Heartland is a band of six musicians that got their start playing in Alabama music clubs. Released on the independent label Lofton Creek Records, their debut single, "I Loved Her First," hit the country charts in 2006 and ultimately reached No. 1 on Billboard's country airplay chart.
Collectively, Heartland encompasses a variety of musical influences including Johnny Cash, Alabama, Van Halen, Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, AC/DC, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. Each member of the band grew up absorbing a rather diverse musical diet and those varied influences have helped shape the full-bodied, robust sound that defines Heartland's musical persona.
Like all young bands, Heartland practiced, performed and dreamed of stardom. In 1997 they got their first taste of that dream becoming a reality when they performed at the final June Jam, an annual concert hosted by country music legends Alabama. When they took the stage in front of more than 20,000 screaming fans, they were surprised and elated to see people holding up Heartland signs and shouting their name.
Heartland became known for delivering a great live show. "I heard somebody say 'If you take some Beach Boys and a little bit Alabama and put them in a cup and shake them up, you get the Heartland sound,'" Keith West says. "We like putting on a very lively show that might make you think back to the 80s rock days - maybe not as crazy, but we do like to move around and entertain the people."
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