AVERAGE JOE’S ENTERTAINMENT ?CRS-41 PARTY ?Thursday February 25, 2010 ?At Legends in Nashville, TN
The label side of the country music industry is really up in the air right now. From day to day we see lower numbers not meeting high expectations which leads to a lot of artists getting dropped, not getting albums released or the media push necessary to meet the predicted sales numbers, but it also allows for independent labels to make a bigger splash amongst the country music audience and when you look down the list of indies making noise right now there is only a handful that are closely watching and Average Joe’s Entertainment is no doubt on everyone’s radar.
The success of Colt Ford and the buzz surrounding his uniquely twisted country music is enough to raise an eyebrow, but with a roster that also now includes Josh Gracin, Matt Stillwill, and more, they seem ready to let loose and make a huge splash and in front of a packed house at Legends Corner during CRS-41 the label showcased their roster and had the crowd moving and singing along from start to finish.
Matt Stillwell grabbed the crowd first with his brand of rockin’ country that tends to lean on the fun, party side more often then not as he showed with songs like “Whiskey Well,” current single “Dirt Road Anthem,” and his first single “Shine,” his ode to the homemade mason jar based drink. With the deluxe edition on his debut album due out this year he also offered a taste of the new material to be included with the repackaged release allowing him to show how far he has come as an artist while giving the fans a chance to hear the things to come from him.
When a major label drops an artist like Josh Gracin it leaves you scratching your head. But when an indie label like Average Joe’s comes along and sweeps him up you stop scratching your head and turn it quickly to see what is happening in the Average Joe’s camp. With his first ever Nashville performance, Josh Gracin hit the stage with up-tempo hit “I Wanna Live” and the show was on from there. Throughout the mostly fast-paced set Gracin interacted with the crowd tossing out autographed drumsticks while he delighted the crowd with his hits from the past that included “Favorite State of Mind,” “We Weren’t Crazy,” and “Nothing To Lose,” but also took time to showcase his new material with songs like “Cover Girl” and current single “Over Me.” Gracin has been making an impact on country music since his stint on American Idol and with a regrouping of sorts now behind him he is poised and ready to continue making a dent if these new songs are any indication of what to expect this year.
Colt Ford! Is there anything else that really needs to be said other than that. He has made huge believers out of us since the first time we he heard his rap blended country music and continues to do it time and time again amongst the country music community through exclusive album releases to Wal-Mart, appearances on major label artists records such as on Joe Nichols latest, and a huge who’s who list of guest appearances on his own albums. He used this platform to show everybody just why that is as his energetic live show was brought to the Nashville stage and had the crowd bumping right along with him as he showcased the material that got him here but more importantly he gave everyone a glimpse into things to come when he filtered in songs from the forthcoming Chicken and Biscuits album where he was able to show his growth as an artist and his ability to maintain the unique style he presents at the same time.
To close out the night, Average Joe’s brought Sunny Ledfurd to the stage, a newcomer to the label. His blending of influences that range from Snoop Dogg to Skynyrd has allowed him to make a splash on the scene with a laid back, feel-good style as he showed the crowd as they were introduced to his music, most of us for the first time. His songs have a very summer based tinge to them as he sang about paradise on “Places to Stay” and being out on the water with “Pontoon Boat.” The North Carolina native painted the perfect pictures with his lyrics that helped to transport you to the summery atmosphere he was singing about throughout his set the way those great bands from Southern Cali seem to always do.
The packed house at Legends was simply a crowd that gets it. Average Joe’s isn’t looking for cookie-cutter artists and with no two on the roster really sounding the same the label has the ability to blur genre lines and maximize airplay and fan bases from one genre to the next as the four acts that hit the stage on this particular night showcased to everyone that was interested to find out what the buzz was all about.