Dec 18, 2012

2012 Top Albums

2012 is coming to an end. Did you find music that moved you this year? There was plenty to choose from. Some of the big names put out albums and some new guys started making a lot of noise in the scene. I sat down and looked at the albums that have had the biggest impact on me this year and no surprise  there weren't very many of the big names in Texas and Oklahoma music on my list. For the most part the bigger names put out a quality product but to me it seemed as most of it had been done before. So, now that I have said that and likely struck a few of you the wrong way. Here is my list of the top albums of 2012. Purely my opinion folks. Enjoy.
  1. Jason Eady- AM Country Heaven   
  2. The Departed- Adventus
  3. Tom Skinner- (Self titled)
  4. Ray Wylie Hubbard- The Grifter's Hymnal
  5. Chris Knight- Little Victories
  6. Chad Sullins & The Last Call Coalition- Incommunicado
  7. Turnpike Troubadours- Goodbye Normal Street
  8. Uncle Lucius- And You Are Me
  9. Camille Harp- Little Bit of Light
  10. Parker Millsap- Palisade

Dec 13, 2012

Tis The Season Thursday- Kevin Fowler Santa Got Busted

Staying with the holiday theme on this Thursday post. There have been a ton of Christmas songs released this year, and that's all I have to say about that. I spent 6 years in retail before I joined the military so 10 hours a day of Christmas music for 3 months can burn you out on the stuff for life. That being said. This one is my favorite so far this year. Check out  Santa Got Busted By The Border Patrol courtesy of Kevin Fowler.

Nov 29, 2012

Throwback Thursday- Merry Christmas From The Family

Tis the season, right? Holidays are upon us. Christmas music has been playing in every retail store around since the day after Halloween. Jack-o-lanterns and Christmas wreaths coexisted in my neighborhood for about 2 weeks. Yeah I was the last to throw away the pumpkin... Anyway, in the spirit of the season I bring to you my favorite Christmas song ever. Enjoy Robert Earl Keen's Merry Christmas From The Family.

Nov 25, 2012

The Departed Have Arrived

That simple title pretty much says everything you need to know. But leaving it at that just wouldn't be any fun now would it? So here is what I'm going to do; I'm going to give you my unfiltered and uncensored opinion on what The Departed have brought to the table. Warning you now- some of what I am about to say may hit some of you the wrong way but bare in  mind that this is my opinion. Let's begin.

Now 250,000 positive reviews have come out since the release of ADVENTUS. Hell I even wrote one for the other website that I write for. I didn't feel like I captured everything I wanted to say there however. That site is a much bigger and well respected name in the Texas Music scene and I didn't want any possible negativity as a result of this article to impact them. Not that my view on  this album is bad in any way. In fact it is very much the opposite. I feel like The Departed just put out an album that will change this scene.

You can find full reviews of ADVENTUS in a million places online so I'm not going to do that here. The short version- ADVENTUS is an auditory work of art. Musically and lyrically woven together to create a complete listening experience. These songs pull you in and bring you with them down a path to a near musical nirvana. I don't give a damn if that sounds a little cheesy. I dare you to listen to this album and not be personally affected by at least one song.

I had pre-ordered the album and was lucky to get it a few days early. Seconds after I took it out of  the mailbox it was in  my cd player. I listened to it countless times over the next few days. It created one of the greatest and most frustrating feelings you can experience as a writer. This album is so good that I struggled to find and put together the words to accurately portray it. I rewrote that review three times trying to get it right. It was very hard to stay objective and professional while writing a review for what I felt was one of the best albums I have heard in years. 

A few days after the release of ADVENTUS I got lucky enough to actually see The Departed do a show in Wichita Falls. Being a fan of the music that Seth James had done on his own and a Ragweed fan for over a decade I knew the caliber of live performance these guys were capable of, or so I thought. What I saw on that stage that night was more than a show. The Departed are more than a band. They are five guys sharing a vision. Sharing a love of music. Five guys sharing a belief that music can change the world. And to be blunt, there is not a band out there close to the level that The Departed are on right now.

After that show I got a chance to talk with Cody Canada for a few minutes. Talking to one of your idols never really goes the way you would like for it to does it? I look back now and think of all the things I would like to have said. I look back on what I did say and get that "I can't believe I said that" kind of feeling. I stood there nervous, a little flustered and half in doubt that I was actually talking to Cody Canada. Now this is where a few of you may get a little upset.

Whether due to new found inspiration or a little liquid courage, I stood there that night and told Cody that what I had seen on stage that night was better than anything he had ever done before. The music coming out of this band seems to be everything Cody has been wanting to do and had inside him for the better part of a decade. The talent that Seth James brings to the table allows Cody to really open himself up. I told Cody that as a fan, I was glad that he was able to finally express himself fully as a musician now and that I couldn't wait to see how far The Departed were going to go.

Now I'm sure someone has probably said something similar to him at some point. But I can't imagine how it feels to do something new after being part of the band that helped create a scene. How nervous would you be starting something that is new to people who have followed your music for years, but to finally do what you have been wanting to do for almost as long. All I'm going to say now is get ready for change people.

People need to let go of hopes of Ragweed getting back together. If it happens at some point that would be amazing. But even Cody has said in interviews that it isn't likely. He has moved on and so should we as fans. Stop yelling for them to play old Ragweed songs at shows. There are a few of the staples in there. Enjoy that trip down memory lane but open yourself up to the new stuff. Ragweed was an amazing band. The Departed are an amazing band.

I am going to end with a quote from Cody. This was in an article in the Stillwater Newspress in May of this year- “If you trusted us in our other bands, then trust us in this one, because we’re rejuvenated,” Canada said. “I know Jeremy and I are. I can’t speak for everybody. I feel like we got a new lease, and now we get to start again and we’re older and more mature about it and trust us.” Trust...

Nov 15, 2012

Is This Thing On?

Today's post is going to be a little different. I want this one to be a little more interactive. I posted a story a few months back that talked about how I felt there was an overwhelming lack of support for musicians in the Texas and Oklahoma music scene these days. See that story here.

Today, Bo Phillips, who is a fairly well known musician from Oklahoma, has really called out the masses. He put it out there in black and white and voiced his frustration for the lack of support that he and some other major acts in the scene have seen. See what he had to say here.

My question to you is this- WHY? WHY are people not coming to shows? Bands have thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook, but 12 people come out to a free show. As fans we say we love this music and how much better it is than what we hear on the radio. WHY do we not support it? Talking to a musician on Twitter doesn't pay his rent, or put food on his table. Cover charges, T-shirts, koozies, and Cds are the things that make it possible for the musicians you claim to love survive day to day.

This isn't just a venue issue, or a lack of promotion issue and you can't blame the economy or high ticket prices for crap turn out at a free show. I want to know why. Why is there a lack of support? And what needs to change to fix it? Let's discuss... Reply here, email, tweet, send a pigeon, whatever you want
@just_b_RDBC on Twitter

Nov 8, 2012

Throwback Thursday Robert Earl Keen- Paint The Town Beige

Robert Earl Keen has so so so many amazing songs. He is at the top of the list of amazing story telling song writers. He has been making hits for decades but I love digging back through the old stuff and rediscovering gems like this one. 'Paint The Town Beige' is a hard working mans love song with simple, not flashy, just be here for me lyrics. Enjoy.

Nov 1, 2012

Throwback Thursday- Radney Foster

Radney Foster has always been one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I think the number of his songs that have been cut by other artists says that I'm not alone. Please enjoy his (better) version of "Raining on Sunday."

Oct 28, 2012

Hitting The Road

I wanted to share some news with those of you that have followed along with RDBC over the last year. Some of you may know that I have written articles for a few other websites from time to time as a way to bring more exposure to the great music that we cover here on RDBC. The goal has always been to bring as much coverage and attention to the music. In hopes of doing more I have talked with a couple of the bigger media outlets that cover the TX and OK music scene. I am happy to let you guys know that last week I signed on to be a writer for Texas Red Dirt Roads over at If you don't already do so please follow along with the RDBC twitter @rddirtblucollar for updates on stories for Texas Red Dirt Roads. I will continue the RDBC website as well. Without it and you, none of this would be possible. Thanks for your continued support.

Oct 24, 2012

No Justice Sneak Peek

I wrote last week about the new No Justice album that is due out soon. Well, word from the band is that the album will now be released December 4th. They did howeve release a little acoustic sneak peek at one of the tracks off of the new album. Here is 'Never Gonna Be Enough' off of their upcoming release America's Son.

Oct 18, 2012

Reckless Kelly Rocking The Vote -Pennsylvania Avenue

Reckless Kelly released their video for the song Pennsylvania Avenue today. My hat is off to the guys for writing a song that has a voice and stands for something. The song is a not so shy reminder that people should go vote. In an election year that has seen people resort to name calling and lashing out at people with opinions and views different than their own, this was a bold and brave move. One for which I applaud them, and thank them for. No matter what side you are on people, do more than just talk about the election this year. Get informed, get out there, and VOTE!

Oct 16, 2012

New Music November

For me, I have to say that this has been a slow year for great new music. There were a few outstanding releases: see Jason Eady, Turnpike Troubadours, Chad Sullins & Last Call Coalition, & Chris Knight. November however is shaping up to be the month I have been waiting for all year. Save your pennies now and get all of these albums.

Next month we will see new music from No Justice, The Departed, & Tom Skinner. The No justice album has me excited because I have seen a lot of the new stuff live and love it. It sounds a lot like some of their older stuff and that has always been some of my favorite stuff from them.

Tom Skinner is an Oklahoma Red Dirt music legend. Instead of going on and on about a guy that most of you likely don't know, check out the 598 Recordings FB page here for a press release. There are some pretty big names excited by the Skinner album. This album has me very excited.

Lastly The Departed. This is an album I have been waiting for since before the release of This Is Indian Land. I have been a fan of Cody Canada going on 15 years. I hated that some people didn't get what This Is Indian Land was about, but it was by far one of my favorite albums over the last year. I have no doubt though, that Adventus will dominate this music scene once released. The few tracks that have been released are phenomenal.

Music like this is what keeps me listening. It is why I love to share music with people. To me, music is the soundtrack to life and if you surround yourself with music that inspires and motivates you the melody should be endless.

Oct 11, 2012

Throwback Thursday Jason Boland 'Somewhere Down In Texas'

Today I picked one of my favorite Jason Boland tracks. 'Somewhere Down In Texas' was on his first album Pearl Snaps in 1999. When a song is 13 years old and still a staple of your live show, you know you have done it right. Enjoy.

Sep 28, 2012

El Cerrito Place Is Getting Crowded...

So Kenny Chesney has decided to cover El Cerrito Place. When I first heard this I was probably a lot like most of the fans in the Texas/ Red Dirt music scene. "Oh great! Nashville is going to ruin another great song from Texas." Everybody keeps saying Charlie Robison's version is way better. Newsflash folks, Charlie covered the song too. It isn't his. It was written by amazingly talented song writer Keith Gattis. Here is what Charlie had to say about it all via his Facebook page.

Hey ya'll, Chuckie here. I'm so flattered by ur comments about my version of ECP is better than Chesneys,but the down low is that the man who wrote that song{Keith Gattis}should be heard no matter who sings it. Bruce sang Angry all the time better than McGraw{sp?} but that puts his kids through school. i know this aint popular but at least chesney and mcgraw know where the best shit is coming from. Long live Texas/Red Dirt

So before we all fire up the torches and lynch Chesney and Nashville, just remember, our boys sold them the song. I have included all 3 versions. You listen  and decide for yourselves. I will tell you though, my favorite version is from Keith. 

Sep 27, 2012

Throwback Thursday Bob Childers- Mexican Morning

Bob Childers is seen by many in Oklahoma to be the godfather of Red Dirt music. You may not know him but I can almost guarantee you know his music. His songs have been covered by Stoney LaRue, Jason Boland, Mike McClure, No Justice and many others. His music embodied what many feel is the soul of Red Dirt music. His songs were simple and pure yet could touch your soul before you even realized it. And once they had you... you were hooked.

Sep 20, 2012

Throwback Thursday - Wade Bowen "Who I Am"

This week's Throwback Thursday is more or less a dedication. Sometimes you hear a song and like it for no reason other than it being a good song. Sometimes you can get lucky/unlucky enough to have a personal attachment to a song based on something you have gone through. This song for me was just a good Wade Bowen song; until I met my wife. When I met her, I knew I had met my soul-mate. She and I haven't always been perfect. We have laughed, cried, loved, fought and faced more in our short time together than most couples do in a lifetime. But through it all she stood strong and she stood beside me. It is because of her that I am a better man today than when we met. I want to be the man that I think she deserves. So... this one is for you Love. Thank you for letting me be the man that gets to love you.


Sep 14, 2012

Texas Music Cares

Here is just one more example of why I am a fan of the Texas music scene. If you are like me,you all love to drink beer and listen to music. How about doing it for charity? Below is a press release for a benefit to help out the Texas Music Cares organization. Read the release, mark your calendars, and get out there and party for a good cause!

On October 14, 2012 Red Cactus Music Co. is hosting a great event to help raise operating funds for Texas Music Cares.  Texas Music Cares is an organization that truly cares about the musicians and the non-profit organizations in Texas. This is what is stated on their website "The purpose of Texas Music Cares is a plethora of reasons.  First and foremost we want to help the Texas musicians get their music heard and their   fan bases built. They pour out their heart and soul to all of us that listen...they deserve to be heard.  Although in that quest we also know that Texas musicians care.  So when each concert event is planned we will   also be deciding on a local non-profit organization to help out. We as a Texas music community want to help in any way we can and this is the avenue we can take to do it. At the end of each concert event the local non-profit organization will receive a portion of the profits to help them in the mission they are working so hard towards.  Our purpose is to help all that we can."  Texas Music Cares was founded in 2010 and has helped many musicians be heard in areas that might not have ever heard them. Each concert event they put on has at least two acoustic artists and one full band along with auctions and t-shirt sales to help raise even more money to help out. A few organizations that have been beneficiaries of Texas Music Cares events are: St. Joseph Madison Health Center (providing mammograms for low income women), Academy of Texas Music, Humane Society of New Braunfels, Texas Honor Ride and Gardenia E. Janssen Animal Shelter. While Texas Music Cares has been approved by the state of Texas for a non-profit status it is still lacking the funds to file the official paperwork to get the 501c3 status and number. Since it has been founded Texas Music Cares has always relied on the good hearts and generosity of businesses and organizations in the local communities for funding and support to hold the   events.  Once they gain the 501c3 status and number they can then pursue bigger sponsorships to be able to help the musicians and non-profit   organizations even more. 

Chris Weathers, co-founder of Red Cactus Music Co., met with Dillon Steen, founder of Texas Music Cares, Inc., and found out about the plight of Texas Music Cares and their dedication and mission...and in turn he decided to host this great event.  Several great companies have joined in for the sponsorship of the event: Texas Music Water, Silver Star Whiskey, 94.9 The Outlaw and Southern Music Scene. Outskirts in Wichita   Falls, TX is the place that has graciously donated their venue for the use of this great show.  Many talented Texas musicians have donated their time to play at the benefit any tons of great auction items have also been   donated.  Please look at the line up below and some of the items donated.
12:45-1:45: Rod Ballou, Rick Bussey, Blaine Gillespie and Dillon Ray
2:00-3-00: Aubrey Lynn England, Dempsey Pullen, Chuck   Ligon and Bailey McLaa
3:15-4:15: Erick Willis, Luke Holman, Chad St. John, and Zack Verner
4:45-5:45: Matt Dunn, Whitney O'Neil and Aaron "Fiddleboi" Mingus
6:15-7:15: Chad McBride and The Drifters
7:45-9:00: Tc Fambro and The Copperheads
Raffle items from some of the greats in Texas Music including: Deryl Dodd, Bart Crow, Jason Boland, Aaron Watson, Radney Foster and many more. Also we will be auctioning off an autographed guitar signed by the artists playing the benefit, an autographed guitar from Josh Abbott, 2 Tickets + Meet and Greets to any Randy Rogers show through 2013 and a live recording for bands through Texas Music Spotlight!
Chris, Dillon, all of Red Cactus Music Co. and all of Texas Music Cares, Inc. invite you to come out to this awesome benefit. Not only will you have a great time but you will also be helping an organization that believes in giving back and you will have the opportunity to support some of the best artists around.  So please make plans to join us at Outskirts in Wichita Falls, TX on October 14th. Hope to see you there!
Chris Weathers
Promotions Director
Red Cactus Music Co.

Sep 13, 2012

Throwback Thursday - Mama Sweet 'Truckstop'

For this week's throwback Thursday I did something a little different. The song I chose isn't really that old. Quick explanation. I asked on Twitter last night what a high school football coach and a bare foot guitar player have in common... The answer is that they are 2 parts of the best band that isn't... Mama Sweet. After several years of playing music the band has taken a break/ hiatus/ gone into semi-retirement. Some of the band has moved on to other projects while lead singer Aron Holt is now a football coach in Oklahoma. The bare foot lead guitar player I mentioned, Alan Orebaugh, now plays with Stoney LaRue. Mama Sweet does however still have a rather devoted following and has been known to put on a show or two for old times sake. I for one am hoping for one at the end of football season. What do ya say Coach?

Sep 11, 2012

Worth The Fight- The Departed

Yesterday I had the pleasure to put my ear to the first single Worth The Fight from the upcoming The Departed album Adventus, due in November. For those of you that somehow missed it or just don't know, The Departed is the new band from Cody Canada, former front of Cross Canadian Ragweed. This will be the first album of original songs from the guys. The first release from the band was last year's This is Indian Land, a tribute album of songs meant to honor his home state and the Oklahoma artists that define the state.

From the very beginning you feel it. Cody is back and his pairing with Seth James in The Departed is going to make people take notice. His passion and fire for music is alive and well, and it's about to kick your teeth in. He again has a group of guys around him that love the music and it shows. The single Worth The Fight shows you that these guys will be picking up the torch for the rocking Red Dirt sound that flickered a bit with the breakup of CCR.

On a side note, I want to thank The Departed for this song. For me it couldn't have come at a better time. I had been going through some pretty serious stuff both personally and as a writer. I had actually made the decision to quit writing. But one verse in this song really made me rethink some things.

'Kept on pushing
Till we got it right
Far from easy
But worth the fight'

Listen here ----> Worth The Fight

Anything worth having is worth fighting for. If you are doing something for the right reasons, to hell with the people that put you down. Stay true to yourself, and your beliefs and you can not fail. The only true failure is in quitting. Thanks for the reminder guys.

Aug 17, 2012

Camille Harp - I'm on Fire

My wife first turned me on to Camille Harp's music a little over a year ago. She is an Oklahoma native who has music in her blood, quite literally. Both of her parents are musicians so Camille naturally took to music as a kid. Her music ranges from folk to slightly Americana with a little bit of country, depending on the song and her mood... The thing that really impresses me about her music are her lyrics.  They are very real. She is not shy about pouring out her emotions through song. Any one who has ever been in a relationship, that makes you question yourself, your beliefs, and what love truly is, will relate to many of her songs.

On her latest album 'Little Bit of Light' one of the gems that truly shines through is a cover, not an original. Though the original songs on the album are all beautifully written and incredible songs, Camille's retelling of Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" is consuming. I stand firm in my opinion that it rivals the intensity and emotion felt in the original. I honestly sat and watched the video several times when I came across it. The pain, suffering and longing told through the lyrics of the song are all too real in her voice. You can feel that every thing she is singing is truth. You  know that this is more than a song, or words, it's almost a confession.

I leave you with the video. See for yourself. I implore you to discover her other work. Music this real, and honest is rare. Even more rare is the talent and ability to turn the words into true art.

Aug 16, 2012

Throwback Thursday - Deryl Dodd

This week's throwback Thursday gem is from Deryl Dodd. His song "Things Are Fixin' to Get Real Good." The song was on his Live At Billy Bob's cd from 2003 and released as a single in 2004. Enjoy!

Aug 10, 2012

World Domination, I mean World Premiere!!!

The music video to "Thank God For Jack Daniels" by Chad Sullins & the Last Call Coalition has been officially released. Look closely because there are a couple of cameo appearances by Jerry Payne (former member of No Justice and now manager to the red dirt stars) and ME. Check it out and crank it up. !

Aug 9, 2012

A Texas Throwback Thursday- Pat Green

I have always been a fan of the storyteller songs. Pat Green is right there with the best of them. However,it's his version of the Joe Ely song "Me and Billy the Kid" that has always been one of my favorites. It tells a great story without being serious, or sad and down trodden. It's  just fun. Enjoy.

Aug 7, 2012

Oklahoma Musicians Step Up for Fire Fighters.

It's hot out there isn't it? Can you imagine working outside in this heat all day? How about working as a firefighter working in this heat to fight the countless wild fires that keep popping up in Central and Western Oklahoma? Not a very tempting proposition is it? But that is exactly what is going on right now. If you live in the state you are well aware, and it has even made National news. To most people, it stays as a slightly sad story on the news, cut to commercial and we are on to something else. Not true for some musicians in the Oklahoma music scene today.

Yesterday was one of the days when everything that I love about the Oklahoma music scene really shines through. The scene is more than a business, it's more than a job, and people in the scene are a family. I got asked if I wanted to be a part of a benefit to help out the firefighters that are working overtime in unbearable heat in central and northern Oklahoma. Almost everyone knows a firefighter; maybe you even have one in your family. How can you say no to a chance to help out like that?

The main man behind the benefit is Trigger Latimer, the tour manager for Chad Sullins & The Last Call Coalition. One of his good friends is the Fire Chief in a small central Oklahoma town. His band and many other Oklahoma musicians will be donating their time this Sunday to put on the benefit to collect cases of water and supplies. Even in a time when some of these musicians may not have enough money to pay their bills they have stepped up to support the firefighters risking their lives to fight the countless fires that keep springing up.

The benefit will take this Sunday the 12th at Grady's 66 Pub in Yukon, OK. The following details are from a post on Trigger's Facebook page:

Heat Relief Benefit line up so far is:

Chris Mullen
Jake Moffat
CJ Greco
Jc Hopkins
Ryan Reid
Ryan Dorman along with the Sunday Night Revival
Jeremy Johnson
Bo Phillips
Full band show by Chad Sullins and the Last Call Coalition
Hosted by Kyle Carter
Door charge is ONE CASE of water per person (more will be greatly appreciated)
more details to follow, but this will be a great night of music by musicians willing to give up their day off to help out Oklahoma firefighters in need.

So, come on out and support the musicians that are gonna be giving their time in support of their local communities and firefighters. If you cannot attend the event you can still help. Donations can be sent to

Aug 2, 2012

Throwback Thursday - Ragweed 'Boys From Oklahoma'

Cross Canadian Ragweed are considered by many to be one of the forefathers of Red Dirt... Too bad they eventually went up in smoke as a band. Their music still soothes a soul like a good drug. It's high time for you to embrace their genius. Ok, that's all the one liners I got for the song. Hit this right here, enjoy & then pass it to a friend... Oh look at that, I had one more... Love this song!

Jul 30, 2012

Stop The Stealing. WTF?!?!

What the heck is going on with all of the thefts of equipment and instruments of the artists in Texas right now?  It seems like every time you look at Twitter or Facebook someone has had a guitar stolen or a trailer broken into. The biggest loss this weekend has to go to the guys from Backseat Molly. They were playing in Burleson, TX Friday night and woke up to get back on the road for a show in New Braunfels  the next night. Only one problem… During the night, some low life piece of crap thief decided to take their trailer. Not break into it and steal some stuff… They stole the whole trailer.  This type of stuff has to stop. This is how most of these guys pay their bills.
The number of fans reaching out to help them recover their gear or replace as much as they can is incredible. If you would like to help them go to their facebook and look at the pictures they have posted of some of the stolen gear. Post and share with your friends. They have also set up a donation button on the bottom of their merch page. Just go to and click merch. Lead singer Steven Callaway has also said they will be designing a tee shirt to sell to help that says you helped out the band. They have also promised that in the event that they recover their gear or they receive more money than needed to replace the lost gear that they will donate it to other bands that have been robbed or are in need of gear.
To help out, or follow up, or offer any help that you can go to the bands FB page at

Jul 28, 2012

Support Your Scene...

Just a quick thought. Lately it seems that a lot of people are complaining about how bad mainstream country radio is. I only have this in response. Mainstream country radio is what it is because people pay money to see those artists. No matter how bad the music may sound, or ridiculous the lyrics may be ('Truck Yeah' I'm looking at you) people buy it. They also buy tickets and merch, and that keeps fueling the fire for the powers that be in the big boy music scene to keep pushing out the crap that people keep buying.

My question to you is this: as a fan of Texas/ Oklahoma/ Red Dirt music, what do you to support your scene? Today I am driving over 3 hours to go see a band I have already seen several times. And I do this a lot. I bought their last CD twice; a hard copy and digital. Yet far too often when I go to shows there are less than 100 people. If you do not show up to support the scene, no matter how much you love the music, more often than not, it will never make it out of the small town bars and dance halls that you aren't going to. The musicians that create art with their instruments and their voices are very much today's starving artist.

Take a look at the top of the Billboard Country Chart, and then look at the Texas Music Chart. I myself would support every act on the bottom 10 of the Texas chart before I support any of the top 10 on the Billboard chart. I understand the complaining about the pop country crap. But remember this, pop is short for popular. Popular just means it has fans that support it. Do your part to support your local music scene, change what popular country music is and keep the music going. Only we, the fans, can do it.

Jul 26, 2012

Throwback Thursday- The Great Divide

Gonna start something new this week. I will post a retro Red Dirt Video every Thursday. Hence the title... Throwback Thursday. This week, a little something from what some folks consider one of the early pioneers in Red Dirt, The Great Divide. Enjoy...

Jul 25, 2012

Whiskey Myers Release Their 'Anna Marie' Video

Sorry I missed this one yesterday, but the day job really gets in the way sometimes... Anyway, the guys in Whiskey Myers released their video for their catchy tune 'Anna Marie' yesterday on CMT. Not sure what I have missed about CMT debuting so many Texas music videos, but that's another story. With the song close to the top of the Texas Music Charts I thought the video was a great platform for the Whiskey Myers guys to take another step up the ladder. It was very well shot, had a cool story, and was just fun to watch. I wasn't too keen on Whiskey Myers singing around and in front of a bunch of whiskey barrels, but I get it, and that's just my opinion. Overall, nice to see a good band, and hard working group of people getting their foot in the door, their faces on the tube, and their name more known.

Jul 24, 2012

Turnpike Troubadours Release 'Gin, Smoke, Lies' Video

Check it out y'all. The first video from The Turnpike Troubadours 'Gin, Smoke, Lies'.

Jul 13, 2012

T-Shirts are Coming, Finally....

I will be placing a small order of the RDBC t-shirts next Friday. The cost will be $16 with shipping included. If you would like one send me an email to with the size and number of shirts you would like. And as a thank you, one of you will receive your shirt for free. So get your orders in. Thank you for supporting

Jul 10, 2012

Chad Sullins & Last Call Coalition are INCOMMUNICADO

Photo by Tony Thompson

July 10, 2012, was the official release date of INCOMMUNICADO, the newest album from Chad Sullins & Last Call Coalition. Yeah, I will remember this day. Wanna know why? Well I'm gonna tell you anyway because it's my website and my review. First off, I am a fan of music. I feel at times like it touches my soul. I can hear a song, connect and be transported. I get protective of the music I love and at times have been called a music snob because I do not always agree that the music getting played on the "Red Dirt" radio stations I listen to should be getting airplay. INCOMMUNICADO, to put it simply, has renewed my faith in the wellness of Oklahoma/Red Dirt Music and cemented Chad & LCC as a force waiting to pounce on the next unsuspecting listener.

INCOMMUNICADO is the 2nd full release from Chad & LCC (Chad has also released an amazing solo acoustic EP). With a solid line up now that includes Josh Rutz on lead guitar, Jerry Stanley on bass, and Jeremy Clark on drums, Chad & LCC have taken a huge step forward with their music. They have grown musically and gotten much stronger as a unit. The one thing that has always captured my attention with Chad Sullins is his vocals. Chad's vocals, as always, are strong and powerful with just a little bit of that "been in a smoky bar way too long" raspiness. A sound that I envision as his vocal chords straining to fully project the passion and heart he is pouring out with every word he sings.

As an album, INCOMMUNICADO transcends any genre label because quite honestly, you can't tag it with just one. The first single 'Thank God For Jack Daniels' is a straight up, kick you in the teeth, rock-n-roll, bar room drinking song that is sure to get the band more than a few free drinks. While other tracks on INCOMMUNICADO range from simple soulful acoustic ballads like 'Only Girl' & '10 One 10' that touch your heart and give you that "I have been there" connection to the song. The rocking 'August Sun' is a raucous southern rock infused track reminiscent of any old Skynyrd tunes. 'Scratch' is a rocking bluesy tracked laced with amazing guitar riffs that will melt your ear drums. 'Paris' is a great tune that is just about as close to a pure country track as you will ever find. To me however, the true gem on this album is the band’s cover of an old Bob Childers' tune. Their version of 'Dance with the Gypsies' is unequaled. With all due respect for those who have covered the tune before, you just got one-upped. There is not a track on this album I will skip to get to the next. It's rare to find that kind of consistency in an album these days.

To sum it up; the blend of southern rock, blues, and country gives me a little bit of an old school Cross Canadian Ragweed vibe. It's a little gritty at times and a kinda raw in places, but that's who these guys are. Their lyrics are true and real and rival anything coming from their brothers in the dirt. The music these guys are making not only pays a tribute to the Red Dirt sound that no doubt influenced these "boys from Oklahoma" but makes it proud. INCOMMUNICADO stands ready to lead the way for future generations of Oklahoma musicians down that Red Dirt road...

The album is available on iTunes, and other retailers.
Twitter @CSandLCC

Jul 8, 2012

Great Red Dirt Festival & Some No Justice News

A real good read from gives us all the latest info on the 13th Annual Dwight Boeckman Music Festival to be held Saturday, August 4, in Okeene, Oklahoma. As well as some updated news on what has been going on behind the scenes for the guys in No Justice who will headline the festival. Check it out here.
and for news on the Dwight Boekman Music Festival go here

Jul 2, 2012

Wanna Ask Your Fave Musician/Band a Question?

Silly question right? Who wouldn't want to ask their favorite band or musician a question or two if you were given a chance? Well your chance is here. If you were not aware yet, Best In Texas Magazine is doing just that. Every Monday they are doing a live Twitter chat with some of the biggest names in Texas/Oklahoma music. Go follow them at @bestintex on twitter or go here Past chat guests have Included Pat Green, Wade Bowen, And the Turnpike Troubadours. The upcoming line up is just as good. So check it out. Support the people that support the music and bring you the latest news and info from the Texas / Oklahoma music scene.

Jun 21, 2012

Taking a Midnight Drive

It has been a while since I did a "you oughta know story" about some of the newer, or simply lesser known bands in TX/OK music. Well this week I am going to give you a good look at a band that I have seen and that I think have a lot of potential and you just might want to keep an eye on.

The band Midnight Drive hails mostly from around Gainesville, TX. The band is made up of Zac Grantham on drums, Blake Easley on vocals, Chad Henderson on lead guitar, Jason Holder plays guitar, and Victor Johnson on bass. Now if you haven't heard of these guys don't feel too bad. They have only been playing together since April of 2011. However, in that short time they have managed to open for some of the bigger names in the TX/OK Red Dirt Scene and have started to create a name for themselves. I talked to guys this week and here is a quick look at who Midnight Drive is.

RDBC: How long have you guys been playing music together?

Zac: We have been playing together since April of 2011. We played our first show with No Justice on June 18th of 2011 in Gainesville, TX. Jason and I just got out of a band and we knew we still wanted to get deep into the TX/Red Dirt scene, so we talked to Blake at a Mexican food restaurant called La Hacienda in Whitesboro, TX about being the front man and lead singer for the new project. We had a bass player named Victor and he suggested a lead player named Chad, the funny thing is that Chad, recommend Victor to Jason & I when were playing in another group at the time. We started practicing at Blake's house and we have been making music ever since. This last year has been a lot of fun to play and make music with people you love. I love playing music with those 4 guys. Especially Victor, he is kind of cute. HA! HA!

RDBC: What made you want to play Music?

Zac: We want to make music people will sing and be able to relate to. I hope we were able to do that with our first CD "Back Against The Whiskey". We are very proud of that CD. Seeing fans in the crowd singing your own songs is a feeling you
can't describe.

Jason: Chicks right? haha just kidding...I think each and every one of us has a deep passion for creating unique music that is hard to put into words. When you are on stage and see people responding to your music in a positive way.....there is no greater gratification than that!

Blake: I love everything about music – it’s one of the most powerful things on the planet. There is music to go with every emotion; the stronger the emotion, the stronger the music.

RDBC: Who are some of your biggest influences?

Zac: I would say the bands influences are the Randy Rogers Band, Whiskey Myers, ZZ Top, Ryan Adams, & Wade Bowen.

Jason: I think "influence" is such a broad term for this band. I think we each have our own individual influences, and the band has their own set of influences. My personal influences are Randy Rhodes (most people don't know that he was huge into classical guitar). Clapton, SRV, Geoffrey Hill, Willie, Merle, Gary Wooten & the list goes on....

Chad: My biggest influences are anything from Zeppelin to Wilco to Fred Eaglesmith. I recently discovered this guy named Johnny Hiland. He's the "chickin pickin" master. Danny Barnes rocks too. I stole a banjo lick from him once.

RDBC: Who in the TX/OK music scene would you guys like to work with or play with?

Zac: Personally, I would love to play a show with Whiskey Myers. Midnight Drive likes to jam and so does Whiskey Myers, so that would be an incredible show. I would also love to play with Jack Ingram because he is just a true pioneer in the scene and I believe he would have the best advice for up and coming artists.

Chad: I would like to play with REK or any of the fathers of Texas Music. Jerry Jeff, Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard or somehow Willie. I think I could just end my short musical career if we played with him. We're going to open for James McMurtry in July. He's one of my heroes for sure. I even bought a baritone guitar. I blame James.

RDBC: What do you consider your greatest moment/achievement as a band so far?

Zac: I would say the greatest moment so far has to be the weekend of January 20th, 2012. We were able to share the stage with one of our favorites, the Randy Rogers Band on that Friday night. Randy, Brady, Geoffrey, Les, & Chops were so great to be around that evening and it was a pleasure to share the stage with those crazy boys in Ardmore, OK. That Saturday Night, we played the Half Moon in Tyler, TX where JB & the Moonshine Band shot the video for the song "Whiskey Days". Let's just say that was probably the most fun we have ever had playing a show.

Jason: Being able to turn out an album that we are proud of less than a year after our inception is still amazing to me...this is by far the greatest achievement for this group. For five guys who are so different in their musical interest to come together to create a pretty unique sound in that amount of time is a great accomplishment!

Blake: That’s kind of a tossup. In January, we had the honor to play a show with Randy Rogers Band, who I’ve loved for a decade. It was really cool to share the stage with a band that I listened to in high school. I think that moment may have been surpassed, though, in April when we released the new record “Back Against the Whiskey.” We put a lot of work into that thing, and I’m really proud of how it sounds.

I have seen Midnight Drive live a couple of times. The stage show is great, and I would have never known they had only been together 3 months as a band the first time I saw them. They work well together and looking back at this story, hell they even answered most of my questions the same way! That kind of chemistry in a band is what makes for long term success, and I think these guys are capable of doing great things in Texas Music. Their debut album Back Against the Whiskey is out now and is a dang good album. Keep an eye out for them. Check out a show sometime, you'll be glad you did.

check them out here

Jun 19, 2012

Granger Smith & Earl Dibbles Jr. Show 'em Country Boys

The latest and greatest from Granger Smith has actually come from his alter ego Earl Dibbles Jr. This song is awesome. Not just because it comes from Granger, but because he put it out as Earl. This song is both an ode to the good ol' boys and a tongue in cheek jab at what most of popular country music resembles these days.  You can not listen to this song and not laugh out loud at parts. The only bad thing about the song is how bad it really makes popular country music looks. Granger/Earl has put out a song better than anything on a Nashville label, and done it as a joke. Well played Granger. Sit back and crack a cold one with Earl.

May 28, 2012

Chad Sullins Ready to Release New Album 'Incommunicado'

Chad Sullins & the Last Call Coalition are set to release their next album 'Incommunicado' July 10. They finished mixing the album last week. It will be the band's first release since 2009's 'Uphill Battle' and the first with a label behind them.  They celebrated by popping into the tiny Sports bar Woody's in Altus, OK last Thursday for a surprise show, crashing the bar's open mic night hosted by Mike Bennett.

Earlier that day Chad had put up a Face book post saying that some friends of his were going to be dropping by and to check out the show. A little after 9pm that night in walks Chad with LCC guitarist Josh Rutz, and Brandon Johnson and Josh Lamle of LJ & the Delivery. 4 hours later, lots of great music had been played and good times had been had by all. It definitely got me excited about the new stuff coming from Chad & LCC.

Watch here for a full write up on Chad and the new album in the next couple weeks. And grab his album when it comes out. I guarantee it will be one you will not want to miss. In the meantime, check out a story on Chad & LCC the Stillwater NewsPress put out this week.

Twitter @CSullinsmusic

May 22, 2012

Striking it Rich... O'Toole

Photo by Last Call Photography
    This week here at RDBC we had a chance to chat with Houston Texas native and Texas artist Rich O'Toole. Rich is an up and coming star on the Texas Music scene who was, when we talked to him, starting out on a West Coast radio tour to promote his latest single "Drunk Girl." He has a smooth voice, the looks, and great songs. If there is anybody in the Texas Music scene that was ready to break out into the world outside of Texas Music, he is. Here is what he had to say.

RDBC: So first thing, the latest album  "Kiss of A Liar" is great, the current single "Drunk Girl" is doing well on the Texas Music Chart, and you are out west doing radio promo for it. Where are you and where all are you headed on this radio promo tour?

Rich: Well we just left Bakersfield, and are heading over to Visalia, CA. Then on to San Jose & Sacramento, CA before flying over to Salt Lake City down to Phoenix and back over to Oklahoma City.

RDBC:That's a heck of a trek, really making the rounds out there.

Rich: Yeah

RDBC: You have had decent success in Texas. But with songs like "Drunk Girl" & "Marijuana & Jalapenos" on this new album, is it hard to get the kind of radio play you are really after with what your website bio calls "intriguing" song content?

Rich: I don't know. Ya know, sometimes my songs do push the envelope a little bit but nothing really too bad. I stay away from profanity and things like that that could hurt a career. And I still try to write great songs that country radio will love.

RDBC: Are the stations outside of the Texas & Oklahoma region a little more open to edgier content?

Rich: Ya know I'm not sure. We are still kinda playing by ear out here but I hope so.

RDBC: You have had a fair amount of success, despite not receiving a lot of radio play, do you think that stems from word of mouth due to a loyal fan base?

Rich: Oh absolutely. Especially in this scene, radio play is hit or miss sometimes. Guys like Kyle Park who haven't had a ton of songs on the radio sell out great venues and do really well. So yeah a lot of it is from the fans just loving and spreading the music.

RDBC: What has been one of your highlights as an artist so far?

Rich: Oh man, getting to open for Willie Nelson last year and getting to meet him. I mean that guy is a living legend. But ya know for me, every week is cool. We just played down in Midland, TX (Crude Fest) and there were thousands of people there. And that was a dynamite show, ya know having 3000-4000 people singing word for word for 4 or 5 of our songs was awesome. It shows that people really listen and care about the music down there.

RDBC: How about a little peak inside your head. What made you want to be a musician?

Rich: I started going to shows when I was like 16, and I saw Robert Earl Keen and Pat Green, and I saw what those guys were doing and I thought 'Man, I would love to be able to do that' but I was into sports and played baseball. But baseball didn't really pan out for me. And I am a pretty passionate guy so I wanted to put my 100% into something else so I bought a guitar. I started writing and getting in front of people and I really love to entertain. A lot of people don't know that I write my own music, and when I write my goal is to entertain and tell stories. I just love being an entertainer. I look to one of my idols in Springsteen and what he does, and wanted to try and mix a  little of that into country music. I never want to get away from country music, I just want to bring something fresh and new to it.

     I can vouch for Rich when he says he loves entertaining. I saw a Rich O'Toole show recently. Just a couple of days after he played in front of thousands at Crude Fest, he played to a much smaller crowd in Oklahoma. I doubt that there was much of a difference in the 2 shows. His energy, and stage show were phenomenal that night at that tiny bar in front of just over 100 people. That in itself speaks volumes about Rich as an artist and entertainer. He puts 100% into every show whether its for 100 or 1000.

     Rich has had the chance to play with/ open for/ write with some of the best and biggest names in the Texas music scene. So, I asked him who he hadn't yet, but would like to work with.

Rich: I think that overall, if I had to keep it on the Texas music side of things, I would say Joe Ely. I would love to sit down and write a song with Joe Ely. Alejandro Escovedo would be someone else that would be great to write with.

RDBC: What is there about your music that people don't know that you can tell us?

Rich: Well I try to take the formula from REK where you write half fact and half fiction. Anytime you hear a love song, or a love story from me its pretty much a true story. But also, one of my favorite poets is Shel Silverstein and he actually wrote "A Boy Named Sue" for Johnny Cash. He was actually a really great song writer, and all of his lyrics were straight fiction. So I try to find the same way to write fictional lyrics. Like "Marijuana & Jalapenos" and "Pancho Villa." You know I didn't actually know Pancho Villa so that's ridiculous
 He added:
"I love mixing the fiction and the non fiction together when I write to keep it fun"

    To close out the interview I asked him, just to give us a little insight, if he could speak with one artist, in any genre, past or present, who would it be?

Rich: 100% Bruce Springsteen. I would love to just sit down and talk music with him. I kinda feel that sometimes people are afraid to meet their idols, because they always want to hold them in the highest regard. But I feel there is no way that Bruce wouldn't be a great guy and I would love to just pick his brain."

     It seems to me, that Rich has all the pieces in place for great success. I expect his will be a name to remember for a while. Not just here on the Texas Music scene, but watch for him on a larger more National scale. It looks like he is on the right path and the guy has nothing in his way to slow him down.
twitter @RichOtoole

May 11, 2012

Time to Get Philthy...Hamilton that is.

This week here at RDBC, I had an opportunity to sit down and interview with Texas musician Phil Hamilton. "Who is that?" you may ask. Well pull up a seat and get ready to be introduced to one of the guys starting to make a name for himself in the Texas Music scene.
"Philthy" Phil recently released his second album, Renegade Rock n Roll, and is already seeing tremendous success from the first 2 singles. The first single, 'You Can Have Me' went top 10, and his current single 'Bad' is currently sitting in the top 5 in the Texas Music Charts. When talking to Phil I asked him how it felt to finally crack into the top 5 and see all his hard work starting to pay off.

Phil: "Ya know this has been the best feeling in the world. To have been doing this as long as I have, and to be touring as much as we are, to have our first top 5 single, and still climbing, it's #4 on one of the charts, so we still aren't done with it. Ya never know what can happen, but definitely an accomplishment. And even the first single off this record 'You Can Have Me' to still be getting spins, and airtime on CMT is an exciting thing. There are just all of these great things that have come from this record, and we have really just started releasing it."

RDBC: It seems as though this new album has a more true country sound, even a little bluesy at times. Did you set out to make a different sounding album this time?

Phil: "Yeah I did. This was actually my first project with all of my own music. I had a vision of what I wanted for the record, wanted it to still have the rock n roll feel that is kinda our thing but have more a a traditional country feel to it. And a little blues feel in there just from my influences that I've listened to over the years. And I wanted to incorporate all that into a record that felt more mature and timeless. That was the main goal, and it was cool to see because I really think that came through."

RDBC: has your recent success opened up any new doors for you yet?

Phil: "Oh absolutely. Just from the sheer touring side of things, we have been able to move a little bit into a more national side of things instead of just limiting ourselves to Texas. I love Texas music, I love where I live and where I come from and I'll never get away from that. But there is just such a great opportunity to bring the music to people on a bigger scale. This album has opened up doors and allowed us to play in places like Colorado that we've never been able to reach to. And with bigger turnouts and new fans, and just being heard on a larger scale is due to the success of the new record."

Phil has an amazing energy during his live show and has opened for some of the biggest acts in the Texas Music scene these days. He's opened for major Texas/Red Dirt Artists like the Casey Donahew Band and the Josh Abbott Band. So, I asked if there was anyone that he personally wanted to perform or share a stage with.

Phil: "Ya know in Texas music it's very much you kinda do your own thing. But I have had the chance to open for pretty much every act in the business. That in itself has been a really cool thing. I never take that lightly. It's cool to play with these guys that you grow up listening to, who influenced you long before you hit a stage yourself. But I look forward to the day when maybe I get to play with Pat Green. He is one of the guys that really started this thing and made a really big push for this music that we are in. I haven't had that opportunity yet but I think and hope that maybe there is a chance for that in the future, and as one of my inspirations I'd love to share a stage with him."

While I had him talking about performing, we talked about an event that he has set up to help out his hometown region of Texas. Most of you should know now that large portions of Texas were severely affected by drought last year. Phil has set up a 3 day event called Philthy on the Frio. It is a 3 day tube ride down on the Frio river with  nightly concerts by Phil and others. His hope is to bring people back to the region and help support local area businesses and breathe some life back into an area nearly devastated by the drought last year. You can find out more about that on his website here -->

To end the interview I wanted to ask a question not specifically related to his music, but one to pick his brain and find out who was at the deepest root of his musical influence.

RDBC: So last question, just to give some insight into your influences, if you could speak with any one artist from any genre of music, past or present who would it be?

Phil: (without hesitation) "Tom Petty for sure. That guy is one of my heroes.  I could go on and on about Tom Petty. But the bottom line is the guy is a genius at song writing, showmanship, and creating quality, timeless music. For someone to have so many different kinds of people, and ages, and genres listen to his music and listen to songs released like 20 years ago. That is something not a lot of people have been able to do. And that is one of my dreams, I can only hope to make music that will last that long."

I believe that Phil may just be on his way. He is a great musician and songwriter. He is an outstanding performer and he truly appreciates the chance to do what he loves for his fans. Pick up a copy of his Renegade Rock N Roll and judge for yourself. Better yet, catch on his live shows. There is no doubt in my mind that if you listen to this guy, you will become a "Philthy" Phil Hamilton fan.

May 6, 2012

The Turnpike Troubadours, Still on the Right Path

    The next album from the Turnpike Troubadours 'Goodbye Normal Street' will be released May 8th. Inevitably there will be 100 reviews out on it by the end of the week. Do you know what they are all gonna say? It is absolutely amazing!

    The guys have not only picked up where they left off with 'Diamonds & Gasoline', they have well surpassed it. This album shows tons of growth both musically and lyrically. They have again put together an album that never fails. From the first song to the last, it will keep you tapping your feet and singing along. The overall themes of the proud, blue collar, hardworking man and lost loves are still present albeit with a slightly darker tone perhaps.

     The first single "Gin, Smoke, and Lies" was just a glimpse at what was to come from this album. "Before the Devil Knows we're Dead" and "Quit While I'm Ahead" are fast paced and catchy but far from upbeat. "Gone, Gone, Gone" and my favorite track "Wrecked" are classic Turnpike; heart ripped out, and stomped on tracks. While "Blue Star" and "Southeastern Son" both pay homage to the hard working, blue collar work force and their struggles. What I like most about the album is that none of these new songs make me think "this one sounds like... (anything on the last album)".

     'Goodbye Normal Street' is a stand-alone product that doesn't need to sound like anything they have released previously to make you love it. It still has all of the elements of the Troubadours that their fans will love. Amazing fiddle, superb guitar, foot stomping bass beats and lyrics that pull you in. I dare you to find a song that is less than great. The Turnpike Troubadours have done what they do best. Make music that sounds like nothing else out there, and done it at a level that no one could come close to.



Apr 30, 2012

Calf Fry After Party, No... John David Kent Leads a Musical Revival!

    Stillwater OK: Tumbleweed Dancehall's 2012 Calf Fry ended Saturday night after another successful 3 day run. Immediately following Gary Allan's closing set outside, John David Kent and his band The Dumb Angels took the stage inside for the after party. It seems rather fitting now, that they took the stage at 12:00 AM, midnight, early Sunday morning to be precise. Because the events that transpired were much more than a simple after party concert. I watched John David Kent and his Angels, take this crowd by the hand, and lead them down a path of musical righteousness.

     As I watched John pour out his soul through his songs to the crowd that night, I was inspired by what I saw. There was more soul and heart coming off of that stage than I had seen in many a Sunday service. John was sending out his musical message, the stage was his pulpit, the crowd his willing congregation, and we were all bearing witness. His energy level was so much that sweat poured off of him. The man was soaked to the core. It was as if he had been baptized in the waters of the River of Rock & Roll itself.   

     I had seen John and his band 4 times before that night, but only as openers for more well known bands. This was something quite different. This was his time. This was his crowd. That night John David Kent showed why he is the real deal in Texas music. His music is great. Not just the sound, but the lyrics. He gets it. He is a lover of music, and that shows in what he does. He has a great group of guys behind him. A group that has only been together in it's current formation for a couple of months. And in that time, these guys have come together to perfect the music, create the sound, that will generate the buzz and excitement that will cement his place in Texas music.


Apr 22, 2012

The Music Gives Back.

   Tonight a couple of stories caught my attention that really bring to light a little of the difference in the Texas/ Oklahoma music scene. It is in actuality a small, fairly close knit community with a family feel. That was pretty evident this week in the sudden loss of Rich Caldwell, who was sound engineer for Wade Bowen's crew. Artists and fans from around the scene expressed their sympathies, some went a step farther. Aaron Watson was one of those, he pledged to donate the proceeds from package sales on his website to the family. Proving once again that he is always a class act.
     Then on Saturday afternoon, those listening to Justin Frazell and his Texas Red Dirt Roads radio show were given a glimpse into the generosity of the fans and artists in the Texas Music scene.  I didn't get a chance to listen along, but caught the Twitter feed and was seriously moved by what transpired. It was announced that they would be taking donations and auctioning off a private back yard performance by Larry Joe Taylor, Dave Perez, Deryl Dodd, Jason Eady, Steve Helms, and Clayton Landau. I don't know the final total, but according to Justin's Twitter, the winning bid on the auction was $7500.
     That speaks volumes about the fans and artists. It shows that people can come together, and lend a hand when someone is in need. This is what makes this music, and the people that make it, and the fans that truly support it something special. If you would like to contribute there is a link below. One other thing, take some time, show the ones you love how much you care about them. Make sure they know today, because it may be your last chance.

Apr 20, 2012

So Much Red Dirt, So little Red Dirt...

      A couple weeks ago, a musician friend of mine said something on a social site about how he feels people overuse the term "Red Dirt" when talking about music today. I will tell you now; it kicked off an interesting discussion. I didn't disagree; in fact I didn't really have an opinion on it at the time. I was probably like a lot of you and just hadn't thought of it the way he had. He feels very strongly that the label is being used to define a lot of music that really just doesn't fit. To him, the term “Red Dirt” is becoming something akin to the Pop music label. His point being, that if it ain't Nashville and it comes from Texas or Oklahoma, most of it's getting labeled as Red Dirt. Well, that lead me to do some thinking, and that lead to some research and I have to say I tend to agree with him now. Last Friday night at the Red Bull Gypsy Cafe in Stillwater, OK, the difference became glaringly obvious to me. (check out the Gypsy Cafe story and you will understand why)

    Before the Gypsy Cafe, I was one of the people who believed that the genre label debate was silly. I am a fan of music. I believe that if music is good, why does it matter what label is put on it? However, after a night of the purest, true Red Dirt music I had ever heard, I left Stillwater with a better understanding of what my friend was trying to say that day. That night, I found myself listening to the songs, hearing the music, and not just sitting there watching a show. It wasn't like anything I had seen before, and I have seen tons of concerts & shows. I actually caught myself mouth agape, dang near drooling a couple times, just caught up in it all. That night I left a little disappointed in myself for having understood so little about true Red Dirt music.

     Earlier this week, I got a chance to pick the brain of Steve Rice, lead singer for the band No Justice, Stillwater, OK resident, and a self-confessed Red Dirt music fan, and get his take on the matter. Steve told me, "I think, for the record, that Red Dirt music is not about a genre. Red Dirt music is about the attitude, environment, musical and lyrical honesty, and connection between fans and bands. It is not something that you see in all genres." He also added "I really don't like to use labels. In the end, it's all just 'music' and good or bad, is determined by the individual critic."

    He did mention though, that to him, Red Dirt music started years ago out on "The Farm" in Stillwater and didn't really stray too far. So I asked Steve where he would steer people who wanted to know more about the roots and history of Red Dirt music. He said, "I'd tell them to listen to some Bob Childers, Red Dirt Rangers, Great Divide, Jason Boland and The Stragglers, or Ragweed..." Those guys were all around in the early days of Red Dirt music at "The Farm" and remain pretty true to those roots today. I really saw his point after that. In my opinion, if you take a good hard look at most of the music on Texas and Oklahoma radio today, there isn't a lot of it that conveys that original Red Dirt feeling like those bands do.

       Now please don't get me wrong, I am not bashing, or trash talking here at all. I am a huge fan of the Texas & Oklahoma country music scenes and am a fan of most of the music that "Red Dirt" radio stations play. But the Red Dirt label is different than other genre labels. It shouldn't be a catch all genre or tag for all Texas/Oklahoma based music. Taking all that into consideration, I do agree that a lot of the music that is labeled Red Dirt today might get that label just because it comes from Texas or Oklahoma. And that some of the people that do so, simply may not have a true understanding of what Red Dirt means, or the history behind it.

    Red Dirt has a different, specific musical history. Red Dirt is a way of life. Red Dirt is simple and timeless. If you understand it, Red Dirt touches your soul. I do believe that it is possible to misuse a term or use a label so much that it loses its meaning. As fans, we can't let that happen to Red Dirt. Country music from Oklahoma doesn't have to be tagged Red Dirt. Call the music what it is, Oklahoma country, or Texas country, or alternative country, or Americana... or better yet why label it at all? Why call it anything other than music?