Chelsea Crites it is all about fame!


Chelsea Crites a young and talented Canadian singer from a small town called Port Colborne in Ontario. She started very young at the age of 7 years; there has been already a wish to be famous one day. A dream to tight in her mind, that she wanted fame and one of the big stars someday. But these thoughts were only made by dreams, not reality, nothing to hold on. Chelsea never gave up that dream and look where she is now – all her wishes and dreams come true!
She has a lot of things going on and she is proud, that she made it this way. A lot of followers of her singing talent had been there right from the start of her career as a little child from the Niagara region.
She is so popular and people like her music that much, that they recommend her from one venue to another. Her reputation is growing day by day and there must be a reason for this.
In 2009, Chelsea was at the age of 15 years, nominated for Niagara Rising Star, they try to recognize local talent from an early age. That was the real start of her career; even she already performed when she was much younger. It was like the starting shot for her future development, so Chelsea and her band toured from one event to another.
In 2011 Chelsea Crites did her shows throughout Hamilton and the CCMA’s and she was also the house singer at Tootsies in Nashville TN. Can you imagine that out of a sudden, all her dreams start to become a reality, which she could also touch? That all these dreams that had been there for such a long time, hidden deep inside of her, now step out of the shadow, they seem to come true, with a big explosion and a lot of firework.

Chelsea did a lot in the past and it is quite an impressive list. At the end of 2011, and the begin of 2012, Chelsea appeared in several indie movie roles. She had been on many, many festivals and venues or fairs and also appeared in several radio programs, not to forget the TV Shows. She headlined the 2013 Annual Cider fest at the Puddicombe Winery. Performed at the Tailgate parties, they do prestigious pre-show concerts at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum. She was the opening act for the Canadian talent Crystal Shawanda in Chatham Ontario. She also was the opening act for Jason McCoy another Canadian Singer & Songwriter, on 3 of his dates on his “The Perfect Gift Tour”. And guess what, Chelsea was opening act for “the” William Shatner, when he was on the road with his traveling show and came to Hamilton. She shared the stage with so many artists in the past, and who knows what will happen in the future. 
Chelsea has been quite busy in between writing songs as well, for instance with musical legend John Ellison, who wrote the hit song ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’. 
In the summer of 2014, there will be her debut album released, that contains a lot of songs, written by Nashville songwriters. Her first single, called” 4 Wheel Drive”, is written by Chelsea Crites herself. Chelsea was also lucky that she could work with the well-known producer Beau Fuller in Nashville and the amazing guitarist John Willis. He also worked with Shania Twain, Lee Ann Rimes, Alabama, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift and many, many more of the big famous stars.
In May 2014, Chelsea performed at the Hamilton Place; she did her own first concert, which was nearly sold out. When people noticed, that Chelsea Crites could become one of Canada’s rising stars, her fan page became so many members; it went to be bursting in the seams.
Chelsea Crites is not a selfish girl; she does a lot of good work, such as doing shows and raising money for autism, cancer, and adults with disabilities. She is very social and love to help people, whenever she can. A young woman walking on the way to fame, but not leaving the important things out of sight, to be human and being a friend for those in need.

Summer Overstreet


Summer Overstreet was born July 29, 1987 in Nashville, Tennessee. Her father a well-known citizen, was a member of the Hall of Fame, but this doesn´t mean, that Summer had a special plus factor in her future life and career.

She was one of six kids; so there was always a lot of activity around the house. For her it must have meant a lot, to grow up on a farm, well protected and away from the City.
Their farm was about 15 miles away from downtown Nashville, nearby the Harpeth River. 
Because of her father’s career, Summer and her brothers & sisters have been home schooled, until they got old enough to graduate at high school. It was much better that way, a bit easier to handle the career of the father, the family and also the farm; a big relaxation for the mother too, in the way of a more flexible schedule.

When Summer was very young, her father was always on the road, touring through America, but he took the family with him on many occasions and I guess it wasn´t easy with such a big crowd. To make it comfortable for everybody and to balance between so many important issues, was a masterstroke.
The influence of growing up in a musical family made Summer start singing very young at age, with only 4 years, she was already a little star, and they called her the "kid who sang". 
She had a very happy and blessed childhood and there was always a lot to do, with all the kids around, and so many adventures to discover. It was quite interesting with all the animals on the farm, they had goats, chickens, sheep, and horses. It was a much diversified life, and the kids been busy all day long.

The parents encouraged their kids to learn an instrument, and that’s how Summer started to play guitar, at the age of 12. When she was about 14, she wrote her first song. It was a big change in her life, since that day she wasn´t able to stop with writing.

The years went by and Summer did some co-writing, but finally found her own sound, she started loving it more and more every day. Most of the songs she performs, are written by herself.
I cite a few words Summer Overstreet once said, quote, “I watched my dad have co-writes at our farm with some of country music's greatest writers of the time, and remember getting some of the first listens to songs that later ended up on the radio. I became fascinated with everything that went into creating a song that made the audience feel something. In terms of my father and his piers I have big shoes to fill, but if I make half way to what they achieved, I would consider it a great accomplishment”, unquote.

Summer is not a copy of her father’s music – no way! She has her own thoughts about country music. Summer Overstreet wants to create songs with the heart, that touch and reach out to the soul of the audience. It has and always will be a passion of her, to represent country music in a very special way, which made this music genre great.

I want to end this article with a statement Summer Overstreet once made, and I think it is worth to think about what she said, quote,” Music to me is…Music is a powerful tool in which we can reach out and touch an individual without ever having to meet them. It´s a way to lift a mood spark inspiration, or to let someone know they really pissed you off. To me there is no better therapy, or greater challenge to making and performing music. In country music especially, where a great story is worth its weight in gold, it´s a constant effort to be new and creative while remaining true to what has made it unlike anything else. Country music has always been a huge part of my life since the beginning. I grew up listening to the wonderful songs my dad had written and performed, as well as the songs he had co-written for many other artists. For a long time, this was the only music I knew. I have been singing since I was a tot, and have always had a passion to communicate feeling through the powerful message of a song. For me, music is not a hobby, a fallback, or something I “dabble” in. It is and always will be a way of life; plan A, B, C, D and so on. It would be just as content creating music for a large audience, as I would be sitting in a small room alone. It is truly what I love and there is no better feeling to me than the satisfaction of creating a song that speaks to you directly in the heart no matter if it is happy or sad. My desire is to bring a fresh female perspective to the gene with lyrics you can sink your teeth into, and no matter what, make you feel. I take what I´ve loved about country music, and speak from the heart. I want to keep up with the „boys” and make people fall in love with country music all over again. You can expect songs about family, love, heartbreak, good times, and so much more. Above all, I want to inspire and stir a passion and a feeling that was sparked in me not so long ago”, unquote.

Mark Merritt a bohemian way of life!


Mark Merritt, a singer, songwriter and guitarist from the Hills of Virginia. He has been stuck in Germany, since his left the military service. 
In his musical career there had been a lot of changes and developments through the years, he played clarinet, guitar and sax in different “Army Big Bands” and also country bands and he was together on stage with the famous “Temptations”. 
He has and had a lot of very important people as an audience, such as the British Royal Dynasty and an Us President and also a lot of different minister from Korea, Japan and America.
He entertains his audience with a soft and melodic voice and he can inspire them, I can tell. He is a very friendly and social man, a good partner to deal and to work with. I had the pleasure to meet him a few times, and made an interview with him, which you can find on You Tube & Google plus. Mark Merritt is a very pleasant person to talk to and he gives you the feeling to be most welcome.

Once on a Christmas party in 2012, the people in the saloon, in our little western town had been quite boring, Mark appeared and he rocked the place in a wink. Some of the people, with the lack of interest, had been touched that much by his music that they ended up in singing his songs. I never met someone like Mark; I can say, he is quite a personality, which can take the audience with him in his music. So he is an extraordinary country singer, with style and very popular over here in Europe.
When he starts his ballad, or he presents the Dixieland, the public is to be in a verge of doing, to step on the table and dance, some of them done…smile.

Mark Merritt is at home in the music genre of country music, Rhythm & Blues, Rock, Folk and Pop and he has a very large repertoire to present to the public.

This is only a small cutout of his successful career:

2002
„You Can’t Stop If You Never Slow Down“
Spot 1 of the Hitparade
Country Super 10

2008
Boats, Beaches, Bikinis and Beer
Spot 1 in the
Country Music Airplay Charts Deutschland

2010
Christmas, Christmas
Sot 2 in den
Country Music Airplay Charts Deutschland

ACMF Awards 2010
*Int.'l Album des Jahres*
ACMF Awards 2009
*Int.'l Album des Jahres* Nomination

GACMF Awards 2002:
*Male Singer of the Year 2001* Nomination

Winner: 
Pullman City Country Music Trophy 2001

ICMAG Awards 2001:
*Male Entertainer of the Year*

ICMAG Awards 2000:
*Songwriter of the Year*
*Independent Award*

Best of Texas Award Show ’99:
*American Horizon Award*

ICMAG Awards ’99:
*Male Singer of the Year*

He won a lot of other awards, I did not mention, because there are so many of them and the list would be endless.
Mark is also a very good producer and in his record label “Amazing Records Europe” there are a lot of very good singer, songwriters and bands. 
His main focus is on CD production, distribution and promotion for his artists. His productions you will find in between "Bluegrass", "Rockabilly", "Acoustic" to new modern "Country-Rock". He is always searching for interesting European artists and bands and his publishing department is also 
looking for good compositions and lyrics. He is very nice to other companies as well, because he likes to stay in touch or like to contact other publishers and labels from around the world. So I think that’s a good way to do business.
He has several studios on hand; to help to turn the ideas of the artists into a finished marketable product and with his CD production he can manage a world-wide distribution. 
He is quite a very busy man; he has to back off a lot of times in his own career, because he has so much to do. But he always finds the time between the production and promotion, to stay in a good contact with his artists worldwide. 
I met a few of his real good singers in person and some of them I will meet soon for an interview. I´m impressed by this package and bundle of strong musicians and I love every one of them for their music and personality, because they make real good music and they are certainly worth listening. I give you a few names of his extraordinary bunch - there is Kayleigh Leith, Memphis Sky, Mike O´Donoghue, Wild Bunch, The Wildfires, Jenny Casey, Mark Merritt Band, Michael Lonstar, Mandy Strobel, Micky Romero, Midnight Hustle, Karen McDawn, Don Jenson, Ron Gardner & Sue Blind, Roxanna Red, and of course Mark Merritt himself.
Mark Merritt a man that turned his vision into reality and if you hear him sing, you would be impressed, like I was, when I met him for the very first time. He had and has so much success but he is still down to earth, some producers in country music could learn a lot from Mark Merritt, for example how you treat an artist in a fair and honest way. I guess that’s his key to success and I wish him a lot more of these fantastic artists, that he already can count to his bohemian way of life.

Jenny Casey, from the top of the trees on stage throughout Europe!


Jenny Casey a lady from Oklahoma, a flat country, or should we say the plains, were you always have turbulences because of the weather condition, with a lot of wind blowing into every corner.
Jenny Casey is a bit like the wind in Oklahoma, kind of, or like a little tornado, she is like to raise a storm. You are struck before you know it, not in a negative way, no quite the contrary. She is so full of energy and power, full of emotion and very humorously, a certain kind of humor is very rarely in country music. The connection between being a country singer and the switch version, into a comedian. She is a very big talent and it is a pleasure to see her on stage or even in a video.

Oklahoma is a very special place for Jenny Casey, where she spent a lot of time playing the piano with her toe, yes that´s right, she can do that and it looks terrific. Also she climbs up high into the trees and sit for a while in the top of them. These times are very personal moments for her and of course, it shows you, what kind of person Jenny Casey is, a woman with dreams, wondering, where her big stage would be someday.

Here are some very impressive words and also a humorous way of thinking, I guess Jenny created them, at least they belong to her biography, so I like to cite them to you, quote, “Well, reality grabbed a hold of her pretty quickly and she decided to be on her own at 18. Then she met her husband George, and became a mother at age 22. You can’t just impress people with your tree-climbing ability when you need to buy diapers and put a roof over your head! So, crazy dreams went by the wayside, as they do for so many women. Instead, those dreams were replaced with other longings, like the hopes that your kids will stop throwing their junk all over the floor, or that your husband might actually help you clean something. But through it all, she always managed to find a place to perform. Her kitchen floor was the perfect stage. With a baby crawling underfoot, she had a cheap, cranked up radio and a sink full of dirty dishes for an audience. That’s when she decided she was going to be a country star! There’s nothing like having a two-month old plus three other kids at home, going to college full-time, working part time, and a husband who works long hours to make a songwriter out of you, unquote.

That´s a pretty clear reality, funny but also the way it goes. You are not always born with a golden spoon in your mouth and fulfill your dreams, you have to give yourself a reality check and there it is - the trues. So Jenny started with 31 years to write songs, they came flowing out of her mouth, right from the heart and the deepest part of her soul. 
Today´s Live isn´t always easy and certainly not for a funny person like Jenny, she was surrounded by laughing and smiling, most of the times about herself. But I think, that is more a protective mechanism, because Jenny had to go through some hard times as well, like a stress and postpartum depression, and that is no funny thing at all, I know that by myself. But Jenny did it her way, to take the bull by his horns, she got the power and the courage to grab a notebook and a pen and she started to write songs and there have been a lot of them, since she made the first step into being a songwriter. Yeah, I think she did it the funniest way and was fooling around with it for a while, and then gave it a thought, if she could be a newborn country star and so she asked her family, like every other aspiring country star would do. The family agreed and so Jenny loaded the truck with all their personal belongings and off they went, with the whole family, to head for a one way direction to Nashville. She got herself a teaching job and moved to Sumner County. 
Jenny Casey had a full time job, next to it she also arranged family business, like being a mother, make the dish of the day, wash the dishes, help with the homework, clean the clothes, bedtime reading, lullaby, making 'taxi cab runs', and then after all that, pick up the guitar and rush to a music joint, crawl on stage and find the audience, to listen to her special kind of music.
Guess what? She managed all that in a wink and found people that listen to her “fun grown-chick music”. In fact she got a lot of people, which are very excited to see and to hear Jenny Casey. She spreading her music all over the world and especially we in Europe, are full of expectations, when she comes again across the big pond this year. Jenny Casey never imagined that she would have that much success, while sitting at the tops of those trees in Oklahoma…..lol. 
She is playing in front of crowds of people all over the world, she is proud to be a mom and she sure is a hard working mom. She has a lot to say and she connects it with her music. Jenny Casey certainly knows that crazy and sometimes unbelievable dreams do come true!

Tommy Lee Moffat, a remarkable voice returns!


Tommy Lee Moffat was born in the small town of Renfrew in Scotland; in Scottish Gaelic it is called “Rinn Friu”. Renfrew is a town 6 miles away from Glasgow and in the central lowlands. It is a quite nice and charming town, connected to the Prince of Wales. Renfrew is a barony and the baron is “His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay”.
Scotland is beautiful and I guess that Tommy liked it, when he was a kid and could live through a lot of adventures in the surrounding area.
He started playing in a few clubs at the age of 14, mostly singing rock, pop, and country covers. But then he switched to country music, influenced by Merle Haggard, George Jones, Dwight Yoakum, and George Strait. People liked him because he had a remarkable voice; some people say he sounds a bit like George Strait.
He was always a real country boy and farming was a big issue in his life and in his family and it came always on the first place. So it was quite normal to him, that he went to college and then graduated with a degree in agriculture. Tommy had a little farm near the village of Sandbank, were he grew some crops and raised a few animals. Sandbank was a bit further away from his hometown Renfrew, but also a beautiful place to be. Sandbank called in Scottish Gaelic “an Oitir” or”Taigh a` Chladaich” and is located on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll and Bute, 2,5 miles from Dunoon, it is on the southern shore of the Holy Loch, branching-off the Firth of Clyde.
His life made a big change and another switch, when he met the Blue Ridge Band, which toured with the US artist Jody Smith throughout Europe, mostly performing covers and some of their original material. Tommy formed the band and gave them a new kind of look.
Tommy Lee Moffat loved his music and he wanted to be famous, so he thought it would be time to move to the USA, so he left his homeland to follow the steps of his idols. But he didn´t leave without leaving a mark to remember, his last album called “This is Not Me, “received outstanding reviews in the press and the radio. But this didn´t stop Tommy from leaving, he wanted to achieve a good reputation on country road. So off he went to America, he wanted to pursue his musical career and so he made a touch-and-go. He was in South Carolina and in Tennessee, wrote and recorded his own kind of music, but then by unforeseen circumstances he disappeared from the music scenery. 
Tommy moved to California, far away from the place, were country music was ubiquitous. He started another career, one he was well prepared for and one, which was also an affair of the heart and so the farming began. When time went by, he got himself an own custom harvesting business.
In 2003, he suffered a blow of fate, Tommy had been diagnosed with kidney failure, and so a hard struggle went on in his life. This bad luck had no place in his life, it wasn´t intended this way, Tommy had to fight with all the pain and suffering that came, when he had to go on dialysis. These cruel circumstances changed in 2008, when he received kidney transplantation. During this hardest time of his life, Tommy wrote so many new songs, some of them with the help of his family and friends. Tommy´s heart found his way back to his biggest love, the country music, and he had this kind of desire to make a comeback in country music. So he stood up once again and off he went into today´s country music. 
I´m so glad he did, because with his wonderful, harmonic and very powerful voice he can touch the heart of the audience and make them smile. He has completed a new EP, with 6 of his own original songs and he made a video of the first single called “This Old Farm”, and I think he landed a big hit, with this song.
For me his voice can be equated with the voice of my idol Randy Travis, Tommy fits perfect in the country music of yesterday and today and is already nominated for Male artist of the year 2014. 
I wish him all the best, because he is one artist that deserves this special kind of honor, because he is with his music already a living legend of country music. Great Voice, big personality, there is no need to say anything else, everything is told and I think there is a lot of Tommy Lee Moffat to come in the future of today´s country music. I end this article with a Scottish Gaelic phrase “Tha mi toilichte ur coinneachadh Tommy Lee Moffat”!

Annemarie Picerno feels like home on stage!


Annemarie Picerno, you can call her an all round talent from Phoenix Arizona, who lives right now in Nashville Tennessee. She is an entertainer who has performed in so many dinner theaters, night clubs, and bands, on cruise ships, in comedy shows, in television & film productions. She is also a very good songwriter and she writes a lot of songs, which she performs in Nashville, Tennessee. 
What else we can tell about Annemarie, well, she is single, a Christian and she love to perform on stage. She has a strong belt voice, and she is on the country road singing country songs, but also pop, rock, r & b, Motown, and even jazz. She writes her own songs, and is good in playing the piano and the guitar. She loves putting a "twist' on vocals, and adding a bluesy heartfelt soul. 
As a kid, she listens a lot to folk music; she loved Hee Haw and The Grand Old Opry, and all the classic entertainment 
shows like Barbara Mandrel, Carol Burnett, and every variety show imaginable. 
When she was a bit older, she was listening to all the great "divas" like Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Etta James, Whitney Houston, Patsy Cline, Bette Midler, Janis Joplin and Cher. 
She performed in a lot of dinner theaters, comedy shows, live bands, and even impersonated Cher, Janis Joplin, and Bette Midler. 
She got compared to Bette Midler a lot, and it is a great honor, if people see something of her in Annemarie, because Bette Middler has 
been billed as "The Greatest Entertainer in the World."

Annemarie Picerno is special too, because she has her own style, and she has a wild, playful side as well. As an entertainer, there are no limits in playing and exploring creativity, you have to be update and always open for new things and you should create your own “YOU”! And that is what Annemarie certainly did, she created herself!
But there are black Mondays in Annemarie’s life as well, she didn´t always walked on roses. In fact she had to handle a very big trauma as a child and young adult, and went through a difficult time after a car accident and multiple surgeries. She managed somehow, don´t ask why, but she stood up and fight against all the pain and the tears and the tragedies in her life.
Her big love and passion is, like I already wrote - singing and performing on stage. To make people laugh, make them cry, and simply let them enjoy her music, is her utmost concern. Through her performance and the art of music and expressiveness, she is not only make the audience happy, she actually filled her own life as well with those happiness, she enjoys it and she lives it, every single day of her live.
She still has to experience great love in her life and continually search for it, she writes about those experiences and thoughts and dreams in her songs. I hope for Annemarie, that on short notice, someone crosses her path, she can dearly love and that all her dreams come true. And while she is waiting for Mr. Right, she has a very nice companion, a cat named Boo Boo, he is of course spoiled by Annemarie, but he is also a very happy cat.
Let´s see, I will tell you a bit of Annemarie´s history, it is a large list, so I shortened it up a bit, I hope she don´t mind.
Annemarie was present on TV, you could find her in MTV the Inbetweeners - The Librarian -Harris and Company Warm Up Comedian - Studio 10 TV - Theater Spokeswoman Channel 10. 
In Commercial, you could see her in Esia Beverage Systems - Audience Tastetester - Bluewater Media - Pespiat Tropicana Field - Baseball Fan Prettybird Productions - Twilight Zone Marathon Series - Devilish Blonde Rainbow TV.
In the Film industry, she was also all around like in Mr. Engagement & The Waitress.
In Industrial, she was omnipresent in Princeton Univ. Educational Videos, Medical Instructor Co & Lever Brothers Cororation Shower Fanatic Co. 
She was a lot on Cruise lines in several shows like on the Majestic Empress in the Impersonation Show as Cher, Janis Joplin and Bette Middler and on Odessa Cruise lines in the Broadway Review as a Singer & Dancer.
Oh yes and she loved also the Theater and was there active in Play On! - as Director & Producer in the Masque Theater, that was founded and build in 1957 by Bertie Stern, a local attorney, also chairman of the South Peninsula Dramatic Society, he fight hard to make it a multi – racial theatre. She was to see in Nunsense as Sister Hubert in the same Masque Theater, also in B.A.I.T. Bay Area Improve Theater and as an Improve Comedian on various venues in Florida, but we could go way on with it, Annemarie was quite popular and did a lot of shows.
She has some hobbies beside her career and that is biking, swimming, tennis, ping pong, basketball and volleyball. But at the moment she can´t do it, because she hurt her foot real badly, and that will take some time to recover. 
Let´s talk about Annemarie latest activities in June, I guess she was very busy, like so many others the last few weeks with the CMA fest in Nashville and she did a wonderful job. She was performing her original songs together with Joe Webber, at the Hillbilly Hot Rod show.
Annemarie is a very busy lady in country music, with an interesting history, that is quite impressive. I think we will hear a lot more about her career, because when I see her past, there is a lot to come in the future!

Vic Holdroyd, tough luck – tough cookie!


Vic Holdroyd was born 67 ago in England, where??? That we keep as a little secret….
Vic wrote just for fun, here and there, whenever he had time to do so. Not that he didn´t wanted to be famous; but he had no thoughts into that direction at all. He didn´t start young at age, at the most songwriters did, it all started when he already was an adult and he didn´t really know, which kind of directions it would lead him.
Vic got married, had 4 kids and a little bit money left, which he could spend to buy a guitar and to make some demos, until the kids were older, grown up and didn´t need the full attention. But life wasn´t that easy as he thought made him spanner in the works. He had some heavy health problems, got a constant Ischemic heart disease from age of 35, a few Heart-attacks, two triple-by-pass operations and all that the problems that come along with being sick. But through all this hard time, life had hidden for Vic; it didn't dim his optimistic outlook.
Vic Holdroyd had a few covers of his songs during the late 80s & 90s. Nothing big, just pub-singers really, nothing wrong with that, because he had been that man himself once or twice! Writing this for Vic, makes me feel his fear and pain through those times and I hope he don´t mind that I write this, like I feel it. It wasn´t easy and he kept on going, like a machine, he liked what he was doing and he loved his life, so that was the motor, that made him go on and on.
2007 was another bad year for him, because his mother died of Lung cancer, and Vic was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer at the same time. He was shocked, but he had to survive he had to tough these days and month and whatever would come. So many questions went through his mind, but didn´t get any answers.
Vic tried to take his sorrows and put them into a project, he made a CD of his previous demos and raised money for the Hospice where his mother died, and he sent a copy of the CD to a few Radio Stations.
He didn´t knew, that he would get so many reactions, great responses from the local radio listeners, and when he recovered from his own surgery, to remove the Bladder, Prostate and Urethra, he had the "buzz" to start writing again. During that the hardest time of his life, he was introduced to John Taylor, a producer whom Nathan Carter (young British Country singer) had worked with on 2 albums.
So Vic gave John a lot of his new songs, to produce some demos, Vic put these into his own words, I cite:” What a fantastic musician! He made my songs come alive, and my early demos with him were taken by various Irish/country singers. I am also having demos produced in Nashville with Frank Michels, and Vaughn Lofstead, which involves some top-notch musicians and vocalists. I am now writing for a Dutch Country singer Jannet Bodewes (pronounced Bo Davis), who has signed a record-deal with an Indie label in Nashville operated by another co-writer Lonnie Ratliff, with whom I have written a number of songs which we're hoping will lead to a couple of major artistes' cuts. Co. Kildare's Kym Kelly recently had massive world-wide Radio exposure with a Vic-Lonnie song called "Troubadour". I now have cuts by Independent singers in USA, England, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Austria, and Holland. The U.K.'s most popular Country singer, Darren Busby has recently cut a 5-track CD of my songs, and that album, together with my own album, were nominated in the BCMA Awards for 2011 in the "Album of the Year" section. My project album issued under the collective name of "The Company" featuring John Taylor and Sarah Jory, is something of which I am very proud, with the track "California Here I Come" nominated for "Original song of the Year" at BMCA 2011!”
That was a fantastic change in his life, with a lot of possibilities; he never would think about in the past. I have to mention that Vic had a very bad heart attack in 2010 and he survived, Vic is very strong, he had so many things that obstruct his life and tried to make him stumble, but he manage to being alive!!! I wish him for the future, a lot of health, a lot of good moments, that he can enjoy his life, these precious moments we got as a gift in our lives. Hang on Vic; you did a real nice job to be proud of!!!!

Eddy Gee, a country singer to the core!


Eddy Gee did his first steps into music, when he was 11 years old; he took a guitar and never stopped since that time. In the mid of the 70s Eddy spotted the upcoming country star John Denver and that was the point, when the country music virus infected him and since that day – Eddy is very busy on the country music road.
In the early 70s Eddy had his first stage appearance; you could find him until he was about 36 years, in a lot of All Round Bands, he was also on the road as singer & entertainer, with and without a band, which was also the point, when he changed his name into “Eddy Gee”.
He was for a short time together with a few Dutch country bands like “Dorsley Edition” and “Black out Band”. At this point and in that period, the last band was kind of very popular in the local communities of Almere and they toured around a lot, with cover songs of the late 60s & 70s. Eddy came so far, but he wasn´t happy, he felt that there was something missing, if he only knew what it was, he could not put the finger on it, until he got infected in the mid 70s by country music.
Music experts testified that Eddy Gee has a very distinctive voice, which has a big affinity to the voice of the American country star Vince Gill. Vince had also a big influence on Eddy´s choice to become a country singer. So there is no wonder that in Eddy´s repertoire was filled with a lot of songs of his ideal. But there are other music classicists that say, that Eddy has the timbre of Eddy Vedder (Pearl Jam), the dolorousness of Michael Stipe (REM) or this emotional soupcon of Don Henley (The Eagles).
In these days, Eddy was also very successful with writing his own songs. On October 10th 1998, Eddy released in the Netherlands his first album called “There Is So Much That I Need To Say”. The recording took place in the Nixward studios in Almere and he was musical accompanied by his old band colleagues of the “Black out Band”. One of these songs is developing to become a very successful song in the german country charts at the moment.
On the Western Experience Days in Den Bosch, in the Netherlands, Eddy was a few times the highlight of the event, which still takes place, every year in January. His appearance on this real big event was twice transmitted by the Dutch TV, there he has been announced as an important and new talent. In Germany he gave his debut in the TV Show “Keep It Country”.
In December 2008, Eddy released his single called”A Beautiful Memory”, followed by a second song called “Couldn´t Sleep At All”. The music to these two great songs has been well-rehearsed by his band members of “Side Effect” and the songs have been written by Eddy Gee. In 2009 his song “A Beautiful Moment” has been nominated for “Song of the years 2008”.
In December 2012, Eddy´s EP “I Need You”, with 4 own songs has been released, the music has been recorded in Nashville and the vocals in the Netherlands.
During the Dutch country music award 2013, Eddy´s song “I Need You” became “Song of the Year 2012”. On October 27th, after a hard struggle in a country music competition, Eddy won the 3th spot at the Country Music Euro Masters 2013 in Germany. With his eyes focused on the future, to become famous across the border of his homeland, Eddy collaborated with FHP event in Germany.
And in 2014, Eddy and I created a song together, I wrote “Behind The Clouds” and Eddy made the music to it. Eddy was my first choice, because, I like him as a person, I love his music and I know he is a very honest person.
If you see Eddy on stage or in private, he is a country singer to the core, he loves to sing and play and he can make the audience feel his music. I think, we will hear a lot more bout Eddy Gee in the future.

Jan Majgaard with a passion called country music!


Jan Majgaard was born in a small town called Vildbjerg in Denmark. He also started at a very young age with his musical career, he never thought, that it would go into that kind of direction, but we all know, life writes his own stories and we are only the performer on a very large stage. 
When he was about 14 years old, he started as a guitarist and the first band he was involved, has been a rock band. Jan was the lead singer and also played the lead guitar. With a lot of practicing, he learned to play the keyboard too, and so he ended up in many different bands, like the “Ivanhoe”, “Duo” or “Fellows”. Most of the time, these bands played on private parties and festival grounds, but it didn´t matter to Jan, as long as he could play and as long as there was an audience.
Jan had a very special connection with country music, he really loved it, and whenever he had time, he played his music. This deep passion made him think about his future, and so he decided to go into country music. During this time, he understood that there was so much more to discover and he started to write some songs, his own songs, with his own character. 
Meantime his roots have been deep twisted into country music, because he could not live without it anymore. He is a singer, songwriter; he is a bandsman, a serenader with his heart & soul! His songs belong in the direction of old style country music, that’s the kind of music he is living for, the kind of music his heart beat is ticking. It is no fight for him at all, he doesn´t need to think a lot to write those songs, they just come the natural way.
At home he has his own small studio, and when he records a CD, he plays all the instruments by himself. That’s the way he likes it most, be free in your own creation, nobody there to tell you how to do it, he can make it his own way, without asking anybody.
Jan Majgaard is still on the road and the people can hire him for some solo gigs. He can play his guitar and he can sing on his own, therefore he uses his backing tracks, which he also recorded by himself in his small studio. Yes, an own studio can help a lot, and he is proud that he has the possibility to record his CD´s. 
The last few years he has been concentrated more on writing his own songs, but he hasn´t been lazy, in fact he was quite busy, he published his first album called “Heart Broken Angel” and he made 5 singles.
His biggest fan and his supporter through and through is his beautiful wife Conny, she is always at his side and he can always count on her. They both a team, that will stay much longer in country music and I think, we will hear a lot more about Jan Majgaard in the future.

Eli Grimes inspired by Life!


Eli Grimes was born in a town named Brunswick in Georgia, and his real name is David Eli Grimes. Before he could write his name, he already started to write songs, he had that big imagination and so he wrote everything down, what he had in mind. In the beginning it wasn´t easy, but as soon as Eli (he likes to be called by his middle name) could write, he wasn´t to stop anymore.
One day, when he was at the age of 12 years, he watched TV and there was a movie called "Your Cheating Heart", it was the life story of Hank Williams Sr., and this movie changed the life of Eli Grimes forever. It was so emotional and touched his heart, he knew that he wanted to make music, all his life, but this made him to want it real badly. So he aggravated his father, day by day, for weeks, until he was so nerved, that he finally gave in and bought Eli his first guitar for $25.00. That guitar was from a radio show called Trader Jack and Eli was the happiest boy in town, when he had this guitar in his hands.
He started to practice and to play, because he wanted to be like Hank Williams, touching the people´s heart by his own music. He felt, that he had to write songs, something inside of him told him so and he wanted it so much, that he did his best to reach that goal in life. Eli´s first song has been called “Toy Boy” and was inspired by Elvis, because Eli was and still is also a big Elvis fan.
His grandparents lived also in Brunswick, his hometown and Eli spends most of his youth with them. His grandparents lived at Dock Junction and they had a little garden, he loved to play there and to dream about his future. He could be a child with them, because it wasn´t so nice at home, his parents argue a lot and that wasn´t good for Eli. His parents divorced when Eli was fourteen years old, it was hard for him, even when he knew there was something wrong and he noticed that this would happen someday. 
Eli loved his hometown and was so glad, that he could stay at his grandparent’s house, because he loved Brunswick and he didn´t want to move to another town or even another state. 
As time went by and he grown up into a man, Eli was ready for the world, but there was nobody to sing his songs, so he thought he record them by his self and he sings them too. He loved to entertain the people and he made about 30 songs so far.
When all the internet presents was all around Eli discovered facebook and You Tube, to bring his songs to an audience worldwide. He even was inspired by a Lady on Facebook that was very ill and asked everyone to pray for her. So Eli was inspired to write a song, it called “I Said a Prayer for You Today”, that was a real nice gesture. 
When I interviewed Eli one day, he told me who inspired him to write songs, I cite his own words: “Mostly people I meet on life’s roads and paths one way or the other inspires me to write my songs. I have written songs to help save animals lives, a song about two young girls killed with drive by shootings, another song about a little that had gone missing, about the Homeless and oh yes about Love!”
In his thought there was also something that told him, to make and record a song about Brunswick and the Golden Isles. Eli was born in Brunswick, but he also lived over on St. Simons Island, so it has always been Brunswick and the Golden Isles for him from the very beginning. So one day Eli finally made that song about his hometown, he wrote "Brunswick and the Golden Isles"! 
Eli Grimes made a lot of beautiful songs, worth to mention and to listen at. He loves to entertain the people and to touch their hearts, so he is still busy with his music. He met a lot of interesting people on his journey through rock n´roll and country music, he learned a lot and he gave a lot, all what he does comes straight from his heart and as I know Eli, in the short period, he will keep on going……
I cite Eli to end this article:” All my Life I have wanted my musical talent to somehow make a difference in this World, to leave more than just my footprints, or my music behind, when I leave this world. That is why I wrote and sang songs about saving animals lives, about stopping Violence and stop the killing of our innocent little children. I have also written songs to help raise awareness about the Homeless. With all the money we waste in this world if anyone goes hungry tonight we are all to blame and should be a shame. 
I may never make it to the top in the music business, but like my mother used to say to me if I had died before her, she was going to write all over my tombstone David Eli Grimes tried and tried and tried!
My talent is not in my song writing or singing it is my determination to make a difference in this world. I am not leaving this world until I do make a difference for at least one person. Now I have said what I wanted and needed to say to you. Thank you again for listening to me and my music and for caring and for sharing my story!”
(On the photo you can see Eli Grimes and Toby Keith in Iraq)

Barry P. Foley the American Troubadour, far away from home!

 

Barry P. Fooley is an American Troubadour and meanwhile an award winning singer & songwriter.

He grew up far away from the big cities, were you have a much better chance to get famous. His home has been the foothills of the mystical Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

He left his home quite a long time ago, a large family. His father had nine siblings and his mother 11, so I guess you know, there is a lot of cousinship to care for.

His family went to America in 1670, they came from Ireland and in his venous is also 1,25 % Indian blood, because one of his ancestor was married to an “Indian princess”.

 

Music walked always hand in hand with Barry, sure had to work real hard to be, what he is today.

He is now already performing for 17 years as a solo artist mostly based in Germany, he was opening act for 5 time Grammy Winner and Tejano Music Legend “Flaco Jimenez”, Honky Tonker “Dale Watson”, Canadian’s Best Known Family Bluegrass Group “The Goods” along with Grammy winning Tejano Band “Los Texmaniacs.”

Like in the tradition of the Troubadours, he’s armed with a ringing acoustic guitar and a strong voice to entertain the audience.

He has performed on many stages; he delighted the public with his ballads and other favorite songs. That very special kind of brand, with original music that he played for more than 41 years. 

If you think, that he is already 4 decades in the business of songwriting and performing, that is a real long time. His music included more than 800 songs of 400 very different artists. The Country Music roots  from the past meets the Country Songs of today, included Bluegrass, Irish Folk, Oldies, Rockabilly, Classic Rock, Swing, and R&B.

 

Barry is very popular in Germany; he made it in Europe, because he is a winner of three german country music awards, as “Song of the Year" in 2011 for “That Girl Who Sang Johnny Cash”, as "Album of the Year" for „The Crooked Road" in 2012 and as "Singer of the Year" in 2013.  I think that is really something to be proud of.

 

February 2013, his third album of original country songs has been released.  It called "Ruby's Cafe" and included 14 songs and features the great voices of five international country singers. There is Daniëlle Poot of The Netherlands, Ann Pascoe from New Zealand, fellow American singer, Daniel T. Coates & Michael Lonstar from Poland, and of course the beautiful Vivien Searcy of Sweden.

 

His song called "Never Leaving Texas" was already in the international radio charts at Nr.1. As the "Most Played Song" in European country music association, he reached Nr.2, spot on the Top 100 charts along with being the Nr.1, at the german country music airplay charts!

He is meantime an international well known artist and Germany's premier singer & songwriter, loved by so many people over here. Barry had a lot of radio hits throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Poland and Israel, with a lot of fans that longing for his music.

He could reach all of this, because he left his homeland, change it for another continent, to be famous in another country, far away from where he wanted to be. As so many other artists he had to leave home, it is so strange, that in his own country the people don´t see what kind of potential is in an artist like Barry P.Fooley, that he needed to leave first, to find fame far away from home. But Nashville, we are lucky, that you let him go – otherwise we would not have the possibilities we have now, to see and meet him whenever we want to. Barry P. Fooley made it, with his special kind of music and he can really be proud, of what he had to exhibit in all these years on country music road worldwide.

Carmen Mullins, my life as a coalminer’s daughter!

When Carmen was born into a music talented family, she grew up in between the coalfields of Southwest VA. Her roots got deep into the music and filled her life with joy, even it wasn´t an easy life.

When she was 15 years, she was already active in a lot of things that was going on around her hometown. Yes, she really got involved with the hard life in this area and she supported the community, whenever she could, even young at age. She also was busy with beauty pageants and very active during the coal miners’ strike, it still was dangerous and the conditions of coalminers were really bad. If you think at the past, the health condition and the highest rate of accidents of all states in America, Virginia was immediately spotted on sole lead position. There had not been much changed at all, in those years, so it was really a struggle, to live in the coalfields of Virginia. No wonder, that young Carmen stood up and fight against this mode of living. In those hard times, she got her first opportunity to perform for the very first time. The people loved her, and that girl that was filled with music, got motivated by this experience. This extraordinary performance gave Carmen the confidence that she needed to start a career as a singer.

She wanted to make her dream come true, as so many young girls in those days. She wanted to escape into a better world, for her family and for herself. Over all those years that came along, she wrote more than 500 songs, some of them finished and some of them not. She performed on a lot of venues, and was very successful. When she was about 20 years, she had a partner at her side, she loved so much, that she decided to settle down and get married, it was right at that point, when she honed her skills as a songwriter. Sometimes we do things, we regret later in life, but we can´t change the past, or anything what we did.

Life was real hard in those times and when her parents got ill, she was devastated, but this was not the end of fate, she had to undergo a divorce too. So Carmen stopped writing and singing over a long period of many years. Time went by, and Carmen could not connect to her career of the past.

When her mom passed away in 2009, she was so helpless and the pain was so deep, she took up writing again, to write all her feelings down, all the things, she had in her mind and all the things that burden her.

She did something wonderful, something, her mom would be very proud of, and something she got my deepest respect, she wrote a very beautiful and emotional song, about the struggle of her mom, called “Home”. Carmen created also a video of the struggle of her mother and she added her beautiful voice a cappella, to that video, the song she wrote for her mom, which she loved so much. If you hear and see that video, which is on the page too, you can feel the deep bond to her mom, to her family and the desire of the past.

Carmen went on with her life, even it still hurts and it is certainly a weak point in her life. We often think as humans, when things happen like this to us, when we lose someone we dearly - loved, why is the world still turning, why doesn´t  the world stop for a moment, why is life going on. I can understand Carmen’s feeling completely, and I think it is a very big declaration of love.

Carmen decided to move to Nashville, but she stayed there only for a stint of a few months. She really didn´t know, what to do with her life.

Carmen is a very social and a caring person, you can feel that, even if you don´t see her, only by the words, she is writing. She always has an encouraging word, when people need it. Carmen had this special love for music inside her and it sure will not leave her, she is so full of it, that she shares everything, compare to the music, she always shared other artist’s music and always will.

She was once asked by a friend to assist in promoting and booking in her company. So she thought that it could do not any harm to snoop around a bit in that job. She did it for a while and then decided to go off on her own with Carmen Mullins Lund promotions/booking and to join CMG records as promoter/booking contact. So Carmen changed her lifestyle, even she has a great voice and potential to get far in this business. But she can do a lot of good work, because of her ability to see star potential, right from the beginning. I wish Carmen all the luck in the world, because she is a very special person, and I´m glad we met, even it is only on Facebook, we both to be tuned to the same wavelength!

Cindy Watts Larson a multifaceted talent!

Cindy was born in Detroit/Michigan, she had a wonderful youth, with the best parents a child could ever have and she has also a younger brother. Cindy was so lucky, she was raised in the city of St. Clair Shore, and she was surrounded by all her family. Because they lived that close to each other, her paternal grandma lived just across the street and her maternal grandma, only 6 blocks away from their house.

The family was so close to each other that they spend a lot of time together, doing fun things almost every weekend, like camping, driving with the snow mobile( when snow was available), fishing and many more interesting things. If they got bored or felt low key, they went to the mall and walked around, did some window shopping or get them self a pretzel and a pop.

There life was filled with having a good time and so there went in the summer vacations to Kentucky, spend some time with family of her father or they went to Tennessee to see the family of her mom. Her father also liked to visit his high school buddy Jim and his wife Ruth. So during the summer, they went sometimes way up north, to stay with them and their three kids for a week. That was a highlight for Cindy and her brother, they really loved it.

Cindy was raised in a Baptist church community and every Sunday they went to church. They had a youth group, called “Baptist Youth fellowship” and Cindy was the president, she can remember a lot of things from those days. They made those camp retreats and they even performed the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”. And they had fun, for instance, they raised money for their retreats, and they called them “Rock-A-Thons, and guess what they did? They brought a rocking chair into the church basement, and someone had to rock 24 hours – nonstop – and if he didn´t do it like it was inherent, they got a big bucket of water dumped over his head….That must have been a cold and unforgettable experience!

Cindy did a lot of other things; she was so blessed to do so, she was fortunate to take piano and horseback riding lessons. She says about herself, that she is better in horse riding, than in playing a piano, but I doubt that, because Cindy is very musical. She knew from the beginning, with the experience to read music, she could get very far in her musical career.

She attended South Lake High School, from her nursery time until the 12th grade, and she made e a lot of friends in those days and can cherish memories that last a lifetime. Friends has always been very important to Cindy, she loved them and they had the time of their life together, doing things like riding bikes, jump ropes, and go on a long walk to a party store and get frozen snickers candy bars with Coke and having camp outs.  They loved to roller skating, and often skated 5 days a week or they went on a weekend to a family cabin of her best friend Debbie, or spending times at the Lake Michigan Lake.

Later Cindy got her driver’s license and she could embrace the world – freedom – finally she was mobile and that created undreamed possibilities.

Cindy also attended one year of college for pre-veterinary medicine, that took place at Ferris State College, but she thought, that the chemistry and calculus, would be a bit overwhelming!  So she decided to take a year off, to do what she wanted and what she liked and after waitressing for 6 months, she took her  mothers  advice and talked to the lady, that groomed their dog.  That lady would love to have Cindy at her side to apprentice her in the art of Pet Grooming. Cindy thought – why not and gave it a try. She learned fast and was on the pay roll after 6 weeks of training and has been grooming pets for over 28 years with the last 14 years being the owner of her own business!  

She started dating her lifelong friend after years of failed dating and by that way, she found her way from southern Michigan to northern Michigan. Guess what, when Cindy was 26 years, she married one of the sons of her father’s high school buddy Jim, that is amazing and I think that Cindy never gave a thought about that, when she used to play with him, when she was a kid. She became a Lutheran and has been married for 22 years, she has two kids and they still carry on the camping tradition.  She loves to quilt and won a lot of prices, and in fishing she is a hero too, she loves to do Women's Fishing Tournaments.  They are a pet loving family, they have dogs & cats and they all a happy family!

As we all know, Cindy Watts Larson is an amazing singer, an artist with extensiveness. She brings up a lot of unexpected possibilities and has so many different talents, and a very special one is country music.

In the USA, she is known by a lot of people, but also here in Europe, the people would be in a row at her feet. She is full of power, with a good and healthy deal of confidence and down to earth. An adorable and blitheful person, that laughs a lot. In one of her videos called “Get My Boots Wet”, she shows what you have to expect. Cindy a multifaceted talent from whom we will hear a lot more in the near future.

David Waddell, when dreams come true!

David was born 1953 in Orangeburg South Carolina, his life was filled with music and so he started playing & singing in the night clubs and strip joints at the Chitlin Circuit, in the Deep South, his professional career started, while he was working for a short period for “The Platters” in 1968.

In 1972, during the years of the Austin country rock scene, he was on tour with his band that you could find in the rock, blues & country genre. They had been the opening act in the Johnny Winter shows and they seem to find quite often in the Armadillo World Headquarters.

In 1976 he gravitates to Nashville and builds up a career as a session player, road musician & harmony singer. He worked with big names as Billy Joe Shaver, Kathy Mateo, Willie Nelson, Don Everly, Townes Van Zandt, Stella Pardon, The Carter Family, Richard Dobson, J.D. Sumner and The Stamps, J.J.Cale, Marshall Chapman, Bobby Whitlock (Derek and the Dominos), George Cummins(Dr.Hook), Pat McLaughlin, Doug Dillard, The Memphis Horns, Dicky Betts, Roy Buchanan, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham. There he started to write his own songs and did co-writing with really well known personalities, he worked for many publisher on country music row.

In 1981 David toured through California and recorded the J.J.Cale, placed on 8th position at Polygram records, before he turn his back and went back to Austin, were he worked with good old friends like Billy Joe Shaver, Townes Van Zandt, Lonny Mack & Stevie Ray Vaughn and also Wayne Hancock.

In 1987, David and his brother Leland made a band formation with Calvin Russell and so they start touring Europe for 5 years. In that time they recorded for the French label “New Rose” about 5 amazing records, with major success.

When he came back to Austin, he starts to record, produce and played on records by Blaze Foley, Sheri Frushay, Pat Mears, Jesse Taylor, Rich Minus, The Keepers and Jimi Hofer, a Swiss artist. He worked 2 years close together with Lonny Mack and worked also together with the legendary Ronnie Lane. He became friends with Blaze Foley and they equipoise “Live At The Outhouse”. This record went on spot 9 of the 10 best Texas records of all times.

David played on 2 CD´s of Pat Mears, which he also produced, 2 Cd´s of Rick Minus and 2 Cd´s of the Swiss artist Jimi Hofer. He was singing”Big Cadillac” on the Blaze Foley Tribute Cd Vol 2, followed by 3 CD´s with The Keepers. The song called “April In Paris”, is worth of mentioning, because David and Brad Bobinsky wrote this song. Davis also played on Jesse Taylors – “Texas Tattoo” and he wrote together with Billy Joe Shaver the song “Mother Trucker”

In 1997 David started his own band called “The Waddell Brothers Band”, so he could play his own creations. After the death of his friend Townes Van Zandt, he went back to Nashville, and co - produced together with Van Zandt´s widow, Townes archival recording “In The Beginning”, for Compadre Records. This all led to a record contract with TVZ Records, he made his first solo record called “ Last One To Know” and he got in touch with Bug Music Nashville, were he made a songwriter publishing deal. So it went well with David, after all these years of hard work and always being on the road.

In 1999 he recorded together with Sheri Frushay – “Scarlett Song”, and he won the I.C.M.A.G in the category “Best Artist”.

In October 2005, David and his brother Leland launched “Waddell Hollow records”. They recorded the CD of Blaze Foley´s, called “Wanted More Dead Than Alive”, this CD reached in 2005 at the Austin Chronicle Top 10, spot Nr.3. Then she was climbing to the second spot at the F.A.R Charts and won also in the same year, the first place, in the category “Historic”.

Since October 2006, David lives in Konstanz Germany on an Island, together with fellow musician Mark Wise, Roy File & Andi Gisler, he started a new band called “David Waddell & Hellbound Train”. He is touring with, or without the band through Europe and he is really successful, in what he does.

In 2007, they released their album called ”Truck Broke Down” and in 2009 they released the album “ Lone Star Over Texas”, today they are very well know in the European  country music festival scene, and the audience love them. They love to hear that hard-core, Texas outlaw country rock sound and their extraordinary life performance on stage.

In 2012 appeared the album “Anytown”, US recorded at the No Roof studios in Nijmegen Holland, with productions by Jos Haagmans & David Waddell. David is full of new ideas and he began another project in Konstanz Germany at the Human Touch studios, together with Patrick Wind, they started cutting tracks.

In all these years, David had a lot of highlights, but he made his way, he left his marks in country music, he did so many things, we didn´t mention, because it was so much, we could write for weeks.

David loves to be on stage, and that will stay, he is a real nice guy, down to earth, strong minded and he knows what he wants. This is what he wanted all his life, this is his dream, he lives his dream and I wish David a lot of luck for the future, because he deserves it.

Debby Smith - to roll with the punches!

 

Debby Smith lives in British Columbia - Canada, she is a real good country singer, with the heart on the right spot! In her near environment, there is the oil and gas industry, as the major employer in that area, but Debby wanted something different, she wants to be surrounded by music.

Debby is singing since she was 5 years old and she never stopped…it was always her special dream to become a country singer. She also loved photography and indulges it, whenever she can and as often as possible. 

Debby Smith has been in a couple of bands over the years, she did sing in the church and at a lot of weddings. But there was always this dream and then she started to focus a different way. In earnest a little late out the gate, but she had been waited all of her life, to pursue music, and now the time was right for her.

A lot of people noticed now, what a good artist she is, even though, she is already over 50 years, her love and devotion for country music is as young as her voice. The youthful and passionate music Debby is performing, is sentimental and an affair of the heart.

Debby married at a very young age, she was only 17 years old, but she still loves her husband, like the first day they met. To be married to the same man for 35 years, shows how consistent and faithful Debby is. She is not only the perfect wife for her husband; she is also a wonderful, warm hearted woman, friendly, caring and very loyal and not to forget a real good country singer.

 

A few words of Debby, I cite, quote, I have been blessed to record some great tracks. I like to sing songs that I hope touch people. I like to sing thoughtful songs. I like to sing emotional songs, not necessarily sad ones, and happy songs too, but songs that evoke some kind of emotion, unquote.

Debby made a new song, that is really beautiful, and she said about it, I cite, quote, I hope people want to hear this song. It is a beautiful song it is called “You Can Always Reach Me” It is letting people know that if we want to, we can reach each other, unquote.

 

Debbie loves ballades, but she lost her heart to country music, she loves it so much. She likes to record, and spice things up with a fast beat, no matter what it is, she will sing it. I asked her who inspired her in music.

She told me and I like to cite Debby again, quote, I am inspired by so many people, too numerous to say. I grew up around music. My Uncle had a band going pretty much all of my growing up years. They would have these huge jam sessions at night (when I was supposed to be in bed sleeping) and it was so exciting I couldn't sleep and sometimes they would let me get up and I would take it all in, and try to participate where I could. I was quite young, maybe 7 or 8 years old when I remember first really paying attention to the jam sessions, which took place in my grandparent’s house. Even though Country Music was starting to change, and I grew up around country, they played and listened to old country classics. It was a great time, unquote.

 

Debby is a very special and wonderful person, she can make a lot of things happen, and it is unbelievable. At my birthday in April, Debby send me “Happy Birthday” wishes and asked me, what kind of song, I would love to hear, she could sing a lot, she said. So I told her I love “Mary Did You Know”. She told me than, to be sorry, but she didn´t had that song in her repertoire and she send me another real good song called “How Great Thou Art”.  Debby did it perfect…I really loved it.

Later when I looked at my mails, there was another message of Debby, she send me the song I loved “Mary Did You Know”. She got him and she was singing it……just for me…That song was amazing and it was terrific what Debby did, just to make my day.

I can say that this woman is a real good entertainer, who manage 1000 things in a wink….And hereby I thank you again for that wonderful song, that touched my heart….love you for that Debbie!

Sometimes you meet people who come from out of nowhere, they appear and you feel, you know them all your life, I have this feeling with a lot of country singer here in Fair Play Country Music and Debby sure is one of them.

There are so many more things to tell about Debby, her life wasn’t easy, but she made it. I have deepest respect for people that fight to be back in life. But you have to wait, and be patience, because that will be written in the book, we make. So you have to hang on for a while…smile.

Gary Lee Tolley a man that made his dream comes true!

From the Mountains of Virginia, where his passion already began, young at age. Singing in the school or at the church, he liked it so much and it grew with every day. When he finished High School, he joined the army and his musical initial had a break. It stopped for a while, but it was still there. He sang and performed, when he got the opportunity to do so. In 1985, when he was positioned in Germany, he started to play guitar. When he was retired from military service, he start building up his career with a kind of constancy and on that way, he find a few fans that followed him, and it grew when time went by.

Gary is also a winner of the Grammy for Independent artists, with his Tybee Time CD. He was so changeable like a chameleon; he started to be a singer, a songwriter and record producer, he switched in between those three jobs and he felt good about it.

A lot of people compared his voice to big stars and legends like Kenny Chesney, Roy Orbison or Elvis Presley, but he wasn´t a copy of them. He was his own maker, his own personality and he made his own kind of music. In between real country music and blue grass, you could spread it in a lot of directions. That made him so special and the fact, that he wants to tell a story with his songs and give it a touch of funny tale. He is a real storyteller, with a warm and pleasurable voice. Of course he was influenced by other artist like Hank Williams and Elvis, but he created the country singer Gary Lee Tolley by himself.

Gary´s career took him a long way and so in 2012 he had about 100000 votes in a radio contest, and that made him to come to Las Vegas, where he was guest on Fox 5 TV and in the Palace Station Casino. There he performed his song “She’s Gone”.

Gary´s Cd release made him appear in Nashville, where he recorded with the best musician, he could find. He produced “Thanks A Lot”, his 5th CD project.

Now he is on his way again to the Music City Nashville to record his 5th studio CD. He already made 6 music Cd´s and a Christmas CD at home. So Gary is a quite busy man and on his travel through time he landed a few hits, and when you see him perform, you know that this is the place, where he belongs.

To end this article, I think it would be nice to quote his own words; he used to give once to a reporter, which interviewed him.
So this is what Gary Lee Tolley told him: quote, “Performing music was not part of growing up in my immediate family. We would listen to country music on the stereo on Sunday afternoons with my parents, but no one played an instrument. I remember listening to Elvis and Chuck Berry with my brother and sister. I went to dances with my older sister in the late 50s and I remember dancing the “Twist” with my sister’s classmates. I had aunts, uncles and cousins that played music, through. I remember visiting my uncle one time and he and his sons were playing on the front porch and I remember thinking how magical it seemed. To be able to make music and sing and put smiles on people´s faces. It was like a cool drink of water, when you are thirsty, or a good meal, when you are hungry. People have always enjoyed music, it creates magic. I remember thinking; I want to be able to do that!”,unquote.

So I think there is nothing left to say!

Greg Hunt the lone wolf!

Greg was born on September 2, 1960 in Augsburg Germany, because his father served in the American military. Greg didn´t remember these days, he was much too little. In 1962, when he started to get interested in his surrounding, because he made his first baby steps in this new world, his parents moved back to the United States.

Greg Hunt grew up, with the bible, because his grandfather was a preacher. Enlace with the word of God and a lot of spiritual gospel music, he was very well prepared for his future career.

Greg loved to sing gospel music and I guess, the Lord elected him to spread his word in a different way, not to talk about the bible, no – he wanted Greg to bring the feeling and the joy and the true meaning of this wonderful kind of music into the world.

It wasn´t easy for young Greg, he had two brothers and two sisters, and he had to fight real hard for acceptations in between this big family. In fact, it was a quite hard time for him, not only because of the numerous brothers and sisters, he had to deal with, no - he was not able to make great demands on anything, he had to share everything. But the worst of all was that he had to switch from school to school, foe 14 times, during these years and always been the “new guy”, that wasn´t funny at all. In this combination, he never could make real, true friends, those guys you need, when you grow up.

You could compare Greg, with the lonesome white wolf that was wandering around, targeted, had here and there a few encounter with some male conspecific, but never the mass confrontation in between the pride, not even think of being a top dog. It is maybe a strange example, but it could give you by this way, a view of the situation Greg had to deal with. Not to be included in a group of teenager, which hang around, he was always the “lone wolf” somehow, and that impressed the life of Greg and his future. It was kind of rough, he could not bear it and he certainly didn´t like it!

But he had to compromise, find a way to handle the situation and so he took band and chorus in high school. He played by ear, that was his special kind of talent. His first band was in high school, in Grayson Co Kentucky, called “Cotton Mouth”. So as you see, music didn´t left him, it didn´t change, it stayed with him, close to his heart & soul.

Greg played in a lot of other bands during his travel and in the 90s, it had been the Saturday Night Special, The Breeze, County Outlaws, Rough Country, Hillbilly Kool and Tempted. He made his way into the music world of Nashville in 1995 and he left the music city in 1998. Greg was fighting a big battle with himself and he struggled with a lot of life experiences. He has been married twice, found love and lost it, got divorced, always searching for the true love. From his first marriage, he got two kids in the age of 34 & 32, and in his second marriage he had three kids in the age of 19, 16 and 14. Three boys and two girls, but he surely loves them, with his heart & soul.

In his heart, there was so much space. In the first place, there was always the love to the lord and certainly to Gods great creations.  You can see how sentimental Greg is in his kind of world, like when he is spending a lot of time in the mountains, or at the park by the river, just feeding ducks. You need that sentimentality, to be an artist, if you are not sensitive, you will never make it. The sentimentality is the “spark” to flash over to the audience.

Greg is a single dad, looking still for that very special person, but I think, as I know Greg now, he will find her!

Greg Hunt´s music is full of surprises, he is so changeable, his music genre is to find in between country, gospel, blues and rock. He has a young and fresh voice, to focus on his music. You can find all his feelings, his emotions, which he took with on his travelling through the years, in his songs. His ex brother in law, Marshall Law, you could say, put the fever in Greg, as far as playing and writing. Greg walks around open minded, by that way; he sees a lot, that he uses for his songs, you could say, he is inspired by the people he meet all over America.

Greg made 37 songs with B M I; He has 27 new songs, he need to record soon. He loves to write songs and so you could say, his main interest at the moment, is his writing career. He writes all style of music and tries to help others to get their breaks. Greg is a very talented writer and musician, I love his music, and my favorite songs are „From The Mantle”, “The Lonesome Call” and “Part Time Family”.

I hope that Greg Hunt will have the big break himself, because he is a very caring and interesting person, from my point of view, underestimated and surely worth to listen at. A musician that stays young in his heart & soul forever!

Jim Elrich, music helped him through the sad times!

Jim Elrich was born in 1964 in Columbus Ohio. His family was real big and he was one of 6 kids, he also had an older brother, which died in 1960, so he never had the chance to know him. His parents had to go through a lot, because of losing their first son. But for Jim it was also a hard time, because it was a very brutal environment, in which he grew up. Little Jim had seen many times, that his father beat his mother so badly, that she was battered from head to toe. Jim asked himself often, how she managed to survived these attacks.

In all these misery, there has been a little highlight and I guess his musical career was literal predetermined already young at age, because his father taught him early how to play some simple chords on the guitar. He never had a clue how you read music and until today he still can´t do it, nobody teaches him, it was always there, he could feel and hear the music, that carried him in so many situations.

Finally after a lot of suffering for the whole family his parents divorced in 1974, Jim and his brothers and sisters stayed with their mom. It was a very hard time growing up like this; the only thing what had left of the memories of his father existence was a guitar that stayed behind. This guitar was a real healing procedure for Jim, because he could play and think and learn so many new chords and then he knew how to write this music, he loved so much. Writing was real easy for him, because he had so much to tell, he had already a large history, with a lot of stories, so it flowed like water out of his mind.

His mom love country music so much and so a few other family members, that love to play music, came together once in a while and they jammed together. That was a real nice time and Jim loved it, he started to make up his mind, to find his way.

Jim´s father passed away in 2000, his only contact to the family was his son Jim, he had build up a good relationship to him, but only to him. This relationship started in 1994; his grandparents had their 65th wedding anniversary. They told Jim, that his father was going to be there too, but Jim didn´t fear him, because at that time he was a Deputy Sheriff, strong and without fear. It was the first time he seen his father in years, what he saw, was an empty and broken man, but they talked and so they started to get to know each other. They came together sometimes and they played their music, which was a very special connection between them both. Jim even took his wife and kids to visit his father, because there was no fear anymore.

On May 15th 1995, he got a very important message; they want him to appear at the Charlie Daniels Talent Round Up. He had been chosen out of a lot of talented people, so he had to come to the show in Nashville Tennessee. For Jim his career started with that special moment, he was lucky and he went with his best friend Dan to Nashville, and his parents has been very proud of him. Dan became a nervous wreck, you should think, he had to make the audition, and he drank a lot of bottles Pepto Bismol, that finally made Jim nervous too. The funny thing was that Jim was allowed to bring one person with him during that audition, but with that alcohol level poor Dan already had pulsating through his veins and his head, he wasn´t even able to sit in the audition.

Jim can remember every single step he made and so he said about the audition, I cites as follows:” I had a list of song that I could play, I chose “The Dance” by Garth Brooks and an original that I had written, “There Must Be A Reason”. So with the lights and cameras all set up and rolling I began to play, I felt so good and comfortable, it was like it was meant to be. I was even told by one the producers that I would more than likely be chosen to make the show. I played every day to learn new songs and to be honed up to play on national TV and in front one of my icons Charlie Daniels!”

 

On July 18th 1995, Jim received a letter from the Executive Producer Allen Reid, he told him, that the show had been suspended and that TNN was not going to renew the contract for Charlie Daniels Talent Round Up. Jim was totally devastated; he was so close to his dream and now it all fall to pieces. He kept on playing and practicing, he kept on dreaming, that his music would be heard one day, it never left him. He wrote song by song and the years went by and by.

But luckily he had his career in the law enforcement, in his words he said, I cite as follows:”Domestic Violence was a pet peeve of mine, growing up like we did. We encountered many during my time in law enforcement. In 2009 I tore my left rotator cuff in three places taking down a man that had beaten up his wife and hitting his son. After the surgery I went back to work light duty until I could go back out on the road. I was having back problems during that time, and it kept getting worse and come to find out I needed surgery. In February of 2010 I had surgery that didn’t go so well. I ended up having to have a second emergency back surgery. I was then told that my career in law enforcement had come to an end, that my injuries were permanent and lifetime. So it gave me more time to focus on my music once again. I started networking meeting new people and then in March of 2011, I was offered a contract to sign with Tate Music Group out of Mustang, Oklahoma!”

 

And finally after all these years of dreaming, on June the 1st, Jim made his first CD titled “I Don’t Want To Be Forgotten”, he reached that, with a little help of a friend, which sponsored him, it was his buddy Butch Witherspoon!”

In December 6th 2011, his CD was released national, so far things went well. I think the next few words are better said by Jim himself, so I cite his own words:” My mother was so proud of me and cried when she heard my CD for the first time. I had also given a CD to my Uncle Bill and he had a stereo that, let’s just say when I would go over to visit him, he could not hear me walk in he was playing it so loud. That made my day!

I succeed the front page of my home town paper the Record Herald and also the Circleville Herald. I then came into contact with Clays Country Radio out of Derry Ireland and submitted a few songs of mine. I also submitted my music to The Voice and had received a letter from them to appear for an audition on The Voice on February 16th of 2013. My uncle lost his second wife and his health was not the best and I choose to not go to the audition, that and my mother was not in the best of health either. So that left me to make sure that my uncle was taken care of. He was a purple heart World War II Veteran. He was like a father to me growing up when I needed one, and I felt it was my turn to return the favor and not think about myself. I cancelled the audition and they even called me back asking me why, and stated with what they had heard with my music that I would more than likely make the show. I told them that my family needed me and that they come first. I was surprised when NBC called me and asked me to try again in the next season. That never happened either, my uncle passed away in April of 2013. I kept up with my networking after the passing of my uncle, and in September of 2013 I won Independent Best Male Artist Of The Year on Clays Country Radio. It was the highlight of my career and I gained exposure from it making new friends and contacts that I would not have dreamed of making!”

It is so sad, that Jim lost his mother this year on May 13th. In the past, he could call her, every time he wrote a new song; he phoned her up and played it just for her. He will miss these private and very close moments with his mother, because it is hard to lose someone, I can tell.

Jim is still hoping and follows his dream, that one day someone will sing his songs or he will sing them, that his songs will be heard by a lot of people.

Music was always a big part of Jim´s life and it always will be. He was inspired by his family and friends, and his caring wife Marsha supported him already 23 years with his dreams. She has been his biggest fan and the one that push him with his music, every time he has his ups and downs. She is there when he needs her, at the right time, she tells him to keep on going. Jim also has a daughter called Brittany, and a son called Colton, and of course he has three grandchildren called Bridget, Maggie and Abby. A happy family all connected in music for so many years and we wish Jim, that he finally reach his goal and find his way on the country music road that leads him to success!

Joe Navrath, the change of my life!

Joe Navrath changed his life, after working 25 years as an Ag teacher and FFA Advisor. He went into country music, so he made a very big step into another direction. Joe and his son Laramie started later a record studio & a publishing company called “Sugartime Music”.

Inspired by his next door neighbor’s brother, which has been a songwriter for Buck Owens. Do you want to know a secret? A part of Buck Owens song “Plastic Trains Paper Planes”, was written at Joe’s house. Isn´t that interesting!

Joe always wanted to write and so he started and wrote his first song, but that was terrible, a real awful start. But Joe didn´t give up, he believed in himself and started over and over again. Now he can proudly present a few records like “Original American Classic Country”, “Introducing”, “Real Country”, and his latest “Keeping it Country”, and

he is working on a brand new album right now.

Joe is still performing from time to time, but he prefers writing songs and working with friends in the studio. He is also a member of BMI and belongs to the NSAI and the Oklahoma Country Music Singer’s Association. Music is in his blood, it pulse in his venous. Joe has been singing in church too, for several years, one day a week, since a long time.

His kind of songs are pure country, they are about love, with a certain kind of humor and some realism, hidden deep inside. The lyrics are real heart felted; most people in the audience can find themselves in these songs.

As a father of two daughters and one son, he was always quite busy, and now since the kids grown up, the next two generation are on the road, to be entertained by their grandfather. Joe has four grandchildren, and already four great grandchildren, so I think a lot of adventures will be written in the family history.

Joe Navrath loves to go out into the nature, and then he takes his dog Champ for a daily long walk, in the woods at his home place. He loves those peaceful moments and while he is walking, he can think about his next songs.

 

Joe still plays and sings with his “Sugar Time Music Band”. Even his grandson Harrison is infected by country music; that is no surprise at all. Harrison plays guitar and the drums, in the band. So no thoughts about retirement in country music for the future, because Joe is much too busy, and who will stop a man with those ambitions!

Kayleigh Leith, wrapped in music from soft to dynamite

Kayleigh Leith, a young woman I met this year, she is real, she is honest and she is full of energy.

She was raised in the steel – and - glass big City of Pittsburgh, started her journey in Pennsylvania, went to Las Vegas and then to New York, and guess what – she ended up in a small village in Holland. Why? – Because she followed the love of her life!

Her dad was teacher and together they sang in the church and at a lot of parties. They even had their own karaoke machine and so they spend quite a lot of time with it.

Kayleigh always liked to be in the spotlights and get that kind of attention, she loved it, when people gave applause and wanted to hear them sing. After initially trying to purser a music education, she stopped that, because she didn´t want to teach music, she wanted to bring the music into the world, with her songs and her own ideas.

She started in music in 2008, she fell in love with a Dutch guy and they lived in New York, than he decided to go back home to Holland and Kayleigh said:”Well I go with him, and If I don´t like it, I can go home!”

And then she followed the voice of her heart and went across the big Atlantic and ended up in Holland. In a very small, rustic town, with cows, and horses, and pigs and chicken. She started liking it, it was cool and so peaceful, and considering that she first lived in New York, it was a very big change.

She always made things positive even during hard times, she was true to herself. She lives by the motto:” Everything happens for a reason” and maybe her big dreams will come true some day. Even in bad times she thought positive and a few of her best songs were written in those days.

She was homesick and lonely, didn´t felt well and then she started writing her stories, even she never considered herself as a songwriter. These stories inside her and her feelings made her walk on a different way, a way that never, ever would had cross her mind and so she started a career far from home.

In 2009, she made a little demo of three songs, together with her husband. She had so much to say and so she wrapped it in her songs, her real feelings, those she kept deep inside herself.

Than out of a sudden she was asked to appear on stage and when she came there, she was shocked. She had to present herself in front of unbelievable 30.000 people. She thought, if that is possible, anything is possible! If people like my songs, I can make it and she did.

A lot of people started to get interested in Kayleigh Leith, that girl from Pittsburg, so she released her album “Miles Away”, and guess what – you can imagine it is all about her feelings, being far away from home.

It was a kind of mixture between pop and country, but this album got worldwide attention and so Kayleigh went to hit the road on a Miles Away Tour. She was seen in and heard in the radio, in clubs and on many festivals in Europe and America. Her highlights in that time have been the appearance in the Bluebird Café in Nashville TN, and the USO show for US troops in Germany! She loved it and so her journey began to become a real base, so when she was on tour 2012 in Nashville, she started writing with a lot of top songwriters. She met Rob Crosby and he took Kayleigh under his wings, so she started recording her second album “Woman”, and Rob Crosby was her acting producer. This album is full of pop, blues & rock, with a lot of passion. It is wrapped in a good sound on a high standard. Multifaceted in the pitch, it is a pleasure to listen to it.

She has been since put into the spotlights of several countries; she is growing in country music and still keeping up her roots in the pop based new country. She does not present traditional country and sometimes when she and band get on stage, the people don´t know what to say, because they play a bit harder than they thought, but people like it and a lot of those people changed their minds about the new kind of country music she presents. She likes what she does, you can see and feel that and if she is happy, the public is happy too.

Kayleigh Leith has her own kind of style, that rock. She has a strongly opinion, in what she wants to do and were she wants to be in country music, and that distinguish her from a lot of other artists. She is small, smart and very cute and above all she has very important things to say.

That is what she does in all her lyric, she gets to the point, with every single song she is singing. Lot of dynamite with a good portion of rock, in her beautiful voice makes the songs sell them self. She is not only dynamite, she also can sound very softly, lovely and melodic; she is a package full of surprises.

Kayleigh Leith the young woman, that didn´t change, because people told her so, she remains true to herself, and that is what people like about her and the music she creates.

She found her dream in a far away country, had to leave her home, her family, her friends, but she found the love of her life and the country music she wants to present! So dreams can come true!!!!

Marcel Elisen started in Rock´N` Roll

 

Marcel Elisen was born on the 01th of January in 1968. His career started in the early 80’s as a Elvis Presley impersonator. In the mid of 1980, he renounced his Elvis suits and in 1985 he released his first single, "Rock Me." In the late 80’s, Marcel was in the supporting program at concerts of famous Dutch artists, like Lee Towers, René Froger, Gerard Joling, Piet Veerman, Rob de Nijs and others. His television debut was in 1993 in "The Henny Huisman Sound Mix Show" on RTL4, when he performed the song "Jacky" by Scott Walker. Later that year, Marcel went to Memphis Tennessee for a 10 day mini-tour. There he performed every night with "The Silver Eagle Band" in "Hernando’s Hideaway".

In 2003 Marcel puts his singing career on the backburner and decides to devote more time to painting, another passion of him. 

At the end of 2010, Marcel Elisen decided to make music again. He recorded a Christmas album - “Merry Christmas", followed by a country album - „Rock and Roll sings Country." Marcel’s repertoire is a mix of Rock and Roll, Country and Golden Oldies. In 2012 Marcel had 8 shows in Memphis Tennessee and when he returned to the Netherlands, he recorded 29 Elvis Presley songs for a double CD called "Memphis Memories". Later that year he recorded another album with Dean Martin songs, called "The King of Cool".

 

In May 2013 Marcel returned to the USA again, to do shows in Tennessee and North Carolina. He appeared for the first time in two American newspapers with a picture and a interview. He released his album "Rock and Roll Cowboy" and a few months later, Marcel was back again in the US, to do a few more shows in North- and South Carolina. The Kings Mountain Police Department represented by the Chief of Police, hand of a special coin to him, for Excellence. When he returned home, he wrote the song “Kings Mountain". In the fall of 2013 he was back in the studio, recording the album "Slowly towards Fifty". This album is a joint project of Marcel and his friend Ron Verpoorten.

 

In June and July 2014, Marcel will be back in the US, to do more shows for his quickly growing fan base in North Carolina. In 2014 there are two CD releases are planned; the album "Slowly towards Fifty" and a gospel CD. For 2015 a double Cd album is planning, to celebrate Marcel Elisen´s 30 years, as a recording artist.

Change of Key, right from the heart!

The Dutch combination “Change of Key”, shall be presented during a performance by Marijke, she took over the lead- & harmony vocals, keyboard/piano & finger-picking guitar, Daniëlle, she takes care about the lead- & harmony vocals, rhythm guitar & mandolin and last but not least Joop, the only man in the group, he takes care about the harmony vocals, rhythm guitar, dobro, blue sharp, banjo & lap steel.

In 2001, Daniëlle met Marijke & Joop de Jong of the “The Mary Kee Country Company”, during a benefit concert, they got along quite well and at the same evening they spontaneously decided to perform that night. This was the beginning of a new collaboration, it went steady and well and so they made again an important decision, they changed their name into, very convenient, into “Change Of Key”.

The heartwarming and amazing voice of Daniëlle, the pleasant & beautiful harmony and of course the different instruments, made it so different and gave their repertoire, the suitable finishing. The audience was more than interested and loved to listen to their music.

In 2007, after several years of hard work, they released their first album called “Home Is Were My Heart Is”, all original songs. This album was rewarded in 2008, with the Dutch CMA Award. It was a great year for the trio; they also received an award for female singer, song, duo/trio and instrumentalist.

So, it was no surprise at all, that they released their second album, with a double CD in 2012, called “When Music Calls My Name”. Both of the albums are, the musical flesh out, was recorded in Arkansas USA. Tim Crouch, fiddle and mandolin player assisted Change of Key with the arrangements and Tim also playing on both albums. The vocals mix and the mastering, is made in the studio in the Netherlands.

In the year 2013, Daniëlle won the Dutch CMA award for female singer again and “Change of Key” was proud to get the Dutch CMA for duo/trio, but the most incredible moment was, when the three extraordinary musicians received the Award for Album of the year 2013, for their album “When Music Calls My Name’!

Their music is a mix of country & bluegrass, easy listening and interaction with the audience, is their passion. The repertoire of their music is a healthy mixture of cover and original songs, written by Daniëlle and Marijke. They toured through Canada in 2009, the USA in 2011, and throughout Europe in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

At the moment they perform with their new show “Country Music On The Porch”. Like a lot of other country singers in the Netherlands they find their way back to the roots of country music. A big carination started in Holland, and “Change Of Key”, is one of those bands, that find their way back home in country music -  no wild drums or screaming guitars, to attach the importance of the voices & harmony, is the ambition and the focus, for the music highlights of Change of Key.

As a reporter of a Dutch Newspaper said in her column, I cite:

“Change of Key brings Country Music straight from the heart!”

Joop: What can I tell you about Joop, the musical inspiration came quite late of age, as young kid he lived on a farm, and football was much more important to him, then playing instruments. But as he turned into 15, there was a friend of his sister that played guitar, so he taught Joop his first steps in finger picking. His first band was more in the genre of blues at home; there he started as a bassist, this band, with the name "Blues Again", was at the end of 70s a very well known band with a lot of stage performances. Touring through France, wild parties at the Dutch island of Texel, the blues feeling was on the run, but Joop had the thought, that there was something missing, in the music he created. By a good friend, that guy rehearsals with another band in the same exercise room, as Joop´s band did, he was informed, that they were looking for a drummer. Joop could play the drums, because he taught himself, and so he thought, maybe is country music (that was the music, what the other band played), more made for him. So he made the decision, to step over to the Country band “Tension”. Besides the drum, he could play also guitar and bass guitar, because the members of the band loved to rotate with the instruments. Joop was looking for something, which covered his feelings in music, he didn´t only found that, he also found in between this music, the love of his life. He wants to share everything with her, not only music, but also all of his life!

 

Marijke: Young at age, Marijke already knew that she had ambition in music. She composed, as little girl, at the back of her moms moped, complete songs…..as funny as it sounds, she really did. When they have been on the way to her grandparents, she was constantly singing. Her big brother taught her the art of playing an accordion, but not by teaching lesson, no way – Marijke just seen it and she did it, she had no patience for lesson. At the age of 17, she was in her first band called "What's New", with South American influences, and she played guitar and was the vocal. But her first love was country music, so she started her own band named “Tension”, back to the roots, of her musical feelings. The search for a drummer brought her the love of her life! Joop came and never left again and after several years, they changed into the band “The Mary Kee Country Company. From the mid 80s they were to find at events, parties and festivals, their first single that was recorded called "She's Single Again”.

 

In de daar opvolgende jaren wordt veel opgetreden. Langzamerhand ontwikkelt The Mary Kee Country Company een uitgebreid repertoire. De muzikale aspiraties van Marijke en Joop groeide. Naast het spelen van covers wilden ze ook zelf nummers componeren en van tekst voorzien. De eerste liefde van Marijke achter op de brommer in haar kindertijd.  De ideeën worden uitgewerkt en er wordt hard gewerkt aan de voltooiing van een aantal songs. De reacties binnen de country scène in Nederland gaf hun de moed om in 1990 de stoute schoenen aan te trekken om eens in Amerika te gaan onderzoeken hoe daar de promotie van songs werd aangepakt. Tijdens dit bezoek schreef The Nashville Network, een tv -station die zich louter en alleen met country muziek bezig hield, net een talentenjacht uit. Volgens Joop was het handig om alleen al voor de ervaring hieraan mee te doen. Tevens werd gezocht naar een studio en musici om van de zelfgeschreven songs een aantal demo's te laten maken. Tijdens een bezoek aan een van de bars met life-music, kwamen ze in contact met Dan Schafer. Deze begenadigde gitarist en zanger, maakte een aantal demo’s van het eigen materiaal. Met veel motivatie, indrukken en enthousiasme voor de muziek, keerden het echtpaar huiswaarts. Een koffer vol met boeken, over: "The Craft of songwriting" , de ins en outs over de verschillende manieren van componeren, werd in de maanden na hun trip verslonden. In november van 1990 werd er gebeld uit Amerika, Marijke had in de  talentenjacht van The Nashville Network de kwart finale bereikt! Of ze in februari 1991 in Nashville kon zijn, voor de t.v. opnames voor het vervolg van deze talentenjacht. Om eerlijk te zijn, was zij deze talentenjacht al vergeten. Met behulp van Conamus en de K.R.O. werden de financiële middelen gevonden om deze trip te maken. De finale heeft ze niet gehaald, maar de t.v. opnames, het uitvoeren van een eigen song, de hele entourage, heeft diepe indruk op haar gemaakt. Het heeft haar ook gesterkt in het geloof om door te gaan met eigen liedjes. Door de fans in Nederland werd na dit gebeuren, aangedrongen op het uitbrengen van een cd. Natuurlijk stond dit boven aan het verlanglijstje! Een cd in eigen beheer opnemen is een financiële aderlating.Temeer omdat ze beiden wel in het hoofd  hadden om dit dan wel in Amerika te doen samen met Dan Schafer. Er werd een beroep gedaan op fans, familie, vrienden e.v.a. om op voorhand een cd. te kopen en met dat geld konden de opnames dan bekostigd worden. In het najaar van 1991 werden, in nog geen vier weken tijd, genoeg cd's verkocht om het plan te kunnen uitvoeren. Met Wim Vonk van Hitsound Records werd overeengekomen dat hij de cd zou persen en uit zou brengen. Naast alle optredens en promotionele activiteiten, werd in de winter van 1991 de laatste hand gelegd aan de songs voor de cd.  Tapes werden over en weer gestuurd met Dan Schafer, correcties op teksten werden uitgevoerd, ideeën over de invulling van instrumenten uitgewisseld, veranderingen aan arrangementen werden doorgevoerd, een ongelooflijk hectische maar fijne tijd.

Februari 1992, eindelijk is het zover. Marijke en Joop vertrekken voor een periode van vier weken naar Nashville om hun c.d. op de gaan nemen.  In juni van dat jaar wordt met een groots buiten evenement op de Markt in Gouda, deze cd. "Worth Waiting for" gepresenteerd. Allemaal eigen composities, de hand in arrangementen en de opnames gehad. Een mooie bekroning op jarenlang hard werken.

In de jaren die volgden werd er veel en vaak opgetreden en natuurlijk is de liefde voor
componeren niet gedoofd. Eind jaren ’90 werden verschillende songs door anderen, West Virginia Railroad, Jany Szabo e.a. op de plaat gezet.

 

Daniëlle

Als klein meisje zat zij al achter het orgel van haar vader, versjes te verzinnen. Ging ze naar haar vriendinnetjes waar een piano stond, wilde ze alleen daar nog maar mee/op spelen. Ook zingen was haar lust en haar leven en een haarborstel werd gebruikt als denkbeeldige microfoon. Al was ze een verlegen meisje, toch had ze het lef om auditie te doen voor de hoofdrol in de musical van de basisschool. Daar ligt dan ook de grondslag voor haar muzikale carrière, want ze kreeg die rol toegewezen. Toch duurde het nog een aantal jaren voordat ze weer zou gaan zingen en optreden. Ze werd gevraagd voor een 25-jarige bruiloft van een kennis en daardoor ging ze zich oriënteren op een aantal songs met orkestband. De nummers van de eerste Cd van Shania Twain raakte haar muzikale snaar en naast een allround repertoire legde ze zich toe op de muzieksoort die haar hart had gestolen: Country. Na een aantal succesvolle jaren met een allround kwartet te hebben gewerkt, kroop het bloed waar het niet gaan kon, ze wilde meer country muziek brengen.

Country Music Fair in Bergheim Germany

April 2014

High expectations – that fall to pieces!

The event took place in a kind of gymnasia, a few security guys at the door and right behind them sales booth, with guitars and cd´s and artist information points. To the left there was a little scaffolding for the entertainers.

When you went down the cellar you came to the “Bluebird café”, and every now and then an artist gave a performance.

When you walked into the next room, there was a large coliseum, in front of it a big stage, with a dance floor and a few chairs arranged in about 10 lines. Behind it a tables with chairs to make the people sit down and watch the shows. It wasn´t that creative, people could have done better, they need more inspiration and fantasy to fascinate the people with a certain kind of look, something to blow them away, if you walk into the room. The first impression is very important!

There was a very large sales counter to the left, that need a special touch, it was everywhere so bare faced and cold, kind of uncharitable.

A few sales booth as well and information points, but nothing to knock their socks off

It really was a shame for the floor in this hall, with all those people walking around…..Everybody knows, that it is not allowed, to walk with shoes over those kind of grounds, because it damage the floor. For the next venue, people could be advised, to buy an industrial carpet, he can be used again for the next fair and above all, it would protect the floor. It would have been a good investment for the future.

In the next hall, there have been more stands, special with label company´s and artist and here too, a few sales booths for example with clothes and cowboy hats.

Mark Merritt was the only big label company with “Amazing Records” around; if he wouldn´t have been there, it would have been a disaster, because he brought most of the artists with him.

Mark Merritt - is also a very nice American country singer, with a great voice and someone that inspires the audience. He is the man behind a lot of things, like CD production, distribution and promotion of a lot of good artists….like for example, Memphis Sky, Wild Bunch (Katja Picker), Kayleigh Leith, Mike O´Donoghue, Michael Lonstar and Barry P. Fooley, and a lot of other artists.

Compared to Mark Merritt’s Stand, there was Eddy Gee, a very pleasant and nice country singer from Holland. Eddy was there with his wife, which supports him so much in his career.  Next to him was Jeffrey Backus, which is the son of a former pop singer, by the name of Gus Backus. Jeffrey has quite a good voice…..and looks like his father. He was there with his cohabitee, also a very nice young lady.

A lot of artist, too much to name them all, did their best to keep the fair going, without them it had nothing to represent. The artists and bands, where the highlights of those days, they made the people happy, made them smile and they touched their hearts, either in his own way.

What people really missed on this fair was gospel country. They had heard so many cover versions of Johnny Cash, that day, but there is more in country music. At the moment, it is very single track guided and that is a great pity. It should not point in only one direction; there is a lot to reconsider.

A little bit of adverse fate was multi - present. Human failure and technical failing, walked hand in hand. Very important things, make a big difference, little and big things, needs a lot of attention for the next venue to come.

On Friday they had apparently a little problem with the electricity, because at 10.00 pm the sales booth owner didn´t had any light anymore…..Salesman talking here and there - Someone said, with a smile in his face …,quote, „it looked like, they didn´t want us here anymore…..!!!!, unquote.

For intended events, the hosts should know, to get more food stands, because it wasn´t enough. People went to other places, away from the venue, and that isn´t good. Walking away is never good, in any circumstances. There wasn´t much choice in food and some of the food was sold out in no time. If you want to make the people happy, give them alternation in food….long days make people hungry! Hungry people are discontented clients – and these clients are the visitors of the fair – with the utmost probability you lose them as guests.

On Sunday there had been not much public and you could see the emptiness all around you. What a pity for the owner of the sales booth. Here and there we noticed and heard stand owner talking, that they didn´t make that much money, that they got a raw deal on the charge for the location. That’s a shame, but, the devil is in the detail, you don´t have influence of a fair…people come or don´t, it is always a bit like a russian roulette. Of course you have to make a lot of noise, so that people hear you. With noise is meant - tongue - in - cheek. Advertising in many ways, is the key to success.

And for the so called security guys, when you appear at a venue, where the security people hanging around like lazy bugger, it doesn´t look professional, it looks awful! Besides, a few of them looked like young teenager, who would be afraid of them? When a gang of agitators had appeared on that fair, these security guys had been in real big trouble!

The backstage area was the biggest disaster - without security in sight and around, nobody there, not a single person - anybody walked in and out. Nobody cares two hoods about it!

Than the emergency helper – they sat in their car, making jokes, laughing there head off, that is no problem at all, but, they had to walk around in a certain time schedule, but this didn´t happened at all, now and then and not as they had to do it. The very thought, if there had been an accident on the fair, makes you shiver.

A lot of people would bear down this peewee kind of handicaps, but who knows, if they come back to a fair, that leaves this kind of impressions behind and that on his first event, where you normally try to give your best. Maybe the organizer thought the fair is a fast - selling item, but this gunshot – could backfire!

 

Just a thought…..

It would be a very good idea for an organizer to create a win – win situation, because the artists and bands has to pay in addition, they have to pay for renting a sales booth, travel costs, food, drinks, pay for a fair cd (if they want) and they have to perform for nothing. That is a bad situation – that needs to change.

What do the artists and bands get back, if we consider Sunday they didn´t even had public to watch them…..a few guys sitting around…that’s it! An artist or a band needs at least the honor he or they deserve and when there is no public – what’s left?

Maybe for the future the organizer of venues stand still by the fact, that without artists and bands, they would not have anything at all!

Make it attractive for the entertainer and they will be happy to come back, pay for at least a few costs, like drinks, food and free space for advertising at a sales booth, don´t take money from an artist or a band when they make a performance – because for a lot of people it looks like exploitation!

Every cloud has a silver lining, when you have the experience to deal with it!!!!

Organizers of the International Country Fair in Bergheim banned international music journalists of Fair Play Country Music!!!!!

Somehow, the organizer of the International Country Fair in Bergheim NRW, could not wait to hit as quick as possible, the headlines of the press.
The organizer, banned two music journalists of fair play country music, Peter & Gaby Agricola, members of the bdfj (https://www.bdfj.de/ Federation of journalists), for very ridiculous reasons. He thus curtails freedom of the press, in a quite arrogant manner, because of an article that Gaby Agrikola wrote about the Country Fair in April 2014.

In this article, she wrote about the visitors, the artists, but also about some security deficits, which were intolerable. Furthermore, Gaby Agrikola gave a good advice, on how these shortcomings could be eliminated to the satisfaction of all. She never attacked or insulted the organizer personally in any way; on the contrary, she even did not mention his outrageous behavior towards her.

Gaby Agrikola came to the Country Fair in Bergheim in April 2014, to report about the exhibition and the artists. She even paid admission for three members of the press, and then she searched for the organizers, who were quickly found. Gaby explained that she was a music journalist for CMNI (Country Music News International) and asked for a press accreditation.
The organizer, however, turned to her in a really outrageous, arrogant and overbearing manner and denied her a press accreditation, due to the fact that the chief of CMNI (Christian Lamitschka) never wrote an article about him, even though the organizer asked him to do so.

Gaby Agrikola answered, that she could solve this problem right away. The organizer said, I quote: "I don´t need any press!"

Gaby Agrikola replied, I quote: "All right, then you do not need the press!"Then she left and made diligent interviews and wrote an article for CMNI.


http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.de/…/country-…
 

Because of this Article, which she could have written in a much stricter manner, he sends his security guard, to remove Gaby & Peter Agrikola of the building.

The security guard was clearly embarrassed and he even apologized to her. Gaby told him, that they would leave and that she could understand that he had to do his job. Then the security guard went away and Peter and Gaby left the building.

In the short time, that they had been on the fair, they could see that everything was still the same and nothing had changed. The same deficiencies as in 2014 - at the back door, you could walk in and out, without being noticed, even the offer of meals was as limited, as the year before. 

Gaby and Peter only reported what they seen and perceived. They don´t write just anything, but they had to draw the attention, to the important aspects such as security, because that is a must and should always have highest priority, and it would be also in the interest of the City of Bergheim.

The organizer of the Country Fair in Bergheim, had no right to ban the press; there is a law that prevents this! Gaby and Peter are peaceful people, and they do not want to disturb a meeting of artists, through a police presence, they left the fairgrounds peacefully.
 

The organizer, in his personal pride taken, with his very hasty and ill-considered decision, did not hurt the reporters, he only hurt himself and above all, he hurt the artists, which has to pay a lot of money for a platform to present them, they hope for a good press, reported nationwide.
Due to many requests by the artists, FPCM arranged a lot of interviews for that weekend, and thanks to the bruised ego of the organizer; they were not able to answer the requests.

Attention:
The Press freedom is a cornerstone of human rights; it should never be hurt by people, who just want to be caressed by their ego, because they feel stepped on their feet!


http://initiative-tageszeitung.de/lexikon/der-schutz-der-pressetaetigkeit/

 

Public events:

The media has a legitimate need and right, to hear information first-hand. Within the current drawn by the legal limits, the press can be present at events in which there is a legitimate interest of the public. The access to public events of privates is protected by the press freedom, which is effective over the general clauses of private law (eg § 826 BGB). In addition, pursuant to Section 6 (2) of the VersG, there is a statutory exclusion clause for closed-door events.


Peter & Gaby Agrikola for Fair Play Country Music

Mike Allen, finally found the end of the rainbow!

Mike Allen a singer & songwriter, born in Texas, started to play for a living in 1976, when he was 16 years old, he didn´t slow down since. He always wanted to leave home, wants to run away from a situation, he could not find himself. A life that made him really unhappy and sad. He finally wanted to be somebody, that people take him seriously, that they see Mike as a person, as a human being, with feelings.

His first steps brought him together with the Little Walter Price Blues Band. In 1980, he switched from country to country and spend years on the road, like so many others, notably looking for that kind of appreciation. But for Mike it was more than appreciation, he loved what he was doing, he loved it more than anything else, for him it was like home.

Mike Allen had a very strong history of his own in country music and as a lead guitarist in Blues like the Little Walter Price Blues Band and in Southern Rock like Southern Sin, he felt home in various genres of Country & Country Rock like for instance with Jeff Hord and the Texas Fullhouse Band, Bootleg Country, Hatfield and McCoy, DJ Daniels Band and many, many others.

He performed with top billed acts such as BB King, Albert Collins, SRV, Johnny Rodriguez, Gene Watson, Toby Keith, The Dixie Chicks, too much to mention.

He is a writer by heart and soul and his first song was recorded in 1984 and called "Whiskey and Tears". He has been an ASCAP writer and publisher since 2001.

Mike strike a new path, he went in a different direction, gone into the acoustic track, or just be a solo act and concentrating more on the songs, rather than to perform in shows. He spread his wings between country music, his roots and the Americana, blues and folk music, to balance, united and get it together to one creation.

The equipment he uses are a Yamaha DW5S acoustic, a Fender Stratocaster, a Peavey valve King amp and Boss effects.

 

Mike Allen´s music is real, pure and honest, whether he is singing and writing about a love went wrong, or find a new one, the pitfalls of everyday life and so many different life situations. But one thing is for sure, everyone will love Mike's songs. He only has to listen to his warm and tender voice, which has been influenced by great Texas singer and songwriter like Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Bruce Robison Rodney Crowell, Hayes Carll and so many others. Not to forget the guitarist like James Burton, Ray Flacke, Eric Clapton and Keith Urban. They all had been involved in Mike´s life, without knowing, they made him the person he wanted to be, and the person he is right now.

Mike went through a lot in his life, like his youth in a stern family, a lot of trouble he didn´t need at all, like a divorce and many others things, we don´t want to talk about. He knows how hard life can be and what it takes to get back on your feed again and fight to survive. Finally he find the end of the rainbow, his way to feel home, in his own music and in a new marriage, with a lot of love, and finally to be in luck, with his marvelous wife Cathi.

 Jesse Cole a last minute decision!

In the winter of 1967, Jesse Cole was born in West Berlin; he grew up under the influence of the confederated forces, which had been all over Berlin. Jesse got more the American touch, which left in his mind and already pushed him in a certain corner. Music of the 50s & 70s formed his way of life. His father was a Johnny Cash fan, and his mother was totally crazy about Elvis. So he was connected to music and he got totally mixed up in it, that made him wants to be in a school band and different other music acts.

With 15 he learned in three days the basic grips of a guitar, because he wanted to play in a Rock N´ Roll band. His fingers were bleeding, but it didn´t matter to him, because he was in the meantime crazy about that idea to be in that band. One day his father took him to a Johnny Cash concert and that changed his life completely, the American radio station AFN and the record collection of his dad opened new directions for him.

In 1984, Jesse Cole met the songwriter Peter Seering that changed his life again, because this man recognized the talent of this young man. He produced with him his first single called” Tears in my eyes”. In Germany it didn´t work that well, but in Poland it made an impact. The song was 8 weeks on the first place of the international charts, listed together with names as Madonna, Tina Turner, Depeche Mode and many other big names. The following two songs like “Little Lady” and “Lovers Lane”, made the polish girls totally crazy. So it was no surprise that Jesse was chosen in Poland to the “Singer of Summer 1986”. He performed in front of an audience of 3000 people and there were another 3 million listening at the radio. But as life is - his management had different thoughts about to be famous, for them it wasn´t enough money that came there way. They wanted to earn more and more money and so his career bangs on time, before it really started.

Jesse was sticking to his music and he performed with many different bands in Berlin, and here and there, he had some guest appearance. Then he started to build up his own record studio and produced under the name “Heartland Music Production”. He started also with songwriting and he got a band, which had a special kind of music, nothing covered.

In 2001 his career ended because of an acute hearing loss and the following ringing in the ears (Tinnitus). His doctor advised him to stop everything that was connected to music. So he took his guitar and storage it underneath his bed. All the things he loved and that kept him going - had been gone.

Jesse Cole started to travel through America and Canada, and here and there he made some music. That was the point when he understood what country music was really all about. A lot of stories and impressions later, made him to write some songs.

Jesse wanted to be free as he could be. So he traveled with three native people, for more than three month in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, and he found the real meaning of existence and the spirit of life.

But not only positive things influenced him and crossed his mind, although the negative side of live, like for instance the early divorce of his parents, the war of roses that followed afterwards, two divorces of his own, a lot of relationships that split up, they left some scars behind.

In the beginning of 2012, after a lot of deep hits, Jesse lost his power, and in spite of the birth of his two little daughters, he lost the love of life. He dropped into a deep depression and he wanted to end his life on a certain day – he planned everything to do so. That day his wife asked him to pick up the children from the day nanny. He took the kids, went home and then one of his little girls, touched his cheek and said:”Daddy- nice!” That was the point, which changed his mind that day, that he found his way back into life, with that little gesture of his daughter.

In the spring of 2012 he got a CD of a young artist from Texas, by the name of Cody Jinks. His songs, made him think, he had the same experience as he did and that made him turn away from the bad thoughts of leaving this world for ever. He arranged that he got help, he went for treatment to a health resort and started after that again with his music.

He started to produce his first CD called”Live Free Or Die” in Texas. His motivation finally pay off and he went to a festival and opened it, with his own song. He met someone from a TV station in Berlin that invited him to his private view of his “Hall Of Fame”. He asked him to write a song for this vernissage, and Jesse tried to make the best of it, but it didn´t work as it should…he got pinned and was desperate, that he didn´t make it in time. But again when he came home with his kids, a little miracle happened, Jesse was just humming a melody and suddenly there appeared two rainbows above his house, and in a second he knew how to write that song. He said to his wife:”Honey, take the kids, I have to write down a lyric!” He did and in 5 minutes, everything was done and he sure hit the bull´s eye with that song.

It was a great success at that private view and the song was played several times in you tube and in fall of 2013 he had a big interview with Berlin 24 and a documentation about his life. In October he performed at the Country Music Euro Masters and he was placed on the 5th position as a solo artist, of 250 associates.

He did his touch and go in 2014, and he has his second CD already in his mind, he changed his whole way of living and his new device is: “Expect less, than you don´t get disappointed!”

Mohamed Mahdi Haddad charmed by country music!

This is the story about our admin Mohamed Mahdi Haddad. Mohamed is from Tunisia and a real country music lover.

In his normal life he is a designer, a cartoonist and an amateur guitar player. But I have heard from his best friend, that he can play quiet good, he hides his light under a bushel.

He has two big loves in his life and that is drawing and country music! Let us talk about his first love the art of drawing.

When he was just a little boy, he loved to scratch on a piece of paper. He was drawing different shapes, lines, circles and geometric forms. Little by little, he got more and more the feeling, that what he did was good. In the nursery where he was, there had been a boy, he was much older than Mohamed, but he had a very big talent, he got the technique, the skill, he could draw animals and people. Mohamed loved it and he wanted to be like that boy. It encourages his fantasy and gave him the power to keep on going. Also the television was a big influence in Mohamed’s vision, it helped him a lot. They had presentations of technical basic drawing and that was for a young boy, that wanted to draw beautiful things, a real big help.

When Mohamed grew up, he wanted to make his dreams come true and so when he finished college and high school, he decided to study at the school of fine art in Tunis, to develop his artistic talent. He had a real devotion, you can call it a very big passion for art, and you can see this, at the wonderful cartoons, he can create in such a short time. His love for drawing helped him and the many influences, found in all those years. He finally went on the artistic road, to design comic´s and children books. I say design, because it is a real art, it is not just drawing or painting, it is art, one of the finest arts.

His second love is music, and the things that influenced him in his musical taste. He suddenly developed a desire and love for country music and he learned to play guitar.

Mohamed´s brother had a friend that had the certain kind of touch you need, to feel the music, to listen and to play. This friend was very talented and with this special gift, he made the people listen to him, when he played his guitar. He came many times to the house of Mohamed´s family; they had so much fun and a fantastic time within the music.

One day he encouraged Mohamed´s brother to buy a guitar, and then he taught them two brothers the basic of guitar playing. So when they learned more and more, they helped themselves with a program in guitar lesson. They finally found there rhythm, they could play and learned a few songs.

In the summer Mohamed watched a german TV program, about a country music festival, they presented many video clips and at that point it made “click” and Mohamed fell in love with country music. But I guess it was already there, for such a long time, and it wants to come out, it needed a little help. Since that time Mohamed is a great country music lover and so he found us at Fair Play Country Music, and we are really proud of him, because he is a real nice guy with a lot of talents, a real artist in many ways.

Mike Parrish – God moves in mysterious ways!

 

Mike Parrish always wanted to be a music artist, but he wanted to be a rock star, he had his own visions about that and he dreamed of being on stage, performing in a lot of smoke and flames, playing heavy guitars and pounding drums. But I think God had different plans with Mike, I guess country was already in his genes, and he didn´t knew it at all.

When he was six years old, his grandfather and his dad gave him a guitar for his birthday and so Mike started to play that instrument.  You should know, that Mike was born, with a birth defect that affected his left hand. He was naturally right handed and his left thumb could not move and stayed in the palm of his hand, it was locked in a certain position, from the day he was born. All the professional doctors told his parent, that he would not be able to use his thumb for the rest of his life, sure they could make it to look normal, but that was all they could do for him. So to play any chord on this guitar that he got for his birthday was very difficult. The thumb resting in the palm of the hand and pressed against the back of the neck of the guitar, Mike´s fingers were too short to make up the distance requires to properly form a chord.  He didn´t give up, he worked and worked as hard as he could, although his limited physical capabilities.  Three years he worked so hard and continued to tinker with the guitar and then he was allowed to play with the musicians at church.  Of course that was all, because of Mike´s mom, she was totally involved in the church and always wanted him and his sisters to go with her and so it was no wonder, he ended up playing or should I say performing in church. Today Mike is really glad that his mother was so persisted to drag them to church, because little Mike rather loved to stay at home and watch the "Six Million Dollar Man".

The next words, I would like you to hear from Mike personally, he said, quote, “It was at church, one Sunday night, where I was finally able to begin using my thumb.  I have always credited the use of my thumb to my mom, dad, grandpa, God and guitars (not necessarily in that order) for several reasons.  The Good Lord chose to form me with a defective left hand and it was my dad and grandpa who gave my first guitar which I loved and still own.  I began working with that guitar on a daily basis which, in retrospect had to have been some sort of self-improvised physical therapy.  Mom made sure I was in church and since I was considered to be one of the church musicians, I worked hard to form the chords, in a makeshift fashion, so I could blend with the other guitar players.  I was actually at church one night, playing with the band, when my thumb just popped loose from the palm of my hand and I was able to use it for the first time in my life.  So I guess the correct order credit the entities involved in the recovery of the use of my thumb would be dad & grandpa (for buying the guitar), mom (for making me go to church and allowing me to play with the band), my love for guitars and God for giving me the use of this digit thereby allowing me to play much easier”, unquote. 

 

According to Gods plan - Mike Parrish, the child at the age of 9, who wrote already three chord songs and was singing and playing guitar, in their family church every Sunday, with his younger twin sisters Marsha & Monica. The pastor of that church affectionately dubbed them "Mike & The Twins", for Mike it was quite interesting, his first so called group performance, even it wasn´t that helpful for his sisters, because they had been in the middle of an identity problem. Mike was actually tough enough being called "one of Mike's little twin sisters", basically because they were almost identical and each of them were trying to establish their own identity, apart from the other twin.  But if he reflected the past, he loved those days, no matter what they called them, they always were happy to perform at the church.  The people loved them too and their biggest fan was their own mother, she was so proud of her kids.

Mike was nine and he was always writing or logging down ideas for tunes, it was there and you could not forget about it, it followed him everywhere around.

Mike was real good as a young musician and it was easier since he could use his thumb, but he wanted, no he determined to be a rock star.  He wrote his first song called "If I had a Dollar", just at the age of 9, which is really awesome. Guess what? It was a country song, so Mike continue in writing and all what he created was country. And when in puberty his voice changed into a deeper baritone with a Texas drawl, it was so clear, for anyone to see, it went into the country music genre. Gone with the wind, the plans of being a rock star and as Mike grew older; he started to get a deep passion for country music and he loves it more and more every single day.

 

In 1981, when he was eighteen years old and had written a lot of songs, quite a collection, you could say. He would love to record them, but nobody he knew had the ability to record at home in those days.  Of course there have been en masse of record studios around, they all were willing to talk to Mike about recording his songs to a wide audience and sure they were more willingly to take his money into their own pockets. To record a single tune or an album, would have brought astronomical costs along, for an eighteen-year-old kid with a guitar, which only wanted to be famous, it was a one way road, just unreachable. It was a lot of money you had to consider, like technician costs, studio fees, two-hour minimums for each musician and Nashville was a long way from Lafayette, LA, where Mike worked as a hot-shot driver in the oilfields, at the time.  So recording was at that time, a virtual impossibility and Mike just kept on going with writing his songs.  He was singing some songs at a few party´s or at the home of friends, but it wasn´t something serious. 

It wasn't until 2006, after Mike moved back home to Liberty County, so I let Mike say it in his own words, how it all started, Mike said, quote, „ In 2006, I made a career in law enforcement and had all, but written off any chances of ever recording anything much less performing my tunes in any sort of real venue.  Even though I was far behind the times, Sammy introduced me to digital recording and we put together a small in-home studio.  I had no idea that this was even possible and I was elated to say the least.  We worked (and played) for hours on end and we had a great time putting that album together, often getting sidetracked with songs from our childhood which always resulted in goofing off, killing time and getting nothing accomplished but it was a blast.  That was a really cool time for me and I hope Sammy had as much fun as I did because I'd certainly love to do that again.  Sammy is an awesome musician and has been a very positive influence on me and my own music, always encouraging me to dig deeper, write better, and to perform where ever and whenever possible.  Sammy really opened some doors for me both physically and mentally, in the shows that we performed, and creatively.  Sammy had been performing for thirty years, from his teenage days (not to give away his age) and I was able to benefit from all those years of experience.  I learned it was really okay to mess up, that you didn't have to be flawless in everything that you did as long as you were always genuine and honest.  In the end, it's all about the music and first and foremost it was about entertainment and forming a connection between the artist and the audience.  Sammy Hundley and I were recording my first solo album entitled "Texas in the Man" and Sammy invited me to perform my first acoustic duo show with him at a place called the "Velvet Melvin" on Richmond in Houston.  I can tell you that I was okay with it right up until the time I got there and sat on that stool in front of a crowded house.  Sammy could always pack a house even with just a solo show.  At that time I had been a Texas Peace Officer for about the past sixteen years and I believe I'd have rather gone to a riot at any southeast Texas redneck juke joint than to be right there right then.  Honestly, I felt like I was in a fishbowl and everyone was looking at me under a magnifying glass because, at the beginning of the show, I was completely out of my element.  By the end of the show I was surely bitten by the showbiz bug because, until that time, I had never performed a single song for an audience and I had certainly never heard applause after doing a tune.  I think I was waiting for that proverbial tomato to be thrown at some point during that song but since that didn't happen, and I found that I actually survived; I just wanted to continue playing music more and more”, unquote.

 

Mike´s music is been influenced by George Strait, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Charlie Pride and Ronnie Millsap, but evolved in the years to George Strait, Stoney Larue, Brad Paisley, Tracy Byrd, Mark Chesnutt, Clay Walker, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie, Mark McKinney, Reckless Kelly and a lot more. The typical blues influences came from Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, AC/DC, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Allman Brothers, and tons more.  All these influences and many more naturally created Mike´s style of writing songs and performing on stage.

 

You can´t put Mike Parrish into the traditional corner; he is in all genre of country music at home. You find all influences in his songs, like Americana, country rock, southern rock, a touch of blues, just the whole sample board of country music. He can play guitar and even trumpet, but don´t expect him to play this instrument in his shows. He once made a funny statement, about his ability for playing trumpet, he said, quote, “Trust me when I tell you that the omission of playing the trumpet is in the very best interest of public safety which reflects my commitment to upholding the basic tenets of law enforcement - to protect and to serve“, unquote. (Lol) 

 

Mike is also a 22-year veteran police officer has been appointed police chief three separate times in two cities, was elected Constable in 2006 while Sammy and he recorded "Texas in the Man."  It took him a year away from law enforcement, in he devoted this time hit the road and perform all over Houston. He recorded his second album "What a Country Boy Knows" in 2009.  His first album has been in the European Country Music Association Country Charts, for exactly 33 times in 11 countries.  "Blue Jean Baby" and "Texas in the Man" has been commissioned for the Firestorm Pictures independent film, "The Apparition" and the same two songs won effigy awards at the International Fame Games Radio Show for “Most Popular Artist” and “Best Blues Rock Artist”.  In 2010, he got a nomination at the Texas Music Awards as “Best Live Bands of the Year”.  Mike´s sais about it, quote, “I remember feeling like a duck out of water rubbing elbows with music legends like Michael Martin Murphy and Shake Russell not to mention John Arthur Martinez and B.J. Thomas.  That was the first time that I realized that maybe I had made some kind of discernible mark in the music world and one of the biggest thrills, for me, was seeing my picture on a giant screen in front of hundreds of Texas legends and hearing a clip from "Texas in the Man" immediately followed by applause.  The Captain Legendary Band took the award but I believe, on that day, we were all winners.  It was just a unique experience, and one that I won't soon forget”, unquote.

Mike stayed busy in the studio and in law enforcement, and that is a lot of work to combine and to get it done.

So I would like you to hear what Mike has to say about his career in both music and law enforcement, because only he can give you that deep impression and emotions, which walked hand in hand in his work, that sure wasn´t easy at all. Mike said, quote, “While I've had a few successes in the music business, I guess the real differences I've been able to make were in my law enforcement career.  I've been fortunate to have had a career that has spanned over two decades and I've stood beside the graves of fallen brothers so life seems so much more precious when you realize the fleeting few moments we have on earth may be snatched away from you at any moment.  I've worked narcotics, auto theft rings, homicides, and pretty much every ugly thing that you can imagine but there was a day that stood out to me that I won't ever forget.  I was a young patrolman when I received a call involving a two-week old child that was not breathing and was unresponsive.  I was about two blocks from the call so I notified the sheriff's office I was en route and ran emergency traffic to the home.  Upon arrival I encountered a young mother and father who were screaming, pleading, very upset and I could see the hope in the mother's eyes as she handed the child over to me.  I was scared to death and I prayed I could do something to help this child so I began CPR.  The nearest ambulance was over 18 miles away so I started working while holding the child in my arms and trying to remember everything I'd ever been taught about infant CPR.  The mother was clutching at me in desperation as I continued to work.  I understood the fear she must be going through and I totally got just how serious this was.  It was chaotic to say the least and just when I thought I was failing, this baby coughed, then gasped and began breathing on his own.  I really threw the policy and procedure manual out the window when I loaded up mom and dad in the back of the car, where prisoners normally sit, and I held this baby in my arms while I drove the police car.  That was not the brightest thing I could have done but I knew the child was breathing and I was not about to let that change so I drove the car while holding the baby and intercepted the two ambulances.  When we met the ambulances, the crew of one vacated their ambulance and climbed aboard the other ambulance and then I released the child to them.  One of the ambulances was just left on the side of the road.  The parents went with their child and I found myself just standing there with a lump in my throat the size of Texas because I had no idea if the little guy was going to pull through or not.  A few days later I was notified that the hospital had released young Dillon and he was doing well.  I thought that was reward enough but years later it got better, much better.  The mother of this child, Stephanie, called me to invite me to join them at the local library.  Dillon was six years old now and he wanted me to be there when he got his first library card.  Ten years later I received an email that Dillon had gotten his driver's license.  I believe the Good Lord took a rookie patrolman and put me in the right place at the right time and gave me the sense to do the right thing.  That's a little more than one day in my life but it all came about because of something that happened in a single day.

Any cop will tell you that they don't do that job for the money; it's for the satisfaction of righting a wrong or standing up for somebody who can't stand for themselves.  In that aspect, there's not much difference between law enforcement and the music industry because smiles are equivalent to a job well done.  If they're smiling then they've been entertained even if they're not smiling with you but laughing AT you.  So smiles would best describe what inspires me to do what I do.  As long as they're smiling they're being taken away from the trials and tribulations, troubles of everyday life, even if only for a few moments”, unquote.

 

Mike loves to be completely in touch with a live audience, so that he can be agree with them. He doesn´t like cigarette smoke, and trouble in front of the stage, that sometimes pop up, during a performance. 

His greatest achievements of all time, is the love for his children and his wife, they are more than 27 years together. 

He despise people, who tailgate him,  when he is driving and he hates spiders, everything that comes along with that word spider, except Spider Man, because he things, that is pretty cool.

 

Mike Parrish, a man with a lot of abilities, a lot of humor and the love for his music. This country music, he usually didn´t like in the beginning, changed his world so much and it was formative for his life today. He is a real good artist, someone that certainly, deservedly earned a lot of credit by the audience. And I think he needs to given a standing ovation too, for his work in law enforcement; because that was the hardest job he ever performed.

 

If we look at Mike´s slogan, rather find himself at eighty years old, sitting in a rocking chair, just knowing that he tried, rather than wondering what life might have been like if only he had. We don´t need to worry about him at all, because Mike already left his marks in our century and in the world of country music!

Murray Williams, juggling between a farmer’s life and a musical career!

Murray born in the Ontario area is kind of a self-made guy, he taught himself to play a lot of instruments. He is a multi talent in playing guitar, piano, bass & banjo. This was no coincident, because his Dad Bruce was the organist in the nearby Fairfield church and also his sister was a musical talent, because she played the piano. Murray once said, I cite:”We had a big old piano in the house that we would play. Getting into music was always a goal for me!”

His career started, when he was 14 years old, he and some friends forming a band at the Scotland public school, they called themselves “Harley Express”, the teens played on local gigs and most of the time for nearly nothing, only for tips.

After that Murray was almost 10 years involved in the band “Night Shift”, they hit the road in the Ontario circuit, nearly every weekend. Than Murray Williams had a short break in his career and after he arranges a few things, he played in a duo, which grew into a band called “Common Thread”. He was quite busy with that group until a few years ago.

His father Bruce was the person that influenced Murray, into two important things in his life, which have been the music and the farm, so his dad took a big part in it, that he is moving on country music road. His father Bruce died in 2009 at the age of 83 years, but he will not be forgotten and his spirit will be around in the touching track the band made called “Goin Nowhere Fast”, it is also the name of the album, which is self produced and recorded.

Murray likes to write about the important things in life that mostly hide the feelings of people, which are close to him. He wrote a song called “Daddy´s Little Girl”, on the basis of the several emotional phone calls, of his homesick daughter Carolyn, when she was first in university.

That music stays in the family is very clear, because his son Rodney joined his daddy´s band, he is playing drums & guitar. So there are already two members, and the others are Paul Atkinson, who handles the guitar, the fiddle, mandolin or anything else, that is build out of strings, his wife Brenda, is playing the keyboard and takes care of the vocal. Not to forget Murray´s wife Ruth, she is quite busy in handling all the promotion of the band. Murray admits that it is a great challenge, to get everything under control, but he has a lot of help from his brother and brother in law, they keep the farm running, when he is on the road. He is very thankful for that, and without them, it would be impossible to do. Murray Williams once said too, I cite:”Music is easier, you don´t get dirty!”

On their second album, there is a bit for the farmers and a bit for his family. The single track “Daddy´s Little Girl”, dedicated to his daughter Carolyn, was already picked up by 55 radio stations across Canada and became very quickly a sentimental favorite at wedding dances.

In 2006 he released his debut CD “Pure And Simple”, it took a while, before it was launched, but it came around, in his own words Murray once said, I cite:” It was a long stretch, I write most of my own songs, It takes time!”

It is not easy to get everything going, it is a real logistical problem, a big mission to connect weekend gigs, road tours, including playing in the country fair circuit and tending to 90 – head of cattle at Belle Afton Holsteins, a 300- acre spread established by his great- grandparents.

Some of the tracks on his CD “Pure And Simple”, has been Murray´s musical reaction to the frustration facing farmers in 2006, they facing mad cow disease, US borders closed to cattle’s and crop prices at an all-time-low.

Some of his new tracks reflecting Murray´s roots, songs like “Cowboy Till I Die”, or “This Old Farm” and a funny cover song of Kenny Chesney called “She Thinks My Tractor is Sexy”.

There is another cover of Murray, a mega-hit, called “Farmer Song”. Murray Williams was an opening act for McLaughlan, at the Erin Fall Fair and was able to give a copy of his version of the iconic tune to the Canadian singing legend. Murray was happy and honored, that he could be an opening act for the Canadian musical folksinger Valdy.
 

Murray´s song called “Thank a Farmer”, a track from Pure and Simple, was a top 10 hit on the country charts in Europe and got widespread airplay at home. It garnered the singer appreciative audiences in farming communities across the country. Murray once said, I cite: "I toured Europe with Thank a Farmer. I still get e-mails about it every day. They're still playing it over there."

The multi talented Murray Williams is around in the music scene since the early 80s, he shared the stage with a lot of well known personalities like Thomas Wade, The Good Brothers, Crystal Gage, Terry Sumsion and The Wilkinsons.

Murray surely made his way and he is not finished yet, up he goes, on quite a speed level, and I think we will hear a lot more about him in the future.

Nathan T Hunt – a trip down memory lane!

Let me tell you about Nathan T Hunt, he had quite a hard life, but he made it and I´m glad he did, because he is one of the finest examples of good old country music.

He was born in Granville County, in North Carolina. He grew up on a tobacco farm and his life was a real struggle, but he try to manage somehow.

When he was about 12 years old, he got infected with the country music virus, we all know about and can´t avoid. This special country music virus never, ever left him since; it followed him all around, wherever he was going and helped him in his hardest times of his life and I think, without his music, he had been totally lost.

You should think, he must have been the luckiest boy in the world, to live on a tobacco farm with a beautiful landscape, with all the adventures you could have to experience. But it wasn´t that way, of course - he had good times, but the bad times try to overwhelm him. He left home at the age of 15 and spends most of the time, on the streets of Durham; he grew up to be a man, in an unusual manner. He thought he would make it on his own, but what he didn´t knew, at that time – he was supposed to get a nasty surprise!

He got into a little bit of trouble with the law, he didn´t spend time in jail, but the eye of the law watched him. Luckily, he could avert further problems with them, but he wasn´t prepared to another bad experience, he had go through, that could damage him even more. He started drinking too much a few times! He thought to lose himself in this dreadful plight, he has been pinned at.

He did undergo a big change; he got married at the age of 19. When the first euphoria of being in love and all the wonderful feelings of passion disappeared, he had to assert the fact, that he was captured in a rough marriage, that last about 6 years, before they finally got divorced.

Than Nathan hit the road and went to Nashville, he worked at a bar, for only 1$ an hour and he lived in a rescue mission for 2 years. That was a real hard time and many thoughts crossed his mind, thinking, he screwed it all up and how he could get out of it. But Nathan is a fighter, he didn´t give up, so he hit the road again; he left Nashville and hitchhiked almost 600 miles back home.

He got involved even more in his music and played in a lot of clubs, around Durham and Raleigh in North Carolina. As luck would have it, he met a lady at a dance and he got married again. They moved to West Virginia and he played in a lot of clubs over there. But that luck didn´t last long, he got divorced again after 10 years.

Nathan moved back again to North Carolina, and there he met his current wife on America Online. When everything was dialup, he went to Indiana to meet her personally. That was the best thing he could do, because he got married and is now happily married, with his big love. It took three attempts to find the one and only, but it was worth to search for the real love, or in this case, luck was on his side, for once in his life. But no hard feeling! – That all belongs to the past, except Nancy, his true love, she belongs to his future and the rest of his life!

Nathan T Hunt had a hard time left behind, but his music stayed close to him and it didn´t changed the value of his presents on stage or at the radio, he stayed true to himself and in what he is doing.

Tom Ghent once said, quote, “Every once in a while, someone comes along with a voice so convincing and full of emotion, that you know you're hearing the "real" thing. That's exactly, how I felt the first time, I heard Nathan T. Hunt sing, a few years back, and time hasn't changed my opinion one bit. I personally, asked Nathan if he would consider singing "Someone Who Just Doesn't Care", because it is "real" country and among my favorite songs of all I've ever written. Nathan T. Hunt is, likewise, "real" country and among my favorite singers of all I've ever heard. So, it seemed, to me, to be a natural match. Nathan's right up there with the best of them, and deserves a good listen....His latest cd "Sober And Broke" is not only a compilation of excellent renditions of fine songs by some very seasoned and established writers, but also, contains a number of his originals, which are equally as good!”,unquote.

 

Nathan T Hunt; the sound of his melodic and nice voice, is always clear and very comfortable, it gives you back that old country feeling from out of the past. Nathan doesn´t belong in a drawer, he makes his own piece of art, with the touch of real, old country music. His music belongs to the classical collection of the past, when country music was still made by the heart and not out of commercial reason.

Savannah a true affection for country music!

I know Savannah for quite a while, the first time I met them was in 1989, and there was an immediate fascination during their performance and a close friendly bond start to grow.  They all are so pure and affectionate, always smiling - no matter what happens.

There are a few changes in the band since I have seen them for the last time, but for sure Wilma and Marcel didn´t change at all.

Wilma is still a bundle of energy, if she is on stage. If you see her, a tiny, small person, you could not believe, what kind of power, is hidden deep inside of her.

Marcel with his melodic voice, didn´t changed a bit, and that is so amazing of the band, they had so many awards and went so high, but they always stayed there self. They didn´t had any overblown ideas; they always kept with both feet on the ground.

If you could see, how they treat their fans, it is amazing. Once in a year they go on a fan weekend, Savannah together with their fans on the road to a special meeting. In the past it was at a castle in France, and since a few years it is moved to Germany. To a town called Winterberg, there they stay a weekend in a Hotel. They stay there for three days, make music, dance and sing together, like a big family, and that is real unique. We are happy to be with them this year, in Winterberg and I´m really excited about that.

What else can I tell you about Savannah? For sure there got a real funny and very enthusiastic guitarist called Xavier from Spain. You can see and feel that he is completely absorbed by country music. There is a certain kind of charisma you can´t explain, but it is not only Xavier, it is changeless present in the band. That is what extinguishes Savannah from all the other country bands, I have ever seen.

There only two bands I dearly loved and still do and that is Savannah and the Mayor Dundee Band with Dick van Altena. It´s a pit, that the latter, don´t exist anymore, like I used to know them. But it was so nice to see, that Dick van Altena, a real big talent in country music, is in collaboration with Savannah in a theatre show, called “Back to the Country”. This show can be watched in Holland and Belgium.

I have seen Dick and Savannah lately at a fair were they presented a short clip of this show and I can say, they all are grand, amazing, what else I can say. I think the real word for that part of the show I have seen has to be invented, because it has the “WOW” factor. Love it and it is certainly recommendable. By the way this show is already called “Show of the Year” in 2013.

And if we are in this award winning speech, we can tell you that Savannah became a lot of awards in the last years. For instance, at the

“Dutch Country Music Poll Gala“, that has been organized by the DCMA, the Dutch country music association, the country Gazette und KRO radio. It is a public award, for a few categories such as, in case of Savannah, album of the year, for the albums of „Side By Side”, “Love, me” and “Savannah”.

There guitarists Johnny Bernard, Joe Brozio and Peter Hill, became several times an award for “Instrumentalist of the year” and Savannah already has 10 awards for “Band of the Year”. This gorgeous band, is already on the top in Holland, since 1986 and they are still popular as always.

You should see them all in a show, they are complete one, and you feel that, if you see them perform. There songs are dulcet, sentimental, and rocking. Savannah can sure call them self the popular band of the Low Countries, with their variety they rock the places of many theatres, dance hall and several other places, where they performed in their home country and abroad.

There have been appeared in a lot of TV and Radio shows, and they played on festivals in France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Malta, Spain, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Danmark, England, Scotland, Estonia, Latvia and the Faroe Islands.

They worked together with real legends and big names, such as Johnny Cash, Freddy Fender, Wanda Jackson, Allen Frizzell, Bobby Bare, Ed Bruce, Buck Owens, the Bellamy Brothers, Nikki Nelson, John Permenter, Dave Dudley, Billy Yates and Buddy Jewell. They still care about their homeland associates, they also came along with Dick van Altena (in fact they still do), Ben Steneker, Cor Sanne, Sandra Vanreys, George Baker, Amber Jo Ann and many, many others.

 

Savannah are always on the road, in a big truck, for crew and musicians, they have a first class equipment of light and sound technology and they can sure call them self the best organized band of Europe. What you see, is what you get and that is a guarantee for high quality.

That´s how I know them for many years, and I still love them for what they are, a band with affection to country music and there love to their fans.

Stephanie Grace on her walk to Fame

 

Starting young at age with country music, has a lot of pros and if you have a certain talent, it leave the door open for further negotiations, on the walk to fame.

Stephanie Grace is one of these talents that are ready for the world, to say: “Hello, here I come!”

A very powerful force to reckoned with, her unique and remarkable voice is not to underrate in any way.  Her sweet and innocent emanation, put the public over the edge, and make clear that everybody succumb to her charm.

She will make her way in country music, there is no doubt about it, and she already is climbing centimeter by centimeter on the ladder of country music, to reach the top. Her lovely songs are full of life and the public will be smitten with her charm. She is on her way to make her dreams come true and who wants to slow her down.

She has a vision, which she is following on a steady line, since she was very little; she was born into country music, born to be a star someday.

Growing up in Douglasville, Pennsylvania, in a very small town, that was build up by Swedish pioneers in 1701. She has always been close to country music, she listen to it every day and so it was no surprise, that she found her way into this genre of music.

Stephanie always loved to sing, since she was 2 years old, she danced and sing around the house, she never stopped leaving the music behind, even in nursery school, she was always the one who was singing the loudest, it left a mark throughout her whole childhood. She was a very shy kid; but that doesn´t stop her, so that already tells you something about her nature. She sticks to herself and the inner motivation to make music, let her grow with every second, every minute, every day. Sure she had stage freight – who doesn´t somehow – but she did the best she could, to not let that bring the roof down on her head. She acts like a professional and guess what she already was on stage with real big people in country music like Scotty McCreery, Buck Covington, Taylor Swift, John Michael Montgomery, Easton Corbin, Gloriana and Josh Turner.

Her being shy left her at her first talent show in “What Dreams Are Made Of”, her mother could not believe, that she wanted to be in that show, but she sure was.

She surprised everybody that knows her quite well; nobody would believe it, until they have seen it, with their own eyes. She went on stage and did what she had to do, she performed like a star, and she felt the luckiest person on earth, doing what she always wanted to do.

Stephanie loved it and you could sure see that. This was her dream; this was what she always wanted to be - a singer, with heart and soul. With all what come along, the adrenaline, the power, the good feeling and the public that supports her doing a real good job on stage.

After that show, she moved around, doing what she liked most, she performed on a lot of events and in restaurants, fairs and more, she felt good, loved what she was doing and the audience was enthusiastic and so she got a lot of fans – some rooter, that followed her, wherever she was.

So again, it was no surprise, when she performed in 2006 in “Pocono Junior Idol” and “Kids country Idol”. The public loved her and somehow she met about that time Al Brock, the president of “Spin Doctors” in Nashville. That man wanted to start a promotion company and he wanted Stephanie Grace as his first client. She was so lucky about that and could not believe that this would happen to her and when Al Brock sticks to his word, he helped her to starting her career, her first baby steps, climbing up the ladder to fame.

 

She was really busy travelling around, she had so much to do with songwriting, performing, being a guest on different radio shows and there was still her education, which came on the first place. Stephanie was not willingly to forget, because this was very important to her and her future. Thinking, if you lose everything, you never lose the education you have successfully completed!

She was a junior at the Agora Cyber Charter School, she had to manage somehow school and career, but she did, because it was easier to do your homework on a pc. So she found a way to balance the situation and by that way she could handle her schedule a lot better.

 

She wrote so many songs in those years, but it wasn´t that easy in the beginning and now you can´t stop her from doing it. It makes a difference, when you are a little girl, or a growing up teenager. Growing up, brings you automatically through many live circumstances, by that way you learn how to write a song.

She has been influenced by Miranda Lambert, Trisha Yearwood, Adele, LeAnn Rimes and Colbie Caillat, but her inspiration has always been her family and good friends, who supports her all the way, when she started with that tiny idea in her head to make it somehow in the music business.

Stephanie knows that she has to work hard and that you lose a lot on this way, but it is her dream. A part of that dream already came true, but there are two little pieces missing and that is to perform on the stage of Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and to start and complete a world tour. And to end this article I cite Stephanie Grace, she once said, quote, “While I can’t be sure what the future holds, I know that as long as I’m singing country music, I’ll be living my dream!”,unquote.

Tequilla Mockingbyrd – three of a kind!  

 

This band is young, dynamic and fresh; they make their way in country music, with their own style of music, which is very pleasant to listen at.
They actually started, when Tyler Wade and Brandon Wallace were put together, to play on a festival, both get along quite well and so there have been thoughts, to work together.

Tyler Wade the guitarist & vocalist, came from a hard working Texan family, with strong, moral and also ethic thinking. He has been in the Texas bar scene since the age of 18. I cite Tyler Wade, he once said, quote, "Music has allowed me to go to places, meet people and do things I would have never been able to otherwise, unquote. He knew that he had to work hard, to get what he wants. One line of a song, tells you the exact words, it called “Rising From Nothing”. It is more about the fight in the dog, not the dog in the fight.

 

Then there was Brandon Wallace, he had to walk the hard way, to become a professional bassist in country music. He was a former Fire Fighter/Medic for nine years, until a line of duty injury took his career away from him. He played guitar for quite a few years, but the accident left him with a nerve damage and partial paralysis in his hands. He was no longer able to make chords with his left hand. After several years he discovered the 8 string octave bass, and developed a method of playing, that allowed him to compensate for his injuries. He is currently the only bassist in Texas country music that uses one exclusively.

 

Shortly after Tyler and Brandon decided to stay together, they found Mikey Leedy, the drummer; he is the only member that is not from Vernon Texas. He comes from Amarillo and Mikey is a third generation musician, from a very musically and talented family. Mikey did bull riding in the circuit, for many years, before he turned back to his roots as a professional musician. He got a nick name from his fans; they called him „Animal”!

So after these three nice guys match perfectly together, they hit the country road!!! They became a real good combination and flashed the Country scene with their appearance. They mixed a cocktail of outlaw country, southern rock and Texas country music and you can call it, a real good mélange. It burned, it was present, and it got this special kind of brand. 

Those three musicians are totally different than others, and there music makes them special, in a real nice way. Sure - the sound is far away from the old country music we know, but the times are changing, and it is still country music - it rocks! To them this kind of music - fit like a glove.
There songs tell stories, about the daily life, about struggling and standing up again. Certain situations, we all had to undergo somehow, one way or another. They try to walk the audience through emotions and all the memories, they keep deep inside of them and which they don´t want to lose.

Tyler, Brandon and Mikey left the one way road and went into another direction; they present their public a lot of emotion and power, that special kind of feeling that became rare in today’s country music.

 

Until June 2014, a new album called” Afflictions and Addictions” will be released, and they are really excited about that.

The Wildfires - to be cut from the same wood!

 

The Wildfires, leaved separate lives, until they by met incident in Berlin, Germany, they came from Tennessee, USA and London, England, to be one of the interesting and real extraordinary duo, that perform since 2012 in Germany.

 

The Wildfires are Elizabeth Carlton and Paul Bonin, two very talented people, you can describe their music like someone once said: "Simon & Garfunkel meets Emmylou Harris round at Dolly Parton's house where Paul Weller's trying to break in.” That is quite significant and a real good and also funny statement.

There music is to find in the genre of a very special mix, unknown to all of us, I try to describe it to you. Country, Pop and folk meet each other, in a heart felted way of harmony. They can banish there audience, put them under  a kind of spell – emotions go up and down, like in a roller coaster. There is excitement, something thrilling, overwhelmingly, in their music, a certain kind of interwoven dual harmony in vocals that makes you think at the duets of Emmylou Harris & Gram Parsons or Graham Nash and Joni Mitchell in the 70's.

 

The mutual friendship of Elizabeth Carlton & Paul Bonin is to be worth one´s weight in gold, it reached a level of something unique, touching and from the heart into the soul.

 “I’ve always loved singing harmonies, but this is something very special”, says Paul about his new singing partnership.

 

 There songs are beautiful, if we look at “Forgive Me”, a romantic song that asks for forgiveness, a very difficult request but with a feeling, we all can identify in the circle of live.

Like Elizabeth Carlton & Paul Bonin would cite:” When all is said and done, none of us is free from mistakes. "Forgive me feelings - Forgive the weakness that I've shown - Forgive me all the times I've robbed you blind - And left you on your own" … The sparse acoustic guitar intro at the beginning of the song, the typical country pedal-steel guitar, and the emotion contained in the lyrics transport this song straight into the soul…”

 

Let´s talk about their song called “One & the Same” (from which they took the album title “One”), it is all about “The Wildfires” and their destiny in musical heritage, about their short history in which so much had happened, and of course the harmonic, musical and personal affiliation that binds these two people together, that have been through a lot of ups and downs.

Paul Bonin, with his sensitive and spirited folksy mandolin - sets the scene, accompanying their wonderful vocal performance.

Like Paul would describe: “A bit darker themes dominating in the song “Running”, this title refers to the race against time, and the vain efforts to escape from one's own demons. But the strength to survive is present in the power of the two voices, giving the listener a sense of security, even though the race cannot be won. “Dark are the dreams set in my head - Meet me beyond the watershed…, But I don’t think I can stake my life – On a good thing …”

 

“The Wildfires” can assure the audience, with a unique compilation of their voices, and they managed to create their own Brit-Americana sound. They just finished their first album called "One", produced by David Young, who has also produced the albums of John Cale, Nico and Element of Crime and a lot of others.

 

Paul Bonin (London, UK) has been a songwriter for over 25 years; he also worked with a lot of big names in the German & English pop industry.

Elizabeth Carlton (Tennessee, USA) was blessed with a beautiful & unique voice and a sensitive feeling for a fine and touching lyric.

 

The Wildfires, a first-class singer & songwriter duet and a combination, that really deserves to be mentioned with the big names in country music. The new album "One", produced by David Young, makes it clear and bear excellent witness to this fact. In the tradition of Johnny Cash and June Carter, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra, Sonny & Cher, and Graham Nash & Joni Mitchell, “The Wildfires” finally present their debut album “One”.

A fantastic duo, that spread their music into the world and I can assure you, they are world class. A team - to be cut from the same wood, they will go their own way on country music road and with their unique performance, they will be able to captivate the hearts of many people around the globe.

Stephanie Lough Spinks performing a lifetime!

The Country singer Stephanie Spinks is COUNTRY FRIED. She is a long time veteran of Traditional Country Music, and music and entertaining has been a part of her life, as far back as she can remember. Born in Lapeer, Michigan, Stephanie at an early age would often go to work with her Daddy who worked in Radio Broadcasting. She would sit quietly on the floor of the control room in the radio station and watched her Dad do his Radio Show, taking in - all the music from the records he played. By the time Stephanie was eight years old, she was making up songs and singing them into her tape recorder, that she always carried with her.

 

In 1979 she met the legendary George Jones at a country show in Pontiac, Michigan where she fell in love with Country Music. She started playing the guitar at 12 years of age and performing with local bands all over the state of Michigan. She was discovered by a talent promoter in Detroit, and by the time she was 14 years old, she was performing on the stage of the world famous SAHARA in Las Vegas.

 

Stephanie moved to West Virginia in 1982, where she continued writing songs & performing. Her cousin Buddy Starcher, a pioneer in Radio, TV, and Country Music, encouraged her to pursue her music dream in Nashville. Buddy introduced Steph to Chuck Glaser of Tompall & The Glaser Brothers where he signed her to his management & production company shortly after her graduating from High School. Stephanie moved to Nashville, TN in 1985 where she spent a decade working in the Country Music Industry alongside her music heroes on Music Row. Stephanie worked as a songwriter for many music publishing companies including Mel Tillis' Tillis Tunes Publishing.

After getting tired of trying compete against the growing trend of the more " Pop " sounding country music as opposed to the traditional sound that Stephanie knew & loved, she left the music business of Music Row and moved back to the hills of West Virginia in 1995.

In 2013 she formed the band COUNTRY FRIED, and word spread quickly among the traditional country music fans of West Virginia. Stephanie Spinks & Country Fried is staying busy playing venues all over the state of West Virginia nearly every weekend. After over 30 years of playing Country Music, Stephanie is finally living out her lifelong dream.... Entertaining true country fans and singing her songs.... COUNTRY FRIED style!

 

A blue sheet of Stephanie Spinks, in her own words, I cite:

Quote, „I have been singing & writing songs since I was eight years old. I was performing as a traditional country singer by age 14. Moved to Nashville in 1985 and worked as a songwriter for several publishing companies including Glaser Brothers Music & Mel Tillis’ Publishing Company. I returned to West Virginia in 1995. I formed the band ‘Country Fried ‘in 2013. We play original music along with the hits of all the traditional country music legends… George Jones, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline…. & many, many more.

This past year we have been keeping busy, playing venues all over West Virginia here in The United States. With the popularity of the Pop Country sound of today, traditional country fans are starved for the old country sound. We have developed a fairly large fan base in a very short period of time. We are having a great time entertaining!  

The only CD I have right now is from 1994 and was recorded during my years in Nashville. The title is ‘There’s me ‘I went by ‘Stephanie Hunter ‘then.  At the moment it is only available at our shows. I have since married and am performing as Stephane Spinks Hoping to have another CD in the next year.  

 From the title cut that I wrote ‘There’s Me ‘.... It was released worldwide in 1993, received much airplay over in the UK.

“Pure Bred “was the last song I wrote & recorded in Nashville. It’s a tribute to the TRADITIONAL Country Legends & the music I love. I was fed up with the modern sounds of today’s country and sadly that’s all Music Row wanted to hear.. I had some of my legendary friends join me on the song. Bobby Bare, John Hartford, Johnny Duncan, Melba Montgomery, George Hamilton IV, Bobby Osborne, Merle Kilgore …. On that note, I left Nashville behind.

I write all my songs… The next CD may have a couple of songs that are not my originals, due to them being fan favorites at our shows. What I have done since 1995 is mine, and I enjoy the freedom of creating & performing as me. If you have to change your style to suit someone else, there is no point. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

My music heroes are George Jones, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Roger Miller and Tommy Collins. Writing songs just comes naturally for me. It’s the best way for me to get my feelings out and pour them into song, whether it’s happy, sad, or spiritual. I love creating & playing music. It has always been my passion.

I have had folks come up crying over songs I have written, one particular “As Soon As the Lord Opens the Door “George Hamilton IV recorded it. I do it on my shows. It’s about looking forward to leaving this world. I had a lady tearfully thank me for freeing her from the fear of death… She was afraid to die, but my song comforted her. It was overwhelming for me to hear that and extremely humbling… That’s when I say, “Those words came from God, I just held the pencil.” Sometimes I get moved to tears while seeing folks singing along to one of my songs at a show. It means more than any fortune or fame, bringing joy to someone through music. If I can touch one soul in a positive way.. I’m doing what God put me here to do. 

The songs I have written in the most recent years have been leaning more toward my spiritual side. As you get older, you find there are much more important things in life, such as Faith in God and our Savior Jesus Christ … This old world is getting crazier by the day, and without The Lord, well…. I’d go CRAZY! … He is my Rock. 

God is my main inspiration now days …My husband Henry... Growing up my country music heroes.  My Dad worked as a DJ in radio, he also played the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. I learned harmony by listening to my Mom singing in Church … Had a great grandmother who wrote poetry on my Dad’s side as did my grandfather on my Mom’s side…. So I guess you could say, it was in my blood.

Actually I enjoy something in all styles of music… I just LOVE MUSIC, but my heart is traditional country all the way. I am happy the internet came along though. It really has been a miracle as far as getting to share your music with the world. One no longer HAS to go to Nashville or LA or New York here in the U.S. The world is right at your own finger tips today.

As far as Country Music, I miss the old days. Music Row was like a small community of musicians, writers, singers ...Everybody knew everybody. I miss the HEART of country music…. I would take away the greed, and the sex symbol image. Country Music use to be about life …. Now it’s geared at what’s HOT at the moment.  

I was retired, but that need to pick & grin kicked in along with some persuasion of family & friends ….. Here I am again nearly 20 years since I left Music Row”, unquote. 

Despicableness

Last year, Fair Play Country Music created for the very first time a calendar, for the cover page, we selected a photo of a Dutch artist, with whom we are friends. She was delighted, that we had chosen her. We wanted to help her, getting a bit more notoriety, over her own borders. I told her that we needed images in a very high resolution, she should send a few by email, but the images which she sends us, we could not use, because they had been too small and transversely her name was written with bold letters. But we needed photos without marking, I told her and I went on to her Facebook page on search for better pictures. I found two, and I sent her these in a message on Facebook. Our choice was a black & white and a colored photo. Her answer came promptly, that they both prefer the first image, the black & white one, because they would use this picture as a banner too, the second would be a case of doubt. So we took the first, I then asked her, if the watermark from the picture was from them, then she asked which photo? I send her again the photo, then I asked her for the second time: "If the watermark yours and if so, that Peter could put a logo on it?" Her answer: "Peter can put a logo on it" I asked her, if she wanted to see the calendar before we would finish it? She replied: "No, we have every confidence in you!" All this took place on the 20th of December 2015, on December 21th, Peter posted in Facebook, how the final calendar would look like, with of course the cover image, of the Dutch artist. She was absolutely thrilled and thanked us and posted the image up and down on the Internet! On the 24th & 25th of December we asked again in public, who would like to have a calendar, because we wanted to know, how much calendar we had to print, she ordered 5 calendars and got one for free. On December 29th Peter posted the printed version, the Dutch artist turned over in virtually gratitude, everyone was happy and satisfied, and we took care of new projects. On March 10th in 2016, mind you, three months later, I suddenly received a written warning, because of an image, that I have used without explicit approval of the photographer and a request for a payment of 250 Euros, for copyright infringement. I was shocked, I looked at the screenshots, she had sent along and there I could see the conscious Cover image of the calendar. I immediately wrote the artist, with a request to clarify this with the photographer. The next day she wrote, that her husband would get back to us later, which I found very strange, so I read the letter again and lo and behold, at the end of the letter it says, that the photographer has two sworn testimonies, of the artist and her management, which never have given us any permission to use the photo. I wrote the artist again, saying: "That this was probably only accidentally, and that she should tell me what this is!" Then her husband wrote me, who is also her manager, this email was in despicableness not to beat, they said, that they were very surprised, when they saw the picture for the very first time, after it has already been printed, and they would never have given consent because the image was indeed of the photographer! I was pissed off because I feel totally ripped off by them, which is the fattest lie I have ever heard, simply because that the artist told me, which image they would rather wanted, she gave me her OK, to put a logo over a watermark, from which she knew, that it was not hers, she posted the image for 9 days up and down, loved it, praised it, never a word, that it was not their picture and now they make it look like, as if they knew nothing at all, these poor innocents. She had countless times and opportunities to tell me, that it is not her image and before we gave it into printing, I have asked her if she wanted to see it, she knew that we would use this picture right from the beginning and then they come up with such a silly excuses. These are people, who have no backbone, because they do not vouch for their mistakes, they make others look like scapegoats, because they themselves are too cowardly to face the truth. But here they got in touch with the wrong people, I am very patient and I would have talked with them, if they had apologized to us, but when the guilty hide their own mistakes, it is disgusting and despicable. We also have been so stupid and supported her husband to become a chairman in a music organization, because we thought that he was honest and fair, but what he has done here, together with his wife to us, testifies, that you can´t trust them at all, and they would be in any leading position misplaced!