Posted tagged ‘Big Vinny’

Artist Spotlight: Trailer Choir

May 31, 2016

Now here’s a blast from the past. Another country music group that I absolutely love. Heck, I’ve bought all their music. I’ve seen them in concert three times (here’s my review from a KRTY show in San Jose way back in 2009) and I’m absolutely stoked that they have some new music.

Ladies and gentlemen…I bring you Trailer Choir!

Trailer

As background, Trailer Choir is a duo composed of vocalists Marc Fortney and Vinny Hickerson, known by their respective stage names Butter and Big Vinny (also known as Bigg Vinny and Bigg Vinny the Mack). At one time, the group was a trio with Crystal Hoyt. They originally signed to Show Dog Nashville, a label owned by Toby Keith, back in 2007.

After recording “Off the Hillbilly Hook” for the soundtrack to Keith’s film Beer for My Horses, Trailer Choir charted the singles “What Would You Say“, “Rockin’ the Beer Gut” (the song that got me called into my son’s kindergarten class by his teacher because he was singing it during class!) and “Rollin’ Through the Sunshine” on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. These singles were followed by an EP, Off the Hillbilly Hook, and their full-length album, Tailgate. Hoyt departed the group in February 2011.

In 2011, Hickerson entered the national spotlight when he participated on The Biggest Loser. While on the show he lost nearly 200 pounds, made the final four, and was the runner-up for the at-home prize. The show also aired his marriage proposal to girlfriend Lori Diaz, which took place at the Grand Ole Opry with none other than Thompson Square performing “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”.

Vinny

Since his participation on The Biggest Loser, Hickerson has traveled around the country as a motivational speaker. In his own words, Hickerson said:

“That changed my life and also my music. Now I don’t run out of breath onstage. And guys and girls come up to me after each show and say, ‘You motivate me to realize I can go after the things I want, even though I’m big.’ Or we’ll do music at a school or a gym opening and I’ll talk the the students. I’ll tell them, ‘You have to believe in yourself how you are right now. You have to love yourself enough to realize that you’re worth all the work it’s gonna take to change.”

Now, let’s get onto the music!

Six years ago, I did an in depth review of “Tailgate”, which was one of my favorites of 2010. From the energetic “Shakin’ That Tailgate”, to classics such as “Rockin’ the Beer Gut”, “Off the Hillbilly Hook” and “Rollin’ Through the Sunshine”, the CD had that perfect mix of fun and sun!

Now, Trailer Choir is back and better than ever. As part of the Average Joes Entertainment family, the band is ready to climb back up the charts and share their music with country music fans everywhere. Certainly, big things lay ahead for the boys.

As Fortney states:

“Had we found real success earlier, I have a feeling that Vinny would be unhealthy, weighing 480 or 490 pounds. I might not have my wife and two little baby boys. Instead, by sliding back down the mountain and regrouping, we found ourselves. We needed some time to reflect. We’ve grown up a lot. Once we come back out, we just want to explode. We know that we’re going to be busier than we’ve ever been, going full throttle.”

IceCold

They are certainly taking that path with the release of their summer anthem “Ice Cold Summer“. Written by Hickerson, Fortney, Scott Martin Mills and Brandon Ray Tant, the songs tells the story of a hot summer day spent hanging out with friends, drinking some ice-cold beverages. Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper, MUG Root Beer and Lemonade I suppose, right?

The new song certainly focuses on the simple pleasures in our lives, that’s for sure!

I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I don’t want to bore you with my words. Instead, I’ll let you check out some more of the band’s music for yourself.

Here’s a sample of their own songs, old and new, and one that you might recognize (hint: think the Steve Miller Band):

Can’t Drink All Day

Last Man Standing

Love Me First

The Joker

Better With a Beer

Homemade Mexico

In My Next 5 Beers

If you see Trailer Choir on the bill anytime soon, make sure you’re there early. You don’t want to miss your chance to see this band. I said it before and I’ll say it again: they have the type of show that will keep you on your feet from beginning to end!

Also, make sure that you check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @TrailerChoir. Upcoming tour dates can be found here.

Don’t forget to check out their music on iTunes.

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

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Trailer Choir Gaining Momentum

June 23, 2009

With a new album released on June 9, and concert dates across the country, this up and coming country act is starting to finally get some coverage in the national media! Nice job guys!

You can see my review of the album here and a review of their concert at the Rodeo Club, in San Jose, here.

From CMT.com:

No need for yoga classes and gym memberships to rid yourself of partying side effects this summer. That’s because Trailer Choir’s newest album, Off the Hillbilly Hook, offers admiration for curvy women that down cold beer. Their most-requested song, “Rockin’ the Beer Gut,” suggests that a good-looking girl should sport her muffin top, a.k.a. “extra love around their waist,” by wearing tight jeans to exaggerate it. If you get the chance to see Trailer Choir perform this song live, Big Vinny, the 400-pound band member, will do his signature pop worm dance as an accompaniment. So ladies, enjoy that six-pack of cold brew and don’t worry about that workout plan if you’re trying to get the attention of these band members.

From the Leader-Telegram:

From party anthems to tear-jerking ballads, Trailer Choir vocalist Crystal says she likes to be taken on “the full ride” when she attends a concert.

So it’s maybe not surprising that the country trio’s debut album, “Off the Hillbilly Hook,” which was released June 9 on Toby Keith’s Show Dog Records, gives listeners that ride.

Between the band’s comical first single, “Rockin’ the Beer Gut,” and the heavy-hearted track “What Would You Say,” which is about the fatal January 2006 Sago Mine accident in West Virginia, the disc taps comedy, tragedy and emotions that lie in between.

“We’re songwriters at the root of all of it,” vocalist and guitarist Butter said in a group telephone interview. “So as songwriters we like writing all types of things. As a whole we’re a trailer gate party. We’re a backyard barbecue in high definition.”

CD Review: Trailer Choir “Off The Hillbilly Hook”

June 18, 2009

If you haven’t heard of Trailer Choir yet, get ready, you soon will.

Signed by Toby Keith’s Show Dog Nashville in 2007, the band consists of three members: Butter, Crystal and Big Vinnie.

From their Web site:

Trailer Choir started as a loose association of musicians and singers, usually including Butter and Big Vinny, traveling the Southeast playing private parties and frat houses.

Not long after they began performing together, Crystal jumped on stage adding the finishing harmonies to the group. Soon they were having so much fun that folks started to notice. Quotable lines and good time songs only touch on the Trailer Choir experience.

Full effects can only be felt live and in-person, where we find master of ceremonies, comic ringleader and front man Butter, smooth and soulful Louisiana girl Crystal and worm popping small town big boy Big Vinny. Because you just haven’t lived until you’ve seen a 400-pound man do the pop worm in the middle of a country show.

On June 9, Trailer Choir released their new album “Off the Hillbilly Hook.” The CD features the radio favorite ballad “What Would You Say” the title track, “Off the Hillbilly Hook” (which was featured in Toby Keith’s movie “Beer For My Horses) and what is sure to be a highly requested summer anthem, “Rockin’ the Beer Gut”.

From beginning to end, the 6 song album is a crowd pleaser. There is a little something for everyone on this album, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

“Rockin’ the Beer Gut” is an ode to those ladies at the bar who might not always get the attention they deserve. With lines such as “The first thing that caught my eye…she was rockin’ the beer gut” and “it’s just some extra love around her waist” well, you know how this one will turn out.

“Rollin’ Through the Sunshine” is a fun, happy song, that just makes you feel good. This tune brings me back to my early college days when Len had their own hit “Steal My Sunshine”. While the two songs are completely different, you still get that “life is good” feeling listening to them.

“In My Next Five Beers” demonstrates that you don’t need to think about the future, where you’re going, or where you need to be in the next five years. What you need to do is think about where you’re going to be five beers from now, whether it’s out and about, or sitting right there in the same chair you’re already in.

“What Would You Say” hit the radio a few months back and has been a mainstay since, at least on KRTY in the Bay Area and other stations that frequently play the amazingly well written song. A tribute to those men lost in the West Virginia mine tragedy a few years back, this song makes you truly think about your life, if you have lived it to the fullest, and if you only had a few minutes left, and just a pad of paper, what would you say.

The title track to the CD, “Off The Hillbilly Hook”, is the first Trailer Choir song I ever heard. I first heard the tune at a concert at the Shoreline Ampitheater in the Bay Area when the band opened for Montgomery Gentry and Toby Keith. Rumor has it that KRTY’s own Indiana Al is the man behind the title to this country/rap hit and if you don’t think that these two genres of music can mix, then you must listen to this song. You’ll be “Hillbilly Hooked!”

Overall, “Off the Hillbilly Hook” is an album for everyone. It has a great mix of country, rap, ballads and more. You can listen to the tracks on the bands Web site or MySpace page but I recommend shelling out the money and buying the album as soon as you can. These guys may not be big just yet, but they have the talent to make it in the business and you better get on the bandwagon before it’s too late!

My only hope is that the band will come out with a Live CD/DVD soon. The music on the CD is good, but it’s the stage show that truly makes the band who they are. If Trailer Choir comes to your town, be sure to check out the show. You’ll have a set list which includes Trailer Choir material as well as songs by the Steve Miller Band, John Mellencamp, Sublime and more! Do I need to add a country version of “Baby Got Back”? It’s true!

Buy the album, check out a show. You won’t regret either!

Concert Review: Trailer Choir is “Off the Hillbilly Hook” in San Jose, California

May 15, 2009

All I can say is that this show was “Off the Hillbilly Hook”!

I’ve seen Trailer Choir before, but not in a venue as small as the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California. It hasn’t even been an hour since the show ended, but the vision of the crowd singing along to a trio of talented musicians is still running through my head.

I was happy that I got the chance to meet with Randy Jones and Indiana Al of KRTY both before and after the show. Great guys who work for a great, local country music station. 95.3 in the South Bay Area!

Here’s a little background on the band:

The group’s building momentum reached new heights when, after yet another packed show, Toby Keith introduced himself. “And then it was off to the races,” Big Vinny says. Trailer Choir were soon on a tour bus headed out on Toby’s Big Dog Daddy tour, where they played side stages, beer stands, parking lots – anywhere they could find fans to listen. “Toby said get your stuff, get the band, just get out there and introduce yourselves and play,” Butter says.

Keith’s fans enthusiastically embraced the band and their good-time sound. Songs “Off The Hillbilly Hook,” “My Next Five Beers,” “Rollin’ Through The Sunshine” and “Rockin’ The Beer Gut,” as well as their “did you see that?” stage show, led to a multitude of accomplishments.

These included 49 shows opening for Keith, performances at the CMA Music Festival and National Finals Rodeo, “Off The Hillbilly Hook” featured in the movie and soundtrack of the feature film Beer For My Horses, and the original song “Last Man Standing” used by ESPN & ABC in a national NASCAR promotion. And all this activity culminated in the November 2008 release of the four-song EP Trailer Choir, produced by Keith himself.

And all this activity culminates in the June 9th album release “Off the Hillbilly Hook.” The CD features the singles “What Would You Say” the title track, “Off the Hillbilly Hook” along with the crowd pleasing highly requested summer anthem, “Rockin’ the Beer Gut” just to name a few.

The show was opened by the California Cowboys, a local band that had some really great tunes! I’ve seen them before at the Sonoma-Marin County Fair and they’re playing the San Jose Flea Market this weekend.

Before Trailer Choir began, the band was seen wandering through the audience. The nice thing about still being a relatively unknown band (what am I saying, these guys are about to be huge) is that you can still walk around, unnoticed. Except by me I guess 🙂

I had a few minutes to sit and talk with Big Vinny as he made his way through the crowd. The guy is not a small man but he is one of the nicest, down to Earth artists I’ve ever met in person. He wrote their new hit “What Would You Say” and has dance moves that a man his size shouldn’t be making! I asked him if the band is starting to get noticed when out and about and he said that they’re just starting to get used to it. Just wait guys, you’re time is coming!

As the final preparations were taking place, I had a few seconds to talk to lead singer Butter. Very nice guy who, like Big Vinny, is very down to Earth and a class act. When I told him that we’re ready for a great show he said that “It’s about time for the fun to begin. We’ve got a lot planned so hold on to your hat!” Yeah, I had my trademark North Carolina hat on. Thanks for noticing! I knew the show would be good, but boy did I underestimate!

Trailer Choir hit the stage just after 10 p.m. tonight and it was a party atmosphere from the moment they hit the stage. An eclectic mix of their own songs, and cover songs from bands of every genre of music.

The crowd really got going with the second song of the evening, “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band. A great sing along tune and you know everyone in the audience knew every word!

Have I mentioned yet that Big Vinnie is 380 pounds and he was a dancing machine…complete with a reverse worm!

My personal favorite “Rockin’ the Beer Gut” was next and lived up to the expectations I had hoped. The crowd was into it and Butter mentioned once again that this will be the bands next single…sweet!

More covers including “I Will Survive” by the stunning Crystal herself…Referred to by the band as Fergie May Clampet 🙂

“Jack and Diane”, “Baby Got Back ” and more followed!

Gotta love the happy go lucky “Rollin’ Through the Sunshine” followed by more covers including a stirring rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama”. The crowd had a choice between that and “Ice Ice Baby”. Either would have been a winner!

The show concluded with a great live version of “Off the Hillbilly Hook”. The crowd was going wild by this time and  Indiana Al, who coined this phrase years ago, could be seen dancing in the crowd with the spotlight (a small flashlight) over him.

A show wouldn’t be a show without an encore, which was gladly brought to us by the band. How many times can you say that you went to a country concert and left with Sublime’s “What I Got”. A perfect finish to a great show!

What really surprised me was that Trailer Choir did not play their current hit “What Would You Say”, a tribute to the 13 miners killed in West Virginia. I guess that the song didn’t fit into the party of the set list that was being used but it would have been great to have fit the song in.

Overall, what can I say. I had high expectations, and they were easily met. This is a band that is on the cusp of stardom and I’m proud to say that I got to meet them before they took that final leap to the big time. In my mind though, they’re already there!

Come back to San Jose soon y’all! Best show I’ve seen in quite some time. Top 5 for sure all time!