About Smiley

The name is Smiley, well not really but some people do call me Smiley. You have somehow found my little internet corner, YAY!  This is a place where, I share the things that make me happy, such as my Faith and love for Texas Country.
I decided to start this blog during a transition phase in my life, I moved from a big city (Houston) where I had lived all 24 years of my life to a smaller city that I had only occasionally visited. It was a way for me to share with my friends back from Houston, the new place I will learn to call home, the Rio Grande Valley. 

I was also going through a rough season, spiritually. I wanted to take advantage of this new journey to focus not just getting to know this new town, but getting to know God like I had never before. I knew I would have to challenge myself, do things out of my comfort zone, because I was tired of just going through the motions.

So what does Texas Country have to do with everything else? Well music in general is found everywhere, right? Well, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley are very different, but I figured if there was something that could give me that connection between these two cities, or any other city for that matter it would be Texas Country. The Texas Country/Red Dirt scene is really unique, the artists/bands also are very different but abide by the same principle – Make good music that means something – and I just absolutely love that.

This is it. This is my blog. A place where I can be my awkward 20 something self, ramble about the things I love and share with you reasons for my happiness. Now go check some of them out!

Dont Forget to follow me on Social Media
Instagram: @SmileyShares
Twitter: @SmileyShares
Facebook; Smiley Shares

Texas Music Thursday: Southern Ashes Concert Review

Hey yall! I am extremely excited for today’s Texas Music Thursday. As you all may recall, last week’s post ended with me reminding you that you should always support local music, fill up the venues, because you never know what you may be missing out on. And completely stand by this 100%!

Those that have been reading my posts for the last couple of months may remember than one of the first things I did once I decided to move to South Texas was look up local Country acts. This was actually how I found Matt & The Herdsmen, and Costello. However, it wasn’t until a couple of month after I had moved to South Texas that I found out about- Southern Ashes- I had seen on social media that there was an event coming up- “Little Nashville in Mercedes” and they were to be a part of it. So, as usual I started searching for more information about them. I couldn’t find much besides their social media accounts-facebook, twitter, and instagram, I made sure to follow them all. I ended up not going to the event.

Thankfully, they were active enough on social media that I was able to keep up with their shows and other events. Somehow, it never worked out for me to be able to attend their show.  There were weekends where they would have shows every single day, and even multiple ones in a day! They even participated in an event with KYLE PARK! It wasn’t until I saw a video posted of them covering “Wear my Ring” by Bart Crow Band, that I realized just how great they were as a band! That’s when I made it a mission to attend their show.

When I met one of my coworkers, what sealed the friendship was our common interest in local country music. She always spoke highly of Southern Ashes, and mentioned how her and her husband would go see the band, any opportunity they had. Needless to say, she was the one that invited me that Friday January 29,2016 to Hillbilly’s. at first I was hesitant, because it was last minute..but after 5 minutes of thinking about it, I decided to call up a friend & see if she would go with me….
Friday January 29,2016 at Hillbilly's
When we arrived to Hillbilly’s the band was on a break so everybody was around doing their own thing, yet from the moment they walked on to the stage and began to play the music demanded for our attention. Not only that, they began with Wear my Ring by Bart Crow, and from that moment I realized they had exceeded my expectations. I remember my friend turning towards me, saying “ Wow, they are really good”. Keep in mind, she herself is from South Texas and didn’t know who Southern Ashes was! The band continued to play from a variety of songs, anything from Wagon Wheel to Boots Scoot Boogie and everything in between. I enjoyed that although most of the songs were covers, it didn’t sound as they were. The band sounds well put together and comfortable with one another, vocals and instruments come together rather than trying to overpower each other. This is what helps them create their unique sounds while playing some well known tunes.

One of my favorites parts throughout the show was that before moving on to a song, Matthew Rodriguez the lead vocals would occasionally give a story line…well not really a story line, more like a narration to different scenes that occur while at a concert/bar. I loved that, it was distinctive to them and although during that day I could not relate to a many of those small scenarios I knew exactly what he was talking about. It made the performances more relatable, and I am sure in many cases it was what gave some the courage to go dance with the person they had been wanting to all night. Great pep talk Southern Ashes!
Southern Ashes at Hillbilly's 1-29-2016 She's Like Texas (JAB)

A second thing that I noticed that I really appreciated, was that the band didn't take themselves too seriously. I mean, they took what they were doing seriously, but they were also willing to engage with the audience on and off the stage. They even agreed to sing a happy birthday here and there. Not only that, but during their breaks, they would interact off stage with those present, thanking them for their support. It is the little things like these that makes a band stand out.

As a band who at the time was a couple of weeks short of their one year celebration (1 yr. was celebrated 02-14-16), Southern Ashes truly impressed me. Obviously, there is always room from improvement, but I certainly believe they are on the right track. The only negative I would have to say is...I would love to hear more original music not that I didnt love the Josh Abbott & Randy Rogers songs, but I when you have seen a glimpse of what their original music sounds like, you just want to continue listening to it. I understand that it will come with time as they work their way up to recording an album, which I know many folks are excited for.
Original song back in Oct 2015 at Backwoods Saloon in Ingleside
Now, don't they sound like an excellent band? I think so, which is why I find myself constantly surprised when my South Texas friends don't even know who I am talking about! Slowly, I am trying to change that. The friend that went to Hillbilly's with me, loved them so much that she is already planning for a second show. I honestly believe, that Southern Ashes is the hidden gem of South Texas Country Music, but I have a feeling 2016 will be theirs. I look forward to the new music and hopefully more shows.

Band Members:
Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar - Matt Matthew Rodriguez
Drummer - "Jesus Drummer" AKA J.C Hernandez
Fiddle/Harmonies - Ruby Martinez Lead
Guitar/Harmonies- Joe Ramirez AKA RED
Soundboard/Management - Rick Villa & Sergio Salinas
As a celebration & to congratulate them on the 1 year please follow along on their social media!

Facebook: Southern Ashes
Twitter: @Southern_ashes
Instagram: @Southern_Ashes

Texas Music Thursday: Concert Tips & Will Carter Band

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Second Texas Music Thursday post in a month? I may be on a roll here. Today I will not only share with you a little about an artist but also some very important concert tips. Hope you're ready for this!

How many times have you gone to a concert just to see the main act? How many times have you said " oh, it doesn't matter if I am late, the [main act] doesn't go on stage until...." I am sure many of us have thought like this more than once. Ill be honest, last month during my last minute planning concert going adventures, I told myself this several times. Maybe it was because I already knew I wouldn't be able to make it in time to see the first two artists, but regardless, the idea is the same. If you read last weeks posts, you know I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, yet, a couple of days afterwards I realized I could have enjoyed it a lot more. Here's the thing.

Tip #1. When going to a concert and don't know who all of the other artists are, look them up.
More often than not, you will be able to find them on social media. Either through a band page on Facebook or uploaded videos on Youtube, thing is you will find something that will give you a glimpse of what their music sounds like. Prior to the concert I had done this. BUT I really didnt pay much attention to the music or videos at the time. Which is why when the video below popped up on my timeline, I really just had to focus and enjoy it. The live performance of Will Carter Band and the single "I Don't Know Why" had been recorded!

Take a look for yourself:

Nothing beats a great live performance. 

Tip #2: Now, I am sure you are able understand why I was bummed out about not getting to the Firehouse Saloon early. I missed out on this great performance, keep in mind this was only a small piece of their whole set. Can you imagine the whole thing?! This is why I can't stress enough Tip #2. When going to a concert, be there early. It is very easy to forget about the other (earlier) performers, especially, if you arent familiar with them. 

Now, to shed some light on Will Carter Band, and to help you out with Tip #1. Will Carter himself, grew up in the rural town of Frydek,Texas. Losing his dad at a young age, was one of the biggest motivations to keep working hard and continue pursuing his dreams. And it paid off! By the age of 18, he was already performing in a great local Texas band "The Emotions" and had the opportunity to play in many music festival and unique venues around Texas. After graduation from Texas A&M University he decided to go the original music route. Personally, I find it to be the best way to go, but what do I know. This has given him the opportunity to participate in local events in the Houston area. I know, I know, how is it that he has participated in local events, and I have never seen him? Well, maybe because it hasn't been the right time? I don't know. however, what I do know is that now being aware of Will Carter Band I will keep an eye out for any upcoming events in my area. Wouldn't want to miss another one. Speaking of another one, I hear him an Neil Austin Imber have a show this Friday, at the Firehouse Saloon. *wink* wink* Houston friends plan accordingly.
Official Music Video: I Dont Know Why. A great combination of rock influences with a touch of country sounds, that simply make you want to get up and dance. 
Most artists started off in small venues, opening the show for somebody else. And this isnt defined by their talent. So, remember, local artists need your support. Keep that in mind, and fill up those venues!  You never know what you may be missing out on.

Don't forget to follow Will Carter Band on Social Media, & get ready for a great show. 
Facebook: Will Carter Band
Twitter: @WillCarterBand
Instagram: @WillCarterBand

Texas Music Thursday: Curtis Grimes at Firehouse Saloon

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Happy Texas Music Thursday everyone! It’s been a while since the last Texas Music Thursday blog post, but I am excited to be back posting and sharing more about my love for Texas Music. Hopefully you enjoy. Now, lets get down to it!

Usually, I plan ahead of time the concerts I will be/would like to be attending a couple of weeks in advance in order to plan ahead. Welp, somehow, in the middle of January I found myself planning to go to a Curtis Grimes concert in Houston in just a couple of days. There was a possibility of us going to Houston but nothing was really set. But just in case, I started making plans. I needed to find someone to go with me, and figure out where they would pick me up. Most importantly I needed to figure out what time would the bus possibly arrive? and would be able to even make it in time for the show?! I mean, if there was no way I would make it in time, then there would be no point to planning. Thing is, I wouldn't know for certainty until Thursday. Boy, am I glad that I planned! Thursday we bought our tickets and everything was "sort of" falling into place. YAY!

Well, after a 7hr drive up & a scary bus drive (the bus turned off) we finally made it to Houston! Woot Woot! Except my ride was still at work and I wasn’t able to get a hold of him. BOOOOOOOO….Well after what felt like HOURS! We finally made it out to the Firehouse Saloon, YES! We realized that we had missed both of the other acts, which I was pretty bummed about it. Thankfully, Curtis Grimes wasn’t on stage just yet. Phew.

This would be my second time seeing Curtis Grimes in concert. The first time there was unfortunately a small crowd, however, he gave a full energy performance. This is why I was even more excited for that day, I was ready to see him interact with everyone there and put on a great show. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.
Curtis Grimes Firehouse Saloon
"It was a great show, good music. I was tired,but he was funny and it was entertaining"-  Sergio (First time Curtis Grimes Concert Attendee)
 From the beginning, Curtis Grimes worked the audience. He invited everyone to dance and sing along. Personally I loved that he sang his both “Smile songs” back to back, because well, my blog is named Smiley Shares. Seriously though, it took me back to the first time I heard “Smile” a couple of years back and it was the song that encouraged me to check out the rest of his music. Anyways, getting sidetracked here, back to the show. After his smile songs, he continued playing some of his older songs, like the Oh, so clever “Texas Plates” and even covered the “Sing- A – Long” Song “Fishing in the Dark” (Nitty Gritty Band). To the surprise of my friend he even played his own version of a couple of hip-hop songs, (according to my recordings they were Crossroads & Lollilop). And, I actually really liked these versions, although maybe not the actual songs. (Don’t go off listening to Lollipop lol). Besides singing “Smile that Smile” he also, played other songs from his latest EP, including the new single “Bottom of the Fifth”, as well as “Longer”. I have the EP and had heard these songs several, several times before, but this was the first time seeing him perform them live, and let me tell you something, nothing beats a live performance. He totally killed it!
Curtis Grimes Firehouse Saloon
Once I FINALLY finished talking, he still agreed on a picture.
Curtis Grimes at Firehouse Saloon January 15, 2015
My favorite part of the whole show, is right before he sang his most popular song "Irresponsible",a song about being unpredictable and dysfunctional he gave thanks to God. He acknowledge that without Him we wouldn't be where he is today. As always, Curtis Grimes met with those that wanted to, after the show. He was patient, listened, and thanked everyone around. He even let me ramble when talking to him, and signed all the "Bottom of the Fifth" EP's I planned on gifting to some friends. He did this all with a Smile on his face.

After this second show, I can say that no matter how big or small the crowd is Curtis Grimes puts on a great show. He entertains the crowd, cracks a couple of jokes, and does what he loves. Although, I missed the other acts, I am glad I at least made it to his performance. Next time you hear that Curtis Grimes will be around your side of town, try and make it to the show. You wont regret it! And by your side of town, I don't necessarily mean 7 hrs away.... ;)

Now, if you want to keep up with Curtis Grimes, check out any upcoming shows, or  would like to listen to his music. Make sure to follow him on social media!

Website: www.curtisgrimes.com
Twitter: @CurtisGrimes
Facebook: Curtis Grimes
Instagram: @curtisgrimesmusic