Country duo Florida-Georgia Line performed a free show March 7 for a large crowd of Jacksonville University students, faculty and their friends and family.
Recently endorsed by superstars Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, Florida-Georgia Line, Tyler Hubbard of Monroe, Ga., and Brian Kelley of Ormond Beach, started their careers playing open mic nights and writing music after crossing paths at Belmont College in Nashville.
The band members talked about how it all began in an interview before the show.
“We met through a mutual friend, got together and started doing our thing. We realized we had a cool thing going with our voices,” Hubbard said. “I don't think we ever expected it to quite happen this fast. We had big dreams and big goals. We had our fingers crossed and we still do.”
After college, the duo set out to make a name for themselves, cramming their equipment in Kelley's Chevy Tahoe and hitting the road. They played acoustic shows and did a number of odd jobs to support themselves along the way. Mowing lawns and cleaning cars, the duo kept pursuing what they wanted to do — make music — with no plan B in the works.
With the release of the duo's first EP in 2010, they began to gain momentum, and the crowds at their shows started to expand. It was May of last year when the boys from opposite sides of the border released their EP titled "It'z Just What We Do," which included the hits “Cruise,” “Get Your Shine On” and “Tip it Back.”
The duo quickly caught the eye of labels when their single “Cruise” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Music chart after a mere 19 weeks, climbing to that spot faster than any band since 2006. It sold 100,000 copies even before the band was signed. In July 2012, they signed with Universal Republic Records.
Florida-Georgia Line pumped out all of their hits under the newly opened Larry Strom Amphitheatre on Dolphin Green …
St. Augustine chalk walk organizers are seeking sponsors and volunteers for Paseo Pastel.
The chalked promenade will take place on the grounds around the city parking garage and St. Augustine Visitor Information Center, beginning with an event party 7 p.m. March 22 and continuing through March 24. This event is part of many designed to celebrate the city’s 450th anniversary with a theme of “St. Augustine Living Heritage.”
Organizers say this event is a first for the city, and they plan to schedule it annually through 2015, the year of St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary. They expect 70 artists will be drawing on 4-foot by 6-foot sections of sidewalk 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. March 23.
Visitors can watch as the artists work, then see the finished art March 24 before it is washed away. Admission to the Chalk Walk is free.
Lee Jones, the chalk walk’s featured artist, has participated in chalk festivals across the U.S. Jones hosted a free chalking workshop on Feb. 23, allowing the public to try out chalk art.
Artists participating in the Chalk Walk will be competing for cash prizes. Local businesses will also be involved with the event, which is still seeking more sponsors. Live music will be provided as additional entertainment throughout the weekend.
For more information on St. Augustine’s first Chalk Walk or to get involved, visit the website or email the organizers.
From getting hacked with a lawnmower blade by Billy Bob Thornton in the classic "Sling Blade" to once being described as Johnny Cash's favorite country singer, Kentucky-born country star Dwight Yoakam is versatile.
He's successful, too. The 56-year-old Yoakam has sold upwards of 25 million albums worldwide over his four-decade career. He didn't disappoint a packed house at The Florida Theatre March 5.
Yoakam blasted his hit "Honky Tonk Man," the song that introduced the singer to the masses, to an enthusiastic crowd. Yoakam's 1986 cover of the Johnny Horton original reached no. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and its music video was the first country music video to ever play on MTV.
When Yoakam strutted his signature shuffle, he received bursts of applause from the crowd. He performed tunes from his early albums, "Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc." (1986) and "Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room"(1988), to his newer albums, "Blame the Vain" (2005) and "3 Pears" (2012).
"Thank you all for listening to our new stuff and giving it a chance," Yoakam said. "We didn't ask you guys beforehand, so I guess you didn't have much of a choice, though."
Yoakam peppered the set with these quips and other funny anecdotes between songs.
"A Heart Like Mine", a single off of "3 Pears," was voted the 39th best song of 2012 by Rolling Stone -- and for good reason. The song is adventurous and it transcends genre, as Yoakam has done his entire career. It's catchy, offering a twangy steel-guitar riff during the verses, and drawn-out indie rock style chorus. The "hook" of the song sticks in your head for hours after you hear it.
Yoakam's lead guitarist, 39-year-old Gene Jaramillo, wore a rhinestone blazer and looked like a last-second fill-in Yoakam picked up from some punk-rock band. He didn't play like one, though. Jaramillo added incredible leads to Yoakam's classic and current songs, without overpowering them.
Yoakam couldn't finish the show without …
Beginning March 9 at The Dive Bar in New Orleans, Jacksonville duo Flagship Romance will hit the road on a cross-country tour. Jordyn Jackson and Shawn Fisher will make a stop at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, to perform March 14. Joining bands Man on Earth and Gone by Daylight for most of the tour, they will continue to California and back to the East Coast.
Flagship Romance just finished filming a new music video for Charity Water that will be released March 22 on World Water Day. Charity Water’s mission is to bring clean water to developing countries.
This tour will be a first for Jackson. Because they only found out about the tour a few weeks beforehand, the band has not ironed out all their plans, including where they will sleep. They are planning to play some “living room shows” for friends in hopes of making some extra gas money. With friends in most of the cities they are playing, they are confident that everything will work itself out. Traveling by car, Jackson is concerned about driving through the snow.
“We are Florida people. We don’t know how to drive through snow,” Jackson joked in an interview with Folio Weekly.
Flagship Romance will make stops in Colorado (March 26), Michigan (March 29), Indiana (March 30) and Ohio (April 1) before traveling back down the coast. In Chicago, they will perform March 28 at the Hard Rock Café. In New York City, they will perform in another showcase that includes The New Velvet and Tommy & The High Pilots on April 8. The tour also includes planned stops in Arizona, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The tour hits Charlotte on April 12, Chapel Hill on April 13 and Atlanta on April 14 before the duo returns home in time to begin One Spark on April 17 in Jacksonville. To follow the duo on their adventure, visit flagshipromance.tumblr.com.
Jacksonville native and award-winning vocalist Lauren Elise was featured on the side of a race truck on Feb. 22 during the NextEra Energy Resources 250, a Camping World Truck Series event at Daytona. Elise’s photo appeared on the side of Jennifer Jo Cobb’s No. 10 Koma Unwind Chevrolet truck at Daytona International Speedway.
Elise, 16, currently has airplay on gospel radio stations but is hoping to cross over to country radio. She will be appearing at the next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., on June 27 along with Cobb’s race team.
Elise is known for her outreach program, “Be Significant” #PositiveImpact campaign. Her campaign is designed to offer a voice of change and hope for those affected by bullying or thoughts of suicide.
For more information on Elise or her “Be Significant” campaign, visit laurenelisemusic.com and besignificantcampaign.com.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville’s “Contemporary Classic: Artisan Edition,” a fundraising gala to benefit MOCA’s educational endeavors, is 6-11 p.m. April 6.
Tickets for the gala are $200 for the “Classic Dinner,” which is seated in the galleries and will feature dishes made by local chefs with local ingredients.
Tickets are $50 for the “Classic Party” after dinner with dancing, interactive art experiences and Jacksonville-brewed spirits.
Dinner will kick off at 6 p.m. in the galleries and the party will follow at 8 p.m. in MOCA’s Teresa and Arthur Milam Lobby.
Proceeds from the ticket sales will support MOCA’s exhibits, educational programs and outreach initiatives. Among these programs is “Voice of the People,” which features recorded accounts and descriptions of works of art by students and adults; and “Rainbow Artists,” which promotes social interaction among children with autism through artistic activities.
The featured exhibit during the gala is “SLOW: Marking Time in Photography and Film.” This exhibit focuses on still photographs, films and video works that explore questions of time and duration. The exhibit features the works of seven artists whose methods in addressing the concept of time complement and challenge one another.
MOCA Jacksonville is located at 333 N. Laura St., in Downtown Jacksonville, next to the main library.
To purchase tickets call Director of Development Jason Kirk at (904) 366-6911, ext. 202, or visit mocajacksonville.org/event/cc.
I couldn’t wait to see the film “Billy Elliot” after its release in 2000. The irresistible story of an 11-year-old boy who discovers ballet to escape the hard realities of a decaying English mining town and the energetic, aggressive dancing spoke to my predilection for British accents and musicals.
When it became a staged musical in 2005, I lumped it in with the pile of productions recycled from old movies. Sure, many of those have been good, but most of them have not broken new ground. Even with music by Elton John, it wasn’t high on my list.
So, I didn’t have high expectations when I saw the touring production of “Billy Elliot the Musical” at the Times-Union Center for Performing Arts Feb. 26.
Instead, I was blown away.
It’s rare to see a musical that stretches the medium, but “Billy Elliot the Musical” does just that. Instead of simply telling the story from the movie, the creative team reimagined the narrative as if it were originally being told in the musical format.
It probably helps that the original production was directed by Stephen Daldry and choreographed by Peter Darling, the same team behind the movie.
The songs aren’t particularly memorable; you won’t find yourself singing them to yourself as you walk out of the theater. But the music drives the fantastic staging and unbridled choreography throughout.
The first scenes are a bit slow, but once the dancing starts, it’s mesmerizing. “Solidarity” acts as a montage of Billy’s growth from clumsy boxer to ballet prodigy set against the growing clashes between police and striking miners. The scene juxtaposes pixie ballerinas and rugged miners as they intertwine in one building dramatic conflict.
When Grandma tells Billy about her complex relationship with his late grandpa during “We’d Go Dancing,” we see their feisty, flirtatious relationship played out in a bar full of …
The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park announced The Allman Brothers Band and Widespread Panic will play two nights at the Wanee Music Festival held April 18-20 in Live Oak, Fla.
This will be the Allman Brothers’ eighth year hosting Wanee and Widespread Panic’s third year headlining the fest.
Also on the ticket: Gov’t Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Leon Russell, Towner of Power, Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang, Electric Hot Tuna, Maceo Parker, Steel Pulse, North Mississippi Allstars, Blackberry Smoke, Galactic and Friends, The Greyboy Allstars, Voice of the Wetland All-Stars featuring Tab Benoit, Cyril Neville, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Jumpin Johnny Sansone, Waylon Thibodeaux, Johnny Vidacovich; Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, The Lee Boys, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, The Revivalists, Monophonics, Boombox, Oli Brown Band, Flannel Church, The Yeti Trio and Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch.
VIP tickets have already sold out, but general admission tickets priced at $205 are available now through April 8.
For more information about Wanee, visit the festival website.
Sarah Emerson will install a mural based on her own imaginary interpretation of Aokigahara, Japan’s forest, from March 11-22 at the Haskell Atrium Gallery in the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.
MOCA Curator Ben Thompson is encouraging visitors to come to the museum and interact with Emerson while she is painting.
After 14 days of work, the three-wall mural will be complete to close the second season of Project Atrium. Emerson will give a presentation of her work at 2 p.m. March 22. The exhibit opens March 23 and continues through July 7.
Emerson’s mural “Underland” is a continuation of a series of paintings she has created based on the dark reality of Aokigahara, a forest in Japan that is a popular place for suicide. The rock is magnetized, sometimes compasses won’t work, and people get lost and can’t find their way out, Emerson said.
“I was really fascinated by this gray area, this natural place exists that can swallow people and embody this kind of journey that you might not get out of,” Emerson said. “It’s a nice parallel for the way I kind of view life, which is a very beautiful thing and then also very dark and scary at the same time.”
“Underland” has become a real narrative in my work with a sense of innocence and paradise lost, Emerson said. The mural will embody a gaping forest scene filled with trees, black holes, animals and imagery throughout.
“If anything I kind of want the viewer to feel a little innocence and corrupted at the same time,” Emerson said.
It’s a very dark subject that is rendered superficially, but it’s rendered in a very pleasant and colorful manner, Thompson said.
“I’m really excited to work with her because she is still relatively unknown,” Thompson said. “She has a following, but some of the artists we have presented are probably a little bit further along in …
The City of St. Augustine and the rich cultural diversity it represents has survived as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. In celebration of the 450th founding anniversary of St. Augustine, Ancient City Mosaic will display 450 works of art by local and regional artists.
Each of the 450 works, one for each year of the history of St. Augustine, will be of the artists’ depiction of a historical landmark, event, figure or tradition relevant to St. Augustine.
Entries will be accepted — one per artist — through April 15 at St. Augustine's City Hall, Lightner Building, 450th Offices, Lobby B on the third floor, 75 King St., St. Augustine.
Registration for the event is $10 for adults (18 and older), which includes the canvas. Canvases for adults must be picked up at the Michaels Stores location at 310 CBL Dr., St. Augustine. A $10 gift card to Michaels Stores will be given to the first 100 people to register and pick up their canvases at Michaels Stores, which is sponsoring the event.
Children (17 and under) may receive a free 8-inch-by-10-inch canvas through participating St. Johns County Schools. For schools that do not have Ancient City Mosaic canvases, students may pick them up at City Hall in Lobby C on the fourth floor, 75 King St. The registration cost is $5 for children to submit their artwork to the Ancient City Mosaic Project.
Project organizers seek local artists who wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to display their work. Artists of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate in this commemoration of the nation’s oldest city. Any medium that will fit on the supplied canvas will be accepted.
The selected art will be displayed at all six St. Johns County Public Library locations and the St. Augustine Art Association from May 3 to June 1. The 450-piece mosaic will be displayed June 15 through Aug. 10 with a reception honoring the artists and …