Red Dirt On The River 4

 


Turnpike Troubadours,

Wade Bowen, 

William Clark Green


February 17, 2018



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Turnpike Troubadours

Felker is the frontman, cofounder, and primary songwriter for Turnpike Troubadours, a virtuosic band of country-rock road dogs who, on any given night of the week, will play for a much bigger crowd than the populations of Okemah and Wright City combined. Singer/guitarist Felker, fiddler Kyle Nix, steel and electric guitarist Ryan Engleman, bassist RC Edwards, drummer Gabe Pearson, and steel and accordion player Hank Early deliver punch after punch of smart rock-and-roll that sells out huge venues throughout the Midwest and South and packs legendary haunts like the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

With their highly anticipated fourth album A Long Way from Your Heart, the sextet is poised for even bigger breakthroughs. Narratives put to music are nothing new, but Felker and his bandmates have upped the ante, creating a web of unforgettable characters that show up on album after album in songs that are both catchy and musically complex: men and women with their backs against their wall, represented realistically but also imbued with dignity. “It feels like going home to see that those characters are still alive in a way that movies and literary writers have always done,” Felker says of the recurring favorites. “It feels good. There they are, all based on people that I know and love. They’re composite characters based on real people.”

A Long Way from Your Heart was produced by Grammy winner Ryan Hewitt (The Avett Brothers, Flogging Molly, Red Hot Chili Peppers). The result is a rare triumph––an album that hooks immediately but then rewards listeners willing to dig deeper. “I love what we as a band have turned into and how we treat songs,” Felker says. “That’s something we’ve grown into––adding some sort of oddly theatrical element to the musicianship to help the story along, to sum up where or who the character is to give him a little bit of landscape. It’s not just an acoustic guitar and a guy telling you what somebody’s doing.”

The band’s impressive musicianship is multifaceted: fun with time signatures via lapses into double or half time; clean, abrupt stops; stealthy fingerpicking; unassailable grooves. Felker’s warm vocals invite both closer listening and dancing––a tricky mix that he exudes naturally. Unconventional mash-ups work for Felker, who shrugs off attempts to label what he does. “I find art in a lot of places,” he says. “I find things that aren’t considered art in a lot of people’s views of the world artful.”



Wade Bowen

Across five independent albums and a decade-plus of touring, Wade Bowen has amassed a string of regional hits and awards, and also a fan base who is passionate about music. Indeed, in the fourteen years since Bowen launched his career at Stubb’s Barbecue in Lubbock, Texas, he’s risen from collegiate greenhorn to the top of the Texas music and Red Dirt circuit. His colleagues and friends Pat Green, Jack Ingram, Eli Young Band and others had made the major-label leap, helping to take a vibrant regional sound to the rest of America. 

Now Bowen is poised to bring that Red Dirt and independent spirit to country music at large. Wade’s baritone is dense and concentrated, with traces of whisky and smoke and an autumnal warmth. Bowen takes command of his songs, cutting over the top of producer Justin Niebank’s sculpted guitar-scapes on his latest release "The Given." The sound is one hundred percent country, rife with pedal steel and vivid emotion, but it’s also music that could easily find a home with fans of Bowen’s rock idols – folks like Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne. Take a few passes through this project and you’ll hearing a singer’s singer and a focused songwriter who’s adding layers to his music all the time.

On a live circuit where the overwhelming mandate is to stir up a party, Bowen has aimed to leave folks with a memory. As a writer, even one from a state with some tall literary traditions, he’s not trying to earn a PhD in poetry; he’s trying to communicate. “My style,” he says, “is more to try to evoke an emotion. I’m more about trying to leave a mark on people.” 


William Clark Green

William Clark Green Is not one for pulling punches. Where some songwriters trade in subtlety and dancing around blunt truths with clever feints and metaphor, Clark aims his words straight to the point and, when needed, right through the heart. His music is unrelentingly direct and hard-hitting, too, charged with a palpable rock 'n' roll immediacy that's as evident in his most intimate solo acoustic performances as it is in the full-tilt band shows that have packed rooms across his native Lone Star State from the Blue Light in Lubbock to the world's biggest honky- tonk, Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth. And with the April 21st release of Ringling Road, his eagerly awaited fourth album, Green is set to make his biggest impact on the booming Texas/Red Dirt music scene -- and beyond -- yet.

But just don't call him the "Next Big Thing," because as Green makes patently clear on Ringling Road's riotously myth-busting opening track, that's a laugh, buddy. And even with tongue firmly in cheek, William Clark Green is only interested in being real.

  

February 17, 2018 @ 7:00pm