There are a lot of different reasons to become a fan of a particular band. Reasons can vary from the lead singer’s voice to the lead guitar playing or the lyrics in the songs. Most of times people, including myself, will fall for a band based on how well that band nails just couple of those qualities. But, now and then a band comes along that's a complete package and instead of thinking “I really like this” and “I really like that” you just listen and think “wow” when it’s over. I think it was late 2011 when I had CMT on the TV for background music when I first heard the words “My first rifle was a .243 that Papa gave to Daddy and Daddy gave to me…” and I stopped what I was doing to watch. Everything about it drew me in and as soon as it ended I thought “wow”then looked up this band called Whiskey Myers.
At the time they had two albums out; Road of Life from 2008 which the original CD’s are selling on eBay now for over $150 and Firewater from 2011 that includes the song I mentioned hearing above, Ballad of a Southern Man. I listened to those albums over and over and it blew my mind that these guys weren’t better known. Then in 2014 they released the album Early Morning Shakes and it solidified to me that this is the best rock/southern rock band to come out in a very long time. This album has twelve songs and if you had to rate each song individually on a 1-10 scale and take the average to score it as a whole, you’ll find that comparable albums are rare. Some of that credit is probably owed to the man who produced and mixed it, Dave Cobb. Cobb has a killer track record of producing great albums by non-mainstream acts such as Shooter Jennings, Jamey Johnson, and Sturgill Simpson, to legends like Kris Kristofferson and Dolly Parton but also breakout albums such as Chris Stapleton’s Traveller. Cobb also produced Whiskey Myers’ latest album, 2016’s Mud. This album went as high as number four on the US Country Billboard despite only having two songs that could even be considered country (Trailer We Call Home is one of those and it’s so good it will give you goose bumps) and I guess that’s a product of southern-rock not having its own chart. I also think that might shed light on their lack of fame; they’re too country for rock radio but too rock for country radio.
I started going to concerts when I was about 13 and since have seen 60+ artists but in 2016 I finally got to see Whiskey Myers for the first time. At the time they didn’t often venture too far from Texas, where they have a huge following. This was a music festival that included five or six other bands that had two stages alternating so one band could start right as the other ended. I sat by the main stage over an hour to make sure I could be upfront for Whiskey Myers because they were the main reason I was there. The band hadn’t much more than walk on stage and pick up their instruments and there was already a vibe in the air that we were about to witness something special. It was like they just warped from the era of legendary bands and landed on the stage in front of us to show us what music is supposed to be. On some songs, like Virginia it was less like a band and more of an orchestra made up of 3 guitars, drums, a bass guitar, a keyboard, and different percussion instruments; A southern rock orchestra with a 70’s rockstar singing over it. It was also the concert I first saw the infamous cowbell solo that would rival a Van Halen guitar solo. In all the shows I’ve been to I honestly don’t think I could compare it to another, there was just something different about it that left me pumped up for weeks. Watching the videos of it today I still get that feeling wishing I was there front stage again.
These guys are real artists creating original art. You aren’t going to find songs dropping lines about girls jumping up in their trucks or how important tractors are to them. You won’t find exhausted electronic loops trying to distract you from the lack substance in the lyrics. Conversely, you won’t find songs purposely making attempts to fit in the music industry’s new mold of what an outlaw is. What you’ll hear music that will only sound familiar if it’s been a little while since you’ve listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd. You’ll immediately hear the similarity to Skynyrd but as you listen you’ll hear how unique they are, not just in sound, lyrics, and song topics but approach of covering what may not be an original topic. You'll hear each instrument work perfectly together to fit the vocals like a tailored jacket. As if not only were they made for each other but each song's vocal track could have only ever fit with that song's instrumental track and they do so perfectly. One thing I love about them is the range of emotions the variety of their songs are capable of invoking. The song Trailer We Call Home perfectly tells the story of a young couple just making ends meet while painting scenes of the hard work and sacrifice that just getting by sometimes requires. They can take you from feeling the emotions that the struggling young couple experienced to you wanting to bob your head like you’re at a rock concert with Early Morning Shakes. The song Frogman will keep your head bobbing while taking you on a tour of the world a Navy Seal lives in and Reckoning will slow you down again by taking you inside the mind of a person dealing with the loss of their spouse in a way that flashes scenes of Sgt. Riggs in my mind as he deals with the loss of his wife in Lethal Weapon.
I don’t care what your musical preferences are or who your favorite artists are, give Whiskey Myers a shot and I promise you’ll at least find some stuff you like and probably some stuff you love. And if you can, go see them live; you’ll see that these guys were put on earth to make music.