Jason Boland and the Stragglers know a thing or two about country music.
And when speaking of country music, they speak of the country music that your dad listened to instead of the modern take on stereotypical Southern conventions that are now played through the radio waves.
Forming around 1998, Boland started writing songs acoustically and has been at the helm of the group for over 13 years, all the while making their way on the Red Dirt scene.
“It’s just real music, people doing their thing. They enjoy it. There’s no packaging or labels. It’s a geographic region where you have everything, western swing, folk and rock,” Boland said in reference to the style of the Red Dirt scene.
And if you’re wondering if Texas country music is much different than that of the Volunteer State, then don’t worry because it only comes in how you package it.
“It doesn’t differ too much. If you want to win over pop people then it does,” Boland noted.
With geography and way of life being critical elements to the construction of a song, Boland grasps the notion and draws upon these traits on the new album, Rancho Alto. Like most songwriters, personal experiences and individuals help mold the technique and Boland is no different.
“Bob Childers was a huge personal influence. When I heard it all change, Steve Earle brought it back around for me,” Boland added.
“Even if it’s a fictional story, I’m still writing about emotions or things that I have enough to speak on. I try to stay honest through the spirit of the song,” Boland said.
And that is definitely what Boland is attempting as you can tell on tracks like “Farmers Luck” where he explores the archetypal tale of land struggle between a farmer and the government.
Boland also enjoys bringing the songs to life on the road from Rancho Alto and other albums as they are currently on tour.
“In the live setting, it’s about feeling the audience. If people want to dance, then we can go that way. We let the song do something and laugh and smile. My favorite song is the right song for the moment,” Boland said.
The group will stop at the Exit/In in Nashville on Nov. 1 with American Aquarium opening in support.
After the tour comes to a close, the group will find some down time, as Boland is anxious to get back in the studio.
“I have some new ideas I want to try out,” Boland noted.
For more information on the group, visit www.thestragglers.com.