Posted tagged ‘Darius Rucker’

Brandy Clark and Steve Moakler Put Songwriting Talents Front and Center in San Jose, California

August 18, 2016

It’s been quite a whirlwind the past few weeks and my travels have kept me away from the Bay Area for a few weeks now. Unfortunately, this has meant that I haven’t been able to attend any shows at the Rodeo Club for quite some time.

Well, that all changed this week when I found myself in town on a Wednesday night, and wouldn’t you know it, KRTY had two of my up-and-coming favorites on stage on the same night. Ladies and gentleman, if you haven’t been introduced to Brandy Clark and Steve Moakler, you’re about to get a formal introduction.

 

I’ll dive in first with the opening act, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native Steve Moakler. As background, Moakler moved to Nashville back in 2006, honing his craft in a town where the best singers and songwriters go to find their country music dreams. After performing hundreds of live, local performances, Moakler placed a series of songs with several country artists, including Dierks Bentley, Kellie Pickler and Jake Owen. He also released three independent albums, including 2011’s Watching Time Run, which Moakler funded via a Kickstarter campaign.

I talked about how Moakler placed songs for a number of country music artists, but he is well-known, and highly regarded, as one of Nashville’s most respected, up-and-coming songwriters. In fact, Rolling Stone tabbed Moakler as one of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know”. The magazine called him a “thoughtful singer-songwriter fare in the blue-collar vein of Springsteen, with an Americana bent.”

Did you know that Moakler co-wrote Bentley‘s recent single, “Riser,”  with Travis Meadows? Yep. Naturally, he performed “Riser” during his San Jose set, and was one of the highlights of the performance. However, for me, the highlight of Moakler’s set was a fantastic cover of The Eagles “Take it Easy”. Not only is this one of my all-time favorite songs, Moakler pulled it off in a way that even The Eagles would have been impressed…that is, once we got to hear the third verse. I can neither confirm, nor deny, that the second verse might have been repeated.

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Getting back to his own music, for the first single from his new album, Moakler turned to a song that I first heard earlier this year, “Suitcase“. In fact, it landed at #45 in my “Top 50 of 2016…So Far“. The song was crafted with writers including Luke Laird, Barry Dean and Thomas Rhett and, in my opinion, deserves more radio airplay than it’s currently seeing. Stations like KRTY and others have been great in getting this song out there to their listening audience, now the word just needs to be spread even more because it’s a hit in waiting.

I’ve got to admit, Moakler’s performance was exactly what I expected…and more. Stripped down, professional, and a fantastic experience. What I love is that he pours his heart and soul into his music. You can tell that we he plays, he’s playing from the heart. Each and every song tells a story, and that’s something that’s missing in country music today. Moakler isn’t up in your face. Rather, he takes the time to draw you in with lyrical poetry and brings it home with smooth, flawless guitar playing that gets your toes tapping along with the beat.

If you get the chance to catch Steve Moakler when he’s in town, make sure you get there early and grab a spot right up front. You won’t regret it.

Before you do anything else today, make sure to check out Moakler on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @stevemoakler. Also, don’t forget to check out his music on iTunes.

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Credit: Rudy Sabin (www.rudysabin.com)

Speaking of talented songwriters, they don’t come much better than the headlining act of the evening: Brandy Clark.

With songs recorded by the likes of Billy Currington, Darius Rucker, Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry, Reba McEntire, Sheryl Crow, LeAnn Rimes and Kacey Musgraves, Clark is certainly well-known and well-respected in the industry. In fact, Clark is a four-time Grammy Award nominee, including a nominee for Best New Artist at the 2015 awards.

As a bit of background, Clark hails from Morton, Washington, a logging town of less than 1,000 people, located in the shadow of Mount St. Helens.

Growing up, Clark was influenced by a variety of country music artists including Barbara Mandrell, Ronnie Milsap, Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn. She first picked up a guitar at the age of nine and made her singing debut in school musicals. When she entered her first year of college, she started to get more serious about music, taking guitar lessons and joining a band along with her mother and a friend. As a teenager, she discovered the music business program at Belmont University, so she enrolled and moved to Nashville in 1998. After graduation, Clark landed a job with Leadership Music, which led to her eventual publishing deal.

Credit: KRTY

Like Moakler, Clark excels at her storytelling through her music. She is far and away one of the greatest songwriters I have ever had the pleasure of listening to and her live performance only extenuates her talent. On this evening, the audience was treated to a mix of tunes she wrote for The Band Perry (Better Dig Two) and Miranda Lambert (Mama’s Broken Heart), as well as a selection of songs both old and new.

Clark has a new album out, “Big Day in a Small Town“, which tells the stories of the football star, the father, the homecoming queen and the hairdresser. Why? Because those are the stories and people that Clark grew up knowing in her “small town”.

Check out the tracklist below, which includes a who’s who in songwriting credits:

1. “Soap Opera” – Brandy Clark/Bryan Simpson

2. “Girl Next Door” – Brandy Clark/Jessie Jo Dillon/Shane McAnally

3. “Homecoming Queen” – Brandy Clark/Luke Laird/Shane McAnally

4. “Broke” – Brandy Clark/Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne

5. “You Can Come Over” – Brandy Clark/Jessie Jo Dillon/Mark Narmore

6. “Love Can Go to Hell” – Brandy Clark/Scott Stepakoff

7. “Big Day in a Small Town” – Brandy Clark/Shane McAnally/Mark D. Sanders

8. “Three Kids No Husband” – Brandy Clark/Lori McKenna

9. “Daughter” – Brandy Clark/Jessie Jo Dillon/Jeremy Spillman

10. “Drinkin’ Smokin’ Cheatin'” – Brandy Clark

11. “Since You’ve Gone to Heaven” – Brandy Clark/Shane McAnally

There were a few highlights of the evening for me, but one that stood out for me was her performance of “Daughter“, which could be due to the fact that I relate to the lyrics, having two daughters of my own. In fact, one is only a couple years from dating age. Also, I’ve always loved “Stripes” so I was glad that this song found its way on the setlist.

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Another highlight would be the live performance of “Girl Next Door“, a song which goes back to the roots of country music and also landed at #18 in my “Top 50 of 2016…So Far“. This song, like all of Clark’s music, is what country music needs today..a swift kick in the ass!

I’ve said this before, and will say it again, too much of today’s music is lacking substance. Many of the artists, and songs, are cookie cutter. For the most part, there’s no real feeling. No emotion. Yes, there are some great songs being written, but they’re being buried and that’s a damn shame.

Artists like Brandy Clark are what country music needs. I can’t stress her songwriting talents enough. I could never do justice. Don’t believe me, go take a listen. I guaranteed you’ll be hooked right away.

Clark is active on social media so make sure to check her out on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at@TheBrandyClark. You can also pick up her new album on iTunes. Don’t delay. Go out do it now!

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, etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay.

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

Were you at the show? Have you seen Steve Moakler or Brandy Clark live? Let me know your thoughts on these talented, talented musicians in the comments section below.

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Artist Spotlight: Interstate 10

August 2, 2016

I’ve written about a lot of up-and-coming artists. Obviously, there are a lot out there trying to find their place in country music. But today, I’ve got a real treat for you. These guys are something special and a group that you need to take a listen to. The name? Interstate 10.

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As a bit of background, Interstate 10 is a country/pop duo headed by Army Rangers Justin Wright of Tallahassee, Florida, and Andrew Yacovone of Hollister, California.

I first had the opportunity to meet Yacovone two years ago at a concert put on by 101.9 The Wolf in Davis, California. The show was their annual Christmas concert featuring Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch. During the concert, Yacovone was invited up on stage to play a song. It was an amazing experience. Here was this guy, fresh out of the audience (and the military) with a guitar. Not sure what the crowd expected, but we were blown away. You could tell that the on air staff was into it too. How cool is that!

Anyways, back to the group.

According to their website:

Focusing on a mix of traditional country music with modern beats and story lines, Interstate 10’s recordings and performances display strong melodies and good-time listening. 

While deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, friends and active-duty officers, Wright and Yacovone, debuted their first YouTube hit together, “Hometown Hero.” Their first song about longing for one’s hometown proved a compelling start for the guitar-playing friends. Together they continued to write both passionate and party-style Country music abroad and after their return home in late 2014.

On post-deployment leave in Byron Bay, Australia, the pair performed live for the first time at an impromptu show for a crowd of 100+ at the Falls Music Festival. Impromptu performances are now a common occurrence for Interstate 10, including: performing for Sam Hunt’s management team at the Ogden theater in Denver, Colorado in March 2015, and later this year playing backstage for Chase Rice at a Professional Bull Riders event in May in Colorado Springs.

Two months later, the duo began recording their full-length EP at The Spot Studios in Lakewood, Colorado. During this time Interstate 10 actively continued for opportunities to showcase their sound in Nashville, Tennessee where they had the opportunity to play at six venues in five days.

Here’s a link to their most recent song, “I’m Gonna Miss You” which has seen nearly 340,000 views on YouTube to date. I absolutely love this song, and I’m sure that you will too.

Also, make sure you check out “Hometown Hero” which was written back in 2014 during the little downtime they had while deployed in Afghanistan, and “Yellow Lines“, a song about memories of the great times in the past and things they wished they were doing during the summer while stationed in Afghanistan. This includes long drives, summertime, romance, spontaneity, beaches, boats and, of course, a beautiful girl.

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In other band news, last month, Interstate 10 went live from Afghanistan and announced the release of “Let’s Ride,” as well as news of  their recent partnership with Grammy Award winning producer Nathan Chapman. Chapman is well known in the industry and has worked with a number of artists including: Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Charles Kelley, Rascal Flatts, and Darius Rucker.

When asked about Interstate’s upcoming release, “Let’s Ride,” Chapman stated:

“I think this song has some real possibilities starting to emerge. We’re about 3 steps away from it being a real competitive record.” 

Interstate 10 will be releasing a new song shortly titled “Let’s Ride”. After “I’m Gonna Miss You”, the group was overwhelmed to learn that so many people received their message. Now, they are excited that to announce that they have 8 songs fully recorded waiting to bring to the masses.

I’ll definitely be keeping a lookout for “Let’s Ride” when it debuts on August 5.

If you haven’t checked out Interstate 10 before, make sure you give them a look. Also, keep up with them via their website or follow them on Twitter at  @i10music and Facebook for their latest news and concert schedule.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Interstate 10 live? What do you think of the guys? Please share your thoughts in the comments section 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!

New Music Review: “Smoke” by A Thousand Horses

January 20, 2015

It’s not very often that when I see a band live for the first time I am absolutely BLOWN AWAY. The latest band to do this to me: A Thousand Horses (Republic Nashville).

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I had the pleasure of catching A Thousand Horses recently opening for Josh Thompson and Will Hoge at the Rodeo Club in San Jose. Nate Deaton, General Manager at KRTY, said that this was not an opening act to miss…and he was right! No joke. During the set, I sent out multiple text messages to friends to tell them that they HAD to see this band live (which they did a few days later and they felt the exact same way as I did!)

For a little background, the band consists of:

Michael Hobby – Lead Vocal
Bill Satcher – Lead Guitar
Zach Brown – Guitar and Vocal (not THAT Zac Brown)
Graham Deloach – Bass and Vocal

From their look (see photo above) to their sound, 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 have the benefit of pulling all of their classic rock talents together in a modern-country sound. Nothing wrong with that!

Their new single, “Smoke” is the type of song that’s ready to jump to the top of the airplay charts at radio stations across the country, and should be firmly on your playlist right now! But don’t take my word for it, take a listen for yourself:

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See what I mean?

Great vocals. Great rhythm. It’s catchy and it’s what country radio needs right now! I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that this song WILL hit #1 this summer…and it will be the first of a string of #1 hits for the band.

Sure, it’s not your typical “Bro Country” that is filling the airwaves right now. It’s so much better. Could this be the song that changes country music forever? Probably not. But does it have a chance to bring country music back to it’s southern roots? Absolutely!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2014 was the year of the horse. But I’m telling you, this band is ready to make 2015 the year of A Thousand Horses.

Don’t miss them this summer on tour with Darius Rucker, Brett Eldredge and the Brothers Osborne. Trust me. They won’t be an opening act for long! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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.

Year in Review: My Top Ten Country Music Songs of 2013

December 29, 2013

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the year that was. I know…I know. I’ve seen the video that’s circulating that pretty much says that every country music song was exactly the same this year. But I’m not here to support or fight that claim. I’m here to present you with “my” top ten country music songs of 2013.

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 ten 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.

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!!!!

To begin, a few songs that just missed the cut were: “Point at You” by Justin Moore, “Don’t Ya” by Brett Eldridge, “It Goes Like This” by Thomas Rhett, “Outta My Head” by Craig Campbell, “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” by Gary Allan, “Anywhere with You” by Jake Owen, “Drunk Last Night” by Eli Young Band, “Jump on In” by Zac Brown Band, “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” by Randy Houser and “Crash My Party” by Luke Bryan. Consider these, in no particular order, my numbers 11-20 (and yes, I could have easily gone up to 50).

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

10. Tyler Farr, Redneck Crazy

Tyler Farr crashed the country music scene this summer with his hit “Redneck Crazy”. The classic story of love and loss…or is it more of an in-your-face, cheating girlfriend, you’re gonna regret it later song? Either way, it was fun and it was a staple on my playlist this year.

9. Steve Holy, Radio Up

You know him from hits such as “Good Morning Beautiful”, “Brand New Girlfriend” and “Love Don’t Run”, but in 2013, Steve Holy definitely turned the “Radio Up” with another fan favorite. “Radio Up” got some great airplay on KRTY in San Jose thanks to DJ’s Indiana Al, Randy Jones and others, but is still fighting for airplay nationwide. If you haven’t heard it yet, take a listen below. Remember, if you like it, please tell your local station to add it to their rotation!



8. Eric Paslay, Friday Night

Eric Paslay seem to have taken the Phil Vassar route: After gaining acclaim for writing hit songs for other artists, he is finally breaking out on his own. He definitely did this in 2013 with his hit “Friday Night”. Great song by an up-and-coming star. Keep an eye out for this guy in 2014.

7. Parmalee, Carolina

California and Carolina once again came together in 2013. No, it wasn’t a Jo Dee Mesina remix. It was the Parmalee hit “Carolina”. Now, I know what you’re thinking: this song came out well before this year. It’s true. The song was first released on their 2008 EP entitled Complicated before being re-released this past February. Either way, it was a huge hit this year and lands at number seven on my list for 2013.

6. Thompson Square, If I Didn’t Have You

“If I Didn’t Have You” was released back in October of 2012 as the first single from Thompson Square’s album Just Feels Good. The song was written by Keifer and Shawna Thompson with Jason Sellers and Paul Jenkins. It’s a powerful song, and one of two ballads that makes my list (see below for the other).

5. James Wesley, Thank a Farmer

Broken Bow recording artist James Wesley was at it again in 2013. Following hits “Real” and “Didn’t I”, Wesley went back to his roots this year with “Thank a Farmer”, an ode to those farmers that put food on all of our tables and takes listeners, wherever they may live, directly into the heart of Middle America. A song that should be on everyone’s playlist, “Thank a Farmer” really drives home the fact that real songwriting is still alive and well in 2013. Go take a listen and enjoy!

4. Kip Moore, Hey Pretty Girl

The second ballad that ends up on my list, “Hey Pretty Girl” seemed to be on my radio constantly for months earlier this year. The song was released back in January as the third single from his debut album, Up All Night and was co-written with Dan Couch. A simple, yet moving ballad, “Hey Pretty Girl” basically tells the story of a man who makes some moves on a woman, dances with her, then marries and has a child with her. Simple enough, right?

3. Lee Brice, Parking Lot Party

“Parking Lot Party” was a huge hit for Lee Brice in 2013. It was released in May as the fourth single from his 2012 album Hard 2 Love and was co-written with Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett and Luke Laird. In simple terms, this was a song about partying with your friends before a concert. Talk about a fun song. Who hasn’t done that??? Every time this song came on the radio, I immediately turned the volume up to ten. I suggest you do the same!

2. Darius Rucker, Wagon Wheel

Where do I begin with “Wagon Wheel”. I absolutely love this song, and especially the cover in 2013 by Darius Rucker. As a bit of background, “Wagon Wheel” was originally written by Bob Dylan and later completed by Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. Rucker, with some help from Lady Antebellum, took the song to a new level this year. I heard this song everywhere, from my cousins wedding to my living room (where I danced to it with my one year old every night to help put her to sleep).

1. Florida Georgia Line, Cruise

Could I go anywhere else with my selection for number one song of 2013? “Cruise” was everywhere this year. It crossed genre’s with the Nelly remix and spent more than 20 weeks at the top of the charts. Brian Kelley (from Ormond Beach, Florida) and Tyler Hubbard (from Monroe, Georgia) have been performing the hit on every major show out there and after starting the year doing club shows, are now selling out arenas nationwide. More hits followed with “Get Your Shine On”, “Round Here” and “Stay” and their album is FULL of more hits (not to mention their cover of Alabama’s “I’m in a Hurry”). I’ve followed Florida Georgia Line for a couple of years now and it’s great to see that they have finally “made it”.

So that’s it. My top ten country music songs for 2013. I know that there were a good 10-15 more songs that could have easily fit onto this list, but in the end, I had to go with the ones that would be on my ten song playlist.

Thoughts? Who/what did I miss? Please leave your thoughts (or your list) in the comments below.