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

 

Jeremy Parsons New Music is Anything But A “Tragedy”

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

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.

Free Range Talent File Jeremy ParsonsThere 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 ParsonsJeremy 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.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 48 Jeremy Parsons

Songman Cary Banks

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

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.

Free Range Texan Talent File Cary BanksI 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.

Cary C. BanksSo 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.

Cary C. BanksWe 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.

Free Range Texan Episode 47

Stetson Walker is Welcome Any Time

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

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.

Free Range Texan Tile File Stetson WalkerSo, 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.

Stetson WalkerWe 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.

Stetson Walker