I discovered the world of country music during college, let me admit that first. Second, let me admit I wish I had found out about musicians like Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson long before then. I am also guilty of being a big fan of what is now labeled “bro country”. Whatever genre of country you’re into though the show at The Cabooze this Friday was a great tip of the cap to the old and new schools of country. Songs ranging from tributes to lost icons of Texas culture to raising a glass to enjoying life to its fullest, you were in good company with Zane and Aaron.
Zane Williams is the real deal when you are looking for country artists keeping the tradition alive. Full Texas cowboy hat, stache, and down to earth as can be Zane makes you feel right at home. I had a chance to just exchange hellos with him after his set and immediately you can sense he’s a man fully present in the moment and what he does. Zane’s set included songs such as Jayton and Jill, a song which according to Zane was the result of a random choice of words he threw into a song. Could have fooled me Mr.Williams!. A nice song to hear during the opening set was Overnight Success, which appropriately, included a nice homage of a verse to the Haggard himself.
After the break and a brief hello after nearly running into Mr.Williams on my way through the packed floor at The Cabooze, Aaron made his way to the stage. The crowd at this point ready to go lit up with an excited roar as the band’s fiddler and a second guitarist started up. I’d never claim to know much of country life or especially Texas, but just seeing Aaron and the guys you could tell they brought their Texas state of mind with them in full force.
Out of my element for this night’s show would be an understatement, but true to the country music scene I have learned to embrace I was immediately welcomed despite lugging around a camera through cramped spots. Something we photographers take great appreciation for and I’ve been known to buy drinks for people to say thanks. But anywho! True to the words of Aaron and Zane’s interviews in the past that I have read, Aaron himself holds true to the country traditions and you’ll find no bro country here. The closest song for those who dig the Eric Church, Kane Brown, or Luke Bryan type vibe might be Aaron’s new song Outta Style. Which my bias aside with loving the song, it’s overall just a great feel good song with a good sing along chorus for live shows.
Still familiarizing myself with Aaron’s music I can’t pretend to speak to his older tunes. But I can say some things I enjoyed catching his show in Minneapolis. Aaron loves what he’s doing and you see it from the first song. It comes through in his constant smiling and smirking while on stage to sharing stories about his wife thinking there’s cats outside their house mauling each other. Yup, that was a story he shared and I still am chuckling because it came out of left field. The guys that make up the band are also top notch entertainers. Backup guitarists can solo with the best of them, that goes for Zane’s band as well, and there isn’t a guy on stage that I noticed all night who didn’t look like they were happy to be there. Long story short, I had never been to the Cabooze until this year and I haven’t had a chance to see many country shows since my last time to WeFest but this was a great show.