Cody Canada & The Departed

The studio environment for a working musician is equal parts laboratory, man cave, and holy place. On a steamy day in Austin, Texas at Yellow Dog Studios, there was a reverent hush that made it feel like a sacred service was underway. When the studio door opened, a song tumbled out. "Better get right, before the Lord gets ready," a Gospel-drenched refrain; deliberate and soulful stuff. Through the glass, The Departed was playing live, facing each other in a circle, with Steve Littleton on Hammond B3 in a separate room, and Seth James singing with a world weary voice in the booth.

The guys came back into master control to listen to the track with co-producer Adam Odor. They all were looking down at their respective electronic devices while the music was on. Adam whispered that Cody Canada and The Departed were making a straight up rock record this time around, tapping into the eternal emotions and sonics that have informed the great American musical styles from the start. That album is called Adventūs, the Latin word for arrival.

The Adventūs album is fourteen tracks deep. The band members, Cody Canada, Seth James, Jeremy Plato, Steve Littleton, and new drummer Chris Doege, have never had the luxury before of starting the recording process with so many songs. They have worked collaboratively, bringing thoughts, phrases, verses and riffs together. This project, in fact this band, is a testament to the creative process. It is about playing what you want with whom you want, carving out a road family fueled by mutual appreciation for each other's talent as well as the camaraderie.

Adam Odor put the process in perspective, "The Departed had the last year and a half to lock in, to find out who they are and what they are together. That's the way they did it in the old days, when a band would get signed to a label. The A&R guy (Artist and Repertoire) would let them tour for a year or so, before he took them in the studio to record. That is what is happening with The Departed. These guys are all so good, the musicianship and the songs, and that is a rare thing when you have them both." Cody explained further, "For this album, we were ready to roll. When we started practicing there was the feeling that we are honored to be doing this together. Doing other people's songs for the first album, This Is Indian Land, gave us time to let the new stuff percolate. There are some really intricate songs, and so far, we have only played a couple of them out in public."

Cody Canada was 16 years old when he arrived in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He found a creative nirvana of musicians who planted seeds that would stay with him for the rest of his life. Cody recalls, "I met Tom Skinner, Scott Evans, Bob Childers, Jimmy LaFave, Mike McClure, the Red Dirt Rangers and they were all playing this really, really good music. It was kind of in that same vibe as the Allman Brothers and The Band. But what came out of it was really diverse. There were more country acts like Jason Boland. The All American Rejects were the rock guys. Then you had the whole Red Dirt hippie thing…I didn't even know what Red Dirt was until somebody told me. I got turned on to it all and it's stayed with me ever since."

Canada was front man for Cross Canadian Ragweed for fifteen years, where he tapped into those influences for their nine albums, four of which charted on Billboard's Top 10 Country Albums Chart. They sold over a million albums and played to sell-out crowds, bringing the term "Red Dirt" to the nation. When Cross Canadian Ragweed decided to part ways, Cody resurfaced with a mission in mind, to pay homage to the Red Dirt writers and music that were formative. The Departed's first priority was getting into the studio and cutting the Oklahoma tribute album that Cody had wanted to do for years. This is Indian Land came out last year, a 15-track "buffet of really kick-ass Okie songs," Canada noted.

And so a seamless transition was made, Cody Canada and his long time Ragweed band mate, Jeremy Plato on bass and vocals; along with Seth James on guitar and vocals (Seth James Band, Ray Wylie Hubbard), Steve Littleton on B3 organ and keys (Live Oak Decline, Stoney LaRue & the Arsenals, Medicine Show) and Chris Doege on drums (Seth James Band, Nashville touring acts). The band members have known each other for years, and they know each other's musicianship. They are excited to be playing together, stoked about the new beginning that their first studio album of original material provides.

Cody Canada & The Departed continues to hit the road hard. As excited as they are about their gigs, they are taking it all very seriously. Canada continues, "Now it's a new band playing new songs so we've got to learn everything, get our game together and practice. It's a whole lot of fun. I can't sleep at night. It keeps me awake, not from worry but from excitement. We're just ready to tear it up."

Cody Canada, Jeremy Plato, Seth James, Steve Littleton, and Chris Doege embrace the future with Adventūs. The music rocks, shimmers, simmers; amplified by the heat of the Texas sun. Adventūs signals the arrival of The Departed.

Dalton Domino

There's a perfectly natural reason as to why Dalton Domino's debut LP, 1806, carries a varied and skillfully unpredictable quality to it. Domino is filled with the wandering spirit of a storyteller that's never content with simply drawing from the tales of others. Over his life, he's lived in a number of places, some of them such as Frisco, Texas and Las Vegas, Nevada, might as well be on different planets for all of the contrasts a perceptive fellow like Domino can tune into. Though he's also lived in Alabama and Mississippi, a couple of states with a rich musical heritage to rival most states, Domino says Lubbock, Texas, no matter where else has laid his head or worked a job, has been, and always will be home.

"I was born in Memphis, and I've lived in several spots," explains Domino. "But I seem to move every five years, and Lubbock is the place I lived the longest, so that is where I'll always call home."

Another key driving factor to Domino's ability to expertly proffer a number of styles that still feel cohesive and thoughtful on 1806 is in the musical upbringing he enjoyed. Whether it was the hymnal singing from his Grandmother, or the 1950's Sun Records his Grandfather would play, Domino soaked it all in – even the heavy metal his own step-­?father would often listen too. Indeed, Domino's formative youth was somewhat unusual, and as a result, his musical choices of the past, might seem strange, given the powerfully grizzled way he can deliver a sage line of West Texas wisdom now.

Whether it's gothic western of "Howl," the rocking roadhouse vibe of "Dallas," the sawdust shuffling, rootsy ode to an inspirational women "Jesus and Handbags," or the menacing, swampy, stomping "Killing Floor," the tunes on 1806 fit well, and offer the listener a well-­?rounded, satisfying experience. For good measure, "All that Matters" is suited for country radio with its delicate electricity, declarations of a pleading lover, and Domino's ability to simply tell a story we can all relate to, yet can't express in the same way.

Two key moments as Domino traveled the oft-­?difficult path from adolescence into his teenage years proved to be the foundation from which he would build his identity as a musician with something personal and unique to say. Even in Junior high, Domino recognized music was the way in which he could best express what his soul wrestled with.

"A big musical moment for me was in 2003, when I went to a punk show in Las Vegas," Domino clearly recalls. "New Found Glory and MXPX were playing, which was perfect because I had grown up skateboarding and hearing the live bands at the Van's Warped Tour. Punk music really was my base, because I loved the freedom of the lyrics. The songs dealt with the stuff that was relevant to me. The older I've become, the more I've enjoyed that same freedom I see in the writing of so many great Texas and Red Dirt artists. The feeling I get from great lyrics is what will has always stuck out to me."

Shortly after Domino's punk-­?tinted epiphany, his Grandfather passed away, and at the age of 14, Domino began to explore the depths of personally vulnerable songwriting in order to cope with the loss of the man that had raised him for the first 10 years of his life.

Over the years, Domino has kept the fuel for creating original music from his own viewpoint burning on high. With musical heroes ranging from Lubbock legend Terry Allan, to Bright Eyes, to another young singer-­?songwriter with West Texas ties, Charlie Shafter, its clear Domino wants his music to hit the listener in both the gut and the mind, just as his favorite artists' best tunes always manage to.

"Every song I have was about a specific moment or a period of time," Domino explains. "I can't just make up a song. I have to live in it, or I have to relive the emotions I felt in my life at the moment the song requires."

Dominos tragic and triumphant travels through musical and geographical terrain have led to this moment where he's a man with serious things to say, as music is the one true way he can fully express it all to us.

Grant Gilbert

When Grant Gilbert started playing music he had no intentions of performing live shows multiple times per week or it becoming a job, it was just a labor of love that grew into something he never planned. Halfway through high school he was busy playing sports and working on his family’s farm, but in the back of his mind music was entertaining him. Every chance he had, he was slipping away to play guitar and sing. Whether in his room or an open mic, he wanted to do what he loved. Being raised in the small town of Santo, Texas it was natural that he would play country music.



Grant started early with a love for music. When he was young he was going to old dancehalls with his parents and listening to the artist sing. He never thought that someday he would be the one that people were dancing to. It didn’t happen overnight. He was playing the local open mic’s everywhere he could, then his brother decided it was time that Grant played his own show. His brother booked his first show without telling him about it and Grant had no choice but to play the gig. From then on he started playing and never looked back.



Grant began booking his own shows and managing himself. He and a friend started playing acoustic shows all over. During high school it was football on Friday nights, then playing shows on Saturday night. Most places the two played they were not old enough to get in, so X’s on their hands were normal. Soon Grant began writing songs, he was putting out songs that were before his time. He has played them all over Texas, and at places like the Blue Bird Café in Tennessee. He has a love for original music, whether he plays his love songs or drinking songs they’ll have you dancing.



After playing acoustic for a while Grant slowly put together a five piece band that includes a pedal steel guitar and a fiddle. He stays busy playing honky-tonks, festivals, and many other events with the band. At the age of 17 he was playing and managing four to five others and booking them at venues to play all over. They played multiple times per week at as many venues as they could to be heard and gain a following. He attracts crowds of all ages, from college kids to the drinking and dancing crowd.



It has always been a goal of Grant’s to find a job that he enjoys. He found it at a young age singing and playing the guitar. It began by just picking around for fun, but with time it grew into something he never planned and continues to grow. He continues to play music after high school and while attending Texas Tech. He soon plans to put out music and be on the road even more. Grant has achieved much in his musical career, and continues to pursue his dream. Whether Grant is full band or acoustic, he is surely to have you entertained.

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