Tag Archives: Jake Owen

MEADOWS, TRAVIS SOLITUDE

A CONVERSATION WITH SONGWRITER, TRAVIS MEADOWS

   ONE MAN. ONE GUITAR. AND THE TRUTH.

     Jason Aldean’s hit song about Nashville, “Crazy Town,” describes rolling into town and shaking off the “where you came from dust” so you can become somebody famous. “It’s a crazy town full of neon dreams, Everybody plays everybody sings.” That’s the artist side of things. Sell your soul to the devil for a hit record. For every artist who comes to Nashville hoping the city is a dream catcher, there’s a songwriter who moves there to tell stories. He’s not looking to shake off where he came from because that’s the foundation of his character and the source of his inspiration. While an artist may be willing to edit his image, a songwriter is only as good as the truth he can tell. Travis Meadows didn’t come to Nashville with aspirations of standing in a neon spotlight or becoming a songwriter. He was a songwriter long before he set foot in Music City and fame wasn’t something he coveted. His craft is dependent on taking life’s moments of stark reality and turning them into lyrics. “Davidson County Police” is a song Travis wrote that describes some of his truth. Blue lights shining in his face, it’s as if he was asked to take a songwriter’s oath: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” Hand on the Bible, Travis answers in the affirmative. The truth is all he knows.

     To be a songwriter, you must first be a writer. In Travis’ words, “You either are or you aren’t a writer. You don’t become one.” For Travis, the writing started around age six or seven when be began rhyming things, writing poems. His progression from poetry to songwriting took place casually in his childhood. He grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, the dirt beneath his songwriting roots. About the age of ten, he started playing drums and learning rock songs. KISS’ “Detroit Rock City” and Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” were among the first he recalled having played. Around eleven, he connected the dots between poetry and songwriting. He wrote a poem and started making up words. “Lonely Heart” was his first song. A tectonic shift in his life happened when he was eleven, the age he remembers his first addiction started. He describes himself as having an addictive personality. When he does something, it’s all or nothing. His songwriting would become a product of those addictions and an addiction in itself. This was the beginning of Travis’ lifelong need to write songs.

     You might expect that Travis Meadows cut his songwriting teeth and his performance skills in Nashville. He didn’t. When Travis stepped off the bus, or got out of the car, the sign he saw said ‘Gatlinburg.’ Around the age of 21, Travis moved to Gatlinburg and learned to play the guitar. This would be no casual MEADOWS, TRAVIS GUITAR CLOSE UP EYES CLOSEDpreoccupation. When he was learning something new, it consumed him. He would play a song for 24 hours, marking it indelibly in his mind. One of those he learned was “Helpless” by Neil Young. Travis said he never followed bands much. He was more a fan of the singer/songwriters like Neil Young and Bob Dylan. What led to his taking a seat behind a microphone, putting a guitar in his hands, and singing his songs to entertain people wasn’t emulating those musicians he admired. It was a fellow Mississippian turned Tennessee resident that caught his eye. Watching Elvis movies, Travis saw a regular guy going about his life turn into something special when he picked up a guitar and started to sing. People suddenly paid attention to him. Encouraged, Travis started performing for the lunch crowd at a deli in Gatlinburg. He says he started out playing just three songs. He added a fourth and eventually was able to make selections from 100 songs he knew. This was the beginning of a dream for Travis that would lead to his making a bucket list move a few years down the road.

     Travis didn’t move to Nashville to become a famous songwriter. He moved to Nashville because he wanted to write with the best songwriters. Starting out an unknown entity in Music City, he went about trying to get a publishing deal. He’d had a few hits on Christian radio but now had to get the guys in the country market to pay attention to him. He had a series of meetings where he was playing some Christian songs while the guy that was supposed to be listening to him was otherwise occupied checking his email. At the last of these meetings, he decided to play some country tunes. This made the listener start taking notes. A day or two later, he had three publishers meetings. He said the first two went so bad he didn’t bother to go to the third one. He left demoralized. Songwriting was what he’d come to Nashville to do. There was no plan B. What happened next he describes as “the beginning of the end that started the beginning.”

     After an unplanned hiatus from songwriting, Travis found his way back to his passion. He says he traded dingy, dank bars for open mic and writer’s nights at more reputable establishments. These places are the proving grounds for some of Nashville’s best songwriters. Surrounding himself with new walls and new MEADOWS, TRAVIS SINGINGfaces was the inspiration he needed to write again on a level that might just land him a publishing deal. He described this new source of inspiration as “digging water from a different well.” Travis had been writing songs for an Australian country singer named Adam Brand. On the day that Scott Gunter from Universal came to see him perform, he played three of those songs. Unlike his previous experiences, this turned out to be a life changing day in a good way. Scott loved the performance and signed him to a publishing contract. He also learned that day that Adam Brand had recorded one of his songs. I doubt it happens often that a newly signed songwriter has a recorded song on the first day of his publishing contract. This would be his lucky day. If you ask Travis how he landed this deal, he’ll attribute it to luck as much as his credentials as a songwriter. He says landing a deal is a crap shoot based on the particular day and whose ear is doing the listening. Music is subjective by nature. Just as we choose music based on what we’re in the mood to hear at a given time, so might the guy whose job it is to decide the fate of your deal. Your future as a professional songwriter may be at the mercy of his mood.

     So Travis Meadows is now a professional songwriter living in Nashville. His dream come true! I’d always wondered how songwriters make money, so I took this opportunity to ask one. Travis’ response: “Hell if I know.” He says quarterly checks appear in his mailbox and calls it “magic money.” Explaining what he did know, he summarized the two types of royalties that songwriters earn. Performance Royalties are paid when music is performed publicly. This would include radio, in a bar, over Spotify and Pandora, etc. PROs (performance rights organizations) such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, collect performance royalties from music users and subsequently pay the songwriters and publishers. Mechanical Royalties are paid to songwriters and artists whenever music is sold. This would include vinyl and CD sales as well as streaming. For songwriters, mechanical royalties are set by the government (9 cents for every dollar earned via sale).  To receive his royalty check, Travis had to decide which PRO he wished to join. He was with ASCAP for 15 years before switching to BMI. The rate of payout fluctuates and often determines which PRO a songwriter will sign with. Travis doesn’t dwell on the subject of money when talking about songwriting. He says if you got into songwriting to make money, you’d be better off as a plumber. For him, it’s never been about making money. Commercial success rarely happens to writers. In his words, “Writers write because there’s something on the inside that needs to get out.”

     While songwriting is Travis Meadows’ occupation, it’s not a nine to five gig. Inspiration can come at all hours to a writer and may strike when you have nothing more than a napkin to write on. Creative passion doesn’t punch a time clock, nor can it be ordered up like a hamburger with toppings that suit the consumer. Songwriters have taken a beating for the cliched sound of country radio these days, lambasted as if they’ve suddenly run out of words. Travis says he pays no attention to country radio. He keeps busy – “head down and hands on the plow.” His spark comes from inside and his songs reflect the truth that built the man. He quoted Harlan Perry Howard, a hall of fame songwriter, when relating the belief from which he writes. “Country music is three chords and the truth.” Travis understands the role radio plays, often filling commute time with non-thinking music. Someone has to write the music to fill that spot and there are songwriters who do that exceptionally well. For something deeper, you’ll have to look outside the box. Many have been quick to report the demise of  good songwriting in country music, never having looked past the store window that radio represents. Great songs are written every day by truth tellers like Travis Meadows, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever hear them. Travis says that sometimes great songs slip through to country radio, but historically, the best cuts never do. For the holy grail of Nashville songwriting, attend a Writers’ Round.

     Travis played a Writers’ Round at Douglas Corner recently with friends, Lucie Silvas and Tyler Bryant. Patti McClintic was there for that event and had this to say about the experience: “Travis is enjoying commercial success with hit songs he’s written for Jake Owen, “What We Ain’t Got,” and Dierks Bentley, “Riser.” He played both of those songs for the crowd gathered at Douglas Corner and they were well received, but it was his lesser known songs that brought down the house.” Patti said it was difficult to choose which songs she felt most impacted by and which she would talk about because all of his MEADOWS, TRAVIS GUITAR FINGER UPselections deserved a mention. The two she settled on were “Minefield” from Travis’ 2011 album, Killin’ Uncle Buzzy, and “Black” from his 2007 album, My Life 101. In her words, ““Minefield” speaks to anyone who has ever found themselves in a dark place, found the light, and succumbed to the darkness once again, generally thanks to one’s own poor decisions. To hear Meadows explain how this song came about, reveals how honest he is about his own difficult past. He makes no apologies for that past, and rightfully so. “Black” is a song written for a grandfather that served as a surrogate father for Meadows as a boy. The relationship was a good one and left him with fond memories. The title refers to the black coffee that “granddaddy” used to drink. “Real men drink their coffee black.” This song was so powerful, as I glanced across the capacity crowd, I could see people trying to nonchalantly wipe tears from their cheeks. Rare is the writer that can evoke such raw emotions from the listener.” In such a setting, Travis has the opportunity to explain his connection to the song and the  circumstances that inspired its writing. Being in a room with several songwriters, all performing their powerful truths, is a cataclysmic experience. Patti called this the “perfect storm of songwriting” and summed up her review by saying, “It was the best ten bucks I ever spent.”

     Outside the Writers’ Rounds, where the truth is less self evident, country music is a changing genre. There’s been a lot of debate about the sound of country music and where it’s headed in the future. Traditionalists want to pull the genre back to its roots while others think the time is right to push the boundaries. Travis keeps an open mind about the music and doesn’t see the need to compartmentalize it. He referenced Eric Church when talking about this subject, saying that his fans aren’t necessarily country fans. Eric has amassed a following based on his music and who he is. If this were a game of rock, paper, scissors, music beats genre. The impact of the digital age on music hasn’t been lost on Travis either. He says that people buy songs these days, not albums, and they make playlists that include different genres of music. He isn’t surprised that this type of genreless listening has found its way into the music and thinks it may not be such a bad thing. He also reminded me that this isn’t the first time country music has had its boundaries tested. In the 60s, Ray Price added orchestral parts to the music, breaking from the traditional honky tonk sounding arrangements that were the accepted norm of the day. Travis sees country as a genre in a box, imposing its own growth restrictions. As a songwriter whose craft depends on his growth as a person, he relishes the artistic freedom that growth allows.

     Travis Meadows says he’s growing as a person and channeling that growth into a new album. There’s no time limit on the project and he’s not sure what the finished product will look like. As of now, he has about 17 songs for it but admits he has no idea what will end up on the record. What he does know is that MEADOWS, TRAVIS WITH HARMONICAthis album will definitely be lighter than the first two. When he wrote Killin’ Uncle Buzzy, he says the purpose was to save a life. He never intended for it to be heard. When it was so overwhelmingly accepted and lauded for the truths it told, it cast a long shadow on what was to follow. Travis says just to get past the reverberations of Uncle Buzzy, he wrote and released Old Ghosts & Unfinished Business. He admits there was no other reason for it. This time, he wants things to happen organically. He’s playing shows, going about his daily life, and thinking about what he needs to say. In order to say something new, he says he has to answer the question, “Who is Travis today?” The music will reflect that personal growth.

     For Travis Meadows, his life and his life’s work is in the songs he’s written, and he says he loves them all. I asked a hard question of a songwriter, to choose a few of his favorites from among the vast catalog. Travis said the list would change daily, but these rose to the top on this day: “Learning How To Live Alone” (Killin’ Uncle Buzzy), “Davidson County Police” (Killin’ Uncle Buzzy) because it was heavy and life changing, “Lucky One” (My Life 101), “My Life 101” (My Life 101) because it was his truth, not what they wanted to hear, “Old Ghosts” (Old Ghosts & Unfinished Business) because he made peace with the ghosts of his past by turning and looking at them, “Riser” (Dierks Bentley, Riser), and “What We Ain’t Got” (Jake Owen, Days Of Gold). Having come to Nashville to write with some of the best songwriters, I asked who he most enjoyed writing with. He said there were many, so just to name a few he listed Jeremy Spillman, Tony Lane, Tom Douglas, and Melissa Peirce. Travis said you never know what’s going to come out of a writing session, sometimes you come up empty, but every once in a while you come up with something great. With characteristic humility he said, “As a songwriter, you have to smile at heaven when you write something bigger than you because it’s too clever for you to have written.”

MEADOWS, TRAVIS WITH JAKE OWEN BLOCK PARTY

     I requested an interview with Travis Meadows the songwriter, what I got as a bonus was a conversation with Travis the man. There is no separating the man from his work. His work is merely a manifestation of the the life he’s lived and the man he’s become. He spent a good many years of his life learning to be comfortable in his own skin. As he put it, “I had to learn to be me.” His MEADOWS, TRAVIS WAIST UPsongwriting is the embodiment of all that he’s learned and the truth of his actions. Commercial success is not what motivates him. He told me that he writes what he loves, not what you want to hear. At the end of the day, when he signs his name to a song he’s written, he does so knowing it was the best he could do that day. He’s become known for writing good songs. Even with the spotlight that writing hit songs for Jake Owen and Dierks Bentley has given him, Travis is most at home where songwriters gather. He said playing at the Ryman was not the pinnacle for him. Playing the 9 o’clock show at the Bluebird Cafe is a gratifying pat on the back that says he’s made it in a songwriter’s town, where the best of the best come to tell their truths. His was not a neon dream. Travis has found that success for a humble man is simply three chords and the truth.

From WAY North of Nashville……..Bev Miskus

Watch the video for Jake Owen’s “What We Ain’t Got”!

Songwriters: Travis Meadows, Travis Jerome Goff

Travis said when they wrote the song, it was with the idea that it would be a guy and a girl song. Jake’s video gave it new life. He said he never envisioned it like that and it’s become bigger than he ever thought it could be.

Visit Travis Meadows’ website: http://travismeadows.com/

MEADOWS, TRAVIS MY LIFE 101

Download My Life 101 on iTunes: HERE

MEADOWS, TRAVIS KILLIN UNCLE BUZZY

Download Killin’ Uncle Buzzy on iTunes: HERE

MEADOWS, TRAVIS OLD GHOSTS & UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Download Old Ghosts & Unfinished Business on iTunes: HERE

MEADOWS, TRAVIS SOLITUDE

Photographs courtesy of Bill McClintic at 90 East Photography.

Visit his website for contact information: http://www.90eastphotography.com/home.html

The essential Travis Meadows playlist!

Learning How To Live Alone” – Killin’ Uncle Buzzy

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

Davidson County Police” – Killin’ Uncle Buzzy

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

Lucky One” – My Life 101

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

My Life 101” – My Life 101

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

Old Ghosts” – Old Ghosts & Unfinished Business

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

Black” – My Life 101

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

Minefield” – Killin’ Uncle Buzzy

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

What We Ain’t Got” – Jake Owen – Days Of Gold

Songwriters: Travis Meadows, Travis Jerome Goff

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

Dark Side” – Eric Church – The Outsiders

Songwriters: Eric Church, Travis Meadows, Jeremy Spillman

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

Riser” – Dierks Bentley – Riser

Songwriters: Travis Meadows, Steve Moakler

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

©2015Bev Miskus

PARMALEE INTERVIEW GROUP SHOT

PARMALEE BRINGS THE MUSIC LIVE!

     “Suntans and white tank tops….Summertime and no flip flops…..A little country, a little rock, yeah, yeah.” Sounds like summer in Parmele, North Carolina, where four guys grew up and nurtured their musical roots. Matt and Scott Thomas are brothers who grew up in Parmele along with their cousin, Barry Knox, and friend, Josh McSwain. Barely a dot on the map with a PARMALEE INTERVIEW PARMELEpopulation of just 278, the closest concert venue was 88 miles away in Raleigh. The Walnut Creek Amphitheatre opened in 1991 and has played host to over 20 years of live music, including many concerts these guys attended. Watching some of their favorite bands perform on the big stage fueled their dreams of becoming a band worthy of playing here some day. Ten years after the opening of this venue, in 2001, these brothers formed a band that was as much a product of their musical influences as it was their talent and home town. Once Parmele born and bred, now bound together as Parmalee.

I’ll Bring the Music” – Feels Like Carolina

     For those old enough to remember the tape deck and the audio cassettes it played, it was a tedious process to fast forward to the exact spot you were PAISLEY, BRAD COUNTRY NATION WORLD TOUR WITH PARMALEE AND THE SWON BROTHERSlooking for in the music. Oftentimes you had to rewind when you overshot it and fast forward again to hit it just right. This is much like the process a band goes through in their formative years. I met with Parmalee on their tour bus outside the WVU Coliseum, where they were set to open for Brad Paisley on the winter leg of his Country Nation World Tour. They were comfortably confident on this day that they were prepared for the task. Their set list for the evening opened with “I’ll Bring the Music,” but to find out where that music came from, we’ll have to rewind to the music they were listening to “Back in the Day.”   

Back in the Day” – Feels Like Carolina

     Watching the bands play live at Walnut Creek is how Parmalee learned to play like one. Pearl Jam, The Allman Brothers Band, and Foo Fighters were among their favorites, but it wasn’t just the music that influenced them. Bands such as these have longevity on their side and it shows in their live WALNUT CREEK AMPHITHEATRE RDUperformances. Studying them is how these four guys honed their stage presence as a band. In the studio, there are a lot of things to play with that can affect the recorded sound. Live, it’s all about what you can make happen as a group in the moment, which means skill and interaction must balance to put on a high quality, entertaining show.

     Fast forward to the stage they’ll be playing on with Brad Paisley. When selecting the songs for the set list, knowing your audience is key. Parmalee PARMALEE INTERVIEW BARRY MATTmakes it their job to figure out what kind of crowd they’re playing to and uses the opportunities they have to play something they would like. Whether the fans prefer Bob Seger or Snoop Dog, they “Think You Oughta Know That.” Many of today’s headlining acts play to pre-recorded tracks. Parmalee doesn’t. Everything you hear, they’re actually playing. Their philosophy is if you’ve come to see a live show, you want it to sound live. Part of the fun for a band is keeping it fresh on stage and creating unique moments within each performance. Doing that means knowing your bandmates well enough to anticipate each other’s moves and react PARMALEE INTERVIEW JOSH ON GUITARaccordingly. Within their set, there is no down time for these four guys. Creating a live, organic performance means working through every minute on stage as if the band’s success depends on it. Unlike the headliner, whose set is likely in sync with lights, sounds, and videos, Parmalee has some leeway to change things up and still have their lighting engineer on target. Matt knows his limitations when the mood strikes to stray from the preset program and keeps it fresh, yet manageable.

Think You Oughta Know That” – Feels Like Carolina

     For Parmalee, being a band means their approach to the set list is creating an outline for an original performance. It is in no way a simple reproduction of their PARMALEE INTERVIEW BARRY MATT JOSHrecorded album. Within several of their songs, it works well to add snippets of popular music covers that vary based on the audience. Call it creating a live mixtape on the fly. One of the advantages they have to playing songs not everyone is familiar with is vocal flexibility. Fans become attached to their favorite songs as they were recorded. How it was sung on the one day of its recording is pressed in PARMALEE SCOTT IN COLORour memories. When the singer strays from that version, audiences don’t always react favorably. As the lead vocalist, Matt tries to stay close to the recorded sound while changing it up as he sees fit. As for the music, Scott says he never plays the drums live the way he played on the record. His versatility pushes the rest of the guys to adjust and create in the moment. Today,  Parmalee is an outstanding live band because they understand and embrace this concept and can adjust to suit any size venue or setting.

PARMALEE INTERVIEW BARRY MATT B & W

     With only four guys to create the sound of Parmalee, instrument choice and volume control matter. How much equipment they’re toting depends on the PARMALEE INTERVIEW BARRY POSEsize of the room that sound has to fill. Looking back, the guys credit playing all those shows in small rooms when they were just starting out for giving them a full spectrum vantage point. Being able to “Move” seamlessly between different sized venues, and not compromise their sound, is something Parmalee has done for years. They may play an acoustic setting where no amps are required one night and switch to two electric guitars and a bass the next in an arena. More equipment is needed to produce the volume an arena demands and how loud the drums are will determine how high that volume needs to go. Making adjustments is what sound check is for.

Move” – Feels Like Carolina

     Parmalee has the middle slot on Brad Paisley’s tour, which means their sound check will come after his band has finished and before the opening act, PARMALEE INTERVIEW BARRY JOSH ON KEYS MATTThe Swon Brothers, gets their turn. I asked them for their assessment of being in the middle relative to what they were used to. For most of the years they’ve been playing together, they’ve headlined their own shows, playing sets as long as 75+ minutes. They’ve had the opening slot at festivals but not on an organized tour, essentially skipping that step to where they are here. Being in the middle makes them less vulnerable to PARMALEE SCOTT ON DRUMSwhat happens during the day, which can lead to delays and a crunch for time. Opening acts take the fall for what may go awry on show days, sometimes missing a sound check entirely and having to “throw and go” when the lights go down. Parmalee’s set on this tour is 45 minutes long, “a breeze,” they called it, from what they’re used to as a headliner. Comparatively, they said an opening act may have two songs the audience is familiar with in a short set. Parmalee said they have three songs the fans may know and a longer time to entertain with songs they don’t. Their new single, “Already Callin’ You Mine,” was just released to radio, making it one more the fans will soon recognize off their debut album, Feels Like Carolina. There are no cover songs in Parmalee’s set, so the songs on the album get shuffled to make up the set list. It would be the launch of this first album that set the wheels of their tour bus in motion.

Already Callin’ You Mine” – Feels Like Carolina

Download the new single through iTunes: HERE

     The first thing I asked about, when I sat with the guys for this interview, was the bus we were sitting on. They’ve done a lot of traveling in their 14 years as a band, most of which was not on a comfortable tour bus. Van and trailer gigs are the norm for a band starting out, and Parmalee said that getting the bus is PARMALEE INTERVIEW MATT ACOUSTIC COLORprobably the biggest change for a band. When they started playing the big festivals, the bus became a necessity, making their time on the road a whole lot easier. A tour bus is considered a big perk for a band, but Josh said having a crew with them now is an even bigger perk. When I asked what the criteria was for hiring a crew, the guys laughed and said, “Getting paid enough to have one.” Fair enough. Last year, they were able to hire two guys to assist them. Now, they have six crew members and a driver along for the ride, making it a snug fit with PARMALEE INTERVIEW BARRY TAMBOURINE11 guys on the bus. They’re also hauling a trailer packed from top to bottom with equipment. Prior to having the crew, they would arrive for a show and have to set everything up themselves. They said it’s taken about a year to find the right guys that fit the bill and the budget, mostly going by word of mouth recommendations and choosing from what they called a small community of roadies in Nashville. The other big change for them this year is finding themselves on stage with someone they idolized, Brad Paisley. Brad is one of the most skilled guitar players in Nashville, and that fact is not lost on these guys. Sharing the stage with him has left Parmalee a little awed by where they are and cognizant of where they’ve been. Now that they have the bus, they can toast this with a little “Day Drinkin’” in style.

Day Drinkin’” – Feels Like Carolina

     Between show dates, the guys are back home in Nashville working on their upcoming new album. There is no scheduled release date for it yet, but we PARMALEE INTERVIEW JOSH B & Wdiscussed the process of recording in Nashville, which is unlike any other place in the world. Taking advantage of present day technology and the resources they have available in Nashville makes them appreciate how far we’ve come in the evolution of music. The guys remember listening to things on the tape deck with their dads and said they came of age doing things on analog tape. They’ve gone through the process of making music in a lot of different ways, appreciating the experience for what it’s taught PARMALEE INTERVIEW MATT POSEthem. Only in Nashville can you potentially write a song, record the demo, have top musicians play on it, press it, and have it ready for sale in one day. Not that anyone does this, but Nashville has the resources to make it possible. Recognizing the advantages of digital music and the speed of the process, they still expressed a desire to have at least one of their albums pressed in vinyl. Having a record player, like Barry does, and a collection of vinyl albums is hip again. Perhaps if they get a vinyl copy of the new album, they can listen to it at Barry’s house, and talk about the days when vinyl was king. Just “Another Day Gone.”

Another Day Gone” – Feels Like Carolina

     In some ways, Parmalee has embraced the old school way of recording and settled into the process with their second album. They’ve found things easier this time around because they’ve gotten to know the songwriters better and have been able to write with some of the best in Nashville. They’re writing as th5O88P53Lmuch as they can, and with the luxury of not being pushed to finish the record, if a great song comes their way, they can opt to record it. They’ve recorded four songs so far, but the process is ongoing. It’s not as simple as going into the studio and in one day having a finished product. Parmalee works with New Voice Entertainment on the production process, a group comprised of Rich Redmond, Tully Kennedy, Kurt Allison, and David Fanning. Getting the four of them and the four guys from Parmalee in one room PARMALEE INTERVIEW JOSH ON KEYSat the same time is a balancing act that requires finding small blocks of time over the course of a year to complete the process. They may cut 20 songs for the record and have to whittle it down to 12 or so, but that’s a positive problem. While writing is a big part of the new project, so is playing on the album. On most of the records recorded in Nashville, studio musicians are used instead of the guys who play on tour with the artist. These professionals can knock out a recording in one day. Parmalee, as a band, plays on their own records. They spend most of their time playing as a live band and that’s the sound they want to capture on the recordings. This requires time and patience to get it to sound the way they want it to, but they see it as part of being a band, and they love it. Like the lyrics of  “My Montgomery” state, “trading these Chicago lights for fireflies,” there’s something to be said for finding brilliance in what comes naturally.

My Montgomery” – Feels Like Carolina

PARMALEE INTERVIEW SCOTT B & W

     From the studio to the venue, if there’s one thing Parmalee‘s music makes you want to do, it’s “Dance,” and in 2014, those dance floors got bigger. On select dates, Parmalee opened for Jake Owen on the Days of Gold Tour. If you saw one of these shows, you “Musta Had a Good Time.” This took them to PARMALEE INTERVIEW BARRY WITH JAKEsmall arenas and amphitheatres across the country. In addition to those dates, they played large festivals that sometimes had them performing for 60,000 people. They opened a show in Ohio for Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean and played Faster Horses in Michigan. Aside from the festivals though, the sold out crowd at the WVU Coliseum was the biggest they’d played for. As it so happened, I was witnessing Parmalee PARMALEE INTERVIEW MATT AND JOSHhistory, and this is just the start of a big year for them. They have three months on tour with Brad Paisley, after which they will go back to headlining their own shows again. Their first USO Tour is coming up in a couple of weeks. It’s a ten day trip and a chance to support the troops they’re looking forward to. In late April, they’ll be playing Stagecoach for the first time, and when the summer season arrives, they will once again be performing for multitudes at outdoor festivals.

Dance” – Feels Like Carolina

     When most people talk about their dreams, you picture it as something that exists only when you “Close Your Eyes.” When I asked Parmalee what their dream venues were, their eyes were wide open and looking towards the future. The three places that came out first were Madison Square Garden, The PARMALEE INTERVIEW CAROLINA LYRICS PICHollywood Bowl, and Red Rocks. Then, almost in unison, they declared the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh their ultimate choice. “Carolina” became Parmalee’s first #1 single with lyrics that may have foreshadowed these dream choices. “…she feels like Carolina, looks like California, Shining like those New York lights on Broadway.” They’ve played the side stage at Walnut Creek but haven’t had the chance to play the main stage yet. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Having met these guys, one thing is certain, Carolina will always have their back as much as this band of brothers will always have each other’s. In their music, on the stage, and in life, these four guys exude a bond that is palpable. The music and the talent they play it with is entirely a product of who they are and where they came from. They take nothing for granted and appreciate the journey they’ve been on and the places it’s taken them so far. No matter what stage they play on, in any city in the world, as long as they can play music together the only way they know how, it Feels Like Carolina.

Carolina” – Feels Like Carolina

From WAY North of Nashville…..Bev Miskus

PARMALEE INTERVIEW JOSH POSE

All of the LIVE photos of Parmalee are courtesy of Bill McClintic at 90 East Photography. Visit his website to see additional photos and for booking information: http://www.90eastphotography.com/home.html

PARMALEE DAYS OF GOLD TOUR with JAKE OWEN

Feels Like Carolina is available through iTunes NOW for just $5.99! HERE

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ON TOUR LOGISTICS DELIVERS JAKE OWEN’S 2014 BEACH PARTY

FROM LOAD IN TO THE LOAD OUT, JAKE OWEN’S BEACH PARTY MAKES PEOPLE  WANT TO STAY.…JUST A LITTLE BIT LONGER

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     *Since the writing of this article, Jake Owen’s Days Of Gold Tour has come to an end. The guys from Averitt have been on the road for eight months, delivering the sights and sounds of this tour to Canada twice and 68 cities in 44 states. They’ve logged 37,958 miles in their North American travels and given new meaning to the term ‘road trip!’ A big thanks to Tim, Mike, Jeff, and Todd for their expert delivery of these tour goods and making our concert experiences possible!

JACKSON BROWNE – THE LOAD OUT – RUNNING ON EMPTY

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JACKSON BROWNE – STAY – RUNNING ON EMPTY

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Now the seats are all empty

Let the roadies take the stage

Pack it up and tear it down

They’re the first to come and last to leave

Working for that minimum wage

They’ll set it up in another town

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     Today’s live performances are often a spectacle of lights and sound. Our favorite headliners take the stage amid elaborate stage setups that often dwarf them in size and technology. Giant video screens broadcast the performance for fans whose seat1606912_807488285929038_3638528685578128546_n[1]s aren’t near enough for an intimate viewing or the coveted selfie with the artist. But no matter where your assigned seats are, the focus of the event will be the artist at center stage. Like the view through a kaleidoscope, in your peripheral vision you will see thousands of images in various shapes and colors all vying for your attention. As the lights go down and your focus is diminished to just a small circle of light in the middle of the viewing area, what you came to see is revealed. Simply. Sharply. The euphoric party atmosphere ebbs momentarily as we look back to sunrise on this August day in Nashville to see what went into the making of this JAKE OWEN BEACH PARTY event as his signature trucks arrive for load in.

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Tonight the people were so fine

They waited there in line

And when they got up on their feet

They made the show

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     Concert events come in all shapes and sizes. What’s needed for the production of these shows may take up just a single truck, or…it might take 27 of them! Delivery of the equipment necessary for this beach party event actually started in verbal form before it became a physical embodiment in need of transport. Jake Owen made a promise. When that happens, things are set in 10172757_806043132740220_6128097566386403623_n[1]motion and some sort of delivery method will be required. Like Ticketmaster, he has options for delivery, but electronic is out of the question. Delivering on this promise will require several trucks and a skilled set of workers who know exactly what to do when those trucks arrive for load in. We’ve all seen the colorful trucks bearing the artist’s tour banner either on a highway or parked near the venue. We know they aren’t empty and whatever is in those trucks will be part of our concert experience. What happens between their arrival at one venue and their departure for the next is not commonly known. This being a Jake Owen event, he would know the procedures and many of the people who perform them. These guys are part of Jake’s tour team and integral to the show he puts on for his fans.

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And that was sweet

But I can hear the sound

Of slamming doors and folding chairs

And that’s a sound they’ll never know

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     The BEACH PARTY was held in the BMI parking lot behind their headquarters on Music Row in Nashville. That would be the load in spot for TIM BURNHAMJake’s three drivers to deliver their concert cargo to. Tim Burnham is one of the drivers in this convoy and was kind enough to talk to me about what happens on show days. His rig is always the first to unload and the last one out after the show. There is a method to this madness! His two fellow drivers are Mike Wambles and Jeff Richardson. When a fourth truck is needed, Todd Pass drives that one. If you’re wondering how one gets this plumb assignment, being on tour with Jake Owen, it was earned. Averitt Express is the parent company that owns On Tour Logistics. They provide the drivers and the trucks for Jake’s operation. All of the drivers that applied for this assignment were vetted, their records 1970811_793936747284192_556907153_n[1]thoroughly checked. They were brought to Nashville for interviewing and selected from a large pool of hopeful applicants. As you can imagine, being a tour driver is much more appealing than hauling freight so these assignments are much coveted. These drivers take pride in what they do and the company they represent. Job security may be directly related to how well you perform your duties and impress the headliner. It should be no surprise that not all artists are a dream to work for. As was stated to me more than once during this interview, Jake Owen is.

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Now roll them cases out and lift them amps

Haul them trusses down and get ‘em up them ramps

‘Cause when it comes to moving me

You know, you guys are the champs

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     When the trucks arrived at the BMI parking lot on the morning of August 18, it was approximately 7am. Their typical load in time runs between 5 and 7am the day of the show, depending on their drive time and start time of the event. This would have been a short haul for the drivers because two of the trucks are 10550974_868610583150141_3149372031472515804_n[1]parked in Nashville between tour dates and the other two in Montgomery, Alabama. Storage location of the trucks is dependent on what repairs may need to be done to the rigs themselves or the equipment they’re hauling. Three trucks were used for the beach party (they use four for full production) and their arrival is a coordinated effort. Once parked at the venue location, they are met by a team of  loaders and pushers whose job it is to build something out of the rigging, lighting, and audio components that have just been delivered. They travel with 15 “true guys” who will coordinate this set building venture, but 90% of the workers used for load in and load out will be union local labor hired by 10462987_844332952244571_2592417475956752511_n[1]the venue. This isn’t a motley crue assortment of guys they enlisted off the street. Over the next four to five hours, these trained professionals will be handling expensive equipment that has to be moved and assembled in a precise way. Damaging any piece of the production puzzle they’re building could cause a delay in the day’s tightly arranged schedule. When things go akilter, as they sometimes do, rental equipment must be arranged to replace what needs repair or didn’t arrive on time. In full production, Jake’s set design includes palm trees and a tiki bar. Should any of these pieces be damaged in transport or get held up by unforeseen circumstances, welcome to the nightmare of adjusting on the fly! Good luck trying to rent a palm tree or a tiki bar in Canada. But, the show MUST go on!

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But when that last guitar’s been packed away

You know that I still want to play

So just make sure you got it all set to go

Before you come for my piano

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     On a normal tour day, after the load in, the trucks would stay parked at the venue in close proximity to the staging area. Due to the unusual location of the BEACH PARTY event in the compact area of Music Row in Nashville, the 10346519_515938741886143_6985160470606381224_n[1]trucks would have to park several miles away. In contrast, we’ve all seen the trucks parked near or immediately adjacent to the stage. What we haven’t seen are the drivers of those rigs who’ve been up all night dodging the hazards of the open road. The miles they’ve logged on their night’s journey can range anywhere from a couple hundred to as many as 600+ on a particularly long trek. So while we’re asleep, dreaming of that incredible concert we’re about to see, these guys are battling the elements to make sure you’re not disappointed. Tim said 10441142_848639355147264_7573255839005558525_n[1]they’ve been lucky on this tour so far as weather hasn’t played a big factor in slowing them down. Their toughest weather-related challenge has been dealing with high winds and having to control that heavy rig at the mercy of Mother Nature. Once they’ve safely arrived at their destination and the trucks are parked and unloaded, they’ll have to stay in or near them in case something comes up and they need to be moved. When zzzs are needed, these weary drivers don’t get to climb into a comfy hotel bed. They’ll attempt to catch a nap inside the truck. If it’s a larger venue and the trucks are parked some distance from set up, sound check, and surrounding activity, they might succeed in getting some much needed rest. If they’re parked at a fair, directly adjacent to the constant clatter of the event, not so much. I was told as fact that no one sleeps while on tour; you just nap. Throughout the day, the drivers will rest every chance they get. When you run a full tour season, tired is the new normal.

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But the band’s on the bus

And they’re waiting to go

We’ve got to drive all night

And do a show in Chicago…. or Detroit, I don’t know

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     Doing a show in Nashville gives the headliner and the guys in the band a much appreciated home field advantage. For the BEACH PARTY event, they had a short commute to work. With any luck, they had a good night’s sleep beforehand. Such is not the case on tour. Fatigue isn’t only a problem for the photo-5-1[1]truck drivers. Jake travels with three buses to his concert locations. One is his personal bus; one’s for the band members; and one is for the crew (light, sound, and production guys). Obviously, these buses do not drive themselves, so there is also a professional bus driver for each. He, too, will be up all night, tasked with the job of delivering his precious cargo to a stage near you! If you’ve ever tried to sleep in a moving vehicle (past the time you fit in a car seat), you know this isn’t ideal for REM sleep. It’s fitful, at best (unless you’re passed out and that comes with its own set of problems). Once the buses have arrived at their destination, the bus drivers will have hotel rooms to sleep in. Throughout the day, those buses may encounter more traffic in and out the door than they did on the highway. A driver trying to sleep through the congestion would not be a safe chauffeur Photo_Video_41746134926806127680098_big[1]come midnight. Hotel rooms may also become a restful haven for the band and crew members if time allows the indulgence. Often, the tight schedule they keep and extracurricular demands on their time may only allow for napping on the bus, or some attempt at that. Parking these precious buses and the contents therein comes with its own set of hazards and impending problems. When Jake played in NYC earlier this year, both the band and crew buses were hit by cars. The drivers had the unenviable job of navigating NYC traffic to drop the guys off and then had to park at an off-site location – a WAY off-site location! The truck drivers for this tour stop got to tangle with rush hour traffic in NYC at 8am with a vehicle not exactly made for tight spots and city drivers not pleased with their arrival.

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We do so many shows in a row

And these towns all look the same

We just pass the time in the hotel rooms

And wander ’round backstage

Till those lights come up and we hear that crowd

And we remember why we came

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     Forgoing some of the problems unavoidable on tour, Jake Owen, his band, and the production team got to entertain a homecoming like crowd in the BMI parking lot. This was the second free party event, and with Jake’s popularity BILL AND PATTIexploding as the result of his first headlining tour, THIS was a jam (and fan) packed show! I was fortunate to have two outstanding resources for this on-site accounting of what it was like to be in that crowd of reportedly 40,000+ fans. Patti and Bill McClintic are loyal Jake Owen supporters who traveled 700 miles from Buffalo, NY, to attend the event. Having made the trip for last year’s show as well, they got to witness firsthand the swelling of fans that made this year’s concert a tightly packed affair. They were not up front for this one, as they were last year, so their vantage point was much different this time. Bill, an acclaimed concert photographer, shot the show last year and was attempting to repeat his BILL MCCLINTIC PHOTOGRAPHERsuccess. The challenges he faced didn’t come from the performers on stage. He got to experience, up close and personal, the true meaning of action photography. As Bill wrestled with the demands of shooting around moving, space invading, camera blocking obstacles, to get the 800 shots he captured that night, Patti took in the sights and sounds of this unique concert. It’s no secret that Jake Owen is an extremely generous performer. Not only is he generous with his friends, his family, and his fans, he is also a selfless supporter of other artists, songwriters, and musicians, regardless of genre. The advent of his now famous FREE BEACH PARTY is the result of just such generosity and selfless behavior. In some ways, this event was a living documentary of Jake Owen’s life, manifested in his music career.

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Now we got Country and Western on the bus

R & B, we got Disco in eight tracks and cassettes in stereo

We’ve got Rural Scenes and Magazines

We’ve got Truckers on the CB

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     Jake Owen may come off as lighthearted and easy going, but don’t misinterpret that for a casual attitude when it comes to his music or his fans. The loyalty he gets from his fan base he gives back tenfold. And when Jake Owen makes a promise, you can tattoo it on your arm in indelible ink. The JAKE OWEN BEACH PARTY INVITATIONBEACH PARTY isn’t just a party. It’s the sound check on that promise, and it’s free because he wants ALL of his fans, regardless of their VIP status in life, to be able to hear that promise coming through the speakers loud and clear.  Last August, prior to the release of his latest album, Days of Gold, he wanted to do something for his fans and celebrate all that the song “Days of Gold” speaks of. He set a date for the event and invited his fans to show up in Nashville. For those of you who may be new to Nashville, you’ve probably heard a great deal about this first block party. It was attended by roughly 20,000+ fans. Jake put on an JAKE OWEN SUMMER BLOCK PARTYamazing show that wowed his fans in the manner they’ve become accustomed to. What you may not remember is that Jake had a portion of one of his fingers amputated that morning, prior to show time. A serious infection that developed in the finger, due to a prior accident that summer, forced this emergency procedure at a less than ideal time. Many artists would have sent a replacement, and Jake certainly could have found one, but not wanting to disappoint his fans or break a promise he’d make to them, HE showed up as scheduled. He gave everyone in that parking lot the party they came for, with no regard whatsoever for his personal discomfort. That’s what serious artists do.

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And we’ve got Richard Pryor on the video

We got time to think of the ones we love

While the miles roll away

But the only time that seems too short

Is the time that we get to play

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     Last year, Jake’s Summer Block Party was more of an impromptu event. This year, it was a highly anticipated gathering. Jake is several months into his first headlining tour and it’s been an unarguable success. Given that, it was expected that the beach party may well take up more than a block this time PATTI MCCLINTICaround. In the same space designated for the event last year, they packed in double the amount of attendees. Patti described the scene on the ground as a violation of the fire code, had there been one. Jake’s meteoric rise in popularity, both hit music and reputation driven, brought his fans out in record numbers, and they were willing to withstand heat and sardine-like conditions to see what Jake had  in store for them. He doesn’t come alone to this party. He brings friends. Lots of them. And in true Jake fashion, you never know who might show up, unannounced. If you’ve seen Jake on the Days of Gold Tour, you know that his show is beach party themed. This would be no exception. Beach balls were flying through the air and the festive atmosphere was palpable. Old Dominion got things started off with a lively set intended to get this 15003460806_b4019ff2a5_zparty started off right. Their songs play right into the mood Jake brings to every event he hosts. His invited guests for the evening are perfectly suited to the type of party he wants this to be. Their music is intended to mingle with the tastes of his BEACH PARTY fans and not create a hyper-charged, star-studded show and sing. Jake is very supportive of new artists and sensitive to the struggles of 15026075502_6f75fa52a4_zeveryone trying to make it in the music business, regardless of their contribution. Bobby Bones’ band, The Raging Idiots, made an appearance with up and coming artist, Lindsay Ell. She is relatively new on the Nashville scene, but she is no stranger to that guitar in her hands. Giving her this guest spot not only puts her in front of 40,000 potentially new fans, but lets them know the girl can PLAY!

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People you’ve got the power over what we do

You can sit there and wait

Or you can pull us through

Come along, sing the song

You know that you can’t go wrong

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     The rest of the evening would be a musical testament to who Jake Owen is in the most unassuming ways possible. The Brothers Osborne have been 14840411188_f4d91f7681_zmaking a huge splash among country music fans with their infectious single, “RUM!” Jake topped this day off with a sinking summer sun, so why not mix it with RUM? Mmm. Mmm. He joined one of the Brothers Osborne on stage to duet this effort, no doubt with the enthusiastic approval of the fans. They’re another new act around town and this exposure of their hit single, in 14840393529_e5c81600e6_zadvance of a new EP, was Jake’s way of entertaining while endorsing – wholeheartedly. Singer-songwriter, Sonia Leigh, made an appearance at this party. She’s not new to the country music scene but some of her contributions have probably flown under the media radar outside of Music City. There are always songwriters behind those big hits, but rarely do fans know who they are. Sonia was a co-writer on two Zac Brown Band hits, “Goodbye in Her Eyes” and “Sweet Annie.” She’s an accomplished solo artist in her own right, and giving her the spotlight on this big stage gave her the opportunity to showcase her singing talent in front of fans15024125011_bff0540912_z who likely weren’t familiar with her. Knowing Jake’s deep appreciation for songwriters, highlighting her efforts here would also be a reason she was an honored guest. Hot country duo, Dan + Shay, crashed onto the country charts with their debut single, 19 You + Me. It didn’t take long for their music to catch on and put them on the fast track to being an in demand opening act. 15028086721_3a5c8a0140_zTheir sound suits a beach party, even if it is in a parking lot. Fans of Jake Owen would welcome their summer feel music and give a big nod of approval to their performance. Earlier this summer, Jake collaborated with pop artist, Mike Posner, on a remix of his #1 single, “Beachin’.” He surprised the crowd with Mike’s guest spot, which got the ENTIRE audience jumping as a solid mass to his mega hit single, “Cooler Than Me.” Definitely a cool moment in the show!

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‘Cause when that morning sun comes beating down

You’re going to wake up in your town

But we’ll be scheduled to appear

A thousand miles away from here

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     The Cadillac Three have been on the road with Jake since the beginning of the Days of Gold Tour in March. They open for him at every stop on the tour. They took part in the first Summer Block Party and were invited back for this 15025992342_9ca1608b10_zone. Their friendship with Jake is no secret. What may have surprised some fans this time was the shout out Jake gave to one of the members of TC3, Jaren Johnston. Jaren is a well known songwriter in Nashville and a co-writer on five of the tracks on Days of Gold. Jake took a few moments during the show to offer a toast of sorts to Jaren for writing the songs that he says changed his life. “Beachin’” and “Days of Gold” were both co-writes for Jaren. To some, it might seem odd that Jake would pick this time to thank a songwriter. What better time to give a songwriter his due than in front of 40,000 of your fans who clearly LOVE those songs? They were already standing, Jake just gave them a reason to offer the ovation to a 15003937006_c9981b69a2_zdeserving friend and songwriter. Exceptionally classy move. Lee Brice‘s appearance had everything to do with a song. “Parking Lot Party” was a huge hit for Lee. He was a co-writer on that tailgate anthem and it was a song practically written for this occasion. Neither of these attributes was lost on Jake that night. Lee’s career is taking off under the power of his great voice and award winning song choices. His new album, I Don’t Dance (already a #1 single), is due out this week. The two had a ball with the song on stage and shared a beer to illustrate the fine art of tailgating before a show…or in this case…during the show.

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People stay

Just a little bit longer

We want to play

Just a little bit longer

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     Taking in the sights and sounds of JAKE OWEN’S BEACH PARTY, Patti described to me in great detail the mood of the crowd, some of the more 14844468669_29932a84d8_zcolorful incidents that happened throughout the evening, and the audience’s reaction to the performances. She was in the thick of that tightly packed mass of fans and felt as if she were being squeezed into the mosaic of shattered, colorful pieces that made up the periphery of the kaleidoscopic image that twisted and turned with each new musical guest’s appearance. Their focus would be in and out of the events on the stage with the intensity the moment dictated. Amidst the party atmosphere that permeated 15030818182_e9b586a123_zthe event and the engaging way Jake Owen puts on a show, his connection to a song and a songwriter would turn out to be a defining moment for everyone. Following the success of his summer smash hit, “Beachin’,” Jake recently released a ballad off Days of Gold as the next single. What We Ain’t Got” was co-written by Travis Meadows. It’s a time stopping song that forces you to step outside your noisy, chaotic life and take stock of the things you do have and the value we sometimes overlook in them. Travis is a brilliant songwriter with many hits to his credit. The struggles he’s faced likely weren’t known to the crowd, but no doubt Jake knew about them. He brought Travis out on stage with him to 14844511500_5509ae1aeb_zpersonally say thank you for a song that Jake says “may be the one I hang my hat on.” He’s full of pride when he talks about recording this song and releasing it as a single. For him, it was an honor to have Travis there to sing the song. The setting exemplified the meaning of the lyrics. Jake could have chosen to make the performance of this song all about him. The event itself could have been a celebration of all that he’s accomplished in his career thus far. Instead, he chose to put the spotlight on a raw moment of heartfelt emotion, poured out in a 14844651947_e74cd1f82e_zsimple arrangement, accompanied by a piano. Travis and Jake sang together and Joe Arick played the piano. Jake knows that you can get caught up in all that life has to offer, especially when you’re in a position to grab a bigger piece of the pie. This was his way of counting his blessings instead of his money, and giving his fans the impetus to do the same. Only someone who doesn’t know Jake Owen would see this as out of character for him. He isn’t the life of the party with an occasional aha moment. He’s serious about connecting with people through his music and building a camaraderie that can celebrate life’s good times and lift you up during the lows. It’s exactly why his legion of loyal fans always wants him to stay and sing just one more song.

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Now the promoter don’t mind

And the union don’t mind

If we take a little time

And we leave it all behind, and sing

One more song

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     All of the Jake Owen fans I’ve spoken to lament that time at the end of the show when they have to say good-bye to their favorite headliner until next time. They’d stay all night if he’d just keep singing. I asked Tim, the driver of one of his trucks, if he gets to watch all the shows. He said he could if he wanted to, and running on empty jackson browne[1]he did for much of the first few months of the tour. Unfortunately, show time is when he can try and get some rest before the all nighter he’s about to pull. As soon as the show ends, the work will begin again for the drivers and the crew who have waited patiently all day to tear down and pack up what you hoped would never leave. Tim told me that it takes a couple of hours to complete the process known as load out, generally putting them back on the road about 2-2:30am. JACKSON BROWNE immortalized “The Load Out” in a song by that name as a tribute to his roadies and his fans. It’s a song Jake Owen would appreciate for the 220px-The_Load_Out-Stay_12-inch_45_Promo_Label_Jackson_Browne[1]sentiments expressed and one his driver, Tim Burnham, proudly made me aware of. It’s a song I grew up singing, without ever really paying attention to what the lyrics were talking about. We all go to concerts, love the shows we see, and go home, never giving a second thought to what happens after we leave. As they wait for the load out to be complete, Tim tells me that their longest stretch on the road without getting home was eight and half weeks. It’s becoming a more common occurrence among drivers on tour, due to the increasing demand on the artists to stay out on the road longer in order to make ends meet financially. Jake didn’t schedule stops in Canada during the rough winter season but there are plenty of other acts who did. If that trend continues, we may soon see the ice road truckers sign on to safely deliver the goods to igloo amphitheaters up north. Welcome to 21st century On Tour Logistics!

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Oh, won’t you stay

Just a little bit longer?

Please, please, please

Say you will, say you will

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     Once the trucks are loaded and the checklist is complete, there’s no time for delay. Tim and the other drivers have a specific routine they follow when pulling out of a venue in search of the next. Tim’s truck will be the last to close it’s 1780899_795579157119951_1677395834_n[1]door after the final cargo is loaded, but the first to signify departure. The procedure they follow exiting the parking area has become one of superstition among them. Disregard it, and your safety could be in peril. Their official tour song is one recorded in 1984 by Ronnie Milsap called “Prisoner of the Highway.” Tim started playing it over the truck CB when they rolled out early in the tour season and it stuck. It talks about the freedom of the open road and the need to pacify a restless soul. The lyrics are something that resonates with the drivers and makes them appreciate the job they have. Tim said Jake’s crew members and mpGK3y3xxL2LGz6s9lvg2oA[1]tour drivers are a great bunch of guys. They all like the work and despite the fact that it is work, they have a great time doing it. Sounds like a philosophy Jake adheres to. The alternative to tour driving for many of the guys would be hauling freight. It’s an option they’re ok with, but one they’d rather avoid if a touring slot is available. These assignments are strictly based on a single tour schedule. There is no long term contract that guarantees you’ll be back with a particular artist when the next tour begins. True to Jake’s loyal character, he’s already said he wants the same guys back with him next year and though they know that anything can happen, they’re thrilled by the prospect of getting to stay on with Jake. He seems to have that affect on people. Anyone who’s spent any time around him just wants to stay a little longer. Leaving the BMI parking lot in the wee morning hours after JAKE’S BEACH PARTY, just after “Prisoner of the Highway” ends,  driver Jeff Richardson will come on the radio with a weather report for their intended destination. Stay as they might like, this is the green light that it’s time to move on.

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Oh, won’t you stay

Just a little bit longer?

Oh please, please stay

Just a little bit more

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     For everything we know about our favorite artists, there’s an equal amount we don’t know. The same could be said about the shows they put on and what 10429832_836186326392567_529760426835927398_n[1]went into the production of that concert we’re dying to see. We pass the trucks, see them parked at the venue, marvel at the stage setup and technology used at the show, without ever thinking about the crew and the skills involved in making all that concert magic happen. Just the logistics involved in getting everyone and everything delivered safely to each tour stop location is a minefield that must be traversed daily. The production materials have to arrive AND work to 14844683937_0cc14914a9_zmake that band look and sound as good as they can. Just as important is the safe delivery of the artists/musicians. Without them, you’ll be getting a refund (and probably be unhappy). The demands of touring, with the expectation of perfection in every performance, will take a toll after a long season that just keeps getting longer. As the headliner, all of this expectation from the fans, those counting on you for a job, and the label you’re signed to, will fall squarely on your shoulders 24/7. Add family responsibilities and a personal life to that, and anyone who can reasonably pull this off should be named entertainer of the year!

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Now the promoter don’t mind

And the roadies don’t mind

If we take a little time

And we leave it all behind, and sing

One more song

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     Artists live for the concert experience. The pinnacle of that is being a headliner. By the time they’ve reached that lofty place, a lot has gone into the making of the music that will be played and the relationship the artist has built 14840731778_e187509a2a_z with the fans. Fans love a great concert, and when it’s their favorite artist, they always want them to stay and sing just one more song. That’s what encores were made for. If you stumbled upon JAKE OWEN’S BEACH PARTY and didn’t know who he was, you might make certain assumptions. As you were walking past, you’d see what he looked like, hear a sound byte of his music, and hastily pass judgment. Depending on what part of the concert you saw, your opinion of Jake Owen would be different. If you were there for the entire event, 14844571838_97e91a1bcb_zyou would have a better understanding of Jake, his music, and his character. Bill McClintic‘s pictures from that night captured more than just Kodak moments from the show. When you photograph Jake, you get as much of his personality in those shots as his physical features. His character is present in every picture. Jake doesn’t take the stage at an event like this with 40,000+ fans screaming at him and think ‘Wow! Aren’t I cool?’ He 15026676582_819dc0044a_zthinks there’s nobody cooler than his fans…each and every one of them. Jake relates to people on a personal level, and his music is the expression of that connection. When Jake commits to a tour stop or an event, you don’t get an ‘I’m just passing through’ representation of him. You get ALL of him. He doesn’t hide away in his bus until show time. He immerses himself in the opportunities to leave something behind besides just empty beer cans and a half-hearted “thanks for coming.” He’ll invite some fans to lunch and pay the bill. Being the health 14844573907_c7614a37ec_znut he is, he likes to see kids eat, especially on his dime. If he has beer, he’ll find someone to share it with. If he’s got a night off on tour, he’ll ask at the local bar if he can play a free show for whoever shows up that night. Find a group of middle-aged women celebrating their birthdays, and he’ll leave tickets for the show and invite them on stage. Jake can be silly, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t be equally serious. He makes music that takes you where he’s been and shows you where his heart is. Music is a gift in his life and it’s one he RIVERSIDE CAFE JAKEcontinuously pays forward. The trucks bearing the Days of Gold banner will continue across America like a rolling stone. They’ll make stops in cities and the country alike before ending the tour in Jake’s home town of Vero Beach, Florida. He may look a little worse for wear when he gets there, but they won’t judge him for that. He’ll make the rounds, say hello to everyone, and probably play a free show back where he started at the RIVERSIDE Cafe. The visit will end too soon. They’ll wish he could stay, and he will too….just a little bit longer.

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From WAYNorthofNashvilleBev Miskus

Bringing the stories of country music to life!

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P.S. The live version of Jackson Browne’s song, “The Load Out,” was recorded at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD, on August 27, 1977. Jake will be playing at Merriweather Post on October 4-5. I bought those tickets long before I decided to write this article or had any idea that his drivers had a connection to the song. All in favor of Jake playing that song there…it’s overwhelmingly YES JAKE!!!

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All of the photographs from Jake Owen’s 2014 Beach Party in Nashville, TN, appear courtesy of Bill McClintic of 90 East Photography. For professional inquiries, please refer to the contact information on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/90eastphotography/346105888881079

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All of the photographs of Jake’s tour trucks and drivers appear courtesy of Tim Burnham (On Tour Logistics).

Special thanks to Tim Burnham and Bill and Patti McClintic for their ENORMOUS contributions to this article! Without them, the facts and event photographs would not exist!

Jake’s band members provided not only the AWESOME music for this concert but the rock star poses for the pictures!! They are: Dave Wallace (guitar), Derek Williams (guitar and whatever else needs playing), Rob Emerson (bass), Joe Arick (keys, guitar, harmonica), and Myron Howell (drums).

JAKE OWEN – WHAT WE AIN’T GOT – DAYS OF GOLD

Download Jake’s new single! Only .69 NOW on iTunes! HERE

Better yet – download the whole album! HERE

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Jake’s set design for the Days of Gold Tour was inspired by the Riverside Cafe in his home town of Vero Beach, Florida. Jake got his start in the music business here and will always call it home. To see what went into the making of Jake’s set and his music career, read my article about the FABULOUS RIVERSIDE CAFE: http://waynorthofnashville.com/riverside-cafe-vero-beach-fl-sets-the-stage-for-jake-owens-days-of-gold-tour/

There’s nothing better than LIVE music and nothing worse than a loved one not returning home from that great concert. Drink responsibly. Enjoy the show. Drive safe. Thanks for the reminder Budweiser!!

©2014Bev Miskus

DEREK WILLIAMS BLACK AND WHITE

DEREK WILLIAMS’ 3D APPROACH TO LIFE AS A MUSICIAN

     Derek Williams lives his life in 3D. When I suggested to him that someday I might like to write his life story, he told me he wanted that to be a pop-up book. Naturally. No Flat Stanley in this guy! I first became aware of Derek’s existence DEREK WILLIAMS FLAT STANLEYvia twitter, and it was obvious that his virtual life form was more than just @rowdyrickriot. His personality jumped out of my computer like a poltergeist. Following him on twitter was like casting myself in Monsters, Inc. I knew better than to click on the big white button that says “Follow,” throwing myself through the portal into the unknown world of rowdyrickriotopolis, but I just had to find out what this riotous monster with a guitar was like. He is employed by Nashville, Inc. His current boss and top scream producer is Jake Owen. Jake does his best to keep his rowdy employee in line, but it’s like trying to contain a room full of screaming women at one of his concerts…insert your laughter here. When Derek clocks out after his weekend shift on tour, he returns to his home in rowdyrickriotopolis where he is a husband, guitar teacher, career mentor, CEO of That’s My Gig, and founding member of an underground rock band called Black Market Surgeons. Not being from the confines of Nashville, Inc., it took awhile to convince rowdyrickriot that I am not toxic and get him to tell me his 3D musical story. In him, I discovered a penchant for both screaming and laughter – the best of both worlds, so grab your popcorn and silence your cell phones, you don’t want to miss a word of this!

     If we go back to Derek’s youth at the age of ten, we would find him in a house in Nashville, Tennessee, nonplussed by the possibility of monsters under the bed and probably pondering his next daredevil experiment. If it were July of 1994, he’d be thinking about what he wanted for Christmas. Santa was quite organized in those days and liked to get a head start on all that toy building. Derek had decided he wanted a BMX bike that year until his brother convinced him they should both ask for guitars. Following the natural order of things, it would become a competition between the two brothers to demonstrate who was the better guitar player. Just for the record, Derek said, “I won.” When I _DSC7975asked him about the music he was listening to growing up in the 90s, he rattled off names like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Slayer, and Nine Inch Nails. Teaching himself guitar, rock and metal songs were routinely testing the acoustics in his bedroom. After this recounting of his early bedroom guitar sessions, I asked him when country music entered the picture. His answer, “never.” That answer couldn’t have startled me more than if he’d hidden under my bed and jumped out in the middle of the night. So this future employee of  Nashville, Inc. was born and raised in that zip code, country music capital of the universe, and one of it’s native sons did not grow up listening to or liking country music? WOW! He should end up a wax figure in the Country Music Hall of Fame just for the novelty of it. This should give you some insight into the mind of rowdyrickriot. It’s like being born a fish and saying “yeah, I really don’t like the water much.” Talk about swimming against the current! *(3)

     Throughout his high school years, the building of rowdyrickriotopolis began. It would lead to his telling his guidance counselor that he wanted to be a rock star when he grew up. Shockingly, she was not impressed. Go figure! I got the feeling that when Derek sets his mind to something, just get out of the way. He began his advanced education at a community college, became a star student, and went on to Austin Peay State University with a full scholarship. There, he earned a BS in Classical Guitar. We often think of guys in the band as just that – guys who play in a band. If you’re going to make a living playing in a band, a great amount of preparation is needed for that to occur on any successful level. Derek became a student of the guitar the moment he got it. He used his parents record collection to teach himself to play when lessons were not available to him. When he realized at the end of high school that his dream was only _DSC7972within reach if he continued to learn and sharpen his guitar skills, he started small and worked diligently. He made the most of every opportunity he was given and learned music theory and finger style while studying some of his favorites in classical and jazz guitar. These include David Russell, John Scofield, and Pat Metheny. On the rock side  he cited Jimmy Page, Tom Morello, Joe Walsh, and Alexi Laiho among his greatest influences. Reminding myself that Derek Williams plays guitar in a country band, I was surprised to find the well-rounded musician, rowdyrickriot, behind that gig. There’s a quote on his website by Louis Pasteur that says, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Over the next few years, Derek prepared his mind and his guitar for any opportunity that might come his way. *(4)

     As preparedness goes, Derek had practiced hard, gotten a college degree, and gained some valuable experience with a local band. Work over. Time for fun! Well, Derek didn’t see it that way. He did not put on his Ray-Bans and bask in the self-satisfied glow of his achievements. He treated it as merely a foundation on which to build the career of his dreams. Despite touring with a band signed to a major label, he continued to practice guitar skills for hours every day. Over time, he and his guitar became an instrumental jukebox, able to play any song you could ask for off any number of pop and rock albums. Anyone who’s been DEREK WILLIAMS WITH BRIAN BONDSsuccessful in the music business will tell you that it’s all about the connections you make, the professional relationships you build, and how prepared you are when the right gig comes along. Through the connections Derek made while touring, he played with other artists signed to the label and eventually got a record deal himself on the Warner Brothers label as part of a rock band called Flashmob. Based out of LA, they started working on material for an album and found themselves out of a deal before the album was released. Let this be a cautionary tale for those who think signing a record deal gives you a golden parachute for life. It doesn’t. Not by a long shot. Relying on previous connections he’d made, Derek was offered a gig playing with Nashville country artist, Whitney Duncan. Terrific! Just one problem. He had no idea how to play country music on his guitar, but as you’ll find out shortly, Derek was prone to taking on tasks he had no idea how to perform. Lucky for him, he’s a quick study!

     I asked Derek at this point why he ended up back in his hometown under the employ of Nashville, Inc. rather than staying in LA and pursuing another gig with a rock band – his obvious wheelhouse. The short answer is because guitar players don’t get paid to play something no one’s buying anymore. Heading into the 21st century, making a rock album was a risky venture with no guarantee of breaking even, much less making a profit. Record labels weren’t as generous _DSC2970with their funds and less inclined to make questionable investments. Country music was quickly moving towards the popularity that rock enjoyed in the 80s. There were a host of opportunities available in Nashville for talented musicians looking for work. Derek was talented; they had work; and he didn’t need a map to find anything. For six months he chained himself to the task of learning to play country style guitar in his room. He studied country guitar greats, took some lessons, and leaned on his ability to absorb things quickly. Earning the first reference on his country guitarist resume, he was now ready to be promoted from within and apply himself to landing the next big scream inducing job at Nashville, Inc. *(6)

     Derek’s landing his first big gig with Jake Owen was the equivalent of having to adjust from Matchbox racing in your garage to Nascar driving at Talladega in four days. Enter the mind of rowdyrickriot. For Derek Williams, this may have been problematic. But for his rock star musician alter ego, piece of cake! Brian Bonds, currently a guitarist on tour with Florida Georgia Line, had been a member of the short-lived Flashmob with rowdyrickriot. He learned of a position open with Jake Owen’s tour band and recommended Derek to Jake’s bass player and ba_DSC2829nd leader, Robby Emerson. Jake was looking for someone permanent for the position and was trying out new guitarists. Generally, this type of opening isn’t advertised in a formal way at Nashville, Inc. The word of mouth referral system (read good ‘ol boy) is how most of these jobs are auditioned and filled. When Derek accepted the audition, these were the requirements: Must be able to play a 90 minute set consisting of 18 songs at a live show in front of thousands of fans in four days. You will be expected to play acoustic and electric guitars as well as the ganjo and baritone guitar. Oh, and by the way, this live show IS your audition. Go ahead and scream Derek; it’s all part of the job! *(7)

     After purchasing a ganjo and baritone guitar, (helpful if one wishes to play them) Derek spent 12 to 14 hours a day over the next few days learning what he’d been tasked with. There would be no rehearsal before the live show. Welcome to baptism by fire. With five minutes to go before showtime, Jake called a band meeting. Derek had not met Jake at this point so this was his introduction. His new boss welcomed him to the band and asked if he played drums. Huh? Naturally, Derek answered “Yes.” Jake then told him that the encore song was the Beastie Boys “Fight For Your Right to Party,” and his band members always switched instruments for this performance. Derek may have DEREK WILLIAMS WITH JAKE OWENwished to scream in fear at this point, but the unflappable rowdyrickriot simply laughed at the very idea that this would really happen. Derek learned a valuable lesson that night. When Jake Owen says he’s going to do something, he WILL follow through on that. Always. Derek played a flawless set that night and was quite proud of his effort until Jake made an announcement to the crowd of 12,000 fans gathered at the amphitheater in South Carolina. He proudly introduced his new guitar player/clueless drummer to the screaming masses and waited for Derek to begin the song in his usual drummer’s place. Taking his seat at the drums, he turned to Myron (real drummer) and asked him how to play the song. A stunned Myron attempted an air drum lesson. Derek began to “play” and his shocked bandmates turned around in horror at the sound he was making. Suffice it to say, John Bonham’s legacy is safe. The next day, Jake congratulated him on having a good first show and pointed out the fact that he “sucked at drums.” After the third show, Jake admonished him for having lied about his drum abilities, but couldn’t help being impressed at the “balls” he showed in lying to his boss on the first day, knowing there was no way he could fake this. Shockingly, Jake told him he was obviously a team player and wanted him in the band. Personally, I wouldn’t advise trying this at your next audition unless your potential boss is likely to be impressed by your “balls.”

     Derek got this gig with Jake Owen in April of 2012. Fortunately, it’s lasted two years so far and it’s a job he’s enjoying. What he told me was frustrating for him was the lack of mentoring available when he got out of college. He could continue to take lessons and improve his playing skills, but there wasn’t anyone who offered advice or career counseling on how to get a job as a professional musician. Even when he moved back to Nashville, there were plenty of qualified and talented guitar teachers available, but no one who would tell him how to land that dream gig. So in July of 2013, That’s My Gig was launched. Derek and THAT'S MY GIG LOGOhis wife are partners in this venture and share the daily requirements of running an online blog. What makes this one different than any other blog or magazine devoted to the music industry, is the topics it covers and the 3D approach it takes to the subject matter. There are lots of magazines and blog sites devoted to individual instruments and every type of equipment a musician could need. Rolling Stone and Rolling Stone Country cover artists and musicians from nearly every music genre. That’s My Gig is a how to manual that tells you how to get yourself in those other magazines by landing the gig that’s right for you. Call it the nuts and bolts behind what RS covers.

     Despite the fact that I’m not a musician and have no need to know how to land a gig, I found this blog fascinating. The musicians they interview cover many genres and I find it very entertaining to read how these rock stars became part of the bands we know and love. There are many colorful characters in the music world and That’s My Gig brings them to life in a virtual 3D kind of way. I can almost hear them play when I read these interviews. To further illustrate the life of a touring musician, Derek does a video series called “The TMG Tour Journal.” This is a tongue-in-cheek look at life on the road and never fails to make me laugh as well as provides “valuable” (just don’t ask me to put a price tag on it) information about what you can expect while touring with a bunch of guys…on a bus…with limited use of facilities and often unappetizing meal options. To take those tantalizing thoughts one step further, there is a ‘Road Life Video Series’ called “Survival Tips on the Road.” There are ten of these video tips covering subjects that may not be pleasant to think about but could save your life on the road. Derek’s coverage of “The Brown Monster” (not a Disney character in Monsters, Inc.) will dispel any glamorous notion you’ve ever had about the life of a rock star on the road. Viewer discretion is advised! In addition to print and video selections available on That’s My Gig, the third DEREK WILLIAMSdimension in their 3D approach is the music lessons and career counseling they offer. There are several counselors available through TMG that offer services ranging from lessons to performance skills, image building, and career advice. Derek described this as full service career counseling. For kids or adults who have music skills and want to pursue a professional career but don’t know where to start, he offers a personal plan for each student and works with you on reaching your goals. The end game is to turn his students into his peers.

     So who is Derek Williams @rowdyrickriot? It’s a burning question and one that keeps me up at night. There’s Derek Williams, student of classical guitar, music teacher, career counselor, and CEO of one of the best music industry _DSC7849blogs out there. This educated, responsible, creative Derek would tell me that there aren’t any monsters under the bed, just fear of the unknown. His job at Nashville, Inc. is to demystify the dark path to a big city, bright lights career with the enlightening secret that hard work cannot be avoided. Lady luck is a passing muse and will not give you a free pass to your dream job. Education and the lessons learned through hard work are two things no one can ever take from you, and the greatest assets to your resume. Jake Owen hired Derek Williams because he had the credentials for the job, he’s entertaining, and he can provoke a scream or two from an adoring crowd of fans. Remember, screaming fans keep Nashville, Inc. in business! @rowdyrickriot is the driving force that brings enthusiasm and energy to everything Derek Williams does. Rowdyrick is a riot that can make the ordinarily mundane things in life funny. This alter ego demands attention in the form of hospital metal sensation, Black Market Surgeons. Their cutting edge sound is so sharp, it’s illegal in most countries around the world (or is it banned? I forget.). Rowdyrickriot dared Derek Williams to walk through the forbidden door into the world of Nashville, Inc. Fearless, he entered the Scream Factory (a/k/a the concert stage) with his alter ego in tow and conquered the tour test he was given. SCREAM if you love rock star Derek DEREK WILLIAMS 4Williams! Moonlighting, @rowdyrickriot takes the stage on the Laugh Floor. His comedic delivery of “The TMG Tour Journal” and unabashed reporting of road survival tips wins over audiences day after day. A professional musician’s life is a revolving door, and those that are most successful learn how to balance their work no matter which side of the door they’re on. Derek Williams is a model employee at Nashville, Inc. Rowdyrickriot knows that laughs are ten times more powerful than screams and he is content to be the power behind the rock star. As a famous monster once said, “Once you name it, you start getting attached to it.” Aspiring rock stars, this is Derek Williams @rowdyrickriot. If you want to land that dream gig at Nashville, Inc., hire this multidimensional character as your mentor. *(11)

From WAYNorthofNashvilleBev Miskus

Bringing the stories of country music to life!

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For all things Derek Williams, visit his website at: http://www.derekwilliamsguitar.com/

For information on the career counseling services he offers, visit his web page at: http://www.derekwilliamsguitar.com/#!careercounseling/c1h6a

For assistance with gig placement, contact Derek via his web page at: http://www.derekwilliamsguitar.com/#!gig-placement/cnyn

To book a session with Derek, visit this link: http://www.derekwilliamsguitar.com/#!book-now/c24vq

Indiana, PA William McC 5

Photo courtesy of William McClintic III Photography 

Subscribe to Derek’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/DereksGuitarLessons

 Follow Derek on Instagram: http://instagram.com/derekwilliamsguitar

LIKE Derek’s facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/DWilliamsGuitar

Follow Derek on Twitter @rowdyrickriot

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Read his AWESOME blog, TMG, at: http://www.thatsmygig.com/

Keep up with Derek’s life on the road through his Tour Journal at: http://www.thatsmygig.com/the-tour-journal/

For a list of career counselors and the services they offer, visit TMG here: http://www.thatsmygig.com/careercounselors/

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VOTE for Derek Williams in the BATTLE OF THE BANDS: ROAD RAGE SUMMER contest here: http://waynorthofnashville.com/voteloud/voteloudjake-owen-rocks-my-world/

*Photos 3, 4, 6, 7, and 11 are courtesy of William McClintic III Photography. You can contact Bill through his facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/wmcc3?fref=ts

©2014Bev Miskus

JOE ARICK FRONT OF STAGE

JOE ARICK – LIVING A MUSICIAN’S LIFE…One dream at a time!

   JOE ARICK SUMMER BLOCK PARTY

Photograph courtesy of William McClintic III Photography

 JAKE OWEN – DAYS OF GOLD – DAYS OF GOLD

Days of Gold is available on iTunes: HERE

      We’ve all heard the saying, “what a difference a day makes,” but for Nashville musician, Joe Arick, he’s had several life changing days. He is currently on the Days of Gold Tour with headliner, Jake Owen. For Joe, it’s not so much how he got this particular gig, the story lies in what led him to a career in music. Lucky for us, Joe was born too late to be on tour with the likes of Motley Crue or Guns ‘N Roses, otherwise he may not remember so vividly how he got from Columbus, Ohio to Nashville, Tennessee. Not to say that Joe isn’t a rock star, because he definitely has his moments, but I don’t think he throws furniture out of hotel windows or wrecks luxury sports cars on a regular basis. He does have a very broad definition of what a “splash” of alcohol means, (liken it to the size of a splash Shamu makes at Sea World) but other than that, he seems to limit his rock star activity to the stage.

     Joe’s interest in music isn’t all that far fetched considering he shared a home with ¾ of a gospel quartet. His mom, dad, and sister were all singers. Joe had no interest in singing. He remembers being six years old when he attended a Christmas program at school and was mesmerized by watching his teacher play the piano. There was a piano at home, but he wasn’t allowed to play it. His family used it to practice their music and his father had told him not to bang on it because he didn’t want to have to tune it on a regular basis. The old “this is not a toy” lecture. Listening as well as any normal child of six would, he snuck in to play it when his dad was at work. His mother approved of his playing, Joe got better at it, and dad was none the wJOE ARICK CMT TALENT PASSiser. Ah, how many things have been learned using this strategy? Tell dad only what he needs to know, wink wink! When the piano player the quartet had been using quit, Joe’s mom let the cat out of the bag and told his dad that he could play. Having to prove himself, Joe sat down at the piano and demonstrated his covert abilities. Dad, as all dad’s are, was shocked that something so sinister could happen under his own roof, unbeknownst to him. Joe was asked to further prove his musicality by following along on the piano while his dad played the guitar. Impressed with his son’s skills, Joe became a member of the group and traveled with them throughout Ohio playing in churches. Talk about nailing your first audition!

     As it turns out, Joe’s musical talent wasn’t limited to the piano. When he was 13, his grandpa gave him the next instrument he would conquer – his guitar. The first song he taught him to play on it was “Wildwood Flower.” Perhaps that was the first indication that Joe would eventually turn his sights on Nashville. He continued to teach himself guitar by JOE ARICK FRONT OF STAGEplaying along with the piano. His junior year in high school, he wanted to join the jazz band. The instructor told him no because he couldn’t read music. I’m picturing here that Julia Roberts moment in Pretty Woman where she comes back to that snobby Rodeo Drive boutique looking fashion week fly saying “Big mistake. Huge!” Joe didn’t contest this decision, he simply joined the choir. One afternoon when he was jamming with some of his friends, this same misguided instructor heard him playing and reacted with a stunned “Wow!” He ate crow for dinner and Joe joined the jazz band. This would turn out to be another karma filled day in Joe’s young life. Quickly, AJ became Joe’s favorite teacher. He taught him the theory behind what he was playing and turned out to be a bJOE ARICK GUITAR PICKSig influence in Joe’s decision to continue playing music beyond high school.  All of this didn’t keep him busy enough, however, so he learned to play keys, bass guitar, and eventually the harmonica. Now you’re thinking he’s just going to end up one of those drop out music guys who takes Brad Paisley and Keith Urban’s advice and starts a band! Nope! Joe, I can teach myself to play any instrument, Arick, was also tops in his class academically. He set his sights on studying medicine in college and planned to continue the long tradition of his family and join the Army after high school. Through military service, he would get financial assistance in paying for his education. Against his guidance counselor’s wishes, he didn’t take the SAT or ACT at that time. You didn’t see any of this coming, did you? What happened next is going to blow your mind!!

     So Joe has his mind made up, he’s got an appointment at the military recruiter’s office to sign the final paperwork, and his life plans are complete. Joe’s probably already taught himself to play “The Army Goes Rolling Along” on four different instruments and he goes happily off to boot camp. What was that? I think I just heard a needle scratching across a vinyl record. Joe didn’t go off to the Army? Please be seated for this next sentence so if you faint, it’s a shorter distance to the floor. THE ARMY RECRUITER TALKED JOE OUT OF JOE ARICK AND DEREKJOINING!!! Breathe into a paper bag if you have to. I’ll wait. I didn’t ask for the guy’s name because he’s probably in the witness protection program by now. He encouraged Joe to walk out of that office a free man! He said, “Go for it Joe, or you’ll regret it!” I can imagine Joe’s reaction, seeing his future rock star self in a purple haze, selling t-shirts that say “The Joe Arick Experience.” Wake up Joe! You’re not quite there yet. Write this date in your diary though. It’s another life altering day in the life and times of  soon to be music man Joe Arick! (and the crowd goes wild!!). This would turn out to be the day that Joe made his career choice. It wasn’t something he fell into because he didn’t know what else to do with his life. I have no doubt that Joe could have done anything he set his mind to. When the music bug bites, it can unleasJOE ARICK TAKIN A SELFIEh a gravitational force within that is limited only by the size of your dreams. Sharpening his skills over the next five years, Joe played with a country band in Ohio. Also during this time, he met a singer/songwriter named Sarah. She was very supportive of Joe’s career aspirations and when the time came, the two of them made the move to Nashville together to pursue their common goals. At this young age, it’s easy to jump the gun and rush into something unprepared. Moving to Nashville before you have the music chops to showcase can upend your big plans before they’ve had a chance to take root. Nashville is a city bursting at the seams with talented immigrants all eyeing the same dream. When Joe decided he was ready to take the next step towards his career choice, he didn’t need a GPS to tell him how to get to Music City. Everything he’d done musically up to this point led him in the direction he needed to go to further his education and solidify his resume.

     The first thing aspiring career musicians discover when they take up residence in Nashville is that they just walked onto the set of a reality show they didn’t sign up for. The reality of how things “work” in Music City is that you’ll most likely work menial jobs before you ever earn a dime playing music there. When Joe made the move to Nashville, his first priority was being able to pay the bills. He got a job as a server in a restaurant and began the all important task of networking. He picked up gigs whenever he could get them playing with bands on the go. In 2005, he landed his first official Nashville touring slot with Ohio native, Danielle Peck. As you get your feet wet in the music world, musicians get a feel for where JOE ARICK KEYSthat sweet spot is for them. Some prefer to stay off the road and attempt to make a living doing studio work. Others, like Joe, enjoy being on the road and take auditions whenever the opportunity presents itself. In 2010, he got a referral for an audition with Gary Allan’s band. He said it went really well and he was hopeful it would pan out. At the last minute, they decided to go with someone else. Being a free agent, Joe moved on. Jake Owen was looking for a keyboard player and asked him if he’d like to audition. In February of 2010, he played his first live show with Jake. The arrangement suited them both and Joe became an official member of Jake Owen’s band!

     Not everyone enjoys the life of a touring musician, but Joe certainly does. Sometimes it’s about finding the right guys to work with, and touring with Jake Owen has given Joe JOE ARICK ON HARMONICAan abundance of opportunities to grow as a musician and express his own creativity. In 2013, he added his harmonica playing to the studio recording of “Days of Gold.” Although Joe prefers the road to studio work, he does like to play on things he’ll get to be a part of  in a live show some day. He finds satisfaction in creating something in the studio and getting to see it come alive on the stage. Jake Owen is a very generous guy, on and off stage, and he likes to showcase his talented band members whenever possible. He encourages them to do solo work during live performances when appropriate and Joe says that is what makes this gig so enjoyable. Not all headliners would allow such creative freedom on the stage and  Joe finds JOE ARICK ROCKER POSEthe whole live experience very fulfilling. Every time you play a live show, it’s an anything can happen event. The set list, the venue, the audience, all factor into what transpires on the stage. If you can live with the less than pristine conditions that exist when touring and have a roll with the punches personality, it’s a good life for a musician. Joe says touring with a country artist isn’t like other genres where you’re on the road constantly for months at a time. He’s typically on the road three or four days a week and at home with his family the others. There are always exceptions based on the schedule, but there is a certain rhythm to the routine after awhile. He appreciates the quality time he gets to spend being dad and is happy he can support his family doing what he loves, and what he loves is music!

     Asking Joe about his favorite road moments, some of which you can read in detail on his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joe.arick.1, I was struck by how excited he got telling me about them. He is a true music fan of all different genres and goes to see his JOE ARICK FENWAY PARKfavorites in concert whenever he can. He finds traveling exciting and is taking the time to appreciate each mile crossed and city experience. He’s played a lot of big venues in the last couple of years and been a part of some groundbreaking tour stops, but his favorite place to play will always be the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. No matter how often he’s played there now, he says “it’s still magical every time.” He’s been able to cross quite a few marquee venues off his bucket list but there’s still one he hopes to play some day – Ohio Stadium. Being an Ohio native, it’s long been a dream of his to play there and one he JOE ARICK WITH BILLY GIBBONSthinks may be within reach. A couple of his favorite stage moments have been sharing a bill with one of his hip hop favorites, LL Cool J, and playing with the legendary Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. For a musician to get to play alongside someone you listened to and idolized growing up, it really doesn’t get any better than that. Joe doesn’t take these hallmark stage moments for granted. He knows every day you can make a living being a musician is a gift, and he is thankful for that. Besides his AWESOME musical ability, Joe has the perfect personality for a rock star who doesn’t take himself too seriously.

     There are a lot of characteristics that make a musician rock star cool and ego isn’t one of them. Instruments have a lot to say, and the message received by the audience all depends on how that message is delivered. You can have the biggest stage presence in the room and if you can’t play, the audience will focus their attention on someone who can. A rock star is JOE ARICK KEYTARsomeone who can generate a roar from the crowd based on their bad ass performance. Joe Arick can multitask on the stage by switching instruments any number of times it’s called for. He can pull a rock star move that ends up on America’s Funniest Home Videos and still get up and finish the song. He might not laugh about it then, but he will later. He’s not above playing the keytar to further define his rock star cool abilities and if it drives a certain headliner crazy, all the better! The fans have your back, Joe, if a flaming arrow ever comes your way! I think we’ve only scratched the surface of what rock star Joe Arick can do. In addition to his musical talent and showmanship, he writes a very funny accounting of tour events, he’s a video star on That’s My Gig (just read it and don’t ask questions – you can thank me later http://www.thatsmygig.com/), he’s a mentor, and most impressively, he’s a master of mixology on a tour bus. Don’t think that just happens overnight! He’s handled plenty of dirty ice in his four years on the road, risking all kinds of possible CDC encounters, just to make mind numbing drinks for his friends. He knows his JOE ARICK - BLACK AND WHITEway around an empty liquor cabinet and a picture frame to make sure he pours only the cheapest possible alcohol into that drink. He’s so good, he can sniff the vintage of moonshine and identify it down to the very still, state, and month it was made in. If that’s not rock star cool, I don’t know what is. All of the life changing days in Joe Arick’s life prepared him for the days of gold he’s now living and the rock star lifestyle to which he’s become accustomed. I hope someday soon I can witness his musical finesse on the stage, stare into those Eric Church cool shades, take a selfie with him and that manly keytar, and have him mix me up one of his famous cocktails, the dirtier the ice, the better! Oh, and Joe, can I have just a splash of rock star cool in that when you hand it to me in a purple haze? Dream on!

From WAYNorthofNashvilleBev Miskus

Bringing the stories of country music to life!

Joe Arick – rock star mixologist!

JOE AND JAKE

You can see Joe perform live on the Days of Gold Tour with Jake Owen! Visit Jake’s website for tour and ticketing information at http://www.jakeowen.net/events

William McClintic‘s photos are tagged with his name in the bottom left hand corner of each picture. You can connect with him via his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wmcc3

©2014Bev Miskus

RIVERSIDE CAFE JAKE

RIVERSIDE CAFE – VERO BEACH, FL Sets the Stage for Jake Owen’s Days of Gold Tour

JAKE OWEN – EVERY REASON I GO BACK – EASY DOES IT

Every Reason I Go Back is available on iTunes: HERE

It’s not Casablanca, but a bar stool, a guitar, and a grilled mahi sandwich marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

     When you decide what it is you want to do in life, the first step towards your dream is usually to learn how to do it. For many, it starts with higher education. You can go to college and earn a degree in music or music education. Unfortunately, you can’t take that degree to Nashville, wave it in front of a record label executive and say “I’m ready to headline a major tour now!” After they stop laughing, they’ll tell you “That’s not the way we do things here in Nashville.” Whether you’re education came from Vanderbilt or the school of hard knocks, you’ll likely get to park your butt on a bar stool with a guitar in your hand for a good long while, just like everybody else who dreams of being a headliner someday. It’s called paying your dues. Local bars and restaurants are RIVERSIDE ON THE WATERwhere you put in those hours for little pay with the hope that eventually this experience will lead you to bigger venues and a bigger paycheck. Jake Owen went the college route and then came back home when he decided what he really wanted to do was pursue a career in music. That headlining tour he dreamed of is now a reality. His journey to the DAYS of GOLD TOUR started on a bar stool, with a guitar in his hand, probably barefoot, at the RIVERSIDE Café in his hometown of Vero Beach, FLorida.

ELLEN AND DAVID LANE

     Ellen and David Lane are the owners of RIVERSIDE Café in Vero Beach and Ellen was kind enough to talk to me about the connection they have with Jake and what it’s meant to them having Jake’s support riversidecafe_logo_large-home[1]for all these years. She spoke about him as a proud mother would and remembered his early days there when he played for $75 a night and a grilled mahi sandwich. He was always grateful to have a place to play surrounded by family, friends, locals, and tourists who dropped in looking for good food and a good time. She remembers him being a crowd favorite and witnessed the crowds grow larger over the years as his popularity spread. After he moved to Nashville, they wished him well and assumed he’d trade the decorative lights on the nautical rope for bright lights, big city. For a lot of big stars, this is where the hometown story would end, but not for Jake Owen, and not for the RIVERSIDE Cafe.

     You wouldn’t expect a local restaurant to factor into an artist’s tour schedule once they’ve been on grander stages, but for Jake, there is no grander stage than the one that launched his career. Ellen said that Jake comes home as often as he can and will often call and ask if he can drop in unannounced and play an acoustic set. Imagine Garth Brooks showing up in his hometown and asking if they mind if he plays a little. Seriously?! Jake, Ellen says you have an open invitation. No RSVP necessary! But that’s what makes Jake a hometown favorite and a crowd pleaser. He doesn’t think of himself as VIP. He thinks everyone he’s playing for is, and that includes his RIVERSIDE Café family. This year will mark the 8th annual benefit concert he’s hosted at RIVERSIDE. The restaurant caters the event and provides the setting for sponsors and RIVERSIDE CAFE DEC 2011special invited guests Jake honors at this time. The last couple of years he’s ended his tour with a show in Vero Beach, and when inclement weather forced him to cancel once, he refused to deny his fans a performance. He showed up at RIVERSIDE and asked if he could play for as many fans as the place could hold. They agreed and watched the place swell with patrons all hoping to hear Jake perform. Ellen says they look forward to this event every year and have seen it grow from a seed of an idea to the much anticipated gathering of friends it has become. I suppose you could call it a fan reunion of sorts!

     When Ellen and I started talking, one of the first things she mentioned was the video Jake has on the home page of his website called “The Headliner.” She said she had no idea how much RIVERSIDE meant to Jake until she saw that. She was so touched that Jake thought so RIVERSIDE CAFE NIGHTmuch of the place that he would include it in his first headlining tour. In that video, he talks about choosing to build his stage setup to look like RIVERSIDE Cafe because he wants to bring a piece of his hometown, and this special place, with him wherever he plays. Liken it to a 3D postcard from home! He wants to give the feel of the place to fans who’ve never been there, and for those who have, he hopes it shows how far they’ve come from those early acoustic performances. Ellen hasn’t seen Jake’s show yet with the RIVERSIDE setup, but she plans to, and I have no doubt it will be an emotional night for her and for Jake. She went on to say that Jake puts on an amazing live show and assured me she wasn’t just saying that because of her connection to him. She said “I would tell you that even if I didn’t know him personally.”

     Every artist who’s ever made it to the big stage started in a place like the RIVERSIDE Cafe. It’s easy to look at the marquee venues that headliners get to play and be awed by the history and the size of these show places. Who doesn’t dream of playing Madison Square Garden, the Hollywood Bowl, Red Rocks, AT&T Stadium, the Bridgestone Arena, and the list goes on and on. Jake played Fenway Park and Wrigley Field last RIVERSIDE CAFE JAKE PLAYINGyear,  both groundbreaking events. By any standard, Jake has arrived. Very few in his position look back when they’ve reached this height. Small town gathering places are reminders of things they’d rather forget. To quote a lyric from one of his opening acts: “Catch a couple green lights in those baby blue eyes and leave nothin’ in that rearview, but dust.” Vero Beach isn’t exactly a small town, but it does have that family atmosphere if you’ve ever been to RIVERSIDE Cafe. I went there with my family a few years ago, having never heard of Jake Owen at that time. There was a warmth about it that had nothing to do with the temperature outside. The food was excellent and the surroundings had a familiar and friendly feel to them. I remember walking out of there thinking I wanted to come back some day. There’s a song on one of Jake’s early albums called “Every Reason I Go Back.” Part of the lyric says “It’s every reason that I left and every reason I go back.” Jake has said that the confidence he gained playing at the RIVERSIDE Café gave him the courage to move to Nashville and JAKE OWEN RIVERSIDE BLACK AND WHITEpursue his dream – the reason he left. On the road, he is reminded of the solid foundation that experience gave him every time he steps onto the replica that surrounds him. He can look out at the audience, feel the support of his RIVERSIDE family, and know that the crowd may be too big for RIVERSIDE, but he’s not. The reason he goes back – a stool, a grilled mahi sandwich, and Ellen and David Lane. Of all the cafes in all the towns in all the world, he walked into this one…and still does. Here’s looking at you, Jake.

FromWAYNorthofNashvilleBev Miskus

Bringing the stories of country music to life!

For the latest happenings at RIVERSIDE Cafe, visit their website:

http://www.riversidecafe.com/index.cfm?method=Home

riverside-desktopbg_008_sm

LIKE them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Riverside-Cafe/116130348085?ref=br_tf

Follow them on Twitter @RiversideVero

RIVERSIDE CAFE

When you’re in Vero Beach you can visit them at:

3341 Bridge Plaza Drive

Vero Beach, FL 32963

Call for a reservation at 772-234-5500

The unofficial music video for “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” with footage of the Riverside Cafe!

©2014Bev Miskus

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MUSIC, MILESTONES, AND MEMORIES

A music fan’s concert journey from Elvis to Jake Owen.

JAKE OWEN – HEAVEN – BAREFOOT BLUE JEAN NIGHT

Heaven is available for download through iTunes: HERE

     When you look back on special moments in your life, there’s usually a trigger that sets the highlight reel in motion. Some kind of visual stimulation or sound bites will accompany these memories, along with the familiar feelings they evoke. Visually, photo albums and scrap books tell the story of our lives through the decades, and can become an encyclopedic collection to peruse and share. Music lends itself equally to memory creation, but cataloging it comes in a much different form. If you were given an assignment to tell the story of your life in the form of a music collage, would the time stamp on the music correlate with the timing of your experience? Music doesn’t always have an impact on the listener the moment it hits the airwaves. The how, when, and why we discover music at certain times in our lives, is generally circumstantial. Many things in life have a small window of opportunity. Fortunately, music isn’t one of them. Music doesn’t come with an expiration date. Advances in technology have made it possible to discover, listen to, and replay almost any of it, anytime. Like nothing else, musical 44772_10151798899984524_885148279_nexperiences are suspended in time. Hearing a certain song or seeing an old album cover, will take you right back to the time and place of the experience. Your interaction with it coupled with the brain’s ability to put the sights and sounds together, creates your music box of memories. Recently, I crossed twitter paths with a woman whose description of herself intrigued me. It read in part, “I saw Elvis 5 times in concert! Can you say that??,” followed by, “I love Jake Owen!” I love music boxes. When I find one that catches my eye, I never look for the tag that tells you what song it will play. I like to be surprised when I open it. This one belongs to Linda Mohler.

     The declaration that she’d seen Elvis in concert five times told me that Linda had traveled a few miles in her life. I was curious to find out how her musical journey had taken her from Elvis in the 70s to Jake Owen in 2014. I don’t picture Jake as an Elvis impersonator but, stranger things have happened! When I called Linda to talk about her story, the music box I opened was full of concert ticket stubs and the music and memories that went with them. Linda remembers being nine years old when she saw her first live concert. She traveled to Washington DC with her family to see Tom Jones. She remembers sitting in the balcony at a theatre and taking it all in. What puzzled her was why these women were throwing their underwear onto the stage at him. I don’t know whether or not she asked her mother about this, but I do know she couldn’t do a Google search on her iPhone to get the answer! Just for kicks, I tried it. Google is just like the NSA. It knows everything! The answer was: “It’s Not Unusual.” That song was Tom Jones’ first hit in 1964. Women would bring their panties to the show and  throw them onto the stage during that song. Back then he thought it was sexy. Today, he’d rather they didn’t. He finds flying undies distracting. Uh, Tom, Linda found them pretty distracting when she was nine!

     Fast forward a few years to April 10, 1972. Elvis was in concert at the Richmond Coliseum. Tickets were just five dollars, and Linda was there. She still ELVIS CONCERT RICHMOND APRIL 1972remembers the experience vividly. Imagine Elvis being one of your first concert experiences! Talk about setting the bar high!! The excitement of the moment brought tears to her eyes, and the rush she felt when Elvis took the stage is something she’s never forgotten. No cell phones or selfies back then but cameras captured the moment none the less. I’ll bet a lot of fans at that concert still have those photos, faded as they may be, in an album somewhere. When I asked Linda about seeing Elvis for the first time, she had no trouble recalling the EXACT DATE of that concert. She remembered it and her other four Elvis concerts as easily as she did ELVIS CAPITAL CENTER LARGO MD MAY 1977the concerts she’d seen a few weeks ago. She saw Elvis in Richmond again in 1974, twice at Cole Field House at the University of Maryland, and for the last time on May 22, 1977 at the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland. That venue would have been just four years old then. She had no idea when she saw Elvis perform that night, that it would be her last Elvis concert. Linda said she was devastated by the news of his death on August 16, 1977. To this day, watching him for any length of time still brings tears to her eyes. That’s the power of music and the powerful connection many fans feel to the artists they grow to love. Special songs and those indelible concert moments stay with you for a lifetime.

     Linda wouldn’t make another concert connection like that until July 28, 2011. A lot had happened in her life between the summer of ’77 and the summer of 2011. She’d gotten married, had a daughter and raised her into adulthood, and been stricken with cancer. On the day of this concert, Linda 254597_10150330447764524_1530206_nwould be celebrating two milestones in her life. It was her birthday and it had been a year since her cancer surgery. Her daughter had surprised her with concert tickets and didn’t tell her who she was going to see. Linda had always been a rock fan so not only was the concert a surprise, the genre would be as well. Even upon arriving at the Verizon Center in Washington DC, her daughter wouldn’t let her see the tickets. An usher escorted them to their seats, not in the nose bleed section, but front row center! It was only at that time that Linda found out she would be seeing Keith Urban!! The microphone on the stage was directly in front of her seat – not that she would EVER sit in it on this night!

     Jake Owen was the opening act and as anonymous to Linda as Daft Punk would have been. Lucky for her he was not wearing a helmet because his looks, and her reaction, changed the night and her life. Already smitten with his talent as a performer, his voice, and his good looks, she offhandedly chose a quiet moment to look up at him and say “honey, you are gorgeous.” Jake leaned into his microphone and asked her “Did you say I was gorgeous?” She admitted she had and he asked if she was married. Again, she replied yes, and Jake told her that she’d captured his interest. He continued by saying “Forget about all these 2014-06-12 18.55.10other 10,000 plus people. It is just you and I and no one else. It is you and I here alone, and this song is for you.” The spotlight was on both of them when he announced the song off his upcoming album, sat on a stool, and began singing “Heaven” to her. He held her hand at some point during that song, looked into her eyes, and before the song would end he’d stolen her heart. Jake had no idea it was her birthday and certainly didn’t know about her previous illness. He took advantage of an opportune moment to make a connection with a fan. He even blew her a kiss at the end of that song, sealing the deal! Linda says what made it so special for her was the fact that she was old enough to be his mother, yet he treated her like a young, sexy, beautiful woman, many of which she was surrounded by. Not a lot of performers would have done that. Without even meaning to, Jake displayed the kind of man he is. She also ended up with Keith’s set list that night and a touch on the hand from him too. This night would rank right up there with Linda’s five Elvis concerts as one she will never forget.

     Linda is now a member of The Owen Army and a superfan of Jake Owen’s. She has met him eight times to date and he now knows her by sight and welcomes her 303871_10150378730929524_1073638634_neach time with open arms and a bright smile. She travels as often as she can to see his concerts, both near and far. Through her travels, she has made many new friends along the way and she is grateful to Jake for the friendships she has made. One chance encounter with Jake Owen has enriched her life in ways she could never have imagined, especially being a rock girl at heart! Linda attends many concerts with her daughter now. She feels blessed by the generosity her daughter bestows on her as she now takes her mother to concerts as her mother once took her.

     Music may be made in a particular time period during your life, but it is not accessible to you only at that time. Different generations of family members ELVIS LIVE ON STAGE RICHMONDcan attend the same concert and all enjoy the music. Concert audiences cover a wide demographic. What unites the fans in that audience is the music and their connection to the performer. That common bond can lead to friendships unlikely in any other setting. When fans go home from a concert and store those memories both physically and mentally, they will look back one day and it will have meaning in their life. Some part of their life story will be defined by the music and the experience of that concert. It will differ for everyone, but it will be a part of their music collage of life. Even people who have suffered brain injuries can often recall lyrics to songs and music they’ve heard in the past. There is ELVIS RICHMOND 1972something about the way we process our musical experiences that makes them a part of us `til the end. When artists talk about their journey to the stage, there are milestones along the way that made them who they are musically, personally, and professionally. It’s the same with the fans. Music is the nexus that connects people who otherwise may not wind up in the same room together. Concerts are the cradle of that nexus, confining those within that space for a moment in time.
When the music stops, they will leave and return to their separate lives, but forever be connected in the memories they shared that night. Their individual music collages will unite in song, reflecting the performance they remember, if but for that one incredible night of music.*

From WAY North of NashvilleBev Miskus

Bringing the stories of country music to life!

Special thanks to Linda Mohler for sharing her story!

*Both of the pictures of Elvis in the last paragraph were taken on April 10, 1972 at the Richmond Coliseum.

For the hottest concert ticket of the summer, catch Jake Owen on theDays of Gold Tour! For tour information, visit his website at http://www.jakeowen.net/events

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This picture of Elvis was taken on May 22, 1977 at the Capital Center in Largo, Maryland. The picture on the right is a copy of the set list from that night.

Video recordings were not the best quality back in 1977, but I found this one of the last Elvis concert Linda saw. This footage is from the May 22 concert she attended at the Capital Center in Largo, Maryland.

Elvis fans may appreciate this website. It’s a database of all of his concert information from 1954-1977: http://www.elvisconcerts.com/index.html

WAY North of Nashville has moved to its new home under a new name! If you’re already a subscriber here, please visit the new site and hit the subscribe icon located on the upper right side of the home page. It’s the ‘W’ in a circle. Thanks so much for reading our work and visiting the site! Don’t miss a beat at: http://nashvillethreesixty.com/!

©2014Bev Miskus

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JAKE OWEN…LIFE OF THE PARTY…DAYS OF GOLD!

    

JAKE OWEN“TALL GLASS OF SOMETHING”DAYS OF GOLD

 “Tall Glass Of Something” is available through iTunes: HERE

      If you look up the word ‘charisma’ in the dictionary, it says “personal JAKE OWENmagnetism.” For an example of this, it says “see Jake Owen in concert.” Last summer, JAKE OWEN was an opening act at my first country concert. He had injured his hand prior to that event and was still wearing a bandage that limited the use of it. Jake is one of those rare artists who could entertain a room full of people while standing stock-still. Even if he were in a full body cast, he would find a way to entertain his audience. When he and his band take the stage, it would be entirely appropriate if their theme music was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Ceiling Can’t Hold Us.” Put your hands up – because Jake is about to blow the roof off the place!

     Jake having been my first…country concert, kind of spoiled me by setting the JAKE OWEN VORTEXbar extremely high for anyone else who follows. There’s an energy that follows Jake like a shadow. You could leave his concert not having sipped a thing and still feel “Tipsy.” What makes him so unique as a peformer, is how he channels that energy. Imagine having the ability to harness the power of a tornado and turn it into a positive force. THAT is Jake Owen’s stage presence. You can’t help but be sucked into his vortex. You may come barefoot to a Jake Owen concert or casually clad in flip flops, but don’t think you’re in for a lazy, laid-back event. Consider it a party you R.S.V.P.’d to and the life of it, just showed up!

     Jaime Loomis is a co-founder of THE OWEN ARMY and a general when it comes to commanding it. If she were leading his troops into battle, just HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM NYCsurrender. Game over. She’s been to more than a few Jake Owen concerts and knows better than anyone what to expect from them. Jake performed at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City last weekend and Jaime was there. I asked her to summarize the experience for those who’d never been in a room with Jake Owen before. I envision her like a Hendrix apostle on Jake’s behalf, asking the crowd these questions: “Are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.” Here’s what she had to say about the night’s experience…

     “I know I’m going to sound like a broken record, but you’ll just have to deal with me for a bit. I LOVE JAKE OWEN!!!! Yes, I know you’ve heard me say this a thousand trillion times, but last Friday in NYC, I gained a whole new 2014-06-05 19.13.51appreciation for the man, the entertainer, the friend. If you haven’t taken your hard earned money and bought a ticket for the Days of Gold Tour yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! To say that Jake puts on an amazing show, is an understatement. From the time the first few chords of “Days of Gold” are played, to the last good-bye smile, Jake has you rocking like it was “1972!” There you are, waiting with fevered anticipation of Jake coming onstage, and then, his unexpected entrance in the back of the crowd has everyone on their feet with their minds blown! Who does that?! No other artist I know of! He made his way through the crowd and hit the stage to 7,000 screams, all awaiting the showmanship 2014-06-05 19.12.39we have become accustomed to! From that moment on, time stands still, and the only thing that matters is you, him and a good time; and for Jake, a good time comes way too easily! I have been to more than a few shows and this one just had a whole different feeling. Perhaps it’s because he earned his way to headlining status, and  we’ve paid our dues to see him achieve such success. The set list included most of the songs from Days of Gold, including, “Life of the Party,” “Drivin’ All Night,” “1972,Ghost Town,” and “Beachin’,” of course, but he skipped one that I thought is a must for any show. “What We Ain’t Got” is, hands down, THE BEST song Jake has ever recorded in my opinion. The emotion that he puts into that song can melt the hardest of hearts and any face within a 50 yard listening radius. I was bummed that it didn’t make the cut, but hearing so many of his other hit songs like, “Anywhere With You,” “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” “Alone With You,” and “The One That Got Away,” made it a little easier.  Every moment of the show was an action packed party that I feel blessed to be a part of. The Days of Gold Tour should IMG_4333definitely rank in the top five tours this year, no matter what other publications may say. They obviously haven’t been to the party of the year! I’ve known Jake for a few years now, and couldn’t be prouder of the person he has always been and continues to be to his fans. I consider myself lucky to be a part of his journey and blessed beyond measure that he has become a part of mine. I LOVE JAKE OWEN! Wait, have I said that already?” “LOUD & PROUD!!!”….

Jaime Loomis, The OWEN ARMY

Crowd photo courtesy of Corbin Hand.

DAYS OF GOLD TOUR

     Ranking the top tours of the summer is a very subjective thing. Everyone’s taste in music is different. What makes someone want to go to a live concert is the quality of the music and the charisma of the artist. The atmosphere the artist can create in a concert venue is as much a part of the show as the music is, if it’s done right. Jake Owen is a full concert experience. It’s obvious he approaches his shows with the mindset of someone looking to create a unique event. He could easily stand there and sing and sound good doing it, but that wouldn’t satisfy Jake nor represent his personality. If you spend the money to go to a Jake Owen concert, you’ll remember it, and you’ll want to go again. No one can create a classy party experience like he can. His use of the stage, his connection with his audience, his interplay with the members of his band, all work together to produce the ultimate beach party. His music, a “yella umbrella…in a “Tall Glass of Something.” Refreshing to say the least!

     They say actions speak louder than words, tabloid headlines, or subjective rankings. Two of Jake’s recent performance events seemed to have a lot to say about what kind of show Jake puts on. Last summer, Jake hosted a free block party in a parking lot in Nashville. 20,000 people showed up, all packed like sardines into a confined area. Jake was still having problems with his injured hand and ended up having to have a portion of one of his fingers removed just hours before he took the stage. Painkillers? No doubt! Kill the spirit of the life of the party? Hell no! Jake showed up, as scheduled, and with a bandaged finger and having put in a tough day already, entertained the large crowd he’d invited. There was no letdown in that performance whatsoever. He could easily have JAKE OWEN BEACHIN'cancelled that show, given it was free, or let someone else cover for him. But that wouldn’t be Jake Owen. He agreed to host that party and host he did! When Jake performed last night at the CMT Music Awards, he was outside again. It had the feel of a block party and a beach party all rolled into one. Jake was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, bare-footed, and beach balls were flying through the air. He sang his latest single, “Beachin’,” and was the “Life of the Party” we’ve come to expect. Casual, yes. Professional, always. Vocally, flawless. I don’t know what exactly qualifies a tour to be chosen in that elite top five, but I know this one seems to approach their performances with this in mind: “Tonight is the night, We’ll fight ’til it’s over; So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us; Like the ceiling can’t hold us.” The Days of Gold Tour is a party you won’t soon forget, and JAKE OWEN breathes life into it, every time he takes the stage.

Get More:

 

From WAY North of Nashville…Bev Miskus

On location at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC, concert review by…Jaime Loomis

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Visit Jake’s website for tour & ticketing information on the DAYS OF GOLD TOUR: http://www.jakeowen.net/events

His summer must-have album, DAYS OF GOLD, is available on iTunes: HERE

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If you’re a JAKE OWEN fan and would like to connect with some of his strongest supporters, join THE OWEN ARMY! To find out more about the cool things they do, visit their website at http://theowenarmy.com/

You can connect with them on twitter @TheOwenArmy.

There’s nothing better than LIVE music and nothing worse than a loved one not returning home from that great concert. Drink responsibly. Enjoy the show. Drive safe. Thanks for the reminder Budweiser!!

©2014Bev Miskus

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STAND BY ME…SUPERFANS!

     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

     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!

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(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!

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(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: https://www.facebook.com/groups/parmaleefamalee/. In addition to their Facebook presence, they have a twitter account at https://twitter.com/ParmaleeFamalee. “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: http://parmaleefamalee.blogspot.com/p/links.html.

     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 theowenarmy.com, Jaime Loomis, was like getting a present you never expected. For Jake Owen, his army is truly the gift that keeps giving!

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(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:

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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.

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(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: http://www.theowenarmy.com/. 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 http://www.gofundme.com/theowenarmy. 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  http://www.theowenarmy.com/Contact_Us.html, connect with them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheOwenArmy, and follow them on twitter at https://twitter.com/TheOwenArmy.

     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!

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(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!

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

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http://www.riversidecafe.com/

(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: http://newvoiceentertainment.com/index.php or here: http://richredmond.com/. 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

Rich&Derek

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!

ROCKSTAR – NICKELBACK- ALL THE RIGHT REASONS

JASON ALDEAN’S BURN IT DOWN TOUR AND JAKE OWEN’S DAYS OF GOLD TOUR ARE ALL THE RAGE THIS SUMMER! THEY BOTH HAVE ROCKIN’ TOUR BANDS, SO SHOW SOME LOVE FOR THE GUYS ON THE ROAD AND MAKE SOME NOISE! LET’S HEAR WHOSE BAND ROCKS YOUR WORLD! GIVE NEW MEANING TO THE TERM ‘ROAD RAGE’!

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.

JASON ALDEAN'S BAND

     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: http://www.thatsmygig.com/artist-interview-no-overnight-success-with-jason-aldean-drummer-rich-redmond-part-1/ You can follow him on twitter @RichRedmond. Visit him on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/richredmond Connect with him via his website at: http://richredmond.com/ To learn more about his CRASH Course for Success, get the details here: http://crashcourseforsuccess.com/

DEREK WILLIAMS 2

     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: http://www.derekwilliamsguitar.com/ 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: http://www.thatsmygig.com/

     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

http://crashcourseforsuccess.com/ WITH RICH REDMOND!

CATCH RICH REDMOND ON TOUR WITH JASON ALDEAN! TICKET INFO HERE: http://www.jasonaldean.com/upcoming

 

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DEREK WILLIAMS

DEREK WILLIAMS

 

CATCH DEREK WILLIAMS ON TOUR WITH JAKE OWEN! TICKET INFO HERE: http://www.jakeowen.net/events

 
©2014Bev Miskus