Last night I had the privilege of talking to Cody Canada at an acoustic show in Everman, TX (southern Fort Worth). This was the first I had spoken to him at any length and I have to admit I was a little starstruck.  If you’ve read my post on Transcendent Songs you’ll understand my reverence for the guy because of the personal impact that his music has had on me.  Despite my nerves, it was almost effortless talking to him. He’s just so open and personable, it felt like catching up rather than a first time conversation. We chatted largely about our families and where he was in making music.  Cody said he’s been working on new material for an album but admitted it’s been an uncomfortably slow process. He’s in a bit of a songwriter’s drought but I can’t imagine that will last for long, he’s just too damn good. Once The Departed has a new record, I guarantee you it will be covered here at Texas Music Blog.

As for the musical performance, it was fantastic and I really prefer seeing shows at the smaller bars because artists are typically much more conversational and relaxed.  There’s no big stage with mobs of drunk people and glow sticks, it’s just you and the artist. Cody always interacts with the crowd but when you are at a place like The Happy Armadillo it feels like you’re at a private party with all the banter and pot jokes that go back and forth between tunes.

Overall, the set list featured much deeper cuts – there was no “17”, “Constantly” or “Alabama” but to quote Cody “that’s all great but it’s like eating spaghetti every night for 19 years.”  I get it and that’s cool because hearing live acoustic versions of other songs tends to make you appreciate them more. I was too in the moment to keep the set list but he played stuff spanning his entire career to date – “250,000 Things” (written for his youngest son Willie),  “This Time Around” (co-written with Randy Rogers),  “Jenny”, and  “Dead Man”.

Cody also took some requests, like “Brooklyn Kid” where he busted out the harmonica.

He closed the show with one of my favorites, “Breakdown” which is about the struggle of “keeping your sh*t together” (quoting Ben Dorcy) during tough times because the people that depend on you can’t afford for you to fall apart.

Afterwards Cody hung out, signed autographs, took pictures, and visited with everyone that stuck around. Again, you don’t get that seeing a show at Gexa or Lone Star Park. You also don’t get that from a mainstream artist and outside of the music itself, it’s my favorite aspect to the Texas and Red Dirt Scene. The fact that you can walk up to somebody like Cody Canada, clank beers and enjoy a drink together is a testament to how good we have it.

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Me and Cody sending “love” to my wife, Jessica, because she fell on the sword to stay home with the kiddos.

As if I have to tell you, go to http://www.thedepartedmusic.com for more about Cody Canada and The Departed.

Another musician absolutely worth mentioning is Zac Stokes, who opened the night and played for about 90 minutes.  Zac is from Athens, TX and has a deep, soulful voice that reminds me of Chris Stapleton. It also helps that he sports a big beard and covers Stapleton tunes  like “Fire Away” and “Tennessee Whiskey”.  Head over to his ReverbNation page and check out his music, it’s really good and I’ll likely cover him exclusively at some point.

For more video from last night follow me on Periscope.

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