June 2011: The Demos They Are a Changin’

Once upon a time, a Texas Music show was a crowded sea of drunken frat guys and other weekend hellraisers of the male variety obnoxiously chanting the name of the artist on stage.

Females were few and far between.

They were always there, but in varying numbers and in even greater degrees of willingness and enjoyment. Based on my experiences, many of them always preferred a club pumping house music or a piano bar belting out their favorite sing along jams. A rowdy crowd of sweaty, over-served dudes really wasn’t their scene.

Yet, slowly over the past few years, the girls began to equal the attendance of their Lone Star brethren. Merch ideas like panties and koozies that come in pink became en vogue. Guys started writing and singing songs that directly appealed to women. It was a smart business move because Nashville realized many years ago that females drive the marketplace and make up the lion share of their audience.

When Randy Rogers sings about kissing in the dark, guys aren’t screaming “f&cKin” between his first and last names. When Cody Canada crooned about having it constantly and the fact that he’d be nothing without his lady, it connected with female fans. They saw themselves in the lyrics.

This was a phenomenon that had always been exclusive to guys in Texas, mainly because such a bulk of the music was created by and marketed to guys. Not many chicks are excited about catching a five pound bass…that and the fact that nobody was going to market Townes Van Zandt on his looks.

It’s a well-documented precarious time in the music industry. Artists are fighting for whatever sliver of the audience they can claim as their own. Some like Casey Donahew have built a sizable following through attracting high school audiences, while others like Josh Abbott have managed to grow through smartly marketed songs that appeal to females. Songs like “Taste”, “She’s Like Texas” and “Oh, Tonight” have achieved incredible airplay and not one of them (save for various parts of “Taste”) are anthems that dudes would be proud to chant along to at a show. An anomaly in a live show driven scene.

The reason these two guys are the hottest things in the scene right now is because they’ve found their own audience. Mass groups of people that felt neglected by the status quo whether they realized it or not.

Longevity and success comes when you can appeal to all demographics. This is something that was evident in the thriving hair metal scene of the 80’s. In an effort to stand out among the masses, bands like Poison began directly appealing to girls through their songwriting, performance and even cross-dressing looks. Their thought process was that if they could get all the hot girls to come to their gig, all the dudes would follow trying to make a love connection.

What do you know? It worked.

Soon, even little kids wanted to look like those “girls” from Poison, and soccer moms wanted to have nothing but a good time after they dropped their kids off at school.
Guys were outnumbering the girls and driving them from the front of the stage as they threw their horns in the air and headbanged to CC Deville.

Were they the best band? No.

Were they the most savvy? Perhaps.

They found a niche, catered to it and then expanded to the point of being undeniably popular. That certainly sounds like a familiar formula. And, as the number of females continues to equal or surpass the guys with regard to the local music scene, it’s something I don’t see changing.


-CMA Fan Fair is this week. I was there 2 years ago during it and it may have been the most white trash I’ve seen in one place this side of a paper recycling plant. Enjoy the people watching if you’re there.

-Normally I’ve been done with basketball for a couple months by now…but the Mavs have me still passionately in tune. Hoping we can pull it out against the evil Heat. If not, I’ll have a big decision to make later this summer. It may or may not be televised by ESPN.

-Been married for 5 years this month. I’ve loved everyday. My wife rocks.

-Used to work in politics until I got burned out. Sadly, I see that happening to more and more of the good people. From what I’ve seen thusfar of the 2012 presidential election, it won’t be long until we vote for public office like we vote for American Idol. Idiocracy. Downfall. Scary.

-If the NFL has a lockout in the spring, does anyone hear?

-How ’bout those Rangers? First place! Frasier and the boys doing work.

-Another successful Memorial Day Bash down at Knight’s Bay. Brian and Jeremy are the most entertaining acoustic act in Texas. They’re like an acoustic guitar piano bar…you name it, they’ll play it from the 50’s to now. Add in some banter and stand-up comedy style audience tear downs and you’ve got one helluva an evening. Ever heard Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” followed by Cypress Hill’s “Insane in the Brain” delivered acoustically and made to sound like the records back to back? Didn’t think so. Check those dudes out if you have a party, wedding etc coming up and book them.

-Greenfest promotion about to kick into full gear. Hang on. I hope there is still some water to float in by the end of next month.

Film of the Month: Bridesmaids. All the reviews said it was great and hysterical. It was. Better than Hangover 2. Kristen Wiig’s a genius…she can be overwrought on SNL, but she’s perfect here. And, someone needs to put Melissa McCarthy in a movie with Zach Galifanakis stat.

Album of the Month: John David Kent-John David Kent. I hear lots of new music each month, but this guy stood out with his mix of vintage and contemporary. The songwriting is rich and the music is tasty. A definite must add to any collection.

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

Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief

12 thoughts on “June 2011: The Demos They Are a Changin’

  • June 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Agreed RRB, Josh ETC. Appealing to the female demo is good marketing!

  • June 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    As a female, I get sick of songs that are intentionally marketed to get women on track with more mainstream artists like RRB, Casey D and JAB. Those songs are overplayed and mostly requested by sorority girls who know little about this genre of music, and probably only listen to the bands listed above and consider themselves Texas Country queens. I feel like these bands singing those songs to win over female audiences because they know it works is close to what I hate so much about Nashville music. I prefer songs that come from the heart and aren’t played just to sell another song or another ticket to this weekend’s show.

    Although, I must admit.. I’m a sucker for Constantly. 🙂

  • June 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Valid points. Agree with them. However, the reality is as any scene grows the price is some target marketing of the product to the widest possible audience. Luckly, on all of athe above mentioned artists albums there are still tunes that harken back to the reason we all love Texas Red Dirt music in the first place. Plus we got lots of artists that could care less about marketing the just make music.

  • June 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I completely agree. Those guys haven’t all completely sold their soles ;). I am so grateful that this genre is so vast an embodies artists of every form and fashion and they all mesh together to make Texas music what it is!

  • June 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I disagree with this to some extent. I’ve been going to concerts by Texas music artists since I was in college in the ’70’s, and even back then it was about 50/50 guys/girls. One thing I miss now is being able to actually dance while the artist is playing. I can remember going to see Asleep at the Wheel at the Starlight Ballroom in Snook. We danced the whole night:^)

    That all said, I guess I do see the value of merchandising directed toward girls. However, it doesn’t make a bit of difference to me what merch is on offer as long as I like the artist.

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