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2020 BUCKEYE COUNTRY SUPERFEST LINEUP
Deemed “The King of the Road” by The Wall Street Journal, Kenny Chesney is the only country artist in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Top Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years – a staggering feat given he’s only been headlining since 2002. Known for his high energy shows, songs that celebrate life as real people live it and a strong sense of musicality, Chesney’s won 8 Entertainer of the Year Awards (4 consecutive from the Academy of Country Music, 4 from the Country Music Association), had 30 No. 1s and sold in excess of 30 million albums, as well as more than a million tickets on each of his headlining tours. He’s topped the charts with Grace Potter, P!nk, the Wailers Band, Dave Matthews, Uncle Kracker and both dueted with and co-produced an album on Willie Nelson. His hits include “Young,” “You and Tequila,” “When the Sun Goes Down,” “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven,” “Pirate Flag,” “Summertime,” “I Go Back,” “Somewhere With You,” “American Kids,” “Setting the World on Fire” and most-recently, “Get Along.”
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE
Amassing the bestselling digital Country single of all time (SoundScan) with 11X-PLATINUM breakout “Cruise,” GRAMMY-nominated duo Florida Georgia Line have been making history since 2012. As the first Country act to achieve RIAA’s DIAMOND certification (10 million copies sold) and holding the longest reign on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart (50 straight weeks) with 8X PLATINUM, #1 “Meant to Be” with Bebe Rexha, the global superstars have topped 9.3 billion streams, exceeded 33.6 million track downloads, and sold more than 4.6 million albums worldwide. FGL’s fourth studio album CAN’T SAY I AIN’T COUNTRY (BMLG Records) features their latest hit single “Talk You Out of It” and PLATINUM, #1 “Simple” (16th #1 overall as artists). Playing to millions of fans spanning massive arena and stadium headline tours, they’re currently on the CAN’T SAY I AIN’T COUNTRY TOUR and will reprise FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS due to popular demand this November. Honored by the AMAs, CMA Awards, Billboard Music Awards, CMT Music Awards, and ACM Awards, their creative empire also includes thriving business initiatives: Old Camp Peach Pecan Whiskey, FGL HOUSE, meet + greet, Tree Vibez Music, and Tribe Kelley.
There are many things about Kane Brown that might surprise a new listener.
You might not expect the quiet guy covered in tattoos to open his mouth with a deep country croon. It’s hardly the norm for a young artist to sell out every single venue on his first headlining tour. Nor is it par for the course for an artist to develop a compassionate back-and-forth with fans of all stripes, sympathizing with their struggles and celebrating their successes alongside his own by fostering a close-knit online community of nearly 4 million social subscribers.
But to know Kane Brown is to learn that defying expectations and forging his own path is standard procedure.
Indeed, Brown is soaring on the strength of his full-length, self-titled debut, an RIAA Gold-certified collection that stands as country’s best-selling new-artist debut since 2014. Released in December of 2016 and helmed by three-time ACM Producer of the Year Dann Huff and Matthew McVaney, Kane Brown debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums and Top 10 on the Billboard 200 all-genre chart with 51,000 units (45,000 in album sales) and would become the #4 best-selling new-artist album debut of 2016, in any genre.
In October 2017, he revisited the Country Albums summit with the release of Kane Brown Deluxe Edition—a 15-song edition of his self-titled album—debuting at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums and Top 5 on the Billboard 200. The singer/songwriter became the first artist ever to be #1 on all five of Billboard’s main country charts simultaneously, including Top Country Albums; Country Digital Song Sales (with the #1 debuting “Heaven”); and Country Airplay, Hot Country Songs, and Country Streaming Songs (with “What Ifs”).
To date, Brown’s self-titled album has notched five weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums (including three consecutive charts in January 2018), tying Chris Stapleton’s Traveller for the most weeks at #1 for an artist’s debut album (for the period commencing with Brown’s December 2016 debut).
Re-teaming with mega-producer Dann Huff for Deluxe Edition’s new tracks, Brown had a hand in writing three of the four songs, including the deliciously groove-laden “Setting the Night on Fire,” a co-write and duet with Brown’s hero and RCA labelmate Chris Young.
“This song, I think, was our second song we wrote together, and I really liked it,” Brown shares. When Young agreed to join him on vocals, Brown says that it “brought so much more energy to the song. He just made ‘Setting the Night on Fire.’”
Another album addition is Brown’s latest single, the already-Gold-certified 2018 chart-climber, “Heaven.” It’s a song that he thought would speak to his fiancйe—and his fans. “‘Heaven’ is a song that I heard while Matt McGinn, Lindsay Rimes, and Shy Carter were still writing. As soon as I heard it, I knew I had to record it. It just fit me.”
The new tracks only add to the breakout success of Brown’s self-titled RCA Records/Zone 4 debut, which also launched the RIAA Double-Platinum blockbuster, “What Ifs.” Featuring Brown’s good friend and former choirmate Lauren Alaina, the song’s energy sparks as much from their vocal chemistry as it does from the urgency of the lyrical questions that challenge whether a love affair is really meant to last.
Brown says, “Everybody’s always asking, ‘What if?’ Like, ‘what if this happened,’ ‘what if that happened,’ ‘what if you find somebody else?’” The immediate relatability of those feelings caught on with fans in a big way, as “What Ifs” shot to #1 on Billboard’s Country Digital Songs Sales chart in the summer of 2017 and would go on to top multiple charts, including Country Airplay. A 17-week #1 on the Nielsen On Demand Audio Core Country Streaming Chart, “What Ifs” remained a juggernaut into 2018, ranking as the year’s most-streamed country song as of mid-February. “What Ifs” has also vaulted Brown into the company of Sam Hunt as the two artists responsible for the Top 5 most-streamed country songs of all time from solo artist debut albums.
In less than two years, Brown’s impressive accomplishments have spanned sales, streaming, airplay, and touring—rightly propelling him to his first ACM award nomination as New Male Vocalist of the Year at the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards in 2017.
Since signing with Sony Music Nashville in early 2016, Brown released Chapter 1, which made history as the highest-debuting country EP of the Nielsen SoundScan era and featured the RIAA Platinum-certified “Used to Love You Sober.” In concert, he’s logged a summer on the road with Florida Georgia Line and was chosen by superstar Jason Aldean for his 2017 They Don’t Know Tour. Currently on tour with Chris Young, Brown has also been attracting sold-out crowds to his own shows, including his first-ever arena headlining concert, playing to more than 7,000 fans in December of 2017.
And while he’s become one of Nashville’s latest breakout success stories—on the radio, online, and on the road—Brown’s heart remains firmly fixed back home.
“My hometown—Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia—we ain’t got nothin’. There’s just fast food and banks,” Brown says, in a tone that suggests not a jab, but an appreciation for the simplicity of small-town life. “I try and go back every time I have a free day.”
Where he comes from is a huge part of who he is, but the idea of a hometown isn’t something Brown has ever taken for granted. Trouble at home kept his childhood life in limbo, frequently switching schools and shifting households.
“We didn’t have a lot of money, and we moved all the time. There were a bunch of family issues,” he says. Album track “Learning” goes in-depth on the struggles of those early years, detailing the child abuse, bullying, and racism he endured throughout his adolescence. But the takeaway of the song’s chorus—a mantra about forgiveness and letting go—is a much more familiar side of the soft-spoken and enthusiastically kind Kane Brown that fans have come to know.
“Growing up being bullied . . . I wouldn’t be the person I am today if that hadn’t happened,” he says. “I know not to treat people that way. It hurt, but it inspired me to write about it.”
While writing his own music was one feat for Brown, performing was another—though not for any want of vocal gifts. His rich delivery shines on cover songs he’s done by George Strait and Josh Turner, and anyone who’s heard his low, thick drawl can understand why he’s been compared to Chris Young. But for a long time, Brown was satisfied just being another voice in the choir.
“The only time I would sing was if I was in a big group of people,” he says. “Or in the shower.”
That anxiousness about performing in front of people is what led him to the steadfast fan base he now appreciates online. Encouragement from friends and family pushed him to perform in—and win—a school talent show with an uncanny performance of Young’s “Gettin’ You Home.” Soon, Brown began to conquer his fear of an audience by singing cover songs alone at home in front of his iPhone, and then posting the videos online.
“I would just sing and put them up on Facebook, not thinking that anything was going to happen,” he says. “One day, I just woke up and got lucky. I had 60,000 shares on a song.”
As his cover videos began to go viral—his rendition of Strait’s “Check Yes or No” racked up more than 7 million views—Brown began to take the idea of a music career seriously, tackling the challenge of writing his own music, too.
“It was a huge learning experience—finding my kind of writing and finding the artist that I want to be,” Brown says. He laughs about the steep learning curve, but early singles like “Don’t Go City on Me” and “Used to Love You Sober” resonated with his emphatic followers, many of whom already felt a personal connection with Brown from his transparent social media presence. To support his vulnerable leap into original material was, for many fans, akin to celebrating the success of a longtime buddy.
That passionate online following has continued to explode with a massive 325 million on-demand streams and more than 120 million YouTube and Vevo views to date.
Indeed, from his earliest Facebook videos to his current place as one of country music’s most compelling rising stars, Brown has had much of himself shared on the Internet, and he continues to see his fair share of harsh words and thoughtless comments. Now, though, he’s more concerned with using the medium to give bits of the love he gets from his followers back to them.
“My fans got me to where I am today,” he says. “When I take the time to comment back in 10 seconds, they always get excited, and it makes me feel happy, too. It makes me feel like I’m giving them something for where I’m at today. There’s just such a strong connection. They are the ones that got me started, and they are the ones who wanted to follow my journey and be a part of something. It’s an awesome connection, and it means the world to me—they know that it means the world to me.”
For most artists, following up a debut album is a serious creative challenge. But when that debut happens to be a meteor of breakout country success like Brett Young’s, the stakes get even higher.
“Going into this project, I was terrified,” Young admits about Ticket to L.A., his second album for BMLG Records. “A lot has happened, the first record has been really good to me and I’m really, really proud of it. But just having a new batch of songs – it’s like breathing new life.”
After nearly a decade of under-the-radar work, Young made his PLATINUM-certified entrance in 2016 with the restless romance of his #1 hit, “Sleep Without You,” then proceeded to own the top of the charts with three more singles from his self-titled PLATINUM-album debut. The tender “In Case You Didn’t Know” spent two weeks at #1, selling over 3 million copies and becoming the second-most purchased/streamed country song of 2017, followed by the three-week #1 “Like I Loved You” and the heart-rending “Mercy” – another pair of PLATINUM-certified smashes.
Co-writing each of those career-defining hits himself, Young’s emotionally fluent brand of country soul didn’t exist elsewhere in the genre, and fans connected with it deeply. But it was all born from a painful time in the Southern Californian’s life – one he’s since emerged from.
“I think the first album was a really good way for me to introduce myself,” Young explains. “It was extremely honest and vulnerable, but me and my girl were broken up, and I was new to Nashville and hadn’t built a friend base yet, so that made it easy for me to go a little bit somber.”
With his hotly anticipated sophomore album, Ticket to L.A., Young once again embraces his gift for vulnerable honesty – but this time in a much different capacity. That girl from the first album is now his wife, and Nashville has become the easy-going crooner’s second home. So rather than double down on brokenhearted balladry, he’s inviting fans to explore a brighter chapter, as he turns up the heat on his mellow SoCal-meets-Music-City style.
“There’s a lot of Southern California’s DNA all over the record,” Young says. “It’s very light – intentionally – and sonically it’s very upbeat. That doesn’t exist as much on the first album, so I wanted to showcase a bit more versatility this time around. We’re still doing the same thing, it’s just coming from a completely different moment in my life.”
Sticking with same studio team behind his extraordinary debut – producer Dann Huff, executive producer Jimmy Harnen and engineer/mixer Justin Niebank – Young doesn’t reinvent his sound so much as build off what was uniquely him to begin with. The tempos on Ticket to L.A. are indeed quicker – but the heart behind each track remains front and center. The sonics are more vibrant – still sophisticated but emboldened with a pinch of R&B playfulness. And the themes have shifted away heartbroken, sliding easily toward a sense of romantic serenity.
Over 13 new tracks – 10 of which Young co-wrote with hit makers like Shane McAnally, Hillary Lindsey, Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and more – the star brings fans ever deeper into his world, basking in the transformative power of love.
Lead single “Here Tonight” shows off the new approach with a rush of romantic energy. Passionate, dynamic and framed by that smoldering, sensual vocal, it feels like a soundtrack to moments you wish would never end. “When I hear it, it actually makes me go to the night I proposed,” he admits. “When she said yes, that was one of the best moments of my life.”
The title track, “Ticket to L.A.,” follows a similar emotional flight plan, opening the project with a laid-back combo of country charm and left-coast cool. The plot twister may not trace the contours of Young’s own relationship, per se, but it does reveal his renewed faith in love, imagining a couple who fall head over heels while waiting out a delay at New York’s JFK airport. “What made me excited was when we decided he wasn’t even on her flight, but he never told her that the whole time,” Young explains, a mischievous grin betraying his usual calm-and-collected demeanor.
Revisiting his signature honesty, Young goes on to lead fans through a soulful country-pop ballad, a hometown-to-hitmaker look in the rearview at his path to stardom which finds him teaming up to write and sing “Chapters” with one of his inspirations Gavin DeGraw. Naming the album Ticket to L.A. was no accident, Young explains, saying that for him it represents a connection to his roots which no amount of distance can break.
Meanwhile, classic-R&B grooves pepper the project, with tracks like the flirtatious “Reason to Stay.” The irresistible “Catch” feels like the musical equivalent of a beachside sunset, toasting the moments that take our breath away in relaxed perfection. And the smooth blues-pop of “Where You Want Me” puts Young’s smoky baritone on blast, lamenting a courtship which would feel right at home on any 1960s-era Stax hit.
“Change Your Name” and “The Ship and the Bottle” add more territory to Young’s kingdom of slow-burning romance, laying bare the supercharged emotions intrinsic to the start – and end – of any life-changing love, while “Let It Be Mine,” takes quiet devotion to new heights.
“1,2,3 Mississippi” offers a playful coming-of age-anthem – a winking nod to Young’s time as a baseball-slinging undergrad at the University of Mississippi. And “Used to Missin’ You” is straight-up fun, with its upbeat tone never losing interest in the pursuit of happiness.
But it’s “Running Away From Home” and “Don’t Wanna Write This Song” which put a poignant cap on the album, with Young taking the laid-back longing and unvarnished honesty he’s become so famous for, and pushing it into the present tense. Defined once again by romantic regret, they’re actually much different than his past hits – perhaps because now, he has so much that’s worth fighting for.
Coming into this project, Brett Young had as much to lose as any young artist in country’s history, but he’s never been one to hold back. There is far more to his story, and he’s learned that in life and music – just like in love – growth is really nothing to fear. With Ticket to L.A., the journey continues.
“It’s a super lofty goal to try and chase down the artist dream,” he admits. “But I’ve never known any other way than taking the thing I’m passionate about, and running with it no matter the
Warner Music Nashville powerhouse Gabby Barrett came into national prominence as a finalist on ABC’s American Idol in 2018, and has since burst on to the scene with debut single, "I Hope.” Tapped as a “Highway Find” by SiriusXM’s “The Highway,” one of Rolling Stone Country’s “10 Best Country and Americana Songs To Hear Now,” and a CMT Artist Discovery member, Barrett and her “sizzling slow burner” (Sounds Like Nashville) are garnering serious attention from fans and media alike. Making her first return performance on Idol for the national TV debut of the track, and taking it to Disney’s “ARDYs: A Celebration of Music,” “I Hope” claimed the #1 spot on SiriusXM’s “The Highway” Hot 30 Countdown and on Radio Disney’s Country Top 50 chart, notching 34.9 MILLION+ on-demand streams and solidifying Barrett as “a voice you must hear” (The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). A native of Munhall, Pennsylvania, and one of eight children, Barrett began singing in her local gospel choir at the age of nine, started playing shows at age 11 and performed 136 shows in 2017 alone, before rising to fame on Idol. She has recently shared the stage with superstars like Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith, Keith Urban, Chris Lane, Dustin Lynch, Jake Owen, Cole Swindell, Bebe Rexha, Sugarland, and Carrie Underwood and is currently in the studio with GRAMMY-nominated producer Ross Copperman working on her debut album release.
TIKI TAILGATE FAN FEST WITH
Raised in Northern California, Tyler Rich found his love of music gathered around a Christmas tree alongside family singing holiday classics and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Fast forward to graduating college with a degree in Economics, Tyler moved to LA to pursue a different game of numbers – music – exploring various genres with songwriting and bands before taking the leap as a solo artist. His fanbase has grown organically from Sacramento to Nashville where in 2017 he signed a record deal with The Valory Music Co. and publishing agreement with Big Machine Music. While introducing his amplified sound and infectious energy coast to coast, the 2018 CMT Listen Up and SiriusXM Highway Find Artist become a road warrior performing alongside some of the genre’s top acts including Dustin Lynch, Sam Hunt, Brett Eldredge, Justin Moore, Cole Swindell, Dan + Shay and Brett Young. Enlisting Tyler as one of their “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know, Rolling Stone touts him as “the newest member of country music’s radio-minded incoming class, with a homecoming king’s swagger and a valedictorian’s songwriting smarts.” He made his national television debut on NBC’s TODAY performing “The Difference,” his breakout tune which scored a No. 1 on SiriusXM and hit the Top 20 on Country radio. People explored how Tyler went from “From Red Robin to Hitting No. 1,” penning his own music and Backstreet Boys AJ McLean’s new single, “Night Visions.” Tyler found inspiration once again in his fiancée model/actress Sabina Gadecki, writing his latest single, “Leave Her Wild,” alongside Chris DeStefano and Jon Nite. The song is currently being introduced to radio with an official impact date of May 13. Most recently named as Pandora's Artist to Watch for 2019, he made his Stagecoach debut last month and will headline his own shows in addition to festival dates throughout
summer, including CMA Fest on June 9. For tour dates and more, visit TylerRich.com.