Mobile Profile: For Connecticut DJ,
Country Is Cool
By William H. White | January 8, 2015
Danbury, Conn. – It all started in 1991. At the time, Alan Kohn, operating as Premier Entertainment, was working for an El Torito in Danbury, supplying DJs for the Mexican restaurant/bar. The Top-40-format venue was looking for a new club promotion, so Kohn suggested a “Dirty Dancing” theme. Management liked the idea, and ran it successfully for six months. After running its course, the GM asked Kohn for another promotion. He said he needed a few days to think about it.
That weekend, he was DJing a wedding in Southbury, Conn., when a few guests came over to his console and asked for Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places.”
Kohn’s reply: “Who’s Garth Brooks?”
A guest went to his car and retrieved a cassette. “I played the song and I noticed that 40 guests were doing a couples dance called the El Paso,” recalls Kohn. “A light bulb went off in my head. Could there be something to this? I started asking questions about this country dancing, and the guests told me that a venue in Milford called Ellery’s was doing country dancing a few times a week.”
That Tuesday, he went to Ellery’s and walked inside as Clarence Carter’s “Strokin’” blasted from the club speakers. “I thought, ‘This can’t be hard to do,’” says Kohn. “As I sat through the night and witnessed…, it was very interesting, to say the least. The DJ was playing music I had never heard before. There were not a lot of country dances in 1991.”
next day, Kohn called country radio station WWYZ in Waterbury, and asked to speak to a sales rep. “I was very impressed with the number of households listening to country music,” he says.
Kohn set an appointment with El Torito, and on that Friday he pitched the GM on his country-music idea. The GM, fearing that the idea would turn his restaurant into the laughing stock of Danbury, was skeptical. Kohn asked him to try it for 30 days.
On opening night, Kohn hired a country band (The Texas Outlaws), a dance instructor and a DJ. “That first night,” he recalls, “we had 450 people—that was my start.”
Since then, Kohn has been a Connecticut cowboy, an ambassador of the belt-and-boot boogie, not only booking 70-percent of Premier’s gigs in country theme bars and restaurants, but also organizing more than 40 country-dance weekends in the Catskill Mountains and the first Country Dance Cruise (in 1992). He’s even opened concerts for the likes of Brooks and Dunn, Hank Williams, Jr., and Marty Stuart.
“Believe it or not,” says Kohn, “Connecticut is the country-line-dance capital on the East Coast—hard to believe, but true.”
Kohn says country music has been on the rise for the last five years. “It has gone mainstream, thanks to artists like Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney and Florida Georgia Line,” he says. “Reality shows on TV have really helped and, of course, social media.”
Kohn points to a club in Stamford called BarBQ. “There may be 500 to 600 customers ranging from 22 to 35, and they are singing the lyrics to [Frankie Ballard’s] ‘Sunshine and Whiskey’ and [Luke Bryan’s] ‘Play It Again’ and many more country tunes. BarBQ is surrounded by four bars and it happens to be the No. 1 bar in Stamford.”
Welcome to The Cowboy Beat
Alan's Gazette online!
A few words about Alan Kohn (UPDATED!) paragraph here.
about time to keep up with times and bring back this legendary publication.
THE COWBOY BEAT AND IT'S SISTER PUBLICATION ALAN'S GAZETTE will inform you the Country Fan as well as the Country Dancer, with all the happenings in the Country Music and Dance in local tri state area. We hope you will enjoy this publication online same as you did when the Cowboy Beat was distributed years ago throughout the Tri State Area.
And now this publication is online only a click away for all your Country Music and Dance Needs.
Also, dance cruises, dance weekends, Country Festivals, and our local dance venues will be advertised in The Cowboy Beat as well as Alan's Gazette. Enjoy!
Alan and Lika Kohn
124 Coal Pit Hill Road
Danbury, CT 06810
H: (203) 300-5094
C: (845) 729-0811
write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our New Staff:
Alan M. Kohn Publisher
Lika Kohn Editor and Design
The Cowboy Beat will include every week Alan’s Gazette, (created by Lika Kohn) a weekly publication of what’s going on with Alan Kohn and Premier Entertainment.Why THE COWBOY BEAT? It has been 12 long years since our last edition. We thought it was
PREMIER ENTERTAINMENT DANCE TEAM WAS FEATURED ON SKY TV IN LIVE LAUGH LINEDANCE Live Laugh Linedance is a half hour TV show airing on Sky 212 from 3rd December 2014. It aims to show line dance as a social outlet that is fun and suitable for all age groups, dispelling the myth that it's all hay bales and check shirts. Country music still plays a role but the music today is from every conceivable genre. Through the show we aim to offer a more accurate insight to what modern line dance and modern country music is really all about - both topics that are frequently and, in our opinion, deliberately mis represented by the the mainstream media.
The Cowboy Beat Alan Kohn Alan's Gazette events venues country dj's dance instructions
WELCOME TO THE COWBOY BEAT
brought to bear on the tragedy of "Alyssa Lies," the pure passion of "Livin'Our Love Song" or the youthful exuberance of "I Can Sleep When I'm Dead," Carroll knows how to connect with fans, and together with hard work, undeniable talent, and good looks, that connection has launched one of country‘s most impressive young careers. He certainly didn't disappoint next on to Gretchen Wilson.
Gretchen Wilson has gone from talented obscurity to a phenomena. "The reason I've been successful is that I've been genuine from the get-go," she says, "and I continue to try to do that. I'm an open book." It helps that the identity she wears so guilelessly is one that resonates strongly with fans of country and Southern rock--the independent, take-no-guff, hard-working and hard-partying country girl.Gretchen didn't disappoint anyone. Actually she blew the roof off, with her classic songs, "Here for the Party, "Homewrecker", "All Jacked Up" Redneck Woman, and some Rock classics "Hot Blooded and Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll.The crowd really enjoyed her new single on ITUNES "One Good Friend" Gretchen wowed her fans for over 1 1/2. Great concert tonight.
GRETCHEN WILSON CONCERT -
PROVIDENT BANK PARK POMONA, NY JULY 12, 2012
WRITTEN BY ALAN KOHN
Provident Bank Park, July 12, 2012: Lika and I arrived at Provident Bank Park to see Jason Michael Carroll and Gretchen Wilson. This was Lika's first country concert. What a way to start!
We arrived and went to meet Gretchen Wilson, a lovely lady who greeted us like we've know each other for years. Cowboy Dan Hopkins Kick 105.5 joined in the fun with some photos. Then off to see Jason Michael Carroll.
The accomplishments are impressive enough for any new artist – a chart-topping debut album nearing a half- million in sales, three hit singles from that album (all of which he wrote or co-wrote), and opening spots on some of country‘s hottest tours. The key to Jason Michael Carroll's success is evident in every note he sings – live or in the studio – and it lies in his authenticity. Whether it's the empathy
With background in radio and as an events coordinator, music journalist, and program director, Alan Kohn has the skills to DJ almost any event.
After moving to Connecticut in 1980 Alan started K & K Entertainment in 1983. As the owner of a multi-DJ operation Alan had as many as 20 DJs working for K & K in nightclubs and for private events.
K & K had the privilege to work for stars such as Meg Ryan, Ted Danson, and Michael Douglass and Alan's country newspaper, "The Cowboy Beat" interviewed stars such as Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, and Tim McGraw.
Alan left Connecticut in 1997 and worked as DJ and program director at Denim & Diamonds before starting Premier Entertainment in 1999. This year Premier Entertainment celebrates 11 years and is one of New York's most sought after DJ Companies.
Is happily married to Lika, lives in Danbury, CT and has two pugs.
Granted, there are still challenges to being a country DJ in Connecticut. “There is still the perception for brides and grooms to back off from hiring you for their wedding,” he says. “Sometimes the first thought is, ‘I don’t want that Yee Haw at my wedding.’ But country is mainstream enough today where that’s not a big deal.”
Premier, a multi-system operation that Kohn started in 1983, books about 15-percent weddings and 10-percent corporate, in addition to 70-percent of the bar/restaurants—in which he leads dances like All About the Bass, Timber, Dem Jeans, Talk Dirty, Bye Bye Bye and Shoop.
“The latest country-dance phenomenon is Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off,’” says Kohn. “It is the hottest dance that I have seen in a long time. It was choreographed by a member of the Premier Entertainment Dance Team, and I actually have venues and crowd shaking the club’s foundation singing the song.”
Kohn says most of Premier’s bookings come from word-of-mouth—and also from a crafty idea, a publication called Alan’s Gazette. “It’s a continuation of The Cowboy Beat, a country newspaper I owned in the 1990s,” says Kohn. “The Gazette has a life of its own. It’s a weekly newsletter that reaches thousands of people throughout the world. It’s a breakdown of all our events by dates and venues, and we have gotten quite a few gigs and signed club venues because of it.”
Premier’s gear includes Virtual DJ software, a Denon MC-6000 controller, Shure PGX4 wireless system with SM58/PGX2 mic, and lighting packages that include various ADJ and Chauvet units. His active PA system includes a dbx DriveRack PX optimizer, two JBL EON 515 speakers and an Electro-Voice ELX118P sub. His passive system includes two JBL MR925 speakers and a Crown Power Base-1 amp.
As a country-DJ thought leader, Kohn has helmed seminar panels/workshops at the past two DJ Expos—produced by DJ Times each August in Atlantic City, N.J. Last year, he brought in Danny Williams (Entertainment Director for the Electric Cowboy nightclub chain), a pair of radio/party jocks and members of his Premier Entertainment Dance Team. “I wanted to give fellow DJs a look of what the country industry has to offer,” he says. “The dancers taught a dance lesson and I explained the possibilities of making extra money in the field of country DJing. My goal was for everyone in the audience to say: ‘I can do this and it’s fun.’”
When I ask Kohn where he sees Premier in 10 years, he’s got a ready, if not specific, reply. “Premier Entertainment has a 10-year plan at the moment,” he says. “We are exploring different avenues to grow in the country and mainstream areas. Our goal is to grow every year. Keep an eye out for us.”