Runner Up on NBC’s THE VOICE / TOP 5 Country Song “Human” (iTunes TOP 100) / Featured in USA Today / Featured in Rolling Stone / #1 ROCK Song (iTunes)
Growing up, there was a guitar in the corner of the family basement that no one was supposed to touch. When no one was looking, a young Chris Kroeze (pronounced Cruise-E) would sneak down and find it. On his 6th birthday, Chris got a guitar of his own and hasn't put it down since.
Sitting around the campfire on warm summer nights as a child, Chris fell in love with the guitar. His dad would put small stickers on the strings to show him how to play and he listened and learned under the stars in Northwest Wisconsin. Before long, the instrument became the most important thing in his life.
Biking around his hometown of Barron, Wisconsin, he would listen to a tape of Chuck Berry on his Walkman over and over, stopping every three and a half minutes to rewind. When he was in middle school, his dad told him every band needed a singer, and the only way to tell if that would be Chris was to give it a try. He was a natural.
The pull of small town life and the passion for music never left as Kroeze turned into one of the top country musicians in the Midwest. The power of small town community showed as family and friends in Barron helped him get started on his journey to Nashville in 2014, holding a fundraiser that would lead to him recording his first single “Four Letter Words,” which received strong radio play and kick started his career.
In 2015, he began a busy stretch of playing over 175 shows a year, and creating a large and loyal fan following. That popularity soared in 2018, when he appeared on NBC’s hit TV show “The Voice,” making it all the way to the finals in a runner-up finish. In the finale, Kroeze sang the original song “Human,” which was TOP 10 on the Billboard HOT 100 and TOP 5 on the iTunes TOP 100. His vocal and guitar skills, combined with a small-town charm, led to Kroeze to become the most streamed artist in the show’s history.
A popular live performer, Chris continued to perform at a frantic pace maintaining an average of over 175 shows a year through 2019, and the crowds have gotten bigger and bigger. He headlined a show at Aquafest for over 5,500 fans and has had a number of stops in which he has sold out multiple nights in a row, yet he still returns for pop-up shows at local bars he used to play at early in his career.
Kroeze has developed a large military fan base as well, in 2020 making his 10th overseas tour, and he is a recipient of the Red Cross Community Hero Award.
All these years later, Kroeze’s biggest thrill remains making music that speaks to him and sharing it with people. That love is evident in his most ambitious album yet – “We All Sing Along”.
Chris' fingerprints dotting an album that brings his passions and life story to the forefront with a series of new favorites.
“Same Ole” harkens back to the country style of Kroeze’s youth. "It was obvious to me that this song needed to lead out the project. From the first time we worked our way through it felt like an old song we had been singing for years, and just felt so good." Brought to Chris by fellow Voice contestant Dave Fenley, it offers what Kroeze considers his best vocal performance on the album and highlights Kroeze’s strength on the guitar with a series of tasteful solos.
“Summer Song” tells of growing up in Wisconsin, enjoying the sacred days of beautiful summer weather out on the lake during the day and sitting around the campfire playing guitar at night.
“Tie a Knot” speaks to the importance of human camaraderie and the strength provided by sticking together when times are tough. The song encourages people that when you’re at rock bottom and at the end of your rope, tie a knot so you don’t fall off.
“Money” shows the diverse strength and appeal Kroeze offers, pushing the borderlines of country and rock with a unique musical track, a song that is “all about bragging on your lady.”
A small town boy who loves the outdoors through and through, Kroeze still lives in Barron, Wisconsin with his wife and can’t imagine raising his two children anywhere else.
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One of the most resilient and influential Americana/Rock bands ever to come out of the Twin Cities is reaching back to the greatest fans in the world.
Gear Daddies is an Americana/Rock band originally from Austin, Minnesota. Members Martin Zellar (electric and acoustic guitar, harmonica and vocals), Nick Ciola (bass), Randy Broughten (electric and pedal steel guitar) and James “Billy” Dankert (drums and vocals), played their first shows together in 1984. Between 1986 and 1992, the band released three popular albums and became an important part of the Twin Cities music scene.
Many of the fan’s favorite songs (“Stupid Boy”, “Color of Her Eyes”, “She’s Happy”, “Drank So Much” and many others) are credited to the exceptionally passionate writing skills possessed by Zellar, however Dankert has also contributed some of the compositions , including "Time Heals", and “Blues Mary”.
Their most notable mainstream success was when they played "Stupid Boy" on Late Night with David Letterman in 1991. Zellar had this to say of the experience: "I was so nervous, and it all happened so quickly. I couldn't tell you what the hell happened. I got done, and I was walking back and said to Randy (Broughten), 'Did I sing all the words? Did I do that?' When I watched it that night in the hotel room I had no recollection of having lived it."
Arguably, Zellar’s “I Wanna Drive the Zamboni" is the band’s best-known song, having been featured in the movies D2: The Mighty Ducks and Mystery, Alaska, as well as on the television program Malcolm in the Middle. It's also a staple at hockey games throughout North America and Europe.
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