Saturday, August 29, 2015

Chase Rice Put Some Country In Us All

Ready. Set. Let's roll.

It's always important to mention the openers, who have the responsibility of getting the crowd pumped and alive for the show. If you've hit the Starland Ballroom for many country shows, there's a good chance you've seen Scott DeCarlo, who just rocks (literally). Climbing around on the bars is his favorite thing to do (fans love that s***), and his rendition of Save a Horse [Ride A Cowboy] is always a crowd-pleaser. The second opener was aspiring artist Carter Winter, who performed covers Hell of Night by Dustin Lynch, Garth Brooks' Rodeo and House Party by Sam Hunt (yes, the crowd knows every. single. word.). One of my favorite songs of his titled Whiskey and Wine exploits his deep (Josh Turner-like) voice. Winter may not look like your typical country-singing musician, but that's what makes him unique.

Chase Rice ain't just another pretty face y'all, but he certainly is a heartbreaker. The man puts on quite a show, and is a fabulous songwriter too. Take a read through his biography even if you already know who he is, it'll inspire you. The man has a genuine love for what he does and it's amazing. Combined with his looks, talent, and personality... we're in trouble, ladies. Did I mention he's also from Florida? ;)

Chase Rice got his little fine ass up on the stage, and kicked the night off with Do It Like This. Not surprising... every person in there knew the words to every single song (what a loyal fan base). He sang all of his hits, but some of my personal favorites: I Like Drinking, Cause It's Fun; Carolina Can (which should be his next single); an emotional acoustic performance of Jack Daniels and JesusLook At My Truck and How She Rolls (let's be honest, they're all my favorites). At one point, he serenaded a woman up on stage with the sweet and sexy, Ride... let's just say she had trouble keeping her composure (I would too). Michelle, every single woman was jealous of you.

Covers included: Cruise (a co-write), Smoke A Little Smoke (hell yeah, Eric Church!), Dust On The Bottle, and Free Fallin', and it's never really quite a country show without Friends in Low Places. Then there was the extremely exciting Blink-182 battle between his band members competing with All The Small Things and What's My Age Again? I'm still not sure who won, but the crowd was rockin' out hard (even the ones who weren't alive when those songs were released), so it really didn't matter. 

I need someone to remind me who I am, and Chase Rice can. He had us soakin' up every bit of the country life. Full of energy (that's how he rocks and that's how he rolls), he and his band were laughing and enjoying themselves the entire night. You could tell they were having so much fun, and it was contagious. For an hour and a half we were totally captivated, singing along to every song, forgetting that at some point, the night had to end *tear*. And like all good things, it did end. And we were sad.

If you've never seen him, you ain't livin' yet. Fear not though, he's coming to Terminal 5 NYC in November so you get one more chance (at least for now). I've been listening to his music non-stop since Thursday and I'm kinda obsessed. Now go learn all the words to his songs and sing your heart out when he comes back (and let's hope he plays What's Your Name this time). 

As always, more photos and videos are on Instagram :) 

I got grease on my hands and mud on my boots
Still hold on to my country roots
Got an Earnhardt tat on my left arm 
Born and raised on a Florida farm
I love my Garth and old George Strait
Ya I'll fish with real live bait
I'm Southern grown, Southern born and bred
And I'll be country 'till I'm dead


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Did You Wake Up Lovin' Old Dominion?

Yeah I know I said it, but I'll say it again... Old Dominion is incredible!

You know it's gonna be a good night when you start it with that view ^ ...and when you run into the band on the beach before the show. I think it's safe to say that we're best friends now. I mean, we are on a first name basis. They personally requested that my next blog post be all about them, so guess what guys? Here it is! Hope you love it :)

But first, let's hear it for those opening acts!

Kendal Conrad. Or did you mean one of the sweetest girls I've ever met? That's right, she's talented AND has an amazing personality (and is super adorable). I was blown away by her fabulous voice, and that girl has a serious resume! We talked a bit about her set and why she chose songs like There's Your TroubleCop Car, and Gunpowder and Lead as covers (all fan favorites). Help a sistah out and tell her what covers y'all like (though it seems like she may not need it)! We love you, Kendal!

I'll admit, I'd never heard of Outshyne until I saw they were opening. I listened to some songs on Spotify and knew they would be good, but I didn't realize they'd be this good. One word to describe this band? Fun. They sang many of their own songs (Dirt Road Romance and Moonlight Crush are personal favorites) and some really sick covers including Jason Aldean's Just Gettin' Started and The South by The Cadillac Three. But how about that combo of Let's Get It On and Thinking Out Loud?! Nailed it. I had the chance to meet them after the show at their merch table (yes, it really is that simple) and I loved every second of the interaction. You should catch the South Carolina based band before they hit the road Friday at Maxwell's Tavern (Hoboken, NJ) and Saturday at KJ Farrells (Bellmore, NY). You won't regret it.

Seeing Old Dominion twice in one week is just way too much... said nobody ever. And as soon as you finally give them a listen (and a look *heart eyes emoji*), you'll understand why. Last night's show makes my top 10 best concert ever list... and for someone who goes to A LOT of concerts, that's not to be taken lightly. Thankfully this set was way longer than the 20 minutes they had at MetLife. 

The best performances (in my opinion) are the ones that make you feel something standing out there in the crowd, and boy did we ever feel last night. Not only did we FINALLY get to hear Save It For A Rainy Day, but also Sangria, Say You DoEx To See, and A Guy Walks Into A Bar. In the midst of all this, I actually heard someone say, "Sing your own songs already!" What that person didn't realize, and maybe you didn't either, is that they WERE. Those lovely band members had their hands in every one of those hits (because they're kick-ass songwriters too). Thanks for writing, singing, and sharing great music, boys. Y'all are everything I love in a band.

The coolest thing about last night's show (other than everything) was during Nowhere Fast when the entire place was singing every word. I wish I could bottle that moment up and share it with you somehow because it was indescribable. The entire band was looking at each other and couldn't help but smile ...what a moment. There is nothing like witnessing a band's reactions the instant they realize they've made it. Also, can we all agree that Brad Tursi looks like happiest person in the world? Let's be friends, Brad. 

From the show, to the venue, to the fantastic merch guy (fistbump, Nick) the night was downright amazing. There is nothing like a small venue, no matter how packed it is, and that's what I love about this area. You can see some really fantastic bands for a decent price, and guess what? You can actually see them. And hear them (and sometimes vice versa). Lucky for you guys, there are still some great country music acts left to perform at Jenks this summer.

"That was awesome!!" was a common statement from fans in the crowd. But like everything great in life, Old Dominion were here and gone in a flash, ending the night with a killer performance of Wake Up Lovin' You. Though I'm still not tired of their EP, raise your hand if you can't wait for their new album, too! I'll be on that like dirt on a road. Until next time, boys.

And as always, more fabulous photos and videos on Instagram :)

Shake me up and baby turn me loose
I just wanna roll around with you


Monday, August 17, 2015

Kenny Chesney, He's Got It All.

Well the fact that I'm still breathing means that I must have survived. (And that I lived to go out with Old Dominion again Wednesday night). 

I literally cannot think of a more amazing show. Old Dominion, Cole Swindell, Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean, AND Kenny Chesney? Now that's a boys club I didn't mind being a part of, and I wasn't the only one feeling this way. There were records broken to prove it. According to MetLife Stadium, Kenny Chesney was the "highest selling Country music artist OF ALL TIME in New Jersey" with 58,642 fans in attendance! That should certainly make him feel like a rock star.

Old Dominion

Kicking off the party first was the wonderful and talented country rock band, Old Dominion (you can see us hangin' like a pair of dice above, thanks to Tunespeak!). If you happened to catch them, you made all the right wrong turns that night (or should we say afternoon? It was 4:30 afterall). Though the stadium was empty (because at that point most of the fans still had beer on their breath in the parking lot), it didn't seem to bother them one bit. They were probably so caught up in how it felt to play at MetLife (uh, I would be too)! Don't know the guys? Break Up With Him or Shut Me Up should ring some bells, But if not, co-writes ChainsawWake Up Lovin' You and Say You Do certainly will. No pressure, whatever, just do what you gotta do, but if I was you I would check them out.

Old Dominion let the night do what it does best, rockin' all the songs from their EP, but the set was entirely too short. Even though sweat was pouring down my back, I was singing along to every word, wanting nothing more than for them to keep playing. And I know it ain't my business to be all up in, but y'all think any of them are single? Let me stop. Thanks Matthew, Brad, Trevor, Geoff and Whit... y'all are awesome! Any time y'all wanna rock with me, I'll roll ;)

*Caution: If you plan on reading the rest of this review, you'll need a cold drink, cause I'm a hot mess.

Cole Swindell

All the worries in the world? They were gone. Because just as there was a little sun left to burn in the blue sky, we started kickin' it country style with Cole Swindell. The place was getting more packed and the drinks were flowing. From where I was standing, there was nowhere to go (literally), but there was nowhere else to be. Long as I'm rocking with you, Cole, you know I'm cool with just chillin' it.

Came out to have a good time? Then you were at the right place. If you've seen him before (or read my NASH BASH review) then you know that he's just like a miniature Luke Bryan. Happy as can be, the man was tearin' that dance floor up. He's such a fun artist to see live. No wonder he won New Artist of the Year at the ACM Awards. Well deserved, buddy.

Cheers to a good country song... that you can sing to your ex. The crowd was singing from the bottom of their broken hearts because baby, you just ain't worth the whiskey. Hey Y'allLet Me See Ya Girl and Hope You Get Lonely Tonight were amongst the other fan favorites. And Brought To You By Beer... don't remind us, Cole - that's still a touchy subject. I think it's safe to say Cole had a night with our names on it.

Brantley Gilbert

If you want a bad boy, then baby you got it. Brantley Gilbert is the definition of a country rebel, and I just love it. Seeing him perform was a moment I'd long been waiting for, and I finally got to cross it off my bucket list. I was in the front row singing along (because I'm all about the country sound) and I never thought I'd be one to bang my head up and down at a concert, but it may have happened a time or two during his set (I can't lie. I'm guilty!). Sho'nuff was a good time.

If Old Dominion and Cole Swindell didn't do the trick, Brantley sure did. One Hell Of An Amen, Small Town Throwdown, Bottoms Up name it, he played it. Read Me My Rights was probably the most intense, though he did make it clear to the crowd that if there was to be a fight, to take it outside (thanks for that BG). Not sure if he can still say he ain't close to famous, but you can tell he loves to play and sing. MetLife certainly isn't a honky tonk, so I'd say he's living one hell of a dream. Let's give a toast to the good times. *Raises beer*

For all those who are wondering, there ain't no doubt in my mind that country IS country wide. And I will continue to say that as long as I'm feelin' like I was that night. Looking around at the people rockin' out to BG confirms the fact that it ain't where, it's how you live. Can I get an amen?

Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean sure left his mark on us, and we can only hope we left our mark on him, too.

I first saw Jason back when he was on Trace Adkins' tour with Billy Currington in 2006... I'm talkin Hicktown and Amarillo Sky (which are still crowd faves). It was nice to see him again with just slightly better tickets this time. I couldn't wait for him to get that thing started. JA is my kinda party.

If you're a concert junkie like me (or even if you're not), you know that each artist has their own unique performing style. Compared to many others, Jason is one of the calmest and most seemingly confident I've ever seen. How he manages to get the crowd so pumped without bouncing up and down is beyond me. From Burnin' It Down to Crazy Town, he was just doin' his thing (oh how we love it when he sings). Add some fireworks and flames, and you have yourself one wild night. But that's the way we get down.

Take a moment to think about this... other than in your car or the shower, where else can you belt out the words to a song at the top of your lungs without being judged? The answer? MetLife Stadium with 58,000 other people. Sure, any song will really do, but there's just something about The Truth that brings a crowd together. It's like one giant therapy session. "The truth is that I'm askin' you to lie, and we both know that it ain't right..."

From the songs he plays to the prays he prays, that man is country. And I just gotta tell you, Jason, that night looked good on you. I have one question though, why oh why didn't you play WHY? Oh well, long as I'm with you it really don't matter.

Kenny Chesney

And then, everything got hotter when the sun went down. Which seems impossible considering the temperature read 93. Ah, sweet summertime. It's safe to say that I've done some livin' and I've had fun. But there is one thing that I haven't done, and that's stand front row at a Kenny Chesney concert (and I've never wanted nothing more). One more night of that that would surely kill me (but holy bucket list!).

We all have a song that somehow stamped our lives, takes us to another place and time. I Go Back does it for me, and was probably my favorite of the night. Mix in Anything But Mine, Living In Fast Forward, and Young ...and man, that's the good stuff! The crowd once again connected during emotional songs, Somewhere With You and You And Tequila (it's always our favorite sins that do us in). At one point, Kenny brought a girl up on stage and fulfilled her dream of kissing him on the lips (YEAH), which showed us his softer side.

It's amazing when you think about just how many hits Kenny has, but it also makes it pretty impossible to hear every one you wanted. I was waiting ALL NIGHT to hear a song that he was apparently saving for a rainy day (hint hint). Perhaps the sun was too bright or the sky was too blue? Ugh. Guess I'll just sit right here, and have another beer in my apartment to melt these blues away. As KC would say, a drink or two is a foolproof remedy, and he's sure worth drinking to. Also, can we get  a hell yeah for his amazing female bassist?

Man I don't know, where the time goes, but it sure goes fast, because before we knew it, it was time for the encore. Both Kenny and Jason sang She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy and The Only Way I Know, and then the highly anticipated Summer of 69... which was phenomenal. I struggle sometimes to find the words. There was also a moment when I was sure Kenny and Jason were looking straight at me, and that's something that just don't happen twice.

We raised a lot of hell in the no shoes nation that night and I can't say we had a whole lot of cares (because there's only so many times you get to feel like this). But oh how we prayed it wouldn't end. It all may seem like a blur now, but I do recall wishin' time would stop right in it's tracks.

Ah, goodbyes are like a roulette wheel. You never know where they're gonna land. I just wish it wasn't over! It was honestly one of the best shows I've ever been to, and it was evident that everyone in there felt the same. How are we feeling now, you ask? We may be a little messed up, but we'll eventually be alright (I hope).

Check out Instagram to relive the night over and over again.

One life, one chance
One ticket to the big dance
You and me still holding on
Right down to the last song


Monday, August 10, 2015

Killin' the Lights and Strippin' It Down with Luke Bryan

So it's Monday, and I'm STILL trying to get a handle on what happened Friday night. What was it, you ask? Luke Bryan, my friends. And if this photo provides any insight to how I'm feeling, well, then you just might understand.

Last Tuesday, Citi announced it's exclusive Luke Bryan show at Irving Plaza on Friday, August 7. Within minutes of it's on-sale time, tickets were gone. Though fans only knew about the show 3 days prior, there was still plenty of time to build up excitement. Not only was it Luke Bryan, but it was Luke Bryan at a venue that holds a max of 1,025 people! Yeah, betcha never thought that would happen. But it did, and boy are we glad! (THANK YOU CITI)

Just as expected, by 6:30 on Friday the line at Irving Plaza was already halfway around the next block. The copious amounts of boots and flannel were a dead giveaway to passersby that this was unlike most nights in the popular Union Square neighborhood. And by 8:30, the crowd inside was chanting, "Luuuuuuuuke!" It was pretty clear we all knew we didn't want this night to end.

His hour-long set included some of his most popular hits, Play It Again, Roller Coaster, and Country Girl Shake It for Me, as well as Kill The Lights (which he actually did at one point) and more songs off of his new (and rather fantastic) album, which was just released on the day of the show. Side note - I don't know about you, but Kill The Lights just makes me wanna shake it. The beat sounds like it was stolen from a Michael Jackson song (and I'm not complaining there). Somebody, please play it again.

The man's dancing gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME. No Luke, I can't move when you move. (Country boy, shake it for me!) Well, not only did he shake it for us, he drank a beer for us, and he even stripped it down for us! And by stripped it down, I mean he played with just himself and the piano (don't get too excited, ladies). He turned Irving Plaza into a party. 

Man, if I could've hit pause, I would've somehow. But it don't work like that. In case you can't quite understand how I felt, let me put it into some LB lyrics for ya... It's like all you keep trying to do is slow it down, soak it in. You're trying to make the good times last as long as you can. But you can't, man. It just goes too fast... (*tear*)

Surprisingly though, I left that night feeling completed and utterly satisfied. I usually leave a concert with serious PCD (Post-Concert Depression), but I was more than happy with how everything went. I got my  (totally unexpected, but totally AMAZING) picture. I saw him dance. And I was part of a night that many people would pay serious money for (and let's be honest, some of you did). 

Luke, I don't know what you did, but you done it good
. And now (if not before), I can't go anywhere, I can't do anything
. No, I can't close my eyes without you in my dreams

Check out Instagram for more beautiful pictures videos ;)

It's like there's something in the air
That turns you wild 
when a country song is way up loud 
and the sun goes down


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It May Be August, But We Ain't Runnin' Outta Summer Yet

Alright, so it's August (sigh). And you might be in a panic, thinking "Hot damn, the summer's almost over and I haven't done anything yet!" Slow it down my friends. We still have lots of summer left, and I'll tell you what I'LL be doing to make the most of it.

Tonight: Sitting on my couch watching the CMA Music Festival on ABC hosted by Little Big Town.

August 5: Hanging out on the shore with Dylan Scott and Derek Crider at Jenks Club (did I mention this is FREE).

August 7: It’s been a long, hot summer, and we should be together with Keith Urban at the TODAY show or kickin' the dust up with Luke Bryan at GMA. Then LB round 2 for his exclusive show at Irving Plaza... but Jersey for Toby Keith at PNC Bank Center isn't a bad idea either. 

August 13: Where I'd like to be is with Lee BriceEric Paslay and The Cadillac Three at Mercer County Park Festival Grounds OR with Sam Hunt (heard he's single for the summer), Michael Ray and Joel Crouse at Pennysaver Amphitheater... but I'll most likely just be sitting on my couch, if I'm being completely honest (not having a job limits one's spending abilities). 

August 15: Jason AldeanKenny Chesney, Brantley Gilbert, Cole Swindell and Old Dominion are all at MetLife Stadium. There's really no excuse not to be there, other than the fact that tickets on StubHub start at a whopping $154 for upper bowl. So call up all your rowdy friends and crank that country up loud. Lee Brice won't be there, but it'll certainly be one hell of a parkin' lot party.

August 19: I guess I'm making all the right wrong turns that night with Old DominionOutshyne and Kendal Conrad at Jenk's Club... oh, and it's free :)

August 20-23: The four-day long Brooklyn Country Music Festival at The Bell House sounds enticing enough.

August 21 & 22: I'll be knee deep with Zac Brown Band at Citi Field on one of these days (or maybe both).

August 26: I just can't get away from a good time, and Logan Mize and Rachel Allyn at Jenks Club sounds like something I can't pass up (again, free).

August 27: Ready, set, roll. Chase Rice is well worth my trip to Starland Ballroom in New Jersey with Carter Winter and Scott DeCarlo.

August 29: It's just a hop, skip and jump to The Shop in Brooklyn for The Cadillac Three.

So what will you do before the summer dies? Sounds like I'll be busy. Will you?

Be sure to check out the events calendar for the full country music schedule the rest of this summer! And stay tuned for my September plans - it's going to be one crazy month!


Got a whole lot of time left
There's still so many sunsets
To make a night that we won't forget, baby
Ain't runnin' outta summer yet