Panama City, you are in for a real treat tomorrow night (Friday, August 16th) at the new Twisted Saloon! My good friends the Tobacco Rd. Band are performing there from 9pm-1am. They truly bring a big, epic country concert experience to every stage they play on. I've had the privilege of getting to become great friends with these guys over the years. I've even opened for them on a few occasions.
Eric Durrance, the lead singer, is also a songwriting phenom. I've never known someone that can do what Eric does with just a pen, piece of paper, and a guitar. I bet Eric has written over 1,000 songs in his life. Songs of meaning, character. Add in great musicianship and masterful vocals. Yes, Eric is the total package. The musical equivalent of a five-tool player in baseball. On stage, Eric can seamlessly transition from hell-raising honky tonk standards to a thoughtful ballad set to acoustic guitar that seems to go from broken whisper to chilling holler, with extravagantly curled phrasing.
Many country artists throw around the word “real” to describe their music, but Eric doesn’t have to preach it. Instead, he manifests it with his ultra-personal material. The songs come from a real place. From real experiences, whether they be from rowdy fun or heartache.
The band also features Ben Castro on lead guitar. Ben is no stranger to Panama City Beach, and certainly no stranger to the stage at Tootsies. Ben is a fantastic guitar slinger. His powerful lead solos are a sizzling counterpoint to Eric's soulful and lively vocals.
The deeply melodic and flawless bass guitar parts are the work of Dale Shumate, one of my oldest and most treasured friendships. Dale encouraged me to pursue playing drums 20 years ago, and even took me to 5th Avenue Music store in Tallahassee to help score me a deal on a Yamaha drum kit. I love that man. And he is a musical treasure. Just when you realize he's one of the absolute best bass players you've ever seen or heard in your life, he gets on the mic and sings. That's when you realize he can sing like nobody's business. Don't be surprised when Eric exits the stage and Dale goes out front to absolutely slay a rock anthem by AC/DC.
And finally, the man that drives the freight train: Joe Markham. One bad ass drummer. Country. Rock. He can do it all. And I've been lucky to have Joe play drums for me a few times. Joe plays with such subtle, but deliberate genius. And the power that he brings in at just the right moment is awe-inspiring.
Click here for the event page on Facebook, and I hope everyone goes to see this awesome show!