From a life-saving heart surgery, a brand new album and now a world tour, Charley Crockett is the definition of a musician who is living his life one melody at a time. The Texas native just released a brand new album The Valley(And Other Biographical Tunes) which centers around his early life and tries to capture the essence of what it was like growing up in a rural part of Texas. In the process of recording this new album, Crockett had to undergo two critical heart surgeries, but he did not let that stop him from doing what he loved. He finished recording his album just one week before his surgery. Now fully recovered from his surgeries, Charley is on a massive world tour sharing his new album to those who will come and listen. However, as he’s traveling the world he doesn’t forget his roots. Charley says “One thing I believe about music is, you have to know where you come from” which he displays in some of the heart touching songs on his new album. Charley Crockett will be at The Grand Stafford Theater on October 23rd to share his new album with everyone who will take the time to listen to the stories of a man who is taking life one melody at a time. Crockett is the embodiment of what it’s like to be a true musician so come out to the show and hear what he has to share with us!
No. 5 in the U.S., No. 1 in our Hearts
We go to a concert at the Grand Stafford Theater.
We have a fun night and then go have Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
On October 4th the Grand Stafford Theater will be hosting world renown band Deep Blue Something for a night of nostalgia and fun with new music from the popular 90s band. Deep Blue Something started their career in the music industry in the early 90’s and had a pretty average career until about 2001 when Breakfast at Tiffany’s was released. This song skyrocketed in the charts after appearing in movies and tv shows all across the board. Breakfast at Tiffany’s capped on the U.S. Billboard Top 100 Chart at number 5 but on the United Kingdom and Scottish charts, it went all the way to number 1.
The Denton, Texas band decided in 2014 after a long hiatus that they were going to be more than just a one – hit – wonder and have now begun to release new music that makes you feel like you are living in the 90s once more. They decided to hit their largest fan base first with a European tour this Spring which brought in massive success. They have not forgotten their roots and have now returned home to the U.S. and will be catering to their fans here, even in our own College Station, Texas. Come out October 4th for the free First Friday show at the Grand Stafford Theater!
Texas’ Music Incubator
In order to put on a great show, you need to have the funds to back it up. Financial strain impacts small music venues across the country and inevitably leads to many venues demise. However, the Texas State Senate is looking to aid that problem. On April 24th, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill on to the Senate that would “provide certain music venues and festival promoters with rebates funded by mixed-beverage gross receipts and sales taxes collected by those venues and festivals.” This bill, which they are calling a Texas music incubator rebate program would help ease the financial strain many music venues face.
In Texas alone, the music industry provides almost 97,000 jobs and earns a whopping $4.1 billion annually. However, many venues do not get to see this profit as they are having to turn around and put any profit towards the next show. Also, the cost of leases and permits for the buildings these venues occupy is not excluded from the increasing real estate market. In 2016, a study reported that 53% of the venues surveyed were not expected to renew their leases due to financial strain on their businesses and being unable to keep up with their monthly payments.
This is why the Texas House decided that the new bill needed to be passed. Music venues provide communities a place to relax, have fun, and listen to music by spectacular artists from all over the world. If the music venues shut down, the musicians struggle as well and so it just becomes a ladder effect until there is no music to go around anymore. “There are some bands, or some kids, who are coming up like we did that might not get a chance to show their talents or showcase their skills or hone their skills if the venues are no longer here,” said Tomar Williams, a soul musician from Austin. With hopes and prayers arising from venues everywhere, the bill is expected to pass soon in the Senate. Once the bill is passed, the Texas Music Office could begin processing rebate applications for venues starting as early as September 2020.
Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.”-Frank Zappa.
HONESTly a Great Show
Just over a week ago, The Grand Stafford had the pleasure of hosting an incredible lineup of bands for an exciting night of bright lights and great music.
The night kicked off with a set from Night Traveler. A band out of Austin who we fell in love with when they opened up at our First Friday show in February. This band’s high energy sound was a great way to kick off the show.
Following that, the audience got to enjoy the sounds of a new favorite band of ours out of Nashville Tennessee, Vacation Manor. Their set included a beautiful, impromptu a cappella rendition of their song “Hourglass” which left the captivated audience so speechless you could have heard a pin drop. The audience jumping, and yelling, and singing along to the songs of this group was an incredible sight to see in the room.
Rounding out this lineup was a band who is no stranger to the Grand Stafford, Honest Men really brought this show home. In their very first headlining slot at the Stafford, this band delivered a whimsical show complete with fog machines, mirrors, and flashing graphics to add to an already strong sound. This set was so much fun both to watch and to hear, and the absolute best way to bring an end to this night of music.
Thank you so much to everyone who came out for the show, and a huge thank you to the bands who made this evening so great. We look forward to seeing everybody back in the Stafford soon, and if you missed this show don’t fret, just check out our tickets and events tab to make sure you don’t miss out any any great shows we have coming up soon.
The Benefits of Music
A recent article by Entreprenuer.com analyzed research on how music can either improve or inhibit productive and restorative functions of the brain, and which types of music were specifically most effective at doing so. The outcome of this research is inherently relevant to every member of modern society, as we possess a strong discomfort with silence and stillness coupled with a relentless drive to be categorically productive with our time and in our actions. The article lists, as productivity-inducing genres: classical, nature, video-game, and cinematic music; as well as music with beats per minute between 50 and 80 or music to which the listener has a particular sentimental attachment.
Some of the identified genres make logical sense and would even be assumed correct to the layman with no research at all, that classical music improves brain activity is almost intuitive, while video game music might come as a bit more of a shock. The research backing the correlation between the brain activity and music and solid and compelling but a reader can’t help but notice that there is a very important sub-genre missing from this list. Which is why I feel the need to supplement said article with the alleged missing music. Unfortunately omitted from this list are the oft neglected social and emotional benefits of attending/listening to live music shows at your very own Grand Stafford Theater in Bryan Texas. Allow me to refresh your memory on just a few variables that make this experience so truly great.
A Musical Change of Pace
Look, I know that this is Texas and of course we all love country/western music as much as the next guy, but one of the intensely compelling features that the Stafford has to offer is diversity in musical genre. From indie shows to rock shows to cover bands, and more, the array of performers at the Stafford is sure to have something to appeal to any music fanatic.
Dinner and A Show
Well maybe not dinner, but even better, spending the evening at the Stafford sipping drinks at the bar, catching up with old friends or meeting new ones, and enjoying the music is always a welcome change of pace.
An Easy Commute
What could be better than having a great venue for wonderful music right in your own backyard, no long drives or crazy traffic and you’re right back home quick and easy when you’re done.
A Truly Great Time.
Need I say more?
First Friday with Dollie Barnes, The Cover Letter & Wiretree
The Grand Stafford Theater kicked off March with a bang as Dollie Barnes, The Cover Letter and Wiretree took the stage for Free First Friday. Each band brought their own unique presence, but all were equally engaging, artful and loved by the crowd.
Dollie Barnes and her band of talented musicians were the first performers of the night. Hailing from Houston Texas, Dollie puts on a show that integrated pop vocals with a 60’s vibe, producing a memorable sound and performance. Her endearing demeanor and distinctive voice truly captivated everyone in the room from beginning to end.
Next up was The Cover Letter, and they did not disappoint. Their charisma was one-of-a-kind, and the crowd really responded to their powerful energy. In perfect harmony, the Austin-based band performed hits like “Paris (Texas)” and “Her Eyes, The Ocean,” and was even joined by an admiring crowd who knew many of the words.
Ending the night was the ever so talented, Wiretree. This Indie-rock four piece from Austin, Texas delivers a flawless show with lyrics that truly capture and move the crowd. One First Friday go-er described their presence on stage as “second nature and incredibly genuine,” which I’m sure everyone in the audience would readily agree with.
It was certainly a night to remember full of talent, fantastic refreshments from the bar and even better company. Thank you to all who were able to attend the show; we hope you had a wonderful time. For those who missed out this time, be sure to check our calendar for the next First Friday show and other upcoming events!
Image Credits: Madi Claus
A Night with Justin Furstenfeld
As the lights went down and the crowd settled in, the anticipation for Justin Furstenfeld’s performance was almost tangible. In front of a full house of fans, the Texas-based artist took the stage in an intimate setting of warmth and wood to play his acoustic set. From his opening song to his final heartfelt rendition of Home, Justin kept the crowd captivated for the entire show with his powerful voice and authentic spirit.
Known for its uncensored truthfulness and stripped-down sound, The Open Book tour is a unique look into the life of one of alt. rock’s most respected veterans. With just two guitars, a microphone and his storybook of life experiences, Furstenfeld moves audiences from laughter to tears to wonderstruck silence with his incredible stage presence. A mix of song, story and Q&A, the tour offers one of a kind insight into his journey and gives fans the chance to really get to know Furstenfeld as an artist, former addict and father.
During the show, Furstenfeld’s message to his followers was one of understanding, second chances, and renewed hope. One audience member described the concert saying, “the way he told his story by weaving in humorous narration and interactive audience Q&As made the whole experience feel intimate and special.” He even surprised one lucky couple with an acoustic version of “Calling You” after a heartfelt proposal in front of the whole crowd. It was truly a night to remember.
We are thrilled and honored to have had Justin back for a second year of his solo tour. If you weren’t able to make the show or want more information about The Open Book tour or Blue October, check out the link below.
A Very Odd New Year’s Eve Party
With New Year’s Eve fast approaching, there’s only a few days left to lock in your plans for the evening. The Grand Stafford will be hosting A Very Odd New Year’s Eve Party- a stacked lineup full of local favorites including Odd Folks, The Rotisserie Chickens, and more. A night of great music and celebration, the Stafford will be the place to be in the BCS area to ring in 2017!
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Odd Folks live a few times here in the Bryan/College Station area. With each show, Odd Folks brings an energetic magnetism to the stage. They don’t shy away from getting the audience involved and make sure you feel like a part of the show. It’s inviting and invigorating all at once with a fresh feel every time. Their punk edge is distinctive yet accessible, and their catchy hooks pull you into their sound. Their debut EP, Monica, is a testament to their songwriting and musical talents and is available for purchase here for $5.
The Rotisserie Chickens
The Rotisserie Chickens are a six piece punk/ska band from Allen, Texas who don’t take themselves too seriously. Their feel good music is infectious and bound to put a smile on your face. Currently working on their second full length studio album, The Chickens are headed back to the BCS area to help ring in the New Year! Their first album, Hung Out To Dry, can be found here. In the meantime, check out their music video for “Can’t Quit Life” that was filmed at the Stafford back in August!
Doors at 8pm/Music at 9pm
Tickets are $10 online and $12 at the door.
Ticket includes appetizers and a champagne toast at midnight.
Get your tickets here!
See you there!
Experiencing Judah & the Lion Live
With Judah & the Lion coming to the Grand Stafford in a few days, I wanted to take some time to write about my experience witnessing the band live a few years ago. Regarded as one of Nashville’s most genre bending bands, the folk-hop group is four releases deep into their promising career. Their debut album ‘Kids These Days’ brought the band it’s recognition, charting as high as number 4 on the Billboard Folk charts.
With the band’s second full-length album, ‘Folk Hop N Roll’, it is clear to see exactly where the members influences overlap. Frontman Judah Akers, along with drummer Spencer Cross, mandolin player Brian McDonald, and banjo wiz Nate Zuercher, have created a wide ranging sound, with fuzz bass, hip-hop percussion, distorted banjo riffs, and super sized melodies, all put together into one great album.
In the summer of 2014, I was working at a Christian Summer Camp called Laity Lodge Youth Camp as a camp counselor. The camp is set on the Frio River deep in the hill country of Texas, Southwest of San Antonio and Kerville. Before campers arrive, the staff spends a week getting trained and getting the chance to know each other. At the end of the week, the camp directors surprised the entire 350 member staff with a private concert in our pavilion on the camp grounds. That summer, they had scored Judah & the Lion for the show.
Prior to the concert, I had never heard of the band before, because they were just on the verge of their up and becoming breakthrough. Several of my friends on staff had heard of them and had a lot of good things to say about the band, with a lot of comparisons to Mumford and Sons, but more upbeat and faster paced. I had never gone into a concert before where I had no idea what the performer sounded like, didn’t know any of the songs, or really what to expect at all.
Let met tell you, I was blown away. Set against the backdrop of the river canyon wall, Judah & the Lion put on my favorite live performance I have ever seen. The concert was phenomenal, with an abundance of catchy songs that had me singing and dancing along after hearing the chorus only one time! Songs like ‘Kickin’ da Leaves’, and ‘Rich Kids’ proved to me just why the band was rising up the charts so fast.
What really sold me and made the experience one of kind was the band’s crowd interaction. At camp, one of the running jokes is to play Creed or Nickleback whenever the chance arises. The band had just performed a cover of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself” that sent the entire camp staff into a frenzy and awe. We began chanting for them to perform a Creed Cover or a Nickleback cover. Low and behold, they did, and Judah Akers, the lead singer, did a spot on replication of vocals to ‘With Arms Wide Open’ and ‘Photograph’. Those performances blew the roof off of the pavilion and sent the entire staff and I into a state of pure hype and joy. This all culminated into a rap battle with one of the camp counselors and the band.
It’s safe to say that no other concert experience I can ever have will come even close to the craziness and spontaneity that Judah and the Lion exuded that night. I know I can’t wait to experience the band perform at the Stafford in a few days, and you can be sure to find me front and center enjoying what is sure to be a fantastic show.
Judah & the Lion is set to take the Stafford stage live, on November 3rd. Tickets are still on sale for $15 in advance and $17 at the door. The doors open at 8:00pm and the music starts at 9:00pm. Special meet and greet options as well as early entrant and an acoustic performance pre-show options are available here.
We’ll see y’all there!
TMP Top Pick Songwriter Contest Preliminary Round Review
I recently had the pleasure to attend the preliminary round of Texas Music Pickers, Top Pick Songwriter Contest, and I just have one word to summarize the show. “Wow!”. The talent of the performers was astounding! I felt like I was watching American Idol play out right in front of me and that I got to know each contestant personally, and continued to follow them along their journey. It was a live music experience I have never really witnessed before, and it is sure to be one I will never forget.
This was the second annual TMP Top Pick contest hosted at the Grand Stafford. In the preliminary rounds, hosted this past Saturday, 24 singer/songwriters took the stage to compete against each other in a competition that was judged based on vocal ability, songwriting ability, and instrumental ability. For each round, their were 3 guest judges who tallied up the 3 categories into one score, as well as an audience vote for their personal favorite that would be added to their final score. The top 12 scoring contestants would be selected to move on to the Final Round coming up on October 21st.
The talent was ridiculous and the cuts were brutal, with very deserving contestants not quite making it to the top 12. It wasn’t that the choices that were made were undeserving or the wrong choices, it’s just that the level of talent was so good, that in my mind, it was an impossible decision to make on who to put through to the final round.
No cut was more brutal in my mind, then one of my personal favorite contestants, Chrissy Phillips (pictured above) not being chosen to move on. Chrissy was one of the first contestants to perform and she set the bar so high, especially with her personal, heartfelt, original song “Leaving Girl”. She had beautiful range to her voice, with her glory notes literally leaving me chilled to the bone, with goosebumps covering my arms. She’s one that stood out above the rest, so I was definitely displeased when her name wasn’t called to advance to the final round.
For the most part though, most of my personal favorite contestants did indeed make it through to the next round, which makes me believe I could’ve done a good job at being a judge as well! Wishful thinking, right? The perfect example of this result was Jefferson Clay (pictured above). Maybe my favorite in the whole competition, Jefferson blew me away. In a contest full of predominantly country songwriters, I got more of an indie/acoustic vibe from Jefferson, and I was totally digging it. His original songs, “San Francisco” and “The Tide” were such a change of pace from the style of the previous contestants. I will freely admit, that I have been listening to them non-stop the past few days!
I left the show very happy and content with all the music I had heard that night. I always enjoy getting to experience a new artist and some new music so this event was the perfect place for. Getting to hear 24 unique songwriters share their stories through their music is something I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I know I’ve cleared my schedule for Friday, October 21st to witness the Final Round go down, and see which artist comes out on top.
What’s at stake in this final round? The winner takes home the grand prize of $750 cash, the opening slot to the Dirty River Boys show at the Grand Stafford on 11/19, a recorded single from Hilltrax Studios, and song writing sessions with award winning singer/songwriters, Toney Ramey, Drew Womack, and Walt Wilkins. In the music industry today, this kind of prize is priceless and the value of it goes beyond the monetary gain. The knowledge and experience gained from receiving this prize could potentially help the winning artist make or break it in the industry.
So come on out and join me for the Final Round of TMP’s Top pick Songwriter Contest! Tickets are on sale now for $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased here. Doors open at 7pm with the show starting at 8pm. See y’all there!
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