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Category Archives: Live Reviews

Gift of Gracin

On Saturday, September 24, country singer/songwriter Josh Gracin entertained fans outside the Oak Brook Center Sears. The concert was free, but donations were collected for the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry, which supports active military families during the holidays.

Gracin, who served in the Marine Corps prior to signing a record deal, demonstrated his passion for the cause. While Gracin performed his radio hits, including “I Want to Live,” “Nothin’ to Lose,” and “Stay with Me,” and stepped into the crowd to rock the parking lot pavement with a countrified version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” the highlight of Gracin’s show was his heartfelt singing of “Can’t Say Goodbye.”

“Can’t Say Goodbye” was written by Josh Gracin and created in collaboration with Sears Heroes at Home. The song, based on the winning entry from the Sears “Portraits of Heroes” song contest, reflects a young war widow’s story and her commitment to keeping her husband’s memory alive. Gracin and his band performed a unique full-band rendition of “Can’t Say Goodbye” live for the first time in front of the Oak Brook audience, and acoustic versions of the tune are available for download online. All proceeds from the song downloads are being donated to Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry.



How ’bout Moore of that

Play-by-Play Concert Review Radio DJs Buck Stevens of WBWN and Josh Roberts of Bloomington’s “The Bull” welcomed the Pontiac Crystal Palace crowd to the first of many outdoors shows headed to the rural concert venue in small town Pontiac, Ill. Justin Moore, heading the outdoor festival fronted as Freedom Fest – appropriate considering the Fourth… Continue Reading

Country Music Fest wrap

Country Music Fest wrap

Beautiful weather was key for the 20th annual Chicago Country Music Festival. In addition to the unseasonably warm streak, a new Millennium Park location, retooled layout and “perfect price” proved pivotal for the success of this year’s fest. Although the ever-changing character of country music, combined with the vast opinions of what “country music” has… Continue Reading

Paisley’s walk on water

Paisley’s walk on water

There’s something about Chicago for country star Brad Paisley. Maybe it’s because his wife, Kimberly Williams, spent time in the area when she attended Northwestern or maybe because Chicago has one of the largest country radio stations, and fan base, in the business. What that connection might be remains uncertain but, on Friday, it was… Continue Reading

Throwdown’s 1, 2, 3 punch

Throwdown’s 1, 2, 3 punch

With a combined total of nearly 10 straight hours of music, country stars packed the Southwest suburban First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, Saturday. The term packed, shouldn’t be taken lightly. With over 20 acts converging on the Country Throwdown Tour, two support stages were brought in to accommodate the Tour’s mega lineup which included a range… Continue Reading

…and Martina rode on the moon

Martina McBride, Trace Adkins and Sarah Buxton performed for a near-capacity crowd in Northern Illinois. DeKalb, Ill. – Billed appropriately as the “Shine All Night” tour, co-headliners Martina McBride and Trace Adkins lived up to their promise with a near-celestial experience for fans. While the Northern Illinois University indoor stadium doesn’t have a retractable roof,… Continue Reading

Only Country Music…

LIVE REVIEW: Last minute plans led me to Joe’s Bar on Friday to catch a favorite local group GRIMM TAYLOR. Walking into the show, I knew that one of Nashville’s newest faces, the Trailer Choir, was billed as the evening headliner. At the time, I was half as excited to see them. A few months… Continue Reading