Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen Have “Standards”

Texans Take the High Road on New Single and Album

I refuse to call the friendship between Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen a “bromance.” In a recent chat with them, I said I felt like it cheapened what the two share.

“Thank you!” Bowen chuckled back at me.

But it’s true. Spend 15 minutes in a room with them and you will see and feel a genuine and mutual respect and admiration between the two that far extends beyond a beer-buddy bond.

Still, their first joint album venture is Hold My Beer: Vol. 1, the title inspired by the wildly-popular acoustic tour they’ve played the last few years.

Don’t be fooled. This full studio record is much deeper and more thoughtfully crafted than a simple “hold my beer” moment.

“It just really was a lot of fun for us,” Bowen said. “And we tried to get the songs together that we felt were the most fun. They were a little bit out of our norm — a little bit on the drinking side, a little bit on the fun side — which really represents us as friends. We have a good time … and probably too much fun together.”

“For me, it was (about) not having expectations,” Rogers said of putting the project together. “We didn’t know what this record was gonna turn out to be. We didn’t really have a plan. We didn’t really know we were gonna make it, and not having the pressure to pull something off . . . was just kind of nice to just kind of go in there and wing it.”

Clearly, something magical happened. The imagery is there, the masterful sounds of steel guitar and fiddle are there, the humor is there, and it’s all executed with a level of cleverness reserved for those who are truly authentic and hold themselves to highest standards of real country music.

Which leads me to “Standards,” the lead single featuring one of the most brilliantly-written choruses you may hear all year.

In the song, the two characters are approached by the “record man” and encouraged to record a rather clichéd country tune. The two politely yet sarcastically decline, boasting, “I don’t have hits. I’ve got standards.”

Oh, yes, in my perfect little fantasy world, I imagine this to be a cheeky double meaning that refers to a hit that becomes a country music classic and a display of personal dignity and moral high ground.

“But how can I sell out if I barely sell at all?” they ask.

And then there’s the line, “You won’t see my name on the billboard. … Every night, I pack the dance floor.” I would love for someone to confirm my suspicion that this not only could refer to the marquee on a venue but also a specific musical chart.

It’s so smart. It’s so honest. It’s so painfully true.

Rogers and Bowen are two wise and witty country troubadours with masterful senses of humor who speak the same artistic language.

I asked Bowen what his favorite quality about Rogers would be. His response?

“How much he can drink and still perform,” Bowen said with a laugh. “I’ll say this: Randy is probably the best I know at banter before and in between songs. … I think he’s just he’s just genius at saying what needs to be said for the song and for the crowd that we’re playing for at the time.”

Rogers says Bowen is “more personable” than he is.

“He’s never met a stranger pretty much, and I don’t know that he has an enemy,” he said. “I don’t think he’s ever made anybody too mad. I’ve always said he was kinda the glue in our scene. He’s the guy that does a lot for a lot of people.”

Samantha is a country radio insider with a deep love for the music and its stars. She can often be found on a red carpet or at a late-night guitar pull.