The 2020 Country Underdog award show was a big undertaking from us. We initially had the idea back in quarantine to do a virtual award show to bring recognition to artists during the hard times of not playing shows, but it didn’t come to fruition. We decided that we wanted to wait until the end of the year and put together the proper structure of everything we knew it would take to put on a kick ass show. It turned out great through a ton of work. Look forward to the 2021 Country Underdog Award Show which will be a live, in person event!
The 2020 Country Underdog Award show featured performances from artists (via video submissions).
Performance List: Aaron Watson, Bailey Rae, Trey Rose, Dylan Westmoreland, Christie Huff, Cameron Hobbs, Jacob Stelly, Colby Keeling, Amelia Presley, Todd Cameron, Nicky James, Lucas Jagneaux, Randall Fowler, and Jack Marion & The Pearl Snap Prophets
The full award show is available for re-watch on YouTube.
Check out our complete list of award winners!
Country Underdog Artist of The Year – Cody Hibbard
Cody Hibbard had a HUGE year, in his first year of releasing music he has amassed over 110,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Band of The Year – Pecos & The Rooftops
Going into 2020 riding high off of their 2019 hit single “This Damn Song” (Which has almost 20 million streams on Spotify) Pecos & The Rooftops released their first EP “Red Eye” which produced great songs like “Wouldn’t Have To Miss You” and “Leave Me Lonely”.
Male Artist of The Year – Logan Samford
Logan Samford had an amazing year stepping fully out of the shadow of the former duo Shotgun Rider. On the tail end of 2019 Logan released his first solo single “Lovin’ For The Last Time”. Then in 2020 he released his first solo EP, self titled “Logan Samford” which produced songs like “Good Lies”, and “I’m Your Fool”.
Female Artist of The Year – Robynn Shayne
Austin, TX based artist Robynn Shayne has been releasing music since 2012. In 2020 she had a big year on the back of her popular song “Devil You Know” and releasing the album “Let’s Get This Show on The Road”.
Song of The Year – Triston Marez “Forgot About You”
Triston Marez released an absolute breakup JAM this year in “Forgot About You” amassing over 1 million streams on Spotify. We look forward to a big 2021 from Triston Marez in which he will be releasing his first full album. Look for Triston being a big contender for another Country Underdog award in 2021.
Album of The Year – The Panhandlers “The Panhandlers”
The all-star Red Dirt group The Panhandlers, consisting of William Clark Green, Josh Abbott, John Baumann, and Cleto Cordero came together in 2020. They put out an absolutely stellar record highlighting all of their great voices in amazing ways. If you haven’t heard this album drop what you’re doing and immerse yourself in the magic.
Alternative Country Artist of The Year – Slade Coulter
Lubbock, TX native Slade Coulter released his first EP “Here We Go Again” in 2020. This release comes after his popular single “Walk Back Home”. 2020 also marked the year that Slade has begun working with and being managed by Dalton Domino (artist and founder of Honcho Music Group). Slade has some new music coming out within the next couple weeks here at the beginning of 2021.
Emerging Artist of The Year – Kylie Trout
The 17 year-old singer-songwriter from California had a breakout year in our books releasing phenomenal songs like “Extra” and “Can’t Be Lonely”. Kylie has grown a great following on TikTok with over 13K followers and has done an amazing job self-promoting her music on the platform. We look forward to seeing how Kylie’s career develops in the coming future!
Folk / Americana Artist of The Year – The Wilder Blue
Stepping out and going solo, artist Zane Williams teamed up with Paul Eason, Lyndon Hughes, Andy Rogers, and Sean Rodriguez to form the band “The Wilder Blue” (formerly known as Hill Country). The guys would go on to release 9 singles in 2020 along with their first album, which was a self titled release, “Hill Country”. Our favorite songs are “Palomino Gold”, and “Dixie Darlin”.
Music Video of The Year – Mike Donnell “Mr. Fix It”
Houston, TX artist Mike Donnell’s music video for “Mr. Fix It” caught the eyes of many in 2020. Filmed at a drag racing strip and featuring some bad ass cars, check out the video below!
Best Quarantine Release – Celsey Braddock “Key in My Mailbox
Over a year ago we discovered Celsey Braddock singing in Fort Worth, TX at a bar called The Thirsty Armadillo in The Stockyards. We heard her singing this exact song. At the time she hadn’t released any music yet, but man, when she released “Key in My Mailbox” it awesome to see her begin her journey as a streaming artist. Celsey also released her first EP “Boulevard” in 2020 (not in quarantine thank God).
Young Artist of The Year – Luke Hupp
Kansas City based artist Luke Hupp released his first EP in 2020 titled “Pedal Down” featuring songs like “The Run”, and “Dreamer”. He also released his most recent and most popular single “The I Didn’t Knows” in 2020. If you haven’t heard Luke Hupp listen below and look forward to more great music from this young man in 2021!
Non-Streaming Artist of The Year – Adam Patrick Konieczny
This was a special award meant for nominating and giving an award to an artist who may not have had the opportunity or money to release music on streaming platforms. Adam Patrick is one of many artists who are the backbone of the current music industry. People playing music on social media solely out of passion and love for what they are doing. Congrats to Adam Patrick and we look forward to him recording and releasing some music in the future!
Follow Adam on Instagram HERE
Producer of The Year – Alex Torrez & David Dorn (Torrez Music Group)
Artists: Triston Marez, Logan Samford, Kylie Rae Harris, Nate Fredrick, Lonehollow, Gabe Lee, Zoe Cummins.
Torrez Music Group has always done amazing work (Male Artist of The Year winner Logan Samford, and Song of The Year winner Triston Marez). Within the past year they have grown the list of artists they work with. We look forward to seeing them grow and hearing the new music coming from their artists in 2021!
Music Venue of The Year – Blue Light Live (Lubbock, TX)
It’s no surprise that the iconic Blue Light Live won this award. Let’s be honest.
Triston Marez Announces Self Titled Album
Triston Marez just announced via Instagram that he is releasing an album April 16th, 2021. We have been BIG fans and supporters of Triston’s since his rise on Twitter a few years back. Triston has previously released two EP’s, “That Was All Me” & “Until I Found You”. This will be his first album.
We think the hashtag #WhereTheNeonLies might be the title of the first single off the album 👀
Original Instagram Post
Chatting with Casee Allen On His New Album and More
Country Underdog got the chance to sit down and talk with Casee Allen, a talented singer and songwriter out of the small town of Coshocton, Ohio who for the past 6 years has lived in Nashville. Casee just released his E.P. “Hindsight 2020” and we are very excited about the path he is taking his new music. Casee is one of the most humble and genuine artists we have spoken to. Just one of the most humble and genuine people we have spoken to period. Casee is a hardworking father who’s first full music project back in 2017 reached #31 on the Country Music Album Top 200, with his Debut EP album: “Double You”. Our interview with Casee covers his new music, family background, how he got into music, and even coming full circle by working with his childhood country music hero. We are very excited to see the success of his raw, authentic, stripped-down, and vulnerable new E.P. He called it “The key to his diary”.
Hindsight 2020 E.P. Track List & Songwriters
1. “Hindsight 2020”- Casee Allen, Amber Kuntz, Todd McCall
2. “Just Some Guy From Ohio” (feat. The Swon Brothers) – Casee Allen, The Swon Brothers
3. “First Day in Nashville” – Casee Allen
4. “Sonshine” – Casee Allen, Keith Burns( from Trick Pony)
5. “Uncle Tim – Casee Allen
6. “Dear Wife” – Casee Allen
Buy on iTunes HERE
Buy on Google Play HERE
Listen on any PlatformHERE
Interview With Casee
By Country Underdog founder Reed McDonald
Reed: “Casee, tell us about the songs on the E.P.”
1. Hindsight 2020 – “The intro track is about what the record means to me, it’s my first year I am no longer in my 20’s in the year “2020”, a new decade, and my philosophy on the term “Hindsight 2020”.”
2. Just Some Guy From Ohio – “Just some guy from Ohio” is about who I am, why I am the way I am, and the first time I’ve expressed myself; musically) in a way in which I think the world could use a little more of right now.”
3. First Day in Nashville – “Well, it’s obviously not the most brilliant song title haha but it’s about my first day in Nashville…and I promise you that there’s good reason in why I wrote this song. My “First Day in Nashville” was unlike any you’ve ever heard!”
4. Sonshine – “Is a song about the greatest day of my life, period.”
5. Uncle Tim – “Is about my hero, and my best friend. He deserves a heck of a lot more than just a song, but I think everybody needs at least a person in their life like him. That’s what this song is all about, and I hope it reminds people to be a ray of light for one another. Knowing that someone is always watching them, no matter the age.”
6. Dear Wife – “Was written the same week I had to submit the record for distribution. I basically wrote a letter to my future wife, giving a heads up before she gets into this mess haha. And it is actually a phone voice recording from the day I wrote the song, and I submitted it that way.”
Reed: “Are there any songs you’re going to push as a single?”
Casee: “You know what? I thought let’s just put this thing out and see what people think, and see what song people tend to naturally gravitate towards. I’m interested to see what people really like. So if I’m being honest: no, not really”.
Reed: “Growing up in Ohio, how did family and external influences shape your country music?”
Casee: “The last thing on earth I thought I would become was a recording artist, I never wanted to do it. Everyone in my family had the dream at some point in their lives, but it was never taken to that level, the extra mile that it takes wasn’t put in. Singing was something you really loved to do but the extra effort wasn’t always there. My dad went from singing country, to singing blues, then to being a singer-songwriter, my mom & stepdad sang in a local cover band, and i also had 1 uncle & 1 aunt who sang locally growing up. Music is definitely something I was raised on, in more ways than 1. It was/is a huge part of my personal life, more than anything else. Music is my therapy, It’s the way I express myself.”
Reed: “Who else do you credit when it comes to shaping you as a person and artist?”
Casee: “First and foremost, God. Second, my “Uncle Tim”. Third, is a guy that I give a ton of credit to: Mr. Neal McCoy (known predominantly for his songs like“The Shake”, “Billy’s got his beer goggles on”, and “Wink”).
When I was just 8 years old, I was going through an extremely difficult time at home. So…This guy called my school! Called me out of class over the loudspeaker. It had nothing to do with music, he knew I looked up to him and just wanted to shed some bright light in my time of darkness. Let’s just say I didn’t have the best childhood. But fortunately, I had an amazing teacher who cared, and somehow found a way to contact him and set this up. It’s a day I’ll never forget. A simple phone call, a few simple words, and a couple of CD’s helped changed my outlook on life as a young boy.
“Just after deciding to move to Nashville & just before actually moving there, my band and I were watching Neal perform at a festival in Ohio. We hadn’t talked in several years, and I wanted to shake his hand and basically just thank him as a grown man. Oh, and let him know that I was taking a shot at the music industry! Haha, so I stood outside of his band’s bus so they couldn’t leave. The only way they could leave was to run my ass over.
Reed: “What did you do next?”
Casee: “I handed his security detail the newspaper article from when he called me at school, back in 1998…he sent it back out with an autograph.
So I then sent it back in and said: “I don’t want his autograph, I want him to know that the messed up little boy he talked to, is now a grown man and I want to thank him personally.” That I’m still messed up (haha), but just a cleaner mess now haha. He comes back out in basically pajamas and obviously just learned that it was me as a grown adult. I let him know that I just moved to Nashville, and he said “Is there any way I can talk you out of it? That’s just such a tough town!” I said“Nope, one day you’ll hear my name come out of your bus speakers, followed by a song. And someday soon, I hope that we share a stage together, I think it’ll happen.”
Reed: “Wow man that is amazing…to come full circle like that!”
Casee: “it actually gets better than that even!
So…2 years ago I opened up for Neal, and then performed on stage with him!”
“Since then, he’s become one of my mentors. Neal and I collectively have a really exciting 2020 coming, can’t leak the details yet though…”
Reed: “How did you finally end up playing music since it was never a big dream?”
Casee: “Well it’s kinda funny, actually. After high school, I was Cagefighting, going to school, coaching wrestling, and selling cars for a living. In the midst of it all, I got dumped for the first time, by the girl I had always figured I’d someday marry. So after I hung it up with fighting, I had to find another avenue to release my pain: Around a bonfire in “Uncle Tim’s” backyard, learning to play/sing songs with my brother. Next thing I knew, we were playing at bigger and bigger shows. Just a year later, we had got the opportunity to do a show with Kip Moore, performing on a patio in front of the big stage, just before he took the big stage.
After the show that night, I asked him for a piece of advice: “ya gotta move to Nashville ASAP & bust that ass!”.
I thought “Nah man, I gotta finish college, and I have a life I’m building here in Ohio.”
And Kip(thankfully), basically thought I was dumbass, haha, so I ended up leaving for Nashville (within hours) to visit for the very first time!”
Reed: “When you made your move to Nashville tell us about the journey: How did it make you feel with, everything happening so quickly?”
Casee: “My very first night in Nashville I scored a full-time gig with Tootsies Orchid Lounge and Honky-Tonk Central, performing 6 / sometimes 7 nights a week. From there I moved on to a few more venues on broadway, before we started to get a lot of tour dates & gain some traction.”
“I still perform in Nashville when we aren’t on the road, most of the time recently it’s been at Blake Shelton’s “Ole Red”.
Reed: “What’s a dream venue you would want to play at in 2020?”
Casee: “I’ve got some lofty goals, but they’ve never really included too many specific venues: I’d say the “Grand Ole Opry” or “The Ryman Auditorium” would be the up at the top for me though.”
Reed: “With us being based out of Texas, we have to ask: What do you think about playing in the Texas Market?”
Casee: “I have a pretty decent following in parts of Texas, but y’all are like an entirely separate country in ways! One time in Texas I decided to take songs around to radio stations to see what they thought. I would get so much love at one station and then “You call this country” at another. Haha, it’s an interesting market, but that’s why I love it.”
Reed: “What separates you from any other artist? What makes you different?”
Casee: “What separates me from any artist I’ve ever met? That’s easy, the fact that I have full custody of my 6-year-old son Jace, and play the roles of both his father & his mother… I don’t get to have the 3-4 roommates and live on next to nothing if I had to like a lot of folks are able to do, lucky dogs haha. I forced myself to build a real business from it, early on, that would bring in enough to comfortably raise my son & give him a life that I only dreamed of having as a child. So far, it’s worked, thank God!”
Reed: “Any memorable stories that you have had in your career?”
Casee: “Good or bad? Hahaha”
“Honestly, I’ve opened up for just about every major act in the industry that I would ever want to open up for, minus a few played huge festivals and all kinds of amazing shows. But, the most exciting crazy story… Would have to be getting the call to come out to Texas to open up for Neal McCoy. To me, nothing beats that, it’s who I looked up to as a kid. It was a dream come true. Of course, I have other things I loom to accomplish, but It was just so great to look him into the eyes and say “Told ya you’d be seeing me again, soon!” Haha Then from there, to being able to just call him “friend”, to be able to pick up the phone at any given moment and ask him anything. That’s what it’s all about, and I never take it for granted. He’s the example that I want to set for my son and artists who may someday look up to me. But If you would’ve told 8-year-old casee that I would someday call Neal McCoy a “friend”, I would say you’re out of your damn mind. Haha”
Reed: “Anything else you’d like to add”
Casee: “Yes, download my EP Album, “Hindsight 2020”! Haha, and thank you for having me, and for supporting a “Country Underdog” like myself!
God bless y’all, and God bless country music fans!”
Buy on iTunes HERE
Buy on Google Play HERE
Listen to the E.P. HERE
Listen to all his music on any platform
Thank you for reading! Follow us!
Pecos and the Rooftops Drop Their Debut E.P “Red Eye”
What do big dreams, great musical chemistry, and drinking Keystone Light all have in common? Pecos & The Rooftops.
Pecos & The Rooftops are a band based out of Lubbock, Texas that has been gaining traction all around the Red Dirt and Texas Country scene. Their new E.P. “Red Eye” came out last Friday and has received a ton of praise. Many people say it only takes one hit song to kickstart your career, and with them, that is true on a whole new level. Their first single, “This Damn Song” has been streamed over 2 million times since its release last April. Not too shabby for a group of best friends making music for fun.
Now their new E.P. “Red Eye” is making waves in the community with heaps of fans taking to social media to show their love with posts like “Whole album on repeat”, “I’ve got a new favorite song from this E.P. every day”, and one guy even said he signed up for Spotify premium just for the album. That is amazing. Lead singer Pecos Hurley‘s deep, gruff, and recognizable voice is absolutely perfect for their sound and lyrics. Their songs are typically about heartbreak with slow melody but have twists with a rockin’ country edge and it works big time. Our favorite song on the E.P. is “Leave Me Lonely” which we have listened to at least 100 times the past few days. The song was originally written by Pecos Hurley and his friend Will Mckenzie in 2017 about a bad breakup.
We originally sat down last August with Pecos & The Rooftops to discuss “This Damn Song” and the band’s roots back in August when the song was just starting to gain popularity. All the guys are Texas-born, drink Keystone, and have big dreams to pursue a career in music. We asked them about their music influences growing up and how they have shaped the band. “We started off with old country souls like George Strait, and now are more influenced by Koe Wetzel, Flatland Cavalry, and The Turnpike Troubadours.” Their favorite part about their line of work is getting to play the music they want and just flat out jam.
“This Damn Song” was a co-write between lead singer Pecos Hurley and fellow band member Kalen Davis. Kalen came up with the main chorus after going through a breakup with a girl he thought was going to be the one. So one drunk night up at 4 am he was playing the piano and came up with the chorus, “Hate that I’m still up, drunk as fuck, At 4 A.M. writing this damn song”. Pecos wrote all the verses and the last chorus. His story behind it: “I dated this girl for two years and we were planning on getting engaged, it didn’t happen, so I went out Lubbock after the fallout and met a girl from Stephenville. We started talking and there could have been a future but I cut it loose because I wasn’t ready for another girl yet. Got my hopes up.” It’s very unique for a song to be written from the perspective of two different heartbreaks.
The band is eager to start playing bigger venues. That is all starting to happen beginning THIS FRIDAY when they will be opening for Kolby Cooper at The Silver Saloon in Terrell, Tx. Country Underdog will be there and we can’t wait! There are big things in store for this talented group of friends and we are just happy to be along for the ride.