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On the rise

There's a reason why the phrase "right time, right place," lingers about -- because it's true. Just ask the guys in the country band Ransomville. After taking third place in last year's local Hard Rock Cafe Battle of the Bands, the group was awarded a gig at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh.

Sitting up front for the show was none other than country star Cowboy Troy, who liked what he heard so much he spent a few hours afterward chatting with the band. A few months later, he was in town at Audio Magic producing Ransomville's second disc, "Country Is What I Am."

Guitarist Rob Burgio said Cowboy Troy brought a "consistent vision" to the studio for songs that concentrated on the use of harmony and melody. It also became "a very organic recording. Instead of overdubbing and layering, we recorded most of it live," Burgio adds. Cowboy Troy also co-wrote two of the six songs with the band.

Ransomville -- Burgio, vocalist Dan McClurg, guitarist John Rosini, bassist Kevin Ernst and percussionist Johnny Misso -- celebrates the release of "Country Is What I Am" at 8 p.m. Saturday in Club Infinity (8166 Main St., Clarence). The Eric Van Houten Band opens; admission is $6.

Then things get really busy: Cowboy Troy has helped set up concerts for Ransomville during the CMA Festival, June 7-11 in Nashville, Tenn., which is expected to be attended by about 250,000 people. Catch up with Ransomville at

-- Toni Ruberto