Posted tagged ‘Southern Rock’

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?


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.


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.


My 300 Favorite Songs of All Time

January 12, 2016

Forget the past decade. Forget my lifetime (I was born in 1978).

Today, I’m bringing you my 300 Favorite Songs of All Time.

Now, before we get started, here are a few things:

#1: This is across all genres. While I seem to be known for my love of country music, I have a wide selection of music I’ve listened to my entire life. Therefore, this list is going to be all over the map.

Heck, country music might only make up 20-25% or less of the final list.

#2: Songs didn’t have to be radio hits, or even singles, to make the list. My favorite songs aren’t tied to the airplay they received.

#3: There have been so many songs written/recorded, that I am bound to have forgotten a few. I wouldn’t be surprised if I forgot one of my all time favorites. It’s hard to remember every song you love!

#4: I’m not a professional writer or reviewer. This was for fun. Don’t freak out if you don’t like the order. This is my personal favorites list, not based on airplay, single or album sales etc… 🙂

#5: A few songs may be headscratchers. Like “why would he like THIS song???”. Remember…I have three kids. Some of these songs they listen to over and over and over again. Therefore, they either 1) have gotten stuck in my head and I love them or 2) bring back great memories of singing and dancing with kids. Simple as that.

Got it? Good! So here we go with #300:

300. “Undone (The Sweater Song)“, Weezer

299. “Run“, George Strait

298. “Symphony of Destruction“, Megadeath

297. “What Do I Have to Do“, Stabbing Westward

296. “My Town“, Montgomery Gentry

295. “Stuart and the Avenue“, Green Day

294. “Lemonade“, Tsunami Bomb

293. “Cradle of Love“, Billy Idol

292. “O.P.P.“, Naughty by Nature

291. “Let Her Cry“, Hootie and the Blowfish

290. “You Might Think“, The Cars

289. “Fortunate Son“, Creedence Clearwater Revival

288. “I Got 5 on It“, Luniz

287. “I’m Shipping Up to Boston“, Dropkick Murphys

286. “Steal My Sunshine“, Len

285. “Machinehead“, Bush

284. “Jump Around“, House of Pain

283. “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful“, Sammy Kershaw

282. “More Human Than Human“, White Zombie

281. “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak“, Def Leppard

280. “Little Red Rodeo“, Phil Vassar

279. “The Middle“, Jimmy Eat World

278. “Love Without End, Amen“, George Strait

277. “God Only Knows“, The Beach Boys

276. “Mountain Music“, Alabama

275. “I Wish“, Skee Lo

274. “How Do You Like Me Now?“, Toby Keith

273. “Plush“, Stone Temple Pilots

272. “Small Town Saturday Night“, Hal Ketchum

271. “Sharp Dressed Man“, ZZ Top

270. “Welcome to the Future“, Brad Paisley

269. “Interstate Love Song“, Stone Temple Pilots

268.”Comedown“, Bush

267. “I Can’t Drive 55“, Sammy Hagar

266. “Good Day to Run“, Darryl Worley

265. “Nuthin’ But a G Thang“, Dr. Dre

264. “Country Man“, Luke Bryan

263. “Kickstart My Heart“, Motley Crue

262. “Push“, Matchbox Twenty

261. “Down in a Hole“, Alice in Chains

260. “Sorry“, Nerfherder

259. “Dreams“, Van Halen

258. “Austin“, Blake Shelton

257. “Gangsta’s Paradise“, Coolio

256. “Strawberry Wine“, Deana Carter

255. “The Bad Touch“, Bloodhound Gang

254. “California Gurls“, Katy Perry

253. “You“, Candlebox

252. “First Date“, Blink 182

251. “Yes“, Chad Brock

250. “Somebody to Shove“, Soul Asylum

249. “Party Rock Anthem“, LMFAO

248. “Why Do You Want Him“, Green Day

247. “Laredo” Chris Cagle

246. “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)“, The Offspring

245. “Three Little Pigs“, Green Jelly

244. “Time After Time“, Cyndi Lauper

243. “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart“, Old Dominion

242.”Hip Hop Hooray“, Naughty by Nature

241. “Mama, I’m Coming Home“, Ozzy Osbourne

240. “Rock the Casbah“, The Clash

239. “I Like It, I Love It“, Tim McGraw

238. “Closer“, Nine Inch Nails

237. “Buddy Holly“, Weezer

236. “Mr. Jones“, Counting Crows

235. “Rumor Has It“, Clay Walker

234. “End of the Line“, Traveling Wilburys

233. “Two Princes“, Spin Doctors

232. “Chattahoochie“, Alan Jackson

231. “Highway to Hell“, AC-DC

230. “Authority Song“, John Mellencamp

229. “Tonight, Tonight“, Smashing Pumpkins

228. “What It Takes“, Aerosmith

227. “Where is the Love?“, The Black Eyed Peas

226. “Summer of ’69“, Bryan Adams

225. “Legs“, ZZ Top

224. “One for the Razorbacks“, Green Day

223. “Blister in the Sun“, Violent Femmes

222. “Brand New Man“, Brooks and Dunn

221. “Walking in Memphis“, Marc Cohn

220. “Twilight Zone“, Golden Earring

219. “She Couldn’t Change Me“, Montgomery Gentry

218. “Iris“, Goo Goo Dolls

217. “Not Ready to Make Nice“, Dixie Chicks

216. “Where the Streets Have No Name“, U2

215. “Boys of Summer“, Don Henley

214. “Self Esteem“, The Offspring

213. “Meet in the Middle“, Diamond Rio

212. “Anthem“, Zebrahead

211. “Invisible Touch“, Genesis

210. “Armatage Shanks“, Green Day

209. “Sold (The Grundy County Auction)“, John Michael Montgomery

208. “Head Like a Hole“, Nine Inch Nails

207. “Lose Yourself“, Eminem

206. “Tubthumping“, Chumbawumba

205. “Bust a Move“, Young MC

204. “Learning to Fly“, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

203. “Take Me Home Tonight“, Eddie Money

202. “Man on the Moon“, REM

201. “One“, Metallica

200. “Paranoid“, Black Sabbath

199. “Hold My Hand“, Hootie and the Blowfish

198. “Beverly Hills“, Weezer

197. “Playmate of the Year“, Zebrahead

196. “Bawitdaba“, Kid Rock

195. “My Own Worst Enemy“, Lit

194. “Lonely and Gone“, Montgomery Gentry

193. “Santa Monica“, Everclear

192. “Cryin’” Aerosmith

191. “No Sleep Till Brooklyn“, Beastie Boys

190. “Shoebox“, Barenaked Ladies

189. “Slide“, Goo Goo Dolls

188. “I’m Alright“, Phil Vassar

187. “Hot for Teacher“, Van Halen

186. “Santeria“, Sublime

185. “2,000 Light Years Away“, Green Day

184. “Come Cryin’ to Me“, Lonestar

183. “Radar Love“, Golden Earring

182. “U Can’t Touch This“, M.C. Hammer

181. “She’s Got it All“, Kenny Chesney

180. “Stacy’s Mom“, Fountains of Wayne

179.”Regulate“, Warren G featuring Nate Dogg

178. “Tha Crossroads“, Bone Thugs N Harmony

177. “Sharp Dressed Man“, ZZ Top

176. “Killing in the Name“, Rage Against the Machine

175. “Cemetery Gates“, Pantera

174. “Tuesday’s Gone“, Lynyrd Skynyrd

173. “Red Dirt Road“, Brooks & Dunn

172. “Spiderwebs“, No Doubt

171. “Drunk on a Plane“, Dierks Bentley

170. “The Waiting” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

169. “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer“, Sammy Kershaw

168. “Born to Run“, Bruce Springsteen

167. “1985“, Bowling for Soup

166. “Gone“, Montgomery Gentry

165. “Epic“, Faith No More

164. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For“, U2

163. “Bro Hymn“, Pennywise

162. “Jeremy“, Pearl Jam

161. “What I Got“, Sublime

160. “Beat of the Music“, Brett Eldredge

159. “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions“, Queen

158. “Home Sweet Home“, Motley Crue

157. “Pantera Fans in Love“, Nerfherder

156. “Pull Me Under“, Dream Theater

155. “Wagon Wheel“, Darius Rucker

154. “Roots Radicals“, Rancid

153. “Dream On“, Aerosmith

152. “Today“, Smashing Pumpkins

151. “Copperhead Road“, Steve Earle

150. “Paper Lanterns“, Green Day

149. “Right Now“, Van Halen

148. “Kryptonite“, 3 Doors Down

147. “The Anthem“, Good Charlotte

146. “Already Gone“, The Eagles

145. “Only the Good Die Young“, Billy Joel

144. “How Long Gone“, Brooks & Dunn

143. “Down Under“, Men at Work

142.  “When You Say Nothing at All“, Keith Whitley

141. “Good Directions“, Billy Currington

140. “Thunderstruck“, AC-DC

139.”Ramblin’ Man“, The Allman Brothers

138. “Amazed“, Lonestar

137. “Master of Puppets“, Metallica

136. “Speed“, Montgomery Gentry

135. “Mother“, Danzig

134. “Family Tradition“, Hank Williams Jr.

133. “I Won’t Back Down“, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

132. “Hello Tomorrow“, Zebrahead

131. “The World I Know“, Collective Soul

130. “November Rain“, Guns & Roses

129. “Feeling This“, Blink 182

128. “Something Like That“, Tim McGraw

127. “Girl All the Bad Guys Want“, Bowling for Soup

126. “Wonderwall“, Oasis

125. “Spirit of the Radio“, Rush

124. “Life, In A Nutshell“, Barenaked Ladies

123. “Redneck Yacht Club“, Craig Morgan

122. “All Along the Watchtower“, Jimi Hendrix

121. “Crazy Train“, Ozzy Osbourne

120. “Shut Up and Dance“, Walk the Moon

119. “You Give Love a Bad Name“, Bon Jovi

118. “Hunger Strike“, Temple of the Dog

117. “Minority“, Green Day

116. “Eastbound and Down“, Jerry Reed

115. “I’m Leaving You“, The Scorpions

114. “Sell Out“, Reel Big Fish

113. “Sweet Child O’ Mine“, Guns & Roses

112. “Every Breath You Take“, The Police

111. “Learning to Fly“, Pink Floyd

110. “How Forever Feels“, Kenny Chesney

109. “Semi-Charmed Life“, Third Eye Blind

108. “Janie’s Got a Gun“, Aerosmith

107. “Don’t Come Around Here No More“, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

106. “Friends in Low Places“, Garth Brooks

105. “London Calling“, The Clash

104. “I Hold On“, Dierks Bentley

103. “Losing My Religion“, REM

102. “Check Yes or No“, George Strait

101. “Take it Easy“, The Eagles

100. “Holiday“, Green Day

99. “Walk This Way“, Aerosmith and Run DMC

98. “Keep in Mind“, LOCASH

97. “Hey Ya“, OutKast

96. “You Gotta Fight For Your Right to Party“, Beastie Boys

95. “Stay a Little Longer“, Brothers Osborne 

94. “Long Way Down“, Goo Goo Dolls

93. “Only in America“, Brooks & Dunn

92. “Everything About You“, Ugly Kid Joe

91.  “I Hope You Dance“, Lee Ann Womack

90. “Ruby Soho“, Rancid

89. “Hard to Handle“, The Black Crowes

88. “Money for Nothing“, Dire Straits

87. “Centerfield“, John Fogerty

86. “Beer“, Reel Big Fish

85. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)“, Green Day

84. “Straight Tequila Night“, John Anderson

83. “I Want You to Want Me“, Cheap Trick

82. “Any Way You Want It“, Journey

81. “I Walk the Line“, Johnny Cash

80. “Baby Got Back“, Sir-Mix-A-Lot

79. “Smoke“, A Thousand Horses

78. “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn“, Poison

77. “What’s My Age Again?“, Blink 182

76. “Here I Go Again“, Whitesnake

75. “Real“, James Wesley

74. “Jump“, Van Halen

73. “Song of the South“, Alabama

72. “Fool in the Rain“, Led Zeppelin

71. “If I Had a Million Dollars“, Barenaked Ladies

70. “Cruise“, Florida Georgia Line

69. “Come on Eileen“, Dexys Midnight Runners

68. “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love“, Van Halen

67. “Peace of Mind“, Boston

66. “Baba O’ Riley“, The Who

65. “18 and Life“, Skid Row

64. “Dust on the Bottle“, David Lee Murphy

63. “Down on the Corner“, Creedence Clearwater Revival

62. “We’re Not Gonna Take It“, Twisted Sister

61. “Should’ve Been a Cowboy“, Toby Keith

60. “Layla“, Derek and the Dominos

59. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door“, Guns & Roses

58. “The Joker“, Steve Miller Band

57. “Gone Country“, Alan Jackson

56. “California Love“, Tupac and Dr. Dre

55. “Sweet Home Alabama“, Lynyrd Skynyrd

54. “Enter Sandman“, Metallica

53. “When I Come Around“, Green Day

52. “Even if it Breaks Your Heart“, Eli Young Band

51. “Hotel California“, The Eagles

50. “The Dance“, Garth Brooks

49. “Africa“, Toto

48. “Ring of Fire“, Johnny Cash

47. “Paint it Black“, Rolling Stones

46. “Good Morning Beautiful“, Steve Holy

45. “Smells Like Teen Spirit“, Nirvana

44. “Angel“, Aerosmith

43. “Stand By Me“, Ben E. King

42. “Into the Great Wide Open“, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

41. “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas“, Alabama

40. “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper“, Blue Oyster Cult

39. “Mama Tried“, Merle Haggard

38. “We Didn’t Start the Fire“, Billy Joel

37. “Welcome to the Jungle“, Guns & Roses

36. “Standing Outside the Fire“, Garth Brooks

35. “In Your Eyes“, Peter Gabriel

34. “Seek and Destroy“, Metallica

33. “One“, U2

32. “Devil Went Down to Georgia“, The Charlie Daniels Band

31. “Pour Some Sugar on Me“, Def Leppard

30. “I Remember You“, Skid Row

29. “Hey Jealousy“, Gin Blossoms

28. “Paradise City“, Guns & Roses

27. “Basket Case“, Green Day

26. “Don’t Stop Believin’“, Journey

25. “Livin’ on a Prayer“, Bon Jovi

24. “Back in Black“, AC-DC

23. “I Wanna Be Sedated“, The Ramones

22. “Fade to Black“, Metallica

21. “Rock You Like a Hurricane“, The Scorpions

20. “More Than a Feeling“, Boston

19. “Life’s a Dance“, John Michael Montgomery

18. “Save Tonight“, Eagle Eye Cherry

17. “Let it Be“, The Beatles

16. “Bohemian Rhapsody“, Queen

15. “Life is a Highway“, Tom Cochrane

14. “Sound of Silence“, Simon and Garfunkel

13. “Under the Bridge“, Red Hot Chili Peppers

12. “Carry on Wayward Son“, Kansas

11. “My Maria“, Brooks & Dunn

10. “Freebird“, Lynyrd Skynyrd

9. “Piano Man“, Billy Joel

8. “I’m in A Hurry (and Don’t Know Why)“, Alabama

7. “Stairway to Heaven“, Led Zeppelin

6. “You Shook Me All Night Long“, AC-DC

5. “Damnit“, Blink 182

4. “Callin’ Baton Rouge“, Garth Brooks

3. “Free Fallin’“, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

2. “American Pie“, Don McLean

1. “With or Without You“, U2

Well, there it is. All 300 of them. Like I said before, these are my 300 favorites of all time.

What are yours?

New Music Review: A Thousand Horses Blazing Trails with Release of Debut Album ‘Southernality’

June 11, 2015

I’ve been talking about A Thousand Horses for quite some time now, ever since I was formally introduced to their music by the folks at KRTY as the opening act for Josh Thompson and Will Hoge at the Rodeo Club late last year. So please let me take a few minutes of your time to tell you about what I feel could be the Best Country Album of 2015, “Southernality.”


As a live band, A Thousand Horses is second to none with their energy and love for music. The band, which includes Michael Hobby (Lead Vocals), Bill Satcher (Lead Guitar), Zach Brown (Guitar and Vocal) and Graham Deloach (Bass and Vocal), prides themselves on being influenced by some legendary bands, such as The Black Crowes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and The Allman Brothers. And let me tell you something, you can certainly hear those influences from beginning to end on their new album.

I’ve had the album for three days now, and it has been playing on repeat ever since. First and foremost, the music is fantastic and something that is desperately needed in today’s country music scene that has become oversaturated with the same songs, same artists and “bro country” taking over the airwaves.

While the mixed Southern Rock/Country genre is not new, it’s refreshing to hear these days. From songs like “Sunday Morning”, co-written with Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes and arguably the best track on the album, to “Landslide”, a favorite of mine which grasps the spirit of the working man (and often leads off their live show) A Thousand Horses demonstrates that they can do it all, and not miss a beat from Track 1 to 13.

“Tennessee Whiskey” showcases the band’s Southern roots as it shows emotional heartbreak in the form of a conversation with none other than the iconic drink. Yep. It plays just like it sounds. “Trailer Trashed” brings out the redneck side of the band and “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial”, the band’s second single which is just hitting the airwaves, tells the story of singer Michael Hobby looking for a second chance in a relationship gone wrong. Now THAT sounds like a country song, right?

I’ve reached the 6th paragraph, and I’ve yet to mention “Smoke”, the #1 hit on country radio which has made A Thousand Horses a household name. I originally wrote a review of this single back in January, and have been thrilled to watch it climb the charts over the months since it’s debut. You may have caught it on National TV recently as well as a short snippet on the CMT Awards. Great vocals. Great rhythm. It’s certainly catchy and, like I said earlier this year, it’s the type of song that country radio needs right now!

I’ve heard others say that A Thousand Horses is too close to a knockoff of the bands I mentioned above. But I’m here to tell you that they are far from it.

This is a band that goes out and does their own thing every night. Like everyone else, they take cues from their influencers, but A Thousand Horses is a band that you need to see live to fully understand why they should be considered one of the artists to watch over the next few years. The band is currently on tour with Darius Rucker and Brett Eldredge and trust me, this is a band that won’t be an opening act for long so make sure that you arrive early if you are catching the show! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Final Thoughts:

In my opinion, “Southernality” is in the running for Country Album of the Year in 2015. This is an album that you can listen to from beginning to end without having to skip a song. Playing a mixture of southern rock and well-written ballads, A Thousand Horses is what country music needs in 2015.

*My only wish is that they would have included live tracks of The Black Crowes “Hard to Handle” and Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”. Two great cover tunes that the band tends to play live. Maybe on the next album!

So if you’re looking for a great album this summer, make sure you pick up “Southernality”. You can find it at stores like Best Buy, Target and Walmart and it is available for download on iTunes and Amazon.

You won’t be disappointed!

Lynyrd Skynyrd Keyboardist Dies

January 29, 2009

Billy Powell, a keyboardist for the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died at his home in Florida yesterday at the age of 56.

From the Associated Press:

Orange Park Police Lt. Mark Cornett says 56-year-old keyboard player Billy Powell called 911 about 12:55 a.m. Wednesday saying he was having trouble breathing. Rescue crews performed CPR, but he was pronounced dead at 1:52 a.m.

Cornett says no foul play is suspected and an autopsy will not be performed.

He says Powell missed a Tuesday appointment with his doctor for a cardiac evaluation. A heart attack is suspected.

Powell was one of two surviving band members who were with the group before a 1977 plane crash that killed three of its members.