At the Free Range Texan we always have a number of stories simmering on the back burner. Projects that for one reason or another have not completely developed yet. Episode 49 is where a number of plans came together.
A visit with Joe Taylor at Mount Blanco Fossil Museum is always a treat. It is fair to say that generally Joe is unknown to so many people here at home while he is famously respected around the world for his paleontology and archaeological digs as well as working with a number of research teams on remarkable projects usually on things thousands of years old and dug up out of the ground.
We visit with our old friend Roger Dykes, who was in his younger years quite the entertainer. And we give you (our listeners) just a snippet of his new podcast. It’s fun and it carries a message.
Michael Shawn’s Campfire has really been on a roll in 2020, getting longer and more elaborate. The production value in the area of “theatre of the mind” has slowly continued to increase. Producing the Campfire has become one of our favorite parts of the Free Range Texan project, and Episode 49 is no exception. Enjoy!
The times they are a changin’. If you take a continually growing audience of a bi-weekly podcast and attempt to move their loyalties to a monthly podcast format, is it risky? Well, the answer to your question would have to be “Yes”. But less so if one were to understand what we, those of us working on the Free Range Texan, understand about the realities of meeting the production deadlines and producing creative content for a podcast as multi-faceted as ours.
First, let’s look at the facts. Producing the Free Range Texan is not free. There are a number of people who have or do commit a significant part of their time, focus and funds to make the Free Range Texan roll out on time every two weeks. I’m about to share something with you that I don’t normally talk openly about. The truth is we have dozens of really great ideas, but when it gets down to implementing the production process, our production funds simply aren’t in the budget … and we find ourselves stepping back, drawing a breath, and finding something else to work on. Sometimes it’s frustrating.
If a few weeks ago you would have told me that basically cutting the number of Free Range Texan episodes in half annually could be a good thing, I would just have bent over with a knot in my gut and walked away. I mean really! On the surface it would seem like somebody shot us with a torpedo. But then, we began to think about our production process and asked some pretty important “what if” questions.
What if we had twice the production time and budget per podcast than what we are currently working with? What if as a production team we no longer felt under the gun to find content, get it recorded and produced, and build an entirely new episode every two weeks? In big-time network programming, each show has three to five production teams. And like a deck of cards, the show’s episodes are dealt out to the team members so that each team has a number of weeks to complete their production by the time it airs. We are not big-time network producers. We have one team and we produce everything, on time. So spending more time with a greater budget per episode started to look like a higher quality podcast with a higher quality life for its producers.
This is gonna be fun! To our regular listeners, please forgive us for not knocking on your door with a brand new episode every other Thursday. We still love our listeners alot! And we promise to continue to bring everything that you expect from our Free Range Texan Podcast to you with a few more layers of icing on our cake. We are genuinely excited about our new schedule as our last bi-weekly podcast rolls out Thursday, July 2nd. And our new monthly podcast schedule begins on August 1st, 2020.
There is one more thing … We believe we have been remiss in not urging our podcast listeners to subscribe to our podcast. We have always provided a direct player at FreeRangeTexan.net. You can still accomplish listening to our podcast thru FreeRangeTexan.net … our web page gives you all of the biggest podcast players and/or our Free Range Texan YouTube Channel. Either way, you can easily subscribe. Without going into a large amount of detail, suffice to say our new schedule makes our subscription rate vital to our future. Thanks for listening … FreeRangeTexan.net.
It happens often that I interview an artist and am struck by the fact that it’s a shame that they don’t give gold records just for being a really nice person. Fortunately, Jeremy Parsons is a talented recording artist and stage performer, and it seems as though every time he walks out of a recording studio, his music is better and more polished than it even was before.
There are lots of artists that I enjoy visiting with about their careers and music. But a certain section of our readers will understand when I admit that I would go fishin’ with Jeremy Parsons. High praise indeed from the desk of Michael Shawn at the Free Range Texan.
We are, however, disappointed that in this pandemic season Jeremy has not as of yet gotten the video for his popular song, “Tragedy” that he has just released. If he had that completed, we would have posted it here on our blog. We like Jeremy Parsons and really want to see great success in his future. And, if you look at the numbers here and overseas, the song “Tragedy” appears to be making a great start in that direction.
Jeremy Parsons, we wish you and your Dad all the best! I find myself thinking that I am grateful that the two of you have this time together. And we’re not just kidding around when we say that we’re already looking forward to having you back as our guest on the Free Range Texan.
I grew up around the entertainment business in West Texas. It seems like I have been aware of talented entertainer, songwriter, musician Cary Banks most of that time. Among other things, he was playing a big part in that crisp, clean and distinctive sound that the Maines Brothers became wildly popular for while they made their run for national recognition. We mentioned on our podcast interview that we would share a couple of his videos on our blog.
If you grew up in West Texas in the 70s and 80s, you feel like you grew up with Cary Banks. Me, being a broadcast personality, and him a successful stage musician, it’s only natural that we would have been aware of each other off and on during the years. However, it occurred to me as I sat down to do an interview with Cary Banks that unless my memory is slipping, I believe this is the first time that we have addressed each other directly and had a visit.
I came away from that interview thinking “why the heck did we (Free Range Texan) wait so long to spotlight Cary Banks?” I have respected him through the years as a songwriter and stage performer. I really noticed him for the first time with the Maines Brothers. I appreciate his time spent at South Plains College as a remarkable educator working with young entertainers, and I’ve enjoyed him for years while he was writing songs and sharing them with the world.
So here’s what I came away from our interview with … I will admit that my biggest regret is, while I have been acquainted with Cary Banks all of my professional life, I failed to sit down and visit with the man. A friendship with a person like Cary Banks would have always been and is still today a valuable thing. He’s a great guy and his talents … songwriting, stage performing … are completely intact and his songwriting may have even gotten better. Some of us older guys will tell you that can happen with age.
We at the Free Range Texan are so happy that Cary Banks spent a little of his still valuable time and agreed to be our guest on Episode 47. And for those of you who may get a chance to spend a delightful evening with Cary Banks and his guitar, by all means go and enjoy.
Kudos to Stetson Walker’s mom. From one parent to another, you have really raised a fine young, well-mannered gentleman. I know this not the way to kick off an intriguing opening paragraph which should lure you into reading the rest of this article, but … the point I am about to make is that my first impression was “this recording artist is really young”. Then, you listen to his music and suddenly you are hearing a polished and mature singer that lands somewhere between Randy Travis and George Strait. Wow! I was really impressed.
So, I guess I could go on and on about what a nice young man Stetson Walker seems to be. But honestly, that is not his power. Listen to him sing. Hear what he is producing in the recording studio. Observe his stage presence, and you begin to understand that Stetson Walker is a talent to be reckoned with in the County Music industry. When we visited and talked about his mom singing background for Willie Nelson, I asked him what it was like growing up around those musicians. He had a number of things to say, but the first thing he told me was, “if you can’t be Willie Nelson, you certainly want to be in his camp.” The boy gets it.
We promised on our Podcast that we would post his video on our blog. Stetson talked with me continuously off mic and told me how much fun he had getting to be on set for this production. I asked him if the girl in the video was really his girlfriend. He said no, that she was just an actress brought in by the production company. But then he grinned and said, “She was nice though.”
Stetson Walker is a welcome guest now in our Episode 46 of the Free Range Texan Podcast as well as in the future. Stetson and I both hope you enjoy.
Usually by the time a recording artist or anyone else makes a second appearance on the Free Range Texan, there is what feels like a friendship involved. We always try to treat our individual guests with all of the respect and polished showcasing that we can give. In short, we appreciate their time and effort.
Jordan Robert Kirk makes all this easy. When I interviewed him the first time on Epsiode 23 , I came away with the feeling that I was impressed with what a respectful, young gentleman he seemed to be. Not to mention that I really like the way he sings! I was glad he brought his personality and music to our podcast.
Now he’s back and very little has changed, except of course new music and stories. His favorite saying these days is, “Sometimes the Songs Write Themselves.” For instance, the day after I spoke with him for this interview, I saw a half million dollar tractor and spray rig by the road burning up. Jordan simply posted, “sometimes the songs write themselves.” And this time, I had a third method to my madness in giving him a call.
If you know anything about Jordan Robert Kirk, you know that he has a day job working with the Kirk Family Farm in Crosby County, Texas. He’s the real deal, and I have never scheduled an interview with him that didn’t have to be timed around his farming commitments. I wanted to know how CovID19 was affecting the business of agriculture. I was pretty sure Jordan wouldn’t mind talking about it a bit, especially since his entertainment career has been sidelined by a world pandemic.
In short, Free Range Texan Episode 45 knocked a home run. Jordan Robert Kirk visited with us about what CovID19 might be doing to an already burdened agriculture community, but also talks about his latest radio release and as always shares it with us. And we are glad to make his video available here on our blog.
Additionally, Michael Shawn’s Campfire stumbled into a true story that began generations ago and is still happening today right outside of the small West Texas town of Wink. Nothing made up about this scenario. It is an interesting and somewhat captivating campfire tale. Free Range Texan Episode 45 rolls out Thursday, May 7th right after dark Texas time. Enjoy!
While our celebration might not be as big as we are used to, we still have the opportunity to keep our traditions going. There’s nothing that beats a good old-fashion American BBQ.
So, get some fresh air and sunshine this Memorial Day Weekend … Bass Pro Shops is here to help. They know the meaning of adventure and their collection of superior outdoor gear is unmatched. This goes for their at-home essentials too!
Whether you prefer a savory steak or like to keep it simple with hot dogs and hamburgers, the Mr. Steak 4-Burner Propane Grill with Side Burner and Infrared Burner is the grill to use. Combining a traditional backyard propane grill with the superior searing performance of an infrared burner, this grill delivers perfectly grilled food your family will love.
If you want to try something different, grab the Landmann USA Patio Lights Fire Pit with Cooking Grate and use the full-size enamel cooking grate to give yourselves a little camping-vibe. Then, when the sun falls, gather around the fire pit and continue the good times.
Tim McKenzie is a friend of mine. We have been acquainted for more years than either one of us like to talk about. There’s one thing I can point out that has been a constant since I have known him. Tim is a nice guy, and my conversations with Tim McKenzie are always relaxed and honest.
All of the above is why I wanted to ask him about his day job. While Tim is widely known for his music and his children’s books, friends and family that know him well know that he has spent at least three decades doing specialized work in the oil fields of West Texas. Like most working musicians in our area (West Texas), even though he works as an entertainer regularly on dozens of venues, he maintains a career in the petroleum industry to fill in the lean spots in the entertainment world such as during a global pandemic.
Tim McKenzie was kind enough to allow me to ask a number of questions about the effects of COVID 19 on one of the largest oil fields in the world. His answers were frank and personal, and like so many others, his concerns about his future in the industry where he has spent a lifetime learning his craft are real and valid.
Thank you Tim McKenzie for sharing a very personal side of your life on our Free Range Texan Podcast. We hold you and so many others like you in our hearts and prayers, and we appreciate your courage to speak openly with our listeners.
We didn’t set out to produce the podcast that Episode 43 turned out to be. It was a number of weeks ago when we first reached out to MTS Management about setting up an interview with Nashville Recording Artist Savannah. The Coronavirus was not yet on anybody’s radar.
We were looking at some different artists for our Free Range Talent File and we stumbled onto Savannah’s latest video. I was immediately struck by its content, and I told the A-Team PR person sitting next to me, “That’s the kind of stuff I want to carry more of.”
Fast forward a few short weeks … MTS gave us the go-ahead. They had set up an interview between myself and Savannah, and then the entire country / world was being asked to “shelter in place”, and everyone reading this article knows the rest of that story.
Because of the nature of podcasting, up until this point we didn’t discuss current events, political affairs, or the seasonal weather. But COVID-19 changed all of that, and suddenly we were struck by the fact that our listeners anyplace on the planet were dealing with serious issues and the worst thing we could do as a podcast was ignore it. So, we opened our hearts and Episode 43 is what came out.
We realize it sounds like Savannah’s specific interview was set up to be a part of our “shelter in place” episode. But, honestly, it just turned out that way. As we point out in Episode 43, her day job is a full time nursing assistant, working with doctors in Nashville. She sings, she writes, she records, she entertains, and she saves lives. She was in the right place at the right time on our podcast, and we were humbled to have her take the time for our interview.
The Free Range Texan Episode 43 is the one where Michael Shawn opens his heart more and more and gets more personal one-on-one as the episode progresses. None of it was planned, it just happened. Savannah (a working nurse in Nashville) is our special guest. There’s a campfire episode … again unplanned … that turned out to be darker than anything that we have done previously. And the closing epilogue that is basically just us wishing all of our listeners safe passage through this world-wide event. Our goal was just to let everyone know that our wish was for them to remain safe and healthy. We fully intend to return on schedule with another complete new episode of the Free Range Texan Podcast to share with our friends everywhere. All of you are appreciated.
The people at Boss County Radio have been gracious enough to accept me into their ranks, but in complete “love me, love my dog” fashion, they also appreciate something that we saw immediately. Boss Country Radio and Free Range Texan have a similar cut to our jib. And so … Michael Shawn’s Midnight Express was born.
First and foremost dear friends, this does not in anyway shape or form affect my Free Range Texan arrangement. Some of my friends felt as though the “hardest working man in podcasting” should pick up an additional radio gig. That being said, I am hosting the “Midnight Express” on Boss Country Radio (FreeRangeTexan.net – click on the Boss Country Radio banner) from 10:00 pm until 2:00 a.m. Texas time, and since it is a world-wide country music network, all of my Free Range Texan friends are certainly welcome to listen in. Our Free Range Texan resident musicologist, Kidd Manning, is also pulling a shift on the same network,. 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Enjoy!
Episode 42 is loaded up with guests this time, with Boss Country Radio’s Jamey Karr, Program Director and Morning Show Host. We kick things around a bit and discuss the origins of Boss Country Radio.
One of the first things Jamey asked me to do from A-Team PR’s Studio A, was to interview Josh Ward for Boss Country Radio, since Josh’s music is burning up the charts in the United States and Europe. We did … and quickly got permission to run the Josh Ward interview on the Free Range Texan. So this episode is jammed packed!!!
Studio A is not only where we produce the Free Range Texan Podcast, but where we produce Michael Shawn’s Midnight Express five nights a week on Boss Country Radio. I believe the old song used to say, take a trip around the world and never leave the farm. Looks like we’ve got that mastered. Additionally, we have Josh Ward’s new video available on this blog.
And before I get away from my computer, I would be remiss if I did not tell everyone of our listeners / readers that each of you around the world are in our thoughts and prayers. This is one that surely we will talk about for some time to come. May the Good Lord Bless You All.