Whiskey Myers makes honest music.
Loud and proud, they sing about what they know with a refreshing directness and clarity. Some call it rebel music, but it’s more like everyday soul. Their songs are stories, with characters and situations that are immediately relatable. Stories of celebration, mourning, trials and triumph. Through the quality of these songs, and their undeniable power in concert and on record, the band has attracted a devoted army of outspoken fans who pack venues, sing the band’s praises online and continue to make Whiskey Myers a growing word-of-mouth sensation.
Whiskey Myers’ most recent full-length album, Firewater, was released on their own Wiggy Thump imprint in the spring of 2011. It continues to sell steadily, enjoying a remarkable run on the Texas Music Charts that culminated with its third single “Anna Marie” reaching #1. All over their home state, they are commanding larger and larger crowds, selling out 1,000-capacity venues with ease and delivering stadiumsized shows grounded in the sincerity and unpretentious, fun-loving energy of their bar-band roots. “Our fans always tell us how much they get out of seeing us play,” says lead singer Cody Cannon, “ but it’s a two-way street; we get something, too. They inspire us to dedicate ourselves more and more to our music and our sound. And it sure feels like it’s paying off.”
As their chemistry onstage and in the studio reflect, Whiskey Myers is a brotherhood. The five members cut their teeth together, honing their chops side-by-side from an early age. Hailing from the Palestine, Texas area, Cannon was given an acoustic guitar by his “wild-ass biker” (Cody’s words) grandpa, and guitarist John Jeffers’s dad taught them both the rudiments of the instrument. A job at a sporting goods store introduced Cannon to future Whiskey Myers lead guitarist Cody Tate, forming the songwriting core of the band. Upon moving to Tyler, Texas, they picked up drummer Jeff Hogg and enlisted Cannon’s cousin Gary Brown on bass—even though he’d never played the instrument before.
What came next was a blur of gigs, songs, struggles, and victories. With each show, their natural bond as friends continued to grow into a formidable musical telepathy and with each song they composed, their innate gifts as craftsmen were honed further. The resultant sound, so perfectly crystallized on Firewater, is hard-driving and immediate, steeped in the rich legacy of southern rock. Often reduced to a onedimensional stereotype, the kind of music that inspired Whiskey Myers—artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, and Hank Williams, Jr.—is actually multifaceted and inventive, drawing from country, R&B, psychedelic rock, and string band traditions.
In that tradition, Whiskey Myers are grand southern eclectics, pulling in an array of influences and seamlessly mingling them. Listeners can pick up traces of everything from grunge to rockabilly in the course of a set, united by Cannon’s soulfully heartfelt singing and Brown and Hogg’s solid, supple foundation. On top of it all, Tate and Jeffers intertwine their leads, soaring in harmony one moment, darting around one another in intricate improvisations the next. Sure, they’re rousing—just cue up “Bar, Guitar, and a Honky Tonk Crowd” or “Turn It Up” for a dose of pile-driver intensity. But they’re range is wide and expanding to encompass touching pleas like “Broken Window Serenade” and the acoustic stomp of “Anna Marie.”
In Whiskey Myers’ world, nothing is off-limits. Nothing is too personal, too sensitive, or too controversial to embrace and explore. Theirs is a confidence born of a long-standing brotherhood—a closeness that few groups can rival. “Well we all grew up together,” bassist Brown explains. “We’re two sets of cousins. Some of us have been friends since we were two or three years old.”
Cannon picks up the thread immediately, adding “Plus, after six years touring in a van together, you know each other through and through. We know who we are, and try our best to stay true to ourselves and to our music.”