ShowBand's Album Release Concert This Friday
The 17-member USAO ShowBand went to Nashville over spring break and all they brought back with them were good memories, lots of new skills and, of course, their newest CD. The ShowBand's CD, Nashville, Music City, is schedule for release during the group's Album Release Concert April 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium.
The Friday concert is free and the public is invited. The new CD will be available for $15. "The ShowBand is dedicated to providing quality entertainment," said Donna Settlemires, assistant director of the ShowBand. "We perform jazz, pop and country -- finding a variety of sounds appealing to a broad audience."
The concert will feature music from the new CD including an original song by Mackenzie Hazel, an English major from Altus and a member of the ShowBand.
"I wrote an original song called Fallin'. It's the first love song I've ever completely finished. Most of my originals are more of the modern 'cheatin, broken heart, revenge' type songs, but this one is definitely about love," Hazel said.
"Joe Settlemires arranged the song from just me playing my guitar and singing along to music with a full band. The USAO ShowBand did such a fantastic job on the song, it couldn't sound any better. It turned out to have a really modern country sound.
"Our show is going to be full of some amazing tunes. There are songs to dance to, sing along with, and just have fun listening to. We have all worked really hard and appreciate everyone who supports us."
In addition to recording the CD, the group had the opportunity to work with and meet some country legends while in Nashville.
"We met Harold Bradley, who is the owner of RCA Records. He is such a sweet man. He stayed with us during our trip, showed us around and worked with us on whatever he could help with. It was a humbling and exciting experience to be working with such an accomplished man on a personal level. Some of our band met Vince Gill as well, I unfortunately did not, but from what I heard, he is very nice and down to earth," Hazel said.
"While in the studio we got to work with an amazing engineer and tech, Bobby Bradley and Brandon Shattuck. Being in Nashville and working with people who are around big time stars all the time really makes you feel honored to be in such a fantastic setting."
After her trip to Nashville, Hazel has some advice for upcoming singers -- go to Nashville.
"As an artist, you have to get out there! You can't just wait around hoping that someone will hear you singing and say, 'Hey, I could make her a star!'. It's all about getting yourself heard in whatever way possible, determination and dedication. Without those things, you'll get nowhere.
"After meeting the vice president of BMI, I really understood how that all works. I think the most important thing I learned was to never, ever give up. It may take awhile, but eventually you'll get your foot in the door and opportunities will arise."
In addition to her experiences in Nashville, Hazel said that her time with the ShowBand has been rewarding as well.
"It's a really great experience. Joe and Donna do so much for us and allow us to go and do music and do the type of music we want to do. We are really not bound by any type of genre," Hazel said in an interview with the USAO program U-Briefs.
"We have an incredible band this year. There are so many good things I can say about the band. They work hard and they work really well together. It is just a lot of fun."
Over the past few years, the USAO ShowBand has gained a reputation for combining pop, blues, big band, jazz and country styles into soulful and energetic performances.
Under the direction of guitarist Joe Settlemires, the youngest surviving member of the Texas Playboys, the ShowBand has performed across the state and Texas as ambassadors to USAO for more than six years. A noted musician in his own right, Settlemires has been inducted into four musical halls of fame, including three western swing organizations. Settlemires arranges all the music and directs the ShowBand with the assistance of his wife, Donna.