Sara Morgan is a performing singer/songwriter quickly making her name known throughout the Midwest and beyond. Sara’s sound is refreshingly different with a slight soulful hint of blues mingled with an undeniable, yet very identifiable country twang. Her voice has been called “a blend of Norah Jones, Jewel, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Reba McIntyre, and Patty Lovelace” – all of whom are musical influences.
Sara truly enjoys performing for audiences, but she is most content and “at home” when she is writing and composing her own original material; her songwriting catalog reaches across multiple genres. Sara writes and composes an eclectic mix of songs ranging from folk, Americana, bluegrass, and country, to rock, pop, R&B, Broadway, and contemporary Christian. Her versatility as a songwriter is as undeniable as her unique vocal sound.
Sara sells out listening rooms, is a crowd favorite at song swaps and songwriter showcases, and is often asked to assist other songwriters with their work.
Sara has opened for multi-Grammy and Dove award winner BJ Thomas, country superstar John Michael Montgomery, singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey, Sex and the City heart throb John Corbett, alternative folk singer-songwriter Sean Rowe, and singer-songwriter Ben Taylor. She was also the preshow act at the Industry Bar inside the Uptown Theater in Kansas City before her idol, Loretta Lynn, took the main stage.
Sara has appeared on WDAF Fox TV, KCTV 5, KTHB, KCTP, and she has performed the National Anthem for the Missouri Mavericks, Sporting KC, and the Kansas City Royals; her songs get radio play on community radio station KKFI 90.1 FM, and 90.9 The Bridge in Kansas City, and KMXN 92.9 “The Bull” in Lawrence, KS; she has been featured in the Kansas City Star, Deli Magazine, Ink Magazine, and The Pitch news publications, and she records at Chapman Studios in Lenexa, Kansas. Sara resides in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Pop hits of the 1950’s featuring Hammered Dulcimer.
Performed on authentic mountain instruments. Includes bluegrass inflected renditions of “Sixteen Candles,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” “Bye Bye Love,” and more.
Craig Duncan is no stranger to the Nashville music community. His talents on violin, fiddle, hammered dulcimer, mandolin, guitar, bass, and viola can be heard on numerous Nashville recordings. A graduate of Appalachian State University and Tennessee State University, Craig is a member of the North American Fiddler’s Hall of Fame and Who’s Who in Music and Musicians.
If you’re lookin’ for country, you came to the right place… #authenticcountry.
Ricky along with his good friend, writing partner and producer J.P. Pennington is laying out his heart and soul on his first CD, Thanks A Lot Loretta. This is the kind of music that true country music lovers have been anticipating for quite some time. Not only has he brought back authentic country music but he pays tribute to his longtime idol, Loretta Lynn whose cassette tape was the first he ever bought, ‘Just a Woman’. I thought she was a knock-out right then and there. I really fell in love after seeing her perform with Conway Twitty in my very first concert in Knoxville, Tennessee. I think when she hears my music, she’ll be just a little bit proud… after all I’m just a coal miner’s son.
It would be putting it mildly to say that Caroline Jones has a lot of herself invested in Bare Feet, her new album, which is out now. The singer-songwriter, who also hosts Art & Soul,a radio show on SiriusXM’s Coffee House, proudly states that “this body of work is my baby. I wrote all the songs, and co-produced it, and played all the instruments — except bass and drums. So, if something could be my heart and soul out in music, it would be this record.
“I’m really grateful to have the full body of work out, and also because we love playing live so much — it’s a blast to be able to really stretch out in certain shows where we have an hour, an hour and a half where we can play the full record,” she adds.
Jones – part of Billboard’s 15 Country Artists to Watch list in January – has gotten plenty of opportunities to showcase her music for fans while opening shows for the Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett. She says that the eclectic musical tastes of those respective fan bases has meshed quite well with her own musical sensibility. “We’ve built a lot of fans on the Zac Brown tour and the shows we’ve done with Jimmy thus far. I’m really excited to continue building a fan base that really enjoys my body of work and not just one song or one style,” she says. “I’m excited by the fact that music fans now grow up with an appreciation for different genres of music, and that those influences are reflected in my music.”
Jones allows that willingness to approach her music as an open canvas is something that she has learned from both Brown and Buffett. “Both Zac and Jimmy have their own vision, and have always been true to their own vision — even before it was popular or when it wasn’t popular. They have that kind of rogue, renegade spirit, and I think that is most conducive to creativity. We all have that deep desire to be really authentic and really uniquely ourselves. So, to be able to call them mentors and friends is hugely informative, hopefully for my entire life, for my entire career.”
While opening for Buffett, you just might see Jones join the singer on stage, with “Come Monday” being one such opportunity for her to add her harmonies. “I was actually so surprised that they wanted me on that one, because usually when they ask you to sing a song with them, they’re not going to ask you to sing one of their biggest hits. That’s one of their moments, you know? I was really excited to be able to sing that song. It’s been a blast to sing. I mean, obviously, that’s one of his biggest hits, so people love singing that song.”
To promote Bare Feet, Jones said the plan of attack is to get the music out in front of the people. She feels that’s where the music begins and ends for her. “I don’t think that there’s any other experience quite like the visceral feeling of being in the room with someone, and the audience being part of the creative process. In live music, you’re there to connect with the audience. That’s the whole purpose. I think that’s where you can really build a special bond that someone will never forget, and I take that really seriously.”
As the music business has evolved dramatically over the years, Jones said she’s definitely focused on the viral way of doing things. “In terms of promotion, we’re really focused on the digital side. I love creating video content, so we have Paul Boyd, who’s directed a bunch of the Shania Twain videos as our creative director. We try to film a lot of different aesthetic aspects to my music and to the emotional aspects of the music. We’re releasing a bunch of little videos and teasers over the next couple months. I love the aspect of video because, I think, when it’s done right, it can add to the emotional depth of the song. People who are really visual can understand the song in a way that they can’t if they just listen to it.”
Jones will be sharing her music and her story on the April 11 episode NBC’s Today – her nationwide TV debut. Needless to say, it’s an exciting time in her life and career. She doesn’t want to take one second of the ride for granted. “It’s extremely gratifying. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of. It’s exciting to see fans coming to my music who are real music lovers and really appreciate the craft of it. I’ve always wanted to build fans like that. That’s really important to me, because I know those are the fans that … as long as I stay on my path of artistic integrity, they’ll come and see me in ten years, twenty years, thirty years. I’ve always tried to take that long view in building a career. To see that starting to happen is really exciting.”
As career trajectories are measured, Red Shahan has covered a hell of a lot of ground in the three years since the release of his debut, Men and Coyotes — not to mention since his salad days a decade ago, when he began haunting the Lubbock club circuit and made the fateful decision that music would be his life’s path rather than baseball, rodeo, or firefighting. After a few more formative years of honing his chops and confidence as a songwriter, singer, and versatile musician in different projects throughout the region, he relocated to Fort Worth and began focusing in earnest on launching a solo career and recording the album that would serve as his official introduction to the Texas music world at large. Men and Coyotes was originally released in the summer of 2015 with little fanfare, but the red-headed troubadour with the lonesome howl and penchant for somber portraits of busted boom towns and gritty, white-knuckled anthems wasn’t long in hitting his stride and building a loyal audience the old-fashioned way: organically, from the ground up.
That grassroots success would in turn land him both a booking deal with the Beverley Hills-based Paradigm Talent Agency and the honor of being the first artist signed to fellow Texas artist Randy Rogers’ Big Blind Management roster. The next thing Shahan knew, he was playing his first official showcase at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville. After the set, a duly impressed English gentleman with shoulder-length silver hair approached him to enthuse, “You guys were great!” Shahan thanked him, but didn’t learn until after the fact that he’d just met Robert Plant. “It was such a dark-lit room that I didn’t even recognize him,” Shahan confesses today with a self-effacing chuckle. “I guess I dropped the ball on that one!”
“If anybody ever had a ‘spirit animal,’ I would definitely say mine is a coyote,” he insists. “It’s just a very resilient animal — something that thrives off of the bottom rung of what people leave behind.” But as much as he admires the metaphoric potential of the scrappy underdog, as a storyteller Shahan is far too honest to ever cheapen his narratives with false hopes. In “Culberson County” when hesings, “let’s keep the lonely places / lonely as long as we can,” his wish is tempered with the realist’s fatalism that the wilderness and coyotes can’t hold out forever, because “it won’t be long before they pave it down and just the highways whine.” Likewise, even though he loves his native Lone Star State as much as any other former college rodeo performer who grew up on a cattle ranch, more often than not when Shahan sings about Texas, he’s not rhapsodizing about bluebonnets and carefree nights at the dancehall.
“I really like to try to paint a picture of the real Texas, because there’s a lot of stuff about Texas that people don’t talk about,” he says. Take, for example, the album’s harrowing “Enemy” — a documentary-style report from the frontlines of backwoods meth country. “I mean, I’m with the next guy that wants to throw on a pearl-snap shirt and hoot and holler over a case of Busch Light, but at the same time … how often are those people really happy? Because a lot of them come from some really hard and darker sides of Texas, and those are the things I want to bring light to.” Other tales from that dark side include “6 Feet,” about an incarcerated drug dealer dreading the cartel justice awaiting him on the other side, and “How They Lie,” whose opening verse unspools a world of heartbreak: “Sister’s in the backseat crying to her daddy, ‘When we gonna move back home?’ / He said it’s not our house now, Daddy made a few mistakes and now they’ve taken everything we own / Sign the wrong dotted line in a stack of papers and everything is gone.”
Just for the record, Shahan (who recently became a first-time daddy to a baby girl) has never been cheated by an oil company out of a family farm, let alone buried a bag of stolen drug money in the desert. But he infuses those stories with as much conviction as he does his more personal and “confessional” fare such as “Hurricane” and “Idle Hands,” two songs that address the emotional tug-of-war of a traveling musician weighing the temptations of the road against the comforts of home (and fidelity.) And although much of Culberson County may be as unapologetically, well, grim as Men and Coyotes, there’s a handful of songs here that reveal a lighter touch and even a flash of tongue-in-cheek humor. In the opening “Waterbill,” a broke musician’s lament served over a rollicking bed of Creedence-worthy riffage, Shahan finds himself stranded on the side of the road in Bandera, too drunk to call for help but just sober enough to dread spending the night in mountain lion country, because “I hear they love a redhead delight.” In the rollicking singalong “Someone Someday” (a rare co-write for Shahan, penned with Brent Cobb and Aaron Raitiere), he sings a line about “rubbernecking all the outlaws” that lands as both a laugh-out-loud commentary on the modern Texas/Americana music scene and a playfully self-aware admission of his own aspirations and insecurity. And then there’s the politically charged (albeit by Shahan’s admission, deliberately non-partisan) fist-in-the-air anthem “Revolution,” which really isn’t funny at all — but it does flat out rock.
Like any self-respecting Texas singer-songwriter worthy of the title, Shahan can hold his own playing any of his songs solo acoustic, just like he writes them. But Culberson County is no one-man show. Like Men and Coyotes before it, this is very much a full-band affair, with Elijah Ford (an acclaimed solo artist in his own right) returning to the producer’s chair, Matthew “Paw Paw” Smith (formerly with Ryan Bingham) back behind the drum kit and Shahan’s old Lubbock buddy Parker Morrow on bass. Shahan himself played rhythm electric and acoustic, while special recruit Daniel Sproul was called in to handle most of the lead guitar for the sessions. Guests on the album include fellow Texas songwriters Charlie Shafter and Bonnie Bishop on background and harmony vocals, as well as Shahan’s own mother, Kim Smith, who sings on the song “Memphis.” It was his mother who taught Shahan his first chords on guitar, telling him, “If you want to learn more, you can take this and go from there.” “I just wanted to have her on the album as a way of saying thank you for always supporting and believing in me,” he says. “She was a little hesitant at first, but she knocked it out of the park.”
The same can be said for everyone else on the record, too, which of course made it especially hard for Shahan to have to wait more than a year after its completion for its belated release date this spring — really the only concession (necessitated by the kind of big-picture scheduling and strategizing that comes into play anytime an artist breaks through to the next level) that he’s had to make to date in his career. He candidly admits that, left entirely to his own “blow-and-go” impulse, he might well have had three records out by now — and hopes that maybe he will come this time next year. But right now, he couldn’t be happier to finally get to share Culberson County with his fans — especially those who already know the handful of songs the band has previewed live well enough to request them by name.
“People will say ‘Are you going to play ‘Revolution’ tonight?’ And I’m like, ‘How do you even know that song’s called ‘Revolution’?” he marvels with a laugh. “But it’s been very cool to see that, and I’m just really excited to get the whole album out now and to get people’s reactions and input to the rest of the songs. We’re all extremely proud of this record. I still feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface of what we’re capable of yet, but … this is a great window into what’s to come.”