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.