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* 2006 Hoedown Review *
PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com
How many of you saw our banner at the Downtown Hoedown??
The Hoedown was a BLAST! I met lots of nice people, conducted interviews with six artists, took pictures of all the artists and had lots of fun. Hart Plaza was filled with country music lovers from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada. Everyone comes together for one big event and the feeling is like no other. I'm going to give you a day-by-day report of the Hoedown.
Friday, May 19th: Day number one of the Hoedown. Hometown band, The Wrenfields kicked off the Hoedown on the lower stage. After their performance, I had the opportunity to interview them. Click here to listen to The Wrenfields Interview. They have performed at nearly every festival within the state of Michigan. They said the Hoedown, "is a great audience that we can play to. The big country community comes down and it's really a great thing."
The Wrenfields are an alternative-country band. "We're able to show our country side of things cause we're alternative country so we really like to rock it up but we do have that country element that is nice to show off at an event like this." The Wrenfields have performed at the Hoedown four times on the Hart Plaza stage. They said, "WYCD did a really good job promoting it."
The Wrenfields have a winning streak at the Detroit Music Awards. They report, "From '02 to '04, we won for Best Country Artist. Three years in a row. '04 they didn't let us. We were special honorees so that was cool. The Music Awards have really been good to us. We've won six music awards." The band was formed in 2000 and resides in Dearborn, MI.
Another local band, Redhill performed after The Wrenfields. Redhill has a brand new album coming out in August titled "You Get What You Get." I also met Local 4 meteorologist Andrew Humphrey on Friday evening. Rodney Atkins sang his hit "If You're Going Through Hell." Trent Tomlinson debuted his new song "Hey Batter, Batter." Miranda Lambert performed on the national stage wearing a "Built Ford Tough" t-shirt.
Terri Clark entertained the crowd at the Hoedown for the first time since 1998. It was an honor seeing her perform. She has so many hit songs it's unbelieveable. Then, Josh Gracin headlined Friday evening at the Hoedown. He started his show in the lower bowl VIP area. Nobody knew it was him until they shined the spotlight on him. Then people started running toward him to get a picture. I happened to get a good close-up of Josh Gracin. You can see it by clicking here.
Saturday, May 20th: Saturday boasted the largest line-up of talent in the history of the Hoedown. Nine artists performed on this day.The Diamondback Saloon's house band, Derringer started off the entertainment on the lower stage. Then, Nashville newcomer Rockie Lynne performed.
I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Rockie Lynne in the broadcast booth. Click here to listen to the interview with Rockie Lynne. When I welcomed him to Detroit, he said, "Thank you Jason. Thank you for having me. Hello to AmericaJR, Detroit's #1 Website and that's the truth." That was very cool of him to say that for us it was not scripted. Rockie Lynne said, "I'm so grateful to play here. It's such an opportunity and such a blessing for me. I'm so grateful they would let me be a part of it. They've already invited me back for next year. I can't wait to come back."
Rockie Lynne's latest album is self-titled and was released on May 2, 2006. He reports, "Rockie Lynne is in all the stores. Wal-Mart has an exclusive track on it. Target also has a different song on it. It's all songs about my life. I don't write about the beginning of life and relationships and I don't write about the end of them. I write about what happens right in the middle. It's such a blessing to get to do this record. I hope that everyone goes and checks it out."
His first number one song is called "Lipstick." Rockie describes this song, "Lipstick is about two people that are right in the middle of their relationship. They go about fixin' what's wrong with it. Doing the best with the cards they've been dealt. That's really where we all are." Rockie Lynne is on the Universal South record label.
The next artist that took the stage was L.A. country/rock band Shurman. Following his performance I had the opportunity to interview lead singer Aaron Beavers. Aaron tells us how the band was formed, "Basically, me and the drummer Damon met when we were 13 years old in Faye county, Georgia and just decided we wanted to play music together. He got on the drums and I got on the guitar. The rest as they say is history. We live actually in California now. It's where we put the rest of the band together. We found the rest of the players in Los Angeles."
Shurman's latest album is called Jubilee. It was released in 2005. Aaron Beavers reports, "It was on Vanguard records. It's been a really good year for us. We have a video on CMT right now and GAC for the single called Drownin'. The record was just a whole lotta fun to make. We just finished a new record, a LIVE record called A Week in the Life and it will be available this summer. It's basically eight songs from some shows from the last couple days from our first headlining tour. We actually just recorded it a couple weeks ago. It's really fresh. We're really excited to get it out."
When I asked Aaron Beavers what his favorite part of the Hoedown was, he replied, "It's just seems like everybody is havin' a good time. It's sunny and beautiful day. I heard it rained the last couple of years. Everybody seems to be having fun and smiling. There's a lot of great music. We're here to see the bands, too. We're fans of a lot of the bands that are playing. We're really excited to be here."
Local band The Forbes Brothers performed for the first time ever on the national stage. They've always been on the lower stage for their past performances. Then, Nashville recording artist Danielle Peck performed. Following her performance, I had the opportunity to sit down and ask her some questions. Click here to listen to our interview with Danielle Peck.
It was her first time performing at the Hoedown so I asked what she likes about it the most. Danielle Peck replied, "Well, I just got here and the sun is shining. The people look great and they're ready for some country music today. That's exactly what we're gonna give them. That's what I love."
Recently, she has had the #1 video on MSN.com with "Findin' a Good Man." She reports, "It's streaming online and even on my site, DaniellePeck.com. It's really getting a great response. A lot of girls wanna know where those glasses came from." She has a new self-titled debut album that comes out June 6th. Danielle describes it," For anyone that doesn't wanna wait that long, they can actually get it online right now. At Napster, iTunes, Sony Connect, there's a lot of online stores that it's available on. I have written eight of the eleven songs. I'm really proud of. It's a whole lotta me on the record. I'm an open book."
When Danielle Peck entered the music scene, her first hit single was a song called "I Don't." Danielle Peck describes what the song is about, "It was a little bit of heart break that I went through in my life. Couple times. I keep repeating the same cycle. It's about leaving a relationship that you should no longer be in. It's just best for you to get out of. It's talk about two kinds of love: Jesus's love which is unconditional to us all and the kind of love that you have to take off the burden when you're leaving a relationship and lay it down. Somebody's always gonna love this person just not you."
The Kentucky Headhunters performed after Danielle Peck. It was their 12th performance at Hart Plaza, more than any other artist. Last year, they were virtually rained out so they were welcomed back this year and did am amazing performance. Tracy Byrd came on the stage and wowed the crowd. He sang many of his hits including new songs from his album Cheapest Motel due out this June.
Clay Walker capped out Sunday evening. During his performance of "Live, Laugh, Love" confetti was released into the crowd. Then, everyone got up, and started cheering. When he sang "Then What" large beach balls were thrown into the audience. He debuted his new single "Where Do You Go When It Rains In Mexico?" It's really a great song and I can't wait to hear it on the radio.
Sunday, May 21st: At 10 a.m., I had an interview with local artist Jill Jack. She woke up early to do an interview with WDIV-TV channel 4 that aired between 8 and 9 a.m. Click here to listen to the interview with Jill Jack. She performed on the lower stage at around noon.
Jill Jack used to be a part of The Forbes Brothers band. She was one of the original members and then left to start her solo career.This was her first time performing at the Hoedown as a solo artist. Jill has a brand new album that just came out called Moon and the Morning After. She describes the album, "We released it so a sold-out house in October and it's in it's second printing already. It's gotten great reviews. We just played down in Nashville. We're hoping to get a more nationwide audience. I got an e-mail from Uganda the other day. We are being played all over the place. But I don't know how I'm gonna tour there yet."
She won the Detroit Music Award for Best Acoustic/Folk recording among several others. Jill Jack reports, "I won that and four other ones. Cleaned up songwriter, which was very important for me. It means a lot to me to win that one. I was really happy. We won five out of six, I was happy with it obviously."
Jill Jack has a busy summer coming up. Looking at her tour schedule, she has performances from now until around November. She has a show in New York City. Jill replies, "It's at The Living Room in New York. It's a songwriter prestigious place. I think it's kinda hard to get in to. I'm very happy to get into it. We're gonna try and connect a mini east coast tour around there to just promote the record and get more people aware of who I am."
When I asked her what she liked about the Downtown Hoedown, her response was, "The fans are so dedicated. I see the same people, I remember for years when I played here you saw the same people that come down and they enjoy it. Plus it's outdoors and it's outside. Everyone is always in a good mood when its outside and the sun is out today. It's a beautiful thing."
Jill Jack performed on the lower stage at around noon. Then, Jamey Johnson sang his hit song "The Dollar" and the song he wrote for Mr. Trace Adkins, "Honkytonk Badonkadonk." Rhett Atkins performed for the first time ever on the Hart Plaza stage. Keith Anderson performed his hit song "XXL" along with many of his other songs. The Roadhammers are a group that is very popular in places like Canada and Australia. They made their U.S. debut at the Hoedown and the crowd absolutely loved them.
Then, Mr. Jack Ingram took the stage. On the day of his performance, he had the #1 song in the country with his hit "Wherever You Are." This man is already famous and he is playing the Hoedown! I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Jack Ingram. Click here to listen to our interview with Jack Ingram. He said, "10 years to be an overnight success."
Jack Ingram's latest album is called "LIVE Wherever You Are." The artist describes his album, "It's a LIVE record that we recorded at a dancehall down in Texas called Greenhall and there's two studio tracks on it. The single (Wherever You Are) and the next single "Love You." The rest of it's LIVE. That's where I kinda got my name. That's where people know me from my LIVE show."
Jack Ingram is on Big Machine Records. He is on the same label as Danielle Peck and other artists. Mr. Ingram reports, "I'm on the same label as Danielle, another girl named Taylor Swift, and another guy named Jimmy Wayne. It's a great place to be. It's a good home for me." Brooks & Dunn has recently chosen Jack Ingram to be their opening act. Ingram says, "It's great. I love it! 15,000 fans that have probably never seen me play before. It's really been fantastic so far."
After Jack Ingram performed, there was a little break. I was chosen out of the crowd to meet Josh Turner. There was a lot of little girls screaming. It was kinda funny. He was a nice man. Then, he came on and performed on the national stage. He opened the set with his new song "Would You Go With Me?"
Sammy Kershaw closed out Sunday night. He's got a new album due out soon. He sang his new single "Tennessee Girl." It's a fun song that is easy to dance along with. The new album is called Honky Tonk Boots and it will be in stores at the end of June. He took a short break and then returned with some patriotic songs in his encore performance.
The Hoedown was amazing!! We had our banner displayed on Saturday and on Sunday. We had an ad in the Magazine of Country Music. I had the opportunity to interview six of the artists and meet two more. I took pictures of every single artist that performed at the Downtown Hoedown. I met a lot of nice people too.
The results are in from our exclusive AmericaJR.com Web Poll. When asked "What national act are you excited to see at the Hoedown?" The results are Terri Clark (43%), Clay Walker (38%), Sammy Kershaw (5%) and Tracy Byrd (2%). Thank you to everyone who voted!!
Thank you to WMG Entertainment, Jennifer Cherry from Marx Layne and 99.5 WYCD for the media pass and allowing me to conduct all the interviews on site.
PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com
Westland's own Josh Gracin performs on Friday night.
PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com
You know you're at the Hoedown when Hart Plaza is filled with people wearing cowboy hats.
PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com
Jason Rzucidlo stands behind the AmericaJR.com banner at the 2006 Downtown Hoedown.
Jason Rzucidlo meets Nashville recording artist Danielle Peck.
Jason Rzucidlo with Nashville recording artist Josh Turner.
"The entertainment updates sure help to know what is new in the Country and Western Music world." -Nancy Howe [ Rodney, Ontario, Canada ]
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Detroit's Downtown Hoedown is known as the World's Largest Free Country Concert. The event is held each year at Hart Plaza along Detroit's Beautiful Riverfront bordering Windsor, Ontario. It is a three-day event featuring music, dancing and fun for all ages. The music portion is filled with local bands, newcomers and established artists.
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