Texas Hippie Coalition to support Lynyrd Skynyrd, Shooter Jennings at ShoWare
By SHAWN SKAGER
Auburn Reporter Sports Reporter
September 19, 2012 · 4:51 PM
Ask Big Daddy Ritch for a quick explanation of Texas Hippie Coalition’s sound and he delivers straight from the hip.
“It’s like ZZ Top and Pantera had a child and gave it to Johnny Cash to raise,” Ritch said. “It’s like a heathen child.”
On Sept. 27 Ritch, and Texas Hippie Coalition (THC), roll into Kent’s Showare Center with Lynyrd Skynryd and Shooter Jennings to deliver a night of southern fried rock and roll served up with a helping of pure outlaw country and topped off with THC’s own brand of Red Dirt Metal.
“There is Red Dirt Country down in this area,” said Ritch, who hails from North Texas. “Texas radio has their own chart, called Red Dirt Country. I was just hangin with those country guys (guys Billy Joe Shaver, David Allan Coe, Stony LaRue, Cross Canadian Ragweed) and after hearing our music, that storytelling style similar to Red Dirt Country, they just dubbed us Red Dirt Metal.
“We know those guys are proud to be Red Dirt Country and they gave us that badge of Red Dirt Metal, and we’re going to where that proudly and let everybody know,” he added.
That pride is evident on the band’s third album “Peacemaker,” which features 12 tracks of whiskey-sodden, Texas power grooves, garnished with a nod to the storytelling roots of Ritch’s influences.
“Growing up in Texas, we just listened to Johnny Cash, Waylon and Willie,” Ritch said. “That was my daddy’s style of music. But my daddy also turned me on to Bob Seger, Steve Miller and stuff like that. And he was always keeping me up on the outlaws, stuff like Lynyrd Skynryd, Molly Hatchet, ZZ Top, .38 Special, those great bands. I just grew up with them. Then you get on your own and discover bands like Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Cinderella, and that’s where the party-style atmosphere came from. Then I discovered Corrosion of Conformity, Pantera, Clutch and that music was just awesome.”
According to Ritch, the idea for THC percolated around the back of his skull for awhile, while he slowly set about finding just the right musicians to jam with.
“I was just kind of handpicking the best bass player (John Exall) from this band, the best guitar player (Randy Cooper) from this band, just handpicking the best musicians for this band,” he said. “Just trying to scrape up all the good talent around here. Of course they were all from good bands, so it was kind of hard to get them over here to do something different. But I just threatened to whup ‘em, and they went ahead and jumped on board.”
Ritch said the lineup solidified a couple of years ago with the addition of drummer Timmy “The Hitman” Braun and guitarist Wes Wallace.
“They’ve really taken us to the next level,” Ritch said.
Since then the band has released three albums, including this summer’s “Peacemaker.”
The band has also toured non-stop, playing both nationally and internationally.
And according to Ritch, everywhere they go they win converts to Red Dirt Metal.
“It’s nice when you’re in that groove, that Texas groove and someone says they hear Pantera in it,” he said. “But it’s also nice when someone says they can hear Johnny Cash, it just feels good. It feels good to know all those influences are coming out.”
Texas Hippie Coalition hits the stage at the ShoWare Center in Kent at 7 p.m. Sept. 27.
Contact Auburn Reporter Sports Reporter Shawn Skager at email@example.com or (253) 833-0218, ext. 5054.