Posted tagged ‘Thomas Rhett’

Half Year in Review: My Top 50 Country Music Songs of 2017…So Far

June 10, 2017

It’s that time of year again where I like to take a quick look at my favorite country music songs of the year so far. We’re just about at the halfway point 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.

This list consists of the top 50 songs that I like so far in 2017. 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. Note that not all songs may be “traditional country”. I listen to all genre’s of music, so I have no issues with country artists who play “non-traditional” country. To me…music is music. If I like it, I’m going to listen to it (and enjoy it).

By the way, my three kids had input into this list so some songs might have ended up higher than I might have put them myself. But hey…I value their opinions!

Also, you’ll 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. It’s the songs that I love (but please feel free to sway me in your direction if I left a song off).

You probably heard some of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local country station. Others may not have been played much (if at all) when they should have been, in my own, personal opinion. Also, while some of these songs may have come out in late 2016, and may have even landed a low spot on my wrap up of the year, they were ones that were predominantly played (if they made the radio) so far in the 2017 calendar year.

Others may be primed for success later this year so 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.

And now, Without further ado, let’s get this party started with my standard three way tie at #50:

(T) 50. “WD-40“, Muscadine Bloodline

(T) 50. “Different Kind of Love“, Casey James

(T) 50. “Worth the Wait“, Lindsay Ell

49. “Get While the Gettin’s Good“, Bobby Wills

48. “11:59 (Central Standard Time), The Railers

47. “Sing Along“, Kristian Bush

46. “What I Wanna Be“, Jacob Davis

45. “Settle for a Small Town“, Mark Mackay

44. “Wheels“, Steve Moakler

43. “High Time for a Good Time“, Hillbilly Vegas

42. “Makin’ Me Look Good Again“, Drake White

41. “Dive Bar in Dahlonga“, Ashley McBryde

40. “Put a Label on It“, Ryan Follese

39. “More Girls Like You“, Kip Moore

38. “Ring on Every Finger“, LoCash

37. “Singles You Up“, Jordan Davis

36. “Heaven on Down the Highway“, Halfway to Hazard

35. “Own It“, Bailey Bryan

34. “Heartache on the Dance Floor“, John Pardi

33. “Every Little Thing“, Carly Pearce

32. “Hell of a Highway“, Jake Worthington

31. “What Guy Wouldn’t“, Waterloo Revival

30. “Love Can Go to Hell“, Brandy Clark

29. “Five More Minutes“, Scotty McCreery

28. “Just a Phase“, Adam Craig

27. “You Look Good“, Lady Antebellum

26. “Getting Over You“, Jackie Lee

25. “She’s with Me“, High Valley

24. “Tin Man“, Miranda Lambert

23. “Craving You“, Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris

22. “Crazy About You“, The Road Hammers

21. “Think a Little Less“, Michael Ray

20. “All the Pretty Girls“, Kenny Chesney

19. “How Not To“, Dan and Shay

18. “Woke Up in Nashville“, Seth Ennis

17. “Like You That Way“, Canaan Smith

16. “Never Land“, Eli Young Band

15. “Sunday Morning“, Parmalee

14. “Missing“, William Michael Morgan

13. “In Case You Didn’t Know“, Brett Young

12. “Outta Style“, Aaron Watson

11. “Happens Like That“, Granger Smith

10. “The Hard Way“, Cash Creek

9. “Broken Halos“, Chris Stapleton

8. “Fix a Drink“, Chris Janson

7. “Greatest Love Story“, LANco

6. “Body Like a Backroad“, Sam Hunt

5. “Preachin’ to the Choir“, A Thousand Horses

4. “Hurricane“, Luke Combs

3. “Drinkin’ Problem“, Midland

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

1. “It Ain’t My Fault“, Brothers Osborne

 

Well that’s it. My Top 50 of 2017…so far!

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

Let me know in the comments below!

Advertisements

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.

Moakler1

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.

Clark1

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.

Concert Review: A Thousand Horses Brings a Musical “Landslide” to Oregon

August 12, 2016

Just when I think there’s nothing more I can say about a band…they come out and surprise me once again. I feel like that’s a theme with A Thousand Horses.

ATH_Tillamook

I have said this over and over again, and I believe it bears repeating: A Thousand Horses is THE band you need to watch, follow and support. There is literally no other act in country music like them. I first stumbled across them more than a year ago, opening for Josh Thompson and Will Hoge at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, and I’ve been hooked by their music, their lyrics and their stage presence ever since.

For a little background, A Thousand Horses takes the best of both country music and southern rock and ties it all together in 90 minutes of in your face musical fun. Comparisons? You want to know who they sound like? Well, that’s a tough one. If I had to give a comparison, I’d have to say that they remind me of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers and The Black Crowes, with their own unique style. Trust me. In now way are they a copycat act of any of these bands. Sure, they may not yet have the pedigree of any of the aforementioned bands, but give it a little time. I have a feeling that we’ll be hearing from these guys for many, many years to come.

The band consists of four core members, but there are a bunch more, including the Horsettes (my daughter’s favorites):

Michael Hobby – Lead Vocal
Bill Satcher – Lead Guitar
Zach Brown – Guitar and Vocal
Graham Deloach – Bass and Vocal

Credit: Liisa Anderson

Now that you’ve met the guys, let me tell you a little more about them. A Thousand Horses has their own look. They have their own sound. They also have a stage presence that captivates their audience from the very first note. The entire band gives it their all every time they hit the stage. But what they do best, outside of their music, is that they also take the time to engage with their fans.Throughout this show (and others I’ve been to), they are always interacting with the audience. Talking with them. Waving to them. All the while, they’re having a great time.

On this warm, Tillamook, Oregon evening (hosted by 98.7 The Bull), the band hit the stage right at 8 p.m., just as the sun began to set over the Pacific Ocean to the West.

ATH1_TIll

Naturally, the band opened with “Southernality”, the title track from their album and their current single on country radio. This definitely got the crowd fired up as the went into a traditional setlist which included favorites such as “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial”, “Tennessee Whiskey”, “Sunday Morning”, “Trailer Trashed”, “Back to Me”, “Heaven is Close” and “Travelin’ Man”.

Graham Deloach! Credit: Liisa Anderson

The crowd also got a taste of a couple new songs from a yet to be titled new album. “Blaze of Something” and “Up for Anything” are certainly two songs that I can’t wait to hear on country radio. But “Bridges” was by far my favorite. The band did an up close, acoustic version of the song which was fantastic and definitely one of the highlights of the evening.

The night concluded with a cover of The Black Crowes “Hard to Handle”, their number one hit “Smoke” and the opening song from the Southernality album, “First Time”. Obviously, the crowd went wild for Smoke, singing every lyric, but I always love that the band closes with “First Time”. It’s just the perfect song to close the night out. A rocking tune that truly leaves the audience wanting more.

The Horsettes! Credit: Liisa Anderson

 

 

Simply put, there is nothing else like A Thousand Horses on the radio today and that’s an absolute shame! A Thousand Horses is what country music needs right here…and right now.

Bill Satcher & The Horsettes! Credit: Liisa Anderson

 

You know you want to keep up with the band, new music and tour news, so make sure you check them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at@AThousandHorses. Don’t forget to download Southernality on iTunes and on Amazon.

While you’re at it, check out the A Thousand Horses Stable, the official fan club of the band. You can check them out on Twitter at @TheATHStable and on Facebook. The “Stable Hands” over there do a fantastic job promoting their favorite band. GIDDYUP!

ATH_Stable

 

A Thousand Horses is currently out on the road with Jason Aldean and Thomas Rhett, so if you’ve got tickets to the Six String Circus Tour 2016, be sure you get there early and don’t miss A Thousand Horses. You won’t regret it!

Now it’s your turn. Did you go to the show in Tillamook? Have you seen A Thousand Horses live? I want to hear from you. Are they as good as I’ve said?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Half Year in Review: My Top 50 Country Music Songs of 2016…So Far

June 16, 2016

It’s that time of year again where I like to take a quick look at my favorite country music songs of the year so far. We’re just about at the halfway point 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.

This list consists of the top 50 songs that I like so far in 2016. 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. Note that not all songs may be “traditional country”. I listen to all genre’s of music, so I have no issues with country artists who play “non-traditional” country. To me…music is music. If I like it, I’m going to listen to it (and enjoy it).

Also, you’ll 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. It’s the songs that I love (but please feel free to sway me in your direction if I left a song off).

You probably heard some of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local country station. Others may not have been played much (if at all) when they should have been, in my own, personal opinion. Also, while some of these songs may have come out in late 2015, and may have even landed a low spot on my wrap up of the year, they were ones that were predominantly played (if they made the radio) so far in the 2016 calendar year.

Others may be primed for success later this year so 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.

And now, Without further ado, let’s get this party started with a three-way tie at #50.

(T) 50. “California Grown“, Tyler Rich

(T) 50. “Paradice“, Michael Beck

(T) 50. “Middle of Nowhere“, McKenzies Mill

49.”Ice Cold Summer“, Trailer Choir

48. “Make You Mine“, High Valley

47. “Drunk on Your Love“, Brett Eldredge

46. “Shut Up and Fish“, Maddie and Tae

45. “Suitcase“, Steve Moakler

44. “Running for You“, Kip Moore

43. “June“, Runaway Angel

42. “Wasted Time“, Keith Urban

41. “If the Boot Fits“, Granger Smith

40. “Bluebonnets“, Aaron Watson

39. “Livin’ the Dream“, Drake White

38. “Mind Reader“, Dustin Lynch

37. “Better in Boots“, Tyler Farr

36. “American Country Love Song“, Jake Owen

35. “Hurtin’ on the Bottle“, Margo Price

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

33. “Record Year“, Eric Church

32. “Someone to Take Your Place“, Tara Thompson

31. “It All Started with a Beer“, Frankie Ballard

30.”Rock On“, Tucker Beathard

29. “Sooner Than Later“, Jacob Davis

28. “Wasn’t That Drunk“, Josh Abbott Band w/ Carly Pearce

27. “Outskirts of Heaven“, Craig Campbell

26. “Think of You“, Chris Young w/ Cassadee Pope

25. “You Look Like I Need a Drink“, Justin Moore

24. “Long Live Tonight“, LANco

23. “Mayday“, Cam

22. “American Outlaw“, Halfway to Hazard

21. “I Know Somebody“, LOCASH

20. “You Should Be Here“, Cole Swindell

19. “Parachute“, Chris Stapleton

18. “Girl Next Door“, Brandy Clark

17. “Humble and Kind“, Tim McGraw

16. “Snapback“, Old Dominion

15. “Break Up in a Small Town“, Sam Hunt

14. “Saltwater Gospel“, Eli Young Band

13. “21 Summer“, Brothers Osborne

12. “Vacation“, Thomas Rhett

11. “Southernality“, A Thousand Horses

10. “It Don’t Hurt Like it Used To“, Billy Currington

9. “Mr. Misunderstood“, Eric Church

8. “From the Ground Up“, Dan & Shay

7. “H.O.L.Y.“, Florida Georgia Line

6. “Dance With Ya“, Drew Baldridge

5. “Backroad Song“, Granger Smith

4. “Head Over Boots“, Jon Pardi

3. “Beautiful Drug“, Zac Brown Band

2. “My Church“, Maren Morris

1. “Die a Happy Man“, Thomas Rhett

Well that’s it. My Top 50 of 2016…so far!

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

Let me know in the comments below!

Artist Spotlight: Kari Lynch

May 20, 2016

It’s funny sometimes. You find yourself looking through a long list of great, up-and-coming country music artists when all of a sudden, a wave of fans reach out to you to tell you all about their favorite artist(s).

That’s what happened to me this week as I was introduced to the music of Kari Lynch.

Lynch3

Credit: Heather Cisler Photography

Like other great, young artists that I’ve mentioned recently, one thing that I truly love about Kari is her deep appreciation for the dedicated fan base she has built up. Her unique voice, which combines classic country with a sort-of modern pop-rock twist, paired with great lyrics about real life and love, resonates with me immediately.

In creating her sound, Kari learned early on that what inspired her most was real life and struggles,  which includes a familiar topic with listeners of country music: love and loss.

In her own words, Kari says:

“I witnessed and experienced heartbreak early in my life. I think it made me grow up faster than most kids my age so I always had that longing for connecting with the rest of the world. Writing songs became my way of figuring out life and it was my place to say exactly how I was feeling, no holds barred.”

Though many new fans may view her as a brand new artist, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Kari has been writing and performing since the age of seven. Since 2009, she has released 3 EP’s and I’ve read some great reviews. She’s also landed radio time in her home state of Michigan, as well as throughout the Midwest. Hopefully, this will spread out here to the West Coast!

I really want to hear some “Two to Be Lonely” on the radio soon! Check this one out y’all. It’s a hit waiting to happen!

In talking about her inspiration, Kari says:

“I knew I would write and sing songs for a living the first time my grandma played me Patsy Cline’s cassette tape when I was 6-years-old. The first song was, “Crazy” and it was like a fire lit up inside me. I was so captivated by her voice. Soon after that I heard Garth Brooks, “No Fences” for the first time and I’ll never forget that moment. I fell in love with the idea of writing and creating my own songs, so when I was 7-years-old I started writing songs and performing every chance I could.”

I mentioned before that many fans consider Kari a new artist, but she is clearly no stranger to the spotlight. According to her website, she has played thousands of shows across the U.S and abroad, successfully released original music and videos, played to crowds in the tens of thousands and opened for an impressive list of country music royalty including: The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Chris Cagle, Dustin Lynch, Montgomery Gentry, Brantley Gilbert, Big and Rich, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, The Charlie Daniels Band, Thomas Rhett and Alabama.

Lynch

Kari is going to be very busy this year, with a loaded tour schedule that will take her all across the country and see her opening for acts such as Diamond Rio, Kelsea Ballerini and Native Run. She also has a brand new music video that continues to climb in views and popularity, and her new single, “Sweetheart” out now which has already been picked up for rotation by several radio stations.

Before I get too far, I can’t forget to mention her new album “Little Games” which was actually released today, May 20, 2016. How about that for timing? I’ve had a chance to listen through all 10 tracks and I’m really digging it. I think that you will too!

If you want to listen to “Little Games” for yourself, you can pick it up on iTunes.

Lynch2

I know there’s more that I could talk about here, but I’ll let you check out the rest of her music, for yourself. Here’s a sample of songs off the new album, as well as a few older ones:

Two to Be Lonely” featuring Travis Stinson

Nothin’ That a Shot Won’t Fix

Little Games

West Texas Ground

Can’t Move On

This is Gonna Hurt

One More Hit

Better Than Today

Fly Fly Fly

Make sure to check out her website and follow Kari on Twitter at @KariLynchMusic and on Facebook. Upcoming tour dates can be found here. Hey Kari, how about a date at the Rodeo Club in San Jose or Duke’s in Portland???

So what did I miss? Have you seen Kari live? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Concert Review: Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane and Tyler Rich Bring a “Hell of a Night” to San Jose, California

January 28, 2016

Without a doubt, I can say that this night had just about everything. A marriage proposal. An emotional sendoff for KRTY’s Danika Gurley (who’s moving to Nashville to work for Cam. How awesome is that???) And finally, three solid country music acts who literally brought the house down!

Lynch_Lane

It’s always a fun trip for me to the Bay Area when there’s a concert scheduled at the Rodeo Club. I won’t lie, I usually plan a number of my business trips around the various shows that KRTY puts on. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out. But for a sold out show featuring Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane and Tyler Rich, there was no way I was missing this one!

The night started just after 8 p.m. with local boy Tyler Rich. Tyler hails from Northern California (Yuba City area) but currently resides in the home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee. During the show, he told us a great story about how it was a Garth Brooks show at Arco Arena in Sacramento that cemented his love for country music. Then, three months before his 14th birthday, his grandparents surprised him with a guitar for Christmas, and that, as they say, was that. Tyler never looked back.

Tyler_JK

After countless hours working on his craft, and spending years on the road touring across the U.S. with multiple bands, Tyler decided it was time to pursue his career as a solo artist. This turned out to be a great choice as he’s taken the stage with some of the country music’s top artists including, Cole Swindell, Sam Hunt, Dan + Shay, Gloriana, Canaan Smith, Maddie & Tae, and a whole lot more (including Dustin Lynch who he’s touring with as we speak). Tyler’s first single “Radio”, landed on iTunes in mid-2015 and is getting airplay on a number of radio stations across the country, including iHeartRadio.

What I loved about Tyler’s performance was his stage presence. You could tell by watching him play that it is what he was born to do…and he loves doing it. The passion is there. From songs like “California Grown“, a song about growing up in California (which I can DEFINITELY relate to being born and raised in the small town of Petaluma) and “Turn it Up” to his first single, “Radio”, Tyler grabbed the attention of the audience right from the start and didn’t look back. I had the privilege of catching up with him after the show, nearly 3 hours after he first took the stage, and he was filled with the same energy and love for his fans that he demonstrated earlier in the evening. I even picked up his EP which has been worn out already. Definitely check it out when you have the chance.

Tyler1

Make sure to check out Tyler on Facebook and definitely follow him on Twitter at @TylerRichMusic. His YouTube channel also has a few good clips.

After a brief intermission for a “refreshment break”, it was time for Chris Lane to take the stage.

Growing up in Kernersville, North Carolina, Chris made it clear that he listened to all of the country music greats including Alan Jackson, George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks. But as a child of the 90s, he was also shaped by the sounds of artists such as Justin Timberlake, Usher and the Backstreet Boys. Not your typical influencers for a country music artist, right? But Chris makes it work as he has drawn upon those influences to create music for what can only be described as the “modern” country fan.

Chris is certainly making a name in country music. With more than 500 shows to date, He’s shared the stage with leading acts including Florida Georgia Line, Jerrod Niemann, Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett. He’s also out on the road on Dustin Lynch’s 35-plus cities Hell of a Night Tour. Not a bad group of guys to be sharing the stage with, right?

CL2

So let’s get to the music. His latest single “Fix” showcases his natural, carefree singing style. Written by Sarah Buxton, Jesse Frasure and Abe Stoklasa, “Fix” is an upbeat song about finding that one person who gives you exactly what you need. OK. That sounds like a country song, right? Heck, I dig it. I actually have it ranked at #71 on my Top 100 Country Music songs of 2015 (and since it came out late in the year, it’ll probably end up on the list for 2016 as well as it picks up additional airplay in the coming months).

The rest of the setlist was filled with a mix of his own songs including “Saturday Night”, “For Her”, and “Cool” as well as some flashbacks to the 90s. Dare I say The Backstreet Boys and N’Sync made an appearance? OK, maybe not the ACTUAL bands, but Chris did get the crowd fired up with renditions of “I Want it That Way” and “Bye Bye Bye”. Not songs that I typically assimilate with a show at the Rodeo Club, but hey, he pulled it off judging by the reactions of the people around me!

CL1

If I have one negative to say, it is a little disappointment that he didn’t play my favorite song of his “Broken Windshield View“. Totally understand though, with so many other songs he performed. Maybe we’ll get this on an album in the future?

I’ll say this, Chris is one to watch. I caught him before opening for Florida Georgia Line and I think that he’s well on his way to making a name for himself in the industry. Make sure to check out Chris on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @iamchrislane.

Around 9:45 p.m., it was time for the main event: Dustin Lynch.

I was lucky enough to catch Dustin a few years back at the Rodeo Club for his first appearance and have seen him twice since. I’ll admit, I don’t know if there is a more down-to-earth guy in the industry. Talk about someone who loves what he’s doing and doing what he loves. Dustin is the epitome of this saying.

DL1

Back in 2012, Dustin’s self-titled debut hit the number one spot on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, making him the only new male artist to achieve that distinction that year. The album’s lead single, “Cowboys and Angels,” exceeded platinum sales status while earning Dustin a legion of devoted fans. I’m proud to say that I was, and am, one of them. I have to consider “Cowboys and Angels” a modern day country classic, and that same year, it finished as one of Billboard’s Top 5 Country Songs of 2012.

Since releasing “Cowboys and Angels,” Dustin has catapulted on to the country music scene, racking up more than 25 million views on YouTube/VEVO and selling well over two million digital singles. What I love, first and foremost about him is that he brings a fresh combination of traditional influences and edgy intensity to the country music genre. A great mix of both which is what it takes to make it these days. Safe to say…Dustin has made it!

Here’s a clip of “Cowboys and Angels” from the show.

Here’s a clip of “Where It’s At” from the show.

DL2

On this night, as always, Dustin didn’t disappoint. The audience was treated to a selection of his own music, including “Where It’s At”, “She Cranks My Tractor”, “Wild in Your Smile”, “Middle of Nowhere”, “After Party”, “Halo” and his new single, “Mind Reader”, complemented by an assortment of covers including Diamond Rio’s “Meet in the Middle”, “John Deere Green” and an all time classic, “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”. The night culminated with a stirring rendition of “Hell of a Night”, which proved to be the theme of the evening.

I’ll be perfectly clear here: Dustin Lynch is one of the best, up-and-coming male artists in the business today. Heck, I’m not even sure I can call him “up-and-coming” anymore. More like one of the best, established country music artists today. From beginning to end, his shows make you want to come back for more every time and I suggest if he’s coming to your area any time soon, that you check him out.

Also, be sure to look him up on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @dustinlynch.

DL_Engage

I alluded to it earlier, but one of the best moments of the evening took place when Dustin invited a gentlemen during the opening riff of “Cowboys and Angels”. Here I was thinking that the guy was going to talk about his grandparents (hence the theme of the song) because he mentioned them when he first took the stage. Naturally, I was wrong. He soon invited his girlfriend up to the stage and it was pretty clear that we were going to see a marriage proposal. Thankfully, she said yes. Congrats to the two of you (whoever you are) 🙂

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, Jamie Jackson, Danika Gurley, Jenna Johnson etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay. I’d love to see any other so called “local country station” in the Bay Area try to do that!

BTW…raising a glass to Danika on her last night with KRTY. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and best of luck in Nashville!

Were you at the show? Have you seen Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane or Tyler Rich live? Let me know your thoughts on these guys in the comments section below.

 

 

Year in Review: My Top 50 Country Music Songs of 2014

December 13, 2014

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the year that was. For me, it was a difficult year. I lost my father on August 11, and I am still trying to deal with the loss. One thing that helped me get through the past few, difficult months, is good music.

Now, let me preface this list. I’m not a professional music reviewer. I don’t get paid to promote artists. I don’t go by the Billboard or radio airplay charts. This list consists of the top 50 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.

You probably heard some of these songs every hour (on the hour) on your local country station. Others may not have been played much (if at all) when they should have been, in my own, personal opinion. Also, while some of these songs may have come out in late 2013, they were ones that were predominantly played (if they made the radio) in the 2014 calendar year. Others may be primed for success in early 2015 so keep your ears open!

Either way, I’m sure that I’m going to leave 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, with a list this long, I wasn’t able to go through each entry and provide background on the song, reasons for it’s placement, etc…But, feel free to leave a comment and I’d be happy to respond.

And now, Without further ado, let’s get this party started:

50. Dallas Smith, Wastin’ Gas

49. Chase Bryant, Take it on Back

48. John King, Tonight Tonight

47. Natalie Stovall and the Drive, Mason Jar

46. Maddie & Tae, Girl in a Country Song

45. Casey James, Fall Apart

44. Kip Moore, Dirt Road

43. The Swon Brothers, Later On

42. Canaan Smith, Love You Like That

41. Zac Brown Band, All Alright

40. Billy Currington, We Are Tonight

39. Randy Houser, Goodnight Kiss

38. Brantley Gilbert Featuring Thomas Rhett and Justin Moore, Small Town Throwdown

37. Justin Moore, Lettin’ the Night Roll

36. Ray Scott, Drinkin’ Beer

35. Frankie Ballard, Sunshine and Whiskey

34. Jerrod Niemann, Drink to That All Night

33. JT Hodges, Already High

32. Parmalee, Close Your Eyes

31. Sam Hunt, Leave the Night On

30. Lee Brice, I Don’t Dance

29. Scotty McCreery, See You Tonight

28. Jason Aldean, Burnin’ it Down

27. Luke Bryan, Play it Again

26. Florida Georgia Line Featuring Luke Bryan, This is How We Roll

25. George Strait, I Got a Car

24. Brantley Gilbert, Bottoms Up

23. Randy Houser, Like a Cowboy

22. Love and Theft, Night That You’ll Never Forget

21. Lady Antebellum, Compass

20. John Pardi, Up All Night

19. Cole Swindell, Chillin’ It

18. Craig Campbell, Keep Them Kisses Coming

17. Florida Georgia Line, Dirt

16. Kenny Chesney, American Kids

15. Will Hoge, Middle of America

14. James Wesley, I’m a Lonesome Fugitive

13. Maggie Rose, Looking Back Now

12. Miranda Lambert, Automatic

11. A Thousand Horses, Smoke

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/smoke-single/id952514687

10. Jake Owen, What We Ain’t Got

9. Eric Church, Give Me Back My Hometown

8. Hillbilly Vegas, Long Way Back

7. Cole Swindell, Hope You Get Lonely

6. Dustin Lynch, Where It’s At

5. Eli Young Band, Dust

4. Luke Bryan, Drink a Beer

3. Brett Eldredge, Beat of the Music

2. Dierks Bentley, Drunk on a Plane

1. Dierks Bentley, I Hold On