Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Thursday at 8:45 PM
“For a long time I always had to go off on my own,” says Nathaniel Rateliff of his creative process. “For the first Night Sweats record, I demo’ed everything up and created most of the parts. But for this new record, I felt like we’d all spent so much time on the road that we should all go off somewhere together. We should have that experience together. I wanted the guys to feel like they were giving something to the project beyond just playing.”
In other words, the Missouri-bred, Denver-based frontman wanted to make the band disappear along with him—out in the middle of the desert at first, and then deep in the woods. The result is the aptly titled Tearing at the Seams, a vivacious and inventive full-band record, with significant contributions from all eight members of The Night Sweats. These songs are grounded in old-school soul and r&b but are far too urgent for the retro or revivalist tag. There are familiar elements of soul and garage rock, but also jazz and folk and even country: the crackling energy on opener “Shoe Boot,” the cathartic sing-along of “Coolin’ Out,” the melancholy folk of the closing title track. “The future of this band is to take everything we’ve ever done in the past and just do it with our own little twist,” says Rateliff. “I hear that in my favorite bands. They just sucked everything up.”
Like his heroes, Rateliff has always been an omnivorous listener and player. Growing up in Hermann, Missouri, a small town with a booming tourism industry as well as a rampant meth epidemic, he started his music career playing in his family’s band at church, but that came to a tragic end when his father was killed in a car accident. Music became an obsession for him and his friends. “We would walk around these deserted country roads and talk about music all the time, how it can change the world and how it could change our world,” recalls Night Sweats bassist Joseph Pope III. “Music was what we thought would save us.”
In 1998 Pope and Rateliff moved to Denver where they worked nightshifts at a bottle factory and a trucking company while testing out their songs at open-mic nights. Their first band, Born in the Flood, attracted some major-label interest, but the pair had moved on by then, gravitating from heavy rock toward a folksier sound. Rateliff released an album on Rounder Records with a backing band called The Wheel, but despite the critical success of that and subsequent albums, he was still trying to find the right sound, the right outlet for what he needed to say.
A set of rough demos recorded in the early 2010s and based on old Stax and Motown records pointed Rateliff in a new direction. “That old soul stuff meant a lot to him when we were young,” says Pope. “Of all the projects we had done and all the different genres we had played, this was the most natural thing I’d heard him do. It sounded like it came from a really deep place in him, but it took this really meandering path to come through.”
Those demos eventually developed into the band’s 2015 self-titled debut, which became a massive hit and pushed them out on the road for two long years. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats blasted their way through hundreds of shows in North America, England, Ireland, and Australia, and they played Coachella, Farm Aid, Newport Folk Festival, and the Monterey Pop Festival’s 50th Anniversary. The crowds grew larger with every show and The Night Sweats grew tighter and more vigorous.
In May 2017, they brought that same boundless energy to the opens plains and prickly cacti of Rodeo, New Mexico, where the entire band disappeared for a week to write songs for their follow-up. “We just did what we like to do best,” says Rateliff, “which is hang out and be a family.” They recorded a number of demos, some complete songs and others fragments or just ideas, but all were anchored by the preternaturally tight rhythm section of Pope and drummer Patrick Meese, then buoyed by the rambunctious keyboard runs from Mark Shusterman and the textural guitar riffs of Luke Mossman.
It was a sunny setting for emotionally overcast music. Together, The Night Sweats created a set of songs that comprise both an r&b party record and deeply personal confessional from Rateliff, who penned all the lyrics. The album recounts moments in the last few years of his life, some good and others not so much. “I remember finishing one song and just losing my shit and breaking down. These songs are so personal, but not everyone will get that. I get to leave little secrets in there for myself, so that everybody else gets to have their own individual interpretations of the songs.”
From New Mexico, The Night Sweats headed north to rural Oregon, specifically to the home studio of producer Richard Swift, who has helmed records for The Shins and Foxygen in addition to The Night Sweats’ debut. “He’s like a brother to me,” says Rateliff. “We hit it off during the last record. I feel like I get what Richard’s trying to do and he gets me. And his studio doesn’t really feel like a studio. It’s in this little building behind his house. That’s why I like it so much.”
In that tiny space The Night Sweats jammed hard, building off the demos they’d recorded in Rodeo. Often Swift would get dynamic takes without the band realizing he was even recording, which creates a loose, live sound on Tearing at the Seams. “Sometimes it just takes time for songs to reveal themselves to you,” says Rateliff. “You try not to get in the way of the songs and just let them be what they need to be or what everybody understands them to be.”
That’s how “Hey Mama” evolved from an acoustic guitar riff Rateliff devised in one of hundreds of green rooms the band has occupied pre-show into one of the catchiest songs on the album. He admits he wasn’t satisfied with his first stab at lyrics and melody, but “everybody in the band would walk around singing that melody and I’m like, Goddammit! I have to write a new melody! But if everybody’s singing it, it must be okay.”
The band took several cracks at “Intro,” a showstopper that opens the second side with a pretzel horn riff courtesy of tenor saxophonist Andreas Wild and trumpeter Scott Frock. A few measures later, Jeff Dazey unfurls a blazing alto sax solo. “We played that song live for a while,” says Rateliff. “It was a jam we came up with before we were really a band. We tried to record it so many different times in so many different places, but it never turned out the way we wanted it to sound. Finally, we just put it together at Richard’s one night. It was a drunken mess, but we got it.”
The album shows The Night Sweats tearing at their own seams, at their own sturdy sound, at their long-held definitions of friend and family and band. It’s an album that builds on the sound of their debut but dramatically redefines what they can do and where they can go next. Says Rateliff, “I want—and I need—everybody to feel like they’re a part of this band. I want them to feel like they’re contributing artistically and emotionally to the experience of writing and creating this music. We’ve all had to make sacrifices to be in The Night Sweats, and I want them all to know that it’s worth something.”
Little Big Town
Friday at 8:30 PM
GRAMMY, ACM, CMA, and AMA Award-winning group, Little Big Town — consisting of members Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook — first entered the music scene over 19 years ago with hit songs “Boondocks,” “Bring It On Home,” “Good As Gone” and the GRAMMY-nominated “Little White Church.” Their breakthrough albums Tornado and Pain Killer produced multiple #1 singles, including “Pontoon,” “Tornado,” and “Day Drinking,” as well as the history-making, best-selling country single of the year (2015) “Girl Crush.” Released February 24, 2017, Little Big Town’s latest studio album, The Breaker, debuted #1 on the Billboard Country Charts and Top 10 (No.4) on the Billboard 200 to critical acclaim, marking the group’s fourth Top 10 debut on the Billboard 200 chart. The album features their GRAMMY-winning, multi-week #1 single, “Better Man,” as well as “When Someone Stops Loving You.”
Little Big Town has earned more than 40 award show nominations and in the past five years has taken home nearly 20 awards, including multiple GRAMMY, AMA, People’s Choice, CMA, ACM awards, and an Emmy award. Currently the reigning CMA and ACM Vocal Group of the Year, the Country Music Hall of Fame inductees (2014) went onto receive their star on the Nashville Walk of Fame in 2017. Also in 2017, Little Big Town hosted a sold-out, year-long artist residency at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville — marking the venue’s first-ever, year-long residency in its 125-year history. The band also recently launched 4 Cellars wine, their first non-musical project as a band, with Browne Family Vineyards. For more information on Little Big Town visit LittleBigTown.com or follow them @littlebigtown.
Trampled By Turtles
Thursday at 7:00 PM
Trampled by Turtles are from Duluth, Minnesota, where frontman Dave Simonett initially formed the group as a side project in 2003. At the time, Simonett had lost most of his music gear, thanks to a group of enterprising car thieves who’d ransacked his vehicle while he played a show with his previous band. Left with nothing more than an acoustic guitar, he began piecing together a new band, this time taking inspiration from bluegrass, folk, and other genres that didn’t rely on amplification. Simonett hadn’t played any bluegrass music before, and he filled his lineup with other newcomers to the genre, including fiddler Ryan Young (who’d previously played drums in a speed metal act) and bassist Tim Saxhaug. Along with mandolinist Erik Berry and banjo player Dave Carroll, the group began carving out a fast, frenetic sound that owed as much to rock & roll as bluegrass.
Trampled by Turtles released their first record, Songs from a Ghost Town, in 2004. In a genre steeped in tradition, the album stood out for its contemporary sound, essentially bridging the gap between the bandmates’ background in rock music and their new acoustic leanings. Blue Sky and the Devil (2005) and Trouble (2007) explored a similar sound, but it wasn’t until 2008 and the band’s fourth release, Duluth, that Trampled by Turtles received recognition by the bluegrass community. Duluth peaked at number eight on the Billboard bluegrass chart and paved the way for a number of festival appearances. When Palomino arrived in 2010, it was met with an even greater response, debuting at the top of the bluegrass chart and remaining in the Top Ten for more than a year. Two years later, their crossover appeal landed them at number 32 on the Billboard 200 pop charts upon the release of their sixth album, Stars and Satellites. In addition to major bluegrass and folk festivals, they began showing up at Coachella, Bumbershoot, and Lollapalooza. The official concert album, Live at First Avenue, followed in 2013, recorded at Minnesota’s most famous venue. A year later, the band returned with the darker-toned Wild Animals, which bettered its studio predecessor on the album charts, reaching number 29. Trampled released their latest album Life Is Good On The Open Road in 2018.
Thursday at 5:50 PM
“Each song is a little snapshot of something I picked up along the way,” says Caitlyn Smith. With her new album, Starfire, Smith has created a true portrait of an artist as a young woman, full of insightful observations, personal revelation, and commitment to craft. Powerful and nuanced, the record marks the arrival of a true musical force.
Though she began her career as a performer, in recent years Smith has become one of Nashville’s most celebrated songwriters, with her compositions recorded by artists from James Bay to Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton to John Legend and Meghan Trainor (for whom she co-wrote the multi-platinum duet “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”). Since she returned to the stage on her own, tastemakers immediately began taking notice: Rolling Stone has called Caitlyn’s voice “soaring and expressive” and Elle magazine praised her “powerful, affecting songs,” and she was named one the “top female vocalists” on Billboard’s SXSW 2017 Music Discovery.
“I was wandering around Nashville, writing for other people, but I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to say as an artist,” says Smith of her new focus for Starfire. “I started writing songs that only I could sing—I would go in with the intention of writing for myself, after years of not doing that. This record is me opening my heart and telling my story.”
Growing up in the small town of Cannon Falls, Minnesota, Caitlyn Smith was drawn to music at a young age. She put together her first band when she was 12 years old, drafting her brother as the drummer, and started cold-calling local venues for gigs. By the time she finished high school, she was writing and performing so often that her parents asked if she wanted to use her college fund to finance a record; she went on to make three albums before she turned 19.
“I cut my teeth in the Minneapolis clubs,” she says. “All those times sneaking into shows was a defining time of my life, it left a huge mark on me. And the fact that there were these great artists who had come from Minnesota—Prince, Bob Dylan, Jonny Lang— made the idea of being a musician more attainable.”
Smith moved to the Twin Cities and played everywhere she could, but she had also been told that Nashville was a gathering place for songwriters, so she drove south to check it out. Discovering a city of kindred spirits, she began finding connections in the writing community. “As often as I could afford it,” she says, “I would take my Dodge Neon and drive for 14 hours, and started a period of going back and forth between the two cities.”
The Starfire song “St. Paul” stands as her tribute to this chapter of her development. “It captures that spirit of how it all started,” she says. “Wherever I travel, Minnesota will always be home.”
“You always have a picture in your mind of how things are going to go,” says Smith, “and it always turns out different.”
Newly married, she made the decision to move to Nashville full-time, and soon secured a publishing deal. Some country acts started recording her songs, then some country legends, and then artists in the pop world. “The crazy thing about Nashville is you get in a room with people and you have no idea what’s going to happen,” she says. “Meghan [Trainor] wasn’t a star when we wrote that song, she didn’t even have a record deal yet, but it ended up working out swimmingly.”
Being a staff songwriter has its own complications—”you’re putting your art on the line daily and being judged,” she notes—but it was a key stage in Smith’s ultimate plan. “I took a break from the stage because I wanted to learn how to craft a song,” she says. “I saw that you can have the greatest voice in the world, but if you don’t have a song, you have nothing. So I took a few years to really study songs and learn how to write.”
Eventually, though, she began to grow restless and feel the urge to get back behind a microphone. Trying to re-launch herself as a singer, though, proved more difficult than she expected. “I heard ‘no’ from every label in town,” says Smith. “I remember sitting on my guitar case on the sidewalk, crying after a horrible label meeting, and it started to rain, and I thought ‘This will be a great scene in the movie someday.’”
On Starfire, “This Town is Killing Me” encapsulates this period in Smith’s journey. “That song is the cornerstone of the record,” she says, “the story of what we all struggle with as songwriters.”
Smith hunkered down and committed to creating her own music, eventually connecting with producer Paul Moak. Just as things started rolling, though, she found out that she was pregnant with her first child. After lengthy discussions with her husband, she decided to keep working as long as she could. “He said, ‘This isn’t going to stop you— you can still sing, still move around,’” she says. “So I was cutting the record and still touring through my entire pregnancy. We released a few songs before I had the baby, just to put some music out there, and the response was way more than I ever anticipated.”
As she continued writing for Starfire, leading up to and following the birth of her son, Smith found more and more clarity about her ambitions. “When I started, it was difficult to know which parts of my story to tell,” she says. “But the more that I did it, the easier it was to identify which pieces to share. The writing became more honest once I finally had my sights on what I was doing.
“After so many years, and so many closed doors, ‘Starfire’ really is my theme song,” she continues. “This is my opportunity to pack up my little gypsy family, take it on the road and keep going.”
The twelve songs on Starfire illustrate the range of Smith’s storytelling and the striking impact of her voice. “Don’t Give Up On My Love,” which she wrote by herself in a cabin in North Dakota, is almost painful in its intimacy, while “East Side Restaurant” is more cinematic in its detail and dramatic in its delivery (“That’s about a past relationship that was quite toxic,” she says, “so I know it’s a song people can connect with”).
From small-town Minnesota to the stages of Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits festival, Caitlyn Smith is now living a dream she’s had from a very young age—and with the release of the mature, masterful Starfire, there’s no telling what happens from here.
“The path sure wasn’t what I thought it would be,” she says, “but it took all those ‘no’s and this whole journey to find what I needed, after trying too hard to do what other I thought other people wanted me to do. I needed to ask myself, ‘What do I love, what can I do that no one else can?’ And now I know that I’m not going to give up…This is what I was made to do.”
Thursday at 5:00 PM
Kind music for kind people. Kind Country is a Minneapolis based band that plays American standards as well as their own brand of Cosmic American music. Since their formation in 2012, the band has focused on creating live performances with high levels of improvisation and energy gathering with a goal of creating a moment of musical bliss that can be shared by audience members and band alike.
Kind Country released their debut self titled album “Kind Country” in the fall of 2013. Since then they have been bringing their music on the road playing live performances at theaters, bars, auditoriums, festivals, and everywhere in between all throughout the United States. The band released their second independently released full length album, Hwy 7, in the fall of 2015. Produced by Ryan Young of Trampled by Turtles, Hwy 7, thrust the band further into a regional spotlight. The guys quickly followed up with a 5 track studio EP, Mountains, which was released in the spring of 2017. The band has no plans of stopping and will be releasing new material on a regular basis for the foreseeable future.
“Snagging the last spot and rounding out our not-very-extensive list is Kind Country, the Minneapolis-based jamgrass band forged in 2012. Originally started as a four-piece string band, the band expanded into six-member ensemble featuring Mitch Johnson (guitar), Brandon Johnson (guitar), Max Graham (mandolin), Joe Sheehan (bass), Chris Forsberg (violin), and Chris Wittrock (drums). These guys have something special going on, with the addition of drums allowing the group to go deeper in exploring how bluegrass can morph and intersect with other genres and giving them the freedom to create a sound that is truly their own. However, they still stay true to their string-band origins and bluegrass roots, with their energetic playing and the talent among the six players more-or-less guaranteeing a foot-stompin’ good time.”- Ming Lee Newcomb, Live for Live Music. From article Five Up and Coming Bluegrass Bands Poised to Take Over the Scene.
Friday at 7:00 PM
Originally conceived to mark Montgomery Gentry’s 20th anniversary, their dynamic new album Here’s To You now represents the triumphant start to a new legacy.
On September 8, 2017, Troy Gentry died in a helicopter crash at the age of 50. The new collection, which was recorded before his death, serves as a reminder of the iconic pair’s powerful presence and also points to fruitful future for Eddie Montgomery and the Montgomery Gentry brand.
The album’s title, “Here’s To You,” is both a tribute to Troy and to the band’s rabid fans. “We don’t call them fans, we call them friends,” says Eddie. “They’re who got us our deal.”
Produced by Noah Gordon (Colt Ford) and Shannon Houchins (Brantley Gilbert) the album is one of Montgomery Gentry’s best. “It’s probably the greatest album we’ve done since Tattoos & Scars,” says Eddie Montgomery. “Coming up on our 20th anniversary we wanted to put out a killer album. We hunted and hunted for the right songs. In the studio we were feeling really loose. It was just beautiful and a lot of fun.”
There’s another reason Eddie believes Here’s To You is one of their best: Troy’s sweet, high tenor was on full display. “I’ve heard him sing since he was a teenager,” says Eddie, “and Troy’s soul came out on this album. It’s the best he’s ever sang.”
While there are plenty of future Montgomery Gentry fan favorites on the new collection, it also represents a more mature sound for the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame members. “Being on the road for 20 years and being together for 30 and all the things that we’ve been through, this album is about where we were at in life,” says Eddie.
The album’s cornerstone and first single, “Better Me,” is a real-life representation of where Troy was with his faith and family. “When Troy heard ‘Better Me’ he said, ‘I really want to sing this song, Eddie’, “ Montgomery recalls. “I said, Have at it, brother.” The song, written by Jamie Moore, Josh Hoge and Randy Montana, fittingly debuted at Troy’s celebration of life at the Grand Ole Opry House.
There are other songs of redemption on the album, including “All Hell Broke Loose,” which features Eddie’s rough hewn baritone and tells the tale of a love-inspired turn around. Like his buddy Troy, Eddie knew he had to sing it. “I was never a big love song kind of guy,” he says, ”but it fit me. It reminds me of when I met my wife. I was like, ‘Wow, this song is me right here’.”
”Crazies Welcome,” penned by Brad Warren, Brett Warren, Lance Miller and Jessi Alexander, which features Eddie’s earthy tones, celebrates those of us who don’t have it all together, which is to say all of us.
“Needing A Beer,” co-written by Bobby Pinson and Aaron Raitiere, is classic Montgomery Gentry, paying tribute to unsung heroes, including policemen, firemen, the military and teachers, among others. “It’s what we’re about and it’s what everybody that comes to see us is about,” Eddie says with blue-collar conviction. “We couldn’t imagine not cutting the song.”
His sentiment is completely understandable if you know the genesis of Montgomery Gentry. Their popularity is no doubt due in large part to Troy and Eddie’s personal connection as well as their close connection with their fans. “Nashville didn’t put this duo together,” says Eddie. ”Me and Troy did. We were friends and then we became a duo.”
”Even though I played with [my brother] John Michael for awhile, Troy and I always ended up on stage together,” Eddie recalls. “We played fundraisers and honky tonks and we sang from our souls.”
Fans quickly appreciated the band’s energetic stage show. “We’re about the working class,” says Eddie. “People would come in and have a drink because they were getting divorced or they were having a drink because they weren’t getting divorced. Or somebody was getting a promotion and they were having a party or someone was getting fired and they were having a party.
“We had a quite a following and the record label said, ‘if you can do this here maybe you can do it everywhere’,” he continues.
The Philip Eugene O’Donnell, Buddy Owens, Jenee Flenor and Wade Kirby-penned “Drink Along Song” is an instant MG classic. “We started doing that song live and we just knew before it was even cut that it was a hit,” Eddie explains. “By the time we’d get to the second chorus people were singing it back to us. When they do that and it’s the first time they’ve heard the song, you’ve got a hit.”
”That’s The Thing About America,” penned by Craig Wiseman, Jeffrey Steele and Shane Minor, celebrates our diversity in a divisive time. “I love exactly what it says and it’s so true,” Eddie says of the song’s message. “To me music heals all and I’d love to find that song that heals this country tomorrow. Maybe this is it.”
The quirky but catchy “King Of The World” was written by Troy Jones. ”Our manager brought us that song and said, ‘It’s way out there, but I want to play it for you’,” Eddie remembers. “When I heard it I immediately thought of my neighbor. I call him ‘my crazy ass Cajun buddy’ and this song is him.”
“Get Down South,” written by John Wiggins, Bob Moffat, Clint Moffat and Troy Johnson, is a dirt road anthem that will resonate with rural American fans and encourage city-dwellers to get in touch with their redneck side.
With 20 plus charted singles, the Kentucky-born duo earned Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards as well as a GRAMMY nomination with undeniable blue-collar anthems such as “Hell Yeah,” “My Town,” and “Hillbilly Shoes.” They’ve notched five No. 1 singles (“If You Ever Stop Loving Me,” “Something To Be Proud Of,” ”Lucky Man,” “Back When I Knew It All” and “Roll With Me”) and were inducted as Grand Ole Opry members in 2009. The duo, whose trademark sound combined Southern Rock and Country, achieved Platinum certification on three of their albums and Gold certification on three others.
Despite Troy’s passing, the show will go on, according to Eddie. “We talked about it a long time ago. We both said, ‘If one of us goes down, we want the MG brand to keep going. I will continue to honor him and our friends.”
With the release of Here’s To You the band’s legacy remains solidly intact and a robust touring schedule will ensure that the music that they labored over for two years will be shared with old and new “friends” alike. Two thousand and eighteen will no doubt be celebrated and remembered as the next chapter for the kindred spirits who pledged to continue their musical journey and put their friends first no matter what.
A Thousand Horses
Friday at 5:50 PM
America’s bona fide band of brothers A Thousand Horses delivers an authentic fusion of Southern Rock and contemporary Country mixed with rowdy jams.Their tough-as-nails new track “My Time’s Comin’” is the first look at their forthcoming second album, STARTING FIRES, produced by GRAMMY award-winner Dave Cobb.
The group’s debut single “Smoke” made Country Aircheck history as the highest debut for a new artist and solidified the band (with at least three members) as the first this decade to score a #1 with their first single on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart. A Thousand Horses have landed multiple awards show nominations, most recently vying for the title of New Vocal Duo or Group Of The Year at the 52nd Annual ACM Awards. The band’s debut album, SOUTHERNALITY, blends Southern Rock and influential sounds of The Black Crowes and Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street era, followed by their 6-track EP BRIDGES which included the working-man’s anthem, “Preachin’ To the Choir.” The talented foursome soars with Michael Hobby on lead vocals, as Bill Satcher and Zach Brown on guitar and Graham Deloach on bass round out their unique grooves.
After opening for Country powerhouse Jason Aldean and a string of performances in the U.K., A Thousand Horses have headlined shows across the U.S. and served as direct support on Kid Rock’s 2018 AMERICAN ROCK N ROLL TOUR.
Friday at 5:00 PM
Chris Hawkey, the self-described luckiest man in the world, was born and raised In Union City, a small town that rests on the state-line that separates Ohio from Indiana. He spent his youth competing in a wide variety of sports while dreaming of seeing the world through the windows of a tour bus. Having joined his first band at the age of 15, Chris began his pursuit of “the dream” while still in high school, playing “every bar and city festival within a 100 mile radius”.
After graduating from Mississinawa Valley High School, Chris attended a broadcasting school in Dayton, Ohio with the idea of pursuing a career in radio while continuing to chase his musical dreams. The radio business would take him from Ohio to Indiana to Virginia, and then to his current home state of Minnesota. It would also lead him to Kim, his wife of 22 years with whom he has two children, Alex and Abigail. As his broadcasting career flourished, Hawkey continued to perform with various bands on evenings and weekends while also releasing two well-received solo rock records in the early 2000s.
Hawkey’s big radio break came late in 2001 when he was hired to co-host and produce the Powertrip Morning Show on sports giant KFAN Radio. During its 15 year run, the morning show has become the number one rated morning radio program in the Twin Cities and is now syndicated to multiple cities across the upper midwest on the Fan Radio Network. Hawkey also produces the radio broadcast of Minnesota Vikings NFL football games for the Vikings Radio Network and is a regular contributor to the VIkings Entertainment Network.
The big music break came in the form of a phone call from an old friend in 2010. That phone call led to a run of hits and national acclaim as a member of the group Rocket Club. Hawkey was given the opportunity to sing on three songs that would spend time on the Billboard National Country charts. Those hits, and four full albums of other fantastic songs, would be heard by thousands of fans on stages all over the country as Rocket Club played concerts with some of the country music world’s biggest stars.
In 2014, Chris launched the next phase of his career with the release of his first solo country record. Filled with high-quality songs produced in Nashville and written by some of the world’s best songwriters, the 8 song self-titled collection would find a highly receptive audience and radio traction with the hit single “My Kinda Crazy.”
2015 saw the release of the CD “Country Underneath”, a powerhouse compilation of songs that would yield three radio hits including the nationally charting single “Favorite Song”. The run of shows supporting this second solo country release would last for 18 months and see the Chris Hawkey Band play to record crowds all over the United States as both headliner and direct support for Country Music Superstars.
On October 1 2016, Chris Hawkey released the single “Good Liar”, a fantastic song written by country-music legend Brett James that found immediate radio airplay. The song was the first release from the forthcoming album “Shine”, which will be released in late 2016.
“I named the record “Shine” after seeing a photo of our appearance at the Ramble Jam Country Music Festival in late 2016,” Hawkey said. “The photo, taken by Kelly Kamish of Kix Photography, showed a perfect moment in time. The sun was going down, the crowd was singing, and the smile on my face was like a window into my soul. I couldn’t tell what was shining more brightly, the sun or my smile. Those moments are examples of pure joy. Moments when I feel perfectly content. Moments when I can feel Love Shining at me from every directions. And I am doing my best to shine it right back. That’s the feeling I think we captured on this record.”
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Friday at 1:00 PM
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