Rising country music band gives up-and-comers shot at annual festival

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Portrait of the Josh Abbott Band. The second annual Josh Abbott Band Festival will feature Josh Abbott Band, Curtis Grimes, Cory Morrow, and others this Saturday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The second annual Josh Abbott Band Festival hits Austin on Saturday with a lineup of established and up-and-coming country artists. Josh Abbott spoke to The Daily Texan about the festival and his band’s burgeoning success.

Daily Texan: After a string of hit singles like “Tonight” and “She’s Like Texas” in the last year, your name has a little more impact than it did this time last year. What do you think of the growth in JAB’s popularity?
Josh Abbott: It seems like every year since 2008, when we started touring, we just get bigger and bigger. At some point that bell curve has to come down, but I’m not ready for that just yet. I hope we’re bigger than last year, and next year I hope we’re even bigger. As long as we’re not talking about my weight, that’s a great thing.

DT: What’s the philosophy of the festival? How did you pick the lineup?
JA: I want to be sure I’m putting on a concert that country music fans know when they come, they’re going to get a good value and see good music for a good price. We do it in Austin, Lubbock, East Texas and next year we’ll do it in Corpus Christi. I like that the lineup notes who the up-and-comers are and who the college kids are digging and also notes who paved the way for Texas country.

DT: What sets it apart from other country music festivals?
JA: It would be naive of me to think I’m doing something totally new. It’s just a different festival. I focus on fewer bands with later lineups and shorter set times. At these all-day festivals, some people get there early and fade out halfway through. Other people wait to get there toward the end of the night. I’ve always thought that was such a disrespect by the promoter to put these really cool up-and-coming young guys so early. We can start later in the day, where people can get there at 5:00 and watch all the bands and be done by 11:00 or 12:00.

DT: What do you think people love about your band? How have you grown so quickly?
JA: Our success has been a combination of the right songs with the right marketing and great fans. Our age demographic is like 16 to 28, and our fans have been really awesome about going to our concerts and spreading the word about us. When these Texas kids go off to school in Arkansas and Kansas and Nebraska and they ask, ‘have you heard of Texas country?’ and say, ‘listen to this Josh Abbott guy,’ it’s really helped all of us grow. I hope that continues to still happen, but it never hurts to be the underground in the music world. Everyone bashes the favorites.

DT: What’s the story behind your latest single, “I’ll Sing About Mine?” Is it a jab at mainstream country acts?
JA: The ironic thing about that song is we didn’t write it. This is the first time we’ve ever released a song and recorded a song we didn’t write. I was just so in love with this song. It’s by Adam Hood and Brian Keane, who are friends of ours. This is real country music, and this is the song that explains it best. Tractors are not sexy. When you hear these kind of songs on country music radio, they’re focused on making it cute, making it hokey. How many country music singers, look where they’re from, and it’s like, what do you know about country? I don’t knock on those people, because I’ve met a lot of them. They’re very nice and very humble and thankful for their fans like we are, but they do things a little differently.

Printed on Friday, October 26, 2012 as: Josh Abbott Band Festival brings together old, new