Posted tagged ‘Blake Shelton’

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.

Year in Review: My Top 50 Country Music Songs of 2014

December 13, 2014

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the year that was. For me, it was a difficult year. I lost my father on August 11, and I am still trying to deal with the loss. One thing that helped me get through the past few, difficult months, is good music.

Now, let me preface this list. I’m not a professional music reviewer. I don’t get paid to promote artists. I don’t go by the Billboard or radio airplay charts. This list consists of the top 50 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.

You probably heard some of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local country station. Others may not have been played much (if at all) when they should have been, in my own, personal opinion. Also, while some of these songs may have come out in late 2013, they were ones that were predominantly played (if they made the radio) in the 2014 calendar year. Others may be primed for success in early 2015 so keep your ears open!

Either way, I’m sure that I’m going to leave 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, with a list this long, I wasn’t able to go through each entry and provide background on the song, reasons for it’s placement, etc…But, feel free to leave a comment and I’d be happy to respond.

And now, Without further ado, let’s get this party started:

50. Dallas Smith, Wastin’ Gas

49. Chase Bryant, Take it on Back

48. John King, Tonight Tonight

47. Natalie Stovall and the Drive, Mason Jar

46. Maddie & Tae, Girl in a Country Song

45. Casey James, Fall Apart

44. Kip Moore, Dirt Road

43. The Swon Brothers, Later On

42. Canaan Smith, Love You Like That

41. Zac Brown Band, All Alright

40. Billy Currington, We Are Tonight

39. Randy Houser, Goodnight Kiss

38. Brantley Gilbert Featuring Thomas Rhett and Justin Moore, Small Town Throwdown

37. Justin Moore, Lettin’ the Night Roll

36. Ray Scott, Drinkin’ Beer

35. Frankie Ballard, Sunshine and Whiskey

34. Jerrod Niemann, Drink to That All Night

33. JT Hodges, Already High

32. Parmalee, Close Your Eyes

31. Sam Hunt, Leave the Night On

30. Lee Brice, I Don’t Dance

29. Scotty McCreery, See You Tonight

28. Jason Aldean, Burnin’ it Down

27. Luke Bryan, Play it Again

26. Florida Georgia Line Featuring Luke Bryan, This is How We Roll

25. George Strait, I Got a Car

24. Brantley Gilbert, Bottoms Up

23. Randy Houser, Like a Cowboy

22. Love and Theft, Night That You’ll Never Forget

21. Lady Antebellum, Compass

20. John Pardi, Up All Night

19. Cole Swindell, Chillin’ It

18. Craig Campbell, Keep Them Kisses Coming

17. Florida Georgia Line, Dirt

16. Kenny Chesney, American Kids

15. Will Hoge, Middle of America

14. James Wesley, I’m a Lonesome Fugitive

13. Maggie Rose, Looking Back Now

12. Miranda Lambert, Automatic

11. A Thousand Horses, Smoke

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/smoke-single/id952514687

10. Jake Owen, What We Ain’t Got

9. Eric Church, Give Me Back My Hometown

8. Hillbilly Vegas, Long Way Back

7. Cole Swindell, Hope You Get Lonely

6. Dustin Lynch, Where It’s At

5. Eli Young Band, Dust

4. Luke Bryan, Drink a Beer

3. Brett Eldredge, Beat of the Music

2. Dierks Bentley, Drunk on a Plane

1. Dierks Bentley, I Hold On

Concert Review: Brad Paisley in Mountain View, September 25, 2009

November 8, 2009

I’ve been to a lot of great country shows: Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn, Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, McBride, Trailer Choir, Keith Urban, Shania Twain and a WHOLE LOT MORE! I’ve been to a ton of shows at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, put on by local country station 95.3 KRTY.

But this year’s show with Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley and Jimmy Wayne has to rank up there near the top. I first saw Brad Paisley live at the KZLA Country Bash in Irvine, California, back in 2001 about a month after the terrorist attacks on America.

Back then, Paisley was still an up and coming talent. Today, he is one of the best in the industry.

The night started off with a short set by Jimmy Wayne. Too bad it was only 6 songs because I’m pretty sure that this guy is going to be huge. He has a stage presence that puts him at a much higher level than his billing and its shows as he plays the crowd during his entire set. After the show, I got the chance to meet him. He was really nice and took the time to sit and talk for a minute with each person during the meet and greet. The photo can be found below.

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Jimmy Wayne and I

Here’s the set list:

Cowboys and Angels

Stay Gone

Kerosene Kid

Trespassin’

Smile Sara

Do You Believe Me Now

Next on the bill was one of my favorites, Dierks Bentley. For most concerts, Dierks Bentley would be a headliner and he proved it during his set which include most of my favorites (how could you leave off my all-time favorite “Tryin’ to Stop Your Leavin'”). There was so much about his set that I loved. “Sideways” is a great song to start with because it really gets the crowd going. Others such as “How Am I Doin'”, “What Was I Thinkin'” and “Feel That Fire” were crowd favorites.

Great music, great voice and, like Wayne, Bentley really played the audience. I love the way that he was able to mix in his standard party songs with his great ballads and he never lost touch with his emotion. This is clearly demonstrated in each song he performed during his one hour set.

I’ll admit, I would have loved a little longer set but you can’t complain when you get nine of his best! I think if he had been the headliner, the set list would have included a few additional songs. The crowd was really into the set but I really enjoyed when he took the time to slow down a bit for “My Last Name”. Very emotional and showed his softer side.

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Dierks Bentley

Here’s the set list:

Sideways

Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do

How Am I Doin’

Settle For A Slowdown

Come a Little Closer

My Last Name

Feel That Fire

What Was I Thinkin’

Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)

About 9:20, it was time for the main event of the evening: Brad Paisley. Paisley is an entertainer at heart and really knows how to put on a show. Multiple times during the show, he thanked the audience for coming out to show, knowing that we are in difficult economic times and still paid to see the performers that night. Yes, the show’s are pretty expensive, but I’ll continue to pay to see my favorite artists live.

Paisley played all of his hits and the audience was eating out of his hands from the opening number “Start a Band” (minus Keith Urban of course). It was a great mix of old songs, and new. Ballads and rockers. And of course, lots of guitar solos. Paisley is an incredible guitarist who demonstrates his talent throughout.

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Brad Paisley

I loved the videos that played on the screen in the background throughout the show. Good stuff! Loved the parodies and everything. It really made the songs come to life even more.

“Welcome to the Future”, Paisley’s latest hit was the opening song of a three song encore. This song has fast become my favorite song that Paisley has ever performed. Not only does it have a great beat and just makes you want to turn up the radio when it comes on, it has a great message of hope and making you realize that the future is here, now!

During the encore, Paisley brought Wayne and Bentley back out for a great rendition of “Alcohol” which capped the night! , a great cover of Don Henley’s classic “Boys of Summer” was the final song of the evening, but seeing these three talented musicians on stage together was a real thrill, and a perfect song!

If you ever get the chance to check out Brad Paisley (and Dierks Bentley and Jimmy Wayne) live, I suggest you do! It’s definitely a 5 star show!

If I can get some video of the show up, I’ll be sure to do so! You can always check out my Facebook page which has the videos there.

Paisley and Bentley

Here’s the set list:

Start a Band

American Saturday Night 

Mud On The Tires

Wrapped Around

Celebrity

Waitin’ on a Woman

Water

Feel Like Makin’ Love (Bad Company Cover)

I’m Still a Guy

Catch All the Fish / I’m Gonna Miss Her

She’s Everything

The World

Letter to Me

When I Get Where I’m Going

Ticks

Online

Then

Encore:

Welcome to the Future

Alcohol 

Boys of Summer (Don Henley Cover)