CRS Artists Interviews S – W

Southbound 75

Southbound 75 is a southern country rock band who appear to have all the right ingredients to entice fans of various genres. They have been together for six and describe themselves as “Old Dominion meets Maroon 5.”

The five-member band is made up of Mark Lorenzo (lead vocals/acoustic guitar), Justin Pietrowski (lead guitar), Vance Eskesen (bass), Jesse Allen Porter (fiddle), and Gregg Giacobbe on drums.

They reported, “The last year and a half has been crazy for us. We’ve been playing a lot of festivals, a lot of radio shows, a lot of radio festivals. And so now we find ourselves in Nashville.”

I wanted to know what their favorite thing about CRS was.

“People watching,” the band advised. “The young people, I like to watch what they wear. What they’re doing. You want to get the youth. You get to see old friends, too. We just enjoy talking with everyone.”

They recently released their newest single, “That Summer,” featuring rockin’ guitar and piano licks, revved by hard-hitting drum beats with crystal-clear voices.

Lead singer Mark Lorenzo stated, “The sing-along has an upbeat retro groove that we hope will move listeners to their ‘happy place.”

Their songs, “Spilled Champagne,” “Not Ready To Say I’m Sorry,” and “Whiskey and Wine” are also fan favorites.  

Be sure to follow them on all their socials.


Southerland is what country music in 2023 is supposed to be; custom-built for the current day but rooted in the traditional sound that makes country music, country.

The duo consists of South Carolina native, Matt Chase, and Washington, Georgia local, Chris Rogers.

This was the duo’s first CRS which they advised was similar to the Fanfare Extra at CMA First.

“You get to see everybody. You know, all your artist friends, writer friends, you don’t see normally. It’s rare to see people as much because normally you’re on tour,” the pair explained.

They have developed, quite naturally, into a duo that relies heavily on lyrical content, while melodically tapping into a 90’s sound that is the new rage.

And while there is certainly a place for heartfelt sentiments in country music, such as their newest single, “World Without You,” for the most part, Southerland is all about fun and having a good time. Their singles, “Ice Cold Country Music” and “Underpaid and Overserved” are just that.

Be on the lookout for their next EP, due out April 21st.

T. Graham Brown

The legendary T. Graham Brown has recorded 15 studio albums and charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard charts. He has had multiple number-one hits in country, gospel, and blues. Though released before streaming was a thing, hits such as “Wine Into Water,” “If You Could See Me Now,” and “Hell and High Water” have had millions of views and plays.

In early 2015, Brown released his latest Grammy-nominated album, Forever Changed, which featured collaborations with Vince Gill, Jason Crabb, The Oak Ridge Boys, Jimmy Fortune, and more. In 2019, Brown became part of the SiriusXM family as host of Live Wire with T. Graham Brown airing monthly on Prime Country Channel 58.

Though he had attended multiple CRSs in the past, he is always happy to return.

Brown explained, “I guess I wanted to let people know we’re still around and still working, making music, doing stuff. That we’re not dead. The way people get their music is so different now and how they get their fame is so different than it was back in the day.”

He reminded me that he came out at the same time as other icons like Randy Travis, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stewart, and Patti Loveless.

“We had blast,” he confirmed.

As long as the 68-year-old is willing to learn and work, he still has quite a career ahead of him.

Tayler Holder

CMT’s Next Up Artist, Taylor Holder, has some cool things happening since his “transition” to country music. He was been writing with hitmakers Parker McCullum and Shay Mooney and just released a new song ”Another Round” with Music Spotlight artist, Reyna Roberts and also helped spotlight Ashley Cooke with her “Back in the Saddle” video.

Besides singing pop and country music, he is an actor and has nearly 2 million YouTube followers and more than 20 million TikTok fans.

You can see glimpses of the country music influence “It’s You” and “Drive,” but he fully commits to the genre with his latest single “Marry You” a song that will have single girls sighing across America.

Though he has been in the limelight for most of his life, this was Holder’s first experience with CRS.

He said, “I had like an idea of what it was. But honestly, it just blew me out of the water. And to see faces that I look up to and people that have been my idols for a long time just walking by me is amazing. I’m just here to better my craft and become the best version of myself.”

You can follow Tayler (with an “e”, not an “o”) Holder on all his socials to keep up with what’s happening next for burgeoning artist.

T.G. Sheppard

T.G. Sheppard continues to bring some of the hottest names in country music as his special guests on The T.G. Sheppard Show on SiriusXM’s Prime Country (ch. 58). Airing weekly, Sheppard continues to play some of the biggest hits from the 80s and 90s and share behind-the-scenes stories with the most recognizable names in country music from that era.

The 78-year-old has had 21 number-one hits including the iconic “I Loved ‘Em Everyone
 and shows no signs of slowing down.

T.G. Sheppard joins consummate entertainer Ann-Margret on her first new studio album in over a decade, ‘Born To Be Wild,’ due out April 14 on Cleopatra Records. The first single, a cover of The Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love”, is a collaboration with Ann-Margret, T.G. Sheppard, and Pete Townshend of The Who on guitar, offering a new blend and unique take on this iconic tune.

The legendary country star has been to multiple Country Radio Seminars but he tries to get to as many as possible because “it’s so important.”

He continued, “Coming to CRS was a little bit like a homecoming reunion. You get a chance to bump into artists and friends that you haven’t seen in a while. I know we all kind of stay pretty closely connected now on social media, but we don’t really get a chance to do face-to-face with our friends as we do at CRS.”

Today Sheppard is married to the beautiful and talented Kelly Lang, but back in the day, he traveled with Elvis.

He told me, “The greatest advice [Elvis] ever gave me that I always pass on to other artists is, ‘If you ever forget where you came from, you’re never going to get where you want to go. Keep your feet on the ground and keep the ego in check.’ I guess that’s the greatest advice that I can give somebody.”

Be sure to check out his website to keep up with everything the country star is up to.

Thompson Square

I’ve been a huge fan of Shawna and Keifer Thompson for years, ever since the mega-hit came out more than ten years ago, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.”

The Grammy-nominated duo has toured the world; won multiple ACM, ACA, CMA, and CMT awards; appeared on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, NBC’s TODAY Show, CBS This Morning as well as numerous primetime tv specials and awards shows; earned No. 1 records in three countries, and even launched their own podcast.

Their previous release “Country In My Soul” attests to the people they really are.

Now the pair has recently released “Without You,” a song that speaks to everything someone would (or wouldn’t) do without their loved one. Despite the gravity of the messaging, it’s a fun, upbeat tune that’s great for this time of year, as we all itch to get into warmer weather.

Back in the day, the pair would sneak up to the bridge bar, trying to network, and meet new people at CRS. Now with the promotion of their newest single, it’s the perfect time to see their radio friends again.

Keifer emphasized, “We hung out last night with our label and we’re going to do it again tonight, so it’s good. It’s been a little while since we’ve worked a single at Radio, so it’s super important to get back out there and let people see our faces.”

Shawna has also done some solo work recently and her husband thinks she is one of “the most underrated female singers in county music.”

From the moment Keifer and Shawna met, playing a game of pool after a show during their first week in Nashville, there has been nothing but electricity coming from Thompson Square. As much as the duo has constantly evolved, in many ways, they’re the same as they’ve ever been. “We’re best friends, and that’s it,” Shawna says, “God just blessed us with each other. We love making music, and to be able to do it together is extra special.”

Trinity Faith

As her name implies, Trinity Faith’s music reflects her life and experiences, and she puts her heart and soul into every song she writes. Her lyrics are deeply personal and relatable, bringing hope and inspiration to her listeners. Her relationship with God and the unwavering support of her family serves as the foundation for her life and career.

Her previously released singles “Okay” a song that delivers hope for change that life brings and “A New Day” a track that uplifts those who are going through hard times and feel they are stuck.

Her newest single, “Favor” is an upbeat soulful anthem that is about moving on from a relationship and finding oneself in the process.

She admitted, “I have been in this season of just singleness without a relationship for about four, five years now. And I have been so happy. The Lord has been so good to me. And so, I really wanted to write this music for the girls out there who don’t have the need to be in a relationship and want to still feel valued and loved.”

This was Tiffany Faith’s first CRS and she had a blast. She is currently working with some of Nashville’s best producers and writers for an upcoming project later this year.

Ty Herndon

Country singer Ty Herndon has been around for a few years. Between 1995 and 2002, Herndon charted 17 singles, including his three No.1s and numerous top 10 hits, such as “I Want My Goodbye Back,” “Loved Too Much,” “A Man Holding On,” and “Hands of a Working Man.” He topped the charts in 1996 with the single “Living in a Moment” and again in 1998 with “It Must Be Love.”

A few months ago, the groundbreaking Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning country artist reclaimed his story and revealed his truth with the release of his long-awaited, critically acclaimed forthcoming project, Jacob.

I attended the release party for the album whose songs are the culmination of a life of hard-fought struggles and hard-won triumphs. Two music videos from the album have been released uplifting, positive anthem “Till’ You Get There” and the heart-wrenchingly powerful, “God or the Gun.” The song details Herndon’s battle with mental health and a life-and-death situation.

However, one song on the album, “Dents On A Chevy” a duet with CCMA vocalist of the year, Terri Clark, is a jubilant tune that brings back the nostalgic 90s country vibe with the lyrics “We go together like dents on a Chevy.”

He advised, “The song is a tribute to all those people in our lives who just fit — our husbands, wives, partners, best friends, and family members.

Herndon was pleased to be at CRS once again to reunite with his colleagues and promote his new music, which may be the best yet of his career.

Tyra Madison

Tyra Madison has been dubbed as of the most exciting new voices” by CelebMix. Her powerful vocals, commanding stage presence, and small-town charm make her a promising force in the country music format.

The country crooner recently released her “anti-Valentine’s Day” single “Right Girl, Wrong Time (Exposed)” a stripped-down version of the single that may even be more powerful than the highly popular original.

The song is just about basically like walking away, even though you may not want to. You do it because you know your worth and that’s what my brand is.

And while the powerhouse singer-songwriter has been at it for quite a while, this was her first time attending CRS.

She advised, “I am a huge people person so meeting all these people is just like really cool to me.”

Madison performed in the lobby at CRS and to be honest, I was blown away. Her conviction as she sings along with her vocal prowess is something you have to witness to understand.

And while the songstress will continue to release new music as time allows, she will be performing at Live in the Vineyard in April.

Walker Montgomery

Country Music is part of Walker Montgomery’s DNA. The son of John Michael Montgomery and the nephew of Montgomery Gentry’s Eddie Montgomery, the emerging star was raised away from the spotlight in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Walker has already put his classically inspired honey-bourbon baritone to use on a self-penned hit debut “Simple Town” that put Montgomery on the map in 2017. He has already had over 5 million Spotify streams on that song plus millions more on other hits. 

His power ballad from 2021, “She Don’t Know” has had more than 5 million streams on Spotify as well.

He released his EP Rust in 2022 with the title track being a thoughtful song about his hometown and a tongue-in-cheek tune about a “Bad Day To Be a Beer.”

The 24-year-old started attending CRS when he was 19.

He recalled, “It was a really good way to kind of almost practice. You know, because you’re obviously promoting your stuff, but you’re 19. You don’t know how to talk to people and do an interview and stuff like that.” CRS was a good place to get your feet wet.

Now that he’s more experienced, Montgomery still attends CRS to get the word out about new music and catch up with colleagues.

Montgomery is serious about his songwriting and singing. He states, “I want my music to stand the test of time and connect with people no matter who they are,” says the young Montgomery. “I learned from my family that the way you do that is by being true to yourself, and that’s the reason I’m here. That’s the reason I get up every day and do what I do, to help take care of the family name and make them proud. Walker is currently putting the finishing touches on the new music set to release later this spring.

Whitney Miller

Whitney Miller is a former professional athlete, Miss United States 2012, kickboxing commentator, and podcaster and now a Texas-born country singer-songwriter living in Nashville, Tennessee.

Her first single “Diamond Country” was premiered by and her follow-up single “15 Minutes of Fame” was premiered by

She explained, “I want to tell those young girls don’t get caught up in those 15 minutes of fame, sweetheart. We’ve probably both been there, so we know. I’m a sassy little truth-teller.”

Like Carly Pearce’s song “Next Girl,” the song is a warning to the next girl the guy dates.

This is the singer’s first CRS and she states she moved to Nashville to be in this environment.

“But here at CRS, it’s even more magnified. And the thing I love about country music, for the most part, is they’re so supportive of everybody. I mean, obviously, you hope to have fame and some people get it more than others, but there’s support. There’s no jealousy or backbiting,” she commented.

Miller is currently finishing her debut album recorded at Orb Recording studios with an all-star cast of guest musicians to be released in 2023. Expect a fun, country rock album filled with vulnerable real-life stories and lots of attitude.

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