SRS2014, Rd 1 Wk 3, 8.21.14

| August 24, 2014 | Reply


Whiskey Prophets — moving on

Whiskey Prophets — moving on

For photos, click link at the bottom

Southern Junction Dancehall and Steakhouse  hosted this week’s Shiner Rising Star, its regular band stepping to the side for Whiskey Prophets, Aaron McDonnell band, and Levi Cobb & The Big Smoke to take the large stage. Each of the three bands were competing for the chance to move into Round 2 of this year’s Shiner Rising Star, the contest sponsored by Dallas station KHYI 95.3 and Shiner Beer. It will be Whiskey Prophets who will moving into Round 2.

Whiskey Prophets is made up of Brad Robertson on vocals, Mike Norris on drums, Matt Hinchey on guitar, and Jeremy Ailes on bass, and most of them backing up Brad on vocals. They, as required, entertained with all original songs, except for the one required



Contest judges for Rd 1 Wk 3

           Contest judges for Rd 1 Wk 3

cover song, which in this case was Chris Knight’s Highway Junkie. At the end of the set, as set out in the contest regulations, the three judges — Allan Peck and Big Gus Samuelson of KHYI, and Woody Lee, singer/songwriter — critiqued this and the other two bands.

Critique:  The judges said, individually, that the band’s having kept the tempo of their songs upbeat was a plus, and kept dancers on the dance floor; they had a good transition from one song to the next; their choice of cover song was good and well executed;  and they appeared professional in their stage presence.

Aaron McDonnell band consisted of Aaron on lead vocals and guitar;  his wife, Dani on back-up vocals

Jess Thompson of Levi Cobb band

Jess Thompson of Levi Cobb band

and tambourine; Dave Stammer on bass; Dennis Bailey on pedal steel; Leland Rooney on lead guitar; and Kyle Williams on drums. On the positive side, after determining that the bad were, in the judges’  words “hired guns,” the judges compared Aaron to a cross between Kenny Rogers and James Hand, with some Tom Russell thrown in. Aaron, who acknowledge he wasn’t familiar with Tom Russell, provided the judges with lyric sheets, which the judges said they appreciated.

Critique:  The judges seemed in agreement again that the band’s inspirational song was definitely in the Tom Russell style;  their stage presentation between songs was a definite plus, showing that they loved their audience. Big Gus remembered that Aaron has a rather famous uncle, Cletus T. Judd.

Levi Cobb & The Big Smoke is a more folky-type band than the first two who played and brought country music to the stage. It is made up of Jesse Thompson on lead vocals, banjo, and guitar; Kim Nall on vocals and guitar; Dave Stone on vocals and bass; and Charlie Moore on drums. They presented a waltz, a slow song, their cover, and other originals of varying tempos and subjects.

Aaron McConnell

Aaron McConnell

Critique:  The judges suggested they take more time to announce their songs; noted that they didn’t correct their guitars when out of tune; and turned their backs to the audience between songs, thereby losing contact with that audience; and noted little interaction between the band members.

This next Thursday, Aug. 28, the contest will be at Love & War in Texas, Grapevine, and will be between Crazywater, Andrew Delaney & The Horse You Rode In On, and Matt Begley & Bitter Whiskey. Music starts at 8 p.m., and there’s never a cover charge for these contests.

For Whiskey Prophets photos, click here

For Aaron McDonnell Band photos, click here

For Levi Cobb & The Big Smoke photos, click here

For photos of family dancers, click here


Category: *- Features, 2014, Southern Junction

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