Whiskey Myers

Whiskey Myers

It would be an understatement to say that a lot has happened since Whiskey Myers was
last in the recording studio. Over two whirlwind years, the gritty Texas band hit #1 on
the 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 UK
relentlessly, 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 band
reunited with acclaimed producer Dave Cobb for their stellar new album, 'Mud.' But as
it turns out, success doesn't change a Southern gentleman, and they don't come any
more 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 searing
guitars, soulful vocals, and indelible hooks. While their approach to the music and
humble, hard-working attitudes may not have altered, there have been developments
in the Whiskey Myers world, most notably with the arrival of new faces. For the
recording sessions, the band's five founding members—Cody Cannon on lead vocals and
guitar, Cody Tate and John Jeffers on guitars, Gary Brown on bass, and Jeff Hogg on
drums—fleshed out their sound with the addition of fiddler/keyboard player Jon
Knudson 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 band
more versatile," explains Cannon. "There's less room onstage now, but sometimes a
family grows."
A glance through Whiskey Myers' lyrics will show you that Cannon is a man who chooses
his words carefully, so it's little surprise that he describes the band as a family. The
tight-knit group's roots stretch back decades into the red dirt of East Texas, where
Cannon, Jeffers, and Tate first began playing together before rounding out their initial
lineup with the addition Hogg and Brown (who is Cannon's actual cousin). They built up
a rabid local following on the strength of their 2008 debut album, 'Road Of Life,' and
then 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 world
to what Texas already knew. The album cracked the Top 10 on the Billboard Country
Chart, a remarkable feat for a fiercely independent band and a testament to their
rigorous 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 rock
riffs with countrified songwriting and Texas grit for something wholly unique," and
Playboy dubbed them "the new bad boys of country music."
Even in the face of their rapidly-growing profile and expanding lineup, the band found
they were able to pick up exactly where they left off when they returned to the studio
for 'Mud.'
"We don’t want a high stress situation, and we don’t want to feel uncomfortable while
we're recording, because we want to make sure everybody can get into their creative
mode," explains Brown. "Dave has a laid back attitude as far as making music and that
fits right in with the way we work. His ear is similar to ours and he has the same kind
of vision for what the music should sound like."
What the music sounds like is raw, visceral emotion: pride, faith, desire, defiance. The
songs 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 of
land, but rather the cornerstone of an identity worth dying for. Fiddle-led album
opener "On The River" steps back to frontier times when the struggle for survival was a
daily one, while the epic title track promises a home-foreclosing banker "Ain’t no man
gonna take it away / Because it's deep down in my blood / So step across the ol'
property line / And you’ll die right here in the mud." "Frogman," written with Rich
Robinson of the Black Crowes, follows a Southern man halfway around the world, as he
risks his life to defend freedom and fight terror in the Middle East as a Navy Seal, and
the 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 call
"Where you come from and where you grew up influences your music a lot," says
Cannon. "As a band, we don't go into the studio with any preconceived theme. You just
sit 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 influenced
by country music ("My first record was 'The Pressure Is On' / Ain’t it funny how your life
can change with a song" Cannon sings on "Hank"), but the band credits everything from
Alan Jackson and Waylon Jennings to Led Zeppelin and Nirvana as inspiration. "Some
Of Your Love" channels old-school soul, while the bright, punchy horns of "Lightning
Bugs And Rain" flirts with Rolling Stones swagger, and "Good Ole' Days" captures a
stripped-down, folky vibe, as the whole band sat in a circle singing together live. It all
adds 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 to
the sound, too" he adds. "Dave has these amazing old amps and we recorded
everything to tape for the first time. The piano was from, like, 1904 or something, and
I don't think it's been tuned since. Little things like that make a big difference. It
sounds authentic when you actually use the real, old gear."
In the end, there may be no better word for Whiskey Myers than authentic. This music
is in their blood, and it flows as naturally from them as a spring feeding a mountain
creek. While a record this good is sure to send their (lone)star rising higher than ever
before, you can rest assured that success still won't be changing this band any time
soon. They make music they're proud of that celebrates where they come from and
makes people feel good. As far as they're concerned, that's all the success anyone
could ever ask for.

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