I have been burned out on the Red Dirt Music scene lately. I don’t know why but it has seemed like everything sounded the same and that’s just depressing because I am usually all fired up about my TX/OK boys. Luckily for me Chad Sullins dropped an EP on us and renewed my faith in our little scene down here. I won’t even bother mentioning that 9b doesn’t usually write about EPs since AIV has already pointed that out recently. This little seven song acoustic jewel was the perfect find for me at the perfect time. Some days you just need a some stripped down acoustic stories to get you through and let me tell you these seven songs fill that little niche for me right now. I don’t want to go on about this one because the music speaks for itself. Suffice it to say that this is one EP you should make sure you get your grubby little hands on as quick as you can.
I went out on Thursday to see Drag the River and Cory Branan play at a local dive. I was early and the show started late so I had already eaten and knocked back one or four by the time the opening act started up. Rarely am I impressed by local opening acts. Don’t get me wrong, I love Houston with all my heart but the music scene here tends to lean towards indie hipsters, at least for the acts I generally go see, but much to my surprise this opening act was neither indie nor hipster. Three guys took the stage with a guitar, harmonica, bass, and a completely stripped down drum kit and started belting out some pretty damn good music. You could call it Americana or Alt Country if you really want to put a label on it but I have recently given up the whole genre thing so I won’t bother shoehorning these boys into a category.
I went up to thank them after their set and found out that not only are they a good band but they are fans of our little corner of the web. They gave me a couple of CDs and a bad ass sticker that has already found a home on the rear window on my beat up old truck. I am really torn here because none of the CDs they gave me are the stripped down group that I heard play so I don’t want to bias anyone’s opinion but I want to do the boys justice and get their music out there. So I am posting some tracks and while good I prefer the stripped down sounds I heard the other night. The Wayward Sons gig around the Houston area so if you are a local make sure to check them out. Their next gig is at a hookah bar! I probably can’t go but I do have fond memories of a hookah and a certain New Year’s Eve party but I digress…
The Josh Grider Trio has departed from the traditional country album with Sweet Road to Ride. While there are some songs that would be immediately identified as country the band has added a groove to their sound that defies the purist sound that runs through the Red Dirt Music scene and it works. In Josh’s own words “Everybody knows who Merle Haggard is, everybody knows who Dave Matthews is, so if you say we meet in the middle, that’s kind of what’s goin’ on. It’s got the boogie in it”. While I am not sure about the Dave Matthews reference Josh is right about this music having the boogie in it. While You Were Sleeping is a catchy little number about leaving in the middle of the night that makes you tap your feet and want to get up and dance and on some level that’s just wrong. A leaving song shouldn’t boogie but damn it does and does it right. Follow that up with Halfway There’s admonition of “It’s too late to go back now” and it’s harmonies and you’ll think you’ve got a feel for where Josh is going but then he takes a turn and hits you Again which is pure cryin’ in your beer music.
Josh has been around the Red Dirt scene for a while and has earned the right to do whatever the hell he wants with his music and he does a fine job of it on this album. JG3 is amazing live but this offering is almost as fun as a live show. There is energy here that isn’t found in a lot of studio releases. I can see why Texas Red Dirt Roads described it as the group playing like a child plays with a new toy. It’s definitely a must have for Red Dirt fans.