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:

http://bit.ly/2bTU3QP

http://bit.ly/2c2K92f

Interview with Landon McGee of Moonbeamer

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Recently, I got the opportunity to talk to Landon McGee, one of our past musicians in residence, on his new project, Moonbeamer.

In the past, your main focus was on your solo career, what made you want to start this new collaborative band?

There’s some really good stuff about playing by yourself, mainly the flexibility. I was able to change the plan during live shows based on the crowd and I loved the intimacy of that. The flip side is that it can be really lonely and ultimately limited my creativity. I was looking to start this project for one main reason: the need for community. Music can only go so far when it is alone. The guys in Moonbeamer have different skills sets, have played in different bands, and bringing more people together has been helpful. It has made me rethink and brought out new sounds that I haven’t explored. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I made this shift, I wanted to explore new sounds that I couldn’t do alone.

Have there been any difficulties in adjusting to a new band?

It’s been a fun experience, but there has been stuff I didn’t anticipate. I have written everything up to this point for the band but teaching the songs to the other guys has been hard. Especially teaching on keyboard or drums since I don’t play them. Also, it’s been a fun process to get help to write parts that I would have never thought of. I will have written a folk song and Matt, on the drums, will come back with a samba beat that I would have never put with the song. It pushes everyone to go out of musical comfort zones. Chandler has been my main collaborator and in contrast to me, is a creative writer. I write conventionally, think about boxes and structure. This way of doing it can be bad because I can get stuck and do not have as wide of a range because I am working in lines already established. Chandler’s approach is to be vulnerable and let the music flow. We just jam together and play the music we have written. We help each other with unfinished songs or songs that just aren’t great. Sometimes I feel I missing a spark of unfettered creativity, while Chandler can find musical moments out of thin air.

As a band we have chemistry and that’s exciting because we’ve only just started.

Where did the name Moonbeamer come from?

It’s a secret.

What are your inspirations for both the sound and lyrics you write?

As a songwriter, music and lyrics come from a patchwork of places depending on what I am writing. When I am thinking about lyrics, I am usually writing about something I can connect emotionally to so I can get a center for the song.

As for the sound, we’re going for country/rock/folk vibe. We wanted to take a time machine back to a time when the genres could coexist, like The Eagles or Neil Young.

What are you most excited/nervous about performing for the first time as Moonbeamer at the Stafford?

Nervous since the first time playing the music for a paying audience, but not really worried. I am pumped to get the first run through done. It’ll be fun.

Do you have a date for the release of the album yet?

We are still tracking more songs in the studio, and about to have another round of writing. Currently undecided as what we want the final sound to be so we are still messing around with songs.

 

Come check out Landon and the rest of the guys in Moonbeamer on August 19th at the Stafford! Doors are at 7 PM and tickets are $10 online and $12 at the door.

First Friday with Chapter:SOUL

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If you’re looking for a performance with lots of energy and a big sound, then Chapter:SOUL is the band to see! Chapter:SOUL calls New Orleans, Louisiana home and it’s where the funk/soul band originally came together. Band members are Calvin Johnson, the band leader on saxophone, and famous sousaphonist, Kirk Joseph, accompanied by Kashona Bailey on keys.

Calvin Johnson’s background is one to praise as he’s performed, toured, and recorded with legendary musicians Aaron Neville, Harry Connick Jr., Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to name a few. He comes from a family with extensive musical talent which would, in-part, explain why he fell in love with music. He has a degree in business from the University of New Orleans and is a graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).

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Calvin met Kirk Joseph through touring with Kirk’s band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Kirk played sousaphone for the band and is one of the founding members of the band, as well. It was his conversations with Calvin that led them to want to create their own band; something new and different from the rest of the New Orleans music scene. Kirk is often commended for playing a hug role in establishing the modern New Orleans  jazz band sound that combines traditional jazz and soul influences with a marching band culture.

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If you want to know more about this group, watch this interview with Calvin and Kirk as they discuss their journey creating Chapter:SOUL.

There is something truly unique about this group as they blend old-school horn techniques in a modern style sound. Crowds love watching this trio perform and you’ll have fun listening to their FREE, Friday night concert too! The show is August 5th celebrating the first Friday of the month in the Downtown Bryan celebration. Doors open at 7 PM and the music starts at 8 PM. Come join us!

Artist Spotlight: Max Stalling with Courtney Patton

Country singer/songwriter, Max Stalling, is a native Texan and, even better, a former Aggie. Whoop! While he used to work in the corporate world full time, his love for song writing and performing took over and he eventually became a full time musician instead. His songwriting turned into recording albums and this was so successful that he started touring with a full back-up band. He has a relaxed honky-tonk style sound and receives continuous praise for his imaginative lyrics.

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Max Stalling plays an incredible 150 shows a year and is on his third year of a Budweiser sponsorship. To add to his honors, he has also received a star on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi, Texas.

His most recent album, Home to You (2010) was produced by Grammy winner Lloyd Maines and it earned both a Best Album and Best Male Vocal nomination for the 2011 Lonestar Music Awards. In addition to Home to You, Stalling also has albums Topaz City (2008), Comfort In the Curves (1997), Wide Afternoon (2000), and One of the Ways (2002).


 

Joining Max Stalling at the Grand Stafford will also be soulful country musician, Courtney Patton. She has always been passionate about writing and performing and has been working hard to build a career out of her love of music. Her sound is influenced by her favorite musicians Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard and her lyrics mostly speak about “heartache, longing, and love”.

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Her first record Triggering A Flood (2013) landed her regional buzz and her most recent record So This Is Life (2015) is taking her to new heights. In fact, she has taken tours through the U.S., Europe, and Canada to spread her Texas twang voice.

 

Both of these artists give you that sort of summer-livin’ feel when you hear them sing and seeing them perform makes for a fun night out. We are fortunate enough to have them at the Grand Stafford July 29th at 8pm. To learn more and buy tickets now please click here.

 

Choro Das Três Returns to Grand Stafford Theater!

Choro Das Três  is unique in that they are a family based band from São Paulo, Brazil. Each sister plays a different instrument- Corina on the flute, Lia on the 7-string acoustic guitar, and Elisa who plays a variety of instruments such as the mandolin, piano, clarinet, and banjo. They are joined by their father, Eduardo, who plays the pandeiro.

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What is truly incredible about this group is that they started making music in 2002 when the sisters were only 14, 12, and 9 years old. While they were very young at the time, they found passion in playing Choro-style music, an instrumental music genre that emerged in Brazil in the 19th century. Since then, they have gained so much popularity that they are now recognized professionally at an international level.

In 2002, they played for more than one million people during a performance at Reveillon at Paulista Avenue, a New Years Eve Party in São Paulo. In 2003, the girls of Choro Das Três won the championship at the Adoniran Barbosa Festival, an annual music competition in São Paulo that about 5,000 public schools participated in. In addition to these huge successes, they also had the honor of playing for Brazilian politicians, performing at the São Paulo Governors Palace several times, and performing in concerts and workshops all over Brazil, USA, Mexico, and France.

2008 was a pivotal year for the group with the release of their first CD, Meu Brasil Brasileiro, entirely recorded and produced by the sisters. The CD was released by a major recording company in Brazil and received glowing reviews from music critics for providing a fun way of introducing the public to the world of Choro music. In fact, the album earned the Best Popular Music of 2008 Award, by the Paulista Association of Critics of Art- the first time in 50 years it was given to a group of instrumental music. Since then, they have released four more albums and they have participated in interviews on popular talk shows on TV channels such as Globo, Gazeta, SBT, Rede Vida, Multishow, Globo News.

You can have the opportunity to listen to this internationally successful, family band this Saturday, July 16th at the Grand Stafford Theater. Doors open at 7pm and the show begins at 8pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Buy them now today here!

A Midsummer Night’s Mojito

Welcome to summertime in Texas. At this point, you haven’t stopped sweating since May and the apocalyptic winter foretold by Game of Thrones is sounding more and more appealing. What you need, my friend, is the perfect summer cocktail. A cocktail that’s refreshing without being too sweet, has many variations to keep you interested, and will impress your friends when you make it at a BBQ.

What you need is a mojito.

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Traditional mojitos contain simple ingredients that pack a huge punch of flavor: light rum, lime, mint, sugar, and club soda. Some recipes call for all sorts of tools and muddling, but as busy adults, we don’t always have time for all that. To remedy this, we’ve come up with a straightforward recipe that requires two simple tools: a shot glass and a mason jar.

The No Fail Mojito

Hardware:
1 oz. shot glass
mason jar with lid

Software:
1 oz. light rum
12 mint leaves
5 lime slices
club soda or citrus soda
1/2 oz. simple syrup*
ice

User Guide:
Fill mason jar halfway with ice and add rum, simple syrup, lime slices (squeeze the juice in and then drop the lime slice into the jar), and mint leaves. Top with more ice. Screw on lid and shake vigorously, or until mint and limes are sufficiently agitated. Open lid and top with club soda, if you prefer a less sweet drink, or citrus soda, if you prefer a sweeter drink. Add a straw, if desired.

*Simple syrup – A 1:1 ratio of sugar and water boiled until all sugar is dissolved. Store in a squirt bottle for ultimate convenience. This can be purchased at most grocery stores if you’re not up to getting your stove dirty.

Sure, it’s not as simple as your standard rum & Coke, but I can guarantee you it’s better by a mile. The best part? Mojitos are completely customizable. Try different rums, throw in some fruit, add a splash of fruit juice or fruit nectar, go wild!

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Here are some tried-and-true variations:

Black & Blue Mojito

Add blackberries and blueberries before shaking. Top with sparkling wine instead of club soda.

Coconut Mojito

Add ½ oz of coconut cream (buy the squeezable version from Coco Real – you’ll thank yourself later) before shaking. Swap the light rum out for coconut rum.

Tropical Mojito

Add diced fresh pineapple, mango nectar, and passion fruit nectar before shaking.

For more tips and tricks to throw the best backyard BBQ, click here!

Cheers!

The Bar at Grand Stafford Theater

Image Sources:

Mojitos – http://bit.ly/29bZb24

Coconut Mojito – http://bit.ly/1Y94Uap

First Friday with Jay White & the Blues Commanders and The Haberdashers

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Jay White & the Blues Commanders are no strangers to the Grand Stafford’s stage. Jay White, a seasoned veteran of the music industry has returned to his beginnings in Blues. Jay has traveled the country and played with legends, but returned to his home in Texas for the next chapter, Jay White & the Blues Commanders. Jay White teamed up with John Mills, Allen Huff, and Kevin Hall and immediately began to make soulful music. ‘Jaywalkin’ is the band’s first release with 11 original songs.

During their live set, you can feel the heart and soul that is injected into each song. Jay’s voice captivates the audience with its deep tones and spot on pitch. Dramatic electric guitar solos are a key feature in their songs, creating that traditional blues sound.

 

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The Haberdashers describe themselves as a “ragtag band of five are far more than just well-accessorized seamen (and a seawoman)”. Their spunky attitude translates over to their music. Their sound is distinguished from other folk/Americana songs by the raspy and upbeat vocals of Jaron Kucera. Combined with Emma Kate on mandolin, Patrick Hornbeck on banjo, Erik Buerkle on guitar, and Andy Mirsberger on bass, the whole band comes together to create an explosion of energy.

Their debut EP, ‘The Haberdashers’ contains 6 original songs that have been gaining attention all over.

Come check out both of these talented bands, this Friday for our FREE First Friday event! Doors open at 7 and music begins at 7:30 PM. It’s definitely a night you won’t want to miss!

Artist Spotlight: Stu Hamm


Stu Hamm has made a name for himself as one of the most prominent bassists of the past half-century due to his experimental techniques of slapping, two-handed tapping, and popping. He gained national recognition after performing alongside influential guitarists Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. While collaborating with other musicians, Stu Hamm released four critically acclaimed albums highlighting his skills in playing the electric bass as a lead instrument. He not only shaped the contemporary view of the bass guitar through his style of playing, but he also helped design a line of bass guitars with Fender through his Stu Hamm Electric Bass series, modeled after his Washburn.

To further push the change for the electric bass to stand on its own as an instrument, Stu Hamm released a series of instructional videos and began touring as one of the world’s leading bass clinicians. He later became the Director of Bass Programs at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, California and began teaching introductory courses through TrueFire.com called Bass Basics. Through multiple magazine polls and major print publications, Hamm has been voted “Best Jazz Bassist” and “Best Rock Bassist” throughout the years. While having stunned audiences across the world with his incredible talents, Hamm continues his journey by headlining a tour to play his greatest rock hits along with Kim Sehwang and Jeff Bowders.
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Stu Hamm will be performing at the Grand Stafford Theater on Monday, June 27. The show will begin at 8 with doors opening at 7. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to see this electric bass icon!

Purchase tickets here.

KEOS LoneStar Music Series Presents Walt Wilkins & Tina Mitchell Wilkins with Ben Morris & the Great American Boxcar Chorus

KEOS 89.1 FM is a popular community radio station for the Brazos Valley. Each year, they host an event called the LoneStar Music Series that celebrates community and Texas music. The concert series not only aims to unite the community together through music, but also to educate the public about Texas-based musicians, singers, and songwriters. Last year, the Lone Start Music Series featured artists Sam Baker, Carrie Elkins, and Chip Dolan. This year, they are proud to bring Walt Wilkins, Tina Mitchell Wilkins, and Ben Morris and the Great American Boxcar Chorus to the Grand Stafford Theater and we are excited to have them! Additionally, this concert will celebrate the end of KEOS’s pledge drive by giving the option for donations to be made when purchasing tickets for this event.

Here is a little more information on the exciting music you can expect to see at this event:

Walt Wilkins is a well-known singer, writer, and producer of country and blue grass music. He has impressed audiences not only as an independent artist, but with band, The Mystiqueros ,and his wife, Tina Mitchell Wilkins. Wilkins is a natural songwriter and many people are impressed with his honest and personable lyrics. Wilkin says “I write about life because I am inspired by it. There’s always something going on. We’re all tangled up with different things, when really, we all hurt and love in the same way.”

Tina Mitchell Wilkins, wife of Walt Wilkins, is an inspiring singer/songwriter and also performs with band, The Mystiqueros. Although her career began in Los Angles and Nashville performing, she has developed a great reputation in Texas and has a huge fan-base here now Her first album “Morning Glory” features original songs as well as her take on songs from other Texas and Tennessee artists. She also released solo record “Espiritu Santo Bay” in 2005. Fans describe Tina as a genuine person with a love for life which is shown through her music.

College Station-based band, Ben Morris & the Great American Boxcar Chorus, are in their early years of performing, but have already made it around Texas with over 150 gigs. Their music combines so many different elements that it’s almost difficult to put their sound into words. Some songs have more of a country bar-band feel, some have an indie/rock feel, and others are very lyrically catchy. They’ve released four records: The Other Side of Broken (2007), The Ballad of Billy Clyde (2008), Underground Railroad (2009), and There is No Fun in Funeral (2011).

 

The KEOS LoneStar Music Series will be at the Grand Stafford Theater on Friday, June 24th. Doors open at 7pm and the music begins at 8pm. Don’t miss out on this great community event to support a radio station we love to listen to!

 

You can buy tickets and make donations here.