2018 Rising Stars Are Rolling In!
The big-hearted Arkansas farm kid with a voice to match chose a career in service to others. Amid the considerable stress and turmoil attending that job, he found that the music he loved was able to quiet his mind and focus his heart. Slowly and often unintentionally, the power of crafting lyrics and melody drew Lance in a new direction. Eventually, he realized he’d returned to the exact place he’d started – the place he was meant to be all along.
“Anyone Else,” Lance Carpenter’s debut release for Show Dog Nashville and duet with label mate Krystal Keith, is a tantalizing glimpse of the depth of creativity to come. Already a chart-topping songwriter (Kelsea Ballerini’s “Love Me Like You Mean It”), Carpenter has continually earned the notice of fans and gatekeepers, even without meaning to. Now, he’s poised to capture their attention on a much bigger scale.
Carpenter’s arrival as a songwriter and recording artist is, in many ways, an extension of a creative progression that became increasingly deliberate. The journey took him from self-taught hobbyist and therapeutic outlet to committed songwriter and Nashville-based professional hitmaker. Continually working toward developing his craft, a growing love of performing led to the recording session that changed everything. Unexpectedly so.
“My introduction to country music was my mom playing it in her car,” says Carpenter, who grew up on a cattle farm in Northwest Arkansas. “I never thought I would sing or play, but my stepdad has listened to the country countdown every Sunday for as long as I’ve known him. Country has just been a staple in my life.”
The boy who named his dog Jake because – of course – “Feed Jake,” recalls a formative story. “At the end of Bible camp one time they lined us up and asked us to sing our favorite song,. Everybody was going for stuff like ‘This Little Light of Mine’ or ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and I sang ‘All My Ex’s Live In Texas.’ That was definitely the only George Strait anyone sang that day.”
Though several friends played guitar in high school, it wasn’t until Carpenter was leaving for college that he bought an acoustic at a local pawn shop. “The first thing was probably a Metallica riff,” he says. “I’m country as a horse turd, grew up on a farm raising cattle, turkeys and horses, but ‘Enter Sandman’ was my first song on guitar.”
Without a thought to ever playing music for others, Lance picked up the instrument between classes and football practices. “I needed something to get away and the guitar was perfect because I couldn’t play worth a crap,” he says. “I had it for six months before I figured out you probably ought to tune it every time you play.”
Carpenter got a job with the state of Arkansas after college and subsequently with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where he worked to support those affected by dozens of disasters, including Hurricane Katrina.
By this time, Lance was putting together his own songs. “Creativity has always been important to me, and jotting down poems wasn’t unusual,” he says. “When I finally learned a few chords and could put it to music, bad as it was, things started to sort themselves out. What I found is it took my mind of everything else – football, girls, schoolwork and, eventually, my job, life stress, everything. I had to totally focus or it would sound even worse than it already did. It was therapy, an outlet, an escape.”
Encouraged by an impromptu performance while on a job in Maine, Lance began to think his material might find a greater purpose. “My main thing was writing, so I found the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) by Googling ‘songwriting’ from my hotel room, sent in a few songs and heard back, overwhelmingly, that none of it was very good. But there were encouraging words about my lyrics and creativity. They pointed me to a song camp and that weekend was the moment I decided music wasn’t a hobby anymore.
“For three years I visited Nashville a few times a year, each for a week or two to write, meet people, and network with industry folks. Then I decided to make the move. I worked in Nashville for six months during the 2010 flood, after which I stayed in a friend’s guest room while I searched for a house to buy. Made the official move Feb 10, 2011 – three years exactly after the NSAI Song Camp.”
After moving to Nashville, Carpenter wrote incessantly, landed a publishing deal and earned a few cuts on albums that never got released before “Love Me Like You Mean It” was recorded by then-unknown artist Kelsea Ballerini. The song became a No. 1 hit. “I went to Walmart, bought three or four copies and took pictures. Even now, when I go to the store I’ll pull those CDs out and put them on the front of the rack.”
Working to get his songs heard, Carpenter played writer shows around Music City. As he did, his voice and guitar playing improved. “When I really started to figure out how to use that muscle, people started asking why I wasn’t trying to be an artist,” he says. “Meanwhile, getting a publishing deal is a little bit easier if they think you might get an artist deal and record your own songs. I realized that could be an added value thing, so I put together a 12 song demo.”
Intending to give copies to family and friends, Lance took the suggestion to do an album release show. More than 300 showed up in support. “I did nine or ten songs barely moving from the mic, but at the end I got a standing ovation. I about fell off the stage and thought, ‘Well I’ve got to do that again.'”
A mix of full band and acoustic shows followed, as many as 115 the following year. He also signed a management deal. “I just wanted to continue that independent career and life, playing as much as I could and writing as much as I could. I never planned on pitching myself to labels. I didn’t think that was in the cards, but I guess I was wrong.”
Carpenter’s appetite for new music extended to other writers’ work, and he came across “Anyone Else” years ago. “I loved it on the first listen and thought I’d like to record it some day.” Along the way, he also had a few co-writes with Show Dog Nashville artist Krystal Keith. “We really hit it off and it was great hearing about her life, her husband and baby. She wasn’t like a star’s kid at all. I don’t think we mentioned her dad [Toby Keith] one time in that first writing session.”
Hearing her sing at a recording session, Carpenter immediately thought of “Anyone Else” and Krystal agreed to record it as a duet. “When it was done, she played it for her people and they started jumping up and down,” Lance says. “Then Toby heard it, flipped out and played it for the Show Dog staff. He was like, ‘This song needs to be on the radio and we’re going to put it there. And also, who is this guy?'”
Within a few months, the answer to that question became, Show Dog Nashville recording artist Lance Carpenter. “It was such an organic thing,” he says. “If Toby had been looking for an artist or I’d been trying to get on his radar, it probably wouldn’t have happened.”
Now, he’s doing what he was always meant to do and, in a sense, what he’s always done. “When I worked for the federal government, it was complicated to explain what I did. I had to boil it down to, I get to travel the country and help people when they need it most. In the same way, it can be hard to explain what I do now to people who don’t know the music business, so I say I travel the country and help people. It’s a different way of doing the same thing I did before.
“We’re not responding to a tornado or hurricane and giving someone food, water or shelter, but I still get to have that interaction on a person-to-person level. I love connecting with people even if it’s just through a song that makes them feel something.”
Lance Carpenter. He’s here to help.
Kristen Merlin has always been in love with music. From a very young age she began singing and her love for performance has been a driving force throughout the course of her music career. Kristen won the hearts of music lovers, from all walks of life, during her time on Season 6 of NBC’s Emmy Award winning series, The Voice. Since then, she has been performing at a variety of venues, making multiple public appearances, all the while recording new music. Kristen Merlin has shared the stage with some incredible talent including names like Shakira and Sugarland. Kristen Merlin connected with fans across the United States on the 30- U.S. City -“The Voice Tour”. Kristen also tours Colleges and Universities with her acoustic guitar , spreading her upbeat music, positivity and fun-loving spirit . Kristen is available for booking events, and always welcomes a high-spirited crowd of #MerlinNation Fans. Learn more by exploring the site and feel free to get in touch with any comments and questions!
21 year-old Olivia Faye is a Country/Americana Singer/Songwriter and actress who recently pulled her roots up from Murray, Kentucky and set them down in Nashville, Tennessee. As the youngest member of a family of music lovers and songwriters, it was determined early on that her beautiful vocals were the perfect way to combine singing and songwriting within the family. This talent quickly grew into a life transforming passion. Her musical stylings pay homage to many of the early icons of country music, blues and rock.
Proving herself to be Nashville’s charming and quirky go-getter, Heidi Raye is a force to be reckoned with. A natural entertainer from an early age, Heidi Raye was smitten with country music growing up and made it her life-long dream to move to Music City. Heidi has co-written songs and toured with some of country music’s elite like Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Jason Aldean, Terri Clark and Reba McEntire. She has proven she can hold her own in both the songwriting and performing community. Heidi Raye is the initial artist on Hall of Famer Harlan Howard’s label, Harlan Howard Records. Her first EP, “Worth A Shot” produced by Grammy Award winning producer, Chuck Ainlay was released in 2017. Heidi has racked up the miles touring to support “Worth A Shot” making fans and friends at radio along the way. 2018 finds Heidi in the studio working on her second release on Harlan Howard Records. Watch for her new single, “Sweat” coming soon!
Singer, songwriter, and musician Cody Webb has played hundreds of dates across the country, earning thousands of fans with his keen vocals and distinctive guitar skills. With his single “She’s Carolina,” Cody was able to pull on the heartstrings of his native South Carolinians and draw them in like never before. After a lot of hard work and support from some of the best fans out there, Cody received over one million views on his Facebook “She’s Carolina” lyric video, as well as 100k+ streams and growing.
Having grown up in the small town of Ridge Spring, SC, Cody’s childhood consisted of hunting, fishing, sports, and music. His mother was the music minister at his hometown church and his father was a singer-songwriter and musician, so it came as no surprise when Cody chose to follow in their footsteps and take his own path into the music world. He began playing guitar at a young age, with musical roots that were planted in southern rock. “I was influenced by Lynryd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, and many other classic rock bands.” His first big gig was at the South Carolina Poultry Festival, playing alongside his father’s band. With shaking hands and a mere twelve years of age, Cody had his spotlight moment playing the intro to “The Ballad of Curtis Lowe.” It was that moment that Cody knew he wanted to be a guitar player, setting his eye on headlining the festival himself one day.
Born and bred in the one red light town of Harlem, Georgia, Ray Fulcher could almost smell the azaleas that reside twenty minutes away in the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Master’s. While growing up in small town east Georgia, Ray learned the values of the simple life, what it means to earn a buck, and how a country song means more than honky tonkin’ and sad songs, it’s about a way of life. Growing up on the likes of Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Keith Whitley, George Strait & Johnny Cash, those artists would mold not only the music he listened to, but also what kind of life he led. Throughout his tenure at the University of Georgia, while earning his two degrees, he spent his nights scraping money together to frequent the Georgia Theater. There he was inspired by artists such as Luke Bryan, Corey Smith, Eric Church, and The Zac Brown Band. Their early years gave Ray the desire to pick up the guitar and begin writing songs about his small town upbringing, dirt road memories, football games, and pretty girls lettin’ their hair down.
In May of 2014, Ray took the next step and made the big move to The Music City and has spent the last several years playing live music all over the southeast, sharing the stage with artists such as David Nail, Dustin Lynch, Lee Brice, The Marshall Tucker Band, Craig Morgan, Montgomery Gentry, Maddie and Tae, Kid Rock, Luke Combs, Old Dominion, and Cole Swindell. Since moving to Nashville, Ray has also inked a publishing deal with River House Artists/Warner Chappell Nashville and when he’s not on the road, he spends his days either writing or in the studio. You can find his latest songwriting work on Luke Comb’s debut album ‘This One’s For You’, where Ray is a co-writer on 8 of the tracks and also co-wrote Luke’s latest radio single, “When It Rains It Pours.”
2017 Rising Stars
MARTIN & KELLY
The incredibly talented duo of Jilly Martin and Ryan Brooks Kelly have become the next must-see act from New England to Nashville. Over the years, they’ve been featured as support acts for Brad Paisley, Chris Stapleton, The Band Perry, Keith Urban, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Justin Moore, Phil Vassar and Sara Evans. Standouts in today’s crossover country music scene, Jilly & Ryan’s songs bridge the boundary between traditional and new country. They’ve made their mark with highly-acclaimed original music and are winning over audiences each and every time they perform. Jilly and Ryan’s compelling song-writing, dynamic vocal harmonies and stunning musicianship have them poised for a breakthrough in the music industry.
Growing up in Billerica, MA, pop-country artist Krista Angelucci has been out pursuing her passion for music most of her life. With the strong support of her family, friends, and fans she has been able to build her skills as both a writer and performer. She has performed the national anthem at various charity and sporting events, including the Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Nascar, and New England Revolution. Krista has opened for and shared the stage with artists such as Phil Vassar, Chuck Wicks, Lee Brice, Jo Dee Messina, Hunter Hayes, Chris Cagle, Jerrod Niemann and Kip Moore. Currently residing in Nashville, Krista continues to refine her writing and performance, an effort that has culminated in her second EP, Love Me Crazy, a fun-filled collection of songs that showcases her talent as a singer,songwriter, and reflects her relatable down-to-earth charm. The EP, which is produced by herself and Chris Parker was recently released in the Summer of 2016.
Rising Superstar Lacy Cavalier has mastered the art of staying true to your roots while following your dreams. With a voice that is soulful and sultry well beyond her years, she has burst onto the scene and is taking Country Music by storm. Born with natural talent and hailing from a small town in Louisiana, Lacy fell in love with performing at a very early age. By time she turned 9, she had already landed a coveted role on the hit children’s TV series, “Barney and Friends.” After spending two seasons on the show, Lacy decided that she wanted to focus on her music and soon began performing at every fair and pageant around her hometown of Minden, LA. But Lacy dreamed bigger, and in January 2013, at the ripe age of 15, she packed her bags and decided to follow those dreams all the way to Nashville, Tennessee. Within a few weeks of moving to town, Lacy caught the attention of award winning songwriter/producer, Victoria Shaw, who quickly signed the talented new artist. Aiming to breathe a little creole into the hearts of everyone who hears her music, Lacy effortlessly infuses Louisiana soul into her organic country sound. In April of 2016 she released an EP titled “Savin Pennies, Payin Dues”. Two of the singles from the EP, “Put You Down” and “Flat Bill”, both play on Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country and both videos were also premiered and continuously aired on CMT. In the Spring of 2016, Lacy toured with Country Music star Chase Rice on his Back To College Tour, and then again in Fall 2016 for his Everybody We Know Does Tour. Since then, Lacy has spent time in the studio writing and recording and is finally ready to share a few of those songs with the world.
Erik Dylan has a story to tell. Dylan was discovered at a Nashville open mic night in 2011 and has since attracted artists including Kip Moore, Eric Paslay, Justin Moore, Eli Young Band, Thompson Square, Chad Brownlee, Brent Cobb and even rock band Hinder to record his songs. He writes on Music Row with many of Nashville’s hitmakers, but Erik will gladly tell anyone that his happiest moments in songwriting occurred at his hero Guy Clark’s workshop over black coffee.
Bringing together Nashville style with Boston swagger, Alec MacGillivray brings a party atmosphere wherever he goes. A country-rock artist, Alec grew up listening to bands such as Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, and Green Day. Alec’s love for country music grew in high school while listening to acts like George Strait, Kenny Chesney, and Toby Keith. Although MacGillivray started his music career off in middle school punk bands, he put music on hold during his high school and college years to play football. During his final year of college Alec took to music full time opening for acts like Keith Urban, Kellie Pickler and LOCASH, and has been creating a buzz in the music industry ever since! In the past year his electric live shows have been on the big stages opening for artists such as Sam Hunt, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley, as well as his own shows around the country. He has been featured on Country 102.5, Mix 104.1 and other New England radio stations. MacGillivray plans to release an EP within the next year!
With the fuel of both Southern rock and country music influences pumping through his veins, it’s no surprise that Sea Gayle Music’s CJ Solar is a natural at fusing the two worlds. Combine that with Delta blues, compliments of a childhood spent in Cajun country, and you’ve got one badass up-and-comer, with the pure musical talent and vocal chops to back him up. Already turning heads throughout Nashville, Baton Rouge and beyond, having been named one of the “New Artists You Need To Know” by Rolling Stone Country, Solar says the driving force behind his untimely success isn’t fame nor fortune – it’s just a diehard infatuation with the music he grew up on. He released his debut EP, “Hard One to Turn Down” in April of 2016, and has cuts on other artists such as Justin Moore, Morgan Wallen and Jerrod Niemann including Jerrod’s single, “Blue Bandana.”
With an old blue eyed soul, 21-year-old Jenny Tolman is bold and courageous behind a guitar, able to make sense of life’s ironies by putting them under a poetic microscope. Born and raised in Nashville TN, having grown up around the music business, her grasp of country music’s roots are well beyond her years. Often compared to a young Emmy Lou Harris, Jenny’s voice is powerful in its subtlety, and vibrant in its personality. As she’s been performing around the country from California to Massachusetts, having opened for such acts as Alabama, Love and Theft, and Brandy Clark, the response from fans of all ages has been overwhelming. Jenny is currently finishing her first full-length album with Grammy Nominated producer Dave Brainard (Brandy Clark/ Jerrod Niemann/ Jamey Johnson). Brainard says, “Hearing Jenny sing is like uncorking a vintage wine.” As everything country music could be again, Jenny Tolman brings a fresh purity to an art form that so many of us cherish.
Check out our 2016 roster!
MARTIN & KELLY
The incredibly talented duo of Jilly Martin and Ryan Brooks Kelly have become the next must-see act from New England to Nashville. Over the years, they’ve been featured as support acts for Brad Paisley, The Band Perry, Keith Urban, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Justin Moore, Jana Kramer and Sara Evans. Standouts in today’s crossover country music scene, Jilly & Ryan’s songs bridge the boundary between traditional and new country. They’ve made their mark with highly-acclaimed original music and are winning over audiences each and every time they perform. Jilly and Ryan’s compelling song-writing, dynamic vocal harmonies and stunning musicianship have them poised for a breakthrough in the music industry.
As one Taste Of Country reviewer said, “’Fight Like A Girl’ is a song that needs to be heard now, tomorrow and in the months and years to come. Shorr owns it like Martina McBride owns ‘Independence Day’.” For Kalie Shorr, hard work and music have always gone hand-in-hand. Even when envisioning her own success, she never even bothered to dream it would happen overnight. “I remember I was having lunch with my future manager when I first got to Nashville,” says Kalie. “And he was like, ‘How do you see the path of your career?’ So I kind of nodded and said, ‘So, here’s my ten year plan.’ His eyebrows kind of raised, and he was like, ‘Okay.’” In the days of get-famous-quick and figure it out later, Kalie’s steady rise has elements that harken back to another era: growing up in Maine the youngest of six children raised by a single parent; falling in love with music watching her mother sing church hymns and national anthems; winning over rowdy Portland crowds as a country inspired teenager opening up for pop punk music bands. Yet, there are also moments that could only have happened in the digital age of the here and now. “I knew I had to do something to get beyond Portland,” remembers Kalie. “So I posted a video on YouTube of me covering Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday.’ And it quickly got a few thousand views. Well then one day I got this email that said ‘Hey, I work with Perez Hilton. Are you over 18?’ And I was like what a sketchy email! So I showed it to Mom and said someone’s pretending to be Perez Hilton. They’re going to kidnap me. She was like, ‘I don’t know Kalie. I feel like that might be Perez Hilton.’” It was Perez Hilton, and he was a fan. “Over the years Perez has given me a lot of encouragement,” says Kalie. “It can be midnight, and he’ll listen to new songs and let me know what he thinks right away. He even invited me to open up for the Backstreet Boys at his birthday party. I met Kim Kardashian. And then I went back to high school the next day. I was only in LA for 18 hours. It was surreal.” After a glimpse of the opportunities beyond Portland, Kalie knew it was time to make a move. And once her heart was set on Nashville, she did what she does best: made a plan and put in the work. Kalie took extra classes to graduate from high school early, juggled two jobs to save up money for the move and even moved into a small in-law apartment down the street from her mother just so she could get used to paying her own bills. “I had friends going to football games and parties,” remembers Kalie. “And I’m writing and working and playing shows. So my life was structured so differently. I think that was the moment where I got the drive to make music my life.” That drive would need to find another gear in Nashville. To get her first gigs, she walked that fine line between persistence and harassment. To pay the bills and leave her mornings free to write songs, she landed a job in one of Nashville’s famed Lower Broadway honky tonks selling hot dogs and cigarettes. To make connections, she had to go out on a limb. Kalie admits, “I didn’t know where to start. I had no idea. I would just walk up to people and give them my business card and be like, ‘do you want to write with me?’ And they were like, ‘No.’ Nashville is friendly but it’s hard.” The new girl in town would eventually find a home at a new Nashville tradition. In 2014 she was part of the first show of the Song Suffragettes, a weekly live show featuring a rotating group of all female singer-songwriters. The second show even featured Kelsea Ballerini before her first #1 single was released.. “It is such a great community,” says Kalie. “When you’re on stage, you might feel a little more equal than you might actually be. I don’t know where I would have been without it.” It was during a Song Suffragettes set that an intern for SiriusXM first heard a performance of “Fight Like A Girl,” a song written with fellow performers Hailey Steele and Lena Stone. One pitch meeting later, Kalie’s first radio single was added to The Highway’s weekend show “On The Horizon” as the “YouTube Country Spotlight.” A few weeks after that, it was chosen as a “Highway Find,” starting Kalie down the same breakout path of signed artists like Sam Hunt, Cole Swindell, Clare Dunn and Florida Georgia Line. “When they told me about becoming a ‘Highway Find’, I just started crying,” says Kalie. “We call it the little song that could. For a song that will introduce me, I don’t think there could be a better choice.”
At 20, Sarah Ross is being called upon to forge the trail for women in the fast- growing country/rap/hip hop genre of music. The New Jersey native is no stranger to forging country music lyrics with a hip hop beat. With encouragement from her mother, the innovative singer has been melding two of her favorite genres since she was 16. Signed to Average Joes Entertainment after the label head, Shannon Houchins, saw her on “American Idol” and looked up her videos on the internet, Sarah has been in Nashville one short year yet has already found recording success. The singer recorded with the label’s group, The Lacs, on their #3Billboard album, and one of her songs, “Knock ‘Em Dead,” was on the compilation album “Mud Digger 4,” along with label mates Colt Ford, the Lacs with J.J. Lawhorn and Montgomery Gentry. She also claims her country roots along with Colt Ford in “We All Country” by the Moonshine Bandits. The upcoming album, “Mud Digger 5,” will have another of Sarah’s compositions, “Shotgun,” as its lead single. She has already filmed the video for the tune, a gritty warning to guys about what might happen if they are found cheating on their sweetheart. “As a little girl I grew up listening to my daddy’s all-time favorites — Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, George Strait, Patsy Cline and Martina McBride,” says the young lady who grew up on a farm just south of Atlantic City. It didn’t take long before she started flipping through radio stations, from country to rap and back, discovering tunes she loved from favorites Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Justin Moore, Jason Aldean, Eminem, Wiz, Drake and Nicki Minaj, and, of course, her country rap label mates. One of the audiences that enjoy the music Sarah and her label mates sing and perform are folks who love mud sports. While the singer is well acquainted with hanging out with friends who like to drive their pickup trucks on the back trails of the farms around her southern New Jersey town, she had never been to any of those type sporting events until she moved to the south. “My friends and I always had a great time taking our four wheelers and trucks out trail riding and deer spotting. When it rained, we would head to nearby historical Batsto to get all muddy riding through the creeks and trails. So I’ve done that kind of thing but not at an ‘official’ mud bog.” The singer of Italian descent admits that now when she attends the bogging events, she does so as a spectator, not a participant, unless she rides shotgun. “My four wheeler is back home and my dad would kill me if I got a scratch on my truck,” she admits with a laugh. Sarah began singing at 15 and started taking voice lessons at 16. She credits her vocal coach, Sal DuPree, who has worked with artists including “America’s Got Talent” million dollar-winner Bianca Ryan, “Star Search” champion Tiffany Evans, the group Choice with Alisha Moore (Pink), Miss Americas, Broadway stars and participants in TV singing competitions, for being a huge part of her career. Soon after starting to work with DuPree, Sarah was winning singing competitions throughout Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. Winning and recognizing that people enjoyed her music was the catalyst for pursuing a musical career path rather than following in her mother’s footsteps as a nurse. Her mother was not totally disappointed in Sarah’s journey to a music career. It was actually she who encouraged her daughter to try out for “American Idol” season 12. Sarah went all the way to Hollywood singing a country song and rapping one of Nikki Minaj’s songs for her, which the judge absolutely loved. Judge Keith Urban said it best, telling Sarah she was “like an IPOD shuffle, never knowing what you’re gonna get.” Minaj told her she shouldn’t have to choose between the two genres. Sarah decided to heed that advice …she didn’t choose… she combined them! “You’re No Good,” a Linda Ronstadt hit, was the first song Sarah combined rap with country on. She sang the first verse and chorus, then rapped the second verse. She recorded a video for YouTube which has become her most popular video to date, and is the one that Shannon saw that caused him to call her to Nashville for a meeting. Sarah is now working on her debut album in Nashville, writing most of the tunes that she will record. “I’m writing some as well as co-writing. I learn more about myself every time I write alone. Co-writing with some amazing writers has opened my mind to ideas I never knew existed. I also love writing songs about things I enjoy as well as telling the stories from the minds of others. “I’m not sure all the songs on the album will be rap mixed with country,” the singer continues. “One of my favorite songs so far, “Calm Before the Storm,” was written with Jared Scuillo and Mallary Hope. I have recorded one version where I sing the chorus and rap the verses, and the other version I sing the entire song.” The album will continue in the vein of the single “Shotgun” from “Mud Diggers 5,” a “bad ass, harder and grittier country. I’m not the mushy relationship-type who stands around and cries because he left me, but on the same note I would never do what the video leads the mind to believe I did…” Sarah has one trait that she gets from her father which will do well for her in the music career that she has chosen. She doesn’t worry; she just figures that if it’s going to happen it will. “I do feel like I have a weight on my shoulders since I am the first female to do this kind of music, so that does make me step up my game,” she admits. “It all began with a passion for eclectic music and unique sounds. I hope it will connect with others who have an open mind and also enjoy a variety of country and rap music.” “It’s kind of crazy but in a cool way, when you see all the country/rap collaborations such as Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line with Nelly, Jason Aldean with Ludacris and Brad Paisley with LL Cool J. Florida Georgia Line even raps on “This is How We Roll.” It’s all about who does it, if it works and who believes in you. Country music is evolving. It has its roots and that’s here to stay. I would never want to try and change it, just add a variation.” Sarah is in Nashville to stay. While she misses her family and the horse farm in Southern New Jersey, and roaming the 240 acres with her cousins, Sarah is committed to making the music she loves. There is no turning back. As she says, there is no Plan B.
Pegging country music duo Native Run is tougher than it might seem. “Very instrument-driven with acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin,” suggests the pair’s Rachel Beauregard. “Country themes and very sing-able choruses.” Bryan Dawley, her partner in music, appends, “We value songs that take common experiences and translate them in new and interesting ways. Things like love, heartache and life, but with our fingerprint on them.” Getting closer. Maybe an understanding of some influences would help. “We really admire Keith Urban and Chris Thile (of Nickel Creek), because we gravitate toward exceptional playing, melodic hooks and vocals that really connect,” Beauregard continues. “We love layers of sound and melodies … a lot of that comes from bluegrass, as well as Bryan’s classical training. It adds up to a very unique sound.” Unique, how? Perhaps a bona fide expert could provide context. “They are such a mix in terms of the acoustic instrumentation and popular sensibilities,” says GRAMMY-winning producer Luke Laird (Kacey Musgraves). “Instantly, it just made sense that it could have mass appeal.” Finally, some clarity. Now all Native Run needs is a snappy catchphrase. Something simple, like – organic, acoustic, musically smart, powerful, playful-yet-heartfelt arena rock country music. Too much? Okay. Maybe just this: Hard to define, but undeniable. Not surprisingly, that dynamic has existed from their first moments making music together. Bryan and Rachel grew up 20 minutes from each other in the rural/suburban sprawl of Northern Virginia west of the D.C. area. For both, church shaped their musical growth. “I just kept getting the solos,” Rachel says of her childhood worship experience. “I was like, ‘Oh, I guess I have a singing voice that people want to hear.’” “After college, we ended up at the same church in Virginia,” Rachel says. “And we figured out pretty quickly that there was something there. Making music with Bryan was not only an absolute blast, but it really felt effortless.” “I started playing guitar and bass,” Bryan says, noting that his multi-instrumentalist talents were forged by necessity. “The interesting thing about worship ministry at church is that you don’t always know if your drummer or keys player is going to show, so it’s sort of trial-by-fire. Can you fill this spot today? Sure.” A focus on vocal performance and theater carried Rachel through school and college. “I trained in Germanic opera, too,” she says, “but I realized I really liked mainstream music and quit … but I kept singing.” Bryan majored in music and, similarly, pulled away from the classics. “I wanted to make music people want to listen to,” he says. “At the time, we were just doing odd jobs,” Bryan says. “I was teaching lessons and she was making chicken salad at a club in our area, among other things.” Rachel quips back, “Really, I was teaching. But I do make a freaking great chicken salad, I will say. With grapes and balsamic vinegar. It’s amazing.” Turning serious, she adds, “When we started writing together, it just clicked. We immediately knew it was something very chemical and awesome. Other people who heard us had the same reaction and encouraged us to keep doing it.” Anchored at a local coffee shop, the duo began writing and performing original material, eventually touring the east coast. A residency at a New York club sparked contacts that led them to Nashville, but finding a home in country required little in the way of adaptation. “We’ve always just wanted to figure out what we do and make the best version of that,” Rachel says. “From the beginning, there was something special … and it just happens to sit so nicely in country.” Bryan agrees. “When we’re writing together, it’s not a convoluted approach to try to be more country or less country,” he says. “It’s just what comes out.” Their publisher and eventual producer Luke Laird saw the connection immediately. And with 14 No. 1 hits as a writer, he knows something about contemporary country music. “They have a hard to find combination. Bryan is a session-level musician. Rachel is a great vocalist and they’re both great writers. I was instantly drawn to that credibility – they have the chops. Plus, they can really deliver in a live setting and are so seasoned. They have that performer’s sensibility in knowing what fans will react to.” And they are definitely reacting. “We jumped on a couple tours while we were finishing the album…opening for David Nail, Billy Currington, etc…and were able to add the new songs into our setlist.” Bryan says. “We were absolutely floored at the response from fans. We just felt so strongly like we belonged, and that they thought we belonged.” That acceptance is easy to understand when considering songs like “Good On You.” A relaxed drum loop anchors sparkling banjo and mandolin over a huge, crowd-friendly hook. Likewise, “What’s Not To Love” frames a mass-appeal theme and melody in a level of musicianship and performance that holds up to serious scrutiny. “When I’m Taken” showcases the harmonies that were the earliest spark of their pairing. Even though Laird is their publisher, using him as producer wasn’t a foregone conclusion. “Every song we’ve written with Luke, we’ve loved,” Rachel says. “He was working on Kacey Musgraves’ album at the time and we spent a lot of time talking about what our process might look like. Eventually, the conversation opened up in that direction.” “Anything we can do to help his star rise,” Bryan jokes. “But, really, a lot of different ideas you’ll hear as a through-line in our music have come from experimenting with Luke. We were able to figure out where our foul lines are as a band.” “They have great production ideas on their own,” Laird says. “And the process was really organic – from writing to being in the studio. They know who they are, they work hard and they’re also really great people.” As their major label debut takes shape, Rachel and Bryan continue to follow the music – and the inexplicable magic – that first brought them together. “When you have that kind of experience, it becomes something you just have to commit to whether you know where it’s taking you or not,” Rachel says. “You sort of do a big swan dive into it … and you hope.”
One of Music City’s best kept secrets and fastest rising talents is without a doubt Ben Rue. This Silverton, OR native developed a passionate fan base in the Beaver State and continues to win over audiences around the continental US. Praised for his ability to capture real situations in his music, Ben emanates a storytelling signature that once defined country music. At the core, his tunes are as organic as his roots reared by a grass seed farming family where he worked the fields with his two older brothers. His uninhibited desire and drive acquired him a spot on Sony Arista’s roster in April of 2014 as well as a list of opportunities on the road with Hunter Hayes, Jarrod Niemann, Jon Pardi, Jo Dee Messina, The Band Perry, Eric Paslay, Craig Morgan, Craig Campbell, Lonestar, The Mavericks, Dustin Lynch and more. For more information on shows and original tunes visit www.benruemusic.com and www.facebook.com/benruemusic
In just a few short months since the release of her debut album ‘Walking Wires’, 23-year-old Logan Brill has already proven herself to be one of the most important new artists coming up in Nashville today. With a stunning voice that goes toe to toe with Nashville’s finest, the young singer-songwriter opts for grit and authenticity over pristine pop in her song choices, drawing comparisons to Bonnie Raitt, Brandi Carlile, and Mary Chapin Carpenter from national press. Outlets like Billboard, CMT Edge, Country Weekly, Pollstar, and CMA Close Up Magazine have already shown their support for her refreshingly authentic sound, imbued with a “bluesy American grit” (Southern Living) that sets her apart as “a far cry from the slick pop country of many of her contemporaries” (The Boot). That Nashville Sound dubbed ‘Walking Wires’ one of the “Top 10 Country Albums of 2013.” It seems that both Americana and country music fans nationwide agree, as Logan has appeared on sold-out bills in markets from Nashville to Chicago to Washington, DC, including opening spots with artists like Steve Earle, Josh Turner, Jerry Douglas, Leon Russell, Carbon Leaf, Robbie Fulks, Todd Snider, Sara Evans, and David Ramirez. Following the Knoxville native’s move to Nashville, Brill began working with Carnival Music, home to established songwriters like Gretchen Peters, David Nail, Scooter Carusoe, Troy Jones and many others. Carnival is owned and operated by producer Frank Liddell (Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack, Chris Knight) and is responsible for generating thirteen number one songs in the past decade. As a label, Carnival Recording Company is also known for launching the career of Eli Young Band. www.loganbrill.com
A Look Back at Our 2015 RISING STARS
Country singer, songwriter, and guitarist Josh Dorr was born and grew up in the coal-mining town of Gillette, Wyoming. His early passion was for sports, particularly football, and he played the game at a high level in high school, drawing the attention of college recruiters. A series of sports-related injuries, however, made him reconsider his future as an athlete. During a rehab stint, Dorr picked up a guitar he’d been given and started learning how to play it, discovering in the process a new direction for his life. After a frustrating stint at the University of Wyoming, where he found that his previous college credits wouldn’t transfer, he decided to pull up stakes and move to Nashville, where a friend helped set him up with an internship. Arriving in Music City in 2010, Dorr worked internships at a record label and at a music publisher; both provided him with valuable insight into the music industry. He started to write songs, both on his own and with others: he eventually placed material he’d co-written for the USA Network series Necessary Roughness, as the theme to the Pursuit Channel series Open Season, and a song that had appeared on Casey James’ second album brought him to the attention of RCA and his own record deal with RCA Nashville. Falling to the heartland rock side of country, his self-titled debut EP, led by the single “All or Nothing” and produced by Jim Catino, appeared in the spring of 2014. http://www.sonymusicnashville.com/artist/josh-dorr http://www.joshdorr.com
Vanessa says her artistic creativity comes from her Mom, an artist, and from her Dad, who has a passion for singing and playing guitar. She grew up in an ordinary home, with two brothers and a sister, surrounded by music and art. As a child, Vanessa’s family spent summers on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, home of James Taylor, Carly Simon, and a host of other local folk and blues artists. She quickly grew fond of the genre, and considers “Folk” to be where her musical roots grew from. Vanessa’s earliest memories are of her Dad playing James Taylor and Garth Brooks songs on his guitar while she would enthusiastically sing along. This very young age is when Vanessa and her family realized that God had blessed her with the ability to sing with extraordinary power and grace. At the ripe old age of 7, Vanessa was accepted to the Philharmonic Youth Choral in Naples Florida, after numerous requests to her mom to take her to an audition. Vanessa was one of the youngest singers in the choir at that time. At 8, Vanessa had her first taste of performing on stage at local fairs as a solo vocalist. She performed some of her favorite country songs, such as “Kerosene”, “Something More”, and “Baby Girl” for the local county audience and found she had a love for singing Country Music. She spent most of her time singing along to the songs of her favorite female voices,such as Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Dixie Chicks, though on many occasions Vanessa would perform songs by other artists such as Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. Upon entering into high school, Vanessa was chosen to perform vocal solos in the yearly production “Showtime.” Vanessa and three of her close high school friends decided to start their own band and named it “Sunnyland 29”. Vanessa was the lead vocalist. The band performed a cross section of songs, from rock to blues to country. Despite an abundance of talented students, the high school that Vanessa attended did not put much emphasis on music at the time. This concerned Vanessa. She has a large passion for music and truly understands its importance in our lives. Vanessa and a close supportive friend brought forth the idea of a club called, C-PAC. (Contemporary Performing Artists Club). C-PAC was designed to enable student artists from her high school to go out into the public to perform at local venues. The club program was so successful that within one year after it was established by Vanessa, the high school administration decided to convert the C-PAC club into a fully accredited high school course. During her high school years Vanessa also brought music to children, ages 5-11, by offering vocal lessons after school several days a week and weekends. Vanessa performed, willingly, at many local charitable events for a variety of causes. In her sophomore year of high school, Vanessa was a special guest performer at the Cancer Alliance of Naples annual event, “Country for a Cause”. In her junior year, Vanessa performed at the event with her high school C-PAC band at “ Woodstock on Westport “. That same year, Vanessa opened a show and performed numerous songs including a duet with Ben Taylor (James Taylor’s son) at the “Alive in the World” concert for the organization, called “Eden“, that benefits children with autism. Vanessa, in her senior year in high school, upon the advice of her musical career mentors, began her new life in Nashville, Tennessee, where she attended Belmont University at the Mike Curb School of Entertainment and Music Business. Vanessa was the opening-performing artist at the Academy of Country Music Awards, All Star Jam concert, held in Las Vegas for two consecutive years. She shared the stage with the very best of today’s performing country artists. While in Nashville Vanessa fell in love with songwriting, and is writing songs with some of the most established songwriters in Nashville. She is an active and registered songwriter with The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). ASCAP just has announced the talented unsigned songwriters that will make up the ASCAP Guidance from Publishers for Songwriters (GPS)Project Class of 2015. Vanessa is honored to be one of those selected in this year’s 2015 GPS program. It is not unusual to catch Vanessa performing at many Nashville establishments. She has also been performing at well-known singer/songwriter locations such at The Listening Room, Tin Roof, Fiddle and Steele, Red Roosters Nashville, Roosters Barbeque, The Commodore, Indigo Room, among many others. In 2013 Vanessa released her first EP, ‘Moon Shine’. Written from the heart, the six track album features songs with sweet summer front porch melodies, reaching back into old country lyrical styles with a new soulful Americana feel. Vanessa is blessed to be able to pursue her dreams and invites you to keep in touch with her on the Social Web. http://www.vanessabransanmusic.com
Sometimes it’s a haunting melody or playful lyric that hooks a person when they hear a song. Elise Hayes draws you in from the first note she sings. With a voice described as “powerfully sweet” and “blissful,” Elise affectively blends thoughtful and expressive songwriting with soulful and heartfelt vocals. Elise recently relocated to the sweet, southern city of Nashville from Boston. “Nashville has been such an amazing experience for me so far. I am constantly in awe of the amazing community in this town. It’s the most talent I have ever seen,” she says, “I feel so lucky to be a part of it.” Originally from a small town in New Hampshire, Elise grew up surrounded by folk music. “My parents were big fans of the 1960′s generation of singer/songwriters. James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King will forever be the soundtrack of my childhood,” she says, “I am so thankful for that – the standard for writing great songs was set for me from the time that I was very young.” Elise was 12 when she discovered soul music in a used CD store in her hometown. “I knew that every time I had heard the Jackson 5, something inside of me felt alive. I went to that shop in search of more of that feeling.” She found it in the music of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight. “I was hooked on that stuff for several years. I still am. It holds such a special place in my heart. I discovered the singer that I would aspire to become through those melodies and voices.” Combining these two genres has been a defining factor for Elise. “I’m really excited to see how Nashville is changing and expanding stylistically. It inspires me to keep my writing on point, and try to say things differently than people are used to hearing. I want people to feel that spark when they hear my music – the same way I did when I was younger and still do today. Music is such a universal, beautiful thing. I just want to give back a little bit of the inspiration and passion that I’ve gotten from it.” Combining these two genres has been a defining factor for Elise. “I’m really excited to see how Nashville is changing and expanding stylistically. It inspires me to keep my writing on point, and try to say things differently than people are used to hearing. I want people to feel that spark when they hear my music – the same way I did when I was younger and still do today. Music is such a universal, beautiful thing. I just want to give back a little bit of the inspiration and passion that I’ve gotten from it.” www.elisehayes.com
Two voices — one given, one earned. Singer, songwriter and performer Annie Bosko has married the two, recognizing what so many others fail to see — that a powerful and beautiful vocal instrument is, in isolation, incapable of taking her where she has every intention of going. Annie exploded onto the Country scene with the release of “Crooked Halo” on SiriusXM The Highway as one of John Mark’s ‘Highway Finds’. To date, the fiery single has garnered over 1.4 million streams. The music video for “Crooked Halo” first premiered on SiriusXM The Highway’s facebook page and quickly accumulated over 215,000 views over all platforms. The video also made its home on ZUUS Country and is currently topping the CMT Pure 12-Pack Countdown charts. Opportunity certainly knocks for talent like hers, as opening or backing vocal slots with Darius Rucker, Adele, Josh Groban, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Josh Turner and more confirm. She has performed the national anthem at the NBA All-Star game, recorded for one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, sang demos for some of the biggest hits on the radio and even did a turn on television’s top singing competition. All of those accomplishments fall short, however, for a true music maker with the loftiest ambitions. As she readies the release of her first EP, her artistry and vision have crystallized in songs including “Crooked Halo” and “Fighter.” Themes of strength, empowerment, vulnerability and self-determination run throughout. And they’re understandable, given her past, as well as her deep-rooted need to create and perform. Annie’s father is a third-generation farmer and she’s the middle of five children, but it was not the classic story of the musical family.” It was like, ‘Oh my God, we have this freak singing child. What do we do with it?’ They were scared getting into entertainment too early would mess me up.” Her first taste of the business was singing for a Disney soundtrack at the age of 14, but an affinity for songwriting pulled her toward Nashville. “I’d read the liner notes on albums I loved by Deana Carter, Trisha Yearwood, Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, whoever. They were all in Nashville, so I knew I had to get there at some point.” Moving cross-country, Annie sang demos and tried to work into writing appointments. Seeing so many artists take their shots through TV competitions, she auditioned … and advanced. “I made it to ‘American,’ but not ‘Idol,'” she jokes, not so subtly brushing aside the harshness of that reality. “It was a strange process and disappointing,” she admits. “I’ve always run against the grain,” she continues. “So I realized I have to get to the public. The artist is the captain of the ship, and taking that wheel was hard. But everything from music to pictures to the band is a representation of me, and so my fingerprints have to be on all of it.”The ballad “Fighter” may be the song that best expresses her determination. “It’s sort of a ministry to people, because everyone is fighting in their own way,” she says. “The idea was to really let this song be a banner that we can all carry in those times when we need it most.”For more information on Annie Bosko, visit www.anniebosko.com.
Nashville recording artist and professional songwriter Lance Carpenter pens hits of contemporary country radio, while still staying true to his traditional background. Growing up on a farm in Ozark, Arkansas, Lance taught himself how to play guitar while attending Arkansas Tech University where he was a member of the 1999 Conference Championship Wonderboy football team. The footballer turned lyricist moved to Nashville, TN in 2011 and in 18 short months signed his first publishing deal and secured 2 major cuts. Lance, however, remains true to his laid-back country boy persona and has continued to astound with the work ethic and humbleness that determined his early successes. He says, “The more success I have in this business the more significant I can be in the lives of others.” He released his debut self titled debut album “Lance Carpenter” in 2013 and has performed with Toby Keith, Luke Bryan, Justin Moore, Randy Rogers Band and more. Lance currently writes for Parallel Music Publishing and plans to continue writing music that inspires, memorializes and captures his own zest for life. Lance loves hunting, traveling, bbq’s, playing basketball, camp fires, and can’t turn down a good game of cornhole! (*Update June 2015) Lance could have a biography based on this week alone. It was just announced that “Love You Like You Mean It,” song he wrote for Kelsea Ballerini, reached #1 on the Country Charts! Even in the midst of all the excitement, it hasn’t stopped Lance from hastily organizing the “Music on the Mulberry” Music Fest in his home state of Arkansas once he heard the news that “Thunder on the Mountain” abruptly cancelled. http://www.lancecarpentermusic.com
Winning Boston Idol, performing “Party for Two” with Billy Currington Live! on Stage, recording demos for Randy Travis, and opening for Miranda Lambert and Eric Paslay are only some of the accomplishments Jilly Martin has under her belt in the past few years! In 2007, Jilly began making trips to Nashville to record demos and background vocals. That same year, Jilly opened for Randy Travis and Gretchen Wilson, and then was asked by Randy Travis to record 3 of his originals. In the subsequent summers Jilly expanded her list of openers to include The Band Perry, Justin Moore, Loretta Lynn, Josh Turner, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert and most recently, Eric Paslay. Jilly got her start performing with bands in the New England area at the age of nine years old! She found a home with the John Penny Band approaching John Penny at a street fair and asking to sit in and sing “Blue”, after hearing Jo Dee Messina got her start with the band. She quickly found herself a regular part of their shows opening for the Bellamy Brothers, Tommy Cash, Mark Chestnutt, Wade Hayes, George Jones, Neal McCoy, Collin Raye, Ricky Van Shelton, Michael Twitty and Darryl Worley. Additionally she performed with this band at many events and fairs in the New England area such as the Topsfield Fair, the Cracker Barrel Fair, theShriner’s Rodeos and provided entertainment on the track of a NASCAR race at the Loudon, NH International Speedway. Jilly has had the honor of performing the National Anthem at many events such as games for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, New England Revolution, Hockey East Championships, Merrimack College hockey and football games. She also performed the Canadian National Anthem in front of a crowd of approx. 100,000 at Loudon the 2012 NASCAR Lenox 301 Series. Over the past few years, Jilly really started getting into writing her own songs and telling her stories that fit so well in country music. She has had the privilege of learning from and writing with Del Gray of Little Texas, Lance Dary, Darrell Hayes, Steve Mitchell, Marie Miller, John Fannon of New England, Stan Swiniarski and many others! Jilly started working with Michael Robert Kelly as an acoustic duo and performing with the Ryan Brooks Kelly Band over the past year. Be sure to check out the gigs section to see where Jilly is performing next! Awards and Recognition: MCMAA Junior Performer of the Year 1998-2002; 1998 New Hampshire Country Music Awards Association Junior Performer (Categories: Traditional, New Country, and Gospel); 1999 New England Country Showdown Junior Performer of the Year; 1999 Country Music Organization of America Junior Female Vocalist of the Year (Categories: Traditional, New Country, and Gospel); and in 2002 was inducted into the Massachusetts Country Music Awards Association Gallery of Greats for having previously won at least three consecutive years. Keep It Country! Come check out a show! http://www.jillymartin.com/
When you hear a voice that is honest and raw, you immediately feel an inner connection with that person. Morgan Myles performs with passion and conviction because of what she has had to live through in her daily life. With her recent life experiences Myles even more determined in pursuing her dream. Myles is originally from Williamsport, PA and is a recent graduate of Belmont Curb College of Music Business. She went to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA for her freshman year, then the urging of Clay Bradley, the former VP of Sony’s A & R Division, transferred to Belmont where she earned her degree. Now a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, Morgan Myles is an amazing talent who performs a blend of singer-songwriter, alternative rock and soul music. She writes songs about anything that seems to her affect her life in a very raw manner that listeners can truly relate to. It was her first guitar teacher recognizing her retro soulful sound who exposed her to the late 60’s and early 70’s that has made Myles show so unique for her time. Myles completed her first solo record in 2009, writing every song and promoting it throughout Europe. Also gaining community attention she began writing with many successful songwriters. Soon after she decided to strengthen her performance abilities by touring with Crystal Shawanda, CCMA’s 2009 best female artist, along with opening for Reba McEntire, and playing at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. However, her most eye-opening moment was performing for US troops departing for Iraq at Camp Shelby Mississippi where she rediscovered the power of music. Having wrapped her tour, Bmi’s Mark Mason took a great interest in Myles career saying, “Myles is rare in the sense of being the true trifecta combining songwriting, singing and musical performance.” She was featured in the Key West Songwriter’s festival, BMI Buzz showcase, as well as BMI Presents all. Many booking agencies took interest immediately after these performances and Myles was playing showcases and opening for many artists including Rick Springfield. Soon after she was offered a unique opportunity to record an alternative-rock project at Blackbird Studios with the legendary Vance Powell. Myles learned quickly that this type of production complimented her voice and she went on to record and produce her own self-titled EP, which is now available for digital download. http://www.morganmylesmusic.com/
Casey Derhak has christened his musical style “Flow Country” music. Casey a Nashvillian now, moved to twang town from Jupiter, FL. The accessibility and intimacy of the small beach town both influenced and shaped his musical heritage. With music in his family (Dad plays the guitar and uncle is bassist/vocalist for rock band moe). There was always music being played at home in Casey’s early years. After dabbling in the piano and saxophone, he settled on guitar at the ripe ol age of 13. At that same time Casey, an accomplished athlete developed a twin passion for baseball and songwriting. He pursued both talents equally over the next decade, playing college baseball while honing his talents as a songwriter and guitarist. A fascination with words and melody created diverse musical opportunities for Casey during this period: from singing in chorus to forming a 5 piece rock n roll band on the bar circuit, an acoustic duo on the club scene and free style rapping as a solo act. A fan of all kinds of music Casey fell in love with Country. “It gave me an appreciation for the craft of songwriting.” says Casey. “The way every lyric means something and ties in the hook mixed with subjects I can relate to really drew me in” Eventually a sports injury sidelined Casey and he trained his traditionally intense focus entirely on a career in music. The Vibrant musically kinship of Nashville beckoned and Casey soon moved to Twang Town. Casey can be found in Nashville writing and playing local venues. His music has been placed on TV shows and commercials and his songs have been recorded and released by many other artists. . Casey is a BMI writer who writes over 100 songs a year. You can find some of his wildly popular songs like “Worth The Wait” and “Sandcastles” on itunes, Amazon, Spotify and all over. www.caseyderhakmusic.com
Brent Harrison is a new up and coming Singer/Songwriter signed with Plum Creek Publishing and Greater Gator Publishing. Stemming from his upbringing and background of singing in church and in quartets, his voice has been compared to the likes of current recording artists; Josh Turner and Chris Young and his writing style has a positive spin but is also modern and edgy. Brent has a passion for writing songs that stay true to his country upbringing as well as real life experiences. He currently lives in Nashville where he is recording and writing full-time. He is also part of the songwriting trio called The Red Writer’s, made up of two other up and coming songwriters, Ray Smitherman and Keith Dozier. They host a weekly writer’s night at Winner’s Bar and Grill in Nashville that streams live on line. Brent has been singing on stage since he was five years old. I guess you could say he has literally been a singer practically his whole life! Everyone back home in the small town of Thomasville, Alabama knows the Harrison’s as a singing family.For years generations of Harrison’s like; Levi, Nat, Horrie, Bealie, and Leona sang in church, southern gospel quartets and even live on the radio. They passed down the love for singing to the children who, when they had children of their own, followed in their footsteps. It has been passed from generation to generation and continues to this very day. They learned to sing parts from the old Stamps Baxter song books.” His family always went to Sunday afternoon singings where the congregation would split into four sections, one for each part. “That’s the way you learned the part you wanted to sing.” “My dad and uncle sang bass and I liked the sound of the low part so I learned to sing bass.” “You get a church full of people who can sing parts like that and it is a beautiful sound like nothing else.” His mother’s side of the family is also very musical. Brent’s grandmother had an amazing ear for music. “For as long as I can remember, we would break out the guitars and sing at family gatherings.” Mary Pezent, better known to the family as, “Mawmaw”, would request songs and gently but confidently guide the young singers and guitar players as they learned. Many Pezent family members played the guitar and sang but in his early teens, Brent watched his uncle Johnny. Almost immediately the fire was lit to learn to play the guitar himself. He took some lessons but mainly learned from watching his uncle as well as others and listening to cassette tapes learning to play and sing gospel and country songs. “I had great musical influence from both sides of my family from an early age.” Brent was not only exposed to gospel music but country music as well. “I remember listening to my parent’s old vinyl records of George Jones, Charlie Pride, Jim Reeves and Tammy Wynette.” He later began listening to Elvis, Johnny Cash, The Oak Ridge Boys, Keith Whitley and Merl Haggard. “When I heard Randy Travis’ debut album, THE STORMS OF LIFE, for the first time, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” At the time, Brent was singing and playing in the family quartet. He sat down with his parents one night and told them he wanted to quit the quartet and sing country music. You can imaging the disappointment, but they not only supported him but came along side of him on this new journey. Brent joined a local country band as a drummer but quickly moved to the front to sing. “I enjoyed drumming but knew my place was up there. I felt at home behind a microphone and six strings. I still do!” People began to take notice and he gained local recognition after entering and winning several talent shows. After learning many of his songs and singing them everywhere he played, Brent became known around Clarke County as a young Randy Travis. “Some of my friends would even call me Randy.” It wasn’t until after a high school program, where he sang; Randy’s smash hit, “Forever and Ever Amen”, that Brent’s music took a drastic turn. The song was a hit and the crowd demanded an encore. He was receiving tons of aka lades and feeling great when a man came up to him and said, “You do a great job singing Randy’s songs but there is already a Randy Travis. The world doesn’t need another one. If you want to be successful, you have to be Brent Harrison.” The comment floored him and needless to say, he didn’t sleep much that night. He knew the man was right so he began a search deep inside himself to find Brent Harrison, the person and the artist.He thought about being raised around quarter horses and having a love for them as well. “I remember going to shows with my dad and climbing up on the fence to watch and wanting to one day own and show horses myself.” He also thought about being brought up around cattle and hay fields and remembered working in the garden as well as chopping loads of firewood in the summer for the coming winter. He thought about going hunting with his dad and enjoying the time around a campfire listening to stories told from long ago while eating fried turkey breasts and venison. “Those were some great times that I wouldn’t take anything for.” He thought about his mother packing sandwiches and chips in an ice chest on Sunday mornings. “After dad preached, we would meet the other members of the quartet and drive to another church to sing and make it back just in time for the evening service.” “Sometimes we even had time for a quick church pew nap.” All that, mind you, after a Saturday night singing as well. He thought about all the things in his life that had influenced him. It wasn’t long until Brent Harrison was found. Retiring his bolo ties, western cut suites and dress slacks, Brent went out and bought a new cowboy hat, jeans and some western shirts. He also began to write his own songs. Songs about his life, things that he knew and had been through or was going through at the time. “Relationships played a big part in my writing. I was a teenager and almost out of high school so I had a lot to write about.” “The first few songs were horrible but I kept at it and they began to get a little better.” Brent continued to enter talent contests and started his own band. One of the contests was the American Idol of the 80’s, the nationally televised Star Search talent show. After a series of auditions, he made it all the way to Hollywood to perform on two episodes. Winning the first one but losing the second. “It was a great experience for a young country boy to be on such a large stage.” “I learned a lot.” http://www.brentharrisonmusic.com1