Sunday, September 13, 2015

"Whiskey and Wine"

When I first hear a song, the producer part of me goes first to musicality and production quality. If I like it enough, I will go back and listen to the lyrics and the vocal quality.

The first time I heard "Whiskey and Wine" by Rugged Grace on Chasing Your Dream Radio, I thought, “This is worth another listen.” The production quality is very evident, and it sounds like true red-dirt country music. So much so that I thought I must be listening to (at least) a regionally known duo. Little did I know that they had less than a hundred followers on their Twitter account.

Therefore, I went and found their music on, and found another song I was hooked on called "Kiss You All Damn Night." Now I am hooked on this song was well.  In fact, now I am hooked on the entire Rugged Grace EP, which I just bought on iTunes, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

By the way, the couple is getting married next Saturday, September 20th, and I’m sure they would appreciate a music download purchase as much, if not more, than a dollar on their wedding tree.

On their iTunes debut, the lyrics are real, funny, and as down-to-earth as country lyrics come.

“Let’s go rob a bank.” “I love you baby.”  - Rugged Grace

Monday, September 7, 2015

Chasing Your Dream Requires More Labor Than You Think

In honor of this Labor Day, I wanted to pay homage to six people.

The first two are my father and father-in-law, both of whom are veterans, came from very meager beginnings, and labored for fifty-plus years to support families, provide college educations, beat cancer and heart disease, and provide consistent unconditional love to their “not-so-always-perfect” children.

The second two (and not necessarily in that order), are my mother and mother-in-law who stood by their man, in a time when marriage vows actually meant something, and who supported the efforts of their “not-so-perfect-husbands,” and also labored away themselves to make sure that the entire family’s American Dream came true.

The fifth is my wife, a retired Navy Commander (yes, I’m a Jarhead that married a Squid – get over it), who, while battling chronic Lyme disease, labors every day along side me to make sure our family’s dream also comes true.

Finally, there is Tom Kelly, owner of Chasing Your Dream Radio. I love the name of his radio station because it reminds me that we all have the right to life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness.  We all have the God-Given right to chase our dreams, but we are not “entitled” to them – success falls squarely on our own shoulders.  In the entertainment business, the odds are stacked against us – that simply means we have to labor harder than the average person to achieve our goals. If that is not attractive to you as an artist, now would be the time to exit the business.

Because of Chasing Your Dream Radio, my pursuit is becoming a reality. However, like most of you, there is still a long way to go.

Most important, however, Tom Kelly has introduced me to some of the finest rising stars in country music, including:

Tune in, crank it up, and support these rising stars who are mixed in with all of your favorite national country artists at

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Kalli Ashton – “Worth Your While”

I love songs that take me by surprise, and that is exactly what Kalli Ashton’s song "Worth Your While" did for me.  I was expecting some boyfriend-glorifying refrain about how perfect life is with her man.  On the contrary, the song might have been titled “Never Worth Your While,” but that would have given away the hook.

Also to my pleasure was to find out that Kalli is from Nottingham, U.K. Not exactly the hub of American country music, but she is still striving to get to Nashville through her fan funding page.  There are only five days left to make it happen. I just donated, and I hope you will too. 

You all know by now that I love artists that are willing to do whatever it takes to make it in the seventh most difficult industry in the world. Disregard #10 in that link; we all have that “talent.”

"It's pretty messy here" is one of my favorite phrases from the song Worth Your While. It well describes the situation of a relationship gone bad, and we have all been through at least one or two.

Although "Worth Your While" is her current hit, the rest of her songs are worth a listen to. Her soulful vocals in "One and Only" are phenomenal.  Kalli can make it in so many genres. It is my hope you will help give her that chance.

Give Kalli a follow on Twitter and help her chase her dream via her fan-funding page. You can also listen to her most recent hit on

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Brad McKinney - "The Picture That He Carries"

There are many reasons to fall in love with a song, but for me, the lyrics in Brad McKinney's song "The Picture That He Carries" was the kicker. I almost didn’t hear the music until the third time I listened to it, because the emotion behind his voice and the powerful lyrics had me captured.

However, after analyzing the rest of the song, it is apparent that his producer recognized his talent and created a beautiful mix of instruments to compliment his voice without drowning him out or leaving the message unheard.

Brad comes from a lineage of U.S. military veterans, and while not having served himself, he did one of the most patriotic things an American can do - take time out of his day to write an amazing song to show his appreciation for veterans.

Not only does Brad sing, but also creates all of his own harmonies – not a simple task, yet they are perfect.

Unlike many of us in the music business, Brad McKinney didn’t start writing music until he was inspired at the age of thirty-eight years old, but already his music is far beyond that of most career musicians. He has a natural talent for writing.

I hope that you will give a listen to Brad McKinney on iTunes and support a fantastic artist and patriot!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Shane Howard Band - On A Rampage

There’s only a few things I know about Texas. It is big, beautiful, and it generates some of the greatest country music artists in the nation. No exception is the Shane Howard Band.

Shane has been at it for nineteen years, and those of you who read my blog know that above all, I love perseverance. There is no crying in baseball, and there is no quitting in the entertainment business.

In 2002, Shane dissolved his band Rampage and became a member of the most elite artists in the world – songwriters. No more cover songs, no more shows just for the sake of showing off for a few bucks. It was time to have his message heard, which, in my opinion is the sign of a true artist.

My personal favorite Shane Howard Band song is "Hero In Us All." I relate to the lyrics, and I think it is a song intended to remind us all to bring out the best in us. However, all of Shane's songs are packed with meaningful, thought-out lyrics and insight.

"Rattle Snake Road" is another fantastic tune about small town living, but the best is "My Town." – “You’ve never been nowhere until you’ve been to my town.” Jacksonville is a long way from Riesel, TX, but we feel the same way.

I encourage all of you to give a listen to The Shane Howard Band and give them a follow on Twitter!

“I would rather sing for the next 13 years than to live a full life and never sing again.”

I think the title says it all, but please allow me to expound on Katie’s attitude a bit. To understand her thirteen-year limitation, read her amazing biography.

Musicians, singers, songwriters, and other artists are constantly faced with a decision: Live the traditional life - trading hours for dollars in some corporate "do-as-I-say" job, or pursue their life's calling, even if it means dying a pauper.

Every one of them knows it is the toughest industry to conquer, but they do not care. It is in their blood like an infection, and there is nothing they can do to quell it.

Most of music history is filled with artists that were relative unknowns until they had passed. The public did not recognize their brilliance until it was too late. However, the world now moves at the pace of Twitter, and it is time to jump-start Katie's music career.

Give her a follow on Twitter, and listen to her free music!

You can also find her on Chasing Your Dream Radio.