In his iconic song ‘IMAGINE,’ John Lennon asked us all to picture a world free from hunger. Hard Rock International and WhyHunger team up for the seventh year of the IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER campaign, which aims to turn John Lennon’s dream into our future. In support of that mission Hard Rock Cafe Boston is partnering with Country 102.5 WKLB to host Country Girls in the City, presented by New England to Nashville. On Saturday, December 27, 2014, Hard Rock Cafe welcomes Country Girls In The City, featuring performances by Krista Angelucci, Jilly Martin, Emily Hodges, Shanna Jackman, Brianna Grace, Jenna Lotti, Jess Dondero, Bonnie Lee Panda, Ashley Jordan, Kate Cameron, Britt Hill, Carly Teft and Erin Ollis. A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit WhyHunger.
New England to Nashville’s ‘Country Girls’ all grew up in New England. Krista Angelucci, originally from Billerica, MA and currently living in Nashville, has performed the national anthem at various charity and sporting events, including the Boston Celtics and New England Patriots and has recently shared the stage with artists including Hunter Hayes and Kip Moore. At the 2013 Limelight Music Magazine Awards, Krista received the Video of the Year award for her song ‘C R E E P’ and was also nominated for Country Act of the Year at the 2013 New England Music Awards.
Jilly Martin from Chelmsford, MA will be performing and co-hosting the Country Girls in the City concert on December 27. Jilly has performed at some of the biggest music events in Boston in 2014, including singing with the Boston Pops and the Beach Boys at the July Fireworks Spectacular at the Esplanade. Jilly’s talents have landed her performances opening for country superstars The Band Perry, Josh Turner and Eric Church.
“It’s so wonderful to be a part of this fantastic lineup of talent! Hard Rock Cafe Boston is a great place to perform and see a show,” said Jilly Martin, performer and host of the show. “This will be an event you certainly don’t want to miss!”
You can purchase tickets for the event here.
Leading up to the show, New England Country Music caught up with New England to Nashville founder, Matt Casey.
“I got the idea for this event last year. A couple of the girls from NETN had just moved to Nashville that year. It was a major adjustment because you go from being a big star up here with a fan base, opening for country stars to playing for tips and sometimes just tables and chairs down I’m Nashville.
I figured we could do it around Thanksgiving but a lot of the girls were saving up for Christmas to come home so we decided to wait to host the first one until December 27, 2013.
I knew there would be a lot of fans to see Ayla Brown, Kiley Evans, Jess and Krista cause their friends and family hasn’t see them perform in so long. But I was pleasantly surprised by the large amount of fans the local girls–Shanna Jackman, Krista Angelucci, Kate Cameron, Britt Hill, Brianna Grace brought in since they were playing so often locally. That made me realize that it was just a great time of year for everyone to get together and enjoy a great night of music for a great cause. Last year it was The Alliance For Children Foundation, my Mom’s organization . I was determined to raise as much money as I could cause I had just visited Haiti and seen all the incredible things they are doing for kids, building a home, school and medical facility in the mountains of Kenscoff.
Two people were really key to the success of the first year. Ginny Brophey of WKLB. She brought the station on as sponsor, made the intro to the Hard Rock and ran radio spots for the event on WKLB throughout the week leading up to it. Jordan Rosenblatt of the Hard Rock was critical as well. Usually you don’t get a Saturday night for your first event there, but he gave us the chance and that enabled so many more family members to come out and support their sister/daughter/grandchild rather than a weeknight trek to the city for a nighttime event.”
It was the first big NETN event and the beginning of a running partnership with the Hard Rock and WKLB 102.5
This year I’m looking forward to having a lot of the girls back and some new performers as well like Bonnie Lee Panda, Emily Hodges, Erin Ollis, Ashley Jordan and Carly Teft.
I’m also happy to be hosting with Jilly Martin and Houston Bernard. The event went so well last year, we did a a Country Boys in the Cory event this Summer and Houston played that so their is a little rivalry developing, but a very friendly one, where all New England To Nashville members and support each other!”
Check out a preview of each of the performing artists below.
Name: Jilly Martin
Quick Bio: Jilly Martin, is a singer/songwriter from Chelmsford, MA and has been splitting time between New England and Nashville. Jilly has performed at some of the biggest events in Boston including opening the show for the Boston Pops and the Beach Boys at the 2014 July Fireworks Spectacular at the Esplanade and has been the supporting act for artists like Miranda Lambert and Loretta Lynn. Recently she added The Band Perry, Eric Paslay and Keith Urban to that list with Ryan Brooks Kelly. The duo most recently performed at the Christmas Tree Lighting at Faneuil Hall in Boston for the WBZ broadcast.
Tie to New England: Chelmsford, MA.
Ultimate music goal: “I always want to positively influence people with my music and have everyone leave a show happy, but winning a Grammy couldn’t hurt either!”
Favorite Christmas song: ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’
Favorite country artist(s): Miranda Lambert and Loretta Lynn.
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “Last years show was a blast, and with this line up this year is sure to be another hit! It’s at a really fun time of year at the Hard Rock Cafe and since it’s for such a great cause it just adds that much more excitement to it!”
Name: Jess Dondero
Bio: ‘A timeless voice from the South Shore’ best describes this rising singer/songwriter. Jess Dondero was born and raised in a small coastal town south of Boston, Massachusetts. She began writing songs when she was 19 years old when she taught herself guitar, then slowly began performing at local open mic nights. Falling in love with writing and crafting songs, Jess decided to follow her instincts and pursue her passion in Nashville, Tennessee. Jess is currently co-writing in music city with top writers and gaining much recognition on her craft. Jess is set to release her first radio single on iTunes and Spotify in February 2015.
Tie to New England: “I was born and raised on the south shore in Kingston, MA.”
Ultimate Music Goal: “To get a number one song cut and get a publishing deal that allows me to travel and see the world while creating and writing for myself and for other artists.”
Favorite Christmas Song: ‘Believe’ by Josh Groban
Favorite Country Artists: Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Jessi Alexander, and Sam Hunt.
What I am looking forward to at the event: “Seeing friends and family and being able to share what I have been working on in Nashville with Boston.”
Name: Shanna Jackman
Quick Bio: Based in Massachusetts, Shanna is an award winning singer/songwriter. Shanna is known for her powerful vocals and is a powerhouse entertainer. Her music is centered in country, but with roots that reach deep into rock, pop and soul, and provides high-energy shows performing favorite country hits included with her originals. Shanna has opened for many National Acts including Blake Shelton, Lee Brice, Sara Evans, Gretchen Wilson, Steve Azar, Alan Jackson, Jo-Dee Messina and more! Performing at venues like Hard Rock Boston, Tsongas Arena, TD Garden, Fenway, Indian Ranch, and more. Check out Shanna’s self-titled Nashville recorded EP, available on her website, iTunes, and all other major online stores!
Tie to New England: Uxbridge, MA.
Ultimate music goal: “Well I think every serious musician would love to ‘make it’ someday, have a record label and ‘be famous.’ but I don’t think like that. I feel so blessed already and have reached so many of my goals and many that I didn’t even imagine. At this point, I just hope to continue to inspire others to live their dream, maybe help and mentor others in obtaining their dreams and well… performing on the Opry Stage would be amazing. ”
Favorite Christmas song: “Gosh, I love so many. Lately I’ve had ‘Noel’ in my head a lot.”
Favorite country artist(s): “I admire so many that I don’t have a favorite really. Patsy Cline comes to my mind first, then others like Martina McBride to Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Ashley Monroe.”
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “There are so many things to look forward to in this event. You really get to see two sides of each performer; the writer and the entertainer. The songwriter rounds allow for the opportunity to have an intimate experience with your audience about your music by telling them a story of the writing process before performing the song acoustically. Then later we join the NETN house band and rock the stage performing a favorite cover or original so you can dance the night away! I, personally, also like the fact that I get to support and listen to my friends up there as well as an opportunity for me to perform and meet my fans.”
Name: Brianna Grace
Quick Bio: Brianna Grace has a plan. Growing up in New England, she strays away from the expected with a love for country music brought upon by memories of riding in her Dad’s truck blasting George Straight and Alan Jackson. At the age of 5, she would sneak into storage just to pull out her Father’s old acoustic guitar, and by the age of nine performed in front of hundreds. With a work ethic, drive, and passion well beyond her years, she has accomplished performances for major organizations, as well as shows throughout multiple states and opening for artists such as Scotty McCreery and Jonathan Edwards. With appearances on Cat Country 98.1, WATD, and WCIB she is no stranger to radio. In March of 2013, she was invited to Nashville to perform at the Rally Rumble, where she was interviewed by WKRN-TV Nashville. Her stage presence, dedication, and friendly personality earned her the title of Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2014 Limelight Music Awards. She’s bringing a new edge to a classic style.
Tie to New England: Born and raised in Middleborough, MA.
Ultimate music goal: Be able to share my music and positively impact those who listen in some way.
Favorite Christmas song: ‘Carol of the Bells’ – Trans Siberian Orchestra.
Favorite country artist(s): Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Martina McBride.
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “Sharing/promoting original music and independent artists!”
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Name: Jenna Lotti
Quick Bio: 25 year old singer/songwriter Jenna Lotti was born and raised in Milton, MA. Jenna spent most of her youth on a softball field playing competitively year round across the country. In between extensive training and games, she focused on her true passion, music. Jenna attended Endicott College where she broke the school’s record for pitching and winning a total of 62 games in her college career, naming her the best pitcher at Endicott College. She graduated in 2011 with a degree in Interior Design.
After college, Jenna had numerous notebooks full of poetry and song ideas she had mostly written on long bus rides to and from games. She began transforming her poems into songs on her guitar and performing them at local open mics. Over time, open mics turned into headlining major venues in Boston and Cambridge.
After creating a kick starter campaign in 2014, Jenna raised enough money to record her first record. The record, Tunnel Vision, was released on March 1st, 2014 independently. Tunnel Vision is a 9 song LP of originals written by Lotti over the course of 3 years. Lotti wrote and co-produced the album along with friend, Josh Friedman. In April, she released the music video for the first single off the record, “Red Line Love”.
In the summer of 2014, Jenna and her boyfriend/guitarist, Chris Facey, finished their first east coast tour promoting the album. Currently, Jenna is writing for her next project (an EP) but there is no set date for the release.
Connection to New England: “I was born and raised in Milton, MA.”
Ultimate music goal: “To make music that inspires people and tour the world.”
Favorite Christmas song: Nat King Cole, ‘The Christmas Song’
Favorite Country artist: Kacey Musgraves and Bonnie Raitt.
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “I am excited to see an eclectic group of girls come together for one show! There is so much talent, it’s going to be awesome!”
Name: Erin Ollis
Quick Bio: For a country girl, Erin Ollis takes sweet ‘n’ sassy to a whole new level. You hear it with her memorable voice—tender softness draws you in, soaring power gives you goose bumps. Given her vocal prowess and down-to-earth authenticity, the 23-year-old has been compared to Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride. “Erin has great range and powerful vocals,” says Patrice Peris, her former vocal coach at Bristol Entertainment in Boston. “But what I love most about her is her fearless drive. She takes on every challenge with a smile.” “She possesses remarkable range, capable of dark, smoky lows and bright, weightless highs ~ all within the same line,” says Bruce Elliot of Pulse Magazine. Erin has performed at many events and various venues around New England. She has also won many State and National Titles for her performances.
Tie to New England: Grew up in Holden, Massachusetts
Ultimate music goal: “Move to Nashville, perform at the Grand Ole Opry and to record an award winning album.”
Favorite Christmas song: ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’
Favorite country artist(s): Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Maggie Rose.
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “I’m really excited to perform in an event that showcases all of the wonderful talent in New England! I know most of the girls involved in the event and they are all fabulous artists, so I am really happy to be part of it.”
Name: Carly Tefft
Quick Bio: At just 20, Carly Tefft, “The singer-songwriter phenomenon from Cape Cod,” as stated by The Boston Globe has hit the ground running. From releasing her Boston Strong anthem, ‘Keep On Running’ on Marathon Monday in April of 2014 to releasing her sophomore album ‘Tell It All,’ recorded at the renowned Darkhorse Studios (Nashville, TN), it is clear why Tefft was a nominee for Singer/Songwriter of the Year by Limelight Magazine Awards. As a singer/song writer, Tefft refuses to settle on one genre and writes with her blend of folk, rock, and pop-a la Carole King, Grace Potter, and Sheryl Crow. Her recent resume of performances include the Bluebird Café (Nashville,TN) as well as Hotel Café, House of Blues Lounge (Hollywood, CA), Club Passim (Cambridge, MA) and Brighton Music Hall (Boston, MA). Music lovers can expect a soulful and energetic performance, no matter the venue, solo and with her band. If the Berklee College of Music student’s honest lyrics, full voice and rhythmic guitar skills don’t grab your attention, her red hair just might.
Tie to New England (if you grew up in New England, where?: From Cape Cod, attending Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Ultimate music goal: “Be a positive inspiration to others with my music and have people singing my words back to me.”
Favorite Christmas song: ‘This Christmas’ – Donny Hathaway
Favorite country artist(s): Keith Urban, Eric Church, and Zac Brown Band.
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “Being surrounded by some of the best talent New England has to offer!”
Name: Emily Hodges
Quick Bio: A 14 year old singer/songwriter. Started playing guitar at the age of 10 and never put it down. Opened for both James Montgomery and the band Boston. This past summer, performed with Adam Ezra. Emily was nominated for and came in runner up for Young Artist of the Year for Limelight Magazine 2014. Her first original song ‘Change’ came in top 5 for Songtown USA’s songwriting contest. She has traveled to Nashville and while there was able to be involved in a co-write and had the amazing opportunity to sing at The Bluebird Cafe.
Tie to New England: “I’ve lived my whole life in Plymouth, MA.”
Ultimate music goal: “As a freshman in high school, I feel like I’ve only just begun my journey in the music industry. I’m not sure what the future will bring but I do know that I want to continue as a singer/ songwriter and hopefully play stadiums like Gillette!”
Favorite Christmas song: ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.
Favorite country artist(s): Miranda Lambert.
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “I’m really excited to be playing with the band at The Hard Rock!”
Name: Kate Cameron
Quick Bio: 21-year-old Kate Cameron has a soulful country flair with a driven Boston edge. She is best known for her energetic and unique live performances, as well as her instinctive songwriting ability. She grew up on the south shore of Massachusetts and is currently heading into her last semester at Berklee College of Music. Kate spent the last few months in Nashville writing, performing and interning for Sea Gayle Music and Round Hill Music.
Tie to New England: “Grew up in Duxbury, MA. Now live in Boston, will graduate from Berklee College of Music in the Spring of 2015.”
Ultimate music goal: “Let’s shoot for winning a Grammy.”
Favorite Christmas song: “I don’t think I could pick just one… But I really love the Christmas album Hanson made in 1997. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s really amazing. If I ever make an xmas album, that will be my inspiration!”
Favorite country artist(s): “The very first country artists I got really into were Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert. Currently, I’m really into Brett Eldredge, The Cadillac Three, Sam Hunt and Charlie Worsham. I’m also a big Eric Church fan.”
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “This will be my 4th time playing theHard Rock since the last Country Girls In The City show I played a year ago. Definitely one of, if not the coolest place I’ve played. Now, it just feels really comfortable being on the Hard Rock stage so I just can’t wait to get back.:
Name: Bonnie Lee Panda
Quick Bio: Bonnie Lee Panda is a spirit-rich, performing songwriter and recording artist who writes and sings a combination of modern country and blues. Bonnie Lee is drawn to the family-oriented, storytelling, rootsy ‘Americana’ tradition of country music, so much so that she moved to Nashville, TN four and a half years ago from a small town in Connecticut. Bonnie Lee has released three albums and is currently working on her fourth with Australian producer Michael Flanders, due out Spring of 2015. “Her voice is supple and expressive, one of the best instruments in the folk world,” says John Platt from WFUV 90.7 FM (Sunday Morning City Folk, New York City). Bonnie Lee has donated her time and talents in performances at assisted living, hospice and nursing homes, shelters, benefits for recovery centers, for hunger and homelessness awareness, and other events for worthy causes. She also presents musical, educational workshops for second to sixth graders, covering topics like self-esteem, respect and anti-bullying.
Tie to New England: “I grew up in Connecticut and moved to Nashville 4 ½ years ago. I’ve been writing songs for 14 years and I have always had the dream of living in Nashville. I made a plan to come down to Nashville for the summer to write. That was four and a half years ago, I never left.”
Ultimate music goal: “I believe I was born to write music and perform. I hope to continue to touch people lyrically and move people musically. My goals include getting my music in TV and film and having a song in the top country charts.”
Favorite Christmas song: ‘Oh Holy Night.’
Favorite country artist(s): Martina McBride.
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “I’m looking forward to being in Boston. I absolutely love Boston and haven’t been in a few years. It’s such a fun exciting city and I can’t wait to play at the Hard Rock there!”
Name: Krista Angelucci
Bio: Growing up in Billerica, MA, pop-country artist Krista Angelucci has been out pursuing her passion for music most of her life. With the strong support of her family, friends, and fans she has been able to build her skills as both a writer and performer. She has performed the national anthem at various charity and sporting events, including the Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, NASCAR, and the New England Revolution. Krista has opened for and shared the stage with artists such as Phil Vassar, Chuck Wicks, Lee Brice, Jo Dee Messina, Hunter Hayes, Chris Cagle, Jerrod Niemann and Kip Moore. It has been a couple years now since Krista’s debut EP ‘Like it or Not‘ was released back in 2012. She has since made the move to Nashville. After spending a year growing as a writer and artist Krista is she ready to release her new EP in 2015.
“I am really excited for this new music. I think it reflects well how much I have grown and learned since the release of “Like it or Not”. I would say the new EP has an edge to it, but is still fun and classy at the same time. I like to keep it that way.” – Krista
Tie to New England: Grew up in Billerica MA.
Ultimate music Goal: “Always strive for the top! To have a few number ones under my belt wouldn’t be so bad… But to have a career doing what I love and being able to put into others lives while doing it, is fulfilling in itself.”
Favorite Christmas song: ‘Breath of Heaven’
Favorite Country artist(s): “Grew up listening to Amy Grant (I know she is not exactly country, but she’ll always be my number one influence).”
What I am looking forward to about the event: “I am excited to be part of the Country Girls in the City event again this year! It’s a cool thing to get together with a lot of other NE artists and share the stage with them. It will be a really fun night full of great music and for a really great cause!”
Name: Britt Hill
Quick Bio: Britt Hill is a 21 year old powerhouse. Drawing inspiration for classics such as Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn as well as modern superstars like Miranda Lambert and Kellie Pickler, Britt is a force to be reckoned with amongst the New England Music Scene. She was awarded Limelight Magazine Country Artist of 2014. Her Debut single ‘Here’s to Tonight’ is available on iTunes. Britt is finishing her last semester at Berklee College of Music.
Tie to New England: Milford, MA
Ultimate music goal: “Play the Opry.”
Favorite Christmas song: ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’
Favorite country artist(s): Dierks Bentley and Kellie Pickler.
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “All the beautiful, talented ladies!”
Name: Ashley Jordan
Quick Bio: Ashley Jordan is a singer/songwriter/musician from the little town of Harvard, MA. She got her start as a ‘busker,’ boldly performing her original music on the streets of Cambridge, MA at the tender age of 13. A decade later, she is now performing shows across New England and beyond. In September 2014, Ashley competed in and won a music/performance competition for the honor of opening for MIXFEST 2014 (Mix 104.1 Boston Radio Concert) in front of 40,000+ people at the Hatch Shell in Boston. Ashley performed several of her original songs and shared the stage with music sensations Jason Mraz, Phillip Phillips, Christina Perri, O.A.R., Magic! and Alex Preston. To date, Ashley has recorded three full-length albums of original music and created numerous music videos…and she has won multitudes of awards from Massachusetts to Tennessee for her voice, performance and songwriting. In 2014, Ashley’s song ‘New England Tears’ was selected by Musician’s for a Cause as part of their ‘Boston Strong’ music compilation to raise funds for victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Ashley’s music video, ‘If I Had You’ was selected to play on a major television network (The Heartland) featuring as a ‘Rising Star.’
Tie to New England: “I grew up in the little town of Harvard, MA.”
Ultimate music goal: “To continue to write and perform my original music and to be successful with my new music ventures.”
Favorite Christmas song: ‘Where Are You Christmas?’
Favorite country artist(s): Garth Brooks.
What you’re looking forward to about the event: “Helping out the WhyHunger Organization to end hunger and poverty. Also it will be great to share the stage with other country artists.”
You can purchase tickets for the event here.