Top single keeps Heartland going

web-heartland-crowd-song-list.jpgBy Kyle Dump
Cedar Clounty News
HARTINGTON — Country music will fill the air this week when the 126th Cedar County Fair opens.
The Fair opens Wednesday night with team penning. The midway, 4-H judging and grandstand entertainment all get underway Thursday.
Two big nights of country music are planned for this year’s fair.
The country group ‘Heartland’ will be here Thursday. The group’s song, “I Loved Her First,” hit number one on the charts earlier this year.
Long-time country favorite Sawyer Brown will hit the stage Saturday night.
Sawyer Brown first hit the national stage when they won Star Search in 1984. The next year three songs hit the charts, ‘Leona,’ ‘Step that Step,’ and ‘Betty’s Being Bad.’ In all, they have recorded 17 albums.
The group is also well known in Nebraska for the song, ‘The Nebraska Song.’ The song was written by lead singer Mark Miller after the tragic death of University of Nebraska quarterback Brooke Beringer.
Heartland is coming to town on a big high.
It’s not often that a group with a number one single comes to a small town, and it’s even less often when that group actually takes the time to talk to the small town newspaper, but don’t tell that to Charles Crawford of the group Heartland.
Heartland, who will be performing at the Cedar County Fair Thursday, has just recently gotten a taste of what being a country music celebrity is all about.
Most of the group members, like Crawford, had been trying for years to make it in the business and were close to giving up.
“I played my first club when I was about 15, and I’m 33 now, so you can do the math on how long that is,” said Crawford, “But before I joined Heartland I had decided it just wasn’t gonna happen. But, you work for it your whole life and the second you decide that it’s just not gonna happen, it does.”
Heartland, known for their latest single ‘I Loved Her First,’ which hit number one on the Billboard charts and still hangs on to a Top 20 spot, wants to make sure people know they’re not a one-trick pony.
“We haven’t released a single for awhile because we actually changed record labels to Country Thunder Records which made it tough to put out a new single with all the business stuff. But now we have a new one coming out written by John Rich of ‘Big & Rich’ called, ‘Once a Woman,’” said Crawford.
This ‘business stuff’ still seems like a fairly new thing to Heartland and to Crawford. Music is music and anybody can see these guys just want to play. But that’s just part of stepping up in the world, of breaking through onto the country music scene.
Crawford, who plays the fiddle and is a vocalist in the group, fondly remembers the first time he really felt like they’d ‘made it.’
“I remember, we got on a bus, big piece-a-junk bus, but we didn’t think so, we thought it was the greatest, and we went on a radio tour for a week. That was when we really all felt like we were there.”
Though an 18-year veteran of the music world, Crawford is still the newest member of Heartland, joining just a year ago. The group had been trying to make it long before he showed up.
“I joined ‘em right before we made our first single, ‘I Loved Her First,’” said Crawford, “But they’d been together for about 13 years before that.”
Crawford has two words of advice for all of those trying to break onto the music scene.
Consistancy and persistancy.
“This is the fourth band that I’ve been in just with me, and we really beat the streets. It takes a lot of consistency to be able to do that and finding a lot of guys you get along with and like hangin’ out with.” he said.
Crawford said even when he was feeling low, he kept trying.
“I’ve lost everything I had on two occasions trying to get it to work (music). Then these guys came along and asked if I’d come along with them and finally it did work,” he said.
The proper chemstry in a band seems to be a key part of putting together a good sound, he said, not only because it produces better music, but also because those long bus trips to Only-God-Knows-Where, U.S.A. will wear on you otherwise.
“It gets a little rough sometimes, just really the long trips,” he said. “But sometimes we’ll throw a 26-28 hour trip in there and if you don’t like your bandmates it can get long.”
Crawford would like to remind everyone though that ‘I Loved Her First,’ is actually their only ballad.
Heartland is a much more up-tempo group then that, he said.
“I’m a big AC/DC fan, so one of the songs that I love to play is one we do called, ‘Let’s Get Dirty,’” said Crawford. “A lot of people come out and expect it to be an hour of ‘I Loved Her First,’ but that’s our only ballad. It’s more of an up-tempo rock n’ roll country show, so be prepared to stand up and enjoy yourself because if you don’t you’ll be the only one sitting.”

Country newcomer Phil Vaught is known for his high energy shows
By Rob Dump
Laurel Advocate
HARTINGTON — Area residents have heard hit songs from two of the three country music acts that will hit the stage here at this week’s Cedar County Fair.
The third act — relatively unknown to most area residents — is just on the verge of hitting the big time, though.
After five years of touring across the country, performing over 200 shows a year, Phil Vaught is about to sign a new recording contract with a major record label.
Vaught’s talent will be showcased when he does two performances at the Cedar County Fair. He will open Thursday night for country stars ‘Heartland.’ He will also be the opening act Saturday night for ‘Sawyer Brown.’
Vaught said he’s really enjoyed making music for fans, but feels he is established enough, now, to move to the next stage in his career.
“I was very careful to not expose myself to the business of music here in town while I was out on the road making a living,” Vaught said in a Monday phone interview from his Nashville area home. “When the time came to think about a recording deal, I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t interfere with my livelihood.”
Vaught said a lot of musicians move to Nashville and work odd jobs and earn little money while trying to find their big break.
“It seems the standard is that you move to Nashville to make it big, then you starve waiting for your big break. I didn’t want it to be that way,” he said. “I came in and said, ‘hey I’ve been doing 200 shows a year and I can make it’.”
The 28 year-old western Kentucky native said he enjoys putting on live shows and opening for such big name acts as Big and Rich and The Wreckers.
It is time to hit the studio and lay down a few tracks to see if he can’t take his career in a different direction, though.
Vaught has earned a reputation during his five years of touring as a musician that can fire up a crowd with his high energy performances.
His own brand of country music, which sounds a bit like the country group ‘Blue County,’ is only part of the act, though.
He can also handle a rock tune with the best of them. He enjoys doing covers of hits by Journey and Steve Perry.
Vaught first began performing hymns with his siblings at his father’s Baptist church. His brothers taught him how to play guitar and he also learned to play the drums.
By the time he was in high school, he had graduated to playing local and regional clubs.
Vaught said music has always been a part of his life. For a few years he worked in a factory, but he missed the music, so he gave that up and began touring instead.
“I just love getting up and sharing my music with people,” he said.
Local audiences will have two chances to see him perform this week. He opens for Heartland Thursday and he will open for Sawyer Brown Saturday.

We’ve been together for about 13 years

I played in my first club when I was 15 33

I’m a big ac/dc fan so a song that I would love that we play would be called let’s get dirty.

We got on a bus, big piece a junk bus, but we didn’t think so, we thought it was the greatest, and we went on a radio tour for a week, and we really all felt like we

Before I had joined heartland I had decided it just wasn’t gonna happen, u work for it ur whole life and the second u decide it wont happen it does.
I’ve lost everything I had on two occasions trying to get it to work.
Then these guys came along and asked if I’d come along w/ them.

Consistency, this is the fourth band that I’ve been in and we beat the streets. And it takes a lot of consistency and finding a lot of guys you get a long.

It gets a little rough sometimes, just really the long trips, we’ll throw a 26-28 hour trip.

We actually changed record labels to Country Thunder Records which made it tough to put out a new single but now we have a new single coming out written by John Rich of ‘Big & Rich’ called once a woman.

A lot of people come out and expect it to be an hour of I loved her first, that’s our only ballad, it’s more of an up tempo rock n’ roll country show, so be prepared to stand up and enjoy yourself b/c if you don’t you’ll be the only one sitting.

Vaught is known for
his high energy shows

By Rob Dump
Lauel Advocate
HARTINGTON — Area residents have heard hit songs from two of the three country music acts that will hit the stage here during this week’s Cedar County Fair.
The third act — relatively unknown to most area residents — is just on the verge of hitting the big time, though.
After five years of touring across the country, performing over 200 shows a year, Phil Vaught is about to sign a new recording contract with a major record label.
Vaught’s talent will be showcased when he does two performances at the Cedar County Fair. He will open Thursday night for country stars ‘Heartland.’ He will also be the opening act Saturday night for ‘Sawyer Brown.’
Vaught said he’s really enjoyed making music for fans, but feels he is established enough, now, to move to the next stage in his career.
“I was very careful to not expose myself to the business of music here in town while I was out on the road making a living,” Vaught said in a Monday phone interview from his Nashville area home. “When the time came to think about a recording deal. I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t interfere with my livelihood.”
Vaught said a lot of musicians move to Nashville and work odd jobs and earn little money while trying to find their big break.
“It seems the standard is that you move to Nashville to make it big, then you starve waiting for your big break. I didn’t want it to be that way,” he said. “I came in and said, ‘hey I’ve been doing 200 shows a year and I can make it’.”
The 28 year-old western Kentucky native said he enjoys putting on live shows and opening for such big name acts as Big and Rich and The Wreckers.
It is time to hit the studio and lay down a few tracks to see if he can’t take his career in a different direction, though.
Vaught has earned a reputation during his five years of touring as a musician that can fire up a crowd with his high energy performances.
His own brand of country music, which sounds a bit like the country group ‘Blue County,’ is only part of the act, though.
He can also handle a rock tune with the best of them. He enjoys doing covers of hits by Journey and Steve Perry.
Vaught first began performing hymns with his siblings at his father’s Baptist church. His brothers taught him how to play guitar and he also learned to play the drums.
By the time he was in high school, he had graduated to playing local and regional clubs.
Vaught said music has always been a part of his life. For a few years he worked in a factory, but he missed the music, so he gave that up and began touring instead.
“I just love getting up and sharing my music with people,” he said.
Local audiences will have two chances to see him perform this week. He opens for Heartland Thursday and he will open for Sawyer Brown Saturday.