The first night of the Rockin’ Country Festival is an example of small town songbirds that have sang their way to the top. The Carter Twins and Tony Rio were participants in the festival that demonstrated what it takes to make it in the industry.
The Akron-born, Hudson-raised Carter Twins made the move to Nashville to pursue their music career after graduating from high school in South Carolina. Since their move only three years ago, they’ve managed to write 60 songs, which the crowd at The Kent Stage got to experience.
The duo put on an acoustic singer-songwriter – a style that’s popular in Nashville at venues like the famous Bluebird Café. Josh and Zach Carter returned home with a piece of Nashville. Perfect. I wanted to bring a piece of Nashville to Kent, so they fulfilled my expectations.
Will Bowen, also from the Cleveland area, moved to Nashville and spends a lot of his time writing songs with Josh and Zach. He surprised the audience by joining the twins on stage with his heart-felt lyrics and amazing voice. This went over super well. The audience loved him and even assigned him the nickname Willbo; it’s how we refer to him now. I hope he doesn’t mind.
Here’s the performance of “You Just Can’t Stay,” that had everyone tearing up. Be sure you have tissues nearby.
Although the twins’ met my expectations, I think they surpassed what the attendees expected. Concert goers got more than they bargained for, especially for the $10 ticket.
Although there was a low turnout, it gave fans an experience of a lifetime. It allowed everyone to get unbelievable seats for the performance. Plus, each person felt like Josh and Zach were singing directly to them. It was a really intimate setting that made the hearts of the girls in the audience melt. Plus, Josh and Zach got to break out their routine. Who wants to be on a schedule all the time? This show gave them so leeway to do what they wanted. And again, it provided fans with a more personal show. We got a better look into their personalities along with their talents.
After their show, Josh and Zach spent about an hour signing autographs and taking pictures. Because they had the time and weren’t rushed, they were able to spend a generous amount of time with each fan. It all had an incredible impact on the fans. Hey, I bought a T-shirt. Yes, I’m wearing it now. I might as well just admit it.
When Tony Rio took the stage, a whole other dynamic was added to the concert. His show was party country and beyond entertaining. Tony was full of energy, and despite the dwindling fans, he kept his momentum up. That’s the best type of performer I know for giving it his all. His bio was right – he gives his all to provide A-level entertainment. And those in attendance loved it. We even stood up, clapped our hands and danced around (we didn’t know any line dances to bust out in the aisle).
In 2010, Tony had a career breakthrough. His humorous song “She Looks Like an Angel” from his 2009 album Dance, was added to radio playlists throughout the country. Tony, in an interview I had with him, said he was surprised by the success of the song. He wrote it as a joke and never imaged it would make it would be successful. Goes to show how difficult it is to predict what will fuel one’s career.
The Carter Twins and Tony Rio know what it feels like to achieve success on a national level. I’m sure it’s just an extra incentive to keep pushing. To me, their dedication to the music shows how bad they want that superstar label. Perhaps someday they’ll be right up there with the king of country music Mr. George Straight. Maybe they just need a good publicist to take them to the next level. Pick me, pick me!
Tony Rio is still performing locally, so check out his schedule to try to catch one of his upcoming performances. The Carter Twins should be recording an album this year, so be sure to stay updated on them, especially for those of you who missed out on hearing their new songs.