2014 Country Life Music Festival - Sunday

Country Life Music Festival is one of Central Illinois' largest country music festivals for 2014 - with today's top country music artists, camping options, and more!

Trace Adkins

Trace Adkins helped keep country's traditionalist flame burning during the crossover-happy late '90s, mixing classic honky tonk with elements of gospel, blues, and rock & roll. Adkins was born in the small Louisiana town of Sarepta in 1962 and took up the guitar at an early age; he went on to study music at Louisiana Tech, where he also played football and worked on an offshore oil rig after graduating. His finger was severed in an accident while on the job, and once several years had passed, he returned to music with the gospel quartet the New Commitments. In the early '90s he began to pursue a solo career, playing honky tonk bars and clubs as often as he could, and honing a powerful, wide-ranging baritone voice in the process. He spent several years on the circuit and finally moved to Nashville to try his luck in the industry; he was quickly signed to Capitol by Scott Hendricks, who had produced the likes of Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill, and Alan Jackson.

Jennifer Nettles

Jennifer Nettles, lead vocalist for international super duo Sugarland, has become one of the most popular singer-songwriters in music today. Since Sugarland exploded onto the music scene in '04 they have worldwide sales of over 22 million (albums and singles) to date, have achieved eight No. 1 singles and have won numerous awards including trophies from the Grammys, AMAs, ACM Awards, CMT Music Awards and CMA Awards. Nettles has won five ASCAP awards for her songwriting abilities, and in 2008 individually received a Grammy Award, ACM Award and CMA Award for penning the emotionally charged, platinum-selling No. 1 hit "Stay." At the 2009 ACM Awards, Nettles was honored with the "Crystal Milestone Award" for being the first woman to be the solo songwriter on an ACM "Song of the Year" winner since 1972. Nettles has been seen all over the media spectrum, with performances ranging from President Barack Obama's inauguration celebration to Oprah, Good Morning America, Ellen, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and CNN Heroes, among others. Her fans have grown to expect Nettles to deliver memorable, heartfelt performances both individually and with surprise duet partners: At the 2007 AMAs, Beyonce joined Sugarland on stage for a countrified version of her hit single "Irreplaceable." Two years later, at The Kennedy Center Honors, Nettles paid tribute to icon Bruce Springsteen, covering "Glory Days" and "I'm On Fire" with Ben Harper. In 2010, Nettles, Katy Perry and Keri Hilson opened VH1 Divas: Salute The Troops with a playful and sexy reprise of the WWII-era hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," and most recently Nettles treated fans to a show-stopping performance of "You and I" with Lady Gaga at the 2011 'Grammy Nominations Live' concert. Nettles and her Sugarland partner Kristian Bush have performed in numerous European countries and have headlined multiple U.S. tours that continue to sell out venues across the country.

Big And Rich

They are America's Technicolor cowboys, brothers-in-arms in service to the creed that great music has no boundaries. Individually, John Rich and Big Kenny Alphin are first-rate musicians, songwriters, producers and entertainers. Together, they are one of the most truly original musical forces ever unleashed on a welcoming world.

With the release of Hillbilly Jedi, they reassert their position as modern music's best party soundtrack with songs like "Party Like Cowboyz," "Rock the Boat" and "Get Your Game On." As might be expected, though, given the wide sweep of their talent, they do a great deal more. Their music has always displayed great range, with well-crafted songs about love, loss, patriotism and social issues all interspersed among those party anthems, and that is especially true here. Hillbilly Jedi covers a great deal of stylistic ground, from "Last Words," which John describes as "Roy Orbison meets Queen," and "Lay It All On Me," a meditation on happiness and love set amid a hauntingly beautiful track complete with choir, to "'Cause I Play Guitar," a bluesy bauble celebrating the fruits of the rocking life.

Casey Donahew Band

His latest studio CD, “Double Wide Dream,” is pretty much right in the wheelhouse of Casey’s previous three…the songs contemplate all the highs and lows of real life, from the heartaches to the belly laughs and everything in between, and the CD is packed full of that unbridled, can-do indie spirit that has rocket-powered his entire career right from the start. From the straight-shooting, hilarity of the leadoff single, “Double Wide Dream,” a redneck’s declaration of love for his hot mess of a wife, to the heartfelt twist of “Give You A Ring,” and the hotter-than-a-jalapeno, Texas-tinged smoker, “One Star Flag,” the tunes on this new CD cover a broad range of material and emotions and showcase a maturity that can only be achieved through lots of living, loving, and losing -- things Casey has no doubt done his fair share of throughout his life and his budding career. And though he can work his way through a tearjerker with the best of ‘em, for Casey, every song doesn’t have to be brain surgery -- it’s OK to laugh and have a good time and let your hair down, as in the case of the hilarious title track, or “White Trash Story II - The Deuce,” a continuation of the tune that has become a fan sensation and instant singalong during his shows.

“Hopefully I’ve grown as a songwriter over the past few years, but I don’t try to get too carried away with it, I don’t want to try to be too serious about everything. “Double Wide Dream” is one of those songs that’s just really fun. Those are songs that provide a little comic relief, and I want people to get out and jump up and down and have fun. Not every song has to change your life, there also has to be entertainment in the world. And I like to think we provide entertainment with those songs. And, I still think of myself as a redneck…I live in the country, I like to be outdoors, and shoot guns, and hunt, and drive trucks, so those are things we write about. This album is really not too far from what we’ve been doing from day one, just a continuation of it, really.”

With the release of what will likely be his biggest album to date, Casey is gearing up for his biggest year ever, playing to packed houses throughout Texas and the Midwest. He’s come a long, long way since those early days on that Armadillo stage, and he still loves to thrill crowds both big and small. But given the choice -- he’ll take the flamethrower approach every time.Selling out venues across the country from Kansas to Alabama and back, the Casey Donahew Band continues to thrill crowds each week with a combined frenetic onstage energy and everyman likeability, and media outlets around the country are starting to catch on to what the fans have known all along – this guy knows how to rock it. Casey's uproarious new video for his current HIT single, "Double Wide Dream," recently debuted on Country Music Television (CMT) where it was a "World Premiere," and spent a week in the #1 position on CMT.com's homepage in "Today's Top Videos" before settling at #5, where it still currently resides.

A testament to Casey Donahew's growing popularity, the song is a perfect example of the Burleson native's ability not to take himself or anything else too seriously and just enjoy the ride – and what a whirlwind of a ride it is becoming for this Texas sensation as he skyrockets closer and closer to country superstardom!

Maggie Rose

Maggie is committed to this career. Much like her very successful contemporaries, there was never a Plan B. “It even scares me to think about it,” she shudders. “I was lucky and crazy enough to make the move at a pretty young age, so before any serious decision making had to be done—is it this or this?” Even with the disappointments that face any new artist— promises broken, faith rattled, hopes shattered, dreams dashed—Maggie persevered. And she sees now where her experiences hold the promise of longevity. “If I’ve learned this much in five years, 20 years down the road, I’m going to be dangerous. So, I think that music
will always be part of my life.”

It’s Maggie’s turn now. Meticulously choosing her album title from a song she co-penned, “Mostly Bad,” is the best representation of where the ingénue is at both musically and emotionally. “That one is a really playful, fun song. ‘Cut to impress’ is a line from the second verse and it jumped out to me because it represents so much about this album. It’s a really confident statement about all the album cuts—play on words. But it’s also that I’ve finally cut out a place for myself as an artist that is unique and real.”

A little good, a little bad, a lot confident and very much intentional. That’s her word. Maggie says, “That has been my keyword for this whole process, ‘intentional.’ I think that everything I do as an artist now should be with a purpose. I think that the way I write should be with intent behind it. It can serve different purposes, but make sure that every
word written is intentional.”

Brandy Clark

Brandy Clark: 12 Stories

When your grandmother enlists you to model her "I Skied Down Mount St. Helens May 18, 1980" t-shirts—complete with "authentic" burn holes—at the local flea market, you can be sure you're going to grow up with a unique outlook on life. For acclaimed No. 1 songwriter Brandy Clark, it's an outlook that has served her well.

Born and raised in the small Washington mill town of Morton—yes, in the shadow of Mount St. Helens, which erupted when she was just a little girl—Brandy developed an affection for working-class people and the dangerous jobs many of them undertake to make ends meet. Her father, a logger, died in a work-related accident, her mother toiled in human resources at the mill, and Brandy herself worked amid the lumber, at a fencing mill. As such, she related to the hardship depicted in the film "Coal Miner's Daughter" and became obsessed with the music of Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Merle Haggard.

But above all, Brandy adored eccentric personalities.
"I love characters," says Brandy. "When Mount St. Helens erupted, I remember my grandmother just standing on the porch, smoking a cigarette, and watching the hot mud fall from the sky. My grandmother was my favorite character in life."

12 Stories, Brandy's debut album as an artist, is full of diverse characters. There's the woman in first single "Stripes" who fantasizes about killing her cheating husband, but doesn't want to be caught dead in an orange jumpsuit. There's another who asks Jesus for help, but plays the lottery just in case in "Pray to Jesus." And there's the bored housewife in "Get High" who escapes daily drudgery by rolling joints at the kitchen table.

"I get my inspiration from real people who are just surviving their life and getting through their day. That's who I write songs for," explains Brandy. "I want to write songs for somebody who is working at a bank—if that person could write a song, what they would write. That's my goal."

Prior to 12 Stories, Brandy achieved that goal by penning songs for other artists. Reba McEntire and Kenny Rogers have both recorded her songs. Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow and Kacey Musgraves have Brandy compositions on their new albums. And The Band Perry gave Brandy her first No. 1 single with "Better Dig Two," followed shortly after by another No. 1 in "Mama's Broken Heart," cut by Miranda Lambert.

They are all milestones for Brandy the songwriter, but 12 Stories aims to establish Brandy as a performing artist. The album, a collection of a dozen songs ranging from rollicking back-porch jams like "Crazy Women" to vulnerable tear-at-your-heart ballads like "Hold My Hand," seemed to have birthed itself.

"I was just writing songs. But with titles like 'Take a Little Pill' and 'Day She Got Divorced,' artists wouldn't cut those songs. However, they are some of my favorites and, artistically, I fit them," says Brandy, who decided to record her own album after playing "Get High" for her songwriting partner Shane McAnally. "Shane said that I could write a whole record of songs from that woman's perspective and make an album that no one has ever made. That's kind of what we did."

Actually, it's exactly what she did. Teaming up with producer Dave Brainard (Jerrod Niemann, Ray Scott), Brandy used her writing gift and distinctly country voice to craft a record that has touched everyone lucky enough to hear it. Marty Stuart is a vocal fan, as are Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow and Kacey Musgraves. All of them are attracted to Brandy's unfiltered take on the human experience, its joys and especially its frailties.
"I think my music is a dark comedy, just as I think life is a dark comedy," says Brandy. "The truth is funny sometimes. I don't ever want to come across as corny or novelty, but you have to laugh at things. I feel like this record is about what's really going on in life."

Things like divorce, death, addiction and unfulfilled desire. Or even more so, inappropriately fulfilled desire.
"I know more people that are cheating than not," Brandy observes. "And so many people are addicts that would never admit it, which is what 'Take a Little Pill' is about. The pill problem in this country is huge."

Not that Brandy is casting stones. "I have no judgment on anybody," she laughs. "I'm just a dark comedian. People go, 'Oh she gets me, because she's flawed.' And they're right. I'm drawn to flawed characters. Because we're all flawed."

Ironically, 12 Stories the album is not. Instead, all of its characters and their individual troubles combine to make a clear-eyed document of everyday life in the 21st century, as well as the freshest project to come out of Nashville in years. 12 Stories is dryly humorous, moving, sad and, most of all, real.
But it's not only Brandy's story—it's yours.

Adam Craig Band

The Adam Craig Band is led by Tenino, Washington-native Adam Craig, a songwriter recently signed with Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville.

As a songwriter, Adam has had success with songs he has written for multi-platinum artists, such as Jason Aldean. Adam co-wrote Church Pew or Barstool on Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party album, which has since sold more than 3 million copies and won CMA’s Album of the Year.

In January 2013, the single Red, co-written by Adam, was released by Wide Open Records artist Ash Bowers.
Signed with William Morris Endeavor booking agency, Adam Craig Band has traveled the country sharing its fresh new sound. The band has opened for such acts as Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, as well as headlined its own shows for its loyal and dedicated fan base across the country.

The Adam Craig Band consists of Adam, Brian Smith (drums), Jimi Hendrix (bass, vocals), and Ryan Jones (piano, vocals). Cousins Adam and Ryan grew up together in Washington state, and eventually moved to Nashville where they met up with fellow Washington-native Brian, and South Carolina-native Jimi.

$60.00 - $189.00

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2014 Country Life Music Festival - Sunday Pass with Trace Adkins, Jennifer Nettles, Big And Rich, Casey Donahew Band, Maggie Rose, Brandy Clark, Adam Cr...

Sunday, July 20 · 12:00 PM at Ravina On The Lakes