Tonight traditional country upstart Jason Cassidy headlines Big Texas Dance Hall & Saloon out in Clear Lake. The strip-center venue, known for it's pretty girls with painted-on jeans and copious amounts of trucks in the parking lot and a Bud Light in every hand, has been host to Cassidy many times before.
Last year the Montgomery native released My Redemption on the small Deer Park-based A-Blake Records labe. Its lead single, "Honky Tonk Heaven," got extensive radio play all over Texas, while the second single 'What If" is climbing the charts as we speak, er, type.
Cassidy is very much from the traditional cloth woven by George Strait, Clay Walker and Tim McGraw - guys who aren't too flashy, and don't need a bag of gimmicks to get the job done and win over converts.
We talked to Cassidy, who was fresh from attending the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, where he got to meet with radio programmers and country media players alike. He answered some quick questions, and also reeled off the 10 country songs that he thinks you should hear before you die, including one from the late great Keith Whitley.
Rocks Off: Who are your favorite songwriters, in any genre?
Jason Cassidy: Those have to be Dean Dillon, Jamey Johnson, Bobby Pinson, and Alan Jackson.
RO: What direction do you think country is heading in the next say, 20 or 30 years?
JC: I'm fully confident it's headed back where it belongs. Everything seems to make a circle, and if all the traditional acts keep putting out great music there is no doubt it'll come back around.
RO: What advice could you give a young artist, a country guy just putting out his single at an open mike, or a bar, when it comes to getting your stuff out there and into people's ears?
JC: First off, you gotta spring for a radio promoter. There is no bad radio. Every little bit helps. Play as many places as you can, bars, parties, schools, and churches. Put all your songs on YouTube and use your social media sites to their fullest. It's the only way.
RO:You have said that George Strait is a big idol of yours. What's your favorite Strait album?
JC: The Strait Out of the Box box set. Ha! I cheated and got 'em all in one, it's impossible for me to choose a fave from King George.
RO: You have a great line about finding a hot girl and a cold beer, and a back road where you can disappear. OK, be honest, pick a hot girl -- other than wife -- what beer, and where is the back road?
JC: You're trying to get me in trouble aren't you? I would have to go with Carrie Underwood, in the Tennessee hills, drinking a cold Bud Light, after I'm out of the car, of course. Always drink responsibly.
10. "Carry On," Pat Green
A feeling-good uptempo song, with great lyrics. It all puts me in the Hill Country (one of my favorite places on earth) and makes me feel great without a care in the world.
9. "God Bless The U.S.A.", Lee Greenwood
This song is one of the best songs in the world! There's no better place on earth than the U.S. and 'I'm proud to be an American.' :) My mom used to play this TAPE in her gold '84 Corvette all the time when I was little; I remember it like it was yesterday.
8. "The Dance," Garth Brooks
This is the first song I ever sang through a PA system in the sanctuary of my church. To this day it is one of my top five songs of all time.
7. "Better Than I Used To Be," Tim McGraw
This song explains me. I have come so far in my life's journey and still have so far to go. Every lyric of this song hits so close to home and I could've sung the next line the first time I heard it. None of us are perfect, but as long as we get a little better each day then we are doing what the good Lord wants us to and what we are supposed to.
6. "Freeze Frame Time," Brandon Rhyder
This song's just about living in the moment and cherishing every little second here on earth. My kids are my life, every day it's a struggle to try to juggle my career and to be a devoted husband an father and be the best I can be. Sometimes you just wanna turn every thing in the world off but your family.
5. "Brotherly Love," Keith Whitley
This song reminds me of my brothers. No matter how distant you are growing up you always know who will have your back and help you when you need it. Now that we are older me and my brothers have gotten a lot closer even though we rarely see each other.
4. "That's My Job," Conway Twitty
This song reminds me of my dad and he is a huge part of who I am today. Although I didn't turn in to what he wanted right away, I'm pretty sure he's proud of the man I have become.
3. "In Color," Jamey Johnson
This song makes me think of my grandparents who are no longer with us. Every time I hear it it brings me back to the days I got to spend with them growing up.
2. "Three Days," Pat Green
This was theme song for me and my wife while we were dating. It seems the max that we could ever get together would be three days every two weeks; we always would sing it to each other and look forward to those three days.
1. "I'd Love To Be Your Last", Clay Walker
This song is mine and my wife Brandi's first dance at our wedding. One of the best days of my life.
8 p.m. Thursday at Big Texas Dancehall & Saloon, 803 E. Nasa Pkwy.
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