Category Archives: Indie Spotlight

Indie Spotlight: A Conversation with Tim Culpepper

Continuing our Indie Spotlight featuring Tim Culpepper, the singer recently answered some questions via email. Learn more about what the traditionalist thinks about today’s country music, what you can expect on his debut album, and what country classic he wishes he could’ve written.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Indie Spotlight

Indie Spotlight: Introducing Tim Culpepper

It’s been a while since we had an Indie Spotlight feature and I must say I am super excited to introduce you guys to this new artist! This one is for those of you who love hardcore traditional country music much like the kind that took over in the 90’s. The first time I heard this guy’s voice I was blown away and I’m sure you guys will be too. So let me introduce you to Alabama native, Tim Culpepper.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Indie Spotlight

Indie Spotlight: The Welch Brothers, God Bless California

A couple weeks ago we introduced a California trio of brothers called The Welch Brothers in the first installment of our Indie Spotlight. Now, we’re offering a song-by-song review of their first EP, God Bless California.

The EP contains four original songs recorded by The Welch Brothers and produced by Colby Wedgeworth. Once again the group calls themselves “California Country” which is a mixture of country, pop, and alternative genres of music all rolled up into one and these four songs show the group’s diversity and unique style of country music.

Head on Collision
                This is a more rock-leaning song as the production is filled with plenty of loud drums and guitars…the usual ingredients needed for a rock song. The song’s lyrics use an automobile accident as a metaphor for a failed relationship, something I found rather interesting. “I hold my breath as we cross another double line…head on collision” sings the narrator about how relationships are rarely as smooth as a Sunday afternoon drive. The vocals, from what could be heard, are fantastic and show off the Welch Brothers’ tight harmonies. This is definitely the least country sounding song of the four, but it still shows off the trio in a fantastic light.
Rock’N’Roll and Rainy Days
                This song begins with a fantastic acoustic guitar intro while the lead vocals kick in. The acoustic guitar is then joined by a fantastic steel line and a nice pop-bluegrass beat that makes this one of my favorite songs on the EP from a production stand point. The production quickly turns into a country-pop flavored one during the chorus and goes right back to the bluegrass during the verses. Normally I wouldn’t approve of the roller coaster effect when it comes to production but I actually like it here. The song finds the group singing about how if any future love interests want a guy who doesn’t have any dreams or aspirations, then they can find him elsewhere. The group mainly sings about how a guy has a dream of becoming a recording artist and is happy singing in the subway for tips rather than having a real job.
God Bless California
                If there was any doubt whether or not this trio is proud of where they come from, then this song proves the doubters wrong. “God Bless California” is an ode to the state where the trio hails from. The brothers sing about how California doesn’t compare to the likes of Paris and the pyramids of Egypt. “God bless California ‘cause California you blessed me” sings the group as they pay homage to the state. This is a great song which is made even greater with the production which consists of a simple mixture of guitars and fiddle. The group seems to pour every ounce of heart and soul into their vocal performance on this song, which makes it the best out of the four on the EP.
Just Listen
                In our interview with the guys, they listed Taylor Swift as one of their musical influences and this song has a big of Taylor’s pop-country flare in it. From the guitar line to the pop drum beat, this song is very mainstream and could possibly compete with the mainstream sounds being currently heard on country radio. The lyrics musical terms as metaphors (“life is a song…the world is a record that keeps on spinning, so live, laugh, and just listen”) to convey the message of enjoying life. Once again the group provides an interesting take on a common country music theme.

Overall this is a solid introduction to The Welch Brothers and I think they’ll continue to grow and evolve with their sound as they get the opportunity to write and record more music. I’ve said before that this trio brings a different style and sound to the genre of country music that should be heard by many people. I’ve enjoyed listening to these four songs and I look forward to getting to hear more from this talented group of brothers.

You can download the four song EP for FREE on the group’s Facebook page.

Leave a comment

Filed under Indie Spotlight

Indie Spotlight: Getting to Know The Welch Brothers

With this being the first day of March, ATC is excited to get the month started with our first Indie Spotlight of 2011! In case you’ve forgotten how this goes, we pick a lesser known artist to introduce to our readers. This month’s Spotlight features California based trio, The Welch Brothers. The group was nice enough to answer a few questions for us, so continue reading to learn more about this talented group of brothers.

The Welch Brothers is a trio formed of three brothers – David, Jonny, and Nate Welch – who hail from California. The group recently recorded its first EP, God Bless California, which is available for download on the group’s Facebook page. They describe their sound as ‘California country’ which makes for a much needed break from the current mainstream pop-country that the country genre has become. Band member Jonny Welch was nice enough to answer a few questions for the interview portion of our Indie Spotlight.
First I would just like to thank you guys for agreeing to be ATC’s Indie Spotlight Artist for March and for taking the time to answer a few questions for our readers!
It’s our pleasure Aaron.  Your blog is great, and we are glad to be featured on it. 
So from what I’ve read on your Facebook page, you guys have all been singing since you were little, but hadn’t joined forces until recently. What were each of you doing prior to forming the trio and why hadn’t the idea of becoming a group not come up sooner?
Nate has been in and out of bands since middle school.  He was most recently the lead singer of Bidwell; which opened doors for him to co-write music with many up and coming artists in Los Angeles.  At the same time, David was getting his masters degree, and spent time developing a non-profit organization.  He also stayed active singing and composing music.  I was singing here and there in college, but focusing more on acting.  More recently, I started my journey as a songwriter.  About two years ago, I was driving to Santa Barbara with just enough gas in my tank and hardly any money, and for some reason it inspired my first country song.  From then on, I started co-writing with Nate, and once we got David in the mix, the songs started taking form.
I’ve listened to the EP and done some research and I find it quite interesting that you say you guys record “California country.” For our readers that may not know exactly what that is, describe the genre and some artists you feel fall under that label. I’ve listened to the EP and I must say that it’s a completely different style of country that I’m used to listening to, which is a good thing in my opinion.
California country is pretty much the edgy rock music of California, mixed with the All-American roots of country music. Back in the 60’s and 70’s a lot of bands in Los Angeles were taking on a country flare.  Bands like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and America are a few examples.  These bands have made a major influence on our musical and artistic direction.  Also, we spent our childhood in North Carolina, and moved to California in 1997.  Like they say, you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.
Speaking of the EP, tell us a little about it.
This EP ‘God Bless California’ is about faith, love and everything else.  These songs are just a few of the songs we have created in the last several months.  We have had a lot of things happen in life to write about and we have finally gotten around to it. Each song tells a different story and translates many emotions. We are so glad to finally be writing together after so many years of being separated by other great opportunities.  This EP is just the beginning of songs we are going to be releasing in the near future.  Listeners have told us that our songs make them laugh, cry and everything in-between.  We love that our songs antagonize emotion in our listeners.  I think this is the goal of most artists.  We are very excited about this EP and we can’t wait to see what the next step is. 
Is there any song on the EP that you guys feel strongly and passionate about?
We all differ on which song we are most passionate about.  I probably feel the most passionate about Rock’N’Roll & Rainy Days because it is about making positive changes in life.  I’m so glad I became focused on God’s plan for my life instead of my own. I had a lot of people trying to drag me down, but God helped me get a grip and dream big once again. 
I know that you guys write all your own music, do all three of you collaborate on each song or do you guys write stuff individually?
Usually, the concept of a song comes from one of us, but we all workshop every song together.  We’ll re-write a song, and then re-write it over again and then again, and again, and so on until we feel good about the way it communicates emotion. 
I mentioned earlier that the songs you’ve recorded all have a unique sound and style. Are there any specific artists you guys get your inspiration from? Or is it something you guys just developed on your own?
Artist and writers that inspire us are people that use their talents not for themselves, but for others.  People that remain transparent about their struggles, burdens, and celebrations make the best music.  Music has the power to lift people up and give them hope.  We take inspiration from real life experiences that come from friends, family, and our personal lives.  The peaks and valley’s of life have so many shades of color, and music is the blank canvas that is waiting to be painted on. 
Who are some of your musical influences?
Our Influences come from both yesterday and today’s music, such as Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles, The Band, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley and many more. 
Do you guys regularly perform live? Or have you guys had the opportunity to tour at all?
We have performed together our whole lives, and although we’ve all had opportunities to tour separately, we have yet to go on tour together as The Welch Brothers.   We look forward to that opportunity in the near future.  For now, we are focusing on songwriting, production, reaching fans and funding.
What do you guys feel is your goal in music?
First of all, we always want to prioritize others above ourselves.  We want to write music that people relate to.  We anticipate our listeners to feel hope, joy, peace and understanding after listening to our songs.  We are always writing music and we hope to produce a full-length record very soon.  After we do this, we plan to take the record on tour. Then we plan to keep creating records, and also write music for other artists.
Where do you guys see yourselves, or hope to be, in 10 years time?
When I was in 5th grade, I use to go out to our garage and plug my cheap microphone into my brother’s guitar amp and sing along to music videos on CMT.  All I wanted was to be a country singer when I grew up.  I left that dream on the backburner until recently. So it’s exciting to see where this could go in the next ten years.  Although creating records and writing is great, at the end of the day, we really want to use any influence we have for good.  For example, I think we would all agree that Bono from U2 is a huge influence on our journey; and not just because of his music, but for what he stands for.  His music is genuine and full of emotion, and he has also put a huge impact on the needs of the world. Our vision is to eventually help with Africa’s urgent need for clean water.  We are definitely grateful for artists like Bono who have paved the way for other musicians to help people in need.  So in 10 years time, we would be very happy to implement this vision.
Once again I would like to thank you guys for taking the time to answer a few questions!
Our pleasure Aaron!
To learn more about the group and to download the EP, visit their Facebook page or the band’s official website. Look out for our review of God Bless California in the next few days.

1 Comment

Filed under Indie Spotlight

Indie Spotlight: Getting to Know Danielle Car

For the second installment of our Indie Spotlight featuring Danielle Car we are getting to know Danielle a little bit better by asking her a few questions. Find out which artists she considers influences as well as how she feels about songwriting and the recording of her very own EP in our interview with Danielle!

First off, coming from Detroit, how did you manage to get into country music? Detroit isn’t exactly known for producing country music stars.

Keen observation.  We basically have a radio station and a Toby Keith restaurant, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’m a Detroiter born and raised.  The richness of our cultural and musical legacy lends itself perfectly to new creative endeavors regardless of genre or medium.  Also, I feel traditional country music themes are universal and not limited to location. Tammy Wynette never specified where she wanted to stand by her man.

Who do you feel are some of your biggest influences and who do you consider your heroes in the genre?

Growing up, I ultimately identified with whomever Mom had on the turntable.  Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Gene Pitney, John Denver, Neil Diamond…  Though Charlie Rich’s lighter may not agree, some of those artists really brought a different style of country music to the masses and ushered in throngs of new fans including a little Italian kid from Metro-Detroit. As far as current influences go, it wasn’t until my late teens that my discovery and subsequent obsession with Dwight Yoakam and Queen entered the equation.  For Dwight, I don’t know that “hero” would be a fitting term (not too sure I have any of those), but inspiration, unknowing teacher and object of my desire may be more appropriate labels, if we’re givin’ ‘em out! Also, I really admire the path Jack White has taken with regard to music.  He’s managed to forego labeling himself in favor of asserting his creativity while maintaining incredible success.

Of those influences, who would you most love to sing a song with? Are there any artists outside of the country genre you would partner up with for a song?
“Dwight and Dani” has a nice ring to it, eh?  I’ve been singing background vocals with Dwight for years now (if you count harmonizing in the car) and would be honored to share a stage with the man himself. I would also love to duet with Jack White…something along the lines of June & Johnny’s “Jackson”…yeah, we’d have to share a microphone…real close…. sweat meandering slowly down his…oops, sorry, I forgot where I was for a second.

When did you discover songwriting? What are your favorite songs you’ve been able to record that you’ve written?
Writing is something I’ve been doing since childhood.  My brother had a ¾ sized acoustic guitar and the rest is history. Finally recording “Walk of Shame” was an accomplishment.  I’d been singing it 4 days a week for over a year at the honky-tonk and enjoyed the spirited response it always garnered, so finally laying it down and having it be a success is a dream come true.

How does it feel to have your singles featured on the Promo Only releases along with singles by superstars like Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, and newcomer Easton Corbin?
Speaking of dreams coming true…I’m absolutely thrilled to see a bit of my plan come to fruition.  It’s difficult at times to convince folks you’re worth listening to when you don’t fit the usual criteria for country music.  I’m from an unlikely country music hub and don’t have the benefit of a label’s promotional powerhouse behind me, so the fact that an esteemed outlet like Promo Only sees fit to put my music on the same disc as these legendary talents is an unbelievable vote of confidence….so pin a rose on my nose.

Speaking of songs you’ve recorded, tell us a little about the EP and its songs.
The EP is basically a soundtrack to what I’ve seen and lived over the past few years.  In “Walk of Shame”,  I’m merely the narrator of a scene I’d witnessed night after night playing shows at the Diamondback Saloon.  Good times, flowing nectars, horny people…perfect for a song! “Drive My Car” is a blues number and a re-telling of events between me and a certain egomaniacal country star who came through the club one night to play a few songs…don’t ask, I’ll never tell.  “Biggest Mistake” is a very personal song for me and one I’m sure folks can relate to.  “Hazard to My Health” details the physical changes one can incur upon falling in love…or like…or lust.  “Pretty Please” just rocks…it’s one of my favorite songs, plain and simple.

How often do you perform live? Have you had the chance to share the stage with any country stars?
I’ve fronted the house band of southeast Michigan’s biggest and best honky-tonk for four-and-a-half years…that’s over 900 shows, 7,000 songs, 1,800 fiddle solos, and 2,000 guitar riffs…I’m tired.  I’m taking this opportunity to really hunker down and support my EP.  I’m serving up these tunes as my little cheese and cracker tray to see if anyone’s hungry for a main course.  I’ve shared the stage with Eric Church, Tracy Lawrence, Trent Tomlinson…lots! It’s always a blast when you can jam with some talented music folk passing through!

When you do perform live, what is your favorite cover (other artist’s) song to perform?
I try to choose cover tunes very carefully.  As a new artist, I want to make sure folks hear my voice and point of view, so I usually relegate covers to heritage crowd pleasers and classics.  Honky Tonk Women by The Stones, Folsom Prison Blues, Love Hurts…

Right now, what is your favorite country song? Album?

Hmmm, how ‘bout this…here are the next 6 songs on my iPod as we speak: 

*Dreams of Clay (Dwight Yoakam…incredible, incredible tune)

*Young Girl (Gary Puckett and The Union Gap…disturbing lyrics, great song)

*It’s Late (Queen…one of my very favorite album cuts)

*Listen (Dwight Yoakam…see “Dreams of Clay”)

*The Comedian (Roy Orbison…I could cry just thinking about it)

*Goodbye Time (Blake Shelton…great song, great voice)

Some are country, some aren’t…the bottom line is great music is great music.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Good question…if I had a crystal ball, I’m sure I’d see music everywhere…playing it, singing it, writing it…  hopefully a couple of bambinos running around the house to share it with…and a tray full of cannoli to celebrate living life and creating my music on my own terms.
There you have it! I’d like to thank Danielle for taking time out of her schedule to answer our questions! In the next few days, we’ll finish our second Indie Spotlight with a review of the EP Danielle discussed with us!


Filed under Indie Spotlight

Indie Spotlight: Introducing Danielle Car

After the success of our first Indie Spotlight series featuring the Stephanie Eason Band, ATC is excited to introduce a new Spotlight and a new artist to our readers. This Indie Spotlight is featuring Detroit native Danielle Car. As usual, we’ll begin our feature with a quick biography to introduce you to Danielle!

Luckily for me, Danielle was nice enough to write her own bio to be featured in the Spotlight so here it is!

Having grown up in and around Detroit, MI as a first generation Italian-American, one could say the country music deck was stacked against me.  I’ve seen it as a challenge to be embraced and a goal (as the first female country/rock  artist from Michigan) to be accomplished.  Growing up, our two family passions were food and music. You could always count on salami and fresh Italian Bread in the kitchen,   and music on the stereo in the Carlomusto house. Yes, I’ve chopped off the “lomusto” part and shortened my last name to “Car” because nothin’ says yee-haw like a multi-syllable, ethnic last name, eh?  Be it Dad playing Pavarotti and ABBA or Mom blaring Kenny Rogers and Glen Campbell, great music was an essential part of my childhood.  All of us kids were encouraged to play and sing music as well, with the guitar and violin being my self-assigned instruments. While I enjoyed my brother’s frequent renditions of Crazy Train on his hot pink Ibanez guitar as well my adolescent foray into the Queen fan club, Glen Campbell’s version of “It’s Only Make Believe” was ultimately what I gravitated toward.  The soaring strings and atmospheric rise of Campbell’s voice sealed the deal for me. Writing my own tunes became a natural progression. I wanted to write tunes that moved others the way that song moved me.  I believe that all performers should write their own new tunes, especially when they’re just starting out. It’s imperative for folks to get to know me and what I’m feeling, not what some other dude has in mind. He can’t possibly write the soundtrack to my heart, that’s my job.
My discovery and subsequent passion for Dwight Yoakam nudged me to start performing live and in 2003 I hit Nashville for a little self-taught crash course in Music Row. Singing at the Nashville Palace and seeing the inner workings of the Grand Ole Opry were an absolute honor, but Motown kept calling.  In 2004, I began fronting the house band of S.E Michigan’s biggest honky-tonk, the Diamondback Saloon. It was there that I learned to entertain. Sometimes, it’s not just a pretty voice folks come for…where I come from, you’ve got to entertain. From Workin’ Man Blues to Dueling Banjos (yeah, I play a little banjo too…very little) to playing the fiddle behind my back for Boil Them Cabbage Down, I did it all 4 nights a week for 5 years!  Opening up for everyone from Eric Church to Kenny Chesney were definite highlights of playing in the bar and I wouldn’t trade those years for anything in the world, but I was tired (literally) and ready to set out on my own.
So here we have it: 30 years, a couple hundred cannoli, and a lifetime of music on the stereo has brought me to my first EP.  These 5 tunes are my little appetizer, my ham & cream cheese roll-ups if you will, with a main course coming soon, God willing! My new release, Danielle Car: The EP is a bit of a departure for what many would characterize as a Detroit sound.  No synths, no garage, no Martha Reeves.  I sing what I know: blue collar, no frills, catchy tunes…well, maybe a couple of frills.  Having grown up around an area known worldwide (undeservedly so in most cases) as the very definition of urban decay, I think my tunes carry the same confident anti-swagger our citizens do. We know who we are, what we are and we own it. I think that honesty  lends itself perfectly to country music. Motown is now No-town to many, but many of us have a connection to these streets and factories and wouldn’t have it any other way. These tunes are a bit of what I’ve seen and lived over the past few years.  I’m riding the momentum to see where it leads me.  Hopefully, it leads me to your ears!
(Thanks again to Danielle for taking the time to write this for our readers!)
Look for the second installment of our Spotlight next week as we review Danielle’s EP and to get ready for the holidays, we’ll be reviewing her Christmas song as well!


Filed under Indie Spotlight

Indie Spotlight: Getting to Know Stephanie Eason

In our final segment of ATC’s inaugural Indie Spotlight, we’ll be getting to know the Stephanie Eason Band’s lead singer, Stephanie Eason, a little better by asking her a few questions. Read our interview with her to see what she has to say about performing, having an album, and about who in the band she feels is the biggest goof-ball! Also, see why she compares herself to…Hannah Montana??

Question: Who would you consider as some of your influences?
I grew up listening to Patsy Cline and The Beatles, and I quickly became a music lover.  I listened to a lot of Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain when I first started singing, so I think that they influenced me quite a bit.  Nowadays, I like to compare the Stephanie Eason Band’s sound to Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum.  We have a bit of an attitude and some awesome harmonies! Haha

Question: Why did you choose to perform country music?
It’s what I grew up listening to, and I’m from Arkansas, for crying out loud.   What other choice do I have?  Haha!  In all seriousness, I love Country music.  It’s what I identify with.  Country music has heart, and stories about real life.  I also really appreciate that on Country radio you can still hear songs about God and songs that support our country and troops.

Question: Who is your favorite artist?
Wow, what a tough question!  My favorite ARTISTS include The Beatles, Allison Krauss and Union Station, Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert, Vince Gill, John Mayer… The list goes on and on.  I couldn’t pick one if I tried!

Question: You’ve gotten the chance to open for some amazing country artists, who were you most excited to meet?
Clint Black.  He is probably the classiest performer that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  I met him at the Tim & Willy Christmas Breakfast Show at Night in 2007 at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix.  We were both performing that night and had a chance to meet backstage.  As I was singing my final song of the night, he turned and gave me “the wink and nod” to show his support and approval.  I was so excited and extremely flattered!

Question: If you could pick one artist to either open for or share the stage with, who would it be?
I’d love to share the stage with Shania Twain.  I think I have worn out her CD’s more than any other CD that I own.  I love her music and really respect her as a person.  She seems so down to Earth and is an incredibly talented performer.  It would be very surreal to share a stage with her!

Question: How does it feel to be touring and performing for large crowds every weekend?
I love it.  I truly feel like it’s what I was born to do.  I am more comfortable on stage than I am off stage.  I’m in my element under the spotlight and in front of big crowds… and off stage I’m much more reserved, I think.  You know how Hannah Montana takes off her pop star wig and goes back to being Miley Cyrus?  It’s kind of like that.  Haha, just kidding! I couldn’t resist!

Question: Where has been your favorite place to perform?
The Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix is probably my favorite venue.  It has a circular stage in the center of the theatre that slowly rotates throughout the night.  That way, the crowd can completely surround you and you can face everyone at some point in the night.  It has a very intimate feel about it, and I’ve really enjoyed playing the Christmas Breakfast Shows there with Tim & Willy every year.

Question: Do you and the band have any pre-show rituals?
Surprisingly, not really!  Does a crazed scramble for double-A batteries count?  Because we all do that before our shows…

Question: If you weren’t a performing musician, what would you be doing?
Well, I got my degree in Elementary Education from ASU, so I’d probably be teaching third grade!

Question: What’s the most embarassing thing that’s happened on stage?
One time at a show, I wore a long skirt that had an elastic waistband with some of my taller heels.  In the middle of one of our sets, I had to fix a cable that I kept stepping on, so I knelt down (very lady-like, of course!) to fix it.  What I didn’t realize was that I was standing on the bottom of my skirt with one of my heels.  Needless to say, the skirt was at my ankles when I stood back up.  All the stage lights were on me and a bar full of drunk men were staring at my de-skirted self.  Pretty embarrassing!  I won’t even leave the house without spandex shorts under all of my dresses and skirts now!  True story!

Question: What is your favorite song to perform live?
I’d have to say that I really enjoy playing “Country Time”, because it’s such a fun song to both sing and fiddle on.  It always puts me in a good mood!

Question: Speaking of “Country Time,” which is an original on The Red Letter Days, how does it feel to have your very own full-length studio album?
Like a dream come true.  I have waited so long for this, that it is still a bit unreal to me.  The process all happened so quickly once we started the project.  Our guitarist, Stan Hitson, was the final member to join the band in October 2009.  We decided immediately to get to work on writing songs for our debut album, and booked our studio time and hotels in Nashville for February 2010 so that we would be more motivated to get it done.  We spent the next couple months writing songs, and began rehearsing and arranging them in December.  On Valentine’s Day 2010, we all hopped on a plane to Nashville and spent a week on Music Row recording and mixing “The Red Letter Days”.   I feel very accomplished and extremely proud of what we have all created in our first album.  Our hearts and souls are in it.  (And plenty of sweat and blood, too!)

Question: What is your favorite song on the album?
Another tough one!  We have three very unique writers in the band, and “The Red Letter Days” definitely has a variety of styles of music on it.  I already mentioned that “Country Time” is probably my favorite to perform, but after mixing down and mastering the album, I really enjoy listening to “Charlotte to Phoenix”, “Endlessly” and “Happy Ever After”.  Those are my 3 favorites, and each one happens to be by a different writer!  Haha, what a politically correct answer!

Question: You wrote three songs on the album, what’s your favorite part about songwriting and when did you discover your songwriting skills?
Watching it grow.  As a songwriter, you get to see an idea turn into a lyric, a lyric into a melody, and a melody into a song.  It’s very exciting to work with the band I putting together an original as well.  Everyone has fresh and exciting ideas to bring to the table.  It’s such a rush playing a song you wrote for a live audience for the first time.  I love to see people dancing and singing along… How cool!   
I started writing when I was 16.   I have a whole notebook of old songs about boys I used to have crushes on and break-ups and all the drama of being a teenage girl… Yikes!  Nobody will ever see that!  Haha!

Question: Between performing every weekend and writing songs it seems like you don’t have that much spare time. But when you do have the luxury of some down time, what do you like to do?
It’s tough having a schedule that is opposite from the rest of the world.  My “weekends” are during the week, since I play every Friday and Saturday.  I try to catch up with friends and spend time with my family during my time off.  I have 2 little sisters and one little brother, and my whole family is really close.  Since our schedules are so hectic and the band travels so much, it’s not often that we all get to spend quality time together.

Question: Anyone who had seen you and the guys live would say that you all have great energy and great chemistry on stage. Was that chemistry something that came naturally or was it something that took a little bit of time?
It is absolutely something that has grown with time, but when this particular group of individuals came together, it was clearly a perfect fit.  I’ve never played in a band or known a band that has as much chemistry as we do, both on and off stage.  We’re a family, and we all love this band!

Question: How do you survive being the only girl in the group?
Actually, it’s the only way we could possibly travel.  If anyone else in the band packed as much as I do, we’d have to buy a bigger trailer!  Haha!  The other guys can pack for a whole week in a backpack… And I carry a backpack for all my hair products and styling tools.  Plus, I never have the problem of accidentally wearing the same outfit as any other band mate!  And if the guys ever do match me, we’re going to have to have a serious talk.  The mental picture is so scary… Haha!

Question: Speaking of the guys, who do you think is the biggest goof-ball of the group?
Our drummer, Brandon Kinser.  I’m sure that by now everyone has witnessed his amazing drumming dance moves behind me.  He does all sorts of weird stuff when I’m singing, especially when I’m singing ballads and serious songs.  When the audience starts laughing in the middle of those songs, I know something’s up.  Without fail, I turn around and Brandon is doing something hilarious back there.

Question: Who do you think is the most reserved member of the band?
Hmm… Mike Galli is probably the most reserved of the group.  He is also the nicest member of the band.  We’re having bracelets made that say “WWMD”.  Haha!  He seriously is the kindest person you’ll ever meet, though.

Question: Who would you say is the most organized and the least organized?
I think that Eric is probably the most organized member, because he juggles all of the booking and planning of the tours, which takes a LOT of organization.  I think we’re all very organized… and very type A.  I actually just reorganized my gig bag last week, which carries everything that anyone could possibly EVER need at a show.  Your shirt button fell off?  Have no fear!  I carry a sewing kit!  Feeling sick, or worried about Mr. Slobbery who just slimed your microphone?  I carry disinfectant and cleaning pads!  Ta-da! Yes, I am a total nerd.

Question: To wrap up our interview on a bit of a fun note, which member of the band do you think would win a karaoke contest?
I think that Stan could easily win a karaoke contest.  He has a very dynamic and expressive voice, with excellent vibrato!  I’m always blown away!

I think it’s safe to say that Stephanie Eason not only has the vocal chops to become a country music star, but she’s proven to be an extremely down-to-earth woman with one of the most infectious personalities you’ll ever encounter. Please do yourselves a favor and check out the Stephanie Eason Band’s album, The Red Letter Days, and if you’re in Arizona, make sure you check out the band in concert soon. You can find tour dates on the band’s website by clicking here

I would like to thank Stephanie Eason for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions. 

That’s it for our first Indie Spotlight! Keep on the lookout for a new Indie Spotlight artist sometime in the near future! 

Leave a comment

Filed under Indie Spotlight

Indie Spotlight: Album Review: The Red Letter Days, Stephanie Eason Band

In this portion of ATC’s Indie Spotlight, we’ll be reviewing the Stephanie Eason Band’s first full-length studio album, The Red Letter Days. Find out what we think about the album in our Indie Spotlight!

The album starts off with the upbeat “Charlotte to Phoenix” which finds Stephanie telling the story of a couple who wants to take a plunge and hit the open road from Charlotte to Phoenix to get away from their town. Stephanie provides a fantastic vocal performance that is never overshadowed by the production, which is filled with steel, mandolin, and guitars that keep its sound strictly country. In fact, the production throughout the record stays strictly country and that could be difficult to do in this generation of country music because some of it really isn’t country.

The album continues with the pop-country tune “It Ain’t Love” which talks about how love is all about being physical and not all about the romantic gestures like writing poems or giving someone flowers. The production features a prominent banjo line backed by the ever-present steel guitar. The band keeps with the country-pop production on songs like “How to Start a Fire” as well as one of the album’s highlights, “Holdin’ On.” The latter of which is a song about a woman who is engaged to a man that she doesn’t feel is the “one,” but instead finds her soul mate in a different guy which she’s holding on to.

One of the most interesting productions comes from the song “Endlessly” which possesses a very dark, mellow, bluesy production that’s filled with the usual Stephanie Eason Band instruments – mandolin, steel, and bass – mixed with a very subdued drum beat that sounds amazing on the ears. “He Don’t Know” also features an interesting production that incorporates traditional country sounds with a hint of bluegrass that results in a fantastic sounding record that could’ve been heard during the traditional country movement of the 1990’s.

The album’s strongest song is the ballad “My Heart Won’t Leave Me Alone.” Everything from the dark production to the outstanding emotion-filled vocal performance from Stephanie, the best on the album, results in one heck of a song. The song, of course, would be nothing without the incredible songwriting skills of Stan Hitson, who also wrote or co-wrote five other songs, who brings the story of how a person feels after a sudden break up to life with such brilliance.

Lead singer Stephanie Eason also shows off her songwriting skills on songs like “Holdin’ On” as well as the charming “Happy Ever After,” which talks about how the stories in fairytales we all grew up with never happen in real life, but we do all get our “happy ever after” in different ways. I’ve already raved about the production on “He Don’t Know,” but the songwriting by Eason is also something that should be mentioned because she does an excellent job at telling the story of a girl who’s in love with her best friend but is afraid to tell him, fearing that he won’t return her love.

The only time the group strays away from their country sounds is on the rocker “Be Careful What You Ask For” which Stephanie shares vocals with songwriter Stan Hitson in the telling of the story about a husband who gets caught cheating in a local bar. This song provides Stephanie the opportunity to show off her sassy side as she gets to play the wife who confronts the girl that is knowingly getting “lovey-dovey” with a married man. This song also provides the band the opportunity to show a different side to them and proves to listeners that they aren’t one-dimensional when it comes to their tastes in music.

From the excellent vocal performances from Eason to the outstanding production, this album is an outstanding representation of who the Stephanie Eason Band is. After listening to this record, there’s no doubt that the band is intent on sticking to their country roots and isn’t afraid to include influences from bluegrass, rock, and pop into that country sound. This album is a fantastic start from the group and I’m personally hoping they get the chance to record more music in their career.

Leave a comment

Filed under Album Reviews, Indie Spotlight

Indie Spotlight: Introducing the Stephanie Eason Band

Well the time has come to launch ATC’s Indie Spotlight Series with the introduction of Arizona’s own Stephanie Eason Band. In part one of this three part series, we’ll introduce the band and provide a little background about the group and its lead vocalist, Stephanie Eason. So, come meet the Stephanie Eason Band!

The Stephanie Eason Band is a five member band led by lead singer, Stephanie Eason. The group describes their sound as one that blends mainstream country, bluegrass, pop, blues, and rock into one awesome blend of music. This description is prominently displayed during their live shows, which are among the best any bar or nightclub has seen. The group often includes covers of country songs by artists like Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, and countless others as well as original songs from their debut album, The Red Letter Days.

At such a young age, Stephanie Eason has already proven she’s got the vocal chops and stage presence a person needs to be the lead singer of her own band. Stephanie’s love of music began when she learned to play the fiddle and piano in elementary school. Since realizing her love and passion for performing, Stephanie has played anywhere and everywhere she possibly can. She’s already opened for legendary country artists like Randy Travis and was invited by Naomi Judd to share the stage with her at a local women’s expo. It’s clear Stephanie is already on her way to becoming one of Arizona’s brightest stars.

The rest of the band includes a group of guys who are some of the best musicians Arizona has to offer. Accompanying Stephanie on lead guitar and vocals is Stan Hitson. According to the band’s website, Stan has spent many years performing in bands and writing songs. In fact, he’s written everything from pop songs to country songs to even a rock opera. Stan wrote or co-wrote six of the twelve songs included on the group’s first full length album, The Red Letter Days.

Now, what’s one of the most essential parts of a country band?? The drums of course! That’s where SEB’s drummer and percussionist Brandon Kinser comes in. Hailing from Casa Grande, AZ, Brandon began playing the drums at a young age and has since performed all over Arizona with several bands. According to the website, Brandon’s had experience playing in several genres of music including country, rock, and jazz.

The band’s fourth member, Mike Galli, originally hails from Northern California. Mike is the epitomy of a multifaceted musician. In the band, Galli provides lead and harmony vocals as well as playing the mandolin, steel guitar, and the mouth harp. In addition to his diverse musicianship, Mike also contributes to the songwriting process as well. Mike wrote or co-wrote three of the songs on the group’s album.

Last but certainly not least is the group’s bass guitar player, Eric Gilboe. In addition to his bass guitar skills, Eric also provides harmony vocals as well as lead vocals during his turn in the spotlight at live shows. Like most of his bandmates, Eric began playing guitar at an early age and has since had the opportunity to tour around the country with country acts like Gary Allan, Dave Mason, David Allen Coe, and many more.

Like I mentioned above, the group recently traveled to Nashille’s 16 Ton Studios to record their first full-length album titled, The Red Letter Days. Next week, part two of our Indie Spotlight will be a review of The Red Letter Days, if you’d like to get a headstart on the album, which I highly recommend, then please purchase it by clicking on one of the links below.

From Amazon:

From iTunes:
The Red Letter Days

Offical Website:

Leave a comment

Filed under Indie Spotlight

All Things Country to Introduce New Indie Spotlight

All Things Country is excited to introduce a new feature to the blog called Indie Spotlight. The purpose of the new segment is to give exposure to artists who aren’t on major record labels and to help get their names out there. Find out more about the segment and how to be a featured artist by reading the post.

Being a music business major, I’m learning the difficulties artist who aren’t backed by a label face when trying to get discovered. Since I started this blog late last year, I’ve been contacted by so many people asking me to feature them on ATC. So after giving a lot of thought as to how I can spotlight these artists, I’ve created the Indie Spotlight segment. Essentially, this segment is going to be all about introducing an artist to a new audience.

Each spotlight will feature a new artist that I personally find intriguing and unique and who I feel should be introduced to the ATC readers. Each segment will provide background information as well as links to websites where you can discover more about the artist. Depending on the material I receive, a single or album review could be thrown in as well. Basically, the goal of the Indie Spotlight is to introduce an artist to an new audience, and to hopefully gain them new fans.

If you’d like to be apart of this exciting new feature, please send me an email at If you could, I would love for you to provide links to websites as well as maybe a short bio about yourself, or the artist you’re representing. If you’d like a single or album review to be done, please include a link to where I can listen to the material.

I’m excited to get the series started and I’m excited to announce that the first Indie Spotlight will feature the Arizona group, the Stephanie Eason Band. So please check back later this week to learn more about this fine group of musicians!

Leave a comment

Filed under Indie Spotlight