Posted tagged ‘Nashville’

Artist Spotlight: McKenzies Mill

May 23, 2016

I’ve been on a major southern rock kick the past couple of days. Sometimes I find that I just need to step back from listening to new music and revert to the classics. Listening to some Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers etc…

That’s probably how I stumbled across my latest Artist Spotlight: McKenzies Mill,  two brothers from North Carolina, now based in Nashville, Tennessee, that absolutely know how to rock!

Founded by Justin and Ryan Harris, and backed by the a few of the best musicians around, McKenzies Mill brings its audience what has been described as “Southern Fried Rock & Roll.”

From Ryan’s own words (via Wrangler Network):

“Southern Fried Rock-n-Roll” is definitely the way that we most often describe our music. For the people that see us live, I like to think that most of them walk away thinking, “man, those country boys can rock!” If they are, then we’re doing it right.”

There you have it! A little bit country, a little bit southern rock and a little bit rock and roll. Take three of my favorite genres, wrap them up in a package, and put them out on the road. Just what I love…and that’s what these brothers give you night in and night out!

While you might not be familiar with McKenzies Mill (yet), the duo is in no way a newcomer to the music scene. They’ve been featured at NASCAR’s Speed Street Fest in Charlotte, North Carolina, and at BayFest in Mobile, Alabama. They’ve also been featured alongside artists such as Brad Paisley and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

In terms of music, McKenzies Mill has released two albums, “One Hell of a Ride” and a self-titled album, “McKenzies Mill”. In 2014, they were named a Band to Watch by CMA Close-Up magazine back and the duo also won Bud Light’s National Battle of the Bands back in 2012.

In addition, last September, the duo released two new singles, “Middle of Nowhere” & “Willie“.

I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I’ll let you check out the rest of the band’s music for yourself. Here’s a sample of their own songs, as well as a few great covers:

Fishin’ in the Dark

My Heaven is a Small Town

Dirty Things

Country Born & Raised

Yee Haw

If you see McKenzies Mill on the bill anytime soon, make sure you’re there early. You don’t want to miss your chance to see this band. I said it before and I’ll say it again: they can flat out rock.

Also, make sure that you check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @McKenziesMill. Upcoming tour dates can be found here.

Don’t forget to check out their music on iTunes.

So what did I miss? Have you seen McKenzies Mill live? What do you think of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Artist Spotlight: Hillbilly Vegas

May 21, 2016

Today’s spotlight artist is a group that I’ve been keeping my eye on for about two years now. Their name: Hillbilly Vegas.

The name just screams country music and rock & roll, right?

I first discovered these guys a couple years ago, and as I looked at the name, I imagined Duck Dynasty meets the guys from Pawn Stars. In reality, after checking out their website, and listening to a ton of their music over the past two years, I’ve found them to be more of a mixture of Blackhawk, Bon Jovi and John Mellencamp.

Sound good?

Vegas

Many may consider these guys new, but in reality, they are far from it! Blasting intensity right out of the gate, Hillbilly Vegas got a ton of traction with their debut album Ringo Manor, moving more than 10,000 copies (not bad for an emerging indie band) and scoring traction with its first single “Little Miss Rough and Tumble”. As it turns out, the song was on the national country music charts for more than 25 weeks!

Now on to the band, which is led by Steve Harris (vocals and rhythm guitar), Stacy Thornburg (lead guitar, vocals), Johnny Reed (guitar, vocals), Robb Edwards (bass) and Troy Hollinger (drums). I first caught wind of these guys prior to the release of the song “Long Way Back”, which ended up being one of my Top 10 songs of 2014.

“Long Way Back” has been a very special song for the members of Hillbilly Vegas. According to the band, the video has been used by Battle Saint, an organization who works tirelessly raising money to build treatment facilities for PTSD and traumatic brain injuries in returning veterans.  The Zac Brown Band and the creators of HBO’s Band of Brothers are also supporters of the organization.  The video for “Long Way Back” features the great things Battle Saint does along with a number of veterans and their families.

By the way…it’s also a GREAT song!

Now, since I first discovered the band in mid-2014, they have grown a few years older and have come back with a deeper attitude and sharper edge. They’re currently out on the road promoting their new EP, 76’, and getting everyone to “Shake It Like A Hillbilly” with their new single and high energy music video. Their momentum is bound to continue with the game plan in place for their future singles, including the party anthem “High Time For A Good Time” and “2 Gun Town,” a hard rock tune that was originally written for a National Geographic TV show. I also have a special love for “Can’t Go Home”, which might be my favorite song on the EP.

76

In Harris’ own words:

“We’ve taken more control this time around as far as our sound and direction. We’ve always been a rock band sort of dabbling in the country market and that’s even more evident this time around, recording with Alex, who’s worked with many major label bands in Texas. We’re grateful for the success of Ringo Manor, but it was a learning experience as was all of our time recording it in Nashville. Our fans kept telling us they loved our giant live sound and that while they liked our album we’re more exciting live. That’s the power we went for on 76’, which we named after Johnny’s 76 Gibson Firebird guitar. We loved the way Alex got those big drum sounds and the cool atmosphere he created for us to do the hard work. He was the perfect co-producer.”

I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I’ll let you check out the rest of their music, for yourself. Here’s a sample of songs off the new EP, as well as a few older ones:

Little Miss Rough and Tumble

Mason Jars and Moonlight

Oklahoma 3.2

From an Empty Room

Helluva Night

“We’re all about creating fun, high energy, memorable music that gives people a good feeling,” says Harris. “I love hearing tunes on the radio that stir up feelings that take me back to special times and places – and if Hillbilly Vegas can do that for people, it’s a wonderful thing. We know we’re not doing socially groundbreaking material, but it’s real. Each song chronicles the experience and influences of the guys who wrote them.”

If you are anything like me (note the tagline for my blog) and are a huge fan of traditional and modern country, mixed with rock and a little hillbilly, then Hillbilly Vegas is definitely a band you need to take a listen to. When you get the chance, check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @hillbillyvegas. Also, don’t forget to check out their music on iTunes.

Hey guys, how about a date out West at the Rodeo Club in San Jose or Duke’s in Portland???

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

Artist Spotlight: George Ducas

May 21, 2016

In the world of country music, there are singers…and then there are artists. Artists who construct lyrics that reach down into all facets of our emotions. Artists who can be considered musical poets that can satisfy even the most eclectic listeners.

When I think about an artist who fits this bill, I think of George Ducas.

Ducas

Growing up like many of us did on Willie Nelson records, George spent much of his high school years as a private songwriter. Unfortunately for the rest of us, he did not perform professionally until he attended college at Vanderbilt University. After graduation, he accepted a banking job in Atlanta but returned to Nashville in 1990 to pursue music on a full-time basis…and the world is a better place for this decision!

George is seasoned with experience, driven by his passion for his songwriting and overall musical talent. With a string of Billboard charting songs that established him early as a country music trendsetter, George’s musical offerings encompass a creativity, sentiment, edge and wisdom of a man who lives each day with a passion for life and music.

In his own words:

“I consider myself very much a singer and songwriter with an emphasis on performing and being out there playing for people is a chance for the songs I write to live and breathe.”

George’s writing talents have been part of some of country music’s biggest hits including: Sara Evans #1 hit “Real Fine Place To Start,” Josh Thompson’s “Won’t Be Lonely Long,” The Eli Young Band’s “Always The Love Songs” as well as additional songs recorded and performed by country music royalty including The Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood and the Randy Rogers Band.

George and Keith Anderson were two of several co-writers on “Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?)”, the Top 30 duet for Garth Brooks and George Jones back in 2001. What a fun song that was! Gary Allan and Radney Foster have also recorded album cuts which he co-wrote.

Ducas2

Credit: buddyleeattractions.com

But enough about the artists he’s written for. George has also seen success as a national major label and critically acclaimed solo artist, which includes a string of hits including the Top 10 single “Lipstick Promises”.

But the life of a musician can take a toll on you and eventually George took some time off to devote his attention to raising his son and daughter. You’ve got to respect that. I can only imagine what life on the road is like. I travel two weeks a month for work, and even that amount of time is hard not seeing my three kids. The life of a musician must be even more hectic.

Now, George is back…and better than ever! He recently returned to the country music scene to put a voice to his songs. His latest offering, “4340”, which debuted back in October of 2013, does that and more as it showcases his talents to illuminate storylines with imagery that brings his lyrics to life.

4340

Here’s a quick preview of the album. If you want to listen to pick up his music for yourself, you can find it on iTunes and Amazon.

I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I’ll let you check out the rest of his music, for yourself. Here’s a sample of songs off the new album, as well as a few older ones:

Lovestruck

Cow Town

Party with Your Boots On

All Kinds of Crazy

Breakin’ Stuff

I Need to Love You

Every Time She Passes By

White Lines and Road Signs

Make sure to check out his website and follow George on Twitter at @George_Ducas and on Facebook. Upcoming tour dates can be found here.

Hey George, how about a date at the Rodeo Club in San Jose or Duke’s in Portland???

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

Artist Spotlight: Chasin’ Crazy

May 19, 2016

So I’m just going to come out and say this right now: the first time I ever heard of Chasin’ Crazy, I was told by a good friend that they were an incredible band, but they were the equivalent of the Backstreet Boys of country music.

Say what???

After hearing that I paused and thought “could there really be a Backstreet Boys of country music?”

Anyways, even with that description, I set out to find out more about the band. And I’m sure glad that I did.

CC_KRTY

Credit: Rudy Sabin

First, here’s a little background:

Chasin’ Crazy came to be back in 2012 when Jimmy James Hunter and Forest Miller met in Nashville while playing in separate acts at a show. It was out of this meeting, during which the two also met Travis Fincher, that Chasin’ Crazy was born. For several months they performed as a trio until they were approached by Scott Siman and April Rider from RPM Entertainment who believed that they had the talent, musicianship and passion to be successful.

Obviously, the next step was to build out the band which came by way of a fan who suggested that Hunter talk to Landon Parker. Apparently, Parker was in another band in North Carolina at the time, and Hunter was in awe with his vocal skills and convinced him to visit with them in Nashville. Soon after, he joined the band, moving to Nashville and committed fully to the project. Creigh Reipe joined several months later and the rest, as they say, is history.

I’ve been chatting with these guys on Twitter for nearly a year now and had the opportunity to catch them live at the Rodeo Club in San Jose at a KRTY show opening for A Thousand Horses. What’s funny is that I had taken some time to listen to some of their music ahead of the show, but nothing prepared me for their live performance.

CC_Group

Credit: Rudy Sabin

I always find it interesting to see the difference between recorded music and live music. Chasin’ Crazy is a band that you definitely need to see live. Love their music, but their live performance takes things to a whole different level. You’ve got a band that is completely polished, who play off each other during the live show.

It’s obvious that they love making music and love playing to a crowd.

Smack Dab”, written by Parker, Drew Davis and Danny Myrick, is definitely my personal favorite song by the band. It’s a tune about being “Smack Dab” in the middle of love. Don’t get much more country than that, right?

Another favorite of mine is “That’s How We Do Summertime. I think the lyrics say it all:

“Yeah it’s gonna be a hot one, so drink em if ya got em…”

Sounds good to me!

And of course I can’t forget “Trespassin’”.

I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I’ll let you check out the band, and the rest of their music, for yourself. If you’re interested in keeping up with Chasin’ Crazy, make sure you follow them on Twitter at @ChasinCrazy and on Facebook.

You can follow each of the guys individually on Twitter at , ,, ,.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Chasin’ Crazy live? What do you think of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Artist Spotlight: Waterloo Revival

May 19, 2016

When you hear the word “Waterloo”, what do you immediately think of?

For history buffs, obviously the name Napoléon Bonaparte, the French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution, comes to mind.

But, if you’re a country music lover, then Waterloo has a slightly different point of reference. I’m talking about the up-and-coming duo Waterloo Revival.

Waterloo

For a bit of background, back when Cody Cooper met George Birge in their Austin, Texas middle school, he inspired him to express himself through music. Good thing because this took them down a path that affected both of their lives.

Later, the duo, now known as Waterloo Revival, began sampling tunes during Nashville songwriter showcases, adopting the town as their new home. They soon caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, President and CEO of Big Machine Label Group, and signed a deal with Big Machine Records just one week later.

Talk about a whirlwind!

Last year, Rolling Stone Country named the band as one of the ten country artists you need to know for the summer:

Waterloo Revival’s first single, “Hit the Road,” was textbook contemporary country — down-the-middle melodies, “whoa-oh” choruses and vague romantic imagery.  Their follow-up “Bad for You,” however, taps into country’s new fascination with funky power pop — with thrilling results. Co-written by the duo with Ross Copperman (“Real Life,” “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”) and Jon Nite (“Smoke”), “Bad for You” may be a preview of where country radio is headed. Or where Waterloo Revival is taking it.

I was lucky enough to catch Waterloo Revival last year at a KRTY show at the Rodeo Club in San Jose opening for Eric Paslay. I actually caught them briefly in the parking lot…but that’s another story to tell on another day (but the band knows what I’m talking about, right???).

I had missed the band a couple of time before due to some personal travel schedule changes, but I’m certainly glad that I caught this show. If you know me, you know that one thing that I enjoy most is when the entertainers interact with the audience. This wasn’t an issue with Waterloo Revival as they spent time between each song telling stories about how they wrote a song, or just chatting with the audience.

While “Hit the Road” and “Bad for You” have found a place on country radio, and have received a positive response from programmers, critics and listeners, Waterloo Revival has a few additional songs that could certainly find their way on the radio.

These songs include:

Summer Thing

I Could Get Used to This

Fall

Front Row

That Damn I Didn’t Give

I Love You, I Hate You, I Miss You

The band’s six song EP, Front Row, came out in March and is available now on iTunes and contains a number of the songs listed above. If you like what you’ve heard (and read), be sure to go pick it up right away.

Front

If you see Waterloo Revival on the bill anytime soon, make sure you’re there early. You don’t want to miss your chance to see this band, like I did so many times before. Make sure that you check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @WaterlooRev.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Waterloo Revival live? What do you think of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Concert Review: Chase Rice and Sam Hunt Have a “House Party” in San Jose, California

February 27, 2014

If you haven’t heard the names Chase Rice and/or Sam Hunt…then you need to look them up (and you might as well go do it now).

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On February 26, Rice and Hunt put their talent on display at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California, for a show that was not to be missed.

First, a little bit of background. Rice has released two albums, Country as Me and Dirt Road Communion. He released his second 6 song EP, titled “Ready Set Roll”, featuring the single “Ready Set Roll” back on October 15, 2013. Oh, he also co-wrote a song that you might have heard…the number one single performed by Florida Georgia Line called “Cruise”. Ring a bell?

If not, here’s the song live from last night:

Not bad, huh?

The show was high energy from beginning to end. Lots of fan interaction and just really good music. With a set list including “Party Up”, “I Like Drinking, Cause it’s Fun”, “Dirt Road Communion”, “Country in Ya”, “Whoa” and “Jack Daniels & Jesus”, Rice had the crowd eating out of his hand.

Could I really pick a favorite song of the evening? Probably not. The reason? In reality, while there were some great tunes, they all fell into a fairly similar theme (drinking and women). Not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, this was a country music show. But I hope to see a little more diversity with the next few singles. He’s definitely got the talent to take it to the next level!

But before you go running off to check him out…hold on just a second. Rice wasn’t the only one who rocked San Jose last night. Let’s not forget about Sam Hunt.

In my opinion, Hunt is one of the top, up-and-coming singer-songwriters in country music. Also, get this, he’s a former college football player. He co-wrote Kenny Chesney’s 2012 single “Come Over”, for which he received an award from ASCAP. Last year, Hunt released his debut single “Raised on It” and he also wrote two singles released in 2014: Keith Urban’s “Cop Car” and Billy Currington’s “We Are Tonight”. Never heard of any of those, right?

During his set, Hunt played each of these hits as well as a selection of other crowd favorites. My favorite: without hesitation was “Ex to See”. Loved it before I saw him live and loved it even more during his performance last night. The set list also included “Leave the Night On”, “Take Your Time”, “House Party”, his current single “Raised on It” and the ballad “Speakers”.

Great songs and live performance for sure. One thing I do have to add is that Hunt has an acoustic mixtape (Between the Pines) that you need to check out. The playlist contains 15 songs and you can find it here.

KRTY always puts on a great show. Anyone who’s a fan of country music in Northern California knows this. This show was no different. A $50 show for only $15. A no brainer. Go check them out when they come to your town!

One little thing I want to throw in here at the end is congratulations to KRTY General Manager Nate Deaton. Deaton was recently awarded “GM of the Year, Large Market” at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. A well deserved (and overdue) recognition for the man who brings the best acts in country music to San Jose. Congrats Nate!

Grand Ole Opry Closed Due to Flooding

May 7, 2010

The Grand Ole Opry House is officially closed for repairs following record amounts of rain which sent more that two feet of water over its stage.

From CNN:

Gaylord Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Colin Reed said he did not know how long the facility will be closed. The neighboring Gaylord Opryland Resort, a 2,881-room hotel, also is closed for restoration but will be open before the end of 2010, he said.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to restore the stuff that’s been damaged by water,” Reed said Friday.

He said that quick thinking by Opry management Sunday saved much of the memorabilia there.

Shows scheduled at the facility will move to other Nashville venues during repairs, he said.