Posted tagged ‘Reba’

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.

BrandyClark

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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Year in Review: My Top 100 Country Music Songs of 2015

December 4, 2015

It’s that time of year again where I like to take a look back at my favorite country music songs of the year. We’re into the home stretch 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.

Got it? Good. Let’s get going. My list which consists of the top 100 songs that I loved over the past year (or so). 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.

Now you might 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. I listen to the radio all day long, but a lot of the songs that are played just get played too often. I get burned out. Or, I hear them so often that I change the station. For that reason, those songs may or may not be on my list.

Frankly, it’s my personal list which includes the songs that I love and want to hear (but please feel free to sway me in your direction if I left a song off or ranked a song too high/low).

You probably heard some of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local station. Others may not have been played much (if at all) when they should have been, in my own, personal opinion. You’ll note quite a few songs on the list that haven’t even been played on the radio. If you see those…be sure to take a listen!

Also, while some of these songs may have come out in late 2014, they were ones that were predominantly played (if they made the radio) in the 2015 calendar year. Others may be primed for success later next year so, like I’ve said before, 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.

Now, without further ado, let’s get this party started with a three-way tie at #100:

(T) 100. “Amen“, Toree McGee

(T) 100. “CRUSH“, The Darlins

(T) 100. “Kids with Cars“, Dallas Smith

99. “Lovestruck“, George Ducas

98. “Giving it All“, Haley & Michaels

97. “Trouble Maker“, LANco

96. “Upside Down“, Dean Brody

95. “Hit the Road“, Waterloo Revival

94. “Hey Time“, The Springs

93. “Move On“, Clare Dunn

92. “Run Angel Run“, Runaway Angel

91. “Hanging on a Lie“, Striking Matches

90. “I Met a Girl“, William Michael Morgan

89. “Drink Drink Drink“, Cloverdayle

88. “Til the Summer’s Gone“, Emerson Drive

87. “Trespassin’“, Chasin’ Crazy

86. “Country Proud“, The Stickers

85. “I Am Invincible“, Cassadee Pope

84. “The Driver“, Charles Kelley (Featuring Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay)

83. “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face“, Craig Wayne Boyd

82. “Miss You the Most“, Natalie Stovall and the Drive

81. “Kiss By Kiss“, Kristen Kelly

80. “Go Live Your Life“, Wade Hayes

79. “Next Boyfriend“, Lauren Alaina

78. “By the Way“, Lindsay Ell

77. “Ray Bans“, JT Hodges

76. “Me and Johnny Cash“, Rainey Qualley

75. “Clean Hands” Kyle Douglas

74. “Ain’t Always Thirsty“, Ray Scott

73. “White Lightning“, The Cadillac Three

72. “On To Something Good“, Ashley Monroe

71. “Fix“, Chris Lane

70. “Bad for You“, Waterloo Revival

69. “Blue Bandana” Jerrod Niemann

68. “It All Started With a Beer“, Frankie Ballard

67. “Kiss You in the Morning“, Michael Ray

66. “Live Forever“, The Band Perry

65. “Folks Like Us“, Montgomery Gentry

64. “Ain’t No Trucks in Texas“, Ronnie Dunn

63. “Lose My Mind“, Brett Eldredge

62. “I See You“, Luke Bryan

61. “My Mistake“, Cam

60. “Shake it Like a Hillbilly“, Hillbilly Vegas

59. “Tomorrow Tonight“, Craig Campbell

58. “Gonna Know We Were Here“, Jason Aldean

57. “Crooked Halo“, Annie Bosko

56. “Going Out Like That“, Reba

56. “Sippin’ on Fire“, Florida Georgia Line

54. “Hole in a Bottle“, Canaan Smith

53. “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey“, Cole Swindell

52. “Run Away with You“, Big & Rich

51. “Raise ‘Em Up“, Keith Urban featuring Eric Church

50. “A Guy Walks Into a Bar“, Tyler Farr

49. “Take Your Time“, Sam Hunt

48. “Better Than You Left Me“, Mickey Guyton

47. “Confession“, Florida Georgia Line

46. “My Church“, Maren Morris

45. “Standards“, Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers

44. “Backroad Song“, Granger Smith

43. “Little Toy Guns“, Carrie Underwood

42. “Riser“, Dierks Bentley

41. “Crushin’ It“, Brad Paisley

40. “Save it for a Rainy Day“, Kenny Chesney

39. “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16“, Keith Urban

38. “Nothin’ Like You“, Dan & Shay

37. “I Got the Boy“, Jana Kramer

36. “American Flags in Black & White“, John Moreland

35. “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial“, A Thousand Horses

34. “I’m to Blame“, Kip Moore

33. “Nobody to Blame“, Chris Stapleton

32. “Hell of a Night“, Dustin Lynch

31. “Let Me See Ya Girl“, Cole Swindell

30. “Already Callin’ You Mine“, Parmalee

29. “Jim and Jack and Hank“, Alan Jackson

28. “Biscuits“, Kacey Musgraves

27. “She Don’t Love You“, Eric Paslay

26. “Love Me Like You Mean It”, Kelsea Ballerini

25. “Little Bit of You“, Chase Bryant

24. “It Feels Good“, Drake White

23. “Young & Crazy“, Frankie Ballard

22. “Buy Me a Boat“, Chris Janson

21. “Don’t It“, Billy Currington

20. “Head Over Boots“, Jon Pardi

19. “Traveller“, Chris Stapleton

18. “Die a Happy Man“, Thomas Rhett

17. “Country“, Mo Pitney

16. “One Hell of an Amen“, Brantley Gilbert

15. “Whiskey on my Breath“, Love and Theft

14. “All Country on You“, Austin Webb

13. “Break Up with Him“, Old Dominion

12. “Like a Wrecking Ball“, Eric Church

11. “Anything Goes“, Florida Georgia Line

10. “I Love This Life“, LoCash

9. “Trailer Hitch“, Kristian Bush

8. “Burning House“, Cam

7. “Hooked Up“, James Wesley

6. “Crash and Burn“, Thomas Rhett

5. “House Party“, Sam Hunt

4. “Homegrown“, Zac Brown Band

3. “Girl Crush“, Little Big Town

2. “Stay a Little Longer“, Brothers Osborne

1. “Smoke“, A Thousand Horses

Well that’s it. My Top 100 of 2015! I know, it was a longer list than normal this year. But, I wanted to be sure to give everyone their due.

Where did I hit the nail on the head? Where did the arrow miss the mark?

I want to hear from you!

Let me know in the comments below!