Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cross Canadian Ragweed

Most red dirt fans would agree that Cross Canadian Ragweed was one of the best bands to ever come onto the scene. Sadly, they called it quits because of their busy lives, but they did leave us with quite a bit of awesomeness to hang onto before going.

The bands name was made from a combination of the original members' names: Grady Cross, Cody Canada, Randy Ragsdale.

Originally formed in Yukon, Oklahoma, the three childhood friends abandoned their Lynard Skynard and Merle Haggard covers and started doing their own thing aquiring Jeremy Plato on bass. They ended up in Stillwater, Oklahoma getting some airplay on college radio stations, and next thing you know they had released several successful albums.

I don't even know how to put into words how much I love this band because it will just end up sounding cliche. They're pretty much as classic red dirt as you can get with a southern rock influence that made them one of a kind.

As amazing songwriters always do, they gave their crowds songs that almost everyone could relate to, whether they were heartfelt or party-all-night anthems.

In 2010, the guys had to call for a break because Randy Ragsdale really needed to be at home with his family. Instead of proceeding on without him, the group chose to split saying that they were only Ragweed with the four members and if there weren't those four, then they weren't Ragweed at all.

Since then, Cody Canada and Jeremy Plato have formed their own band called The Departed. Ragsdale is said to be touring with Stoney LaRue, while Grady Cross bought and runs the bar that was the scene of Cross Canadian Ragweed's first venue in 1994.

As much as I wish these guys were still around, I'm happy they're still doing what they want. Maybe, just maybe, someday they'll get back together, but until then I guess I'll just listen to my CCR favorites and cry lonely.

Wade Bowen

 When I went to see the Randy Rogers Band play at the state fair this summer, Wade Bowen was the opening act. I had never even heard of him, but I instantly fell in love with his music. My friends and I all agreed that he was so good we didn't know why he was opening for anyone, and even if no one else came out and played for us that night, we were just glad to have gotten to see him.

Since that night I obviously added Wade Bowen to my Grooveshark, Spotify, and every other music account I have, and haven't been able to stop listening to him all semester. I had no idea how established and well known of an artist he really is but I'm so glad I finally stumbled upon his music.

Wade is originally from Waco, Texas and started his musical career in a band called West 84. I was excited to find out that he is a fellow public relations major! Though after graduating from Texas Tech he decided to go out on his own and released the album Try Not To Listen in 2002. The album climbed to the Top Ten on the Texas music chart and he was playing over 200 shows a year.

On his latest album, The Given, Wade has a lot of sad ballads and has commented before that the sad ones are truly his passion. I can tell that this is true because of how his lyrics always hit home, plus his voice portrays the emotions just right. He is seriously an amazing songwriter. Just take a listen to "A Battle Won" or "All That's Left," and you'll feel the mood he sets, I swear.

Wade has done nothing but continue to rise to stardom, at least in the red dirt development. I think he will eventually make it onto mainstream radio, but I could be wrong. He is such an interesting artist because he seems so likable and down-to-earth, yet I get the vibe he is still on his way to something bigger.

Another interesting fact about Wade is that Cody Canada, of Cross Canadian Ragweed, is his brother-in-law. That's something I really love about this genre of music is that everyone seems to be a big family, always supporting and helping each other out. Sometimes they are quite literally family such as in this case or like how Stoney LaRue and Bo Phillip are actually brothers as well. 

If I haven't persuaded you to go listen to Wade Bowen right now then I'm very sorry for not doing my job right. I'm mostly sorry for you though because it's your loss if you don' go listen!

For upcoming events take a gander at the Official Wade Bowen site

Corey Smith

Corey Smith's rise to fame was not a traditional one. Growing up in the small town of Jefferson, Georgia, Smith only had one dream and that was to get out of his little town. He struggled to identify with any one group because he wasn’t a jock or into academics and felt like he didn’t fit in.
 It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that Smith finally discovered his calling. He picked up a guitar and played at any party that he could find. After graduation Smith went to the University of Georgia and spent a summer studying abroad in Paris, but within a few weeks Smith missed the one place he had been trying to get out of his whole life.
Smith graduated from UGA, married his college sweetheart and settled within a mile of his childhood home. He found a teaching job but continued to play shows around Georgia even selling out the Georgia Theater in 2005 where the Zac Brown Band was his opening act. In 2007, Smith decided to leave teaching behind and become a full time singer/songwriter. Like many other red dirt artists, Smith decided to remain independent instead of signing with a record label and in the past 5 years he has released 6 albums that have sold over 250,000 copies.
He has played over 700 shows all across the country and sold over 700,000 tickets. While some of Smiths songs may border on the inappropriate at times, he also has songs that show how devoted he is to his family and his Georgia roots. Smith says that music has been a part of his life from the beginning, first for recognition then as a sort of therapy and now it is a way to provide for his family while doing something that he loves.
In my opinion, Smith is one of the most relatable red dirt artists there is because in each of his songs there is something that strikes a chord. Whether he’s singing about the loss of a loved one, graduation and uncertainty, or just a fun song that reminds us to let loose every once in awhile, he speaks to everyone. 
After being a pretty big fan for a couple years now, I finally got to see Corey in concert this summer and he was just as awesome as I thought he would be. If you're not a Corey Smith fan feel free to check out some of his stuff and jump on the bandwagon. Don't worry, no one will judge you for being late to the party.
For more information on upcoming tour dates I would encourage you to visit Corey's website at

Kevin Fowler

If you ask Kevin Fowler to describe his music he will reply with “It’s country music with a bad attitude,” and after listening to a few of Fowler's songs, you will realize that no truer words have ever been spoken.
 Fowler combines the edge and energy of classic rock and roll with the classic storytelling of country music. Kevin started playing music when his mother encouraged him to take piano lessons as a child. As a teenager Fowler rebelled against his parents classic country roots and gravitated more towards rockers such as AC/DC and KISS, and at the age of 20, Fowler realized his musical ambitions at an Aerosmith and White Snake concert at the Cotton Bowl. The energy and excitement made him realize that this was what he was meant to do.
After finishing college, Fowler made a move to Austin, Texas where he joined a hard rock band called Dangerous Toys. He quickly realized that his country tunes weren't what the band was looking for and was “encouraged” to move on. After that experience Kevin started singing his own songs and quickly gained a huge following of loyal fans. He has also caught the attention of several other artists such as country artists Montgomery Gentry and George Jones who have recorded some of his songs.
Fowlers combination of rock and roll energy and classic country sound make him one of the most unique red dirt artists on the scene today. Kevin says his main goal is to keep spreading his music without alienating the people that have gotten him to where he is today.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

Dec 12 Bayou Music Center Houston TX

Dec 15 Albert Dancehall Stonewall TX

Dec 19 Rockin Rodeo Bossier City LA

Aaron Watson

For the past 10 years, Aaron Watson has been at the forefront of Texas red dirt country going from playing gigs around the Abilene Christian University campus, to sold out crowds around the Southwest. Watson gives credit to several people for his success, but the first influences he had were his parents.
His father exposed him to everything from classic country to the Beach Boys and his mother encouraged him to sing hymns on Sundays. Watson didn’t start to experiment with songwriting until taking a beginners guitar class in college where he met his next big influence, Dan Mitchell. Mitchell taught Watson the fundamentals of guitar and helped nurture the young singer/songwriters talent.
Watson met his next influence, Larry Gatlin, in a local coffee shop. Gatlin taught him the basics of songwriting and how to be descriptive and paint a picture in someones mind in just a few minutes. Aaron took these lessons and started his own band, playing gigs around ACU and small bars in the area.
While playing in a small venue Watson caught the eye of Dr. Neal Lowry who became his co-writer and financed his first album release and tour. Aaron says that in the beginning it was all about landing that big record deal, but with ever growing popularity and the release of his tenth album under the banner of his own independent record label, he confesses that it would have to be a heck of a deal for him to even consider it.
In Watsons opinion, as long as he’s able to sing his songs and people are still listening,  then the fame will come one day. Until then Watson will continue to do what he does best and that is playing great music and selling thousands of records.

UpcomingTour Dates:
Dec 8-11 South Point Casino Las Vegas

Dec 12 Saddlerack Fremont CA

Dec 22 Rockin’ Ranch Lawton OK

Josh Abbott Band

The Josh Abbott Band was started in 2004 after Abbott was inspired to start writing and playing his own music at a fellow red dirt artists concert. In the beginning, the band consisted of Abbott and frat brother and banjo player Austin Davis. A year and a half later, fiddle player Preston Wait and drummer Edward Villanueva joined the band.
 The band started out playing open mic nights around their hometown of Lubbock, Texas. The band recorded their first demo, Taste, in 2007 and after that things really started to take off for the Josh Abbott Band. They started touring around Texas, sometimes playing for less than 100 people a night. Abbott was more concerned with building a strong fan base than with getting a record deal, so to boost attendance they would give away tickets, CD's, or t-shirts. Once he even went as far as buying drinks for the entire crowd at one of their shows.

Since those days, The Josh Abbott band has solidified itself as one of the premier independent red dirt bands. The independent release of their album She’s Like Texas went to number 28 on the national country charts. Abbott says that in the coming years he wants to continue to solidify his band as one of the most successful independent country bands of its era, and with the release of their new album Small Town Family Dream, that just might happen.

I think one of the best things about The Josh Abbott Band is that they are more traditional red dirt country than most. To put it simply, they always keep it real.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

Dec. 7 Silver Saloon Terrell, Texas

Dec 8 Diamond Ballroom Oklahoma City

Dec 28 Midnight Rodeo San Angelo, Texas

Whiskey Myers

Whiskey Myers is a red dirt country band originally from Tyler, Texas. They are also a southern rock band and a pop-rock band that sometimes play rockabilly, but mostly they stick to their red dirt roots.
The band is made up of Cody Cannon, Cody Tate, John Jeffers, Gary Brown and Jeff Hogg. Cannon and Jeffers grew up together in Texas and Jeffers father taught them their first guitar chords. Cannon, Jeffers, and Tate formed the band Lucky Southern after Cannon and Tate started working together at a sporting goods store. 
The band moved to Tyler, Texas where Hogg joined the group after watching one of their acoustic shows and they asked someone from the crowd to sit in on drums. Needing only a bass player to fill out the band, Cannon brought in his cousin Gary Brown to fill the role.

The band shared a house in Tyler and played for college kids and whoever else wanted to listen. It was around this time that the band changed their name to Whiskey Myers. They say there is quite a good story behind the chosen name but won’t tell it. Whiskey Myers then started playing live shows and quickly became one of the hottest bands in Texas, opening for the likes of Eli Young Band and sharing the stage with Marshall Tucker Band, Cross Canadian Ragweed, and Randy Rogers Band.
Whiskey Myers isn't really your traditional red dirt country band considering their sound ranges anywhere from classic country to southern and more modern hard rock. That being said, they still keep their roots red dirt which is why I love them. I like that they are versitale and can branch out into different types of music all while making their sound even more unique.

Even though Whiskey Myers hasn’t been on the red dirt scene long, they have quickly become one of the top red dirt bands. With an ever evolving sound, it will be exciting to see what happens with them in the coming years.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

Dec 7 The Blue Light Lubbock Texas

Dec 8 Texas Music Theater San Marcos Texas

Dec 20 Rockin’ Rodeo Midland Texas