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MP3 Western Underground - Unbridled
Encompassing country, and western elements, with a powerful rock and roll edge, this album transports you to the wide open American west. Western Underground spent 16 years on tour with American Icon, Chris LeDoux, and you can hear it in this album
11 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Country Rock, COUNTRY: Rodeo
“UNBRIDLED” (A. Smith / D. Carroll)
“Unbridled” really sets the tone for the whole project and is a perfect way to open the CD. Dustin approached Anthony Smith in search of a song that fit the "rodeo rock ''n roll" mold Chris LeDoux made popular. Anthony returned with a song he had penned with Dani Carroll. It immediately struck us as an anthem for our record. It does a great job of conveying the intensity of today’s rodeo cowboy. The instrumentation is full-throttle, and the message is loud and clear: A cowboy''s fears are simply no match for the adrenaline rush of that next ride.
“ONE HAND IN THE RIGGIN''” (B. Hill / B. Bouton)
This is a great rodeo song that was written by Brenn Hill and Bruce Bouton. Chris was a big fan of Brenn, who is a cowboy singer from Utah. He’s an extraordinary guy and an excellent writer. The song tells a story that''s familiar to most cowboys. He''s short on money, short on sleep, and short on time, but he''ll do whatever it takes to make it to that next rodeo.
“THINK ABOUT RAIN” (M. McKinney / J. Scott)
Our buddy, Matt McKinney, wrote this powerful ballad with Joie Scott. Matt started this song after coming back from his home state of South Dakota where a major drought was taking its toll on so many rural families, including his own. Like so many farmers and ranchers out there, they''re doing their best to find hope in a desperate situation. It’s really a song about staying strong through tough times.
“KING OF WYOMING” (M. Sissel / R. Merrill)
Mark wrote this song with Chris’ first booking agent/manager, Randy Merrill, about five years before we lost Chris. It’s about a man who is tired of city life and dreams of heading west to ride with one of his cowboy heroes. The song wasn’t meant to directly speak of Chris but rather more about the extraordinary feelings we had as a result of hanging with a true American Icon.
“BROKEN IN” (R. Akins / G. Loyd / B. Hayslip)
We heard this at the office one day as we were looking for songs to record and loved it instantly. We''re not youngsters out here, and this song sums up the idea that being a little broken in is a good thing.
“WHITE BUFFALO” (M. Sissel / R. Merrill)
Mark read a story in a newspaper in the mid-70’s, about the lore of these white buffalo. It struck a chord with him so strongly that he cut the article out and carried the story around with him for 25 years, thinking that one day he would get around to writing a song about it. It took a good amount of time, but eventually Mark found the right co-writer in Randy Merrill. We really love how this one came out. Dave Brainard, our co-producer, helped make the recording more of a piece of art with some great arrangement ideas.
“STEAM ENGINE” (M. Sissel)
This is a fun song Mark wrote from the angle of a person being a steam engine about at the end of their era, as they watch the new diesel engines taking over – similar to being “the old guitar player” watching these talented young kids come up the line playing their butts off.
There''s always a passing of the baton, and you just can''t stop progress.
“GOOD ‘OL DAYS TO COME” (D. Evans / D. Brainard / T. Mathews)
This is a feel-good song and one we felt summed up our feeling that we will always look back fondly on the good ‘ol days running down the road with Chris and all the memories we created back then. They should never be forgotten, but this song reminds us not to spend too much time in the past, when you can still make each new day one to remember.
“HERE” (D. Brainard / D. Couch / G. Becker)
It''s a long road down life’s highway, searching for a place where you really belong...and for someone to share the trip with. It can be a lonely run, but if you don''t give up you may just find what you''re looking for when you least expect it. Love trumps all, and when you find it, you don''t need to be anywhere but right HERE.
“ROCK SPRINGS TO CHEYENNE” (K. Attaway)
We think we’re drawn to songs about Wyoming. Our good friend, Kip Attaway, wrote this one. There''s a ton of heart in this song and Pops Evans sings it with all the soul you could ever ask for.
“I’VE GOT TO BE A RODEO MAN” (C. LeDoux)
We’re tickled Ned stepped in to do this. It’s a fitting tribute from a son to his father. We could tell Chris was there with us through the recording process, and that was never more evident than on this song. The recording – captured on tape with Ned singing and strumming a guitar – is as raw and real as it gets. It''s really between Ned and his Dad, and that''s just how we left it.
Western Underground, the driving force behind the rodeo rock ‘n’ roll sound of the legendary Chris LeDoux for 16 years, is writing a new chapter.
Instead of hanging it up following the devastating loss of its charismatic lead showman and world champion professional bareback rider to a rare form of cancer in March 2005, the band regrouped and hit the road to pay tribute to their longtime boss, mentor and friend. It wouldn’t be easy, but it was what the always-supportive Chris would want them to do.
Country singer Dustin Evans, a frequent opening act and successful artist in his own right whose dad, Kyle Evans, had recorded on Chris’ independent label, seemed the natural choice to handle a majority of the vocal work in the band’s new configuration. He was invited into the band in 2005, bringing with him some great songs, an incredible voice, and a charismatic stage presence all his own.
Evans and original members Bobby Jensen (keyboards) and Mark Sissel (guitars), along with longtime drummers KW Turnbow & Chris’ son, Ned LeDoux, and bassist Lyle Evans, allowed fans to once again experience the powerful sound of Western Underground. Received with open arms at show after show, the band soon found out fans weren''t thinking goodbye but anxiously anticipating what was next.
Now...as the summer of 2007 winds down, Western Underground is back, having emerged from a month-long stay in a Nashville recording studio armed with Unbridled – a brilliant batch of new music that stays true to the style and sound the band had developed behind Chris while carrying on the traditions and values that were so important to him.
Produced by Dave Brainard and Western Underground, Unbridled is a treat to listen to – the musicianship exceptional, the vocals crisp, the craftsmanship on display for all to hear. It encompasses country and western elements but still rocks heartily. It’s traditional and authentic (one literally feels as if they’ve been transported to the wide open spaces of the American West upon first and subsequent listens), yet innovative. And somehow, it causes the listener to feel both nostalgic and anticipatory. It’s cowboy and rodeo music with an edge and a fresh twist, and nobody in the business can fill that niche better than Western Underground.
Opening with the high-octane guitar riffs of the driving, anthemic title track and the dueling piano- and fiddle-laced toe-tapper, “One Hand In The Riggin,’” Unbridled gets off to a rousing start. Steel guitars weep through the third track, “Think About Rain,” a thoughtful ballad written from the view of a rancher trying to keep a positive outlook despite struggling through an awful drought, and the galloping groove of the Chris LeDoux-inspired “King Of Wyoming” (co-written by Sissel) relays the story of a man tired of city life who dreams of heading west to ride with one of his cowboy heroes.
The tongue-in-cheek “Broken In,” peppered with excellent slide guitar work throughout, adds an effective element of lightheartedness, as does the chugging sounds of the all-in-good-fun self-depreciating “Steam Engine.” An engaging Native American story effectively unfolds through the tribal feel of Sissel’s “White Buffalo,” co-penned with Randy Merrill; the band’s deep-rooted Wyoming ties are genuinely evident in “Rock Springs To Cheyenne”; while the incredibly infectious “Good ‘Ol Days To Come” and “Here” do all but force listeners to roll down their car and truck windows to experience a perfect “open road soundtrack” at high volume.
Refreshingly, Unbridled forgoes the common themes of drinking and cheating, replacing them with decidedly more positive, uplifting fare, including three songs written by Sissel, one by Evans and two by Brainard.
“We had an outstanding time in the studio,” Sissel said. “Man, it was great to finally get down to making this music. If Chris were still here, I would want him to feel like we’re carrying on what he started...that we’re reaching out to his fans with the same passion he had. If I could somehow be able to jump into his truck with him and see our disc in his player...that would be the ultimate.”
“It was pretty neat to have everyone in the studio to finally do this,” Chris’ son, Ned, adds. “Dad was always tellin'' us to record something. He''d hear us jammin'' during sound checks and then ask what we were playin''. It’s something Dad would be proud of I’m sure. He would say, ‘Way to go, guys.’”
During Chris’ all-too-short 56 years of life, he was indeed a rare breed. Beloved by the rodeo world, his music captured the spirit of the sport he loved so dearly - and of the American West - as few will likely ever match. Known for his sense of humor and self-deprecating manner even in the most painful of times, LeDoux was widely admired for being an unwavering example of a good man who always did the right thing. Many heroes don’t quite live up to their reputations. This Wyoming, and rodeo, hero outshined them all.
Sissel, who stood by Chris’ side for 16 years, has many fond memories of his good friend. “It was the most unbelieveable experience. It was like getting up every morning and walking down the road with John Wayne. The only difference was there was no on-screen/off-screen. Chris was the same every day – an extraordinary person with such an upstanding character; an exceptional man. I''ve never met anybody like him and probably never will.”
Fittingly, Western Underground closes its latest chapter – Unbridled – with a heartfelt tip of the hat to the man who joyfully logged so many miles with his band of rodeo brothers over the years.
On the final night in the studio after recording had wrapped, Ned asked if he could take a guitar in and sing one of his Dad’s songs, unaware of the magic that would shortly ensue and forever be captured on tape. The result is track #11 – a poignant version of his father’s “I’ve Got To Be A Rodeo Man.”
“I know it’s rough,” Ned says of the raw acoustic recording. “I never claimed to be a singer or guitar player but I really wanted to work up that song as a tribute from a son to his father. All through the recording process, I could tell Dad was with us. I felt that the strongest when I sang this song. It’s for him.”
- Jason Henke
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