Saturday, March 29th, marks the premiere of Live Nationâ€™s The Road to Faster Horses series â€“ a roll out of concerts highlighting Detroitâ€™s offering to country music as a lead up to the summer music festival Faster Horses. The three-day festival takes place in Brooklyn, Michigan, on July 18th-20th.
Headlining the event is 18-year old high school senior, Paulina Jayne. Jayneâ€™s brand of music is what she calls urban country with a Detroit-rock edge. Jayne first burst on to the scene two years ago when she opened for Sheryl Crow at DTE Energy Music Theater in Detroit and played the Watershed Festival in Washington state.
She was recently invited by multi-award winning music producer, Toby Wright, to a private audition for NBCâ€™s hit show The Voice and in the past few years has shared the marquee with music heavyweights Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Sheryl Crow, Chase Rice, and Jerrod Nieman. Jayne also sold out The Shelter last year, an accomplishment she shares with a select group of musicians such as Eminem.
Annabelle Road will rock the second show of the night. Lead vocalist Amanda Bailey reports that Annabelleâ€™s brand of music is seasoned with a â€œbit of Carrie Underwood-meets-Johnny Cash-by way of Skynyrdâ€. In addition to Bailey, this country music group includes Jeremy Temple on Guitar, Mike Zahler on Bass and Donovan Tarjeft on Drums.
Annabelle Road debuted on Kenny Chesneyâ€™s Next Big Star on his ‘Poets & Pirates’ tour and have had the honor of sharing the billboard with country legends Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley, John Rich, and Clint Black.
Matt Austin opens the eveningâ€™s event with his self-titled group. Mattâ€™s journey to country music came through his early years in blues, then rock, and later new age â€“ a culmination of music that has now formed into the edgy country vibe that is his signature sound. In the past year Austin has been direct support for Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Jerrod Niemann, Chase Rice, Uncle Kracker and Eric Paslay.
In anticipation of The Road to Faster Horses premiere on 3/29 at St. Andrewâ€™s Hall, National Rock Review sat down with Paulina Jayne, Amanda Bailey and Matt Austin to discuss everything from what it means to play at the historic venue St. Andrewâ€™s Hall, what itâ€™s like to work with like-minded musicians and the nuances of navigating high school and the music industry.
NRR: What is the significance of the 3/29 event and what does The Road to Faster Horses actually mean in relation to the summer music festival Faster Horses?
PJ: The significance of the show is that itâ€™s the Faster Horses Music Festivalâ€™s first series. Itâ€™s really cool that Live Nation is putting together a series of shows in order to publicize their festival coming up this summer.
AB: I thought it was really fitting that it was called The Road to Faster Horses because we all know how fantastic that event was last year. And knowing that weâ€™re getting to play alongside of Paulina Jayne and Matt Austin, talent that I could envision being up on stage at Faster Horses, is a great opportunity. Playing this show is helping pave the road to what Faster Horses is becoming.
MA: I just think itâ€™s cool that they are taking a little bit of the festival and mixing it with Detroitâ€™s country scene and what is coming out of this area. Itâ€™s great because the people at Live Nation are actually organizing the event for Faster Horses, which is becoming a nationwide thing. Itâ€™s not like itâ€™s just a big Michigan thing. Itâ€™s becoming one of the best events around, and it can potentially become one of the best events in the country. I think that Faster Horses will be that. And for us to be a part of the road to that is just awesome.
NRR: How did the three of you come together for the lineup of the series premiere?
PJ: I was asked to headline a show at St. Andrewâ€™s Hall. I am a big fan of Annabelle Road and Matt Austin. I just decided Iâ€™d really love playing with them, and I thought it would be fun to do an event together and to do something thatâ€™s a really good show. St. Andrewâ€™s Hall and Live Nation Detroit took the lineup and decided to use it to launch The Road to Faster Horses Series. Itâ€™s such a great opportunity for all of us to have exposure with such an incredible festival like Faster Horses. My band and I are excited that we get to spend such an awesome night with Amanda and Matt and the whole Annabelle/Austin crew.
AB: We are really excited to be invited. Paulina, we are so excited for you. Having seen you perform several years ago, we instantly realized there was something special about you. We were so excited to play a show with you a couple of years ago when we had you open at our EP release. We are really honored to get to warm up the stage for you this time around and to get to be part of that, and to play with Matt for the first time. To just have a great night of music together.
PJ: Thank you so much.
NRR: That actually segways into a really good question. You know, Matt and Amanda, youâ€™re not in high school. Youâ€™re older, but not by much, Iâ€™ll throw that out there, and youâ€™ve been doing this…
MA: I am [old].
NRR: â€¦alright [laughs] youâ€™re not 18, youâ€™re not in high school. Youâ€™ve had the experience of doing this for quite awhile. What has it been like to see Paulina grow into a headlining act?
AB: For me it has been exciting and refreshing. I think there is a lot of fantastic talent out there, and a lot of it in Detroit. Sometimes, though, along with talent there comes a sense of entitlement and ego, but there is absolutely no trace of that with Paulina. I know what it feels like to be young and trying to hang with everyone else in this business and to try and field the pressures of everything that is going on. I admire that Paulina has stood her ground. You can tell from her music that sheâ€™s calling the shots in what she wants to do. Her personality shines through what she does. Itâ€™s really cool to see her grow with that and to develop her way, instead of changing because of pressures from the industry.
PJ: Thank you so much, Amanda! I appreciate it.
AB: Youâ€™re welcome my dear, I mean every word of it.
NRR: How about you, Matt Austin, can you follow that up?
MA: Yeah, I can but Iâ€™ll probably feel even older. Iâ€™ll probably talk like Iâ€™m a dad. Old man advice and stuff. No seriously, we all know the music business is, like, not the easiest business in the world. I compare it to politics. Unfortunately talent is just part of this business. Thereâ€™s so much more to it and the competition is tough. You have a better chance to run for President. Paulina, I can see that youâ€™re young and that youâ€™re enjoying things. The main thing is enjoy what youâ€™re doing and believe in what youâ€™re doing. Get some kind of satisfaction out of the fact knowing that you have fans that enjoy seeing you do what you do and keep doing that. Iâ€™m at that point in my life , and if I wasnâ€™t enjoying what I was doing so much I probably wouldnâ€™t be doing it anymore. You know what Iâ€™m saying? Keep pushing, but always enjoy what you are doing. You know? I can see that you are enjoying what you do right now, and thatâ€™s very cool.
PJ: Thank you so much.
MA: Jennifer, I was trying to not be like a dad.
PJ: Jennifer, can I say something?
NRR: Iâ€™m not going to stop you. Go for it.
PJ: I just wanted to say thank you guys for joining me on this show and for taking kind of a risk on an 18 year old girl. I realize it is a little strange to be playing with someone whoâ€™s younger and maybe not as knowledgeable as you in the industry. I feel really blessed to be here with you, and I want to tell you guys that when I go down to Nashville later this year, Iâ€™m going have the benefit of having learned a lot from you. And, Iâ€™m really, really grateful that you believe in me enough to join me on these shows and to play with me at St. Andrews.
MA: Whoâ€™s laughing?
AB: Iâ€™m laughing because itâ€™s so sweet, and thatâ€™s just such a sweet thing to say. I just donâ€™t think of myself as, you know, as anybody who has it all together. I appreciate you saying that, and it feels good to think that I might have some kind of advice or knowledge to share with you.
PJ: I know Iâ€™ve told you this many times, Amanda, but you have been like a role model for me. I donâ€™t even know you that well, but seeing you from afar is so cool. I just learn from you, and you probably donâ€™t even realize that. Anyways, now..
MA: Why is everyone getting so sensitive?
NRR: So, Matt Austin, a non-estrogen, sensitive, loving question.
MA: What did I get myself into? I have enough estrogen in my house from my wife and daughter.
NRR: What is it like playing St. Andrews Hall, Matt Austin?
MA: Um, well I can say that Iâ€™ve never played there, but Iâ€™ve seen a lot of concerts there.
NRR: Hey, Matt, let me rephrase the question. What does it mean to you to play at St. Andrewâ€™s Hall, an historic venue in Detroit? Is there anything of significance to this for you?
MA: Yeah, I mean for me, when I grew up and was going to concerts, liking blues, rock and stuff, playing guitar with my dad â€“ one of my favorite artists was Kenny Wayne Shepherd. One of my first concerts was going to St. Andrews to see him live. So, to play there myself is something really special.
PJ: Thatâ€™s awesome.
MA: Thatâ€™s the biggest significance for me for the venue.
AB: Iâ€™ve also never played St. Andrewâ€™s. Itâ€™s one of those iconic places in Detroit. Just the way things change so quickly, sometimes there are venues that you play a lot at and they donâ€™t always last forever. You know, Iâ€™m sure St. Andrewâ€™s Hall is going to be around for a very long time, and weâ€™re going to be rocking the walls off for many years to come. But given the fact that weâ€™ve never had the opportunity to play there, Iâ€™m excited for our chance to step onto that stage.
NRR: How about you PJ?
PJ: Well, I have played at St. Andrewâ€™s Hall a few times before and I just love everything about the venue. I love the staff. I love the stage. I love the crowds that go there. Itâ€™s really cool because the main floor actually shakes so much that if youâ€™re playing downstairs at The Shelter, it looks like the ceiling is bouncing â€“ adrenaline rush! Itâ€™s an historical structure. So, I just love everything about it. I love that it has some character to it and Iâ€™m really excited to go back there. Itâ€™s one of my favorite places to play.
NRR: In terms of the shows that you all have planned for the night, anything special or unique about the set you are putting together?
AB: We are planning on bringing some river dancers and some fireworks.
NRR: Fantastic, will Jeremy be wearing a loin cloth, too?
AB: I donâ€™t know if heâ€™s going to rock that out, but he is going to do a dance during one of the tunes so watch out for that.
NRR: Fantastic! So, Matt, can you top that one?
MA: Uh, Iâ€™m actually at my house so I missed that entire thing.
NRR: Actually, Mattâ€™s playing dumb because he thought about Jeremy in a loin cloth and couldn’t come back from it.
MA: [Laughs] Oh, okay.
NRR: The question, Matt, is there anything special that you can tell us that you have planned for the show that night. Anything new or unique that you have planned for your set?
MA: For the actual show?
NRR: Yeah. Your show.
MA: We are about to release a single called Redneck Date Night. Weâ€™ve been recording it, tracked it and now we are at the mixing stage. Then filming a music video. Our fans have been wanting to be able to hear it live for the past few months or so, and since weâ€™ve been working with a producer weâ€™ve made few changes. So they will be able to hear it debut live right before the single is released.
NRR: Nice. How about you, Amanda? Aside from river dancers and loin clothes.
AB: Aside from that, weâ€™re adding a few songs off of our first cd that we love. When we put out our first cd we had a bit of pain and personal stuff going on in our band, and so then we recorded a new cd. There are two songs that we love and are bringing back for the first time in years, because we love them so much. We are really excited to put those out in front of our fans again and to revisit those songs.
NRR: And you, Paulina?
MA: And I have one more thing about my show. Iâ€™m going to play in chaps.
NRR:: Well, you can lead with that and Jeremy can pose in his loin cloth.
MA: I was just kidding, go ahead Paulina.
NRR: So, Paulina, your answer?
PJ: I’m sorry, I was stuck on that visual for a minute. [Laughs] I am going to be adding a bunch of different and new songs. Iâ€™ve been a writing machine, so Iâ€™m doing a cool little acoustic thing. I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s going to be at the top, or if itâ€™s going to be in the middle, but Iâ€™m putting on, I think, four new songs. Iâ€™m really excited about it.
NRR: Okay, so in terms of the night Iâ€™m hearing rumors that there are some really awesome experiences being planned. Not only for the fans, but also for VIPs. Can you guys tell me anything about that?
PJ: Thereâ€™s going to be a VIP room. The first 50 VIPs checking in are going to be given a gift bag and there will also be a gift suite supported by some awesome sponsors like Motor City Denim, Spooky Girls Bath & Body, Faygo, Red Bull, Showtime Detroit, 24 Grille and more. We have a Fan Meet & Greet before the show. Most importantly, itâ€™s just going to be a great night of music and familiar faces.
AB: Weâ€™re all really excited about the fan experience and to have the opportunity to do this show. A lot of the times when thereâ€™s a big show you donâ€™t really have the time getting to do what you love the most. Weâ€™re going to definitely have the opportunity to just chill and bring lots of fans in for the Meet and Greet. Itâ€™s just really going to be a special time to meet some new people and see old friends. We are really excited about that.
NRR: Cool stuff. Matt, do you have anything you want to add to the experience?
MA: Yeah, from a testosterone, like, perspective. I heard thereâ€™s going to be a red carpet, and Iâ€™ve never been a part of a red carpet experience. Iâ€™ve never seen one or set foot on one myself, so Iâ€™m excited for that.
NRR: I hear your logo will be on the step and repeat as well, Matt Austin.
MA: Oh, it is?
MA: I didn’t know that. Thatâ€™s awesome.
PJ: Our main sponsor, Tony Lopez of Cabresto Tequila, is sponsoring the Step and Repeat. Heâ€™s spending a lot of his own time and money on this show and we are really grateful for that. We are really thankful for him.
MA: Yeah, thatâ€™s great.
NRR: Okay, my last question pertains to future plans for all of your bands. Letâ€™s start with you, Matt Austin, what are your future plans coming up after you wrap this show, because I know you are living and breathing this show and nothing is more important than this Live Nation event. But after 3/29. (laughs)
MA: Was there sarcasm in that? I heard some people holding laughs underneath their breath. Iâ€™m okay with that though.
NRR: Enthusiasm. Itâ€™s enthusiasm. So what do you have planned after 3/29?
MA: We are going to be releasing a new EP, first the single, then the EP. Then, the music video for the single. I donâ€™t know if thatâ€™s the order for that. Then, thereâ€™s a show in April that I am really excited about. We are also opening up for Montgomery Gentry at the Soundboard, which I think is really cool because Montgomery Gentry was one of my first country cdâ€™s I ever listened to. So, thatâ€™s really cool for me. Then, the day after that we are opening up for Jerrod Niemman at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. Weâ€™re booked pretty much through September.
NRR: Very cool. So, obviously you didnâ€™t have multi-emmy award Capstone Film Class direct your music video. They did Annabelle Roadâ€™s music video. Werenâ€™t they nominated for a Detroit Music Awards for best music video? I think Paulina Jayne had them do two music videos and she got both a student Emmy award and a DMA nomination. Whatâ€™s that all about?
MA: I havenâ€™t been invited for any of that stuff. Iâ€™m all very new to this stuff and this whole circle and everything. I just got called to do this phone interview. You gotta remember Iâ€™m older.
NRR: Are you older than me?
MA: I just sing and play my acoustic guitar, thatâ€™s it.
NRR: How old are you?
MA: What did you say?
NRR: How old are you?
MA: Iâ€™m, uh, 33.
NRR: Dude, Iâ€™m 43 years old. Come on now.
MA: Okay, well youâ€™re from California.
NRR: Actually, no..
MA: 43 is like a Michigan 20.
NRR: Actually, Matt, Iâ€™m a Michigan girl. Born in Detroit. Raised in the Upper Peninsula.
NRR: Yeah, my family is from Detroit. Itâ€™s alright, I got this.
MA: Well, you know what. You know whatâ€™s funny about Madonna University and their music videos, and all the stuff you are talking about. I graduated with a bachelors degree in nursing from Madonna University.
NRR: Thatâ€™s very cool.
MA: And they didnâ€™t do my video. So…
NRR: Well, you didnâ€™t knock on their door and say heyyyyy.
MA: I donâ€™t have money.
NRR: Itâ€™s called sponsorship, you just need to get sponsorship. If you get sponsors, they throw down money for you and you put their logo at the end of it. Itâ€™s kind of cool. The kids who graduated are doing a second music video for Annabelle Road. They paid $100,000 to do their music video. [laughs]
AB: Weâ€™re pretty much the coolest over here.
NRR: So, Amanda, not to stop harassing Matt for any reason. What do you have planned for Annabelle Road?
MA: I donâ€™t know why I try.
NRR: Too much estrogen.
AB: Whatâ€™s that?
NRR: I said he has too much estrogen today.
AB: Oh, I know I feel bad for him.
NRR: I donâ€™t.
AB: Weâ€™re pretty booked through September with the festival season. We have a couple of shows that we are really excited about. Unfortunately, we have a few shows that we are not allowed to announce or confirm yet but we are excited for what we have coming up. We can announce that we have a music video release coming up that we did with Capstone Film Class, and that we love it. We also have a trip to Nashville that we are excited for coming up this summer. We are going to be very busy this season.
NRR: Paulina, I know you have nothing planned after this show so Iâ€™ll skip you. Just kidding. Go ahead what do you have coming up?
PJ: Iâ€™m graduating from high school!
MA: The password to come into this interview should have been sarcasm.
PJ: Alright, well. After this show I am actually doing a little fundraiser for my prom. Iâ€™m working with Trey Bruce, he is in Nashville and heâ€™s my new producer. We have been writing and producing a lot together. Iâ€™m looking forward to getting back to Nashville and doing some more of that. Looks like Iâ€™m going to be a full time Nashviller come August. Iâ€™m going to be attending Belmont University. Between then and now Iâ€™ll have a show at the Blind Pig in May, a handful of festivals over the summer, big show up north in the Upper Peninsula for about 10,000 people and I will be playing some shows in Nashville. Iâ€™m really excited for whatâ€™s to come.
NRR: Very nice. Well, it was a pleasure to talk to all of you tonight. Iâ€™m going to stop pressing record.
MA: Jennifer, do you mind if I ask Paulina a question?
NRR: Sure, should I keep recording or is this off the record?
MA: Yeah, yeah, I mean this is on the air.
MA: If she doesnâ€™t mind.
MA: Is that cool, Paulina?
PJ: Yeah, sure.
MA: Okay, so I wanna ask you because you are way further in the music business than I was at your age being in high school. I understand how uncomfortable high school can be. Dealing with peer pressure and popularity and fitting in and everything. You know, thatâ€™s one of the hardest parts of life to go through. So, how is it for you to juggle high school with grades and like everything that is involved in high school and what you have going on with the music business as well?
PJ: Well, my family is very adamant that I need to get a 4.0 every quarter. Thatâ€™s just huge in my household. My parents both are both U of M grads and I was going to be until they realized that music is my first love. Iâ€™m really grateful that they have allowed me to do what I love, They have totally supported my music. But, you know, school is school, and they expect me to do my best at that part of my life and pay as much attention to that as I do my music. And I really donâ€™t see myself as two different people, like Paulina Perakis in school and then Paulina Jayne out of school. Iâ€™m one person, the same girl, and my routine is that homework is done right after school and then music comes right after that, usually til bedtime. I really have nothing to complain about. My friends have been incredible. Iâ€™ve had just a blast these last four years. Iâ€™m so excited to be working with The 513 Agency and their great team. Theyâ€™ve done an awesome job in the little time Iâ€™ve been working with them. They really respect the fact that Iâ€™m still in high school and that school has to be important in my schedule. They allow me to be a high school student. I appreciate that. Thanks for asking me about that balancing act!
MA: Yea, yea for sure. Awesome.
NRR: That wraps up our interview. Thank you for the dialog, lots of fun.
PJ: Thank you Jennifer! I really enjoyed this interview, so fun.
MA: Yeah, thanks Jennifer. If this interview is any reflection of what our show will be â€“I’d say that its going to be a great show.
AB: Thank you so much! Looking forward to sharing the stage real soon!
The Road to Faster Horses Series premiere:
March 29th 2014
St. Andrewâ€™s Hall
413 E Congress Street
Detroit, MI 48226
7p â€“ Doors Open, Red Carpet Arrivals, VIP Balcony / Gifting Lounge & Private Bar Opens
8p â€“ All Ages Show Begins
In addition to playing The Road to Faster Horses Series premiere, all three groups will be performing at this yearâ€™s WYCDâ€™s Downtown Hoedown which takes place at Comerica Park from May 30th through June 1st.
Want more information on these musicians? Check them out online.