Gone country: Local band opening for country music's top acts

SEATTLE -- When the five members of country band Aces Up quit their full-time jobs earlier this year to focus on their music, they had no idea that in just a few months they would be opening shows for some of country music's biggest acts.

"I had probably a huge anxiety attack, actually, the day that I quit," said guitar player Jason Adams, who was a firefighter in Whatcom County.

His brother, Ty, who is lead vocals and plays guitar, was an EMT in King County.

"We haven't really seen home for more than a week at a time in the last nine months," Ty Adams said.

So far, the group has performed with Dustin Lynch, Eli Young Band, Trace Adkins and Craig Campbell. They also opened two sold-out shows for country music duo Florida Georgia Line.

"I got the email on my phone and it said, 'Would you like to open these two shows for Florida Georgia Line?' and I jumped up and down and was like 'Yes, yes, yes,' recalls Jason Adams.

Aces Up said sharing the stage with one of country music's hottest acts was the highlight of the year.

"(Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line) were working out everyday. While we were sound-checking they were running stairs in the arena. It was pretty eye-opening. Super-awesome guys, though. They were great," said Jason Adams.

Aces Up describes its sound as a blend of blue collar country with Seattle rock. The band is based in Enumclaw, but on the road they're known as a country band from Seattle.

"They think of rock and hip hop when they think of Seattle and they don't think of country, but the thing is it's not just Seattle - you've got Enumclaw, you've got Bonney Lake you've got Sumner, you've got Maple Valley," said Ty Adams.

The group just returned home from a short trip to Nashville, where they met with industry executives and worked on writing more songs.

"When you start writing your own music now you're on your way, said country radio host DeAnna Lee.

Lee said the appeal of Aces Up's music is what's happening to country music across the states.

"Country music is America's music," she said. "This is the format that's selling records and that's why you see so many artists that say - rock artists that were big in the 1990s - they want to make country music now."

As for Aces Up, they know it's still a long road to country radio, but they say they're just grateful for getting the opportunity to perform full-time on stage.

"To be able to do what I love for a living now is absolutely incredible," said Ty Adams. "It's the best job in the world and there's not a lot of people that get to say they wake up and do what they love and I can and I'm blessed."

Aces Up is planning to record their next album in Nashville. The band has started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. Their goal is to raise $27,000 through December 5.

Aces Up returns to the stage in Washington on Saturday, December 14th at Jazzbones, located at 2803 6th Avenue in Tacoma.

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