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The SCENE Magazine

Kemah’s Gone Country in November: Texas Stars Shine Bright on Thursday Nights at Jackie’s Brickhouse (including Brandon Rhyder on Thursday, November 21)

What began as a country music stars series earlier this fall at Jackie’s Brickhouse with award-winning singer Sundance Head of American Idol fame is going out with a bang — with some twang! — this month at Jackie’s Brickhouse. During two special Thursdays in November, some of the most prominent names in regional country music, particularly from Texas, descend upon the stage for some truly memorable nights. For November 14, this includes Cody Canada and Stacy Steele; and as a great finale, on the 21st Jake Bush will open for celebrated Texas country/Red Dirt singer-songwriter and musician Brandon Rhyder. 

A native of Carthage, Texas, Rhyder has gained significant notoriety in just a little over a decade. Though his success has been relatively recent, the music bug bit at a very young age.

“The catalyst was really my mother. She’s a singer, and she can play many different instruments. She would sing all day and point things out about different songs and ask me things like, ‘Did you hear that? What does that mean?,’ so from an early age I was surrounded by songs and thinking about what they meant,” he said. “I was also in church, band, and choir and all that all throughout school. I could have easily gone to college for music, but ultimately decided on a different career. It just seemed far-fetched to dream of becoming a singer-songwriter.”

Fast-forward to the end of college, and to the late ’90s, and what used to just be a hobby — writing songs and picking up the guitar during his college years — began to take shape as something very real when he landed a gig in Austin that ultimately provoked his move to the city to pursue a career in music.

“Becoming involved in that scene and meeting and working with musicians who would become pivotal to my career made moving to Austin an easy move. I went to a lot of open mics, writers in the round, benefits, you name it,” Rhyder recalled. Within a few years of his move, his debut album Because She Loves Me (2001) was born, followed shortly thereafter by his second, Behind the Pine Curtain (2003).

“That second record was more edgy, not quite as country. I was still trying to find my way through the sound. I quickly became friends with the great Walt Wilkins, and he produced my third album,” Rhyder recalled. Conviction was released in 2005, and several singles from this album and those that followed quickly began to climb the Texas charts, including “Before I Knew Your Name,” the first of which to gain this notoriety. 

“I’ve always tried to follow my own path, so every record sounds different. It’s literally a record. It’s a stamp of that particular time, and records that period of time I was going through,” he said. “I’ve always been caught on the fringe [genre-wise]. I don’t write for a genre, and that for me is the beautiful part of being a writer. When the passion and inspiration take over, that’s when the truly great songs happen.”

Rhyder, who describes his music and shows as “country roots on the fringe,” is currently in the process of creating his next album, which is expected to be out by early next year. 

n the meantime, audiences can catch this special performance on Thursday, November 21 at Jackie’s Brickhouse beginning at 8 p.m. with Jake Bush, and the main show at 9 p.m. Tickets are currently available online and range from first-come-first-serve tables, to spots in the Speakeasy VIP overlook room (includes 2 complimentary drinks and a free buffet), or Premium Table Reservations (includes 4 general admission tickets, free bucket of beer, and a free appetizer). So head out, grab your friends, and we’ll see y’all on the Texas country music SCENE this month in our very own backyard of Kemah!

– By Sarah Piña