Gloriana with Steel Magnolia
8 p.m. Saturday
11501 N.E. Expressway
Free with park admission, $22.99-$36.99
Among the multitudes trying to make a career in music, precious few find that golden ticket in the corner bar where they languish.
Tom and Mike Gossin, Rachel Reinert and Cheyenne Kimball spent plenty of time there in Tennessee, struggling to separate themselves from the legions of wannabe Nashville stars. The members of country-pop group Gloriana had been chasing the dream for years individually when they slowly discovered each other, and found that together, they could accomplish things they couldn't do on their own.
Gloriana turned the stomping anthem "Wild at Heart" into a Top 20 country hit last year, thanks to some wonderful harmonies, a catchy melody and an evocative story of young dreamers rising above meager beginnings to create something special. Several months later, the band's self-titled debut climbed as high as No. 2 on the Billboard country charts. A tour with Taylor Swift followed, and now the group has graduated from the van that started things off to a sumptuous tour bus, as the road spreads out before them, in anticipation of their second album.
"Every single day, we wake up realizing just how lucky we are, because you know, the boys, they were playing in bars. Cheyenne was working in a tanning salon," Reinert said. "We started out, basically, with barely anything."
The Gossins spent a decade playing bars in North Carolina, before moving to Nashville to take their shot. Reinert grew up loving to sing, attended a performing arts school, and submitted demos as a teenager that earned her a publishing deal when she was 15. At 17, she moved to Nashville looking for her break. Kimball had already won "America's Most Talented Kid" at 12 and an album deal from Sony, releasing a solo disc at 15. She even had her own MTV reality show in 2006, but things had begun to peter out when, at 17, she took the salon job and wondered what her next move would be.
The Gossins discovered Reinert on MySpace and invited her to jam. Being brothers, Tom and Mike's voices already blended beautifully, and they thought the addition of Reinert's made them even better. They'd begun playing around town when Kimball saw the trio play at the well-known 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill, and approached them afterward. Reinert recognized Kimball from her reality show, and told the boys she was talented. The musicians decided to give it a try as a quartet, and couldn't have been more pleased with the result.
"We all grew up loving harmony and groups that had alternating lead singers that did a lot of harmonies," Reinert said. "We just were always very much on the same page musically. I think that's how we knew. We definitely felt like there was something special from the get-go."
In 2008, Gloriana sent a demo to Matt Serletic, a producer who had worked with Collective Soul and Matchbox 20 on those acts' breakthroughs, and produced Carlos Santana's huge hit "Smooth." At 31, Serletic left his CEO slot at Virgin Records for his new label, Emblem Music, when he discovered Gloriana, and made the band his first signing. He took a very hands-on role with the debut, helping turn the quartet into a crossover act right out of the box.
"He definitely had a hand in developing us in a lot of ways, just basically showing us the ropes and kind of leading us in the right direction," Reinert said. "He's absolutely amazing and incredibly talented. He's just a great guy that took a risk taking the four of us on, and it got us to this point, so we definitely feel very blessed."
After spending nearly the last year and a half supporting its debut, Gloriana is anxious to return to the studio. The members have a strong appreciation for traditional country and bluegrass, and hope to bring that out in the next album. They also hope to stretch their own songwriting voices, after leaning heavily on collaborations with established Nashville writers for their debut.
"What was cool about this first record is that we had some songs that had a little more of the traditional bluegrass vibe, and we're going to tailor it to be more leaning toward that," Reinert said. "We've grown up a bit and we've seen a lot, and we've definitely gotten a lot more influence. This next record is definitely going to have the same Gloriana sound. It's not going to be completely different, by any means, but it's going to have a lot more of us in it. We feel like we've earned that in a way." "Chris Parker