Country Band - Bart Crow
w/Special Guest Ray Johnston Band
Saturday, May 27, 2017
at the KC Hall (850 S I-45, Ennis, TX 75119)

Always known as “the nice guy” with a smile on his face, the tides are turning and the gloves are coming off. Bart Crow is still the kind of guy and artist fans in the South and Midwest have grown to love. But on his new album The Parade, boundaries disappear and things are getting real. The road-toughened troubadour and his band have already logged thousands of miles playing 130+ dates a year in front of loyal rowdy crowds at far-flung, late-night clubs and concert halls all over Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska and beyond. It’s his music that draws them — a tangle of roots in blues, country and down-home rock ‘n’ roll, branded with his unique imprint. They hear their lives in his lyrics, written in the tradition of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and other true-life troubadours. With no help from big-time labels, and money pulled from his own pockets, Crow has put together an admirable track record as a recording artist, having lofted six No. 1 singles onto the Texas Music Chart – one of which, “Wear My Ring,” sold over 165,000 copies. He has sold over 40,000 albums, released five self-produced albums in just over a decade, including Dandelion, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers South Central chart. He’s been cheered in Country Weekly, on CMT and in other national media outlets. His YouTube videos and concert footage have drawn more than 2.5 million views. He’s chiseled his foothold in the edifice of Americana through hard work, talent, determination and a deep love for making music and building the best life he can for his wife Brooke and three kids, Townes and twins River and Parsons. Myriad spirits haunt his music– a choir of real American country in the fashion of Merle and Waylon, John Conlee, George Jones and Jerry Jeff Walker, razor-edged rock from Metallica, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, deep-fried Southern soul from Otis Redding and more. Yet in the end, Bart Crow is what you get: a blue-collar balladeer with his own unique message. It comes across loud and clear on his newest set of passionate songs and performances, The Parade. Released in partnership with Thirty Tigers, it spotlights an artist whose story will feel familiar to all Americans who know what it means to survive in challenging times. “I can relate to blue-collar folks everywhere because I don’t know any difference between them and me,” he insists. “My uncle is a fireman who works on a ranch on his days off. My other uncle is a fireman. My brother works as a construction superintendent. I’ve worked construction too. I’ve stained decks and built fences in 110-degree weather. My father grew up white-trash broke, a ninth-grade dropout. He eventually became a self-made multi-millionaire with his own commercial drywall corporation, but we didn’t have luxury growing up.” Another uncle stoked Crow’s imagination about living a wanderer’s life. “He was a professional rodeo cowboy,” he recalls. “I used to think that was the most amazing thing on the planet. He’d come home from two or three weeks on the road and tell stories about being in Cheyenne and then somewhere else the last night. Even more than music, this idea of the nomadic lifestyle was very romantic to me.” This perspective is central to The Parade, with the added element of Crow’s experiences. He grew up in tiny Maypearl, Texas, made his first attempts to write songs while in the United States Army and geared up to his current regimen as a performer on weekends while studying at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX. Perhaps the most significant milestone in his past involved moving with his future wife Brooke to Austin, where they worked together to get him started as an artist. “I guess we just don’t know any different way to live than with me gone for six or eight months a year. After a decade-plus, this is just who we are. This is what we do. Besides,” he adds, with a laugh, “it’s probably the foundation of our marriage that my knucklehead ass is gone a lot.” Like the border that divides his hometown from dreams of what lies beyond in his song “City Limits Signs,” Crow’s boundaries are dissolving. Wedding plainspoken poetry to powerful hooks and grooves, The Parade transforms daily occurrences into stories with universal resonance. Not everyone has spent months far from home as Crow documents with irony on “Free Like Me,” dreamy loneliness on “Vapor Trails” and truth telling love affair with music on “Dear Music,” where he finds himself in “another where-the-hell-am-I town.” Fewer still have weathered years on the honky-tonk circuit while staying faithful to their dream, a struggle Crow recounts on “Top of Rock Bottom.” (“I won’t be laying down on that Florida-Georgia Line,” he sings, with what he insists is respect and empathy.) Still, whether you’ve fought to keep your own business alive or adapt to a soul-grinding cubicle gig, you’ll get the message. And if you’ve been burned or saved by love, you’ll see yourself in the deft imagery of “Queen of the Heartache Parade,” the sweet pain of “One Night with You,” the worldly-wise “Here We Go Again” and the insights that weave throughout “Life Comes at You Fast.” New listeners may go beyond enjoying The Parade to identify with Crow as someone who knows first-hand the challenges of balancing one’s dreams, integrity, responsibilities and reality. “It’s pretty damn scary when you’re raising a family off of touring and it becomes time to cut a new album, which means investing up to $70,000 of my own money,” he admits. “My 4-year-old, Townes, starts preschool in August. Our 17-month-old twins, River and Parsons, are blowing through diapers left and right. And I’ve got to take money that could be going to their college funds, more money than I have in my personal checking account, sit down at the crap table of life, roll the dice and hope that someone falls in love with the 11 or 12 songs we picked.” That’s why Crow’s dream at this point involves more than spreading appreciation for his music from coast to coast. “I want to go to Seattle and Spokane and all the West and East Coast spots and the South, to DC and Manhattan and Connecticut. and have people show up and sing along with us,” he insists. “I want to hear people all over America come up to me and say, ‘Hey, we got married to your song!’ I’m like, ‘Have you been on iTunes? Do you know how many frigging songs are on there — and you chose mine?’ I don’t take that lightly.” No, more even than that, he wants what everyone who discovers his music wants as well. “I’d love to go to bed at night and not fear for what’s going to happen next month or next year. I used to say, when we bought our tour bus, we were one backstroke away from being dead in the water. It would be nice to earn that through selling tickets and playing in so many of these beautiful cities I’d love to see.” That dream is within reach now, because Crow’s story is your story too. All you need to do is listen — and join The Parade. www.bartcrowband.com

Bart Crow Admission

 ticketSAT., MAY 27: Bart Crow Country Concert with Special Guest, Ray Johnston Band
$15 Advanced /$18 Day of the Event

Special Guest: Ray Johnston Band

John Slaughterhe Ray Johnston Band has built a solid foundation over the years based onbmelodies and lyrics that always seem to lean on the positive side of life. This frame of mind is Ray’s best feature, and everyone who knows him will admit that his “glass is half full” attitude has a sobering effect on lives that are often overburdened, overtired and just plain “over it.” Having 5 1⁄2 years in remission from Leukemia will definitely put things into perspective for pretty much anyone, and the new lease on life has never been lost on Ray who utilizes both his charity work and his music to spread the love and shed light in the darkness wherever he finds it. His previous album “No Bad Days” not only put Ray on a much larger map as a genuine songwriter and artist, but also stands as a shining example of how much music fans gravitate to his special brand of “happy.” Now, after a year and a half of keeping up with the demands of a successful album, Ray is set to impart more of those buoyant vibes with the release of his new EP “#GoesGoodWith.” “I like the songs I co-write and sing to be like a good romantic comedy. The right balance of humor, joy, love, honesty, wit, and always more sun than rain. This is how I would describe “#GoesGoodWith.”His abiding engagement with fans and heavy social media presence inspired his new six-song EP with repeat producer Eric Herbst, recorded at the Panhandle House in Denton, Texas. The EP is set for release on May 27th and offers that signature feel-good ambiance that is a trusting side-kick down life’s many roads. It is evident here that Ray has come far on the songwriting front, a honed craft that has proven to be his bridge in the transition from pro athlete to pro music artist. You know this EP is a Ray Johnston standard by the jocular lyrics that almost always end up party themes combined with a few tracks of love stories, beauty, and passion: just like Ray’s personality. Songs like the Tex-Mex infused “Little Lupe,” the straight up countryfied “My Liver Don’t Live Here Anymore” and “Make Mine A Double,” the sequel to his hit single off his previous album “More Crown Than Coke,” has got you covered for the satirical sides of life. “Beautiful You” is pure “love song” and the finest tune in this collection, written with Paul Overstreet, Roger Creager and Matt Boggs. The company Ray has kept among his songwriting peers has definitely stepped up his game, so sitting in a room writing a song with a #1 hit songwriter like Paul Overstreet is what Ray likens to, “The equivalent of me ever getting to play basketball with Michael Jordan.” “Watching The Lord Turn On The Lights” is an outdoorsy type, at home in the majesty of nature, a quiet respect taught to him by his father throughout his life. A stand out on the EP “Horses And Hearts,” a retro country music throwback sang as a duet with 17-year old prodigy from Ft. Worth, Abbey Cone.

Ray’s social media prowess has built him a solid rapport with his fans, and what they think about his music is paramount. He carefully picked the title of this new EP for that very reason: because he wants to know what the fans think his music goes good with. The “#GoesGoodWith” campaign will be an ongoing open platform for fans to weigh in on, their comments a welcomed source of inspiration for Ray’s next project. It will also stand as a vehicle for giving back as RJB teams up with Luke’s Fastbreaks, designers of custom made snap-side T-shirts that allow patients a more comfortable alternative to the dreaded hospital gown while receiving administered medical treatments. The success of his latest album “No Bad Days” is not only the result of a growing fan base with 120 plus shows played yearly including headlining gigs at the House of Blues in Dallas and the legendary Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, but also 7 singles on the Texas Music Chart, over a quarter of a million streams online and national exposure garnered from songs co-written among a significant company of peers. The last year parades a slew of national music placements including the ABC hit drama “Nashville” with “Keep It Rollin’,” the new Netflix series “The Ranch” starring Ashton Kutcher, Debra Winger and Sam Elliott with “This One’s On Me,” and a cut on iconic country music stars ALABAMA’s latest album “Southern Drawl” with “No Bad Days.” Add to that a hit music video on CMT Pure 12-Pack with the album’s first single “More Crown Than Coke,” and a deluge of media raves including feature pieces on Billboard’s The 615 and Country Weekly Magazine; all this, and yet, when you ask Ray what one of his proudest career highlights is, he will tell you it was the licensing agreement with his alma mater, the University of Alabama, for the use of his originally penned song “Alabama Crimson Tide.”

His feet-to-the-pavement work ethic securing partnerships with Luke’s Fastbreaks and Be The Match, a sponsorship deal with Bud Light, national music placements and a growing tour schedule certainly exposes a sharp mind, but at his core, Ray is all heart..www.rayjohnstonband.com

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