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Archive for April 1, 2011

Weekend Preview Round 2: Firefly

Firefly is looking forward to playing at Chandler Center for the Arts, and they weren’t just being nice to me.

“Chandler Center for the Arts is one of our favorites, not joking at all,” said oldest sister Melanie. “We played at the grand re-opening, and it’s a really classy place.”

Melanie is joined by her two sisters, McKenzie and Madelyn, to make up the band Firefly.

Firefly all started when Melanie made an appearance in Nashville when she was 17, playing songs she wrote herself. McKenzie and Madelyn followed suit, and Firefly has since burst onto the music scene, playing at shows such as Zac Brown Band, Justin Bieber and The Gin Blossoms.

Firefly’s next show will be Saturday with Steve Wariner, and the sisters couldn’t be more excited.

“We’re so excited! We’ve been looking forward to the show, and we’ve known about it for a while. He’s like a legend,” said Melanie.

The fact that Chandler Center for the Arts is a hometown show just makes it all the better.

“You get to have all our friends, family come and support us, so we have this big support system,” said Melanie.

“And it’s nice to prepare for shows at home instead of on a bus,” added middle sister McKenzie.

Hometown shows also make it easier to get to the important things outside of music, like school.  While McKenzie is taking college courses online, youngest sister Madelyn is a sophomore in high school, which means a very early start to the day.

” I have zero hour, and sometimes it’s hard to get up after a late night out,” she said, adding that her and her family are looking at options for next year that include homeschooling or online classes to make their schedules easier.

Firefly is currently working on an album, and they will be selling 2 tracks Saturday night that are not yet available anywhere else. The new album will include their favorite song “Love How You Feel”, which sums up their philosophy.

“We’re not playing for fame and fortune,” said Melanie, “We feel like we can have a good influence on young girls, and we’re trying to fill that void.”

Weekend Preview Part 1: AZ Central’s Q&A With Steve Wariner

This week’s Weekend Preview comes in 2 parts because we have two amazing performers this weekend, Steve Wariner and Firefly. Recently Steve Wariner sat down for some good ol’ fashioned Q&A with Randy Cordova at AZ Central. The article is as follows:

After getting his start in Dottie West’s road band as a teenager, Steve Wariner launched a celebrated recording career that eventually put more than 60 singles on the Billboard country charts, including 10 that went to No. 1. His hits range from such graceful pop-country gems as “The Weekend” and “All Roads Lead to You” to the tearjerker “Holes in the Floor of Heaven,” the Country Music Association Song of the Year in 1998.

For possessing one of the most recognizable voices on country radio in the ’80s and ’90s, Wariner already earned his place in the history books. But the Indiana native has racked up four Grammys for his guitar work – his latest came last year for his all-instrumental “My Tribute to Chet Atkins,” dedicated to his mentor. And as a songwriter, he has written hits for Keith Urban, Clint Black and Garth Brooks.

With a speaking voice just as smooth as his singing, Wariner, 56, called to chat about his diverse career and his new album, “Guitar Laboratory.”

Question: Your career is so varied. How do you tie that all into a show?

Answer: It’s going to be kind of a little mixture. There are highlights with some of the hits, a segment dedicated to Chet Atkins and I do some songs that I’ve written for other artists. It’s kind of a three-pronged approach to my career: The singer, the guitar player and the songwriter. And I tell a lot of stories that seem to really go over well, so it’s like an inside glimpse at my life and career.

Q: What’s it like having your own record label?

A: I really like the freedom. After all those years of having to make records and having to fit in the box, I like that I’m just going to cut what I really think is cool. I’ve never had this kind of freedom.

Q: With “Guitar Laboratory” being all instrumental, there’s not much for radio to play.

A: (Laughing) Being the captain of my own ship, I could be as self-indulgent as I wanted to be, I guess. The other side is I may not be on radio, but I may not have been, anyway. You pass the baton on to some of the younger guys, and they have the headaches of dealing with the labels and the radio stations. I was lucky, and I had great run, so if this only sells 20 copies, so be it.

Q: That’s very brave to say that your time as a hitmaker may be over.

A: That’s a difficult thing. It’s like an athlete, and you have a window. But it’s really hard with the ego. I had a lot of hits and country radio was really great to me. I’m very grateful. But you have to know that there was probably some 50-something-year-old guy I bumped off when I came along, so it’s natural. Times change.

Q: But in artistic terms, you are doing some of your finest work.

A: When you get to a certain point, you have to shift gears to reinvent yourself. I had already kind of reinvented myself (as a songwriter). If you reinvent yourself, you can keep going. I can be a guitar guy or a songwriter. This year, I’m going to do some symphonies, and that’s another way of reinventing myself.

Q: Do you have any hits where you think, “Ugh, not that one again?”

A: Some are more challenging to do live. (Laughing) I think, “Why did I sing all those high notes on the record?” I painted myself into a corner with some of those. My theory always was, do not cut a song unless you absolutely love it. I’ve heard artists say, “I’ve done this one 4,000 times and I’m sick of it.” Well, the audience isn’t sick of it. You may be singing it every night, but maybe they haven’t heard it for eight months.

Q: How many guitars do you have?

A: Around 100 or so. The number is somewhere up there. I’m sure my wife knows, because she has the insurance paperwork.

Q: When you bring a home a new one, does she say that’s too much?

A: (Laughing) I really don’t think I’ve heard that phrase before. It’s not so much that, but just a look that I get. Like, “Really, Steve?”

Article link: http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/music/articles/2011/03/22/20110322steve-wariner-chandler-arts-center.html

Reach the reporter at: randy.cordova@arizonarepublic.com or at 602-444-8849