Sunday, April 26, 2015

Interview // Craig Campbell

 Happy Sunday!! I hope everyone had a fun, exciting and safe weekend!! Mine was definitely the first two but if you live in Alabama you know the craziness associated with the weather we had last night. I was so excited to be able to attend Toadlick Music Festival this year. It was a three day line up with amazing performers. I went down yesterday morning and was able to spend a few minutes talking with Craig Campbell about some background influences and what the rest of his year looks like. I'm sure you know exactly who Craig Campbell is but if not, songs like "Outta My Head" and "Keep Them Kisses Comin" should ring a bell. Craig is an extremely nice guy and I was able to have my very first lawn chair interview. I had a blast getting to know a little more about him and I know y'all will, too.


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1. Has music as a career always been your first choice? If so, when did you decide that was the path you wanted to pursue?
" Music has always been the number one thing that I thought I was good at. When I graduated high school, I had a serious girlfriend and the idea was to get a job, get married, have kids and build a house. But that didn't happen. So, I decided to put a band together around 2000 and I've been paying my bills with music ever since then."

2. Who were your musical influences growing up?
"Early on, I listened to a lot of Southern Gospel music. And, my momma was a great singer. I enjoyed listening to her sing and singing with her. My brother was also a big influence. He use to sing in all the talent shows at school. My momma would come get me out of school and take me with her to watch him at the talent shows. As far as country music influences, though, I am a huge Travis Tritt fan. I was a fan of pretty much everybody singing country music from the year 1989-1995. They call it the Class of 89."

3. You were recently signed with Red Bow Records. When is your new single/album expected to be released?
"I don't know when the new album will come out but I do know that my next single comes out on June 8. It's a song called 'Tomorrow Tonight.' Then, releasing an album is always based on the success of the first single so if the song goes number one there's a chance that we will be able to release the album. If all that works out, I would say spring of 2016 for a new album."

4. Did you write 'Tomorrow Tonight?'
"I did. I co wrote it."

5. Do you write all of your songs you sing?
"I don't write all of them. I feel like there are so many good songs in Nashville that it would be very selfish to cut those 'songwriter only' guys out. I think it's a good balance. I like to write (or co-write) about half of the songs on the album. That is how is was with my last album. I wrote six of the songs and there were six other songs on there that I didn't write. The way I look at it is like this-- the best song should win, no matter who writes it."

6. What are some songs in your music library today that some people may be surprised by?
"Uptown Funk. I'm a big Bruno Mars fan. Adele. I'm just a fan of good singing."

7. Have you had any crazy experiences with fans? If so, what was the craziest one?
"I have pretty tame fans at this point in my career. I don't have any big stories that I could talk about. I get asked to sign weird things, though-- babies feet, grown men's foreheads, stuff like that."

8. What's been the coolest moment you've experienced so far?
"I would say a couple of things. Playing the Ryman and the Grand Ole Opry the first time was pretty cool. Anytime I hear one of my songs on the radio, though, no matter what song it is, that's as good as it gets."

9. Do you have any rituals that you do before every show?
"No, we like to plug in some Merle Haggard a few minutes before we go out. My guitar player is French-Canadian so we have a word we say right before we go on stage. We throw all of our fists in and we say 'domination.' ((which, side note, is spelled exactly the same in English, if you ever meet Craig, you can ask him to pronounce it properly because I will never be able to do that))  We say that because that's what we want to do. We want to dominate."

10. If you could have dinner with one person, alive or not, who would you choose and why?
"My dad. He died when I was 11. There's a lot of things I want to know about him that I don't know."

11. What does the rest of this year look like?
"It looks great. I've got the new song coming out on June 8. Garth Brooks just sang a song I co-wrote on the ACM's last Sunday. It is potentially going to be his next single. 2015 looks really, really good for us."



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I would like to say a big thank you to Craig for taking some time out of his day yesterday to talk to me for a few minutes. It was definitely a busy, crazy day with all the weather uncertainty but he was extremely kind for giving me a few minutes of his time. I also would like to give you all the opportunity right now to pause from reading this and go to your phones and put a reminder in your phone on JUNE 8 to call your local radio stations and request his new song. He played it for us at Toadlick yesterday and it was a great song! Also, if you live in the Birmingham area, Craig will be at the Tin Roof in Birmingham tomorrow night (April 27) at 7:30. This is a FREE show and one you definitely don't want to miss. Also, thank you to Joe for all his help yesterday, too. You are a kind soul, sir!

Make sure you are following Craig on all social media sites. Check his website out here for when you can catch a show near you!! 

(Images courtesy of Google, Toadlick Facebook Page and myself)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Interview // Gannon Adams

It's Saturday, woo!! I hope that you're all having a great weekend and getting excited about the ACM's tomorrow night. Hands down--one of my favorite nights of television.  Speaking of country music, there is one really talented guy that I've had the opportunity to get to know over the past few months. My good friend, Taylor Davids, introduced us! His name is Gannon Adams and he just released his album, Tailgate High, today! I wanted to thank Taylor and Gannon for taking the time to plan for us to be able to talk. I know that y'all will love him even more after getting to know a little more about him!


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1.  When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
"I guess it all started when I met my manager, Barry Williams (Jason Aldean's dad, just FYI). He gave me a song and told me that he wanted to see what I could do with it. That was about 3 years ago and ever since then was when I knew that this is what I wanted to do. Everything fell into place. Right after I recorded that song is when the guys that I'm with right now found me and it just took off."

2. Who is/are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
"Merle Haggard is one of my biggest inspirations. I love his music. I've gotten to open for him 3 different times. The first show that I ever did was an acoustic show at the Ryman  in downtown Nashville and I got to open up for him. He invited me to go to 2 other shows with him--one in Pigeon Forge, TN and one in Macon, GA. It was awesome just to be able to be on the same stage as him." 

3. Do you write your own songs? If so, what is your favorite part of the songwriting process?
"I do write a lot. On my new album, there are 4 or 5 songs that I've had a part of writing and co-writing on. I like writing with anybody, really, it's fun. When a song is coming together and you're just sitting around, cutting up and having a good time--that's what it's all about. When you're writing with someone and the song starts to fall together, that's the most fun."

4. What is your favorite song that you've written so far?
"Game Face. It was the song that I had the most fun writing because when I wrote it, it got chosen to be on the Rotary Lombardi Award show. It was on national television on CBS Sports. I was able to be on national television with that song and got to be at the awards in Texas so that's probably my favorite song that I've written."

((This song is on his album!!))

5. Do you play any instruments? If so, for how long and did you take lessons?
"I play acoustic guitar. I've played for about 15 years. I started out taking a few lessons when I was younger just to kind of learn the basics. After that, I taught myself."

6. Do you ever get nervous before you perform?
"All the time. I think it's more anxious than anything. I get excited and get butterflies in my stomach before I get ready to play. I love that feeling. I love feeling excited and anxious and nervous all at the same time before I get ready to play."

7. How would you describe your music or "sound" to people?
"I would say I'm more of the classic country sound. That's my roots and what I grew up on (think Mark Chesnutt, Garth Brooks, Merle Haggard). I'm definitely more of the old school country."

8. What advice would you give to beginners in the music industry?
"Just go for it. That's what I did. I just went for it. I moved up here knowing just a handful of people and still am new to Nashville. I've been here about 8 months. Just do it and go. If that's what you want to do, jump into it head first."

9. What is one interesting fact that people may not know about you?
((stumped him for a few seconds on this one)) 
"I'm single. How about that?"

10. What is 2015 looking like for you?
"My plan for the rest of the year is to keep working and staying busy. I plan on doing whatever I can. If someone wants me to come play, I'm more than willing to do so. I want to get my name out there as much as possible. Keep playing--that's the goal."

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I love the way he answered that last question--just keep playing!! And, if you want to see Gannon in your area, make sure that you're calling your local venues and requesting him to play. Gannon is a class act and a true southern gentleman. I have no doubt that this is just the beginning of a great career for him. Make sure you head over to Itunes and get a copy of his album and follow him on all social media sites for more information. Thank you Gannon for taking the time to talk with me for a few minutes!!
















Monday, April 13, 2015

toadlick 2015 preview.

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend.

Mine was filled with celebrating another year of life for my grandmomma and my grandpa so I'm extremely thankful for that. I adore each of my grandparents. They've taught me how to have fun and how to live right. They're adventurous and appreciate the little things in life and that is all I want to do in life, too. Yesterday afternoon was spent completely outdoors because I'm not certain of a prettier place than Montevallo, Alabama on an April Sunday. We spent the afternoon riding and I think I love riding a little more each time we get to go.


Music festival time is upon us and I'm so excited to be sharing a little bit about Toadlick Music Festival that is happening right here in the great state of Alabama at the end of the month.



Toadlick Music Festival hasn't been around for decades but it is one of my favorite festivals to attend. I was able to attend a few years ago when Luke Bryan was one of the headliners. It was such a great show with wonderful vendors and just a bunch of country music fans.
 
I'm so excited to be attending this year again. Due to my work schedule in Birmingham, I will only be able to attend Saturday's line up. Saturday's line up by itself is incredible. Craig Campbell, Alabama, Randy Houser and Sam Hunt, just to name a few. You can see the full line up here




Toadlick still has three day passes for only $119. With the lineup that they have this year, that is an insanely good price to pay for three days of musical perfection. Even if you're only able to make it for one day, that's a deal of a price. If you need to pick up a ticket, you can do that here. There is also camping site information on their website as well.

There's a few things to remember about attending shows, especially outdoor musical festivals. 

-Make sure you bring sunscreen and a comfortable lawn chair or blanket to sit on! 
-There are lots of vendors once you enter the grounds so make sure you stay hydrated with plenty of water. 
-Wear COMFORTABLE shoes. Trust me. Outdoor music festivals are no place for a pair of heels. Cowboys boots or sandals are JUST fine.
 -Remember that everyone else is there for the same reason you are (for the most part). Be nice to people around you and enjoy the festival!! 

If any of you are going to be there, please let me know, I would love to meet you!


Make sure you're following Toadlick on all their social media sites as well!!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

big revival(s)

Happy weekend sweet friends!

I hope that your week has been filled with memory worthy days and restful nights. I know this week, for me, it has been. And for that, I am extremely thankful. I'd had been in a rut for a while because of life and I just got tired of that a few weeks ago. I woke up one Thursday morning and I remember thinking, "I want my joy back." So, that's what I did.

I talked to God for a long time that Thursday. I talked to him on the way to work, on the way home from work, walking outside, cleaning out the garage--we just talked. I told him all my insecurities--I don't feel pretty enough, I'm not where I want to be career wise, I'm not where I want to be relationship wise, I'm just not enough to myself most days. And I cried and talked and cried some more. Let me tell you, friends, that was a healing day. I remember God whispering back to me in so many ways that day that I was enough--and you are too.

I suffer from Type A personality. I say that as a "suffering" quality because more times than not I suffer because of being type A. I never feel like I've completed a project all the way because there is always something I would change or add to. I have to make sure the shoes in my closet are all facing a certain way. I carry exactly 2 pens, 1 lip gloss and 1 toothbrush in my purse at all times. My life is dictated by lists and goals and plans. This is a good thing to an extent. But, then what happens when I DON'T meet those goals by their deadlines, etc. I fall apart. I've learned over the last few weeks that I've "fallen apart" so the Lord can put me back together. I've had a big revival in my life in many areas. In friendships, in relationships, in goals/plans/dreams and in my spiritual life.

I am enough--and you are, too. I hope that you'll cling to that truth. If you need prayer or someone to talk to, I am right here and I'm willing to do either.

All this revival talk leads me to what I got to do on my Thursday night...Kenny Chesney and friends made their stop in Birmingham, Alabama and they did not disappoint. If you've been a reader here for a while you know that my younger sister Lauren is normally my partner to all these shows. Kenny Chesney is my mother's favorite. I had the opportunity to take her to the show last night. Y'all, it was the best thing ever.  



It's fun to be reminded at how much someone's music can make a person's day. I've been around it for a while now and while I don't take a moment of any of it for granted, I do sometimes kind of get unimpressed easily because I feel like I've seen it all. That's not the case with the line up of this tour. Seriously, if you don't have plans to see the Big Revival Tour, make sure you get you some tickets.

Chase Rice was the first opener. I've known Chase for a while and it's so fun to see him go from playing radio shows to bar shows to opening up for someone as huge as Kenny Chesney. He had hurt his foot earlier in the day playing basketball but still came out and performed his set like a champ!



Jake Owen was the next opener. I don't think he stood still for more than half a second. His energy was easily in the top 5 of performers I've been able to see perform. Also, another fun fact about Jake--he always performs barefoot. :) He sang a handful of his classics as well as my favorite "What We Ain't Got."


Kenny Chesney is another artist in the top 5 for energy at shows. And I don't think he sweats--which makes me incredibly jealous but also makes me wonder why he doesn't. :) He performed for a solid two hours. My favorite of his, currently, is Wild Child. He also played a heart warming "There Goes My Life" and encored with "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy." Which, I mean, I do.

 
 I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!! Music festival season is upon us and I'm excited to be attending a few in the next few months along with some really fun shows and interviews planned. Happy weekend!



































 





 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

montevallo:the meaning of my life.


Happy Wednesday, friends! It feels SO good to be sitting here writing again. I have a new commitment to this blog as well as a new look to it as well. 

 I have missed writing for the past few months more than I realized until I started at it again. I've written before at how powerful words and stories are to me. I think that's a big reason that I love songwriters as much as I do. They can tell a whole story in 3 and a half minutes sometimes. Words hurt, yes. But more often that hurt, words heal. They have for me, anyways. 

I've always been a dreamer. I was born with feet that are not happy to stay in Montevallo, Alabama for all my days. I love traveling, love visiting new places and adore the people I meet along the way. Part of being a big dreamer, though, in my life, is the big disappointments that sometimes accompany those big dreams. I had a move planned to Nashville a few weeks ago when some things beyond my control happened and here I am, still in Montevallo. I got angry. I cried. I slept. I essentially gave up on the dream all together. I didn't pray or ask God why. For a few days, I simply ignored him. 

That last sentence was hard to type. I wrote it and back spaced it three times before deciding to leave it. I did it for two reasons. I want to be honest with people and I want people to know that while sometimes my life appears perfect and seamless, it is not. I'm not complaining, though. Let me say that right here. The people and friends and relationships in my life are amazing and I'm so grateful. But, for few days, my life sucked. It was hard. It wasn't the answer I wanted and it still isn't. But, you know what? Just because I didn't move to Nashville, TN on March 20 does not mean that I'm not going to still move there. I don't know if it will be 8 more days, weeks or months but I'm still going. When I woke up with that realization I cried again but this time because of how grateful I was that Jesus was right there where I left him a few days before.

I found the various quotes above last night on Pinterest that got my wheels turning to want to write about this all today. I had an out of this world opportunity presented to me in Nashville that didn't work out. That was ONE opportunity. ONE of maybe 20 that will fall apart before the perfect one falls together. And, I realized I was playing small because life broke my heart. Get that last part, friends. Life (circumstances, people, ideas) is what broke my heart. Jesus did not break my heart. He was right there waiting to put it back together. These situations that have given me what I thought were bruises--maybe they're just scars reminding me that I showed up to life and that I survived. A lesson learned. An opportunity that taught me how to handle the next disappointment. 

I've let my big dreams come between my relationship with Jesus over the last few months. Not intentionally in any way at all but they have. It's a process learning how to surrender those dreams at the feet of Jesus and trust that with him, the dream we will reach together will bring so much joy and contentment I won't even be able to understand until it happens. 

So, maybe no one else is going through a time or a situation that fell apart. If you're not, I'm so thankful for you. If you are, please know that you're not alone. Whether it be a job or relationship or vacation, you're not alone in your disappointment. A really smart man told me a few months ago that "emotions make life worth living." He was right. Emotions make life worth living--the highs and the lows of emotions. It's all worth it. 


Montevallo means "mountains and valleys" in Spanish. It's kind of fitting that Montevallo is the exact location I'm at right now--taking me through these ups and downs. It's neat to take a look at the meaning of the words of the places around you. I love calling Montevallo home. I love the lessons it has/is still teaching me. I don't take a moment of this journey for granted.