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{Brad's Corner} March 2015: Connections

{Bradís Corner}

Aaron Watson barnstormed the national country music scene last week during CRS. ¬†His The Underdog album raced to the top of the charts and spurned many think pieces in the wake of the Gary Overton spewn ignorance. The passion and fervor displayed by his core fanbase spurred him to the top of the charts and the forefront of the ongoing “where is country music headed?” conversation.

This passionate underbelly of support comes from the fanbase Aaron has built one show at a time for well over a decade on the Texas circuit. ¬†His authenticity and genuine nature has allowed him to connect to audiences on a grander scale than many of his Texas peers. ¬†He shares his life from the stage and speaks about his wife and kids in such a reverential tone that you want to emulate what he does. ¬†He’s a God-fearing man burning the honky-tonks down. ¬†People respond to that. ¬†People respect that. ¬†People relate to that. ¬†Fans feel connected to Aaron Watson on a deep level. ¬†The type of level they could only dream of attaining with an artist on the Blake Shelton level of fame. Aaron speaks directly to them and not down to them. ¬†He shakes their hand after the show and signs anything they want signed.… Keep Reading

Kent Finlay


Nobody respected a song more than Kent Finlay. ¬†The first time I met him was in 1999. ¬†He’d just recently reopened his famed Cheatham Street Warehouse and was in the process of reaffirming the atmosphere and dynamics that he’d fostered for so many years. ¬†Weekly songwriter nights were a blend of professional and amateur. ¬†But, each lyric, note and artist received the same bent ear from Kent. ¬†He didn’t care who you were or what you were about as long as you respected the song. ¬†It was always for the sake of the song. ¬†He’d nearly driven himself bankrupt for the sake of the song. ¬†It was all that mattered.

Watching Kent reign over CSW as a young college student first immersing myself in Texas Music on a large scale made a deep impression on me.  Being quiet at a concert had never occurred to me until Kent tutored us by example on how to be reverent during a songwriter round.  Through my expanding prism of Finlay proximity, I was able to watch Kent tutor a slew of young singer/songwriters.  Guys and gals my age.  Randy Rogers, Mark Sanders, Ryan Turner, Brandon Wayne Jones, Micah Harris, Angie McClure and many others from this time period come to mind.  We all knew his George Strait resume, but not because he told us about it.  We were witnessing how he worked first hand.  It was a magical time.  Kent always made people feel that way though.

Closing out each songwriter night with … Keep Reading

February 2015: Conflating the Good Times Balance

2015 has already gotten off to a busy start for words that end in -late. ¬†Deflate. And, now conflate. Deflate was brought to the national consciousness via the New England Patriots alleged football tampering during the NFL Playoffs. ¬†Conflate has arrived on the back of a Chinook helicopter piloted by Brian Williams…or something to that effect. Webster defines conflate as follows, “combining two things (ideas, stories, etc) into one”. ¬†I was recently confronted by a message board post someone sent me that criticized Texas Country music as being just as bad as mainstream bro-country by saying:

“Texas country is just as bad, it’s the same thing that the labels put out to teens¬†with boy bands and girly pop.¬† What is happening is that awesome parties, nights at the bar, or having a great time at concerts is¬†distorting your view of the music being played.¬† I understand.¬† It’s Pavlov’s theory of conditioning.¬† You are equating a drunken good time in the company of good looking girls with good music, and that’s not the case.”

While I don’t necessarily wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment, I feel as though there is definitely some merit there. ¬†There’s nothing wrong with a good time. ¬†In fact, it’s an essential life element to enjoying a well-balanced existence. ¬†However, there is something wrong if that’s all you’re doing. ¬†And, music that is only about the party is destined to have a short shelf-life. ¬†That’s why I enjoy both types of shows. ¬†That’s why Greenfest has … Keep Reading

American Aquarium In the Fishbowl of Success


Without fail, every so often¬†a band from outside the borders of Texas and Oklahoma resonate with Red Dirt music fans in a way that the homegrown talent just isn’t doing at the time. We’ve seen it happen with Lucero, Will Hoge, Sean McConnell, Adam Hood, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and others. ¬†Currently that band is American Aquarium. ¬†A band heralded and certified as the ultimate road warriors has built up a loyal (and sizable…and growing) fandom in the Texas region. ¬†On the strength of a blistering live show that was built on the back of BJ Barham’s intense¬†songwriting, AA is connecting with a wide swath of hungry music fans. ¬†As usual, fans down here crave realness. ¬†Authenticity. ¬†Grittiness. ¬†USAq has that in spades. Their last album, Burn. Flicker. Die, was an Isbell-produced collection that solidified them in the scene and beyond. It propelled them from aimless wanderlust to the path of independent success.¬†Their latest album (out Feb 3), Wolves, is the one that is currently elevating them to next-level status.

On the heels of a near-breakup, Wolves finds the band settling into a healthy groove both on and offstage. Marriage, sobriety and determination are clearing a new course¬†for this pack of hungry artists. ¬†Blazing a trail across the Texas scene like many have done before, but in their own way. ¬†It was a slow burn at first. ¬†Opening shows in a venue here or there. ¬†Gradually, the band began building up its Texas following. ¬†… Keep Reading

Jason Eady at 40


Today is Jason Eady’s 40th birthday. ¬†And what a 40 years it has been. ¬†Jimmy Buffett famously sang about a pirate looking at 40. ¬†Jason Eady is a troubadour looking at 40. ¬†Jason Eady has lived a very full and interesting life thus far; and it shows in his music.¬†¬† Eady has traveled the globe in search of new adventures and new songs.¬† He‚Äôs been through the hell of Nashville and lived to tell about it, coming out stronger on the other side. ¬†His music has transformed from a swampy, delta-blues stomp to full-blown honky-tonk. ¬†He’s adept at both. ¬†A talented writer, underrated performer and country music traditionalist. ¬†Originally from Mississippi, Jason Eady found his way to Texas in search of audiences that would embrace his original music.¬† After over a decade of splitting time between Fort Worth and Austin, Eady is now quintessentially Texan. He’s lived a life that a Hollywood screenwriter would envy. ¬†Military translator turned country singer. There’s not too much he hasn’t seen and we’re all the better for it. ¬†With a first 40 years act like that, we’re intrigued to see what lies ahead in Act II.


Below is one of our favorite Eady moments ever.  The time he took Greenfest 11 to the river, literally. Enjoy your day sir!

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