High Valley – Live Concert Review

image1 (1).JPGMoonshine Beach hosts an array of artists from all over the United States. Some country, some rock n roll, and some that play a little of everything. This last Saturday night, they hosted Canadian duo, High Valley. The venue, located on a main street in Pacific Beach is well known for the young, college crowd who like to dance, get drunk on Bud Light and get rowdy. It’s tough to come in as an original act on a Saturday, keep the audience’s attention and pack the dance floor. High Valley did not disappoint.

The dance floor was busy, and in a room that boasts a capacity of 1000, it was nearly full. Kudos to Moonshine Beach and their staff for making the room comfortable, with excellent service and security to handle that size of a crowd. The entire show, which ran just under 80 minutes held the audience from start to finish. In addition to talented good-looking musicians and vocalists, Brad and Curtis Rempel are showmen. Even their few minutes of dance competition talk to pick who would win some of their merch was well executed, and entertaining. They remind me of a classier version of another country duo that I have seen in the past…… This crowd, whether they initially came there as High Valley fans or not, definitely left there as one. “Make You Mine” was a crowd favorite and even after the band was finished, the crowd insisted on an encore. All in all, it was a great night of great music.

So who is High Valley?

High Valley is a Canadian country music duo from Blumenort, Alberta, a small community near the hamlet of La Crete. The band is composed of brothers Brad and Curtis Rempel. Bryan Rempel was a member until March 2014.  In October 2015, High Valley signed to Atlantic Nashville.  Shortly after that, the single “Make You Mine” was released to United States country radio. It debuted at number 56 on the U.S. Country chart.

If you haven’t checked out their music yet, please make sure to support them and visit their website.

 

 

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Stephan Hogan releasing new music!

image1.PNGNot that long ago, we shared a story about Stephan Hogan, country singer and guitarist from Sacramento, California who made it into the top 5 for Guitar Center’s National Competition – On Stage with Vince Gill. Selected from thousands of entrants, Stephan got to rehearse and play with Vince Gill at The Mint in Los Angeles.

2017 hasn’t slowed down for Stephan. He has been busy recording  his latest EP, “Dangerous Love,” which will release March 17th, in addition to fielding interviews, playing shows and getting ready to join Vince Gill on tour at one of his shows this year. 5397c19dca4babd9016ac51ac3a8499b.jpg

Stephan spent a lot of time writing his next round of songs for the EP with the support of family and friends. As an artist, it’s very easy to mold your songs into what is currently trending, but not necessarily a true representation of your sound. This EP promises to be 100% Stephan Hogan, and we had the pleasure of previewing it before it’s released. Some of our favorite tracks include, “Girls Love Love Songs,” and the title track “Dangerous Love.”

 

To find out more about Stephan’s new EP, please visit his website.

Stephan Hogan announced as finalist in Guitar Center Presents On Stage with Vince Gill Contest

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Stephan Hogan, a Sacramento, California country music singer/songwriter

is announced as a top five finalist in Guitar Center Presents On stage with Vince Gill Contest June 28, 2016

 

Sacramento, Ca – All the way down the windy country roads of the sunshine state, comes a fresh, raw talent that is ready to take on the world of country music. Stephan Hogan is focused, 100%, on pursuing the musical aspirations that took root at a young age.  Stephan started strumming the guitar at just 5 years old and soon thereafter started his career in performing while singing “Country Road” by John Denver.  It was then that the lights left their mark on the soul of a young 5th grader; and his destiny was set.

Growing up listening to musical influences like The Eagles with his dad, Stephan’s roots in country music were just taking ground.   It wasn’t until he attended his first country music concert by Tim McGraw that he grasped on to the easy, honest, and genuine culture of country music.  Loving songs like Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” for its crossover reach into the world of pop, Hogan jumped onto the country train and hasn’t looked back.

Stephan regularly spends time in Nashville, performing/writing, and has decided to bring a bit of Nashville back home.  With his growing fan base and show schedule, he’s reaching an untapped market of loyal, California based country music fans.

Within just 6 months of recording his song, “Let’s Get Loud”, CMT came knocking and used it on a show, allowing thousands to hear the driven new voice.  Influenced by the likes of Thomas Rhett and The Cadillac Three, Stephan Hogan engineers and produces all of his own music.  Even after failing a vocational project in high school for proclaiming his dreams, this dedicated musician never stopped playing.  Music is his business, his goal, and his passion.

Stephan has now turned this passion into a reality by winning a coveted finalist spot in Guitar Center’s On Stage with Vince Gill in their National Competition. Entrants were required to submit a video of themselves playing guitar alongside of Vince Gill’s song, “Take me down,” released in November of 2015. Entrants were recommended to add their own personal style into the song, allowing them to showcase their individuality and musical ability. Finalists were selected from a panel of judges and Vince Gill himself, and the winner of the contest will open for one of the country’s leading guitarists at one of his U.S. Tour Performances. Each of the five finalists will be flown to Los Angeles to compete on stage in front of a panel of judges where the winner will be selected. In addition, each of the five finalists will win over six thousand dollars in prizes.

Stephan is currently managed by All About Groove Management and recently released his latest single, “Ballin’ on a Budget” now playing on multiple terrestrial radio stations. stephan

For more information on Stephan Hogan at http://stephanhogan.com

www.facebook.com/stephanhogan

www.twitter.com/stephanhogan

Stephan is available for interviews and other media opportunities. For booking information please contact Michael Harris with All About Groove Management at michael@allaboutgroove.com.

For more information on the Guitar Center Presents On Stage with Vince Gill Competition at http://onstage.amplifiertv.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Braeden Counts, a Sutherlin, Oregon country music singer/songwriter Releases 1st Single, Shot of You, June 10, 2016

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Braeden Counts, a Sutherlin, Oregon country music singer/songwriter

Releases 1st Single, Shot of You, June 10, 2016

Now available: CD, and Digital, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Apple Music

Sutherlin, Or – Braeden Counts has a voice you can’t ignore; a voice of persistence, of struggle and of hope. His new single Shot of You is out today, June 10, 2016. Braeden Counts, is a singer/songwriter and will be releasing his first EP in the fall of 2016. His single, Shot of You, is the first song that he has written.

This song was made in collaboration with All About Groove Entertainment and produced by Michael Harris and Kimberley Patterson, engineered by BluReel and mixed and mastered by Kent Shin at The Tower Studio in San Diego, California.

The groundbreaking country singer is a man of endless talent and passion. Born into a small town with not a lot of opportunities in the music scene, Braeden used his dedication and passion to turn his dreams into a reality. A self-taught musician, he studied some of his favorite artists while working and going to college full time, often practicing his guitar into the late hours of the night. Braeden has proved to be a country boy at heart who can seamlessly blend pop, traditional and new country into his music.

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“Music is my way of telling my life’s stories,” said Braeden Counts. “It’s my way of letting you know exactly who I am, what I stand for, what I believe in, and so on. I’ve always been a little bit of an introvert, but with music I can be as open as I want to be. It’s let me come out of my shell and express myself not only as an artist, but as a human being. I hope my music and bring out the same feeling in others. That’s what it’s all about. Connecting with people and making them feel something real. And that’s what I want to do with my music.”

Braeden has been featured as a guest artist on Best Country 103 KRSB to perform his original single, “Angels in the sky,” which was written as a tribute to his college, Umpqua Community College, and the friends he lost in the shooting tragedy, in addition to a guest performance at the Umpqua Strong Music Festival. Today also marks the date that Braeden will graduate from UCC with his Fitness Technician Certification. He has played other local venues such as Brewstation, Black Forest, Melrose Grange, Movies in the Park at the Half Shell, and is always adding new venues. While recording his single at The Tower Studio in San Diego, California, Braeden also performed at The Tin Roof, and Lestats East. He is proudly sponsored by Coldcock Whiskey and managed by All About Groove Entertainment and has received accolades from several national country acts for his song covers on his YouTube channel.

While it’s true that his path has been one of hard work and determination, Braeden aims to show that believing in yourself and fulfilling your dreams are possible.

More info, tour dates and updates at http://braedencounts.com

www.facebook.com/braedencounts

www.twitter.com/braedencounts

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Braeden Counts is available for interviews and other media opportunities. If you would like physical copies of Shot of You, album artwork, additional press shots, or anything else at all, please let me know and I will send them your way.

 

 

 

 

 

John Burke releases new album, Orogen – Review

41-WpyeFhJL._SS280The team at Cre8tive Reviews is always glad to hear when an artist we’ve reviewed before has a new release out. Pianist, John Burke, just recently released “Orogen,” a solo piano album on May 1, 2016. John Burke challenges common preconceptions of piano music with his rich, cinematic, and powerful style.

John Burke is an award-winning pianist with a prolific musical career. Inspired by pianist George Winston and keyboardist Ray Manzarek, John has created an intelligent, rich, and cinematic sound that challenges common preconceptions of solo piano music.

A native of Atlanta, GA, John began studying piano in high school after being inspired by his musical father. John played sporadically for a few years, but once he started at Oglethorpe University, John’s musical life flourished as he joined a band, studied with remarkable artists, and started composing.

Since 2011, John has composed multiple acclaimed solo piano albums, two of which were finalists for Album of the Year at SoloPiano.com. John has also composed film scores, directed musical theatre, and collaborated with a wide variety of instrumentalists, singers, and writers.

Beyond his solo works, John plays jazz, performs at weddings, accompanies choirs and orchestras, and discusses Muggle affairs with his cat, Dobby.

Not only is his style unique, but so are his albums. All named accordingly to flow with the music he composes. Take for example Orogen [or-oh-jen] (n): A region of the Earth’s crust where mountains are formed. Within each composition, an underlying melody gradually reveals itself. Forged by musical forces and shifts throughout the album, this subterranean melody ascends to unveil a symphonic mountain range.

We had a chance to listen to the album in it’s entirety and here are our thoughts:

Kimberley Patterson: Orogen is beautifully done. From the first track on the album Arise, to the final title track Orogen his music takes you on a journey. This piece is different from his other album’s and yet similar as the influences of George Winston come through in a subtle fashion. The order of the songs gives yet another look at how music can make you feel. Arise is a very light, but powerful piece that makes me think of being in Hawaii or a really bright beach house. Perhaps even a lighthouse on the coast in Maine, with the sun coming through the windows and that crisp, cool ocean air drifting in. Skip ahead to the Autumn Blaze, and it’s a bit faster now – with John doing some amazing key work on the piano. Reminding me of being on that same hill, this time maybe flying a kite or sailing really fast on the ocean with dolphins jetting by. In Earthbreaker, John delivers a solid performance with some unique style at the very end of the song. But, this album doesn’t just speed through the senses, rather it builds you up to this wonderful, happy place and then gently carries you off to this beautiful and soft resting place. Windflower, does just that with it’s soft, gentle and sensual sounds. It’s another album that is truly a masterpiece and I am honored to review!

Michael Harris :Good morning sunshine! The new album release, “Orogen,” by John Burke is the perfect soundtrack to a productive Saturday morning – one of those mornings where you can kind of take your time waking up and not have to gulp down your coffee quite as fast. Arise, the first track, sets the scene – you can imagine the first light of day just cresting over the mountains to the East (just google “orogen” to see how it’s related to the mountain reference) and peaking through your curtains. The rest of the album takes you on a journey – ebbing and flowing to energetic heights of fast-moving, technically-impressive, and piano-prepared tunes like Earth Breaker and down into calming and peace-inducing numbers like Wildflower. Overall, the 53 minute collection of gorgeous solo piano music is a wonderful way to start your day with some inspiration and positive movement.

To listen to Orogen or find out more information about John Burke please visit his OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

 

SINGER-SONGWRITER ROBBY JOHNSON

untitled (2).pngNASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 17, 2016) – CMR recording artist Robby Johnson has a big reason to celebrate these days. The singer-songwriter is watching as his current single, “Hate Me Tonight,” moves into the Top-30 on the MUSIC ROW Country Breakout chart this week.

“Radio has been so supportive of my music – going back to my first single,” said Johnson. “I have made so many unforgettable memories and friendships with the many Program and Music Directors throughout the United States since going out on my first radio tour. I am so humbled and thankful for their support.”

Johnson’s previous single, “South Of Me,” helped net him exposure on a wide variety of television programs – including Huckabee and a much-coveted performance on The Late Show with David Letterman, as well as mentions in magazines such as TV Guide, USA Today, and The Tennessean.

The critically acclaimed country artist, which serves as a commercial spokesperson for McDonalds Canada has been in Nashville since 2012 and is currently on the road promoting his debut album, Don’t Look Back, which was released in January 2016. Critics have raved about the set, with People describing it as “refreshing and as seductive as … his brooding good looks,” while Billboard lauded his “neighborly tone” and Music Connection praised his “rugged good looks, appealing tenor and top-notch material.”

For more information on Johnson, visit his website at www.Robby-Johnson.com.

Striking Matches coverage from Cre8tive Reviews!

 

 

 

Cre8tive Reviews recently had the pleasure of working with Country Duo “Striking Matches,” when they stopped by Country Station KJUG to play a few songs for us. They are an amazing new duo who will no doubt make a BIG impression on country music.

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With their T Bone Burnett-produced debut album, guitar-wielding duo Striking Matches creates an unexpected and unique sound that defies easy categorization. The music of Striking Matches—Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis–occupies that sweet spot at the intersection of country, rock and blues, where all of the elements blend to form an authentically raw and rootsy sound that has a timeless and international appeal.

Indeed, their songs including “When the Right One Comes Along” and “Hanging on a Lie” have been featured on ABC’s hit drama series Nashville and recorded by the show’s stars Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen, and attracted an international fan base. Their first performances in London produced sold-out shows and audiences with a deep knowledge of their lyrics, even before the release of their first full album. Their debut self-titled EP was named among iTunes “Best of 2012″ and received national attention from outlets such as NPR, the BBC and The Wall Street Journal.

“The Nashville TV show was definitely a big break for us,” Sarah says. “It was the first time we had any national or international attention. That opened the door to a lot of fans finding us here in the U.S., but even overseas when the show came out in the U.K.,” she says.

Striking Matches is the debut artist on the newly revived label, I.R.S. Nashville, and has toured with Train, Vince Gill, Ashley Monroe and Hunter Hayes.

“Our music is best left up to interpretation, but we hope it represents an amalgamation of everything that has influenced us over the course of our lives, which comes from rock and roll, country and blues, and we fall somewhere in between all of those,” Justin says.

Although their debut album is a perfect fit in the landscape of today’s commercial music, it also stands out from the rest of the pack with its driving rhythms and simple yet artful production that’s designed to showcase the compelling harmonies, honest lyrics and innovative guitar playing. They had a hand in writing all 11 songs on the album, which captures the high energy and spontaneity of their popular live shows.

Of course, that’s not surprising, given that both have built a musical foundation on guitar playing and gravitate toward guitar-driven music, such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Steely Dan, Patsy Cline, Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins. Justin is known for his fast, intricate playing, while Sarah was influenced by the blues guitarists who strive to make every note count and last. “I have always found Sarah’s guitar playing interesting because it seems to complement mine,” he says.

Both shared the same dream growing up, even though they came from different backgrounds and regions. Justin was raised in Atlanta by parents who work in the medical field. “While they didn’t play any music, they had really great taste in music and that helped set me on a path that I am forever grateful for,” says Justin, who was raised on music such as Sam Cooke, Petula Clark, Otis Redding, Ray Charles and Motown greats.

He began writing songs at age 10 and has been playing guitar as long as he can remember. But he looked like a late bloomer compared to Sarah, who was raised outside of Philadelphia and began playing clarinet in second grade, violin in third grade and guitar in fourth. Her father was a musician who repaired woodwinds and other instruments in a downstairs studio, so she was immersed in music and was influenced by the Dixie Chicks. “They proved to me that a girl can play just like a guy can play,” she says. “They were my inspiration for being a lead guitar player.”

Both decided to pursue their dreams of having a career in music by moving to Nashville. Their paths crossed when both decided to attend Belmont University in 2007 and major in guitar, so they attended the same guitar seminar class and were randomly paired together by their professor early in the semester.

“It was a room full of guys and we were saying, ‘Well, as long as we don’t get the girl, we’ll be all right,” Justin recalls. “They called my name and Sarah’s. I thought, ‘Great. It’s all over now.’ I said, ‘Do you know any blues?’ She pulled out her slide and proceeded to leave everyone’s jaw on the floor, including mine. It was one of those ‘we should do that again’ moments.”

And they did just that. They began performing songs by Nickel Creek, Alison Krauss and Keith Urban, which led to writing together, which resulted in their first public performances at places such as the Bluebird Cafe. While they continued to perform with others, they loved the music they made together most of all. “This was always where we were having the most fun,” he says. “It was the most fulfilling. It was a dynamic of complement that didn’t exist anywhere else.”

Sarah won a scholarship to take a songwriting course at Vanderbilt University, and one of the guest speakers was veteran music executive John Grady. “He sat down, looked at me and said, ‘I know you,’” Sarah says. “The day before, someone had shown him a video we put on YouTube and he liked it. We started talking and got back together the next day. I think it was fate.”

After discussions with several labels, they accepted the offer to be the first artists on I.R.S Nashville. “I don’t know that there is a cooler label that I would want to be a part of,” Justin says. “It has such a history and it feels right.”

The duo was also thrilled when they heard that famed producer T Bone Burnett, who produced their favorite Grammy-winning album Raising Sand by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, wanted to work on their debut project. “The environment in the studio was all vibe,” Sarah says. “It was really relaxed. T Bone has a way of making you feel super important and everything you are doing is right, and if it is not, he will guide you to where it needs to be. He knows how to bring out the very best of us.”

The best includes songs such as “Hanging on a Lie,” which they reinterpret with grit, a distorted mandolin and a mid-song jam session, as well as the organic and honest “Nothing But the Silence,” the guitar-centered “Trouble Is As Trouble Does” and “Make a Liar Out of Me” and groove-oriented “Never Gonna Love Again.”

“We haven’t written our best song yet,” Justin says. “We are so proud and grateful for everything so far, especially this record, and the sky is the limit for us. Creatively, we started writing songs while we were in the studio and especially when we finished. There was no resting. We are still hungry.”

Adds Sarah, “We have more to say and we want to be heard.”

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We definitely liked what we heard, and so did the fans. Tracking on iTunes even showed that in the UK they were #2 for preorders in download sales. They have a unique and great sound, chemistry and are a fresh group looking to take over the airwaves!

To learn more about Striking Matches and to purchase their music, please visit their OFFICIAL WEBSITE.