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Authenticity and honesty are not the first words to come to mind when talking about modern country music. As a result, in today’s market of slick, pop-style production and over-simplified lyrics, artists who dedicates themselves to bringing realness and truth into the fold face many challenges and possess a special kind of courage. However, as the popularity of Texas Country and Americana music blossoms into the mainstream, listeners are being introduced to a slew of artists who have taken time to get back to the roots of the genre, lyrically and musically. The Warhorses, is one such band. Working hard to deliver genuine, personal, and musically satisfying country music, their distinct sound is one you are sure to remember. 

“Our goal is to always be authentic,” said Casey Shaw, founder and lead vocalist. “Each of us comes from a diverse musical background and that is part of what makes us rare. For instance, I grew up listening to country music while the other guys are into southern rock, blues, jazz, and heavy metal. We all bring something different to the table in that respect and that comes across in our individual styles when we play and when we write and arrange songs.” 

Shaw (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, harmonica, songwriter), a US Army and Iraq War veteran, founded the band in 2012. Reconnecting with Sonny Bihl (lead guitar) and Seth “Tobo” Tobin (bass, songwriter), after several years of each suffering through broken bands, “missed connections” and other social media escapades, the line-up was completed with the addition of Phil Medina (drums) and Lucas Seiferman (lead guitar and harmony vocals). Releasing their first EP, REGARDLESS, in 2014, The Warhorses made their way onto Texas radio with the Top 50 single, “Leave Me Alone,” and a Top 75 with “Heart Like Mine.”

With influences that range from the classic styles of Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, and Townes Van Zandt to the honky-tonk edginess of the Bakersfield sound created by Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Dwight Yoakam it becomes clear that they also look to the dynamics of Reckless Kelly and Micky and The Motorcars for inspiration. With a focus on having good sound and good guitar tones, the drums drive the band as Shaw’s southern vocal draws you into the very personal stories he has written about life, and mostly, love. 

“I talk with a southern drawl, so I’m going to sound country when I sing,” said Shaw. “It’s just who I am, and if I tried to be something else, people would see through that. Just like with my songwriting; I open up honestly about things that are real, things that I’ve experienced in life. They aren’t made up stories, they’re always based on something that happened to me.” 

As the band’s popularity grew, they shared the stage with artists Pat Green, Randy Rogers Band, Kevin Fowler, Cody Johnson Band, Casey Donahew Band, Stoney LaRue, Kyle Park, Jon Wolfe, Uncle Lucius, The Damn Quails, and many more. Being on the road gave them the chance to solidify their direction, test out new songs, and hone their skills vocally and lyrically. By late 2015 they were ready to record a full-length album and connected with Dave Percefull of yellow DOG Studios in Wimberley, Texas. The outcome is The Warhorses, a hearty and wide-ranging reflection of songs that are about love in some way, shape, or form. Whether it’s the loss of love, love gone wrong, or trying to salvage love, there is something for everyone on the record. 

Quintessential country fare is covered on “Leaving In Your Eyes” (the first radio single from the album), “I Drink Whisky” and “Still Be Loving Me” as losing love, for one reason or another, is tackled with grit and heart. The sentiments of a mutual parting are best displayed on “Last Goodbye” and “Walk Away.” Steering away from the point of view of the person that was left or hurt, “Driving Blind” is told by the one who was leaving while “Steppin’ Away” is kind of the “kiss my ass” song on the record. Songs like “Ami’s Song,” “Hear You Sing Along,” and “Not Tonight” are interpretive; defining whether they were written to fix something or reassure someone, well, that’s up to you.

Creating an identity forged by a desire to be real in this era of pick-up trucks, short shorts, and backward baseball caps is a risky gamble. With style and substance in their corner, The Warhorses have, indeed, achieved this feat. In turn, they also remain steadfast in their conviction to stay true to themselves, and their fans, by consistently presenting music that is universal and relatable. 

“What you see (and hear) is what you get,” said Shaw. “We don’t want to be tied down by or defined by any one genre. I’m sure we’ll mostly be identified as a country band, and that’s okay. We just want to be known to playing good music, being good musicians, and good dudes.”

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