Ramblin' Rhodes: Hayes's opening acts are rising country music stars

Augusta-area country music fans heading for the Hunter Hayes concert on Thursday, May 29, at James Brown Arena not only will get to see the multitalented new star but also a popular new duo called Dan + Shay and The Voice TV series winner Danielle Bradbery.


Dan Smyers from Wexford, Pa., and Shay Mooney from Natural Dam, Ark., met at a party at Smyers’ Nashville apartment in Decemer 2012 and have been writing songs together ever since.

Mooney doesn’t get up at 4 every morning to milk cows on his family’s farm like he did all through his growing up years. Now if he is up at 4 a.m., it’s either because he’s just getting home from a show or catching a tour bus heading out for another show date.

Smyers said his music path became serious in his sixth grade year when he got a guitar.

“I played a few chords and started putting my thoughts down on paper. I have been doing it ever since,” Smyers told the Web site digitalrodeo.com.

He added of his partnership with Mooney, “We both just love writing songs about things that are true to our hearts. It is just something that has developed over the years. Hopefully I have gotten better since sixth grade.

“I think the best training is just-hands on experiences with your trials, your failures and your successes. Hopefully I am getting better every day. I try to learn from the people around me, and there is no better place to do that than Nashville.”

The duo’s debut Warner Bros. CD, Where It All Began, already has produced their hit single 19 You + Me. The music video of the song was filmed in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and shows a teenage couple in a summer love affair.

Recent months have found Shay and Mooney opening for Hunter Hayes on his We’re Not Invisible tour. In June, they will begin opening shows for Blake Shelton on his Ten Times Crazier tour.

Shelton as a judge and mentor on The Voice TV talent series played a pivotal role in the success of Danielle Bradbery who won the 2013 season of that show.

Shelton and Bradbery performed Patty Loveless’ hit single Timber I’m Falling In Love on the show.

Other songs viewers remember Bradbery singing that season include Pam Tillis’ hit Maybe It Was Memphis, Sara Evans’ Born To Fly, Carrie Underwood’s Jesus Take The Wheel and The Judds’ Grandpa, Tell Me About the Good Old Days.

At 16, the vocalist from Cypress, Texas, became the youngest winner of The Voice in its then-fourth season.

On the finale of that season, Bradbery and Hayes did a duet version of Hayes’ hit single I Want Crazy. Bradbery’s debut Big Machine Records single The Heart of Dixie was released on July 17, 2013, a few days before her 17th birthday (July 23). Her debut self-titled album was released the following November.

Bradbery, just a few years ago, was sitting in the upper seats at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo watching Brad Paisley perform. Recently, she got to open shows on Paisley’s Beat This Winter tour.

“I was just a huge fan of his,” she told the Web site cmt.com about seeing Paisley at the Texas show, “and I wake up one day and I am opening for him! It’s crazy.”

Her success with The Voice was because her mother signed her up for an audition in Dallas. She was in shock for awhile because Bradbery had never done anything like that.

But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Her appearances on The Voice changed her life for the better.


HANK WILLIAMS FESTIVAL: The 2014 Hank Williams Festival honoring the late country music legend will be held Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at the Hank Williams Music Park in Georgiana, Ala.

Grand Ole Opry star John Conlee heads the lineup on Friday and fellow Opry star Gene Watson heads the lineup on Saturday.

Among the performers will be Williams’s daughter, Jett Williams. Visit hankwilliamsfestival.com for details.

Ramblin' Rhodes: Overachiever Hayes to perform here

WHO: Hunter Hayes’ We’re Not Invisible Tour with Danielle Bradbery and Dan + Shay

WHEN: 7 p.m., Thursday, May 29

WHERE: James Brown Arena

TICKETS: $35, $49.50, box office, georgialinatix.com, (877) 4AUGTIX