Drew Baldridge W/ South 40
As a 12-year-old Drew Baldridge and his buddy rolled his father’s Old MGB in front of the derby crowd because the car wouldn’t even start, the youngster was already a seasoned performer. The duo went on to perform a stellar rendition of “Greased Lightning” with his buddy in the back of the car, fake cigarette in mouth, sliding down the front of the car, and with detailed choreography to match the racy lyrics. You could say it was quite salacious for the small town of Patoka, IL, population 600.
This memory only marks one of the upbeat mid-westerner’s childhood performances. “I’ve loved performing from a very early age. I performed to “Thriller” and “Men in Black” at my elementary school talent show. My mom would make up choreography to go along with the songs. It was great,” recalls Baldridge. “I would take to the dance floor at wedding reception even if no one was dancing just to be able to perform in front of people. That’s when I learned how to win over a crowd. They would all be applauding by the end of the song,” says Drew with a smile.
Standing at 6’1″, Drew grew up playing basketball and baseball, but would perform the “National Anthem” at all his games. “The high school I went to was too small for a band, but no one thought anything of me being a jock and a singer. I used any and every outlet I could to share my passion with others. The openly Christian teenager joined a quartet at church singing bass while his father sang tenor. Later on he began playing acoustic gigs at a nearby bar on Saturday nights. “My Dad stood by me and my preacher told me Jesus didn’t just preach in church, and I could be that light through my music.”
“It made perfect sense to become a country artist. I like to tell stories, and singing about where I come from,” explains Baldridge. He recalls his father buying a Dodge Intrepid when he was five years old and the owner threw in a cassette tape with the deal. “Alabama’s ‘Born Country’ was the first country song I fell in love with. We played that cassette over and over. The song rang true to me because my grandpa’s childhood home was just down the road, where the house that his father built by hand still stands.” Four generations of Baldridge’s family have lived and farmed that land in rural Illinois.
“If you have to describe my music in 3 words, I would have to say it’s fun, real, and positive,” says the singer/songwriter. “I love what Keith Urban says about creating music; ‘We don’t make music to impress, but to inspire.’ I truly believe that you know.” One of his favorite songs he recently worked on is “God’s Front Porch,” which was released on Easter of this year and is featured on Crossing County Lines Vol. II. “What a blessing it would be to be in the presence of the Lord on his front porch.”
In 2013, Drew signed with THiS Music, joining the ranks of Nashville’s most prominent and prolific songwriters. He went on to release his debut EP, All Good and his singles “BYOB” and “She’s Taken” became Midwestern radio staples. His new music project, Crossing County Lines is being released in three installments throughout 2015. The first volume was released this past December and debuted at #15 on the iTunes Country Chart. CCL Vol. II released April 7.
Known as much as a performer as a singer, Drew brings a rousing, energy-packed show to every opening or headlining date. “I am so very excited for my fans and future fans to hear my song ‘Dance With Ya.’ I went into the songwriting session with this melody in my head, and I said I want something that I could dance to. That’s what we created,” says Baldridge. The tune features a horn section, hypnotic chorus and topped off with Drew’s signature dance moves, “Dance With Ya” is destined to be a crowd-pleaser.
Royal Bliss~ Doors open at 7pm
Hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah, Royal Bliss has been making their mark for years with a consistent work ethic of writing, recording, and touring that have helped build the success of the band. Their wide variety of influences from Johnny Cash to Led Zeppelin, and everything in between, has helped to mold a sound that is uniquely theirs that cannot be denied. Their “Heartland Rock” speaks to the common man, tells a story and rocks out with a good party crowd, all the while being delivered by the inimitable deep and raspy voice of front man, Neal Middleton and the scorching sounds of seasoned musicians Dwayne Crawford (Bass), Jake Smith (Drums), Taylor Richards (Guitar) and Sean “Memphis” Hennesy (guitar/banjo), who combine to make Royal Bliss. Their journey is evolving and they are growing as a band that now seems to be making their way down a road pointing eastbound on I-40, all the way from Salt Lake City to Nashville, TN.
You hear it again and again.
When one door closes, another one opens. However, it’s true – especially in the case of Sick Puppies. In the Fall of 2014, Emma Anzai [bass, vocals] and Mark Goodwin [drums] parted ways with their guitarist and vocalist. Weathering and persevering through this potentially life-changing event, the gold-selling, chart-topping Los Angeles-based and Australian-bred hard rock outfit knew one thing.
They were going to make more music as Sick Puppies.
“There was no question” affirms Emma. “We had no doubt that we wanted to continue. Mark and I got together and basically said, ‘first and foremost, we love music. We love this band and our fans, and we have put so much into it, and we are not done and want to take it further.’ In order to do that, we needed to find the right member.”
Instead, the “right member” found them. With stints in several bands under his belt, Texas-born singer and guitarist Bryan Scott reached out to Emma via Facebook within days of the announcement. He sent her a video of himself performing, and she swiftly replied.
“Both Mark and I knew he was the guy right away – he was cool and he sounded great. It was a natural progression. We were totally on to something” said Emma
“Something just overwhelmed me,” admits Bryan. “I had a feeling that I needed to reach out. They needed a singer and guitarist and that’s what I am. I had always loved their music and as soon as I saw the post, I went home and immediately sent Emma a
message. We clicked right off the bat. Music is in their blood – it’s who they are. They live and breathe it every day. I’m the same way.”
Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys~9pm
As American as apple pie, Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys make country music by nature, not by design. Their songs travel straight from the northern pines and fruit orchards of Michigan to your radio speakers and local honky-tonks. The honest storytelling instantly grabs your attention while the music hits you in the gut like a double shot of whiskey. The energy of a live Grizzly Boys show explodes into the audience like an electrifying dose of adrenalin.
Jake the Snake Roberts~5pm
Jake the Snake Roberts, WWE Hall of Fame, presents his UnSpokeN WorD TouR! Jake unleashes his road stories and locker room antics and pranks he played on his opponents. You may enjoy stories about Ravishing Rick Rude, Hacksaw Jim Duggan to the British Bulldog, Andre the Giant, Undertaker. The era that everyone loves and never forgets .Whether you are a wrestling fan or not this one of a kind story teller will keep you wrapped in his coils and leave you wanting more! Come out and have a good time with wrestling legend Jake the Snake Roberts. Come have a night with one the the LEGENDS!