Events

KMLE @ 107.9 Acoustic Christmas

Friday

Dec 14, 2012 – Fri 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

400 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85003 Map

  • Maggie Rose
  • Randy Houser
  • Brett Eldredge

More Info

Benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, with country artists Randy Houser, Greg Bates, Maggie Rose and Brett Eldredge at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix on Friday, Dec. 14.
Show starts @7pm
Tickets, $20-$38, go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at livenation.com, the Comerica box office or 800-745-3000.
Maggie Rose: Music is a powerful means of expression and rarely has a young performer displayed better command of the vehicle than Maggie Rose. Possessing a strong, warm voice that is alternately playful or poignant as the subject matter dictates, Maggie has a gift for penning insightful songs and delivering them with emotional punch. Working with legendary producer James Stroud, Maggie has crafted a debut album filled with potent songs, each one anchored by her riveting vocals.

With one listen to her impressive voice, it’s obvious Maggie could have chosen any musical genre and found success, but country seemed like home. “I did have a lot of influences,” the Maryland native says recalling her childhood. “My mom exposed me to great female artists like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt and Trisha Yearwood, really powerful female voices.”

Always passionate about music, she embraced a variety of different artists and styles, but felt a particular kinship with country artists, especially those with the ability to share compelling stories in their songs. “The first concert I ever went to was a Shania Twain show,” she says. “While I also admired many of the pop singers that were so popular when I was younger, when it got down to my becoming an artist, country always spoke to me. I connected with country music more than any other genre.”

By the time she was 16, she was performing regularly with a Bruce Springsteen cover band called the B Street Band. “I would do my own little introductory set and then they’d play the Bruce Springsteen cover songs,” she recalls. “They were such a good band, so it was a great experience to be backed by great musicians.”

While majoring in vocal performance at Clemson University, Maggie got a phone call that changed her life. A friend had sent some of her demos to music mogul Tommy Mottola, well-known for launching Celine Dion, Destiny’s Child and Mariah Carey, among others. “I remember getting the call from Tommy’s assistant as I was walking with my friend to economics class,” Maggie recalls. “She said, ‘Tommy wants you to come to his office and sing some original songs for him.’ It was so surreal. I didn’t go to class that day. I went back to my dorm room and tried to process everything.”

When Mottola learned of Maggie’s desire to pursue a country music career, he helped her connect with James Stroud and his wife Laura, a successful Music Row publisher, who Maggie describes as her “Nashville Mom.” Laura introduced Maggie to some of the community’s top songwriters who became friends and collaborators. James was so impressed with the demos he began hearing, he took Maggie in the studio to begin work on her debut. “I’m so much more sure of the artist I want to be today than I was when I first moved here,” Maggie says, “Moving to town, I became aware of the reality that there are so many talented people here. It gives me so much perspective. One of the reasons people move here is to be around other creative people.”

Maggie first gained a national audience with the engaging single “Maybe Tonight,” which was accompanied by a charming video that spotlighted her performance skills. Previously known as Margaret Durante, the young artist felt she really wanted fans to know her as Maggie Rose, the name all her family and friends call her. She felt it was time to hit the reset button. “Sharing the name that I’ve been called by my family and friends with my fans is just another way to open up a part of me to them that they haven’t seen yet,” she says. “I was not being untrue to myself going by Margaret Durante, but I’m giving my experiences and my stories to my fans and I wanted them to call me by my nickname. I think it’s just a nice way to honor where I’ve been and where I’m going.”

Becoming more confident in her musical gift ignited a particularly creative period for Maggie that fueled the songs on her debut album. Co-writing with some of Nashville’s most noted tunesmiths, Maggie delivers a diverse collection that examines the intricacies of life. “I feel like this music is unapologetic,” she says. “I want women to hear this and be like, ‘Yeah! Right On!’ It gives women empowerment definitely, but also I want people to be entertained by it. A lot of the music, for me, is very coming-of-age. It’s about finding out who I am, not just as an artist, but as a young woman growing up, being on my own in Nashville.”

Maggie is thoughtful, articulate and intelligent yet has a playful streak that is endearing and a dry sense of humor that will sneak up on you. Her songs have the ability to move an audience with their depth and intensity, yet she’s equally capable of delivering a light-hearted romp that will make audiences want to get up and dance. “‘Fall Madly In Love’ is just a catchy, infectious, flirty, confident song,” Maggie says. “There’s something about that song. I couldn’t stop singing it once I heard it once and it just came alive. When we recorded it in the studio with James, it just took on a life of its own. It’s an undeniable song with lots of energy and confidence, which is what I feel like my music is about right now, just being confident and sassy and having fun.”

“Preacher’s Daughter” spotlights Maggie’s ability to pen a great story song. Co-written with Connie Harrington, the eerie lyric recounts the murder of two young lovers. “We had a blast writing it,” Maggie says. “We wanted it to be sultry and a little dark, but also have a deep South, funky country sound like Bonnie Raitt. I love how she has that cool vibe about her. We were trying to channel that for ‘Preacher’s Daughter.’ I love singing it. Every time I perform it I can’t help but just to come alive because it’s a great story.”

“Better” is a compelling song that finds Maggie channeling the pain of a past break up. “I was telling James Stroud and Stephony Smith the story of this person who had just broken my heart,” she recalls. “They said, ‘Boy, have we got a song for you!’ They played me ‘Better’ and I was so moved by it. I was right there in the trenches of everything that was going on in the song in my own life. Even now when I sing ‘Better,’ it just takes me back to that feeling that I had emotionally when I first heard the song. It’s really powerful and totally honest. We didn’t compromise anything on that song.”

Uncompromising, unapologetic and unexpected--these are just a few of the words that come to mind in describing Maggie Rose. Whether she’s opening for Jason Aldean or Lady Antebellum in a large arena or performing an intimate set in a local club, Maggie has the ability to transport the listener through her music. “I love connecting with people,” she says. “There’s no feeling like it. When I go to a concert, I won’t know the person sitting next to me, but if someone puts on a great show, by the end of the night I feel connected to complete strangers because the person on stage has made us all relate to what they are saying. We all feel that common ground that we’ve bonded on. It’s incredible and magical for me. As an artist and songwriter, that’s the thrill--to be connecting with a group of people by sharing your stories. It’s pretty remarkable.”

Randy Houser: Randy Houser is a man refreshed. “I don’t know how it happened, but everything in my life has started lining up,” says the Lake, Mississippi native. “I must have done somebody right in the past.”

Those positive vibes of renewal ripple through Houser’s three consecutive No. 1 hits, “How Country Feels,” “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” and “Goodnight Kiss,” which recently became Houser’s first No. 1 as a songwriter though he has written numerous hits for artists over the years. “How Country Feels” was his first-ever No. 1 at radio, and both it and “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” earned RIAA Platinum certifications. All three songs are from Houser’s Stoney Creek Records debut, How Country Feels, which was released in early 2013. Upon release, the title track and lead single sparked a wildfire of accolades and media appearances including: CONAN, NBC Nightly News, NBC Weekend Today, CBS’s “On The Couch,” FOX & Friends, Better TV and many more. It also gave Houser his first American Country Award for Most Played Radio Track: Male in 2013.

Houser cut How Country Feels with producer Derek George, a long-time friend and fellow Mississippian he had wanted to work with for over a decade. It’s been called “a buoyant, hook-filled outing” (Washington Post) that’s infused with “a balance of revelry and introspection” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) and shows off Randy’s powerhouse voice, hailed “one of the best in Nashville” by Great American Country (GAC) and numerous other critics.

Houser’s past contains no shortage of achievement, as it includes multiple nominations for ACM and CMA Awards, a No. 2 single in the form of “Boots On,” and songwriting credits for major names such as Trace Adkins, Justin Moore and Chris Young. In 2008—mere months after the release of his debut single, “Anything Goes”—Houser was even asked by David Letterman himself to appear on The Late Show. The singer’s first full-length album, Anything Goes, came out later that year, followed in 2010 by They Call Me Cadillac which spawned hit “Whistlin’ Dixie,” and fan-favorite “A Man Like Me.”

But despite this early success, Houser now admits that he wasn’t truly happy. “It seemed like professionally things weren’t as great as they could be, and that was part of it,” he says. “But the biggest thing was not having a home base.” Shortly after, Houser signed with new label home Stoney Creek Records based in Nashville, Tenn.

“Everybody there feels like part of my family,” Houser says of the independent imprint, where he happily signed following a long stretch of intensive touring. (How intensive? Think 150 shows a year.) “You walk in the door and everybody seems really happy with their job; there’s no strife in the air. That’s really important for me to have right now. It’s comforting.”

New tracks on How Country Feels echo the title single’s sunny self-assurance, including “We’re Just Growing Younger” and “Along for the Ride,” which Houser co-wrote with Zac Brown. “We were playing a festival and I just had this song rolling around in my head,” Houser remembers of the latter. “I stayed up till about 5 in the morning but then got stuck. So I called up Zac and we went on his bus and knocked it out of the park.”

There is contemplation, too: “Like a Cowboy,” which is Houser’s latest single, is about “me coming home for a few days, then having to leave again,” Houser says. “Route 3 Box 250D” provides an intimate snapshot of the singer’s upbringing. “That one’s kind of hard to listen to,” he admits. “It hits almost too close to home.” Billboard calls the song “stunning,” and The New York Times writes, “His voice here is almost wholly different, thicker and more throbbing, a caldron bubbling over. For a few minutes he’s the singer Nashville won’t let him be.”

As for the sound of How Country Feels, Houser says it’s his most expansive outing yet, with more bells and whistles than he’s used in the past; it also showcases the remarkable voice that led Vince Gill to call Houser “one of the best in the new crop of country singer-songwriters” and pal Jamey Johnson to say, “I watched a blind man jump to his feet and drop his crutches the first time he heard Randy Houser sing.”

And since the release of How Country Feels, critics have echoed those claims in reviews, with MSN writing “Houser is hands down one of the best male vocalists in Nashville,” and quoting Dierks Bentley as saying, “It’s kind of ridiculous how good of a singer he is.”

Still, the heart of the album—of Houser’s entire outlook right now—remains the story of a man who’s moved through darkness into light. “I feel like I’ve reached such a special moment,” he says, and it’s a true pleasure to hear him inside it.

Brett Eldredge: Some life-changing moments are only apparent in retrospect. Brett Eldredge recognized his as it was happening. The Paris, IL native was at the Station Inn, an historic bluegrass/country venue, in Nashville. His cousin Terry, a veteran of Dolly Parton's band and now a member of the Grascals, was playing with a band called the Sidemen, and a mesmerized Brett was in the crowd. "He asked me to come up on stage and told me to pick a song to play with the band," says Brett. …“That was the point where I thought, 'This is it. This is something I've got to do.'"

The talent that let him turn his dream into reality—the depth of his writing and the sheer power of his smoky and expressive baritone—are both apparent in his first single “Raymond.” He has earned a reputation as much for the strength of his writing as for his world-class voice. Brett and co-writer Pat McLaughlin landed a song called "I Think I've Had Enough" on Gary Allan's latest album, Get Off On The Pain, and one of his frequent collaborators is Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry stalwart Bill Anderson

"As a songwriter," he says, "my aim is to portray a little bit of me and my life along with the stories of other people and turn them into something that can really touch somebody's heart and soul. We sit down on Music Row every day and write songs and every once in a while a song like ‘Raymond’ comes from such a real place. I hope it's that real to other people and that I can make them feel the way I felt when I wrote it and when I sing it."

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