Best Bets: Tolman set to kick it loose in Smyrna

Nashville-based singer/songwriter Jenny Tolman will perform at Saturday’s Kickin’ It Loose benefit at Citizens’ Hose Co. in Smyrna. (Submitted photo)

With her debut album about to be released in July and a string of hit country singles, this is a good time for singer Jenny Tolman.

“There is definitely a lot rolling. It’s a good thing to be busy. There are lot of exciting things happening right now,” said the 23-year-old Ms. Tolman from her home in Nashville Monday afternoon.

She comes to Smyrna Saturday evening in the thick of it all to perform at the Kickin’ It Loose country music benefit concert at Citizens’ Hose Company in Smyrna.

She joins headliner Adam Wakefield from TV’s “The Voice” and local group The Brothers Stonesifer on the bill.

Her songs “Rock & Roll to My Country Soul” and “Something to Complain About” both hit No. 1 on the CMT 12 Pack Countdown. Rolling Stone hailed her among “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” as well as naming her set one of the “20 Best Free Concerts” of CMA Fest 2018.

Her first full-length record “There Goes the Neighborhood” is due out in late July and she’s excited for folks to hear it. It’s been about a three-year process for her and producer Gary Brainard, who has worked with the likes of Jerrod Niemann and Jamey Johnson.

“For an independent artist not on a major label we’ve really spent time on developing the sound that is going to be the first thing people hear from me,” she said.

“It’s nice to have that luxury and the time to make sure the brand and messaging is right on point as to what I’m wanting to portray myself as.”

She said she already has plans for a second and even a third album.

“I’ve seen it happen to other people where when the first album hits, they want another one out quickly and you’re left scrambling to just put anything out that might not sound as good. But your first album is your baby that needs protecting and you want to take more time with it,” she said.

The songs on the upcoming album are all tied together to a place she calls Jennyville, where each have their own story. Telling stories has always been paramount for her, even when she was young.

“I can remember being in the car coming home from dance class when I was 6 or 7 years old and Brad Paisley’s ‘We Danced’ came on. And I said to my mom, ‘I love country music because it tells stories. It was a light bulb moment although I didn’t know it was a light bulb moment at the time,” she said.

She said she thought she was going to be a children’s book author but music was always a constant in her life. Growing up in Nashville, her father was a musician before moving into the business part of the trade later in life.

She played the piano at 3 years old, the flute by fifth grade and the guitar at 16.

“It was right at the time that Taylor Swift was really blowing up and I thought ‘Wait a second. I love to tell stories and writing music. If I put it all together, that called being a country artist,” the personable Ms. Tolman said with a laugh.

Country music has been a comfortable genre for her to tell her stories.

“Country music is very special in that it talks a lot about more day-to-day things than most other genres. It doesn’t glamorize lifestyles like everything is a movie or say look at how cool I am, which there’s nothing wrong with,” said.

“It’s just all about real life and family and where you’re from — things that are important to your soul and things that really matter in life.”

Fans have flocked to the characters in her songs who seem to be a lot like them.

“I don’t think it’s any crazy rocket science or that I’m special for figuring out common sense things to say that are relatable,” she said.

“I’ve always loved writers like Shel Silverstein who did ‘A Boy Named Sue’ as well as all of the books and lots of amazing songs and Roger Miller and Dolly Parton. They all have this ability to say things so simply that can sometimes have a humorous end but yet be so enlightened that it really makes you think.

“That’s what I try to do with my writing — to get to that place where you can say something so simple that it becomes genius in a weird way. I’m nowhere near their level but I try to model myself after them.”

She said she’s looking forward to being in Delaware this weekend, a place she has never performed, and meeting new people and playing her songs for the first time for them.

“That’s actually my favorite part of the job, getting to go to different towns and playing for people who I’ve never met before. And then meeting them afterward and finding out what songs they liked and maybe why they liked them and what impact it had on them,” she said.

“It’s a way that I can grow as a musician and as a person. And it’s just so much fun meeting new people.”

Saturday’s concert, which is in its third year, goes from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and benefits Smyrna’s Citizens’ Hose Co.

It will be Mr. Wakefield’s second trip to Smyrna. He headlined Smyrna at Night last summer. He was recently named one of Pandora’s “Artists to Watch” in 2019, previously included on 2018 artist to watch lists from Billboard, Rolling Stone Country and Nashville Lifestyles Magazine.

Tickets are $25 and available at eventbrite.com. If they don’t sell out ahead of time, tickets will be sold at the door. If there is a sellout, a notice will be posted on the Citizens’ Hose Company website at CitizensHoseCompany.com and on their Facebook page.

Citizens’ Hose Company is at 103 W. Commerce St. in Smyrna.

Race entertainment

Country singer John Rich’s lifestyle brand, Redneck Riviera, is serving as the presenting sponsor of special fan access area The Hangout throughout the May 3-5 NASCAR tripleheader weekend at Dover International Speedway. ( Submitted photo)

More entertainment was announced this past week for Dover International Speedway’s big 50th anniversary celebration May 3-5.

On Saturday, May 4, John Rich of Big & Rich, who shot to stardom with the hit singles “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),” and “Comin’ to Your City,” will perform with Maryland native Sam Grow, a rising country music star, at the 50th Anniversary Bash on the Xfinity Stage in Victory Plaza. Cowboy Troy, who often makes tour appearances with Big & Rich, will also hit the stage.

In addition, NASCAR champions Richard Petty and Bobby Allison, longtime NASCAR executive Mike Helton and Dover Motorsports, Inc. President and CEO Denis McGlynn will be some of the special guests scheduled to make appearances on the Xfinity Stage.

The 50th Anniversary Bash runs from 3 to 7 p.m. on May 4 after the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash race. The Xfinity Stage in Victory Plaza, located in the grassy area near the Monster Monument, is the home for the track’s free pre-race concerts and NASCAR driver and personality question-and-answers sessions throughout the Monster Mile’s event weekends.

Dover’s traditional fireworks display will follow the Bash at approximately 9 p.m.

Concession stands surrounding the Xfinity Stage will remain open during the event, Draft beer, such as Dover International Speedway’s 50th Anniversary “Splash & Go Lager,” brewed in collaboration with Dover-based Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company, will be available for purchase.

Also on May 4, the Autism Delaware Track Walk takes place following the NASCAR Xfinity Series race. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series star Clint Bowyer will participate in the event, which begins with a kickoff at the Monster Monument in Victory Plaza at approximately 4 p.m.

In addition to the special gold Monster trophies given to the race winners and free 1:64-scale Dover diecast cars to the first 15,000 guests on May 5, fans can also enjoy multiple free performances by the famous Harlem Globetrotters in the 8-acre FanZone, a free Charlie Daniels Band concert on the Xfinity Stage in Victory Plaza, as well as Micro Wrestling Federation matches, Del Rods Car Club car shows, a Winston Cup Mobile Museum display and more.

The May 3-5 NASCAR tripleheader weekend also includes the JEGS 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race on May 3 and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on May 5.

For more information and tickets, visit DoverSpeedway.com.

Shakespeare at DSU

Delaware State University theatre students and community members will perform a modernized, witty, ribald and raucous new take on the Bard’s greatest plays in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” during three performances today and Saturday in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus.

Chloe Humphrey and Andrew Pomerleau are featured in Delaware State University’s production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” today and Saturday. (Submitted photo)

Thirty-seven of Shakespeare’s most famous and well-known plays will be performed in a break-neck 97 minutes. Three actors in tights will weave their wicked way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies in one wild ride.

Chloe Humphrey, David Feliciano and Andrew Pomerleau are featured.

The show is directed by Dr. Amanda Anderson.

General admission tickets are $5. A matinee will be offered at 2 p.m. today followed by 7 p.m. shows today and Saturday.

Now showing

New in theaters this weekend is a live-action version of “Dumbo” and Julianne Moore in the romantic comedy “Gloria Bell.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the Transformers film “Bumblebee,” Clint Eastwood in “The Mule” and the acclaimed film “Vice.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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