Turnpike Troubadours consider Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, Okla., as a cornerstone of their music career. Built in 1924, the wooden building is celebrated as the home of the King of Western Swing, Bob Wills. Today it still hosts a broad range of touring acts from the Red Dirt scene and far beyond. That sense of history is not lost on the band, who performed a song that night inspired by the venue's address: "Easton & Main."
Our film crew set up in mid-afternoon and I didn't realize until nightfall that the Cain's rooftop sign lights up, one letter at a time. Plus, the Oklahoma fans couldn't have been nicer. Many of the folks knew band members personally, so there was a genuine feeling of mutual admiration. It's clear that both sides take pride in the band's success.
"We didn't want to owe anyone and we didn't want to be influenced by somebody else," said lead singer and songwriter Evan Felker. "Also, there's no magic button to hit. You don't just score the record deal and make the record. Make the record yourself if you want to make a record. You might have to eat some Ramen noodles but you can get it done."
CMT and Mountain Dew's Concrete Country with the Turnpike Troubadours premieres on CMT on Tuesday (August 27) at 11:50 p.m. ET/PT.
See behind-the-scenes photos.