Whiskey Myers Leads an Unlikely Texas Country Revolution in Tyler

Categories: Interviews

Gary and Kaysie Dorsey
It's less than an hour's drive from Palestine, Texas to the World's Rose Capital, Tyler, Texas. Both are considered to be the "Big City," for the folks living outside of their borders. Though that Dogwood-scented pocket of East Texas isn't a Metropolis by most standards, there's a great deal of musical talent that's found its way onto the Texas Radio charts in recent years. Thanks to such artists such as JB and the Moonshine Band, William Clark Green and perhaps most significantly, Whiskey Myers, more and more industry-types could soon likely make the almost four hour trip from Austin to Tyler pretty regularly.

While it's an interesting nugget that a nice little bit of artistic flora has sprung from that area, it's not as if there's a burgeoning scene producing artists on an assembly line. But inspiration has to come from somewhere.

"I think its all coincidence, man," says Whiskey Myers front-man Cody Canon with a sleepy southern tone that could easily pass for Matthew McConaughey's iconic stoner David Wooderson from Dazed and Confused. "Tyler and Palestine aren't big areas, so when we were younger, we pretty much sat in the woods and thought about the music we wanted to make [laughing]."

The band's upcoming album, Early Morning Shakes, is the third release since their 2008 inception. And it's their best yet, but that's not a slight to 2011's excellent country-rock Firewater, which produced a few Texas radio hits, including the rebel-flag waving "Ballad of a Southern Man," and the roots-stomping, "Anna Marie." The new album indeed shows growth, most notably in the greater amount and quality of third-person stories told with tension and even some humor.

"The stuff on the new album is definitely personal to us," says Canon, who currently lives in Chapel Hill, a tiny burg just outside of Tyler. "But we're using stories to get our points across. For me, writing story-songs is a lot of fun, because you're free to paint any kind of picture you want to. You just make up whatever the hell you want."

Some of the new crunchy southern-rock songs deal in the darkness of murder, among other noir-ish themes. And they often sound just as gloomy as the lyrics suggest, so there was certainly a need for a tune that could effectively lighten things up. And what can lighten up a sour mood like a good old tune about getting' it on? Nothing, that's what, which is the role that "Wild Baby Shake Me" fills capably.

"Yeah, man, that song was fun to write," Canon says chuckling the way a kid getting caught in school sending a naughty note to the girl sitting next to him might. "We had the riff of that song for a long time, and it started to become a totally different kind of song than it is now. It was a dark song, and since we had so many dark songs on the album already, we were like, 'Shit, we need a happy song!' So we called [Alabama-native singer-songwriter] Adam Hood, who is a great writer, and his fresh mind helped get the groove going into the right direction. There are some funny lyrics there, and it's definitely about getting it on."

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