Posted tagged ‘Martina McBride’

Artist Spotlight: Ryan Follese

October 26, 2016

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

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

Ryan Follese Float Your Boat Single

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

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

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

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

Image result for ryan follese ep

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

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

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

Image result for Ryan Follese

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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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.

Alaina

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.

SetList

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.

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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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)