Monthly Archives: May 2014




Songwriters: Ross Copperman, Tully Kennedy, Jon Nite

DB’s future campaign song is available through iTunes: HERE

      In a shocking turn of events this week, I found a congress that actually works! No, not the one on Capitol Hill. (As if!) This one belongs to Dierks Bentley. They don’t work WHISKEY ROW SCOTTSDALEunder a dome and Goldie isn’t parked at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. When they meet, it’s usually at a concert venue. First, members of DB Congress stand together in line, often all day, so they can be first into the pit area and line up right along the stage. No opposite sides of the aisle for these members! Once their president  takes the stage, not the slightest disagreement takes place. No rebuttal necessary. They agree on absolutely everything, except maybe the set list. Perhaps what that other congress needs is to “Tip It On Back” with Dierks.

     The question keeps hovering above Music City these days, what makes something “country music?” Many want to tie it to a particular sound or style of lyrics. I think we may imagebe looking for that answer in the wrong place.  Following a few fan groups as I have recently, I’m finding a clear pattern amongst country music fans that seems to exemplify the genre. What sets them apart from other fans is the reasons they like country music and why they become devoted to certain favorites. In the rock era, there were plenty of groupies and fanatical fans, but no one would tell you they supported Motley Crue because of their exemplary character. Yeah, those four words in the same sentence – “Motley Crue” and “exemplary character,” would not have gotten me an ‘A’ on an English paper! When I spoke to the Chair of Dierks Bentley’s fan club, which is officially named ‘DB Congress,’ she couldn’t say enough about the character of the man they wholeheartedly support.

     When you say the word ‘congress,’ I can hear you groaning from here, it conjures up thoughts of nasty campaigning and contested election results. Dierks Bentley’s congress DBC-RiserTour-Charlotte-may8began to assemble because of a genuine moment between him and the current Chairwoman of the DB Congress, Ronna Clark. She’d waited in line for three hours to meet him at a large fan event in 2004. Being among the last in line after that long a wait, you’d expect the artist to be tired and dismiss you rather quickly. Dierks introduced himself (as if he needed to!), made eye contact, thanked her for waiting so long, and had a real conversation with a fan he’d just met. From that chance encounter, she became more than just a fan of Dierks Bentley, she would become one of his biggest supporters. When an artist is breaking into the business, getting those first few albums out, their fan club offerings are often haphazardly put together. Things change as fans either respond and join the club, or it falls flat and the idea is reconsidered. DB Congress formed on in 2007. Ronna spent some time on the message boards there before connecting with other fans and sharing her passion. In 2009, when management changed and the message board was lost, she appointed herself Chair and started As often happens when people feel as though they’ve lost their voice and connection to each other, they band together to create a stronger one.

     In order to form a more perfect union, just as those early patriots did, the DB Congress started with a preamble: “We the members of the Dierks Bentley Congress, in order to form a more perfect fan club, establish a band of brothers and sisters, ensure domestic, light, and colds for all, provide a voice for the common fans not in the fan club, promote the general welfare of our president’s career, and secure the blessings of his tremendous talents, do ordain and establish this constitution of the united fan-clubbers of DB, country music singer, songwriter, artist extraordinaire.” And boy do they mean it! When Ronna invited me to take a look at their site at dbcongress-blog header-2014, I had no idea I would find the well organized, tight-knit community of followers I found there. Their efforts are completely transparent (now there’s a concept!), compartmentalized, and efficient in working towards their clearly stated goals. They have representatives in all 50 states and in 10 countries around the world, all dedicated to the same cause. As of now, they are 777 members strong! Among the ranks, they take on various tasks and promotions and each do their part for the greater good of the end game. Maybe they should write a book called ‘How To Run a Congress for Dummies’ and I would be more than happy to deliver it to the Capitol!

     The name ‘DB Congress‘ came out of an interview Dierks had done in 2006. He referred to his fan club as being “like his congress.” He went on to say that he listens to them imageand wants them involved in the overall growth of his music and his career. Some time after his devoted fans adopted the name ‘DB Congress’ in 2009 for their efforts on, Dierks showed just how much respect he has for this group by asking THEM for permission to use the term ‘DB Congress‘ for HIS official fan club online. Talk about R-E-S-P-E-C-T! What’s more impressive about this act is that it isn’t at all unlike Dierks to do such a thing. Ronna repeatedly told me about instances of Dierks interacting with fans and members of his team, treating them all as equals and NEVER as if he were anything more special than they were. May I be the first to offer to manage Dierks’ campaign should he ever decide to run for office?! Listening to her talk about Dierks Bentley was as much a character analysis as it was a music review. Of course his fans love the music, but it’s the making of that music and the man behind it that they are so proud of.

     “I Hold On,” Dierks’ latest #1 hit off his Grammy worthy new album, RISER, is a song his congress members feel represents him beautifully. “It’s Dierks to a tee,” Ronna summed up. Dierks co-wrote half the songs on the album and his core fan group says he image (2)poured a lot of himself into those lyrics. They  talk about Dierks the songwriter as much as Dierks the performer. When you put that much of your heart into the music, it’s bound to transcend the studio recording of it and manifest itself into the live show. They’ve all seen enough of Dierks’ live shows to see that transition in action. When Dierks shows up for a concert, she explained, he is completely present in the moment. It is obvious in everything he does throughout the show that, to him, there is nothing more important than making a connection with every person in that room. Not only do his songs resonate with the audience, but fans feel like they’re taking home a piece of Dierks with that ticket stub. When she said that to me, I couldn’t help thinking about a song on the album called “Back Porch.” Dierks didn’t write this one, but the way she described his concerts, it reminded me of the opening lyrics: “Ain’t no line around the corner, no security. No velvet rope, no dress code. Everybody’s V.I.P. You can wear your hat, dance in your bare feet. No credit card, no roll of cash. Just B.Y.O.B.” It sounds like Dierks approaches his concert stops as if he’s playing on someone’s back porch in each of those cities. The fans love it, and it’s obvious that he does too.

     It’s been ten years since Ronna Clark met Dierks Bentley for the first time in Nashville. She still remembers it vividly. Photo ops and autographs are fine, but a lasting impression made through a meet and greet is out of the ordinary, especially one that inspires you to devote yourself to his career milestones for ten years, 56 shows, and counting. Not only Dierks and DB Congress group shot-2did Dierks impress her, he equally impressed the other 777 members of his congress. They don’t get paychecks, free tickets, or special access to meet and greet opportunities. There aren’t any corporate sponsors, lobbyists, or billionaires lining the pockets of this congress. They met Dierks the man and discovered how talented he was. His genuineness sparked a passionate following. He earns their respect every day. He recognizes their efforts consistently and takes the time to thank them for each achievement, large or small. For their part, the DB Congress operates like a network. Their local representatives support Dierks’ interests in their respective states. They have cabinet members for the really big jobs that involve a collective effort and nationwide interests. Carrie Srebro is their chart reporter who keeps up with where Dierks’ songs are on the charts and what needs to be done to keep them moving up! Tara Joan does research and contributes to their blog. Possibly the longest fan club member, Stephanie Lanham, does graphics for the group and will be attending her 100th show next month! Their campaigns are all positive and all about promoting their president. No yard signs, nasty television ads, or robocalls from these folks. And when they set out to do something, it gets done! DIERKS BENTLEY DRUNK ON A PLANE Seriously Dierks, can we borrow your congress for awhile? Might be time for a DB Congress march on Washington and a little chillin’ on the back porch at The White House. I hear you’ve got a truck that would look just perfect in the driveway! We’d even let you reshoot the video for “Drunk On a Plane” on Air Force One. Picture that “rockin like a G6!” Consider this: we’ll change the address at The White House to 5-1-5-0 Pennsylvania Avenue. For your inauguration, we’ll host the largest DB concert ever on the National Mall (holds 1 million+) and we’ll all get a little “Sideways.” Just one request…B.Y.O.Congress.

From WAY North of NashvilleBev Miskus

Note: Anyone who joins Dierks Bentley’s fan club through ???????????????????????????????automatically qualifies to be a member of If you’re interested in promoting Dierks daily, email them at and let them know under what state to add your name. This makes you an official Representative in Dierks Bentley’s Congress! No expensive campaign or mudslinging required! In addition to their website, you can also connect with them on Facebook at and follow them on Twitter at

RISER is available through iTunes: HERE


Visit for RISER TOUR and ticketing information.


Just named by Taste of Country the HOTTEST TOUR OF THE SUMMER!!

©2014Bev Miskus

A Thousand Miles From Nowhere to Nashville's Neon Moon, JOSH DORR was Born To Run


A Thousand Miles From Nowhere to Nashville’s Neon Moon, JOSH DORR was Born To Run


     In a world filled with aspiring young artists all looking for that open door to stardom, I found a Dorr  that stood out from the rest. Inundated with requests from up and coming hopefuls to listen to their music, Josh Dorr didn’t come knocking on mine, I actually knocked on his – in a virtual kind of way. Josh “followed” me on twitter one day when I had some free time, so I decided to look him up on iTunes and listen to what he sounded like. He had just released his debut, self-titled EP, a few days earlier. It had four songs on it and I started listening. Normally, I might find one song on a debut EP that’s pretty good and worth sharing. This time, I couldn’t hit download fast enough. The sound bites that iTunes offered were enough to bait me. This was a hook I had to bite on!

      When you look at someone’s picture on an album cover positioned to the left of their list of songs on  iTunes, the two don’t always match what your mind envisioned. There was a depth in Josh’s picture that told me he wasn’t a guy who stumbled into Nashville trying to capitalize on a trend. It looked like he had something to say and was fairly certain how he wanted to say it. Listening to the songs, I knew he’d at least co-written them. There is a passion in his vocals and a clear message in his lyrics. His connection to the music is not a casual one. Josh has since told me that songwriting is his passion. He likes the energy he feels when sitting down to write a song, either alone or with friends. Now that he gets paid to do it, what’s not to love?!

      Josh was born and raised in Gillette, Wyoming, which is in the northeast corner of the state, just west of South Dakota and south of Montana. WY STATE LOGOIf you’re driving to Nashville from there, you’ll add 1,397 miles to your odometer and it will take you almost 20 hours. Not exactly a suburb of Music City! He made the long move to Nashville in 2010 to pursue his interest in music, and unlike many whose talent is nurtured in their home state, Josh didn’t start seriously writing and playing shows until he’d relocated to Tennessee. If you’re curious as to how long it takes to get a start in the music business, Josh told me he just signed with Sony RCA Nashville a couple of months ago. That means nearly four years of honing his craft before he signed on a dotted line that may lead to money in the bank!

      When I asked Josh who his biggest influences were musically, he said, “Garth Brooks, Brooks and Dunn, Dwight Yoakam, Tom Petty, The Wallflowers, Ryan Adams, and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few.” If you were thinking that Josh Dorr was going to sound like everyone else on the radio right now, that list should tell you there’s something very different about him. If I were to put those artists in a blender and turn them into just one, I’d be introducing you to a country/rock/alt phenom. Given the opportunity, Josh Dorr may well become that artist. His EP is as close to a homerun as a new artist will ever hit. “All or Nothing” is the first song on the EP and the only one he didn’t write. It’s got a fantastic hook on it and had me singing along the first time I heard it. It feels like a song you’d play with the windows rolled down on a summer day, flying down the highway towards California. Such a cool groove! Continuing on that road trip, “Before the Summer Dies” is a turn up the radio, pedal to the metal, muscial shot of Red Bull. Josh did co-write this one and the lyrics suggest a race against the  tides of summer. The images in this one are so vivid you can imagine your own video playing along to it. Take that YouTube! When a song is this good, your services are not required! “Mine Looks Like You” is another Josh Dorr co-write with an unusual combination of romantic lyrics and big guitar moments. This one feels like a guitar hero seduction song. You’ll hit repeat. But he’s not finished yet…”Save Your Breath” took mine away. Josh penned this one as well and you might want to sit in front of a fan to listen to it. Again, no YouTube video required! The summer sun has met its match in this song. The strength of the music is perfectly matched to the passion in the lyrics and the vocal delivery. Jim Catino was the producer on this EP and the finished product feels like a master class in musical symmetry, with the artist creating the music and the producer surrounding it with just the right speakers.

      Josh is excited for fans to buy the EP, listen to it, and tell him what you think. You can review it and leave your comments on iTunes. If you’re looking to see Josh play live, he’s been playing shows in Georgia and Alabama and will be hitting the road to promote the new EP. You can keep up with his scheduled events by following him on Facebook at


      I’ve never reviewed a debut EP before. I’ve never done a feature article on a new artist. Josh’s music jumped off the iTunes page as if he were performing in 3D on my computer screen with his amps set up on either side of my laptop. I can already hear the critics complaining that this doesn’t sound like country music to them. Let’s consider geography for a moment. Josh is from Wyoming. Garth Brooks is from Oklahoma. Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks hail from Texas and Louisiana, respectively. Dwight Yoakam was born in Kentucky. Tom Petty is from Florida. The Wallflowers are out of LA. Ryan Adams is from North Carolina. And we all know “The Boss” is from Jersey. I’d say Josh’s musical influences cover most of the country geographically. His lyrics are entirely relatable no matter where you live in the country. Since the word “country” keeps popping up and the music was recorded in the country music capital of the world, country it is! When it’s this good, it really doesn’t need a category. Josh is one of those rare new artists that exude potential. His EP belongs on every summer playlist. I fully expect to see him, in a few years, “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” perhaps in Florida, opening for one of his music idols…Tom Petty. Repeat after me Josh, “I Won’t Back Down.”

From WAY North of NashvilleBev Miskus

Josh’s EP is available through iTunes: HERE JOSH DORR

EP Tracks:

  1. All or Nothing – Songwriters: Skip Black, Matt Nolen, Eric Paslay

  2. Before the Summer Dies – Songwriters: Josh Dorr, Marty Dodson, Josh Osborne

  3. Mine Looks Like You – Songwriters: Josh Dorr, Ross Copperman, Bob DiPiero

  4. Save Your Breath – Songwriters: Josh Dorr, Jason Mizelle


©2014Bev Miskus

TOA screenshot


     We’ve come a long way since the days of groupies and mail order fan clubs. Today there are any number of ways to connect with your favorite music artists through social media, fan clubs that offer exclusive merchandise, opportunities, and events for members only, and mega fan events like CMA Fest. Social media was by far the biggest game changer in the way artists are able to connect with their fans. The list of possibilites that are internet driven seems to increase every year. It’s easy to “follow,” “unfollow,” “like,” unlike,” “tweet,” “retweet,” “favorite,” etc, but what does that really mean? If someone has 5 million “followers” on twitter, does that mean there are 5 million people around the world who “follow” their every tweet and spend their days devoting time and money to this demi-god? Let’s hope not! I’ve spent some quality time on twitter (I swear that’s possible!) this past year and twitter behavior patterns are interesting to say the least. You can tell a lot more than you might think about someone based on their twitter personality, or lack thereof. You can also tell a lot about what type of fan someone is based on the various fan sites that exist, both virtually and in real life.

     Country music has a reputation for attracting a loyal fan base. Country lyrics are all about connecting with their audience. They make people feel something they can relate to, otherwise it’s just performance art. Subsequently, when you feel connected to someone, you tend to care about that person or group and you become invested in their well being. How invested is where fan groups come into play. Every artist who reaches a certain level has a fan club they operate. You join via their online website, pay the member fee if there is one, and gain access to all the perks and benefits they offer. All this exclusivity is generally not free, so potential fan club members have to decide if what they get is worth what they’ll be paying. In addition, if you’re looking for free fandom opportunities, there are now Facebook sites as well as twitter accounts run by, well, we don’t know who they’re run by. In my researching fan sites for the big names in country music, it looks like the foreclosure market hit Facebook and Twitter as well. There are numerous abandoned fan sites on both those social media entities that look bleaker than the estimated longevity of Kim and Kanye’s marriage. Concerts long forgotten, contests long over, pictures nobody recognizes anymore, litter these sites like relics. It seems our ever decreasing attention spans affect our fan behavior. Fan today, “unfollow” tomorrow. If someone better comes along or our favorite falls from grace, the concert tshirt becomes a rag and we move on.

     Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, there are usually competing sites looking for fan followings. On Facebook, it’s easier to determine who’s running the site and what their motivation is. Sometimes one Facebook page will be the clear fan favorite and wins out over all the others. On Twitter, it gets interesting. I noticed over time that certain fan groups “favorite” and “retweet” frequently and interact through postings on a regular basis. When I decided to launch this summer Battle of the Bands contest, I thought it would be great to get the fan groups involved. I started messaging some of the fan groups I thought were most active to see if they would be willing to talk to me about what they do and how they got started. Again, I found that many of the sites had been abandoned, their last activity being years ago. Some of the ones who were active, did not respond to my request. The bigger the name, the less likely to find an active large fan group on twitter. Lots of pledging their eternal love accounts and marriage proposals, but very little real fan following without illicit intentions. As the stars got a little less bright, I found two gems.


     Parmalee Famalee is a fan group supporting the band Parmalee, and when I say “supporting,” I mean intent on taking them to new heights. When you commit yourself as a fan group to someone who isn’t yet a household name, the tasks you take on are very different than they would be if you were a fan of Justin Timberlake. Parmalee released their debut album, Feels Like Carolina, last December. Are they a new band? Hardly! The four guys who make up Parmalee have been together since 2001. In today’s music world, getting a career off the ground takes more than a village. Sometimes it takes moving mountains, and that’s where Parmalee Famalee comes in. Parmalee’s record label is Stoney Creek Records. As a record label, they have certain responsibilities in releasing and promoting the album. Does someone from the record label call or tweet radio stations on a daily basis and request Parmalee songs? I doubt it. But their Famalee does!

me and parmalee

(The founder of the Parmalee Famalee, Shari, with Josh, Matt, Barry, and Scott.)

     When I requested an interview with whoever was behind the Parmalee Famalee’s twitter account, I had no idea I would find Shari. The guys from Parmalee are from North Carolina. Shari lives in LA. Not exactly neighbors. Her first exposure to Parmalee’s music was hearing their debut single, “Musta Had a Good Time,” on the radio in 2011. She had this to say about that experience: “The song was so tight – fun and catchy, but with a great lead vocal and first class musicianship.” *(Please see the note at the bottom of this article about Parmalee’s producers, New Voice Entertainment.) She was so impressed by the talent they had and how polished they sounded as a group, that she contacted their record label to ask if Parmalee had any support, like a  fan club. They didn’t, so Shari became the first member of the Parmalee Famalee! Her first live Parmalee show didn’t happen until 2012. At the Buck Owens Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, CA, Shari finally got to see Parmalee in concert and meet the guys she’d committed her support to. When I spoke to her, it was evident from the beginning of our conversation that her investment in Parmalee was not a selfish one. She talked about the guys in the band and their families and all the people who have supported them along the way. The conversation kept going back to the talent Parmalee has and a strict focus on promoting the group coast to coast. I learned very quickly by talking to her that she is organized and fierce in her determination to see Parmalee succeed beyond their wildest expectations!


(This song is climbing the charts thanks to the Parmalee Famalee’s efforts!)

     There’s a lot of trial and error involved when you set about creating a fan following and Shari’s efforts have evolved over the past couple of years. Parmalee Famalee has a Facebook presence that operates as a closed group. The reason for this is to attract only those fans who are committed to the same goals as the other Famalee members. Currently, the group is made up of actual family members of the guys and those who’ve been adopted by the Famalee! They decided to call themselves Famalee because that is exactly how they work together, minus the awkward holiday get togethers! On their Facebook page is everything you can do to help promote the band plus shared experiences and events involving the guys. The group on Facebook is 1,444 members strong, and I do mean STRONG! If you’d like to join the group on Facebook, simply send them a request to join here: In addition to their Facebook presence, they have a twitter account at “Follow” them and you’ll receive updates about the band and reminders of how you can help promote them. Shari has put together a media base list that is enviable to say the least! She has collected resource outlets through which to shop Parmalee’s music nationwide. If Shari were in charge of ground troops, the world would be a peaceful place! If you’d like to see her amazing handiwork, check out the Parmalee Famalee blog site she’s created. This is a Parmalee information vault, complete with everything you could possibly need to call yourself a superfan of the group. For a lesson in fan blogging, or to support Parmalee, take a look:

     When I first had the idea for creating a summer-long contest involving the bands on the road, it came out of a feature article I’d done on Derek Williams, guitarist for Jake Owen, and Rich Redmond, drummer for Jason Aldean. Once voting was set up, I noticed that The Owen Army was responding to this effort consistently and enthusiastically. Their twitter account, @TheOwenArmy, was appearing frequently in my “favorite” and “retweet” notifications. Thinking about this article, I decided to ask the owner of the account for an interview. Meeting, albeit by phone and lots of DMs, co-founder of @TheOwenArmy and, Jaime Loomis, was like getting a present you never expected. For Jake Owen, his army is truly the gift that keeps giving!

2014-05-24 14.05.36

(Founders of The Owen Army, Jessi McCorkel and Jaime Loomis.)

     Jake Owen is originally from Vero Beach, FL. Jaime Loomis lives in Connecticut. The other co-founder of The Owen Army is Jessi McCorkel who lives near Knoxville, TN. The two Jake enthusiasts met online through Jake’s fan club site. When they discovered their similar passion for promoting all things Jake, The Owen Army was established in 2011. Again, this is not a selfish effort. The mission of The Owen Army is this:

TOA postcard _2

You’ll notice the words “dedicated to country artist, Jake Owen” in there. Those words completely describe their amazing efforts on his behalf. Notice the respect for Jake that comes through in that phrase. Many fan groups say they’re “dedicated” to certain things, the object of that dedication often being questionable. Not here. What drives these two women and the members of The Owen Army is their determination to support an artist who they believe in as a music professional and, perhaps more importantly, as a man. They describe Jake as being constantly appreciative of his fans and their efforts to lift up his career aspirations. He engages with his army members regularly and treats them with the same respect they show him. I was told that the man you see on stage and in live appearances elsewhere, is the man you’ll meet on the street in Nashville. In other words, someone you’d want to work tirelessly for.

twitter wallpaper

(The official Owen Army postcard!)

     I was blown away by what The Owen Army does as described to me by Jaime. This is NOT a casual effort! Take a look at their website and you’ll see what I mean: On it are links to all things Jake, links to radio stations where you can request Jake’s songs, an Army store with current items available for purchase, and all the news and information about Jake Owen you need to make you a true recruit! This is definitely a labor of love. Jaime and Jessi take care of their army members as well as they support Jake. They have worked with Jake’s management team to secure merchandise that is given away to members who donate to Jake’s charity during their monthly fundraising events. The biggest give-aways happen annually in August, Jake’s birthday month, and in November as an end-of-year, pre-Christmas thank you to the army! Just this past November they were able to give away a signed Jake Owen guitar! How cool is that?! Along with their donors, Jaime and Jessi’s efforts involve raising money for The Jake Owen Foundation. This is Jake’s official charity and includes St. Jude’s, Autism Speaks, and Indian River County. The Owen Army hosts events and activities that augment Jake’s personal efforts to raise funds for these worthwhile causes. You can also donate through You may purchase items through The Owen Army, the profits from which are donated to the foundation. Their efforts thus far have raised $15,000 for The Jake Owen Foundation! These women are a force of nature! Each year, at Jake’s end-of-year charity benefit in Vero Beach, Jaime and Jessi get to present the check to him personally! Not a bad meet and greet! You’d be hard pressed to find an army more motivated, organized, and enthusiastic than this one. If being in the music industry these days is like going into battle, Jake is in good hands! If you’re a Jake Owen fan, this is your tribe!! Join The Owen Army online at, connect with them on Facebook at, and follow them on twitter at

     We throw the the word “super” around a lot these days. It indicates, by definition, something larger than the norm. The term “superfan” is defined as “a person who shows a great deal of enthusiasm for something or someone.” Does the myriad of opportunities we now have to “follow” our favorite stars on social media, attend their concerts weekly if we so choose, and buy an endless supply of their merchandise make us all superfans? Sounds more like super consumerism and super stalking. Mostly, we’re fickle fans. We dole out our favoritism based on what we receive in return. A perceived “relationship” with our favorite star can quickly come apart like the petals of a daisy – he follows me, he unfollows me; he likes me, he unlikes me. Being a fan doesn’t mean what it once did. If you were a Zeppelin fan or a Stones fan, you’ll go to your grave in that old concert tshirt with a vinyl album clutched to your chest and walk right up that “Stairway To Heaven,” hoping that heaven means a Zeppelin reunion. (ask Jake, he knows! #1972)

     This is why the Parmalee Famalee and The Owen Army are such finds. That kind of long term, committed dedication, without expecting a big payout in return, is indeed rare. These true superfans don’t get paid for what they do. They selflessly invest their time and money in supporting and helping to build the career milestones they hope their favorite artists will have. Their satisfaction is in their beneficiaries success. Why do they do it? As I talked to both Jaime and Shari, the words that kept coming up were character and appreciation. It was gratifying to them to be doing something positive for someone they felt was deserving of their dedication. That’s also rare. When budding careers are in their infancy, potential stars are overly appreciative of every helping hand they can find. They reach a stronger foothold and the appreciation comes out a little less often. They reach a pinnacle and, at best, it becomes a patronizing “thx” in a tweet, most likely because their management team reminded them to. Starting a fan club, “famalee,” or an army from the grassroots level, is a daunting task. Record labels don’t pay for this support and rarely reward their success, no matter how deep their pockets become as a result of that charity. Keith Urban rewarded his superfans with an all expense paid trip, exclusive gifts, and probably what meant more to them than anything else, quality time with him. THAT’S impressive! That is character and class personified. I can see Jake Owen doing the same thing someday. If you’ve seen Jake amongst his fans, he glows with appreciation. Watch Parmalee with theirs, same thing. Their fan groups won’t splinter because they’re too deeply rooted in the cause. What unites true superfans with superstars is the perceived commitment they make to each other. It’s easy to find VIP who want to rub elbows with you once you’ve made it to the top. But it’s the people who took up your cause when no one knew your name that will ultimately stand by you, come what may. Congratulations Parmalee and Jake Owen! You both have superfans! And I know the superfans of Keith Urban will agree with me when I say, KU…you ROCK!


(Keith Urban and his elite group of superfans!!)

From WAY North of NashvilleBev Miskus

Call it a Parmalee Famalee reunion! These pics came from some proud relatives!

2014-05-24 14.02.21

(Jaime Loomis & Jessi McCorkel at the Riverside Cafe in Vero Beach.)


(Where it all started for Jake Owen! There’s no place like home!!)

Tully Kennedy, Kurt Allison, David Fanning, and Rich Redmond

 (Tully Kennedy, Kurt Allison, David Fanning, and Rich Redmond, Nashville, TN)

*Parmalee’s debut album, Feels Like Carolina, was produced by New Voice Entertainment. NV3[1]The four production phenoms that make up that group are Kurt Allison, David Fanning, Tully Kennedy, and Rich Redmond. The combination of Parmalee’s talent and the expertise of these producers made Feels Like Carolina the exceptional debut album it is. For something to sound so good on the radio that someone like Shari would commit herself to the success of a group, entirely based on that one song, speaks volumes about the mastery of that production. If you’re looking for top-notch producers, look no further. You can find contact information for them here: or here: The Wizard of Oz had the Emerald City. The Wizards of Nashville perform their magic in Music City. You can follow the yellow brick road or follow The Highway to hear their creations. That’s Sirius XM on your radio or Hwys. 65, 40, or 24 in your car!

©2014Bev Miskus




      They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. If that’s the case, Maggie Rose gets an ‘A’ for the impression she made with her debut album, Cut To Impress. Since its release in March of 2013, Maggie has had a year to tour with the album and leave a lasting impression wherever she went. I have no doubt she did just that. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to see Maggie perform live, but that is about to change. Since her singles have been playing on XM Radio, she’s been reeling me in one by one. Hearing a new artist in this fashion is like trying to make sense of a song when you’re only hearing every other line. So I bought the album. You don’t often see reviews written when an album has been on the market for over a year, but this one impressed me so much, I started writing. Being a new artist with a debut album is an uphill battle in the over marketed world we live in. Everyone has something to sell. It’s no longer planet Earth; it’s planet ebay! Maggie Rose is a name you should get to know. Her music is a force to be reckoned with. Let me introduce you to @IamMaggieRose!

     Even her twitter handle makes a statement. Most people simply use their name to identify themselves on twitter, but Maggie made a declaratory statement with hers. To me it says “I’m here! Get used to it!” When I read that Maggie was from Potomac, Maryland, I gasped. She knows why. It’s just down the road a piece from where I’m writing this and you probably wouldn’t even whisper about your love of country music there, much less sing it out loud. Think of it as the 90210 of Maryland. The fact that Maggie chose to sing country music tells me she has a mind of her own and she’s not afraid to speak it! Cut To Impress is a statement of its own identity. As the title suggests, these songs weren’t just recorded, they were cut into this album with the intention of leaving an impression. There isn’t a weak one in the bunch. All ten are equally strong and together they mirror Maggie’s unique reflection.

     When I first listened to the album, the impression I got was of Eric Church’s alter ego. After listening some more, I’d add Shania Twain and Bonnie Raitt to that. Maggie Rose adds her own degree of sass, depending on the song, and has a playfully good time doing it. The album opens with the hymnal sounding  “Preacher’s Daughter.” This one feels like the wrath of God is about to come down on you and you better be in church when it happens. It’s a powerful opener with a clear message. All secrets will be revealed in time so you might want to head to the confessional now to avoid an embarrassing public revelation. As an opener, this one makes you sit up and pay attention, just like you’re supposed to in church. The follow up, “Mostly Bad,” is a report card from the confessional. I can see Maggie emerging from that tell all to the preacher, waving her report card in her hand, tickled by the results. She may look like an angel, but that smile on her face says she’s about to raise some hell, and she hasn’t even left church yet! This is a girl on a mission. “Fall Madly In Love With You” is an up-tempo joy ride. Forget messing around in the slow lane, taking your time to get up to speed. Maggie is a pedal to the metal kind of gal and when she sees something she wants, she goes for it. Turn it up and have fun with this one!

     The next three songs on the album reflect the fallout of lost love and the strength it takes to deal with that. “I Know Better Now” is a song that proudly proclaims the adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Just don’t repeat the same mistakes. Maggie puts her empowering vocal on this one and you’ll want to sing along just for emphasis. “Put Yourself In My Blues” is the standout track on this album for me. Written by Stephony Smith, Shelly Fairchild, and Lisa Carver, the lyrics are a heart wrenching plea for understanding. This one has a contemporary blues feel to it but Maggie doesn’t sing this one from the bottom of a bottle. Her sorrow driven vocal demands that the guilty party feel the hurt they’ve caused. The strength in this one gives a new sound to singin’ the blues and Maggie is simply stunning here. This is perhaps a signature sound for her. “Better” was a single off this album and my first introduction to Maggie sings the blues. After I heard the song, I watched the video, and it put her rendition of the blues in HD. She’s fighting the bottle in this one after the death of her lover. It’s a classic struggle in overcoming loss, but one Maggie seems determined to win. There is such a power in the way she attacks a blues song that you can’t help feeling better after you’ve heard it. Call it Maggie’s way of saying “blues be damned!”

     “I Ain’t Your Mama” was the first single released from this album and the first song I heard. The sass with which it was delivered won me over instantly! This is a song any woman can relate to. Maggie’s classy, but sassy way of telling her man what’s what in this one is pure fun! Watch the video and cheer her on!

“Looking Back Now” isn’t really about regret. The lyrics to this one sound more like a Lifetime made for tv movie. I could be wrong, but it sounds more like the actions taken in this song were justified, or at least the thought of them was. If a man is dumb enough to brag about cheating on his wife when she’s holding whiskey and a gun…well, that would break her heart and since that organ is vital to survival…sounds like self-defense to me! I’m sure Maggie isn’t advocating killing anyone with this song. Just think of it as a warning shot. Oops! Hit him!

     “Hollywood” is Maggie’s way of unmasking that infamous town to reveal that those glamorous stars aren’t so different than the rest of us. This one is so fun to sing along to! The tongue-in-cheek approach on this song kind of pokes fun at both Hollywood and Dollywood, and the opinion each side has of the other. Perhaps the message on this one is we’re all messed up so get over yourselves! Drunk is drunk in any zip code! This one’s a hoot and I’m sure a crowd pleaser at concerts. The final track on the album is called “Goodbye Monday” and it’s a foot stomping, hand clapping, raise your glass anthem. It’s a great way to end the album with a let it all go, all seriousness aside, we’re just here to have a good time song. Call it a great last impression.

     When I think about Maggie’s hometown of Potomac, Maryland, the first word that comes to mind is ‘class.’ It wouldn’t fit into a typical country song these days because there are no dirt roads and good luck finding a pickup truck there. If you do, it will be top of the line and in no way jacked up. Maggie has chosen to make her own impression on country music and do it in a way no one else is. She’s classy, sassy, and the very image of a strong woman. She sings the blues in a way that projects that image. Mostly we think of singin’ the blues as a way to bare one’s soul and release the sorrow that’s dragging you down. When Maggie sings the blues, it’s empowering. She hints at vulnerability but challenges it with the strength of her determination, magnified by her powerhouse vocals. Cut To Impress is everything its title suggests and @IamMaggieRose is the class and strength behind that impression.

From WAY North of Nashville…Bev Miskus

     Maggie Rose is coming home this week. She’ll be in Baltimore on Thursday night at the Baltimore Soundstage and at WMZQ Fest on Saturday in Virginia. For all of Maggie’s tour information, please visit her website at: Tickets to WMZQ Fest may be purchased through WMZQ here:

Cut To Impress may be purchased through iTunes: HERE



SMALL TOWN AMERICA…BIG TOWN DREAMS…Raised in Kennett, MO…now starring in Nashville!

      Country music lyrics often describe small town life in America and what it’s like growing up in all those nothin’ towns. Looking at the location and population of Kennett, Missouri, it would be easy to dismiss it as irrelevant. Not so fast! Call it The Mouse That Roared. That novel was originally a six-part series published in the Saturday Evening Post under the name The Day New York Was Invaded. Taking a page from that book, we might call Kennett, Missouri The Little Town That Invaded Nashville.

***I have been informed that it’s not what’s in the water but what’s in the BBQ and the Bakery that had an influence on the musical talent in Kennett!

           Kennett lies in the southeast corner of Missouri, the “bootheel,” as it’s called by those of us who grew up in the state. You could literally walk into Arkansas from there and still be home in time for dinner. The latest  population census shows nearly 11,000 people living there. All in all, a pretty small town. Yet for a town its size, it has exported some impressive musicians. Nashville artists Sheryl Crow, David Nail, and Trent Tomlinson all grew up in tiny Kennett, Missouri, and have made a name for themselves in country music.

     Sheryl Crow is a fairly recent newcomer to the music scene in Nashville, but it hasn’t taken her long to feel at home there. Last September, she released her first country album, appropriately called Feels Like Home. Sheryl’s voice is comfortable in multiple genres of music and country seems to suit her just fine. She had a hand in writing almost every song on the album and the result is a little rock, a little blues, and a whole lotta country. The theme of the album draws on everyday living and what happens to people who go about their lives in small towns where everybody knows your name and your business! (Cheers!) This is an album that makes staying home listening to music feel like a great way to spend the day. You might even want to “put out the lawn chairs and turn on the hose.” Feels Like Home is available through iTunes: HERE SHERYL CROW FEELS LIKE HOMEYou can catch Sheryl on the Rewind Tour with Rascal Flatts this summer. Visit her website for dates, cities, and ticketing information:

You can vote Sheryl’s “Easy” video CMT Female Video of the Year here:

     David Nail released his third album earlier this year called I’m A Fire. He was born and raised in Kennett but moved to Nashville after high school to chase his musical dreams. He experienced some success with his first two releases and some of the frustration that life in Music City can bring. Lucky for us, he stuck with it, and his latest album is a crowning achievement. I’m A Fire is packed with raw emotion. It draws that emotion from experiences everyone can relate to. The passion that can exist between two people, leading to good or bad results, is the theme of the album, and David has masterfully conveyed that passion through the songs and his powerful vocals. You can read my complete album review here: I’m A Fire is available through iTunes: HERE David-Nail-2014-300-01Just this week David was part of Keith Urban and Vince Gill’s All 4 The Hall benefit concert in Nashville. It is quite an honor to be invited to perform at this annual event, and further proof that David Nail is as the title of his album proclaims. To see him on tour this summer, visit his website for all the details:

You can vote David’s “Whatever She’s Got” video CMT Breakthrough Video of the Year here:

     Trent Tomlinson wasn’t born in Kennett, Missouri, but he was raised there, and if you listen to his music, it’s obvious that small town had a big influence on him. “Country Is My Rock” is the title track of his debut album and it doubles as his musical biography. I imagine if Kennett, Missouri had a voice, it would express pride in that song and perhaps demand recognition for having helped him write it. His music is honky-tonk fun and a big dose of small town reality. His voice is at times pure country, sometimes 80s rockstar, but always pitch perfect powerful. When he goes softer for a ballad, there’s still a soulful power to it. His new single is called “Come Back To Bed” and good luck refusing that request! It sounds a little like an 80s rock song, which Trent can absolutely pull off, with a hint of country in it. But whether he was wearing spandex or boots and jeans singing this one, it’s hot enough to burn up The Highway. Call him the country version of Bret Michaels. “Come Back To Bed” is available through iTunes: HERE Trent_Tomlinson_-_Come_Back_To_Bed_cover_170x170-75He is also an incredibly talented songwriter. One of his recent songwriting credits is Parmalee’s “Close Your Eyes” off their debut album, Feels Like Carolina. It’s a great song that’s currently climbing the charts. You can download it now through iTunes: HERE Visit Trent’s website for show dates:

Watch Trent perform his HOT new single “Come Back To Bed”!

     I’ve never been to Kennett, Missouri, despite having been born and raised near St. Louis, but I’m curious about the water supply there. Or maybe it’s something in the air. Something in that small town seems to bring out the musical talent in its residents. Maybe it’s the limited entertainment opportunities available there that force the population to look inside themselves for inspiration. Perhaps because there is no place to hide in a small town like Kennett, music provides a way to kind of disappear down a rabbit hole for awhile. You can write a song and hide yourself in the lyrics. You can learn to play guitar and pretend to be a rockstar in front of your bedroom mirror. Look east from Kennett, Missouri and you might set your sights on Nashville. Sheryl’s dream took her all over the world before settling in Nashville. David and Trent focused their attentions on making it in Music City. All three of them took the state’s nickname to heart and have done exactly that. When crossing the state line moving in the direction of their dreams, if the state of Missouri had a voice, it would call out “don’t forget to come back and SHOW ME what you’ve done!” These three talented  Missouri natives are very different artists, but they do have at least two things in common besides their hometown….excellent taste in baseball teams and knowing the answer to this…MIZ


Missouri born & raised…MIZZOU educated…and it’s no secret that I’m a die hard Cardinals fan!! From WAY North of Nashville…Bev Miskus


David Nail sang “God Bless America” at Game 7 of the 2011 World Series, which took place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. For those of you who might have forgotten, the Cardinals won that game 6-2 and completed the most improbable run to a World Series title EVER!! For Cardinal fans, this is David Nail’s coolest video!

If you’re planning a trip to Kennett, Bill’s BBQ and Causbie’s Bakery are essential stops on your itinerary! Bill’s BBQ is located at 700 St. Francis Street. Here’s the link to their Facebook page: Causbie’s Bakery is located at 212 Kennett Street. The link to their information on Facebook is here:

********************************PARDON MY OMISSION**************************

     Through the outpouring of comments I’ve received in response to this article, I now know that I left someone out who should have been included in my accounting of Kennett’s country music stars! Noll Billings of the country rock group, Blackjack Billy, was also born and raised in Kennett. Sadly, I was unaware of Blackjack Billy’s music, but now that I have done my homework, let me just tell you that Blackjack Billy ROCKS! The group is made up of Kennett-born Noll Billings, Rob Blackledge (Madison, Mississippi), Jeff Coplan (Montreal), Patrick Cornell (Dayton, Ohio), and Brad Cummings (Hendersonville, Tennessee). The group came together in Nashville and combined their many talents, which include songwriting and producing. They released their debut single, “Booze Cruise,” independently in March of 2013. It received some airplay on country radio and broke sales records for independent releases that year. They followed it up in November with an EP called Get Some, released by Bigger Picture Group. The songs on here are all fun! Serious rockin’ fun!! Just two weeks ago they released a new single called “Got A Feeling,” and it sounds like the start of something really good! You can download “Got A Feeling” through iTunes: HERE BLACKJACK BILLY GOT A FEELING

Watch the video for “Born To Ride” off their EP, Get Some! I will assume that the guy wearing the STL Cardinals hat in the truck in this video is Noll. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong!

Get Some is available through iTunes: HERE BLACKJACK BILLY GET SOME

©2014 Bev Miskus


I WANNA BE A ROCKSTAR…Real Life Lessons From Nashville Rockers Rich Redmond and Derek Williams


      These rockstars aren’t too cool for school….they’re cool because of it!



This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 17/05/2014 13:27:01
end_date 01/09/2014 23:59:59
Poll Results:
Both of these guys ROCK, but somebody has to have bragging rights! Does Rich Redmond, representing Jason Aldean's band, ROCK your world? Or does Derek Williams, representing Jake Owen's band, make you wanna be a ROCK STAR?

     As the song by Nickelback explains it – “We all just wanna be big rockstars, And live in hilltop houses drivin’ fifteen cars, The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap, We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat…Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar.” As a life plan, being a rockstar is probably not a career choice your parents or your guidance counselor is likely to embrace. When I hear high school kids proclaiming their rockstar dreams out loud, they’re often labeled ‘dreamer,’ ‘delusional,’ or ‘deadbeat.’ Society seems to have a love affair with music but a gross misconception of musicians. Rockstars have often enabled those misconceptions by letting their wild lifestyles and larger than life personalities overshadow the music. Largely the term ‘rockstar’ is linked to personality rather than music professionalism. More often than not, being a musician isn’t considered a day job, or even a real job. The average person on the street thinks being in a band is all fun with little or no real work involved. If so, I wanna be a rockstar!

     When I looked up the word ‘rockstar’ in the dictionary, it is listed as a noun – “a famous singer or performer of rock music.” What’s lacking in that definition is the verb ‘work,’ preceded by the adjective ‘hard.’ If all there was to being a rockstar was buying a guitar or a drum set, taking a few lessons, and embracing your inner badass, there would be more rockstars than politicians (and how sweet that would be!). When a college student says they’re pursuing a music degree, generally it’s viewed as an easy course of studies with limited job opportunities pursuant to graduation. Over the course of three years, I had the opportunity to follow a college student at Shepherd University who was teaching my daughter piano lessons while working towards a music degree. Observing what her weekly schedule was like and all that was involved in earning that degree, was an eye opening experience. It may not be rocket science, but it is rocket science multitasking. Students looking for an easy path to a college degree need not apply! Earning this degree doesn’t guarantee success, but it does provide an unparalleled foundation for those who dream of one day becoming a professional rockstar.

     Contrary to popular belief, musicians who get paid to play are professionals. They have a passion for music and take their job very seriously, at least the good ones do. They’ve often spent years honing their craft, working odd jobs to support that passion, until they find an opportunity to play that earns them a decent living. There isn’t a reality show to win this opportunity, nor a lottery with a golden ticket to a rockstar lifestyle. Working hard and being prepared is the only yellow brick road to Music City. Most people probably wouldn’t make their way to Nashville if they were scouting rockstars, but you’d be surprised how many reside there. Country music has some of the best musicians in the industry. They may not rock and roll all night and party every day (#KISS), but they’re bringing a new sound to country music, a little less twang and a lot more bang! Some of these guys are headliners and guitar heroes, like Keith Urban and Brad Paisley, but many of them tour with the big names we know and love and have rockstar qualities of their own.


     After Garth Brooks and Shania Twain brought a new sound to country music and then stepped away for awhile, I lost interest in the genre. What brought me back was a drummer, a voice, and a band unlike anything I’d heard before on country radio. Rich Redmond was the drummer; Jason Aldean was the voice; and the band was rockin’ a song called “Hicktown.” I didn’t have a clue who Jason Aldean was, much less have any idea who the rockstar at the end of those sticks was. Rich Redmond is NOT a casual drummer. Having seen him play live a few times now, he is often the most enthusiastic guy on the stage next to the headliner. There is a quality to his drumming and a polish to his style that perfectly punctuates every song he plays on. Never too much or too little, always just right, and the delivery is controlled dynamite. He is a professional musician, a rockstar, with a reputation for excellence he earned. After reading his story, I was surprised to learn that he has a masters degree in music education. Awed by that, actually. So much for that stereotype of rockstars. Rich is a guy who has immersed himself completely in what he loves and shares his talents all over the country. He is a teacher, speaker, author, producer, and songwriter, when he’s not being a rockstar drummer with Jason Aldean’s band. I have no idea when he sleeps. He also has a great program called CRASH Course for Success, through which he shares his knowledge of what it takes to be successful, not only in the music business, but in life. Rich Redmond is a self-made man and an incredibly talented musician. If you or your child wants to make a career of music, there is no better role model than Rich. If drumming is your passion, he’s the guy to follow and/or take lessons from. To read his inspirational story, click this link: You can follow him on twitter @RichRedmond. Visit him on facebook at: Connect with him via his website at: To learn more about his CRASH Course for Success, get the details here:


     Following Rich Redmond’s career led me to the story I referenced above and a blog called That’s My Gig. I was so impressed by what I saw and read on that website that I wanted to know who was behind it. That curiosity led me to Derek Williams. Derek did the interview with Rich Redmond and after I read Derek’s bio, I discovered how similar their life and work philosophies are. Derek was a self-proclaimed rockstar wannabe from an early age. He was born in Nashville, but by no means did that guarantee him a music career. The lesson in Derek’s success story is that it takes more than a zip code to put you in the right place to realize your dreams. Poverty and drug abuse were two of the obstacles Derek had to overcome in his pursuit of a music career. His passion for music drove him to seize every opportunity, large or small, and to chase his rockstar dream through education, hard work, and perseverance. Today, Derek is on tour with Jake Owen. He is a guitarist, teacher, and career counselor. If you or your child has aspirations of being a guitar hero, this is your guy. Not only will you get guitar lessons from a skilled professional, you’ll get the added bonus of a mentor who’s living the dream. Visit Derek’s website to read his amazing bio and get information on the guitar lessons he offers: If you want to know what it’s really like being on tour, follow his tour journal via the website. His rockstar cool blog is called That’s My Gig. For anyone thinking about being a professional musician, this is your bible. The articles and information you’ll find here make up the rockstar book of revelations. You can subscribe to and read this AWESOME blog here:

     Some of the biggest rockstars in history are also some of the greatest musicians. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page aren’t rockstars who played guitar. They’re masters of the guitar whose playing made them rockstars. That mastery didn’t come from having a casual relationship with the guitar. That level of musicianship can only come from passion to the point of obsession. Practice makes perfect, and it takes a lot of practice to reach that level of perfection. Music education is often the catalyst for such fiery passion. Whether it’s a music lesson outside of school or part of a standard curriculum, the benefits from a strong music education program cannot be overstated. Through music, children learn to solve problems and make good judgments. Different types of music offer a kaleidoscope of perspectives and enrich the learning environment. For some, it’s the spark that keeps kids coming to school. Increasingly, music education programs are being cut in favor of more time spent on core subjects. For kids like Derek Williams who grew up impoverished, school music programs may be their only shot at finding and developing their musical talent. Guys like Derek and Rich are glowing examples of how to turn music lessons into life lessons. Education, practice, and hard work led them to a successful career in music. Being able to play alongside some of the biggest names in music knowing they earned it, made them rockstars. Perhaps it’s time to tweak that definition of rockstar to read something like this: a well educated, hard working music professional, who plays well with others and looks totally badass while doing it! For the path to get there, emulate Rich Redmond and Derek Williams. Think Rich Redmond’s CRASH Course for Success, not the crash course Motely Crue teaches. Hey, hey….I wanna be a rockstar!!

From WAY North of Nashville….Bev Miskus WITH RICH REDMOND!








©2014Bev Miskus