Dance With Ya…All Night!

Hello my country music loving friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything, which is unfortunate that I’ve been slacking because since the last post I’ve heard some amazing debut albums and even spent a glorious 6 days in Nashville!

But, before I get sidetracked, let me tell you about my latest concert venture at The Foundry in Philadelphia this weekend! As some of you may know, I absolutely love listening to Sirius XM On the Highway, which is straight out of Nashville and keeps me up to date on the latest and greatest of country music. This year, they have their ‘Highway Finds’ tour featuring Smithfield, Drew Baldridge, and Steve Moakler. If you haven’t caught them out on tour yet, I would highly recommend checking out a tour stop or seeing any of these artists out on the road individually. Totally worth it.

I had the opportunity to see these three amazing acts this past Saturday night at The Foundry, which is a more intimate and club style show. Basically, the show was in the upstairs bar and performance room of The Fillmore, Philadelphia, which provided the opportunity to be close enough to the artists and have an amazing sound. The crowd loved all the artists, and I was listening to those in the crowd commenting on how great these artists were and how excited they were to catch them live.

Trey and Jennifer of Smithfield opened up the night with an acoustic performance. I loved the fact that their performance was stripped down and the audience was able to hear just how smooth and blended this duo’s vocals truly are in their music. Currently, their latest single ‘Hey Whiskey’ is being played, and if you haven’t heard it yet on your local country station, start requesting it! They also had a great deal of success with their song ‘Nothin’ But The Night’, which the audience was able to get a performance of as part of their set list. The set list included a few other great tracks off their album including the fun summer song ‘Cooler’, and one of my personal favorites ‘If I Were You’. Trey and Jennifer also did several fun covers to give the audience a feel for the 90s music they (and I as well) grew up on with a few covers. One of my favorites was a tribute to Trey’s more rock and roll side with Aerosmith paired with Jennifer’s more country roots and Shania Twain’s ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’. I was impressed with their vocal performances and the harmonies I heard throughout the performances. I also had the opportunity to say hello to both Trey and Jennifer after the set, since they did a meet and greet after the set. They were great interacting with their fans, taking pictures, signing autographs, and even doing selfies with several fans. This right here is one of my favorite parts of the smaller country shows and getting to know the artist. Trey and Jennifer take their music very personally, and I was thrilled to have the chance to hear them live and see them take the time to chat with their fans. Be sure to check out their music on iTunes, you’ll be glad that you did!

After their set, Drew Baldridge came on stage to start the party. I’m not going to lie, I mainly went to the show to see Drew perform, since I think he’s totally adorable, has a great voice, and is a good old country cutie. I’ve been listening to his album ‘Dirt On Us’ ever since I heard his latest Highway hit ‘Rebound’, which features the lovely Emily Weisband. At tonight’s performance, he had Jennifer from Smithfield sing with him on this number, which was just as amazing.   When I started listening to his album on Spotify, I was instantly a fan. He covers a little bit of everything on his album, and at his show I had a chance to hear him sing several of the tracks off his album, complete with some killer dance moves. Drew’s sound is very country, he’s got that twang, and also a sweet vocal range. Throughout his music he hits some deep notes and can slide right up the octave in some of his slower songs as well. And can I just say, the man knows how to work a stage. I’ve seen a lot of concerts, seasoned performers, and those just starting out. I’m also a firm believer in having that ‘it’ factor that makes some a more natural and stronger stage presence. Drew was all over the stage, but in a comfortable way that makes it very clear he’s right at home up there performing his music and just having a great time with his band and the fans. He sings a great upbeat song called ‘Dance With Ya’, which he also performed on tour. His energy was amazing, and I definitely would dance all night with him. He sang some other great songs off the album including ‘Dirt On Us’, ‘Love On Your Body’, and ‘Burnt Toast’. His songs have this fun vibe to all of them and are grounded in the country roots.  But, Drew also knows how to have some fun with his covers.  He did a great mash-up of ‘Honky tonk badonkadonk’ and ‘Baby Got Back’.  This was definitely a crowd favorite, and every one was able to appreciate this one.  The band had some smooth dance moves going on during this number, and Drew was having a blast rocking out to this song on stage.

Aside from the concert, Drew’s album Dirt On Us covers several different areas of country music from the tractors, love, trouble with said love, and that hometown pride. One of my favorite songs on the album is the track he sings with Mike and Doug Baldridge, the song that takes me back to my early church days and singing in a pew. They sing the song ‘It Is Well With My Soul’, and it is just breathtaking. This is the song I now listen to when I need to re-center, or just take a moment out of my day to focus on remember that Jesus can get me through anything. I would highly recommend checking out this album and one of Drew’s shows for a great country party.

Drew also did a meet and greet with his fans after the show, and I have to say, I am impressed with the energy he had with each and every fan, the smile on his face, and even though he’s been on the road for awhile, he doesn’t seem the slightest bit tired from it at all. He’s also got quite the fun social media presence on Instagram, so if you’re into keeping up with the antics of your favorite country singers, check out his social media accounts as well.

Stay tuned for my follow-up on Steve Moakler’s performance from the show! This post was getting a little long so I figured I would wrap it up with these two amazing performances from the night.

As always, if you love their music be sure to support the artists and purchase their music on iTunes or through their individual sites.

Drew Baldridge:  http://www.drewbaldridgemusic.com/

Smithfield:  http://www.smithfieldmusic.com/

Love and All Things Country

Think A Little Less- The Tour

 

January 22, 2017

Everything in Between

So, as promised, the follow-up review of the amazing Michael Ray Think A Little Less  concert I attended last night at Prospector’s Grille and Saloon in Mt. Laurel, NJ. I like to refer to this venue as my own little slice of Nashville, since going to concerts like this make me feel like I’m in the capitol of country music, even if I live in New Jersey. The show last night was a great start to the 2017 concert year for me surrounded by my fellow country music lovers.

Michael Ray is originally from Eustis, Florida and released his debut album, which he made sure to play a piece of every single song from during the concert last night. Talk about an amazing performance, and that voice! I don’t even think I can truly capture just how phenomenal his voice sounded live. This type of venue does not allow an artist to hide behind a crazy sound system, and often gives us concertgoers a feel for the more raw and original sound of their voice. Michael Ray has a silky smooth bass and range that just made the crowd go crazy. His band is equally amazing and he rocked out with them throughout the show. They had an incredible amount of energy on the stage and brought that party vibe on out to the crowd as well. He has an amazing team that backs him up on stage including his drummer Andrew Beselica (who I think looks like he’s related to Michael), lead guitarist Lucas Chamberlain, and Kurt Ozan on guitar! These guys all played seamlessly together throughout their set list.

So Michael Ray was AWESOME and managed to play every song from his debut album for all of us in the audience. That’s not always something an artist is able to pull off, and while he didn’t play full-length versions of every song, he did a pretty good job of getting us all to hear how great this album really is…and if you don’t have it you should go buy it right now. Throughout the concert, Michael also gave his thanks and recognition to all those country greats who made a way for country as a genre, and also remarked about how they all had a role in helping him develop his career and path as an artist. We got to hear covers of Sam Hunt, Darius Rucker (although for one song it was technically Hootie and the Blowfish), Randy Travis,  and some love for Brantley Gilbert. It was a great mix-up to his music and gave us a chance to see a little more of how Michael Ray has become the artist he is today. I also have to give Michael Ray some big props for giving a shout out to the men and women who serve this country, and for encouraging everyone to remember it’s more than just one day a year that we should appreciate those who protect our country. He really made this concert seem very personal to everyone out in the audience and connected with the fans.

Quick fan-girl moment: Michael Ray co-wrote the song “Run Away With You” with Big and Rich, which I actually saw B & R perform this summer. Michael, you totally killed that song last night and it’s one that can make a girl go weak at the knees. Also, “Real Men Love Jesus” is one of my other top songs that you sing. So beautiful, and the way he sings this song is breath-taking. Sigh…

Michael Ray also brought along Levi Hummon for this tour as his opening act. Levi Hummon is a new recording artist out of Nashville with Big Machine Label Group and some of his label mates include country artists such as Brett Young, FGL, and Justin Moore, so he’s definitely in good company. I’m calling it now, this guy is one to watch. Rolling Stone has already called him one of the Country Artists You Need to Know and they are right on the money with this one. He has an EP album out right now which includings two of my favorites “Love You Hate You Miss You” and “Chain Reaction”. I got to hear both of these live last night, along with several other new songs of his to be debuted. He managed to get in a ton of great music in a 35 minute set supported by his awesome bandmates John Hollier, Charlie Berry, and Peter Wilson. Staying true to country artists, his voice sounded even better live and his country boy charm will definitely make an impression with the ladies. This guy has all the southern charm, the voice, and the guitar. It’s easy to see why he’s one to watch in the country music world.   I did get a chance to meet Levi last night and take some fun photos. He’s one of the most down-to-earth artists I have met, and while this may sound cliché, there’s been a few artists I’ve met who don’t put off the fun, genuine vibe. So shout out to Levi for being so great with the fans!

Levi’s Set List

Old Me

Chain ReactioNumbers

Don’t Waste The Night

Make Up My Mind

Stupid

Make It Love

Counting Drops

LYHYMY

One of the things I appreciated the most out of this concert was the complete fan-love these two artists both had at the concert. Levi Hummon did a meet and greet at his merch table, which a lot of artists do, but I’ve also seen a lot of artists unable to do this for various reasons. It’s a great way to connect with the fans and make a lasting impression on those who support your music. Both guys were amazing and even stayed after the concert for over an hour to sign autographs and take pictures (so I actually got two pics with Levi!). I’ve been to several concerts at this venue and I have yet to have an artist decide to stay until everyone was finished doing a photo/autograph session. These guys are so genuine and remind me what country music is all about. Thanks for giving a kick-ass show last night and for coming up this way to your Jersey country fans! It was definitely an unforgettable night!

 

Love and All Things Country

Follow me —

Twitter  @fitfunjen203

P.S. Michael Ray is also making his rounds around the area this week and will be performing on the Today Show this Tuesday! Be sure to check it out and if you’re there, don’t forget to tag and post pics for all the Michael Ray fans out there!

 

As always, if you love these artists, please support their music and purchase their albums on iTunes or wherever else their album is sold.

http://levihummon.com/

http://www.vevo.com/watch/levi-hummon/guts-and-glory/USLXJ1610006

http://www.michaelraymusic.com/

Think A Little Less

 

“Wait, why are there so many people here? Who’s performing?” is the question I hear all the time when I’m waiting in line to see one of my favorite performers at Prospector’s Grille and Saloon in Mt. Laurel, NJ. See here’s the thing…country music isn’t huge (even though it should be) in this neck of the woods. My only options typically to see a country artist is to go to NYC or Philadelphia. However, Prospector’s offers a little taste of country right here in South Jersey. It’s my favorite place to hear some of the country artists who take a moment to stop at this intimate and amazing venue to play their music for us ‘Northern’ country music lovers.

So, this Saturday, I am again bracing myself for hearing ‘Who is Michael Ray?” and taking a moment to educate these people on the country artist they are missing out on and should be going to see their show. I am at a slight disadvantage because I listen to Sirius XM ‘On the Highway’ every day so I’m always up on the country artists from Nashville and usually just think everyone is up on their country music artists. Shout-out to Storme, Producer Britt and Ashley! Also Buzz and Al Skop I love you guys too!

But, I digress. In case you haven’t heard of him already, Michael Ray will be performing this Saturday along with Levi Hummon. Levi Hummon is another talented up and coming artist that I’m so excited to hear live!

ICYMI: Michael Ray has a new album out and you should seriously take a listen. A few of these songs I’ve actually been listening to since they came out in 2015…but the Philadelphia area is finally catching on and playing his music on the local radio.

My take: Definitely a great album filled with a more country vibe with his hits like ‘Kiss You In The Morning’ and his latest single ‘Think A Little Less’.   There’s something about his crooner voice that just makes his music stick out. I find myself humming the ‘Think A Little Less’ chorus line quite often along with ‘Run Away With You’. These songs do a great job of capturing being lost in the moment with someone you love and just seeing where life takes you. No questions, worrying about the past or future, and just being in the moment with them.

I can’t wait to hear him sing some of his older songs and his hits live…I’ll be sure to follow up post concert with his set list and all the best aspects of his concert! I have a hard time picking just 3 songs from this album because there’s several that I am just swooning over.  Real Men Love Jesus pretty much just sums up everything I love about a man, especially a country loving, God-fearing, old fashioned sweetheart.

My Top 3 Songs

  1. Real Men Love Jesus
  2. Think A Little Less
  3. Run Away With You

And now for his opening act….LEVI HUMMON!   I actually hadn’t heard of this guy until they played him on Sirius XM, but I immediately was a fan.  With this in mind,  I was super psyched to hear he would be out on tour with Michael Ray. His one song is pretty much the anthem of so many people who have that love-hate relationship when they leave someone they love. ‘Love You Hate You Miss You’ covers the rollercoaster of emotions when you can’t decide what to do about someone when you can’t stop thinking about even though you probably shouldn’t…we’ve all been there.  ‘Chain Reaction’ follows along that line of what happens when you decide to dial that number just one more time. A lot of us can relate to that when you’re looking at your phone debating if you should send that text or dial their number. ‘Window Down Days’ is that fun and upbeat song that makes you think of those beautiful weather days when you just roll the window down and enjoy life.

I can’t wait to see what these guys do at the concert next week and which songs will be a part of their set list…I’ll give you the full scoop post-concert!

As always, if you like their music, make sure you check them out and support these amazing country artists! Michael Ray and Levi Hummon albums can both be downloaded on iTunes.

Love and All Things Country

P.S. Michael and Levi I would totally love to meet you guys the day of the concert!  Just saying… 🙂

http://www.michaelraymusic.com/

http://levihummon.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Comeback Kid

 

I was one of the lucky ones who managed to snag a ticket to The Band Perry’s sold out show at Prospector’s Grille and Saloon last night in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Can I just say how excited I am that I got to be a part of the audience last night at this concert?! It was such an AMAZING show and The Band Perry nailed it with their performance last night!

Being that it’s close to Christmas, there were red and green lights above the stage to set the scene and I also noticed several of the instruments even had bows on them. So cute and their stage was perfect for the siblings to rock the show. Kimberly, Neil and Reid managed to pack in a killer set list with only one hour of stage time. They opened the show with their hit ‘Better Dig Two’ followed by ‘Chainsaw’ and one of my all-time favorites ‘You Lie’. Kimberly was great with interacting with the audience and I was definitely a fan of the metallic silver jacket she was rocking along with her brother Neil. Kimberly’s vocals were phenomenal throughout the show proving she is a talented performer and vocalist. They sounded even better in person throughout each and every song. The trio also performed one of my favorite love songs (and also one of the first love songs the band had recorded) ‘All Your Life’, which was one of the first songs that made me connect with The Band Perry and start listening to their music.

Aside from rocking their tried and true major label hits, the band also debuted some new music for us in the audience. You may have heard of their latest release, ‘Comeback Kid’, which after hearing them perform last night, have decided to make my anthem for the year 2017. We also got to hear this great uplifting new song, which I think should be their next release, called ‘In It Together’. As the band pointed out, in light of recent events in society, this song had great lyrics remind us all that we are all in it together and what happens to one of us happens to all of us. The sound and feel for this song is very upbeat and definitely a feel-good song to bring people together.

The Band Perry faced some controversy in the country music industry recently due to the change in labels and the usual debate of country vs. pop music. I hope people who love The Band Perry truly understand is this trio is an amazing and diverse group who can perform both country and more ‘pop’ sounding music as well. They had success with ‘If I Die Young’ in both the country and pop radio showing their ability to appeal to more than just the country crowd. Further showing their pop ability, The Band Perry did one of my favorite things and sang a fantastic old and new hits mash-up including Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’, Justin Timberlake’s ‘Sexyback’, Eurythmic’s ‘Sweet Dreams’, and Gnarl’s Barkley’s ‘Crazy’. Kimberly, Neil, and Reid had such an amazing and entertaining performance of this mash-up getting the crowd involved and feeling the energy from the band.

To close out the show, we learned that Kimberly is a huge Freddie Mercury fan and we got to hear The Band Perry’s take on Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ as well as some all around booty shaking from the audience and Kimberly who was shaking her money maker as well. The encore song was the perfectly titled end to their show of their song ‘Done’. And since this was their last performance for 2016, it couldn’t have been a more perfectly chosen song. Overall this show, while only an hour, was packed with the vocal and musical talent of all three members of The Band Perry. Their set list was perfect and I haven’t had this much fun at a concert in awhile! Special thanks to Philly’s Country station 92.5 WXTU who helped to make this all possible and to make this night even more special, the ticket sales are going to charity! What an amazing show to end out 2016!

Don’t forget to check out The Band Perry’s music on iTunes…perfect idea for any last minute Christmas gifts too!

Love and All Things Country

P.S. I did Periscope part of ‘Comeback Kid’ on my twitter @fitfunjen203

Check out The Band Perry’s video of my favorite song ‘You Lie’

I Got Your Fix – Chris Lane

When you purchase tickets for a concert mainly to see the opening act, that’s when you know the artist has some amazing music. Last night I had the amazing opportunity to both meet Chris Lane and watch him open up for Rascal Flatts on their Rhythm and Roots Tour. From the moment I heard his song Fix on Sirius XM ‘The Highway’, I was hooked and knew this guy was going to be going places. In my previous blog I had him on my list of Top 10 Summer Songs and artists to listen to this year.

Chris Lane recently put out his debut single Girl Problems, which is one of the best albums I have heard in awhile. There is not a single song on there that I didn’t immediately love and find to be well-written and amazing . Stay tuned for a following post about his album review, for this post I want to focus on my meet and greet experience with Chris Lane and his crew. So let me set the stage for you to get you to truly understand how great the fans, crew, and Chris Lane himself are to everyone. I was selected to get the meet and greets after entering through his website and received the confirmation email the day before the concert to go to Will Call to pick up my meet and greet. Ecstatic me made sure to arrive to BB & T Pavilion well over an hour before the doors opened (good thing to because as you’ll read, I was going to need a good 30 minutes extra to sort the mess out). After asking at Will Call for the M and G’s the woman working there told me they didn’t have them, they had ones with similar last names but a different first name and even after showing her my confirmation email she wouldn’t really do much and didn’t even know where Chris’s team was for me to talk to them about the issue. Enter Twitter and Chris Lane Fans. I had been messaging Chris Lane fans previously and as all this happened, I messaged her to let her know what had happened and to see if there was anything she could do, and she came through in a big way. She contacted Chris’s team for me and  they were immediately in touch with her, forwarded me the necessary information for the Meet and Greet, and once the venue finally let the fans in (that will be a blog for another day on how the venue had some issues handling the event) and I was able to meet up with Cody and other fans for the meet and greet! Phew! Not going to lie, I was really worried I was going to miss my chance to meet Chris! But it all worked out in the end and now for my M and G experience with Chris…

Can I just say wow? I’ve met a few other artists in the past and his overall vibe for the meet and greet was just genuinely appreciative of his fans and those who love his music. He’s a very down to earth and genuine artist, able to make conversation with his fans, and seems very humbled at the fact that people would come to a show just to see him. Body language also speaks volumes about a person and I noticed when Chris greeted his fans, he actually turned to them to shake hands, give hugs, etc, and made eye contact with them when they were talking to him. Also, he’s adorable in person and his hair is fantastic. I know, I sound like I’m in grade school again, but he really was so cute and that southern drawl just gets me every time! Cody and the rest of the team also had that southern sound as well which just makes me melt. The assistant manager, Brandon, was great at taking the pictures and made sure to take a few shots of me with Chris as well as another group shot of me and my friend with him! I chatted with Chris briefly about my craziness of trying to get to the meet and greet and how great his crew was for coming through and helping out so quickly. Also, Chris’s hair is fantastic and looked great even in all the heat and humidity we had yesterday, I want to know who his stylist is because it’s great and I was a little jealous. When I told him I loved his hair he did mention he needed haircut, but maybe just a trim Chris, I like your current hair style too much.

As you can all tell by now, I’m a huge Chris Lane fan and was stoked for his set to open for the show. Since every track on his album is amazing, I couldn’t wait to hear what he was going to perform! He didn’t disappoint and opened his set with the song Saturday Night. This was the perfect song to kick the evening off with even though the concert was on a Thursday, but for many of us, was the start to a long weekend. He’s such a great performer and came out full of energy. I was also pleasantly surprised with the little rap moment he did in the middle of the song, which is in the album cut but not quite as spoken. Boy has got it going on! The next song was Her Own Kind of Beautiful, also one of my favorites, and the fans were drinking it all in for that song. The crowd loved him and I loved seeing his interactions with everyone throughout the set. When he slowed it down with his latest single For Her, I was fan-girling so hard at that point. I know all the words, as well as several audience members and we were singing out hearts out. His voice live is so incredibly smooth and his range is phenomenal. As a singer, I can appreciate the range he has and his ability to cleanly hit the falsetto notes without breaking in between. Chris’s voice overall has this deep and soulful sound throughout. He worked the entire stage and had several moments where he got down to sing to the fans. The best moment was when Chris took a fan’s phone and did selfies with them from the stage, as well as took a moment to take even more photos of himself on her phone! He really knows how to have fun with his fans!

And now I pause for a moment in the show to gush about this medley of covers he decided to do and was very well thought out for his fan base. Now, while I think Chris’s music is for everyone, judging by the audience I was in, I would say the majority range was women from the ages of their 20s to 30s. Yes, there were some younger and older, but a vast majority of us grew up on boy bands, and if you follow Chris at all on snap chat, you would know he loves to do covers of those 90s and 2000s boy bands like 98 Degrees, BSB, and NSYNC. The crowd went absolutely crazy when he started singing BSB ‘I Want It That Way’. He just combined my inner teen boy band love with his beautiful singing. He broke into a very fluid cover of songs by The Weekend, Justin Timberlake, Jason Derulo, Justin Bieber, and even included the guys doing the Whip/Nae Nae. So great! And then, after all these great songs flowing into eachother, he closed this fun medley with the entire band doing NSYNC ‘Bye Bye Bye’ with the signature dance moves included! Well-played Chris, well-played! He had such a fun set and the audience could see how much he truly loves performing. The set was closed out with his #1 song Fix and I loved seeing the audience sing every single word with Chris. Overall he had a fantastic set, and even though he told me it would be a quick one, it was worth it. Every single song was done so well and I can’t get over how amazing his voice is live! Chris, if you put out a live album I would buy that too…you’re a talented vocalist and I love listening to you live.

One last thing, can I just say Chris has one of the most entertaining bands I’ve seen in awhile? Seriously, their energy while playing was great to see. His keyboard player has got some serious dance moves that I don’t think everyone was able to see and appreciate and they were rocking it out the entire show. He also convinced everyone to do the dance moves to Bye Bye Bye so they could all bring out their inner boy band. Loved it! Rascal Flatts did bring Chris and Kelsea back out for their closing number of Me and My Gang and loved seeing him again. In case you didn’t know, Chris is a die hard Carolina Panthers Fan, and since I was so close to the stage, I did see him waiting back stage with his Panthers jersey and helmet on goofing around in the back. Just another moment of showing just how down to earth this guy is and knows how to have fun with his friends! He didn’t come back on stage with the jersey on, but I did love that he was repping my girl Kelsea Ballerini with a shirt on with DIBS written on it. Chris stole the spotlight at the end of the show with all the craziness of beach balls and rocking it out with Rascal Flatts at the end. Overall, amazing set and performance by Chris Lane.

If you don’t know who Chris Lane is yet, you need to check out his debut album Girl Problems, which is available on iTunes, and also at Target stores with bonus tracks. You won’t be disappointed! And if you ever get the chance to see him live, you will be so glad that you did. Chris Lane is definitely one to watch because he’s going to be a huge success!

Love and All Things Country

Summer Play List

We are right smack in the middle of summertime weather, which means there are some great songs out there for us to jam out to!  I’ve made up a list of my top summer songs this year.  These are the songs I just can’t get out of my head and sometimes even have to wait till the song is over before I can go on with whatever I’m doing!  (Anyone else stay in the car until a song is over?!

Alrighty so here is my list…in no specific order 🙂

Saltwater Gospel – Eli Young Band    

Nothing says summer more to me than this song right here!  Who doesn’t love the idea of summer time and the beach.  What I love most about this song is the message behind it and what a person can get out of some ‘saltwater’ time.  Whether you are on a beach or a boat, just being a part of the water can be a divine experience.  Watching sunrises and sunsets can often put things in perspective.  I also always feel a type of spiritual connection and amazement when I look out over the ocean and realize just how small or huge an impact a person can have on our planet.  There’s so many striking lyrics in this catchy and ‘fun’ summer song that really can go a lot deeper.  “I just think about how small I am and life after we’re gone I’m out here by myself But I know I’m not alone Yeah, I got all the proof I need”.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to check this one out!

 

Castaway – Zac Brown Band

Now, while Saltwater Gospel was poignant, yet fun, this song by ZBB is just a GREAT straight up loving live and summer drinking song.  The tune is off of their latest album, Jekyll and Hyde released earlier in 2015.  This song makes you think of an amazing tropical vacation with your best friends where you get to kick back, relax, and pretend that no one can come and find you for a little while at least. The groove behind this music is extremely tropical, relaxed, and just yells summer.  These guys have done it again with making a catchy and chill song where everyone around you is suddenly friends dancing around a tikki bar. So yes, pour me another one, make it a strong one, while I listen to this song again.

Love Drunk – Steve Moakler 

More time to relax?!  Perfect.  Take a few minutes of your day to sip on something cold and enjoy this laidback tune by Pittsburg native Steve Moakler.  I first heard of this lovely chill guy from Sirius XM Radio.  He has a previous single released call Suitcase, which also fits the bill of fun, chill, and hanging out music.  This song Love Drunk made it onto my summer jams because it’s a song that makes you think about being out with friends and loving your life.  The song is featuring lyrics about a lovely lady who is making him love drunk and trying to keep it cool and together even though it’s not easy for him.  Summer is a time for romance people!  How many of you have been out in the summer and met someone who immediately made you feel like you were buzzing off of them.

 

American Country Love Song – Jake Owen

So, let me be a downer for a brief moment, I was so sad when I heard that Jake Owen had a rough personal life this year and that his marriage had ended.  And then he manages to release an amazing track of American Country Love Song after going through all of this.  Sigh.

“It’s playing in the night air
Through the speakers all night long
Couple kids just livin’
That American country love song”

Perfect.  These lyrics and summer romance all rolled up into one perfect song.  A little sweet, a little fun, and all around americana love song.  Take a listen.  And to make this song a little better, Jake Owen actually took a VW Love Bus on tour to promote this album.

http://tasteofcountry.com/jake-owen-american-country-love-song-video/

I love this man.  BTW Jake, I’m single….

 

Dirty Laundry – Carrie Underwood

Ok I needed to get my country divas in here somewhere and just heard this one FINALLY on the radio off her latest Storyteller album.  I truly hope her husband never upsets her in any way, shape, or form because this woman is not someone I would want to mess with.  In this AWESOME badass summer tune Carrie takes on the persona of a woman that catcher her husband being, shall we say, a little unfaithful to her.  This woman power anthem is great because well, she’s just going to do his laundry and make sure the whole world knows about it.  The girl’s a classy lady and it looks like this guy is out again with some more low class.  I love that she mentions she’ll be making sure to hang is dirty laundry out for all to see since she’s got nothing to hide.  Rock on Carrie.

“That lipstick on your collar, well, it ain’t my shade of pink
And I can tell by the smell of that perfume, it’s like forty dollars too cheap
And there’s a little wine stain on the pocket of your white cotton thread
Well, you drink beer and whiskey, boy, and you know I don’t drink red”

 

Make You Mine – High Valley 

THANK YOU SIRIUS XM RADIO!!!! Again, they are responsible for introducing me to this excellent band that hails from our neighbors up north.  Their latest single, Make You Mine,  is a good old country song that makes you think of summer afternoons and the county fair.  The brothers, Brad and Curtis, pull off yet another fun-loving country number.  Instrumentally their music is much closer to country roots and as someone who grew up in a more rural area, I can in fact relate to a pale moon sky and the small town feel.  This song is constantly stuck in my head and I can’t stop listening to it. The song even ends with a longer instrumental segment that really just makes me want to dance every time I hear it.   They have previously released albums including County Line, which I strongly recommend you check out as well.  These brothers are grounded in their roots, which is reflected in their music, lyrics, and how they interact with their fans.

http://www.highvalleymusic.com  GO BUY ALL THEIR MUSIC (you’ll be glad you did)

 

Sleep Without You – Brett Young 

Ok, so, just in case you have been living under a rock these past few months and haven’t caught on yet, Brett Young.  BRETT YOUNG!  Seriously, you should know who he is and if you don’t oh man are you missing out.  I saw Brett Young open up for a show in New Jersey this year and was already previously hooked from hearing him on the radio.  He currently has a new hit single (that, in my opinion, was career changing and is successfully launching his country career) called ‘Sleep Without You’.  Brett Young.  Where do I begin.  I’m going to keep this brief because I am going to devote an ENTIRE blog just to him. So back to this song. It’s a love song, but it’s upbeat!  Also, his voice will make you fall in love instantly.  Seriously.  Go listen right now.  The song speaks for itself so that’s all I got.

“Even if I tried without you by my side I’d be dreamin with my eyes open”  heart throb

 

Somewhere on a Beach  – Dierks Bentley

Ok, so many people are calling this the follow up to his previous hit Drunk on a Plane.  This beach bummin’ and relaxing song comes of of Dierk’s latest album Black.  Perfect vacation getaway from everything and everyone who just screwed up and you just don’t even care anymore.  Onto bigger and better things.  This song is for everyone who needs to remember that life is better when you’re somewhere on a beach. It’s got everyone’s favorite parts of summer rolled into one song: beach, booze, nothing to worry about, no regrets.

“I’m somewhere on a beach, sipping something strong…”  Yes Dierks, I wish I could do that all summer long too.  But since I can’t, whenever this song is on I at least escape for a few minutes.

For Her – Chris Lane 

Ok, ok, ok.  Hear me out on this one.  It’s not exaaaaactly a summer song, but it’s one that’s out this summer, and it’s about love, and the guy who sings it is another total throb.  Also, he’s super funny and if you have Snap Chat, you should add the guy because he’s a trip.  His previous hit Fix can be heard on the radio too.  I’m ready for his newest album Girl Problems  to come out! This song made the summer list because it’s a windows down, music turned up kind of song.  The song is a perfect one for those who are with that special someone and the things that go through our minds when we’re together.

“She’s the kind that makes you wanna..
Ride around, windows down, yeah, with the radio
She’s the kind that makes you wanna…
Drop your plans, drop a grand, hell where the money goes”

This song is for those summer nights when you just want to be out enjoying the evening with that special someone, and it doesn’t even matter what happens.  I had to include it, it’s such a sweet and happy summer love song 🙂

 

Vacation – Thomas Rhett

Everybody calm down.  This song has gotten the country music listeners all in a tizzy.  “It’s not county!”  Oh. Stop. It.  Country music goes in a million different directions.  Now yes, this song is not a typical country song, however, that is the genre it’s listed as so it makes my list.  Thomas Rhett is a rising star on the country music scene and this song is for everyone out there who has the imagination to pretend they’re at a fabulous vacation spot.

“I got my Solo Cup amplifier, playing all my jams
And my Walgreens beach chair working on my tan
This like it’s Jamaica and I’m sipping on some Red Stripe
But I’m in Decatur, baby, crushing on that Busch light”

I absolutely love this song and see it as a party anthem for when everyone is together celebrating summer and making the most of what they have.  To each their own.  So cheers Thomas Rhett, I will also be partying like I’m on vacation all summer.

 

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed my summer pics in country music and even picked up a few more bands and singers you haven’t heard of before.  As always, if you like the song, buy it on iTunes and support the artist! ❤ ❤ ❤

Stay Cool People!

Love and All Things Country 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Ain’t Country..But Wait…

Hello my friends! So part of the purpose of this blog is to bring you artists you may not be hearing on local country radio in these parts of the Tri-State Area. Thanks to Sirius XM channel ‘On the Highway’, I’ve been able to come across several new artists that have quickly become my favorite (Brett Eldredge, Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion, High Valley, and Brett Young just to name a few).

The other day I was listening to a new catchy song being played on the radio being played called ‘That Ain’t Country’ and it was definitely a catchy and fun country song. Ironically, the music sounds exactly like country so I liked the title and decided to do some digging into this Aaron Lewis. Now, I have always been a fan of country music and don’t know much about who’s who outside of the genre. Imagine my surprise when I did some research on this guy and discovered that he was the frontman of the grunge band Staind. You read that correctly. The singer from Staind is now doing country music. Now, before you get all music purist on me about people just trying to jump into country music using their previous singer status, give me a moment. Just as Darius Rucker was able to make a smooth transition into being a successful country singer, I think Aaron Lewis might have what it takes to do the same. If you listen to his previous albums, while they sound country, you can still hear the original sounds from the band Staind. The lyrics are in the vein of a typical country song, and he’s definitely heading in the right direction to his country music road to success. The music is country, but his voice still has the deep and soulful emotional sound from previous work. He has two previous albums The Road and Town Line.  He was successful in collaborating with Charlie Daniels and George Jones in his song ‘Country Boy’.   What I like most about this newer song is that it gives it a much clear and distinct sound separating him from his previous band, plus it’s got a very catchy vibe to it. His voice fits the country sound much better and gives it a fresh take on what he can do as an artist. The radio station did not give any introduction to him trying to make a transition, but just introduced him as a new song with a ‘what do you think?’ type of mentality. And I was loving it. He sounds like he grew up with country, which considering he went for the grunge music, is very interesting. Turns out country roots are exactly what he has and he grew up on folk music, which you can hear in the music being played by his band. If you’re looking for a country artist who can mix the fun country vibe with the deeper roots and emotion of country, take a listen to Aaron Lewis.

If Aaron Lewis sticks to his country roots, he should do just fine in country music.

Check out his music on iTunes, Spotify, and his latest song That Ain’t Country

http://www.aaronlewismusic.com

Love and All Things Country

We’re Having Ourselves a Big and Rich Time!

So I got the unexpected opportunity of meeting Big and Rich at the Spread the Love Tour in Philadelphia this year! My local radio station (Thank you 92.5 WXTU and Razz!) had gotten me meet and greets for Old Dominion (see previous entry) and as an added bonus, a pair of meet and greets for the always fabulous Big and Rich! I’ve been listening to country for as long as I can remember and Big and Rich were a country duo that are just essential to all things country. They’re such a fun and upbeat country group and I was so excited to meet them. They definitely lived up to everything I have ever heard about the duo! Cowboy Troy was also with them too so it just kept getting better and better. What I loved most about this meet and greet was the overall energy and vibe that I had from both the fans and Big and Rich. Even though this had the same rules as the Old Dominion meet and greet with no autographs or extra photos, the atmosphere was fun, relaxed, and excited. The manager was great and put all of us who had meet and greets in the room to wait for their arrival. Right before the doors opened, their manager got us all excited to see Big and Rich and when they walked in, the group starting cheering and clapping for them. Of course, they strutted into the room as only they can, and even had a camera man with them. Turns out they were filming some extra snippets for something they were working on, as they told us. Of course, everyone there was happy to oblige for some extra fun time with Big and Rich and they even led us in the chorus of ‘Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy’ so the cameraman could go around the room filming the fans singing along and dancing with the group. I waited my turn with the rest of the group for my pictures, and it was so great to watch them interact with each and every fan that came up to them for the photos. They posed for photos, goofed around with their fans, and overall made it a great experience for those of us who love all things country.  The fan experience is much better when you don’t hide your fans behind the backdrop prior to photos…but I digress.  You can even see from the pictures just how ecstatic I was to meet them in my pictures!  The manager took a ton of photos and basically captured my entire interaction with the guys including some really funny candids I’ll have to post later.

And now onto their performance…holy wow. Those guys know how to both rock the audience and also slow it down and give that old-school country romance vibe. Their voices sounded amazing, the crowd interaction was great, and their comments in between songs were hysterical as well. I’m not sure how they managed to have that much energy performing on stage while the sun was blazing, but man, they were so good! They played some of their fun hits like ‘Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy’ and ‘Coming to Your City’. They even slowed it down with a few songs from their latest album ‘Gravity’. One of my favorite things about going to country concerts is how proud it makes me to be a country fan in the good old USA. While the country has it’s fair share of political issues, disputes, and divides, going to a country concert reminds me that this music unites all the fans regardless of differences. Big and Rich also paid tribute to those who have served prior to singing their song ‘8th of November’. This simple act of saying thank you to those who have given of themselves to serve in our military is inspiring and always makes me have a whole lot more respect for the artists who can take a moment and give a shout out to these people. Big and Rich also brought out Cowboy Troy to take the stage with them, which just added yet another element to their already layered musical performance. They did a cover of Cake by the Ocean by DNCE! Such a fun and rocking country performance by everyone that day!

If you ever get the chance to get a meet and greet with these guys, definitely don’t pass up that opportunity, they won’t disappoint! Also, check out their latest album Gravity, which is currently available on iTunes.

Love and All Things Country

Twitter:  @fitfunjen203  @bigandrich

Said Nobody Ever

If you haven’t listened to this song yet by Old Dominion, you definitely need to check it out. And if you don’t know who Old Dominion is, stop reading this blog right now and go listen to their brand new album, Meat and Candy, right now. Go! Stop reading and go listen to it, you don’t know what you’re missing!

But if you’re still reading, AND you’re an Old Dominion fan, I hope you read that heading like you were singing that wonderful song. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a big fan of Old Dominion and their music. I was a fan of their music the very first time I heard their song ‘Shut Me Up’ and their career launching ‘Break Up With Him’ on the radio. I even got their album Meat and Candy when it was released on CD so I could listen to it in my car. This band has an amazing sound hands down that is laid-back, fun, and catchy. Old Dominion is a band of 5 guys who play together and are song writers as well for top acts including Kenny Chesney. Which then makes a lot of sense why they are out on the road with Kenny for his Spread The Love tour (more about that in a later entry). I absolutely love the sound that Old Dominion has, and when I realized I was going to get a chance to hear them play live in Philadephia, I was even more excited. It’s a lot harder to see up and coming country acts where I live since it seems the Jersey-Philly-Delaware area isn’t so big on country music. Now, imagine my excitement when the wonderful local radio station, 92.5XTU was able to get me meet and greets before the show. I’ve never been to a meet and greet with them before before, and this was one of my favorite bands so I couldn’t wait.

Which is why I have waited over a week to write this blog entry. Not because the excitement just couldn’t contain itself and I needed a week to get myself calm. But because of the complete let down I had at the meet and greet. Yes. I was extremely disappointed, and it pains me to say it, but as a music fan, I feel that it is SO incredibly important to keep your fans happy. Now, please read about my experience in its entirety before you think, oh she’s just a fan trying to get attention. Not in the slightest. But if anyone from OD’s team is reading this, please keep all of this in mind going forward with your meet and greets. As a new artist, building a fan base is extremely important. Appreciating the fans whom support you is important. Meet and Greets are important.

And now this is why I am disappointed. I specifically asked the radio station about how to get meet and greets for these guys. Not for Kenny Chesney or Miranda Lambert, but Old Dominion. The band that when I texted all my friends I got meet and greets for, most had to ask me what song they sang. But, this was a band I’ve been telling friends to check out for well over a year now, and that I have listened to and supported in their career. I got to the meet and greet spot where the coordinator took us downstairs to the room where we were doing the meet and greet. My friend and I were the second ones to meet the guys, and to be honest, it seemed like we were literally the second people they have ever done a meet and greet with in their life. We were told ahead of time that there were to be no autographs and to hand our phone to the manager (I believe that’s who it was) who would take our picture. So, when I got to the point where the guys were, they were hidden behind the backdrop for the photos. In my excitement I went to see where they were and we were both told by the guy (again, I’m assuming he’s the manager) we were only allowed to see the guys when it was our turn. Not even allowed to see the guys unless it’s your turn for the meet and greet. Literally, my meet and greet lasted maybe 60 seconds. My friend and I were told we could go around the screen, I walked up to the guys and shook all 5 of their hands because I wasn’t exactly sure what I was supposed to do and they all were just standing there anyway with their hands in their pockets. Plus, the manager guy seemed so pushy about getting us through the meet and greet so there was that aspect of it. Matt did pull us in for a photo, but aside from me saying that I loved their music I got a minimal response from them of hi at least. They also say that body language is 90% of communication.  We posed for our picture (Well some of us did.  Trevor is just just kind of standing there), and then off we went. I was excitedly looking at the pictures afterwards when several people pointed out that some of them are barely even smiling. Maybe they were having a bad day, I don’t know. But what I do know is that shortly after this they were on stage performing. So they know how to put on a smile and perform on stage at least, maybe they just have to work on pretending to look excited backstage.

At first I thought that was how a meet and greet was supposed to go. You wait your turn behind the screen, you quickly snap a few photos with the band, and then you get whisked off for the next person to go. And then I did a meet and greet with Big and Rich (this will be the next entry). What a huge difference. Their meet and greet was an unexpected surprise I managed to snag but was so glad I did. You could tell they cared about their fans and while they had the same rule of no autographs or additional photos, they were not kept hidden behind a screen as each fan waited their turn. They engaged their fans and had a fun and relaxing atmosphere. It’s all about the tone you set with the audience. I really wish Old Dominion seemed just as excited to meet their fans as their fans were to meet them.

Matt, Trevor, Whit, Geoff, and Brad, I do love the music you guys make and the performance you did. But after that meet and greet, I was so incredibly disappointed as a fan. I want to believe it wasn’t you guys who created that vibe of a cold, going through the motions, meet and greet. I want to believe it was the manager who kept you guys hidden behind the screen like the great Wizard of Oz and gave us a first impression that this was all business and you guys just needed to get this part of the day over with. I really thought it was going to be a lot like the vibe I got from your music…fun, laid-back, and genuine.

 

Love and All Things Country

Welcome!

Hello everyone!

This is a blog straight from the North East in the hopes that I can spread some of the country love that I have that all comes out of Nashville.  Too many times I’ve mentioned a new artist or started singing a song on the radio that many of my friends haven’t heard of yet, because I’m listening straight from Nashville instead of waiting for the music to get up hear in the NE.  My hope is that I’ll change that and start sharing some of the latest and greatest music I hear and think is worth a listen.

Before you get to reading and wondering why I get to say what I say about country music, it’s simply because I can and because I am a country music fan. Anyone who listens to the music has an option of whether to play the song again, or pass it up and go onto the next.  I grew up on country music and I go back to the days of Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and the country ladies such as Reba McEntire, Patti Loveless and Mary Chapin Carpenter paving the way for ladies such as Miranda or Carrie. Now, as country music has evolved, so has my taste for country.

I would say the greater majority of my music I grew up with would be country. I won’t deny that I went through a teen pop phase when the boy bands such as NSYNC and Back Street came out, but at the end of the day I came back to my roots. Living in the Philadelphia and Jersey region, going back to these roots though can be a lot more challenging. I don’t live down south where every other radio station plays country music. I live in the land of dance, pop, and EDM music. We have one country channel that comes in clearly, 3 total if you count the 2 I can only get in a very specific spot while holding the radio, standing on one foot, you get the picture. There’s one country line-dancing club within driving distance, and I actually have to search and work hard to find out when and where (hopefully within an hour drive) a country act is coming to town. Luckily for me, Philadelphia is within an hour drive so when country acts do come up north, this is my best bet to see them.

I ended up getting satellite radio in my car solely for the purpose of listening to the one and only Sirius XM On the Highway radio station. This station is great since they play both upcoming country acts and current ones as well. They’ve introduced me to some of my favorite artists, which I will be blogging about over time. I’ve realized that not everyone has the joy of discovering these new artists, so when I say to my friends, oh have you heard of this new band? I often get a surprised look. I’m hoping with this blog to review new artists and give them a fair and respectful review as artists. Trust me, there’s plenty of country artists out there that I do not like in the slightest, but I still respect them for their craft. Then again, there’s also other artists out there that if I was their manager, there would be a lot of things I would say to them if they wanted to survive in this live or die genre of country. Country fans are honest. They usually love you or they hate you. There’s country purists out there who feel that country should have specific qualifications But we’ll save that topic for a rainy day (Kenny Chesney anyone?).

Please feel free to check out the artists and remember, while I love free music streaming like Spotify and Pandora, if you truly like the band, please purchase their music. That’s really the best way to show your support. I actually purchase the CD if they catch my attention so I can rock out to it in my car. Also, you never know when you might have one them around to sign it!

So for now, I look forward to sharing new acts, songs, and news that I hear, especially for us well north of Nashville who are a little late to the game in discovering new country talent.

Love and All Things Country