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Jake Owen Charms at Country Summer


Even though thousands of people descended on the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Friday night to see headliner Jake Owen at the Country Summer festival, the country superstar still managed to pull off a show that felt intimate and personal.

Donning a short-sleeved t-shirt amid the increasingly chilly weather in Santa Rosa, Calif., a barefoot Owens bounced up and down the ramp that jutted out into the crowd throughout the evening, taking time to connect with as many fans as he could.

Like the headphones-wearing baby whose hand he shook when her enthusiastic parent held her up during the early song “!972.” Or the person holding up a sign farther back that Owen pointed out during “Alone With You.” Or mugging for the phone at the end of a long selfie-stick.

And those were hardly the only memories Owen created for the audience, as he seemed to build and build off the energy projected up at him.

“Y’all are getting wild as hell, aren’t ya?” he joked before picking up a Gretsch for “Alone With You,” which comes off his smash 2011 album, Barefoot Blue Jean Night.

Owen worked some new music, as well, most notably in the single “Real Life” and the never-before-played “LAX” – which could be interpreted as “LA-Ex,” as he sang about a love lost when she moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

“Dead 70-degrees and sunny, please hold on to my California honey,” he sang during the sweet solo acoustic number, drawing both appreciative sighs and knowing chuckles from the NorCal crowd.

Owen also shows his versatility by covering snippets of classic party songs. During his own “Pass the Beer,” he teased Sublime’s “All I Got,” a band he has cited as an influence on his upcoming album, and Shaggy’s “Angel,” not to mention a check of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice.”

“Seems like y’all know a lot of music, from country to Snoop!” he exclaimed.

Later, he strode out wearing an acoustic guitar and talked about his love of country stalwarts like Gary Allan, who rocked the Country Summer main stage before Owen, Alan Jackson and Brooks and Dunn.

As he professed his love for those legendary artists, Owen then played a verse or two of Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” and Brooks and Dunn’s “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” much to the delight of his thousands of newfound karaoke partners.

By the end of the show, Owen came out for a raucous encore of “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” and as he called for “lighters in the dark in the middle of a rock show,” everyone seemed to oblige, whether by phone light or flame.

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Peghead Nation Demos the Camp Uke


The Gretsch Roots Collection continues to reap positive press with the latest coming in the way of a review for the Gretsch G9101 Camp Uke by Peghead Nation.

“The Camp Uke is incredibly lightweight, and with its small size, you could indeed stuff it into a typical daypack,” notes reviewer Teja Gerken. “The instrument is set up to play with great ease, and a balanced tone offers lovely soprano ukulele sounds on every part of the fingerboard.”

Click here to watch a video that gives a complete rundown of its specs, along with a short playing demo by instructor Adrianne Serna.

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Watch Israel Nash Perform on KEXP


Israel Nash KEXP
Singer/songwriter Israel Nash and his amazing band recently recorded a few tracks inside the Seattle studios of KEXP, bringing an Americana vibe to the station.

Nash performed songs from 2014′s Israel Nash’s Rain Plains, a selection that included “Woman At The Well,” “Mansions,” “Rain Plans” and “Rexanimarium.”

Watch the brief but moving set below.

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Watch The Tallest Man on Earth Perform on Conan


Swedish act The Tallest Man on Earth visited Conan last night for a terrific performance “Sagres” off recently released album Dark Bird is Home.

Earlier in the episode, O’Brien actually encouraged viewers to switch the channel to watch David Letterman’s final show.

“I haven’t done that in all my years on the air, but tonight, this is a worthwhile thing to do,” said O’Brien. “It’s 11:35. Record us, but switch to Dave!”

So for those who followed his instructions and missed the Kristian Matsson-led band, check it out below to see O’Brien also give some props to Matsson’s 12-string Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentlemen.

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Simple Minds Celebrate Breakfast Club Anthem at Billboard Music Awards


The Billboard Music Awards celebrated the 30th anniversary of cult film Breakfast Club during Sunday night’s ceremony in Las Vegas, bringing Simple Minds onstage to perform the movie’s theme song, “Don’t You (Forget About Me.)”

And who better to introduce the unforgettable anthem than Brat Pack actress and Breakfast Club cast member Molly Ringwald?

Watch a short clip of performance below, which inspired several audience members to stick out their arm and hold a fist high in the air just as Judd Nelson did at the end of the movie.

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