Rising star shines at Bronco Bill's
By BARBARA L. FREDRICKSEN, Times Staff Writer
Up-and-coming pop-country singer Steve Azar will headline tonight at Bronco Bill's, the relatively new 1,500-seat country dance club in southwest Pasco County.
"Azar is the kind of new artist country music needs right now," wrote Billboard's reviewer, who goes by the initials RW.
Azar's I Don't Have to Be Me ('Til Monday) rose to the No. 2 spot on Billboard's country singles chart in June 2002 and stayed in the top 10 for eight weeks.
His appearance in Holiday is backing up his latest album (his first with Mercury Records), Waitin' on Joe.
Success has been long in coming for the 38-year-old Azar. Born in Greenville, Miss., he cut his first record in his early teens and was part of a show called "the future of country music" at the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans. When things didn't start popping for him right then, he went to college and earned a degree in management.
Then he formed a band, hit the road, and did one-night-stands up to 240 nights a year, finally landing in Nashville. After that, and a couple of false starts, it took Azar nine years to get a contract with a major label.
This one earned enthusiastic reviews from major critics.
"Waitin' on Joe is already on my contender list for Album of the Year," wrote Ron Young of Music Row, Nashville's Music Industry Publication.
Billboard's reviewer called the title song "a subtle masterpiece, a believable ballad with well-drawn characters and soul to burn."
Peter Cooper of The Tennessean called Azar's composition and singing style "tough-nosed and well-crafted."
The video for Waitin' on Joe, which features movie actor Morgan Freeman, was nominated as "Breakthrough Video of the Year."
WHO: Steve Azar
WHERE: Bronco Bill's 3535 U.S. 19 (Universal Plaza, corner Moog Road), Holiday
WHEN: 10 p.m. today
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