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!
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.
When you are going in at a scheduled interview time to visit with an artist, and while you may have read a bio, looked at some pictures, and listened to her music, it will be the first time you have ever actually met this person. Truth is you can look at pictures all day, but unless you’re the type that gets a quick sense for people, ya just don’t know until you know … and even then, your first impression may not be spot on.
That’s the way I felt when I was about to speak with Ashley Puckett. On the Free Range Texan we do our homework. I already know the answers to most of the questions I am asking. Ashley Puckett’s promotion machine was being handled by people in the industry that I have grown to respect. In short, they don’t deal with riff raff. MTS Management Group is one such organization, so you assume that their artists have their stuff together.
We on Free Range Texan always endeavor to make our guests (artists) not only feel at home, putting them at ease as quickly as possible in an interview, but we take steps to give them good representation on our Free Range Texan Network. With an artist like Ashley Puckett, it’s actually pretty easy.
I know what you’re thinking. I thought this article was about Ashley Puckett, and I guess, I just wanted everyone to understand that while a lesser experienced interviewer may feel a bit inhibited by speaking directly with an artist like Ashley Puckett, the truth is all that beauty and talent is just a layer or two that peels back into a genuinely friendly and regular girl. My conversation with Ashley Puckett was delightful.
You see, all of this is important. Ashley Puckett is easily glamorized by her movie starlet good looks and powerful delivery in the recording studio. But it is my opinion that the girl next door is alive and well in Ashley’s heart that beats for country music and those important things in life, like personal and business relationships that are characterized by honesty and respect.
In this day and time, you never know. So many things can happen as a career begins to skyrocket. But now and then we feel like we want to pick one, and use those familiar words, “this one is one to watch.” That is exactly the way we feel about Ashley Puckett, and why we hand picked her to be our guest on Episode 41 of the Free Range Texan Podcast, rolling out Thursday, March 13th right after dark Texas time. Enjoy!
George Ensle is like a golden thread that is run in, through and around the Texas home-grown music scene … as he puts it, “since way back in the day.” On top of his songwriting, recording and performing, he also sits in as producer on a number of popular Texas music recordings.
George Ensle’s community of friends refer to him as a “song painter”. He is an artist, and his music is popularized by the stories it tells and the pictures that his music paints. And speaking of stories, he’s got some great ones that he shares on our podcast. Additionally, he mentions a new song he has just released for broadcast with its own video. We are glad to podcast premier it here.
Recommended listening is the label we put on Episode 39 of the Free Range Texan Podcast, where we are glad to introduce our friend, George Ensle.
Most of you will be expecting an article about Episode 38’s special guest Kristyn Harris … and so it is. But I mentioned on the Podcast that we would share some details on this blog about what happened behind the scenes getting Kristyn Harris’ interview recorded for our Podcast.
Please understand that I have done interviews for broadcast since I was 13 years old … that was 53 years ago when I started in broadcasting. I only mention this now to try to get our readers to understand that what happened while attempting to obtain an interview with Kristyn Harris has never happened to me … ever … not even once! And, everything that happened was our (Free Range Texan) fault. Let me explain.
Our standard set-up for interviews … either live in the studio, mobile recorder, or telephone … happens when we set up an appointment with the artist or the artist’s management, while requesting publicity photographs for our blog and/or advance publicity for the upcoming Podcast episode. I was able to talk with Kristyn directly, to explain to her what we had in mind and set up a production date for the interview (by phone). In her usual delightful, professional manner, she agreed and the date was set.
In the studio I arranged for all the right equipment to be hooked up properly and Kristyn arranged to be in a somewhat quiet place so that we could visit for our interview. I called her at the appointed time. She was near McKinney, Texas, and I was out yonder in West Texas where our studio was experiencing one of those made to order West Texas dust storms.
I had a delightful interview with Kristyn, and really enjoyed talking with her and knew I had some golden material to edit a great interview for our Podcast. Usually I speak with the artist on the phone briefly afterwards to thank them for being our guest. But I had no sooner completed the interview than we experienced a brief three or four second power failure at our studio … shutting down our computers and the digital recording that I had just made with Kristyn. She’s still on the phone, and I’m looking at a blank computer screen! Words do not easily express my level of frustration at that moment. But worse than that, I needed to immediately apologize to Kristyn, tell her that I had just lost her interview, as it was not yet saved, and I wondered if she would be willing to repeat the time to visit with us again.
She told me in a very kind way that she would be pleased to do it again, but did not have time to do it at the present time. We set another interview for a couple of days later. I called her, she was kind and cheerful, and we did the interview again. An unedited interview for our podcast can take 20 minutes or more. She did it all again, she answered the same questions over again, acted spontaneous and surprised, and even laughed at my jokes. The whole time I was thinking what a great young lady this is, I am so glad we have her on our podcast. I finished the interview with Kristyn, turned to my computer screen to immediately save it, and embarrassingly I looked at a black computer screen with no recording. I didn’t know what to say. Most any entertainer that I have ever worked with professionally, clearly would have every right to cancel the interview, and walk away.
But here’s the reason for this story. After fumbling for words and admitting that the whole thing was our fault, Kristyn Harris said to me, “That’s OK Michael, I have plenty of challenges with my electronic equipment” and with a smile in her voice, she assured me that the whole deal was no problem, and generously said “We’ll just do it again.” Honestly folks, I was ready to cry. Not because of our electronic fowl-ups, but because on the other end of my phone line, was a young lady of remarkable character, and the type of grateful and positive attitude that is hard to find in this business in this day and time.
First, I would like to say hats off to Kristyn Harris’ parents … clearly she’s been raised right. She is a beautiful young lady, inside and out. She writes and records great music! And … wow … can she sing!! My prayer for her is that she finds an agent that is worthy of her skill and the heart that beats in her Western Swing music. She is the real and complete package. We are proud to have her as our guest on the Free Range Texan Podcast, Episode 38 … rolling out Thursday evening, January 30, 2020. Any, yes, Kristyn … I still can’t get “What A Horse’s Gotta Do” out of my head. Thank you for being you.
An interview with Matt Westin is one of those conversations that enables you to quickly get passed the layers and meet with the real person that drives his thought processes and goals. Not so easy when you are dealing with veteran entertainers, but nice to find in a young gentleman not yet building barriers to protect himself.
Here’s the thing … I was immediately struck by a young man who set out to find his place in the world and after a time realized that his place, for now anyway, is back where he can be close to what he describes as “the legacy” of his family. I like him! And, I think the rest of you will as well.
Now I’ve said all that and kept the icing on the cake for last. This guy can sing! Not only that, but he has found great producers and promotions support, which allows him to present the complete package.
Honestly, when we first began to be interested in Matt Westin was at the point where we were just sent a recording. Then the more we found out about him, and enjoyed getting to know his polished looks and stage performance, we realized he would be a great fit for the Free Range Texan Podcast.
One of the things that we enjoy is being able to introduce our listeners to people we are certain they will like. That is why when we found Matt Westin and his remarkable talent, we were anxious to include him on Episode 37. We urge you to look for his album “Legacy”, and enjoy hearing his story on the way up. Matt Westin is part of Episode 37 as our Podcast rolls out Thursday, January 16th after dark United States’ central time.