Posted tagged ‘Taylor Swift’

Artist Spotlight: Ryan Follese

October 26, 2016

As many of you know already, I’ve written about a lot of up-and-coming country music artists. Obviously, there are a lot of musicians out there trying to find their place in , but not everyone is destined for stardom. Today, you are in for a real treat.

I first came across Big Machine Label Group recording artist Ryan Follese (that’s “fall-uh-ZAY”) when I heard the folks at KRTY promoting that he would be opening for both Cassadee Pope and the Eli Young Band in San Jose in early November. I was lucky enough to be in California that week to catch both shows and let me tell you this: he is something special. When I talk about artists that you need to drop what you are doing immediately and take a listen to, Follese is one.

Ryan Follese Float Your Boat Single

As a bit of background, Ryan Follese  co-wrote each of the six tracks on his self-titled debut solo EP, including “Put A Label On It,” which hit country radio earlier this month as his first official single.

Additionally, SiriusXM kickstarted the launch this summer, selecting Follese as their “Highway Find” and spinning his summer vacation anthem “Float Your Boat.” Selling more than 40,000 downloads to date, and amassing nearly 2 million streams, the Ryan Follese EP was recorded with producers Dann Huff and Cameron Montgomery in Nashville. While the aforementioned songs might have received the notoriety to date, don’t miss other great tracks such as “Wilder“, “One Thing Right” and “Lose a Little Sleep“. “Wilder” might be my favorite of the bunch.

In speaking with The Boot, Follese described the EP as follows:

“It is definitely country. It is a look into my life over the last year, which, in my existence so far, has been the most real-life stuff that’s happened to me in the last year. You won’t get that all from the lyrics necessarily, but the meaning and how much heart and effort I put into this is a result of just coming of age, I guess.”

Image result for ryan follese ep

Now you may not know this, but Follese originally hit it big on the pop scene. During his successful run fronting the band Hot Chelle Rae, Follese co-wrote their #1 hit “Tonight, Tonight” and toured around the globe, featuring arena dates with none other than Taylor Swift. You might not remember, but Follett performed on the 2012 CMT Music Awards with Lady Antebellum, secured a performance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest and wrote“Thug Story” with Swift and T-Pain. Follese also earned the 2012 American Music Awards’ Best New Artist award. Not bad, right?

Recently, Follese refocused his songwriting, going back to his country roots to incorporate the storytelling lyrics and influences he was raised on. It doesn’t hurt that he grew up surrounded by the music of his songwriter parents, Keith and Adrienne. Not a bad household to grow up in! Their songwriting catalogue includes major hits for Tim McGraw (Something Like That), Faith Hill (The Way You Love Me), Little Texas (Life Goes On), Lonestar (Smile) and Martina McBride (I Love You). Currently previewing his new music nationwide, Follese has been tapped for Live Nation’s ‘Ones To Watch’ Tour with headliner (and one of my personal favorites) LOCASH.

What really stands out for me is how Follese has seamlessly transitioned from pop-rock to country music. I’ve seen a number of artists go the other direction, and a few that have tried to join the country ranks, but I have a feeling that we’ll look back in a few years and realize that Follese made the right decision. Granted, he has the advantage of some strong country music lineage, but he’s done this for himself.

Image result for Ryan Follese

When speaking of his transition in an interview with Sounds Like Nashville, Follese said:

“It is coming back to my roots. I wish there was a better way to say it but it really, that’s what it is. I grew up surrounded in country and I feel like that’s what made me want to start a rock band to begin with. Just like, you revolt against your parents. Country music was the only thing I knew until I was a teenager and then I was like ‘oh, I want to be in a rock band!’”

Additionally, here’s what Follese had to say to The Boot:

“Country chose me. Everything I wrote for the last few years came out this way. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in it; I don’t know if it’s because it comes more natural to me. That and the combination of, this is the way to tell the stories I want to tell. The things that I’m going through that I want to do, and being close to my family and being here in Nashville, this is the way to live for me, and that is something that I want to grow old in.”

If you haven’t checked out Ryan Follese before, make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @RyanFollese and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

I just included Follese as one of fifteen country music artists you need to have on your playlist, so make sure you go and give him a listen.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Ryan Follese live? What do you think of this guy?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Artist Spotlight: Interstate 10

August 2, 2016

I’ve written about a lot of up-and-coming artists. Obviously, there are a lot out there trying to find their place in country music. But today, I’ve got a real treat for you. These guys are something special and a group that you need to take a listen to. The name? Interstate 10.

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As a bit of background, Interstate 10 is a country/pop duo headed by Army Rangers Justin Wright of Tallahassee, Florida, and Andrew Yacovone of Hollister, California.

I first had the opportunity to meet Yacovone two years ago at a concert put on by 101.9 The Wolf in Davis, California. The show was their annual Christmas concert featuring Steve Holy and Dustin Lynch. During the concert, Yacovone was invited up on stage to play a song. It was an amazing experience. Here was this guy, fresh out of the audience (and the military) with a guitar. Not sure what the crowd expected, but we were blown away. You could tell that the on air staff was into it too. How cool is that!

Anyways, back to the group.

According to their website:

Focusing on a mix of traditional country music with modern beats and story lines, Interstate 10’s recordings and performances display strong melodies and good-time listening. 

While deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, friends and active-duty officers, Wright and Yacovone, debuted their first YouTube hit together, “Hometown Hero.” Their first song about longing for one’s hometown proved a compelling start for the guitar-playing friends. Together they continued to write both passionate and party-style Country music abroad and after their return home in late 2014.

On post-deployment leave in Byron Bay, Australia, the pair performed live for the first time at an impromptu show for a crowd of 100+ at the Falls Music Festival. Impromptu performances are now a common occurrence for Interstate 10, including: performing for Sam Hunt’s management team at the Ogden theater in Denver, Colorado in March 2015, and later this year playing backstage for Chase Rice at a Professional Bull Riders event in May in Colorado Springs.

Two months later, the duo began recording their full-length EP at The Spot Studios in Lakewood, Colorado. During this time Interstate 10 actively continued for opportunities to showcase their sound in Nashville, Tennessee where they had the opportunity to play at six venues in five days.

Here’s a link to their most recent song, “I’m Gonna Miss You” which has seen nearly 340,000 views on YouTube to date. I absolutely love this song, and I’m sure that you will too.

Also, make sure you check out “Hometown Hero” which was written back in 2014 during the little downtime they had while deployed in Afghanistan, and “Yellow Lines“, a song about memories of the great times in the past and things they wished they were doing during the summer while stationed in Afghanistan. This includes long drives, summertime, romance, spontaneity, beaches, boats and, of course, a beautiful girl.

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In other band news, last month, Interstate 10 went live from Afghanistan and announced the release of “Let’s Ride,” as well as news of  their recent partnership with Grammy Award winning producer Nathan Chapman. Chapman is well known in the industry and has worked with a number of artists including: Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Charles Kelley, Rascal Flatts, and Darius Rucker.

When asked about Interstate’s upcoming release, “Let’s Ride,” Chapman stated:

“I think this song has some real possibilities starting to emerge. We’re about 3 steps away from it being a real competitive record.” 

Interstate 10 will be releasing a new song shortly titled “Let’s Ride”. After “I’m Gonna Miss You”, the group was overwhelmed to learn that so many people received their message. Now, they are excited that to announce that they have 8 songs fully recorded waiting to bring to the masses.

I’ll definitely be keeping a lookout for “Let’s Ride” when it debuts on August 5.

If you haven’t checked out Interstate 10 before, make sure you give them a look. Also, keep up with them via their website or follow them on Twitter at  @i10music and Facebook for their latest news and concert schedule.

So what did I miss? Have you seen Interstate 10 live? What do you think of the guys? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Concert Review: Frankie Ballard and Clare Dunn Get “Young & Crazy” in San Jose, California

April 23, 2015

After a day like today, I can honestly say that there could not have been a better end to the day than by taking in a show at the Rodeo Club featuring Clare Dunn and Frankie Ballard.

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To preface this, I lost my step father this morning. I’ve had to watch him suffer through illness for many years now, and I know that he isn’t suffering anymore. But I know that it doesn’t make the loss hurt any less. So what did help lift my spirits, just a little? A night filled with some great music by two young, and up-and-coming artists.

JKFB

I’ve been hearing about Clare Dunn for quite some time now so I was obviously excited to finally see her live for the first time. Dunn has opened for some of the largest country acts, including Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, Colt Ford, Parmalee, Hank Williams Jr., Jamey Johnson as well as playing major festivals.

Photo Courtesy of @debrakmartin04

Photo Courtesy of @debrakmartin04

First a little background. As she mentioned during the show, Dunn was born on a farm in southeast Colorado where she grew up raising cattle, hauling water, as well as driving combines, tractors and eighteen wheelers. Eventually, she went to Belmont University where she picked up a guitar for the first time and learned to play both the acoustic and electric guitars. And that was a great decision!

What I loved about her performance is that when Dunn took the stage, she owned it. Her vocals were incredible and although she hasn’t been playing the guitar for long, you would think that she’s played it since birth. Very impressive. While her set was the standard, short opening set, the crowd was treated to an array of songs including her debut single “Get Out”, and her latest single “Cowboy Side of You.”

If you get the chance to catch Dunn live, be sure you get there early. A great performer that I believe you’ll see on the big stage shortly. Hell. Florida Georgia Line called Get Out “the best country song out by a female.” Not a bad recommendation to receive.

Photo Courtesy of @KristinToon

Photo Courtesy of @KristinToon

If you want to learn more about her, check out her website and follow her on Twitter at @claredunnmusic.

Following Dunn’s set, it was time for the main event of the evening: Frankie Ballard.

You may have heard of the guy as he’s been featured on the Grand Ole Opry and has played venues across the country where he has opened for the likes of Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift and his longtime idol Bob Seger.

I’ll admit, I know Ballard’s music and I like it. Whether it’s “country”, well that’s a matter of opinion but frankly, who cares. The guy (and his band) can flat out jam and they proved this tonight with a rockin’ and rollin’ set that was non-stop from the moment they took the stage.

Photo Courtesy of @Blueliquid11

Photo Courtesy of @Blueliquid11

As you would anticipate, most of the songs on the setlist were off Ballard’s “Sunshine & Whiskey” album, which was released in February of 2014. Songs such as the title track, “Young & Crazy” and the fan favorite “Helluva Life” were supplemented by great cover versions of “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers and Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll”. And sorry ladies, there was no Tom Cruise/Risky Business action onstage.

Photo Courtesy of @lexiwillson18

Photo Courtesy of @lexiwillson18

Now if there is one thing, and one thing only that I get across to people it’s this: I have never, and I mean NEVER, heard a band that was as tight as Ballard’s band was tonight. These guys didn’t miss a note all night long. Everything was in perfect rhythm. Words can’t describe how amazing they played.

One thing that also needs to be said is that Ballard demonstrates a true love for his fans. I had the opportunity to meet him before the show, and it was obvious that the whole “meet and greet” wasn’t just a job for him. Ballard took the time to connect with each and every fan he met. And not just the shaking of the hand and smiling at the camera. He was genuine, and a true gentleman. If there were more artists out there who took the time to actually engage with their fans like this, I believe that you would see a lot more respect across the board. Major kudos to you Frankie!

Photo Courtesy of @debrakmartin04

Photo Courtesy of @debrakmartin04

If you want to learn more about this great, up-and-coming artist, definitely go check out his website and follow him on Twitter at @FrankieBallard.

Did you go to the show? Have you seen either Clare Dunn or Frankie Ballard perform live before? Let me see those comments below.

Finally, thanks to the folks at KRTY for another great night a music, and the opportunity for me to forget about life for awhile. You guys always bring the best to the Rodeo Club and we as fans want to thank you for the fantastic work you do! Here’s to the next show!

Taylor Swift Takes Top Honors at CMA Awards

November 12, 2009

It was a big night in Country Music last night as Taylor Swift walked away with four Country Music Association Awards, including the top prize of Entertainer of the Year, over longtime favorites Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley.

Other CMA Award winners for 2009 included Best New Artist Darius Rucker, Best Duo Sugarland and Best Group Lady Antebellum. I thought that there were some great moments during the show including both Swift and Rucker’s wins but one performance that should not be overlooked was the Zac Brown Band’s rendition of The Devil Went Down to Georgia by Charlie Daniels. It was my favorite moment of the night!

What was yours? Did you agree with Taylor Swift winning Entertainer of the Year? What about Sugarland taking Best Duo from Brooks & Dunn and how about Lady Antebellum dethroning Rascal Flatts? Great night!

From the Los Angeles Times:

Taylor Swift made history at Wednesday night’s Country Music Assn. Awards by becoming the youngest person, at only 19, to win the coveted entertainer of the year title. Only five women —  Loretta Lynn (1972), Dolly Parton (1978), Barbara Mandrell (1980, 1981), Reba McEntire (1986) and Shania Twain (1999) — as well as one female group, the Dixie Chicks (2000), have received this honor in the 43-year history of the CMAs.

Swift — who just two years ago was named best new artist by the CMA — also won album of the year for her top-selling disc “Fearless,” video of the year for “Love Story” and female vocalist. Among those she edged out for that last award was show co-host Carrie Underwood, who had taken this prize the last three years running.

Her co-host on the ABC kudocast, Brad Paisley — who led with half a dozen nominations — was just one of three of last year’s champs to repeat with his third-in-a-row male vocalist win. Paisley also shared the trophy for musical event with Keith Urban for their duet “Start a Band.”

Sugarland won its third consecutive duo award despite the impending breakup of sentimental favorites Brooks & Dunn, who dominated this category every year but one from 1992 to 2006 (Montgomery Gentry bested them in 2000). Musician of the year was once again all-rounder Mac McAnally.

From Newsday:

Darius Rucker became the first black singer to win new artist of the year at the Country Music Association Awards, joining Charley Pride as the only African-American to win a major individual award, while Taylor Swift won two awards, including album of the year.

“First of all, to the fans, thank y’all for accepting me,” the jubilant Rucker said. “And I think most importantly, to country radio, you took a chance on a pop singer from Charleston, S.C. Thank you so much for that!”

Swift, who won the top prize of entertainer of the year, thanked the fans for their support of “Fearless,” the top-selling album of the year. She also won video of the year for “Love Story.”

“You guys, this album is my diary and so to all the people who voted for me for this, thank you for saying you love my diary because that’s the nicest compliment,” Swift told the audience.

Taylor Swift Tackles Saturday Night Live

November 8, 2009

Overall, I thought Taylor Swift did a pretty good job last night as both the host, and musical act on Saturday Night Live.

The opening monologue was a little goofy but the skits involving Kate Gosselin and Twilight (for those of you who love Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart) were actually pretty funny.

I was a little surprised at the lack of reference to the Kanye West incident because there were some great opportunities for sketches, but I’ll survive 🙂

What did you think of her performance?

From the Wall Street Journal:

Taylor took the stage for the opening monologue in a glittery black dress and, playing a guitar, performed a comic tune called “Monologue Song (La La La).” In the number, she took a lyrical swipe at Joe Jonas, her ex-boyfriend, and sang “and if you’re wondering if I might/ be dating the werewolf from “Twilight”/ I’m not going to comment on that in my monologue.”

The singer appeared in a segment sending up “The View”-she played guest host Kate Gosselin, complete with the reality mom’s famously asymmetrical hairdo. “My hairdresser was halfway through giving me ‘The Rachel’ when his blowdryer exploded on the back of my head,” Swift as Gosselin said, explaining the genesis of her hairstyle.

Swift appeared in a lot of skits, and she had her moments in most of them. She had a funny, crazy laugh in a bit about being interviewed by manipulative celebrity reporters. In another segment she played a teen, fed up with all the talk about “Driving While Texting,” who starts campaigning against the dangerous things that parents do, including “Driving While Arguing with the GPS” and “Driving While Singing Along To a Song You Don’t Know the Lyrics To.”

George Jones Calls Out Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift

November 3, 2009

Seems like George Jones still fears change. The country music legend is speaking out against up and coming stars such as Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and others, saying that they need to leave country music and find a genre that better suits them.

Yes, today’s country music isn’t the same as traditional country music, but what “The Possum” needs to learn is that people change, styles change and music changes.

Sorry George. I’ve been a fan of both traditional and modern country music and if it reverts back, I think you’ll lose at least one fan (me). I enjoy a lot of the country songs on the radio today, but when I hear new music by George Strait, and even Alan Jackson lately, I have to turn the station. Their songs just don’t do anything for me anymore.

These days, I’m more of a fan of singers such as Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, Toby Keith and Brad Paisley and bands like Trailer Choir and Montgomery Gentry. These are artists who can reach across different genres of music and reach a larger audience. In Jones interview, he said that he had no intention of collaborating with any musician of another genre.

We’ll see what happens! I have a lot of respect for Jones, but right now, he’s coming off like a grumpy old man.

From The Boot:

George Jones says he’s been robbed. Not of his personal belongings, but of something perhaps even more valuable: his role as a country singer.

Referring to some of today’s biggest stars, including Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift, the country legend tells the Associated Press, “they’ve stolen our identity.” And, he maintains, they need to give it back and move on to another genre. “They had to use something that was established already, and that’s traditional country music. So what they need to do really, I think, is find their own title, because they’re definitely not traditional country music.”

Kanye West: Death Rumors Not True

October 21, 2009

The rumors that Kanye West died in a car accident earlier today have been confirmed to be untrue. Just another hoax that has taken over the Internet.

From the New York Daily News:

On Tuesday, “RIP Kayne West” started trending on popular micro-blogging site Twitter after a bogus report popped up on image-based bulletin board 4chan.org claiming West had died in a car accident in Los Angeles.

But not long after the hoax became the top Google search in the U.S. did West’s girlfriend Amber Rose put the rumors to rest.

“This ‘RIP KayneWest’ topic is not funny and it’s NOT TRUE,” the model tweeted. “He has people like myself and his family that love him very much.

“It’s in extreme poor taste to have that as a trendy topic,” Rose continued. “It’s totally disrespectful to make up a story like this. We’re all human and we all make mistakes and to say someone died cuz of a mistake is ridiculous. U wouldn’t want someone to say that about u.”

Users who searched for more information on the story were redirected to sites distributing spyware, malware and “scareware,” according to TheHollywoodGossip.com.