The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Bulldog Bash Preview

    Jason Isbell
    Jason Isbell

    Bulldog Bash Preview

    Gavin DeGraw

    By Matt Clark
    Staff Writer
    Gavin DeGraw, “one of today’s premier singer-songwriters” according to his Web site, arrives in Starkville as headliner for this year’s Bulldog Bash.
    DeGraw’s performance is the fruit of the labors of the Student Association, which hopes DeGraw’s appearance will make this year’s bash one to remember.
    “We really think a lot of college kids will like Gavin DeGraw,” SA President Braxton Coombs said. “We feel like it’s an act that a lot of people are really interested in.”
    According to Coombs, the SA’s goal for this year’s Bulldog Bash was to bring in an exciting and recognizable modern act.
    “We were really trying to find some nationally known acts,” he said. “This year we wanted to get one bigger headlining act instead of three mediocre acts. Whenever we began looking, his name came up.”
    Despite this initial interest in Gavin DeGraw, Coombs said the SA was doubtful bringing DeGraw to Starkville would be possible financially.
    “He had a top 10 song at the time,” Coombs said. “At first we thought he would be way out of our range. We talked to some agents, and everybody said ‘this guy is going to be way out of your range.'”
    The SA’s success in booking DeGraw came with a little luck.
    “It turned out he was getting routed through Arkansas and was going through the Southeast,” Coombs said. “We got him at about half of what he usually charges.”
    DeGraw’s booking came with a stipulation as well, which the SA’s was more than willing to accommodate: the inclusion of acoustic pop artist Matt Wertz in the bash.
    “One of Gavin’s stipulations was that we had to pay [Wertz] X amount of dollars to play with him,” Coombs said. “We agreed to let him open for Gavin for 30 minutes. We got him for a fraction of what he usually goes for as well.”
    DeGraw is described as a pop strummer by’s Chuck Taylor, and according to Joan Anderman of the Boston Globe, he brings “genuine soul and understated star power” to the ever-growing ranks of male singer song-writers, which have taken over the airwaves lately.
    According to his Web site, the New-York-based DeGraw broke into the public consciousness with his 2003 debut album Chariot, which went platinum and produced three hit singles including, “I Don’t Wanna Be,” “Follow Through” and the title track.
    DeGraw’s latest album, a self -titled collection released in May, has a more rock-oriented sound. Degraw’s diverse sound has many MSU students looking forward to the coming concert.
    “I’m excited to see Gavin DeGraw,” sophomore aerospace engineering major Julia Kovalcik said. “His fun and easygoing style should be great for Bulldog Bash, and I really want to see him play the piano live.”
    English graduate student Justin McElroy agrees the SA’s selection of DeGraw was a good choice for Bulldog Bash headliner.
    “I think that Gavin DeGraw’s music is well suited to the eclectic tastes of Mississippi State University,” he said. “My girlfriend graduated last December, and she really likes him. She’s driving down from Memphis to see the concert.”
    McElroy said he’s impressed with the SA’s ability to bring a big name like DeGraw to Starkville.
    “I think it’s good they can pull in a top 40 musician to come play in a small town like Starkville,” he said.
    DeGraw will be taking Bulldog Bash’s main stage by Bin 612 tonight at 10:30 p.m.
    Top 40 pop rocker and Bulldog Bash headliner Gavin DeGraw and tour-mate Matt Wertz will perform tonight as part of Mississippi’s largest free concert.

    Matt Wertz

    By Neal Clark
    Staff Writer
    Matt Wertz brings his acoustic pop rock to Bulldog Bash tonight from 9:30 to 10:15 p.m. on the main stage, opening for headliner Gavin DeGraw. Wertz has a new album, Under Summer Sun, his first major label album, coming out Sept. 16.
    Sharing the stage is nothing new for Wertz, who has been touring with DeGraw.
    “He is actually on tour with Gavin Degraw, which was lucky for us because a lot of people on campus like him,” said Frances Luke, junior communication major and SA co-director of external events.
    According to his MySpace page, Wertz’s influences range from James Taylor and Stevie Wonder to John Mayer and Michael Jackson to Hall & Oates and Toto.
    He’s kind of like a John Mayer or Jack Johnson kind of acoustic music,” Luke said. “It’s just really, really good chill music.”
    Born in Missouri, Wertz now calls Nashville home, and he has put four other albums out independently.
    After Bulldog Bash, Wertz will tour with O.A.R. until October when he goes solo once again.
    For more information about Wertz, visit his or
    Acoustic pop-rocker Matt Wertz, who has been touring with Gavin Degraw, plays at 9:30 p.m.

    Jason Isbell

    By Neal Clark
    Staff Writer
    Jason Isbell takes the final act on the Page Avenue stage at Bulldog Bash from 9 to 10:30 p.m.
    Although once one of three front men for the indie-southern-rock-styled band Drive-By Truckers, Isbell is now out on his own.
    “[Isbell] wrote almost all [DBT’s] songs,” Luke said.
    Isbell now writes and performs his own songs.
    Isbell is out supporting his new album, Sirens of the Ditch, which was recorded over the last four years at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., according to his bio on his Web site FAME Studios has recorded Aretha Franklin, Duane Allman and Otis Redding, among others.
    DBT’s Patterson Hood and Shonna Tucker also joined Isbell on the album.
    Isbell should pull out a good crowd just from his involvement with DBT, but his new album is bringing in new fans.
    “He has his new band [400 Unit] but is just coming as a solo artist,” Luke said. “I know a lot of people are going to see him because there are a lot of hardcore Drive-By Trucker fans, and they know who he is.”
    Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit plays at the Lucero Family Picnic festival in Memphis tomorrow. They play with Justin Townes Earle and headliner Lucero.
    Former member and songwriter of Drive-By-Truckers, Jason Isbell will play at the Page Avenue stage from 9 to 10:30 p.m.


    By Will Anderson
    Contributing Writer
    Based out of Kingston, Jamaica, Reggae group Exodus takes the Bulldog Bash stage tonight at 7:30 p.m.
    Expect to enjoy smooth, upbeat sounds from this Reggae collective. The band consists of seven members that combine a versatile variety of instruments into smooth Caribbean jams.

    Jonathan Singleton

    By Jennifer Nelson
    Staff Writer
    After “Flying Airplanes” with Gary Alba, country newcomer Jonathan Singleton will be singing at Bulldog Bash tonight.
    SA co-director of external affairs Brooke Grantham said, Jonathan Singleton & The Grove were picked by the Student Association through a booking agency who provided them with a list of people in their price range.
    “He was our favorite on the list,” Grantham said.
    According to his biography the popularity of “Flying Airplanes” helped Singleton’s career take off.
    Singleton is currently recording 10 songs with Dann Huff of Diver Dann Music.
    Huff has also recorded music by artists such as Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers, Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood.
    After spending a year writing songs for other people, Singleton is going back on tour with the Grove.
    The SA tried to get a variety of artists to perform in Bulldog Bash, Grantham said.
    “We really tried to include most genres, so hopefully there’s something for everyone to enjoy,” she said.
    Grantham said she enjoys Singleton’s music.
    “I think that in the future he will become a bigger name,” she said.
    Singleton, along with The Grove, have already played once this week in Starkville when the group opened for Eric Church, Tuesday at Rick’s Café.
    For more information about Jonathan Singleton & The Grove, visit their MySpace page.

    Nash Street

    By Jennifer Nelson
    Staff Writer
    Starkville band Nash Street takes the stage during fanfare at Bulldog Bash tonight.
    The Student Association picked the band because they wanted to have a local act for Bulldog Bash, co-director of the SA external affairs Brooke Grantham said.
    The five band members, Hannah Melby on fiddle, Daniel Hare on upright bass, Caroline Melby on mandolin, Jason Graham on rhythm guitar and lead guitar player Clay Lezon all have ties to Starkville.
    Hannah Melby, Hare, Graham and Lezon all attend MSU in majors varying from the arts to aerospace engineering. Caroline Melby is a senior at Starkville High School.
    There is not a place for them to play regularly in Starkville, so Nash Street is excited to get to come back and play at Bulldog Bash, Hannah Melby said.
    “When we get to come back to Starkville and play we have all our family and friends,” she said.
    According to the biography on the band started with Melby and Hare when they were in elementary school.
    The group had several band member changes until this group of five came to be.
    Nash Street said they play a style of music they describe as grass roots country.
    Grantham said bluegrass music is the type of music people will like even if they do not like country.
    “If you like bluegrass they are really good, especially for being a local act,” Grantham said.
    The band will begin performing between 6 and 6:15 p.m., she said.
    “It’s family friendly music that will go well as the background music going on during fanfare,” Grantham said.
    Hannah Melby said the group has been meeting with songwriter Stephony Smith, who has written songs for country artists such as Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, The Dixie Chicks and Kenny Chesney.
    “We just got back from Nashville. We met with [Smith],” she said.
    They met Stephony Smith through Shelly Smith, who performed at Mississippi Best in Lee Hall last year, she said.
    Hare said Shelly Smith is originally from Clinton, and the local contact is good for Nash Street to have.
    The group also played for four days at Tootsies in Nashville, Hare said.
    Nash Street will be performing at the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival in Starkville in October.
    For more information about Nash Street, visit

    Whild Peach

    By Kyle Wrather
    Entertainment Editor
    Hitting the stage at 8:10 will be Atlanta-based Whild Peach. A hip-hop group, best known for its collaborations with Outkast, Whild Peach is also known for its high-energy shows and animated lead singer, David Whild.
    Formed in Dallas, Texas, the band soon migrated to Georgia in the ’90s. In Atlanta, the group transcended genres and gained popularity throughout the region.
    The group’s use of live instrumentation, a staple of Southern hip-hop, cemented their reputation as they collaborated on projects with artists like Goodie Mob, Lil’ Will and Sleepy Brown. They also contributed to both the “Ali” and “Scooby-Doo Movie” soundtracks.
    Whild Peach’s most notable collaboration has been with Grammy-winning and platinum-selling hip-hop superstars Outkast. Their work with the group began with Outkast’s second album, ATLiens and has continued through their most recent album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. As a collaborator, Whild Peach has co-written songs and lent vocals and instrumentation to multiple songs. The group also became the backup band for Outkast while touring.
    In addition to its role as Outkast’s touring sound, Whild Peach has begun a busy touring schedule. Last year the group played over 100 gigs at colleges, nightclubs, concerts and festivals across the country.
    Whild Peach’s current tour will take the group to a number of universities in the South including Georgia Tech, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi State.
    The group has made appearances on Saturday Night Live, the 2004 Grammy Awards, the Espy Awards and the Dave Chappelle Show.
    Members include Whild on guitar and vocals, Myrna “Screechy Peach” Crenshaw as lead vocalist, Blue Gomes on bass, Matt Hollums on guitar and Tuesday Henderson on drums.
    As well as touring nationally, Whild Peach has served as backup band for R&B stars Outkast.

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