Homegrown teens set to perform at weekend festival
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
September 28, 2012 01:48 AM | 2431 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Madison Shea, 15, appears with parents, Tim and Barbara Hornsby. ‘In the past, I’ve had to go really far away from home for performances, but we’re starting to have more closer to home. I’m really looking forward to it.’ Madison is set to perform at 1 p.m. on Saturday.<br>Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
Madison Shea, 15, appears with parents, Tim and Barbara Hornsby. ‘In the past, I’ve had to go really far away from home for performances, but we’re starting to have more closer to home. I’m really looking forward to it.’ Madison is set to perform at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
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CANTON — Riverfest’s main stage will have many local acts this year for patrons to enjoy, but some might be surprised that several hometown teens set to perform at the festival are already making waves as young singer-songwriters.

Kicking off the weekend is 13-year-old Aspen Countryman on Saturday at 10 a.m. The Creekland Middle School student said she will be playing a mix of originals and fun covers in her signature contemporary folk style.

“I like to cover a little bit of everything — country, pop and other singer-songwriters,” Aspen said.

Daughter of Star and Travis Countryman, Aspen will be performing with Matt Mattson on cajon, who has been playing with her since the end of March.

Some of her favorite singles include “Trust Me,” “I Still Love You” and “Butterflies,” but she is also fond of her cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.”

At the moment, the Canton teen said she’s working on writing new songs but fans can download three of her songs on iTunes or tune into 94.9 The Bull to hear two of her songs on their Backyard Country program.

She said she likes seeing nearby fans and friends come out to support her and have a good time.

“My performances are usually upbeat,” she said. “I like to play songs that people know and something that will turn heads.”

Jordan Grassi, a 15-year-old Creekview High School student, said she was excited to play at last year’s event in Boling Park and can’t wait to come back to one of her favorite shows.

A year before, Jordan also performed a couple scenes from “Mother Goose on the Loose” with Elm Street Cultural Arts Center, but she said she’s looking forward to performing her music for friends and family.

Jordan, daughter of Kimberly and Rob Grassi of Canton, will kick off Sunday’s events at 10 a.m. with a performance of the national anthem with her bandmates Val Hoyt on banjo and Tommy Paschal on the cajon.

“We’ll be doing country and pop covers and lots of original music,” Jordan said. “It’s going to be fun.”

Jordan, who moved to Canton from Florida three years ago, describes her music as modern country.

“It’s a crossover between Lady Antebellum with a Carrie Underwood musical-feel,” she said.

Since this past summer, Jordan’s been busy winning Country Atlanta’s 2012 Favorite Country Artist and raising $7,300 through an IndieGogo, an online fundraising platform, that she put toward recording her new album which is set to be produced by Ben Sesar, the drummer for Braid Paisley.

Jordan said she hopes to release the album by early next year and plans to head to Nashville at the end of November to start the recording process.

Set to perform at 1 p.m. on Saturday, 15-year-old Madison Shea said she’s performed at a lot of festivals but is very excited to come to Riverfest.

“In the past, I’ve had to go really far away from home for performances, but we’re starting to have more closer to home,” Madison said. “I’m really looking forward to it.

A sophomore at Fellowship Christian School in Alpharetta, Madison said her music fits into the pop-country genre.

“I write about almost anything, but mostly relationships because I’m a teenager,” Madison said.

Madison, a Woodstock resident, said she’s been writing songs since age 11 and got her start in writing poetry.

“My mom told me songs are just poetry put to music and I kind of ran with that idea,” Madison said.

Since then, she’s earned a first place recognition at the 2012 Georgia Music Awards in the Country Youth category.

Madison’s mother, Barbara Hornsby, said her daughter just recently recorded her new album “Overboard” in Nashville that will soon be available for download on iTunes. The teen already has six songs available for download from her first album, “I’ve Got A Secret.”

She will be performing with guitarist Nick Franco and Jon Buncic on cajon. Madison said the popular percussion instrument enhances acoustic performances.

“A drum set would be too overpowering for the songs I’m singing,” Madison said. “It doesn’t overpower and has a really nice, warm sound to it.”

More information about each of the artists’ music can be found at www.aspencountryman.com, www.jordangrassi.com and www.madisonsheamusic.com.

Admission to Riverfest for adults is a $5 donation and there is no charge for children younger than 10.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 29 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 30. The festival is held at Boling Park at 1200 Marietta Highway in Canton.

Recent changes to the entertainment schedule replaced featured act Glorybound with Lost & Found, a Christian rock band that calls their music “the Good News Blues.” They will perform Saturday at 4 p.m.

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