52 Church street
Cambridge
MA, 02138
617-547-5200

Country 102.5’s Stars With Guitars – Tickets – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA – January 23rd, 2014

Country 102.5âs Stars With Guitars

Country 102.5’s Stars With Guitars

Dustin Lynch, Jerrod Niemann, Craig Campbell, Tim Nichols

Thu, January 23, 2014

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$20

Sold Out

This event is 21 and over

All net proceeds to benefit Floating Hospital For Children at Tufts Medical Center.
The Sinclair is general admission standing room only.
Tickets available at TICKETMASTER.COM, or by phone at 800-745-3000. No service charge on tickets purchased in person at The Sinclair Box office Tuesdays-Saturdays 12-7PM. Please note: box office is cash only.

Country 102.5’s Stars With Guitars
Country 102.5âs Stars With Guitars
2014 is here, and we're ringing it with the sound of guitars and some help from Dustin Lynch, Jerrod Niemann, Craig Campbell and Tim Nichols on January 23rd at The Sinclair in Cambridge! Tickets are only $20, and all net proceeds benefit Floating Hospital For Children at Tufts Medical Center. This is a 21+ event with valid photo ID required.

Floating Hospital for Children is a full-service children's hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. As part of Tufts Medical Center, Floating Hospital for Children is the principal teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine. Floating Hospital for Children offers a comprehensive range of pediatric services from prevention and primary care to the most sophisticated treatment of rare and unusual conditions. Their focus and mission every day is to improve the lives of children and their families.
Dustin Lynch
Dustin Lynch
"Shhh!"

The note on the Bluebird Café's Facebook page says it all: customers who visit the Nashville songwriters club – instrumental in the development of Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Kathy Mattea – are expected to keep quiet and listen to the words from some of Music City's most influential composers.

Listening has an added benefit – it gives the listener a chance to learn.

That's how singer-songwriter Dustin Lynch used the Bluebird. And he used it intensely. He rented an apartment behind the venue's back parking lot and literally walked to the Bluebird several times a week to listen and learn about the mysterious art of creating songs from some of Nashville's most important writers. Don Schlitz ("The Gambler"), Tony Arata ("The Dance"), Paul Overstreet ("Forever And Ever, Amen") – all are mainstays of the Bluebird legend, and it was at their proverbial feet that he picked up key insights about the writing process.
"I was soaking it in, trying to be a sponge," Lynch says. "I was mainly trying to hear the story behind the song, how it came about, what it's really about. There's something about understanding the songwriter's realm. You get a little more grip on the way it was written and why it was written and how they got to the finished product."

That education paid off in a big way for Lynch. He signed with Broken Bow Records – the home of Jason Aldean and sister label to Stoney Creek Records (home to Thompson Square) .His debut single, "Cowboy and Angels," is quickly rising up the Country charts. Lynch is working with producer Brett Beavers (known for his work with Dierks Bentley) and engineer Luke Wooten (Brad Paisley, Sunny Sweeney) on his debut album (due August 21, 2012) with a backlog of his own songs. He's written that material with a bundle of Music City's top writers – Dallas Davidson ("Just A Kiss"), Tim Nichols ("Live Like You Were Dying"), Casey Beathard ("Don't Blink"), Phil O'Donnell ("Back When I Knew It All") and Steve Bogard ("Prayin' For Daylight"), to name a few.

But it all goes back to the Bluebird for Lynch, a native of Tullahoma, Tennessee. Influenced in his youth by such stalwart country singers as Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and Clint Black, Lynch knew the importance of the Bluebird, and he chose his college – David Lipscomb University – in part because it was less than two miles from the club, which proved immensely important in his development.

Lynch auditioned on a Saturday morning for a chance to play its open-mic night the following day. He passed the audition and impressed host Barbara Cloyd so much that she chased him into the parking lot and offered to help him get some footing in the community.

As he began to establish himself at the Bluebird, Lynch got a call from Pete Hartung – manager for singer-songwriter Justin Moore – who had found Dustin's MySpace page and wanted to get involved. Within weeks, Lynch had a publishing deal, and he made the most of it, writing a staggering 200+ songs in less than two years.

"I'm a workaholic," he says. "I was getting paid to write songs, so that's what I did. That's just the guy I am, if I'm not doing something I get bored, so I was trying to write the best record possible and decided to just get after it as hard as I can."

Even as a Bluebird visitor, Lynch had made an impression. After he signed his publishing deal, one of the company's executives persuaded Phil O'Donnell and Casey Beathard to book a co-writing session with the new writer, even though they'd never even heard his name. As soon as he walked through the door, they exploded: "Holy crap, Dustin! We know you!"

But it's not just physical recognition that Lynch has achieved with his studious approach to songwriting. He combined his fascination with words and melodies with concert skills he developed in high-school bands and playing the southeastern club circuit. That combination has made him one of country's artists to watch, a performer who's written his own mix of party songs and ballads with a unique perspective. It's his own viewpoint, honed from watching the world, and watching the experts.

It's all there, waiting for anyone else willing to…

Listen.
Jerrod Niemann
Jerrod Niemann
Jerrod Niemann is not a typical country artist, and the audacious, groundbreaking Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury is a far cry from a typical country album. With the first track, which is a humorously hyperbolic movie trailer, and the attention-grabbing lyrics of the opening song, "They Should Have Named You Cocaine," listeners quickly realize they're in for an extraordinary ride.

Niemann's debut for Sea Gayle/Arista Nashville includes up-tempo cuts, heartache balladry, wicked wordplay and a couple of cool covers, all woven together with short comedic interludes. The 20 tracks constitute a progressive, album-length voyage into utterly unique territory in the country music landscape.

The lead single, "Lover, Lover," is a groove-oriented, handclap-fueled Top 15 smash that features nine vocal parts, all recorded by Niemann himself.

"My original plan was to just sing the lead vocal part," Niemann explains. "I was going to get Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, Chris Young and a bunch of my friends to each sing a part. But I didn't have a record deal, and I realized that getting permission for all of them would have been torturous, so my co-producer, Dave Brainard, suggested that I try singing all the parts. I sang eight out of nine parts the first night. The only part I didn't have was that low bass part. I just couldn't hit those notes. So Dave and I went down to the Tin Roof in Nashville, and in the name of country music, we properly medicated the vocal cords. When I woke up the next morning, I sounded like a mix between Richard Sterban from the Oak Ridge Boys and that cartoon Grape Ape."

Listeners might get the catchy chorus of "Lover, Lover" permanently stuck in their heads — which is exactly what happened to Niemann when he heard the original version of the song, written by Dan Pritzker of the rock band Sonia Dada, and titled "You Don't Treat Me No Good."

"When I first heard that song, I was in a community swimming pool in Liberal, Kansas, in 1993," Niemann recalls. I've always loved that song, and I associate it with my childhood. I took it into the studio, played it for Dave [Brainard], and literally five minutes later we were recording it, just on a whim."

Niemann wrote or co-wrote ten of the album's dozen songs. His co-writers on "They Should Have Named You Cocaine" were his buddies Jamey Johnson and Dallas Davidson. This track's unusual production merges traditional, jazzy sounds with a space-age theremin (inspired by the Beach Boys) and just a touch of the Electric Light Orchestra hit "Strange Magic."

Niemann shows his sensitive side with "What Do You Want," the emotional centerpiece of the album. "That was the first time I had ever written a song truly from the heart," Niemann admits. "I wasn't trying to write a hit song. I just wanted to get it out of my system. I was missing an ex-girlfriend, and I would just start the process of getting over her, and then I'd hear from her. So that's how that song came about."

Niemann's compositions reflect an adherence to the adage "Write what you know." He calls "Old School New Again" his "soapbox" number because it comments on the machinations of the music industry. The song chronicles the hopes of a struggling musician, as Niemann sings, "I know times, they change / So I ain't sayin' we need to go back to Nudie suits, rhinestones and fringe / I just wanna be proud of what I'm playin' / And sing a little Lefty now and then."

He returns to the music-industry theme with the lighthearted barroom anthem "One More Drinkin' Song." The track is preceded by "A Concerned Fan," a tongue-in-cheek skit addressing the notion of using demographic data as the basis for writing a country song.

The solo composition "For Everclear" is the smile-inducing tale of a hard-partying college student who winds up in bed with his instructor. A boisterous cover of Robert Earl Keen's "The Buckin' Song" features the kind of sly wordplay that Niemann has made a trademark of his own songwriting. "I didn't write that song, but I thought it was just offensive enough to put on the album," he jokes.

Puns and wordplay also are showcased in the tropical tune "Down in Mexico" and its accompanying sketch, "Phone Call at 3 A.M." This Buffettesque track proves that an episode of quasi-drunk-dialing can result in a great country song.

Other album highlights include the R&B–flavored scorcher "Come Back to Me," a poetic rumination on lost love called "Bakersfield," the honky-tonk rave-up "How Can I Be So Thirsty" (penned with John Anderson and Billy Joe Walker, Jr.) and a dramatic ballad with strings, "I Hope You Get What You Deserve."

With a single spin of the album, it's obvious that the recording sessions for Judge Jerrod were a blast. Ironically, Niemann's personal life at the time was in tatters.

Although Niemann had experienced triumphs as a songwriter — with his songs being recorded by Garth Brooks, Jamey Johnson, Julie Roberts and Blake Shelton — he yearned to be a performer himself. Things weren't going well in that regard. He had signed a recording contract, only to see the deal fall apart. Niemann signed another recording contract, but that one also failed to come to fruition. Then his life took a turn for the worse.

"I was at rock bottom," he recalls. "I had horrible depression. I ran off a girl I was dating, and she moved clear to India. I gained 60 pounds, so I looked like the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. I didn't write a song for almost a year. That's when I ran into Jamey Johnson, at that point in my life. He said, 'Man, I can tell you're not yourself. Why don't you go cut a record? That's what I did, and it changed my life.' And Jamey was right. So I took a year to record the album, and by the end of that process, I had lost every bit of the weight. It's amazing how doing something that you love can change your inner self and your outer appearance."

After Niemann finished the album, he shared it with the heads of his publishing company, Sea Gayle Music. They wanted to shop it to Arista Nashville, and Niemann agreed, but under one condition: Not a single note on the album could be changed. In a bold move, Arista Nashville signed Niemann and agreed to release the album as is, even keeping the title (with its double entendre) intact.

Niemann says, "We called it Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury, but it's not so much because I'm a judge. Instead, it's about the idea that everybody is going to judge me and my band for making this album. Whenever you attempt to do anything different or unique, people are going criticize it. But that's okay. I've been made fun of my whole life. Why stop now?"

Niemann grew up in Liberal, a tiny town in west Kansas. As a child, his knowledge of music was expanded at the skating rink that his parents owned. "That's where I got my street cred, as a 7-year-old, rolling in circles, looking dangerous and mysterious on eight wheels of Country & Western thunder," he recalls with a laugh. "I remember skating to Queen, to Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith doing "Walk This Way," and to the Oak Ridge Boys' "Elvira."

After graduating from Liberal High School, Niemann studied music for two years at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. Then he moved to Fort Worth, where he honed his songwriting and learned how to win over tough crowds in bars. He moved to Nashville in 2000.

Today, Niemann is ready to become the full-fledged artist he always dreamed of being.

"A few years ago, my friends and I were burning up the honky-tonks in Nashville, but now everybody has matured a little bit," he reflects. "We all realized that we're representing country music whenever we leave Nashville. We still get rowdy and have fun, but we know where this town came from. We love it and we respect it. We're doing what we can to ensure that country music fans have music that not only entertains them, but that they can enjoy in any mood."

Niemann feels that he can be a distinct voice in country music, but he realizes he's standing on the shoulders of giants. "Waylon and Willie are considered hard-core traditionalists now, but they were very innovative back in the day, and they caused a lot of controversy. No one's ever going to say what they said, or sang what they sang, as well as they did. But I think there's something unique that I can contribute to the format. If I can make somebody laugh, or get someone who's never listened to country music to come over and check it out, then I've accomplished my goal."
Craig Campbell
Craig Campbell
The voice is straight-forward and powerful. The songs are down-to-earth portraits of real people from the American heartland. The sound is traditional, unapologetic country.
Craig Campbell is a proud reminder of one of country's strongest creative periods, building on the early-'90s legacy established by some of the genre's most successful figures: Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Clint Black and Travis Tritt.
The Georgia-bred Campbell was introduced with a five-song EP that landed in the Top 20 on iTunes. His self-titled debut album expands on the central themes of his life—family, friends, purpose and self-determination—with a bundle of self-written songs, all delivered with the force and conviction of someone who's lived every sentiment in every word.
"I have to believe every one of my songs," Campbell says matter-of-factly.
It's a simple premise learned through years of touring at the club level, writing songs in Nashville and playing the bars on Lower Broadway in Music City. Campbell honed his craft in bands backing Luke Bryan and Tracy Byrd, on stages where he covered Alabama and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and at an annual hometown talent contest where he won twice and eventually became the leader of the house band for other contestants.
Campbell's abilities stood out, as Nashville decision-makers discovered. In fact, he became the subject of a moderate competition. He received an offer from one of Nashville's major labels, but he was more intrigued by interest from songwriter-producer Keith Stegall—known for his work with Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band. Introduced to Stegall through radio promotion executive Michael Powers, Campbell turned down the other offer to wait while Stegall and several other industry veterans developed Bigger Picture Group, an innovative artist-development company.
Once Bigger Picture was in place, Campbell headed into the studio to work on his first project, founded on his big, commanding voice and centrist-country songwriting. "When I Get It" puts a defiant spin on a tough economy, "I Bought It" revolves around sweet revenge and "My Little Cowboy" incorporates a multi-generational storyline and a Haggard-esque instrumental hook into a Southern-rock framework. "Fish" puts a bawdy spin on romance, but—in sensitive-daddy fashion, does so in a manner that's safe for the kids to hear.
Tim Nichols
Tim Nichols
"If you're going to hunt tigers, you have to go where the tigers are." It was that bit of advice from music publisher Si Siman that convinced Tim Nichols to leave Springfield, Missouri for Nashville, Tennessee in pursuit of a music career. Once in Nashville, Tim discovered that songwriting was one of the keys that could unlock the doors to the major record labels.

Now with nearly two dozen smash hits, multiple BMI songwriting awards, a Grammy for Best Country Song, as well as Song of the Year honors from the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music, Nichols has earned his place among Nashville's most elite and respected tunesmiths.

Given the status Nichols now enjoys in his long time home of Music City, his first experience in Nashville, at the hands of an unscrupulous record producer, led to an expose on 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace. From that national exposure Nichols formed a band, found a booking agent and began playing clubs and fairs throughout the Midwest.

"After moving here in 1980 I discovered Nashville has a great respect for songwriters," says Nichols. "After several years in Nashville with a few different bands, I decided to get off the road and try my luck with the publishing houses on Music Row."

In 1986 country star Ronnie Milsap recorded a Nichols composition that lead to his first publishing deal. Other hits soon followed as Tim began making his mark at the top of the country charts, with his songs being recorded by the industry's biggest stars.

In 2004, along with Craig Wiseman, Nichols wrote Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," which stayed at #1 for ten consecutive weeks. In addition to breaking a 30 year record, "Live Like You Were Dying" won the Grammy award for Best Country Song in 2005. It also won the Song of the Year award from the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, BMI Country Awards, ASCAP Country Awards, Billboard and the Nashville Songwriters Association International. It is the only song to have won every major song award that is presented for country music.

Nichols' tunes have helped launch the careers of Jo Dee Messina with her debut smash, "Heads Carolina, Tails California," Chris Young with "The Man I Want To Be," as well as newcomer Dustin Lynch who along with Nichols and famed record producer Josh Leo, wrote his first single, "Cowboys and Angels."

Other artists to record Nichols' songs include Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, Keith Whitley, Brad Paisley, Lee Ann Womack, Patty Loveless, Gretchen Wilson, Joe Nichols, Phil Vassar, Clint Black, and Kenny Rogers.

In January 2006, along with partners Rusty Gaston and Connie Harrington, Nichols expanded his musical reach with the opening of THiS Music, a successful publishing company whose talented stable of writers include the 2011 ASCAP Writer of the Year, Ben Hayslip.

Feeling the importance of giving back to the community and the industry, Nichols has served on the Board of Directors of the Nashville Songwriter Association International, the Country Music Association, and High Hopes, a therapeutic preschool which serves special needs children in Nashville and the surrounding counties.

When not on Music Row in pursuit of the next hit, Tim enjoys finding inspiration by traveling with his wife Stacie. Out of their travels Nichols developed, "From A Songwriter's Camera," a collection of images that speak visually with the same heart, intensity and voice as his songs.

"For me, taking a great photograph uses many of the same creative muscles as songwriting." Whether visually through photography or sonically through music, Nichols says he loves "the process of creating" and looks forward to the images and songs yet to come.
Venue Information:
The Sinclair
52 Church St
Cambridge, MA, 02138

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