SRS2015, Rd 2, Wk 1, 10.8.15

| October 9, 2015
The Whiskey Prophets

The Whiskey Prophets

For more photos, click on the links below.

Shiner Rising Star 2015 moved into Round 2 Thursday night (Oct. 8, 2015) with the 4-member Whiskey Prophets band tackling solo artist Joey McGee for the right to move into the finals. Sundown at Granada on Greenville Avenue in Dallas hosted this night’s event.

Sponsoring radio station KHYI announced Friday morning that it will be The Whiskey Prophets taking that giant step toward the finals and toward the career-enhancing prizes that come along with it.

In this Round 2, each performer has up to 45 minutes to perform their original songs along with two cover tunes. That includes getting onstage, plugging in and tuning up, performing, and then removing themselves and everything from the stage.

Judges this week were KHYI’s Brett Dillon, singer/songwriter Ronnie Fauss, and Mario Tarrandell, former music reporter.

The Whiskey Prophets kicked it off. It’s Brad Roberson on lead vocals, plus acoustic guitar and songwriting; Mike Norris on drums; Jeremy Ailes on bass and back-up vocals; and Matt Hinchey on electric and slide guitar and back-up vocals, plus some songwriting.

Their cover songs included one by John Fullbright and another by the Drive-By Truckers. The Whiskey Prophets have a new CD coming out about mid-to-late October. Ailes told the audience and the judges that it was an incredible not only recording as a full band, but also songwriting together for this project, too.


Brett Dillon led the critique at the end of The Whiskey Prophets’ set. His comments included that Roberson’s voice and stage presence reminded him of a young Bruce Springsteen. “You have a great vibe,” Dillon said. About their originals, he added that the songs had great hooks to me.

Mario Tarradell remembered that he had judged during Round 1 when this same band performed, and remembered the criticism he offered the band that night. Then, he added, that he noticed the band had put those constructive ideas into practice.

Ronnie Fauss commented that the Fullbright song “sounded different than the way John Fullbright does it.” That’s something most, if not all judges, in this contest stress — make the cover songs the bands’ own. About one song, “Pretty Girl,” that Hinchey had written and Roberson sang, Fauss offered that Hinchey should sing it himself. “If you write something from your heart, you gotta get up there and sing it from the heart.” A part of the chorus in that song, he added, may be a little wordy and might could be cut down a little.

Joey McGee stepped up to the mic after placing an electric guitar on a stand and holding an

Joey McGee

Joey McGee

acoustic one, which he played through most of the songs. His covers were those from Bob Dylan and Whiskeytown. His stage demeanor, voice, and songs were at the same time friendly and magnetic. McGee is from the College Station area.


Tarrandell started this round, saying he “liked the no-sweetener vibe and no window dressing” style. However, he added, after a few of the solo artist’s songs, the lack of accompaniment “started to make itself very clear” with a sameness to the songs. “What you lacked tonight was the strength of accompaniment.” Then, that said, he added that it took a lot for a solo artist to command a stage. “Something that a lot of singer/songwriters wouldn’t dare to do.”

Fauss agreed with both the more positive and negative points laid out by Tarrandell. Speaking from his own experience, he said, “It’s so easy with a band behind me. Harder to hold a room by yourself. But you did it. You have a vibe that captures people’s attention.” Fauss added that the biggest challenge for a solo artist is to “have songs that pop out. Your songs stood out.” He commented, too, that he could sense a real Guy Clark feel to McGee’s songs.

Dillon’s comments were shorter and completely to the point — “Powerful, amazing, great songwriter. One of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard.”

Round 2, Week 2 will be Thursday, Oct. 15, at Club Dada in Dallas with Straw Hat Society challenging the Darrell Goldman Band. Music starts at 8 p.m., and there’s never a cover charge for these contest events.

For Whiskey Prophets photos, click here

For Joey McGee photos, click here.


Category: *- Features, 2015, Other venues

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In the music production business, including event production, booking, photography, reporting, and other such essentials, since 1980.

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