Texas Crawfish & Music Festival

Charlie Daniels Band

A talented and showy fiddler, Charlie Daniels and his band fuse hardcore country with a hard-edged Southern rock, boogie, and blues. The group -- which has had a rotating cast of musicians over the years -- has always been known for its instrumental dexterity, but Daniels and company were also notorious for their down-home, good-old-boy attitude; in the early '80s, they became a virtual symbol of conservative country values. Daniels and his band experienced the height of their popularity at the end of the '70s and early '80s, but they remained a popular concert attraction well into the '90s.

Daniels was born and raised in North Carolina, playing fiddle and guitar in several bands during his teenage years. At the age of 21, he decided become a professional musician, assembling an instrumental rock & roll combo called the Jaguars. The group landed a recording session for Epic Records in 1959 with Bob Johnson, who would later become Columbia Records' leading folk and country producer. The record didn't receive much attention, but the band continued to play and Daniels continued to write songs. One of his originals, "It Hurts Me," was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1963. By the late '60s, it had become clear that the Jaguars weren't going to hit the big time, so Johnson recommended to Daniels that he move to Nashville to become a session musician. Daniels followed the advice and became one of the most popular fiddlers in Nashville. He played on several Bob Dylan albums -- Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait, New Morning, and Dylan -- as well as Ringo Starr's 1970 record Beaucoups of Blues. He also became part of Leonard Cohen's touring band in the late '60s and produced the Youngbloods' Elephant Mountain album around the same time.

Daniels cut an album for Capitol Records in the early '70s that was ignored. In 1972, he formed the Charlie Daniels Band, using the Southern rock of the Allman Brothers as a blueprint. The band was comprised of Daniels (lead guitar, vocals, fiddle), lead guitarist Don Murray, bassist Charlie Hayward, drummer James W. Marshall, and keyboardist Joe DiGregorio. The formula worked, and in 1973 they had a minor hit with "Uneasy Rider," which was released on Kama Sutra Records. In 1974, they released Fire on the Mountain, which became a gold record within months of its release; the album would eventually go platinum. Its successor, 1975's Nightrider, did even better, thanks to the Top 40 country hit "Texas." Saddle Tramp, released in 1976, became his first country Top Ten album, going gold.

Throughout the mid-'70s, the Charlie Daniels Band pursued a Southern rock direction. They were moderately successful, but they never had a breakthrough hit either on the pop or country charts. By the late '70s, Daniels sensed that the audience for Southern rock was evaporating, so he refashioned the band as a more straightforward country band. The change paid off in 1979 when the single "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" became a number one hit, crossing over into the pop charts, where it hit number three. The song was named the Country Music Association's Single of the Year and helped its accompanying album, Million Mile Reflections, become a multi-platinum success.

Daniels wasn't able to follow "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" with another blockbuster single on the country charts but, ironically, he had several rock crossover successes in the years following the success of Million Mile Reflections: Full Moon (1980) went platinum and Windows (1982) went gold. Although he continued to sell respectably throughout the '80s, he didn't have a big hit until 1989's Simple Man, which went gold. In the '90s, his records failed to chart well, although he remained a popular concert draw, a trend that continued through into the 21st century.

During the first decade of the new millennium, Daniels quietly transitioned from major labels to independents, releasing records on Blue Hat and Audium, garnering some headlines in 2003 with his pro-Iraq War anthem “This Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag,” a song popular enough to launch a spinoff book Ain’t No Rag. Two years later, Daniels established a long-running relationship with Koch in 2005 with Songs from the Longleaf Pines. Daniels’ albums for Koch ran the gamut from bluegrass to bluesy country-rock, punctuated with holiday collections and live records, or thematic compilations like 2010’s patriotic The Land That I Love. Daniels was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2007. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Speedbuggy USA is a country-punk band that takes both elements of its sound very seriously. Guitarist Steve Kidwiler, drummer Pat Muzingo, bassist Brady Sloan, and singer Timbo first released Cowboys & Aliens in 2000, offering little more than country-fried punk and a sneering attitude. But by 2002 they had embraced their country side, releasing the Round Up EP as a sign that they aren't making fun of the genre, they genuinely enjoy playing it.

Whiskey Myers makes honest music.

Loud and proud, they sing about what they know with a refreshing directness and clarity. Some call it rebel music, but it’s more like everyday soul. Their songs are stories, with relatable characters and situations. Stories of celebration, of mourning, of trials and triumph. Through the quality of these songs, and the band’s undeniable power in concert and on record, Whiskey Myers has attracted a devoted army of outspoken fans who pack venues, sing the band’s praises online, and continue to make them a growing word-of-mouth sensation.

The 'buzz' cannot be ignored much longer as the word is out on Shinyribs. These guys have a musical "stew" that covers all areas of music – ranging from rock to gospel to Cajun to country to folk, Shinyribs have it all plus more. Fronted by Kevin Russell and his defining stage presence, this group is an act not be to missed during the week of MusicFest. On stage, Russell impressively switches back and forth from electric guitar and ukulele, delivering a wide range of musical compositions that consist of traditional folk ballads to classic country to rhythm and blues. Backed by the solid rhythm section of Winfield Cheek, Jeff Brown, and Keith Langford, Shinyribs deliver an jaw-dropping set of tunes, almost of a spiritual epiphany, that have audiences chanting for more and more. All one has to do is listen to the group's latest recording, Gulf Coast Museum, to confirm the intensity and passion that Shinyribs perform with. These guys are an act not to miss!

Dale Watson has positioned himself as a tattooed, stubbornly independent outsider only interested in recording authentic country music. As a result, he has never sold many records, but his music has been championed by numerous critics and alternative country fans.

Watson was born in Alabama in 1962 but spent his teenage years near Houston, and he grew to think of Texas as his true home state. His father and brother were both musically inclined, and he began writing his own songs at age 12, making his first recording two years later. After graduating from high school, he spent seven years playing local clubs and honky tonks. He moved to Los Angeles in 1988 on the advice of Rosie Flores and soon joined the house band at North Hollywood's now-legendary alt-country venue the Palomino Club. He recorded two singles for Curb in 1990, "One Tear at a Time" and "You Pour It On," and appeared on the third volume of the compilation series A Town South of Bakersfield in 1992. Not long after, he moved to Nashville and spent some time writing songs for the Gary Morris publishing company.

Watson didn't find commercial country much to his taste, and he relocated to the more progressive-minded scene in Austin, TX, where he formed a backing band called the Lone Stars. He scored a deal with Hightone and released his debut album, Cheatin' Heart Attack, in 1995. It was greeted with enormous acclaim for the vitality Watson brought to his vintage-style material and performances and also featured a witty dig at mainstream country in "Nashville Rash." Follow-up Blessed or Damned appeared in 1996 and continued in a similar vein, as did 1997's I Hate These Songs. His next release, The Truckin' Sessions, appeared on Koch in 1998 and was devoted entirely to that distinct country subgenre of truck-driving songs.

Unfortunately, it was almost his last. In 2000, Watson's fiancée was killed in an automobile accident; devastated, he attempted to drown his sorrows in booze and drugs and nearly died of an overdose shortly after Christmas. He wound up checking himself into a mental institution to recover and re-emerged later in 2001 with the deeply sorrowful tribute Every Song I Write Is for You, which appeared on Koch's new country imprint Audium. A couple of lower-key releases followed, the holiday album Christmas in Texas (2001) and Live in London, England (2002). In 2004, with his heart still on his sleeve, but a thicker skin, Watson released Dreamland. He also prepared himself for the lead role in Zalman King's forthcoming cowboy drama, Austin Angel.

Watson was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame one year later. He took a break from music for the majority of that year, moving to Maryland in order to spend more time with his daughters. He was back playing gigs in Austin by 2006, and a documentary on Watson, Crazy Again, premiered at SXSW that year. Directed by Zalman King, the film charted Watson's mental breakdown following the death of his fiancée. A new full-length, From the Cradle to the Grave, came out in 2007, along with a second album, The Little Darlin' Sessions. The Truckin' Sessions, Vol. 2 appeared in 2009 from Hyena Records. The following year saw the release of Carryin' On, which featured session players active in the '50s and '60s, the era so beloved by Watson. In 2012 he released El Rancho Azul on Red House, with his road band, the Lonestars.

Josh Fuller & Dirt and Diesel

2013 was a very big year from Josh Fuller & Dirt and Diesel. They released their first radio single, "Road Trip", made their first official music video, "Old Whiskey", and played more shows than any previous year. 2014 is expected to be even better with the recording of their second album expected in late Spring/early summer next year.

Dirt and Diesel is a mix of country and rock. It is music you can dance to, drink to or enjoy with your whole family. It's real, original music performed by passionate people with a goal of being entertainers, not just musicians.

"Abbi Walker is a fresh, edgy, southern soul and country artist with the talent and personality as big her home state. Raised in South Texas as a Preacher's kid, Abbi was heavily influenced by gospel music, Southern culture, and Texas grit. An independent artist and songwriter, Abbi is confident, funny, and as sassy as they come. Taught to sing by her grandmother on an old upright piano at the age of just 3, Abbi fell in love with the art of music and songwriting immediately. "I learned early on that being a songwriter was an incredibly important part of being an authentic artist. The ability to say well what you want to say, the way you want to say it is extremely important to me as an artist and as a person. It just does not go well if someone tries to speak on my behalf or tell me who I should be. I am the same way with my music. Go on and sit down there, Sparky. I can speak my mind."

With both heavy southern and Texan influences, Abbi's music has deep roots, but a fresh, unique sound. Although her musical influences are diverse, you can hear shades of a feisty Miranda Lambert, 3 part harmonies like The Pistol Annies, the deep soulful sounds of Gospel and the South, and the swing and punch of old school Southern Rock. It's familiar, but fresh. Abbi says, "I approached this EP wanting to do two things really well. The first was to create a record that melodically sounded like all of the things that go on inside of me: music I love: deep rhythms, harmonies, sass, rock, chord structures that make me feel alive and happy… This is the soundtrack to my life! Second of all, I wanted to write and record songs that lyrically sounded like the conversations I have with my friends and family. Southerners are naturally some of the funniest people on the planet, and Southern women are just pistols. This record is in many ways, a celebration of those strong, crazy, hilarious, loyal Southern Women. There's no one else in the whole world like them. Phrases like "Sister fell off that crazy train", "I ALWAYS keep it classy", or "Girl, you just need to pick up your skirts and RUN from that man. He is nothin but trouble!" are just normal conversation pieces in my life. I wanted to make music that would make women smile, laugh, cry, and sing along. I really feel like we did that, and did it well!"

Abbi worked with producer Rick Alvarez in Texas to record all 6 original songs for her "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang EP", released in April of 2013. "Rick was such an incredible partner throughout this process. I come from such a diverse musical background, and I did not want to create a record that sounded like anything else out there. Rick did an incredible job of helping me to take these songs to the next level and really create my sound." Country music legend Lloyd Maines, played pedal steele on two of the tracks, including the heartbreaker "Old Southern Love", which tells an incredible story of a Tennessee couple facing the rising waters of the flood of 2010. In addition, Grammy winning fiddle player Bobby Flores left his mark on the record with his smoking solo work on the title track and several others.

Abbi Walker is a force to be reckoned with, and she is ready to take country music by storm, even as an independent. Her Kiss Kiss Bang Bang EP is a sweet kick in the mouth of southern goodness, Texan grit, and rock and roll. Lookout chart-reigning country boys, there's a Texas woman on the loose, and she's coming for you.

Blake Anderson

Blake Anderson is a singer songwriter that has a passion for creating great songs and music to go along. Based out of Texas; Blake Anderson is making a name for himself there, as well as Nashville. His motivation comes from personal experience and it shows in his songs. Keep an eye out for Blake Anderson. He is sure to hit the top!

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Texas Crawfish & Music Festival - Saturday April 26th with Charlie Daniels Band, Speedbuggy, Whiskey Myers, Shinyribs, Dale Watson, Josh Fuller & Dirt and Dies...

Saturday, April 26 · Doors 12:00 PM at Preservation Park