Plenty of star power will be on preserve stage
Headlining artist for Mineola’s Sesquicentennial Sabine Stomp on Saturday is the Old 97’s.
One of the most enduring bands in the alt-country community, the Old 97’s merged power pop melodies with classic country feel, anchored by the rock-solid twang of guitarist Ken Bethea and the emotive vocals of Rhett Miller, whose tales of romantic misadventure hit a sweet spot between yearning and swagger.
The band first made a nationwide splash with their second album, 1995’s Wreck Your Life, while their major-label debut, 1997’s Too Far to Care, revved up their rock & roll leanings and punched up the melodic hooks. Despite positive reviews and a loyal following, the band never quite broke through to mainstream success, and in the 2000s, they left the major labels to return to the independents. The Old 97’s soldiered on to become alt-country’s greatest survivors, playing fiery live shows and releasing spirited albums like 2014’s insouciant Most Messed Up and 2020’s rollicking but thoughtful Twelfth.
Singer/songwriter Cory Morrow was born and raised in Texas, and he’s become a local legend in the Lone Star State, producing a handful of self-released albums and playing an endless string of shows from Amarillo to Corpus Christi that have made him a major attraction in the Southwest. Morrow started writing songs while in high school, but while studying at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, he developed a taste for Texas singer/songwriters such as Ray Wylie Hubbard and Robert Earl Keen, and struck up a friendship with fellow aspiring songwriter Pat Green. Morrow’s songs evolved with a more rootsy and personal style, releasing hits in the Texas scene and beyond for more than 2 decades. The strength of his live show and willingness to tour endlessly through the Southwest has helped him build a large and loyal Texas following and has endured him to music fans far and wide.
“All grit and no quit.” These are the deeply rooted words that Josh Ward lives by to an absolute fault. An anchored mindset that has led this Texas country music rising star from a drifter’s adolescence to the jeopardous game of the rodeo circuit to the punishing toil of the Texas oil fields, and on into the fickle arms of the music business.
Some might argue whether it is having sixteen consecutive #1 hit singles in Texas under his belt that has garnered him staying power, or that he is killing it in the social media world with over 100 million streams globally on Spotify and Apple Music. Maybe it’s his 5 venerated album releases, or maybe because he can not only bat a full house on a 200 plus dates a year touring average, but also rope in crowds on a first-time performance in an unfamiliar town.
While impressive, all those distinctions can come and go in the world of music. The reason for his staying power turns out to be quite a simple one. And that is because Josh Ward is country music blood to bone, and both Josh Ward and country music are simply not going to go away.
Chris Colston is from Lindale.
Since releasing his debut album Bombs Away in 2020, Chris Colston has been sweeping through the Texas music scene. He has built a dedicated fan base playing sold-out stadium shows with Koe Wetzel and touring with some of the most sought-after performers in the genre, including Parker McCollum, HARDY, Eli Young Band and Casey Donahew.
His musical story began at a young age when his stepfather signed him up for drum lessons, leading him to eventually pick up the guitar. Not long after, he formed his first band and hit the road playing anywhere that would let him in the door. He honed his musical sound playing for some of the most discerning music afficionados in Texas, where the threshold for anything contrived is the distance between the stage and a beer bottle. Finding his voice in an area known for producing outstanding musical talent set the bar and contributed to his personal style, which he describes as “gritty Texas roots combined with rock n’ roll.” Colston is currently in the studio working on a new album, set to be released later this year.