Get Your Boots Dirty With Gary Pratt

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

I’m often asked what I look for when I interview talented recording artists.  And while I am a vocal recording artist, I don’t pretend to be a songwriter or singer.  But I’ll tell you a secret.  While I do these interviews with remarkably talented people, I am always looking for common ground.  When I interviewed Gary Pratt, he had just released a remarkable new album “Something Worth Remembering”.  Knowing the folks at his record label (MTS), I’m certain there are people all over the country wanting to interview him.  And between record producers and studio talent, ones nerves can get a little frayed, and while all this was his reality, he stopped his world as if we had the luxury of being old friends.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 67 Gary PrattIt’s easy to find common ground when he openly talks about his family ties and when he seems genuinely appreciative of the people around him who are working to help his career.  His music production is spot on and fun to listen to.  And he told me it is always important to relate to the crowd as if he enjoyed seeing their faces and wanted them to have as much fun as he was performing.

Episode 67 of our Free Range Texan Podcast brings a slice of Gary Pratt’s life, career and music … and a guy like Gary is exactly what enables us to have good music and worthwhile content that we can introduce our listeners to.  He is our new friend here on the Free Range Texan, and we suggest that you enjoy our visit with this singer, songwriter, recording artist, and entertainer that will be worth your time.  Honestly, I’ve got a grin on my face just thinking about the time spent making a new friend.  Enjoy!

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 67

Typical Texas Girl

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

Savannah Rae is a young lady from San Antonio, dripping with talent as a songwriter, recording artist, and stage performer.  Visiting with her was easy because of her down-home and girl next door charm.

Free Range Texan Talent File Savannah RaeSavannah has a quality about her that can only be described as “the camera is her friend.”  Not only that, but the microphone and her various and sundry audiences all go together to create a fun recording artist with some great songs.  Just below is one of her recent video releases “Soft Place to Land,” and when you watch this, it’s clear to everyone that she enjoys performing in front of the camera as well.

Our Free Range Texan Podcast is proud to introduce a young performer that clearly has a bright future in our industry.  For additional downloads and booking schedules her web site appears at:    Coming to a stage near you, San Antonio’s Savannah Rae Garza … our special guest on the Free Range Texan Podcast.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 66

Louise Cappi Uniquely American Jazz

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

It’s no secret that yours truly, born and raised in Texas, grew up listening to Country music and of course Rock and Roll.  I have always appreciated Jazz, but from a distance.  Perhaps its because I have not spent enough time wandering the street of New Orleans in and out of one French Quarter Jazz bar and then another.  Louise Cappi changed all that for me.

Free Range Texan Episode 64 Louise CappiShe is at least a second generation jazz professional and one of the nicest ladies I have ever met.  But the thing that drew us to her was her remarkable music.  I don’t know why we have waited so long to bring real jazz to our Free Range Talent File, but the seal has been broken and our eyes are open.  Louise Cappi caused us to remember that we have overlooked a uniquely American brand of music.  And she is a perfect ambassador for our Free Range Texan audience.

Louise CappiAll of the usual stuff is in place, post-COVid she has begun to work again.  Her web site ( puts you in touch with her upcoming dates at venues from New Orleans to New York City.  Her fans are reconnecting with her as she is releasing her latest album “Hope”.  And we have been able to provide one of her videos here on our blog.

We found Louise Cappi to be delightful and we are genuinely excited about her as our very special guest on Free Range Texan Episode 64.


Free Range Texan Episode 64

The Miracle That Is … Stan Troy

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

Free Range Texan Episode 63 took on a life of its own.  A spared life through grace, Stan Troy was asked back to tell his story.

Free Range Texan Episode 62 Stan TroyIf you don’t believe in miracles you’ll probably figure that we made this whole thing up.  If you do believe in miracles, get ready to hear one that is only a few days old and happened right before our eyes in the life of my life-long friend, Stan Troy.

Stan TroyPodcast producers are always looking for content, but rarely is a real life miracle laid in our lap.  This story is not true because our Free Range Texan Podcast says so, or because Stan Troy says so.  It’s true because some of the finest doctors and research scientist that Houston, Texas has to offer say so.   So, believe it or not, here is just what happened to our good friend, Stan.  Free Range Texan Episode 63 is the first of its kind, and hopefully not the last.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 63 Stan Troy

Ed Roman – Creating His Own Niche

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

It is rare, but every so often I feel I am talking to someone that is close to being and needs to be discovered by the entire world.  Ed Roman is one such artist.

Free Range Texan Episode 61 Ed RomanCanadian born, he is one of those songwriter, recording artists who creates his own niche and is remarkably fun to listen to.  Every song I have heard Ed Roman do always carries a deeper and profound meaning once you begin to listen to his music.  I kid you not … in the half dozen recordings that landed at our studio, I heard a perfect blend of folk, rock, funk, and jazz … all in a blend of toe tapping fun.  He is amazing.  No two songs were alike, and I enjoyed every one of them.

Ed RomanHonestly, I spent more time in research for Episode 61 and finally for the first time we decided to play three of his tunes on our Podcast because sharing the Ed Roman experience with just one or two recordings does not even begin to relate to our listeners what we discovered in his press kit.

Ed RomanBut here’s the thing.  Not only does his music press all the right buttons, but I found him to have a charming personality and a deep understanding of the human condition and its special needs in this day and time.  After spending time with him in the interview, I found myself disarmed as a podcast producer and instead just wanting to ask him if we could be friends.  He’s that kind of guy.

Ed RomanIn short, I think he is our new favorite Canadian, and after the final edit of our Free Range Texan Episode 61, I have been anxious to share my new friend with the world.  My advice is listen to this very special edition of our Podcast and enjoy.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 61

Getting to Know Shimmer Johnson

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

There is always a degree of concern anytime you begin to visit with an artist for the first time.  It is always those instances that you are keenly aware of the fact that you don’t have the luxury of being old friends.  Other than a short telephone conversation, I had never had the pleasure of getting to talk with Shimmer Johnson one-on-one and ask her questions about her life and her music.

Free Range Texan Episode 60 Shimmer JohnsonOn our Podcast it is always our goal to find the parts of an artist’s story that glitter above and beyond the everyday norms.  Sometimes you work harder and sometimes the person’s personality gives you a more comfortable run.  Shimmer Johnson gave us the type of interview that we walked away from thinking that we had a new and enjoyable friend in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Shimmer JohnsonShimmer is a pro with a work ethic that commands respect from anyone in the business who learns the daily steps of her music career.  If she opens up with you, you find out that very little has ever been handed to her on a silver platter.  And she has an amazing grasp of today’s music industry.  Oh yes, she has developed a good production team with which she writes and records music with a voice reminiscent of Judy Collins or Alison Krauss.

Shimmer JohnsonShimmer Johnson is unique, and we here at the Free Range Texan are glad to have met her.  The people at our studio asked me, “What did you think of Shimmer Johnson?”  I just smiled and said, “I like her.”  Her video Toy Soldier is the song we featured at the beginning of her interview, and we wanted to share it with everyone here.  We are glad to have her as our guest on Episode 60, and we wish her all the best.

Free Range Texan Episode 60

Kenny Maines … Doing What He’s Always Done

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

If you are from West Texas, the Maines Brothers have always been a part of the fabric that best represents our local musician community.  Lead singer, Kenny Maines, has been a part of our entertainment community for as long as any of us can remember.  As a broadcast/podcast producer, I have always looked at Kenny as a valuable resource and a great interview.  And now, he is as comfortable to visit with as ever.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 59 Kenny MainesThere is often a degree of aloofness in so many of our regional entertainment favorites.  There are those singers and recording artists in our area who remain lost in their own little world of periodic recordings and Facebook posts, while a genuine artist like Kenny Maines maintains a constant level of humble appreciation for his media contacts and fans through the years.  He is a gentleman of remarkable character.

Our visit with Kenny Maines once again reminded me of all the reasons that he remains one of the best.  Kenny has had a career as a nationally released recording artist, songwriter, and stage performer that began when he was a young child.   There is not a better example of someone who spent his life in the entertainment industry and still to this day, performing as a single, remains one the the best values available for recording studio vocal work to entertainment gigs.  His crowds continually quiet down and listen to the performance value of his sets.

Kenny MainesHere’s the thing, while we have not been close friends, we have been acquainted for a large part of our lives.  This article would be incomplete if I did not include one more thing that is clearly noticeable about spending any time around Kenny Maines.  He is simply the type of person that will very gently leave you wanting to be a better person yourself.  His talents are remarkable.  And his lifestyle remains one that commands enormous respect.  We are proud to have him as our guest on Episode 59 of the Free Range Texan Podcast.

For bookings and scheduling information, Kenny’s web site is:

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 59 Kenny Maines

The Marfa Lights

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

First, I want to say thank you to Danny Cadra, who kindly spent time visiting with us and shared some of his music that is authentically West Texan.   We want to thank Danny for his service in the Marine Corps and remind everyone that he has a web site and is available for bookings.

Free Range Talent File Danny CadraTo anyone who has grown up in or around the State of Texas, you know that the Marfa Lights are a part of the lore of our land.  What has always intrigued me is that they are in fact a real phenomena.  Every few years or so there are scientists or university study groups that announce that they have cracked the case of the Marfa Lights.  But when they apply their theories to the actual phenomena, like so many others before them they are quickly proven to not be able to exactly explain what the lights are doing or what causes them.

Mara Lights Night VisionOne of my favorite stories is when the government decided that they would get to the bottom of the Marfa Lights.  They took a battalion of Comanche Black Hawk helicopters to the popular viewing sight and waited to chase them down.  Our government’s finest flying machines were not capable of so much as even coming up with a theory.  In short, the lights play games.  In our Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 58 we tell a story of one such event.  There are hundreds of stories and hundreds of sightings, and they are always unique.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 58

He’s One and Only and Truly Missed

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

Between last month’s Free Range Texan episode and now, we lost Mike Pritchard to illness.   None of us saw it coming.

I’m not even sure I remember the first time I became aware of and acquainted with Mike Pritchard.  His singing, songwriting and performing capabilities are woven into the fabric of our West Texas community.  You could say a lot of things about Mike … he was a consummate professional; he was someone that could be counted on to perform and sing in almost any venue where he was needed.

Free Range Talent File Mike PritchardIf you were around him much in the musician community  you would know that he was appreciated and respected for his  talent and/or friendship.  In regards to all the things that I have just said, he was a real “what you see is what you get” kind of guy.  I liked him and I guess I always did.  If you were walking in to spend the evening somewhere, and you found out that Mike Pritchard would be singing, it was a good thing.

Anyone who tried to put Mike Pritchard’s music style in a box with a label would be hard pressed to keep the lid shut.  He sang and wrote great music for a lot of different occasions.  He and Wally Moyers had recently produced some great country music.  Mike was always a rock and roll guy at heart and could walk on stage with a six piece band and blow the roof off.  But lately … he was sounding much more soulful and blues-like, but it was always enjoyable.

Free Range Talent File Mike PritchardOur visit with Mike Pritchard occurred on Episode 34.  He was absolutely candid and talked personally with our listeners.  For me it was simple.  I was just talking with an old friend.  In Episode 57 of our Free Range Texan Podcast we step back and revisit the last time we thoroughly enjoyed Mike Pritchard’s stories and talent. Thank you Mike (he always called me Mikey) for this one last time you shared you life and your music.  Brother, we will see you down the way ….

Free Range Texan Episode 57 Mike Pritchard

Thin Blue Line

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

We first introduced Matt Westin in Episode 37.  We knew then that we absolutely wanted him to return to our Free Range Texan Podcast.  When we have a guest like Matt … who demonstrates style, good looks, and talent … many times we are just letting enough water go under the bridge so that we can update our audience on a continually growing career.

Free Range Talent File guest Matt Westin

Another thing that we know about Matt Westin … he is always a great interview.  I always have a goal to relax an artist early in an interview so that they talk comfortably about their personal thoughts, ranging from their family, their careers, or the back story on a great piece of music.  The word I would use for Matt Westin is genuine.  I have never once felt that he was putting on airs.  Instead, what you see is what you get.

Matt WestinMatt is starring in a full-length motion picture, “116 McDougal”, where he plays the character of Johnny Cash.  Production was slowed down by COVID last year, but we understand that at least two of the musical pieces for the movie are Matt Westin releases, and production is now ramping up.  We wanted to include one of Matt’s recently released videos here in the blog.  “Hey Bro” is just another one of several that is achieving noteworthy success over seas and here in north America alike.

If you’re getting the sense that I like Matt Westin as a recording artist and/or a person that I always look forward to visiting with, you’d be right.  Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 56 features a song called, “Thin Blue Line”, and the moment we heard it, I knew it was time to bring Matt Westin back to the Free Range Texan.  I’m glad he was available.  We are proud of him as a featured guest and as a friend.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 56