ENTERTAINERS

Lonestar
JUNE 30

Lonestar

Lonestar

Not every musician has the opportunity to revisit and even potentially improve upon their biggest hits. But on the forthcoming TEN to 1 record, the award-winning band Lonestar—Dean Sams (keyboards, acoustic guitar, background vocals), Michael Britt (lead guitarist, background vocals ), Keech Rainwater (drums) and Drew Womack (lead vocals, guitar)—are taking a fresh look at all 10 of their chart-topping country songs.

This streak started in 1996 with the band’s second single, the rock-edged “No News,” and continued with the following year’s “Come Cryin’ to Me” and “Everything’s Changed.” The band’s quadruple-platinum 1999 album Lonely Grill spawned four No. 1 hits (including the beloved global smash “Amazed”) and established Lonestar as music’s preeminent pop-country band—a status they’d maintain through the 2000s and beyond.

With these re-recordings, the band members were mindful of striking a balance between preserving the sonic elements fans were familiar with—and not repeating them. Fittingly, TEN to 1 record reflects the ways Lonestar’s hits have evolved over the years during the band’s rousing, high-energy concerts. Such talent has contributed to the band winning many of music’s top honors, including Academy Of Country Music awards for New Vocal Group in 1996, Single and Song Of The Year in 2000, along with Humanitarian Of The Year in 2002. They also won Country Music Association’s Vocal Group of the Year and International Artist Achievement award in 2001. All told, Lonestar have sold more than 10.5 million records since their formation.

With the release of TEN to 1 record, the band members are full of gratitude for what they’ve accomplished already, and excited about what the future holds. “It’s amazing that we’re still standing and putting on great shows after all these years,” Sams says. “The fans are still coming out to our shows night after night, to see us and hear our music. That’s almost 30 years of touring, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am—and I’ve never once taken it for granted.”

Hairball
JULY 1

Hairball

Hairball

The Bombastic Celebration of Arena Rock

IT’S LIKE 20 CONCERTS IN ONE NIGHT!

A band puts on a concert – Hairball puts on an event! Hairball is a Rock & Roll experience you won’t soon forget. The lights, sound, smoke, fire, bombs, and screaming hoards of avid fans…to merely call it a concert would be like calling Mount Rushmore a roadside attraction!

Vocalists Joe Dandy, Kris Vox, and Dave Moody lead the band through a 2+ hour, mind-blowing, and dropdead accurate homage to some of the biggest arena acts in the world. Van Halen, KISS, Motley Crue, Queen, Journey, and Aerosmith are but a few of the acts fans will see brought to life. The Hairball stage becomes an entirely new rock concert before your very eyes countless times throughout the night.

The motor that drives the Hairball dragster consists of HBK on the electric bass, Billy on the drums, and Happy on the lead guitar. These Rock & Roll soldiers pride themselves on nailing some of the most memorable licks and chops of all time, while adding their own style and flare that they’ve cultivated over decades of tireless performing. This isn’t a side job. These guys eat, sleep and breathe Rock & Roll!

2021 finds Hairball celebrating its 21st year of rocking hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Constantly adding more characters, more pyrotechnics, more lights, more sound, more props, more surprises…more everything! While Happy often tells the audience “Today is the first day is the rest of your life!” Hairball performs every show as though it could be their last. Every night is a 100% full-on, no-holds-barred, exciting, chaotic, fiery party that has to be experienced to be believed!

As important to Hairball as the music, are its fans. While many bands claim to have the best fans in the world, Hairball actually has! Whether they are 10 years old or 100, Hairball fans bring an unparalleled enthusiasm and energy to the show that enhances the arena experience. Hairball knows it wouldn’t exist without its fans and takes every opportunity to let them know that.

Whether it’s a pre-show meet and greet, hanging out at the merch booth, or chatting online, Hairball has a lot in common with its fans and it’s always a good time when they get together. Don’t confuse Hairball with the countless “80’s Tribute” bands across the country. Hairball is an experience, an attitude, and expression of music that isn’t simply a retro flashback, it’s a way of life!

Lainey Wilson
JULY 2

LAINEY WILSON

Lainey Wilson

ABOUT LAINEY WILSON

“One of Country music’s most promising young stars,” (Whiskey Riff) Lainey Wilson has earned the enthusiasm of the industry, having been named to nearly every “Artist to Watch” list, winning MusicRow Magazine’s Discovery Artist of the Year award and being crowned Billboard’s “Top New Country Artist of 2021,” the Louisiana native is one of Nashville’s hottest and most buzzed-about new artists. Landing her first No. 1 with her PLATINUM Certified “Things A Man Oughta Know,” nearly 10 years to the day after leaving her small farming community in a camper trailer to chase her dreams, she has won over legions of fans with her signature Bell Bottom Country sound and aesthetic, which blends traditional Country with a modern yet retro flare. A prolific and sought-after songwriter (having co-writer credits on songs by artists including Luke Combs and Flatland Calvary), Lainey is a fresh, fierce voice in Nashville, delivering one of the “Top Country Albums of 2021” (Rolling Stone, Taste of Country, and American Songwriter) with her label debut, Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ With a rockstar stage presence, her artistry has taken her across the globe, performing for sold-out crowds throughout the US, UK, and Germany with notable names like Jason Aldean, Hardy, Justin Moore, Tyler Farr, Ashley McBryde, Randy Houser, Josh Turner and more. Her current single, “Never Say Never” with Cole Swindell is Top 30 at Country Radio and continuing to make a fervent climb up the charts. For more information and upcoming tour dates, visit www.laineywilson.com or follow on Instagram @laineywilsonmusic / Twitter @laineywilson / Facebook @laineywilsonmusic.

 

Kameron Marlowe
JULY 2

Kameron Marlowe

Kameron Marlowe

About Kameron Marlowe

Sometimes he can’t even believe it.

With over 148 million on-demand streams, believers at country radio and the support of over a dozen digital tastemakers – Spotify, Amazon Music and Pandora among them – Kameron Marlowe has exploded onto the country scene, emerging as the big-voiced authentic talent modern fans crave. But if you ask the humble everyman himself, he’ll tell you straight up: He never saw this coming.

“I didn’t think I had what it took to be an artist,” says the all-natural singer-songwriter, blessed as he is with a tender, dynamic vocal growl. “So, I took a different route at first.”

Lucky for everyone, all roads lead to destiny. Now singed to Columbia Nashville and standing on the verge of a bright future, the North Carolina native is right where he belongs – in the spotlight. It just took a few twists and turns to get here.

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Growing up, Marlowe lived in the Charlotte-area suburb of Kannapolis, and his path was indeed headed elsewhere. He did love music from a young age – schooled by his grandfather on the ‘90s country giants, and captivated by high-energy rockers like Stone Temple Pilots, Puddle of Mud and Kings of Leon. Plus, he sang in church and loved classic vocalists like Ray Charles and BB King, even forming a teenaged cover band that turned heads (the wrong direction, he jokes).

But after starting college in hopes of studying music, life intervened, and Marlowe left to help his family, taking a steady job selling car parts in his hometown instead.

A hint of what could have been came in 2018, with a Top 24 appearance on Season 15 of NBC’s The Voice. But even with a resonate baritone as inviting as a Southern breeze, and a genuine small-town swagger, Marlowe left with nothing more than some new friends in Nashville – plus an interest in songwriting. It seemed like music had passed him by, and to be honest, he was fine with that.

By 21, he was back home and back on the job, ready to settle down with a white-picket future. He was ready to put a ring on his girlfriend’s finger. But when she abruptly ended the relationship, telling him she wanted a different future, his whole world shook. Suddenly adrift and questioning the path he’d chosen, Marlowe put pen to paper for just the third or fourth time in his life … and that musical therapy session changed everything.

“It was a really hard break-up situation, and I didn’t know what I wanted to say,” Marlowe explains, thinking back to that fateful night. “So I came home, and just tried to write something down for myself to get over it.”

Over a day-and-a-half, Marlowe wrote and revised, whittling the track down to a tight, classic-heartbreak ballad with a modern edge, totally by himself. Full of raw emotion and vivid, heart-on-the-floor storytelling, it became “Giving You Up,” and for most people the story would end there. He’d scratched the itch to express his pain.

But not Marlowe. He was raised to finish what he started, and decided instead to get it recorded – after all, it’s not like he had a wedding to pay for. Once again, he had no idea it what was coming.

“I just felt like I was supposed to finish that song,” he says now. “It was my ‘If I am ever going to try music, now is the time’ moment. My life had just been flipped upside down, and the whole plan I had made with trying to get married was gone. So I spent a little money to get recorded, and figured I’d see what happens. … After that? I’ve just been blessed with the reaction to it.”

Showcasing his easy Carolina croon, equal parts velvet and vinegar, and built around the done-me-wrong devastation, fans flocked to the song in the millions, feeling for Marlowe as he kicked the habit of loving his ex for good. He soon made the move to Nashville full time, and now just a few short years later, the real work has begun.

After signing with Columbia and releasing a self-titled EP in 2020, Marlowe tapped another electrifying power ballad as his single debut, sending the buzzed-and-broken “Sober as a Drunk” to country radio. In response, he was named to more than a dozen “ones to watch” lists, opened for stars including Lee Brice, Dustin Lynch, and Chris Young, and sold out headlining club shows throughout the Southeast. He’ll join Brad Paisley for his TOUR 2021 beginning in July. And now by working with mega-producer Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, etc.), he’s being challenged to believe in himself like never before.

“I think the next batch of music is going to be a lot better,” he says. And by early accounts, he’s right. Matching a muscular mix of country’s timeless and trendy with a hardwired connection to his heart, these fresh songs show an artist who’s just beginning to tap his from-the-gut potential – and find a home for that show-stopping voice.

His vocal shines through a wide grin in the first new release, easy going “Tequila Talkin’,” as Marlowe matches the fun of Friday-night flirting with an upbeat, summertime sway. He co-wrote the tune with Dan Isbell and Ray Fulcher, and makes no apologies for the good natured pick-up line – or its fiddle-laced sound, pulled straight from his ‘90s favorites.

“Honestly, it kinda just came from trying to meet girls at the bar,” he says with a laugh, thinking back to his earliest days at Nashville’s Red Door. “It was like ‘Man, I always get a little extra confidence from tequila, I don’t know about you!’ And I’m such a sucker for a fiddle in a country song that I just decided to go for it.”

It was Marlowe’s love of music, and the steady tug of destiny which pulled him into the spotlight. And now that he’s here, he’ll see it through to the end – just like his first hit. With a debut album in the works, he’s living a life he never thought possible, and it’s all because he gave his dream a shot. Now he’s hoping fans will do the same.

“It feels really weird, because my life was completely different a couple of years ago,” he admits. “But I really put in a lot of effort to write these songs from the heart, so check out the lyrics. See what you think on a deeper level.”

Joshua Ray Walker
JULY 2

Joshua Ray Walker

Joshua Ray Walker

ABOUT JOSHUA RAY WALKER

On his new album See You Next Time, Texas-bred singer/songwriter Joshua Ray Walker shares an imagined yet truthful portrait of a brokedown honky-tonk and the misfits who call it home: barflies and wannabe cowboys, bleary-eyed dreamers and hopelessly lost souls. His third full-length in three years, the album marks the final installment in a trilogy that originated with Walker’s globally acclaimed 2019 debut Wish You Were Here and its equally lauded follow-up Glad You Made It (the #5 entry on Rolling Stone’s Best Country and Americana Albums of 2020 list).

“The whole idea with the trilogy was to use the honky-tonk as a setting where all these different characters could interact with each other,” says Walker, who drew immense inspiration from the local dive bars he first started sneaking into and gigging at as a teenager growing up in East Dallas. “In my mind, this album’s taking place on the night before the bar closes forever—the songs are just me taking snapshots of that world, and all the moments that happen in it.”

Like its predecessors, See You Next Time came to life at Audio Dallas Recording Studio with producer John Pedigo and a first-rate lineup of musicians, including the likes of pedal-steel player Adam “Ditch” Kurtz and rhythm guitarist Nathan Mongol Wells of Ottoman Turks (the country-punk outfit for which Walker sidelines as lead guitarist). The album’s immaculately crafted but timelessly vital sound provides a prime backdrop for Walker’s storytelling, an element that endlessly blurs the lines between fable-like fiction and personal revelation. “I learned a long time ago that writing from a character’s perspective lets me examine things about myself without ever feeling too self-conscious about it,” he points out. Closely informed by the tremendous loss he’s suffered in recent years, See You Next Time emerges as the most powerful work to date from an extraordinarily gifted songwriter, imbued with equal parts weary pragmatism and the kind of unabashedly romantic spirit that defies all cynicism.

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On the album-opening “Dallas Lights,” Walker presents a potent introduction to the vast and sometimes-harrowing emotional terrain of See You Next Time. “I used to hang out in Lower Greenville, which is a neighborhood in Dallas with a lot of homeless people,” he says of the song’s origins. “One of the guys there knew someone who’d passed away and there was nobody to claim the body: no wife, no family, no kinfolk at all. I was really struck by how terrible that was, and over the years it became a song about hometown pride, and wanting to die where you lived.” Anchored by the heartrending fiddle work of Heather Stalling, “Dallas Lights” ultimately lends a bit of glory to that tragedy, its chorus lyrics unfolding as their own resolute prayer (“Lord, don’t bury me deep/Under the sycamore tree/Burn Me/Spread Me/Where the city can be seen”).

In its nuanced exploration of so many disparate moods—grief and celebration, sorrow and surrender—See You Next Time takes an entirely unexpected turn on its lead single “Sexy After Dark.” Fueled by a fiery horn section, the wildly catchy track hits a brilliant balance of bravado, soul-stirring confession, and brutally self-aware humor. “There’s a deep history of sexy-crooner country songs played by dudes who were pretty unsexy by all accounts but still had so much swagger,” says Walker. “‘Sexy After Dark’ was my attempt at writing a song like that, a fun song I’d want to crank up and party to. It all came back to wanting to really push the boundaries of what I could do on this album.”

In a stunning tonal shift, See You Next Time then delivers its most devastating moment, the intensely intimate “Flash Paper.” “My dad had a four-year battle with lung cancer and passed away in November, and before he died he gave me a cigar box full of notes and cards and lots of random little things, like a ribbon from a reading competition from when he was in elementary school,” says Walker. “He also put in a flash drive with a video he’d recorded, which he told me not to watch until Christmas. My dad was from East Texas and kind of a good-old-boy type, and the video was really vulnerable for him. Some of it was similar to things he’d said over the years, as he dealt with his illness and the two of us grew closer, but that song’s mostly about me wishing I’d heard more of those things while he was still here.”

With its untethered textures and beautifully sprawling guitar tones, “Flash Paper” bears a mesmerizing quality that magnifies its raw emotion. “That was definitely the hardest one for me to write on the album—I broke down multiple times in the process,” says Walker, whose voice slips into an achingly tender howl at the chorus. The final track recorded for See You Next Time, it’s also one of several songs that Walker penned in the dead of night, while his home was undergoing massive reconstruction following the rupture of a hot-water pipe. “Half my house was torn apart, and I was living at an extended-stay hotel, but I couldn’t get any writing done there,” he says. “I didn’t want to move back the recording sessions, so I ended up going back to my house late at night and staying up for hours to finish some songs. I remember thinking at the time that it was pretty depressing—writing at 4 a.m. in this torn-apart house with no furniture and no heat in the middle of winter—but looking back, I think it’s good that I was forced to be totally alone and just think.”

Another profoundly heavy-hearted track, “Gas Station Roses” reveals the poetic sensibilities within Walker’s songwriting. “There’s a double meaning to that song—it’s partly referring to the roses you’d find in a gas station around Valentine’s, but it’s also about how gas stations get away with selling crack pipes by hiding them in those glass tubes with the origami flowers,” he explains. Layered with bright piano melodies and Pedigo’s cascading banjo rolls, “Gas Station Roses” offers a clear-eyed meditation on the hardship of addiction (“We’re like gas station roses/You can wrap us however you’d like/If you prop us up in pretty poses/We’ll really catch the light”). “I grew up around a lot of kids who had parents with substance-abuse issues, and in high school a lot of my friends got hooked on heroin,” says Walker. “This song in particular is about crack, but the overall story is addiction leading to a loss of innocence.”

A working musician since the age of 13, Walker first began honing his lyrical talents after the death of his beloved grandfather. “My granddad’s the one who got me into music, and I wrote a song called ‘Fondly’ in the parking lot of the hospital he was in,” recalls Walker, who was 19 at the time. “Back then I was mostly playing rock and punk and blues and metal, but I quickly realized that the songs I was writing were country songs.” Raised on bluegrass, he lists Texas legends like Guy Clark and Billy Joe Shaver among his essential inspirations, but also notes the undeniable influence of country superstars like Alan Jackson and George Strait (“All those ’90s country songs were so hook-driven, they really bored into my brain,” he says). With the arrival of Wish You Were Here (an album that spent 12 consecutive weeks on the Americana radio albums chart), Walker won lavish praise from outlets like NPR Music and began opening for such artists as Colter Wall and Charley Crockett, in addition to headlining tours in the U.S. and Europe. Hailed by No Depression as “an album that outshines expectations for what country music can, and should, sound like,” Glad You Made It earned the admiration of leading critics like Ann Powers (“a new voice who really impressed me”), with its singles featured on such coveted playlists as Spotify’s Indigo and Tidal’s Best of Country 2020. Over the years, Walker has continually captivated crowds with his magnetic live show, a feat that finds him joined by musicians like bassist Billy Bones and drummer Trey Pendergrass (both of whom played on See You Next Time). “I’m really proud of the band on this record, and I’m also proud that I didn’t just go out and get hired guns from Nashville or Austin,” Walker says. “They’re guys I’ve played with for 10 or 15 years, and at this point we’re all like family.”

True to that communal spirit, See You Next Time closes out on its sing-along-ready title track: a fitting end to Walker’s trilogy and its tribute to the fleeting, yet possibly life-changing, connection to be found at your nearest honky-tonk. “There’s not a lot of pretension at a honky-tonk, and there’s much more interaction than in other bars—you see a lot less people on their phones,” says Walker. “We’re there to talk to other humans, put a song on the jukebox and dance with a stranger, get to know your bartender and tell them all your problems. I really wanted to capture that feeling on this record—I want everyone to feel like they know all these characters, and that they’re somehow better understood because these songs exist.”