As he spoke to a gathering of friends, family, and music industry celebrating his Christmas album release, Chris Young stated that “no one loves Christmas more than he does.” This album is something he has wanted to make for a long time and share with his fans. Continue Reading →
Archive | artist spotlight RSS feed for this section
During the Tin Pan South songwriters festival earlier this month, I had the wonderful opportunity to see in an intimate writers round at The Country in Nashville, one of the best acoustic rounds I have had the pleasure to experience. In this round were classic rock legend & The Doobie Brothers’ co-founder, Tom Johnston, his equally talented daughter, Lara Johnston, hit songwriter, Paul Overstreet, and The Doobie Brothers bassist and equally talented, John Cowen.
The California Honeydrops based in the Bay area seems primed and ready to explode onto the music scene with their special fusion of jazz, blues, funk, R&B, Southern soul, and American.
In a stirring rendition of Heidi Newfield’s hit song “Johnny and June”, “The Voice” contestant Mary Sarah won over the audience this past Monday, and positioned herself as a real contender for the finals. Called first this time as she was saved by America, she moves on to top 10 next week! All the while, as she continues to hold the #1 spot on the country chart on iTunes for the 3rd day in a row. Continue Reading →
Texas native and country sweetheart Mary Sarah advances this week to the top 11 on NBC’s “The Voice” as she paid a heartfelt tribute to her brother with an emotional performance of Carrie Underwood’s “So Small”.
Ashley Gearing’s “Love Can Go To Hell” is honest and speaks about real relationships.
“I wanted to record that song for me and all my girlfriends – twenty somethings,” the 24-year-old said. “Love happens to everyone. Sometimes it’s really great and sometimes and it’s really bad.”
Gearing and her team added “Love Can Go To Hell” to her 6-song, self-titled EP at the last minute.
“We just knew we had to put that song on there,” Gearing said. “It really represented a different side of me as an artist. It’s kind of a jarring title. And then you listen to the song and it represents something totally different than you thought it would.”
Gearing signed to Curb Records at 16. She pursued college and graduated from Belmont University 2 years ago with a major in Entertainment Business and minor in Public Relations.
“I was really anxious to get started on this new EP,” she said. “It was a really long process because I really wanted these songs to represent who I am as a 24-year-old.”
Gearing was inspired by female artists who were great storytellers like Celine Dion, Martina McBride, Carol King, Shania Twain and Faith Hill. She’s also a fan of Motown and soul artists infused with a country background.
“I was born in the time when songs were so meaningful,” she said. “That was one of our requirements when we started looking for songs. We want them to be fun songs that you can sing in your car but also meaningful.”
Gearing is writing a lot right now, building her artistry in the Nashville community and developing relationships within the music industry. She said both the competition and support can be overwhelming as a young person in the music scene.
“My advice to anyone just coming in is to keep your head down and focus on what you’re doing rather than getting distracted by everyone else’s timeline,” she said.
Ashley Gearing is just scratching the surface.
“The great part about Nashville is there are a lot of people who want to help you and succeed with you,” she said. “I think we can all succeed at the same time doing a lot of different things.”
Ashely Gearing’s signature black roses were a popular gift in February for Valentine’s Day and a perfect representation of her latest single.
Among the recipients was Bobby Bones of the Bobby Bones Show. He made a “Making a Murderer” style documentary about the anonymous roses, complete with a guessing game that finally led him to discover they were from Gearing.
Love and Theft is making a stand about addiction with their latest single “Whiskey On My Breath.” The duo, comprised of Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles, has dealt with losing family members to alcoholism.
“It’s a pretty heavy topic,” Stephen said. “But it’s not all about drinking. It’s just about addictions in general. Almost everyone has their own addiction. It doesn’t have to be alcohol. It could be social media.”
The single skyrocketed from #200 to #2 on iTunes with a little support from the Bobby Bones Show.
“Bobby heard ‘Whiskey On My Breath’ and really related to it,” Eric said. “His mother died of alcoholism at 46.”
Eric struggled with alcoholism and was proudly 311 days sober at the time of our interview.
“Singing about it every night when I was still drinking was almost like I was giving myself a guilt trip in a way,” Eric said. “I was getting up there singing about the one thing that scared me to death more than anything – whiskey on my breath. It’s been good to get away from it and change my lifestyle.”
Eric’s new go-to drink is soda water or Diet Coke with a few limes. Stephen still enjoys an adult beverage every now and then.
“I drink vodka and water pretty much because you’re hydrating while you’re drinking.”
Good strategy, Stephen! That’s not his only advice about drinking.
Stephen, since you’re a year older and so much wiser than Eric, give us your words of wisdom. This is your legacy!
Eric: Give us like half of a tweet – so you get like 13 characters or something. Make this count, this is it. This will live on forever. Ladies and gentlemen, Stephen Barker Liles’ words to live by.
Stephen: You’re not drinking alone if your pet is with you.
Stephen: It’s for all the pet lovers out there.
Eric, what’s the deal with your Twitter bio: “Life coach, alien expert, ceiling fan collector…follow me”?
Eric: Oh just two things I’m really passionate about. I’m really obsessed with aliens and area 51. No I’m kidding… I just put it on there as a joke. And then I watched an episode of something on TV where this guy collected oriental fans, and I thought it was so weird and strange. So I thought I’d put it on there, too. None of that’s true.
Stephen: CMA Fest we could get Love and Theft fans… for the fans.
Eric: Oh yeah the ones where you mist yourself!
OK guys… back to the important stuff. What do you have going on this year?
Stephen: We’re traveling all year playing tons of shows. We’ve been doing about 100 shows a year for 6 or 7 years. Some years we’re gone 200 days. There’s no telling how many shows we’re gonna do this year. We’re on pace for a lot.
Eric: It’s been the busiest beginning of a year for us as far as acoustic shows go.
Stephen: I’m gonna have a Companion Pass at the end of the year if I keep flying Southwest!
“Whiskey On My Breath” soaring to the top of the charts, drinking with pets, aliens and a busy year ahead. There ya have it, folks – Love and Theft!
Change is in the air, and Darryl Worley is embracing it.
“Country radio has been so inundated with things that I really don’t understand, like music that doesn’t speak to me on many levels,” Worley said. “I got a little bit of a hope and a hint that may change.”
Worley has a big year ahead of him – a greatest hits album, his first Christian album and a documentary of his travels to war zones.
“If that change is in the air, this would be the right time for me to try to get back on the radio,” he said. “It sounds like a good place to almost start over.”
He has spent a lot of time in Muscle Shoals, Ala., preparing to release his 2-volume greatest hits album.
“That’s kinda like home away from home for me,” Worley said. “It’s where I started out as a songwriter, so it’s sorta been like a homecoming to go down there with a bunch of folks I used to hang out with. We’re having a blast.”
Worley’s Christian album will release later this year, but don’t expect it to sound anything like his country music. He said it’s very uplifting, yet it has a nature of the blues.
“It’s coming from life’s lessons I’m passing on that could help people through tough times or situations,” he said. “It’s gonna speak to people I think on a whole different level, and we’re excited about that.”
As the 15th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Worley’s documentary “Unsung Heroes: Music and Memories” will illustrate his experiences entertaining soldiers, seamen, airmen and marines all over the world. Worley said he wanted to do something to uplift them. The raw and real footage spanning 5 years will shine a light on what American troops do for our country.
“It’s a powerful piece, and I can’t wait for people to see it,” he said. “I’m very proud of it.”
Worley left us with a little advice for upcoming musicians:
“Figure out who you are musically and don’t let anybody change that. If you know who you are, if you really know who you are, they’re not gonna want to change you anyway. They’re gonna go, ‘Man, that’s just what we were lookin’ for.’ That’s the most important thing. I believe it with all my heart.”
Yesterday we sat down with country sensation Home Free just before their show at TPAC in Nashville on Dec. 13th to discuss their new album, favorite Christmas memories, favorite holiday dishes, and much more!
Get to know this incredible country vocal group who first gained national attention and won fans’ hearts as the winners of NBC’s “The Sing Off” in the video below.
The show itself was a great mix of country classics with a new twist, original tunes, and Christmas favorites. Their delivery was absolutely mesmerizing with solid harmonies all throughout their performance. It’s pretty incredible what they are capable of doing with just their voices alone. In-between songs, they light-heartedly interacted with the crowd keeping the concert going at a great pace and effortless flow.
A video posted by FOCUS on the 615 (@focus_on_the_615) on
A highlight of the evening was the drum solo segment minus the actual drums featuring the beatboxer of the group, Adam Rupp, that was met with a standing ovation.
A video posted by FOCUS on the 615 (@focus_on_the_615) on
Definitely a show worth every penny that I would gladly see again!
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.
Watch them tonight on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” as they join icon Kenny Rogers for a music performance that you don’t want to miss!
Don’t forget their new album, COUNTRY EVOLUTION, is in stores now, and available at all digital retailers.
For more information, visit their website by clicking here.
About Home Free:
Since being crowned NBC’s “The Sing-Off” victors, Home Free has made their mark on the music scene selling more than 150,000 copies combined of their popular albums, CRAZY LIFE and FULL OF CHEER, embarking on two major national tours and amassing over 53 million YouTube views. The five-man band from Minnesota, comprised of Austin Brown (high tenor), Tim Foust (bass), Rob Lundquist (tenor), Adam Rupp (vocal percussion/beat boxer) and Chris Rupp (baritone), dropped their debut album CRAZY LIFE in 2014, which hit No. 1 on iTunes Country chart and No. 4 overall. The release of their third studio album, COUNTRY EVOLUTION has elevated the band “from auxiliary entertainment to headlining attraction” (Times Leader) and hit No. 4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. Produced by longtime collaborator Darren Rust, the deluxe version includes five originals and nine new renditions of hit songs that showcase the band’s extraordinary talents, tight harmonies and intelligent arrangements that are uniquely their own. Founded in 2000 during collegiate years, Home Free has been perfecting their live show for nearly a decade performing together for packed crowds at major fairs, colleges and theatres. Their experiences on the road helped carry them to the Sing-Off victory, build a loyal fan base and bring their homegrown country style into the national spotlight.
Columbia Records’ country sensation Home Free’s new music video for the Christmas classic “Do You Hear What I Hear?” has hit over 130,000 real-time views in under 48 hours. The harmony-rich arrangement of the holiday favorite is featured on the band’s Christmas release, FULL OF CHEER. The stunning video was filmed at night in the frigid cold at an ice castle in Eden Prairie, MN.
Check out Home Free at www.homefreemusic.com
Sign-up HERE for the weekly newsletter!
Want the latest from FOCUS on the 615 all at once? Sign-up for our weekly newsletter! You'll also get exclusive content ONLY AVAILABLE FOR SUBSCRIBERS!