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Thanks For You

Each year around Thanksgiving, we survey a wide swath of our music scene to find out who/what they are thankful for regarding a particular topic.  In the past, this has focused solely on music.  Such as what song is Randy Rogers most thankful for or what album is Evan Felker most thankful for.  However, this year in light of the hostile and crazy times we’re living in, we decided to open things up to a broader degree.  We asked several artists…what person are you most thankful for?  The responses are beautiful, enraging, witty and wide-ranging.  We hope you’ll enjoy this and that it reminds you to be thankful of someone this season.  Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.



2012–lost to the great server collapse of 2012




Larry Hooper, singer/songwriter

I am thankful for my brother, Jeromy Hooper.

As most people who know me are aware, I lost my big brother Jeromy to a heart attack on March 2nd of this year. He was 40 years old and left behind a wife, 2 girls, and a lot of sad friends and family. Jeromy was my best friend, frequent songwriting partner, and someone I aspired to be like my entire life. He was brilliant, kind, loving, and one of the funniest people you would ever know. He taught me about music. He fostered, and shared, my love of good lyrics. He started playing, writing and singing first, and then said I should learn so we could play together. We played shows together whenever we could. He was always a better singer and songwriter than me, he just didn’t push at it as hard. But when he sang harmonies to me it was perfect. I sure miss him, but I am so very thankful for the time we had, and I’m so very thankful that he was my big brother.

Cody Canada, singer/songwriter/guitarist

I’m thankful for family. My boys (11 and 8) know no color. They’re afraid of the things that we’re afraid of, so we will turn the tv off and hold them tight. They’ve made Shannon and I better people. It used to be about the party. That still happens, but I’ve found myself driving home after gigs instead of staying on the bus and sleeping in. Their love for people and music make them the greatest creation we have ever done.

I’ve turned down European gigs and opening for badass people to be home with them. I am not, for one second, regretful of those choices. Those three are my world. Their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents are pretty solid as well.

The world may fall apart, but not at the hands of those beautiful souls.

Kayla Ray, singer/songwriter

This year, I am thankful for so many. It’s hard to pinpoint just one. 2015 was a year of struggle in my personal life but 2016 was one of healing and one of fiercely loyal friendship. I have so many incredibly close friends, relationships that I never dreamed I would have.

They have pulled me out of a shell and taught me the value of being vulnerable enough to trust.

I must say that while it’s hard to pinpoint just one, I’d like to take the time here to mention Jason Carter specifically. The one we call Clyde. He’s the bass player in the rhythm section we call “The Standards”.  His work ethic is unmatched. His friendship has been a present force in my life and my career. Always willing to lend a hand, grow the band, grow the calendar, grow my spirit, do whatever needs to be done, I could not have found a more incredible person to help lay down the “pocket”. He loves his beautiful wife Megan, and his sweet little girl Wiloh with such depth, he is an example to husbands and fathers twice his age. He carries himself with a joyful yet just spirit.

I’m so proud to call him my friend, and to have him on stage with with me. Put in any corner of any barroom, I guarantee we will fight our way out with a vengeance. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I’m blessed beyond words and so very thankful for the opportunity to create!

Chris King, singer/songwriter

I am most thankful for my future wife, Lauren. I am a man that is growing. I’m full of flaws. I’m trying to better myself for her, that I might be more understanding, empathetic, sympathetic, and reliable. She loves me, and I’m lucky for that. I’m very sure that I would not be typing this, that I would be long dead, had I not found her when I did.

Rich O’ Toole, singer/songwriter

I am most thankful for My Mother. As a single mother working two jobs she taught me a hard work ethic as a young kid. I would have never been ever to peruse music if it wasn’t for her teaching me hard work and strong perseverance,  through the ups and downs of the music industry. I’m very blessed to have Patricia O’Toole as my Mom.
Dan Adams, singer/songwriter
This year – as in every year for the past 20 years – I’m most thankful for my wife, Gwen.Since the beginning of my music career way back then, she’s been my biggest cheerleader, believer, motivator, teammate, and partner.  She’s always been unwavering in her support of me – as a person and a musician.  That includes a lot of late nights, long days and weeks when I’ve been on the road, and times where we’ve been in one of the tough financial droughts that all musicians go through.  She encouraged our move from Georgia to Nashville during the years that I felt that’s where I needed to be for my music career.  She encouraged our move from Nashville to Texas a few years ago when I finally realized THIS is where I fit best musically.  I have a song (actually I have several songs) inspired by her, and the message still fits our relationship:She loves me like I’m Elvis – she treats me like I just might be “The King”She won’t mind if I’m never famous, she’ll stay up all night just to hear me sing

We may not ever have a mansion in Memphis – but she loves me – Like I’m Elvis

Bobby Duncan, singer/songwriter

2016 has been a difficult year for many reasons uncontrollable to us. We’ve lost heroes, watched horrendous atrocities throughout the world, and dug a deep trench right the the heart of our own nation that, hopefully, isn’t too deep to fill back again.  Personally, 2016 carried its own challenges as it was my first trip through the calendar as a father. As parents, it’s hard to view the world around us without dreaming of what it might resemble when our kids are grown. Therefore, I’m most thankful for my wife, Taylor. Her calming touch has brought such stability to our lives and her skill as a mother is unmatched.  I would be lost traversing the ever changing landscape of my life without her, and I hope I tell her that enough.

John Dempsy, singer/songwriter

 First, my parents… without whom, I wouldn’t have any idea how to truly love, no matter what.
Second, my grandparents, taught me that honesty was the ONLY policy…especially when it’s difficult to be honest…. whatever the reason.
My grandma taught me how to listen and find strength in a soft spoken word.
My grandpa taught me how to be a man.  The way a man should treat a woman… the way you handle yourself when you have to teach a man how to be a man.
Keep a cool head when you’re using your fists.  Together, like my parents, my grandparents showed me what love was….they were married for over 60 years.
Come see a show, I’ll tell you the story of how they got married!  hahaha….anyway…
Kayla Ray… there just aren’t words for how thankful I am for this woman.
She’s the best friend I’ve ever had.  The kind of friend that tells you the truth when it pisses you off, because you need to hear it.
She enrages me sometimes, inspires me, annoys me, amazes me, pushes me in the direction I need to go…no matter what… she shakes me to my core,
and walks on stage on the worst day of my life and sings harmony with me and brings me back to life….
She has been a constant, consistent, positive inspiration musically and personally for a long time, and I thank God every day for her.
Ryan and Tana Roberts…
Might as well be Guy and Suzanna… I love these two folks with everything I have.  They have been there for me through thick and thin and in between…I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without Ryan Roberts, and I wouldn’t have the tolerance for whiskey, that I do, without my Tana :)
The Standards… Pappy, Clyde, Easy….and more recently Danimal…
These cats light my soul on fire every night, and push me to be a better musician.  Besides music, they’re all fantastic people.
The road is fun again!!!  who’d’uh thunk it?
Yes, that word has two apostrophes in it…
I’m thankful every day for the people I get to meet, relationships we build, and what we learn from those people and experiences.
Life is too short not to love.   Be thankful even for the bad times….they make the good ones that much better.
In ALL things…be thankful.  It could always be worse….
Light Up The Darkness

Jonny Burke, singer/songwriter

This year I’m thankful for my close friends. Playing music for a living may not make you rich, but I feel lucky to have a wealth of good compadres I know I can call on in good times and bad.

Drew Kennedy, singer/songwriter

I am thankful for the doctors and nurses at the NICU’s at both Christus Santa Rosa in New Braunfels and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio who all worked so hard to help our son Oliver after he was born. Angels, all of them.

Mike Ethan Messick, singer/songwriter

The list of who I’m thankful for, musically speaking, goes on too long to list.  I’m less-than-grateful for how many of them 2016 took away, but I guess there’s a lot of that feeling going around.

So I’m going to go with a personal answer, and I guess it’s a pretty common one at that, but it needs to be said: I’m thankful for my wife Codey.  Love and support and appreciation can make a day, a week, a lifetime go down richer and smoother than money or any material thing.  She gave me two kids that I can’t imagine my life without, and gave me the encouragement to grow and change in ways that I don’t think time itself would’ve taken care of.  Left to my own devices I’d still be living like a 40-year-old college kid.  And she’s beautiful and fun, and she’s kind, and she’s intelligent.  A lot of life comes down to standing around talking, driving around talking, drinking whiskey & Topos and sitting around talking.  Those of you who haven’t tied the knot yet, don’t underestimate the value of marrying someone you like talking to.  Think our friend Jamie Wilson (who helped introduce us in the first place) has a song about that …

If 2016 was a fish I’d be highly tempted to throw it back, although Lord knows it wasn’t as hard on me as it was some of the folks around us.  But as a husband and family man, those parts were great, and those parts will endure.

Josh Grider, singer/songwriter

I am thankful for a lot of people in my life, but my boys keep me grounded and focused on what is actually important.  This year I’ll say JJ and Evan top my list.

Randy Rogers, singer/songwriter

This year I’m most thankful for all my Cubbie friends that finally won the World Series!

{Brad's Corner} November 2016: Pals

{Brad�s Corner}

Pick up your loose ends, take ’em to your friends…they’ll put ’em back together again…if you let them. – Rusty Wier

Many things have healing power.  Yet, I’ve never found something as therapeutic as good tunes and better friends.  Rusty Wier was a sage man.  In times of darkness, struggle and pain…sometimes music is all you have to pull you through.  In our most recent times, we’ve all been surrounded by hate, strife, emotion and vitriol from all sides.  Friends have been lost and gained over messages we retreive from the devices connected to our virtual, electronic umblical cords that are now permanently attached to our hands.  It’s a crazy world.

That’s why it’s important to focus on the positive and the real, tangible humans you have around you that you can authentically refer to as friends.  Billy the Kid knew this:  PALS.

The old saying that “friends are the family you choose,” is so very true.  When you go through hard times you discover this via a very unscientific mix of flakiness and sturdiness.  You find out who you can count on and who you can’t.  Another favorite saying of mine related to this is, “no friends like old friends.”  The amigos you’ve known the longest are like tall oaks in a forest of weeping willow trees.  They stand tall and proud alongside you.  They don’t cowotow to your weaknesses and the accentuate your strengths.

Many years ago I was adopted by a musical family of friends.  We shared a common passion and a common workday timewaste on the old PatGreen.com message boards. Pre social media, this was about as high tech as it got.  Some of the greatest friends I have, I met via this scenario.  We may only see each other occasionally throughout the year, and when our annual family reunion rolls around some of us may be so busy organizing things that we can’t sit down and catch up as we’d like…but I know they’re that tall oak in the forest for me.  They’ve got my back. During the recent hard times, many have reached out to help reaffirm my foundation and assure me that things will be okay.  Their advice has been indispensable and well-timed.  This crazy, musical family of friends is bonded together through thick and thin.  Marriages and divorces.  Births and deaths.  Elections and riots.  Good times and bad times.

Thread that runs among all the relationships of this little OKOM family is just that: the music.  There are times when music feels like my only friend.  And, I know you’ve felt that way too, even if you don’t want to admit it.  Music boosts us when we’re down, and boosts us higher when we’re up.  It consoles us during grief and cajoles us when we’re weary.  It can be spiritual, powerful, emotional, digestible, forgettable, unforgettable, magical, fantastic, realistic, easy, hard, sensual, plastic…it can be whatever you need, whenever you need it.  Music lives in our hearts, minds and souls.  It’s in the air we breathe, it’s in the fabric of our beings.  Having that as common connection to other people is not to be taken lightly.

True friends show their true colors at the darkest hours.  So does my friend, and yours, music. Whatever despair you’re feeling, whatever joy you’re celebrating…music (along with God’s grace and love) will put its arm around you and remind you that it’s going to be alright…it’s got your back.  Over time, certain songs and artists begin to feel like personal property…family if you will.  It’s not just 3 minutes and 15 seconds of minors and 7ths…it’s real to you.  It connects you to places and things and emotions…just like a person.  It’s your friend and it’s your family.

OKOM families are special, don’t forget that.  Let’s lean on each other and lean on the tunes.


-Music documentaries may be my favorite viewing.  The recent Soundbreaking series on PBS has been top notch.  They’re telling well-worn (and new) stories in a non-linear, interesting fashion.  A must watch for any music fan.

-How ’bout dem Cowboys?

-Speaking of…I was retweeted yesterday on my personal account from Bleacher Report, Yahoo and Uproxx leading to a tweet that as of this writing had well over 2 million impressions.  Crazy.

-I joked that I will now use sports memes to promote Greenfest.

-Went to see Doyle Bramhall II Saturday night with the amazing Brandy Zdan and lovely Emily Gimble opening.  It was a magical gig.  Doyle dates some chick named Renee Zellwegger.  Yes, that one.  She stood in the crowd alongside us all night, avoiding being gurmed (for the most part) and couldn’t have been nicer.

-I can taste the Pumpkin Pie right now.

-Already putting the finishing touches on our year-end favorites list.

-This months’ recommended album: Seth James and Jessica Murray – “A Million Miles of Love”.  This record is the sound of two people in love that just happen to also be two of the finest musicians in our state.

-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twaint

Lew Card – “Always Funny” Video

We helped premiere Lew Card’s “Condo Town Rag” video off his fantastic album Follow Me Down nearly 12 months ago.  It has been one of our favorite releases of the year.  Lew is a true artist and enjoys pushing the visual boundaries alongside the ones of auditory nature.  … Read the rest

K Phillips and the Wondering Road Show

K Phillips has been on an upward trajectory for several years now.  He’s poised for a national release of his latest album Dirty Wonder and just got off a successful, widespread tour supporting Rob Thomas and Counting Crows.  Phillips is one of our favorite songwriters and entertainers.  … Read the rest

{20 Questions} Dalton Domino

Dalton Domino is one of the best young talents in our scene.  Originally from DFW, but emerging from the Lubbock hotbed of musicality that has birthed so many others, Domino has a distinct, colorful take on Texas Music.  He honors the traditions and forefathers while pushing it forward.  … Read the rest