Cole Swindell and Joe Lasher Jr 025How do you go from a small town in the mountains of western North Carolina, to a stage in Tennessee, where you find yourself opening for Cole Swindell?  Just ask Joe Lasher Jr., who had that opportunity last night at the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn.  While Joe knew most of the people at that sold-out show were there to see Cole, he was not without his share of fans.  Before the show started, one lady told us she took the day off work so she could drive to northeast Tennessee and see Joe perform.  He has a lot of shows booked throughout the southern part of the United States, so be sure to check his web site for that list of show dates.

Cole Swindell and Joe Lasher Jr 007Before and after the show, it became evident how many fans Joe has. They lined up for photos and autographs, and for just an opportunity to talk to him, and tell him how much they liked his music.  He made time for those people, and they appreciated him doing that as much as he appreciated everyone being there.

Everyone who has been reading Country’s Chatter for the past eight years knows that I am a die-hard traditional country music fan.  Because of that, I had a little trouble with Joe’s music. I am not speaking for the majority of the audience when I tell you that I heard more ‘rock ‘n roll’ and not quite enough ‘real country’ for my liking.  However, I am speaking for the majority when I tell you that what we heard was a very talented musician, with powerful vocals, a kind who knew how to keep his audience entertained.  And, what we saw was a strong, vigorous, energetic performance by an up-and-coming artist who without a doubt has a very bright future ahead of him in the world of country/rock music.

Cole Swindell and Joe Lasher Jr 078Joe isn’t just a singer, he isn’t just a great stage performer, he is also a very good songwriter. I think my favorite songs last night were “Leaving Carolina,” and “How a Country Boy Rides”.  The audience was really into Joe’s cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’. Yes, there was a lot of rock. However, he didn’t completely get away from the kind of country we are hearing today.  The lyrics to the songs he had a hand in writing were definitely country. And, unlike much of today’s rock – you could understand what Joe was saying when he sang.  His country roots sure came out when he sang, “Play Something Country,” the hit by Brooks & Dunn.

I can understand why there is a lot to Joe Lasher Jr. that ‘rock fans’ are going love.  And, it didn’t take me long to discover there is a lot to Joe that country fans are going to love, too. He talked to  his audience from the stage.  And, like Scotty McCreery the night before, Joe Lasher Jr. is not ashamed of his faith.  I loved when he told us that Rule No. 2 is “Don’t ever forget where you came from”.  And, Rule No. 1 is “Jesus is your savior, He died for you.”  Those are definitely two very important rules.  And, I hope as long as he is singing, that he will continue to share those rules with is audiences.

Cole Swindell and Joe Lasher Jr 062You can find all kinds of videos from Joe on YouTube. And, you will hear every bit of the artists who influenced him coming out in his music. If you don’t hear Bon Jovi, Lynyrd Skynyrd,  and Eric Church in his songs – you just aren’t listening. My favorite YouTube video was “Eyes”. This song is definitely ‘today’s country’.

Joe’s band members are Zach Haney, from Canton, N.C., on lead guitar and vocals; Andalyn Lewis, Asheville, N.C., vocals and bass guitar; and Harry Lewis, from New Jersey, on drums. Joe is a performer who doesn’t just ‘front the band’, he shares his stage with them. He works with them. They are all part of the show.

I’m going to close this article out as I do most fair articles – with more pictures from last night’s show! This is not the last article you are going to see a bout Joe Lasher Jr.  Joe was kind enough to give us a few CDs and stickers – and that can only mean we are going to have another contest for our readers soon! So, keep looking for that one.  We’ll also give you another article with more info and photos soon.

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In addition to Joe’s web site, visit his Facebook page, and remember to “Like” it while you are there. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeLasherJr. If you aren’t already following Country’s Chatter on Twitter, we’d love to have you. You will find us @countryschatter.

We are heading out to the fair. Back with more soon!
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How do you go from a small town in the mountains of western North Carolina, to a stage in Tennessee, where you find yourself opening for Cole Swindell?  Just ask Joe Lasher Jr., who had that opportunity last night at the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn.  While Joe knew...