Fans Speak Up After Numerous Drunken Performances by Turnpike Troubadours’ Evan Felker


Turnpike Troubadours frontman Evan Felker is one of the most respected songwriters in Texas Country/Red Dirt and beyond, including just having his song “The Bird Hunters” named Saving Country Music’s Song of the Year for 2015. But after numerous drunken performances, some fans are in an uproar, while others are reaching out with sympathy and concern for the songwriter.

The first questionable performance came on New Years Day in Tulsa at the Cain’s Ballroom annual Hangover Ball, where Evan took the stage acoustic style with Cody Canada, Jason Boland, William Clark Green, Mike McClure, Jason Eady, Adam Hood, BJ Barham of American Aquarium, and Brian Keane.



The drunken Hangover Ball performance appeared to be an isolated incident for the Oklahoma native. However, at this week’s Music Fest festivities in Steamboat Springs, CO, patrons were once again disappointed when Evan Felker took the stage drunk for a Turnpike Troubadours performance Tuesday (1-5) night.



Meanwhile other fans and artists are reaching out to support the songwriter who clearly appears to be going through a difficult time, including the drummer for Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Brad Rice.


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It’s understandable when fans spend their hard-earned money and make plans to see their favorite artists, and are less than happy when the artists doesn’t perform their best. However, living their lives on stages and in the spotlight, musicians many times have to go through their personal turmoil in the public eye, which amplifies or even exacerbates personal issues, sometimes resulting in a spiral out of control that can be just as much the public’s fault as the performer’s. 

Heretofore, Evan Felker has not been known as a performer of poor personal character. But like most of the talented artists who’ve ever lived, and many who make the most touching artistic expressions, personal demons loom under the surface, waiting to take grasp. It’s their torment that lends to their brilliance. The temptations of the road, and the music life also can make it harder on musicians. Many fans want to live vicariously through their musical heroes and can fuel bad behavior by enabling it, while others loom in the wings, waiting to tear artists down when they begin to fall.

Evan Felker may have had a bad stretch, but haven’t we all. It’s how we handle our mistakes that makes the measure of a man.

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Editor’s Note: Apologies for doing the whole “embed a bunch of tweets” lazy style of journalism. But since I was not at these events, and the tweets help accurately portray public sentiment, it was deemed a worthy way to report on this story.

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UPDATE: Here’s a video from the beginning of the Turnpike Troubadous performance at Steamboat Springs. Though the quality is low, it does appear to show Evan slurring, dropping verses, and generally not trying.

The Turnpike Troubadours LIVE #mf16

Posted by 95.9 The Ranch on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

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