Two of country music's brightest young stars are touring together for the first time and bringing their Young Country Tour to Marlinton at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pocahontas Opera House.
Tickets for American Idol semi-finalist Chase Likens and Grand Ole Opry performer Kayla Slone are available now online for $15 at www.pocahontasoperahouse.org, with links also available on both artists' websites. The two buzzed-about young country artists will each perform their own set as well as several duets. The tour is being booked and routed by The Bazel Group in Nashville, Tenn.
"The great thing about this tour is the broad variety music fans will experience; Chase has a more rowdy contemporary country style, and Kayla just kills those country classics," said Ed Bazel, head of The Bazel Group on Nashville's Music Row.
Chase Likens is a triple threat: A country music singer, songwriter and actor, who recently was a Top 12 Males Finalist on American Idol Season 11, winning the praise of judge Jennifer Lopez, who said of the country hunk: "You've got the movie star good looks for sure, but you sounded great tonight, as well. Tonight is about showing America who you are, and you definitely did that with that song. I look forward to seeing where you go." "You definitely have range," said veteran judge and music executive Randy Jackson "You're ready dude. You're ready." "Welcome to American Idol, cowboy," said judge Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
Since Idol, Likens has wowed fans performing at fairs and festivals throughout the U.S., sharing the stage with Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Thompson Square and America's Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., among others. Likens recently performed at the prestigious Zeigenbock Fest in Houston alongside notable Texas Country artists Kevin Fowler, Roger Creager and Randy Rogers. His new single "No Other Girl" is available on iTunes and was serviced to Country radio stations nationally. Chase will be embarking on a 20-city radio tour starting in late spring. His debut CD will be released this summer. \Visit Likens online at www.chaselikensofficial. com.
Kayla Slone says it all started at the checkout counter at a Wal-Mart store deep in the foothills of West Virginia, where she would sing to her customers while working the register. One of them whipped out a smart phone and shot a video of Slone's authentic Appalachian crooning to later post it online. That brief clip soon went viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of views worldwide.
Soon, a local ABC reporter saw the video of Slone's heartfelt rendition of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire classics online, found her still singing at Walmart and did a story about Kayla for the evening news. That story soon made its way to ABC World News Tonight's Diane Sawyer, who featured Slone on her national evening newscast. Grand Ole Opry executives were watching, and soon Slone was standing on that world-famous stage, receiving a standing ovation from the sell-out Opry crowd while ABC filmed it all for yet another national news story.
Since then, Slone's life has been a whirlwind; her first-ever trip to New York City for a national TV appearance on the Anderson Cooper Show, a backstage meeting with country chart topper Dierks Bentley and a personal invitation to join him in Las Vegas for the Academy of Country Music Awards, then an invitation to perform for top Wal-Mart corporate executives at company meetings in Bentonville, Ark., who featured Kayla in a full-page article in their corporate magazine.
Perhaps most poignantly, the young singer received words of encouragement followed by an invitation to perform with the undisputed Queen of Country Music, Loretta Lynn.
"She was so kind and so humble; I can't tell you what an honor it's been to just be in the same room with Loretta, much less share a stage with her," Kayla said.
Slone's also shared the stage with the Marshall Tucker Band and Confederate Railroad and is "excited to take our old smelly tour bus out with Chase Likens; it's gonna be fun." Visit Slone online at www.officialkaylaslone.com.