Posted tagged ‘Texas’

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.

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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.

Petaluma National Little League One Win Away From US Championship Game

August 23, 2012

What an incredible journey it has been for these thirteen 11-12 year old’s from Petaluma, California (the town where I was born that I called home until I was 23).

Never before has a team from Petaluma ever made it to the Little League World Series. Heck, no team from Sonoma County has made it. But here is this scrappy team that is currently one win away from making the United States Championship Game.

Hats off to the boys from Petaluma. Good luck in your game against San Antonio, Texas tonight in Williamsport! We’re proud of you no matter what and my kids and I will make the two hour drive up next Sunday to watch your homecoming parade through town!

Tornadoes Hit Dallas

September 8, 2010

Four tornadoes, spawned by Tropical Depression Hermine, touched down near Dallas, Texas this evening.

Rescue workers across central and north Texas spent the evening helping people who became stranded by fast-rising floodwater caused by downpours from Hermine as it slogged northward.

From CNN:

Sirens went off in downtown Dallas as one funnel cloud was spotted in Cockrell Hill southwest of downtown, according to CNN affiliate WFAA.

One tornado was reported in Ellis County and three in Dallas County, according to CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.

Aerial footage from the area showed buildings in an industrial complex with walls knocked down and roofs blown off. One tractor-trailer truck in a parking lot had the trailer’s roof caved in by cement blocks blown from a nearby building.

Boise State Does it Again

January 5, 2010

Congrats once again to the “Little Agent That Could”.

In a battle of non-BCS schools, the Boise State Broncos knocked off TCU 17-10 last night in the Fiesta Bowl.

With the game tied at 10-10 in the 4th quarter, coach Chris Petersen dug into his bag of tricks and pulled out a fake punt on a 4th and 9 play from their own 33 yard line. The play worked to perfection as the Broncos gained 29 yards and went on to score the winning touchdown.

What a game! Not quite as dramatic as the earlier Idaho vs. Bowling Green match-up but still, both teams put on a great show! 14-0 is something to be proud of Boise State, even if you won’t be National Champions.

From Fox Sports:

The latest BCS upgrade happened here Monday night when the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl assisted in crowning the first Irrational Champion.

Let’s use the I-word, because we’ve been a bit numbed by the extravagant caterwauling coming from both sides of the TCU vs. Boise State issue. As you may recall, a lot of BCS haters were greatly agitated when it was decided that two unbeaten teams — each representing a non-BCS conference — would celebrate this regular-season perfection by playing each other instead of some traditional powerhouse from a supposed big-league school. And the pro-BCS crowd has been a bit heavy-handed in insisting that teams from non-BCS leagues aren’t worthy of national championship contention.

Anyway, with the sixth-ranked Broncos (14-0) posting a 17-10 triumph over the fourth-ranked Horned Frogs (12-1), we now are obliged to figure out what we learned while watching two unbeaten teams slug it out in a game with no real championship on the line.

From Yahoo Sports:

Between hugging teammates, hugging cheerleaders, hugging coaches and hugging more cheerleaders, Boise State linebacker Derrell Acrey took a moment from the postgame Fiesta fiesta and declared that one day his Broncos weren’t going to play in just any BCS bowl. They were going to play in the BCS bowl.

The one for the crystal football.

“Sooner or later it’s coming,” Acrey said. “One of these days … one of these days.”

How about one of these days coming in 368 days, Jan. 8, 2011, when on this very field in suburban Phoenix the BCS championship game will be held.

It’s then Boise State might – just might – be able to break through college football’s final wall and become the first team from outside the traditional six major conferences to play for it all. Or put it this way, if the Broncos deliver a third consecutive perfect regular season in 2010 and they aren’t selected, the teams picked ahead of them better be the Colts and the Chargers.

Boise did its Fiesta Bowl thing again Monday, winning here for the second time in four years, this time 17-10 over fourth-ranked TCU. They finished the season 14-0 and should wind up ranked in the Top 3 of the final poll. They’ve won 26 of their last 27 games. They return 21 of 22 starters and 42 of their top 44 players on their two-deep roster. That includes sophomore quarterback Kellen Moore, who just had a season where he threw for 39 touchdowns against just three interceptions.

Minimal Changes in BCS Rankings

November 22, 2009

Here’s a look at the BCS rankings for November 22, 2009:

Florida remains No. 1, followed by Alabama, Texas, TCU, Cincinnati, Boise State and Georgia Tech. Oregon jumped up three spots, to No. 8, with their dramatic victory over Arizona. Pittsburgh and Ohio State remained ninth and 10th.

Only one non-Big Six team is guaranteed a spot in the BCS if it meets the criteria. Any others would be at-large candidates. At-large candidates must have at least nine victories and finish in the top 14 in the final BCS standings.

From Rivals.com:

The three components of the BCS standings are the coaches’ poll; the Harris poll, voted on by media members and by former players, coaches and administrators; and six computers. Each of the components counts one-third. The best and worst computer rankings are thrown out, and the sum total of the remaining four is divided by 100 (the maximum possible points) to come up with the BCS’ computer rankings percentage.

While strength of schedule isn’t a BCS component, all six computers have a strength-of-schedule factor in their rankings.

The fourth-place team in the BCS is important because Alabama and Florida play each other in the SEC championship game, meaning the fourth-place team has a chance to jump to second should Texas lose either its regular-season finale to Texas A&M or to Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game.

No Surprises in New BCS Rankings

November 15, 2009

If you were expecting big changes in the BCS rankings this weekend, well, you’re not going to be happy.

The top 8 teams remained the same for a second straight week with only minor changes to the top ten.

With so many undefeated teams, I wonder if this is the year people finally realize that we NEED a playoff in college football. Whether it’s an 8 or 16 team tournament, we MUST have it, and have it soon. I have a feeling that we will have at least 3 undefeated teams when all is said and done in January.

Here are the top ten teams in this week’s poll:

Florida

Alabama

Texas

TCU

Cincinnatti

Boise State

Georgia Tech

LSU

Pittsburgh

Ohio State

Stanford made the leap up to #17 and USC fell to #18.

USA Today has the full rankings.