Ronnie Milsap ranks as the pre-eminent country soul singer of his generation. He also represents much more than any two-word definition can convey: a humble, overtly friendly fellow with a talent as vast and multi-dimensional as the American South. Milsap provided country music with one of its most important voices, as the genre was moving beyond its rural roots into the mainstream of modern entertainment. Country music couldn’t have found a man more suited to lead the charge. Steeped in the mountain music of the North Carolina hills and schooled in classical piano, Milsap early in life found inspiration in a wide variety of music. Even as he mastered Beethoven and Mozart, his heart belonged to hardcore country and rhythm-and-blues -- music he heard beamed from powerful radio stations located in Nashville. Those earthy sounds about life and love provided a young, impoverished blind boy with a connection to a world beyond the harsh reality of his daily existence. http://www.ronniemilsap.com
Towering baritone Trace Adkins has sold more than 11 million albums and charted more than 20 singles in his 25 years in Nashville, a remarkable run for one of country music’s most easily identifiable stars. The Louisiana native recently released his 12th studio album, Something’s Going On, on BBR Music Group / Wheelhouse Records. A three-time GRAMMY Award nominee, Adkins has won three Academy of Country Music Awards, including the 2009 Single of the Year Award for “You’re Gonna Miss This” and Vocal Event of the Year with Blake Shelton for “Hillbilly Bone” in 2010. The Grand Ole Opry member is also an author and spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project and The American Red Cross, for whom he raised more than $1.5 million dollars as winner of NBC’s All-Star Celebrity Apprentice. In recent years, Adkins has performed for our service members across 12 USO Tours. In his 2007 autobiography, A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck, Adkins recounted his rise to fame, brushes with death, and battles with personal demons. Adkins has also acted in multiple films and television shows, playing a tough-as-nails biker in The Lincoln Lawyer (starring Matthew McConaughey), a desperate father in Deepwater Horizon (starring Mark Wahlberg) and a wise oracle of a tattoo artist in the family friendly film Moms' Night Out (starring Patricia Heaton, Sean Astin, Sarah Drew). His most recent role was that of MercyMe’s real-life manager, Brickell, in the box office smash “I Can Only Imagine.” The film was the third biggest selling movie on its opening weekend in America. For tour dates and more information, visit www.traceadkins.com or on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @TraceAdkins.
Neal McCoy has released fifteen studio albums on various labels, and has released 34 singles to country radio. In 1993, Neal McCoy broke through with the back-to-back number 1 singles No Doubt About It and Wink from his platinum-certified album No Doubt About It. His commercial success continue into the late 1990s with two more platinum albums and a gold album, as well as six more Top Ten hits. A seventh Top Ten hit, the number 10 Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On, came in 2005 from his self-released That’s Life.
Music of Your Life, a big band jazz and country amalgam with Les Brown, Jr. recorded for a public television special, appeared in 2011, with a new studio album, XII, finally arriving in 2012. In 2013 he released Pride: A Tribute to Charley Pride, Neal’s long time friend and mentor. 2015 brought the Big Band Standards CD You Don’t Know Me. Neal has been on 15 USO Tours around the world and continues to say it’s one of the achievements he’s most proud of. He is also the recipient of multiple Humanitarian awards from The Academy of Country Music, The Country Radio Broadcasters and The Masonic Grand Lodge. In 2016 Neal has again made a move to continue his patriotic values by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance “Live” on his Facebook page every morning. He’s reached millions of viewers all over the country and around the world. Neal still maintains a very busy touring schedule all through the year. Make sure to catch a show when he’s near because as Neal says “No two shows are the same!”
Some would imagine that Brett Kissel is settling perfectly into the role of one of the nation’s leading country music creatives, butsettling is not a word in Kissel’s vocabulary. In fact, with his new album in tow, just ask him: he's only just begun!
Over the past few years, the country crooner has received an armful of Canadian Country Music Association Awards, (including two straight wins for Male Artist of the Year and the coveted Fans' Choice). Brett was the recipient of the Allan Slaight Honor from Canada's Walk of Fame (previously presented to Drake, Shawn Mendes and The Weeknd), the Breakthrough Artist of the Year winner at the JUNO Awards, and was recognized as the International Artist of the Year at the Worldwide Radio Summit in Hollywood, California (an honor bestowed upon Ed Sheeran and Adele in the last two years respectively).
Keeping his own ear-to-the-ground, Kissel has learned the delicate art of entertaining and ultimately gives his listeners what they want to experience - especially with his latest album - We Were That Song. Production of this album brought the mastery that is Grammy Award Winner Luke Wooten (Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Chris Stapleton), long-time collaborator Bart McKay (multiple CCMA Award Winner), as well as Kissel's own bandmates - Justin Kudding, Spencer Cheyne, and Matty McKay - to co-produce and complete the studio team.
With diversity and excitement as two of Kissel's key words when describing the new album, he delivers two mega duets, first with Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and country music icon Charley Pride, and second with Megadeath's founder and frontman: Dave Mustaine. This record is designed to disarm the listener of any previous perceptions they may have had of Brett Kissel and his music.
Just like Kissel's real life now-a-days, the top three tracks of We Were That Song explode into your life with purpose. "I feel the most connected to my fans while up on stage; I'm an entertainer, it's what I do best." Kissel shares. This “bring-the-fire” attitude is evident in hot tracks like Anthem, Guitars and Gasoline, and the smash title track - We Were That Song.
Kissel has also impressively established himself as a Creative Entrepreneur in the music industry. As the only Canadian to ever tour with Garth Brooks, one of planet earth's top selling artists, Kissel notes, "Playing with Garth is impossible to effectively describe. I really appreciate his willingness to take me under his wing and teach me so much about what it means to be an entertainer in this business."
With the arrival of his second blonde-topped daughter, while surrounded by so much support - Kissel's approach to music creation has a new sound and a maturity only found when life ripens with busy-ness and babies. This is evidenced in the sexy tracks Between You and Me - a smoldering date night favorite, and the powerful ode to his wife Cecilia, affectionately named after her. God Made Daughters is destined to be the next great wedding song as Kissel gets raw and emotional sharing a true lyrical masterpiece that describes every parents' never ending love.
Kissel has evolved immensely by using his unique charisma to share and connect with his audience. His remarkable level of transparency awarded him with his fourth consecutive CCMA for Interactive Artist of the Year. He confidently shares his own learnings and cheeky life-advice, in songs like Drink, Cuss, or Fish and Nights in the Sun. "I'm heavily influenced by my grandparents - especially my grandfathers, and their root-wisdoms. I also have the land coordinates of both my grandfather's cattle ranches tattooed above my heart; they're always with me," Kissel added.
True, Brett Kissel is often far from the grounding cattle-ranch-lands of his childhood home in Flat Lake, Alberta, as he and his crew of award winning and mad-skilled band mates continue to tour coast-to-coast-to-coast. His last time back home earned Kissel yet another CCMA, this time for the televised Country Music Special of the Year, with his blow-the-roof-off Hometown Homecoming Concert,that saw his home community double in size as fans from far and wide traveled the miles to experience the epic show.
"We are always on the road - we want to entertain - and can't wait to hit the stage every night," Kissel beams. As more and more tour dates keep piling on, Kissel humbly forges ahead with steam roll intensity. Indeed We Were That Song is his best album work yet, drawing on a plethora of inspirations to satisfy everyone's audio senses. The new recording that is both exciting and diverse, is again, specifically designed to disarm anything you ever thought you knew about Brett Kissel. Buckle up for a new song. A new wave. And a new ride.
As part of the Young Country movement of the early ‘90s, Little Texas were responsible for shaking up the country music world with a new, energetic sound that fused the look and attitude of modern rock music with traditional country themes and styles, bringing a much appreciated bolt of life into the genre. For their efforts, country fans the world over richly rewarded the band, buying up over 7 million of their albums, while critics showered them with 3 Grammy nominations plus honors from both the Academy of Country Music (Vocal Group Of The Year) and the Country Music Association (Album Of The Year).
Their first radio release in 1991, “Some Guys Have All The Love,” became a Top-10 hit, as did their next single, “First Time For Everything.” After the album First Time For Everything was released, five singles reached the top of the charts. The second album, Big Time, truly was the big time for Little Texas.
The sophomore release, which has sold more than three million copies to date, spawned three No. 1 singles -“What Might Have Been,” “God Blessed Texas” and “My Love” - and captured the group's first CMT Award, a Billboard award, a Radio & Records award and their first Grammy nomination.
Early in their career, Little Texas was designated as an arena act. They first signed on as an opener on an arena tour headlined by Clint Black. Later, they traveled with Travis Tritt and Trisha Yearwood on a tour sponsored by Budweiser. After that, they were on their own, with Crown Royal, singing to packed arenas across the United States and Canada. During this time, the band played a part in Common Thread: The Songs of The Eagles, which later earned their first Country Music Association trophy for “Album Of The Year.”
The group's cover of “Peaceful Easy Feeling” charted well; albeit, without an official release, and with that, Little Texas broke another record in country music history: three different songs on three different charts with three different lead singers, all at the same time. It is a feat that has never been repeated since by any band. The year 1994 also brought the lineup an Academy of Country Music Award for “Vocal Group of the Year.”
Little Texas released their Kick A Little album, and their first true arena-headlining tour began, supported by Keebler and newcomer Tim McGraw with opening act BlackHawk. The tour and the album were huge successes, highlighted by shows in Detroit and Minneapolis, where they sold out the arenas just days after their heroes, The Eagles, had played the same venues. The tour continued on through 1995, finishing as the fifth largest-grossing tour of the year, and over the course of ’94 and ’95, the band received two more Grammy nominations and released Little Texas–Greatest Hits.
After the self-titled Little Texas album was released, Little Texas, the players, needed a break following years of performing a relentless concert schedule. Thus, at the end of 1997, each member went his separate way, opting to spend time with family and friends, and work on individual projects.
Says bassist-vocalist Duane Propes: “At that point it was time for our loved ones to have us back for a while. It all happened for a reason.”
In 2004, the multi-platinum band’s four original members—Propes, Porter Howell (lead vocals and lead guitar), Dwayne O'Brien (vocals and rhythm guitars) and Del Gray (drums) rebuilt the franchise with a completely new sound and they couldn’t have been happier to be back on tour and bringing fans what they do best.
“Everybody still has a ‘What Might Have Been,’ there’s always a ‘First Time For Everything,’ and folks still want to ‘Kick A Little,’ so we decided to take the party back on the road," shares Propes, referring to the group’s continued rotation at radio and generations of both old and new fans that keep the band playing their classics and putting out new music.
In summer 2007, Little Texas returned to the airwaves, country charts and music video playlists with an album titled Missing Years. In typical Little Texas style, the band broke the rules yet again, choosing to unleash TWO new albums within the span of a month, including the band's first live album, The Very Best of Little Texas: Live & Loud.
Currently, the lineup’s on the concert circuit celebrating its official 24th year on the radio since their first single, "Some Guys Have All The Love," hit the airwaves in 1991. The music the band has generated over the years is timeless, and has been featured on hundreds of television programs and sporting events including Good Morning America, American Idol, Don't Forget The Words, America's Got Talent & HBO's "True Blood," while "God Blessed Texas" has been the theme music for the Texas Ford Dealers commercials since 1998.
This year, Little Texas is breaking new sonic ground with the release of their 8th album, Young For A Long Time. Undoubtedly the band has never sounded more confident, as the chorus of the titular lead off track proudly declares, “Don’t you know by now we’ve got this down / That Friday night fire still hasn’t gone out / We got a rock solid life and a rock n’ roll state of mind / We were born to run / So sit down, son / We’ll show you just how it’s done / ‘Cause we’ve been young for a long time.” The musicianship has only improved with age as well with Porter Howell truly coming into his own as the band’s lead vocalist in addition to his dazzling lead guitar work, and backed by the always solid playing of drummer Del Gray. “Young For A Long Time pretty much runs the gamut of everything we’ve ever done, plus takes us down some new roads as well,” Propes continues, “the vocals are there, the guitar work is there, the party songs are there, the ‘make you cry’ love songs, the songs about Texas. We even dive off into swamp rock and torch music, so each song has a totally different fuel behind it.”
“The four of us appreciate each other and still have a ball on stage,” says drummer Gray of the band’s chemistry on stage after all this time. “There is a comfort level that happens to us when we play together that can only happen with 20-something years of experience.”
“We wanted to show a different side and make a record that sounds like us,” Stephen Barker Liles says of Love and Theft’s boundary-pushing new album Whiskey On My Breath. “Country music has always been about honest performances and songs that mean something, and that’s the kind of record that we wanted to make.”
“We’re at a different place, in our music and in our lives, than we were when we made our earlier records, and we wanted this album to reflect that,” agrees his longstanding musical partner Eric Gunderson. “We worked harder and more passionately on this record than anything we’ve ever done. The whole experience was refreshing and inspiring for us.”
Whiskey On My Breath—the duo’s third album—marks a significant creative statement for the two singer-songwriter-guitarists, whose resume already includes a long series of career highlights. Having already established themselves as one of country’s hottest young acts with such memorable hits as the #1 country smash “Angel Eyes” and the Top 10 hit “Runaway,” and their widely acclaimed albums World Wide Open and Love and Theft, the ACM/CMA/CMT-nominated twosome take their music to the next level on Whiskey On My Breath.
The new collection finds the pair stripping their sound down to its essence, with spare, largely acoustic arrangements that focus squarely on their impassioned performances and distinctive vocal chemistry. With Liles and Gunderson co-producing with longtime studio collaborator Josh Leo (known for his work with the likes of Alabama, Restless Heart and Lynyrd Skynyrd), Whiskey On My Breath showcases the emotional honesty of such self-penned new tunes as the introspective title track and the pointedly personal “Everybody Drives Drunk,” along with such lighter-hearted new originals as “Easy,” and “Anytime, Anywhere,” which show Love and Theft’s playful sense of humor to be fully intact. Other highlights include “Get Drunk and Make Friends,” which the artists describe as the most honky-tonk song of their career, and “Wrong Baby Wrong,” a barbed Liles cowrite originally recorded in 2009 by Martina McBride and now reworked in fine style by its co-author.
Although it’s a departure in many respects, Whiskey On My Breath won’t come as that much of a surprise to Love and Theft’s longtime fans, who’ll recognize the commitment to high-energy performances and emotionally forthright songcraft that’s been the foundation of Love and Theft’s music from the start.
Originally a trio that also included fellow singer-songwriter Brian Bandas, Love and Theft first galvanized fans in 2009 with the Top 10 hit “Runaway.” That breakthrough success set the stage for their debut album World Wide Open, which also produced the hit single “Dancing In Circles.” After a move from the Disney-affiliated Carolwood label to RCA, Stephen and Eric scored their first #1 single with “Angel Eyes,” which was featured on Love and Theft’s self-titled second album, along with the hits “Runnin’ Out of Air” and “If You Ever Get Lonely.”
Whiskey On My Breath—the duo’s third album—marks a significant creative statement for the two singer-songwriter-guitarists, whose resume already includes a long series of career highlights. Having already established themselves as one of country’s hottest young acts with such memorable hits as the #1 country smash “Angel Eyes” and the Top 10 hit “Runaway,” and their widely acclaimed albums World Wide Open and Love and Theft, the ACM/CMA/CMT-nominated twosome take their music to the next level on Whiskey On My Breath.The longtime partners agree that their potent musical chemistry is a reflection of their personal rapport. “The thing about us,” Eric asserts,” is that we really are best friends, and that’s helped to get us through the tougher times. At the same time, though, we’re different enough personality-wise that the combination works. Stephen’s naturally a more social person than I am, and I’m a little more introverted. He tends to see the best in every person and every situation, and I’m kind of the opposite. My songwriting’s different from his, and when we’re in the studio, his approach is different from mine. The way we play guitar is different. The way we arrange songs is different. But our differences come together to make something that each of us couldn’t do on his own.”
The pair’s second-nature chemistry led them both to agree that the occasion of their third album called for the bold musical statement that Whiskey On My Breath would ultimately become.
“In some ways, we’ve played it safe in the past, and I think we’re over that now,” Stephen observes. “It’s easy to fall into that when you’re working in the Nashville system and trying to please everybody. But eventually you come around and realize that you need to be true to yourself. I don’t mind that songs like ‘Whiskey On My Breath’ and ‘Everybody Drives Drunk’ may be a little controversial, because they’re honest, and I think that they’ll make people think about how they feel about life.”
“Those songs are both really personal for us,” Eric notes. “They show a side of us that’s legitimately us, and how we’ve grown up and matured in the time that we’ve been in this business. But there are plenty of songs on this album that are just good, fun songs, and that’s still a side of us too.”
Indeed, Whiskey On My Breath makes it apparent how far the duo—who’ve both become husbands and fathers in the six years since they began their recording career—have traveled, and demonstrates that they’re in for the long haul.
“We feel more strongly about this record than anything we’ve ever done,” Eric concludes. “Whatever happens, we’ve made a record that we both love and that we can both stand behind, and that’s a great feeling.”
The digital music revolution has turned out to be a “Rayincarnation” for acclaimed country storyteller Ray Scott. While a label-free utopia where artistic merit trumps popular whims remains as unlikely as it always was, the internet age has allowed a certain kind of creator to connect with an audience and chart a self-determined course… which helps explain why Ray Scott has gained a level of success many labels might envy. For many, Ray Scott needs no introduction. Warner Bros. released Scott’s debut album My Kind Of Music in 2005 to enormous critical acclaim. The first single and title track cracked the top 40, but due to industry politics, he left the label within two years.
In 2011, Scott released Rayality. The lead single, “Those Jeans,” received substantial airplay on SiriusXM and went on to sell over 300,000 copies. The follow up to Rayality, was his 2014 release, Ray Scott. Critics praised the album and it was no surprise when Rolling Stone Country placed the album’s first radio hit, “Drinkin’ Beer,” on their “Top 25 Country Songs of 2014” at #18. “Drinkin’ Beer” was the #1 Song of 2014 on the UK’s Hot Disc chart. He also received buzz with, “Ain’t Always Thirsty,” a true story about a dark time during his life.
For his new project, Guitar For Sale, Ray switched up producers and worked with Michael Hughes. “I’ve always pushed it in different directions here and there stylistically, but the lyrics and the voice keep the common thread running through it… Same this time as well,” says Scott. “It’s a different sound, but familiar too. It was a step in a good direction,” says Ray of Guitar For Sale.
Ray’s songs, along with his instantly recognizable voice, prove Country music will never go out of style.
“I’ve always been a big believer in tradition,” declares James Wesley. “A lot of the old ways are the best ways: family, God, treating people right, doing what you’re supposed to do. I think it’s time to come back to what’s real. That’s what country music is about.”
James Wesley puts those core values into his music with a whiskey-smooth voice and a timelessly winning way with a great country song. Wesley sings directly to real people about real things that profoundly affect real lives—and from his small-town upbringing to his blue-collar work ethic, he has a deep understanding of what those folks are longing to hear.
“I know there’s more people out there than just me who want to hear something that grabs you and makes you go, ‘Wow, that’s me—that’s how I feel, that’s my day, that’s my family,’” he says. “When you swing a hammer every day, when you’re out there doing what you have to do, you learn a lot of compassion for the people that do it day in and day out.”
Wesley grew up in tiny Mound Valley, a community of about 200 people in Southeastern Kansas. He first discovered country music via his grandmother’s record collection, which included heaping helpings of classic crooners like Marty Robbins, George Jones and Ray Price. “We’d go over there on the weekends,” he recalls. “She’d have the console set up and the records stacked up and we’d listen to them as they dropped. Those guys back then, they could sing. I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”
His mother was the first to notice Wesley’s own talent for singing when she overheard him belting out his favorite songs behind his bedroom door. “I thought if I shut my door I blocked everybody out, but evidently I didn’t block Mom out,” he says with a chuckle. “She heard me and said, ‘I’d love to have you sing in church.’ So that’s what I did.” Soon he taught himself to play guitar on an old Stella practice model. “I’ve got it to this day,” he says. “You can still see where I wore down the D, C and G chords on the fretboard.”
By his late teens he was singing in local nightclubs and beginning to think about making music his life. “I’d sit in my bedroom and stare out of the window and dream of being out there, getting to see the world,” he remembers. His first move in that direction was to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he performed in a nightly music and variety show.
There he met his wife, Mindee, with whom he now has two young children—and finally set his sights on Nashville. “I could have stayed in Eureka Springs for the rest of my life, but I just had to chase the dream,” he says. “I had to follow my gut.”
He and Mindee sold their house and almost everything in it, rented a moving truck and headed for Music City. Once there, Wesley took a construction job to make ends meet and began learning the ropes of the Nashville music business. He met hit songwriter Rodney Clawson and producer Dan Frizsell, and the three began recording together. Their work caught the attention of Broken Bow Records, which signed Wesley in December and quickly released the very first song on his original demo, “Jackson Hole,” as his debut single. The tune (penned by Clawson and Monty Criswell) immediately began racing up the charts, driven by listeners who loved its vivid story of fleeting love in a snowy setting. “Jackson Hole” offered fans an upfront introduction to the more vulnerable aspects of Wesley’s personality. “Growing up with three sisters, I’ve got a sensitive side too,” he says with a smile. “But I’m proud that I have that side, that I’m not callous. The only thing calloused about me is my hands.”
The breakout success of “Jackson Hole” instantly validated the enormous risk Wesley took in uprooting his family from Eureka Springs for an uncertain future in Nashville was worth it. “My family has seen all the ups and downs,” he says. “There’s been a lot of hard work. There’s been times it wasn’t easy, and they’ve been there the whole time. They’re great.” It also meant that Wesley’s days of construction work were over. “Thank God I get to put the hammer down, at least for a while,” he says with a laugh. “It’s nice to be able to do what I love to do.”
James Wesley hopes to do what he loves to do for a long time to come. “I want to be in it for the long haul,” he says. “I want to do those songs that everybody wants to hear, and that everybody can feel. I want to be the guy who tells the stories, and tells it like it is.”
2013 was the year that changed The Swon Brothers’ lives. The Swon Brothers became the first duo to make it to a season finale with the help of their coach, Blake Shelton on the hit TV show, The Voice.
In October 2014, The Swon Brothers released their self-titled album and received a nomination for CMA Vocal Duo of the Year. Shortly after, in 2016, they released their EP, Timeless and spent the year touring coast to coast in the United States and Canada with Carrie Underwood on The Storytellers Tour.
In 2017, The Swon Brothers toured "The about Last Night Tour” and charted their follow up single, "Don't Call Me." The Swon Brothers have been busy preparing new music and have just released the first single, “What Ever Happened" from their new EP.
The very words “Halfway to Hazard" were the first ever penned by the duo & inspired not only their name but are symbolic of the musical journey their lives have taken.
Chad Warrix and David Tolliver started playing together in Nashville clubs. Their regular shows soon started a buzz around them that ultimately attracted the attention of producer Byron Gallimore & country superstar Tim McGraw; who, sensing the potential of the two, steered them into the studio. They soon released their first self-titled album & opened for Tim McGraw & Faith Hill on the Soul to Soul II Tour. The following years afforded them opening slots for Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean and others, ACM nomination for Duo of the year, and the Billboard smash single “Daisy”.
H2H use their position as country music artists for philanthropic efforts that significantly move the needle. They have raised over $1,000,000 for music programs in their home state of Kentucky. They also raised over $500,000 for hurricane relief in Texas and Florida. In addition to those amazing charitable efforts they are active with the TJ Martel Foundation, Storme Warren’s Nashville Navy, and *Tracy Lawrence’s Turkey Fry.
Some people are just born communicators and Lucas Hoge has that gift. Fans know this because Hoge's new album Dirty South ascended to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country Album Sales chart during its debut week. Hoge's title track "Dirty South" is also currently climbing the charts and gaining momentum at country radio. Whether he’s performing for troops overseas, sharing his love for the great outdoors with fellow sportsmen at a Cabela’s gathering or writing another song for a hit TV show, Hoge has that rare ability to find common ground with just about anyone and draw them into his world. Hoge’s creative universe has long revolved around music, and his latest offering DIRTY SOUTH, on Forge Entertainment Group showcases a songwriter of considerable depth and a singer with an enviable skill for interpreting a lyric.
“I try to either find songs or write songs that I think are going to stand the test of time and really connect with the listener,” Hoge says. “I want every album to be an audio novel that people can listen to from top to bottom that takes them on a journey. I want songs that you can sink your teeth into and actually carry with you.”
Whether he’s delivering a breezy summer anthem like “Flip Flops,” the poignant ballad “Who’s Gonna Be There,” which he penned for a hometown friend who died much too young, or his latest single "Dirty South" with its swampy Southern groove, Hoge engages listeners with his warm, evocative vocals and emotional authenticity. That signature combo has been resonating with fans who helped Hoge make his debut at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Album Sales Chart with his new album DIRTY SOUTH. Throughout the album he has a knack for bringing the best out in a lyric and does just that with the playful “Boom Boom." "It’s a fun twist on a love song,” Hoge says. “Boom Boom” shot to #1 on the CMT 12 Pack it’s second week on air and held the number one position for an unprecedented seven weeks.
Hoge’s journey began in Hubbell, Nebraska, a small town of only 44 people. Like many entertainers, he first honed his musical skills in church. “My family was pretty much the whole choir at our church,” Hoge remembers with a smile. “My mom and dad had a worship band. Our preacher saw me playing a little drum set at church and literally took me down to the band room at school and said, ‘This kid really has something. You might want to help him along,’ so I started playing drums and played drums all through high school.”
Hoge’s childhood penchant for writing poetry evolved into writing songs and he studied the work of his favorite craftsmen. “I loved the artist/writers. I loved hearing them sing all their own songs,” he says of people like Garth Brooks, Paul Overstreet, Kenny Chesney and others who penned their own hits.
Hoge earned a degree in architecture and business then returned home to start his own construction company, but the music bug wouldn’t leave him alone. Always an over achiever with an abundance of energy and an impressive work ethic, Hoge ran his construction company and fronted three bands at the same time. The devoted Christian launched a worship band called Extreme Devotion that became a favorite at local college campuses and churches. He was also the leader of a Southern rock band called Southern Cross.
“I also started a straight up country band called Borderline with some friends,” he says, “so I had three bands going because I just had to be playing wherever I could possibly play. When I decided to go to Nashville, I didn’t want to have that ‘What if?’ factor in the back of my head my whole life. So I just loaded up my truck and I left.”
Once he moved to Nashville, Hoge's willingness to work hard combined with his songwriting prowess proved to be a winning combination. Warner Bros. featured his song “If I Only Could” on the hit TV show “Smallville.” Soon after, he began racking up numerous TV, film and commercial credits. He scored a 13-episode series for HBO, wrote a jingle for Lipton Tea and appeared with Faith Hill in the TV campaign for Sunday Night Football. He wrote the title song and starred in the Animal Planet TV show “Last Chance Highway,” a reality show focused on rescuing dogs and transporting them to their forever homes. He also penned the theme song “Give a Damn” for the GAC TV show “Tom’s Wild Life.” Most recently, Hoge wrote the theme song for Hero Brand and is appearing in their commercial ad campaign airing nationwide now.
Although appreciative of the chance to place his songs in numerous TV shows, recording his own albums and touring continued to be Hoge’s primary focus. He made his Ryman Auditorium debut in 2011 opening for the legendary George Jones, and he’s shared the stage with Rascal Flatts, Rodney Atkins, Craig Morgan, Hank Williams Jr. and others. Hoge is also part of the Armed Forces Entertainment: Wrangler National Patriot Tour and wrote the powerful “Medal of Honor,” which was chosen as the Wrangler National Patriot official theme song.
“I love performing live and I like telling stories,” he says. “I want people to feel like they are sitting in my living room watching us play and that they are a part of the show. I want the audience to feel like I’m talking straight to them.”
Hoge’s drive to connect with people permeates everything he does. He’s a tireless humanitarian who loves animals and supports the military. He combines both as the official spokesperson for Guardian Angels for a Soldiers Pet, a group that fosters animals for soldiers deployed overseas. An avid outdoorsman, he’s the newest brand ambassador for Cabela’s, the world’s foremost outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear. An enthusiastic wine aficionado, Hoge also has a partnership with Gamble Family Vineyards. “I am a genuine fan of the Gamble wines and having grown up on a farm myself, I have a personal admiration for the family traditions upheld by the Gamble Family Vineyards,” he says.
However, music remains his first love and primary passion. Teaming with noted writer/producer Matt McClure, Hoge has created a new project that showcases his playful side on such tunes as “Halabamalujah” and “Shoofly Pie,” yet also reveals his ability to relay the angst of a failed relationship in the heartbreak anthem “Holding On.” He also pays homage to one of his major influences on “Power of Garth.” The song is a potent testament to the impact of great music and is as much a celebration of Hoge’s personal philosophy as it is an homage to Mr. Brooks. “I was eight or nine-years-old when Garth came out with the No Fences album,” Hoge recalls. “From then on, when other people were going to pasture parties, I’d be sitting in my room playing guitar. I just loved Garth’s music and the stories he would tell. This is a song so many people are going to relate to be-cause what Garth did transcended music. He paved the way for so many people today.” I’m excited that I finally get to release this song as a single. “Power of Garth” already hit the TOP 40 in the first 6 weeks of it's release on Billboard Indicator and monitored airplay, with PD's giving it amazing reviews:
“Never have I ever heard a song as amazing as this! Move over Friends in Low Places, make room He Stopped Loving Her Today, the new single by Lucas Hoge is the best country record I have heard in 19 years! Simply put, it is a masterpiece! - *Jimmy Lehn Music Director at WCTY*
Lucas provides the audio equivalent of a Norman Rockwell painting. We received emotional feedback from listeners that were raised on Garth. Cassettes may be a vessel of the past but the memories remain stronger than ever. That’s the power of Lucas! -*Tony Michaels / KSUX Program Director Sioux City, Iowa* "THIS IS A HIT SONG! I got goosebumps listening tthis song. That Never Happens to me. This is exactly how I felt about Country Music growing up, it's why I became a fan and why I still Love Country Music Today." *KRGI Derek Beck, Nebraska*
"Wow! This song will be huge!!" *KTHK Don Jarrett, Idaho Falls
Hoge is carrying the torch with the same passion and professionalism he admired in his heroes. He takes pride in giving his audience songs that celebrate their lifestyle like the title cut “Dirty South.” “This is a song I co-wrote with Troy Johnson and Jack Williams,” Hoge relates. “Jack used to tour with The Who for 20 years as a guitar guy. We all got in the room for the first time and he said ‘Man, I’ve got this idea rolling around,’ and he put down a little melody thing. I thought it was really cool so we sat there and just cranked this song out. It has a very deep-south swampy feel to it. It’s just about having fun in muddy water, under the Magnolia tree, being with your girl on a hot summer day. It’s a feel good song about having fun in the outdoors.
His album is the culmination of years of hard work, writing incessantly and performing for crowds all over the world. “I feel I’ve been hoeing my row for a long time and I’ve stayed true to exactly who I am,” he says. “I’m just going to be a nice guy and put good out there and hopefully get good back because that’s how mom and dad taught me. I’m going to cling to my roots and keep my head about myself. I just want to be the best me I can be.” Hoge was the very best he could be on the Ryman stage when he was asked to make his Grand Ole Opry debut this past November 2017. In 2018 Lucas has been asked back to perform four more times, including the Country Classics show.
With a #1 album, restless creative spirit, abundance of Midwestern charm and a work ethic that won’t let him slow down, it looks like the best is yet to come.
The rich, reedy tones and all-American, blue-collar themes in his #1 hits “I Miss My Friend,” “Awful, Beautiful Life” and “Have You Forgotten?” are reminders of the down-to-Earth, Haggard-like Darryl Worley you always knew.
The island vibes and blue-eyed soul in new songs “It’s Good To Be Me,” “Lay It On Me” and “Lonely Alone” suggest there’s another, almost-funky, version of Worley that’s been kept under wraps.
The alternate sides are both on display in Second Wind: Latest and Greatest, a project that mixes the traditional-country history he established in Nashville with the ragged soul that’s deep in the bones of Muscle Shoals, a musical Alabama hotbed where Worley got his start. The area hosted hit sessions for Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, Wilson Pickett and The Rolling Stones, and the sweaty swagger of the region’s recording studios was a perfect fit for Worley as he recorded an album that re-establishes him in country culture.
“It’s like we stumbled onto something in an attempt to stumble onto something,” Worley says. “We were just kind of feeling our way around in the dark.”
Produced by guitarist Billy Lawson (Sammy Kershaw, Mo Pitney), Second Wind was built with a relaxed atmosphere. Little attention was paid to the clock by Worley and his longtime band, who helped bring the hits forward to their 2017 sound while pumping some ultra-human attitude into the new stuff as well.
“So many of those tracks and grooves on the older songs have changed over the years,” Worley allows. “Like ‘Tennessee River Run,’ we did more of a train beat on the original record, but we’ve always played it like Little Feat, with that funky ‘Dixie Chicken’ groove, where you almost can’t find the downbeat. My band does that as good as anybody. And the songs came out exactly how they sound when you go hear them live.”
Second Wind is aptly titled, since it’s the first full-length album released by Worley in eight years, following a self-imposed layoff from recording that has the same familial motivations that spawned Garth Brooks’ legendary retirement from touring. Worley’s wife, Kimberly, gave birth to a girl in 2008, and the weight of the father-daughter relationship was greater than anything he’d anticipated.
“I needed to take some time to figure out what being a daddy meant,” he remembers, “and it meant a whole lot more than what I thought.”
He cut back on his touring and limited his studio work to small, focused releases, including an EP that was targeted to his passionate military supporters. He made daughter Savannah his top priority. That was an easy decision, but it dredged up uncertainty about what that might mean for his music career.
“A buddy of mine said something to me that was like a God-send at that time,” Worley notes. “He said, ‘You know, people in this business do make comebacks.’ I agreed, and he said, ‘Well, you’ve got to go away before you can come back.’”
In fact, Worley has never been afraid to walk away if it meant standing up for his mission as a voice for the working class.
“I knew who I was, and I knew what I wanted to do,” he says. Just as importantly, he adds, “I knew what I wouldn’t do.”
Born and raised in southern Tennessee by a Methodist minister and a church-choir mom he describes as a “prayer warrior,” Worley started his musical career at the FAME Studio in Muscle Shoals, under the tutelage of producer/publisher Rick Hall (Mac Davis, Jerry Reed), where he remained for a solid five years. He played clubs almost nightly, honing his stage craft at the same time he was woodshedding his songwriting skills, and as Worley gained confidence, he found his way to Nashville. There, he secured a recording deal in 1999 on the basis of some demo recordings that showcased his authoritative vocals and his understanding of the hard-working country audience.
“I’m a traditionalist,” he proclaims. “I came to Nashville because of mentors and heroes like Merle Haggard and George Jones. I’m sure people hear that until they’re blue in the face, but to me, it’s very true.”
He discovered, however, that the music business didn’t share the depth of his passion for that old-school sound. Numerous voices in Nashville were pushing him to sing more contemporary songs and to co-write more often with well-known composers. The songs from the demo that got him signed were tossed in favor of other material that may have fit the trends, but didn’t quite suit him. So Worley put his foot down.
“I just said, ‘I don’t think I need to be here,’” he recalls.
“No” proved to be a powerful word. The powers that be came after him, relented on their creative demands and – lo and behold – several of those songs from the demo ended up becoming his first hits. His inaugural album landed three Top 20 titles – “When You Need My Love,” “A Good Day To Run” and “Second Wind” – and his second album’s namesake, “I Miss My Friend,” brought his first #1 single.
A USO trip would provide a blockbuster. Worley visited Kuwait and Afghanistan during the Christmas season of 2002, and he was inspired by the dedication and sacrifice of soldiers who put their lives on the line for their beliefs. Shortly after his return, he co-wrote “Have You Forgotten?” with Wynn Varble (“Waitin’ On A Woman,” “A Little More Country Than That”), practically demanding that America keep its focus in its battle against terrorists. The song spent seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard country singles chart, one of only five titles to reign that long during the 21st century’s first decade.
“Have You Forgotten?” clearly struck a nerve – “It was unifying, it was more the voice of the people than even I thought it would be,” Worley admits – but it also proved to be almost too big for his career, which was still building at the time. Some established artists declined to have him open for them, since “Forgotten” rendered their set anti-climactic. As a result, he skipped a step in country’s typical audience-building concert progression.
“There’s pros and cons to everything,” he says with a shrug, “but I could be remembered for something a lot worse than that.”
That key period in Worley’s career impacted his sense of community and the role that music can play in bolstering the mindset of his audience. He’s continued to perform for troops since that initial trip, going on more than 15 USO tours, sometimes losing money in the process to show his appreciation to his fellow patriots. Additionally, he established the Tennessee River Run, an annual multi-day event in Savannah, Tennessee, that brings in money for the Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center, a facility that offers assistance in a region that was previously unserved. He’s enlisted friends such as Ronnie Milsap, Tracy Lawrence, Lee Brice, Craig Morgan, Diamond Rio and Charlie Daniels to play the River Run through the years, typically raising more than $100,000 annually for local charities. The impact of the cancer center was underscored for Worley when his dad coaxed him to attend a cancer survivors event without telling Darryl what he was walking into.
“This whole gymnasium was full of families, and when all of the festivities were over, they lined up to shake my hand and take a photo, and the line of people wrapped all the way around the gym,” he remembers. “I decided I’d never miss another one of these. Those people have walked into the center and walked out with a clean bill of health.”
Worley has clearly made a difference in his neighborhood, using his celebrity to improve the lives of the people around him. It’s the same goal he’s applied to his music, whether it’s honoring soldiers in “Have You Forgotten?” seeking positivity in “Awful, Beautiful Life” or celebrating responsibility in “Family Tree.” Those messages are all present in the Greatest portion of Second Wind, and the Latest songs continue the pattern. “It’s Good To Be Me” locates the elusive silver lining in life, “Runnin’” finds meaning in obsessive activity and “Lonely Alone” encourages honesty in times of personal hardship.
“Lonely” worked that way for Worley – it set the stage for a heart-to-heart chat with his wife that set their relationship back on course.
“It was a wakeup call,” he reflects. “You just don’t know how many other people it might help.”
In the end, Second Wind signals Worley’s return to the national stage after a period of recommitment in his home life. The new music puts an unexpected sonic spin on a familiar voice while reaffirming the uplifting intent that continues unabated throughout his entire body of material. Worley’s always been prepared to walk away if the songs didn’t make a difference, and Second Wind is an apt summation of the values and authenticity that have driven his entire career.
“I’ve already had the fame and it almost killed me,” Worley says with a laugh. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been really big on that, but I have been big on wanting the music to shine. It does the work, it ought to get the credit.”
Vidalia has developed a powerful new blend of music. A fresh new sound combining the ingredients of Country, Texas Red Dirt, Americana, and Rock N Roll. Vidalia began from the demos of a group of friends, Ronnie Calhoun, Charlie Hugg, and producer Matt Tortorich. With a stroke of good luck and a lot of talent, in no time the band landed two top 25 EP's(#11 & #24) on the iTunes Country Charts & over 1.5 million streams.
That was just the beginning...
In February 2017, Calhoun and Hugg stepped out prompting Tortorich to search for a new lead singer. Looking no further than to long-time friend and country music veteran David St. Romain. St. Romain was a finalist on the 5th season of USA Network's Nashville Star. The group then solidified their lineup with drummer Karl Boudreaux. Boudreaux is from south Louisiana with over 25 years of experience and gave the band the strong rhythm section it needed.
Whether in the studio, or on stage, Vidalia brings a relentless energy centered on great songwriting, real music, and genuine American pride.
Email - Booking@VidaliaMusic.com
Web - VidaliaMusic.com
Facebook - Facebook.com/VidaliaMusic
Twitter - Twitter.com/VidaliaMusic
Instagram - Instagram.com/VidaliaMusic
Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/artist/3WraAZ91IHMfwb6Pawwiy5
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwMdS_te5vJaEyuQhHKnJvw
“I know it sounds selfish but I’ve always wanted to leave a legacy.”
Clark Hill speaks clearly, his eyes locked on yours. He’s tall, with an athletic build. His hair, once a curly tumble, is clipped short. He answers questions with a crisp but respectful “Yes, sir.” At age 31, he stands at the crossroads of youth and experience, each enhancing the other. Without even trying he projects a sense of who he is and why he’s here.
“Up until just a few years ago, I hadn’t really found myself. I was a young parent with two kids and a wife. I excelled at every job I got but every day I walked out of my house feeling like I wasn’t doing anything with my life. But even then I knew what it meant to leave your mark on the world. I knew I wouldn’t be here today without my parents. We weren’t a wealthy family but they helped me in every way. My dad worked for 25 years in a prison; he hated it but he did it so we could live comfortably.”
He glances downward but just for a second. “So I kept searching for something I could achieve, some mark I could leave. That would be the greatest thing I could do for my kids.”
In some ways, Clark will acknowledge, things had come to him too easily. Growing up in northern Florida, on the land his grandparents once called home, he worked on the family farm, planting and harvesting corn, black-eyed peas, maybe some okra and tomato plants. In school he earned high grades almost without trying. Following the footsteps his dad had made as a college football star, Clark played linebacker and then tight end on his high school team, always as a starter, never experiencing a losing season. Shortly before graduating he passed his exam as an EMT fireman; after earning his diploma, he went to work.
“Basically, I was a paramedic except I couldn’t push meds,” he explains. “I could run an IV, pull a line, do advance cardiac. And I was 18 years old.”
Clark showed his musical gift early too. As far back as second grade, he performed in talent shows and dressed as Elvis. (“I dyed my hair and everything,” he confesses, chuckling.) In church he sang with the children’s choir and later was appointed to lead the praise band on Wednesday night services. For several years just before Christmas he performed at Disney World with the high school chorus.
“It was funny because my main interests were football and weight lifting,” he says. “I mean, I enjoyed music — I was a huge Vince Gill fan and I loved Johnny Cash and Hank Jr. But I never thought that music would have anything to do with my future.”
That would change. One fateful day, at a moment of difficulty in his marriage, he went to have a wisdom tooth removed. First, the anesthesia wore off in the middle of surgery. Right after that, the dentist accidentally broke Clark’s jaw. He went home, hoping to just weather the pain alone. By the way, it was his birthday too.
After a while his brother-in-law showed up and insisted that Hill come along as he headed out to play a gig with his cover band. Never mind that Clark hadn’t touched a guitar for several years. “Just watch my hands,” he was told. “If you sound bad, we’ll turn you off. Enjoy yourself.”
He did. Clark began sitting in frequently, getting his guitar chops back, singing backup and even taking the lead on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” and a few other tunes. He began writing as well, beginning with “Papa’s Song,” an appreciation of his late grandfather. Eventually, the band’s lead singer invited him to play it as a solo acoustic performance during intermission.
“Long story short, people liked it,” Clark says. “Almost that quick, man, they became fans and started coming to shows just to watch my acoustic set an hour and a half into the show. I noticed that people were listening to me. They paid attention to the stories I wrote into my songs, they wanted to know more. Right then, I felt I’d found what I’d been looking for.”
It didn’t take long for Clark to pack up and head with his father and brother-in-law to Nashville. CMA Music Fest 2012 was in full swing as they arrived. “It was a horrible time to pound on doors,” he remembers, laughing. “But I’m not kidding; we went into every building on Music Row and dropped off my homemade business cards. I came in with nothing but my passion, like, ‘Hey, man, let’s do this!’”
When not visiting empty offices, Clark caught every performance he could at the Festival. “I stood in the back and dreamed about what I would do if I was the one on that stage,” he says. “Pretty quickly I realized this was something I could do. I wanted that stage. I wanted the crowds. I wanted to keep asking myself how I could get more creative.”
Making friends quickly, Clark got to know Craig Morgan, who introduced him to his drummer Mike Rogers. They hit it off and agreed to work together on a full-length album, with Rogers serving as producer. Creatively, they clicked from the start. “We agreed that this would be about me finding my natural sound without forcing anything,” Clark says. “Mikey grew up in the outskirts of Myrtle Beach, so we both came from the same small-town, family-oriented place.”
They emerged from the studio with an album Clark calls People Like Me. It’s a varied package, with tracks that rock hard like they do it in the South (“Stage Song”), honor the love of his life (“Swerve”), celebrate (the reggae-flavored “Don’t You Worry Bout’ Me”) and mourn (“I Hate That Car”) a romantic breakup, testify with dignity and deep emotion (“How Great Thou Art”) and proudly proclaim the small-town virtues that define who Clark is, musically and personally (“Those Were The Days”).
“The album touches on every element of who I am,” Clark affirms. It’s that simple. It’s that profound.
And it’s a first big step toward that legacy that Clark is already building, song by song, show by show. His real journey begins now, with People Like Me.
Lucy Angel began this journey 10 years ago when two sisters and their mom packed up their lives in Arizona and drove off to pursue their dreams of singing country music.
After playing shows across the world, opening for musical greats, perfecting their crafts and recording a debut album, Lucy Angel is introducing themselves to the world in a big way with a new single, "Crazy Too." Consisting of mother Kate and daughters Lindsay and Emily Anderton, "Crazy Too" is the lead-off single from their self-titled album produced by Noah Gordon (Colt Ford, LoCash, Bubba Sparxxx).
Signed to New Revolution Entertainment through G-Force Music Group, LLC the trio's tight harmonies and unforgettable brand has led them to open for Jake Owen, Kip Moore, Montgomery Gentry, Charlie Daniels, Jerrod Neimann, Chris Young, Dustin Lynch and more.
Building their fan base worldwide, Lucy Angel was honored as the first Western/American act to ever sing at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. The May release of "Crazy Too" is bringing national recognition to the trio.
In addition to the new music, Lucy Angel was featured this year in a 13-episode docuseries that aired on AXS-TV network. The series, entitled "Discovering Lucy Angel," follows the Anderton family as they work together to launch Lucy Angel's debut album in Nashville.
The powerhouse production team behind "Discovering Lucy Angel" includes Emmy award-winning Executive Producer JT Taylor, known for producing The Osbournes.
New music. A TV series. It sounds like a perfect time to be Lucy Angel. Lindsay Anderton is in total agreement. "It just feels like everything is falling into place. We're proud of the record and the single is awesome. It's a really exciting time."
And, maybe just a little bit..."Crazy Too."
Shelly Fairchild isn’t new to the industry – but she’s far from old news. And of her latest release Buffalo she wants everyone to know: “This is the most honest record I’ve ever made.”
So it is. A staple in the Nashville music community, Fairchild hit the scene to much acclaim with her debut album Ride. The project introduced the young artist’s soulful, gospel-tinged brand of alternative country and spawned a Top 40 hit with “You Don’t Lie Here Anymore.” She toured with some of the biggest names in the format, including Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw, and began to dig her roots in the industry. She again found success in her second release, Ruby’s Money, which came steeped in a thick groove with elements of funk – but it’s Buffalo that marks a milestone in her life and career.
“I’m sincerely grateful for both the good and bad things that have happened in my life. Everyone that I’ve met and worked with over the 20 years that I’ve lived in Nashville has made me who I am, and I will always carry that in my soul,” says Fairchild.
The Jackson, Miss. native started the project in May 2014, launching a PledgeMusic campaign in the hopes that she would find support of her endeavor – and after reaching her goal in just two days, she realized she had. Though fully funded and buoyed by the faith of her friends, family and fans, Fairchild found herself at a creative standstill.
“When I first started this process I met with a lot of publishers in town,” she recalls. “I was in such a writer’s block that I thought I’d just cut outside songs. I took meetings and heard so many great songs – and honestly, I went in my first session and cut several of the songs that had been pitched to me. But at the end of that recording day I just thought, ‘That doesn’t feel like me.’”
The next two years saw Fairchild working through the impasse with some of her most inspirational industry co-writers. “House on Fire,” an aching ballad reflecting on the weight of one’s past, was the first song that she remembers finishing and feeling confident that it deserved a spot on her record. Co-written by Fairchild along with Lisa Carver and Travis Meadows, the track features subtle but classic country instrumentation and the soft harmonies of the Fairground Saints.
From there the singer/songwriter continued to pen songs that she felt carried an important message toeither herself or the world around her. Initially concerned that the results wouldn’t be cohesive on an album, her co-producers Jeremy Lister and Carey Ott encouraged her to see how they fit together. Guided by Lister and Ott, Fairchild eventually decided to cut eight of her co-written tracks for the record. One of the most sincere is her gospel-infused call for change, “Why Can’t We Carry Each Other?”
“My co-writer Kevin Scott Rhoads and I discussed the state of the heart and how people’s souls are wrapped up in such negative things so often – and what’s the point of that?” she asks earnestly. “Because we’re all just trying to get to the next place. And whether or not you believe in heaven or anything, we’re trying to get to a better place. And if we’re all trying to get there, why can’t we just help each other?”
The duo teamed up once again to write “Unholy Spirit,” a piano-backed lamentation of a relationship marred by addiction. A subject not often addressed in country music, she wanted to express “what it is like to worship something that is completely killing you.” Though she tackled some serious topics in her writing, Fairchild also felt uplifted by her own work and that of others.
One of the most standout tracks on Buffalo, the blues-ridden up-tempo tune “Mississippi Turnpike,” came in the wake of a breakup. Her co-producer Carey Ott sent Fairchild the song, written by himself and Tim Lee Jones, as she was driving home to her family and she knew immediately that was just the song she needed. Upon recording the song with Ott, Fairchild heard that it was missing one key element: Lucie Silvas.
“I love singers,” she smiles. “I love great singers. I love to have camaraderie and deep friendships with great singers and musicians. I feel like our community here is so rich and some of my favorite voices are my friends. I was able to reach out to artists like Lucie and Wendy Moten and ask if they cared to sing on my project.”
Not only does the record emphasize its diversity by featuring guest vocalists, but it also highlights a wide array of musical styles and influences.
“There are a lot of different elements to the music,” agrees Fairchild. “How do you describe some of the best bands that you know? They ended up on pop radio or on country radio, but are they really that kind of act? I like having a lot of differences and having them come out. It feels like that kind of music lasts longer, because it feels real.”
With such diversity in vocalists, genres of music, subject matter and even writers, it’s little wonder that the seasoned artist was worried about the cohesiveness of the project. It was the overarching theme of the buffalo however, that brought them all together.
“I feel like the last five or so years, I’ve kind of been trudging through a lot of muddy water,” she admits. “The journey has felt so murky and muddy that I thought I might just want to call the album that – Muddy Water – but it seemed too cliché. So my manager and I were researching what might exist around that idea, and that’s when we found Buffalo.”
In many Native American cultures, the buffalo symbolizes gratitude and abundance. Fairchild, who has Choctaw ancestry, connected with the idea that though buffalo carry a lot on their shoulders, their horns are always pointing up to the sky.
“There’s always this hope that the weight will be lifted,” she says. “I felt like, as we were reading about it, it seemed so crazy that we would call it Buffalo. It had nothing to do with any of the songs – but it had so much to do with where I had landed at that point in my life.”
A longtime hidden gem in the trove of Nashville musicians, Fairchild continues to keep her head and her heart pointing up to the sky. Between singing background vocals for the likes of Jason Aldean and Martina McBride, touring across the country and continuously working on future projects, it is clear she is just getting started.
“At times I’ve gotten down about my own path, but when I look at it – it’s not full of detours or dead ends,” she said. “It’s a wide path, and it’s full of a lot of amazing things.”
McKenna Faith is a country music singer/songwriter and recording artist, born and raised in Northern California. While pursuing her passion for horses, she had an impressive career as a champion barrel racer. She began performing the National Anthem, which led to half-time performances- and her love for music took over. She traded rodeo weekends and her saddle for a mic and guitar.
McKenna began writing and recording music at 13 and started touring. She was a finalist in a songwriting competition and was flown to Nashville for the first time. Though she did not win, she fell in love with Music City and knew she had to live there one day. Over the years, she flew back and forth to Nashville, while still touring the country. When she turned 21, she made the big move and to call Nashville home permanently.
She has released four studio albums over the years. We Like Trucks & Let’s Get Lost have a more traditional country sound. Her third record Seal It With a Kiss reflected both her personal taste and style of music evolving into more of a Rock and Pop influenced country sound. Her fans have grown with her and continue to be incredibly supportive of her evolution. She began her performing career playing to karaoke tracks, than eventually put together a band that have joined her international travels. In 2012, she was a featured performer on the Blake Shelton & Friends Cruise, whose promoters described her as “1st class, high energy, boot-stomping’ country music…”
She has toured internationally with country music’s biggest names, was the number-one selling Independent Female Country Artist on iTunes, and her debut single to country radio Somethin’ Somethin’ cracked the Top 100 on the country charts.
After McKenna’s first international tour in Australia, she launched her Chaser Tour to promote her most personal studio release Heartstealer- which features the sassy lead-single Poison, the summer-anthem BEACH’N, and other tracks Coffee in the Morning and Chaser. For this record, she collaborated with a record number of established writers, like Stephen Barker Lilies (Love & Theft), and Robert Ellis Orrall (Taylor Swift’s Love Story).
She’s headlined sold-out concerts at fairs, casinos, and nightclubs across the country; and she’s a regular on the festival circuits, where she’s been featured on both the Next From Nashville and Main Stages alongside Nashville’s best. She recently joined Frankie Ballard for a run of shows on his headlining tour. While not on tour, she’s in Nashville writing and recording for her next record.
During his illustrious career, Jimmy Weber has shared the stage with country music royalty including Kenny Rogers, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Clint Black and Trace Adkins to name a few. In addition, Jimmy has opened for music’s elite including Rodney Atkins, Sara Evans, Josh Turner, Joe Nichols, and the legendary Beach Boys.
Jimmy's career highlight was playing lead guitar and singing backup vocals for the late John Denver at Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium. Over 250,000 people viewed this nationally televised performance.
As part of a USO tour that performed over the Thanksgiving Holiday for U.S. troops in the Middle East, Jimmy toured as the lead guitarist and background vocalist with Wayne Newton, Neil McCoy, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and Paul Rodriguez. This trip included shows aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, as well as stops in Bahrain and Kuwait.
Jimmy also traveled and performed with country stars Craig Morgan and Jolie Edwards on a "Stars for Stripes" Christmas and New Years tour of Iraq and Kuwait in support of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces.
Jimmy recently retired from active duty after 24 years of service with the US Air Force. A former member of the US Air Force Band, he deployed 5 times, bringing comfort and hope to our service members in Iraq, Afghanistan and dozens of other countries in Southwest Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America.
Jimmy's recent self-titled CD was co-produced by Nashville phenomenon Dave Brainard (Jerrod Nieman, Ray Scott). Jimmy wrote or co-wrote nearly every song on the album and it showcases his unique vocal style and impressive guitar work. One listen draws comparisons to his diverse musical influences, including the Eagles, Vince Gill, Glen Campbell and James Taylor.
Check out Jimmy's concert schedule and make it a point to catch a show.
And don't forget to stop up to the stage and introduce yourself; you're sure to make a new friend!
Born and raised in Red Bluff, California, Chad Bushnell has been playing the guitar and singing since the age of 4. His father played lead guitar and sang in a country band when he was a young boy and he knew right then that’s what he wanted to do in life. Much of his family is involved in music including his great grandmother who plays piano and his aunt and uncle who play the guitar and sing.
Chad grew up singing the national anthem at numerous rodeos, football games and other events. His parents have been the biggest supporters of his music and he thanks his little sister for keeping him grounded. He thanks God for all he has done for him. As he’s gotten older, he has been able to do a lot of things. He has performed at many fairs, political events, fundraisers, casinos, bars, church functions and convention centers. He has opened for big names in the industry including Scotty McCreery, Lee Brice, Tracy Lawrence, Neil McCoy, Billy Currington, Mark Wills, Josh Gracin, Mark Chesnutt, Jerrod Neimann, Tyler Farr, and has been back to Nashville to meet with Teddy Gentry from the Alabama Band. He has a new album out called “Tennessee” that was recorded at Studio 19 in Nashville, Tennessee. He also has a 2 song EP out called “What They Ain’t Tellin’ Us” that was recorded at Hag Studios and features Ben Haggard on lead guitar and backing vocals. They are both available at all of his shows and most online music stores. He was a Top 3 finalist in the American Country Star contest in Nashville and won the Horizon award. He won the Best of the North State Band award in Northern California for 2015 and 2016. He currently works as a horseshoer and competes in rodeo as a team roper and steer wrestler. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with his girlfriend, friends and family. He is a graduate of Chico State University with a degree in Business Administration. His biggest influences are Vince Gill, Dwight Yoakam, Merle Haggard, Alabama, George Strait, Alan Jackson and many others.
Chad gives a special thanks to his fans and everyone who supports his music.
Proudly hailing from the musically rich foothills of Cleveland County (Shelby, NC), Dirty Grass Soul has been entertaining audiences across the Carolinas and beyond since their formation in 2011. With a sound that draws much influence from traditional music of the North Carolina foothills, Dirty Grass Soul manages to bring a new, refreshed, and re-energized sound to their music that falls somewhere between country, bluegrass, and southern rock & roll reminiscent of acts like The Charlie Daniels Band and The Marshall Tucker Band. Rather than simply relying on heavy guitar leads, Dirty Grass Soul offers instrumentation that mixes in a heavy dose of fiddle, pedal steel guitar, and banjo in addition to the guitar. DGS is lead by founding members Kevin Dedmon (Fiddle, Vocals, Guitar) and Lance Watson (Bass, Mandolin). They are joined by Tommy Smith (Electric Guitar),Dedmon's brother Kris Dedmon (Banjo), Glenn Miller (Pedal Steel Guitar), and Jared Miller (Vocals & Percussion).
After touring the Carolina's behind their self-released debut album "The Long Way", as well as shows alongside many premier national bands under their belt, Dirty Grass Soul has earned a reputation as one of the southeast's emerging Southern Rock/Alt. Country bands. Following up their 2016 release of The Long Way, DGS released their newest project "New Day of Work" on August 23, 2018 and currently touring in support of that release.
Whether it is the hint of bluegrass, outlaw country, or rock & roll you hear in each song, their sound is uniquely Dirty Grass Soul. From Dedmon's down home/working class lyrics to the blazing instrumental breaks, Dirty Grass Soul is sure to offer a little something for everyone. Be sure to visit www.DGSoul.com & follow or “like” Dirty Grass Soul on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates about the happenings of the band.
Dustin Sonnier is an American country music singer/songwriter from the small community of Vatican, Louisiana.
Dustin’s passion for music began at a young age. "Growing up we listened to Keith Whitley and George Jones until my Dad went to work; then my Mom, a rocker at heart, introduced me to Ozzy, Van Halen and Marshall Tucker" Dustin recalls.
2016 brought the release of Dustin’s first major recording project. Working with veteran producer, Tony Ardoin, the vision of Dustin's songwriting came to life. The six song EP, “Country.", comes stacked with three songs penned by Dustin along with songs written by Michael McDonald and Don Pfrimmer. It also contains one of Dustin’s favorite Conway Twitty songs, the 1972 number one, "I See the Want to in Your Eyes".
Shortly after releasing the EP, Dustin enlisted veteran radio promoter, Ed Spasek, to assist with releasing his music to Texas radio. His self written, debut single, "Whiskey Makes Her Miss Me", reached #14 on the Texas Regional Radio Report. ”People Like Me”, his second single released to Texas radio, peaked at #9. His current single, ”Drinkin’ Alone”, was written by Dustin and is climbing the charts.
Dustin has played in countless cities across the United States. His first international gig was headlining the 7th annual Festival Country D'Evreux in France in 2017.
For more on Dustin, visit www.dustinsonnier.com.
Jim Quick is the type of person and artist you genuinely want to call a friend. With the charm only a true Southerner can possess, he brings his talent to the stage with a quick-witted, knee-slapping sense of humor coupled with the clear sincerity of his love for his craft.
“As a child, I was real mischievous. Playin’ pranks and makin’ jokes; doin’ stupid stuff you do as a kid. People would laugh and I’d keep on. I loved being the center of attention. Still do. Add music and, well, that’s it. That’s how I thrive. I love it.”
He must, because Quick’s been touring the Southeast US for more than 25 years, playing nearly 300 shows per year, and has released more than 15 albums. It started with Coastline Band, a group of friends who played the Carolina beach bars day in and day out, and gradually transformed (without warning) into Jim Quick and Coastline. Known for his all-out performances and deliberate wisecracking, Jim has been a gracious recipient of the Carolina Music Awards “Entertainer of The Year Award” – 18 times.
Those who have seen Quick perform in the flesh may wonder if the funny guy at the bar can also be found in the artist on stage. The answer is “yes.”
“When it comes to me, the person on the street and the person performing are completely the same. As an artist, I am a true, exaggerated version of myself. Magnified. Make no mistake: they are both me, just different sizes.”
Born and raised in deep Carolina, Jim Quick grew up with a kind and fun-loving family. He’d spend hours out in the grasslands with his younger sister or on the porch with his World War II Veteran grandfather, who told him tales of the war and helped him conquer a debilitating stutter—a budding singer’s worst enemy.
“I grew up between the swamplands and the sand-hills of Southeastern North Carolina. I played a lot in the Gum Swamp area, my yard, and nearby fields. I didn’t have a whole lot of friends in such a sparse, rural area, so I spent most of my time with my imaginary friends. I was a true Son of the South; exploring the land on my bicycle or on foot, pretending I was one of Mark Twain’s characters or a chunky, little descendent of Lewis and Clark.”
When he wasn’t surveying the lands, Jim spent time in his bedroom, sitting in front of his Sears stereo with Radio Shack headphones covering his ears. He’d play the roles of both DJ and artist, introducing himself before the next song came on with which he’d sing along loudly. At 14, he got a job as an actual DJ for a small, local AM station, which gave him the platform he needed to create a stage presence and taught him about the industry.
“Working at the station was a real blessing. It was a 500 Watt, so really, really small, but it provided me a way to learn about more music and what went on behind the scenes. And it really gave me that extra push I’d been needing to finally start making my own music. Now look at me: I’m nearly a dozen albums in and still goin’ strong!”
“Strong” is exactly the word to describe Jim’s catalog. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to get up and dance, grab a beer or four, and laugh with your friends. A melding of the genres that make up the musical culture of the South, including Country, Blues, Soul, Southern Rock, and Jazz, Quick’s take on music is not to be tuned out.
“I want my music to be a bridge for many genres; a place where traditional and contemporary music can unite. But I love the pure emotion and simple-yet-deep concepts of country music. I’m a Southern boy and it all hits home; the lyrics and roots of the music—from the melodies to chord progressions—seem to strike an ancestral nerve, if you will.”
His devoted fans, or “Coastline Crazies,” know it’s hardly luck that allows Quick’s path to cross with musical greats. It’s his musical gumbo and unadulterated energy that keeps fans coming back for more.
McGuire includes Myrtle Beach natives, Caleigh, Kristen and Taylor McGuire. These three sisters bring a country rock sound with pop and blues influence.
The youngest and lead vocalist, Caleigh, began singing as soon as she could talk. Caleigh first recorded in Nashville when she was 15 years old along with her twin sisters, Kristen and Taylor. Kristen sings backup harmony and plays keyboard and drums. She attended Coastal Carolina University, where she minored in music. Taylor also sings backup harmony and plays electric and acoustic guitar. She graduated with a degree in music from Coastal Carolina University, where she studied classical guitar.
McGuire shares a love of the storytelling aspects of country music. They all consider Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band, Carrie Underwood and Garth Brooks as their main influences.
They continue to write, record, and perform at clubs, restaurants and special events in the Carolinas and other East Coast and Southeast venues, including the 2018 Carolina Country Music Fest.
Country radio morning show host, Mike Brooks, brings with him over thirty years of broadcasting expertise in both radio and television. His world centers around his love for country music. Not only does he host a country music radio show, but he is also the lead vocalist and co-owner of the Konnection band, a North Carolina regional variety band. In the past, Mike hosted a popular syndicated country music video television show. He has had the pleasure of being the emcee for many local, regional, and national events and looks forward to being a part of the 2019 Country Cruising cruise.