Music News & Reviews

November 15, 2012

Jason Boland: Making country music his way

It takes just one spin of Jason Boland and the Stragglers’ most recent album, “Rancho Alto,” to know it’s all about traditional country for the straightforward band, which will perform Wednesday at the Cotillion.

It takes just one spin of Jason Boland and the Stragglers’ most recent album, “Rancho Alto,” to know it’s all about traditional country for the straightforward band, which will perform Wednesday at the Cotillion.

Fiddles, banjos and hammer dulcimers help make a sound that is straight out of yesteryear. It’s refreshing to many fans, considering that so many young country acts add pop sonics to their sound.

“That’s not something I want to do,” Boland said. “The more you add pop and rock elements to country music, the less it is country music, at least the country music I grew up with and embrace. We do it our way in terms of how we play our music and with the production of our music. We’re country.”

That was evident with Boland and the Stragglers’ fifth album, 2008’s “Comal County Blue,” which put the band on the map and on the Billboard charts.

“A lot of people heard us for the first time with that record,” Boland said. “You can tell what we’re all about.”

What the band, which also includes pedal steel guitarist Roger Ray, bassist Grant Tracy and drummer Brad Rice, is about is making uncompromising, meaningful music, with hooks and integrity.

“We do things our way,” Boland said “That’s not easy for a lot of bands. So many country acts chase the almighty dollar. They see how much rock bands make, and they make concessions. I can do without going down that path. I would rather stay with the steel guitar and go with the banjo.”

Boland is as tough as his music. His personal life would make for, well, a great country song.

The Oklahoma native is a survivor who lived through a near-fatal car accident, a divorce, a polyp on his vocal cords and alcoholism.

“I don’t want anyone to cry for me,” Boland said. “Everybody goes through stuff. I went through ups and downs like everybody else. No one has a life in which it’s easy every day. People have gone through worse stuff than I’ve gone through. You tough it out. You take what you experience and you put it in song. At least that’s what the country guys from back in the day did. What I’ve been through gives me a unique perspective. I can’t do anything about what happened to me except write about it. I love to write and make things happen with this band.”

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