Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Musician, Artist, and Music Discoveries of 2016

If I was asked what music from 2016 caught my attention the most, there would be but one answer - High Valley. The sibling duo is originally from Canada and they easily topped my most played playlist. Their songs have meaning and their sound is full of actual instruments. Their newly released album Dear Life sounds amazing and has the current chart climbing single "Make You Mine" on its' track list. They are not the only wonderful awesomeness to come out of 2016 though. Read on to hear about all the other wonderful musicians, artists, and music that caught my ear through out 2016 including the stunning collaboration Forever Country

~ Top 5 Noteworthy Bands ~

1. Michael Ray's Band:  
  • Lucas Chamberlain – Guitarist
  • Jonathon Sepulveda – Bassist
  • Kurt Ozan – Utility Player
  • Andrew Beselica - Drummer 
2. Granger Smith's Band:
  • Jonathon Wisinksi – Bassist
  • Dusty Saxton – Drums
  • Todd Howard – Electric Guitar & Banjo
  • John Marlin - Electric Guitar
3. Brantley Gilbert's Band:
  • BJ Golden – Utility Player
  • Jess Franklin – Guitar & Keys
  • Noah Henson – Guitar
  • Stephen Lewis - Bassist & Bass Cello
  • Ben Simms  - Drums
4. Canaan Smith's Band:
  • Luke Berridge – Bass
  • Tucker Wilson – Drums
  • Kenny Fuller – Guitar
  • Stephen Whitfield - Guitar
5. Eric Paslay's Band:
  • Tyler Tomlinson – Guitar
  • Chris Roach – Bass
  • Marcus Hill – Drums
  • Luke Moller - Utility Player

.~Top 5 Noteworthy Musicians ~
  1. Blaze - Guitar
  2. Clark James - Drums
  3. Lindsay Ell - Guitar
  4. Dave Gayland - Fiddle
  5. Seth Costner - Keys\Banjo

Lindsay Ell

~ Top 10 Must Listen To Artists ~
  1. Seth Costner
  2. Cole Taylor
  3. David Fanning
  4. Ryan Kinder
  5. Jesse Joice
  6. Tara Thompson
  7. Runaway June
  8. Travis Denning
  9. Drake White
  10. Timmy Brown

~ Top 10 Noteworthy Albums/Eps ~
  1. Dear Life by High Valley
  2. Remington by Granger Smith
  3. Pawn Shop by Brothers Osbourne
  4. You Should Be Here by Cole Swindell
  5. Fired Up by Randy Houser
  6. Timeless by The Swon Brothers
  7. Spark by Drake White
  8. Vinyl by William Michael Morgan
  9. Southern Boy by Jordan Rager
  10. Big Day in a Small Town by Brandy Clark

~ Top 10 Noteworthy Singles ~
  1. "Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw
  2. "Alien" by Cassadee Pope
  3. "You Should Be Here" by Cole Swindell
  4. "Cold Beer "by Cole Taylor
  5. "Road Less Traveled" by Lauren Aliana
  6. "Hometown Girl" by Josh Turner
  7. "My Church" by Maren Morris
  8. "Lil Bit" by Timmy Brown
  9. "Different for Girls" by Dierks Bentley
  10. "Angels in this Town" by Eric Paslay

Highlights of 2016's Concert Season

2016 was a year full of incredible artists, albums, and fantastic live shows. I had the pleasure of  meeting so many incredible artists and musicians this year by attending 27 shows with 45 different artists. Read on to hear about all the highlights. 

Shadowbox of Justin Adams' survivors 

Concert Recap
  • January: Tara Thompson, Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots, Lindsay Ell, Lucie Silvas, Old Dominion, BC & The Big Rig, Corey Kent White, The Round Up Boys, Alaska & Madi
  • February: Brantley Gilbert, Canaan Smith, Michael Ray
  • March: Jon Pardi, Justin Adams (2)
  • April: David Nail, William Michael Morgan, Clare Dunn, Jordan Rager, Drew Baldridge
  • May: Granger Smith, Lindsay Ell, Brandy Clark, Jordan Rager, Chris Janson, Jerrod Neimann, Drew Baldridge, William Michael Morgan, High Valley, Lindsay Ell, Ryan Kinder, Chris Lane.
  • June: Chase Rice, Walker Hayes
  • July: Justin Adams
  • August: Josh Abott Band, Prophets & Outlaws
  • September: Michael Ray, Justin Moore, Clare Dunn, Justin Adams
  • October: Seth Ennis, Aaron Lewis, Eric Paslay, Lindsay Ell, Cole Swindell, Cole Taylor, Travis Denning
  • November: Collin Raye, John Michael Montgomery
  • December: Jesse Joice, Justin Adams, High Valley, Chris Lane, Josh Turner, The Band Perry, Alaska & Madi, The Swon Brothers 

KVOO 5-Man Jam

~ 2016 Country Music Gives Back  ~
  • Corey Kent White Folds of Honor Tour - To raise money for Folds of Honor
  • The Swon Brothers Salvation Army Benefit - To raise money for the Salvation Army
  • Justin Adams Ugly Sweater Benefit concert - To raise money for Last Minute Toy Store

The Swon Brothers after their stellar Salvation Army Benefit

~ 2016 Live Music Highlights ~
  • Favorite Opening Line-up: Canaan Smith and Michael Ray on The Blackout Tour
  • Best Musical Moment: Justin Adams singing me Happy Birthday from the stage.
  • Favorite Multi-Artist Show: Jake FM New Face Showcase: William Michael Morgan, High Valley, Ryan Kinder, Lindsay Ell, Chris Lane

Jake FM New Face Showcase Artists (not Shown Lindsay Ell)

  • Coolest Concert Souvenir: Justin Adams Shadowbox
  • Favorite Meet and Greet Tradition: Ellfie w/ Lindsay Ell
  • Most Memorable Meet and Greet: Granger Smith
  • Still Can’t Believe I Met: Cole Swindell

Meet & Greets with Cole Swindell, Granger Smith, and Cole Taylor

  • Most Anticipated Performance: Cole Taylor
  • Most Anticipated Concert: Downhome Tour
  • Most Anticipated Musical Release: First by David Fanning

My birthday celebration with Justin Adams and his band

  • Most Seen Artist: Justin Adams - 5 shows
  • Most Seen Opening Act: Lindsay Ell - 4 shows

An Ellfie with the very talented Lindsay Ell

  • Most Energetic/Passionate Performance: Granger Smith. He loves this country, what he does, and his fans and it translates on stage beautifully.
  • Most Appreciative Performer: Cole Swindell on his Down Home tour. He not only continuously thanked his fan, but the love he showed opening acts Cole Taylor and Travis Denning was amazing.
  • Most Noteworthy Concert Moment: 5-Man Jam with Jordan Rager, Brady Clark, Chris Janson, Drake White, and Drew Baldridge when every artist randomly decided to stay and meet all their fans after perhaps the funnest multi-artist show ever.

Click Here to continue on to Musicians, Artists, and Musical Discoveries of 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

Country Kindness with Justin Adams and Friends

What do you get when you combine Christmas with country music?

Christmas is the spirit of giving without any thought to getting and the country music industry is filled with some of the biggest hearts there is. It's definitely the time of year when the random acts of kindness are plentiful. For example, The Last Minute Toy Store in Nashville, TN has been working hard since 1993 to provide a little Christmas cheer.
The Last Minute Toy Store, a ministry of Sixty-First Avenue United Methodist Church of Nashville, Tennessee has distributed free toys and other gifts to thousands of low-income children and youth who live in Davidson County. Working in cooperation with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s “Toys for Tots” program and other local toy providers, the “Last Minute” Toy Store is for low-income families who did not pre-register with those other providers earlier in the fall. 
For the last five years country singer Justin Adams has been volunteering every Christmas to help out The Last Minute Toy Store. The past two years Justin Adams' Ugly Sweater Christmas Concert has been Adams' way of raising money for this good cause. This years Ugly Sweater Christmas Concert is on December 7th and takes place at 3rd and Lindsley. Nada from The Bobby Bones show will be hosting the evenings events again. This years fantastic line up includes Ryan Hurd, Drew Baldridge, Maggie Rose, Kelleigh Bannen, Carly Pearce, The Railers, Mitchell Tenpenny, Courtney Cole, Erik Dylan and a special songwriters round with Casey Beathard, Lee Thomas Miller and Wynn Varble. The last Minute Toy Store is such a great cause and  Justin Adams' Ugly Sweater Christmas Concert is a fantastic way to help support it. The cover charge is just $10 and an unwrapped toy is encouraged.

If you can't make the concert, but still want to help I found a couple of options on The Last Minute Toy Store website to help you. If you don't live near Nashville or just wish to donate online visit their website here. Have toys you want to drop off? Take them to 61st Avenue UMC 6018 New York Avenue in Nashville during these listed times: 

12/5 - 12/9 (Monday to Friday) 9 am - 6 pm
12/10 (Saturday) 9 am - 4 pm
12/11 (Sunday) 1 pm - 6 pm
12/12 to 12/17 7:30 am - 6 pm
12/18-19 1 pm – 5 pm

Justin Adams at The Vanguard

Nothing makes a weekend more enjoyable like a night of amazing live music and Saturday night was definitely one for the books. The Vanguard in Tulsa, OK played host to a couple of extremely talented artists December 3rd. Both Justin Adams and opener Jesse Joice have played at The Vanguard before and both performed as if they were seasoned pros singing to a sold out arena.

This was the first time I heard Jesse Joice perform live and the strength of his voice was just as beautiful as the tone. His band, which consisted of Daniel (keys), Matt (electric guitar), Sean (Bass), and Jarrod (drummer), was nothing to shake a stick at either. Leading up to the show I had actually been listening to Joice's music a lot. Going in I was really hoping to hear "Like I Ain't From Around Here," "On The Edge," and "Oklahoma Weather." Because they were just a few of the songs I had been playing on repeat. Let's just say, disappointed I was not. In addition to those songs, the set list included "Small Talk," "Enough To Fall In Love," "Work Hard, Play Hard," "The South Don't Make You Southern," "Little White Lie," and several others. One of the things at a concert that always catches my attention is whether or not the artist acknowledges their band mates. That simple show of respect says so much about an artist and it was something both Jesse Joice and Justin Adams took the time to do during their sets.

The crowd was plenty warmed up and very excited when Justin Adams hit the stage. If you have read much from this blog you may realize this was not my first show by Adams. I will admit when I didn't recognize the guitarist or bassist I was a little nervous. However, looking back I realize there was no reason to be. As always, Adams was on top of his game and Clark James (drummer), Mark Dejaynes (bass), and Joe Giaimo (guitar) sounded terrific. The set list included recent additions like "I keep It Country," "Feels Wrong," and "Lips On Mine," as well as, older hits like "Miss Me Whiskey" and "My My My." Believe it or not it just got better from there. Because Adams also played a reputable treasure trove of new material that included "Passing Through," "Get Gone," "Me And You," "Don't Hold It Against Me," "Last Thing I Do," and a few others. It was definitely a true treat for both new and established fans alike. After the show both Jesse Joice and Justin Adams spent a decent amount of time talking with every single fan that wanted to meet them. Something I am sure they will not forget any time soon. All in all, it was a great night with fantastic music from some pretty talented artists.

~ Find The Artists On Social Media ~

Jesse Joice

Justin Adams