Merchandise sales are the manna of the independent music world. With no disrespect to the musical efforts of your favorite artist, you can boil them down to glorified T-shirt salespeople in the way the lion’s share of their profits come from the merch table. It’s what puts gas in their tank and food on their table, and allows them to make a respectable living.
Wheeler Walker Jr.
It says a lot about where country music is, and where Wheeler Walker Jr. is going, that his show at Austin’s new Grizzly Hall was one of the most highly-anticipated country shows in Austin in months. Bloggers, radio DJ’s, and even Texas country artist Sam Riggs turned out to see what all of the hype was about surrounding the country’s newest raunch artist.
One of the few saving graces for the show beyond a Chris Stapleton performance of “Parachute” and a scant, 1-minute tribute to Merle Haggard via Dierks Bentley, was that foul-mouthed country music comedic country singer Wheeler Walker Jr. crashed the shindig and offered side splitting photos, updates, and commentary throughout the night.
Whether you like what he’s throwing down, or you think he’s a foul-mouthed yob, there’s no denying that Wheeler Walker Jr. has become nothing short of a country music phenomenon, with continued strong album sales, high streaming numbers if from nothing else than a curiosity factor, and even some unexpected recognition from mainstream artists.
And then here comes this foul-mouthed comedy country artist named Wheeler Walker Jr., and all of a sudden we have a new man taking the point at trashing pop country. None of Wheeler Walker Jr.’s songs are “country protest” songs like we hear dozens and dozens of other traditional country artists perform. It’s the attitude he’s taking that’s slowly making him into a pretty serious gadfly for pop country and its suitors.
Roy Acuff may have been the model of good clean family fun and old-fashioned entertainment for the majority of his country music career, but at the beginning of his legendary, Hall of Fame-caliber run was an era of music that was quite the opposite of the accepted Acuff character, or the wholesome nature of his performance home of the family-friendly Grand Ole Opry.
From the “I have no idea what the hell is going on here” file comes the curious case of Wheeler Walker Jr., an incredibly foul-mouthed country artist who apparently is gearing up to release a Dave Cobb-produced record through Thirty Tigers, and has just released his first single.