107-7 GNA's Jingle Jam featuring Brett Young
Runaway June, Ryan Follese
1 Crossgates Mall Road #99X09
Albany, NY, 12203
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is all ages
At 6' 6" it's hard to imagine Brett Young late at night in a recording studio strumming chords and writing songs. An athlete all his life, Young possesses a keen look in his eyes – an intensity – akin to a pitcher out on the mound, on any team, from a nine-year-old kid in the Babe Ruth league all the way up to a million dollar ace in the majors. It's a sure fit for the singer/songwriter who sidestepped a Major League Baseball fast track to focus on his budding creativity.
Young's soulful vocals and impassioned lyrics are derived from the self-discipline learned form years on the baseball field. When it comes to Brett Young, it isn't so far from a pitcher's mound to a performer's stage, and it doesn't really matter what kind of Big Show you're talking about. One pass through the California native's current sample of songs proves he is in love with love.
"Everyone leaves a trail of 'almosts' and bittersweet memories behind on the road to 'the one'," says Brett. "It happened to me on my journey—it happens to everyone. Now I use those moments when I write music. I guess it is fortunate for me that people most easily relate to heartbreak. I'm an over- emotional, hopeless romantic who feels everything, and that shows in my songs."
A sentimental dreamer, Young makes love look like an art form with songs like "Left Side of Leaving," "Sleep Without You" and "You Ain't Here to Kiss Me." His blue-eyed gaze pierces through the audience, understanding each person's point of view and displaying an unnerving vulnerability as he introduces his music throughout Nashville.
"I grew up with Marvin Gaye, Kenny Rodgers, Tim McGraw— emotionally expressive singers. I like that the emotion carries the songs, where the music is almost secondary," he says. "Van Morrison's 'Crazy Love'—that's just timeless. They influence me; as a songwriter and a performer, I want to connect like they did. And when your audience feels like they can relate, then you have something much more special than a show, or a sale. You have a connection...you truly have a fan."
His Republic Nashville introduction follows a string of previously released recordings that gathered a cult following encompassed in "Caliville" – the world between Young's SoCal roots and Music City coming-of-age. Young's songwriting credits are extensive, having his music appear on shows like Chrisley Knows Best (USA), Real World (MTV) and Kourtney and Kim Take New York (E!). Now in the studio with GRAMMY and CMA Award winning producer Dann Huff, Young is charming his way track by track with an eclectic mix sure to carve a path in 2016.
There’s a sound that hasn’t been heard on country radio in quite some time – the sound of organic, three-part female harmonies, ringing strings and stories that speak the language of modern women everywhere. It’s a sound that was the backbone of a little group known as The Dixie Chicks, and now it’s making a comeback through a vocal trio called Runaway June. Rootsy, brightly colored and mixing bluegrass tradition with dusty desert cool, Runaway June is comprised of three very different women who fuse their own influences to create a style country fans have been craving.
Lead singer and guitarist Naomi Cooke grew up in Florida enchanted with the other-worldly vocals of Alison Krauss, then made her way to a stage in Nashville’s world-famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.
Singer and mandolin picker Hannah Mulholland was raised in Malibu, Calif., a nature-loving hippie chick who latched on to the liberating messages of Sheryl Crow and began writing her own music at 6 years old.
And singer/guitarist Jennifer Wayne – another California native – is a Garth Brooks lover so dedicated to country music she gave up a pro tennis career to write songs in Nashville (like Eric Paslay’s “She Don’t Love You”), and happens to be the granddaughter of Hollywood legend John Wayne.
Each of these talented young ladies were unsurprisingly Dixie Chicks fans, and each could have been a solo artist in her own right. But after forming a friendship and discovering their shared love for acoustic soul, soaring vocals and do-it-yourself positivity, Runaway June was born – a name that nods to their common bonds. Both Jennifer’s grandmother and one of Naomi’s sisters are named June, and Hannah completed a life-changing 25-day, 220-mile hike in the month of June. Plus, they all felt pulled to “run away” from their homes and toward their dreams.
Part of the Wheelhouse Records imprint of BBR Music Group, the first thing listeners will notice is the trio’s obvious musical connection, and their stunning three-part harmonies – natural and effortless in feel.
“I grew up in choirs singing low harmony, Jen naturally sings high harmony and Naomi has this perfect mid-range voice,” Hannah explains, surrounded by her bandmates in a Music Row conference room. “If we all switched positions, it wouldn’t be the same.”
Just as impressive is their musicianship, a modern twist on a way-back sound that sets Runaway June apart from the pack as a true, self-contained band.
“We’ve always had a Western feel to the music in some way, and kind of a cowboy feel,” Jennifer says. “But not rhinestone-y — rough and leather-y.”
“Our brand of music is tied to country’s roots in that it’s all real instruments and real sounds,” Hannah adds. “But I feel like we have a modern take on it lyrically.”
Indeed, as strong women who are not afraid to take risks in achieving their goals,
empowerment is a recurring theme for Runaway June – and not just female empowerment.
“We want to be including,” says Naomi. “We want to sing to everybody, so we steer away from being super negative to either gender.”
“We don’t do man-bashing songs,” Jennifer clarifies with a laugh.
In a time when female voices have been squeezed into a few narrow categories at country radio – the bad girls, the good girls, the crusaders – Runaway June want to break the mold. They know women’s lives are far more diverse, and even though their sound is rooted in the past, their stories are very much of the here and now.
“You won’t hear a lot of synthetic anything in our music,” says Naomi, “but we’re modern women living in a modern world, so what we say and what we want to write and sound like is modern, without even trying.”
Continues Jennifer, “Everything we write is what we know – it’s from the heart.”
Case in point is Runaway June’s debut single “Lipstick” – a breakup song that’s actually upbeat and positive. Its central idea is that sometimes breakups ARE for the best, and that a girl should be with someone who ruins her lipstick, not her mascara. But holding true to their promise not to be man-bashers, the girls barely even mention the heartbreaker in the story, instead focusing on the good guy who’s still out there.
“It’s not preachy,” says Naomi. “But it’s something I would want to say to my little sisters.”
With their high-voltage harmonies kicking the song off, “Lipstick” (produced by Mickey Jack Cones) is the perfect intro to this new group.
“It’s like ‘Here we are! We’re a vocal trio. It’s gonna be harmonies,’” says Jennifer. “For some reason, whatever we have together really works. I feel like what I’m lacking they have and what they’re lacking I have. We’re great individually, but we’re the best together.”
“Without planning it, we all have the same taste in music and the same feel for it, and the same things we want to say,” Naomi agrees. “You can’t really design that.”
With that, the new trio lock eyes and smile, sharing a silent moment of realization before Jennifer sums up their happiness: “I think we all know we have something special.”
American Music Award-winning singer/songwriter and musician Ryan Follese recently release his debut Country single "Float Your Boat" An early reaction from fans has already translated
into impressive sales, indicating that the former Hot Chelle Rae frontman may have a big hit on his hands. Country music is a part of Ryan's DNA as the son of established hitmakers Keith Follese (Tim McGraw "Something Like That" / Faith Hill "The Way You Love Me") and Adrienne Follese (Martina McBride "I Love You" / Lady Antebellum "Long Gone"). The Nashville native is currently in the studio with producers Cameron Montgomery and Dann Huff finishing his full length album for BMLG Records.