For over a decade, Rodney Parker & 50 Peso Reward have lingered on the fringes of the Texas Music Revolution, building a cult following of fans who thirst for a sound more cerebral and musical than what the status quo has had to offer.
Since 2002, the Pesos have shaken off the norms of the modern Texas music establishmenttaking a more radical approach. The bands' sound is not any more southern rock than Steve Earle, and not any more outlaw than Robert Earl Keen. One writer called the Pesos the band that "Just might kick Old 97's in the teeth", and another called the Pesos "Weezer meets Waylon". This may be the best rock band country music has to offer. Parkers songs are more introspective and respectful of consequences than the songs of many of his country music peers. Clever and intelligent, Parker is reminiscent of Butch Hancock, a brusque and less tragic version of Slaid Cleaves.
While Parker and the Pesos found regional success in Texas on the strength of their 2004 debut, "Blow the Soot Out," the Denton, TX based quintet broke out nationally with their 2008 release, "The Lonesome Dirge" - a breath taking, often heart stopping album brimming with Americana Anthems, harrowing Southern Gothic balladry, and shit-kicking roadhouse rockers that channel the likes of Steve Earle, Son Volt, and even Dropkick Murphys at times. The Lonesome Dirge spent 17 weeks in the top twenty on the Americana Chart, and produced three top twenty singles on the Texas Music Chart. The band upped the ante in 2010 with their third release, "The Apology: Part 1," a five song EP produced by Mike McCarthy. The record included the wildly popular top ten single, "Guitars," plus two other top 30 singles. In 2011 Rodney and the Pesos released a daring full band acoustic recording, "Live in The Living Room," which was in fact recorded live in Rodney's living room in Corinth, TX. 2013 brings the release of Rodney Parker & 50 Peso Reward's fifth record, "The Apology: Part 2," produced by Grammy award winner Tre Nagella.
Rodney Parker & the boys have placed thier mark on the last decade of Texas music and continue to have a stake in its future. Parker is part of a generation of borderless musicians who are stealing the thunder of the status quo Texas sound, forcing the directions of popular Texas music onto a new, more substantial and satisfying threshold.
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