To take your music from the Texas scene to the national scene takes some guts.
Because Texas is, well, Texas. They seem to have their own way of doing things.
But Josh Abbott Band is doing it. And I think that might have something to do with the band’s lack of that Texas snobbery.
They’re not one of those groups that think only their state’s music is worthy, and that eschews anything that comes from beyond the state line.
“We really love so much of the country music coming out of Nashville. Eric Church, Zac Brown Band, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Lee Brice and Jerrod Niemann. Those are the ones making what we consider country music, and we like it all,” the band’s frontman Abbott told me when they were in Chicago playing a show on Saturday (Jan. 10). The band’s current single “Hangin’ Around” is from their major label debut EP Tuesday Night.
“Everyone else seems to want a crossover hit. And there’s a tendency to stick to what sells. But any time you hear someone like Dierks, who hasn’t given in to that bro-country movement, that’s the kind of music we like,” he said.
Then again, they do love their Texas roots. Abbott would love to follow in the footsteps of other country bands that started in Texas, then made it across the country. Dixie Chicks, Eli Young Band, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert and so many more. Those are just a few of the names that came up in our conversation about what’s next for the band.
“That’s the goal, you know. We signed the deal so we could take the music to more people and succeed on a national level. On our own terms. We want to release a song that’s not just a Texas No. 1, but a national No. 1,” Abbott told me, adding that it’s songwriting that he hopes will put the band on the map.
“Anybody can put together a band and learn a bunch of other people’s songs, but what separates you from other people is if you write your own songs. In Texas, that’s what weeds you out,” he said.
“We’re not millionaires, but we make good money and have a great fan base. I always thought, ‘As long as I can make $50,000 a year doing music, that beats an office job for sure.’ Any night we get to do this,” Abbott said, gesturing to the capacity crowd, “it’s all good.”