CMA Music Festival 2013 feat. Emerson Drive w/Katie Armiger, Chuck Wicks, Lauren Alaina, Bucky Covington, Canaan Smith, Robin Meade & Michael RayCountry
Grand Prairie Alberta Canada | Country
A decade of great music and over a million miles of life on the road have brought Emerson Drive to the spot that many artists dream of, a Grammy-nominated country band with a bright future. After 10 years the members of Emerson Drive are excited to have reached this career milestone and can't wait to see what the next 10, 20 or 30 years will bring.
"We have been playing music our entire lives," explains lead vocalist Brad Mates. "None of us can imagine doing anything else. We belong together on that stage each night. It's exciting for us to see what we have accomplished so far and to be planning for the next decade. This tour is still just the beginning!"
Emerson Drive has been a part of the country music scene since they signed their first record deal with DreamWorks Records Nashville in 2001. The band's first two singles, "I Should Be Sleeping" and "Fall Into Me," peaked in the Top 5 on the Billboard charts and quickly became fan favorites but it was the career-changing song "Moments" that gave the band their first #1 single in the USA. Emerson Drive has been honored with awards and/or nominations from the Academy of Country Music, Country Music Association, Canadian Country Music Association, CMT, Dove Awards, Grammy Awards, Inspirational Country Music Association, Juno Awards, Music Row Magazine and Campus Activities Magazine. The band has toured with Toby Keith, Shania Twain and Big & Rich among other artists.
The Decade & Driving Tour celebrates the ten years of great music that began with Emerson Drive's debut single, "I Should Be Sleeping," and continues today with their most recent single release, "Let Your Love Speak," from their DECADE OF DRIVE: THE HITS album.
"This tour is a celebration," comments lead vocalist Brad Mates. "We have spent 10 years out on the road sharing our music with country fans across North America. We can't wait to take the party back out on the road."
Kaitlyn Michelle "Katie" Armiger (born June 23, 1991) is a country artist from Sugar Land, Texas. She was first inspired to pursue country music after winning a Houston, Texas city-wide competition for young country singers. To date, Armiger has released three albums for Cold River Records and has charted four singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
Here's the deal!! I have a Bio that someone wrote up and did a great job at it. But lets face it...Bio's are boring. So here it is in a Nutshell....mispelled words and all.
I grew up in a small town in Smyrna, Delaware on a Vegetable/Grain Farm. I was a normal kid. Loved sports, chased the girls and got C's in High School. I also worked my tail off on the farm helping out the mom and pops!! That and getting in fights with older brother.
I left Smyrna to chase down my dream of playing baseball. Ended up going down to Florida Southern College to pretty much sit the bench. So thats when my passion for music took over! I picked up a guitar...mainly to impress the chicks..and started writing songs. I then started traveling back and forth to Nashville, Tn to learn how to get into the music business that i knew nothing about. What i knew and loved about country music is what i heard on the radio.
I met a guy named Monty Powell who took me under his wing as a songwriter and really showed me the ropes. This is when i decided to make the move to Nashville and dig in!!
I was broke so i got a job parking cars to make rent. I would write everyday and work every night. This eventually lead me to my first record deal 4 years after moving to Nashville with RCA records. Skipping alot of details.....I would go onto release my first single "Stealing Cinderella" which opened up a ton of doors for me. Toured with Brad Paisley for almost 2 years and released 2 more singles in that time called "All I Ever Wanted" and "Man of the House".
With this success on the music side it opened up an invitation to be on "Dancing with the stars". No!! I'm not a Dancer but i did last 7 or 8 weeks! so thanks if you voted. DWTS was a blast and it was cool to be a part of a #1 TV show! Just wish i was singing instead of dancing in tights.
Rossville GA | Pop
Lauren Alaina’s debut album, Wildflower, is a vibrant bouquet of compelling stories, powerful emotions and soaring vocals that is as irresistible and delightful as Lauren herself.
Lauren captured America’s heart when she appeared on American Idol earlier this year and revealed her enthusiasm, humor and warmth, as well as a commanding voice with an impressive range that has been compared to the genre’s premier vocalists, including Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride. She helped make the show one of the most popular yet. A record-breaking 122.4 million votes were cast for the finale, which garnered 29.3 million viewers, as well as 38.6 million who tuned in to see the winner’s name announced. She signed her record deal shortly thereafter and began recording her debut album with producer Byron Gallimore.
The result is a fitting musical portrait of the 16 year old’s personality, optimism and life experiences. There’s sauce and sentimentality, as well as an unwavering hope for the future and a belief in true love. “Wildflower is the perfect name for my first album,” she says. “I would consider myself a wildflower because wildflowers are sweet, but then they have a little bit of spunk to them – they are ’wildflowers,’” she says. “I like to have a lot of fun and I’m really sassy.
“I tried to get songs that were all different so everyone would have a part that they liked because people are different,” she says. “I tried to make it so that it would please everyone. It’s just me; that is what the album is: it’s Lauren Alaina. That is the common thread.”
Lauren’s inimitable spirit is showcased in “Georgia Peaches,” a fun celebration of Southern girls that proclaims, “Love to dance and we love to flirt, ain’t afraid of a little dirt.” Lauren says, “I am a Georgia peach. Even if you aren’t from Georgia, you can appreciate it because it’s the type of song that will get you up off of your feet and dancing.”
Lauren co-wrote “Funny Thing About Love” with Brett James and Luke Laird after discussing her own romantic experiences with them. “I feel like it turned out really great and I’m excited to see how people will respond to my own style of writing, as well as my style of music, period. It’s about when you like someone and they don’t like you, and when you don’t like them anymore, they like you. Timing is everything. When you are young, it never really works out. You are always on a different page.”
“Growing Her Wings” explores the coming-of-age quest for independence through the tale of a teenage girl who reads Cosmopolitan magazine, against her mother’s wishes, after she’s grounded for kissing the boy next door. “She’s growing her wings behind closed doors and she’s ready to fly away,” Lauren says. “I felt like that is who I was six months ago and I’ve formed my wings and I’m flying.”
In “She’s a Wildflower,” she encourages girls to believe in themselves by recognizing the beauty they possess. “As a teenage girl, you are your own worst critic,” says Lauren, who admits that she hasn’t been immune to self-doubt. “When I first heard the song, it made me want to cry because I know what it was like to be the freckled-face girl with a gap in her teeth,” she says. “Girls always put themselves down when they are really wildflowers and need to go for it.”
While she’s always 100 percent pro-girl, she’s not afraid to put flashy and shallow boys in their place, as she does in “I’m Not One of Them.” But she describes the innocence of young love in “Tupelo” and sings the praises of nice guys in “One Of Those Boys,” in which she reveals a weakness for jeans-wearin’ country boys who mind her curfew and love their mamas. “I am singing about a boy who is perfect, but he has all of these flaws that make me love him.”
“The Locket” is a poignant song about the power of love, both between a man and a woman and a grandmother and her granddaughter. “The grandmother has Alzheimer’s and she is starting to forget things and the granddaughter is reading out of a diary what has happened in her life,” she says. “It tells this beautiful story about these two people who fell in love when they were young kids and they grow old together.”
Lauren was surrounded by love and music as she was raised in Rossville, Ga., by her father, J.J., a chemical technician, and mother, Kristy, a transcriptionist. Her mother and older brother, Tyler, sang and her father is a multi-instrumentalist. Her parents played country and rock music in the house and Lauren favored music to television, especially Shania Twain, Aerosmith and the Dixie Chicks.
When she was 3, her mother was listening to the Dixie Chicks’ “When You Were Mine” until she turned the car off, but Lauren kept singing, hitting every note and word perfectly. Her mother bought the karaoke version of the Dixie Chicks for Lauren to sing to as she sat on the bar where they ate breakfast at Lauren’s grandmother’s restaurant.
Her first public performances came with a kids’ choir as well as an annual vacation spot that offered karaoke. Word soon spread about her talent and she began receiving invitations to perform. Beginning in elementary school, she routinely landed the lead roles in school plays.
At age nine, she wrote her first song, “She’s a Miracle,” after her aunt was in a car wreck. She sang in church, restaurants, family holiday gatherings and anywhere else. Says Lauren, “I would grab up every opportunity I could,” Lauren says. “I would go karaoke at any place within a 30-mile radius of where I lived. I would drive an hour just to sing. Any competition I would hear about I would enter.”
At age 8, she entered the talent competition of the Southern Stars Pageant and won, and the next year was selected to perform on the Kids talent stage at Chattanooga’s Riverbend Festival. She continued to perform on that stage annually until age 12, when she won the competition that allowed her to perform on the festival’s big stage. At age 10, she won the American Model and Talent Competition in Orlando, beating out 1,500 kids. She later joined the Georgia Country Gospel Music Association’s children’s group that performed at places such as Six Flags.
“I started coming to Nashville when I was about 12,” says Lauren, who enjoyed a normal childhood of playing softball, cheerleading and working at a pizza parlor. “I would go into the bars on Broadway before 6 p.m. and walk up to the people on the stage and ask if I could sing and they would let me.” Offstage, she was continuing to develop as a songwriter. Little did she know that she would be returning to Nashville to sign a major label record deal.
It was during Idol that she first heard her debut single and first hit, “Like My Mother Does.” “When they started playing it for me, I started crying because I went through this whole crazy journey and the only person who was there for me every step of the way was my mom. She didn’t get any praises for it and I got all of the attention. I thought the song would be a great way to say thank you for her for all that she does for me. When she came in and heard it, she cried. It was a sign. Everybody was crying, even the piano player.”
This year has been one of the most incredible and emotional years of her life. "When you are 16, you change a lot from the time you are 16 to 17 to 18. I got to change on national television, so everybody watched me grow up over the past year.
"I feel like people are going to continue to get to watch me grow up. It's cool that I have been able to meet so many people that I otherwise would have never been able to meet. I have been able to accomplish so many goals, like being on American Idol and releasing a single and now my first album. I know there is more to come in the future and I can't wait to see how everything unfolds."
Bucky Covington is that most remarkable of entertainers—a man known and loved as much for his engaging personality as for his formidable talent. The talent has shone through on three hit singles that have helped push his debut album toward gold status; his undeniable likeability and his ability to wear his stardom as comfortably as his jeans has done the rest. Both come together on stage, where the long-haired North Carolinian with the rocker’s charisma and the country boy charm thrills old and new fans alike as he criss-crosses the country.
With his first album, Bucky earned a place in the forefront of a new generation of country singers. He became the best-selling debut artist of the class of 2007, with the best first-week sales and highest Top 200 debut for any male country artist in 15 years. He appeared on Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live and many others, became part of the Country Sings Disney project, and appeared in Hannah Montana: The Movie. Now, with his second, he leaves behind newcomer status and emerges as one of the true standouts in contemporary country music.
His sophomore project reflects the added depth and maturity Bucky brings to the table.
"I've definitely grown in the past few years," he says. "I'm a little wiser when it comes to the things around me. I'm more tuned in to the world and what's going on, and I'm growing as a person. As all of those things affect my life, they're bound to affect my music.
“Still,” he adds, “the success I’ve had hasn’t changed my basic nature. I’m still a very approachable person.”
That approachability is evident in the fact that he is the same easy-going guy with hometown friends, with fans on the road--and with his fellow musicians in the studio.
The full range of his personality finds expression in his newest record. The project reflects his wealth of musical influences, as he brings blue-eyed soul to "Hold A Woman" and Lionel Ritchie's Commodores classic "Sail On," a Southern rocker's energy to "I Always Said You'd Be Back," a South-of-the-border feel to "Mexicoma," pure riff-rocking power to "Evel Knievel" (“I couldn’t pass up cutting a song with that title!” he says with a laugh) and a connoisseur's sincerity to "Giants," a song that spells out the genre's debt of gratitude to groundbreaking artists like Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette and Johnny Cash.
The latter is Bucky’s nod to country music history as he begins to make his own mark on it.
"Going into my second album," he says, "I think it's something I definitely understand and appreciate even more. You've got to pay heed to those who came before you."
The CD’s debut single, "I Want My Life Back" represents Bucky at his finest, showcasing a singer bringing true passion to a lyric that offers up a real slice of life as well as a glimpse of hope at a time when it's needed most.
Overall, it is a project that sees Bucky more than fulfill the promise of his first, a debut that earned him a generous supply of accolades and milestones.
Kicked off by "A Different World," which established him out of the chute as a great stylist and launched him into the Top 5, Bucky Covington announced his arrival as a serious contender. Two follow-up Top Ten hits, "It's Good To Be Us" and "I'll Walk," gave audiences a more in-depth view of the lanky troubadour, and made him one of just three male artists since 2005 to score three consecutive Top Ten hits from a debut album.
Bucky has been honing his highly identifiable sound since his earliest days growing up with his mother, stepfather and twin brother Rocky in Laurinburg, North Carolina. His tastes in country music ran to George Strait, Travis Tritt and Tim McGraw, and he began testing his own vocal skills with a karaoke machine early on.
Still, he lived a normal teenage life, spending time on his dirt bike and picking up experience in his father's body shop. He got a guitar after an album by Canadian singer/guitarist Jeff Healey knocked him out and convinced him to give music a serious try.
He played with rock groups for three years, then followed his passion into a band playing "Southern rock, beach and country." It was called Southern Country and it made him a honky-tonk hero in the area as he packed clubs every weekend.
Friends encouraged him to try Nashville, but when his sister-in-law told him about tryouts for American Idol, he took that route. His striking look and smoky vocals got him into the final 8 and earned him a spot on the Idol tour. Managers and producers began calling him, but it was a call from Sawyer Brown front man Mark Miller that impressed him.
"A lot of them call you up and talk about the money," he says. "Mark called me up and talked about music--what kind I wanted to make, what I wanted to do."
The two have been in musical partnership since then, and it wasn't long before Lyric Street Records was expressing interest. Two albums into that relationship, he has been embraced fully by country fans.
"I did come off a big TV show," he says, "and at that point you're huge. You feel like you're on top of the world. Then you come back to reality and you're 'that guy that used to be...' After that it's what you make of it, and after three top 10 hits over the past two-and-a-half years, it’s been amazing to be welcomed so big by country radio and the fans."
These days his professional life is a combination of studio art and concert stage adventure, and the latter is something he relishes as he strives to perfect his craft in venues that range from crowded bars to festival grounds and big-city arenas.
"Some places are a party," he says. "Some places watch you like a theater show. We work hard to bring our best to both. I have an amazing band. We're very much high-energy and we talk about every show afterward, looking for the things we could do to make it better."
His down-home believability, rock star charisma and impressive vocals make the chore more manageable. The rewards of the journey, of course, are major.
"It's hard to key in on just one thing," he says, asked to name a highlight of the past three years. "I sat down with Stevie Wonder as he played 'Superstition' and I got on stage with Queen. I've hung out with Rascal Flatts on the bus and gone dirt bike riding with Craig Morgan. There are so many others, and it's more cool than I could ever say. Still, the accomplishments really involve the fans. When my album debuted at #1 or I’m nominated for an award, it's them I have to thank. But the best thing may be when you're playing a show and the fans sing your song louder than you. It's hard to beat that."
His growing maturity quickly takes such talk to another level.
"All of that gives you certain responsibilities," he says. "There are kids out there that look up to you. Some kids look at performers like they're Superman, and if you ever saw Superman smoking or drinking you might think that's cool, so that's not something I need to promote. I do have to be more conscious in what I stand for when a little kid looks up to me. I had a cousin who really looked up to me when I was growing up and that helped me. These days, I look at every kid as my cousin."
And he maintains that Everyman approachability.
“My fans are the greatest,” he says, “and I’m happy when they ask for a picture or autograph. I figure I owe them that much.”
Many of those fans have watched him from his first days on Idol, and have seen him mature as an artist and yet maintain the unspoiled outlook that makes him the complete package—the guy next door with talent and charisma to burn. As he comes into his own both musically and personally, Bucky Covington is more than fulfilling the promise he brought to the table initially, and he continues to establish himself as one of the most exciting and important young performers on the contemporary country scene.
Williamsburg VA | Country
Atlanta GA | Country
Meade grew up in New London, Ohio and graduated from New London High School. She attended Malone University and Ashland University, where she majored in radio/television production, programming and performance and minored in political science. She graduated in 1991 with a major in programming and performance. In 1992 she became Miss Ohio, and was a semi-finalist in the Miss America pageant. She married Tim Yeager on November 6, 1993.
Every once in a long while, a special artist comes along whose talent speaks for itself – one for whom a written bio cannot do justice. Michael Ray is that artist, with vocal abilities and powerful presence to match. This remarkably humble 21-year old Florida native leaves an indelible stamp on his audience and all those whom he touches with his music. Stop, look and listen.
Michael Ray, singer/songwriter whose music and live shows have been attracting audiences from all genres. His style has been compared to the likes of Gary Allan, Jeffrey Steele, Waylon Jennings, and Montgomery Gentry. His likeable personality, natural talent, and passion for music have enabled him to open for numerous acts including Darryl Worley, Chad Brock, Keith Anderson, Rodney Atkins, Jeff Bates, Emerson Drive and Little Texas.
It wasn’t long before he started expressing himself further by actually penning his own material. "My family has made me very grounded and I believe that this comes through in my song writing. I write things that you can relate to if you are 15 or 50. That is important to me…that the song means something." This thoughtful approach is evident in Ray’s first record, which he recorded with Austin musician/producer Dwight Baker (Kelly Clarkson, Alana Grace, Bleu Edmondson). Ray, who has a true ability to translate his emotions into song, wrote eight of the 16 cuts which he recorded at Ocean Way Studios Nashville. Several people heard Ray in 2008 and one stated "Michael has all the elements that I think it takes to be a successful artist in music today." "My belief in this artist is off the charts. He is really something special."
Michael performs all around the South East area with his band at various venues and festivals. The combination of Michael's distinct tone, skillful writing, and determination make him a refreshing addition to the world of country music!