On Thursday December 12th, Corey Smith brought his Movin' On Up Tour, presented by Ones To Watch and Texas Pete, to the Gramercy Theater in NYC. The 500 capacity venue was close to, if not, sold out. Seeing an artist in a venue like the Gramercy is something I would take over an arena or stadium show any day. There's nothing to distract you from the reason you are there: to experience honest to goodness good music, which was something everyone definitely experienced Thursday night.
When an artist comes out to The Jefferson's theme song, you know it is going to be a good show. Corey started around 9:15pm and for the next hour and a half played his "country-ish," as he called it, music for the enthusiastic crowd. The energy started out high on "Carolina" and didn't let up. Corey is one of those artists that does something which I really appreciate: he talks to the audience. He spoke about the stories behind the songs (all of which he wrote), financing all of his 8 records and touring the country. He also spoke of the gratitude he has for the fans' support over the years and for everyone who came out Thursday night. Corey told of when he played for college kids at a bar in GA (when Brantley Gilbert opened for him) having only $50 to pay a fiddle player. Now though, he could play his songs with a full band and launched into "Dahlonega."
Many of the songs that he played, including "Drinkin' Again," "$8 Bottle of Wine", "Twenty-One" and "I Love Everyone" were accompanied by the crowd singing along to every word. When he played his current single, and Sirius XM Highway Find, "Ain't Going Out Tonight" people were not only singing, but cheering loudly.
Although he mentioned that he doesn't like to play cover songs often anymore because it "brings back bad memories," he said that he and the band had been playing a song in sound check and wanted to play it live: Matchbox 20's "3AM." Watching the fans reaction, they did a perfect job.
It speaks volumes when an artist introduces their band members. Corey did that and gave each member a chance to shine by having them perform snippets of songs like "Stairway to Heaven," "Sweet Emotion" and "The Way It Is."
Early in the night, before he played "Maybe Next Year," he said that he hoped that everyone "has much to drink, moves their bodies, makes friends with their neighbors and enjoys themselves." By the end of the night, that was mission accomplished. After chants of "one more song," Corey returned to the stage and performed an acoustic "F-The PoPo" and "If That's Country" with the band.
You know it's a good show when it's time for the encore and you don't want it to be over. It was my first time seeing Corey live, but it certainly won't be my last. Don't miss the chance to see him when he comes near you.
For more information visit www.coreysmithmusic.com
On Thursday night, December 12th, NASH FM 94.7 "America's Country Station" hosted its first ever "NASH Holiday BASH" featuring performances by Dierks Bentley and Parmalee.
The concert event took place at the beautiful Beacon Theater in NYC and celebrated the growing number of NASH FM 94.7 listeners. The Holiday Bash is the latest offering from “America’s Country Station” following the successful “Up Close and Country” concert series which featured performances by Brad Paisley, Thomas Rhett, The Band Perry and more.
As people walked into the festively decorated Beacon lobby, NASH was getting everyone in the holiday spirit by handing out Santa hats. Around 8pm, Parmalee, who have the #1 song in the country, kicked off the show with "I'll Bring The Music," which they most certainly did. Their years of performing together were evident as they sounded terrific & performed a solid set. Matt delivers all of the lyrics with believability whether it's a ballad or fun up-tempo number. Josh, Scott and Barry are more than skilled musicians who also provide nice harmonies. The guys are not only fun to watch on stage, but seem to be having fun performing themselves. They continued with songs from their album Feels Like Carolina including "Already Calling You Mine," "Back In The Day," the laid back "Day Drinkin'" and personal favorite, the fabulous "Close Your Eyes." Matt spoke about how his father, who was in a band, taught him to play guitar, strumming a little "Night Moves" before launching into their #1 "Carolina." Many times throughout their set, they expressed how grateful they were to the fans and radio for everything that has happened to them this year. Although many in the audience were seated for their set, Parmalee received standing ovations after both "Carolina" and their top 40 hit "Musta Had a Good Time."
After a brief intermission when a few Rockettes and Santa graced the stage. Dierks Bentley and his talented band of brothers emerged and everyone was immediately on their feet. Dierks, as he always does, brought the party. At one point, that party got a little risque as Dierks asked people (women) to throw things on stage and "stripped' out of his button down to his t-shirt. Bras, tank tops, and even a sock, made their way to the stage.
There aren't many other performers out there who work as hard as Dierks does. He always gives it 100% or more and has such a great time performing whether it be in a theater or arena. He works the entire stage, never stops moving and interacts with everyone he can, including bringing a young lady on stage to "play" guitar while he takes a beer break (or whatever it is that he has in his cup). He played all of his hits from "Am I The Only One," "Free and Easy," "Every Mile A Memory" to "How Am I Doin.'" He sat on a stool and played acoustic performing a funny, new song "Drunk On A Plane." Additionally, he also performed "Back Porch," the bluegrass favorite "Up On The Ridge" and his current heartfelt single "I Hold On." The night closed out with one of his ten number one singles "HOME." Dierks' new album Riser is due out early next year.
For more information visit
The Eli Young Band brought their Drunk Last Night Tour to NYC this past Thursday. The all ages show at Terminal 5 had everyone in attendance, whether they were 15 or 45, singing, dancing and having a good time.
Eric Paslay, whose debut album drops February 4th, opened the show. He is an accomplished songwriter whose songs can be poignant, honest and playful. I have seen Eric a few times, each time acoustic. This time, he was backed by a full band. I was surprised at how hard he rocked out for his approximately 40minute set. He previewed some of the songs that will be on the upcoming album including "Keep On Falling" and "Deep As It Is Wide." He closed out his set with his current Top 10 hit "Friday Night." With hands in the air like it was a Friday night, everyone sang and danced along.
At about 9:30pm, EYB emerged to much applause and many screaming girls' "I love yous." The front row was filled with energetic young ladies who had their hands outstretched all evening to get a touch, a high five or a pick from the band...and the guys obliged.
The Eli Young Band are no strangers to the stage. They have been together for over ten years and are definitely a solid band live. They play and they play well. For this tour, they had a simple black backdrop with their name and some cool lighting effects. They really don't need more than that. The music is the draw here and it speaks for itself. But the guys just don't stand there and strum their guitars either, they most definitely know how to play to a crowd and keep the energy level up. I am a huge fan of Mike Eli's (yes, the Eli portion of EYB as many people in attendance thought Eli Young was a band member) versatile voice. Whether he's singing a ballad like "Guinevere" or rockin' out to their version of Skynyrd's "Gimme Three Steps," he always sounds good. In addition, he walks the entire stage and interacts with everyone he can without missing a beat. Chris Young though, the Young in EYB, has to be the hardest working man on that stage. You can tell he is enjoying himself because he is always with a smile or a funny face. And he jumps around so much that by the end of the night he is drenched. Jon, the bass player, is also always smiling whether he's standing at the mike, jumping up and down or going to visit Chris, "the man with the faces." Watching Chris Thompson play the drums for an hour and a half is worth the price of admission alone. He plays with intensity and emotion and his silly putty face expressions convey it all. It does the heart good to see people on stage that not only sound good, but genuinely seem to enjoy what they are doing.
The Eli Young Band opened with "On My Way" and continued with the crowd pleasers "When it Rains," "Small Town Kid" and "Skeletons." They even brought Eric Paslay back out to sing the song he co-wrote with Will Hoge, that EYB took to #1, "Even If It Breaks Your Heart." They also previewed a few new tunes including "Enough Is Enough" and "Dust." The night ended with a full on sing-a-long to another #1 "Crazy Girl."
The EYB plans to release a new album in February.
For more information visit: http://www.eliyoungband.com/
This past week the CMA brought their Songwriter's Series to close out the show's 9th year in NYC. The show has become a two day event, with two shows each evening. As always, the night was hosted by Bob DiPiero who this time brought along James Otto, Deana Carter, Rory Feek and James Slater. These shows are always entertaining, but the artists who were there this time seemed to be some of the most genuine, grateful people to grace that stage.
Bob DiPiero has written a huge catalog of hits. This time he performed five of his well known songs including "Southern Voice" and "Cumberland Road." As well as the songs, these rounds are also known for their stories. Bob told one of being at a gas station and how a young man kept looking at him. The man finally came over and told Bob that he just cut one of Bob's songs. The young man? Easton Corbin. The song? "Lovin' You Is Fun" which Bob then performed.
Next to Bob was James Otto and if you have not heard his voice, you are missing out. He has a deeply soulful and powerful voice that moves you when you hear him. He forgot the words to his first song, but quickly recovered and sang the song he wrote with Zac Brown, "No Hurry" to which he added "Do you know why I'm in "No Hurry?" as he segued into Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'." He sounded so good that Deana jokingly asked "why do I have to come after you?" But the admiration they had for one another shown through when James answered her "because you're killer." In addition to that song, James performed "In Color" which he wrote with Jamey Johnson. He had many people tearing up when talked about the last verse having meaning to anyone who served. He spoke of his Dad who was a drill sergeant, and he himself who was in the Navy. Finally, he played the song he is most well known for "Just Got Started Loving You."
Deana Carter, who was called "the rose between four thorns" by Bob, explained to the audience why she has been out of the spotlight for years: she took time to raise her now 9 year old son. Although she lives in Los Angeles now, she was originally from in Nashville and said that being on stage this night made her miss Nashville and the camaraderie of songwriters. She sang a song she wrote with Matraca Berg after Matraca came over one morning after a bit of drinking the prior night, "You and Tequila" She was so happy that Kenny cut that song because she had gone a long time without anyone cutting her songs, that she thought maybe she was going to move in a different direction with her life. She also performed "Did I Shave My Legs for This" and her first #1 "Strawberry Wine" as well as a song from her new album Southern Way of Life about hitting a low point in her life when she found herself on the kitchen floor wondering how she would pay the bills.
Rory, in his signature overalls, first sang a song that Easton Corbin cut "Little More Country Than That." Next, he performed an extremenly humorous song about loving someone that was now gone. The initial verses were deceiving and when it as revealed he was talking about a truck, everyone in the room began laughing. He spoke how his main goal was to become a songwriter in Nashville and how he has done that. He spoke lovingly of his wife, Joey, who could not be with them because she is 7months pregnant and due in February (his older daughters who were in their 20s were in attendance). He sang a lovely, touching song that was for his wife, but one he said he sang to many other girls before her called "Teaching Me How to Love You." He ended with a song by "some guy on The Voice "Some Beach."
James Slater is a not only a songwriter, but a stellar piano player. He performed "Mexicoma" a track that can be found on Tim McGraw's current record. That song he said he wrote in a swimming pool where he "might have been in a Mexicoma." James (jokingly) said he is from the "deep south," Panama. He lived in Europe for many years then after 9/11 decided to return to Nashville where he has been ever since. He told a terrific story about how he wanted Garth Brooks to record one of his songs. He knew Garth hung out at the Pancake Pantry, so he went there hoping to meet him. He did, but Garth told him he was retired and wasn't cutting new songs. Thankfully for him though, Martina McBride cut the song, "In My Daughter's Eyes." He also brought a 22 year old female singer from the audience up to sing. Even though they had never practiced they dueted, on the Gloriana hit "Can't Shake You." He finished with a song called "Ain't My Baby Grand" he co-wrote with Brett James and hope to have Tony Bennett sing it. It definitely had the feel of a Bennett song and hopefully they will get their wish.
The CMA Songwriter's Series will return in 2014. Check back with www.joespub.com for more information.