MUSIC BOX: Boland & Canada: Rollin’ in the Red Dirt

By on January 6, 2015
Red Dirt and Texas country styles to fill the Tavern for uncommon double-bill with Boland & the Stragglers.

Red Dirt and Texas country styles to fill the Tavern for uncommon double-bill with Boland & the Stragglers.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – If American Red Dirt and Texas Country are unfamiliar colors, leave it to Jason Boland & the Stragglers and Cody Canada & The Departed to offer you a keen introduction. The two frontmen and friends that have toured together previously and share Oklahoma Red Dirt roots along with the American subculture of musical influences that came along with that scene. This heavyweight double-bill is a long time coming for 307 Live co-founder and Town Square Tavern talent buyer, Harper Hollis.

“I grew up listening to these bands and trying to sneak into their shows with a fake ID,” Hollis said. “I feel lucky to be bringing one of these bands to town, much less both of them on the same night.”

Boland and his Stragglers teeter in an interesting country zone that is a distant cousin to CMT country-pop-hop. Rather, they maintain a baritone-voiced, Haggard-esque foundation that breathes equal parts hard country, alt-country, pure classic country, and Southern rock that keep company alongside fellow red dirt songwriters Mike McClure and Stoney LaRue. The Stragglers’ latest effort, Dark & Dirty Mile, was co-produced by Shooter Jennings and displays the blue collar side of Boland, choosing to tell stories of a regular guy trying to make sense of the world rather than preach from the podium, as some of his Texas country compadres have been doing in the last decade.

“I’ve always thought it was important to keep one foot in tradition and the other pointed in the direction you want to go,” says Boland. “I didn’t invent the G chord, so I’m standing on the shoulders of the giants that did, and on the shoulders of some great songwriters that have come before me. I’m using an old stencil, but adding my own colors.”

His five-piece band’s multi-instrumentalist platform enables the subtle spectrum of sounds to shine – pedal steel, resophonic guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass and drums. This isn’t your father’s pure country, though, as evidenced by guitar effects like phaser and stompbox distortion.

The other half of this double-bill features Cody Canada & The Departed – founded by former Cross Canadian Ragweed members Cody Canada and bassist Jeremy Plato, who formed the band shortly after the dissolution of 15 years worth of Ragweed. Ragweed had put out nine albums that sold more than a million copies, four of which charted on Billboard’s Country Top 10.

Originally a five-piece featuring co-frontman and singer-songwriter Seth James, The Departed was trimmed to a quartet just over a year ago when James left the band, apparently due to struggles with co-leadership.

Ragweed’s devoted following came into full view when James left The Departed, leaving Canada full creative control, and in many ways a return to the Southern stomp-and-strut, Dustbowl country that he had been stewing for the last couple of decades.

Cody Canada & The Departed.

Cody Canada & The Departed.

The transition of Cody Canada and The Departed comes in studio form with HippieLovePunk (due Tuesday), a rock ‘n’ roll album with a serving of edgy punk and blues that’s not scared to occasionally drop an F-bomb. There’s plenty of outsider attitude and an unfiltered presence that let’s you know exactly where they are coming from.

“To be clear, the men of The Departed are not the frat-house faves many of the latest generation of river-tubing popsters are,” reads The Departed’s bio. “Ideals and experiences of a person enduring the sometimes harsh realities of the real world demand space in a Departed concert.”

This is a a double bill the size of Texas on a Tuesday night!

Jason Boland & the Stragglers with Cody Canada & The Departed, 9 p.m. on Tuesday at Town Square Tavern. $20 advance, $25 day-of-show.

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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