New Braunfels band, Poor J. Brown, draws from their environment and life experiences to create soulful, authentic, Texas music. Their second full-length album, WHERE THE RIVER MEETS THE RAILS (Independently Released), is a testament to that. The record is named after a spot on the Guadalupe River where the band has gathered over the years to fish, drink beer, barbecue, write songs, and host their annual crawfish boil. A railroad bridge towers above the pebble beach where they like to hang out, and train conductors always wave as they pass above. It's the kind of place that is pure Texas, and so is this record. Tracks like "Way of the Gun" are reminiscent of the early days of Texas blues with driving guitar riffs and solos that would made Doyle Bramhall proud. "Put It In The Gumbo" is a catchy east Texas Cajun song that is fast becoming a fan favorite. Songwriter Leon Waddy remarks, "The song is so simple and silly that I had no idea it would become so popular." He adds, "My mom is from Madisonville, Louisiana and she grew up poor. Her gumbo recipe had anything and everything in it...depending on what was in the fridge. That's what the song is about." Much like their debut album, WHERE THE RIVER MEETS THE RAILS is a musical roller coaster ride that includes upbeat Texas country, funk, straight forward rock, and even some ballads. The most powerful of all is the country rock anthem, "Daddy's Son". It's a song Waddy wrote about his father, who passed away a few months ago. "The song's not just about my dad, but the legacy of hard work, honesty, and integrity he instilled in his children." Waddy summed it up this way, "It's about being the man your father raised you to be." Last spring, Poor J. Brown celebrated the band's first anniversary with new lead singer, Myles Smith. Their original singer, Dave Fenley, of America's Got Talent fame, moved to Nashville to pursue his solo career two years ago. The band's excited to be releasing the first album with Myles because it's a representation of what they sound like now. Smith had some pretty big shoes to fill, but his vocal range and gravel-road soul comes through in every track. He was, simply, the right man for the job.
Poor J. Brown is:
Myles Smith - lead vocals
Clete Ritta - guitar, pedal, steel, mandolin
Leon Waddy - keys, guitar
Matt Morgan - accordian
Tim Germadnik - bass
Matt Parker - drums
Formed in 2009, the band has won over audiences and critics alike by mixing and bending genres to create soulful, authentic, Texas music.
You always hear about these hard working “blue-collar bands”, the full-time musicians that paid their dues or hit the road for decades before they had any commercial success. Poor J. Brown is not one of those bands. Poor J. Brown is a band full of guys that might live next door to you. Guys with kids, “regular” jobs, and lives. It’s a chore just scheduling a practice for a band where 5 of the 6 members have kids and full time jobs. And somehow these guys get together as much as they can to make incredible music. That’s the whole point. Poor J. Brown’s sound is a whole lot of sacrifice, joy, pain, and laughter coming together in musical form. Its rooted in the front porch soul of East Texas and Southern Louisiana, but it's also the back porch roots music of the Texas Hill Country and the blues of New York and Chicago. Somehow all of these influences come together to create a sound that is strikingly original yet familiar. Leon Waddy writes the majority of the songs but David Fenley sings them like they were his autobiography. His voice has soul, character, and more gravel than the back roads of Texas. Matt Morgan and Tim Germadnik are what front porch family music is all about. The musical offspring of their parents, who played in the same family jug band for over 25 years, they're keeping the tradition alive. Kevin Cooley provides the rhythmic foundation, and Clete Ritta adds the icing from pedal steel, to mandolin, to lead guitar. Poor J. Brown is not just Americana music. It’s American music. They call it “Hill Country Soul” but one hears blues, funk, country, soul, rap and reggae all blended in different combinations throughout their music. You’ll hear the influences but even more than that you’ll hear what happens when great songwriting comes together with great musicianship. Poor J. Brown is all about these combinations. Great guys and great music…the end result being one hell of a great time.
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