ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: KYLE COOK

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The headliner for Thursday evening’s show will be our Musician in Residence, Kyle Cook. Cook is a Texas A&M student – and Corps Cadet – with one of the most beautiful of voices one would ever hear. His voice has the tendency to make the audience sink in their seats and stop breathing in hopes to not miss a single note. It is the passion, vulnerability, and strength behind his voice that which causes hush among crowds and beckons them to listen to his story. The passion with which he performs makes one believe the stories he tells and plants a desire to hear more. His EP “Unworthy” describes a relationship between man and God through asking questions and singing praises that boldly reveal a human heart chasing after his creator. Having known this guy for a few years now, his lyrics express the true depth of his consistent character that which is one sincerely seeking the heart of the Lord.

The Stafford is so excited to have you all experience this talented young man and hear the incredible gift he’s been given. If you haven’t bought your tickets, click here. See you Thursday at 8 PM!

Artist Spotlight: Josh Ward

Josh Ward‘s sound, in a word, is nostalgic. Thursday night, the Grand Stafford Theater will be hosting Country’s salvation with this up-and-coming Texas artist.

Josh WardWith the inspiration and influence of legends such as George Strait and Willie Nelson, Josh is likely to bring back what Country has been missing for years now – its roots. His stories reveal an obvious connection to the heritage, singing about his experiences in relationships and tilling the land. His tales about love, heartbreak, and hard work – and whiskey – are relatable and comforting, an ability that classic Country has the unique power to do. In songs such as “Sent Me You” and “Together,” Josh exposes his heart as he sings about the trials that life holds and the beauty of relationships in the midst of the hardship by describing the faith and hope that love has to offer. He is bound to swoon and captivate you with his smooth, yet gritty, twang and powerful vocals which give an unspoken validation to his stories and his background, besides the fact that he’s a seasoned outdoorsman and sponsored fisherman. Country music can untuck its shirt and finally breathe a heavy sigh of relief knowing that a musician has come to revive the spirit and energy of its origins with the sweet strum of the guitar and a voice that’s empathic to the genre’s soul.

Come out and experience this Country man’s talent, and be refreshed by his original voice and classic sound. If you’d like to check out Mr. Ward before the show, click here to listen to our exclusive Spotify playlist. And if you haven’t bought your ticket yet, click here. See y’all at 8 PM!

Artist Spotlight: Ryan Scott Travis, Colin Leonard, & Kyle Cook

Ryan Scott Travis. Only a name such as this can carry the weight of the raw talent that this young man bears. His voice tolls like somber bells with clarity and boldness heard through his strong vocals and gritty sound.

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His southern origins reveal themselves through his light twang and the lap slide guitar picking that mixes beautifully with the folky sound of the cello. It paints pictures of countryside landscapes and smells of cedar traced with nostalgia. His lyrics offer honesty and easiness to the ears of his growing audience with words that present insight on the simplicity of life that are parallel with the understanding of hardship. His focus remains on what good there is to be seen, learned, and understood aside the reality of suffering. It has been said that his sound is a mixture of Guy Clark and The Eagles, but I would also like to note that Travis has a similar affect as Jack Johnson. Just as Johnson puts you at ease, lifts your spirits, and touches on the human experience, as does Ryan Scott Travis, only on a different coast. With his journey having only just begun, – his first EP “Beauty Learns a Thing” released in 2014 – Travis has a promising road ahead as he frontiers the soundscape of country-folk with his latest full length release “The Guadalupe Breakdown”. We are very excited to host this up and coming musician and hope you will love him as much as we do.

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Supporting our friend Ryan Scott Travis is none other than Colin Leonard, front man of Atlas Youth. We have seen Leonard’s incredible work as a duo but Wednesday evening we will see the magic in his singularity. With an eerie and smooth vocal, he tells stories in a confessional fashion, similar to Noah Gundersen. It is in Leonard’s choice to sing songs from the heart that leave him in vulnerable positions. Yet in this leap of faith, this vulnerability earns him the trust of listeners thus securing loyal followers. This power to harness the rare quality of relating to listeners by way of transparency is a gift that only a few have mastered – one of them being Taylor Swift. We love having this young man on our stage and are continually refreshed by the grace of his voice. Check out his EP “Valleys” in 2014 here.

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The opener for Wednesday evening will be our Musician in Residence, Kyle Cook. Kyle is a Texas A&M student and Corps Cadet with the sweetest of voices you’ll ever hear. He has a tendency to make you sink in your chair and stop breathing with the sound of his voice, in hopes to not miss a single note. The passion with which he performs makes you believe the stories he tells and desire to hear more. His EP “Unworthy” describes a relationship between man and God through asking questions and singing praises that boldly reveal a human heart chasing after his creator. We’re pumped to have you all experience this talented young man.

Come along and bring your friends Wednesday evening at 8 PM to enjoy the solemn weather from inside. Get your tickets here and check out their exclusive Grand Stafford Spotify playlist here.

First Friday with The Rotisserie Chickens & Aaron Stephens

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The Rotisserie Chickens bring the funk to every stage they take. This ska band from Dallas is made up of six confident musicians from backgrounds ranging in rock metal, indie folk, and the marching band. With Michael Grover on vocals, Bradley Hastings on trumpet, Alek Walker on guitar, Colin Holmes on bass, Graham Houpt on trombone, and Derrick Fickle on drums, this crew truly gets down in the most eclectic form. Ska, celebrating the upbeat combination of Caribbean mento and American blues and jazz, is the kind of music you bounce, jump, and dance to; and even then, The Rotisserie Chickens exceed this joyful expectation. While experiencing their performance, childlike reactions to jump and sing and to smile stupidly well up from your most primal motor functions causing you to realize the power that music has upon the mind, body, and soul – speaking on behalf of a friend, of course. Either way, The Rotisserie Chickens will spunk up your night and leave you feeling affirmed in your inner, vibrant youth. Check out their album “Hung Out to Dry” (2015) here.

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Aaron Stephens is a soul, singer/songwriter creating from a transparent heart. His music is nostalgic for a simpler time yet carries the reality of today’s struggles. With his first full length album “Hard Times Straight Lines” debuting in 2014, he has initiated a legacy to carry him throughout his career by way of his sweetly aged sound and modern take on the human soul. Stephens is one of a kind, a rare jewel, and has worked very, very hard and sacrificed much to achieve all that he has done, and this can be heard in his music. I have found him to be a beautifully weathered sojourner, having trekked through the peaks and valleys that life allots, eager to learn and know so that he may express his wisdom through story telling and song. Basically, Aaron Stephens is the music you want to listen to on vinyl while drinking coffee and contemplating the meaning of life – in the most non-emo way, of course.

So, to prepare your souls for a night of funk and story telling, click here to listen to a sneak preview of our FREE First Friday show on our exclusive Spotify playlist. The doors open at 7 PM and show begins at 7:30 PM, you’re guaranteed to dig it.

Texas Music Pickers Presents Josh Grider, Drew Kennedy, and Sarah Olivia Buss

Texas Music Pickers does it again! With this line-up debuting on Friday night featuring the Red Dirt music’s sensation Josh Grider, the groundbreaking singer/songwriter Drew Kennedy, and Country’s new up and coming artist Sarah Olivia Buss, there is no doubt it will be a night to remember. 

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After listening to Josh Grider’s albums and conducting some “extensive” research, it was obvious to hear that Grider is in this for the music. He has been around the Country/Red Dirt music scene for over 10 years now, continuing to succeed and develop a solid credibility in his ability. His nostalgic, classic Country sound seems to be inspired by the combination of Country greats such as Garth Brooks and Billy Currington with a Texas Country way of story telling that’s both relatable and completely unique. He’s been recognized for his talent by appearing at festival gigs, opening for nationally known artists, and for selling over 30,000 copies of his song “Crazy Like You” featured on his album “Million Miles To Go.” Grider’s big break came in 2013 after signing a publishing deal with AMP Entertainment and partnering with Paradigm Talent Agency who became his booking reps. Appearing on a TV show, creating new music, and touring around the U.S., is only the beginning of this Country sensation’s story. I believe he represents what Country is and what it always should be: a hard worker pursuing their dreams, singing from the heart, and willing to risk it all for the gift they were given. The Grand Stafford is excited to hear him play his new stuff (“Brokedown,” 2015), his old stuff (“The Gettin’ There,” 2012), and his older stuff (“Million Miles To Go,” 2007) and notice the consistency in his work and his ability to capture to his audience.

Drew Kennedy is, like I said before, a groundbreaking singer/songwriter. I think to say he is thoughtful is an understatement. This guy has produced 7 albums worth of genuine, pure-hearted music as well as written a novel. So it’s obvious Kennedy has a lot to say, but the depth at which he expresses himself and the standard for which he holds his music to blows me away. After listening to a few of his albums (especially “Fresh Water in the Salton Sea,” 2011), I sat there feeling enlightened and understood. He reaches depths and paints pictures that are both beautiful and complex, asking his listeners to think, to paint along with him. Kennedy’s creation doesn’t end at creating music and writing songs and stories, he has also co-founded the Red River Songwriters’ Festival in Red River, New Mexico. So, keep your eye on our friend Drew, and on his latest album “Sad Songs Happily Played.” Big, beautiful art has already come from this fellow and I can’t even begin to imagine what’s next!

Lastly, the beautiful Sarah Olivia Buss will be opening for these fellas this Friday evening. Gracing us with her distinct and angelic voice, Buss has a talent that is beyond her years. With the angst of Miranda Lambert and power of Carrie Underwood, she combines them to create a sound that is beautiful and rare in an artist her age. Her confidence exudes through her honesty and strong voice making her someone to keep an eye on because this chick definitely has something special.

So come out and join the Stafford in experiencing a night of raw, hardworking talent that expresses the freedom that creating and listening to music can offer! Doors open at 7 PM and the show starts at 8 PM. Buy your tickets here. And listen to a sneak peak of the evening here with the Grand Stafford’s exclusive Texas Music Pickers Spotify playlist

 

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Century Singers of Texas A&M

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On the evening of February 13th at 8:00 PM, the Grand Stafford will be hosting the Century Singers of Texas A&M for a night of melodious celebration and romance. The Century Singers is a talented troupe who represent Texas A&M within the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale as well as entertain alongside Texas A&M Chamber Orchestra to create classic and groundbreaking performances. Originally named New Tradition Singers in 1971 due to being the first co-ed chorus and organization at Texas A&M, they were eventually renamed the Century Singers to honor the 100 years that Texas A&M had been established in 1976. Under the direction of Dr. Eric Posada, the group has traveled both across the country and around the world, as well as annually touring around Texas during the spring to metropolitan cities such as Houston. They have recorded a version of the poem “In Memoriam” written by David Harrigan, which is heard at every Aggie Muster around the world. Amongst the many talented composers, the group has represented and/or sung on behalf of Ola Gjeilo, Johannes Brahms, and Michael John Trotta, who is writing an exclusive piece for the group to debut at Carnegie Hall. The Century Singers will be performing in New York City at Carnegie Hall this upcoming March and thus have prepared an incredible evening for the Bryan/College Station area to benefit their trip to the prestigious venue. 

So, grab your sweetheart and treat them to an enchanting evening of romance and the musical art of the Century Singers while supporting talented students in their endeavor to perform at Carnegie Hall. Purchase your ticket here.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Vox Vocis

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Today’s Artist Spotlight shines upon the Houston-native band, Vox Vocis. Focusing on alternative indie/progressive rock music styles since 2011, the band is made up of Alex Vaquera belting vocals and playing guitar, Alejandro Nunez strumming the bass, and Zachary Burton beating the drums, whom all come together to collaborate, creating a sound that’s both original and enticing. This up and coming band’s sound has been said to be comparable to bands that of Coheed and Cambria and The Receiving End of Sirens. But what makes Vox Vocis unique from the others is their ability to use the art of storytelling to produce a sense of adventure, the band walking side by side with its listeners, as they travel through ballads beckoning for deeper understanding. The mission behind the band’s purpose is expressed through the definition of their name, “vox vocis,” which means “voice of voice,” giving you a peek of the greater picture painted through their lyrics. Each of their albums, “The Winter” (2014) and “In the Arms of the Sun” (2016), tell a tale about independence, Cadence, and finding the music, the voice, within the journey. “In the Arms of the Sun,” being their first full-length album, will be the band’s main focus of the evening’s experience. 

So come on out Wednesday evening to rock out with these boys as well as our friends And Then Suddenly, Luca, Electric Astronaut, and Rogues Among Us and get ready to embark on an adventure you didn’t know you needed. 

Check out the exclusive Spotify playlist here. And then buy your tickets here. See you at the show!

 

A Texas Country Evening With Jake Worthington, Shotgun Rider, and Brad Gomez.

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Our friends at Texas Music Pickers are coming back tomorrow, January 28th, and they’re bringing a great group of artists, Jake Worthington, Shotgun Rider, and Brad Gomez, with them! Jake Worthington is a traditional country artist from La Porte, Texas, who received his first big break on NBC’s show, “The Voice,” when he won runner-up during Season 6 in 2014. While his time on the show, Jake released two songs that reached the Top 20 on Billboard Heatseekers. Following his success on “The Voice,” Jake joined the other finalists on The Voice National Tour, where they played some of the largest venues and arenas in some of the biggest cities in the country. In October 2015, Jake released his debut EP that reached #6 on the Billboard South Central chart.

Performing alongside Jake Worthington is the Country Rock band Shotgun Rider. Reigning from the Texas panhandle, the band is made up of Logan Samford, the band’s lead singer, and Anthony Enriquez, the band’s lead guitarist and the primary songwriter for the group. Joined and completed by an impressive band from the Lubbock area, Shotgun Rider is determined to launch their unique style of Country Rock into the expanding Texas Music scene.

Lastly, one of our local favorites, Brad Gomez, will be supporting this top-notch Texas country evening and will not disappoint. He has performed at the Stafford and at venues all around the Bryan/College Station area and is incredibly talented. We are excited to welcome back this young, gifted artist. So, come on out, crack a cold one, and experience a wonderful Texas Country evening with some of the newest talents in town! Get your tickets here.

P.S. Don’t miss out on this Spotify playlist to give you a little sneak peek on an evening you won’t sure forget!

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN

The Hot Club of Cowtown is an energetic and lively western swing and hot jazz trio that formed in 1997 in the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin, Texas. It was in 1996 when Elana James (vocals/violin) listed a classified ad in the music section of New York’s The Village Voice, seeking to join a band, that the fate of the trio begun to unfold. Whit Smith (vocals/guitar) answered the ad and the pair begun to play music together in New York City. The duo, realizing their potential, moved to Austin to pursue their hot jazz western swing music career where they solidified the group by adding Jake Erwin (vocals/bassist).

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The origin of the band’s name came from the heavy influences of hot jazz, introducing themselves as the “Hot Club,”  and its twist of lively western swing that they gave it the destination of “Cowtown,” hinting at their soulful origins and country vibe. Their first album, The Swingin’ Stampede, debuting in 1998, was mostly made up of covers which sparked the beginning of their recognition, but it was their album Ghost Train, released in 2002, that truly legitimized the band’s potential in original songwriting. In 2003, with their latest album released, Continental Stomp, Hot Club of Cowtown became widely known for their joyful and energetic live performances – described as “an arsenal of technique and joy” (New York Times) – making them a must see experience. The trio continued to tour and produce music until they decided to split in 2005 though rallying together to play occasional gigs. In 2008, they finally realized that their passion to perform could no longer be stifled, so they packed up their bags and began touring and recording again. In 2011, the band released a highly anticipated tribute to the father of western swing, Bob Wills, by covering his album What Makes Bob Holler, which was then followed by their most recent album, Rendezvous in Rhythm, in 2013. The Hot Club of Cowtown’s ability to consistently produce multitudes of quality music has provided them opportunities to tour all over the United States as well as the world. Their talent has also recently won them the “Western Swing Group of the Year 2015” award by the Ameripolitan Music Awards.

It’s a joy and an honor to host this rowdy trio for a night of knee-slapping and good ol’ country fun. So come on out to the Grand Stafford on Monday, December 7th at 8 PM for an unforgettable experience! You can get your tickets here.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: DUNCAN FELLOWS

The Duncan Fellows are a laid-back group of tight-knit friends from Austin, Texas, founded in 2012, who also happen to play in a band. Their name originated when, on a whim, they were asked if they could hustle a group together to perform at a Young Life function. It was at this time that most of the members of the band lived in a house on Duncan Street, so, naturally, the name of the location that consummated their friendships seemed appropriate enough to dub the fellows of the house on Duncan Street the Duncan Fellows12143165_899664166778217_6060161898970727203_nThis indie, folk/rock band – made up of Colin Harman (vocals/guitar), Cullen Trevino (backup vocals/guitar), Margot Stevenson (backup vocals/trumpet/piano), David Stimson (bass), and Tim Hagen (drums) – released their first EP, Twelve Years Older, in 2013 and has recently released their second EP, Marrow, this past May, reaching the #3 spot on the iTunes Best Seller list for Alternative EPs. They have travelled with Austin natives such as the Friendly Savages and Penny & Sparrow and have performed at Austin’s Solstice Music Festival in 2014. The young band has had no problem selling out shows – reaching a wide audience of eclectic individuals – because, alongside their musical talent, they have an incredible sense of inclusiveness in their stage presence. It’s been said that they like to walk through the crowd before shows, meeting fans and making new friends, producing a vibe of just one big hangout session and creating an atmosphere that is both comfortable and relaxed. Something that I’ve noticed in reviews, and in my personal experience with the group, is the consistency of the word “friend,” or some characteristic that is associated with a friend, as a description of who the band is as a whole. I believe that it’s the combination of the group’s folky sound and rare inclusive presence that validates the lyrics to their songs, giving credit to their vulnerability and wonder, especially in the song “Icarus,” that easily makes them friends worth listening to. So, come and experience this group for yourselves. You’re guaranteed to have a good time and maybe even leave with some new Facebook friends!

P.s. I also heard that they will be playing some brand new music just for us!