There's a little place in NYC that is putting other venues to shame for having incredible live music. Hill Country Live, on 26th Street, consistently brings amazing artists to the city. This past Monday night was no different. Whiskey Myers, a southern country rock band from Texas, performed an almost two hour set for free. Yep free. And if you weren't there, you missed out.
Who knows what to expect in terms of a turnout for a show on a Monday night in the big apple, but the place seemed at least 60% full at all times. Patrons came in and out to eat (the place is a BBQ joint), but many stayed and the majority of people seemed to pay attention. This to me speaks to just how good of a band they are. The lead singer in voice and mannerisms reminds me of Jaren from the Cadillac Three, but neither band is showy. The guys are a tight sounding group that lets the music, with influences from rock, R&B and country, do the talking. Whiskey Myers delivered, whether it was via a harmonica, guitar solos or harmonizing vocals. Their songs will grab you, not only through the melody, but the lyrics as well. They played some new stuff off of their forthcoming album Early Morning Shakes as well as 'Anna Marie', 'Virginia,' 'Ballad of A Southern Man' and their current single 'Home.' As with all good shows, it came to an end all too quickly. Be sure to check these guys out online and at a show if they come near you.
Their new album will be available in February.
For more information http://www.whiskeymyers.com/
FGL brought their Here's To The Good Times Tour to NYC last week for three sold out shows. We were fortunate enough to attend two of them. The third and final night on Friday was a party from start to finish.
Canadian Dallas Smith opened the show. He has already had success with the Canadian rock band Default in the 2000s, but he really should be ready for another round in country music. Unfortunately, he was only able to perform 6 songs, but those six were filled with energy and electricity. He is an engaging performer with a powerful voice that is suited for country or rock. He knows how to work the stage, constantly moving and engaging the crowd whether it be with eye contact, points or smiles. He played songs from his Canadian country debut album Jumped Right In: "Somebody Somewhere" & "Nothing But Summer." He didn't forget his rock roots as he performed a cover of Audioslave's "Cochise" that actually went over well with crowd many of whom were nodding their heads and fist pumping throughout. Finally, he performed his latest single "Tippin Point" which is being played on Sirius XM's The Highway as a Highway Find. It is a fun song with a great energy that was a perfect ending to his (too short) set.
On Wednesday, CitiPrivatePass held an intimate
QandA with the hottest duo in country music Florida Georgia Line. No more than 60 fans were seated at wooden tables decorated with flowers and mason jars. For only $25 each person in attendance had unlimited beverages and a full dinner with dessert. As if that were not enough, Ray Waddell, the Executive Director of Content & Programming for Touring and Live Entertainment, Billboard moderated a question and answer session with Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley for about an hour. Questions were also pulled from Twitter and then asked directly by the fans in attendance.
After introductions, the guys gave a little background on how they met, with them jokingly not remembering correctly if it was Christian Mingle.com “where BK had a great profile” or Farmers United. In actuality, they met at Belmont where they began writing songs together. The guys said some of the best advice they ever got was from Don Schlitz (if you don’t know who he is, look him up) who said once at Belmont “there is a
song in every conversation, all you need to do is listen.”
They began performing together and spoke of how they roughed it: taking baby wipe showers & living out of Brian’s Tahoe, which wasn't all that bad because it had a DVD player in it. They played little places in Nashville such as the Hotel Indigo. And as to who took on which role on stage? Well, they said, it just fell into place naturally.
Their real big break came on the Country Throwdown Tour where they gained a "mental toughness" playing only 5-6 songs on a side stage. But soon it was obvious that that side stage was where everyone wanted to be. They not only played a great set, but they would stay after for 2hours signing autographs and meeting fans in a heat that would give either parties heatstroke. They mentioned their gratitude to Corey Smith and Colt Ford as artists they opened for who gave them a chance. And of this fast rise to fame they had this year? They said they never expected all that they have & they are extremely blessed.
Earlier this month, FGL won CMA Vocal Duo of the Year and Single of the Year for Cruise' which has sold over 6 million downloads. This was far from where they were two years ago when they downed a few shots and snuck into the awards. Ray spoke of how a lot of people in the industry take shots at FGL, but “you guys are really pioneers”. He noted how they truly developed a sound all their own while writing and playing the type of music they want. Music fans have wanted something different and these guys have delivered. As Ray said, "no doubt, these guys will be ones we are all still talking about in 20 years." Their first three singles hit #1 and their current single "Stay" is poised to do the same as well as be remixed for pop radio.
Brian and Tyler than answered some fun questions such as where is the oddest place you have singed an autograph. They said boobs are “typical” so the oddest place would have to be a forehead. Their favorite tattoos: Brian’s is on his right arm “music is healing" and Tyler’s is one on his back, a Bible verse that has to do with his Dad. He certainly spoke the truth when he said “you see tattoos are addictive” as he showed off his ink. They were proud to say that from day one til now they still run their twitters and tweet themselves (except when it gets very busy). Tyler admitted BK is better at Twitter then he is, but they both love to see the fans post photos.
In their downtime, Brian likes to bow hunt and fish. Tyler likes to ride his motorcycle. They really don’t have a big long rider for shows they just really need a place to exercise, maybe ride a bike and healthy food. They also said the one person they would like to collaborate with is rapper Lil' Wayne. As time was running out, they answered a few more questions such as what their favorite song to play live was. 'Cruise' wins hands down because of the way "you guys react, the fans go nuts."
Everyone in attendance got a parting gift of a cookbook and a copy of the Here's to The Good Times cd. As a surprise everyone also had quick photo with the guys. After, the duo had to bolt to Times Square to perform for the Billboard 10th Anniversary Touring Conference Concert which benefitted Musicians On Call. Many of the fans who were at Hill Country for this special event were going in the same direction to see FGL do what they do best on stage at the Best Buy Theater.
Follow FGL on Twitter: @FLAGALine
Follow Brian on Twitter: @PlayBkPlay
Follow Tyler on Twitter: @THubbmusic
Think of your favorite artist of the moment (or even one you have liked for years). Now imagine them in 40years? Do you think they have what it takes to have longevity in the music business? On Monday night, November 4th, Merle Haggard, at 76years of age, played to a sold out crown at the Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, NY. From the hoots and hollers coming from the crowd, you could tell there was not one person in the room who was not thrilled to be able to have the opportunity, for the first time or the fortieth, to see this living legend. When he came out in hat and dark shades, the majority of the audience stood. He seemed genuinely touched and started off his hour and a half set with a smile that continued throughout the show. He and his 8 piece band kicked things off with "Big City" and went on for about 20 songs that included "Silver Wings," "Mama Tried," "That's The Way Love Goes," & "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink," during which the hat and glasses came off.
Prior to performing "Ramblin' Fever" he said how this song was close to his heart.
He voice was thinner and softer and he had to repeat the introduction to "If We Make It Through December," but no one minded because honestly, everyone there would probably watch him sing the phone book. It was truly a pleasure to be in the same room & watch this man and his band, which included his wife and his son Ben. He truly still has a love for the music, performing and the fans.
He told the story of how the Country Music Hall of Fame, which he was inducted in 1994, requested an article of his to display. He gave them the Martin guitar with his name on it. Then, when the floods occurred the Martin got washed away. He then said he wrote a song about it & we all needed to get our hankerchiefs out because it was a sad song. "Working in TN" had everyone clapping along, definitely not crying.
The night concluded with a standing ovation & "Okie From Muskogee," which he dedicated to all of the marijuana smokers. As we left the music hall, it was evident from overhearing all of the comments that "The Hag" did not disappoint.