ARTIST INTERVIEW: The Darlins



I want to start by getting to know you both a little better. Can you tell us a little about your life growing up?

Jude: I grew up in Portland, Oregon with an older brother. I am so blessed to be from such a loving and great family. My Mom was a concert pianist and I loved listening to her practice. My Dad was in finance, very hardworking also. My parents were such wonderful people and they were always encouraging me.  

Erinn: I was born and raised in Nashville, TN. My Mom was a stay at home Mom and my Dad built his own business. I am the baby of the family and was very shy. My siblings are quite a bit older than me which was great because I got a lot of advice that helped me out a lot especially as a teenager! 

At what age did you start diving into the music side of things? And how did you team up along the way?

Jude: From the time I was a little girl I always knew that music was my calling. I was always singing as a kid and picked up the guitar in junior high. After several years in L.A. performing in the music scene, I packed up and moved to Nashville. I met Erinn at a store in Nashville called SEPHORA. I knew she was a great singer and songwriter and asked her if she wanted to write together and from day one, we knew we had to be a duo. 

Erinn: My sister was 13 when I was born and I remember her practicing piano and loved sitting next to her while she played. I wanted to play piano so badly and when I turned 6, I started taking lessons. Later on, I picked up the guitar, banjo, and mandolin and fell in love with singing.  The first country song I remember loving to sing as a child was one by The Judd’s. That totally makes sense now why I love being in a duo. 

When did you take the leap and move to Nashville?

Jude: I’ve been in Nashville now about 8 years. 

Erinn: Being born and raised in Nashville, I knew early on I would remain here. I lived in Las Vegas for about a year after I graduated from Belmont University, but ultimately had to make the move back because this truly is the best town to be in for a country singer/songwriter. 

Are you also songwriters?

Jude: Yes. I absolutely love songwriting and have been writing forever. That is primarily why I moved to Nashville. I felt very welcomed in the songwriting community right away and made livelong friends like one of my favorite people and co-writers, Tony Mullins. It is so inspiring to write and connect with such creative people like him.

Erinn: Yes, I began writing songs very early on as a kid. Martina McBride’s “Safe In the Arms of Love”  by Mary Ann Kennedy and Pam Rose and Lee Ann Womack’s 
“I Hope You Dance” by Tia Sillers and Mark D. Sanders are the reasons why I wanted to be a songwriter. I am so blessed to say that I’ve actually written with both Mary Ann Kennedy and Tia Sillers. Tia and her husband Mark Selby were mentors to me. They helped me find my voice as a singer and songwriter. 

How do you prefer to go into a writing session? With ideas already in your head or with a blank slate?

Jude: I love to always be prepared. I think a guitar riff or melody, or even just a title is very good to have going in to an appointment. However, sometimes, it’s possible that just a simple conversation starts a great song. 

Erinn: Going into a songwriting appointment, I prefer to have at least an idea with some kind of melody or feel. Jude and I usually have at least part of a chorus or verse going into writes with others. 

If you all could write with anyone, who would it be?

Jude and Erinn: We said “DOLLY PARTON” at the same time!! 

Let’s talk about your music. If you could describe your sound in three words what would they be?

Jude and Erinn: Country, Rootsy, Heartfelt 

Anyone you are dying to tour with?

Jude and Erinn: Dying to tour with Eric Church. Little Big Town would be amazing, too! 

Future? New music? Videos? Touring?

Jude and Erinn: We have our first full length music video coming out this fall for our song “CRUSH” off of our new EP which dropped this past September. You can get our album in all digital stores online (iTunes, amazon, etc) and at our website www.thedarlins.com/store 
We will begin touring early next year and are looking forward to having our brand new single out by the spring. 

Afraid Of?

Jude and Erinn: Honestly, I don’t think we are afraid of anything. Well, snakes or scary bugs maybe!  Whether it’s business, relationships, or just the highs and lows of life in general, we are both very grounded and solid in our beliefs and there is really no room for fear. 

If you weren’t in the music business, what would you be doing?

Jude: Probably trying to figure out how to get in the music business! Ha! Maybe an actress. I’ve always loved acting.

Erinn: I was very involved in theater growing up and my family always thought that would be my path. However, I love movies and making music videos. That is probably what I would be doing. 

Biggest musical inspirations?

Jude: Musical inspirations I’d have to say artists like The Judd’s, Little Big Town, and Dolly Parton. In the songwriting world definitely Tony Mullins, Kostas, and Craig Wiseman. 

Erinn: I’m so inspired musically by songwriters like Leslie Satcher, Gretchen Peters, and Tia Sillers. Watching other women write their stories and share their hearts in songs that touch so many people in a very much guy driven community is awesome to say the least. 

Both Jude and Erinn: We’d like to add that our biggest inspirations are the hard working singers, songwriters, and music business people who are out there doing well and helping others. Songwriters like Clay Mills and Marty Dodson and former manager to Taylor Swift, Rick Barker, are examples of successful people devoting their time to helping artists and other songwriters grow and make sense out of this crazy music business. Giving back the knowledge that you have been blessed with is the most inspiring thing you can do. 

Any tattoos? Meaning behind them?

Jude: No tattoos for me! At least not yet! 

Erinn: Nope! 


What’s one thing that people might not know about you?

Jude and Erinn: People probably would never guess how spiritual we are. We both have a very strong relationship with God. When we are on the road, we listen to a lot of sermons!
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CONCERT REVIEW: NYE with Love & Theft, Joel Crouse, and Stevie Monce

A Night You’ll Never Forget: 2016 NYE Party
12.31.15
Bluestone || Columbus, Ohio
Love & Theft, Joel Crouse, Stevie Monce

Stevie Monce:
I’d have to say I was pretty happy to see Stevie’s name included when they first announced this show. I’ve only seen him out on the Can’t Wait For the Weekend Tour along with some random rounds in Nashville, so it was a welcomed addition. There’s big shoes to fill as the opener for a show that claims to be “A Night You’ll Never Forget”, but Stevie was able to rise to the occasion. After making it a goal of his in 2015 to play the Bluestone, Monce had the crowd hooked as he played his original tunes as well as some covers; my personal fave being Wonderwall [which he SLAYED]. By the end of his set he had gotten the party going and had everyone ready for what the rest of the night would bring.

Joel Crouse:
Okay so I might be biased when it comes to this guy, but damn...his set is never not straight fire. Whether he’s testing out new songs that were just written or playing songs off his debut album, the crowd is electrified with the energy being given off by Crouse & his crew. Another reason Joel’s set is always a sight to see: the passion & undeniable talent. It’s obvious when you’re standing in the crowd that he gives his everything and leaves it all on that stage at the end of the night. And not only that, but it’s raw & vulnerable..no smoke & mirrors involved. He’s simply one of the most talented artists in the music industry, and he can play guitar unlike anyone else [besides the legends, aka Jimi Hendrix]. Basically, there’s no denying that Joel belongs on a stage performing to massive crowds. He is a game changer. That’s all that needs to be said. End of story.

Love & Theft:
Stephen & Eric, Eric & Stephen...however you put it, there ain’t two other guys that can do what they do. I have seen these two perform countless times but each time I only end up wanting more all over again. Something about the fun time & good vibes that they give off, you just never want them to get off stage because you’re having such a damn good time. Add in the fact that it’s the last night of 2015/first hours of 2016, and it’s all that much better. The guys make it a point to get the crowd involved with their sing-alongs and selfies from the stage. If you asked me who should be on the top of your list to see perform live in 2016, it would hands down be Love & Theft.

-------------------

I’d be lying if I said there was anywhere else I’d have rather spent my New Year’s Eve. It’s one thing to watch a show as a fan, but to be a friend & watch these fellas do what they love...it’s a feeling that can’t be put into words. I could’ve easily watched them sing their songs all night long and never have gotten bored. If this night was any indication of what 2016 is gonna be like, I’m pretty damn excited. These four dudes definitely lived up to the hype of making this show “A Night That You’ll Never Forget”.

If y’all haven’t already followed these guys, do it now. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Plus, then you’ll know when there’s a show near you (or new music)!!
Love & Theft | Twitter & Instagram: @loveandtheft; Facebook: Love and Theft
Joel Crouse | Twitter & Instagram: @joelcrouse; Facebook: Joel Crouse
Stevie Monce | Twitter & Instagram: @steviemonce; Facebook: Stevie Monce

XO CHRISTY

SINGLE REVIEW: Jack and Coke by J Adam Broome

"Girl you got me hurtin' but I can't put you down. I don't needa dip or smoke 'cause my baby ain't no joke...you're Jack and Coke"

It's a song about love and it's a song about drinking. You know what that means, it's a country music smash.

The South Carolina native writes this song about the girl in his life and, in return,  has created an anthem for couples all over the world. 

With a distinct baritone and a unique way with words, J Adam Broome showcases just what southern love means to him. If you listen closely you'll pick up on the occasionally R&B element that sneaks through between the country drawl. It's minimal and short, but the glimpse of new ground adds a twist to the song that maybe we wouldn't have heard from him in the past. 

Country music is ever changing and this song is proof that different can sometimes be better.

The song is currently available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

Follow J Adam Broome on social media to stay connected:
Twitter: @jadambroome
Instagram: @jadambroome
FB: Facebook.com/jadambroome

photos courtesy of K. Michelle Photography

ARTIST INTERVIEW: Jake Worthington


Born and raised in Texas, we talk to The Voice Runner-up Jake Worthington about life after the show, the best advice he received from coach Blake Shelton, new music, and 'red dirt' country.


So you're born and raised in Texas? What was life like growing up for you down South?
“I never grew up on a ranch or anything but I grew up on the south side of Houston. It’s right on the coast and theres just a lot of refinery work out here but I spent a lot of time east of Houston going out to the country and going to the deer lease and just hanging out.”

How did you get involved in music? Family influence?
“I guess, ever since I can remember, I’ve always just had somewhat of a pull towards music. My momma and daddy played everything from George Jones to Nelly or Kid Rock. They played all kinds of stuff. My grandpa played guitar and that’s all I could think about. So I learned the guitar and just kind of took to it, ya know?”

Did you take guitar lessons or are you self-taught?
“I started teaching myself and then eventually I took lessons for about three weeks and it honestly was just too expensive so I just did it on my own somewhat. So now, I’m self-taught.”

How did your journey on The Voice come together? Was it your idea to audition or did you get pressured to try out from someone else in your life?
“Yeah, my mom had mentioned to me like ‘hey you need to do The Voice’ and of course I’m like ‘heck no I’m not doing that!’ But one day she asked my buddies right in front of me and put me on the spot and they kind of told me I should get out there and do it so I did and it turned into a really cool thing ya know?”

You didn’t make it past blind auditions the first time you tried out for The Voice. How did that affect your thinking process and what did you do to come back stronger the next time around?
“Oh you know, not at all. After that happened I initially wanted to just go home and finish high school and work because I really didn’t ever expect to go back again and I wasn’t trying to either. I mean I went through the process. There are people out there trying to make it with children and struggling financially. You know, I felt like I had my chance and that’s it. I felt like other people deserved a shot as well. Then one day I got a call saying they wanted me back and at first I didn’t want to do that. Other people needed an opportunity, I had mine. Then I figured if they got the call then they’d go back so I did too. It’s a blessing for me and my family.”

Your coach was Blake Shelton, what was it like working with him and is there any advice he gave you that has stuck with you?
“Working with Blake was fun. We joked around a lot. The one thing I really got from him was just to be myself. At some point you have to be your own person. Be yourself and stay true to who you are and things will always work themselves out.”

So you’re a songwriter?
Yes ma’am.
What is songwriting like for you? Is it something you try and do daily or just something you pick up from time to time?
“I probably should be doing it daily, honestly. For me to write a song, it’s unique. I just started getting into the whole co-writing thing and I absolutely love it. Sometimes you have a lot to bring to the table and sometimes you can’t bring anything ya know. For me, the ideas come and go. When/if I write a song by myself it’s not like I wake up and think ‘hey, I’m gonna write a song today’. I normally will just pick up my guitar on occasion and stuff starts coming out. Then I’ll record it and listen back and pick up on what I want to change stuff.”

In October you released your debut EP. How do the songs on the EP reflect who you are as a young country artist?
“I think the songs reflect me pretty well. I co-wrote a couple tracks so those songs are all songs that represent me and those are the ones I always want to cut. Since then I’ve found better songs but really it’s just a continuous thing for me to find the right ones.”

What does the future look like for you?
“Hopefully successful! Ha!”

More new music, videos, tours?
“Yes, ma’am. We have a music video we are gonna put out soon. It’s something I’ve never done before so that’ll be cool. I guess they’ll put make-up on me and all that mess too. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for that. But also we’re booking shows and going on a little radio tour in January. We are just gonna push the single and see what happens.”

Afraid of?
“Snakes or spiders. I cannot stand them!”

If you weren’t in the music business, what would you be doing?
“Hmm, I guess I’d be working in the refinery.”

Biggest musical inspirations?
“Anywhere from ACDC to Porter Wagner. Mark Chesnutt, George Jones, Joe Diffie…I don’t know, there’s so many.”

Being that you’re from Texas I have to ask, who’s your “favorite Texas country” artist?
“Oh, a little red dirt country huh? Hmm, well right now I’m a huge fan of Cody Johnson. He’s killin it. That guy wakes up writing and goes to sleep writing.”

What’s one thing people might not know about you?
“I like to sing Prince songs.”

Look for a full album from Jake Worthington hopefully late summer of 2016. 

Don't miss your chance to see him out on the road. 
Headed to Country Fest? So is Jake!
For tickets: http://countryfest.com

EAR CANDY: Country Christmas Part 2

Welcome to the best time of the year! 

That's right, the holiday season is FINALLY here. 

Break out the cozy blankets and the fuzzy socks and plop down in front of a fireplace. 
Grab that hot chocolate and lounge around in your pajamas while looking at your 6 foot tall Christmas tree full of lights and glimmer.

Sounds perfect, right?
WRONG. Something is missing! 
Don't fret, we've got the missing piece to this Christmas themed puzzle.

Say hello to 20 of our favorite holiday hits!

EAR CANDY: food + drank


we all know that our country singers are always about the beer but what about their good home-Southern cookin?
I don’t know bout y’all but I love me some foooooood.
here are some of my favorites (:

Watermelon Crawl // Tracy Byrd
Chicken Fried // Zac Brown Band
Biscuits // Kacey Musgraves
Georgia Peaches // Lauren Alaina
Beer Can Chicken // Kenny Chesney

& can’t forget the few songs about drinkin [not beer] (;

Strawberry Wine // Deana Carter
Applepie Moonshine // Jake Owen
Sangria // Blake Shelton
Tall Glass of Somethin // Jake Owen
Sippin on Fire // Florida Georgia Line
[cause we all know those boys love their fire…ball]


SONG REVIEW: Circles by Jana Kramer


TL __ Song Review_ Circles.jpg
Okay, I’m just going to start by saying that I think this song is sexy. Is that weird? Maybe, maybe not. To me, it just sets a type of mood. The first time I listened to it, I got chills.  It has such an appealing groove.

Also another honest comment, I thought it was going in a totally different route when I heard the beginning of the song. But then it took a turn and I was just blown away. A favorite lyric of mine is, “it’s more than gold on my finger // six feet down and forever”. It really is a romantic song and I just love the overall message in the lyrics.

Circles is just one of the songs that have been released off of Jana’s sophomore album, Thirty One. Based on this song, as well as I Got the Boy & Love, I am really looking forward to the October 9th release date. I see big things happening for Jana with this album, as well as in her life with her first child [Congrats to Jana & Mike on the news of their baby girl!!].

XO Christy

Buy Circles on iTunes (& Pre-order Thirty One while you’re there): https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/thirty-one/id1032932839

ARTIST INTERVIEW: Preston Summerville


“One of the reasons I wanted to be a songwriter was because no matter what’s going on in life, whether it’s good or bad, my situation or my family or friends, all I can think about is how can this go into a song. That’s how I knew there could never be another path for me.”

With close to 500 shows under his belt since the time he was 19, Preston Summerville could be the face of determination. He's never cut a song he didn't have a hand in writing, and he's spent the last three years as a successful independent artist. If there's anyone in the business who deserves your attention and support, it's this guy.

I wanna start by getting to know you a little better. I read that you grew up on a chicken farm in the same hometown as Sam Hunt?
I did. My grandparents built chicken houses. When I was little I started working on the chicken farm. I used to have to work when I was a kid before school. I would wake up and work with the chickens and then I’d go to school and all the kids would look like they just woke up and they’d ask me why I was tired. I had been up for three hours.

Well I bet that helped you develop your strong work ethic?
Exactly. When I was a kid I used to hate it. But now, I’ve realized that I learned at a young age what hard work can get you.

At what age did you start diving into the music side of things?
Well I got my first guitar when I was six. But like every other six year old who gets a guitar, I beat on it and threw it around. When I was about twelve years old I started really getting into it. My dad had showed me a couple chords and songs on the guitar. So after baseball practice or baseball games I’d make all my buddies listen to me play. They were just amazed by it. I just thought it was really cool to be able to do something my friends couldn’t do.

It kinda grew from tryin’ to show off to my friends as a little kid to being something I just couldn’t put down. Since the time I was 11 years old there might be a handful of days where I haven’t played guitar.

When did you take the leap and move to Nashville?
I moved in February. It’s been a recent move. My hometown is maybe 3 ½ hours away. So from the time I was maybe 19 or 20 I started to meet people and I would schedule co-writes up there and drive up in the morning and do two co-writes and I could drive home. It wasn’t a “have to” move because I am lucky enough to be closer than a lot of people.

You have a hand in writing all the songs you record, right?
Correct. I’ve never cut another song of anyone elses that I haven’t been a part of.

How do you prefer to go into a writing session? With ideas already in your head or with a blank slate?
I guess it kinda depends on the writer that you are with. I’ve been on my way to a co-write where I’ve said ‘God, give me something to write about’ because I had nothing in my head to write about in that moment. I like to hit scan on the radio and I’ll catch a line from another song and it’ll pop an idea in my head. Just random lines from songs that have nothing to do with my take on the phrase. That tends to spark an idea in my head.

Other times, I’ll go in with half a song written. There’s actually been times where I’ve gone in with a whole song already written that I just wasn’t completely satisfied with. Bringing in another strong songwriter can sometimes help me out and finish a song completely.

I’ve written songs where we just go in and I’ll pick up a melody on a guitar and start seeing what falls into place.

If you could write with anyone, who would it be?
Eric Church. He’s like my hero. I look up to Eric Church a lot. He started getting pretty big when I was about 18 or 19 and I was in college. I started learning a lot of his songs. I don’t know, there’s just something about him. I’m a fan of people like that. There’s a lot of great singers in country music and a lot of great songs out there. But I’m a huge Gary Allan fan. Gary Allan is obviously famous but not crazy popular. When Gary Allan sings, you feel something. THAT’s what I’m a fan of.

“I’ve got my party songs, my drinking songs, and stuff but I’ve also got my deep down songs. That’s what I really love about music. That’s what I really enjoy about songwriting.”

As I was listening to your EP a few days ago and I kept thinking, “I wonder how often Preston gets compared to people like Sam Hunt and Old Dominion?”
It’s started to happen a little bit more. As a songwriter, I can write pop songs, rock songs, Christian songs, anything. [The comparisons] have started happening more recently than it has before because I’ve moved to Nashville and started to meet more songwriters and work with more people.

There are people who say ‘this isn’t country music’ and ‘we don’t like this’ and honestly I used to be kinda like that too. But the thing is, once I made it to Nashville I started getting to work with tons of people who all had different ideas of music and what they thought would work. I’m not scared to change anymore. Change is good. Think about it, between Hank Sr. and Waylon Jennings, that’s nothing alike. But the thing is, the people who get so much criticism for being different and changing music, those are the ones who eventually become the rock of that brand of music.

The more I’ve been in Nashville the more my eyes have been opened. I don’t think I’m necessarily changing who I am, I’m just experiencing new things and I’m learning new things along the way.

Let’s talk about ‘How Do I Get You Back’ for a minute.
What was the story or idea behind this track and how did it come together?
I actually wrote that with a good friend of mine in Nashville. She’s actually the one who started it. She sent it to me and it’s still crazy to me that we wrote that song completely through email. She sent me some lyrics, I added some lyrics and a melody, I put my twist on it and it all just kinda fell in place. It wasn’t completely written from a life experience. It was just an idea she’d had and I went in and changed some things that she’d written from a girl’s perspective and adjusted it to make it more mine.

Your new single ‘Bottle’ comes out this week (September 4th). Tell us a little about this song. Was this a song that you knew immediately had potential to be a single for you?
Um, not really. It seems like all the songs that everybody else likes aren’t always my favorite. It just always seems to happen like that. That song actually came when I was eating with my wife and her family at Texas Roadhouse and I had ordered a beer or something and someone made a comment like ‘I can’t believe you drink that’ and I said ‘I don’t even like the way it tastes, I’m just lookin for the buzz at the end of the bottle’. As soon as I said that I pulled my phone out and wrote it down.

I do that a lot. From high school-college and the past two years I probably have 15 notebooks full of ideas and verses and even complete songs that I cold never remember how to play again.


With a jam packed touring schedule (playing with Lady A, Sam Hunt, Tracy Lawrence, Luke Combs, etc.) is there anyone you are super excited to share the stage with?
I’m playing a show with Donnie Millsap that I’ pretty excited about. Tracy Lawrence is top notch to me too. I’m really excited for that one.

Future?
New music? Videos? More touring?
Hopefully sooner rather than later I’m gonna try to work on getting a full album out. It’s hard. And expensive.

Some nights I’m out there and I’m like ‘why am I doing this’. Then other nights where I leave the show thinking, ‘THIS is why I do this.”

Afraid Of?
I don’t really like scary movies. They get my adrenaline pumping too much I think. I don’t like spiders. I don’t like snakes. And honestly, not being successful. That’s a huge fear of mine.

If you weren’t in the music business, what would you be doing?
A farmer.

Biggest musical inspirations?
Eric Church. Plus I grew up listening to a lot of Alan Jackson, ALABAMA, George Strait, Garth. Yeah, all those guys.

Tattoos? Meaning behind them?
Yep, I have two. One of them is a cross and has my grandad’s name in it and the day that he died. The other one is lyrics to a song I wrote for my other granddad.

What’s one thing that people might not know about you?
I’m actually a pretty quiet person. I’m kinda shy off stage. I’m not a wild guy who is crazy loud. I’m the guy that can sit at home all day by myself and just play guitar and write and go outside and cut the grass and be happy. 



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SPECIAL THANKS TO PRESTON SUMMERVILLE FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH THE TENNESSEE LIFE. LOOK FOR HIS NEW SINGLE 'BOTTLE' ON SEPTEMBER 4TH AND STAY TUNED FOR OUR REVIEW THE SAME DAY.