Oyster Cook-Off & Craft Beer Weekend
Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4-5
The Hangout, 101 E. Beach Blvd., www.hangoutcookoff.com
Tickets: $10 for cook-off / $40 for craft beer fest / VIP available; for more information visit www.hangoutcookoff.com
According to regional belief, months containing the letter “r” are optimal for enjoying oysters. But the truth is, you can eat them anytime. Typically, however, oysters are purest in late fall, after they’ve spawned. In celebration of this yearly event, The Hangout established its Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend in early November. This part celebration, part competition is dedicated to the area’s favorite bivalve and brings dozens of well-known chefs battling for oyster dish supremacy.
In true Hangout fashion, the Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend will also feature a great lineup of live music. For the Friday craft beer fest, the crowd will imbibe stellar brews and enjoy the equally stellar sounds of the Wham Bam Bowie Band, which revives the music of David Bowie.
Saturday’s Oyster Cook-Off will feature performances from Shelby Brown and Jamell Richardson, ending with a headlining set from pop country up-and-comer Chase Bryant.
Bryant is a mainstream country artist coming along at a strange time for the subgenre. While this facet of the country music world has been very successful, mainstream pop country has not been without its detractors, who range from critics to traditional country performers. Bryant is not ignorant of these reproaches. However, the 24-year-old guitarist/songwriter is also not deterred. In fact, he acknowledges his love affair with the guitar can sometimes throw a rock punch at his listeners.
“I think the guitar playing is definitely one key to it,” Bryant recently told Lagniappe. “My music has a little twist to it, because of the fact that I’m a guitar player. There’s a little more punch to it. Other than that, I’d say lyrically that it’s honest.”
Bryant notes that country icons such as Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard were not considered “the most country guys of their era,” and said artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Chet Atkins and Vince Gill were also criticized for their “mainstream” sounds. Ultimately, Bryant views the current pop country sound as a natural progression.
“What keeps country music alive is the evolution of it,” he explained. “I think instead of beating up on everybody, the format should understand that this is what is keeping country alive. It’s what people want to hear. There’s 31 flavors of Baskin-Robbins ice cream; everybody likes a different flavor.”
As a member of a “family of musicians,” Bryant’s style began to take shape in his small hometown of Orange Grove, Texas. His first look into the world of country was provided by his grandfather Jimmy Bryant, who gained notice for his keyboard work with Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings and Ricochet. His grandfather’s influence soon entwined with Bryant’s love for the guitar, which began at an early age.
As he grew older, Bryant says, he discovered music was his strength. Eventually the young country hopeful decided to follow in the tradition of a long line of country music predecessors and traded Texas for Nashville. Four years after releasing an album under his birth name, Chase Yaklin, he joined producer/multi-instrumentalist Derek George (Diamond Rio, Randy Houser) to pen tracks for his breakout release, “Take It On Back.” As a fellow guitar player, Bryant saw George as a wise choice to act as guide for this album.
“The guy is a genius,” Bryant said. “I think he’s the most underrated guitar player of all time, and one of the best guitarists in that town. He’s not this producer. He’s a best friend and a great songwriter. He’s a multi-instrumentalist. He’s so damn talented that it’s sickening.”
Bryant decided to release “Chase Bryant” as an EP for two reasons. First, he wanted to give the public a slow introduction to his mainstream country sound. He notes that country stars such as Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton can easily release a successful full-length album because both artists have a wide audience. As he prepared the songs for “Take It On Back,” Bryant thought his reputation would benefit from a five-song EP full of radio-friendly singles. He also believed, due to his age, compiling a team of songwriters would be more conducive to honing his own songwriting method.
“When you write with a team, everybody’s got a story to tell,” Bryant said. “I’m 24 years old. I can’t tell you everything, and it took me a long time to figure that out. They’re people that I’ve learned from and respect, because they’ve been doing it for so many more years than I have. I learned to be creative from other people’s stories.”
Since its 2014 release, “Chase Bryant” has legitimized Bryant’s initial strategy. A huge audience has fallen in love with rocking country anthems such as the track “Take it on Back,” which has earned millions of views online and spent 15 weeks on the “CMT Hot 20 Countdown.”
This single has also gathered Bryant fans in both Canada and Australia. He has been lauded as one of country music’s most promising up-and-comers by the Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, USA Today and iHeartMedia. In addition to media attention, Bryant has used opening slots on tours with Tim McGraw and Brantley Gilbert to expand his acclaim.
Bryant is planning to make 2017 another step in his country saga. He’s been in the studio recording what will be a full-length album to be released early next year. Afterward, Bryant says, he’ll be touring heavily, and says his fans should anticipate some “big announcements” in the very near future.
This article was updated to correct the name of Chase Bryant’s debut EP.
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