The 2017 Summer Mix

unnamedHey guys, Happy 4th of July.

Although it’s a bit belated, the 2017 Summer Mix is FINALLY ready for your ears. Two hours of songs to make you laugh, cry, and feel alive.

Believe it or not, at one point, it was up to something like 42 songs, so I have done a LOT of editing (although the liner notes sure don’t make it seem that way…they are forever long).

Hope you’re doing all the summer things. It is the best season, after all, isn’t it?

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It’s a Doozy: The Spring 2017 Mix

Well, so much for my goal of writing weekly. But, I’m still doing better than last year!

Spring arrived on Monday, and just in time, I’ve finished up my 2017 Spring Mix. Gotta tell ya guys, there’s a SLEW of good music coming out right now. I forced myself to keep this to 30 songs…It was tough.

The notes are lengthy, so if you’ve got a couple of minutes, download them and try to make sense of my rambling.

Happy listening…and happy spring!

Future Music from Future Thieves

Last night, my buddy Mike and I were trading text messages about the future of music, and I got a little fired up about fans who don’t really support the bands they say they love…and today, I had an opportunity to back up my talk and support some really talented artists.

If you haven’t heard me talk about Future Thieves yet, let me introduce you to my favorite band discovery of 2016.

This Nashville quartet is straight up, rock n’ roll, with maybe just a shade of 80s guitar nostalgia. My friend Brandon’s side project, The Wealthy West, got booked to play a show with them here in Charlotte last spring, so a month or so before the show, I went to check out their music. It took two songs for me to download their 2015 album, Horizon Line. It didn’t leave my ears for weeks, and I’d venture a guess to say that it was probably the record I listened to most in 2016.

And then I saw them live. That was all she wrote, folks. I was sold. Hooked. Obsessed in a way that is likely somewhat annoying, but hopefully slightly endearing. I spent the remaining eight months of the year plotting ways to see them again…and again…and again. You get the picture.

This morning, my 2016 musical crushes launched a PledgeMusic campaign to record their second studio album. Now, I’ve supported a bunch of PledgeMusic and Kickstarter campaigns, and I gotta tell ya, the rewards these fellas are offering up are some of the best value for the dollar that I’ve seen. PLUS YOU GET NEW MUSIC.

Head on ever to PledgeMusic and check out their launch video, all the rewards, Gianni’s antics, and if you look real hard, you can find a new song to grace your ears. If you have a few extra bucks to spare, consider supporting Elliot, Nick, Austin and Gianni on their mission to make great rock music. I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed.

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P.S. The guys are releasing a new live album next week, Live at Blue Rock, and you get that as part of the AccessPass when you give just $10. That’s TWO records for $10. No brainer, gang!

2017 Musical Adventures…continued

Whether you’ve known me for 10 minutes or 10 years, the likelihood that I have talked to you about The Rock Boat is substantially high. So you can really just stop reading unless you want to hear me gush some more.

For those of you that don’t know me, you’re probably like, “The What What?”

The Rock Boat.

Imagine this: Five days floating in the Caribbean. On a giant cruise ship. With 30+ musical artists on board. And one or two adult beverages.

Nope, I’m not making it up. It’s real life, and it’s been happening for the last 16 years, thanks to an amazing company called Sixthman and a little band called Sister Hazel.

I’ve been on it for 11 , soon to be 12 of those years. Because The Rock Boat XVII is happening NEXT MONTH. 38 day days until my favorite week of the whole year.

I can’t even do justice to this event. Imagine waking up, going to breakfast, staring out at a peaceful sea and then having your favorite musician sit down at the table next to you and say, “Good morning.” Or seeing a singer you love from one band pair up with another singer you love from another band, a guitarist from yet a third band, and a drummer from another band in a late night jam of cover songs. It’s hearing your favorite song, surrounded by your best friends, and hundreds of other people just like you…and you’re all singing along to every single word. All of this, and so much more, happens on The Rock Boat. Multiple times a day.

Me and Cary Pierce, The Rock Boat, 2003.

Me & Cary, 2003.

The photo  at left is me on my first Boat in 2003, stupid happy over meeting Cary Pierce from Jackopierce within about 2 hours of boarding the ship. I cannot tell you how unbelievably happy I was in this picture – I fell madly in love with Jackopierce in college, and I was completely starstruck. My friend had to introduce me because I couldn’t even talk. Cary, on the other hand, was effortlessly cool and was like, “Let’s take a picture!” Oh my goodness. And that, my friends, is how my love affair with The Rock Boat started. I blame Cary Pierce and his curls.

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Margarita madness and straw counting

I have a billion stories like this from my Boat adventures. Perhaps one of the the funniest involves Barry Privett, the lead singer from Carbon Leaf and a bunch of straws. There are some artists that I just cannot talk to because I idolize them a bit too much. Barry is one of them. On this grand day, I was having a particularly margarita-tastic day and had been saving all the straws from my drinks to “keep myself accountable.”  I was at about 7 straws, and standing at a bar talking with some new friends when Barry came up and started chatting with the group. Then he turned and started talking to me. About the Dale Chihuly sculpture that was nearby. And then asked me why I had so many straws in my cup. HOW IS THIS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW? So combine situational-rock-star-induced mutism with 7 margaritas. I looked at him and said, “Keeping count of my drinks.” Mortification ensued, I gracefully exited. The next day, I was running up a flight of stairs and as I rounded the corner, Barry was getting off the elevator. To my horror at the time, he looked at me and said, “Hey! What’s your straw count today?” I can laugh about it now… Thankfully, I don’t think Barry has recognized me at any Carbon Leaf shows since.

I have made some of the best friends of my life on this cruise (and off of the cruise, like when Libby stalked me online and then decided to go on her first Rock Boat adventure). I literally have music friends around the world. I think that may be the greatest part. Knowing that there are other people out there like me – people who love music as much as I do. Who don’t find it odd that I go to 100+ shows a year, but instead are my champions. Man. It’s a special kind of awesome.

This is the Rock Boat. And its magical and marvelous and filled with laughter and amazing memories.

I can’t do it justice. So watch this video. It’s from a few years ago, but it’s the year my buddies Saints of Valory were on board, so it was a special one for me. So here it is…a bunch of experiences that I can’t put into words, encapsulated in 2.5 minutes.

Amazingly, this year’s Boat is not yet sold out (but it’s super close), so if you want to join me on a grand musical adventure in February, click here.