I’m sure there are so many other dates I accidentally left out I will try to be more accurate or at least slow down on the beer next time.
|25||Taylor Atkinson (acoustic)||Wormy Dog Saloon|
|26||Jason Boland and The Stragglers w/Whiskey Myers||Wormy Dog Saloon|
|27||Mustang Brewing Co. Amber Lager release party featuring Jeff Hobbs and The Jacks||Wormy Dog Saloon|
|27||Jason Boland and The Stragglers w/Randy Crouch||Cain’s Ballroom (Tulsa)|
|2||Bo Phillips (acoustic)||Wormy Dog Saloon|
|3||Jackson Taylor Band||Blue Note|
|4||Red Dirt 4 The Cross: Ordinary Outlaws, Bo Philips Band, Exit 174, Left Foot Sally, Chad Sullins||Tumbleweed (Stillwater)|
|5||Josh Abbott Band||Rusty Spur (Stillwater)|
|5||Taylor Atkinson Band||Wall Street (Duncan)|
|5||Turnpike Troubadours||Eskimo Joe’s (Stillwater)|
|11||Blue Edmondson||Wormy Dog Saloon|
|12||Charlie Robinson||Wormy Dog Saloon|
|12||14th Annual Red Dirt Christmas: Cross Canadian Ragweed, Red Dirt Rangers, Mike McClure Band||Cain’s Ballroom (Tulsa)|
|12||KKAJ Red Dirt Jingle Jam w/ Jason Boland and The Stragglers, No Justice, Whiskey Myers||Heritage Hall (Ardmore)|
|17||Annual Toys for Tots* w/ Randy Rogers Band w/ Sean McConnell||Wormy Dog Saloon|
|18||Cross Canadian Ragweed||Riverwind Casino (Norman)|
|19||Casey Donahew Band||Arbuckle Ballroom (Davis)|
|19||Stoney LaRue w/ Mama Sweet||JT’s Cowtown USA (Tecumseh)|
|31||Jason Boland and The Stragglers||Tumbleweed (Stillwater)|
|31||No Justice w/ Rich O’Toole||Wormy Dog Saloon|
|31||Johnny Cooper (FREE SHOW!!)||Choctaw Casino (Idabel)|
I’m sure there are so many other dates I accidentally left out I will try to be more accurate or at least slow down on the beer next time.
The Latest: Comal County Blue
I’m fresh off of a little vacation and back in time for pre-celebration for Jason Boland and the Stragglers upcoming show at the Wormy Dog Saloon on Thanksgiving night Nov.26, which also happens to be my birthday as well. I’m just going to drop a few lines for this Oklahoma native to show my respects.
Comal County Blue was a much anticipated release in August of 2008 and a sobering moment for most Jason Boland fans after a blood filled polyp obstructed his vocal chords. After a successful surgery and spending a lot of time in silence and then having to retrain his vocal chords to sing, a sigh of relief was delivered. Though sidelined for the release of the album, Comal County Blue still turned heads. The album’s first radio soared to the number one spot and stunned the itunes world.
Comal County Blue has many solid tracks. As soon as you pop in the CD, Son’s and Daughter’s of Dixie delivers banjos and drums and that ole guitar from Boland we all know and love. Boland even gives you glimpse of his past demons in Bottle By My Bed and No Reason In Being Late. His second radio release, The Part’s Not Over, featuring a special quest vocal performance from Robert Earl Keen, is just another reason of why you should own this album. Comal County Blue was one the most celebrated albums in late 2008 and is still making waves. This album is Jason Boland and The Stragglers polished to it’s finest, lyrically and instrumentally as well. I get goose bumps just thinking of what is next for these guys. Outlaw Band reminds me most of why I even began to listen to Jason Boland and The Stragglers written by the late Bob Childers and other greats like Randy Crouch and Layle Stagner.
The Greatest: Somewhere In The Middle
After I got an ear full of Jason Boland and Stragglers’ first albums I didn’t know if they could follow a debut album like 2001′s Pearl Snaps. I was young, fresh out of high school, and wild as the wind running back and forth between SWOSU and Stillwater. But then I herd these lyrics: “You don’t like my music, you don’t like my songs, Say you want to party, say you want to rock-n-roll, that carbon copy music don’t mean a damn to me”.
Sorry, I got a little side tracked, but man, those lyrics from the first track “hank” are amazing and make perfect sense in 2004 and still hold true today. But that song is just the beginning that makes these bourbon legends so unique in country music today. This album is probably in my CD player the most. Even with my vast collection of music, Somewhere In The Middle is most responsible for many hazy nights and trying to get my head straight.
In the song If You Want to Hear A Love Song, Boland sings about needing some love to show some love and in Stand Up To The Man they give you quick insight on not giving up on life and fighting till the end. 12oz. curls is a fun song written by Randy Crouch that any old bar hopping soul should love. Boland and The Stragglers even cover the classic Thunderbird, written by Billy Joe Shaver.
For a special treat, there is a secret song after Hell or Bust by Randy Crouch himself. Even Stoney LaRue jumps in there on the acoustic guitar. This album is a cure for whatever ails you and is one of my all time favorites. Don’t bother skipping any of the tracks because you won’t need too. Fiddle and steel guitar are no novelties with Jason Boland and The Stragglers.
So I hope I have done enough to encourage everyone to come out and see Jason Boland and the Stragglers on Thursday night after gobbling turkey all day and if you see me stumbling around I might let you buy me a beer or two, ’cause it will be my birthday as well.
After one long night that ended in reckless abandonment, Stoney LaRue style, Saturday would be no different. Barely making it back to my media booth, the festivities kicked off with Aaron Watson on the main stage. Though it was early, I was still excited to get to check him out. There wasn’t nothing Aaron Watson and his band didn’t have on hand, Banjos, steel guitar, and fiddle… you name it. He kicked off the entertainment with “Love Making Song” and ended it the same way and since Aaron Watson was his own boss under his own label he decided to even give out free CD’s at the merch table that ended up with a bigger line then usual right in front of ole KKNG booth.
Up next was another Texas icon that is living proof that there is life after being a one hit wonder. Much like Jason Boland, there is not just a calm before the storm, but after as well and its name is Ray Wylie Hubbard. In 1973 Hubbard had his first big hit that sits around in most honky-tonk juke boxes: “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother”. With the help of the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughn, he quit drinking and went back to writing with vivid lyrics and groovy melodies. The legendary rambler made a come back with hits like the recent “Snake Farm”. During his press conference he was excited about still being able to tour and how his 13-year-old son was moving right along. He opened with “Live and Die Rock ‘n Roll”, a ballad that has appearances by Seth James and Cody Canada. And of course he played the favorite, “Way of The Fallen”, which deals with salvation and redemption.
With one legend out of the way, it was time for another: The Red Dirt Rangers. A symbolic staple in the red dirt/ Texas music scene, they got their start in Stillwater Oklahoma at The Farm, where they all met while being students at Oklahoma State University. The Red Dirt Rangers delivered, keeping the good vibe going to the largest crowd assembling all over the venue.
Your wild west windblown band that took the stage as the sun bore down on the rowdy concert crowd was Reckless Kelly playing all their hits from there latest album, and then some, hinting that there might be another album coming out “real” soon. They closed their show with their quintessential sing along “Crazy Eddie’s Last Hurrah”, setting the mode for the rest of evening.
Another Stillwater staple took the stage after Reckless Kelly…a very healthy and sober Jason Boland along with the Stragglers. Boland gave thanks to the one’s that came before him, his mentor Bob Childers, and sang almost every song you could think of. He even played a Billy Joe Shaver cover of “Thunderbird”. It seems that there was nothing else that Boland and the Stragglers where destine to do as there first album Pearl Snaps sparked a huge fallowing. Even their recent album, “Comal County Blue”, garnered them national attention. As most of should know, this is a bittersweet time for Boland as almost a year ago he had a surgery to repair a blown out vocal cord that almost ended his career.
The last band of the night was none other than Cross Canadian Ragweed, who just finished recording their new album Mission California with many of the faces we have come know and love in this music scene we have down here. The self-proclaimed “drunkest, loudest, assholes in Nashville” were by far one of my favorite acts to catch all weekend. It seems like every show they surprise you with something. We even got a little variety, with guest vocal appearances by Jason Boland and Jon Cooper (Red Dirt Rangers) singing along with Ragweed on “Boys from Oklahoma”.
And how could we forget the most entertaining side stages of the week as well, with Oklahoma troubadour Travis Linville and Atoka native who has been drawing a lot of attention from Nashville, Shawna Russell, and a riveting performance I almost missed by Seth James.
I can’t forget about these guys either and that is the Bart Crow Band whom I joked around with about starting a “Bart Crow Band Should Be On the Main Stage, He-Man, Woman Haters Club”. The new album Bart Crow was working on is still in the mix as you read this. Giving credit to radio and the fans for spinning everything they could and how much people are catching on to this red dirt (or whatever someone decides label it this week) was just a few of things Bart Crow had to say in our much delayed interview. After arguably the best intro any band had all night, the Bart Crow Band won the rowdy crowd over playing all the hits from their latest album, Desperate Hearts. I almost didn’t make it back to my hotel. I contemplated hitting the road with the band and just introducing them everywhere they go.
Well, that’s it. I’m going to try this thing they call swimming a little bit this weekend and of course bring you a new update from the road very soon.
If the first day of Country Fever looked exciting, just wait and see what day two has in store for you. Every one I talked to out at Country Fever, even the artists were a little confused with Brandon Jenkins opening so early. Brandon is rolling along with his 8th studio album, Faster Than a Stone, with ten solid tracks. Did I mention that this man is a Tulsa native? He doesn’t fit the bill for a traditional country music singer, but his lyrics and in your face style of play will be something you never forget. He was actually the only artist who wanted to take a KKNG sticker and shirt. Opening the show with Faster Than A Stone, Brandon Jenkins played all the hits. I almost couldn’t get my interview with Mike McClure done cause we were having too much fun enjoying a beer and listening.
Texas music icon Billy Joe Shaver was the next grace the main stage. With over 20 albums under his belt, Shaver was the most veteran singer at Country Fever. Shaver made some of the older crowd a bit more comfortable. In between interviewing artists and going to press conferences, I was able to catch Shaver sing a few and this songwriter still has it. He played Ride Me Down Easy and Old Junk of Coal and polished off his show with Thunderbird and I Been to Georgia On a Fast Train. Afterward, I scurried back up to my booth for my next press conference.
After a quick set change around 3:45, it was Mike McClure’s turn to take the stage. Now, for most of you who don’t know, Mike McClure is the original front man for The Great Divide, which was the first red dirt artist to get signed to a major label. During our interview he talked of recently getting back from working on Cross Canadian Ragweed’s new album, being completely comfortable where he is musically without The Great Divide, and getting to weed out the crappy gigs and doing gigs he wants to do. When I asked him which he liked better: performing or recording? He wouldn’t budge either way. Although McClure just recorded a new album about eight month’s ago, he is already working on another one.
Arguably one of the busiest men at Country Fever was Jack Ingram. Supporting his newly released single and an upcoming album and with tour dates added daily, Jack Ingram seemed excited for his first official “summer anthem”, Barefoot and Crazy. Ingram was pushing his new album, Big Dreams and High Hopes (due out at the end of August) and his next single Free. I have noticed how negative Texas music fans have been on Jack and Pat Green, calling them sellouts. Jack Ingram responded, saying all the fans deserve to have ownership, but his job as a musician is to get his music out there to as many people as possible. I only got a chance to catch Jack’s last two songs, Where Ever You Are and Love You. It was good seeing the ACMA Best New Vocalist taking time to visit Country Fever.
A little later than expected, around 8:30pm, an already rowdy crowd gathered for my absolute favorite of the weekend: The Randy Rogers Band. Now I don’t know what else could be said about these guys that I have not already said. Except for something I was thrilled to hear: that the first order of business after Country Fever was MAKING A NEW ALBUM (with a projected release of Spring 2010). Now here comes the blurred part of the evening. Randy Rogers Band delivered all the hits just as though they where headlining including Wicked Ways, Somebody Take Me Home, and Down and Out, just to name a few.
Immediately fallowing Randy it was Stoney LaRue’s turn to grace the main stage. As the final act of the night, it would be the hardest act to follow all week, setting the tone for all the acts the rest of the weekend. Stoney got his start in Stillwater in the famed Yellow House, as did so many other acts with Oklahoma ties. Mid way through his set, Stoney let it be known he was used to a different kind of crowd: the crowd that was up in your face and not seated far away cause they couldn’t afford the tickets. So much to the chagrin of security Stoney invited everyone up to the front and made them sit down so not to annoy the big seat spenders. Even tearing down his set a little bit and doing a little bluegrass music, which was the first time I had heard, I was excited.
I have finally recovered from my sunburn and even nearly sank a boat singing Wade Bowen out loud and not paying attention, but that is another story another time. I’m off into the sunset until next week.
Kicking off day one was the Jackson Taylor Band. The first thing that pops into my mind when thinking of Jackson Taylor is ‘outlaw’. Jackson Taylor was one of 11 siblings and grew up listening to true outlaws Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver and so many others. Like most of these artists he tried his hand in the Nashville music scene before being swallowed up and heading back to Texas where he could write his own style of love and hate music about ex-wives, past relationships and struggles which garnered a lot of attention with his Dark Days album and his most recent release Aces and Eights.
After a quick set change it was time for Stillwater’s own No Justice who rocked out in the extreme heat around 6:30. During my interview, No Justice celebrated their number one single “Don’t Walk Away” and Steve Rice of No Justice said they are already getting geared up and looking at a couple of different producers for their next album, having pushed all the singles they could off their Live at Billy Bob’s album. They are even kicking around the idea of letting the fans name their new album.
The next artist on the main stage, Wade Bowen, made a statement this year winning not one or two, but six awards this year, inclusing best album, artist of year, record of the year, and best male vocalist, not to mention his number one hit from the Texas Regional Radio Report “You Had Me at My Best” and his other number one single on the Texas Music Charts “If We Ever Make It Home”. Wade Bowen performed all his big hits from his new If We Ever Make It Home and even as far back as the album that shined for him in 2006, Lost Hotel.
During Wade’s press conference he made me feel like a weakling in my shorts and flip-flops trying to beat the heat while he sat up on the press room stage in jeans and black t-shirt saying he’s from south Texas and the heat just doesn’t bother him anymore. When I interviewed Wade he was very humble in speaking of his recent success and pointed out he is in a “gray” area of his career with him coming to the last leg of his contract with Sustain Records and reminisced about the time Stoney LaRue showed up and jammed out with him at the Wormy Dog Saloon, broken hand and all and said a majority of his crazy stories include his close friend.
Now before I get to the last act of day one there was also two side stages that shined some of Oklahoma’s brightest rising stars in the scene today: Mama Sweet from Norman (no that is not a misprint they hail from Norman not Stillwater), who broke on the scene in 2002 and Tahlequah’s own Turnpike Troubadours. Both of these artists have worked with Mike McClure (we will be getting to him later on in the week).
Wrapping up the night was 53-year-old singer/songwriter/troubadour Robert Earl Keen who all but stole the show. The Texas A&M graduate began his long road by literally paying for his first album, No Kinda Dancer, himself . Keen’s storytelling style about the borderlands of Texas and Mexico is like no other, and his anthem “Front Porch Song” wrapped the first night and my first experience at Country Fever in Pryor. After four days of sitting directly in the sun’s beating path I have no plans of riding off into the sunset but rather avoiding it all together.
23 days 10 hours and 32 minutes until the release of Johnny Cooper’s new album, Follow, or at the time I logged onto his new website that’s what it said. I’m sure even more time has expired since. On Friday June 5th I strolled into the Wormy Dog to check out the Johnny Cooper show hoping to hear some of his newer stuff off of his highly anticipated new album that comes out July 10th.
The Texas entertainer of the year back to back in 2006 and 2007 showed just what all the buzz is about on Friday night. When I interviewed Cooper at the Red Dirt Music Festival in Guthrie he said. “When you go to a Johnny Cooper show you are going to expect to hear it all. A little rock, a little jazz, even a little hip-hop.” After his show Friday I would say he brought his A game to the Wormy Dog. He kickedoff his show with his biggest hit to date “Texas To You”. He even broke it down and did some crowd pleasing covers with his partner in crime Cody Shaw. They brought everything to this show from acoustic sets to beat boxing. Although Johnny Cooper only played one song from his new album (the title track “Follow)” it left the crowd wanting more and they will get their chance this Sunday at Country Fever in Pryor, Oklahoma.
Well I’m going to ride off into the sunset again and I can’t say if I will be back because I’m heading out to a four day music festival for all the red dirt/texas music I can handle so I might not make it back….that’s a bad thing, right?…
Follow The Rooster on Twitter all weekend long and win!
This Thursday I will attending Country Fever in Pryor Oklahoma for the largest assembling of red dirt/Texas music artists to date. This four day festival will feature some of today’s hottest acts and rising stars. Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland and The Stragglers, Randy Rogers Band, Eli Young, Stoney, No Justice just to name a few. If you can’t make the trip follow my adventures on twitter at twitter.com/reddirtlive and check out Langston’s blog for some of free goodies Red Dirt:Live will be giving away.
Keeping in the spirit of the 5th annual Wormy Dog Spring Jam, I finally got my hands on Road of Life by east Texan outlaw Whiskey Myers. I finally got to see them live after many failed attempts. The album starts off with “Thief of Hearts”. Track 2 “Kyle Hope” should remind us all of our old selves watching friends leave our hometown and go off to college while you worked your ass off, stuck around and had good times when they all came home for the summer. “Gone Away” is possibly my favorite track on this album with lyrics like this… “just like the good times, you’ll be gone once again, out of my life and out of this one horse town, just like a bird…” it’s like these guys where inside my head. “Lonely East TX Nights” is their recent radio single and it is packed with just as much power as any of the other songs. The song that officially made me a fan and caught my attention was the title track “Road of Life”.
Road of Life is one of those albums where everyone young or old, male or female could just sit and jam too. If there was an official album of the summer of 2009 so far, this is it. Packed full of serenades that remind you of small town life, the ones you’ve left behind that you’ll never forget, and all the good times. Sadly the only time you will get a chance to check these guys in Oklahoma isn’t until College Fest in Stillwater in August, but you can this album at their website or at Lonestar Music, which I strongly urge you to do.
The annual Spring Jam is tomorrow and this year it features two of the biggest names in Red Dirt music, the Randy Rogers Band and the Eli Young Band. We’ll be hanging with Panhandle Slim at their “Shirt Swap” booth. It’s a great event where you can trade in the shirt off your back for a brand new Panhandle Slim shirt. All the shirts Panhandle Slim gets will be donated to charity. In addition, we’ll be handing out coupons for 20% off Panhandle Slim shirts purchased at our online store in the month of July.
Great music, free shirts for charity, and 20% off Panhandle Slim purchases at langstons.com. You can’t beat it!
See you there.
I woke up early on Sunday, May 24 and hit the road to Eufaula Cove Ampitheatre for Cross Canadian Ragweed’s 3rd annual Music & Mayhem. This year’s lineup was solid from start to finish. Mickey and The Motorcars, Reckless Kelly, Wade Bowen, Jason Boland, Cross Canadian Ragweed and of course the headliner for this year’s event Gary Allan.
When I arrived at Eufaula Cove there wasn’t a cloud in sight. It was nice and breezy, but all that soon changed about 45 minutes after the gate opened. I was already on my fourth beer and my tent was a boat ride away. I was jamming out to surprise guest Welcome to Silence when I noticed the clouds looming overhead. Within the next few songs the rain hit us like stinging needles. As everyone ran for some cover, I saw people, for the first time in my life, actually scrambling to get to a port-a-pott. After the rain calmed down, Mickey and The Motorcars took the stage. If you are not familiar with them, Mickey is one of a long line of famous Braun brothers like Reckless Kelly. They played all their hits from their album Naïve, “Grow Old”, “Seeds”.
With rain still pouring down, Reckless Kelly took the stage and, like always, showed why they were the 2008 Best Live Band in Austin. Micky Braun even joined his brothers Willy and Cody to sing a few songs. After the Braun clan was done wreaking havoc on a rain drenched and mud caked crowd, it was Jason Boland and The Stragglers turn. It seems to me since Boland went through a serious throat surgery at the end of last summer, his shows since then have been spectacular. Not that they weren’t before, it just seems like he has a reborn passion for what he is doing up there on stage. Performing all his hits he could fit into his set along with some new ones from his latest album, Comal County Blues, but I still wanted more.
By the time it was Wade Bowen’s turn to rock-n-roll, I was caked with the dried up mud I’d been standing in for hours. Gary Allan was delivered and was cool, calm and mysterious.
Cross Canadian finished the night with a rowdy crowd. This reminded me of a concert a few years back with Ragweed, only there wasn’t as much mud throwing this time around. Though the rain drove some of the older Gary Allan fans out of the joint, the “troopers” like myself toughed it out. I even managed to take a few snapshots and not get my phone totally ruined in all the madness:
Hope to see you all there.
With the 5th annual Spring Jam just one week away, featuring two of hottest rising country music groups at it today, Eli Young Band and Randy Rogers Band, I wanted to give those of you who have not had a chance to check out Randy Rogers Band a couple of reasons why you need to as soon as possible. Now, it is no secret. Anyone close to me or anyone who knows me at all will tell you I am a Randy Rogers Band fanatic. I own all of their albums, plenty of merch, and countless signed artifacts.
With that out of the way, I will get down to the best reasons (albums) why you should pay attention to these guys. The first is their latest album. The self titled record is the sixth album release since the band starting playing music and it is one of their best. The opening song, “Wicked Ways”, is a song about making choices and dealing with the consequences they bring. It catches you from the start with one’s of the industry’s best fiddlers, Brady Black, and keeps on rolling. This is real country music. With tracks “Lonely Too Long”, “Never Be That High”, and “Buy Myself A Chance”, this album debuted on the Billboard Country Music charts at number three, and was the most downloaded country album on iTunes in 2008. The big hit that started a chain reaction of Randy Rogers pandemonium was “In My Arm’s Instead”, which reached the top 20 on the music charts. The album received an abundance of attention with nominations at ACM and CMA awards, as well as winning Best Country Album of 2008 in Playboy Magazine.
That new album is the first reason. Now here is the second: the Randy Rogers Band Live at Billy Bobs disc. The album is hands down their best album. You get to actually get a feel of how amazing they are in concert, and if you have not seen Randy Rogers Band perform live at one of the many festivals around Oklahoma and Texas or missed them on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno or The Late Show with David Letterman, then you are missing out. This album has all the familiar Randy Rogers we have come to love that has garnered them national attention in 2007 with Rolling Stone magazine ranking them alongside such artists as U2 and the Stones in its list of Top 10 Must-See Artists in the summer of 2007. USA Today praised the band for having “loads of grit, swagger and heart.” It starts off right with my two favorite songs “Somebody Take Me Home” and “Down and Out”. This album has all the favorites: “Ten Miles Deep”, “Tonight’s Not the Night”,” Lost And Found” and so much more.
First and foremost, Randy Rogers is a songwriter (something that country music is missing these days). If these two albums have not persuaded you enough to go out and purchase Spring Jam tickets for next weekend, then maybe it’s time you just listen to someone who knows. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Randy Rogers himself “Country music needs a change…and if this ain’t country music, I’ll kiss your ass”