This oughta get pretty outrageous pretty darn quick. Randy, William and Sean have decided to hit the "carretera, calle, camino" however you want to say ROAD in Spanish together. Check it out. Go see it. Report back.
To say the music business has two completely different personalties is an understatement. There is the image we all see in daily life, the one where hits are abundant, songwriting comes easy, everyone gets a record deal, and the music is appreciated by the masses. Then there's the closet personality. The dark side that exudes long periods of down time, where gigs are scarce, writers block takes hold, and just getting your music out there for someone to listen to is more than just a bump in the road. This is the reality of the music industry lifestyle. For every single chart-topping artist living the dream of playing sold out venues to hungry audiences, there are thousands upon thousands of starving artists simply trying to make their dream a reality. It is a monster. A monster that cannot be defeated, but simply appeased for an undetermined length of time. For artists like Bob Simpson, there is a personal battle with this monster, one that is fought daily.
I asked Bob to share some of his back story with me, and this is what he had to say. "Well, I guess I was born with a love for music. My first memory in life was listening to music. I wanted to be the man singing on those records I heard. I had envisioned to be on a stage with a guitar in my hand like Merle Haggard or whoever it was that I'd heard growing up. When I was about 15, I got tired of just listening. I wanted to make music. My family didn't have much money for lessons so I taught myself how to play guitar and every thing else I play. I got really into songwriting after listening to Neil Young and Whiskeytown as a teenager. I felt like those songs they wrote really said something and had an emotion to them that I could personally tap into. Almost like they had something to say. I guess I had something to say too. So I started writing songs. Then I was playing open mic nights, which I still do and I feel it's a good exercise for any musician. Then I started getting booked in coffee houses and bars and I was lucky if anyone listened. So I started recording and making records on my own terms and going out on the road to push them." As with most musicians, the driving influence was derived from early teenage experiences with music. The difference between most of the general public and musicians, the musician chooses to take the love of the sounds to another level, and begin to emulate what they hear, and interpret and form their own versions.
When asked about where he draws inspiration from, Bob shared these thoughts. "Anywhere. It could come from anything. Simple or complex. A rock or a dirty dish in the sink could inspire me. It could be something I heard or a movie I saw. Maybe even an article I read or an experience I had. Sometimes, the dreams I have can inspire me."
While the fruits of Bob Simpson's influences seem firmly planted in his sound, he truly has evolved into a unique individual, producing one-of-a-kind genuine music. His vocals are very clear and crisp, and his control over his ability shows great maturity in his music. While he may not have the name of a Brandon Rhyder or Sean McConnell, Bob Simpson certainly possess the tools to achieve high accolades among the scene's great vocalist.
While the road ahead for Bob Simpson may not be an express-lane to success, it certainly isn't a dead end road. As Bob continues to evolve his sound, we will continue to follow along and support his ventures, wherever the road ahead may lead. I'll leave you guys with another up-close and personal performance by this new face to the scene.
There is no clear plan for success in music. The paths set out before by successful musicians doesn't always work for the ones following in their footsteps. There is no manual, no classes for this process. Honestly, the reason one solid artist gains public interest, while another equally talented may go un-noticed is as big a secret as any I guess. It is a journey that many will continue to make, one that we hope continues to run down those Texas Red Dirt Roads.
With this week of giving thanks, I have many things to be thankful for. My family for their undying love, my friends for unobjective friendship and brutal honesty, and most importantly I am thankful for all the things in my life I take for granted in my daily walk, simple life luxuries. One of the big ones is my hearing. Not only am I thankful because of my love of music, but the ability to hear laughter, voices, and sounds of nature. I know it sounds cheesy, but it is the truth. A big part of sound that really grabs my attention is un-conventional sounds.
When it comes to unconventional sounds, Green Light Pistol takes the cake. With solid, attention-grabbing melodies, a powerful grasp on the craft of songwriting, and the proverbial gold medal in organized chaos, Green Light Pistol is more than a top-notch band, but a true experience in musical bliss. For this week I decided to not only feature a little diddy from GLP, but also announce that they are the second band to grace the main stage on Tuesday, December 10th at Red's Roadhouse for Merry Red Dirt Christmas.
So What exactly is the Merry Red Dirt Christmas? Well, it is the brain-child of Alison "Canuck Jenkins" Stonecypher, and we asked her to share her story of how it came to be.
"A Merry Red Dirt Christmas is the result of an active imagination, insomnia, and 13 years of being a Red Dirt Music fan. In 1999, I got on a plane and moved to Texas from Calgary, Alberta which is the closest thing to a Red Dirt scene that you can find north of the 49th parallel. I spent several years working at Woody’s Tavern in Fort Worth and instantly fell in love with the Texas music scene and had the opportunity to watch our “back up bands” of Stoney LaRue, the Eli Young Band, Randy Rogers and many more perform.
Fast forward several years to when I got involved again with the scene. I’ve had the pleasure of running some major events and concerts in the area as well as volunteer for many others. Through these events it hit me as to how many people are involved in the production of one single show that I had always taken for granted just watching some band come out on stage and put on a great show. I’d never given much thought to the road crew, sound engineers, lighting crew, organizers, managers, promoters, media partners and family etc., that it took just to get those 5 or so people on stage.
So as I lay awake at about 2:30 in the morning unable to sleep and trying to remember if I had updated all the correct social media, returned venue calls, secured a sponsor for an upcoming event, or given the young gun musician advice on how to win his girlfriend back, it hit me. Why aren’t all these people taking a night off and just enjoying themselves? Every industry out there has networking events. Our version of those are running past each other during load in, down a hallway while rushing to switch acts off a stage, or in a green room or on a tour bus for abbreviated amounts of time. The most fun I had had all year was at the informal after party following a major event in which we all trickled over to a venue and had a great time. The stage turned in to a who's who of music and ended up with media personalities and other players jumping in who I had no clue could even play. I started scribbling ideas and scheming yet another musical industry shenanigan event.
I briefly ran the idea by a friend the next day who said “It will never happen.” Anyone who knows me knows that is exactly what to tell me if you want something done. My whole motto was that this was to be a night off of fun. If you want to come, great! If you don’t, don’t. If you are a industry business partner who wants to contribute, great. If you just want to come and be a part of the industry you’ve supported all year, great. Are you a musician who wants to come just enjoy someone else providing the entertainment? Come on! Want to bring a guitar and jump on the acoustic stage? Do it! So I found myself at Red’s Roadhouse with the Steve Helms Band one night and was introduced to the owner. I started talking to him about Texas Country and the scene and decided to pitch the idea. What was the worst he could say? Well the response was not only, absolutely please use our venue but we would also like to provide a full meal for everyone invited. Game on!
The purpose of this event is to bring the industry together for one night. To give some of the up and comers a chance to get on stage and perform in front of some other artists and players they normally may not have a chance to be in front of, and to just HAVE FUN. By connecting with some of the industry partners I have worked with throughout the year, we have been able to contact guests in a five state surrounding area, and extended the invite to this event. Every band that will take the main stage represents a different geographical area of the state and a different demographic representation. It is mean to be a representation of the entire industry and I hope it is a great success that we can turn in to an annual event.
Join us for some fun....if you want to. Oh and if you get the invite. "
So how does Green Light Pistol fit into this whole shindig? Well, they are the second band announced for the event, and will be competing for the chance to headline a gig at Red's Roadhouse on a Friday night. Simply put, not only a chance to play for several of their peers that may or may not have heard them previously at the event, but for a fairly good payday.
With plans for the Merry Red Dirt Christmas already ironed out, all that's left is for the day to arrive, and I for one am seriously excited about it. I'm gonna leave you guys with one last look at Green Light Pistol, and a chance to hear what gets me so excited for this performance.