August 29 Jared Blake (From First Season of The Voice) w/Special Guest: Austin Gilliam

jared blake

Few artists carry the power that can even compare to the deep vocals and emotional delivery Jared Blake carries to his audience every single performance. Even fewer lend that same passion to their fans, but Jared does. Being known to the world as a father of six kids, taking care of the fans too is just a normal way of life. His life isn’t separated from music, rather, a blend of family, fans, and friends who he calls “frands”.

Jared Blake grew up on watermelons and rock ‘n roll. His summer’s were spent peddling and playing. Growing up in the small town of Star City, Arkansas, Jared always had big dreams of performing on the big stage, but that didn’t stop him from taking his time growing up and learning everything he could about the business, songwriting, and playing multiple instruments. Jared would be the first one to tell you, “The second I think I know what’s going on, it all turns upside down again.” He also says that’s what keeps him writing, dreaming, working and just being himself.

That same willingness to keep going, not knowing, landed him on national television. Once again, Jared found himself on an adventure into what turned out to be the #1 rated show on NBC, “The Voice”, with Blake Shelton to guide him. So, he did what any regular ol’ country boy would do…he rocked it! He was just as happy alone with his acoustic guitar and 14-million viewers watching him sing “Not Ready To Make Nice” (Dixie Chicks) as he was performing the rock tune “Use Somebody” (Kings of Leon) in a guitar-throwing, full-out passionate display. All of his performances appeared in the charts worldwide more than 56 times and reaching as high as #16.

Jared was featured in magazines such as People and Rolling Stone, television morning shows, and radio stations syndicated across the nation. He began a national acoustic tour the last week of the show airing, promoting a single his fans picked called “Don’t Mind”. That tune won grassroots radio airplay in several areas and the ability to quickly tour with his whole band.

In June of 2012, Jared was offered a recording deal with Skiddco Music (Grammy award-winning producer, Skidd Mills) and began working on his first full album, scheduled to release summer 2013.

Jared Blake spent years being told he has “the voice”, lending it to voiceover work in the demo world for artists and the weekly syndicated broadcast of CT40 with Bob Kingsley. His sounds are compared to Bob Segar and Travis Tritt mixed with Chris Daughtry. There’s no doubt Jared’s voice is one of the most powerful voices to hit the country genre, and once heard it’s never forgotten. That ability has made the name stick. His shows compare to the energy and emotional roller coaster of a Guns N Roses or a Billy Joel concert. The no-frills production is enough to entertain any crowd. For that, Jared has played with artists like Lee Brice, Thompson Square, The Band Perry, John Rich, Randy Houser, Jarrod Neimann, Billy Currington, and headlined or opened for events like The Lone Star Rally, Sturgis Bike Rally, Easy Riders Rodeo, Country Delta Jam, Country USA, and much, much more.

“The joke with my road crew is that I’m like a 5-year-old,” says more-than-five-year-old Blake adding, “and I think that’s why we all keep going and laughing the whole way. There’s no one playing the ‘poor me’ card for all the hard work we do. We know everyone out there is working hard, and some guys are even fighting and dying so we can keep doing what we do, so for that alone, there’s no complaining. I couldn’t do any other job on the planet, so I owe my life to the music fans of the world!”

Jared is looking to the future of bright lights and sleepless nights “…but I’m just gonna keep writing what I know and singing what I love…with the greatest people on the planet, my frands!”

Jared Blake’s newest single released in June of 2013, titled “Countryfied”, and be on the watch as this star burns brighter. You can follow his tour or join his “frands” online at www.jaredblakemusic.com

austin gilliam

Fans recognize Austin Gilliam as a guitar player. Maybe it’s his six-foot-five viking-esque stature. Or his nine-inch signature pin-up-girl tattoo. Or maybe it’s just that he’s a really, really good guitar player.

But fans of the americana/red dirt/alternative country scene know the media recognized more than three years ago: Austin Gilliam is a heckuva guitar player — but he’s a guitar player with a killer set of pipes.

Austin cut his teeth in the Americana scene playing lead guitar and singing harmony vocals with the Scott Wiggins Band. His guitar and vocal work on the band’s sophomore album, “Burn” (Adam Odor, Keith Davis) was critically acclaimed and the CD netted two of the Top 25 singles in 2009.

After departing the Wiggins Band, Austin played most notably with Drew Kennedy, Wes Nickson, and Javi Garcia and the Cold, Cold Ground before joining Matt King and the Cutters. The Cutters kicked off its emerging, national-touring presence with a stop in Nashville, where the band recorded “The Cutters” (Vance Powell) EP.

With a true passion for music, Austin is known to fill his schedule and often play as many as nine gigs a week — sometimes with as many as 10 different bands.

“I’ve taken influence from each project I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with and combined them the best way I know how. I continue to do that to this day,” Austin says.

August 30 American Aquarium w/Special Guest: The O’s

American Aquarium

In the business of music, many are called and many may try, but few cross the threshold of being able to say they are truly committed for the long haul. With the upcoming release of their latest studio album, Burn.Flicker.Die. American Aquarium is proving that they have graduated to that class of professional musicians that have made an undeniable commitment to their music and their fans.

American Aquarium’s six years as a band have been a fast-moving blur of rubber on road, touring coast to coast through the states and Europe. Most nights of the year are spent far from their Raleigh homes, squinting out from bright stages at a growing legion of passionate fans who’ve followed them through the release of six albums that reflect a whirlwind of too many whiskey soaked nights, nameless women in smoky bars and fast living while your youth is in full bloom. But what happens when it all stops feeling good?

Burn.Flicker.Die. is what has emerged from that scenario for this group of hard working players. After two years of writing, they journeyed to the legendary recording hub which gave birth to some of the greatest blues, country and rock records of all time: Muscle Shoals/Sheffield, AL. Recorded in eight days under the precise hand of friend/tour buddy Jason Isbell, the record is an aptly named milestone for the band, and their most painstaking effort to date. As a long-time Southern rock artisan, Isbell provided a weathered know-how in producing the record American Aquarium is proudest of. Described as a “consequence record” by vocalist BJ Barham, the band spent that week pushing out everything that’s been haunting them: working for six years, watching buzz bands peak and die, and pining for their own payoff.

“I wish my addictions didn’t mean so much/but we all can’t be born with that kind of luck,” Barham sings on the title track, capturing the fast lifestyle with images of subtle barroom horrors: Finding a high in a dingy bathroom stall, a pretty barfly from somewhere down south you won’t see again, free shots you can’t say no to. “Casualties” is a soaring, chorus-less ode to death by rock that confronts age and the band’s great fear of having made the wrong choice. They’ve watched artists ride the hype train right off the track. But that can’t be American Aquarium – they’ve been laying low too long, finding their way to the most poignant album of their careers through hard touring and waking up to realize that it’s not Saturday night anymore.

Some of the record hurts to hear, like the quiet, fine-spun “Harmless Sparks.” It sounds like the flicker of a solitary cigarette burning to its filter in the blue-black glow of a bar. Keys plink like shot glasses in the background, and you’re the last to go home. American Aquarium has been there before. But the record also looks to the end of a hard road, where there might be validation for good music, and even love. In “Jacksonville,” Barham promises someone a call if he “makes it out alive.” Taking a cue from Ryan Adams, he draws romance out of shame in “Northern Lights.” And in “Saturday Nights” and “Saint Mary’s,” he makes a subtle mockery of the dives they know too well – slick with spilled whiskey and crawling with restless women who all look the same.

Every grizzled image of Burn.Flicker.Die is real, which comes from the band’s profound understanding of small southern town debauchery and six years of pushing their careers off the bottom rung. Like many of their musical heroes that have paved the way before them, American Aquarium can wrap the ugliest feelings in the most spirited soundscape. Sonically uplifting instrumentation and vivid, wrenching lyrics illuminate the dark side of hanging out in rock ‘n’ roll limbo, but also how the band has clawed their way out of it. Through their struggle to sustain their career and resist the temptation of fire, American Aquarium’s demons have hung around. But so have they.

The O's

We started our group in the summer of 2008, and after having known each other through all of our other groups (Polyphonic Spree, Young Heart Attack, Slick 57, Rose County Fair, Hi-Fi Drowning, etc), it was an easy upstart and took no time jumping in head first. We both had songs that we felt needed to be played but no band to use as an outlet. Three months later, we entered the recording studio and recorded an EP which ended up being half of our first album “We Are The O’s” (2009 Idol Records).

We have since toured relentlessly all across the US, UK, Europe, and even jaunted to Hawaii, hi-fiving friends and fans alike; just trying to keep ourselves out on the road and creating new music for good people. In 2011, we recorded our second album with the Grammy award winning Stuart Sikes. Entitled “Between The Two,” we decided to play every instrument on the album and had Stuart man the helm. It was liberating and excited and brought us further than we had been before.

We hit the road again jumping back and forth across the great ponds, made music videos, bought and broke vans, bought and broke gear, ate poorly, ate well, had fun and not so much fun, met amazing people, learned a lot about life, forgot a lot of things, slept a little, bought and wore out hundreds of pairs of pants and shirts, resoled our cowboy boots countless times, played with incredible artists, performed on TV shows, talk shows, radio shows, festivals, clubs, bars, restaurants, several different countries and continents, swam in clear water, dredged through the gulf, and other countless, endless adventures to name.

We did this all as we have always, to make good music for good people.
And into the future we go with “Thunderdog”, our third studio album to be released in July 23, 2013. We decided to record the majority of the new album, at the recommendation of our great producer, Chris “Frenchie” Smith, in Tornillo, TX at the legendary Sonic Ranch Studio. It’s a state of the art, top notch studio where we could stay on site, eat on site, and record without distractions (other than the delicious Sonic Ranch “Salsa de Roja” that lead to many debates on whether or not anything would taste good without it afterwords…) We finished up the album at The Bubble in Austin, TX and look forward to getting it out the door and into everyone’s hands!

See you folks on the other side and we look forward to the ride.