By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY An exciting three nights of PRCA rodeo and concerts with double billings of performance acts are among the features for the Crosby Fair & Rodeo this June.
Thronging the Rock’N C Arena should be no problem for new Country/Rock sensations Cross Canadian Ragweed after Patrick Murphy leads off Saturday, June 14. Gene Watson and Deryl Dodd are the singing features for Thursday. Owen Temple leads off for Kevin Fowler on June 13.
This year, as usual, top ranked cowboys and cowgirls for the rodeo sport as much as the concerts give fans extra incentive to become ticket holders.
Now Texas Country Music Revolutionaries need take no exception to the name Cross Canadian Ragweed. There is guitarist a named Cross, a native Texan songwriter/singer named Canada and a drummer named Ragsdale. Holster ’em already, it’s a new sound that was critically acclaimed at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this year. This new sound is straight from rocking honky tonks, rowdy roadhouses and sold-out festivals across the Red Dirt and Lone Star states and assorted other Southern border states. The guys in the band are in their mid-twenties.
There is also a bass playing vocalist named Plato and there are some philosophical slants to their songs too. The band has five records to their credit including Live And Loud At The Wormy Dog. Walls of Huntsville, Broken, On A Cloud, and Freedom are some of their popular songs. They tackle themes like destructive jealousy, hypocrisy, the trial of loyalty to Jesus, abuse of authority, and poking fun at suicide.
Of the song Freedom, Cody Canada says, I wrote the second part first after watching Gladiator, Patriot and Braveheart all in one day, a testosterone fest. But after 9-11, it took a different turn…
Patrick Murphy is about to release his debut CD The Rest of Forever. Murphy has toured the Greater Houston area bar scene and he’s been waiting a long time to take a big shot with a big voice.
Kevin Fowler makes country music that keeps Texans drinking and dancing throughout the Lone Star state. His most recent release, High on the Hog, debuted at #54 on the Billboard chart and #3 on Billboard’s New Artist Chart. It features guests including Willie Nelson and is led by The Lord Loves the Drinkin Man. Beer, Bait & Ammo, a self-released album in 200, charged a frenzy with hard-core, unapologetic genuine country consciousness. It sold 30,000 copies primarily in Texas and spawned 4 singles getting about 15,000 spins on the radio.
Willie Nelson says of Fowler, A great entertainer and a great songwriter who, in my opinion, should go a long way.
Fowler started his major league music experience with Dangerous Toys, a Texas hard rock band, that recorded two albums for Columbia Records (one certified gold) in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Later, Fowler started Thunderfoot, a hard edged Southern Rock sound.
Owen Temple was born down near Kerrville and is based near Dallas now. He still plays the Texas circuit but once you hear his CD’s (he’s cut three) you’ll be convinced that their is something far too significant to be kept locally.
Sometimes he harkens to the muses of Hank Williams and Merle Haggard and at other times he writes like Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell. Those are high standards and he always seems to be reaching for a deeply sensitive clarity between strands of steel guitar, violin and wailing harmonies.
Temple has produced a variety of storytelling definitive of drama and conflict in writing.
I like those cool little psychological states-those little pieces of personality and beauty – and try to communicate them through song. says Temple of the portraits and character sketches in his songs.
All those problems in relationships or life that don’t seem to have a really easy answer and that sometimes seem contradictory with what the truth is. Temple explains how he packs as much honest feeling into melodic homespun folk and honky-tonk punch.
Deryl Dodd can deftly pick soulful harmonies on a guitar. When Dodd moved to Nashville in 1991, he found gigs playing for Martina McBride and Garth Brooks. He played professionally since he was in high school. He started out learning to play before he could speak in the Pentecostal Church where his dad preached in Comanche, Texas.
Dodd’s first album, One Ride In Vegas, was released in 1996. Critics heralded his artistry and talent and were thrilled with his organic voice and good looks. But Dodd wasn’t happy with the characterization, he wanted it to be about the music. In 1998, the album Deryl Dodd, broke and tours with Tim McGraw then Brooks and Dunn were on schedule but he got sick. Diagnosed with an inner ear infection initially, he kept touring. It was later learned he had viral encephalitis.
It wasn’t until 2000, that Dodd was able to give it another go, I became more spiritual because of the illness. I began to focus more on God’s grace than His judgement. I had to stop beating myself up,
He’s on his way up again and this time, with the experience of two major rides under his belt, the enlightened, renewed Deryl Dodd is hanging on for the full count.
Gene Watson is the most often attending artist to the Crosby Fair & Rodeo. He first became nationally famous in the 1970s and has had a string of successful records based on soulful deep melody.
By LEWIS SPEARMAN