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!

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Odd Folks

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.

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The Rotisserie Chickens 

the chickensThe 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!

Wine Pairings for the Holidays

Choosing an appropriate wine to serve alongside Thanksgiving dinner is always a difficult choice. Provided is a short guideline to make life a little easier.

Tipsy Turkey

Hors D’oeuvres

Offering your guests a small snack and refreshing beverage as they arrive not only makes them feel welcome, it also buys you time to put the finishing touches on your holiday meal. I suggest pairing a simple cheese plate with crackers and seasonal fruit with something light and white, like a sparkling wine. While many people serve sparkling wines with dessert courses, the tiny bubbles awaken the palate and give the entire affair a festive atmosphere.

The Main Event

There are many theories behind which wine best pairs with a great Thanksgiving meal. Going into them would take too long, so I’ll break it down between red wines and white wines. I suggest having one of each kind handy, as everyone has different preferences.

Firstly, whites: a dry Riesling is wonderful for Thanksgiving, as its crisp acidity cuts through the heaviness of the meal while its fruit-forward tones are a crowd-pleaser. A Chardonnay will also fit the bill, whether it’s oaked or un-oaked. Oaked Chardonnays will compliment all the creamy flavors on the table, while un-oaked Chardonnays will act similarly to a Riesling, but without the inherent sweetness.

For red wines, a Pinot Noir with its light-bodied approachability pairs wonderfully with turkey, without the heavy-handed flavors of a Cabernet or Merlot to mask the poultry you’ve worked all day to perfect. Another great option is a Zinfandel, as its lower tannin levels help moisten even the driest turkey, while its spicy flavors compliment all the bold side dishes.

Dessert: Pumpkin & Pecan Pies

Here’s the most surprising part of the meal: the best wine to pair with pumpkin and pecan pies is actually a beer! A Belgian style beer such as a saison or a tripel ale has enough bubbles to lighten the heavy pie and interesting spice notes to complement your baking. The juxtaposition of sweet and bitter flavors is also an interesting experience for your guests’ palates. For those averse to beers, a hard apple cider is a great choice, as long as its served ice cold.

Thanksgiving Beer

Remember: Your guests are one of the things to be most thankful for, so be sure to offer nonalcoholic options, such as tea and coffee, to ensure they get home safely!

 

Always Thankful for Our Customers,

The Bar at Grand Stafford Theater

Experiencing Judah & the Lion Live

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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.



 

Judah at camp


 

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.


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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

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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.

IMG_5928No 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.

IMG_5936For 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!

Interview with the Landon Evans Band

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Last week I got the opportunity to meet with Landon and Josh, two members of the Landon Evans Band, at the Dixie Chicken. We talked music, A&M, and their performance coming up at the Grand Stafford Theater for First Friday.

I wanted to share, in a paraphrased, interview format, all that they had to share.


“How did you guys all meet and get your start as the Landon Evans Band?”

Landon went on to describe the unique path the band has taken to get to where they are today. Starting with himself, Landon’s career in music has been a fairly recent one. He didn’t start playing guitar until he was 17 and didn’t actually perform for anyone until he was a freshman in college. They encouraged him to reach out and play for bigger audiences and from there his success happened quickly and unexpectedly. Landon went on to describe how the original band was a 4 piece but is now a 5 piece band. In addition, over 20 people have been in the band before! Of the current members, Landon and Sam have been in the band the longest. Josh later joined the band through Sam but had heard of the band before through prior shows and running merchandise for them. Robert and Eric are the newest band members, joining about 3 months ago.

“I noticed the band has a lot of A&M and B/CS references in the song lyrics. Is the songwriting process mostly a reflection of your experiences here at A&M?” 

Landon explained how he is the main lyricist for the Landon Evans Band. He said although the lyrics are somewhat a reflection on his experiences, he wants the songs to be “relatable and identifiable for everyone.” The songs use a lot of local and Aggie references so audiences in the B/CS area and even Aggies across Texas can enjoy the music even more. Additionally, while some of the lyrics are a narrative of Landon’s personal experiences, he draws some inspiration from the lives of his friends, as well. The stories his friends will describe to him sometimes help with ideas for lyrics and Landon uses them as inspiration. Something Landon said that I particularly was intrigued by was that “songwriting can be like a dreaming…you get the opportunity to live another life through the lyrics.”

“Are you guys currently working on a new album?” 

Landon and Josh said they are in the process of getting a new album started right now! They are currently working to raise the money and find a studio that’ll help them record. For their first album, the Tate Music Group paid for production of their album for them. They enjoyed the sound and young energy the Landon Evans Band brought so they offered the band an opportunity to come to Oklahoma for 4 days and record an album. The band has done a lot of reflecting on this experience and knows how they want the process to go in order to get their second album made and out for audiences to hear. Additionally, Landon and Josh added that they are considering re-doing some of the songs off their first album plus adding new songs for album #2.

“Since most of you are students, what do future plans look like for the band post-graduation?”

Landon starts out by saying he “wants to give the band to have the best chance to be successful.” He is working hard to make the band grow and find new opportunities for them but isn’t too quick to put all his eggs in one basket. Personally, he thinks the next album will help determine the future of the band. Lastly, him and Josh agree that no matter what happens, all the members of the band plan on continuing their involvement with music and the music industry.

“What feelings do have towards playing at GST for First Friday?! Nervous? Excited?”

If you didn’t already know, the Landon Evans Band has played at the Grand Stafford before where they opened for country artist, Kim Dunn. Landon and Josh express how they’re very excited to play at GST as it’s always a different kind of crowd that really appreciates the music. They’ve played in many dance halls before or for audiences that like hearing covers of old, 80s country songs. They enjoy the Stafford because it’s a diverse crowd but everyone in the audience is there for the music and lyrics.

“What can new listeners expect from not only your performance at First Friday, but from your music as a whole?”

Landon says expect to hear some real country music. Their sound is not what you’d hear when you turn on the Top 40 Country radio station, it’s a more old-fashioned, honky-tonk sound. What makes their sound particularly unique is the energy they bring to a traditional music genre. They added that while it’s difficult to evaluate their own music, they’ve typically heard listeners compare their sound to Jason Boland and Max Stallings.


It was great to meet with Landon and Josh of the Landon Evans Band! Through listening to them talk and describe the band, you can easily sense how humbled they are for this journey. They genuinely enjoy performing and care about the audience and what they want to hear. You all are going to love listening to this band!

Make sure to come to the Grand Stafford Theater this Friday, October 7th, for a FREE performance from the Landon Evans Band and openers The New Offenders and The Cover Letter. Doors open at 7pm and the music starts at 8pm. Click here for more details.

 

Interview with John Krajicek of Leavenworth

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Recently, I got the opportunity to interview John Krajicek, the lead singer of Leavenworth, and ask some questions about his band and their upcoming debut album.


 

·        You’ve been a part of Texas A&M’s faculty since 1996. Tell me about what your role is?

I am an Executive Professor in Mays Business School, where I serve as Communications coach for MBAs and other Masters students. I teach and coach public speaking, professional presence, self-awareness, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, etc. Performing music is, of course, much different than delivering a business presentation, but it’s also surprising how much they have in common. For example, to perform well in both it is of course critical to be really well prepared, but at the same time, once the lights go on so to speak, you need to stay in the moment at all times. Be here now. Fully engaged in each moment.

·        How did the band start?

After having played in many bands over the years, including a few bluegrass bands, I just came to a point where it was time for me to start a project that was what I really wanted to do. Not that I regret any of those previous bands. I learned a lot and made some very good friends through those projects. But in most of those situations, I wasn’t playing the kind of music that is where I really LIVE musically. I’m not getting any younger, and it was just time. Time to put together a band that felt like coming home to me. And man, did I get lucky. Leavenworth started as a solo project, because I wasn’t sure I would be able to find the right guys. But I was amazed how quickly I did find these guys. Thank you, Craigslist!

·        Where did the name Leavenworth come from?

I was born in Leavenworth, Kansas. And as I said before, this project represents to me a kind of coming home, thus the name. And by the way, it was a bit odd living in Leavenworth as a young kid. The Federal prison there is very present, and I recall as a little kid wondering if I would ever encounter any escaped prisoners. Pretty heavy stuff for a 5 year old.

·        Tell me about what inspires/influences you musically and lyrically?

Well, we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and like everyone I am heavily influenced by a lot of artists. Beginning with The Beatles (specifically John Lennon) and Bob Dylan. But through the years, bands such as REM, Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Centro-matic, and more recently, bands like the Water Liars, Wiretree, and The Head and the Heart influence me musically. But I’m probably influenced by musicians from other genres as well, just through listening to them for so many hours. Artists like Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Jaco Pastorius to David Rawlings, Gillian Welch, and Townes Van Zandt. This is a bit of a stretch, but I am also a painter, and I suspect that my favorite painters have influenced my songwriting in some ways (Pollock, De Kooning, Klee, Miro, Joan Mitchell). When we give ourselves over to the creative process, who knows what influences us from our memories and experiences? When you’ve spent hours listening to a Miles Davis record, even if you don’t play jazz, how can that experience not influence you in some way?

Lyrically, it is important to me to write from a place of integrity. Of honesty. For me, that means avoiding the clichés that we so often see. I mean, how many times can you use rhymes such as senoritas and margaritas? I’m not really knocking that sort of thing. I’m just saying it isn’t me. I prefer to write from my own actual experience and my own actual memories. So, a lot of what I write about is family and friends. The actual, real experiences that I have had with the actual people who I love and who love me. The deep moments (such as my parents’ deaths) and the more mundane moments that somehow become strong memories.

·        What is your songwriting process like?

Wordsworth said “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” That feels pretty right for me. Because I do prefer to write from my own experience, that means drawing heavily on my memories. But we know our memory isn’t particularly reliable. That in itself is really fascinating to me. So, for example, one of the songs on the new record – “Occurs to Me” – involves memories of me being a kid in Leavenworth, Kansas. The chorus of that song goes “If memory serves me / unfaithful servant /  whatever occurs to me /  is all I can see.” Or another lyric of mine asks “Is it memory / or must’ve been?”

What I’m getting at is that I sometimes take the consciously postmodern approach of writing about something in the past while simultaneously writing about the process of remembering. There is no doubt that, to some extent, we construct what happened in the past. Of course, the older I get, the more I think we actually construct the present as well, but that’s another kettle of fish.

Anyway, the practical process of my songwriting process varies. Sometimes I have a chord progression that I’ve found and I work it and work it until a melody starts showing itself. Sometimes the melody comes first. I have even written songs in my sleep! I have literally woke up with a tune in my head, and sometimes even lyrics to go with that melody, and my job is to write down or record that gift before it slips away. But all the songs develop as you play them over and over again. It almost feels like what I’ve heard sculptors say, that they scrap away what doesn’t belong in order to find the figure that is trapped within the medium. Sometimes it feels that way. As if I am not just making up the song, but rather discovering it, learning it, finding it.

·        If you were to tell a new listener about the new record, how would you describe it?

Well, I’m pretty biased, but I think it is a really good record! One thing that would become obvious immediately to a listener is the variety. We certainly have our own sound, but one characteristic of that sound IS variety. Much of what we do I suppose you could call Alt Folk Rock. But that label doesn’t really get it. In fact, some of the songs are a little bit country, some rock pretty hard, and some have a more poppy feel. One song, the closer on the record (Hibernation) has a sort’ve Wilco-esque Kraut rock foundation, with an extended swirling guitar solo around it. So yeah, a lot of variety.

Lyrically it varies as well. We range from lighter, poppy moments to heavy reflections of the past. Even a few fun, silly moments, such as our song “Birds of North America,” which is basically an extended litany of bird names and things associates with birds. But then another more serious song, “Ridgelines (too many),” imagines a Confederate soldier walking home from the Civil War, and the song is delivered from his point of view. So again, a lot of variety. And we’re very proud of this variety, and we think people will dig it.

·        What are you most excited/nervous about the release of your first album and playing at the Stafford?

No, not nervous. But very excited. When you launch something like this into the world, there is always that anticipation of what people will make of it. But I mainly feel like this CD and show is the culmination of many years of songwriting, performing, playing in bands… it’s kind of a big deal for us, and we’re thrilled that it is at the Stafford, our favorite (and the best) venue in town. But we’re also already looking forward to the next record. It’s interesting how much you learn about your bandmates (and yourself) making a record. When you finish, it’s not that you wish you could go back and rerecord things now that you have a better feel for each other and the songs, but you do very quickly start looking forward to the next one. And we have 5 or 6 songs pretty much ready to record, and 4 or 5 more that we will complete soon. So, as much as this is a wonderful moment that we will enjoy and cherish, on “Monday morning” we’ll keep pressing forward. I love the process of creating. I love the process of collaborating what I’ve created to make it better. And I love performing. So we look forward to more of that after this first record. It’s just the beginning…

 


Come Check out John and the rest of the guys in Leavenworth on September 24th at the Stafford, as they mark the release of their new debut album “All Despite Biology”. Special guest appearance by Adam Mikeal of the Brazos Symphony, who will join Leavenworth on one of their songs. Openers for the show are Americana artists Ben Ballinger and Chris Longoria Gonzales. Doors open at 7pm with music starting at 8pm. Tickets are $5 at the door or online in advance.

 

Artist Spotlight: Tow’rs & Seryn

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Tow’rs who originally were a group of strangers who came together from a deep love of music & storytelling have become not only a band but a family. They encourage their fans to join their family by sharing in the conversation that their music begins and grow with them as they tour the country.

Each Tow’rs song takes you on a journey. They share a piece of their heart with every song as they wander through questions that haunt them, pains that mark them, and the hope that redefines them. Blending light folk with their southwest background while also incorporating male and female voices makes for a unique sound.

‘Belly of the Deepest Love’ is my personal favorite of all the Tow’rs songs. The harmony between the varying male & female voices throughout create a soft and romantic vibe to the song. The prominent drum in the background created the folk sound to the song and during the chorus, the drums speed up making it a catchier tune.

 

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Many people know Seryn since their song, ‘We Will All Be Changed’ became regionally known as well as their high-energy live shows. Especially since they were from Denton, I heard a lot about them being in another suburb of Dallas. Denton is known for their “hipster” culture with house shows showcasing new bands every night of the week. However, since 2011, Seryn has gone through some major changes, from a move to Nashville to becoming independent.

After touring and re-establishing themselves, Seryn released their Sophomore album ‘Shadow Shows’. You can hear the growth in the band as they have become stronger through the years of being together and experiencing life. Each of them bottled up exactly how they felt at the highs and lows, and created an album. Seryn stuck with their indie-folk background fueled by Americana beats. Again, I love the harmonies between the male and female voices, and Seryn does just that. ‘Paths’ is my favorite of the new album. It makes you reevaluate your life choices- if you’re still stuck in life and waiting for a sign for you to do something then you’re not living.

 

Come check out both of these artists on Sunday, 9/18 at the Stafford! This is definitely a once in a lifetime combination  & you don’t want to miss it. Tickets are $8 in advance & $12 at the door.

Seryn and Tow’rs

 

A Night of Music with Sean McConnell and Ryan Scott Travis

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Sean McConnell, a distinctive songwriter who has honed his craft, is an artist on the verge of a mainstream breakthrough. Coming as no surprise to his devoted fans, his recently released self titled album has him primed for the big leagues. The album is chock-full of grass-root, vividly written, and effortlessly catchy songs that are sure to get the audience dancing and singing along.

His love for music and songwriting comes from his parents who have been his musical influences for as long as he can remember. His mom was a singer and his dad was a guitar player and songwriter. They would play in coffeehouses and bring him along with them. By the age of ten he had picked up the guitar and began writing his own songs.

He released his first album “Faces” in the 2000, when he was just 15 years old. Since, he has released over 5 other albums and EPs that have garnered him the devoted fan base he has now. His latest release of his self titled album, has a different feel to it though. It’s a record full of personal stories that are honest and understated in writing.

I really like how distinct Sean McConnell is as an artist. He has his own unique sound and style of writing that is really hard to come by these days. After listening to a few of his songs, I felt like I knew him personally, which speaks to how genuine and honest he is with his songwriting. Songs such as “Holy Days” and “Bottom of the Sea”, which both have attention grabbing opening verses that have a very anthem like sound, are definitely some of my favorites and he has made a fan out of me.


 

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Joining Sean McConnell on September 16th, will be Country-Americana artist, Ryan Scott Travis. Fresh off the release of his debut album “The Guadalupe Breakdown” back in December of 2015, Travis is drawing comparisons to artists like the Eagles and Guy Clark.

Rearing from the Texas Hill Country, Travis has a timeless sound and a unique take on vintage country that is sure to have you tapping your feet along in approval.


 

You can see these two up-and-coming artists live at the Grand Stafford Theater on September 16th. Doors open at 7:00pm and the show starts at 8:00pm. Get your tickets now here for only $12 or $15 at the door.

Artist Spotlight: Matt Wertz with CAPPA and Aaron Krause

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Matt Wertz, self-made singer/songwriter, is an artist you can’t help but admire as he strives to push himself out of his comfort zone. His love for music started to flourish in his college years and his ambitions ended up pushing him to Nashville post-graduation where his fan base began to grow. He went from performing at Young Life camps with only one album under his belt, to touring with huge artists such as Jason Mraz, Ben Rector, Maroon 5, Parachute, and Gavin Degraw.

What I thought was especially interesting about Matt, is that after over a decade of producing albums with a sort of acoustic but pop feel, he decides to mix it up. He quotes that, “I realized I’d been making records in the same geographic area, and I wanted to get away from that comfort zone. I personally was needing a fresh approach….L.A. is very much about what’s happening now. I wanted to see how my music fit into that space.”

After several months writing songs in L.A., Matt is proud to bring his fans his new album “Gun Shy”. In this album he mixes the pop sounds he’s used to with his prior work, to synthesized R&B beats that bring a sound that sounds both old and nostalgic at the same time. This album will grab your attention both physically with the dance beat rhythms and emotionally with his lyrics that speak of love and new possibility.


 

Joining Matt Wertz on September 14th, will be young electronic/pop artist, CAPPA. Also calling Nashville her home, CAPPA has been making music since 2009 with her first album, “You Never Got Me”. A couple years later she started moving from just pop to a slightly more electronic pop sound with “My Heart is Beating Again”.

Like Matt, she has moved in a new direction with the release of her new debut EP out last spring. Fan favorite was the song, “Hush” feat. Almighty Chief. If you like girl powerhouse acts such as HAIM, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Halsey, then you’re going to love CAPPA!

You can look forward to the release of her newest EP, “Queen of Hearts” available on Sept. 16th.


 

Also on tour with Matt Wertz is pop singer/songwriter Aaron Krause. Aaron is not only a talented singer but a multi-instrumentalist and producer, as well.

His most recent EP, “Jade” has the synth-pop style of artists like M83 and The Weeknd and his new single “Thinking Bout You” comes out September 23rd.

Aaron quotes, “I love music that’s so vivid, you can almost see things when you listen. Music that takes you somewhere. Music that can really move you.”

 

You can see these three emerging artists live at the Grand Stafford Theater on September 14th. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm. Get your tickets now here for only $16.

Sangria – The Force Awakens

As summer begins its slow descent into autumn, it’s easy to fall swiftly out of love with your favorite summer drink. You’ve sipped on about as many margaritas as you can handle and you’re looking for something different.
What you’re looking for is sangria – a cocktail that’s easy, inexpensive, and can transition from summer into fall with zero effort.

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Sangria, like all cocktails, involves simple ingredients mixed in optimal ratios: wine, sliced fruit, and a mixer or two. Add some time for the flavors to combine, and you’ll have a crowd-pleasing drink that tastes like you took real effort to create it, even if you threw it together after having a couple glasses of wine yourself.

Here’s the difficult part: The optimal ratio is what tastes good to you, so you need to pour slowly and taste often. Taste constantly. Taste until you’re sure it’s just right. Taste it.

The less difficult part is finding the right wine – Choose something mid-priced; a wine that you’d serve with dinner on a weeknight, but wouldn’t necessarily use to celebrate a special occasion.


Tropical White Sangria

Starfruit Sangria

Hardware:
Pitcher
Spoon

Software:
1 Bottle Sauvignon Blanc
Sliced fruit, such as starfruit, oranges, and limes
Pineapple juice
Mango nectar
Grapefruit soda (Fresca)
Passion Fruit liqueur (Alize)
Ice

User Guide:
Pour one bottle of Sauvignon Blanc into a large pitcher; add 2 oz of Alize passion fruit liqueur and sliced fruit. Stir, then taste. Begin adding in fruit juice a few ounces at a time. Taste. Taste again. Do not let it get too sweet, as you’ll be adding soda as well. If you’re serving later, cover and refrigerate overnight. If you’re serving immediately, add ice and top with Fresca grapefruit soda. Taste.

 


 

Cheers!

The Bar at Grand Stafford Theater

 

Image Credits:

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