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LR gets a shot of Whiskey Myers

By Jack W. Hill Special to the Democrat-Gazette

This article was published August 14, 2014 at 2:03 a.m.

Whiskey Myers

Opening act: Stephen Neeper & the Wild Hearts

9 p.m. Friday, Rev Room, 300 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock

Admission: $15

(501) 823-0090

The name Whiskey Myers might evoke the image of a grizzled old guitar slinger battling sobriety.

But it's the name of an up-and-coming country rock band from Tyler, Texas, a place known more for its roses than its bands. A conversation with bassist Gary Brown, one of the five band members, fails to shed any light on the origins of the name.

"I'm not at liberty to disclose that information," Brown says with a laugh, admitting that some think the band chose its name in much the style of the bands Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band, who took names linked to a gym teacher and a piano tuner, respectively. But Brown realizes that many music fans have compared Whiskey Myers with Lynyrd Skynyrd, as contemporary purveyors of a similar Southern country rock sound.

"We do hear that a lot, and it doesn't irritate us, but that's a big reputation to try to live up to," Brown says. "We're not trying to be the next Lynyrd Skynyrd, since there already is one of those. We are doing a fairly similar style of music as them."

Actually, Whiskey Myers will open a show in Houston for Lynyrd Skynyrd later this month. The New York Times recently hailed Whiskey Myers' east Texas approach to Southern rock, also noting that another well-respected big-city newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, has compared Whiskey Myers to another behemoth of the 1970s: Led Zeppelin.

The five members of the band got together seven or eight years ago in the Tyler-Palestine area, and they have stayed together ever since: Cody Cannon, lead vocals; Cody Tate, lead guitar and vocals; John Jeffers, rhythm guitar and vocals; Jeff Hogg, drums; and Brown on bass.

In 2008, the band released its debut album Road of Life, which made no waves on the sales charts, unlike the group's second album, Firewater, which in 2011 reached No. 26 on the Billboard country albums chart.

In February, the band released its third album, Early Morning Shakes. Produced by Dave Cobb, who also produced Jason Isbell's Southeastern, along with albums by Shooter Jennings and Jamey Johnson, the album climbed even higher, reaching No. 10. Videos of the band's songs "Dogwood," "Ballad of a Southern Man" and "Anna Marie" have helped raise the profile of the group, along with working as an opening act for Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and Johnson.

Weekend on 08/14/2014

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