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98 FM KCQ Country Music Fest


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* 2010 Country Music Fest News *


Jimmy Wayne Crosses Into Oklahoma On Walk For The Homeless

February 17, 2010

Jimmy Wayne began his walk halfway across America on January 1, 2010, and last night at 7:12 pm CT, crossed the state line from Arkansas into Oklahoma. The Country star has logged 530 miles of the approximately 1700-mile walk for the initiative he named Meet Me Halfway. Wayne’s Meet Me Halfway campaign is designed to raise awareness of homeless teens and young adults who age out of the foster care system.

The endeavor has taken some interesting twists and turns along the way, including the unusually high number of snow and ice storms the artist has encountered, as well as temperatures that have been the coldest in decades. But according to Wayne, the people he has met along the way have more than made up for the unpleasant weather conditions.

“Walking through the small towns and farmlands in Tennessee and Arkansas has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Wayne said. “I have met some incredible and generous people who have offered me meals, a warm and dry place to sleep and companionship. When I started this walk, I really had no expectations. I thought I would be alone, sleeping in a tent at night. But as the saying goes, man makes plans and God laughs. There have been many times I’ve slept outside, but even more times that because of a kind and generous soul, I have had a roof over my head.”

Wayne’s decision to begin the walk during the winter was designed to bring attention to the plight of the homeless and the challenges they face all year, and especially during the cold weather months. He has been able to do this through his live broadcasts from the road, Twitter and one on one conversation with the people he meets along the way. Additionally, the donation of an RV as a support vehicle, wrapped with an image of Wayne and the Meet Me Halfway website address points those who see the unmistakable vehicle traveling down the highway to the website, where they can learn more about the initiative. The RV has served as a much needed safety vehicle on the long stretches of often-vacant highway.

“I pledged to walk to Phoenix, and that is still my plan,” Wayne said. “I am truly grateful for all of the support I have found along the way. The RV donated by Gary Luffman and HisCall has been a real blessing. The visual on the wrap gets people’s attention about Meet Me Halfway—and that’s what I am doing this for. It’s been one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.”

Wayne is now logging about 20 miles a day. Phoenix is still quite a distance, but with every step Wayne takes, he continues to raise awareness and start conversation about the plight of these young people.


Photo credit:

Jimmy Wayne walking in Jackson, Tenn.


Note: Jimmy Wayne will perform at the KCQ Country Music Fest on Saturday, June 19 at 4:00 p.m.


Richie McDonald performs at The Whiting; releases new Christmas album

by Jason Rzucidlo



FLINT, Mich. -- Many people know Richie McDonald as the former lead singer of Lonestar. He left the group in 2007 to continue as a solo artist. I met up with the singer after his performance at the Whiting Auditorium in Flint on Oct. 29.

“With Lonestar, we were regulars up here,” McDonald said. “The great thing about Flint and this area in Michigan is there is a huge country fan base. So just really, really loyal fan base.”

McDonald made the decision to leave the group two years ago after releasing seven studio albums with Keech, Dean and Michael.

“I just wanted to slow down a little bit, spend more time with my family, watch my children grow up, and just take a break and do things at my own pace. I made a lot of memories, music with Michael, Dean and Keech and I do miss them. This is just another chapter in my life.”

The country singer has also co-written songs of Billy Dean, Clay Walker and The Wilkinsons. Which do you enjoy more – writing or performing?

“I love both – but I think it all starts with a song. I think writing is a little above performing but it does start with a song. They work hand in hand. Once you write a song, then you get to go out and perform it.”

McDonald is working on a new studio album called, Slow Down. It is expected to include 12 songs.

“Absolutely, hopefully it will be out the first of the year.”

McDonald just finished up a Christmas album that is now in stores.

“Actually, we don’t have a single right now in country radio. We actually have a Christmas CD that’s coming out right now called, If Everyday Could Be Christmas. We’ll start to work a single off that to promote the CD.”

The country singer has been touring with Tracy Lawrence and Tracy Byrd as the Country Rat Pack. They’ve been playing shows all over the country.

“It’s a blast, these guys are fun. You never know what to expect out there night after night. I really enjoy doing the shows with them. They’re good guys.”

Look for Richie McDonald’s Christmas album in stores now!


Richie McDonald performed at The Whiting Auditorium in Flint, Mich.


Note: Richie McDonald will perform at the KCQ Country Music Fest on Saturday, June 19 at 1:15 p.m.


CMA New Artist Spotlight: Randy Houser

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2008 CMA Close Up News Service

Raised by his mother in Lake, Miss., Randy Houser learned about taking responsibility long before he neared adulthood. He and his sister picked up other lessons during summer visits to their dad, including how important music can be in negotiating the hurdles of life.

From age 13 through his years of study - and playing honky-tonk gigs - at East Central Community College, Houser nurtured strong skills as a singer and songwriter. Inevitably, his ambitions led him to Nashville, where he scored by co-writing the Trace Adkins smash "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" with Jamey Johnson. Signed to Universal Records South, Houser debuts with Anything Goes, produced by Mark Wright and Cliff Audretch III.

The title track, written by Brice Long and John Wayne Wiggins and the album's first single, makes one thing immediately clear: Houser knows how to convey the emotion of a song. Backed by churchy piano as the first verse begins, he interprets the lyric with unusual intensity and subtlety, so that by the time the chorus hits, the listener feels the full force of Houser's heartbreak and defiance.

And that's just the beginning. He captures the weariness of a long week's work as well as the promise of the weekend throughout "Boots On," projects his fury over a world that's lost its way on "Back to God" and ambles wryly through the humorous self-deprecation of "Lie." Every track on Anything Goes introduces Houser as a remarkably expressive artist. No doubt about it, he was born to perform.



"My dad Randy Houser, Elvis, Conway Twitty, Hank Jr., Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Delbert McClinton and AC/DC."

"Yacht . or the beaming thingy from 'Star Trek.'"

"Hank Jr."

"What am I saying and why can't I shut up?"

"Taking out the trash for Mrs. Meadows. It sucked, but hey, it was 16 cents more than I had."

"My Life: A short lesson in Good Times, Bad Choices."

"Music by Robert Johnson and Jimmie Rodgers - at least rock 'n' roll and Country would be born again."

On the Web:

Photo by Kristin Barlowe

Universal South recording artist Randy Houser


Note: Randy Houser will perform at the KCQ Country Music Fest on Saturday, June 19 at 3:00 p.m.


CMA New Artist Spotlight: Jason Michael Carroll

By Peter Cronin and Kristen Sherer
© CMA Close Up News Service

Jason Michael Carroll is a 28-year-old North Carolinian who's not afraid to dream big. As a preacher's son, Carroll grew up not being allowed to listen to "secular" music, but like any resourceful young man, he eventually found his dream emanating from the radio.

Carroll became obsessed with Country Music and quickly got his first break, winning a local radio station's karaoke contest. As a result of that triumph, he was asked to join a local band. His appearance on "Gimme the Mic," an "American Idol"-style show for local FOX television affiliates, led Carroll to a national competition in New York City where he caught the attention of manager Rusty Harmon, who had helped Hootie & the Blowfish to multi-Platinum success. A subsequent meeting with producer Don Gehman (John Mellencamp, REM) led Carroll to a deal with Arista Nashville.

Things started falling into place when he was given the opportunity to write with Jewel, a singer/songwriter he had long admired. They collaborated (with Shaye Smith) on the ballad "No Good in Goodbye," which they recorded as a duet on Carroll's Gehman-produced debut album Waitin' in the Country, released Feb. 6. An unflinching look at the life and death of an abused child, first single "Alyssa Lies" is one of five songs written or co-written by Carroll on the album, and is quickly climbing the charts. The single has already set multiple records, and it's massive airplay success has now made Carroll the first new male Country artist in two and a half years to take a debut single into the Country airplay Top 5.


Who is your musical hero?

"Garth Brooks, George Strait, Steven Tyler. Do I have to pick one?"

What book is on your nightstand?

"Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith."

What moment in your life would you relive if you could?

"The day I left North Carolina and moved to Texas. That was my last day with both of my grandparents."

What word or phrase do you find yourself saying over and over again?

"I can sleep when I'm dead."

Do you have a lucky charm?

"I have four of them: My kids, Gavin Michael, Savanna Nicole, Stori Paige and J.W. They're all the luck I'll ever need."

If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?

"Don't Try This at Home: The Jason Michael Carroll Story."

On the Web:


Arista Nashville recording artist Jason Michael Carroll.


Note: Jason Michael Carroll will perform at the KCQ Country Music Fest on Saturday, June 19 at 12:00 p.m.


About Stone Cold

Photo credit:


Stone Cold is a five member band that has been performing music in the Mid-Michigan area since 1996. The versatility and background of each individual member allows them to play a variety of music, ranging from classic Country to Classic Rock, with a focus on the new Driving Country . Members of Stone Cold reside in the Flint/Clio area. Stone Cold has opened for various acts, such as Kenny Chesney, Trace Adkins, Sugarland, Confederate Railroad, Whiskey Falls, Bomshel, Tracy Lawrence, The Lost Trailers, Jypsi, Joe Nichols and Emerson Drive. Members of Stone Cold have opened for acts such as Deana Carter, Alison Kraus, Sammy Kershaw, Jett Williams and Rick Trevino to name a few, at concert venues including the Flint IMA, Clio Ampitheater, Russelville Ballroom, Flint Art Fair, The Westown, The Whiskey Barrel Saloon, KCQ Country Music Festival, Chesaning Showboat, and Lapeer Days main stage. Currently, you can find Stone Cold playing in the Mid-Michigan area, occasionally venturing out to the West side of Michigan!! Hope to see you at a show!!

As you all know, Sugarland got rained out at the Chesaning Showboat. They also cut the power to the stage that Stone Cold played on. You all came out for music, and we wanted to give you something. We brought our acoustic instruments into the beer tent, and the party commenced. We had a blast with all of you!! You guys are the reason we all love playing music!! The Showboat was rockin all the way from the Beer Tent. You made it an unforgettable night for all of us!! Thank-You!!!

Note: Stone Cold will perform at the KCQ Country Music Fest on Saturday, June 19 at 11:00 a.m. and in between each of the national headliners.


[ Return to our 98 FM KCQ Country Music Fest section ]


Each year, the 98 FM KCQ Country Music Fest takes over Ojibway Island in downtown Saginaw. The one-day festival includes music, a classic car show, a motorcycle show and an Arts and Crafts area. National artists perform on the Main Stage and Newcomers perform on the New Faces Stage. Sponsors of the festival include Chrysler - Dodge - Jeep, Northwest Energy and HealthPlus of Michigan.


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