Former rock and roll journeymen turn their sights towards the past as they blend the raucous nature of country with the melody of classic rock.
The New Black Tare the Heartland: loud, honest, pure and full of energy but also tempered by a heavy sense of melody and introspection. Their firebrand country is saddled in the roots of the 60’s and 70’s longhaired country revolution as well as the tunefulness of today’s modern dynamic. From top-down highway songs to tailgate love affairs, The New Black 7 deliver country rock juju that contemporary acts like Blackberry Smoke and Eric Church are using to help spread the gospel, that country is ready to be country once again.
Formed initially in 2010 by guitarist/vocalist Tory Stoffregen and drummer Brentt Arcement, they released the Ep The Old Becomes The New, a blend of roots country, blues, rock and fireside ballads. Soon thereafter guitarist Jason K. Herman joined the ranks helping to solidify the band’s centerpiece and give their dueling guitar harmonies a rock-oriented approach. Already a seasoned live band as all three players had logged in the years with touring rock acts, and it was time to put that experience into a new set of tracks for their debut album Hangovers & Heartbreaks (Vanity Music, 2013). Produced by Stoffregen and mixed by noted engineer Cedrick Courtois (Beyonce, Destiny’s Child), The New Black Seven took their modern approach to country testimonials to another level led by the raucous single,” Crazy All Over Me”, a tale of love gone way, way wrong. Filled with big guitars and big choruses, the track caught the attention of regional radio leading the way for other tracks like “That Don’t Sound Country”, an homage to the deep musical roots that Jason Aldean could cut his teeth on. Not ones to just look for the good times, “Fly Me To Freedom” found the band utilizing slide, piano and violins to anchor themselves to Stoffregen’s tender baritone ballad about time passing and letting go. The band’s evident rock side came shining thru on “Outlaw” a dirty road number custom made for pool halls and arenas alike, while the straight between the eyes “Can’t Go Home” is pure Lynyrd Skynrd, tough soul with a heart of gold. In addition, the band turned the Motley Crue classic “Kickstart My Heart’ on its head, giving it some major country horsepower. Guitarist Jason K.Herman explains, “The H&H sessions were a real pivotal point in the NB7. Especially for me being the new man in the song-writing circle. It was so easy to write with these two guys and the musicianship of being able to play multiple-instruments made us expand on so many ideas, it was a great launching point for where we’re at today”
Continuous gigging in support of Hangovers & Heartbreaks ensued as well as showcases at NAMM and shared bills with everyone from Rick Springfield and Tesla to Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood proving that they can take the stage with any act that shares in their love for big melodies and timeless sounds.
The band currently finds itself in the studio preparing their 3rd release (yet untitled) on their own Route 3 Records at the Shell Rock, Iowa studios of co-producer Wade Goeke (owner of Chandler Limited) with tracking having commenced in April 2014 with a release set for the 3rd quarter. The album will be a continuation of the band’s sounds thus far: rowdy country, melodic rock influence and open-hearted moments that will help solidify the band’s commitment to deliver a record that will have something for everyone while allowing them to share the stage with a broad cross-section of acts.
“Our live show continues to evolve with every show. We spent a lot of the year writing, and peppering in shows where they fit. Now with 3 albums in the bucket, we’re ready to go out and give people one hell of a show” remarks Herman. I think our songs fit into every spectrum. The New Black 7 are also committed to dates during this time as well and will be re-releasing the debut Hangovers & Heartbreaks, in addition fans will be able to download “Kickstart My Heart’ from the band’s website upcoming.
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JUST ANNOUNCED! The Shalo Lee Band, last summer’s fan favorite band, will be joining us once again for this year’s #StumpDodgerBash! Who’s excited?! Get your campsites early! Shalo Lee is a singer/songwriter from River Falls, WI. Upon being taught by her 12 year old sister to sing at the age of 18 months, she began building her life as an artist. After auditioning and getting her first paying job for the legendary Jim Owen at the Mickey Gilley Theatre in Branson MO, she went on to front countless regional bands, won numerous vocal competitions, and performed throughout the country and beyond. Her most recent live bands include co-fronting Mick Sterling and the Irresistibles, her Americana project, Shalo Lee and Northern Southern, and of course her most recent ensemble, The Shalo Lee Band. In February 2014 she released her debut original album, “Hometown Girl” which is already garnering critical praise. She has performed to over 100,000 fans on her current tour takes her through 2016 with her band’s 4th return performance scheduled for Moondance Jammin Country.
He’s a new voice for every man. Actually, make him an honest new voice for every man – and he’s coming to Gays Mills! That would be country-rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Logan Mize. Mize will headline at the 2016 #StumpDodgerBash on Saturday night! Take a listen to his current single “Can’t Get Away from a Good Time,” which was just released to country radio by his label Arista Nashville.
The anticipation is building, particularly since Mize spent a good part of 2013 behind the camera in a couple of high profile turns on the small screen. The Kansas native serendipitously found himself guest starring in two nationally- watched TV appearances that undoubtedly introduced him to new audiences.
He ended up in a widely viewed “Fabric Of Our Life” cotton commercial with Hayden Panettiere of ABC-TV’s lauded Nashville. Mize and his band are shown performing on stage at Music City’s legendary Station Inn. But there’s more: Mize played himself and sang, also with his band, in an episode of The CW’s hit drama Hart of Dixie starring Rachel Bilson.
Mize, 28, saw both tube assignments as great ways to trumpet his debut national CD release, 2012’s Nobody In Nashville, an auspicious 10 song collection that highlights Mize’s rugged voice, his earthy songs and his ability to merge mainstream country with front porch rock ‘n’ roll.
‘I was just happy to get the gigs,” Mize said about the TV exposure. “I was real excited about them. It helped promote Nobody In Nashville. The commercial with Hayden was more just fun, singing some songs for a commercial. We were just playing the songs while she was shooting the commercial.” About Hart of Dixie, he has this to say: “I just played myself in the series. I had no lines but I was in a battle of the bands club scene and I won the battle of the bands.”
Making Nobody In Nashville, which is the follow-up to Mize’s very independent, regional 2009 self-titled first effort, was a musically organic experience. The disc was released on Big Yellow Dog Music, the imprint of his publishing company. It is an earthy project that puts the emphasis on Mize’s voice, guitar playing and songs. Unpolished gems include “State Of Your Heart,” “Hey Carolina,” “Sunflowers,” “Good Life” and the autobiographical “Rock N Roll Band.”
“It wasn’t auto-tuned or anything,” Mize said about Nobody In Nashville. “The vocals are really raw. There are parts where I cringe a little bit. It’s a really dry sounding record, but I like it because it’s really simple. We didn’t hire the biggest names in Nashville. We kept it very grassroots.” “Sunflowers,” which is an ode to his home state, will be used as an official state tourism song promoting Kansas. Logan, has also been named an official Kansas Brand Ambassador by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and will promote Kansas as a premier visitor destination.
There are no artifices. Mize’s real guy-next-door demeanor is exactly the reason why Nobody In Nashville garnered immediate attention from Roughstock, The Boot, Billboard.com, Keepin’ It Country, and M Music & Musicians magazine. He also has a fan in country and pop superstar LeAnn Rimes, who not only tweeted about Mize’s previous single, “Used Up,” but also invited him to open her 2013 Fall Tour in Europe. Award-winning country vocal group Little Big Town also blew up Twitter with praise for Mize’s “Used Up.”
No stranger to touring, Mize delivers a blistering live show with his commanding onstage presence. He has opened shows for headlining household names Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Little Big Town, Blake Shelton, Billy Currington, LeAnn Rimes and Hank Williams, JR. That’s pretty lofty company for the kid born in Wichita, Kansas who grew up in nearby Clearwater immersed in the music of Tom Petty, Elton John, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, The Wallflowers, Nirvana, the Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots. “If it sounded good to me, I would listen to it,” Mize said about his eclectic musical tastes. “I am a song guy. There is no bias. I like it all.”
His arms-open-wide philosophy extends into family, naturally. Mize, who is married to country singer-songwriter Jill Martin and has a 2-year-old son Lincoln, slowly soaked himself in the history of his great uncle Billy Mize. The elder Mize, now 84, is considered a pioneer in the Bakersfield country sound that emerged in California and was popularized by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Mize didn’t learn of his revered kin until he was in his early 20s.
“When I found out about him I really researched the Bakersfield sound. Buck Owens was in Billy’s band. He also got Merle Haggard recognized. He was a behind-the-scenes guy.”
Logan Mize, however, is not only behind a microphone; he’s also in front of the cameras. In characteristically every man fashion he’s getting priceless VIP attention. Visit Mize’s website to take a listen and to learn more about the man behind the mic.
HEADLINER ANNOUNCEMENT! Here’s the news you’ve been waiting for!! Erica Nicole to headline 2016 #stumpdodgerbash on Friday night!
There’s something to be said about the learning process. For Erica Nicole, the past couple of years have been a whirlwind of performances, interviews, and recording sessions. She has toured all over the United States making fans and friends at radio, and that – combined with her powerful vocal range and tireless work ethic – have made her one of the top newcomers in town. The release of I’M MAKING MINE – her brand new album – will definitely add some fuel to that already strong flame.
The title cut has helped the Georgia native write her name in the history books, becoming the first female on an independent label to notch three consecutive Top 20 records on the MusicRow Country Breakout Chart, following “I Listen To My Bad Girl” and “It’s Comin’ Down.”
She says humbly that her success is not just hers alone. “That’s something that I feel so blessed to have the people behind me that I do. It’s a testament to me and my music, but also to my team. It takes an entire army to do that. It’s not just my success – it’s everyone on our team. Every day, our team gives it 110%. That is something I’m very proud of.”
The past few years have seen immeasurable growth for Erica. The young girl who grew up a fan of such legends as Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Reba McEntire, while cheering on her neighborhood Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, has come a long way. She has nothing but fond memories of the learning process of her first radio tours and meeting Program Directors and Music Directors that have become just like family to her ever since.
Another key element in the growing Erica Nicole success story is Kent Wells, her producer. Known for his work with Country Music Hall of Fame member Dolly Parton, Wells elicits nothing but praise from his artist.
“Teaming up with Kent has been an absolute game-changer for me. There are a lot of great producers in this industry, but there is only one great producer for Erica Nicole, and that is Kent Wells. I couldn’t do it without him.”
The work…and the success has only started for Erica. I’M MAKING MINE features songs handpicked by Erica and Wells. Delivering not only powerful vocals, Erica also shines with writing credits, which excites her.
“I feel like for the first time in my career, I got to choose what I really wanted to go for musically, and this album is symbolic of that. I feel the title is so perfect, because I’m making my career and making my choices. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
Erica Nicole feels that the lyrics on I’M MAKING MINE are straight from her life. “The songs tell my story, and they are ones that I believe in. One of the songs is called ‘Marking Pages,’ and I love that song. I’m such a firm believer that you’ve got to live in the moment and take time every day to take in all of the blessings that God has given you – whether it’s a standing ovation at the end of a show or a call from a best friend you’ve not heard from in a while. Take those moments in, because they are so precious. Never forget them.”
One song from the disc that many of her fans and friends and radio have buzzed about is the stunning “Like I Do,” which teams her with powerhouse vocalist Jamie O’Neal. The tour de force of a vocal performance came to be after the two performed the song at the Country Radio Seminar and were encouraged to put it on Erica’s record. “To perform with Jamie was a truly defining moment, yet incredible highlight in my career and definitely made me bring my A-game.”
As an artist, Erica is challenging herself and pushing to deliver her very best, “I’m getting to see what I’m really capable of and to be on a stage with Jamie O’Neal was a great feeling. If I’m going to be the best I can be, I’ve got to compete with the powerhouse voices of country music, and her voice is certainly one of them.”
As she gears up for another exciting single, album and tour, Erica Nicole can’t wait to take her fans and country radio with her – Erica has hit the road with a passion – and is loving every minute of it. “We took part in CMA Fest, and headlined shows in Wisconsin and Iowa, as well as New York. I’ve been busier this summer than I’ve ever been. I think that’s been a testament to my music, and what Kent Wells and I have been able to do. Seeing my fans love what I do, and being able to relate to my music is what is so gratifying about what I do.”
The singer continues to be amazed by her loyal and devoted fan base – as well as those who have supported her dream. “I feel so blessed to have the amazing support of those around me, not just my fans and country radio, but my team, my family.” And a duo that has supported her along the way are her parents. “My parents are the two greatest people in the world. They were always supportive of every crazy dream that I could come up with, and they still are.”
That dream has included performances at some of America’s most exciting venues, such as Fenway Park, Citi Field and various basketball arenas- where she performed the National Anthem. Erica also opened up for artists such as Eric Paslay at The Stump Dodger Bash in Wisconsin. Wherever she takes the stage, she says it’s a special moment for her. “Every single crowd is uniquely their own. They have made every stop special for me in its’ own way. I always look forward to performing, Every show has its’ own memory to it.”
And, speaking of memories, Erica is also in the process of putting down roots, building her dream home just outside of Nashville in rustic Leipers’ Fork. And, as creative as she is, she’s enjoying the experience.
“I actually designed the floor plan for my house. I sat there and drew it out – the entire home. It’s very exciting.”
But even beyond performing, Erica has also has partnered with ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities) to help raise funds and awareness for those facing such obstacles in their lives, a cause that is near and dear to her heart. “Being able to give back and contribute everything I can to a great cause, not only changes the lives of others that ECAD helps, but of mine.”
Erica is certainly a force to be reckoned with and her future is nothing but bright!
“Don’t just Dream It… Believe It, Live It and Make History,” says Erica…words she lives by every day.