Ranking the Western Swing Males Nominees for the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Awards

Reviewed by William Tokash

This is the third of 12 installments reviewing nominees in each category of Dale Watson’s 2017 Ameripolitan Music Awards. Voting is now over for this year’s batch of nominees but I’ll carry on with the review over the next month with a look today at this year’s Western Swing Male nominees. Here is a Spotify playlist with available songs by this year’s Western Swing Male nominees discussed below.

amer-3-a-mataBilly Mata, a 35-year veteran of the San Antonio scene with his band The Texas Tradition, is a two-time Academy of Western Artists Western Swing Vocalist of the Year. If you are looking for the pure, unadulterated, old-timey Western Swing like I usually am, then Billy is your guy. On Roll ‘Em Floyd from the Domino Effect release, Billy and the Tradition lay down a piano riff intro that would make Big Joe Turner proud!

amer-3-b-lafargePokey LaFarge, from Bloomington, Illinois, the heart of the Breadbasket/Rust Belt, stretches Western Swing stylistic boundaries with his 30’s inspired jazzy/ragtime twang. His new release Something in the Water, is his Rounder Records debut. This album really swings with a heavy New Orleans jazz feel on tunes like Knocking the Dust Off The Rust Belt Tonight and Wanna Be Your Man.

amer-3-c-hooker

Jake Hooker’s West Texas style is a wee bit more ballad-y and less foot-stomp-y than your typical traditional Western Swing artist. But he doesn’t miss out on any authenticity. His satiny-smooth tenor really stands out on Bury the Bottle With Me from his The Outsiders 2007 release.

amer-3-d-nixJody Nix and the Texas Cowboys can be heard every Sunday night on KBYG AM/FM playing the true old-timey classics out of Big Spring, Texas. On Bright Lights & Country Music Jody rolls out 12 pure country and western swing songs.

amer-3-e-alexanderTexas Western Swing Hall of Famer Dave Alexander hosts a lively True Texas Radio Network weekly show each week where he spins the classic Western Swing twang. In his latest release, Alexander’s Goodtime Band, Dave covers the classic Minnie the Moocher.

All five nominees bring their own unique approach to this timeless, traditional style. so give these guys a listen. And stay tuned to see how the voting turns out in February at the Ameripolitan Music Award’s for the Western Swing Male category.

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3 Comments

  1. Here is some more information on Jodi Nix in addition to what was posted in the article:

    Jody Nix, a well established artist in the great State of Texas gives Glory and Thanks to God for the talent, and the ability to use it to play music that he dearly loves. A true Traditional Country Music and Western Swing artist, he has been in the business 56 years. He has played dances and shows all over Texas and parts of the southwest. He leads one of the finest dance bands in Texas, they fill the floor on every song.

    Jody “grew up” in music, started playing drums in his Father Hoyle Nix’s band at age 8 in 1960 playing 5 nights a week all over West Texas. Jody started playing the fiddle at age 11, started singing at age 16, recorded with Bob Wills at age 21 on the 1973 “Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys For The Last Time” as a guest artist and sang 3 songs. In 1975 from the National Cowboy Hall Of Fame in Oklahoma City he was given a Western Heritage Wrangler Award for an outstanding contribution to western music through the album Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys For The Last Time and it was presented to him by Gene Autry. Jody has 11 albums of his own to his credit, and was a guest artist on both of Asleep At The Wheel’s Tribute to Bob Wills albums. Jody and The Texas Cowboys played for the Black Tie and Boots Ball in 1989 in Washington DC for then President George H. W. Bush. Jody has played the Bob Wills Day Celebration in Turkey, Texas for 41 years..10 with his Daddy, and 31 on his own, and he played the TCR rodeo dances in Stamford, Texas for 30 years where in 1986 he set and still holds the all time attendance record for the whole history of the TCR. He played for the Big Spring Cowboy Reunion And Rodeo for 21 years, the Post Stampede Rodeo for 19 years, and has worked with the Big Spring Symphony Orchestra in 1990, the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra in 1992, and again with the Big Spring Symphony in 1994, 1997, and 2016. He has been a part of all the Western Swing Festivals in Canton, Texarkana, Snyder and Wichita Falls for over 27 years, and played for the Howard Co. Fair in Big Spring 24 years in a row, and also the Boys Ranch Ball in San Angelo for 19 years, the Western Heritage Classic Ranch Rodeo in Abilene for 15 years. Jody was also a guest artist with Asleep At The Wheel in the original play of “A Ride With Bob” in 2005.

    In 2008 Jody and the Texas Cowboys represented the state of Texas at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC, and also played at the Kennedy Center For Performing Arts. Jody has also played for the PRCA Convention at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2007,2008, and 2009 prior to the NFR and the Cowboy Ball at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Co. He is a favorite in Branson, Missouri at Silver Dollar City and has performed there for 8 years and at Willie’s Place in Carl’s Corner, Texas and played Willie Nelson’s 4th of July picnic in 2010, and 2013, and the Lincoln Co. Cowboy Symposium 2010-2016, and the Lincoln Co. Cowboy Christmas Ball In Ruidoso, New Mexico. If you listen to XM radio you will hear Jody and the Texas Cowboys on Willie’s Roadhouse channel 59 where they are in heavy rotation. This has brought attention worldwide for the band.

    In 1996 Jody was inducted into the Western Swing Society Hall of Fame in Sacramento, California. In May of 2009, Jody and the Texas Cowboys were inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall Of Fame in San Marcos, Texas. In 2013 Jody was inducted into the Northwest Western Swing Music Society Hall Of Fame in Washington State. In May of 2016 Jody was honored by the Cowtown Society Of Western Music and received the Living Hero Of Western Swing Award, and in June 2016 Jody was inducted into the Cowboy Hall Of Fame at the Heritage Museum in Big Spring, Texas. Jody has worked with Bob Wills, Ray Price, Marty Robbins, George Strait, Moe Bandy, Red Steagall, Asleep At The Wheel, Johnny Bush, Frenchie Burke, Tony Booth, The Quebe Sisters, Steve Wariner, and many many others. The band works 100-115 dates a year, and consists of Jody Nix- Bandleader, fiddle and vocals, Robert Weeks- fiddle and vocals- Brandy Weeks – upright bass – Jim Loessberg – steel guitar – Terry Thompson – drums.

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