Outside the Lines: An Introduction
*Ed. note–Good music can come from anywhere. While we are partial to that which comes from within our Texas and Oklahoma borders, there is plenty of legitimate stuff being produced beyond the state lines. This new feature, Outside the Lines, will take a look at those artists who fit the OKOM mold with everything but geography. Just think Adam Hood, Drew Kennedy, Lucero, Chris Knight, Sean McConnell, Jason Isbell, Will Hoge and so many other terrific musicians are not native Texans or Oklahomans. What other gems are out there? We hope to find them and showcase them here.
Across the country, there are hundreds of independent artists who are making great music. Unfortunately, unlike the ‘60s and ‘70s, talent no longer comes hand in hand with fame. As an outsider to the Texas/Red-Dirt scene (geographically), what I appreciate most about the scene is that it does celebrate talent. This celebration of talent is what allows for the scene to be so diverse.
Watching the CMAs and the ACM Awards, it won’t take long to notice that many of the award winners are not people who should ever be equated with the title “musician,” or even “artist.” This is because to be a “musician,” you have to know how to play an instrument (Luke Bryan), and to be an “artist” you have to create art; something that is original and expressive of inner passions, feelings or emotions.
Sunday April 28, I watched the 2013 Lone Star Music Awards at the Texas Music Theater. I am happy to say that every single award winner that night could be deemed not only with the title of musician, but also the more important title artist, which inherently implies originality.
This is why the Texas/Red-Dirt scene is so special and diverse. It doesn’t matter if an artist is as traditional as Jason Eady, as funky as Shinyribs, or as loud as The Departed, we celebrate passionate music with originality, artistry, musicianship, and ultimately (the combination of these): talent.
At the LSM Awards, someone mentioned on stage that the best music being made right now is highly concentrated in Texas. This, however, does not mean that fans should be content with only the artists associated with the Texas/Red-Dirt scene. There are many great artists who are on the road today who need the same amount of support and appreciation as each and every artist that was nominated on April 28.
These artists share the same values as the bands in Texas. They are real, passionate, original, and talented artists who, as Jason Eady would put it, won’t be “crossing the radio band” anytime soon. These are artists who stick to their guns, and always put artistry and their song craft before money. As fans of real music, we are both blessed and fated with the responsibility to celebrate and support these artists, no matter where their home state is.
The diversity of the Texas/Red-Dirt scene has opened up doors for bands as musically diverse as Uncle Lucius, Lincoln Durham, Shovels & Rope, K Phillips, Sons of Fathers, The Band of Heathens, etc. to be supported along with the likes of country acts such as Stoney LaRue, Randy Rogers Band, and Wade Bowen.
For fans that are wishing to build upon their music libraries with artists that are similar to and show the same values as these musically diverse artists being celebrated in the Texas/Red-Dirt scene, I hope to open your eyes to some of the very special and eclectic music being created today.