6611 Las Vegas Blvd South, #160
Las Vegas, NV, 89119
Doors 10:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
He’s a passionate singer with a unique sound who grew up in Appalachia, and you’ll be hearing Morgan Wallen before 2016 is over. Wallen moved to Nashville in July 2015, not sure what he would find, but convinced that he should at least give his dreams a legitimate shot. Less than a year later, he’d already been signed to Big Loud Records, recorded some initial tracks with producer Joey Moi (Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen) and hit the road on his first radio promotion tour.
It might appear that Wallen’s on the fast track, but it took him a while to get there. Born in Sneedville, Tennessee (a town that also lays claim as the birthplace of bluegrass pioneer Jimmy Martin), to a hard-rock-lovin’ preacher and contemporary-Christian-devoted teacher, Wallen showed his musical interests early, singing in front of the local congregation at age three and asking for a violin for his fifth birthday. He would soon switch to piano and later add guitar to his arsenal, though he never really imagined it was possible to make a career of it.
“I didn’t think that was realistic because I had no clue about how the music business worked,” Wallen says. “Even living three hours away, I had no idea about Nashville.”
Instead, he focused his efforts on baseball, and he was pretty good at it. Playing shortstop and pitcher for Gibbs High School in Corryton, the same school where Kenny Chesney graduated. Wallen earned an offer to continue playing at a major college.
But fate intervened. While pitching during his senior year, he felt a pop in his right elbow and would undergo a tendon replacement procedure. While he was able to continue playing guitar and piano, it proved to be the end of his baseball career.
“Looking back, I’m glad it happened the way it did, because I really actually loved music more than I ever did baseball,” he says.
The kind of music almost didn’t matter. Rock, hip-hop, country – he loved it all, particularly the emotional connection that it created between the musician and the listener. But when he wrote, the music was invariably country.
“Writing music was a way for me to get my feelings out,” he says. “I don’t really express my feelings very much, and I guess it was just a way for me to let some of that go. It’s my safe place.”
His mother signed him up to audition for NBC’s The Voice, convinced that he’d do well. Wallen had no idea what to expect – he’d never seen the show – but he was chosen by Usher and was later stolen by Adam Levine. The last song he performed during his run, a cover of Florida Georgia Line’s “Stay,” helped him steer him toward his creative destiny.
“Honestly, I was just trying to figure out who I was,” he reflects. “I was trying to figure out me as a person, me as an artist. It was one way to do it.”
During his time in California, Wallen met Sergio Sanchez, the lead singer and writer for Jive Records’ hard-rock band Atom Smash. While Sanchez initially served as Wallen’s vocal coach, they hit it off and started co-writing regularly in Knoxville. Sanchez sent the music to producer Paul Trust and his partner Bill Ray who produced and funded an initial batch of songs. Armed with new music, Wallen and Sanchez moved to Nashville and became ingrained in the city’s music community. From there, things moved quickly. Wallen’s managers, Dirk Hemsath and Mike Bachta of Working Group Artist Management, set him up to play for William Morris Endeavor’s Kevin Neal, agent for Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line. Neal signed him on the spot. Hemsath and Bachta next sent demos to Big Loud Shirt’s Seth England, hoping to land some co-writing opportunities with songwriters at the publishing company. England was so impressed that he brought Morgan in to audition for his partners in Big Loud Records: Craig Wiseman, Clay Hunnicutt, Kevin “Chief” Zaruk and Joey Moi. They signed Wallen to both the label and the publishing company.
Wallen started woodshedding as a songwriter, working with the likes of Wiseman (“Live Like You Were Dying”), Rodney Clawson (“Dirt”), Chris Tompkins (“Drunk On A Plane”), the Warren Brothers (“Highway Don’t Care”), Tommy Cecil (“Home Alone Tonight”) and Matt Dragstrem (“Sippin’ On Fire”). Meanwhile, Big Loud proved that it was big-league – while Wallen worked on his own music, the label’s first-ever single, Chris Lane’s “Fix,” went into the Top 15 and continued climbing, an unheard-of start for a brand-new label.
Wallen hopes to build a similar story. He headed out on a promotion tour of radio stations in the summer of 2016, giving him a chance to start playing for people again after spending so much of the previous year in writing rooms and the recording studio. The end goal is to be on a stage, making that emotional connection with his distinctive sound. But it takes time to get there.
“We’ve just really been trying to get the focus on the music,” he says. “If we don’t have that, then there’s no point in playing.”
CJ SOLAR BIO
With the fuel of both Southern rock and country music influences pumping through his veins, it's no surprise that Sea Gayle Music's CJ Solar is a natural at fusing the two worlds. Combine that with Delta blues, compliments of a childhood spent in Cajun country, and you've got one badass up-and-comer, with the pure musical talent and vocal chops to back him up. Already turning heads throughout Nashville, Baton Rouge and beyond, having been named one of the "New Artists You Need To Know" by Rolling Stone Country, Solar says the driving force behind his untimely success isn't fame nor fortune – it's just a diehard infatuation with the music he grew up on.
"I just want to write songs that say something that really means something. I want to ride around in a van, tour the country, and play songs with my buds. Everything I do in music, I want to do it for the love of the music and the sake of the song," he adds.
It all started back in Baton Rouge where his family's affinity for music struck a chord. "My grandparents loved country music. My dad was a big classic rock fan," he said. "Dad kept a guitar in a closet, and I dug it out when I was seven and started making noise of my own with it," Solar recalls. That so-called "noise" would sharpen quickly, through lessons at the young age of eight, to enrollment at Nashville's Belmont University, to cuts on albums by Justin Moore and Jerrod Niemann, and, now, his own critically acclaimed solo EP that's turning heads, Hard One to Turn Down.
And a Hard One To Turn Down, the EP is. Critics at The Daily Country write, "Solar injects a hefty (and welcome) dose of Southern rock into his country, which melds perfectly with his gravelly vocals." Country Music Rocks was "immediately captivated by all five songs and hopes that [the EP] obtains the recognition it deserves." The Rowdy found it "exactly what country fans are looking to savor." And The Shotgun Seat welcomes Hard One to Turn Down as "the perfect pairing of country storytelling and rocking rhythms, married by his dynamic vocals." And that's only the beginning.
Solar tracked and produced Hard One To Turn Down, alongside Sea Gayle's Brent Anderson, (who's producing and songwriting credits include Chris Janson, Blake Shelton and others), with established country hit-maker Jerrod Niemann joining in on one song as guest vocalist. Its lead single, a paean to the powers of sipping on a "Tall Boy," dropped in mid-March and quickly garnered over 164,000 Spotify spins in its first month of release. The EP followed on April 15, in both digital and physical formats. In May, the music video for "Tall Boy," directed by Marcel Chagnon, premiered on CMT. Tour dates from coast to coast include his own headlining dates and opening slots for The Cadillac Three, Old Dominion, The Randy Rogers Band, and the list goes on.
$10.00 - $120.00
Stoney's Rockin Country
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