Mar 292017
 

PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS:
Travis Egnor

I have so many different series going on within my website that sometimes It’s hard to keep them all well groomed and current, but I do. This endeavor turned out to be a major undertaking in both a positive and negative way for me but I took the negative a turned it into a learning experience to which I could still capitalize on as a man. Attempting to pin some of these hard working steel guitarists down has been a challenge, people THINK the music business is one big party, or a wild drunk fest full of drugs and women…and it’s not. ANYTHING can be turned into that I suppose but most people don’t STOP and understand the time and effort placed into pulling off a profitable show.

I have been wanting to do this project for some time now and I either didn’t have the time or the resources to pull it off in the fashion it deserves to be done in, I don’t do ANYTHING half assed or in hokey fashions. I comb my information but sometimes I make horrible face palm to the forehead mistakes and I retreat with my tail between my legs…but I come back out swinging and more aggressive than I was when I made that mistake. I know THE PEOPLE that once graced the stages of Country Music behind the steel guitar, Pete Drake, Hal Rugg, Ralph Mooney,Little Roy Wiggins and the Legends of the instrument. BUT when it came to tuning and how it works I once knew nothing about it, and I thought well HOW can I write about Country Music in Nashville and NOT KNOW?

Country Music has THREE staple pillars of it’s foundation or it’s backbone if you will. Those are in this order the songwriter, the producer, and the steel guitar in my opinion it takes those three to make a classic Country Music album. My point being Willie Nelson “Red Headed Stranger” and “Wanted The Outlaws” as two prime examples that had all three. Shooter will tell you rapidly “Wanted The Outlaws” was the first platinum selling Country Music album EVER and defied the scorn it was initially given by Nashville in the 1970’s.

Local music as a whole contains such a plethora of well rounded steel guitarists and pickers waiting for you to discover them if you are willing to wade through the broken beer bottles and travel the worn out back alleys of America you will find them. You have to look in the places most normal people wouldn’t, and you have to listen. You have to brave the heat and cold and discomfort of the fields and farms that spew forth these festivals, mostly you have to study and watch for them.

I cover over 9,000 songwriters,bands and artists on here from six different genres and many of them involve steel guitarists in some fashion or another. I know TONS of them but YOU might not so I thought WHY NOT start interviewing THEM and bringing THEM to the forefront so we can better appreciate the artists they play for?  I don’t ask many questions about their “boss” unless it’s a mutual band, BUT many of them are readily willing to divulge information about the man (or woman) up in the front that employs them. In fact I am enjoying these last few years where the WOMEN have been releasing the stronger albums like Sunny Sweeney and Margo Price.

This installment of my series brings me to the telephone with the current steel guitarist for Cody Jinks And The Tone Deaf Hippies and his name is Mr. Austin Tripp he called from south Carolina last night and graciously donated some time with Gary Hayes Country and I thank him SO MUCH for this opportunity to bring you folks this article!

GHC
How did you get started playing the steel guitar?

Mr. Austin
Well, it’s really a long story short but I used to play the fiddle and I began playing it at eleven or twelve. They used to have country music shows out at a little antique shop close to where I lived, and they had a fiddle player there that I befriended around the end of 2004. We went out there to the store, they had a steel player and a fiddle player and banjo there was a bunch of people. I was interested in watching the fiddle player and it was mostly Bluegrass but every once in awhile that steel player would start up and I was like man that sound. The sound of it is what attracted me to it and I got to watching him play a little lick, and I didn’t know nothing about it. I didn’t know what the instrument was called I didn’t know anything.

I finally got the courage to approach him and ask him what it was and he said it’s a pedal steel guitar, I said well I got to learn how to play one. He said well, I’m not a really good teacher but I can show you a few things. The problem was I didn’t have one and I didn’t know where to even find one and it was hard for him to show me on his and have to sit down and play it. So in the summer of 2004 and 2005 I worked all summer for a friend of mine and bailed hay to save up money to buy my first steel.

I couldn’t make it do what I wanted, I couldn’t make it do the crying and all that stuff but he lead me along, and I got to where I wanted and after a month and a half of getting one, I got started playing with him. He also plays the guitar and he would play it and let me play steel behind him, and the rest is history. I love the sound of it and I love the challenge that it put up, I’m one of those types that loves a challenge. I kind of got bored with the fiddle to be honest, and I was looking for a challenge and I found it in the pedal steel guitar.

GHC
How long did you play before you played for Cody Jinks, and how did you start with Mr. Cody?

Mr. Austin
I started playing professionally since 2009 and I was still in high school. I got offered to go on the road with a band called Broken road, we played with many acts. We played all over Georgia, parts of Florida, Alabama and Louisiana. We opened for Jake Owen, Colt ford and few others, and I would get to know their steel players and know the bands. Fortunately right after I graduated high school I got the call to go out on the road with Easton Corbin, I didn’t know much about the road, I was green. I didn’t know anything about life on the road I was just getting exposed to it. Thankfully one thing lead to another and after doing shows with Easton I did shows Jake Owen and up to about 2010 I started doing shows with Blake Shelton and that lead me to my big gig and that was with Luke Bryan. And I was with Luke for a year and a half.

I took some time off from playing to care for my grandmother who passed away in 2013 from breast cancer. I took some time off to care for her and started working a manufacturing job for about three years. When my grandmother passed on I got the itch and I was ready to get back out on the road, and play music full time. One night I messaged Brett Robinson who plays for Whitey Morgan, and asked him questions about his guitar. He had got a brand new one and I was just asking him about it, we got to become friends both on Facebook and talking on the phone.

One day I got the courage and I asked him man, who plays for Cody Jinks? And he said well right now nobody, they are going through some lineup changes and nobody was playing for him. Brett was playing for him but it was wearing him down because he was setting up playing with the 78’s doing sound check and playing shows with both bands. I said ask him if he needs a steel player and about six months later in August of 2016 on my birthday I was on my way to work. Brett called me and sang Happy Birthday to me and he said I got you a present and I said what’s that? He said in two weeks you are going to start with Cody Jinks if you want, I said HELL YES so two weeks later I loaded up my steel and headed for Texas and that’s how I started playing with him, and I been with him ever since.

GHC
Without giving away secrets what makes up your sound, and what do you different from other people?

Mr. Austin
My biggest thing is I don’t follow the mainstream steel players, and I’m not taking anything away form them by no means and I learned a lot from them guys like Paul Franklin and Mike Johnson, those guys. But my biggest thing is what Cowboy Eddie Long told me years ago, he said when you play the steel play the way YOU want to play it and play what you hear and that will set you aside from everybody else. I can hear a song and put my own twist on it because I didn’t want to be like everyone else, and I have a unique sound and a style of playing.

The best way to describe it is when Cowboy Eddie did the first two Jamey Johnson records they just set up in the studio and put a microphone up and just played, they didn’t go back and redo anything. That’s what mad me really pull away from mainstream steel guitarists. My tone is really in my guitar, I’m endorsed by BMI and I have been for a year now. We designed this guitar around MY OWN specifications and I feel VERY comfortable behind my guitar. It’s a mix of Eddie Long’s tuning and my own personal tuning and we put custom pickups in it, and it’s MY weapon. It goes back to every steel player since the 1950’s they say it’s in the hands.

GHC
What’s your plans for the future, I see you are hitting the road again soon?

Mr. Austin
We have a lot of stuff going on, this year I believe is going to be the year for Cody Jinks And The Tone Deaf Hippies. There’s a lot of stuff that is happening right now, you know Cody’s been in it for ten plus years and It’s only March, well we did two tours this year. This last tour we did Conan O Brian and Music City Roots show in Nashville and that wasn’t mainstream TV that’s local in Nashville but Cody said that’s the first time he’s ever done anything like before and of course Conan that was new for all of us.

This year we have shows opening up for Jamey Johnson and we have a few festivals, but we are going into the studio I think sometime in the fall and release a new album. We have already been to the studio a good bit recording a few songs here and there, we did that cover of the Pink Floyd song Wish You Was here, and that actually surprised us all because we had no idea it was even going to be released. We kind of done it as a last minute deal and I think it made it up to number four on the Texas charts and on the national ones I think it made it up to number twenty eight. I couldn’t believe it blew up because there’s not many people who could take a classic rock song and turn it in to a country song and make a hit out of it.

GHC
Well you know Whitey Morgan did that with a Springsteen song. I started incorporating more Red Dirt into my website and even though that crowd isn’t embracing Nashville they do really well out here and I’m enjoying it.

Mr. Austin
Well the Texas music comes back to me and you know people listen to what the radio gives them to listen to and sadly enough they don’t play anything from any of the Texas guys and it’s sad because that to me is music that’s the way I feel. When I get on my motorcycle and take a ride some of the Texas songs like Jason Isbell and Wade Bowen are what get me into my feelings and that’s the kind of stuff that I listen to. It should be played on mainstream radio but they wont because it doesn’t sell to teenagers today I guess unfortunately.

GHC
Now I’m getting three to five thousand hits a day and I can’t get over that five thousand mark but people like what I feature.

Mr. Austin
It’s getting out there and honestly I have been a fan of Cody’s before I even worked with him, just because he has pushed the music out there and he’s trying to get above that Red Dirt scene and sort of branch out and get above and beyond and rise up but he’s staying true to where he came from. That’s what I love about working for him, we do everything our way but our way is the people’s way and that’s what I love about him. They come from all over to the shows and a lot of times we see the same crowd which is awesome, the last show we did in Denver Colorado and there were people there from Tennessee and Arkansas and I had a friend fly in from Georgia to see us. They want that rawness, they don’t want the orchestrated concert that you pay seventy five to a hundred dollars to see and you’re sitting in the nosebleed section. They want to see the rawness of the real deal I guess you could say.

GHC
Your Flockers are a very strong following let me tell you,I have had a lot of dealings with them. Let me tell you I’m involved in many scenes being the type of media that I am. I’m in with Bluegrass people and the Muddy Roots people and Americana folks, and they are a pretty dedicated bunch.

Mr. Austin
They are very dedicated and you know I started right at the end of August and I was number fifteen hundred or sixteen hundred. At that time Cody did not have anything to do with the Flocker group, they started themselves and asked him if they could start a fan group. Cody said go ahead you can run it and do whatever you want to, so it did. Now they are up to twelve or thirteen thousand members and they’re dedicated. They come to every show there’s a least a row of them at every show and it’s awesome I love them, they’re a fun group of people.

At every show there’s always one or two that keep us entertained and they take pictures for us and things like that. They help us like on April the sixth there’s a show in Nashville to honor Merle Haggard, they had posted that they were looking for talent. Man, the Flockers got on there and started blowing it up by posting get Cody Jinks, get Cody Jinks and they had to shut the page down. They were trying so hard to get us on the show.

GHC
As a steel guitarist who influenced you the most?

Mr. Austin
I would probably have to say Cowboy Eddie Long, I don’t know him too good and I have only met him a couple of times but he showed me many things on the steel guitar and I have known him for about a year now. I would have to say the style and the way I play it would have to be Cowboy Eddie. But alongside him would have to be Ralph Mooney, I been listening to Waylon for as long as I can remember. I loved the song Rainy Day Woman and I remember hearing Ralph start it off with that steel, when I first started playing the steel I was venturing more towards Ralph Mooney his tone and his style. He said in an interview one time his style was simple but effective and you know he was with Waylon until the day that he died.

GHC
Yes, and he was the first steel guitarist to ever be put in the front line, Ralph Mooney was. Now I notice you sit to Mr. Cody’s left is that the reason you do that?

Mr. Austin
You know really Cody loves the steel and I watched videos of his past steel players and I wanted also to sit right beside him, and I asked him where do you want me to sit? He said man I need you on the front line so people can hear your leads. That’s another reason I love him he doesn’t care about just him, I don’t care about exposure for me but I love it when people come up and ask hey what is that you’re playing. Cause I’m right up front and everyone sees me and they cannot miss me.

They ask questions and that’s what I love, we were playing a show at the Wescott Theater in Syracuse New York and there was young man that I have pictures of on my Facebook of he was right up front all night. I was watching him study me all night he was probably about ten or eleven and he was just amazed by what I was doing. After the show I was walking out to the bus, and his dad stopped me and just like I asked that guy, he said man what is that you’re playing? I said It’s a pedal steel guitar he said my son was amazed by it and I brought him on the stage and he sat behind it,I let him play it and he said it was so cool.

He was inspired and I’m pretty sure his parents were out a lot of money in those next few days but that’s what I like. I like to be on the front line to inspire as many people I possibly can. I don’t want to say it’s dying but on mainstream country radio, it’s gone. The Texas guys are pulling it out but man I don’t want to see it die.

GHC
That’s why I wanted to start this series because there are so many of you in I want to say underground music per say, and there a lot of bands that have steel guitarists but nobody knows about them.

Mr. Austin
Yeah, probably in the past ten years it’s just dropped out so much and I know everybody rags on Luke Bryan and those guys but you know I worked with him and Luke has a steel player right now but it’s just not headlining like it was back in the day. The one that is promoting it the most right now is Easton Corbin with Jamie Lennon.

GHC
I agree with you and I think Jon Pardi is doing it really well too.

Mr. Austin
Jon’s good his steel player is a good friend of mine Andy Ellison.

GHC
Yes,I’m going to get him on this series soon.

Mr. Austin
And there are several young steel players that I’m friends with on Facebook I haven’t had the opportunity to meet them yet but there is a young kid I think he’s thirteen named Jacob King he’s playing a lot of the Midwest steel guitar shows. They’re great steel players not like when I first started I didn’t even have Youtube to learn by so they got a little advantage on me, I love to see young people playing the steel. I’m still young but I love the younger people sitting down and getting involved with it. And it’s addictive once it starts I want to see them on the Grand Ole Opry.

GHC
I’d like to see you on it too, my main goal when I started this website is I want people like Whitey Morgan and Cody Jinks and my daughter who is twenty, I want her to able to say they are Legends when she’s forty. That’s what I want.

Mr. Austin
Somebody asked me the other day there was some thing that was comparing Cody and Whitey to Waylon and Willie and all that. It comes down to Waylon and Willie and Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard they didn’t get to where they were by following someone else, and that’s what we are doing. We’re doing our own thing and it takes time. Time and exposure is the key and eventually I think everybody is going to get turned on to our music. For Whitey Morgan he’s been at it for a while now and this will be a big year. For all of those guys this year will be the year a lot of people wake up and say hey these guys got something going on.

Another thing with Whitey and Cody and people like Ward Davis, our fans are their fans and vice versa and a lot of time they will go to both shows in one night or two. There’s a circle fans if Whitey’s close they’ll go to his show and if we’re close they’ll go to our show and that’s a great thing. It’s not just we only like this guy or we only like that guy let’s not go to it.

GHC
Well every scene is like that, I was going to go see The Reverend Horton Heat and the G damn Gallows but I covered them many times and I decided on Wade Bowen. I am trying to incorporate more of the Texas music into this and even if I have to take off work I’ll do it to get to see people like Sunny Sweeney. She needs to be an Opry member, hell she plays more than some of the members.

Mr. Austin
Yes, I cannot wait for that day. Brett and I were fortunate enough about three weeks ago to get to see her there. The night before she had her Trophy release at the Basement East. There were several people there Larry Gaitlin and Crystal Gayle and several others were there. When she started it was just Aw Goodness. It made me feel like back in the sixties it was Country Music and that’s what it comes down to. She’s Country Music.

GHC
I think with the new management being a woman she might speak to her musically from a different standpoint than a man and I think she has a really good chance. She will speak to her from a whole different level.

Mr. Austin
I believe so she’s doing a lot of things right. This CD I listened to it before it came out and there’s several songs on there that will go places. When she released that song from a table away it went up the charts and that’s the first song I ever heard her do, and I believe it’s going to be her year as well.

Mar 032017
 

Folks I took a half a day off from work today to shoot down to the Nashville Palace, to see Dallas Moore play Nashville tonight for their Mardi Gras party. Tonight his band has none other than Mr. Brett Robinson from the 78s joining him, he is currently playing for Whitey Morgan. I was told they will doing some more work together on upcoming projects as he is off the road later this year. Not to steer away from Mr Dallas but Whitey is recording a new album and touring in 2107 and I sat for a spell and talked with him in order to include him in my Steel Guitarists Along The road series, that addition is being worked on NOW.

The anticipation filled the air tonight and the ambiance is placid as it always is right before a Dallas Moore show, but that ease of clam becomes abruptly halted as this man and his band of rabble rouses take command of that stage. Mr. Dallas stands stalwart and sings with authority on the matters of whiskey, honky tonking and all things Outlaw Country.

He joins the roster for the 2017 Muddy Roots main festival in Cookeville Tennessee for the first time ever, and let me tell you I am daggumed excited about seeing him in the field this year. He is one of the hardest working bands on the planet playing a remarkable 320 shows a year, with a baby on the way still maintaining a name for himself in the public eye. Despite his outward rough demeanor on the inside when you get to know him as a friend you’ll find he is one the kindest and gentle individuals one could ever encounter.  He is well oiled in his craft of both writing and playing with many genres of influence under his hat, he can belt out Motorhead and Beethoven all on a whim in the same instrumental.

He comes from a line of music with his cousin being the equally talented Pee Wee Moore And The Awful Dreadful Snakes, and his Godfather being Country Legend Jody Payne. His son Waylon Payne of equal accolades within the realms of Country Music having contributed greatly to the recent Miranda Lambert album, which in my opinion was a SMASH.

They opened the show with “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band wrote in 1973 by Toy Caldwell and it was on their debut album I grew up with. “Whiskey River” by Johnny Bush and made more popular by Willie Nelson on the 1973 album Shotgun Willie.

I recently got new laptop and I am trying to work all of the kinks out of it like running my website from mobile locations…I did not fare so well tonight. Fear not folks because I can cover the show with pen and paper after all it IS Mr. Dallas. I now have all four of my computer inter linked and ready for field battle during the 2017 festival season.

After playing “Freeborn Man” by the Outlaws off the Lady In Waiting album, he got into all of his originals like “Twisting Through Texas” and “Bottle And A Bible”, man we truly were given a treat tonight with Mr Brett on steel guitar. My favorite song he plays was next “Slinging Gravel” from the Dark Horse Rider album, and after that he played “Beats All I Ever Seen”…but the Cowboys no longer have Romo.

Speaking of Twisting Through Texas Mr. Dallas is the recipient of the 2017 Ameripolitan Award for Outlaw Male Artist and like I previously stated it’s all well deserved. He and his band are well known all over the United states. As always in honor of our fallen friend Wayne Mills he played “The Last Honky Tonk” and followed that up with George Straits “Cowboy Rides Away” which was Mr. Sonny Thockmorton’s 1985 hit for King George. “Long Haired Country Boy” by Charlie Daniels was next from his smash album Fire On The Mountain.

As always I have included a video, this is their version of “Waylon’s Lonesome Onry And Mean” that I firmly believe Mr. Steve Young would approve of, and he played his newest song “Shoot Out The Lights”, along with “Drink To The Good Times”. Right now he is playing “Up On That Mountain”, which I believe he wrote about Altamont the first place I ever met Mr. Dallas. The many stories and memories I have about that bitter cold weekend have embedded a special place in my heart and I cannot replace attending that event.

He played a long drawn out instrumental version of the “Nightlife Ain’t No Good Life” and  barrelled into one called “This Old Cowboy”, then played a few more originals like “Crazy Again”. He plated his Outlaw Country anthem entitled “Blessed Be The Bad Ones” off one of his after albums of the same name. He played his own version of the Allman Brothers “Whipping Post” and closed the show with with his amazing versatile guitar chops.

You know behind every successful artist are those that labor behind the scenes, and his wife Miss Jenna  Moore does a remarkable job keeping Mr. Dallas afloat. His band AKA “The Snatch Wranglers” are also NO exception when it comes to working. Lucky Chuckie, Mr. Mike Owens, Mr. Tony and Mr. Rocky Parnell are four of the finest musicians to ever grace the stages of the local clubs and venues. Each one of them are incredible players in their own right and deserve to be commended for what they do.

In closing I firmly believe that this is not even close to the pinnacle of the career of Dallas Moore. There exists a whole world of opportunities for this man and his band of renegades to beat the shit out of. So many venues and podcasts that are in dire need of the Dallas Moore sound and I think that Ohio holds a gigantic scene of fine underground music, Dallas Moore being a pillar of it all.

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