Jason Boland & The Stragglers

Band Members: Jason Boland, Cody Angel, Brad Rice, Grant Tracy, Nick Worley
Releases: Squelch (2015), Dark and Dirty Mile (2013), Rancho Alto (2011), High in The Rockies (2010), Comal County Blue (2008), The Bourbon Legend (2006), Somewhere in the Middle (2004), Live and Lit at Billy Bob’s (2002), Truckstop Diaries (2001), Pearl Snaps (1999)
Years at MusicFest: 17

If you’re looking for music that’s true––some meaty songs that give some comfort, even as they cut closer to the bone –  look no further than the gritty, thundering country Jason Boland and the Stragglers have sharpened over the last 20 years. Since coming together in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Boland and his tightknit crew have sold more than half a million albums independently and earned a devoted following that’s swelled far beyond the band’s red dirt roots. At a Stragglers show, oil patch roughnecks, hippies, college kids, and intelligentsia all sway side-by-side like a traveling reincarnation of Austin’s Armadillo World Headquarters in its cosmic cowboy heyday. While the Stragglers draw from rock and folk, make no mistake: they traffic in unfiltered, unfettered honky-tonk, raw and lean. Equal parts subtle, meditative, and snarling, and often wickedly funny, their latest album Squelch is a deeply rooted exercise in exhuming beauty by trading smoke and mirrors for what’s real. Boland has never constructed an identity or sound for mass or consumption. He is who he is, and he’s all in. Boland just exited his 30s, but he seems older, based on his experiences. He’s lived through alcoholism, a should-have-killed-him car crash, a ruptured vocal chord, and other trials. He wears his hard-won wisdom easily, without ceremony or conceit, and has evolved naturally as a writer, becoming more and more comfortable with his knack for recognizing the universally significant in the ordinary. On stage, Boland leads a raucous party. Off stage, he’s mellow and warm, often wryly philosophical. But no matter where he is, he’s always grateful.

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