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Tickets to The Bluestone
January 22, 2022 7 PM
at The Bluestone
Over the course of his groundbreaking career, Granger Smith has amassed a massive and rabid audience now known as “Yee Yee Nation” built through heavy touring and grassroots fan engagement. He now has a social media following exceeding eight and half million along with more than one billion online video views. Signed to BBR Music Group’s Wheelhouse Records, Smith broke onto the national scene with Remington, an album that garnered him the No. 1 smash “Backroad Song.” Smith was also awarded a BMI Country Award for writing, producing, publishing and performing “Backroad Song” and followed it with the Top Five hit, “If The Boot Fits.” “Backroad Song” was one of the Top 10 Most Played Country singles of 2016 according to Mediabase and has been certified RIAA PLATINUM. His album When The Good Guys Win spawned the hit “Happens Like That” that has been certified RIAA GOLD. Not only has Granger stacked major accolades as an artist, but he also released his first-ever book If You’re City, If You’re Country, which immediately hit No. 1 on Amazon best-selling lists. Known as an artist but also for his alter ego, Earl Dibbles Jr., his family’s YouTube series “The Smiths” and his iconic outdoor apparel company, Yee Yee Apparel, Smith is a jack of all trades. Additionally, Granger and his wife Amber Smith started The River Kelly Fund to bring awareness and invest in children in need, arts and education, wildlife preservation, military, veteran and first responder assistance, donor affiliations, and many more organizations in honor of their son River Kelly Smith. Taking all of these experiences and channeling them into good, Smith released his 10th studio album called Country Things, which ultimately showcases the man, the father, the performer and bona fide artist Smith has become.
February 25, 2022 7 PM
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Easton Corbin exudes country. His distinctive baritone has been gracing airwaves for the past decade as his chart topping debut single “A Little More Country Than That” established Corbin as a mainstay on the country charts. Billboard’s 2010 Top New Country Artist would go on to garner another No. 1 hit with the feel-good “Roll With It” as well as seven top 10 singles, further distinguishing himself from other male vocalists as a tried-and-true country traditionalist who weaves timeless story songs together while tipping his hat to the classic country artists who have come before him.
“That’s what I love and that’s what I do,” he says of his passion for traditional country music. “For me, it’s about keeping one foot in the traditional and one foot in the modern and marrying those two. I’m a country singer: That’s one of the things that I take pride in. I try to hone that craft and try to represent that.”
Though 2020 marked the 10th anniversary of “A Little More Country Than That” achieving No. 1 status, Corbin showed no signs of slowing down. With the release of his infectious single “Turn Up,” he launched a year of new releases, including tune “Didn’t Miss A Beat,” which he performed on NBC’s TODAY Show. November brought Corbin’s highly anticipated EP of the same title, which included a “wide array” of songs like “Old Lovers Don’t Make Good Friends” and “Back to Me.” He also partnered with past collaborator and global EDM star Lost Frequencies for new release “One More Night’.
As he continues on with this new chapter as an independent artist, Corbin says “A Little More Country Than That” still reflects who he is as an artist and where he sees his career going.
“That’s really how I grew up,” he says of his career-defining song. “‘A Little More Country Than That’ radiates with me and my band as well because that really is who I am. That’s where I came from, that’s what I am. It’s just as important now as it was then, because that’s the one that started it all for me. That’s definitely a staple of an Easton Corbin show. I think it also defines my audience and who they are.”
The Florida native was surrounded by music as a child. A Merle Haggard or Hank Williams record was always being spun at his grandparents’ house and a guitar was often lying around begging to be played. “My earliest memories are of me as a kid with a guitar, singing and playing along with the radio,” Corbin recalls. “I knew from an early age I wanted to be a country singer.”
After a decade in the spotlight, Corbin is more confident than ever. “I know what I want to say and what I don’t want to say, and I know what I would say and what I wouldn’t say,” he explains. “I think the new music highlights the fact that we’ve been honing these songs and trying to cut the best songs and writing the best songs we can. I think the Didn’t Miss A Beat project is a great representation of that.”
In the meantime, country fans can turn up a little Easton Corbin.
Down Home Tour
presented by 92.3 WCOL
w/ special guest Neon Union
March 11, 2022 at 7 PM
at The Bluestone
Official Website: https://www.jimmieallenmusic.com/ [jimmieallenmusic.com]
Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jimmieallenmusic
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/jimmieallen/ @JimmieAllen
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jimmieallen/ @jimmieallen
Official YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/jimmieallen
Official Website: https://www.neonunionmusic.com/ [neonunionmusic.com]
Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Neon-Union-Music-108322624961837
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/neonunionmusic @neonunionmusic
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/neonunionmusic/@neonunionmusic
For multi-platinum selling, trailblazing Country star and current GRAMMY Award nominee Jimmie Allen, a simple phrase sums up his view on life and music: Never give up.
A native of Southern Delaware – the “slower, lower” part of the state, he explains – Allen has carried that mantra with him through good times and bad, whether than meant living in his car or receiving his first ACM nomination for New Male Artist of the Year in 2019, a CMA Awards nomination for New Artist of the Year in 2020, subsequently winning the ACM Award for New Male Artist of the Year – the first Black artist to win that category since its inception, and a win with which he hopes “open[s] some doors for more Black artists to have success in country and more Black artists to feel comfortable enough to do country if that’s what they want to do” – as well as the CMA New Artist of the Year Award in 2021. GRAMMY.com has hailed Allen as one of “5 Black Artists Rewriting Country Music.” His current nomination for Best New Artist at the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2022 is his first ever GRAMMY nomination; he is also the only Country nominee in an all-genre category.
With the 2018 release of his debut album Mercury Lane – named in tribute to the street he grew up on and the origin of his incredible journey – on BBR Music Group’s Stoney Creek Records, a lifetime of never giving up brought him full circle.
“I didn’t quit, I never will,” he says. “Stuff ain’t easy, and you shouldn’t quit either. There’s a big difference between busting your ass and sitting on it.”
For Allen, musical dreams and a love of true-to-themselves artists like Alan Jackson, Aaron Tippin, Montgomery Gentry, and Jason Aldean brought him all the way to Nashville and beyond, –from traveling around the world to places like Japan, Germany and the UK; to performing a tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors for Garth Brooks, the national anthem at the Indy 500, returning to American Idol as a mentor after being cut from the same competition a decade ago, and other once-in-a-lifetime moments.
But it was actually a nightmare which turned this promising singer into the artist he is today. After a series of bad breaks Allen was forced to live in his car, too proud to ask for a bail out. For months he worked multiple jobs and finally saved enough for an apartment, but hit then another snag – country music wasn’t ready for him.
“People were just trying to help,” he says now. “But they wanted me to change my sound and told me I had to lose my boots. The turning point came when I stopped listening, and finally let my music be a natural reflection of who I am.”
Since then Allen has been following his own compass, and it’s leading somewhere special. In 2017, he caught his big break and signed a record deal with BBR Music Group/Stoney Creek Records and a team who embraced his individuality.
“I don’t regret the hard times,” he explains about his trials. “I think each thing you do adds a layer, whether it’s a layer of toughness, perseverance, motivation, or just a layer of wisdom. At the end of the day you come back to what you know, and what’s embedded in you.”
What’s embedded in Allen is a powerful, soulful sense of groove – “If my body don’t move in the first four seconds, it ain’t for me,” he says – a love of deep messages and a knack for razor-sharp hooks.
Those driving forces formed the bedrock of Mercury Lane – a cutting-edge mix of country, rock, R&B, and pop, produced by Ash Bowers and Eric Torres, that received critical acclaim, with Rolling Stone raving that it “challenges the narrowly defined model of what constitutes a next big thing in country music” and The New York Times hailing it one of 2018’s strongest, calling it a “conventional country album, filled with songs about the small details.”
With Mercury Lane, Allen made history as the first Black artist to launch a career with two consecutive No. 1 hits on country radio, with “Best Shot” claiming the No. 1 spot for three weeks and his second single “Make Me Want To” hitting the top spot in March 2020.Allen’s hard-earned dreams are finally becoming reality, but he shows no signs of limiting himself.
He followed up the success of Mercury Lane with his July 2020 collaboration project, Bettie James, that has amassed171+ million streams and has further established Allen as Country’s next superstar. The star-studded seven-track project combined his deep love of family and genre-spanning taste in music. Named in honor of Allen’s late grandmother, Bettie Snead, who passed away in 2014 and his late father, James Allen, who passed away in 2019, Allen hand selected artist that touched the life of Allen, his grandmother and father in some way, allowing their legacies to weave seamlessly throughout Bettie James. The wide array of hitmakers include Brad Paisley, Charley Pride, Darius Rucker, Mickey Guyton, Nelly, Noah Cyrus, The Oak Ridge Boys, Rita Wilson, Tauren Wells and Tim McGraw.
“My dad and grandmom were two completely different people, but both played a huge part in my life,” Allen says of the motivation for the project. “Since they died, I have been wanting to leave trails of their legacies throughout my music.”
The result is a musical composition of love, heartbreak, perseverance, hope and faith. Jimmie’s current single “Freedom Was A Highway” pairs Allen with his friend and Country music superstar Paisley for a breezy, windows down track that joins Allen’s distinctively breezy grooves with a Paisley signature guitar solo.
Bettie James received a slew of critical acclaim for not only the music, but the historic nature of various collaborations, and the project’s subsequent place in country music history. NPR calls the project an “announcement of [Allen’s] arrival” and a “huge step for country” while Billboard hails it “a powerful statement from a developing voice.” The EP appeared on several “Best of 2020” lists including Billboard, Rolling Stone and Sounds Like Nashville.
Rolling Stone describes “Why Things Happen” – which brings together three generations of Black country artists in Allen, Darius Rucker and Charley Pride – as “part polemic, part proclamation, and part prayer… opening up space for the artists to bear witness.”
Reflecting on Allen’s wide-ranging musical sensibilities, Music Row notes of the project: “While some artists still in the early sunrise of their careers, with a handful of hits to their credit, would be focused solely on extending their chart successes, it’s clear that Allen’s goals for his music are loftier than mere chart hits and No. 1 parties—he’s striving for music that testifies to his full spectrum of creative abilities.”
Allen, who has an incredible knack for connecting with people of all backgrounds and interests, enjoyed collaborating with other artists so much while making his monumentally successful predecessor that he didn’t want to stop – so instead, in trademark Allen fashion, he kept going. The result: Bettie James Gold Edition. Released June 25, 2021, the 16-track album doubles down on Allen’s expansive love for music across genres, with nine brand new collaborations with Babyface, Breland, Keith Urban, LANCO, Lathan Warlick, Lindsay Ell, Little Big Town, LOCASH, Monica, Neon Union, Pitbull, teamwork. and Vikina.
As Hits Daily Double notes, for Allen, “it’s about being grounded in the genre’s traditions and protecting the roots as much as it’s about creating a future for country music that’s more expansive and inclusive.”
“When it comes to music I love, I don’t really get wrapped up in boundaries or genres. After we finished Bettie James, I was like man, there’s so much music out there that I love, so many artists that I love, and I just wasn’t done making collaborations,” Allen says of the impetus for Bettie James Gold Edition; a sentiment that Billboard echoes, applauding that the album “broadens country’s borders.”
Beyond the music, Allen has also established Bettie James Fest in their honor. Consistently vocal about his deep reverence for his family, hometown, and home state, the inaugural sold out event took place August 7, 2021 in Allen’s hometown of Milton, DE.
Allen is currently featured in The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s annual American Currents: State of the Music exhibit with his friend and fellow country artist Darius Rucker. The exhibit’s Unbroken Circle illustrates the connection between country music’s past and present by pairing artists with those who have influenced them or share musical perspectives. The exhibit runs through February 2022.
Additionally, he is a member of the 2021 Artists Committee for the 44th Kennedy Center Honors.
Much like his approach to music, Allen’s other creative pursuits know no boundaries.
Allen’s debut picture book, My Voice Is a Trumpet, was published July 13, 2021 with Flamingo Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. Illustrated by veteran illustrator Cathy Ann Johnson, the book is a powerful story about speaking up for what you believe in,
at any age. The book has received a starred review from School Library Journal, who hails that “the rhythm and flow of words perfectly match the art while advising readers to choose love and use their voices in a powerful song.”
“It’s very important to me that kids learn at a young age that they have a voice, and that it is powerful. It is up to us as adults to teach them to use their voice to encourage and show love,” Allen says of his first ever book. “Being a father of two kids, I try to encourage them to be themselves and love everyone around them. I’m hoping this book inspires at least one child and they always remember their voice is a trumpet.”
Allen also serves as Executive Music Producer for Netflix’s series Titletown High, which premiered globally on August 27. His song “Big In A Small Town” is the theme song for the series, which follows a Georgia town where football rules and winning is paramount, a champion high school team tackles rivalries, romance and real life as they work toward the ultimate goal: a state title. Full of high stakes sports action and relatable teenage drama, Titletown High delivers a complex portrait of the most unique football culture in America.
He most recently competed for the coveted mirrorball trophy as a contestant on Dancing With The Stars’ landmark 30thseason on ABC in the fall of 2021, reaching the quarterfinals with his pro partner Emma Slater.
As Allen’s rising star power shows no signs of slowing down, he remains unapologetically himself and proof of what can happen when you never give up.
March 24, 2022 7 PM
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Multi-Platinum selling band LANCO continues to forge new territory after the roots-frontier explorers and live-performance junkies broke out with the 2x Platinum multi-week No. One hit “Greatest Love Story.” Creating a heartland rocker for a new generation, the band followed up with the Billboard Country Albums chart topper HALLELUJAH NIGHTS, marking the first Country group to earn a No. One debut in a decade. Additionally LANCO garnered another PLATINUM certified hit with “Born To Love You”, before the launch of their new anthemic HONKY-TONK HIPPIES EP, which was self-produced by the band, with each track penned by at least two members. The group traveled to the iconic Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL to record the new music, absorbing its heart-pounding and soul-shaking influence. Now set to release five new tracks fit perfectly for the road. New music from the ACM “New Group of the Year” follows multiple nominations from the CMT, CMA, ACM, AMA and iHeartAwards, while Lancaster became the first member of a group to win NSAI’s “Songwriter/Artist of the Year” award. As LANCO continues to “bring the full-band sound back to Country” (Newsday) the five-man band will build off their deep-rooted connection with fans on their headlining HONY-TONK HIPPIES TOUR.
Top of the World Tour
Presented by maurices
March 25, 2022 7 PM
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Lauren Alaina | Sitting Pretty on Top of the World
Ten years into her Nashville career, Lauren Alaina is in the upper echelon of country music’s most authentic voices, beloved personalities, and open hearts. She’s earned a reputation as one of the genre’s most compelling storytellers by boldly incorporating her struggles and heartache into her critically acclaimed first two albums. Lauren’s third studio collection, Sitting Pretty on Top of the World, is an artful evolution of immaculately penned, unflinching reflections of the mountains and valleys on her journey.
Sitting Pretty on Top of the World opens with the telltale sound of a needle dropping down on a record, and with that, Lauren sets the tone for some of the most captivating music of her career. Lauren was inspired to lean into the tenets of classic country music for this project and on the albums lead track, “It Was Me,” she offers a timeless country ballad filled with heartsick self-reflection. Lauren’s voice emotionally soars through the aching, introspective lyrics: “It wasn’t you I didn’t love, it was me.”
“The other person isn’t always the bad guy,” Lauren concedes. “On ‘It Was Me,’ I’m taking full ownership of being in the wrong. It was really hard to admit that I was the one at fault and to realize that I didn’t love myself enough to allow someone else to love me.” But the vulnerable “It Was Me,” co-written with Hillary Lindsey, is a song Lauren considers to be one of the best she’s ever written.
Lauren takes pride in the exposed transparency of her songwriting on this project, and though most writing sessions took place via Zoom, Lauren was crafting verses and choruses alongside the likes of award-winning songwriters including Liz Rose, Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, Emily Weisband, David Garcia, Jordan Reynolds, Ben Johnson and Kennedi Lykken. She co-wrote 14 of the album’s 15 songs, much of it inspired from recent life experiences including two impactful break-ups, the loss of her stepfather, and like much of the world, Lauren struggled with despondency as she adapted to life in the pandemic.
The album’s title track “On Top of the World” delves into the dark reality behind polished facades. Writing the song with Jordan Reynolds and Sasha Sloan after the pandemic forced her to stay home for the first time in a decade, Lauren, in a heightened emotional state, revealed how she felt enveloped in loneliness and sadness.
“I’ve been on the road and touring for 10 years and having that taken away so suddenly felt like an abrupt stop to everything I’ve been working for, and that was a really scary thing for me,” she says, “but the whole world stopped for everybody, and I needed to find new ways to connect with people.”
Lauren applies that same honest vulnerability throughout the album from the harrowing ballad “What Do You Think Of?” featuring Danish Pop Star Lukas Graham, to the pensive flow of “I’m Not Sad Anymore,” to the beautiful simplicity of “Good Ole Boy” with its scaled back production that truly allows Lauren’s vocals to shine.
“This whole thing [album] is about loving yourself and being brave and being strong,” Lauren says. “I was faced with all these trials, and I hope people feel themselves in these songs. I think we all live the same stories with different characters. And maybe people realize new beginnings can be good.”
“Getting Good,” a duet with Trisha Yearwood, is the only song Lauren didn’t write on the album. Penned by Weisband, the song is a poignant truth-telling about choosing to be happy. Drawn to the concept, Lauren says, “Life is all about perspective, and you sometimes you have to shift your perspective.”
Lauren punctuates the lovelorn with the playful yet forthright “When the Party’s Over” and with the propulsive yet nostalgic “Run.” She also teamed up with Emily Weisband and the album’s producer Paul DiGiovanni to write the lighthearted, here-for-the-fun, rebound tune, “Getting Over Him,” featuring country star Jon Pardi. Lauren rounds out the album with the beautifully hopeful “Change My Mind,” which she co-wrote with Seth Ennis and Cameron Bedell.
Then with the familiar crackle of a vinyl record nearing its end, the album comes to a close. A journey from start to finish. Lauren explores life in these unique times and Sitting Pretty on Top of the World is the salve and the soundtrack for anyone traversing their own personal quest for hope and new beginnings.
Eli Young Band
April 14, 2022 at 7 PM
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by Mark Deming
Fusing a young man’s take on heartland rock with the tougher side of Texas country music and the cocky enthusiasm of alt-country firebrands, the Eli Young Band have become a potent draw in the Southwest on the strength of local airplay and extensive touring. The Eli Young Band’s story began when Mike Eli and James Young both enrolled at the University of North Texas and found themselves sharing a dorm room as freshmen. Both played guitar, and the two new friends started writing and singing songs together. Under the name Eli & Young, they began playing acoustic shows at local bars and coffee houses, and in time they expanded the band into a full electric quartet with the addition of fellow students Jon Jones on bass and Chris Thompson on drums, thus giving rise to the Eli Young Band.
The group became a potent local draw, and in 2003 opened a show for rising star Miranda Lambert. Producer Frank Liddell saw the show and was impressed enough to offer the band a deal with his independent label, Carnival Recording Co. The Eli Young Band’s debut album, Level, appeared in 2005, and the songs “That’s the Way” and “When It Rains” began scoring significant airplay in the Lone Star State. The Eli Young Band’s enthusiastic live show helped them draw a large and loyal audience in the Southwest, where they were able to fill 2,000-seat venues as a headliner, and they toured the country as an opener for the likes of Pat Green, Cross Canadian Ragweed, and Jack Ingram.
In 2006, the group’s live show was captured for posterity on the concert recording Live at the Jolly Fox, taped during a gig at a club in Huntsville, Texas. The Eli Young Band then landed a deal with the Universal-distributed Republic Records; a video for a new recording of “When It Rains” subsequently received extensive play on Country Music Television, and the group’s first album for Republic, Jet Black & Jealous, was released September 2008, with “When It Rains” and two other songs from the album, “Always the Love Songs” and “Radio Waves,” becoming Top 40 hits.
The follow-up album, Life at Best, delivered another hit, the Liz Rose– and Lee Brice-penned “Crazy Girl.” The album was well-received by fans and critics alike, and the following year the Eli Young Band were nominated for a host of awards, including a clutch of Academy of Country Music Awards where they took home the Song of the Year accolade for “Crazy Girl.” They were also up for Grammys for Best Duo/Group Performance and Best Country Song. They soon returned to the studio to record sessions for their fifth album, and in 2013 the fruits of their labor appeared in the shape of the “Drunk Last Night” single, which raced to number one in the U.S. Country Airplay chart. Building on this success, they headed out on tour before announcing that 10,000 Towns was set to be released in 2014; it was preceded by the second single “Dust.” An EP called Turn It On was released in the spring of 2015. For 2017’s Fingerprints, the Eli Young Band signed with the Big Machine subsidiary Valory; the record entered the Billboard country charts at 17.
In March 2019, Big Machine released the compilation This Is Eli Young Band: Greatest Hits.
Pecos & the Rooftops
May 12, 2022 7 PM
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Pecos & the Rooftops are a close knit group of friends from northeast Texas that came together while in college in Lubbock. The band is Pecos Hurley (Vocals/Acoustic Guitar), Brandon Jones (Rhythm Guitar), Zack Foster (Lead Guitar), Kalen Davis (Bass), and Kade Trentham (Drums). Their latest E.P. “Red Eye” released January 24, 2020.