Whiskey Myers releasing new album in September

| August 4, 2019 | Reply

Whiskey Myers’ front line at a LJT music festival.

Originally published in The Paris News, Aug. 4, 2019

Mary Jane Farmer, Scene In Town

Everyone has idols, people who have inspired them over the years, those who have laid a strong foundation to walk or work on, those who are not afraid to be unique. Getting to meet those idols, live and in person, is often not in the cards.

But, for Whiskey Myers, it was not only in the cards, it was a royal flush.

John Jeffers, fairly-new Paris resident, is a founding member of the national touring group Whiskey Myers, which got its roots in the Palestine/Tyler area, starting as just good ol’ boys getting together to do what they love most — make music.

Jeffers (guitar, vocals and songwriting) and other founding members Cody Cannon (lead vocals and songwriting) , Cody Tate (guitar), and Jeff Hogg (drums) had their love of southern rock music in common. All were fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones. That was more than a decade ago, and Red Dirt giants Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland, and others of that ilk also played quite a punch in Whiskey Myers’ style. No one could never exclude the influences that the hard country giants — Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson — also entered into the band’s development.

Currently, also with the band are Jamey Gleaves (bass) and Tony Kent (rhythms), also musicians from that East Texas area.

The result of all these idols, this influence? A strong dose of unabashed, authentic, astounding Southern rock at every concert they play, dimpled with a ballad and story-telling song, and heightened with their own version of country. Their style could be called ‘genre-bending.’

One of those recent concerts, at Soldier Field, had Whiskey Myers opening the 95-year-old stadium for The Rolling Stones, swapping “howdy” and “hi-ya” with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and the rest of that gang between sets.

Jeffers said it meant as much to them to get invited to play the gig as it was to actually be there for it all.

“It was a rite of passage,” Jeffers said. He explained that Jagger and Richards watched a bunch of videos of different bands, all hoping warm up that Soldier Field stage for The Rolling Stones. “They sit down and scroll through videos. Just to know that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are watching you, that’s pretty exciting in itself. And then they picked us,” Jeffers said.

The Rolling Stones had its sound check first, which is standard procedure, and Whiskey Myers had theirs. Then, once on stage, they presented seven songs, older standards with “Gasoline” thrown smack dab in the middle of it all. “Gasoline” is one of 14 new songs on their upcoming self-titled record, due for release September 27, but with three songs already available on the streaming sites to those who pre-order Whiskey Myers. The other two songs already released are “Rolling Stone” and “Die Rockin’,” which is already getting airplay around the country.

John Jeffers, taken at LJT Texas Music Festival

“For this group of country kids playing rock n roll, it was a pretty hectic day, a big show,” Jeffers said. “We’ve all looked up to those guys, the short and sweet of it is that we dug those guys. There was so much excitement, our expectations ran really high. At the end of the day, we weren’t disappointed at all.”

Jeffers grew up in the smaller town of Palestine, he said, and moved from there to the nearby bigger city, Tyler. About two years ago, he and Paris native Hope Petty married, and he transplanted himself to Paris where they are making their home.

“I like being in a smaller town. This is like coming home. I love the people here, they are good people, like I grew up with. It’s my way of life,” Jeffers said.

It had been a few years since Whiskey Myers released a recording project, their last ones having been Mud, Early Morning Shakes, and Firewater. And they worked with a giant in the recording industry on those, Dave Cobb. For this newest project, the whole band decided to step out on their own. They spent 18 whirlwind days at the Sonic Ranch, a little outside El Paso. “We decided, ‘let’s take a chance and see if we can do it,’” Jeffers said. They ran with all ideas from all band members, “some work and some don’t, but we gave them all a shot. And then there’s that magical moment when the whole band hears it, your eyes get a twinkle — ‘That’s it, that’s us!’ It’s usually a no-brainer.”

“We just brought our songs to the table and made it sound like us,” Cannon said in a press release. “We never thought hard about it. We just tried to go in and write a good song, whether it’s country or rock and roll or blues.”

Their songs include some that Cannon wrote solo, including “Gasoline,” some Jeffers penned, such as his “Glitter Ain’t Gold,” and many co-written by these two with such notables as Ray Wylie Hubbard, Adam Hood, and Tennessee Jet.

Pre-purchase is available on the band’s Website, WhiskeyMyers.com

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