'Yeee-Haw ... Here Come The Girls!'
Quite simply put, there's no band out there like Cowboy Crush. They sing like angels, play like demons, and have more fun while they're doing it than anyone you've ever seen onstage.
Let's be clear: We're not talking just all-girl bands. We're talking bands, period, whether all-girl, all-guy, or whatever combination you like. Whoever you throw into the mix, it's hard to imagine topping the energy, excitement, musicianship, and sheer joy these five friends and colleagues pump out.
Country music insiders already know this. The band's very first gig was at the famous Wild Horse in Nashville in October 2003, at the International Entertainment Buyers convention. They played just three songs -- and before leaving the building they'd earned something like fifty bookings from the spellbound executives.
Fans caught on quickly. From their first road show -- a party for Fox network honchos at the Super Bowl last year -- to appearances before huge festival crowds and at arenas opening for headliners like Travis Tritt, Lonestar, and Trace Adkins, they've drawn standing ovations, encores & and more than one million seven hundred thousand visitors to their website, www.cowboycrush.com, all without having released so much as a self-produced single.
The media are getting the message too: Country Music Today covered their performance at Country Thunder, where "the all-female quintet & carried themselves with the sass and confidence of superstars, unafraid to show off their musical prowess." Country Stars Online has even declared that "the five beauties of Cowboy Crush could teach Big and Rich a few things when it comes to rocking the house with flamboyance and attitude."
Now, with their debut CD poised for a summer release on Asylum/Curb, and with their single, the previously described "Nobody Ever Died of a Broken Heart," already picked as contenders for the title of "Next Big Thing" by the Cincinnati Enquirer after tearing it up at last year's Meijir County Stampede -- it seems that the stage is well and truly set for their arrival unto the American public.
And for listeners who haven't yet been enlightened, our advice is simple: Prepare to be Crushed.
Chatting recently with ALL the ladies from Cowboy Crush, I first wondered what their first practice session in Becky's garage had been like?!
Trenna: "Yes, our first practice was in the very same place we practice today – in Becky’s garage! This is the same place we got our record deal. The very first day we all played a few original songs in the garage and it was amazing. I truly believe in this group of women and the sound that we create."
Becky: "I always like to say “I have the cleanest garage in Antioch, TN.” … and it came in handy. My two-car garage has seen a lot of “Crushing.” (We take songs and ‘crush’ them to make our songs our own during rehearsals.) It’s a place of magic and the place where we arrange our demo songs and make them our own. People always ask us about the “creative process in the studio.” Believe me, all of the “creation” started in that garage before it ever hit the studio."
Debbie: "I remember thinking, “Thank God I’m playing bass and not waiting tables.” We clicked and I knew we could create a great future! Becky even vacuumed the garage for us!"
Renae: "We were all extremely anxious and excited to get things rolling. Even at the first rehearsal, we jelled so well as a band and worked together wonderfully with our creative ideas as a group. This is not just a garage, it’s our creative space! And, it’s not just fate that brought us together, it is the reason! We have known that since day one!
Darla: It was our destiny!"
Flash forward and what was going through your minds at your first gig at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville (October '03) at the IEBA convention?
Trenna: "We had been playing for ourselves and just having a blast during rehearsals (in the garage). I guess I would have to say it seemed natural to take our show straight from the garage to the stage. We still carry that same energy—from a bunch of friends hanging out, playing in a garage to stepping it up a bit on the stage. We bring the same rowdy, playful, energy that we share in the garage to the stage."
Becky: "My biggest worry at the time—was maintaining composure! Our stylist put me in these suede “mule” shoes with 3 ½ inch spike heels. I was praying the entire show that I didn’t break a heel and fall on my fanny! Cowboy boots baby! During a performance, I will never switch again!"
Debbie: "I was just glad things were starting to happen for us and it gave us great hope and anticipation toward the future."
Renae: I was extremely excited and ready to “step up to the plate” and give it hell! I was a little nervous, but the adrenaline took over. It was pretty funny that we only did three songs because we were ready to perform a whole show!"
Darla: "This was the launch of a huge rollercoaster ride!"
Prior to joining the band, what were you all doing before to make money and earn a living?
Trenna: "I taught computer classes for a few years (part-time) and sang demos at the same time until I could sing full time. This was great because some of the songs that Cowboy Crush performs now came from the demos that I had sung and listened to previously."
Becky: "I have always played music – somewhere, somehow! I’ve spent the last 13 years playing for artists such as Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, Sammy Kershaw, Neal McCoy and Patty Loveless. Prior to my moving to Nashville, I spent many years playing every S.P.J.S.T., Knights of Columbus Halls and Honky Tonk across the whole state of Texas."
Debbie: "I worked at a restaurant in Nashville and on another musical project (both at the same time.)"
Renae: "I was playing a number of gigs (Both on the road and in downtown Nashville). I played many nights down on lower Broadway with various artists like Ken Mellons, Lorrie Morgan and Brett Michaels. I was doing some studio work as well. Whatever I could throw myself into, I was there!"
Darla: "I played with other artists, I taught, and I played on lower Broadway (and anything else legal that would pay bills)."
So, just where does the band name Cowboy Crush originate?
Trenna: "We have crushes on cowboys!"
Becky: "... love those Wrangler jeans! Yeee-haw!"
Debbie: "Actually, we got it from a Nashville executive who is also a friend. We all kind of liked it initially and it really stuck!
Renae: It’s much more interesting and crazier story to tell about the various names that we went through BEFORE Cowboy Crush! We closed down and were kicked out of many a bookstore while on our quest for “the band name.” We went through dictionaries, magazines, and hundreds of books. It was a major stepping stone for us when we did finally settle in on a name."
Darla: "When someone said “Cowboy Crush,” we just knew!
What instruments do you all play in the band and at what ages did you all first pick one up and know that this was the musical path for you?
Trenna: "I am the lead singer. It started out as a great way to aggravate my older brothers! (I had no idea that singing at the top of my lungs at 4 years old would become my greatest ambition.) My first solo was ‘I Won’t Grow Up” in Peter Pan (3rd grade)."
Becky: "I play piano and sign harmony vocals. Music picked me at the age of three-years-old. We had an upright piano in our living room. My mom, Pat Reeves, tells me the first thing I ever played was a TV commercial jingle. She said I got up from watching the television and went straight to the piano, sat down on the bench and plunked out the tune."
Debbie: "I play bass guitar and sing low harmonies. I started playing the violin in the 5th grade for the orchestra. My teacher asked me if I wanted to try double bass in the 8th grade. I haven’t touched my violin since. I got a bass guitar when I was 16-years-old. It is essentially the same instrument, but smaller and flipped over from upright bass. I started private lessons and made the decision to major in music in college. I have a commercial music degree from Belmont University in Nashville."
Renae: "I am the fiddle player, or the “fiddle crusher” of the group. My dad, who is a fiddler also, bought me my first violin when I was 11-years old. He was always after me to “practice, practice, practice.” The fiddle stayed in the closet most of the time until I turned 15…until I saw this lady in a band that came to my hometown to play a concert. Her name was Deni Bonet and she blew my mind with her fiddle/violin performance. It was after that performance, I pulled the fiddle out of the closet. I think playing the violin had a lot to do with timing in my life. I had always gone to sleep listening to my dad’s band practice. My grandmother played guitar in square dancing bands. I was constantly surrounded by music and that played such a huge role, but I think I was in search of an identity and a way to express myself when I was 15, just like a lot of kids are, and from those various influences, I found it. After seeing Deni Bonet play, lots of practice, my first trip to Nashville and finding my own “identity,” I realized I wanted to play music and make it my whole life. I’m so blessed to be able to share this dream with the rest of these extremely talented girls."
Darla: "I play the drums. I got my first drum kit when I was a year old. My dad bought it as my Christmas gift (big mistake to buy a toddler drums!) I started drum lessons at six-years old. The rest is history! I always new God wanted me to be a musician—a drummer."
As it's come up more than once from your camp, please explain the difference between a "group" and a "band" ... and which one is Cowboy Crush?!
Trenna: "Meet Cowboy Crush — the band!"
Becky: "A band is self-sustained. They can perform their show without two or more extra players. We’ve played acoustic radio shows all over the country with just the five of us. We are definitely a band!"
Debbie: "A “group” can be just vocalists or vocalists and an instrument or two."
Renae: "The way I see a group is … a group has more vocally centered foundation and a band, for the most part, has one lead vocal surrounded by players that “sustain itself” fully (musically--including drums, bass, keys, fiddles, etc.). I believe Cowboy Crush encompasses the best of both from the vocal side of the spectrum as well as musically!"
Darla: "A band has all instruments played by the artists. We are a band."
Is it true that you were mulling over 'Pistol Packin' Mamas' as the name of the band?!
Trenna: "Well, this is a long story!"
Becky: "To make a long story short, the answer is … not really. (Although three of the girls in the band pack!) It’s funny we actually had the record deal before we decided upon our name."
Debbie: "The real story is…there was a misunderstanding between me and Mike Curb surrounding the name. I told him a story about the women flyers in World War II (called WAPS). I found a great photo of a team of women walking away form their plane called “Pistol Packin’ Mamas.” These women were beautiful and carried their oversized men’s flight suits with extreme dignity. I thought it could be a cool idea for an album cover or perhaps even a publicity shot. He misunderstood the translation and thought we wanted the band to be named “Pistol Packin’ Mamas"."
Renae: "Our first contract draft calls us that. (oops) We amended it to COWBOY CRUSH on the next and final draft."
Darla: "End of long story!"
If there were just 3 words that described Cowboy Crush, what would they be?
Trenna: "Energetic, Empowering, Uplifting."
Becky: "Fun, Energetic, Professional."
Debbie: "Energy, Encouraging, Entertaining."
Renae: "Strong, Persistent, Rockin!"
Darla: "Exciting, Unpredictable, Influencing, Inspiring (I know, that’s 4!)"
What cheesy '80s song would you love to record if asked ... and why?!
Trenna: "Broken Wings” or “Kyrie” by Mister Mister - because I love the harmonies."
Becky: "Sorry, I really wouldn’t want to record a cheesy 80’s song. But a great 80’s tune? Now you’re talking!"
Debbie: "I can’t reveal that kind of information!"
Renae: "You know, I really can’t answer that!
Darla: "Love Hurts”…Trenna would rock on it!"
If you were asked to record a NEW single for charity, and had to choose 3 other musicians to aid you in the project (but no one from your band!), who would they be, what instruments would they play, and what would the name of the NEW song be?!
Trenna: "I would love to collaborate with Wynonna and Tina Turner."
Becky: "Don Henley on the drums and vocals, Vince Gill on the guitar and vocals and Timothy B. Schmidt on bass and vocals. I would probably ask James Taylor to join on acoustic guitar and vocals. I don’t know what the name of the song would be, but it wouldn’t matter with those kind of harmonies and musicianship ... it would be “WOW!”
Debbie: "Bonnie Raitt, because she can rip on the guitar for the project. Charlie Daniels, because we draw a lot from him musically and I love his outspoken character when it comes to his personal opinions. (…And, he and Renae’ could tear it up on fiddle.) Aretha Franklin, because I’ve always loved her. (She is a living legend.) Plus, I’d love to hear her and Trenna sing together."br>
Renae: "Hmmmm ... hate to say this, but I would have to hire three pickers to do that one! If it were to collaborate with our group, it would be cool to pick up “the edge” on guitar. I would defiantly agree with Debbie on Bonnie Raitt! She’s the woman. I would put Carter Beuford (Dave Matthews Band) on drums. It would be cool teaming up with Sting on a project. (He could play bass and sing!) On another note, if these wonderful and talented people were still around, I would love to hook up with them: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix or Staphane Grappelli."
Darla: "Billy Joel on piano. Dolly Parton on guitar. Bonnie Raitt on guitar."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED CD from Cowboy Crush, just answer this easy question: What line follows immediately after these lyrics:
When enough is, for sure, enough,
Time to shake it out and shake it up.
Get in the middle of a great big love,
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win a brand new and AUTOGRAPHED CD from Cowboy Crush! Just send us an e:mail here before November 21st with your answer and the subject title 'COWBOY CRUSH SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
Back To Archives