Kicx106 & Impact Live Kick-Off Summer 2017
BLACKJACK BILLY + Surprise Special Guest Concert Party!
Madeline Merlo, Kansas Stone
Fri · June 23, 2017
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
Mavricks Music Hall
$29.95 - $44.95
This event is 19 and over
TONIGHT... OUTLAWS & ANGELS 2017 Summer Kick-Off Conceret Party featuring BLACKJACK BILLY + Surprise BIG Artist Special Guest, Madeline Merlo & Kansas Stone Friday June 23rd @ Mavricks Music Hall!
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The group first impacted in 2013, when they independently released their first single, “The Booze Cruise,” to digital media. With no promotion, the summertime anthem nonetheless won frequent rotation by SiriusXM’s “The Highway,” achieved Platinum certification in Canada, charted #1 in Australia, and became the hottest-selling iTunes song in America by any act without a label deal that year. “Honestly, we had zero expectation when we wrote it that anything would ever happen with it,” admits guitarist Jeff Coplan. “We’d only been playing random bar gigs up to that point, where nobody came to see us; they were there to watch Sports Center or pick up chicks or get drunk. But then ‘The Booze Cruise’ took off, which was great.”
“Now, three years later, it’s still being downloaded and requested,” singer Noll Billings points out. “DJs are still cranking it when we walk into bars. It hasn’t gone away. If anything, it’s gained momentum.” That happy fact leads to more recent developments. First came one of the founding members Rob Blackledge’s decision to leave the band. What seemed at first like a problem turned quickly into an opportunity both for Blackjack Billy and young bass phenom Ian Munsick. “I was on this cruise where Chris Cavanaugh was playing,” Noll says. “I went to watch his set and I just remember thinking, ‘Damn, that bass player is bad-ass. He’s got mad swagger.’ All the girls were up in front of the stage. He had a big smile. Then a week or two later, when Rob decided to do his own thing, my first thought was, ‘Who was that friggin’ bass player?’ I called Cavanaugh and said, ‘Hey, I want to steal your bass player.’ And Chris was cool enough to give me his number.” “Ian is just a positive dude, Jeff adds. “He comes in every day with a smile on his face and says, ‘We get to play music today!’” Raised in Kennett, Missouri, hometown as well to Sheryl Crow, Trent Tomlinson and David Nail, Noll hightailed to Hawaii after high school and then to the Caribbean before hanging up his surfboard and settling in St. Louis. He built a local following through local club gigs and eventually left for Nashville to score a publishing deal with EMI and pursue bigger dreams. Jeff, meanwhile, began his journey in Montreal and then headed to New York City to learn the art of studio engineering, production and song writing. There he started making writing trips to Nashville and fell in love with country songwriting which led to he and Robert Ellis Orrall putting together the group Love and Theft in hopes of creating a modern-day variation on the Eagles. Jeff then moved to Nashville, produced their first album and wrote some of their material, including the No. 1 hit “Angel Eyes.” Jeff met Noll through their mutual publisher, EMI and the impact was immediate. ‘I had written with a lot of people over the years and the first time I sat down to write with Noll we completely connected. I basically just wanted to write everything with him after that.’ With that Blackjack Billy was born.
We bought a converted airport shuttle bus, booked some shows and hit the road,” Jeff says. “We needed a drummer, met Brad (Cummings) literally three days before our first run down to Key West. He was literally learning the songs on the long drive down.’ When Ian came aboard, following his move to Nashville from small-town Dayton, Wyoming, to Nashville via a spell as a ski instructor in Switzerland, Blackjack Billy has begun moving ahead with a new confidence and unity.
Signed now to Reviver Records, they are hard at work recording tracks for their label debut. They’re also revisiting the song that broke them in the digital world, this time with the aim of taking it for the first time to American country radio. “‘The Booze Cruise’ is brand new to millions of people who never heard it,” Jeff says. “We’ve sold 200,000-something downloads of the song in the U.S. independently. But once it hits terrestrial radio, we hope to make a lot of new fans.” Until then, word of mouth and incendiary performances alone are building Blackjack Billy’s fan base. “We are you,” Noll explains. “We’re big-time country fans. “We’re big-time rock and roll fans. We love music. We love mingling with and being part of the crowd. Usually when we’re done playing, we go find the coolest group of fans and go party with them. We’ll steal a golf cart and be out there in the crowd. We stole Storme Warren’s cart a couple of times.” He turns to Jeff. “I’ve heard you say that we’re going to out-fun everyone. We’re going to have more energy than the crowd every night. If they step it up a notch, we’re going to step it up two.” How’s that sit with the new guy? Ian sums it up succinctly: “I’m just happy to be here, man!”
Driving-playlist essential, her single “War Paint“ was the #1 Most Added single on Canadian Country Radio for the week of June 29th. “Whatcha Wanna Do About It” made CMT’s Top 20 Country Music Chart, and Sirius XM’s #OnTheHorizon List, played nationwide in the USA, it’s a toe-tapping follow-up to last summer’s catchy “Honey Jack,” which received widespread airplay and attracted both country-and pop-music lovers alike.
After the success of “Honey Jack,” Merlo opened for country royalty Keith Urban and went on to scoop up 2015’s Rising Star award at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards and Female Vocalist of the Year at the British Columbia Country Music Association Awards. Then she rounded out 2015 touring with heavyweights Dean Brody and Paul Brandt.
In summer of 2016 Merlo, who was recently selected by Spotify for their “Spotlight on 2016” artists to watch, taking Canada by storm to perform at major country music festivals across the country, including Rocking River Country Music Festival, B.C. and Boots and Hearts, Ont. If you’re not in the foot-stomping crowds, you can catch Merlo in her acting debut in the upcoming country musical film Country Crush, inspired by the Nashville scene, out this summer. Merlo plays aspiring singer Nancy Taylor who falls in love in her quest for stardom, alongside Jana Kramer and Sophie Tweed-Simmons. This is Merlo’s first lead role in a movie, although she has previously worked with award-winning director John ‘JP’ Poliquin on the immensely popular “Alive” music video.
Merlo signed with RGK Entertainment and Open Road Recordings at 18. After several trips to Nashville her first single, “Sinking Like A Stone”, was added by JRFM in Vancouver, winning the Hot Country Challenge. The word began to spread and Merlo’s journey began.
Madeline Merlo has always had eclectic taste, and in her music you’ll hear the influence of classic country of artists like Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, R&B greats Etta James and Billie Holiday and modern superstars such as Miranda Lambert. She has contributed to Sparkle: An Inspirational Handbook for Young Girls, which features interviews with female artists, entrepreneurs and public figures in British Columbia. She’s also performed for the Canadian Armed Forces as part of Team Canada, a small group of Canadian ambassadors from the sports, music and entertainment industries visiting Sicily, Italy, and an operations base in Kuwait.
Closer to home Merlo is a champion of local artisans and is passionate about promoting new designers. She’s an ambassador for Wear Your Label, a conscious clothing line that creates conversations about mental health. Her boho, free-spirited style as unique as her sound.
Kansas Stone is a high energy Country band that fuels off of many different styles. Hailing from Ontario,Canada they deliver a sound that ranges from old & new country, blues, rock, and more... Kansas stone has become notorious for their catchy Melodies and well crafted Original songs. Alongside they're many influences they continue to forge there own path with the music they Love. Some of Kansas Stones influences include: Waylon Jennings, Zac Brown Band, Garth brooks, Alabama, Jason Aldean, Johnny Cash... many more.
Kansas Stone has been very fortunate this past while. Getting the chance to share the stage with great artists such as: DALLAS SMITH, BRET KISSEL, AaRON PRITCHETT, BEVERLY MAHOOD, TEBEY just to name a few. They continue to draw attention to themselves with Raving show reviews and endearing fans that follow.
Kansas Stone has a very busy year ahead, and even bigger aspirations for greatness. Everybody needs some fun and excitement in there life and Kansas Stone does not disappoint.
Mavricks Music Hall
46 Dunlop Street West
Barrie, ON, L4N 0J3