Posted tagged ‘Will Hoge’

Concert Review: Eli Young Band, Ryan Follese, Jackie Lee and Brennin “Turn it On” in San Jose, California

November 6, 2016

Two hours sleep. Yes, I’m writing my latest concert review on only two hours sleep.

However, it was definitely worth it.

For the second night in a row, I was treated to an amazing show at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California, featuring some great up-and-coming talent, as well as one of my all time favorites: The Eli Young Band. Joining the headliners were Ryan Follese, Jackie Lee and Brennin, and as with other KRTY-hosted shows, this one certainly did not disappoint.

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As the clock struck 9 o’clock, Brennin Hunt (Brennin) was the first artist to take the stage. Brennin is a singer, songwriter, producer and actor who hails from Harrah, Oklahoma. To chase his lifelong dreams, he moved to Nashville back in 2007 and soon after landed his first publishing deal. He began writing and performing songs for numerous television shows while touring and opening for artists across the United States and Canada.

If you like artists such as Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt, with their blend of country and pop, then Brennin is right up your alley. Brennin gained notoriety in 2011 as a contestant on the first season of Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor” and again in 2015 when he made a guest appearance on ABC’s “Nashville”.

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Currently signed with William Morris Endeavor and Deluge Music Publishing, his latest song, “I Can’t Do This” appears on Vince Gill’s 2016 album Down To My Last Bad Habit. His self-titled, 6 song EP, is available now.

When Brennin first took the stage, I could hear all the girls around me talking about one thing: his looks. But what I noticed about Brennin was how he immediately engaged the crowd with his guitar and voice, while at the same time, showcasing great songwriting skills. Once he had finished his first song, the same girls who merely mentioned his looks just a few minutes earlier, were now saying that they were surprised that he wasn’t just another cute guy with a guitar. The guy is talented, that’s for sure!

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If you haven’t heard his music before, I recommend listening to songs such as his latest single “Lose My Cool”, “Slow Rise” and a favorite of the audience, “Strut”. Here’s his “Promo Performance” of “Lose My Cool”:

Make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @BrenninMusic and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

After just a few minute respite, KRTY General Manager Nate Deaton took the stage to introduce the second act of the evening, Jackie Lee. Funny story here. Lee wasn’t even on the bill originally, but Deaton found himself sitting next to him on his flight back from the CMA Awards and invited him to play a few songs ahead of Eli Young Band and Ryan Follese. Naturally, he accepted.

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As background, Lee was only six years old when he stepped into a professional recording studio to cut songs with famed country songwriter, musician and producer Carson Chamberlain (Keith Whitley/ Easton Corbin). Lee’s father was a devoted fan of traditional country music, while his mother enjoyed pop hits from the 1980s. As a youngster, he  found himself influenced by everyone from Bob Seger to Justin Timberlake.

After high school, Lee headed to Nashville, and at the age of 19, he signed a recording contract with Republic Nashville. However the deal with Republic ended without the artist releasing anything for the label, and Lee was looking for another chance. He heard a demo of a song called “She Does,” and was curious about the tune until he was told Kenny Chesney had plans to record it. Chesney eventually passed on the tune, which worked out in Lee’s favor when he landed a new record deal with the independent Nashville label Broken Bow. Lee and his team decided “She Does” was the perfect song for his recording debut, and when his version was released in the fall of 2014, it soon landed on the Billboard Country Airplay charts.

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While the crowd was only treated to two songs on this evening, Lee certainly earned new fans. I would say that I was one of them, but that would be a lie. I actually became a fan of Lee’s at an earlier Rodeo Club performance. The guy can sing and he definitely knows how to make an impression on a crowd. I could hear folks all around me talking about how impressed they were with this young, up-and-comer.

His new single, “Getting Over You”, is just hitting country radio and made quite an impression on the audience. Make sure to keep an eye out for it and start requesting it right away. This song has what it takes to quickly climb the charts.

Take a listen:

Make sure you check out his music on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon. Also, keep up with him via his website or follow him on Twitter at @JackieLeeMusic and Facebook for his latest news and concert schedule.

Next up was Big Machine Label Group recording artist Ryan Follese (pronounced “fall-uh-ZAY”). As I have mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I first came across Follese a little over a month ago when I heard KRTY promoting that he would be in San Jose opening up for both Cassadee Pope and Eli Young Band. I’m certainly glad that I didn’t miss either show because Follese 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 of them.

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For a little background, Follese  co-wrote each of the six tracks on his self-titled debut solo EP, the Ryan Follese EP, including “Put A Label On It,” which hit country radio in October as his first official single and, naturally, was the closing song of the evening. We were also treated to his summer vacation anthem “Float Your Boat.” While the aforementioned songs might have received the notoriety to date, we also had the opportunity to hear a few more, great tracks from the EP such as “Wilder“, “One Thing Right” and “Lose a Little Sleep“.

This might surprise you, 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. 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.

It also doesn’t hurt that Follese grew up surrounded by the music of his country music songwriting parents, Keith and Adrienne. Their songwriting catalogue includes songs that he covered on this evening including Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That”, Faith Hill’s “The Way You Love Me” and Martina McBride’s “I Love You”.

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Watching Follese command the stage, it was clear that he is a polished artist who knows how to play the crowd. From the very first note, he had the crowd singing along to every note. That’s one thing that many country artists lack when they first launch their careers.

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.

Finally, around 10:15 p.m., it was time for the main event of the evening: Eli Young Band. To give you a little background on the guys, Eli Young Band is composed of members who met while students at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. They include:

  • Mike Eli (vocals and guitar)
  • James Young (guitar)
  • Jon Jones (bass guitar)
  • Chris Thompson (drums)

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Mike Eli and James Young met at the University of North Texas and became dorm roommates their freshman year. They played guitar and eventually began writing and singing songs together. They originally formed the acoustic duo, Eli & Young, while attending school. Thompson and Jones joined them later on and the rest is history!

With the 2011 release of their Republic Nashville debut, Life at Best, the Eli Young Band scored their first No. 1 hit with the aforementioned “Crazy Girl.” The double platinum single became the most played country song of the year on Billboard’s 2011 year end chart. The band’s follow up single (and one of my all-time favorite songs), “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” became their second #1 and was certified platinum. It earned the band Grammy nods for Best Duo/Group Performance and for Best Country Song as well as Single of the Year and Song of the Year nominations from both the CMA and ACM.

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In recording 10,000 Towns, the Eli Young Band gathered songs from Nashville’s top songwriters, including Craig Wiseman, David Lee Murphy, Jon Randall and Will Hoge, and the band wrote half of the songs on the new album themselves. Their careful and detailed approach to writing and finding the very best songs for the new album paid off quickly as their first single off the album, “Drunk Last Night,” became the band’s third #1 hit. The second single, “Dust,” was the #1 most added song on the chart the first week with more than stations on board across the country. The song, my favorite on the latest album, is a rock-tinged number about a girl leaving small town life behind and taking charge of her future.

Their latest single, “Saltwater Gospel”, ranks up there (in my opinion) as one of their best songs to date. The song isn’t one of those Kenny Chesney toes-in-the-sand, beer-in-your-hand kind of summer anthem. It’s more like spending a Sunday morning at the “Church of the Beach”. And it works! Here’s the video, which by the way, was shot just down the road from me at one of my favorite places, Cannon Beach, Oregon:

Ok. So I’ve talked a lot about the band, their background, and their music. But this bears repeating: if you are looking for a legitimate, hard rocking, country band, then the Eli Young Band is it. There are not a lot of bands touring today who I can put in the same bucket as them. Their live show is a real treat. These guys give it their all from the very first note and don’t quite until their set is complete.

What I love is that they mix their new songs with the hits. They don’t shove a show full of new music down your throat, like many do these days. The band understands the needs and wants of their audience. They want to hear songs like “Even if it Breaks Your Heart”, “Dust”, “Crazy Girl”, “Drunk Last Night” and “Always the Love Songs”. They get it. Before they were country music superstars, they were country music fans. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t introduce you to new music. And that’s not a bad thing. They’ll even throw in a cover song or two. A little “Dust on the Bottle”. Some “Learning to Fly” from Tom Petty. I even heard some Fleetwood Mac guitar riffs. Nothing wrong with that at all.

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To summarize, the Eli Young Band tore down the house and the Rodeo Club will never be the same. I can honestly say that I got my money’s worth and more. There are not many acts currently on tour who put on a show like these guys. When they come to your town, make sure you check them out!

Also, you can find their entire catalog of music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. You should definitely keep up with them via their website or follow them on Twitter at @EliYoungBand and Facebook for their latest news and concert schedule.

Finally, as always I have to give thanks to the staff at KRTY. Thank you to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson, Gary Scott Thomas, Randy Jones, Tony Michaels, Indiana Al, etc…for once again bringing the biggest and best talent to the South Bay. No one does it quite like you guys, and it is appreciated more than you could ever know!

Were you at the show? Have you seen Eli Young Band, Ryan Follese, Jackie Lee or Brennin live? Let me know your thoughts on these 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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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.”

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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!

New Music Review: “Smoke” by A Thousand Horses

January 20, 2015

It’s not very often that when I see a band live for the first time I am absolutely BLOWN AWAY. The latest band to do this to me: A Thousand Horses (Republic Nashville).

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I had the pleasure of catching A Thousand Horses recently opening for Josh Thompson and Will Hoge at the Rodeo Club in San Jose. Nate Deaton, General Manager at KRTY, said that this was not an opening act to miss…and he was right! No joke. During the set, I sent out multiple text messages to friends to tell them that they HAD to see this band live (which they did a few days later and they felt the exact same way as I did!)

For a little background, the band consists of:

Michael Hobby – Lead Vocal
Bill Satcher – Lead Guitar
Zach Brown – Guitar and Vocal (not THAT Zac Brown)
Graham Deloach – Bass and Vocal

From their look (see photo above) to their sound, A Thousand Horses can only be described as a mix of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers and the Black Crowes. Not sure how else to describe them. But, they have the benefit of pulling all of their classic rock talents together in a modern-country sound. Nothing wrong with that!

Their new single, “Smoke” is the type of song that’s ready to jump to the top of the airplay charts at radio stations across the country, and should be firmly on your playlist right now! But don’t take my word for it, take a listen for yourself:

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See what I mean?

Great vocals. Great rhythm. It’s catchy and it’s what country radio needs right now! I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that this song WILL hit #1 this summer…and it will be the first of a string of #1 hits for the band.

Sure, it’s not your typical “Bro Country” that is filling the airwaves right now. It’s so much better. Could this be the song that changes country music forever? Probably not. But does it have a chance to bring country music back to it’s southern roots? Absolutely!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2014 was the year of the horse. But I’m telling you, this band is ready to make 2015 the year of A Thousand Horses.

Don’t miss them this summer on tour with Darius Rucker, Brett Eldredge and the Brothers Osborne. Trust me. They won’t be an opening act for long! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

To keep up with the band, new music and tour news, make sure you check them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @AThousandHorses.

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

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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