Singer comes home with record deal


By Thomas Donley, @TDonleyDE

A native son returns to Carbondale this week. 

Southern Illinoisan Drew Baldridge will play his first gig in Carbondale since signing his record deal with This Music/Warner Chappell when he takes the stage at 10 p.m. Thursday at Copper Dragon.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” said the Patoka native. “We went from just playing in the Midwest to now playing across the nation. It’s very, very exciting. We just broke the top 50 on Billboard for “Dance With Ya” just last week, so to think that you have a top-50 song, it’s pretty unbelievable. It’s pretty crazy. The fanbase has grown so much now.”


“Dance With Ya,” a saxophone-infused track about — if you can imagine — dancing with a girl, currently sits at No. 52 on the Billboard Country National Airplay charts and is on its 11th week in the top 60.

It is the first single from Baldridge’s first full-length album, entitled “Dirt On Us,” set for release on June 10.

Baldridge, who resides in Nashville, Tenn., brings his small-town lyrics and a style he calls “funktry” to Carbondale, about 80 miles from the small town where he grew up.

“It’s just always great to come home and see familiar faces,” he said. “Those are the first people that ever believed in me, and the first people that took a chance and came out to my shows. It’s really good when I get to come back home and see those familiar faces and get in front of them and play the music that I wrote so long ago and have them know every word and sing it back.”

Baldridge, who said he loves the college vibe of Copper Dragon, will bring a buddy from Nashville to open for him in Ben Rue. 

Rue, a native of Silverton, Ore., sings mostly about love both lost and found as he attempts to make a name for himself in Music City.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 in advance. Attendees must be 19 or older.


Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307