Sometime in the late 1980’s, my buddy’s dad was invited to a benefit for the Omaha Firefighters. The charity event featured a meal, silent auction and a concert from an up and coming country musician. My buddy’s father donated the money for the tickets and told the person on the phone to give his tickets to someone else.
Hey, we all have busy lives.
On August 3rd, Friday Night Spotlight presented its FIFTH showcase event at Anthem. These concerts are extremely meaningful to me and I feel as though every time I speak of them I must come off like those people at the Home Show selling those rubber brooms. “It’s amazing”. “It will enhance your life”. “You won’t regret it”! This FNS showcase featured the music of Devin Dawson and Jake Rose – two mainstays on our Friday music boutique specialty show with the talented Josie Cooper and Brad Streeter. Some of the alums of the Hard Rock shows are Lanco, Jordan Davis, Dylan Scott and Russell Dickerson..artists that have done well on the charts. Other names include Josh Dorr, Courtney Cole, Chris Bandi and Brooke Eden…artists that have not been nationally recognized yet. At this point in the article I’d love to tell ya I knew with certainty with acts would hit it big. Honestly, I have no idea. Sometimes, it comes down to social media, record label support and booking agents.
And then again, sometimes…it’s about magical songs.
There wasn’t a huge crowd at Hard Rock Casino when Lanco performed “Greatest Love Story”, but the song just stayed with me. The melody. The lyrics. It felt immediately like a song that should have been on “This is Us” on NBC when it was good in the first season.
I’m here to report I had several of those goose bump moments on August 3, 2018 at Anthem. I believe every concertgoer would attest to the talent on display from start to finish.
Opening act Jake Rose was gracious enough to spend about 15 minutes with us at the KSUX / Hard Rock studios 120 yards from Anthem. He spoke from the heart about the songs he wrote and how they mean SO much to him. It was authentic. It was passionate. He’s a guy I really wanted to root for in concert. About an hour later I realized I was watching something special. Go listen to “Sleeves”. It’s a song that caught the attention of headliner Devin Dawson. It may be what lead to this pairing. I assume Nashville musicians are pretty discerning when it comes to songs they truly respect and enjoy. After hearing the true backstory for the ink inspiration, you would have a heart of stone if “Sleeves” didn’t move ya. “Favor” is a song that could easily be heard on a country station or even an alternative rock station. It’s edgy, true and catchy – it could define him as an artist, but it wasn’t even the best song of the set. That may be reserved for the track he just released this past week called “Family”. It was so special in concert. He spoke of loved ones and mentioned that he didn’t change a single name. I believed him. Dude, I’m buying the broom at the Home Show. If Mr. Rose choose to write song for others, “More than a Little” has Blake Shelton written all over it. It fits Blake like his irreverent humor fits Twitter. I can’t wait to hear it.
Devin Dawson is the real deal. “All on Me” went to number 2 on the charts and gets the musical headline, but his depth of talent goes so much deeper. He mentioned on stage his latest single “Asking for a Friend” is one of the best songs he’s ever written and it’s quite conceivable. However, I believe the three of us on FNS would suggest that honor belongs to “Dark Horse” or “War Paint” that opened the show. I spent an hour after the show trying to see what active rock band cut “Prison” only to find out it was penned by Dawson, Josh Kerr and Seth Ennis. It could easily be a Battery Park alum Shinedown cut.
Or just an epic moment from Devin Dawson in a night that had so many special moments.
I’ve mentioned in this space before, I am not one to pigeon-hole certain artists as country, Americana, Texas, pop, traditional. I just don’t care. I wanted music that moves me. Stays with me. Music that is original. We got it all on Friday night.
Sadly, I know it’s not for everyone. Rich people probably use Roombas and have no need for a rubber broom.
Maybe you have enough music.
I went to a Candlebox concert and the majority of the concertgoers were wearing t-shirts from the bygone grunge era. It made me feel bad for them. You know, there’s a plethora of tremendous tunes released after flannel, right? I vowed to NEVER stop searching for new and awesome talent. I found that in Jake Rose and Devin Dawson. I even considered buying t-shirts from both. But, alas…I spent my money on that Home Show broom.
The concert will stay with me a long time. I really hope they both find HUGE success on tour and the radio. They deserve it.
By the way, the artist that played that Omaha Firefighter benefit?
Sometimes, you have to GO to the show.
KSUX Program Director – Sioux City, Iowa