Thursday, July 19, 2018
Doors open at 7pm
Concert open to all ages!  Everyone must have an event ticket for entry (Children 2 and under do not need a ticket)
Rain or Shine- no umbrellas, blankets, chairs


Sponsored by:

B-105 presents Red White & Zoo at the Cincinnati Zoo on Thursday, July 19 with country music artists Jordan Davis and Granger Smith!  Ticket proceeds benefit the USO of Central and Southern Ohio. Plus, for every ticket you buy, the Cincinnati Zoo will donate a Cincinnati Zoo admission ticket to a local military member. Special thanks to Skyline, Thomas More College & The Cincinnati VA Medical Center.

Tickets

Purchase Tickets

Tickets are $20 with half of the proceeds to benefit the USO of Central and Southern Ohio.

*All guests (including members) will have to leave the park and have their ticket scanned for entry into the concert

Music

Jordan Davis is a Shreveport-born, Nashville-weathered creative soul with his feet firmly planted in two different eras. The imagery in his songs relies on the same specificity behind such classic, lyrically- driven songwriters as John Prine, Jim Croce and Bob McDill. But the tech-tinged production and silvery phrasing in those same songs embodies the genre-defying musicality of such current acts as Eric Church, Sam Hunt and Lady Antebellum.

Kris Kristofferson would likely brand Jordan a walking contradiction – repurposing a phrase he once applied to Johnny Cash – and Davis would heartily agree. 

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“The thing that is weird to me is the pure songwriting fan that I am compared to what I love production-wise,” Davis notes. “I love these huge, big sounds – big drums, loud guitars – but my favorite show to go to is John Prine or Jason Isbell, you know just standing up there with a guitar. They’re seriously opposite ends of the spectrum, but I think that marrying the two, there’s a cool way to do it.”

Working steadily on his debut album for Universal Music Group Nashville, Davis is welding those two ideals nicely. The jangly, skittering “Singles You Up,” the picturesque come-on “So Do I” and the propulsive “Take It From Me” each mix those elements in varying degrees, some leaning heavier on the production, others focused more on the lyrics, but all of them held together by Davis’ unique, laidback phrasing. His easy-going nature and focused interpretation of the world around him is easy to identify in those songs, the same way that Jim Croce’s personality came through in some of the music that influenced him.

“Those songs take on so much more life if you find out how introverted he was,” says Davis. “He really just wrote songs because they let him say what he wanted to say. You hear a song like ‘I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song’ – that probably was him not knowing how to say it, but he knew he wouldn’t screw it up if he sang it. Those songs are awesome.”

Davis’ appreciation for competing musical ideas harkens back to his upbringing in Shreveport. The Louisiana city is overshadowed nationally by New Orleans, whose jazz and funk culture are the stuff of legend. Just a couple hundred miles to the east of Shreveport is Mississippi, the hotbed of gut-bucket blues, while just over the border to Shreveport’s west is East Texas and its deep association with hard country and honky-tonk.

Writing and playing music was a passion that was passed down in the Davis household. His uncle, Stan Paul Davis, wrote two Top 5 titles for Tracy Lawrence in the 1990s – “Today’s Lonely Fool” and “Better Man, Better Off” – and his dad often wrote songs as a hobby between taking Jordan and his brother, Jacob, to Shreveport Captains minor league baseball games.

“Music was around so much, it was just part of our everyday life,” Jordan says.
In fact, because music was always around, Davis hadn’t really thought about it as a career

possibility. He majored in resource conservation at LSU in Baton Rouge and thought he would pursue a job that would protect the world’s physical attributes.

“Conserving the beauty of what makes the country so awesome is important,” he says. “It’s easy to think that it’s gonna be here forever, when really we need to take care of it. Louisiana’s losing land as it is – you know, the state’s disappearing year by year – so it’s definitely a passion of mine.”

But so was music. After his graduation from LSU, Jordan got an entry-level environmental job, but he spent plenty of time dreaming of Nashville, where his older brother had already moved to become a songwriter. Jordan periodically sent unfinished songs to his brother, and when Jacob played one for a music executive, he urged Jordan to come to Music City.

It was not an easy process for Jordan. He struggled to find people to write with and instead, he tended bar regularly at Ellendale’s – a Southern restaurant in Nashville’s Donelson neighborhood. He continued to hone his songwriting craft on his own; the songs were unusual, mixing his long-running affinity for classic singer/songwriters and modern country radio. Davis heard repeatedly that he was the only person who could perform them and make them work.

His decision eventually paid off and after receiving a publishing deal in June 2015, UMG Nashville announced on Leap Day 2016 that the company had signed him to a recording contract. Paul DiGiovanni – a Boys Like Girls guitarist who’s worked with Blake Shelton, Hunter Hayes and Dan + Shay – quickly became one of Davis’ regular co-writers and his producer. “Paul would build a demo and have it done in a day, and you couldn’t listen to it enough,” Davis says.

DiGiovanni helped capture the anthemic quality in “Take It From Me” and the party attitude in “Singles You Up,” but also built an appropriately slinky frame for Davis’ conversational “So Do I.” Their working relationship is an ideal pairing, as Davis adjusts to his new creative world. As solid a place as music has held in his life, it’s been only a couple years since he started thinking of himself as an artist as well as a songwriter.

“Still to this day, I could tell you who wrote the song before I could tell you who cut it,” he says.

Being an artist means rethinking his creative soul just a bit. It’s one thing to write a story song to play in a coffee shop, but it’s another to generate the kind of big-sounding piece that resonates with an arena full of people. Davis is up for the challenge.

“Marrying the two is tough because I’ve never until recently had to think about writing a song and how it’s gonna go over live,” he says. “That’s a completely new thing that’s come into my writing.”

But he’s seen plenty of signs that he’s making the transition. Few were as obvious as when he played an afternoon set at the start of a New Year’s Eve bash in Jacksonville, Florida. Four guys traipsed across the lawn with beers in hand during the show, and as he sang, Davis watched them stop and huddle, then wander up to the front of the stage, where they remained fully engaged for the rest of the set. Clearly, he had won them over.

“They could have easily kept going,” he says. “That was a brand new song, it was the first time we had ever played it live, and it caught ‘em and brought ‘em back. That’s the kind of connection I try to make.”

With a creative foot in two places, Davis is well positioned to make a long-term connection. His songs are so musically engaging that they easily attract attention. But they’re also deep enough to hold a listener through repeated exposure. Some of that is accomplished through the sense of physical place woven into his stories. From the street performers and moss hanging from the trees establishing the humid heartbreak of “Leaving New Orleans,” to the painted white lines and late night security cop transporting the listener to a concrete ballroom in “Slow Dance In A Parking Lot.” Jordan Davis has a unique ability to create a sense of place in his songs with his knack for relentless hooks and subtly smart lyrics

By melding classic lyric-writing with modern musical texture, Davis is similarly staking out his own spot on the creative map. The cool melodies and understated delivery bring you in. The soul in his characters keep you in place. In Jordan Davis’ place.

My name is Granger Smith. Sometimes long, fancy industry bios are helpful, but other times you just need to hear from the guy actually living it, so here’s my story.

I was born and raised Texan, and I’m proud of that. I grew up along with 2 brothers, a couple of yellow labrador retrievers and parents that stayed together because they loved each other. My life changed when I was 14 years old and decided I would teach myself to play guitar. This was motivated by two things: I thought the guitar would make girls pay attention to me, and the fact that George Strait played one. By the time I turned 15, I was performing weekends on small town stages in North Texas, and doing my best as a fan club member to attend every George Strait concert within driving distance. Playing high school football was an important rite of passage for me, along with hunting and fishing, but the dream of a music career consumed me. At age 19, I was satisfied with enough songs I had written to make an album. As a freshman at Texas A&M, I was able to scrape together some studio money by pre-selling the album to friends around campus. For being just a kid, that album did pretty good. It landed me a songwriting deal with EMI Music Publishing in Nashville, and the following year, I took the leap to Tennessee.

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My time in Nashville was important. I absorbed the craft of songwriting from some of the best, learned my way around studios and recording gear, (which paid off for me later) and cut my teeth on countless stages as both a singer and as a steel guitar player for other singers. After four years, I had a shelf full of song demos, a little bit of music business know-how and a strong conviction to move back to Texas, finish my degree at Texas A&M, and start a band.

Moving back to College Station was basically starting over. The gigs were hard to book and when they did, nobody showed up to watch. But I was happy and felt creative. I saved money by making albums out of my house and using my band. We wore out vehicles from two pickup trucks, to a suburban, to a van and then another van. The trailers we towed got bigger, and ever so slowly, so did our crowds. I learned how to use a camera & some editing software for making homemade music videos and we made lots of them.

My little brother, Tyler joined me in 2008. He traded a pretty good job at the bank to jump in an old van and sell t-shirts in honky-tonk dive bars. I think he did it not only because he shared the same vision as me, but also because his competitive nature was excited about proving a bunch of people wrong. And that’s exactly what we did. Together we conspired and worked from the ground up with the goal of not only building an artist, but a brand. We embraced social media, searched for connection with fans, studied our predecessors and ignored our doubters. The good shows helped pay for all the bad ones, and the songs that sold helped fund all the others that didn’t. We put communities first, knowing that without the people, we were without a job.

We created alter egos through videos to help promote the music and that’s where Earl Dibbles Jr came from in the summer of 2011. It started as a short, funny video that my brothers and I filmed where my parents live in Central Texas, but it turned out to be something that completely changed the shape of my career. I actually like to think of it as an “intentional accident” because as planned, the video went viral and became a huge promotional tool for my music, but we had no way to know if it would actually work. Especially since many of my videos before it never caught fire.

In the early morning of April 16th 2013, I woke up and checked the iTunes store on my phone with tired eyes. I was absolutely shocked to see my new album, “Dirt Road Driveway” sitting at #1. Things were rapidly changing on the road too. We were seeing sold out shows in markets we had never played, and a passion in fans unlike anything I had seen before. After independently releasing 7 studio albums, 1 live album and 2 EPs, I finally signed my first record deal in 2015. I met some great people at Broken Bow Music Group in Nashville who sought us out, believed in my dedication and wanted to take what I was already doing, and magnify the message. We worked together not only as colleagues, but as friends on the same mission. Within only weeks of the signing, my debut single “Backroad Song” was a hit a mainstream country radio faster than any of us expected. On February 14, 2016, the single became the most played in America as it topped all the mainstream radio charts. This was a lifelong dream for me both as a singer and songwriter. The following month, my first national debut album, “Remington” hit stores.

A few years ago, I was standing with my boots in red, sandy Iraqi soil watching a beautifully majestic Middle Eastern sunset, when one of my band members asked me, “Can you believe music got us here?” No, I can’t. What a journey its been since I decided to chase this crazy dream. We’ve played 10 countries, 3 continents, even the White House a few times, and I still can’t believe it all started with a few guitar chords. I have a song called “Sleeping On The Interstate” where I wrote, “Connecting map dots like poets and prisoners, trying to live more like a lover than sinner, slave to dreams so far away.” That’s me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the music business, it’s that you don’t really choose this life, you are this life. That’s the truth no matter if you’re selling albums or not. I do what I love and love what I do, and there’s no sweeter freedom than that.


USO of Central and Southern Ohio

Our USO of Central and Southern Ohio covers 65 counties in Central and Southern Ohio, West Virginia and Northern Kentucky.  We are a charter center under USO, Inc. with a mission of keeping America’s Military Service Members connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.

The USO-CSO has lounges in CVG (both concourses), Dayton and Columbus airports as well as the Military Entrance Procession Station in Gahanna, OH.  These lounges provide a place for service members and their families to relax, grab a snack or charge their devices. We recently opened a new USO Center at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, featuring the Wright Café, Game Room, Conference Rooms and Auditorium.  We are the only USO that operates an Airman’s Attic at the new Center.  The Airman’s Attic provides clothing, uniforms, baby items, household goods, even ball gowns and bridal gowns, for those with ranks of E6 and below … all free of charge.

In addition to the lounges, we support the military and their families through kids’ camps, family camps, singles retreats, couple retreats and other programs, such as United Through Reading, which allows deployed parents to record and share stories with their children.  We partner with local teams and venues to offer free tickets to sporting events, family events, entertainment and theme parks.  The USO-CSO also provides support for “Call to Duty” events and Deployment returns, and we anticipate seeing an increase in Call to Duty events in 2017.

 

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