Tag Archives: NECM

Country Community Reacts to Bobby Bones Winning the Mirrorball!

The underdog, Mr. Bobby Bones, took home a huge win last night on ABC’s hit TV show Dancing With the Stars! The well-loved country-radio personality and comedian has joined the long list of DWTS winners including Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi, as well as singer/actor/dancers Donny Osmond and Jordan Fisher. Despite Vegas odds naming him as “the least likely to win,” Bobby Bones and professional dancing partner Sharna Burgess won what has been dubbed by USA Today as the “Mirrorball Miracle.” This morning, less than twelve hours after last night’s festivities, Bones made an appearance on Good Morning America. He said: “I’ve never danced before and every single person on this is a better dancer than me. I had the best coach and best teammate who figured out how to teach me. I didn’t know what I was doing at all and she taught me and we’re here because of that. We did it one day at a time.” It was clear from the beginning of this season that Bones was a force to be reckoned with; not because of his stellar dance moves on stage, but because of his constant likeability. Bones and Burgess were never the highest scoring duo, but there was something about the pair that fans just loved and supported. In fact, their only perfect score throughout the competition came with their final dance, a freestyle to ‘The Greatest Showman.’ Bones’ fun, energetic, sometimes silly personality certainly paid off. Or was it his ability to floss that got him all the votes?

Congratulations Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess! We, at New England Country Music, couldn’t be happier for the two of you!

Here’s what a few of our favorite country music artists had to say about Bobby Bones’ Season 27 win on Dancing With the Stars

Garth Brooks Announces 2019 Stadium Tour- Hints at Gillette

BREAKING NEWS: Country megastar Garth Brooks announces a stadium tour that will start in 2019 and will stop at 30 stadiums- approximately 10-12 per year…

From Taste of Country:

Garth Brooks just announced his biggest tour ever. The Country Music Hall of Famer will tour stadiums in 2019.

During a press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame on Wednesday (Oct. 17), Brooks revealed that the tour will begin in the spring at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Mo. He also indicated there will be 30 stadiums on his tour, with 10 to 12 per year.

The second venue will be State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (Phoenix). Five shows will go on sale before Christmas 2018, and while Brooks couldn’t reveal the remaining three stops, he strongly insinuated he’ll be playing Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Yes, you read that right. He insinuated he’ll be playing at Gillette Stadium sometime during this tour. I mean, of course he is. His buddy Kenny Chesney probably told him how crazy the New England country music fans are- making it one of the must-play stadiums on the tour. It sounds like Mr. Kraft brought and his team to the stadium to pitch the notion of him playing at the home of the Patriots!

Garth says, “So this is gonna give one of the cities away for sure, but I want to thank the Kraft Family up in New England, with the Patriots. They were the ones who kind of flew us out to the stadium to see and really encouraged us to think about stadium shows.

Encouraged Garth to think about stadium shows? Soooo, Robert Kraft is the one responsible for this tour? Either way, Garth is coming to Foxborough in the future!

Mitchell Tenpenny Scores 1st Top 15 Single

In February of this year, Mitchell Tenpenny released his self-titled EP that included a song that I knew was going to be special called ‘Drunk Me.’ With the release of this EP, I was blown away by Mitchell’s unique vocals that really separate him from the pack in country music- there is no one that has a similar sound to Mitchell. I knew I wanted to have him play our festival this year and we were ultimately able to successfully confirm this as one of the performers. As the year progressed, I seemed to be hearing it all over the place. On the radio, on social media- I was even walking down Hampton Beach this summer and heard one of the bars on the strip playing it. It was announced late this past week that ‘Drunk Me’ was certified GOLD by the RIAA- a great accomplishment.

I’ve known that this song has been climbing the charts- at the festival, Mitchell thanked the crowd for making it his first top 40 single. But looking at the Mediabase charts this week, I was so incredibly happy to see ‘Drunk Me’ currently sitting at #15 on the country charts! And we don’t normally do this, but we’re asking y’all to call into your local stations and request this song to help Mitchell in having this phenomenal single continue to climb to the top of the charts.

Now since we don’t normally do this, why are we now? Because Mitchell deserves it.

For one, Mitchell’s talent is undeniable. His vocal ability is so unique so really captivating. Add that in with great songwriting and you have a recipe for a hit. Which is exactly what ‘Drunk Me’ is.

Secondly, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a ton of artists over the years but I can honestly say that Mitchell is one of the best artists of any of the artists that I’ve worked with here at NECM. Whether it be through the festival, at a show, or just an interview, Mitchell is the cream of the crop when it comes to being a good person. He’s extremely humble and polite and he is so appreciative of everyone that helps him along the way. I remember him thanking me for bringing him to the festival and a lot of artists say ‘thank you’ but you can tell that some really don’t mean it. Mitchell meant it. This dude just radiates pure sincerity. I can confidently say that Mitchell is one of the nicest people in country music.

And in case you didn’t know, Mitchell also does a ton of great work for others through his 10Penny Fund which was created by Mitchell from personal experience with a sincere desire to provide inspiration and support to cancer patients beyond traditional medical treatment. Determined to make change, the Fund invests in sustainable and meaningful programs that motivate patients, encourage healing, and build a community of support. You can donate to the fund here.

So again, please call into your local station and request Mitchell Tenpenny’s ‘Drunk Me.’ This song deserves to be at the top of the charts and so does Mitchell.

Local Artist Spotlight – Scarlett Drive

What do you do when you’re a die-hard country music fan and none of the big-time names are in town? For starters, Kenny Chesney usually only comes around this neck of the woods once or twice a year! We’re about to let you in on a little secret – The Boston area has some great local country artists that you need to see. You can be filing up your weekend nights at many nearby venues that feature some of the best local country music around! One place to start looking for local talent is our very own 2017 New England Country Music Awards winner for Local Group of the Year, Scarlett Drive.

Their talent is incredible and their stage presence is spot-on! Scarlett Drive, a six-member Boston-based band, has been continually rocking shows in and around the city. Their fanbase has certainly grown since the pop-country-rock group’s formation almost nine years ago. Lead vocalists include Chris Martin, Andria Bremhorst, and Ashleigh Allard. Together, they create top-notch harmonies. The band is rounded out with lead guitarist Josh Kleiner, bass guitarist Ron Mominee, and drummer Tim Baumann. Though they have a style all their own, some of their musical influences include The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Guns & Roses, Little Big Town, and Keith Urban.

Scarlett Drive debuted their seven track, self-titled, album in 2012. Following this recording was a four-song EP titled ‘The Next Train’ which dropped in June 2013. Arguably their most popular single to date, ‘If You Wanna’ was released in 2014. They have been on fire in 2018. In April, they released their first single after their four-year hiatus, titled ‘Blame The Whiskey.’ In May, Scarlett Drive released two more singles, ‘Quarters,’ and ‘One More Time.’ Will Caron from Late Night Boston may have said it best: “Whether you know them by name or not, Scarlett Drive’s gritty southern style has been getting them recognized in the music industry.”

Over the years, Scarlett Drive has had the opportunity to open for Craig Campbell, Big & Rich, and Frankie Ballard. Earlier this year, they played the Taste of Country Music Festival in Hunter, NY. Being among top country stars such as Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, and Sam Hunt was well deserved! After a long competition process, held at the Hard Rock café in Boston, Scarlett Drive was awarded first place as the 2018 New England Music Award’s Last Band Standing. They are also the 2018 New England Music Award’s Country Act of the Year. And are currently nominated for the Boston Music Award’s Country Artist of the Year.

Scarlett Drive performed locally throughout the summer and early fall. They were at the South Shore Country Festival in Marshfield, MA on September 8th and they were the headliners for Indian Ranch’s Local CountryFest in Webster, MA on September 23rd. Two of their most popular venues to play at are Loretta’s Last Call in Boston, MA and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill in Foxborough, MA. You can catch them at Toby Keith’s on October 20th and December 8th. They’ll be at Loretta’s on November 16th and December 7th.

To stay in touch with Scarlett Drive, visit their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

Be sure to give their new singles ‘Blame The Whiskey’, ‘Quarters’ and ‘One More Time’ a listen on iTunes.

Abby Anderson: ‘I’m Good’ EP Review

It cannot be debated that Abby Anderson is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter that you should be paying attention to. With recognition from Pandora as a 2018 Country Artist to Watch, from CMT as a 2018 Next Woman of Country and as a Listen Up Artist “18 for 2018,” and from The Boot as a 2018 Artist to Watch the country music community has certainly taken note of her. Her debut EP, ‘I’m Good‘ was just released September 7th and contains 5 confident pop-country songs that touch on love and heartbreak. The 21-year-old Texas native is living up to our expectations with her bold sound and solid debut EP.

1.) ‘I’m Good’- Written by Abby Anderson, April Geesbreght, and Jason Massey.
Impression: The title song of this EP sets the tone with prominent base, a pop vibe, and a confident message. Abby is sure that she is better off without this guy in her life, no matter what tactics he tries to get her back. She makes it clear by responding, ‘I’m Good’ just as you would to any little offer you aren’t interested in.
Favorite Lyrics: No more feeling sorry for myself, our history books are on the shelf. What’s done is done. There’s nothing else to say.

2.) ‘Make Him Wait’- Written by Abby Anderson, Josh Kerr, and Tom Douglass.
Impression: ‘Make Him Wait’ slows things down to accompany its more serious tone. It touches on the popular advice to take things slow when dating someone new. A backdrop of piano complements vivid imagery of many milestones in a developing relationship. In the true fashion of country music, the song blends a moral message and with lyrics that tell a relatable story.
Favorite Lyrics: Walk slow, take your time, while your daddy cries and your momma smiles, when they’re throwing rice into the air, and those tin cans roll away.

3.) ‘This Feeling’- Written by Abby Anderson, Jesse Frasure, and Jimmy Robbins.
Impression: The feeling of falling for someone is the focus of ‘This Feeling.’ It perfectly describes the sensation that falling in love can change you as a person. She explains, This is uncharted territory, A whole new chapter in the story. The chorus showcases the power in her voice as Abby belts out, I’m not used to this feeling, I think I could get used to this feeling.
Favorite Lyrics: Doing things I don’t and I don’t understand how inhibitions turn to keys in the ignition, I’m driving fast and I’m not holding back.

4.) ‘Dance Away My Broken Heart’- Written by Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Kelsea Ballerini, Rhett Akins, and Thomas Rhett.
Impression: ‘Dance Away My Broken Heart’ fittingly sounds like a dance song. The lyrics incite the carefree courage you need to move on and get out again after a nasty breakup. A form of therapy, dancing helps her to shake off these scars as the first step in healing her heart. 
Favorite Lyrics:
 It’s a couple steps to the left, I forget how he left. Then move to the right, and it starts to feel alright again. Drop it low ’cause I ain’t feeling low no more.

5.) ‘Naked Truth’- Written by Abby Anderson, Jason Deere, and Kent Blazy.
Impression: The final track on the ‘I’m Good’ EP tells the complete story of finding out that your man has been sneaking around. A transformation occurs from the start of the song with an admission that she has been crying to the end describing a mountain top epiphany. Abby sings confidently that this man has no place in her life and that it is a win for her.
Favorite Lyrics: Wham Bam Instagram, She never shoulda posted that with my man. 

Make sure to listen to and download the I’m Good EP and keep up with Abby Anderson on her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Website. She currently has two shows scheduled in New England, opening for Brett Eldredge on his The Long Way Tour. Tickets are still available for the shows in Kingston, RI on October 11th and in Manchester, NH on October 13th.


NASHVILLE, TN  Sept. 4, 2018 – Today ‘Feels Like a Party’ for Wheelhouse Records’ LOCASH, as Pepsi announced that the Country duo is teaming up with the mega-brand for its first-ever Pepsi Tailgate Tour this football season. The traveling celebration will bring generations of passionate football fans around the country a new way to enjoy game day with live performances from LOCASH and other special surprises. With stops at key college and NFL matchups across the U.S., fans will be able to watch their favorite teams compete, and gather with friends and family to enjoy music, food, games and ice-cold Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Zero Sugar products.

Adding to the celebration, LOCASH also made their BBR debut at Country radio with their new single, ‘Feels Like A Party,’ becoming the No. 1 Most Added song in the format. Written by LOCASH’s own Preston Brust and Chris Lucas along with the track’s co-producers, Corey Crowder and Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard, the single emits undeniable party vibes with a laid-back groove.

Good things sure do happen in pairs; THANK YOU, Country radio for embracing this song, we’re so honored and appreciate your support,” said Preston Brust of LOCASH. “This, on the heels of the Pepsi Tailgate Tour news made today an incredibly special day for us.

We’re super excited to be partnering up with Pepsi and being part of the Pepsi family,” said Chris Lucas of LOCASH. “Teaming Country music and football fans is the perfect combination for a party!!”

Pepsi Tailgate Tour: Multi-city stadium tour stops at key college and NFL matchups, including mainstage performances by LOCASH, a full gaming area featuring all-time favorite tailgate favorites like cornhole, ladder ball and giant Jenga. Special opportunities for fans to win Pepsi Stuff items, game tickets and more! There will also be surprise meet-and-greets with NFL legends and cheerleaders. Fans can visit www.PepsiTailgate.com to find out more details surrounding each stop.


  • 9/6 – Philadelphia, PA:(LOCASH performance at 3 p.m. ET at Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing during the 2018 NFL Kickoff Experience)
  • 9/15 – Arlington, TX: (Ohio State vs. Texas Christian University)
  • 9/16 – Arlington, TX(Cowboys vs. Giants)
  • 9/29 – University Park, PA(Ohio State @ Penn State)
  • 9/30 – Pittsburgh, PA(Steelers vs. Ravens)
  • 10/11 – East Rutherford, NJ (Giants vs. Eagles)
  • 10/14 – East Rutherford, NJ (Jets vs. Colts)
  • 10/21 – Landover, MD (Redskins vs Cowboys)
  • 11/4 – Foxborough, MA (Patriots vs. Packers) 

  • 12/2 – MiamiGardens, FL (Dolphins vs. Bills)
  • 12/8 – Philadelphia, PA (Army vs. Navy)


All season long, join the #PepsiTailgateTour conversation across social and visit YouTube.com/Pepsi to check out the latest information about the Tailgate Tour, television ads, exclusive content and more.

Known for their hits like their GOLD-certified hit, ‘I Love This Life’ and #1 smash, ‘I Know Somebody,’ as much as their high-energy live performances that bring crowds to their feet, LOCASH is one of the most exciting duos in the format today. The pair has been hard at work the past few years, in the studio and traveling the country as part of their own headlining tour as well as in support of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s SOUL 2 SOUL Tour.

For more information about LOCASH, visit: http://www.locashmusic.com/

Chase Rice: ‘Eyes on You’ Single Review

If you were recently at our fourth annual New England Country Music Festival at Cisco Brewers earlier this month you had the pleasure of hearing Chase Rice’s new single in person.  ‘Eyes on You’ is Chase’s most recent release to country radio off his most recent album, ‘Lambs & Lions.’ Just as expected, it proved to be a crowd favorite! And that translated to country radio as it was the most added song to country radio in the days after the festival.

Chase recently told Vevo that that although he has had songs about girls, this one dives a bit deeper since it’s based on a real experience.  The actual memory was in Hawaii but he explained that ‘regardless of the locations, if you look at the depth and the situation of this love story it’s one of the most special songs he’s put out to date.’

Cowritten with Ashley Glenn Gorley and Chris Destefano, Chase relives his journey, while sharing so many memories with a very special someone.  The message behind this romantic tale is sweet. Regardless of where the two of them have been, the Carolinas, London or California, there ain’t no better view than you in my arms with my eyes on you. While she remembers all of the scenic drives, sunsets and local booths, all he remembers is being with her. He compares her beauty to a Montana sky, New Years Eve in Times Square and even Paris.

Take a listen and hopefully you can share it with someone special.

Favorite Lyrics: Don’t you remember Times Square? And people counting down everywhere Two thousand whatever, no I didn’t care ‘Cause baby you were there

On a different note, if you’re anything like us at NECM, you must always be looking out for new tour merch. Chase’s Head Down, Eyes Up line has some pretty sweet gear. Have you ever noticed that hat he usually wears? The story behind the hat and his life motto is something special, check it out!

Chase Rice Caps Off an Epic Fourth Annual NECM Festival!

Sunday August 12th marked the fourth annual New England Country Music Festival presented by the Harbor Agency. The all-day ten-hour party was held at the picturesque Cisco Brewers in Portsmouth New Hampshire. The weather might not have been perfectly clear, but the beer, vendors, and music were surely amazing!

Walking the grounds, one could enjoy anything from decadent brownies and gourmet cupcakes to yummy pizza, hand cut French fries and fresh squeezed lemonade. Those seeking the true ‘country feel’ could even purchase a country western style hat! Many spectators came, not only for the great music, but for the delicious craft beer! Looking around the field before the start of the show, almost every hand was filled with a drink!

Sprinkles began falling from the cloudy sky overhead, but that didn’t dampen anybody’s start to the afternoon. First onto the stage was April Cushman, an emerging country (with a hint of rock ’n’ roll) singer/songwriter born and bred right here in New Hampshire. Dawning a black t-shirt with the classic Rolling Stones ‘tongue and lip design,’ she sang a real rocking song titled ‘Poison Ivy.’ When that song ended, she said to the crowd: “Come on Portsmouth! Let’s get louder!” “You all ready for a full day of music?” Next, she sang her very own ‘Impossible Excuse.’

While thinking about Cushman’s own daughter, one couldn’t help but notice the most adorable little girl sitting up on her daddy’s shoulder’s swaying to the music. She continued: “I’m a daddy’s girl so I decided to write a song from my dad’s point of view. The funny part about this is that it’s my mom’s favorite song of mine and she has no idea that it’s about her!” Then, she sang ‘Must’ve Been Me.’ Switching things up a bit, she next sang a cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Tush.’ She introduced her bandmates, Jimmy Eibner, “also known as the chemistry cowboy” on steel guitar, Dino on bass, Phil Sica on drums, and Steve Moreau on “the glitter” guitar.” The next song she played, ‘North Carolina,’ was released just two weeks ago. She finished up her set with ‘Drifting Lines’. April Cushman definitely has her own unique style, and is on her way to something big.

With the sprinkles continuing to fall during the set change, it seemed appropriate that DJ Mikey Fletch played Luke Bryan’s hit ‘Rain is a Good Thing.’ The crowd continued to fill in both the pit section and the general admission area as the beautiful Annie Brobst took the stage. Many of Brobst’s loyal fans, known as ‘The ABB Army,’ were there to support her. Before playing her first song, ‘Paperweight,’ she said to the audience: “Hey Portsmouth, How you doin’? This is a little song we wrote about being tied down.” Then she played another original that she cowrote with guitarist Rodger Hagopian titled ‘Still Water.’ She said: “In June we got the chance to go to some pretty big festivals out west and that was kinda a trip of a lifetime. We played in Colorado and in Montana. And we shared the stage with some pretty big names like Eric Church, Brett Eldredge, and Kip Moore. But the young lady that we got to share the stage with that I was most excited about was a lady named Ashley McBryde. Oh yeah! We’ve got some fans out there! I became a huge fan of hers. If you don’t know of her, you gotta look her up! But if you’ve heard of her then you’ve heard of this song. I hope you sing along!” Brobst then played her only cover song, ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega.’

Next up were two more originals ‘Love You More’ and ‘Change of Heart.’ Both are off her latest album titled ‘My First Rodeo.’ She thanked April Cushman for kicking off the day by saying “Girl power to the max!” And said: “Thanks to all our friends, new fans, and existing fans. We appreciate you being out here today and we hope to see you again! I like to end our sets with the first song that I ever wrote. This is a cowrite between Rodger and I and the title track off our first EP. And it’s the story about my journey out to the Boston area from Columbus, Ohio.” She ended with ‘Ghost.’ It’s hard not to fall in love with Brobst’s heartfelt style of music.

The rain had stopped and DJ Mikey Fletch played Chris Stapleton’s ‘Broken Halos.’ Again, another fitting song as Timmy Brown played this one for the judges during his time on American Idol 2018. Last up for the “local artists” was fan-favorite Timmy Brown, a singer/songwriter from Norton, MA. Brown filled his set with originals, and kicked things off with the title track from his EP, ‘Leave This Town.’ He asked the crowd: “You guys ready to have some fun today?” Next, he sang ‘Amen.’ He continued to work the crowd: “Who’s drinking with me today? Put your hands together for April and Annie!” Continuing with the originals, he played ‘Tequila Lime & Salt’. Bassist Dave Allen had some fun on stage by changing his hat with each song! For this one, Allen appropriately wore a red, green, and yellow Jamaican hat with dread locks attached. Timmy Brown then played a brand-new song that is not even on iTunes or Spotify yet. He said: “How many of you go out and say I’m only having one drink? But one turns to two and two turns to three. That’s what I wrote this song about. It’s called ‘How We Drink Here’ cause that’s how we drink in New England!” He then told a personal story as to why he wrote the next song on his setlist. “So, I was lucky this year. I got to audition in front of Luke Bryan, Katie Perry, and Lionel Richie. One of my first songs that I played on the show was a song that I wrote for my grandmother. My grandmother passed away three years ago and she pretty much raised me. My parents were divorced when I was nine years old. So, I moved in with my father and my grandparents. And one of the stories about this song, I went to a psychic medium one day and one of the things she said to me was ‘your grandmother, Barbara, she wants to thank you either for a poem or a song.’ So, I know every time I play this song she’s up there listening.” Then he played ‘Fly Away.’

Next up was another not-yet recorded song titled ‘That’s Where You Come In.’ It was impressive to see that so many fans knew every line and were singing along. To really get the crowd pumped, he played two covers, Brittney Spears’ ‘Hit Me Baby’ and Devin Dawson’s ‘All On Me.’ He finished up by thanking the crowd: “If it weren’t for all of you supporting our dreams, we wouldn’t be up here today.” And concluded with a song that has over 400,000 streams on Spotify titled ‘Lil Bit.’ He made sure to mention his band members: Mike Franklin on lead guitar, David Allen on base, Leo Melanson on acoustic guitar, and Jeff Ballou on drums. It was so perfect to see a Timmy Brown beach ball from his merch table being tossed around in the pit during the end of his set. Though Brown is moving to Nashville this October, he’ll be back once or twice a month to play shows around the area and all of his loyal fans will be there supporting him in every step along the way.

Winning raffle prize numbers, for meet and greet passes, were pulled and announced during the set changes. The breeze picked up and the air seemed a little cooler. Right on schedule at 3:45, Michael Tyler, singer/songwriter from Thayer, MO took the stage. He played ‘Good at Being Young,’ ‘Secret,’ and ‘Crazy Last Night.’ He addressed the crowd: “Do we have any Jason Aldean fans out there? So, a little bit about how I kinda got into this music thing here. I was a huge fan of Jason Aldean growing up. I got on Myspace and I found his producer, the guy that makes his music sound so good. I said ‘Hey man, I love the way you make albums sound, I think we could make some good music together.’ It was a long shot but whatever. I was fourteen at the time in my hometown of Thayer, MO in the middle of nowhere. He replied and said ‘Hey do you ever play in Nashville?’ And I was like ‘All the time!’ (The crowd laughed!) And so long story short he came to a show in Nashville, I had my brother on guitar and I had my cousin on the drums and we played for him. And he said you know what you need to do? You need to get home to write a bunch more songs and get back to me. And I was like ok, that’s the end of that. And then four years later he signed me to my publishing company down in Nashville and I started writing songs. And then we met with Reviver Records and they signed us and now we’re in front of y‘all.” He then played Jason Aldean’s hit ‘Tattoos on This Town.’ He continued with two more originals, ‘I Can’t See’ and ‘If I Was Your Man.’ He talked a little about his next song choice, ‘Hey Mama’ and said: “My mom sat me and my brother down one night in high school. We may or may not have been drinking. We got caught. She said ‘alright boys, I just want you to know that if you go somewhere at one of your friends houses and you have been drinking, please don’t drive home or try and sneak home cause we know what you’re doing. We just want you to be smart about it. If you drink too much, please call us and we’ll come get you. You won’t be in trouble, we just want y’all safe. My brother goes to a party and he calls my mom in the middle of the night. She picks up and she’s like do you need me to come get you, are you in trouble? And he’s like no, we’re all good, we’re having a great time. And mom’s like ok, well why are you calling me. And he says cause I just met this girl, she’s incredible, I think I’m in love with her. And my mom’s like ok, let’s just talk about it in the morning. And they’ve been together now eight years! So I got to write this thing for my brother and it’s called ‘Hey Mama.’” Tyler continued with two cover songs, John Mellencamp’s ‘Jack and Diane’ and Billy Currington’s ‘Good Directions.’ He concluded his part of the show with one of his cowrites, Dierk’s Bentley’s hit ‘Somewhere on a Beach.’ Michael Tyler really got the crowd fired up for the next three performers.

We were more than halfway through the show. Following Tyler on the big stage was Nashville native singer/songwriter Mitchell Tenpenny. He started things off with ‘Truck,’ a song written about his old beat up truck that he had in high-school. After putting down his blue and white electric guitar, he addressed the crowd: “We appreciate y’all coming out today and hanging out with us. The rain is holding off. I don’t mind a little overcast. This next song is about this ex-girlfriend I used to have who was too hot for me and she knew it.” It’s titled ‘How She Goes.’ He continued with two more originals, ‘Mix Drinks’ and ‘Secrets.’ TenPenny talked a bit about his EP “We do have an EP out right now with six songs. And we just finished our first full-length record. And I’m so excited to get those songs out. It’s been a long time and a long process, but I’m very grateful for all the love that y’all share on the EP and the single.” He went on to play one of songs from the new record, ‘Goner.’

Changing things up, TenPenny played a crowd pleaser cover of Blake Shelton’s ‘Ol’ Red.’ He then played ‘Just Another.’ He then said “So last year I got a phone call from a guy named Granger Smith. Does anybody know him? I had been writing a lot of songs for a long time and that was my first time an artist called and said hey man, I want to cut your song. I want to put it on my record. And about a week later he called and said I want to make that song a single and it’s going to radio! That was the first time I ever got to hear my song on the radio. And thank you guys so much for listening and making it a hit for me. It changed my life and opened up a couple of doors. I want to give you my version of that song that we wrote.” He sang ‘If The Boot Fits.’ He really got the crowd singing along to his fun-loving song ‘Alcohol.’ He picked up his acoustic guitar and everyone was excited to hear the first song he ever released to country radio, ‘Drunk Me.’ Then he finished off with ‘Bitches.’ TenPenny had to fly in for our festival, so he wasn’t able to bring any merchandise with him. That made it even more special to see so many fans in the crowd with his t-shirts on!

It was starting to get dark as Hokes Bluff, Alabama native Drake White took the stage. He kicked things off with two crowd pleasers: ‘Feels Good’ and ‘Heartbeat.’ “It’s been a little while since we’ve been here. Thank you for the kind welcome.” White continued with ‘Story.’ Then he played ‘Girl in Pieces’ and ‘Grandpa’s Farm,’ two of the five songs off his new EP out right now called ‘Pieces.’ Before singing ‘Free,’ White said: “There’s no one as hard working as our troops. I salute you all today. This is a messed-up world but I do believe there is more good people than bad in it.” Taking a break from playing the acoustic guitar, White continued with ‘After Midnight.’ It’s another one from the new EP, written about how there are a lot of good things that happen after midnight. Highlighting the fiddle, he played ‘All Would Be Right.’ Drake White even danced barefoot and swayed to the fiddle sounds.

Darkness had set in and the stage lights came on just in time for ‘Take Me As I Am.’ Offering up some advice, White mentioned: “Any musician that you love, not just us…If you want them to keep going we are in crucial times right now, go download their music, go tell your friends about them. Go tell somebody about those people that you love.” He dedicated the next song, ‘The Best is Yet to Come,’ to all the mothers. This is a powerful song and White ended with his fist high in the air. Keeping with the slow, meaningful songs, he belted out ‘Makin’ Me Look Good.’ Then set the crowd on fire with ‘Livin’ The Dream.’ Every single person on hat damp green grass was singing along! Reminding many of us of the classic ABC series, ‘The Wonder Years,’ Drake White ended his part of the night with a Beatles’ cover of ‘With a Little Help From My Friends.’ The crowd really connected with White’s energy and soulfulness on stage.

It had been a long day of some incredible country music. The time read 8:15 and the crowd was pumped for headliner Chase Rice to take the stage. Rice started the night with ‘Lions.’ The contrast between the misty fog in the air and the bright lights created a smoke-like backdrop. Rice showcased his amazing guitarists as they continued to rock out to ‘Do it Like This.’ Rice grabbed his acoustic guitar for ‘How She Rolls.’ He threw his guitar pic into the crowd and then prepared to slow things down a bit with his latest release to country radio, ‘Eyes On You.’ “I think the last time we were out here was probably Boston. There’s one thing that has not changed since I’ve been coming up here to this part of the Northeast and it’s that I still very much love Jack Daniels. I drink it all the time.” He then played ‘Jack Daniels Showed Up.’

After giving out lots of high-fives and handshakes, Rice got the crowd cheering with a compilation cover of Dierk’s Bentley’s ‘Drunk on a Plane,’ Eric Church’s Drink in My Hand,’ Kenny Chesney’s ‘American Kids,’ and Tim McGraw’s ‘Live Like You Were Dying.’ Bringing things down a notch, Rice played ‘Gonna Wanna Tonight.’ “I want to write music that just means something to me. Because if it meant something to me it will mean something to somebody else. So, I heard this quote that made me think about that, From Harlan Howard. He said that somebody asked him a long time ago what country music was and he said three chords and the truth.” Of course, that led to ‘Three Chords and the Truth.’ He kept with the slow tempo and sang ‘Ride.’ The crowd sang along and Rice said: “You all sounded sexy out there!” Rice then played a cover of his first number one song as a songwriter, Florida Georgia Line’s hit ‘Cruise.’ He ended the show with ‘Ready Set Roll.’ Demonstrating his true appreciation for his fans, Rice spent about 10-15 minutes autographing hats, t-shirts, cups, anything that his fans handed to him!

It was truly an epic day at Cisco Brewers in Portsmouth, NH. Thank you all for supporting country music and we can’t wait to see y’all again next year!

For more photos from the festival, click here.

The Young Fables – “Modern Country with Traditional Roots”

The Young Fables, a Nashville based duo, is continuing to get noticed in the ever competitive country music scene! The accomplished pair, Laurel Wright and Wesley Lunsford, have captured the attention of Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, and Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta. They have shared a stage with stars such as Lauren Alaina, Sara Evans, Chris Janson, and Randy Houser. In May 2018, with the guidance of Grammy Award winning producer Mitch Dane, they released their sophomore album titled ‘Old Songs.’ Wright and Lunsford took some time out of their busy schedules to catch up with us, at New England Country Music, about their backgrounds, how they came together, and of course their music.

Laurel Wright and Wesley Lunsford come from quintessential southern roots. Both grew up in the same hometown of Maryville, TN. Music has played a big part throughout their lives. When asked about how important music has been, Wright told us: “I’ve been singing since I was three or four and I picked up a guitar when I was ten years old. I wrote my first song about my great grandfather that passed away. So, for me especially, the writing part of this whole thing is how I get my feelings or emotions out. Without music, I don’t really know what my outlet would be. I’m just grateful to have an outlet.” Although they grew up in the same town, their lives went different directions for a number of years. Wright laughingly explained how the two eventually came back together: “I had another guitar player that just didn’t show up for a rehearsal about two days before a gig and our drummer said: ‘hey I know this guy named Wes!’ And now he’s the only one left in the band!” If it were not for that guitar player going MIA, the two may never have reconnected!

Wright has had her share of musical accomplishments over the years. At the young age of sixteen, she had the opportunity to perform at the prestigious Ryman Auditorium. She said: “It still seems unreal because when I entered the Texaco Country Showdown Competition I didn’t even know that the top five people would be able to sing on the Ryman stage. But then, even if I did know that, I didn’t think that that was going to happen. So right after I won that second to last round, when I found out I was going to be able to sing at the Ryman, I was pretty much in tears the whole time. I’m a crier.” Adding to her achievements, Wright competed on three seasons of American Idol. “Each time I got further and further. The very last time I made top 48. It was just a great experience and it was good exposure for not only me but for The Young Fables.”

The Young Fables is a unique band name that will certainly stick with you! Lunsford explained how the name The Young Fables came to be. “We were sitting with (Patrick) a friend of ours at this bar having lunch and we were talking about band names. It’s horrible if you’re ever trying to come up with a band name. It’s really difficult. We were talking to him about how we write a lot of songs with Laurel’s grandparents. And they’re not musicians or songwriters, but they have lots of great stories so we’ll sit there and write songs with them. So Patrick was thinking about this idea and he said, ‘well really what you’re doing is you’re taking these old stories and you’re giving them new life, making them modern and new. You’re really creating young fables.’ But then I asked the same question, the one that everybody thinks when they hear our name. ‘What are we gonna do when we’re the “middle aged fables” or the “old fables”?’ He said ‘it’s not about you, you’re creating the story and you’ll always be creating new stories.’ So that’s how we came up with it.” The Young Fables’ style of music is described by Lunsford: “We say it two ways. It’s either traditional country with modern leanings or modern country with traditional roots.” When asked where they gather inspiration from when writing songs, Wright said, “from real things.” Me and Wes love to write about things that go on in our lives and our friends lives and I might just be speaking for myself but I really like to write about the things that other people don’t want to write about. Maybe things that make other people uncomfortable but maybe they need to hear about it.”

The duo worked together on their latest album with the accomplished producer, Mitch Dane. Lunsford described the experience by saying, “It was awesome.” “It was the best experience I think we could have hoped for. When we first met with him we just went into his studio to meet and by the time we were leaving the studio we were scheduling recording dates.” Lunsford laughed a little as he said: “Which is terrible if you have no money like we do.” “He (Dane) understood that The Young Fables is me and Laurel and we don’t want to lose that sound. I think that what sets us apart from other duos is that Laurel sings all the leads of all our songs. So, our sound is really her voice and my guitar. And we didn’t want that to be lost by adding a lot of different stuff. He (Dane) really understood that.”

After talking to these two, it’s obvious that they really are as sweet as pie! Speaking of sweetness, Over the Top Donut Shop in Knoxville, TN recently launched The Young Fables Pecan Pie Donut. Wright said: “They wanted to launch a pecan pie donut and we thought that is totally on brand with us. It’s one of those big fancy donuts. I ate the whole thing in probably eighteen seconds. I devoured it. It was so good.” With Laurel giggling in the background, Lunsford said: “I’m a plain donut person. But it’s so incredible I could probably eat two of them.” The next time you’re in Tennessee, stop by and give this donut a try!

The Young Fables have a very busy schedule coming up. Lunsford said: “Hopefully we’ll be travelling to wherever anybody that wants to see us.” We, at NECM, definitely want to see them and are hoping they make a stop in New England sometime soon!

You can stay connected with The Young Fables by visiting their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

Their most recent album, ‘Old Songs’ can be purchased on iTunes.

Garth Brooks: ‘All Day Long’ Single Review

Much to the delight of fans Garth Brooks recently released the lead single off of his upcoming album, which is due out next year. Co-written by Bryan Kennedy, Mitch Rossell, and Garth himself, ‘All Day Long’ is a party anthem that’s perfect for summer. This new tune is vintage Garth Brooks. It’s reminiscent of the 90’s hits that made him such a country music legend. From the opening guitar notes the listener is immediately hooked. The melody consists of a classic country twang blended with a hint of rock and roll. This, combined with the foot-stomping beat, adds to the fun nature of the song.

Brooks got inspiration for ‘All Day Long’ while performing at a honky-tonk in Nashville during the Country Radio Seminar this past February. In an interview on his weekly Facebook Live show, Inside Studio G, Garth described his feelings on stage that night. “We were playing all the stuff that we used to play in the honky-tonks, and hearing it bounce off those brick walls and hearing those people sing along, I said, ‘You know what? What we need is a good honky-tonk song.’ So that’s what we went to do.” And he certainly succeeded. ‘All Day Long’ gives us a glimpse of a honky-tonk on a Friday night. From start to finish, the descriptive lyrics portray the nightlife scene and having a good time. This is particularly evident in the lines, somebody’s gotta feed that jukebox, somebody’s gotta drink that beer, somebody’s gotta get all rowdy and raise some hell in here.

‘All Day Long’ is already well on its way to becoming another #1 hit for Brooks. It made a strong debut at #28 on the Mediabase chart and has been climbing ever since. In addition to this, during its release week ‘All Day Long’ was the most added song to country radio since August 2015. With this continued success we’re excited for a big year from Garth in 2019. Let’s hope we can get some New England tour dates to go along with the new album.

Unfortunately ‘All Day Long’ isn’t available for purchase. However, if you have Amazon Music you can stream it exclusively here.

Favorite Lyrics: Somebody’s gotta play that country that ain’t ever comin’ back. If home is where the heart is, then I’m right where I belong..