Tuesday, July 31, 2018


I know I'm supposed to be on hiatus but when the new album by Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road came across my desk yesterday I had to give it a listen. Well, if I'm going to listen then I can't not review the album.  One thing I can count on from Lorraine  - she never ever disappoints! I wait anxiously for the day I can hear them perform in person. For now, TRUE GRASS AGAIN will have to do.

True Grass Again kicks off the album with a bluegrass counterpart to Alan Jackson's Murder on Music Row. I'm a strong believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". When it comes to bluegrass, we need more folks like Lorraine Jordan and Caroline Road to keep Bluegrass as it was intended... deep rooted and living proud in our heritage.

I Don't Want To Lose You reminds me of  I Just Wish You Were Someone I Loved. The flavor is there and you can't beat the banjo licks that not just kick off the tune but run throughout like a good thumping bass in string form.

Run Little Fox is a playful tune. I can see this as background for a mountain style television show.

The opening fiddle of Poor Monroe, while no relation to the legend, this tune would give Bill Monroe a chuckle.

Another Soldier is a fitting tribute for soldiers who fight for our freedom, reminding us that while they are gone they are not forgotten.

Pickin' Rock Out of the Bluegrass gets straight to the point. Bluegrass is bluegrass, then there's everything else and some things, like drums, just do not belong!

Preaching Praying Singing reminds me of the revivals I attended as a child. Those revivals are still held in this new area I call home but they don't seem to have that same feel as they did forty years ago.  

Like their previous album, COUNTRY GRASS, TRUE GRASS AGAIN, brings the heart of bluegrass to the forefront of the stage, reminding us where the music began generations ago... on the front porch of that Little Country Home filled with the love of family and where music tells a story.

Portrait Of the Blues is more bluegrass then blues, but then again, they both tell a story in their own unique sound.

I knew as soon as I read the title - I Hear Angels Calling Your Name, I would not be able to listen to this song without thinking of my mom. Several times before her passing she would lay in her hospital bed and claim to see a little girl that looked just like me at about the age of 8, telling her it wasn't time yet. I knew the night she passed, her angel had visited one last time to take her hand. She watches over me every day and someday, she will come to take my hand.

Cherokee Shuffle takes us back up to a place where you  want to dance, to celebrate life. I dare you to keep your toes from tapping on what is more a reel than a shuffle.

Aside from the amazing harmonies of this group, my favorite thing is that every track is anchored by the artistic banjo pickin' of Ben Greene and the fiddle of both Josh Goforth and Matt Hooper.
Whether you're new to bluegrass or need to add to your collection TRUE GRASS AGAIN is the sweet cream of the churn.

I've found a YouTube of True Grass for you to give a listen to:

As if there were any doubt, I'm giving TRUE GRASS AGAIN:

TRUE GRASS AGAIN releases August 10th. 

You'll find the album available then in their Online Store (physical copy) and on Amazon (mp3)

You can catch up with Lorraine Jordan & Caroline Road on the following Social Media locations:

Monday, July 30, 2018


I know I'm supposed to be on hiatus, and the revisions are going well - thanks for asking ;-)

I had an email apprising me of a new album coming out by Lorraine Jordan. I could not pass up the opportunity to review this new Blue Grass album so come back tomorrow and give it a listen!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

THE PARTY LIST - July 26 - August 1

Note: Please remember to check with the venue as to whether or not there is a cover charge or ticket required for the shows you plan to attend. Also, some venues have an age restriction. I have provided links to the venues when possible, making it easy for you to check it out.
Not all events take place in Texas. With that in mind I will begin listing them not only by day but by TEXAS and ON THE ROAD. With that in mind…

Let’s Get This Party STARTED!

Thursday – 26
Matt & the Herdsmen – The Railhouse Free Live Music Series – Kyle
Josh Ward – Thirsty Horse Saloon – San Antonio
Johnny Rodriquez – Wagner Noel Perf. Arts Center – Midland
            /w Gene Watson & Jeannie Seely
Marty Haggard – Main Street Crossing – Tomball
Randy Rogers Band – Floore’s – Helotes
            /w Wade Bowen

Friday – 27
Matt & the Herdsmen – Rockafellas – Houston
Johnny Rodriquez – The Lumberyard – Roscoe
Jack Nelson – Long Brand Saloon – Round Rock
Tessy Lou & the Shotgun Stars – Vivabigbend – Marathon
Shenandoah – Heritage Park Music on Main – Denison
Dave Thomas – The Oar House - Rockwall

Saturday – 28
Libby Koch – Goode’s Armadillo Palace – Houston
Josh Ward – Alpo’s Barn – Muleshoe
Johnny Rodriquez – Stagecoach Ballroom – Ft. Worth
Jack Nelson – Broken Spoke – Amarillo
Tessy Lou & the Shotgun Stars – Vivabigbend – Marfa
Dave Thomas – The Oar House – Rockwall
Aaron Einhouse – Poodie’s – Spicewood
Sam Riggs – Floore’s – Helotes
            /w Johnny Chops & the Razors

Sunday – 29

Monday – 30
WC Jameson & George Ensle – Poodie’s – Spicewood

Tuesday – 31

Wednesday – August 1
Mike Blakely – On the Rocks – Cottonwood Shores
            / john Arthur martinez & Kurt Baumer

Thursday – 26
Zach Coffey – Dirty Bourbon Saloon – Albuquerque NM
Vince Gill – Nationals Park – Washington DC
Shenandoah – Music Ranch – Livingston MT

Friday – 27
Zach Coffey – Dirty Bourbon Saloon – Albuquerque NM
Larry Gatlin  - Union Co. Ag Center – Monroe NC
Jason Isbell – Newport Folk Festival – Newport RI
Marc Broussard – Canal Shores Golf Course – Evanston IL
            /w Mavis Staples
Trace Adkins – Champagne Co. Fair – Urbana IL
Travis Tritt – Peck Fest – Point Pleasant WV

Saturday – 28
Dinnerbell Road – Hardwood CafĂ© – Butler PA
Lonestar – Grizzly Rose – Denver CO
Larry Gatlin – Walhalla Perform. Arts Center – Walhalla SC
Jason Isbell – Floydfest – Floyd VA
Jack Ingram – Wild Things Park – Washington PA
John Michael Montgomery – SAC Co. Fair – Sac City IA
Trace Adkins – Grainger Tomato Festival – Rutledge TN
Travis Tritt – Fraze Pavilion for the Performing Arts – Dayton OH
            Southern Uprising Tour
Shenandoah – Dundy Co. Fair – Benkelman NE
Rhonda Vincent – Spencer Theatre – Alto NM

Sunday – 29
Lorrie Morgan – Red Ants Pants Music Festival – White Sulpher Springs MT
Larry Gatlin – Mars Theatre – Springfield GA
Shenandoah – Mystic Lake Casino Hotel – Prior Lake MN
Rhonda Vincent – Rock Ledge Ranch – Colorado Springs CO
            Fiddles, Viddles & Vino

Monday – 30

Tuesday – 31
Dinnerbell Road – Steamworks Creative – Gibsonia PA
Trace Adkins – Tri County Fair – Petersburg WV

Wednesday – August 1
Shenandoah – Gallia Co. Fair – Gallipolis OH

Thursday, July 19, 2018

THE PARTY LIST - July 19-25

Note: Please remember to check with the venue as to whether or not there is a cover charge or ticket required for the shows you plan to attend. Also, some venues have an age restriction. I have provided links to the venues when possible, making it easy for you to check it out.
Not all events take place in Texas. With that in mind I will begin listing them not only by day but by TEXAS and ON THE ROAD. With that in mind…

Let’s Get This Party STARTED!

Thursday – 19
Matt and the Herdsmen – The Blue Light – Lubbock
Zach Coffey – Eagle Point Bar & Grill – Saginaw
Jack Ingram – Blaine’s Pub – San Angelo
Scott Taylor Band – Deleon Plaza – Victoria
            Coors Light Summer Street Dance    

Friday – 20
Zach Coffey – Shady Valley Country Club – Arlington
Dave Thomas – The Fatted Calf – Rockwall
Cody Canada & the Departed – Floore’s – Helotes
            /w The Bottle Rockets

Saturday – 21
Matt and the Herdsmen – The Melody Ranch – Waco
Libby Koch – Chili & Chuck – Bartlett
Josh Ward – Hoots Pub – Amarillo
Marty Haggard – Lewisville Grand Theatre – Lewisville
Scott Taylor Band – The Rustic Chandelier – El Campo
Dave Thomas – The Fatted Calf - Rockwall

Sunday – 22
Marty Haggard – Mount Pleasant Civic Center – Mount Pleasant

Monday –23
WC Jameson – Poodie’s – Spicewood
            /w Libby Koch

Tuesday – 24
Mike Blakely – Western Edge Cellars – Fredricksburg

Wednesday – 25
Josh Ward – The Big Barn – The Woodlands

Thursday – 19
Lorrie Morgan – Country Jam  - Eau Claire WI
Josh Ward – The Museum Club – Flagstaff AZ
John Michael Montgomery – Southern IA Fair – Oskaloosa IA
Travis Tritt – Jamboree in the Hills – Belmont OH
Shenandoah – Harrah’s Resort SoCal – Dive – Valley Center CA
Rhonda Vincent – Bluegrass Night at the Ryman – Nashville TN

Friday – 20
Lorrie Morgan – The Calumet Theatre – Calumet MI
Lonestar – Cher – Ae Heights Casino – Trinidad CA
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers – Mescalero – Mescalero NM
Jason Isbell – Marvin Sands Perform. Arts Center – Canandaigua NY
Josh Ward – Last Exit Live – Phoenix AZ
Mike Blakely – Society Hall – Alamosa CO
Marty Haggard – McAlester Expo Center – McAlester OK
Vince Gill – TD Banknorth Garden – Boston MA
Trace Adkins – Coeur d’Alene Casino – Worley ID
Travis Tritt – Lewis Co. Fair – Lowville NY

Saturday – 21
Lonestar – Linn Co. Fairgrounds – Albany OR
Jason Isbell – Thompson’s Point Outdoor Concerts – Portland ME
John Michael Montgomery – Gardiner Farms – Tuscumbia AL
            Saddle Up for St. Jude!
Trace Adkins – Snoqualmie Casino Showroom – Snoqualmie WA

Sunday – 22
Jason Isbell – Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion – Gilford NH

Monday –23

Tuesday – 24
Jason Isbell – Wolf Trap – Vienna VA

Wednesday – 25
Lee Greenwood – Winnebago Itasca Motor Home Grand Nat’l Rally – Forest City IA
Jason Isbell – Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica – Cleveland OH
Travis Tritt – Delaware State Fair – Harrington DE

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

ON HIATUS - sort of...

At some point we all need to decide what is the most important. For now, writing is the most important. I am on multiple excruciating deadlines. If you'd like to know what my schedule is looking like for the next eight weeks, please visit my author blog post on DEADLINES.  I hope you'll be come a fan.

By the end of September I need to finish revisions/ publish my romance novel, finish rough on first of a western historical trilogy, get contest entries written/ polished/ submitted (By Aug. 25th!) and hopefully a companion workbook to a talk I'm giving on October 11th.

THE PARTY LIST will continue to run, as well as scheduled tweets. I just need to set reviews/ interviews aside until I'm past these deadlines.

Thank you for understanding!
Country Blessings!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

THE PARTY LIST - July 11- 18

Note: Please remember to check with the venue as to whether or not there is a cover charge or ticket required for the shows you plan to attend. Also, some venues have an age restriction. I have provided links to the venues when possible, making it easy for you to check it out.
Not all events take place in Texas. With that in mind I will begin listing them not only by day but by TEXAS and ON THE ROAD. With that in mind…

Let’s Get This Party STARTED!

Thursday – 12
Zach Coffey – Keller Tavern – Keller
john Arthur Martinez – Blue Corn Harvest – Marble Falls
Scott Taylor Band – Moonshine Drinkery - Victoria

Friday – 13
Zach Coffey – Dallas Arboretum Garden Gigs – Dallas
Johnny Rodriquez – Lampasas Spring Ho Festival – Lampasas
Jack Nelson – Whiskey River Saloon – San Angelo
Dave Thomas – Culpepper Steakhouse - Rockwall

Saturday – 14
john Arthur martinez – Quatro Ranch – NW of Fredricksburg
Josh Fuller - Pacific Yardhouse - Conroe
Jack Nelson – Hanks Dance Hall – Seymour
Dave Thomas – Culpepper Steakhouse – Rockwall
Gary Allan – Floore’s – Helotes
            w/ George Navarro

Sunday – 15
Shenandoah – River Road Ice House – New Braunfels

Monday – 16

Tuesday – 17
Zach Coffey – Hard Eight BBQ – Coppell
john Arthur martinez – Trailblazer Grille – Burnett

Wednesday – 18
john Arthur martinez – On The Rocks – Cottonwood Shores

Thursday – 12
Josh Ward – B Ryders – Bakersfield CA
Trace Adkins – Santa Barbara Co. Fair – Santa Maria CA
Ragged Union – High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival – Westcliff CO
Casey Donahew Band – The JBGB – Fayetteville AR
Old Dominion – The Walmart AMP – Rogers AR

Friday – 13
Lonestar – Bad River Days – Fort Pierre SD
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Bros – Deadwood Mountain Grand – Deadwood SD
Lee Greenwood – Apache Casino – Lawton OK
Jason Isbell – Americana Kansas City – Bonner Springs KS
Josh Ward – Barrelhouse Brewing Company – Paso Robles CA
John Michael Montgomery – Stanislaus Co. Fair – Turlock CA
Marty Haggard – Corinth Coliseum – Corinth MS
Trace Adkins – Jackson Co Fair – Central Point OR
Texas Tenors – American Music Theatre – Lancaster PA
Travis Tritt – Jefferson Co. Fair – Jefferson WI
Shenandoah – Grand Ole Opry – Nashville TN
Ragged Union – High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival – Westcliff CO
Rhonda Vincent – Uncle Dave Macon Days – Murfreesbor TN

Saturday – 14
Dinnerbell Road – Band Jam Grass Roots Music Festival – Slippery Rock PA
Lorrie Morgan – Peoples Bank Theatre – Marietta OH
Lonestar – Pierz Freedom Fest – Genola Ball Park – Pierz MN
Jason Isbell – Sloss Furnaces – Birmingham AL
Josh Ward – Stoney’s Rockin’ Country – Las Vegas NV
Marty Haggard – Sparkman Civic Center – Hartselle AL
Trace Adkins – TJ’s Corral Outdoor Event Center – Minden NV
Travis Tritt – River City Casino – St. Louis MO
Rhonda Vincent – Uncle Dave Macon Days – Murfreesbor TN
            Release Party!
Cody Canada & the Departed – Switch Monkey Music Festival – Wagoner OK
Cody Jinks – Temple Live – Fort Smith AR
John Anderson – Gilley’s Choctaw Casino – Durant OK

Sunday – 15
Jason Isbell – Forecastle Festival – Louisville KY
John Michael Montgomery – Strings Music Pavilion – Steamboat Springs CO
Trace Adkins – California States Fair – Sacramento CA

Monday – 16
Trace Adkins – Stanislaus Co. Fair – Turlock Ca
George Ensle – Poodie’s – Spicewood
            /w Tony Ramey & Debbie Glen

Tuesday – 17
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Bros – Midwest Theater – Scottsbluff NE
Jason Isbell – Rose Music Center – Huber Heights OH
Mike Blakely – Old Time Pickin’ Parlor – Arvada CO

Wednesday – 18
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Bros – Candlelight Dinner Playhouse – Johnston CO
Jason Isbell – Riverbend Music Center – Cincinnati OH
Trace Adkins – Lane Co. Fair – Eugene OR
Travis Tritt – Allegany Co. Fair – Cumberland MD

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

TURNTABLE TUESDAY - Matt & the Herdsmen

NOTE: This is a repost of September 2017 when I first reviewed the album. Thought this would be a great follow-up to yesterday's interview:

The first raise of the guitar on I Don't Love You Anymore cues you in to the edge Matt & the Herdsmen bring to STILL SANE

While this might not seem 'country' at first, there is a common thread throughout the album that ties everything to a fine line between contemporary country and the classic country of artists like George Strait and Tim McGraw... storytelling. Every track tells a story - a beginning, a middle and an end. While the end isn't always what we romance writers refer to as 'happily ever after', each story is tied up nicely. The other key is that the words are so carefully crafted, making each track very visual without needing YouTube. Listen to the lyrics closely and the movie reel begins to turn in your mind. 

Right Hand Man is a reverse twist on two classic country songs - I Like It, I Love It (Tim McGraw) and You're Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation ( Ronnie McDowell). So much for Happily Ever After.

The one thing that really spoke to me with STILL SANE, is how track 11 - For You circles back to the title track. He goes from not loving someone anymore to literally giving his life for the one he will love beyond this plane. For You is one of the most powerful tunes you'll ever hear and would make a great soundtrack for an NCIS episode or a full movie concept. 

Heading up this talented team is Matt Castillo with a voice made for storytelling in true country tone. With the help of Everto "Beto" Cavazos (Guitar), Danny Salinas (Bass), Ruben Cantu (Drums) and Omar OyOque (Pedal Steel) everything comes together. Omar's talents especially make this a true country album. 

I'm tipping my hat:


To purchase your copy of STILL SANE, check out the following links:


Matt & the Herdsmen are across multiple Social Media platforms:

You can follow the guys on Social Media. They are especially active on Instagram. Come join us!

iTunes     Spotify     YouTube      SnapChat      BandsInTown

Here's a live version of  I Don't Love You Anymore

Monday, July 9, 2018

OUT OF THE CHUTE - Matt & the Herdsmen

This week I am pleased to introduce you to a great group out of South Texas. I don't know what it is about that region but my love for the talent goes all the way back to the early 1980s with James and Michael Younger before I even knew about South Texas.

This week, Matt and the Herdsmen join us. Guys, thanks for stopping by Kelly's Country.
Let's open the chute...

I did a little research and saw that you all have (as of 2016) jobs outside of the group. Are any of you still doing the ‘day job’ and how do you balance the day job with making the strides you have in the past couple of years?

We sure do. I always tell my guys – “Don’t quit your day job just yet.” Beto (lead guitar) is a Physical Therapy Tech, Ruben (drummer) is a farmer, Marco (bass) plays random gigs during the week, and I still substitute for the Edinburg School District.
I believe the reason why we can balance it is because we communicate so well with each other. Google Calendar works wonders and helps plan ahead on upcoming shows and what not.

Matt, you seem to be the driving force behind everything. You are the business manager for the group, which covers a multitude of tasks. If you could share one secret for doing what you do (from the business end) what would you tell other bands to really pay attention to?

In any business, I believe it starts with great time management, then goes further in to having goals and where you see your band in three months, a year, etc. Social Media is key and it’s important that you keep up with what’s going on.

In an interview with The Rider (2016) Matt, you were quoted as saying ‘You gravitate to who you look up to…’ So let’s hear from the other guys. Who have you looked up to what brought you here?

Ruben: George Strait. Randy Travis. Chicago. Eagles. Alabama. Selena. 
There's just too many to list. lol

Beto: Bread, Alan Jackson, SRV, John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Creed, 3 Doors Down, Van Halen, Scorpions 

I’ve always been attracted to music from Edinburg artists, clean back to the days of The Playboys of Edinburg. There seems to be something about The Valley, musically. A place where amazing music begins and grows before spreading out across the rest of the country. Do you think there is something special about The Valley that acts as an incubator for great music?
The music coming out of south Texas is something special. So many influences in music that shape your up bringing. We are inspired to write great songs and shine some light on our hometowns everywhere we perform.

With people like Dillon Steen and Ami Blackwell behind you, you’ve had a powerful start and come a long way very quickly in this business. What do you feel has been the one thing that has set you apart from others not moving as fast?

That a good question… I can’t really say what was the one thing we did. Part of it was hard work, trust in the process, the trust he band had in me, and playing anywhere they wanted us to.

At some point have you ever thought you needed to catch your breath? Or is your mind constantly spinning thinking ‘what do we do next to keep this momentum going’?

My mind is always trying to think of ideas, songs, social media content, everyday. I was hard on myself in the very beginning stages of my band and I guess now it’s something that’s become normal to me. Every now and then I’ll peek my head up for a quick breath and then back to grinding away.

What are some things you learned between Small Town Stories and Still Sane that you want to build on going into your next album?

Looking back on both albums, being so green to the business and songwriting, I now know what I’m looking for when I write and co-write. And lastly, where and who I want to produce my next album. I’m still TBA on the release date.

If any of you have children, feel free to speak up but this question is for Ruben. You have a 13-year old daughter. That has to be the toughest age for a girl. What is the one thing you hope she learns from you in regards to your life as a musician?
Life is gift and a privilege From God (Christianity belief). Learn from your mistakes, and seek God’s wisdom in your decisions because us, as humans, we will really never know what is best for us. So, trust the path that has been set out in front of you and fulfill it with your utmost passion. Drive the cars you want, eat the foods you want, do the things that you want to do in life and take responsibility for your actions. 

But in all these things do so with Christ in your body, mind and soul. Because a life without God is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes). This is how I’m able to set up and tear down my drum set before and after each show...what makes me drive one more mile in our band van to our next show...and just try to be an overall helpful individual to family, friends and the community. So to my daughter, keep God in the middle of everything you do.

Tomorrow I'll do a 'throwback' post for their current album - STILL SANE. In the mean time, here's a video:

You can follow the guys on Social Media. They are especially active on Instagram. Come join us!

iTunes     Spotify     YouTube      SnapChat      BandsInTown

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

INDEPENDENCE DAY! - A Tribute to Our Flag

I love classic movies. One of my favorites is the George M. Cohen story. This video is featured in the movie from 1942. Pay particular attention to a comment made by the President at about 1:00.

Have a safe Independence Day!
~Country Blessings!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


All this week I'll be posting Patriotic videos.

There may not be a Party List this week. I'm having some physical issues preventing me from sitting for long periods of time. I'll do my best, but no promises.

In the mean time:

Have a safe Independence Day and remember what this day is supposed to be all about!
Country Blessings