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Music gold beyond the Top 40

kane brown review

It’s easy to take the interstate on long trips.

This year marks my 20th year in country radio.  I’ve been selecting and scheduling music for about 85 percent of that time.  It’s pretty easy to recognize the biggest stars in the format.

Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean , Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood and the rest of the A-listers are like realizing you need to buy milk at the grocery store.  They are all household names.  They drive the format.  However, they were also all complete unknowns at one time.

Carrie waited tables in Oklahoma.

Jason Aldean worked on mastering George Strait tunes in his bedroom after getting home from classes at Windsor Academy earning him a gig at a VFW hall in Macon, Georgia.

Kenny Chesney was an advertising major at East Tennessee State U.

Those little nuggets of info bounced around in my bald head as I watched Kane Brown, Big Smo and Ryan Hurd play tremendous shows at Anthem.  Three very talented artists I had no idea who any of them were when Brad Streeter from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City announced their concerts on-air at KSUX.

kbrownJanuary 1st, 2016 I made the New Year’s Resolution to listen to more new music from unknown (to me) artists in country music.  To help expedite this goal, we launched Friday Night Spotlight on KSUX.  We play 12 songs every week with a focus on songs BEYOND the Top 40.  This is the first resolution in my 4 decades of walking planet Earth I could actually – and proudly state I’ve kept 90 days into 2016.  I can’t grow hair on my scalp, but I can grow my artist knowledge and appreciation.

I’ve learned to love so many new songs.


Here’s a partial list of the songs we’ve featured so far:

Used to love you Sober – Kane Brown

Suitcase – Steve Moakler

American Love Song – LANco

Freaks like Me – Joe Nichols

Healing Highway – Bryan Collins

Stilettos – Allie Louise

My Whole World – Blair Lane

Oh Tonight – Josh Abbot Band with Kacey Musgraves

Can’t Get Away – Logan Mize

Leaving Nashville – Charles Kelley

Southern Boy – Jordan Rager

By the Way – Lindsay Ell

Ex to See – Sam Hunt

Loud – Courtney Cole

80’s Mercedes – Maren Morris

Yours – Russel Dickerson

Tonight – Ryan Kinder

Tie Me Down – Taylor Ray Holbrook

Reckless – Martina McBride

Obvious – McKenna Faith

XO – Kelsea Ballerini

Said No One Ever – Jana Kramer

Something to Remember You By – Jacob Davis

Bad for You – Waterloo Revival

Jesse James – Davisson Brothers

Mayday – Cam

Getaway Truck – Aaron Watson

While I Was Away – Pat Green

Good Ol’ Days – Smithfield

Whiskey Dreaming – Morgan Myles

Locks on Doors – JT Hodges

Outta My Head – Leaving Austin

Get Awesome – Julia Cole

I Know Somebody – LoCash

American Country Love Song – Jake Owen

If the Boot Fits – Granger Smith

Make You Mine – High Valley

Plan B – Brad Morgan

Fire Away – Chris Stapleton

Tuxedo – Clare Dunn

Born With it – Stevenson Everett

Livin’ the Dream – Drake White

Panorama – Ryan Hurd

Rock On – Tucker Beatheard

Blue Tacoma – Russell Dickerson

Saving up for Saturday Night – Sam Austin

Light of Day – Aubrie Sellers

I Don’t Usually do This – Josh Goodlett

Ice Cold Summer – Trailer Choir

Can’t Stop Love – Chandler Stephens featuring Kane Brown

Drunk over a Girl – Tyler Hammond

Feels This Right – Casey Donahew

jmbHow many country stations in America have played all those artists in the last 7 weeks?  The whole process of new music discovery has been fascinating and very gratifying professionally and personally.  I’m quite aware of the fact there are some superb melodies and lyrics that NEVER get heard by mainstream radio.  We are fortunate our bosses and Hard Rock are very supportive on this venture.

We always welcome your feedback and would love to hear who you want to hear on KSUX.

Every Friday at 7p, we take a scenic backroad through the country music landscape.  It’s been a wonderful journey, but it’s always best to road trip with some buddies.  Tune in.  Get the free KSUX app.  Listen online at www.ksux.com.  Adjust your frequency to 105.7.

You can learn a lot when you take the off ramp from the interstate.



Tony Michaels

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