Pozo Stampede 2014

Brantley Gilbert

Stop and listen to any of Brantley Gilbert's lyrics and you know a little about him. Listen to his albums and you will feel like family.
Brantley Gilbert was born and raised in the small town of Jefferson, Georgia, just outside of Athens city limits. It is that upbringing and small town influence that Gilbert credits toward allowing him to cultivate his unique sound. Gilbert's taste in music always swayed toward a southern country rock feel, but his true-to-life testimony of heartache, trials, triumph, and success found a home in country music.
Gilbert's career began on the stage: Night after night, he played acoustic sets at various venues in his hometown and slowly
began to notice familiar faces in the crowds. Gilbert soon realized that his acoustic shows — however intimate — didn't satisfy his audience's thirst for his rock-infused country music. "We went from these acoustic shows to a bona fide Country- Rock-Soul show that is wide open," says Gilbert. "Even when we play a ballad, it's high energy."
While on the road the past five years, Gilbert has built his brand through his compelling lyrics and dynamic live show – a combination that attracted a strong underground band of believers who shared Gilbert's passion for life and music; pretty soon his following had taken on a life of its own. As Gilbert tells it, "[W]e don't have fans, we have friends. I like to think that those people in the crowd are just like me. They listen to the songs, they get the meaning and get the purpose and they get something out of it." It is this rabid fan base that became the first members of what is now known as the BG Nation. These dedicated fans and their insistence on new music from Gilbert encouraged him to bring his unique style to Nashville, Tennessee where he soon signed with Warner/Chappell Publishing and began to develop music for a debut album release on an independent record label.
On March 16, 2010, the rising star released his sophomore album, HALFWAY TO HEAVEN, the follow-up to his debut national
release, A MODERN DAY PRODIGAL SON. The sophomore effort peaked at #2 on iTunes Country Album Charts, and at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Album Chart for all genres. "The Best of Me," a song from Gilbert's first album was recorded by Country superstar Jason Aldean and earned a spot on his iTunes release WIDE OPEN. Then, in August 2010, Brantley's song "My Kinda Party," became a #1 smash for Aldean, as well as the title track to Aldean's platinum-selling album. The superstar's latest single, "Dirt Road Anthem," was also written by
Gilbert. "It's an honor that someone like Jason would want to record one of my songs," says Gilbert. "It's a big step for me as a songwriter and I couldn't have asked for a better artist to perform the song. After all, he is a Georgia boy!"
As tour dates multiply throughout the South, Gilbert's fan base continues to expand. The rising star's Facebook post see
views of 7 million a month and his MySpace page has garnered more than 16 million total song plays— a number that has
brought him to the #1 spot on MySpace Music Charts for both Country and Southern Rock. He also continues to sell out
venues throughout the country – proof that the BG Nation is relentlessly growing.
In February 2011, Gilbert passed another career milestone when he signed with Big Machine Label Group's imprint The Valory
Music Co. -- home to superstars Reba and Jewel as well as #1 chart-topper Justin Moore. Brantley Gilbert's first single on
The Valory Music Co. debuted in the Top 40 at Country radio on its official impact date – an impressive feat by a new artist.
Gilbert is currently in the studio with award winning producer Dann Huff working to finish his first album on The Valory Music
Co. for a late summer release.
"I've realized that life can be very short, and everyone should take advantage of it," says Gilbert. "If you're gonna live, do
something with it. Make it great."

"Easton Corbin has one of those rare, glorious voices that was made—just made—for singing country music." –American Songwriter

With two No. 1 singles, multiple awards and nominations, plus performances on some of the biggest stages in the world, Easton Corbin made an auspicious entree with his self-titled debut album.

The release of his sophomore effort, All Over the Road, builds on that success and delivers music that confirms that Easton Corbin is here to stay.

When Easton broke on the scene in 2009 with not one, but two, No. 1 singles, "A Little More Country Than That" and "Roll With It," and a Top 15 hit, "I Can't Love You Back," the country music world was put on notice. He became the first country male artist in 17 years to have his first two consecutive singles reach No. 1. Billboard named Easton the Top New Country Artist of 2010 and named "Roll With It" the No. 6 Hot Country Song of the Year. He was ranked No. 9 on Billboard's list of Top Country Artists-Male, listed between Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw.

With three American Country Awards in 2010 and blockbuster tours with Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton, Easton set the bar high for his sophomore release. Not surprisingly, the hard-working Gilchrist County, Florida native—"Everybody knows everybody," he says—delivers in spades.

The new collection—like the first, produced by top Nashville producer Carson Chamberlain (Billy Currington)—finds Easton improving upon his impressive debut.

First single, "Lovin' You Is Fun," is an unapologetic traditional country love song in the spirit of Alan Jackson and George Strait, but with a vocal twist that only Easton can deliver. That's not by chance. A devotee of Alan, George and Keith Whitley, Easton is the genre's biggest torchbearer for the neo-traditional movement.

People have taken notice. "Somewhere up there in hillbilly heaven, Keith Whitley is smiling down as his legacy continues to affect new generations," The Hollywood Reporter said of Easton.

Entertainment Weekly agreed, saying "…He is singing old-school songs, full of wit and heart," and "It sounds effortless. … sit back and remember why you fell in love with country music in the first place."

The new album's title cut is as definitive for Easton as "A Little More Country Than That" was on his debut. "'All Over the Road' is a fun title," he contends, "but it's also actually what we're doing out there. We're all over the road trying to get music out to everybody, so I just thought it made sense."

"Hearts Drawn In The Sand" conjures summer love complete with henna tattoos, tank tops and Ray Bans while the laid-back "Dance Real Slow" paints a portrait of I-don't-care-where-we-are-as-long-as-I'm-with-you love.

The heartfelt "I Think Of You" is a universal testament to missing a loved one, whether it is an old flame or a soldier overseas.

The former hardware store employee relates to his hard working fans. "I'm singing and playing music I love and I relate to, and it's real for me," he says. "People know if you ain't being real. If I cut music I relate to and feel good about, I feel like my fans are going to do the same."

The album features tunes from Nashville's A-list songwriters, including Bob DiPiero, Ashley Gorley, Terry McBride, Tommy Lee James, Tony Martin and Mark Nesler, among others. Easton co-wrote two songs on the new collection, including the devotional "A Thing For You" and the revelational "This Feels A Lot Like Love."

Touring with Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton put Easton on a stage that afforded him a unique opportunity to learn from the best. "As a new artist you learn watching those guys, what they do, and of course with a big crowd like that you've got to learn how to entertain. It's a different thing from playing a club."

The experience left an impression on Easton, who rose to the occasion. "Growing up I was always self-conscious getting out there singing in front of people," he admits. "I guess I had a little stage fright. You get a little nervous out there, because you're always thinking, 'I wonder if they think I'm good?' But through all those experiences it gives you more confidence to get out there and be confident in what you do and get out there and really sell it and be yourself and do what you do."

While Easton has plenty of long-term goals, the most important ones are simple. "I want to get my music to as many people as possible," he says with a determined smile. "You've got to be good to your fans, and you've got to make music that's true to you.

Dustin Lynch

"Shhh!"

The note on the Bluebird Café's Facebook page says it all: customers who visit the Nashville songwriters club – instrumental in the development of Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Kathy Mattea – are expected to keep quiet and listen to the words from some of Music City's most influential composers.

Listening has an added benefit – it gives the listener a chance to learn.

That's how singer-songwriter Dustin Lynch used the Bluebird. And he used it intensely. He rented an apartment behind the venue's back parking lot and literally walked to the Bluebird several times a week to listen and learn about the mysterious art of creating songs from some of Nashville's most important writers. Don Schlitz ("The Gambler"), Tony Arata ("The Dance"), Paul Overstreet ("Forever And Ever, Amen") – all are mainstays of the Bluebird legend, and it was at their proverbial feet that he picked up key insights about the writing process.
"I was soaking it in, trying to be a sponge," Lynch says. "I was mainly trying to hear the story behind the song, how it came about, what it's really about. There's something about understanding the songwriter's realm. You get a little more grip on the way it was written and why it was written and how they got to the finished product."

That education paid off in a big way for Lynch. He signed with Broken Bow Records – the home of Jason Aldean and sister label to Stoney Creek Records (home to Thompson Square) .His debut single, "Cowboy and Angels," is quickly rising up the Country charts. Lynch is working with producer Brett Beavers (known for his work with Dierks Bentley) and engineer Luke Wooten (Brad Paisley, Sunny Sweeney) on his debut album (due August 21, 2012) with a backlog of his own songs. He's written that material with a bundle of Music City's top writers – Dallas Davidson ("Just A Kiss"), Tim Nichols ("Live Like You Were Dying"), Casey Beathard ("Don't Blink"), Phil O'Donnell ("Back When I Knew It All") and Steve Bogard ("Prayin' For Daylight"), to name a few.

But it all goes back to the Bluebird for Lynch, a native of Tullahoma, Tennessee. Influenced in his youth by such stalwart country singers as Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and Clint Black, Lynch knew the importance of the Bluebird, and he chose his college – David Lipscomb University – in part because it was less than two miles from the club, which proved immensely important in his development.

Lynch auditioned on a Saturday morning for a chance to play its open-mic night the following day. He passed the audition and impressed host Barbara Cloyd so much that she chased him into the parking lot and offered to help him get some footing in the community.

As he began to establish himself at the Bluebird, Lynch got a call from Pete Hartung – manager for singer-songwriter Justin Moore – who had found Dustin's MySpace page and wanted to get involved. Within weeks, Lynch had a publishing deal, and he made the most of it, writing a staggering 200+ songs in less than two years.

"I'm a workaholic," he says. "I was getting paid to write songs, so that's what I did. That's just the guy I am, if I'm not doing something I get bored, so I was trying to write the best record possible and decided to just get after it as hard as I can."

Even as a Bluebird visitor, Lynch had made an impression. After he signed his publishing deal, one of the company's executives persuaded Phil O'Donnell and Casey Beathard to book a co-writing session with the new writer, even though they'd never even heard his name. As soon as he walked through the door, they exploded: "Holy crap, Dustin! We know you!"

But it's not just physical recognition that Lynch has achieved with his studious approach to songwriting. He combined his fascination with words and melodies with concert skills he developed in high-school bands and playing the southeastern club circuit. That combination has made him one of country's artists to watch, a performer who's written his own mix of party songs and ballads with a unique perspective. It's his own viewpoint, honed from watching the world, and watching the experts.

It's all there, waiting for anyone else willing to…

Listen.

Honesty is a powerful magnet that always draws an eager audience and it has proven to be a potent tool in Eric Paslay's (Pass-Lay) creative arsenal. Sometimes playful, often poignant and always poetic, the 6' 4" singer/songwriter with the fiery red hair and easy smile has quickly earned a reputation as an artist who radiates integrity. His songs have substance and depth, but his EMI Records Nashville debut album is every bit as entertaining and accessible as it is meaningful, and therein lies Paslay's charm.
From the sly, sexy romp "If the Fish Don't Bite" to the emotionally riveting "Deep As It Is Wide," Paslay proves to be a compelling storyteller and versatile performer. It's a gift he comes by honestly. "My granddad was a musician," says Paslay, a native Texan, who was born in Abilene and raised in Temple. "Granddad and his brothers had a band called Arnold Schiller and the Moonlight Serenaders. My grandfather was Arnold, and they played at dance halls. I was two and a half when he died. It's interesting how he rubbed off on me even though I didn't really know him very well. He had red hair and it's kind of funny because I like all the things he liked."
Paslay says his family never pushed him to play music, but supported his interest when he began playing guitar at 15. "I love melodies. My dad always had oldies on in his '68 Mustang, and listening to that music growing up influenced me. There are so many cool melodies and it was great ear candy."
By the time he began performing around Texas, Paslay had consumed himself with some of the great singer/songwriters and learned how to make a song memorable. "I was influenced by Rich Mullins," Paslay says. "He was one of those guys I really listened to because he was real. He was a Christian artist, but it was cool to hear someone mix their beliefs with real life. He was honest. Then there was Rodney Crowell. I love Rodney Crowell. Johnny Cash has influenced me from his storytelling. He was such a cool storyteller and you really believed him."
Though most aspiring artists playing clubs routinely perform cover tunes, Paslay almost always played his original songs and got enthusiastic response. Even though he was building a reputation for his live shows, like most artists, he briefly flirted with a more stable career and during high school, he planned on becoming a pediatric endocrinologist. "I have juvenile diabetes and I thought I could help kids with diabetes because I could relate to them," he says.
However, music was too strong a passion to be ignored and following a friend's advice, he moved to Nashville. Paslay began attending Middle Tennessee State University, where he became president of MTSU's student chapter of Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). He recruited top Music Row writers to speak at the university. He also volunteered for anything just to get his foot further in the door and did everything from help out at a charity golf tournament to change light bulbs in the NARAS office, a feat made easier because of his height. "I'd just go help anywhere I could because I thought if you have a job to do and you do it well, then if they let you be creative and make a record, at least they know you're going to do it well," Paslay says. "They'll know you are going to put all your mind, strength and skill into doing whatever job they give you."
He also landed an internship at Cal IV Entertainment. When a tape copy job opened up a month before graduation, Paslay applied only to have his supervisor tell him he was taking his name off the list of contenders. "I thought 'What?!!!' I'd done it for a semester and done a good job," recalls Paslay. "My supervisor said 'I came to Nashville wanting to write songs and I got a job and stopped writing. I don't want to be the guy who makes you stop writing songs.'"
A few months later, Paslay was offered a writer's deal at Cal IV. Even as he continued to develop his chops as an artist, he became one of Music Row's most sought after young songwriters. He co-wrote the hit title track of Jake Owen's new album "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" as well as the title track for Donny and Marie Osmond's country set "The Good Life" and cuts "Friday Night" by Lady Antebellum and "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" by the Eli Young Band.
Though appreciative of the songs that others have recorded, Paslay will be the first to admit he didn't move to Nashville to be a songwriter, but to be an artist. He has a passion for using his voice to connect with an audience, and there's a warm, earnest quality that commands attention whether he's delivering a heartbreaking ballad or an edgy confession.
Though Paslay enjoys recording and has an affinity for the studio, his true love is the stage. "I turn it on when I get on stage. I love to entertain," says Paslay, who has opened for Dierks Bentley, Clint Black, Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Little Big Town, among others. "The songs on this record are the ones that really connect when I played them live. When I write, I like there to be a little bit of hope in every song, even in the sad songs. There's still hope in there. With all the negativity everywhere these days, I'd like the positive to come out. A song can give you a little boost in confidence or make you love stronger and dream deeper."
Most of all, Eric Paslay loves forging that special connection with people that can only be made with a song. "I just love making music. I love how much you can say to someone in a song," he says. "It's great having the opportunity to be a part of the soundtrack of people's lives."

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Pozo Stampede 2014

Saturday, April 26 · Doors 12:00 PM / Show 1:00 PM at Pozo Saloon