Story and pix by Mary Jane Farmer. Many more photos available at the end of this feature story.
The true colors of the four Shiner Rising Star finalist band members — gentlemen all — came out Thursday night when everyone learned it was The Bigsbys who took home the top honor. Every musician gathered on the stage as KHYI General Manager Josh Jones named The Bigsbys as the winning band. When their name was announced, all the other musicians came to their sides in congratulations. Ah, the handshaking, shoulder bumping, and hugging that went on that night. It was as Jon Beaumont (New Old West) had said earlier, every band was a winner, and they seemed to recognize that.
The Bigsbys, a Palestine, Texas, based band, is made up of Alex Smith on vocals and acoustic guitar, Russell McClendon on bass guitar, Brad Hobson on lead guitar, and Nick Odom on drums. This band will soon go into the studio to record their CD, the major Shiner Rising Star prize, be equipped with new Kona guitars, have a 4-day stint at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, and have a slot on the March 9, 2013, KHYI-produced Texas Music Revolution.
This is the second year in a row that a band based outside the Metroplex/North Texas area has won the prizes. In 2011, it was the San Antonio-based Blackbird Sing which won the honor, Two members of that band, Robert Vito Salinas and Daniel Magallanez, were back with the team of 9 judges which also included first-SRS winner Darrell Lee Rush, and subsequent Shiner Rising Star band winners Merrol Ray (of the former Miles From Nowhere), Amber Farris (of Somebody’s Darling), Grant Jones (of Grant Jones & The Pistol Grip Lassos). Jamie Richards, musician, judged and non-musicians at the judges table were KHYI’s Brett Dillon, Joshua Jones, and Chuck Taylor, Tip Jones with Overdrive Entertainment, and Mark Jabben of Kona Guitars.
Coming in second place was The Kerry Davis Jr. Band, with Davis being on lead vocals, Matt Riley on bass, Aaron Bucklin on lead guitar, Lucas Albano on drums, Pat York on harmonica and Hillary (Hank) Early on steel guitar.
121 North was another top finalist and gave a great show. This 4-piece band is made up of Johnny Pope on drums, Wade Kilgore and Justin Till on shared lead vocals, and Max O’Neal on bass.
Also competing was Jon Beaumont, Steve Owens, Jerrell Baker, Danny Walner, and Patrick Dougherty, who together make up New Old West.
Sponsoring this yearly contest are Shiner Beer, Shiner Records, and KHYI radio.
Another sponsor, silent, is DB Music of Sherman, who for years has provided the drums and other equipment for the contest. KHYL’s Lisa Hooks coordinates the events each year and has help from several friends and interns.
As an aside, Blackbird Sing’s CD is due to be out later this month.
Stay tuned to KHYI (95.3), or sign up on their website (www.khyi.com) for their email list to learn when applicants will begin to be taken for the 2013 Shiner Rising Star.