I'll admit, when I initially received JB & the Moonshine band's sophomore CD, Beer for Breakfast, I didn't hold out hope. After all, I'd seen and heard this all before, right?
Not to be cynical, but there are about 6,000 Texas country acts out there and let's be real: most of them sound the same and have no personality -- all twang and songs about beer, girls and Texas. Do we really need any more of that shit? Personally, I need it about as much as a new Kenny Chesney or Sugarland record -- which is not at all.
It was begrudgingly, then, that I put in. I mean, really: can we get more redneck than this? What I found, however, was quite a surprise. Don't get me wrong: there was plenty of twang and the title track is just about as intelligent as you would expect. Hell, it even manages to combine the Texas and alcohol elements of the aforementioned dreaded topical trifecta. Instead of taking it all too seriously, however, the band proved to have a sense of humor that kept me around for an extra track.
Once I let my guard down, the album proved to not be at all what I expected. Maybe that's not completely true. Like I said, it's got plenty of the elements that mark the current Texas-country scene as a whole, from the drawl to the subject matter. Instead of sounding like a formula, though, JB & the Moonshine Band manages to make the music sound authentic and infuse some personality into the proceedings. Sure, "Kiss Me That Way" is your typical dance hall fare on first pass, but give it a chance, and it also turns out to be an incredibly solid single.
Perhaps more importantly, over the course of fourteen tracks, the band proves with songs like "More Like My Dog" and "Perfect Girl" that not only is that sense of humor reflected in the first song not a fluke, but this is a band that actually has a personality. It's also a band that can write some darn catchy country tunes. The group also proved that it's a band that can deliver on the live stage when it played at Bob's (Cain's Ballroom side stage) last June with Chad Sullins & the Last Call Coalition.
After almost a year since the band has played in Tulsa, I was glad to see the band returning for a show at Red Dirt Dance Hall this Friday night, June 14. And with a disc full of solid tunes, I was even more interested to find out if the band had anything new up its sleeve -- and perhaps see if it could turn out a follow up anywhere near as strong as its last disc. It should come as no surprise then, that when I finally caught up with band leader JB Patterson; I had to ask if the band was already working on a follow up.
"Yes, we're writing and working on album number three," Patterson said. "But I said from go that I don't like to buy an album that only has one good song on it, so the only songs we offer have to work for us. We recorded 30 songs for this last album and cut 18 of them. We just released our fourth single off the album, but I still feel like there's some life in it and I want to give it its due."
Part of what initially impressed me, besides the fact that the band had found a balance between traditional Nashville country and the current Texas country/rock sound, was the fact that Beer for Breakfast was a solid disc from beginning to end. With no obvious filler tracks, the album has five or six potential singles, depending on the direction the band and label wanted to go.
"I feel like the music industry is transitioning," Patterson shared, "And I've had a hard time in transition. It's the age of the single and people are stuck in that mentality, but I'm not going to give up on this album.
"I also feel like it's made a lot of people lazy," he added. "Bands know ahead of time that they're only going to be working two singles, so they don't put as much effort into it, but I don't ascribe to that. I want people that buy my music to be surprised. I had one guy tell me he was caught off guard by how many good cuts were on the album -- that's the best compliment we could get."
Besides being dedicated to releasing an album's worth of solid songs, the band works just as hard on the road, where it's still supporting Beer for Breakfast, well over a year after its release.
"We'll play anywhere people will have us," Patterson stated candidly. "We're legitimate road warriors: we've got a great crew and a great group of guys, which makes it a little easier."
Although JB and his band have been on the road and touring for over three years now, he admits to continually trying to improve his performance and the band's show as a whole.
"I kind of look at it like Happy Gilmor -- he considered himself a hockey player, but he ended up playing golf," JB explained. "My thing is I always fancied myself as a songwriter, but these days I sing, too."
And entertainment is one thing that separates JB & the Moonshine Band from so many of its contemporaries. Instead of coming across as formulaic, the songs ring true, and the band delivers a show.
If you're already familiar with JB & the Moonshine Band, you know that this Friday night's show at Red Dirt Dance Hall will be a good one. If you love Texas country, this is a show you won't want to miss, and if you're still a little leery, you can rest assured that the band is consistently a cut above its peers, earning its way with hard work and solid songwriting. Either way, this is a great show to get acquainted with one of the modern Texas country act that's making its mark the old fashioned way: with hard work and solid songwriting.
Send all comments and feedback regarding Music to email@example.com.
Share this article: