When I first fell into the black hole known as Texas Country, JB and the Moonshine band was one of the first bands that started my love for this scene. They just cast their line and as they were watching their bobber float, they hooked me and just reeled me right in. I remember being up camping at our favorite campground in Freeport, Maine and finding their music and streaming it back in 2011. Their sound is unique to them and is a large reason for their appeal. Much like the Dirty River Boys, they have focused on creating their own style and just running with it, gathering new fans at each venue they hit.
A few months back, I had seen a post by Texas artist Steve Helms about co-writing a song with Jamie Richards and Aaron Copeland. At that point, I was unfamiliar with the work of Copeland but it peaked my interest and had to give his music a spin. I had featured his EP 100 Miles from Sunday and patiently awaited the release of his latest self titled EP. Released on June 16th, this self titled EP is his best work to date.
I'll tell ya, this weekend is shaping up to be a good one! This year has been a great year for me to attend Texas Country concerts up here in New England and New York. So far I've seen Whiskey Myers, Stoney Larue, Casey Donahew, Kylie Frey, Randy Rogers, and this coming weekend I'll be seeing Cody Jinks, Sunny Sweeney and Paul Cauthen. This show is in Cambridge, MA so it is just above Boston which will entail the train tickets and such. Is it ideal? Nope. I would much rather go to a nice bar and watch them all perform, but considering the music venues in New England, I'll take what I can get.
In December of last year, I was listening to 105.3 The Red Dirt Rebel out of Lubbock, Texas and heard a song that caught my ear. The song I had never heard before and the band had a pleasantly warm upbeat style. The name drop of “dime-store cowgirl, Kacey was her name” didn’t hurt to grab my attention either. I checked out the station play-list and found the band to be Market Junction singing their tune, “All I Really Need.” I had run a quick social media feature on them at that point, but now as Pitstop for Country has grown, I want to do a proper piece.
Often times when we first listen to a new artist, we get that feeling of excitement. You know, that amazing moment where you feel like you’re the only one that knows the band or artist exists. Being from Massachusetts, I'm sure you can imagine that I have this feeling quite often! For years I've followed artists whose names would result in blank stares or a "never heard of 'em." As impressive as being entrenched in the world of Texas Country and Red Dirt is from Massachusetts, it's still pales in comparison to the family and friends of a new band. I'm talking about the early days where gigs often aren't paid and seats aren't always full. Those friends and family members are the crucial support circle for a new artist. Full time jobs are the priority to keep food on the table and bills paid. Aka, reality vs musician hobby. Texas new-comers, The Shane Watson Band have been starting to receive some deserved recognition and radio air time the past few weeks, and I'm happy to share my thoughts after coming across them recently.
If you are just a casual listener to Texas Country music, you are just scratching the surface of all the talented bands and artists that reside in the genre. There are bands popping up all the time and occasionally you will see some newer names sneak up in the top 40 of the Texas Radio charts. If there's something that motivates any person, it's recognition for a job well done. Jamie Talbert and the Band of Demons have found themselves with a top 40 single with their hit, Wildfire. (At the time of this writing, 37 on the TRRR) For a newer band, this is nothing short of impressive and must be an incredible feeling to know that stations have been playing your song.
It’s refreshing to listen to an album that focuses on always improving on being a better person and finding yourself. As a young person myself, we often forget that life is a journey that takes years of mistakes and trail and error to finally “figure it out.” I have to catch myself at times because at 26 years old, I have a lot to learn and have plenty of time to experience life. That’s a large part of the reason I started this website - what do I have to lose? Should I be afraid that people won’t read or care what I have to say? Maybe, but the only way one can improve and find themselves and their purpose, is to be a doer. Not to hide in the shadows and be afraid to take risks like so many people. One must also be self-aware of this and not approach life with arrogance, and Kody West does a beautiful job sharing that message throughout his debut album Green.
In the current state of our world, we as Americans need to take the time to reflect upon what our country stands for. Terrorist attacks have been bombarding us in the news, innocent people are being killed, and for what? Someone or some group's sick pleasure? Regardless of your political beliefs, it's times like these that we need to be grateful for our freedom and realize that thousands have laid their lives down for us. I am able to sit here, drinking a nice cold Shiner Bock and type on the deck because some brave, patriotic souls stood up for that right. Aaron Lewis' latest song, Folded Flag, is a heart wrenching reminder of what the ultimate sacrifice entails.
I’ve been getting more familiar with the work of Aaron Einhouse over the past few months after listening to his 2016 album, “It Ain’t Pretty.” Seeing other artists comment and mention this artist eventually led me to see what all the fuss was about. The grit in his voice comes through strong in his music as does his ability to craft a story through each track. He’s an artist that I don’t just look at as just another artist, but as someone who is going to make an impression in country music.
Back in 2016, I had made numerous statements about Aaron Watson becoming a name even listeners of mainstream country would know. While I’m sure others have said that before, as an outsider I watched for years at the growth of Aaron’s career and how his music can appeal to any true country lover. I was right, and have got my mom absolutely hooked on his music and he’s even on country radio here (My mom makes it a point to yell out to be every time he’s played LOL). I have that same belief with Jon Wolfe and his recent release Any Night in Texas is right on track to expand his audience.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!