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House hoppin’ with Halfway to Hazard
In May 5 Issue
By Derek Aaron
Times Journal Editor

Country music duo Halfway to Hazard gave a performance for fans to remember Saturday night at the Russell County Schools Auditorium as they sang several of their hits as well as some new material.

While the crowd was significantly smaller that the auditorium's previous concert that allowed the duo to become more intimate with their fans.

The duo, which consists of David Tolliver and Chad Warrix, is from southeastern Kentucky and their band's origins are in Hazard, which was halfway between their hometowns. They visit Lake Cumberland frequently and have performed at State Dock several times.

"This was the most energized show we have had. Chad Warrix and David Tolliver were funny and interactive with the 300-plus audience," said Auditorium Director Susan Melton. "Their sound of rocking country plus classic favorites from Guns & Roses and John Cougar Mellencamp kept everyone on their feet dancing."

Following the show, the duo was excited about playing to the folks in Russell County.

"There is something to be said for a small crowd like that," Tolliver said. "It is more intimate and you get to see their faces more. We've played in front of 60,000 and 70,000 people before but when you get in front of a small crowd like that you feel their energy and connect with the crowd more."

Warrix said these were diehard Halfway to Hazard fans whose money was well spent on a show they deserved.

"I thought we gave a good show and they were giving it back and that makes us give more so it was a good little cycle going on in there between us and the crowd and we're so proud to play in front of a great crowd in Kentucky."

Tolliver said Auditorium Director Susan Melton and staff were "first rate" in their treatment of the group and their band throughout the day Saturday and that he was impressed with the facility itself.

"I'd never seen it before coming in here today but I didn't even have to wear my shower shoes in the shower it was so nice," Tolliver joked. "It is brand new and it felt great and everybody had smiles on today and was very hospitable."

He said the band was comfortable with the venue and allowed them to put on the best show possible.

In speaking about Lake Cumberland, Warrix said the two grew up on lakes nearby the Hazard area and have a love for the water.

"Lake Cumberland is the most beautiful lake," he said. "If you're going to go to a lake, go to Lake Cumberland. It is so pretty and the people are awesome. We call State Dock home and we've been there a long time and we were at Lee's Ford before that," Tolliver added. "It is a great getaway to have a party and just enjoy all your friends and family on the water."

Warrix said while growing up in the eastern part of the state there weren't many things to do and that led to a lot of time spent on the water or out riding ATVs. That love has followed them to this day and they say they will keep coming back to this area and visit our Lake Cumberland.

The duo's debut single, "Daisy", was a Top 40 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts back in 2007. That same year they toured as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's opening act on their Soul2Soul 2007 Tour.

In May 2008, they were nominated by the Academy of Country music for their "Duo of the Year," award and later that year they toured again on the Live Your Voice tour with Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean.

A single from their second album, "I Know Where Heaven Is," was released on July 20, 2009. The album, Come on Time, was released on October 19, 2009.

In early 2010, the group took a break as Tolliver paused to take care of some personal issues but reunited early this year.

"We're kind of both working on side projects right now," Tolliver said after a meet and greet with fans following the concert. "Anytime we can do a Halfway to Hazard show we're going to. We're coming back. Chad is going to do some things by himself and I'm going to do some things by myself but Halfway to Hazard is always going to be there."

Warrix said it felt natural being back on stage together.

"We're comfortable, we have fun and we have a great time," he said. "The fans always show up and as long as they show up and we're having a great time, why end it?"

Three ladies and devout followers of the duo made the trip from Hazard to hear their favorite group play.

"We've followed them for the past two and a half years," said Becky White, one of the ladies in attendance. Accompanying here were friends Melena Meece and Darnetta Begley who all agreed they "love" Tolliver and Warrix.

The ladies first began following the duo in July 2009 when they met at a festival in Jackson, Ky.

"They're the same every time you see them," White said. "They've been just like friends to us and they're great guys."

Opening for Halfway to Hazard was The Dirty Grindstones who won the 2011 Pop-Country Rock' N Roll Revival Battle of the Bands held at the Russell County Schools Auditorium Complex back in February.

The group is comprised of Brandon Roush, Austin Roush, Brandon Schleter, Mike Jones, Zach Grider and Tyler Blair. The band has been together for four years and recently won the Battle of the Bands at the state fair in Louisville as well as the Lake Cumberland Battle of the Bands in Somerset in 2008.

"The Dirty Grindstones were top notch," Melton said. "Their eclectic sound radiated across all genres of music. We are extremely proud of this group since auditioning in our Battle of Bands they have been contacted by Canopy Records of Nashville and are working with them to further their career."

The group says they formed by just being good friends with one another, enjoyed music and wanted to compete against fellow bands.

They will be recording an album in Nashville next month in hopes of landing a record deal and will headline a stage on Aug. 27 at the state fair in Louisville and will play at a music festival in Richmond later this summer.

"Our next event is on May 13th and is Comedian Carl Hurley," Melton said. "If you are looking for a great Mother's Day gift give her the gift of laughter. Dr. Carl Hurley is nationally known for his humor."

May 19th is national recording artist Justin Moore, currently touring with Miranda Lambert.

"This should be another energetic evening of music," Melton said. For tickets call 270-866-6300.

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