Posted tagged ‘Michael Beck’

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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Artist Spotlight: Michael Beck

May 22, 2016

A few days ago, I was talking about California Grown country music artists. You know, the performers that we get to see here on the West Coast who have yet to be discovered in Nashville. It’s amazing how lucky we are to have such great talent on this side of the Rockies.

I was fortunate enough to catch one recently opening for James Wesley at The District in Gilroy. His name? Michael Beck.

Beck_Wesley

Beck is a local guy from the Bay Area (who actually graduated from George Fox University just 10 minutes down the road from me here in Oregon). Influenced by many of the greatest country music artists of all time, his style has a familiar feel to it, yet he comes off as both unique and highly entertaining. Backed by an energetic band, known as the Michael Beck Band, every performance is a blast and is also fun for all ages.

Trust me when I say I’d love to take my kids to one of his shows with their love for live, country performances.

Beck1

Now, let me repeat myself again for those of you who may have missed it earlier: California grown country artists don’t always get the attention they deserve, but this is an artist that Nashville needs to take notice of…and they need to take notice right away.

Man. What a voice and stage presence that screams “Forget your drink…pay attention to me”. Most young artists can come off as unpolished or even unentertaining. Beck is nothing of the sort. He makes the audience want to get up out of their seats and sing along with every song.

At the James Wesley show, he played a number of songs from his CD “Countin’ on Tennessee” (available on iTunes) as well as an assortment of cover songs from the likes of Jon Pardi (Head Over Boots) and David Lee Murphy (Dust on the Bottle). From the EP, songs such as “Tennessee”, “Gone from My Mind“, “Paradice”, “Long Gone” and “The Reason (I Love the Rain)” all have the potential to be hits. Seriously, the EP is THAT good.

TEnnessee

What are you waiting for. Go get it now!

However, one song that stood out to me, and I know is a personal favorite of Beck’s, is “Little Piece of Heaven”. To me, nothing is better than a song that is written from the heart, about someone you love. In this case, Beck’s 18 month old daughter. Haven’t seen this available online yet (it’s just too new), but in the coming months, if you’re looking for a song that’s destined to be a hit, this is it.

I mentioned that Beck loves to throw in a few covers during his live shows. Check out a few of them below:

Head Over Boots

Cruise

Copperhead Road

Gone Country

Boot Scootin Boogie

Friends in Low Places

Beck2

If you want to learn more about this up-and-coming artist, be sure to visit his website, where you can also pick up the CD. Also check out the entire Michael Beck Band on Facebook for more information on news and upcoming shows. These guys are amazing!

BeckBand

Hey…how about a couple shows up here in Oregon?? Would love to introduce the Pacific Northwest to some real, California country music.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Michael Beck live? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Concert Review: James Wesley and Michael Beck Bring “Real” Country Music to Gilroy, California

May 14, 2016

Just when you think a country music artist can’t get any better, they come back to town and leave you speechless. This is the only way that I can describe the latest performance from recording artist James Wesley’s this past week at The District, a fantastic new venue located in Gilroy, California, which featured Michael Beck of the Michael Beck Band as the opening act.

Beck_Wesley

Michael Beck and James Wesley (Credit: Patti Galiano)

 

If you don’t know Wesley already, then let me quickly educate you for a moment. With hits such as “Real”, “Didn’t I”, “Jackson Hole” and “Thank a Farmer”, Wesley has been getting airplay for quite some time now across the country. Special thanks go out to a number of  California stations such as 95.3 KRTY, KAT Country 103 and 101.9 The Wolf  who continue to keep Wesley on their playlists.

But let’s be real for a second. To this day, he’s still not getting enough airplay (in my opinion) and I can’t stress enough that if you see him in concert one time, you’ll be hooked. Wait. Did I just say hooked? More on that later…

Before I go too far, and jump into my review of this show, I can’t forget the rest of the band including Michael Blakemore, Jesse LaFave and Matt Morgeson because they’re pretty damn good at what they do too. But you get my point!

Anyway, on to the show itself.

First, a little backstory. This show was originally scheduled to take place at a venue that won’t be mentioned, but on two days notice, had to be moved to another location, the aforementioned The District. While this change of plans didn’t make things easy for fans wanting to catch Wesley live, an enthusiastic crowd still made the trek to show their support. Those who came were treated to a night of fun and GREAT music!

Kreuzer_Wesley

Hanging with James Wesley Post-Show (Credit: Patti Galiano)

Michael Beck took the stage first as the opening act. Beck is a local guy from the Bay Area (who by the way graduated from George Fox University just 10 minutes down the road from me here in Oregon). I know that California grown country artists don’t always get the attention they deserve, but this is an artist that Nashville needs to take notice of.

Man. What a voice and stage presence that screams “Forget your drink…pay attention to me”. Most young artists can come off as unpolished or even unentertaining. Beck is nothing of the sort. He makes the audience want to get up out of their seats and sing along with every song. His setlist included songs from his CD “Countin’ on Tennessee” as well as an assortment of cover songs from the likes of Jon Pardi (Head Over Boots) and David Lee Murphy (Dust on the Bottle).

From the EP, songs such as “Tennessee”, “Paradice” and “The Reason (I Love the Rain)” were a few of my favorites. But the one song that stood out to me, and I know is a personal favorite of Beck’s, is “Little Piece of Heaven”. To me, nothing is better than a song that is written from the heart, about someone you love. In this case, Beck’s 18 month old daughter. If you’re looking for a song that’s destined to be a hit, this is it.

Check out Beck’s cover of “Head Over Boots” here.

Want to learn more about this up-and-coming artist, visit his website, where you can also pick up the CD. Also check out the entire Michael Beck Band on Facebook for more information on news and upcoming shows.

Around 9:30 p.m., it was time for the main event of the evening: James Wesley.

So how do I describe James Wesley as an artist? Simple. He is a traditionalist, which is something that is rare in country music these days.

Most importantly, he’s also VERY passionate about his music and his fans. He writes, or co-writes most of his own songs and both he, and the band, play their heart out each and every time they take the stage. Plus, Wesley is one of those guys on Twitter (@jameswesley1) who loves to engage with his fans. Make sure to give him a follow and check him out on Facebook.

Wesley_Band4

Credit: Patti Galiano

How would I describe a James Wesley show? How about high energy. Absolutely entertaining. Just like me, it’s a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll! I could go on and on with descriptors but I don’t want to bore you with my ranting.

Besides the staple set list songs that I mentioned earlier (Jackson Hole, Real, Didn’t I) we were also treated once again with a selection of “new” songs that haven’t made it on the radio yet.

Heck, maybe we can find them on an album in the near future?

I’ve said this before, but just to reiterate, there are a few songs that I expect to be hits in the near future, including: “The You I Wanna Know”, “Running” (co-written with Marcum Stewart and Zac Wrixon) and “See You on the Radio” are just a few songs that continue to stick out for me as having the potential to be radio hits. The later, was the closing song on the set for this show and it certainly has the legs to make a solid run on country radio.

Check out a live clip of “Real” here.

Check out a live clip of “Running” here.

But let’s not forget about the beauty of the cover song. One thing that Wesley and the band like to do is mix their own music with the sounds of Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam and George Jones. Some “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive”. A little “White Lightning”. Fantastic stuff.

Wesley_Band2

Credit: Patti Galiano

I mentioned earlier that if you see Wesley in concert one time you’ll be hooked. Well, now you can officially get “Hooked Up” with Wesley’s newest single by the same name.

Back in April of last year, officials from Big Rock Sports, LLC announced that Calcutta®, a proprietary brand of Big Rock Sports, partnered with Wesley to produce the single and music video “Hooked Up”. The music video was shot last year during a concert that Wesley performed at the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament weigh station on the Morehead City, North Carolina waterfront. In case you’re wondering, he and the band will be back at the tournament on June 17. If you’re in the area, don’t miss it!

Anyways, the song, which tells the story of anglers chasing blue marlin—through the eyes of the marlin—at the Big Rock, was released through iTunes, CalcuttaFishing.com, and Thebigrock.com so you will definitely want to check this out. Wesley and the band played it live for the first time at this show last year and it was great to hear it again on the set list this year. I am going out on a ledge and say that this will be a radio hit in the very near future. Do you hear that country radio? It’s time to get this song on the air!

Check out a live clip of “Hooked Up” here.

Wesley1

Credit: Patti Galiano

 

So as always, I’ve talked your ear off. But let me say this once again: there are only a few artists that I give a five star recommendation to. James Wesley is one of them. If there is one artist that you see in concert in the next year, make sure that it’s Wesley.

From he and the band’s stage presence, to the love of the music to the time he and the band spend with their fans, it is not just a concert. It really is an experience that music lovers of all ages, and across genres, will enjoy. Trust me, you won’t regret spending $10, $15, $20 or more to see these guys live!

 

Have you seen Wesley and the band in concert? What did you think? Please leave your comments and thoughts in the comments below! I would love to hear about your similar experiences!