Neon lights cast shadows across muddy tracks in the Tumbleweed Dance Hall parking lot as people pulled up to see Whiskey Myers.
Inside the dimly lit dance hall lived more neon signs, setting a backdrop for the sea of trucker hats, Cinch vests and Ariat.
The Steel Woods, a quartet originally from Nashville, Tennessee, opened for Whiskey Myers. They took the stage with swagger and began a kick-stomping rhythm that caused all in attendance to stop and listen. The lonesome voice of Wes Bayliss, guitar and lead vocals, speaks to the blues nature of the south.
One line from their song “Straw in the wind”, “…strangers ‘round here disappear like straw in the wind”, speaks to the hardness and pain of a life lived by those trying to get by. A harmonica blares and snaps the audience back to focus as another song begins.
Jason “Rowdy” Cope, lead guitar, kept a cool, steely expression throughout the set as he power strummed on a mint green guitar. The Steel Woods finished their set raising guitars to the air as fleeting chords echoed through the hall.
Just before Whiskey Meyers took the stage, the crowd swelled with anticipation. The smell of 3.2 beer and tobacco grew stronger as the sextet took their places. The first few notes vibrated with deafening sound. Front-man Cody Cannon interacted with the crowd, receiving hoots and hollers in response.
Originally from Palestine, Texas, Whiskey Meyers is reaching fame across the United States. Their self-titled 2019 album hit No. 2 on the US rock charts and No. 6 on the all-genre Billboard 200. Guitar riffs and an upbeat tempo earns comparisons to Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats or Led Zeppelin in their earlier days.
Recent OSU alumna Brekyn Worbes gushed about Whiskey Myers, explaining why they are her favorite band.
“The music isn’t like today’s mainstream country; they’re more red dirt,” Worbes said. “The music is all so unique in telling a new story in each song. They’re great souls who love what they do and who love their fans even more.”
It is clear to see why their listeners are widespread and loyal. Their mix of indie styling, twangy yet powerful guitar and bluesy, heartfelt lyrics is highly attractive to a wide range of audiences. Whiskey Myers’ music is accessible to about everyone, regardless of background.
Everyone in the Tumbleweed found their own space to enjoy. Some two stepped in the back while most looked on, nodding their heads and stomping or clapping. Cornhole bags flew through the air outside as others took a break from the crowd.