Posted tagged ‘Brett Eldredge’

Half Year in Review: My Top 50 Country Music Songs of 2016…So Far

June 16, 2016

It’s that time of year again where I like to take a quick look at my favorite country music songs of the year so far. We’re just about at the halfway point so now is as good a time as any, right?

Now, let me preface this list as I always do.

  • I’m not a professional music reviewer.
  • I don’t get paid to promote artists.
  • I don’t go by Billboard or radio airplay charts.

This list consists of the top 50 songs that I like so far in 2016. The 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. Note that not all songs may be “traditional country”. I listen to all genre’s of music, so I have no issues with country artists who play “non-traditional” country. To me…music is music. If I like it, I’m going to listen to it (and enjoy it).

Also, you’ll notice that a lot of mainstream, radio hits by major artists are not included. No reason except for the fact that my list is not based on how famous you are. Simple as that. It’s the songs that I love (but please feel free to sway me in your direction if I left a song off).

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 2015, and may have even landed a low spot on my wrap up of the year, they were ones that were predominantly played (if they made the radio) so far in the 2016 calendar year.

Others may be primed for success later this year so keep your ears open!

Either way, I’m sure that I’m going to leave quite 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, I wasn’t able to go through each entry and provide detailed 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 with a three-way tie at #50.

(T) 50. “California Grown“, Tyler Rich

(T) 50. “Paradice“, Michael Beck

(T) 50. “Middle of Nowhere“, McKenzies Mill

49.”Ice Cold Summer“, Trailer Choir

48. “Make You Mine“, High Valley

47. “Drunk on Your Love“, Brett Eldredge

46. “Shut Up and Fish“, Maddie and Tae

45. “Suitcase“, Steve Moakler

44. “Running for You“, Kip Moore

43. “June“, Runaway Angel

42. “Wasted Time“, Keith Urban

41. “If the Boot Fits“, Granger Smith

40. “Bluebonnets“, Aaron Watson

39. “Livin’ the Dream“, Drake White

38. “Mind Reader“, Dustin Lynch

37. “Better in Boots“, Tyler Farr

36. “American Country Love Song“, Jake Owen

35. “Hurtin’ on the Bottle“, Margo Price

34. “Shake it Like a Hillbilly“, Hillbilly Vegas

33. “Record Year“, Eric Church

32. “Someone to Take Your Place“, Tara Thompson

31. “It All Started with a Beer“, Frankie Ballard

30.”Rock On“, Tucker Beathard

29. “Sooner Than Later“, Jacob Davis

28. “Wasn’t That Drunk“, Josh Abbott Band w/ Carly Pearce

27. “Outskirts of Heaven“, Craig Campbell

26. “Think of You“, Chris Young w/ Cassadee Pope

25. “You Look Like I Need a Drink“, Justin Moore

24. “Long Live Tonight“, LANco

23. “Mayday“, Cam

22. “American Outlaw“, Halfway to Hazard

21. “I Know Somebody“, LOCASH

20. “You Should Be Here“, Cole Swindell

19. “Parachute“, Chris Stapleton

18. “Girl Next Door“, Brandy Clark

17. “Humble and Kind“, Tim McGraw

16. “Snapback“, Old Dominion

15. “Break Up in a Small Town“, Sam Hunt

14. “Saltwater Gospel“, Eli Young Band

13. “21 Summer“, Brothers Osborne

12. “Vacation“, Thomas Rhett

11. “Southernality“, A Thousand Horses

10. “It Don’t Hurt Like it Used To“, Billy Currington

9. “Mr. Misunderstood“, Eric Church

8. “From the Ground Up“, Dan & Shay

7. “H.O.L.Y.“, Florida Georgia Line

6. “Dance With Ya“, Drew Baldridge

5. “Backroad Song“, Granger Smith

4. “Head Over Boots“, Jon Pardi

3. “Beautiful Drug“, Zac Brown Band

2. “My Church“, Maren Morris

1. “Die a Happy Man“, Thomas Rhett

Well that’s it. My Top 50 of 2016…so far!

Where did I hit the nail on the head? Where did the arrow miss the mark?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Concert Review: Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane and Tyler Rich Bring a “Hell of a Night” to San Jose, California

January 28, 2016

Without a doubt, I can say that this night had just about everything. A marriage proposal. An emotional sendoff for KRTY’s Danika Gurley (who’s moving to Nashville to work for Cam. How awesome is that???) And finally, three solid country music acts who literally brought the house down!

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It’s always a fun trip for me to the Bay Area when there’s a concert scheduled at the Rodeo Club. I won’t lie, I usually plan a number of my business trips around the various shows that KRTY puts on. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out. But for a sold out show featuring Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane and Tyler Rich, there was no way I was missing this one!

The night started just after 8 p.m. with local boy Tyler Rich. Tyler hails from Northern California (Yuba City area) but currently resides in the home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee. During the show, he told us a great story about how it was a Garth Brooks show at Arco Arena in Sacramento that cemented his love for country music. Then, three months before his 14th birthday, his grandparents surprised him with a guitar for Christmas, and that, as they say, was that. Tyler never looked back.

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After countless hours working on his craft, and spending years on the road touring across the U.S. with multiple bands, Tyler decided it was time to pursue his career as a solo artist. This turned out to be a great choice as he’s taken the stage with some of the country music’s top artists including, Cole Swindell, Sam Hunt, Dan + Shay, Gloriana, Canaan Smith, Maddie & Tae, and a whole lot more (including Dustin Lynch who he’s touring with as we speak). Tyler’s first single “Radio”, landed on iTunes in mid-2015 and is getting airplay on a number of radio stations across the country, including iHeartRadio.

What I loved about Tyler’s performance was his stage presence. You could tell by watching him play that it is what he was born to do…and he loves doing it. The passion is there. From songs like “California Grown“, a song about growing up in California (which I can DEFINITELY relate to being born and raised in the small town of Petaluma) and “Turn it Up” to his first single, “Radio”, Tyler grabbed the attention of the audience right from the start and didn’t look back. I had the privilege of catching up with him after the show, nearly 3 hours after he first took the stage, and he was filled with the same energy and love for his fans that he demonstrated earlier in the evening. I even picked up his EP which has been worn out already. Definitely check it out when you have the chance.

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Make sure to check out Tyler on Facebook and definitely follow him on Twitter at @TylerRichMusic. His YouTube channel also has a few good clips.

After a brief intermission for a “refreshment break”, it was time for Chris Lane to take the stage.

Growing up in Kernersville, North Carolina, Chris made it clear that he listened to all of the country music greats including Alan Jackson, George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks. But as a child of the 90s, he was also shaped by the sounds of artists such as Justin Timberlake, Usher and the Backstreet Boys. Not your typical influencers for a country music artist, right? But Chris makes it work as he has drawn upon those influences to create music for what can only be described as the “modern” country fan.

Chris is certainly making a name in country music. With more than 500 shows to date, He’s shared the stage with leading acts including Florida Georgia Line, Jerrod Niemann, Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett. He’s also out on the road on Dustin Lynch’s 35-plus cities Hell of a Night Tour. Not a bad group of guys to be sharing the stage with, right?

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So let’s get to the music. His latest single “Fix” showcases his natural, carefree singing style. Written by Sarah Buxton, Jesse Frasure and Abe Stoklasa, “Fix” is an upbeat song about finding that one person who gives you exactly what you need. OK. That sounds like a country song, right? Heck, I dig it. I actually have it ranked at #71 on my Top 100 Country Music songs of 2015 (and since it came out late in the year, it’ll probably end up on the list for 2016 as well as it picks up additional airplay in the coming months).

The rest of the setlist was filled with a mix of his own songs including “Saturday Night”, “For Her”, and “Cool” as well as some flashbacks to the 90s. Dare I say The Backstreet Boys and N’Sync made an appearance? OK, maybe not the ACTUAL bands, but Chris did get the crowd fired up with renditions of “I Want it That Way” and “Bye Bye Bye”. Not songs that I typically assimilate with a show at the Rodeo Club, but hey, he pulled it off judging by the reactions of the people around me!

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If I have one negative to say, it is a little disappointment that he didn’t play my favorite song of his “Broken Windshield View“. Totally understand though, with so many other songs he performed. Maybe we’ll get this on an album in the future?

I’ll say this, Chris is one to watch. I caught him before opening for Florida Georgia Line and I think that he’s well on his way to making a name for himself in the industry. Make sure to check out Chris on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @iamchrislane.

Around 9:45 p.m., it was time for the main event: Dustin Lynch.

I was lucky enough to catch Dustin a few years back at the Rodeo Club for his first appearance and have seen him twice since. I’ll admit, I don’t know if there is a more down-to-earth guy in the industry. Talk about someone who loves what he’s doing and doing what he loves. Dustin is the epitome of this saying.

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Back in 2012, Dustin’s self-titled debut hit the number one spot on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, making him the only new male artist to achieve that distinction that year. The album’s lead single, “Cowboys and Angels,” exceeded platinum sales status while earning Dustin a legion of devoted fans. I’m proud to say that I was, and am, one of them. I have to consider “Cowboys and Angels” a modern day country classic, and that same year, it finished as one of Billboard’s Top 5 Country Songs of 2012.

Since releasing “Cowboys and Angels,” Dustin has catapulted on to the country music scene, racking up more than 25 million views on YouTube/VEVO and selling well over two million digital singles. What I love, first and foremost about him is that he brings a fresh combination of traditional influences and edgy intensity to the country music genre. A great mix of both which is what it takes to make it these days. Safe to say…Dustin has made it!

Here’s a clip of “Cowboys and Angels” from the show.

Here’s a clip of “Where It’s At” from the show.

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On this night, as always, Dustin didn’t disappoint. The audience was treated to a selection of his own music, including “Where It’s At”, “She Cranks My Tractor”, “Wild in Your Smile”, “Middle of Nowhere”, “After Party”, “Halo” and his new single, “Mind Reader”, complemented by an assortment of covers including Diamond Rio’s “Meet in the Middle”, “John Deere Green” and an all time classic, “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”. The night culminated with a stirring rendition of “Hell of a Night”, which proved to be the theme of the evening.

I’ll be perfectly clear here: Dustin Lynch is one of the best, up-and-coming male artists in the business today. Heck, I’m not even sure I can call him “up-and-coming” anymore. More like one of the best, established country music artists today. From beginning to end, his shows make you want to come back for more every time and I suggest if he’s coming to your area any time soon, that you check him out.

Also, be sure to look him up on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @dustinlynch.

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I alluded to it earlier, but one of the best moments of the evening took place when Dustin invited a gentlemen during the opening riff of “Cowboys and Angels”. Here I was thinking that the guy was going to talk about his grandparents (hence the theme of the song) because he mentioned them when he first took the stage. Naturally, I was wrong. He soon invited his girlfriend up to the stage and it was pretty clear that we were going to see a marriage proposal. Thankfully, she said yes. Congrats to the two of you (whoever you are) 🙂

As I sit here 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, 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!

BTW…raising a glass to Danika on her last night with KRTY. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and best of luck in Nashville!

Were you at the show? Have you seen Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane or Tyler Rich live? Let me know your thoughts on these guys in the comments section below.

 

 

Year in Review: My Top 100 Country Music Songs of 2015

December 4, 2015

It’s that time of year again where I like to take a look back at my favorite country music songs of the year. We’re into the home stretch so now is as good a time as any, right?

Now, let me preface this list as I always do.

  • I’m not a professional music reviewer.
  • I don’t get paid to promote artists.
  • I don’t go by Billboard or radio airplay charts.

Got it? Good. Let’s get going. My list which consists of the top 100 songs that I loved over the past year (or so). The 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.

Now you might notice that a lot of mainstream, radio hits by major artists are not included. No reason except for the fact that my list is not based on how famous you are. Simple as that. I listen to the radio all day long, but a lot of the songs that are played just get played too often. I get burned out. Or, I hear them so often that I change the station. For that reason, those songs may or may not be on my list.

Frankly, it’s my personal list which includes the songs that I love and want to hear (but please feel free to sway me in your direction if I left a song off or ranked a song too high/low).

You probably heard some of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local station. Others may not have been played much (if at all) when they should have been, in my own, personal opinion. You’ll note quite a few songs on the list that haven’t even been played on the radio. If you see those…be sure to take a listen!

Also, while some of these songs may have come out in late 2014, they were ones that were predominantly played (if they made the radio) in the 2015 calendar year. Others may be primed for success later next year so, like I’ve said before, keep your ears open!

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

Now, without further ado, let’s get this party started with a three-way tie at #100:

(T) 100. “Amen“, Toree McGee

(T) 100. “CRUSH“, The Darlins

(T) 100. “Kids with Cars“, Dallas Smith

99. “Lovestruck“, George Ducas

98. “Giving it All“, Haley & Michaels

97. “Trouble Maker“, LANco

96. “Upside Down“, Dean Brody

95. “Hit the Road“, Waterloo Revival

94. “Hey Time“, The Springs

93. “Move On“, Clare Dunn

92. “Run Angel Run“, Runaway Angel

91. “Hanging on a Lie“, Striking Matches

90. “I Met a Girl“, William Michael Morgan

89. “Drink Drink Drink“, Cloverdayle

88. “Til the Summer’s Gone“, Emerson Drive

87. “Trespassin’“, Chasin’ Crazy

86. “Country Proud“, The Stickers

85. “I Am Invincible“, Cassadee Pope

84. “The Driver“, Charles Kelley (Featuring Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay)

83. “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face“, Craig Wayne Boyd

82. “Miss You the Most“, Natalie Stovall and the Drive

81. “Kiss By Kiss“, Kristen Kelly

80. “Go Live Your Life“, Wade Hayes

79. “Next Boyfriend“, Lauren Alaina

78. “By the Way“, Lindsay Ell

77. “Ray Bans“, JT Hodges

76. “Me and Johnny Cash“, Rainey Qualley

75. “Clean Hands” Kyle Douglas

74. “Ain’t Always Thirsty“, Ray Scott

73. “White Lightning“, The Cadillac Three

72. “On To Something Good“, Ashley Monroe

71. “Fix“, Chris Lane

70. “Bad for You“, Waterloo Revival

69. “Blue Bandana” Jerrod Niemann

68. “It All Started With a Beer“, Frankie Ballard

67. “Kiss You in the Morning“, Michael Ray

66. “Live Forever“, The Band Perry

65. “Folks Like Us“, Montgomery Gentry

64. “Ain’t No Trucks in Texas“, Ronnie Dunn

63. “Lose My Mind“, Brett Eldredge

62. “I See You“, Luke Bryan

61. “My Mistake“, Cam

60. “Shake it Like a Hillbilly“, Hillbilly Vegas

59. “Tomorrow Tonight“, Craig Campbell

58. “Gonna Know We Were Here“, Jason Aldean

57. “Crooked Halo“, Annie Bosko

56. “Going Out Like That“, Reba

56. “Sippin’ on Fire“, Florida Georgia Line

54. “Hole in a Bottle“, Canaan Smith

53. “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey“, Cole Swindell

52. “Run Away with You“, Big & Rich

51. “Raise ‘Em Up“, Keith Urban featuring Eric Church

50. “A Guy Walks Into a Bar“, Tyler Farr

49. “Take Your Time“, Sam Hunt

48. “Better Than You Left Me“, Mickey Guyton

47. “Confession“, Florida Georgia Line

46. “My Church“, Maren Morris

45. “Standards“, Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers

44. “Backroad Song“, Granger Smith

43. “Little Toy Guns“, Carrie Underwood

42. “Riser“, Dierks Bentley

41. “Crushin’ It“, Brad Paisley

40. “Save it for a Rainy Day“, Kenny Chesney

39. “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16“, Keith Urban

38. “Nothin’ Like You“, Dan & Shay

37. “I Got the Boy“, Jana Kramer

36. “American Flags in Black & White“, John Moreland

35. “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial“, A Thousand Horses

34. “I’m to Blame“, Kip Moore

33. “Nobody to Blame“, Chris Stapleton

32. “Hell of a Night“, Dustin Lynch

31. “Let Me See Ya Girl“, Cole Swindell

30. “Already Callin’ You Mine“, Parmalee

29. “Jim and Jack and Hank“, Alan Jackson

28. “Biscuits“, Kacey Musgraves

27. “She Don’t Love You“, Eric Paslay

26. “Love Me Like You Mean It”, Kelsea Ballerini

25. “Little Bit of You“, Chase Bryant

24. “It Feels Good“, Drake White

23. “Young & Crazy“, Frankie Ballard

22. “Buy Me a Boat“, Chris Janson

21. “Don’t It“, Billy Currington

20. “Head Over Boots“, Jon Pardi

19. “Traveller“, Chris Stapleton

18. “Die a Happy Man“, Thomas Rhett

17. “Country“, Mo Pitney

16. “One Hell of an Amen“, Brantley Gilbert

15. “Whiskey on my Breath“, Love and Theft

14. “All Country on You“, Austin Webb

13. “Break Up with Him“, Old Dominion

12. “Like a Wrecking Ball“, Eric Church

11. “Anything Goes“, Florida Georgia Line

10. “I Love This Life“, LoCash

9. “Trailer Hitch“, Kristian Bush

8. “Burning House“, Cam

7. “Hooked Up“, James Wesley

6. “Crash and Burn“, Thomas Rhett

5. “House Party“, Sam Hunt

4. “Homegrown“, Zac Brown Band

3. “Girl Crush“, Little Big Town

2. “Stay a Little Longer“, Brothers Osborne

1. “Smoke“, A Thousand Horses

Well that’s it. My Top 100 of 2015! I know, it was a longer list than normal this year. But, I wanted to be sure to give everyone their due.

Where did I hit the nail on the head? Where did the arrow miss the mark?

I want to hear from you!

Let me know in the comments below!

Concert Review: A Thousand Horses, Brothers Osborne and Darius Rucker Bring the “Southernality” to San Jose, California

August 1, 2015

I’ve been to a lot of shows. I’m also a man of many words. But after last night, I’m pretty much speechless.

Following the big show at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, which featured Darius Rucker, Brett Eldredge, Brothers Osborne and A Thousand Horses, those who were lucky enough to find their way to the Rodeo Club in San Jose were in for a treat. Let’s just say that some great country music rolled into like a “Landslide”.

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Hanging with A Thousand Horses

KRTY listeners had been hearing for quite some time that there were “A thousand reasons to come to the after party at the Rodeo Club”. Who knew that it was more like a thousand…and three! On this night, a capacity crowd had the privilege of not only seeing A Thousand Horses and Brothers Osborne, but they were also joined by the headliner himself, Darius Rucker, live on the Rodeo Club stage. What a thrill for the crowd!

A Thousand Horses kicked off their set a few minutes after midnight, kicking into their set with the raucous Landslide, their staple, opening song. On top their number one hit, “Smoke”, the band ran through some music off their album “Southernality”. Three of my favorites, “Sunday Morning”, “Trailer Trashed” and “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” were featured on the set as well as the catchy “Travelin’ Man”. The Friday night crowd was also treated to two great covers of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”, which they performed with the Brothers Osborne, and The Black Crowes “Hard to Handle”, which they performed with Darius Rucker, 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.

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ATH with Darius Rucker

I have said this many times before, and will say it again now, A Thousand Horses is THE band you need to watch, follow and support in 2015 and beyond. 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 (not THAT Zac Brown)
Graham Deloach – Bass and Vocal

A Thousand Horses can only be described as a mix of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers and The Black Crowes. Not sure how else to describe them, but they are in no way a copycat act. The band has their own look, their own sound, and a stage presence that captivates an audience from the first note. They truly bring together their classic rock talents with a modern-country sound. There is nothing else like them on the radio today and A Thousand Horses is what country music needs.

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

I didn’t get a chance to talk about them much, since they only joined A Thousand Horses for one song, but let me tell you this: the Brothers Osborne are talented. VERY talented.

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A Thousand Horses and the Brothers Osborne

As background, brothers John and T.J. Osborne once performed in a cover band called Deuce and a Quarter, where they played cover songs from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dwight Yoakam, Merle Haggard and Bob Seger. The duo released their debut single “Let’s Go There”, which reached Top 40 on Country Airplay at the end of 2013.Their second single, “Rum”, debuted in early 2014. The single also reached Top 40 on Country Airplay, and is included on their five-song, self-titled EP. Their third single, “Stay a Little Longer”, originally appeared on the EP, but it has since been re-recorded as a single and is currently their third consecutive top 40 country hit.

If you haven’t heard “Stay a Little Longer”, go check it out. It’s on my playlist every hour on the hour and one of the best songs on the radio today! They’re album Pawn Shop comes out in January so don’t miss that when it’s available.

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

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, Danika Gurley, etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay. Not to mention bringing Darius Rucker to the Rodeo Club! I’d love to say any other station in the Bay Area try to do that!

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A Thousand Horses and Darius Rucker

The Bay Area is lucky to have a station like KRTY. I’ve lived up and down the West Coast, and you won’t find a harder working “family” than these folks. I say family, because that’s what they are. You can tell when you meet the staff that they are more than co-workers. They love going to work each and every day with each other and bringing you, the listener, the best in country music. And most importantly, they keep it local. That’s what it’s all about. Radio stations come, and radio stations go, but in the end, it’s the local stations that truly care about their listeners that have staying power. Other stations may claim to be local, but there is only one true, LOCAL country station in the Bay Area, and that’s KRTY. While I may not live full time in the South Bay anymore, I truly thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for sticking to your roots. Don’t EVER change!

Well that’s it! What a night!

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

Concert Review: Brothers Osborne and Lauren Alaina “Stay a Little Longer” in San Jose, California

July 30, 2015

Forget staying a little longer. I would have stayed all night for more music from Lauren Alaina (Interscope Records) and the Brothers Osborne (Universal Music Nashville).

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When you come to the Rodeo Club in San Jose, you know that you’re in for a treat at each and every show. On this night, the audience did not leave disappointed.

After a quick, pre-show set from Chris Giles, Director of Business Operations for the San Francisco 49ers, and country musician (who knew???), it was time for Lauren Alaina to take the stage.

You may know Alaina best from her appearance on the 10th season of American Idol where she finished as the runner-up. American Idol was certainly an experience which displayed her enthusiasm and incredibly powerful voice that has been compared to the leading ladies of country music including Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride.

But well before American Idol, Alaina’s first public performances came with a kids’ choir as well as an annual vacation location that offered karaoke (who doesn’t love karaoke!). According to her website, word soon spread about her talent and she began receiving invitations to perform at different venues. Beginning in elementary school, she routinely landed lead roles in school plays. Obviously, music came to Alaina at a very early age.

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Credit: Rudy Sabin Photography

Her debut studio album, Wildflower was released in October of 2011. The album, which included one of my personal favorites “Georgia Peaches”, as  well as “Like My Mother Does” and the radio hit “18 Inches”, debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 chart. She’s currently working on some new music for her upcoming sophomore album, which she showcased to a full house at the Rodeo Club.

I think one of the best moments of the night would be during her performance of “Next Boyfriend” where lucky attendee “Kevin” (and his A’s hat which was quickly confiscated by Lauren) was pulled up on stage as she performed. Luckily this time, “Kevin” wasn’t married, or her cousin, which apparently happened to her at an earlier event. Oops!

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Credit: Danika Gurley

We were also treated to “My Kind of People”, which was my personal favorite of her new music, as well as a fantastic rendition of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush”. Good stuff all around!

I’ve got to tell you something. After last night’s performance, I know why Alaina is compared with the likes of Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride. Her vocals are incredible, which is amazing considering she’s coming off vocal chord surgery just last year. I can’t imagine the recovery process and getting back into the studio and out on the road. MAJOR kudos Lauren!

If you have not seen her perform live, make sure to check her out! You won’t regret it! Make sure that you are also following Alaina on Twitter at @Lauren_Alaina and on Facebook.

Around 10 p.m., it was finally time for the main event of the evening: The Brothers Osborne. This is a band I have been waiting to see for months. I had the opportunity to see them twice before, but both times, my plans were changed at the last minutes. I’ve have been kicking myself for not seeing them, but this time around, nothing was going to stop me from seeing them.

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Credit: Rudy Sabin Photography

As background, the Brothers Osborne, (John and T.J. Osborne) once performed in a cover band called Deuce and a Quarter, where they played cover songs from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dwight Yoakam, Merle Haggard and Bob Seger. While in this band, they performed at small, local venues, but it was this experience that the Brothers Osborne got the taste for performing live. In the mid-2000’s they moved to Nashville to pursue their dreams.

The duo released their debut single “Let’s Go There”, which reached Top 40 on Country Airplay at the end of 2013.Their second single, “Rum”, a personal favorite of mine, debuted in early 2014. The single also reached Top 40 on Country Airplay, and is included on their five-song, self-titled EP. Their third single, “Stay a Little Longer”, originally appeared on the EP, but it has since been re-recorded as a single release and is currently their third consecutive top 40 country hit.

Let me tell you this: the Brothers Osborne are talented. VERY talented. The audience was treated to a mix of traditional country, modern country and southern rock. You name it, they played it. What was great was that we got a sample of not only their radio hits, but also some new music that the band is currently recording. I especially loved “Greener Pastures”. I won’t dive into what the song is about but you can let your mind wander and come up with an idea, based on the title. I think Willie Nelson would be proud!

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The audience, naturally, was all over “Stay a Little Longer” and “Rum”, but enjoyed hearing a few cover tunes, including “Hey Good Lookin'” and “La Grange”. How can you not love it when a band can pull off both Hank Williams and ZZ Top flawlessly! Those performances were two of the highlights of the evening for me.

BTW, Lauren Alaina came out in the audience during the Brothers Osborne set and sang along to every single song. Heck, she was standing right next to me and it was obvious that she was a fan, just like the rest of us. You’ve got to love seeing another artist in a moment of fandom! I’ll admit, though, that I felt pretty bad screaming into her ear as I sang along. Hope she didn’t mind!!!

Anyways…I would be remiss in not mentioning two things. First, the guitar playing by John Osborne is something that you need to see live. All I can say is wow! Words won’t do justice. Second, the vocals from T.J. Osborne are up there with the best. He was certainly “on” on this night, whether he was rocking out or taking it down a little with a ballad. The range was incredible.

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If you haven’t seen the Brothers Osborne (and their full band) before, what are you waiting for??? Make sure that you are also following the Brothers Osborne on Twitter at @brothersosborne and on Facebook.

I’m very excited that I get to see them again on Friday, July 31 at Shoreline Amphitheatre opening for Darius Rucker. Heck, A Thousand Horses and Brett Eldredge will be there too. I better get myself prepared for my head to explode from an evening of fantastic country music!

Overall, another great night of country music with KRTY. As always, thank you to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson, Randy Jones, Danika Gurley, Jenna Johnson etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay.

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.

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Credit: Rudy Sabin Photography

What did you think of the show? Have you seen either of the performers before?

Please feel free to leave your thoughts on the show, or the artists themselves, in the comments 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.”

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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: Chris Cagle Gets “Back in the Saddle” with Haley & Michaels in San Jose, California

April 17, 2015

When KRTY announces that they are putting on a show that will blow you away, it’s not just hot air.

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For the past few weeks, the Bay Area country music scene has been waiting for Chris Cagle to descend upon San Jose, and his latest trip to the Rodeo Club. Cagle has been here before, and he will no doubt be back again, but in speaking with some “newbies” to the club last night before the show, they weren’t sure what to expect. They had never been to a KRTY show (blasphemy!) and had never seen Cagle live before.

Naturally I told them that they were in for a night that they’d never forget…and I’m not just saying that because we are Phi Delta Theta fraternity brothers. The guy is literally one of the hardest working performers in country music and ALWAYS puts on a show to be remembered for his fans. Not to mention he’s a great follow on Twitter at @chriscagle.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Before Cagle took the stage around 9:45 p.m., we were treated to a set by the up-and-coming duo Haley & Michaels (Shannon Haley & Ryan Michaels).

via Margo Lang

via Margo Lang

So here’s the story on these two. It turns out that they grew up only a few miles apart here in Northern California, but get this, they didn’t know each other until well after they separately started their country music careers in Nashville. Shortly after meeting they began singing and writing together and discovered they had a great connection.

What I love about Haley & Michaels is that they have this mix of vocals and harmonies that carry them through their set. You probably know them from their debut single “Just Another Love Song”, which of course was the highlight of their performance. Naturally, the crowd at the Rodeo Club was singing along to every note.

The folks at KRTY have been standing firmly behind Haley & Michaels, as I’ve seen them a few times now and each time I feel as though I enjoy them more and more. They may not be a household name to you just yet, but they have been touring with and opening shows for major acts including Brett Eldredge, Parmalee, Clint Black, Hank Williams Jr., Dustin Lynch and Martina McBride.

If you see them on the bill as an opening act, make sure you’re not late to the show. You won’t be disappointed. BTW they are getting married next month so make sure to stop by their Facebook page and give them your best wishes!

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Speaking of not being disappointed, if there is one country music artist that is guaranteed to not disappoint, it certainly would be Chris Cagle.

What can I say…I’ve been a fan of Cagle dating back to his debut album, Play it Loud. And what’s not to love. We’re talking “My Love Goes On and On”, “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out” and my personal favorite “Laredo”. Some classic songs from a great album that you still hear on the radio today.

On this night, Cagle pulled out all of the stops. Whether it’s a club show or a much larger venue, Cagle knows what it takes to be an entertainer. And that’s what the KRTY crowd was treated to…entertainment. From the moment he took the stage, until the band took their final bows, it was a non-stop mix of country, rock and rolls and emotional ballads.

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I’ll admit, I’ve never seen an artist overcome with so much emotion during a show. During a short pause while performing “Miss Me Baby”, the San Jose crowd let Cagle know exactly how much they appreciated him. Without exaggeration, he was given a 5-6 minute standing ovation that went “on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on” (sorry, I had to do it). You could see in his eyes that he truly appreciated the love from the crowd, needing to step back a few times to withhold tears.

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It really was a magical moment, and one that this artist deserved after so many years of doing what he does for us, the country music listener. These are the types of moments that you get when you come to the Rodeo Club…and I thank KRTY for bringing him to town so I can experience them.

The rest of the set was exactly what you would expect. We were treated to classic Cagle, as well as a few new songs including “Got My Country On” and “I’ll Grow My Own” from his latest album “Back in the Saddle” which concluded the set. Normally, like most people, when the new stuff comes on, I kind of tune out a little. But not this time. I really liked “I’ll Grow My Own”. It was a good choice to conclude the set…knowing that he and the band had to come out for at least one more song.

For the encore, Cagle went old school southern rock, courtesy of some Lynyrd Skynard. While it may have been a Thursday night, it quickly became a “Saturday Night Special” at the Rodeo Club.  Most people that choose a Skynyrd cover song would pull out “Sweet Home Alabama”, “That Smell” or even “Freebird”, but I love the fact that the band went another direction.

via Margo Lang

via Margo Lang

As expected, “Chicks Dig It” closed out the set. And why not. It’s a great song…one that the audience can sing along to every word of and how can you not have a smile on your face at the same time. It’s the story of a guy who has always done various stunts (most of the time injuring himself in the process) in attempts to impress women, because the “chicks dig it”.

OK guys, raise your hand if you’re guilty of that. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

What can I say that I haven’t said already. From Haley & Michaels, to Chris Cagle (and his band of course), this was another great night of entertainment.

Thank you again to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson, Gary Scott Thomas, Randy Jones, Indiana Al and the rest of the folks at KRTY for putting on another hell of a night.There’s a reason why KRTY is the number one country music station in the Bay Area. It’s because of the people that work there that put their heart and soul into their jobs and make sure that their audience is treated to the best that country music has to offer.

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But don’t forget, it’s also because of you (and me)…the listeners who come out to the shows and listen every day. I love coming back to the Bay Area for shows like this and I can’t wait for the next one! I’ve got my sights on James Wesley on April 29.

If you’re looking for a few upcoming shows, don’t miss Frankie Ballard (with Clare Dunn) on April 22 and Maddie and Tae (with Logan Mize) the following night on April 23. Both shows take place at the Rodeo Club. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Chris Cagle Set List:

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