Sunday, December 27, 2015

Cole Swindell ~ You Should Be Here

Academy of Country Music's New Artist of the Year Cole Swindell has had an incredible year. He made history as the only male solo artist to have his first four singles hit number one on the Mediabase/Country Aircheck charts. On December 14th, his fifth single and the first from his pending sophomore album was released. "You Should Be Here" debut at 35 on the charts last week. Swindell pinned the heart felt ballad about his father, after his sudden passing, with fellow song writer Ashley Gorley.

After a beautiful piano opening, the song begins telling stories of, "those never forget it, better stop and take it in kinda scenes." Swindell's voice is at the forefront and beautifully showcased though out. Every so often there will be a moment in country music were a song will come out that makes fans stop and listen. That song will have the right lyrics to make you feel it in your heart with every beat of the music and this is one of those moments. Swindell has said he hopes this song resonates with fans and that he believes it's just the song he moved to Nashville to write. As a fan, I can say it does just that. I lost my mom two years ago and holidays are the hardest. Having "You Should Be Here" released this holiday season was just the Christmas gift I needed to survive it. The official music video can be watched below:

The lyrics are not the only thing heartbreakingly real about his newest single. The video has actual moments from Swindell's career, his family, and his hometown. The emotional video crosses between a visit back home and various highlights of Swindell's career from the phone call to his dad about signing with Warner to his performance at the Opry. In one word it's just powerful. This single shows another side of this already extremely talented artist and has me very excited for his sophomore album.

The single is available on iTunes,  Amazon, and Google Play.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Year of Music ~ 2015 in Review

When asked about my favorite memories of 2015 its nearly impossible to decide. From playing ping pong with my favorite band to my first concert road trip to starting this blog and setting up a fan account for an incredible up and coming country singer, 2015 will go in the books as one of the best of my life. Here's a monthly recap of a musical year for the books including every artist I got to mark off my See Live Before I Can't See list.

In January the year kicked off to a great start when the band that started it all came back to Oklahoma. Parmalee played at Cain's Ballroom with six man band, Backroad Anthem as the opening act. I had started my See Live Before I Can't See list with Parmalee after seeing them acoustically a few months before. I actually won invites to hang out backstage before the show with Parmalee. After the show I added Backroad Anthem to my list as well. Because I want to see them as a headliner. I didn't have a show in February and in March I saw the incredibly talented and hilarious Brett Eldredge. I had added Eldredge to my list after seeing him a few months prior in a radio acoustic show with other artists that included Dustin Lynch whom I added as well.

Backroad Anthem & Parmalee

In April I won invites to a ladies only acoustic show to see singer/songwriter Eric Paslay. Despite being outnumbered by ladies (some who might have taken full advantage of the bar) he put on a great show! He was so sweet afterwards too! May brought two concerts. First I saw Chase Bryant with opener Justin Adams at Cain's Ballroom. Adams put on such an incredible show I added him to my list that night in hopes of seeing him as a headliner. The other was a ladies only acoustic show with Canaan Smith I won invites too. Smith was another artist from my list and he is one of my favorite solo artists. In June I attended my first show at the BOK Center because two of the artist from my list were on the bill, Luke Bryan and Dustin Lynch. Randy Houser also performed that night. 

Artist meet & greets from April-June

July I was checking out a new concert venue The Hard Rock. Because someone from my list was having a coming home concert. I got to mark off The Swon Brothers that night. The bonus was fellow Okie and Voice contestant Corey Kent White was the opening artist. He was incredible!  In August I was back at the The Hard Rock to see Gary Allen. He sings one of my favorite songs "Every Storm Runs Outta Rain" and it was unbelievable live. September actually brought me back to the BOK Center to mark off two more artists, Florida Georgia Line and Frankie Ballard. Thomas Rhett performed that night too.

FGL/Frankie Ballard/Thomas Rhett

October brought many musical moments including my first outdoor concert when Parmalee came back for the Tulsa State Fair. Since my concert adventures began with Parmalee, I made that show my first concert review and An E.A.R. For Music was born. A few days later I was blown away by Dustin Lynch at the fair. I had already seen Lynch acoustically and as opener for Luke Bryan. A full show with Dustin Lynch as the headliner was definitely bucket list worthy (Review Here). After the fair shows, I won invites to a ladies lock in acoustic show to see Canaan Smith again (Review Here). I actually got remembered by both Smith and his guitarist Stephen Whitfield that night. Then I saw Maddie and Tae with opener Tucker Beathead at Cain's Ballroom (Review Here). My first road trip for a concert happened in November. I saw The Swon Brothers put on a benefit show at the Muskogee Civic Center for the Salvation Army (Review Here) and Canaan Smith (again) in Lawton. That was my first full band show with Smith and it was incredible (Review Here). His guitarist Stephen Whitfield is definitely my favorite guitarist!

Meet and Greet's from Oct - Nov 

The first time I heard Michael Ray's "Kiss You in the Morning" I added him to my list. When he came to Tulsa on a radio tour there was acoustic events with all three country stations. I attended two of them (Review Here) and it was right up there with hanging out backstage with my favorite band Parmalee. In December I had four concerts. The first two were radio station shows. The first being 106.1 The Twister's Bands Against Hunger event with Dylan Scott, Love and Theft, Cam, and Scotty McCreery (Review Here). The second 98.5 KVOO's Jingle Jam with James Otto, Waterloo Revival, Craig Campbell, Jana Kramer, Canaan Smith, and Jerrod Neimann (Review Here). My next show I was extremely excited about. Justin Adams was back in Tulsa and he was headlining the show with Lower 40 as the opening act. It was another list moment (Review Here) and it was the perfect show to be my last of the year. Then a week later a friend surprised me with tickets to Tyler Farr and Tennessee Jet, the one man band. It was a such a great show with tons of great people (Review Here).

Meet and greets from Nov & Dec

Concerts have been amazing this year and I've learned so much. Besides the billed artist there are plenty of other things to watch in live shows. Opening acts can pleasantly surprise you. I now run social media fan accounts for one such artist. Besides opening acts, there was one other thing I learned deserves attention and that's the band. From Canaan Smith's guitarist Stephen Whitfield to Justin Adams' drummer Clark James, I've witnessed some great musical talent this year. 2015 brought 21 concerts, 34 different artists, Fan clubs,  and the birth of An E.A.R. For Music. As 2016 kicks off with Corey Kent White's Folds of Honor tour, I'm very excited to see where it goes!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

KVOO's Jingle Jam (Rewrite)

Country music station 98.5 KVOO had their annual Jingle Jam concert on December 2nd. It was a free concert with James Otto, Waterloo Revival, Craig Campaign, Jana Kramer, Canaan Smith, and Jerrod Neimann. My concert buddy and I were very excited to see Waterloo Revival and Canaan Smith. We viewed everyone else as a huge bonus. Every artist was on stage together and it felt like a big party complete with birthday cake for the incredibly talented Jana Kramer. The first to the stage was James Otto. 

James Otto KVOO Jingle Jam
James Otto is not only a singer, but a songwriter as well. Every song he sang for us he contributed to writing. Not only did we get his hits "Somewhere Tonight" and "Just Got Started Lovin' You", but "No Hurry" which was released by Zac Brown Band. The show stealer from Otto had to be his performance of the Jamey Johnson song "In Color." Even the members of Waterloo Revival said they weren't sure how to follow that performance, but follow they did and masterfully. They were next to hit the stage. 

Waterloo Revival KVOO Jingle Jam
My concert buddy loves Waterloo Revival and had myself equally excited to hear them perform. Let's just say I walked away a new fan or as I'm told a Reviver. They have incredible voices, great guitar skills, and engaged the audience the entire time. They performed their songs "That Damn I Didn't Give", "Bad For You", "Slow And Steady", and "Hit The Road." Craig Campbell was next to hit the stage.

Craig Campbell KVOO Jingle Jam

When he introduced himself Campbell said "tell your friends about me" and with good reason. Craig Campbell has an extremely beautiful voice. He told us stories about his music and engaged the audience between songs. Campbell sang his songs "Outta My Head", "Keep Them Kisses Coming", "Fish", and the incredibly beautiful new song "Outskirts of Heaven." I can't wait for the next opportunity to see Craig Campbell live. Next up was Jana Kramer.  

Jana Kramer KVOO Jingle Jam
The birthday girl Jana Kramer took the stage to the crowd breaking out in a spontaneous "Happy Birthday." She sang her songs "Why You Wanna", the upbeat "Said No One Ever", "Boomerang", and the current chart climbing single "I Got The Boy." The crowd wasn't the only one wishing her a happy birthday though. The KVOO crew brought her out a cake and we did it all over again. After the talented birthday girl was Canaan Smith.

Canaan Smith KVOO Jingle Jam
I've seen Smith in both acoustic shows and full band shows and he never disappoints. He sang both his number one hit "Love You Like That" and his newest single "Hole in a Bottle." As well as "Two Lane Road" and my favorite song from his debut album Bronco "Mad Love." Next up was the half Okie himself Jerrod Neimann. 

Jerrod Neimann KVOO Jingle Jam
Jerrod Neimann definitely brought the party when he opened up the show with "Drinkin' Song." He kept up the show with songs "Lover, Lover", "What Do You Want", and "Drink To That All Night." However that was not all, he also fulfilled the KVOO crews impromptu request for his song "Donkey." They even contributed the donkey noises. The show concluded with a group performance of "Family Tradition."

It was a fun show to watch from artists singing back up for each other and playing along with their acoustics to screaming contests inspired by Craig Campbell. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Corey Kent White's Folds of Honor tour

Photo from CKWs FB
Corey Kent White is a country singer you may recognize from  season eight of the popular tv show The Voice. However, this talented young artist has been actively performing since he was 11 years old, long before his television debut. White has performed with such country acts as the legendary Willie Nelson, Lee Brice, Blake Shelton and The Swon Brothers. White also just wrapped up a tour with Toby Keith!  He's got an EP out now titled Making Noise and over thousands of hours of stage experience. This talented singer/songwriter has achieved all of this while being a full time college student! Last week Corey Kent White released some exciting news. He is about to embark on a headlining tour that is to benefit Folds of Honor.

Photo from FofH FB
Folds of Honor is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to the families of America's fallen or wounded heroes. Folds of Honor was started by Oklahoma Air National Guard fighter pilot Major Dan Rooney in 2007. This amazing organization has several ways in which you can help support their cause. At the beginning of 2016, Folds of Honor's newest partner Corey Kent White is bringing another way of helping to a city near you. 

Photo from CKWs website
According to a video released by White, a portion of the proceeds from the tickets and merchandise sales from this concert series will be donated to the incredible organization. This will happen when the series comes to an end at the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 in Atlanta, GA. This is sure to be an incredible tour with a talented young artist. Tickets are on sale now. I've already got my tickets and I can't wait to write about the opening show at Cain's Ballroom on January 23rd.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tyler Farr - Cain's Ballroom

The number one hit "A Guy Walks Into a Bar" singer, Tyler Farr played at the historic Cain's Ballroom December 11th with "one-man band" Tennessee Jet opening the show.

Unfortunately I missed a large portion of Tennessee Jet's set before Tyler Farr hit the stage because of the timing of Farr's meet and greet. However,  what I did catch was incredible. It was the first time I saw a one man band and I loved it. It was definitely a set up that proves the artist's talent. He certainly got the crowd warmed up for Tyler Farr with original hits that reminded me of smooth old school country.

Tyler Farr set the bar when he opened up the show with "C.O.U.N.T.R.Y." the first track from his sophomore album Suffer In Peace. This singer/songwriter certainly tells it how it is and gives all his heart while he's on stage. Several times during the show he would pause in awe of the crowd and then thank them for helping him get where he is currently. We were treated to songs off both albums including singles "Whiskey In My Water", number one hit "A Guy Walks Into a Bar ",  the ever popular "Redneck Crazy", and current single "Better In Boots." During the performance of his new single "Better In Boots", fans in the crowd actually began to throw their boots on stage with the singer. 

Despite having to be mindful of random projectiles the country singer didn't seem to mind and actually preceded to autograph every boot before they were eventually returned to their owners. Perhaps one of my favorite parts though was watching Farr wave a little girl, no older then 8, around the gate so he could sign her photo while he sang. The look on her face was absolutely priceless. In just one minute of time he turned a great night into a night that little girl will never forget. Tyler Farr and his whole band put on an incredible show.

 The singer was incredibly humble the entire night. A tweet from one of his biggest fans after the show probably said it best. He left it all on the stage that night and I couldn't agree more. 

You can follow Tyler Farr on FB, Instagram, and Twitter. Don't forget to check out his website to see if he'll be stopping in a city near you. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Justin Adams - Tulsa, OK

Hidden Nashville gem Justin Adams came back to his home state Saturday night. His headlining show was at The Vanguard in Tulsa with fellow Oklahoma band Lower 40 opening for him.

After Lower 40's set, the Bixby, OK native took the stage to a packed house with equally talented bandmates Clark James (drums), Tommy Kratzert (electric guitar), and Mike Ball (Bass). Adams has been releasing new music as of late and opened the show with "Lips On Mine" one such new song. While watching Justin Adams perform, his excitement and love for what he's doing just emanates off him. He draws the audience into each show trying to make it special for everyone. Saturday night, that included a couple birthday girls and a Bachelorette.

 As the headliner we were treated to almost two hours of music from Adams. It was a crowd pleasing mix of older hits such as "Miss Me Whiskey" and some new original material like the sensational hit in the making "I Keep It Country." Not to mention some stunning covers  that included Garth Brooks' "Friends In Low Places", Darius Rucker's "Rock Me", and the classic hit "Fishin' In The Dark" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He even slowed the show down for a bit with an acoustic version of his heartwarming song "This Cowboy's Gonna Ride" and a truly beautiful performance on the keys for his new song "Don't Give Up On Me."

From the first note of "Lips On Mine" to the ending ones of another new song "Cowboys Drivin' Cadillacs" Adams' energy level was 110% and after the show I watched as he preceeded to sign merchandise and take photos with all his fans. Justin Adams is a triple threat for the country music industry. He's a singer/songwriter with an incredibly striking voice. He puts on a one of a kind, highly energetic, audience engaging show and he is very down to earth and genuinely kind hearted with all his fans. This extremely talented country artist is clearly on the road to a bright future.

You can follow Justin Adams on Facebook. As well as @JustinAdamsCtry on Twitter and Instagram.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

106.1 The Twister Bands Against Hunger

106.1 The Twister put together a great event to help raise food for the hungry here in Tulsa. It was a free concert on December 1st by Dylan Scott, Love and Theft, Cam, and Scotty McCreery. All that was required was to donate food for a four pack of tickets. The Bands Against Hunger event proved to be an incredible success with 6000+ items of food donated. The show was at the Riverbend Arena in Inola. Each artist took the stage separately and first on stage was Dylan Scott. 

On a fairly cold night what better way is there to get warm then dancing to great music? Scott got the evening rolling with such songs as "Lay It On Me", "Ballcap", "Makin' This Boy Go Crazy", and current chart climbing single "Crazy Over Me". The show was in an acoustic setting, but that did not stop Scott from giving it his all. Effectively making me wonder what he's like when it's a full show. The next to hit the stage was Cam. 

After meeting Dylan Scott and Love and Theft I was able to catch Cam singing her current single "Burning House." She is actually going to be touring with Eric Paslay on the winter leg of Brad Paisley's Crushin' It world tour. If her energy level in an acoustic setting of her current chart climber is any indication,  I'd try to catch one of those shows. After Cam was the country duo Love and Theft. 

As always this duo sounded incredible. Their harmonies are best described as unbelievable. They played older hits like the well known song "Angel Eyes" as well as things from the new album including current single "Whiskey On My Breath." They kept the crowd sing with songs "Runaway" and "Runnin' Outta Air." After dancing to "Lets Get Drunk and Make Friends" the crowd was plenty warmed up and ready for final act Scotty McCreery.

This was my first time seeing Scotty McCreery live and wow! He didn't let the cold bother him and yes you can see his breath in the above photo. It was that cold, but McCreery wouldn't be stopped. He was all over the stage engaging the audience. He captured the audience singing a variety of things from his first single "I Love You This Big" to his newest single "Southern Belle". Not to mention an outstanding cover of George Strait’s Christmas song "Christmas Cookies." You could tell it was Christmas time cause Jack Frost was nipping at our toes, but it was a great cause with great music.