Nowadays, from New York to North Dakota, there seem to be endless sources of entertainment, with concerts, bars, clubs, restaurants and movie theaters galore. But once upon a time, after a long day at work, there would be one true way to unwind—grab your best guy or gal, and head down to the dancehall for some cheap gin and some hot music. In Texas, Western Swing was king, and no one could play quite like band leader and lightning fast fiddler, Bob Wills. Fast forward to 2015, and three virtuosic musicians crossed paths and realized they shared a heartfelt affinity for those days of yore, record collections stacked with classic recordings from the ‘30s and ‘40s– the heyday of Texas swing. With those big western stars aligned, they thought just maybe, if the mood was right, they could bring people of all ages flooding back to the dancefloor, powerless against those foot stomping rhythms. The trio became the Western Flyers– Joey McKenzie with his world-class rhythm guitar and well-worn vocals, Katie Glassman, the recently crowned National Swing Fiddle champion, and Gavin Kelso, supporting it all with his upright bass. Recently they headed to Mighty Fine Productions in Denver, CO to work with producer Colin Bricker on Wild Blue Yonder, laying down brand new cuts of some old-time tunes.
Today, Elmore is premiering “You’re From Texas,” a track from the band’s upcoming release. McKenzie told us, “”You’re From Texas” has been a favorite tune of mine since I first heard it when I was a young teenager. That first recording I heard was on an old Bob Wills 78 rpm record, and I believe Leon McAuliffe was the lead vocalist. I loved it from the first time I heard it, and eventually wore that record completely out! A few years later someone turned me on to my favorite recordings of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys – The Tiffany Transcriptions. WHOA!! These radio transcriptions were basically recorded live in San Francisco, and to me and my fellow Western Flyers are the best stuff ever recorded of the Texas Playboys – absolutely amazing! On the Tiffany Transcriptions version of “You’re From Texas,” Tommy Duncan is the vocalist and absolutely scalds it! When we cut our version for Wild Blue Yonder, we tried to capture that sparkly feel and the electricity of the Tiffany version. I did my best to do Tommy proud on my lead vocal and rhythm guitar, Katie plays some incredible fiddle parts, and Gavin’s bass playing and harmony vocal is like icing on the cake. Right after we cut it, we knew it would be the first tune on the album.”
The track takes off like a shot, Glassman’s fiddle laying down the simple, catchy melody soon to come with McKenzie’s charming croon, one that conveys just a hint of that Texan twang around the edges. There’s no lag in the rhythm as the track steams along like a train, powered by Kelso’s chugging bassline. The Flyers manage to pull this track from the vaults and revive it, injecting it with a two-step freshness without reducing the unmistakably vintage aura. Listening to “You’re From Texas,” there’s no doubt they could make Wills himself cut a rug. The Western Flyers are churning out true, blue Western Swing, and when you hear it, you’ll know– “there’s no mistaking the brand.”
Wild Blue Yonder comes out on July 29th. Head to the Western Flyers’ website here and stream “You’re From Texas” below.