Our evening with Tracy Lawrence at Buck Owens Crystal Palace in Bakersfield!

TL_1100_C8It was a cool night in Bakersfield, California as we pulled up to the legendary Buck Owens Crystal Palace.  Excitement was in the air and we were looking forward to hearing all 18 #1 hits from one of country music’s best – Tracy Lawrence.

Tracy always does two shows when he visits the Crystal Palace, so for us it’s double the fun. The crowd spanned in ages from older country fans to younger ones. Tracy is a talented singer who was able to captivate the audience  and got everyone dancing.
TL_1150_C8His set list consisted of:
Renegade’s
Better Man
Front Porch
Just Like Her
I See It Now
Cowgirl
Right Or Wrong
For The Good Times
Sticks N Stones
Alibis
If You Loved Me
Can’t Break It
Running Behind
Time Birmingham
Friends
Encore was Texas Tornado
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 Buck Owens Crystal Palace in California is the best place to see your favorite country artist because of the history within it.  The entire sound of Bakersfield’s country music scene started here.  After you have dinner and drinks you can walk around and see country history and memorabilia from the legendary Buck Owens.
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As Tracy Lawrence played, his fans two-stepped the night away. Cre8tive team member Paul Breski even got pulled out on the floor when the piano started to play “Texas Tornado.” I guess he looked like he needed to dance and it was one of his favorite songs from 1994 and still is.  “You Find Out Who Your Friends Are” from 2007 is still a fan favorite, and everyone sang along with Tracy.

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To learn more about Tracy Lawrence, please visit his OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

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Katie’s Korner – a weekly spotlight of new artists on Social Media

Welcome to Katie’s Korner!
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Each week I will be showcasing a new talent that I have found on various social media outlets such as Vine, YouTube, Twitter and more! These artists will be unsigned and new to the music scene. Their talent is raw and real, and they deserve to get noticed with the hard work they are putting in to become something.

This week I am proud to showcase Sean Stemaly.

I came across Sean on Vine where he randomly posts videos of some of his songs. He mostly does covers, but he has also performed on stage, for church and youth groups. His favorite song at the moment is “Let The Moon Shine” by Luke Combs. If he could do a dream duet it would be with his hero George Strait, and he started officially singing at age 19. Prior to that he was just a car and shower singer. His biggest inspiration is his buddy Shelby Hiser who was in a serious car accident a few years ago and is now a quadriplegic but doesn’t let it hold him back and stays strong in his faith.

Here are a few links to some of his stand out vine videos:

https://vine.co/v/OhxYMKFJ6zI/embed/simple

 

You can find more info about Sean on the following links:

Vine

Instagram

Twitter

 

 

 

New Country Artist Review & Spotlight on Matt Van Fossen!

We are always so excited when we stumble upon a new artist to review. Recently, we were recommended to check out Matt Van Fossen, a country artist who released his newest single called “BOOM.”

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So who is Matt Van Fossen? His biography on his website states the following:

Imagine the rush of performing your new single to more than 80,000 country music fans on the main stage at ‘Jamboree In The Hills’, one of the top music festivals in the country. Afterwards, you might exchange niceties with superstar Tim McGraw before he goes on stage to rock the crowd. Ohio native Matt VanFossen doesn’t have to imagine because this is his new reality….

With the release of his new EP, “BOOM,” VanFossen is taking his career to exciting new levels. The hard-driving title track is the first single and has already become a fan favorite. It recently won West Virginia-based radio station 97.9 WKKW’s fan-voted “Smackdown” for the maximum of four days straight, beating out new singles from artists such as Dolly Parton and Colt Ford.

The EP follows the breakout success of 2012’s full-length “I Didn’t Come Here to Lose.” Two singles from the album (“Almost Stopped Dreaming” and “This Time Around”) managed to break the Top 100 on the Mediabase country charts. A third single, “A Woman’s Words,” was listed as one of the Top 25 fan-voted songs on Nashville-based Internet radio station NIXA. In addition, his ‘Jamboree’ performances were broadcasted to TV viewers across the Ohio Valley and he received coverage on local newscasts.

The success of the album eventually allowed VanFossen to get a high-profile booking at Nashville’s legendary Douglas Corner Cafe, a renowned venue for both emerging and established songwriters/performers.

“It was a surreal experience to be in a room full of tourists and peers in Nashville. Then, to be singing my music in-the-round with three other artists was unbelievable,” he says. “To have all the talent there recognize me for my voice was just killer. They all thought I was from there. I’ll never forget that.”

During his short career, VanFossen has shared the stage with national recording artists including David Nail, Craig Campbell, Brooks & Dunn, and more. In 2013, he was asked to become one of the main stage artists at the Ohio-based‘Jamboree in the Hills’ festival. For the past two years, he has opened up for the likes of Neal McCoy, Aaron Tippin, and The Oak Ridge Boys.

The newly released “BOOM” EP aims to cement his status as a hit-maker with a voice that grabs your attention and refuses to let go. Mike Ofca produced the project at Innovation Studios in Steubenville, Ohio.

“Mike has this way of turning everything into ear candy. He pays attention to the details and is always listening to see what to add to it to make the song better than it already is,” VanFossen says.

The EP is available at all digital outlets and is distributed by TuneCore. It contains five songs, including “She’s Just Like That” and the feisty “Close If It Ain’t It.” VanFossen says “She’s Just Like That” is his favorite on the project and the song helped him realize the album’s theme.

“The ‘BOOM’ EP is all about the expression of intense feelings. I was listening to “She’s Just Like That” in the car today and thought to myself, ‘you never hear a song from a male artist that talks about love in such an extreme way’ …,” he says. “The song is a way for a guy to say how intense his love is. It gets your attention but in a different way than ‘BOOM.’ It’s like a summer breeze.”

Fans can also expect to hear more about the relationship he sang about on the emotional “Leave Me” from the last album. While “Leave Me” was about a deteriorating relationship that no one had the guts to end, the musical sequel is more of a hopefulcoda. “Get To You” picks up the story after the girl is gone and the guy is forced to move on.

“I remember hearing the song and thinking ‘I know there’s somebody out there that will relate’ …,” he says. “It was the last song we cut vocals on and I thought to myself, ‘put yourself in the place of what you would be like if you found somebody that finally made you forget all the pain and suffering you’ve been through in your life.’”

If it sounds like VanFossen knows a thing or two about heartache, it’s because he experienced it early on. The artist released his first album in 2009 and had a regional hit with “Time Ain’t What It Used To Be.” The song made it to #76 on Wheeling, W. Va. based radio station WOVK’s 2010 year-end countdown and he was named the second most played local artist. Station manager Jim Elliot declared, “Remember this man’s name because you’ll be hearing a lot more of it in the future.”

Then tragedy struck just as his career began to take off. VanFossen’s beloved mother Dot passed away suddenly due to a stroke. Her death was jolting and almost caused him to give up on his dreams. He recalls feeling broken after leaving the hospital and contemplating the end to his career. “…But then I turned on the radio and my song was playing. Then, I knew in my heart that was a sign from Mom to keep doing this,” he says.

Fast forward to 2014 and VanFossen is revisiting his signature song with a newly recorded version created especially for “BOOM.” He calls the track the centerpiece of his music.

“It was the first song that I had on the radio and the only song my mom and I heard on the radio together. It’s a timeless song and I feel now at 30, I’ve lived so much life. I feel like every step of the way, it becomes more of my signature song,” he says. “Now’s the time to bring out a song like this into the world. Everybody’s reminiscing about when life was simple. It’s a way of remembering your innocence.”

Whether he’s performing a hard-driving rocker such as “BOOM” or a heartbreaking ballad like “Get To You,” VanFossen’s live shows are not to be missed. His voice is often compared to artists such as Garth Brooks, Rascal Flatts, and Blake Shelton. Not bad company for an artist that continues to forge his own path as an independent artist.

“I want people to know that I am a genuine, driven, hard-working artist that cares about them and wants to interact,” he says. “I’m passionate about music. It’s part of every waking moment of my life. It’s a powerful thing. It can help you recover from sadness or help you celebrate happiness. I don’t know what my life would be without music.”

So, what did the Cre8tive Team think of Matt Van Fossen and his single?

Paul –  Matt’s EP on Reverbnation starts out with “BOOM.” Right out of the gate is high energy and in your face country music. The next song “Close If It Ain’t It” is a rock’n song but with more of a country feel to it. If you want to start your Friday night out rockin,’ Matt delivers it with a punch! As the tracks go on, Matt starts to show his voice as a country singer/writer that shines through on “She’s Just Like That”, and “Get to You.” I look forward to hearing these on country radio. “I Didn’t Come Here To Lose” is a great anthem for all of us with no plan “B” ! “Leave Me” is a great song and Kelly Clarkson would make a great duet partner for this track. Matt has a great voice that is not like everybody else right now.  That’s refreshing with today’s all about BroCountry going on. His stand out songs and style of music will be a great to hear in country music and on the radio down the road as Matt VanFossen grows into a great artist. I made sure that I put Matt’s EP in my car and drove around the town.. The result was driving a little too fast, and found myself singing along with it!  So for me, that makes for a great EP and a great start to Matt’s career as a country artist.

Kimberley – I absolutely agree with Paul when it comes to Matt Van Fossen. Stand outs for me would be “Leave me” which definitely would make a great duet with Kelly Clarkson or even country newbie Lucy Hale. Matt delivers solid vocals on all of his tracks and has a unique voice that isn’t really similar to another artist on the radio at the moment. His style of country is a mixture of traditional country and rock and vaguely reminds me of some of the best story telling songs from the 90’s with a modern flair. This is so great considering all of the bro country going on right now and the lack of story telling and creative songs on the radio these days. I definitely think that Matt’s voice and songs will do well on the radio and with his fans. Country music needs this right now. “Boom” is a hard rocking country song that I like, but it’s definitely not my favorite. It sounds a little too much like the other songs that I don’t really care for on the radio at the moment, but it’s catchy and I definitely think is going to be very popular with the radio stations and at shows. I think that Matt is definitely on his way to being a household name!

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To learn more about Matt Van Fossen, please find him at the following places:

Facebook

Twitter

Reverbnation

 

 

Some fun with Cole Swindell in Hanford with 106.7 KJUG!

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A week before Cole Swindell played the stage at the Grand Old Opry for the very first time, he played the final Summer Concert Series for 106.7 KJUG in Hanford, California. Cre8tive Reviews was lucky enough to attend the concert and work with Cole at the event.

The concert was held at the Hanford Civic Park, with open lawn seating. We have covered many concerts at this park, and it’s always so great to see just how many fans attend. The Summer Concert series are free, and hosted by local country station KJUG. There were over 3,000 fans that attended Cole’s concert of all ages. Cole dressed casual, but still wore his signature ball cap which sported his initials on it.

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He spent over an hour singing his hits such as “Aint worth the whiskey,” and “Chillin’ it,” and sounded even better live than he does on his CD. He engaged the crowd, put on a high energy show full of megawatt smiles and humor. He truly is a performed who appreciates his fans, loves what he does and wants to share that passion with fans everywhere.
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Unfortunately, we weren’t able to interview Cole, but would love to in the future. We did manage to have him autograph a CD to give away to one of our lucky twitter followers though! Maybe another time, we will have the opportunity to work with him again since he will no doubt be around for a long time to come!

To learn more about Cole Swindell, please visit his OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

New Country Artist Spotlight – Sara Avalos

 

Sara Avalos (Credit: Sara Avalos Facebook Page)

Sara Avalos (Credit: Sara Avalos Facebook Page)

 

Sara Avalos, or “Little Bit” as her bandmates playfully refer to her by must only be about 5 feet tall, but her vocals are sky high.  She possesses a maturity to her tone that almost sounds a little like Bonnie Raitt, but unique at the same time. Her stage presence is bubby, her smile infectious, and the power behind her vocals substantial. There are so many artists out there who are great singers, but the ability to really feel the emotion or the words makes a big difference. Sara, has demonstrated her ability to do both.  So who is Sara Avalos?

We found some information on her Facebook page that gave us a better understanding of how she got in to music.

“It all started when I was 2 years old. I stayed with my Grandma a lot while my brother was in the hospital. She was a lead singer for The Sweet Addalines Texas Region for a long time. When I was 2 yrs. old my grandma would sing to me and I would sing the same note. When it came Christmas time in San Antonio where I was born, my family and I went to a mall for my cousin’s show. I ran up on stage and I grabbed the mic from the host and asked him to let me sing. I sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in the middle of the mall.

Then when I was about 6 I started acting in my church plays with my brother and having lead singing roles.

When I was about 9 I had recorded a demo and started touring Texas. It was a lot of fun!  I sang at so many Opry’s and events. In September of 2006, I went to Las Vegas for a competition.  My mom and I baked over 300 cakes and cookies to raise the money to get there. I was up against 3,000 kids and I lost by 1/2 a point! But that’s what got me here to Nashville and I’m very grateful for it.”

Sara has sang for Tootsies for two years, The World Famous Nashville Palace for four years and on Sunday nights with the Justin Myers band at The Second Fiddle.

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To learn more about Sara, please visit her Facebook Page, Twitter, or you can find her on YouTube by searching her name.

Nashville Recap Part 2 – And CMT Hot 20 Countdown!

On Sunday, the weather was little cooler but it made for a great time to explore the city. We headed over toward Opry Mills once again to make a stop for some breakfast at the local Starbucks, and then made a stop at The Grand Ole Opry. What a cool place. It was so great to see this piece of history where so many country superstars and legends have performed. We took our turns taking photos with both the huge electric and acoustic guitars, and looked into the tours. The only downside to having a photographer as part of the team is that you know somewhere there is going to be a photo of you while taking a selfie.

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We had every intention of taking one of the tours, but after discussing our options for the day, we decided that we should head downtown to listen to some more bands.

Country Singer Ben Mathis (Credit http://www.benmathis.net/)

Our decision led us to The Tin Roof. We knew that during the day it should be less crowded and the music should be pretty good, considering the Tin Roof in downtown San Diego is also a great venue. We had the pleasure a few months back in covering Dustin Lynch’s show there. We weren’t really hungry since we had just eaten breakfast, so we stuck with our staple of chips and salsa. Within minutes, we knew that we didn’t want to leave there too soon. The talent for the day was a singer named Ben Mathis.
Ben has an amazing voice and a calm demeanor that just draws you in. Although it was just him and his guitar, his voice was so captivating that we couldn’t possibly imagine why he wasn’t already signed. We flagged his sound girl down to ask his information and instantly added him on twitter. He made it a point to check with us over the microphone to see if we had gotten the information. He also gave a shout out to his sound girl which made us feel like he was truly appreciative for the people he works with on a regular basis. He involved the crowd, asked for suggestions on songs, made jokes with the audience, and even though sometimes only a few claps were heard he kept going and didn’t skip a beat. Mathis was promoting two of his new singles which were released last week, “Once you go country,” and “One Petal Daisy.” Both were amazing songs, but the entire bar stopped what they were doing as Mathis crooned “One Petal Daisy.” His vocals were filled with pure, raw emotion and the song really resonated with several in the audience. We purchased both songs as soon as they became available on iTunes. We knew that we were witnessing a star early on in his career, and we truly wish Ben the best of luck!
After leaving downtown, we headed over to the Franklin area. We wanted to grab some lunch and watch the Kansas and San Diego game. It didn’t start until 3, so we had some time to kill. The bar we went to was Dan McGuiness Irish pub. It was great to head into somewhere that wasn’t crowded and had decent food. After hanging out there awhile, we left to watch the game at Buffalo Wild Wings, with yet another round of chips and salsa. It wasn’t exactly a surprise to see we were the only Chargers fans in a sea of Chiefs fans. What did amaze us though is that no one seemed to cheer, clap, talk to the TV or really show any emotion when their team scored. Well, at least until the final quarter when the Chargers choked like they seem to do. After the game we headed back to downtown. We had an agenda tonight to scope out some new talent and finally get to the venues that were too crowded to attend the night before.

Our first stop was at The Second Fiddle where Sara Avalos and Justin Myers were on stage. They played a mix of old and new country, complete with some acoustic songs and were better than the majority of the bands we heard the night before. We were so impressed with Sara, that we decided to do a featured artist spotlight on her. As we left, we noticed a few things about the bar that may assist with getting more patrons inside, especially on a Sunday. On the Broadway side, you can’t hear the music or really see anything as you look in. Other venues nearby have open windows or an open air type atmosphere, plus their logo visible from behind the singers which draws people in. We strongly feel that if people walking by would have heard this band performing, they most definitely would come in and stay for a while.

 

One of our stops was at The Stage to catch Chris Weavers show. The place was packed, and there were so many people on the dance floor. The band played a mix of country, pop, classic rock and more. Weavers vocals were spot on and his ability to keep the crowd entertained, and dancing was evident. For a Sunday night, The Stage was crowded, but we were still able to find a table to stand at near the small bar up the stairs. We wanted to find out more information on Chris, so we headed to his website where it states that Chris was born to perform. He mixes a perfect blend of southern rock, soul and country blues. He was born in West Virginia to a musical family and his early influences were Tom Petty, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp and Joe Cocker. We could definitely hear this in his vocals, and felt his smooth, soulful tone. He released his first album in 2011 called STANDING IN LINE and Billboard named him a “top act to following 2013.” His Second album, AMERICAN DREAMER was a collaboration with legendary producer Josh Leo who has worked with Alabama, Bad Company and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to name a few. We learned that Chris will be travelling extensively this year, and we know that there are big things to come from this singer.

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Moving on, we decided to head over to Honky Tonk Central, a corner bar boasting three levels. The ground level showcased an artist by the name of Grant Meredith. As soon as we walked in, we knew we were in for a great show. Meredith is well known by his reality TV fame on “Party Down South,” but he’s also a talented singer. His set list kept the audience entertained, singing along with him and the breaks in between the songs he tried to engage the crowd with conversation, and Fireball shots. Meredith obtained Fireball as his first sponsor. Meredith was born and raised in Johnson City, TN and grew up listening to country music. Meredith moved to Nashville to chase his dreams and plays over 200 shows per show at local venues such as Tootsies and Honky Tonk Central.

Grant Meredith Performs at Honky Tonk Central

Grant Meredith Performs at Honky Tonk Central

He has shared the stage with music greats Montgomery Gentry, Kid Rock, Tyler Farr, Colt Ford and many more. For some of his shows he shared the stage with American Idol alumni Haeley Vaughn. In 2013, Meredith was fortunate enough to land a record deal with Daredevil Production. We checked him out on iTunes after we left Nashville, but were unable to find any information or songs listed for him as of this time. We can only hope that an EP is in the works, as we would love to hear more from this artist.
From HTC, we headed over to Tootsies and attempted to navigate through the first floor. It was still a bit crowded and to be quite honest we weren’t impressed. The bar itself is a little more run down than expected, and maybe because of the name and history there it was cool but the first floor was not a place we wanted to be. The drunk girls in the place couldn’t seem to keep their grabby hands to themselves, and the guys made it a point to stare a little too long. We felt like this was the bar people came to find their one night stand at. At any rate, we headed upstairs to the newer section of the bar, the third floor. Again, not real crazy about the look of the place, which was basically plywood and the band was not country but an alternative band. They were color coordinated from their entire outfits to their red ties, and they sounded pretty great – but one drunk girl decided it was a good idea to continually tip the band to play the same song over and over. Now why the band didn’t at least throw a different song in between it, who knows. But, they literally played the same song four times. We turned and headed out the door.
It was time to call it a night. We had a big day ahead of us on Monday with CMT’s Hot 20 Countdown, and heading home. At the countdown, it was great to see the top 20, hear their feature on some of the new artists before the upcoming CMA awards on November 5th.

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Cre8tive Reviews team member Paul got to share some of his photography stories, we met a few new musicians and spent time with Katie Cook and Cody Alan. In between taping, we got to try our hand at corn hole. Paul seemed to miss the whole point of the game.

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All in all, it was a great trip. We definitely saw some amazing new talent and made some great new connections. We hope to hear all about these singers as their careers continue to grow and offer our continued support. We would love to head back to Nashville again soon and do some interviews, in addition to covering CMA Fest and a few other events. We were disappointed though that while we were at the CMT Hot 20 taping, we missed our buddies Outshyne who were literally performing within a few blocks of us. Oh well, maybe next time.
A special thank you to all of our new friends, contacts, talent and family who made the trip very special.

Cre8tive Reviews Nashville Recap – Part 1

Nashville is known for amazing talent, iconic bars and has been labeled “Nashvegas” for the swarms and crowds that flock there each year. Cre8tive reviews just had the pleasure of spending four days out there and we would like to think we experienced as much as we could in that limited time. We definitely want to plan a few more trips out that way to really take in the full experience.

Friday was a light day, because we didn’t land until the evening and then we needed to make a stop at Opry Mills for a few things plus dinner. We don’t know if we had been to a mall of this size in a long time. What a great selection of stores, including the outlet ones. We were able to find pretty much everything we needed there. Imagine our surprise when we stumbled upon a Claimjumper restaurant. Those are scattered throughout California and it was nice to see a familiar venue. We were somewhat disappointed though with the lack of root beer barrel candy and the food itself. Maybe this wasn’t the same restaurant we had out here. The pumpkin cheesecake was heavenly sinful though.

Saturday was packed with photoshoots, Tennessee style Mexican food, and then some shows at night. Our first stop of the evening was at Second Fiddle for a band called “Smoke N Guns.”

Smoke N Guns is typically a duo, made up of Alecia Arnall’s (blues/rock ‘n roll) and Lindsay Bowman’s pop/country voice their website boasts.  Alecia Arnall (Osage Beach, MO) and Lindsay Bowman (Seaford, VA) formed Smoke ‘n Guns in 2011 after meeting in Nashville, TN.. They have had the privilege to open for many national acts, such as Dustin Lynch, The Oak Ridge Boys, Mark Wills, Blackberry Smoke, and Collin Raye. In June 2014, Smoke ‘n Guns released their EP, “Shoulda Known.” Imagine our disappointment, when we walked in to only one singer. We’re not sure why powerhouse Alecia wasn’t there, but Lindsay did a great job keeping the place packed on her own. She engaged the crowd, and sang quite a few fan favorites, including the ever popular “Shake it off” by Taylor Swift. You can view more about this band at their website.

Hanging out at Second Fiddle

Cre8tive Team members Paul and Kimberley at the Second Fiddle in Nashville, Smoke N Guns Show

After leaving the Second Fiddle, we had a hard time deciding where to go next. Walking down the strip with all of the neons can get a little confusing especially with so many bands.

  We knew that places such as The Stage, Honkytonk Central, Whiskey Bent and Tootsies were calling our name but first we had to eat. After grabbing a quick hot dog at one of the local carts, we decided to head into The Stage. It was definitely crowded, and the decor was pretty awesome. The singer Jason James had a packed house, and sounded pretty great. Apparently, he’s another one of those über talented Georgia born singers that have made their way to Nashville. It was so crowded in there though, that after hanging out for a little bit we decided to move on. We definitely wanted to go back there Sunday night when it was less crowded.

After The Stage, we tried to go into Tootsies, but apparently on a Saturday night it’s best to stay away from the first floor and was really crowded. Rather than deal with the drama of a ton of drunk people, we wandered in to Whiskey Bent. This was a cool place, and we met a few new friends in there that were celebrating a bachelorette party. We didn’t see the Bachelorette once, but two of her girlfriends joined us at the table for about the whole hour we were in there. The band that was playing hosted a singer named Michael Scott. With his tan leather jacket, and backwards baseball cap he looked a little more “bro country” than some of the other performers we had seen so far. Although his vocals were decent, one word of advice we would have for him is to not yell some of the songs. Having just worked with Cole Swindell the week prior, and hearing him live with “You aint worth the whiskey” – Michael Scott just didn’t do the song any justice. But, the ladies in the bar seemed to love him, and because we were the only sober ones in the place I think our expectations were higher for the Saturday night talent.

We decided to get out of the craziness and go find a place that hosted some history along with talent. We ended up in Printer’s Alley, which by the way is probably the coolest section of downtown at Fiddle and Steel. Imagine our surprise to hear that this place where Rascal Flatts got their start would be closing down to make room for some development. It’s really disappointing. The bar itself was old, not overly crowded and we found our way to a great little booth in the back corner. The band onstage was a group of seasoned musicians who played to perfection in addition to keeping a beautiful tone. This was your traditional country music of years gone by, a great and much-needed break from songs about pickup trucks, dirt roads and bikini top wearing women. The lead singer was Colton Steele, Jack Hansel was on bass, Travis Mobley was on keyboard, Dennis Caulk on the drums and Ernie Fair on guitar. It was so great to see the regulars two stepping and having a great time. We stayed there for quite a while before turning in for the night. Before we left though, we had to try the doors of The Ryman at midnight. Of course, they didn’t open, but it wouldn’t stop us from trying again.

All in all, the night was a great one. The experience was different, although it wasn’t as impressive as we expected. It looked a lot like our downtown in San Diego, complete with Horse drawn carriages, pedicabs and homeless strewn here and there. There were a lot more trees, and quite a few more country bars – but overall, I think we expected something on a larger scale. Because of the multiple comparisons to Vegas, we were expecting that Vegas look and feel.  Aside from the singers and shows, flocks of out of towners looking to party, and what happens here stays here attitude I would say those are the only comparisons that add up. The nostalgia coupled with amazing talent in such a small area was what we were most impressed by. We spoke with a lot of musicians who told us some of the seedy, underbelly stories of the town, which is to be expected in a cutthroat world of music.  But, with a city large in size, it’s still small enough where everyone knows everyone and its like high school with the rumors and lies that get spread just to make it top. Even the female bartenders chase after the singers who are making a name for themselves, and most of them sing themselves. One of the singers we spoke with who is concentrating on his writing now even stated that he tries to stay out of that scene as much as possible and doesn’t date other musicians because he used to be one. You gotta hand it to these musicians who work hard day and night to stay there and try to make a name for themselves. The talent overall was much more impressive than anywhere we have been. The weather was perfect, although a little chilly at night for us California folk, and overall it was very clean. We definitely want to make another trip out as a few days just wasn’t long enough to see everything we wanted to see.

We hope you have enjoyed our first part of our Nashville recap. We found some of the best talent we had seen on Sunday and Monday with acts like Sara Avalos, Ben Mathis, Chris Weaver, and Grant Meredith of “Party Down South Fame.” Heck, even the musician at the airport Tootsies lounge as we were leaving was top-notch.