For Jason Boland, Cain's is as good as it gets

from California Chronicle on

"We get asked all the time about what our favorite place to play is," said Red Dirt rocker Jason Boland in a recent telephone interview. "It's Cain's. It's as good as times get."

Boland and his band, the Stragglers, return to the historic downtown music venue for their fifth annual Leftover Turkey concert on Friday.

Boland, a former Stillwater musician acclaimed for his distinctive, hard-charging and rootsy brew of country and rock, is on tour to support the band's latest live album, "High in the Rockies." He said he "couldn't be happier" to return to T-Town on Friday.

He brings with him his veritable buffet of party tunes - and opening act Turnpike Troubadours.

"It's the house that Bob (Wills) built. I've always loved seeing live shows there, especially as a kid," Boland said. His first concert at this historic ballroom was Joe Satriani. "You just can't beat that. I mean, can you imagine? With Cain's dance floor and the sound system and all these fun-loving people crammed into such a unique space. It was mind-blowing for me then, and it's mind- blowing that I get to play on that stage today."

Not that this is his first time. Far from it.

"I've been up there more times than I can count. More than a dozen, less than a hundred," Boland said, then laughed. In other words, a lot.

Friday, he'll bring tunes new and old, he said. Stragglers include Roger Ray on steel, lead guitar and dobro; fiddler Noah Jeffries; bassist Grant Tracy; and drummer Brad Rice.

Jason Boland & the Stragglers is a "small-town" country music act with more than 200,000 albums sold in 10 years. That's mighty impressive, given the band's on its own label, Proud Souls Entertainment. The live album is no change from that.

"It was time for a live album and also to get a 'photograph' of the five of us now," Boland said in a press statement. "I'm really happy with the material we chose. It stems from 'The Bourbon Legend' and 'Comal County Blue' and we went back and mined a couple of our older songs, and songs like Merle Haggard's 'Rainbow Stew' and Tom Russell's 'Gallo Del Cielo,' that f

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