The Emery County Fair Board is looking forward to Little Texas performing at the Emery County Fair on Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. Little Texas was conceived in 1988, in Nashville, Tenn., by a handful of guys in their early 20s who were willing to do just about anything to bring their brand of rockin' country to the forefront of the music industry. Before hitting the big time, the band crisscrossed America for three long years, playing every bar and honky tonk from Myrtle Beach, SC to Los Angelas, Calif., all the while writing songs that were destined to change the sound of modern country, and perfecting a stage show that has been critically acclaimed worldwide as one of the best in the business.
Known at one time as "the hardest working band in country music," it was not uncommon for the band to play more than 300 shows a year, without a bus, without a driver, without tour support from a label. They simply made it on their own, and that seasoning shows up even today, almost 17 years later.
"There isn't a person in this band who has ever met a stranger, " says drummer Del Gray. "We have never adopted the 'star' mentality. We're just hard working guys who love what we do, and we're blessed that people seem to enjoy it. We've always been accessible to our fans, simply because there's no reason not to be. It's just not in us to be any other way. We're fans of a lot of different artists ourselves, so we know first hand what it's like to be able to meet our heroes, and how special it makes us feel."
The band debuted on the charts in 1991 with the song "Some Guys Have All the Love," which became their first top 10 hit. It was soon followed up with another top 10, "First Time for Everything." The only problem was, with two top 10 singles, the band still didn't have a full album in the can. "Our label wasn't sure about us from the beginning, " said bassist Duane Propes in a 1995 interview. "Who could blame them? At that time there had never been a country act that young signed to a label. There was no individual artist of that age, and of course, no bands like Little Texas that really looked and performed like a rock act.
They took a big chance just putting singles and videos out there. We wound up jumping in the studio during a small break in our schedule and hammering out the first album in a matter of days. Porter and Dwayne were literally writing lyrics in the TGI Friday's up the street from the studio in Memphis just to get the thing done."
History proves it worked. The album First Time For Everything contained five singles, all making it into the upper echelon of the charts. The next album, Big Time, proved that Little Texas was not going to suffer from the "sophomore slump." Guitarist and writer Porter Howell explains, "Someone once told me that you have your whole life to write your first album, and then you have to figure out a way to write another album that can meet or beat the standards set by yourself in a matter of months. That's some heavy pressure." But the band didn't have time to think about that. They had quickly moved from clubs to an opening slot on an arena tour headlined by Clint Black.
Once again, they found themselves writing on the road, trying out songs during sound checks and running into the studio at a moment's notice during sound checks.
This time truly was the big time for Little Texas, as the Big Time album spawned three number one singles with "What Might Have Been," "God Blessed Texas" and "My love," capturing a CMT award, a billboard award, a Radio & Records award and a Grammy nomination, and to date has sold almost three million copies.
Still, there was no time to enjoy the success. Little Texas immediately went from one arena tour to another, this time with label mate Travis Tritt and Tricia Yearwood on a tour sponsored by Budweiser. The tour lasted the better part of the year 1993, and the band then found themselves on the road for more, first with Kenny Rogers on his prestigious Christmas tour, then headlining the 1994 Crown Royal tour.
During this time, the band played a part in Common Thread: A Tribute to the Eagles, which later earned their first CMA Award for "Album of the Year." The song "Peaceful Easy Feeling," charted well albeit without an official release, and with that, Little Texas broke another record in music history: three different songs on three different charts with three different lead singers, all at the same time; a feat that has never been repeated since by any band. The year 1994 also brought them the ACM Award for "Vocal Group of the Year."
In the fall of 1994, Little Texas released the album Kick A Little, and their first true headlining arena tour began, supported by Tim McGraw and Blackhawk. The tour and the album were huge successes, highlighted by shows in Detroit and Minneapolis fully selling out the arenas just days after their heroes, The Eagles, had played the same venues. "There is nothing like the feeling of walking into a truly full arena, with no backdrop down behind the stage, wide open, and knowing there are people who paid for tickets and were sitting behind the stages had as much fun as the people who were in front." The tour continued on through 1995, finishing as the fifth largest grossing tour of the year, and over the course of '94 and '95 the band received two more Grammy nominations.
By late 1995, Little Texas-Greatest Hits was released, and Little Texas decided that it was time to take a break and reach out into Nashville to see what could be created with outside writers.
Thus, 1996 was aside to take some time off the road for some relaxation, family time and song writing. During this "break," they still played around 100 shows, but it was a vacation by comparison to the last seven years of constant touring. The result of the year was Little Texas, which would prove to be the last album from the band for some time.
The years of hard work had cemented Little Texas in the minds and hearts of country music fans worldwide, with hit songs and constant tours through the USA, Canada and Europe, but the heavy touring schedules had taken their toll.
The group decided to simply leave the scene while still on top in late 1997. "It was a decision that was incredibly hard to make," says bassist Duane Propes. "We lost our 20s to the road while our friends were living in reality. We never really had time to grow up, and there were now families, babies and wives, all needing us to be there for them. Looking back, we probably could have done things differently, but at the same time the years we spent being real people and living real lives gave us a better sense of who we are, what we do and why we do it. We're doing this again because we love it, and we love to see people having a good time and enjoying the show. There is a time for everything, and at that point it was time for our loved ones to have us back for awhile. It all happened for a reason."
While the true reasons of their extended hiatus are quietly kept in a shroud of mystery, one fact remains: Little Texas is back. With a fresh perspective, the band is on the road again, selling out shows and creating new music that can only be described as inspired.
The sound is blissfully familiar, the stage shows are electric, and one can only say that America's favorite rockin' country band, Little Texas, is poised for a return to prominence with their feet firmly planted on the ground, loud and proud.
The Emery County Fair concert will be bigger and better than last year.
Better facilities, concessions and seating will be added to the outdoor concert fun.