A 2003 musical experiment has transformed through more than half-a-decade and more than 1000 live performances into an artistic empire that continues to operate upon the base of one golden standard: good music makes good fans. That music-de-force is known to the masses of the Americana and Texas Music scenes as The 80 Proof Band.
The 80 Proof Band first joined the ranks of such artists as Reckless Kelly, Randy Rogers Band, Eli Young Band, and Casey Donahew Band, with the release of the debut, full-length album TUESDAY’S AT 7 (Smith Music). The album’s first two radio singles, the riotous sing-along “One Señorita, Two Margaritas,” and the heart-wrenching, self-doubter’s ballad “Maybe” each reached the “Top 20” on the Texas Music Charts, the Texas Regional Radio Chart, and the 1 position on San Diego’s Independent Music Network Chart. A third song from the hit-stained record, “I’m Alright” was featured in Lonestar Music’s Sampler CD in 2008.
In early 2010, 80 Proof hit the studio with a batch of new material and a new rhythm section: drummer DaWayne Gaspard of Abbeville, Lousiana, and bassist Caleb Hooper of Stephenville, Texas. The result is SHADOWS, a new album loaded with 11 songs of earnest emotion and funky, feel-good grooves.
L.D. Whitehead, lead singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist said about the up-coming album, “As a band we’ve been waiting in the shadows of this music scene, and I feel that this record is really going to be our ‘stepping-out.’”
Gaspard’s heavy, body-thumping drum grooves entwined with Hooper’s smooth and tactful bass patterns create a fertile bed for guitarist Landon Hill’s electrifyingly melodic guitar hooks that work hand-in-hand with the demanding resonance of Whitehead’s spot-on vocal melodies. Guest artists further SHADOWS’ musical depth with piano, organ, fiddle, mandolin, and a three-piece horn section.
And the lyrics are more-than-worth mentioning, too.
The songs sung in SHADOWS present a dialogue between two sides of the proverbial relationship where boy meets girl, girl meets other boy, hearts are broken, and stories are told. Somehow, these down-and-out songs are written and recorded in an up-tempo, feel-good manner. In the title track “Shadows,” a relationship near its end is resurrected by a man’s last-ditch effort. In “Come Back to My World,” a man waits stubbornly for his ex to mend the broken relationship.
Perhaps the most ear-popping song on the album is the only one without an up-tempo flare. “Leaving Again” is a heart-wrenching account of an ended marriage, sung in the voice of a man begging his once other-half not to leave again.
The album is full of plenty of tunes to bring the listener back to lyrical happiness such as “Mexico,” a good-time jam about a trip south of the border, and “Outlaw Man,” a dedication to Johnny Cash and all the country music outlaws of the like.
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