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::: THE WORLD'S LARGEST FREE COUNTRY CONCERT :::

* 2009 Hoedown News *

HOEDOWN COVERAGE

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Fans Can "Chow Down" at the Hoedown at the new "BBQ City" Concessions Area

Local Detroit Non-Profit Groups Working Stands To Raise Funds

When the world’s largest free country concert event comes to Detroit’s Hart Plaza this weekend, fans attending the Downtown Hoedown on Friday, May 15 through Sunday, May 17 will be able to enjoy a variety of foods and snacks at concessions areas along the walkways throughout the plaza provided by 25 local food vendors.

For the first time, one of the most popular foods will be highlighted and expanded on with the introduction of “BBQ City,” an area on the riverfront near the River Stage featuring a mouth-watering mix of barbequed offerings by several local establishments.

The local representatives in “BBQ City” include:

  • Redwood Grill – offering BBQ Jumbo Drumsticks, BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Steakburgers and more.
  • Aunt Bessie’s BBQ Ribs & Soul – featuring BBQ Ribs, BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Chicken Sandwiches and more.
  • Ray Ray’s Catering – offering BBQ Spare Ribs, BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwiches and more.
  • BBQ Rib Tips (A Detroit caterer) – featuring the “180” Sandwich, a large pulled pork sandwich covered with creamy cole slaw and Ray Ray’s Special BBQ Sauce on a large bun. If anyone is able to finish the sandwich in 180 or less seconds, the sandwich is free and they win a free t-shirt.
  • Sweet Tooth Grill Restaurant – featuring BBQ Ribs, BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, BBQ Chicken and more.
In addition to “BBQ City,” the Downtown Hoedown will have an array of food vendors serving the festival site, and representing the metro Detroit area, including Matthew Sons, Mercurios, Mr. G’s Pizza and Cosi Restaurants and others.

Adding to the local “flavor” of the festival, more than 20 local Detroit non-profit groups will be participating and raising funds through their involvement working concessions areas throughout Hart Plaza during the event and earning a commission on their sales.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Bomshel is ready to rock at Detroit's Downtown Hoedown

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

 

DETROIT -- Bomshel is a country music duo made up of violinist Kristy Osmonson and vocalist Kelley Shepard. After Buffy “Buf” Lawson left the duo in 2007, Shepard stepped in as her replacement.

“It’s really not that different,” said Shepard. “I like it better because we go to so many crazy things and meet so many crazy people. A lot of people when I stopped being a solo artist moved to a duo, they’re like, ‘you’re gonna lose so much.’ And I really haven’t. For me, I just wanted to sing. Now I get to do it with my best friend and not by myself.”

Their single “Bomshel Stomp” was very popular across the state of Michigan.

“Cause it’s awesome, that’s why,” Shepard said.

“People like to line dance,” Osmonson agreed. “We’re still trying to learn the dance.”

Bomshel’s new single is “Fight Like a Girl,” a song that was just released to radio.

“It’s about a really good friend of ours, Jenny,” said Osmonson. “She was going through breast cancer and she had a little girl and was diagnosed. She inspired us. She’s from my hometown, she’s a great friend. She just lived everyday to the fullest. She took a really bad situation and kind of made this mission statement to fight it. She didn’t just sit around and go, ‘why me?’ She’s like ‘you know what, I get to go to chemo everyday.’ I was inspired by her, she was incredible.”

“We really wanted to take a negative saying and turn it into something positive,” Shepard said. “For Jenny but for all girls. I think women are so amazing and stay so helpful through some of the most trying things. We love ‘Fight Like a Girl’, it’s the best song to really encompass everything Bomshel stands for.”

The duo recently completed filming of the music video for “Fight Like a Girl”.

“We did, it’s almost done,” Shepard said. “Kristy and I are so different but it’s good. She’s like the ying to my yang. She can be in the studio for 16 hours. I’d rather eat glass. I love to do live shows and videos. It was the best day of my life. My wedding day won’t compete with that.”

“So much fun, it was really stressful for me,” Osmonson said. “I was scared to death. She looked so good. Kelly trotted through it and I tried to follow.”

Bomshel released a 3-song digital EP on iTunes.

“We sold 2,000 copies in one week,” Shepard said.

The duo will perform at the Downtown Hoedown on Saturday afternoon.

“One of the best I’ve ever played,” said Osmonson of the free country festival. “Michigan is my absolute favorite place to play. Our band is banging right now. We got a big ole surprise for you all.”

“It was actually my first live show that I’ve ever played,” Shepard said. “It was really funny cause Bomshel was there the day before I was. I’m excited to be back with Kristy. I think it’s gonna make it 10 times better. We’re excited!”

Many artists who play at the Hoedown perform when they are starting out and end up being very famous such as Garth Brooks and Toby Keith.

“We love Michigan, we can’t wait to see you,” Osmonson added.

For more information, visit www.bomshel.com, myspace.com/bomshel or twitter.com/bomshel.

Look for Bomshel to perform at the Hoedown on Saturday, May 16th at 3:25 p.m.

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Kristy Osmonson and Kelley Shepard of Bomshel.

 

WATCH: Exclusive Interview with Curb recording artists Bomshel

(Quicktime Required)

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE: Stephen Cochran performs at Boomers; Prepares for Downtown Hoedown

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

 

WATERFORD, Mich. -- Country music star Stephen Cochran just got off the stage at Boomer's Roadhouse. His entire family was there to watch him perform in Waterford, Mich. A friend of his from the military even came by to watch the performance. The hometown star announced that he will be performing at Detroit's Downtown Hoedown on Friday, May 15. The world's largest free country music festival is a show that he's been wanting to play for many years. This year, his dream will come true.

Cochran was born in Pikeville, Kentucky and grew up in Waterford, Mich. He is the son of a struggling songwriter and artist. Cochran was greatly upset by the events of 9/11 so he joined the Marines and was deployed to Iraq. He returned home and then went to Afghanistan. Cochran lost a good friend to enemy fire and came home with a broken back. He was determined to sing country music.

"Boomer is a personal family friend of mine," Cochran said of performing at the roadhouse. "I've actually known Boomer since I was like six years old. All my cousins ride bikes together. Growing up in Michigan, that's where I get my love of Harleys. Boomers Roadhouse is just coming home. My goal is to get big enough to where the only place you can see me in Waterford, Michigan is at Boomers."

How did your father help you become a country music singer?

"I always grew up knowing that music was something I wanted to do," he responded. "I just had to find the reason and the drive behind it. My service in the military gave me the passion to write the songs that I do and I have to give my father credit as a songwriter and a singer of giving me the drive to know that it can happen. He obviously made it happen. Put your mind to anything and you can do anything you want to do. I'm walking again when they told me I'd never do that again."

Cochran's self-titled debut album was released in 2007.

"Making my first album was a lot like coming into maturity as an adult," Cochran replied. "Everything was new. You had to find where your place was. Really, discover what the music said to you. I'm so blessed to have the experience that I did with the first album. Now, on my second album, I've taken those mistakes and those very big jumps that we made and I've progressed them on to a different level of Stephen Cochran. I hope this next single takes off the way it should."

The country singer announced that he is working on a second album.

"We don't have a due date," he said. "We're actually going to give the fans what they want which is the best of what we can give them. We're going to come out with 'Wal-Mart Flowers' and just rock it from there on out. If it was up to me, 22 [songs], it's never up to me. I would say about 13 songs."

What's the story behind the song "Friday Night Fireside"?

"I got out of the Marine Corps. and Kenny Chesney is of course, amazing," Cochran said. "But a lot of stuff he was playing was all about beaches. Being from Waterford and in Tennessee, we don't have beaches here. I wanted to write something about what we did for our summers. And that was just getting bonfires and getting beer and having just a 'Friday Night Fireside.'"

In January, Cochran performed for the troops in the Middle East.

"The first time and the second time that I went to the Middle East as a Marine, completely changed my life," he responded. "This was no different. I will remain constantly changed by what I had to do over there as a Marine but what I got to do as a musician was even greater. I just thank god everyday."

The country singer will perform for the very first time at the Downtown Hoedown in Detroit.

"Another dream come true," he answered. "I mean, everybody out there has to realize, I grew up in Waterford. I grew up going to this show. The neighborhood would get together and we would all go to Hoedown. For me to not look at the stage but to look at the fans, it kind of tells me I made it a little bit. It's something that I've always wanted to be a part of. And I'm so blessed and honored that WYCD asked me to be a part of it this year."

Many artists that play the Hoedown end up getting noticed and become huge stars.

"I'm hoping the same thing happens here," Cochran replied. "I just love playing music man. I made a promise to myself when I injured in the hospital that I would do what I love everyday for the rest of my life. I've really lived up to that. I get to wake up every morning and make music. Why wouldn't I be happy with that?"

Look for Stephen Cochran to perform at the Downtown Hoedown on Friday, May 15th.

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Cochran performs at Boomers Roadhouse in Waterford.

 

WATCH: Exclusive Interview with Aria recording artist Stephen Cochran at Boomers Roadhouse

(Quicktime Required)

 

 

 

Trailer Choir: From Frat Parties to Concert Halls

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

 

Trailer Choir is a brand new group on the country music scene. It is made up of Crystal Hoyt, Mark “Butter” Fortney and Vinnie “The Mack” Hickerson, a 400-pound man who dances in the middle of their shows.

Toby Keith discovered the group and signed them on his new label, Show Dog Records. Trailer Choir is now performing on his “2008 Biggest & Baddest Tour.”

The name of the group is very unique. “Butter is the one that came up with that concept,” said Crystal Hoyt of Trailer Choir. “Butter’s our funny front man. It kinda started with this idea with these frat parties that we had been playing. They really liked the idea of being able to stop in the middle of a song and having everybody sing the song with you. That’s the choir concept. Then the trailer part comes in.”

Trailer Choir’s style of music is different than others in country music. It is more fun and edgy.

“Anything that we put out there is simple melodies that people can sing along with,” says Hoyt. “Songs that have smart writing that are still touchy and fun. There’s definitely a serious side to it too to show the public. We call it a three-minute vacation. Leave the troubles behind for a little bit and have a good time with us.”

The group started out by playing cover songs. Then, it made the transition to original material.

“Butter and Vinnie started the college frat party shows,” said Hoyt. “That kinda energy that’s created when people know the song and are familiar with the song. It’s really hard to work an original song into that cause sometimes you lose the crowd if you do that. They started intentionally writing songs that were geared towards that type of crowd. You could still keep the energy up but still a song that people would catch on to quickly enough that they could still sing along with it.

“We made that transition from a being cover show into an all original show in Nashville that broke kinda it’s own following out of that.”

Toby Keith, one of the biggest stars in country music, discovered the group.

“There was a good buzz goin about Trailer Choir,” said Crystal Hoyt. “I knew the boys for years, Butter and Vinny both before actually joining the band. They were getting out really good songs. People were talking about it. Someone had mentioned it to him and he said ‘I wanna go check ‘em out.’ Toby did a show one night last minute, barely caught the last part of one song and came back just after that. He said, ‘Can you come to this bar and play a couple of songs?’ We went in there played two or three songs. Toby said, ‘I’ll talk to y’all tomorrow.’ He did and here we are now.”

Trailer Choir’s debut single is a song called “Off the Hilbilly Hook.”

“We had a friend who is from California and she was on Nashville Star a few years ago,” said Hoyt. “She is just a fun, great songwriter. She had gone to a Trailer Choir show one night and approached Big Vinnie after the show and said ‘I have a hook that I need to write with ya’ll.’ She got together with Vinnie and started writing it. Then, Butter joined in later. That was actually one of the first songs I ever sung with the boys. That’s kinda what brought me into the group. It turned into this really neat anthem for the Beer For My Horses movie.”

The group is currently working on a debut album that will have between 12 and 15 songs on it once complete. The first four songs are available online at digital music retailers such as iTunes.

“We’ve got a good portion of it completed so far,” Hoyt said. “Not all of it yet just because Toby’s producing it. So we’re working around his schedule and the movie schedule and everything else we’ve got going on. We’d like to get it out before Christmas. Around November would be ideal. It all depends on scheduling. We’ve got tons of material that’s been written that we’ve been waiting to record.”

Sonic Drive-In restaurant influenced one of the group’s band members in a big way.

“Vinnie has everything in life because of Sonic,” Hoyt said. “He started working there when he was in high school. Basically, that supported him. He worked there and had a hard time leaving there to go into full-time songwriting. The song ‘Rollin’ Through The Sunshine’, they actually wrote that song, Butter and Vinnie did, over the phone while Vinnie was working at Sonic flipping burgers and taking orders.”

Toby Keith gave the new group some advice on how to be successful.

“Be professional, but be yourself,” said Hoyt of his advice. “He never asked us to change anything. He said, ‘Go out there and do what you do. Sing the way you sing. There’s no real plan yet for what I’m gonna do with ya’ll. I just want you to go out there and be yourself.’ He wants his artists to do what he did which was be yourself but go out there and make your own music, play your own music. He wants everybody to be true artists, songwriters, entertainers, the whole package.”

“We got to learn a lot last year, just being on the side stages,” said Hoyt. “But nothing really compares to being on that big stage. We loved the side stages. It was the best learning experience for all of us. This year, being on the big stage and in front of that many people every night is such a blessing. Seeing Trailer Choir posters in the crowd is really cool. Getting to learn from the best in the business. Toby is one of the best, if not the best at what he does. We get to see what he does every night and try to pick up tips and learn how to do what he does.”

Photo courtesy of Show Dog Nashville

Trailer Choir

 

LISTEN: Exclusive Interview with Show Dog Nashville recording artists Trailer Choir

(.MP3)

 

 

 

CMA New Artist Spotlight: Luke Bryan

By Kristen Scherer
© CMA Close Up News Service

Luke Bryan comes by his Country-as-cornbread credentials honestly.

Growing up in rural Leesburg, Ga., the young singer/songwriter spent a good deal of his time farming peanuts, corn and cotton on surrounding farms and helping his dad in the fertilizer business. Country Music was everywhere, and Bryan grew up on a steady diet of Alan Jackson, George Strait, Conway Twitty and Hank Williams Jr. His dad bought him an Alvarez guitar and was soon taking him to Skinner's, a local watering hole, to let the youngster display his already-impressive vocal and guitar chops with local bands.

After high school, Bryan seemed destined for a Country Music career when tragedy struck the family. Just as the singer was preparing to leave for Nashville, the news came that his older brother Chris had been killed in an auto accident. Devastated, Bryan resolved to put aside his plans, enrolled in Georgia Southern University and after graduation, took a "real job" in the area at his father's agriculture business, to stay close to his family.

Finally, with his family's encouragement, Bryan moved to Music City in September 2001, secured a publishing deal with hit songwriter Roger Murrah's company and began writing the songs that would lead to a contract with Capitol Records Nashville.

Bryan co-wrote all 11 tracks on his self-titled debut released on Aug. 14, which was produced by Jeff Stevens, and includes debut single, "All My Friends Say," written with Stevens and Lonnie Wilson.

"I'm glad I waited before moving to Nashville," Bryan said. "Not only am I a better writer and singer with more performing experience, but I've also lived a lot more. I'm ready."

IN HIS OWN WORDS:

Who is your musical hero?
"Randy Owen."

Which song would you secretly like to cover?
"'Single Thing in Mind' by Conway Twitty."

What song do you wish you had written?
"Earl Thomas Conley's 'Might Be What I'd Say.'"

What word or phrase do you find yourself saying over and over again?
"We'll get it handled."

Who is your dream duet partner?
"Dolly Parton."

On The Web: www.lukebryan.com

PHOTO BY JUAN PONT LEZICA

Capitol Nashville recording artist Luke Bryan.

 

 

CMA New Artist Spotlight: Adam Gregory

By Bob Doerschuk
© CMA Close Up News Service

Technically, Adam Gregory isn't Adam Gregory's first album. But seeing as how he cut The Way I'm Made when he was just 13 years old, for distribution only in his native Canada, it can be asserted that his self-titled Big Machine/NSA/Midas/ Records debut album brings a more seasoned 22-year-old artist to audiences beyond the borders of his homeland.

That first album earned the teenager a series of distinctions, including a Prairie Music Award for Outstanding Country Music Recording, the Canadian Radio Music Award for Best New Country Artist, Canadian Country Music Association and Juno Award nominations and performance opportunities at festivals and venues. He would record three albums for the Canadian market, each one tracking his development as an expressive singer and rapidly evolving writer.

Gregory now bows in the United States with an album that's finely tuned to what communicates on Country radio. He'd written one track on his first Canadian album; that number rises to nine co-writes on Adam Gregory, including the first single "Crazy Days," which he penned with Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs and Joe Leathers. But the urgent romanticism and surging rhythm of that song reflect only one side of his personality; on the dramatic "Tired" and the intimate "What It Takes to Be Your Man," he proves he stands strong as a ballad interpreter, while a self-deprecating humor as well as a knack for skipping between long notes and tongue-tripping lyrics emerge on the chorus of "Could I Just Be Me."

It adds up to this: From looks to voice and all points between, Gregory has what he needs to make an impact in any territory he targets.

IN HIS OWN WORDS:

MUSICAL HERO
"Vince Gill."

SONG YOU WISH YOU'D WRITTEN
"'Home,' by Michael Bublé."

WHAT YOU SING IN THE SHOWER
"Anything and everything."

LUCKY CHARM
"My cross necklace."

FAVORITE FOOD WHILE ON TOUR
"Any kind of pasta."

BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND
"The Bible."

SECRET ABOUT YOU THAT NO ONE WOULD GUESS
"I don't smoke or drink."

MODE OF TRANSPORATION YOU PREFER
"Tour bus."

WHEN THEY LOOK BACK ON YOUR LIFE IN 50 YEARS, WHAT YOU HOPE PEOPLE SAY ABOUT YOU
"I hope people will say that I followed my dreams and remained true to myself."

IF YOU WEREN'T A MUSICAL ARTIST, WHAT WOULD YOU BE
"Probably a soccer player or a music producer."

On the Web: www.adamgregory.com

Photo by Bo Streeter

Midas recording artist Adam Gregory

 

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Return to the Downtown Hoedown section.

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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