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BR549

One of the most critically acclaimed alternative country bands of the '90s, BR5-49's sound, style, and even look were unabashedly retro. Dressing in old, budget-friendly clothes, the band played a mixture of classic '50s honky tonk, Western swing, boogie, Bakersfield country, rockabilly, and Gram Parsons-style country-rock. The group was founded by guitarists/vocalists Gary Bennett and Chuck Mead in early 1993, not long after they'd moved to Nashville from the Pacific Northwest and Kansas, respectively. Bennett led an informal band at Robert's Western Wear, a combination bar and clothing store on Lower Broadway in Nashville's old district, and Mead -- an alumnus of roots rockers the Homestead Grays -- worked at a nearby bar before joining up. They later added upright bassist Smilin' Jay McDowell, who'd previously been a guitarist in Hellbilly; drummer Shaw Wilson, a friend of Mead's from Kansas; and fiddle/steel guitar/mandolin/Dobro player Don Herron, an old cohort of Bennett's. The group took up residency at Robert's Western Wear, playing for tips three nights a week, and built a strong local following among both country and alternative rock fans, thanks to their eclectic repertoire and punkish, left-of-center attitude. They adopted the name BR5-49 from a phone number in a Junior Samples sketch on Hee Haw, and signed with Arista in 1995.

BR5-49's first release was an EP, Live at Robert's, which appeared in early 1996 and featured both originals and vintage country covers. The group built up their following via tours with the Mavericks, Junior Brown, and rockers the Black Crowes, and also issued their self-titled debut album later in the year. BR5-49 won rave reviews from both country and rock critics, and climbed into the country Top 40 with virtually no support from country radio. The same was true of the 1998 follow-up, Big Backyard Beat Show. BR5-49 toured with Brian Setzer in 1999, during which time they recorded their first full-length live album, Coast to Coast; the record was released the following year, again to excellent reviews. Unfortunately, Arista's country division was swallowed up in a merger, leaving the band without a record deal for a short time. Sony subsidiary Lucky Dog picked them up, and their label debut, 2001's This Is BR549, found them making a decided move toward the contemporary country mainstream (as well as dropping the oddly placed hyphen from their name). In its wake, Bennett and McDowell both broke ties with the band, reportedly weary of touring; amid rumors of the group's permanent breakup, they were replaced by Geoff Firebaugh and Chris Scruggs. Tangled in the Pines, which marked their first with Dualtone, appeared in spring 2004. Dog Days arrived in January of 2006. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Tangled In The Pines

1. That's What I Get

2. I'm All Right (For The Sahpe I'm In)

3. Ain't Got Time

4. She's Talking To Someone (She's Not Talking To Me)

5. Tangled In The Pines

6. No Train To Memphis

7. Movin' The Country

8. Run A Mile

9. When I Come Home

10. No Friend Of Mine

11. Honky Tonkin' Lifestyle

12. Way Too Late (To Go Home Early Now)

x

Track List: Big Backyard Beat Show

1. There Goes My Love

2. Wild One

3. Hurtin' Song

4. Out Of Habit

5. Storybook Endings (If you Stop Believin')

6. 18 Wheels And A Crowbar

7. Pain, Pain Go Away

8. You Are Never Nice To Me

9. Goodbye, Maria

10. Seven Nights To Rock

11. My Name Is Mudd

12. You Flew The Coop

13. Change The Way I Look

14. Georgia On A Fast Train

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Awesome music from a great band.
Report as inappropriate
Garth Brooks? Country? Man you got you sh!t all f'd up. Garth killed country with his Pop BS
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trip.nines
Not Wylie & WWS, but some good tracks...
Report as inappropriate
Great tunes
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One of my all time favorite bands. I've seen them live more than a dozen times. Always entertaining , just wish they would tour again.
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deniceheberl i n e
where are they now? and why they heard now. to bad music like this isn't heard any more!!!!
Report as inappropriate
The greatest band you never heard of
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Saw them twice in Minneapolis 400 bar. Too young to drink too much fun to care.
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drummerpage
have played with these guys they are true as can be
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creolelorrai n e d u l e c h e
seee...i told somebody the other day that a few real country bands still exist!
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dose Pandora play BR549
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Junior Samples rox!
Report as inappropriate
Probably my favorite group of all time!
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saundersp664
Saw these guys turn Jersey on it's ear at the Garden State Art Center when they opened for Dylan. It was a hoe down.
Report as inappropriate
I saw them Live at Robert's with my brother John Nashville. They are incredible. Perfect music, fun times.
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i usually don't like country...bu t i really liked this tune.
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ranchar4
yeeeeeeeeeeh h h h a a a
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the way country should be
Report as inappropriate
right on richard!
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It ain't country if it ain't gotta twang.
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belial7809
That is b-cuz Garth sucks.
Report as inappropriate
THAT'S how country music is supposed to sound!!!!
Report as inappropriate
Get your boots, Annie, git yerself over to college for some l'arnin'. It's never too late to get a PhD. In being a hick!
Report as inappropriate
Very good!!!!
Report as inappropriate
Great traditional country sound.
Report as inappropriate
Good stuff!
Report as inappropriate
right on!
Report as inappropriate
I have to agree with cdeuhs, This is what americana should sound like, though I bet they would like GB's money!
Report as inappropriate
cdeuhs
BR549 is nothing like big name country acts like Garth Brooks.

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