Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill is one of Upstate New York’s premier venues and hosts some of the biggest names in country music today. Offering patrons the opportunity to get up close and personal with these artists, is what sets Toby’s apart. This intimate experience enables the fans to feel an ownership in the show. Partnering with Toby Keith’s is Syracuse’s B104.7, 2013’s CMA nominated Medium Market Station Of The Year and Medium Market Personality Of The Year. As December rolled around, it only seemed fitting for Tom & Becky to share the Christmas spirit with their fans at Toby’s with country music’s newest sweetheart, Jana Kramer.
Jana, relatively new to Nashville and the country music scene, is actually not new to the limelight as she had already established herself as an accomplished actress in Hollywood starring in shows such as One Tree Hill, 90210, and Friday Night Lights, to name a few. Excited to welcome Jana to Central New York, NYS Music had the opportunity to sit down with Jana and talk to her a little about her career and future plans.
Kathy Stockbridge: Hi Jana, thank you so much for agreeing to talk with NYS Music.
Jana Kramer: Thank you.
KS: So tell me, you are originally from Detroit, tell our readers how a girl from Motor City ends up in Country Music’s Capital, Nashville. Tell our readers a little about your journey from Detroit, to Hollywood, to Nashville.
JK: I grew up singing country music. I was born in Detroit but I was raised in northern Michigan. Grew up surrounded by country music, and have found that country music is everywhere, not just the south. I have always wanted to sing country music, but kinda shied away from it. I ended up going more the acting route, so I went to Hollywood. I knew my dreams weren’t going to come true if I stayed in Michigan. I had to go and really purse them so I moved to California. Once there, I realized that I really wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, so I packed up and moved to Nashville.
KS: Share with me who were some of your musical influences over the course of time.
JK: My early influences were Patsy Cline, she was amazing! I loved Loretta Lynn, and of course Garth Brooks and George Strait, and Tim McGraw were some of my favorites.
KS: Share with us some of those pinch me moments and some of the collaborations that have stood out since your arrival in Nashville.
JK: Being able to work with Blake Shelton for a full year was awesome. Working together with Darius Rucker too, he was a really cool guy. Just being able to meet some people I’ve met such as Vince Gill and Miranda Lambert; it’s just really nice to feel a part of the community.
KS: Future Collaborations: Anybody you would love to work with?
JK: I have just collaborated with Steven Tyler on my second album so I’m really excited about that.
KS: Oh SWEET, Stephen Tyler? I am really loving this crossover with rock and roll and country right now, and I can’t wait to hear this collaboration. You have also had a very exciting year with your engagement. We want to congratulate you on this.
JK: Thank you.
KS: You have a new song coming out as well, and you’ve been touring non-stop, tell us a little about this whirlwind you’ve been on this past year and some highlights for you.
JK: This past year has been amazing, I’ve had a new song come out, and have another coming out the early part of next year, so it’s been a great year on tour and perfecting our show as well as getting our new album together, which I very proud of.
KS: Well, we really love you here in Central NY and we thank you for taking the time to talk with our readers.
JK: My pleasure.
As Jana prepared for her set, Toby’s patrons welcomed opening act and Syracuse favorites, the TJ Sacco Band featuring Brianna Jessie. Playing original music and covers they pumped up an already celebratory crowd into a frenzy as they awaited Jana’s appearance.
The minute Jana took the stage you could tell this petite lady was full of vim an vigor, and owned that stage, and the audience she mesmerized with her music. Playing both original music and some covers, it is apparent why 2013 ACM awarded this young lady the Best New Top Female Artist. Her dedication to her dreams, and her ambition to follow her heart where the music has lead her, sets her apart as an artist on her way to the top of the charts, and one to keep track of as she will achieve her dreams in a big way. How can you not “Love”, someone who follows their heart and never gives up on her dreams.
And for those of you wondering, yes that is Jana Kramer we see as the stealth Nationwide girl in the commercials.
Setlist: Don’t Touch My Radio, Good Time Coming On, One of The Boys, Pop That Bottle, Ironic, Whiskey, Winter Wonderland, I Got the Boy, What I Love, I Hope It Rains, Mele, Love Boomerang, Why Y Wanna
Encore: Bullet/Shook Me