The Billy Block ShowCountry
6:30 Shannon Selig- New CD
7:00 Brian Collins- Country Star
7:30 Rocky Block- Rock & Soul
8:00 Ella Mae Bowen-Hot New Artist
8:30 KAATO- Rock Star
9:00 Jon Visser Raven- SOCAN Artist of Month
9:30 Laurel Canyon- Acoustic Pop
Nashville TN |
The Billy Block Show is second only to The Grand Ole Opry and Midnight Jamboree as Nashville’s longest running LIVE radio show and concert series. It has become the Ellis Island of Nashville welcoming newcomers of all musical genres from rock to rockabilly & blues to bluegrass. Block has become a Nashville icon with his shock of silver hair and ever-present smile, who is equal parts musician (Freddy Fender to Frank Black), broadcast personality (The Big 98 WSIX/CATV19), shameless self promoter (Mr. Nashville) and artist advocate. Discover your next favorite band at The Billy Block Show. Every Tuesday, 7pm The Rutledge. $5.00 cover but we give you a $6.00 show! Billy Block has been instrumental in helping some of country music’s BIGGEST stars' dreams come true. Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Big & Rich, Keith Anderson, Sara Evans, Trisha Yearwood and thousands more have all been a part of Billy Block’s weekly concert series, radio shows and television shows over the past 12 years.
Nashville TN |
International Award Winning Female Country Vocalist and Songwriter 2012 and New England Country Music Female Vocalist, Entertainer and Songwriter of the Year 2011, Shannon Selig has “full, powerful vocals that captivate audiences”. Her natural flair for country music no doubt comes from growing up on farms and in the back woods of Maine and Nova Scotia.
Atlanta GA | Country
Born and raised in the musical hotbed of West Georgia. Brian Collins is the latest member of the Georgia Gang, which has produced legendary artists such as Alan Jackson; Patty Loveless and Travis Tritt. As well as newcomer sensations Sugarland, Luke Bryan; Zac Brown Band and Lady Antebellum.
A born entrepreneur, Brian wears many hats in his quest to find the American Dream – producer, engineer, and of course, singer-song writer. His music reflects that same nature- introspective, brutally truthful, but hopeful. His lyrics are uplifting without being saccharine or trite. They are direct, moving and seem to touch the lives of his fans.
Brian's easy going yet hard working nature has led him to share the stage with KISS, Angie Aparo, James Otto, Colin Hay (of Men At Work), Zac Brown, the Smithereens, Marshall Tucker Band, Georgia Satellites, Edwin McCain, Blackberry Smoke and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Nashville TN | Pop
Rocky Block started life with a star’s name and is growing into it quite comfortably. He sang “God Bless America” at age 6 with his little 4 year old brother on the closing track to their mom Jill’s record. By age 12, Rocky recorded a CD and produced and starred in two music videos of his original songs with The Block Family Band. Now 15, Rocky Block is putting the finishing touches on his solo EP where he wrote, produced (with Mike Webb), and played all the instruments except drums. He recently co-starred with John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard) and Greyson Russell (Diary of A Wimpy Kid) in the feature film Season of Miracles and travelled to Belfast, Northern Ireland to appear with The Block Family in the new reality TV series Twin Towns. With brother Grady on drums, Rocky shares Nutrition Facts with fans and friends.
Ella Mae Bowen
SC | Country
I was born, raised, and still live in South Carolina… Not near the beach, but almost in the mountains in a small town called Walhalla.
In my first home, I banged on our 80’s Yamaha keyboard, and was sung to CONSTANTLY by both my parents. I don’t know when they slept! Daddy worked 2nd or 3rd shift at a plant and made music on the side, and Mama worked from home and stayed with me every waking hour. Not sure how we made it through those years, but they taught me how to be a fighter. A lot of times we didn’t have the extra things in life and just getting by was hard, but I’m starting to think that was a blessing in disguise.
We had a rough start as a family. But I’d like to think that all the curveballs life has sent our way have taught me a lot about who I am and who I want to be. I am a first child (an only child for almost 9 years until my brother Jed came along). I was born prematurely with lungs that weren’t developed. God must have a good sense of humor because no one has been able to keep me from singing all the time, and loudly I might add, since before I could talk. I truly believe that from day one, my family has never left my cheering section.
When I was three, I put my own lyrics to the “Brush Your Teeth” song I learned at school and wrote a song for my Grandad called “I’m With You.” I recorded it at the Mall of Georgia in a portable sound booth. We still have the recording. Grandad was a huge influence on me as a person, as well as on my music. He is most responsible for my love of Bluegrass and my infatuation with Tom T. Hall songs…and for showing me what a good joke is really all about. I still play the guitar he left to me when he passed away. I want to keep it always, and pass it down one day, too.
By age 7, with my family’s support, I was performing out and about in local talent shows. I found that I could yodel. That’s fun to do and all, but I still haven’t lost the “little-girl-who-yodeled-at-the-barn-dance” reputation in Oconee County. By 11, I was writing more seriously. I had a long way to go, but I knew it was something I loved and wouldn’t ever want to let go of.
At age 11, I met Seth Bolt, who has since become my producer, co-writer and close friend. Seth is the bassist of the band NEEDTOBREATHE, and one of my biggest influences. He is also a Walhalla native.
Seth produced my first-ever studio recording, an original song called "Cinderella Story”, for a Country singing and songwriting competition. He was very encouraging from the start, and while I was going to middle school and singing locally, I continued sending songs to him while he was on the road. This opened the floodgates to an incredible new season of learning and growing for me as an artist.
After a lot of hard work, we had demos that we hoped would eventually lead to our dream of a record deal. During this time, we were also asked to submit a version of the song “Holding Out for a Hero” for the remake of Footloose. I’ll never forget how excited I felt when I found out that our version was making the movie! This started a chain reaction of great things to come.
In March 2011, I was offered a record deal by Big Machine. I still wake up every morning pinching myself in disbelief that I really have a record deal and a chance to make music I love.
As for right now I’m singing Dolly Parton’s “The Grass is Blue” record around the house. Now that’s a challenge! I don’t just love country music fans, but I am one. I understand what it’s like to love music so much that you cry, or put your hand over your heart to feel a bass line in a rowdy room… to be willing to stay up all night, or wait in line to see someone in bad weather. I love live music, my church, NASCAR, Clemson Tiger football, riding up in the Blue Ridge mountains in our Jeep Wrangler…I still swim in the lake I was baptized in and I still eat Ramen Noodles. I want to change the world, by first listening to it. I love hard work, and pray I can work at this until I can’t anymore.
Well, I’d say this is my life, but there’s many more blessings and many more rough edges than any computer could hold. But those are in my heart. And if you’ve read this, or listened to the songs, or supported or believed in anyone or anything that I do…You have already got my heart, and I can’t tell you what you mean to me. Thank you.
THERE ARE SO MANY EXCITING THINGS I CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE WITH YOU, especially the new songs I’m working on. PLEASE SAY HELLO!
More blessings than you can imagine,
Nashville TN |
“I always had a notion about the Raven; I always knew it was part of me.” Whether they are viewed as symbols of strength, totems of virility or harbingers of death, Nova Scotia native and powerful Rock/Americana artist, Jon Raven Visser identifies the raven as his benefactor: his spiritual guide. Flying headfirst into the Nashville music scene, his album, Love Hurricane , fills ears with a cyclone full of rock, soul and classic country, and spreads the message that, if we are to achieve love, we need a guide along the way. Survival is the essence, and with this in mind he has his listeners looking to the skies, running for their rain boots and headed out into the eye of the storm.
His actual name: Jonathan Allan Visser. Looking at him, we are immediately intrigued: heavy locks of dark hair lay curiously over his brown eyes, giving him an air of mystery. He leans lavishly up against his black 57’ Chevy which has it’s own light up jack O’ lantern in the back window. He wears two silver pendants of ravens on a chain around his neck, and over his Edgar Allan Poe t-shirt he dons a purple velvet jacket, which he personally designed. “I usually wear my top hat”, he laughed, “but I like to save it for my live performances”.
Born and raised in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, the name “Raven” bears a huge significance to Visser, and he decided to make it official, due to a mystical vision from an Indian Shaman back in Pictou County. The Shaman told him when his spirit came through the portal to this life, there was a raven flying above him, and that was when he realized he needed to discover why this bird says so much about who he is. His interest in the bird started long before the shaman came into play, in fact he had many visions during the time he was sick with a rare form of cancer called, Rhabdomyosarcoma, which he miraculously survived: “When I was 6 years old I was going through chemotherapy, and I would have these fantastical visions of ravens flying over me, while I played music in front of large audiences.” With steady effort, he did some serious soul searching, and relied on the help of his family and close friends, but more apparently it was the universe that helped him thorough the journey, and it continues to do so. Visser was able to take his visions and make them happen-- this didn’t come easily.
Nashville appeared to be the utopian destination for Visser to spread his wing. He had incessantly dreamed of making Music City his nesting place. Just like a raven, he found his way towards success through trial and error learning--stopping at nothing--even if it meant feeling all alone and rejected.
In 2005 his perfect vision of living the songwriter’s dream lost it’s allure. After being shot down by labels small and large, and in one instance described as--no better than a street juggler-- by a major record label executive; he retreated to his friend’s apartment on Music Row, where he slept on the kitchen floor every night, seemingly left with nothing but his thoughts and the occasional cockroach. One night while staring out the kitchen window, he discovered RCA studio B, through the haze from a solitary street lamp and a few too many whiskeys: “It was a wake up call for me. It was awesome just to know the history behind that studio; and the fact that I was able to look at it every night was a blessing in itself. I was mesmerized by it’s dreamy appeal; sometimes I felt one could almost see the ghosts of artists past, like Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and Waylon floating nearby.” This is the point where Visser packed up his stuff and moved onward and upward. It was a humbling experience for him, to say the least: “You have nothing to lose so you just go for everything--I had no money and I was volunteering--I mean seriously, how does that happen?”
Ravens stay visible best when in flight, and Visser did just that not too long after his epiphany, befriending many musical talents by playing well known venues around the city--Limelight, Exit/In, Hard Rock Café, BlueBird Café, Tennessee State Fair--Along the way he met engineer/producer/artist, Michael Estok, who would later become a big part of the recording process. He began booking a variety show called, Musical Chairs, with his manger Mike and well known photographer, Sherri O’ Neal, bringing together an invited showcase of striving, and talented songwriters who were looking to play their hearts out for the sake of making Nashville shine. It started at the Best Western Hall of Fame Lounge--a Nashville landmark for up and coming songwriters--drawing many more people than expected; it wasn’t long before they had to change venues to accommodate the size of the audience. It made it’s final resting place on the notorious Demonbreun St., at Club Gravity, where the walls were cloaked with red velvet, and the stage was prominent. Here, Visser met Mark Collie, a Tennessee native who went on to become a great country recording artist, and later played the role of Harry Heck in the film The Punisher. He also met his guitar hero, Ric Latina (John Berry, Ballie and the Boys, Hank III, Suzy Boguss, etc…), who came to see him play a show one night after he (Visser) had told Latina he was going to be his guitar player--he received a phone call from Latina the next day. Club Gravity sold to a new owner--who knew nothing about the business-- and soon after the showcase started, people began to lose interest, including the performers themselves : “it’s a shame we stopped doing this; we just grew apart and got busy on different projects, but it was one of my favorite memories here and I met so many cool and talented people--just when I thought I had nothing, everything was there--” Visser claimed.
In 2008, Jon Raven moved into his own home, built a recording studio, and called it The Nest. He had visualized the finished structure long ago, and was able to manifest it in a comfortable shaded nook beneath the kitchen of his own home. This habitat is much like you would expect a raven’s to be: a well woven nest tucked safely underneath a rock overhang. He built the studio by collecting bits and pieces of recycled equipment from sites like Ebay and Habitat, along with the magical treasures found at various garage and yard sales. In three months time, with the help of his good friend, Mike Hossman and a few others, The Nest was complete. From the black full glass insulated doors, adorned with gothic dragon door handles, to the 1966 Bassman guitar amp (handed down to Jon by a victim of Hurricane Katrina) that greets you when you walk in, all of the materials you find here have a certain purpose and story behind them--take for instance the purple velvet duvet covers that elegantly drape the walls--these were picked up from a yard sale somewhere in Nashville: “They were perfect. Not only were they purple and velvet, but they were originally from Opryland, and I paid 5 bucks for them.” Even the studs and drywall he used came from an old haunted house structure downtown: “It’s all about the story behind my materials.”
Visser will be the first to tell you that the intricacies of his studio came: “dirt cheap”, but inexpensive embellishments are hard to find. The hidden gems that he found took great amounts of time, and weren’t sought out purposefully-- they were gifts from the universe.” : “I want my studio to be able to tell it’s own tale,” he says, “when I finished building it I knew it was time to start recording my album, and what better place to record than from the comfort of your own home?” …and so, Love Hurricane began it’s surge.
Forget about the typical top 4o country album--Love Hurricane is far from it. It’s comprised of 10 songs that weave their own nest of truth behind the word: survival. Much like the actual bird, Visser’s voice is distinctive, deep and resonant. The sound is reminiscent of Marc Knopfler, Jimmy Rankin and The Counting Crows--all of which are great influences--He brings forth a harsh sense of reality by incorporating haunting, dark and raspy guitar tones, yet doesn’t leave out feelings of triumph and courage, by blending strong bass lines, focused drumming and uplifting piano tones (Shannon Wickline). Ric Latina plays lead guitar on this album, along with Steve Bowman who previously played drums for popular bands--Third Eye Blind, The Counting Crows--George Hawkins (Fleetwood Mac, Kenny Loggins, Richard Marx etc…)taking the role as Visser’s bass player, and Cheyenne Medders and Michael Estok working their magic as engineers, the results are obvious: Love Hurricane is an unstoppable force of musical manifestation.
The Ancient Celts believed that raven’s were the messengers of great secrets and mysteries. Jon Raven Visser takes this ancient belief and carries it with him--his journey to Music City statred out bleak and weary-- yet he knew something that the ordinary man didn’t: he knew he had the power to shift his focus and manifest his dreams into a reality. Whether it be through surviving a deadly cancer, being told he’s a merely a street act, or donating money he literally didn’t have, he kept soaring to great heights--and he continues to do so. Love Hurricane proves that there is a survivor in all of us, and that ravens are truly the messengers of storms. This album is destined to reach high altitudes, and Jon Raven , is in fact, a magnificent creature.