Cowboy: The Kid Rock Tribute: November 2011, The Soundcheck
By: J. Gabrielle
Mac Daddy and I are Downtown at Awful Arthur's. "Cowboy: The Kid Rock Tribute Band" is performing an "unplugged" version of itself as "Lowlife". They are taking a break from the usual southern, white male material of Kid Rock to perform some other southern, white male material from Hank Williams, Jr. The agreeable audience sounds like a monotone church choir as they proudly sing, answer and call "Get Drunk, Get Stoned!" to "Family Tradition". Lead singer Josh Carroll is leading the band with just the right amount of cockiness, attitude and cool detachment.
I find Mr. Carroll to be multi-faceted off stage. This Huntington, West Virginia native says he “lived wrong for a lot of years. Took school of hard knocks to make me realize how to do things right." He says it took people he respected to set him down and ''grow him up''. A songwriter since he was a "kid", Josh turned down a baseball scholarship at West Virginia State to move to Myrtle Beach to be a musician. He performed for 2 years with the Carolina Opry's "Dixie Stampede" and in various cover bands. He went to Nashville for awhile. Back in Roanoke, Josh served as a lead singer for "The Kings" for nearly 5 years. Along the way, people continued to compare his look and sound to Kid Rock. Now, he heads up "Cowboy, the Kid Rock Tribute and thus, a 5-piece band of some of the most talented musicians, and strongest personalities, in the area. The band is excellent and everybody can sing.
Ross Flora looks like an elvish nobleman descending from the Misty Mountains...at sunset...in a Corona commercial. His hair (as always) blowing in the wind (come to think of it, his Dad Miller is also musically gifted and well-endowed...follicley speaking....., but more on that at another time). AND he's talented and ambitious. A new promotional video sets the young man up for opportunity far from native Roanoke. He often serves as the band’s own opening act and this is definitely an asset.
Journeyman musician Gary Hall calls this his "main band". The quintessential showman gets a chance to really show off some flash! Walter Trexell is actually smiling and says he enjoys "just being the guitar player" and not having to front the band. "Josh does a great job!", he says. He alludes to a "mid-life crisis in full effect" as he recently bought a Marshall amp, and is buying guitars. His brother Doug Trexell performs in the “plugged” version of the band.
Brian Holt is on bass, and what a nice man. The Berklee College of Music graduate is a prolific four and five string bassist. "I LOVE being able to play and make a living playing music". And, does he ever! With the Pop Rivets, Roanoke Symphony, Burning Bridges, Leggz, and that only scratches the surface. He's really jazzed about Cowboy's newest adventure: the Open Mic on Wednesdays at Bravo's. He "gets it" - the way you take the "young cats" and raise 'em up.
At Bravo’s Open Mic, the crowd and the players grow each week. Tonight, The Worx bassist Justin Tolly, and Burning Bridges guitarist Scott Joshway sit in. Thalassa McBroom, Barry Young are in the house. This event is all ages in the hopes that young people will become smitten by the music bug.
It has become October. We've seen this group at two venues and five shows. They are consistently excellent and convey excitement, even at the unplugged shows.
"Cowboy" and the future look really good. They return to Awful Arthur's at Towers on November 25th. Be sure to catch them as our local Kid Rock Tribute is getting ready to fly. They are the only touring Kid Rock band. Sam Hill Entertainment is hoping to get them on the road in 2012. Red Stag (a Jim Beam subsidiary) is looking at backing the band.
Josh Carroll hopes to "let the music pay for seeing the country and traveling".
Only one way to go, you know: ''Chicken-Fried'' (Zack Brown Band).