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:  http://www.kennymaines.com/about.html.

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

Gypsy Jayne’s New Album, “Roll Your Blues Away” Downloads For Free

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

Gypsy Jayne is an energizing shot of pure passion … country, jazz, gospel and rock, and you’re just beginning to scratch the surface.  A soulful singer, somewhat reminiscent of artists such as Janis Joplin and Grace Slick.  While it’s all true, enough of the stuff that’s on her bio.

Free Range Talent File Gypsy JaneI first met Gypsy Jayne personally when we visited at our Studio on Episode 28.  I found her to be warm, friendly, genuine, and a lot of the things she is not once she steps on stage.  Don’t miss understand what I’m saying … I like her, yet I am amazed at how a stage performance or a recording studio booking brings out her pirate persona.  It’s a good thing … sitting in the audience you will be amazed.

Gypsy JaneWe like to think of Gypsy Jayne as a friend.  She is easy to like, and with the help of her writing partner, Mike Burk, she is doing some phenomenal and soulful recordings.  There are a lot of sides to Gypsy Jayne, but on her latest album she rocks!  and we’re pleased to debut it on the Free Range Texan.

Booking and contact information:  806-680-1326; gypsyjayne.com.

I think by and large she has been overlooked long enough.  That’s why she is our special guest on the Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 53.  Enjoy as she “Rolls Your Blues Away.”

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 53

SugarCane Jane, Anthony Crawford and Savana Lee

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

Songwriters, recording artists, musicians, and entertainers … I’ve been talking to them, working around them, and interviewing them all of my life.  There are certain characteristics that they all have in common.  But once you get past all that, you find the real differences from one artist to the next.  Any person with the least bit of talent can carry on a conversation in an interview and manage to be pleasant for half an hour or so.  But you figure it out pretty quick, sometimes immediately and sometimes over time, what they are really all about.  You see, everybody wants to be a star, most have something to contribute, but it is a rare moment when you come across real professionals that make what I do a pleasure … folks like Anthony Crawford and Savana Lee, the main counterparts of SugarCane Jane.

Free Range Talent File SugarCane JaneThe Washington Times says, “an album that deserves to be at the top of the critics list.”  Vintage Guitar Magazine has written “one of the liveliest, most engaging, Americana CDs your likely to hear this or any year.” Anthony and Savana’s interview on our Podcast Free Range Talent File left me wondering why they had not been on our radar all along.

Anthony has played alongside such greats as Neil Young, Steve Winwood, and Dwight Yoakam, and now, thanks to a worldwide pandemic, two of the nicest and most professional people I have had the pleasure to visit with are spending a lot of time at home with their wonderful family.  Like so many others, they are figuring things out.

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I genuinely like Anthony Crawford and Savana Lee.  Their talented stage performances and inspired music writing are something I will watch for now and in the future. Their latest album, Ruffled Feathers:  Songs in the Key of Me  is just more of the great music that SugarCane Jane fans have come to expect from this great couple.

I am genuinely excited that the Free Range Texan Podcast has our spotlight centered on SugarCane Jane in Episode 52.  It is not to be missed.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 52

Gary Burk III Taxis for Take-Off in a Two Lane Airplane

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

I think if I were to choose one word to describe my initial conversation with Gary Burk III, the word would be “fresh”.  He’s one of those artists that is willing to think outside the box while struggling to play and record the music that he loves.

Free Range Talent File Gary Burk IIISo understand this, like so many other of our guests on Free Range Texan, I went through his professional management group (MTS … one of the best) and arranged to receive his music, promotional pictures, and biographic information, while setting up a time for our interview.  That means that when we talk for the first time, it is the first time we have ever actually met.  Not just anyone can be cordial, open and at ease in a first time meeting.  Gary Burk III aced it and shared not only his music, but his personal thoughts as well.

Gary Burk IIIBehind the scenes our production staff keeps a list … it’s just for us.  We call it “the ones to watch” list.  After visiting with Gary Burk III and hearing his music that he achieves in the studio, and finally watching the video presented here on our blog, Gary Burk III has clearly been added to our list of ones to watch.  We wish you all the best Gary and thank you for being on Episode 51 of our Free Range Texan Podcast.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 51


Kristen Karma Blazes On To the Free Range Texan

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

This time we reached out all the way to Toronto, Canada to find out about what our respected music business connections were telling us.  As Hank Sr. would say … Kristen Karma is setting the woods on fire!  Her song, Party Heros and follow-up release Dear John have all the right people talking about this new singer, songwriter, recording artist.

Free Range Talent File Kristen KarmaShe’s quite a bit more than the girl next door.  She started out by being a skilled producer in the recording studios, but quickly realized she was ready to step on the other side of the microphone.  She sings, she dances, she entertains, and is creating quite a name for herself.

Kristen KarmaI honestly found her to be genuinely likable, and she clearly knows her craft.  An interesting side note is when off the cuff I asked her if there was a special someone in her life, she quickly answered “yes”.  However, he’s never seen her perform (thank you Corona virus).

Kristen KarmaLike most performers nowadays, she has been forced to come in off the road.  But, she has spent this time recording a new album and sharpening her skills for a stage show that will definitely keep everyone entertained.  I didn’t ask her when she would be performing in Texas.  The sense that I get is that nobody knows when or where they are going to step on a stage anytime soon.  But I would never want to miss the opportunity to see/hear a performance from the electrifying Kristen Karma.  She’s one to watch!

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 50