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March 26
Joe Rucker
Joe grew up Houston, Texas, listening to his dad, Jerry Rucker, play the guitar and write songs. The family sang on a regular basis at churches and community functions. His sister Michelle (Shelly), vividly recalls him being so shy about being on stage, that he hid behind her while they sang. But that shyness evaporated completely away for Joe when he met the legendary Hank Locklin through a friend of his father. The Country Music Hall of Famer had sung songs Joe grew up hearing, like Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On – and it made an impression on the teen. He had always been musically inclined, winning band awards throughout his Junior High and High School years, but that first day spent with Locklin set his passion for music off like never before.

He made the move to Nashville, Tennessee in October 1998. One month later, he was invited by Jack Greene to appear on Ernest Tubb's Midnite Jamboree, which is broadcast from "The Air Castle of the South",[1] WSM AM Radio 650, and "Home of the Grand Ole Opry". Since that time, Rucker has made multiple appearances with Bill Anderson, Hank Locklin, Charlie Louvin, Jett Williams, Junior Brown, and others. The Midnite Jamboree is the second oldest live country music radio show in the world. Over the years, it has featured artists such as its original host, Ernest Tubb, along with other stars such as Stonewall Jackson, Martha Carson, Elvis Presley, George Hamilton IV, Loretta Lynn, T. Graham Brown, Randy Travis, Marty Stuart, Patsy Cline, and Hank Williams.

Rucker released his first album entitled Nashville Scenes in 2001. He co-produced it with Doyle Grisham. In 2007, his second effort Untangle My Mind was released, and his sister, Michelle Donahue, was Executive Producer. This eighteen song project included duets with Clifford Curry, Hank Locklin, and Eddy Raven.[3] Rucker went to his hometown (Geneva), for the CD release party, and the community center was standing room only.

As a musician, Rucker is credited on Locklin's 2006 gospel album, By The Grace of God: The Gospel Album, which also included the Oak Ridge Boys, the Jordanaires, and Gold City.

In late 2009, he joined cartoonist / singer / songwriter Guy Gilchrist as bandleader of his group called The Comics. The group did a series of Christmas shows in December 2009 with guest artists Mandy Barnett and Tommy Cash. Rucker left the group in the fall of 2010.

On September 11, 2010, Rucker and his group from Nashville (which included Jennifer Brantley) made his debut on the legendary Wheeling Jamboree out of Wheeling, WV. The Jamboree was once the longtime rival of legendary country radio shows such as the Grand Ole Opry and the Louisiana Hayride and at one time had artists such as Grandpa Jones, Louvin Brothers, the Osborne Brothers, Chickie Williams & Doc Williams, and Jimmy Dickens.

Recently, Joe has been in rotation on the Musictogousa.com Songwriter's Network as well as performing on its live radio show hosted by Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member, Jerry Foster (of the famed writing team Foster and Rice). Other regulars on the network and live shows include legendary writers: Jim McBride, Jimmy Payne, and Glenn Douglas Tubb, Jimmy Fortune. He continues to tour occasionally, recently opening for Doug Stone at the Farmer's Opry Country Music Festival.

Lori Smith
Lori Smith sings and writes gospel music, and she has a great track record in country music, too. Over a span of several years, Lori had 15 singles in the top 40 in the Billboard and Cashbox magazine charts. She has performed on the Grand Ole Opry and has appeared in concerts with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and B. J. Thomas. Lori has appeared in four movies. Lori has been in the recording studio working on her next CD which should be out this year. She’s a seasoned performer, and you will enjoy her appearance this weekend at Nashville Cowboy Church.
April 2
Russ Roberts
Russ Roberts never meets a stranger. Whether he’s riding a New York subway, soaking up sunshine on the Gulf Coast or shaking hands after concert, he’s always making a connection with people. More often than not, those moments find their way into a song. A born songwriter with an ear for a good hook and a head constantly humming with fresh melodies, Roberts has a gift for capturing life’s pivotal moments in music. It’s easy to see why Roberts has carved a successful niche as a modern day country troubadour, placing songs in films and contributing tunes to projects by country veterans such as Ed Bruce as well as fledgling bands.

Like most independent country artists, Roberts flies somewhat under the radar and has built a grassroots following performing in select venues coast to coast and releasing critically acclaimed projects. His songs are slice-of-life country anthems such as “Dudley’s Truck Stop,” a musical homage to a real restaurant that has kept a Virginia Mountain community and passersby fed and happy for many years. If Roberts sounds close to the subject, he is. He grew up in Rocky Mount, VA, raised on the traditional country music and small town values that still inform his artistry. “I always wanted to make music when I was a kid, but I just didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity,” he confesses. “For some reason I had in my head that everybody that did the music thing was from a big town. I didn’t realize until later that everybody came from somewhere. There’s not a lot of Opry stars that were born and raised in Nashville. A whole lot of them come from little bitty towns.” His uncle Henry Charles--H.C.--as the family affectionately called him encouraged the aspiring artist. “He had these two guitars and he said, ‘if you learn five songs and you can play them as good as I do, I’ll give you one of those guitars,’” recalls Roberts. “Then he went into the Navy and I kept practicing, but he got killed in a car wreck when I was 12. I really lost interest in pretty much everything at that stage of the game because he was really like a father to me. He certainly changed my whole life’s direction just by teaching me a couple of songs and three or four chords on the guitar.”

By his teens, Roberts had developed an appreciation for fast cars, high-octane beverages and rock n’ roll. After high school, he tried college, but music kept stealing his focus from the books. He wound up working in a factory during what he refers to as is “prodigal son” years. “I got off on a wild tangent and learned a lot of hard lessons in that amount of time,” he says, recalling how his uncle’s death and his parent’s divorce put him in a tailspin. “All those circumstances just kind of snowballed on me. I was mad at the world and I think I was probably mad at God too..” Roberts admits those were wild times. “I had a fast car that ran 150. When I quit college and went to work at the factory, I just gravitated towards the guys that were angry like me,” he says. “We drank every day. We partied every day. I had my car leave the ground one time and land with two wheels off the road. I was running about 135 mph and it was heading straight for a tree.”

As is often the case, it was faith and love that turned his life around. He married his high school sweetheart, Debbie, and vowed to be a good husband. It was a tough battle, but one night he hit his knees, praying for help and found his life changed. With that clarity of mind came a renewed creative vision. He began writing songs and they came fast and furious. “I got a spiral notebook and wrote a song and it wasn’t long until another one came,” he recalls. “I had 30 songs in no time. It almost felt like it was being forced on me. I couldn’t get away from it.” He joined a local band that took top prize in the Wrangler Country Showdown, and like most aspiring country singer/songwriters, he set his sights on Nashville.

After he made the move, industry veterans such as Doodle Owens, Sheb Wooley and Ed Bruce took him under their wing, and he also co-wrote with such hot Music Row talents as Billy Dean, Steve Dean, Carl Jackson and Neil Thrasher. He began getting songs cut and also saw his tunes make it on the big screen in such films as “Varsity Blues.” Throughout his career, Roberts has established himself as a versatile artist—a talented singer/songwriter with the ability to evoke his hero Hank Williams on traditional country fare, yet with a bluesy side that gives his take on traditional country a unique flavor. “I love Hank, but also listened to the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd,” he says. “If you didn’t like Lynyrd Skynyrd, you wouldn’t ride in my car or if you did, you’d be miserable because I had it cranked so loud and Bad Company was played a lot too. I tended to lean towards the bluesier side, but I also loved Merle Haggard, George Jones and Randy Travis.”

His music pays respectful homage to his influences, yet it’s obvious Russ Roberts is his own artist. He’s forged a successful career built on solid songs. “Creature” is a chillingly vivid tale of redemption while “Same Old Feeling” is a breezy Southern celebration of love and devotion. “He Saw the Cross” bears witness to the power our actions have to change the lives around us. No matter the topic, the common thread in Roberts’ songs is realism. He has that ability to channel life’s experiences into music that always evokes a visceral response. Whether its’ laughter or tears, a sense of wonder or reluctant resignation, Roberts captures the full range of human emotions in his songs and unleashes them on stage. “I’ve always liked to say things a little differently,” Roberts comments. “I love music and love performing. If you can sing a song and take people out of their circumstances – even for a little while – that’s a precious commodity.”
Anita Anderson
April 9
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott and his band, 'Live Issue' literally made history in Nashville by becoming the first band from Ireland and only the second group from the British Isles to perform on the stage of the famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Colin was later invited to appear at the Opry in a solo capacity on several subsequent occasions, including shows from the famous Ryman Auditorium. With further appearances in Opryland venues, Colin is considered somewhat of a 'regular' in Nashville music circles.

In July 2015 Colin and Live Issue again toured the United States and fulfilled a busy schedule of concert invitations including venues in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia as well as hosting the famous Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree in Nashville, which was broadcast across the world on WSM Radio and Music City Television.

Colin Elliott's Christian faith influences his life and music. He gave his life to the Lord when he was only 8 years old through the ministry of evangelist, Dick Saunders and is currently one of the hardest working Gospel singers in the United Kingdom. Colin has been involved in Gospel music both in groups and as a solo artist for over 30 years. He started singing at the age of fourteen and has been on the road ever since. Colin was also recently appointed as secretary of the Gospel Music Association of Northern Ireland.

The last few years have seen Colin and Live Issue release their fourth album entitled “Every Road,” record a one hour television special broadcast on Revelation TV and release two DVDs. As well as completing several very successful tours of the United States, they opened the 'International Country Music Festival' at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast in March 2012.

Although Colin is heavily involved in Gospel music, he is also a school teacher and has been the Principal of Brownlee Primary School in Lisburn since 1999. As you would expect, the school offers its pupils many opportunities to develop their musical skills from an early age.

Colin and Live Issue have been credited, not only as fine representatives of Country Gospel Music, but also as ambassadors for their Christian faith and everything that is good about Northern Ireland. In 2014, Live Issue was awarded “County Gospel Band of the Year” in the Northern Ireland Gospel Music Awards. Colin was also nominated as “Worship Leader of the Year” at the same event.

Although Colin is mainly known for his singing and playing ability, both in groups and as a solo artist, he is also a respected record producer and session musician. He recorded and produced three albums for the late George Hamilton IV, the “International Ambassador of Country Music,” one of which went to number one in the New Christian Music European Gospel and Country Charts.

In 2010 Colin produced a “landmark” album for George Hamilton IV entitled “Old Fashioned Hymns and Gospel Songs for Those Who Miss Them!” This recording featured many established stars from the Grand Ole Opry and Gospel Music. During this project Colin recorded and produced songs for; Pat Boone, George Beverly Shea, Marty Stuart, Charley Pride, Charlie Louvin, Connie Smyth, Joanne and Tommy Cash, Ricky Skaggs, and many more. Production on this album took place both in Northern Ireland and at Lamon Records in Nashville. One of the songs entitled, “I'm Using My Bible for a Roadmap” was nominated for a prestigious Dove Award and Colin travelled to Atlanta for the ceremony as part of his US Easter tour in 2011.

Over the years Colin has recorded many albums and appeared on countless BBC and independent radio shows. He has also featured on television programmes in Northern Ireland, the UK and America. These appearances have provided important opportunities for Colin to share his faith and music with an ever increasing audience.

Colin's musical experiences have been very wide and varied over the past quarter of a century, and this is well illustrated in his song writing ability. Although his repertoire contains dozens of familiar songs, Colin also performs many which he has penned himself. His songs are regularly requested on radio shows and many have inspired people throughout Ireland and across the world.

Colin's solo singing has been in great demand in recent years as he has travelled to many churches throughout the UK and America bringing the good news of the Gospel in song. His musical style can merge repertoires of country, worship and contemporary music to suit any audience or age group.

Andrew Cornett
Andrew Cornett has been involved in music in various bands since the age of 14, playing a wide range of music, but gospel music has always been his passion as it reflects his Christian faith and commitment to spreading the Gospel through music.

Andrew is currently a member of the Stonewall Folk Group and Kingdom Bound, however, he is now becoming well established as a solo singer at various church services and concerts throughout Ireland and the UK. Andrew released his first solo CD in November 2016 and it has been very well received with a substantial amount of radio airplay.

Andrew Cornett is a gifted Christian songwriter and he has written many songs for both Kingdom Bound and to perform as a solo artist.

Though his work with the Stonewall Folk Group, Andrew has had the privilege of touring throughout the Southern States of America as well as visiting China on two separate occasions. Andrew loves to sing about Jesus and hopes that his music can help in some way to bring others to know the love of our Lord and Saviour

April 16
Living Lord's Supper Play
April 23
Connie Kis Andersen
Danish born Connie Kis Andersen migrated with her family to Australia when she was two years old. 

Connie Kis began learning the banjolin at the age of eight and by eleven, had already performed with Australian Country Music legend Slim Dusty when his show came to her home town of Bourke, NSW.

With a degree in Psychology and Economics gained from the University of NSW, Connie Kis worked in Sydney in the field of Special Education for two years before moving to Perth W.A. where she continued to teach in Education Support.

Around the same time, she began to pursue a career in music, her first love.

She performed as the lead singer in several bands, the most current being Kis'n Tel, and AKAKis, an acoustic original duo.

In the past, Andersen's full seven piece band; The Hired Guns came together on special occasions to perform her original songs from the albums, Gone Wishin’ and the award winning Once Again. 

Now, she mainly tours solo and on home turf, teams up with well known Perth roots/blues player David Capper for special acoustic shows promoting her current albums; Connie Kis and Naked Under the Radar.
 
This lady’s headliner and special guest performances have seen her honoured to be the support act for Don McLean, Kasey Chambers, BJ Thomas in Perth, taken her on press tours in Scandinavia, Europe and numerous radio and solo promotional tours of the USA, including performances at CMA's Fan in Nashville.


Since embarking upon her career as a recording artist, this outstanding singer / songwriter has enjoyed chart action with several of her songs gracing the Australian Country Tracks Top 40 Hit charts - 3 of them making the Top 5.

The same songs also making the APRA 'Song of the Year' List for voting - a list of the most played songs in Australia by Australian writers for the year of their release. 

Connie Kis has been the recipient of multiple awards – both in song writing and as an artist. Highlights include being named Western Australia’s Best Country Female Artist three times, winning the ‘Best Independent Country Music Album’ for Western Australia twice, and receiving an Australian TIARA for Female Vocalist.  

She is a proud member of APRA, ASCAP (Publishing), NARAS, CMAA, AMA, NSAI, and CMA.

Michael J. Ramplin
April 30
Brenda Lynn Allen
To meet Brenda Lynn Allen, is to meet a soft, cool breeze on a warm, spring day. There's a gentle sweetness, coupled with a kindness and a shy playfulness that radiate from Brenda when she enters a room. To hear Brenda sing, is to hear a mountain stream cascading over smooth stones. Her voice is pure...It's as old as the ages, yet it's as new and fresh as the beginning of springtime. You hear one song, and your heart wants more.
Brenda shares her own heart with her fans with the release of her new album Better. The title cut from her sophomore recording project was partly inspired from her experience as an activities professional working in a long term care facility with residents facing Dementia.


The album Better contains 14 songs in all, ten of which were written or co-written by Brenda—with styles ranging from traditional country to 50's enthused music, 60's pop to Texas Swing. The album was produced by Doyle Grisham, who is the steel guitarist for Jimmy Buffet’s Coral Reefer Band and who has recorded with country greats such as Randy Travis and George Jones.

Brenda grew up in Columbia, Tennessee—about an hour south of Nashville. She has been singing and writing songs for most of her life. Brenda writes about her experiences and the experiences of those she is close to. Her songs are truly from the heart.

Will Kruger
Will performed John DenWill Kruger. Guitarist, singer/songwriter and entertainer, singing to sold out crowds. Will brings a unique sense of clarity and a strong emphasis to the lyrical content of his selection of songs. His musical roots go back to the folk era where influence from the likes of Peter Paul & Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver and James Taylor have shaped his musical style.

He has toured nationally in California, Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas, Tennessee and throughout the Midwest. As solo artist Will has performed at various house concerts, libraries, conservation events, coffee houses and auditoriums. He has shared the stage with CCM legend Randy Stonehill and John Denver tribute artist Roy Rivers.

More recently Will has been recognized as a significant songwriter and has had four of his songs featured in the Lazarus Filmworks production of "God Where Are You" He is also a featured performer in Nashville Tn. a number of times a year at Mike Wolfe’s American Pickers store Antique Archaeology. As well as a guest spot at Music City Smoke House.

Will has always been attracted to the simplicity, message and melodies of folk music accompanied by the acoustic guitar. More recently his love of the music of Peter Paul & Mary has lead him to a dream position as Noel Paul Stookey in the nationally touring premier tribute group “Peter Paul & Mary Alive” along with band mates Joan Brown and Peter Gordon

His compassion for the music of John Denver, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot and Paul Simon has inspired Will to perform a "Singer Songwriter Tribute" show to sold out crowds at the Belfry Music Theatre in Williams Bay WI.. Will performed John Denver’s music at the Wheeler Opera House Aspen Colorado Oct 9th 2014 as part of the John Denver Tribute Celebration. Will performed John Denver’smusic at the Wheeler Opera House Aspen Colorado Oct 9th 2014 as part of the John Denver Tribute Celebration
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