- Entertainment and Media»
Red Dirt Music-An Alternative To Mainstream Country Music
Texas/Red Dirt Music
Are you a fan of country music? Are you looking for something a bit different than what is being played on mainstream radio? Or, maybe you are just looking to add to what you already enjoy. Regardless, take some time and check out Red Dirt music.
I have been a fan of country music since the early 80's. As we all know, music styles are always changing with time. The last five years I have turned away from mainstream country music and have been listening to one of the fastest growing sub-genres of country music. Some call it Red Dirt Music, others call it Texas music and the rest call it Texas/Red Dirt music. Texas/Red Dirt music spans many styles of music. It ranges from traditional country bands such as Jason Boland and the Stragglers to a southern rock sound from Cross Canadian Ragweed. There are also bands that incorporate blues, bluegrass and southern soul into their sounds. Red Dirt music got its start in Oklahoma with bands such as Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney LaRue, The Great Divide and Bob Childers. Texas has always been a hotbed for singers and songwriters and Texas music is just as it sounds. It is Texas country and has had bands such as Randy Rogers Band, Roger Creager, Reckless Kelly, Bruce Robison, Charlie Robison and Robert Earl Keen bringing it popularity along with legends such as Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver. These bands have a very loyal and rapidly growing fan base well beyond the borders of Texas and Oklahoma. Corporate FM radio has been very resistant to play and acknowledge this style of music so the bands are gaining their fans through iTunes, Pandora, satellite radio, internet sites such as Myspace and word of mouth. These bands tour throughout most of the United States and also see their fans travel long distances to catch a show or festival.
Many country music fans have heard George Strait perform the hit single "Wrapped". That song was written and originally performed by Texas artist Bruce Robison. More recently you have heard Montgomery Gentry performing "Long Line of Losers". That is another song that came out of the Texas country genre. Kevin Fowler wrote that song and it was released back in 2007 on his album called Bring It On. The Kenny Chesney fans probably have heard the song "Somebody Take Me Home" that is on The Road and The Radio CD of his. That song was written by Randy Rogers and originally performed by the Randy Rogers Band and can be found on their Rollercoaster album from 2004.
Popular Texas/Red Dirt Bands
There are so many bands that can be featured but for this hub I will stick to the ones that are the more well known bands of the scene.
The Randy Rogers Band is one of the hardest working bands in country music right now. They aren't afraid to bring their live, high energy show to new markets and are gaining fans with each show that they perform. They have toured both the east and west coasts as well as upper midwest tours with stops in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Illinois. March '10 brought them an Academy of Country Music nomination for Top Vocal Group of the Year. The Randy Rogers Band currently has six albums out with the seventh to be released very soon. The live show that RRB puts on can be described more as an experience rather than a concert. If you weren't a fan before the show you will be by the end! Randy Rogers is an excellent songwriter as well as singer. The band delivers their songs with passion with all band members contributing. If you like your country music to be country with some great fiddle sounds then you need to give the Randy Rogers Band a listen.
If you are a fan of country music with steel guitar and fiddle then Jason Boland and the Stragglers is a band that you will like. Jason got his start in the red dirt scene of Oklahoma but now calls Austin, TX home. Jason Boland, like most of the artists of the scene, writes most of the songs that they perform. He writes about his life experiences and you can hear that in their songs, either recorded or live. The song called "Bottle By My Bed" is a perfect example of that. Mid-year of 2008 Jason went through an almost career ending throat surgery. His fall '08 tour was cancelled so he could recover from a necessary throat surgery. Recovery went well and everything was back to normal by spring '09. Their latest album is a live CD called High in the Rockies and was recorded in Colorado and Wyoming in January '10 with a release in April '10. It debuted high on the iTunes chart and truly is "country music" from start to finish. One of the singles to come off of High in the Rockies is a song that was written by Danny Flowers and made popular by Don Williams called Tulsa Time. JB&S do a great job on this song and the single did well for them on the Texas music charts. High in the Rockies is Jason Boland and the Stragglers seventh album released since their first CD from 1999 called Pearl Snaps. Jason Boland and the Stragglers are another band that tour the country and are very appreciate of their fans. They take the time to sign autographs, pose for pictures and mingle with the fans after a show. JB&S is a great band with talented songwriting so hopefully you like them as well.
Next up is Stoney LaRue. You can't talk about Oklahoma and Red Dirt music and not bring up Stoney! Stoney Larue and the Arsenals bring everything they have to the stage every night they perform. Just watching them play you can tell they love what they do. Stoney LaRue is country but yet blends a few other genres such as some rock and blues into their live shows. They can rock it when they have to but yet keep the fiddle and mandolin as key parts of the show. Going to a Stoney show is way more than a concert. The crowd feels the energy from the band and everyone is having a great time. There isn't any sitting down at one of their shows!
One of the most well known bands of the red dirt genre is the one and only Cross Canadian Ragweed. There is no question that Cross Canadian Ragweed is a rock band. They have been labeled as country and alternative country over the years but overall they are rock/southern rock. Their song Seventeen is one of their more "country" sounding songs that they perform. Seventeen did get some airplay on CMT back in 2002 when their self titled album came out. Ragweed has been rocking fans across the U.S. for many years but are taking a break starting October '10. They have been covering the miles as their popularity has been gaining so this break is well deserved.
In this small list of Texas and Red Dirt bands you can see how this style of music can appeal to many different music fans. These bands write and perform their own material, tour the country and have growing fan bases by bringing their music to the people and doing it with very little radio support.