I ain’t leavin’ till I’m famous, a phrase Marty Short likes to use, is actually the name of this trio’s popular new country and western album. Marty is the lead guitarist and one of the singers for the musical group called Neon Summer. The main vocalists are two very talented, self taught, young ladies: Angela Short, Marty’s wife, and Anna Ash, Marty’s sister. The Shorts are local residents and spend most of their time here except when they return to Nashville to do their studio album recordings.
According to Angela, they decided upon the name Neon Summer because summer is always fun, and they came from the bright neon lights of Nashville. She also said, “I want people to take home our music after they listen to it because that’s important to me as an artist.”
The group has been together for years, starting off as children performing at churches in Virginia and Tennessee singing gospel music. They sang in church choirs until Marty picked up a guitar and learned to play. Over the years they perfected their talents to what they have now—a professional and very entertaining trio. The group identifies itself as a trio, but depending on the venue and upon clients’ requests, they have musician friends who can expand the group to a full orchestra, if needed.
The group plays mainly country and western, but Marty calls it “southern rock.” They play many of their original songs, having written five of the seven songs on their new album. Songs like “Lonely” and “What’s Not to Love” are filled with emotion. Their lyrics are well written and express the feelings of the performers singing them. Some of their songs were written in conjunction with friend and Nashville writer Billy Austin, the producer of Neon Summer’s newest album.
I doubt other artists could express the depth of heart in which Neon Summer performs these songs. They write their music and lyrics the old-fashioned way, by trial and error, or as artists typically explain, “by rhyme and reason.”
It wasn’t too long ago that they hit the big time by performing at the Grand Ole’ Opry. Marty told me how exciting it was to play in the Ryman Auditorium where he recalled receiving a standing ovation from the audience and from headliners like Marty Stuart. They have made many friends in the industry, including music stars like Keith Urban. Other Nashville greats have given Neon Summer a “thumbs up” after their performances.
I sat and listened to them play during the holidays, when they were playing at Fathom’s Restaurant in Cape Harbor. The group was so entertaining that people couldn’t resist getting up to dance. There wasn’t an empty seat inside or out, forcing some folks to sit on the curb. I was surprised to see a lit-up Santa—its blinking lights made it appear to dance on top of a nearby yacht.
When Angela sang the song “9-to-5,” I had to leave my dinner table to make sure it wasn’t Dolly Parton herself doing a guest appearance. After all, some big celebrities show up during the holidays in the area! When she finished, the crowd at the outside bar hooted and hollered for more music. Anna then stepped up and waved at the audience doing the lead-in to the 1990 Brooks and Dunn recording of “Boot-Scootin’ Boogie.” This Texas honkey tonk line-dancing favorite roused people to get up and move around.
It was amazing the down-to-earth attitude that Neon Summer has with its audience. It was obvious that they wanted to please everyone and to make sure their music entertained. This group comes across as real people—folks with whom you could feel comfortable having coffee. Many professionals nowadays have become hardened by success and lose their personality. They play, perform, then move on to the next gig. Neon Summer is a refreshing alternative you must see. That is why RiverStyle Magazine is giving them a “thumbs up” for entertainment.
Marty says they always have fun performing because someone in the group usually says something, or does something humorous, that breaks tension on a new gig. I highly recommend this trio and plan to see them again.
They will be appearing at various other locations in the area this spring so check out their website www.neonsummer.com and their Facebook page for dates, places and times.
You can call Marty at (540) 244-9878 for local bookings or contact Tanners Ridge Management (615) 491-6782 for any out-of-state engagements.