Rachel Steele

Songs of the South at Thunder Valley

Alabama performs at Thunder Valley Casino

Alabama performs at Thunder Valley Casino

Rachel Steele and Scott Prentice of Road 88

Rachel Steele and Scott Prentice of Road 88

LINCOLN, CA – The legendary country music band Alabama made its way to Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday with special guest, Sacramento’s own, Rachel Steele and her band Road 88.

It was an evening of southern rock infused with a bit of bluegrass, sprinkled with a whole lotta of country as the award winning Alabama reminded fans why they have reigned over country music since the 80s.

Rachel Steele and Road 88 kicked off the concert in fine fashion with a cover of Miranda Lambert’s “Gun Powder & Lead” as temperatures hovered in the mid 90’s. Steele sang a number of original songs including “Drive a Little Faster,” “Nashville” and, my favorite, “The Shot Song.”

Randy Owen of Alabama

Randy Owen of Alabama

Steele was in complete command of the stage and the audience with her band Road 88, consisting of Scott Prentice (guitar/vocals), Charlie McGimsey (drums), Vinnie Panteleoni (bass), Bob Kinney (guitar), Gordon Graft (keys) and Sherry Eidhammer (backup vocals).

Sue and Katlin with Randy Owen of Alabama

Kaitlyn and Sue with Randy Owen of Alabama

Alabama has been together as a group for over 40 years and in 2004 the group decided to part ways and played their “final” concert in Bismark, North Dakota. In 2013 the band reformed for their 40th anniversary and set out on their Back to the Bowery tour, in reference to the Myrtle Beach club where they got their start.

During the bands time apart, Owen stayed active as a solo act and also successfully battled prostate cancer. Cook was  performing with his Allstar Goodtime Band, while Gentry was producer for his band Rockit City.

When Alabama took the stage everyone in the packed outdoor amphitheater was on their feet cheering as original band members Randy Owen (lead vocals/guitar), Jeff Cook (lead guitar,violin) and Teddy Gentry (bass), kicked off their 90+ minute set with “If You’re Going to Play in Texas,” with the audience singing along.


Jeff Cook of Alabama

They continued on with “Tennessee River,” followed by “Dixieland Delight.” The mostly older crowd remained seated for the majority of their performance, with small clusters of fans standing. During some of their songs people would dash to the aisles to dance to their favorite song.

Teddy Gentry of Alabama

Teddy Gentry of Alabama

Two audience members were singled out by Owen when he invited them up onstage so he could sing them “Happy Birthday.” Sue and Kaitlyn made their way to the stage and after Owen finished singing “Happy Brithday,” he asked them if that was good enough. By the looks on their faces it was plenty good enough.

For their encore they performed “Mountain Music,” at which point the crowd exploded to their feet to sing and dance along.


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Mark Chesnutt does his country thing

Mark Chesnutt

Mark Chesnutt

LINCOLN, CA – Mark Chesnutt headlined a night of country music in Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Holiday Pavilion on Sunday, with openers Rachel Steele and Confederate Railroad.

As fans started filing into the Holiday Pavilion, Rachel Steele and Road 88 kicked off the evening with Gretchen Wilson’s “All Jacked Up” and The Band Perry’s “Done.”

Steele and Road 88 just recently won the coveted Sammie Award for Sacramento’s best Americana/Alternative Country band, as voted by fans.

Rachel Steele and Bob Kinney

Rachel Steele and Bob Kinney

Steele and the Road 88 crew, consisting of Scott Prentice (vocal/guitar), Charlie McGimsey (drums), Vinnie Panteleoni (bass), Bob Kinney (guitar) and Tony Windle (keys), played several original works including “Nashville” and “Mama’s Still Waiting.”

Steele belted out “The Shot Song,” as a number of audience members stood up and started dancing to this original tune. According to Steele, she and Prentice got their inspiration for the song after watching comedian Gabriel Iglesias shooting shots of Tequila after a performance. Steele ended the set with Miranda Lamberts “Fastest Girl in Town.”

Danny Shirley of Confederate Railroad

Danny Shirley of Confederate Railroad

The audience was charged up and obviously looking forward to seeing Confederate Railroad after Steele’s high energy performance, but fans were disappointed as Confederate Railroad put on a lackluster performance and would have been better suited starting the show with Steele leading the way to Mark Chesnutt.

Confederate Railroad’s lead singer, Danny Shirley, was difficult to understand during his monologues and was spotty on his vocals. Joining Shirley onstage was Bobby Randall (guitar, minus his steel string), Rusty Hendrix (guitar), Mark Dufresne (drums) and Wayne Secrest (bass).

Mark Chesnutt

Mark Chesnutt

Towards the end of Confederate Railroad’s set, fans did react to their closing song “Trashy Women.”

Considered one of the most reliable country artists in the industry, Mark Chesnutt didn’t disappoint as he came out with “Bubba Shot the Jukebox,” followed by “Old Flames Have New Names.”

It was refreshing to hear Chesnutt’s clean vocals, and experience firsthand his ability to weave a story into a musical melody for all to enjoy. The audience was into his set from the start. Continuing he sang “Brother Jukebox” and “I Just Wanted You to Know.”

For his encore Chesnutt performed “Goin Through the Big D” and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” leaving fans on their feet cheering for more.

Trace Adkins takes Road 88 to Sunrise Marketplace

Trace Adkins Click for more images

Trace Adkins
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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA – Trace Adkins brought a whole lot of country to the Sunrise at Night Concert Series at Sunrise Marketplace in Citrus Heights on Thursday night, bringing with him local country singer Rachel Steele and Road 88.

Rachel Steele and Road 88 opened the show with Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder & Lead,” followed by Band Perry’s “Done.” As Steele warmed up the crowd with her steely vocals, the band was firing on all cylinders with Scott Prentice (guitar/vocals), Tom Long (guitar/vocals), Charlie McGimsey (drums), Vinnie Pantaleoni (bass/vocals), Eddie Villanueva (guitar) and Tony Windle (keys).

Rachel Steele Click for more images

Rachel Steele
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Steele had complete command of the stage and the audience, as she continued with their original song “Drive a Little Faster,” dedicating the song to all the veterans and current members of the armed forces.

Rachel Steele and Vinnie Pantaleoni

Rachel Steele and Vinnie Pantaleoni

Steele put on a wonderfully high energy performance belting out a number of original songs and covers. After every song the crowd cheered, seeming to fuel Steele’s vocals and energy level.

Trace Adkins

Trace Adkins

Her attitude-filled performance really took over the audience as she had everyone singing ‘shots of tequila’ with her original song “The Shot Song.” After her set was over, Steele and Road 88 were rewarded with a standing ovation.

As Trace Adkins made his way down center stage the women went wild with cheers – There was some hootin and hollerin too, after all it was a country music concert. Once Adkins made it front and center he pulled off his cowboy hat and bowed letting his long hair hang down, flipping it back as the women went wild.

Trace Adkins

Trace Adkins

In an odd choice for his opener, the 51-year-old Adkins kicked off his show with Bob Seger’s “Come to Pappa.” He followed it up with his original “Hillbilly Bone,” with fans singing along.

Adkins didn’t put on a high-energy performance as Rachel Steele did, but what he lacked in energy he made up for in swagger, moving his hips this way and that, leaving some women melting into a puddle of mush, especially when he went down into the lower register.

Adkin’s put on a great performance and it was refreshing to see a local band such as Road 88 take center stage opening for such a country music legend.

The Sunrise at Night Concert Series continues with Amy Grant w/Lincoln Brewster next week, followed by Bachman Turner Overdrive. The concert venue is the perfect size with no bad seats in the house, bar, food and more.

All photos taken by Randy Miramontez

Placer 10-35 Foundation’s Rockin’ in July


Next month the Placer 10-35 Foundation will be “Rockin’ in July” as they host a fundraising concert at Rock Hill Winery in Loomis, Calif. in support of Placer County peace officers and their families.


Rachel Steele

July 20th at 4 p.m. is when the fun begins, with music by Rachel Steele and Road 88, with special guest country singer Madison Hudson.

Headliner Rachel Steele and Road 88 bring their own style of country rock, providing fans with a high-energy performance ith a flawless delivery of nothing but good solid rock and roll – country style. They’ll bring you their original hits such as “Not Gonna Happen” and “Mama’s Still Waitin,’ ” along with some of your favorite foot stomping country tunes.

Madison Hudson is an up and coming country music star, bringing you her own brand of music, including her latest singles “Tommy” and “Too Shy.” Add Nikki Perez to the mix and you’ll be amazed at these two talented young women.

Not only will there be award winning wines from Rock Hill Winery and other beverages, there will also be some great eats as Swabbies restaurant will be making their famous tacos and other awesome treats.Madison-Hudson-CelebrityExaminer-ad2

Don’t miss out on a great time! The best part is all proceeds go to the Placer 10-35 foundation.

For your tickets call 530-308-1364.

Visit Placer 10-35 Foundation on their Facebook page where they will be announcing how you can win VIP Passes and more fun stuff.

Rock Hill Winery is located in Loomis at 2970 Del Mar Avenue.

About Placer 10-35 Foundation

The Placer 10-35 Foundation is a non-profit fraternal & benevolent association chartered to assist Placer County peace officers in times of great personal and organizational tragedy. We also are available to assist the families of slain peace officers throughout the region.

We are committed to celebrating the mission of the law enforcement officer and providing assistance when the inevitable tragedy occurs in this dangerous profession.

“10-35″ refers to the police radio code meaning, “Officer needs assistance”. The 8 stars in our logo represent our 8 Placer County deputies killed in the line of duty.

Concert Review: Madison Hudson

Madison Hudson - Click for more images

Madison Hudson – Click for more images

Madison Hudson is quickly becoming a local favorite in the country music world, as she’s starting to play larger venues such as Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill in Folsom, Calif.

I was first introduced to Hudson’s singing abilities at, of all places, a Doobie Brothers concert at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. Film star and singer, Branscombe Richmond brought Hudson up on stage to sing “Listen to the Music,” along with the Doobie Brothers.

The 15 year-old Hudson is country pop singer from the small town of Wheatland, located in rural Northern California. She’s been singing the national anthem at sporting events and from time to time has been making appearances with singer songwriter Rachel Steele and the band Road 88.

Rachel Steele - Click for more images

Rachel Steele – Click for more images

Opening at Toby Keith’s was a big move for the country singer as she was joined by Rachel Steele, and Road 88 band members Scott Prentice (guitar) and Billy Haggard (guitar). She also had a special guest singer Courtney Chapman, but more on that in a minute.

Kicking off their set, Hudson and Steele performed Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels” and Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue.” Hudson appeared nervous, but quickly overcame any nerves after “Stuck Like Glue.”

Hudson went on to perform solo, singing Kacey Musgraves’ “Merry Go ‘Round” and Hudson’s original song “Tommy.” She hit her stride as she began “Tommy,” and never looked back, as she performed a number of songs, both solo and with Steele, sounding more like a veteran performer than a 15 year-old up and coming star.

Scott Prentice - Click for more images

Scott Prentice – Click for more images

Courtney Chapman - Click for more images

Courtney Chapman – Click for more images

Halfway through her performance Hudson brought her special guest, and close friend, Courtney Chapman onstage to provide vocals. The duo brought the house down with a wonderful rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Mean.” Chapman did a sterling job on vocals and I was looking forward to hearing more from her, but that was not meant to be, as Chapman exited the stage after performing “Mean.”

Hudson has been hinting on her Facebook page that bigger things were coming this summer as she is scheduling more appearance and bringing Chapman along.

Billy Haggard - Click for more images

Billy Haggard – Click for more images

“Well I said 2013 would be crazy!” she wrote, “I will be working on stage with several artists working up to this summer. But I would like to introduce you all to Courtney! Courtney will be joining me starting this summer. We will be a new team and I am so lucky!! You will see us out and about together soon getting ready to rock it country style!!”

Looking forward to it!

Madison Hudson is someone to keep an eye on. You can find more information about her and Rachel Steele at the below links.

Visit Madison Hudson on:

Official Website
See Hudson perform “Tommy


Rachel Steele with Road 88 can be found at:

Official Website

Rock concert breaks out at country bar

Rachel Steele and Jeff Keith – Click for more images

It was a magical night at Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill in Folsom, California as singer, songwriter Rachel Steele and country band Road 88 were joined by the venerable rocker Jeff Keith, lead singer for the rock band Tesla.

Keith joined forces with Steele and her band to celebrate the release of his new CD “Jeff Keith and Country Music Friends.” The Album is the result of a side project Keith’s been working on with friends Kent Goodson and Pat Boone from The George Jones band. Pat Boone is not the really old guy who likes to drink milk, but the not-so-really old guy who likes country music.

Frank Hannon – Click for more images

When Steele was halfway through her set Keith, donning a cowboy hat and blue jacket, jumped up onstage  singing several songs from his new album. As if that wasn’t enough to get everyone on their feet, Tesla’s Troy Luckketta (drums) and Frank Hannon (guitar), who were there in support of Keith, joined him to perform Tesla’s hit “Signs,” followed by a fantastic rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”  Only Brian Wheat (bass) and Dave Rude (guitar) were missing from Tesla.

Frank Hannon and Billy Haggard

Road 88’s guitarist Billy Haggard and Hannon brought the house down with a killer battle of guitars, with Hannon finishing off the battle playing the guitar using a beer bottle up and down the neck of the guitar.

It gave more than a few people the goosies!

Road 88’s members include Scott Prentice (guitar, vocals), Billy Haggard (guitar), Charlie McGimsey (drums), Todd Prout (bass), Paul Southerland (lap/pedal steel, dobro) and Maggie Keith (backup vocals).

So how did Keith get mixed up in all things country?

Jeff Keith (center) and Road 88

Apparently Goodson and Boone met Keith after a Tesla concert in Canada and the next thing you know, the three of them are paddling around in a pontoon boat somewhere in the middle of Nashville, slamming down sasparillas, and singing country songs – go figure.

The album is solidly in the country genre with song titles like “Same Ol’ Cowboy,” Oklahoma Bound,” and my favorite “Oh Hell.” You can read the complete review here.

Keith also wants to assure all of his Tesla fans that he’s not quitting his day job –  or would that be his night job? He remains with Tesla and they are currently planning out their 2013 schedule, including the Monster of Rock Cruise in March.


Officer Needs Assistance at Thunder Valley Casino


Chris Gardner Band – Click for more images

The Placer County 10-35 Foundation’s Thunder in November charity drive took over Thunder Valley Casino’s Pano Hall on Saturday as the Chris Gardner Band, Road 88 and special guest Jeff Keith performed to a charitable crowd.

Jim Hudson with Placer County 10-35 Foundation

The Placer County 10-35 Foundation was created in 2011 as a non-profit charity designed to assist the men & women of Placer County law enforcement. The Foundation is a fraternal & benevolent association chartered to assist Placer County peace officers in times of great personal and organizational tragedy.

10-35 is part of law enforcement’s 10-code which means officer needs assistance.

Road 88 opened the show with lead singer Rachel Steele belting out Gretchen Wilson’s “All Jacked Up” and Emmylou Harris’ “One More Bottle of Wine.”

Road 88 – Click for more images

Joining founding members Rachel Steele (vocals) and Scott Prentice (guitar/vocals) were Billy Haggard (guitar), Charlie McGimsey (drums), Todd Prout (bass), Paul Southerland (lap/pedal steel, dobro) and Maggie Keith (backup vocals).

Road 88 was flawless in their delivery as one would expect from a band that was voted #1 in the Best Local Band category for the second year in a row on KCRA’s A-List.

Towards the end of their set Steele brought Tesla’s lead singer Jeff Keith on stage to sing a country song.



Jeff Keith goes to the dark side

Yes pardner you heard right! Jeff Keith comes strutting out looking cuter than a junebug in a jumpsuit, donning, of all things, a cowboy hat. Y’all wouldn’t have believe it.

After some wild applause and a collective gasp from the audience, Keith went on to explain that he was still with Tesla and all was good with the band, but he was pursuing a lifelong dream of singing country music. His new CD Jeff Keith and Country Music Friends, is due out on November 9th, featuring Kent Goodson and Pat Boone from The George Jones band.

With his best country voice, Keith went on to sing George Jones’ “Grand Tour,” as the crowd cheered him on.

As one would have expected, Keith’s chops were flawless and, surprisingly, he sounded like a genuine country star. Who’d have thunk it!

Scott Prentice and Jeff Keith – Click for more images

Stay tuned for a complete review of his new album.

In between sets Jim Hudson with the Placer County 10-35 foundation announced the winners of their silent auction for an autographed guitar signed by REO Speedwagon (Katie was the winner), and an autographed guitar signed by Road 88 and Jeff Keith(Diana was the winner). Katie insisted that she get a picture after the show with Chris Gardner and her newly acquired guitar.

The Chris Gardner Band kicked their set off with Alabama’s “Mountain Music” and Luke Bryan’s “Rain is a Good Thing,” as droves of people made their way to the dance floor.

Lead singer Chris Gardner was joined by Dwight Hogan (bass), Aaron Shively (lead guitar), Joey Gonzales (drums), Nikko Vargas (rhythm guitar), and Shawn Holiday (keyboard).

While Road 88 had a solid set, the Chris Gardner Band was able to pack the dance floor as they continued playing  “Something Like That” and “Dixieland Delight.”

This was a fun and successful event. Expect to see Thunder in November II next year!

For more information on Placer County 10-35 please visit them at http://www.placer1035foundation.org

Y’all don’t forget to checkout Jeff Keith’s alter ego at Jeff Keith Country!


Tuckered out at Thunder Valley Casino

Marshall Tucker Band - Click for more images

It was quite an evening at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Friday night as the Marshall Tucker Band and Sacramento’s own Road 88 played to an overflowing crowd in Pano Hall.

Kicking off the night was Road 88 led by Rachael Steele, whose vocals reigned supreme. Starting their set off appropriately with “Attitude,” followed by “Two More Bottles of Wine,” they were hitting on all cylinders.

Joining founding members Rachel Steele (vocals), Scott Prentice (guitar/vocals) and David Phelps (guitar) were Billy Haggard (guitar), Charlie McGimsey (drums), and Todd Prout (bass).

Road 88 was voted Best Local Band in Sacramento for 2011 by local television station KCRA’s A-list. At the time they had been together a couple of years and already had a hit climbing the charts in Europe with their song “Not Gonna Happen.”

Rachel Steele with Road 88 - Click for more images

Since that time there has been some shuffling of band members resulting in the lineup above. The move appears to be successful with some great guitar playing throughout their set, and a new level of energy, with Haggard bouncing around the stage, going from one performer to the next saying god knows what, but apparently making everyone laugh. The only question is – Were they laughing with him or at him?

Road 88 continued with a few of their original songs including “Drive” and “Child of Innocence.”

Prentice soloed with “That’s How They do it in Dixie,” followed by Steele closing their set in style with their original hard-driving “Faultline.”

After a quick set-change the Marshall Tucker Band took the stage with 64 year old founding member Doug Gray singing “This Old Cowboy.” As soon as the flute kicked in I was reminded of why Marshall Tucker’s music has stood out for all these years.

The Marshall Tucker band members included Marcus James Henderson (flute/sax/keyboards), Pat Elwood (bass),  Chris Hicks (guitar), and B.B. Bordon (drums). The guys were the true stars of the show playing extended versions of their hits like “Hillbilly Band,” “Fire on the Mountain,” and “24 hours at a Time.”

Henderson was non-stop, playing the flute, on to the sax, over to the keyboards and then back again. He did an awesome job, earning him several well deserved standing O’s.

Marcus James Henderson with MTB - Click for more images

Gray, being the southern gentleman that he is, talked to the crowd in between songs, joking about his age and how the band has been around for 40 years. Focusing on one of the younger ladies in the front row, he joked about her not understanding what Winterland meant, referencing their legendary performance at Bill Graham’s Winterland auditorium in San Francisco back in 1973.

For their finale, “Can’t You See,” Gray had the audience singing “‘Can’t you see, can’t you see, what that woman has been doing to me,’ providing one of those “goose-bump” moments.

While Gray’s voice isn’t what it used to be, he still has that wonderful soulful sound, although a bit rough at times. The instrumentals were to die for, with soaring flute solos and hard driving guitar riffs. All executed with perfection.

The Marshall Tucker Band is truly an awesome instrumental group bursting at the seams with talent, making for a memorable performance and reminding me of a entire orchestra rather than a handful of performers.


Hitting it Big & Rich at Thunder Valley Casino

Big & Rich brought their country music tour, Xtreme Music: The Tour, to Thunder Valley Casino and Resort Friday night. Playing to a full house, the crew was engaging and extremely entertaining. Playing with Big & Rich were, of course, Big Kenny and John Rich, with special guests Gretchen Wilson and Cowboy Troy.

This kicked off a weekend full of concerts out at Thunder Valley Casino with Ramon Ayala playing Saturday, and KC & The Sunshine Band on Sunday.

Click for more images

Opening the concert was local heroes, Road 88 ““ you just gotta love the name. The band was named Best Local Band in Sacramento by KCRA’s A-list. Having been together for only a couple of years they already have hit the charts in Europe with their original song “Not Gonna Happen.” Expect to see some big things from these guys and gals in the near future.

Lead singer Rachel Steele sounded awesome as did the rest of the crew consisting of Scott Prentice (Lead vocals and rhythm guitar), David Phelps (lead vocals and guitar), Sherry Eidhammer (Vocals), Joe Anderson (Drums), and Joe Irwin (Bass).

Talk about working a crowd. People were standing their entire set and people who were just milling around waiting for Big & Rich started filing in to watch and listen as they performed. When they left the stage it was obvious the audience wanted more, as did I.

Just make sure you get out and see them before they skyrocket to fame (if they haven’t already)!

Click for more images

As the stage lit up in a dazzling array of bright lights, color beams, and strobes, Big Kenny and John Rich came out with their latest hit single “Fake I.D.”

The Muzik Mafia, as they like to refer to themselves, share an eight-piece band on a custom stage that includes a fully functional bar as the centerpiece. The music never stopped as Big & Rich, Gretchen, and Cowboy Troy performed hit after hit ““ the convenience of having one band do it all.

I know they were going for that local bar feel, but this reminded me more of a circus with all the different colored lights going off and the rotation of artists throughout the night. John Rich started out in a red shirt and when Cowboy Troy showed up he also had a red shirt, adding to the circus feel. That’s not to say it was a bad thing, it was simply great.

It was a nice touch when, after thanking all the military personnel in the crowd, including past, present and future, they brought a couple of individuals who are currently serving in the military up onstage. Major Sargent Surita A. Rorie and Technical Sargent Eric Grant had Gretchen playing bartender and telling her guests to belly-up to the bar for a shot of their favorite drink as a toast to their dedication and commitment. Not sure, but I think they both went for the Jack Daniels.

Probably the funniest part of the show was when John Rich was telling the audience about his adventures in town. Turns out he took a ride in one of Thunder Valley’s limousines and ended up at our local Wal-Mart. He became fascinated with a jar of Cheese Balls. Funny thing is, I knew exactly what he was talking about since I was there earlier that day too. They are really large cheese balls in a very large clear plastic jar. Wal-Mart has them in stock for Halloween. I didn’t buy them, because god forbid, if I were to bring anything in our house with artificial anything in it. I guess Rich doesn’t have that problem at his house since he bought at least one and brought it with him onstage. He had all the band members sign the jar and then tossed it to one lucky fan.

It was a really fun night out at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort ““ as usual.

Next up for Thunder Valley this weekend is Ramon Ayala!

Big & Rich Set-list:Fake ID
Here For the Party
Comin to Your City
Wild West
I Got Your Country Right Here
Home Wrecker
Angel From Montgomery
Lost in This Moment
8th of November
Love Train
Work Hard, Play Harder
Hot Blooded
Chicken With a Train
All Jacked Up
Save a Horse, Ride a CowboyEncore
Redneck Woman
Ballad of Big and Rich
Road 88 Set List:Little White Church
Drive (Road 88)
Not Gonna Happen (Road 88)
The Fever

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