Posted tagged ‘Phil Vassar’

Concert Review: “Just Another Day in Paradise” with Phil Vassar

August 12, 2016

I get spoiled sometimes with the amount of concerts I have the opportunity to attend each year. However, most of those shows fall outside of my home state of Oregon. So when I heard Phil Vassar was returning to the state with a show, hosted by 98.7 The Bull, at the Yamhill County Fair, there was no way I was going to miss it.

Credit: News-Press

I’ve seen Vassar a number of times in the past. Starting with the KZLA Country Bash back in 2001 in Irvine, California. This was a concert which had a certain feel to it as it took place just weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I’ve also caught shows at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, and at larger venues as the opening act for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Just two years ago, I saw his performance at the Tillamook County Fair, which turned out to be quite bittersweet when I found out the next morning that my father had passed away while we were at the show. My dad was always a fan so naturally, his service was filled with a number of Vassar’s greatest hits.

So this night was a special one for me which I had been looking for since it was announced that he would be coming to McMinnville. Of course, being in my backyard, I had to bring the kids. All of whom have grown up listening to songs such as “I’m Alright”, “Bye Bye”, “Little Red Rodeo” and more.

Thankfully, all of those hits made the setlist. If they hadn’t, my three year old daughter would have had to have a chat with Vassar after the show (she might be the biggest fan of all of us!). Check out the video below…

 

Vassar has a long list of hit country music songs. This list includes 10 No. 1 singles and 26 Top 40 hits. Amazing, right?

But what I love most about Vassar is that he always plays for the crowd. He always has a good time. While he might have an idea of what songs he’s going to play, he doesn’t always have a set list in place. He uses Twitter for song requests. He talks to the people. In fact, he and the band also have a couple of drinks with the crowd. Nothing wrong with that right?

There aren’t a lot of artists out there that put on a show quite like Phil Vassar. When you go to one of his shows, you know you’re going to get your money’s worth and a whole lot more. On this night, we were treated to a set full of the songs we know. The songs we love. Classic songs like “Carlene”, “Just Another Day in Paradise”, “My Next 30 Years”, “Six-Pack Summer”, “Joe & Rosalita”, “I’ll Take That as a Yes” all filled the evening. We also got the usual cover tunes thrown in including “Stay (Just a Little Bit Longer)”, “500 Miles”, and of course “Piano Man” to close out the night.

I say close out the night, but luckily for my kids, there was one more surprise up my sleeve: a quick meet & greet and photo with their favorite: Phil Vassar. You can tell in the picture below that they were absolutely thrilled. Thanks Phil!!!

Vassar

So that’s it! Another concert in the books…and what a show it was! I’ve got to say, if you haven’t checked out Phil Vassar before, what rock have you been hiding under for the past two decades???.

Make sure that you check out a concert the next time he’s in town. You won’t be disappointed. Vassar’s shows are some of the most highly entertaining and energetic in country music today, as they always have been, and with as many hits as he’s written, you’re guaranteed to know just about every lyric to every song he sings all night.

With his first new album in a few years coming out soon (we were treated to a few of his new songs during the show…they’re great!), you should definitely be sure to keep up with Vassar via his website, follow him on Twitter at @philvassar and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

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

 

Artist Spotlight: Drew Baldridge

May 18, 2016

Today, I’ve got a real treat for you. I first stumbled upon this up-and-coming artist a few months back when a guy by the name of Eric Burgett said to check out this friend of his, a country singer from Patoka, Illinois. I finally took the time to do a quick YouTube search and listened one night and thought “hey…this guy is pretty good.”

As it happens, a couple weeks later, I heard him again on the KRTY “On Air Music Meeting” with Nate Deaton and Julie Stevens. His name? Well it’s Drew Baldridge.

Drew

Credit: drewbaldridgemusic.com

As a bit of background, Drew is a singer songwriter at heart. According to some background research I did ahead of the show, he grew up playing basketball and baseball, but would perform the National Anthem at all his games. As a teenager, he joined a quartet at church singing bass while his father sang tenor. Later on, he played acoustic gigs at a nearby bar on Saturday nights. Not a bad way to break into the business.

In 2013, Drew signed with THiS Music, joining the company of a number of the most prominent and prolific songwriters in Nashville. Soon after, he released his debut EP, All Good and singles “BYOB” and “She’s Taken” apparently became radio staples across the Midwest. Living on the West Coast, I had yet to be exposed to him.

Known as much as a performer as a singer, Drew brings an energy-packed show to every performance. Doesn’t matter if he’s opening, or the headliner. He’ll always give you 100%. No less. Over the past few years, Drew has shared the stage with artists such as Alabama, Cole Swindell, Dustin Lynch, Jerrod Niemann, Phil Vassar, Lee Brice, Eric Paslay, Parmalee and Josh Turner among others.

Not bad company to be associated with, right?

Back in January, I was lucky enough to catch Drew at the Rodeo Club in San Jose opening for Granger Smith. I’ve got to say that I was thoroughly impressed with he and the band, so much so that I hit the merchandise table after the show and bought both his CD and EP. The setlist that night was packed full of songs that were both originals, as well as a few cover songs that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

What I loved the most about the live show was how the band was always in sync and they entertained. That’s the key word. This show was entertainment at it’s finest. You could tell they were having fun up on stage. Everyone danced together while playing. Seriously. Check out the live performance video links below.

His recent radio hit, “Dance with Ya“, which closed the set (and will certainly find a spot on my Top 100 of 2016), was the most recognizable of his own songs and in San Jose, the crowd is always sure to make artists feel welcome. Check this out. Nothing says “Welcome to California and KRTY country” quite like a front row filled with Drew Baldridge bobbleheads, right?

Bobblehead

Credit: Rudy Sabin

And yes, that’s me right behind Drew’s left hand, wearing my Oregon Ducks gear!

You can generally get an idea of how a show is going to go by the setlist. Drew doesn’t disappoint. His setlist includes songs such as his latest single “Rebound”, “God’s Front Porch“, “Tractors Don’t Roll“, and “Love on Your Body“.

He also includes a great selection of cover songs including Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance”, as well as a medley of hits from the 90s such as Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”, Smash Mouth’s “All Star”, Sugar Ray’s “Fly” and Third Eye Blind’s “Semi Charmed Life”.

Of course, what country setlist wouldn’t be complete without a few classic covers such as “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Play Something Country”?

Here’s a quick clip of the live performance of “Shut Up and Dance”.

Here’s a quick clip of the live performance of “Dance with Ya”.

During Baby Got Back, the crowd was “treated” to a little rump shaking from the four guys in the band, which seemed to go over well. We also got a little “All About That Bass” from the bass player.

Oh, did I mention the drummer, Simone Simonton? She was amazing! I mean she could flat out play. She played her heart out the entire show and her drum solo was one of the highlights of that evening for me!

DrewBand1

Drew recently announced the release of his full-length debut album titled Dirt on Us. The album is set to be released on June 10 and features 13 tracks, 11 of which Baldridge co-wrote. You might recognize a few of the songs from his previous EPs.

Drew is active on social media so make sure to check him out on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at@DrewRBaldridge. Speaking of social media, also check out the Drew Crew fan page on Facebook for news, photos and discussions about all things Drew.

Anything else you can find on his website including tour dates, merchandise, news and more.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Drew Baldridge live? What do you think of him and the band? Is the setlist I mentioned pretty common? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Concert Review: Just Another “Friday Night” with Eric Paslay and Waterloo Revival

May 23, 2015

OK. The headline is a little misleading because this wasn’t just another Friday night with Eric Paslay and Waterloo Revival. It was a night of good times, good friends and of course, good music. What else would you expect from KRTY?

Paslay1

I’ve been looking forward to this show for a few weeks now. Partially because I’m a big fan of singer/songwriter Eric Paslay, but also because I have been trying to see Waterloo Revival for months. Unfortunately, I’m always just missing them by a day or two wherever they play on the West Coast. This wasn’t going to happen again.

Before we jump into the show, here’s a little background on Waterloo Revival. 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, 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!

WL3

Anyways, let’s get to the show, which was certainly worth the wait. Waterloo Revival took the stage around 8:50 p.m. and, after a few technical difficulties with their sound, began their set. They had a nice mix of ballads and uptempo country music.

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” is currently finding it’s place on country radio, and has received an overwhelming positive response from programmers, critics and listeners, Waterloo Revival has a few additional songs they played that could certainly find their way on the radio. Songs like “Slow and Steady”, “Two Shots” and “I Love You, I Hate You, I Miss You” are two that immediately come to mind.

WL2

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.

Following a brief intermission, it was time for the man who I believe is right up there with Phil Vassar as one of the best singer/songwriters in country music today, EMI Records recording artist Eric Paslay. As background, Paslay graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2005, but his passion was always music. Heck, he began playing guitar and writing music when he was just fifteen years old. From what I’ve read, the first song he wrote was a poem he wrote for a girl which he eventually put to music. Awww…

I’ll admit, one thing I didn’t expect was how tall Paslay was. This was obvious when Randy Jones of KRTY took the stage to introduce him, and had to do some nifty mic work. At 6’4″, the singer is the man behind the number one single “Friday Night”, which naturally he closed his set with. But what the average country music listener might not know is that he has also written huge hits for Jake Owen (Barefoot Blue Jean Night), Rascal Flatts (Rewind), Love and Theft (Angel Eyes) and the Eli Young Band (Even if it Breaks Your Heart).

EP1

His debut, self-titled album Eric Paslay has been extremely well received and features a collection of songs that cover a wide range of emotion. In addition to the before mentioned, up tempo single, “Friday Night”, it includes the ballad “She Don’t Love You”, as well as “Deep As It Is Wide” and “Song About A Girl”, which was a Top Ten hit for Paslay in 2014.

I’m happy to report that Paslay didn’t miss any of his hits during the show, and also treated the crowd to some new music. Judging by the reaction of the crowd, his next album will be just as big, if not bigger, than his first. I, for one, am very much looking forward to hearing more from this artist in the years to come. Be sure that you give him a follow on Twitter at @ericpaslay.

EP2

What else can I say. Every time I make my voyage to the Rodeo Club, I don’t leave disappointed. While there was no “full band” show, with the speakers bumping and guitars blazing, it was still a great, intimate evening in San Jose. Thanks again to the folks at KRTY, Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay.

What did you think of the show? Please feel free to leave your thoughts on the show in the comments below.

Concert Review: Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch Turn the “Radio Up” in Davis, California

December 20, 2013

Davis, California, may not be the world’s hotbed for country music. But, on the evening of December 19, 2013, the city welcomed two of my favorite live performers in Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch.

Courtesy of 101.9 The Wolf

Courtesy of 101.9 The Wolf

I’ve been lucky enough to catch both of these stars in small venues on multiple occasions, and after last nights show, I’m thinking that it might be my last chance to see them in such an intimate setting. In my opinion, both were tremendous performances once again. I’ll keep this simple: Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch are destined for stardom.

The Davis Graduate was the venue for 101.9 The Wolf’s Country Acoustic Christmas Show, which hardly had the feel of an acoustic show with the energy from the crowd, the radio personalities and the performers. From the moment the doors opened at 7 p.m., until Steve Holy concluded his set at 11:45 p.m., the venue was electric.

Dustin Lynch took the stage first and played a mix of his own music featuring “Cowboys and Angels” and “She Cranks My Tractor” as well as a great selection of cover songs including “Wagon Wheel”, “Callin’ Baton Rouge”, “Dust on the Bottle” and “Friends in Low Places”. How can you go wrong with any of those songs?

Lynch

Not only is Lynch a great live performer, you can tell that he loves what he’s doing and appreciates his fans. Great interaction throughout the show with the audience, who were pretty much eating out of his hand from the first note. Just like Steve Holy and other artists including James Wesley, Phil Vassar and Chris Cagle, he’s genuine. You know that he actually wants to be there, playing music for the people. Taking requests, taking photos (and photo-bombing a few being taken in the front row) and just having a good time.

If you haven’t seen a live Dustin Lynch show, you’re missing out. Check him out next time he’s in town.

Around 10:15 p.m., Steve Holy took to the stage. I’ve seen him in concert three times before, with the most recent concert being a “Songwriter’s Night” in San Jose, hosted by KRTY 95.3, along with Troy Olsen, Brian McComas, Aaron Benward and Jason Jones.

Holy

What must be said first and foremost is that Holy brings a passion to his music that is unmatched in the industry. All of his songs are written from the heart (whether serious in nature or in fun) and this comes through in his live performances.

He played all of his hits including “Good Morning Beautiful”, “Love Don’t Run”, “Hauled Off and Kissed Me” and the crowd favorite “Brand New Girlfriend.” He also threw in a great cover of “Easy” and his current single “Radio Up” which is a standard on my playlist these days. If you haven’t heard it yet, what are you waiting for??? The song is a hit waiting to happen.

I always find it hard to choose a favorite moment. On this night, I’d have to go with the few moments we got to catch up after the show in the parking lot, talking about the show and plans for 2014. Spending time with your fans, even when you’re running late and in a big hurry, is important and what sets the good artists from the great artists.

Holy

Steve Holy is a genuine, all around great guy who doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves. This is something that needs to change and it really needs to change starting in 2014. There needs to be a movement and I’ll take the charge holding the flag if need be. We need to bring Steve’s name and songs to the top of the charts. Call, email and Tweet your local radio stations and tell them that you want Steve Holy played. Tell your friends to check out his music and videos…and tell them today! Country music needs more of the likes of Steve Holy, James Wesley and others who “get it”. We need to stand up and do what we can to get their names out there!

The future is bright for both of these artists, and I can’t see what’s in store for the year to come.

Have you seen either in concert before? What was your experience? Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. I’d love to hear them!

Enjoy Some Jaron and The Long Road to Love…

April 23, 2010

The guy is hot in country music right now.

We caught him last Friday at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California where he played his smash hit: “I Pray For You”.

A classic country lost love song…here’s a few of the lyrics:

“I pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill.
I pray a flower pot falls from a window sill,
And knocks you in the head like I’d like to.
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls.
I pray you’re flyin’ high when your engine stalls.
I pray all your dreams never come true.
Just know wherever you are, honey,
I pray for you.”

Concert Review: “Just Another Day in Paradise” with Phil Vassar and Jaron and the Long Road to Love in San Jose, California

April 18, 2010

When you go into a show with the highest expectations, you typically end up with an enormous letdown. With Phil Vassar, though, this is never the case. Once again, here in San Jose, Vassar lived up to all expectations with 90 minutes of great music and great fun!

The night began with Jaron and the Long Road to Love and don’t let the name fool you, this is a band consisting of just one: Jaron. Although he only played five song, it was a very enjoyable opening act. The song that you’ll probably know him from is a country radio staple these days: “I Pray For You”.

He may not be well known now, but what I loved about his stage presence is that he played with the crowd and had a great time throughout his set. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more of him in the days/weeks/months to come.  I can tell he is a future star rising. Next time, hopefully, we’ll get a little longer set.

Following his set, it was finally time for the moment we had all been waiting for: Phil Vassar’s return to San Jose! The crowd was electric as KRTY DJ Randy Jones took the stage and got everyone on their feet, screaming at the top of their lungs. A moment later, Vassar took the stage.

If you haven’t seen a Phil Vassar show, you are missing out on one of country musics best. I’ve seen the best of the best: George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks and more. But, while Vassar isn’t seen in the upper echelon of country music performers, and on an international stage such as these performers, he really should be!

Vassar is well known in the industry as a great songwriter and over the past 8-10 years, has been very well received playing his own music. Songs such as “Carlene”, “Bye Bye”, “I’m Alright”, “In a Real Love”, “Last Day of My Life”, “Six Pack Summer”, “Little Red Rodeo”, “Love is a Beautiful Thing”, “Just Another Day in Paradise”, “American Child” and “My Next Thirty Years” filled the setlist. Vassar didn’t miss a beat as he had the audience in his hand, singing along to every word.

Another great aspect of a Vassar stage show is how he brings in other songs that are not his own that continue to keep the crowd asking for more. One of these would have to be “Summer Nights” from the Grease soundtrack:

But what I have always enjoyed most of the Phil Vassar shows I’ve been to (6 in total), is how he incorporates a Billy Joel staple, “Piano Man”, into his encore to conclude the show. What else would you expect from a great piano player such as Vassar:

As always, the show exceeded my expectations and I can safely say that everyone who was in attendance left feeling satisfied. My wife got to meet Vassar and got the autograph that she wanted 🙂 A great evening all around!

Whether you’re a fan of country music or not, I highly recommend that you check out a performance by Phil Vassar. You won’t be disappointed.

Phil Vassar…Tonight at the Rodeo Club!

April 16, 2010

It’s going to be a late night tonight as my wife and I will be heading down to the Rodeo Club in San Jose to see our favorite performer, Phil Vassar.

We’ve see Phil live 4 times in the past, and his show two years ago at the Rodeo Club was the BEST concert I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to more than one hundred in my 32 years). The set list always includes favorites such as: Little Red Rodeo, Carlene, Just Another Day in Paradise, Bye Bye, Six Pack Summer, In My Next 30 Years, I’m Alright, That’s When I Love You and more…Let’s not forget that he typically finishes his show with a great rendition of Billy Joel’s Piano Man (see video below).

Very much looking forward to this one and posting a review this weekend. If you don’t know much about this great singer/songwriter, here is some background from his Web site:

Phil Vassar’s unbounded energy and limitless talent have proven him, again and again, as one of Nashville’s most prolific and versatile stars. His resume boasts six #1 hits for country artists including Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina, and Collin Raye, and three more as an artist in his own right. He’s been named the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year twice and has taken top honors from the Academy of Country Music, Billboard and MusicRow. Now releasing his sixth album, Traveling Circus, Vassar approaches his uniquely piano-based, rhythm and blues-infused, infectiously buoyant brand of country music from the back-to-basics school of thought.

Phil bypassed traditional Music City session players and hired his road band to play on Traveling Circus. While the band had played on some of Phil’s Greatest Hits: Vol. 1 album, and had become his go-to guys for demo work, never before had Phil used them for a full album of original material. What’s more, Phil found that his road band, who contribute so much to the frenetic creative energy of his legendary live shows, were much better equipped to capture his concert sound than hired session musicians would be.