Brandon Maddox Holiday Q&A and Original Christmas Song

Turquoise-WallIn the past few days I have gotten the chance to talk to Brandon Maddox, a singer/songwritter from Nashville, TN. It started with one of his fans tweeting me asking me to watch his music video for “Picture Perfect”. It took a few days and a couple other fans tweeting me to watch the video but as soon as I did, I tried to get in contact with him. The video was great and his voice is one-of-a-kind. Plus, he’s ridiculously good looking but that’s beside the point. This guy is talented and passionate about his music. What more can you ask for?

Here is the tweet I was sent about his video from @Bmaddoxmusic, and @CrazyCountry3 – “@LeticiaMarieW – Please watch the “PICTURE PERFECT Video by the incredible rising country artist @Bmadmusichttp://youtu.be/UU0uSkzyMQk 

Check him out as soon as you can! I should have looked him up when I first got the message.

By-TruckHere is a little bit about Brandon and what he’s accomplished so far.

From sharing the stage with CMA nominee and superstar Brett Eldredge to acclaimed performances at clubs and festivals across the nation, having an original song featured in the Michael Ealy film Unconditional, to appearing on TV and radio shows, triple threat artist/singer/songwriter, Brandon Maddox, has quickly established himself as one of country music’s rising stars.

On the verge of breaking out nationally with his new recording The Bigger The Wheels, The Better The Man, the single has been selected as “The Monster Truck Song of 2014” and, Brandon, named the “2014 Lucas Oil Monster Truck Artist of the Year.” With Monster Truck, he has performed arenas in front of five to ten thousand people and been featured at their 4 Wheel Jamboree events.

As Monster Truck’s Artist, Brandon has been featured on TV and radio shows across the country including Fox TV’s Good Day Chicago, NBC’s WRCB TV 3/Chattanooga, KARK 4/Little Rock & WMTV15/ Madison, WCRX/Chicago, WTHI/Terra Haute and KKYY 101.3 Country/ Sioux City.

His debut EP Weightless (produced by Doug Sisemore of Reba Mcentire’s band) generated radio action including US101 Chattanooga and CMG Radio Network, WCRX, Opus Country Music Radio Network, KMSC, and many more.

His celebrated live performances have earned him very loyal fans and have included memorable shows with one of Country Music’s hottest performers CMA Nominee, Brett Eldredge (the #1 gold record “Don’t Ya”.) He was a featured performer at Nashville Center Stage during CMA Fest, Shawnee Riverfest, World Café Live in Philadelphia, and many other major country venues and festivals across America. Keep your eyes and ears on this prolific, young triple threat Singer/Songwriter/Musician.

He may be based out of Nashville but he is sponsored by a guitar company called Backporch Guitars, a company right here in Sacramento, CA.

Listen to his Original Holiday song “Simple Christmas With You” here:

Q and A:

What is your favorite holiday song?

My favorite holiday song would have to be “Mary, Did You Know” because of it being the first Christmas song in a long time to change way people think about the whole Christ side of Christmas. Being that I’m a Christian in what has become a very politically correct landscape where it’s taboo to mention the true meaning of Christmas, I tend to celebrate that side as if it were the 1950s and you could still shout “Merry Christmas” to someone you pass on the street (or really up until the last twenty years if you get right down to it!)

What is your favorite food on the holidays?

Favorite Food would be all of it! haha. I like turkey, dressing, carrot sufflet, and just about any vegetable as well as the desserts! There’s nothing I would change about the food served during the holidays.

What are your holidays traditions and have they altered since you’ve gotten older?

Our family’s holiday traditions used to be exchanging gifts after the meal and turning on some Christmas Music in the background, however, in the past few years, because my cousins and I have all grown up, my parents and relatives have made the holidays more of a time to get together, fellowship, and eat.

What is your favorite gift to receive?

My favorite gifts to receive are the ones that I didn’t expect to get, but which are very practical and ones I would need for living life. Sometimes, since I’m a full time Singer/Songwriter in the business (no day job) things get “tight” and gifts at Christmas whether monetary or not, tend to be the very things to help stretch a tight budget and get me by on those “rainy days” if you know what I mean.

What is your favorite gift to give?

My favorite gift to give is one that creates the most reaction of happiness and enthusiasm from the person I gave that gift to.

How sweet is he?! Check him out on his websiteFacebook, and Twitter! Find his music on iTunes here.

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Catching up with LoCash’s Preston Brust and Chris Lucas

logo_2While in Sin City for NFR, I got to catch up with Preston Brust and Chris Lucas of LoCash. My voice was pretty much gone but I got through the interview at Starbucks inside TI with my Peppermint Tea and Honey. The people there were so nice and turned down the holiday music so we could do the interview there. You can still hear the music a little bit but it just made it feel a bit more relaxed and festive.

safe_imageThe band was formerly named LoCash Cowboys and was a part of Average Joes Entertainment record label but they are now a part of Reviver Records and dropped Cowboys from their name. It’s not they are trying to completely take away cowboys but they are making it more simple and LoCash alone has a nice ring to it.

locash-cowboys-tattoos-450pxThese guys are so talented in all aspects of their career. They’ve written hit songs for multiple artists including Keith Urban’s number one hit “You Gonna Fly” aka the Black Bird song and Tim McGraw’s hit “Truck Yeah”. Their newest single “I Love This Life”, out in early Feb, is a really fun song and I imagine it will be a hit for them but their second single “Shipwrecked” shows a whole other side to them. It’s heartfelt and beautiful. “Best Seat in the House” can compare to the feeling put into the song but there is just a way they perform “Shipwrecked” and the conviction behind it is intense. I see a #1 hit out of it! It’s personally my favorite song in all of Country Music right now. I have only felt the way I do about that song, about one other song in my life and I have that one tattooed on my wrist. I will post “Shipwrecked” as soon as it hits radio or is sent to me, whichever comes first.

If you want to know their craziest fan moment, an interesting fact about each of them, memories with the family, how they met and their message to their fans plus much more listen here.

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Here is a little snip bit of our interview. If you want to hear the full interview listen to the videos throughout this article.

NC2CA: How did you come up with LoCash Cowboys in the first place?

LoCash: Well, this is big news right here, BREAKING NEWS, we’re dropping cowboys and just going with LoCash. Preston: LoCash started back in Kokamo, Indiana, with me and a bunch of my best friends in high school and we just called ourselves the LoCash Money Boys, cause none of us had a lot of money and we realized the best things in life are free… It was sorta like a figure of speech at first, when something really cool would happen we’d say that was so “LoCash” and high five and we’d be like that was free.

NC2CA: Were you already planning on dropping “Cowboys” from your name when the cover art for “Best Seat in the House” was done?

LoCash: I think that could have been the start of that, but like we said everybody just kept saying LoCash, What’s LoCash doing? You know, it just, it felt good. “Best Seat in the House” is the most emotional song I think we’ve ever written. I think is a little bit of a start to show what LoCash is really about.

NC2CA: When can fans expect to hear new music?

LoCash: February, I mean, if you come to a show you’re gonna hear it right now. So if you want a sneak peak that’s the best way to get it. Come to a show, in fact we made a little batch of CD’s when we knew that we loved this song and another new song. We’ve been selling them on the road just to get fans reactions and see what people think.

NC2CA: Do you have a single picked out?

LoCash: Yes, “I Love This Life” and the date right now is Feb 9th and it’s always subject to change. That’ll be the first one coming out; eventually an EP will come out then the album.

NC2CA: What is an interesting fact about you that not a lot of people know?

Chris: I studied marine biology.

Preston: I’ve got one that I’ve never even said in an interview before. It’s kinda redneck of me but I wasn’t allowed to go hunting at an early age with my dad because you had to be old enough to be able to shoot the gun and I wasn’t strong enough to pull the bow back or anything yet so the only way I could get to go to the woods with my dad was if he shot a deer and they needed to go track the deer. You have to have someone track the deer. So my dad would come home and get me and he would say “okay, now you can come”. He would let me lead the way, so at an early age I could track deer really, really good in the woods.

NC2CA: What is the craziest or most memorable fan moment?

You’ll have to listen to the interview for this one because text just won’t convey it as well. Listen here!

NC2CA: What is your message to your fans?

NC2CA: Will you be coming back to California soon?

LoCash: Yes, next question.

NC2CA: Where did “Shipwrecked” come from?

Listen for this one, its better when they are explaining it than reading it.

These guys were so much fun to catch up with and I can’t wait for the next one with them! They’re a really hoot! They played at Gilley’s inside Treasure Island 12/7 through 12/11. I was only in Vegas 3 nights but each night I went to the show. If you get any chance to see them, take it! They put on a fantastic high energy, get everyone involved show and stay true to who they are. You can hear their Christmas song here and all their other music on spotify or by purchasing the album, which I highly encourage! Check them out, you’ll wish you knew of them sooner.

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Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Troy Schmidt Interview

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I am excited to say that my birthday weekend turned into a wonderful opportunity. I got to see Jana Kramer, who you all know I love, but even more importantly I met a very talented up and coming artist who seems to have all the right tools to make it very far.

His name? Troy Schmidt. By the end of this interview I doubt you’ll forget it. I know I never will.

Troy may not have a song out yet for you all to hear but hopefully in this interview, he’ll sing a verse or two of one of many songs he’s written. His voice is fantastic and his song writing really tells a story about who he is. Not only is talented but he is grounded and motivational as well. He has been through a lot with the death of both parents and drug problems while he was young, moving states while in school, not many friends, and really no good strong influence in his life. Even through all this he has managed to find a good way to look at life itself.

He believes, “It doesn’t matter where you come from, or what struggles you go though, you can always find your way”. He tells me “Life’s struggles make you stronger”.

If that’s not a great way to look at life, I don’t know what is!

Here is a brief preview of the interview that we did. I would normally post and transcribe the whole interview but in this case it would not do it justice. You need to hear him speak and hear the passion in his voice. It’s very uncommon to have the ability to portray yourself through just talking but this man has it down!

If you want to know the man behind the music, his inspirations in country music, what shapes his songs and his amazing take on life just listen to him talk. You may find something different in him and genuine that you don’t get with everyone.

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Troy Douglas Schmidt

Born in Rochester, MN on Jan. 6th 1986 but he calls Mankato home. Troy has been all over the U.S. He now lives in Sacramento, CA because he fell in love with it here. “It’s country… and a melting pot.”

NC2CA: Just who is the man behind the music?

Troy Schmidt: Well, honestly,  I’m a man whose had many struggles in my life and I just kinda keep pushing through everything just making life just a little better…. As long as you take the good out of everything, you can turn… your life’s picture into something beautiful…

NC2CA: What is it that inspires your song writing?

Troy:  A lot of it’s from personal past experiences, whether that’s my own or people that are very close to me. The death of my mom when I was younger or the death of my grandparents and their love…

NC2CA: What is it that you love about country music? Why Country?

Troy: Gah, I dunno, it touches me and I can’t turn on the radio, whether it’s new country or old country and not get a smile on my face. It was my mom’s favorite music so it was ingrained in me…

NC2CA: What do you hope to achieve in the music industry?

Troy: Traveling, meeting people, putting myself out there and helping people and if I can go ahead and take my songs and really touch people, whether that’s one or 10,000 people…

NC2CA: Who and what shaped how you write and sing your songs?

Troy: … my mom, I mean, my mom was the biggest hearted person you’ll ever meet in your life, she works super hard, got divorced when I was younger. We had a pretty bad childhood when I was growing up with my dad being an alcoholic and abusive; she really took us 3 kids under her wing and just ran with it. She was so driven and determined and she always had that smile on her face.

NC2CA: What was the one life event that you feel changed your life the most and do you have a song or two about it?

Troy: When my mom died, um, you know it’s a harder topic for me and I haven’t sat down and really wrote anything about her death… I’m not sure if I am ready to go ahead and dive into that one yet but when my grandparents past as well. Their love was something that you just don’t see now-a-days except for like older couples. I wrote “Man of your Dreams” because of them.

NC2CA: Lastly, what is your message to your fans and friends? What do you want them to know about you that we didn’t cover?

Troy: My message is just, you gotta keep pushing through everything, when you hit a wall you gotta push through it or climb over it or whatever you can. I mean the one biggest thing in this world that we all are not pursuing is LOVE and providing love to everyone around us. Regardless of whether or not you believe in God, if you look in the bible it states that “Love your father above all else, but love your neighbor as yourself”. I believe that’s the most important of all…

Here is the full interview – Part 1 and 2

Troy Schmidt isn’t just another guy who wants to make music. He is passionate and truly wants to make someone’s day just a bit better by listening to his songs. He is a genuine guy who I think you all will adore. Talented, fun, and kind, that’s how I’d describe this guy in 3 words but he deserves way more!

Check him out on Facebook to see what he’s up to.

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Thompson Square (Keifer Thompson) Interview Audio and Pictures

Thompson Square (Keifer Thompson) Interview 9/5/2014

T2%20%20-%20Anthony%20Baker%20-%20cropped%20TIGHT%20full%20album%20shot%20Photo credit: Anthony Baker

Okay, it has finally uploaded on youtube so this is my interview with Keifer Thompson of Thompson Square on his marriage, his music and how it makes him feel. Also on how he feels about music streaming sites. After talking to him, I will be buying more albums and singles rather than streaming or downloading them for free. Listen to this interview and you may rethink it too.

NC2CA: Tell me about the first time you heard Shawna sing?

KT: The First time I heard her sing was in Nashville at the Nashville Palace. It was actually the first time we met. I was literally just dumb-founded and I just never heard a voice like that before. I actually talked to her and was hitting on her before I heard her sing. That was just like Icing on the cake for me. I think she’s the best Country singer, the best female Country singer in town…. There’s a quality in her voice I’ve never heard and it’s kinda a combination of Reba, Shelby-Lynn and I dunno it’s almost dead on pitch perfect all the time… I can listen to her everyday and never get tired of it.

NC2CA: How does it feel to be described or referred to as the new age Johnny and June?

KT: Well, that’s quite the company to keep. We really admire those two and look up to them and you know, Johnny’s one of my massive influences. The first time we did the Opry they put us in the Duet room. All the photos in there are duos. The first time we were in there, Shawna got, you know it was like an emotional moment or whatever but it was really cool we were watching this T.V. show about Johnny and June and they were on stage singing and stuff and Shawna just starts bawling and goes back to the back and it’s just because I think we can relate to them better than a lot of people because I know we have that kind of love for each other. It was unconditional and very special. I think we found our first love in Nashville… we just kinda relate to that whole situation. They’re just two beautiful people who aren’t perfect but loved each other for their imperfections you know so it’s quite an honor.

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NC2CA: How do you keep thing new and interesting on the road?

KT: Well, We’re just kind of buddies and we like to laugh. We laugh a lot. She makes me laugh and I don’t think I’ve ever dated a girl that’s made me laugh as much as I can make her laugh and I think that’s a huge thing… The comic relief in a marriage is just massive. I couldn’t be with someone who wasn’t funny. We don’t really work at anything, we’re just really good friends. We fight like cats and dogs sometimes like everybody else and we just learn how to deal with it to where we extinguish it quickly and don’t ever bring it up again. We don’t harbor any of that crap. Pride is a terrible, terrible thing in an instance like that.

NC2CA: Is that how “Let’s Fight” was inspired?

KT: I actually wrote that song with a couple buddies of mine Kip Moore and Weston Davis. And actually that’s not what inspired the song because we didn’t fight. It’s let’s force a fight so we can make up…

NC2CA: What songs mean the most to you?

KT: I don’t know that I can answer that. Um, it continually changes. I mean we wrote a song on this record called “What am I Gonna Do” which was only available at Wal-mart. It was a song that we wrote for her dad after he passed away and I decided/ I opted out of the song. I just wanted her to sing it by herself. It’s just really important. I wanna create song we can do it 30 years and I can remember why I wrote that and this is one of those songs. It’s just a beautiful song.

NC2CA: A lot of people get proposed to at your shows.

KT: A ton!

NC2CA: Do you still get surprised every time or is it pretty expected?

KT: I don’t think surprised is the word, we’re honored every time. It’s a really cool thing, to be able to say that your music is important enough for somebody to use it for that because that’s a huge step, it’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make as a human being and to include us in there, it’s an honor.

NC2CA: What were you doing and how did you feel when you realized “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” had hit number one on the charts?

KT: I have a horrible memory so I can’t remember where it was at but I remember it was a big frikkin deal. We both felt that was one step closer to making it. With success comes a lot of pressure.

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NC2CA: What is your message to your fans?

KT: Well I have so many messages; one is Thank You for everything you’ve done for us. We have a great core group of fans. My main message is not just for our fans but music fans in general, and that is if you love bands music, our music, whoever’s music, prove it by buying it.

He explains here, why you should buy the music instead of streaming it very well in the interview but it wouldn’t come across right in print so listen to this interview. It is important to buy the music rather than download or stream it for free. There is a whole lot more you can get from him if you just listen to this interview once.

NC2CA: Last Question, Is there anything I didn’t ask that you want your fans to know?

KT: I think we covered everything, we’re just in the process of writing a new record right now and probably go in the studio here in a couple months and begin that new process but this is gonna be quite a metamorphosis, I believe, for Thompson Square. It’s gonna be kinda different but we’re super excited with it so I can’t wait to bring it out!

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Click Here for the full interview!

Thompson Square will be back near Sacramento on October 8th at The Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, CA for Country Uncorked! It’s a 21 and over event. Music starts at 6:30. Doors open at 5:30. Parking is FREE!

Artist of the Week: LOGAN BRILL + Interview

The first time I got to meet Logan was just a few weeks ago at Golf and Guitars. I had heard her music before and have her first album downloaded on my phone and computer. I probably play her album more than anything else in my phone. Night one of Golf and Guitars was the singer/songwriter showcase so I finally got to hear her perform live and I’ll tell you, it blew my mind. Her voice is unlike many I have heard lately. I would say it reminds me most of Carrie Underwood because of how crystal clear and powerful she sounds. It is crazy how that big voice comes out of such a petite little lady. If you haven’t heard her music you are really missing out.

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Not only does she have a wonderful sound, she is one of the sweetest, most down to earth country music artists I have gotten to meet. She was so approachable and easy going that it was very easy to strike up and conversation with her. I mentioned having a country music blog and wanting to interview her for it and without question she agreed to do it. The interview was very easy breezy and fun. You won’t be able to tell how fun she was because it was just a phone interview but the next one with her will be on skype so you can see for yourself how “normal” she really is.

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I was actually nervous right before she called because I didn’t know what to expect out of her or how to start the interview. It came pretty naturally because of how friendly is. If you get a chance to go see her make sure you don’t think twice and just go to the show. You will not regret it! She will be back on the west coast for the Rhythm and Ribs Country Music Festival in Cottonwood, AZ Sept. 6th.

The interview could only be about 15 min because she was headed from rehearsal to a show. It is always so busy for these artists so I totally understood. I think I’ve said enough so here it is!

 

NCTCA: Are there any new projects you’re working on now or in the near future?

Logan: I am actually working on my second album. We have over 20 songs we are testing out right now to be on the album. I’m still holding out to see what the album will be. My first album really evolved throughout the whole pre-recording process and even in the studio. It’s always a surprise!

 

NCTCA: What is something in music you want to do but haven’t gotten to do yet?

Logan: I’m looking forward to headlining more shows but I’ve had a great couple years opening for a lot of artists I respect and I’ve learned a lot about how touring works.

 

NCTCA: When did you start singing/songwriting?

Logan: I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. Music has always been a huge part of who I am. Songwriting came a little later for me. It wasn’t until I moved to Nashville and was surrounded by so many other musicians/songwriters that I started trying to write my own songs.

 

NCTCA: Who are your musical inspirations?

Logan: I have so many it would be hard to name them all…I’d say my first inspirations were the musicians my parents listened to when I was growing up. Jackson Browne, The Band, EmmyLou Harris, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, the list goes on and on. I also got really into Soul and Motown for a while. Ray Charles is one of my favorites. These days I’m inspired by newer artists like Holly Williams, Jason Isbell, and Dawes.

 

NCTCA: How long did it take you to write Scars? Did you write it alone or with others? Who?

Logan: I’d say it took a couple hours maybe. I wrote it with my friend Jordan Dean. He came in with the line “Love is a loaded gun” and we ran with it. It was one of those serendipitous moments where we were both saw the same vision for where the song could go and had the ideas to make it happen. 

 

NCTCA: Why is “The Bees” one of your new favorite songs in your live set?

Logan: “The bees” is a song by Natalie Hemby that I heard a few years ago and fell in love with. I added it to the set list when I was in Annapolis MD this past winter. We we’re staying at a friend’s house in town and there was a snowstorm outside. My band and I stayed up till3am drinking champagne and jamming by the fireplace and played the song for the first time all together. It was such a magical night we’ve put it in our set ever since. 

 

NCTCA: Which song do you enjoy performing most and why?

Logan: It really depends on my mood that day. If I am performing for an intimate crowd who is really listening, I love singing the ballads but I’m in a really fun mood I love performing songs like “Month of Bad Habits”

 

NCTCA: Why did you choose the charities of Colorado Children’s Hospital and Bryan Warnecke’s Pink Lightening bike team for Cystic Fibrosis to donate the 10,000 you won at Golf and Guitars? Did you have a connection with these charities before this event?

Logan: It was a 3 way tie with me, Brett and Thomas. The charity she chose was Cystic fibrosis because of her mom’s friend’s son. He has fought hard and had to deal with so much already at the age of 15 and still will do the bike race. I am pretty healthy most of the time and I don’t think I could do it. The bike race is a total of 1065 miles over 43 days. Here’s the link for more info if you want to check it out!

http://www.pinklightning.org/blog/2014/3/7/o7scdjd6w6ksy6ehq9nl5dyboofl7r

 

NCTCA: Will you be returning next year if you’re asked?

Logan: Yes! This was such a fun event I will definitely be coming back if I can!

 

NCTCA: Did you enjoy your time here? What did you do while you were here in Sacramento?

Logan: We walked around Old Sacramento and our limo driver took us on a tour of the neighborhoods around the river.

 

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You all have to check Logan out ASAP! She’s just so incredible I can’t help but love her. Monday May 19th I fell in love with a new artist and I see her making it to the top. She, in my opinion, is the new voice of Country Music! Check her out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too!

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