‘Bull Birthday Bash’

Published 9:49 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

AHOSKIE – If country music is your thing, then Ahoskie is the place to be on Saturday, rain or shine.

Local radio station FM 99.3 – THE BULL – will celebrate its first birthday bash on May 21 with a star-studded line-up of country music artists at the Ahoskie Amphitheatre. Headlining this event is Colt Ford, recording artist Colton James and his band from Nashville, Tennessee, and Joe Lashler Jr. Also scheduled is a special guest appearance from Ron and Amy of the hit TV show “Lizard Lick Towing.”

Bringing this celebration to reality is Chuck Marsh, President and General Manager of THE BULL. One year ago, the Ahoskie radio station (WQDK) was purchased from Max Media by Icon Broadcasting, which is owned and managed by Marsh and several business partners. Icon has a business plan to acquire small market radio stations and revamp them into viable local businesses serving their respective areas.

Marsh commented on the importance of small local businesses and their contributions to their localities.

“We believe in spending the dollars we make locally and The Birthday Bash is another attempt for us to give back,” he stated. “We have five vendors at the show that will benefit from sales of drinks and food that will help these nonprofits further their causes.

“This is our first of what we hope is many concerts and events. If this show does well, we’re in talks with Charlie Daniels and The Temptations for 2017. Just depends on the support of the community,” Marsh added.

Marsh also talked about how he and Colt Ford worked together when Colt was just beginning his music career. It was Marsh that played a key role in getting Ford’s music aired over the radio in the Greensboro, NC area with more exposure, thus helping to launch Ford into his success as a musician.

A native of Georgia and at one time was a professional golfer, Ford is now an entrepreneur and cultural pioneer who started playing the mud truck circuit then went on to touring with the likes of Toby Keith, Eric Church and Florida Georgia Line, and breaking into film with a recent cameo role in David Spade’s Joe Dirt 2.

Since the start of his career in 2008, Ford has anticipated country music’s current obsession with good times and partying, but he’s having none of it.

“I just make music,” he said in a quote on his website (www.coltford.com). “I don’t think about it in terms of trends. I’m sure other people do. I’m just going to continue to do what sounds right to me. If what I’ve done has opened up the door for other young artists to have success, then I’m glad. But don’t put a label on me. Just listen with an open mind.”

Meanwhile, Colton James has climbed the ladder of success within country music. He hails from Courtland, VA with local ties in Murfreesboro. James performed last year at the Hertford-Gates Relay for Life.

“I do it for the love of my family, for the love of my friends, for the love of my country, but mostly for the love of God. Without God, I wouldn’t be here,” James said.

His country roots run deep, developed at a young age in the front seat of his father’s truck where the radio was tuned to country music featuring such legends as George Jones, Keith Whitley, George Strait, and Merle Haggard. Both of his grandmothers played piano and organ, and his singing pipes come from his mother.

Over the years, Colton has perfected his songwriting and guitar playing skills resulting in opening for Toby Keith, Mark Chestnut, Chris Cagle, Joe Nichols, the Dixie Chicks, Lonestar, Keith Anderson, and Trick Pony. His most memorable performance was when he opened for Jason Aldean at Little Creek Amphibious Base, because it was here that 16,000 fans heard him play “Brave Men,” a powerful tribute to American troops. His moving lyrics earned him a standing ovation that night.

“These men and women do something incredible for us. They deserve being recognized for the sacrifice they make and this is my small way of letting them know how much we appreciate them,” he said.

Colton’s passion to help his country and community – which includes his involvement in plans to build a retreat in nearby Southampton County, VA for the nation’s military veterans (Land4Heroes Plantation) – doesn’t stop with the military. He also shows his support for families, and victims battling cancer, to include writing a song – “What Keeps Her Strong” – for a victim of breast cancer.

Tickets for this year’s Birthday Bash are $20 per person and will be available the day of the show at the gate. Gates open at 4 p.m. with the show starting at 6 p.m.