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“When the Night Comes”

I called Stokes a few weeks ago and asked if we could meet in the studio to write. It was late at night and I just needed to be creative and release some energy. Going into the session, I was definitely wanting of create more of a ballad. We sat down and wrote just that in a song called “When The Night Comes.”

When Stokes came into the studio he didn’t say anything. He just walked straight over to the piano and began playing this soft yet energetic melody. I loved it. He began singing “When the night comes, it’s when your ghost hits me.” After that everything else just began to fall into place. I love writing those types of songs. The song is written in the perspective of a guy who has lost someone special to him (whether it be a break up or death). We have all experienced that at some point in our lives. It was very crucial for us to write the song in our view by expressing what we had done in these situations. The guy in this song is contradicting the fact that he is being tortured by the memories of a past loved one. He put up a front, but the smiles can only last so long. That is the meaning of the chorus:

When the night comes, it’s when your ghost hits me

I reach out to hold you, but every clutch is empty

And if you ever needed to see, how quickly real men come undone,

Then baby watch me, when the night comes.


We had an awesome time recording this song in the studio – check out footage in the video below. Energy is so important to me in all of our music. I’m looking forward to y’all giving it a listen to! – CJ

Making of  ”When the Night Comes”


New York, New York

So, I just got back from my trip to New York City and it was such a cool experience.

I will never forget pulling up the toll for Lincoln Tunnel and seeing the chaos. Of course I had expected the traffic it to be bad…but I never could have imagined it would be as bad as it actually was! I swear that we sat there for an hour and a half until we were actually able to get through it all and to the tunnel. When we did get into the city, there were people running around every which way and I couldn’t believe how fast pace everything was.  Those taxi cab drivers have some serious skill with the way that they weave in and out of lanes and through people! Finally we made it to our home base for the weekend- the Marriott on 94th.

On my first night in NY I went over to the Hamptons with Stokes Nielson, my manager. It was awesome- kinda felt as if everything were straight out of a reality television show. We went to meet some people at “The Stephen Talkhouse,” a really cool venue that I liked a lot. It was crazy how long the line was to get in, but luckily with Tune’s (Stokes) connections we got to skip that part. It was no different from downtown Athens on a game night, ha! I loved how cool and laid back everyone was there. And also, the food I had in NY is awesome! Expensive… but definitely worth it. My mom is Japanese so I know good sushi and I’m can be pretty picky about where I eat it. But my band mate, J. Fried, and I found a great sushi bar for lunch.

Saturday night was show time and we had a gig right outside of the city. It was a high-energy show for sure- everyone was jumping around and literally screaming back the songs! Overall it was an amazing trip and I can’t wait to get back up there. Next time though, we can be sure that I won’t be driving! Never again! Ha… seriously- Nashville to New York is not a lot of fun in a van. But if that’s my biggest complaint, then I think we’re doin’ alright.

Jason (pianist), David (drums), and I about to hit the road to NY after a stop in VA – you can see the mess that 3 guys can make on a 15 hour drive in the van! Ha!



CMA Fest 2011

Hey y’all! Wanted to give you an update on an awesome experience I had today… I literally JUST got off the stage from my first CMA Festival event! We were on the Hard Rock Best Buy stage on 2nd Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee… right in the middle of everything. I can’t begin to describe the adrenalin rush and energy that I had when we walked out on the stage and saw everyone standing there. It blows my mind when I meet people from all over the world that came to listen to the best music in the world (country music that is!) Haha. I had such a great time today and I was able to see all of our hard work from the last few months come to life. It’s amazing how blessed I’ve been with my team and to be able to do the things I’ve been able to do in these past months. I can’t believe it all has flown by so quickly. Who would have thought that I would be here already? I hope I get a chance to perform at CMA Fest again! What a blast. Big thanks to CMA Fest 2011 and of course to all of you for supporting me everyday. Make sure to check the tour dates for our summer shows… I hope to see y’all soon!


Southcrest Sportsmans Dinner

All right, so I literally was pulling onto the exit ramp to head back home when I got a call from one of my friends from high schools mother, Mrs. Martha Anne. God likes to send me messages through people on the phone I guess? ha Anyway, she asked me if I would like to come say a few words, and sing the song “Heart Of A Champion” at an event they we’re doing called “The Sportsman Dinner” at her church in Newnan. When I found out what the event was for, and that Chris was going to be there I was in. Also, I couldn’t wait to be on the same stage as Jeff Foxworthy, David Blanton, and Jeff Hammond!

Before the show we were all in the back in Pastor Jeff’s office where we all said a prayer together. I was astonished at how everyone there had been brought to this thing. During the prayer, Mr. Hammond said he wasn’t even supposed to make it there on his flight. The point is someone wanted us there. I think we all know whom I’m speaking of when I say that.

After the prayers Chris asked Pastor Jeff if he could give his testimony before the song. The look on Chris’ face was as if he had just seen The Lord and he told him to do this. It was an awesome, and touching moment for us all.

Chris, a few of his brothers from the firehouse, and me sat on the second row while Mr. Jeff did his set. Of course he did an amazing job, and delivered a very powerful message.  Before I got on to do my set, Chris got up to do his testimony. Wow…I’ve never heard something so incredibly portentous. As Chris stood on stage I was so thankful to call someone so strong and courageous a great friend of mine. Not that I wasn’t before, but for anyone who was there that night and knew Chris personally, you know what I mean. I got up and said a few words and sang the song.

The night was an over all amazing night. The people at Southcrest Church are not only laid back good ol’ country folks (ha,) but they’re great people who are working for God and doing great things. I was so honored to be apart of it, and can’t wait to return back there. Also, 75 people were reborn through Christ that night after the show! Just one of the many blessing that have already covered this whole thing! Thanks to all who came out.

Oh also…a Tom Brady jersey was auctioned off. Mr. Jeff bid $2,000, which would go to Chris’ fund, and won the jersey. He walked up to the stage to collect it, and turned around and gave it to Chris. I thought that was really cool!

- CJ

Kick Off and ACM Weekend!

So we kicked off our tour in Jacksonville, AL and Carrollton, GA this weekend! We had an awesome time with all of y’all! I appreciate all of you coming out to the show, and also supporting Chris and his family. I can’t describe the feeling or sentiment I had while listening to y’all sing the songs back to me. It was awesome though Ha! We can’t wait to create and put out more music for y’all . Oh and so…right after our show in Carrollton, Stokes and I hopped a flight to Vegas for the ACM Awards (Academy of Country Music Awards!) It was so legit, and I’m very blessed to of been able to attend this year! It was great meeting the folks I got to meet, and hangin out with my Stokes Tunes family Vegas style! I have to say, thank you all for your support, and presenting me the opportunities that allow me to do what I’m doing now.

- CJ

Wild Bills!

So…I was on my way to Newnan when I got a call from my boy Stokes. He proceeded to tell me we we’re opening up for Joe Nichols at Wild Bills! I was trying not to run of the road ha! That Saturday night was awesome. It was my first time on a stage like that…I could definitely get use to that! Thank y’all so much to everyone who came out, and to all my new friends I made at the show. I’m glad I got to meet some of you. I’m having the time of my life, and I’m so glad this is all beginning in my homeland…GEORGIA!!

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