first No. 1 hit with the aforementioned “Crazy Girl.” The double platinum single became the most played country song of the year on Billboard’s 2011 year end chart. The band’s follow up single (and one of my all-time favorite songs), “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” became their second #1 and was certified platinum. It earned the band Grammy nods for Best Duo/Group Performance and for Best Country Song as well as Single of the Year and Song of the Year nominations from both the CMA and ACM.

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In recording 10,000 Towns, the Eli Young Band gathered songs from Nashville’s top songwriters, including Craig Wiseman, David Lee Murphy, Jon Randall and Will Hoge, and the band wrote half of the songs on the new album themselves. Their careful and detailed approach to writing and finding the very best songs for the new album paid off quickly as their first single off the album, “Drunk Last Night,” became the band’s third #1 hit. The second single, “Dust,” was the #1 most added song on the chart the first week with more than stations on board across the country. The song, my favorite on the latest album, is a rock-tinged number about a girl leaving small town life behind and taking charge of her future.

Their latest single, “Saltwater Gospel”, ranks up there (in my opinion) as one of their best songs to date. The song isn’t one of those Kenny Chesney toes-in-the-sand, beer-in-your-hand kind of summer anthem. It’s more like spending a Sunday morning at the “Church of the Beach”. And it works! Here’s the video, which by the way, was shot just down the road from me at one of my favorite places, Cannon Beach, Oregon:

Ok. So I’ve talked a lot about the band, their background, and their music. But this bears repeating: if you are looking for a legitimate, hard rocking, country band, then the Eli Young Band is it. There are not a lot of bands touring today who I can put in the same bucket as them. Their live show is a real treat. These guys give it their all from the very first note and don’t quite until their set is complete.

What I love is that they mix their new songs with the hits. They don’t shove a show full of new music down your throat, like many do these days. The band understands the needs and wants of their audience. They want to hear songs like “Even if it Breaks Your Heart”, “Dust”, “Crazy Girl”, “Drunk Last Night” and “Always the Love Songs”. They get it. Before they were country music superstars, they were country music fans. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t introduce you to new music. And that’s not a bad thing. They’ll even throw in a cover song or two. A little “Dust on the Bottle”. Some “Learning to Fly” from Tom Petty. I even heard some Fleetwood Mac guitar riffs. Nothing wrong with that at all.

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To summarize, the Eli Young Band tore down the house and the Rodeo Club will never be the same. I can honestly say that I got my money’s worth and more. There are not many acts currently on tour who put on a show like these guys. When they come to your town, make sure you check them out!

Also, you can find their entire catalog of music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. You should definitely keep up with them via their website or follow them on Twitter at @EliYoungBand and Facebook for their latest news and concert schedule.

Finally, as always I have to give thanks to the staff at KRTY. Thank you to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson, Gary Scott Thomas, Randy Jones, Tony Michaels, Indiana Al, etc…for once again bringing the biggest and best talent to the South Bay. No one does it quite like you guys, and it is appreciated more than you could ever know!

Were you at the show? Have you seen Eli Young Band, Ryan Follese, Jackie Lee or Brennin live? Let me know your thoughts on these talented musicians in the comments section below.

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Cassadee Pope and Ryan Follese Bring the “Good Times” to San Jose, California

November 5, 2016

It’s always a treat for me to catch a show at the Rodeo Club when I’m in San Jose, California. Tonight was no different. The folks at KRTY always know talent when they see it and they only bring the best of the best when it comes to up-and-coming country artists.

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The night started off with Big Machine Label Group recording artist Ryan Follese (pronounced “fall-uh-ZAY”). I first came across Follese a little over a month ago when I heard the folks at KRTY promoting that he would be opening for both Cassadee Pope and the Eli Young Band in San Jose. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Follese is something special. When I talk about artists that you need to drop what you are doing immediately and take a listen to, Follese is one. I’ll tell you this: this live show made me an even bigger fan.

As a bit of background, Follese  co-wrote each of the six tracks on his self-titled debut solo EP, the Ryan Follese EP, including “Put A Label On It,” which hit country radio in October as his first official single and, naturally, was the closing song of the evening. We were also treated to his summer vacation anthem “Float Your Boat.” While the aforementioned songs might have received the notoriety to date, we also had the opportunity to hear a few more, great tracks from the EP such as “Wilder“, “One Thing Right” and “Lose a Little Sleep“.

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Here’s a tidbit on Follese that you may, or may not be aware of: he originally hit it big on the pop scene. During his successful run fronting the band Hot Chelle Rae, Follese co-wrote their #1 hit “Tonight, Tonight” and toured around the globe, featuring arena dates with none other than Taylor Swift. What really stands out for me is how Follese has seamlessly transitioned from pop-rock to country music. I’ve seen a number of artists go the other direction, and a few that have tried to join the country ranks, but I have a feeling that we’ll look back in a few years and realize that Follese made the right decision.

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It doesn’t hurt that Follese grew up surrounded by the music of his songwriter parents, Keith and Adrienne. Not a bad household to grow up in! Their songwriting catalogue includes songs that he covered on this evening including Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That”, Faith Hill’s “The Way You Love Me” and Martina McBride’s “I Love You”.

On this evening, Follese brought his “A” game and it was hard to believe that this show was his very first with his full band. By watching Follese command the stage, you could tell that he’s a polished artist who knows how to play the crowd. From the very first note, he had the crowd dancing, singing and clapping along to every note. That’s one thing that many country artists lack when they first launch their careers.

If you see Follese on the bill in your area anytime soon, don’t miss out. This is a guy destined for stardom in country music and you’ll want to catch him now before he starts selling out arenas. I’m telling you, the guy is good…very good!

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Also, if you haven’t checked out Follese before, make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @RyanFollese and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

Whew. I need to take a breath after that. In fact, I had to do the same after his set because I had to prepare myself for the evening’s headliner, Big Machine Label Group recording artist Cassadee Pope.

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As background, Pope was previously the lead vocalist of the rock band Hey Monday, with whom she released one studio album and three EPs. Pope embarked on a solo career in early 2012, and released her self-titled Cassadee Pope EP in May 2012.

Where many country fans first remember her from is when she took part in the third season of The Voice where Pope found herself under the wing of coach Blake Shelton and became the first female winner of the competition. Her debut solo country album, Frame by Frame, was released in late-2013 and landed in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 charts and also debuted at #1 on the Top Country Albums, selling more than 40,000 copies in its first week.

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Pope toured extensively in support of the album, and spent much of 2014 on the road opening shows for headliners such as Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley. In 2015, Pope began work on her next recording project, and an advance single, “I Am Invincible,” appeared in July 2015. While the single failed to make the country singles charts, let me tell you, it was fantastic! Upon its release, it received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised Pope’s vocal range as well as the song’s blending of country elements and the rock styling of her time with Hey Monday.

In 2015, Chris Young chose Pope to collaborate with him on the track “Think of You” after hearing her perform. Before he released the song, Young stated that Pope’s voice was “amazing” — and apparently, the admiration between the two stars is mutual. The song has taken over country radio and hit #1 on the charts back in May. Seriously. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing it.

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Speaking of new music, Pope recently released her EP “Summer”. In talking with The Boot about the EP, Pope said:

“I would describe it as a collage of my personality. There’s so many different aspects of me and my colorful imagination, and all different aspects in one body of work. I’m excited for people to see different sides of me that they’ve never seen before.”

On this night, the crowd was treated to each of the songs on the new EP, including “Summer“, “Piano“, “Kisses at Airports” and “Alien“. Also on the setlist were “Good Times“, “Stupid Boy“, and crowd favorites “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart” and “Cinematic“. It’s funny, i don’t think Pope expected the audience reaction she received from “Cinematic”, but the rocking tune got a standing ovation from the San Jose crowd.

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Finally, the evening ended with my personal favorite, “Wasting All These Tears” which was the song that originally introduced me to Pope. While the song received mixed to favorable reviews from a number of music critics, I’ve always felt that this is a fantastic song that demonstrates the passion that she brings to her music. Every time I hear the song on the radio, I feel as if I can directly relate to those being depicted in the song.

That’s what a great song is supposed to do, right?

It’s hard to come up with a way that I can describe Pope’s performance. She is an amazing, amazing singer who has one of the greatest voices I’ve ever heard on the Rodeo Club stage. I truly believe that in Cassadee Pope, you have the next Carrie Underwood, ready to take the country music scene by storm. And I, for one, cannot wait to hear what is next from this talented young woman.

Make sure you check out her music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via her website or follow her on Twitter at @CassadeePope and Facebook for her latest news and concert schedule.

As I sit here in my hotel room, reminiscing on another great night of country music, I have to give thanks to KRTY. As always, thank you to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson, Gary Scott Thomas, Randy Jones, Indiana Al, etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay.

Were you at the show? Have you seen Cassadee Pope or Ryan Follese live? Let me know your thoughts on these talented musicians in the comments section below.

Artist Spotlight: Ryan Follese

October 26, 2016

As many of you know already, I’ve written about a lot of up-and-coming country music artists. Obviously, there are a lot of musicians out there trying to find their place in , but not everyone is destined for stardom. Today, you are in for a real treat.

I first came across Big Machine Label Group recording artist Ryan Follese (that’s “fall-uh-ZAY”) when I heard the folks at KRTY promoting that he would be opening for both Cassadee Pope and the Eli Young Band in San Jose in early November. I was lucky enough to be in California that week to catch both shows and let me tell you this: he is something special. When I talk about artists that you need to drop what you are doing immediately and take a listen to, Follese is one.

Ryan Follese Float Your Boat Single

As a bit of background, Ryan Follese  co-wrote each of the six tracks on his self-titled debut solo EP, including “Put A Label On It,” which hit country radio earlier this month as his first official single.

Additionally, SiriusXM kickstarted the launch this summer, selecting Follese as their “Highway Find” and spinning his summer vacation anthem “Float Your Boat.” Selling more than 40,000 downloads to date, and amassing nearly 2 million streams, the Ryan Follese EP was recorded with producers Dann Huff and Cameron Montgomery in Nashville. While the aforementioned songs might have received the notoriety to date, don’t miss other great tracks such as “Wilder“, “One Thing Right” and “Lose a Little Sleep“. “Wilder” might be my favorite of the bunch.

In speaking with The Boot, Follese described the EP as follows:

“It is definitely country. It is a look into my life over the last year, which, in my existence so far, has been the most real-life stuff that’s happened to me in the last year. You won’t get that all from the lyrics necessarily, but the meaning and how much heart and effort I put into this is a result of just coming of age, I guess.”

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Now you may not know this, but Follese originally hit it big on the pop scene. During his successful run fronting the band Hot Chelle Rae, Follese co-wrote their #1 hit “Tonight, Tonight” and toured around the globe, featuring arena dates with none other than Taylor Swift. You might not remember, but Follett performed on the 2012 CMT Music Awards with Lady Antebellum, secured a performance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest and wrote“Thug Story” with Swift and T-Pain. Follese also earned the 2012 American Music Awards’ Best New Artist award. Not bad, right?

Recently, Follese refocused his songwriting, going back to his country roots to incorporate the storytelling lyrics and influences he was raised on. It doesn’t hurt that he grew up surrounded by the music of his songwriter parents, Keith and Adrienne. Not a bad household to grow up in! Their songwriting catalogue includes major hits for Tim McGraw (Something Like That), Faith Hill (The Way You Love Me), Little Texas (Life Goes On), Lonestar (Smile) and Martina McBride (I Love You). Currently previewing his new music nationwide, Follese has been tapped for Live Nation’s ‘Ones To Watch’ Tour with headliner (and one of my personal favorites) LOCASH.

What really stands out for me is how Follese has seamlessly transitioned from pop-rock to country music. I’ve seen a number of artists go the other direction, and a few that have tried to join the country ranks, but I have a feeling that we’ll look back in a few years and realize that Follese made the right decision. Granted, he has the advantage of some strong country music lineage, but he’s done this for himself.

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When speaking of his transition in an interview with Sounds Like Nashville, Follese said:

“It is coming back to my roots. I wish there was a better way to say it but it really, that’s what it is. I grew up surrounded in country and I feel like that’s what made me want to start a rock band to begin with. Just like, you revolt against your parents. Country music was the only thing I knew until I was a teenager and then I was like ‘oh, I want to be in a rock band!’”

Additionally, here’s what Follese had to say to The Boot:

“Country chose me. Everything I wrote for the last few years came out this way. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in it; I don’t know if it’s because it comes more natural to me. That and the combination of, this is the way to tell the stories I want to tell. The things that I’m going through that I want to do, and being close to my family and being here in Nashville, this is the way to live for me, and that is something that I want to grow old in.”

If you haven’t checked out Ryan Follese before, make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @RyanFollese and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

I just included Follese as one of fifteen country music artists you need to have on your playlist, so make sure you go and give him a listen.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Ryan Follese live? What do you think of this guy?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Artist Spotlight: Waterloo Revival

May 19, 2016

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.

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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.

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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.

Concert Review: Gettin’ “Trailer Trashed” with A Thousand Horses and Chasin’ Crazy in San Jose, California

September 29, 2015

To steal a line I’ve heard from KRTY DJ Randy Jones, “Where else can you get a stadium show in a club setting!”. That’s what you get when you come to the Rodeo Club in San Jose, especially when you have Chasin’ Crazy and A Thousand Horses (along with The Horsettes) on the bill.

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If you’ve read my blog, you know that I have said over and over again that A Thousand Horses is THE band you need to watch, follow and support. There is literally no other act in country music like them. I first stumbled across them about a year ago, and I’ve been hooked by their music, their lyrics and their stage presence ever since.

So when I heard they were touring the West Coast with another up-and-coming band by the name of Chasin’ Crazy, how could I pass up an opportunity to catch them one more time within the cozy confines of the Rodeo Club.

Before we get to A Thousand Horses, let’s talk about Chasin’ Crazy.

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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.

Now, on to the show. I’ve got to say, I’ve been chatting with these guys on Twitter for a few weeks and took some time to listen to some of their music ahead of the show. But nothing prepared me for their live performance. 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.

Credit: Rudy Sabin Photography

Credit: Rudy Sabin Photography

“Smack Dab”, written by Parker, Drew Davis and Danny Myrick, was a highlight of the evening. It’s a fun song about being “Smack Dab” in the middle of love. Don’t get much more country than that, right? Another crowd favorite was “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!

We also got a look at some new music with “Trespassin'”, which according to the band, has a music video which will be coming out on October 1. Not gonna want to miss this one.

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Chasin’ Crazy

All in all, Chasin’ Crazy was exactly what I hoped they’d be. A group of awesome guys with the talent to take them to the next level. Really enjoyed catching up with them, both before and after the show, learning more about how the band came together, and their plans for the future. If you have the chance to catch them on the road, not miss them. They’re out with A Thousand Horses for the next few shows, but I anticipate that you’ll see them opening up on the big stage soon.

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

After a few line dancing lessons in between sets, it was time for the main event of the evening: A Thousand Horses.

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Credit: Rudy Sabin Photography

If you want to try to describe A Thousand Horses to someone who hasn’t seen or heard them play, just imagine if Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers and The Black Crowes had a baby. Seriously. I’m not sure how else to describe them, but they are in no way a copycat act of any of these bands. Sure, they may not yet have the pedigree of any of the aforementioned bands, but give it time. I have a feeling that we’ll be hearing from these guys for years to come.

A Thousand Horses has their own look, their own sound, and a stage presence that captivates their audience from the first note. The entire band gives 110% every time they hit the stage, but they also take the time to engage with their fans. There is nothing else like A Thousand Horses on the radio today and that’s a damn shame! To put it bluntly: A Thousand Horses is what country music needs right here…and right now.

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

Michael Hobby – Lead Vocal
Bill Satcher – Lead Guitar
Zach Brown – Guitar and Vocal
Graham Deloach – Bass and Vocal

Credit: Rudy Sabin Photography

Credit: Rudy Sabin Photography

The band kicked off their set a few minutes after 9 p.m., kicking into their set with the raucous Landslide, their staple, opening song with one of my favorite guitar riffs today. On top of their number one hit, “Smoke”, the band ran through some tracks off their debut album “Southernality” (review here). Four of my favorites were included on the setlist, “Sunday Morning”, “Tennessee Whiskey”, “Trailer Trashed” and “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” as well as the catchy anthem “Travelin’ Man”.

The Monday night crowd was also treated to a new song, “Up for Anything”, which I anticipate will be showing up on their sophomore album. One can only hope as it was exactly what I expected from the band, pure southern rock goodness. Finally, the  band played three great covers, including The Guess Who’s “American Woman”, Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me” and The Black Crowes “Hard to Handle”, which closed the set, much to the delight of the crowd. These were certainly a few highlights of the evening, but as always, the entire night was a night to remember.

Credit: Jenna Johnson

Credit: Jenna Johnson

You know you want to keep up with the band, new music and tour news, so make sure you check them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @AThousandHorses. Don’t forget to download Southernality on iTunes and on Amazon. I’ve heard that there are rumblings of a MAJOR tour announcement coming soon, so I can’t wait to hear more. Some country artist is going to be VERY lucky to have these guys along for the ride with them!

As I sit here at the airport, thinking back 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, 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!

Also have to give thanks to one of the best photographers out there…Rudy Sabin (see his photos above and below). The guy is incredible. Be sure to check out his website for some samples of his work and follow him on Twitter at@rudyphoto.

Credit: Rudy Sabin Photography

Credit: Rudy Sabin Photography

Did you go to the show? Have you seen A Thousand Horses and/or Chasin’ Crazy live? Let me know your thoughts below.

New Music Review: A Thousand Horses Blazing Trails with Release of Debut Album ‘Southernality’

June 11, 2015

I’ve been talking about A Thousand Horses for quite some time now, ever since I was formally introduced to their music by the folks at KRTY as the opening act for Josh Thompson and Will Hoge at the Rodeo Club late last year. So please let me take a few minutes of your time to tell you about what I feel could be the Best Country Album of 2015, “Southernality.”

Southernality

As a live band, A Thousand Horses is second to none with their energy and love for music. The band, which includes Michael Hobby (Lead Vocals), Bill Satcher (Lead Guitar), Zach Brown (Guitar and Vocal) and Graham Deloach (Bass and Vocal), prides themselves on being influenced by some legendary bands, such as The Black Crowes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and The Allman Brothers. And let me tell you something, you can certainly hear those influences from beginning to end on their new album.

I’ve had the album for three days now, and it has been playing on repeat ever since. First and foremost, the music is fantastic and something that is desperately needed in today’s country music scene that has become oversaturated with the same songs, same artists and “bro country” taking over the airwaves.

While the mixed Southern Rock/Country genre is not new, it’s refreshing to hear these days. From songs like “Sunday Morning”, co-written with Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes and arguably the best track on the album, to “Landslide”, a favorite of mine which grasps the spirit of the working man (and often leads off their live show) A Thousand Horses demonstrates that they can do it all, and not miss a beat from Track 1 to 13.

“Tennessee Whiskey” showcases the band’s Southern roots as it shows emotional heartbreak in the form of a conversation with none other than the iconic drink. Yep. It plays just like it sounds. “Trailer Trashed” brings out the redneck side of the band and “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial”, the band’s second single which is just hitting the airwaves, tells the story of singer Michael Hobby looking for a second chance in a relationship gone wrong. Now THAT sounds like a country song, right?

I’ve reached the 6th paragraph, and I’ve yet to mention “Smoke”, the #1 hit on country radio which has made A Thousand Horses a household name. I originally wrote a review of this single back in January, and have been thrilled to watch it climb the charts over the months since it’s debut. You may have caught it on National TV recently as well as a short snippet on the CMT Awards. Great vocals. Great rhythm. It’s certainly catchy and, like I said earlier this year, it’s the type of song that country radio needs right now!

I’ve heard others say that A Thousand Horses is too close to a knockoff of the bands I mentioned above. But I’m here to tell you that they are far from it.

This is a band that goes out and does their own thing every night. Like everyone else, they take cues from their influencers, but A Thousand Horses is a band that you need to see live to fully understand why they should be considered one of the artists to watch over the next few years. The band is currently on tour with Darius Rucker and Brett Eldredge and trust me, this is a band that won’t be an opening act for long so make sure that you arrive early if you are catching the show! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Final Thoughts:

In my opinion, “Southernality” is in the running for Country Album of the Year in 2015. This is an album that you can listen to from beginning to end without having to skip a song. Playing a mixture of southern rock and well-written ballads, A Thousand Horses is what country music needs in 2015.

*My only wish is that they would have included live tracks of The Black Crowes “Hard to Handle” and Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”. Two great cover tunes that the band tends to play live. Maybe on the next album!

So if you’re looking for a great album this summer, make sure you pick up “Southernality”. You can find it at stores like Best Buy, Target and Walmart and it is available for download on iTunes and Amazon.

You won’t be disappointed!

Concert Review: Just Another “Friday Night” with Eric Paslay and Waterloo Revival

May 23, 2015

OK. The headline is a little misleading because this wasn’t just another Friday night with Eric Paslay and Waterloo Revival. It was a night of good times, good friends and of course, good music. What else would you expect from KRTY?

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I’ve been looking forward to this show for a few weeks now. Partially because I’m a big fan of singer/songwriter Eric Paslay, but also because I have been trying to see Waterloo Revival for months. Unfortunately, I’m always just missing them by a day or two wherever they play on the West Coast. This wasn’t going to happen again.

Before we jump into the show, here’s a little background on Waterloo Revival. 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, 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!

WL3

Anyways, let’s get to the show, which was certainly worth the wait. Waterloo Revival took the stage around 8:50 p.m. and, after a few technical difficulties with their sound, began their set. They had a nice mix of ballads and uptempo country music.

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” is currently finding it’s place on country radio, and has received an overwhelming positive response from programmers, critics and listeners, Waterloo Revival has a few additional songs they played that could certainly find their way on the radio. Songs like “Slow and Steady”, “Two Shots” and “I Love You, I Hate You, I Miss You” are two that immediately come to mind.

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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.

Following a brief intermission, it was time for the man who I believe is right up there with Phil Vassar as one of the best singer/songwriters in country music today, EMI Records recording artist Eric Paslay. As background, Paslay graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2005, but his passion was always music. Heck, he began playing guitar and writing music when he was just fifteen years old. From what I’ve read, the first song he wrote was a poem he wrote for a girl which he eventually put to music. Awww…

I’ll admit, one thing I didn’t expect was how tall Paslay was. This was obvious when Randy Jones of KRTY took the stage to introduce him, and had to do some nifty mic work. At 6’4″, the singer is the man behind the number one single “Friday Night”, which naturally he closed his set with. But what the average country music listener might not know is that he has also written huge hits for Jake Owen (Barefoot Blue Jean Night), Rascal Flatts (Rewind), Love and Theft (Angel Eyes) and the Eli Young Band (Even if it Breaks Your Heart).

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His debut, self-titled album Eric Paslay has been extremely well received and features a collection of songs that cover a wide range of emotion. In addition to the before mentioned, up tempo single, “Friday Night”, it includes the ballad “She Don’t Love You”, as well as “Deep As It Is Wide” and “Song About A Girl”, which was a Top Ten hit for Paslay in 2014.

I’m happy to report that Paslay didn’t miss any of his hits during the show, and also treated the crowd to some new music. Judging by the reaction of the crowd, his next album will be just as big, if not bigger, than his first. I, for one, am very much looking forward to hearing more from this artist in the years to come. Be sure that you give him a follow on Twitter at @ericpaslay.

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What else can I say. Every time I make my voyage to the Rodeo Club, I don’t leave disappointed. While there was no “full band” show, with the speakers bumping and guitars blazing, it was still a great, intimate evening in San Jose. Thanks again to the folks at KRTY, Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay.

What did you think of the show? Please feel free to leave your thoughts on the show in the comments below.