Rewards | Fire Keeper's Club
Saturday, January 20 at 7:30 p.m.
FM106.1 is pleased to present the Class of 2018. This concert features Luke Combs, Devin Dawson, Morgan Wallen, Jordan Davis and Walker McGuire.
With gritty, grizzled vocals, brazen songwriting talent and a dynamic live show, Luke Combs stormed onto the country music landscape as a force to be reckoned with. The 27 year-old Asheville, North Carolina native recently released his critically-acclaimed debut album This One’s for You, which remains the largest-selling debut country album of 2017, starting at number one on the Billboard Country Albums chart and remaining inside the Top 10 since. Combs’ debut platinum-certified radio single “Hurricane” made country radio history, topping both the Billboard Country Airplay chart and Mediabase chart for two consecutive weeks—making Combs the first new solo country male artist to accomplish the feat since Blake Shelton. And Combs made history once more when “When It Rains It Pours," landed at number one after two weeks on country radio.
This year, Combs earned nominations as the CMT Awards’ Breakthrough Artist of the Year, CMA Awards’ New Artist of the Year and the MusicRow Breakthrough Artist/Writer of the Year. He has performed on NBC’s Today and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! and received critical praise from NPR, American Songwriter, Washington Post, Billboard and more. Combs, a true road warrior, has built his avid fan base by delivering rowdy, hold-nothing-back shows. He has shared the stage with Brantley Gilbert on his Devil Don’t Sleep Tour and joined star-packed summer festival line-ups at the CMA Music Fest, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and Windy City Smokeout. Combs is currently on his headlining Don’t Tempt Me with a Good Time Tour.
Devin Dawson is not your typical country artist. His look is dark and bold. His sound is sleek and raw. He has a knack for writing razor sharp stories that cut straight to the heart, full of detail and clever turns of phrase. And his songs speak the language of a new generation. Dawson is an edgy study in contrast, poised as the next bolt of lightning to hit country’s family tree. His approach to music is not different on purpose, it’s different with purpose.
Twenty-eight years old and from Orangevale, California, Dawson grew up just outside the gates of Folsom Prison. He heard the sirens at night, and sang along to Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Marvin Gaye and Creedence Clearwater Revival. In Nashville, he put his unique skills to use authoring songs for other artists. When it came time to put together his own debut album, he teamed with equally daring producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Little Big Town, Brothers Osborne). Having co-written every track, the result is a mix of organic roots and high-voltage country, full of romance and delivered with a distinctive saw-toothed vocal. As he gets ready to join Maren Morris’ Hero Tour this year, Dawson is already establishing a reputation as one of the most exciting modern singer-songwriters the format has ever seen.
A passionate singer with a unique sound who grew up in Appalachia, Morgan Wallen moved to Nashville in July 2015. Not sure what he would find, but convinced that he should at least give his dreams a legitimate shot, he signed to Big Loud Records less than a year later. After recording some initial tracks with producer Joey Moi (Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen), Wallen hit the road on his first radio promotion tour.
It might appear that Wallen’s on the fast-track, but it took him a while to get there. Wallen was born in Sneedville, Tennessee (a town that also lays claim as the birthplace of bluegrass pioneer Jimmy Martin), to a hard-rock-lovin’ preacher and devoted contemporary Christian teacher. He showed his musical interests early, singing in front of the local congregation at age three and asking for a violin for his fifth birthday. Wallen would soon switch to piano and later add guitar to his arsenal, though he never really imagined it was possible to make a career of it.
“I didn’t think that was realistic because I had no clue about how the music business worked,” Wallen says. “Even living three hours away, I had no idea about Nashville.”
Jordan Davis is a Shreveport-born, Nashville-weathered creative soul with his feet firmly planted in two different eras. Says Davis, “I love these huge, big sounds—big drums, loud guitars—but my favorite show to go to is John Prine or Jason Isbell, you know just standing up there with a guitar. They’re seriously opposite ends of the spectrum, but I think that marrying the two, there’s a cool way to do it.”
Working steadily on his debut album, Davis is welding those two ideals nicely. The jangly, skittering “Singles You Up,” the picturesque come-on “So Do I” and the propulsive “Take It From Me” each mix those elements in varying degrees. His easy-going nature and focused interpretation of the world around him is easy to identify in those songs. Writing and playing music was a passion that was passed down in the Davis household. “Music was around so much, it was just part of our everyday life,” Davis says.
In fact, because music was always around, Davis hadn’t really thought about it as a career. But, after graduating from LSU, Davis moved to Nashville and continued to hone his own songwriting craft, and after receiving a publishing deal in 2015, he was signed to a recording contract. Paul DiGiovanni—a Boys Like Girls guitarist who’s worked with Blake Shelton, Hunter Hayes and Dan + Shay—quickly became one of Davis’ regular co-writers and his producer. DiGiovanni helped capture the anthemic quality in “Take It From Me” and the party attitude in “Singles You Up,” but also built an appropriately slinky frame for Davis’ conversational “So Do I.” As solid a place as music has held in his life, it’s been only a couple years since he started thinking of himself as an artist as well as a songwriter. “Still to this day, I could tell you who wrote the song before I could tell you who cut it,” he says. By melding classic lyric-writing with modern musical texture, Davis is staking out his own spot on the creative map. The cool melodies and understated delivery bring you in. The soul in his characters keep you in place. In Jordan Davis’ place.
There are brothers in blood, and then there are brothers in spirit. Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire may not look like family or share a last name, but you wouldn’t know it by hearing them sing. As the new duo Walker McGuire, Jordan and Johnny take an opposites-attract approach to their music, fusing electrifying “brotherly” harmonies with a fresh new take on modern country. As Jordan explains, “It was one of those written-in-the-stars things you just can’t deny.”
Walker McGuire write story songs with in a modern country style that is 100 percent their own—rooted in classic themes and sounds, but with an added touch of wit and sometimes flat-out comedy. “When we started writing together,” says Jordan, “...we just did our own thing and now people are saying ‘Hey, what are these guys doing?’” What they’re doing has already turned heads. “Til Tomorrow” has been streamed nearly 15 million times on Spotify—which the guys playfully jest is way more times than they could click on it.
The duo has much more on tap. These odd-couple “brothers” are each a talented artist in their own right. But when put together, they’re simply unforgettable.