The Hideout at the Rodeo: Two Tons of Steel
March 12, 2009
In 2009, The Hideout will kick up its heels in between Reliant Center and Reliant Arena. Look for the big white tent packed with dancers and Texas bands. The Hideout is open for those 21 and older. It's your chance to hear some of the best in Texas music for just the price of admission to Reliant Park!
Thursday, March 12: Two Tons of Steel.
Texas band Two Tons of Steel might be described as equal parts Elvis Presley and Elvis Costello, with a liberal dose of Buddy Holly and a dollop of The Ramones. It’s a one-of-a-kind sound that bandleader and frontman Kevin Geil likes to call “countrybilly.”
It’s also a sound that’s boosted the group to renown as the face of Texas music: with its live performance at historical Gruene Hall; of Two Tons of Steel in the internationally released IMAX film Texas: The Big Picture; its performance of King of a One Horse Town in the roots-country documentary that screens continuously at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame; its swing tune as part of Lone Star beer’s ongoing regional radio campaign; and by becoming Texas music ambassadors to ecstatic fans in Cuba and at sold-out shows throughout Europe.
Two Tons of Steel continues as an institution at Texas’ famed Gruene Hall, where its annual Two Ton Tuesdays summer series draws 12,000 fans, and as a popular act at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. For eight years, it’s been voted Best Country Band by the San Antonio Current, its hometown weekly.
Called Dead Crickets until 1996, the name change refers to Geil’s restored ’56 hardtop Cadillac. Now, with Vegas, its eighth album and Palo Duro Records debut, it has found itself on a supportive record label that showcases the band’s steel-driven sound.
Lead singer Geil handles acoustic guitar, Dennis Fallon plays electric guitar, Ric Ramirez plucks the upright bass, Chris Dodds provides drums and percussion, and Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Famer Denny Mathis adds more steel muscle. Ramirez and Dodds also sing backup.
The band’s name may have come from a car, but Geil unabashedly admits his songwriting inspiration comes from his wife, Elena. The title tune for Vegas was written for her, Geil says, “because she loves to drive and loves Vegas.”
A cut on the Lloyd Maines-produced disc is the band’s signature tune, Havana Moon, a song Geil describes as “kinda dreamy.” Written during the band’s 1997 trip to Cuba, it’s the only ballad on Vegas, which Geil characterizes as “more rockin’ and a bit more raw, more of what we are live.”
Two Tons’ rockabilly-style cover of The Ramones’ I Wanna Be Sedated, which it started playing in 1998 and just as quickly became a fan favorite, is also on the new album.
“A lot of guys think that they have to write everything. I take my hat off to them when they do,” says Geil. “But I think it’s great to find old songs and play them. People dig it.”
In June, Palo Duro Records recorded Two Tons Tuesdays 2 for CD and DVD release to commemorate the band’s 10th annual summer music series at Gruene Hall.
From the dance halls in Texas to the National Theatre in Havana, Cuba, to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and featured in video documentaries at both the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and in Imax Theaters world-wide, Two Tons of Steel knows that good music is what fans want to hear…and that's exactly what Two Tons delivers.
Live on stage, in the recording studio and on the big screen, Two Tons of Steel has combined the unique sounds of roots rock and country creating music with a passionate punch!
2005 started with a European road trip and only gets better from there. Two Tons opened the year in Paris (France, not Paris,Texas) at Euro Disney, traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, before completing the European tour with performances in Barcelona, Spain.
Upon arriving back in the States, Two Ton’s completed their latest studio recordings and debut album (Vegas) with Palo Duro Records for a national release. The summer marks the 10th Annual Two Ton Tuesday’s at the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall.
As Two Ton’s plays host to south Texas music fans, Gruene Hall has provided the setting of a “new” live CD and DVD. Listening to great music, watching the best dancers at the most famous dancehall, and enjoying a cold beverage is the only way to beat that Texas summer heat!