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Justin Fray
Justin Fray
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The Bull's Featured Artist

The Bull is all about New Hot Country and the artists who perform America's favorite music. This feature highlights the  artists with whom you might not yet be all that familiar or, in some cases, those who are interesting no matter how long they've been putting music on the charts. Listen daily to The Bull for more information on these performers and to hear their songs. And, check back often for more new Bull featured artists.

JON PARDI

5 Things You Should Know About Jon Pardi

  1. He first fell in love with country music while using his grandmother’s karaoke machine!
  2. The first instrument he learned to play was the guitar. He then began songwriting at the age of twelve. By 14 years old, he had formed his own small band.
  3. While studying at Chico State University, he won a songwriting competition. He used the prize money to purchase a rack for his band’s P.A. system.
  4. He recently got engaged to his girlfriend earlier this month. He proposed to her during one of his concerts in Nashville!
  5. His 2016 single, “Dirt on My Boots” is still the highest charting single.

MITCHELL TENPENNY

Nashville native, Mitchell Tenpenny, was introduced to music at an early age. When he was 11, he met famous songwriters through his grandmother. This sparked interest within him for songwriting. He played football all throughout high school, and later went on to attend Middle Tennessee State University. He originally planned on playing college football; however he realized he was more interested in being in a band. He later graduated with a music business degree. In 2015, he released his debut album, “Black Crow.” As he continued to write songs, he ended up co-writing “If the Boot Fits” which was recorded by Granger Smith. This song was a success and landed him a publishing deal with Sony ATV Music Publishing Nashville. In 2017, Tenpenny released an EP, “Linden Ave,” which charted at No. 10 on Billboard’s Independent Albums chart, No. 6 in Heartseekers Albums, and No. 12 in Country Album Sales with, 2,100 copies sold in its first week. In 2018, he released “Telling All My Secrets” which is his second album and full length major label debut. It debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, and No. 53 on Billboard 200 after accumulating 20,000 album equivalent units in its first week.

 

 

 

MATT STELL

Born and raised in Arkansas, Matt Stell did not always dream of a career in music. He played basketball throughout high school and even went on to play in college as well. It was in college when he taught himself to play guitar in his free time and performing at local bars with his own original music. He did all of this under a fake name so his basketball coach wouldn’t find out! When he graduated from college, he began studying for his master’s degree and even began considering medical school. Shortly after he was accepted into the medical school, he received an opportunity to sign a publishing deal with with Wide Open Music. That is when he chose music over medical as his life and career path. In the beginning of this year, his single “Prayed for You” reached up to No. 36 on the Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Stell has since released multiple albums and aingles. He has even made his debut at the Grand ole Opry this year! Check out Matt Stell’s music video for “Prayed for You” which premiered on July 9, 2018 and reached over 4.3 million views within its first 10 months!

 

BRETT YOUNG

10 Things You Should Know About Brett Young!

  1. Music was not his first career choice! He originally planned on becoming a professional baseball player. After an injuring that forced him to quit baseball, he moved onto music.
  2. In his teens, he loved surfing! He began surfing in the sixth grade and decided to stop when he was 18 to focus on and pursue his baseball career.
  3. He plans to only make clean music! He wants his music to be available to audiences of all ages.
  4. He has been getting tattoos since he turned 18! He hates his first tattoo and has since gotten a custom tattoo to celebrate his first No. 1 song.
  5. He has been singing and releasing music for a long time before fame! He released a number of songs on his own before receiving a record deal.
  6. He and his wife, Taylor, dated for 6 years before getting married! He and the fellow music artist got wedded in November 2018 and announced their pregnancy in April 2019.
  7. He has a list full of different activities he does when he is unable to fall asleep! His favorite activity is to drink a glass of whiskey, but when he is not doing that he can be found watching TV, listening to music, or making himself a midnight snack.
  8. His love for music began when he performed leading worship services! He was asked to perform in one of the services and then immediately began to run them himself after.
  9. His top two musical influences are Gavin DeGraw and Jeremy Steele! They inspired him to return to music after his baseball injury.
  10. He is currently on tour and will be performing at the Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park on August 22, 2019!

 

 

MORGAN WALLEN

Morgan Wallen is at the top of the Billboard Hot Country charts with his single “Whiskey Glasses,” which has spent 33 weeks on the charts. The 26 old made waves in 2018 when he spent 20 weeks on the charts with his second ever single release “Up Down,” and topped the Country Airplay chart along with peaking at #49 on the Hot 100 chart. The certified Platinum song put Wallen in the running to be the hottest new country artist to hit the country charts.

 

Born in Tennessee, Wallen grew up surrounded by music. In his pursuit to become a country star, he became a contestant in season six of The Voice in 2014. He made it onto Usher and Adam Levine’s team, but was later eliminated. Wallen didn’t let his elimination stifle his spirit. He moved to Nashville, and in 2016 was signed to Big Loud Records. He completed his first radio tour that same year, and in 2017 scored a slot in Florida Georgia Line’s “Dig Your Roots Tour.”.

 

He currently has upcoming tours with Florida Georgia Line’s “Can’t Say I Ain’t Country Tour” beginning June 13th, and Luke Combs’ “Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour” beginning October 3rd. Wallen now has two #1 Country Airplay Billboard hits, two Hot 100 Hits, and a CMT Music Award nomination for “Breakthrough Video of the Year” for “Whiskey Glasses” under his belt. It’s clear to anyone paying attention to Wallen’s short but intense career that he cannot be stopped, and will continue to shake up the country charts with his music.

 

KELSEA BALLERINI

The newest member of the Grand Ole Opry was inducted on April 16, and she is also now the youngest member of country music's exclusive club. Kelsea Ballerini’s first performances as an Opry member were “Peter Pan,” “In Between,” her current Top 10 hit “Miss Me More” and Trisha Yearwood’s “Walk Away Joe” which she performed in collaboration with Carrie Underwood. Her friends Underwood and Keith Urban handled the induction duties.

 

 

Kelsea first performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage on Valentine's Day 2015 and she has been on fire ever since. She sang "Love Me Like You Mean It" for that performance, her debut single which climbed to #1 on the country music charts. No female country artist had hit the top of the charts with their debut song since Underwood did it in 2006. But, that was only the beginning. Her next two songs, "Dibs" and "Peter Pan," also reached #1 on the country charts making her the first solo female artisit to top the country charts with her first three signles since Wynonna Judd back in 1992! Off that scorching start, Kelsea has continued to produce hit after hit. "Yeah Boy," "Legends," "I Hate Love Songs," and now "Miss Me More" have all been played heavily on country music radio. And, this month, her own "Miss Me More" tour has kicked off, with guests Brett Young and Brandon Ratcliff, and she is selling out show after show. So far, there are no dates scheduled on the West Coast, but we can hope some will be added soon!

 

Kelsea is a native Tennessean, born and raised in Knoxville before moving to Nashville. Her destiny in country music may have been determined as a child when her Dad's career involved time as a sales manager at a country radio station. She sang in the church and scool choirs and wrote her first song at age 12. At 19 she signed her first record deal and by age 21 she had a #1 song. Now 25, Kelsea is married to fellow country artist Morgan Evans. In addition to recording and touring, she serves as a coach on the hit television show The Voice and is also the co-host, with Thomas Rhett, of the TV broadcasts of the annual CMA Music Fest in Nashville.

KANE BROWN

Here are 10 fast facts about red hot New Country music star Kane Brown:

1.  Birth date October 21, 1993.

2.  Kane had a difficult childhood that included physical abuse and homelessness. He lived in poverty growing up, and has been candid about racism (he is biracial) and the negative stereotyping that he has gone through due to his tattoos.

3.  Starting his career back in 2013, Kane auditioned successfully for 'X Factor,' but left the show after producers tried to put him in a boy band.

4.  Lauren Alaina and Kane Brown attended High School together in Georgia and sang in the school choir.

5.  Kane and Lauren recorded the hit "What Ifs" which became Kane's first #1 single in October 2017.

6.  Kane's next two singles, "Heaven" and "Lose It", also reached the #1 position on the country music charts in 2018.

7.  Kane Brown's current single is "Good As You". Will it be as good as his previous three songs?

8.  Kane made his debut on the iconic Austin City Limits stage on March 3 of this year and followed that up with his debut at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo where he drew the largest crowd ever for a first-time performer.

9.  Kane performs at the ACM Awards on April 7 where his smash hit "Heaven" is nominated for Single of the Year. The awards will be broadcast on CBS-TV.

10.  Kane was married to Katelyn Jae on October 12, 2018. The video for "Good As You" features footage from their wedding day. Take a look!

 

Brothers Osborne Shoot Straight in 2019

the-bull=brothers-orsborne-sonoma-county-new-country=leader

 

Brothers Osborne grew up in Deale, Maryland, a small fishing town on the Atlantic seaboard. Deale is mostly made up of blue-collar fisherman and is popular with boaters.   Last census shows a population of less than 5000 people live in Deele.  In the early days, John and T.J. Osborne used to host jam sessions at their house after work, doing cover songs of Tom Petty, Bob Seger and George Jones.  TJ Osborne has the voice – the low deep baritone voice you can’t get out of your head.  John has the insanely talented guitar skills that rival any lead guitarist on stage today.

 

Brothers Osborne have been on a winning streak for years, selling out concert tours, releasing hit songs and winning even bigger awards.  Now the multi winning ACM and CMA Duo Of The Year winners are nominated for Best Country Album at the 2019 Grammy Awards, again.   Rolling Stone did a piece on Brothers Osborne last November. Esquire included their Port of St. Joe in the Ten Best Country Albums of 2018 and NPR highlighted the band in their Best Music of 2018 story. 

With tons of live gigs under their belt, the Brothers Osborne set list is getting longer.  The band’s recent January show in Detroit showcased a longer encore that turned the gig into an 18-song night.  The extra gems in some Brothers Osborne performances range from solid anthems like Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road to the late John Denver’s guilty pleasure “Country Roads.”

 

The mostly sold out Dierks Bentley Tour gave Brothers Osborne massive exposure and just days ago they announced an additional 40 concert stops throughout 2019, including some good news for Brothers Osborne fans in the North Bay.  Tickets have recently gone on sale for future dates that bring the Brothers Osborne road show closer to Sonoma County this Spring and here are those shows.

 

Fox Theater - Oakland, Oakland, CA Saturday March 30

Bob Hope Theatre, Stockton, CA Sunday March 31

THOMAS RHETT

 Five Random Thomas Rhett Facts

It's Been another big year for Thomas Rhett, including posting more #1 Hits, sucessful nationwide touring and a return to co-hosting the CMA Fest again this year. Still under 30 and one of New Country's hottest artists, TR has the career and family balance that most performers aspire towards.  Here's some additional fun facts about The Bull's Featured Artist Thomas Rhett:

"A weird quirky thing about me is when I go to, like, my parent’s or my grandparent’s house, like for Thanksgiving or Christmas, there’s so many different kinds of food. I cannot handle when any of those foods touch each other. I have to either get two plates and put them on two plates or just not let ‘em touch on the same plate. If it touches, I just kind of eat the parts that don’t touch.”

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In 2017 Thomas and his wife, Lauren adopted a daughter, Willa Gray, from Uganda in May and welcomed biological
daughter Ada James three months later, in August...yes just like in the song "Life Changes."  The name "Willa" came up because of Lauren's idea to use Thomas' uncle Willard's name - shortening it to Willa. 

--

Every night before a show, Rhett hosts a meet-and-greet where he’s often introduced to spouses of those serving overseas. He always obliges when they ask him to take a video sending a message to their loved ones and even after the night is over, those interactions have a lingering impact on the singer.

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Thomas Rhett is a popular guy and has tons of friends in Country music, but the one artist he hangs out with the most?  Justin Moore!  Random, but years back the guys hit it off and became really good friends.  They both love golfing, has been known to go on vacation together with their wives and even have the same birthday (March 30th).  Weird but true.

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Thomas Rhett's dad, Rhett Atkins, is also a popular Country artist and frequently would have friends like Tim McGraw come by the house when TR was a kid.  So, TR's real name is Thomas Rhett Atkins...and beacuse of this, it's not unusual for his wife Lauren to often refer to him in conversations by his first and middle name (it's a southern thing).  In interviews, you can hear Lauren say things like, "every time Thomas Rhett comes home, he hugs me" or "I always look forward to seeing Thomas Rhett at the end of my day"...it sounds a bit strange at first...like, why are you calling your husband by his first AND last name everytime?  Funny.


COLE SWINDELL

The Bull’s Top 10 Cole Swindell Fan Facts:

  1. Swindell started his artist career with "Chillin' It," a demo that found success on satellite radio before becoming an FM radio staple in 2013. "You Should Be Here," "Ain't Worth the Whiskey" and "Middle of a Memory" followed, turning the small-town Georgia dreamer into a star very quickly. He had help. The 34-year-old is quick to thank contemporaries like Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan for paving the road for him.
  2. You've likely never seen Swindell with a girlfriend, as he keeps his love life private and always walks red carpets solo. That doesn't mean he's hopelessly single. Cole has ridden Cupid's rollercoaster plenty over the last few years, but he always hits the “eject button” before he gets dumped.
  3. In 2015 Swindell got a chance to perform with Alan Jackson, so he took to Instagram to share a throwback photo from his college days when he convincingly dressed as the '90s superstar.
  4. So, you might have known this. For three years he sold T-shirts for Luke Bryan while the now-superstar singer toured the country. But, they met years before either one was famous.
  5. Cole and Luke were both Sigma Chi at Georgia Southern University, although a few years separated them. One day Bryan stopped by the fraternity house to change his guitar strings and he was asked to play a song. That song — called "Small Town Favorite Son" — is what inspired Swindell to up his game.
  6. Dierks Bentley admits he has Swindell's phone number listed as C-O-A-L in his cell phone because that's how he entered it when they first met years ago.  Cole ended up writing then recording “Flatliner” with Dierks at the beginning of his career.
  7. Cole likes to tell everyone that he remembers everyone in his high school. His graduating class only had 25 kids in it! From there he'd go on to Georgia Southern University, where he'd eventually get a degree in marketing.
  8. Cole’s favorite song?  George Strait’s “Carrying Your Love with Me.”  That is all.
  9. He does have a guilty pleasure TV show.  OK, maybe he wouldn't appear on the Bachelorette, but he's a pretty big fan. He says he watches as much as he can.
  10. Cole is a sports nut.  In high school he played football, baseball, basketball, golf and ran track!

Here is Cole performing live at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN, on April 26, 2016.

 

LUKE COMBS

New Country sensation Luke Combs makes a September appearance just down the road at Shoreline Amphitheatre as one of the opening acts for Jason Aldean. But, Luke also just recently announced he will embark on his own Headline Arena Tour for the first time next year. The "Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour" will hit 28 cities starting January 31, 2019. He will be joined by opening acts Lanco and Jameson Rodgers. Dates and locations are on his website. Hopefully, he will add in a NorCal date sometime soon.

 

Click HERE for 10 facts you may not know about Luke Combs, courtesy of CountryFanCast.

 

Check out this video of the newest song from Luke...not being played yet on "regular" country radio, but you can hear it now on Sonoma County's New Country Leader, 106.3 The Bull!

 

 

MAREN MORRIS



 

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