Icons and Outlaws
Our star-studded lineup includes songwriters Anthony Smith, Wynn Varble, Brice Long, Wyatt McCubbin, Cameron Wrinkle, David Lee, Jeesee Lee, and special guest Cory Leone Johnson, as well as Sarah Sample, Dugan Irby, and Malik Grant. These artists have written hits for the likes of Brad Paisley, Lonestar, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Chris Young, Hank Williams Jr, Reba McEntire, and Chris Stapleton.
These are the Icons of Forever West
Wynn came to love country music at a very young age. He discovered his father’s collection of classic country albums. He even traded his big brother’s “Grand Funk Railroad” for a copy of Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John”. He still has a scar to prove it. Around the age of 14, a neighbor named Ned Smith showed him a few chords on an old guitar. As soon as Wynn learned a few chords, he began to write his own songs.
Wynn says Willie Nelson taught him the rest from the “Red Headed Stranger” album.
After many years of playing in honkytonks, bars and feed store parking lots, he decided to make the move to Nashville. His first radio single was “Fit to Be Tied Down” by Sammy Kershaw. Since then he has had dozens of hits including three number ones…all three were nominated as Song of The Year by either CMA or ACM and sometimes both. Those songs are: “Have You Forgotten” by Darryl Worley, “Waitin’ on A Woman” by Brad Paisley, and “I’m A Little More Country Than That” recorded by Easton Corbin.
Wynn received Nashville Songwriters Association’s Songwriter of the Year Award in 2009. Wynn has three songs on the new Garth Brooks CD “Man Against Machine”, including the current hit single, “Mom”.
Wynn made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 2011. He has appeared on reality shows and currently has a weekly spot on the Joey and Rory Show on RFD TV.
Wynn still writes songs every day and tours extensively. His latest CD “Portrait of My Father” has just been released. It is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and CD Baby. Wynn is currently with BMG Music Publishing.
Songs written by Anthony Smith are weaved into the fabric of country music. His songs have shaped the careers for some of the most iconic country music artists like George Strait, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, Montgomery Gentry and others.
He has won numerous awards from BMI, ASCAP, and NSAI as well as the prestigious Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year award by Music Row Magazine. As a recording artist, his critically acclaimed record “If That Ain’t Country” produced three Billboard top 40 singles.
Anthony has the uncanny and rare talent of writing songs in ways that have never been written before, that generates visuals and impacts emotions for listeners. With memorable song titles like “Cowboy’s Like Us”, “Who Invented The Wheel”, “Half a Man”, “Run”, “I’m Tryin’”, “Up To The Depths”, “Infinity” and more, you know Anthony’s songs are interesting and capture the imagination of the listener.
When you hear Anthony Smith perform his original songs and take in the lyrics, you can see why he is an award winning songwriter. When you take in an Anthony Smith show as he entertains a sold out crowd, you can see why he is a highly favored performer. When you hear an Anthony Smith production you become a believer in all things Anthony Smith.
Brice has enjoyed a successful 25+ year music career. As a songwriter he has had cuts with Garth Brooks, George Strait, Chris Stapleton, Hank Williams Jr, Randy Houser, Josh Turner, Reba McEntire, Gary Allan, Chris Young, Jon Pardi, Cody Johnson, Casey James, Darryl Worley, Randy Travis, Gretchen Wilson, Porter Wagoner and many more.
Brice’s songwriting hits include the #1 singles “Heartache On The Dance Floor” by Jon Pardi and “Nothing On But The Radio” by Gary Allan. Randy Houser’s “Like a Cowboy”, a song that also garnered Brice a CMA nomination for Song of the Year. Other recent chart toppers are Randy Houser’s debut single, “Anything Goes," “Today” from Gary Allan, Casey James’ “Let’s Don’t Call It A Night” and Jon Pardi’s, “What I Can’t Put Down."
Brice Long is signed to Sony Music Publishing. He is a native of Hopkinsville, KY. His self-titled album is available on iTunes or wherever digital music is streamed and sold.
CORY LEONE JOHNSON
Singer + songwriter Cory Johnson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and grew up in the small town of Wagoner, Oklahoma. Cory has been singing since he was three years old. His Grannie would pay him a nickel or a dime to sing one of her favorite songs now and then. When he was around five or six Cory’s mom would get him out of bed late at night to listen to music with her. She told him to listen to the words not the music. Cory says “I’m sure that influenced me to want to write songs." “I believe a great song is one that moves my heart and soul first, then it moves my feet." Cory began playing guitar and writing songs at 14. His mom bought him a guitar for his birthday. Two weeks After learning six chords and writing his first two songs, Cory started sitting in with bands in the local honky tonks. “I was really into Haggard - loved that guy,” Cory says of his musical hero. "I enjoyed singing, but I really had a hard time with stage fright. I would make up excuses to not go sing." He finally decided he loved singing more than he was scared and made himself get through it.
In the late 80’s, Cory and friends formed the group New Legend and opened for top acts touring through Oklahoma. Cory made the move to Nashville in 1991 to begin learning the craft of songwriting. "I was fortunate to end up writing under the wing of James Dean Hicks," who introduced Cory to a lot of other great songwriters. "I was blessed to be there in that company and learning from some of the best."
These days, Cory is still writing and performing and now lives in Montana. Along with performing Cory spends his time coordinating songwriter festivals. "I love Songwriters and the craft of songwriting. It makes me happy to share my passion with others."
Sarah Sample is an award-winning songwriter with a “raw, graceful voice” (Salt Lake City Weekly) and beautiful songs that weave a trail of stories through folk, Americana, and country and have garnered comparisons to Sheryl Crow, The Weepies, and Bonnie Raitt.
Redwing, Sample’s sixth album, features more of her cut-to-the-bone storytelling, framed with empathy and compassion, and told with the best singing of Sample’s career. Produced by Sample’s longtime producer Scott Wiley (Elliott Smith, Bonnie Raitt), Redwing came to life over a few weeks of sessions at June Audio in Provo, Utah.
Redwing is—among other things and in the grand tradition of albums—a breakup album. But this was no run-of-the-mill romantic heartbreak; Sample’s breakup was spiritual. She left the committed religion of her upbringing (and its stringent rules and by-the-book lifestyle) to chart her own spiritual course, with all the starting over, unmapped question marks, and personal reconstruction that come with it. In the process, she landed in Wyoming where, in her words, “the wide open spaces felt like open arms to me—the endless skies and horizons leave room for anyone to belong.” Redwing tells that story. And more.
Sample’s last album, ‘Til The Morning, paired her with songwriter Edie Carey as the two sang their favorite lullabies and songs of comfort, both wanting to bronze a bookmark for their years as mothers of young children. And that instinct proved to be inspired, as the collection won Best Children’s Album in the 2014 Independent Music Awards, the 2014 Parents’ Choice Gold Award (highest honor), and 2014 NAPPA Gold Award (also highest honor).
Sample has played several prominent festivals—Merlefest, Cayamo, Folks Fest, Sisters, Telluride, Kerrville (not to mention winning songwriting contests at most of them). She has also warmed up stages for artists like Darrell Scott, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, Marketa Irglova, and Over The Rhine.
As a kid she bounced across the country, from Santa Barbara to Austin to Salt Lake City, and that experience and wanderlust has seeped into all six of her albums. She’s also a founding member of the folk-gospel collective The Lower Lights, who take on gospel classics from old hymnals as well as Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, and even Stevie Wonder. She lives in the welcoming, wild wide open of Wyoming with her husband and two daughters.
I’m thankful to have surrounded myself with great musicians and fantastic friends in Sheridan. Being from such a small town and tight-knit community, it can be hard sometimes to navigate relationships both interpersonally and in music. Sheridan has been great to me in both regards. I’ve played the violin since I could walk, and my musical journey has been an insightful and inspiring one. From classical music which I’m trained in, to old school hip hop/R&B, to new voices like Daniel Caesar and KRS, I’ve been able to find inspiration all along the way in one form or another. My role models are, unsurprisingly if you’re acquainted with them, my parents and siblings. They’re all living their best lives and have always been there to encourage me to do the same.