SELF TITLED (WIGGY THUMP-THIRTY TIGERS)
RAY WYLIE SUPS ON WHISKEY – MYERS LABEL
“I was born a wild child in fear of the Holy Ghost/ raised on field holler with the spirit in my bones/ I turned 15, I was lost to the Pentecost/ I felt a woman's breast and heard Sway by the Stones/ next thing you know Lord, I'm in the band/ we come from East Texas, a river bottomland/ harder than a Bois d'Arc tree, too drunk to stand/ with cowboy hats and old guitars and Copenhagen cans.” - Die Rockin ' - Cody Cannon-Ray Wylie Hubbard.
Texan sextet Whiskey Myers proves why it topped country charts on debut on September 27 with its fifth album in a 12-year career that began in Palestine.
The band mixes Biblical fervour with a fierce outlaw spirit akin to mentors Hank Williams Jr and the late Waylon Jennings.
So it's no surprise that Pentecostal primed entrée single Die Rockin' was penned by singer Cody Cannon and veteran Texan outlaw Ray Wylie Hubbard.
Hubbard, 73 and one of the pioneers of outlaw country in the Lone Star state, is still recording and performing with little mates Shotgun Willie Nelson, 86, and recent octogenarian Billy Joe Shaver.
“I wrote Die Rockin' with the legendary Ray Wylie Hubbard and it really sums up this rock & roll life of ours,” band singer Cody Cannon revealed.
“We're consumed by music and are such fans of the legends that came before us. We're out there on the road and in the studio trying to pay homage to those greats that have inspired this generation while we strive to create some magic of our own.”
That magic began with the band's birth in 2007 when Cannon teamed with guitarist John Jeffers.
The band took over production duties from Dave Cobb who was behind the desk and wheel on 2006 album Mud.
Cannon wrote 10 songs on the new album and Jeffers four.
“We've been fortunate in our careers to work with some incredible producers in the past,” Jeffers explained.
“However self-producing gave us the freedom to try every crazy idea in the studio, which got us to this place where we are completely satisfied with the end result and more excited than ever to get this new music out to our fans.”
It seems to have worked.
The independent disc, distributed by Thirty Tigers sold 39,000 copies in pure album sales, and rose to 42,000 with streaming credits according to Billboard .
A mean feat that landed it #1 in country, #2 in all music considering pure album sales, and #6 on the all-genre Billboard 200.
That put Whiskey Myers in the rare company of Blackberry Smoke , Aaron Watson, and Jason Isbell as independent artists topping the country albums charts.
Tyler Childers and Sturgill Simpson have also achieved #1's with no significant radio play, but only after signing major label deals.
“And don't throw me no funeral, sister don't cry/ saw that fiddle, brother, pass that shine/ deep down in the holler, pick the tallest pine/ dig it real deep where the roots touch mine/ cross the Red River where it opens wide/ the heroine sails to the Choctaw side/ follow my trail to a silver stone/ and gather my body when you bury my bones/ won't you bury my bones.” - Bury My Bones - John Jeffers- Tennessee Jet .
“Getting asked to be on Yellowstone was a cool opportunity and we are very honoured to be a part of it since we are all big fans,” Cannon confessed.
“It's really awesome to see people reacting to our music, taking a two-year-old album to the No. 1 spot on iTunes. We are very thankful that people are digging it.”
Yellowstone centres around the famous American National Park and the conflicts that arise between the shared borders of a large cattle ranch, an Indian reservation, land developers, and the park itself. It was created by Taylor Sheridan who is originally from Texas and made a name developing Sons of Anarchy and the movie Hell or High Water that also featured plenty of independent and classic country music.
Yellowstone also featured Texas female supergroup The Trishas with Savannah Welch - daughter of latter-day Nowra singer-songwriter Kevin - Whitey Morgan and chart-topping Kentucky coal-miner's son Chris Stapleton.
Jeffers penned Bitch - a satiric stab at the generic staples on country radio in the U.S. and Europe – and is enthused by the band's latter-day fame, and maybe fortune.
“I'm very humbled by how positive the reaction has been with all the fan interaction digging the music,” Jeffers explained.
“We knew that you just have to hang in there and put out quality music, and timing will present itself. After working at this dream for 10 years it's exciting to have our moment to shine on a national stage.”
Cannon fuels his preacher penchant in Gasoline and moonshine laces Jeffers-Tennessee Jet penned Bury My Bones.
HOUSTON COUNTY SKY
“So roll me up a smoke, I'll take a toke for hope/ I'm only halfway to 80 by now/ you was a Peanut Queen, I was 17 and mean/ you wanted so bad to leave this town/ ain't it funny how it all works out / ain't nothing left but making love and raising babies/ there ain't nothing wrong with the simple life/ hey darling, I love you, but the smoke is getting hazy/ maybe we should just get drunk and fight/ down at The Gin on a Saturday night.” - Houston County Sky - Cody Cannon.
Whiskey Myers also worked with notable songwriters Brent Cobb, Adam Hood, Dave Kennedy, Aaron Raitiere and Tennessee Jet on this album.
Guitarist Cody Tate, bassist Jamey Gleaves, drummer Jeff Hogg were joined by fiddler-keyboard player Jon Knudson and percussionist Tony Kent for Cobb produced previous album Mud.
Cobb, who added a gospel choir to Mud , also produced their 2014 album, Early Morning Shakes.
But here the band sets the pace on the evocative Jeffers blue-collar dollar Glitter Ain't Gold and Cannon's Little More Money.
“ You gotta keep getting better,” Cannon asserted.
“If you don't feel like you can get better, then you need to quit.”
Whiskey Myers' roots extend back to two previous generations.
Cannon and Jeffers played baseball together in Elkhart , Texas , where Cannon dropped hints as a youngster that he wanted to play guitar.
His grandfather - “one of those wild-ass biker dudes,” Cannon says - spent much of his life on the road, but he casually left an acoustic guitar at the house for a then-16 Cody to learn on.
So the band had fertile fodder to broaden its geographic base from Cannon's Houston County Sky to his California To Caroline.
And, like Houston born singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed star Rodney Crowell, their fame is belatedly spreading way beyond the oilfields as they explore coal mining casualties in Kentucky Gold .
Their coal mine tale is a seasoned subterranean satire that contrasts the dangers by long suffering miners and families with the money driven employers.
The band also digs deep into its rural roots with Cannon's Running - from a tiny town to a Texan belle - and Hammer where the blue-collar worker toils to support a family, using vinyl imagery to enrich history.
Jeffers pyro pathos primed finale Bad Weather - the ignition fuelled burning of a ruptured romance - is a morose memento of love gone bad.
It ensured this provocative self-produced epistle is Biblical bliss with true grit.
Whiskey Myers appeared on Nu Country TV on November 2 with Hank - their homage to Hank Williams Jr - Ballad Of A Southern Man on July 18, 2015, and Anna Marie on February 2, 2013.