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.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lord Have Mersi!

I’ve been producing music now for thirteen years. I’ve heard it all – the good, the bad, and the mediocre. I’m rarely overcome with excitement when I hear a new talent, but this time it’s different.

Mersi Stone is a powerfully vibrant sister duo originally hailing from Austin, Texas and now making a go of it in Nashville. Their music swings nicely in tempo, instruments, and harmonies, but the production quality never changes. It is perfect.

Most impressive to me, is that these two understand the challenges they face in becoming successful in the most overly saturated business market in the world, and they don’t care. They are in it to win it, and they are doing everything they can to make their success a reality. That is what it takes, and I love that kind of grit.

On their recent album, aptly titled Who I Am, the duo writes all of their own original music. That of itself is a rarity in country music and worthy of praise. There are far more singers and musicians in the world than songwriters, and a team that can do both is tops in my book.

I was first introduced to the sisters on Chasing Your Dream Radio, one of the few Internet radio stations true to its word regarding playing the music of new talent. However, you can find them many places. For live events, check out their calendar.

Also check out the video for "Almost Real." These two are headed for the top of the charts!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Nickel Made of Gold?

There is a saying in Jacksonville, Florida: “We’re really just southern Georgia.” Most of us, including Rickey Jonathon Lee Nichols are proud of that fact. We’d rather not be lumped in with the hip-hoppers of Miami, Tampa, or Orlando. The bulk of Jacksonville commerce is done by blue-collar people, including myself, Rickey and his wife Salina - a woman hopefully close to ending her battle with breast cancer.

When you listen to a song like "A Nickel Made of Gold", you get a sense of the true spirit of Jacksonville. The population is comprised of caring, hard-working individuals that would give the shirt off their back to put one on yours.

In this song, born while working on a tugboat on the Mississippi river (eight years in the making), Rickey pays homage to all of the people that have contributed positively to his life.  I am not going to spoil the song, so give it a listen to find out where the nickel actually came from!

I recently asked Rickey, “what is the secret to your unique voice?” He said: “West Virginia and Boyz II Men.” I was only expecting half of that, but when you listen, you will definitely hear both, and it works out very nicely.

"The Fight in Her Eyes" is an even greater testament to Rickey’s big heart as he picks up the battle to fight cancer hand-in-hand with his wife.

I hope that you will give both songs a listen and consider contributing to their GoFundMe campaign. Great songs, great people.