It’s a fair enough argument when someone brings up the virtues of Texas country to include caveats about how in a general sense, the subgenre or “scene” if you will is more apt to shave off the edges of what would be considered traditional country to appeal to a wider audience. There’s exceptions of course such as Jason Boland and others, but that’s the Texas country niche—be more country and quality than the mainstream, but do it in a cunning way where it still finds a wide ear. Texas country is a better alternative to Nashville, though it may still leave some traditionalists or folks in the Americana crowd a little wanting.
Firmly atop the Texas country pyramid at the moment are Wade Bowen and his good friend Randy Rogers of the Randy Rogers Band. For years the pair have ventured out on small scale acoustic “Hold My Beer” junkets between bigger tours, and on April 20th, the duo will release their first album together called Hold My Beer, Vol. 1. When the first single from the collaboration emerged called “Good Luck With That,” it may have been the most country offering from either artist in years. Following along that same pattern is their new song and video “Standards.”
Not your run-of-the-mill country protest song, “Standards” makes use of sharp wit and country stylings to land a poignant and cutting point about the plight many musicians face when they interface with the music industry. Though protest songs droning on and on about how Nashville is no longer country are just as clichÃ© as the songs they’re criticizing, “Standards” has an appeal beyond being a salve for the country music broken hearted. Making use of the double entendre with diabolical results, “Standards” get you smiling, even if some younger listeners need some coaching about what a “standard” song in music actually is (a song that goes on to be played for years and years, just in case you’re wondering).
Most importantly, the song doesn’t come across spiteful, but a fun rumpus that only independent country artists with strong support of their fans in Texas and beyond can make with a smile on their face. They get their point across and have a good time doing it, which is the underlying spirit of the Hold My Beer concept.
This Wade Bowen/Randy Rogers collaboration is quickly going from a cute side project for core fans to one of the most anticipated true country releases of 2015.
Two Guns Up.