Future Stars + Guitars 2020
The Barrymore Theatre
Friday, January 17, 2020 | 8 p.m.
Doors Open at 7 p.m. | VIP Early Entry at 6:30 p.m.
GA Tickets: $27 Advance/$32 Day of Show
Star Country VIP Experience: SOLD OUT (Includes early entry, preferred seating, commemorative poster, and a picture with all of the artists)
GA tickets: BUY HERE
Star Country VIP Experience: SOLD OUT
After playing college basketball for Drury University for four years, breakthrough country artist Matt Stell stood at a crossroads. One road led to Cambridge, MA where Stell was accepted into Harvard University’s Extension School Pre-Med program. The other road pointed toward Nashville and a career in country music. Stell made the choice to follow his dreams of writing and performing. The 6’7” Center Ridge, Ark. native and self-taught vocalist and guitar-player made the move to Music City in 2014, landing a publishing and management deal with Wide Open Music and a record deal with music industry power house Barry Weiss’ RECORDS/Arista Nashville. His multi-week, No. 1 debut single, “Prayed For You,” written by Stell along with Ash Bowers and Alison Veltz, is certified Gold and has already amassed more than 100 million digital streams, making waves on Billboard’s Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs Charts and spinning on SiriusXM’s The Highway in addition to having been featured on Spotify’s Hot Country, New Boots, Wild Country, and Country Kind Of Love Playlists, Amazon’s “The Weekly One,” and Apple’s A-Lis tCountry Playlist. Stell made his primetime, network TV debut performing the song during a special episode of ABC’s summer reality series “Bachelor in Paradise.” The CMT Discovery Artist and Taste of Country Ones To Watch artist’s official music video for “Prayed For You” premiered via People, has racked up nearly 10 million views. “Prayed For You” along with “Home In A Hometown,” a collaboration with Jimmie Allen, and Stell’s sultry cover of Ariana Grande’s “God is a woman” can be found on Stell’s EP, Everywhere But On. Catch Stell on tour this fall with Chris Young’s “Raised On Country World Tour 2019” through Nov. 23. Learn more at mattstell.com, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube @MattStellMusic.
Jameson Rodgers likes to say he just knows when a song feels right for him, whether he wrote it or not. "Some Girls," the Batesville, Mississippi native's debut single under Sony Music Nashville, is one of those songs —a hard-edged tune penned by Michael Hardy, Jake Mitchell and C.J. Solar that existed in demo form for years before Rodgers got to take a crack at it.
"I couldn't believe nobody had cut it," says Rodgers. "I told them forever ago that if I ever had the opportunity to record it I'd love to. Nearly every artist in town had it on hold at some point, but it fell through the cracks."
Maybe it was just the universe's strange way of uniting a song with its rightful singer, or maybe it was pure coincidence, but Rodgers' instincts were spot on. With its fist-pumping, hydraulic chorus and Rodgers' gritty, blues-influenced vocals, "Some Girls" perfectly encapsulates the frustration of a breakup that went badly and continues to rear its ugly head.
"Some girls make it easy on you," Rodgers sighs in the chorus, “some girls never do. “it’s definitely something I've lived," he says. “Some breakups are harder than others and then you run into an ex after it's over. You might think you're over them and it just kind of takes you back to square one. “
Well before he was singing for his supper, the soft-spoken Rodgers was a scholarship baseball player at Northwest Mississippi Community College. Growing up in the midst of country's '90s commercial heyday –his first concert was Garth Brooks at the Pyramid in Memphis –Rodgers always had an inkling that he might end up living in Music City, he just didn't know how or when.
“I can remember in high school I would tell people –this was before I played guitar or anything –I would just be like, ‘Yeah, I'm gonna move to Nashville one day,’" he recalls.
Following the countless open mic nights of his early days in town, Rodgers eventually signed his first publishing deal with Combustion Music. There he focused on developing his songwriting voice, landing his first cut on Florida Georgia Line's Dig Your Roots album, with "Wish You Were On It." In the meantime, he also released his self-titled EP, featuring the streaming hit "Midnight Daydream. "He followed that with a second EP, which was released independently in 2018. Produced by Mickey Jack Cones (Dustin Lynch, Joe Nichols) and Chris Farren, the five-song collection showcased him as both a talented writer and interpreter, equally capable of writing thoughtful lyricism and just knowing when to let it rip.
In addition to "Some Girls," the EP featured the streaming hit "Missing One." Flipping the title phrase on its head, Rodgers rattles off a list of personal items he's missing that all turn out to be inconsequential when compared to the woman whose left him. Rodgers wrote the tune with pals Smith Ahnquist and Hunter Phelps over a period of months.
"We started it in January and we didn't finish it until May," he says. "We knew it was gonna be a clever idea, but we had to get it right. It was a hard one, but a fun one. “
That dedication has brought Rodgers a whole truckload of new success in 2019. He helped pen the song "Talk You Out of It," which Florida Georgia Line released as the second single from their latest album Can't Say I Ain't Country, as well as Chris Lane’s recent single “I Don’t Know About You. “He was chosen to participate in CMA's inaugural Kix Start Artist Scholarship program, which afforded Rodgers the opportunity to perform on the Nissan Stadium stage during CMA Fest and a year of mentorship and support. His independently-released projects have surpassed 40 million on-demand streams. And to top it off, he signed his new record deal, through a partnership with River House Artists and Columbia Nashville.
"The last 12 months, everything has gone my way," says Rodgers. "I've been in town nine years, so I'm just trying to soak it all up. And try not to mess it up, honestly. "
Sony and River House previously had massive success partnering to launch the career of Luke Combs, who took an interest in Rodgers' music a few years ago and contacted him through social media. When Combs got ready to scale up to bigger venues, he reached out to Rodgers with a very big offer.
"I had asked around like, 'You all know that Luke Combs guy? He hit me up wanting to write,' and my friends were like 'Yeah, definitely write with him,'" says Rodgers. "So we wrote and became buddies. A year later he calls me up and says, 'You want to go on tour next year? We're doing 61 arenas and amphitheaters.’"
Combs' Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour, which kicked off in January and sold out the majority of shows scheduled through May in its first leg, put Rodgers on massive stages in front of crowds who came out to witness something real and relatable.
"I learned from watching Luke that you don't have to chase anything," says Rodgers. "You can be yourself and it can work. He's not trying to be anybody else. I call him the people's champ. "
He's also on deck for a fall leg of the Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour that gets underway September 26 and concludes with a blowout show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena in December.
That commitment to understanding his artistry, coupled with Rodgers' finely-tuned ear for songs, makes him perfectly suited to lean into a constantly changing Nashville without the fear of abandoning his songwriting roots.
"I want to be known as the dude with good songs," he says. "If a song gives you chill bumps or if it makes you cry or if it makes you happy, it’s done its job. "
That may sound like a relatively humble mission for a performer with such promise, but hey, sometimes you just know.
Now signed to Warner Nashville/Atlantic Records but originally hailing from Denver, Colorado, Ingrid Andress has been chipping away at expectations of herself, and her sound, since she was a young child. As good at sports as she was writing songs, Andress was born into a large family and homeschooled in her youth, growing up outside of the traditional definitions that apply to most kids – of what little girls are "supposed" to do, or how she was supposed to interact with the world around her. Rolling Stone has applauded her “honest and heartbreaking” lyrics that she pairs with a vocal delivery described by The New York Times as “steady, calm, alive.” Having written with heavy hitters in the music community such as Sam Hunt and Alicia Keys, Andress has co-writer credits on hits like “Steady 1234” and Charli XCX’s “Boys.” she was named to Sounds Like Nashville’s “19 New Country Artists to Watch in 2019” list and touted as one of CMT's “Listen Up 2019” artists as well as one of their “Next Women of Country.” It all has led to the release of her first track as a solo artist, “Lady Like.” Written by Andress, Sam Ellis and Derek Sutherland, the song received the DISCovery Award from MusicRow, who praised its “Cool, offbeat, tomboy lyrics.” She will continue to release new music in 2019 that will prove her to be one of the most unique and moving voices in the country space and beyond; one that is thrillingly honest, raw and refreshing in a way rarely seen emanating from Music City.