It’s one thing to be the type of music fan that flips on a station like Sirius XM The Highway and hear some slightly obscure artist that may be huge regionally but fails to receive mainstream radio play. It’s another to be in the trenches alongside the talent in their early days. The time that 99% of the people fail to see. The years that they are becoming an “overnight success” as they say. It’s the forgotten years - filled with all the heartbreak, blood, sweat and tears that you can’t see through your speakers. Texas is rich with artists that are all fighting for a voice and stage to propel their careers to that next level. A couple months back, I came across Lindale, Texas native Chris Colston on Instagram and decided to check out his music. This kid is going places.
The first thing that I observed is Colston’s ability to convey his feelings so well into his songs. This self titled EP which he released this past February, is a piece of Texas cowboy heaven. His songs aren’t just simple tracks that you skim, but rather a deep look into his life and music passion. The heartbreak of a lost lover in All Starched Up I found clever yet touching. The commitment to the cowboy ideals and lifestyle are something that we just don’t get up here in the Northeast. When is the last time you heard someone sing about starching their clothes? It’s regional flavors like that which keep an ordinary song full of heartbreak completely rejuvenated and different.
The anthems about Texas always get me fired up and I’ve never even been there yet. Texas is a special place in most natives hearts as it’s not just a state, but it’s own culture. The food, the music, the lifestyle and general attitude of those who call it home. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand that there is a connection most artists hold dearly and choose to sing about. Chris is no different and has his own toe tapper, Goin’ to Texas that doesn’t require a lone-star driver’s license to enjoy. With any song of this nature, I admire the passion and love for their special state. Take that, Kanye and your Empire State of Mind.
Towards the middle of the EP is where we find my two favorite songs he put together. This is where the life lessons and family instilled values come forth and tell us about the mentors Colston has had. Staying true to yourself and avoiding the glitz and glamour at a young age can set one up for a straight path later in life. It’s the distractions and “more is better” approach that can pull even the most honest intentioned people from the tried and true path. The life of a musician is filled with some potentially career crippling temptations and What Wouldn’t I Give is a testament to that desire to go back to how things used to be. The grass is always greener and sometimes it takes a humbling minute of reflection to realize what it is we really seek in life.
This theme is continued in the very Chris Ledoux sounding Blacktop Gospel which has that high energy classic cowboy flair. It’s the belief and practice of the core American values and putting faith in God that can lead to the success that many people seek. Passed down from his Grandpa, Chris receives this irreplaceable advice and blessing to set out to discover what life holds for him. No text book can tell one how to live their life or what is necessarily right and wrong. It’s those that saddle-up and dig in their spurs who while ultimately find themselves on the highest peaks.
If Chris Colston keeps raising the bar with every music release, he’ll be standing up there with the best of ‘em.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!