An Evening With John Waite

music musings, beaverdamusa.comFor years, I have been a fan of John Waite, dating back to the Babys era. I even mused about John once for this blog.

I had noticed he was doing some dates across the country on what is billed as the Wooden Heart Acoustic tour. For the longest, the closest was Memphis back in May. I even commented on a Facebook post John that he should add a Nashville gig, to which he replied “What about Memphis?”. While I love me some John Waite, I had to explain that a trip down I-40 to the Bluff City just wasn’t my cup of tea, even if I could stop at Buffalo and get some pie at the Log Cabin.

IMG_0291Anyway, he finally announced a show at the intimate and great venue – the Franklin Theatre. Having seen a few shows there, I knew it would be a great evening, so I snagged some tickets up front at the tables which put us about ten feet from the stage.

The opening act was Raquel Aurilia who sang six songs accompanied by just an acoustic guitar. Her voice was nice and gave everyone a chance to settle into their seats.

For the ADD readers – it was a John Waite fan’s dream. Now, for those that enjoy a little more detail, read on. John came out with a very stripped down band – a guitar, a bass, and a cajon. [I learned that night that a cajon is the proper word for beat box]. John would occasionally play the acoustic guitar during the set. His guitar player was Nashville native (who isn’t now) Kyle Cook (www.kylecookmusic.com), formerly of Matchbox Twenty. It was a treat to watch him play. Kyle played on John’s Rough & Tumble and co-wrote one of my favorite John Waite songs – If You Ever Get Lonely.

John explained that the show would be very laid back and he would talk about the songs and their inspiration. He also added that the audience would get to ask questions throughout the night. So, he basically set the stage for our own Storyteller session with him and about 400 of his closest friends in Franklin. What a treat.

Throughout the set, we were treated to tidbits and stories prompted by the songs or questions from the audience, such as:

* He grew up listening to country music as a child in England. He talked about walking to the bus stop for school and staring at a Marty Robbins album in a store window and how he dreamed of making it to play and sing in Nashville.

* One of his favorite moments was getting to sing on the Grand Ole Opry, courtesy of Allison Kraus. Allison and John redid his monster solo hit Missing You several years ago with commercial success.

* He talked about how much he admired Vince Gill and his guitar work so much that he cut one of Gill’s songs – Whenever You Come Around. As he was playing this song on the Opry stage, he realized Gill was playing with him on stage.

* Waite lived in Nashville for a few years and really loved the vibe. He mentioned that he left because NYC really felt like home. He said that Nashville has become too crowded and is losing its country music vibe due to the record labels.

I could go on and on about how great of a night it was, but I realize not everyone is as big of a John Waite fan as I am. Which brings me to my final point. It was truly an evening for John Waite fans, but not a casual one. Yes, he did some hits from all eras of his career – Babys, Bad English, and solo. But, he also threw in some real deep cuts. It was refreshing to see an artist do the songs that he wanted to and that the true fans would appreciate. If you have a chance, go check out John Waite if he stops in your neck of the woods.

Musing in Nashville.

Zach

Set list:

* When I See You Smile – probably my favorite Bad English song

* In God’s Shadow

* In Dreams

* New York City Girl

* If You Ever Get Lonely – Favorite solo song; was recently covered by country duo Love & Theft

* Missing You

* Bluebird Cafe – stripped down acoustic. Told the story of a real waitress and how he imagined why she was in Nashville.

* Whenever You Come Around – this is when he told the story of Vince Gill playing with him on theOpry.

* Downtown- only instrument was a Spanish acoustic guitar

* Magic Camera

* Best of What I Got – Bad English

* Change

* Head First – Only Babys song he did.

It’s a Dog’s Life Has Evolved Significantly

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comThe other day, I overheard this exchange in the dairy section at the grocery store:

Woman: Go get some yogurt for the dog.

Man: What kind?

Woman (annoyed): Whatever’s cheapest. He’s a dog.

That little vignette is funny on several levels if you think about it.

First, these people feed yogurt to their dog – which was funnier before Kim told me some people do it to aid in the animal’s digestion.

Second, the man certainly doesn’t take much interest in little Muffy or her digestion, or he would know what kind of yogurt she eats.

Third, by the terse, loud way the woman answered the man’s question, it is obvious she treats Muffy better than she treats him. But then again, she’d already probably had to tell him two or three times which variety of salad dressing the dog likes.

It’s crazy the way we dote over our pets, isn’t it.

My mother-in-law’s cat once underwent cataract surgery. I’m not sure how she knew the surgery was necessary. I guess she noticed a problem when the cat lost interest in working the crosswords.

In my house, we’re nearly as bad. Our cat — who hates everyone and everything except for me for some strange reason – sits in the foyer of our house and meows until someone escorts her down the hall to her food bowl. I am convinced she would starve to death sitting there waiting for someone to walk with her.

Then, when she gets to her food, she slowly circles it, steps up on the bathroom scale next to the bowl and eats. I’m not sure why she feels the need to launch a sneak attack on her food.

Her reluctance to go down the hall has gotten to the point that when we go out of town overnight, we put food in the foyer just so she’ll eat while we’re gone.

None of these pet stories, however, can match the absurdity of something I saw on television recently.

The TV was on one of those shopping networks. I’ve had fun at these shows’ expense before. I marvel at the way the host can spend 3 hours describing a can opener.

This particular day, though, the host was pitching a tap water filtering machine for your kitchen.

Now, I realize the whole Flint, Mich., situation has put tap water in the news, but I still believe I can partake in a swig or two without feeling like I’m poking an alligator between the eyes with a short stick.

The host went on and on about why we need it, stopping just short of having a World War II air raid siren going off in the background while he told how we all were going to die from drinking unfiltered, poisonous tap water.

Then he got weird. He said, “And you certainly don’t want to feed tap water to your pets, with all the chlorine and other contaminants.”

This guy obviously doesn’t have pets.

Our cat drinks from the pool. She drinks from puddles (back when we used to have puddles). She drinks from a bowl we keep on the deck that usually has a flying insect or two floating in it.

Sometimes she drinks from the dogs’ bowl – which is a different proposition altogether because heaven only knows what the dogs have managed to transfer into their water considering they will eat, sniff or lick anything – and by that I mean positively anything.

I’m a responsible pet owner, but then again, I try to keep things in perspective.

Yes, I escort my cat to her food bowl. But I will never filter her water.

If she stops doing the crosswords, though, I would probably have to intervene.

How I Became a Dog Owner

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comSo…there’s been a new development in my life…you know, besides my EP coming out…or my Pre-sale (ah-em….go order it NOW! pretty please!)……I have decided to get a dog!

Now, those who don’t know me will probably be like “oh, that’s nice!” and then those who do know me will say, “WHAT?! Erica, you’ve never liked dogs!”

So…let me explain. My family never had a dog. The only animals we had were a couple of fish and a cat that died a horrific death only a year after we got her. So the majority of my life we had no animals. The only interactions I really had with dogs were the ones that were always jumping on me or shedding on me and I really didn’t understand why people wanted them.

Now, fast forward to my time in Nashville when I was a poor musician and really needed money: I would house sit or dog sit for anyone! As I started dog sitting, I realized that there were actually dogs that were well behaved and didn’t just constantly jump on me! One dog, June, just followed me everywhere and laid down calmly next to me no matter what I was doing! Another dog, Ginger, would just go outside and play by herself all day and then hang out with me and watch TV! I realized, dogs could actually be enjoyable to be around!

Last year when I stepped away from my office job and started working from home, I started to think: wow, I could really use a companion right now to have fun with! And I thought: maybe I, too, could have a dog that was enjoyable to be around- that doesn’t shed and is trainable! After some research, I came across the goldendoodle! Non-shedding, lovable, playful, trainable- sounds great!!!!

puppy1So, let me introduce you to my new puppy, Luce! [luch-ey]. Luce means light in Italian and Luce is named after the vineyard my husband and I got married at, Montaluce. Right now, Luce is 5 weeks old and I’ll get to take him home at the end of July!

Now, I know I don’t know anything about having a dog- except all the books and podcasts about dog training I’ve been reading and listening to! So, I’m expecting the first couple months to be lots of poop and pee and headaches…but I’m still excited to bring home my new best friend!

And if you’re into this cuteness, you can follow Luce on instagram! instagram.com/lucefiasco_dood

Now….go order the Jericho EP! 

puppy2puppy3puppy4

 

How to Have a Christmas Shindig

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell, my one friend had a “How To” blog…but she stopped blogging, so I guess that means I can use that title? Mine won’t be as funny- but maybe it will inspire a Christmas shindig at your home!

Now, I used the word shindig because I thought that meant small…but apparently it means a large and elaborate celebration. Whatever the size may be, any Christmas gathering is a good one! (And I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but my house is already decorated–don’t be a hater!)

I love the Holidays because I feel like it’s a good time to reflect on what’s really important in life. Thanksgiving and Christmas is a time where you take some time off work (oops- sorry retail workers) and spend time with the people who matter most to you: your family. It’s also a time to look around at everything you’ve been blessed with and what you’re thankful for, and hopefully reflect on the needs of others around you. Oh, and you also eat a lot of fattening things.

So, here are some things I did for my Christmas Shindig.

1. Make lots of cookies. Eat most of the dough…and then bake the leftovers.

shindig 1

2. Pick a Christmas charity to shop for! My friends and I chose to support Next Door, a drug rehabilitation center for girls. We made Christmas bags for their Christmas party! If you can’t think of a charity  in your area, try donating to Operation Christmas Child.

3. Go shopping!!!!

shindig 2

4. Come back and assemble your gift.

shindig 3

5. While assembling, eat lots of cookies, sip lots of cider, and listen to lots of Christmas Michael Buble. ​

shindig 4

6. Make some Christmas memories!!

 

Magic Woman, Ann Wilson

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWow.  After seeing many shows over my 51 trips around the sun, it takes a lot to knock my socks off. Ann Wilson did the other night when The Ann Wilson Thing (TAWT) rolled through the City Winery in Nashville.

If you don’t know, Ann and her sister Nancy formed Heart several years ago and have had numerous hits through the decades and still perform to this day.  Ann wanted to get out and do some different things that she couldn’t do in Heart.  She set out to do less than ten cities and luckily, Nashville was one of them.

ann wilson, beaverdamusa.comThrough the years, Ann has been known for her tremendous vocal chops and she didn’t disappoint.  As she went through the set of classic rock and soul tunes, there wasn’t a note she feared.  Her voice is still as pure and powerful as the day she started Heart.  She used the TAWT shows as a chance to sing classics that she has loved through the years.  She covered songs from artists as diverse as Buffalo Springfield to Lennon to Aretha Franklin.  The lady did them all justice.

As the show progressed, you could tell that she was really enjoying singing these songs and interacting with the sold-out crowd at the City Winery.  Speaking of winery, they had tastings of the Ann Wilson wine (cab/merlot blend) available and you could even buy a bottle to take home.  However, about a few songs into the set list, Ann mentioned the wine.  She also mentioned that she had been sober for almost six years, but heard that the wine was very good.  I didn’t get a bottle.  Didn’t seem right.

ann wilson, beaverdamusa.com, zach clayton

Alison Krauss and Emmylou Harris joined Ann Wilson on stage during The Ann Wilson Thing tour’s stop at The City Winery in Nashville.

Remember, there is always a Nashville moment.  The moment this evening was when Ann brought out “two of my musical heroes” in Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss.  Emmylou sang three songs with Ann and Alison on backing vocals.  It was quite the treat.

In summary, it was a special night.  Ann has been vocal in the past about record company suits making them look and sound a certain way.  On this night, she got to do what she wanted to do.  She looked great and sounded even better.  The pipes are still there and I would put them up against anyone half her 65 years.  Thank you Ann for choosing to come to Nashville.

Zach

P.S.  Here is the set list:

  • For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield)
  • I Put A Spell on You (Screamin’ Joy Hawkins)
  • Fool No More (new song)
  • War of Man (Neil Young)
  • Every Grain of Sand (Bob Dylan)
  • Isolation (John Lennon)
  • We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place (Eric Burdon)
  • Don’t Give Up (Peter Gabriel)
  • Your Lone Journey (Doc Watson) – with Emmylou and Alison
  • Strong Hand (Emmylou Harris) – with Emmylou and Alison.  Emmylou wrote this for June Carter Cash
  • Orphan Girl (Gillian Welch) – with Emmylou and Alison
  • I Want Someone Badly (Jeff Buckley)
  • You Caught My Eye (Judy Boucher)
  • River Deep, Mountain High (Ike & Tina Turner)

Encore

  • Ain’t No Way (Aretha Franklin)
  • The Danger Zone (Ray Charles)

SEC Pigskin Picks 10/15: “Chely, Phil and Uncle Si”

Coach Billy Jack teaches Professor Sinclair how to figure percentages in a way only he can. And, Chely has a run-in with the Duck Dynasty boys. Featured games: Texas A&M-Alabama and LSU-Florida.

Inside Zach’s iPod – Vol. 4 (and Maybe the Last)

music musings, beaverdamusa.comPlease – stop your crying.  I know this Musing’s title sent you into an emotional come-apart, but you will survive and make it to tomorrow.

Why possibly the last?  Well, we combined my old PC and my wife’s PC onto a new PC at home.  First, Apple doesn’t make it easier to transfer songs on an iPod to a new computer if you don’t use the cloud.  Ironically, my wife was paranoid about losing the pictures and I was worried about what else – the music.  Now the new combined iTunes library has over 5,000 songs.  I am still having trouble synching the new library with my old iPod, so I think I am going to have to reset the iPod to make it synch – thus the possibility of this being the last blog with the current iPod.  So, if you are still with me, I will hit “shuffle” one last time and write about the first five songs that pop up –

zach's ipodSomeday I Will – Jimmy Buffett – This newer Buffett song is from the Far Side of the World album.  Anytime I hit shuffle, chances are there will be a Buffett song in the first 10 songs because I have so many of his songs.  This song is about setting your mind on doing something and taking that first step.    Someday I will exercise…..  Well, that could be a long way off.

Hear About It Later – Van Halen – This deep cut on the under-appreciated Fair Warning is a classic.  From Michael Anthony’s great backing vocals to Alex’s cowbell in the middle of the song, this is truly a great song to crank up, roll the window down, and cruise.

Rhiannon (Piano Version) – Stevie Nicks – This different take on the Fleetwood Mac classic is basically an “unplugged” version with a piano as the primary instrument.  Stevie could sing the white pages or the Marshall Andy Waffle House jingle (old school Knoxville peeps know) and I would think it was great.  She is definitely one of rock’s royalty.

End of the Innocence – Don Henley – From his monster album of the same title, this is a favorite Henley song of mine.  Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, this album received a lot of airplay in my apartment.  Henley has one of those distinct voices that you recognize right off the bat.  Like everyone else, he has a “country” album coming out this month (September).  Of course, the Eagles’ music would definitely be country in today’s world.  I remember seeing Henley at Starwood around that time and appreciated his devotion to his roots – on any Eagles’ song, he would play the drums.

Born to Fly – Runaway Home – As I briefly mentioned a couple of blogs back, Runaway Home is a local band from Kingston Springs, where I live.  This particular cut is from their sophomore album There’s A Paradise.  Like most of their songs, the harmonies and violin sounds are out front .  You should check this band out online and snag their CD.

Well, even if I get the iPod reformatted and synched, I wonder if there is room for the additional songs added to my library?  Maybe the next version will be from my iTunes vs. the iPod.

Until next time –

Zach

Country Star JT Lewis Answers Our Questions

beaverdamusa.comLast week, we aired Part 1 of our interview with JT Lewis. ICYMI, you can read it here. Today, we offer some tidbits we saved for this week.

It’s almost hunting season. Are you ready or what?  
I’d be happy to go shoot a cardboard box right now. As much as I love being in Nashville and doing music full-time I do get that itch sometimes that I’ve got to go catch a fish or I’ve got to go shoot my bow. Being in the middle of the city hinders me from doing that.

What was the first song you ever learned? 
My uncle gave me my first guitar after having taught myself “The Eye of the Tiger” on his electric guitar. That was pretty cool. That was really the first song I ever learned.

How old were you? 
I picked that up around the age of 12.

Where were some of your first gigs? 
I played everything from little skate parks to YMCA all-ages shows when I was 13 to 15.

Is being a working musician in Nashville harder or easier than you thought it would be? 
It has met my expectations as far as difficulty goes. However, getting gigs as an artist and booking tours was the one thing I didn’t foresee as being as difficult as it has been. Also the time put into booking those gigs, is time that’s kind of difficult to find when you’re writing a lot and trying to make money to make ends meet.

JT LewisWhich of your songs on your new EP “Shoot Straight” are best received?  
It’s interesting to see which songs people like the most. Some people like “You Came True” the best, the rock song. And, some people, their favorite is “Jumping in the Deep End.”

Why do you think fans gravitate toward “Deep End”?
It’s got that real current catchy hooky country melody and people dig it. And everyone, I think, likes the music video.

Talk about the video shoot.
That was a long week but that was fun, shooting that thing. I produced the music video and my little brother was the camera operator and director, so that was a fun time doing that.

The girl in the video looks familiar. Where have we seen her?
She is Becky Andrews. Good friend of mine from south Louisiana. She was also featured in the CMT show “Redneck Island.” Unbelievably beautiful, and just as cool and down to earth as she is pretty. (Read Becky’s bio.)

And, the guy, who is he?
The guy who played the lead male role is Tommy Rothermel, a good buddy of mine all the way from when we went to Catholic High School in Baton Rouge. He called me a little while ago and gave me a couple of updates. He’s been being featured in a new AMC series called “Into The Badlands”. It excites me to see all the awesome stuff going for them!

Watch “Jumping Off the Deep End”

Connect with JT Lewis:
Official Website     |     Twitter
Facebook     |     Instagram
YouTube     |     iTunes

 

Inside Zach’s iPod – Vol. 3

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI figured the public is clamoring for another installment of “Inside Zach’s iPod (IZI)”; or I have writer’s block – you be the judge.

To refresh your memory, I currently have 4,077 songs on my iPod and the drill is that I hit shuffle and write about the first five songs that come up.  It is also an observation of how my mind skips around (SQUIRREL!).  I can’t skip songs unless they have popped up before on IZI.

  • Snowblind – Styx.  This Paradise Theater deep cut features both James Young and Tommy Shaw on vocals.  In typical Styx fashion, this song starts out slowly and then kicks into a rockin’ tune by the end.  Saw them perform this one live on the Paradise Theater tour.
  • Love Her and Lose Me – Heidi Newfield.  This comes from Heidi’s solo debut album after Trick Pony’s first break-up.  I received this album as a promo from a record company friend and immediately liked it.  Heidi has one of those voices best described as sultry.  She participated in a couple of JDRF golf tourneys, so that moved her to the “like” column for me.
  • Black on Black II – Heart.  This is a rockin’ Heart tune from Desire Walks On.  I remember they opened with this song the last time I saw them (Wildhorse Saloon).  As usual, Ann voice is very powerful. Speaking of Ann, she is performing a solo mini tour with only seven stops; one of which is the City Winery in Nashville.  She plans on performing a variety of blues and rock songs that she “…enjoys singing”.  I bought tickets and look forward to the show.
  • Ragged Heart – Jaime Kyle.  This tune from her debut album The Passionate Kind (1992) received some local air time here in Nashville.  I first heard her in an interview on KDF around the release of the CD and have seen her several times since then and consider her a friend.  She achieved popularity with later releases in Europe and also songwriting success with Wild One (Faith Hill) and Stranded (Heart).
  • All in How You Say It – Tommy Shaw.  From Tommy’s 1998 solo album 7 Deadly Zins, this song kind of has a smooth and cool vibe to it.  The 7 Deadly Zins album is a nice piece of work.  It is like Tommy invited several friends (Nugent, Allison Kraus, Kevin Cronin, Jack Blades and Michael Cartellone) over and said “hey, come sing on my solo CD”.  Yes, there was one song that Jack, Tommy, Ted, and Michael played on; so you could kind of make the stretch that it was a Damn Yankees song if you closed your eyes real tight.  I saw Tommy on this tour in Knoxville at Thompson Boiling Arena.  He had the first slot in a tour that boasted Tommy, Peter Frampton, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Ironically, Cartellone played with Shaw on that tour and within a year, he was installed as Skynyrd’s drummer -where he is still today.

Well, that closes another peek inside my iPod, as well as my mind.  Hope you visit again soon.  Also, if your area is like Nashville has been lately, the key word is HYDRATE.

Zach – sweating while musing

Two Story Road Takes the Spotlight

beaverdamusa.com, two story roadby Erica Bryan

Here at Beaver Dam USA, we are so excited to introduce you all to a band that, if you like country music, you’ve probably already seen before! Two Story Road is a husband-and-wife duo comprised of veteran performers, Brandon and Jamelle Fraley.

Brandon has toured extensively, singing background vocals and/or playing keys for artists such as Gretchen Wilson, Danny Gokey, and Carrie Underwood. Jamelle has also toured extensively, her biggest gig being Carrie Underwood’s background vocalist for five years. Between the two of them, they have appeared on every TV and Awards show imaginable, as well as performed over 1,000 shows (including 100 shows at the Grand Ole Opry!).

beaverdamusa.com, two story roadIt’s no surprise that these two decided to join forces and bring their talents to the spotlight. For their debut album release, they are working with Nashville producer, Mark Bright. Mark Bright has made his mark on your radio waves by producing albums for superstars such as Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, and Sara Evans. With Two Story Road’s considerable experience and the top-notch team surrounding them, there’s no doubt that they will make a big impact in the Country music community.

We were fortunate to get to send over some questions to Brandon and Jamelle. Read their responses below:

Q: First off-we love a good love story- how did you two meet? Was it love at first sight?!

TSR: We met at Belmont University. Love at first sight might sound a little cliche, but there was definitely an immediate attraction. Once we started dating, we both admitted to having an overwhelming sense of “wow” whenever we’d see each other. We knew after just a few weeks of dating that the connection we had with each other was unlike anything either one of us had felt before. 

Q: When you all got married, did you always want to be a duo? Or was it something that happened over time?

TSR: We both moved to Nashville aspiring to be solo artists, that’s for sure. We always loved singing together, but I think the idea of being an actual duo is something that presented itself to us over time. We both agree that singing together is so much more fun than if we were solo artists. Also, being able to share the work load both on and off the stage is a huge perk that we’re thoroughly enjoying. :-)

Q: We’ve heard that you recently went into the studio and recorded your debut release with one of Nashville’s greatest producers, Mark Bright! Tell us about the experience in the studio-was it magical?!

TSR: It’s hard to put into words the excitement we’ve been having while recording with Mark. This is literally what we’ve dreamed about doing since moving to Nashville. You have to understand that after all of the touring and recording we’ve done for other people over the years  there’s now this unbelievable feeling of accomplishment to be doing this AS THE ARTIST! For example, just the other day we were pulling up to Ocean Way Studio on Music Row to record some more vocals. Granted, we’ve both been there many times for other artists. However, when you’re there as a band member, you’re on your own to find parking. There are only 6 parking spots at Ocean Way and they’re all assigned: Studio A Artist & Producer, Studio B Artist & Producer, and Studio C Artist & Producer. We noticed that one of the artist spots was open, and thought about pulling in. We can honestly say that we both hesitated for just a moment & asked ourselves, “you think we can park here & not get towed?” before realizing that we WERE the artist and were supposed to park there! We are beyond blessed to not only be recording with one of Nashville’s greatest producers, but we’re also able to call Mark one of our closest friends. He has been on board, 110%, since day one, and we will never be able to fully thank him for the confidence boost that has given us. We’re so excited for all of our fans to hear this labor of love once it’s finished. We are doing everything we can to make as much of an impact with this first project as possible and we’re optimistic that it will do just that. 

Q: Who are your greatest musical influences?

Jamelle – I grew up listening to a bunch of different music, but there were definitely a few standouts that got a LOT more rotation than the others: Mariah Carey, Martina McBride, Celine Dion, & Whitney Houston. I mean, in my day if you loved to sing and wanted a challenging song to sing, that’s who you listened to! :-)

Brandon – I listened to a wide range of musical genres and was also drawn towards amazing singers. Brian McKnight and Vince Gill were huge influences and always a challenge to sing along with. I feel like I’m constantly borrowing from their vocal prowess whenever I sing a note. 

Q: Jamelle, we know you toured a while with Carrie Underwood. What was the greatest thing you learned from this Superstar? And same question for you, Brandon, about touring with Gretchen Wilson?

Jamelle – The only thing better than being able to sing with her night after night, was having a front row seat to watch Carrie off stage. Let me tell you what, this girl is a hard worker! Her work ethic is just as impressive as her singing voice. It was such an amazing opportunity to see firsthand what it takes to maintain the kind of career she’s having. I feel so much more well prepared for my journey as TSR knowing what I learned from Carrie all those years.

Brandon – One thing that Gretchen did that had a profound impact on me was the attention she gave to her entire crew. Band, lighting, audio, truck drivers, etc… She knew everyone’s name out there and said hello to everyone who walked by. Gretchen worked so hard to making everyone feel appreciated. The few times I’ve toured with Carrie, I’ve seen how close everyone is on that tour as well. Think about this, when Jamelle left Carrie’s band to do TSR, she had been with her for 5 years and she was still the “newest” band member.  It’s simple. When people feel valued, they’ll most likely stick around.

Q: When you’re not recording or touring, what are some things you both like to do for fun?

TSR: Well, we do our best to stay in shape, and luckily we’ve found ways of exercising that don’t feel like exercise. Brandon plays tennis, very competitively I might add, at least 3 times a week & I (Jamelle) go to a hip-hop dance class 3-4 times a week as well. Unfortunately, downtime is becoming harder & harder to find, so we jump at the chance to hang out with our friends whenever we can. We’re actually having a few close friends over tonight to watch a movie and maybe even have a Mario Kart tournament! :-)

Q. What is your favorite movie of all time?

Brandon – I love all the X-Men movies. Jamelle will most likely say “me too!” but since I’m the one who introduced her to them, it gets to be my answer.

Jamelle – Brandon knows that if we’re channel surfing and “A League Of Their Own,” “Dirty Dancing,” “The Princess Bride,” or “That Thing You Do” is on, no matter where it’s at in the movie, we’re watching it.

Q: What was the last song played on your iTunes or Spotify?

Brandon – I finished my drive home from tennis last night with Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity.”  

Jamelle – Alison Krauss, “Maybe.”  Remember that song? It’s so cool!

Q: As veteran performers, is there any advice you would give to young aspiring artists who are trying to follow in your footsteps?

TSR: This may not really be about performing, but here’s some general advice for any job in the music industry. Most likely, you have a vision in your head of where you are and where you want to be. You can try your best to assume the path of how you’ll get from point A to point B. However, be open to the fact that there’s a good chance that you’ll get to point B by a road you never saw coming and maybe, never knew existed. We all know that the interstate is the fastest way to travel from one state to the next. However, there are infinite back roads that will take longer, but can do the same thing. Take it from us, don’t discount the back roads. They’ll give you the time you’ll need to learn about yourself. It’s also where you’ll gain so much experience. In the end, it will make the journey so much more rewarding and when you finally reach the finish line, you’ll be that much more prepared.

Get updates on Two Story Road’s album release and tour by following them on FacebookTwitter, and by visiting their official website.

While you eagerly anticipate the debut album, check out Two Story Road’s latest lyric video of their song, “Fit In.”

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