By Hunter Rothwell
Straight out of the Southern rock tradition, Whiskey Myers has emerged onto the national scene from the private parties and flatbed trailers where they began playing in East Texas.
Cody Cannon (lead vocals/acoustic guitar) and life long friend Cody Tate (lead guitar) were already collaborating writing songs when they and another hometown friend, John Jeffers (rhythm guitar), moved to Tyler, Texas to have a go at a music career. There, the three friends added Jeff Hogg (drums) and Gary Brown (bass) and formally became Whiskey Myers.
The band describes their style as “[winding] around a Lynyrd Skynyrd/Led Zeppelin-centered foundation, veering off the spokes of grunge, psychedelia, harmony-laden pop rock and rockabilly…a Southern rock band with jam band tendencies.”
On their second album, Firewater, the band brought in ex-Shooter Jennings guitarist and songwriter LeRoy Powell to produce the album. Recorded at the famed Panhandle Studios in Denton, Texas, Whiskey Myers pumped out 12 tracks of country rockin’ glory. These Texas boys are talented musicians and songwriters that know how to have a good time.
“Bar, Guitar and a Honky Tonk Crowd” opens the album and is a hard-charging anthem for the country lifestyle. Following is the blues-rock influenced “Guitar Picker,” written by Cody Cannon. The band revels in the lyrics:
Oh, Southern wind won’t you take me higher / I got seven ladies dancing naked around an old camp fire / Guitar pickin’ with a bottle of wine / I’ll be an old guitar picker until I die.
“Ballad of a Southern Man” and “Turn It Up” are strong tracks, and “Anna Marie” has its eponymous subject chew Levi Garrett with a bible in her hand and a flask in her shoe. Its strongest songwriting is Cannon’s “Broken Window Serenade,” a beautiful, harmonic ballad about the realities of life in rural America. This album is good enough to leave in the CD player on replay from May to September all summer.
The great thing about Whiskey Myers is their relentless touring. The road warriors played 150 shows in 2010 alone; this is how a band hones its skills and takes its music to the next level. Just as Hamburg had the Beatles in the early days of their career playing every night, Texas has had Whiskey Myers. Their live shows have gained a reputation of producing intense musical interplay, and are “knocking ‘em dead.”
A young group of talented musicians that enjoy fishing, camping and 4-wheelers have the chops to be the real thing in modern country rock, and we’ll hear more about them over the next few years.
Cody Cannon said, “We know people are going to compare us to bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, and that’s fine, we take that as a high compliment. But when they hear this new record, they’re going to find out that there’s a whole lot more to this band. We love country music, we love rock, we love blues—we just love to jam, period. It doesn’t matter to us where the music comes from, it just matters that it is real.”
Similar artists that should be on your radar: Cross Canadian Ragweed, Reckless Kelly, Ryan Bingham, Hayes Carll and Randy Rogers.