Archives for category: Acklen Park

Shakedown at The Majestic

Brooklyn, New York’s Shakedown at The Majestic (SATM) heard about Liahonaroo  and decided to take a shot at performing their first show in the South.

Liahonaroo will take place April 20-21 at The Wilson County Fairgrounds in Lebanon.

Shantell Ogden

The event was organized by a group of Mormon musicians and music lovers, not as an event to preach, but a family-friendly drug and alcohol free music festival.

Shantell Ogden, event organizer believes it will resonate with all Christians regardless of denomination.

“I have a friend in a punk band that plays clubs regularly, and because of the environment and age restrictions his daughter hasn’t been able to see him perform,” she said.

The name, Liahonaroo, is inspired by a compass called the Liahona that a Book of Mormon prophet Lehi used to lead his family through the wilderness, ‘roo’ has become synonomous with ‘music festival.’

SATM, a Sugar Ray meets Peter & Gordon retro Sixties mix, decided to make the submission and made it into the lineup to make their first appearance in the South.

As Taylor Mintz, percussionist of SATM, puts it, “We’ve got a little bit of the old harmony like The Beatles, The Zombies and The Beach Boys. We are like a band from Long Island that went out to California, learned how to surf and then made a record.”

The group is getting ready to release their sophomore effort in a couple of months.

“Run For Your Life,” “Idiot or Liar” and especially “Recipe of Life” are songs that are really getting the crowds going in New York at places like Sullivan Hall and DC Lounge. These songs will be on the new release.

Aaron Kupferberg, says about SATM, “We get catchy, danceable, stick-in-you-head songs courtesy of this energetic unsigned Brooklyn band.  The harmonies and minor chord shifts on “ Bria” are sweet and compare well to Weezer.”

Acklen Park - photo - Melody Hood

SATM joins an eclectic Liahoanroo lineup that includes Music Row chart toppers, Acklen Park, a duo experiencing success with their recent country radio hit, “Great American Song,” positioned to be one of the country rock summer anthems this year.

Kelcy Lee

Also performing in the nearly 30 acts is country band HWY 52 and singer/songwriters, Kaitlyn Cannon, Kelcy Lee, Kimberly Knighton and Joseph Barrios. For a full line up go to the Liahonaroo website and Facebook pages.

Joseph Barrios - photo - Kaht

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Acklen Park, Nashville skyline, Photo- Melody Hood

 Acklen Park kicked off the radio launch of “Great American Song” on Otter Rapids Music with co-writer, Shantell Ogden, at The Nashville Downtown Indigo Hotel on January 24th. It was a low key evening with friends for a song that has already taken off on radio.

The single was released a couple of weeks early to selected stations and was included in the “Starting to Rumble Facebook Face Off,” at Thunder 102. After going up six times against other new Music Row Charts singles and winning, the song was retired undefeated and included into regular rotation a week before the official drop date on January 26th. Marcum Stewart states, “We ended up winning six face offs in a row. We recorded the most votes in Thunder 102 history.” Andrea Villareal, the other side of Acklen Park joins in, “The first round we went up against Warner Brothers artists, Her & Kings County. We also won against Bucky Covington who has been out for a couple of years now. We couldn’t be more excited. “

The same is happening everywhere the song is turning up. Most recently “Great American Song” won another contest at KBOE in Oskaloosa, Iowa by votes from local listeners. As an independent release, the success of the single will be dependent on the ears of smaller market DJ’s that have some flexibility as well as listeners calling in and requesting the new single.

“Great American Song” is really a summer anthem, originally intended for a later release,but, Acklen Park’s radio promotions team were anxious to release the feel good upbeat anthem that goes hand in hand with celebrating our freedoms laying a foundation for the potential of a big summer hit.

Marcum was given some serious advice, “Our Promotions team made a lot of really valid points and they’re the pros. They do this every day, their advice was, “Well, honestly it takes a good seven to eight months to really get big action to even have a chance to even make it to the top 30 so if you even want a chance to do that by the time its seven months from now it’s going to be July anyway. “We took these thoughts to our Producer, Chris Utley and he said, “I couldn’t agree more.”

Acklen Park, Benchmark, Great American Song, background vocal session, me on the back row.

“Great American Song” was recorded at Benchmark Sound, one of the best studios on Nashville’s Music Row today with Chris Utley in the Producers chair. There was one big difference going in this time around. Although, the last album released early last year was a great project, Chris Utley and Acklen Park decided to kick it up a notch with some of Nashville’s best session players that have performance credits on Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban and other big time records. The sound is phenomenal with great lyrics, upbeat Country Rock with a solid hook.

Acklen Park has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance the video for the song. In its first week, the campaign has reached 20 percent of its goal. Kickstarter mainly known for funding Indie Rock releases is starting to see some Independent Country Artists such as Kelly Willis looking to fund projects. It gives the opportunity for fans to be backers and even be a part of a project.

Marcum has a clear picture of what they want to do, “Alright we need to make a video so how about we just go with that. We need funds to make the video. Radio station promotion costs a lot of money. Publicity costs a lot of money. Videos cost money so we just kind of went with what Kickstarter would allow us to do. I’m actually happier with that. I think that people are going to enjoy doing the video more than radio promotion anyway. We’re going to enjoy that more. We can allow people to be in the video.”

As they say at NSAI, “Every great song will find a home.”

Photo Courtesy - Meldoy Hood

Country fans can make this a big song if they want to the old fashioned way by supporting their local Country station and requesting “Great American Song,” purchasing the song for themselves and being a part of “The Making of The Great American Song Video.”

If you want to be a part of the making of the video you can go to their Kickstarter page by clicking here I want to be a part of The Making of The Great American Song Video by Acklen Park.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Acklen Park with all-star cast at Benchmark, Me in Who T-shirt

I got a call from Shantell Ogden last Saturday afternoon asking if I was close to Music Row. I just happened to be at Centennial Park at TACA 2011. Acklen Parkwas in the studio finishing up their next single “Great American Song” slated for release next spring.

They needed some background vocals. Shantell said, “How soon can you make it?”

“I can be there in about fifteen minutes,” I replied, I had to get back to my car in Hillsboro Village.

Chris Utley at Benchmark Sound

When I got to Benchmark Sound on Music Row, a top tier studio with nothing but the finest, I found Chris Utley (co-Producer) manning the board and was handed lyrics along with about ten others, along with a sheet to sign off.

We were in the big room in about 10 minutes, singing along with Acklen Park’s Marcum Stewart and Andrea Villareal.  We overdubbed about three takes of the group singing on the final chorus. This was more fun than golf, at least if the studio is your second home.

When we got back into the control room, there was some amazing music in the playback.  There were tracks by some of Nashville’s finest session players, Ilya Toshinsky – Lead Guitar/Acoustic, Rhythm/Session Leader/ who is the Co-Producer with Chris, Danny Rader – Rhythm Guitar & some leads as well, Scott Williamson – Drums, Jimmie Lee Sloas – Bass and Tim Lauer – Keys.

These players have hours of combined hit making experience, having recorded sessions for artists records that include: Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, etc. just to name a few.

I got to say, I am really excited about this one. I think it is going to be huge on mainstream Country Radio; in fact, it should be the theme song for Country Music channel, GAC.

We will have to follow up on this one later.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Saturday night in Nashville is always special if you want to take a walk on the wild side. Last night began at the radio release party for Acklen Park’s “Lost” that is going to Country Radio in August. The song co-written by Shantell Ogden, Bill DiLuigi and Scott Jarman, will be Shantell’s first Nashville cut to go to radio.

“Acklen Park is a hard-working band that is going places, and I’m so excited they are taking a song I co-wrote with them!  This is definitely a  moment to celebrate,” said Shantell.


L to R: Rob Ray, Casper Resik, Shantell Ogden, Dave Bobrow, Andrea Villareal, Bill DiLuigi and Marcum Stewart

The event started at 7PM in Shantell’s backyard with friends and fans of Acklen Park stopping in for a rare all acoustic set featuring songs off their Otter Rapids Music release with a set ending version of “Lost” which should fit in with Country cross- genre material similar to The Zac Brown Band.

Shantell with Hit Songwriter/Artist Rhett Akins

Shantell had prepared some great Mexican Food including the secret family recipe of sweet pork (anything from pig goes well in Tennessee) with a kind of Pan Pacific-Asian twist,to enjoy in the 88 degree night time heat.  This seems to be one of the hottest summers ever in Nashville.  

Acklen Park represents some of the best of the developing Country Indie scene that is taking root over the last few years in Nashville.

As one fan wrote in their review on Amazon. Com, “Acklen Park has a phenomenal sound and great original songs. They are absolutely hot!!! Keep an eye on them because they are going right to the top!!! I predicted Brad Paisley’s success to friends 7 years ago, and I predict the same for this group. They are headed for the Grand Ole Opry and beyond… and I want front row tickets in advance!!!” (JMR in West Palm Beach, Florida)

Acklen Park under deck lights

The party was still going when I made my second stop, 9PM, at The Rutledge for Hello Kelly’s CD Release Party of (Easy For You To Say), it was excited mayhem as Hello Kelly got ready to take the stage, after a few months on the road, the band is tighter than ever.

Francie / Hello Kelly/ The Rutledge-courtesy Jenni George

Francois “Francie” Goudrealt’s vision when he left Toronto to see what could happen in Music City is beginning to take shape. The record is getting local support at 102.9 The Buzz and is getting airplay as far away as New Zealand.

New Zealand would make sense with the record sitting somewhere between The Ataris, Yellowcard and Midnight Oil. There were some Music City luminaries such as Bekka Bramlett, Stephen McCord (The Service Station, former MCA records) as well as up and coming singer/songwriter Tommy Dalton in attendance.


Travis / Hello Kelly / The Rutgledge photo courtesy Jenni George

The place lit up into full sing-along with the radio ready “Better Now Together”, “Ladder” and what could be Francie’s theme song, (not to be mixed up with Led Zep’s “Communication Breakdown”) “The Communication Breakdown”. Hello Kelly will be heading up to the Kingdom Bound Festival in Buffalo, New York.

It’s just one of the first stops in conquering the world. There are already comparisons to being the next Kings of Leon in terms of possibilities. How about an opening slot with Paramore? Hello Kelly’s (Easy For You To Say) is infectious, sweet and relentless all at the same time.

I guess that is what you get when you combine songs written to your significant other and then play them through Mesa Boogie and Matchless Amps with a four piece firing squad.

Up The Arms!

Photo courtesy Jenni George

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville,TN