Each month for our ELLN teleconference this year, I am highlighting an album. March’s quick pick from our ELLN agenda is reproduced below. I hope you join us on our Forums or for this afternoon’s call. If you’re an in-house counsel and not part of the ACC or the Employment & Labor Law Network, you can join ACC and ELLN today and see what we’re all about! I hope to (virtually) see you soon.
ELLN Chair Doug Hass has long been a music buff (he founded country music site Roughstock.com in 1993) and long done a lot of driving for and to work. That’s given him lots of time to indulge and explore his music interests To help entertain you on your commutes or at the gym, office, home, or on the go, Doug is offering a year-long series of picks that will showcase some of the best albums you may have never heard, or that deserve another listen. We hope that each monthly choice piques your interest in these albums and artists. These may be titles that you have never heard of, but our hope is that your interest will be piqued and your musical world enriched!
Roger Creager – Live Across Texas (2004)
I promised a couple of months ago that we would spend a few months this year on artists that sound even better live than they do recorded. That was true of our last two artists and is doubly true of our March pick as we swing south to Texas. The red dirt of Texas and Oklahoma has turned out an entirely different genre of country music than what you hear on country radio or see coming out of Nashville, Bakersfield, or other country hotspots. If you drive around Texas, you’ll hear radio stations proudly proclaiming themselves Texas country stations with heavy rotations of artists like Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Cody Jinks, Kevin Fowler, and this month’s pick, Roger Creager.
Creager, a Corpus Christi native, has forged a solid career in and around Texas. He first caught my attention when I saw him live following the release of his 2003 album Long Way to Mexico. My favorite song on that album, “Shreveport to New Orleans,” cowritten with Kevin Fowler, appears on his 2004 live album “Live Across Texas.” Live Across Texas is a quintessential live Texas country experience, in my opinion, which is why it is March’s music pick. You will hear a variety of fast songs (“This Look Good Around Here”), ballads (“Late Night Case of the Blues”), drinking tunes (“Having Fun All Wrong”), and generally danceable hits recorded at legendary music halls: Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas; Hurricane Harry’s in College Station; The Firehouse Saloon in Houston; and McGonigel’s Mucky Duck in Houston. Write those venue names down! If you are ever in Texas, those four venues, along with the Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas, are five of the best places to hear live Texas country music without getting off the beaten path (though you should do that too).
“Live Across Texas” gives you a taste of a Roger Creager show and the flavor of his musical influences from growing up in south Texas. As Creager notes “The best thing about growing up in south Texas was that Mexico was never more than a few hours’ drive. The worst thing about growing up in south Texas was that Mexico was never more than a few hours’ drive.” You also get a heavy dollop of family. A staple in Creager’s live show is inviting his father, Bill Creager, on stage to sing Rancho Grande together, in Spanish. The song usually garners the biggest applause lines of the night. Creager will trade the guitar for the keyboard, a sax, and more over a typical set. His live shows include everything from his music to selections from Robert Earl Keen to Johnny Cash to Billy Joel. Although 2004’s Live Across Texas is the only full live album Creager has released, it is still the highlight of his discography and a must for anyone who wants an introduction to Texas country or this phenomenal artist whose career spans multiple decades, yet still evades the more mainstream recognition of Green, Fowler, Jamey Johnson, Cory Morrow, or Jason Boland. Whether it is your first time or already part of your regular listening rotation, I hope you enjoy our first stop in Red Dirt country!
I hope you enjoy (or enjoy rediscovering) it!