Goats, Music and More Festival to Celebrate its 17th year with T. Graham Brown, Shelby Lee Lowe, Ronnie McDowell and Wade Hayes
Friday night features a Tennessee Legend and a Hometown Star-on-the-Rise when Ronnie McDowell and Shelby Lee Lowe take the Rock Creek Park Stage.
Following the death of Elvis Presley in 1977, Ronnie McDowell came out of nowhere to dazzle the world with his heartfelt and self-penned tribute song “The King Is Gone” on the independent Scorpion label. The record took off immediately, gaining airplay on country and pop stations across the country and around the world. To date, “The King Is Gone” has sold more than 5 Million copies.
All of a sudden, the young Vietnam Veteran from Portland, Tennessee was a star, and he quickly proved that he wasn’t just a one-trick pony. McDowell scored a second hit for the Scorpion label titled “I Love You, I Love You, I Love You” before being wooed and signed by CBS Records – Epic label in 1979.
Ronnie McDowell charted a string of hit singles and albums for Epic between 1979 and 1986. Every single release with the exception of just one became a Top 10 Hit including the chart toppers “Older Women” and “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation.” Other hits during his Epic years included “Watchin Girls Go By,” “Personally,” “You Made A Wanted Man Of Me,” “All Tied Up,” and “In A New York Minute.”
Moving to Curb Records in 1986, his current label to date, McDowell scored a Top 10 hit with “It’s Only Make Believe,” a duet with Conway Twitty on what was Twitty’s breakthrough hit from 1958. Two years later Ronnie teamed up with Jerry Lee Lewis for a rocking duet that McDowell wrote titled, ”You’re Never Too Old To Rock N’ Roll.” He also recorded yet another Top 10 hit with his version of the pop standard “Unchained Melody,” which also became a #1 country music video. To date, McDowell has scored over 30 top ten records. His entertaining abilities soared and he began to draw larger crowds. He started appearing in larger venues and touring with artists such as Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn before headlining his own shows.
From the hills and hollows of Possum Trot, TN, you can almost hear the whispers of traditional country music that springs from Shelby Lee.
When you’re born just an hour from Music City, it’s hard not develop a love for the Country music scene. And when you’re raised on Elvis, Three Dog Night and Sly & The Family Stone you quickly build a taste for great-feeling songs. But when you mix all that with the relentless drive of a football player you’re set on a trajectory like none other.
Shelby Lee Lowe is a Modern Country artist heavily rooted in Neo-Tradition. Listeners can quickly hear echoes of Bakersfield blended with contemporary lyrical styles and Indie-Rock influence. As a singer-songwriter, Shelby puts enormous conviction into the songs he writes and performs, a principle only enhanced after graduating with a degree in Music Business from MTSU and signing his first publishing deal with Banner Music in Nashville, TN. In 2016 he released his self-titled debut record on Banner Music Records. The release signaled a national tour hitting venues from coast to coast and small towns in between. When off the road he filled his calendar with co-writing with experienced hit-makers learning how to maneuver his way through the difficult obstacles of the music industry, all the while honing his craft and preparing himself for a long music career.
Some of the highlights of Shelby’s short career have included opening for major acts such as Charlie Daniels, Brett Young, Michael Ray, Chris Janson, Cowboy Troy, Sister Hazel, Jordan Rager, Darryl Worley and Big Smo. Along with performances for NASCAR previously at Bristol Motor Speedway and at the Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola before NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 as well as events at/for the Atlanta Braves, Jack Daniel’s, Sturgis, CMA Fest, Big Foot Music, Outdoor Fan Jam, the Harley Davidson Independence Day Bash, SC Air & Ground Expo, and was a Pepsi Southern Original Regional Winner.
In early 2019, Shelby released his upbeat single “All We Need” which was passionately accepted by fans and Spotify play-listers alike garnering 11,000 Spotify plays in just 7 days. More focused than ever before, he began writing for a new project with Nashville Songwriter/Producer Andrew Scott Wills (Jerrod Niemann, Stephanie Quayle) with plans to record in the spring of 2019 concentrating on his influences of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Brothers Osbourne and Dwight Yoakam.
Saturday night, the Goats, Music and More stage welcomes another musical legend and a rising star with T. Graham Brown and Wade Hayes.
The inimitable T. Graham Brown began his musical journey in 1973 while attending the University of Georgia in his hometown of Athens. After moving to Nashville in 1982, the Grammy-nominated, CMA award, Diamond Addy award for excellence in advertising, back to back prism award winning chart topper honed his skills as a songwriter after signing with EMI publishing company. At the same time, he began to sing songwriter’s demos and the writers and producers began to hear the power and soul in his singing and his dynamic ability to interpret words and music through a perfectly pitched voice. The Nashville music business knew his was a talent to be reckoned with. Within two years of arriving in music city, capitol records signed him to an exclusive recording contract and what would become a long list of albums that took country music by storm. He has also recorded for Warner Brothers and Sony and now has a recording relationship with Sony Red and a retail partnership with Cracker Barrel Old Country stores. Simultaneously, he started a long and successful career singing advertising jingles. He was the “face and voice” of Taco Bell’s wildly successful “run for the border” t.v. campaign for over four years. His wide range of vocal ability could also be heard on national music ads for McDonald’s, Burger King, Hardee’s, Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper, 7-up, Almond Joy, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Ford, Dodge, Harrah’s casinos and dozens more.
He has hit the billboard, cash box and Christian music charts 35 times with hits such as “I tell it like it used to be”, self- penned “Hell and high water”, and “Darlene”. Also, he wrote the multiple award winning song, “Wine into water”, which has been recorded over a hundred times by artists all over the world. Most recently by country super star Loretta Lynn on her latest critically acclaimed album, “Full Circle”.
As a recording artist, songwriter, performer and producer, brown has scored multiple number one songs in the country, blues and gospel fields.
Over the years, “his T-ness” has recorded with many other artists. His duet partners have included Grammy winners the Beach Boys, Tanya Tucker, Vince Gill, George Jones, Delbert McClinton, Jason Crabb, Brad Davis, the Oak Ridge Boys, and rock and roll hall of fame members Michael McDonald, Steve Cropper and Leon Russell.
Brown’s latest album and his first gospel effort is the Grammy-nominated, critically acclaimed “Forever changed”. “He’ll take care of you”, the first single from that project, a duet with Vince Gill, became a gospel hit.
T. Graham Brown has performed on the iconic stage of the Grand Ole Opry hundreds of times and he maintains a busy touring schedule all over the U.S. and Europe. He’ll tell you with a grin, “I’ve got a band and a bus and I’ll keep taking the music to the people as long as God lets me. It’s what I love to do”!
Country music’s power has always been in its ability to reflect real life, and few artists have a stronger gift for capturing both heartache and hope than Wade Hayes. In the past few years, the singer/songwriter has navigated a complicated journey that has produced some of the most potent songs of his already impressive career. Surviving stage IV colon cancer, not just once but twice, has given Hayes a unique perspective of the fragility of life and the strength of the human spirit. Those lessons learned are embodied in the songs on “Go Live Your Life.”
Far from being a heavy manifesto on pain and survival, “Go Live Your Life” is actually a vibrant tapestry that is both poignant and playful. The title track is an upbeat anthem that celebrates living life to the fullest while “Dirt Road” pays homage to his Oklahoma roots and “Remember the Alimony” is a tongue-in-cheek slice of advice to a friend on the precipice of another romantic mistake. “She is Home” is a tender love song about life’s true priorities while “If the Sun Comes Up” is a powerful ballad about moving on. Anchored by Hayes insightful songwriting and brought to life through his warm, rich baritone, the songs on Go Life Your Life are steeped in country’s best traditions yet have a contemporary edge.
Hayes co-produced the album with longtime friend Dave McAfee. “Dave and I got together and listened to songs and honed it down to what we thought fit on this project,” says Hayes, who wrote or co-wrote all but one song on “Go Live Your Life”. “I’m very fortunate getting to this next step. After getting through the years of ill health and bad luck, I’m kind of laser focused right now. Getting sick has changed me immensely. It’s as if I’m looking through different eyeballs now. “I appreciate everything so much more. I realize how much I took for granted.”
Hayes was in his early 20s when he began churning out such enduring hits as “Old Enough to Know Better,” “I’m Still Dancing with You,” “On a Good Night” and “What I Meant to Say.” A second generation country singer from Bethel Acres, Oklahoma, Hayes grew up watching his dad perform. The young guitarist’s dream was to be the next Don Rich, Buck Owens’ revered guitar player and one of country music’s most legendary sidemen. “I was a big fan of Don Rich and I thought that’s what I wanted to do,” he recalls. “That’s what I moved to Nashville for.”
Hayes began realizing that goal when Johnny Lee tapped the young musician to be his lead guitarist, but he just wasn’t meant to be a sideman. “Record label people started coming to watch me play and the next thing I knew everything was happening fast,” says Hayes, who landed a publishing deal just nine months after moving to Nashville, and a contract with Columbia Records soon after. His debut single, “Old Enough to Know Better,” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and Hayes was nominated for the ACM’s Top New Male Vocalist honor. Two of Hayes’ four major label albums have been certified gold by the RIAA, and hits such as “Don’t Stop,” “The Day That She Left Tulsa (In a Chevy)” and “How Do You Sleep at Night” continue to be fan favorites in his shows.