Entertainers at the 2023 Franklin-Southampton County Fair

Published 3:37 pm Friday, August 11, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


Alex Miller has already secured his place in the global consciousness and in the hearts of music lovers alike with his larger-than-life personality, tireless work ethic and four high-impact singles: “I’m Over You, So Get Over Me,” “Don’t Let The Barn Door Hit Ya,” “Through With You,” and “When God Made The South.” Building on the popularity he earned during American Idol, Season 19 and embracing the lessons he learned from its superstar coaches, Miller worked hard to define his sound and take his brand of “fresh” Country, fine tune it, and broadcast it to the universe. His rich and distinctive baritone voice, songwriting skills and love of traditional and modern Country music, have allowed him to do just that and Alex has proven he is here to stay.

Miller’s rise has been swift. After his Idol exit, he quickly secured management, signed with Nashville-based Billy Jam Records, and released his well-received debut album, MILLER TIME. The disc displays the broad range of Alex’s traditional musical influences, including Swing, Bluegrass, Country, and Gospel.

“It’s been a whirlwind for sure,” says the outgoing and confident, 6’ 6” Kentuckian. “I went from performing regionally to playing at the Ryman Auditorium for goodness sakes.” In addition to the Ryman, in 2021, Alex entertained at multiple State Fairs (Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Washington, Wisconsin), and he opened for Hank, Jr, Josh Turner, Lee Brice, and Shenandoah. The talented newcomer was chosen as the Texas Roadhouse Artist of the Month (October) and performed a duet with Grand Ole Opry star Rhonda Vincent at the Lee Greenwood All-Star Salute concert in November.

In 2022, Miller opened for Brooks & Dunn (Iowa State Fair), Jamey Johnson (Wisconsin State Fair), Generation Radio (Ohio State Fair), Niko Moon (Kentucky State Fair), King Calaway (Oklahoma State Fair), and Aaron Watson (Tulsa State Fair). Additionally, he headlined at The New York State Fair, opened shows for Diamond Rio and Sawyer Brown, and debuted at the popular Wild Rose Casinos in Iowa.

This year he has focused on his songwriting, penning tunes with hitmakers Kent Blazy, Jerry Salley, Bill Whyte, Josh Shilling, and Emily Ann Roberts. “One thing I really took away from Idol is that I need to keep challenging myself,” the young entertainer reflects. “And songwriting does that for me.” Alex has also partnered with Europe’s #1 Country Music Radio Station, CMR Nashville, to host an hour-long curated, monthly radio show called MILLER TIME. Alex spins songs – old and new, written by himself and others, that have impacted him in some way. It’s a fun, inside look at Miller’s creative mind. It’s also a project he can continue to work on as he takes to the road again. Tour dates with Chris Janson, Drake Milligan, HunterGirl, Noah Thompson, and Tracy Byrd are booked for this summer, and his upcoming EP is due out this fall.

Alex has been performing professionally since the age of seven, progressing steadily from shows in and around his hometown of Lancaster, Kentucky to larger markets, appearing at the Dolby Theatre, Lucas Oil Stadium, WoodSongs, Renfro Valley, Lincoln Jamboree and more. His expressive voice brought him early success. His skill with guitar and lap steel is evident on stage. Alex also plays ukulele, bass, and banjo, and has taken up the fiddle as well. He was building a name for himself as the young newcomer to watch, but that slow and steady approach ended when Alex auditioned for Idol in 2020. It’s been full steam ahead ever since.

“I’m getting a chance to push some boundaries,” Alex notes. “I’ve got more confidence now and I’m always trying new things.” His latest single, “Girl, I Know A Guy,” highlights Miller’s flexibility. “It reminds me of the Eddy Arnold hit “You Don’t Know Me” (written by Cindy Walker), but with a modern twist,” Alex notes. “It’s an upbeat, in-your-face contemporary love song that leaves the listener in suspense. I don’t know if the guy gets the girl, but I do know he’s there for her if she needs him. There’s plenty of fiddle and steel guitar throughout – and that’s my kind of Country.”

His kind of Country is a style that’s easy to like – much like Alex. He’s wholesome and inspiring – with a baby face and enthusiasm to spare. And Miller is here to stay.


Chase McDaniel was raised by grandparents in Kentucky with traditional family values and old school country music. He was taught to bet on himself and that, paired with his rich baritone voice. All of that comes together as his latest song debuts #1 on the country single charts and #4 all genres chart, an unprecedented feat for an independent artist.

Having some tough times early on, the music of George Jones, Johnny Cash, and Conway Twitty, and family who loved singing gospel, resonated with Chase developed a bit of an old soul when it comes to music. He started performing doing covers of Johnny Cash and started developing his own voice too.

Like many other musicians, he eventually made his way to Nashville. But with the pandemic and out of work, he was down to his last $12 and ready to pack up and head home when a friend loaned him money to stay a couple more weeks. Luck struck as one of the 50 restaurants offered him a job. He gave this shot everything he had — working double shifts, sleeping as little as four hours and writing and recording with his producer and best friend Jerry Jacobs every other minute of the day.

What he’s developed — the sound, work ethic, and more are all uniquely his own as Chase is a true independent artist. He released his first song “Relapse” online garnering over 2 million streams without any “playlisting” or other help. His follow-up “Project,” also released without industry hype has reached the top of the charts thanks to his rabid fan base. “Project” had over 1.2 million streams in just the first week!

It’s clear that Chase McDaniel blends old and new to deliver something incredibly unique and listeners can’t get enough of it!


When country music newcomer Drake Milligan moved from Fort Worth to Nashville, he didn’t just come here to sing. He came to listen.

At just 19 years old, armed with an appreciation for the history of country music, Milligan listened in co-writes and recording sessions, where songwriters taught him how to tell a story, legendary producers taught him how to use the mics and studio as a vehicle for his voice, seasoned musicians were willing to back the new guy, and his country music heroes shared insightful advice on how to seamlessly shift from the studio and the stage — letting things snowball from there.

Now at 23 years old, having taken in all that wisdom, he’s ready to introduce himself to the world with the release of his debut EP, Drake Milligan.

It was Milligan’s intent to pen every song on his first release, but he knew that he’d be better off if he didn’t go at it alone. “Word got around, and I was invited into more and more co-writes, and finding my own sound was what that was all about.” “I wrote for the last three years. I write every day. You realize when you get to Nashville that you have to write thousands of songs before a really good one comes out,” he says.

That’s where his heroes came in. Milligan was able to book writing sessions with industry legends like Bill Anderson (Brad Paisley, Conway Twitty, George Strait), Dean Dillon (Chris Stapleton, George Strait, Kenny Chesney), Monty Criswell (Josh Turner, Trace Adkins, Tanya Tucker), Marv Green (Billy Currington, Brooks & Dunn, Lonestar), Paul Overstreet (Blake Shelton, Randy Travis, Ronnie Milsap), Terry McBride (Easton Corbin, Garth Brooks, Hank Williams Jr.) and Brice Long (Jon Pardi, Gary Allan, Randy Houser).

“The reason I came to Nashville is because all of my heroes are here. All the guys who wrote and played on my favorite songs are still so good. They wake up every day and want to write the best song they can. I wanted to learn something from every write. Writing with those songwriters was a rite of passage for me,” Milligan says. “Seeing how excited Bill and Dean and the others are about writing songs was so inspiring to me.”

“We all get here with a different set of influences. Mine were mainly George Strait and Elvis. Along with a lot of Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, and George Jones. That’s what my mom and dad listened to, so my earliest music memories came from that,” he says. “As I was writing, I learned that the best sad songs are bittersweet and even a little hopeful. I love that tradition in country music: how sad songs can help you feel understood. That’s the magic, because not everything in life is sunshine and rainbows.”

Once the songs were written, it was time to find a producer. Milligan enlisted the award-winning music producer and industry icon Tony Brown (Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, Vince Gill) and songwriter/producer Brandon Hood. Brown first discovered Milligan’s talent as a performer when he saw him portray Elvis Presley in the 2017 CMT TV series Sun Records, an adaptation of the Tony-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet.

It was then time to record, and Milligan opted for seasoned session musicians who played on the music he was raised on. “When I hear Stuart Duncan (George Strait, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Tim McGraw, Clint Black, John Prine, Travis Tritt, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Elvis Costello) playing fiddle on my record, it takes me back to all the songs I loved that he played on,” he says. The EP also boasts renowned piano player Gordon Mote (Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Josh Turner, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton). “I figured a guy like that wouldn’t even want to play on a new guy’s record,” he admits, even though he’s more of an old soul at heart than a so-called new guy.

Finally, when it came time to unearth his very own sound, the Nashville newcomer turned to his roots: Texas. Growing up in Fort Worth and loving the outdoors as much as he loved music, Milligan’s intent was always to sound like Milligan, as opposed to merely copying the sonic vocals and instrumentations of his heroes. While the family scrapyard business was never his plan B, he still thinks of Texas as home and Nashville as his home base. “There’s no way I could’ve made this record in Texas. The songwriters and players here are the best in the world. I don’t want to ever lose my roots,” Milligan says, “but Nashville is like no other place in the world.”

The result is his debut EP, stacked with five songs all co-written by Milligan, packed with everything country music fans want. Milligan layers the fiddle and steel in the trouble-drowning, alcohol-soaked “Over Drinkin’ Under Thinkin’” and rediscovers the lost art of fast talking in the upbeat, rebellious “Sounds Like Something I’d Do.” But it’s not all up tempo toe-tappers. It’s in the ballads that he really showcases his deep, smooth as silk vocals. “Don’t Look Down” has Milligan painting a picture of falling in love on a dance floor, defying gravity thanks to the honky-tonk’s trusty old jukebox, and “She” is a beautifully simple but emotive depiction of a lovesick boy completely in love with a girl, as he lists off everything he loves about her.


National Recording Artist Runnin’ Shine is a Music Row Country Breakout Charted group which has earned accolades including the Veer Magazine 2019, 2020, 2021 Country Artist of the Year, 2020 Josie Award Nominee, 2021 Josie Award Recipient, and Great American Song Writing Finalist.

With an EP and two full length albums under their belt, the group has released three singles to national radio which all seated in the Top 80, including their first single “Shotgun” which spent 3 weeks at #40 on Nashville’s Music Row chart with over 22,000 radio spins across the U.S. and Canada.

The seasoned act has shared the stage with national artists including Jimmy Allen, Michael Ray, Billy Ray Cyrus, Parmalee, Lanco and Colt Ford among others.

Runnin’ Shine is a four-piece country act comprised of Janice Chandler on vocals and acoustic guitar, Richie Bohr on lead electric guitar, Bill Snow on drums, and Jim Cahoon on the bass. Hailing from various hometowns and brought together by the love of country music, each player brings a powerful energy and a uniqueness to the band. We call it Rage Country, you call it country with a lot of swagger. Either way, you’re in for a good time! We don’t ever walk the line.


Tuesday’s Gone was born in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2005 at an open mic night when a couple of local guitarists (John Pereksta and TR Gwynne) approached lead singer Ryan King and asked him if he wanted to get up and do a few Skynyrd songs. After agreeing, Ryan took the stage with the two guitarists along with the house drummer and bassist, and it didn’t take him long to realize that these two had been playing together for quite some time. It wasn’t the staple Skynyrd hits that people would normally want to jam on, like Sweet Home Alabama, or Gimme Three Steps, that they began to play. They started with “Workin’ for MCA” and from there proceeded into “I Ain’t the One,” “That Smell,” and “On The Hunt,” and played all of the guitar parts flawlessly! By the conclusion of the evening, and after a roaring applause from a Raleigh crowd, Ryan got everybody’s contact info, and “Tuesday’s Gone” began rehearsing the very next week in a small storage unit in Raleigh. Lead singer and frontman Ryan King said “It just sounded way too good to ignore, ya know? People had been asking me for years to put together some sort of a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute, and after hearing some pretty awful attempts through the years, I just wasn’t interested. Then I heard how good one of these things could sound that night if it was done the right way, and with respect, and I just couldn’t ignore it. This had to happen.”

Tuesday’s Gone has had numerous incredibly talented members come and go throughout the many years they’ve been traveling the country, replicating the original 1970s era of Lynyrd Skynyrd right down to the last detail. Fans and critics alike all seem to agree that the current lineup is one of, if not the, strongest lineup the band has had yet. Meet the band:

Ryan King – Lead Vocals, Jason Patterson – Drums, David “Elwood” Elmore – Bass, Michael Meeks – Piano/Keys, Joe Sprunt – Guitar/Backing Vocals, Spencer Carlson – Guitar/Backing Vocals and Dave Nicholls – Guitar/Backing Vocals.

In the beginning, the original members of Tuesday’s Gone had no idea that the band would ever even play outside of Raleigh, much less end up touring the entire country. But the band caught on, and spread like a wildfire in no time flat. It wasn’t long before TG was not only playing shows all over their home state of North Carolina, but all up and down every state on the East Coast as well.

The band has enjoyed playing for nearly 20 years, making memories out west in Montana, Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and many others along the way. Up north they’ve bumped the Canadian border in upstate New York, visiting New Jersey, Pennsylvania and all of New England often. Down south they’ve frequented Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Thousands of fans from every state mentioned, and nearly every state in between them all, will tell you that if you come to one show, you’ll be back again! From world famous music venues and casinos, to world famous bike fests. From fairs and festivals, to NASCAR races, Tuesday’s Gone has done it all.

About the only thing that this band loves as much as replicating the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd perfectly, and meeting as many amazing fans as they can along the way, is being on the road and traveling to new places. Singer Ryan King is quoted as saying “Millions of people love this stuff, that’s no secret. So do we. But we don’t only love this stuff, we live this stuff! I suppose that’s why singing these songs comes as naturally as it does…I can relate to every word. I feel like I live these lyrics that Ronnie wrote every day of my life. He really was an amazingly prolific songwriter.”

Ties to folks within “Skynyrd’s Innyrds”

Tuesday’s Gone has been blessed throughout the many years they’ve been together to have not only earned the respect of many amazing people in the world of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but to have also forged relationships with most of them….

Rock n Roll Hall of Fame member, and former Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle has not only become fast friends with Tuesday’s Gone, but has gone as far as filling in for drummer Jason Patterson, and playing complete shows with the band. Artimus also rehearsed for months with singer Ryan King, after recruiting the lead vocalist to join he and his band for multiple shows on the Rock Legends Cruise, in 2022.

Former Skynyrd guitarist Randall Hall is close friends with Singer Ryan King, and recruited him some years back to be the lead singer and frontman for the Randall Hall Band out of Jacksonville, Florida.

The late Jimmie Van Zant, first cousin of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s founding father and frontman Ronnie Van Zant, honored Tuesday’s Gone onstage at a show in Kinston, NC one night when he gifted lead singer Ryan King one of Ronnie’s personal signature Hi-Roller hats, made by Texas Hatters. More recently, Jimmie Van Zant’s personal assistant, and head PR representative, Lori Emory, along with the matriarch of the Van Zant family, “Aunt” Jane Van Zant, joined together to honor Tuesday’s Gone at a show they played in Wilmington, NC with two custom plaques; one from the Van Zant family, and one from Lynyrd Skynyrd themselves.

From former Skynyrd tour managers like Paul Abraham, to former Skynyrd roadies like Craig Reed, everyone who has seen or heard Tuesday’s Gone recognizes immediately that they’re not just another “tribute band,” they’re much more. The love and respect each member has for the music, the story, the members, and the fans, runs very deep. You need look no farther than the next stage they stand on to see and hear that for yourself. For more information visit www.tuesdaysgoneband.com.