BENEFIT For The BRAVE in Honor of Ben H. Dorcy III

Cody Canada

Cody Canada was 16 years old when he made his way from Yukon to Stillwater, Oklahoma. He had been searching for some inspiration; a place to call home musically. What he found was a creative nirvana of musicians who were generating the music that would stay with him for the rest of his life. "It was like the greatest place on earth, " Cody recalls. "I met Tom Skinner, Scott Evans, Bob Childers, Jimmy LaFave, 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."

During the 15 years that Canada was frontman for Cross Canadian Ragweed, he successfully tapped into those influences on each of their nine albums. Four of those nine charted on Billboard's Top 10 Country Albums over the course of the years, thousands of albums were sold and the band played to sell out crowds across the country helping to spread "red dirt" music. But the one thing that Canada wanted to do in honor of his musical heartland never came to fruition…until now.

In the wake of Cross Canadian Ragweed's decision to part ways, Cody resurfaced with an armament of musicians and a mission in mind. With his long time Ragweed band mate, Jeremy Plato (bass) the two made a seamless transition into the world of The Departed, as in 'Cody Canada and The Departed". "We kicked around several ideas for names," Canada said. "We're all from different bands and we wanted something to sound like we came from different places. The Departed was right on the money." Along with Canada and Plato, The Departed rounds out with Seth James on guitar (Seth James Band, Ray Wylie Hubbard), Steve Littleton on B3 organ and keys (Live Oak Decline, Stoney LaRue & the Arsenals, Medicine Show) and Dave Bowen on drums (Stoney LaRue, Bleu Edmondson, Dale Watson).

Because they have traveled in the same circles for years, the band members are all familiar with each other and familiar with each other's style of playing. More than likely they've all played on the same stage at one time or another already. It's this familiarity with each other that made their first project so uncomplicated. Although The Departed is writing and will record original material, the band's first priority was getting into the studio and cutting the Oklahoma tribute album that Cody had been wanting to do for years. The result is This Is Indian Land, The Departed's debut album set for release this spring.

This Is Indian Land is a 15-track deep "buffet of really kick-ass Okie songs," Canada states. He jokingly says "It might sound like originals because not many people have ever heard these songs". But in fact, the album is loaded with well-known selections like Kevin Welch's "Kickin' Back in Amsterdam" and "True Love Never Dies", JJ Cale's "If You're Ever in Oklahoma" and Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Leon Russell's "Home Sweet Oklahoma".

Of course there were a few tracks picked for more personal reasons. Cody notes, "'The Ballad of Rosalie' (Randy Pease) was the first song I ever heard in Stillwater. 'Little Rain Will Do' (Greg Jacobs) is just an awesome historical song I've been wanting to record since the first time I heard it. Randy Crouch's 'Face On Mars' really kind of frightened us. A lot of people wanted us to do it but we didn't know what to do with it. We sat there for a whole day trying to get it arranged and find a groove for it. We made it happen and it's one of my favorites on the album".

This Is Indian Land was recorded at Yellow Dog Studios in Austin, TX. As if the album content and inspiration weren't Oklahoma enough for The Departed, Yellow Dog Studios and owner Dave Percefull got their start in Tulsa. "It really kind of tied it all together," Cody says. "I walked in and saw all the pictures of these Stillwater guys hanging on the wall and thought 'Man, this is exactly where this album needs to be cut".

Cody Canada & The Departed is already making waves on the road. With the recording of the album behind them and a brand new year in front, the band has hit the road like only professionals know how to do. As excited as they are about their gigs, they are taking it all very seriously. "It's funny because with Ragweed we got to a point where we didn't have to practice. We were playing so many shows we could just get up there and do the tunes, right? Well 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."

Adam Hood's third full-length album The Shape Of Things is an arresting collection of music that celebrates the beauty of life's everyday struggles. From the captivating opener and previous single "Hell Of A Fight" to the closing fade of the autobiographical "I'll Sing About Mine," Hood captures a white-hot passion to create pure art that honors Southern culture and sets it to music.

Hood worked for two years with Carnival Music, a company headed by the CMA Award-winning Frank Liddell, to build what would become the Oct. 2011 release. Produced by Oran Thornton and Matthew Miller, The Shape Of Things is arguably one of Adam's most groundbreaking records to date. The album earned Adam his first Lonestar Music Award for Singer-Songwriter/Folk Album of The Year in April, 2012. The Lonestar Music Awards also listed Adam in four other categories including Best Male Vocal; a huge feat for any non-Texas artist. The Boston Globe named Adam among its elite "12 Musical Acts To Look For In 2012." Brian Keane took "I'll Sing About Mine" to the apex of the Texas Music Chart in summer 2011, and David Nail recorded The Shape Of Things' "Grandpa's Farm" for his own Sound Of A Million Dreams. Little Big Town also cut "Front Porch Thang" for their follow-up to The Reason Why, and premiered the track to a spirited sold-out crowd during their two-song set at Keith Urban's All For The Hall concert in April, 2012.

But it was Adam's hard work on the road throughout Texas and the Southeast that laid the foundation for his current success, as well as a chance encounter with Miranda Lambert, who became an instant fan after catching Adam's set at New Braunfels' Tavern On The Gruene in fall 2007. Miranda was traveling through town with her mother Bev when their car broke down, and while waiting for a hotel vacancy, the pair ended up at the Texas music hall where Adam was plugging 2007's Different Groove on Ray Wylie Hubbard's KNBT radio show. Impressed by Adam's stirring vocals and sharp wit, Miranda called Adam within two weeks with an invitation to perform at her birthday party where he would meet producer Frank Liddell, whose production credits include the Academy of Country Music's current Album of the Year Four The Record by Miranda and Lee Ann Womack's I Hope You Dance.

Liddell then signed Adam to his publishing company Carnival Music in January 2008. At the time, Adam was performing 300+ shows a year promoting Different Groove, and was engaged in a three-year, nationwide tour with Leon Russell. "I went everywhere with Leon," Adam recalls. "We played all kinds of cool places like the Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood, and I learned a lot about how to entertain a crowd by myself. It was good for me too because he's kept consistent fans for 30 years."

Amid the heavy tour schedule, Adam remained based out of his hometown Opelika, AL, tearing up Interstate 65 for songwriting appointments in Nashville where he would collaborate with celebrated songwriters including Chris Stapleton and Pistol Annies' Ashley Monroe. By summer 2011, Adam landed a slot on the Country Throwdown tour, sharing the bill with the fellow Alabaman Jamey Johnson and the legendary Willie Nelson, and he sold the Adam Hood EP as a taste of what was to come.
In fall 2011, Carnival released the pulsating "Flame And Gasoline" as The Shape Of Things' lead single, which was co-written with Jason Saenz. "I always joke about how it's kind of like a redneck romance," Adam says. "You see this couple go through the push and pull and tug of war that's falling in love. They're just trying to figure it out."

The next single released "Hell Of A Fight" was written with Ashley Monroe on a rainy Nashville afternoon after they each turned new leaves in their respective careers. "Every artist asks themselves, 'What am I doing?'" Adam admits. "We wrote it while we were both coming out of bad times. But we were coming out of them. It wasn't intended to be sad. Honestly, I couldn't have picked a better opening song."

Next in the album's sequencing is the lazy and mystifying "Granpa's Farm" about a summer love between a city slicker woman and a country boy. "Tennessee Will" pays homage to all the miles Adam logged driving through Alabama to establish himself in Nashville. "On my way to Nashville, I cross the Tennessee River all the time," Adam says. "While I didn't have much to say about the Mississippi River, I wanted to create something that hit close to home as a Southerner."

The title track helped Adam through a tumultuous time when he questioned his craft while re-acclimating himself to life off the road after years of touring heavily. "That's really the only song I'd written completely by myself," he says. "It was frustrating because I felt I had to relearn things I thought I already knew. There were some personal things going on with me, and it was a good 'head up' song. It felt like changing horses mid-stream."

Adam also pays homage to one of his favorite rock bands The Rolling Stones on "Gonna Take A Woman." "We recorded this around the time they reissued Exile On Main Street, and I dove into that record," Adam says. "The Stones are not only students of American music, but they are students of Southern music, and they nailed it. When we were going over the guitar/vocal, drummer Fred Eltringham suggested Bob Seger's 'Night Moves' for the groove. I said, 'No, 'Tumbling Dice.'" Adam's admiration for the Stones continues on "Deep Ellum Blues," which he wrote with Will Kimbrough. "You can't listen to the Stones without hearing Chuck Berry," Adam says. "Half of their covers were Chuck Berry songs. So, I wanted to write a tip of the hat to him, and Will was the perfect guy to do this with because we're both Alabama guys who come from the same musical headspace."

For "Front Porch Thang," Adam collaborated with soulful vocalist and lyricist Chris Stapleton to glorify the simplicity of falling in love to the sounds of a summer night in the country. "It was very intimidating because it's mesmerizing to watch Chris sing," Adam says. "He's so effortless. There's nothing contrived at all, and he's not trying to sing that way. It just pours out of his mouth."

Written with Mando Saenz, "Moving Mountains" gave Adam the luxury of expressing his feelings without fear of harming someone close to him, and in "Once They're Gone," Adam delivers the powerful message to take time to be with loved ones because the uncertainty of life can take them away forever in an instant.

Closing the collection is the Brian Keane-co-written track "I'll Sing About Mine," which is a look at small town living that inspires the hits on Top 40 Country radio. "Most of the songs on mainstream country radio are by the most prolific songwriters in the format," Adam says. "So, the idea behind 'I'll Sing About Mine,' was not to piss anybody off because when you set out to do that, it never works out. But there was a time when I couldn't relate to a lot of the country songs on the radio. For someone who was born and raised on country music, that was a problem for me."

Now a successful songwriter and an Alabaman with a devout Texas following, Adam says he never dreamed of being an artist. "I never realized it was possible because I'm from a small town," he says. "But I've always been the kind of guy who puts the cart before the horse, and I spent most of my 20s forcing things to happen. Honestly, that's why it's taken me so long to get here. But timing's everything."

Dalton Domino

Chances are if you see them live on a Saturday night, more than likely you will wake up with your ears ringing and a hangover on Sunday morning. It's safe to say that Dalton Domino and the Front Porch Family Band puts on more of a party rather than a performance. Their music is a gritty blend of fast energetic southern rock with a hint of everything from Americana, Red Dirt and Texas Country to Delta Blues and Soul.

Dalton Domino has made a splash on the Texas Music scene. In the last couple of months Domino won the Larry Joe Taylor singer/songwriter contest to perform at Larry Joe Taylor Fest; played on the Texas Red Dirt Roads w/Justin Frazell; released his debut single "Killing Floor" which made it to number 1 on the Top 5 at 5 on the Red Dirt Rebel for a month; and started recording a full length album. Needless to say, Domino and his band have been busy.

The road to success for Domino started two years ago when he moved to Lubbock, Texas after reading about the many musicians who got their start at The Blue Light Live, including Josh Abbott, William Clark Green, and Red Shahan of Six Market Boulevard. Domino started playing Monday nights at singer songwriter night at the Blue Light and soon met up with Levi Fowler (harmonica), Michael Moad (bass), Beau Bolfing (guitar) and formed The Front Porch Family Band.

The band is not afraid to push the edge and bring a true rock feel to their music. Listeners are captivated by the edgy lyrics and you will find yourself wanting to dance along. Domino has the unique ability to make every audience member feel like, well, family. He shares the stories behind his songs and does so in a real and honest way.

Currently, Domino and FPFB are in the process of recording their first album "1806" at Mount Vernon studios with producer Jon Taylor. The Band also added a new member, Lora Markham on vocals to round out their sound. Domino released the first single, "Killing Floor" in May and the single can be found on iTunes. If the success of the song is any indication, the band has a hit on their hand. Domino and The Band are set to release the album in the Fall.

Parker McCollum

At just 23 years old, Parker McCollum is already earning comparisons to critically acclaimed artists like Ryan Bingham and John Mayer. However, the young singer-songwriter has also worked tirelessly to establish his own name, a fact that is evident on his striking full-length debut album, The Limestone Kid, which will be released on Feb. 24, 2015. The 11-song record (featuring nine originals written by Parker — a writer mature beyond his age — and a guest appearance from steel guitar legend Lloyd Maines) covers an impressive amount of musical ground, from the driving roots rock of “Lucy” to the introspective heartbreak of the album’s first single, “Meet You in the Middle.” A rising star on the regional music scene, McCollum and his stellar band plan to take their energetic show on tour this year to celebrate the release of The Limestone Kid.

With the release of Dandelion, Bart Crow has positioned himself for the breakthrough his fans have long known was coming. Regarded as one of Texas's premier honky-tonkers, Bart has captured in this 14-song CD all the songwriting skill, vocal prowess and blue-collar believability that have made him a mainstay in one of the country's most demanding and respected proving grounds.
"I've never been so proud of anything I've recorded as I am of this record," he says, and while his earlier CDs produced singles that have spent a great deal of time on the Texas Music Chart, including the #1 "Saying Goodbye," two more Top 5's, one Top 10 and four Top 20's, it's clear that Dandelion fully justifies his increased confidence.
"I surrounded myself with a great team and whittled 78 songs to 12, along with two covers," he says. "We went into the studio and the whole thing just clicked." Recorded with producer (and Pat Green drummer/co-producer) Justin Pollard and members of Green's band, along with keyboardist Michael Ramos and guitarist David Grissom, Dandelion captures Bart's music at its edgy and intelligent best in a truly defining collection.
It includes "Cold Heart," a powerful break-up song awash in storm imagery, "Better Day," a laid-back wish for a way out of the blues, "Dandelion," a love song with lyrical nuance and straight-ahead musical punch, and "Didn't Mean to Break Your Heart," which proves, as Bart does so often, that perceptive lyrics and infectious energy can mingle as sweetly as Jack and Coke. There's also "Swing To The Radio," which sees Bart channeling rockabilly and Dylan, and "If I Go, I'm Goin," a duet with Macy Maloy in which a man, a woman and an old house figure in an emotionally compelling drama amid pure and passionate vocals.
The public's first look at the project came from its debut single, "Little Bit of Luck," an upbeat, infectious gem about the ever-uplifting possibilities of love.
Overall, this is a record with all the power and subtlety Bart's fans have come to expect from him, capturing the essence of the man whose ability to burn it up on the road nearly 200 nights a year has earned him accolades in Country Weekly, American Country, Music Connection, AOL's The Boot and many others.
The foundation on which it all rests, though, is his songwriting.
"It starts with the pen and notebook," he says. "That was always my focus—writing as much as I could. In fact, I make writing ten times harder than it needs to be because I'm so hard on myself."
Bart began taking songwriting seriously while at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, as he took his first real steps as a performer.
"I kept a journal in the Army and I went back into that and moved some things around and made a couple of songs up, not even knowing what to do or how to do it," he says. "Then, one day I said to my friend Jason Boland, 'I think I'd like to try my hand at this. I've got this book of songs I've been writing.' He said, 'Why not? We have the rest of our lives to be old and boring. Might as well do it while you can."
Bart went for it with the single-minded energy of the true believer, and before long, a friend booked him for an acoustic show at The Agave Bar, next to City Limits in Stephenville.
"A lot of my friends from school showed up, and that was it," he says. "The fuse was lit."
It was a huge turning point, the pivot between his native Maypearl, a farm town of less than a thousand, forty miles southwest of Dallas, and Austin, the hub around which Texas music spins.
His early years had exposed him to plenty of great music.
"My dad played in a dance hall cover band," he says, "and we had a lot of records, cassettes and eight-tracks. He was an enormous fan of George Strait and he was always learning Top 40 country, so I heard a lot."
By high school, Bart was playing a little guitar, although, he says, "I never even remotely took it seriously." But then he rediscovered some of the country he'd grown up on—Haggard, Jones, Coe, Conley—just as he was learning through friends about classic '70s rockers like Boston, Kansas, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, as well as Metallica, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. Then, in the Army, he was introduced to the music of Robert Earl Keen and reintroduced to Jerry Jeff Walker, and it all came together.
"I began listening seriously," he says, "and reading the credits on everything." He bought a chord book and expanded his guitar playing, filtering everything he loved—Waylon to Otis Redding, Keith Whitley to M. C. Hammer—through his small-town upbringing and country sensibilities. When he got home, he took part in all-night jams with some of his father's friends. In college, he played acoustically, then joined a band, playing regularly every weekend by his senior year, including a stint opening for Kyle Hunt that he still cites as one of his best learning experiences. He juggled day jobs and music for a time, then left once and for all for Austin with his soon-to-be wife Brooke.
"We loaded everything we had on a flatbed trailer. We had $2,250 between us and we moved to Austin with a lot of prayer and a lot of fear." They found a $600-a-month apartment and Bart worked part-time day jobs during the week and hit the road every weekend. The two barely scraped by.
"I didn't have a CD out I didn't have a booking agent," he says, "but I figured I controlled my own destiny. I spent a lot of time calling venues, leaving voice mails, being too stubborn to take no for an answer. I'd go somewhere where it cost me $200 so I could make $50 bucks, just so I could keep playing. Even in the days when we were broke, I knew that if we would play the right songs and do the right things, people would come see us. Then the money, the merchandise sales, the popularity would follow."
Gradually the pieces fell into place. With each CD, airplay and word-of-mouth grew. Wes McNew, a booker, caught his show and got to know Bart, then convinced his agency to sign on with him. Bart made friends with fellow Texas-circuit mainstays like Randy Rogers and the Eli Young Band and began opening for bigger acts. The money got better.
"Whenever I grumble about the travel to a good-paying gig," he says with a smile, "my wife tells me, 'Don't forget when you used to say, 'If I ever get to where I can pay a hundred dollars a band member, we've made it!'"
Then, Jon Folk of Red11 Music in Nashville signed on and Bart took yet another big step up.
"Jon and I became buddies, just a couple good old boys from Texas," he says, "and I started going to Nashville to hang out with him. He loved who I was, my beliefs and dreams and work ethic. He became my number one supporter."
Folk set up writing appointments with top Nashville tunesmiths like Trent Willmon and Trent Summar—both of who are represented on Dandelion along with Texas hitmaker Mando Saenz. Then, Bruce Kalmick came on board as his manager and the team was complete.
"Finally," he says, "I could concentrate on what I do best, singing and writing songs, and hand off the business to a great team."
All of which put him in the perfect position to deliver the album of a lifetime. Choosing producers was next.
"I was going to test the waters by doing a couple of songs with each of several producers. As fate and luck would have it, Justin Pollard's dates came up first. I sent him roughs of four songs, and then we went into the studio and he and his team played me their ideas and things started happening. From the beginning, there was great musical chemistry."
By the end of the first day they had cut two songs and, he says, "By the second day I'd decided things were going so awesomely that I would just cancel the other producers."
Now, with Dandelion under his belt, Bart is ready to take the music on the road, to old and new fans alike. There is no doubting the work ethic he'll be operating with—told to take six weeks off after neck surgery in 2010, he took two, then played for a time on a stool, wearing a neck brace.
At this point, he hits the road a deeper, more seasoned artist, one who can capture the truth of life's complexities and deliver it compellingly.
"I like to make you think a little, or paint a picture that's relevant," he says. "No matter how rowdy the crowd, I try to make sure my songs have both brain and drive. I want to be able to look in the mirror and say I did the best I could."
And with Dandelion capturing the essence of that conviction, Bart is convinced his team can help him do the rest.
"These guys have kicked ass," he says, "and I sing their praises from the mountaintop. I'm in the best position I've ever been in career-wise, and I just made the best record I could. The sky's the limit."

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