"I often feel like a female Gene Autry with Keith Richards as my sidekick," laughs Hollis Wayne, lead singer for Happy Horse Band. The sidekick being guitar player and fellow singer-songwriter, DB Rouse. DB's catchy riffs and rhythms pull the listener into the stories on the band's second CD, Rockin' & Ridin'.
Singing and songwriting are recent developments in Hollis's long career as an artist. Arriving in Austin, TX in the '70s, she sold her airbrushed clothing and tile treasure chests on The Drag, later adding street shows and Renaissance faires.
DB Rouse started busking around the country in a minivan after college, going wherever the road pulled him. When he reached Austin in 2009, Hollis had already traded in her paintbrush for a song-writing pen.
Hollis was writing songs and playing them by the weekend campfires at the Happy Horse Hotel, a campground she and husband Beaux Graham built in 2001 near McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Bastrop county.
"The music changed in unexpected ways when the tall busker showed up," says Hollis. "DB became our camp foreman. The band got another singer-songwriter and a great rhythm guitar player!"
With the addition of John Dunn on bass and Pete Langhans on drums, the quartet has a rich, driving sound blending campfire sing-along and folksy country western with the energy of rock and roll. Strong lyrics and vocals of the two balladeers tell tales of risk, reward and adventure. Fans say the music is happy, humorous, and danceable.