Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Get a taste of real Texas country

Casey Donahew Band rolls into Ketchum for one-night stand

Express Staff Writer

The Casey Donahew Band brings small town Texas love to this small town.
Courtesy photo

    The Casey Donahew Band is bringing the red dirt of Texas country to the lava rock of Idaho at Whiskey’s in Ketchum this weekend.
    Considering his inspirations include frequent Idaho performers Randy Rogers and Cross Canadian Ragweed and legends Garth Brooks and George Straight, there should be little lost in translation when they blow into town Friday, Nov. 8, for one night only.
    Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, and given the band’s increasing popularity on the touring circuit, this will likely pull in a crowd.
    Founded by Casey Donahew, who offers a good Texas boy nod to his closest ally, wife Melinda, the band rose from one-night stands to the top of the state’s charts with redneck anthems such as “White Trash Story” and “Moving On,” which critics called reminiscent of what Reckless Kelly would do with Robert Earl Keen out front.  
    The musical farm boy who rides and ropes believes songs have the power to help people through stages of life, so while his shows can be vibrating and loud, they can be fun and resonant as well.
    “I’ve just always liked the country songs from the 80s,” he said. “It seems like a time when there was a lot of great songwriting going on, and I just enjoy people who can tell a story with a song.”
    His latest studio CD, “Standoff,” contemplates all the highs and lows of real life, from the heartaches to the belly laughs and everything in between. The CD is packed full of that unbridled, can-do indie spirit that has rocket-powered his entire career right from the start.
    “Double Wide Dream” is a redneck’s declaration of love for his hot mess of a wife, “Give You A Ring” is heartfelt romance and “One Star Flag” is a smoker.
    Donahew asserts that the tunes on this new CD cover a broad range of material and emotions and showcase a maturity that can only be achieved through lots of living, loving and losing.
    “Hopefully, I’ve grown as a songwriter over the past few years, but I don’t try to get too carried away with it. I don’t want to try to be too serious about everything,” he said. “This album is really not too far from what we’ve been doing from day one, just a continuation of it.
    “I live in the country, I like to be outdoors and shoot guns, and hunt, and drive trucks, so those are things we write about.”
    He shared a bit more of his world view before the concert.

IME: Given the state of the U.S., the popularity of Honey BooBoo and Duck Dynasty, is the new American Dream a “Double Wide Dream?”
    “Ha! Not sure if that’s everyone’s dream, but I do think people are looking for entertainment that isn’t so serious. Whether that’s a song, movie or TV show, people want to be entertained. I think people want to check out of their own problem for a little bit and just have some fun.”

Why is country music and redneck lore getting so much attention again? Even Sheryl Crow crossed over.
    “I think there is definitely a trend in music towards the common man—songs that relate to everyday life and things people can relate to.”

You had my heart at “One Star Flag,” because I’m a transplanted Texan, but who is your audience?
    I like to think we do a little something for everyone, but we definitely trend towards the rodeo crowd. Country folks are my people.

Idaho is filled with little towns like Burleson, Texas. But it doesn’t have the historical romance of the South. Do you worry about breaking out of the Texas mold and taking on a broader scope or are you going to stick with the script, so to speak?
    I only know one way to do what we do. I am going to take my songs and my show to new markets and hope it’s accepted.

What distinguishes you from the pack? The lyrics you choose, or the way you shape the music?
     I think we have a unique sound derived by a unique cast of players in the band. We try and have fun and be real on stage, and I think people respond to that. We don’t dress up like Halloween every night. We put on our jeans and boots and do our thing!

Anything happening right now to push your creativity in a certain direction?
    I just keep writing songs that I like. It’s the same formula since Day 1—I try and write things that I enjoy, and I have been fortunate to find an audience with the same taste.

What can folks expect coming to your show?
     I hope a good time. We take pride in our live show and work hard at entertaining our fans. I hope you leave the show wanting to come see it again and bring a friend.


Listen to real country
When: Friday, Nov. 8. Doors open at 9 p.m.
Where: Whiskey Jacques’, Ketchum.
Tickets: $12 in advance at or $15 at the door.


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