Twist and Shout met with Mark Miller, who is one of the organizers of the event. “We decided to bring this festival back to Fort Dodge because of the great entertainment opportunity for everyone,” said Miller. He said it will be an afternoon full of great music, wonderful atmosphere “Just a super time for all,” said Miller. “This is about Fort Dodge, and bringing just one more great event to the city.”
Miller, along with Trepp Nagel, is the co-founder of Within Marketing which publishes “Sticks and Stones”, the main sponsor of the festival. “Entertainment-wise, this show is poised to be one of the biggest parties in the Heartland,” said Miller, “especially with a head-liner like Montgomery, who’s music has touched the lives of people all over the world.” Miller said that Montgomery is a country singing legend- but also very down to earth, with Midwestern values. (During the interview, we listened to one of Twist & Shout’s favorite Montgomery tunes - “I Swear”.) “He does ballad‚ type of singing,” added Miller, saying that his album, “Cowboy Songs” was the first cowboy music album to achieve gold status since Marty Robbins. “John Michael has been to Fort Dodge and has said repeatedly that it reminds him of home,” added Miller.
Miller is also very excited about the vendors that will be selling food throughout the event. “We opened this up to non-profit organizations in Fort Dodge; they won’t pay a fee, and will be able to keep all the proceeds for their particular organization. To date, those that will be involved include; the Lions club, Moose Lodge, Fort Dodge Baseball Association, St. Paul Schools, Fort Dodge Senior High Drill Team, and the National Wild Turkey Federation, to name a few.
About the Entertainers :
John Michael Montgomery has turned an uncanny ability to relate to fans into one of country music’s most storied careers. Behind the string of hit records, the roomful of awards and the critical and fan accolades that have defined his phenomenal success lies a connection that goes beyond his undeniable talent and his proven knack for picking hits. Since the days when “Life’s a Dance” turned him from an unknown artist into a national star John Michael’s rich baritone has carried that most important of assets believability. Few artists in any genre sing with more heart than this handsome Kentucky-born artist.
Now, with the release of Time Flies, which he co-produced with Byron Gallimore, John Michael takes another big step forward, strengthening his position as one of the most versatile and compelling vocalists on the country scene. With songs like “Forever” and “If You Ever Went Away,” he proves he is still the master of the power ballad, a man capable of bringing honest emotion to life in song.
The emotional centerpiece for John Michael is “All In A Day,” the song that contains the lyric that gave the album its name.
“That song talks about how time flies,” he says, “and I got to thinking that it seems like yesterday that “Life’s A Dance” was out and people were asking me, “Where would you like to be in 10 or 15 years?” “Still here!‚ was my answer and, thankfully, I am still here. Longevity was more important to me than anything else, and to still be able to do something I love so much is wonderful. Still, it’s gone by so quickly that I thought, I’m going to build an album around that. That’s where the shape of this album comes from.”
Montgomery says he still selects material the way he always has. “When I go after songs,” he says, “It’s almost like we’re looking for each other. It’s like digging for rocks until now and then I find the shape I’m looking for and one by one I see how they fit together and where‚ it’s all going.”
Montgomery’s modest beginnings started in Danville, Kentucky with parents who imparted a lifelong love of music. “Where most people have chairs and sofas in their living rooms,” he said, “We had amplifiers and drum kits.”
Asked what he thinks gave the edge in a career that calls millions but gives stardom to just a few, he pauses, that thinks back to the legacy of his parents. “I reckon it was good genes and good blood,” he says. Few who know the depth and breadth of his own growing legacy would disagree.
Jamie O’Neal launched her career with back to back #1’s, “There is No Arizona” and “When I Think About Angels”, and followed with hits like “Shiver”, “Trying To Find Atlantis” and the #3 tribute to moms everywhere, “Somebody’s Hero”. Along the way, she has earned four Grammy nominations and a host of other awards and critical accolades.
Now, with the release of her first 1720 Entertainment single, “Like A Woman,” Jamie shows that both her powerhouse vocal abilities and her knack for conveying real emotion are as strong as ever. A song filled with passion and insight, “Like A Woman”: talks about reconnecting with the spark of love and romance that launches relationships.
“Sometimes in the day-to-day routine of children and errands,” she says, “We lose touch with that basic need we all have to be recognized and appreciated as a woman. That feeling and that need is what this song is about. It’s something women everywhere would want to say to their husbands, and men like hearing the message as well. Both can relate to it and I like that in a song.”
She toured with Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Alan Jackson and Toby
Keith and landed songs on the soundtracks of Bridget Jones’s Diary and When We Were Soldiers, as well as on the ABC smash Desperate Housewives.
Arriving in Nashville with guitar in hand in 1994, Andy quickly made a name for himself on the country scene. Signing with RCA, he recorded his debut album, “You Won’t Ever Be Lonely” and racked up two top 10 hits with the title tune, “I’ll Go Crazy.” Soon after, his single, “She’s More” became his third consecutive top 10. The album also included a duet with one of his heroes, “Sine on Me,” with Waylon Jennings, as well as a scorching rendition of Rodney Crowell’s “Ain’t Livin‚ Long Like This.”
Griggs followed his debut success with two more solid efforts, “Freedom”, and “This I Gotta See”, before electing to change things up in 2005. Starting from scratch after a decade recording for RCA Nashville proved to be both liberating and a little bit scary for Griggs. However, he knew he had one specific goal in mind that was not negotiable, creative freedom. Knowing how rare and valuable that can be in an artist’s career, he was willing to wait for it, no matter how long it took. Fortunately, fate stepped in and offered Griggs what he’d always been craving. “I wanted to sign with someone who was going to let me record the music I wanted to make. I’ve always felt I’ve been there about 70 percent, and gotten 70 percent accomplished, but not quite a hundred, musically. I think it’s the nature of the business with a large label there are a whole lot more strings attached with everything you do. Making the change to Montage gave me the freedom to have control over my music.”
As “Nashville Star” premieres on Monday, June 9th, Shawn Mayer of Iowa will be among the top-12 music acts vying for the season’s coveted win, a recording contract with Warner Bros. Nashville and the opportunity to perform on the world’s stage this summer at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
“I would say to watch out for me,” She said during a telephone interview from Nashville. “But, actually each person in this competition has their own little uniqueness to bring to the table, so it’s really hard to say who will win.” This 21 year old woman has a hometown story‚ like no others competing this year.
Mayer calls the unincorporated town of May City, population 45, home. According to her biography distributed by a Nashville public relations firm, she skipped lunch in order to avoid finding someone that would sit with her or having to sit alone. Unlike her classmates, Shawn spent her weekends earning money by performing in bars, as her parents encouraged her to make her own way. She rewarded them by hiring them to be part of her team as she pursued her dreams. She’s worked on a hog farm, is a mechanic and volunteer firefighter, but the girl really just wants to be on a stage.”
This singer, with a soulful edge to her country‚ performed the national anthem prior to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s performance at the Clay County Fair in 2002. May has also graced the same stage as Martina McBride, Trick Pony, Ricochet, Brad Paisley, Chris Cagle, Sammy Kershaw “and a whole bunch of others down in Nashville,” said her father , who admits he “can’t keep them all straight anymore.” Shawn will be one of four performing in Fort Dodge on July 25th. And watch on June 9th, she might be the one who won on Nashville Star.
In conclusion, Miller said one of the main reasons they went with a country music show was because they didn’t want to compete with Shellabration and all the other great events going on. “If you like music at all- you’ll love this show- the experience - the whole day.”