Music often plays a huge part in an author’s writing process. For Caisey Quinn, her love for country music inspired her novels from the start. To celebrate her latest, Leaving Amarillo, which stars a headstrong heroine who perfoms in a band with her brother and his hot best friend, we asked Caisey to name the top five concerts she’s ever attended. Queue up the music and read on!
5. Sam Hunt @ Tin Roof in Birmingham, AL — I went to graduate school with Sam at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, so seeing a line wrapped around a building in a local show of support was amazing! I’m a huge fan of his and am in awe of his song-writing abilities! While it was shoulder-to-shoulder jam packed, watching someone’s dreams come true the way mine have was completely worth dealing with the packed house!
4. Luke Bryan/Lee Brice @ Oak Mountain Amphitheater in Birmingham, AL — Luke sang “Sweet Home Alabama” for first time in 10 years (check Al.com for video — I’m in it!). He even had a piano brought onto the stage for the special performance. Lee Brice also played at this concert and hearing “I Drive Your Truck” in person affected me in a way I wasn’t expecting. I’d heard the song on the radio several times, but the emotion in Lee’s live rendition even brought tears to my husband’s eyes! I think this is why I love live music so much — it becomes a deeply unique and personal experience between the artist and the audience, something you can’t get just by listening to the radio.
3. Hugo in Panama City Beach, FL — Before they made their appearance in the movie No Strings Attached, I was able to see this band put their unique folk/rock twist on Jay Z classics like “99 Problems” and I was enthralled! Even though it was years ago, I still find myself modeling fictional bands after them because their sound is so very distinctive and moving.
2. Unknown Band @ Crossroads in Nashville, TN — No, their name isn’t actually “Unknown Band” — I sadly still don’t know their name! Their name might forever remain a mystery to me but they inspired Leaving Amarillo, the band in my Neon Dreams series, so I have to include them!
Not too long ago (barely over a year), I took a trip to Nashville with some friends. It was one of those last minute “oh my gosh, we have to see this super big artist doing a concert in a tiny venue (The Stage) because they just tweeted that they’ll be there” type road trips. Unplanned, beef jerky, big gulps and random road mix CD style adventure. My favorite kind.
However, by the time we arrived at the venue it was full. Literally. Wall-to-wall crammed, people spilling out onto the sidewalk, packed to maximum capacity. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who caught word that a big name artist was going to be there.
We decided to just check out a few local spots instead. In a bar called Crossroads we got comfy, ordered drinks and started chatting about how bummed we were that we didn’t get to see the original artist we intended to. I can’t even remember now who it was. Here’s why:
As we’re ordering a second — okay, maybe a third — round and deciding if we’re going to just call it a night and get a hotel room or head home (Birmingham is only about three hours away), this glorious sound fills the air. No, it pierces the air, rips through it and grabs everyone in hearing range by the eardrums.
Our conversation — along with many others — ceased instantly. Chill bumps ran up my arms even though it was quite warm and I was wearing a jacket.
Most of the patrons gaped in awe as this young woman played the fiddle as if she’d been born to do that and only that. It was the solo from “Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band and she was rocking it beyond comprehension. Pretty sure even the bartenders stopped what they were doing. The rest of the night was a little blurry, but I know we didn’t leave until that band had played their entire set.
We ended up getting a hotel room, but none of us slept. All we could talk about was that band and how amazing they were and how we were kicking ourselves that we didn’t get their name so we could check them out online and hear more. I still look for them when I’m in Nashville and one day I fully expect to hear them on the radio. Whoever they are, they will forever be the band that inspired the Neon Dreams series.
This isn’t the exact band but they’re pretty close! The search continues!
1. Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour Concert (Auburn, AL) — This tour takes the number one spot on my favorite concerts list because it launched my writing career! It was at a Luke Bryan Farm Tour concert in Auburn, Alabama, in 2012 where I was inspired to write the Kylie Ryans series.
We’d arrived early at this concert where you literally just stand in a pasture wherever you can find room. Before the show, I was able to hang out with local songwriter Dallas Davidson and some of his family members. Somehow the topic turned to Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. If memory serves it had something to do with Dallas’s work on Blake’s hit Honey Bee. But that put some questions in my head about Blake and Miranda’s love story. Then the concert began and my husband and I were in the front, basically getting trampled by women wanting to get closer to him and I looked back at this insanely huge crowd of beautiful, intelligent, enthusiastic women, and thought, “Here are my readers.” And then I glanced up at Luke shaking it on stage and thought, “Where is this guy’s book?”
Thus the Kylie Ryans series was born — and the rest is history!
— Caisey Quinn
Leaving Amarillo is available now! For more New Adult shenanigans and author stories, visit our Everything YA page!