Independents

WEPG and WSDQ  presents

Independents

New Independent talent aired at 15 minutes after the hour for your pleasure.

 

Jessica Lynn

 

Photo by : Aaron Kershaw

Being hailed by press around the world as Shania’s Successor, Jessica Lynn is fast on her way to
becoming a household name. In the last two years, the New York singer/songwriter has completed
three highly successful nationwide tours of the United States and has seen her first two full length
concert television specials, This Much Fun – Live from the Winery at St. George, and “Jessica Lynn –
Takin’ Over – Live from The Paramount ” be met with rave reviews and seen by millions of viewers
nationwide across America. She has sung her country’s National Anthem twice in New York’s famed
Madison Square Garden by special invite, signed a major publishing deal with publishing giant Round Hill
Music that had her in Nashville writing with today’s top hit writers, and has shared stages with country
music elite Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Hank Williams Jr., Thompson Square, Jake Owen,
Sammy Kershaw, Clint Black, Montgomery Gentry, Phil Vassar and others. Last year, Jessica hit the road
with country legend Jo Dee Messina for a west coast tour and recently had the honor of opening for the
Queen of Country Music herself, Loretta Lynn.
Her high-energy and dynamic live show has garnered rave reviews from critics worldwide with
the CBS Evening National News calling her a “Rocket Force.” 2016 saw Jessica on her first international
tour in Canada and Europe and she released her debut self-titled EP. The first official music video and
single from that EP, “Not Your Woman,” hit #1 for four weeks in a row on “The Iceman’s Top 40 New
Country Chart,” which is the ONLY New Country Countdown show listed and recognized in the Country
Music Association’s Industry Guide.
2017 will take Jessica and the band around the world once again with a summer long
European/UK headlining tour including an arena date opening for iconic rockers ZZ Top, in support of
her brand new EP , Look At Me That Way , which released in The UK and Europe May 30th. The new EP
produced and co-written in Belgium by acclaimed Producer Patrick Hamilton (Katherine Jenkins, David
Garrett), includes three new cuts that will be making their way to UK, European, and American radio this
summer led by the first single “Crazy Idea.” For a full list of tour dates and venues visit:
www.JessicaLynnMusic.org

 




Brandon Maddox

Brandon Maddox Official Pic

From sharing the stage with CMA nominee and superstar Brett Eldredge to acclaimed performances at clubs and festivals across the nation, having an original song featured in the Michael Ealy film Unconditional, to appearing on TV and radio shows, triple threat artist/singer/songwriter, Brandon Maddox, has quickly established himself as one of country music’s rising stars.

On the verge of breaking out nationally with his new recording The Bigger The Wheels, The Better The Man, the single has been selected as “The Monster Truck Song of 2014” and, Brandon, named the “2014 Lucas Oil Monster Truck Artist of the Year.” With Monster Truck, he has performed arenas in front of five to ten thousand people and been featured at their 4 Wheel Jamboree events.

As Monster Truck’s Artist, Brandon has been featured on TV and radio shows across the country including Fox TV’s Good Day Chicago, NBC’s WRCB TV 3/Chattanooga, KARK 4/Little Rock & WMTV15/ Madison, WCRX/Chicago, WTHI/Terra Haute and KKYY 101.3 Country/ Sioux City.

His debut EP Weightless (produced by Doug Sisemore of Reba Mcentire’s band) generated radio action including US101 Chattanooga and CMG Radio Network, WCRX, Opus Country Music Radio Network, KMSC, and many more.

His celebrated live performances have earned him very loyal fans and have included memorable shows with one of Country Music’s hottest performers CMA Nominee, Brett Eldredge (the #1 gold record “Don’t Ya”.) He was a featured performer at Nashville Center Stage during CMA Fest, Shawnee Riverfest, World Café Live in Philadelphia, and many other major country venues and festivals across America. Keep your eyes and ears on this prolific, young triple threat Singer/Songwriter/Musician.

 

Eric Van Houten

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Country music singer/songwriter from Upstate New York, Eric Van Houten has been performing and writing for almost 8 years now. At age 23, the high energy and emotion he puts on stage is exhilarating, captivating, and entertaining.

“Our live show is where I really get to connect with the crowd and create an experience for them to never forget. I have always worked hard to make that connection which keeps them coming back!” – Eric

Over the last few years Eric has shared the stage with artists such as Canaan Smith, Craig Morgan, Kip Moore, The Cadillac Three, The Band Perry, Chris Young, Josh Thompson, and many more. Recently Eric has traveled the East Coast performing his music from NY to Florida and cities in between.

“I don’t have a plan B, this is my only plan; to continue pursuing my passion for music, songwriting and the adrenaline rush I get every time I step on stage in front of a live audience. This is just the beginning of what I intend to be a long, exciting journey.” – Eric

 

 

Dave and Whitney

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Our Story

Meet Whitney

Whitney is an energetic, enthusiastic, spitfire with “can-do” persistence.  An Army Master Sergeant’s daughter, she was raised in Hanover, Indiana.  The 5ft. tall teenager tossed her endless energies into various high school sports.  She was a four-year cross-country and track star, a member of the soccer and swimming teams and she threw her big little weight around on the mat as part of the “Rebels” wrestling team. 

Whitney was inspired by her younger sister (who was born with the rare Chromosome 8 genetic disease) to study respiratory therapy; she studied at both Jefferson University and Technical College and University of Louisville.  The graduate had full intention to pursue her career in the medical services arena, but a teacher from another congregation had her own vision.  Whitney was a regular performer at Hanover United Methodist Church.

 “Rev. Vicki, saw an entirely different vision for my future.  She took me by the hand and brought me up the ranks to mold my singing career in the church. That’s where my voice and performance manifested and Rev. Vicki was my biggest cheerleader and David helped me to decide on my purpose.”

Influences:  Reba, Martina McBride, Patsy Cline, Foreigner and a handful of boy bands.

Enter Dave

Dave Campbell, reigning from Seymour, Indiana, will be the first to admit he’s a geek who actually enjoys the academic of  “critical spontaneous thinking.”  A self-described country boy, David spent much of his time following in the footsteps of his dad to watch him perform at various “animal clubs” (Moose Club/Elks Club/Eagles Club). His father taught him the basics of guitar, but it quickly became evident the young teenager was simply born to strum.  At age 15, Dave began teaching guitar lessons—with more than 30 students a week on his schedule.  The senior high school “mathlete” landed house gigs at the local area Applebee’s and Chili’s restaurants and before he departed Indiana University (where he studied Entrepreneurship and Marketing), the guitar prodigy was playing more than 100 dates a year. 

“I’ve just never stopped playing. I’ve never had a ‘regular’ job with W-2 income! But, I’m still ‘Takin’ Care Of Business’…look at me, I’m self-employed, I love to work at [guitar] playing all day!”

Influences:  Van Halen, ZZ Top, AC/DC, Maroon 5, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and John Mayer. 

When the athlete meets the “mathlete””sparks fly!”

Dave & Whitney are the most unnatural, natural genesis–cosmically in tune with one another.  At twenty-three, the two were introduced by mutual friends at a gathering in Daytona and low, and behold, they learned that they lived just twenty-three miles apart during their entire childhood. That chance meeting in Florida is the chapter of their beginnings. 

“It was a ‘sparks flying in the air’ introduction when we met.  Our energy just filled the room where the others were left with very little room to breathe!”

Introducing Dave & Whitney

[“A vintage modern road trip packed with traditional country accessories!”]

Dave and Whitney’s relationship was as spontaneous as it was spiritual. With no intended plan, they turned to a greater power to lead them. Their destined adventure moved them to launch the music career of Dave & Whitney as official in 2012. Without the direction or aid of a management team or label, Dave & Whitney independently entered the country music entertainment scene on their own terms (Chelsea Creek Entertainment). Their first tour took them to 32 states within 40 days.

“This was a leap of faith for us. We had no rhyme or reason. We were just driven and God took the wheel.”

Dave & Whitney are a sexy, fun-loving, dynamic duo that takes their “shazam” to the stage. The charismatic pair now plays more than 150 dates a year together (sharing stages with country music’s most sought-after entertainers including Randy Houser, Florida Georgia Line, Eli Young Band, David Nail, Parmalee, Sara Evans, Jana Kramer, Casey James, Dustin Lynch, Love and Theft and Frankie Ballard); they introduced their first national studio recording (entitled ALIBI/2015) and the Dave & Whitney debut single (by the same name-“Alibi”) entered the Music Row charts as an un-promoted, unexpected and much welcomed surprise.

Dave & Whitney are a marriage of faith and talent—a super hero, dynamic duo born with heart and wings to fly.

Donovan Lee

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Donovan was born in Port Arthur, TX and started playing music at the age of 12. When he turned 19 he left the music scene to pursue a career to support his family. Then, at the age of 27, he joined the United States Marine Corp. This is where he rediscovered his love for music. While stationed in San Diego, CA, Donovan started singing again on a karaoke dare. But, it wasn’t until his deployment to Iraq that he realized the true impact and healing of music. Donovan bought an acoustic guitar in Ar Ramadi and started playing and writing songs during his downtime on base. After about a week, Donovan noticed he had created an audience of 20 plus Marines, it soon became a daily event and the audience continued to grow. While in Iraq, Donovan suffered a hand injury and had to have bone fusion surgery upon returning home. In 2009 after spending his last 3 years on medical/reserve status the United States Marine Corp discharged Donovan with 8 years of Honorable Service.

In 2006, Donovan went to New York City and attended Digidesigns School at Soundtrack Studios and became a Certified Digidesigns Pro Tools Operator. Then, in 2007 he opened Dungeon Recording and Sound Studio in Westcliffe, CO. Donovan has recorded multiple local artists and helped them succeed in their own musical ambitions. Donovan decided to continue his own passion for music and started playing drums for a local country band. Donovan had the opportunity to perform as an opening act with Josh Gracin. In October of 2009, Donovan created his own Band, Taylors Bayou. Taylors Bayou began an 8 state tour and has played over 600 shows and festivals to include: Nebraskaland Days, The Hershey Fall Fest, The Canon City Music and Blossom Festival, The Archuleta County Fair and Copper Country at Copper Mountain. Donovan has shared the stage with artists to include; Darius Rucker, Glorianna, Theory of a Deadman, Ricochet, Count’s 77, The Lost Trailers, Trent Tomlinson and Whiskey Myers. Throughout 2011 Taylors Bayou “band” began a transformation to Donovan Lee “artist” with a debut album release named “Taylors Bayou”. Donovan Lee has now performed over 1200 shows in 30 plus States as a solo artist.

Donovan recorded the album, Taylors Bayou, at Sugarhill Recording Studios in Houston, TX with Producer/Engineer Andy Bradley (Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Johnny Bush, Beyonce, Destiny’s Child). It features several Guest appearances by the following musicians; Mark Andes (Firefall, Spirit, Heart, Canned Heat), Brian Thomas (David Allen Coe, Johnny Bush, Clint Black, Waylon Jennings, Bare Naked Ladies, George Strait, Leeann Womack) and Kenny Cordray (co-writer of ZZ Top’s hit Francine). The album was released in March of 2014 and is a full CD of Original material written by Donovan. The album also includes 2 covers, Folsom Prison by Johnny Cash in a Southern Rock style tribute and the Little Feat classic, Dixie Chicken.

Donovan’s originals have been played on 40 plus Radio Stations in Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, Australia with the title track “Taylors Bayou peaking at #11” and has also had his music played on several TV Shows throughout Europe. Donovan also released “Missing You” on November 10, 2014, as his first U.S. single to National Radio. Donovan still tours and is currently working on a live CD as well as his 2nd Studio Album. Donovan also plays numerous acoustic show’s around the Country to include performances at numerous venues in Downtown Nashville’s Legendary Broadway Music District. Donovan is attending the Berkley School of Music and working on a Master Certificate in Guitar and Vocal. Donovan is continuing his education in pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Music.

 

 

 

 

Smith and Wesley

SMITH & WESLEY / www.smithandwesley.com Photograph by Alan MESSER - www.alanmesser.com

                                About Smith & Wesley

 

Based out of the North Georgia/Chattanooga, Tennessee area, the Smith & Wesley sound is driven by two brothers, Scott and Todd Smith.

Scott carries the lead vocals and plays acoustic guitar. His brother, Todd, also plays acoustic guitar, as well as harmonica and provides vocal harmony. Part of the band’s sound comes from their kinship, which provides the depth and richness to the vocals of Smith & Wesley. Both Scott and Todd are also songwriters. The two brothers have either individually or together written most of the songs on Choices & Chances.

Much like his brother, and the other band members, Todd Smith is no stranger to the music scene. He has been actively playing music for years, having previously landed an artist development deal as a solo artist with a major record label.

Growing up, the two brothers were required by their parents to take piano lessons if they wanted to play sports in school. Thus, the multiple sport duo began playing piano at an early age. It wasn’t too long before their interest transformed from instruments with keys to those with strings. Scott Smith is a self-taught musician with the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and Dobro, and has a particular interest in bluegrass and classic country music. Scott started the band in 2009, with most of the current members joining in 2010.

The rest of the musicians in Smith & Wesley all have strong family and personal connections that run much deeper than just playing music. Keyboard player Greg Gordy went to high school with both Scott and Todd. The father-and-son team of Steve and Josh Pettyjohn are on electric guitars, trading lead and rhythm roles; and on bass is Dee Callihan, who is part of the Pettyjohn family by marriage. On drums is long-time friend of the guys in the band, Brad Thompson.

Collectively, they bring talents and experiences from all ends of the musical spectrum, and those diverse influences are honed into a driving country sound that never fails to have concert goers singing and dancing along with them from the very beginning.

Website: SmithandWesley.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/SmithandWesley

 

 

 

Southern Halo

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Southern Halo is the creation of a soulful sister trio born and raised in the Mississippi Delta.

Natalia, 18 years old, is the gifted guitarist and keyboard player and takes center stage as lead vocalist. Natalia favors Pop Country and rap music styles and is also the lead writer of the group. She has written five of the band’s songs.

   Christina, 16 years old, is the talented, hard rocking drummer and also takes the stage to lead Etta James style songs with her soulful voice. She has a love for R&B and Rock and Roll.

    Hannah, 15 years old, is the classic hippie chick. She is the band’s Bass player and percussionist and has a special spark in her stage presence that keeps the others on their toes. Hannah enjoys Pop and Country. She completes this trio band with a combination of laid back and high energy performances.

   Southern Halo has generated an exceptionally interesting sound which is both raw and heartfelt. Each of the sisters brings her own taste and unique individuality to the band with Rock, Pop, Country, and Blues influences and they have become a very well received, popular group at festivals and venues throughout the Mississippi Delta from Memphis to New Orleans.

  For additional information, pictures, individual member biographies, and the latest information about Southern Halo, log on to: www.southernhalo.net

 

 

Denny Strickland

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Denny Strickland has positioned himself as one of the fastest-rising newcomers in the Country Music format today. The Top-40 success of his debut single, the intoxicating “Swerve On,” has placed his name on the lips of many of the industry’s power players as well as radio programmers. His first radio tour was a success and this summer he will hit the road again right after CMA Fest week.

The road is nothing new for Denny. He traveled throughout America on the horse show circuit, becoming an American Quarter Horse champion. “I participated in horse shows all my life, so I traveled a lot – just like we’re doing now. I was on a bus going to the different shows. So, today, when I am traveling on the road, it feels like I’m going home. I’m doing something I’m truly passionate about with the music, and it’s got my full attention.”

It was through his success on the horse show circuit that Strickland would meet a man who would eventually become his manager, changing his life in the process – longtime Johnny Cash band member Marshall Grant. “I met Marshall in Tunica at a little dive. I went up to him, introduced myself, and gave him a demo. A little later, he called me back, and we started working together.” Grant had a keen ear for talent, as he served as he also managed Country Music Hall of Fame members The Statler Brothers.

Music is something that has always been a key element in the life of Denny Strickland. He recalls developing his passion for it early in life. “I started piano when I was young, and played music in school. It wasn’t until later that I thought ‘I’m gonna try this.”

He recalls that there were a lot of different styles of music playing on his radio while growing up in Jonesboro, Arkansas. “I listened to all kinds of music, and didn’t find my niche until later. I had a lot of influences that came from all over the musical map. Obviously, George Strait was an influence because we were always at horse shows – and his music was always on the radio. I also listened to a lot of 90s rock and rap. I knew I had to develop my own style to have longevity in the music business.”

Denny’s newest single, “How Far You Wanna Go,” will continue that career climb. It’s youthful, hip, and fresh – yet definitely country. Denny thinks fans are going to love the single – as well as the accompanying video. “We’ve been working on the music video, and it’s very exciting. The song is about being with your girlfriend , and she takes control of the wheel, while deciding whether she wants to go to Memphis, Mexico, or both. I think the video is going to be packed in terms of the scenes, with lots of cars, trucks, and club scenes, along with shots of both Memphis and Mexico. It’s going to paint a very vivid picture for the audience, which is the most important thing. I think we tell the story pretty well.”

Denny had already had the next single picked out, but the moment he heard “How Far You Wanna Go,” those plans changed. “The song grabbed me the moment I heard it. I think fans will definitely know what it is when you hear that signature lick on the radio. I think it will grab the listener and hold them from the first line. As soon as you hear the chorus, you’re waiting to hear it all over again. It gets you fired up.”

That adrenaline also shows up whenever he hits the stage. And for Denny that is what it’s all about. “I love getting in front of people. I have found that if you’re having a good time, then your audience is having a good time. I just get excited, and I have so much energy. I have fun on the road. I don’t take things too seriously. I just want to make memories with people. I want true and loyal fans, that’s the goal for most people – to have them with you through thick and thin.”

 

 

 

Jake Clayton

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“I’m having the time of my life. I have a love affair with music, but being able to entertain people is what I get out of it.” So says Country artist Jake Clayton, the gifted singer, thought-provoking songwriter and talented multi-instrumentalist who is attracting the attention of Country fans and radio programmers everywhere with his hot new single, “What Not to Do.” Jake is the rare artist who is able to enthrall a packed house with not just his vocals, songs and showmanship, but with his amazing instrumental ability as well. Playing over 20 instruments as an in-demand Nashville session musician, he is now stepping out on his own to take his place among the greats of Country music. “What Not to Do,” a song about the consequences of poor decision-making from his album By the Light of the Moon, is an uptempo, guitar-and-fiddle-driven romp that brings Charlie Daniels to mind. But Jake’s highly-recognizable tenor is all his own, inviting comparisons to Garth Brooks, The Eagles and Tim McGraw. A native of rural Mexico, Missouri, Jake was raised by musical parents who sang professionally in the area. He was given his late grandfather’s fiddle – which he still plays to this day – when he was 13. But he wasn’t able to stop there, soon taking up just about any instrument with strings or keys, including banjo, organ, pedal steel guitar and more, while developing his singing and stage chops. “I learned about playing music by watching VHS tapes of concerts that really captivated me, like Garth’s show in Central Park,” he recalls. “But most importantly, they showed me how an artist entertains an audience.” As he learned every instrument in sight, Jake also began to understand the importance of delivering captivating vocals and crafting a good song. “The Dixie Chicks picked great, but their songs and their harmonies were powerful, too,” he remembers. “That’s when I started to take singing and songwriting more seriously.” At 17 Jake was fronting his own shows. “I actually had my own theater in Missouri for a couple years, an old restaurant we converted into a venue where I could perform,” he recalls fondly. “I was doing mostly classic Country for older people who understood and loved music, which was great. Because of my age I really didn’t do bar gigs much. Then I took a fill-in job playing fiddle with The Oak Ridge Boys at 19 and moved to Nashville when I was 20.” Jake has since been a utility man in the live bands of Tanya Tucker, Collin Raye, Jimmy Wayne, Joey & Rory and Jamie O’Neal, and travelled for several years with singer Sunny Sweeney on two major tours. And in 2015, Sweeney enlisted Jake and his own band to support her on Miranda Lambert’s 2015 Certified Platinum Tour. Opportunities like this have made it possible for him to be part of opening slots with such Country music headliners as Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, George Strait, and many more. As an in-demand studio musician, Jake’s credits include playing violin and cello on Thompson Square’s #1 single, “If I Didn’t Have You,” and playing fiddle, dobro and lap steel on Sunny
Sweeney’s critically acclaimed album, Provoked. He was the featured dobro player on Joey & Rory’s Inspired DVD and TV special, and he recorded and co-produced the theme song for The
Sportsman Channel’s Legacy Trails TV. Jake also recorded an acclaimed instrumental album, Barnyard Stom, which was distributed by Rock guitar legend Steve Vai’s Favored Nations
label.
As a solo artist, Jake has opened for Charlie Daniels, Jon Pardi, and Jerrod Niemann. He’s seen his childhood dreams come true as he’s graced the stages of Madison Square Garden, The Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and other legendary venues.
Jake is a natural singer, with a distinctive voice that is right at home on today’s Country radio. “My vocals are one of the reasons I get hired to work with other artists, besides the fact that I play so many instruments,” the gregarious artist says. “I’ve been influenced by the best. I could listen to Don Henley sing the phone book, and Garth, of course, really knows how to deliver a lyric. I love Collin Raye, and Jared Leto from the band 30 Seconds to Mars. And I learned so
much from being on the road with Tanya about how to do things inside a melody, and how to connect with people.”
Every song on By the Light of the Moon was written or co-written by Jake, whose songwriting heroes include some of the legends of Country as well as today’s most successful young writers.
“I’m a fan of Kacey Musgraves’ writing, and I really love Sunny’s writing,” he says. “I think Bob DiPiero (David Nail, Martina McBride) is one of the greats. I love Tom T. Hall. And you can’t beat Marty Robbins, who was the pinnacle of what an artist and writer should be.” Jake and his band play about 50 shows a year right now, and he looks to do more with the success of his new single. “We play all over the country and have been received really well everywhere we go,” he says. “While I still play for other artists, I see myself doing less and less of that in the future, because my main goal is to continue to release my own music and to give people a show they won’t forget. We’re all about the music and getting it out to the fans.”

 

 

 

 

 Terra Bella

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In August 2013, Joseph and Martina Costa made the 2,200-mile move to Nashville from California’s San Joaquin Valley. After arriving, they dove head first into the songwriting community and which eventually led them to producer/guitarist Johnny Garcia. Garcia, between touring with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, began producing the duo and the result is their newest EP, “ROAD TO FOREVER.”
 
Since arriving in Music City, Terra Bella has been spending most of their time in writing rooms and recording with Garcia. Their sound is largely based around the unique blend of their voices and each one’s ability to tell a story. Simple, beautiful, edgy songs about real life with lyrics that fans can instantly connect to while keeping in the mind the main goal, to make music that will stand the test of time.
 
Seven years ago, Joseph and Martina made a promise to one another: to make music together, little did they know at the time that it would also lead to love.  The two wed four years ago.
 Music brought them together and has continued to guide their journey. They have roots deeply planted in the heart of Central California, and for years they have toured up and down the West Coast playing clubs, rodeos and opening for national acts such as Lee Brice, Gary Allan, Montgomery Gentry, Thomas Rhett and many more.
 
“We are so excited to get out on the road and show folks our new music,” the duo agreed. “We love recording and writing but Terra Bella started as a touring act and we can’t wait to get back at it.”