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.
Billy 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!
Pokey 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.
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.
Jody 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.
Texas 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.