Article Tera Michelson | West Chester & Liberty Lifestyle Magazine
Erica Maez, a West Chester native, Lakota High School graduate and former Lakota School District teacher, grew up listening to country music.
“I’ve lived here my whole life,” Erica says. “I always listened to country growing up—that old, twangy style—Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Bryan White, Tim McGraw, George Strait, guys like that. Until high school, I don’t think I knew that anything but country existed.”
Teenaged Brent Maez didn’t even know country music. He started playing shows in his hometown Chicago as a solo artist with his guitar at 16. During college, Brent made musical appearances at private parties, fraternities and benefits.
“When I grew up, I didn’t even know there was such a thing called ‘country.’ I was completely oblivious to it,” Brent says. “For me, it all started with James Taylor, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, Chicago, the Eagles and Christian rock—a lot of Christian artists…you name it, I love them all.”
Fate and a mutual friend brought the two together in 2011 on the set of a local television show, Cincinnality. It was not only the beginning of a beautiful love story, but also combined the skills of the two to form a song-writing duo. Brent enjoys writing the music and together, they collaborate on lyrics. They tweak their tunes to toe-tapping, memorable melodies.
“I think we both bring something very important to the table that collectively makes us who we are,” Erica explains.
This year, two songs from Brent Maez were on the illustrious GRAMMYs ballot for three awards, just one step from the top honor as finalists. Rocking “Run to You” was on the ballot for the categories of Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. The EP’s sweet closing song, “I Found You,” was recognized in the Best American Roots Performance category. The duo was listed alongside country music superstars like Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood, to name a few.
“It’s kind of like the little person’s GRAMMY to even be on the short list. It’s pretty cool to be on that list. I’m in a good group of losers!” Brent jokes. “I was elated to be on the list for three categories.”
In the ever-evolving genre of country music, “Brent Maez” does not tell the typical sad story of broken hearts and lost loves. Instead, the Nashville produced EP celebrates a life of adventure and romance. The songs are a reflection of Brent and Erica’s happiness—personal and relatable.
Self-described as fun, alternative country rock, the four Brent Maez tunes hook the listener with catchy rhythms and meaningful lyrics.
“TV Show,” the top downloaded and streamed song of the EP, was written on the couples’ honeymoon, inspired by the nearby filming of the popular television reality show, The Bachelor. It light-heartedly highlights “a day in the sun and a night of rum.”
“We were running around having ridiculous amounts of fun on our honeymoon, and we thought, ‘Our lives could be a TV show!’” Brent explains.
While they enjoy the red carpet life, the Mason performers are committed to their community, playing at benefits and fundraisers like The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty’s Shamrock Shuffle and The Key Event, as well as private parties. They are crowd-pleasers, playing covers of popular party favorites and writing witty on-the-spot songs about the happenings of the moment.
“We like to do things that impact the community. Personally, we are very involved with local charities that benefit families in need, such as the Angel Fund,” Erica says.
“We like to try to use our music to help people or bring awareness to things, if we can,” Brent adds.
There’s more music to come from our talented neighbors Brent and Erica Maez—the red carpet is calling.
What’s On the Brent Maez Summer Playlist?Chris Stapleton
“We are both loving Chris Stapleton right now,” says Erica.
“It’s summertime, so I am listening to Kenny Chesney in the pool!” Brent says.
Little Big Town
“I think they are awesome! They’ve really worked hard to get where they are in their career. They are banging out the hits right now,” Brent says.
“One of my favorites!” Erica shares.
Musicians nominated for three Academy of Country Music Awards on April 19th
March 20, 2015
When the debut Brent Maez EP was completed this month at the Ocean Way Recording Studio, in the heart of Nashville’s Music Row, it was loaded with legendary and award winning Nashville studio musicians. The credits read like a “who’s who” of country music. In fact, at next month’s 50th Anniversary of Academy of Country Music Awards on April 19th, three of the musicians are nominated for awards!
“TV Show” is the first release of a four track debut for the Cincinnati-based Brent Maez and is now available at online music stores including iTunes. For more information about Brent Maez, visit www.brentmaez.com, www.facebook.com/brentmaez or follow on Twitter @brentmaezmusic.
Nominated for Drummer of the Year previously and at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards, Chad Cromwell started recording and touring in 1986 with Joe Walsh, appearing on two albums including “Ordinary Average Guy”. In 1989, Chad began recording and touring with Neil Young, appearing on 4 albums with Neil Young. Most recently, Chad has drum credits on hits such as Lee Brice’s “I Don’t Dance” (2014), Kenny’s Chesney’s “The Big Revival” (2014), Lady Antebellum’s “Own the Night” (2011) and “Need You Now” (2011). Chad provided drums on The Band Perry’s debut album “The Band Perry” (2010), Miranda Lambert’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (2007) and “Kerosene” (2005). In 2000, Chad provided drums on Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance”.
Electric guitarist J.T. Corenflos has eight Academy of Country Music nominations for Guitarist of the Year, including a nomination at this year’s Awards. Most recently, J.T. has guitar credits on Eli Young Band’s “10,000 Towns” (2014), Eric Church’s “The Outsiders” (2014), Jon Pardi’s “Write You a Song” (2014), Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” (2013), Thomas Rhett’s “It Goes Like This” (2013), Lee Brice’s “Hard 2 Love” 2012 and “Love Like Crazy” (2010). In 1997, J.T. provided guitar on Tim McGraw’s “Everywhere”.
Nominated for the Academy of Country Music Award for Bass Player of the Year, Michael Rhodes has bass credits with Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Glen Campbell, Neil Diamond, Hank Williams Jr., Dolly Parton and Tanya Tucker to name just a few! Most recently, Michael has credits on Lady Antebellum’s “747” (2014), Big & Rich’s “Gravity” (2014), Kenny Chesney’s “The Big Revival” (2014) and Darius Rucker’s “Home for the Holidays” (2014). Michael has also bass credits with the Dixie Chick’s “Wide Open Spaces” (1998) which went on to win two Grammy Awards.
Billy Panda provided acoustic guitar. Most recently, Billy has credits on Cole Swindell’s debut album “Cole Swindell” (2014) and Garth Brook’s “Man Against Machine (2014). Billy also has guitar credits with Little Big Town, Lonestar, Jason Aldean, Montgomery Gentry, Little Big Town, Kenny Rogers, and Amy Grant to name a few!
Nominated for Piano/Keyboards Player of the Year at this year’s and last year’s Academy of Country Music Awards, award winning Tim Lauer provided piano and keyboard, having recently received credits on Frankie Ballard’s “Sunshine & Whiskey” (2014), Lee Brice’s “I Don’t Dance” (2014) and Lady Antebellum’s “747” (2014). Tim has both country and religious credits to his name, most recently with artists such as Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Glen Campbell, Michael W. Smith, Francesca Battistelli, Jeremy Camp and Phillips, Craig & Dean.
Pat McMakin co-produced the project along with Brent and Erica Maez. Pat has engineering, mixing or producing credits with Lonestar, Steve Martin, Ricochet, Brenda Lee, Ricky Skaggs, *NSYNC, Brooks & Dunn, Olivia Newton-John, Aaron Tippin, Tracy Lawrence, George Jones and Dolly Parton.
March 3, 2015
Burned out in 2011, Brent was on a three year break from music when he met his wife, Erica. It didn't take long for them to figure out they had a common passion for music. On one of their first dates, Brent decided to sing an early version of "Only You.” He barely got through the song before realizing his spark for music had returned and it was stronger than ever. That night Brent told Erica that he always dreamed of doing something bigger with music, to which she replied, "So what are you going to do about it?” Since then, there is rarely a moment that Brent is without a guitar; ironically, it's usually Erica’s Taylor guitar.
Whether in their home studio or while traveling, Brent and Erica spend countless hours creating powerful songs, mostly grounded in the themes of love and finding each other. “We were sitting on a couch in our hotel room in LA and Brent randomly said he wanted to write a song about the first time he saw me. About 45 minutes later, the song ‘I Found You’ was done,” said Erica. However, there are exceptions to the theme of love. While on their honeymoon, 'The Bachelor' was being filmed at their resort. As they were watching the camera crew follow the bachelor around, they looked at each other and said, "Our life is like a TV show! There should be cameras that follow us around, people wouldn't believe half the things that go down!" And like that, "TV Show" was born.
Brent and Erica are currently working on the highly anticipated, debut Brent Maez album in Nashville, with the first song set to be released in March. Their alternative pop country sound is solidly delivered, with an appealing style that infuses catchy melodies, meaningful lyrics and passion into each track, only to cause you to hit the play button again and again. Erica’s vocals layer beautifully with Brent's, providing a harmony that makes you fall in love with, and believe, the lyrics.
For more information about Brent Maez, visit www.brentmaez.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/brentmaez. You can also follow on Twitter @brentmaezmusic.
They will be debuting their act at the West Chester Shamrock Shuffle on March 14 at the Square at Union Centre.