Jul 8

Next In Country Music – Brett Kissel

I keep trying to tell you, our neighbors to the North are putting out some really good Country artists! I just came across Brett Kissel today looking for new music for the 8 O’clock Showdown. As soon as I heard Airwaves I was interested! Can’t wait to hear more! Check out his latest single here then check him out of Twitter @BrettKissel 

Taken From www.brettkissel.com 

When you come from a place called Flat Lake, Alberta, it’s pretty tough to get noticed. For Brett Kissel, it’s pretty tough to be ignored.

The 24-year-old singer/songwriter has been THE country music story of 2014 – recently winning 2 awards at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards – for “CMT Video of the Year” and “Interactive Artist of the Year”, after recording 8 nominations.  Brett also took home a Canadian Radio Music Award – for Breakthrough Artist of the Year in Country Music, on top of 2 Association of Country Music in Alberta awards, and 2 Edmonton Music Awards.  With countless sold out shows across North America, Kissel was primed for his major label debut album through Warner Music Canada, Started With A Song, released late last year.

Even before the album’s release, Kissel had already made radio history. With more than 93% of Canadian Country stations adding the first single “Started With A Song,” the track eclipsed the record for most adds at Canadian Country radio in one week, a record previously held by Taylor Swift. Since the album’s release, Brett has become the talk of Canadian country music. He has seen 2 of his music vides reach No. 1 at CMT, he has scored three top 10 radio hits, and he headlined a cross-Canada tour. To top it all off, Brett won his first Juno Award – becoming the first country artist to be awarded with Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 17 years.

The album, co-produced by Kissel with Ted Hewitt (Rodney Atkins), Ben Phillips (Blake Shelton) and CCMA Award-winner Bart McKay, is an exhilarating collection of music that can be best described as the New Wave of Old Country: each song a slice of real-life sentiment; emotional touchstones that run the gamut of highs and lows and explore such subjects as deep love, trying moments and poignant reflection, measured out by party anthems and a sense that something special is happening here.

Listening to the rousingly playful title track “Started With A Song”, the invigoratingly catchy “3-2-1” and the modern country gem “Something You Just Don’t Forget,” it is no wonder why Bob Doyle, the manager behind Garth Brooks, proceeded to sign Brett to a co-management and publishing deal upon meeting him in Nashville.

Kissel makes it clear how personal these songs really are with tracks like “Country In My Blood” – written about the Alberta cattle ranch that has been in his family for over a century – the poignant true-life tale of his grandparents in the moving ballad “Together (Grandma and Grandpa’s Song)” and “Girl In A Cowboy Hat,” an upbeat song about potential romance.

During the summer touring season, Kissel headlined Canada’s largest country music festival – Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta.  After a late set and a long autograph line, he returned home to the ranch at 3 a.m.  At 6:45 a.m. there was a knock on his bedroom door.  It was his grandfather (“who we affectionately call Grandpa Bear”).

“I said, ‘Grandpa, I’d really like to sleep in. I just played Big Valley Jamboree last night and I’ve only had two hours of sleep.’ And he said, ‘Wake up, because you’re no country star on the farm!’

Kissel realized at that moment, “My Grandpa was right.  No matter what I do, even if it’s playing in front of 25,000 people, once I get home, work needs to get done. It doesn’t matter who I am onstage.”

It’s a much different kind of work when he hits the road, which he does often. An energetic and electrifying performer, Kissel plays upwards of 150 shows a year.

His parents remind him that he’s been an attention-seeker his whole life. “I craved the spotlight. Any opportunity to stand up on the couch and belt out a tune when I was 3 or 4 years old, I always took.”

When his grandmother bought him a Sears-catalogue guitar just before his 7th birthday, Kissel’s fate was sealed.

“It was this deep-rooted passion inside of me.  When I was 10 years old, I was playing three-chord Johnny Cash songs at talent shows, but singing them two octaves higher than his deep baritone voice.

“When I was 12 and I got a $50 honorarium to play for a local 4H club – I realized I could do this for a living,” he chuckles. “Usually it took me two birthdays and a really generous tooth fairy to make $50. And I made that in 20 minutes just playing and singing songs? I was over the moon.”

Kissel continued to perform at various agrarian events and celebrations, even being paid for one concert with a pure bred bull.

Influenced by the likes of Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Buck Owens and George Strait, Brett Kissel is still very much his own man: a dynamic, charismatic performer, singer and songwriter and ready to make an imposing impression on the global country music scene with Started With A Song.

“I write and record music that’s true to myself, about experiences that I’ve had in my young age,” Kissel declares, “and it’s my hope that the fans and all the people listening are either touched by it or can escape wherever they need to escape from for three-and-a-half minutes.

“I’ve been working on these songs for three years, and cannot wait to begin making new fans by playing around the world.”

When he finally reaches that goal – and you know that Brett Kissel has the confidence, determination and talent to pull it off – remember, of course, that it all Started With A Song.

Jul 1

Next In Country Music – Wes Mack

Canadian Country is on the rise! Over the past year I have heard more and more Canadian country artists starting to make noise here in the states. Wes Mack has been climbing the charts in Canada and has found himself a pretty decent supporter, Ms Shania Twain! Shania has tapped Mack to be the opening act on her current tour! If Wes looks familiar thats because you may have seen him on Smallville or Heartland!

Check out his latest single The Way You Let Me Down they say hello to him on the Twitter! @WesMackMusic

Jun 30

Next in Country Music – Bart Crow

Already a big name in the Texas music seen, Bart Crow is one rising to the ears of more and more listeners nation wide! I heard his latest single Life Comes At You Fast and found a new favorite tune right away!

Check out he lyric video here, then go check him out on the Twitter @BartCrow

Jun 12

Next in Country Music 6/11/15 – Lucy Angel

Taken from lucyangel.com

Lucy Angel began this journey ten 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, they are ready to introduce 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 forthcoming self-titled album produced by Noah Gordon (Colt Ford, LoCash Cowboys, Bubba Sparxxx).

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Signed to Average Joes Entertainment through G-Force Music Group, LLC the trio’s tight harmonies and unforgettable brand has led them to open for Jake Owen, Montgomery Gentry, Charlie Daniels, Jerrod Neiman, Casey James, Neal McCoy 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 release of “Crazy Too” is set to hit Country radio in the fall.

In addition to the new music, Lucy Angel has also been offered another exciting opportunity – a 13-episode “Docus-series set to air in January on the 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 of Taylored TV who is known for producing one of MTV’s highest rated reality television series of all time- The Osbournes. Eggplant TV’s Terry Tompkins is also an EP on the show.

New music. A TV series. It sounds like it’s a perfect time to be Lucy Angel these days. Lindsay Anderton would no doubt be in total agreement. “I can’t believe the timing of everything. We’ve been here for eleven years. It just feels right, and that it’s falling into place. The record is right, the single is awesome, and then the TV show. It’s a really exciting time.”

And, maybe just a little bit…”Crazy Too.”

May 21

Next in Country 5/21/15

So today’s post is of a couple of guys that I have talked about before. These guys put on a great live show and make some great videos!

Todays artists are Sundy Best (yes I spelled it right!)

Taken from sundybest.net

In the universe of music-making, countless debates have been had comparing and contrasting less vs. more, style vs. substance, form vs. function.

Those debates have little merit if the final product isn’t excellent. Quality trumps all other quantitative discussions.

When you look at the recent output of Sundy Best, the Lexington, Ky.-bred duo comprising Kris Bentley and Nick Jamerson, you certainly see they have the “quantity” side taken care of. Since signing with eOne Music in 2013, the band has released three separate studio projects — a deluxe version of their independently produced album Door Without A Screen, early 2014’s Bring Up The Sun, and now, a brand new collection of songs titled Salvation City, their second effort working with veteran producer RS Field (Justin Townes Earle, Allison Moorer, Todd Snider, Webb Wilder, Sonny Landreth.)

And this is where the excellence comes in.

With each step along the way — even the quick-step nature of rolling out music almost as quickly as they can write and record it — you hear the maturity, the confidence and the capability of this duo rise and rise, especially on the tracks that make up Salvation City, a mythical place Jamerson describes as more an attitude than anything concrete.

“Even with social media, I don’t think the world is in any worse shape than its ever has been, but it can really bring you down, if you’re always on Facebook and Twitter and constantly connected,” he says. “I found the only time we could really escape it was at our shows, when we were working.

“It’s like we were creating this little separate environment away from all the negative stuff, so that’s where we came up with ‘Salvation City,’” he continues. “It’s whatever in your life that’s an escape from the nonsense that’s out there, if that keeps you sane, that’s your ‘Salvation City.’”

People just getting their first taste of Sundy Best over the past couple of years might have chosen to look simply at the form the band took — Jamerson on an acoustic guitar, Bentley on a cajón drum — and overlook the function the sparseness served, delivering raw, yet powerful down-home sonics merged with the childhood friends’ intertwining vocals.

For Salvation City’s season, though, Jamerson, Bentley and Field have chosen to flip the switch, not only adding more electric instrumentation to the mix, but also adding to the variety of styles the band was already playing adeptly in.

“RS says one of two things when he’s asked about our music,” Bentley says. “First, if he’s asked what it sound like, he calls it ‘Appalachiadelicfolksoulrock’n’roll.’ And second, if he’s asked if it’s country, he says, ‘Yeah, it’s country music. It’s made in this country.’”

It’s that trust between band and producer that allowed Sundy Best to manifest new ideas and sounds in this latest studio go-round, conducted in the midst of a busy 2014 that had them on the road near-constantly, experiencing career goals such as multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and headlining a sold-out show in New York City.

“We find out new things about ourselves and our music every day we’re in the studio with him,” Bentley says of Field’s influence. “Every time we talk we learn something, and as Nick and I continue to write, we send him stuff for feedback. It’s a relationship beyond the studio. It’s more than just the music.”

“As long as everybody’s on the same page, you can never have too many good ideas,” Jamerson says. “It’s OK for somebody to say ‘you’re wrong’ if you are wrong. It takes more than one person, it takes more than two people; you have to have somebody steering the ship, but if nobody’s rowing the boat, you’re not going anywhere.

Which is why tracks like “I Want You To Know (World Famous Love Song)” sounds like a 21st Century Marty Robbins reignition, and why “My Sweet Thing” has a fuzz-box funkiness and loops galore, and why they fit right alongside the cautionary tales of road life found on “Get Back Home To You,” the electro-acoustic stomp of “Shotgun Lady,” the cheeky lament of “Piece of Work,” and the up-tempo, dream-chasing challenge of “Do You Wanna Go?”

The music and ideas on Salvation City fit anywhere and everywhere simultaneously, a challenge in an era that demands easy identifiers, especially when it comes to music.

“What is a genre anymore?” Jamerson asks. “Really, in this day, it’s either good music or it’s bad music. If people enjoy it, that’s enough for us.”

“It starts with who we are as people. We’re as real and honest and genuine as we want people to be with us,” Bentley continues. “I think, hopefully, someday people will hear that through the music as we continue to try to do things our way. We just want to be as much of ourselves as we can.”

May 20

Next up in Country 5/20/15

So sometimes when Im looking for new country music I find a song that just resonates with me…

That said today’s artist is Ray Scott! “Drinkin’ Beer” is a blue collar anthem!

Ray’s songs captivate audiences through his honest, authentic lyrics, often punctuated with his signature wit and turn of a phrase. On his latest album, Ray Scott, the acclaimed Country storyteller is at the top of his game. Critics praise 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 number 18.

Ray’s songs, along with his instantly recognizable voice, prove Country music will never go out of style. “The good news is, the kind of music I’m making now is not age-specific. I’m not out there wiggling my ass for anybody, so it’s about telling stories, making people smile and making them feel something.”

For many, Ray needs no introduction. His first album, My Kind Of Music, was released in 2005 and the title track quickly became a Top 40 hit. Since then Ray has released three independent albums and has found success touring with songs like his hit “Those Jeans” and “Drinkin’ Beer.” Ray is the only independent artist in the GAC Hall of Fame and his style of traditional country music has also earned him a strong following in Europe. “Drinkin’ Beer” was the #1 Song of 2014 on the United Kingdom’s Hot Disc chart.

Ray’s current radio single, “Ain’t Always Thirsty,” is a true story, written from a low point in Ray’s life after a divorce and a lot of self-reflection.

 “The song is very beautiful yet dark and painful, with no glimmer of hope. It’s classic country in every way,” says Blake Judd, who directed the music video.

May 19

Next up in Country 5/19/15

Always on the look out for up and comers on country music! Find them, listen to them, and pass them on to you!

Today’s artist is Sammy Hakim! Heard her “Empty Bottle” song and got it stuck in my head!

Taken from sammyhakim.com

With radio singles that have charted internationally and multiple nominations as both Breakout artist and Breakout Top 40 artist, Sammy Hakim is a star on the rapid rise!  Her riveting live performances are just a small part of her talent equation.  In this era of mostly studio manufactured music, Sammy is a triple threat – a singer, a songwriter and a multi-instrumentalist.  She learned to play guitar and piano at a young age, and she also plays violin, ukulele and other instruments.


Taking inspiration from the life experience of herself and her peers, Sammy began composing and arranging songs when she was just thirteen.  Her musical influences are an eclectic mix and include:  Ed Sheeran, Bruce Springsteen, who gave her his guitar pick at his concert when she was 6 years old,  Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert, Reba McIntyre, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, the Jonas brothers, the Ramones, and Johnny Cash. Sammy’s soulful voice also pays allegiance to Nick Jonas, Avril Lavigne and Carrie Underwood. Sammy, referencing one of her musical mentors, states; “I love how Elvis Costello writes how he feels whether it’s pop, country, or rock. Since writing and performing music is one of her deepest passions in life, I also like to experiment with different genres based on what will best express  the feeling I want to convey.”


With a wisdom that far exceeds her young age, Sammy seeks to empower women through her powerful portrayals of love and loss. This is most eloquently demonstrated in her soul stirring hits ,”Fearless” and “Tuck Me In.”  Sammy also has a charitable spirit and gives a portion of her record sales back to the community.  The aforementioned “Tuck Me In”, which Sammy composed at just 15-years old, was a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition and earns money for various organizations fighting domestic violence.  In addition to the Nashville Songwriters Association International, Sammy is a member of Songwriters of Washington and the Washington Area Music Association.


Sammy’s chart success is extensive.  Her singles “Fearless” and “Tuck Me In” made it to #3 on the Hot 100 charts, #1 on Top 40, and #8 on Main Country charts. Her single “Mark Me” was #1 on the Indie Top 40 NMW Charts, #5 on the Top 40 Charts and #9 on the Top 100 Indie Song Charts.  Her songs “Fearless” and “Mark Me” were finalists, in the International Songwriters Competition, and received  honorable mention in both the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and 2nd Song Universe. “Tuck Me In” won song and vocalist of the month for Song Universe.


In 2014, Sammy won Songwriters Universe, an international songwriting competition, and has been named by Nashville’s Songwriters Association as “one to watch” seven times!  She was nominated for New Top 40 artist and Breakthrough artist on 2012 NMW and has been nominated for 2013 Top 40 Breakthrough Artist of the Year by New Music Weekly.

In addition, in 2013, she was named as One to watch at NSAI.


Touted by Yahoo!News as “a name to remember” and by iMovieLine.com as “comparable to Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson”, Sammy Hakim will definitely be at the forefront of country pop music for many years to come.  She is set to continue her music studies at The Berklee School of Music starting this winter 2015. She may be contacted at courtney@socialdoneright.com www.sammyhakim.com

May 19

Never thought this would happen again…

About 8 years ago I went through a pretty bad divorce. At the time as many people that go through a divorce, I felt that my world had crumbled and that one of the only things that I did good, be a husband and father, was another thing that I had failed at in life. From that moment I decided that I would never get married again. I didnt believe in what the institution of marriage had become and felt that it was a joke.

Fast forward a few years and I went to a concert with a long time friend who, funny enough, was at my wedding! We one thing led to another and thanks to some liquid courage I kissed her and again thanks to alcohol she kissed me back! As our relationship grew she knew exactly how I felt about marriage and she loved me enough to accept that.

We hit a rough patch and split for a few months in 2012. Let me answer your question, yes it was my fault! Anyways, in that time my life radically changed, I went back to college and got my job here at The Wolf. However even with as happy as I was, I knew I was missing something and went begging for her to take me back. Then I did what I thought I would never do. I realized that with all and I do mean all of my stupid problems, annoying habits, hard headedness, and laundry list of other flaws, this woman still loved me and wanted to be with me of all people.

On May 18th last year, I made the decision to put my thoughts aside and do something for her, because I loved her that much. With the blessing of her father, the help of my coworkers and two amazing people Keifer and Shawna Thompson (Thompson Square) I not only did what I never thought I would do again, but did it front of 3000 people, with all my heart, and down on one knee. She said yes and the wedding is December 12 of this year.

What I hope by sharing my story is two things. One, that if you are going through a rough time and feel that the world is against you and you have lost all that you love, You cant see it now, or maybe even tomorrow, but if you surround yourself with great friends and keep pushing forward everyday, it will get better and things that you feel now are not possible, will be. Two, Doing something for someone because you love them and you want more than anything for them to be happy is an amazing feeling that can make you change the way you look at things!

May 18

Next in Country 5/16/15

Always on the look out for whos up and coming on country music! I try to find artist that have some buzz about them and bring them to you!

Today’s artist is Blaire Hanks!  Got turned on to him last year from one of his biggest fans and have been a fan since! Check him out!

Taken from blairehanks.com

Blaire Hanks is an up and coming singer/songwriter in Nashville, TN. Growing up in a small town in north east Florida, he had a great appreciation for many genres of music and began writing songs by age 15. Blaire developed a small fan base that encouraged him to pursue his love for music; he performed for many local events and fell in love with the idea of making a living doing what he enjoyed so much. Like many artists, Blaire knew if he was going to make a career in Country music, he had to move to Nashville. At only 19, he made that move, determined to find his way in Music City and make a name for himself. Blaire met some writers and made a connection with a singer/songwriter named Johnny T. They collaborated on a few songs and Johnny decided to cut a song they wrote together, ‘Buzzin’ which aired on Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel, ‘The Highway’. Blaire signed with WBMG shortly after releasing his first single ‘Show You Off’ in January of 2014.  Together they released his debut self titled EP ‘Blaire Hanks – EP’ which charted at #22 on the iTunes Country Charts within the first 2 days of it being released. Blaire has shared the stage with Florida Georgia Line, and most recently Dustin Lynch. He and his band have a high energy, exciting show filled with cutting edge music and sound that the crowds love. Non-stop fun while #TakinItEazy.

May 15

Next Up In Country Music 5/15/15

I’m always looking for up and comers in country music! So I thought I’d share them with you!

Today’s artists is Ricky Gunn! Really like “King of This Town!

Taken from rickygunn.com

Born and raised outside of Columbus, Georgia, Ricky Gunn grew up like many southern boys, spending his time fishing, hunting, chasing girls and speeding down dirt roads. During visits to his grandfather’s house, though, he also discovered a love of country music, especially the old-school songwriting of Hank Williams, Conway Twitty and Waylon Jennings. Those artists told stories. They cast moods. They packed a punch. Later, when his grandfather gave him an acoustic guitar and taught him three basic chords, the teenaged Gunn transformed himself into a songwriter virtually overnight, finishing his first tune by the end of the week.


Years later, Gunn is still writing songs. King of this Town, his full-length debut album, mixes those old-school country influences with modern-day firepower, creating a sound that twangs and rocks in equal measure. Filled with pedal steel guitar riffs and the sound of Gunn’s award-winning voice (which won back-to-back trophies from the Georgia Music Awards in 2011 and 2012), it’s a biographical record about Gunn’s life. He’s a family man, a blue-collar worker and a proud southerner, making his songs — which spin stores of growing up, falling in love and building a family — familiar to anyone who works hard during the week to support the people they love.


“I love older country music because it’s so personal,” Gunn says. “Singers like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings used music to tell their story. They didn’t need to jump all over the place to be entertaining, because their music was the entertainment. I’ve always loved that vibe.”


Go to any Ricky Gunn show, though, and you won’t see the songwriter standing still. Before he began opening shows for country stars like Travis Tritt, Tyler Farr and Gary Allan, Gunn earned a reputation as one of the hardest-working showmen in Georgia, performing nightly bar gigs that lasted as long as five hours. For someone who’d wanted to be a full-time musician ever since his teenage years, there was no better crash-course in the music industry. Those marathon gigs taught Gunn how to hold an audience’s attention. He learned when to speed things up, when to play a ballad, when to let the crowd catch its breath before taking it away with another fiery, fast-paced country-rocker. In order words, he learned how to entertain.


Recorded at the world-famous Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, King of this Town is modern country music with old roots, anchored by a love for the classics and a blue-collar mentality. Gunn sings about his job on “Livin’ Like Me,” a standout track that puts a southern spin on songs like Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page.” Meanwhile, he offers up snapshots of his own life story with “As Good As It Gets,” whose lyrics move from Gunn’s childhood days at his grandfather’s house to his recent years onstage. He gives us another glimpse at his past on the album’s anthemic title track, a nostalgic tune about remembering your roots — even while you reach for something higher.


At the end of the day, Gunn is just like the audiences he plays for: he works hard, enjoys a good time and supports the loved ones who’ve supported him. Lately, the amount of supporters has started to swell, thanks to Gunn’s combination of throwback styles and contemporary sounds.


“It’s all about hard work, dedication and never quitting,” says Gunn, who turned down an offer to join the Georgia fire department in order to pursue a career in music. “Every song on there goes back to a memory that I’ve had or an experience that I’ve gone through. I wanted it to sound real, because if you’ve been living the life you’re supposed to be living, the real stuff is gonna be the good stuff.”