Just how deep do Southern roots run through through Texas country and roots rockers Whiskey Myers?
When frontman Cody Cannon recently got married, he had only one request, courtesy of Will Farrell and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
“I just wanted a nacho cheese fountain like Ricky Bobby, and that was actually my only stipulation for the wedding,” Cannon said in a call from the road with Whiskey Myers. “That was it, I was good to go on everything else.”
Cannon, who’s band is getting some attention thanks to some well-placed songs on Kevin Costner’s cowboy TV show, Yellowstone, started Whiskey Myers in 2007 with guitarist friends Cody Tate and John Jeffers. Once the band began to outgrow the trio’s home of Palestine, Texas in 2008, it enlisted the help of others. That’s when the band picked up its name and released debut album Road of Life. The lineup is now rounded out with drummer Jeff Hogg, bassist Jamey Gleaves and percussionist Tony Kent.
Beginning in 2011, Whiskey Myers steadily picked up steam with Firewater, Early Morning Shakes and in 2016, Mud. Much of the next two years have been criss-crossing the U.S. and playing shows.
But the inclusion on Costner’s Paramount Networks show this year gave the band its biggest boost yet. Streaming statistics on many Whiskey Myers songs spiked. The album reached the top spot of the iTunes country music chart, while single “Stone” cracked the top 10 of the streaming service’s all-genre chart. For his part, Cannon credits Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan, who is best known as a writer and director on on expansive mood-setting films like Sicario, Hell Or High Water and Wind River.
“We’ve never got to do anything like that before and Taylor is a great dude who is great at the things he does,” Cannon said. “So when he wanted us to be involved, we were all in. To have that kind of love from some people liking us one time on a show is definitely a broader reach than we’ve ever had before.”
Cannon stays humble about Whisky Myers’ success and said he and his bandmates don’t even pay attention to the streaming and sales numbers. Instead, they try to stay true to themselves.
“We’re just a bunch of good ol’ boys who like playing music, so we just go out there and do it,” he said.
“You write about what you know, and what you’ve lived, and what you’ve seen,” Cannon said. “That’s probably why people connect with those songs—because they’re just real. You got to be able to believe a person when they’re singing about something, I think, to make a connection. We got some blue-collar music because that’s the kind of people we are and that’s where we came from.”
Whiskey Myers pulls from a variety of musical influences, and each member bring his own take on songwriting to the band. Led Zeppelin and Waylon Jennings are major inspirations, Cannon said.
“I really love real good country music and I really love good rock and roll; and most of the guys are like that too,” he said. “So it’s like, ‘Well shit; lets do both.’”
Fans should soon be able to hear Whiskey Myers’ newest songs. The band members spent part of last summer writing and recording the follow-up to Mud, which Cannon said he expects to release by next summer. Most of the band members are now spread out throughout Texas, which lengthened the creation process.
In the breaks between tours and recording, Cannon has spent parts of the last two years building his own house, in a rural part if the state.
There’s not much more blue-collar than that. He also tends after the land surrounding the home, and fishes and hunts in his spare time. He envisions himself and his wife living there from here on out.
“You always have something more valuable when you build it or do it yourself, so it has special meaning,” he said. “We worked our asses off but we’re happy with it and we’re glad to be done now.”
Follow writer Piper Westrom at Twitter.com/plwestrom.