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      Whiskey Myers in Iowa City

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      November 9, 2018

      Friday   8:00 PM

      211 Iowa Ave
      Iowa City, Iowa 52240

      Whiskey Myers

      with Chris Colston
      It would be an understatement to say that a lot has happened since Whiskey Myers waslast in the recording studio. Over two whirlwind years, the gritty Texas band hit #1 onthe iTunes Country Chart with their breakout third album 'Early Morning Shakes,'earned raves everywhere from Rolling Stone to USA Today, and toured the US and UKrelentlessly, slaying massive festival crowds and sharing stages with Lynyrd Skynyrd,Hank Williams Jr., Jamey Johnson, and more along the way. You'd be forgiven, then,for expecting things to work a little differently this time around when the bandreunited with acclaimed producer Dave Cobb for their stellar new album, 'Mud.' But asit turns out, success doesn't change a Southern gentleman, and they don't come anymore Southern than Whiskey Myers.Fueled by larger-than-life performances honed tight from countless nights on the road,'Mud' finds the band scaling new heights of songwriting and musicianship, with searingguitars, soulful vocals, and indelible hooks. While their approach to the music andhumble, hard-working attitudes may not have altered, there have been developmentsin the Whiskey Myers world, most notably with the arrival of new faces. For therecording sessions, the band's five founding membersCody Cannon on lead vocals andguitar, Cody Tate and John Jeffers on guitars, Gary Brown on bass, and Jeff Hogg ondrumsfleshed out their sound with the addition of fiddler/keyboard player JonKnudson and percussionist Tony Kent, who are both now full-time members."They bring a great energy, and I think it's really helped our sound and makes the bandmore versatile," explains Cannon. "There's less room onstage now, but sometimes afamily grows."A glance through Whiskey Myers' lyrics will show you that Cannon is a man who chooseshis words carefully, so it's little surprise that he describes the band as a family. Thetight-knit group's roots stretch back decades into the red dirt of East Texas, whereCannon, Jeffers, and Tate first began playing together before rounding out their initiallineup with the addition Hogg and Brown (who is Cannon's actual cousin). They built upa rabid local following on the strength of their 2008 debut album, 'Road Of Life,' andthen notched their first #1 on the Texas Music Charts with their 2011 follow-up'Firewater.' It was 'Early Morning Shakes,' though, that introduced the rest of the worldto what Texas already knew. The album cracked the Top 10 on the Billboard CountryChart, a remarkable feat for a fiercely independent band and a testament to theirrigorous DIY work ethic and endless supply of passion and drive. Esquire called them"the real damn deal," while Country Weekly said they combine "greasy Southern rockriffs with countrified songwriting and Texas grit for something wholly unique," andPlayboy dubbed them "the new bad boys of country music."Even in the face of their rapidly-growing profile and expanding lineup, the band foundthey were able to pick up exactly where they left off when they returned to the studiofor 'Mud.'"We dont want a high stress situation, and we dont want to feel uncomfortable whilewe're recording, because we want to make sure everybody can get into their creativemode," explains Brown. "Dave has a laid back attitude as far as making music and thatfits right in with the way we work. His ear is similar to ours and he has the same kindof vision for what the music should sound like."What the music sounds like is raw, visceral emotion: pride, faith, desire, defiance. Thesongs on 'Mud' are stories of ordinary men and women standing up for their families and honoring their roots. Home is sacred ground for Whiskey Myers, not just a plot ofland, but rather the cornerstone of an identity worth dying for. Fiddle-led albumopener "On The River" steps back to frontier times when the struggle for survival was adaily one, while the epic title track promises a home-foreclosing banker "Aint no mangonna take it away / Because it's deep down in my blood / So step across the ol'property line / And youll die right here in the mud." "Frogman," written with RichRobinson of the Black Crowes, follows a Southern man halfway around the world, as herisks his life to defend freedom and fight terror in the Middle East as a Navy Seal, andthe Darrell Scott co-write "Trailer We Call Home" finds the beauty in simple things,concluding, "Times get tough but love is strong / Here in this trailer that we callhome.""Where you come from and where you grew up influences your music a lot," saysCannon. "As a band, we don't go into the studio with any preconceived theme. You justsit down and you write and the songs come out naturally."As a result, Whiskey Myers' music fits neatly into no genre. Sure, it's heavily influencedby country music ("My first record was 'The Pressure Is On' / Aint it funny how your lifecan change with a song" Cannon sings on "Hank"), but the band credits everything fromAlan Jackson and Waylon Jennings to Led Zeppelin and Nirvana as inspiration. "SomeOf Your Love" channels old-school soul, while the bright, punchy horns of "LightningBugs And Rain" flirts with Rolling Stones swagger, and "Good Ole' Days" captures astripped-down, folky vibe, as the whole band sat in a circle singing together live. It alladds up to what Cannon perhaps describes best as "no frills, no bullshit rock and roll.""The equipment we used on the recording process for this one was really important tothe sound, too" he adds. "Dave has these amazing old amps and we recordedeverything to tape for the first time. The piano was from, like, 1904 or something, andI don't think it's been tuned since. Little things like that make a big difference. Itsounds authentic when you actually use the real, old gear."In the end, there may be no better word for Whiskey Myers than authentic. This musicis in their blood, and it flows as naturally from them as a spring feeding a mountaincreek. While a record this good is sure to send their (lone)star rising higher than everbefore, you can rest assured that success still won't be changing this band any timesoon. They make music they're proud of that celebrates where they come from andmakes people feel good. As far as they're concerned, that's all the success anyonecould ever ask for.

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