By CHERIL VERNON
If you like traditional country, Texas music artist Jason Cassidy will be the headlining act on the Habanero Stage for the Hot Pepper Festival’s Chili & BBQ Cook-off and night of live music in The Hollow in Old Town Friday.
Live music is planned from 5 to 11 p.m. with Cassidy’s band taking the stage at 9:30 p.m.
“I love festivals, hot peppers and I love Palestine,” Cassidy said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Cassidy has taken the Texas music scene by storm, racking up three Top 20 singles, including the No. 1 “Honky Tonk Heaven” and “What If” which was released nationally and featured a No. 1 video on CMT Pure. Other singles include “Sounds Like an Angel to Me,” and the current hit “Ride of Your Life.”
“I would call my music traditional country with an edge,” Cassidy said during a phone interview with the Herald-Press this week. “I grew up on Steve Warner, Vince Gill, George Strait, Clint Black and Tracy Byrd mixed with a little ‘80s rock — and that’s where my heart has always been. I enjoy the rockin’ stuff as well like on my song, ‘Ride of Your Life.’ It shows the younger generation our rockin’ party side.”
Cassidy’s musical journey began in a small church in New Caney at age 13. He belted out his first solo performance to the Dawson McCallister tune “Jesus Is Here To Stay” to a full sanctuary with the youth group backing him like a chanting choir. But it was many years later that someone heard him delivering a George Strait tune in a bar that Cassidy’s musical dreams began to take flight.
Now, he’s fronting his own band and has released his debut album, “My Redemption,” on Houston-based A-Blake Records.
In 2009, things changed even more when he met his future wife, Brandi, who inspired him to begin composing and helped him rediscover his spiritual side.
“She invited me to church and it was just the right time to make my return,” Cassidy said. “I wrote the title song ‘My Redemption’ on the way home from a fellowship session that November.”
With the help of his cousin and songwriting partner, Justin Jones, they moved things around to make the best sense of the message Cassidy was trying to get across in the song.
From that moment, Cassidy said he was reborn.
“That was the genesis of many songs,” Cassidy said of his album, which features co-writes with several friends and colleagues.
Cassidy has been on stage with Tracy Byrd, Randy Rogers Band, Eli Young Band, Easton Corbin and more and has been all over the country on tour lately with his band, which consists of Andy Abbott on fiddle; John Towslee on guitar; Spencer Booth as the drummer; and Scott McMahon on bass.
“I’ve been touring all over — Vegas, Missouri, here in Texas — all over the United States pretty much,” said Cassidy, who calls New Caney home.
Recent tour stops include Luckenbach on Friday and Reliant Stadium in Houston today. Upcoming tour dates in the Palestine area include the River Run ATV Park in Jacksonville on Nov. 17 and back in Palestine for a special Palestine Main Street event on Nov. 30.
“I came to Palestine for the first time about a year ago. It’s just like home. I enjoy coming to hang out, hunting and fishing,” Cassidy said. “I did the Mud Nationals at the River Run ATV Park last year and had a fun time.”
Currently, Cassidy is gearing up for his next single and doing pre-production and writing songs for a new album scheduled for early spring.
“We are making a new video in November for our next single, trying to get out as many places and getting heard by as many people as you can,” Cassidy said.
On stage, Cassidy said there’s no greater feeling.
“It’s great when I’m on stage singing a song and you realize that someone is out there relating to it. We all have trying times. And we’re like everybody else out there with the same trials and tribulations,” Cassidy said. “I know now this is what I was born to do.”
Old Town Palestine is located on East Crawford Street. Cassidy’s band will be selling CDs and other merchandise during the event.
For more information about Cassidy, visit www.JasonCassidyMusic.com
For a complete list of events during the Hot Pepper Festival, download the brochure at http://www.cityofpalestinetx.com/hotpepper.php