White Oak Music Hall
May 7, 2022
GORDO COOPER: Who’s the perfect pilot you ever noticed?
TRUDY COOPER: …
GORDO COOPER: You’re lookin’ at him, child.
This is nearly as good a time as any to continues our sequence in hypothetical nation music rankings. Previously, we mentioned who belongs on nation’s Mount Rushmore, in addition to a March Madness-style Texas Americana bracket. Now it is time for the massive weapons: specifically, who’s the perfect present nation artist?
The reply may be so simple as “anyone not called Florida-Georgia Line,” however there’s in all probability extra to it than that. Legit legends like Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn are nonetheless recording, whereas a lot of the better of the style is totally ignored by the likes of 93Q.
For your consideration, there’s the Turnpike Troubadours. The indie outfit from Talequah, Oklahoma skilled success that would solely be known as “meteoric” within the early ’00s, going from opening act to headliner in brief order earlier than frontman Evan Felker’s substance abuse points led to the band occurring hiatus in 2019 (mockingly, mere hours earlier than a present at WOMH).
Newly sober, Felker and firm returned to Houston final evening and — to not put too positive some extent on it — blew the roof off the place. Or would have, if the present hadn’t been outdoors.
It’s be simple to explain the tune they opened with (“Every Girl”) as a fan favourite, however that would not precisely slim it down. I’m having a tough time remembering which songs did not elicit full-throated singalongs, however the ones that stand out particularly embody “Good Lord Lorrie,” “Gin, Smoke, Lies,” and “Pay No Rent.” But I could not pulled a distinct three songs out of a hat and the sentiment can be the identical.
It was talked about greater than as soon as in my listening to that the Troubadours might have performed a venue twice the scale of WOMH and stuffed it, and it might be form of silly to argue the purpose. Last evening was the most important crowd I’d personally seen at White Oak, which would appear to point their comeback tour goes fairly properly.
Felker was in positive kind, trying as relaxed onstage as he is in all probability ever been. He credited a minimum of a few of that to his new daughter, dedicating set nearer “Long Hot Summer Day” to her, stating her center identify got here from songwriter John Hartford.
Did any of this register with the viewers? Hard to say, however you may’t blame them for concurrently celebrating the return of a beloved band whereas additionally symbolically thumbing their noses on the pandemic. Last evening’s present was the Troubadours’ first gig in a serious metropolis since their hiatus (you already know it is true, Fort Worth), and demonstrated fairly emphatically that they are prepared for greater issues.
It’s good to imagine any points between Felker and his bandmates (notably co-founder R.C. Edwards) have been ironed out. Edwards additionally got here ahead to sing “Drunk, High, & Loud,” which sounded much less like an exultation and extra like a warning shot, and was — mockingly — the tune that prompted the most important exodus.
WOMH might not be the biggest venue the Troubadours have performed on their comeback tour, however it actually demonstrated that they are prepared for that subsequent huge step. Last evening was a mixture of nostalgia and gratitude that the Troubadours are nonetheless right here in any respect. Let’s hope they stick round and lay a declare to that finest nation band title.
Personal Bias: I used to be presupposed to cowl these guys on the Rodeo and at their 2019 WOMH gig, however site visitors and the fates conspired in opposition to me. They’ve been in my rotation now for over 10 years.
The Crowd: Who let all these Okies in right here?
Overheard In The Crowd: “Is weed legal in Texas?”
Random Notebook Dump: ‘Beards and trucker hats, that is like an IPA conference.”
Good Lord Lorrie
The Winding Stair Mountain Blues
The Bird Hunters
Something To Hold On To
Gin, Smoke, Lies
Kansas City Southern
Whole Damn Town
Pay No Rent
A Tornado Warning
Easton & Main
Drunk, High, Loud
Long Hot Summer Day