Young talents with Texas roots booked for StarNite
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor
Kevin Fowler

Aug. 20, 2006 -- The Hopkins County Fall Festival StarNite entertainment will once again be held in Hopkins County Regional Civic Center Arena, giving fans plenty of room if they want to take a shot "dancing" down front on the floor, snap photos, or just get a better look at the three Texas talents -- Kevin Fowler, Jarrod Birmingham and Stoney LaRue -- performing Sept. 16

Headliner Kevin Fowler may have a gold record, but country music wasn't where he got his start. He moved to Los Angeles at age 20 so he could attend the "Guitar Institute of Technology." He spent a year writing songs and learning to play guitar, his second instrument; he took piano lessons as a child.

In 1993, Fowler played guitar for Dangerous Toys, a Texas hard rock group who had two videos reach number one on MTV and a gold record. In 1995, he had started his own group, "a hard-edged southern rock band" called Thunderfoot. Despite the fact that Thunderfoot's first CD, "Southern Comfort," was well received in both Europe and the United States, Fowler soon quit the band and turned to the music he grew up listening to on AM radio in Amarillo -- country legends Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and "country outlaws." 

Jarrod Birmingham

In 1998 he formed a country music band and hasn't looked back. Fowler has recorded five country CDs: "One for the Road," "Loose, Loud & Crazy," "Live at Billy Bob's," "High on the Hog" and "Beer, Bait & Ammo."

Fowler was described in 2004 by Country Weekly as a "hard-core honkey tonker, and country music fans will recognize "100 % Texan," "Lord Loves The Drinkin' Man," "Don't Touch My Willie," "Beer, Bait & Ammo," "Hard Man to Love,"  "J.O.B.," and "You Could Have Had it All" which he has recorded on his albums.

Self-proclaimed country music outlaw Jarrod Birmingham released his third album, "No Apologies" in February, a follow-up to his first album, "Stages," which was released in 2003. He also released the album Live & Kickin' at Schroeder Hall in 2004. Birmingham was named 2005 My Texas Music Entertainer of the Year.

Stoney LaRue

Country music fans will recognize "Whiskey on the Rocks,"  "All the Way to Waycross" and "Honky Tonk All Night Long" from his live album. He included "Whisky and Lies," "If That Ain't Country" and "Bad Side of Me" on both his 2003 and 2004 albums. Another many are likely to remember from "Stages" is "I Talk to Jesus," along with "If That Ain't Country."

Since February, "Like My Daddy Did" and "If You Don't Like Me" off the newest album have kept fans humming along as they're played on the radio.

 Birmingham grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast, listening to everything from Chris LeDoux to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Before embarking on a career in country music, he was a professional bull-rider. He has broken nearly every type of bone in his body, has 14 plates in his face, a fake knee and a pinned shoulder, to name a few of his injuries. He now lives on a farm in his home state when not touring.

According to his web site (http://www.jarrodbirmingham.com), the long haired rodeo cowboy says his motivation in singing isn't to "be the prettiest guy in country music, I’m just trying to be the most real." And while he "never really quit riding bulls, the music just sort of took over.” For the most part, he's traded bull riding for Harleys.

Although still a relative newcomer on the stage, Stoney LaRue is no stranger to music.

The son of a "struggling bass player," LaRue's love of music started at a young age, when as a 3-year-old he was mimicking John Anderson into his toy microphone. He is well known in Southeastern Oklahoma, "earning accolades through school for his unmatched vocal abilities and promising instrumental talent," according to his official web site: http://www.stoneylarue.com.

He began forming his "style" which includes a combination of country, blues and soulful rock in Stillwater, Okla. In 2002, he spearheaded The Organic Boogie Band, which released "Downtown." After a successful debut, LaRue decided to move back to his native Texas (he was born in Taft), settling in New Braunfels.

His album "Stoney LaRue — The Red Dirt Album," named after the region where he got started, made the Billboard sales charts in its debut week in August 2005. Eight of the 11 tracks on Red Dirt Road were written or co-written by LaRue, and includes two tracks that he re-recorded from his "Downtown" CD. Fans will likely recognize "Forever Young," "Walk Away," and "Let Me Hold You" off of Red Dirt.

 LaRue tours roughly 300 days a year, including with big names such as Lee Ann Womack, Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Radney Foster. He can also be heard on Sirius Radio's Outlaw Country channel. He's also slated to debut the release of his "Live at Billy Bob's" album on Sept. 20 and 21 in Houston and Bedford.

Tickets for the Sept. 16 concert can be purchased from the Civic Center Box Office for $20 in advance or $25 at the door, or by calling 903-885-8071.

Older Archives

Looking for News-Telegram Sports and News Archives for January 2004 - November 2008