96.3 Star Country and Legacy Exteriors presents the Class of 2021: Matt Stell, Lainey Wilson, Priscilla Block and Elvie Shane at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells June 4 for an outdoor concert!
It’s where we feature the future country stars of tomorrow… now and all on one stage for an acoustic show!
All tickets are general admission for $40.
Each ticket comes with $15 rewards play!
Tickets and hotel packages are available HERE or 800.746.2486.
This is a 21+ event.
The country music industry has long been filled with its share of characters. From Willie to Hank and Dolly to Waylon, every legend starts out as just another artist that doesn’t fit easily into some predetermined box. And as hard as country music may try to fit Matt Stell into one of those tried and true boxes, it’s darn near impossible.
Heck, he’s 6’7.
But more so than the massive physique that helped Stell become a collegiate basketball standout, the Platinum certified singer has proven via the songs he sings and the shows he puts on that he is far too powerful of an artist to ever fit into some sort of singular category. In fact, to describe Stell in a few words would be a complete disservice to the man he is and the artist he looks to become on his new EP, Better Than That.
“If you cut a groove too deep, it’s hard to get out of it,” he remarks with a chuckle. “I’ve never wanted to be some one-dimensional artist, and with this new EP, I think I’m determined to show that there is much more to me than just a guy who can sing a love song.”
Indeed, the Arkansas native comes from a long line of self-proclaimed badasses. He can spin a romantic verse as easy as he can rock out an anthem. He can overanalyze a word as easily as he can let the melody ride a lyrical wave. And yes, he gets as much enjoyment out of discovering a hook in the writing room as he does hooking a fish.
“When you step out into that river and the salmon are still swimming upstream like they have for thousands of years, it’s a real cathartic, therapeutic thing for me,” he says of a recent fishing trip to Alaska. “It’s a great reset.”
In everything he does, it’s evident that Stell is reflective and adventurous and funny and pretty damn smart. And if he’s being totally honest with himself, he’s never been one to love a love song.
Yep, you heard that right.
Granted, it was in fact a love song that catapulted Stell to country music success in 2019 via his massive hit “Prayed for You,” a life-changer of a song that spent two weeks at the number one spot. As the only debut single to top Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in 2019, and one of NSAI’s “10 Songs We Wish We’d Written,” the hit has gone on to rack up some impressive stats with over 270 million streams, his first RIAA Platinum certification and more than 20 million views of its official music video to date.
But there’s a catch.
“If the only thing you’ve heard is ‘Prayed for You,’ you would have a different idea of who I really am,” Stell explains. “Knowing that you are making music that means something to people is the ultimate compliment, but there is so much more to me.”
A few more of the many facets of Stell are on display in his Gold-certified second #1 single “Everywhere But On,” a song that Stell calls ‘autobiographical’ in the way that it tells the story of a man trying to escape the memories of a long lost love.
“Having two songs on the radio is an incredible thing, but what’s even more incredible is finding your own voice and your own identity,” he says.
Stell showcased a whole bunch of identities in another Better Than That EP standout - “If I Was a Bar.” At a time when some of his fellow artists were perfectly content in simply sitting down with their guitar and playing their songs during the pandemic that Stell lovingly refers to as a ‘damn biological hurricane,’ Stell and his rather relentless work ethic turned out a music video that had him playing thirteen different roles in the span of a 3-plus minute song.
“I threw every stitch of clothing I have ever owned into my truck for that video shoot,” laughs Stell of the somewhat restrictive project. “Sometimes creativity benefits from constraints.”
Yet, there were few constraints on Stell’s songwriting during the creation of the new Better Than That EP, which was co-produced by Stell alongside Ash Bowers. Via songs co-written by Stell such as “I Love You Too,” “Chase It Down” and the title track “Better Than That,” the listener can still hear Stell’s distinctive way of wrapping a lyric around a memory and the twist he can put on a phrase.
“Songwriting is a craft that can get better the more time you put into it,” remarks Stell, as he laments to himself about how much he hates clichés.
But for the first time in his still evolving career, Stell relied on outside writers on three of the eight tracks of the Better Than That EP in an effort to fill in the blanks of the overall project.
One of those cuts is “Sadie,” a melodic brain-buster of a song that offers ‘a sparse lyric but one in which every word means something.’ Another outside cut is “Look At Me Now,” perhaps one of the most earth-shattering love songs in recent memory. Yes, the guy who says love songs aren’t his thing just might make history with yet another love song.
Stell also looked to outside writers for the surprise track, “That Ain’t Me No More,” released in Feb. 2021. Written by Hardy, Hunter Phelps, Smith Ahnquist, Jake Mitchell and Nick Donley the rocking song has Matt delivering a fresh take on heartbreak.
But before Stell looks too far into the future, he finds his soul planted deeply in the present. He is praying for the day he can plug his amp back in and jump on the bus with his band and play these new songs for a live crowd.
This new chapter in his journey leaves Stell with a whole bunch more ammunition in the writing room and a unique vantage point to view the characters in his songs…and the character he might ultimately turn out to be.
Lainey Wilson’s music is by equal measures richly textured and forthright – much like her honeyed Louisiana drawl, which is as likely to offer you a warm word of encouragement as it is to call you on your bullshit. Signed to BBR Music Group’s flagship imprint, Broken Bow Records, Wilson has spent years honing her song craft and developing her own “bell bottom country” sound, which is unapologetic, gritty, free-spirited, and exemplary of both her personality and her preferred fashion aesthetic.
Her songs and live performances are anchored in straightforward, raw emotion that doesn’t beat around the bush about who Lainey Wilson is – either as a person or an artist. NPR’s Jewly Hight calls Wilson, “unabashedly down-home and unflappably worldly,” noting that “with a pronounced drawl and sweetened sting, [she sings] of willful recklessness, wielding the power of damaging secrets and feeling empowered by allowing herself outbursts of irreverence.” It’s these sensibilities that continue to draw listeners to Wilson’s music and led CMT to proclaim her one of their “Next Women of Country” for 2019. She’s a blue-collar daughter filled with ambition, humility, and perseverance; the value of an honest day’s work having been ingrained in her from the moment she could walk.
Hailing from the rural farming community of Baskin, Louisiana (pop. 300), where her family has tilled the land for five generations, Wilson cultivated her tenacious work ethic just as her family cultivated corn, wheat, soybeans, oats, and more. She learned that daily chores on the farm were a family affair, and every member had to do their part.
Music was also a family affair. Wilson’s father played guitar, her mother loved to dance, and her grandparents often took her to bluegrass festivals. She wrote her first song at age nine, and her dad taught her how to play guitar at age 11. Wilson’s love for writing and performing continued to grow as she booked herself gigs throughout high school, even working for a stint as a Hannah Montana impersonator performing at children’s birthday parties and events – with Lainey Wilson the artist opening for Montana, of course.
It wasn’t long until Wilson moved to Nashville to pursue her dream of making music, with little more to her name than that dream and a Flagstaff bumper-pull travel trailer. She lived in that camper outside of a longtime family friend’s recording studio for three years. It was during this time that Wilson began to make inroads with Nashville’s tight-knit songwriting community, forging invaluable creative relationships with other up-and-coming songwriters in town and steadily developing her own voice as both a writer and an artist.
“My songs are a part of who I am. As my artistry has grown, it’s just kind of taught me not to be ashamed of who I am. To love everything about my life – even the harder parts – because all those things make me who I am. And that’s true for everybody,” she says. “We never want to go through the hard times, but I’m thankful for the ones I’ve had. I’ve gotten the songs I have from those experiences, and I’ve found that the more vulnerable I am and the more truthful I am, whether it is funny or sad or whatever — the more I am myself, the more people will honestly connect with me and my music.”
Wilson’s determined openness and salt-of-the-earth upbringing has prepared her well for the year ahead. She is starting 2019 with a supporting slot on chart-topping artist Morgan Wallen’s If I Know Me Tour before going in-studio to record her first project for Broken Bow Records. The year ahead may be full of early mornings, late nights, and many more firsts for the charismatic singer/songwriter, but Wilson remains undaunted – energized, even – by the long days ahead of her.
“Where I come from, there are years when you get a plentiful crop. Then there are years when you get too much rain, or not enough. Either way, you still have to get up every morning at the crack of dawn to take care of your crops. It’s the same with music,” she says. “We get up every single day and we work toward that good crop, no matter how hard. And we do what it takes, because it’s in our blood, and we don’t know any other way.”
Country artist Priscilla Block draws listeners in with her unfiltered, relatable songwriting and catchy melodies.
“I love writing about real life experiences and the ups and downs that I’ve gone through,” says Priscilla. “I don’t sugarcoat anything, and I think that’s the beauty of songwriting and being an artist.”
With an honest and upfront approach, Priscilla promotes self-love, empowerment, and acceptance through her own blend of country pop and southern rock, dubbed the Block Party sound. “It’s a little sass, a little trash, and a little sad,” describes Priscilla with a knowing wink as her catalog rolls so easily from heartbreak to laughter.
Originally from Raleigh, NC as one of five children, Priscilla moved to Nashville to pursue music shortly after high school. In Nashville, the affable, hardworking, student of life worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, then a chance encounter with her idol – Taylor Swift – was the sign she needed to dive all the way in on her music.
Over quarantine, Priscilla began experimenting with some new songs on social media app TikTok. There she developed a rabid fanbase with songs like “Thick Thighs,” an unapologetic anthem about women embracing their bodies, no matter their shape or size. Once her audience heard “Just About Over You,” they rallied together to independently fund the song’s recording. Priscilla in turn shared every moment of the recording and release process including all the emotions as she watched “Just About Over You” race to the top of both the iTunes Country and All Genre Song charts in only 12 short hours. Now, “Just About Over You” hits country radio in late September 2020 and has reached the top 40 on the Billboard Country Chart.
Priscilla is a seasoned performer playing sold-out shows across the southeast including Deep South the Bar in Raleigh, the storied Listening Room Cafe, and Nashville’s rowdiest block party, Whiskey Jam. Priscilla has also shared the stage with artists including Gabby Barrett, Adam Craig and Adam Doleac.
Priscilla made her national TV debut on The Tamron Hall Show in September 2020.
Follow Priscilla on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, andTikTokfor more on her music journey.
The Gospel-born and Southern Rock-bred Elvie Shane seamlessly fuses Country with Soul to create a sound that has graced hundreds of dives, jukes and festivals across the States. Born on a Sunday in the quiet town of Leitchfield, KY, it wasn’t but a week later when he was first introduced to music and the magic that it holds. Tucked firmly in his mother’s arms alongside a hymnal at the small-town Baptist church, Elvie would go on to spend many hours immersed in gospel before returning home. Greeting him in the driveway each Sunday afternoon were the sounds of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steve Earle and The Temptations pouring out of the speakers of some old Ford his father would be tucked under, fixing up.
Quickly drawn to the Rock n’ Roll sounds, it wasn’t until a Baptist Revival that his love of Gospel and Rock would collide—if was there that a young man who recently lost his lead singer heard Elvie sing and immediately invited him to play with his Rock band. Within six days, Elvie learned nearly a dozen new songs and performed his first show and fell in love with the stage. It was with this band that Elvie began songwriting—a talent that he has carried with him for many years. His songwriting ability caught the attention of fans as his debut single, “My Boy,” written about his stepson went viral on the internet in 2018 and again in 2021, having reached the No. 1 spot on the TikTok Country as it climbs through the Top 30 on Country radio. His debut EP, County Roads is slated to be released April 23. His picture-based lyrics and knack for storytelling lead to his signing with United Talent Agency and has since opened for Toby Keith, Billy Currington, Brothers Osborne, Cole Swindell, Brett Young, Walker Hayes, and Lady A, to name a few.