Local Northmont grad plays his first hometown concert

If Austin Hicks has his way you will soon be hearing and seeing a lot of this up-and-coming Country music performer.

The 19-year-old Northmont High School graduate is literally “jumping through the hoops,” doing what it takes to make his way in the world of Country music. That includes hiring an agency to market his music, and moving his base of music operations to the “heart” of Country music — Nashville, Tenn.

Playing his first concert in his hometown of Englewood Sat., May 8, Hicks is trying to make a name for himself locally and nationally.

“This is my dream,” Hicks said during the May 8 concert at Walgreens in Englewood, “It is nice to share my music with the people I grew up with.”

Having released his self-titled album in the fall of 2009, Hicks has seen his dream grow from just being a novice in the business as a high school senior, to being on the cusp of having national radio airplay if the single I Still Pledge Allegiance, a song he penned which is on his debut album.

Hicks recorded that album at Junction Recording Studio in Nashville, Tenn.

“So much is about to take place,” Hicks said.

Signing with the musical agency will help get I Still Pledge Allegiance to about 1,600 Country music radio stations in the United States.

The song, according to his website, www.austinhicks.net, honors “The flag and the men and women who fight to defend it.” Fire Dancer, also off his debut album, has already received radio airplay.

Hicks has seen his concert schedule grow from about 75 dates in 2009 to between 125 and 150 dates in 2010. A national tour is planned for 2010-2011.He has some heavy credentials as well, having opened for the legendary Charlie Daniels in Tampa, Fla.

Still Hicks is staying true to his Christian roots. At the age of three he was touring with his parents Rich and Cavil Hicks, Southern Gospel singers in their own right.
“I grew up singing in church and at local places with my parents,” he said.
“God has opened up so many doors, it is amazing what doors He has opened up,” Hicks added.

Still he may not have ever formed the Rattlesnake River Band, which accompanies him, if his high school football career had blossomed.

“I was very active in sports in high school,” the former Northmont Thunderbolt left tackle said. “But by the end of my junior year I realized I wasn’t going to be playing college football, so I concentrated on the music.”

In 2008 Hicks received a VIP invitation to perform for the producers of the NBC-TV show “Nashville Star” in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. He was a regional finalist but was not included in the show’s actual line-up.

The Rattlesnake River Band consists of Hicks’ younger brother Tyler on lead guitar, his dad Rich on rhythm guitar, Jeff Arnold on bass guitar, and Kody McCoy on drums. The family connection is something Hicks treasures.

“That is what is so special about my musical career,” he said. “It isn’t just my dream, whole family is involved.” His mom Cavil serves as merchandise manager.

The family ties to his career are so strong, brother Tyler decided to be homeschooled during the 2009-2010 school year, by-passing what would have been his senior year on the Northmont campus.

Upcoming area dates to hear Hicks in concert include May 15 at All Sports Bar & Grill in Xenia, May 22 at the Arcanum Old Fashioned Days, June 25 at the London Strawberry Festival, in August he will be playing at the Greene County Fair, and on Aug. 28 he will be at The Greene in Beavercreek. In early June, Hicks will be performing at the CMA Fest in Nashville, a venue he called the largest outdoor Country concert in the country.
In October he hits the road to the Southwest USA, playing at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M., the largest hot air balloon event in the world, as well as Reno, Nev. with stops in Arizona and Texas.

In addition to his website he has a presence on social networking sites Facebook and MySpace.

He will turn 20-years-old in October.