Pegging Show Dog-Universal Music’s Native Run, a country duo currently on the Lipstick Graffiti Tour with Sam Hunt, is tougher than it might seem. “Very instrument-driven with acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin,” suggests the pair’s Rachel Beauregard. “Country themes and very sing-able choruses.”
Bryan Dawley, her partner in music, appends, “We value songs that take common experiences and translate them in new and interesting ways. Things like love, heartache and life, but with our fingerprint on them.”
“They are such a mix in terms of the acoustic instrumentation and popular sensibilities,” says GRAMMY-winning producer Luke Laird (Kacey Musgraves). “Instantly, it just made sense that it could have mass appeal.”
Bryan and Rachel grew up 20 minutes from each other in the rural/suburban sprawl of Northern Virginia west of the DC area. For both, church shaped their musical growth. “I just kept getting the solos,” Rachel says of her childhood worship experience. “I was like, ‘Oh, I guess I have a singing voice that people want to hear.’”
“After college, we ended up at the same church in Virginia,” Rachel says. “And we figured out pretty quickly that there was something there. Making music with Bryan was not only an absolute blast, but it really felt effortless.”
“I started playing guitar and bass,” Bryan says, noting that his multi-instrumentalist talents were forged by necessity. “The interesting thing about worship ministry at church is that you don’t always know if your drummer or keys player is going to show, so it’s sort of trial-by-fire. Can you fill this spot today? Sure.”
A focus on vocal performance and theater carried Rachel through school and college. “I trained in Germanic opera, too,” she says, “but I realized I really liked mainstream music and quit … but I kept singing.” Bryan majored in music and, similarly, pulled away from the classics. “I wanted to make music people want to listen to,” he says.
The duo began writing and performing original material, eventually touring the east coast. A residency at a New York club sparked contacts that led them to Nashville, but finding a home in country required little in the way of adaptation.
Their publisher and eventual producer Luke Laird saw the connection immediately.
“They have a hard to find combination. Bryan is a session-level musician. Rachel is a great vocalist and they’re both great writers. I was instantly drawn to that credibility – they have the chops. Plus, they can really deliver in a live setting and are so seasoned. They have that performer’s sensibility in knowing what fans will react to.”
That acceptance is easy to understand when considering songs like “Good On You.” A relaxed drum loop anchors sparkling banjo and mandolin over a huge, crowd-friendly hook. Likewise, “What’s Not To Love” frames a mass-appeal theme and melody in a level of musicianship and performance that holds up to serious scrutiny. “When I’m Taken” showcases the harmonies that were the earliest spark of their pairing.
Even though Laird is their publisher, using him as producer wasn’t a foregone conclusion. “Every song we’ve written with Luke, we’ve loved,” Rachel says. “He was working on Kacey Musgraves’ album at the time and we spent a lot of time talking about what our process might look like. Eventually, the conversation opened up in that direction.”
As their major label debut takes shape, Rachel and Bryan continue to follow the music – and the inexplicable magic – that first brought them together. “When you have that kind of experience, it becomes something you just have to commit to whether you know where it’s taking you or not,” Rachel says. “You sort of do a big swan dive into it … and you hope.”
“One of my long-term goals is to keep my sound one step ahead of the rest; I want to be what everyone else is chasing,” and with that in mind, 25-year-old singer/songwriter and RCA Nashville recording artist Josh Dorr hit the ground running with a bold and ambitious mindset for the release of his 2014 major-label debut, the four-song Josh Dorr – EP.
Produced by Jim Catino, the collection features three songs co-written by Dorr on an EP that underscores the lyric-driven, rock-edged brand of country that Dorr calls his own.
The youngest of three brothers, Dorr grew up in a close-knit family in the resource-rich oil and coal-mining city of Gillette, Wyoming, where the wide-open fields and rolling hills also helped to fuel Dorr’s love of sports and the outdoors. Football became his passion in high school and college, initially attracting attention from recruiters until multiple injuries had him rethinking his direction.
With an ankle on the mend and time on his hands, he picked up an unused guitar that he’d been given a few years earlier.
He would move to Nashville in 2010.
Back-to-back internships at a record label and a music publisher offered perspective on the music industry, and Dorr also started writing songs.
Musically, Dorr was reared on country radio of the ’90s: “I’m a huge Dwight Yoakam fan,” he says, citing Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Brooks & Dunn among the voices that helped define his country listening.
Dorr’s college-era listening offered more than the two clear radio stations in Gillette, exposing him to a range of talent that broadened his palette beyond country, including such artists as Tom Petty, The Wallflowers, Dave Grohl, Ryan Adams, and John Mayer.
But Dorr hit a pivotal moment in 2012 when his apartment caught fire, leaving him with little more than a few clothes, a guitar, and the songs he’d written on a now-waterlogged laptop. Debating a return to Wyoming or trying to rebuild his life and bus tables or whatever he needed to do to keep pursuing music in Nashville, Dorr took it as a sign when his still-functioning laptop recovered to where he’d left it: on his music player, with the song “Fire and Rain.”
Recommitted, Dorr’s renewed focus led to co-writes on songs that landed in the USA Network series Necessary Roughness, as the theme to the Pursuit Channel series Open Season, and on the upcoming album from Casey James – a song that brought him to the attention of RCA and helped earn Dorr his record deal.
Known for his latest Billboard Country Hit “Better I Don’t,” Chris Janson, the dynamic performer, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, has been making major waves in the Country music industry. Chris has toured with Hank Williams Jr, Lynyrd Skynyrd and recently opened for Merle Haggard in two sold out shows at The Ryman in Nashville. Chris toured more than 150 nationwide dates in 2014, including over 75 appearances on the Grand Ole Opry to date. Chris has penned songs for Justin Moore, Parmalee, Tim McGraw, Randy Houser, Joe Nichols, and LOCASH among others. Notable songs include “Truck Yeah” for McGraw, and “Off The Beaten Path” for Moore. Most recently picked as a “live show you do not want to miss” by Rolling Stone. Janson has collaborated with everyone from Bobby Braddock to Guns and Roses.