On March 30, the West Texas troubadour Red Shahan will release Culberson County (via Thirty Tigers), the follow up to his acclaimed debut Men & Coyotes. Today, the Lubbock-based singer/songwriter shares the title track from the forthcoming album with Wide Open Country, who said "I really like to try to paint a picture of the real Texas, because there’s a lot of stuff about Texas that people don’t talk about," explains Shahan of his sophomore album Culberson County
. "I mean, I’m with the next guy that wants to throw on a pearl-snap shirt and hoot and holler over a case of Busch Light, but at the same time … how often are those people really happy? Because a lot of them come from some really hard and darker sides of Texas, and those are the things I want to bring light to."
Culberson County finds Shahan exploring the ebb and flow of the darkness and light in the world around him. The album ranges from songs like "6 Feet," which tells the story of an incarcerated drug dealer dreading the cartel justice awaiting him on the other side, to "Someone Someday," (a rare co-write for Shahan, penned with Brent Cobb and Aaron Raitiere), where he sings a line about "rubbernecking all the outlaws" that lands as both a laugh-out-loud commentary on the modern Texas/Americana music scene and a playfully self-aware admission of his own aspirations and insecurity. And then there’s the politically charged fist-in-the-air anthem "Revolution," which really isn’t funny at all.
Like any self-respecting Texas singer-songwriter worthy of the title, Shahan can hold his own playing any of his songs solo acoustic, just like he writes them. But Culberson County is no one-man show. Like Men and Coyotes before it, this is very much a full-band affair, with Elijah Ford (an acclaimed solo artist in his own right) returning to the producer’s chair, Matthew “Paw Paw” Smith (formerly with Ryan Bingham) back behind the drum kit and Shahan’s old Lubbock buddy Parker Morrow on bass. Shahan himself played rhythm electric and acoustic, while special recruit Daniel Sproul was called in to handle most of the lead guitar for the sessions. Guests on the album include fellow Texas songwriters Charlie Shafter and Bonnie Bishop on background and harmony vocals, as well as Shahan’s own mother, Kim Smith, who sings on the song "Memphis."
Saving Country Music added Culberson County to their list of Most Anticipated Albums of 2018, praising Shahan's "astouding ability to put stories to song." New Slang writes, "Culberson County clocks in at 12 songs long and further finds Shahan exploring the rural territory of the remote Southwest. Much like on Men & Coyotes, Shahan dives deep with in-depth storytelling that often sheds light on life’s darker subjects. Characters are intense. The sun-soaked setting of dying small towns and land that’s been carved up by oil rigs and western expansion is its own living, breathing antagonist. The raw, gritty textures continue expanding in all directions on the canvas and soundscape."
Shahan will perform at this year's SXSW Festival. Watch a live performance of "Culberson County," filmed at Willie Nelson's Pedernales studio.
Culberson County Track List:
3) 6 Feet
4) Culberson County
5) How They Lie
7) Someone Someday
9) Idle Hands
2/16: Amarillo, TX - Amarillo Civic Center Auditorium *
2/23: Nashville, TN - Marathon Music Works #
2/24: Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre #
3/24: Helotes, TX - Floore's Country Store
3/30: Amarillo, TX - Hoot's Pub
3/31: Lubbock, TX - The Blue light Live
4/5: Austin, TX - The Mohawk
4/7: Stephenville, TX - The Twish Bar & Backyard
4/13: San Angelo, TX - Blaine's Pub
4/14: Fort Worth, TX - Magnolia Motor Lounge
5/3: Austin, TX - The Mohawk
* - with Dwight Yoakam
# - with Randy Rogers Band