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Jason Boland expands on "The Bourbon Legend"

By Dan MacIntosh, December 2006

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Anderson gets writing credits for a many of these tracks, even though Boland came to the studio with completed songs. Boland particularly appreciates Anderson's arranging skills.

"I had those songs when they came," he explains. "When somebody takes your song and helps it that much, to the point where they make it a different song in some way, they deserve co-writes on that."

This newly formed producer and artist team did pen one song together. And oddly enough, it's the first single, "No One Left To Blame." It came in a wink, too.

"That was one of those, 'Hey, here's an idea for this. That's a little too this, let's go that way.' Fifteen minutes, later we had the major workings of the song," Boland recalls.

Another co-write is "Rattlesnakes," which Boland created with Bob Childers. It presupposes three of the worst natural elements a man can mess with: rattlesnakes, painted ladies and cocaine.

"He had had a lot of it written," Boland elaborates. "Bob's one of those very intelligent men that knows how the well works. And if he has a song that he hears you singing, he'll invite you over for you to help finish it up. He's a smart a guy. That song was mainly Bob Childers."

It wouldn't be fair to ask Boland to spill the beans about his experiences with painted ladies and/or cocaine - assuming he's had any - as these admissions might incriminate him. But has he had any memorable rattlesnake encounters?

"I'm trying to think if I've ever had a bad experience with a rattlesnake," he says laughing. "Yeah, I think I would." After being told he can take the Fifth about the ladies and the blow, he responds with silence. Then, "I think I just did (take the Fifth)."

Jason Boland & The Stragglers has played some tough joints over the years since starting in the college town of Stillwater, Okla. in 1998, but he has few regrets.

"Most people are nice to musicians really, deep down," he says. "When a crowd seems really rough on you, it's usually just a couple of people. Yeah, I've played some rough crowds where I felt, 'I don't belong here.' But it doesn't matter. It's all rock & roll. It's all three chords. You get through it."

Boland tours a whole lot. "We pretty much live on the road," he admits. "We're a regional act. But sometimes we'll route long and stay out for couple of weeks."

"I don't ever get tired of being on the road," he continues. "You get to where, 'Okay, I'm ready to go home for a little bit.' We get enough time at home. You don't ever get sick of being at home. You love it when you're at home; you love it when you're on the road. If you're that type of person, you've gotta have some ramblin' in you."

Boland, who released 4 other albums since 2001, cannot pinpoint the exact moment he decided to become a musician. "It chose me," he counters. "You don't choose it; it chooses you. If we chose it, everybody on earth would be a rock star. The old saying is: Everybody wants to be president of the United States, heavyweight champion of the world or a rock star. And the first two dream about being a rock star."

He knew he had something special, however, when he wrote his first good song.

"It was my first country song," Boland recalls. "I wrote it by myself. I'd written a couple of rock songs earlier, and they were kind of what was going on in '93, Alice In Chains-ish, Pearl Jam-ish, whatever. I wrote this country song. I played it for a friend, and he said, "It's really good." He said, "My favorite song is 'The Dance' by Garth Brooks. And if that's a 10, I'm giving your song a 7 or 8. I thought, 'Really?'"

This new album touches upon drinking in many places. But Boland is proudly sober for a year now. "I have a lot of experience to draw from," he jokes. "I never wrote a lot of songs that said, "Hey, let's go get messed up." I talked about drinking because that's what I was doing."

His band is especially glad he has given up drink. "It was a huge sigh of relief. I was a total liability," he admits. "They don't have to worry anymore if I'm gonna get through a show. That's gotta be helpless feeling watching somebody self-destruct, and all you can do is just sit over there and play guitar."

Conversely, it is now a pleasure to follow Boland as he reconstructs his life while creating the best music of his career. He's becoming "The Boland (not Bourbon) Legend."

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