As things open up, it would seem that EVERYONE is ready to get back to it...and regarding that, some big time acts are on the way to New Braunfels. Wynonna Judd, which has just sold out 3 nights at the legendary Gruene Hall leads the way, but following those iconic shows, a whole list of amazing artists will be descending on New Braunfels in the coming months! So let's get to it, here are my picks for the next few weeks!
Our areas largest outdoor venue, Whitewater Amphitheater is loading the calendar heavy these days and my first pick is there, this Sunday April 18th with the legendary Dwight Yoakam! Dwight Yoakam has country music cred. The pioneering artist spent his first year of life in a coal company house way up in the small southeastern Kentucky holler of Betsey Layne, just across the border from the Virginia homes of the original Carter family and the Stanley Brothers. After his family moved to Ohio, Yoakam made frequent trips back to the holler to visit his grandparents.
A holler is basically a creek that runs out of the veins of a mountainside. And on that front porch, when we’d travel back, I would sit out there and entertain my grandfather. My grandpa, he kept asking me if I knew “Cripple Creek.” Well, I came back and I was really thrilled – I was like nine or ten years old – to tell him I had learned “Cripple Creek.” I thought, “Wow, he’s really astute!” ‘Cause The Band had put out a song called “Cripple Creek” that I mistook for the song by Flatt and Scruggs that he was asking about.
Like most of the “new traditionalist” artists of the 1980s, Dwight had grown up listening to the The Band and other Top 40 radio hitmakers, in addition to the country and bluegrass his family loved. The stripped-down honky-tonk and Bakersfield sound for which Yoakam became known proved, historian Bill Malone writes, that country “could flourish with a strong admixture of rock and roll.”
Dwight Yoakam spent his formative years acting in theater productions and singing and playing guitar in local garage bands. In 1978, after a brief stint in Nashville, Yoakam relocated to Los Angeles. There, he formulated his own brand of honky-tonk – or, as he called it, “hillbilly” music – playing the same nightclubs as punk rock and “cowpunk” bands like X, Los Lobos, the Blasters, and the Butthole Surfers. In 1984, he released an independent EP, A Town South of Bakersfield, which received substantial airplay on L.A. college and alternative radio stations, and landed a contract with Reprise Records. Two years later, Dwight released his full-length debut album, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. It was an instant sensation, garnering praise from country and rock critics and airplay on college stations nationwide, and made a splash on the country charts: its first single, a cover of Johnny Horton’s “Honky Tonk Man,” reached No. 3, followed by No. 4 “Guitars, Cadillacs.” His next LP, Hillbilly Deluxe (1987), spawned four Top 10 hits. Yoakam had his first country No. 1 in 1988 with “Streets of Bakersfield,” a cover of a song by Yoakam’s longtime idol Buck Owens that featured the singing and playing of Owens himself.
Yoakam has recorded more than twenty albums and compilations, charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 25 million records. Five of his albums were Billboard No. 1s, twelve went gold, and nine platinum, including the triple-platinum This Time. He pushed the boundaries of what was considered “country,” attracting roots rock fans and college audiences. In the ‘90s, he turned his attention to the big screen, notably in critically-acclaimed performances as “bad guys” in Sling Blade and Panic Room – both stretches for mellow Yoakam, who has been described as one of the industry’s true “good guys.” He continues to produce and write well-received albums and songs, and to act for television and film. This guy puts on an amazing show every time I have seen him. Tickets still available for this Sunday...go get ya some NOW!
Next up, Eli Young Band with two shows on the same day, Saturday April 24th at Gruene Hall.With momentum still high following their fourth career #1, MULTI-PLATINUM hitmakers ELI YOUNG BAND are releasing an introspective new single with “ Break It In ” via The Valory Music Co. Under producer Dann Huff, the tune explores lessons in life and love that are only learned over time well spent. As showcased through vivid Benjy Davis, Brandon Day, Daniel Ross, and Michael Whitworth-penned lyrics, EYB further delivers a booming chorus:
“Like these dusty boots that walked me through / The work that got me here / And these faded jeans with Skoal can rings / I’ve worn out all these years / When the shine wears off, when you lose that gloss / There’s so much more underneath it all / You think that good is good as it can get / Then you break it in.”
“We definitely didn't just start a band and have instant success. We’ve continued to build it up over the years — we broke it in,” shares EYB. "We’ve been blessed to have had our moments of being able to sit back and soak it all in. ‘Break It In’ carries a message you learn with time, and we’re so excited for these lyrics to be heard far and wide!”
“Break It In” closely follows THIS IS ELI YOUNG BAND: GREATEST HITS , which features chart-toppers – “Love Ain’t,” PLATINUM "Drunk Last Night,” 2X PLATINUM “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” and 3X PLATINUM “Crazy Girl.” EYB has always been unique in modern Country music as a true band of brothers who cling fast to their Texas roots and has maintained an impressive trajectory with singles earning Billboard 's #1 Country Song of the Year and ACM Awards Song of the Year . They have previously earned multiple nominations from GRAMMY, CMA, CMT, ACA and Teen Choice Awards.
While selling out venues as a headliner from coast-to-coast, EYB has toured with Jason Aldean, Dave Matthews Band, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, and Darius Rucker. They will continue to bring these fan-favorites and more on the road this summer with several festival appearances, and a mighty fine ‘tune up’ weekend at Gruene Hall, right here in New Braunfels!!
Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights are one of those bands that moved my soul the instant I first heard them. I worked with them several times before they dis-banded, so imagine my delight to hear they are coming back to Gruene Hall on Friday May 30th.
“Rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and country are the same thing, just wearing different clothes.” To define Jonathan Tyler’s music would be doing it a disservice. His music defies expectation or sonic categorization – his music is the purest expression of everything you feel but don’t know how to express. If there’s a single label that might be able to wrangle Tyler’s universal soul, it’s Gram Parson’s iconic classification of his own style: “Cosmic American Music.” A Texan since childhood, Jonathan Tyler has grown up enamored with the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll – and its ancestors. In 2007 he formed Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights, who released their debut full-length album Hot Trottin’ to widespread acclaim. At the 2009 Dallas Observer Music Awards, Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights walked away with “Best Group,” “Best Blues Act,” and “Best Male Vocalist.” Tyler would go on to win the latter award again the following year. The band was promptly signed to F-Stop/Atlantic Records and released Pardon Me in 2010, leading to television appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Gordon Keith Show, as well as tours supporting ZZ Top, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Black Crowes, and appearances at the Bonnaroo Music Festival and Austin City Limits. In 2015, he released his debut solo album Holy Smokes – a genre-bending opus celebrating perseverance in the face of life’s twists and turns. Along the way, he’s mastered the art of the sounds between the sounds – honing his role behind the boards as a producer for Nikki Lane, Desure, Jeff Crosby and others. At the moment he’s working on a follow-up to Holy Smokes, featuring hit singles like “Old Friend,” “Underground Forever,” and “Hustlin.” Get your tickets to this one, I know I'll be there!
Taking us into the beginning of May, Read Southall will bring his brand of country rock to Gruene Hall for 2 nights Saturday and Sunday May 1st and 2nd. Formed In Stillwater Oklahoma, The Read Southall Band is comprised of 4 native Oklahoman’s. Read Southall (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) Reid Barber (drums) Jeremee Knipp (Bass) JT Perry (Lead Guitar and harmonies). With all members having different influences in music, they have come together to create a unique red dirt/southern rock sound. With overdriven guitars and heavy drums the Read Southall Band delivers more of a rock and roll experience with a country vibe. They are hot on the heels of their latest release 'Where We Belong'. These shows WILL sell out, so if checking out something new sounds good to you, you better get those tickets now!
I'll leave you with a look at their latest video...until next time...CHEERS!