Interview with Blackhawk

We’re amped for our upcoming show with Blackhawk! If you haven’t bought tickets yet, now is you last chance, follow the link below.


How Do You Find Playing at the Grizzly Rose?

The Grizzly Rose is an iconic venue and always a pleasure to play. The faithful Denver BH fans are always very supportive.

What’s the story behind the name ‘Blackhawk’?

There really not much of a story. It’s a name that was seen on the side of a truck and the idea occurred to us to name the band that.

You guys have had a very successful career in country music spanning over two decades and selling millions of albums. What is the single most important lesson you’ve learned about music and/or life from your experiences so far?

Well my career spans 40 plus years and I’ve grown to understand the value of our fans and have enjoyed them on a more personal level now that the hustle has quieted down a little.

How did the passing of Van Stephenson impact you on a personal and professional level?

Well it was a shocker to lose Van and aside from the loss his family and friends felt, it had a very profound impact on the creative dynamic of the group. We’ve been able to survive it, but the magical vocal blend and songwriting personality was forever changed.

Tell us about how the country music (or music industry in general) has changed since you first started performing?

For us it’s become more of a cottage industry that we have complete control of. Both from a creative and business standpoint. It’s liberating, but at the same time requires a great deal of day to day involvement.

Is there a single show that sticks out in your minds as your favorite of your entire career?

No not really. There are some that are more memorable like the Outlaws playing in Central Park NYC 1975 in front of over a hundred thousand people and broadcast live to another 2 or 3 million. In the case of BH Farm Aid in Louisville in 1996 was memorable. All shows have a very similar theme and the feeling they inspire is constantly rewarding.

Blackhawk Country Interview

If you could go on tour with any band in any genre for a summer, who would it be and why?

I think one person I’d like to share the stage with is John Mellencamp.

Who are some of your favorite people/groups you’ve toured with in the past?

I think in the case of BH early tours with Suzy Bogguss and Hal Ketchum were fun. The tour that helped launch the group was with Tim McGraw and Little Texas.

What are you guys doing when you aren’t playing music?

Writing it and recording it……

Tell us something about you guys that most people wouldn’t expect?

There’s not much smoke and mirrors with BH. What you see is what you get…..

Grizzly Rose Sam Riggs

Interview with Sam Riggs

Grizzly Rose Sam Riggs

How was your show at the Grizzly Rose?

This was my 3rd time headlining the Grizzly Rose! My guys and I absolutely love it here. The venue is top notch and the staff is amazing. They’ve got great food as well!

When did playing music first spark you interest?

I started playing music when I was just a little kid. My mom would play guitar and sing to my brother and I every night. That sewed the seed of music in my heart.

Tell us about the transition from Florida to Austin, TX when you were a teenager.

I moved from St. Cloud, FL to Austin, TX when I was 18 years old. I was chasing after a music career and Austin, Texas is a stellar music town. It was scary and crazy at times. I lived in a trailer in the woods way outside of town. I learned a lot about what I was made of in those days.

Sam Riggs Grizzly Rose Concert

How did you meet Ray Wylie Hubbard and what kind of impact did he have on your country music career?

I met Ray through Judy, his wife. They’re wonderful people. Ray taught me a ton about songwriting, and they both taught me a lot about the music business in general. I probably wouldn’t be as far along as I am without them!

We’ve heard that you had to sell all your possessions to finance ‘Lighthouse’ your seconded extended play. How confident were you that this would lead to bigger things when you decided to take that risk?

It was a complete leap of faith. I was gambling everything on my willingness to work harder than anyone else. It’s worked so far! Lol.

After ‘Outrun the Sun’ was released, positive things started happening quickly for you. What was the moment where you realized that being a country music star was no longer a dream, but a reality?

I think it really started to sink in that this was working when when places like Rolling Stone Magazine started calling and asking to do interviews. It was pretty wild… Suddenly the press was all over it out of nowhere. My manager at the time and I were scrambling to stay on top of it!

Sam Riggs Denver Grizzly Rose

What is your favorite song that you have created in your career so far and why?

There are a lot of songs I’ve written that I’m really proud of. Songs like Change, and The Lucky Ones are two that stick out at the moment. They capture such an important aspect of our lives that so many people graze over in music these days. I love them.

Where’s your favorite place to play? Whether it’s a city or a specific venue.

The Grizzly Rose in Denver, CO.

Why did you decided to release your second album on your own label and what was your experience like using Kickstarter to crowd-fund it?

I wanted to make the record and release on my own terms. It was a huge success for us, but there were several times when I wondered if I was in over my head. Just gotta keep working! It’s paid off ten-fold being able to call the shots. Kickstarter was amazing- being able to include the fans in the process at that level was the ultimate experience.

Tell us a little bit about your life outside of music? What do you like to do and how do you typically spend your free time?

Outside of music I tend to be a little bit of an adventure/adrenaline junky. I’m a pilot, so I fly in the backcountry quite a bit. I also love backpacking, rock climbing, and camping. I’m definitely an outdoors guy.

Colorado Country Musicians

Country Singers from Colorado

When people think of country music, they might picture a boots and cowboy hat-wearing singer gracing the stage somewhere down south. But it would be wrong to exclude other country artists who come from other states, including Colorado. The rugged beauty of Colorado’s vast landscapes has inspired several artists in the country music universe. The following country singers were either born or spent a large part of their lives in Colorado.

John Denver

Colorado Country Musicians

John Denver’s 1972 hit “Rocky Mountain High” became one of Colorado’s two official state songs in 2007.

Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., better known by his stage name John Denver, is probably the most famous country musician associated with the state of Colorado. Denver was born in Roswell, New Mexico, to Air Force pilot Captain Henry John Deutschendorf, Sr. He began playing guitar at the age of 11, when his grandmother bought him an acoustic guitar. After the success of his 1972 album Rocky Mountain High and its title track, which hit the Top Ten in 1973, Denver purchased a residence in Aspen, where he lived continuously until his death. On October 12, 1997, Denver died after the plane he was piloting crashed due to a malfunction with its fuel tanks.

Beau David

Beau David was one of the men of color to change the face of country music, and he was a founding member of the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame.

Newrise Battle, known by his stage name Beau David, was born in 1937 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He began singing early in his life, and he took his talent with him when he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1955. When he was stationed in Germany, his rendition of the song “16 Tons” won him the Air Force Tops in Blues Award. He formed his first band, The Intrigues, while he was stationed in Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. He played with the band for four years until his retirement from the Air Force after serving 20 years in 1975. He moved to Colorado that same year, performing solo six nights a week while he studied at the University of Northern Colorado.

He later formed a new band, “The Day Drinkers,” that played in the Denver area, where the locals referred to him as Beau David. His work was influenced by folk, flamenco, country, and blues music, but his favorite was country music. In 2005, David was inducted into the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame. Sadly, he passed away five years later at the age of 73. He is remembered for his legacy of being one of the men of color to change the face of country music, as well as his role as a founding member of the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame.

Lannie Garrett

Lannie Garrett is a singer/entertainer whose talents encompass singing, acting, and comedy.

Garrett is a high-profile entertainer, having worked with big names like B.B. King, Bill Cosby, and Jay Leno. She’s no stranger to Colorado, as she has performed with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Denver’s Boettcher Concert Hall and Red Rocks Amphitheater. Lannie’s connection to country music comes from her famous Patsy DeCline show, a performance that spoofs country music. On the show’s wide appeal, Annie explains: “If you really like country music, the band is a really good country band. And if you really don’t like country music, the show is funny enough and goofy enough that it doesn’t matter that it’s country.” Garrett won the title of Denver Post’s Favorite Female Vocalist several years running, and both the readers of 5280 Magazine and OutFront voted Garrett their favorite singer. She was inducted into the Colorado Country Hall of Fame in 2010.

Audy Baldridge

His love of country music is rooted in the broad range of places he has performed and all of the wonderful people he has met.” — Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame

Audy Baldridge was born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. He entered the U.S. Navy at age 20 and later graduated from the Oklahoma State University of Technical Training in 1960. He has a wife, Joan, four children, and several grandchildren. Baldridge later moved to Colorado and is now a 34-year resident of the state. Baldridge, who has played country music his entire life, is a founding member of The Red River Band and has enjoyed playing in the group for over 17 years; even to this day, Baldridge continues to play with the group, not intending to slow down anytime soon. He was inducted into the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

Little Texas Slider

Interview with Little Texas

We’re very excited for our upcoming show with Little Texas this Friday. If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, you can buy tickets here. We had the opportunity to do an interview with the band to learn a bit more about their lives as musicians.

Little Texas Slider

When did you first play at the Grizzly Rose and what do you think of our venue?

Boy, have we played the Grizzly Rose! Our time there goes all the way back to 1989 when we would go through Denver working our way across the country. We would do 5 sets a night, 4 nights a week. We would ski all day sometimes and play all night. Had a ball. In 1992, The Nashville Network celebrated the release of our first album with their very first live concert broadcast from there as well. That special aired a gazillion times over the course of that year.

Little Texas has been gracing the ears of country music fans for over 25 years. How has the country music scene changed since when you first got into the game in the early 90s?

The easiest answer would be, “How has it not changed?” Everything is different, from the way records are made, to the way people listen to those records, everything. Technology and the internet has changed every aspect of the way the music industry does business.

How did you all meet each other and start playing music together?

Porter and I both grew up in Longview, TX, and started playing together in high school. We both moved to Nashville to attend Belmont College (now Belmont University) and while there did a season at Opryland. We met Dwayne O’Brien and Tim Rushlow there and put a band together to work after the season ended. One of our college buddies was working in A&R at Warner Bros. and showed some interest in doing a project with us. Soon after, we met Del Gray and Brady Seals while out on the road and that fleshed out the band.

Your music has been featured on TV programs, commercials, and other media spots. What’s the most random program that has featured one of your songs and how did that come about?

I honestly have no idea. God Blessed Texas shows up all over the place, and usually there’s a musical director that picks out the songs. We really have no input on the process.

You guys have had a long, successful career as musicians. Looking back, what’s the one thing you are the most proud of accomplishing?

Creating music that still holds up against everything that’s out there today. When we started out, we wanted to create music that was timeless, like the Eagles stuff. We were fortunate to lock on to a handful of those kinds of songs and you can still hear them on mainstream radio even 25 years later. Little Texas Interview Grizzly Rose

You’ve toured with a variety of different artists. Who were some of your favorite artists to tour with and why?

We did a year long tour with Travis Tritt and Trisha Yearwood eons ago, and had an absolute blast. We were all friends before any of us hit, so it was a natural combination. All three acts really enjoyed one another.

What are the top 3 favorite shows you ever played? What was the venue and why was it so special?

One was at the Target Center in Minneapolis where we sold the place out 360 just 3 days after the Eagles were there. Of course Fiddler’s Green was always a favorite – their steaks were absolutely to die for! And playing a sold out Cotton Bowl show with Clint Black during the Texas State Fair was heaven for us Texas boys.

Who is Little Texas listening to at the moment? Do you mostly listen to country music or do you dabble in other genres as well?

Everyone listens to different stuff, so you’d have to ask them. I personally gravitate to classic rock, 70’s & 80’s country and talk radio.

What is your favorite song to play live in front of an audience?

We have a new one that we haven’t even recorded that we’ve put into the show called “Bullet From A Gun” that we’re having a lot of fun with. But “God Blessed Texas” and “Kick A Little” are always great because of the crowd reactions.

Tell us something about you guys as a band that most people would find surprising and would not expect?

Since we’ve never really made any noise about it, most folks don’t know that we were finalists on Star Search ’90. Ed McMahon loved us and came out to see us in Vegas one night. He sang the blues with us for what seemed like 2 hours…

Eric Paslay Exclusive Interview

Interview with Eric Paslay

We are very excited for Eric’s upcoming show at the Grizzly Rose. If you haven’t already got a ticket for the show you can purchase tickets below.

Click here for tickets to the Eric Paslay show.

Have you played at the Grizzly Rose before?

This will be my 3rd or 4th time playing at the Grizzly Rose

It’s been said that honesty is a potent tool in your creative arsenal as a musician. Can you explain this a bit and why you’ve developed this as a part of your music.

Honesty is a tool in my creative arsenal. I think every great song has honesty at its root.

Who are your top 3 favorite red heads (besides yourself)?

My Top Three Red Heads:

  1. Willie
  2. Reba
  3. Lucille Ball

You’ve had a lot of #1 hits in your time. Regardless of how well the song performed, what is your favorite song you’ve ever written and/or performed and why?

I am grateful and love all of the number one songs I’ve been a part of. One of my favorite songs is Deep As It Is Wide because I got to record it with Amy Grant and Sheryl Crow. Not only was it a dream to sing with both of them, but it was at a time when I didn’t have any hits as a writer or as a singer and them believing in me was a boost from Heaven.

You started playing guitar at a young age. Who was the artist or band that was your biggest inspiration to pick up a guitar and want to play it yourself?

I didn’t start playing guitar until I was 15, kinda crazy! Eric Clapton ‘Tears In Heaven’ was the first song I figured out on guitar. At most sound checks you might hear me playing it.

 Eric Paslay Interview

Like many country musicians you very much identify with your Texas roots. Can you tell us how important the Lone Star state is to you and how’s it’s shaped you as a musician?

Being from Texas has shaped me musically I’m sure. I think we are all shaped from the country, state and town we grow up in. I love all kinds of music and Texas radio waves are full of diversity.

Tell us about the best day you ever had. What happened that day?

The best day I ever had was when I married my wife!

Besides Texas, where is the city that’s your favorite place to play? The place that every time you see it on the tour list you smile.

One of my favorite cities to play is Denver!!!

Here’s doubled a barreled question. Who is your favorite artist you ever performed with? Also, what artist have you not performed with yet, but would love to collaborate with sometime in the future.

It’s hard to pick one person I loved performing with. Amy and Sheryl were amazing! Charlie Daniel’s was a total trip! Singing The Driver with Charles Kelley and Dierks was super special too. An artist I’d love to perform with is Tom Petty.

What’s your comfort food? After a long tour or show, what’s your go to meal to make yourself feel whole again.

Honestly, when I get home from a tour my wife and I usually walk up the street and get some Shrimp and Grits!

Country Line Dancing

Popular Country Line Dances

One of things that makes country music the very best of all the tunes out there is the ability it has to bring folks together on the dance floor. Some would even say you’ve never truly listened to country music until you’ve danced to country music. There is something charming and old-fashioned about dancing in a group, which makes going out line dancing to country music such a fun time. Compared to Salsa or Tango, line dancing is friendly to those who are learning the steps, so no need to be shy.

We’ve wrangled up a list of the most popular country line dances that are sure to get your boots tapping!

Popular Country Line Dances

Electric Slide

An oldie but a goodie, the Electric Slide offers the perfect place for dipping your cowboy boots into line dancing for the first time. This four wall, 18 count line dance was originally choreographed by Richard L.”Ric” Silver in 1976, gaining viral popularity in the late 80s and early 90s. Branching beyond the country genre, it was paired with Marcia Griffiths’ Electric Boogie. For a more traditional get down we recommend Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance” or Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It.” Here’s a step sheet and a tutorial video below that will have you doing grapevines all over the dance floor before you know it!

The Cowboy Cha Cha

Choreographed by Kelly Gellette & Michelle Stremche, this one has a lot of turns. It might take a bit of practice, but trust us, it’s a heck of a lot of fun once you’ve got it down! This step sheet gives a good run down of the four wall, 20 count dance. Colorado’s own Brooke & Company does an excellent demo (shown below) of this one, dancing you through everything you’ll need to know. The Cowboy Cha Cha lends itself to a handful of songs, but most often you’ll find yourself rocking back and forth to Neon Moon by Brooks & Dunn. From time to time, it will be paired with a more uptempo to tune such as Gone Country by Alan Jackson.

Double D

The Double D, also known as Duck Dynasty, is a newer line dance on the scene, choreographed by Trevor Thorton in 2015. A four wall, 32 count dance this is done to “Cut ‘em All” by Colt Ford Featuring Willie Robertson and has plenty of rocking back and forth to get you grooving. Here’s the steps break down and you can try it out for yourself with this Double D demo:

Tango with The Sheriff

Most of us do our best to avoid run-ins with law enforcement, but Tango with The Sheriff is one encounter you won’t want to miss out on. Choreographed by Adrian Churm, this four wall, 48 count dance is a delightful mixture of slides and box steps. Practice stomping along with the video below and gear up to dance to this one with “Cha Tango” by Dave Sheriff.

Bring on the Good Times

This four wall, 32 count dance choreographed by Gary O’Reilly & Maggie Gallagher absolutely lives up to its name. With a mixture of claps, slides, and struts Bring on the Good Times makes for a fun transition between beginner to intermediate level line dances.  Coupled to Lisa McHugh’s song of the same name, you’d never know this one has Irish roots…to us it sounds as country as all get out! For this one, we will have these French cowboys and cowgirls show how it’s done:

Tush Push

On par with the popularity of the Electric Slide is the Tush Push, one of the most widespread line dances found on the dancefloor over the last twenty years. Choreographed by Jim Ferrazzano, this four wall, 40 count dance earns its name from plenty of hip bumps and cha-chas as detailed in this step sheet. Some great songs are Brooks & Dunn classic “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” which makes for a great match with Tush Push, as does Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee.” Let’s have Robert Wilson, five-time world champion of country dance, working with artists like Taylor Swift, Kerry Underwood, Brad Lesley, take us through this one:

Step sheets and YouTube videos are helpful, but there is no replacement for hitting the dance floor to practice those shuffles and slides! With thousands of different line dances out there, we could keep rambling on, but why not grab your dancing boots, come on by the Grizzly Rose for a line dance lesson or two? We promise to show you why the most popular country line dance steps and a hoot and hollerin’ good time!

Country Music Best

Why Country Music is the Best

Country music is the best, but you probably already know that! Whether you’re a lifelong fan or just started listening, have you ever stopped to think about what it is that makes it so great? Even through all the different types played by various artists over the years, most of it shares some common traits that contribute to it having such a fun and nice feel to it. It’s more than just the sound, and it also has to do a lot with the lifestyle.

Mosey on through this list to see some of the reasons why country music is the best.

Why Country Music is the Best

Positive Values

Some music styles follow rebellious themes that encourage people to become trouble makers, and others flat out promote breaking the law and hurting others. Fortunately, country music most often pumps out positive values to listeners. Many, but not all, follow positive messages that help people on a bad day, or encourage them to make the world a better place when they’re on top. While so many other genres nowadays are all about showing off a certain lifestyle, country music more often than not is about enjoying the outdoors and the people around you.


Aside from just being uplifting and positive, a lot of country songs celebrate life in the USA. It makes sense given the all-American history of the genre. While there are some similar genres in other countries, for the most part country music is an American thing, and we like it that way! It came out of the folk and blues music in the South, and it spread its way across the vast beauty of America. Country music makes people feel proud of their country and a great reason why country music is the best.

Country Music is Best

Modern Hits Are as Good as the Classics

Like all types of music, country has gone through some changes over the years. You might prefer the raw sound of the old timers, or maybe you like the evolved crispness of the new artists. But, whether your favorite is Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, or Blake Shelton, most people agree that all the eras of country had nice sounds.

Great for Dancing

If you haven’t tried dancing to country music, then you’ve never really listened to it! Unlike many other forms of popular music, country dancing allows you to get out and get involved with a group of people, so it has an extra social aspect. You can try one of the Two-Step forms, or a Western group like the Line or Square dance. There’s something nice and old-fashioned about dancing with a partner or in a group, which makes going out and dancing to country music such a great time!

Don’t be shy about trying to learn some dancing. It’s fairly easy compared to other types (like Salsa or Tango) and learning to get the steps down is always fun. At the Grizzly Rose we offer a variety of dance lessons for both individuals and couples.

Why Country is the Best Type of Music

Clean Lyrics

Another benefit of country music is that most of it is family friendly. It very rarely has any bad words or other questionable lyrics, so you won’t find yourself covering the ears of little cowboys and cowgirls listening along. And when you mix that with the first point about family values, you find that country music is a great art form to create an activity for families of all ages.

Brings People Together

Whether you’re young, or old, or single, or parents of five, there are plenty of ways country music can bring you together as a social activity. Putting it on the speakers while hanging out at home really puts on a nice background, but going to a dance hall or live concert give you a more active way to make use of your cowboy boots. There are songs that are perfect for romantic dates, and others that really liven up a backyard barbecue. Country music is a great way to bring people together.

Why Country Music is the Best

Cowboy Fashion

Speaking of cowboy boots, one of the most fun parts of country music is the fashion around it. Inspired by the Wild West, everyone gets to wear boots, hats, belt buckles, checkered shirts, and all the other fun gear designed for roaming the plains on horseback. Fortunately, this gives the freedom to be at the height of fashion without needing to hold up a stagecoach to pay for it, and the different variations make it possible for people of all ages and body tops to look good.

Grab Your Dancin’ Boots!

Of course, this list could go on forever about all the wonders of country music, but we’re sure you’re already convinced! If you aren’t convinced that country music is the best, then come on by the Grizzly Rose and we will show you why it’s such a fantastic good time!

Interview with Thompson Square

We’re excited to be hosting Thompson Square once again on March 3rd. Click here for tickets. We had the opportunity to chat with Keifer Thompson of Thompson Square, to ask him some questions about the band, his life, and music in general.

How did you meet each other?

We met each other at a singing competition and started dating almost immediately. At the time we were doing individual things, but after we started dating we were singing together at home a lot. We quickly realized we didn’t like being away from each other much, so making music together just seemed like the natural thing to do. We co-exist really well and have tons of fun with it. It’s been a really great thing. There hasn’t been another married couple in 40 some years doing what we do. Its important being together and now we have a kid together.

What’s it like working together as husband and wife? Do you ever get tired of each other?

Were human, we get sick of each other, we have some fights. But it works out most of the time!

Congratulations on the birth of your child about a year ago. How much has that had an impact on your music career and schedule?

Everything has to be great! We don’t have any time for mediocrity and we’re very busy. Cooper has been a huge inspiration for us and brought a lot of emotion to our songs. We’ve got a fantastic nanny which helps a ton. He’s a great traveler too. We are very fortunate to have our family together so often!

Thompson Square Cooper

Will you encourage your child to be a country musician?

We will encourage him to do whatever he wants to do. He’s already got the music bug, we can see it. He’s already rocking out all the time. We think he’s got rhythm inside him. But we will encourage him to follow his dreams no matter what they are. Open our eyes to what he’s in to. If he wants to be a soccer player, let’s do it. I’ll get him shin guards, lessons, or whatever he needs. We would like him to learn an instrument even if it’s just as a hobby or for his cognitive development. However, if he really likes music, we would love it and support him in that for sure!

Have you played at the Grizzly Rose before?

Many times! At least 6-8 times so far, it’s one of our favorite venues in the whole country. Our shows have always been packed and sold out. There’s a great energy in that place. Honestly, we wish there was more places like the Rose. We really are looking forward to coming back!

Where was the most memorable show you ever played?

The first time we played the Opry, that’s always something to remember. Also, when we played a show in Grand Rapids it was the first time the audience knew all the words and sung ‘Kiss Me’ back to us. It was a really good feeling! The VMA awards was also a big one.

If at this point in your life you could no longer work as a musician or in the music industry at all, what profession would you pursue?

I would probably build motorcycles. I love tinkering with old motorcycles. I also love to cook. One day we may get into the restaurant business. That could be a fun adventure.

Thompson Square Interview
Who were your biggest influences?

My parents listened to a lot of Elvis Presley so I was influenced by him quite a bit at a young age. Merle Haggard made me fall in love with his song writing. Bruce Springsteen made me want to be an artist. Steve Ray Vaughan made me want to play the guitar. To be honest I was influenced by so many people. I fell into Bob Dylan’s beautiful music ‘hole’ for a long time and had to consciously pull myself out of it because it had such a profound influence on me. I love Tom Petty. I even think Justin Bieber’s last singles were good! In other genres I think Eminem was one of the most innovate artists out there. It’s seriously intimidating what he can do with words.

What moment in your life did you feel the most country?

I had a belt buckle you could eat dinner on when I moved to Nashville. I dressed in a cowboy hat, boots and all that most of my life. I’m a country guy. I grew up on my grandpa’s farm. We used to pick our own potatoes. The first thing I drove was a 1930 Ford tractor! I knew how to plow and all that. I have always been around a country lifestyle. My dad was a salesman who lived in a 3 piece suit, but at home he was always in Wranglers. That being said, I can’t stand when people judge country by just clothes. No matter what people wear that stuff is embedded in them. I might live in the city, but always will have country inside. Shotguns my whole life. Shawna was raised on a farm as well. Were just two country people.

What was the best show you ever were in the audience before (any genre)?

I always had a problem with going to concerts. It’s like watching football when you want to be an athlete. Tesla and Great White was the first concert I went to. KISS blew me away. I’ve seen them 3-4 times and they are amazing to me. They talked before each song which is a ‘no-no’ in live music, but they are so big it doesn’t matter. Those were my favorite shows until I saw Springsteen in Jersey. It was the first show after Clarence died. I’ve always been a huge Springsteen fan. He’s made a big impact on my songwriting. That one Springsteen show though was just incredible. I had just read the book about Clarence it was a gift from Shawna. With Clarence on the jumbotron as a tribute, Bruce played 3 hours or more and he’s in his mid-sixties! I felt like you had to pull him off stage to make him stop. It made me want to up my game as an entertainer. He’s the only artist that I really noticed that keeps getting better and better. I never thought I would say that. He just continues to evolve. He’s so impressive. Don’t know if I could do 3 hours every night like he does.

I also saw Pink Floyd on the Wall Tour at Yankee Stadium. I wasn’t even a fan of their music per-say, but the show kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I barely knew their music, but I was completely captivated by it.

Which song is currently the most fun for you to perform live?

You make it look so good. It’s a new fresh song that was written for us. One of my favorite things in our shows that we do.

Wild Western Towns in USA

Wild Western Towns in the USA

Maybe you’re a cowgirl or cowboy at heart, but you were born in a time when the Wild West has disappeared. You dream of roaming the plains on horseback, playing cards in a saloon, and waking up each morning ready for an adventure.

But wait, is the Wild West really gone?

It’s not the same as it was in the 1800s, but there are still plenty of towns left that feel just like the Wild West.

How We Chose Them

Before giving the list, let’s go over how we picked the towns. Looking for something with a Wild West feeling can lead you to a few different types of places, so we focused on three kinds. The first is the most obvious, and those are places that were famous in the Old West, and are preserved to look the same. The next is places which have modernized, but have the comfortable feeling of present-day cowboys and cowgirls. Third, we chose towns that have updated to modern standards, but kept some of the crazy nature of the Wild West.

Wild Western Towns in USA

Dodge City, Kansas

This famous town in Kansas got its start in 1847 when Fort Mann was built to protect people on the Santa Fe Trail. Times were hard, however, and it only survived about a year. But, it wasn’t long before a safer fort popped up in the same place, and this eventually led to a town next to it. Then the railroad came, and cows were shipped through on their way to other parts of the country. It may have modernized, but it still has a lot of bits of old Dodge spread around.

Dodge City Kansas

Tombstone, Arizona

This town deep in the Arizona desert was one of the big spots towards the end of the Wild West time period. It was a big mining town, and it had plenty of cultural activities (like an opera house) for the rich folk, and a great selection of saloons, gambling halls, and other less respectable place for the grittier types. It’s most famous for the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and you can still see recreations of this on a regular basis in its original setting, as much of the town is preserved how it was.

Tombstone Arizona

Oatman, Arizona

This town in Arizona isn’t as well-known as some of the others, but it has some pretty distinct characteristics. To start, the name comes from a pretty interesting story. It was chosen in honor of Olive Oatman, who was the daughter of settlers that had been kidnapped for slavery by a Native American tribe. She was sold to the Mohave tribe, and eventually set free.

Nowadays the town is a revived ghost town (still giving it that Wild West appearance), and is most famous for its wild burros that wander the streets and happily accept food.

Oatman Arizona

Cody, Wyoming

This town was named in honor of “Buffalo Bill” Cody, and it doesn’t get much more Western than that. Not only does it have a whole selection of museums from the good old days, but it also hosts enough rodeos to comfortably call itself the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”

Cody Wyoming

Virginia City, Nevada

This town struck it rich with silver, but the atmosphere was preserved long after the mine was empty. You can view some museums, take a trip into the mine, stroll down the main street at high noon, or just drink whiskey in a saloon.

Virginia City Nevada

Deadwood, South Dakota

You might immediately think of a TV series when you hear this name, but it’s far from fictional. Gold was found in the nearby Black Hills in the 1870s, so the town attracted plenty of ambitious people. However, it wasn’t in the safest area, so many of these were a little rough around the edges. Gambling and prostitution were big business, and many locals took the law into their own hands (you know, with their revolvers). Even the famous gunman Wild Bill Hickok was shot here!

Deadwood South Dakota

Durango/Silverton, Colorado

Both of these Colorado mountain towns have quite the cowboy character, but one of the best parts is the thing that links them. This narrow gauge railroad is pulled by a steam engine for 45 miles through a beautiful stretch of mountains. You won’t even need to use your imagination to feel like you’ve gone back in time.

Durango Colorado

Bandera, Texas

This town doesn’t shy away from calling itself the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” There are gunfight reenactments, dude ranches, chuck wagon dinners, plenty of rodeos, and enough saloons to sit in and feel like you’re still in the Old West.

Bandera Texas

Denver, Colorado

Just because it’s become one of the most popular cities in the country lately, most people would write off Denver as a Wild West Town, but that would be a mistake. It’s loaded with cowboy history, annually hosts the National Western Stock Show (one of the largest of its kind), and it’s home to the Grizzly Rose. What more could you really want?

Denver Colorado

Explore the Wild West!

If you know anything about the Wild West, you’d know there’s no way to list all of its best towns at once, so this is just a taste. Saddle up your horse, and let us know what other spots you find!

Interview with Big SMO

Big SMO February 10th at the Grizzly Rose: Click Here for More Information

Have you played at the Grizzly Rose before?

Yes! We sold the Rose out our first time there and have been looking forward to our return show since then.

What is the most memorable concert you ever attended (not played at yourself)?

It was Pink Floyd in 1994  at the Division Bell Tour in Nashville, TN at Vanderbilt University. I was with my brother and is was “far out.”

What is the most memorable show that you played that sticks out as your favorite of all time?

When I opened up for Lynyrd Skynyrd in Louisiana. We were filming for the TV show & I got to freestyle on Sweet Home Alabama Live With The Band!

Who is currently your favorite artist to listen to in any genre (besides yourself)?

There are many artists I listen to in different genres:

  • Country: Jerry Reed, William Michael Morgan, ZacBrown
  • Hip-Hop: RickRoss, Hopsin, MGK, Yelawolf
  • Pop: Adele, The Weeknd, Amy Winehouse
  • Tech Pop: Elephant, Chainsmoker, Skrillex
  • Classic Rock: Pink Floyd, The Doors, Led Zeppelin
  • Rock: Alice In Chains, Tool, STP

What moment in your life did you feel the most ‘Country’?

When I was a kid running wild on my farm, playing in the creek and just spending all of my time in the woods.

Big SMO Live

What is your least favorite part about being a musician?

Mixing business with an art that you love is a hard line to walk.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing music?

Hanging with my kids, cooking, hunting and muddin’.

Which song is currently the most fun for you to perform live?

Ain’t Nothin Free, the crowd really loves it!

Who was your biggest influence, either in music or life in general?

My father, who passed to cancer almost 10 years ago, has always been my biggest influence. Even to this day I see him in almost everything that I do. Thanks Dad!

What’s one thing about your band that people would not expect?

I am the only guy in the band that has kids! None of the other guys have ever been married or have had children.

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